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THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you. This is an archive of posts from November 22 - 30, 2000 on the Guru's Den
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Hello Guru,
I'm Scott and I am doing a presentation in school on medieval weapons and how they would make them. I was wondering if you could give me any info. on the basics of how to make a sword, axe, or spear. If you can't I thank you anyways.
Scott Flannery  <scottoflan at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 00:17:17 GMT

History of Technology 1300AD: Olle, this is a very sparsely documented period. I think most of what is known from DeRe Metalica. And then there is the question of who's missinformation do you want to believe. So much of what we THOUGHT was fact seems to change constantly.

I do not have any specific references on the subject but I would say sometime between 1000AD and 1400AD. There was probably several generations of development in some unknown location centuries before the process became common place. The change most likely occured where the scale of the operation was increased due to some increased demand or shift in the economy.

Technological advancement is a funny thing. Da Vinci invented all types of machines that were well in advance of his time and as a result few were made in his lifetime. His machines were full of screws and gears and other parts that there were beyond the technology of the day. However, if there were a great enough demand for the machines some other inventors would have appeared and picked up the other pieces of the puzzle. The machine tool industry would have had a 300 year head start and been centered in Italy instead of Great Britian. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 00:45:39 GMT

Medieval Weapons: Scott, The important thing to know is that during this time the common material used to make most things was "wrought iron". This is nearly pure iron that has some slag content from the manufacturing process that gives it a grain like wood. Wrought iron is not hardenable, so steel was welded to the the cutting edges of tools and weapons. Steel was hard to make and very expensive so as little as possible was used. Much of it was imported adding to the expense.

A plain sword would be be forged roughly to shape without tapering edges. Then long strips of steel would be wired to the blank and forge welded to the edges. Forge welding requires heating the iron and steel until it is close to melting. Flux is applied to help keep the metal from burning. Then pieces are then hammered together. Forge welding of this type requires a high degree of skill.

After the sword was "steeled" the edges would be forged to a taper and the blade to final shape. Then the steel would be hardened. Hardening requires the steel to be heated to a red heat and then quenching in water. After the steel is hardened it is too brittle to use so some of the hardness is removed by "tempering". Tempering is the reheating of the steel to a temperature where "temper colors" appear. These are those pretty rainbow colors that you see on bright steel that has been heated to about 400 to 600°F.

Finally the sword would be ground on a large grinding wheel. Swordmakers used rows of water powered grindstones and platforms where they would lay down while grinding.

Fancy swords would be made with steel slabs welded to the sides of the body of the sword. These were often imported "Damascus" steel, or a decorative "laminated" steel. See http://www.meiersteel.com/ for examples of modern laminated steel.

An axe was made by starting with a butterfly shaped blank, folding it around a mandel or "eye drift" and welding the body. A piece of steel was welded into the edge. See our iForge page, demo #28.

Socketed spear heads were made from two pieces each shaped like the spear head with half the socket. These two pieces were forge welded and the edges steeled and forged to final shape.

Most of these techniques were used up until the mid 1800's when bulk steel making processes were developed. Since that time most tools and blades have been made out of one piece of high grade steel. However, there are a LOT of custom makers that make fancy laminated steel blades for collectors.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 01:23:37 GMT

I know I've seen this somewhere, but I've forgotten, so: What sort of alloy is usually used in steel strapping like they use to hold bulk items on pallets? Thanks.
AlanL  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 01:32:45 GMT

I have been acquiring some basic tools for forging, and I wonder if you could give me some background on two of them. One is a 6" post vise made by M&H Armitage Mouse Hole. I gather this is from the famous forge that produced anvils. Might you know when they were making vises? This has no markings besides the name (no mouse logo). The second tool is a large anvil marked Brooks England 2 1/4 CWT. This anvil is cast (the letter markings are raised and there is a seam down the body). I know that cast anvils are not very popular, but this one has great bounce to it, though it dulls out near the pritchel hole and on the horn. Do you know anything about these anvils? Thanks a lot. --Dan
Dan Rahimi  <danr at rom.on.ca> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 02:11:38 GMT

I am 14 and i am in 8th grade i am now taking a class called shop and I love it and I am goin to take a 1 year course on it is that long enough for me to learn about welding cutting and all that good stuff me and my freind want to start a buesness in welding cutting and that good stuff. but i would like to know how much a building and all the correct equiptment including the saftey equiptment would cost. like i said i love this class and i would love to do this the rest of my life. from erick
erick  <hawkeye56849 at cs.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 02:20:13 GMT

I have heard that bellota brand rasps are a good knifemaking steel. Is this correct? What kind of steel.
B. Brown  <starlight191> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 02:27:39 GMT

Straping: Alan, I'm not sure. Wouldn't be hard to test harden a piece. McMaster-Carr lists low carbon standard duty AND high carbon high strength.. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 02:36:45 GMT

Thanks! I was going to layer it with bandsaw blade and see what sort of pattern came up. I guess I'll find out!
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 02:41:12 GMT

Old English Tools: Dan, M&H Armitage was briefly one of the many owners of Mouse Hole forge. Most vises were not marked. Roughly 1827 to 1875. Brooks and Cooper took over then and continued to use the M&H trademark but I have a Brooks and Cooper vise so I suspect they put their name on items other than the anvils.

Brooks still makes anvils. The trade name was Brooks and Vaughn and now I think Vaughn. Centaur Forge sells them. cast steel anvils are good anvils but the edges chip easily. Radius the edges if they are still sharp.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 02:49:58 GMT

The Florida Supreme Court just over turned the lower court decisions. The countys have until the 26-27 of November to turn in their ammended vote counts. The U.S. Presidential election continues!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 02:53:56 GMT

Shop Class: Erick, How much money do you have?

A good quality oxy-acetylene set costs $250-$300. Then cylinder rental can be $25/month or a long term lease for another $300-$400. A cheap buzz box made by Miller will run $250. Helmet and gloves another $50 but some welding suppliers will throw them in if you buy all the rest at once. Its a good idea to pick a good local welding supplier and deal with them rather than shopping around. There are many times you will NEED them and you will want a good working relationship.

A good angle grinder costs about $200, Forge $600, Anvil $300 to $1500. HD benches and cutting tables are usualy shop fabricated but materials for each about $500 (x2). Add that again for stock racks.

A cutoff saw or chopsaw anywhere from $200 to $5000. A drill press $500 to $2000. A chain hoist (to lift the heavy benches. . and all) $500, a pickup truck to haul it all around $10,000 USED. Misc, (desk, filing cabinetts, chairs tool chest, mechanics tools. . .) another $5,000 EASY.

Most of us spend years buying used equipment and going to auctions looking for good deals. . The welding equipment is best bought NEW.

Then there is fuel and materials, steel, welding rods. . toilet paper, shop towels (it ALL adds up).

Renting space in a commercial district will cost anywhere from $500 to $1500 a month. Then there is insurance, utilities. . . I'll let you add it all up.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 03:44:56 GMT


I stopped by the library tonight to check one of my "history of iron" references, only to discover that it was no longer there. Apparently no one had checked it out in three years, so it was excessed. I guess I'll have to check out some of those books at least every three years to keep them current.

A-1 Iron Works Contracting has a nice History page at http://www.a1iron.com/history.htm. It puts the German stuckofen, the transitional form between the Catalan furnace and the full-fledged blast furnace in the 13th century. The Encyclopedia Britannica also puts the first European cast iron furnaces in the 13th century. A second site (http://www.a1iron.com/history.htm) puts it in the 14th Century, but the statements and illustrations in the site cause me to question just how accurate the site is. Basically, the larger Catalan furnace developed a chimney which, as it grew in height, provided both draft and extra fuel to raise the temperature of the ore and provided a CO rich atmosphere to add enough carbon to lower the melting temperature. Suddenly, you had useable amounts of cast iron, and the casting technology already developed for brass was modified to take advantage of it. I'd go with the 13th century, always considering the possibility that it may have existed a bit earlier, but no identifiable mention of it has been found (yet).


We have a saying in Markland: Any competent village blacksmith can make a spear or an axe, but it takes a swordsmith to make a sword. We are dealing with the high tech of the early medieval world. Old swords were valued, because only good swords got to be old swords. Swords were tempermental, expensive, and usually (not always) limited to the wealthy. In the later middle ages, as metalurgy and technology improved, and material wealth became more available, the sword "trickled down" to become a side arm for the common foot soldier.

As for me, having had a number of swords fail at critical moments over the years, I keep an axe tucked into my belt for backup. I just think of it as adventures on the cutting edge of technology ;-)

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/

Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 04:16:18 GMT

Rasps: B.Brown, I don't know Bellota brand. Almost ALL good brand name files and rasps are made from the same grade of steel. How you handle it and heat treat it is more important than the grade of steel. I THINK its something aproximating SAE 1095 or W-1. Rasps are an awful rough piece of steel to start with unless you WANT that texture. Regular files are best and made of the same steel.

Any time you use steels of unknown composition YOU become the metalurgist. You must take a sample and forge it, heat treat it, test it annealed and hardened and tempered by various methods. NEVER take anyone's word for what kind of steel something is made of unless THEY made it. Manufacturers often change grades of steel for economic or supply reasons without notice. Like I said, the heat treating is more important than the steel.

If you want to know what kind of steel Belotta files are made of, ask them. They MIGHT tell you as a matter of pride but they will more likely refuse as proprietary information. You may also find that you can't find anyone that knows that you can speak to.

There is a story that my father tells that may be true but also may be one of those that is told about EVERY shop manager.

When a new machinist or mechanic is hired by the old man, the first thing he does is makes them a gift of beautiful sheathed 6" hunting knife. When the surprised employee asked why, the old man says, "So that you won't be grinding up MY files making hunting knives!"

While looking at files. Look closely at the tang and the large radius going into the tang. This is the RIGHT way to make a tang. Sharp corners break. Make the guard fit the tang radius not the other way around.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 04:18:42 GMT

Adventures on the cutting edge of technology???: Atli, see my comment about file tangs above! Your sword wouldn't have broken if the itinerant import sword maker knew a little about stress in sharp corners.

Yes MANY of the books show sharp cornered tangs. They are all wrong. Ever see the tang broken off a file?. . . I rest my case.

Books and Libraries. . I HATE that! On the other hand I love it when I am there at the right time to buy that $50 reference for $5. . The check-out rule is stupid. If they marked every time a book had to be reshelved THEN it might make sense.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 05:09:43 GMT

Oh, Great Spirit of Metal, I'm a 41 yr old, self taught silver/goldsmith (15yrs.) learning to be a blacksmith. I just put up a 15" dia. steel grain bin in my yard to use as my shop. I'd like to burn coal but it is so windy here and there are folks that don't want the emittance. What can I build as an exhaust system that would remove or eliminate the sparks and smoke? Wuold some type of catalytic converter work? I've discussed the option of directing the smoke from the flue with a flexible metal pipe to the bottom of an old metal shop vac filled with water. The shop vac pulls the smoke through the water and the particulates dissapate. This person used three shop vacs to "scrub" the smoke. Is there another way? A little smoke would be O.K but very little. I'm building a propane forge but they're so restrictive. I'd like the flexability of both. have a tasty holiday. Thanks!
Kate Clayton  <k8clayton at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 06:59:25 GMT

Dear Guru
There are sometimes oppoturnities to get steel from a scrapyard. Does you know any easy and cheap way to classify these bits and pieces. I know something about spark analysis and surface hardness testing. But more accurate (of course I know the magnet and stainless)

Thank you in adwance Heikki Putkonen
Heikki Putkonen  <putko at rieska.oulu.fi> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 13:33:48 GMT

Scrubber: Kate, If coal smoke is a problem then forget it. Ever think what you would do with that water full of sulfur compounds? Most shop vacs have a LOT of plastic in them that would overheat and melt or catch fire. If the parts were light weight metal then the corosives in the coal smoke would make short work of those. . . I have a LOT of doubts about that one. . .

Charcoal burns much cleaner. If you have a relatively tall stack very little of the light white ash will escape. Making charcoal can be smokey but most places will accept wood smoke. A turbine wind cap will prevent down drafts and improve the draft in windy conditions.

I'm not sure where they got it but at CanIron II they were burning some type of coke. It wasn't foundry coke. It was in relatively small lumps. Burned very clean and except for difference in starting a fire there were few complaints.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 14:15:21 GMT

Metal Identification: Heikki, This is a difficult subject. At best all you can do is guess. If you know the source of the metal it helps. If you know what local industries are scraping you have a general scope of possibilities. Sometimes the fellow that owns the scrap yard knows a little about the material to help steer you in the right direction.

Heavy steel plate is almost always structural grade but many other grades of steel come in heavy plate including; SAE 4140 and 4150 (medium carbon, medium carbon steels), leaded tooling plate (the lead makes the plate easy to machine), wear or abrasion resistant plate.

An experianced machinist could drill a hole in the types of plate above and identify the free machining leaded plate and the abrasion resistant plate by how the cut. The SAE 40xx would be hard to distinguish from structural plate. However the SAE 41xx will harden quite hard with an oil quench where the structural grade will on harden slightly. But there are still dozens of other possibilities.

In general if its cold drawn (CF Bar) you can recognize the finish (even after moderate rusting) and the shape. Most of this is low carbon SAE 1018 - 1020. However if the finish is ground, like centerless ground drill rod or "silver steel" it is almost always annealed tool steel. A sample will harden rock hard and probably crack if slightly over heated and quenched in water (or if its air quench). Spark testing will identify the carbon content. Air, oil and water quenching may identify if it as either air, oil or water quench. But you cannot determine the exact alloy from these tests.

CF (drawn) hex stock is usualy SAE 1020 but may be a leaded free machining grade. Most HR (hot rolled) hex stock is some type of tool steel such as SAE 5160.

Yes, 300 stainless is non-magnetic but 400 series hardenable stainless is magnetic. Monel, which often has no iron and is a very high copper alloy is non-magnetic and looks like 300 series stainless. You should be able to burn a little piece and tell the difference from the green flame. Most high quality boat shafting is monel. In our shop we have used quite a bit of 405 SS when we needed corrosion resistance AND something a magnet would stick to.

There are numerous published charts listing alloys that different objects are made from. We have one posted here. However, these are only possibilities. Every manufacturer makes their own choices and often make substitutions for economic reasons or due to supply problems. As I mentioned in the post above about making knives from old files. The heat treatment is often more important than the grade of steel.

As you can see, there are no simple answers. When using scrap steels you must become your own metallurgist and determine suitability of use. If there were easy answers then certified materials would not be so important to many industries.

Heikki, could you do me a favor and look at the post above on Thursday 16th titled "HELP! Anyone recognize this language". Someone suggested it might be Finnish(?) but others have suggested it may be a hoax. . . It is from a page long letter I recieved last week.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 15:02:43 GMT

hi this is greg from seattle i've worked in steel, al. and silver recently i saw some mexican craftwork in tin that made me think tin could solve some of my problems in the medium sized art stuff i make......is there a resource or supplier that could help me get started?thanks g
greg  <lepurrrred at hotmail> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 16:27:46 GMT

How do I find out how to do copper scupturing?
Robert Schlag  <rschlag at eagnet.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 17:39:34 GMT

With all due respect. Are You people crazy?

just looked at your junk yard hammer plans. What do you use this thing for?

I can make one, Parts from my Demolition Derby car. (im a little crazy too, its ok)

How dangerous is it and does it run like a machine gun?

Is it better than using a hammer and anvil?

Any provisions for horn type usage.( curves and such)

Do your fingers grow back?
Where can i see one being used?

Getting one of those is a lot easier than finding an anvil.

Really, no disrespect meant above. You people Rock!

Thanks for all the help, happy Thanksgiving.
scott  <scott_wojtasik at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 20:26:21 GMT

Copper, Tin: Robert and Greg, Both of these come under sheetmetal work and silversmithing. The tools are similar but different. Sheet metal work is generaly, bending, folding and crimping. Silversmithing includes raising, spinning and brazing/soldering techniques. Both areas work with sheet stock in different methods. There is also a new method developed by Charles Newton-Brain called "form-folding" that uses folding to stretch the sheet and produce textures and volumes. Its one of the first new metal working techniques developed in millenia.

The books Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork and Direct Metal Sculpture by Dona Meilach cover the technique of raising (see our book reviews). I could probably suggest books from Norm Larson with more detail but I have not seen or read them. You might want to call Norm and ask for a suggestion (see Getting Started for contact information).

See our armor articles for raising techniques. Raising is the same no matter what the metal is.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 20:34:35 GMT

JYH/hammers: Scott, NO, our fingers don't grow back. Do yours?

A power hammer is not a substitute for an anvil or skill. Small ones for sheet metalwork like the Pettingell run very fast. Small forging hammers run 400 blows per minute at full speed. The larger the hammer the slower it runs. 100 to 150 blows per minute is not unusual. These machines have clutches so they can be run much slower.

Making cookies See the Power hammer Page. This is a 500 pound air hammer making a 1/2" x 4" diameter "cookie" from a 1-1/2" dia. blank about 4" long. - anvilfire NEWS Volume 16 - Page 7

If you would like to see hammers running join your local ABANA-Chapter

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/22/00 20:49:30 GMT

Very cool.

scott - Thursday, 11/23/00 01:52:31 GMT

Thanks Olle and Guru for the info on equip. values and where to advertise.
Guru, where should I send you a list of the available equipment, not sure if its correct to put them here or not?
Also, are wooden pulleys on lineshafts commen?
Also, where can I send a photo - digital or picture - of an item that we can't identify, some sort of foot activated vice, maybe something to do with harness sewing/repairing, maybe you can help.
Perry  <theandersens at home.com> - Thursday, 11/23/00 05:03:54 GMT

I plan to make some roses, as illustrated in the I forge projects page.

What are the diameters of the discs used to make the petals? For some reason I can't enlarge the illustration
to print the pattern you folks so generously provided on that page.

Is there a rule of thumb for the proportion of the discs, as related to the size of the finished rose?

Thanks much.

J.D.  <jdearing at brick.net> - Thursday, 11/23/00 05:28:22 GMT

my history includes some casting in bronze and aluminum into wooden molds back in 82 when i attended the art inst.of kc.my question relates to casting lead into wooden molds. do i prep yhe hand carved wood mold with oil befor casting and should i heat up the wood mold before i pour? thanks for your time and info. if ya like i can send ya info of my project and outcome.
craig joseph  <margiekgreene at aol.com> - Thursday, 11/23/00 05:32:17 GMT

Sale Items: Perry, Items for sale go on the Virtual Hammer-In page. Use the site map or start from our home page.

You may mail photos to identify to me guru at anvilfire.com
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/23/00 13:53:09 GMT

Rose Pattern: JD, These start around 3.5" or 4" (100mm) I THINK. Several suppliers sell the precut blanks as kits. Try Kayne & Son I think they carry them.

The kits are laser or machine plasma cut and very clean.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/23/00 13:57:41 GMT

Lead in Wood molds: Craig, I've read a LOT on foundry work and NEVER heard of using wood molds. SAND or plaster molds made from wood patterns, YES, but not wood molds. . .

Don't oil the molds the molten lead is way above the flash point of common oils. Matter of fact its way above the char point of the wood (325-350°F).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/23/00 14:01:41 GMT

Happy Thanksgiving! Don't over do on the turkey folks!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/23/00 14:03:02 GMT

I know! I said I was out of the anvil buying business. The wife came home with an anil, which does not look as if it had ever been struck. Weighs 110 Lbs, looks and sounds like a "Haybuddin", but has "OMAHA" on the side. She gave $70.00 for it. I know it is worth that much, but, who made it. I can`t find any history on this jewel.
Bill Hickman  <hickmanab at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 11/23/00 14:30:48 GMT

Guru, Saw the post above concerning "new" tools for working copper, sheet. Last year at the CBA (California Blacksmith Assoc.) Northern Fall conference, I met Pete Fels. He has devised a most ingenious use of an aircraft rivet gun for raising and embossing copper plate and other sheet metal. The gun is attached to a frame looking similar to a small power hammer. You build an anvil which sits under the rivet gun (approx. 1/8"). This machine has an incredible capacity to move metal. I built one and am still in the experimenting stage. Pete, If you're out there maybe you can explain better than I about how you came up with the idea. May be able to put together a plan kit similar to the Kinyon-ABANA Simple Power hammer plans. Tim
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at starsticker.com> - Thursday, 11/23/00 14:55:56 GMT

I host the Indiana Blacksmithing web sight so I get a lot of questions. The latest one I received I can't find as much info as I would like. They're asking for info on old blacksmithing apprentices. I know the basic answers but would like to find some place where I can get get into more detail. Any ideas?
Mark Thomas  <methomas at ssi.parlorcity.com> - Thursday, 11/23/00 15:02:44 GMT

ROSE PATTERN; Thanks for that info. I'm not really interested in kits. Have sheet metal and snips, will cut.;-)
J.D.  <jdearing at brick.net> - Thursday, 11/23/00 17:01:01 GMT


No listing in ANVILS, but Hay Budden made anvils for hardware stores all over the country. You've probably got a "store brand" that was manufactured by Hay Budden.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Thursday, 11/23/00 17:04:37 GMT

I have a chance to pick up one of those palm size air hammers for driving nails etc. for a really good price. I was thinking about modifing it with a hammer face and use it for metal work (forging?).
It might be a little close to my fingers for large hot work, but I'd like to try it for smaller stuff, I think it would work fast with good control.
In light of the post above about the riveting hammer does anyone have any opinions?

Thanks, Moldy Jim
Moldy  <later> - Thursday, 11/23/00 20:20:21 GMT

Recently I bought 2 "monkey tools", one 1/4 and one 3/8. I got these by mistake and don't know how to use them. Please advise. Thanks
Brian  <cornish at zoomnet.net> - Thursday, 11/23/00 21:47:35 GMT

i am trying to find out how i should clean and polish stainless steel after forging it. its small items that are used in conection whith food. hope i can get some help here.thanks anyway
oona  <oonasmia at online.no> - Thursday, 11/23/00 22:21:21 GMT

Apprenticships: Mark, I'm not sure where you find the information. I know quite a bit from 30+ years of study but couldn't point to one source.

In most places there were laws regulating apprenticships. They were the same for all trades. There were binding contracts between the Master and the parents of the apprentice. It was very similar to being sold into bondage (white slavery) in exchange for an education. After 7 years the apprentice was supposed to have learned the trade well enough to work for others as a Journeyman and have a kit of tools to start his trade. He would also be clothed, housed and fed. Masters who abused their apprentices and did not provide the required education could be fined, jailed or held lible. A Master that abused his apprentices would have a hard time finding new recruits, thus the cheap labor and soon be out of business. Masters in some trades could demand an apprenticship fee (paid by the parents of the apprentice).

The specifics of the apprenticeship were determined by the Master and would probably be based on his own experiance or local custom.

Although no long common this sort of labor trade is still frequent enough that the IRS has rules requiring a cash value be set on the room and board and taxes paid as if the apprentice were a paid employee.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 04:10:04 GMT

Monkey Tools: Brian, The trick to monkey tools is getting the monkey to hold still. . . :)

As blocks of steel with holes they are used for several things. One is punching holes where you need a larger or smaller hole than the pritchel hole. Another is to tighten rivets against their shoulder before riveting. And they can also be used as a re-header or for dressing bolt and rivet heads.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 04:24:12 GMT

palm size air hammers
thew make them with round steel/plastic or nylon replaceable
tips thow the body is not the same. when you get it working let us know dose it have a long enough throw?
RJ  <anvil7 at yahoo.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 04:57:00 GMT

Polishing Stainless: oona, This is no different than polishing anything else. However, stainless is a little more difficult than most other metals since it is abrasion resistant.

The first step is to remove all the scale if the part has been forged. This can be done by pickling in acid or mechanicaly (grind, file, sand). In some cases you may want to leave some of the scale for texture and color.

The next thing is to smooth the part. This may start with a grinder, file and sander. Whatever method is used the scratches need to be removed by using progressively finer grit abrasives. The biggest mistake most people make is trying to polish a part TOO SOON. 180 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper is a good final finish before polishing. Wet sanding makes your abrasives last longer.

Polishing is done by hand OR with a cotton buffing wheel. There is a special white buffing compound for stainless. Stainless steel is very abrasion resistant and common Tripoli (brown) compound does not work on stainless very well. Tripoli may be used on a seperate wheel as a final buff to bring out the last bit of "color" after all that can be done with the white compound has been done.

Cotton buffing wheel come in "hard" and "soft" depending on how close the sewing is. All ferrous materials need to be buffed with hard wheels. The speed the wheel turns is important. An 8" wheel on an 1800 RPM motor is acceptable. 6" is too small. The diameter determine the linear velocity of the wheel passing the work. This is measured in FPS (Feet Per Second) or MPS (Meters per second). RPM means nothing unless it is associated with the diameter of the wheel which in turn determines the final FPS or MPS.

Coarse rattan wheels or "rope" wheels can be charged with buffing compound and used for "cutting" instead of using grinding and sanding. This option is used in many production shops but is not often used by individual craftsfolk.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 04:57:01 GMT

Roses Again: JD. To be the correct weight to use with most wrought iron work the blanks are made of 20 gauge by some and 16 gauge steel by others. I prefer 16 gauge as a MINIMUM and 14 gauge is better. Even the thinest (the 20 ga) is almost impossible to cut in the necessary shapes using snips. Most folk end up torching and grinding the blanks and ALL will tell you the kits are the ONLY way to go. A few smiths with a steady hand and a good plasma torch cut their own by hand.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 05:05:00 GMT

Oona, I have had good luck with 3M scotchbrite(tm) wheels for cleaning and smoothing all kinds of metal stuff. They make a bunch of different grits and sizes. From light smoothing to serious rough stuff removal. MSC and most industrial suppliers carry them. Try some and see if that doesn't work to get the project a good head start, then you will have to do the rest of the polishing like the guru says above unless you want to stay with a satin finish.
Moldy. (P.S. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!)
Moldy Jim  <later> - Friday, 11/24/00 05:24:23 GMT

The small-air-hammer-in-a-frame tools Tim Cisneros mentions above are variations of a device the splendid iron sculptor EA Chase demoed at the CBA a few years back. Chase is the master of the hand held air hammer. I look forward to his forth-coming book on the subject.
Pete Fels - Friday, 11/24/00 07:19:13 GMT

I am based in Leicester, England, and looking for a contact/course to learn blacksmithing, preferably locally. Any ideas on any contacts?
Dan  <jump_point at ntlworld.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 13:09:49 GMT

critically important when polishing stainless: do NOT use any grinder wheel or wire brush on stainless that's been anywhere near plain old ferrous. Do NOT even set it on the same bench. Teency invisible particles of iron will embed themselves in the surface of the stainless, driving you bonkers on down the road trying to get them out after the customer comes back with his once seemingly beautiful but now astonishingly freckled piece of work all mottled with ittle itsy-bitsy rust spots.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 14:42:05 GMT

and, needless to say, it's gotta be a stainless wire brush that you use on your stainless masterpiece, natch.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 14:44:28 GMT

and, needless to say, it's gotta be a stainless wire brush that you use on your stainless masterpiece, natch.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 14:45:23 GMT

Stainless AGAIN: oona, When Moldy mentioned Scotchbrite Wheels it reminded me that jewlers use a friable (so it can wear down) rubber wheel that is embeded with abrasive. They produce a grinding action somewhere between a grinding wheel and a buffing wheel and leave a very smooth finish that is ready to buff. I've never used one so I tend to forget about them.

Cracked's warning about contamination with steel may be a little extreame but he is right and most counts. Using a steel wire brush on stainless (especialy a powered one) is a disaster. Flap wheels and Scotchbrite wheels that have been used on any other metal should be dressed prior to using them on stainless (if you must reuse them).

At one point I setup a BUNCH of buffing wheels in my shop. Those used on brass were used only on brass and those used on SS only on SS. I also had one special double wide buff that was used with emery to polish hard steel items and one soft cotton wheel used only with rouge (soft red polishing compound).

Buffing Polishing Compounds

Emery - black, is sold in different grits. Used on steel.
White - For Stainless, I'm not sure what it is. It is low wax so it is hard to keep on the wheel but lubricates the metal less.
Tripoli - brown, Also called "rotten" stone. General purpose for most non-ferrous metals but works well on soft steel.
Rouge - Red/brown, Used to put that last fine polish on soft metals.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 15:16:21 GMT

Diacro Benders: Does anyone know the maker or importer of these machines. I have a client looking for one new or used.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 15:50:44 GMT

I have just discovered your site and I am enjoying it very much. I have got a silversmithing background and I am now starting to look in to blacksmithing. For making my own steel tools as well as creative use.
My question is: how do you get rid of the flux after welding. With my equipment I can only solder my steel with silversolder. This leaves a residu of flux on the steel. I use my grinder for the reachable parts, but I cannot get to the rest.

I have been looking at your plan page and I have found that a lot of the tools you make are the same silversmiths use. You can find at the American Silversmith site.
Thank you for the good ideas.
Dries Van de Voort  <d.voort at planet.nl> - Friday, 11/24/00 16:04:23 GMT

I have just sent in a question, but I would like to reply on an question sent in by Simon on friday, 11/17/00 at 14:38.22. He is looking for "hard"-metal. One of the metals we are using in silversmithing is Titanium, when it is made hot it is maleable(correct me if spelled wrong) and will regain most of is hardness after cooling down. It is not really cheap but it is very light, so with minimal weight you get more volume.
My regards, Dries
Dries Van de Voort  <d.voort at planet.nl> - Friday, 11/24/00 16:19:42 GMT

The white and red polishing compounds are of a made of aluminum oxyde. The white is use for polishing silver and the red is used for gold.
D. Van de Voort  <d.voort at planet.nl> - Friday, 11/24/00 16:23:41 GMT

Flux: Dries, THAT is a question I'd want to ask YOU!

The only references I've found to removing flux other than by mechanical means is via harsh acids. These are something I prefer not to keep in my shop. I've used silver solder flux while soldering brass candle sticks and had a fit removing the flux and red oxides. Mild acid like vinegar helped. But most of what I did was use wet-or-dry sand paper.

The problem is the same for braze welding and arc welding. Many fluxes are hydroscopic after welding and will slowly absorb moisture, degrade and contribute to corrosion over a period of time. I generaly recommend sand blasting ironwork to remove all the flux and scale.

Sorry, I'm not help on this one.

Glad you like our site! Feel free to chime in any time.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 17:23:16 GMT

ack! bRAIN FaDe, I can't seem to remember the term, Wait, it (brain) finally kicked in, "Passivation" is the term for removing the traces left behind on stainless steel from the cutting tools use in manufacturing. As cutting tools wear the will leave minute particle of rust-able material behind on the cut surface. To prevent the workpiece from rusting down the line, manufacturers will "Passivate" or etch the particle off with a mild acid, and then neutralize the acid before shipping it off to the customer. I beleive the acid is a type that will etch iron but not bother the stainless or leave a residue to cause problems later. I'm not sure how well it will work but you could try dilute Archer etchant from Radio Shack and use TSP to neutralize it.
It is the same thing that knifemakers use to etch pattern welded damascas knife steel, it works on the high carbon, but will not etch the higher alloys much.
Moldy  <?> - Friday, 11/24/00 18:30:07 GMT

the jewelry-making texts all say that plain old hot water and scrubbing with a soft brush will remove that grunge, burnt flux and other gradue left behind after silver soldering. and, indeed, they will. takes a bit of scrubbing. patience, lads, patience! assiduous perseverance. If 'twere easy we couldn't charge all this money for it, now, could we?
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 21:36:42 GMT

I was sitting around with a peice of metal in the fire one day and when I pulled it out it was red hot. I found a hammer and a rock and began pounding it. The weather has now turned cold and I have a "pot belly" stove in my house. I was just wondering if it would be safe for me to heat metal in it and "forge" it indoors?
Jordan Beckley  <bigman_2004 at hotmail.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 21:56:19 GMT

I was sitting around with a peice of metal in the fire one day and when I pulled it out it was red hot. I found a hammer and a rock and began pounding it. The weather has now turned cold and I have a "pot belly" stove in my house. I was just wondering if it would be safe for me to heat metal in it and "forge" it indoors?
Jordan Beckley  <bigman_2004 at hotmail.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 21:57:16 GMT

I was sitting around with a peice of metal in the fire one day and when I pulled it out it was red hot. I found a hammer and a rock and began pounding it. The weather has now turned cold and I have a "pot belly" stove in my house. I was just wondering if it would be safe for me to heat metal in it and "forge" it indoors?
Jordan Beckley  <bigman_2004 at hotmail.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 21:57:51 GMT

I was sitting around with a peice of metal in the fire one day and when I pulled it out it was red hot. I found a hammer and a rock and began pounding it. The weather has now turned cold and I have a "pot belly" stove in my house. I was just wondering if it would be safe for me to heat metal in it and "forge" it indoors?
Jordan Beckley  <bigman_2004 at hotmail.com> - Friday, 11/24/00 21:58:06 GMT

migawd,Jordan, heaven forfend! you have just replicated an event that occurred wayyy back when some cave person happened to invent smithing. but continue? Do smithing in your living room? As if it were easy and simple? naw, you gotta go replace that rock by finding a costly genuine anvil with just the right ring and bounce to it, and an official smith's hammer to smite with, and then locate a forge with a clay lining and a bellows and lebenty jillion other smithly things. stop immediately! cease! you hear? it's gotta be complex or it don't count!
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 11/25/00 00:24:56 GMT

My question concerns the forging of brass, and since I'm certain you've at least touched on it before, I'll just get to the quick.

I have purchased and found brass, and in both cases, it is neither particularly maleale nor ductile. The rivets I have just keep muching, but the bar splits, cracks and crumbles.

It is both hot AND cold short...

Are there that many differences in brasses? And can anyone suggest a supplier, or type of brass to look for?

I've seen it done, but with the narrow forgeability window of the stuff I have, I am not certian it's something I want to play with.

Greg Clasby  <josephpugsley at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 11/25/00 01:12:55 GMT

For: Dries Van de Voort, After soldering or casting the metal should be put in an acid bath commonly called "pickle". Sparex or formic acid is typically used (Sparex is a brand name found in jewelry supplies) WEAR RESPIRATOR AND EYE PROTECTION! Length of time in the pickle depends on the alloy and the thickness of the oxides. It can take from 15 minutes to several hours in the pickle to remove the flux. When it looks to be a uniform color, remove and rinse thoroughly with water. Even after a thorough flushing , traced of the pickling acid will remain in the pores of the metal, this can be neutralized with baking soda and water. Tim
Tim  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Saturday, 11/25/00 01:37:42 GMT

Brass: Greg, Brass has a very narrow forgability range but forges easily in that range. A lot of the brass bar stock you find is leaded free machining stuff for screw machines. The lead seperates if the brass is slightly overheated and the brass crumbles. .

A good source for lead free forgable brass is uncoated brazing rod. It comes in rounds up to 3/8" (9.5mm). However it takes some searching to find a welding supplier that will sell part of a container.

McMaster-Carr sells Naval Brass (Alloy 474) which is one of the most forgeable copper alloys.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 11/25/00 02:05:56 GMT

Wood Stove for Forge: Jordan, That wood stove is going to be REAL hot when you get a piece up to forging heat. Forges use a forced draft to produce a small intense fire. Wood CAN be used as forging fuel in a pinch but charcoal or coal is the normal fuel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 11/25/00 02:14:59 GMT

how do i get started
Eric McClendon  <eric_mcclendon at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 11/25/00 08:42:44 GMT

Brass: Here in Holland we have a series of different alloys of brass.If you want to hammer it you will have to use an alloys with a larger percentage of copper in it.
(Cu63,3-65%); Fe 0,05%max; Pb 0,05%max; Zn fills the rest of the alloy. This is the alloy I use for smithing cups, bowls and boxes.(the raising technique). There is and even softer alloy for spinning and die-stamping:Cu 69-71%; Fe 0,05% max; Pb 0,05%max; Zn fills the rest. We use it as sheet and as rod.
The zinc is the metal that gives brass its hardness. The paler the brass the harder it will probarbly be.

Flux: In reaction to your answers first a thank you and then a slap in my own face. In silversmithing I use sulphuric-acid. The reason I didn't think of it,is because if I would use iron or steel in the acid and the use it for my silver, it would colour my silver an ugly pink which is very hard to remove.
We use this acid also to remove our borax-residues. Borax is used for high-temperature soldering.
Dries Van de Voort  <d.voort at planet.nl> - Saturday, 11/25/00 12:19:23 GMT

Eric: If you look at the top of this very page there is a link called "Getting started in Blacksmithing". I suggest taking a look!
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Saturday, 11/25/00 15:08:58 GMT

Dries, It's been a long time since I did any gold or silversmithing. I forgot about my silversmithing instructor saying "never put iron in the pickle". Of course, if it's iron you're trying to get the flux off of, then you use that acid only for iron. Let me know how it works. Tim
Tim  <bblacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Saturday, 11/25/00 15:51:17 GMT

I need to forge large woodcarving gouges for sculpting hardwoods what king of tool steel do I need. I have the ENCO and MSC catalogs with various oil and air hardening tool steels. Which is suitable for my application
andreas  <ionart_us at yahoo.com> - Saturday, 11/25/00 20:09:03 GMT

Iron in the Pickle: Tim, That's good to remember! The problem is that the disolved iron plates the other metals such as silver, gold and copper alloys. The reverse is also true but less of a problem since the steel is either going to be plated or painted afterwards.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 11/25/00 20:35:27 GMT

Tool Steels: Andreas, You want ASE 1095 or W1, Thats a common water hardening tool steel. Oil hardening is more expensive because it is more stable during hardening so it is used for machined parts. Air hardening is used for hot work tools and for situations where the part is finish machined, sealed in a foil bag or heated in a inert gas furnace then cooled in air to harden. Generaly air hardening are the most expensive of the tool steels. They are also difficult to handle when forging.

The very best woodworking gouges I've made were made from old British car leaf springs. They were selectively hardened by oil quenching. I made two paired sets. One for me and one for my brother Dan. Mine have been used a great deal but my brother's have been used even more. Dan's have turned numerous hardwood stumps (walnut, cherry, apple) into some rather large sculptures. Neither of us has had to resharpen them since the day they were made.

The only problem we have had is that we used a poor tang design and they are hard on handles. If I were to do it again I'd start with round stock and leave a large healthy shoulder on the tang.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 11/26/00 00:22:57 GMT

Is there a time limit on how long you should wear a "lung-powered" respirator? Im thinking about a forced air system, but its pricey and since Im often only using grinders a few hours weekly Im not sure if I really need it.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Sunday, 11/26/00 17:04:08 GMT


I think any "time limit" would depend on the individual. When you start noticing a breathing problem then it's time to change the filters, or get a new mask. I wouldn't invest in a positive pressure mask until or unless I was dealing with a hazardous fume of some kind. Check the instructions on the individual mask, and see what they say.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 11/26/00 18:36:49 GMT

Guru, I have come across a few anvils and need another opinion on them. I was wondering if $250 was a good price for a 150 pound anvil (posible peter wright), also is $225 a good price for a 100 pound Fisher anvil?
josh  <Profish at voyager.net> - Sunday, 11/26/00 18:55:08 GMT

can you tell me how to find a report on the history of welding?
earl dake  <basinrat at aol.com> - Sunday, 11/26/00 19:39:20 GMT

Respirators: Olle, Paw-paw is right, it does depend on the individual. In U.S. industry where full face respirators are required it is also required to have a "breathalator" or more correctly a "pulmunonary function" test. This is a lung capacity test where they measure the volume of air your lungs. Many clinics can perform this test but you generaly need a recomendation from a doctor (in the US).

The problem with respirators is that they restrict the flow of air to your lungs and thus make you lungs AND heart work harder. If you have had trouble with either you are best off NOT working where you need a respirator.

NOTE that there are two general types of filters. Particulate and activated charcoal. Particulate filters only remove particles, dust, dirt and solids. Gases and solvent fumes can only be removed by an activated charcoal filter. Charcoal filters are not good for all types of chemicals so you need to check first. Charcoal filters also have a short life and can become a serious expense. Combination filters are made but should only be used if absolutely necessary due to their short life and expense.

In the end it is cheaper to ventilate the work area. A fan with a hose that can be repositioned from one job to the next can be used on numerous jobs. Commercial systems to do this are expensive but the bits and pieces to build one are usualy things you can find or purchase reasonably. A pipe on a lite duty jib crane can position a drop down hose over a wide area with requiring the fan be moved. In this arrangement the fan can have a permanent exhaust out doors.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 11/26/00 22:12:23 GMT

Anvils: Josh, Prices vary depending on condition and who's buying and who's selling. The PW is worth a lot more than the Fisher if both are in the same condition. A well worn but not hurt PW is about worth a Fisher in mint condition. Currently anvils still sell for as low as 50 cents a pound at farm auctions up to $2-3 pound and as high as $6-7/pound new (depending on the brand and size).
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 11/27/00 00:15:35 GMT

Report on the History of Welding: Write it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 11/27/00 00:17:04 GMT

So, here I am for two weeks of NPS training in Harrisburg on the banks of the Susquehanna. Any of you folks in this town?
Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Monday, 11/27/00 02:56:23 GMT

i would like to know how much a 270. Cal Marx Mark X in very good condition costs. please contact me with an answer if you find the answer. Thank You
Alex Papadopolous
Alex Papadopolus  <alexpapadopolous at msn.com> - Monday, 11/27/00 03:00:25 GMT

History of welding: Why not USE the internet? A simple altavista search gave 46 pages.
Check out http://home.newbernnc.com/~sap_m/wh_001htm

BTW, whats a 270 cal.Marx? An anti-capitalist rifle, or what?
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Monday, 11/27/00 13:36:26 GMT

I just want to thank everyone for their responses...and since I am compiling information on brass, including different alloys, I'll report back with what I find...so all can benefit...

Thanks again, and hopefully soon I'll have the experience to go along with the info...
greg  <josephpugsley at hotmail.com> - Monday, 11/27/00 14:47:24 GMT

Welding History: Olle, 270 Carl Marx :) Thats what I saw too!

The URL you gave was incorrect. Intresting site, however it poped up 3 error boxes on boot up and with every page change.


This is a ne site so maybe it will improve but it DOES have and intresting history of welding. Here are some of the references given.

The Biography of Vannoccio Biringuccio

Author of the Pirotechnica

Appearing in 1540, "The Pirotechnica of Vannoccio Biringuccio - The Classic Sixteenth-Century Treatise on Metals and Metallurgy" was the first exhaustive edition of the history of metallurgy. Covering the principle ores (gold, silver, copper, lead, tin, and iron), and the technology of steel making and brass castings in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The Biography of Sir Humphrey Davy

Biography of Elihu Thomson
Inventor of Resistance Welding
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 11/27/00 15:22:45 GMT

Has anyone ordered the manual from Centaur Forge on the
Hossefield Bender. I order the vidio and it was a Joke.
I have the old manual that came with the Bender. But it
doesn't tell you have much take out for the different
Radus bends. I was hoping that the manual Centaur has
went into more detail.
P.S. I also have the invoice when the bender I have was
Bought. Boy what a price difference.
Bobby  <nealb30 at hotmail.com> - Monday, 11/27/00 18:24:39 GMT

Hossfeld: Bobby, I have (somewhere) the catalog/users manual. It mostly shows the various dies and setups work. Nothing much on special techniques. Unless you have a big pile of dies it doesn't help much. And THAT is the crux of the problem. Hossfelds (as do most benders of this type) take a LOT of dies. If you don't have them, can't afford them, or can't make them, then the bender is not much use.

There are several types of dies. The classic die and follower where you bend the work around the die. The follower has a hardened nose OR a roller. The pull in die where the die rotates and the work is pulled into it (scroll bender). Then there is the press die where the leverage of the arm pushes one die into the other and the work is fed through a little at a time.

The press die is the only one that can make more than one radius. The minimum radius is that of the die less spring back. Larger radii are done by carefully controlling the stopping point of the lever arm or die. This can also be done on an arbor press using a stop or dial indicator.

On top of dies for different radius bends there are also right angle dies, pipe and tubing dies and dies for structural shapes.

Try this link:
Lowbucktools Hossfeld images
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 11/27/00 19:21:58 GMT

I need some help... I'm buying a couple of benders to make scrolls with and the company that sells them advises to use hot rolled mild steel. My question is this, When I finish my project and I'm ready to paint it what steps should be taken to prepare it and what kind of paint would you recommend. The Items will be interior use only so if you can come up with any other type of finishes I would be happy to hear about them. any help you can lend on this would be great.

Mike  <mcruder at aol.com> - Monday, 11/27/00 20:33:31 GMT

hello everybody!
i havent been near the computer since i sendt my question.i can see that all you people has been buissy responding to my question! thanks!i will try out different things, but i wonder if there are a "acid bath" that i could put my little "masterpieces" in,that hopefully isnt so healthdangerous? p.s wanted to give a tip to SCOTT: in sweeden they have a site that explains numerous attempts of extracting iron, how to build a oven,and how to burn this furnace the right way,etc.etc. iron here in norway(where i am from) is known long back (maybe 500 AC) at least.they extracted iron from the turfareas whith high consentration of iron, also from the redsand which we have a lot of. try this www.forntidateknik.z.se/ i am not sure if they have the pages in english. oona
oona  <oonasmia at online.no> - Monday, 11/27/00 21:28:57 GMT

Bent and Finished: Mike, They recommend HR bar because of the soft temper. Cold finished (CF Bar) is very springy due to work hardening. Be sure to check with your supplier and be SURE is is HR bar, NOT sheared and edged plate. The sheared stuff is work hardened and very springy.

Finishing techniques vary depending on the cost of the item and your shop facilities. If there is and oil or grease then degrease it. If there is welding flux then wire brush or sand blast. If the steel has been heated and forged OR stick welded there is any flux residue then sandblast or clean in an acid bath.

Interior work doesn't usualy need to be primed but if it is a railing or part of the dwelling then it should be primed and painted. Generaly I use automotive finishes due to their durability and colorfastness.

Small items can be dipped in lacquer. However, due to emmisions in the form of solvents many places no longer alow dipping. In this case electrostaticaly applied powder coating is the best. However, it is a method that should be subbed out to a specialist.

The big thing to remember is cleanliness. The HR bar has "tooth" tha CF bar does not. This means paint will stick better. If you manufacture from CF bar then is should be sandblasted or etched to provide tooth.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 11/27/00 21:34:36 GMT

www.forntidateknik.z.se/: oona, nice link. No English pages but interesting all the same.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 11/28/00 05:06:20 GMT

How do I finish my projects to give them a Brass, coppery or other distinctive look>
Ron  <sexycowboy64 at poncacity.net> - Tuesday, 11/28/00 05:21:36 GMT

Brass Finish: Ron, I method currently in use is to wire brush the forged work then heat again and wire brush with a brass brush. The heat makes the brass stick to the steel producing gold highlights. Be sure the bristles are brass not brass plated steel. Fine cleaning brushes work well.

Another method is to coat the pieces using brazing rod and a torch. This makes for a rather lumpy texture. It also requires cleaning the flux. You have to try it and work the style.

Otherwise if you are working small scale (quantity) it is better to actualy use brass of copper.

And the last method, is to clean, prime and paint. There are some very fine automotive finishes and craft/decorating stores sell rub on silver, brass and gold metalic finishes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 11/28/00 05:50:48 GMT

I just received a side draft hood last night. Not wanting to climb on top of the roof of the shop in the dark to loosen the storm collar and adjust the stove pipe. I sat the hood on a concerte block for temp till the weekend. There is only 12 ft. of 10 in. pipe at this time [Sat I will add 4 more ft.]. I started the draft with some newspaper and the draft seemed to draw just fine. I then lit the fire in thr fire pot and only about half the smoke went up the hood. For the time being the opening to the hood is about 1 in. back from the fire pot but is elevated 8 in. above the fire pot. My question is this: Will adding 4 ft of pipe to the flu [ total 16 ft.] and lowering the hood door to the same level as the fire pot help in drawing ALL the smoke into the hood and up the flu ?
Mark  <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Tuesday, 11/28/00 09:20:10 GMT

Guru Wizard:

Brake Drum Forge,
In regards to your Pipe fitting forge, The tee is extremely expensive. $60. US smacka-roos.
Instead of using the tee can i use 4x4x1/8" box with the pipes welded to the side & top?
I have no experiance with forges and am unsure of the amount of heat the tee recieves.
I have bought the 2" flanges($20 each).I can make a nice ash pooper on the bottom. Got the nipples too.
Whats your opinion? will it work? or should i drop the dough on the 3" tee and 2" bushings?

On the sick flue Q, If Mark got one of those cheap-o duct boosters on an adjustable circuit, would it do the trick?

Thank you, and God Bless America.
Scott  <scott_wojtasik at hotmail.com> - Tuesday, 11/28/00 15:29:56 GMT

Side Draft Flue: Mark, First, there is a limit to the amount of fire/smoke that any flue will accept. If you crank up the blast to full on a large forge full of green coal, that 10" pipe won't be big enough. You may have to run the pipe from the forge into a larger stack. If the side draft unit has a 10" dia outlet then keep that pipe as short as possible before going into a larger stack.

Yes, Extending the stack another 4 feet may help. Putting the flue opening closer to the forge will help. If there was a gap between the bottom of the side draft unit and the forge there was room for a LOT of cold air to mix with the flue gases reducing the efficiency and capacity. The unit needs to be attached to or sitting on the edge of the forge.

Having the flue opening above the forge works in some cases, but increases the distance between the flue and the forge and may reduce efficiency again. More of these units are installed with the opening level with the rim of the forge and work very well.

Last, it sounds like you set this up outdoors. Any draft or air movement may have affected how the unit worked. It sounds like a combination of small errors to me.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 11/28/00 15:43:42 GMT

Brake Drum Forge: Scott, I just looked in the McMaster-Carr catalog and a standard 150 PSI black iron 2" x 2" x 2" T is $7.50 USD. They don't list the reducing T but the last one I bought was a higher pressure rating and still was not that outrageous. One of my drawings shows a standard T. That works fine but is not quite as spiffy.
The 2" 150 PSI flange sells for less than $9. My local suppliers are cheaper.

McMaster-Carr will sell you a 2" STAINLESS STEEL T for $33 !!!

The last quote I got on the parts a year ago was about $15 for ALL the pipe parts.

If you can weld it is common to use a 3" weld T to make commercial twyers. Some are welded to a commercial flange and others to a flame cut plate. However these parts are more expensive than the common threaded parts.

Yes you can weld the assembly from plate. Heat is not a problem unless you use a blower with a plastic housing.

The point of the brake drum forge is to build it cheap and idealy with scrounged parts. My first used bent wheels, an old furnace blower and $3.87 worth of new 1/2" galvanized pipe for the legs (in 1972 dollars). This was YEARS before I ever saw a brake drum forge.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 11/28/00 16:17:11 GMT

Hi, I am a student at bethel highschool and I have been Interested in being a blacksmith since I was a kid I've looked into becoming an apprentice for some time, and I would like to do the more ornamental style or the more classic medival stlye, but the only thing that comes close to what I want to get into is local farriers. I don't know what I should do. I was wondering if you might have some ideas and if you do I would really like to hear them.

Casey Hyatt
casey hyatt  <caseyhy at epals.com> - Tuesday, 11/28/00 20:04:58 GMT

Learning: Casey, See our article "Getting Started" linked at the top and the bottom of this page.

There are plenty of books to purchase and study. Most are the type that you would wear out if they were in the library so purchasing them as references is best.

Few farriers can help you however there ARE cross-over farriers getting into decorative work. Bill Epps whom has done the majority of our iForge demos is an ex-farrier.

Farriers also know where to get supplies localy and THAT is often a important concern. They may also know where there is equipment available since their travels takes them into hundreds of farms and barns. SO, if you have a chance to make friends with a farrier, it won't hurt. You may also find a companion in your studies. Farriers that "hot shoe" often have EXCELLENT forging skills. They just haven't studied decorative techniques.

Check ABANA-Chapter.com and find your local ABANA chapter. You may be surprised that there are more folks in your area with your interests than you think!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 11/28/00 21:10:28 GMT

hi im eric do you have information about Blacksmiths.
Eric - Tuesday, 11/28/00 22:57:09 GMT

hi do you have information on Blacksmiths.
Eric  <dtaeric> - Tuesday, 11/28/00 22:59:30 GMT

Can you tell me the life of a blacksmith Sumerian
Debbie  <upwords at aol.com> - Tuesday, 11/28/00 23:12:38 GMT

Blacksmiths and Sumerian Smiths: Eric and Debbie, We have a LOT of information about "blacksmithing" but little about blacksmiths as individuals.

On our 21st Century page there is an article titled A day in the life of a Blacksmiths Apprentice that is set in Colonial America but could be from ANY era including the earliest smiths in Sumeria of 1,000 BC.

On the same page there is another article titled Blacksmith of 1776 that is about a young blacksmith going to war during the American Revolution. His experiances could have also been the same for hundreds of years before that time but not prior to about 1500 AD.

The hand tools used by blacksmiths haven't changed for thousands of years. So anything you see on these pages that doesn't require a motor or bottled gas is probably no different than the tools used thousands of years ago.

Go to our home page or use the site map to find the 21st Century page.

On our NEWS pages we have LOTS of pictures of blacksmiths at work. Try AFC Edition

I hope this helps.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/29/00 00:15:50 GMT

I managed to acquire approximately 200 hand made fire brick. Would like to do something with them, but I'm not sure what. Has anyone got any ideas?
Dwight Hall  <deacon at gower.net> - Wednesday, 11/29/00 03:59:26 GMT

Dwight-- a bottle of propane, or, hey, a tank even, a regulator, some black iron pipe or the proper rubber hose, a shut-off, a manifold, an orifice or two or three, a venturi or two or three, and, why, my goodness, with all those fire brick, you got yourself a forge!
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/29/00 05:11:48 GMT

Guru. Good for you, I feel very strongly that when we forget the old trades, and or if we do not pass it along, we lose it all.
Question: I make Mokume'Gane for the jewelery I make, however I also make it for knife and rifle furniture. I have raw billets I can sell. Do you know of anyone who so desires or where I can sell?
Dr. John Hosler-Donohue  <docone31#Hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 11/29/00 05:38:28 GMT

Mokume'Gane: Doc, You are welcome to offer it for sale on our Virtual Hammer-In page. It only gets archived every month or so where this page gets archived weekly. We have quite a few smiths here that produce laminated steels but few work in the non-ferrous.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/29/00 06:31:35 GMT

Sharing Knowledge: Among craftsfolk modern Blacksmiths are a unique group. Most of us started studying the art in the late 60's or early 70's when there were fewer smiths than at any point in history and there were almost no books in print. Tools, good information and real first hand knowledge were all difficult to find. Any time two "hippie blacksmiths" found each other it was a love fest of knowledge exchange. That sharing was institutionalized in ABANA, BABA and other blacksmithing organizations. Now the sharing occurs in cyberspace.

When newbies or the the simply curious find our Slack-Tub Pub there are amazed at finding real blacksmiths to converse with. Little do they know that a generation ago many of us would travel hundreds of miles for the priveledge of meeting and talking to a REAL professional smith!

Even today, friendships made on the net have resulted in fellow smiths traveling thousands of miles to meet and spend time with each other exchanging knowledge.

We share our knowledge to prevent the art of the smith from becoming a "lost art".
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/29/00 07:10:42 GMT

Hey, me again.

Where can i find the plans for making the coolest iron projects?

scott - Wednesday, 11/29/00 18:10:44 GMT

Projects: Scott, I don't know about cool, but the most anywhere on-line are on our iForge page. Some are for beginners but most take lots of practice.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/29/00 20:05:20 GMT

dearest guru
I have been playing at coppersmithing for a while now and have come to the realization that it would be great to have someone to speak with that knows more than what I have been able to teach myself. however I have been unable to find anyone in the Toronto area that knows anything and is willing to help may be you do?
bob stueck  <bstueck at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 11/29/00 20:13:29 GMT

Coppersmithing: Bob, I have only played a bit with copper and brass. A bit of raising and repose'. Not much standard "tinsmith" work. Ask your questions and we will see what we can do. Besides myself and the other members of the "color guard" we have several silver smiths and jewlers that frequent this forum. Working copper is very similar to working silver.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 11/29/00 23:23:43 GMT

I have resently bought a Champion Blower an
d Forge postdrill (No.3) for $27, and in my opinion is in great condition exept the rachiting mecanisim that screws the drill down is busted off in the middle and I was wanting to forge another one but I need a picture or something to go off of. My question is do you know any where I could find a good picture of the drill showing the part?
josh  <Profish at voyager.net> - Thursday, 11/30/00 02:31:01 GMT

Drill: Josh, we have some posted pics on the 21st Century page and I am mailing you some.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 03:22:52 GMT

I am about to build a hood for my coal forge. I am trying to decide how to build the pipe going up through the shop roof. Can you direct me to any information on recommendations or give some advice on this. I am wondering about the following:
Single wall or double wall pipe?
10"dia ok?
Method of insulation where going thru roof.
Design for rain cap.
I think I will make both the hood and the pipe out of sheet metal, as I have a roller. Hoping there is some proven design information somewhere.
Doug - Arizona
azdoug  <dendrud at earthlink.net> - Thursday, 11/30/00 03:33:35 GMT

I sent you an e-mail, no respnse. I live 55 miles north of Harrisburg. 570-966-2870
Bob Clark  <rechamer at uplink.net> - Thursday, 11/30/00 03:46:14 GMT

Coppersmithing- First, if you're doing it the old-fashioned way, with irons, you'll need sal ammoniac as a sort of flux to tin your irons. Unless you find an old-time tinsmith, nobody at the hardware store will know what you're talking about. You can get it from Bryant Labs, 1101 Fifth Street, Berkeley, California, about ten bucks for a small but adequate supply. If you are using one of the ancient gasoline blow torches, and you just got it, fire it up outdoors the first time. They tend to leak at the bottoms of the fuel tanks, which is not apparent until the pressure builds. Things can become very exciting, especially when dangling in a bosun's chair high up on the side of a steeple, which is why some tinsmiths tended to drink. If you're going modern, no problem: just get some acid for flux, some teency brushes to put it on with, some sticks of solder, an oxy-propane or -acetylene torch and have fun! For how-to, there are several books worth their weight in solid gold. The Bible for me is Soft Soldering, Hard Soldering and Brazing, by James F. Hobart, M.E., second edition corrected, D. Van Nostrand, 1912. You can make a living out of Hobart, just repairing and replicating old stuff. There are some nifty designs and trade lore in Art Metalwork, by Arthur Payne, The Manual Arts Press, Peoria, Illinois, 1914, 1929. (This book and the others mentioned here are available either from iron-oriented bookmongers or through inter-library loan. Get 'em and Xerox 'em.) Art of Coppersmithing, "a practical treatise on working sheet copper into all forms," an 1893 detailed memoir of his apprenticeship by John Fuller, Sr., reprinted by Astragal Press in 1993, is just exactly what the title says, the craft of coppersmithing from A to Z, including detailed plans for stuff to make. A similar book is Metal Plate Work, by Paul N. Hasluck, originally published in 1907 by David McKay. This is a section of Hasluck's larger work on all manner of metal work. Fine stuff about tools, geometry. For the nitty-gritty on tough layout problems, you cannot beat a good vocational text book. One I depend on is Industrial Sheet Metal Drawing, by James H. Paull, Van Nostrand Co., 1938. You must read it verrrry carefully because old Jimbo did not waste words, but if you have to make a chainguard or a Y branch coming off a round, or a notched hexagonal pyramid, or a tin flashing boot for a skylight with all kinds of edges and levels to it that goes up plumb atop a roof that slopes, Jim's the man you want at your layout table. Dona Meilach's fine book on smithing has some highly useful text and photos on the art of raising, the making of vessels from flat stock by tap-tap-tapping, annealing and then tapping some more. One cautionary note: fluxes and solders are toxic as hell, so ventilate your bench! And get a good respirator! And wear it, now, you hear?
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 03:50:09 GMT

Hood: Doug, There are so many variables it is hard to be specific. The BIG variable is how big a forge/fire?

Hoods are terribly inefficient. They have to suck up all the air at their opening. That means a LOT of cold air that doesn't want to move. Hoods need a 12" dia stack or larger for the average forge. Side draft units are much more efficient. However, they are not perfect. The ideal setup would be a side draft unit with a hood well above it to pick up stray smoke. Side drafts work with 10 and 12" dia stacks.

Turbine wind caps increase the efficiency of the stack.

Single, double or triple wall pipe is determined by the local building codes. Single does fine going through a non-flamable sheet metal roof on steel purlins. But it may not be alowed by code. Commercial triple wall stack has a stainless steel inner pipe. THIS is a great advantage as coal smoke tends to eatup steel pipe. At least it does in our local high humidity.

In many cases the roof penetration needs to be double or triple wall and the pipe going to it can be single wall. Even if local building codes don't apply I'd use a commercial flange in the roof or wall.

This is an outfit Jerry "birdlegs" Carrol bought his turbine from.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 04:00:02 GMT

Coppersmithing; Cracked, I went to gradeschool with a guy named Sal Ammoniac, alway's smelled BAD. Just kidding. Bob, I recently posted about a new tool for working copper. It was devised by EA Chase, and demonstated by Pete Fels last year at the CBA (Ca. Blacksmith Assoc.) "Oktoberfest". The idea is simple, a basic frame with an aircraft (or similar) rivet gun mounted to the end. The gun is used the same as a small power hammer. The hammer head has a small anvil mounted underneath. I made my anvil from a piece of 1" round, then welded a 1/2" piece of tool steel to the top. The anvils, and heads can be shaped to give you different textures. The variations are endless. Very unique and useful tool. Tim
Tim Cisneros   <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 05:12:27 GMT

Am looking for info. re: forging stainless steel-304 or 304L, in particular, information regarding corrosion. I understand that between 500 and 800 degrees C, when forging ss 304, that the chromium carbide precipitates along the grain boundaries (realise that this depends upon the length of time and temperature combined) and that this results in corrosion. Have read that if 304L is submitted to the same conditions that the lower carbon content (as long as it's below .03%) reduces sensitisation considerably.
1. I think I don't really understand what precipitation refers to. Have a very limited knowledge of metallurgy. Are harmful vapours emitted while forging?
2. Can this sensitisation process be reversed if one, upon completion of forging, heats the piece up to say 1200 degrees F and then quenches?
3. Is it true that for all intents and purposes, I can avoid this problem if I forge 304L???
4. What temperature should it be forged at or better yet, what range of temperatures?
I"m working on a commission that requires a minimal amount of forging on an outdoor piece that combines copper and steel. Don't want to galvanize and then paint because the copper will have to be joined to the steel and the only option in that case would be riveting. Which means piercing the galvanized and painted surface and introducing moisture = rust to the sculpture. It will look terrible once the paint gets chipped. So I plan to silver solder the joints. Have any answers or suggestions? I've researched this a fair bit and have found that the manufacturers of steel don't know much at all about metallurgy. Or at least not enough to translate their knowledge to other applications. I know that one must avoid embedding the stainless steel with bits of mild steel (from wire brushes, wheels, scale etc.) during the forging process to reduce the chances of surface rust... I really like the idea of a maintenance free piece.
Thanks for your input
Sandra Dunn  <sedunn at golden.net> - Thursday, 11/30/00 05:31:46 GMT

Sandra, I believe 304 and 304L stainless have the same amount of carbon, however 304L has Lead added to it to improve the machining qualities. I'm not sure it would be a good choice for forging, the lead is blown into the molten steel as it is manufactured, and I think because of the hazards leaded steel is being taken off the market. The fumes from the 304L at forging temperature may not be healthy to breath, because of the lead.
One other thing you should be aware of is copper and steel in contact and subjected to moisture will corrode from galvanic action or electrolysis (sp?). You will need to insulate the two from contact with something. Silver solder may just make it worse, but I can't say for sure.
Personally from a machinist point of view 303 stainless may be a better material than 304, at least it's easier to cut, I've never forged it.
I'm confident there are others here with more knoweledge to add (and correct any defects in my logic) so please take my info as just my opinion.
Moldy Jim
Moldy Jim  <sorry> - Thursday, 11/30/00 07:32:34 GMT

Stainless/Corrosion: Sandra, If you read carefully the problems with proper heat treating of stainless are for "maximum corrosion resistance". Maximum meaning resistance to harsh chemicals and such. You should always use the best forging practices but sometimes you have to consider the application.

Precipitation is the seperation and gathering together of an element in an alloy. When it is a problem you should keep your heats as short as possible (no soaking in the forge).

Leaded metals of any type are less forgable than non-leaded. The lead tends to seperate or burn out at high temperatures and the metal can become a crumbly mess. I'm not sure about leaded stainless. Leaded metals are also generaly more expensive because they are specialy processed for machinability.

Bi-metalic corrosion is a serious problem in outdoor work, especialy in a humid environment. It is complicated to avoid and best avoided entirely. Brazing or hard soldering stops the problem at the joint interface but not in the surrounding metal. The dissimilar metals create an electric circuit where one metal attempts to plate the other. This means that metal ions leave one piece and try to travel to the other. If the ions make the journey then the target metal (the copper) gets plated and stained with iron. The iron is left with a growing pit in its surface. Most often the traveling ions don't make the journey and rust stains on the painted surface is the result (along with the pitting).

Zinc galvanizing and zinc powder paint protect steel because the zinc is very active and plates small scratches in the surface by the same process.

Please note that you cannot silver solder to a galvanized surface. If you are VERY careful you may be able to soft solder using pure tin or very low temperature silder. It may be possible using 100% silver but I am not sure.

Your best bet would be to drill oversize holes in the work before galvanizing, then after etching the galvanizing (prior to painting) attaching the copper parts with monel rivets, placing an insulating washer made from reinforced plastic in the joint along with a sealant like epoxy (a messy operation). The joint, rivet head and any scratched areas then touched up with cold galvanizing paint (zinc powder in a small amount of binder). Then carefully painting up to and slightly beyond the joint.

The monel rivet is close to the same electrochemicaly as the copper but the joint should be sealed on that side also. The epoxy in the joint while riveting should have taken care of most of the problem.

THEN after all of that you have not protected the copper. In a few months it will be brown and in a year or so it will start turning green unless you purposely color it.

Most artist/craftsfolk would just build it, toss on some paint and let it go. Its not right, but it is commonly done.

The alternative used historicaly is paint and guilding. Todays modern paints are better than ever. Hot and cold galvanizing are both avaiable. Generaly I do not recommend hot galvanizing except for portions burried below ground. Cold galvanizing with zinc powder paint is a good alternative to hot did and changes the surface texture less.

Wonderful things can be done with colored paint on wrought iron but in the 20th century we have gotten stuck with mono chromatic finishes (black or white). I admit I am as guilty of it as anyone else. Imagine blended blues and greens applied by air brush, spray gun or by a hand rubbed finish with guilded flowers . . .

Highlights by guilding are applied to wrought iron after the rest of the finish and preferably after instalation. Goldleaf is applied over the paint using an organic binder called glair. I'm not sure if glair is used on exterior work or if something else is used but a thin binder is required.

Gold leaf will cost less than solid copper or brass and the trouble to prevent bi-metalic corrosion. Gold can be an element in bimetalic corrosion but since the underlying and surrounding iron is sealed and protected there is little concerned about. Gold is also impervious to discoloring by weathering. Alternatives to guilding are metalic automotive finishes
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 14:31:25 GMT

Dear Guru - Thanks for your advise! I knew that solution sounded a little off. Do you know of anyone using a catalytic converter system? My shop is about 13' tall where the flue would exit. Maybe just a spark screen would eliminate the fear of fire at that point. This web site has changed my life! I truely appreciate you taking the time to answer everyones questions. I've learned from them all.
Kate Clayton  <K8clayton at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 14:38:35 GMT

ok here is one that I should know but don't so .. I am building a fireplace screen and I need the screen all I can find is alumunum now here is the thing I don't know will the alumunum do bad things in contact with the heat and steel or will it be stable I would have perfered to use stanless or even just strate steel but I can't find any
thanks ~MP~
M Parkinson  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 15:44:14 GMT

Catalytic Converter: Kate, Catalytic converters require a relatively high stack temperature, 400°F and up I believe. They are also designed for specific chemical conversions. They are not an option for your forge.

Some localities specify spark arresters (screens) on all commercial stacks. For coal the screen would need to be stainless or it would have a very short life. Ask your local furnace people. Don't ask the code or building inspection folks unless you want to be asked questions you many not want to answer. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 18:35:33 GMT

Firescreens: MP, AL screen is a little flimsey. I used to use 3/16" expanded metal. The AL (window screen) probably won't take a hot coal hitting it without melting.

McMaster-Carr sells "Insect Screening" in AL, Galv Steel, Bright Bronze, 304 and 316 SS. All 18 mesh, .011 wire.

They also sell heavier woven wire cloth in SS, copper, plain and galvanized steel. Meshes vary from filter screen to gravel sorting size. 8x8 Mesh with 1/16" wire is $50/sq ft but 8x8 - 1/32" wire is $10 square foot. Thats for SS other materials are cheaper. $5-$8 sq ft. for some nice heavy stuff.

Now the trick is to determine if there is a standard mesh for fire screen. More research. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 18:54:03 GMT

Expanded Metal: That was 18ga with a 1/8 x 3/16" mesh. . . (I used). I would have gone with McMaster-Carr if I'd known about them at the time!

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 19:03:01 GMT

Thanks for the quick response regarding coal forge hood.

The coal forge is a standard buffalo type forge with a cast iron firepot. Fire pot is 8-1/2" x 10" x 4"deep (opening size, not the surrounding frame). It is a Centaur Co. firepot.

Is there a place I can see a drawing or plan for a side draft. It sounds like I should do a side draft instead of a hood. I'll build that and try it and only add an additional hood if necessary. This is a small shop, enclosed on 3 sides only. Will be going thru a shingled plywood roof.


azdoug  <dendrud at earthlink.net> - Thursday, 11/30/00 22:05:00 GMT

MP- Don't know where you are, but I got my SS screen from Western Wire Products in Portland, OR. As the guru says, SS is plenty expensive, but they can get or make whatever you want.
CraigS  <schaefc at vfc.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 23:02:02 GMT

Side Draft: Doug, I'm making a drawing to post now. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 23:25:25 GMT

thanks didn't think about MCMaster-Car it is to be used in a rumford fireplace so there shouldn't be to much heat in contact with the screen I was more worryed about BI-metalic corrosion I didn't know what the reaction betwine steel and AL with the heat would be.
craig I am in CT but thanks for the help.
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 11/30/00 23:40:20 GMT

I ordered screen from McMaster-Carr today 6'x48" ( big fireplace) 12 mesh,this means 12 wires across and 12 up and down, .023 I think. $75.00 + shipping. I'm telling you the service can't be beat. A very nice person is going to walk into my shop and hand the screen to me tomorrow. Guru, I am interested in finding out about any industry guide lines on screen sizes too.
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 01:54:32 GMT

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