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This is an archive of posts from December 16 - 21, 2000 on the Guru's Den
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The suggestions and help from all on side draft hoods a couple of weeks ago is greatly appreciated. I got a lot of information in a short time from this page. I'm about 1/2 done building it, will finish this week. Now, another question -- How should I finish it? The only thing coming to mind for me is high temp BBQ paint. Any other suggestions? Thanks.
azdoug  <dendrud at earthlink.net> - Sunday, 12/17/00 01:56:27 GMT


That's a good choice; Will work well. Just make sure every part is clean and de-greased before you paint it so you get a good bond.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 12/17/00 06:15:14 GMT

Hi temp BBQ or stove paint is what I used on mine. I applied 4 or 5 light coats. Works fine. BTW black is not your only option. The local hardware store around here has quite a few Hi-temp paint colors to choose from.
Mark   <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Sunday, 12/17/00 11:34:17 GMT

i was wondreing how would you make a ring could you list all the ways if posible. thank you
luis cardenas  <k13fixxer at hotmail.com> - Sunday, 12/17/00 12:47:43 GMT


Black is not the only option, but if you use flat black, then the hood also becomes a sketch pad with a piece of chalk handy.
Paw Paw Wilson  <pawpaw at paw-paws-forge.com> - Sunday, 12/17/00 14:24:56 GMT

Paint on Hood: Doug, Coal really eats at these things. I'd give the inside a coat of cold galvanizing (CRC sells it as Zinc-ReNew or Zinc Coat(?)). Some will burn off but in the places it needs to be it probably won't. DeRusto barbeque black works well on many of these things and as Paw-Paw pointed out it makes a nice drawing surface. There is also a white HT paint that we used to use on motorcycle exhausts that holds up well. Many of the color high temp paints dont hold up. The pigment in DeRusto is graphite.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 12/17/00 15:24:15 GMT

How Many Ways to make a Ring: Luis, Is this a test? Or are you being tested?
  • Bend circle, align ends.
  • Bend circle, overlap flatened ends.
  • Bend circle, overlap flatened ends, rivet ends.
  • Bend circle, overlap flatened ends, weld ends.
  • Coil bar on a mandrel, cut off rings, finish in one of the four methods above.
  • Saw a section off a pipe.
  • Saw a section off a square tube and forge to round.
  • Cut the ring from flat material (cut the outside, then inside).
  • Machine a ring in the end of a cylinder and cut it off using a lathe.
  • To make a heavy forged ring, punch a hole in a cylindrical billet, forge to size alternating from a mandrel and saddle to flat open dies (diameter and width).
  • Make a ring pattern in wood or wax, prepare a mold in sand or plaster and cast in the metal of your choice. Finish by machining if necessary.
  • Cut a piece of twisted wire or cable and weave the ends together (a butt splice).

Depending on your definition of "ring" it could also be cut from a square or rectangular stock. The first methods listed above and inculding coiling on a mandrel have all been used to produce rings for things like chain and maile. The technique of punching a hole in a cylinder then forging to stretch out is the most common method used in industrial forge shops where an continous ring with a weld joint is needed. I've cut pipe and tubing of many sorts and sizes to make rings and bushings.

The lathe method listed above and cutting from flat stock is more common than you would think. Washers (a flat ring) are cut from flat stock by punching both the blank and the hole. In our shop we have cut rings from a variety of materials on a drill press by a process called "trepanning". This method is used by wood workers to make wheels for wooden toys. The tool generaly has a drill in the center and an adjustable single point tool to cut the ring or cylinder. A hole saw does the same thing but with a circular non-adjustable blade.

In gasket material (paper, leather, rubber) the most common shape is a flat ring or washer. We trepan these using a compass with a sharp blade. Some of our "ring" shaped gaskets made this way were over four feet in diameter.

We used to make so many rings, washers and bushings in our shop that the workers got to calling it "Rustburg Washer Works". There are many ways to cut and form rings. For almost every type there are several methods that can be used depending on the tools at hand and the quantities needed.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 12/17/00 16:02:18 GMT

What is a puddle weld? An iron worker told me these are the types of wleds he was performing while installing Q- deck
Stuart hall  <shall15g at aol.com> - Sunday, 12/17/00 16:22:47 GMT

Puddle Weld: Stuart, In torch or electric welding the circular or oval spot of liquid metal is a "puddle".

Your welder is probably using an incorrect term for a "plug" weld. A plug weld is made by filling a drilled hole in one piece that is on top of another. It is a common way of attaching plates to one and other or to structurals (angle iron, I-beam). The weld is actually made by welding a fillet around the inside of the hole then spiraling in to fill the hole. This makes a flat "plug" in the plate that can be left as-is or finished flat. This same weld can be performed with a torch rather than arc welding but it is still a "plug" weld.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 12/17/00 16:34:40 GMT

Spot Weld: Stuart, There are also two types of "spot" weld that could be incorrectly described as a "puddle" weld. The traditional spot weld is made by an electric resistance welder. Two electrodes clamp the work together and for an instant a currant flow through the work at the electrodes.

The non-traditional spot weld is made using wire fed MIG welding systems. Using a special nozzel designed to held against the work, the wire is fed against the top plate just long enough to melt a hole penetrating into the underlying plate. I've not had much success with this method. It probably works with just the right weight material and careful adjustments. I HAVE used the same special nozzel to produce small plug welds in relatively thick plate.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Sunday, 12/17/00 16:45:59 GMT

HI. my name is Guillaume and i`m interested in becomming a blacksmith. I have a couple of question and i would be glad if you could answer them

1how many hours does the average blacksmith work in a day?
does he have any vacation? when?

2what does he`s working environment look like?

3how long do you have to go to school?(college?, university?)

Guillaume  <yfortin at ONlink.net> - Monday, 12/18/00 02:29:45 GMT

Im trying to figure out how to build a set of roping spurs (the things cowboys use)out of a single piece of metal. Any suggestions and/or demos you know about?
spurbuilder  <mkmoore7 at bellsouth.net> - Monday, 12/18/00 03:39:28 GMT

Work Conditions: Guillaume, There are no simple answers to this questions. In a few countries you can still study to be a blacksmith but in the USA there is no standard.

First, most decorative smiths are self employed. They are artist craftspeople and entrepreneurs. Sadly "starving artist" defines many. They make their own working conditions and hours. Some shops are roomy and well lit while others are dark and crowded with tools and machinery. As self employed they may work many more hours "off the books" than on. Because of that hourly rates do not apply the way they do in an employment situation. A craftsperson that charges $100/hour may make $10/hour out of that. A few manage a middle class life. Education also varies. Most of these folks have a college education in art. A few of the top knife smiths and blade makers have masters and doctrates in metalurgy and engineering. Many of those that do not have studied on thier own to an equivalency of the same.

Industrial smiths work in factories running huge machines in a relatively dirty, noisy and dangerous environments. Pay is good (for industrial laborers) but jobs are few and far between. $15 - $25 hour would be typical pay. In this industry there are also small self employed industrial smiths and they often make more.

Fabricators (makers of railings by welding components together) make better money than decorative smiths but are more welding contractor than blacksmith. Their employees are typicaly welders and laborers working at local rates that are usualy more than minimum wage but not top money for the industry as a welder.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 03:44:13 GMT

Spurs: Mike, I thought we had one on our iForge page. Demo #39 is the a BIT. The proportions are different but the needed components of the shape you want are there. Check it out.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 03:52:03 GMT


1. I usually work some where between 8 to 11 hrs a day.
Some weekends but not all I meet with clients, they work mon thru fri so the only time we can meet is when they are off. Vacation is about a week to 10 days, but not every year. It depends how the year went money wise.
2. My shop is a renovated garage. It has heat, lots of light. The tools always go back in the same spot. Organized is the only way to go. Don't have time to look for things.
3.Yep the guru's right, I became a yankee after I moved north to go to art school. At some point while in school I bought an anvil. It took about ten yrs or so but I finally switched to metal work full time. Best thing I ever did. I think though that you either have blacksmithing in you or you don't.
To go back over your questions, Guillaume, 1. Alot, but you'll like it. 2. The shop is up to you. Your own shop or whom you decide to work for. 3. Education is on the job training mostly. There are some classes. But no guild system in the US.
Only other thing I can say is that I wish I'd have found this occupation sooner.
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 05:07:50 GMT

Pete, Thanks for the slightly different viewpoint.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 05:11:26 GMT

Different wiewpoint 2:
Then there´s some that stay part-time to be able to stay cost-INefficient and do strange stuff without having to worry about who´s going to buy it, at least not right now. There´s a pleasure in that to.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Monday, 12/18/00 10:49:32 GMT

What can you reccomend as a rust preventative for tools housed in an unheated shop. Here in NC we have some severe temperature changes and I'd like to prevent my blacksmithing and woodworking machinery from getting an unwanted rust patina. I've tried a good coat of Johnson's paste wax on all exposed metal surfaces but it only slowed the process down. You can imagine coming out to the shop yesterday after a 20 degree temperature change overnight to find the anvil dripping wet with condensation. Any suggestions would be helpfull.

Thanks, Bob Bergmueller
Robert Bergmueller  <rbergmue at bellsouth.net> - Monday, 12/18/00 12:38:46 GMT

Being that its nearly christmas, im in luck for getting my hands on a new anvil. its one of three items on my christmas list(the other two are my favorite movies)so I hope fortune is with me. i spent the weekend working on my tools, especially tightening the heads to my hammers. any suggestions to keep it from happening again?

Happy Holidays Gurus
ColdForge - Monday, 12/18/00 13:34:57 GMT

Guillaume: There are artists-blacksmiths, industrial blacksmiths and then there are farriers. If you're good with horses (I'm not) then you may wish to look into that. We get a little focused here at Anvilfire, and forget that for many folks a "blacksmith" is the man or women who shods their horse. Try the Anvil Magazine site at: http://anvilmag.com/ for further leads in this area.

Oh yes! The other requirement is good knees. I bought my first anvil from a farrier friend who was good with horses, but BAD in the knees. He had taken courses at the University of Kentucky, as I remember, and was doing okay, but his knees gave out after about a year.

Hope this provides some more guidance.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

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

Bruce Blackistone (Atli)  <asylum at us.HSAnet.net> - Monday, 12/18/00 13:52:34 GMT

Am lookin' 4 suggestions on a donor vehicle, tool, or piece of equipment that would have an air cylinder usable on my current project building an air hammer capable of a 35-50 lb anvil. Am pretty well set on goin' with air instead of electric or treadle. Any advice and suggestions greatly appreciated. I'm living in Western KY (Paducah)Was in a scooter wreck back in '88 that left me with a paralyzed right arm.
Merry XMas All . . .
Roosta  <mafe at apex.net> - Monday, 12/18/00 13:55:16 GMT

Guru, i Just read your article on aprenticeship. that realy is depressing to know how such things turn out when ideas differ and aren't expressed. For my own information(as i intend to house my cousin during our partnership) might it have worked out if you had both brought your expectations up front when the agreement was made?
ColdForge - Monday, 12/18/00 13:56:57 GMT

Rust on Tools: Robert, I'm in a worse position. Just North of you in Virgina , in an old Mill on a stream. Real high humidity and daily temperature changes due to cool air settling in low areas. I get standing water on the UNDERSIDE of my anvil's horn! Condensation will stand deeper than any other application of water. .

Constant use, cleaning and oiling is about all that works.
Failing that, many steel tools can be coated with varnish or thin clear lacquer. If they don't get used often they will be like new when you go to use them. Many manufacturers clear coat "bare" steel just to keep inventory from rusting. Saws, chisels, hammers. . all kinds of tools. I need to do that to a lot of my tools that are not seeing regular use. I also paint some of my smithing tools (swedge blocks, dies, hardy tools) with barbeque black. It looks a little anal but doesn't rust and does hurt the usefulness. I've even painted anvil faces. Its something that should be done if its not used and just in storage. Many new anvils come with lacquered faces and black enameled bodies.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 14:59:52 GMT

More on Rust: DO NOT USE DETERGENT MOTOR OIL to prevent rust. That condensation will be absorbed by the detergent and the metal rusts almost as bad as not oiled. Motor oil depends on the engine temperature to boil off the water that it absorbs on a reqular basis.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 15:02:39 GMT

Roosta: See response on Hammer-In.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 15:03:21 GMT

Hammer Handles: When new they are generaly quite tight. Stored indoors in a dry environment the handle often shrink. They need to have an additional metal wedge added to tighten. These are available from hardware stores or you can make your own. Sealing the ends of the handle help reduce shrinkage.

Many smiths soak or dip their hammers in water to sweel the wood. This is considered BAD practice but everyone does it in a pinch. Its bad because this causes the wood to become compressed further and then loosen more. On slightly loose handles I've had good luck using boiled linseed oil. It absords into the end grain, swells the wood and then hardens in place (over a period of weeks).

When putting handles on hammers I make my own wedges from hardwood. Maple or a scrap of walnut. I also make barbed wedges to fit. After fitting the handle to the hammer I coat it and the wedge with carpenters glue. I drive them together as tight as possible, rough saw the off the ecess and then drive in one or two metal wedges perpendicular to the wood wedge. Any places that open up should have small wood wedges driven in with glue. Tooth picks are handy for the small cracks. The rough ends are then sawed off (again) and the rough ends finished flush to the hammer by sanding or grinding. When done the end grain is sealed with varish. I apply fresh varnish as long as the end grain will absorb it. This helps seal an fill the handle so that is doesn't shrink.

Its a good idea to set aside one day a year to sand all you wooden tool handles, tighten and revarnish them. The sealed handles do not shrink as easily as unsealed handles and loosen less. In my shop (the last time I did it) this was an ALL DAY job and I had purchased materials in advance. This goes a long way with the rust proofing metioned above.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 15:25:36 GMT

Failed Apprenciship: This is not an unusual experiance between teacher and student. Many people expect to be given every fact in every lesson without doing any digging or research themselves. When I point the way and drop hints as to what to look for the curious that honestly want to learn will find the way. Lessons learned too easily do not stick.

Did you ever find where the New York Times quoted me?
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 15:34:44 GMT

Guillaume, I attended college in 1975-78 to become a metalsmith, but changed course after that to go to horseshoeing school. For many years I longed to get back to metalsmithing but the money was so good and commitments kept me from following the dream. Last year (23 years later) I finally made the decision that if I was going to blacksmith (metalwork) for a living then I had to just "do it". My philosophy is that you do what you love and the money will follow. My only regret is that I didn't listen to my own advice sooner. TC
Tim Cisneros  <blacksmith at theforgeworks.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 15:51:45 GMT

Dear Guru,
What is the corect pernuncation of patina
Dan Scott - Monday, 12/18/00 16:20:25 GMT

Patina: Dan, I've heard it two ways.

PatEENa and Patinuh'

I suspect the second is true as the word patinated doesn't have the strong E sound. The dictionary didn't help . . . :(
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 17:30:17 GMT

guru, I think that is becouse you have the wrong dictionary , the word patina is french (I think) most of the words we us as jargon are french or german (thou not all ways with the corect pronuncation.
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 18:01:46 GMT

Patina comes from the Latin word paten, meaning a metal plate.

Neal Bullington  <NRobertB at aol.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 18:22:29 GMT

the New York Times. Thats very impressive. As is your Bio. I was wondering if you know of any pliers that are good to use as tongs for smithing, other than channel locks or visegrips.
ColdForge - Monday, 12/18/00 19:15:00 GMT

I have a MAPP gas torch and a propane torch. I was wondering if using these in conjunction with the ball forging demo, i could do the forge welding it calls for.
ColdForge - Monday, 12/18/00 19:33:35 GMT

Patina: No, My Webster's Unabridged has the word. Just didn't help me figure out the proper pronunciation.

Vise-Grips™: were invented by a blacksmith as universal locking tongs. Channel-Locs™ are good because of their long reins (handles) provide extra leverage. First apprentice task should be to make several pair of tongs. You can't beat the real thing.

Torches tend to heat the material too fast and do not protect the metal well enough to make a forge weld.

The NY Times The point was to pick the quote from the article mentioned. Its one of the most important statements made on these pages. A reproduction of the Times page is here too but that is a different matter.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 21:14:09 GMT

Tongs: I was too lazy to make my own tongs, or I just wanted to make other stuff, you decide. So I bought (4) 16" end nippers and bent the nipping end to suit or welded on attachments. I even still use one pair as it came with the sharp jaws. They bite in well. They were 3.99 in Harbor Freight a few months ago. I haven't seen the 16" ones since, but I did buy (4) 8" nippers for .99 each from the last catalog. That way you get the reins and the pivot and just have to modify the working end. Normally, Harbor Feight stuff has not impressed me, but these pliers were better than average. It was certainly worth my time. This way, instead of goofing up steel, making tongs, I can goof up steel trying to make other stuff. (grin)
Tony  <tca_b at milwpc.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 21:59:25 GMT

Dear Guru,
How would you and others pernounce the word patina when used. How would you clean and finish a helve beam on a bradley hammer.Is linseed oil the trick or would you recamend something different. Jock I thank you fine sir for this page it has been a great help over the last few years.
happy holidays to everyone.
Dan Scott - Monday, 12/18/00 22:07:39 GMT

Patina: Scott, There is a half dozen posts on the subject already. LOOK UP!

Bradley Beam. It would depend on its condition. When new, these were first class clear New England rock maple. If there is any punkyness, insect damage or rust rot it needs to be replaced. I would remove the beam and hand scrape off the current finish. This will give an intimate knowledge of the condition of the wood. If the wood is in good condition I would just varnish it heavily with a natural spar varnish and reassemble the hammer.

If it needs to be replaced, then that is a trick. The select wood needed takes years to obtain and season unless you find a mushical instument maker or furniture maker that has a well seasoned supply of clear rock maple maple. The option is to build the beam from not so perfect rock maple as a laminate. If you don't know much about the process go to bow builders and bent furniture makers to see how they do it. Using relatively thin laminates (in this case about 3/8" and 3/16" with a heavier core) ovoids the problem of finding a perfect peice of lumber. It is not a difficult task if you have a good band saw and a hundred clamps or so. I hire out any planing I need done. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Monday, 12/18/00 23:00:00 GMT

Dear Guru,
Not to beat a dead horse, my quistion was when you yourself use the word patina how do you pernounce it. Do you own a helve hammer? when you said you hire out, I was woundering if you had or had used a hammer of this kind? Do you like working with these hammers and how manny would you guess are being used today? I am still working on my new acquisition and any and all info on the Bradley hammer would be great. thank you
Dan Scott - Tuesday, 12/19/00 01:17:06 GMT

Dan Scott: I'm not the Guru, but everyone I have ever heard pronounce it has said pahTEENuh. I would accuse anyone saying it otherwise of being highfalutin'. And yes, the objective tense is PATuhnated, but then, that's the great thing about english, it's so non-standard it's nearly impossible for a non-native speaker to learn it without years of first-hand speaking experience!
Alan L  <longmire at premiernet.net> - Tuesday, 12/19/00 01:51:25 GMT

PaTEENuh: Is how I've always pronounced it. As do my parents, good Anglo Irish Kentuckians.

No helve hammer. I've worked on a few and seen a lot from little riveters up to 300# Bradley strap hammers. Bradley built the best of all the hammers built by anyone EVER. A surprising number are still in use in old Eastern U.S. industry. These machines have more iron in them than anyone's machine for their size. The only disadvantage they have is they take up a lot of space and the leather straps linking the helve and the ram need care.

Hire out "planer" work. I have a nice big old wood working band saw and most of the musical instrument work I've done I finished the boards by hand or belt sander. If I needed boards planed I know wood workers that have planners. .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 12/19/00 02:55:04 GMT

Yes, guru, my idol,
Do you have a suggestion as to where to look for an oldd hand driven forge used by horse shoe blacksmiths? Is there a place where these old tools are sold?
Thanks in advance for the wisdom oozing from your pores.
By the way, your site is awesome....one of the best, and very helpful to me, an idiot.
David Galloway  <drgalloway at aol.com> - Tuesday, 12/19/00 04:07:46 GMT

Dear Stuart and Guru,
Haven't had time to read the board in a couple days. Noticed a post concerning puddles welds. I just came off four years as a steelworker, that's what we are called in Kentucky, north of the Ohio River we are ironworkers.
Puddle welds are the correct terminology in the structural welding world. They are used to weld decking, thin metal similar to tin roofing, to joists and girders. As the decking, 18 to 26 gauge, is laid, a series of reference marks are made over the joists. These create a line across the surface where the deck will be welded.
A puddle weld is a blind weld made on top of the decking that creates a molten puddle that pentrates the decking and goes down into the joist locking the unit together. A portable stick welder set on DC negative is the tool of choice. Rods are most generally 6011. It's hard backbreaking work as it reguires you to stand erect and weld beetween your feet. If you ever have to do it might I suggest a two foot section of two by two taped to the stinger to give you a little reach and lessen the distance you have to bend. Thanks for all the good info. I'm learning a lot here.
Larry  <Blueheron419> - Tuesday, 12/19/00 04:16:52 GMT

How do you make gun blueing patina?
Bob  <bcdla at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 12/19/00 04:34:25 GMT

David G.
Ebay has tons of blacksmithing stuff, unfortunatly you'll pay top dollar for it.
Check out the advertisers on this site, they pay for the right to advertise here and deserve your patronage as well as being great people to deal with.
Just click on the banners up above this page.

Bob, Gun bluing is nasty stuff to be trying to make, Go get some Brownells gun paste bluing. Follow the instructions.
Go ahead and order the catalog from Brownells, you'll find all kind of bluing info in it.

moldy  <njordan at epud.net> - Tuesday, 12/19/00 05:42:40 GMT

I got a piece of sheet metal from the junkyard, painted like it was part of a fishing boat. When i cleaned off a spot it looks like stainless.It is stiff enough to be and difficult to cut with shears....which is all fine, but..
The backside has patinaed green like copper....does that make it monel?
Pete F - Tuesday, 12/19/00 05:49:37 GMT

To All: Perhaps the earliest Bradley helve's didn't use laminated beams. But, it's been my experience that Bradley used them. All the beams I've seen on their hammers were laminates.

Bruce R. Wallace  <WalmetaLwk at aol.com> - Tuesday, 12/19/00 08:11:32 GMT

Thx guru, i will start making some tongs, come christmas break.
ColdForge - Tuesday, 12/19/00 13:41:07 GMT

Forge: Doc, Check with Bruce Wallace and his used equipment page if you are in a hurry.

Wallace Metal Works

Ocassionaly folks post used equipment on our V.Hammer-In. The best place is to find your local blacksmithing association. There is always a "dealer" or two among them that have a truck load at meetings. Your "local" is worth the dues just for the contacts.

Thanks (blush), we try.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 12/19/00 14:50:42 GMT

never tryed to make gun blueing but I have used a couple of the ones curently on the market I like 44/40 it works well aslong as you remember to warm it up to a round 100deg the oil it as with most cemical gun blues I have used if left with out oil the blueing will increse the rust heating it encourges the oil a bit deeper into the steel and also pull what appers to be sulfer out. so long as I remember to take this last step I have had good luck with it.
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Tuesday, 12/19/00 15:16:52 GMT

Monel: Pete, it sounds like it. Monel is very hard to distinguish from stainless (cut, color, non-magnetic) but it is a copper alloy. It takes a LONG time to get that grren OR exposure to real nasty chemicals. Cut a piece and see how it burns. . (green flame = copper).

Gun Bluing: Moldy is right. Most formulae (there are hundreds) use combinations of Nitric, Sulphuric and Hydrochloric acids PLUS disolved heavy metlas. . If you want formulae get a MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK.

OLD guns were browned using a simple controled rusting system that requires nothing but time, patience and a damp box.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 12/19/00 15:51:13 GMT

Guru, for my brother's birthday Im making a knife for him. through heat treating, i have given it several beautiful irridescent(i think thats the right word) patches. his B-day is today, for the most part the blade is ready, i just have to put a handle on it.
Do you have any suggestions for a nice handle? i have some leather, and some calfskin.
any suggestions would be appreciated.
ColdForge - Tuesday, 12/19/00 19:43:21 GMT

Knife Handles: The type of handle is determined by the design. Is it a full tang requiring riveted slabs or a partial tang? I like dense synthetics, treated woods or bone. In the synthetics I've had several linen micarta slab sided knifes I've liked. It not real pretty but its indestructable. Then there is rosewood and ebony. I use both of these in musical instrument work and am partial to them for other work. Rosewood has natural oils that takes a polish without needing a lacquer or varnish coating to be smooth and shiney. Most pros avoid the the old laminated leather handles as they are prone to absorbing bacteria and odd oils. The bacteria can be a problem in a skining knif or one used for food preperation.

Just plain ol' hardwood works well when glued up and finished with epoxy.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Tuesday, 12/19/00 21:43:27 GMT

what kind of man and atitude should it take to become a blacksmith?

what are a blacksmith daily tasks and responsibility?
yvon  <yfortin at onlink.net> - Tuesday, 12/19/00 23:35:26 GMT

A trivial qusetion occured to me. At what piont in history was tool steel developed which is used as the face of anvils ?
Thank You,
Mark   <dilligaf at net1plus.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 00:49:11 GMT

Personality: Yvon, NOW you are getting to the core of the question.

Patience is important. You wait for the fire to get hot, wait for the iron to get hot and perhaps wait for solutions to how to solve problems. Then there is the inteligence and ability of the smith to solve those problems. Everything in general smithing is problem solving. Do I have enough material? How can squeeze out that extra material that I'm not quite sure is there? How do I put this together and have it look, attractive, strong, old new, current style. . .?

Mechanical ability can be learned but it is a personality trait in many of us. Everything about smithing is mechanics and physics. Every tool is a simple or complex machine. Efficient use of tools is important in blacksmithing in everything from how a smith swings a hammer to knowing when to oil and adjust machinery. In the modern smithy, machine tool use often outweighs forging in producing the finished product. Mechanical ability is usualy coupled to an insatiable curiousity about how things work.

Most smiths have a drive to be creative. They want to MAKE things. Sometimes it doesn't matter what they make, as long as it is REAL. The production toolmaker is often just as proud of his product as the decorative artist-blacksmith. Many other craftspeople have this drive but in the smith it tends to be a strong urge. Coaxing a desired shape from a piece of metal is one of the most difficult crafts. But it is also very satifying.

In general smiths are generous to a fault. Inteligence is more important than education and there is that ever present patience and curiosity.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 00:50:56 GMT

I once found a meat saw table in the salvage yard looked like stainless but it too had turned green. It was german silver- has made nice knife and gun hardware and inlays but it is almost gone and I haven't been lucky enough to find any more.
kid  <xxx> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 00:55:07 GMT

Steeled Anvils: Mark, This is by far the most NON-TRIVIAL question in the history of our craft. But as with many human endevors the true answer is shouded in the mists of time.

My feeling is that the hard facing dates from a VERY early era. Writers of technological history have worked from their personal frame of reference. This often assumed that the product of the bloomery was always soft relatively pure unhardenable wrought iron and that steel was a special product made only by specialists. But in primitive situations the "bloom" is not so uniform. Steel occurs naturaly in the process just before taking on too much carbon and becoming cast-iron. A slower than usual melt will produce "hard iron" often surrounding and intermixed into the bloom. An anvil made from one of these blooms will have both hard and soft spots but the exterior will have enough hard to make a usable face.

In all probility these "natural" anvil blocks were used from the beginning of the iron age. As the skill of the iron maker improved there would have been less of these as the desired product of the bloomery was soft pure iron. But as this skill improved so did the knowledge of steel making and welding steel to wrought iron.

This does not mean that there have not been times when anvils were stone, cast iron or soft wrought. Even today we have those same variations due to economics, lack of availability and foolishness.

So, my answer, although there is no imperical evidence for it is, "From the beginning".
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 01:14:47 GMT

to all interested: A catalog can be ordered from Brownells web site as well as some of the products they carry. Brownells.com I've been getting stuff from them for a long time.
jerry  <birdlegs at keynet.net> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 01:41:59 GMT

I have two anvils that I have questions about. The first is a Peter Wright. I've put it on a scale and it weighs 105 pounds. The numbers on the side read 0 5 19. My research says that according to these numbers the anvil should weigh 159 pounds. Sure, the anvil is scarred and chipped a bit, but I don't think it's lost that much metal. Am I reading the numbers correctly or is something not right.Also, I know there is supposed to be a hole directly under the horn located in the waist of the anvil. This, and one just like it located under the heel, is used to insert bars into for carrying. But, what is the small hole located on the foot under the horn? This hole is filled with what seems to be
lead. This anvil's markings are "Peter Wright Englan(correct spelling) Patent Solid Wrought 0 5 19"
The second anvil is approximately 100 pounds and has a C inside of a triangle and the other side has a M. What type and any info will be appreciated.
Steve  <psrrfr at bellsouth.net> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 02:41:17 GMT

Weight: Steve, The weight markings are generaly very accurate.

(3 x 28 = 84) + 19 = 103# You've misread the 3 as a 5.

The small square hole in the base is I believe another handling hole as several manufacturers had them. I suspect they have something to do with later manufacturing techniques. No telling how the lead got there. However, smiths have been known to lead their anvils to a stand to reduce the noise. Peter Wright was one of the popular imported British anvils.
\C/ M. . . That's a 100# Cast Steel Columbian anvil. Made in USA.

You can find detailed histories of these anvils and many others in Richard Postman's Anvils in America (which we sell). anvilfire Store
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 03:09:35 GMT

A couple suggestions from personal experince. To keep your tools from rusting in an unheated shop, coat with linseed oil mixed with turpintine two or three times. Surfaces (other that working areas) will have a water proof coating when cured. To keep hammer handles from splitting and heads slipping, I first or all fit the handle extremely tight then soak the head&handle together in old motor oil a day or so. This has solved all my handle problems without a hitch. Re-soak every month or two overnight.
Mike  <lecka at prodigy.net> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 04:18:04 GMT

We are trying to bend 2.25" OD copper pipe to a radius of about 10". We have packed the pipe with sand and tried to bend it hot. The pipe splits on the outside of the bend.
Is there a way of doing this?
Dave Clarke  <mrdave23 at hotmail.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 12:32:35 GMT

I´m not sure about the small anvils of the time, but the hammers in the Mästermyr-find ( Viking-age) where of soft iron with steel faces. It was only round .3 percent carbon, hardly steel today, but harder than the iron.
Olle Andersson  <utgaardaolle at ebox.tninet.se> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 12:41:23 GMT

Thx for the handle info guru, i turned out one beautiful blade yesterday for my brother. for the first time, people saw it and said: "Holy ! at #$# a dagger!" the profanity was none too fulfilling, but its alot better than the usual: "Oh, wow, um, hey, its aluminum! neat, an aluminum......thingy, and its almost sharp."
I made it out of one of my 12 inch spikes, im going to buy more for further practice, but this was by far the best, and only truly worthy blade i have created. he actually used it to open the rest of the gifts(i couldnt believe the edge i put on that beast)

I would like to find a way to send a picture of it to you if you dont mind, maybe give me some pointers on the process.

Thx alot.
ColdForge - Wednesday, 12/20/00 13:38:44 GMT

Sorry, i forgot to mentioned that I used heat bluing on the edges of the blade for a really beautiful finish
ColdForge - Wednesday, 12/20/00 13:39:44 GMT

Oh, and Guru, just wondering, When is the celtic cross demo going to be available on the iforge page?

ColdForge - Wednesday, 12/20/00 14:00:50 GMT

I need to make a spring to push a door bolt into a socket. I think one of your answers talked about springiness in steel not depending on carbon content but I may be mixed up on that. So the real question is, can a simple "leaf" spring used to push a door bolt home be made of mild steel.
Could you breifly review the governing concept or refer me to the archive that was in.
thanks, Larry
L.SUNDSTROM - Wednesday, 12/20/00 14:39:21 GMT

Dave, did you anneal the copper first? The inside and outside dies need to be 2.25" radius too.
Pete  <Ravnstudio at aol.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 15:53:41 GMT

Bending Cu Pipe: Dave, I'd have to do some research on minimum pipe bending radi but according to the charts for steel pipe and conduit you SHOULD be able to do it but you are right at the limit. My charts say "contact the manufacturer" for copper pipe.

First, there is copper PIPE and copper TUBING. Generaly tubing has a thicker wall and is annealed so that it can be bent. For this operation the pipe/tube must be annealed (soft heattreatment). Copper pipe is purposefully work hardened to make it stiff so that it is self supporting. It will split if bent because it cannot stretch in this hard condition.

Second, Filling pipe to bend it helps in some cases but the tube must still be the proper material condition and otherwise supported. Today, most bending is done in a supporting fixture that prevents the sides from spreading during the bend. These must be a close fit and sized exactly for the material. Pipe dies do not work on tubing or conduit. Every wall thickness changes the OD.

SO, It is possible to make the bend IF the pipe/tube is of the bendable type AND you have a properly fitting bending die or fixture.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 15:55:02 GMT

Springyness: Larry, Yes, if a mild steel spring does the job twice, then it will do the job as well as a hard steel spring. Technically dead soft annealed steel has the same springyness as hard spring steel up to the point where it bends. However, annealed doesn't flex very much before bending. But you can harden and temper a piece of mild steel. Many springy pieces are just as-rolled (work hardened) flat or wire. Try it. If your design is right and you don't need high performance, you won't need special steel.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 16:03:20 GMT

Mästermyr: Olle, 30 point carbon steel is a long way from what we consider a tool steel today but it will get pretty darn hard. 50-45 Rc (minimum temper). As long as you don't hit cold steel that makes a very durable tool.

Although Mästermyr is a LONG time ago ~1000 AD it is fairly advanced in the long history of the iron age. What is the time period of the new finds in Turkey where they were processing steel by the wootz crucible process? Much earlier I think.

The Ancient Greeks of the Classical era (~450 BC) were a transition bronze/iron age culture. Images of tools from that time look no different than the tools of Mästermyr and in some cases are more sophisticated in style. But even as a transition culture they recieved that knowledge of iron from even older cultures that had developed it many centuries before.

Although Western culture places much importance on this time period it is estimated that we have less than 1% of what was considered the important literature of the time. Most of what we know about everyday living is derived from durable but stylized vase paintings that focused on religious life. But we also know they had sophisticated mathematics and music. We know from literature that their painters were very fine artists (considered better than their sculptors) but there or no samples of their work to prove it. The probablity that their tool makers, smiths and founders were as advanced as the rest of their society is very good. But we do not know.

We often look down at what we consider "primitive" societies, where people wear few cloths or have have few posessions but mankind has been mankind for tens of thousands of years. Just as inteligent (if not more so) then than today. I think most historians and technologists do not understand this well enough. How many years, generations, centuries does it take a family of smiths to figure out hard from soft, hardening and tempering? Not long I think.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 17:04:23 GMT

Sorry guru, forgot to answer your question about the handle making. im trying to find a book that explains tang and other related terms. as i do not know what tang is i will do my best to explain the piece. i made it out of a 12 inch nail or spike, cold forged it to ideal flattness, then heated and forged to establish first stage of spine(the rest i did with grinder) the part the handle goes on is still round. perhaps you could give me some tips on applying the handle?

ColdForge - Wednesday, 12/20/00 19:15:00 GMT

ColdForge - Wednesday, 12/20/00 19:15:19 GMT

I recently purchased a set of wood carving chistels (cheap, yes I got what i paid for) nontheless, I was wondering if I would be able to harden the steal myself. I so can you advice me if i can and what the procedure is.

thanks ricardo
Ricardo   <rgonza5451 at msn.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 20:08:35 GMT

Chisles: Ricardo, Generaly you have to remove the handles. The steel needs to be heated to a dull red (just above when it stops being magnetic) and then quenched in warm water or oil. That hardens the steel. Immediately after hardening the steel needs to be tempered. Tempering varies according to the steel. However, heating to about 400°F (204°C) is right for most steels. Tempering reduces the hardness a little and increases the toughness a lot. It is important. You will have to regrind the edges after hardening as they will be burnt. Heat from grinding can reduce the hardness to be careful not to overheat the steel.

There are many variables in the above. There are thousands of types of steels and they all need to handled slightly differently. However, the above should work on most plain carbon steels.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 20:27:57 GMT

ColdForge: Look at ANY kitchen knife or collection thereof.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 20:28:55 GMT

Im new in town...
What is the proper and best way to light a forge (it takes me much too long...)
sagi  <ssavariego at yahoo.com> - Wednesday, 12/20/00 23:59:33 GMT

Lighting a Forge: Sagi, "Proper" that's a tall order. I'm partial to a blast from a phaser. . .

Coal forges light with different levels of difficulty depending on the quality and dryness of the coal. Good quality coal that been stored out of the weather will light with three or four sheets of newsprint twisted up, lit and stuffed in the twyer.

Common raggy damp coal lights best with an oxy-acetylene torch (not too far from that phaser temperature wise).

A small amount of wood kindling and dry cardboard works too. Most smithys have little trash laying around as most of it ends up as kindling.

Lighting gas forges varies depending on the forge. I just turn mine ON (auto ignition). My NC-TOOL gets the fuel turned on a CLICK of the piezo electric igniter. Works first time every time. Instructions for big old industrial gas and oil forges call for tossing in a flaming oily rag. . . . I REALLY hate chasing that fireball across the shop. . . Or IT chasing ME!

Whatever works and doesn't burn down your shop. . .
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 12/21/00 02:13:59 GMT

I have very boring way lighting my gas forge.
And thats the way I like it!

I've tried following the old advice of using a burning piece of paper in the forge, but like our venerable I don't like having fire running around loose.

My technique for (Yawn) lighting a gas forge goes as follows, Turn on the blower (or not if it's blowerless), with my pieso-electric torch in hand, I light the torch and place the flame in the gap between the burner and the forge, I then turn on the gas. Viola! the forge is lit. No adrenaline, no fear! And even if the forge does go out, you still have the torch at hand to relight it immediatly.
The torch I have is the kind with a trigger that ignights the torch and when released it also cuts off the gas.
It will also work for a charcoal or gas forge very easily.
moldy  <?> - Thursday, 12/21/00 04:28:29 GMT

Check out the latest Sci Am. There is an article about wootz steel and damascus with some fine explainations for how the patterns were developed. Also an example of Mohammad's Ladder pattern forged into a blade. Process is based on traces of vanadium in the original ore that promote carbide precipitation at grain boundries.

Hope to do a little forging during the holidays. Still working on Viking period tool reproductions. Have a Happy Holiday.

Dave Lawrence
David Lawrence - Thursday, 12/21/00 14:13:54 GMT

Dear Sir / Madam,

My company makes 'museum' quality display models - usually of ships, planes, trains etc.

One of our clients is the manufacturer of lifting and marine equipment in the UK. They want us to make reduced scale models of some of their products so that they could present them to clients. They were looking to reduce the scale such that each item was no bigger than 100 mm. They also wanted a model made of a Blacksmith's anvil. My problem is that we normally make models from scale plans. Would you know how I could obtain a plan of an anvil with typical dimension on it in order that we could make an appropriate scaled model from it - and is this information available on a website?

Yours sincerely,

Paul E. Potter MNI
Master Mariner

Model Masters UK
4 Bryn Llewellyn
SA65 9AX
United Kingdom

Business Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1348 873037
Home Tel: +44 (0)1348 874474
Mobile: 07713 096405
E-mail: PEPOTTER at compuserve.com
Website: http://www.modelmasters.net
Model Masters UK  <PEPOTTER at compuserve.com> - Thursday, 12/21/00 14:40:48 GMT

Anvil Drawing: Paul, Yes, I have one on-line. It is not a great reproduction (one of my early conversions) but it is of a GREAT old German (European Style) anvil of classic proportions. It is true scale.

It is listed on our 21st Century and linked to the Peddinghaus page of Wallace Metal Works.


I also have a similar detailed drawing of a 350# Hay-Budden from the same shop. However, it is not on-line.
- guru  <guru at anvilfire.com> - Thursday, 12/21/00 15:28:41 GMT

the part of a knife (or sword) are as follows ,from top to botom, point, blade hilt, each arm of the hilt is called a quilion then handle and pummel. the parts of the blade are edge, spine, and the part of the knife that continuse into the handle is the tang we call it a full tang if it gos all the way to the pummel the part are called the same thing on a sword they are just biger is all
MP  <swordmatt at yahoo.com> - Thursday, 12/21/00 18:38:29 GMT

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