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 24 - 31, 2009 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Hot diggety this site is mighty useful!

I'm a woman and I recently developed in interest in metallurgy and smithing, I already have a few books on the subject, I'm surprised how much information is here, all things considered naturally.
   ZNZ - Saturday, 10/24/09 08:44:07 EDT

Zypher, Take your time poking around. We have book reviews, online eBooks, step-by-step (iForge) and many FAQs. Our NEWS, while it has nothing very current has coverage of many blacksmithing events and has bits on tools, making various items and what goes on in the blacksmithing world. We also have stories related to blacksmithing.

We are constantly making additions and updating content. Most recently we added galleries of anvils from the world and eBooks. We have more of rare hard-to-find books in progress that will be posted in the near future.

You can also take advantage of our other specialty sites, swageblocks.com, oldlocks.com and ABANA-Chapter.com. The first two include some how-to and the last is where to find blacksmithing groups.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/24/09 10:30:01 EDT

Sweet iron,
Is it possible that Sweet iron could be someone mishearing/missaying "swede iron"?
   JimG - Saturday, 10/24/09 10:38:20 EDT

Guru: thanks for the heads up, I've actually been poking around here for.. almost six hours or so now. Been reading through the FAQ's which have been helpful so far and have enlightened me to a few things in which I hadn't known before.

   ZNZ - Saturday, 10/24/09 10:44:09 EDT

Thanks on the "sweet iron", info. As an avid horseman, you'a thought I would have known that stuff already, although I'm pretty sure, Mario Andretti doesn't know the rubber content in his tires either. As alway's, the devil's in the details. Has anyone got the name of a equine supplier that can provide cricket's or roller's for the bit? Yes, I could make one, but it would take longer to do than the rest of the bit and Jud's budget comes into play there.
   Thumper - Saturday, 10/24/09 10:52:20 EDT

I recently purchased a 9" bandsaw with the intent to make my life easier when cutting sheet metal and small parts. I've dulled two blades in a row with cuts of less than 4" through 16 gage mild steel. I would like to blame this on cheep blades but since they were different brands I must consider the possibility that I am doing something wrong. The saw is made by Ryobi. The first blade was made by Rigid and the second is a Vermont American. What should I be looking at to figure out what needs to be done to get the blades to last long enough to actually do some work?

Thanks for any help.
   Bill - Saturday, 10/24/09 16:50:47 EDT


I'm a newbie when it comes to metal work or at least compared to the majority of folks on this site. However I don't believe that sweet iron is a mispronunciation of Swede iron. I believe it relates to horse bits. A certain kind of iron used to make bits in the 19th century and perhaps earlier was popular for it's long wear and general durability. I own such a bit and my horse loved the taste of the it. She would salivate and whenever the opportunity would arise she champed at it like a kid with candy. I know there are many reasons she might have done that but if a different bit was used this behavior was absent. I have seen bits coated with copper produce the same behavior in horses. I think it is from this reaction in the animals that we get the name sweet iron. I know wrought iron was used heavily in horse equipment until it became more cost effective to use mild steel. I suspect that sweet iron is just a different name for wrought iron. If you do learn the origin of the name I would be glad to know what it is.

   Bill - Saturday, 10/24/09 17:09:47 EDT

Does anyone know if BT taper is different to INT taper on a milling machine
   Chris E - Saturday, 10/24/09 18:17:39 EDT

I use BT30 tooling in a Int30 spindle. It fits perfectly but I need to use different length drawbars.
   Bob G - Saturday, 10/24/09 19:03:20 EDT


My appologies. I didn't see your post regarding sweet iron. I'm flattered that you have my original post listed first after your own. In the future I will be more careful in my reading before I throw in my two cents.

   Bill - Saturday, 10/24/09 19:10:02 EDT

Blade Problems: Bill you did not tell us enough about the saw. Is it a standard band saw or a twisted blade cut off saw? Is it a metalworking saw (very slow) or wood working (very fast). What are the teeth spacing on the blades? Blade width? Speed?

First, a wood working saw is much too fast for metalworking and will wreck blades in an instant by overheating the cutting edges then dulling them. For steel about 100 to 120 FPM (feet per minute) is right, a little faster with the good HSS edge blades. Wood working saws run up to 5,000 feet per minute with carbon steel blades.

Second, the number of teeth need to be two or three per the metal thickness. It is hard to get blades fine enough for the recommended 3 teeth on 16 gauge but 2 will do. If the metal fits between the teeth it tends to strip teeth off the blade. You CAN cut sheet metal with a coarser blade but you have to be very careful of your feed rate holding back on the work. The right blades for 16ga are the wavy set 24 TPI blades.

Third, if you are cutting curves you need a narrow blade with set to its teeth (not a wavy set). The twisted blade cut off saws only take ONE width blade because the back of the blade runs against a shoulder on the wheels and the teeth extend off the wheel or there is a chamfer on the wheel that clears the set of the teeth. Whatever width the saw takes (1/2", 3/4". . .) that is the only width you can use. For cutting curves a 3/8 or 1/4" blade is best but you cannot use them in a twisted blade saw.

I suspect you have one or more of the above problems.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/24/09 19:32:18 EDT

Royobi saw: I don't think they make a 9" metal cutting saw. It would be up to the owner to add proper reduction to the drive.
   - Dave Boyer - Saturday, 10/24/09 20:59:59 EDT

A 9" saw does sound like a small woodworking saw. I used to have a 10" three-wheel saw that had variable speed. It would cut sheet metal with the right pitch blade. Anything over 14ga was iffy, though, because a variable speed motor doesn't make much torque when you slow it down.

If your saw has a brush-type motor, you might be able to run it on a dimmer switch. Far from ideal, but perhaps you could get through your 16ga that way.
   Mike BR - Saturday, 10/24/09 21:19:07 EDT

Thank you Guru, Dave Boyer and Mike BR. I do have more than one of those problems the Guru mentioned and I will be returning the saw Monay because the sales guy was not completely forthcoming with information. Is there a company that makes bench top band saws that will cut steel? I have neither the space nor the budjet for the band saw I really want. Thank you yet again.
   Bill - Saturday, 10/24/09 22:08:52 EDT

Mr. Guru, This is the first time i have ever emailed anybody so please forgive any mistakes. I have been working in the blacksmith field for approx. 15 years or so. I have two power hammers, one at 150#, one at 50#. I was recently looking at a BLADE magazine, june 2009 issue, and on page 16 there is an article on Michael O`Machearley along with a picture of him using a small air power hammer in his shop. My question is; who makes this hammer and is there any specs on it? it is kind of a cute little hammer and I can see some possible uses for it. I would appreciate any info you could give me on it. Thank you. Sincerely, Neal
   neal pond - Saturday, 10/24/09 22:16:33 EDT

   LARRY - Saturday, 10/24/09 23:05:56 EDT

Neal, I don't have this magazine so I can't tell you what kind of hammer it is. There are currently three available hammer types, The Chinese self contained clones of the Chambersburg, the Kuhn and the Turkish knock offs and the Big BLU a fabricated hammer made in the U.S. Striker and AnYang are the principal Chinese self contained hammers. Kuhn is sold by Centaur forge in the U.S. and Big BLU directly. See our advertisers links.

Folks also build their own.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/24/09 23:27:59 EDT

Larry, "ALL CAPS" is considered yelling on the Internet. Please don't yell.

You have not given enough information about the anvil. There are hundreds of types and makers of anvils.

Is it cast or forged? Cast anvils commonly have raised lettering. IF the 10 is in raised letters it is probably a 100 pound anvil. Forged anvils generally have lettering stamped into them.

Most anvils made by reputable manufacturers have a name of brand marked on them or cast in. While some good anvils do not have makings the majority of modern junk anvils (Cast Iron Anvil Shape Objects - ASO's) do not.

We might be able to help you provided you supply more information. Meanwhile look at our anvil articles, particularly those on ASO's.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/24/09 23:44:26 EDT

Mr.Guru I'm not much on a computer, thanks for bearing with me. Will look at the anvil closer tomorrow, but I bought it at an estate sale, you can see the steel plate on top because one side has wear. I think its forged but the number 10 is raised. I'm pretty sure it's not a repo. but will be back in touch when I find out more.LARRY
   LARRY - Sunday, 10/25/09 00:59:55 EDT

Where can I find a company in nyc to produce my metal clay beads at a reasonable price.I am a jewelry designer. Thank you.Ahn.
   Ahn - Sunday, 10/25/09 09:13:48 EST

Where can I find a metalworking factory in nyc that can produce small pieices in large quantity at a fair price??
   Ahn - Sunday, 10/25/09 09:15:49 EST

Re: Slowing down brush type motors with a dimmer switch. Harbor Freight has been selling a 15amp for years, but have now come out with a 20amp model. They are listed under "Router speed controls".
   Carver Jake - Sunday, 10/25/09 10:05:27 EST

Thanks all for the freezing slack tub input, very helpfull! Thanks, Kelly
   - kelly - Sunday, 10/25/09 11:16:15 EST

The Ryobi 9" bandsaw is a woodworking saw, and runs at 3000 surface feet per minute.
The smallest metalworking bandsaw you can buy would be a Milwaukee portaband, with either a factory, or homemade stand to hold if in the vertical position.
Lots of small metalworking shops use these for a bench bandsaw- I was at the NWBA conference this weekend (400 attendees!) and there was at least one of these setup on a workbench in the workshop area. They have another one in the shop at the Metals Museum, in Memphis. With a bi-metal blade, they work as a cheap compromise vertical bandsaw- no table, but that doesnt stop any of the tens of metalworkers I know who use em this way every day.
   - Ries - Sunday, 10/25/09 15:16:16 EST

Portable (Handheld) Bandsaws): While these are popular amont blacksmiths they are a twisted blade machine designed for straight line cutting only. They also use a special extra thin blade due to the small wheels.

While some of the advertisements I have seen for these tools declare that they will cut curves they are NOT designed for such. They WILL cut a curve but no more than any saw blade designed for straight cuts. The amount of curve such a blade will cut is determined by the ratio of the curf width minus the thickness and the blade depth. A 1/2" band was blade will cut no more curve than a 1/2" hand hack saw blade.

So if your goal to use a bandsaw was to cut curves the portaband is very limited and doing such is very hard on the blade.

Cutting curves in 18 to 14ga plate is best done with a Beverly shear (throatless shear) or a precision torch (gas or plasma) and cleaning up with a belt grinder.

In a pinch a Sabre saw can be used for curves in sheet metal using the proper blades. However, they are noisy and short lived. But they are cheap to start with. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 10/25/09 16:12:24 EST

I'm setting up my forge inside and I have the hood hung and my stovepipe run. The hood hangs 15 inches above forge and I noticed smoke curling up around the sides of the hood. Do you think I need to put sides on the hood to close up airflow? I'm getting decent draft once the fire gets going.
   Jay - Sunday, 10/25/09 18:11:25 EST

Jay, to answer your question one needs more information. What is the diameter and length of the stack? What kind of cap is there? Hopw many bends?
   - John Odom - Sunday, 10/25/09 18:29:47 EST

I suspect the popularity of the Porta-Bands is due to the generally low quality of most of the 4x6 cutoff saws and the dual use of the porta-bands. Many smiths and contractors have the little saws because they ARE portable and can easily be taken to job. Clamped in a vise only when needed they do not take up much shop space.

The better of the 4x6 cutoff saws are "convertible" in that they have tables and flip up to be used in the vertical position. The deeper throat depth is better for cutting curves and the factory table is quite helpful. Mine came with a little 3x4" table that I increased to 4x5" by fitting it closer than the original.

As twisted blade saws these are limited to the curves they can cut. The smith I bought mine from was cutting shovel blanks with about a 3" radius. This chewed up the table, overloaded the (large) guide bearings and the repeated stalling wrecked the gear box. I found this out after rebuilding the saw and trying to use it for the same purpose. The small radius I wanted to cut was much too tight. But the saw is capable of 4" and larger radiuses, especially in wood. The tighter radiuses are hard on blades in steel.

Real Metalworking Bandsaws are expensive and there are no small one's that I know of other than the little cutoff saws which will not take narrow blades. The expense in a metalworking band saw is the gear reduction usually requiring a worm reduction box. For heavy work they also commonly have a power feed system or feed assist.

Some general purpose saws have been made in the past. My old 22" Delta came in a model with a gear box that could be shifted in and out for metal working and a two speed motor for additional range. It would be a handy saw. Mine is straight wood working and ran at 3,200 and 5,500 FPM. I had to replace the two speed motor so it now runs only at the high speed. This is fine for wood and some plastics but not for thick sections of low temperature melting plastics. It will tale blades from 1" down to 1/8". I keep 3/8" blade in it. The heavy set to these wood working blades lets it make turns in the depth of the blade.

Small woodworking saws can be converted to metal cutting but it is not a cheap conversion.

   - guru - Sunday, 10/25/09 19:01:38 EST

Mr. Guru,I'm back, the anvil I was asking about is 3 inches wide, 20 inches long from the tip of the horn to the back, the horn is 7 1/2 inches long, it's 9 inches high, the base is 8 1/2 X 8 1/2, the base is 2 3/4 thick and from the bottom to the top plate it is 9 inches tall. The squre hole at the top of the anvil is 7/8 x 7/8. it has the number 10 on the base plate in front and a number 41 at the back of the base plate, both high rise and I weighed the anvil and it weighed 110 pounds. Wish you could tell me more because that's all the info. I have.
Would like the name and when it was made if possible. Thanks,
   LARRY - Sunday, 10/25/09 20:34:45 EST

More Hood Questions:

What type of "hood". Overhead hoods are terribly inefficient and require a HUGE stack. How big is your stack? And a s John noted, how tall, how many bends, obstructions. . .

Most smiths are using "side draft" hoods which have a small inlet which is close to the fire. This produces a high velocity draft (suction) and takes a smaller stack (small being 10" dia min. 12" recommended and 14" dia. if you REALLY want a smoke free shop. Overhead hoods need larger (14" square and up).

How tight is your shop? A tight building will hinder the operation of the hood. You need several times the stack size for fresh air for it to work at peak efficiency.

How open is your shop? Drafts coming in a window and blowing past the forge will spread smoke.

Overhead hoods must move all the air at their opening both hot and cold. While the hot gases do move through the cold they mix and both need to go up the stack to reduce smokeyness.

Until an overhead hood is lowered to the point where the area of side opening is less than the bottom then lowering the hood does little good. If the forge is rectangular and the firepot centered at one end then a square hood is much better than a rectangular one and more efficient by the the amount of reduction in area 1/2 the are, twice the efficiency.

   - guru - Sunday, 10/25/09 21:18:52 EST

Anvil ID: Larry, In the U.S. there are a number of old brands it could be. They were some with cast iron with steel faces and some without steel faces. As I had noted the approximate weight was cast in 10 = 100, 12 = 120, 20 = 200 and so on. This indicates a cast (not forged) anvil. There are some cast steel anvils in this category but they generally all have the makers ID cast in.

Normally the existence of and thickness of a steel face can tell a lot in a steel faced anvil, especially about quality. This is generally detected by a faint joint line parallel to the face about 1/4 to 3/4" from the face. Most are 1/2" or more. Less is the sign of a very cheap anvil such as a "Star" brand. The joint or seam may be obvious or not. Often it is detected by a change in texture or rust (steel rusts different than cast iron). Sometimes by chipping. The face can also be tested by the rebound test and file harness test.

If there is a ledge sticking out all around the top of the anvil this is a faux face and generally the sign of a cheap unfaced anvil (a trick for the masses).

Cast anvils are generally cleaned up at the parting lines (mold seams). Good castings are hard to detect the clean up, bad castings have heavy wide clean up areas or raised flash and the worst have seams that can be seen down the middle of the horn and face.

As a generic shaped anvil you may never identify it. Even with photos it would still be a guess unless there is some hint of a logo or other distinct feature.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/25/09 21:46:27 EST

Smoke Stack/Chimney Draft:

Having puttered with several configurations, with varying degrees of success, I usually pre-heat the stack to "encourage" a good draft when starting up the coal forge. I take a couple of whole sheets of newspaper, roll them very loosely point-to-point, stuff them loosely up the chimney or stack, with lots of airspace around or to one side of them, and touch it off first, with the same match I use to light the main forge fire. The result is usually a satisfying roar, and a good draft quickly to get things off to a good start during the smokiest phase of the forge fire.

The primary downsides (assuming you don't overdo the amount of newspaper) is that you may get hot ashes out the top of the stack or chimney, depending upon the configuration, which might be bad in drought conditions; and also you may have to clean the bottom or any horizontal areas of unburned ashes from time to time. Once again, less is more; you want just enough fuel to get the air column moving in the right direction, and all the fuel pretty much consumed in the process.

I suspect some of the folks here have more sophisticated methods involving small gas jets and auto ignitions. ;-)

Sunny and beautiful on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Free outboard motor available, presently under two fathoms of saltwater. Details at the Hammer-In.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 10/26/09 07:05:23 EST

Everyone knows that sweet iron is the first process after the pig iron mix with dissolved sugar.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 10/26/09 07:50:32 EST

Aww crap, I messed that up.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 10/26/09 07:51:04 EST

Bruce, Is there a safety cable attached to the motor?
   Carver Jake - Monday, 10/26/09 09:43:14 EST

Atmosphere vs blower gas forge
I am not sure what type of propane forge to purchase. I've talked to many people, and read many forum debates about which propane forge will reach welding heat. Some people have mentioned the Mankel forge and some the chilie forge and others mention NC and Diamondback forges. One person had a Mankel but later disconnected the blower/fan but never explained why. It seems to me that a blower is not necessary to reach welding heat if the forge is at least a two burner forge. Everyone claims to be able to reach a welding heat. So, why the need for a blower? Does it speed up the time to reach a welding heat? Chilie forge claim that a blower is not necessary for their forges. I've read forums and someone usually claims that their forge works great be it Chilie, Mankel, NC, etc. Any comments on blower vs atmospheric propane forges would be helpful. I know this subject must have been discussed a million times already, but how about one more time. Thanks.
   David - Monday, 10/26/09 10:38:24 EST

Larry without seeing it the only guess I could make was that it might be a Vulcan. A cast iron bodied anvil with a relatively thing steel face and horn top. Considered a lower tier anvil.

As for age well They had about a 100 year span of manufacturing IIRC and so many more details would be needed---(I have a pickup, it's black, it's about 15' long, it has a Weird Load bumper sticker, can you tell me how old it is?)

   Thomas P - Monday, 10/26/09 13:57:25 EST

Either type will reach welding temp IF designed to!

In general a blown burner is much simpler to make and easier to control the internal atmosphere of the forge with. However it ties you to a power source.

In general you can keep increasing the gas and air on a blown forge to get to welding temps. Much harder to do so with an aspirated burner.

It's not the number of burners it's the size of the burner(s) to volume of the forge.

Actually the amount of insulation in the forge plays a big part. When I relined my blown propane forge I put in a double layer of insulation and had an issue with accidentally melting a piece in it afterwards.

I also used a blown propane forge at around 6000' in altitude that got my 2.5" sq stock by about 2' long to welding temp.

Dr Hrisoulas makes his living welding up billets in an aspirated forge also at a fairly nice altitude.

If welding is a necessity call the manufacturer up and get a guarantee that their forge will weld what you need or be returnable for a refund!
   Thomas P - Monday, 10/26/09 14:05:49 EST

Sweet Iron

I'm much more favorable inclined to the Swedish Iron side of things since so many 100+ year old blacksmithing books are full of references to it when high end things need to be forged.

one difference was that it was still charcoal smelted and so didn't have sulfur in it like coke smelted iron had traces of.

   Thomas P - Monday, 10/26/09 14:09:48 EST

Welding in Gas Forges: NC categorically does not (or did not) claim welding temperatures. However, many people DO weld with them.

1) Welding a billet where the mass is great and the surfaces are protected from oxidation by the stack OR other covering is much simpler than other welding tasks and the higher carbon steels used also weld a lower temperatures than mild steel.

Remember, higher carbon, lower melting/welding point.

2) Welding small mild steel parts is more difficult than other parts in general and much more difficult in a gas forge than a coal forge. Oxidation (scale) is a significant issue as well as reaching a high enough temperature in many gas forges.

In either case flux is very hard on the refractories used in gas forges. Welding with flux makes your gas forge lining a consumable item.

Blown forges generally run hotter than atmospheric forges. However, the best properly tuned atmospheric forges CAN match the blown forges.

As Thomas noted, its not the number of burners, its the burner BTU to forge volume ratio. Many HUGE walk-in furnaces run on ONE burner. The multi-burner thing is manufacturers building modular units that all use the same burner by using many small burners. However, on long forges multiple burner ports are used that can be fed from ONE or individual burners.

We recommend two or more layers of 1" kaowool in all but micro forges. Large forges can use 3" or 4" layers of blanket. When thick layers are needed 1" kaowool is used by cutting in strips, folding and "sewing" it together with inconell wire. 6" walls are commonly built this way. The reason is availability and lower cost of the more commonly available material. The folded and sewn walls are also much stronger than flat blanket.
   - guru - Monday, 10/26/09 14:55:36 EST

Carver Jake:

Had there been a safety cable, the story would have a different ending. :-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli)C - Monday, 10/26/09 17:33:11 EST

I like using two layers of 1" kaowool because I can generally change just the inner layer when it gets worn. One layer of 2" and I'd be doing a full reline every time.
   Mike BR - Monday, 10/26/09 20:10:30 EST

Forge Hoods:
If you're going to build a perminent forge then you might as well make a good working chimney that you will be happy with. I put a hood over my 2 X 3 foot rail road style forge that has a good wind brake on the back and that connects to the hood. The hood is a good size but, not too big as the Guru recomends. It does have a strong draft BUT, I used the exsisting 8" class A flue to go through the roof (no horizontal runs) and don't have half the capacity I need.
I ended up putting a 14" diameter turbine ventilator at the peak to get rid of the rest of the smoke and, it works well.
I do need a couple of square feet of open door or window for make up air but, I can live with that.
When I build in a perminent brick forge (don't we all need one?) I'll probably add two more turbine vents and skip the hood all together. Then I can use the 8" thimble for the pot-belly stove and actualy have some heat in the shop without fireing up the forge.
If I was going to put a chimney in I would go with the "Super Sucker" design that I have seen here. I have heard nothing but rave reviews for it.
   - merl - Monday, 10/26/09 21:07:41 EST

The things folks do not realize about much of the advise we give on this subject is that it is based on lots of failure. I've had some miserable hoods on forges and I've got friends that have tried hard to build the best possible hoods and failed miserably.

The other thing is that if you study the huge old hoods they either had gigantic vents as much as 1/3 the area of the hood opening OR they have fan suction OR they were quite smokey. If you look at the big old masonry hood European forges they had vents as much as half the inlet area.

The fact is that many blacksmith shops are just plain smokey. To prevent it requires good design and some expense. The best forge and fireplace systems have fresh air piped in directly from outdoors. Not only does the forge need a good flue but the shop needs general ventilation.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/27/09 00:12:36 EST

I'm doing an article on iron with glass inlay. It involves punching a hole in the iron and filling it with melted glass. Is anyone out there doing this technique?
   coondogger - Tuesday, 10/27/09 07:41:48 EST

Any thoughts on using the new Craftsman auto hammer for upsetting?

Also, am very interested to hear more about this glass inlay process.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 10/27/09 11:57:30 EST

Glass: Coondogger, There is glass and there is glass. The source makes a difference. I think old Coke and Pepsi bottles work. . . A number of smiths have done what you are talking about by heating the glass until plastic and then mashing it to fit. I worry about differential coefficients of expansion but it seems to work. . Its been done in a coal forge, gas forge and with a torch. I would be careful in a gas forge because they get much hotter than needed to liquify glass and that will wreck you forge.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/27/09 12:14:42 EST

Small Hand Held Pneumatic Hammers: These come in very small sizes designed for detail work in stone up to the big ones that take a real man to pick up. They can all be, and have been applied to metalworking. Its all a matter of scale. While a small hammer might cold set 3/16" rivets and hot set 3/8" rivets it might bounce off 1/2".

Upsetting dies for these things are a tapered hollow cylinder. As the upset forms on the end of the bar it fills the die. The taper allows it to bounce and keeps the work from sticking in the die. Normally the end of the hole is about the size of the bar to be upset. To prevent sticking the included angle is over 15° (20° would be good). Coating the inside with punch lube will also reduce heat transfer and sticking.

Tools to fit can also be made for special purpose such as eye punches and texturing. Some folks have racks of tools to fit.

The hammers a lot of smiths like are the ones that are used two handed but are small enough to hold single handed.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/27/09 12:26:16 EST

Thanks Guru. Do you know how to get hold any of anyone doing this on a fairly regular basis?
   coondogger - Tuesday, 10/27/09 14:27:47 EST

Glass. Check out dichroic glass, it melts at about 1200 degrees, comes in beautiful colors, and small beads. I haven't used mine yet, but plan to for the handles on setter openers, etc.
   Carver Jake - Tuesday, 10/27/09 14:42:38 EST

Letter openers.
   Carver Jake - Tuesday, 10/27/09 14:43:44 EST

I melted glass in my gas micro forge, just to see what would happen.

I subsequently had to re-line the forge afterwards.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 10/27/09 16:02:54 EST

Glass: The problem with glass in the forge is the same as in kilns in that when it gets on the floor or shelves it is sticky like glue. I sat a hot crucible in sand one time and the sand melted onto the crucible. Now when I use it the sand glass melts and glues the crucible to the furnace bottom or crucible block. I've ground the glass off and coated it with ITC but the glass still occasionally melts through.

Potters have the same problem with kiln furniture but it can result in wrecked work. Melted glass goo in your forge can result in pieces of refractory pulling out and work sticking to the floor.

Glass is known as a nearly universal solvent, more so than water. It will dissolve and hold half its weight in dissolved metals, doubling its density when the metal is lead. It soaks into and bonds with refractories.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/27/09 17:05:34 EST

Upsetter dies. I suspect that 7 degree on a side is adaquate. Good punch lube is far more important that the die angle. Get that die hot enough and even with the angle and the die lube and physics takes over and the end of the billet mushrooms into a now mushroomed die and it shall not come out. Seen it too many times at the upsetter shop.
Done it at home:)
A properly cooled punch, slitter, or female upsetter die with good lube is so much faster that you more than gain back the time to cool/lube.
   ptree - Tuesday, 10/27/09 17:08:16 EST

Just depends on the shape you want. No draft is required because the part is cooling and the tool is heating so they usually come loose easy. Conical shapes are used in upsetting for other reasons. Also the part needs to be the hottest at the small end of the cone. If it upsets farther up you'll never drive material into the smaller part.
   - grant - Tuesday, 10/27/09 20:03:46 EST

Angles: A locking angle in steel is 14.5° max. Anything less than that is a safe locking angle. In tapers this assumes smooth clean parts. Where scale and parting agent (lubricant) are involved 14° may not lock. But then shake out the scale cool the steel and physics says it can lock. It only takes 1/2 degree more to NOT be a locking angle (15° included angle).

Because an upsetting die has a bottom and the part cannot go any farther it should not become any tighter on the taper. But a cooled part might have enough head clearance to lock if the angle is 14.5° or less.

As Grant noted the part is cooling, the die heating and more clearance being created. So it may be academic.

But I hate tempting jammed parts in tapered holes. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/27/09 20:45:51 EST

I tried spraying ITC100 inside my forge using a fogger. Place the fogger inside the forge close to the end, start fogging, pulling the fodder toward you. I noticed a quick drying, even coat. Might want to do it a couple of times.
   Mike T. - Tuesday, 10/27/09 22:44:41 EST

fogger not fodder :) ha ha
   Mike T. - Tuesday, 10/27/09 22:46:17 EST

Mike, What kind of "fogger"?
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/27/09 23:04:45 EST

Odd to think 14 degrees is a locking angle in steel dies. perhaps the forge shop that made the millions of forgings for the valve shop for 98 years was wrong all those years using 7 degree a side on all forge dies including upsetters.
   ptree - Wednesday, 10/28/09 05:31:04 EST

7 deg. per side would be 14 deg. included...
   - merl - Wednesday, 10/28/09 09:12:38 EST

Measurement Mysteries: Well, its very near the maximum locking angle. But as Grant noted the two pieces are changing dimensions in opposite directions (getting looser) and as I noted, the end of the part should keep it from going into the taper farther. Another factor. . .

I'm not sure what high temperatures do to the locking angle. Its a friction factor but I have not seen published data for changes in friction at elevated temperatures. If it is like brakes maybe the ability of friction to do its job changes at high temperature even between static parts. Ever put on the brakes hard at high speed then need them hard again? In normal vehicles its like stepping on a banana peal.

Lots of rules change at elevated temperatures and there is a surprising lack of data in many cases. Take the coefficient of expansion. It is not a constant in many materials. In water it changes enough that there are 3 or 4 ranges with different factors. This effects the density of water at a given temperature which in turn effects the viscosity. The expansion is not a uniform mathematical curve that a mathematical function can reproduce. Years ago I wrote a computer program that needed this information so I created an algorithm based on the ranges with a blending factor at the range breaks. It was sort of like using a look up table to draw a graph then normalizing the curve by hand.

Gravity is another constant that is not so constant. . . It varies with both altitude and latitude. But it also varies enough according to the density of nearby planetary features that it is possible to navigate using gravity maps if you have sensitive enough instruments. . .

There are lots of things like this that you are taught in school only to find out later that things are not so perfect in the real world. But maybe that is so we do not revolt at what we are being taught. . .

Metric Rant: Stop here if you are a believer.

When I was taught the metric system back in the 1960's the conversion factor for length was 2.5400008 cm per inch. Not a very friendly number. We were then told to ignore the trailing 0.0000008. So what was the point? Either it was right or wrong. Today the accepted value for even the most precise work is 2.540. The reason for the trailing 0.0000008. was an error in the length of the standard U.S. yard. But we were never taught that the 2.54 was the theoretical value the meter was actually based on and the 0.0000008. was an unexplainable error at the time. . . This confusion was what made me and probably many others question the validity of the metric system.

AND yes, the meter is actually based on the inch, not the BS about some division of the Earth's diameter at sea level (whatever THAT is), which would also have to be further defined as being measured on a standard 20°C day at one of the two solstices (the distance to the sun changes the diameter of the Earth) OR half way between . . .

The truth is, it was easier to take that dreaded inch that was supposedly based on some ancient king's thumb, the antithesis of the metric system, and use a factor of 254 to come up with an equally arbitrary system. It was and is, just politics, not science. A whole new decimal system of measurements COULD have been created based on the inch (or foot) and avoided the confusion and resistance to change. But it was not.

   - guru - Wednesday, 10/28/09 09:35:44 EST

I was searching for my copy of Starrett's booklet "Tools and Rules" , but did not succeed. They are now using light waves as constant standards of measure rather than having a block labeled " ONE INCH " kept under a glass case. I have no problem working with metric. Working with millimeters means less numbers after the decimal place and finer measurements with fewer decimal places.
   - Tyler Murch - Wednesday, 10/28/09 11:11:05 EST

The wavelenght definition of the meter has been around for decades.
The US was made officially metric by Mr. T. Jefferson when he was President.
   ptree - Wednesday, 10/28/09 12:21:24 EST

I have recently been given some sledge hammer heads and want to rework them into blacksmithing hammers and fullers. Do you have any advice on heat treating them afterwards? Thanks
   Larry - Wednesday, 10/28/09 12:56:37 EST

The larger diameter end of a tapperd cylinder is going to get larger faster than the small end.
Even if you have a cone shapped ID and a cylinder shapped OD, the end with the thiner cross section is going to heat up faster and get proportionaly bigger than the thicker end.
The same thing will happen with a tapperd rod.
The rate of and, amount of thermal expantion for a given diameter includes the time, temp, diameter and a given constant. Sorry I can't quote the exact formula but, those notes are in my tool box at work and, I am not.
   - merl - Wednesday, 10/28/09 13:11:17 EST

Tapered cone small end shrinks first and faster. Less material, cools faster:)
   ptree - Wednesday, 10/28/09 13:35:24 EST

Hammer Heads: Larry, See our Junkyard Steel FAQ.

That said, many modern hammers are made of SAE 1050 steel and simply normalized (let air cool). The kind of tool you want to make may determine the hardness you want. The best blacksmith made tools have localized hardening and tempering. Face will be hard but around the eye should be soft. The struck end on tools should be softer than the face. Ideally they are hard enough not to mushroom but soft enough not to crack and spall. However, that is a level of perfection that is hard to achieve. So they are best soft and when they mushroom dress them.

If you are making anvil hardies and fullers they should be hardened then tempered to a hard temper (yellow) then the shanks tempered to a softer (blue) temper
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/28/09 13:36:47 EST

Lightwave Metric. . . But the whole thing was a form of scientific effeteism.

Sure, more new unvarying methods of defining the "standard" have been developed. When the diameter of the Earth was found to be wanting they looked other places. But the wavelength definition was derived from the standard meter (a metal bar) that was in turn derived from the inch divided by 254 and multiplied by 10,000. And the inch from a king's thumb or three wheat kernels. . .

Now. . . IF you started with a good constant such as an EVEN number of wavelengths of light in decimal units (10, 100, 1000 . . ) or even a binary or hexadecimal value. THEN you would be creating a scientific system of measurement. But using a forced number derived from a metal bar that was derived from another metal bar that was derived from a king's thumb. . . It will always be an arbitrary unit no better than any other.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/28/09 14:18:54 EST

The fogger or sprayer has a pump to pump up pressure, I pump it about 10 times. The nozzel ( adjustable ) is inside a bell that apparently helps spray to spread 360 degrees, which is good inside a round gas forge.
   Mike T. - Wednesday, 10/28/09 18:33:42 EST

Sort of like a garden sprayer with a different nozzle. . . ?

   - guru - Wednesday, 10/28/09 18:59:11 EST

"not the BS about some division of the Earth's diameter at sea level"

You have this confused with the nautical mile, which is supposed to be about 1 minute of angle on the Earths circumference or 1 minute of latitude, close enough for celestial navigation.
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 10/28/09 19:05:37 EST

They never told us where the meter came from, I always thought that companies that made rulers used master rulers that were probably made using more precise rulers :D. I guess I was not too far off when I found out that it was some lines scratched into a metal bar kept in france.

But hell I didn't care, as long as all other measures of distance were some power of 10. Too bad all conversion factors can't work out that way.
   Nabiul Haque - Wednesday, 10/28/09 20:08:36 EST

Yes, similar to a garden hose, the only markings on the sprayer is the word Solo, I don't even know where it was purchased, but works better than a regular spray bottle that has to be directed all around.
   Mike T. - Thursday, 10/29/09 00:06:45 EST

Nautical Miles and Meters: Both are based upon geographic measures, but are not really related historically.

Even the Nautical Mile has not consistent. As I remember, the old British NM was 6080 feet and the American NM was 6080.2 feet; which is different than the "International Nautical Mile" of 6076.11549 international feet.


Since I just use dividers and a chart (or sometimes two fingers instead of the dividers) the ".11549" doesn't make no-never-mind to me, but it’s a big deal to my friends at NASA! ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 10/29/09 07:15:39 EST

I have a Solo backpack sprayer. The one I have would never spray ITC 100. Tell us more about the one that will.
   - John Odom - Thursday, 10/29/09 14:57:00 EST

The Meter was originally defined based on the assumed "Distance from equator to the pole along the meridian of Paris." That was not well known or easy to get to, so they scratched lines on a platinum-iridum alloy bar and called that the standard meter. Other nations compared their standards to that bar and re-defined their standards.

The actual definitions of most of the fundamental units and their actual values have changed since I have been doing science. Except in the most unusual cases there has been no change po fractical significance.
   - John Odom - Thursday, 10/29/09 15:02:38 EST

Metric fooforall: . . .however. . . the ONLY possible way that you could get a EXACT 3 digit conversion factor to the last nth is to start with the inch. So the meter was based on the inch. They just could not get a plausible "scientific" standard to "fit". It was all BS and politics.

The error in the original U.S. conversion with the trailing . .008 was from a slight error in the length of one of the U.S. yard standards that predated the meter. But the official British 36" yard did correctly compare to the meter using the three digit 254 factor.

The inch has never been redefined or corrected to match the meter. You can find inch scales and standards that predate the meter that measure to within limits of common accuracy to exactly one inch. There are items from the 1300's that are very much the same.

The problem with the "English" system was feet (12's) ounces (16's), yards (3's and 36's), miles (5280 x 12) and the colorful British coinage and hundredweight system. Then there are furlongs, leagues and fathoms. Other systems were just as full of old traditional values that were also difficult to use.

To standardize any system merely meant throwing out the non standard (3's, 12's 16's) oddities. But the problem IS we will never ever EVER be totally metricized using base 10.

Why? Time for one. Angles for another. AND computers.

TIME: We still use and will probably always use base 12 for measuring time with the exception that seconds are broken down into decimal values. There were proposed 10 hour metric days but the politicians knew they would be flogged if they tried to change TIME.

ANGLES: The 100 degree right angle was given up for continued use of the old base twelve 360 degree system. Too many maps, charts, references and too many possible navigational errors. But then the metric system also supports the radian an irrational number as a whole unit. Computers use it, people do not.

Computers which most people think of as binary actually use base 16. Computer scientists tell us that we would have been much farther along mathematically if we had either four or eight fingers on each hand. Then we would commonly use octal or hexadecimal and their binary subset. As mathematical systems they work very similar to the decimal base ten IF you are used to using them.

Computers use base 16, radians and measure micro seconds based on a multiplier of their processor frequency which is never a great number for the purpose. So we are forever stuck with base 12, 16 and PI, none of which are "metric" base 10. So the 12" foot and 16" cubit might be a lot more mathematically palatable in the electrically enlightened age.

   - guru - Thursday, 10/29/09 16:50:05 EST

Read long time ago about a people that used base eight. They counted, not their fingers, but the space between their fingers. Also allowed them to place sticks between their fingers for analog addition and subtraction. The history of numbers and counting and all this stuff is SO interesting.

Of course ounces and other 8's and 16's come from binary. Divide something in half and in half again and again. Easy to do.
   - grant - Thursday, 10/29/09 17:48:55 EST

Having lived around the world it is strange to come across currencies that aren't based on 100 units. (Of course I grew up under the old pre decimal pound which was 20 shillings, each of which was 12 pence). In teh Middle East e.g. Kuwait 1,000 fils makes 1 Dinar. Of course in Iraq they had 25 dinar notes, not 20s. To make it worse the arab numeral for a 5 looks just like a 0. Then here in China 10 Jao makes 1 Yuan.

The ancients who devised base 12 were smart guys. You can divide it by 2,3,4 and 6 and get an integer as an answer. If you divide by 5 you get an answer which is only 1 decimal place! Try that with 10 and see what you get.

The disadvantage with base 12 is that you run out of fingers before you get to the end. I suppose that is why base 10 is so common.
   philip in china - Thursday, 10/29/09 18:40:25 EST

With all due respect Guru, your tirade against the metric system is a bit of a stretch:) The original basis for units of measurement is largely arbitrary and never particularly important - so long as it's possible to create a reproducible, accurate reference. They could have made 1 cm = 1 inch, but then you wouldn't be able to hold a metre in your arms... like I said, the basis is rarely rooted in nature and is always an invention of man and so inherently aribtrary.

The thing that maters is base 10 - which is also arbitrary, but very handy. Base 10 makes conversions intuitive, requireing minimal education to use. If you walk down the street of any metric based country, an overwhelming majority of people can tell you how many metres are in a kilometre etc. In contrast, if you walk down the street of the US you don't expect many people to know how many inches in a yard, yards in a mile etc. That's the biggest failing of the imperial system. The same is true, though to a lesser extent for units of mass.

Sure, time and angles are not base 10. That's a bummer to be sure, but hardly a sound reason to abandon the whole metric system. We don't abandon quantum mechanics just because it can't explain gravity...

As for computers using base 16, that is just wrong. Computers are binary. All numbers are stored in binary form representing base 2 values. Having said that, us bit herders (I learned that term here) find it more convenient to use hexidecimal or base 16 to represent binary values. Again, this is merely a convenience thing for humans and not inherent in the system. With practice, humans can easily read and do arithmatic in base 16. Also, early computers were 8-bit and an 8-bit value is conveniently represented by 2 hexidecimal (base 16) digits. Working with binary values is unweildy.

The fact is, it is only the US and to a lesser extent the UK (plus a few others) which refuse to adopt the metric system. This has everything to do with politics in that the US ethos is such that it would rather implode than accept the wisdom of foreign power(s). As a citizen of the rest of the world, I find it hard to care what system the US uses. What's more, as the US slowly bankrupts itself over the coming decades, it is largely an irrelevant argument since eventually the rest of the world will stop supporting the specific requirements of a basket-case market.
   andrew - Thursday, 10/29/09 19:59:02 EST

Natural math is algebraic. Fractions of wholes, divisions of groups, ratios. . . The selling point of the metric system is that it uses no fractions. This is anti-math and a bad way to teach a mathematical system. This is probably more of an educational flaw than a flaw of the system but it goes back to the rhetoric used to sell the system.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/29/09 22:43:27 EST

John Odom,
I will take a picture of it and try to get it to the guru. I know many sprayers probably use the same configuration. What I do is put the ITC100 in a fruit jar with water and shake it up real good, wait for the sediment to sink to the bottom, then carefully pour it in the sprayer, making sure no sediment gets in it. Then, once in the sprayer, I shake it up good again. Then start spraying.
   Mike T. - Friday, 10/30/09 04:04:30 EST

You say the united states will fail and go bankrupt. Lets say it does, it will probably declare bankruptcy and start over again. In the Old Testament there was a law that required all debts to be cancelled every 70 years ( this was called the year of the Jubilee ). That is really the only answer for the whole world, unless the world wants to go to war and in that case, the U.S. can end it pretty quick. The world as a whole and even american citizens don't realize the power and technology the U.S. possesses. Besides, if we became the worlds powerhouse without using the metric system, seems we should stick to what works for us.
   Mike T. - Friday, 10/30/09 04:29:10 EST

Roman Miles, Statute Miles, Furlongs and Politics:

As I recall, the Roman mile was approximately 5,000 feet long, equivalent to 1,000 (how’s that for metric?) double paces; paced off by an army specialist who’s Latin name eludes me.

When the English established the "statute mile" they made sure that their customary measure of the furlong could fit in it, so they stretched it to 5,280 feet, or eight furlongs.

And what’s a furlong? It's a furrow long, which was a far piece of distance since you want to plow as far as possible in a straight line until you turn your ganged ox team and long medieval plow around; so you go 220 yards, turn the oxen in the end lands, and head back 220 yards. After a day you had plowed about an acre (which is based upon the amount of land a man could plow in a day which came to about 220 yards X 22 yards or 43,560 square feet; in case you ever wondered). So, to please m’Lords of England (probably horseracing fans) the statute mile for land contains eight furlongs.

Blacksmithing Content:

Peter Ross gave a nice demonstration of "cut and try/fit and cut" blacksmithing work while he showed how he recreated colonial locks at the BGOP Spring Fling last year. Instead of everything being laid out and all dimensions and pieces precisely planned (a necessity for modern mass production) it's frequently easier and faster to fit and cut the individual components. In a lock, everything fits the key, so once you have the key, the wards and tumblers are made to fit rather than endless filing and fitting on the key for small deflections. I'm stating it badly, but very enlightening and useful.

As a recent application, instead of drilling holes in the boat cleat, and then carefully measuring the holes and drilling the gun'l; I clamp the boat cleat to the gun'l, eyeball the angle, and drill through the first hole, bolt the cleat down, and drill through the second hole. All eyeball work, little precision or measurements needed except the total thickness of cleat and gun'l for bolt, backing plate, washer and nut.

Political/Historical Comment:

I’ve always been fond of the pronouncement of Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai (or Chou En-lai when I was younger) when asked about whether the French Revolution was a “good thing or a bad thing.” His response was “It is too soon to say.”

Where the Metric system is useful, people will adopt and adapt it; and adapt to it. Where customary measures are useful and/or harmless, they will persist. There will be uses for each according to the custom and fashion of the society and civilization. A liquid ounce will still be a mouthful, a fathom is the line you stretched between you two arms (and if you need to be more precise, it’s about two meters when Big John measures it, and five feet when Little Alix is sounding). Also, any food product that advertises X-number of milligrams of fiber in each serving is putting you on; go eat an apple or some celery. It helps to be well versed in several systems of measurement; just as it's useful to know several languages, both ancient and modern. No one system is the magic formula for all things everywhere.

I seriously doubt that systems of measurements will be the downfall of the "Untied States" when we have so many other issues , both major and minor, to beat each other over the head with. Likely, after the dust settles, we will find a way to "muddle through" for yet a while longer, while we, and the rest of the world, adopt, adapt and discover new and old ways of getting things done.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 10/30/09 07:35:55 EST

ITC-100: Mike T, "the sediment" IS the majority of the ITC-100. This is NOT a recommend way to apply it, nor are the results What you are doing is applying the binder and the fines.
   - guru - Friday, 10/30/09 09:32:03 EST

Jock , I was thinking the same thing.

Hey, knock me if I posted this here before, but at what point would you consider your workshop a studio? For me, I would say that 75% of what comes out of my shop is decorational, sculptural, and simply creating things for self edification. The other 25% is commision based products less in the field of art and more for income. Also, does the size of the workspace dictate the title "studio"? Most times when people hear of an artists studio they envision a loft or an old warehouse, my shop/studio is in my basement, about 400 sq feet (only 50 of it usable in the sense that I can walk around) with a very low ceiling.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 10/30/09 09:52:34 EST

Mike T. Get real, our huge debt [and getting a lot bigger] is to the Chinese. Do you really think they will forgive it? As to the US ending a new war pretty quickly, our soldiers are now serving up to 4 tours in the Middle East, and the guys here on the Forum are always saying how we have shipped overseas our manufacturing capability. Good Luck.
   Carver Jake - Friday, 10/30/09 10:22:06 EST

Nippulini, a blacksmith works in his shop, an artist works in his studio. Artists make more money than blacksmiths.
   Carver Jake - Friday, 10/30/09 10:25:40 EST

I'm not so sure the argument, that the metric system discourages natural math is very valid. Pure math in it self should not involve units of any kind for the most part (angles would be the exception, but they are not a measure of any specific dimension either).

And when it comes to the practical application of math, where units are necessary, I don't see the necessity of using exact fractions for anything other than deriving formulae. The real world is imperfect after all, and pure mathematics produces 'perfect' models.
   Nabiul Haque - Friday, 10/30/09 10:51:03 EST

Studio vs. Shop: There is a big difference if you are dealing with zoning issues. A manufacturing "shop" can be a factory or manufacturer which cannot be located in many neighborhoods. An "artists studio" in most cases is grouped along with "professional offices" and allowed in most city residential neighborhoods. In some old cities a blacksmith shop (actually a farrier) was also allowed in residential neighborhoods as a convenience.

While many of us are proud to be blacksmiths and like to proclaim it in our shop or business name, we would as a group, probably be better off to call our shops a "metals studio" and ourselves "metal artists". This is especially true of those of us that work alone and start as hobbiests and convert our hobby to a business.

The configuration of the space and what it contains is irrelevant. Picasso had a forge and anvil, so did Alexander Calder (the mobile guy). Picasso also had a pottery and kilns. . . The sculptor Rodin (The Kiss, The Thinker) worked directly in huge marble blocks that weighed tons and produced vast quantities of chips and dust in his "studio" where models often posed along side the mess.

Zoning limitations are usually most concerned about parking and noise. Are you going to have customers coming and going? Is there off street parking for them? Are you going to be making noise that will disturb your neighbors? Now, while your grinder may make less noise than the neighbors skill saw and power hammer less noise than a leaf blower, one set of noises are considered "normal" and the other not. . .

Your forge may make less smoke than a barbecue and MUCH MUCH less pollutants than a smoldering pile of leaves but the forge is not a "normal" smell and the coal smoke a different color.

Classifying the things you do as part of the artistic process of working directly in metal can help to "normalize" the things your neighbors may not think or normal. OR at least give you a legal ground to stand on.

Yes, the term "studio" does conjure up specific images as does "work shop". But the two can be the same thing. It is ONLY a matter of labeling.

One, such as a painter, sculptor, or writer, who is able by virtue of imagination and talent or skill to create works of aesthetic value, especially in the fine arts.

1. An artist's workroom.
2. An establishment where an art is taught or studied:

Shop (workshop)
A shop where any manufacture or handiwork is carried on.

According to the above definitions if you call yourself a "craftsperson" then you work place may be a workshop. But doing the same work as an "artist" makes your place a studio.

In some cases you hear the term "artists workshop". It may be accurate but it may not fit zoning law.

The argument between what is art and what is craft is an ancient one that will never be decided to the satisfaction of those arguing the points. SO, if you call yourself an artist you are an artist. If you call yourself a craftsperson then that is what you are. But in general an artist is classified a "professional" while a craftsperson is a laborer or worker.
   - guru - Friday, 10/30/09 12:43:55 EST

B-b-but "Oakley Studio" doesn't near as, um, 'manly' as "Oakley Forge." (-sniff-)


That said, I get a lot more respect at the science fiction and gaming conventions in the Art Room than as a craftsman in the Huckster Room. My friend does some nice jewelry at her home mini-studio, but she still markets some of it through me under "Oakley Forge." It just has a better ring to it, eh?

It's amazing what's in a name, and how people perceive things when you just change or even tweak a part of the image.

Cloudy and chilly on the banks of the Potomac. Planning a torchlight voyage to some of our "haunts' in Solomons Island tomorrow night for Hallowe'en.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 10/30/09 13:28:44 EST

And what about the Atelier?

Personally when I tell my wife I'm going to be smithing I say I'm going to the shop or smithy.

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/30/09 13:38:20 EST

What's in a name?

In the phone directory if you want to be found for railing work you want to be under "Ironworks" if you want to be grouped with the local farriers then "Blacksmith".
   - guru - Friday, 10/30/09 14:44:05 EST

"Ending a new war"? what "new" war? The Afgan one that has been going on since 2001?
   - grant - Friday, 10/30/09 17:40:14 EST

Guru I swore I had saved one of your comments about a year ago or so but now I can't find it. You eloquently pointed out that the hubub over going metric to avoid fractions was really a non-issue because much actual math is fractional or ratio based. Watch Roy Underhill sometime. I wish I could find it your comment.
And of course, all of the shop folks here are quite familiar with decimal inches anyway so what's the point?
   - Tom H - Friday, 10/30/09 19:50:35 EST

The point is that people in general including many teachers act like fractions are an evil that must be done away with, then point to the wonderfulness of the metric system. This colors children's minds about fractions being difficult. Instead you can start teaching fractions very young and teach relatively advanced numeric handling such as addition and multiplication by fractions and finding least common denominators as early as the second grade. If these are learned early then algebra is easy and sticks for a lifetime.

Many things, such as foreign languages can be taught much easier when children are very young and stick for a life time. But these things need to start much earlier than we do currently. That is why the children of the well educated that help their children prior to school age do so much better than others.

As to the differences in systems we use long odd decimal values in both as soon as you start dealing with precision fits or odd divisions. It doesn't matter if a hole is 0.99985 in one system or 25.3962 in another its a lot of decimal places, nothing being round even numbers. Changing the 25.3962 to 2.53962 (cm) or .253962 (dm) or .0253962 meters is of little value in the shop. On the other hand the 0.99985" is always 0.99985" and never converted to feet, yards, miles. . . and there is almost never any confusion about where the decimal point goes.
   - guru - Friday, 10/30/09 23:07:37 EST

About ITC100, most instructions ( I have seen ) recommend using a spray bottle. I don't know how the grit can go thru a nozzel.
   Mike T. - Saturday, 10/31/09 00:09:53 EST

I am 28 years old. I got my first welder when I was 14. I have been working in the metal trades since 16.
I got my first forge last week. A hand blown, 3 foot front to back 4 feet side to side table. It has a cast iron firepot and had a cast iron? clinker breaker.
I fired it up this evening with some coke I got from my buddys dad he bought a number of years ago to burn in his woodstove but it burned the ash grates out of his stove.
Oddly enough I burned the clinker breaker out of my firpot [turyee]. I did allow the ash clinke material to pile up to the bottom of the turyee. Was that my problem?
Does the coke burn to hot? Is it not the right kind of coke? Any help would be great. Oh yeah I am in east central minnesota. Thank you very much
   Charliey Reynolds - Saturday, 10/31/09 01:55:58 EST

I went ahead and got a wet paper towel and rubbed all the grit on the inside of the forge. One day, I am going to try something I read...coat the satanite with crushed firebrick.
   Mike T. - Saturday, 10/31/09 02:52:47 EST

what is a sideblast forge ? How does it work ?
   Mike T. - Saturday, 10/31/09 03:13:39 EST

Mike, they are a typically British forge where the draft is blown, strange to say, from the side as opposed to from underneath. To see some examples look at www.anvils.co.uk but be warned!! Do not look at the prices unless you are sitting down.
   philip in china - Saturday, 10/31/09 04:10:19 EST

ITC Product Application: Mike, We have VERY clear instructions that we ship with every container of ITC. Spray IS recommended for large areas but requires a special heavy solids capable gun. For small areas we recommend brushing. The current recommended spray unit is what is used to apply ceiling texture. The "spray bottle" is recommended for wetting the surface with water prior to applying the ITC products. NOT for applying ITC products.

Having separated the binder from the fill I suspect the resulting coating will fail.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/31/09 09:03:21 EST

The Solid Fuel Forge Types:
Side Draft Pit Forge
Side Blown Pit Forge
Early forges were clay lined pits in the ground with a stone lined or ceramic tube tuyere (air tunnel). Bellows varied from a hide covered pit, to wine skins to fabricated bellows. They are still used today in India along with hand crank blowers.

Side Draft Shield Stone Forge
Side Blown Shield Stone Forge
Later forges in Northern Europe used a "shield Stone" to protect the bellows from heat and to create the focused air blast. These are often called a "Viking" forge. The stone is often soap stone which is easy to carve and heat resistant as well. These evolved from the pit forge where it was also common to have a shield stone above the air tunnel to protect the bellows and the operator. They were blown with paired bellows.

Side Draft Brick Forge
Side Blown Brick Forge

In a brick forge the blast just passes through a rectangular tunnel in the brick. These were blown with paired bellows, double chambered bellows and later hand crank and electric blowers. The exhaust is often "side draft" some distance above the fire.

Oriental Forge
The Oriental "trough" forge.
This is another kind of side blown masonry forge. A box bellows was traditionally used with these.

Side Draft Forge
Side Blast Water Cooled Iron Forge
These modern "portable" iron forges use a water cooled tuyere to prevent burnout of the nozzle that sticks out into the fire. These are preferred by British smiths and have not caught on in the Americas where we use a bottom blast forge (below). They have been used with bellows and blowers of various types.

Bottom blast ball grate Forge
The bottom blast forge
These are currently the preferred coal forge in the Americas. There are several type of "clinker breaker" but the "ball" type is the most simple and durable.

Bottom blast ball grate Forge Detail
Ball Grate Detail
The "ball" grate is actually triangular in cross section. If used in a round hole it is a sphere with flats but if used in a rectangular hole it is a triangle with flattened corners. These grates allow creating a diffuse or a focused fire as well as dumping ash and clinker.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/31/09 09:38:52 EST

Forge Burn Out Charliey, Yes, Coke does burn hotter than fresh coal and special coke forges have been made for using it. However, it is commonly used in coal forges.

In normal use the coal cokes down and the core of a hot coal fire is coke burning. Some smiths prepare coke in a large fire then save it for welding in order to have a "pre-coked" fire.

Coal burns at 3200°F. Steel melts and burns at about 2700°F. Cast Iron melts at 2150-2300°F. Modern iron forges rely on cooling from the opposite side from the fire. But if the fire is too big and the heat cannot be conducted away fast enough then a melt down occurs.

Coke actually burns no hotter but does create more BTU than coal which is gassing off volatiles while coking down, thus resulting in less BTU's.

Forge fire pots can be easily burned out by building too large a fire for the forge type. This often involves using an electric blower AND not attending the forge closely. But letting burning fuel pile up in the ash dump is a guaranteed meltdown.

However, a hand crank blower OR bellows can melt down a forge if the operator is not attentive to the task or is not trained to pay attention.

But other things can melt down a forge. I had a large forge with a Buffalo RR firepot and a hood that could be raised and lowered over the forge. Someone had left a large pile of coal in the forge and then lowered the hood. It had a large (14") tall (40 foot) stack. This resulted in a natural draft that created enough heat to melt down the entire fire pot.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/31/09 10:21:28 EST


I notice you labeled the top two forges you drew as "side draft." I'd like to think that's correct; I used the the term the same way in a newsletter article I wrote. But I've since been convinced that a forge with the tuyere on the side is "side blast," and one with the stack on the side is "side draft."

I wrote the article about a small side blast forge I build based on an English book. It has a circular bellows below the forge and uses an air cooled tuyere from a piece of relatively heavy steel.
   Mike BR - Saturday, 10/31/09 12:06:37 EST

My mistake. I'll correct. It should be "blast" or "blown" to be clear.

THEN there are side blown side draft forges. . . and down draft forges . . .
   - guru - Saturday, 10/31/09 12:44:28 EST

How can anyone adopt a system of mesurment with the idea that it will do away with the nesessity of teaching the use of fractions?
No matter what kind of purely arbitrary units of mesure we may have, there will always be the need to express something with the concept of a fraction.
If I tell my kid to "Go cut this board in half", I don't care what kind of units the board is described in, I expect to see it cut into two peices of equel size.
Understanding the concept and use of fractions is one of those things that can't be avoided.
As a machinist I use inches and metric mesurments all day.
Metric is not "easier" than inches to use except maybe for the quick determination of a metric tap drill size.
The various graduations on an inch calibrated ruler are easy to remember and use in their fraction and decimal forms.
As for metric eliminating the need for fractions that is not true in industry either. I see more and more fractional metric size drills in the tool crib at work.
   - merl - Saturday, 10/31/09 14:19:25 EST

Yes, and a significant part of the system is designed to eliminate decimals altogether. By using finer and finer units you attempt to use nothing but whole numbers. Millimeters are roughly equal to 32nd's and for a wide range of products can be used as whole numbers only. Then they jump by 10 to centimeters, orphan the decimenter and then whole meters.

You see this in many foreign currencies where their base unit is about the value of a penny or less. When less their smallest coin is that equivalent. In Costa Rica a 5 Colones coin is about 1 cent. So they no longer have a 1 Colones coin. They have 5,10,20,25,50, 100 and 500. Then 1 Mill bills (equal to about $2). I think the C25 coin is being faded out. The point is there are no decimals in their (and many other) monetary systems, just commas. . .

If you measure everyday products in mm and ml there is no reason for decimals, just whole numbers. It is not unusual to see construction plans in mm. Since you VERY rarely use any measurement in construction smaller than a millimeter the entire plan down to details uses the same units from the length to molding detail dimensions. However, area in millimeters is unwieldy so they jump to square meters. The same square meter unit is used for selling the house AND the land the building sits on. Hectares are rarely if ever used. You are more likely to hear old very non-standardized traditional units such as Manzanas used before hectares.

SO you have a system that not only does away with fractions as much as possible but decimals as well.

But somehow those 2.5, 2.25, 1.5 and .75 mm hex wrenches slipped in there. . . Along with your fractional metric drills that are probably trying to match number and letter sizes.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/31/09 16:53:10 EST

I suspect that most low base value currencies have more to do with inflation than with decimal avoidance. But I guess they *could* revalue their currency, as many nations have; maybe one reason they don't is to avoid the need for decimals.
   Mike BR - Saturday, 10/31/09 18:56:25 EST

The US ha discussed doing away with pennies because of their cost of manufacture. The only choice is to do away with them OR make them of aluminum like some very cheap coins are. I suspect given a choice of a tinny Al penny the US public would prefer doing away with them.

In most of the world's economies the minimum value currency is about 1 US cent. Until the penny is worth much less they may continue to be made at a loss to the mint.

Note that the SCRAP value of the new zinc pennies is still less than 1 cent. It is the material plus manufacturing cost that makes them cost the mint more than face value.

AH! The solution to the penny crisis! Let the Chinese make them!

In places that round to the nearest 5's unit it it rather interesting at the cash register. Gas pumps still calculate to minuscule fractions and cash registers still calculate odd fractional taxes as well as per weight unit prices based on uneven weight. SO, the cash register says 20352. You pay 20350. OR it says 20358 and you pay 20360. Everyone learns to round to the nearest 5. But I thought it was odd that the cash registers could not. . .

That is the joy of traveling to different countries. You need to be on your mathematical toes. If you cannot do currency conversions in your head you may find yourself buying things at much too high a price or getting taken advantage of. They do not need to be perfect, but they need to be close enough that you know if you are paying $1 or $10.

   - guru - Saturday, 10/31/09 20:45:52 EST

Hi! Haven't visited your web site in awhile.I am hoping to get a chance to do a little blacksmithing this week for the first time in 2 years. Life has been extremely busy and I no longer have the space I used to work in so I am now relegated to the out of doors. I am hoping the weather will be ok on Tuesday so I can do a little hammering. I have to walk by my anvil every day on my way to my stupid 8 to 4 job which does pay the bills but it kills me every morning to know that it will be sitting there idle once again. Any way, I'll take what I can get for now and am hoping that life will slow down a little in the next few years so it becomes more of a regular thing again. ~Wendy~
   - Wendy - Saturday, 10/31/09 22:47:00 EST

Hey Wendy! Long time no hear. We have some new features. Several eBooks (more coming), galleries of anvils, book reviews and many more new FAQs.
   - guru - Sunday, 11/01/09 00:20:31 EST

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