WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.3

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

This is an archive of posts from October 23 - 31, 2008 on the Guru's Den
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Guru- a guy in downtown Savannah was running a add for free coal on craigs list so I went to check it out. The coal was in his garage in a coal bin that looked like a closet. I am sure it must have been used for heating the 200 year old house. The coal is in large chunks (some the size of cinder blocks)and is vary shiny. When struck it sheers in half in nice layers. The guy told me it was there when he bought the house and needs it moved so he can have more space. The coal takes up an area 4'x4'x5' tall. He says it should be a ton. He has a wheel barrel and coal shovels I can use and I have a big box truck. My guestion is do you think this coal if sized down will coke up or will it clinker so bad that it would not be worth my time?.....Thanks.
   Ringer - Wednesday, 10/22/08 22:25:44 EDT

Coal Quality: You never can tell. . . Generally old lump coal was fairly good coal as it had to burn on its own for a good while and not create excessive clinkers. However, there is some REAL bad coal out there as well.

Always test unknown coal. You should of asked if you could take one of those big lumps to test it out. A 10 to 20 pound sample will tell you a lot. Burn it in a clean forge and see what you get.

A Coal Story:

These days being gifted coal is not unusual as many places that had coal furnaces no longer have them and that last load of coal needs to go. . . A good friend got a fantastic deal on a full bin from a local high school. 30 tons or more for hauling it out of a basement. It was a LOT to haul and required several men with wheelbarrows a pan on a crane to lift out of an access well and a dump truck to haul it. . . To top it off it was great coal.

Time passes and a similar deal comes along but this time from an old industrial plant. My friend brings home a couple buckets of the coal and tries it. Hottest burning coal he had ever used! But money was tight and the timing was wrong as well. . . He comes home from a trip several months later and learns that someone else got the coal. A dealer from the next state bought the coal and resold it just a few miles down the road at a huge profit. But when he got to the bottom of the pile he found several barrels of some kind of waste oil. . . At the same time he hears from the buyer that the coal is contaminated with waste oil and they cannot use it. The dealer THEN has to pickup the several truck loads of coal and haul it home 400 miles. . .

My friend really doged THAT bullet! Some times the fates are with you, sometime not. Turns out that oil was what made that coal burn extra hot. But what it is and what goodies it contains we will never know.

   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/08 00:26:21 EDT

Sam, there are days and there are days. . . I've seen good heavy duty cast iron fire pots with a big hole burned in one side from over doing. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/08 00:30:17 EDT

We've been getting coal at a feed store about five minutes from the forge. It contains quite a few large lumps and is said to have come from Utah. It's sold by the front end loader "scoop" as the store doesn't have a scale. We can surround the fire center with the lumps and as they become heated, they begin to coke up and fractionize. The edge pieces of coke are easily chipped into the fire's sweet spot. "Any port in a storm."
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 10/23/08 05:30:49 EDT

Industrial stoker coal. Always be careful of coal from old industrial sites. In many States it was a perfectly legal pratice to burn waste solvents and oil along with coal for many years. At the valve shop there was a permanently installed system to squirt waste oil and paint waste on the coal bunker. Cut down on the coal dust, added free BTU's and greatly reduced the Haz_waste hauling bill.
I was offered the coal in that bunker when they shut down the powerhouse after a new gas fired powerhouse was built. Not one spec of the 40 tons or so remaining went home with me. I had watched the spray running for years.

A local coal dealer sells pretty good coal, he hauls in from E. Kentucky in his own trucks. He also dumps the engine oil from his trucks on the coal pile, to help with "keeping the dust down" and it does indeed make starting the fire easy. Stinks pretty bad when you first light the fire and makes a mess where you store the coal.

I buy now from Cumberland Elkhorn in Louisville. First quality coal, clean, and I don't have to worry about what kind of other stuff is on the coal.
   Ptree - Thursday, 10/23/08 06:57:52 EDT

Cumberland Elkhorn in Louisville is very accommodating. They sell coal and coke by the bag, pallet, pickup load and can help arrange delivery of a truckload.

Last Saturday I manned the blacksmith shop at the Western TN Agricultural Museum for their annual FolkLife Festival. Their coal came from C-E.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 10/23/08 08:08:24 EDT

Last year, I sent a note to C-E asking if they could deliver to Santa Fe. Never heard back; not even a "kiss my grits."
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 10/23/08 08:54:36 EDT

I heard a rumor that the good Pocahontas pea coal seam petered out, and they went in from the other side of the hill or mountain, and they hit another seam...only the other seam was crap.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 10/23/08 09:07:17 EDT

Frank, They probably thought your note was a prank. But I guess they should have responded in some way. Something I learned recently is that a lot of companies that do not use their trucks in interstate commerce can save a bundle by never going out of state and not needing DOT registry. . . Good reason not to go out of state. That and all the coal delivery trucks I've seen were not THAT road worthy!

Several years ago one of the NEWS outlets did a story on wastes put into heating oil. In industry they do the same with heating oil as Ptree noted. But in this case they were mixing all kinds of things including non-flamable dry cleaning fluid with domestic heating oil. The stuff was evaporated in the furnace and then settled all over the neighborhoods burning the oil. . .

Along that line. . . Anyone need a 55 gallon barrel of Ingersol-Rand 40 weight synthetic compressor oil? I thought it would work in my screw compressor but this is heavier stuff designed for piston compressors. Free to a good home. You pick up.

   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/08 10:00:34 EDT

I have a product that I use 4130 on one of my pieces, the other day there was a mixup, they cut them out from 1020 ,my heat treater said that he could infuse carbon and get them to the r/c 35 that we require, what am I looking at? I know that its not apples to apples but how close are we?
   Pat Gremillion - Thursday, 10/23/08 10:17:31 EDT

Frank, E-mail me your coal needs, and I will call them on the landline. I know they have shipped pallet loads to ABANA for conferences. They had a pallet of 50# bags stretched wrapped for ABANA Seatle once when I was picking up. they said the shipping was the same as the cost of the coal for that order.They are not manned daily, their guys are out selling, so I have to leave a message. They are know for their help to the blacksmithing community.

The Pocohantas seam was closed to my knowledge due to a coal seam fire. They sell Sewuall (SP) seam, same vein, different portal. The coal is excellent, and almost all the coal sold as Pocohantas for about the last 10 years is this seam according to the guys at CE.
   Ptree - Thursday, 10/23/08 10:25:06 EDT

Pat; is it just surface hardness you are looking at or total yield strength for the part?

Personally I would be leary of switching alloys without through testing if my name was on a part and I had the reputation to maintain.

This should be a "we goofed and the parts will be slightly late as we re-cut them on our own dime' situation.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 10/23/08 10:27:51 EDT

I was pleased with the C-E coal I used at Milan. Pulled out a bird's nest clinker at noon and when I finished for the day, but neither were anything spectular.

I would think they could send palletized loads via interstate commercial hauler.

I have an arrangement with my local farmers' co-op (which has a freight dock). They will accept freight shipments on my behalf. They call me when it arrives and will load on my truck if needed.

In the Northeast there is a chain of hardware stores, Aubuchon Hardware, which sells a good grade of blacksmithing coal by the bag (www.heating-and-cooling.hardwarestore.com). It is their item #101755. Last info I had was $7.49 for a 40-lb bag. Blaschak coal out of Mahanoy City, PA (contactus@blaschakcoal.com).
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 10/23/08 10:41:30 EDT

Metal Switch: Pat, I agree with Thomas. The 4130 is a fairly deep hardening very tough alloy steel that is much different than SAE 1020 (mild steel). The case hardening the heat treater is talking about is only a few thousandths thick. It will resist mild abrasion but that is all. It does not actually make the part any stronger.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/08 12:05:35 EDT

Pat, as a metallurgist, I'd be extremely leary of switching from 4130 on a part to 1020 that's been carburized so you can get a surface hardness of Rockwell C 35. Depending on the specification it's been made to, 4130 should have .27 to .34 carbon, .80 to 1.15 chromium, .35 to .60 manganese, .15 to .30 silicon, and .15 to .25 molybdenum. 1020 has .18 to .23 carbon and .30 to .60 manganese. Core hardness of a heat treated part and microstructure will be very different between the 2 steels. Without knowing a whole lot about the end use, I wouldn't chance it.

I'd agree with Thomas's comment - "This should be a "we goofed and the parts will be slightly late as we re-cut them on our own dime' situation."
   - Gavainh - Thursday, 10/23/08 12:13:05 EDT

Ken, when we lived in Dyersburg, we always attended that Folklife festival. It was always one of the best especially since they provided free LIVE all-day BlueGrass music.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 10/23/08 19:18:22 EDT

On waste oil for fuel I have a friend in Chesterfield, England. He has a diesel forklift which never leaves his premises. So he is allowed to run it on red, i.e. untaxed diesel. He has a red diesel tank in his yard. When he comes to service the forklift the waste oil out of the engine goes, you guessed it, into the red diesel tank. The forklift runs fine on the very dilute mixture and it again saves him having to pay to have the old oil taken away and disposed of. As it is on his own property he isn't braeking any laws.
   philip in china - Thursday, 10/23/08 19:47:19 EDT

Burning Motor Oil: The problem with burning motor oil is that many of the additives that make it "motor" oil contain heavy metals such as cadmium. So do the bearings in the engine which wear over time. . . So when you burn motor oil you want to be FAR away from the exhaust. Which is impossible on fork lifts, tractors and other heavy equipment.

I get too many letters from old welders that are dying of liver disease or other numerous hard to diagnose ailments from exposure to heavy metals to be adding folk lift operators. . . I suppose someone else is driving that lift most of the time.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/23/08 20:10:42 EDT

Pat Gremillion, there is no way you can substitute 1020 for 4130 without telling your customer.
If the carborized 1020 was ok it would have been specd in the first place.
Depending on the parts application you can usualy swap 4130 for 1020 and skip the carborizing but, not the other way around.
Aside from the specific hardness range of the 4130 it also has a "toughness" that can't be achieved by the 1020.
By the same token if the part is going to be welded on at some point the 4130 will give you problems that the 1020 won't.
   - merl - Thursday, 10/23/08 21:34:21 EDT

I am a clueless sixteen year-old with no idea on how to forge a sword, or anything for that matter. I have absolutely no experience with metal working and I was unable to answer some of the questions asked in the "Getting Started" article.

I have only one question to get me started:

Could you please name atleast one book to get me started. I may be young, but I'm wise enough to know that I know absolutely nothing. I am not asking you FOR a book, just the name of one, I'm willing to aquire it with my own resources.

Thank you for reading my question.
   Nick - Thursday, 10/23/08 23:02:09 EDT

In the early '80s a co-worker had drip cans under every place that dripped oil on the (2)hydraulic NC mills in the shop. He got a few gallons a week which He added to His heating oil at home. This was well diluted, and didn't seem to cause any operating problems.

In the past large stationary engines and ship engines were set up to inject waste lube oil into the fuel as a way to dispose of it. I don't know if this is still done.

Commercially built waste oil heaters are available, It seems to Me if this was thought to be a serious air poluter the EPA would have banned their manufactur and sale.
   - Dave Boyer - Thursday, 10/23/08 23:24:46 EDT

Nick: The
   - MacFly - Friday, 10/24/08 00:17:51 EDT

Oops, sorry about the double post, had some technical difficulties.

Nick: The "Getting Started" section should have everything you need to get your feet wet...
"The (new) Edge of the Anvil by Jack Andrews, The Art of Blacksmithing by Alex Bealer. And if you are interested in Blacksmithing as an art form, Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork by Dona Z. Meilach. There are also good blacksmithing subscription publications..."
I would personally recommend Mark Aspery's book "Mastering the Fundamentals of Blacksmithing" as a good investment, and I believe he's started to post videos on YouTube as well. Being a beginner myself, I'd say that your best bet is to get your hands on these books and read them. Then, once you've done that, read them again! I think I've read "The Art Of Blacksmithing" cover-to-cover at least 5 times...but always remember to keep an open mind, too; not every book you read is worth the paper it's printed on. The gurus here have taken the time to sort through a lot of the chaff though, and if anyone should know, it's them! The 'Book Review' link is located on the home-page of this site, 8th slot down on the left hand side.
   MacFly - Friday, 10/24/08 00:19:13 EDT

One thing, Nick, is that you seem to have the right attitude. Welcome to the hobby or business of blacksmithing. You will find everybody here to be friendly and helpful. They have sertainly taught me a lot.
   philip in china - Friday, 10/24/08 01:05:17 EDT

Nick: Personally I recommend The Backyard Blacksmith by Lorelei Simms. It is available on eBay and other Internet book sellers. Not sure how they do it, but on amazon.com it is sold retail for less than I could buy it for wholesale last time I looked.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 10/24/08 06:24:57 EDT

Burning Used oil. (Don't label it Waste, see below)
Having specified and used perhaps a million gallons of oil, and disposed of same properly, legally and ethically, I will offer the following.

To my knowledge, the is no current, or in my time current cadmimum additive to motor oil, or hydraulic oil. Zinc ditheophosphate yes.
To my knowledge, I have never seen a lab test for heavy metals showing cadmimum present in any waste oil I have disposed of.
With the advent of RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) that is pretty much the main rules for haz-waste disposal in the US, Cadmium is tested for in anything destined for a regulated landfill. This test would be the TCLP (Toxic Chareristic Leaching Procedure). This test is used to look for metals that would leach into ground water.
Cadimum is indeed toxic, and all of the industries that I deal with have banned Cad. It may still be in bearing shells, but I do not know that it i still in use.
The EPA has ruled that "Used Oil" is not a haz-waste. "Waste Oil" is a Haz-waste. The difference is in the label. Label it wrong and pay Haz-waste rates.
The EPA allows the burning of used oil, at the generator, and used oil collection sites. The main rule is that the burner can be no bigger than 500,000btu. You could however be a car repair shop, generate and take from others oil change oil and have as many oil burners as desired as long as that 500K rating per burner is not exceeded. State and local rules may be much more severe, but not less stringent.

There are indeed many compounds in used engine oil. Acids and wear particles and water especially. Also lots of plain old soot carbon.
I am building a used oil burner for my shop.
   Ptree - Friday, 10/24/08 06:50:42 EDT

You can download free from the Countryside Agency in England, "The Blacksmiths' Craft" and "Wrought Ironwork". Use your search engines. Also, Ernst Schwarzkopf wrote "Plain and Ornamental Forging" which has been reprinted by Astragal Press in 2000 AD. In fact, my recommendation for Schwarzkopf's book is printed on the back cover. These three books were my main teachers beginning in the 1960's.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 10/24/08 07:52:08 EDT

Soft rant about books. It seems that in our ed systems, we do emphasize reading, especially in college level classes, and much later, we get to the practicum. In my short courses, we jump right into the practical, so called "lab" work right from the gitgo. We are faggot welding the first morning of the first day. Everyone is struggling, trying to hold their mouth right, but they all get through it. Then we talk a little more in depth about solid state welding, heats, getting to the anvil as a "dance", hammer use, etc. Schwarzkopf has a good chapter on welding, and the students then WANT to read about it. There is no arm twisting to get them to open a book. Of course, I am fortunate in that I don't encounter any motivation problems, as we find in public schools. My people are cocked and primed when they arrive at the shop threshold.

I suppose my thesis is that there should be more practica early on in course work, and that would motivate the students to read.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 10/24/08 08:12:47 EDT

Nick, Books. . The sword making article on the FAQs page has a LONG metalworking reference page with descriptions of the books as well a links to our reviews of the same. My goal is to have reviews of ALL these books.

This list is organized in order of importance. The first book is a general metalworking book and may be more important than all the rest for a newby that has no metal shop experience at all. I would skip the Knifemaking book unless that is your goal.

Our getting started article (linked from the top of every page of anvilfire) has a much shorter list as well as other suggestions.
   - guru - Friday, 10/24/08 10:51:17 EDT

Nick to piggy back on Frank's suggestion: look into the local blacksmithing association meetings. Spending just a little time with a smith that knows what they are doing can save you months of trying to learn it from a book! (I started from a book about 28 years ago...)

If you are in NM let me know and I will invite you to SWABA's meetings.

If you go to NAVIGATE anvilfire menu down near the bottom is a link to ABANA-Chapter.com with a listing of ABANA affiliates in the USA and IIRC several other groups outside the USA.

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/24/08 10:51:36 EDT

Reading in Schools: My problem was that I would want to read ANYTHING as long as it was not a reading assignment. .

People DO read and study subjects better when they have an interest. Over the years I have done in-depth research into numerous subjects to the degree that it would be Masters or Doctorate level research. I've scoured libraries, traveled to Universities. . . Results have been organized and bound into references for my own use.

But put me into a classroom and have someone tell me I MUST research and write a report about X, AND how they want it done. . . Phooey!

When I went to school most of the subjects I was interested in researching were odd-ball or archane enough that our major city public high school library would have NOTHING on the subject and our local public library was almost as bad. We DID have a college/University library that the public could use that was much better. But it was still quite limited. One of my tests at the time was to lookup anvil or blacksmith in the card catalog and their major encyclopedia.

Today we have the Internet and access to the Library of Congress (LOC) and its connections to almost every University library catalog in the world. If there is information out there you can at least find where it is and often you can borrow the book by ILL. We also have used book web sites like BookFinders.com which is often better than the LOC because there are books published in other countries that are not listed in the LOC and you can purchase them. I've bought books on-line from small book dealers in Australia, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, France and of course the U.S.

I think Frank's point about jumping in and doing something REAL then doing the reading or the research is very valid. The first thing you find is if you are interested and second is how much you do not know.

It is hard to apply this method to some subjects but it can be done with some effort and imagination. On the other hand you also end up with students that KNOW they do not like or are not interested in a given subject. . . what then?

There IS a big difference in teaching adults that are motivated and PAYING for what they are being taught and students that have no choice but to sit and be taught.
   - guru - Friday, 10/24/08 11:48:29 EDT

Nick-- Here is the link to the online books Frank mentioned: http://www.countryside.gov.uk/NewEnterprise/Economies/craftpublications.asp If that doesn't load, knock it down to the first phrase: http://www.countryside.gov.uk/ and hunt around in there. My 2 cents: smithing takes sooooo much equipment that a minimalist approach is best. Go work with a smith and get paid to learn on her equipment. If that is not possible, then, in addition to the splendid books Dr. Turley recommended, get hold of the late, great Alexander Weygers's books, available now in one volume. He takes a keep-it-simple, do-it-cheap approach. Always put safety first. Eyes, ears, respiratory.
   - Miles Undercut - Friday, 10/24/08 12:11:39 EDT

Nick-- Or better yet (lightbulb apears), come to think of it, take Frank's course.
   - Miles Undercut - Friday, 10/24/08 12:15:42 EDT

A Chambersburg Model "L" Forging Hammer, SN 2064 L3, 7H, High frame model has become available. The hammer is 750 pounds and the anvil is seperate and weights about 13,000 pounds. Install drawings are available. Machine is in excellent condition. Price is currently being considered is scrap value. Know of a home? Local High school has the ownership, picked up from a Government installation, and converts the proceeds from the sale into purchases for their shop. I hate to see it go to the scrap dealer.
   Edward C. Hallquist - Friday, 10/24/08 13:14:08 EDT

Edward, Edward, Edward. (sigh) Where?
   - Peter Hirst - Friday, 10/24/08 15:14:15 EDT

i got the fork lift and have been making suff like arrowheads(cold hammered) and my 2.5 lbs ball pein has a fairly sharp angle and its denting the steel, could i weld a steel plate (arc weld) to this and would it last, and what kind of steel does it need to be like tool steel?
thanks very much
   - jacob Lockhart - Friday, 10/24/08 18:20:37 EDT

by fairly sharp angle i mean the edge of the hammer, im sure some of this is lack of hammer control, but ide like to make a good hard face on the anvil
   - jacob Lockhart - Friday, 10/24/08 18:22:50 EDT

Jacob: Are you using an "off-the-shelf" hammer, or have you dressed the face?
   MacFly - Friday, 10/24/08 18:27:23 EDT

off the shelf its a lighty used( so far) set of five pittsburg ballpeins 8oz-32oz i was using the 32 oz when it made the dents but my lowes 4 lbs cross pein with a gentle edge when i went wailing on it never really left a mark
   - jacob Lockhart - Friday, 10/24/08 19:14:52 EDT

Jacob Lockhart, What McFly is gently trying to point out is that the Pittsburg hammers most likly have a poor dress on the face. If they have the sharp edges I see on those hammers at the HF store near me they need dressing. The fact that the 4# from Lowes left no marks is also a clue.
I dress my hammers to not have any sharp corners or edges. All of my hammers have a gentle radius across the entire face.
I believe that there is a thread on hammer dressingin the archives.
   ptree - Friday, 10/24/08 20:09:14 EDT

Matt, have you had a chance to try Nathan's Hammers? I found mine to have a near perfect dress as delivered.
   ptree - Friday, 10/24/08 20:10:03 EDT

Jacob: I believe it was Frank Turly who described the shape of a properly dressed hammer face as being shaped like the christal of a pocket watch. The idea being that the gentel spherical radius of the face blends to the body of the hammer with a smaller radius. A belt sander or a flap wheel on an angle grinder can be used to grind to the proper shape.
   - Dave Boyer - Friday, 10/24/08 22:37:23 EDT

THEN, is you have those nice smooth radii on the corners and you are still dinging the anvil it is because your are striking it with the edges of the hammer which should NEVER touch the anvil face. When you hammer on the edge of a taper you do so with the edge on the dge of the anvil so that the corner of the hammer is off the anvil, not striking it.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/25/08 00:31:06 EDT

Jeff- Haha, so far, his is the only hammer I've tried with my new setup (which I just got running this week!), it works like a charm so far, definitely glad I picked it up! I agree about the dressing, the only reason I took a pad of 180 to it was to blend things in a bit, more of an aesthetic thing on my part. I also flattened and modified the handle like I believe you and Rich recommended, and added that touch of beeswax; what a difference! Now all I need is more hammers! ...and tongs, and a vice, and hardy tools, and anvils, and punches, and a shop... Man, I love this hobby! :D Also a side note that almost all of us are familiar with, but might deserve a mention, is that you never, EVER want to strike two hardened pieces of steel together (like 2 hammers). If one of them cracks, it'll send pieces flying... to say the least, you don't want to have any part of your body in the way of those pieces...
   MacFly - Saturday, 10/25/08 01:32:04 EDT

I think books are also a lot easier to understand when you've tried doing what the book describes. Some things are awfully hard to explain to someone who's never experienced them.
   Mike BR - Saturday, 10/25/08 10:41:49 EDT

to make an easily replaceable gas forge lining could you use adobe?
   - jacob Lockhart - Saturday, 10/25/08 12:26:20 EDT

Jacob L. There are a zillion adobe experts in New Mexico, of course, but I don't know how many of them also have experience with refractories and such. If you don't get a good answer here, try Lindy Hirst at The Studio in Albuquerque: hirststudio@comcast.net
   - Peter Hirst - Saturday, 10/25/08 13:18:02 EDT

Gas Forge Lining: If you want easily replacable use refractory bricks. They come in standard sizes made to close tolerances. Properly designed without motor you could tear it down and replace it in short order. Refractory bricks are long lasting and take lots of abuse.

The down side is they are expensive and very poor insulation. You CAN get insultating bricks but they are difficult to find in small quantities and are even more expensive.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/25/08 17:04:58 EDT

Depends on the adobe I would think and it would't be as good a liner as a commercial refractory.

We forge at some pretty high heats and it can be a surprise to see dirt or clay *melting* in the forge!

   Thomas P - Saturday, 10/25/08 19:46:24 EDT

Melt ? Try BOIL. . . Thats what standard white casting slip does as forge temperatures. Whatever local clays you use need to be carefully tested.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/25/08 21:24:35 EDT

Manual Ironworker:

Here are pictures of the Canedy-Otto ironworker, discussed earlier this week. I imagine it is easier to use with a second person at the lever.


The rod cutter seems to be either worn out or missing more than just the depth stop. There is a lot of daylight even in the closed position
   - Jacob - Saturday, 10/25/08 21:51:38 EDT

Old anvil ID:

I also picked up this old anvil at the same time as the ironworker. It's a rather stocky ~167 lbs. It's forged, with a steel top, and in good condition except for some torch nicks in the edge. I just borrowed a copy of Anvils in America, but thought the experts here might be able to add some comments. The horn is pointed at the bottom, so maybe an old Mousehole? The face is ~5.5" wide, IIRC.


   - Jacob - Saturday, 10/25/08 22:08:37 EDT


You're anvil is indeed a Mousehole.
   - Rustystuff - Saturday, 10/25/08 22:28:04 EDT

I am building a forge. I am thinking about using clay bricks (less than 30 cents a piece) and a drywall type plaster as my mortar. (I want to avoid cement based mortars and bricks...Learned that from you guys) Just wondering if anyone knows of an alternative form of mortar that would work better. Any help and input would be great.

   Geoff - Saturday, 10/25/08 22:46:42 EDT

can you build your own small gas forge burner, How do they work?
   - jacob Lockhart - Sunday, 10/26/08 00:10:03 EDT


You don't say whether you're building a solid-fuel forge or a gas forge, and it does make a difference.

In a solid fuel forge, you might get away with using clay building bricks, as long as you keep them very dry at all times and build a bottom-blast forge so they don't get hot enough to melt. The drywall plaster simply will not work, though. At forging temps it will calcine to dust in minutes, possibly experiencing a few steam explosions along the way. You can get away with using stove cement, available at building supply houses, but it must be air dried for a few to several days then slowly brought up to 250 degrees for an hour or so before being taken to higher temps.

In a gas forge, generally a more or less "closed" structure, the building bricks will certainly fail on the first use. They simply can't take the heat and they are crummy insulators to boot. They'd make a poor forge even if they didn't crumble in short order. You have to use either the hard firebricks or the soft insulating firebricks to withstand the heat. The soft ones are fragile but decent insulators. Kaowool, a refractory fiber insulation material, is superior as an insulator and probably ends up being cheaper than the soft firebrick.
   vicopper - Sunday, 10/26/08 01:05:01 EDT


Yes, you can. Many of us have. They can be either naturally aspirated (venturi) burners or forced-draft (blown) burners, and constructed of simple pipe fittings and other small hardware. If you search this site, you will find designs form more than one type that is easy to make.

When undertaking the manufacture of any forge burner, there are serious safety considerations to be followed. You need to read all the available material and proceed with caution. If you are unfamiliar with gas piping, flame control, gas/air mixing etc, you must learn about these before proceeding or you can bring yourself to disaster.

It might be wisest to start with a proven, off-the-shelf burner from a reputable maker like Larry Zoeller for your first forge, until you are more familiar with what goes into good burner design and construction.
   vicopper - Sunday, 10/26/08 01:10:36 EDT

You can find insulating firebrick (2300 and 2600 degrees) and ceramic wool (Durablanket brand) on eBay by the box (offered by Industrial Firebrick in MI) or in small quantities by one seller.

I use an insulated (soft) brick as the base in my shop forge. Lasts 6-8 weeks before I have to replace it due to breaking apart.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 10/26/08 01:12:24 EDT

Has anyone ever hear or seen a river valley forge. they suposaly sell hand made iron work but dont know if they are real or not. had some one stop by my garage/shop today saying they were a blacksmith and sold stuff on ebay as river vally forge. so if someone could help me out it would be great.
   sam - Sunday, 10/26/08 01:05:42 EST

sorry about the multiple posts my computer froze and reset 3 times must have clicked 3 times to.
   sam - Sunday, 10/26/08 01:06:38 EST

Sam; Try a web-search for RiverValley Forge (no space between river and valley). Google comes up with a result you seem to be looking for.
   - Charlie Spademan - Sunday, 10/26/08 06:52:03 EST

Jacob, Etal, That unmarked anvil COULD be a Mousehole but is not a definite. Richard Postman has found over 200 English anvil manufacturers, many in the same general area. Style is no longer a good indicator of origin. So if it is unmarked it should be attributed to an unknown English maker in the tradition of. .

It is difficult to tell in the photo but it looks like the pritichel hole is newer than the anvil and is drilled. If that is the case the anvil is older than it would appear. Drilling pritichell holes in Colonial era anvils was a common practice that sadly reduces their value as a collector's item. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 10/26/08 08:48:13 EST

Gas Forge Burners: There are two types. Blown and venturi or "atmospheric". Blown burners are dead simple, work almost every time unless you do something stupid, AND they burn hotter than atmospheric. Atmospheric burners rely on careful sizing of components relative to the Forge volume and good manufacturing technique. Some of us can throw parts together to make atmospheric burners and they work while others struggle and never get them to work. The difference is often between makers of things and those that do not. Usually if you have to ask then you should either carefully follow someone elses design to the letter OR buy a premade product.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/26/08 08:54:18 EST

Sam, go to ebay and look up "blacksmith made". Click on both checking the title and description. I always put that in my title for stuff I make , my seller name is SLTM1 but no one has used it to find my stuff that I know of, just the words I suggested.
   Thumper - Sunday, 10/26/08 11:13:48 EST

on those simple coffee can forges wheres the air supply, or are both sides open enough?
   - jacob Lockhart - Sunday, 10/26/08 12:05:24 EST

Having been witness to what happens when a 10ft propane hose turns into a LIT Buster Keaton firehose I'd agree with everything Rich says. I gave the constructer my advise, was told not to worry and ended up walking through the mess to turn the propane tank off while he put himself out. Some hair loss but nothing vital.
   Ian Lowe - Sunday, 10/26/08 13:42:54 EST

Jason, The torch has its own air inlets. This is one of those questions that if you have to ask you probably shouldn't be doing it. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 10/26/08 15:09:51 EST

I know your more tired of answering the same questions over and over than I am of reading them over and over, but please don't discourage people asking questions. Number one we're not born knowing how to do anything except eat. And number two, life rule number 3 "a stupid question is easier to answer than a stupid mistake is to fix."

Of course this is coming from some one who when it comes to teaching has as much patience as...(I can't think of any thing as impatient as me teaching...)
   JimG - Sunday, 10/26/08 16:04:08 EST

im on my own, my dad has little initative so as 15 im kinda having to learn some of this alone, sorry, i imagine it would get frustrating.
my apologies, ill study more before i ask questions
thanks though for answering
   - Jacob Lockhart - Sunday, 10/26/08 20:05:48 EST

I would hardly say that the guru is being discouraging; the subject we're dealing with is flammable gasses and home-made torches... to say the least I think ALOT of research and caution, and at a minimum a small understanding of the subjects we're dealing with(venturi effect, calculation of volumes, BTUs, etc.) are needed before anyone starts tinkering willy-nilly with something like this on their own, especially if they don't have any kind of prior experience. I just built my first gas forge last week, but even using a pre-assembled torch, I researched SEVERAL websites, and asked quite a few people in the know before I started tinkering and adjusting... Jacob- I think it's a good idea to try and research things on your own before asking them here, but definitely don't be shy about asking questions; that's what this forum is for, after all.
   MacFly - Sunday, 10/26/08 23:05:22 EST

Bean Can or Mirco-Forge: Jacob, You have to study the item questioned (a bean can forge) and think about the components. Some things work alone, others do not. In this case the torch is an of the self item that works alone. You have to study how the torch works. A torch is not just an open flame. It works like a Bunsen burner (I think they still use them in HS Chemistry classes. . .). there is a gas jet and an air opening with a sleeve that you rotate to adjust the amount of air that is sucked in, thus controlling the gas/air mixture. You may not have taken chemistry or they may no longer use Bunsen burners. In either case these used to be a graduation requirement in North American schools and still should be. . . Didn't pay attention in Chemistry class? Well. . . there is a LOT of practical chemistry applied in blacksmithing.

A commercial propane torch is the same as a Bunsen burner and in some countries that is what they are called even though they look different, are tank mounted and do not have the base or adjustable mixture (And in Great Britian a "torch" is what we call a flashlight). Most common commercial propane torches have no adjustment, just on/off. The air ports are a predetermined size and the design is such that the mixture is always the same.

So when you stick a propane torch in the side of a small refractory box the "torch" is the complete burner. The important thing is for the air inlets not to be blocked NOR the end of the burner tube to extend past the insulation (it will melt). When you build a forge from scratch (including the burner) the burner works the same EXCEPT that you have to make it work properly. You become the engineer, machinist, quality control inspector and overall manufacturer. . .

   - guru - Sunday, 10/26/08 23:23:01 EST

SO, DO they still use Bunsen burners in High School chemistry classes or has the whole system of teaching science gone down the drain?
   - guru - Sunday, 10/26/08 23:24:02 EST

I never even had the opportunity to take Chemistry or Physics in High School, but it's highly possible that it was simply a failing of my school in particular; the curriculum in general was pretty bad. Looking back, I definitely wish I'd paid more attention to what WAS available though...
   MacFly - Sunday, 10/26/08 23:56:38 EST

The Bernz-O-Matic TS8000 has an adjustable valve and is rated for MAPP gas. Has piezo electric starter on it too, so you don't lose arm hair.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 10/27/08 07:00:32 EST

Fresh Fishes and Forges:

When it comes to beginners, I would always recommend that they start with a solid fuel forge (coal or chunk charcoal) unless they have no other choice. These forges can be very simple, require little investment, and (unless diabolically arranged) can't blow the garage or house up. Brake drum and converted BBQ or kitchen sink forges can do some remarkable work. They are certainly more versatile (and modifiable) than most of the smaller models of gas forges.

However, there are certain circumstances where a gas forge may be the best choice- lack of fuel sources, smoke problems, zoning problems, neighborly discretion, and such. In these cases, my first choice would be to save-up and buy one OR have a knowledgeable person assist me in building one. Not necessarily a blacksmith, but certainly a person who knows a thing or two about gas burners. Starting to build a gas forge, especially if you're young and just starting out ("a knowledge base of zero") needs to be a long and careful process. Knowledge is power, but so are compressed flammable gases. The former needs to exceed the later by a wide margin of safety.

Just my tuppence.

Cool and sunny on the banks of the Potomac. Checks have been posted to the electric company and such for service to the new forge building, and I'm working on the new door hardware. The move should be sometime in November (so I can meet my Christmas/MarsCon rush).

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 10/27/08 07:11:52 EST

A micro gas forge is a great way to start and can be pretty easy and cheap to build. You will definitely want kaowool insulation or soft firebrick as you need the insulation to get it hot enough of a small propane torch. (Note on my single soft firebrick forges I have had to put the nozzle of the torch outside of the fireprick to prevent melting and just direct the flame into the side hole.)

Next you will want to get a kit to run your torch off a full sized propane bottle, like a bbq bottle, and not the little tanks used for lanterns. *Lots cheaper*, especially if you get the bottles refilled and not do the switch out at a store.

Make sure you have a fireproof place to set eveything up so there is no problem with dropped work or hot tools being set down.

As a parent I can say there is no faster way to get shut down than having to call the fire department for something you kid has done; so researching ahead of time is a *good* thing!

   Thomas P - Monday, 10/27/08 10:36:25 EST

Question: My sister & BIL bought a 5th wheel trailer and want to travel. They are having difficulty in getting the propane stove to boil water here at a couple of hundred feet above sea level. I advised them on going out to higher altitudes they may only be able to heat water. But a question came out of this. Using the same forge, coal and blower cfm will a coal fire be less hot at say 7K' than sea level?

Comment: I use a propane forge exclusively in my shop as most of my requirements for it are of short duration. Heat, shut off forge and work metal. For example, I just made a 1 1/4" wide postvise spring. I just needed heat long enough to fishtail one end and do a couple of bends. I was done with the job by the time I could have even gotten a coal forge up to heat. For my particular usage a coal forge would be a royal PITA. (I subcontract out forge welds to the Miller Corp.)
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 10/27/08 10:55:23 EST

Be it solid fuel, gas, or electric never start a fire that you don't have the means to put out very close at hand.
   JimG - Monday, 10/27/08 11:01:38 EST

Guru, ten years ago when I taught high school chemistry, we did indeed use Bunsen burners. The district was about to build us a new and much-needed building, and they wanted to not install gas lines in the lab room to save money. The science teachers argued against this stupid idea, but I left public school teaching before the school was built so I'm not sure what they finally ended up doing. In our state curriculum chemistry was generally an 11th or 12th grade course, so Anvilfire readers younger than about 16 or 17 may not yet have come to the point where they would have taken it. We had Bunsen burners available for physical science (9th grade), but I think I may have been the only teacher in our school who used them at that level.

   mstu - Monday, 10/27/08 11:02:00 EST

Mouse Hole anvil

Looking closer at the anvil I pictured above, I can make out most of:

1 2 10

I'm not sure on anything above that. This also indicates that ~12 pounds have rusted away, unless I have a number wrong. What weight loss is typical on old complete anvils? The pritchel hole is ~9/16" diameter and seems uniform rather than tapered, so possibly drilled. It came from a local welding shop and had been in that family for generations, but I don't know what types of modifications may have been done. I bought this, not as a collector, but to use as my main shop anvil until something heavier comes along. I like the history and concentrated mass of it and sold an equal-weight newer anvil with much longer horn and heel to get it.

On an unrelated note, those are mouse melons growing on the shop wall behind the Mouse Hole anvil. They're a type of little Mexican cucumber.
   - Jacob S - Monday, 10/27/08 11:25:59 EST


If your sister's stove will only barely boil water where you are, there is someting wrong with it. At 7k feet they'll be unable to boil water at all. If the stove is incapable of being adjusted to funtion better at low altitude, they'll probably have to get a pressure cooker to use it above three or four thousand feet. Things that need boiling to cook just won't ever get cooked without the water going through the phase change.

I would guess that close examination may reveal that their stove is starving for fuel somewhere. A pinched gas line, improperly set regulator, blocked orifice, etc. They shoul dhave a reliable RV dealer check it out for them. Propane, as has been noted many times here, is something you have to exercise greaat care with in an enclosed space like an RV.

A solid fuel forge will be less hot with increased altitude, due to the lower oxygen content of the air, given the same sized fire. You can just build a bigger fire and run more air to overcome some of this, but there is a limit beyond which there is no gain. For any fuel, there is an optimum ratio of fuel to oxygen (the stoichiometric ratio, I believe it is called), and when the O2 content of the air drops sufficiently, the cooling of the nitrogen present offsets increasing the draft toget more oxygen. That's a really long way around saying that yes, the forge fire will be colder at high altitude. :-)
   vicopper - Monday, 10/27/08 11:45:14 EST

Geeze, all that farbling around I was doing there to answer Ken's question makes me realize how badly I cheated myself by not payng better attention when I was in high school Chemistry and Physics classes. I wonder if they take college graduates in the night-school GED program - maybe I could go back and get it now?
   vicopper - Monday, 10/27/08 11:47:51 EST

About loss of fire intensity at altitude.

It is a matter of air density.

At sea level it is .07651 lbs per cf.
At 2,000 ft it is .07213 lbs per cf.
At 6,000 ft it is .06395 lbs per cf.
At 10,000 ft it is .05649 lbs per cf.
At 14,000 ft it is .04973 lbs per cf.
At 20,000 ft it is .04075 lbs per cf.

Untill you get way up in the atomosphere the ratio between oxygen and nitrogen stays virtualy the same. This was often mistaught in High School, that is that it was drilled into their minds that oxygen decreased the higher you went, when in fact it is the density that decreased, thusly there is less oxygen and nitrogen.

For the propane stove burner, I would look at the mixing tube, I have repaired a lot of grills and often the mixing tube is rusted, the air inlet screens are rusted or some little bugs have made a nest or left deposits in the mixing tube. This will drastically reduce the performance of the burner.

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Monday, 10/27/08 12:50:51 EST

Michael, Thanks. I was in HS some 40 years ago. . . so it is good to know that things hadn't changed TOO much. But I DO know that an awful lot is done using "virtual" experiments in a computer rather than in the real world.

I called my daughter, she was in HS about 12 years ago and they had Bunsen burners. . but it was an old school.

Some things people used to learn early. My mom was cooking on a gas stove (including the oven) when she was 4 years old. Gas stoves had to be lit with a match back then and ovens were finicky. Kind of like lighting a gas forge. She still has a gas stove top but an electric oven with a timer is more convienient for baking.

My neighbor lady (now past) who was born about 1890 had used nothing but a wood stove her entire life. It was always started with a little splash of kerosene. This is dangerous if you screw up but she learned when she was a wee tot and never thought about it.
   - guru - Monday, 10/27/08 12:57:20 EST

I need to put a lateral bend on 2 1/4" wide cap rail, since I don't have a massive bending or rolling machine, how could I do this properly using heat. I do have a Hossfeld, but it will not accept the 2 1/4" width. Thanks!
   Michael - Monday, 10/27/08 13:24:18 EST

Jacob Lockhart:
I don't want to sound like I'm trying to discurage you Jacob but, I feel I have to step in here and give you my perspective on what you should be doing to persue blacksmithing.
I am certainly a newbe to blacksmithing but, not to the metal working industry. I have been earning my living at it for just over 28 years now. I am the lead machinist in my department and I train machinist apprentices.
I'm not trying to "slap you down" but, If you worked for me and asked some of the questions you do, I would have to wonder about your sincerity and devotion to the trade.
I'm sorry Jacob but, you sound like you have a vision of yourself sweating over some masive anvil, in a dark smithy, befor a roaring forge, while you put the finishing touches on Excaliber.
You have been given some very good advise here from some very knowledgeable people who have "been there and done that"
If the majority of the response says you should start out with a solid fuel forge, then that is what you should be doing. Someone way back there had a great idea for a forge you could take to these fanticy gatherings you are intrested in. Get an old disk blade from a disk harrow make a stand for it get some air into the arbor hole in the middle of it and get a fire going in it!
I thought it was such a good idea I went to my local farm supply store and got the biggest one on the shelf(27") for $37.00 and it's going to be my portable forge.
Befor you tell me again you are only 15 and getting little or no help from your father on this, STOP. My father is a phsycologist and has almost no mechanical skills what so ever. While I was growing up he showed no intrest in my desire to be a farmer/mechanic/machinist... or anything to do with the manual arts.
Yes it was a differant time. My junior high and high school system were setup to teach a trade and provide qualified entry level labor to heavy industry right out of high school.
I was on a demo this weekend and was talking to another smith who was describing how some sword smiths from Japan came to an ABANA conference a few years ago with nothing but a hammer each, built an earthen forge, forged a stake anvil, and made hand saws and wood working tools right there.
You are persuing an art and industry that took THOUSANDS of years to develope. It will not come over nite and it won't come easy.
Right now you have the cart so far befor the horse you can't even see the horse anymore.
Ask a question. Get the advise. Follow the advise. If you're not sure you are doing it right ask again.
Don't keep asking a question untill you get the answer YOU are looking for.
The last concideration is this... If you are in a situation were no one can/will help you , you have no money to buy minimal recomended equipment, and have no idea of what is safe and what is dangerous, maybe you should limit yourself to reserch only untill you can get out on your own to persue what could be a great hobby or way of life.
Knowledge is a life long endever.

   - merl - Monday, 10/27/08 13:37:47 EST

I have plans for a small forge. I am looking for a company (or someone to build it for me. Can you recommend anyone?
   John - Monday, 10/27/08 14:11:09 EST

Any of you gentlemen know anything about a tire shrinker? A customer of mine got a "Scientific" tire shrinker made by LOURIE MFG. CO. in SPRINGFIELD, ILL with a patent date of Sept. 14, 1909. It is a hand operated hydraulic machine used to shrink wagon tires cold without taking them off the wheel. He needs to find all the info he can in order to rebuild and use it. Any help on where to look, or information any of you know would be greatly appreciated.
   Tbird - Monday, 10/27/08 14:11:57 EST

I am looking for some one to build me a forge. I have the plan
   John - Monday, 10/27/08 14:13:11 EST

I have a plan for a forge I want built. Can you remmend one?
   - John - Monday, 10/27/08 14:14:03 EST

To complicate things even more, the boiling point of water drops as altitude increases.
   Mike BR - Monday, 10/27/08 15:59:55 EST

If all the O2 is being combusted by the coal then yes it will be cooler as there is less O2 in that same CFM at 9000 feet than at sea level. I'm close to 5000 feet up and you just give it a bit more air to make up for the difference in O2 per cubic foot. We won't discuss the fact that the blower may be spinning faster as there is less drag on it at altitude as well.

You tend to breath faster if you go up in altitude too; one of the things that throws off insulin rates for us diabetics.

   Thomas P - Monday, 10/27/08 16:41:00 EST

Michael- How sharp a bend, or what radius? And for what length? Profiled cap rail or rectangular? Does the curve rise as at a stair landing or at winder stairs?

A basic way of doing it is to bend a form of lighter material to the inside of the curve needed and tack weld that form to a heavy table. Heat as long a length of workpiece as you can and clamp one end to the form and bend. Watch out for trying to bend too much at one time, if a cooler section levers against the form it will pry the hotter section off the curve. True up and repeat as needed. Watch out for twisting.

Complications arise depending on the answers to the above questions.
   Judson Yaggy - Monday, 10/27/08 17:17:43 EST

Building a Forge: John, Any fabrication shop anywhere in the world can probably build your forge. Most blacksmiths could as well. The question IS whether the plan is any good. There are a lot of bad plans around. Evaluating the plan should be done by a blacksmith and the intended use should be spelled out very clearly.

Click on my name, email me, send what you can of the plans.
   - guru - Monday, 10/27/08 18:16:41 EST

More about Building a Forge: Letting folks know where you are (at LEAST the state and country) might bring you some volunteers to the project. Forges can be heavy. If I build a brick lined forge here on the East Coast and you want in California it may cost you double just in shipping. OR, you could have it built down the street at Joes Fab Shop and pay nothing for shipping.
   - guru - Monday, 10/27/08 18:20:15 EST

Tire Shrinkers: Tbird, they have heavy clamps that vary in mechanics and hold the tire so that a very high force can be applied to upset the metal in the hot tire. They are heavy and rarely used today. The one you describe is a real odd-ball so you will be on your own reverse engineering it to repair it. The popular brands were Champion and Mole.
   - guru - Monday, 10/27/08 18:24:11 EST


I'm not sure whether I agreee with you or not. As Caleb pointed out, it's the density of air that decreases with altitude, not the oxygen content (by weight). If your forge needs 10 cubic feet of air per minute at sea level, that's somewhere around 1 pound. The same forge might need 15 cubic feet of air per minute at 9000 feet, but the greater volume of less dense air will still weigh around 1 pound. Your forge should lose the same amount of heat raising 1 pound of air to a given temperature. I shouldn't matter whether that pound oof air occupies 10 cubic feet or 15.

On the other hand, that 15 cubic feet of air will have to be moving 50% faster to get through your fire in the same amount of time. That might mean that all the oxygen won't have time to be consumed as it moves through. If so, you'd have to build a deeper fire (so the air stays in it longer), or a wider one (so the air velocity is reduced). The same amount of combustion contained in a larger volume will mean a lower temperature.
   Mike BR - Monday, 10/27/08 18:51:12 EST

John, I have built a number of forges and would be happy to help. Any time you are passing by Chengdu area please drop by and we will talk- or even start building. Plenty of pipe, joints. Ts etc. here.
   philip in china - Monday, 10/27/08 18:53:18 EST

I just asked #2 son (17 yrs. young) about his chemistry class. He advised that they used bunsen burners all the time. The new school building is only 4 years old.

He also says that if you put copper flakes into the burner it makes a really nesat looking green flame. :)
   Brian C - Monday, 10/27/08 19:09:48 EST

That should be "a really NEAT looking green flame".

I can hear Paw Paw fussing at me now, "proof then post"
   Brian C - Monday, 10/27/08 19:11:44 EST

im sorry this is competely off subject but mr. philip is china pretty cool place? is it fun to live there?
   - jacob Lockhart - Monday, 10/27/08 19:24:54 EST


If you're near my neck of the woods, I'll build anything legal that you're willing to pay for. I'm located in the Virgin Islands, just about 50 miles east of Puerto Rico.
   vicopper - Monday, 10/27/08 19:52:10 EST

Michael-- it maye take a few heats to get the curve you want. First you need a rock-solid steel table to weld a bending fork onto or a ditto post vise to clamp the fork into. And then you heat the cap rail up to near white and bend it, a little bit at a time, matching it as you go to the curve you have drawn on the table or on your bench. I have done this many times with 1/2 x 2-inch mild steel rails. If it is a rising compound curve, then you need a jig curved to match, with stepped double-forks to hold the rail flat, to keep the lateral cross-section of the rail level as it rises. Again, the key is a little bit at a time.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 10/27/08 19:52:45 EST

The whole air density discussion intrigues me. Caleb is absolutely right, of course. The proportions of the component gases don't change much at any altitude you can breathe, but the density sure does. As Mike noted, the pressure drop means that water boils at a lower temperature than it does at STP, too. When I was climbing at 14,000 feet, I had to use a little tiny pressure cooker to get my oatmeal and pasta to cook properly, since the low boiling point of the water wasn't sufficiently hot to cook the stuff right. That little pressure cooker was a real gem of Swedish engineering, I might add. That and my little Svea gas stove did yeoman duty feeding me for years.

The lower air density at high altitude, which we referred to as lower oxygen content, could have severe ramifications for those who were not acclimated to it. When I was guiding I always had to watch clients for signs of altitude sickness and turn back at the first sign of problems. Those who have experienced altitude sickness rarely want a second dose.

I'm suer someone out there can actually calculate the effect of altitude on the combustion of solid fuels and propane, both. It would be interesting to see what the theory predicts, versus what experience shows to happen. I've been asked by more than one person about the feasibility of oxygen enrichment for propane forges for high altitude use in forge welding, but I've no idea how well it would work in practice. Seems to me that it would require great care and pretty precise metering to do it safely.
   vicopper - Monday, 10/27/08 20:03:28 EST

On Bunsen burners and High School physics/chemistry....

I guess I was one of the lucky ones in high school in the late 1980s. I recall using a Bunsen burner several times in Physics class, as well as Chemistry. Our Bunsen burners had rubber fittings you just slid onto a tapered nozzle, turn on the gas, and go. Some of the faucets in the lab had tapered nozzles, also. Every now and again, you could use a burner as a high power squirt gun, but that was frowned upon. I had one of the best Physics teachers, IMHO. We spent as much time, if not more, doing practical hands on labs than book work. A few I recall off the top of my head...Tesla coils, home built batteries using household materials, boiling water in a vacuum, and electroplating of metals (by far my favorite). Thanks for bringing up the good memories.

Seems like schools are more interested in getting the students through, rather that insuring their success based on their interests, nowadays. It's a shame, really.
   aaron c. - Monday, 10/27/08 21:07:32 EST

I think the thing Tbird is talking about is a device that puts the tires on to wheels cold. Not sure how they work, but the wheels made with cold set tires were advertised as staying on a lot longer than hot set. I can vouch for how tight cold set tires are because I once had a set of heavy wheels in the shop that had been cold set from the factory. There was a foot or so of the fellie rotten compleatly away, and I still had to work to get the tire off.
   JimG - Monday, 10/27/08 21:21:38 EST

Not sure this is the right place, but I have a #2Buffalo hand crank forge blower [a big one] for sale. Excellent condition. $75 Jim Jacobs, Nevada City, CA. Tel. 530-272-4599
   Jim Jacobs - Monday, 10/27/08 21:35:24 EST

aaron c.-- I think the liability posed by potentially dangerous equipment also helps explain howcum some schools are so mind-numbingly boring these days.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 10/27/08 22:05:13 EST

Jacob, see hammer in for your answer. That is the correct place for such items.
   philip in china - Tuesday, 10/28/08 02:34:09 EST

Miles/Aaron C...It also isn't necessary in order for the students to fill out a multiple choice scan-tron bubbles.
   Rob Dobbs - Tuesday, 10/28/08 02:41:25 EST

Vicopper, I think we do a pretty good double act. Shouldn't we be charging the readers for the show?
   philip in china - Tuesday, 10/28/08 02:43:53 EST

How international is the Guru's Den? I'm in Finland, philip is in China, and vicooper is in the Virgin Islands. Do we have any other non-U.S. residing visiters?

Sorry if off-topic. Just curious.
   Rob Dobbs - Tuesday, 10/28/08 02:51:02 EST

Gurus, I am planning on attending a farrier school and buying tools I need beforehand.However, I am running in to a problem with anvils. I am having a hard time finding out what different manufacturers make them out of, how they are heat treated, round horn, flat horn Ect.. I would like a new anvil #100 range, round horn, turning cams, tapered heal. I also want it to last a lifetime. Any advice or manufacture info would be greatly appreciated. Tom Petersen
   tom petersen - Tuesday, 10/28/08 05:52:04 EST

Tom Peterson, I have a 100# TFS (Texas Farrier Supply) anvil that I bought from a local Farrier supply company. It is a nice anvil and I can recommend TFS anvils. It is made in the Dallas Area. You can expect to pay about $550. Google for TFS Anvils and you should find a dealer. Delta Horseshoe sells the over the internet but you get stuck for shipping.
   quenchcrack - Tuesday, 10/28/08 07:38:07 EST

Tom, First of all, your instructor may have his favorite tools and equipment, and he may want to sell them. I used to shoe in the olden days with a 158# Hay Bud; then went to a 140# Hay Bud. I see on the internet that TFS, JHM, and Emerson are recommended by some farriers. The Emerson doesn't have a clip horn, but clip horns aren't necessary, and a half round one will gut out the foot surface of the shoe leaving a crescent depression (bad). Lots of hot shoers draw clips off the anvil edge. If the horn is a little flattened on top (not extreme), it allows you to open up the toe and quarters a little easier, because of the daylight between the shoe and horn. Nothing wrong with a rounded horn on top though. My thoughts on the tapered heel are that it helps to level a small shoe that has side clips. If you're a hot shoer, turning cams are not necessary; you can turn what you need to turn on the horn. For cold shoers, the cams are a "bell & whistle" item that might help them. There are four things that I don't care for on many farriers' anvils. One is the narrow face, which is often 4". Even the so called "wide face" anvils will have maybe a 4 3/16" face. What's wrong with a face with a 5" or so width (rhetorical)? The second is the narrow waist which takes mass away from where it should be. The third is pritchel hole placement which is off on the far corner. JHM puts it on the medial length-line of the anvil face, which is a good idea. One other disliked thing is the often encountered extra-thin heel which is loud and twangy.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 10/28/08 08:44:21 EST

Farriers Tools: Tom, As Frank noted your instructor may have recommendations and preferences. If he/she is teaching a specific method on an anvil with a clip horn or over sized hardy hole (NC makes one round) you will need the same anvil. . .

One thing the late Bill Pieh, father of Centaur Forge used to say about farrier anvils is that they were a consumable item. So much work is done in specific spots that the scale or cold work wears depressions in the face and horn.

My take on many farrier anvil designs is that they are sold largely on the famous nom de'jour. On the other hand, at the Calgary stampede where they hold the the world's top shoe forging contest all the anvils are a stock American pattern Kohlswa anvil of about 200 pounds, maybe a little less. No clip horns, no cams. .

Blacksmiths Depot and Centaur Forge for sell a variety of anvils.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/28/08 09:10:40 EST

Internationalization of anvilfire: Out statistics no longer gives the complete list. It gives us the top 30 out of 127 countries (this month) based on ISP extension. Those include unidentified .NET and .COM ISPs. But the current list is such.

.NET, .COM, US.EDU, MIL, US.GOV, NPO.ORG, and unresolved. 75% of our traffic.

Australia, Canada, Russian, Poland, Italy, Brazil, France, Czech Republic, Ireland, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, New Zealand, Israel, Switzerland, Mexico, Egypt. . . China did not make the top 30.

The last time I went through the full record was in 1999 when anvilfire was only a year old and I produced the following list of anvilfire users. There was only 80 countries in the list then compared to 120 now.

I am experimenting with translation via the new google tools. These are much better than the old computer translation. In 2000 I had a version of the news that had on-line translation links but they stopped doing it. It was a mess to clean up the broken links.

The following is a new experiment.

News Translation Test

You have to scroll down to the translation tool bar. I would probably move it to the top on most pages if I used it all the time and possibly converted to a pull down. The method used is buggy because when you go to a new language from the translated page it fails. I think I can fix that.

We have an International glossary project that needs to be transfered to a different system than a large table. I am working on a project to expand that and have multiple editors.

We sell books and ITC products world wide. We have (or had) CSI members in New Zealand, Canada, Switzerland, Germany and Kenya. We have had recent contributions from Belgium and China. We have also had questions posted here recently in Spanish which I think Frank took care of. .

The Blacksmiths Ring which we host has member sites in England, Sweden and Costa Rica. We also have advertisers from China and Germany.

The Internet is truly international and as soon as you put a web site on the net you should think international. We have plans to serve this audience better. One place it is difficult is in writing such as in this forum. Misspelling, colloquialisms, abbreviations and much technical jargon does not translate. If you think about others translating your words or applying them in a different culture then you are forced to think about how you write and what words you use. I like to write in a friendly conversational style but much of that does not translate well. So I try not to be too casual nor too stilted.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/28/08 09:44:51 EST

Rob; folks from all over visit here; I think that Jock has a list of the countries he's seen here; maybe hell post the total.

A lot of folks from different places are lurkers afraid that their command of the english language is too poor. Shoot looking at how badly we mangle the english language here in America they should have no fears on that account!


   Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/28/08 09:57:57 EST

Oxygen enhanced combustion - used to do a lot of that when I worked for Airco in the 1980's all at normal eastern state leveles - nothing really high above sea level. You get a higher flame temperature, which increases production of nitrogen oxides ( a pollutant and contributor to acid rain ). The economics at that time were justifiable only when increased production was needed from the same unit - cost savings at that time did not justify the cost of oxygen use to save fuel. Typical levels of oxygen addition were fairly small - increasing total oxygen only to about 25%.

Of course, we'd also add special oxy-fuel burners to cold spots in applications such as melting scrap in an electric arc furnace - think of an acetylene torch on steroids - typically natural gas as the fuel coupled with pure oxygen - 2, 3 and 4" orifices (tips) for the gas line were common. We called them rocket burners.
   - Gavainh - Tuesday, 10/28/08 11:35:18 EST

Once I stuck the tip of my gassed-up (but off) cutting torch in the inlet bell of my atmospheric burner. I thought about gently pressing the lever, and the flame instantly burned back into the burner tube and started screaming. So I have no doubt that VICopper's care and precise metering would be necessary to make an oxygen-enriched forge.
   Mike BR - Tuesday, 10/28/08 13:30:05 EST

Thanks to all for your interest to help! The cap rail is molded profile with hollow underneath. The radius is approx. 48" flat for a rail around a stair landing. I took a template of the knee wall, so that is what I have to work with. My table is a 4 by 8 sheet of 1/2" mild steel on angle iron legs, which I hope will work to weld the profile to. Could I heat the cap rail to white on the table before the bend is attempted, or will the table be a heat sink?
   Michael - Tuesday, 10/28/08 13:56:03 EST

More about fire.

The increased velocity generally helps with the propagation of a flame.

The three main factors in generating a flame are time, turbulance and temperature.

If you increase the turbulance and temperature much at all the time factor decreases greatly, that is it is no longer of great concern.

With a solid fuel forge the greater turbulance of the incoming air will decrease the time required for flame propagation and the conversion of the fixed carbon of the coal or charcoal to carbon monoxide.

Think of an oxy/ace torch. If the oxy pressure is too low it does almost nothing, although the oxygen is in contact with the steel longer. With the pressure up and a much greater gas velocity it cuts like crazy. This is just very rapid oxidation of the steel, mainly contributed to the great turbulance created by the high gas velocity.

With a naturally aspired forge or any burner of that type, you just need to be able to pull a greater volume of the lower density air into it. One way to do this is to fit a larger nozzle on the burner. Another way is to move the nozzle back from the mixing tube and/or fit a nice flare on the mixing tube entrance. Both of these techniques have been used on Stanley Steam cars which use basically a giant Colemon stove to heat the boiler, that is they pass liquid fuel(usually either gasoline or kerosene) through a metal tube above the fire(the fuel is under air pressure of around 80 to 150 lbs pressure in two small tanks, about two pints each, copper, pumped in by the engine or by hand) the fire then heats and boils the liquid fuel and converts it into a vapor. Thusly making a blue flame(if things are working right).

Water also boils at a higher temperature as pressure increases. As an example the Stanleys run at around 500 psi, at that pressure the water boils at 467 deg F.

At just 100 psi 328 deg F.
At 1,200 psi 567 deg F.
At 3,206.2 psi(critical pressure where the volume of steam and water is equal) 705.4 deg F.
At 10,000 ft water will boil at 193 deg F.
At 6,000 ft 201 deg F.
At 4,000 ft 204.5 deg F.

Interestingly Thomas Savory, the inventor of the steam powered vacuum water pump encountered the issue of it only being able to pull water up 34 some ft, although the commonly held(but not by all) idea was that "Nature abhores a vacuum". This led to a lot of experiments which uncovered the variance in air pressure in correlation to altitude. In fact some of the first lighter then air flights were made by people who were studying this very phenomonon, note also that Franklin was in attendance at the first(modern recorded) lighter then air flight, although the "pilot" was a chicken!

Also of interest is that Savory based his boiler on Papins digester. What we now call the pressure cooker!

Caleb Ramsby
   Caleb Ramsby - Tuesday, 10/28/08 16:09:47 EST

A bit on loss of air pressure VS loss of oxygen as altitude increases.
Loss of air density was a great problem and issue for the pioneers of aviation in the 20 to 40's. It became apparent that drag was greatly reduced, allowing an airplane to fly faster for a given Hp at high altitudes. The catch was that Hp fell off with increased altitude, to the point that a normally aspirated engine could not provide the Hp to reach the altitudes with a usefull load. Step in folks like Dr. Moss of GE who started early research into turbosupercharging. Others such as Dr. Stanly Hooker of Rolls Royce designed multi stage superchargers with correctly shaped inlets that allowed a RR Merlin develop usefull Hp to drive the fighters that the allies used, at high altitude, without short term solutions like the Nitrous injection the Germans had to use on engines of roughly twice the displacement for the same Hp.
The RR Merlin had a 2 stage compressor that pulled roughly 650Hp from the crankshaft at altitude, but let the engine develop perhaps 4 times the Hp a normally aspirated version would.
In short, no supercharger, or turbocharger could make an engine that burns hydrocarbons and oxygen make more Hp if the O2 was not there. At any altitude that a man can breathe, there is O2 at roughly 21.5% of the total mix of gasses. Just very much less total.
   ptree - Tuesday, 10/28/08 19:06:24 EST

Michael- As a blacksmith I would heat the rail in the forge, not on the table. The table would indeed act as a heat sink for a while, then it would start to warp and ruin your table. If the table gets too hot to touch then go do something else for a while and start anew tomorrow.

Heat and bend one end first and work your way along the length, slightly overlapping the heats as you go. Make it longer than you need and trim to length, be sure to get the transition at the tangent point right as it's an"eye magnet" if it's not.
   Judson Yaggy - Tuesday, 10/28/08 19:55:45 EST

Michael, I would form the piece of stock the rail fits (use solid) then use a torch to heat and pull to fit. Bending the square to fit the top of the pickets and be true will be easier than the top rail. You could heat sections in the forge. It you heat something like this on a table you want it covered with refractory brick and back one or two sides with brick to keep the heat in. MUCH more efficient than flat on a table.

Just my take on it.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/28/08 20:04:02 EST

Thank you everyone! I will try my new found knowledge out tomorrow. Michael
   Michael - Tuesday, 10/28/08 20:47:31 EST

Michael, make a big heavy *wooden* hammer---like a section of 6"x6" with a regular hammer handle on it to be able to hammer the railing true without messing up or denting the profile.

I usually use a chunk of firewood for this type of thing.

Lots of smoke and flame but no dammage to the metal and when one gets too burnt up well pull the handle and let the wood stove deal with the remains.

It can also help to have some reverse profile pieces attached to heavy duty clamps so you can securely clamp a section without marring the surface.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/29/08 09:45:40 EST

Thank you for the suggestions on low propane heat in my sister's & BIL's 5-wheel camper. I'm having dinner with them this evening and will suggest they have the regulator checked out. Also thanks for the comment about diabetics perhaps having addition difficulties at high altitude as BIL is one.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 10/29/08 10:43:23 EST

I've found some info here on using a cold galvanizing spray as a primer on exterior iron work. Is there a brand that anyone suggests? Should I just go with a powdercoater? Thanks
   - mike s - Wednesday, 10/29/08 10:46:38 EST

I used Rustoleum zinc galvanizing spray as a primer, under Rustoleum black paint, on my shop door hinges. It's been going on four years with no rust so far. I know four years is still early, but this is in NH, with a fairly wet environment.

If you're making this for a paying client, though, I would look into having it hot-dipped.
   - Marc - Wednesday, 10/29/08 12:29:10 EST

Zinc Paint: I use CRC Zinc Ne-nu or cold galvanizing (they keep changing the ID). It is a zinc powder (not zinc "compound") paint. You want a paint with a high level of zinc as the percentage of solids. I think 96% is common.

You can buy the same in bulk that has to be mixed and sprayed. It is used for the interior of water tanks. Commercial paint stores are best for finding these products (Dupont auto, Sherman-Williams). Many makers supply it.

As mark noted, the best is hot dipped. However, there is a cost factor.

The way zinc galvanizing works is as a sacrificial anode. When acid rain or water contacts steel it forms an electrolytic cell which removes iron ions from the base metal and leaves them as rust. But when zinc in in the locality of the iron as part of the "cell" the zinc is dissolved and plates the iron. So instead of rust and pitting the zinc corrodes and the iron is healed.

No matter what paint you apply the surface preparation (cleaning, etching) prior to painting is as important as the paint. Put the best paint over dirt, grease, coal deposits, flux or loose scale and you WILL get rust, corrosion or flaking paint.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/29/08 13:02:38 EST

I work as a boilermaker in a mine that still has an opperational blacksmith shop with a lot of very large forging equipment. I do a little work at the house mainly using a coal forge. I have been looking into a gas forge and I was talking with the blacksmith here at the mine and I said the only downside to a gas forge is that it is hard to get to a welding heat. He looked at a couple of pictures and he made the remark, that if the flame was coming from the bottom it would probably get hotter faster. He then asked, "If you were heating heavy plate with a rose bud would you start at the top or the bottom? I was thinking more about it and I realized that the coal forge at my house and the natural gas forges at the mine all heat from the bottom. So I guess my question is, why do all of the propane forges I have looked at heat from the top?
   Johnny "nails" Naegle - Wednesday, 10/29/08 15:05:34 EST

Hi Guru,
The National Trust in Willunga South Australia would like your help please,we have a Canedy Otto blower ,Royal Western Chief H 1027,the number 1026 is on the other side along with the manufactures name.The blower is painted red original I think.Our town was developed becuase of the slate quarries and we are also displaying blacksmith equipment in our award winning museum and would like to be able to date the forge if possible.
thanks for your anticipated help.
   rae - Wednesday, 10/29/08 15:27:59 EST

Rae; slow down there; this isn't a chat room and folks will get around to answering questions as they are able. Repeating the question 5 times doen't help!

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/29/08 16:01:16 EST

Ken & Johnny

Ken it's not so much a problem; you just need to be aware to make adjustments to your basal insulin rate. Diabetics have climbed mountains you know!

Johnny; the main reason I know of is to keep crud from falling into the burner. Since most of the heat is actually being transferred as IR from the sides of the forge and not from sticking it into the blast from the burner your rosebud analogy doesn't hold very well.

As for welding heat; if you build your gas forge for welding it will weld fast and clean all day long---just be careful you don't melt your work into a puddle on the bottom of the forge. Most gas forges are not built specifically for welding making it harder to accomplish. But that's like complaining that most cars have trouble getting above 200 kph; very true but in reality it's easy to get a car that goes faster.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/29/08 16:10:02 EST

anyone ever hear about using agricultural lime for flux? I heard it has been done...
   - vorpal - Wednesday, 10/29/08 16:14:15 EST

Repeats are somewhat a systems problem. If you don't fill in the Name: and E-mail: on the question box it bumps you to another page to do so. When you submit there nothing seems to happened even though it took.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 10/29/08 16:15:35 EST


Heating with from below with a flame is better because the hot gases have to flow around your work piece as they rise from the flame. This doesn't really appply to a gas forge, because the gases flow from the burner to the vents, whatever direction that happens to be. Also, heating is by radiation from the hot walls and floor as much as directly from the gasses.

I think gas forges generally have the burner at the top so nothing falls in, and so it isn't blocked by a piece set on the forge floor. There *is* an advantage to having the burner in the floor or low in a wall -- this prevents the burner from acting as a chimney after your shut down. But I don't think there's any noticable gain in efficiency from setting the forge up that way.
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 10/29/08 16:17:14 EST

I've got to learn to type faster -- good thing Thomas and I agreed.
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 10/29/08 16:18:21 EST

Ken, Look at the times (minutes apart). I'll remove the extras momentarily.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/29/08 16:21:54 EST

Speaking of zinc paint, does anyone have any good tricks for getting the lump of settled zinc in the bottom third of the can back into suspension without stirring the paint for 3 hours?
   Judson Yaggy - Wednesday, 10/29/08 16:56:57 EST

Zinc paint:

I use copious quantities of the stuff, as failure to do so down here would result in disaster in a matter of days or weeks, not years. There are a couple of tricks to using it handily:

1. The metal powder is far to heavy to remain in suspension for more than a couple of minutes, if that. Thinning it to spraying consistency just exacerbates this problem. Constant agitation is recommended, but that is a nuisance and a mess if you're using a regular siphon-type spray gun. It always wants to slop out the vent and drool all over everywhere. The best solution I've found is a pressure-pot spray gun. The cannister can be shaken with the left hand whilie you spray with the right hand and no drooling. Another benefit is that since the paint pot is under pressure to feed the paint up the hose, you can use much thicker paint. Thus, slower settling of the zinc.

2. If you must use a regular cup gun, use three or four marbles in the cup to help agitate the paint with the natural swinging motion of your arm when spraying. You'll still have to give it a wiggle or shake every minute or so, but it does stay suspended beter that way.

3. Another option is a gravity-fed cup gun. That way, the cup is above the gun and the metal is being sprayed out as fast as it can settle. I'm just not comfortable with a gravity gun, so I use the pressure-pot. Also, it holds half a gallon, not a quart.

4. When the stuff is stored, it settles and aggregates on the can bottom. This is a huge pain in the rear to get stirred back into solution/suspension. The go-ahead cure for this is a paint can rack that turns the cans every fdewminutes, day and night, like auto paint stores used to use with the old regular enamels and metallics. One could be built easily enough from a scrapped-out barbecue rotisserie motor, I'd think. I just store the can upside down so the stuff settles on the lid, where I can open it up and scrape it loose with a putty knife and then work it back into solution with a fork. Much better than a stick, that fork.

Hope this is assistance to you, Jud. See you again at Quad next year, I imagine.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 10/29/08 17:35:50 EST

Good stuff Rich! Thanks. (It was ACBC by the way, Ohio is too flat for me;))
   Judson Yaggy - Wednesday, 10/29/08 17:42:13 EST

I have always had my gas forge set up with the burner coming in from the side, and then I use a kiln shelf set up on bandsaw cut fire bricks, for the floor, and this floor is smaller all around than the forge- so the flame goes under the floor and circles around above as well.
This seems to work really well- I thought everybody did it this way?
   - Ries - Wednesday, 10/29/08 17:52:15 EST

Canedy Otto Products: These were made from some time in the late 1800's to the 1940's (maybe). I have several of their old catalogs and there are no publication dates, no copyrights, no patent numbers. Nothing to place a date on them.

Virtually all the products made by all the blacksmithing suppliers were kept in production until they went out of business.

The one fellow that knew something about the company (Bill Pieh) past away a few years ago.

Industrial History: The inability to trace the history of many 20th century companies and their products is quite common. Industrial history is one of the most overlooked pieces of our history. Worse, the people that HAVE written on the subject have often gotten it wrong claiming "firsts" that came decades or centuries after the REAL first. The Koreans invented movable type 200 years before Gutenburg, James Nasmyth built both a steam powered wagon AND a launch decades before Fulton's steam boat and the Russians REALLY did independently discover and invent many things before or at the same time as as the West. In these cases we are talking about practical working inventions not sketches such as DaVinci's of devices that were impractical to build with the technology of the time.

The best you can date Canedy-Otto equipment is "Early 20th Century".
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/29/08 17:54:02 EST

Paint with heavy solids: We have worked with many products that have metal powder fill. Devcon makes a line of industrial epoxies that are filled with aluminium, copper, and iron powders. They are miserable things to reconstitute after setting for a year or so.

To mix these and other products that settle to the extreme we use a drill press and a mixing tool. My Dad tried MANY shape tools including propellers and paddles. In the end the best was a long pattern hex key wrench OR a piece of bar bent into a similar L shape. This worked for clay slip, Devon metal filled epoxies and other products that settled.

Once mixed you often needed to use these products immediately. Even common metallic auto pains will settle in the spray can while applying them. To apply you learn to swirl the can before and after every pass, during every pause and break. If someone stopped me while I was painting I would keep the can in constant motion. It LOOKS like you have a nervous condition but it is a requirement of the job. Same with zinc powder paints.

The industrial zinc powder paint avoids settling in the container by shipping the zinc as loose powder. The user mixes it immediately prior to using and should avoid mixing extra. Using power mixing is expected.

DO NOT mix flammable paints using a hand drill. The sparking armature is MUCH TOO CLOSE to the vapors in the can.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/29/08 18:06:20 EST

Industrial forges I have been around were all side burner entrance. In the large industrial forges I worked around the gas was always mixed in the blower case, and supplied to a side mount burner orifice. The reasons?
Keeps the scale from clogging the orifice, keeps the molten scale/refractory from clogging the orifice, and the billets wouldblock the flow. All the forges I am speaking of were natural gas or fuel oil, and were production forges that were often lit, and ran till the roof of the forge collasped. All were simple rectangle boxes inside with an arch roof. All heated for production which means for as fast as possible within the means of physics and cost.
Induction heating has about eleminated all of these forges. Induction is awesome to see, but to enter a city block long forge shop in Feburary, at 5:00 am, and to see 20 or so forges blowing dragons breath straight up and those plumes were as much as 6'to 10' tall, and the hot metal moving, and not to be able to see any other detail because everything was soot black, including the people is something to see. Then to get closer and see the hammermen with a V of sweat up the front of their buttoned to the neck shirt, and a frozen V of sweat up their back, and the leaking steam falling back on them as snow in the 20F ambient, priceless:)
   ptree - Wednesday, 10/29/08 18:12:00 EST

I have a paint mixer that I used on boat bottom paint that had a high percentage of copper which would settle like the zink paint does. This mixer is about 18" long and has an aprox 2 1/2" propeller shaped element at the bottom with a ring around it to keep from slicing the can. I ran it in an electric drill. I dont recall if it came from a hardware store, paint store or a chandlry, but it worked much better than any of the others that I bent up from junk lying around the boat yard.
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 10/29/08 18:47:14 EST

A little about Canedy Otto quoted from the Directory of American Toolmakers edited by Robert E. Nelson; Early American Industries Association, 1999.

CANEDY MFG. CO. Chicago, IL -1890-
Grove, IL
TOOL TYPES: Blacksmith Tools
TEXT: The company, which was also called C.M. CO., made hand cranked blowers with the brand name WESTERN CHIEF and forges. They were succeeded by the Canedy-Otto Mfg. Co. Their only Chicago listing is in an 1890 directory; they may have worked in Grove before that.
CANEDY-OTTO MFG. CO. Chicago, IL -1894-
TEXT: W. E. Canedy and Albert T. Otto succeeded the Canedy Mfg. Co. and may also have made blacksmith's tools.

   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 10/29/08 19:15:43 EST

hey i had a quick question about welding, when you hit it is it suspose to pop and shoot a litlle amount of sparks. and on a faggot weld is it sussppose to weld the seems because my welds are welded in the middle but not on the edges.
   - sam - Wednesday, 10/29/08 21:52:55 EST

HOT OFF THE PRESSES, so to speak:

Google and the consortium of publishers have settled their differences apparently and there is averitable plethora of books on blacksmithing available for free viewing on the internet. There is no further excuse for anyone to say they don't ahve access to a library, or bookstore or such any longer. If you have internet access to whine about it here, you have access to read about it there. So there. :-)

Google has books on file from back as far a the 1700s or so, up to books as recent as Weygers, Andrews and Bealer. The information is there if you take the time to read it. If such things were available when I was young, I would never have made it to school. I'd have been glued to the computer twenty hours a day, soaking up everything I could find. Man, I really LOVE the information age!
   vicopper - Wednesday, 10/29/08 22:27:49 EST

Sam, Sparks vary on the heat and amount of flux. Normally you get a fair spray of sparks. If using a flux with iron powder in it you get a lot more sparks. Many of the photos of sprays of sparks are from using easy-weld.

Unwelded corner seams may be burnt edges, overly scarfed, OR the complete piece not worked enough to close the edges. If you fold the steel cold and there is an edge seam then there will be an edge seam after welding unless you move some metal.

Incomplete welds can be cleaned, fluxed and rewelded to complete the weld. This is not unusual in a forge weld. What IS important is that it welds in the center where you cannot see if the weld is incomplete.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/29/08 22:58:31 EST

FYI: I had a CANEDY-OTTO hand crank blower marked "Western Chief" "Chicago Heights, Ill". Chicago Heights is south of Chicago in the mid-west "rust belt" of Gary, Indiana to Harvey, Il to East Chicago and Whiting.
   Bob Johnson - Wednesday, 10/29/08 23:21:09 EST

ptree, I can relate to your industrial furnace recollection. As a co-op student in high school in Harvey, IL at the Ingalls-Sheppard Division of Wyman Gordon Company, the scene out in the shop was indelibly etched in my mind. My job was in the lab washing test tubes and the like, but every once in a while, I had to go out on the factory floor. Watching the teams forging 12 foot crankshafts for Caterpillar and titanium rotor hubs for Pratt and Whitney was very impressive. All that is gone now, but it was quite an operation in its day. It so impressed me that I went on and got my MetE from Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, Rolla and had retired from a great career at Boeing in Seattle. I had no idea how life changing my brief time on the old-school factory floor would be. You described the scene very well, thanks, and yes - priceless.
   Bob Johnson - Wednesday, 10/29/08 23:37:47 EST

Big Forging.
The Bethlehem plant at Bethlehem hardly ever allowed visitors until the bicentennial year 1976. I was in New Jersey teaching at Peters Valley less than 80 miles from Bethlehem, and I herded my class into cars and we drove down to have a look-see. Our tour guide was a man who had been at Bethlehem over 30 years, working in nearly every department. When he found out we were wanting to be smiths, he spent more time with us answering questions than he did with most tour groups.

Our first view was of the "small" forging division where a team of three were forging a steel ring about 4' in diameter on a power hammer. Two were working the ring in conjunction with one hammerman. Next we went to the machine shop which was 2/3 of a mile long. A couple of guys were smoking watching a huge rotating bed which held the workpiece; their attention was on the cutting bit. We saw a shaft being turned; it was over a foot in diameter and about 60 feet long. We asked what was going on and we were told that lots of what they were doing was classified.
Next, we went into a heat treatment area, but didn't spend too much time there. Following that, we went to the BOP steel making furnace area. In a glass enclosure with safety glasses on, we were able to see railroad torpedo cars of molten iron being brought in directly from the outside blast furnaces by a "yard bird," a small engine. A crane loaded entire cars, one at a time into the furnace along with scrap. The lid came down and oxygen was released at high speed into the furnace...lots of churning.
We didn't see the teeming, but were told that the furnace could produce 200 tons of steel in an hour.

Next, we went into a large room that had a dirt floor. We were told that this was THE premier large forging plant in the U.S. There was a furnace on one wall that was similar to a three car garage, refractory lined. The also had railroad tracks laid, so that a yard bird could push a flat car with hydraulic tongs up to the huge furnace (I believe oil-fired). A man in a glass enclosure was working much of the operation by numerical control. As I recall, the door of the furnace opened like an overhead garage door, and revealed a billet about 10' thick and 25' in diameter. It was bright orange hot. The tongs clamped on it and it was backed up and then brought forward to a huge press. When fed into the press and the machine was brought to bear on the billet, the ground shook and thick pieces of scale began to fall. Stress cracks would appear on the edges, and a man came forward in a heat resistant suit with a very large, long cutting torch. It was his job to cut off the stress cracks as they formed.

I'm a little coal forge guy who was completely blown away by that trip. I'm still high on it. Sadly, as Bob Johnson said above, "All that is gone now...".
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 10/30/08 07:35:33 EST

Small correction to Bethlehem trip. The torpedo car's CONTENTS were put in the furnace, not the entire car.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 10/30/08 07:39:25 EST

Imagine the era shortly after Nasmyth invented the steam hammer. Shops were using huge coal furnaces to heat multi-ton billets and wooden jib cranes with hand crank works were still in use. A dozen men on the tongs along with the crane. Top tools held by teams as well. Steam exhausting from the hammers, the ground shaking. Forges smoking. . . tenders shoveling coal.

There is a great scene at the beginning of one of the science fiction movies (The Mole, or center of the Earth. .) that was filmed in a very old foundry where they still used the techniques prior to the use of bull ladles. Molds were stacked on top of one and other and the iron ran down a trough to the first mold and then when filled it ran across a channel to edge of the first mold and over into the next and then the next. In places the river of iron split to fill more than one mold and continued on again. . . All this had to be carefully orchestrated prior to taping the furnace. Once the flow started it was too late to make corrections. It was amazing to watch. It also requires less manpower than carrying a heavy ladle to each mold.

Stacking molds is still done in some foundries. Stacking molds reduces the need for mold weights to keep the mold from floating on the pressurized metal. Only the top mold needs a weight.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/30/08 07:55:13 EST

Patrick once got the MOB a tour of a steel casting company that had been around since the American Civil War; *large*, dirty and dangerous! They were using electric arc melters 3 phase with 16" dia carbon electrodes and as we were in the control room I was watching the meters with them running about 14 *kilo* amps per electrode and running to about double that at times. They did a lot of heavy RR steel work.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 10/30/08 10:24:01 EST

Our forge shop at Vogt was circa 1903. City block long and about 2/3 block wide, tin shed. Walls opened like a tobacco barn. There were a large number of 24' diameter coolie hat vents in that roof. Steam drop hammers from 1500# to 25,000#. About 25 or so plus a small upsetter and three "little Maxipresses (1600ton)
When the valve division moved away after sale the hammers were all gone, and the shop full of presses to 7000 ton. The presses went to someone as new to them, and the presses came from IH's shop here in Louisville. The technology sort of rippled down:) The forge is still there, still in that tin shed, still forging, called Millinum forge.
   ptree - Thursday, 10/30/08 17:05:15 EST

how much can I grind a anvil down before a get past the tool steel? I have a small 60lb tillitson. thanks
   dave - Thursday, 10/30/08 17:21:51 EST

Dave, I never heard of a "tillitson". How do you know it is a "plated" anvil?

Anvils with an obvious step around the edge or a "plate" are almost always junk cast iron or poor quality.

If its a plated anvil (tool steel on wrought body) the first 1/8" is the hardest. The next is reasonably hard, after that you are down to tough but not very hard steel. Plates vary from 5/8 to 1/2" on wrought anvils and 1" to 1/4" on patent cast and welded in the mold anvils.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/30/08 17:37:14 EST

Frank, are you talking about Lehigh Heavy Forge? That's in Bethlehem. My son lives in that town and I drive by LHF whenever we visit. It looks like it's still in operation. If they give tours, I may have to con my son into setting one up.
   - Marc - Thursday, 10/30/08 18:24:05 EST

Grinding anvil
thanks for the info The avil is aTilloston &co it says shelfield under the horn 107 on the back side with a 3/4 inch hardy hole I should said that the first time thank!s again Dave
   dave - Thursday, 10/30/08 18:24:08 EST

Frank, ptree and all you guys that have been through the "big shops". You have my absolute admiration.
Like I have mentioned here befor I grew up just a couple of blocks from the Neenah Foundry plant 2&3. The cadence of the drop hammers and general din of the place used to send me to sleep every nite. I still have a clear memory of that sound. That place must have been nothing compared to Bethleham in its hey-day.
   - merl - Thursday, 10/30/08 20:15:47 EST

Marc, No, I'm not absolutely positive about Lehigh Heavy Forge. It was 1976 and I know we had a Bethlehem tour guide. All the buildings of the complex were near to each other, and the Basic Oxygen furnace was not far from the blast furnaces. I thought the whole tour was Bethlehem, but I might be mistaken.

And Merl, I must distance myself from ptree, Novak and others who have been immersed in the industrial processes. I just had a day trip.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 10/30/08 20:54:07 EST

wanted to know if there is anything you need to do to a tree stump that will be used for an anvil stand
   tentwo - Thursday, 10/30/08 22:07:19 EST


I let them cure indoors for a year or so to stabilize, then mount the anvil. If they're of a species that is not naturally insect-resistant, I treat the cut ends with ZinTox to discourage our voracious local termites. If they're prone to splitting, I would band them with some flat strap a couple of inches in from both ends.

When mountin gan anvil to a stump, particularly if it is a smaller anvil, under 200# say, Don't use lag screws run into the end grain - they'll just pull out when youstart whaling away on the horn or heel of the anvil. Instead, use strapping over the anvil feet and down the sides of the stump where you can screw the lags into side grain.
   vicopper - Thursday, 10/30/08 22:49:11 EST

Anvil Stumps. . A lot depends on your location, the type of wood and how permanent the install. I like some portability.

It helps to hollow the bottom slightly so that it does not rock on high spots. This assumes a loose stand.

While I've had stumps check some generally they do not come apart and it does not hurt the stand. For keeping the anvil from walking off I prefer wood blocks between the feet. The anvil is then easy to move or remove but hled in place sufficiently to rock the anvil and stand then roll or walk to a new location.

Stumps used outdoors in a damp location will rot. So treating the bottom with penetrating oil or deck sealer may help. As VIc noted you may have insect problems as well. A general soaking with any wood treatment is a good idea.

Stumps used indoors are less likely to rot or be attacked by insects. Trimming the stump is most beneficial. A large round stump is had to work close to. Trimming the front and back to a slope to the floor with a chainsaw is a good idea. You want to leave just enough for the anvil to set on.

There are dozens of ways to make an anvil stand and most all work just about as well as the others. It is often just a matter of style and preference.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/30/08 23:12:52 EST

I wonder what statistics or war stories could tell about the dangers of working in one of these behemoth foundries or forging shops of America's heyday- how I wish I could have seen something like that. I saw pictures of a steel mill in China the size (and probably population) of a small city.
By the way- ag lime for flux, any thoughts?
   - vorpal - Friday, 10/31/08 01:46:21 EST

Dave: According to Anvils in America, page 72, Tillotson and Company was a British hardware company which sold at least blacksmithing and carpentry tools. Postman says he doesn't believe they manufactured their own anvils but had them made by an anvil manufacturer. Might be a Mousehole. Feel where horn meets base. MH left theirs in a point rather than round the bottom down at the base. Also MH was one of the very few manufacturers who put dots between the weight number. I suspect anvil dates 1820-1860.

In any event it would be a collector's anvil. Up to you on repairs but likely worth far more to a collector in as-is condition than perhaps to you as a user.

Any chance on getting some photographs for Postman's files? For a good logo shot lay anvil on side and dust with flour. Brush off excess. This often makes stampings stand out nicely. You can send phots to me for forwarding to Postman but please make them as attachments rather than in body text. I'm on dial up and text graphics, etc. take forever to open.

By the way, Richard Postman is getting closer to publishing More On Anvils. He had a partial draft at Quad-State but I didn't have a chance to take a peak at it. He said he is currently working on adding new information to the British section. He has also indicated when MOA is published he will essentially stop future research and may look for a place to donate all of his files.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 10/31/08 03:44:33 EST

Maybe 20 years ago Emmert Studebaker arranged for SOF&A members to take a tour of Dayton Foundry. While there a fork-type lift operator would grab a billet maybe 18" x 12' out of a furnace and maneuver it under a hammer while a second operator operated the hammer to forge it round to a certain size. Right impressive. As I recall, another crew was stamping out rough blank railroad train wheels.

In the lathe shop the forged billets were being worked on. We were told the ones they were doing then were to be used as rollers in a steel mill. I asked what happened if the forging crew went to far on some hits and was told they would try to salvage it for a smaller diameter roller.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 10/31/08 03:52:35 EST

I've been using coke forge for a couple of years now and am generally happy. Recently I fired up a rivet forge with hand blower I picked up using charcoal. I started a normal wood fire then added charcoal - as I would when starting a coke fire. I was amazed at the volume of fire-fleas that spewed out when I added some air. After some time it calmed down and I could apply air without such a huge spark-fest.
I like the charcoal since it stays lit, but doesn't require a fan when unattended. However, I don't like the massive initial volume of sparks.
I was wondering what the normal procedure is for lighting charcoal forges. Is it possible to get to forging temperature without spewing so many sparks? I understand this is a fundamental when using charcoal. I'm just wondering how to minimise it.
   andrew - Friday, 10/31/08 06:43:39 EST

Frank, probably was Bethlehem Steel, then. LHF is a couple miles, or so, from that once-great company. Bethlehem Steel is definitely out of business. A company bought it out and wants to put in a casino. I think they may keep one of the big buildings to turn it into a museum.

One interesting tidbit about Beth Steel. They built their main office building, 8 or 10 stories, in the shape of a cross. If you look down from above it looks like the Red Cross cross. That way they could have 8 corner offices for management instead of four. Always thinking of the little guy :-) That mindset, maybe even more than foreign competition, help sink them.
   - Marc - Friday, 10/31/08 08:22:04 EST

Andrew; Charcoal Sparks:

Was the charcoal you were using hardwood or softwood? There's a lot of variations even within those groupings, but some softwoods are infamous for their sparks while hardwoods tend to be better.

Charcoal works better in a side-blown forge; for a bottom blast it needs more "gentle" initial air flow and more tending than coal or coke. When I goose the squirrel cage blower, my forge can look like Mt. Vesuvius!

Colder and sunny on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 10/31/08 08:24:59 EST

Charcoal: Andrew, Much of those may been from your initial wood fire. However, charcoal DOES make fleas. . A friend of mine in Costa Rica where all they use is charcoal has a special long sleeved button up shirt he wears when forging. . it was almost transparent from the flea burns. Better the shirt than his skin he said. He also noted that some wood charcoal made a LOT more fleas than others. Most of the charcoal there was made from sawmill waste the majority of which is dense oily woods.

The problem is that unless you make your own charcoal and have access to a wide range of woods you will not know what wood sparks and fleas and which so not.

I think Thomas P. noted wood that was not a well coaled as others made more fleas. .

Everything has its pros and cons.
   - guru - Friday, 10/31/08 08:32:16 EST

I have been doing a lot of experimentng with coaling and forging with charcoal, and have come up with a fire tending system that minimizes fleas. Starting a fire, there is always a shower of fleas. Once the fire is established, however, I keep p;enty of charcoal close to the fire, and progressivley move it toward the center, just as I would with a coal fire. This finishes coaling the charcoal in much the same way that properly tending a coal fire cokes the coal as it approaches the fire. Excess browns and moisture are driven off before the charcoal actually ignites. For a bigger fire, build it slowly. Just as you would not dump a shovel of green coal on your nice clean coke fire, never dump cold charcoal on your nice clean wood coal fire. Properly tended, built slowly, the charcoal fire works amazingly well when called upon for a large heat or welding.
   Peter Hirst - Friday, 10/31/08 09:50:33 EST

Third Hand Forge Shop War Stories: A friend who has talked to a lot of folks in big forge shops and has several fairly heavy hammers of his own (500 and 750 pounds) says,
One of the most common injuries in forge shops is dislocated shoulders. This is the result of holding the work at and angle too high and sometimes too low on the hammer. Even a gentle tap with a big hammer and it will win over your shoulder sockets.

The other thing you do not want to do is be over top of the work or tongs. You always hold it to one side. One fellow (probably a newby) forgot this, was holding the work much too low and when the hammer struck he was thrown over top of the hammer and landed in a slack tub on the other side. . .

   - guru - Friday, 10/31/08 09:52:00 EST

Firsthand large closed die drop hammer safety experience. Hold the tongs wrong, the forgeing sticks in the upper die, and breaks you wrists when the upper die tups up. Same for elbows and anything else overtop the tongs. Chins are a bad thing to have overtop the tongs.
We also had the occasional guy hit by a broken bolt or spring from the cylinder to side fame atachment breaking. The large springs would shoot the bolt uo and down it came. These were from 2" to 4" diameter bolts. All our guys wore hard hats but a 4" bolt would still drop a guy.

Upsetters. The biggest risk in the axle shop I worked to the operators was not getting the porterbar into the backstop correctly. When the grip slide closed the porter bar would slap you in the chest. Generally only knock a guy down. On the 10" upsetter, there was a powered porterbar. You had to not only get the bar into the backstop, you had to angle the porterbar down at the rear to get the billet into the cone die on the tool slide. Miss that and the 2400 tons force would force the alignment, generally flinging the two operators about 10 to 12'. We always planned where the boxes of cooling 500#+ forgeing were to prevent the guys from landing in one. In 3 years I sent crews to the hosipital for this twice. One guy was flung on another occasion, but he got up, stated he was a Steelworker" and returned to work.

In my experience, the forge shop had the lowest rate of injury of all the compound. The boiler, ice machine and valve machine shops were all higher. Unsafe environment tends to keep you on your toes. The bad thing is the injuries were usually much more severe.
   ptree - Friday, 10/31/08 11:29:37 EST

Forge Welding Flux- Someone asked about using agricultural lime as flux. I have seen this done and it worked well. Ag lime runs about $5 for a 50lb bag. The man doing the welding, John Adolf, used a rose bud for all his welding heats. He demoed log tongs and several other items requiring forge welds using this method.

Big Forge Shops:

As was already noted, the old Bethleham forge is no longer operating under that name. It is now called Lehigh Heavey Forge. They are equipped with a 10,000 ton forging press. They have forged several parts for the presses we have at Scot Forge, as they were too large for us to make ourselves. At one time, that shop was capabable of forging single ingots weighing 750,000 lbs. I don't know if they still do work of that size. An ingot that big required three different heats of steel to be poured into the same mold. Big forgings like this are still made in both Europe and Asia. Smaller open die forgings, under 100,000 lbs are produced by a number of shop domestically, as are closed die forgings. Keep in mind that the romantic images of old, dirty shops are only romantic in hind sight. Those working conditions were uncompfortable, if not down right dangerous for the operators. The products made then can and are still made now, but there is more reliance on heavey equipment. At Scot Forge, great pride is taken in keeping the shops clean and well lit. It is still fun to watch, and there certainly is still some danger, but nothing like the way things were years ago. If you have a chance, go to the Scot Forge website and watch the online videos.

   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 10/31/08 11:40:54 EST

Vorpal, my high school class went on a field trip to the United States Steel works in Gary, Indiana in 1960, the tour guide pointed out a sand mold on the floor near the open hearth furnaces. He said that if someone got incincerated, and there looked like no end of opportunities to do so, they would cast a block of steel for the family. The block may have weighed 200 pounds and some familes would put it in the casket. Supposedly the victums carbon added to the mix and was in the block? Made a good story and I have no idea if true, but it did impress us and we stayed close to him and did not wander off very far.
   Bob Johnson - Friday, 10/31/08 11:42:20 EST

One more story: Wyman-Gordon (parent company of Ingals-Shepherd where I worked, and now owned by Precision Cast Parts of Portland, OR) used their 50,000 ton hydraulic press to forge the titanium landing gear beams for the Boeing 747 beginning in the mid-1060's. It was at the time the world's largest press; may still be?
   Bob Johnson - Friday, 10/31/08 11:48:52 EST

I have a old post vise that was given to me by my father but, some of the large screw tines are broken off. How do I repair it or where can I get a inexpensive replacement. I would greatly appreciate any help with this. If you need pictures just let me know. Thank you.
   Randy - Friday, 10/31/08 12:14:50 EST

Randy, There is no easy repair for broken screw threads. These devices were made largely by hand for some 200 years and are still made today with less hand made parts. Every size vise (the were sold in 5 pound increments) had different sized parts and different makers used different proportions. Parts are generally not available. Parts for other vices can be fitted but will not be right.

However, it is possible to weld up the screw then file oe remachine to shape. The big question is what broke the threads in the first place? If there is a problem in the nut then it is pretty far gone.
   - guru - Friday, 10/31/08 13:48:57 EST

Bob; just in time for the Norman Conquest of England?

Couldn't resist...

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/31/08 14:27:50 EST

Post Vise repair: in general you need to replace both the screw and the screwbox together due to the imposibility of finding the same threads in a replacement piece.

Some folks have used the leveling screw/screwbox from a set of scaffolding as replacements, but you will still have to work on it to fab it to fit/work in your vise.

As cheap as postvises are in the midwest USA I generally found it cheaper to buy one with a good screw/screwbox and shift it over to the vise that was damaged *if* I liked it better than the other one.
   Thomas P - Friday, 10/31/08 14:43:52 EST

post vise repair-repaired one few years ago by casting babbitt in place around the screw to reproduce the threads- coated the screw with a very thick coat of smut from a o/a torch- used the best portion of threads from the less used end of the screw- still used dailey with no problems
   - ptpiddler - Friday, 10/31/08 15:03:30 EST

thanks for the advice on charcoal. I assume the charcoal would be Red Gum since I'm in South Australia. However, I started the fire with some bits of some kind of pine-tree that didn't make it through the drought. I guess this is why the sparks calmed down over time.
I do like charcoal since it stays lit without wasting too much fuel. But my coke forge with the fan in a bunker 5m away is so quiet in comparison to the hand crank. It's hard to beat on a cold clear night under the stars.
   andrew - Friday, 10/31/08 16:37:05 EST

Other spark producing items: never "pour" a bag of charcoal onto the forge as all the powdered charcoal will get there too and cause forge fleas.

If your charcoal is damp it will produce more forge fleas until it has dried out---one reason that working it in from the sides can help.

And as previously mentioned charcoal that is incompletely charred can produce more forge fleas---often a problem with speciality cooking charcoals that *want* the flavour of the original wood to come through. (down here it's mesquite)

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/31/08 18:04:37 EST

FYI: I see ENCO advertizing Acme threaded rod and nuts at very reasonble prices. 1-1/4 X 5 tpi X 36" (enough for three vises)- $29.95 and the nut for $6.59. They also have 1-1/2 X 4 tpi.
   - grant - Friday, 10/31/08 18:42:15 EST

Bob Johnson, I used to work with a guy who worked at Cornning glass and he said the same thing. If someone should fall into the glass melting furnace there was no hope of recovering the body so they would give the family the equivelant wieght in glass (for the coffin I guess)
How would you like to be in the archeological dig that finds that coffin in a few thousand years?
   - merl - Friday, 10/31/08 23:11:52 EST

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