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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 1 - 7, 2006 on the Guru's Den
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For those wanting to upset in the middle of a bar, there is always that old standby of American ingenuity, the upsetter. A 1" Ajax only weighs about 18,000# and uses a small 10 Hp motor. We used a 9" Ajax to put a 18" od by 5" upset disc in the center of a 5" od bar. It was considerably shorter when completed:) and it only took 4 hits!
   ptree - Tuesday, 10/31/06 21:09:28 EST

Western Fad, Fashion, Style, Foppery, and Coopting.

I just returned from demonstrating smithery in Roswell, NM, at a museum opening. They had a gala Friday night prior to the opening...$100 for a show preview, dinner, and dancing to Western swing. I quote from the flyer; "DRESS: Elegant western and black tie."

Whereas the real cowhands may wear boots, long sleeved work shirts, and sometimes ball caps, a certain section of the populace have coopted their traditional dress and have upgraded it, almost beyond recognition (something akin to what Roy Rogers did). To dress "elegant western" usually takes money, perhaps a stable of horses, and an Old West attitude. Moreover, you can dress western, and not so elegantly.

"Why did the cowboys all start wearing tennis shoes?"

So you could tell 'em from the truck drivers.

   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 11/01/06 07:59:05 EST

Old Flint: One thing that is hard to fake is the line plating on old flint. For the same reasons that flint nodules have a heavy lime coating flint points start to age this way as soon as they are dropped on the ground. . . However, I suspect it depends on the local geology.

Other ways to tell. . old points were almost never so perfect as reproductions and most often missing the tip of the point where they had struck bone (or wood if a miss).

Like old padlocks with two keys, points with all the corners should be looked at with suspicion.

In the end. . if you are going to be a collector of ANYTHING you should know something about it, especially how good the reproductions are if you are collecting something valuable.

What many collectors forget is that if something is popular to collect then it is probably not worth collecting. The thing to collect is things of value that are underpriced and nobody else is particularly interested in. That is why collecting blacksmithing tools is fairly popular. Many old anvils and vises are undervalued and will do nothing except appreciate.
   - guru - Wednesday, 11/01/06 09:15:06 EST

hey y'all,

i have a question about making a forge.
I have an old fire extinguisher, it's about 8-9 inches in diameter and about 21-22 inches in length. i was planing on cuting one end off to make it about 16-18 inches. I was also going to cut a 4" by 2.5" hole (just big enough for a normal sized fire brick to fit into) in the back for a rear opening. I was gonig to put 2 layers of 1" Kaowool all over the inside, and put at least 2 burner but possibly 3. the question is, odes that sound like it will work, i mean do y'all have any comments or ideas about how to make it beter??

thank Y'all
Andrew B.
   - Andrew B. - Wednesday, 11/01/06 09:50:18 EST

ok here is a correction y'all
the fire extinquisher is 7" in diameter and it's already 18" in length.
so gonig by the new dementions what do y'all think about my plan?

thanks y'all
Andrew B.
   - Andrew B. - Wednesday, 11/01/06 10:14:59 EST

Andrew B.

I have an extinguisher that size electrified for use as a lamp. I think it would work. I have one forge that size, only shorter in length. One time at a workshop, we threw together a temporary gas forge with a roll of chicken wire for the body of the forge and with a kaowool lining around the inside.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 11/01/06 11:12:16 EST

Well 7" with 2" of kaowool leaves only a 3" center hole. Kind of small unless you are only doing straight stuff.

Also 2 good burners should do it, at least the 9" forge I have about that size with only 1" kaowool seems to do OK with 2 aspirated burners; the 10" pipe forge I have that's blown uses only 1 burner and I use it for welding...

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/01/06 11:42:23 EST

I got my degree in Archaeology with an emphasis in lithic technologies. An interesting point (no pun intended) about projectile points is that as bow technology improved the quality of points diminished. So, it's only logical that many points were of poor quality (why waste the time making exceptional points when a poor quality point was quicker to make and worked as well). As a side note, many people don't realize that the notches on the sides of arrowheads were intended to be breaking points rather than being put there for hafting purposes. Many found points have multiple notches going up the sides to create multiple fractures. A broken point often saves the arrow shaft and insures that the projectile can't be removed. Interesting stuff!
   MikeH - Wednesday, 11/01/06 12:48:20 EST

Making Gas Forge: I would go with a larger diameter tube and 2" of Kaowool. Number of burners depends on the type of burner and its design specifics, the forge volume and flow characteristics and how the forge is vented. It is complicated and that is why some forges work slick while others are a waste of effort.
   - guru - Wednesday, 11/01/06 14:21:22 EST

Andrew: The devil is in the details and in this case will likely be in your air/fuel delivery system, not in the forge chamber. What you envision would work and I would recommend using bricks on the bottom sitting directly on the inside of chamber. Minor heat transfer. Run insulation from there sides around. You need to put some type of stabilization under the forge. Angle iron tack welded to the bottom will work. Do it first as it orients everything else. For orifices I would recommend no more than .0330. Don't remember drill size offhand but think it is a #65. Or get MIG tips in that size.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 11/01/06 14:42:54 EST

i just bought a couple of anvil vises and would like to know more information about them. I have looked up on the web, but have found no real help. They are manufactured by the Chicago Flexible shaft Co. they are call "the stewart handy worker" they have a 5/8" hardy and weight in at 60lbs. I have pictures if you need them.
   paul b - Wednesday, 11/01/06 16:20:43 EST

Paul, never head of them. A google search brings up a bunch of info on "Chicago Flexible Shaft Co". Apparently they later became Sunbeam.
Chicago Flexible Shaft Co., which would eventually be known as Sunbeam, was founded in Chicago in the early 1890s by John K. Stewart and Thomas J. Clark, who made mechanical horse clippers and sheep shearers. Between 1908 and 1936, Chicago Flexible Shaft operated as a subsidiary of Wm. Cooper & Nephews, an English company. During this time, the company began to manufacture a variety of electrical appliances, including irons, mixers, coffeemakers, and toasters; its plant on West Roosevelt Road employed about 500 people. In 1946, 10 years after Cooper sold the company, it became the Sunbeam Corp.
So that narrows down when it would have been made, sometime between ~1893 and 1946.

The fact is that there were hundreds of vise manufacturers and thousnads of patent vices. It would be an interesting project to write a book on them. One place to start, the patent office. I used to know how do a search there on old pattents. . . You can find old patents by patent number on-line. Once you find a patent it will refer to other patents in the "prior-art". Lots to learn about.

   - guru - Wednesday, 11/01/06 17:28:14 EST

are the hole just to let alittle air in?
I was gonig to use the Guru's burner as on the gas forge page of anvil fire. Is it still only 2 of those that i would need? And would one inch of kaowool be enough to heat that large of a chamber, if i did the math right it's got 2,461.76 cubic inches (205.15 cubic feet) with one inch of kaowool it would be 1,177.5 cubic inches (98.13 cubic feet). I guess the question is would one inch be suffisient for achieving a welding heat? I know howq to hook up the to the burners, and all that jazz. I just need to know about the insulation situation, and how many burners to use.

thank Y'all
Andrew B.
   - Andrew B. - Wednesday, 11/01/06 17:29:01 EST

Andrew, check your math. 205 CuFt is the size of a small automobile.

   - guru - Wednesday, 11/01/06 17:46:07 EST

yeah i though i was wrong. it's area of the base times the hight for volume right?
   - Andrew B. - Wednesday, 11/01/06 17:51:44 EST

I think you did the math wrong Andrew, to find volume of a cylinder it's area of base x height. To get the area of a circle it's pi x R▓
   JimG - Wednesday, 11/01/06 17:58:05 EST

And a cubic foot is 1728 cubic inches.
   Mike B - Wednesday, 11/01/06 18:14:51 EST

I should have told you it has a pat. date of Sept 1916. I has 3 gears on the back side of the vise and they seem to do nothing to the opening and closing of the jaws. When the vise is open you can remove the top plate which is about 1" thick. Where can I send you a couple of pictures??
   paul b - Wednesday, 11/01/06 18:21:44 EST

Andred B: No, .0330 is the size of the opening(s) which inject propane down the tubes. Doing so creates a vacumm which draws in air down the tube so both reach the combustion chamber.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 11/01/06 19:28:55 EST

my question is about coal.I live in New Brunswick Canada,good coal is hard to come by here.I use local coal that is high in sulfer,when i pull the iron out of the fire i can smell the sulfer fumes.How harmful is this on my health.
   paul - Wednesday, 11/01/06 21:19:30 EST


I think you really need to do some more studying on the subject of gas forges. A lot more. Get Michael Potter's book on forges, go to the ABANA website and check out the Ron Reil forge pages, and read all the archived information you can find, anywhere. The lack of understanding you display, and your faulty math, makes me worry that you may be well on your way to a disaster. A disaster with a gas forge can result in loss of life, not just a mere embarrassment.

You simply MUST know how to calculate volumes, areas and flows, as well as understand how a venturi works (and doesn't work, too). Gas forges are based on sound scientific principles and you need to know them in order to do this safely.

Yes, lots of people just toss something together without knowing what they're doing and get away with it. But not all of them get away with it. Some end up with forges that don't work, and others end up with smoking ruins where their house once stood or eternally inhabiting a satin-lined wooden box that measures about six feet by three feet by two feet.

For a little bit more than the cost of the raw materials, you can buy a ready-made forge from Ken Scharabok. He sells on EBay under the name "scharabo". I've seen his forges at QuadStates and they look just fine and will serve you both well and safely. I believe he may be listed as an Anvilfire advertiser on the pull-down menu at the top right of this screen.

Please be safe! We would like to see you continue in this field, with all your appendages and organs intact.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 11/01/06 22:41:28 EST

thanks y'all
i knew i didn't have enough information that's one reason i was asking y'all. actualy i just ordered a poor boy forge litterally 2 minutes ago. thanks Vicopper for being consered about me blowing things up, i have a blacksmtihnig friend who blew up with first shop trying to convert to propane from coal. but seriously all of y'all have been extreamly hepful, that just goes to show that blacksmiths really are nice people! not just abnormally strong callous iron beaters. that's a joke

thanks y'all
Andrew B.
   - Andrew B. - Wednesday, 11/01/06 23:16:54 EST

Check out this poor boy blacksmith/farrier anvil on ebay #270049369373. It is cool. It would make a great addition to Ken's poor boy smitty shop tools.
   - Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 11/01/06 23:21:23 EST

im just wondering why a cast ingot, one that has no working, not able to recrystillize even after you heated it for a long period of time?
   brandon - Thursday, 11/02/06 02:01:23 EST

Check the anvil Burnt indicated above. A great illustration of what you are always saying to beginners about an anvil not having to look like an anvil to work just fine. Good job Burnt!
   - Tom H - Thursday, 11/02/06 07:41:40 EST

DIY anvil: Besides being a good simple design without a lot of wasted effort it appears to have been a useful tool for many years. I've asked if I can use the photos in an article.

Metallurgy: Brandon, what metal? Alloy? All metals crystalize on solifification. Perhaps you are looking for a specific type of crystal structure? Or in heating it for a long period of time you have burned the metal and it is now a metal compound?
   - guru - Thursday, 11/02/06 08:49:38 EST

With certain alloys you would get grain growth but why would the crystals want to recrystalize---that would be going to a higher energy state with the numerous crystal boundries and you don't go from a lower state to a higher state without something *forcing* it to. Sounds like a homework question to me.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 11/02/06 13:01:06 EST

Thanks Tom H
I thought it would be helpful to some folks. I hope Jock gets permission to use the photos.
   - Burnt Forge - Thursday, 11/02/06 15:18:18 EST

upsetting: I finally got a chance to try vicooper's upsetting method. I presume you use a torch to apply localised heat? I don't have one which means I loose time and heat quenching. I first tried with a short section (about a foot long) with success. However, I couldn't get enough control over the stock once I stepped up to a 4 foot section. I suspect I need to make a gig to include end-cups (rather than simple angle-iron) + some guides to stop the stock rolling.
Do you easily apply the technique to do mid-section upsets on longer stock?
   andrew - Thursday, 11/02/06 19:21:04 EST

I read andrew's post on upsetting and went back in the archives to see what you recommended, partner, that idea is about as slick as greased owl snot!! I don't need to do it for any project right now, but I'm gonna "just because" and hang it on my shop wall to look at. I'm sure otherwise, by the time I need to upset the middle of a bar, I'll have forgotten how to do it....ain't CRS grand?!
   Thumper - Thursday, 11/02/06 23:09:38 EST


I find that that method work fine for me for stock up to about eight feet long, which is the length of the piece of channel I use for the base. I sometimes use the O/A torch for the heat, and other times I use the forge and quench a bit if I need to localize the heat. Either way works.

On a long bar of small diameter, it will help if you have a way to confine it so there isn't room for it to move sideways. And don't expect to move the whole upset in one heat. It may take two or even three heats to get all the upset you need.
   vicopper - Thursday, 11/02/06 23:38:42 EST


Yep, one of the great things about getting older is that you get to do so many things for the first time...again. (grin)
   vicopper - Thursday, 11/02/06 23:39:46 EST

Upsetting: A good friend of mine and a very skilled professional smith calls upsetting an "upsetting" experiance. On the other hand I have seen some smiths that could make amazing upsets by hand. Two or three diameters in a couple heats. The result of many years of practice.

One thing that is important in any shop operation is the smoothness of the moves. If you have to walk around a bench (or the anvil), fumble with tools or clamps, realign the work. . well, you aren't going to get there.

So walk through what you are doing. Move the anvil out of the way, rig up the fixtures necessary to do the job and have just the tools you need out where you don't have to reach for them. Efficient work is a ballet of motion. Smooth, efficient, practiced. If you feel you do not know what you are doing then you probably don't and you need to back off, think about it and make the changes to make it work. Don't overthink it, just think it through.

The time spent organizing a task in the blacksmith shop usually pays off. On a few parts you break even but on many parts you profit highly. After enough jobs you have a feel for the setup neccessary and just do it, either from doing it before or something close enough.

One difference between a neophyte and a professional is that the professional has experianced the frustration of many jobs and has put it behind them while the neophyte is finding out that things are not as easy as they seem.

Practice, and experiance, and everything becomes much easier.

Now if I can just find my missing B&D grinder. . .
   - guru - Friday, 11/03/06 00:05:14 EST

aw u doin
   - gazza - Friday, 11/03/06 05:13:47 EST

Teaching people to be *ready* when the work comes out of the forge can be interesting. Many smithing processes really do best when done that "golden moment" when the piece first comes out of the fire and is at full heat, the rest of the work time is really only doing a bit of clean up and getting ready for the next golden moment.

Last weekend I was holding for a fellow who was doing his first hot cutting. The piece was hot in the forge so I asked him if he was ready. He said "Yes" but was not holding the hammer or hot cut. I took the piece out anyway and laid it on the cutting saddle; by the time he had hunted and fumbled the hammer and hot cut into place the piece was too cold for cutting so I put it back in the forge and asked him why he had said he was ready when he wasn't? He learned a lot from that "wasted" heat.

My pay attention lesson with a coal forge is usually more painfull and the reason I start people making their first knife out with twice as much stock as they need. I do warn them twice about burning their piece up and then let them do it...seems like almost all of them are the third type of people---Those who can learn by reading about it; those who can learn by watching someone else and those who have to pee on the electric fence themselves.

   Thomas P - Friday, 11/03/06 11:59:25 EST

The advise I give is to never put a piece in the forge unless you know exactly what you are going to do with it and you are ready to do so.

Even if you are going to experiment or be spontaneous in blacksmithing you must have an idea of where you are going before you start. Many authors that have never done any blacksmithing write about the spontaneity of forged iron. Working directly in the metal. . . There is very little spontaneity in the process until you reach a very high level of skill and at that point you are just thinking ahead of where you are working.

   - guru - Friday, 11/03/06 12:43:22 EST

Experiance: you couldn't have said it any better, Jock. Part of being new to things is also the wonder and enjoyment of discovering "new" things and methods, techniques, etc. I have come up with ways of doing things I thought were pretty innovative until I pick up a book and realized what I came up with is centuries old technique.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 11/03/06 12:49:47 EST

I asked if anyone had any info on a "Barth" bench shear a while back and drew a blank. The identical shear is on ebay right now, item #110050374435. I don't know anything about it's condition but I use mine daily. I've cut up to 1/8" flat stock on the front shear, and chop up to 1/2"rnd and 3/8"sq mild steel regularly with the rod dies behind the pivot. For a small shop this has turned out to be an invaluable tool. I highly recommend checking out the auction for anyone in need of a hand operated shear. Also, still looking for any info on date of mfgr or the Barth Co.
   Thumper - Friday, 11/03/06 13:23:46 EST

Amen on being ready to work as soon as the metal comes out of the forge. That should be the first lesson taught in blacksmithing after the safety lecture. By the way, I've been told (I won't experiment on myself.....my brother maybe), that if you jump up in the air while peeing on an electric fence, and can squeeze it all out before you land, you won't get a shock because you're not grounded....anyone wants to try it for the sake of science, I'd love to know if that theory's right or not LOL!!
   Thumper - Friday, 11/03/06 13:31:21 EST

Hello everyone,
I guess I'd never really thought to do it, but i just checked the archives and with all the questions about anvils there is only one about Kirkstall anvils. I own a 150 lb Kirkstall. I don't know if Mr Postman covers Kirkstalls in his book or not, but I thought he might like a picture or two since it seems to be a rarer brand (compared to Hay Buddens, Fishers ,etc.) Does anyone have regular contact with Mr. Postman and if so could you relay the information to him, or direct me in the right direction for contacting him?
Thanks everyone,
Aaron @ the SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Friday, 11/03/06 14:47:38 EST

The way I see spontaneity in forged work is that as the Smith we have to make an instant desicion every hammer blow to get the final shape we are striving for. "the hammer's blow once struck can not be taken back"
   JimG - Friday, 11/03/06 14:56:40 EST

I tell 'em, "Ninety percent of your work is done while you're taking a heat."
   Frank Turley - Friday, 11/03/06 15:14:43 EST

Aaron: Kirkstall is included in Anvils in America (page 74). Reads: 7. Kirkstall Forge - I have recorded two of these anvils (would be as of 1996); one is double-horned and weights 250 pounds. (Then gave diminsions of the other one). Said logo as best he could make it out was:

B S & CO.
1 - 1 - 16

If the markings on your anvil are different (other than weight stamps) I am sure he would love to have to high quality photo of them. You can send a photo to me and I'll forward it to him.

It may be only rare in that Mouse Hole Forge and Peter Wright (and a much lessor degree Wilkinsons) dominated the export market to the U.S. In a discussion several years ago Mr. Postman speculated odd-ball English brands may have been more likely to be exported to Canada and found their way south of the border. For example when a HILL anvil is put on eBay it is almost always located in the Pacific Northwest. It is almost as if HILL shipped a bunch to Vancouver, BC and some came to the U.S. from there.

While on anvils, Mr. Postman and I are still researching the DUNN & MURCOTT anvil I found. Via a Google search I located a 1897 directory for Brooklyn. They are in it, but not listed as a hardware company, rather an anvil company with Herbert Dunn listed as anvilmkr. Speculation is now they may have been manufacturing anvils in competition with Hay-Budden and then were either financed or purchased Walter Ring, who was formerly the H-B secretary/treasurer. He then change the name to AMERICAN. What is really odd about this anvil is the serial number of 699 is on the right side of the front foot. Had it been a reworked H-B it should have been on the left side of the front foot. Mr. Postman notes he has recorded a fair number of AMERICANs and none had serial numbers.

Also, on the mystery of the AMERICAN ROSS anvil in Foxfire #5. We are about 99% sure what the blacksmith told the students is he had an American made, wrought anvil and they simply heard it as American Ross. I have spoken with this guy's son and he indicated he was an immigrant from German whose English wasn't all that great.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 11/03/06 15:26:27 EST

Kirkstall forge was one of the uk s biggest closed die shops untill about 4 years ago, based in Leeds. (and one of my best customers..!)some massive stamps and presses in there, including 12 ton + drop hammers. It was owned by GKN and one point, and Dana Spicer. When they held the auction they reconed ú 100m replacement value on the kit in there.

I recall (read somewhere) that the forge was on the site in leeds for a centary plus, its not beyond the relms of possibility that they maufactured anvils whick could have ended up on your side of the pond.

anyway, all gone now, just a housing estate and some more jobs lost to low labour rate economies....
   john n - Friday, 11/03/06 17:51:24 EST

I also recall that kirkstall forge was the location of the UKs first 'power' hammer, a water powered helve.

Ive got photos of it in a book somewhere, sadly not enough seconds in a day to start digging round for it, flirt me an email if anyone does want further info on kirkstall, I may be able to look it up at work, as a work avoidance tactic :)
   john n - Friday, 11/03/06 17:58:57 EST

To follow up on john n's comment. Richard Postman has told me England has a law you can only build a house where a structure previously was. Thus, you cannot build on raw land. For that reason the land under closed factories is often quite valuable to housing units due to supply and demand.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 11/03/06 18:01:08 EST

IIRC there was one powered by a tidal system around the year 900---was that at kirkstall?

   Thomas P - Friday, 11/03/06 19:24:43 EST

I know very little about blacksmithing, but I am interested in trying it. So, any advice or places I can go to learn in northwestern Pennsylvania would be greatly appreciated.
   Shouter - Friday, 11/03/06 20:16:17 EST

Ken, not quite true, most of the countryside is classed as greenfield and cannot get planning consent, the government is pushing for more 'brownfield' developments (ie reclaimed inner city / industrial site ) - this is leading to people classing gardens as 'brownfield' sites and building on them.
In the south of england the esteemed (sarcasm) mr Prescott (deputy PM) has pledged 3m new homes many on raw land, even though the infrastructure is not in place to handle them. We have got to make space for all of the eastern europeans etc who wish to take advantage of the UKs overly generous benefits system :)

When you consider that the average house price in the uk (and our houses are tiny comapred to the states) is now ú180k you can see why everone is trying to build everywhere! - (the houses dont cost that much to build, its all the value of the plot)

Kirkstall / Leeds is a bit land locked to be tidal powered !, the helve hammers are pre Naysmith by a good while but well documented age wise, ill dig the book out when im back in work and mail the pics to Mr D for verification!

I also managed to dig out the original canvas drawings for the 'Blacker' mechanical hammer last week, there should be an original manufacturing drawing for the anvil in there somewhere - I will report back on that as there was a thead on here about anvil design drawings a few months back.
   john n - Friday, 11/03/06 20:54:25 EST

Getting Started: Shouter, we have a nice article on the subject linked here, on the home page and FAQs page.

Start there, follow the links.

   - guru - Friday, 11/03/06 23:23:06 EST

In something like 1966 I was on a Navy ship making a port visit to I believe Edinburg, Scotland. When we went ashore for liberty it must have been high tide as it was just a fairly short distance to the top of the wharf. When were returned it must have been low tide as we had to descent a fairly high flight of steps to get to the liberty boat.

I can see where it would be possible to impound water from a high tide and then let it out underneath a waterwheel to power it. Depending on the tidal cycles it may be possible to get eight or more hours of operation in a 24-hour period.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 11/04/06 04:34:16 EST

Today the tide on the Thames will be a high of 8m and a low of 0.7.
Enough to power a trip hammer?
   - Dan P. - Saturday, 11/04/06 08:50:21 EST

Hang on, I've got that a bit wrong- but you get the idea anyway, and that's at London Bridge, the centre of the capital.
   Dan P. - Saturday, 11/04/06 09:14:03 EST

Dear Sir,

I am Located in Bangalore which is south of India.

I am a technical consultant and doing developmental works.
I require to do the heat treatment for D2 (HcHcr) materails what method should I use so that there is no distortion at the time of heat treatment.

Thanking You,


Guru ( this is my Name)
   Guru - Saturday, 11/04/06 09:16:09 EST

D2 Heat Treating: Guru of Bangalore,

Note that preventing distortion is a matter of care in heating, not too fast, thoroughly, and cooling properly. D2 is an air-hardening steel but it can also be quenched in a salt bath at 1000°F (538°C). Every part has it pecularities in this business so there is often some trial and error involved.

Here is the paraphrased advice from the ASM Heat Treater's Guide. If you are going to regularly give advise on heat treating you should have a copy.

Forging: Preheat to 1200 to 1300°F (650 to 705°C). Forge between 2000 and 1850°F and no lower than 1700°F. Cool slowly after forging (not in air, a heat treating furnace or annealing medium is required).

Annealing (if necessary): Protect from air or heat in a nonoxidizing salt bath OR an innert pack material to prevent decarburization. Heat slowly and uniformly to 1600 to 1650°F (870 to 900°C). Hold for 1.3 to 6 hours. Use lower time and temperature limits for small sections. Time should be about 1.5 hours per inch thickness or the piece or the pack if pack annealing.

Cool slowly at a rate not to exceed 40°F/hour.

Hardening: Heat Slowly, Preheat at 1500°F (815°C) to prevent distortion, and austentize at 1800 to 1875°F (980 to 1025°C). This can be done in a variety of furnaces with protective atmosphers or a protective bath. Hold at 15 minutes for small tools and 45 minutes for large tools. Quench in air and cool as evenly as possible on all sides (a rack or screen support is helpful). You may also quench in a salt bath at 1000°F (540°C). Hold only long enough to equalilize then cool in air.

Stabilizing: An optional cryogenic treatment may increas hardeness and improve dimentional stability. Stress relieve temper at 300 to 320°F (150 to 160°C) for a short period before refrigerating. Cool to -120°F (-85°C).

Tempering: Temper immediately after hardening or before and after cryogenic stabilizing. temper to 400°F to 1000°F (205 to 540°C) after the tool has cooled to about 120 to 150°F (49 to 66°C). Double temper allowin the tool to cool to room temperature before the second temper.

Range of hardness 61 to 54 HRC after tempering.

Notes: Care in heating is critical in high carbon steels. The temperature range between room temperature and recommended preheats is the critical range to prevent thermal stress and cracking. Simply storing the work in a place near a furnace where it may become uncomfortably hot to handle can reduce thermal shock considerably.

We have a comparison chart between D2 and D7 in our Heat Treating FAQ (toward the bottom).

   - guru - Saturday, 11/04/06 10:23:19 EST

There is quite a bit of force behind impounded water. My farm pond is about one acre. I can draw it down 4' by opening a 6" valve. When I first do so there is a water jet stream about 3' out the end of the valve. If I close the valve down some I can get a jet of water maybe 6' with considerable force.

Some mining operations are down with high pressure water hoses.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 11/04/06 11:52:14 EST

Tidal Hydro: This is a complicated subject. For one thing, while the sea water is coming in the river water is going out and there is a stationary point of stagnation. There is a vertical rise in the water but no significant flow.

Then there are the tidal cycles which are quite bizar and while predictable not as constant as one would believe. On rivers you have continous ups and downs due to variations in rainfall and seasonal foliage changes. When you combine these with the tides you get all sorts of unpredictable behaviours. I know, I tried to chart and plan a hydo construction job around these changes.

But the big problem with tidal power is the total drop (very low) and the high flows. To economically take advantage of low head and high flow you need large diameter custom turbines.

For large scale generation where turbines start at 8 feet in diameter an 8 foot head is problematic. A turbine needs at least its diameter in head above it and below it. So with 8 foot of head, running to 6 foot minimum you can run a 2 foot to 2.5 foot diameter turbine.

Nothing is ever as simple as it seems. . .

Combine the high cost of the equipment and installation and the unpredictable nature of riverian tidal and it is not very profitiable or useful.

A much more constant ocean force is waves. There are increases and decreases but on the coasts of most of the worlds oceans the waves are the same day in day out.
   - guru - Saturday, 11/04/06 14:16:35 EST

Well, now I did it. I bought a new computer, got it all set up in place of the old one, and don't remember how to get into the Members Area. In fact, I am not sure I remember my name and password. Nuts.
   Quenchcrack - Saturday, 11/04/06 15:28:57 EST

I have a wuestion about historical blacksmtihs,
in a blacksmiths shop in the mid to late 1800's would the smiths house be connects directly to the shop by way of door or something of the like. Or would the smiths house just be in close proximity to the shop?

thanks y'all
Andrew B.
   - Andrew B. - Saturday, 11/04/06 16:15:54 EST

Andrew: A book I highly recommend you have your local library obtain for you is: The Blacksmith, Ironworker and Farrier by Aldren A. Watson. (Originally titled: The Village Blacksmith.)

When we lived in Allenton, WI the old blacksmith shop was on the first floor, family living quarters was on the second. Entry was via a trapdoor at the back-type stairs or outside stairs entry. It started out as a smithy, then a car repair shop, then a farm chopper box manufacturing company at the time my parents purchased it.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 11/04/06 16:25:22 EST

Andrew, It depends on where and the circumstances. In the "Wheelwrights Shop" by George Sturt the shop, (which also had a smithy in it, and had stood in the same place since the 1600's the shop did have a conecting door to a dwelling, how ever in the time that Mr Sturt was writing about (the 1920's) the house part was rented out and he had to take a rather circuitous route to unlock the shop and open the main doors.
   JimG - Saturday, 11/04/06 16:30:40 EST

Smithy's: Andrew, I will assume you are talking about the United State. Traditions vary world wide.

In general a smithy was a seperate building. The primary reasons are smoke, dirt and fire hazzard. The so called "general blacksmith" of the US was a frontier blocksmith. They did everything including shoe horses and most smithy's included stalls or bays for shoing horses.

Most blacksmith shops of the 19th century into the 20th were large drafty barn type structures in an industrial or business/warehouse section of a town. In general you could not tell them from any one of the local warehouses or commercial structures nearby. They had either earthen or wooden floors. Where it was necessary to get off the ground wood was used because it was easy on the blacksmiths AND the horses' feet.

   - guru - Saturday, 11/04/06 16:39:44 EST

Nevermind. I figured it out.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 11/04/06 17:25:35 EST

Distortion in D2:After folowing all of the above advice, some distortion is inevitable. Critical dimensions must be finished after heat treatment, by grinding, EDM, etc. I suggest tapping all holes with a .005" oversize tap BEFORE HEAT TREATING, or bolts will most likely bind up. These are just the facts of life when using D2, so time must be allowed for these operations when bidding work.
   Dave Boyer - Saturday, 11/04/06 19:35:50 EST

Paul in New Brunswick re: Coal

You are in luck: your local Home Hardware Store can most likely special order coal for you. This is very good smithing coal from an outfit near St. Jacobs Ontario. Just ask at the customer service desk. They may not realize that they can do this so be nice if the clerks first reaction is bewilderment. Hope this helps.
   Scott C - Saturday, 11/04/06 23:16:39 EST

Tide Mills and Power:

There were a number of tide mills on the lower Potomac into the 19th century, and some structures surviving into the 20th. I think George Washington may have owned one. At any rate, you would dam the opening of the local creek (as salt water estuaries are still known here; they may have fresh water input, but the streams flowing into them are usually minimal) and build the mill by the sluiceway. Then you'd wait. When the tide was approaching high, you'd open the sluiceway and get to work until slack water. Then you'd wait... When the tide dropped you went to work. then you'd wait... Anyway, since the tide here cycles about ~:40 minutes to ~1:10 each day, (depending on sun and moon) and different tidal heights would provide longer or shorter working periods, your work schedule would be, shall we say, difficult. predictable, but inconvenient for others to guess. Add to this the usual hazards of the waterfront environment- heavy weather, storm surges, ship worms and fouling on the sluice gates, salt water corrosion of any metal gears, erosion of shoreline and earthen structures, and you can see why steam and internal combustion power became so popular in our neck of the tidewater. Add to that the impediment to navigation by damming a creek (your plantation would have to encompass the entire branch, our you had to have really agreeable neighbors), and you can see where this practice soon became obsolete.

I've often thought of, and discussed with the neighbors, damming our branch of Canoe Neck Creek, but only when I've had a few rum toddies. Sobriety is most useful when it come to a project of this scale and of such complexity (not to mention of such little utilitarian value). :-)

Cool and busy on the banks of the lower Potomac. Still trying to get the building permit through for the new house, and clearing the family antiques from old Oakley.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 11/05/06 08:01:26 EST

The Saturday Chattanooga Times Free Press had an article about such a tide power project to be made on the Hudson. This project will use submerged turbines that will produce power both on the incoming and outgoing tide.
   - John Odom - Sunday, 11/05/06 10:14:39 EST

does anyone know where i can find something on creating diff layer structures when doing san-mai/folding steel?
im trying to come up with a way to make the blade stronger and sharper i have the final disign in my head but getting there i need help on any references?
   thomas mayhugh - Sunday, 11/05/06 11:34:20 EST

A couple of years ago I had a visit by a friend who is very into small scale hydropower. He looked at my pond drain and said it would be extremely practical for a 12-volt system. Pond is spring fed so likely it would run 24/52. The real cost is in the storage and conversion.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 11/05/06 12:06:14 EST

Thomas, try www.dfoggknives.com. The only thing you can add to a blade to make it sharper is elbow grease.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 11/05/06 12:20:28 EST

Hi , I wanted to ask if you could tell me if It is possible to get parts for the Kling Ironworkers ? I really prefer mechanical Ironworkers to HYD machines . I own a 28 ton 1981 HPS mubea HYD. that is very simaler in design to the UNI HYDRO machines. But, I would very much like to have either a 33 ton kling or a Buffalo 30 ton Machine. The Mechanical Ironworkers are much faster & save time. I spend alot of time down, changing out tooling. I just wanted to find out if any one would know where I could get parts for Kling Ironworker.
   johnmatisse - Sunday, 11/05/06 15:50:58 EST


I have never heard of Kling. I did a Thomas Register search and there are a bunch of Klings but none making metalworking machines.

The world is full of orphan machines. There is nothing wrong with them except when they need repairs you engineer the replacement part and make it (OR pay someone else for both tasks).

The speed of mechanical ironworkers is their downfall on two fronts, safety and reliability. On the safety front they have dog type clutches that are inherently dangerous. They engage on their own, double cycle, miss cycle. . and as a result it is virtualy impossible to get OSHA to pass a mechanical dog type clutch machine, ESPECIALLY orphan machines. So there are tons of them on the market cheap. On reliability these machines are on a par with punch presses which have the same mechanism. Once you trip the trigger the machine MUST complete its cycle or blow up. The most common problem is too heavy of work followed by reaching shut height on dies or die springs. The results are a stalled machine, broken clutches, broken cranks, torn up parts in the clutch area. These problems can only be avoided by properly engineering and testing every die set. If you can do it in house fine. If you can afford to pay for the expertise fine. But if not one or the other the machine will eventually be wrecked.

I operate orphan punch presses and ironworkers but on a low use basis AND I calculate every piece that goes into any of these machines and carefully do all the setup myself. If I was in daily production I would set aside a dollar or so from every part in order to finance a replacement machine.

If you are spending a lot of time changing tooling then you either need more machines or better tooling. Press tooling setup on die sets has a cost but it saves a great deal of setup time. Usualy the setup consists of bolting the die set in place and adjusting the press travel. If die sets are to be changed often then they should be designed to avoid adjusting the press and so all that needs doing it to bolt them on and GO.
   - guru - Sunday, 11/05/06 16:35:03 EST

hey y'all

Is there some equation of something that i could use to find out how long a piece on metal will be when i draw it out to a certain thikness? like a piece of 1" to 1/2"?

thanks y'all
Andrew B.
   - Andrew B. - Sunday, 11/05/06 18:01:57 EST

Andrew: Gorging is basicaly a "constant volume process." Calculate the volume of the starting piece, and the average area of the finished (drawn out) piece, and solve for the new length.

There is a lot of use for simple math, including geometry, in blacksmithing.
   - John Odom - Sunday, 11/05/06 18:29:47 EST

Correction Forging, not gorging. I think gorging is actually a volume increasing process, at least of the stomach!

Proof before posting!
   - John Odom - Sunday, 11/05/06 18:30:55 EST

Andrew, The volume is constant except for a very minor amount lost to scale.

SO. . if you have a 1" square bar and draw it out to 1" by 1/2" it will be twice as long (half thick, twice length)

If you take that same 1" bar and reduce it to 1/2" square it will be 4 times as long. Imagine the end of the bar divided into 1/2" squares (quartered). So 1/2" square is 1/4 the area of 1 and therefore 4x long.

Tapers are a little different depending on if they are flat tapers (wedges) or full tapers (points). A pyramid is 1/3 the volume of the rectangle it fits into. So it is 3 times longer than the starting square rod. The same rule applies for a round point (cone).

But a flat taper where the width is constant is a simple triangular section which has half the area of an equivalent rectangle. So a flat taper is twice as long as the rectangle it comes from.

8th grade geometry. You can also find the relationships of spheres, parabaloids and cones in MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. Start there with your shop math questions. It helps you get used to using this most important of shop references. See our reviews for more information about it.

   - guru - Sunday, 11/05/06 18:37:50 EST

The site of last years Caniron Annapolis Royal is also the site of a large tidal power generating station. Of course they are on a river off the Bay of Fundy with the worlds highest tides.
   - JNewman - Sunday, 11/05/06 19:52:31 EST

One aspect of "non-optimal mill locations" was necessity, you store grain as grain and mill it on an as needed basis. *every* medieval town had to have access to some sort of milling be it hand grinding with a quern, or "powered" grinding powered by wind, water or animal means (Rothenberg ODT had a horse powered mill to use during timnes of seige when the water mill could not be accessed).

Another aspect is that excess mill capacity was often useless. With the difficulty of travel and transportation being able to grind more than the local area could produce was just wasted time, capital and effort.

Now that is in reference to *grain* mills; industrial mills for grinding of Dyestuffs, pigments, the running of helve hammers, the blowing of furnaces would generally be located where the water or wind power was available and so locations where the basic raw materials and water power was available would often grow and flourish and be come famous for their output!

"Cathedral Forge and Waterwheel" "Tidal mills are recorded in Ireland as early as the 7th century, in the Ventian lagoon before 1050, near Dover in the Domesday book...." It also mentions all the problems with tidal power mentioned above...

Also see "The Mills of Medieval England"

   Thomas P - Sunday, 11/05/06 20:37:26 EST

Mill locations also needed specifics such as stone for foundations and good ground to build the foundation upon. Old mills were also arranged so that the wooden wheels were in the shade of the mill if possible. This was important to reduce drying and shrinking of the wood. The difference in life of a wooden wheel in the sun and in the shape was considerable, maybe 30% longer in the shade.

Mills also needed to be where a road could run next to them. It did not take a very large agricultural area to provide sufficient work for a mill. If you look at old maps that indicated all the mills in the early 1800's they were just about everywhere it was possible to build them in the Eastern US. In our county in Virginia there was over 15 mills all running at the same time, many on marginal water sources. Now ours is the last of two standing and the others are hard to locate unless you knew where they were.

Economical hydropower is an altogether different animal. While we have plenty of it in the Eastern US, most already dammed but not in use the government regulations for commercial generation are such that small hydro has been made uneconomical. The paperwork to commerically make power at an old mill dam is as cumbersome as licensing a nuclear power plant.

So far oil prices have not hurt us enough to do the things necessary to break its shackles. It is a drug and we are addicted.
   - guru - Sunday, 11/05/06 22:38:09 EST

I am in refrence to the man who is makong forge out of fire extinguisher?

the container does not concern , only this can hold heat? can retain fire. My man has several :fire boxes: made from bbq pits, rock tubes of steel, xar wheel hubs and even one made of a wood box. all fire is contained in three things.

1 container

2 type of fire or fule

3 how much to be used

buda blessing to you and fire
   - yumi - Monday, 11/06/06 08:03:22 EST

I am wanting to speak on with man who sold me rr spiked , it was last thing my man had spent before stroke ... was p tree or carr racer man . Timex wants to even debts for sent things books not match recipts...

pls sending msg email to us for $ owed
   - yumi - Monday, 11/06/06 08:09:09 EST

$ owed to u not us sorry
   - yumi - Monday, 11/06/06 08:10:55 EST

Guru another elementry question.
What is the forging temparature of hot rolled steel under 1/2 inch?
   - Jeesun - Monday, 11/06/06 10:57:31 EST

Guru another elementry question.
What is the forging temparature of hot rolled steel under 1/2 inch?
   - Jeesun - Monday, 11/06/06 10:58:08 EST

I am trying to create a metal and/or other materials sculpture of a abstracted guitar. My first question is: Can one wield different types of metal together (i.e. Copper to Stainless)?
   - Ann - Monday, 11/06/06 12:12:40 EST

I also need to know what kind of care is necessary to maintain copper.
   - Ann - Monday, 11/06/06 12:13:28 EST

How does enamel work with metal?
   - Ann - Monday, 11/06/06 12:13:43 EST

Jeesun, The forging temperature for any metal is no different for any size piece. The forging temperature for mild steel is 1800 to 2350°F (980 to 1290°C).

Where size comes into play is large pieces take longer to heat to the center and they stay hot longer while working.
   - guru - Monday, 11/06/06 12:37:20 EST

Mixed Metals: Ann, There is the possible and the practical. You can weld almost any metal to any other but it is often impractical.

Copper would be very difficult to weld to stainless but it can be brazed or silver soldered together. The stainless needs to be very clean and possibly fluxed with an agressive flux. Contact your local welding supplier.

Copper will maintain its color for quite a while but once it starts oxidizing it seems to accelerate. If you are happy with the brown of an old penny simply waxing will do. For a bright finish and indoor use you can clear coat metals but they must be VERY clean and not touched by human hands prior to coating. Clear lacquer will keep the finish bright for many years but will eventually show some problems.

Enamel paint sticks quite well to metal but for a permanent finish the metal must be prepared by cleaning, etching or sandblasting, priming for the environment (indoor, outdoor, seaside), then painted.

I prefer automotive lacquers. The are hard, dry fast and are very durable. They also come in almost infinite colors. Most custom airbrush work is done in lacquer but you can also do custom painting with a common spray gun and some practice if you do not need too much detail.

   - guru - Monday, 11/06/06 12:47:46 EST

Gentlmen, my beloved father in law, who never met a tool he didn't like and frequently upgrades his barely out of the box purchases, asked me what I knew about plasma cutters. Very little I say, short of a bit of the operating theory of them. Ken has been doing sculpture and fountains in his retirement, has MIG and OA rigs, and wants to cut some square holes in quarter and half inch plate. He's looking at the Hypertherm Powermax 380. It would require that he upgrade his compressor to a 2 or 3 HP unit. He's out in the rural part of Marin County and has lots of space, to work.

I did find one reference in the archives to the Powermax 380, and would appreciate any insight about this particular unit he's looking at and plasma cutters in general. One of the teachers at my welding class, retired after 30 yrs at Chevron, was bemused at the idea of a home shop plasma cutter.
   Michael - Monday, 11/06/06 13:26:43 EST

Kling ironworkers were purchased by Hill Acme- www.hill-acme.com/spares.asp
This is not to say they will have parts for a 50 year old mechanical ironworker, but at least you could call and ask.
There are lots of old Buffalo's out there, but parts are pretty nonexistant for them as well.
New shear blades and punches are no problem for any ironworker- there are several aftermarket companies that make them to order, and stock punches in most sizes, such as Cleveland Punch.
But any other part for a mechanical ironworker, pretty much ANY mechanical ironworker, would need to be custom made. Mubea and Peddinghaus are the best for parts, but they dont stock much for the oldies. Mubea parts are unavailable for much earlier than the mid 60's, probably similar for Peddy's.

Me, I love my hydraulic ironworker. Tool change times are the same for a hydraulic and a mechanical- its just cycle times that are a bit faster for a mechanical. But I find that cutting a hundred parts is only a few minutes slower on a hydraulic- I guess if all I did was cut or punch all day long, the speed would be more important, but it takes me 8 hours to forge, machine, or weld 20 minutes worth of parts.
I prefer the spotting function of a hydraulic ironworker, as well as the newer features like gaging tables, electric length stops, and relative quiet.

   - Ries - Monday, 11/06/06 13:30:41 EST

There are also "glass enamels" that work by melting powdered glass onto metals. it requires a proper furnace to do really good work. Such enamels can be quite long lived as we have a lot of medieval examples around that were found buried yet still in good shape nearly 1000 years later. Copper is a common base metal as is silver and gold. Steel was used extensively for appliances---back in the 1980's Whirlpool in Fort Smith AR still had a glass enamel line running for speciality refrigerators.

May I commend to your attention "Enameling on Metal" by Oppi Untracht

   Thomas P - Monday, 11/06/06 13:31:20 EST

Plasma cutters- I would stick with either Hypertherm or Thermal Dynamics.
They make nothing but plasma cutters, and every pro cutting shop I have been in uses one or the other.
I have had a "home shop" plasma cutter since 1990 or so- so I am bemused at the idea of NOT having one.
Either hypertherm or TD are good, reputable brands, with parts and service available countrywide.
Make sure the 380 is big enough- they quote a "sever" thickness for plasma cutters that is a bit enthusiastic- so more amps can never hurt, but too few can be frustrating.
Also, clean, dry air is essential- I like a motor guard brand "toilet paper" air filter just upstream of the plasma cutter.
Consumables are surprisingly expensive, and they sure dont last forever, but this is true regardless of brand or model.
   - Ries - Monday, 11/06/06 13:55:43 EST

I tig braze, using a silicon bronze filler rod, copper alloys to stainless all the time- it works great, is quick and easy, and leaves a beautiful bead that requires minimal cleanup.
Of course, that requires a $3000 plus tig welder, with lots of amps, High Frequency start, and so on.
But it works.
I mostly use bronze alloys, rather than pure copper- in fact, Silicon Bronze will tig braze to stainless very nicely. And it looks a lot like pure copper, but is much tougher and harder.
There is the slight possiblity of galvanic corrosion- but they actually use bronze nuts sometimes on stainless shafts on boats- they are not a very active combo, especaily outside of salt water.

   - Ries - Monday, 11/06/06 14:00:27 EST

Thanks guru,
looking into electric hot box for the winter.
   - Jeesun - Monday, 11/06/06 14:01:33 EST

hey y'all
i have a couple more questions.

1. what is the best way to break a tack weld?
2. is it possible to make a leaf from 3/4" square stock big enough to dish into a spoon?

thanks y'all
Andrew B.
   - Andrew B. - Monday, 11/06/06 20:03:51 EST

1: put it somewhere where it will cause the maximum ammount of damage when it breaks. BTW is this an arc weld or a dry forge weld you are talking about. If an arc weld I'd suggest grinding it off.

2 Yes, it's possible to make a spoon from 1/4" square stock too--it's just more tedious and time consuming unless you are willing to forge weld it.

   Thomas P - Monday, 11/06/06 20:37:48 EST

thomas it's an arc weld, it's on an old fireplace dog i'm gonig to take it apart to use for stock.

Andrew B.
   - Andrew B. - Monday, 11/06/06 21:24:27 EST

Tack Welds: Andrew, There is a BIG difference between a "tack weld" and a WELD. Welders call a very small weld without the intention of permance a "tack". On a manufactured product those short little arc welds are REAL welds usualy with sufficient penetration to hold well. A tack weld can be easily broken most of the time. A short arc weld may be as strong as the bar it is holding together.

To dissasemble you will need to grind off most of the weld and then apply a lot of force. Often you need to use a chisle to cut the weld where it penetrated. Once you have one side of a two sided weld broken you usually can use simple leverage to break the other previously ground weld.

If you are goin to deal with modern scrap you need to understand modern processes and terms.

You should be able to get a nice sized ladle out of 3/4" without upsetting.
   - guru - Monday, 11/06/06 21:44:40 EST

thanks guru
   - Andrew B. - Monday, 11/06/06 21:47:05 EST

Did you get permission to use the photos of the home made farrier anvil?
   - Burnt Forge - Monday, 11/06/06 22:33:44 EST

I get most of my stock from a scrap yard, and im trying to find a way to distinguish between safe and on-safe steels. I can spot raw steel, cold rolled or hot rolled, but its the laquered, painted and/or anodized stuff that gives me the creeps. Theres also a shiny steel which looks like it has fish scales on it. It might be called zinced, or tinned (im going off a german translation i learned). My main question is how can you tell the good from the bad by sight, and are there any health defects from using treated steels.
   student - Monday, 11/06/06 23:01:05 EST

Zinced: Student, In the US we call this "galvanized". It is zinc plated. When hot dipped (dipped in liquid zinc) the coating tends to crystalize and look like fish scales. When electroplated it looks whitish or grey/white and over time can turn dark grey.

Electroplated zinc can be removed by using a weak acid like vinegar or lemon juice. However, hot dipped zinc cannot.

Zinc will burn off and the fumes are semi-toxic. They cause what is known as "zinc fume fever". The results are usualy short term but repeated exposures can get worse and worse. For someone that has or is prone to lung ´╗┐disease it can be serious, lead to ´╗┐pneumonia and ocassionaly death.

So it is best to avoid hot dipped galvanized. Electroplated can be made safe but must be recognized as a hazzard.

The other problem with plating is that some hard to identify plating, especially on military hardware is cadmiun plated. Cadmiun fumes are very toxic and can lead to life long illness or death.

So, it is best to avoid plated steels of any kind. Paint can generally be removed by scraping, burning or grit blasting.
   - guru - Tuesday, 11/07/06 00:06:52 EST

Photo permission, not yet. Have several others in the works as well.
   - guru - Tuesday, 11/07/06 00:07:55 EST

So the local newspaper is doing a story about blacksithing and they're sending some folks to the house Thurdsay. I come home from work tonight and find that the li'l lady went ahead and cleaned my workshop. And man I mean CLEANED! Problem is, I can't make heads or tails to where she put all the stuff I need. I mean she even moved my stock rack of materials. I got a little upset and then realized the err of my ways. Kinda left her feelin unappreciated. Any thoughts on loved ones taking care of your tools? Was I stupid caveman?
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 11/07/06 00:09:42 EST

student-- I have made many a project out of junk steel over the last 30 years or so and please believe me, the "savings" over buying new stock are not worth the damage/risk to your health from the toxic fumes and particulate matter you inevitably inhale, the time you waste cleaning it up.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 11/07/06 00:13:39 EST

another thing, the small 100 lb anvil im using is really ringy. Its pretty sturdely attached to a stump with 4 bolts and washers, with a rubber mat under the anvil. That helped a bit but i notice that when i hold the horn or the heel, the ringing almost goes away. Ive heard some stuff about wrapping a chain around it, so ill try that. Im also talking to this mechanical engineer, and he has this sound absobing epoxy that goes onto sheet metal of cars to deafen the ringing. Has anybody heard of that option. Just wondering what my options are, because my neighbors are probobly getting quite annoyed. Thanks for all the help.
   - student - Tuesday, 11/07/06 02:35:14 EST

Ha Ha Ha........sorry but I must laugh. Been there , done that. I have had to very carefully make it clear to my DG that she is NOT to attempt cleaning MY smithy and/or the office (located within the confines of HER domain). I explained to her that what she may consider a mess , I consider organized. No , you werent stupid caveman....it's all in how you handle the situation.
   Harley - Tuesday, 11/07/06 05:12:37 EST

Quieting Anvils: student, Some folks have luck with attaching a large speaker magnet to the anvil. These usualy have a heavy case that is cushioned and it acts as a dampener. Sources, old used blown out bass or larger speakers.

Folks claim that glueing the anvil down with silicon rubber caulk is much better than a rubber mat.

How you strike the anvil can make a difference as well. Keeping hot iron between hammer and anvil helps. Striking sideways on horn or heel makes the loudest ring. Cold work is also not recommended on a loud anvil.
   - guru - Tuesday, 11/07/06 09:00:17 EST

Cleanup: TGN, We are ALL cavemen. And ocassionaly someone MUST sort out OUR messes. . . and appologize for being a caveman.

On the other hand, if you are well organized then the setback should not have been great ot there should not have been a setback at all. When I was a full time mechanic I was that organized. Every drawer of my tool chest is labeled as to what goes in it. There are a few large things that go other places than where you would think but not enough to be confusing.

In my blacksmithshop AND office I have not been so organized and I need to do soemthing about it. Part of the problem is that I have been acquiring more stuff than I have proper storage for. I need at least another tool chest cabinett pair and rack for stakes and similar odd tools. In the office I need book shelves and more file cabinetts. But this is all complicated by the fact that I have half moved and do not think it is permanent but that the next move will be somewhere else again. . . I guess I need to simplify.

I have a very nice classic blacksmiths tool rack that I picked up at an auction. About 30" square with two levels and a rim bar for tongs and swages all around. It fills up pretty fast and I could use another. Since the top colects clutter I have been thinking these should be two tiered so that there is less clutter space.

Paw-paw was pretty organized in his van with all the boxes and tool chests. However, even though everything was labeled it was not labeled correctly for what was in the boxes. . .

If you look at the photos of Frank Turley's you will see that every bench has marked on it "Not a Shelf". . yet they are all cluttered with shelf stuff. My shop is the same. . it is a universal problem.

I'm sure the first caveman that dragged a cavewomen into his cave to live with him was immediately complaining about not being able to find his favorite worn out fur (she burned it for good reason) or his best spear (she carefully hung it on the wall).
   - guru - Tuesday, 11/07/06 09:22:36 EST

what about a cutting torch to break a weld?

Andrew B.
   - Andrew B. - Tuesday, 11/07/06 09:29:59 EST

Andrew, You can do that but it makes a mess, especially if you are recycling stock. It is usually the last resort.
   - guru - Tuesday, 11/07/06 09:51:57 EST

Andrew, besides, using a torch can be expensive. Usually if you can afford the gas and equipment you can afford new bar stock. Heavy plate is different and commonly recycled by torching.
   - guru - Tuesday, 11/07/06 09:54:02 EST

Thanks guys... she's all better now. I realized the huge effort she made to make the shop look nice for the reporters photographer. I apologized profusely. My shop WAS a huge mess, no organization at all, so really she gave me the opportunity to do it my way. Kinda like a blank canvas I can use the way I need it. She did move my quench bucket 3 yards away from my forge, but she means well. I told her my workshop is the ONLY place in the whole house that I can be messy and not worry if I left something on the table, or spill oil, or any other slobtype man behavior.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 11/07/06 09:57:12 EST

Andrew B.
If a slighty rough edge is not a problem, it is a perfectly good solution. If you want a very clean edge left, it still works, just not as well as a grinder and you have to be a little more careful about the cut. When I tear apart old scrapped machinery (and believe me my family has plenty that needs torn down, the whole pasture behind the shed is full of leftovers that my grandpa raided every usable part off of and left the rest...for me i guess)the first tool i grab is the good old red n' green wrench.
-Aaron @ the SCF
   thesandycreekforge - Tuesday, 11/07/06 10:00:08 EST

Andred B:

As noted above on tack welding they sort of come in two varieties.

One is a temporary one usually to hold something in place for further welding. As you weld the cooling weld draws metal towards (in the direction of) the weld. Say you were were wanting to weld a piece to the side of another and only did one side. By the time you finished the weld the piece being welded on would be off straight noticeable. Thus, tack welding is done for support/reinforcement.

The other is simply because what is being welded doesn't need a full length weld. Depends a lot on how much stress it will be under.

Say two pieces were welded side by side. If they were just butted together you would most likely have a surface weld. If they did it properly and beveled the edges the weld will go down between the joint to at least the depth of the bevel. On a surface weld if you grind it flush with the metal the weld will most quite of bit of strength. Flexing can likely break what little penetrated the joint. If it was beveled you will have to grind out most of the weld before the pieces can be broken/snapped apart.

How to tell the difference. Look at what is left after you grind off the surface weld residue. A seam down the middle likely means a surface weld only. Two seams likely means the edges were beveled.

Using a cutting torch can be a practical method. Really depends on what you are doing. If cutting for reuse, you want to keep stock as clean as possible. If cutting up big scrap into little scrap then it doesn't make much difference.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 11/07/06 11:04:51 EST

Michael: Also check out the Henrob 2000 Welding & Cutting Gun. Just do a Google search. Works off of Oxy/Ace. Designed to work at 5 pounds of acetylene for any job. Amount of oxygen and tips is all which are variable. Can both weld (including aluminum) and can cut up to 1", although it is designed for thinner material. IMHO it does everything a phasma cutting can do and a WHOLE lot more. They have a video you can purchase.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 11/07/06 11:17:01 EST

Think of the shop/office as an extrusion of the inner you, a sort of reverse Rorschach inkblotthat reveals your true personality. Clean desk, tidy shop = a diseased mind.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 11/07/06 13:02:40 EST

Dear Guru - The other day I was trying to weld a piece of re-bar to a bent piece of plate to use as a handle for un-bending that plate.

As re-bar goes this stuff seemed fairly soft: I could bend it without much trouble with one end anchored, and I'm not particularly strong.

I hit it with my Lincoln 170 (there are some letters, but I don't recall 'em) MIG, weaving the arc back and forth from the re-bar to the plate. I got a nice big puddle, but not a bit of penetration into the plate. . .It stuck, but it peeled right off the minute I started pulling on it.

Specifics: .030 wire, voltage: E (the highest) Feed: maxed out, shield gas: plain CO2.

Do I need to scream and buy another liner and get .045 flux core wire? Or scream even louder and get a bottle of Argon or Argon mix shield gas? Use a different procedure? Or get bigger welder?

BTW: When does steel bar stock quit behaving like a wet noodle in 20' sticks? I bought some 1/4 x 3" stock (the heaviest I've ever bought a whole stick of) today and it arched right over the cab of the truck and came to rest on the hood. . . I guess I need to build some side racks for bar stock to ride in. . .

I never really understood how much steel can sag under its own weight 'till I watched this stuff practically flop around.
   John Lowther - Tuesday, 11/07/06 16:14:51 EST

Retentive. Once upon a time, my mom cleaned and scrubbed my dad's smoking pipes thereby getting rid of that buildup of dark crud that lined the insides of the bowls.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 11/07/06 16:18:31 EST

Steel never stops acting like a wet noodle.
3" square will sag too.
24" I beam will sag over 40 or 60 feet.
Thats what keeps engineers in new BMW's.

You dont say how thick the plate was- but if it is very thick, then you probably dont have enough amps. Bigger Welder is probably the answer.
Liner, gas, or even flux core wont help much. Flux core, maybe, but you need a lot of amps to run big flux core, and its a big mess.

   - ries - Tuesday, 11/07/06 16:40:34 EST

Frank, as a pipe smoker, I understand just how horrifying that experience no doubt was for your father! I've heard many variations of that happening, always done by well-intentioned people. That's why one of my mottoes is "If it isn't yours, leave it alone."

Luckily my wife is allergic to dust and thus stays out of the shop. Plus, her own father smoked pipes and instilled that particular wisdom at an early age (grin!).
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 11/07/06 17:03:49 EST

Re: welding together plate and rebar.

Turn DOWN wire feed speed -- make sure your gun angle is about 5 degrees relative to direction of the weld, and point the torch more towards the heavier piece. If you have the option, preheat to at least 400-600 degrees, 1000 would be really good (but can make it a little hard to work with!). Good luck!

Question regarding TIG brazing.
I have some small stainless parts that need to be joined. I was thinking about welding but I'd rather braze them... and if possible I don't want to use flux as the parts have some small holes that would retain flux well. My thoughts naturally go to TIG brazing. Can anyone suggest a rough procedure for this? I was planning on wirebrushing the parts with a clean brush and using silicon bronze filler rod.
   T. Gold - Tuesday, 11/07/06 17:20:24 EST

Welding re-bar: See our Re-bar FAQ, it could be wrought iron (old) or pure iron (un classified stuff). If wrought there are lotc of reasons it will not MIG.

Too much power on the MIG can do weird things. Can you feel the flow of gas? Or do you have a flow meter in-line to adjust the flow and actually KNOW there is flow. MIG machines are complicated and solenoid valves or their controlling electronics fail.

Plate is problematic too. Scale will prevent a MIG weld from sticking and will peal right off. Some plate is also quite hardenable and a weld will cause a very hard crystaline area at the weld interface from self quenching. . . May need preheat and post heat treatment.

I prefer good old stick welding when I need a small quick weld.

Steel Deflection: Steel deflects under ANY amount of load no matter how small. You can put a 2" diameter bar a foot long in a heavy lathe, put a dial indicator on it good to tenths (.0001") and push with your pinky and watch the steel bar and the lathe spindle deflect.

So here is another example. Steel H beams (also known as wide flang beams) are the stiffest shape you can make in steel. The largest standard section is 36x300 pounds ( height in inches by weight per foot). The small stuff highway bridges use.
An 8 foot length deflects .00005" under its own weight.
A 10 foot length deflects .0001" under its own weight.
A 12 foot length deflects .0002" under its own weight.
A 20 foot length deflects .002" under its own weight.
A 30 foot length deflects .01" under its own weight.
A 40 foot length deflects .03" under its own weight.
On the other hand a piece of 1/4" SCHD 40 pipe deflects 16" in 20 feet and creates 20,744 PSI stress just setting between two points. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 11/07/06 17:53:49 EST

More Deflection: Ever notice the shape of the bed of an empty flat bed truck pass you on the highway? About 5" of upward camber so that it is close to flat when fully loaded.

Ever see a highway bridge being built? Look at the beams as they set them. The really big fabricated superhighway beams may have a camber of several FEET so that they are flat after the concrete is poured.

In floor and crane design deflection is the primary rule when designing. Stress can almost be ignored if the deflection is within limits. Both floors and crane beams are generally limited to 1/4" maximum deflection under full load. On floors it is so that you do not feel it bouncing up and down if a group is walking together. On cranes it reduces the load bounce and keeps the load running level.

I was in a shop once of a nuclear power plant and so hot-shot with no crane experiance had designed the 10 ton hoist for the shop. When we went to move our 5 ton load there was a distinct delay then the load hopped off the floor and then bounced up and down tapping the floor. . . Every time we lifted the load the crane beam was deflecting like a rubber band! Once we got the load off the floor about a foot we went to move the load sideways with the trolley. It would only move toward the center of the shop, not to the sides. . it could not climb the hill created by the deflection in the beam at half capacity!!

The crane was not overloaded according to the hot-shot's STRESS calculations. . but it was way overloaded by deflection. The beam was deflecting 4-6" at half capacity and should not have deflected 1/4" at 1.5 times capacity.

If you deal with steel long enough you will find the truth in what I would tell the giys in our shop. "Steel is like rubber except when apposed to flesh."

Note also that hardness does not reduce deflection, it only prevents bending when the deflection reaches that point. Ergo, all steel has the same springyness.
   - guru - Tuesday, 11/07/06 18:16:04 EST

hey y'all
i'm just letting y'all know that my poor boy forge just got here and i'm about to go try it out.
ia there anything i should know before i start worknig with it, for this is my very first forge
   - Andrew B. - Tuesday, 11/07/06 18:25:57 EST

I had a friend whose father collected Tsuba. One day his father came home to find that his wife had cleaned and spraypainted all his tsubas and nailed them to boards for him...

I don't know if he ever told her that she had just spent more than their house was worth...

I've made sure I know enough about my wife's hobby not to make stupid mistakes; I don't believe the reverse is true.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/07/06 19:34:00 EST

Andrew B: If all else fails read the directions which came with it.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 11/07/06 19:38:43 EST

i read the instructions. and i'm about to light it. Thanks Ken it looks like it's going to work great. can't wait to try it.

thanks again
Andrew B.
   - Andrew B. - Tuesday, 11/07/06 20:18:43 EST

My shop's generally a mess. My wife helped me clean it up once. She kept asking questions like "where should I put the 1 pound nails." Things could have been interesting if she'd done it on her own. (If you haven't figured it out, *all* nails are 1 pound nails, except the 5 pound nails, but those come in bigger boxes).
   Mike B - Tuesday, 11/07/06 20:38:38 EST

thank you for make these great forges. I just lit it up and after a minimule time adusting it it heat up liek a charm and i got to forge alittle tonight!!!

thanks alot
Andrew B.
   - Andrew B. - Tuesday, 11/07/06 21:49:16 EST


Some time back some folks and young shop class youths were asking about coating their wooden patterns to make them smooth and easy to release from the sand.

There is two suppliers that you can purchase anything from for a foundry/pattern shop.

What was always used on my patterns was Kincote Lacquer Base #910KGRY (gray. You can purchase this in many colors, buy the pigment powders to color code patterns and release agents.

The Lacquer is brush it on. It does raise the grain a little. Use two coats and sand by hand with 80 grit paper.

These are available from KINDT-COLLINS CO.

Also another supplier is for foundry pattern items is:


I hope you find this info useful. Also tools can be purchased from these suppliers.

Mahogany is the primary wood use it patterns. It is very wear resistant. You can slick off across mahogany core boxes. It will wear well. Or use steel guides or go urethan and then to aluminum patterns.
Many patterns use epoxy cores just add color pigament. Epoxy is for thick large parts that are not beat around. It is somewhat brittle. Pattern pieces that are removed and delicate us urethane just add color pigment. Urethane is very wear resistant and a bit flexible/rubbery. Tough to break.

Matchplates many times are just plywood. None wear or structural areas are many times pine. The outer frame of a core box for example. The main frame of a core pattern may be pine, then magogany layered. Cost saving.

   - Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 11/07/06 23:18:05 EST

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