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This is an archive of posts from December 1 - 7, 2000 on the Guru's Den
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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

One more thing, I'm wondering if anyone out there has used a Striker hammer? And would care to comment.
Pete  <xxx> - Friday, 12/01/00 01:58:03 GMT

For reference I have ben smithing for 13 years professionally for 7 years.

On page 49 of Donna Meilach's new book there is a piece that was created by Cyril Colnik. At the centre of the piece is a beastie and to the lower right of the beastie is a spiral element. It looks a bit like a cork screw or a screw thread. Do you have any suggestions how this element is made?
Thanks very much for any help you can give on it .
David Robertson  <drobertson at bmts.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 02:41:41 GMT

Striker Hammers: Pete, THAT is what we are all waiting for. The first shipment has arrived and a few have been delivered. They are in the process of being setup.

I just reviewed the manual for the 50 and 88 pound one piece machines. They are a little lighter than comprable old Nazel hammers but that is to be expected in a modern import.
The design is a cross between a Chambersburg and a Nazel. The drive train has no gears (good) but the the bearings are all roller type like in a C'burg. The main reduction is like a Nazel via a big pulley/flywheel. The valving is like the C'burg with internal exhaust blowing back into the frame for oil to settle out.

Where these machines differ the most from the old machines is the anvil cap bolts onto a hollow frame. This make the Ram/Anvil ratio less than I like but no different than a Kuhn or some of the other "new" air hammers. However they do use a large wedged die.

What these machines DO have is a heavy cast frame at an affordable price. But I agree, I want to see one running.

The manual has LOTS of details and a good trouble shooting section. However, it was like a lot of translated manuals where there are lots of small mistakes. Supposedly they are going to be redone.

Its going to be interesting the next few months!

McMaster-Carr is a great outfit to do business with. If they say they have it, they HAVE it. My only complaint is that if you are looking for a brand-specific item they generaly don't do business that way. However, if you need a small quantity of some odd material (coarse screen) they are the best!
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 02:52:12 GMT

Meilach Book: David, Which new book? She has several out. I don't have her third yet and Paw-Paw has the other!

PAW-PAW you look it up and figure it out! :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 03:01:52 GMT


I'm away from my home computer and can only receive through my "gummint" address. I'll try to give you a call on the morrow. Maybe I can pop up next week for a bit.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <www.nps.gov> - Friday, 12/01/00 03:28:00 GMT

TOD test:
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 05:00:17 GMT

I have a chicken, egg question for you. In setting up a two piece hammer which goes in first hammer or anvil? Seems to me that something is going to be lifted over the other. Now I'm a small shop without a crane set up. I quess that I'd have to fabricate something to install a two piece. Lifting the anvil over and in would be easier than the hammer over the anvil. I like the 145 lb. so far. I'm talking myself out of the 145 lb. The 165 would be cheaper and easier becouse of no below grade mounting. Just roll it in. Sure would like a report on these hammers.
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 12:29:28 GMT


Assuming you mean the spiral element with the with one end just under the beastie and the other end under the collar behind the beastie, I think the one piece was wrapped around the other like a mandrel, then and then curved as a whole.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 14:35:36 GMT

Chicken and Egg: Pete, So which part is the Chicken and which is the Egg? . . Anvils are smaller but weigh as much or more than the rest of the machine on many hammers.

The Chinese hammers vary quite a bit from one model to another AND from the machines that they look like.

First, Not all Chinese hammers are equal. There are a half dozen factories making these things. Striker is importing from the government sanctioned export factories. The other imports coming in are from other places. Although the designes are similar each factory was encouraged to make improvements in design or manufacturability.

I'm told some of the Chinese two piece hammers have anvils that are flush to the bottom of the frame. There is no pit required. However both one and two piece hammers SHOULD have a seperate foundation. With the anvil flush to the bottom of the machine frame it should be possible to skid the assembly into place with enough rollers. Now, the trick is that the smaller hammers both need to be raised off the floor by the foundation. So you may need to lift the machine in any case. I don't have die heights for all the hammers but we are working on it. . .

In most cases you need to plan on lifting the hammer over the anvil. Anvils need to be leveled seperately then the frame aligned to it. Its a bear of a job but the two piece hammers have a better anvil/ram ratio. Its probably possible to mount the two piece hammers on a base that alows it to be skidded into place. You may have to rent a crane to do this outside the shop then skid the assembly into place.

I've moved a LOT of hammers and most of the time with anything over 100 pound (45kg) ram weight you need to just pay the money and rent a crane. (Unless you have some serious heavy equipment). More equipment is damaged during moving than by any other way. Having the proper equipment to make heavy lifts reduces this risk.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 14:38:37 GMT

Sorry about the confusion in my previous post. I'm not awake yet. But after the piece was wrapped around the center piece, the ends look like they were welded in place, forged to blend in, and THEN the piece was curved as a whole.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 14:38:59 GMT

Can somebody tell me how much one gauge is in the snobbistic metric system?
Dries  <d.voort at planet.nl> - Friday, 12/01/00 15:08:59 GMT

I am makeing a fire pot for my forge 13"x14" and am wondering how deep I should make it. I will be forgeing blades and other odds and ends things.
josh  <Profish at voyager.net> - Friday, 12/01/00 16:42:05 GMT

I hear you on the isolated foundation. Even w/my 50 lb. L.G. I'm shaking the tongs off the near by anvil as it is. I like the idea of the flush anvil, that makes sense. I spoke with Striker/west and he said that the 145 lb ( if I remember right) is a below grade instalation. which I'd rather not do. Even if I went with an 88 lb hammer I'd mount on the fabricated base outside and then roll in. Last time I had to rent a fork lift It cost me $ 450.00 and I used it for 20 mins. And it was worth every penny! I will be getting some lit on the hammers in the mail soon. I will pass the info on if it helps.
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 16:49:20 GMT

Pete: A two-piece hammer might be a better choice because of the lighter anvil/ram ratio of today’s modern hammers. True, it’s initially easier to install a one-piece hammer. But, it really shouldn’t make a big different if your interested in a two-piece. You’ll only have to set it up once, unless you move. The set up time on a two-piece might be a few hours more. In the scheme of things a few hours different isn’t going to be a big deal. When you’re going to have a hammer that should last you a lifetime. You’ll still need a foundation under either hammer. No matter which way you go, do yourself a favor and have the right equipment on hand to do the job. The few extra dollars you might spend will save you a big headache in the long run. You could spend hours doing a job that would take minutes with the right equipment. We’d be glad to offer our assistants and a forklift if you decide to purchase a Striker hammer. All the reports we’ve heard about them have been excellent. If we thought other wise we wouldn’t offer them for sale.

We’re also willing to offer a huge discount on shipping to anyone interested in a Striker hammer in the eastern United States. There have been a few sold out west but we’re determined to place one in our area. From what we’ve seen about Striker hammers they're just as good if not better than any other self-contained hammer offered on the market today.
Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 18:01:41 GMT

Gauge(s): Dries, Gage sizes do not have a direct numerical equivalent (1gx = Xmm). They are left over from the early English system and gauge sizes do not even equal other gauge sizes. . .

In the following chart the Birmingham gage is what we common use. However, non ferrous is sold in a different gage based on the number of pounds per square foot in wrought iron. . ???

Currently it is recommended to use actual dimensions rather than gage sizes. This is because there are several standards and confusion results in using gage sizes. However, in the US, steel is still sold by the gage size and we get used to talking in those. . I try to give metric units whenever I can but sometimes get lazy. Give me a kick when I forget.

   Manufacturers     Birmingham   

I don't have a clue what increments metric plate is sold in. If someone would give me a list or direct me to an on line list I'll setup a more complete table.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 18:07:13 GMT

Hello Mr Guru,
im a student in year 10 i know nothing!! and for a homework i need information on reforming (casting, sand and die casting), deforming (forging, cold pressing, beating eg hollowing and raising), fabrication (permanent eg pop rivets, rivets and temporary, eg nut and bolt) and wasting (lathe work, sawing, filing, drilling, snips, cutting an external and internal thread). they need explaining and have diagrams and an example of a product which would include each process. thats all!!!
i hope you can help me cause i cant find anything and i need all the help i can get!!
Owen  <olew15 at hotmail.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 18:31:22 GMT

Can I get a copy of the drawing for a side draft hood? I need to make one to justify getting a welder. Thanks
Joe Marshok  <jmarshok at yahoo.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 19:01:00 GMT

Side Draft Hood: Joe, I just did a drawing last night. Its just a rough sketch of several types with dimensions. I'll post it on the plans page in a few minutes.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 19:26:14 GMT

Metal Forming: Owen, Many of the things you need are here. We do not have much on foundry work as that is another subject in itself.

For forging look on the iForge page and pick one. Many of the demos include upsetting (making larger), drawing (making longer, smaller), punching and chisling.

We have two articles on raising on our new Armory Page (see the 21st Century Page). See also our book review of Dona Meilach's Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork

We do little here on chipmaking although we DO discuss sawing and drilling from time to time.

Almost ANY book on metalwork in a public library will cover these subjects with the exception of raising. One textbook that covers them all is Metalwork Technology and Practice Published by Glencoe McGraw-Hill. For details of foundry work you will probably need to look for a book on that specificaly.

Almost any good encyclopedia will cover these subjects under metalworking.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 20:39:05 GMT

Honourable Guru,

Are there any uses for titanium with the blacksmith?
I have a source for 2x3' (foot)Thin plate 1/8" pieces. I have never worked this material. Is it feasable to use for any projects? Knives?

Thank you, and God Bless America.

Scott  <scott_wojtasik at hotmail.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 20:50:52 GMT

Titanium: Scott, Titanium has all kinds of uses but not too many in the blacksmith shop. It CAN be forged.

The most usefull thing about Titanium is that is takes brilliant beautiful permanent temper colors. This makes it valuable for decorative pieces and jewlery. I have a Star Trek shield pin that is made from heat colored Titanium.

It is also strong enough for certain knife frame parts and other specialty items. Depending on the price, I wouldn't turn it down. Even if you have no use for it there may be someone that might trade something you NEED for it. Exotic materials are kind of neat and someone that may not have a clue what they want it for might make you a deal. If you don't want it send me a piece :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Friday, 12/01/00 23:11:43 GMT

For thoes wanting side draft hood plans, drawings, photo's of one working. try this web site:
it's an interesting site with lots of examples of hoods and different forge designs.
Mark  <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Saturday, 12/02/00 10:12:49 GMT

sorry about the bad web address. I'll try to get the correct one and post it later. It is an informative site.
Mark  <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Saturday, 12/02/00 10:18:05 GMT

Sorry about the mix up earlier. For side draft info. try this: Try the search engine Goto.com [www.goto.com] type the words, forge hood , the first link that appears should say, the coal forge 3 , click on this link it has the information I was speaking of earlier.
Mark   <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Saturday, 12/02/00 10:39:09 GMT

URL: Mark, Thanks. Here it is:

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 12/02/00 16:33:39 GMT

Honourable Guru:

Wanna Trade? Send me something on my email. I'll see about the Titanium. Im in Ohio, Theres no ABANA chapters near me. R U in PA? Im a total NEWBIE, as you can tell by my past posts. Have all parts for a forge but no decent anvil (nothing with a horn).

Thank you, And God Bless America.
Scott  <scott_wojtasik at hotmail.com> - Saturday, 12/02/00 16:43:33 GMT

To all,
A few days ago I posted a question about the distance and hight away from a fire pot that a side draft hood should be. I had mine elevated 8 in. above the fire and had trouble with smoke in the shop. This morning I built a new forge and placed the side draft hood as close to the fire as possible and level with it, I added 4 more ft. of 10 in. pipe for a total of 16 ft which brought the top of the stack slightly more than 4 ft above the peak of the roof. I then lit the fire after starting the draft with some news paper in the hood. WOW !!!!!!!!! what a draft! No more smoke in the shop!! Thanks for all the advice. I highly recomend this type of hood.
BTW I had mine built by the metal shop students at the local vocational tech school. Good project for them Great price for me $47.25
Mark   <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Saturday, 12/02/00 18:18:05 GMT

I am looking for an online site to purchase quality copper sheets of varying sizes. Can you help me?
Ed  <rapp at greenwood.net> - Saturday, 12/02/00 18:32:24 GMT

Copper Sheet: Ed there are only two places I know.



Mcmaster-Carr will sell in any quantity to anyone. Getting their catalog is a bit of magic but they have one on-line.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 12/02/00 20:56:53 GMT

Side Draft Hood: Mark, Whos plans did you use? I just posted some sketches on-line and I need to impove them.

Side Draft Hoods

Take a look and send me your comments. I'm also going to include some plans based on the brick forge flues at the Anderson Blacksmith shop Williamsburg, VA.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 12/02/00 21:03:21 GMT

sheat are as standard sold in these sizes
0,30, 0,35, 0,40, 0,45, 0,50, 0,55, 0,60, 0,70, 0,75, 0,80, 0,90, 0,95, 1,00, 1,25, 1,50, 1,75, 2,00, 2,50, 3,0, 3,5, 4,0, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15mm any other size can be had as special order. rolled steel sections(angel, T, H...) and flatstock is diferent (usually half mm steps up to 3mm thick and then even mm's turning to 12mm, then every two till 20mm...) hope it gives you something to go on. Btw it is in machinerys 25th edition page 2421. they have slightly different numbers but basically the same. the difference is more about machinerys trying to get equal properties... from metric and gauge mtrls.
Here to help
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Saturday, 12/02/00 21:46:54 GMT

OH! I just picked the heavyer ones. there are thinner but they have limited smithing use, oter than as stainless foil for heattreatment that is.
OErjan  <same> - Saturday, 12/02/00 21:55:46 GMT

MACHINERY'S: OErjan, Grant Sarver used to harangue me about using OLD references. My 18th Edition of Machinery's doesn't include that info. . I've got later editions but this is the one I've been using since I was 18 years old. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 12/02/00 22:18:27 GMT

OErjan: Are you using a hammer on you keyboard again?? :o) (repeat posts edited out)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Saturday, 12/02/00 22:34:17 GMT

how do you make brass smooth?
Christopher X Guldi  <guldicx at us.hsanet.net> - Saturday, 12/02/00 23:51:50 GMT


VERY carefully! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Saturday, 12/02/00 23:55:40 GMT

Polishing: Christopher, SEE our 21st Century page Polish X and the article titled "Wheels".

The polishing FAQ could use "smooth file" added to the list and there are other abrasive methods that bridge several steps. But this works. Also see the new Helmet article by Eric Thing. There is little difference between polishing steel and brass and he has some very good tips.

Also note that most abrasive wheels clog with brass and aluminium. This means you need to use manual methods and wet sanding to prevent cloging the abrasives.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 12/03/00 00:15:48 GMT

Hey help I don't know how to make a forge I'm interested in charcoal so please send me plans
Justin  <sk8erpunkjustin at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 12/03/00 01:01:22 GMT

"Send Me"??: Justin, look on the plans page or the Getting Started article.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 12/03/00 01:08:42 GMT

No,no,no Jock. The right answer is sure...what's your mastercard #?
P-F - Sunday, 12/03/00 02:23:52 GMT

I just spent a few hours reading information in the schlosser website posted here earlier by Mark. This site really has a lot of good info on forges, hoods, and other things. Mark, is the side draft you built anything like the one on that page built with angle and sheetmetal? I'm about done gathering information and plan to build one next weekend. The only thing I'm not sure of at this point is how to bring the 10" pipe through a shingled plywood roof, seal it from rain and insulate it from the plywood.
azdoug  <dendrud at earthlink.net> - Sunday, 12/03/00 02:59:07 GMT

Roof Penetration: Doug, Thats a good place for a commercial part. I've made these things but its a Tin-Knocker job. Three layers of pipe are needed to meet most building codes. The first is your stack, the second is a heat sheild about an inch out and the third is to isolate the heat shield from the world by another inch. The outside will remain stone cold when the inner stack is almost a red heat. The heat shield is vented near the top and bottom to let out hot air. The outer layer can be closed top and bottom. The total is 14" dia which will just fit betweeen studs on 16" centers. A flashing flange is cut to fit the outer shell and soldered to it.

Thats a lot to make. Commercial ones have a stainless flue because the whole is expensive. Easier to buy than to make.

NOW, I HAVE seen masonary flues supported by roof and ceiling joists. Probably breaks ALL the codes. An angle iron frame supports the bottom and is attached to the joists. Then a short brick flue is built on top of that. Stove pipe fits up into the bottom of the brick stack.

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 12/03/00 03:35:04 GMT

I got the plans/prints for the side draft hood from the gentlemen at Centaur forge. They were kind enough to send them to me due to the fact that they could not produce a hood for me in a timely manner. I will be more than happy to mail a copy of them to you if you will send me your snail mail address [send to my e-mail address] there are , I think, 3 pages. I have the plans scanned into my computer so printing a copy is no trouble at all. The only alterations I made were to change the specs from different gagues to all being 1/8 th in.
BTW, thanks for the great site and keep up the good work.
Mark   <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Sunday, 12/03/00 14:57:48 GMT

No, not a hammer, Economy made me start using a 1 OZ rubber mallet instead of my 3# crosspeen, keyboards last much longer now, allmost a full day ;-). What happened was that I got into a loop where my puter said I couldn't reload and puter refused to shut the window down... had to near rape the ¤%¤%& thing:-( .
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Sunday, 12/03/00 20:20:08 GMT

Mr. Guru,

I recently came across a huge pile of old wheel rims off of the wooden wheels of horse drawn wagons. They're quite old and a bit rusted but look usable. Are they good for anything? Any idea what metal they might be made of?

mark labhart
labhart  <mlabhart at indiana.edu> - Monday, 12/04/00 02:58:30 GMT

Old Wheels: Mark, Occasionaly you run across a few that are old wrought iron (no carbon, charcoal iron). Currently old wrought is selling for around $1/pound and up. However, they are most likely mild or low carbon steel.

The well worn shape is handy for making certain decorative items. The rings as-is are often used to make astrolabes (sp?) - spherical sundials and pot racks in a "primitive" setting. Lots of old barn hardware was made from recycled wagon wheel tires.

They are also good trade material to other blacksmiths that think they NEED them ;-) And last (but not least) . . Every blacksmith shop needs some "old" iron laying around as decoration.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/04/00 03:43:44 GMT

Well, I'm still in Harrisburg for another week of training with the NPS. I had a batch of folks from the training course go with me to Gettysburg on Saturday, and ended up doing Hopewell Furnace on Sunday all by my lonely (but happy) self. I guess the arts of war are just more flashy than the arts of peace. Like most National Historic Sites Hopewell is in a constant battle to keep up extensive resources with minimal funding. The staff and volunteers (both in evidence yesterday) are a hard-working crew. (I'm sure more volunteers would be graciously accepted, too.) This was the big step up from the bloomery process and the buildings give you a feel for the scale of the industrial process. They even work their own charcoal pit, so good fuel is not a problem for the forge. A fascinating site.

After Hopewell, I trotted over to Joanna Furnace, just a few miles away. This site is being restored and maintained by the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association, which also has a goodly collection of farm and early industrial machinery.

I took some good photographs, which I hope to post here, with a more extensive article, soon. (I'm working on editing the historic sword article, too.)

I’ve posted the upcoming events on the Virtual Hammer-In page. See Hopewell Furnace on the links page.

A lovely weekend on the banks of the Susquehanna.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.wam.umd.edu/~eowyn/Longship/
Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Monday, 12/04/00 11:32:09 GMT

Mark: I've got quite a few wagon tires made of wrought, and have found that in general they are pretty low-grade stuff. If you aren't sure what yours are, try to cut them with a torch. If they're wrought, it'll be the messiest cut you've seen in a while...

But as the Guru said, they look good lying around the shop!
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Monday, 12/04/00 14:46:43 GMT

Guru, I am hoping for some pointers on how stair railings are joined together. I was thinking of forging a tenon on the upright portions and peening the railing into place, then grinding it flush. Was the rivet ever left showing? What other methods could I use besides modern welding? (Actually I'm no good at forge welding yet so I guess that is out too.)
J. Dickson  <TheIrony at woldnet.att.net> - Monday, 12/04/00 16:17:35 GMT


This ABANA chapter has fallen on hard times membership wise and needs NEW members and OLD members. They are holding a meeting January 21st to at Mystic Seaport to try to reestablish the chapter. Click the above URL for more information.

We get a lot of folks from the New England area looking for chapters. Here is your chance! You don't have to be a blacksmith. Just interested in the craft. Chapter meetings are great fun, you get to meet other NICE folks that are as crazy as you are, see iron pounding and maybe do some yourself. Please bring safety glasses!

- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/04/00 16:37:21 GMT

Joinery: JD, Top rail is attached by several methods. Commercial hollow cap rail is designed to fit over a piece of 3/4" channel. The pickets pierce the channel and are welded then the cap is arc welded over that.

Solid or custom made top rail in traditional work is attached by a riveted tennon. Note that commercial hollow top cap is not thick enough for this technique.

The hole in the rail is counter sunk heavily (about 1/3 to 1/2 way through with a standard countersink). Then the tennon is upset to fill the counter sink. Generaly you want extra material so the counter sunk area is full and the extra material ground or filed flush. Nothing should show or be felt. Many smiths will take a torch and heat the area after grinding and dress lightly with a hammer to reduce the grinding texture.

On arched top rails the counter sunk hole will be a lot larger in the axial direction so extra tennon is needed. On rails with chasing you do the same as above and rework the chasing. It helps to do a sample before doing the actual rail.

On sloped rails it is easiest to drill the hole in the rail perpendicular. This means that your tennons need to be bent and fitted. The termination of the tennon in the pickett is the tricky part and needs to be carefully worked to fit the angle of the rail. Square shoulders are important but the corner fillet in the tennon should not be sharp. Light chamfering of the hole in the bottom of the rail takes care of tennon fillets.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/04/00 17:27:56 GMT

I am a apprentice farrier with slowly failing knees (let that be a warning to anyone who entertains grand thoughts of horseshoeing). I would very much like to pursue blacksmithing as an alternative trade when my knees can't carry a horse any more and am interested in going to school for it. I am interested in learning as much as I can about old school techniques. Are there any good schools in Colorado or California (preferably) where I could learn such techniques?
T. Dickinson  <t.dickinson at juno.com> - Monday, 12/04/00 20:58:44 GMT

Schools: T.D., There are several schools out west. Go to the ABANA website, click on "education" (Its in faint fine print under the banner). Then schools.

One of the best in the West is Frank Turley's in New Mexico.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/04/00 21:55:02 GMT

Sir or Madam,

I have been driving myself crazy trying to find some online information/articles about blacksmithing in colonial times. Blacksmithing.com, "Articles about modern and traditional blacksmithing" is nonexistent.
Archive of Blacksmithing Information has nothing (besides blacksmithing.com which goes nowhere.)

I'm looking for this colonail times, blacksmithing iformation for my 10 year old who is doing a colonial times/ blacksmithing project in school.

Could you recommend a site?

Thanks for your time.
Marilyn Clarkson  <msmcclarkson.aol.com> - Monday, 12/04/00 22:19:48 GMT

President Guru:

That comment about heat treating Titanium, and forgeing?
Any insight as to how this may be done? Any place I can learn about working this material? Done easily by a Newbie?

I need an anvil!! Pa,Oh, or In. E mail me, Paleeese.

Thank You, and God Bless America. (Canada If Gore Wins)

scott  <Scott_wojtasik at hotmail.com> - Monday, 12/04/00 23:41:21 GMT

Colonial Blacksmithing: Marilyn, sorry about the dead end. I have a years backlog of articles to post there.

We have two articles that MIGHT help on our 21st Century page. "A day in the life of an Apprentice" and "Blacksmith of 1776". I'm afraid these two stories were written to illustrate specific points and are not as general as you would like even though they WERE written for children.

There are many children's books about Colonial Life including blacksmithing. Then there is the Americana series by Eric Sloane and The Art of Blacksmithing by Alex Bealer (see our book review page).

The reason you don't find specifics about the life of a smith in those times on the internet is that most of what is on the net about blacksmithing is about current topics. The historical stuff is well covered in print.

Although were are working on providing as much information on-line as possible we try to avoid duplicating what is readily available in print.

AND, I think I posted here last week or the week before on the conditions of apprenticeship.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 12/05/00 00:34:34 GMT

Titanium: Scott, there are many alloys of Titanium and the heat treatment and handling it different for each.

Titanium is compared to forging tough medium alloy tool steels. The forging temperature varies from 1650°F for pure Ti to 1875°F for some alloys.
Annealing temperature ranges from 1200°F to 1500°F. Titanium is annealed, and aged to stabilize it but it is not hardened and tempered like steel.

Now the anvil is easy. Try Bruce Wallace's used equipment page. He has several listed that are good deals. Bruce is in PA close to Allentown.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 12/05/00 01:12:55 GMT

Guru, Where is the best source for local building codes? TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Tuesday, 12/05/00 05:26:26 GMT

Wouldn't the City/county office that you get building permits be the best place?
Ralph  <ralphd at jps.net> - Tuesday, 12/05/00 07:10:26 GMT


Check out the links page here for links to Hopewell Furnace and Saugus Nation Historic Sites. These sites deal with Colonial and Early American ironworking. A telephone call may provide further references for your child's studies.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Tuesday, 12/05/00 11:06:20 GMT

Building Codes: Tim, Almost every locality that has a building code adopts the BOCA code in its entirety. THEN they sometimes modify it but generaly what happens is the local inspectors interpert the codes differently from place to place. Often knowing what the local inspector wants is more important than the code. Talk to them. Most are glad to help before you screw up. . .

The BOCA National Building Code is published every three years. Sometimes it is available from the locality but generaly you need to order it from BOCA (Building Officials & Administrators International, Inc. 708-799-2300

In summer 1999 I ordered a copy and the 1996 was what was available then. The current edition will be the 1999. Ask the local building inspectors what edition they go by. Sometimes the specific edition is determined by local statute.

Also note that the BOCA code like most codes doesn't do the engineering for you. It will say "must withstand XXX load", and not tell you what it takes to withstand that load. It will often defer to other codes and standards such as the NEC and certain ASTM specs, Welding specs and Boiler codes. In other cases OHSA rules (Federal Law) take precidence over the local code.

Currently the NOMMA website has considerable details about railings and the battle going on about new changes.

10/18/00 - NOMMA's proposal to remove the "ladder effect" is upheld in a 340-120 vote.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 12/05/00 15:55:53 GMT

I am an art student at the University of Louisville and I was trying to figure out what chemicals could be used to color copper and what colors said chemical would when applied to the copper. My experience with copper plates comes from intaglio printmaking. I am intersted in using the copper plates for drawing on and I am also looking to borrow some ideas from the relief in the cave paintings in France. I was also curious what tools I would need to bend the copper to form the relief I am looking for and where I could get them. Finally, if there is a book out there that sums up all of this for me, please tell me. Thank you.
Aaron Hugenberg  <Ransom13 at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 12/05/00 22:19:05 GMT

Coloring Copper: Aaron, Copper can take many colors. However mosat of the chemicals are pretty nasty. Try MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK. Your school library will have a copy.

Repose' - relief: Relief is formed many ways. In copper and other soft metals the process is called repose'. The annealed copper plate has a matrix of wax or asphaltum (or a mix of the two) melted and poured against the back side of the plate. Usualy this is done in a box or frame to make a flat surface. Sand it added to the mix when heavy work is to be done. Jewlery suppliers or your school art store will have the materials.

The metal is then worked with a variety of hammers, chisles and gravers with dull rounded and pollished edges so as not to tear the metal. When the work is finished the backing is removed. In heavy relief work the metal may need to be re-annealed as it work hardens. This necesitates removing the backing. But at this point it probably needed to be repoured to fit the shape better anyway.

This type of work can also be done using a sand bag to back up the work. In thin annealed copper simple tools like clay sculptors tools or even a lead pencil will work.

I made an Ancient Greek crown of the Athenian type for my daughter from copper flashing using a sand bag, a pencil and the corner of my (closed) pocket knife. It took more time to make the sand bag than to make the crown. The sandbag was made using a heavy ziplock bag and the leg of a pair of cut-off jeans. The cuff was sewn closed on a sewing machine, then the plastic liner installed, filled with dry sand and sealed. Then the bag was sewn closed. I don't know how others make them but that's how I did it.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/06/00 00:15:47 GMT

Guru, Thanks for the building code info. I went to the NOMMA site, lots of useful information. I've been getting a second hand copy of FABRICATOR every month for the last few months. I think it is the best publication out there on modern techniques and processes. Quite an association with much help and support for it's members. A bit pricey but probably worth every cent for the contacts, support, information, etc... Your site though beats Fabricator primarily for the instant answers which are invaluable. You've been an real friend in need for me, Thanks, TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Wednesday, 12/06/00 05:57:31 GMT

Tim: Thanks, blushing :)
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/06/00 16:23:22 GMT

I am trying to make a striker for flint and steel fire starting for my boy scout troop. I have read that high carbon steel works best and also files. I bought some SAE 1045 steel and formed it to fit around the hand and quenched the shape. It wasn't hard enough the flint just dents the steel. I was wondering which type of steel I could use to make a striker out of. Any help on this will be appriciated. tia
Lee  <LeeB88 at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 12/06/00 17:23:24 GMT


Will forward a file to you explaining how I make them.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Wednesday, 12/06/00 18:31:51 GMT

Strikers: Paw-Paw, Don't forget we have one on the iForge page. #51 Dragon Striker by SmithinScout.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/06/00 18:48:07 GMT

Guru et al:

I have been smithing for about six years now, and have been doing it professionally for the past year. My question is regarding the use of stainless steel for kitchen and barbeque implements.

I seem to recall seeing a Norfolk Latch forged out of stainless steel (made by you) somewhere on the web. My question is this: what is the best alloy of stainless to forge? I have not had much success with what I have found at my local steel supplier (I don't know what kind it was). It forges ok, but is not very hard, and seems to lose its anti-oxidation properties after being forged (i.e. it rusts). Any suggestions as to the best alloy for forging would be appreciated. Also, any tips on the best place to order/buy would be very helpful. Interested in 1/4, 3/8, 1/2 inch round or square, but can work with whatever is available.

Appreciate the help.
shep  <smacshep at aol.com> - Wednesday, 12/06/00 19:02:21 GMT

Lee: try using material from a old used a spring. or a old well used file.
The 1045 might work if you heat slightly abowe non magnetic and quench in brine.
There are demos on the I-forge page as well. with both prosess and materials described.
OErjan  <pokerbacken at angelfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/06/00 19:34:05 GMT

Stainless: Shep, 304SS is fairly common and forges OK. If your stainless rusts there could be a number of problems.

1) Contamination from carbon steel scale
2) Contamination from carbon steel wire brushes or abrasives used on carbon steel.
3) low temp forging.

Generaly stainless is supposed to be heated above the transformation temperature and quenched to have the best corrosion resistance. Good hot forging practice followed by quenching generaly prevents the loss of corrosion resistance. However, contamination from scale and tools is the biggest problem. In commercial processing stainless is "passivated" in an acid bath to remove any trace of corrodable "non-stainless".

Wire brushes are the biggest culpret when it comes to contamination. Stainless steel wire wheels and brushes are made for working stainless and none other should be used nor should they be used on carbon steel then stainless.

304 is tough but is not very hard. In most applications it has been work hardened to a spring temper but this is generaly a result of rolling or other machine processing. This give people the misconception that stainless is a "hard" material. It is not. However, it IS more difficult to work.

If you need a hard stainless then there are 400 series heat treatable stainlesses. Most of these are precipitation hardening (sort of like annealing carbon steels). This is a different process and takes care and practice. You need to know the specific alloy before heat treating.

If you are going to deal with unusual alloys you need a good reference such as MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK or The ASM Metals Reference Book. These have specifics about hundreds of alloys and their proper treatment.

Another thought. If you are making cookware or table ware and it is not very smooth (preferably polished) then cleaning with steel wool may be leaving embeded carbon steel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/06/00 19:49:34 GMT

old files make dandy chispas, or strike-a-lights. forge at something that gets it soft enough to work, like yellow, anneal, then heat to hottern' hell, like near sparking, and quench immediately. you have one second max to get it into the water. decarburize-- sand off the striking edges. don't bother tempering. polish and sell for an outrageous price.
Cracked Anvil  <cracked at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/06/00 23:29:38 GMT

Guru, is there an easy way or best way to figure or make the top rail on a spiral stair case or a sweeping stairs? Do all these have to be done in place?
Scott  <vickrey at easilink.com> - Thursday, 12/07/00 08:27:13 GMT

Spiral and Easy: Scott, These two terms in a sentence are an OXYMORON.

We have a standing article on spiral stairways on the 21st Century page and a couple weeks ago I wrote a long response here on layouts which I need to add to the atricle.

Logistics vary from job to job, every one different. Build in place? No, not if there is a way to set the stair into the finished construction. If the stair is to use traditional joinery then it probably needs to be shop built.

The important thing to understand about a spiral stair is that after researching the meger resources, in the end you will have to figure it out yourself.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 12/07/00 18:04:41 GMT

What are the two purposes of the lining of the blast furnace?
Linda  <place_bow at hotmail.com> - Thursday, 12/07/00 18:20:34 GMT

Im Sorry I cant give you an Email adress, i would love to be a correspondant. Im a 16 year old(Im in School right now) and i have been working metal for 10 years, ever since i pounded the end of a nail to make a sword for an action figure. the thing is, i have always been very limited in my facilities, for instance, my forge consists of a baking pan with sand in the bottom with a mini butane torch(2300+- degrees F)attached to the side. my greatest tool is my own improvisation.First, I have fashioned a decorative knife out of a 16 inch piece of aluminum grounding rod using my RR anvil and various hammers (no heat), i have finally gotten rid of most of my ugly hammer marks and i was wondering if you could give me any tips on hardening or finishing the blade, im sorry but i dont know the exact composition of the rod. Secondly, I am looking for a 3.5lb bal-peen hammer, and it occurred to me i wouldnt find one, any suggestions?
ColdForge at NoEmail.sorry - Thursday, 12/07/00 19:03:25 GMT

Gurus,Far be it for me to question a master's work. I can understand it if you do it for the greater profit, but power hammers seem so, cold, unsincere, do you ever pick up your hammer and work something on your anvil just to put your blood and sweat into a creation. i could buy knives and swords, rings and bracelets. But it never makes me feel good. making something unique is special. making something unique with your hands I believe Is sacred. Thoughts?
ColdForge - Thursday, 12/07/00 19:14:26 GMT

Gurus,Far be it for me to question a master's work. I can understand it if you do it for the greater profit, but power hammers seem so, cold, unsincere, do you ever pick up your hammer and work something on your anvil just to put your blood and sweat into a creation. i could buy knives and swords, rings and bracelets. But it never makes me feel good. making something unique is special. making something unique with your hands I believe Is sacred. Thoughts?
ColdForge - Thursday, 12/07/00 19:15:46 GMT

I have another hammer question, im looking for something about 4lbs With a 2.5-3 inch face. i would make my own hammer but, well, my little fizzy torch just wouldnt get the job done. take your time, i realize you can read the frequency of my postings, and i dont wish to pester you.
ColdForge - Thursday, 12/07/00 19:21:43 GMT

Thank you for the table, guru.
Atleast now I can get an idea of what you are talking about.
I have a new question;
can somebody explain to me how to read an Vernier-Caliper in the imperial system. I have one in both metric and imperial. I know how to read the metric, but how to name the size in inches. The metric gives you 0.1 notation, the imperial side give a 1/100 notation.

As on any books on colouring copper I have one that is very good.

Richard Hughes and Micheal Rowe
Thames and Hudson
ISBN 0-500-01501-5

They have done lots of resaerch on bronze, brass and copper.
You could also try to colour it your zelf, just by experimenting. Copper gets good colour if you take some fabric, tabasco and tabaco. Keep it in a plastic bag for 1 or 2 weeks and look! amazing.
This was part of my education as silversmith, and it really works. Gets you from smoking too.
Dries  <d.voort at planet.nl> - Thursday, 12/07/00 19:31:55 GMT

Blast Furnace: Linda, To resist the high temperatures and to provide insulation. In many cases diferent grades of refractory are used.

The inner layer must resist both high temperatures and mechanical damage. This means a hard high density refracory. The high density means it conducts heat and is not a very good insulator.

An outer layer is used as insulation. Insulating refracories are light weight and low density. These are made from foamed clay refractory that looks like sytrofoam and is not much heavier. It is also not very strong. The tiles on the Space Shuttle are a high tech version of insulating refractory.

I hope this is what you are looking for.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 12/07/00 19:41:51 GMT

Aluminium Grounding Rod: ColdForge, Aluminium is generaly not considered cutlery material. It is not hardenable by heattreating but does get harder from working cold (work hardening). To finish, file smooth, sand with 180 grit wet or dry, then 220 grit, then buff with Tripoli on a hard cotten wheel. Polished aluminium will have a whiter color than clean silver.

Ball pien hammers come in many sizes. McMaster-Carr lists a 3 pound as the largest. It has a 1-1/2" dia face. Kayne and Son will sell you that big hammer in a French or Swedish pattern.

Hand vs Machine: Have you ever worked with a 12 pound (5.5 kilo) sledge hammer? A LOT of smithing is done that way. Not much feel to it. The sledge is generaly swung by helpers. Good power hammers have delicate control. My friend with the red 500 pound air hammer on the power hammer page also forges delicate leaves under the same machine using hand held tooling. However, most delicate work is done under smaller hammers up to 150 pounds. The work is held with one hand and chasing and fullering tools in the other. The machine just provides the force (like an assistant, apprentice, slave). Your hand hammer is no different, it is a tool, no more. What matters is how it is used and how much skill is applied in its use.

What a power hammer does is lets a modern smith produce bigger work than he has the capacity to do alone or to produce work more efficiently and remain competitive in a mass production economy.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 12/07/00 20:15:22 GMT

Its been along time since my heart jumped, but to see a response to my questions within mere hours, feels good.

I have just been set up with a hand torch with map gas. No real questions, as i cant use it just yet(still setting up my little corner) but i would apreciate any tips or inovative ideas. hey guru, you dont have to answer this if you dont think its FAQ material, but are there common circumstances that prevent you from working from day to day? You see, i live with my family, i can only do anvilwork until around 9:30-10:00 I have severe insomnia and i find myself with a horrible sense of dread once i start my work, just tonight 4 hours ran by so fast.

Im sorry if nobody can relate, i just was curious if anyone out there has this problem. metalwork has filled a void in me ever since my only girlfriend broke up with me,and picked up some concerning habits, metalwork keeps me content.
Any Thoughts?
ColdForge - Thursday, 12/07/00 23:59:11 GMT

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