WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den

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 November 16 - 21, 2000 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Injector Torch: Barney, It depends somewhat on the size and brand of torch AND the work being done. However, injector torches run high pressure oxygen and low pressure fuel. I would guess 2 psi min looking at this chart and from what the text said since 5 psi is normal.

1/16 56 8-20 5
1/8 53 11-25 5
1/4 48 12-23 5
Modern Welding, Althouse, Turnquist, Bowditch, 1970

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 00:22:54 GMT

Shanaun: First, Things move VERY quickly here. Your question was answered almost as soon as it was posted. Scroll UP, Find your original question and look below it a post or two. I ALSO answered your question by e-mail.

We offer our valuable help to you freely but we will not repeat it over and over again. Slow down, and pay attention.

If you read our Getting Started article it refers to several books. You need to obtain them and STUDY them to start.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 00:37:39 GMT


Need help locating source for mailorder low carbon,1/4 inch square stock for blacksmithing. Looks like it is no longer available in my area in Ohio. I do know it can be mail ordered, just don't know where. Please help if possible
Jerry L Hail  <jerryhail at aol.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 01:56:02 GMT

1/4" Square: Jerry, 1/4" Hot roll is not available anywhere except in special rollings (LARGE quantitys). 1/4" cold drawn (CF Bar) should be available. If mail order is your last choice try McMaster-Carr (see our links page).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 02:09:55 GMT

Another alternative to the hair dryer is a blower
for an air matress. Get a pedal from an old sewing machine
and wire it in a parell(in-line) circiut to control the
air flow.
I have tried this it works great!
Charles D. Wodenson  <dosenhof at hotmail.com/> - Thursday, 11/16/00 02:54:06 GMT

i would like to inquire about forge welding high speed steel (say, M-2) to mild steel. i weld regular high carbon and tool steel to mild steel as a matter of routine, but high speed to low carbon steel welds have so far been unpredictable. i know that this is a weld that is carried out easily using controlled-atmosphere furnaces and rollers, but i would like to make this weld using a coke or a gas forge. please help!
thanks a lot,
arnon  <endmia2hotmail.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 03:39:18 GMT

M-2 to Mild Steel: Aron, I am not an expert in this area. Perhaps Grandpa will chime in on this one.

This is an area where lots of flux early is important. The welding temperature of the HSS is lower than the mild so it is necessary not to over heat the HSS. Keep it well down in the orange range (2100 - 2200°F). Bring the mild steel up to ITs welding temperature (2550°F +/-), then bring the two pieces together. Tricky buisness. .

One of the methods Grandpa demonstrated in Flagstaff was the low temperature welding of dissimilar steels. Apparently its a technique used by laminated steel makers. The pieces to weld are closed up in a piece of stainless steel tubing that is pinched shut and and a handle welded to it. A little bit of kerosene is but into the tube through a vent hole. The kerosene burns off using up the sir in the tube and leaveing a little CO2 or oil vapor. The welding was carried out in a press. A gas forge was being used but I don't see where a coal forge shouldn't work. Keeping the steel clean and un-oxidized is the trick. Welds were being made at very low temperatures. . 1400-1500 degrees F I THINK. .

Its amazing what can be done with some imagination. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 05:11:22 GMT

Guru, Is there a reference book that explains procedures for layout of stair rails? Many measurements are required and unless you work with someone who has done this type of work, many mistakes are likely. Spiral stairs, or sweeping curved rails are something I would like to study before attempting . Any suggestions? Thanks in advance. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 07:01:37 GMT

Arnon: Add to what Guru said 1. heat slowly, 2. flux early, 3. be gentle at first. Coax them together rather than force them together.
grandpa  <darylmeier at aol.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 13:54:09 GMT

Regarding the 10" stovepipe. Around this area of Missouri their are many upright "silos", which are no longer in service. To fill these , it was necessary to elevate the silage with a blower, which used a 10" pipe. I use this method for chimneys on outbuildings. The pipes come in 10ft sections. I would bet you could find a farmer who would be glad to get rid of some of his junk.
Bill Hickman  <hickmanab at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 14:00:32 GMT

FOR PROFIT: First, thanks so much for the advice you've given over the past several days - only God knows how much trouble and time you've saved me. Now, for making a profit, and my confusion in looking at your site. At first look, it appears that your primary product is FREE ADVICE. Although you do a fabulous job at this, there's not much profit in it. I want to see you be and stay in business and hope this is taken as intended - friendly constructive critism. Now, I've got to get busy applying all the knowledge you've given me to building my forge, anvil stand and welding table. Have a good holiday season - I'll be back. 8-)
Jacque  <jacqueandpat at home.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 16:13:00 GMT

one more thing on 1/4" stock. It is often called key stock.
I am willing to bet that if you go to your local steelyard, they will have it. As guru said ask for cold rolled or key stock.
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Thursday, 11/16/00 16:14:42 GMT

Spiral Stairs: Tim, I'm still looking. Centaur or Norm Larson may have something but my book buying funds are limited these days. However, the reference I use is Architectural Graphic Standards, Ramsey, Sleeper, and the AIA, John Wiley & Sons.

On both, accurate measurments and layout are a must.

1) Floor to floor distances are never exactly what they should be or are stated to be. Carefully measure existing construction using a level line from the starting point to the ending point verticaly. Do not measure directly under the upper landing. The starting floor may not be level.

2) On planed or new construction find out as much about the finished construction and materials as possible then total up the floor to floor distance yourself. Do not trust other folks numbers. Ceiling heights are generaly fairly accurate due to the use of standard materials (but not always). However floor thicknesses can vary greatly depending on the quality and type of construction. Decking and final surface materials vary.

3) Consult the LOCAL building code and architects specs

4) Make a geometric layout comprising a simple triangle. If a landing is included do not show it on the geometric layout. It is just one of the steps in the beginning. This layout applies to both plain and spiral stairways.

  • 4)a Divide the height by the standard rise (approximately 8" (max). When the result is not even then round UP to the next whole number and divide the height. This is your rise (distance between steps). Subtract the rise from 17.5" (~440mm) and the result should be the run. Consult you building code to be sure the two together are acceptable.

  • 4)b Muliply the run by the number of steps (determined above). This is your baseline and will tell you where the last step ends. NOTE: This is NOT the end of the triangle but at distance minus one run.

  • 4)a Calculate the angular run (the Hypotenuse) A = square root the sum of the height squared and the length squared. Divide this by the number of steps.

  • 4)c Make your geometric layout using the above dimensions to an engineering scale (1/8" = 1" is equare to the archetectural scale 1-1/2" = foot). Maintain all numbers to 3 decimal places if working in inches and two if working in centimeters. If a landing breaks the stairs then make a second layout using one of the stair heights as the landing. If a landing is a part of the construction built by others then provide the finished height to them. The height tolerance snould be +/- 3/16" (5mm). Consult the building code, contractor and or architect at this point to be sure there are no problems.

  • - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 16:54:20 GMT

    Spiral Stairs II: Converting the above to a spiral stair has many variables.

    IF the stair is to be a wide sweeping design with an open center then the design triangle above with its rise and run should be applied approximately in the center line of the stairs. Then inner and outer layouts made and checked to see if they meet code considerations.

    If the stair is to be a tight affair with a central post then the geometric layout mostly provides the correct rise. The next step in making a spiral stair layout is to make the plan (top) view. Draw your circle (see Code and Architectural Graphic Standards for sizes) and divide it into 30° segments. Spiral stairs start with a 90° platform. This is what a commercial cast iron stair would look like. Residential stairs are generaly not as steep but the 30° treads are the same and have overlap. (16) 22.5° treads per circle is common. This results in the begining and end being close to heading the same direction. When laying out custom stairs it takes some trial and error to make everything fit. However it is good to keep in mind that the Code limits variations in rise and run to +/- 3/16" (5mm). Use your calclator and keep all those dimensions to the number of decimal places noted in part one.

    Once you have determined the angular spacing and the number of divisions of the circle (16, 12 or 13), then take the circumference of the circle (PI x Diameter) and divide it giving you the outside run. Make another geometric reference layout. Do the same for the inside diameter or column diameter. These two layouts will give you the necessary reference dimensions for the inside and outside of the treads and a place to layout railings. Use this layout to check the head clearance if the stair makes a full circle. These layouts are also necessary to determine picket placement according to current and local Codes.

    Once the general geometry is determined then make a large scale layout of the treads and how you are going to attach the pickets, brackets and such. Every tread will be a common unit and must fit into the whole. Continue to keep dimensions in the above precision until the final layout then round to the nearest common unit. For precision placement of treads above the baseline the numbers should all be calculated from the baseline THEN rounded. Do not reference one tread off the other. A 1/16" (~2mm) inch error on each tread will be a full 1" (~25mm) error at one end. When building the stairs use these basline dimensions to set the treads.

    Once you are satified with the design then build a mock up or sample of two or three treads with at least the stubs of pickets connecting each. Shop and field assembly problems should become apparent at this stage. You may have to redesign some elements at this point.

    Beyond this all I can say is, Good luck!
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 17:50:45 GMT


    I know that the standerd maximum rise is 8 ". (I've built a few set of stairs! grin) But for comfort, I'd suggest that you substitue 7.5" in your planning? If all of your calculations are done in decimals (as they should be), then it's no more difficult to use 7.5" than to use 8". And the run/rise ratio will work out better.
    Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 18:12:17 GMT

    Jacque, and others who agree:
    If you like the advice and want to help keep it coming, JOIN ANVILFIRE!
    AlanL  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Thursday, 11/16/00 18:36:09 GMT

    Stairs: Jim, if you use the above for standard construction (8 foot ceiling and ~11" thick floor) the rounding UP to the next whole number results in a 7-5/8 rise. However, you are right. When designing for other than floor to floor it is better to plan on 7-1/2" (19cm).

    The building codes are also MINIMUM construction (in most cases). When designing and building for quality work you should always strive to do better than those minimums.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 19:12:46 GMT

    Guru sir, I picked up a small junk torpedo heater today. would the blower suit a homade brake drum coal forge?Im also going to look at a big anvil today, guy wants $1.oo per pound. Might be a good deal, from amish area.
    scott  <scott_wojtasik at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 19:21:46 GMT


    >When designing and building for quality work you should always strive >to do better than those minimums.

    Yep. I always have, and it pays off in the long run.
    Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 19:56:01 GMT

    HELP! Anyone recognize this language?

    mi az ti pisah be kvo revesh a
    mi ne mi se pishat kliuki sega
    samo shte ti kaja he imam mnogo hubavi fibichki, kuoeni suvmestno ot
    klasa po iniciativa na stanislava

    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 20:05:46 GMT

    Go to the 21st Century page of this site. There is lots of info on anvils there to help you to make a decision.

    For the quick answer, if the anvil is in at least fair shape, it is hard to go wrong at that price.
    Wayne Parris  <benthar at pacbell.net> - Thursday, 11/16/00 20:17:37 GMT

    Jet heater blower: Scott, These are a high volume low presure blower. Too much volume, too low of presure.
    It will work, but you will need to gently funnel it down to about 2" or 3" (50 or 75mm).

    A lot of noise and work for the results. Do it but don't put too much effort into it and keep looking.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 20:20:19 GMT

    Looking for plans on making small size smelter for lead and aluminum , must be a cheap way to do it?
    Junkman  <threelee at nbnet.nb.ca> - Thursday, 11/16/00 23:16:57 GMT

    Guru, Thanks for the information. Explaining it seems to be as hard as doing the work! I'll have to study your posts for a while so it will sink in. TC
    Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Thursday, 11/16/00 23:58:57 GMT

    So I have this buffalo #200 blower. It leaks oil like a sieve from the output shaft.(between the output fan shaft and the cap) There is about a 1/4" gap between the two. I,m at wits end, even the local bearing and seal company couldn't help me. Did this space at one time have a felt seal in it? I have to keep a small bucket under the blower to catch all the oil, surely this can not be right! Also it would not explain the oil plug (overflow) about 1/8 of the way up the unit. I hope you can help-
    William H.  <continuum at ij.net> - Friday, 11/17/00 00:49:05 GMT

    Looking for plans on how to build a trip-hammer, lots of home built machines when I was a kid, did not pay attention.
    Can you point me in the right direction.
    gary behr  <garybehr at interlog.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 01:45:33 GMT

    JOIN ANVILFIRE: OK, I give up. I have looked everyplace (except for the right place, of course) for a place to join. Where/how to I join Anvilfire??
    Jacque  <jacqueandpat at home.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 03:41:17 GMT

    Cyber Smiths International: Jacque, Yeah, I need to get banners running. I'm also working on a NEW menu system. Look in the anvilfire "store".

    anvilfire store
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 03:59:25 GMT

    Junk Yard Hammers: Gary, This is the PLACE! Go to the:

    Power hammer Page

    Then click on Catalog of User Built & JYH Hammers
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 04:03:26 GMT

    Smelter: Junkman, See our plans page for a "Simple Gas Burner". This is what is used on most melters and gas larger gas forges. The good crucible furnaces have a removable lid on a small jib that lifts and rotates the lid out of the way. The body can be molded refractory or stacked fire brick. The most expensive part is a good graphite crucible and handling tongs.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 04:08:28 GMT

    Buffalo Blower: William, Yes the leak oil. No there is no seal. Its been too many years since I've seen one that I'm not really sure what goes on there. Many say pack it with grease. I suspect some packing goes under that brass cap. . .

    Most folks run them low on oil but not OUT of oil.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 04:20:29 GMT

    Spiral Stairs: I've had my adventures with stair railings, circular and otherwise, wood and iron, going back to when I helped my dad do an oak and cherry stairway in our little bungalow back in Dundalk in 1947. So I have these thoughts on the subject.

    There are a couple of wonderful sources to consult on building circular stair railings. One is Volume 5 of the Foxfire series, which contains great stuff on smithing in general, as well as iron making and gunsmithing of flintlocks. In that last section about guns is a run-down on how to make a rifling guide that saved my bacon 20 years ago when I had to make a railing for a circular stairway.

    The solution one old codger down in Georgia had devised was as simple as it was elegant. He drew a line on the floor that represented the barrel length. On that barrel line he marked the distance he wanted his rifling to travel in making a full diagonal traverse of the inside of the barrel, i.e. a full circle. From that point he marked another point, perpendicular to it, at a distance that was exactly the circumference of the barrel. He connected the end of the barrel line to that last point with a chalk line. Rolling a dowel of the same circumference as the inside of his barrel down across the chalk line, and carefully keeping the dowel parallel with the barrel line, he wound up with the chalk line marking the precise spiral he needed for his jig.

    In other words, the gun maker showed me how to open up the cylinder of my spiral staircase and get the pitch and length of the railing I had to forge.

    I did not make a full-scale model of the staircase, but working from architect's blueprints of the house, and laying out with an architect's scale the vertical distance from the bottom floor to the top gave me one leg of the triangle, and the sum of the horizontal distances from the bottom of the first riser to the top of the top riser gave me horizontal leg. Connecting the two gave me the hypotenuse the length of my railing minus the overhang required by the code and the decorative finial scrolls.

    I made a partial cylinder of 1/4 inch plate a couple of feet long with the same radius as the staircase would occupy and as high as three risers and treads. To it I welded L-shaped prongs that matched the points on the pitch the rail would have to hit to match the pitch of the stairs. This jig made it possible to heat the railing, = by 2-inch flat stock, and bend it in eight inch or so heats to the proper curve and rise while keeping the flat plane from twisting out of level. I forged the railing in sections of about six feet, and arc welded them together as I installed it.

    It would have been much easier to make the railing out of round stock, with no need to worry about keeping the flat plane level.

    Things to be careful about with railings are many. The Uniform Building Code may not apply in your area exactly as written in the book, so be sure to check. In fact, there may be no building code at all where the job is going to be installed - but you will definitely have liability just the same, so it makes sense to abide by it.

    The code is quite specific about the size of the handrail, how far out from the wall it is mounted, how far above the treads of the stairs it must be, and-- NOTE THIS CAREFULLY- how far it projects on a horizontal plane from the top and bottom risers.

    If the railing has balusters, make sure they and any other elements in your design -- are no farther apart than four inches. This is to keep kids from having a terrible accident, getting their heads stuck and perhaps breaking their necks or strangling.

    If you buy ready-made elements, like mounting brackets, balusters, decorative elements, cap rail or finials from a supplier, read the catalog carefully to make sure you know what you are ordering.

    Cap rail is steel, and can be welded and bent, both the easy and the hard ways, without a bender, with a jig like the one described above, and looks great when it's done and painted. But finials are often cast iron, and getting a solid union can be an adventure.

    Also, beware that some of the ready-made finials, especially flat volutes, may not pass inspection: that fancy inside curve can snag a finger or a ring and the inspector may demand you weld in a filler piece.

    Do not- (i.e.,NEVER) -- let anybody else mount your brackets if the railing is going on a wall, and let nobody else, ever, position your newel posts. They must be positioned exactly in the same spot relative to the treads they are above or the railing will wander off the proper pitch vis a vis the stairs.

    Be especially on the lookout for buried electric wires and plumbing pipes.

    If you use arc, make it 7018. Check every cast iron weld carefully for hairline cracks. Have a plan on paper approved and signed by your client, with liability for such surprises and the design in general clearly established. You've got quite enough on your hands with liability for the workmanship.

    Another fine source of information: Linden Publishing has a fine reprint of that magnificent century-old volume, entitled A Treatise on Stairbuilding and Handrailing, by William and Alexander Mowat, which is primarily about building with wooden joinery but which covers the design of stairs and railings with superb thoroughness. It was written for master woodworkers, but the information on stairbuilding is valuable to smiths as well.

    Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 07:49:24 GMT

    #200 Blower - Those old gear boxes were made to have just enough oil in them to be picked up by the lowest gear and then the oil is transferred to the rest of the gears during the rotation.

    Take a look at the rear end of any truck and you will see the same principle applied. Just the very bottom of the "pumpkin" has oil in it.

    If you remove your overflow and let the oil level drain down to it, your leak problems should end.

    Dale  <dale at savagecreekforge.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 13:58:21 GMT

    Hi, I have been interested in blacksmithing/metalworking for ages and when I move back to my home country (UK) I plan to build a small workshop and play around, as of yet I have zero experience and therefore millions of questions :)

    Is there an alternative metal (softer) that could be worked other than mild steel that is reasonably cheap and has similar properties, so that you can get some more shaping experience without having to have so much heat?

    Can any mild steel scrap be heat treated for hardness? is a piece of RSJ (I beam) ok? I thought that if you heat it too much you will lose some of the carbon content and therefore make it difficult to harden, and that also you could add carbon to the steel in the forge? Am I getting well ahead of myself here?

    I want to concentrate mainly on blade making so the hardening is rather important.

    Any help would be great.

    Thanking you in advance.

    Simon Edmondson
    Simon  <simon at cablenet.ne.jp> - Friday, 11/17/00 14:38:22 GMT

    Steel and other Metals: Simon, Only the "noble" metals, gold and silver, give a greater "ease of use". On the other hand they do not have the range of usefulness of iron and steel. The are soft but cannot be hardened to a useful degree. Iron and steel are cheep and plentiful. anealed steel can be relatively soft and pliable so that it can be worked cold but high carbon steel can be hardened to the point of being used to cut all other metals.

    There is no substitute for iron and there would be no high level of industrial technology without it.

    Hardenability is a property directly related to carbon content. Structural steels such a beam, channels and angle are low carbon steels similar to "mild steel" having 0.1 to 0.25 percent carbon. These steels harden and can be made brittle by doing so but the hardness is too low to be of much use. Medium carbon steels (.30 to .50% C )suitible for all kinds of hard usage can be hardened for wear resistance and known properties. High carbon steels (.60 to 1.1%C) are used for tools needing wear resistance or the ability to cut other steels. Most blade steels are in this range.

    Most heating does not effect carbon content. However, long heats at forging or near forging temperature can either add OR remove carbon from the surface of steel depending on whether the atmosphere in the furnace is oxidizing or carburizing. Overheating alloy steels can cause the constituants to seperate and reduce the steel to a crumbly worthless mass.

    Heat treating is a multi-step process. Some steps are required for some steels but not for others.

    Normalizing is recomended for some steels and not others. Normalizing is the heating of a part to a uniform temperature above the transformation range and allowing it to cool slowly. This is similar to annealing except that annealing (to make soft) requires a very slow cooling rate that often requires a temperature controled furnace (50°F/hour max is common for high carbon steels).

    Hardening is the process of heating to above the transformation range (aproximately where steel becomes non-magnetic), then quenching the steel. The quenchant varies according to the type of steel and can be brine, woater, oil or even room temperature air.

    After hardening all steels must be tempered. Tempering is the reheating to some point below the transformation range to reduce the hardness and brittleness of the as-hardened steel. Generaly brittleness reduces much more rapidly than hardness producing a usable item. Tempering also helps to reduce stress in the part and "double tempering" is sometimes reccommended. This is simply the reheating of the piece to the original tempering temperature to be sure the heating was uniform.

    THEN there is selective tempering. This is generaly a hand process where the part is tempered more in one place than the other. Common file are an example of production selective tempering. The tangs have been heated to the point of loosing most of their hardness so they will not break.

    The above is very general and very brief. Anyone wishing to make tools or blades needs to study the subject of heattreating in depth. It is the most technical part of blacksmithsmithing and often the most misunderstood. The more critical the strength of the item or the more sophisticated the alloy in use the more knowledge and care in heattreating is required. Although metalurgy is another subject the two are intertwined and therefore metalurgy must also be understood to some degree. If you are going to become involved in custom knifemaking using laminated steels then metalurgy becomes even more important.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 15:30:41 GMT

    Guru, Ok, im an idiot. the blower is way too large. the anvil wasnt for sale. They are like gold around here.

    On the above Q, Is it a normal process to split a piece of flat stock and imbed it with a strip of stainless steel? (for a sharper Knife) What type of results have you obtained?
    scott  <scott_wojtasik at hotmail.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 15:48:50 GMT

    Gold anvils: Scott, What Amish area are you in? In Pennsylvania anvils go for very reasonable prices. However the further West you go the rarer anvils become and the prices tend to increase. But good deals are still to be found. Keep looking. Tell EVERYONE you know that you are looking for an anvil and WHY. Does your Great Uncle John know you are intrested in blacksmithing? Tell everyone! You might find a relative with an anvil looking for a home.

    Imbeding steel edges - This was a common technique in the 18th Century when steel was almost as valuable as gold and unhardenable wrought iron was the common material of the day. The process is still practiced by those making reproduction tools but it is generaly an out dated technique. Stainless steel comes in many varieties. Most are not hardenable or useful for edge tools. It would be more useful to weld a high carbon steel edge to a stainless tool. . . :) However, forge welding stainless is very difficult and is best left to the experts.

    Makers of laminated steel (see MEIER STEEL often laminate various grades of stainless or alloy steels with high carbon steels to produce special pattern welded steels.

    Medieval (and modern medeival style) swords have pattern welded body slabs and finer laminated steel cutting edges. This and a similar Japanese technique using a soft iron core with a hard exterior steel are the highest art of forge welding blades. As a high art it is still practiced.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 16:45:24 GMT

    Jim Steele: leave it half submerged in water!! no pleeees D O N 'T that is a good way to ruin the stone. It will become oval in a hurry if you do that.
    And if you ever should experience a frost it may even split/chip.
    I had that happen to a stone left out over night (I forgot to bring it inside) 14"dia 3"wide, a nice crack right tru the middle, suddenly I had two wheels. Sadly the split was diagonal so it was useless (made it into sharpening stones instead).
    By the way to true up a stone I use 1.25" (30mm) 3/32” (~2mm thick wall) steel-pipe.
    To do that you need to have a FIRM rest (no further from the stones highest point than say 1/16” and max ½”on the lowest).
    Now you set the stone in motion.
    First hold the pipe so that it points right at the stones centre resting on the periphery and grind the end of the pipe concave (rotate it all the time). Now rest it at the angle that removes the most from the stone and rotate the pipe along the piperest so that it scrapes material from the stone. (ever so often you must redress the edge). A simple way to get it round (to about 1/32”). Just be careful if the stone is more than ½” off it is best to chisel of the highest points first, the pipe might catch and mar the stone S E V E R E L Y!!
    I broke a 1 by 2 by 1/2” chip from one when I tried to take a shortcut, the pipe wedged between the stone and the rest... I have made at least six or seven HUGE mistakes with these stones.
    Take my hard earned wisdom and avoid your own:-)

    Ps. I have made a lucky deal:-) a local hardwarestore had a bit of store clening. happened to be there when they where trowing some things away. among the things where: about 100 HSS blanks 3/16" 1/2" 16mm 10mm 6mm... both round and square. and lots of other usefull stuff, a bunch of Witworth taps and dies, some drills (odd sizes, mostly old ones for mentioned taps), several reamers..... got it all for little less than 10$ (100 Swedish crowns). sometimes even I get lucky:-) some HSS anyone? LOL.
    Sorry for the rant
    OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 19:53:52 GMT

    Truing stones: Hm m m m m, An idea. . . last summer we were doing some work and needed to trim a bit of hard concrete. One of the fellows had a wheel to fit a one of those little 4-1/2" angle grinders. It was sloted steel with carbide segments brazed on. Cut concrete and stone like butter. I removed a couple inches of concrete with it from a several square foot area by cutting a grid of slits and then chipping off the blocks.

    With a little imagination making a seriously out of round sandstone wheel could be possible in a short time. . . Those little masonary cutting wheels are not cheep but then even at less than minimum wage you could spend a lot truing that wheel the hard way. . . Maybe there is hope for my big 4" x 24" wheel. . . well. . 23" when its round. ;)

    OErjan, The bigger of those HSS "blanks" (cutter bits?) is worth what you paid for the lot! I used something like your method on my grinder. Then I switched to grinding the points off old rasps. That worked pretty good until I ran out of old rasps.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 21:00:45 GMT

    Check out the Home Foundrymen's Association and the links there.


    Lots of good information on melting metal (mostly aluminum) on the cheap.
    Greg Young  <cheech at med.unc.edu> - Friday, 11/17/00 21:11:26 GMT

    Guru, I live in the Middlefield, Ohio area. Pardon my lack of reading instructions. I am not a Blacksmith yet. My skill level is this:

    I can take any junk and make extremely good use of it.
    I can Eletrode weld, Tig weld, burn, braize, solder, cut and am an artist with a grinder in my hands.

    My latest contraption is a fire place grate made from 2x2x1/8" sq steel. It has a blower on it to circulate air through it. Not my idea, borrowed it from a $500.00 manufacturer. Mine cost less than $35.00 to make.

    I am also skilled in machines, electic, electronic, pumping plumbing etc.

    I hate working on cars, and i can't spell well.

    Im going to Rogers Ohio auction for the anvil. Ive seen a 300# one they didnt want to sell. Another amish guy told me to check back in 2 months, he has a 135# or so. He said it was real old when his grandfather had it. I rang it and it was sweet.
    I live near Pa, got any leads on anvils Let me know.
    I plan on joining anvilfire but not untill i have a forge and anvil.

    Ps. Do you know my great uncle john? Been looking for him. Jus kiddin.

    Scott  <Scott_wojtasik at hotmail.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 21:41:55 GMT

    The Qwest: Scott, I spent years on the "the Quest" for an anvil I could afford. Join your local ABANA-Chapter. Lots of smiths in Ohio and when they get together there will be someone there with anvils! Its not the cheapest way to get an anvil . . . WELL, it MIGHT be. After driving all over the state you will have spent a couple hundred on petrol. . .

    Sounds like you have a head start on being a smith. A surprising number of modern smiths have no mechanical skills at all. . oil a machine???? I made a living as a mechanic at one time. . hate working on cars now too. I liked it when a distributor had points and nothing on the engine except maybe the carburettor was made of aluminium.

    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/17/00 22:52:24 GMT

    My father, a retiring blacksmith, is looking to sell his tools of the trade. These include a lineshaft with trip hammer, bandsaw/planer/tablesaw, disk sharpener, pedestal grinder and pedestal drill - all functional. Where should I advertise this set and what is it worth (ballpark).
    Perry  <theandersens at home.com> - Saturday, 11/18/00 03:52:25 GMT

    Many thanks for answering my questions and the obvious time you spent in typing! It has given me a lot of direction about what to study first.

    Simon  <simon at cablenet.ne.jp> - Saturday, 11/18/00 10:54:13 GMT

    Re advertising: Well, you just did, although the proper place would probably be the Virtual Hammer-In. If I hadn´t been on the wrong side of the Atlantic I´d be interested in most of your stuff ( What did you call that affliction,Guru?) and I´m sure others are. Better check your mailbox soon.
    Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Saturday, 11/18/00 10:57:39 GMT

    I am interested in getting information on swordmaking, from basic forging. or a how-to-guide on this subject if possible. i'd appreciate a responce thanks
    Gera  <ailial at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 11/18/00 13:35:21 GMT

    Regards to Scott`s quest for an anvil.
    I live in Southwestern Missouri, and have had real good luck purchasing anvils at Farm sales. As I have stated in the past, I am trying to put together a blacksmith shop, Forge, blower, tools, post-vise, drill-press and anvil. So far the only thing I am missing is the Forge, which I will make in the spring. I have purchased anvils weighing from 75lbs (HayBuddin) to 200Lbs (PeterWright). My wife limits the price to no more than $1.00 per pound. She has bid on all the anvils (purchased 14) in the past 2 years. The anvils are out there, and worth the money, if you will keep watch on the farm sales. I have found that in this area, the people who bid on the anvils, really do not care of what brand or metallic material the anvils are made of. As long as they are pointed on one end and square on the other. Maybe they are using them as door-stops. I only purchased the steel ones, as a Farrier friend of mine kept me informed. I share this info, because unless someone has a "HayBuddin" they wish to part with, I am out of the anvil buying business. Keep lookin Scott
    Bill Hickman  <hickmanab at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 11/18/00 14:54:04 GMT

    Equip Values: Perry, Olle is correct. Besides, this forum is archived weekly, the Hammer-In is remains posted for months.

    First, location is important. We have people from all over the world looking for AND selling equipment. The post immediately following yours in from Japan and the fellow's home is in Great Britian. However, just a state or province away may be too far to move some equipment or certainly impacts the price to the customer.

    Value varies greatly with brand and condition. EVERYONE wants Little Giant power hammers even though almost every other brand is a better machine. However, there are some that are REAL odd-balls that have little resale value. Few people will put any value in the line shafting. Its worth about as much as the labor to remove it.

    The combination machine sounds like a ShopSmith. The old ones are very good machines but the newer ones and the knock-offs don't have the iron in them and have way too many plastic parts. . Again, the details are important.

    Small tools as a collection broken up may fetch more than the big pieces. Hardies, sets, tongs often sell for ~$15 US. However, selling tools one at a time may not be your intent.

    If you want a quote send me a list, include brand names (even some small tools have trade marks stamped on them), discription of the condition, size or weight.

    You will probably have to clean many pieces to find the name stamp. Anvils are particularly hard to se the name sometimes. Collectors like the Atha brand tools (Atha or an A in a horseshoe). Swage blocks almost never have any marks.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 11/18/00 15:02:11 GMT

    acquisititus - Olle, thats the word made up by Josh Greenwood to describe (our) ailment. :)

    Finding Anvils: Bill, You ARE a lucky dog. . A lot depends on the part of the counry. Here in Virginia I went to dozens of farm sales and never saw an anvil (in the first 2 years). The first anvil I bought (see story on 21st Century page) was in a small old country blacksmith shop.

    The second anvil I bought was brought to me by someone that saw my blacksmith setup in the side yard and thought it would be easy money. I just happened to have $50 on me and thats what I paid for a nice 128# M&H Armitage. Poor thing had moss growing on it. . .

    The third anvil I bought was at a foundry auction. Twas a real old foundry with machine and maint shop. The anvil was a 325# Kohlswa, paid $1/pound. The fourth anvil I bought was at another machine shop auction. Bought a 200# Hay-Budden farriers anvil for $1.50/pound and a 50# Little Giant for $450. A good day! Both these anvils were old and probably purchased by the previous owners at yet another machinery sale! These are still my two "shop" anvils.

    Later I bought a stump of an anvil with a missing horn for $5. Turns out it is a VERY old Colonial style anvil. Has a slight 5th foot and a 1/2" square hardy hole.

    I quit going to auctions for a long time. During 10 years I was given 2 very nice Peter Wrights. Then I went to another farm auction and bought another very old anvil that the face had been worn through. Paid about 30 ceets a pound because nobody wanted it. . . Its probably an 1830 Mousehole. I won't part with the two OLD anvils simply because they are so old and deserve a gentle retirment.

    Anyway. . . It just depends on the part of the country you are in. I think a few collectors or scrap dealers got to most of the anvils in my part of Virginia a long time before I started looking. . . However, in the tidewater there seems to be more than here. The advantage to dealing with the tailgaters at chapter meetings is they have done all that traveling and have a real "nose" for finding stuff. At one point I had nearly a dozen anvils but that was a 20 year collection. Two years per anvil. Four years per good usable (large) anvil. . .
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 11/18/00 15:43:01 GMT

    Swords: Gera, I've answered this question too many times. You may search our archives OR wait until I edit the FAQ covering the subject.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 11/18/00 15:46:48 GMT

    Hi- I just forged my first piece ever, an S7 center punch and want to heat treat it now. All the info I look up says that it should be air cooled (it is about 1/2" in diameter and 6" long) but I'm curious as to what the minimum cooling rate actually is. However, I can't seem to find the TTT curve for S7 anywhere. Any suggestions? Thanks!!
    Melissa  <mlcrew at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 11/18/00 17:57:40 GMT

    yes i think they might be what you call cutter bits (used in lathes and such), toolbits is another name ive heard for thm. I am aware that they cost something like 10$ a piece (the 16mm ones at least) that was why I thought I was lucky.
    btw the 12mm ones are 6" (150mm) long any idea why? most ive seen have been 3-4" (75-100mm).
    they had been on their shelves since the late 70's, they needed the space. I gladly relieved them of their "burden":-).
    These bits are good to have around. as are broken drillbits, taps, reamers.... not much gets trown from my shop. most things can be reused a few times.

    I mostly use them in my small lathe and as bits when milling whit a Flycutter, at least that is what I think you call the tool i think of, (found it on a search of the net, so now i am 75%sure)(http://phys4.harvard.edu/~cotreau/flycut.html) we call them slängfräs or ursvarvningsverktyg.. I made mine so that it can be adjusted for depth/diameter of the cut with a screw that puches the steel forward in a hole and not a open slot as in his tool, not much of a difference though. and on every tool I have stamped the travel the bit does for one turn on the screw (both wertical and horizontal travel) in milimeters, helps my sometimes confused brain to do the math.
    OErjan out
    OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Saturday, 11/18/00 18:42:11 GMT

    S-7: Melissa, S-7 is supposed to be a good tool steel for blacksmiths but it is just as picky a most about being heated gently and not being overheated.

    Do not normalize.
    Anneal at 1500-1550°F
    Cool at 25°F/hour max (good luck)

    Preheat Slowly to 1200-1300°F
    Harden at 1700 - 1750°F (15 min)
    Air or Oil quench (large sections)
    Temper at 400°F to 1150°F

    Hardness will vary from 58 to 39Rc. Drops off at about 1 points per 100°F up to 1000°F then drops at a higher rate.

    Air hardening steels are hardened in room temperature air. Most will harden in still air or with a little motion. There is no need to provide compressed air.

    ASM Metals Reference Book, 2nd Edition
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 11/18/00 19:29:51 GMT

    Correction: The two paragraphs above are mine. The data above them is from the ASM book referenced.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 11/18/00 19:34:43 GMT

    Sir: I have worked in copper and pewter before, and have something of a professional art background. You are a bit of a Last Resort. My problem: I inherited a large (about 18 x 24 inches), heavily-framed pewter bas-relief sculpture (ca. 1880s) which has taken on serious whiting oxidisation. I want it off; but do NOT want to do anything to ruin or mess it up beneath if at all possible. What would you recommend?
    Frank Pierce Young  <fpy1229 at aol.com> - Saturday, 11/18/00 21:32:27 GMT


    I'd suggest trying a dilute solution of vinegar and water first. Try it on an out-of-site area to be sure what the reaction will be. Neutalize with a baking soda and water solution, the rinse with clear water and dry with a soft cloth.
    Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 11/18/00 22:39:18 GMT

    Greetings: I am a novice -- two different weeks at John C Campbell blacksmithing plus one weekend at FABA statewide seminar. Want to set up a small work studio for sculpture work and need direction in educating myself about gas forges -- my space is small so I believe a portable one perhaps but don't know about one, two or three burner...number of doors...even what type of gas. Where can I go for information, catalogues or to see hands on? Thank you for your wisdom
    Debbra Docsa  <docsa at emi.net> - Sunday, 11/19/00 00:04:49 GMT

    Forges: Debbra, Wallace Metal Works has a complete NC-TOOL on line catalog. It is linked to two of our reviews. Contact your local ABANA Chapter. There are smiths all over and a great number have gas forges. Generally you want the largest forge you can afford unless you are sure you are going to be doing small work.

    The type of gas is almost always propane. However, in some areas butane is all that is available. Natural gas is cheaper but it is provided by public utilities, is generaly too low of pressure for forges designed for propane and you may (probably should) have to have a licensed plumber hook it up.

    If you are going to have gas equipment in your shop I highly recommend that you take a basic welding course at a local community college or trade school. You need to know the safety rules and how to handle cylinders and regulators. If you have propane in your shop you can also operate a oxy-propane torch and do virtually everything that is done with oxy-acetylene.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 11/19/00 03:15:19 GMT

    Good Guru:
    Please defend this position. Your humble ..er, servany would respectfully posit that oxy-acet is much more versatile and quicker.
    " If you have propane in your shop you can also operate a
    oxy-propane torch and do virtually everything that is done with oxy-acetylene. "
    PF - Sunday, 11/19/00 04:02:24 GMT

    Oxy-Prop vs. Oxy-Acet: Oxy-Acetylene (OA)is hotter than Oxy-Propane (OP) but only by a small amount. The OA flame is a higher velocity flame than OP which makes it better for cutting and for heavy welding but OP cuts well once you get used to the difference (almost ALL commercial cutting is done with propane). The lower velocity OP flame is better for heating with a rose bud and is also better for brazing and soldering. Most of us do heavy welding with an arc welder rather than gas because its much faster and more efficient so the welding advantage of OA is not really an advantage.

    Propane is also cheaper per BTU, PLUS you don't have to rent yet ANOTHER cylinder (if you already have propane for your forge). For large heating jobs propane tanks will delivery more heat for a given volume before the cylinder freezes up. A propane manifold can be plumbed up using standard gas piping methods whereas an acetylene piping system is complicated and expensive. In my last forge shop with a bulk tank I plumbed up a propane manifold and placed anchors for safety chains for the oxygen cylinder in the same locations. Cylinders on a cart take up a lot of space and this was very convienient.

    I've had to lease extra acetylene cylinders and manifold them together on several occasions for large heating jobs. It was a pain and very expensive duplicating regulators and riging up the system. A small bulk propane tank would have sufficed. The oxy-propane rose bud flame is a lot quieter and much less like holding on to a rocket engine.

    Both work, acetylene is more aggressive but it is also more expensive. I've worked in shops that either had one or the other. The biggest problem was getting used to the difference, not the difference itself.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 11/19/00 07:24:43 GMT


    Can the acetylene regulator be used for propane, then be switched back to acetylene?
    Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 11/20/00 01:09:27 GMT

    Hello all,
    I'm new to blacksmithing, I've been at it for a couple of months now. I hadn't realized there were so many people interested in this ! Anyway, my question is, I tried to weld together the ends of four rods, the rods are running parallel to each other. I managed to get the weld to take on one end of the rods, yet the other end never really worked. I attempted to re-weld the end but the metal never seem to come close to welding. I wanted to know if there is a point of no return for the weld ? At what point is the metal wasted ? And what would be the proper way to recover/continue if the first weld doesn't take.
    Thanks in advance,
    Greg  <gmr at myhouse.dyndns.com> - Monday, 11/20/00 02:05:05 GMT

    At a hammer in last spring There was a demonstrationon making handles that look like they are woven or braided it was a simple idea and really looked neat I can't remember the trick. Help Cy Swan
    cy swan   <cyswan at rosenet.net> - Monday, 11/20/00 02:55:16 GMT

    Bad Weld: Greg, if you burn the metal in the attempt it is very difficult if nor impossible to get a weld. Slow down, use plenty of flux and a gentle fire. A good HOT welding fire doesn't need a lot of air. Don't hit the joint too hard the first time. Hit it just hard enough to force the surfaces together and squeeze out the flux. The tendancy is to get too excited and hit the weld too hard. If the surface is liquid then the molten metal and flux may be blown out of the joint by too hard a blow.

    Note however that the surface doesn't need to be liquid to make a forge weld. Under the right circumstances a forge weld can be made at much lower than even the forging temperature.

    One useful tool for forge welding is a slender steel bar with a pointed bent end. This can be heated in the fire, dipped into flux and used to apply molten flux in the fire. It can also be used to touch the weld area. If the point, which being small heats quickly, sticks to the heated metal then it is hot enough to weld.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 11/20/00 03:48:21 GMT

    Pewter: The NPS/Historic American Building Survey book, Metals in America's Historic Buildings, suggests low pressure abrasive cleaning with walnut shells for old tinplate roofs, which were iron sheet covered with a mixture of 75-90% lead and 10-25% tin, which is probably softer than your normal pewter mixtures. For cleaning architectural lead it recommends removing any "crust" with Versene powder (tetrasodium salt of enediaminetetra-acetic acid), Versene acid and water to clean and stabilize. I haven't the slightest idea where to find Versese, but you might try a building supply or a restoration specialist. I'd cetainly give Paw Paw's solution a try first. White vinegar is much favored by an archeologist friend of mine.

    Swords: Almost finished re-editing my History of Swords article for Jock. Seems badly needed.

    Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

    Come row with us: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Monday, 11/20/00 03:56:32 GMT

    Regulators: Paw-Paw, et al, No, it is best not to use the same regulator. However, it is commonly done. But there ARE several problems. Some elastomers (o-rings, gaskets) suitable for acetylene are not suitable for propane. Check with the regulator manufacturer first. The second problem is that acetylene regulators normaly come with low pressure guages with a red zone warning not to use above 15 PSI. Propane may be run at a consideraly higher pressure.

    NOTE: It has been the experiance of some recently that it is difficult to get a straight answer on the propane compatibility issue. Some welding hoses are suitable for propane and others are not. The area of regulators may be just as fuzzy.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 11/20/00 04:04:28 GMT

    Twist Handle: Cy, check the iForge page. I believe Paw-Paw has a series of twists in one demo.

    There are a number including the "pineapple" twist that involve twisting, forging square and then untwisting. In the pinapple twist the bar is twisted, squared, incised on each face with a chisle then untwisted.

    You can also make a "closed basket" or "rope" twist by simply incising each face , chamfering the corners and twisting the bar. A basket twist is normaly made by welding four pieces together. However, a rope twist can be split for a short distance on two axies before twisting then the short middle opened to make a "knot". There are thousands of variations.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 11/20/00 04:31:40 GMT

    Paw Paw or Guru, I found a very heavy duty INDIANCHIEF five inch post vice at a swap meet for $10. Unfortunately, it is missing it's screw assembly, otherwise it is in good shape. Is anyone making replacements? Do you know of a source for used ones? Will I have to find an ACME threaded nut I can adapt and machine a screw? Or should I just keep looking? And what about the washer? Thanks!
    Chris Carter  <cbcarter at stripe.colorado.edu> - Monday, 11/20/00 06:29:56 GMT

    You might try to find a screw for your vise at a Woodcrafters store or someplace that sells big woodworking type tools.
    They sell vise kits that have fairly large screws, not quite as large as the original, but the could be modified to work. And being modern steel, even though they are smaller they may be strong enough for a post vise.

    Good job finding the vise, Good luck bringing it back to life.
    Moldy Jim
    Moldy  <Ask the Guru> - Monday, 11/20/00 06:57:12 GMT

    Thanks Moldy, I'll try Woodcrafters! Chris
    Chris  <cbcarter at stripe.colorado.edu> - Monday, 11/20/00 09:42:53 GMT

    Propane; Its my fuel of choice, both forge and oxy-propane for all of the above reasons plus becouse of the barbacue regulator change over in NJ people are dropping off their old tanks at my supplier for disposal. Sometimes full even.
    My guy is giving me the old tanks for free! I'm up to 10 I think. I don't know if this is happening in other states but its working for me, cheaper and very convenient too.
    Pete  <xxxx> - Monday, 11/20/00 14:03:32 GMT


    White vinegar is almost pure acetic acid.


    Have you seen anything about how to tell which hoses will work and which won't? How about the "normal" red/gree twin hose?

    Would dedicating one rgulator to acetylene and another to propane be the way to go, and could you just ignore the red zone?
    Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 11/20/00 14:39:40 GMT

    Having just recently configured an oxy-propane setup, I
    want to confirm that it definitely works (I was less than
    certain it would) and other than welding (which I haven't
    tried yet) it is ideal and works great for heating, bending,
    etc. Only problem was finding the equipment, and I even had a welding supply company tell me it wasn't going to work.

    I purchased equipment specific for propane. A propane regulator, and red/green T hose (approved for use with LP),
    and Harris tips specific for propane. Installed flashback
    arrestors too... anyway, I would be happy to email my on-line sources (took a long time finding them) to any that need them.

    No question this time Guru, but thanks for help with previous ones!
    Tod Amon  <amon at suu.edu> - Monday, 11/20/00 15:58:49 GMT

    I am wanting to know how to temper steel. I have some leaf springs off an old truck and I am trying to make knives out of them. but the steel keeps getting to hot and I am needing to retemper the steel. than you.
    Eric  <stncold623 at aol.com> - Monday, 11/20/00 17:59:48 GMT


    I would like to see the list of sources that you accumulated, and I'm sure others would as well. Why not post them here, if it's not too much trouble. Guru might even want to make them part of a permanent resource here at anvilfire.
    Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Monday, 11/20/00 18:20:04 GMT

    "Normal" red-green hose: Paw-Paw, It comes in different grades. The problem is that some welding suppliers are knowledgable about these matters and others are dumb as a rock. I think Cracked has the definitive answer on the hoses. I'll post it on the 21st Century page if I find it again. . .

    When I setup my gas forge I bought a propane regulator. I used it with my standard Victor torch using a P/NG rose bud and special oxy-propane cutting tips. Otherwise everything is standard Victor equipment.

    At the time I did not know that there many have been a problem with hoses. I didn't notice any problem except the hoses SEEMED to degrade faster than usual. But this MAY have been normal aging.

    The advantage for someone setting up a small shop or a hobby shop is that they can save the cost of leasing one cylinder which is NOT an insignificant cost. 1/4 to 1/3 of the total for an oxy-acetylene setup. AND the cost of the acetylene cylinder is a recurrent cost.

    Ted, Thanks for your comments. Yeah, the welding supplier that told you it wouldn't work probably didn't sell
    propane or propane equipment. A LOUSY way to give advice.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 11/20/00 18:46:16 GMT

    Tempering: Eric, Since I have answered this question over 100 times on these pages I'm going to refer you to the archives (search on the word temper or steel). On this weeks postings just go UP and look for:

    Steel and other Metals, S7

    One is the most basic of basics, the other specifics about a shock resistant air hardening tool steel.

    There is also a FAQ on the 21st Century page titled Knives01.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 11/20/00 18:59:10 GMT

    Dear guru,

    i've watched Your OA versus OP disput with interest. I'm using OP for heating and cutting jobs with success.
    I'm welding only with gas because in my opinion, the artistic value of a gas weld is higher than an electric weld (ungrinded).
    I asked my welding supplier if an oxypropan weld is possible or not. And he ansswered me that it's not, because of the oxydizing contents of propan gas.
    I tried it, with the result that the liquid metal cooked (foamed) up and the resulting weld wasn't able to take up any load.
    Now i'm welding with acetylene (successful).

    Did i somwhat wrong in this case?

    Thankyou very much Daniel
    Daniel Vogel  <dvz at eworld.ch> - Monday, 11/20/00 20:03:30 GMT

    how best to temper a small piece of steel(to make a small bench anvil for jewelry-making), the size is about 1"x3"x2"?
    fletcher wynn  <fletcherwynn at hotmail.com> - Monday, 11/20/00 20:52:55 GMT

    Welding with OP: Daniel, I've had both success and failures welding with OP. The tendancy is to adjust the flame too lean (oxidizing) so that it looks like an acetylene flame. It takes a larger tip to produce the same heat with OP. Using a large tip and a neutral flame welds with OP can be sucessful. It takes practice (and patience) to learn to use the large softer flame.

    The problem is that most of us learn to use OA for welding and try to use the same techniques.

    For gas welding in a comercial environment I would recommend OA because it is hotter and faster than OP. Especialy when there is a lot of "out of position" welding such as in decorative ironwork.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 11/20/00 21:27:06 GMT

    Hey, how do i temper my lug nuts?
    No not really.

    Real question:
    At an auction this weekend i saw an anvil with a data plate on it. It said " Dept. of Defense"Yata yata yata.
    I rang it and it sounded Like, well it didnt ring.THUD THUD etc.

    Was this thing worth anything? I didnt stay to see it go, no dough and was freezing my lug nuts off.
    Looked like a 200# one, WWII?

    scott  <scott_wojtasik at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 00:02:48 GMT

    Thud thud: Scott, The military was keen on "quiet" anvils. During WWI they would have purchased Fisher-Norris anvils. These were cast iron with a tool steel face that was welded on "in the mold" in a special patent process.

    If it was a Fisher it would have had an Eagle cast into the side. Thus they are often called "Fisher-Eagle" anvils.

    HOWEVER, Fisher anvils DO ring when in good condition. Just not very loud. However, if the "thud" is more of a hollow "clack" then the face may be loose. . . not good.

    Many folks LOVE Fisher anvils. Others hate them. I suspect some of the love is from the fact that they were the first American manufacture of anvils. I am not crazy about them but I've never had one. The rebound is about as good a the worst wrought iron tool steel faced anvil.

    Any OLD real anvil with U.S. Gov marked on it probably has some collector value. However, there have been many cast iron doorstops manufactured with all manner of markings. If you don't know anvils fairly well and it goes "thud thud" then you are best to avoid it.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 01:11:29 GMT

    looking forward to any info on the op vs oa discussion since my tank lease ran out this yr (20 yr ls) I have propane tanks for my forge and since I only use the torch for cuting and localized heat op sounds like the way for me to go. Thanks for all the info on this and many other subjects.
    kid  <xx> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 01:22:53 GMT

    Guru, I use propane/butane down here in Louisiana. I also
    use the same regulators and hose. Been doing it a long time
    and have had to trouble. This just my input on the matter.
    The only thing that I used is the butane tips for my Victor.
    Bobby  <nealb30 at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 03:16:38 GMT

    Welding with OP: Thanks for Your answer. I'll give it a second try, only for expirience, take one of my OP-tips (larger bore) and adjust a neutral flame. How?? The neutral ghost of the flame is not as well visible, as like at an OA one.
    I'll try to hold the flame at a peace of steel and turn the propane up, until a black residue appears on the surface, than a little back and weldweldweldweld...
    I'm tensed on the result.

    Best wishes
    Daniel Vogel  <dvz at eworld.ch> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 08:24:55 GMT


    I have been reading, books and web pages on blacksmithing for nearly three years. I have read everything from New Edge of the Anvil to the Hrisoulas trilogy. I have even read a few obscure texts hidden deap in the recesses of the public library. I have finally aquired a forge, anvil, coal, some hammers, a place to put them, and the time and initiative to begin.
    I have made to great fires, but had to start from the beginning each time; I can not figure out what breeze (coke) is. When I put out my fire, using the method Jack Andrews suggests, I have some very light charcoal like subtance leaft over that I originaly believed to be coke. I can not get it to light at all. I think it may burn when I place it in an already made fire.
    I don't want to waste coal, can you please help me identify coke. If it is what I originaly believed it to be, help me figure out why it will not light.

    Matthew  <VanHelsing at antisocial.com> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 15:31:08 GMT

    the coke will look a littel like a burnt to a crisp marshmallow....(smile)
    Coke made in the forge should light fairly easy. I use a couple wads a news paper in the fir pot put some coke on it and light it. Add a bit of airblast and it should start. If I have a hard time I also add a handfull of walnut shells(you can also use some wood or whatever) But usually the paper is all that is needed.
    Is the coke(breeze or what ever you want to call it) wet? if so it will be more difficult to start.....
    Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 15:47:12 GMT

    Coke and Breeze: Matthew, "Breeze" is specificaly finely ground coke or coal (it blows in a breeze or light wind). Coke is coal that has been cooked like charcoal and is similar to it in that it is light and porous. It sounds like you have identified coke.

    However, SOME coal ash and clinker is similar. Good smithing coal melts and coaleses into larger masses as it cokes down. Some grades of coal don't coke at all. How coal cokes down is more distinctive than any other obseveable feature. If you are not sure about the quality of your coal order a bag from Bruce Wallace. This will give you a standard to go by.

    A small hot fire does not produce much coke as it consumes it almost as fast as it generates it. More coke is generated at the perifery of a large slow fire (very little blast).
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 16:13:47 GMT

    Guru, I have a background in machining and welding. Have done hobby smithing with a propane forge for several years and would like to build a new forge that will use natural gas. Venturi style burners are easy to come by but I can't find info on jet orifice sizes or operating pressures for NG. Can you tell me where I can find info on the Net? Thanks, C.Sweat
    Colby D. Sweat  <cdsweat at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 16:32:10 GMT

    Guru, Bruce and other historians of technology:
    I have a question that I SHOULD know the answer to, and for years I thought I knew it.
    The question is: When does the transition from direct-reducing, low-temperature shaft-furnaces to high-temperature blast-furnaces take place in Europe? For Sweden it is sometime around the beginning of the thirtenth century or so, but the more I read the more confused I get about the blast-furnace history in the more civilized parts of Europe. (I´m aware about the Chinese casting iron much earlier, but never mind about that for now.) Can you help?
    Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 17:10:49 GMT

    I just purchased an carriage house built in 1890. Thankfully some of the original tether rings are still on the walls. The one item I am confused about is made by J.L. Mott Metalworks, NY. It is set into the wall and made of cast iron (purely a guess) and has one cold water line and one hot water line running into it from the back. At first I thought it may have been a fireplace but due to the water lines I'm completely baffled. Can you help?

    Thank you,
    Heidi  <appaloosagroup at aol.com> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 21:32:39 GMT

    NG Venturi burners: Colby, these require very careful design. The propane type run relatively high pressure. NG is provided at low pressure and requires large orrifices. The Ron Reil burner page may have the information you are looking for. Start at our plans page for a "simple gas burner". It has links to other gas forge articles and sites.

    Check with the gas company before expecting them to hook up a home built forge.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 22:29:18 GMT

    1890 carriage House: Heidi, It was not unusual during this era to have coal and wood burning hot water heaters. Most looked like small cast iron heaters but they had a water loop or a mini boiler in the top. These often connected to a storage tank. It is difficult to tell from your description. There is also a likely hood that it has long since been disconected.
    - guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 11/21/00 22:35:41 GMT

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