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This is an archive of posts from October 16 - 24, 2007 on the Guru's Den
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I would like to produce small parts(tiny)from Auto Lathes and since the material being Beryllium copper, brass, stainless steel and plastics, I want to choose the right cutting oil for my Auto-Lathe. Need your advice, Guru, thanks.
   - V.N.Rao - Tuesday, 10/16/07 03:47:55 EDT

Thanks, Jock. A panic latch wouldn't work in our case, though. The door opens in. Our other exits are correct, and have the crash bars, but this one would need so much rework that it's put off for a while. We just want to make it convenient until then.

I think the traditional hook would be fine, although I am intrigued by JimG's inside thumb-latch.
   - Marc - Tuesday, 10/16/07 07:14:43 EDT

Beryllium copper:
Here at work, we use beryllium copper in some of our products. It's treated as hazardous material if it gets scraped or shaved.
   - Marc - Tuesday, 10/16/07 07:17:10 EDT

Meghan, the cleaver sounds like an advertising premium from Wright's Liquid Smoke. Something to start with, anyway.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 10/16/07 09:48:05 EDT

Stephen Salzer, when you say spit jack you mean a clock work turner, spring or hanging weight powered, that turns a spit; right?

There are plans and construction information on one in "Mechanics Exercises" by Joseph Moxon published several hundred years ago and more recently re-published by Astragal Press.

I have seen a very nice hanging weight version in Muiderslot Castle in the Netherlands that the cord for the weight was wound over a wooden shaft that had springy wires on it so when the cord was almost completely unwound the wires would be free to raise up and start hittint a bell to let you know it was time to wind it back up!

I have a couple of wind up victrola clockworks in my stash that I always wanted to see if I could use to drive a small spit.

Now if you want a motorized version a welder could fix you one up using a fractional HP motor with a small pully and a scrounged commercial dryer pully for the spit.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/16/07 11:04:42 EDT

Power window motor... maybe that would do. It has a nice amount of torque and low speed. You could get a PWM controller with MOSFET so you can adjust the speed without loss of torque. The only problem I've had with PWM is getting a pulley attached to the gear, although it is a worm drive, so you could always modify it as needed.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 10/16/07 11:34:34 EDT

TGN, great idea as you could use it with a car battery places that had no power. Will a PWM run for extended periods without overheating though? I thouight they were intermittant duty type things?

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/16/07 13:04:20 EDT

PWM controller: Like just about everything else electronic, the duty cycle depends on the design and the load. I'm sure you'll find Pulse Width Modulated power supplies/regulators/controllers with duty cycles ranging from continuous on down to SHORT. It all depends on the size of the load and the size of the transistors.

The main point of a PWM is to avoid generating the sometimes huge amounts of heat a linear regulator or manual rheostat would, by being ON or OFF, with very little time in between: Off = (virtually) no heat generated; the heat generated in the ON state(in Watts) = the current (in Amps) squared times the resistance of the FET in the fully conducting state, so a PWM voltage controller/regulator/converter needs to dissipate far less heat (and wastes far less power) than a rheostat with a similar voltage drop... Needless to say, in electronic applications more filtering is needed after the switching stage.

Using power window motors, I'd be more concerned about the duty cycle of the motor: Seems like mine only run for maybe five seconds at a crack.
   John Lowther - Tuesday, 10/16/07 15:25:34 EDT

John, I was wondering about the motor myself. I didn't mention the controller...On the other hand I have had kids so I've had PW run a lot longer than 5 seconds! (also why I like manual mechanical windows, seat adjusters, etc. Much more robust and when they break I may be able to fix them.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/16/07 16:20:24 EDT

Power Windows: Hate em. . On every vehicle I've had experience with that had them they were one of the first things to go bad and quite expensive to fix. On older cars they are impossible to find making the car pretty much scrap. . . give me a crank any day.

They also have a serious safety issue, not working when there is no power. I was in an accident where the car rolled over and stopped upside down. The doors were crushed just enough that they would not open. The driver did the RIGHT thing and turned off the engine (it was still running upside down). I got myself out of the seat belt I was hanging upside down from and had to craw into the back seat to get to a clear window. . . however it was rolled UP and there was no power. The driver had to put the keys back in the switch and turn the ignition on. . . THIS could have blown us up because by that time there was a LOT of gasoline fumes. NO, we could NOT wait for help, that was HOURS away. So he turned on the switch, I rolled the window down and crawled out. . . The accident was NOTHING. Escape from windows that could not be opened was another thing. We had thought about breaking the glass but I was already cut up pretty good crawling around in the already broken glass of the windshield.

Power locks are right up there with windows. Keeps locksmiths in business opening locked cars. . .

The big problem with using this type auto part in ANY product is replacements. They are also often difficult to anchor and attach to as they are not designed for universal use.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/16/07 17:25:18 EDT

Silly question, I'm sure, but why not just use a spit motor? They sell for around ten or twenty bucks most places, have a square drive and low speed. If you need low-speed DC motorization, why not use a DC stepper motor? Then you can have your laptop control the spit while it runs the burner solenoids and the lighting effects for that proper ambiance, too. (grin)
   vicopper - Tuesday, 10/16/07 17:47:31 EDT

vicopper, good question. I was about to ask the same thing. I don't make hammers, either.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 10/16/07 18:27:38 EDT

Rich, you ever tried turning 120 pounds of hog with one of those little "spit drives"? How about a side of beef? we have not established how large the load will be! Out this way a whole goat is about the smallest you would spit roast.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/16/07 19:01:37 EDT

I have a cousin who was driving his mothers car with power windows and locks when it got washed off a low water crossing and ended up in the deep hole. To this day nobody knows how he got out as when they pulled the car out of the water it was locked up tight and the windows were all closed!

I keep a breaker bar and a rock hammer to hand for this sort of thing when I'm driving. never know when you're driving in the city and will end up in deep water!

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/16/07 19:04:21 EDT

In this part of the country pig roasting is a double exercise. First in developing the most Rube Goldberg drive to make a big pig rotate slow and even. I have seen as many as 20 pullys used, chains, car transmissions and so forth. One guy I know built his from all SS, and used a special Nuclear grade SS motor actuator for a big valve for the gearing. All scrounged! The best all time was run by a little hit or miss engine.

Of course the second part of the enterprise is to have some buddies over to help with the roasting which is mostly an excuse to stay up all night telling lies and enjoying adult beverages, and dreaming up new mickey mouse ways to rotate a pig.
   ptree - Tuesday, 10/16/07 19:10:19 EDT

One does not spit a large carcass. One digs a pit and fills it with hot rock, embers, etc. Wrap the beastin aluminum foil if elephant ear ferns are not indigenous to your area, . Put the carcas in the pit then cover with vegetable matter and dirt the night before and let it cook overnight. Falls of the bone, no Rube Goldberg devices needed. Of course, there is the matter of how you dig the pit.......
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 10/16/07 19:54:24 EDT

Well, if you're talking about roasting a pig, that's a whole 'nother issue. Down here, roast pig (or lechon, as we call it) is practically a religion. On any given day, there will be a dozen or more on spits across the island.

Most of the guys here who roast pigs use a 110v motor working through a gear reduction head to a chain drive. Belts tend to get smelly when roasted, y'know?

One guy has a motorcycle transmission in his drive train, and another uses some reduction unit from a piece of industrial equipment. Surprisingly, on an island where the electric utility is notoriously unreliable, nobody uses an old-fashioned clockwork spitjack.

I think the really "green" way to do it would be to harness the wave energy of the Caribbean to rotate the pig. True, it would limit you to pig roasts on or very near the beach, but that just adds to the romance. (grin)
   vicopper - Tuesday, 10/16/07 19:56:46 EDT


Diggn the pit is the easy part down in these parts. Almost all the folks who do "lechon" are of the same ethnic background as all the backhoe operators. A quick trade and the hole is dug. We lack elephant ear ferns, but banana leaves work a treat. Especially for a really large fish, stuffed with ripe mangoes. Delish!
   vicopper - Tuesday, 10/16/07 20:00:32 EDT

Roasting large animals.
When I was a kid, the town had an annual ox roast--on a spit, 300 to 400 pounds. I don't remember the time but 24-30 hours seems right. Turning the spit swas manual, quarter turn of crank every 10-15 minutes, with crank secured to support in between.
   Jim Curtis - Tuesday, 10/16/07 20:44:26 EDT

I built 3 commercial meat smoker/roasters for some friends that cater pig roast dinners. They don't rotate the pig while cooking other than turning it over when it is half done, but that would be too simple for most folks.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 10/16/07 21:34:19 EDT

i dug a pit with an excavator and tore out to trees and burnt those and put the pig in alumanume foil and burryed it and put two pipes on both sides and cooked it for 12 hours and it turned out pretty good the middle wasnt done but it was good
   jake - Tuesday, 10/16/07 22:40:30 EDT

Would it be possible to braze mild steel with brass wire loaded into a mig welder?
   matthijs - Wednesday, 10/17/07 01:17:43 EDT

Sorry if you guys covered this last week or something, if so just point me to the link. I am building a clamshell forge with the shell being a 14" dia tube spit length wise and 14" or so long. My question is the best material to line it with. As I see it my three options with locally available material are: 2" of kaowool supported somehow with nichrome wire and coated with sairset kiln mortar and then top coated with ITC-100. K-26 or 28 fire bricks cut to an arch and bonded together supported with metal tabs at the bottom edges of the shell. Or a cast refractory supported the same, my castable choices are mizzou, or a lighter weight but same temp rating Kaolite, or kastolite. Basically what kind of refractory defies gravity best? Probably wont be getting any flux on it, fast heat up(low mass) would be nice, I would imagine it will be getting allot of thermal shock and bumps.
   - Leaf Dobson - Wednesday, 10/17/07 02:29:11 EDT


Silicon bronze filler rod is normally used for TIG brazing, so I'd guess that would be the best alloy to try with MIG. Don't know if it would work, though. It would probably be hard to keep the base metal from melting into the puddle (I tend to have problem even with TIG).
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 10/17/07 07:18:31 EDT

If one were to use a gas forge and do some smithing for a hobby in the garage and took the time to put in some welding screens for spark safety. Would he have a problem with dirt and dust from "smithin" covering everything else in the garage? Or is most the black dust/mess from the coal itself?

   ChrisB - Wednesday, 10/17/07 07:25:23 EDT

Received an e-mail from someone who had purchased a 110 lb Harbor Freight anvil and had it professionally heat treated. He said the heat treater tested the metal and found it to be "some sort of 4000 series steel". After heating and oil quenching he said it now has an excellent ring and now shows no further 'dinging' even after several hours of usage.

Perhaps a coincidence, but the few I have steel ball tested had about a 40% bounce.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools) - Wednesday, 10/17/07 08:12:37 EDT

Leaf Dobson,

If you're building the forge with the pipe cut to two half-pipe sections, the Kaowool refractory blanket will be self supporting if held at the bottom by a ledge. No need to use the nichrome wire. That's the way I'd go, then coat with a couple layers of ITC-100. For the bottom half, I'd do the same, but probably add a shell of castable refractory against possible future use of flux.

I'd suggest using stainless steel for the support ledge for the Kaowool, as there will be flame passing it and thin mild steel will burn/rust out in a year or so of cnstant use. Stainless will last much longer.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 10/17/07 09:05:50 EDT

Chris B,

It is going to depend on how much smithing you do. Even without the use of coal, the scale that gets under foot gets ground to dust and gets around pretty thoroughly, if not kept vacuumed up. Grinding swarf does the same thing.

If you keep things well swept and vacuumed, you shouldn't have too much of a problem.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 10/17/07 09:09:00 EDT

Rehardening an anvil: Ken, So the fellow bought a new anvil then spent a lot of money doing what good manufacturers do in the first place. . and at what total cost? And with no warrantee for all that cost he is no better off than with an old used anvil. .
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/07 10:19:35 EDT

Ken,your bounce tests is in line with ours done on one of the early HF Russian Anvils. As for the steel being "some sort of 4000 series steel", well, I doubt it. Chromium and molybdenum are just too expensive to use on a cheap anvil. I still think it is a 1040 steel maybe with slighly higher manganese.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 10/17/07 10:24:48 EDT

TIG Brazing. . . Good way to kill yourself I think. The arc deposition is way too high a temperature and you would be giving off a cloud of zinc fumes. . . When used for MIG the radiant heat does the job rather than passing through an arc.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/07 11:01:24 EDT


Do you have "MIG" and "TIG" switched in your post? I'm having a hard time understanding it otherwise. (It's pretty hard to MIG weld without passing the wire through the arc.)
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 10/17/07 11:49:51 EDT

Mike you are right. . . got in a hurry. MIG and brass do not mix.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/07 12:53:08 EDT

MIG brazing appears to be a legitimate industrial process; e.g., here: http://content.lincolnelectric.com/pdfs/products/literature/nx450.pdf. (If Lincoln and BMW are OK with it, I have to conclude that it's for real.) But it doesn't use brass as the filler metal, and I'm pretty sure it's more complicated than just loading some silicon bronze wire into your MIG welder and having at it.
   Matt B - Wednesday, 10/17/07 12:58:41 EDT

Quenchcrack: "Chromium and molybdenum are just too expensive to use on a cheap anvil"---weren't the russians the ones that were selling Ti crowbars way cheap once? I'd thought it was too expensive for a cheap tool like a crow?

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/17/07 15:29:09 EDT

Thomas: In the US, an addition of .20% Moly to a ton of steel adds $200 per ton to the cost. The Russians may have a lot of Ti but the US has most of the Moly. Besides, when the Russians were selling Ti crowbars, nobody was paying attention to the costs, just the revenues. I would bet that today, you would not find Ti crowbars being sold cheap. Unless they were Chinese.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 10/17/07 16:54:27 EDT

Shortly after the fall of the USSR there was all kinds of cheap Russian scrap on the market. Tons of titanium plate (I woas told was from submarines), those Ti pry bars. . . many other things I suspect. You could also hire PHD level programmers at a dollar an hour and the trade in mail order Russian brides was real for a time. Their economy is strengthening and the fire sale is over. . .

You want classy alloy anvils, buy American.

   - guru - Wednesday, 10/17/07 17:42:01 EDT

Interestingly, Russian steel mills are doing very well these days and they are buying up American steel plants. These steel companies are populated by oligarch PhD's who were in the right place at the right time to steal the businesses from the government. God help us: the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! And they have money! Wonder if they want to buy a slightly used anvil?
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 10/17/07 17:49:07 EDT

Quench, I may be wrong, but I seem to recall that Russia had a huge stragic reserve of moly, cobalt and the bulk of the Ti. I do know that the USSR had actually VERY good metalurgy during the cold war. They funded their steel industry as a military effort. I actually would not be surprised to see that those anvils are made from remelted armour plate from the several hundred thousand armoured vehicles that had to be destroyed per treaties. I remember that the Czech's had about 30,000 50 ton tanks to destroy, and the steel was not worth the breaking. They were thinking of using them to make reefs. Have a peek at what 1950/60's T-62 were made of.
   - ptree - Wednesday, 10/17/07 18:11:24 EDT

I am not sure what the point of ptree's and Thomas's comments are. I think it is a 1040 steel. You are free to believe otherwise. Do not for a minute think that the Russians (or the Czechs) are just melting down high alloy steel scrap to make into crappy anvils. They are smart enough to realize they can re-cast high alloy steel into other high alloy applications and sell it for a lot more money. Dirty, high alloy steel can be easily recycled into high quality product by using modern steel making technology.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 10/17/07 19:43:58 EDT

I looked up the world output of molybdenum and the US is the worlds largest producer, out producing Russia by 100 to 1.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 10/17/07 19:48:19 EDT

At lunch time today I wandered into the state surplus warehouse, and they had a Burke-Powermatic 333 milling machine, out of the old reform school.

This is a small floor standing horizontal mill, maybe an 8x36" table. No vise, and only one tool holder. It does have an electric power feed, as is common on Bridgeports and their clones.

It looks to be in pretty decent shape for a machine which has probably sat for upwards of a decade: The table and dovetails aren't shiny any more, but not rusted to speak of.

Any notion of what such a machine would be worth? (It's in Kansas, where it's probably worth a tad more than in the rust belt, but. . .)

I've been wanting a Bridgeport or a decent clone thereof for years, but I've reached the conclusion that a cheap horizontal mill in the shop is better than a nice vertical one left at the machinery dealer's. . . Seems like horizontal mills are vastly cheaper than their vertical counterparts, though the setups for the vertical may be a lot easier. . .

I've been Googling for info, and haven't found anything on this machine, though the Burke #4 may be an ancestor.

At the moment, I'm figuring it would bring maybe $50 at the scrap yard, a little more with the motors separated out, but how much more would it be worth?
   John Lowther - Wednesday, 10/17/07 20:03:40 EDT

John Lowther: If the spindle taper is something You can get tooling for it is worth more than one where You cant, and as You noted the machine is not nearly as versatile as a Bridgeport type machine, and this one is a bit smaller than that. What it boils down to is what is it worth to You?
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 10/17/07 22:03:12 EDT

The 333 was the biggest of the Burke/Powermatic Horizontals, at 3Hp (probably 3phase) it weighs 2000lbs, and, new, in about 1974, it cost $5000. The table power feed was a $500 option.
It does have the very common No. 40 taper, which is good, as tooling is quite available, and reasonable in price.
But make sure it has the arbor and arbor support- these would be very hard to find and expensive. Hopefully more than one arbor. This is the cylindrical shaft that fits in the tapered drive, and is supported at the outboard end by an arbor support that hangs down off the dovetails of the ram.
It may be possible to get a generic arbor to fit- if so, they run $100 to $500 and up. This is to hold horizontal mills, which resemble saw blades.
You can also buy smaller end mill holders for it, which run $50 to $150 each- these will hole individual sizes of end mills, which more resemble a router bit.
Each has its advantages on this machine- in the end, you would want both.
As for price- it varies tremendously.
Sometimes scrap, but in good running condition, with tooling, from a dealer, this machine would easily bring $1k to $3k.
It has a higher value than many bigger, more capable machines- very few people want a 10,000lb, 8 foot square, 10hp K&T mill in their garage, but these fit most anywhere.
As Dave said, what its worth to you? People routinely pay as little as $200, or as much as $100,000 for milling machines.
Remember that tooling for this will easily run you a thousand dollars in the long term- you will want a good heavy vise, various collets, arbor spacers, a drill chuck, a rotary table, clamping set, and lots of end mills and shell mills. It adds up quick, even if you are just buying the cheap chinese stuff from Grizzly.
   - Ries - Thursday, 10/18/07 09:02:49 EDT

Horizontal Mills: These normally take a short American milling machine taper with key. However, for most use they are no use with an end mill. They are used with mandrels and a stack of spacers and circular cutters (like saw blades). These cutters are large and thus expensive new. On old machines they normally come with the machine (along with the mandrels, spacers, and outboard support).

Unless the mill has a vertical attachment the problem with using a horizontal mill for vertical mill type work is that you have to stand behind the table to see the work well. To hold small work you have to use a big angle plate and a vertically mounted vise. Then you have to change positions and operate the machine from the front (from where you cannot see the work).

Even IF the mill has a vertical attachment they do not nearly have the flexibility of a vertical mill.

You may want to wait. Good solid horizontal mills with all the attachments are still occasionally found at sales. However, if the machine sell for very little then it will have some resale value. There are groups of machinists that seek out these small school shop machines. Without tooling these type machines usually sell for around $400 to $600 and over $1000 with tooling.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/18/07 09:17:30 EDT

bubbubtytysysy.tt.. .. Boy I screw up that first sentence. . . The machine Ries is describing is bigger than what I thought. Atlas-Clausing made some very cute little machines, vertical mills, horizontal mills and shapers for school shops that were about half this size.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/18/07 09:23:24 EDT

Strategic Reserves and Cold War Politics: A little known fact is that during the height of the cold war we traded heavily with the USSR for things we each needed to maintain the balance of terror and the capacity for mutual destruction. Specific alloying ingredients were the most important among these. I think we traded molybdenum for cobalt. I know we bought or traded for cobalt from the USSR.

After WWII the US had strategic reserve stockpiles of all kinds of things stashed in various places. Out in the forests of Amherst county near Lynchburg, Virginia where there was several foundries there was a large pile of molybdenum inoculate (a black porous looking stuff). About every 4 or 5 years or so some hunter would come upon it and report it to the authorities as an industrial waste dump. They in turn were often new and raised the alarm further until someone that knew about the strategic reserve stockpile explained what it was. This usually took about a week and made the local news. I think after the last alarm the stockpile was removed.

   - guru - Thursday, 10/18/07 11:02:07 EDT

Thanks for the info on the mill.

2000# makes it twice the mass I expected: That column and table must be thicker than I guessed.

Next week we'll see if the pricer is being realistic or not. They won't sell it outside of agencies for a month anyway. If they are being too proud of it, I'll let them sit on it for a few months then make an offer. . .
   John Lowther - Thursday, 10/18/07 12:20:29 EDT

Dumb question, but if the HF anvil hardened after heating and oil quenching doesn't that indicate it is something more than 1040?

From what he said heat treating the anvil was an in-house, on-the-side deal.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools) - Thursday, 10/18/07 14:17:43 EDT

Thanks vicopper, I hadn't thought of the stainless, that is a good idea.
   - Leaf Dobson - Thursday, 10/18/07 15:49:24 EDT

Rehardening an anvilquestion:
I looked into this once. The cost to stress relieve, hardenen and temper an anvil was in the $550.00 range for around 130 lb anvil by a proffessional heat treater. To buy a Russian anvil and do this is throwing good money after bad. You can buy a 100 lb TFS anvil for less from The Blacksmith Depot.
   - Sparky II - Thursday, 10/18/07 16:45:33 EDT

Please forgive spelling errors...didn't proof read.
   - Sparky II - Thursday, 10/18/07 16:47:44 EDT

Sparky II, good heavens. That is $5 a pound! Who was running that shop, Ben Dover? That sounds extremely high but I guess energy costs are up considerably since I was doing toll heat treating for $.38 per pound. I agree with your conclusions, though.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 10/18/07 17:03:36 EDT

You can harden a 1040 steel on the surface to over 50Rc. Without the alloy to drive the transformation deeper, it may be very soft just a fraction of an inch under the face. We just don't know. Now if somebody wants to cut one open and run Rc tests a couple of inches into the casting, I can compare the data with what would be expected from a 4100 series steel and either confirm or deny the assertion.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 10/18/07 17:08:05 EDT

Combining forge and heat chimney:

I have a propane warehouse heater in my shop with an 8" chimney going out the wall and then up. I'm putting in a coal forge and I want to replace the 8" chimney with a 12" one. It will be primarily for the coal forge, with a gate in the 8" tee to keep smoke out of the heater. The heater would only be used when the forge is out, so only one or the other would be in use. I'm also going to try out the low loss cap design from the FAQ. Someone on another site expressed some safety concerns with the dual use chimney.

Can anyone here comment on hazards of venting propane and coal exhaust in the same chimney? I know the sulfer from the coal will rust out the thin sheet metal, and water from the propane may accelerate that. I can imagine issues from coal dust build-up without a gate on the heater vent, but I want the gate for better draft at the forge, also. I'm trying to minimize the number of smokestacks on my garage and the number of cinderblocks I need to knock out of the wall.
   Jacob - Thursday, 10/18/07 17:55:13 EDT

Re hardening anvils: there is a section of Hrsoulas Bladesmithing book on making an anvil and hardening/ tempering it. Rather cumbersome and a lot of trouble but do-able.
   JLWh - Thursday, 10/18/07 21:38:23 EDT

I want to start collecting forging anvils.I was givin one with the heel broken off.Do they have to be complete to be considered part of a collection?Is it just scrap metal?Thank you,Ken
   Ken Williams - Thursday, 10/18/07 21:55:30 EDT

Jacob: There are often local codes/ordinances against using a common flue for 2 appliances, but the short answer is it can work, but might not be the best way to go. We used the same flue for an oil fired boiler and a wood stove for 40+ years without any problems, but We did all our own service work, so we didn't have to bother with anybody elses opinion. The only problem I see with the gate is the posibility of firing the heater with the gate closed, You would not notice the problem right away and might suffer the consequences. Our stove and boiler fed into the same flue with each having it's own stovepipe, both open at all times. This might cut noticably into the draft You need to properly use a side draft hood
   - Dave Boyer - Thursday, 10/18/07 22:32:09 EDT

Anvil Collecting: Ken, The first thing ANYONE collecting anything needs to do is to become very knowledgeable on the subject before making their first purchase. THEN they should take the advise of others when they do make purchases.

See our book review of Anvils in America. Then buy a copy from our store. It is the ONLY reference book on anvils and their history. THEN watch every anvil sale on ebay for a couple years. STUDY the photos of the anvils. Learn their details. Travel to blacksmiths' meets. There are always anvils for sale and to look at. AND there will be people there that KNOW anvils.

First, There are millions of anvils that are over 150 years old that have no collector's value. They are tools and still too common to be collectible for another half century or so. But they ARE valuable tools.

Second, There ARE a few collectible anvils that are such because of their rarity, beauty, or quality of manufacture regardless of age.

Third, Condition is everything in both users and collector anvils. Broken or abused anvils are worth less than good condition. Repaired anvils are worth less than unrepaired. The older an anvil is the more wear it can show without hurting its value. Anvils wear and sag for normal use and become very gracefully organic looking when well worn. This is a big difference between damage due to abuse. An ANCIENT anvil with a broken corner is still a museum piece but a 100 year old anvil with a broken corner is just another broken anvil.

Forth, Among many modern manufacturers of anvils many were hand made up until the 1920's. Every one has a slightly different look. Some are well proportioned and others from the same manufacturer are as ugly as can be be. This means that two anvils in the same condition, of the same age, from the same manufacturer may have entirely different values. Until you appreciate the ART of the anvil you will be a poor collector.

Last. . . there is a class of anvils made from cast iron that were nothing but door stops when new and will never be anything more than a door stop. Most are worth less than the iron they are made from and they are being made by the millions today.

Broken anvils that were good tools when new are often still good tools and better than a junk cast iron anvil (which fools buy every day). So they are rarely junk. Even when broken in two they have some collectors value (just to show they CAN be broken). In fact, they may have more value broken than whole in some cases.

Study, they study some more. Otherwise you will be just one more fool in a sea of fools bidding on things they have no knowledge about.

AND in that vein. . You will find copies of Anvils in America selling on ebay for double the list price just because there are fools that will pay double, just because it IS on ebay. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 10/18/07 23:58:51 EDT

To add to above, there is also the factor of rareness by itself. Collecting anything pretty well falls on the 80/20 principal. The first 80% of what is available will be fairly easy to find. With each percentage over 80 it becomes progressively harder.

To illustrate I am in correspondence with someonw who found a 150-lb American Scale & Vise (Kansas City, MO) anvil. In AIA a 20-lb one is listed as a crafts anvil. Richard Postman said since AIA was published he has encountered a couple more, but none as large as this one. From pictures it is in very good condition except for one broken foot. Anvil is chilled cast iron intended for the low-end of the market, such as farmers. Many may have ended up in a WW-II scrap drive. While the quality of the anvil is likely low, rarity and condition would likely make it very attractive to a brand anvil collector who doesn't have one. Thus value should be higher than an ordinary user anvil.

Then there is specialization. Do you want to just collect anvils, one each of brand names, one each of each type a manufacturer made, one each logo used by an manufacturer?

It can also become a rather expensive hobby if you have to have anvils shipped/freighted to you.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools) - Friday, 10/19/07 07:46:02 EDT

Collectors' Value: While rarity increases value to some extent this is not always the rule. In many areas of collecting a one-off is not nearly worth as much as something that there are at least dozens of. When there is a small quantity there is a record of what the price should be with each successive purchase going for a little bit more until all are identified. THEN, when one comes on the market due to someone selling from a collection the price may be even higher.

However, this also depends on the collector and their reputation. If is is known that your collection is nothing but the best examples then the price will be higher than from a collector that is unknown OR worse a collector who is known to collect anything. THEN there are collectors or dealers that sell misrepresented items or forgeries. There is at least ONE fellow in the blacksmith trade that stamps markings on tools that did not have markings in order to increase their value. YES there are forged blacksmith tools and NOT in the sense of how they were manufactured. These items sell on ebay to the unwary and uneducated. Today, if ANYTHING is worth collecting there will be forgeries.

Another thing is that very few things designed to be collectible ever become valuable collectibles. Many are poor quality design, manufactured in too large a number and never develop an interest group.

These are general rules of collecting along with educating yourself about the specific thing.

While I "collect" certain things, I do not purchase anything that is considered collectible. However, general rarity and a global Internet market has driven the costs of many things up, such as old books. Collectors' value often has nothing to do with general market trends or true value and something may be hot today and have interest tomorrow.

The general advise given to collectors of ANYTHING from fine art to marbles is to collect something you LIKE and have an appreciation for. If you are lucky it might be a good investment. If not, it is something you enjoy and has made you happy.
   - guru - Friday, 10/19/07 09:14:17 EDT

Another aspect is that smiths often *HATE* anvil collectors as they drive up the market prices and reduce the availability of what they consider to be "working tools".

A typical anvil with some severe damage will usually go for a lot cheaper than a "good" one. I bought a 120# anvil with great face and horn but a broken off heel for about one seventh the price the unbroken one would have brought and even bought a severly damaged anvil of about 100 pounds for US$5 once---which was a good buy just for the wrought iron in it! (I have a wall of shame where I display severly abused anvils as cautionary tales for new smiths. Never spent more than US$20 on any of them)

Beware of small "advertising anvils" they have been faked so much that the market for them was pretty well killed save for folks who didn't know any better.

And as mentioned before: to become a "collector" *learn* first, Specialize, get help from Experts when you can and only then buy.

And remember "Beware the painted Anvil!"
   Thomas P - Friday, 10/19/07 11:21:39 EDT

Hello. I have someone that would like me to flatten out a piece of cast iron from a wood stove. Can this be done? at what temp would i need to get it to, and would i need to use a soft anvil and hammer. Like wood..
Thank you. Tom B.
   Tom B. - Friday, 10/19/07 12:53:50 EDT


Generally cast iron cannot be worked this way. While it does distort and get bent with heat it is nearly impossible to do so in a controlled manner. Cast iron will slump at just below or at its melting point. It must then cool very slowly. Attempting to straighten the piece will most likely destroy what is left and the customer will blame you (even if you warn them that it may not work).

What I do in these situations is offer to make a steel replacement. These hold up about as well as the cast iron originals. However, the original parts I've replaced have been pretty burnt up and the replacements were also too burnt to repair when they were no longer functional.

   - guru - Friday, 10/19/07 13:16:51 EDT

Hey guys. i have another question for you.

Is there a tutorial floating around on how to make your own punches and drifts? I've looked around the site here and i haven't found anything except that one tutorial on proper drifting or something of the sort.

-Matt A
   Matt A - Friday, 10/19/07 13:22:56 EDT

In puruseing some of the blacksmith articles I ran across an article about early anvils being cast in 3 or more sections and then forged welded together but now I can't find it again. Can anyone help with information on where it is hiding please? The reason I ask is I believe I have purchased one of these anvils. There is no logo indicating who might be the maker but there is definite visual indication that the base, body and horn were cast separately then joined. There is also a strip of steel on the working face. The horn was very poorly cast. The seller thought the pits on the bottom of the horn were rust pits but on further examination I find they are too deep compared to other rust areas and have the remnants of black casting sand in some of the deeppest crevices of approx 3/16 inch. As I tried to work out some of the pits I found additional casting flaws under a very thin layer of metal. I am pretty sure the anvil base, body and horn are cast iron based on the sparks displayed during grinding. There is a 6 or a 9 (depending on how you view it) and the number 28 cast into the bottom of the base on opposite ends so I am assuming this was a commercial effort by someone. Any help is greatly appreciated.
   Larry - Friday, 10/19/07 13:43:27 EDT

"Beware the Painted Anvil" Hmmmm, I once found a Chinese ASO that was painted but the worst part was all the Bondo under the paint that filled in the casting voids. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig.....
   quenchcrack - Friday, 10/19/07 15:02:22 EDT

Guru. Thanks for the info. The guy wants me to try anyway. He said that if it does not work, that he will have me build a new one. I will let you know if i am able to get it strait:) Thanks again.
Tom B. aka BuickSmith
   Tom B. - Friday, 10/19/07 15:02:26 EDT

Anvil manufacturing: Larry, Several reputable manufacturers used cast mild steel bases arc welded to forged steel tops. Prior to that all forged anvils were multi-piece and even the pieces were built up from either bar or scrap. I do not know of anyone that has cast separate pieces and welded them together. You either have a cast iron ASO or an ASO that has been broken and repaired. Note also that many of the poorly made ASO patterns have obvious seams from glue joints in the patterns. They also have phony top plates that stick out from the sides of the anvil. REAL plated forged anvils may have a faint seam here but never an obvious step.
   - guru - Friday, 10/19/07 15:20:15 EDT

Sounds rather like the Vulcan I had at Q-S two years ago where the casting flaws on the horn were so bad that it finally broke off there. The cast out numbers fit a Vulcan too. Any sign of a raised oval on one of the sides?

Now on old traditionally made anvils they were often made from 6 or more wrought iron parts forgewelded together and then several toolsteel plates welded side by side to form the face. As time went on anvil manufacturers started to advertise that their anvils were made with fewer and fewer pieces as the welds could be zones of weakness.

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/19/07 15:39:24 EDT

FINALLY got my brake drum forge fired up with some real coke yesterday! It was a bit hard to light for the first time, but I expect it will be easier next time now that I have some "pre-cooked" coke to prime the fire with. Anyway, I also had a go at fire welding in it and ran into some trouble and don't know why.
I was trying to close a loop in some 12mm sq like in Bill Epps' poker demo. The weld stuck, but the scarf didn't close up completely. I can live with that, as I suspect that will come with practice. The real problem, was that the steel cracked about 6mm deep just before the weld. Would that be from over heating? It was lightly sparking, but I thought that is where it was supposed to be. Maybe my steel, even though I bought it from a "proper" steel merchant this time, wasn't all that mild...
   Craig - Friday, 10/19/07 15:47:54 EDT

Craig, Sounds like you burnt the edges. This is easy to do with a coke fire. You need to make the fire deeper and heat a gently as possible. Lightly sparkling can be just right or too hot. Generally if its sparking in the forge it is too hot. Often when a piece is pulled out of the protective atmosphere of the fire it will sparkle a little. Also remember that the higher the carbon the lower the welding temperature. Wrought or pure iron welds at the highest temperature, then mild steel, then structural. Today, most of the bar stock we pick up is structural. It should have a liquid looking surface but no or very few sparks.

Practice, practice. . .
   - guru - Friday, 10/19/07 15:54:36 EDT

Thanks again mate! I think I will ask my dealer some questions re mild or structural. I was having trouble sleeping, wondering what I did wrong, but I suspect you are correct with your diagnosis. I did get it up to temperature rather quickly. I will try again with a longer soak in the fire this time.
   Craig - Friday, 10/19/07 16:00:21 EDT

Chimney cleaning:

Along the same lines as my question above, what chimney cleaning is generally needed on a coal forge? How much build up is expected? I can't think of a time when any of the forge chimney's I've worked with were cleaned, but I wasn't the owner of those shops. Should I clean it out more often if it is also venting a shop heater?

I don't want to find out too late about a buildup I can't see, but I also wont be suprised if the galvanized sheet rusts out before there are other serious problems.
   Jacob - Friday, 10/19/07 16:34:57 EDT

Craig, most dealers will supply A36 structural steel to you if you ask for "mild steel"; some don't even know the difference! One reason that the ubiquitous slack tub is no longer used as much as it used to be, you never know if your "mild steel" will harden...

To get the traditional 1018-1020 mild steel costs extra as it has a spec to it and re-melted scrap may not conform!

Good Luck

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/19/07 18:00:35 EDT

Can you recommend a good forum to get machine shop advice?

You have been a lot of help, but I'm afraid milling machines and the tooling to go with them are a little bit too far off topic to bother you with repeatedly.

Three piece anvil: IIRC Fishers had a tool steel face and separate steel horn welded on in the process of casting the body. Could that be what Larry was thinking of?
   John Lowther - Friday, 10/19/07 20:45:23 EDT




The first one is much bigger, and more professional.The second is just what it sounds like, home shop guys.
   - Ries - Friday, 10/19/07 21:24:16 EDT

John Lowther: If that mill is the size Ries described, it is a good size for a home shop. what a horizonal mill excells at is squaring up blocks using a face mill or a flycutter. The overarm and long arbors are needed on ocasion, but I recall using them for 1 job in the 14 years I spent as a tool & die maker, and that is 1 job in 1 shop, not just jobs I worked on. If the machine is in good shape and cheap I would grab it, but You will still want a Bridgeport type mill in addition to it.
   - Dave Boyer - Friday, 10/19/07 22:22:21 EDT

Guru: have you considered distilling the wisdom from the Guru's den archives on power hammers? I suspect that many would be happy to pay for a treatise that had pros and cons on the types of user built hammers (air, beam, arc spring, dupont linkage etc) and most especially the logistics of design and the weight of springs. I have beem reading the den for several years and have read the posts but it would take somoone of your experience to systematize or organize it so that neophytes can profit from the information.
   JLW - Friday, 10/19/07 22:28:02 EDT

Machine Tools: John, If you are looking at purchasing any kind of machine tool you are not familiar with it helps to study how they are setup and used. Machine Tool Practices, a text book published by Wiley, is an excellent start. The rest of my books on the subject are packed up or I'd list them. However, there are various general machine shop references that cover many types of machines.

As an example, I have an old Brown and Sharpe surface grinder built in the 1940's. I also purchased a similar cylindrical grinder that was about twice the size. After studying the machine setups I decided that I would never use the machine and traded it off. I find the surface grinder very handy but the cylindrical grinder would have almost never been used.

The two most common machines that are the handiest in any type of shop are the engine lathe and the vertical mill with knee (Bridgeport type).

In many cases the squaring up operations Dave mentioned can be done on a lathe.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/20/07 00:31:25 EDT

Howdy, Y'all, I haven't been over here for a spell. If I may scroll back a few days, with regard to Russky steel mills in the US, I am employed in one of them. A company named SeverStal (That translates to "Northern Steel") from Cherevopets, (sp) Russia, now owns the steel mill in Dearborn, MI, in the Rouge complex that was built by Henry Ford. I feel more secure in my employment with them than I did with the last outfit, who originally bought the mill from Ford. The Russians are spending gigabucks to make a more modern mill out of the old place, starting with a new, modern blast furnace, soon to be followed by a state of the art tandem mill. The previous owners just bled the company dry, and then dumped it.
   - 3dogs - Saturday, 10/20/07 03:31:33 EDT

With regard to arc welding with bronze, I still have about 10 pounds of 1/8" flux coated bronze electrode, which I used to use in building up wear pads. It works pretty well with an O/A torch as well. When you start an arc with the stuff, you'd better have another rod ready, because it really burns up fast. If you don't keep the tip of the rod right in the puddle, there'll be bronze globules all over the place.
   - 3dogs - Saturday, 10/20/07 03:42:14 EDT

3dogs: You might suggest to them the possibility of producing a cast steel London-pattern and/or double-horned anvil of about 150 pounds for the general masses. You might have a side business of finishing and shipping.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools) - Saturday, 10/20/07 06:17:25 EDT

3 Dogs, welcome back. I also work for a steel company that was recently bought by a foreign steel mill. It is a Swedish mill and so far, nothing has changed except the way we report every month end. We are all waiting to see if they invest or divest.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 10/20/07 09:20:50 EDT

That WOULD be great, Ken, but we are in no way in the foundry/forging business. We make coils exclusively, primarily high quality auto body and appliance skin, and stock for the general stamping industry.
   - 3dogs - Saturday, 10/20/07 09:21:59 EDT

Quenchcrack; SeverStal has also gone into a venture with another producer (Nucor, I think) to produce slabs at a new mill down in Mississippi, using Brazilian ore brought in through the Gulf.
   - 3dogs - Saturday, 10/20/07 09:30:46 EDT

Hello everyone. Second attempt on this subject here.
Who owns an Anyang/Striker/Chinese hammer? What have been the good & bad?
Who owns a Saymak/sahinler/kuhnklone/turkish hammer? what do you have to say?
   - james gonzalez - Saturday, 10/20/07 09:41:44 EDT

James G,

I wrote a few lines on this one over in the 'hammer in' a while back, you might also try 'forgemagic'website, as I know there are one or 2 sahinler owners over there. - I know one of the regular posters here has got an Anyang, they may have missed your question last time round

I sell the anyang hammers in the uk, so probably not best for impartial advice :)
   - John N - Saturday, 10/20/07 09:54:13 EDT

Machine Tool books. True confessions. I am "mechanically declined," a term I stole from one of my students. I know diddley squat about machine tools, but long ago, I purchased a few books pertaining thereto.

"American Machinists' Handbook and Dictionary of Shop Terms" by Colvin & Stanley, McGraw-Hill, 1920. "The Amateur Machinist" by A. Frederick Collins, New Home Library, N.Y., 1934. "Machine Shop Work," by John T. Shuman, American Technical Society, Chicago, 1942. "Design of Machine Elements," by Virgil Moring Faires, McMillen, 1946.

Of course, these books are outdated. However, there are sections in each which relate to blacksmithing, heat treatment, and general shop practice. I especially like the first mentioned book. There are good but brief sections on the grinding wheel, belt lacing, rigging knots, and steam hammer use. The dictionary is helpful, containing lots of line drawings.

In my defense, I have rebuilt my Little Giant hammer, pouring the babbitt. I have made locks, keys, and boo coo door hardware. I have done installations of ironwork...all of the above, only because I had DESIRE, and I WANTED TO BE A SMITH.

   Frank Turley - Saturday, 10/20/07 10:18:39 EDT

I own an Anyang/Striker. Probably one of only a few of this particular hybrid. Intially, James at Striker ordered a few Anyangs, then he switched to a different chinese manufacturer.
As far as I know, there are at least 3 manufacturers of power hammers in China, Wolf being the name the third one is sold under here.

The chinese hammers are copies of Chambersburg self contained hammers. They are massive cast iron castings, taking advantage fo China's cheap labor and large foundry infrastructure.
These are simple hammers, with not a lot to go wrong. I have had mine since 2001. When I first got it, there was one screw hole that was stripped- I fixed that in 10 minutes. The motor starter was really low quality, I replaced it with a Square D. And the oiler is a bit of a poor design, and even with fiddling seems to either deliver to much, or too little oil.
Aside from those three things, it has been a great hammer. I turn it on, it runs. I have run thousands of parts thru it, in a 3 man shop. And if you can break something, we do. So the fact we havent broken it means something.

Mine is a two piece, which I would heartily recommend- this means there is a seperate anvil. These anvils are usually heavier than the one piece hammer's anvil, and since they are mounted separately, they distribute the force better, and are less likely to crack something in time.

Where I live, there are very few old hammers, and shipping from the midwest is prohibitive- its 2000 miles from the hammer rich areas of the country. So I know a good 20 to 30 people with Strikers, Anyangs, and Wolf's. I have heard no horror stories. And most of those people are pros, who run the hammers a lot. I did hear a rumor of an older Anyang in California somewhere that never ran right, but I dont know of it in person.

Me, I would buy a 2 piece 165lb Striker if I had a choice- I think James Cosgrove is quite reputable. Or, maybe a similar sized Anyang- Bob Graham is also a good guy.
I met the president and chief engineer of Anyang at the Seattle Abana conference. Even though he speaks no English, the president flew over to observe how US blacksmiths use the hammers, and to learn more about the market. I have also heard that the factory will make improvements based on user advice, and is really paying attention to the US market needs.

   - Ries - Saturday, 10/20/07 12:55:19 EDT

Thanks John and Ries.
Info. is power.
A new hammer is a big shell-out for me, but I am tired of tinkering with the old mechanicals I own and have owned.
I would still appreciate input from a saymak owner.
   - james gonzalez - Saturday, 10/20/07 15:02:49 EDT

Spent the morning at a Folk Life festival over in Western TN. The blacksmith demonstrator had taken combination closed/open end wrenches and made them into forks and spoons. Rather unique, and likely something which would appeal to wrench collectors. He had also straighened out horseshoes and made them into forks and spoons. For the spoon, he selected one with a heel for the additional end mass. Here something for the horsey crowd.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools) - Saturday, 10/20/07 15:46:39 EDT

Ken, when we lived in Dyersburg, we attended the Folk Festival in Milan too. Great time. You must be referring to Mr. Cole who usually does the show. Nice fellow, too. Going to the Texas Renaisance Festival tomorrow, maybe Bill Epps will be demo'ing this year. I know he does the Dallas show frequently.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 10/20/07 18:38:07 EDT

For anyone who is interested in expanding the scope of my chemistry experiment, I think I may have found an easy method for copper plating steel. Working for a paint company, as I do, I have had cause to test steel paint cans for corrosion resistance. This is done by the application of an acidified copper sulfate solution to the welded areas of the can. If there is any deposit of copper on the steel surface, it means that the resin coating has not fully covered the exposed steel, and the can fails the test. I have tried the same solution on a piece of cleaned steel, resulting in a copper deposit without any apparent catalysation of rust over a couple of weeks. The solution is made up of 1% w/w hydrochloric acid, and 13%w/w (hydrated) copper sulfate. Try it, if you dare.
   Craig - Sunday, 10/21/07 00:00:09 EDT

quenchcrack: Yup, Mr. Cole. When I first walked up to the site I saw the anvil with COLE stamped on the said and thought, "Hey, a rare English anvil". Then realized it was a small TRENTON stamped with his name. He does REALLY nice work.

I was invited to demonstrate/sell. Went as much to check it out. May do so next year.
   Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools) - Sunday, 10/21/07 05:45:45 EDT

Ries, on the Anyangs I sell I fit a small non-return valve just above the oiler on each line when I put them on test.

This seems to take some of the back pressure out of the oiler and makes it much easier to set the flow. It also stops the oil from the lines draining back into the 'sight bowls' on top of the oiler when you switch off.

The more recent hammers are being shipped with clear nylon type oil lines which is good because you can see whats going on with the oil when you run the hammer. The N.R valves 'calm' it all down a bit!

Most folks seem to shut off the feed to the ram bore. its not really necessary since the oil from the compressor bore finds its way throught the valves to the ram.
   - John N - Sunday, 10/21/07 10:21:51 EDT

Copper Flash: Graig, This is a common first step in plating steel when a first class job is done. It is also a middle or high school chemistry experiment. A bright steel nail dipped into copper sulfate solution comes out with a bright copper finish.

In commercial chrome plating the order is, copper flash, nickel plate, chrome plate. The copper adheres to the steel better than the other metals, the nickel is dense and does not let water or oxygen pass and the chrome is hard, resists abrasion, is brighter than nickel and does not oxidize the way nickel does.

When the nickel is left out the plating is called "hard chrome" plating. Because chrome is porous rust still occurs through the chrome. It is better than nothing but it does rust. Due to well publicized law suits over the toxicity of nickel compounds many platers stopped using nickel. I have a drawer full of expensive Snap-On wrenches with a frost of rust through the chrome. . .

A copper flash is also used as a first step in silver and gold plating brass. It is followed by nickel then the silver or gold.

I have often wondered if a copper flash would be beneficial under cold galvanizing paint. However, it also raises the question of bimetalic corrosion and may require 100% removal of all scale. A copper flash is used prior to several galvanizing methods to improve the zinc bond.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/21/07 10:38:23 EDT

Raising A Copper Bowl

Hi folks.
I have recently been commissioned to make a 38 inch diameter 12 inch deep copper bowl for an exterior fountain.
I have never raised a vessel.
Any recommendations on how to proceed?

   - james gonzalez - Sunday, 10/21/07 11:09:20 EDT

James, See our armoury article on raising a helm. Raising in copper is identical except for the use of heat while raising. Copper is annealed as needed.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/21/07 12:00:39 EDT

I've taken open ended wrenches that fit the fitting on the propane tank and forge the other end into a face. I call it a Tyrannosaurous wrench, glue a few beads in the eyes and nose to give it a bit more character too.

IIRC SOFA has a SAYHA hammer in the back room any folks from SOFA that can give a review on it?

   Thomas P - Sunday, 10/21/07 14:15:29 EDT

More Raising: James, the other thing to consider is that this is a shallow vessel that may be dished rather than raised. This can be done on a power hammer using dies like Big BLU's peen texturing dies. The same job has also been done in a PullMax machine but these are fairly rare.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/21/07 14:27:41 EDT

I took a look at the helmet link.
It appears to be a rather intuitive straight foreward process.
Patience appears to be the crucial ingredient.
Without experience I would be hesitant to use a powerhammer here.
I suppose the best approach is going to be getting a pile of scrap sheetmetal and experimenting for an afternoon.
I am confident I can weld up serviceable "peening" dies.
   - james gonzalez - Sunday, 10/21/07 14:46:35 EDT

Self Contained Hammers: When looking at these machines you should also consider the Kuhn sold by Centaur Forge. They have one of the best reputations in the business. The Turkish hammers are all cheap copies of the Kuhn and many have had significant problems including overheating, dieseling and badly fitting dies.

Kuhn made the mistake many manufacturers have made in recent years. They tried to get their machines made cheaper somewhere else. So they went to Turkey. They were disappointed with the quality they got so brought their manufacturing home. However, they left a plant with the patterns, dies and knowledge of how to build their machines. Thus the Turkish hammer business started. Note that while many makers of this sort can MAKE a product they did not originally design or engineer it.

Then there are also the ORIGINAL, Nazels and Chambersburgs. While many are ancient they often sell for more than the new imports. They are heavier and were generally better built. Wear and tear is the problem. Companies that have them will pay up to $30,000 to have a 3B Nazel rebuilt rather than replacing them.

Of the new hammers you are looking at you will get the best service from Striker.

If you have the business, any of the available power hammers will pay for itself in a short time. While we all like machinery to last forever these machines should create enough profits to replace themselves every couple years.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/21/07 15:01:09 EDT

I would agree the Kuhn's are good hammers, but they cost at least twice as much as the turkish or chinese hammers.
Current price online at Centaur for a 145lb Kuhn is $21,000.
I would bet, however, that this does not take into account the current value of the Euro versus Dollar, at $1.50 or so. They dont have any in stock, so any hammers would have to be shipped from Germany.
It would be interesting to find out what a real, current, landed price would be for a 145lb Kuhn.
My guess is significantly more than $21k.
Compare that to a 165lb Striker, or one of the Turkish hammers, at around ten grand.

If money was no object, the Kuhn's are great.
   - Ries - Sunday, 10/21/07 15:15:37 EDT

what do you ues to weld up a titanium exhaused with is it maybe a tig welder
   - tracy - Sunday, 10/21/07 16:06:39 EDT

what do you weld a titanium exhaused up with will it be a tig welder any help please
   - tracy - Sunday, 10/21/07 16:08:23 EDT

what do you weld a titanium exhaused up with will it be a tig welder any help please
   - tracy - Sunday, 10/21/07 16:08:25 EDT

Titanium is tig welded.
And sometimes resistance welded, especially in production.
But it must be welded in an inert atmosphere- in production tig welding, titanium is usually welded inside a big box with no air inside- instead, another gas fills the box, such as argon. You reach in with rubber gloves, and see what you are doing thru a window.
There are also inflatable clear plastic pillows that you put the part in and weld inside.
In other words, its hard to do, and expensive.
You cant just tig weld it on the bench like you would steel.
   - Ries - Sunday, 10/21/07 17:50:01 EDT

James Gonzalez,

For a copper dish that shallow, I would simply sink the form into a shallow depression in a stump. There is no need or advantage to angle raising a form that shallow, and many raisers would start a deeper form by sinking it anyway.

If I were doing it, I would start with pretty heavy copper sheet, say 12 gauge B&S. I'd make a shallow depression about 10" diameter and 1-1/2" deep in the end of a suitable hardwood stump, using a circular saw or chainsaw and a disk sander. Then sink the copper sheet into it, working from the center out to the edge in concentric circles, with a heavy dishing hammer. I have one that is about 5 or 6 pounds with a 2-1/2" diameter face with about a 16-20" radius dome to it. I'd do all the sinking cold, working from dead soft annealed sheet.

Once the piece is sunk, you can planish it over an appropriate mushroom stake to get the final contour and surface finish.

If I needed to do more than one of them, I'd probably set up to spin it, rather than sinking by hand. For just one, hand work is going to be plenty fast enough, though. If I had a Pullmax, I'd use that in a heartbeat, but no powerhammer.
   vicopper - Sunday, 10/21/07 17:53:20 EDT

Thanks Vicopper. Makes sense. I am thinking I will buy some MDF and cut out concentric circles and build up a kind of negative that way.
I only need one and they want it "Rustic"
two questions:
What is B&S?
How does annealing copper differ from annealing carbon steel?
Many thanks
   - james gonzalez - Sunday, 10/21/07 18:36:25 EDT

James Gonzalez,

I wouldn't use MDF for the form, myself. I don't think it will withstand the copressive loads well at all. Endgrain hard wood would be much better in my experience. Liek I said, I use tree stumps. I get them from the guys who trim trees; for a six-pack, they'll cut them to the length I want and they do a nice square cut that is better than I seem to be able to manage. You just have to catch them when they're cutting down a decent-sized tree of dense wood, if you want the best quality stumps. For a single use, you could use almost any stump, or even laminate up some fir 2x4s into a pseudostump.

B&S stands for Brown and Sharpe, a standard of metal gauge used for most non-ferrous metals. It is also called American Wire Gauge. You'll find, however, that much copper sheet is sold by the weight per square foot, i.e. 16 ounce, 32 ounce, etc. 12 gauge B&S is .081" thick.

To anneal copper, you heat it to cherry red and quench it while at that heat. For a piece the size you are going to be working with, that will take a huge amount of heat, as copper has the second highest thermal conductivity of any metal. It will take something like three 2" diameter propane forge burners to get that piece to annealing heat, if you do it on an insulating surface. A big tray of pumice rock is what I use for big pieces, or Kaowool if I have it available. For a piece as big as yours, I'd think about buildign a hefty fire in a charcoal grill and placing the piece on it to anneal with the burners.

Because of that difficulty in annealing, I would recommend again that you order the copper "dead soft annealed" from the mill. That's a normal request, so it should be no problem. If you get it dead soft, you should not need to anneal at all to make your piece. By the time you finish the sinking and planishing it will be pretty hard, so it will resist denting and dinging in use, but shouldn't be so hard it cracks while working it.

Keep a scrap piece of the same copper handy and work it the same as you're working the big piece so you can get a handle on how hard it's getting. If it seems to be getting too hard, you'll have to anneal, but try to avoid it so the piece will end up work-hardened and therefore more durable.

Hope this answers your questions. Let us know how it works out.
   vicopper - Sunday, 10/21/07 19:08:32 EDT

i am going to make my first set
of spurs does anyone know where
to find the hangers and buttons
thanks rudy s
   - rudy s - Sunday, 10/21/07 19:45:28 EDT

i am going to make my first set
of spurs does anyone know where
to find the hangers and buttons
thanks rudy s
   - rudy s - Sunday, 10/21/07 19:45:48 EDT

I want to try to stamp a sample of a sporting medal. In fact the detail of the stamp would be a Coporate LOGO.

I need suggestions on how to do it on a 3.5" diameter by 1/8 thick metal or 1/4

I was wondering, who could make me the actual die of the medal and also what would be the best way to do it.

I read a bit about fly press and so far they seem to be the best way to do it.

Any thought would be greatly appreciated

   Dan - Sunday, 10/21/07 22:21:41 EDT

Depending on the ammount of detail, it is going to take an awfull lot of force to stamp something that large. The die will be quite expensive, and unless production quantities are huge this would not be cost efective. Casting by the lost wax method is worth looking into for smal to medium quantities. For one or a few a jewler might be the way to go, for larger quantities an investment casting shop is a good choice.
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 10/21/07 22:50:20 EDT

VIcopper: You wouldn't start by melting a bunch of copper wire & pipe and casting it into a lump like the Mexican family demoing at Quad State did? :-)
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 10/21/07 22:53:15 EDT

Hey Dave,

Thanks for the pront reply. Depending on the Job, I could stamp anywhere from 100 to 500 of the same medal.

How expansive a die can be? I have no clue
   Dan - Sunday, 10/21/07 22:54:38 EDT

Parts: Rudy S, In this kind of metalwork you make ALL the parts yourself including rivets and screws if they have special heads or shoulders. Straps and leather parts such as snaps would be found at a leather shop or supplier. Buckles and toggles could be commercial but to match the rest of the work I would make those as well.

Craftsfolk that make custom metal work forge, saw, chisel and hand file fairly complicated parts by hand. Many also have small machine tools such as lathes to make turned parts. In the recent past lathes were the most common machine in every type of metalworking shop. In a slightly less recent past many craftsfolk made their own lathes if needed. Drill presses are more common today but not nearly as handy if you are going to have ONE machine in your shop.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/21/07 22:56:44 EDT

Spur makers make their own hangers and buttons. A button can be a 3/8" head rivet with a filed tenon. On a California spur, the tenon is peened into a countersunk hole near the end of the heel band. Then it's smoothed and polished on the inside.

On Texas or "arena" style spurs, the tenon is peened up on a spur strap button carrier, the latter of maybe 18 gage steel doubled and fitting over a "staple" on the heel band.

The California heel chain hanger is also of 18 gage with a turned eye at the tip and two small holes at the bottom of the "tab end."

The best book that I have seen is by Robert M. Hall, "How to Make Bits and Spurs", 1985. ISBN 0-914330-78-0
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 10/21/07 23:03:49 EDT

Medallions: Dan, for this heavy of work you are talking about big presses and dies costing tens of thousands of dollars.

Stampings of this sort are usually done in very thin soft metal and the dies can be plastic or aluminium backed up with rubber. The finished part is then filled from the back with epoxy to make is heavier and to strengthen it.

Medallions are also often made by heavy etching. In this process art work is made, converted to film and a photoreactive acid is used to etch the metal. Etching to 1/32" is common.

Medallions can also be made by direct machining. Folks that engrave plastic signs can also machine aluminium and brass. In this case the artwork is done in CAD, converted to a DFX and engraved by the machine. There is an art to using lines and hatching to remove the ground. The depth and look is similar to photoengraving.

As noted, casting can also be used to produce limited quantities. The original can be carved in a variety of materials but machinable wax is the most common. The wax master can be used to make molds for dozens of castings. If more are to be made a metal or plastic casting is made from the wax and then refinished and the castings made from that. If many are to be made then a tree of four or so parts are made so that multiple castings can be made with each mold.

   - guru - Sunday, 10/21/07 23:17:15 EDT

Spur Making. An excellent resource is the "Heritage Trades" video by Jeremiah Watt, "Cowboy Bit & Spur Making". Check out www.ranch2arena.com/videoeng.html
   Frank Turley - Monday, 10/22/07 09:10:50 EDT

Medallions: you might search on "coining" as well as it involves stamping designs into metal.

3.5" is a whopping big thing to stamp and will need industrial sized machinery. The absolute force will depend on the metal being used and the relief of the design. You generally need a force spike to "squirt" the metal up into high relief areas.

Note that the planchett for such a thing will be pretty pricy as well.

Simple low relief dies can be etched, more complex ones will need to be engraved---also an expense. Once you have the press you can get the designs carved and use the "master" to create your use dies and so make it last a lot longer!

   Thomas P - Monday, 10/22/07 11:06:22 EDT

I am thinking about getting a TFS Smithy Special 3, but would like to know a little more about them before spending that much money. Do you know who actually manufactures TFS Anvils? I would like to know what kind of steel they are made out of (e.g.: 1050, 8650, S7, etc)? Also, if you know anyone who actually has one, what do they think of it?
Mike Main
   Mike Main - Monday, 10/22/07 12:39:10 EDT

TFS Anvils: Mike, I do not know the alloy but they harden up well. They are manufactured in the US by Texas Farrier Supply (Dallas, TX, I think). They are hard and ring like a bell. I used one at a hammer-in in Texas and it seemed to be a good anvil. The one I used had factory sharp corners so I didn't give it a real workout. Bill Epps calls them the "Biggest little anvil made" due to their shape and most of the mass making the body, horn and heel.
   - guru - Monday, 10/22/07 13:20:59 EDT

Hey I was wondering if I could convert an old cast iron stove into a forge. WOuld it melt and is it safe? And if so could you give me a rough idea design?
   Brad - Monday, 10/22/07 17:53:15 EDT

I worked with Kuhn hammers in Germany before I immigrated to Canada. They are great hammers, no doubt, but very pricy.
Because of that I investigated in the Sahinler ones, despite being sceptical, because they are not "Germaneered". I dealt with Brian Russel from Ironwoods in Tennessee, who is the dealer for them in North America. After I talked to him many times I ordered a 110lb from him last winter. He is extremely knowledgable and very helpful. He is working with one in his own shop since many years. I can only say positive things about dealing with him and about the hammer. The machine runs great, I have no oil problem and no problem with the dies either. It is a great machine and so far I cannot see a difference to the Kuhn one. I am forging 2inch square solid absolutely easily all day long, and taper it down to a 1/8 of an inch.
Great hammer with awesome customer service for a great price! As well Brian puts on a 10hp motor, single phase optional!!
   duerst - Monday, 10/22/07 17:58:20 EDT

Hello all.
Vicopper thanks so much for the input. Your information will likely save me a few hours and mistakes.
I have several commissions in front of this one, so it will be a while before I can turn your suggestions into practice.

Duerst, thanks for the input. I am still perfectly undecided between Striker and Saymak.
I have used the #88 striker and found it to be a nice machine that hit quite hard and accurately for its size.
I am trying to setup a forging session with a Saymak owner in Vermont. She has'nt answered the phone yet.
once again, thanks to all for the information.
   - james gonzalez - Monday, 10/22/07 19:14:07 EDT

James G- Who up here owns a Saymak? I'm in Vermont also. I'd love to see it. Also, over on one of the other lists (Artmetal Forum maybe?) there was a thread a while back about dishing with a fly press. I don't know if it would work for you but it's another possibility. Good luck.
   Jud Yaggy - Monday, 10/22/07 20:05:42 EDT

Hi Jud.
I dont own a flypress.
The Saymak is owned by an artist named Lynn outside Montpilier. A friend of a friend, I will need permission to divulge more info.
   - james gonzalez - Monday, 10/22/07 20:53:42 EDT

Brad, No. Its the wrong size, shape, no built for a blown fire.
   - guru - Monday, 10/22/07 22:03:37 EDT

Dan: That is not nearly large enough quantities to amortize the tooling for stamping a thick part. The thin material and filler method, photo engraving or the investment casting method are more apropriate for these quantities.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 10/22/07 23:00:44 EDT

Casting Medallions: I have had very good luck using a form of Petrobond sand called Delft Clay for sand casting small parts. You can also use investment casting for a finer finish but it is also more complicated and expensive. When casting a simple part like this you use a permanent pattern and a two piece plaster mold similar to the sand mold.

Several years ago at Camp Fenby I made a medallion about 2" in diameter and 1/4" thick. This was way too thick but that is how it turned out. It was double sided with art symbolizing the event on one side (thunder clouds, poison ivy, a mosquito and a small hut). On the other it had a poorly translated rune for "Fenby" which turned out to be "Feng'by". I've made four castings and only finished one. The others were left in various stages for a casting article I have not written.

The pattern was carved in hard dark red machinable wax. It took about a day to carve the pattern. It included a stub sprue to prevent needing to hand carve the sprue right to the part. The hard part of carving a coin or medallion is cutting out and smoothing the ground (background). Any texture at all is multiplied by the casting and takes away from the charges. Lettering is also quite difficult and requires a LOT of patience and small tools. You start with exacto type tools and end with dental picks.

Casting is done in a simple two part cope and drag mold. I used some second hand Delft Clay (sand) and a jeweler's cast iron flask.

The hard part of finishing a small part like this is that it gets quite hot when sanding or buffing and is hard to hold. Hand finishing is also time consuming. If done in quantities I would recommend initially hand finishing on a sander then tumbling to smooth before polishing.

Hundreds is a large quantity for this method. I would plan on a ganged pattern (at least four parts on a tree). If investment casting I would make the molds stackable on a central sprue like they do for centrifugal casting. That way you could cast 16 or 20 parts at a time in a fairly compact mold.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/23/07 00:36:37 EDT

I want to know which is the best basament for a pneumatic powerhammer,I'm speaking for decreace noise and vibrations.Thank you and sorry of my english
   carlos lomazzi - Tuesday, 10/23/07 07:42:48 EDT

Carlos Lomazzi,

I have my 65# Kinyon-style bolted down to a small reinforced concrete foundation with a piece of 1/2" thick hard rubber mat between the hammer base and the foundation. It is quiet and not too much vibration transmitted to the floor. I did not use expansion joint between the floor and the foundation, which would have been better for reducing transmitted vibration.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 10/23/07 09:21:30 EDT

To keep my SOF&A version of the Kinyon-style airhammer in place I attached an angle iron frame around it and gun nailed that to the floor. I also have a rubber mat between the hammer and concrete floor. Keeps it from walking around during use.
   - Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools) - Tuesday, 10/23/07 09:28:59 EDT

Power Hammer Foundations and Noise: Carlos, This depends somewhat on the type of hammer, size and its anvil mass. It also depends on the soil type and ground water levels.


BEST: Inertia block on suspension.

2nd BEST: Inertia block on padding

3rd BEST: Heavy concrete foundation

Worst: On floor or no separate foundation.

An Inertia Block foundation starts with a large concrete lined pit. Inside the pit a block of concrete roughly the same mass as the hammer is poured. This rests on springs and shock absorbers OR special rubber cushions. On large hammers the pit has room for a man to get into it to adjust the springs or replace the hydraulic shock absorbers. For small hammers using rubber cushions there is just enough space to remove the bracing on the concrete forms. The space between the pit and the inertia block is covered with metal or wood decking. The hammer is bolted solidly and grouted to the inertia block. The pit should have a drain sump and a method of pumping it out. Inertia blocks on suspension require careful engineering.

The next type inertia block is similar size without the surrounding pit. It rests on timbers and rubber matting. There should be an isolation gap between the block and surrounding floor. This can be filled with loose laminated construction felt. To further reduce noise and vibration a pad should be placed under the hammer. When this is done padded washers or heavy springs need to be placed under the bolts.

A simple concrete foundation can be poured separate from the surrounding floor. The amount of vibration transmitted will depend on soil type. Note that if the pad is thin and much larger than the hammer base it can act as a noise transmitting device (like an audio speaker membrane).

There are special conditions requiring special foundations. Any time a large hammer is setup on soft loamy soil wood pilings are driven OR a deep pit is dug down to hard subsoil and the pit filled with wood timbers. The anvil is set on this and the hammer frame on heavy concrete foundations.

Where the water table is high and vibration transmission must be reduced the Inertia Block with suspension is the only way that works. We had a corespondent from the Netherlands who had a small city shop with nearby residences. He bought a Kuhn hammer with the massive steel base avaialable at the time. Due to the high water table it rattled the furniture in his neighbors home to the point that things fell off the shelves. He then added a massive block foundation isolated from his floor. This did not solve the problem. He then REMOVED the heavy foundation (quite a demolition job) and installed a Inertia Block on suspension. That did the trick.

The problem in his location was the soft soil and the high water table. Every downward blow was transfered hydraulically by the water into upward vibrations in the surrounding structures.

Other problems include building on bedrock, or worse, half on and off bedrock. If on bedrock the noise and vibration transmission is severe and soft padding must be used. Alternating timbers and dense foam rubber pads are required. In limited spaces plywood and padding is used.

Note that solid rubber sheet does NOT cushion shock. Rubber acts the same as water, like an incompressible liquid. So use foam rubber with air spaces OR rubber sheet with holes cut out of it so that it has somewhere to displace into.

Hammer ram to anvil ratio is a significant part of vibration transmission. Hammers at the suggested 15:1 are only moderately noisy. Hammers at the optimum 20:1 are relatively quiet and transmit low amounts of vibration. The lower the ratio the more foundation the hammer needs. Adding a heavy plate under the hammer or its anvil can reduce transmitted vibration.

Noise is also related to hammer design. One of the Bull hammers had a hollow ram that rings with every blow. It makes a horrendous noise for the size of the hammer. Many Kinyon style hammers were built with hollow pipe anvils or anvil supports which also make a lot of noise. Machines with snug guides and good lubrication make less noise than machines with loose guides. Machines with loose guides let the ram slap against the frame causing a secondary noise.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/23/07 12:39:20 EDT

Can you tell me if there are any books or other sources of information about historical blacksmith's marks? I am interested in identifying the makers of old American iron tools, etc. with marks - initials or symbols. Thanks, Rich
   Rich Goheen - Tuesday, 10/23/07 12:48:12 EDT

Touchmarks: Rich, There are none that I know of. There was no historical registry run by guilds as there was in Europe where marks would be registered. And there are no laws such as required for jeweler's marking silver and gold content. AND due to these things it was not common practice for smiths to mark their work. In the last century most marks have consisted of commercial letter punches used separately or as a custom name punch. More modern smiths use creative marks than any time in the past.

We have tried to establish a touchmark registry but it has received lackluster response. On the other hand I have not promoted it much.

On our registry we have the mark of Samuel Yellin which was one of those commercial cut letter marks and that of the late Francis Whittaker, an F in a Diamond. I have a few others to add but it is a pretty poor turnout for something that has been around for 8 years.

   - guru - Tuesday, 10/23/07 13:56:58 EDT

Following on from above re 'anvil collectors' Ive got a new hate -

Americans (mr hammered2bits) who buy all of them worth having from ebay in the UK using Sniping software, other than putting a stupidly high 'maximum bid' down, or sniping ourselves it leaves the average person who actually wants or NEEDS an anvil no chance at all.

you place a 'maximum bid' WAY above the current auction price, because you want the anvil for using, and 1 second from auction end some greedy ........ steals it.

(including one that you were interested in Ken (a colonial with a 'spare' foot)

I hope you drop it on your toe.

So, my advice to anyone who is intending to buy an anvil from ebay is use the latest sniping software to place your bid for you, or dont bother, someone else will be lining their pockets with it.
   - John N - Tuesday, 10/23/07 17:20:02 EDT

Has anyone had experience with MFC anvils? are they good or bad. they are farrier anvils.

Andrew B.
   - Andrew b. - Tuesday, 10/23/07 17:32:59 EDT

Carlos, In the steam drop hammer shop I worked in the water table was fairly high, and the shop sat on one end of a hunk of limestone that ran about 24 city blocks by 10 blocks. This hunk of rock was sitting in sand and pebble sediment from the river, about 120' deep. A portion of the Ohio River actually flowed slowly under the shop. The hammers had very adaquate anvils and were sitting on timbers on top of a concrete foundation down to the rock. When the 25,000# hammer hit, the other end of the rock, 24 blocks away moved up enough for folks to notice!
Most comercial shops set their hammers, presses and upsetters on a pad of a material called "Fabrika". This is an expensive, material that does a superb job of insulating the shocks and lasts for decades. Works so well, lasts so long and so expensive that it is recovered and sold used when hammers are scrapped.
As an alternative, I used Urethane conveyor for my mat on my little 45# hammer. I used 1/4" thick stock that was a remmnant. I have had no problems from this material, and it is very quiet.I did not put holes in the material, and have never seen the practice in industry. My hammer sits on a concrete foundation on dry hard Loess clay. The frame of my homebuilt is filled with steel shot and does not ring or transmit much sound.I get more sound from the safety guarding "Oilcaning" than anything else.
   ptree - Tuesday, 10/23/07 19:51:54 EDT

Isolating foundations - Fabreeka , James Walker, Farrat Isolevel to name a few (vibro-dynamics in the states). The 'Fabreeka' gold plated pad does little to attenuate the vibration to the surrounding ground but prevents shock damage to the concrete inertia block.

You have to tune the frequency of the hammer & inertia block to the isolating medium ( either springs & damper boxes or isopolymer cork strips) from the surrounding ground to succesfully attenuate the vibration outside the installation.

Costs money to do well ! (ive been involved in lawsuits when its not been done right, and peoples drinks are walking off the desk 1/2 mile away ! :)
   - John N - Tuesday, 10/23/07 20:09:24 EDT

Sniping on ebay: John, This has been going on since ebay opened. And even though ebay says "PLEASE DON'T" almost everyone does it, ESPECIALLY if it is something they really want. It is part of the game and most people do it manually. The trick is a fast connection and multiple open windows.

There are also tricks to live auctions as well. When there is something I WANT, and have the money to buy I will bid in large increments to scare off the competition. When they are bidding in increments of 10 and you bid 100's you often pay less in the end. . . Also letting other bidders that you ARE going to buy something sometimes weeds out those that would drive the price up. Also keeping the auctioneers eye and snapping back with a bid the instant one of the others bid often weeds out the chaff as well.

The thing that is going on at the moment is that there is a huge demand for antique or collectible anvils, particularly British made anvil here in the US. Folks are scrounging them from all over. The same happened in the 1970's with furniture. There was a HUGE demand and very few real Colonial era pieces HERE. A few dealers figured out that they could buy "junk" furniture in Britain and resell it here. In fact, I may have created or sped up the problem by telling several folks about this event.

NOW. . if you want beautiful under priced collectible anvils? Just hop on the train and start mining the really WONDERFUL anvils in France. They have yet to come under scrutiny. I've seen some of them in Central America. . Many are ancient and very large. At one time the French were considered the world's best iron workers and had the tools to match.

So, hop on the chunnel train, take a low cost vacation, buy a container load of anvils at bargain prices, bring them home and then listen to the French gripe about the rich Brit that bought up all their affordable anvils.

Buy them all out? Well there are scads of French, Spanish and Portuguese anvils in Central and South America. The economy there is weak and industry changing as it is world wide. So anvils are going out of use. But the best places are also places that teaming with malaria and people that REALLY don't like English speaking strangers. . .

   - guru - Tuesday, 10/23/07 20:40:03 EDT

John N:

"(including one that you were interested in Ken (a colonial with a 'spare' foot)

I hope you drop it on your toe."

If the toe remark was directed to me I fail to see the connection. I don't recall bidding on that anvil and know I didn't win it.

Personally my eBay bidding technique is to determine what an item would be worth to me sitting in my driveway. I then subtract out S&H and that is my one-time bid. If I get it, fine, it was at or below my price. If not, then it went for more than I was willing to pay. I don't play the sniping game.

I get outbid on eBay about 80% of the time. Fine with me also. I look at it like playing poker. Old rule of thumb, if you are still in the final round more than 60% of the time you are likely losing money.

By the way, as I have mentioned before, someone is still running an eBay second chance anvil scam. Somehow they can determine the last bid by unsuccessful bidders and then send them an e-mail offering the anvil at that amount. E-mail says highest bidder didn't complete transaction and eBay's policy is to automatically offer it to the next highest bidder - absolutely worng. Second tip off is you reply directly to seller rather than going back through eBay. If received, these should be forwarded to spoof@ebay.com.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 10/24/07 06:24:11 EDT


This is off the original subject, but at a recent NEB Meet, Lucian Avery suggested just using your name for a touchmark instead of a clever symbol. "You can't Google a logo".
   - Marc - Wednesday, 10/24/07 07:47:59 EDT

Just read the article on swordmaking for generation X... i so laughed my ass off ;)
   - Fred - Wednesday, 10/24/07 08:04:08 EDT

Naval jelly
Does anybody know how I can make my own naval jelly? I need a jelly to combine with the phosphoric acid but have no idea what I should use.
   - philip in china - Wednesday, 10/24/07 08:10:54 EDT

Look inside your belly button.

Heh heh, sorry Jock, I had to.
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 10/24/07 09:06:04 EDT

Philip in china,

John Odom could probably give you some great advice on this question, as he is a chemist. One thought occurs to me:

The superabsorbent chemical that they use in disposable diapers and horticultural products might work. It is a modified corn starch polymer of some sort that holds vast amounts of water. Since you'd be using a dilute solution of Phosphoric acid in water, perhaps adding someof that superabsorbent would get it to a gel consistency. Or perhaps methyl cellulose would work, too.

There is a complany in China that is a big producer of the corn starch polymer stuff - http://www.zhonglechem.com/

Hope this is some help.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 10/24/07 10:32:29 EDT

I gotta agree with Ken on ebaying an anvil. I found an anvil, I put my max bid up and waited...I won it by $2.00. It's a great anvil at a great price, helped the seller called it a Columbian not an A&H, but the "all in" theory of bidding kept the fence sitters on the fence as the amt grew larger. As a seller I love snipers, sometimes they get so caught up in winning they lose sight of the actual value of what they're bidding on.
   Roland - Wednesday, 10/24/07 10:57:52 EDT

Naval Jelly: I was going to suggest using glycerin however, several MSDS for this product list different contents (from the SAME manufacturer)


Vinylidene-acrylic copolomer
Barium sulfate
Organic acid (probably the phosphoric acid
Silica, Amorphous, fumed, crystalline free


Phosphoric acid 30%
2-Propanol 5%
Polysaccharide 5%
Sulphuric Acid 1%


Water 65-70%
Phosphoric Acid 25-30%
Isopropyl Alcohol 1-3%
Silica, Amorphous, fumed, crystalline free
Sulfuric Acid .1-1%

Alginate is a polysaccharide produced from seaweed

Carrageenan is another thickener made from seaweed and is also known as Irish Moss. It is used to thicken ice creme and chocolate milk. It is listed as a polysaccharide but is different than Alginate.

A surfactant is like a soap or detergent.

Barium sulfate is a filler/thickener in this case (I think). Sulfuric Acid may have been used to help dissolve it.

2-Butoxyethanol is a solvent for the version with acrylic polymer in it. In this formula for Naval Jelly the final result is a thin top coat of acrylic paint which seals the surface and helps stop further corrosion. . .

I am not so sure I like the idea of a rust remover that contains a sealer. . . It MAY be why the last time I had to repeat the application that there was no change.

Note that MSDS do not always disclose all the ingredients of a product. However, they must disclose those that are biologically active or known hazards.

Since it is easy to get I would try Carrageenan or Irish Moss. It MAY be available from a local dairy. That is where I would get a small amount in the US, however it may not be used in China OR it may be used for other things. I would test a small amount with the phosphoric acid to be sure it doesn't kill the jelling action.

To make a marbling bath water is boiled and the carrageenan is dissolved (like making Jello). It thickens as it cools.

   - guru - Wednesday, 10/24/07 11:28:03 EDT

Roland, technically, I don't think you're referring to snipers. The ones you like are mainly those caught up in "auction fever", and that happens even at live auctions. All the snipers I've experienced know what they're doing and only make one bid at the last second. Those with sniping software bid in the last fraction of a second, and usually bid less than what it's worth. They're in it for the quick resale.
   - Marc - Wednesday, 10/24/07 15:50:13 EDT

There was at least one site that had a rule that if a bid was received in the last minute it extended the bidding period by an appreciable ammount.

In general I have found live and virtual auctions a waste of time that could be spent finding the same stuff at better deals.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/24/07 15:56:24 EDT

Ebay Sniping and Auction Fever: These can be one and the same. Common sniping is when one person is trying to sneak in just one bid over someone that has put in their "hopeful" bid OR the sellers reserve WITHOUT alerting the other bidder. But when more than one person is bidding at the end and you have one bidder with the ebay "Shop Victoriously" attitude or auction fever then the winner always pays a higher price than they planed. Often this is a LOT more. I've seen used things sell at auctions AND on ebay for more than the current NEW price. On antiques where you would like to see the market set a fair value, prices often get outrageous.

I've only had auction fever really BAD one time in my life. At that time I would have spent every penny I had no matter what the bid. And I DID spend the last penny in my pocket.

Since then I have spent a little more than I planned at a few auctions and on ebay but never more than about 10%. But THAT 10% or much more is what auctions are about. Sellers WANT people to get excited and pay more than they normally would.

The difference between ebay and a real auction is the auctioneer. A really good auctioneer can drive up the price with the excitement created by his chant and the biding. His helpers also add to the noise and excitement. The "fever pitch" of the chant and the bidding is a key element in the psychology of auction fever.

So ebay is different, and sniping at the end is part of the process whether people like it or not. And while ebay says "please don't snipe" the competitive theme of their "Shop Victoriously" ad campaign encourages winning at any cost.

   - guru - Wednesday, 10/24/07 15:56:28 EDT

Ken, no the 'drop on toe' comment was not directed at you !! sorry, it was pointed at the succesful bidder - When I lost I checked his history and 99% of his transactions were anvils & swages, won with 1 bid at the last second.

One of the anvils he won had some comments from you in the Q&A about shipping to the states.

Im just sour coz I lost, I was winning, with my max bid over 30% higher than my 'winning' bid at 1 sec from auction end.

Thing is, I knew it was a $2000/ + anvil your side of the pond when bidding on it, well, im off to learn french and going to ebay.fr, au revoir !

   - John N - Wednesday, 10/24/07 17:24:07 EDT

I play at knife making everynow and again, but not as good as this bloke (yet) - you americans will really enjoy this ebay auction;

ebay ref: 110183630650

a genuine W.SCAGEL - read the Q&A's $5 at a yard sale, now get your sniping software set!!!
   - John N - Wednesday, 10/24/07 17:28:59 EDT

SIZE DOES MATTER!!!! I replaced my 8" flue with a 12" flue and and to paraphrase someone on an earlier post, I might have to rename my forge, "Monica" ;-). Money well spent, thanks for beating me over the head with it till I saw the light Jock !!
   Roland - Wednesday, 10/24/07 22:18:43 EDT

I don't understand the price on the Scagel, but then, I'm not a knife slut.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 10/24/07 22:27:55 EDT

Can one of you fine gentlemen explain to me what a takeup bearing is used for?
   Matt B - Wednesday, 10/24/07 22:41:05 EDT

Matt, In what context? In most equipment it would have to do with an adjustment that removes (takes up) end play in a shaft. The other end of the shaft would have a combination radial and thrust bearing doing most of the work and the take up would be on the opposite end with the adjustment (take up) nut.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/24/07 23:33:42 EDT

Frank, I wouldn't know a Scagel from a Buck but I HAVE heard the name and know his blades are quite collectible. You really gotta watch out when the other half is cleaning up to put stuff out for a yardsale!

A friend's wife was cleaning house one day and I noticed a brand new unused caulking gun (a good one) and a hacksaw in the trash along with a couple brass lamps and a bunch off other stuff that really WAS junk. I took home the lamp and rescued the tools for my friend. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/24/07 23:39:04 EDT

Thanks for the help on the jelly. So it looks as if the phosphoric acid doesn't react with starch based products. So I think I might try mixing with wallpaper paste as a first attempt. Will let you know how it works out.
   - philip in china - Thursday, 10/25/07 00:22:04 EDT

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