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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 24 - 31, 2005 on the Guru's Den
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If you ground off the steel plate on the Fisher what you basically have now is a buoy anchor or gluing weight. The cast iron under it will be soft and there is no economical way to put a new steel top on it. If it was really badly beat up you might have been able to salvage the top plate via welding. Once down to almost no plate or no plate it is almost beyond hope.

Without the mold date under the heel you can only guess as to a manufacture year by shape and logo. From Anvils in America by Richard Postman: The older Fishers, before about 1913, tended to me more blockly, particularly fat under the heel. The first logo was an Eagle in a circle holding an anchor with the prongs to the left (cicra pre-1860). Second dropped the circle (cicra 1860 to sometime in the 1870s). Third had the prongs to the right (cicra sometime in the 1870 to 1882. From cicra 1882 to early 1900s eagle and anchor were recessed. After cicra 1910 the shape went to basically the London patern with the anvil more graceful than blocky. You know it is a Fisher so likely it has the name on the front foot. They apparently started putting it there cicra 1870s. They apparently started adding the mold date about 1890. Thus, my WAG is it may be cicra 1870-1890.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 10/24/05 03:23:06 EDT

RE : rabit trappers tool : thanks for your time guru and frank. i think that armed with your sugestions and a phone book i think i'll be right. we do have drifts at work for making eyes for various handels ( one of the blokes at work used to be a spring maker , its probibly why i thought of truck spring initaly . i thought i would come to him with half a clue , thus the post ). we used to have a gass forge untill we moved work shops but due to space restrictions, we only have a heating torch now. (we are only matenence boilermakers) Space is also a issue at home and know the difference it makes to use a good anvil :)

i also was going to ask about bearing steel and knives , but matthews question awnswed it aswell .... ha ha ha .... thanks
so thanks for your time, i realy apreciated your help - wayne
   - wayne - Monday, 10/24/05 05:37:50 EDT

E-mail addy - Coal: Rhordae, Our incryption system trips on addresses with two many periods. Swap out Alan's .lastname so that the mail is firstnam.lastname@state. . .

Posting address in open forum will get you spammed.

COAL DEALERS and Availability: Look in your local phone directroy for fuel dealers. Folks in the heating oil business were often coal dealers first. If none list coal then there probably are none but you could call and ask. Not everywhere has a coal dealer and the number is rapidly dropping. The reason is that coal is no longer being used for space heating. Usualy if there is ONE person still heating with coal a dealer will keep some on hand. Those last hold outs with coal furnaces, particularly in the South are dissapearing as fast as they can afford to replace thoise furnaces or as fast as the old buildings are abandoned. Often these old buildings are public facilities such as court houses or schools that use a few hundred tons per heating saeson. When the last one goes that is the END for the local coal dealer.

The needs of hobby smiths or even the 1-2 tons a year commercial smiths do not count. Also note that coal suitable for bulk use in a furnace is often not a suitable grade for good forge work. If you are not willing to travel to get your coal OR not willing to pay shiping then you should consider a different fuel. Many smiths haul coal hundreds of miles in their own trucks OR get together with other smiths and split a commercial hauler's delivery.

THEN there is the trouble with smoke and neighbors complaining about your air pollution. . .It is not easy to be a coal using smith in the 21st Century.

   - guru - Monday, 10/24/05 08:13:11 EDT

Sometimes, but seldom, a guy gets lucky and finds that the coal bin didn't get emptied. Ask around.
   3dogs - Monday, 10/24/05 08:20:28 EDT

Rhordae, email sent.

   Alan-L - Monday, 10/24/05 09:11:49 EDT

Think you could make a decent JY Bandsaw out of a bicycle? Would the wheels hold up?
   JLW - Monday, 10/24/05 10:46:31 EDT

JLW- I built a very functional bandsaw using 2 of the cast iron wheels from pedal exercisers I picked up that people has thrown out in their garbage- wheelsare approx 15" in dia. I used a 50/1 gearbox with a 1 hp 1725 rpm motor- uses 3/4 " x 93" blade- If you are interested- I have some pictures I could email
   - ptpiddler - Monday, 10/24/05 11:03:22 EDT

Rhordae...In Chattanooga, cross the Market Street Bridge into North Chatt. Turn left at the intersection ( I forget the name of the road), drive about one mile or less. There is a coal supplier on the left. He sells small lots of coal/coke. Now that was a couple years ago and the business might be gone, but its worth a try. Good luck.
   R Guess - Monday, 10/24/05 11:09:10 EDT

Chattanooga coal:
Rhordae...Try this address. Different than previous.
Ledford Coal Co. 601 Signal Mtn Rd. 423-267-5604.
   R Guess - Monday, 10/24/05 11:19:54 EDT

Sure. I would appreciate it. Can you get my address off the gurusden?
   JLW - Monday, 10/24/05 11:50:37 EDT

Junkyard Bandsaw: JLW, back in the late 70's Mother Earth News had a series of articles about building a band saw using automobile wheels, tires and hubs. The tires when worn nearly smooth have just the right amount of crown for the blade to track and the rubber is necessary for non shouldered blades (most band saws).

In the early 1980's I saw a primitive band saw built from 1926 wood spoke Cheverolett wheels. The metal rims had been removed and heavy cotton mill conveyor belting tacked on for tires. The frame of the saw was mortised and tennoned wood and the blade guides just angled sticks of wood adjusted by bending the nails that held them to the frame.

It was obvious from the mounds of saw dust on and around this saw that it worked quite well. In fact this saw had been running for about 70 years or more. The old black man, a son of a slave, had built the saw when he was a young man. One of the jobs he did with it around 1915 was to cut the 72 ~3" pitch oak gear teeth to replace the old ones on the seven foot diameter wood bull gear in our old Grist Mill.

Wooden gear from Dempsey's Old Grist Mill Gladys Virginia

The trick to building bandsaws is the gear reduction or primary belting and the proper speed for what you want to cut. See MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK for maximum cutting speeds then reduce by about half for a home built machine.
   - guru - Monday, 10/24/05 12:15:33 EDT

MORE JY-BS: For metal cutting you need a blade speed down around 100 Feet Per Minute (30 m/m). For wood it can be as high as 5,200 FPM (1585 m/m) but as noted you should use much slower in a home built saw.

By laminating a wood table you can build in guides for a mitre gauge. Not that you need a slot to replace blades through. The same replaceable blade cover idea used on commercioal saws is a good one on home built. I would not try to get too fancy however.
   - guru - Monday, 10/24/05 13:00:51 EDT


At the last board meeting I announced to the board that I would not be running for the board again. While I fully support the goals of CSI and have enjoyed working with the other board members I am finding it difficult to be at the late evening online meetings. It is time for someone else to take the position of secretary after the election.

If you would like to run for the position or nominate someone else please speak up. We are getting close to election time and so far there have been no nominations other than Dale's nomination of the existing board members.
   SGensh - Monday, 10/24/05 13:09:23 EDT

All the iron on/in the earth comes from old stars---have you thanked a supernova lately?

If you live in an area where igneous or metamorphic rocks are weathering you have a sporting chance to be able to collect"black sand" composed of magnetite granules weathered out of the rocks. This can best be done by "trolling" with a covered magnet along beaches or sand bars. I've been involved with smelts using magnetite sand and it worked well.

In areas without the magnetite sand you will need to look for weathered or modified ores, like bog iron ores sometimes found in sedimentaty areas. This stuff is a little tricker to use---you only need a few percent of iron to make a very *red* coloured rock or dirt but you need a much greater percentage to get an ore that is refinable by simple "old tech" means (for one thing you need the ore percentage higher than that of the slag produced smelting it!).

I second the suggestion that you talk with the state geological survey and the geology department at local colleges and universities---if they can locate a deposite for you see if they have samples from it so you can recognize what you are looking for when you go looking for it.

Smelting refractories: we have constructed a number of nothern european Y1K short stack bloomeries using the following mix: 3 shovels of sandy dirt, 2 head sized bunches of chopped straw, 1 shovel of bentonite clay from the feed store---"food grade!"; mixed with just enough water to make it agonizing to mix up by hand---you get what looks like dirty straw. We form this into the short stack bloomery smoothing the inside as we go.

This has been the best success rate of everything we have tried in the 15 years that the bloomery crew I have been priviliged to be a grunt in has been building and smelting iron.

Note Rehder's "Mastery and Uses of Fire in Antiquity" has plans for a "foolproof" modern bloomery in the appendix.

   Thomas P - Monday, 10/24/05 13:29:02 EDT

I see. Thank you for the information. I know the japanese used black sand and I know the recipie for the refractory clay needed to make their style of refining furnace. Actually, I will post it if you would like. The only thing I remember off hand though is the "rotted granite". I will post the actual recipie and design for the furnace once I find the hard copy.
   Matthew Marting - Monday, 10/24/05 13:31:38 EDT

When I was a kid, growing up in the Montgomery County suburbs, outside of D.C., magnetite was a common component of the local sands. My friends used to collect the “iron filings” (well, that was what the magnetic “Put the Beard on the Pirate” games used) using a spike wrapped in wire for an electromagnet and a huge (2” X 8”) 1 ½ volt battery from the model airplane starter kit. We rub it through the sand, take the load to the jar, and dump it in by breaking the connection. I have often thought that this would work for collecting smelting oar; but down in Southern Maryland there’s no magnetite to be had. Lots of “fossil*” and active* bog iron, but that’s just not the same.

An account of one medieval Italian smithy has them collecting scale and selling it to the local smelter. Now, that’s recycling!

*Fossil bog iron is found down our way in hillside gravel runs from when the sea levels changed over the last 20,000,000 years. Active bog iron is found in, er, bogs.

Cloudy and cooling on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 10/24/05 13:51:25 EDT

Hmm, the paper only says one part clay and two parts rotted granite for the furnace.
   Matthew Marting - Monday, 10/24/05 21:21:29 EDT

We have lots of black sand in the arroyos (dry washes) of New Mexico, and it can be picked up with a magnet: ergo, "magnetite". However, it is doubtful that it is a high grade ore. I have experimented with it, and it appears to have a quite high silica content.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 10/24/05 22:10:23 EDT

Frank; you may be picking up rutile along with the magnitite.

In general some silica is good if you are using the bloomery as the slag helps keep the iron from re-oxidizing down there near the tuyere.

I'm going to see if I can do an iron run sometime after I get the yard cleaned up a bit---it's a tad flamable right now...

   - Thomas Powers - Monday, 10/24/05 22:28:21 EDT

I didn't catch all of the confersation, but Northern California's Coast has magnetic sand. Wave a pry-bar over the sand at St. Patric's point or at Oric beach, & see what ya get. In south Georgia, in leesburg theres a quarry, where my brother & I go to collect sea-biscut fossels, & flint. One time he came home late at night with a huge chunk of of iron. He said that he got it from the quarry.

PS. If any one gets a email called snake dance, don't open it, it contains a virus.
   - packrat_red - Tuesday, 10/25/05 09:09:26 EDT

I've helped do a crucible smelt of black sand magnetite from an arroyo near Tucson, AZ. Nice stuff! I've also done a crucible smelt of the local massive magnetite (Cranberry ore body), which I overfluxed. Still good stuff, but I now know it's self-fluxing...

Here in upper East Tennessee the local deposits of fossil bog iron were used to support a very lucrative iron industry from about 1780-ish up through the 1870s when the deposits played out. Some mines remained open as manganese beds through the 1950s, with a little zinc and lead produced as by-product.

The red ore hematite deposits of the Cumberland Plateau were also used quite a bit, but the high-grade weathered ore is all gone now. The hard ore in the seams is about 30-40% iron. When it weathers for a few thousand years, the iron percentage jumps to 50-55%. Fossil bog iron (limonite/goethite) usually runs 60%, while magnetite can go as high as 80%. Still need to build a bloomery, since crucible smelts from ore only work with the really high-grade ores!
   - Alan L - Tuesday, 10/25/05 10:07:43 EDT

R Guess

Ledford went out of business last year. I have tried everywhere in this city and there is none. I have called every major company that has/had anything to do with coal and the only thing I can find is either coal dust or commercial delivery (40 tons). Our local ABANA president said even he has to go out of state for coal.
   Rhordae - Tuesday, 10/25/05 13:01:24 EDT

Black Sand: When my brother pans for gold in Virginia the gold (if any) will be found along with the heavy black sand. The percentage of black sand in most Virgina sands is miniscule, perhaps a milligram per bucket full of sand.

The folks at the Rockbridge bloomery use a hard iron ore. I have a sample. The very high percentage of iron can be flet just from the weight compared to other rock.

"Clay" and other resources

There are many types and various amounts of impurities. In most of the Virginia Piedmont the "soil" is red clay that is suitable to make bricks. It is almost as hard as a brick naturally and fires quite well. However it has various percentages of sand. The high sand stuff is very friable and SEEMS like it would make a solid foundation for a building but it quite soft compared to the low sand red clay a few feet from it. It also will not fire well to make bricks. This band of red clay extends through the Carolinas into Georgia. The red clay used in much commercial ceramics is grey before it is fired and is a different type of clay.

White clay that most ceramic clay slip (the liquid stuff poured in plaster molds) is made from has a very low vitrifying temperature. In an attempt to fire some clay tesserae (mosiac tiles)in my gas forge I found out that you could boil this clay. The resulting clay foam is very interesting and would probably make good insulation at suitable temperatures. But it is NOT refractory enough to use in a high temperature forge or furnace.

The white surface clay in Kentucky that makes that sticky nasty mud is rotted limestone. Much of it comes from soft layers in the limestone that is already a fine loose clay. To my knowledge the majority of this is not suitable for ceramics but I may be wrong.

Porceline clays are white and very high temperature firing due to their high alumina content. Common ceramic furnaces used to make primitive pottery would not fire porceline unless it had a high percentage of another clay. High alumina clays for fire brick are dug commercialy in Northern Florida and other places.

For every mineral there should be a different sand and clay. Each has different chemical makeups and different properties. When old recipes call for "clay" it could be anything. However, it probably indicates something similar to pottery clay that is relatively pure (low on sand) and fires easily. Often these clays are found in layers between other soil/sand mixtures and are identifiable by their grey color and smooth stickyness. They are "clay" like and much different than common clay soils that are only suitable for making brick IF that.

The same goes for using clay or mud as flux. There are many different types and what works for me in Central Virginia may not work or evn be available on the nearby Atlantic Coast.

Back when we relied on finding things in nature rather than ordering them from a catalog every farmer, village potter or housewife knew where the nearest clay bank was as well as where you could find sand, gravel, lime, other various minerals, certain trees game and useful plants. These may or may not have been convieniently located but knowing these things was a part of life just like knowing where the nearest electronics supply or all night convienience store is today. . .

There still are a few people that know some of these things. Most make their living off these facts and may not want to share. Private property also limits where you can go to collect naturaly occuring things. So, in our modern world we either know the source, or know how to find a catalog and order what we want.

Catalogs: Back when I was in the machine degign and engineering business we had an engineering library comprised mostly of catalogs. It filled about 40 running feet of shelving. A good eight feet of that was the print version of the Thomas Register. The rest was catalogs from every sort of industrial supplier you can imagine. In larger operations or PE offices there would have also been a complete ASM Metals Handbook (encylopedic).

All this print information is part of knowing what you needed and where to find it. Today much of it is on-line but not all. And most of us still do not feel quite as comfortable searching on-line catalogs as print. There is a distinct human advantage to being able to scan the self for that unusual source and flip through a catalog not knowing exactly what you are looking for until you see it. . .

I still have a fair number of catalogs. But I divested myself of a moldy five year old edition of Thomas Register. I still have an old print edition of McMaster-Carr but use their constantly up to date on-line version now because it is a very well done and easy to use.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/25/05 13:03:10 EDT

Ahh yes; before I left OH I made sure my friends knew where the good clay bank was and where the ash trees grew in the Powerline cut---sort of a modern coppicing!

Talking with the folks who have been around a long while can be very informative...

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/25/05 13:12:00 EDT

OR those that have bizzar interests. .. .
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/25/05 14:23:49 EDT

OK,now, have we vindicated Ric Furrer ? Miami County sits on the southern end of a vast limestone deposit which runs from southwest Ohio/southeast Indiana, NNE through northwest Ohio,southeast Michigan and out into Lake Huron. If I recall correctly, it is referred to as the Sylvania Deposit, or something close to that. One doesn't have to dig too deep in that area to hit the limestone. On top of that is clay and glacial gravel, which will be confirmed by anyone who ever tried to drive a tent stake at Quad state.
   3dogs - Tuesday, 10/25/05 15:02:26 EDT

How much iron is in the red clay? What is ochre like the indians used for paint?
   JLW - Tuesday, 10/25/05 16:13:34 EDT

Rhordae..The coal or lack of it around Chatt. is indeed strange. I lived there as a child and almost everything was coal fired. There were several mines North of Jasper and coal littered every curve on every road from spilling off the trucks. When I started forging I had the same problem. Not many coal suppliers here in Florida. Knowing that the 2 paper mills use coal, I walked the rr tracks coming into town, searching for those little black nuggets. Within 25-30 minutes I had a 5 gal plastic bucket full. Now it is not the best coal for smithing nor the best method for acquiring forge fuel, but it got me started. I mostly use gas now cause coal is hard to find and the neighborhood I live in would notice the smoke, smell and I dont need conplaints. Dont give up..Good luck.
   R Guess - Tuesday, 10/25/05 16:27:17 EDT

dear guru
i have read today oct.25 alot about blacksmithing and how it is no kiddy game or esey but i'm still intrested. alot of the things you said are true i play D&D that is part of the reason i'm intrested and other is sword fighting me and my friend ryan love sword fighting (we only use boken) (boken wooden samurai sword in practice) i am about to order some books from my libray on blacksmithing. there are still a few things i need to know first where can i find a blacksmith i know none. please help me. a thoght that came to mind is how do you make huge sword's is it possible it must be i have seen such blades befour. like a 12 foot sword about a 3 foot handel it was massive is takes 3 men to carry it but the person who used it lifted it with one hand.
well please excuse my spelling and contackt me thank you for your time.
   - jacob - Tuesday, 10/25/05 19:46:09 EDT

I'll be giving a short address to the American Society for Metals International, Los Alamos Chapter, Thursday, October 27th, at El Nido Restaurant, Tesuque, New Mexico. I know at least some of the members are interested in early technology, because the society has a listing of worldwide, historic sites and materials on their website. Therefore, I am going to take some of my early leg vises and talk about their construction and evolution during the last 250 years. This will be the second time I have addressed the ASM.

If you're in the neighborhood, they will have cocktail and conversation from about 6 to 7 PM, and will eat at 7. For non-members, I'm pretty sure it is $20 per plate. After the meal, I upstand and deliver.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 10/25/05 20:10:00 EDT

Jacob, Please see our getting started link (top and bottom of this page and on the home apge and FAQs page). It answers all your questions including how to find a blacksmith. Also see our Sword making FAQ.

Note, you have not "SEEN" someone weild a 12 foot sword in the real world. You have seen animation or special effects. Blacksmithing IS real, there are no special effects, it is hard, dirty, HOT work.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/25/05 20:18:28 EDT

Would some of you folks familiar with blacksmithing in 300 AD take a look at eBay # 7359836883. I have my suspicions this miniature anvil isn't as old as they are indicating as it would indicate the basic anvil shape hasn't changed much in some 1700 years. Just looks too modern.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 10/25/05 20:51:47 EDT

Guru I am just starting to get in blacksmithing as a hobby.I have your list of books to get. I have been in metal working (sheering,press brakes,wielding,rolling etc... I am haveing a anvil made and was wondering if a gas grill would make a good forge no gas just coal.I was going to cut the 1/2" grate so I can drop it alittle lower and it will give me more room than a brake drum.In other words I have a old gas grill but not a brake drum.PLease help....
   Chris - Tuesday, 10/25/05 21:15:18 EDT

Ken, the "Buy It Now" ONLY option sure makes me suspicious and I don't know a thing about such.
   - Tom H - Tuesday, 10/25/05 21:49:24 EDT


Looks like a classic example of a Londonium-pattern anvil to me. (Grin).
   Mike B - Tuesday, 10/25/05 21:50:46 EDT

jacob : Don't let the fools fool You. If a sward took 3 MEN to carry it, it would weigh about 400 pounds. Now where I live we have some pretty strong guys, one of them is an exibition strong man, another holds the present world bench press record [a little over 1000 LB] and none of these guys could swing a 12 foot 300 -400 LB sward with one hand, and You can be sure nobody else could EVER. For a sward to be effective it needs to be FAST, one of the guys on this site who knows his stuff says about 2 LB is the corect weight. The trick is to make it tough, strong and light, with as good an edge holding ability as the first 3 factors allow.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 10/25/05 23:03:30 EDT

Ebay "Roman" Anvil: That is a poor copy of a Peddinghaus (very modern) pattern. This is distinguished by the conical horn and upsetting block. It has two upsetting blocks which is incorrect and means the artist that made the casting has only seen a single photo.

All the items on the seller's website with "lifetime authenticity" warantee can be bought for less than 1% of the selling prices in the countries of manufacture. Excellent reproductions of all these items are made in the countries or origin for the tourist market.

When I was in Costa Rica you could buy "pre Columbian" pottery pieces for as little as $3. You can also see the REAL pieces in many public and private collections there and it is VERY difficult to see any difference. In fact they are often made by the same native peoples using the same techniques as 500 years ago. One acquaintance had a beautiful stone aligator grind stone on their front porch. It was covered with various species of moss and lichen. It LOOKED 1,000 years old. He said it was concrete bought at one of the local markets about 10 years ago. Moss and other plants grown VERY rapidly on the surface of anything on tropical countries that are not purposely kept cleaned. . .

Photo by Jock Dempsey

"Ancient" anvil and Roman ring-key casting. See iForge Lost wax casting demo for details.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/25/05 23:47:53 EDT

Fake Antiques: Ebay is flooded with these things. In ironwork there was a fellow in Britian selling "Norman" iron artifacts. Several were such a blantant fakes that you could still see the arc welding bead through the accelerated rust. We also did an expose' on faux padlocks with famous placenames on them. These were bought from India for $3 each, marked with a placeneame and then distressed. Every one had BOTH original keys! Wasn't THAT fortunate.

12 foot Sword: We had a very serious fellow send me a CAD drawing of an 8 foot sword. It was probably the same one refered to above. At 8 feet the very bad proportions of the drawing worked out to 800 pounds in steel. In aluminium it would still be 275 pounds. . . And even made hollow out came out to 30-40 pounds.

The problem with a 275 pound sword is that IF someone were strong enough to hold it extended with both hands they would tip over. . . Simple lever mechanics says it is impossible to stand up and hold an object that weighs nearly as much as you do (OR more) with a center of gravity several feet away from you. Even the hollow 40 pound aluminium sword would tip you over at 12 feet long. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/26/05 00:07:07 EDT

Hi all
First thanks for the help last year on getting my powerhammer clutch to work, lubricating it with WD-40 and light oil worked a treat. Now on to a different request. I am organising a project for my Industrial Arts class at the high school were I teach. There is great interest in building a small power hammer and I remembered the dusty rusty and super rusty that was being designed by ABA. The plans for these would be perfect to compare designs and provide inspiration. However I have tried to contact Jerry Allen at the wizards forge via the email address on your wonderful powerhammer page with no response for the past three weeks. I am running out of time to organise these lessons for our end of year sessions. Anybody got another contact for Jerry or any other ideas.
Regards Greg H
Queanbeyan High School New South Wales Australia
   ghouse - Wednesday, 10/26/05 03:55:10 EDT

I need help locating a high temp thermometer for gold smelter and was wondering if you might know where to get one. I am getting desparate cause I can't find a single thing on the web.
   Kim - Wednesday, 10/26/05 06:16:32 EDT

Re: Antique miniature anvil. Same problem exists on eBay with arrowheads. I have heard estimates as high as 80% of those offered as authentic are modern reproductions. I have also heard it has greatly devalued some collections as the reproductions are so good they can even fool experts. I have a friend who is quite skilled at flint knapping. He sat on my porch one day and turned out four beautiful small arrowheads in about an hour. Three were from rock chips he picked out of one of my fields. Other was from a piece of Dover (TN) flint nodule.

Nothing really eBay can do about such a listing. Seller does offer a lifetime buy-back guarantee. They would likely say authenticity is between buyer and seller. Caveat emptor.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 10/26/05 06:42:43 EDT

Temperature Measurement: Kim, the title keyowrds in google returns good results. Omega has the best print catalogs. They are designed to be temperature measurment tech manuals as well as parts catalogs. www.omega.com/

Chromolox www.chromalox.com/ sells heating elements ad temperature measurement equipment.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/26/05 08:12:46 EDT

In the 13 years I have been blacksmithing I have never been asked to build fireplace doors, with glass.
Now I have a client who wants four of them , all different and on fireplaces of different matls.
Is there some info on this site pertaining to finishes that will hold up, installation techniques and attaching the glass panels?
Any leads in the right direction would be appreciated.

   Darla - Wednesday, 10/26/05 08:52:35 EDT

Don Robertson: On firepots, while there is a personal satisfaction in 'doing it yourself', take a look at eBay # 6220292814. My standard caution on eBay - watch out for S&H charges.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 10/26/05 09:21:31 EDT

JLW: It only takes about 2-3% iron to turn clay red. Kinda like hemoglobin in blood. Ochre is made from iron ores. Red ochre is hematite ground to powder, and yellow ochre is limonite done the same way. Different oxides of iron are different colors.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 10/26/05 09:53:26 EDT

Darla, The glass should be a loose fit held in place by spring clips or strips. I would have at LEAST 1/4" room to move. The loosness and springs are to compensate for the differential expansion of the glass and steel. The springs or strips are held in place with small screws and keep the glass from rattling.

Finishing is always a problem and with fireplace equipment the heat agrevates the peoblem. Common black graphite paint is the least expensive finish but must be renewed ocassionaly. Good even fire scale and thin wax works but WILL get condensation rust spots. The big commercial folks know how to handle the problem, they use brass plating. Clear coat powder coating and most other powder coat finishes are applied at high enough temperature to resist fireplace surround temperatures.

Depending on the price range sometimes it is less expensive to build the entire project out of stainless steel and put a fire scale finish on it. I've had very good luck with stainless. When blackened it does ocassionaly get rust stains but they do not hardly show and with a little wax blend in to a natural finish.

Measuring fireplaces is critical. The masonry may LOOK straigth but is often out of square. I fitted a door set to an arched fireplace that had an arch that was 1" flatter on one side than the other. . . That one required a template.

I use set screws on the inside of the frame pushing out gently against the masonry to hold fitted frames in place.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/26/05 10:12:59 EDT

Yes a good average weight for a *using* sword for about 1000 years, 600-1600 CE was about 2.2 pounds. Interestingly enough this weight range is spot on for both european and japanese weapons---do you think they knew something back when each blade was custom made and designed for use by people who's lives were characterized by lots of exercise?

There were some oversized *bearing* swords made that were not used for fighting but only in processions.

Frankly If I was forced into a sword fight I would *love* to see my opponent use some massive hollywood or anime sword as it would make it so much easier for me to take them out with my swiss army knife...

*MANY* reproduction swords sold today are way too heavy due to both ignorance and production methods. (I had a friend who was asked to design a sword for a production company who was wined & dined by them and found out that the head of the sword unit didn't know anything about distal tapers or blade harmonics---he was an accountant...)

Forging makes multiple dimension tapering a snap---it's a pain to try to machine them especially in thin flexible materials.

Jacob; smiths are easy to find, there is two here and another over there and a whole bunch of them about two hours north of here! Or to put it otherwise---should we list every smith in the world since you didn't tell us your general area? (I'm in Central NM, USA and you are welcome to stop by my smithy if you are in the area.)

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/26/05 10:46:05 EDT

Having an Anvil Made, Gas Grills and Hot water heaters:


Anvils are a relatively sophisticated tool made from hardened tool steel. Their weight and hardness puts them in the specialized manufacturer class. There are only about a dozen world wide. They are cheaper to buy than to make properly. Those that make their own do it for their own satisfaction and rarely are the results as good as the factory product. The exception is stake anvils used primarily for sheet metal and armor work. These can be made in the blacksmith shop just as well as the manufacturers.

You can buy a good used anvil for $150 US or so and a new anvil in the $500 and up range. See our FAQ on selecting an anvil.

Gas grills are not readily convertable to gas forges. The temperature range and operation are completly different. The problem starts with the little regulators which do not let enough gas pass for the necessary BTU to be a forge to the shell which is not designed or insulated for forge temperatures which are 4.5 times higher than grill and cooking oven temperatures.

To use as a coal forge most gas grills are too deep and need some fill. The air inlet or tuyeer needs to be about 1-1/2" diameter minimum and as much as 2-1/2" on a small forge and 3" on a large forge. If the gas grill is aluminium then you need to be carefull not to expose the aluminum to the direct heat or it will melt.

Brake drum forges are not ideal but they are a starting point. Our plans show components that are exactly the same on larger forges including commercial forges. The only difference is a good fire pot and a coal reservoir table top. The tuyeer and ash dump are identical.

Some forges have a "ball" clinker breaker which is actually triangular in section. It also allows you to adjust the air to a concentrated center fire when the point is up and to spread the fire when the flat is up.

The Brake Drum as fire pot is a marginal design but it DOES work. One reason for its popularity is that you can pickup old brake drums for free at garages that do brake service and pay as little as $5 for one at a scrap yard. When I built my first forge I used a couple of old bent auto rims which were FREE and on hand. If I had needed more it would not have taken but a few minutes on the phone to have enough bent rims to fill a pickup truck. . .

If you can fabricate your own, a proper fire pot is about 6" deep and 12 x 12" with sloping sides. Commercial pots are cast iron as thick as 3/4" but I have seen fabricated pots made from old hot water heater tank material. Old hot water heaters are another resource that if you ask for them you will have more than you know what to do with. They come with a sheet metal shell that can be used to make wind breaks and stacks. The end of a hot water heater tank makes a fair small forge pan with or without a fire pot.

Start simple. Think about what you can build from junk but do not overthink. If you do not have the junk just open your eyes, you neighbors will be glad to unload theirs on you. Buy real tools when you can afford it. There are no shortages of blacksmiths tool suppliers.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/26/05 11:29:03 EDT


If you are looking to build a gas forge I strongly recommend taking a look at Ron Reil's web site:


It is extraordinarily specific!
Hope this helps
   Rhordae - Wednesday, 10/26/05 12:26:04 EDT

I am 16 years old and have been interested in blacksmithing but aside from reading about it I dont know what to do. What else should I do?
   Nathaniel - Wednesday, 10/26/05 13:12:48 EDT

I am thinking of upgrading my lincoln AC tombstone welder to the AC/DC model which is on sale at HD for $384. Before I rush out and give my $$ to the Borg, I would appreciate suggestions and recommendations on a good stick welder of similar capacity. (225A 220v 1ph AC/DC) Thank you
   adam - Wednesday, 10/26/05 13:15:03 EDT

Nathaniel: Read the "Getting Started" section at this site. Find the local ABANA chapter in your state (check the ABANA site for this) go to their meets where you will meet smiths and watch demos. Take a welding class. Start collecting tools. Develop your hammering skills. etc

One quality that blacksmiths have is *initiative*
   adam - Wednesday, 10/26/05 13:31:21 EDT

You mean... E-Bay is a Two Edged Sword!?

Sorry, just couldn't resist marrying two threads like that.


Study and learn. I've been at this for years and I have yet to forge a sword from billet to blade, but I've repaired and/or rehilted quite a few. Just understanding the principles of metalwork will give you a whole new appreciation of the skill and labor that went into a sword. It's worth the trip.

E-Bay "artifacts":

I especially liked the two "rivets" (remains of sprues or runners) on the bottom. I'm glad Jock posted his Camp Fenby brass anvil, lest I have my suspicions. ;-)

As always, knowledge is the best defense, for both buyers and sellers.

Speaking of Camp Fenby, the revised preliminary schedule for Session One on November 5 & 6 is posted over in the Hammer-In. Anybody interested in coming from this august body? Session I will be even more laid-back than usual, but that just gives folks more flexibility to pursue their own projects. (Previous sessions at Camp Fenby are detailed in the AnvilFire News.)

Clear and cool on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 10/26/05 15:33:25 EDT


I was wondering if anybody had experience forging meteorite. I have a nice piece of Campo del Cielo Meteorite and I have its composition. it is 6.6% nickle. I would guess any good comercial flux or just plain store bought borax would work. perhaps pattern weld it with a high carbon steel? If used in knife making, perhaps do the final weld with this on both sides of a good high carbon tool steel? any input would be appreciated..

Frank Turley,,, are you still using coal from Hesperus,Co? just curious.
   Lee Pavlica - Wednesday, 10/26/05 17:21:56 EDT

Forging Meteorite: Lee, this material varies greatly and some is possible to work and some is difficult to work and some is impossible to work. Besides iron and nickle these can have every imaginable trace element used in alloys or found in ores.

The best use of meteoric iron is to saw slabs and laminate them on to the sides of a blade body that in turn will have an edge welded to it. Thus when ground and polished you will be looking at fairly original meteor structure. Using it as a laminate would be a waste of precious material.

Due to the nickle you need to use an aggressive flux such as used for stainless. These usualy have flourite powder added to them at 5 to 10%.

Jim Hrisoulas has had some experiance with meteor as part of blades. See last weeks archive under Hydrauluc Press
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/26/05 19:01:57 EDT

Hey again SIR GURU..
Thank you for your input.I believe I will do the brake drum.It does seem to be more practical for a hobby.Now as far as my anvil my father-in-law is the owner of a large fabricating shop.They make everything so he is going to make me one.I don't want to have a good anvil outside all the time so I hope it will do until I finish my shop.Then I can build a real forge and place a good anvil inside.

P.S. This is one of the best sites I have ever been in and I have been going from site to site for atleast a year tring to get some insite.Thank you very much..

   chris - Wednesday, 10/26/05 19:41:17 EDT

Thanks for your input on the meteorite. I have a complete chemical breakdown on it,,apparently it is a very old site, and well documented.. approx 4000 years old and from Argentina. besides nickle it has .43% Co,.25% P,and traces of three other exotics chemicals,,Ga,Ge, and Ir.. i dont even know what Ga and Ge are,,,

can you give me more info on flourite powder? where to look for it would help.

I have an actual meteorite about 1100 grams and the authentication to back it up and also a slab about 600 grams that is 4"x8"x3\16" already etched. it has a very cool pattern of i assume nickel grains of good size,,rectangular in size.. so you think forge weld this on each side of a good piece of say 1085 and keep this pattern? Or did you mean as the scales on the sides of the handle of the knife,,

however i know i'm going to stick this sucker in the fire and see what happens,, just cannot resist.

a gentleman traded this to me for making him a knife out of the slab. however i am sure that the other 94% or so is more or less iron ore,and needs to be forge welded extensively to get rid of the impurities and hopefully i will end up with a nickle\wrought iron mix with a pretty pattern when etched,,but surly not good knife material as i don't think nickle holds much of an edge,,

again thanks..
   - Lee Pavlica - Wednesday, 10/26/05 20:20:48 EDT

sorry for the triple post,, don't know how that happened,,
   Lee Pavlica - Wednesday, 10/26/05 20:23:59 EDT

Hi All,
I just picked up an old Yankee "1005" post drill,(circa 1914), at a yard sale. It's in excellent shape after about 3 hours of TLC, but it's missing a part. The piece is the top gude that connects a mysterious back post (probably a steady-rest) and the threaded assembly that makes the drill bit armature decend and rise. I could cobble something together, but would rather have or make original type parts. Anybody got any pic's, ideas or parts they'd like to sell off? Appreciate the input, Thanx!!
   Thumper - Wednesday, 10/26/05 21:01:16 EDT

Peddinghaus forged Anvil or Czech/Old World Classic cast steel Anvil
Hi quenchcrack and or fellow blacksmith metalurgists
Which anvils would you gents prefer of these two options and why?
This would be a great help to me. Even if someone has experience using both. I do have a denting concern of the czech anvils. quechcrack has experience with his own. Please advise. Thanks
   burntforge - Wednesday, 10/26/05 21:11:54 EDT

Ga: Gallium - Longest liquid range of all elements, soluble in acids anb alkalis.

Ge: Germanium - brittle metaloid used in semiconductors

Ir: Iridium, metal in the platinium group, resistant to acids used in special alloys.

The normal exotic metal blade as has been made since the earliest times has a soft iron core with decorative slabs (steel, pattern welded steel, Damascus wootz, meteorite) welded on both sides. The high purity steel or fine laminant steel is welded on the edges.

The trick to welding the meteroite is if it will hold together. Look up the melting points of all those elements. If it can be forged do the welding thick, then draw out. This will give you the best use of the material. If it is unforgeable (falls apart) but can be welded then use it carefully on-size and plan on a lot of stock removal.

This kind of work requires a lot of technical knowledge about exotic alloys. It is NOT the kind of information that is commonly available. You study existing exotic alloys and extrapolate then guess then test. . . Then figure out what you did wrong or why the interaction of the various metals did what they did.

Flourite powder: Flux grade is 98% Calcium Flouride. The mineral is also known as flourspar. Ceramic suppliers sell it in powder form. Industrual mineral suppliers sell it by the bag in crush-run or screened for use in steel making and casting.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/26/05 21:53:21 EDT

Peddinghaus: If you are thinking of one of these then buy now. Production has stopped temporarily and there are no large anvils available in stock. However, temporarily could become permanently. We may be seeing the passing of the forged steel anvil.

IF I were comparing cast anvils against Peddinghaus I would look at Rat-Hole first, then Nimba (also possibly going out of production). These are first class beautifully made anvils. The Rat-Hole has style that hasn't been seen in 50 years. Both start with the best castings, are machined and hand finished then heat treated to the best possible for the size and alloy type.

In used anvils there are some FINE specimens that can be bought for less than the new anvils above. I would go with a Hay-Budden and then an M&H Armitage Mouse-Hole if I could find one over 150 pounds in good condition.

What I currently have in my shop is a 300 pound Kohlswa, a 200 pound Hay-Budden early farrier and a 124 pound 1860's Mousehole. All are good anvils and each has its uses. Each cost just a little over $1/pound including the Mousehole bought at SOFA this fall. I also have several "clunkers" with missing horns, broken plates. . that are still good usable anvils and all cost less than 50 cents a pound.

New is great but what I can afford is old used anvils purchased opportunistically. If I could afford NEW today I would buy a Peddinghaus (knowing I would have to hand dress it - see job I did on Peddinghausanvils.com. If I could afford what *I* want I would fabricate my own fantasy pattern including flame hardening. One of those retirement projects for when I am rich. . . . ha ha ha ha. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/26/05 22:32:28 EDT


No, I'm not using Hesperus, Colorado, coal. About four minutes from my forge is a feed and fuel store that gets in HUGE chunks of coal which he sells as stove coal. However, it is a reasonable coking grade, and I think he gets it from Utah. I amazed myself in terms of its useage. The big chunks surrounding the fire will fractionize when hot and are easily chipped into nuggets which are moved into the fire with the fire rake. I do have a concrete pad and tamper which I use to pulverize some of the chunks. The smaller pieces are for starting the fire.

The Hesperus coal always reminds me of what Tom Bredlow said about some coal he was using. He said, "I sent them a postcard saying, Please send the coal and rocks separately; I'll mix'em when they get here."
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 10/26/05 22:51:18 EDT

Excellent Shape, Missing one Piece: Yeah, I have a three jaw scroll lathe chuck like that. . .


1) These machines came in hundreds of mechanical arrangements, not including size.

2) The last were made 50 to 60 years ago.

3) All the manufacturers either copied each other or bought from the same folks that actually MADE the things.

4) Almost all the parts were castings but some were closed die forgings. To fabricate parts that look OEM make them smooth and sleek with oval cross sections and rounded corners.

For images see our 21st Century page, the Buffalo forge catalog CD review and Canady-Otto Catalog review. We still have copies of the Canady Otto CD.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/26/05 23:03:12 EDT

Thanks Guru, I just found one of these for sale on the net with the piece in question in place (could send the address if anyone's interested). I'm waiting for an email and hopefully, closeup pic's reply...don't let this stop anyone from supplying more info. Thanks.
   Thumper - Wednesday, 10/26/05 23:20:10 EDT

I need a manual for a Hendley Whitmore Angle rolls. I have one but I need a manual for it. Do you know where I might could get one. My model number is 15508.

   - Roger Johnson - Wednesday, 10/26/05 23:48:23 EDT

adam : What do You plan on doing with the DC that You aren't able to do with the AC ? If You can scrounge 4 good sized diodes You can make a bridge rectifier for the AC tombstone. One of the guys I worked with did, the diodes came from somewhere in the plant. The Lincoln AC-DC model is pretty light duty in the DC mode.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 10/27/05 00:06:15 EDT

Roger- Hendley & Whittemore was in Beloit Wi. I am pretty sure they are long out of business. Their main products were plate rolls, although they also made ironworkers and some shears.
What information are you looking for?
If you want a parts breakdown or schematic, my guess is that there is no hope of finding one. And even if you did, you would not be able to find any parts- anything you need to repair on an orphan machine like that, you would need to custom make. There might be some standardised parts, such as gears or bearings, but my guess is your machine is 1960's or earlier, and so even a lot of that stuff is obsolete.
If you are looking for information about how to run the machine, or capacity, well, there isnt much of that out there either, but I might be able to help a bit if you have specific questions. I have a much more modern machine, but it does the same thing.
The Hendley's I have seen are similar to Buffalo angle rolls, which Buffalo still sells- Its possible they may be of some help to you. www.bmt-usa.com
   ries - Thursday, 10/27/05 01:13:16 EDT

Does this anvil look "real"?? ebay 6220537989
   - Tom H - Thursday, 10/27/05 02:16:44 EDT

Frank's coal. Yeah, I remember standing outside in the frosty morning at 7am breaking up coal for the day's class. Being a paying student, I protested that this was the kind of thing they used to make prisoners do before the Helsinki Accord on Human Rights. But Frank, standing there with his hands warm in his pockets, was unmoved. "If you werent doing this, you'd be doing something else" was all the sympathy he offered.


Lest you misconstrue this ancedote: If I had the time and the money, I would take Frank's class every year.
   adam - Thursday, 10/27/05 05:12:13 EDT

Welder. I have ordered the Hobart StickMate - you guys talked me into it. (haha!) Its rated 160A DC which will run 1/8 rod - the size I most commonly use. Also it has a shunt so the current control is continuous. My tombstone has big clicks and that makes it hard to find a good setting for small rods.

Dave, DC will give me a nicer bead (I am resurfacing my anvil with underlay rod), an easier start and easier out of position welding. It also means I can use a wider range of rods. I have thought about doing my own DC rectification and I actually have the diodes. I also have parts to make a wave chopper to electronically control the power - but all that will wait for another day. I have too much welding needs done soon. Also, this is an old, simple design with not much to wear out. I expect to b e able to sell it in a few years and get half my $$ out of it (just like I did with the tombstone). So it comes out to $50/yr to use a good quality new machine. Try this rationalization yourself you will be amazed what toys you can afford! :)
   adam - Thursday, 10/27/05 05:25:53 EDT

I said I would report back with the results when I got my press going so here it is:

I used W36 hydraulic fluid. It took about 4 gallons to fill the system. When I first powered up the pump, the rotation was backward. It took about 30 second to reverse the wires then I powered it up again. Then all hell broken lose.

I was running a 1800 rpm 1 HP motor because my 3600 rpm 3hp was pulling duty elsewhere. When the motor came on, the valve was in the position to bring the jaws together. Before I could get my hands on the valve, the jaws closed, I heard the bang of breaking welds, and the motor stalled, then shut down (overload protection). I estimate it produced about 30 tons (5" cylinder, area 19.6 sq in, 3000 psi drive) which was 2 times the designed load. It bent 10, 3/8 inch number 8 bolts like they were made of lead!

What I did wrong:
1. The person I bought the pump from told me it had a built in relief valve - wrong it shot right up to 3000 psi - that's when the motor stalled
2. I didn't have a kill switch wired next to the valve.
3. I didn't make sure the valve was closed before I powered up.

I got very lucky! I was a few feet away when things started breaking, and nothing went flying. It just made some hideous noises and bent some bolts.

Here is my webpage with a few photos of the damage. http://users.adelphia.net/~sgalperin/blacksmith.html
   Stephen G - Thursday, 10/27/05 06:35:04 EDT

Tom H.

It is a typical VULCAN brand anvil. Looks to have been refinished and repainted. If you take a look at the top of the hardy hole it looks to be out of square, indicating possible mushrooming in the past and then the top being ground or milled down flat. Look at the shot of the end of the heel and you can see a thick paint layer on three sides. Almost looks too perfect. What somewhat concerns me about this one is there is almost no step to it, possibly indication a substantial portion of the top plate has been removed. Even with suspected flaws, it is still likely far better than one of the Russian imported ASOs.

Only connection with Arm & Hammer anvils is they both used somewhat similar logos.

According to Richard Postman in Anvils in America (available in the forum store), Vulcan anvils were never marketed for blacksmithing, per se. They targeted the market of schools, garages and farmers. They were often carried as the low-end anvil by national catalog companies, such as Sears.

On multiple postings: Programming does it to me sometimes. Forgets who I am. Have to reenter name and e-mail addy. When you send, the same box reappears, making it look like it didn't transmit. To get back into the programming good graces I have to log back in.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 10/27/05 07:48:55 EDT

Dear Guru,

I am looking for a number of different shaped cutters for punching star/flower etc, shapes out of tin. Can you direct me to a supplier please?

Sara Browne.
   Sara Browne - Thursday, 10/27/05 08:24:40 EDT

Vulcan on Ebay: We all know that no matter how well this anvil was taken care of that it would have a nice smooth coat of rust on it. Why do these guys insist on lying? "I bought it like this from an estate". With that shine rust will show up within days if not hours. The brilliance of the pollishing indicates it was only hours old when photographed. The body has also been ground or bondoed up to make it smoother (OR that is awful thick goopy paint).
Its a nice example of an old cast anvil but I would not deal with an obvious lier.

In the hey-day of blacksmithing when many places including hardware catalogs carried more than one anvil all the cast-iorn boddied anvils were the "economy" anvils and the chilled cast iron and "semi-steel" anvils even cheaper and sold to the homeowner or hobbiest for ocassional use. There was no misrepresentation. When folks bought these inferior tools they knew what they were buying.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/27/05 08:52:43 EDT

Special Shape Punches: Sara,

Roper-Whitney used to carry a few geometric shapes, square hex, diamond, logenge. Just finding round punches on their web site is a real trick. . .

For an overview of press tooling see Commercial Punch and Die Tooling

Virtually all odd shaped punches other than the little ticket punches are custom made. You take a drawing to a tool and die shop and pay thousands of dollars. The more detailed the drawing (such as an engineering blue print) the less the cost. However it is still very expensive. You will also need to specify what kind of press you are using or if you need a complete die set. The metal thickness will also need to be known. The thinner the metal the tighter the clearance must be to produce clean cuts.

Generally custom punches are for VERY high production due to costs. On the long run they are the cheapest way to go but it takes thousands of uses to reach this point.

Today there are economical options to punch and die work. LASER and water jet cutting can cut many materials very accurately, smoothly and cleanly. They can be used for making holes or blanking. All it takes is a CAD drawing and you can have one or a million pieces cut. However, somewhere in the tens of thousands the punch and die may be more economical.

Most craftsfolk use a fine torch to cut odd shapes from sheet metal. Others doing light plate invest in a computer guided plasma torch. LASERs and water jet systems are still big bucks and found in job shops and wharehouses. However, I predict that it will not be too long before you see LASER cutting tables in small shops.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/27/05 09:26:32 EDT

What have you all to say on the subject of "box" bellows? I came across some plans for one it it looks easier to build than other bellows. I can see where the air might not flow as well in a box and a piston sliding in a box might require more effort to work than a hinge but...do they work ok if put together well? Oh, I'm burning charcoal eclusively right now.
   Mike Ferrara - Thursday, 10/27/05 09:30:08 EDT


thanks for the info.. I will give this info to my client and see if he wants to proceed.. I'm ready..


beyond the extra rocks,,:) how do you rate your Utah coal compared to Hesperus? I do remember your words at one time,, I have used worse,,and it certainly beats the alternative..

Did you move to Taos,,or are you still in Sante Fe?
   Lee Pavlica - Thursday, 10/27/05 09:59:10 EDT

Mike, They are good if you build a "side manifold" with more than one valve, so you can get air on the push or on the pull; "The Craft of the Japanese Sword" has a diagram.

Lee, check out my website: www.turleyforge.com, and all will become clear.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 10/27/05 10:04:14 EDT

How thick is the tin? Steel rule dies might work and be a lot cheaper to build if it's real thin stuff. You might also be able to get away with using some *old* real steel leather punches designed to cut out shapes for use in ornamental leather work---not tooling it but to produce pieces to be sewn onto another piece.

That vulcan might suit a silversmith right well but I wouldn't buy it for smithing iron/steel!

   Thomas P - Thursday, 10/27/05 10:43:50 EDT

Box Bellows: Mike, These are a great tool. The current plans circulating around are very simple. However, they have some problems.

Plywood is NOT the proper wood for these. The surface is too rough and has too much angular grain. Many people are having friction problems in box bellows and plywood is the number one reason. Smooth clear grain pine or spruce with a heavy wax finish will do very well. Hard mahogany would be best.

Sealing surfaces of the piston should be covered with several layers of felt. This provides a seal, bearing and room for expansion and contraction. Felt can also be used around the piston rod.

The plans I've seen have a long bird house or shed manifold and valve tube. This works well but is quite ugly. All the Oriental box bellows I have seen had the valving hidden and were either square or cylindrical. These folks took great pride in their wood work and were masters of complex joints and puzzles. Hiding valves in a symetrical body is not a problem. I have a design I want to build before I release plans that does this. The valves are hidden in a chamber in the bottom of the bellows. This would take two intake and exhust valves but I have figured out how to have one exhust valve of both directions. . .

The box bellows pumps air on both strokes (forward and back). Although this does not produce the same continous flow as a Great Bellows it is very close. There is a little more friction in the box bellows but careful construction can avoid much of this.

I believe the development of the box bellows has cultural impetus. In the oriental world meat has long been a small part of their diet. Quite a few are vegitarians on religious grounds. Less meat means less cattle and that means less leather. Less leather means more expensive leather. Then there is my point about excellence in wood working and love of tricky joints. The environment may also have some effect as well. Much of this part of the world is tropical. Leather molds and rots more rapidly in warm damp climates. All reasons to use a leatherless bellows. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 10/27/05 10:56:06 EDT

I just took a look at the Vulcan anvil on ebay (to compare to my Vulcan). It looks to be the same model but smaller size (mine's 100lbs). The the table being flush with the horn is the same design, so I'd have to say that's factory done. However, there was no noticable seam line between the face of the anvil and the body, so I have to wonder if there is a hard face welded to it or not. Perhaps the pristine condition of the work surface is because it's soft metal and easily re-worked....buyer beware!!
   Thumper - Thursday, 10/27/05 11:03:43 EDT

Vulcan anvil
I looked at the vulcan anvil on ebay. I could se the seem line on the back heel for the face plate. It appears to be the normal 3/8" thick for this size vulcan. Vulcan were produced up to 30-40 years ago. It is common to find them with the faces just like new. I have owned a few perfect ones in the past. The faces are very hard like a fisher anvil. They are what they are a low end grey cast anvil with a face plate. It certainly would serve someone purpose for use. It appears to have been painted with automotive paint. I hope this helps.
   burntforge - Thursday, 10/27/05 11:27:52 EDT

Welder/Anvil repair
It sounds like you already have a nice AC welder. I would go to a mig welder instead of purchacing an ac/dc welder. To repair your anvil use 4030 tool steel mig wire and preheat the anvil to 400 degrees. Then flap disc it to blend when finished. You probably will not need to heat treat it when done. Give the anvil a wack and see if it still has a good ring after repair. If you need it heat treated after send bring it to a local heat treat company. It would likely cost around 150.00 to heat treat. I understand you would like a better weld by using a DC welder. Purchasing another stick welder when you have one would be like buying a car with a carburetor when you already have one. Why not buy one with fuel injection instead. Adam I hope this helps.
   burntforge - Thursday, 10/27/05 11:44:57 EDT

Custom punches- Sara doesnt say how these punches will be used- the guru assumed they would go in either a hand or power operated punch. If this is the case, a good place to try might be Cleveland Punch and die- www.clevelandpunch.com
The price of custom punches for things like ironworkers has actually come down a bit in recent years, as they are now made with CNC EDM machines, as opposed to by hand on a milling machine and grinder by a very skilled machinist. But they still arent cheap. $300 to $500 per punch and die would probably not be unreasonable for small, up to 3/4" or so, shapes.
Also, for small, hand punches that you hit with a hammer, Joe Rollings, a blacksmith, makes many types for silversmiths, and might be able to help, or know who can- www.thingswestern.com
   ries - Thursday, 10/27/05 11:56:49 EDT

Sara Punches
May be worth a look
Tandy leather sells all kinds of punches and shapes for leather. You may purchase a couple and see if they are hard enough and will hold up well for thin tin punching. They don't cost very much. The website is: www.tandyleather.com 1-800-446-2999
   burntforge - Thursday, 10/27/05 11:58:54 EDT

My last post addressed punching star shaped holes in sheet- that is, like a bus conductors punch, only bigger.
But if you want to cut out big shapes, such as a 6" flower, these were historically done on punch presses, with custom tooling. Often times there would only be one supplier in the whole USA of a particular shape- for instance, one shop, originally in the lower east side of manhatten, produced 50% or so of ALL the stamped steel leaves used on ornamental chandeliers, patio furniture, and candlesticks in the whole country. They had hundreds of leaf pattern dies for punch presses, each one taking some machinist weeks to build. They would run continous rolls of sheet metal thru the punch press, making a run of several thousand parts at a time.
There are still a couple of these stamping shops left, the best one proabably being Frank Morrow Co, in Rhode Island. (google em) They might be able to use their standard tooling to make your shapes for you.
Old timey tin shops did not have huge punch presses and custom tooling to stamp out shapes- they would either cut them by hand, one at a time, or buy them from one of the big east coast stamping houses.
But, as the Guru said, nowadays, we have the option of CNC plasma, laser, or waterjet cutting these parts, and it is relatively cheap, accurate, and will work in any material.
This would be a much better option than actually buying tooling and setting up a press for any object bigger than about 2" square. Press forces are much higher than you would think- even in Tin, you would need a 50 to 100 ton punch press to do an ashtray sized stamping, and the tooling to do each part would weigh several hundred pounds per die. A 100 ton punch press is no small thing to buy and maintain- they weigh tons, are huge, make lots of noise, and use lots of power.
   ries - Thursday, 10/27/05 12:10:13 EDT

I just looked at the pictures of Stumpy, the broken hydraulic press, and all I can say is you are lucky you still have all your parts. The sizes of materials and construction techniques are appropriate for a 5 ton bottle jack, maybe, but they are WAAAY to wimpy for a 30 ton cylinder, regardless of what kind of valve you have.
I built my press by copying the enerpac frame- and it is rated for 50 tons.
Rather than your 1/4" wall 4" square tube, Enerpac uses a 12" x 3" channel for the uprights, and rather than 3/8" bolts, try a 2" solid round pin.
The horizontal members should be more like a 15" channel.
And enerpac is not a particularly heavy duty press- if you look at the big boys, they are built even beefier.
Your press is not strong enough for a 30 ton cylinder, and if you fix it where it broke, it will probably break somewhere else, in a more spectacular way. Copy a press that is already engineered to take the forces you want to put into it- 30 tons of pressure is not somewhere for seat of the pants experiments.
   ries - Thursday, 10/27/05 12:36:47 EDT

Lee, on forging meteorite, check the following by some who have done it:

One thing to note is that pattern on your etched slab will disappear forever if forged or even if heated to forging temperatures. It's called a Widmannstatten pattern, and is caused by alloy segregation brought about by spending a few million years at forging temps, plus a few thousand more cooling at about a degree or less per year. If you heat it up again the nickel will go back into solution, ruining the pattern.
   Alan-L - Thursday, 10/27/05 13:03:25 EDT

What is the rubberized material that looks like caulk used in the hofi type hammers? I need to put handle in two of them. I usually am not very good at replacing hammer handles. Do you have good instruction on how to fit them properly? Thank You
   burntforge - Thursday, 10/27/05 13:09:35 EDT


You need to think out your connections better. It looks like those bolts had huge unsupported length rather than being in pure shear. A 15 ton press should be able to be tested at 30ton. That's only a 2:1 factor of safety. As light as it is, it probably would have held together if the bolts had been in shear.
   - grant - Thursday, 10/27/05 13:41:12 EDT

Stephan G:

Look at how you did the bottom different than the top. At the top the bolts are in double shear. I'll bet nothing bent or broke there. Use a simlar design at the bottom.
   - grant - Thursday, 10/27/05 13:53:28 EDT

To make the bottom like the top I need a 4.5 inch long 1 inch diameter clevis pin. Any suggestions where I can find one of those?
   Stephen G - Thursday, 10/27/05 14:45:14 EDT

Answered my own question - The source for everything - McMaster-Carr
   Stephen G - Thursday, 10/27/05 14:50:15 EDT

hammer caulk. it is actually some kind of caulk. you could call big blu they sell hofi hammers and handle them that way - dont recall the man's name but he was very pleasant and explained a bit about the caulk. None of which I remember because I like to work to a close fit and then use a thin smear of epoxy in the eye
   - adam - Thursday, 10/27/05 14:59:52 EDT

Comment on Box bellows. These were the Traditional Japanese style. Friction when using plywood can be reduced if the wood is sanded and finished well, and if UHMW polyethylene "buttons" are used in appropriate placec to prevent wood-wood contact.
   - John Odom - Thursday, 10/27/05 15:21:08 EDT

Hi Adam and Guru
I just spoke with big blu and they were very helpful with the hammer handle caulk. I understand Jock spoke with them to get some info for me. I really appreciate that. That was very kind of him. If you know the name of the caulk adhesive that would be helpful as well. He didn't have it right out where he could tell me the name of it at the moment. Big Blu is always great to deal with. They are top-notch.
   burntforge - Thursday, 10/27/05 16:57:21 EDT

Keep in mind BigBlu will be the featured demonstrator at the CSI/Anvilfire Hammer-in near Waverly, TN on April 21-22, 2006. I'm planning on having some scrap 1" - 2" stock on hand so you can make a tool, such as a drift. Hammer-in details to be given as they are firmed up. However, can say it will be intentionally a very laid back, KISS event.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 10/27/05 17:13:51 EDT

Failed Press: Bolts, pins and rivets should carefully be in shear and supported so that they cannont bend. The joint design had these bolts in a long bending moment. A 3/8" bolt at the shank has .110 sqin. of cross section. Normal design parameters for machinery are to design for 10,000 PSI max on parts in shear. Grade 8 bolts are 100,000 PSI material and would give a 10:1 safety factor when rated at 10,000 but NOT in a bending moment. That 10:1 drops to 5:1 under overload conditions and 5:1 is a good safety margin. The material surrounding the bolts must also be considered and it is rarely more than mild steel or cast iron. 30,000 PSI max for steel and 15,000 PSI for cast iron.

There were 10 bolts in double shear resulting in 2.20 Sqin. total. At 10,000 PSI this is 22,000. Far less than the 60,000 PSI of a 30 ton cylinder. In fact, the bolts, if in proper shear would be stressed at nearly 30,000 PSI. Too high for one off design and way too high for DIY design. At overload condition (stall) they may see double the normal load and be at 60% of ultimate which is getting close to failure especialy if the joint is not properly designed.

I see what looks like one non-grade 8 nut with the grade 8 bolts. Using a grade 2 nut reduces the whole assembly to grade two.

To mount the pin mount cylinder you could use a short piece of large H or I beam turned with the web vertical. This would give you two flanges for pins or bolts and NO welds. To properly support the pin you need a snug fit between the ears on the cylinder. To do this you could weld plates to the web to create a boss of sufficient thickness. I would drill the hole in assembly but you could laminate the plates with an alignment pin in place.

There are many reasons for single pinned joints in this type construction rather than bolting or welding. Pins are easy to calculate their cross section, load is always straight through the center AND they allow rotation at the joint as parts deflect preventing increased loads at the joint. Groups of bolts and rivets always see rotation at the joint which increases the load on some while reducing the load on others. Their advantage is that they are smaller. But you have to over design significantly when used.

Welded flanges, ears and such work fine but you MUST be a decent welder. Engineers often look at welds as a big unknown and use pinned joints for all the reasons above OR use pins with welds to assure the load on the weld is the way they THINK it is going to be. IF there is any question about your welds then consider other means. My general rule about welds is if they look good they probably are good. If they look like dog____ then they are about as good. If you have to grind welds to make them pretty. . . then no go.

Always remember on force generating machines that under overload conditions you may see double the design load. Under uneven load such as load on one side of dies you will see double the load and possibly tripple. The machine MUST be able to withstand stall loading under the worst condition.

I just wrote double, then tripple. That is 2x and 3x. That is 6 times (forces multiply not add) the design capacity. All of a sudden that 10:1 ratio of using 10,000 PSI max design load for all joints then using high strength steel is not looking too bad. . .

Machine Safetys are important but the machine must be able to take the unexpected as above. Often what LOOKS overbuilt is just right. Pop off valves fail and limit switches get bypassed as machiness are run backwards. . . They ARE important as well as a panic button. However, until you are very familiar with the operation of a machine, hitting that STOP button in the instant before damage is done generally does not happen.

A Hydraulic Press Story

You probably have seen the photo of my manual hydraulic press with the 20 ton bottle jack. Being manual you would not think it would could be easily damaged especially as heavy as it is built and you are right. However. . .

I was once pressing one part into another. It was about 1/2" from finishing and it felt bottomed out. THAT would be a disaster so I pulled harder on the pump handle, and harder then kept pumping at as hard as I could pull on the short (not extended) handle. The maximum capacity of bottle jacks can be reached with the first length of the handle no extensions or cheaters are needed. The part FINALLY went home. I backed off the release valve and expected the cylinder to retract. Nothing moved. I pryed on the part a little, it was STUCK.

THEN I looked at the press. Immediately above the work I had a box with a poured babbit guide bearing. This press was designed for punch work not just rough pressing and needed a snug guide. The guide was bent down about 3/4" in the middle bending the flanges. The bearing was crushed in on the ram holding it in place. THIS was what was keeping the cylinder from retracting. . . Parts only 1" from where I was focoused while pumping the jack were silently bent and destroyed!

It was a day's work to dissasemble and make new press parts. NOW I always check the machine travel when something sticks or feels stiff. Sometimes it is just a tight spot but it can also be the END. Often machines cannot be easily repaired. I've been lucky. I usualy hit the switch when I hear anything unusual and have saved numerous motors. But in this case *I* was the motor, there was no warning noise and I kept on going. . . Overkill in design is good.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/27/05 17:15:04 EDT

Hammer Head Compound: Years ago someone told me what it was but I cannot remember the specifics. It is some kind of industrial concrete adhesive designed for expansion joints (I think) that is pretty pricey. I suspect it is cheaper to have BigBLU rehandle your Hofi hammers. Others have substituted other (cheaper) materials with not so good results.

Big BLU will rehandle your Hofi hammers with the new NC OEM handles for $8 each plus $10 shipping for as many as will fit in a Flat Rate priority mail box.

Although most of us like to DIY I think this is a reasonable price for a high tech shock absorbant handle remount by the manufacturer.

   - guru - Thursday, 10/27/05 17:25:21 EDT

What I would suggest for using meteorite is to use the stuff for guards, bolsters and pommel and collect the material machined/filed/ground off to add to a billet getting the max with the still visible Widmannstatten pattern and still have bragging rights about meteorite in the blade.

Hrisoulas discusses forging meteorite fairly well in his bladesmithing books; including which falles were easiest to forge IIRC, (probably in "The Pattern Welded Blade")

   Thomas P - Thursday, 10/27/05 17:41:05 EDT

Rehandled hammers

8$ is a pretty good deal. Normally, handles cost me about $5, without scrounging, plus an hour labor to do the job right. Polyurethane adhesive, or caulk seems to work pretty well to strengthen the head/handle joint.
   - Tom T - Thursday, 10/27/05 18:32:43 EDT

On the Hofi hammers the eye is considerably oversize on the long axis. The compound creates considerable cushioning by design. Otherwise the handles do not fit. This is quite a bit different than just gluing the head on.

When I rehandle hammers tight I use carpenters glue with the wood wedge which also fills some voids around the handle. After the wood wedge is driven in until it crushes it is followed by a metal wedge. For tight handles this is the best you can do.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/27/05 18:47:41 EDT

The hammer I got from Tom Clark was soaked in antifreeze for a night to prevent it from shriking and expanding. It's worked well so far.
   MIKE - Thursday, 10/27/05 18:50:32 EDT

On Stumpy the press that failed;
I would offer that in a system with no relief valve, when deadheaded as this system was, will see pressure increase until either the motor stalls, or something breaks. With pressure hose having a 6 times burst pressure from rating, and the valve probably at least similar, He may have spiked to 5000 psi without seeing any hydraulic failures evident. I did not see a permanent set on the gage, and that is usually how one notices a serious overpressure that did not burst anything. I could not tell the pressure range of the gage though. Years ago, I burst tested many fittings, valves, cyclinders etc. They take a surprising amount of overpressure to actually burst. Tie rod cylinders will often stretch the rods, weep a little and maybe extrude the seal at the head/barrel joint in a spike. He might want to peap the cyclinder head and cap for any evidence of seal extrusion.

Motto: always put a system safety in a hydraulic circuit. Pump reliefs are good, but a seperate system safety, set a couple of hundred psi above the design pressure is good insurance.
   ptree - Thursday, 10/27/05 19:50:00 EDT

Just a little aside;
Ever hear the bang a 2 1/2" x .340 wall boiler tube makes when it is burst tested? Took around 19,000 psi. Very satisfing bang:) The 10" by 1.25 wall header was a scarry bang! (took 33,000 psi)
   ptree - Thursday, 10/27/05 19:53:08 EDT

Where do I find an anvil or furnace?
   Zamm - Thursday, 10/27/05 19:55:40 EDT

Anvils: As I have said, I have an Old World anvil that I am quite pleased with. However, if I used it every day for production work, I am sure it would show a lot more wear. If you are a hobby hammer, the Czech anvils are fine. If you are a professional, you would probably do well to follow Guru's advice. However, good tools are not cheap. The Peddinghaus anvils were selling for over $7 per pound and that was before the dollar took a nose dive. I would prolly go for a Nimba if I wanted a first class anvil at a fair price but it still won't be cheap. My $350 OW double horn 167# anvil is now about $550 dollars NOT including freight. And I went out last weekend and looked closely at the anvil face and, yep, got a few dings in it but very shallow. I may bring my World Famous Ruskie anvil to Ken's hammer it and try to find it a new home......
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 10/27/05 20:37:57 EDT

Poof, then prost....HAMMER IN....not hammer it...dang.....
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 10/27/05 20:39:16 EDT


The only thing I don't like about the Nimba, is that the pritchel and hardie holes sit inside the outer perimeter of the base. If I'm using the pritchel as a backing plate while drifting, the drift will fall through the hole and become trapped between the bottom pritchel outlet, and the wood block I'm using as a base. Kind of annoying, but I could fix the problem with only minor modification to the anvil mount.
   - Tom T - Thursday, 10/27/05 20:48:04 EDT

Thank You Guru, Quenchcrack, Tom T & Ken the poor boy tool pro. You guys are a great help as always.
I spoke with old world anvil today as well. Another bunch of nice folks. I was just a little surprised at the rockwell of the anvils. I just have a fancy for a double horn anvil in my shop as well. I think it would be very handy. I really would like a Peddinghuas. No doubt the best anvil there is. Certainly folloed by a beautiful Rat Hole and Nimba. I just can't afford them. If I bought a 45 lb Peddinhaus I could swing that one, but would have to mount it to a 100 lb block of steel. That is why I am interested in a old world anvil. I am concerned with denting though. I am not a little tapper. I swing a hammer. Even though I have good hammer control I do miss too. I probably would have the face a dent factory. I just don't understand with todays technology and available alloys why people can't make em like they use too. It is just like swords or knives. They should be so hard and durable you would not need to resharpen. You should be able to clang swords togethor and not have them chip. You should be able to drive your hunting knife straight through your anvil without damage and then shave with it...lolol. Why was these thing possible centuries ago and not today? I am still interested in the old world anvil, but would probably get irritated with the first minutes of use and dents. They are a fair price. I just want a big bang for my buck. Once you let loose of a a few hundred plus dollars is should last 3 life times. I think I expect to much. I am not running down anyones product as they do have their place. I have found 99% of blacksmith suppliers to be just great folks.
   burntforge - Thursday, 10/27/05 21:45:46 EDT

Polyurethane adhesive : Hofi recomends using Sikaflex to bond anvils to their bases, He may well be using the same stuff on the hammer handles. 3M 5200 is a similar product with even greater bond strength. It is a marine product.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 10/27/05 23:24:10 EDT

Thank You Dave

   burntforge - Thursday, 10/27/05 23:42:06 EDT

Adam: My friend had the AC-DC Tombstone, it worked pretty good at first, but I think a steady diet of 1/8 rods on DC broke down the rectifiers [MY guess] as the arc became iregular. Nothing holds up well for this guy, You may have a better experience, and Your machine may be a little more capable. If You don't excede the duty cycle it should be OK. Building the chopper circut is one thing, but getting smooth arc performance at lower settings is another. You neeed something to keep the juice flowing in the "OFF" part of the cycle [capacitors etc.]The new invertor type power suplies deal with this, but I have heard a preferance for the old, ineficient, magnetic amplifier or saturable reactor type machines by some.
   Dave Boyer - Thursday, 10/27/05 23:51:01 EDT

Vulcan Anvil : I hapend across a listing for these in a 1971 publication "The Last Whole Earth Catalog" 70# for $52.80 and 100# for $63.80 "Solid tempered tool steel face" and "horn is made entirely of tough untempered steel" The catalog was aparently put together by a bunch of hippies, reading it is like a time machine trip back to when I was 12 years old.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 10/28/05 01:09:16 EDT

Sikaflex adhesive,
Sika makes dozens of different type adhesive and sealants.
Mind you all are excellent stuff. Some suited better for a given purpose than others.
Maybe Mr.Hofi can say exactly what Sika part nr. it is.
Gluing an anvil to a stump is one thing and alot of Sika products would work equally well.
But for safety in bonding a hammer& haft, Maybe one should use the precise stuff thats been tried and proven by Mr.Hofi.
Conversly, One could ask a Sika dealer for recomendation.
Further, There are dozens of competiors to Sika making equally good stuff, Here again dozens of types suited for different applications.
   - Sven - Friday, 10/28/05 02:08:51 EDT

I sent an E-mail to Uri Hofi asking about the adhesive, Hopefully He will clear this up. As for My recomendation of 5200, if You ever tried to get anything apart that was bonded with this stuff, You would have been wishing You used something less tenacious in the first place. The Sikaflex PU marine sealant I am familiar with is [slightly]less tenacious, or at least the cured product is a little softer than cured 5200.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 10/28/05 03:35:33 EDT

Tool Handle Bonding : At the plant we used fiberglass handles in the engineers and sledge hammers. The bonding agent that was used was a flexable epoxy, or so I was told. a similar marine product is Gluvit from Travaco labratories. The down side of the 5200 & other PU products is they take a long time to fully cure, as they are moisture cured.There are fast cure versions available, but they still take pretty long compaired to an epoxy reaction.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 10/28/05 03:52:49 EDT

Has anyone tried Gorilla Glue on tool handles. You wet the head or handle, put glue on (or in) the other and then drive handle in. Water activates glue. A steel wedge can still be used after the glue has dried and excess has been removed.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 10/28/05 06:26:17 EDT

Thanks for the box bellows info. Looks like just what I'm looking for.
   Mike Ferrara - Friday, 10/28/05 06:42:02 EDT

just came back from 8 days visit in chaina
i use to glue the hammer handle and the anvile to the base
also the air hammer plate to the flore with" SIKAFLEX 11 CF"
   hofi - Friday, 10/28/05 07:17:58 EDT

hofi, did you visit the anyang factory ?, Im heading over there myself when I get a few spare days, if you did go I would be interested to know if they looked after you ok!
   John N - Friday, 10/28/05 07:28:42 EDT

A little advise required about gas forges, ive read all the faq's and they dont really cover what im planning to do..

In the factory next door they are 'breaking' a very large stress relieving over, so theres skips full of firebricks & lining material going begging. Im going to make a small forge for heating bars up to 1" or so dia, im anticipating inside dimensions of 12" x 5" sq - I have a large oxy-propane set and a 'rosebud' type torch, is it feasable just to feed the tip of the torch in through a hole in the side? what would be the best position for it? , my concern is melting the end of torch! the forge will only be used for the odd 30 mins every now and again.

any advise much appreciated...
   John N - Friday, 10/28/05 07:38:03 EDT

Ken; Yes, I have used the Gorilla Glue to mount a handle. So far it seems to have worked pretty well. It takes a couple of messes to learn just how much is too much, though. I did a claw hammer, re-using the original (loose) handle, and hurrying up to get the wood and steel wedges in before the foaming got started.
   3dogs - Friday, 10/28/05 07:50:01 EDT

Adam; I have run a LOT of 1/8" 7018 rod on an AC only Tombstone (a great way to learn arc control), but it was an older, copper wound machine from the early 60's. Did Lincoln ever go back to winding the Tombstone with CU after the great copper famine of the early 70's, or did they just stay with aluminum?
   3dogs - Friday, 10/28/05 08:02:16 EDT

Fastener derating - I'm going to play devil's advocate -

The 5 inch cylinder in my press is rated for 2500 psi. That yields a max force of approximately 49000 lbs ((5*5*3.1415*2500)/4). The clevis pin is 1 inch hardened steel. Using the 100000 psi per inch squared, that means the clevis pin is good for 78000 lb ((1*1*3.1415*100000)/4). That only gives a safety factor of approximately 1.6.

So, my general understanding of derating is the "worst" derating sets the derating of the whole system. Therefore no matter what I do with the rest of the system I'll never really be better than 1.6 safety factor.

I'm not using this as an excuse to build a crappy system, especially now that I have all this excellent input. It's just that you all know about the idle mind!
   Stephen G - Friday, 10/28/05 08:17:52 EDT

hi, i have a used oxy/acet welding set that needs a new diaphram for the oxy regulator. it is a small presto-lite regulator and i am having a hard time finding a replacement diaphram. any suggestions? i really appreciate your help, thanks. the housedad
   the housedad - Friday, 10/28/05 08:31:32 EDT

Oxy-Fuel Bar Heating:

First, The oxygen fortified flame is more than high enough to melt the steel. Hot spots are going to be a problem.

Second, The fire bricks will take the temperature but Kaowool type products will melt. They can be used outside the bricks but not exposed directly to the Oxy-fuel flame.

Third, these very fast heats produce a surface heat that does not forge well and does bad things to the steel when forged.

You did not say how long you plan the forge to be. Long forges need multiple heating ports to evenly heat.

Yes the tip will melt if it is stuck through the refractory. Large heating tips cool by the air that is sucked along the surface by the flame in front. If the tip has some clearance (minimum about 1/8") and only extends into the refractory a short distance it should be OK. However, these things are time dependent. If the refractory around the tip get hot enough the tip will burn or melt.

The location of the tip/burner is tricky as it WILL create a very hot hot spot.

I would think that for a stationary torch it would need to be at a low angle from the back of the forge toward the front. OR from the front toward the back at the same low angle. Another possibility is UP from the bottom at the back heating an arched roof and letting the radiant heat do the heating. This is known as a "reverbatory furnace".

I would pre heat the forge for a minute less or until it was brightly hot. Then put the bar in and let it heat from residual heat. Then fire the forge for a short time and then let the bar soak some more after a brief heat. Finally fire the forge holding the bar in tongs and rotating it while moving in and out of the forge.

Normally when I heat bars with a torch I make a refractory shelter open on one side so that I can play the torch bach and forth along the bar AND on the refractory as much of the heating of the back side comes from the heated refractory. While heating the refractory time is passing so that the heat is soaking into the center of the bar. To get a nearly even forging heat you must slightly overheat the outside of the bar and then wait while the temperature equalizes at a lower temperature. This IS much faster than a forge but it requires 100% of your attention. If you are going to do more than a few bars a day using this method an economizer valve will save you fuel and headache AND is much safer than repeatedly adjusting, lighting and looking for a place to rest these rocket engines on a stick. . . .

NG/Air and Propane/Air burners are perfect for heating steel in a forge. The temperature is such that you do not severly burn the bar and time can be allowed for the bar to evenly soak up the heat. Call it God's work or providence but if our atmosphere were more or less oxygen rich this would not be so and our technology much more difficult.
   - guru - Friday, 10/28/05 09:11:02 EDT

Hammer hafts; my two cents worth. By the way, the Australians got rid of their pennies some time ago. Maybe it's about time we did the same in the U.S.

Being old fashioned, I don't use adhesive. After sizing by shaving and scraping the handles with a piece of glass, I soak the hammer hafts in a half linseed oil and half turpentine mixture. I wipe off the excess and polish a little with a cotton rag. The scraping eliminates the fuzz-like "whiskers" on the wood surface. Linseed oil is protective, and turpentine has penetrating powers.

The portion going into the eye is scraped until it will fit snug about 1/4 of the way into the eye. The end of the CHAMFERED handle is struck with a mallet and the head goes on little by little from inertia. The chamfer helps to prevent tearout. If tiny wood shavings appear after perhaps one or two mallet blows, they are carefully removed with a pen knife as you go.

When driven home, the wedges, wooden and/or steel are hammered in place. Mild steel wedges can be made in one heat if you hustle. I forge the taper and give them a few half-face blows over the anvil edge or blocking stake to roughen the face-surfaces a bit.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 10/28/05 09:25:30 EDT

Welding: I have decided to improve my stick welding to the point where I can run a decent bead no matter what position my tongue is in. 100# of rod you say? What kind?

3dogs a good welder can likely do everything I need with an AC buzzbox. I think this is what Dave Boyer was telling me. But if you are NOT a good welder, I believe it is easier to learn with DC. Its often the case that the master can get by with minimal or even poor tools but the novice needs good tools to learn with - tools that make it easy to get yourself "dialed in"

Also, and I really should have said this earlier, somebody dinged my PU truck to the tune of $1200 worth of damage. He gave me $950 in cash which I am now trying to turn into MW tools before it gets frittered away on beer and groceries. Hence the Beverly shear. :)
   - adam - Friday, 10/28/05 11:02:03 EDT

Parts in Shear: Your clevis pin is in shear at two places so double the cross sectional area. A 1" pin in double shear has 2 x .785 = 1.57 sqin. Using safe design criteria on mild steel parts that is good for 10,000 x 1.57 = 15,700 pounds safely or 70650 pounds at the failure point.

Using 100,000 PSI material you can go to 157,000 pounds or 78 tons at the failure point. Because this is a pin mount you do not need nearly as high of safety factors but you DO need overload capacity. You must assume stall torque and pressure at the pump and missaligned parts. This is NOT the working capacity of the machine but the expected loads.

On a double tab cylinder mount you can double the area in shear by having three tabs (one inside and two outside). On a 1" pin this is 4 x .785 = 3.14 sqin. (or PI to be exact). Usualy the tabs on the cylinder provide the same cross section or more in tension and a great deal more in compression. I've made roller chain couplings that had the pin in shear 10 times.

Unless this is a machined part most forged rigging pins are 1/16" to 1/8" oversize providing more safety factor. What is the exact measurement of the holes in the cylinder?

Yes, the weakest link in the chain rates the entire chain. It only takes one piece to fail.

Heavy H frame presses often have tension members made of heavy bars in pure tension. Look at heavy fly press (power screw press) frames. They have two huge bars with oversized threaded nuts on the ends. Usualy these bars are machined smaller than the thread root so that they can stretch without damaging the threads. This is standard for high stress tension members. It is a well engineered design.
   - guru - Friday, 10/28/05 11:33:55 EDT

I would build the classic aspirated or blown propane/air forge burners; probably build a couple of them for the cost of one damaged torch tip, won't have the O2 cost and won't have to deal with such a large temperature gradient from the single burner to the length of a refractory brick forge.

The refractory bricks will soak up a lot of heat before they start giving it back so if this is a very intermittant use forge the fiber refractories will be a much better use of the fuel.

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/28/05 11:35:38 EDT

Welding and Rods: Every welder has slightly different operating characteristics. Buzz boxes and motor generator welders are particularly colorful characters, especialy when they get old and the windings rattle. MIG machines can also have personality. The first thing to learn is your machines personality and then recognize that other machines WILL be different. Yeah, difficult to do without multiple machines but you will get that chance in time.

One of the easiest to use all purpose rods for buzz boxes is the E6013. If you can get the easy-strike rods get them. They have an end like a match tip that starts much easier than a bare tip. When properly run the flux coating on E6013 beads will peal off on its own leaving a smooth shiney bead.

If you are going to be welding on dirty steel (scaley rust, old paint) and E6011 will do the job. However they are difficult to make a smooth clean weld with and flux removal is tough. This makes them bad for multi pass welds as flux pockets in the first bead become craters in the second. But they WILL stick all kinds of junk steel together.

If you want to learn to make pretty beads the E6013 is an all position rod good for most things. They are easier to use than some rods but are not the dead simple "drag" rods that only work on the flat. Their flux coating leaves a smooth moderately thick coating. Not as heavy as some and not as light as others. It is a very middle of the road rod.

One you learn to weld well on one rod then others are just a matter of fine adjustment in your technique.

I am sure others will have an opinion.
   - guru - Friday, 10/28/05 11:51:49 EDT

Torch tip. You dont get a whole lot of heat out of a torch, even a typical rosebud. What you get is a very hot concentrated heat. If you try and use this hot spot to boost the temp in the forge it will average out to not a whole lot. An alternative that I have used is to just bleed some O2 in the burner air intake and crank up the gas. I just use the cutting jet on my cutting torch for a few mins to produce a quick jump in temp. It does eat O2.
   - adam - Friday, 10/28/05 12:08:21 EDT

Welding: Never tried 6013 before but I will. also found this really nice arc welding tutorial: ww.aussieweld.com.au/arcwelding/

   - adam - Friday, 10/28/05 13:09:02 EDT


Dont know if you can help but noticed your site so thought I would ask the question. I own a Parkinsons model f vise. I think it says within the worn cast lettering (perfect trade vise) I think all of the vise is cast. It is very worn but still in very usable condition and gets plenty of use. Just wondered if you knew about any of the history of the manufacturer and if they still exist and still make these vise's and perhaps other tools of this type.
   D.Bates - Friday, 10/28/05 13:58:59 EDT

Vise D.B., I cannot find a Parkinsons but I have catalogs from 1899 and 1930 that has Parker vises.

In the 19th and early 20th century vises were an important tool in production shops where much that is done with machines was done by hand with chisles, files and scrapers by skilled workers. There were many makers most of whom did not survive the depression. Those that did dissapeared in the buyouts and sell offs of the 1980's.
   - guru - Friday, 10/28/05 14:16:02 EDT

Here's an odd question: Is it possible to forge or heat treat/case harden a cheap cast iron anvil? Is there any way to make a cheap cast anvil into something more usable than a door stop (or stage prop in my case)? I have a 108# Wilkinson anvil and would like to use a smaller anvil for the intricate smaller detail work. Is this futile or should I make one of those little horns to fit into the hardie? (Yes I know there's a name for that piece, but it eludes me at the moment).

   the great nippulini - Friday, 10/28/05 15:48:42 EDT

TGN. The cast iron ASO is not worth it. Are you doing hot work or cold? In either case a piece of RR track would be much nicer.
   - adam - Friday, 10/28/05 16:03:49 EDT

TGN a bic for the hardy hole of the wilkinson is a great help for many projects. I've made several by buying old spud wrenches---used to align structural steel holes and so have a nice round tapered handle---and forging the wrench end down to fit the hardy hole and then bending a 90 in the flat neck of the wrench.

For shorter stouter tapers I have a few "bull pins" much the same but no wrench end and the ones I have found are shorter and stouter. They get welded to something that fits in the hardy.

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/28/05 16:14:22 EDT

I am doing both types, but mostly hot. My propane pipe forge isn't finished yet, once it is all my work will be hot. I guess I'll stick with using the ASO's for shows.
   the great nippulini - Friday, 10/28/05 16:15:55 EDT

I have a fly fishing rod that was extruded from copper berilium probably back in the "40's". To date I have been unable to find out anything about it's history, origin or anything. Can you folks shed any light on this for me?
   Don Spooner - Friday, 10/28/05 17:33:20 EDT

Don Spooner,

I have a very vague recollection (from my youth in the 50's) of the family having a rod made of beryllium bronze. Pop had all split cane rods and picked up the metal rod for us youngsters to play with so we wouldn't break any of his god rods. My vague recollection is that it was made by one of the mass-market manufacturers of fishing gear, someone like Eagle Claw or Heddon. I think I recall that the reel seat was nickel silver. I know that probably doesn't get you anywhere, but it is all I can recall at the moment.

You might to drop a letter to the editors at Trout Unlimited and the Federated Fly Fishermen; one of their readers will undoubtedly know what you want to know.
   vicopper - Friday, 10/28/05 18:09:49 EDT

Don Spooner,

It may have been sold through Herter's, a catalogue sporting goods supply of the time.
   vicopper - Friday, 10/28/05 18:11:28 EDT

burntforge, a first class anvil from 100 years ago probably has more than a few dings in it if it was used a lot. You do not want the anvil face to be so hard it chips your hammers! All tools, even the really good ones, will wear out eventually. You get to choose when eventually comes by how you use it. Quit fretting about getting a bang for your buck. Go buy an anvil and start hammering!
   quenchcrack - Friday, 10/28/05 20:01:48 EDT

Hi quenchcrack
I really do want one of those doublehorn anvils to tinker with. I may just breakdown and buy one from old world anvils. I am not going to use it as much as my regular hay buddens anyway. I have been saving money, but some crazy today had road rage and took it out on my car. You can read all about it in the hammer in. He blew my anvil fund for me. I am still eyeing them for the future. Thanks quench as you are a great help. I will confess I put a huge dent in a very hard haybudden once. I had an anvil with too hard a face once spit some metal at me too. I do have good hammer control, but I have many years at the anvil and have made my share of misses and get distracted and do an ouch now and then. :)
   burntforge - Friday, 10/28/05 20:29:25 EDT

Adam : I wasn't really trying to criticise Your ability so much as point out that the AC-DC Tombstone is stil a buzbox. Not that it is a bad machine, but that it might not live up to Your expectations if You were compairing it to an industrial machine. There are some rods that just don't have an AC version, so there are times when You NEED DC. Allso if You were using 6011 on thin metal, it would be hard to find a good amperage setting, as these are really "HOT" rods designed for penetration and as Guru points out will weld through a worold of sins that sometimes cant be avoided [rust, paint, scale, grease, things that wouldn't be there under ideal conditions]6013 is much easier to use on 16-18 Ga sheetmetal.
   Dave Boyer - Friday, 10/28/05 23:10:27 EDT

Double Horn: Back before the horn was a standard attachement on anvils every sizable shop had a hornless forging anvil and a double horned stake anvil. Stake anvils still have a tremondous advantage over the regular anvil because they have much longer more slender horns (square and round). See the one in the foreground of the photo on our Hammer-In page. Currently very nice antique stake anvils are selling in the $150 range.

Features on anvils have come and gone, many are regional styles like hammers. The most full featured anvil is the old German style which was double horned, had a side clip, upsetting block and sloped side surface next to the clip. The big Euro anvil is similar in pattern but does not have the sloping far side. The Austrian and Bulgarian type had a radiused side that blended into the horn. Both anvils presented more than a 90° angle on the side of the anvil that most commonly gets torn up by working on the corners and by strikers.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/29/05 00:21:07 EDT

A quick point of curiousity.
Has anyone noticed the seal of US Dept of Labor ?
Made me smile,,,
   - Sven - Saturday, 10/29/05 01:51:17 EDT

I have a hand crank bench drill press for sale. Made circa 1914. Yankee Brand, No. 1005. Single arm manual drill, ½" capacity. Made by North Brothers, Philadelphia, PA. Patent dates 7/23/1912; 4/1/1913 and 2/17/1914. Self feeding quill, an unusual feature. Two speeds, plus quill lock. Copy of patent will be provided. In very good shape and operates well, except table and support are not original; support is heavy steel angle, and table is ¾" plywood. Blank 8" round steel table avialable to replace the plywood one. Listed on URL below if folks want to see photos. Price negotiable.

   Tom McGowan - Saturday, 10/29/05 07:06:43 EDT

On the eBay antique miniature anvil: I sent the seller an e-mail point out problems with it being authentic. He replied he had been suspicious himself and would challenge the guy in Germany who sold it to him. Listing has been taken off eBay.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 10/29/05 09:14:39 EDT

TGN www.oldworldanvils.com sells a 44# anvil (not ASO) for about $130
   adam - Saturday, 10/29/05 09:27:13 EDT

Shear Strength: JimC posted an interesting fact on the Hammer-in page. He points out that the shear strength of any steel is about .57 x the tensile strength. This is due to something called anisotropy in materials like rolled steel. It means that the material has different performance properties when loaded in different directions. I don't have my Strength book at home but I do seem to remember that in calculating shear strength, you cannot use the full tensile strength. Perhaps the Guru has already factored that into his calculations?
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 10/29/05 09:32:43 EDT

The Continental double horn. I think it is a better overall pattern than the "London pattern" anvil, but there are sentimental and historical aspects mixed in with anvil purchases (at least on my part). When I began as a shoer, my mentor and I visited a junk dealer at the San Pedro, CA, shipyards, and I purchased my first farriers' anvil, a 158# Hay-Budden. This was in 1963, and most farriers that I met either had a Hay-Budden or were looking for one. So, I leaned toward that brand from the git-go. Presently, I have four HBs. My personal anvil is a Trenton which I got from a retired machinist/former blacksmith. I have an old English anvil which has only the weight markings on it. I do have a nice bickern with the slender round and quadrilateral horn which I found years ago in Arizona, of all places. We usually see them in the Ohio-Pennsylvania area.

In terms of use, a few things come to the top of my head. If you shoe horses, and you draw side clips on say, a hind shoe, it is a little easier to level the shoe with the clips hanging either side of the horn. It is also possible to work a tight bend coming back on itself, a squared up J-shape, whereas the London heel is too thick for that. I use my bickern to shape my branding iron stamps, letters, and character brands (coupled with other stakes that I have).

Our local smith, Helmut Hillenkamp, brought back a couple of anvils from, I believe, Austria or Switzerland, and they are the old forged two horned type, very nice.

   Frank Turley - Saturday, 10/29/05 10:16:59 EDT

Thanks Guru, Quenchcrack, Hofi, Dave, Adam and Frank Turley for all the great information! :)
   burntforge - Saturday, 10/29/05 12:21:22 EDT

I'm curious about what types of protectants there are for mild and carbon steels. For instance let's say I forge a towel rack, or a candlestick, from mild steel, what should I use to protect it against rust?
   - Aaron - Saturday, 10/29/05 13:07:11 EDT

I'm looking for a blacksmithing magazine for my dad who tinkers with blacksmithing as a hobby. He has a forge and anvil and has basic skills, but I bet he'd be open to learning more from a magazine that could: 1)"fuel the fire" of interest and 2)teach some more skills like welding, etc. Any suggestions as to what's good? Thanks for any feedback you may be able to offer.
   Becky Erickson - Saturday, 10/29/05 13:11:03 EDT

D.Bates Parkinson (no relation) vises where manufactured in England until 196? the same company still makes piller drills and electric motors
   Mark P - Saturday, 10/29/05 13:50:01 EDT

Metal Protection: Paint. Amature formulations using wax and oil are just poorly made paint and require regular maintenance.

Subscriptions: The Artist Blacksmith Quarterly is also good and is an advertiser here. Then there is the Blacksmith's Gazette, see the link on the Coal Scuttle on our drop down menu.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/29/05 14:49:11 EDT

Aaron and anti rust coatings:

There are several " Rust preventives" on the market. The First that comes to mind is Rustolium. But if you are going to go high dollar on this you will want to buy a lacquer based sprayable paint. ( Marine Spar, or MAN o War marine paint)

You could go old school, and hot rub a fine coat of bee's wax on your piece.
   - Timex - Saturday, 10/29/05 15:25:51 EDT

Is there anything that goes on clear? Maybe just a spray lacquer or something, would that protect it? Or polyurethane or something? I'd like to be able to see the metal finish afterwards.

Thanks for the replies!
   - Aaron - Saturday, 10/29/05 15:28:06 EDT

Clear Coats: Dan Boone uses cases of Krylon clear lacquer on high ironwork (interior use only). You can also buy Dupont automotive clear lacquer by the gallon but it is very pricey. Powder finishers also do clear coat.

The problem with all wax, oil and clear coat finishes is that they do not provide an electrolytic protection like zinc paint or galvanizing. Any worn place or chip and rust starts immediately. Many clear finishes are also porus so that water and oxygen are absorbed and corrosion occurs under the finish.

If you want a GOOD finish then clean and prime the piece (zinc powder if going outdoors). Then paint to the color you WANT. I know every smith thinks wire brushed scale is a wonderful look but it does not last. If that is what you want then MATCH IT! Hollywood set builders make wood and plaster look like iron, brass, chrome. . . so WHY can't blacksmiths make forged iron LOOK like dorged iron? It is not hard to do, it just requires a commitment to DO IT.


Prepare metal to be painted. Zinc and neutral prime.

Spray with a dark gray to start.

Spray paint shadows with a flat black or darker (charcoal) grey.

Mist on a clear coat with a very small ammount of heavy silver metalic. Highlight the top surfaces with a double or tripple coat to lighten.

Touch up with the black if needed.

Then apply a clear flat top coat all over.

The results will look very close to that of clear coat over wire brushed scale. You can also get a similar look from clear coaters that now have some very fancy finishes. Note however that clear coat cannot be repaired. Your had paint job may be a bear to match perfectly but it CAN be made like new in the field. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 10/29/05 17:11:54 EDT

I mix half black and half metallic chrome paint, looks like raw steel for outside work. Sherwin-Williams has a clear metal laquer called Opex. I've been using it outdoors some, but live in a dry climate. Opex works real good on inside stuff, and it's dry in less than ten minutes.
   mike-hr - Saturday, 10/29/05 17:51:58 EDT

Where do I find a furnace?
   Zammorack - Saturday, 10/29/05 19:14:25 EDT


Just what KIND of furnace do you want? One to heat your house? Look in the yellow pages under Heating. One to do enameling? Check out Paragon kilns on the web. One for heat-treating? Try searching the Thomas Register for Heat-treating Ovens.

If you're looking for a "furnace" for heating steel to forge it, then there are several possibilities. The best place to start is to decide whether you want to use solid fuel (i.e. charcoal, coal or coke), or liquid fuel (heating oil), or gas(propane or natural gas). Once you've decided the fuel type, then you check with blacksmithing suppliers to see what they offer. Go to the drop-down menu in the upper right of the screen and scroll down to Advertisers; you'll find several reputable blacksmith's supply businesses listed with links to theeir websites.

Then there is the build it yourself arena. If that's what you're looking for, let us know and you'll get more advice than you can possibly handle. Also, again using the drop-down menu, go to the 21st Century page and check out the "Getting Started" pages.
   vicopper - Saturday, 10/29/05 20:33:19 EDT

I was able to locate this afternoon 3M 5200. I could only find the Sikaflex online and wanted to try locally before odering. I was very happy and surprised to find 5200 sold at Home Depot at the same price as online. I will give it a whirl and see how it works as soon as my handles arrive.
   burntforge - Saturday, 10/29/05 21:43:25 EDT

Quenchcrack: We used 3/4 of tensil strength when calculating tonage for stamping dies, maybee that was some built in safety factor.
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 10/29/05 21:43:32 EDT

Thanks everyone for the information about rust-protecting metals. I'll have to go out and start trying some of the solutions mentioned.
   - Aaron - Saturday, 10/29/05 23:49:42 EDT

Engineering Numbers: Most of the values I was giving were general rule of thumb numbers. These work two ways.

When you want a value to work for you like friction or strength then you use a derated value in your design.

When you have a value to overcome like shear strength you pad it.

EXAMPLE #1: For most parts in machine designs you use 10,000 PSI as a stress limit. This provides a safety factor and accounts for defective materials. Keys and keyways are rated at only 9,000 PSI due to cyclic stress.

EXAMPLE #2: When punching or shearing mild steel you use 30 tons (60,000 PSI) to rate your press to do the job. This gives you about 20% extra for friction and the tolerance in plate thicknesses. Folks like Roper-Whitney used to use this value in the 1960's but now they use the actual shear strength of about 45,000 PSI in order to make their machinery look better to potential customers. . . Not alowing for over thickness or harder than normal materials is a serious mistake but has become the custom today.

EXAMPLE #3: Crane and floor support beams are not rated by stress limits otherwise they would be like a rubber band. Deflection (usualy 1/4" max. at the center of a span) is used to select a beam. In most cases this results in the maximum stress in a simple beam being about 10,000 PSI. So we are back to that number.

In a perfect world you would use the exact material strength or property for all calculations and apply an application factor. However, it is easy to forget whether the factor is positive or negative or to apply it at all. So for anything less than Aero-space or high performance high production applications like automobiles we use rules of thumb that work and take into consideration the fact that the small builder does not always know what kind of steel they are using or it condition or have the means to design and manufacture in the most efficient or precision manner.

I try to stick to these numbers then use high strength bolts and better materials to give me a greater safety allowance. If a design is not working THEN you sharpen your pencil and closely look at what you can do.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/30/05 00:12:21 EDT

Eye protection:

I know that polycarbonate will absorb UV but what about acetate?
   Bob G - Sunday, 10/30/05 00:47:50 EDT

I have been bladesmithing for about a year now, and have taken an interest in forging tools, such as axes, adze, chisels and gouges. I have not been able to find any good sources of information on forging these pieces. Do you know of any good tutorials for these tools? or books ont the topic? thanks a lot!
   Aaron Koss - Sunday, 10/30/05 08:34:25 EST

Aaron, find a copy of "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" by Alex Weygers. It is published by Ten Speed Press but you can prolly find a used copy on Amazon. He was a fine woodcarver and an accomplished smith who made most of his own tools.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 10/30/05 08:55:14 EST

Just curious. What are the metallurgical properties and uses of Titanium? I know that they use titanium coatings on drill bits and watches but why nothing more?
   Rhordae - Sunday, 10/30/05 09:13:39 EST

Im right now starting to get into blacksmithing because it will also go along with gunsmithing in a sense. Im only 16 so I have sometime before i go to the trade school near by. I do live in Colorado so if any of you know where i can get good metal or good scrap metal to work with so i know what differnt metal i will work with. I have looked at anvilfire and saw some of the faqs so i know what else to look for. If anyone knows where i can get some of the tools that i need. I have seen a few books from some bookstores then found them at my library so i will read them before i ask anymore questions.
   Forrest - Sunday, 10/30/05 09:18:38 EST

Krylon makes a neat "Wrought Iron" finish paint. It makes ANYTHING look like hand forged black wrought iron. I've used it on wood pieces to match accompanying metal on a finished project. It's actually a quite interesting product with nice results.

Eye protection: I've seen this method on a few "reality" shows and I use it on occasion with my MIG for tacks. Line up the shot, close your eyes and squeeze the trigger (or is that for something else?). Is this one of those things that we're "not supposed to do but most of us do it anyway"? The only noticeable problem I get with this method is the "arc sunburn" on my face. I plan on using a high SPF block to see if it helps. Is this dangerous? Can the UV from the arc rays still do damage to my eyes (eye lids are REALLY thin, maybe the UV can go through them)?

   The Great Nippulini - Sunday, 10/30/05 10:07:42 EST


Guru, you mention that Big Blu and others use this more for cushioning than for glueing the heads on the handles. Does this stuff really cushion more than bare wood?
   - Marc - Sunday, 10/30/05 10:44:42 EST

Rhordae, Titanium is used extensively in aerospace applications. It is lighter than steel and stronger than steel weight for weight. It is extremely corrosion resistant. It is also very expensive. The coating on drill bits is actually Titanium Nitride, not pure titanium. It is not particularly hard, it actually has a very high melting point and keeps red-hot chips from being welded to the bit, preventing erosion of the edge. People love to find useless applications for it, like jewelry and watchcases, because it is a rather unique and expensive metal. Oh, and is sometimes used for orthopedic applications like joint replacements, too.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 10/30/05 11:07:42 EST

Certain grades of Ti are used for pacemaker casings and external and internal skeletal fixators. Because of this, it is the most hypo-allergenic material we use in the body piercing industry. A very extremely small percentage of my clients are allergic to our 316LVM steel (they claim it's due to nickel content, which my supplier tells me is below 7%). The Titanium jewelry is perfect for those individuals. Also, the ability to anodize Ti into a vast array of colors makes it desirable as jewelry. Personally I prefer to wear 316 steel.

   The Great Nippulini - Sunday, 10/30/05 12:05:43 EST

Guru, I have a one -time project in mind that requires some blacksmithing. I want to do a reproduction of an antique hatchet that was partway between the development of the trade pattern (tomahawk)style and the modern style. Starting with a new hatchet I can do the necessary stock removal on the blade and poll. Can you think of a method of heating the eye of the hatchet enough to be punched nearly round without overheating and thus affecting the hardness of the bit?
   Harry MacKendrick - Sunday, 10/30/05 12:28:47 EST

I dont think its possible to heat the eye enough to drift it open without harming the temper of the bit.
But since you will need the capacity to heat enough to drift open the eye, You certianly will have the heating ability to re-temper the bit.
Axes are easy to temper, No way as fussy as knives.
Depending on the axe steel, It may air quench to a fine degree of hardness, You just wont know until you play with it.
A woodsman axe is supposed to be only moderately hard so it wont chip if it hits a stone or something.
(I dont know the Rockwell number for it) but basically not too hard that a file cant sharpen it under moderate pressure.
A firefighter axe is supposed to be hard so it will stay sharper whilst chopping nailed wood etc. If it chips while doing its duty, It will need a careful grinding to repair. Thats just the price it has to pay for the nature of its application.
(OK, I should qualify that, European fireaxes are hard steel, I dont know if the NFPA has a hardness spec for an American axe)
   - Håkan - Sunday, 10/30/05 13:58:34 EST

Handle cushioning: Marc, The material is much softer than wood so it must cushion more.

Harry, Håkan's response is correct. Temper is changed at temperatures as low as 350°F and have an upper limit of around 650°F for plain carbon steels. It would be very difficult to prevent the edges from getting hotter.

Note that the reshaped eye is probably going to be much to large due to the perimiter of the modern flat eye.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/30/05 14:20:08 EST

Titanium: The average Ti alloy is less than 60% of the density of steel. But it is 60% more dense than alloy aluminium. It is used where moderate heat which greatly weakens aluminium occurs. If weight were not a concern steel would be used. In aircraft it is not used unless there is a heat problem (usualy due to air resistance).

The temper colors on Ti mentioned by Quenchcrack are unbelievable. The first time I saw them was on a forge hood at the Kaynes when they were living in Long Island NY. Brilliant wide bands of color. There are a few artists that use a combination of chemicals and heat to produce artwork on Ti. I have a Star Trek communicator badge that is rainbow colored Ti.

   - guru - Sunday, 10/30/05 14:36:25 EST

How much did that cost? (the Star Trek communicator badge)
Are you saying that in most applications steal would be the better, stronger choice than Ti or is it because Ti is a rare metal thus making it more expensive?
   Rhordae - Sunday, 10/30/05 15:07:55 EST

For those who don't know it, Hans Peot (SOF&A member and always at Quad-States - usually in the registration area) was the Deputy Director of the B-1 Bomber Program at W-PAFB. He is very familiar with using Ti in aircraft production. If I remember correctly some parts, such as the landing gear shafts, were forged, then machined.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 10/30/05 15:32:08 EST

Rhordae, Steel is almost always the superior metal when strength is required and especialy when hardness is desired. Almost all structural substitutes are not as strong. However it doesn't fly very well and rust is an issue when paint is too heavy an addition. Most critical engine parts are steel even in aircraft.

The Star Trek badge was a Christmas gift from my daughter many years ago but I do not think it was very expensive (THEN). I think I have a Tribble somewhere as well. . . But since I moved I have not been able to find my set of Star Trek movie videos. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 10/30/05 16:04:51 EST

The SR-71 Blackbird has a body made mostly of Titanium. It was chosen over Aluminum because it retained it's strength at high temperatures and did not oxidize like steel. However, it did expand as it got hot so the sections of the body had to be fitted together loosely. So loose that fuel would leak from the tanks until it was up to speed (and temperature).
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 10/30/05 16:29:36 EST

Rhordae: The Titanium info given above is good. The coating on drill bits etc is NOT Titanium. it is Titanium Nitride. As a chemist, I get upset with the way the coating is called titanium, which makes as much sense as calling water "Hydrogen." The properties of the metal titanium and the compound titanium nitride are as different as water and Hydrogen.
   - John Odom - Sunday, 10/30/05 16:45:54 EST

Primitive Smithing:

I picked up a $1 video at Dollar Tree last night. You never know where you will find historical footage. . .

In the old Black and White movie "King Solomon's Mines" there is about a 10 second scene in Chapter 10 with native African smiths filmed on location. The forge is a pit type with shield wall or stone and double wine skins. The smith is using a square headed hammer of the "Spanish Club" type and wooden tweezers as tongs. The anvil appears to be a round stone and later a striker works the piece with a large stone requiring two hands to lift. His striking on the uneven surfaces is amazingly accurate. Unlike many movie forging scenes with actors these fellows LOOK like they know what they are doing. The assistant working the bellows never stops and the smith uses the classic striking signal of taping the work where it is to be hit.

The movie was filmed on location in Africa in 1936 using lots of native extras as was common in many of these films. It was remade in 1950, 1978 and 1984. This version was probably the best. The 1978 version was on the same $1 disk!.

   - guru - Sunday, 10/30/05 17:11:26 EST

The Guru has a Tribble?
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 10/30/05 17:30:15 EST

I need the formula for spaceing picketts. I had it but shop was cleaned-up by number 1 son now it is gone. Could you are someone share this info?
Richard Weeks
Weeks & Son Blacksmith
   Richard Weeks - Sunday, 10/30/05 18:57:50 EST

Where can I find all of the hardware and stuff that I will need to make an outdoor gas lantern??? What gas is used when people just say gas lantern??
   Tyler Murch - Sunday, 10/30/05 20:20:26 EST


Start with the OA length and the desired spacing (code maximum in most cases) between picket centers. The actual distance between pickets is the center distance -1 picket width.

1) Divide the OA length by the the picket center spacing.

2) Round UP one picket (you will almost always need to round). If you round down you will not meet code.

3) Then divide the OA length by that whole number. The result is the exact picket spacing.

4) The number of pickets between two end posts is the above rounded whole number minus 1. If the pickets include the ends then ADD 1.

In some cases using decorative pickets against walls or plain columns you want to use less than a full space at the ends. Use the above calculation using the distance bewtween the first and last picket as the OA length.

For slopes you use the base of the triangle for the OA length. Then do the calc above and use the Pythagoreum Therom to determine the distance on the top and bottom rails (hypotenuse).

If you are using wider than maximum code spacing with decorative elements to fill in then you can do the same but you will need to do a scale layout and "test" the design with a circle template the scaled size of the code test ball.

I ALWAYS make a scale drawing to double check my math and logic. If you do not need one for the client then all you need is center lines and a place to write your numbers. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 10/30/05 20:20:46 EST

Eye protection; TGN,

That squint n stick method with the MIG gun will get you a couple of things, neither of them good. It will certainly expose your face and *very* sensitive eyelid skin to really excessive doses of both UV-A and UV-B rays, proven carcinogens. Why risk it? Secondly, sooner or later you'll miss the timing and zap your eyeballs. The flash burn is bad enough, but what about the chance of getting a stray sputterball in the eye? The risk/reward ratio is all against you on this practice.

Did I do this in the past? Yes, in the days before automatic helmets and before I learned the trick of flipping one down without losing my position, I sometimes tacked things that way with a stick welder. Whether or not that contributed to the three or four facial prunings for skin cancers, I can't say. I can say it was stupid, though. I absolutely do NOT EVER do it nowadays. I've learned to hate the smell of the burning flesh when the doc cauterizes those little craters he seems so fond of carving in my face, and I'm trying to avoid any future ones.

BTW, putting sunscreen on is a good idea, as it protects your neck and arms from the UV, but it does seem to make the sputterballs more prone to sticking, for some reason.
   vicopper - Sunday, 10/30/05 20:27:37 EST

Gas Lamps: Tyler, The folks that manufacture these things make ALL the metal parts and have the ceramic parts made by experts in the field. Your best bet would be to purchase a low end model and cannibalize it.

Domestic and street gas lamps all operate on natural gas or producer gas (methane). There are two basic types of burner. The simple ones for indoor lighting have a bunsen burner type arrangement with a ceramic tip with a slit to make a fan type flame. The outdoor street lamp type use a silk mantle like a gasoline lantern. Modern ones have fancy electronic ignition. Otherwise you have to manually light them.

Since the total assembly is a UL listed device you may be getting into tricky territory. To avoid certification complications you probably want use a commercial device and built a decorative enclousure around it that does not effect its function and maintenance access.

Portable gas lamps that replaced gasoline lamps burn propane and are similar to the mantle type.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/30/05 20:35:30 EST

Question about rust removal through electrolysis:

I am using a gallon of water mixed with one tablespoon of sodium carbonate, with a stainless steel electrode which is a broken piece of an old blade, and a 2 amp car battery charger, positive (red) connected to the electrode and negative (black) connected to the rusted piece of metal. It this going to work? Do I need a more powerful charger or will 2 amps be fine?

   - Ross - Sunday, 10/30/05 20:41:20 EST

Suntan Lotion: Great idea! I've gotten welder sunburn at my collar when I didn't button the top button and at the sleeve cuff splits. . . That would do it.

Squinting: I meant to comment on the squint and weld method earlier. As VI commented, with your eyes closed you are exposing very sensitive skin to possible burns. The light also penetrates that thin layer of skin and can still cause problems. I knew a kid in school that thought he could weld (not just tack) by squinting. The result was a month in the burn ward and then MONTHS more of looking like an insect with huge bulbous swollen eyes. . .

UV AND IR damage to the eyes is cummulative according to most of the literature. Doing stupid things like welding (gas - including cutting OR arc) without eye protection will result in probably going blind a LONG time before you die. If you think learning Braile, recognizing paper money demoninations by touch, shaving and cooking blind and how to get around on foot with a white cane is the way you want to spend your "golden" years then go right ahead and squint away while welding. Its your choice.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/30/05 20:49:22 EST

a two amp charger will work
   Ralph - Sunday, 10/30/05 21:11:28 EST

Great, thanks Ralph
   - Ross - Sunday, 10/30/05 21:25:57 EST


An iron electrode wil work just as well as stainless steel and you avoid the risk of generating hexavalent chromium, a highly toxic substance, that way. Personally, I think the risk is extremely low, but you should know about it.
   vicopper - Sunday, 10/30/05 21:58:57 EST

but using SS will allow the sacraficial anode to last MUCH longer. But each takes risks of their own.
   Ralph - Sunday, 10/30/05 23:11:50 EST

Thanks guys, does the size of the electrode matter? And what if the electrode is touching the rusted object, will that affect things?
   - Ross - Sunday, 10/30/05 23:40:33 EST

Ross: You may want to check out http://antique-engines.com/electrol.asp This site has info on this process, and also cautions against stainless electrodes
   Dave Boyer - Sunday, 10/30/05 23:53:32 EST

Here is another vote against tack welding without a helmet. Altho You have controll over how much UV You are exposing Yourself to, the problem of the spatterball is a purely random event. I don't care how tuff the bikebuilders like to act, that is going to hurt at best.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 10/31/05 00:02:19 EST

Rhordae - titanium :Another thing that makes titanium parts expensive is that it is dificult to work with- it workhardens extremely easily while machining. Cuting with a bandsaw doesn't work well, tapping holes is extra trickey and welding requires a lot more care than most materials. In short You have to really need its unique properties to justify the material & manufacturing cost.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 10/31/05 00:21:38 EST

TGN squint 'n tack. damn fool idea. dont! The UV exposure is a *real* hazard to your eyes and your skin. Anything that can give you sunburn in just a few hours should get a lot of respect. Spend the $$ on an auto dark helmet or learn to flip your lid. Also, a really bright halogen shining on the work will let you see enough to start with your helmet on.
   adam - Monday, 10/31/05 00:46:01 EST

Re oxy propane forge..

Thanks for the pointers, I will play it by ear when ive scrounged the materials. Think I will go for feeding the heat in at the bottom / back (shallow angle) as advised. Will try and build it so I can convert it to a 'normal' (naturally aspired)gas burner when ive had chance to swot up on the subject a bit, (ignorance is no fun!)

Using the oxy / prop torch should get me going quickly in the mean time, even though it wont heat the bars evenly, or properly for forging, and cost a fortune in oxy ! (fortunatly the cylinders are 'liberated' from the fab shop next door though :)
   John N - Monday, 10/31/05 05:38:46 EST

A reference to add to Sword Making, Gen X

   - Hudson - Monday, 10/31/05 07:15:48 EST


The best situation is to have electrodes spaced around the piece to be de-rusted, as the electrons travel in a straight line; "line of sight" so to speak. If the electrode touches the workpiece, it will short out the power supply, damaging it.
   vicopper - Monday, 10/31/05 07:32:38 EST

John, with a bottom feed it usually goes straight up and then circulates down on the work or heats the furnace roof which radiates heat upward. You do not want the steel directly in the path of the flame unless there is considerable distance.

When I do these temporary things with a torch I just stack the bricks and hold the torch. Unless you have an economizer valve so you can leave both gases adjusted you will not want a difficult to get to fixed torch position.

You can also use common fuel air burners in temporary setups as well. Just remember that they have a forge volume limitation.

Also note that rosebuds such up a LOT of fuel. I find the little 6 port models such as is standard in the Victor Journey man set to be be marginaly useful. However, they ARE rated for the delivery rate of a full sized acetylene bottle. The bigger (about 1" diameter 8+ port) rosebuds are the size necessary to heat the size stock you are planning (1" round). However, these will only operate a minute or so on a standard acetylene bottle. Normally you have to gang three or more together. Every job I have been on and told people this they did not believe me and then wasted a shift finding out that they could light the torch, take a few steps with it and were out of gas (the cylinder froze up). THEN they had to spend most of another day getting the cylinders and rigging up a manifold AND replacing the fuel hose to the torch with a larger size. . .

Propane is better but cylinders will still freeze up if you try to draw more gas than they are capable of.

   - guru - Monday, 10/31/05 10:22:15 EST

I am interested in acid etching of knive blades. What do I need to get started.
   Will - Monday, 10/31/05 10:23:13 EST

Tack Welding Revisited: A handy tool for tack welding of assemblies is a hand held shield. These are popular in many shops, especialy in Europe but I have seen few in the US. Moving the shield by hand rather than flipping the hood with your head allows you to focus on one place, quickly remove the shield, look and replace for the next tack.
   - guru - Monday, 10/31/05 10:26:48 EST

I know this has been posted before on this site, but I think it bears posting again. I was contacted by an individual here who said he had a DS branding iron and wanted to know if I could convert it to a US branding iron. I told him to bring it over and I would look at it. He just left, he was not happy. I told him him I could change it but I would have to stamp my touchmark into it and stamp the date on it. I thought he was going to have a spasm right there. I told him that I wasn't into forgery and to have a nice day. The world is full of crooks, watch out for them.

   Woody - Monday, 10/31/05 10:33:17 EST

Thanks, I will put this in a safe place.
   Richard Weeks - Monday, 10/31/05 10:52:36 EST

Re (cancelled) oxy / propane oven project...

had a bit of a head scratch and a wonder round the factory a few times for inspiration and ive come up with a plan 'b', (if this sounds more feasable) - 25 ltr steel oil drum with the ends removed, fire brick 'floor' & ends, with the 'diameter' of the drum lined with the insulation from the dismantled stress relieving oven, to reduce the inside diameter to approx 6" - then have a proper read up on necessary burner(s) size, buy them, and do the job properly!

Ive also remembered that I find rosebud heaters very stressfull (our one, 1" dia occassionally makes a noise like an automatic fire arm going off when not lit / adjusted correctly)
   John N - Monday, 10/31/05 11:36:44 EST

John N: Does this look like what you need?

   Alan-L - Monday, 10/31/05 12:02:51 EST


How deep do you want to etch them, what kind of steel, what design-type; all these questions would need to be answered before we can give you specific answers. If you just want to lightly etch a pattern-welded blade to reveal the pattern, then ferric cloride (FeCl) does the job quite well. You can also use it for seeper etching, but it takes time.

If you want to etch a design into a blade, then you need a resist and a mordant that are appropriate for the type of blade steel you are using. Generally tough, some form of asphaltum or lacquer is used as the resist, and dilute nitric acid is an all-round mordant.

Give me some more details of your project and I can give you more specific advice.
   vicopper - Monday, 10/31/05 13:01:47 EST

Alan-l, Somthing similar, but that looks like a 55 gal drum, im thinking a 25 ltr oil drum (very approx 12" dia X 24" long - sleeved down with the insulation & bricks with openings at the ends), so it would be similar to the 'freon' bottle forge - I think the body and linings will naturally come together with the available materials, its the burners im (trying) to get my head round now!

   John N - Monday, 10/31/05 13:25:34 EST

Etching: Will, this is an art unto itself. For revealing laminations in "Damascus" steel most bladesmiths use ferric chloride. This is the same acid used to cut curcuit boards and is convieniently available in the US from Radio Shack. Other acids and mixtures can be used such as hydrochloric acid (also sold diluted as muratic acid), nitric acid and sulphuric acid. Then there are organic acids.

There are several ways of producing an etched design. A mask is painted on then the design cut through it with a pointed tool. Or the mask can be painted on in the desired form. Today it is not unusual for some type of printing method to be used even by small shops.

The part is put into the acid and allowed to set for as long as is needed. For blades it is common to hang them by a hole in the tang. There things effect the etch, the acid solution, the temperature and the time in the solution. Hot acid etches much more quickly than cold. Time is critical and etches generally proceed faster as they etch producing more surface texture to attack.

I suggest you start with some books on the subject. See our Sword Making and Metal Working Resources list.
   - guru - Monday, 10/31/05 13:48:24 EST

That seems like a huge container for a 6" firechamber.
   - forge/drum - Monday, 10/31/05 14:00:35 EST

Comment about Titanium: if I recall correctly in Ben Rich's (?) book 'STEALTH FIGHTER' he wrote that during the developement of the YF-12/SR-71 an engineer on a visit to the floor made a notation on some part made from Ti using a permanent felt marker. The the chorine in the ink (and/or solvent?) etched into the metal!

I've seen anodizing of Ti demonstrated (jewelery and costume prop production), liquid used in the tank - DIET PEPSI! Certainly cheaper then some other choices.

Drizzle and 6 Cel. North of the Lake (Ontario.)

   Don - Monday, 10/31/05 14:39:54 EST

Ti: There are some peculiar properties of Titanium. One of the high tech R&D reports that was a constant in NASA Tech Briefs was the advances in developing and forging single Ti crystal parts.
   - guru - Monday, 10/31/05 15:17:47 EST

I've nevery understood the "hype" about Titanium---especially for laptop computer cases. Ti has a lower rate of heat transfer than many metals and so makes for a much WORSE computer shell for a laptop where heat dissapation is a major concern.

I've cut Ti with a steel hacksaw, and forged Ti in both gas and coal forges---cp Ti is much softer than steel at forging temps---I did forge a set of Ti tongs for use in my gas forge where the lower heat transfer actually is helpfull.

swordforum.com has an article on why Ti makes lousy blades that you may want to track down and read.

   Thomas P - Monday, 10/31/05 15:43:59 EST

Ti jewelery; With what does one solder (?) titanium jewelery together?
   3dogs - Monday, 10/31/05 15:46:06 EST

Here is a burner design that I have used for about 10 years.
You should be able to find a lot of the parts free.
Good Luck
   blackbart - Monday, 10/31/05 16:07:41 EST

Will: You already got some good advice on etching, ferric chloride is my personal favorate. It's relatively safe, easy to get, works well, and the oxide coating is tougher than average. Another option not mentioned is plain old while vinager, it's slower then the others, but it's one of the savest to use, and you probably already have some so you can get started experimenting.
   AwP - Monday, 10/31/05 16:19:05 EST

Probably 95% of my arc welds are short. I use a face shield for them and a hood for duration welding. However, with a face shield you do have to learn to weld one handed.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 10/31/05 16:41:19 EST

Titanium info & downloadable handbook. http://www.timet.com/design&fabframe.html
   3dogs - Monday, 10/31/05 17:11:18 EST

My father has in his possesion an Anvil from around the 1829 year frame that came off the ship "Wildcat" that came with settlers from England. One side says "Made in England" the other says peter then ___ght and patent. The markings on it are an upside down 2, a 27 off to the right, a zero far left and a zero near the bottom. Please give me any information on this piece as we are looking forward to either selling or donating it to the Historical society in honor of Capt. Charles Fletcher. What it's worth? History? and such.
   Rick - Monday, 10/31/05 19:20:23 EST

Rick there are some people here who really know anvils but until they chime in here's my 2c. Its a Peter Wright - large numbers of PW anvils crossed the Atlantic to the colonies. The 0,2, 27 are likely the wt in: cwt, 1/4 cwt , lbs where cwt is 112# so your anvil would be marked at 56+27 = 83# - does that seem about right? a small anvil by todays standards but back then iron was expensive. I would love to seem some pix of this anvil if its history is as you say. We do have a forum for posting pix.
   adam - Monday, 10/31/05 19:30:33 EST

I have both an auto darkening helmet and a face shield. I guess I got swayed by those tough guy macho bike builders. Monkey see monkey try to do. I have a whole bunch of people in my life who care about me that want me to stop doing that as well. So, I guess I'll stop doing that moronic method. By the way, another show about hot rodding old cars shows an old guy welding with his EYES OPEN! Not for me.. nu uh!

Thanks alot guys!
   The Great Nippulini - Monday, 10/31/05 21:01:37 EST

Now you see it, now you don't-- the hand-held face shields for arc welding are inspector's shields, or so they were called in one welding school I went to. Intended for use in observing, more than for welding. Another way to skin this cat is to tilt your helmet up, then simply give it a brisk downward nod of your head AFTER you position the rod and BEFORE you strike the arc. After a busy day, you can feel it, a genuine pain in the neck, which is also a genuine pain in the ___.
   miles undercut - Monday, 10/31/05 21:02:56 EST

Titanium jewelry: The jewelry is made by either dimpled bead captive tension rings, and/or threaded beads on barbells and rings.
   The Great Nippulini - Monday, 10/31/05 21:36:41 EST

Ok, gotta chime in. Didn't Quench Crack, a couple years ago, have a go around with an auto darkening helmet? I've been thinking of asking about that, when this welding post chimed in. So, what does one look for as far as speed in a cheap auto darkening helmet? I don't weld enough, to justify a high price proffesional helmet. And I don't weld often enough to get good at nodding my helmet down and not losing my spot. But I will say that the Guru's suggestion of using a very bright light sure has helped. Tho I still think I would like an auto darkening helmet. Thoughts?
   Bob H - Monday, 10/31/05 21:54:14 EST

Welding helmet use...

Isn't everything harder once you need glasses. No way can I flip a helmet down. I have to go through all sorts of tricky moves to get the helmet sitting just right on my head so I can see through my bifocals and the helmet visor. The helmet gets tipped foreward and my glasses need to be pushed up so I can line the bifocals up with the narrow window. They make those things for people who can see what they're doing looking streight ahead and that isn't me. Maybe I need to look for a different sort of helmet.
   Mike Ferrara - Monday, 10/31/05 22:44:42 EST

Mike, They make helmets with larger windows. I riveted a homemade basket handle to my large window helmet, and I use it as a hand held shield.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 10/31/05 22:52:27 EST

Bob H- Auto Helmet: I have a cheap Hobart "Weld It" brand that came from TSC farm store. They are about $70 on sale. I have had mine since about '97 and it works fine. It is #10 shade, not ajustable, no bateries needed. The only complaint is that it is a small volume helmet and glasses & lens fog up easily. I SHOULD put the automatic lens in another helmet.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 10/31/05 23:12:48 EST

Helmets: besides my auto lens I have a couple large window and a small window helmet that after getting the helmet in position only the lens cover opens up so the whole thing doesn't have to. Sure saves the pain in the neck from nodding and the re-positioning of the hood from slapping it down when the pivots are too tight!
   Jerry - Monday, 10/31/05 23:43:04 EST

Question for the anvil experts: Today I saw a large anvil, looks to be castiron body with a hard steel face. There is a logo of some sort, but the casting is rough, cant tell what it is. The number 40 is cast into the right front foot, logo is on the Rt side if viewed with the horn to the front. There are 2 mounting holes in cast bosses, located between the feet beneath the horn and heel. Hardee is 1.5"Sq. Looks like the 40 may signify 400#. Top plate looks to be about 7/16 thk., is rust pitted .025-.030 deep, but other than that looks to be in pretty good shape. Is this a Vulcan? what is a fair price? location: southeastern Pa.
   Dave Boyer - Monday, 10/31/05 23:51:44 EST

Well knowing that a lot of folks here are lovers of things rustic, I am looking for a kerosene latern to hang outside of my shop while I am working. Something that can stand up to some mild weather and is fairly bright. I would like it as bright as possible. I would also like something rustic perhaps in the old railroad latern style any cheap idea of where to look?
   - A Little Light - Monday, 10/31/05 23:58:24 EST

Hi, My 11 year old son is needing to interview a metalworker for a report he is writing at school. He has questions specific to the types of ore used, how the ore is acquired, how the ore is forged into the metal item being made. He is supposed to not just find this info on the internet, but actually interview someone, in person or via e-mail, to fill in the research he has done. How could I locate someone willing and able to answer some e-mail questions of this nature? Thank you, Suzanna
   Suzanna - Tuesday, 11/01/05 00:17:12 EST

Rich: Your history doesn't match the anvil. A Peter Wright cannot be older than about 1850. England passed a law saying after cicra 1910 exports had to be stamped with the country's name. Thus, your anvil dates after cicra 1910. Also on the anvil you may see a circle reading SOLID WROUGHT. Meant both the top and bottom halves of the anvil body were wrought iron (with a steel plate). As noted, weight stamp should be three separately spaced groupings, such as 1 0 9, which would represent a 121 pound anvil (1 x 112 + 0 x 28 + 9). On value, I would say $1.50 to $2.50 pound or so, depending on condition of top plate.

Dave Boyer: It is likely a FISHER NORRIS anvil. Logo was an eagle holding an anchor. Only a few companies put on those bolt down lugs at the front and back and only FISHER did it on large anvils. Anvil probably dates late 1800s/early to mid-1900s. On value, I watch eBay prices and they are not too out of line with conference tailgate prices when S&H are not considered. Usually anvils less than 100 pounds and more than 200 pounds sell for more per pound than those in-between. If the top plate is useable, I would SWAG $600-$800 would not be out of line. There is a large Fisher on eBay now (but it comes with a base) if you want to watch that sale. Pricing really comes down to what buyer and seller agree to.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 11/01/05 00:36:40 EST

Kerosene Lanterns: A Little Light, These are still available from a variety of sources such as country hardware and feed stores. Same places will have wicks and new globes. Most are rather cheap and made in China now-days. Around $10 or so NEW. Ocassionaly antique dealers (especially on ebay) try to get big bucks for rusticated lamps. . They were so common however that even real antique ones don't sell very high (about $20).
   - guru - Tuesday, 11/01/05 05:59:43 EST

Bart, Thanks for the link. another couple of days of head scratching and i'll be near to building something! (am quite enjoying the research stage though)
   John N - Tuesday, 11/01/05 06:12:00 EST

Peter Wright Weight: That upside down "2" is probably a three making the weight another 28 pounds. Old style threes had a sharp corner at the top right. With a 27 that means it weighed one pound less than a hundred weight or 111 pounds.

There are rules that help with the hundred weight system:

The first number can be 0 to 5 rarely were old wrought anvils ever over 560 pounds.

The second number can only be 0 to 3 as it is quarters only.

The last number is 0 to 27 as it is pounds less than one quarter hundredweight (28 pounds).

Pre ~1840 anvils did not have a round pritchell hole and most had small (square) hardy holes. If an anvil were brought over by an individual it was probably in theire possesion some time prior to the travel date thus making it older. Note however that I have seen early anvils that have had the hardy hole enlarged and pritichell holes added (usualy drilled). To detect these changes you have to be very familiar with the manufacturing techniques used at the time and degree of finishing used.

On Old Peter Wrights another way to tell is at the feet. Early Peter Wrights had what are known as old style feet that were pinched out of the body. The front and back under the base sloped down to the bottom smoothly. After about 1952 the feet were distinct and Peter Wrights had a distinct flat for clamping down against at the front and back. A few much later brands copied this feature but for about 60 years this was distinctly a Peter Wright feature.

Rick, Your ancestor may have brought an anvil over with them but it sounds like it is not this one. But without seeing the anvil it is difficult to tell.

If you are interested in the history of old tools we sell Anvils in America by Richard Postman. This is THE diffinitive book (and only book) on anvils.
   - guru - Tuesday, 11/01/05 06:24:44 EST

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