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THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from October 18 - 24, 2003 on the Guru's Den
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Walker, you are welcome!

Chris, if you are going to go through the work of forging a sword, I suggest new steel. I get new spring steel from a local spring maker/repair place for free. Course, I do drop off a blade blank when I stop by most times too. Most metal workers will be happy to help if you explain what you want to do. I have one crude sword that was forged from leaf spring. Balance sucks and it twangs the hand sometimes, but without post forging heat treat, I can wail on wood chunks as hard as I can without edge damage so far. I wouldn't go into battle with it unless forced, and it won't cut a rice mat, but it is fun. The edge is more like an axe than a fine blade though. grin.

I bought some new crow bars the other week to try making into a sword. No idea what the steel is, so I will just try to match hardness after forging. I couldn't bend them when they were crow bars, but after straightening, they would just bend. So there was some heat treat involved.
   - Tony - Saturday, 10/18/03 00:12:09 EDT

TONY; Speaking of crowbars and other springy thingies, one of the best prybars I ever had, I made from a Chrysler torsion bar. There were a lot of them to be had in the '60's & '70's, and one could find a 3 foot piece pretty readily. Sure, they'd bow when I'd put a 5 foot piece of pipe on them to increase the leverage, but they'd always spring back. I'm still using it 36 years later. Best regards, 3dogs.
   3dogs - Saturday, 10/18/03 01:36:20 EDT

Tony; There's an old blacksmith in Monroe, Michigan, who still makes automotive leaf springs to order for car restorers, etc. He has an oil fired hearth furnace that looks more like a pizza oven than anything else. After rolling the eyes, punching the center bolt hole, and bending the proper arch in the leaves, he puts them in the hearth individually and brings them up to red, then drags them out of the fire and into an oil-filled quench tank. After they've cooled down some, he picks them out of the oil and puts them back on the ledge at the hearth opening until the oil flashes off, and drops them back into the oil That seems to be long enough to temper them to his satisfaction. He's been doing it that way since Hector was a pup, and "don't see no reason to do it otherwise." Speaks well for the SWAG method, doesn't it ?
   3dogs - Saturday, 10/18/03 02:16:23 EDT

Anyone have input on the AUTO-DARKENING WELDING HELMET at Harbor Freight?
   lefty - Saturday, 10/18/03 02:30:37 EDT

caleb, what do you have in mind for the truck springs?? i have made bending forks with them. i broke all but one, more because i thought they were unbreakable and used them to bend cold stuff...have to take another look at my caulking vise; i think it says "green river", not greenfield..

charcoal from BBQ store: most of the smoke that i use to smoke meat comes from the damp wood chunks that i place on the bed of charcoal. the charcoal does smoke, but not as intense as the damp wood chunks. not my idea. i am sure it has been done this way for a long time.....will test out the charcoal for forging soon.....
   rugg - Saturday, 10/18/03 02:34:57 EDT

LEFTY; They have 4 or 5 different ones, but the one I got on sale for $59 has worked pretty well for me. Best regards, 3dogs
   3dogs - Saturday, 10/18/03 02:41:20 EDT

Lefty, I have the "Chameleon" from Harbor Freight and it is fine for smaller jobs. If I use it for a bigger job, 1/8" rods, several minutes (and rods) of welding, higher amperages, my eyes get more tired than with my old non-auto darkening helmet. Several other folks have told me the same thing. Try it on smaller jobs before welding a big job that's going to take a hour or more. Also, keep the solar batteries charged. Good buy, and has lots of uses, just ease into the use until you know how its going to work for you. Welding in "the shade" with one instead of with the sun at your back also seems to make them work better (less eyestrain). Could be operator error of some kind!
   Ellen - Saturday, 10/18/03 04:56:58 EDT

3Dogs, yeah, the swag method works sometimes. Actually a lot of the time. Seems to work more often as I get older for some reason. We don't have to talk about the times it doesn't work, do we?? Grin!

I've not done anything with Chrysler torsion bar (because I don't have any junk Chryslers laying around), but VW and Mercedes torsion bar have worked well for quite a few things. The Mercedes torsion bar is still the red hardest stuff I've done as I remember it today. Must have a bunch of chrome since they don't seem to rust. Even in WI road salt. No way I'd want to make a sword out of one though without a power hammer. WAY to much like work. grin.
   - Tony - Saturday, 10/18/03 08:19:27 EDT

Please tell me one more time how much a cubic inch of steel weighs.
   - l.sundstrom - Saturday, 10/18/03 09:45:49 EDT

I have one of the $59 sale auto dark helmets. Have used it for about a year.With limitations I love it. First, the shade control knob is very easy to adjust without meaning to.A small piece of duct tape solved that.The sensor tends to darken the lens from ambient light when not desired, but you learn to just move your head a bit. Last, for people who have been welding for a while, it took me a while to not blink as I struck the arc, and once past that, I'm now so used to looking at the point of arc and not nodding prior to striking, that I occasionally start to strike, and remember that I don't have a hood on. It is amazing how fast humans adapt. This hood has very cheap headgear, but is very good value for $59.

Chris, I echo the thought that old junk yard steel may have cracks etc. Almost every thing of metal that must flex has a fatique life. Flex it enough and a failure will occur. Add stress risors from rust pitting and nicks etc, and the number of flex cycles till failure drops. I have found that spring shops tend to view the people that want springs to make swords etc as an interesting group to dole out scraps to. Especially if you take a small offering of work with you, and take back pictures etc.
Good luck
   ptree - Saturday, 10/18/03 09:56:09 EDT

I typically use the number of .283#/cubic inch
   ptree - Saturday, 10/18/03 09:57:19 EDT

Tony, ptree, Chris, et al; I just kinda figured that, since the torsion bars I used had already busted, they had found their weak spot through extensive SE Michigan scientific pothole testing, and MY skinny (at the time) butt and a piece of pipe were not going to have much further effect. Calibration of the prybar was done using the ever popular Boot Method, i.e., when both of my boots left the ground, the testee and the testor were maxed out. Score another one for shadetree metallurgy. Science marches on! }:<)
   3dogs - Saturday, 10/18/03 10:36:00 EDT

Fisher Anvils;
The forms used by Fisher to cast anvils had a bulge on the face plate surface. When the casting was poured the iron would flow on to the top of the face plate first,filling the bulge, effectively preheating it. The cavity being filled the iron would fill the body cavity. This ensured the steel plate would marry itself to the body. After removal from the form the cast iron on top of the plate would be knocked off. I am assuming tha some type of coating was put onto the top of the plate so the preheat iron would not stick. Josh Kaveat who runs the Fisher-Norris Museum has all the info on this. Are you out there Josh?
   - Ron J. - Saturday, 10/18/03 11:15:39 EDT


teh cubic inch measurement is best for calculating weight of objects because objects are seldom a perfect cubic foot - but, FWIW last itme I looked in the book a cubic fot of steel weighd 480 pounds
   Jerry Crawford - Saturday, 10/18/03 11:42:11 EDT

RE: my knife anvil project?

Assuming I can get back into the shop & locate the big Oxy/Acet tanks .. bringing the face up to what color should do the hardening? The only quench tank they have is a small tire leak tester so quenching is only a maybe thing....and I'm trying to handle a pretty huge mass of steel. Can I just air cool the steel after I bring it to heat?
   Jerry Crawford - Saturday, 10/18/03 11:58:03 EDT

Density of Steel: Note that virtually every alloy of steel has a slightly different density and if you want perfect you will need to know the alloy. In my Mass2 program I listed 15 steel densities and 10 irons. In our on-line version, Mass3j, there are 8 iron and iron alloys.

For MOST plain carbon steel the value given by MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK of .2835 lbs/cuin is the best and is what I use for "common steel" in Mass2/3. I have tested it on objects weighing tons with calibrated scales and my calculations were within the +/- 5 pound accuracy of our 20,000 pound crane scale. Generaly the digital scale was more accurate than rated and values were dead on or within +/- 2 pounds of what I calculated. This was more acurate than the 4 significant digits of the value above. So it must be pretty darn good. Most densities or specific gravities are only known or accurate to within 2 significant digits.

One time I was off 80 pounds on a 17,000 pound casting (I calculate the draft and fillets). They guys in the shop were giving me a hard time because weight calcs were MY THING. It turned out that I had used the density of grey cast iron and we were given a ductile iron casting. When recalculated using the correct material density I was within 5 pounds on an 8 foot diameter cast part.

All volume calculations were carefully done in inches. Each part broken down into simple geometric sections. EVERY feature was considered, holes, ribs, fillets, chamfers and draft. In large parts the drilled holes can amount to a significant amount. A 3/8" chamfer on a eight foot part takes off 6 pounds!

One reason for the careful calculations is that all this machinery was part of an unbalanced rotating assembly. Not only did we need weights but exact center of gravities. When dealing with torque in leverage calculations (we were upending a 50,000 pound assembly in 50,000 pounds of shielding) being off an inch on the center of gravity could mean hundreds of thousands of pounds of torque.

It seems like the machine would be easy to balance with two 50K loads. But it had to operate empty as well as full. So the best possible condition was to be out of balance by 1/3 in both the loaded and unloaded condition. This resulted in a mear million inch pounds of torque. . . Doing all these calculations is why I wrote Mass2.

Using Mass3j The densities in Mass3j are not given in lbs/cuin due to space limitations so I only give Sp/Gr. But you can enter 1 cubic inch as volume and get the density in pounds to 3 or 4 decimal places in the pounds column. Entering 1 cm3 results in density in g/cm3 which is almost identical to Specific Gravity (Sp/Gr).

Although Mass3j does not currently have the range of unusual shapes that Mass2 had it is sufficient for most weight estimation. AND it is available here, on-line, free.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/18/03 13:49:36 EDT

OBTW - 1 Cubic Foot of steel weighs 489.89 pounds and is usualy given a 490 Lbs/CuFt. Not 480.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/18/03 13:52:51 EDT

As I recall, you submitted a little lymric about a mean old junk yard dog that you came up with to help you remember how much a cubic inch of steel weighed. Obviously, it didn't help your feeble mind, so here is another trick you can try.
can you remember 1,2,3,4? Here's is how it works.
A 12 inch section of 1" x 1" weighs 3.4 lbs.
So, 1 x 1 x 12 = 3.4. Do you see the 1,2,3,4?
If that sequence confuses you, try 2, 4, 6, 8.
That is, a 1" x 1" x 24" = 6.8 lbs. Now, try to find the 2,4,6,8 in that sequence.
I think you are having trouble with this because you think a 1 inch cube should be heavier than 0.2835 lbs. maybe you could cut out a 1 cubic inch block and wear it around your stiff neck. You would then know how light it really is.
Besides, why does it really matter. You probably get your scrap for next to nothing.
   - l.sundstrom - Saturday, 10/18/03 14:00:23 EDT

Flame Hardening: Jerry, The trick to flame hardening is to quickly heat a small section of the steel (a band) so that it cools quickly enough to harden as you move to the next section in a smooth motion. It is a progressive process and is often self tempering (IE requires testing or R&D). In many cases it does not require a quench, the mass of the steel doing the job.

Normal hardening heat color in "normal" light is a low red. However, ambient lighting is rarely "normal" or the same in any two places. So the magnet test is recomended. The upper transformation point (A2) is just above the non-magnetic point for low to medium carbon steels and below the non-magnetic point between 65 and 85 point carbon. It then spikes to a 150 to 200°F for high carbon steels.

At Quad State Ric Furrer of Sturgeon Bay, WI did a VERY interesting knifemaking metalurgy demo that I would have love to have spent the entire time at. One demo he did was to heat a file to forging heat and then quench it. He then broke it and showed the VERY coarse crystal structure. Then he took the same piece and reheated it just to the hardening temperature and quenched it. The new broken section then showed the very fine grain associated with good tool steel. It was a pretty dramatic demonstration. The point was to show how to condition steel by controlled heating. This is especialy critical on long blades where many narrow heats have been used and thin sections of the steel may have been "quenched" between hammer and anvil resulting in a coarse grain. The conditioning by heat treatment was far more dramatic than changes by so called "packing" by forging. This is the reason you harden on a "rising" heat, NOT by overheating and then waiting to quench as the steel cools (a falling heat).
   - guru - Saturday, 10/18/03 14:17:12 EDT

More weight calcs. . . When my daughter was doing a school project involving a home built balance scale we did reverse calculations on 6061 aluminium and mild steel to make weights for the scale. We made 2.5g, 5g, and 10g weights. By measuring and cutting to the closest thousandth of an inch the steel weights were as accurate as a druggist's scale could measure them in milligrams.

Published density values work well for large and small objects. Just be sure to cross reference densities or use a trusted and tested reference like MACHINERY'S. No reference is perfect but MACHINERY'S has been tested and retested for some 90+ years.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/18/03 14:46:30 EDT

Larry, you are being a little hard on your self there. . I had to check the DNS loging to be sure it was YOU talking to yourself. . .

If you don't use these things every day then it is easy to forget. A lot of folks know weights by the running foot of different common bar sizes. Those are units I never used so I could only guess OR think hard about. Generaly I whip out a pocket calculator.

For estimating odd shapes one can get pretty good a quesing the average dimensions relative to a cube or cylinder. There is a neat chart in MACHINERY'S showing the volumetric relationships between a cylinder, cone, sphere and parabaloid. A cone is 1/3 volume of an equivalent dimensioned cylinder and a sphere is 2/3. The parabaloid is 1/2. A pyramid is also 1/3 the volume of an equivalent dimensioned prisim. The CG of both a cone and a pyrimid is 1/4 the height. . . If you can remember these simple proportions then volumetric calculations and estimates are pretty easy. I used to know these and more well enough to swear to them but today I need to look them up to be sure.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/18/03 15:09:10 EDT

one more question:
does 22 / 7 equal psi or is it just approximation?
   - l.sundstrom - Saturday, 10/18/03 16:35:47 EDT

I am just getting started in the blacksmithing trade and will be finishing a 14 week artist blacksmithing program at Fleming college in Haliburton, Ontario, Canada. I am interested in working in Europe as a blacksmith to further my learning in the trade. Can you reccomend any connections or places to start where I can find out more information on obtaining an apprenticeship or even a sponsor. Thank you for your help, Steve
   Steve Bazay - Saturday, 10/18/03 17:19:01 EDT

I Sundstrom, 22/7 or 3 1/7 was pi when I went to school. When the fraction is divided and becomes decimals (3.14159)...that's when the numbers go on and on. Pi times the diameter of a circle equals circumference of said circle.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 10/18/03 17:47:23 EDT

Thanks Frank,
I divided 22/7 and noticed that the answer was 3.1428571428571..... with the 1428571 repeating evidently, forever. your 3.14159... is a different answer and this is why I was wondering if pi was really 22/7 or if it was just an approximate ratio.
Anyway, I realize that it doesn't make much difference to the cutting torch but circles are amazing and if pi was really the ratio of a coulpe of whole numbers that would be pretty neat.
Webster's agree's with the 3.14159...
Can any of you mathematicians out there weigh in on the 22/7 concept.
and thanks Jock for wealth of knowlege that flows through these pages.

   - l.sundstrom - Saturday, 10/18/03 18:15:37 EDT

Larry, 22/7 is an approximation. 3.1416 is as far as I've ever had to go with it.
   - Tony - Saturday, 10/18/03 18:49:19 EDT

22/7 is a good approximation to PI, certainly for blacksmith work. However to be pedantic, and I cant help myself since I am a mathematician by training, PI is an "irrational" number. This does not mean it is kept locked in padded room under heavy medication - it means it cannot be accurately represented as a ratio of two numbers such as 22/7 you may get close but never exact. A consequence of this it that it cannot be exactly represented as a decimal either (unless you allow an infinite number of digits) since decimals are really a special form of rational numbers.

There are more sophisticated methods of generating approximations to PI that are based on infinite series - often combinations of series that generate arctangents ... I'll stop here

None of this has much consequence for practical work where PI=22/7 or sometimes just even PI=3 is fine
   adam - Saturday, 10/18/03 19:04:08 EDT

Pi worked fairly well as 22/7 for a long time. Archimedes approximated pi as greater than 221/71 and less than 22/7 a couple of thousand years ago and that wasn't improved on much until the time of Ptolemy, who gave us 3.1416 sometime around 200 A.D. By the time of the Renaissance, pi had been worked out to more than 15 decimal places.

Using 22/7 used to be the way to approximate pi until the advent of cheap calculators. Since calculators are perfectly happy with decimals, 3.1416 is worth remembering since it is more accurate and will generate answers that are probably handier for engineering/mechanical things. None of my drill bits or fasteners are sized in 7th's of an inch. (grin)
   vicopper - Saturday, 10/18/03 20:28:18 EDT

Hello. I'm wondering if there is any way I can build a forge I could use indoors. I know that charcoal cannot be used indoors (because of CO?). Is there anything I can build that I could use indoors, without the hassle of professionally installed chimneys and the danger of suffocating?
   Tom - Saturday, 10/18/03 20:39:23 EDT

Tom, indoors as in your house or indoors as in a shop?
ANY forge you build will give off nasties... such as CO etc. SO a detector for those nasties is a good thing. HAving a good flue hood type arrangement is a MUST.
   Ralph - Saturday, 10/18/03 21:12:36 EDT

With the exception of an electric forge, I think any fuel will generate carbon monoxide, and in relation to the heat generated. Any area inside that is too tight to burn fuel may also be inapproate for forge work. You need to consider that forging throws sparks, hot iron gets dropped etc. Most forges are set up in a seperate building or if none is available, often out in the open. I started forging under the shade of a persimmon tree, and drug all my stuff in and out each time. Beats burning down the barn-garage-house etc.
   ptree - Saturday, 10/18/03 21:15:16 EDT

Tom, an induction forge would be a possibility. No smoke, no exhaust at all (except for the potential of metal to oxidize with ambient air). However, they don't make home-unit size ones, so you'll have to make one... no easy task (grin). Also they guzzle electricity; 1000 watts is the slated consumption for the small one that me and my electronics wizard friend are building. However, I would second Ptree's note about dropped iron and sparks, and note also that scale will get everywhere no matter what... Why is it that you'd like to forge indoors, Tom? My curiosity has been piqued.

Fun at the Glass Club meet last night... pictures coming soon to a Yahoo! Gallery near you. (grin)

Cloudy and still in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T Gold - Saturday, 10/18/03 21:55:54 EDT

I live in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
I have come across a very old, Manual Drill press, with a screw tightening chuck, drill bits are hard steel and flat on one side so that are held in the chuck
Made by Champion Blower & Forge of Lancaster P.A.
Does Champion Blower & Forge Still Exist, How old is this Manual Drill Press, It appears to have a flywheel, overhead wheel for raining and lowering the chuck,
I would love to know more,
Would you please assist

Douglas Potter
Many thanks,
   Doug Potter - Saturday, 10/18/03 21:59:22 EDT

Ive seen designs for a miniature (benchtop) crucible using an electric arc. Always wondered whether this idea could be used to run a small forge?
   adam - Saturday, 10/18/03 23:14:38 EDT

Tom, a "Turley-grad" years ago named Jack Slack (good last name), built an electric forge in a Seattle indoor mall. He was selling jewelry and small forged pieces in his retail shop and had a partition wall in back with a storage room. He asked and got permission to install an electric forge and small set of tools in the back room. Worked for him.

Douglas, These drill presses are called "post drills". They are usually mounted on a slab of wood. Sometimes you can see a faint line scribed vertically on the plank, so that the parts could be properly aligned for mounting. Then, the ensemble was mounted on a wall or post. The twist drills are old style blacksmith drills. The few I have in my shop all have ˝" shanks with the flattened side. The post drills I've seen have a pawl and ratchet wheel arrangement at the top which when engaged, acts as a self-feeder. I understand that Champion became the Channellock Co. somewhere along the line; no more post drills being made. Before it was Champion, I believe it was Lancaster Forge Co. in Pennsylvania. Post drills were made in the early 1900's. Someone might know more about the history than I do.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 10/18/03 23:20:25 EDT

PI p: The fraction 22/7 is children's stuff and pretty worthless. 3.142 is a much better value to remember.

From early in the first millinium, in various cultures, PI was know as

3 + 177/1250 = 3.1416
62832/20000 = 3.1416
3927/1250 = 3.1416

The different forms depended on your mathematical system. Today you should be able to remember the decimal value 3.1416 (DRILL it into your memory).

Modern mathematicians (IE in the 1500's) such as Viéte discovered that PI was a mathematical expression of PI that could be calculated infinitely. Viéte was famous for early encryption systems and the first to create such a formula.

If you are interested in the history of mathematics, PI and the digit hunters see A History of p (PI) by Petr Beckmann, St. Martins Press.

In the world of engineering mathematics there are a handful of numbers you should easily recognize or remember. PI, the density of steel, the square root of two and half or the reciprocal of the square root of two (.7071. . . they are the same, a unique occurance). The reciprocal of the square root of two is also the sine and cosine of 45°. Handy things to know when playing with numbers.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/18/03 23:36:20 EDT

Post Drills: An 1899 catalog I have lists patent dates in the early 1870's for these machines. They were sold until the 1950's and made by a variety of manufacturers. The most well known were Buffalo Forge, Champion Blower and Forge and Canedy Otto.

We sell Buffalo Forge, Champion Blower and Forge catalogs on CD and will have Canedy Otto and others soon.

There were dozens of sizes and designs of these machines resulting in hundreds of variations. They are VERY good hole drilling machines. The old 1/2" shank bits are no longer avaialable and since they are not high speed steel they are better collector items than tools to be used. I fit all my old hand crank drills with Jacobs chucks to make them more useful.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/18/03 23:48:36 EDT

Adam, electric arc wouldn't work well (if at all) for a forge... it's basically a really powerful "point source" of heat, and the melting is accomplished by conduction from that point. Also the point is at about 5000-6000 deg. F if memory serves; you'd end up casting the steel instead of forging it. I think I may've seen the same designs, they sure do look like handy little furnaces.

All sorts of projects ramping up in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T Gold - Sunday, 10/19/03 00:27:08 EDT

Indoor Forges: Many of us have coal, oil and gas forges indoors. Fireplaces too. They all require a chimney or vent. Gas forges require less venting than others but still need a vent (or ventilation). They can often be operated in any location where a window and door are kept open.

One unique gas forge I have heard described was a large oxy-propane fired unit. It was run only on demand by a foot peddle, probably using an economizer valve unit. Peter Fels has a similar torch setup but this was a large rosebud or mutltiple torch heads set in a refractory surface. The advantage is short operation times at very high heat and low fumes. It is not the perfect forge (none is) but it has some tremondous advantages and could probably be operated without a vent. One drawback is the cost of oxygen.

Operating costs probably make most electric forges prohibitively expensive to operate. A resistance unit would be much cheaper than induction but would require preheat time.

The BEST electric resistance system for forging and bending is direct resistance. Electrodes are attached to the bar to be heated and the power turned on. This requires a VERY heavy transfomer unit but is much less sophisticated and probably more efficient than induction heating. The disadvantages are arc burns at the contact points.

I do not know of a source of these machines but the WERE made. I have seen a demonstration of one used to heat armature bars in the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and I have seen electic resistance rivet heaters in catalogs. Don't snicker, we are talking about LARGE rivits used for heavy streuctural steel heated to a yellow heat in seconds. . . (1" by 3-4" long. . .). the rivet was held in tongs and placed between two copper electrodes that were closed on the rivet ends by a foot pedle. Hmnmnmnmn.. HOT!
   - guru - Sunday, 10/19/03 00:27:52 EDT

More about p:

For ALL practical calculations 3.1416 is more than accuate enough. The only place it is not is for astro physics or astro navigation where miniscule errors in angles can result in errors of millions of miles.

Almost all pocket calculators have PI built in to 13 or 16 decimal places. The old TI-30's had it as a primary function and then (stupidly) it was moved to a second function. I bought the last dozen of the old style TI-30-SLR's I could.

Almost all programming languages have a function or built in constant for PI and so do spread sheets (@PI). Even when not directly available every 286 and UP Intel chip had it built in.

AND if you can access this site using a PC it is available from the OS's built in calculator to about 32 places. . . (turn on scientific mode). I suspect it is available on Macs too.

It is also listed with constants in every math, physics or engineering reference including MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK.

So, either remember 3.1416 OR don't and just know that you can find it on almost any electronic device.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/19/03 00:48:40 EDT

It would most likely be possible to run the oxy-propane on-demand forge the Guru described on compressed air instead of oxygen. Guru, got any figures on resistance heating? Sounds interesting; reminds me of the "Lagrange-Hoho Water Pail Forge". Still thinking about making one of those... got a bunch of extremely good diodes courtesy of Mother Russia during the summer, sounds like a good application of 'em for me.

Cool and windy in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T Gold - Sunday, 10/19/03 04:52:29 EDT

Thanks to all for the fasinating discussion on PI.
   - l.sundstrom - Sunday, 10/19/03 07:55:25 EDT

Pie are square? All seriousness aside, Ace Reid, cowboy cartoonist extraordinare, shows a cowboy sittin' at the table figgerin'. As I recall, he sez, "Pie are square? Pie are round; cornbread are square!
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 10/19/03 08:16:08 EDT

T Gold:

You're probably right about induction not being practical. However "small" units ARE avalible. 1000 watts (1KW) is not a lot of electricity, same as a little over 1 horsepower. Electricity is only being used when a part is in the field. I recently picked up a 15 KW unit of recent vintage for $500.00. Current retail on this unit is over $40,000.00! The "impractical" part. If memory serve me, rule of thumb is you can heat about 15 pounds of steel to forging heat per hour per KW. I used to have a 100 KW unit that we used constantly.
   - grant - Sunday, 10/19/03 10:19:02 EDT

Gosh darn it! THAT's how I got to earth. I didn't carry Pi out far enough in my space travel calcs. Probably screwed up in my gravity hook around orions belt.....

I was shooting for Venus. Heard they got some "hot" babes there.

Another mystery valuably solved by the guru page!
   - Zaphod Beeblebrox. (aka Tony) - Sunday, 10/19/03 10:30:38 EDT

Carbon monoxide CO/ and Carbon Dioxide: both are killers. I worked for several years testing cars for emissions and have had some nasty times with CO poisoning. What happens is the CO molecule attaches to the blood cell in the same way that Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide do in the respiratory cycle. The problem is that the CO molecule does not release when you breath out, and remains attached, this makes the blood cell unable to receive a new oxygen, taking the blood cell out of the game. Enough and you are dead in minutes, small doses can remain in the system for as long as a week and exposures as small as 10 parts per billion are cumulative.

Short term symptoms: headache mild to severe, nausea, respiratory failure, slurred speech, confusion,
long term symptoms: Heart and brain damage

Treatment is difficult because the blood will not accept more oxygen, and a pressure chamber, like the diving chamber used for the bends, may be needed to force Oxygen directly to the cells.

Both CO and CO2 are byproducts of burning any hydrocarbon (coal, charcoal, gas, gasoline, fuel oil). CO is produced if there is not enough oxygen (a reducing flame or a rich mixture) the carbon combines with one oxygen i.e.: CO. A complete burn (neutral flame) will produce CO2. both will are heavier than air and will replace the oxygen that you are using up in a closed space. Both are colorless and odorless and deadly.

Your local hardware store has detectors for both CO, and CO2, the best IMHO, is produced by Nighthawk, and has a numeric display that will detect low levels of exposure and has a cumulative algorithm that will set the alarm off if low levels are detected over a long time. A quick check of the digital display will show low level transitory exposure. Price on the last one I bought was about $50 USD.
My advice: Get one, USE IT!

for more information http://www.coheadquarters.com
and http://www.coheadquarters.com/ChronicCO/coSyndrome1.htm
   habu - Sunday, 10/19/03 10:45:26 EDT

Re: CO in todays news http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,100526,00.html

the final sentence in this story is inaccurate CO can be fatal in SMALL quanties.
   habu - Sunday, 10/19/03 10:55:26 EDT

On Demand Forge: The reason for the O2 was the high heat necessary for hand held work in a small unit. Compressed air only results in the same flame temperatures as a venturi burner.

CO carbonmonoxide is the reason all welding and forge shops need plenty of room, high ceilings and lots of ventilation. As mentioned by Jeff many folks with small shops do their forging and welding out doors. Even with a large shop I prefer to take these out doors or where there is LOTS of fresh air.

The problem with low ceilings is that hot forge fumes collect at head height and above. Even with good ventilation you can end up breathing a lot of nasty fumes. 8 foot ceilings are much too low, 10 foot is better but still marginal, 12 to 16 are good. Above that is great but even 20 foot ceilings are low in an industrial environment.

In recent years we had all kinds of "alternative" heating systems. One that was popular was kerosene heaters. For years we supplemented our heat with the old blue black "country" sytle kerosene heaters. They were smokey, you always smelled oil fumes and if it were not for the fact that our place was unbelievably drafty they would have been dangerous. Later there was the "kerosun" craz along with wood heat. These heaters were touted as having revolutionary "clean" burning burners. . . They were no different than the old cheap hardware store heater we had used in the past when the wick was well maintained. But there WAS a difference. People were using them in tight modern homes. Utter stupidity. I am sure there is a whole generation with respiratory ailments due to the use of these things. . .

The point? THINK about your work environment. If you have smoke or fumes that are noticable then there is probably more going on than you think. A good CO monitor in a useful location is a good idea. But in the end you need ventilation, ventilation, ventilation.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/19/03 12:12:42 EDT

All Time SPAM Low:

The most recent SPAM from China (remember the articles last month saying they were curbing SPAM - HA!). I am still getting the same load of Chinese SPAM as always. Now this. The most recent SPAM from China offers export laborers
"We can supply excellence special class cook of Sichuan, females and males, therapy masseurs, Nurse, Sewing-worker. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 10/19/03 12:24:44 EDT

e to the x, e to the x, e to the x dx! cosine, tangent, hyperbolic sine, 3.14159! (you know that the "ivy league" was originally a *football* league...)

   Thomas P - Sunday, 10/19/03 13:00:38 EDT

A thought on ventilation,
A often overlooked method of ventilation is the turbine ventilator. I was lucky to obtain a 24" turbine ventilator surplus, and installed it over my gas forge. put a large intake louver on the opposite wall. This wind power turbine maves over a thousand cubic feet of air per minute in a soft breeze. No smoke, no fumes in the face, as the intake is at my back. Remember, to vent you need more intake capacity then exhaust.
   ptree - Sunday, 10/19/03 13:52:15 EDT

HOw much are the nurses? Just curious.
   adam - Sunday, 10/19/03 14:16:00 EDT

I am looking for current contact information for:
Bill Fiorini and Kristen Skiles, AKA Koka Metalsmiths. Their current telephone listing (507-643-7946)is incorrect.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/19/03 16:39:33 EDT

Guru, info for Fiorini and Skiles to you via email
   - Aksmith - Sunday, 10/19/03 19:15:58 EDT

Post Drills
For those of you that have a post drill fitted with a jacobs chuck. How did you do this? I have my own ideas but would like to see if it jives with mine. I have a few 1/2 " shank bits but would like to bring this thing up to speed. Thanks
   - Ron J. - Sunday, 10/19/03 20:18:27 EDT

Ron J, I have a drill press dating from about 1917-1920, not a post drill, but it came with an odd, old chuck. I took out the spindle, took it and my chuck to a trade school that had a machine shop. The Jacob's chuck has specific mount threads depending on chuck size. I think mine was a "medium duty" chuck threaded for 5/8"-11. So the school turned down the spindle and threaded it, making it the proper length. And on goes the chuck. There are large machinist supply catalogs, such as MSC, etc. I have had good luck over the years getting shop nessities from Travers Tool Co., Flushing, New York. They carry Jacobs chucks and much other stuff.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 10/19/03 21:32:35 EDT

Anyone know any good books or any information on Drop Forging. Also anything particular on forging stainless steel, eg. Types of stainless, hardening, heat treating, etc.
   Peter C - Sunday, 10/19/03 22:18:34 EDT

Peter C., I use abebooks.com frequently, and I typed in the "keyword", 'drop forging', on their site. There are a number of books available, but I fear some of the info may be outdated, because many of the books are from the early and mid twentieth century. My personal books which I use as references are: "Forging Industry Handbook", Jon E. Jenson, Ed., Forging Industry Association, Cleveland, Ohio, 1970; and "Manual of Open Die Forgings", Open Die Forging Industry, New York, 1949. The subject is quite broad. Besides open die work, there is closed die forging, some with flash, some without. It would be good if a guy could get a union apprenticeship in a plant. According to one old hand, Clifton Ralph, the present day apprenticeships are disappearing in the U.S. and the ones available are becoming attenuated. However, Ralph didn't state it so nicely. Again, with respect to the use of the books, I would be circumspect in taking everything they say as gospel.

I visited the Bethlehem Forging Plant in Pennsylvania in 1976. At that time, it was considered the premier large- forging plant in the U.S. Now, it is no more.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 10/19/03 23:28:32 EDT

Peter C., Sorry, I overlooked the last part of your questions. I think Carpenter Technology Corporation puts out good information on stainlesses. cartech.com
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 10/19/03 23:37:24 EDT

I also have a caulking vise, and it is a green river no. 2.
Dont know if green river is a brand made by another bigger company or not. Around here, green river was also the site of serial killings, and a funny tasting green soft drink. And a real river, I used to swim in.
   - Ries - Sunday, 10/19/03 23:59:29 EDT

Just a quick question on stamping work. I have seen many smiths stamp their work with a personal ID. I was wondering how one would make their own personal stamp. I have a few ideas of how I could do it through casting, but I was wondering if there was a proven way of doing it the right way. Any advice would help...
   Joseph - Monday, 10/20/03 00:25:41 EDT

Check out i-forge demo #65 on this site. It covers touchmarks using a number of different techniques, and has pictures to boot!
   eander4 - Monday, 10/20/03 01:45:15 EDT


I have a bunch of old coat hangers and my dad’s Zippo lighter and I want to make a Damascus swords. How do I get started?…………

Sorry, That just slipped out. I know you guys get tired of the redundant requests, so I’ll be quick:

Saturday, I picked up an anvil for a friend of mine who is just getting started. It is marked “FISHER” on the front of the base (this would mean it’s probably a Fisher, duh?). It is marked “1902” across the base on the heel end and has “100” on the right front foot. There is a big eagle holding an anchor on the side. I appears to be of 4 piece construction; 2 pc. base, horn, face. It needs some tlc,; the edges of the face are chipped, nothing a little grinder and sander won’t fix. Got it for $100.

Are these decent anvils? I just wanted to let my friend know what he had, and I don’t know a lot about these.

Thanks, as always, for the info.
   - Don Abbott - Monday, 10/20/03 08:22:34 EDT

Ron J.
The old chuck on my post drill had a unique chuck that was held in place with a set screw. Had a short piece of rod threaded on one end to fit the Jacob's type and flattened on the other so the set screw would hold good. That end now works fine, but have to mess with the self feed mechanism which keeps falling off of the top wheel with the threads.
   timh - Monday, 10/20/03 09:03:19 EDT

Fisher Norris Eagle Anvils Don, These are a steel faced cast iron anvil. They were the first production anvil manufactured in the United States. The construction (face welded on in the casting process) was a patent process that produces inexpensive anvils.

Many consider them a good anvil. The cast body makes them very quite compared to a forged anvil. Folks either love them or hate them.
   - guru - Monday, 10/20/03 09:30:58 EDT

Wondering what maintenance I should do on my Acme post drill. It looks in very good shape - in fact it looks like it was hardly used. However, all the bearings are dry and the shaft has some rust on it. Should I just oil it or should I try and strip it and clean off the rust? Anything else I need to do?
   post drill - Monday, 10/20/03 09:51:50 EDT

Machine Maintenance: Adam, The shaft on the drill feeds through the drive gear and the lower bearing. Rust on the shaft will cause these surfaces to wear. I would polish off the rust with fine grit wet-or-dry sand paper (180 then 320).

The ball thrust bearings are infamous for wearing out and falling apart. I have had to re-machine the shaft on all my post drills and refit modern bearings. Clean the bearings in solvent to remove varnish (folks often lubricated things with oils that dryed and hardened) and then lubricate. The thrust bearing should be lubed with good wheel bearing grease and the rest kept oiled.

If these old machines (without seals and lubricators) are not dripping with oil they are not properly lubricated.

   - guru - Monday, 10/20/03 11:41:58 EDT

I have fitted a Jacaobs CHuck in my post drill. And thanks to guru I have made the arm for the auto feed. Hooked up a 1/2 hp moter to it and pullied it down to approx 500 rpm. Works very well. Use it more than the elt one I had bought yrs ago. When the bit gets stuck the belt just falls off. Don't auto feed on it with hydro, Its goes to fast,. They are a very good piece of equipment for th shop. Doug Potter were you at CanIron this year ? I meet a few of the Vancouver smiths there.. I am from Ontario Canada North BAy
   Barney - Monday, 10/20/03 11:50:16 EDT

Does anyone know where I may be able to get an antique iron bed frame modified? I'd like to get the side railings extended and the headboard height extended. It was once shortened. Hopefully a place in southeastern Michigan/Metro Detroit area. Many thanks for any info. you can post for me.
   deb - Monday, 10/20/03 12:00:21 EDT

Post Drill Chucks: Standard model Jacobs chucks have a taper in the chuck body. These are similar to Morse tapers but are very short and are designated a Jacobs Tapers (JT). You can remove the arbor from an old Jacobs chuck and replace it with one with a 1/2" shank to fit your post drill. You could also re-machine arbors from #2 MT up to 1/2" diameter if you have a lathe and are a competent machinist. McMaster-Carr lists the chuck sizes and tapers and has the 1/2" arbors.

To remove the old arbor is sometimes difficult. To drive it out you can drill a hole inside the chuck (where the bit goes). Some chucks come with a hole but most do not. It does not hurt the chuck to drill this access hole. You can use up to a 3/8" hole in a 1/2" chuck. The body of the chuck is soft and drillable. After drilling blow out the chips and squirt in some penetrating oil. After the parts have soaked use a hard punch to drive out the arbor.

Some arbors have a shoulder and a U shaped wedge can be used to remove the arbor but I have found this to work on only a few very large chucks. If you do not know which taper your chuck has you can find the dimensions in MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK.

Threaded chucks, usualy taken off old portable drills, can also be adapted as Frank noted. I have used a 5/8" bolt and machined the shank to make an arbor that worked.

The best chuck for a post drill is a 0-1/2" number 34-33 (McMaster #2812A16 ) and a 1/2" x 33JT arbor (McMaster #2811A59 $11.28 $74.99). The 1/2" shank will need a flat ground on it for the set screw.

Even though you will probably pay as much or more for the Jacobs chuck and arbor as you did for the post drill it is well worth it. These machines are great for drilling small holes and holes in odd work. I do not recommend them for holes over 1/2" (13mm) but it CAN be done. I've drill short holes as big as 3/4" (19mm) in mine starting with a 1/4" (6mm) pilot hole. Some of the bigger drills with 2 speeds are geared down and work better than the smaller sizes for large holes.
   - guru - Monday, 10/20/03 12:19:35 EDT

Post Drill Mounting: As mentioned above most of these came mounted on a board from the factory. Usualy this gave just enough clearance behind the drill for the crank to turn. However, this does not provide knuckle clearance. Be sure to mount the drill so that you have plenty of clearance behind the crank.

The drill also needs to be mounted at a comfortable height. Usualy the the crank wheel needs to be at about shoulder height. Too high or too low and it greatly increases the effort to use the drill. This past week we had the portable shop setup on a hill with the drill on the low side. The extra 8" of height made it painful to operate the crank under low load using a 3/16" (5mm) drill bit.
   - guru - Monday, 10/20/03 12:21:36 EDT

Bed Frame: Deb, Any welding shop should be able to do this for you. You may want to look in the Yellow pages under "Ironworks". These are the guys that usualy do misc metal work including railing jobs. Often Blacksmiths are listed under this heading.
   - guru - Monday, 10/20/03 12:24:04 EDT

The guru states that these old machines should be dripping when properly lubed. YES, if using oil. If the surfaces are able to be greased, with a high moly content paste type grease, the dripping can be elimanated.Try Dow Corning MOLYKOTE GN assembly paste. Buy the smallest tube available as a TINY amount will cover the world. This product is about 70% moly, and the remainder is stuff to make it tacky and a paste. Try this on high wear threads etc and you will be amazed. I did research on acme threaded valve stems years ago, and found that nothing would approach the resistance to wear of a high moly paste. I was wearing the test threads out/galling in about 35 cycles of the tester with standard grease, never seize etc. The moly paste went about 15,000 cycles. Standard auto grease marked as MOLY has from 1 to 2 1/2% moly. This grade will pump thru a standard grease gun. This is a good forzerk applications where the grease can be renewed often. The 70% will not pump!Apply with a stiff artists brush. This stuff has a very fine powder that will stain your hands by getting into the cracks in the skin, and then has to wear off!
The advantage of oil is that it will wash out scale,chips etc if properly applied. At my current employ we run large upset forgers, and the heavy gear oil goes into the bearings under pressure, and is forced out. These bearings are mostly about 24" dia. and up, and 12" and up wide This is a total loss system,With 7 upsetters using about 1400 gallons a week. With the value of these machines, we accept the cost of the oil to make sure that the bearings do not get scale into them.
   ptree - Monday, 10/20/03 12:27:08 EDT

Looking for Bill Fiorini and Kriten Skiles. Note that all listed numbers for these folks are incorrect or out of service.
   - guru - Monday, 10/20/03 12:31:21 EDT


I may have Bill and Kirsten's web site in my bookmark file, but I can't access it until my puter is back up.
   Paw Paw - Monday, 10/20/03 13:47:35 EDT

Their site has been off line for some time.
   - guru - Monday, 10/20/03 14:34:33 EDT

I have a Buffalo Forge cast iron forge with a patent date of 1876. It is a shallow pan about 24 by 18. I am about to line it with Sairset adn wonder how deep the lining should be.
   Don B - Monday, 10/20/03 15:00:01 EDT

I admit ignorance on the archive use. I did go there and inquired about copper and copper forging. Can you explain to me how to get any info from the archive concerning this subject?

No offence to ViCopper, but that seems to be the word the search hits on. Yes, true, I am not an agressive archive searcher.

Could anyone expound on copper forging?

I think that I would like to try the copper. I have several small aluminum forgings, but seem to get flaking, splitting and general non-acceptable results with copper.
   - Steve - Monday, 10/20/03 17:46:09 EDT

am in need of a vise jaw for a model 23x bench vise manufactured by c. parker co. meriden ct. any one know where to get one???? . thanks chris
   - chris - Monday, 10/20/03 18:37:32 EDT

OBTW, when I spoke of moly paste, I forgot to mention that the friction dropped so much that fasteners reached thier ulitmate torque and failed at much lower torgues. Just means that the fastner was more efficient, and reached tensile load at a lower torque. So,,, if you use this paste on your flypress threads, It will hit harder for a GIVEN TORQUE. This paste was also very good for its anti-galling effect on 316 fastners in 316 solids. Only way we could reach clamp load in production was to put moly paste on every fastner! OBTW, for the best antisieze at temp's up to 1000F I tested most on the market. Post if interested.
   ptree - Monday, 10/20/03 21:11:30 EDT

ptree, I'm interested in the tests on antisieze. Thank you
   - ironspider - Monday, 10/20/03 22:12:07 EDT

how do i list a 200lb beaudry power hammer that is running in my shop now in sonoma ca 4sale 3500.00 will load on your truck aprox wt 5500lb safty gards on belts 7.5 3ph mortor new drive belts 3ph concator running now come by and test drive it shop ph 707 996 8541 or e me gordon
   gordonsforge - Monday, 10/20/03 22:38:14 EDT

Forging Copper:

Pure copper is terrific for forging, as it can be worked in a temperature range from cold to an orange heat. The problem is, pure copper is very difficult to come by. Anode bars for plating are usually pure copper and you can sometimes find those. Copper for machining generally has lead added to improve the machining qualities, but the lead makes hot forging quite a bit more risky. Lead can also cause cracking fduring cold forging of copper.

Assuming you can get some copper that is either pure or an alloy intended for hot forging, you can work it at heats up to orange. Pure copper can be worked at near yellow heat, where it forges about like soft butter. Alloys usually shouldn't be taken above orange, and some aren't safe above bright red. Most alloys can be forged cold af ter annealing.

Copper work hardens when worked cold and must be periodically annealed by heating to cherry red and quenching in cold water or pickling solution. The quench in pickling solution removes the firescale (oxides) that form on the lsurface when copper is heated above a black heat. A suitable pickling solution for copper is 1 part sulfuric acid to 9 parts water. Add the acid to the water, not the other way around, or you'll get a steam explosion. Of course, wear appropriate safety clothing and face shield. A somewhat safer solution is Sparex No. 2 jeweler's pickle, sold at places like Rio Grande Supply. If you're cold-working copper, anneal it when it begins to resist the hammer. If you wait to long to anneal, it will crack.

Copper is easy to hot forge, but difficult to achieve fine detail hot. Since it becomes so sof when heated, areas next to the spot you are working may deform due to transferred stresses. Do the bulk of your heavy forging hot, then finish cold to isolate detail and work-harden the finished piece.

The flaking and splitting you mention sound like the results of hot forging a lead-bearing copper. If you're going to forge copper hot, buy new metal of a known composition suitable for hot work. Salvaged copper is much too likely to have undesirable alloying elements added.
   vicopper - Monday, 10/20/03 22:45:24 EDT

Anvil ID
A friend has a mouse hole that looks like, and is marked like, the one currently on eBay, #3248738629, except weighs about 150 and is marked "16" on the side instead of "19", (and has had pritchel hole drilled). Anybody have an idea of it's age? Thanks
   Tom H - Monday, 10/20/03 22:49:47 EDT

Copper: Steve, I just tried the archives. Sorry, It seems that there is something different about our new server and it returns all the archives with every search. We have been writing a new search routine but I have not had the time to get up to speed in Php and get it working the way I want.

The following is the protoytpe search. Try it. Click on the returned links NOT the pointer icon. The pointer is supposed to call a second routine (which we lost) that returns a block of text with the search phrase from the selected file. The AND and OR routines are also broke (do not change the default settings). However, the pattern matching is very good and actually returns decent results.

New Search Alpha Test

I used "forging copper" as a search term and got two files with decent answers. Once you load a file you need to click on the window with the file, press CTRL-F, then enter your search term again. That should take you to each case of the term. If our secondary search routine were working it would return the actual text. . .

There is copper and there is copper. The purity of the copper makes a big difference. Most copper wire and copper buss bar is 99.99% pure and oxygen free. This makes it VERY soft and maleable.

Copper can be forged hot but I find that brasses and coppers work well from hot into the cold range (they are annealed from the heating). As the metal gets work hardened then it needs to be heated again. If you are getting splitting this is usualy from working work hardened metal OR reducing the section too much without reheating (working cold too long).

I'm not sure what you mean by flaking. You can get copper and brass to scale but you have to over heat it pretty bad or use a highly oxidizing flame. Generally it is hard to overheat as the metals melt before scaling. So the problem may be the wrong heating condition.

Generally copper and its alloys forge like butter. The trick is to not melt them. The forging temperature is just a tad shy of the melting point. Most of these alloys show a slight blush on the surface just as they hit the forgeable temperature. However, once oxidized it is hard to discern. If you work in VERY low light you can heat until you seen the slightest glow in the metal.

Try forging some heavy guage copper wire or some brazing rod. Both forge very well and should behave about the same. If you have trouble with these then there is something you are doing wrong.

Note that "copper" ground bars are often copper CLAD steel bars (not solid copper). I have seen them forged but it is very tricky. The bar is worked very near the melting point of the copper to get the medium carbon steel up to a working temperature.
   - guru - Monday, 10/20/03 23:03:56 EDT

Vise Parts: Chris, Most of the good old American Vise manufacturers have gone out of business and there are no parts. The only outfit that I know of that handles SOME replacement vise parts is McMaster-Carr.

Generally if you need jaws for a vise you are better off to make them yourself. Machinists vises often have very aggresively knurled or cut teeth on the jaws that tear work all too pieces. I much prefer smooth jaws. Vise jaws are often hardened and tempered but can be made of a high carbon steel and then normalized for a harder condition than the usual annealed machinable condition. You can go to the trouble of hardening and tempering but the problem is that steel grows when hardened. If the jaws use the typical countersunk screws it is very tricky getting the spacing just right so that they are a good fit after hardening. Growth varries with the type of tools steel. The more expensive oil and air hardening steels grow less than the cheaper water hardening types.

   - guru - Monday, 10/20/03 23:18:33 EDT

Anvil Age: Tom, If the pritichel hole was not original and drilled later then it is the same approximate age as the anvil listed on ebay. If the pritichel hole is original (they were punched at Mousehole) then the anvil is post 1830-38 to about 1870 or so.

   - guru - Monday, 10/20/03 23:26:46 EDT

Thanks Jock for the quick reply. Enjoyed meeting you at Norris.
   Tom H - Monday, 10/20/03 23:33:17 EDT

Lining Forges: Don, the claying in cast iron forges was simply to prevent thermal shock (too fast heating or cooling). The clay was usualy only 1/2" to 3/4". Refractory clays were used but not necessary and refractory cements were not recommended but could be used. The only factory claying diagram I have seen was for a flat bottom forge and showed a ducks nest or pot built up around the grate and bridging the joint between the tuyeer and the pan.
   - guru - Monday, 10/20/03 23:33:32 EDT

More about Drill Chucks: Worn out old electric drills are a good source of chucks (when the chuck is not worn out). Most of these are threaded on and fairly easy to remove. However, if the drill was reversable open the jaws and LOOK inside. To keep the threaded chuck from unthreading when reversed there is often a left hand socket head cap screw inside the chuck. If there IS a screw it may be burried in chips, swarf and dirt. You may have to pick and scrape it clean. Any time you find one of these they are always threaded left hand. Remove the screw first THEN the right hand thread chuck.

Jacobs chucks can be dismantled and repaired. There are parts replacement kits consisting of new jaws and split nut. However, these are often almost as expensive as a new chuck and can take a while to get delivery.

To dissasemble a Jacobs chuck you need a tube that fits over the short part of the body that sticks above the tightening sleave. Then using a vise or arbor press you push the sleave off the split nut (toward the nose of the chuck). Be sure the jaws are closed before disasembly. Once the sleave is off the two part nut falls off and the jaws can be removed. On some chucks the jaws are numbered and on some they are not.

Clean the parts then inspect them. Normally the jaws wear on the contact surface toward the nose. On sharp 0 up size jaws there will be a flat worn at at the nose. This is the result of slipping bits and causes bits to clamp crooked and not hold well. You can repair these by grinding and hand stoning the flat until it is the same width on the contact length of the jaws and the same on all three jaws. The chuck will no longer chuck from zero (wire size drills) but is will still work well.

While I have chucks apart I dress the nose with a file if it is beaten or worn. I have had some that I machined 1/16" off to clean up. I also look for burred and raised edges caused by chips caught in the chuck and dress them with a file or stone. Fit the jaws and make sure they slide smoothly. Look for broken threads. Abused chucks often have missing threads on the jaws or nut. These must have replacements.

On reassebly note that the split nut parts have a tapered thread to match the angle of the jaws. Be sure to assemble correctly. Lubricate the parts with a little grease (some of that molybdenum disulfide grease will work well). Then press the shell back on. It should seat firmly on the nut and just leave about 1/16" of the upper body showing.

Often just dissasembling and giving a good cleaning make a world of difference in a chuck.

Jacobs has held very tight tolerances on all its parts from the very beginning in 1916. That is why you can get replacement parts that FIT and you can often use parts out of one chuck to repair another. They also use a limited number of chuck keys. Note however that other brands use different gear pitches and not all chuck keys the same approximate size fit each other. Stick with Jacobs brand. They are the best.

These things see all kinds of abuse other than wear (hammering, running against hard objects, tightening with pipe wrenches, welded on shanks). I have a box of chucks that came with one machine with ALL the abuses. . . Keep the old ones. They parts are all interchangable among a range of sizes and types.

NOTE: Jacobs makes a heavy duty Ball Bearing chuck (they are clearly labled as such). These dissasemble just like the others except they have a ball thrust bearing above the nut. When disasembled the balls are loose and can run out everywhere (as steel balls are prone to do). A little grease to hold the balls in place and these reassemble just as easy as the standard chuck.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/21/03 00:13:34 EDT

Hi there it's me again

I finished my first major project a bbq stand and i hate but i think it will make a great plant holder!!!!!!

i wanted to ask about vices i bought a post vice with 6 inch jaws but maybe its not really a post vice as it has a huge piece of pipe welded on the bottom that gets bolted into the ground so really has no leg as such some it looks home made ie the pipe bit but it doesnt appear to have the leg part cut off anywhere. were these type of vices made factory or is it a home made job of a broken one. even without the pipe it is still quite heavy (my husband and i can just lift it into the ute) i am hoping to bolt it into the ground at home but would like to know if you guys think it would be still useful. confused yet!!
thanks for you help cheers

rainy day in Oz
   banjo - Tuesday, 10/21/03 08:02:24 EDT

Banjo, The movable jaw on a leg vise has its own mini-leg which pivots on a bolt a little distance below the gripping portion of the jaw. A machinist's vise has a horizontal slide, so the jaw has a parallel opening and closure on the work. Depictions of leg vises are usually shown on ebay.com. Type 'leg post vise' in the "What are You Looking For" area, and check them out.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 10/21/03 09:02:57 EDT

Blacksmith Leg or Post Vises See our FAQ page or almost any book on blacksmithing.

IF your stand mounted vise is a good heavy vise then there is nothing wrong with it. However, machinist vises are usualy cast iron, ductile or semi-steel and not designed to take the pounding of a forged blacksmith leg vise. The other differences are that they generally do not have as deep of working space between the top of the jaws and the screw. I know a lot of smiths that use these rather than leg vises simply because that is what they have and they are easy to mount on a welding table, bench or platen.

Pipe and structural vise stands often tend to be springy and are not as solid as a bench or post sunk in the ground.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/21/03 09:20:08 EDT

More Vises/Vices: Simply can't have enough. . .

Note that SOME very high quality cast steel and forged steel bench vises have been made and are being made. Peddinghaus currently makes a line of forged steel vises and offers a leg "attachment". I believe Pieh Tool carries them. Most of the vises you see mounted on utility truck bumpers are these heavy duty forged vises.

Because these ARE a better quality and are different than other vises they usualy have the fact that they are steel marked on them.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/21/03 09:30:48 EDT

DANGER DANGER DANGER hooking up a hand crank drill to electricity may not be a good idea! I talked with a Knifemaker at a guild show once that wanted to save some $$ and so did just that. When he was doing a bit of finicky drilling he was watching the bit real carefully and reached up to advance it and got his fingers caught in the gearing---that was spinning nicely due to the motor. They saved the fingers but after thousands in medical cost *and* several months not being able to work with that hand he reckoned he hadn't saved all that much...

Copper working: one problem with copper is that as you work it hot copper oxide is formed and accumulates along crystal boundries. When enough builds up the piece begins to flake, splinter, etc as the oxide is brittle and not malleable.

To help prevent this: use a low a temp and as few heats as possible, don't let a piece "soak", keep it in a reducing atmosphere when heating and do all your work in a hard vacuum! (I've never managed that last part but would be happy to do the experiment in LEO or even further out...)

Thomas 2-10-10 (eyes fingers toes)
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/21/03 10:39:02 EDT

I ran tests on many of the popular anti-seizes a few years back. Took a cr-moly steel female threaded sample, and a male sample threaded to match. The threads were about 3" o.d. 16 pitch as I remember. Applied the test antiseize and then torqued to about 800 ft#'s. then heated to 1000F and cooled for 5 cycles. Then we tried to unscrew the parts. We stopped and considered the parts seized at about 2400ft#'s. We only found three anti-seizes that worked. One was the moly paste, but with the highest unscrew torque. The next best was a titanium disulfide spray.At $125/can a bit rich. The best was Molykote Anti-seize 1000. As I recall we spent about $15/# for this stuff, and used it in threaded joints for use in high pressure/temperture steam service valves. Some of these valves were in 1200F service, and had to be disassembled for repair.
   ptree - Tuesday, 10/21/03 12:46:57 EDT

Motorized Post Drills: I have seen this done and it did not look very safe to me either. Too many exposed gears. However, many models came with pulley systems to attach to line shafting. AND even when hand cranked, that heavy fly wheel propuces enough force when you are not cranking to chew up and spit out a handful of fingers. . .

The later floor model "sensitive" drill presses had guards over the top gears and feed gears. The belts, though exposed, were a distance from the operator at the back of the machine. But I would not want to operate one blind. There are still lots of dangerous places on these machines.

I have no problem with old machinery that is poorly guarded (by modern standards). However, I am highly aware of everything going on in a machine I am operating. I usualy pay as more or more attention to the machine than the work. Many people are not nearly as attentive to the machine. That is why I can usualy get away with driving 10-15 year old autos for YEARS without trouble when others couldn't keep the same vehical going for a month.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/21/03 12:53:09 EDT

Molyckote: I have always been a Neversieze fan and use it on all kinds of fasteners on my car, truck and in the shop. I have never had a part seize (including old exhust parts) treated with Neverseize. But few of these things see the kind of service Jeff is talking about.

I know that the Nuclear industry uses Molykote or a similar molybdenum disulfide product on primary coolant pump studs (4 to 6 inches in diameter, stretched 1/4"). The problem they have however is distortion of the pump case that binds studs or bolts. They end up torching the bolts off. Once out of a bind however the parts USUALY unthread by hand. Those that do not are usualy the ones that have been over-stretched and the threads are no longer their original pitch. . . These must be machined out, Molyckote or not.

Many years ago we used Molyckote on Soap Box dearby parts. They sold a drying version that filled in imperfections in the metal parts and recomended it as an assembly treatment, not full time lubricant. In the 1970's we used it as an assembly lubricant in sports car engines. The claim was the same as in the 1960's, filling the small imperfctions in bearing surfaces making them better. I figured it washed out pretty quick but either is hard to prove.

Currently Oak Hill Ironworks (BigBLUhammers.com) is selling a molybdenum disulfide and graphite mixture called Puncheize for hot punching. I have not tried it yet but many folks swear by it.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/21/03 13:12:24 EDT

NOTE: Molykote and Neversieze are different products. Neversieze is a copper/nickle powder lubricant. Its forte is stopping bimetalic corrosion. This is due to its conductivity which connects the parts so that the electrical path is not the corrosive one. It is also a very good high pressure high temperature lubricant. It is commonly used on the wheel bearings of car bottom furnaces.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/21/03 13:19:27 EDT

In the USN nuclear program we used colloidial graphite suspended in molybdenum and isopropal alcohol...
If I remeeber correctly. it is now 13 years since I got out of the Navy... :^)
   Ralph - Tuesday, 10/21/03 13:59:57 EDT

Hi all!! This question has probably been asked before, but how does one interpret the weight numbers on a Peter Wright anvil? Mine has 080 on the base. I have read several formulas for figuing it out, one of which would maker it 80 lbs (simply reading the numbers) but this seems too light to me. The other says that the first number id "hundredweight" or 112lbs, the second "1/4 hundredweight" or 28lbs, and the third simply pounds. This would make my anvil 112lbs, which seems a bit heavy. But then, maybe I don't know my own strength. I have no accurate means to weigh it. Any elp is appreciated.
   Karl - Tuesday, 10/21/03 14:05:23 EDT

Thanks, Jock, for your information and quick response to my question on modifying my antique iron bed frame.
   deb - Tuesday, 10/21/03 14:18:59 EDT

Thanks to guru, ViCopper and Thomas for the copper forging info. Also, I'll try the search again.
   - Steve - Tuesday, 10/21/03 14:36:00 EDT

Ralph, that sounds like the stuff. I remember it was black and dried (the alcohol) on the threads.

Anvil weight: Karl, it is often hard to read these numbers. In the hundredweight (Cwt) system used on almost all British anvils the second value will never be over three. 3 x 28 = 84 pounds. That is probably the weight (note 8 x 28 is 224# not 112). Being close to 80 pounds someone that did not understand the system may have tried to change the 3 to an 8.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/21/03 15:13:29 EDT

Yup tht is probably the same crud... And just like never-seize a tiny amount would go a LOOOOONG way... trust me....
   Ralph - Tuesday, 10/21/03 16:14:23 EDT

Hi All,

Does anyone know if the flypresses Kayne is selling are available in Canada? If so any idea who is dealing in them?
   - Tony-C - Tuesday, 10/21/03 17:24:25 EDT

Flypresses: Tony, I do not know of a Canadian dealer but I'm sure the Kaynes would sell you one. Yeah. . . I know, the exchange rate, GST and shipping are killers.

I called the Kaynes and they ship to Canada all the time.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 09:34:48 EDT

MolyKote is a brand of lubricants that cover a range of products, and is made by Dow Corning, Midland Mi. Molykote Gn assembly paste is the 70% moly paste. Molykote Anti-seize 1000 is the never seize product that i had such good results with. In the Molykote line is a spray on moly that does not harden, and one that does. Also a dry powder form. All the moly bearing products depend on the almost infinte compressive strenght of moly(about 350,000psi) and it's almost zero shear strenght. The crystals shear when relative motion of the lubricated parts occur, and when motion stops the crystals reform. The compression strenght keeps the parts from touching, and especially at elevated temp. touching of some materials insures galling.
The Molykote anti-seize 1000 is a copper bearing anti-seize. I tested nuclear grade pure nickel compounds and others. All did have some effect at the lower temp's, but dropped out as the temp increased.The 316 bolting we used in 3/8"-16 and up cap screws were failing at a rate of about 40% during impact gun assembly, and dropped to about 2% with the right lube. We did have tyo learn that the bolts had developed the clamp strain at a much lower torque.
And there in a nutshell is the results of about 2000 hours of research on galling, bolting and lubes.
   ptree - Tuesday, 10/21/03 20:50:25 EDT

Why is it important to use the tools recomendedby the automobiles manufacturer?
   george - Tuesday, 10/21/03 20:53:54 EDT

George, If you're a backyard "wrencher", I don't think it much matters if your socket sets and combo wrenches are Proto, Mac, SnapOn, Urrea, Craftsmen, or Northern. But there is a group of tools called "specialty tools" which only work for certain model cars or for a specific
corporation's cars.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 10/21/03 22:03:35 EDT

Got my copy of the Lund Viking Spit almost done, just a bit of filing on the "blade" section. It started out as a piece of 1" sq wrought iron and now is considerably smaller in crosssection but longer too.

Boy that WI is *SOFT* at working temp and onery at any other temp!

Speaking of WI I keep running into folk who can't find the stuff, which I find strange. Just tonight while picking up my daughter from her bus stop I was going through the alley and somone had thrown an old wagon tyre in the dumpster. 3" wide and 42" in diameter---about 10' of 1/2x3" wrought iron smack dab in the middle of the city...I fear that if I don't keep picking up the stuff folks will start tossing it in my windows!

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/21/03 22:36:02 EDT

ptree,guru, and others, thank you for the information
   - ironspider - Tuesday, 10/21/03 23:07:18 EDT

Dear Sir/Madam

I have a problem with one of the Steam Forging Hammer that is utilized at my Workshop. It keeps on breaking the bolts and nuts ever since it was installed. Is it because of the foundation plan that was not planned properly, or what can it be? Is it possible to forward for me some points to be taken into consideration when designing the foundation. Please help!!

Thank you
   Mhlebi - Wednesday, 10/22/03 01:54:16 EDT

Thomas P; I recall, many moons ago, at a SOF&A conference at Emmert's, a demonstrator stating that he didn't like to use wagon tire wrought iron due to the road grit that got ground into it over the years. I'm assuming that would make for contaminated welds. (He also intimated that he wasn't above making some pretty pricey belt buckles out of it, though). Have you heard anything regarding a contamination problem?
   3dogs - Wednesday, 10/22/03 02:12:54 EDT

Hello Good Guru and crew:
My smithing friend, Studebaker Dave ( who is in the throes of rebuilding a Common Sense hammer) sent me this question and I am gracelessly passing the buck on to you.
"Would you happen to have any info on tightening torques vs clamping force or preload for big bolts?
I am having to substitute a home made pusher device for a hydrolic one to put this tractor I am working on back together.
I, specificly, need to know: How much torque is required to develop 20 tons of clamping force in a a 1 1/2 inch ungraded steel bolt with 12 threads per inch."

Steve: another thing that will cause flaking on a forged copper surface is hitting it too many times with too small a hammer, which stretches and hardens just the surface.
Yet another possibility is that you have cold laps where a flap gets stretched across the surface as you hammer.
And remember, if you are gonna hit yourself with a hammer, always do it in the same place. After a while, the nerves just sort of give up.
   Pete F - Wednesday, 10/22/03 02:15:05 EDT

I have 2x 10mm thick x 5.60 meters long steel plate, I need to drill 5 16mm holes in each plate. I purchased a role forged blacksmith drill bit and used it with a Boash 700w Electric drill. The 1st hole cut great, however, the 2nd proved to be a bit more difficult! The drill bit blunted during the drilling of the 1st hole, (even though I kept cooling the bit)

Would it be advisable to heat the plate at the point I need the hole cut and use a heavier duty drill bit?

If you have any other advise I would really apreciate it.


Adam Bolton
Fustrated amature!!
   Adam Bolton - Wednesday, 10/22/03 03:55:56 EDT

The Guru's telekenetic powers have apparently wisked the answer straight to Dave's computer, as he now has his answer and the good Guru didn't even know his email address!
This is the sort of service we receive for being members of Cybersmiths! Join now!
   Pete F - Wednesday, 10/22/03 05:48:50 EDT

The Machineries Manual has a nice section on foundations for steam hammers. try the library if you do not own this book.
   ptree - Wednesday, 10/22/03 07:10:10 EDT

Thank you for your information guys and not saying out louse what a twit i am.. Yes it appears to be a machinist vice never mind i will use it until it breaks as thats all i have.

thanks again
looking after your President Bush for a while i see
sunny day in Oz
   banjo - Wednesday, 10/22/03 08:36:25 EDT

Hole Drilling: Adam, You have a number of problems.
The first is that a 16mm (~5/8") hole is very large for a hand held drill in steel. The problem is feed pressure. You need a minimum of several hundred to a thousand pounds (100 to 500kg) of feed pressure to keep the drill cutting. When the drill does not cut it rubs, work hardens the surface of the metal, gets hot and dulls or burns up the drill.

The second problem is the drill speed. Most hand held drills are designed for drilling wood or masonry. Both require much higher speeds than steel. If your drill operates at over 600 PRM it is way to fast. For hand drilling it needs to go only 300 RPM for that size drill in steel (about half the maximim periferal cutting velocity).

SO, you did not have enough pressure (unless you are as big/over weight as I am and balanced all your weight on the drill) and you were probably turning the drill too fast. You had success with one hole because the material is fairly thin and you had a new bit but have dulled the drill bit considerably. It should be resharpened by someone with experiance sharpening drill bits before continuing.

SOLUTIONS: The speed may be OK or your drill may be variable speed. I do not know. But if it is variable speed keep it running as slow as it will make chips.

The pressure problem can be helped by pilot drilling (NOT step drilling). To pilot drill you want to drill a small hole about the thicknes of the web of the drill. This is sometimes too small to be practical so I use a 3/16" (~5mm) bit for everything except very large bits used in a drill press (drilling machine). Pilot drilling reduces the feed necessary pressure significantly.

Why not "step drill" 5, 10, 12, 16mm? Step drilling takes very controled feed rates otherwise the drill trys to screw itself into the hole and breaks the outer edges of the bit (every time). You would think this is the way to hand drill but it takes machine control to prevent chipping off the corners. Do NOT step drill.

LAST: Cutting oil or lubricant helps cool and lubricate the bit. You can use special cutting oils OR whatever is at hand. Plain lubricating (engine) oil works, WD-40 works, and I have used a mixture of 50/50 SAE-20 engine oil and kerosene. Note that this is flamable.

SO, lubricate, drill a pilot hole, keep the speed down and the feed pressure up and you should be able to drill these holes.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 10:14:39 EDT

Drilling Speeds: The general rule of thumb (in English Units) for HSS (High Speed Steel) cutting tools in steel is a limit of 90 to 120 feet per minute (depending on the alloy being cut). To calulate this use the diameter of the cutter, multiply by PI, then take the max cutting speed in common units and divide by the calculated circumference. Small bits can be used a considerably higher speeds than large bits. This puts definite limits on the capacity of many machines and hand tools.

But the above speed limit is for machining. I've found that unless you have machine controlled feed rates (how fast the bit is fed into the metal in distance per rotation) you need to run considerably slower when drilling. I use one half when using a drill press and lower when hand drilling.

Most other (softer) metals can be drilled at higher speeds and hard materials at slower. Old carbon steel bits must be used at much lower speeds than HSS (thus the old hand crank drill speeds). The best grades of cobalt HSS can be run faster than common HSS and all can be run faster lubricated than dry.

One thing to know is that different processes have different limits. Band saws have time to cool and have MANY teeth. Thus they can often run faster than other tools. Drills are down in a hole where there is extra friction and the heat builds up thus they need to be run slower than the max.

This subject comes under "Speeds and Feeds" in machinist references like MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. They apply to sawing, drilling, cutting with burrs, milling, turning, shaping. It seems to be a technical subject (it is) but having a general understanding of speeds and feeds will at least let you know why things are not working OR that you need to look up that odd material.

   - guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 10:47:29 EDT

3dogs, you mean contaminated *worse* than the low grade of WI they often used for tyres? I haven't welded much wagon tyre, yet---got a lot of bridge and water tank to go through first, and the stuff I've used it for was not for knives so I have not noticed any problems.

Got some WI that when you grind it it looks like "streaky bacon" muck bar at best, great if you want the "character" but not so good for consistancy...

Thomas picked up "Knives '811, '82, '83" at the fleamarket today---now I have duplicates...
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/22/03 10:23:25 EDT

Water Tank Wrought Thomas, I am told that wrought plate for water tanks is laminated with the grain at angles (like plywood) so that it is equaly strong on different axes. Should make for some odd forging.

OBTW - Has anyone heard anything about the pure-iron guys? Last I heard they were selling the business or going out of business.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 10:53:44 EDT

Steam Forging Hammer Fasteners Mhlebi, A variety of things can cause the problems you are having. Depending on the type of hammer some of the parts are supposed to be able to move relative to the others. These joints often had long fasteners with heavy springs under them to alow movement. If these fastener and spring combinations have been replaced with the incorrect fastener then breakage could be a reoccuring problem.

Over torquing of bolts can result in failure. In many applications bolts are stretched to create a specific clamping force that cannot come undone in use. However, under extream conditions where the fastener must have room to stretch then a fully tensioned fastener will fail.

Without knowing the specific machine style or its history it is difficult to say. The best I could do if I had a photo of the machine would be to compare it to similar machines to see if yours has the correct fastener configuration.

Foundations on older hammers tended to be soft (deep wood pilings). This would take some of the shock load off the hammer. But on a hammer where the anvil is bolted to the frame a soft foundation might put excessive load on the bolting.

This is really a place for someone with experiance with large hammers to advise you.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 11:43:39 EDT

Mike and co form PI has gone out of business. And tha last heard all the stock has now been sold. It is a pity that more smiths here in the Americas did not use it.
But I hear that the European smiths are using it like crazy.....
   Ralph - Wednesday, 10/22/03 12:07:14 EDT

re contaminated tyres from road grit. Now this seems more like an excuse to me.... I mean that the grit would not penetrate very far into the iron.... At least I do not think so. Even so it would be very very shallow, so just a hit or two with a file or a grinder and you have clean metal.....
   Ralph - Wednesday, 10/22/03 12:11:09 EDT

Manufacturers Tools: George, As Frank pointed out there are a lot of special tools that are available only from the manufacturer. Eventualy some of these tools become available in the after market but not always. Today's high tech electronics require very up to date testing equipment that is generaly only available from the manufacturer for the first year or so.

Other examples:

On a Fiat twin overhead cam engine to align the timing chain required having the cams, crank shaft, and distributor gear all correctly positioned. There were marks on the sprockets but not on the engine. Fiat provided a large fixture with the alignment marks. It was POSSIBLE to reassemble the engine without the tool but would take many hours and possible trial and error.

On old trucks and cars with king pin stearing and on all engine cam shafts where replacement bearings are reamed in place the manufacturers provide special piloted and sized step reamers. The job can be done without the special tools but with GREAT difficulty and much more expense than purchasing the special tool.

On the old dual carb sports cars (MG's, Triumph, Jaguar) there were special tools for adjusting the fuel mixture and sychonizing the carberettors. Without them it was impossible to do a proper tune up. These were available as both OEM and aftermarket tools.

Manual and automatic transmissions are full of places requiring special tools, guages and fixtures. Blind hole cir-clip removers, assembly bushings, pressure manifold assemblies. I spent a couple days trying to remove an internal cir-clip in a 1950 Chevrolet transmission bearing. It required a special tool. It was simple, I made one. but there was no picture and I had to find out from an old Chevy mechanic what it looked like. . .

The degree of special tooling AND a special test stand is why almost ALL automatic transmission "rebuilders" are a joke. The factory specifications on almost all automatic transmissions require adjusting them on a dynamic test stand that applies the same power and loads as seen in the automobile. While under load a number of pressure guages are attached and adjustments made under load at specific speeds. Any transmission shop that does not have one of these very expensive dynamic testers is just as bad as any back yard "shade tree" mechanic. This includes most of the big repair chains AND dealers. They put in a bunch of new parts and HOPE the thing works. . . Don't believe me? Read the manual.

If you think keeping up with the latest computer technology is hard, try keeping up with all the changes in (all the) new cars. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 12:35:42 EDT

European Iron: Ralph, are they using pure iron or the recycled wrought from "The Real Wrought Iron Co". It is often claimed that these folks are "making" new wrought but they are not. They recycle and re-roll scrap wrought.

Hmmmm, may have answered my own question. www.pureiron.com

Anyone else out there being spammed by JayCee Sales the rivet people?
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 13:13:17 EDT

I made a bit of a mistake yesterday in my anvil weight post *blush*

The actual number reads 030 (I was working from memory), but when I put down 112lbs I had mistakenly copied down the number where I figured our what 4x28 was, as even I knew that it did not equal 100 lbs, therefore a hundredweight must be more, like say 112lbs. So then, y anvil weighs 84lbs. Oh well, I guess a small good anvil is better than a larger poor anvil.

   Karl - Wednesday, 10/22/03 13:19:23 EDT

From talking with Mike at teh 2002 ABANA conference and with emails, they had sourced new PI from a european mill(foundry?). Half a run was for Pure Iron ( USA) and half for european smiths....
   Ralph - Wednesday, 10/22/03 13:42:41 EDT

Soapy water is also a good coolant for drilling holes in steel
   drilling - Wednesday, 10/22/03 14:03:03 EDT

Special Tooling: my Honda M/C (1986 700cc Nighthawk) has four carbs. They need to be synched and adjusted periodically, but the synching tool used by most dealers/mechanics is a four tube mercury type gauge with four rubber tubes, one for each carb. Seems to work great, not a particularly expensive tool. About $40 in most m/c catalogs.

Question on sharpening drills: I see ads for the "drill doctor", it's at Home Depot, not too awfully expensive, but is in any good?

I use sulpher based (Mitee brand) cutting oil for lubing my drills in steel. Alas, my drill press runs too fast for the larger holes, maybe a post drill with a Jacobs chuck is a better way to go?

   Ellen - Wednesday, 10/22/03 14:13:48 EDT

I have not been spammed by JayCee sales, which I find odd, as in the last year I have bought thousands of rivets from them. They dont strike me as the type to spam- they are a reputable old fashioned rust belt supplier. I have gotten lots of stainless rivets, brass, and copper from them, and been very satisfied with their prices, sales, and service. Its sad when a real company like that resorts to the kind of marketing most often used by fake companies with nonexistant products. I think you oughta email em back and complain- I think they would listen and change, as I know there are real people there who answer the phone.
   - Ries - Wednesday, 10/22/03 14:36:11 EDT

Forging Iron:
There are actually several companies in Europe marketing special alloys for forging.
As previously mentioned, the Real Wrought Iron Company, in England, but in addition there is Hoekstra & Van Elden in Amsterdam, with something called "forging iron", Fertec in France with "Fer doux", and Armco, also in france, with "Fer Pur".
I have a copy of a french blacksmiths magazine, Forges et Fevereis, which reviews all of these, in french, with material composition specs, and addresses and phone numbers of all four companies. If anyone is interested, I could copy em for you. Email me if you want it, or if there is enough interest and jock is interested, I could send it to him and he could post it here.
Evidently, many smiths in europe are using this stuff. There is a market there that appreciates, demands, and will pay for handmade work, and the smiths therefore will pay more for better material.
   Ries - Wednesday, 10/22/03 14:43:26 EDT

Ries, JayCee Sales has been sending me mail for a while that I did not ask for. Supposedly they only mail their customers (so you should have gotten mail from them today). I responded to their SALES@ address several times with no response. So today I tried their office address and got a response. They claim they don't know how may name got on their list. Maybe someone else signed me up. But that is no excuse. All mail list systems should have a reply response system to be sure it is the legitimate user adding an address.

I have a fellow looking for pure iron (.005% C) wire. 26ga is prefered. The forging grade is sufficient but the wrong size.

Anyone out there run a small wire drawing mill?
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 14:56:59 EDT


Teh "carb-stik" for balancing your motorcycle carb's is OK - but getting rid of it isn't. I had one for years and wanted to discard it after I quit riding. I had to deal with the local EPA office to discard the mercury. I'm not sure that stuff can be shipped any more. THere are other options to that tool used in morotcycle shops now days..

As for teh Drill Doctor. I have on and love it. There are bits I can't sharpen (Masonary and anything larger than 3/4) but for the most part I've been happy with mine. It gets used about once a year but when it gets used I clean up ALL my bits at one time.
   Jerry Crawford - Wednesday, 10/22/03 15:48:49 EDT

Drill Doctor: Friend of mine bought one and lent it to me saying the "drills are sharp but they wont cut". I messed with it for two evenings but couldnt get it to grind the proper relief angle. The widget is made with plastic cams and is, IMO, a piece of ... well you know .... My advice? get someone to show you how to sharpen bits by hand. Though it takes a little practice it isnt hard to get good results - it is hard to describe the process in words so I wont try.
   adam - Wednesday, 10/22/03 16:07:41 EDT

PI a couple of years ago the American distributors of Pure Iron went out of business. In a thread on theForge, they explained that while it was a success in Europe, it just never caught on in the US. They claimed it more than justified the extra cost due to ease of work and superiority of end result. Part of the problem might just have been the pricing structure. At about $1.20 per # which is not really that exorbitant but I think many smiths will say , "I can get S7 for that price"
   adam - Wednesday, 10/22/03 16:13:01 EDT

Hi all, while on the topic, I have a Jacobs chuck question...
The lettering on the Jacobs chuck on my ca. 1940 Delta drill press is too worn to read the model number, and I can't find anyone who knows how to figure out what size chuck key to use. I have tried every key I can get at the flea market, and finally filed down the shaft of a larger key to get one that sort of works, but I'd really like to find a key that actually fits (I'm scoring rings around all my drill bits' shafts because the makeshift key is not quite adequate). Is there any way besides trial and error to figure out what key size or model number will fit the chuck?
   mstu - Wednesday, 10/22/03 16:57:53 EDT

Welding Question: awhile back it was mentioned either here on in the Hammer In forum about using stainless steel arc welding rod in general mild steel welding. The comment was made that it was much less likely to "burn through" than mild steel electrodes such as E6013. Any info on this would be appreciated, I tried to use "Search" to locate the reference but with no luck. Thanks!
   Ellen - Wednesday, 10/22/03 18:17:35 EDT

Jacobs Chuck Keys: First, is it a "Jacobs" brand chuck or a copy? Jacobs patent was 1916 and ran out in 1933 so many cheap copies came into existance after that date. Delta is one of those companies that MAY have made their own. In that case you need a key from Delta. They are still in business and have common parts for older machines.

Jacobs made a cheap chuck with a pressed steel shell called a "Multi-craft". These are often found on cheaper production machines and hand drills.

To determine what key fits go to any catalog that lists Jacobs chucks and go by size (min. max holding) and style (threaded, tapered, ball bearing, Multicraft) and get the model number. Note that you can tell more about the chuck from the smallest drill it will chuck than the largest. The ones going to zero (or .040") are differnt than the chucks that start at 1/8" even though they both go up to 1/2".

Even though they made quite a few chucks there is surprizingly little overlap. The correct key will be listed with the chuck. THEN order one of the $15 multi-keys that has what you THINK is your key. If it doesn't fit one of the others on that key should. OR gamble and buy just the ONE that you think fits. I have to ask again is it a Jacobs BRAND chuck. . . ?

McMaster-Carr lists the chucks, keys and has an interchange chart.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 18:27:24 EDT

Carb Sync Tool: The one I have (Uni-Syn by Edelbrock) has a little air operated flow meter. The venturi uses an adjustable valve "cone" to get the range right for different size engines. No mercury. You move it from one carb to the next and tweek as necessary. Worked great on multiple SU and Stromberg setups on British cars.

Some folks would purchase multiple meters and sync THEM and then check the carbs. But I found it only took a few seconds and some LOGIC to use one.

Anyone that needs a set of "classic" MG carb tools let me know. I seriously doubt that I will have a future use for them.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 19:08:12 EDT

I'll bet you could market that set of carb tools to the MG Club of America or some local classic car buff.
   Jerry Crawford - Wednesday, 10/22/03 19:45:40 EDT

Weighing in on the Drill Doctor. I bought one last year and I'm very happy with it. It's almost too simple to use
so you have to pay attention to your results. I wait until I have a box of bits to sharpen and keep a halogen lamp and magnifier nearby so I can look at each sharpened bit in case I mis-index one in the holder. Sure, I can sharpen a drill bit on the belt grinder but I have to do it so seldom that It's hard ( for me )to maintain the skill needed.

- C
   Chris S - Wednesday, 10/22/03 20:36:35 EDT

Alot of good info on drills chucks etc.Thank you!!! all!!I am sick because several years ago my dad had a 3/4 chuck very expensive I was told. Cleaning out his shop and selling most of it off (my pre-smithing days) I came across this chuck and found that the arbor was bent. I believe that it went into the can. I tore apart the tools I had saved it was not there, in the back of my mind I remember that it was most likely thrown out AAARRRGGHHHH!!!! Now knowing that the morse tapers can be replaced!! I did come upon another chuck very old 3/8 with a morse taper sez on the side Jacobs #2A. Looking in the catalogs I see only 2,3 etc. no 2A. can anyone enlighten me as to the letter designation.
   - Ron J. - Wednesday, 10/22/03 21:12:50 EDT

We used 309ss rods to weld thin section carbon steel, and to weld carbon steel to stainless steel. The carbon to stainless was c1023 to 316. Was an accepted weld in the oil industry. We had the rods, so used them around the shop to weld up sheet metal guards ETC. The rods are somewhat expensive, so if a lot of thin section welding is needed a cheap mig is the better choice. But for that once a year oddball job a pound or two of small diameter rods is a life saver. The do POP the slag off like a bullet as the weld cools, so be prepared. They pop off still hot enough to sear, and to hit hard so wear eye protection.
Good luck
   ptree - Wednesday, 10/22/03 21:19:51 EDT

When I worked around a large steam hammer shop, hard hats were required in the forge as the cylinder to bolster bolts had a habit of failing, and as they were mounted with large springs the went quite a ways up before gravity took over. In addition to the GURU"s coments, they fasteners may be failing due to overpressure. Have you checked the pressure rating on the hammer against your supply pressure.
Most of the steam hammers in our shop were mounted on a stacked up timber cushion, with the timber on concrete. Our hammers were 1500 pound to 25,000 pound, and ran on 145psi, 350F steam.
   ptree - Wednesday, 10/22/03 21:25:33 EDT

On Drill Doctor,
At my previous employ,we used several Darex brand(maker of the drill doctor) drill sharpeners, in a production shop to sharpen HSS drills for multi-spindle drills that ate drills by the bucket full. First off the sharpeners that we used cost about $1000, and were metal, precision devices. Worked great. Darex then came out with a metal version of the Drill Doctor, for about$250 as I remember. These worked but were to expensive for the home market, and were not for industry. They then came out with the plastic version.
Go to Darex.com to see the full range. They make everything from a plastic home item to a bench top CNC sharpener for about $19000.As noted, sharpening by hand is not too hard, but for precision holes check the angles and point center with a drill gage. A drill gage is a cheap tool worth its wieght in gold.
   ptree - Wednesday, 10/22/03 21:33:45 EDT

On several occasions in the past you made reccommendations about safety glasses used for smithing. Just got my eyes examined and am going to order a set of "real" safety glasses with side screens. Don't remember what you said about coatings / tints etc to protect from forge glare. Doctor thought I should be concerned with infrared due to potential of "glass blower's cataracts". What's your thoughts? Thanks!
   Dave C - Wednesday, 10/22/03 22:27:01 EDT

More Wrought Iron:

Now that the tree has been removed from atop of what's left of the meathouse, shed and garage (110' tall!), I've been salvaging a number of old wrought iron pieces of miscellaneous origin that I had stashed in the outbuildings. Amazing what accumulates over the centuries. Paw Paw, I've saved you a stump!

Another source of wrought iron for those in an urban environment is to keep your eyes open for demolition sites in the older parts of town. A lot of the fences were wholey or partially wrought iron, sometimes with cast iron features, like terminals and finials, added. You can frequently get permission to cut it up and haul it away, but don't dawdle; a few days later and it's been bulldozed and hauled off to the landfill! Sometimes grills and gratings, and even pipes on old buildings being demolished are wrought iron too. I have a number of friends on the lookout in D.C. to inform me when old abandoned buildings start being torn down for development. Some times I get there in time, sometimes I don't. At least I've got enough for personal use and experimentation. I even have some of the survivng sections (they dropped some of it off at Oakley) of Thomas's "water tower wrought iron" stashed out back.

Keep your eyes open, it's amazing what goes to waste in this country.

Cold and dry on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 10/22/03 23:16:05 EDT

Guru, also regarding glasses : Do you recommend glass prescription lenses vs plastic ? I seem to have accumulated a few tiny pits in my plastic lenses presumably from errant grinding sparks despite wearing a full face shield. I was wondering if I should go to glass when I get a new pair of spectacles.


- C
   Chris S - Wednesday, 10/22/03 23:52:04 EDT

Glass blower's cataracts are a myth, and have been proven so. However, glassblowers who work with glass containing sodium must wear didymium glasses to protect their eyes from the sodium flare. I don't think these glasses are necessary or important for blacksmiths, though, as they only protect against a particular color of yellow light. Offhand, if you have problems, I would suggest brazing-grade welding goggles or similar. I am no expert, and the Guru most likely knows better, but I *do* know that the glassblowers' cataracts thing is BS (grin).

Everyone check out my gallery, or on the Yahoo gallery under T. Gold. Shots are all from my time at my school's Glass Club last week.

Cloudy and cooling off in Kaneohe, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Wednesday, 10/22/03 23:53:44 EDT

Chris S ,
I wear glasses too and when I wore glass lenses under my OTG safety glasses and then under my welding helmet I found specks fused to the glass, I was not able to remove them. I went to a polycarbonate prescription lense that I wear in the shop (and everywhere else) under my OTG safety glasses and under the welding helmet. No more specks on the lense. Be aware that when cleaning them you must use a very soft cloth or a micro fiber cloth as they do scratch easily. Also Polycarbonate lenses are much lighter than glass and therefore much more comfortable.
Guru, any chance the Anvilfire store will carry OTG safety glasses? There must be more than a few out there who frequent this site who wear prescription glasses.
   Harley - Thursday, 10/23/03 04:04:47 EDT

More on polycarbonate prescription lenses:
Do not think for one minute that polycarbonate prescription lenses are a substitute for safety glasses! Wear OTG safety glasses with side shields OVER your prescrition glasses. I do and still get the occasional bit of flying debris in the area of the eyes.
   Harley - Thursday, 10/23/03 04:08:57 EDT

I'm going to weigh in on the safety glasses discussion.

Buy the absolute best safety glasses you can!! My reason for saying that is shown in iForge demo #66.

How much are your eyes worth to you?
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/23/03 04:37:49 EDT

Safety Glasses,
Polycarbonite SAFETY glasses are the best combination of features for safety glasses. Remember, If the frames and temples are not marked with the "ANSI Z87" they are not safety frames. The lenses on prescription safety glasses are required to be marked with a makers mark, usually in the upper outer corner. Safety glases lens are thicker than standard lens, and the frames are required to retain the lens in impact. Safety glasses with out sideshields are foolish. Again the side shields are required to be stamped "ANSI Z87". The flat, thin, slip-on side shields are not approved. Polycarbonite safety lens are the MOST impact resistant, and somewhat resistant to splatter/spark sticking. Buy them with the scratch guard, and ALWAYS wash them with water and soft soap. ALWAYS wet first,add soap, rinse, and dry with a clean soft towel. This way the lens last as long as you prescription. By the way, polycarbonate blocks UV by itself.
This is from a guy who tries to keep safety glasses etc on the workers in a 200 man forge shop.
For those who wear non-prescription glasses, and want inexpensive glasses that can be thrown away as the are damaged without breaking the bank, Buy by the box of ten, at an industrial dist. and you can get quality glasses from $2.00 ea.
   ptree - Thursday, 10/23/03 06:58:53 EDT

Thanks Guru, yes, I believe it is actually a name-brand Jacobs chuck. I'll try to look at it again this weekend with a bright light to make sure though.

On the safety glasses, I have gone to purchasing my regular glasses with safety rated Z87 frames (titanium) and of course polycarbonate lenses. The neat thing is they come with detachable side shields that I can just clip on for forging. They look as good as regular designer frames but are quite a bit more durable. The downside is they were close to $400 about two years ago, but hey, my eyes are worth it. I still wear a face shield when grinding just in case.
   - mstu - Thursday, 10/23/03 09:47:53 EDT

Over Pressure on Steam/Air Hammers: Jeff, good comment. Most of the references I have state 90-100 PSI. Trying to squeeze more performance out of the hammer can result in failures. The problem today is that most of the manufacturers of these machines are long gone out of business and finding specs or OEM parts is impossible.

OSHA regs require manufacturers to cable those heavy overhead fasteners to the frame of the machine. Any machine being rebuilt by the manufacturer will be retofitted with special drilled nuts and bolts. Stainless air-craft cable is used with steel crimps. I have at least one Chambersburg drawing showing all the added safety items. They also insisted on their air safety cap being retrofitted to any hammer they worked on or sold parts for. One oddity is that they did not retrofit treadle guards.

I tried to send our comments by mail to Mr.Mhlebi but the mail bounced.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/03 11:07:13 EDT

We used steam at that pressure (145psi) for about 90 years, but I believe that these Erie's were built for us. Now that you mention it I believe that I remember safety cables on some. Took a 850 hp boiler to run the hammers in the summer, and another in the winter to heat the joint. If you think your coal bill is high, we used a rail car of coal a day in the winter.
   ptree - Thursday, 10/23/03 12:10:03 EDT

Polycarbonate vs. Glass: Welding and grinding sparks embed in both. Glass is more resistant to SOME scratching but not to hot sparks. On the other hand ALL glass no matter how it is treated IS glass and will break.
Polycarbonate is the generic term for LexanÔ which is used to make bullet proof glass and is used to protect many stained glass church windows from vandles.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/03 12:23:48 EDT

Hi - I know nothing about Blacksmithing, I want to know if you know, or if you can suggest who might know, a great deal about Peter Wright anvils. A mate has one which reads
"Peter Wright/Patent/England/Solid/309/Wrought/R". I have looked in classified posts etc but can find no mention of that particular anvil or it's value. Old mate paid $350.00(OZ) for it & I reckon he scored a bargain... Any ideas for an accurate evaluation?? Thanks for your time!
   Steph - Thursday, 10/23/03 12:25:57 EDT

FILTER LENSES "Glass blower's cataracts. . ." My research found the following.

Blacksmiths are said to commonly end up with cataracts but there is no modern research on the subject.

ALL exposure to infrared radiation is detrimental and cumulative. This is agreed upon by all reputable sources. So staring into that forge fire or glass pot IS bad for your eyes.

Different individuals have different levels of resistance to exposure to infrared (just like ultraviolet).

Didymium lens give glass blowers better visibility than other filter lenses. Yes they are the best filter for sodium flare.

Several makers of didymium lens DO NOT recommed them for metal work and vehemently recommed against their use in metal work. This may be a simple libility reaction but they are the experts on their products.

When forge welding using large quantities of borax flux (sodium tetraborate) gas forges DO produce sodium flare similar to glass blowing. However, the forge temperature is higher and the filter needs are different.

OSHA requires that filter lens be used for all workplace infrared (heat source) exposure but does not provide any recomendations other than for specific welding situations and THIS was taken from old welding texts that predated OSHA, NOT new research. OSHA puts the responsibility of determining sufficiant filter protection on the individual employer. In the case of individuals this means YOU.

OSHA refers to ASTM and ASTM back to OSHA. The ASTM specs do not make any end user recommendations other than the same welding recomendations above. ASTM only set standards for the amount of filtering for a given shade. I spent over $100 on copies of the ASTM filter lens specs to learn this.

OSHA also refers to one medical reference which in turn refers back to OSHA for the same information. These circular references are endemic to modern technical publications.

The only general guideline to filter lenses is to start dark and to use lighter shades as necessary to safely complete the task. In arc welding the shading needed is greater as the amperage goes up. In other fields where the maximum temperature range (say molten steel) is the same then the distance from the source and the exposed area of the source are factors. A worker that is close to large melts needs more (darker) protection than a worker some distance away.

NOTE that the problem many people have using arc welding shades is the AMBIENT lighting. Try your welding hood with #12 shade in bright sunlight. You will find that you can see quite well and even READ. If the ambient light in your welding area were this bright then you could see quite well before and after striking the arc. The problem is not the filter lens, it is your underlit work area. Increase the ambient lighting before considering a lighter shade.

Filter lenses used for general protection need to be light enough to wear under normal shop lighting AND provide some protection when you are ocassionaly exposed to someone elses weld flash or pouring of hot metal. If your general protection lenses are too dark and result in your tripping and stumbling over things because of reduced vision then they are too dark to safely use under the conditions. See the note on ambient lighting above.

Yes, all this bright light goes against the norm for a blacksmith shop.

We sell #2 shade lenses for general shop work around the forge. They work well in bright light as well as low. They are one whole shade lighter than those recommended for light brazing with an oxy-acetylene torch so they should NOT be used for welding. They are an excellent shade for small foundry work and as "flash glasses" to wear under your welding hood.

Flash glasses are recommended to provide some minimal protection to welders in the event they flash themselves and for workers working near arc welding operations. They also provide underhood protection against reflected arc light.

I have worn the #2 lenses we sell as sunglasses. DO NOT do this while driving. The filter shades filter 100% of some reds used on stop signs and traffic lights.

Dark safety glasses ARE NOT filter lenses. Many makers sell safety sunglasses. These are designed for construction workers and others that work outdoors and are required to wear safety glasses. My current sun glasses are a pair of these. They come in many styles and colors of shades and are cheaper than fancy sunglasses. I highly recommend them but they are NOT filter lenses for infrared or arc welding levels of UV.

Over the glases filter and safety lenses: My supplier can have them custom made but they are very expensive. It is cheaper to have prescription safety glasses made.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/03 12:40:43 EDT

Peter Wright Steph, PW's were made in England and most exported to North America and a few to the Commonwelth nations. But most found in places other than North America were hauled there by individuals. PW has been out of business since the 1930's.

Pw's were considered one of the best English made anvils. They have the best shape of any forged anvil made but I have found them to be generaly soft and their use of the best wrought instead of scrap for the bodies tends to result in more sway backed PW's than other brands. Sometimes it doesn't pay to try to be the best. . .

The 309 is the weight in the old English hundreweight system. So it is a very large anvil (345 pounds). The size and the fact that it is in Australia makes it rare and quite valuable. Your mate did indeed get a good deal. In the US that anvil would sell for a minimum of $500 and as much as $1600 USD if in very good condition.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/03 12:56:39 EDT

I am a writer not a blacksmith, but I have a several questions regarding the history of smithing and some technical matters related to it that I hoped someone on the site would be kind enough to answer. In Eorope from 1900-1925 what metal would most commonly have been used to forge tools and to shoe horses? Would it have been iron or steel? Depending on the metal, at what point does the blacksmith pull the metal from the forge to begin to shape it? Is their a specific color the the smith looks for? Answers to these questions would be much appreciated. Thanks, Dan
   - Dan Weinbaum - Thursday, 10/23/03 13:04:49 EDT


"And the pump don't work 'cos the vandals took the handles" Subterranean Homesick Blues Bob Dylan

The Vandals were a Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire, and created a state in North Africa, centered on the city of Carthage. The Vandals probably gave their name to the province of Andalusia (originally, Vandalusia), in Spain, where they temporarily settled before pushing on to Africa. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandals

The Vandals weren't big on spelling :)
   adam - Thursday, 10/23/03 13:43:22 EDT

Dan Weinbaum,

Contact me off list, and I'll try to help you.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/23/03 13:53:28 EDT

can anyone out there tell where i can find a pair of leversnips? orange handles and very handy help!!
   - joe stewart - Thursday, 10/23/03 14:08:05 EDT

LeverSnips: The only response from a google search to the term "leversnips" was a single entry on this forum in Nov. 2002 made by Frank Turley refering to a brand of tool that he has of unknown origin.

If you try the alternate "lever snips" (not "lever snip" singular) as seperate words you get a variety of links including some tool stores. The ones I tried (mytoolstore and ustool) did not have anything useful. Ustool's MIGHT have been but they did not have a picture or sufficient description of the product.

The problem is that "leversnip" is not a proper term for any recognized tool. Are they tin snips (lefts, rights), wire cutters, telco or cable multi tool, compound leverage or simple leverage?


Above listed in a large graphical PDF file on page 3041 "Lever-Snips" right and left hand. The file was dated 1998 so it may be up to date. All those graphical pages and no product photos. . . Color? hahahahaha. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/03 15:33:28 EDT

Important consideration, Guru... how detrimental IS it? I know lots of people who have been blowing for longer than I've been alive and they have better vision than I do... one wears regular glasses like myself and the other wears no glasses at all. I'd like to know though, as I guard my sight preciously. Very important indeed.

Also, quick testament to the durability of Lexan (Polycarbonate plastic): I saw a test panel at Home Depot that they had up to demonstrate the durability of this stuff. It used to have a hammer chained to it. So many people had beaten on the piece that the chain had broken off before the Lexan broke. Simply amazing stuff.

I have a question too, today! (grin) We always see steels that are "1% Manganese" or "2% Carbon", etc., etc. How is this judged? Do these alloying metals make up 1% of the steel by weight, or by volume, or what? Very interested in this, as if I behave nicely I may get to cast some steel by the end of the year... (VBG).

Sunny and warm in Honolulu, Hawaii.
   T. Gold - Thursday, 10/23/03 15:50:27 EDT

Alloy Perecentages TG, Ya got me there. Perhaps one of our metalurgists will ring in. On the other hand, if you are casting steel in a steel foundry they should have their own lab.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/03 17:57:54 EDT

Alloying additions:

These are generally made on a weight percentage, although sometimes in academia you do see atomic percentages given. It is surprising how little of a given element will change the properties of the alloy.

   Patrick Nowak - Thursday, 10/23/03 18:07:40 EDT

IR Damage: Consider this, heat cooks protein (meat, egg whites), IR is pure thermal radiation, your eyes are mostly protein, the lens of your eye absorbs that radiation as heat . . . I knew a guy in school that thought he could arc weld by squinting. . . His eyes swelled up to where they stuck out beyond any other part of his face. . . It would be interesting to know how his eyes are holding up 40 years later. . .

The medical information I've read indicated that there was very little good research on this subject and the only conclusions were that it IS cumulative and bad for your eyes. The type of damage that occurs can result in all types of things eventualy related to blindness. Apparently there is lots of data on UV since everyone is worried about exposure to the sun. With IR most of the research and data is related to the use of lasers.

From Canada's CCOSH
A serious concern is the "blue light hazard" which is the temporary or permanent scarring of the retina due to its sensitivity to blue light, around 440 nm wavelength. Blindness may result.

Exposure to infrared light can heat the lens of the eye and produce cataracts over the long term.
I just did another review of the data on the web and there are MANY articles on this subject and they all refer the reader to the "specifics" in OSHA CFR 29.1910.133 which refers to ANSI Z87.1-1989 "Practice for Occupational and educational eye and face protection".

The only specific recomendations ANSI Z87.1-1989 has for filter lenses is under welding. Under HEAT, furnace operations, pouring, casting, hot dipping, gas cutting and welding they give no specifics and refer to a note that says "may also involveoptical radiation".

Glass blowing is not mentioned. In blowing there are two situations. Those that work with furnace melted molten glass and those that work with an oxy-fuel torch. The oxy-fuel torch is a UV and blue light source as well as IR. In the furnace operation IR is the only concern.

One study of glass blowers showed that they had more trouble with the furnace side eye from the constant periferal glare than with their other eye. Most of what I have found on the glass blowing issue was ancedotal eveidence. Articles claiming factual data fell short.

In the case of foundry and forge workers it seems that there are no specific recomendations from the government and that there is no current research on the subject. I found ONE Spanish company that had recomendations for foundry workers. Seybol listed:
Glass shade 5 for medium source temperature 1,390°C. (2435°F)
Glass shade 6 for medium source temperature 1,500°C. (2732°F)

Infrared filters must protect the user against IR radiation, allowing proper vision, of the task being done, and safety signal recognition. The filter must allow colour identification, specially allowing a correct evaluation of Fusion baths temperature.
Rose Didymium
Developed for high temperature glass work, this glass offers protection at the sodium line (589nm) and UV spectral wavelengths. The visible light transmittance of this glass at 3.2mm thickness is 50%, allowing good visibility indoors. This glass is dichroic, meaning it's color will look aqua green under fluorescent lighting but under natural and incandescent lights it will have a light rose color.
This is one question that there are no really definitive answers for. However, the best information is that you should wear IR protection when you work with any hot material and combined protection when dealing with welding arcs OR oxy-fuel flames. We offer the #2 shade glasses as an economical replacement for expensive Didymium glasses when used by metal workers. However, if you can stand a #3 shade then you can wear welding goggles. However, I have trouble with the reduced periferial vision of welding goggles and find myself tripping over things if I try to wear them as general shop protection. They also do not provide the same impact protection as the safety glasses.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/03 18:08:10 EDT


Theres most of a Safety Glass FAQ written. Save it!
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/23/03 18:19:42 EDT

Working on it. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/03 19:28:51 EDT

Reference Safety 1, iForge #66 in it.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/23/03 19:29:40 EDT


Chapter Four of TRB-3 is now on line. Use the chapter index to go to it. Illustrations to follow.
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/23/03 19:58:56 EDT

Once again, I dredge up from the past. As a young man I worked on a land combat missle in the U.S. ARMY. This missle used infra red signals from the launcher to the missle to send guidance. The infra red tramsmitter was quite powerful as it had to send a signal a very long way.I can't remember how far.Grin. The transmitter was powerful enough to give you welders eye in about 20 or 30 seconds. In training at Redstone Arsenal, we were told that IR exposure would lead to cataracts at an early age. We had the Tankers looking into the tramsmitter to check if the thing was working. One of the guys in my Maint. outfit told me, in the hearing of one of the tankers " boy, if these guys knew that looking in the tramsmitter would make them impotent,they would never do that" Within about 2 days there wasn't a tanker in Germany that would look in one of these transmitters! Motto, avoid IR! God gives you only two eyes, only protect those you wish to keep!
   ptree - Thursday, 10/23/03 20:16:57 EDT


TOW, (grin)
   Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/23/03 20:43:24 EDT

Paw Paw,
I said a LONG time ago. Tow is TUBE launched OPTICALLY tracked WIRE guided. The guidance signals are sent through a wire trailed out behind the missle in flight. Mine was the Shilleagh. Fired out of the gun/launcher of a M-60 A2 on a M551A1E1. Both obsolete now. Look up a Sheriden in an old Janes all the words fighting systems. Neat technology for very eary 60's. The M-60 A2 was a botched attemp to make a low profile, electronic tank out of 50's iron. Good idea, but poorly executed. The M-1 was the next idea.
   ptree - Thursday, 10/23/03 21:49:16 EDT

Hi all, what is the recommended height for a work bench? I'm thinking 44 inches.
   - Tony-C - Thursday, 10/23/03 23:34:21 EDT

I sent you an email regarding research on occupational exposure to IR. In a nutshell, IR bad. Eyeballs good. Protect one from the other and you'll still be able to see. No great surprise there.

   eander4 - Friday, 10/24/03 00:28:55 EDT

I would have to say that in order to know you should measure how tall you are, and hol far from the ground your waist is. Also need to know if you like standing straight as you work, or if you like sitting or standing hunched over. Once you have all that then make the work bench to the proper height for your use.
My cousin who is a whopping 58 inches tall might find your 44" work bench a tad too much.....
   Ralph - Friday, 10/24/03 01:30:35 EDT

Hi Guys If anyone can help I would appreciate it
what kind of clay does one use to differentially harden a blade or can any fine clay do
   luddau - Friday, 10/24/03 02:46:50 EDT

Hello. I have a very basic question that's going to label me as the ameture that I am. How are steels graded? For instance, in reference to tool steel, what does "H-13" mean or what does Carbon A108 mean or what does the 440 in "440 stainless steel" mean?

Actually, while I'm asking questions, what do the numbers on a welding rod mean? For instance, what is "7018?" Someone told me that it had something to do with how many pounds per square inch the weld can hold, but he didn't explain the how or why of it.

Thanks in advance. :)
   Matt - Friday, 10/24/03 03:01:15 EDT

MATT; the "70" refers to 70,000 lbs per square inch tensile strength. The "18" refers to the flux composition, which can determine the electrical polarity, deposit rate (if the flux contains iron powder), and maybe a few other things I may have forgotten. Take a look at www.machinist.org/army_welding/TAB.htm (all kinds of stuff about welding and metals.) Something useful for yer tax dollars !
   3dogs - Friday, 10/24/03 04:18:39 EDT

Hello,I have little experience in metalworking (I have made a Roman Lorica Segmentata tough)and I want to make a Roman helmet type gallic G or H. I have studied the article from Eric Thing "How to make an Norman helmet" toroughly. Now I have two questions: 1) How big do I have to make the blank so it will be big enough for the neckgard and do I have to leave that part alone while forming the helmet or do I have to forge it down like the rest of the helmet and form the neckgard later when the rest of the helmet is done?
2)The details like the eyebrows on top of the helmet and the figures on the neckgard, how are they done?
Thanks for the help,

   Jurgen Schultz - Friday, 10/24/03 06:34:28 EDT

Jurgen when working on a new design I always like to make a "dummy" up out of thin cardboard and when I get that to work then measure/trace the elements for the steel pattern. *Even* *then* you may come up on some surprises...

Roman is a bit earlier than my armouring has been but may I commend to your attention the armour making website armourarchive (dot com) which is full of professional and amateur armourers including a bunch of roman re-enactors.

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/24/03 08:00:06 EDT

Jurgen: Take a look at: http://www.larp.com/legioxx/ . It has a page of armoring hints, too.

Tell Quintus that Atli of the Longship Company and Anvilfire sent you. ;-)

Mr. Amt is very knowledgeable and is excellent at identifying other resources.

Good luck.

Cold and clear on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone - Friday, 10/24/03 09:08:22 EDT

Thanks to all for the reply to my safety glasses question. I'm getting the polycarbonate lenses with side shields and will use filtered goggles over my glasses for hot work. Didn't expect the big response to my simple question! You are all a great resource. Thanks again!
   Dave C - Friday, 10/24/03 10:04:04 EDT

Helmet Blank: Jugen, Like the bench height question above it depends on the size of the helm. If you read Eric's articles closely you would notice two comments. ONE, is that he plans to trim significant material off at the end. TWO is that if you are short on material then you have wasted a LOT of time.

To start, he used symetrical blanks and the peak (center top) of the finished helm in the middle of the blank. So you ignore face cutouts to start. Layout a line from the peak of helm to the farthest distance (usuualy the back flare), add a little and then use that as a radius (half the diameter) of the circular blank.

I would start with a detailed and dimensioned scale drawing (full or half scale). This gives you a place to organize your thoughts, pull dimensions, and as a place to keep notes. Make your own drawing. Much can be learned in the planning process. You learn nothing by using others drawings, patterns and blanks.

Note that you will gain a little length from the initial dishing of the peak.

With experiance you could use closer cropped blanks and assemetrical blanks. However, raising is not an exact science and there are great differences between individual practicioners. Being a long process there is a lot of room for errors to creep in.

Details that are PART of the helm are usualy formed over various special forming tools after the general shape is complete and before final trimming. There might be an initial trim, a test fit and then final trim. Creating brow ridges or other protrusions is a dishing operation that may pull material from the nearest edge so you do not want to trim close until they are finished.

I am not familiar with the details you mention but most plate decorations are done by repousse' techniques. The material is annealed or worked hot into a wood form or cold into wood or pitch. Repousse' in heavy plate is usualy done from both the front and back. Initial dishing to push the material out is done from the back and then final details worked from the front. In soft non-ferrous metals or thin annealed steel you can stick with repousse' pitch techniques only but not in heavy steel. In steel you use all the available techniques depending on the stage of the work.
Before attempting this on a curved helm that has a lot of hours in the raising I would make some trial pieces in scrap plate until I thought I was ready.

The various punches for doing fine repousse' are very specialized tools that most workers create themselves or by grinding stock tools to their own preference have created their own. Although you may end up with a couple favorites you may need a dozen or more to complete a job.

Other decorative elements on armour are made in other materials (copper, bronze) and may be made by casting. This is a whole seperate field but is often one of the armourer's skills.

Projects like this require research and initial planning as well as collecting and making tools before starting.
   - guru - Friday, 10/24/03 11:02:09 EDT

I use a refractory clay called Satanite.The way I got it was in a 50lb bag from a brick yard.I just mix it with water to the desired consistency.It has worked well for me and is easy to apply to get the hamon style you want.
   - chris - Friday, 10/24/03 11:11:39 EDT

Cris thanks for the satanite tip as satanite was replaced by ITC 100HT as the best for forge kaowool coating could ITC100 be used for differential hardening of blades.
best rgds
   luddau - Friday, 10/24/03 12:08:32 EDT

sorry Cris one more point how thick is the clay applied
   luddau - Friday, 10/24/03 12:10:20 EDT

Tony - work bench height

Believe it, Tony, this depends a lot on what your doing on the bench? I learned that an anvil top should be about fist high to the Smith because that's the most efficient spot in his/her hammer stroke. As a woodworker my benches have always been built so I could exert the most effecint stroke when hand planing a board. For me, that height is about 33", which is about where my palm rests when I'm standing erect, my arms straight down and my palm horizontal with the floor.

Now, I'm doing a lot of gun building (flintlocks) and I've had to rethink my work surface. I can't work sitting down and my eyesight is going south so I've made a bench that is about 38" high. However, I have a special vise fixture in the middle of the bench that raises my gun vise to about 43-45" just to bring the object I'm working on to about elbow height so I can comfortabley fuss with it. It also brings it closer to my eye sight when I'm wearing an Opti-visor for detail inletting. The bench is high enough so I don't have to stand bent over all the time which would be a killer for my old back.

Designing a bench for yourself is a pretty important job if you are going to spend the thousands of hours working at it we manage over a lifetime. Finally, I learned a long time ago that my work bench is just another tool, it's not a piece of fine woorworking regardless how we joint it together and what kind of material it's made of. So make it with the idea that your going to work on it not around it.
   Jerry Crawford - Friday, 10/24/03 13:04:15 EDT

Steel Designations: Matt, There have been many attempts to standardize metal alloy designations but to date all have been a failure because everyone wants to use their favorite standard.

In the begining there was nothing but iron or steel from "placename" or by generic method. Names such as Damascus, or Swedish Charcoal Iron. Then there was blister steel and crucible steel.

Then there were generic processes and trade names. "Crucible steel" used to be the ONLY designation for various grades of steel made by that process. The problem was that there was no metalurgy to define the diferences. So you had Black Diamond crucible tool steel and other trade names. In Europe they have "Silver Steel" which is bright finished W1 (I think).

Early in the twentieth century the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) was involved in developing new steels for automobiles and they came up with a number system that is still in use and is partialy adopted into other systems. In the SAE system the first two numbers indicate the alloy and the second two (or three) the carbon content in points which equal decimal percent. .2% = 20 .4% = 40. Common unalloyed steel is prefix 10. So 1020 is a common carbon steel with .2% carbon and 4140 is an SAE alloy steel with .4% carbon.

The SAE system is easy to understand and if you want details see MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. Since its steels have been absorbed into other systems using the same number series it will always be a good system to understand. It is good practice to prefix any system number with its controling organization such as SAE 1020 or ASTM A-36.

Then other systems were developed and the tool steel series emerged. These use a number letter combination where only the letter has meaning and the number is just a place on a list. W1 is the first in the water hardening series, O1 is the first in the oil hardening series, A2 is the second in the air hardening general series, H13 is the thirteenth in the hot work series. . . Most of these tool steels have a little over 1% carbon and if you want to know the alloying.

To make matters worse Europe, Asia and Japan all use different systems than the US.

   - guru - Friday, 10/24/03 13:09:06 EDT

IR exposure Info Eric, Thanks! Great stuff. I will have to read it closely then add to the FAQ I am working on. So far I don't think it says anthing different but it DOES support and define issues that are lacking.

   - guru - Friday, 10/24/03 13:10:28 EDT

Matt, steels are graded by chemical composition. Tool steels typically have a prefix indicating a primary use or thermaltreatment feature followed by a number that indicate chemical composition. S indicates shock resistant, W - water quench, O - oil quench, H if I remember correctly is a "hot work" tool steel and 13 specifices the composition. Common grades of stainless are indicated by a 3 digit number that may have modifiers added-that 3 digit number specifies the chemical composition and general crystalline structure, followed by an L it indicates low carbon - for example 316L indicates a low carbon variation of 316 that is better in some corrosion applications. (300 series - austenitic stainlesses, 400 series generally ferritic stainless) 440 is often considered to be a cutlery grade stainless & needs to be identified as A, B, or C to specify the carbon level. Plain carbon & alloy steels typically are identified with 4 digit numbers in the US the first 2 digits are the alloy series - 10 for plain carbon, 11 for resulpherized, 13 & 15 higher manganese levels, 41 chrome and molybdenum intentiaonally added, etc. The last 2 digits are the nominal carbon level in "points" with 1 point being 1 hundeth of 1 percent, or .0001. So a 1040, 1140, 1340, and 4140 steel would all have about the same carbon level, but differing intentional alloy levels. Also, even though it's "plain carbon" steel it has an intentional managnese level for 1040 acceptable managanese levels are .60 to .90 percent. Carbon A108 refers back to the ASTM standard A108, which I don't have available at the moment. That standard will define chemical and possibly other requirements to be met for a steel to be referenced to it.
That's a quick summary - there are more details but that gives a decent working knowledge. If you want an in depth read, Volume 3 of the 9th edition of the ASM Metals Handbook is Properties and selection of steel and gives indepth knowledge, composition, and typical uses for most of the steel alloys made commercially. Note to complicate some producers also have proprietary alloys they have developed, produce and have patented. An example for Armco Steel was Nitronic 30.
   - Gavainh - Friday, 10/24/03 13:13:58 EDT

I'm not familiar with ITC100 but if it's similar and sticks to the steel well then no problem.I put a thin coating over the entire blade using a paint brush while the mixture is still thin and let it dry.Then I add more satanite to thicken to a paste and put at least an 1/8" coating on the area that I don't want to harden.I don't know what form ITC comes in so my method might not work.Make sure it is completely dry or it will blow off in the forge.
   chris - Friday, 10/24/03 13:50:20 EDT

Bench Height: When I build a bench I pull out a tape measure, hold it up, think about the work I will be doing and then make a snap decision.

Reference: I am 5' 8-1/2" (174 cm) tall (average).

I have an inherited shop bench which is 39" (99cm). It was made by my late brother in-law who was just a little taller than I am. I mounted a big vise on it which comes to 49" (125cm). This is high but nearly shoulder height has some great advantages and it is great for detail work, bending, filing. I also like using a wood plane for small items at shoulder height. The bench is a good height for sitting in a studio chair or bar stool and working.

I liked the height of this bench well enough that I built a matching bench so the two extend most of the way down a wall with a door inbetween. The second bench also at 39" (99cm) was found to be a good height for a small bench grinder and a power wire wheel. It also held tool chests.

When I built my heavy welding bench I did my tape measure trick, considered what was comfortable when welding with elbows on the bench and used 36" (91cm).

I have a heavy 4x4 foot weld platen that I need to build a stand for. It will probably be set at my anvil height (29") so that it can be used as a stock stand.

A survey of the post vises in my shop indicates that they would mount on a 30-31" (76-79cm) tall bench with the leg button set flush to the floor (the pin below grade). Since workers in general were shorter when these were made it makes sense. Alternately you can always put a support under the leg to raise the vise but it could be difficult to burry it below floor level.

We have a temporary kaowool cutting table setup at 36" and that seems to be a good height most of the time.

Kitchen work surfaces, tables, and office desks used to be standardized at 28". A low height works when anything with height is used on the work surface and this height also works when sitting.

Your height, work size, mounted tooling, work position (standing, leaning, sitting) are all factors in bench height. Make what is comfortable to you. If others work in your shop consider them. However, most of use are adaptable. I suspect I like a high bench because I was using my father's 36" benches when I was 10-12 years old. I learned to work at a high bench (when I was shorter) and am still comfortable there.
   - guru - Friday, 10/24/03 13:53:00 EDT

Just about every duplicate tool in my shop (anvils, vises, drill presses) is at a different level for different work.

When I made the bench for the wood lathe I actually made it a tad short so that family and friends would be comfortable with it. If I'm doing anything extensive, I have some blocks to put under the legs to raise it up to what's comfortable for my 6'1" (185.2 cm). Start with the rules of thumb and then work things out according to what your body tells you. For some operations I've even erected a temporary platform to get me "on top" of a problem. Now that my vision is a tad blurry beyond the reach of my arm, I find myself getting a little closer to the cold work. (Not bad enough for prescription safety glasses... yet. ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 10/24/03 14:45:23 EDT

does anyone know where I can obtain a new pair of Leversnips? mine went away when someone found out how good they work help please!!
   joe stewart - Friday, 10/24/03 16:06:52 EDT

I am not a blacksmith and not very knowledgeable about metalworking. My husband is a welder. I want him to make a bit for my daughters pony because he is a very small pony and they don't make a bit like i want in his size. My husband says he can do it but doesn't really know what to do to finish it so it won't rust. I've been told he has to make it out of stainless, but i have seen them made so they are a shiny black finish that seem to last very well. What can we do to this bit to finish it functionallly as well as eye appealing?
   yldchild - Friday, 10/24/03 16:28:28 EDT

weren't you asking about this the other day? I know that Guru answered. Look back to that post. Need to do a little work on your part and not make Guru and others keep answering the same question time after time.
   Ralph - Friday, 10/24/03 16:28:56 EDT


Hmmmmm, I'm 6'0". I put the tape on the wall and visualized what would be a comfortable working height that wouldn't require bending/hunching to do the work. 44" is where I ended up. The bench will be my primary bench (I'll only have one....its a small shop) along one whole wall of the shop. My anvil, post vice and forges are at different heights than this.

Thanks for the advice.
   - Tony-C - Friday, 10/24/03 16:51:29 EDT

Help! Can I use my oxy-acetylene torches with oxy-propane? I know that the tubing must be different and that is no problem, but can I use the torches I have?. This is a two part question, because I have the welding tips and the cutting attachment. I particularly worry abour the tips for the cutting attachment needing to be different.
   J Myers - Friday, 10/24/03 17:44:14 EDT

Horse Bit Steel yldchild, This is a rather peculiar subject that I only know the tinest bit about. But here goes.

Consider the horse as an animal with taste buds just like you. Any metal you put in your mouth has a distinctive taste. Bit makers use copper and "sweet iron" (possibly wrought) as bit materials. I suspect stainless is used but probably tastes different. Some horse sites sell bits based on on taste.

The point IS, that the animal may have something to say about the choice of metal. Or maybe not.

One method to reduce rust on steel is you can have it taken to a gun smith and let them blue the steel. This is a chemical process that is best left up to an expert. The blue slows rusting and acts as a surface to hold oil but the piece can still rust.

Another method is to rust the part over and over until you get a nice rust brown. Oiled you get a dark brown or brown/black. This finish has the advantage that subsequent rust is part of the finish and a little oil makes it like new. Use vegatable oil on items where the oil may be injested.

THEN, it is almost as easy to make something like this out of stainless as it is mild steel. They only caveat is the taste question above. The nickle in the SS may taste different than the iron.

Stainless can be left dark after heating for a blue black finish. A little oil keeps it dark. The same piece can be wire brushed to create a grey finish. OR the SS can be polished to silvery white.
   - guru - Friday, 10/24/03 18:16:51 EDT

Oxy-Propane: J Meyers, All the propane cutting torch tips I have seen were considerably different than the acetylene tips. They usualy have a different system to break down the preheat flame into smaller jets. Rosebuds are also different having larger ports and sometimes a modified mixer (internal).

Victor tips for propane are the same as those used for natural gas and are marked NG. IF your torch is an odd ball brand or out of production then you may have a problem with the cutting tip. Welding tips all appear to be the same to me. Ask your welding supplier.

OBTW - I HAVE known people to use the standard tips for propane. They work, are a pain to use and adjust, make lousey stop start cuts. . but CAN be made to work. . . I wouldn't do it.
   - guru - Friday, 10/24/03 18:30:10 EDT

ITC-100 on Steel I have not tried it for this application but it DOES stick. ITC recommends ITC-213 as a metal primer and coating. It is more expensive than the 100 but it goes a long way. I have used it as a primer coat and then ITC-100 over that sucessfully in forge building but not for heat treating.

ITC-100 (as do all ITC products) comes as a heavy paste that is thinned to a heavy slurry which can be built up pretty thick in a few coats.

ITC-213 is used to protect exotic alloys from oxidation while heating and forging.

Traditionaly a high alumina (refractory) clay such as the type used for porceline was used by the Japanese as a coating for local hardening. They may have also mixed other things with it.
   - guru - Friday, 10/24/03 18:54:26 EDT

ASTM Steel specs: ASTM is a Testing standards organization. Most of their specs do not say what the composition of a metal must be, they only set the minimum performance specs that the metal must meet. If a piece of bronze or aluminium met all the specs for a piece of steel then the bronze or aluminium could be used in place of steel. . . These a MINIMUM performance specs. In some cases only one specific alloy can meet the specs and then there is some clarity.

Depending on the criticality of the application the metal could be any alloy OR there might be tight limits on trace elements which greatly narrows the definition. It just depends on the individual spec and there are hundreds.

Many non-ASTM publications list which alloys meet certain ASTM specs. This is not a one to one interchange. There may (and usualy are) be a dozen or more alloys that meet any given ASTM spec.

So don't go buying ASTM specs expecting to find alloy compositions. And don't bandy about ASTM numbers as if they are alloy designations.

You will often find OSHA rules requiring equipment that meets ANSI specs which in turn rely on ASTM test specs. To properly read the original spec you will need each of the specs refered to. The ASTM specs all refer to one or more general definitions documents that must also be obtained. It is not unusual for a 50 page ASTM spec to refer to the larger 500 page definitions book so many times it is unreadable. . . Are we having fun yet? ;)
   - guru - Friday, 10/24/03 19:14:58 EDT

I am eager to find out what it was like to work as a blacksmith for the railway in Canada during World War II. What kind of tools did a blacksmith use working for the railway? What kind of parts did he make or repair? What were the conditions in the shop? How long did someone usually apprentice to become a railway blacksmith? If you worked as a railway blacksmith or know how I could find this out, I'd really appreciate if you could contact me at juliegedeon@pobox.com I'm looking for this information for a book I'm writing about railway women. Thanks,

   Julie Gedeon - Friday, 10/24/03 19:21:54 EDT

I am a bit late but I want to add something to the safety glasses topic. Several months ago, I was working with my sidewheel grinder. I was wearing a set of full goggles over my glasses (jobs for blind metallurgists are rare!). The goggles kept all the flying debris out of my eyes but I was not wearing a hat. Some of the grinding dust got in my hair and on my forehead. After I removed the goggles, a bead of sweat trickled into my eye, carrying a sliver with it. A day later, I had the sliver removed from the cornea where it had started to form a rust ring. Cost: three days of eye pain and $186. Goggles only protect you when you are wearing them. And don't forget a hat!
   quenchcrack - Friday, 10/24/03 20:15:41 EDT

Guru, may I politely disagree with your comments about ASTM specifications. Most specs do specify a metal type as well as the requisite compositional limits. You are correct stating that most specs list strength, dimensions, etc. but they do not usually permit substituting aluminum for steel or bronze, etc. Many ASTM specs list several grades and compositions withing one spec so buying an ASTM Spec grade steel without knowing exactly which alloy was designated could indeed, get you in deep fat. To make matters worse, some grades can over-lap and one piece of steel can meet two different ASTM specs. It is common for a distributor to order, for example, ASTM A500, with A53B mechnanicals, pay for eddy current testing but not the pressure testing. You can bet he will sell the lower cost A500 as an equal to the A53B (at near A53B prices) without paying for the extra testing and inspection required for A53B. However, this is entirely legal as long as the buyer and seller agree to the deal.
   quenchcrack - Friday, 10/24/03 20:27:44 EDT

In the valve industry, Sae 1023 if forged became A105, if rolled into pipe became SA-105. 316 stainless became F-8 if forged, B-8 if a bolt, and if the carbon content was spec'ed right the forged grade was duel stamped as 316/316L. Just a little confusing! It pays to obtain a Machineries Manual. The best few hundred dollars that my company ever spent on me was for a home study basic metalurgy course through ASM. It included the Metals Hanbook. At about 5 pounds, a great reference. Learning all the systems and what they really mean takes a life time. But to do metalwork, you only need to know what you work with, and for anything new a post on this site will get you almost instant answers. Having worked with many learned, experienced metalugists, I can testify that the answers here equal the best I have worked with.
   ptree - Friday, 10/24/03 21:00:55 EDT

belt grinders: looking to add one for the shop. will use it primarily for rapid stock removal (tooling, back up tools) and not for finnish work (knives). have decided that 1.5 horse single phase motor is sufficient for my current needs (daydreams?). i have looked at a beldor with a 2X48" belt. it is a two pulley design for about $725, without stand. the burr king comp and wilton are popular with the knife guys. i dont think i need these with my intentions. from what i have read, belt grinders can remove stock as fast or faster than a mill with decent (smith acceptable) accuracy.

thoughts, comments, advise moocho appreciated!!

one more, i am also looking at TIG unit. what work or application would 175 amps not be suitable (8-175)???

   rugg - Friday, 10/24/03 22:29:04 EDT

But Ralph we were going to give him *different* answers this time!

Guru, one of my first jobs at my previous company was checking to see if something that met "our" standards would meet "theirs". Spent a couple of hours getting a conversion from altitude to kilopascals per sq meter. (we spec'd it as working from 300 feet below sealevel to 8000' above, they had it spec'd in kP/M^2)

Thomas who did once work in nanoparsecs per gigayear (as a physics TA *never* tell engineering students they could use any system of measurements they wanted!)
   Thomas P - Friday, 10/24/03 22:36:17 EDT

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