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THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from December 20 - 27, 2005 on the Guru's Den
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I'm doing more and more work and the hack saw is getting to be a pain. Thinking about getting a band saw is a 9", 1/3hp, 120v, 3000sfpm saw powerful enough for stock as big 3/8" x 2 5/8" which is the biggest I deal with? That's mild steel by the way. Thanks everybody!
   Tyler Murch - Tuesday, 12/20/05 23:43:31 EST

Jennifer Thurman: Sawmaker's anvils appear on a somewhat regular basis on eBay. Sawmaker's hammers, AKA dogleg or dog head hammers, do as well. I believe there are three on there now identified as Japanese sword hammers. Look under the category for Collectibles/Tools, Hardware & Locks/Tools/Blacksmithing. You might also try at a blacksmithing conference in your area, but I don't remember seeing very many over the years at Quad-State and that is the largest of the lot. You may be able to do just as well by finding a large chunk of iron, such as 4" x 12" x 12". According to Anvils in America these ranged in weight from 60-1,600 pounds.

Robert Gate: Actually Hay-Budden stopped making anvils in 1925. Since anvils were only a small part of their business they may have been in operation longer than that. Full logo would read HAY-BUDDEN over MANUFACTURING CO over BROOKLYN, NY. Below that should be the weight in actual pounds. There should be two sets of numbers on the front foot, a long one, which is the serial number and can be correlated to a year of manufacture, and another one, usually three digits. Even Richard Postman, author of Anvils in America, doesn't know what those number represent as they are seldom near the actual weight. Just put it on a bathroom scale. E-mail me (just click on name) with the serial number and I will give you year. The top portion of your anvil will be wrought iron. The base may be WI or some type of mild steel. Steel plate on top.

While on anvils, I asked Mr. Postman why some Trentons serial numbers start with an A. He replied, "The last owner (of CF&I) told me the "A" meant a 2nd. But I do not believe it, because there are just too many of the early Trenton with the "A". I believe it just stands for "ANVIL" number so and so or it may be the initial of the maker, such as Anderson, who was an anvil maker at CF&I. None of those made after about 1920 have the "A". So your guess is as good as mine, but it does not have anything to do with dating." WAG on my part is CF&I subcontracted some anvil production to another company (perhaps CA&F [Arm & Hammer]) and that is how they differiented them.

Ray Gard: Albert Lea (MN) is the location of Enders Tool Co. and Original Enders (may be separate companies) which made farrier tools. However, there may have been other tool companies in Albert Lea.

Tyler Murch: 3/8" x 2 5/8" mild steel will cut very easily on a typical workshop bandsaw with a 1/2" x 64 1/2" blade. Northern Tools has them for either $199 (straight cut only) and $349 (swivel and vertical option). I have the latter and have done a bunch of cutting with it over the past year. Similar bandsaws are also sold by others, such as Harbor Freight and Grizzly. You can also do a lot of cutting with a handheld reciprocating saw.

Apparently a common problem with the NT swivel one is the top guides have too much play, which can allow the blade to slip off it and run on the side. You can remedy this by taking both guide mechanisms apart and placing thin washers on either side of the top guides.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 12/21/05 02:42:25 EST

Tyler: 3000 sfpm is way too fast for metal cutting. Those are wood cutting saws. You need a saw that gives from about 80 to 200 sfpm. The saw Ken is talking about fits in this catagory, they have a vise for cuttoff sawing, and can be stood all the way up for hand guided work, however the 1/2" blade is limited in its ability to contour saw, 2 1/2 " radius is as tight as the chart says a 1/2" blade will cut, and it won't do that easily. The other choice is an abrasive chop saw, less versatile, more portable, will cut hard or tough materials, useless for contouring, about the same price.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 12/21/05 03:06:30 EST

Hi. Miles' message about opthamologists and green goggles reminded me of some advice I just received. I go in for eye exams every year, due to a couple of anomalous results I had a couple of years ago. Everything seems to be OK, but it gives me a chance to check on the health of my eyes. Fortunately, corneas, retnias and maculas look good.

So, I asked the Dr. about looking at hot fires. He confirmed advice I received on this forum. Wear shaded glasses, similar to those sold by Anvilfire. Shade 3's are fine. Don't rely on standard clear safety glasses with UV blocking lenses. These lenses will give some protection against UV, and I have had good luck wearing them in welding workshops when the chance of getting "flashed" is high. The flashes are annoying, but you don't get that "sand in the eyes" feeling. He said that the risk from forge fires is different. It is IR, not UV. It causes swelling of the outer layer above the cornea, and although the damage is temporary, repeated incidents can be damaging. He said that you will feel it if you make a mistake, and you can come in to the office for some emergency eye drops to ease the swelling. Even better, get the shades, or stop looking at the hot fire. But, I got one of my best forge welds learning from an instructor at the recent CBA event, who taught the students to stare at the weld area through the coals until the edge fades into a lemony blur. So, sometimes it helps to stare.
   EricC - Wednesday, 12/21/05 03:34:54 EST

Dave: Yep, I forgot to include the chop saw option. I have one as well (Dewalt). Prefer not to use it unless the bandsaw won't do the job, such as on stainless. Puts out mega sparks, although I do keep a 5-gallon metal bucket positioned to catch almost all of them. Also cut edge needs to be dressed up.

I predominately use the bandsaw in the hortizonal position. Few times I need it upright (vertical) I find just using it an a slight angle (raised) works just as well for me as making the adjustment to stand it 90 degrees upright. Works great for making wedge slots in hammer handles. I don't do radius cuts.

As I noted on a previous thread, I dislike using my radial arm saw as it just flat out can take off a hand very easily. Bandsaw works just as well for cutting say 2x4s at the correct angle. Mine is advertised as cutting up to a 4" x 6" block, but I think that is a gross overrating. Probably 1" x 3" mild is as much as I think it could reasonably handle without the blade going off at an angle.

On my sawmaker's anvil comments above, when I say regularly on eBay, I meant every so often. Perhaps several times a year. Also the three hammers currently on eBay are identified as Dog Head Hammers.

By the way, for new folks, if you live within a state or two of West-central TN mark your 2006 calendar for the weekend of April 21-22 for the CSI-Anvilfire.com Hammer-in at my farm near Waverly. BigBlu be the featured demonstrator with hands-on availability to test drive. Richard Postman plans to be here to answer your anvil questions. I'm less than one mile from the World of Tools Museum, probably the U.S.'s largest private collection of metal working hand tools and a group tour is a definite possibility. For those considering a small propane forge, if there is interest, I can make one of my freon tank forges from scratch to finish as a demonstration. Will set out my coal forge and anvil under a shade tree for open demonstrations. If a demonstrator needs tooling, between my shop and BigBlu we can probally make them. TAILGATE TOOL SELLERS EXTREMELY WELCOME!!! Likely there won't be a registration fee with raising funds* for anvilfire.com being an auction or iron-in-the-hat drawing instead, perhaps with a minimum ticket purchase amount. This is the first of what may become an annual event. As such, don't expect something like a Quad-State or other established conference.

*I am providing the farm location at no cost. First year I am going with a makeshift outhouse/shower. Will try to get event insurance. Beyond that, net proceeds go to the anvilfire.com general operating fund.

While the event itself will be Saturday & Sunday, folks are welcome to come early and stay late, although those coming early may be put to work as a set-up crew. Only real tourist attraction in the local area is Loretta Lynn's Dude Ranch. While there are several motels in general area, the ranch's campgrounds should also be open then. At my farm itself, camping will be very primitive. Farm pond for fishing and I have some BIG catfish in it I wish someone would haul out of it for me.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 12/21/05 05:36:25 EST

My chop saw blade glazes and won't cut. The saw lugs down and pops the cicuit breaker. I need to cut some 3/4 by 3 and it won't handle it. Help! Thanks.
   charlie k - Wednesday, 12/21/05 05:37:27 EST

I am kinda curious about a process of making a metal object smell like roses. This administrator at my tech school sells these hand formed metal roses (not sur if they are steel, iron, etc.). Everyone I ask either doesn't know or can't give me a straight answer (doesn't know what won't say so). I came across your site and figured if anyone knew, you pros would. I am in no way a blacksmith or an aspiring one, just don't have the patients or the dedication for it, sorry. I would appriciate any info you all might. Just kinda curious.
   Patrick - Wednesday, 12/21/05 07:43:22 EST


The standard trick to making a metal rose smell like a rose is to tuck a tiny piece of cotton down in the center of it and douse it with rosewater perfume.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 12/21/05 08:17:41 EST

Charlie K,

Are you using good quality abrasive blades rated for the type of stock you're cutting? I like Sait blades, myself. You want one rated for an aggressive cut to avoid loading and glazing. Also, you need to develop a feel for how much pressure to apply to keep it cutting and transmitting the heat to the stock, not the blade.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 12/21/05 08:19:38 EST

Charlie, Get a good blade from your local welding supplier. Be patient and don't put so much pressure on it. What kind of blades are you using?
   Ron Childers - Wednesday, 12/21/05 08:35:40 EST

Specialty Steels: Through our store you will find our affiliate On-Line Metals. We recieve 10% of the sales (when you go through our link) and every little bit helps keep us going. . .

   - guru - Wednesday, 12/21/05 09:29:44 EST

Bogged Down Wheels: Glazing is generally from cutting the wrong metals or too soft a metal with a given wheel. It also happens from going too slow. Any hand fed tool requires the right touch for the best performance.

The general rule for grinding is the harder the substance the softer the wheel. This is so that dulled grit comes off rather than building up swarf (glazing). Hard and soft is NOT the abrasive itself but the bonding of the abrasive.

Also note that the fastest cutting wheels wear out the fastest. Long lasting wheels cut very slowly. Unless you are in a very impoverised country you want the fast cutting wheels because your time is worth a lot more than the wheels. Don't expect machines from third world countries to have fast cutting OR high quality wheels.

Also note that machinery built in China is designed and tested using 50Hz power. This means that in the US they run 20% faster and things do not perform the same.

You can also a diamond or a star dressing wheel to remove glazing and start over again.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/21/05 09:40:55 EST

Roses: See our iForge demo number 13.
Then number 32 on making a lilly
Number 53 on pipe flowers and
Number 72 on Fesia Flowers. . .

Many folks start with a kit of precut blanks and others start from scratch. They can be hot forged from heavy plate or cold worked from thin sheet steel OR non ferrous metal (coper, brass, sliver, gold. .)
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/21/05 09:46:29 EST

And I forgot the Russian Rose #146.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/21/05 09:47:57 EST

Staring into hot fires for forge welding: Filter glasses like our #2 Bouton safety glasses actually make it EASIER to see what is goin on in the fire AND protect your eyes. The #2's are also light enough for general shop use if you have a well lit shop and I was also told they make the best Harley-Davison riding glasses on the market. . .

Style like beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

   - guru - Wednesday, 12/21/05 10:08:26 EST


thanks, i forgot that the christmas season would put her back.
   Tony G - Wednesday, 12/21/05 10:41:55 EST

Okay, I've just finished making my first layered billet. I checked the "good" steel, it is called "high speed steel", flexes to a certian point, then breaks. Will shatter if hit cold. I'm using strapping steel for the "bad iron", I'm assuming it's a low carbon steel... strapping bends before it breaks. I layered the materials with the fabric knives side by side (they're 3/4" wide x 6") and the strapping in between in threes (they're 1/2" wide). There was a dozen layers of each metal, making 24 layers. I tacked around the sides, cut and stacked, tacked. Now I have a billet measuring 3" x 1-1/2" at 1/2" thick. I welded a 18" rod to the piece and now it looks like a big metal lollipop. I have some really old resources (books) and they say to use a flux made "from potters clay, wet with strong brine, then dried and powdered". WHat should my next step be?

All the thanks in the world,
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 12/21/05 10:47:22 EST

Well I hope so!! I just ordered the 3 pack special. I HAVE been noticing that looking into the fire has begun to hurt a little more plus making it really hard to see the work when placed on the anvil as all I see is a white glowing glob like u get from looking at the sun. But it's sooo hard not to look at, pretty pretty burning coal. Oh well, now I won't be able to blame smithing when I go blind later in life ;)
   Brett - Wednesday, 12/21/05 11:02:59 EST

By the way, this one's for you guys....

[b]Is this the proper way of using a bench grinder?[/b]

   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 12/21/05 11:21:43 EST


With the HSS in that billet, you really want a flux made up of anhydrous borax with 10% fluorite. You can get the fluorite flux from a pottery supply, it is used in glazing pots. Without it, that HSS has alloying ingredients that may not weld.

When working with fluorite flux, use caution about inhaling the vapors or fumes. That's a good idea with the borax, as well. Work with good ventilation like a fan blowing from behind you across the work and away.

Heat the billet to a black heat and apply flux to the edges. Brign up to a red heat and flux again, then bring the heat up to welding heat and let soak for about five minutes. Take from forge to anvil, hold it just a fraction of an inch above the anvil and then hit it a medium light blow in the center. Succesive blows working from the center to the ends. Stop when the heat drops below welding temp...you might get four or five quick blows in. Re-heat and re-weld as necessary to get it all consolidated.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 12/21/05 11:23:11 EST

Note as well that many HSS like to cottage cheese on you if you work them at high heats.

Robert Gale: if you wish you could post your anvil forsale on the hammerin forum. You will need to include details like make, weight and *condition* and the location---especially important as shipping anvils can be expensive...Most of us anvil users don't really care about the specific date save as a curiosity on an anvil as young as the HB brand.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/21/05 11:56:41 EST

Re flypresses:

I own 5 (or is it 6?) presses between size 2 and 10. I also have a couple of bar presses which are relatively rare, see link below.


Fly presses are great for repetative work, my link above shows the fullering tool I made for making hammer heads. I find that a size 6 is about the smallest press I use.
   Bob G - Wednesday, 12/21/05 12:42:24 EST

Miles; You're right, the Aten stuff is awesome!
   3dogs - Wednesday, 12/21/05 13:22:01 EST

Ron Anderson north central Indiana
Did you work for LPI??
   - Tom H - Wednesday, 12/21/05 14:00:56 EST

TG Nippulini,

I think your shoes are really keen.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 12/21/05 14:12:57 EST

Thomas, thanks for letting me know a good press will easily "U" a hoof rasp. Good information.

Stephen: thanks for your input as well, most helpful.

BobG: Thank you, also for the link to your flypress fullering a hammer. What a nice job it does!

From all of the above information sounds like I should look for a #6 press, first used locally, then see cost + shipping new. At Pieh I can pick it up, and unloading it at home is a snap with my tractor, bucket and 3/8" chain rated for lifting.....

Much appreciated!
   Ellen - Wednesday, 12/21/05 14:44:14 EST

Charlie, the other thing is to cut it on the 3/4" side, not on the 3". And, like other before, I have noticed a big difference in the success of my cuts after I threw out the harbor freght blades and bought some real blades.
   FredlyFX - Wednesday, 12/21/05 14:59:25 EST

Dave, Guru: I'll try a better word picture. The tank was definately warmer, on the south side of my shop. The line is shaded. My controls are 3 valves and 1 regulator. One valve on the tank pigtail, one valve on the pigtail at the forge station, a regulator at the forge and then a valve on each burner (2). I had cut off the burner valve only, leaving the rest of the manifold (with regulator) open to tank pressure. To avoid this problem I am going to shut all valves and bleed the short section between the forge pigtail and the burner. Agree? also: Renewed my CSI membership (very late). Thank you Jock Dempsey and have a Merry Christmas!
   Tone - Wednesday, 12/21/05 16:21:39 EST


"...flux made up of anhydrous borax with 10% fluorite...". Is this by weight or volume?
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 12/21/05 16:51:51 EST

re bandsaws glazing, i do stanless steel at work and its terrible for glazing if you drill or cut to fast, let it get too hot or you apply so little wieght that it doesnt take any metal off, you need as slow a speed as your patience can stand, give it some weight and make it cut and keep it cool, a windscreen or windshield washer pump is plenty big enough or even keep getting oil onto the cut through an oil can. the best and quickest way to glaze and take the point off every tooth with one pass is to try and cut metal that has been forged or gas cut. The rose no.13 on iforge is bril, done one for my wife for Christmas it looks really effective.I so in love this site, (slightly concerned that men complment each other on their shoes though? is this an American thing?)cheers.
   geoff - Wednesday, 12/21/05 17:24:48 EST

forgot to ask,im gona make a treadle hammer, has anyone done one or is there info somewhere obvious where i should have looked already? also, has anyone any thoughts on how to make hammer tools? pref of a foolproof or idiot proof design that wont come off and get me,(either wholey or in fragments)
   geoff - Wednesday, 12/21/05 17:35:23 EST

Thanks Ken, I was gonna ask that actually...

Frank, thanks, they're called "New Rocks" and help out the vertically challenged like myself.
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 12/21/05 18:04:29 EST

If you decide to obtain a small metal cutting bandsaw, say at HF or a Jet or NT, only take one with the adjustable roller guides. The slightly cheaper ones have a stamped part to carry the band roller guides and are not adjustable. This make for a very inaccurate saw. It also makes for a very unhappy smith.

Second, no matter the brand, buy the best blades only. The saw will cut faster, and straighter, and the blades if treated with respect last far longer. I like Lennox, but Simmonds is also very good and so is Starret.
I get my Lennox blades from Hagemeyer, by telephone order and they treat me very well. As alway, tell them you saw it on Anvilfire.
   ptree - Wednesday, 12/21/05 19:24:15 EST

Ken S,

"Is this by weight or volume? " Yes. (grin) It really shouldn't matter; they aren't that different in specific gravity, I don't think.

The Grand High Poobah suggests using a mixture of 10 parts anhydrous borax and 1/2 part sal ammoniac. He's done thousands of pounds of forge welded blades VERY successfully, so I might follow his advice.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 12/21/05 20:00:36 EST

TGN, say it ain't so! your getting out of showbiz?
(mind you that'll mean you'll have the brass to support your new ironbashing habit, and also CSI........ and as a fund raiser for us, forging with a suspended anvil and hammer...)
   JimG - Wednesday, 12/21/05 20:15:01 EST

I am 36 years old. most of my welding experence is just mig carbon steel. I do not know a lot about anything i have worked as a weilder since i was 19. Recentaly i have a job tig stainless steel. I think i made an error. lol . I tiged a carbon flange onto a carbon pipe using a stainless steel rod (316L) . This is on a low preasure vesel but with high tempeture i think the heat is about 1000 ^F . My boss was upset to say the least and i guess he is right is the stainless so strong or brittle that i will have cracks? Maybe like mending old cloth with new? I can accept that i have made a mistake. But like i said i do not know a lot about anything . So please comfirm that i did mess my britches? Thank you ! and Thank you for this site and what you guys do .. Please forgive me if i am missueing this form . Hope to get a reply soon and Thanks again.
   Mark - Wednesday, 12/21/05 21:04:54 EST

Stainless Weld

I'll throw out a thought for the Guru or one of the resident metalurgists to shoot down. Seems to me that the chromium in the stainless *could* combine with the carbon in the base metal to make an alloy steel that might harden on cooling. But I suspect the "carbon steel" base metal is probaly farily low carbon, so this might be unlikely to happen. If the weld did harden, but didn't crack right away, I'd think the 1000 degree service temp would temper it back pretty soft.
   Mike B - Wednesday, 12/21/05 21:24:13 EST

Thank you Mike i would be interested to hear any other comments.
   Mark - Wednesday, 12/21/05 21:30:56 EST

A number of weldors I know consider 309 SS rod to be an "all-purpose" filler when welding difficult or dissimilar carbon or tool steels. I don't know enough to say if this is good practice or not, just that they do it.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 12/21/05 21:39:03 EST

Re welding.

Every critical welding job will have a specified procedure. If this procedure is not followed to the letter then the weld will not be within specification.
   Bob G - Wednesday, 12/21/05 22:06:18 EST

The japanese swordsmith has a unique hammer the he uses. does it have a specific name or type and were can I get one?

   Blu - Wednesday, 12/21/05 22:39:34 EST

Tone: It is important to shut off the tank valve, as that is where the most propane is contained. If You shut off the tank valve and let the forge run untill it uses the fuel in the lines then close it's valves You will be in good shape.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 12/21/05 23:32:41 EST

Chop Saw Wheels: The hard bonded ones are good for cutting thin stock sections, like steel studs, garage door track EMT [thinwall] conduit etc. For pipe, angle, structural shapes the fast cutting wheels work MUCH better. Sections over 1" are really pushing a portable chop saw, keep in mind that an industrial unit would likely have a 36" wheel and 15 HP or more. A portable 15 amp saw makes about 1 1/2 HP regardless of what the maker advertises.
   Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 12/21/05 23:53:18 EST

Additional comments on the SS welding rod vicopper mentions above.

I have used many times and seen the repair done on a large trenton anvil with this ss rod. I have never seen a repair on an anvil this perfect. It does not even ding. You do see the color difference. The repared are is several inches long and in a sqiggly pattern. Like someone ran a torch cut all over. The anvil rings like a bell and the face does not ding at all. It is as hard as a rock. I am no expert like vicopper mentions also. I have never welded with it. My friend owns the anvil in his smitty shop. He owns about 15 other anvils. He uses the repaired one for everything and loves it.
   burntforge - Thursday, 12/22/05 00:21:48 EST


The generic name for hammer in Japan is "tsuchi", but I don't have a specific name for the forging hammer. I have patterns for the forging hand hammers. It would be difficult to find one in the U.S., because most imported hand hammers are for woodworking. The eye is rectangular shaped and is through the hammer's head at a slight angle. The hammer is slightly "head heavy", but it does not look like the "dog head hammers" on eBay. It doesn't have a working peen. Just the head is used. I can make one for you, but I have many other projects in front of yours. I can send you the pattern(s) snail mail. We can e-mail offsite about this.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/22/05 01:07:49 EST

Thanks to all for there comments about the ss tig weld on carbon flange to carbon pipe. Very interesting.
   Mark - Thursday, 12/22/05 05:19:54 EST

Blu: Try Nathan L. Robertson at Jackpine Forge (jpine@paulbunyan.net). He makes custom-made hammers and had a rather nice display of them at the last Quad-State.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 12/22/05 07:14:56 EST

Thanks for the comments. I think my wheel glazing is resulting from pushing the limits of the saw (a Milwaukee), impatience on my part resulting in too much pressure (Brian Anderson used to say "don't get greedy), and a machine that needs some work.
   charlie k - Thursday, 12/22/05 08:41:39 EST

i have a question, does anyone here go to big top flea market to sell items that you made?
   Tony G - Thursday, 12/22/05 09:25:02 EST

Flea Markets: Tony, You get flea market prices for new work when you sell at flea markets. To sell hand made work you have to get top dollar. The places to get those prices vary but are generally jurried art and craft shows, the better ren-faires and galleries. Other places include lawn and garden and gift shops. Of course at retail locations you must expect to give a 50% discount below retail price. Consignment craft shops are usualy NOT a good deal. You become an investor in someone elses business. Consignment in a top art gallery is the same. Both will expect 30 to 40% from the retail price. Always remember to set prices for items to be sold in shops high enough for the discounts.

If a crafts shop owner wants to do consignment then either your work is not good enough to buy outright OR the shop owner has no faith in your product OR their ability to sell it. My deal with crafts shops is that if they want something on consignment then it is at a floating scale and after a certain time (90 days) they should buy the work or return it. You do not want to invest in their business indefinitly. Also note that if you do consignment you need to plan on going out to every place that has your work and doing your own inventory once a month. Also note that some crafts shops will try to tell you an item was stolen and they do not owe you the money. You need a theft clause in your contract if you have a lot of small items on consignment. Sound like a lot to go through. . it is.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/22/05 11:03:20 EST

Welding carbon steel with SS: You indicated this is for some type of plumbing or pressure vessel. If so then some sort of codes apply. If not then the general methods for the codes should apply and this does not include mixed metals except under special circumstances such as cladding and selding clad materials.

In the least in a situation like this you have a quality of workmanship to consider and if I were the shop owner this is what I would be upset about. Sloppy work looks bad and reflects on the business and the management as well as the person that did the work. Just from quality of workmanship I would probably reject this work. THAT means a cost in time and materials that negates any profit. . . But I would not let bad work go out the door.

So, forgeting any metallurgical considerations there is a problem.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/22/05 11:12:04 EST

That "unique" japanese hammer is a rather common shape all over the world. The cutler's of Sheffield England used them, saw tuners used them, etc. Unfortunately as a "specialty" hammer they were not common in the larger sphere of things and so not mass produced.

There are several smiths that make them as custom orders though.

I've always found it strange that people go gaga over the japanese "stuff" never realizing that in many times the europeans were doing the same things.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 12/22/05 12:03:57 EST

Bruce Wilcock has photos of cutler's hammers on his website, follow the link to 'tools' and you should find a page about cutlers. There's also a photo of a cutler's anvil, the only one I've ever managed to find!

   Bob G - Thursday, 12/22/05 13:00:11 EST

they have movies and cassets about culter hammers at http://www.breakerbroker.com/cutlerhammer.html
   Tony G - Thursday, 12/22/05 13:27:20 EST

mark, glad its not just me thats done things like that,the prob ss/mild steel weld is it can leave a weak spot and end brittlement can occur, heat treatmebt could help but cant you not cut it out and redo it, theres nothing like having it right. the comments are right, ss is at times used ae a general purpose filler, in steel sheet( such as a tue tank) where impurities bubble and leave the weld pourous,going over it again seals it, it may not be a perfect as strength goes but its water tight
   geoff - Thursday, 12/22/05 14:07:59 EST

There is a renaissance cutler's anvil on display at the Deutsches Klingen Museum in Solingen Germany.

   Thomas P - Thursday, 12/22/05 14:19:02 EST


Be careful, we all know that the ninjas will flip out and attack you with a sword that can cut right through a machinegun barrel!

I guess the grass is always greener, and the steel is always sharper and tougher, on the other side of the fence. Diverse techniques can produce similar results, limited mostly by the inherent nature of the materials. Exotic cultures (from both points of view) and their technologies all lend a bit of magic and moonshine to a weapon of both practical and symbolic significance.

Good work gets a good reputation, which only grows in the telling; exotic weapons get all the attention, because nobody worries about how well tempered your manure or gardening fork is, or how practical your pry-bar. Racehorses and warhorses always got more attention than plow horses or pack mules, even though the later made life far more bearable.

As for us, we do what we do and always learn from others. :-)

Still sunny and still cold on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 12/22/05 16:41:14 EST

I am going to be building a forge using a oil Furnace gun as the fuel/Air supply. I am wondering about Insulation requirements. I am figuring on 2 layers of 1" cereblanket, What other layers should I include and how thick? I understand that I use all advice a my own risk, But it is better to get the advise of knowledge than through trial and error when you are messing with Fire.

I appreciate all the advise.

Sean A
   Sean A - Thursday, 12/22/05 18:18:36 EST

Bruce; please read the wikipedia entry on Wrought_Iron. I don't think I found a single sentence that did not contain an error!

   Thomas P - Thursday, 12/22/05 18:21:45 EST

is an oil furnace gun the same thing as a oil burner that uses 35sec (diesel) or kerosene as used in central heating boilers etc? if so dont you get soot/oily deposits on the heated iron? also is what is koawool or cereblanket, never come across them,am i just in the dark or could they be known by another name in england?
   geoff - Thursday, 12/22/05 18:36:25 EST

Cutler Hammer and Anvil

I am familiar with a cutlers anvil and hammers. In my opinion as someone who worked in cutlery for many years including sporting knives, pocket knives, kitchen cutlery and scissors I don't feel a real cutlers forging anvil and hammers are all that nessisary. They just add a great deal of cost to your shop. I am not saying they are not nice tools. A regular anvil with a typical cross, striaght or ball pein hammer works just fine. What is more important is making a very small cutlers assembly/finishing anvil and a small cut face hammer for assembly and finishing purposes. These are two tools you almost can't live without. The cutlers finishing anvil can be simply mild steel or hard if you prefer. It is better soft. The cut face hammer is critical for proper pin heading before hafting. The nails and pins should also be annealed before assembly as well.
   burntforge - Thursday, 12/22/05 19:38:59 EST

Cutler hammer and anvil adjunct
Also making some spinning tools from old High Speed Steel bits as well is crucial for spinning the rivets.
   burntforge - Thursday, 12/22/05 19:40:51 EST

Cutler book to buy!!
A good book that shows all small finishing tool but a cut face hammer is "Pocket knife Repair by Ben Kelley Jr. It usually runs from 10.95-12.00 US. ISBN: 0-87341-387-3. It has a print to make your cutlers anvil. You can purchase this book from the anvilfire advertisers. Tell them you saw it here at anvilfire.

I should take pictures of a cut face hammer and give sizes. This will give anyone interested in knives the knowledge of how to make one. It is pretty darn secret by most of the old master cutlers still living for some reason. I am about sharing.
   burntforge - Thursday, 12/22/05 19:47:51 EST


You're correct about the oil furnace gun. We call they fuel it burns home heating oil here in the U.S., but it's very close to diesel fuel, if not identical.

Kaowool is a spun mineral refactory material (made from kaolin clay, I think). The weight is like a heavy felt, or compressed fiberglass insulation. Kaowool is actually a brand name; it might be sold under another name in England, but I don't know what.
   Mike B - Thursday, 12/22/05 19:48:50 EST

I got a Peddinghaus 2.2# cross peen hammer and I love it. What is the advantage of the rectangle face, the square face, the octagonal face, and the round face?
   Tyler Murch - Thursday, 12/22/05 21:04:35 EST

I just read the Wikipedia article on "Wrought Iron" There ARE a LOT of errors. One of you more knowledgeable gentlemen should edit (rewrite) it.

Wikipedia is supposed to be self-correcting by that process.
   - John Odom - Thursday, 12/22/05 21:29:15 EST


I ran across a copy of the "Bituminous Bits" the
journal of the Alabama Forge Council reprint Vol. 9
No. 2. It covers the tooling and uses within its
pages. Also, the plans for building Clay Spencer's
treadle hammer are quite good. We had a workshop,
where we turned out 21 hammers over a weekend. Cost was around $550.00. Clay led the group and it turned out to be a lot of work, but a very enjoyable time. I
believe ABANA has Clay's plans for sale.
   - Teslow - Thursday, 12/22/05 21:46:23 EST

Thomas P,

I just finished reading that Wikipedia entry on "wrought iron", and I concur. I found more egregious errors in it than I think I've ever seen anywhere before! Totally bogus "information." Whoever contributed that tripe needs to hang on to his day job.
   vicopper - Thursday, 12/22/05 21:58:53 EST

Teslow: was the cost $550 for one hammer's materials? Or did it include instructor? I saw the plans for sale, for I believe $12 on the Abana site.

When we did our forge making workshop (which Arizona Artists Blacksmith Assoc. is doing again this Jan. & Feb.), materials for a two burner propane forge came to $75. This included the kaowool and the stand, but not the firebrick for the ends of the forge. Nice forge, too.
   Ellen - Thursday, 12/22/05 22:37:26 EST

Geoff; Heating oil is basically diesel fuel without the highway use taxes on it. If you are caught using heating oil to operate highway vehicles, you can be busted for evading the tax. Still, a lot of folks with diesel pickups, oddly enough, will have a heating oil tank in their back yard or garage, but no oil furnace. Some will also have a BIG auxiliary fuel tank in the pickup bed. You just never know when you might come upon a furnace that's out of fuel while you're out cruising around.
   3dogs - Thursday, 12/22/05 22:53:50 EST

For Japanese style cutler's hammers, check with Ric Furrer at Dorr County Forge.
   3dogs - Thursday, 12/22/05 22:55:45 EST

The cost of the workshop I believe was around $150.00 or $175.00. Been a ways back. The $550.00 was just in material costs. Hotel room and meals extra. When is the forge workshop? I'll be in Yuma for the winter. Planning on heading up for the screw press meeting on the 14Th of Jan.
   - Teslow - Thursday, 12/22/05 22:59:20 EST

vicpooer,Thomas P:

On the wikipedia page, please consider hitting the "edit this page" link near the top of the page and correcting some of those errors. I'm sure future visitors will appreciate it.
   Rick Widmer - Thursday, 12/22/05 23:36:31 EST

Cutler Tools Part IV

I also forgot the importance of the slackner for folding knives. This is placed between the cut center liner and inside surface of the blade tang from the bolster end. This is only used on one inner side if the knife has more than one blade. It is sloted to fit around the pivot nail. The slackner is typically between .013-.020 thick. You do not want to go any thicker or thinner. This allows blades to pivot freely without drag. Then the spring can do its job. The run up of the tang and spring to be properly matched so as to not have spring drop, blade drop and for proper function of the spring as long as the spring is not weak. I am going to stop at this point. A book could be written on this and a nack and touch is the trick. All of the above posts of cutlers tools are much more important than a specific cutlers forging hammer and anvil. Any normal blacksmithing tools can be used in the forging process. Material used, Hardenability and tempering are the first most important. Then the specific hand finishing tools and abrasive type machines. The fancy saw hammers and cutler forging anvil are really just not important. I hope this info helps.
   burntforge - Thursday, 12/22/05 23:42:12 EST

What steels could I use to make hammerheads? I have a simple HT furnace and I think I could try something more exotic than 1060. Would S1 be suitable?
   Bob G - Thursday, 12/22/05 23:45:19 EST

I like 4140 for hammer heads.
   burntforge - Friday, 12/23/05 00:18:00 EST

Bob G,

1060 sounds good. You get a desirable case/core effect when you harden. S7 is overbuilding.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 12/23/05 00:22:50 EST


You said that I could get specialty steels throught you on-line affiliates. How do I do that?

   Hillbillysmith - Friday, 12/23/05 00:39:15 EST

Tyler et al.,

The hammer face shapes probably arose by happenstance. The English ball peen is round, as is the Japanese forging hammer and farriers' rounding hammers. I have an old French hammer that has a rectangular, rockered face with sharp corners on the body. Many hammers on the continent of Europe have squarish hammer faces (with a slight corner chamfer).
   Frank Turley - Friday, 12/23/05 00:42:55 EST

A New York Times editor has told his staff reporters not to rely on Wikipedia after a story about the encyclopedia elicited reports similar to Thomas's about errors, romanesko, the poynter journalism website, reported December 7. "WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2005
NYT biz editor tells staff not to use Wikipedia to check info
Romenesko Memos
Times business editor Larry Ingrassia says reporter Katharine Seelye has received a number of e-mail messages about inaccurate information on Wikipedia since her story about the online encyclopedia was published. "We shouldn't be using it to check any information that goes into the newspaper," he tells his staff." Wikipedia naturally responded defensively. Another editor, John Seigenthaler of the Nashville Tennessean was slurred by a hoaxter who posted on Wilkipedia that Seigenthaler was involved in the JFK assassination. The hoaxter said it was a prank, and apologized, claiming he thought Wilkipedia was just a crocque. "Of course I accept the apology," says Seigenthaler, but it doesn't lessen my frustration that anybody can put anything on Wikipedia."
   Miles Undercut - Friday, 12/23/05 00:59:11 EST

I need a catalogue mailed to me. I'm just starting blacksmithing and I need all the basic supplies. All I have to work with is a few hollow pipes, a ball pein hammer, and a concrete block for an anvil.
   Jeremiah Alford - Friday, 12/23/05 01:05:17 EST

Thank you very much .
   Mark - Friday, 12/23/05 02:33:56 EST

Geoff: For ceramic insulating blanket check with ceramic kiln suppliers. In the U.S. I believe it is sold by density (e.g., 4 lb, 6 lb & 8 lb) and by thickness. For those in the U.S., it is stocked in the anvilfire.com store (click on NAVIGATE anvilfire box link, then scroll down to STORE), plus it is sometimes available by the box or foot on www.eBay.com.

Hillbillysmith: See above to take you to the anvilfire.com store. Then click on the link for ONLINE METAL SUPPLIER.

Jeremiah Alford: You don't necessarily need a hardcopy catalog. Go to the NAVIGATE anvilfire box and click on the button. Scroll down until you find the list of advertisers. Click on the ones which appear to be tool suppliers. The ones with catalogs likely have a place on their homepage to where you can request a catalog, but you can also purchase on-line. You can comparison shop between the suppliers, but keep S&H in mind while doing so. My recommendation would be to start by going to the anvilfire.com HOME page and clicking on the link for Getting Started in Blacksmithing. From there you can purchase some good, basic introduction to blacksmithing book. Both Centaur Forge and Pieh Tool Co. carry a nice selection of them, but your local library may be able to obtain a loaner copy for you. Also see the BOOKSHELF/REVIEW link under NAVIGATE anvilfire.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 12/23/05 07:33:56 EST

Hello can anyone help me with the following problem?
I am currently working on a 1935 Rolls Royce and of course this car has got leaf springs.
These leaf springs have got forged spring eyes and no one seems to know how to make these.
I have heared that you should roll the leaf steel on its self
and than forge the leaf on itself with some sort of powder to "weld" the two toghtether.
Does anyone know how to forge these eyes?
It seems impossible to find anyone who knows this technique.
Can anyone help me?
   Arjen Geirnaert - Friday, 12/23/05 08:08:03 EST

Arjen Geirnaert,

You don't say where you are, which makes it impossible to give exact suggestions for where to get what you need.

Leaf springs with forged eyes are going to have to be made by a specialty shop that makes springs. These days, almost all leaf springs have rolled eyes that are not forge welded (the process you described), and they work just fine. Attempting to forge weld an eye in modern spring steel is not impossible, but few, if any, spring shops will be equipped to do this, nor will they want to, due to liability questions should the eye fail. Most good blacksmiths can make the forge weld, but very few will be equipped to do the necessary heat treating afterwards.

Automotive springs are stressed considerably and must be done correctly so as not to fail. You really need the services of a good forging shop, and a good heat treating shop. Let us know where you are located and someone here wil likely know a place in your area where you can find the services you need.
   vicopper - Friday, 12/23/05 08:30:39 EST

this is a site where you can download a catolog.
   Tony G - Friday, 12/23/05 08:58:18 EST


I am situated in Belgium ( Europe)
I have got a good spring shop here in the neighbourhood, but the spring man in question hasn't used this technique in ages, so now I am searching where I can find someone who still masters this technique or has any writing on the subject.
regards, Arjen
   Arjen Geirnaert - Friday, 12/23/05 10:22:14 EST

Arjen Geirnaert, While it does not involve welding the eye page 23 of the Hossfeld Bender instruction manual shows how to bend the small eye you require. The example they show is a truck spring. They use a special attachment to the bender. Interestingly part of the instructions call for prebending the end " on the anvil".
   SGensh - Friday, 12/23/05 10:35:22 EST

Where can I find this and other books?
   Arjen Geirnaert - Friday, 12/23/05 10:45:15 EST


You can obtain a copy of the Hossfeld bender manual from Hossfeld at: http://www.hossfeldbender.com
   vicopper - Friday, 12/23/05 10:56:24 EST

Re the poor 'wrought iron' information, MSN's Encarta Premium has some horse hockey in their definition and description.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 12/23/05 11:26:16 EST

i went to the online metals store on this site, and i was woundering, what would be the best form to get metal? isn't it flat bar?
   Tony G - Friday, 12/23/05 11:51:35 EST

oxy regulator. I am replacing the outlet nut on my oxy regulator - the pipe thread side was leaking, I have a replacement nut (male pipe to maile NC)and I chased out with a pipe tap but I cant get it to seal. Seems like the old one had some sealing compound on it. can I use pipe dope? remember this is the LP side running <80 psi

Thanks, Adam
   adam - Friday, 12/23/05 13:24:30 EST

I very much like the projects listed under iForge, but the last demo I can see was posted November 12, 2003!
So am I doing something wrong that I can't see the rest of the domo's, are they posted somewhere else or haven't there been any posts since November 12, 2003...
Any info would be very much appreciated
Thanks Filip
   Filip - Friday, 12/23/05 13:26:40 EST

Tony G: It depends on what you want to make, it'd be awfully hard to upset flatstock into a round bar if you want to make a post for a gate. Most of the non blade stuff I make tends to end up square in cross section, but I like to make it square from round myself so the whole thing looks forged, not just the bits that needed forging to make the thingy functional.
   AwP - Friday, 12/23/05 14:06:13 EST


thank you for helping. It is difficult to decide what metal form to buy.
   Tony G - Friday, 12/23/05 14:50:40 EST

Tong G: If you only need mild steel look under Steel Suppliers in the yellow pages of a nearby city. You will have to pay retail, but picking it up is likely to far outweigh shipping costs. For a new (and small) order expect to place order in person and pay at that time. They will then pull your order. At least one of the local auto parts stores carries short lengths of common sizes of mild steel. Expensive, but here again saves fuel and/or shipping.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 12/23/05 17:26:54 EST

Adam; To prevent my good friend from Lost Almost from becoming an object of arse destruction, please go buy another regulator.
   3dogs - Friday, 12/23/05 18:47:39 EST

Good advise 3Dogs! I second that.
   - ptree - Friday, 12/23/05 20:22:26 EST

hi !
does anybody can tell me where i can buy fireplace spark screen material, but the one that look like a "curtain"...with a track at the top then you can slide it both side of the opening.
also where i can find a plan to make a ring roller, a manuel roller that roll flat bar up to 2" x 1/4 or 3/8 ???
Thanks a lot and merry christmas to all of you !!!!
   machefer - Friday, 12/23/05 21:00:04 EST

3Dogs & Ptree - Gotta agree in spades. Adam, most pipe sealants are not compatible with exposure to oxygen. Oxygen will make just about anything burn & or explode, and not a lot of fuel or energy is required to get a reaction going. Working for Airco, we heard all the horror stories - the delivery driver killed because he stepped on asphalt that had a LOX spill on it in his high heeled cowboy boots - set off an explosion that blew his leg off. The plant that had a major fire because they cleaned their schedule 80 oxygen supply line with a degreaser that left a flammable residue, the plant that cleaned an oxygen regulator with a hydrocarbon cleaner, again a residue that set off a major fire. With oxygen, you're much better safe than sorry.

Tony G - what do you want to make? Depending on that you need to base your purchase - SCA armor, or a colonial frypan - buy flat sheet, mild steel will work for both applications. Hooks - some square stock, a trammel - some bar stock 3/16 to 1/4 inch thick by whatever width you want the trammel, a colonial candle stand - a mix of round and and square bar, with some flat rectangular stock thrown in, knives/hatchets some decent mid carbon steel - 1060, 1080, 5160, etc. The one class I took with Jymm Hoffman emphasized thinking of what you want to make and choosing stock appropriately - that's just been reinforced by the demonstrators each time I go to Quad State or one of the local PAABA meetings. You could make an S hook by taking a 2" cube of metal and pounding it out to 1/4 " square bar and then making the hook, or you can start with 1/4" bar and make a lot more in the same time :)
   - Gavainh - Friday, 12/23/05 22:32:01 EST


Ya get what ya pays for! ;-)

Thomas: Perhaps you can bash it into something that resembles reality; the current effort reflects little research and no experience.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/23/05 23:41:01 EST

Adam A few good fellas above gave you some great advise about just replacing the bad parts for safety. Please do! You are a great person and asset to anvilfire. We don't want anything to happen to you. You still need to make an anvil 1 lb heavier than mine.
   burntforge - Saturday, 12/24/05 01:36:09 EST

Anvil Nuts: Take a look at eBay #6238216860. Seller said the only letter in the logo he could make out was a D (location not known). However, look at the curve between the legs at the side. Doesn't seem to match any of the Swedish anvils in Anvils in America (AIA). Looks a lot like the Boker on page 48, but that one is marked in Kgs. Wondering if this might be a German S. D. Kimbark as noted on page 47.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 12/24/05 02:11:33 EST

Oxygen and safety,
There are some pipe thread sealants rated for oxygen service. There are also Oxygen service greases. At the valve shop I used to work at, we built Oxygen service valves. We took our standard valves and first did a general caustic clean. Then a vapor degrease to remove EVERY trace of hydrocarbon lubes, greases and oils. The valves were built on a cleaned bench, covered in clean new cardboard. The stems were lubed with an O2 grease, and the valves tested for leakage on special clean test equipment. The finished valve then was again vapor degreased, placed in a cleanpoly bag with a dessicant packet to prevent moisture from rusting the valve, and the bag closed with a wire tie. The vapor degreaser used a now outlawed CFC solvent.
The O2 grease was on the order of $400/# as I remember.

We also made O2 fittings. I have seen photos of both stainless and carbon steel pipe systems that exploded/burned from reaction with 100% O2. I seem to remember that the system were undersized and had excessive velocity, and the friction from the high speed floow at a fitting such as an Ell caused the internal temp to rise to the point of combustion! The very pipe burned.
   ptree - Saturday, 12/24/05 09:30:27 EST

O2 regulator: well thanks guys and I will take your advice and I am quite touched that you care :) but I must ask does one really have to be that stringent on the low pressure side? After all this is just teflon tape and its only about 40# of 02. I dont for instance take any special precautions about handling the threads to attach the torch and the hose. Should I worry about skin oil contamination? Is teflon pipe tape anymore combustible than the hose? Not trying to be smart, just trying to understand.
   adam - Saturday, 12/24/05 10:14:34 EST

I've been using ptfe (teflon™) tape for sealing gauges in O2 regulators for several years and several regulators, now. I've had no problems with the tape, but I would never use any type of liquid or paste goop unless it was specifically rated for high-pressure O2 use.
   vicopper - Saturday, 12/24/05 12:14:00 EST

The screen material which is interlocked verical helixes, as opposed to flat woven wire mesh, comes from cascade coil-
They have it steel, aluminum, and even stainless.

   - ries - Saturday, 12/24/05 13:07:02 EST

Oxygen seralants. In the dark ages, many years ago, they used lead foil strips as a thread sealant on pipe threads for oxygen service. I don't know where one could find lead foil that thin today.
   - John Odom - Saturday, 12/24/05 13:54:20 EST

This was the best link I could find for teflon and oxygen: http://www.bocindustrial.co.uk/product_information/product_data_sheets/oxygen.asp

It looks like teflon itself is probably safe, but standard tape may be contaminated with oil. I did also find links for oxygen-safe tefon sealants.
   Mike B - Saturday, 12/24/05 17:21:23 EST

thanks ries, i will check on netvfor cascadecoil
   machefer - Saturday, 12/24/05 17:38:59 EST

Merry Christmas to all--especially Jock for making this great site possible and his tremendous sharing of the knowledge he has. Thank you and God Bless.
   Jerry - Saturday, 12/24/05 19:22:24 EST

All this talk of the dangers of Oxygen has gotten me to thinking. Yeah, I know that is a dangerous thing for me to do, and it also gives me headaches! BOG Anyhow, what happens to an oxy/accet tank set in the case of a fire? Does it have a pressure release like my dive tanks? That way it would just spew a highly flammable gas, but not burst like a bomb. I'd also think that would be the case with the plastic gas cans in my barn, but I really don't know for sure. John Odom, this has got to be right up your alley. Can ya give us some insight?
   Bob H - Saturday, 12/24/05 22:37:28 EST

Well Bob, I know that in case of a fire in my shop, whatever happens will be happening whilst my sorry self is beatin' feet in the other direction! After the smoke settles, I'll wait another couple of judicious days and then creep up on it real carefully to see what things look like and let you know. (grin)

Merry Christmas and Happy New year to all here! A special thank you to Jock Dempsey for his tireless efforts in keeping this site alive and well. For those who want to help keep things going here, might I suggest that a membership in CyberSmiths International (CSI), would make a great gift to yourself that will keep on giving all year long.
   vicopper - Sunday, 12/25/05 01:53:57 EST

Merry Xmas and well wishes to all
   - Timex - Sunday, 12/25/05 02:02:04 EST

Yes, all the welding tanks have thermal and or pressure activated releases. They STILL sometimes do a lot of damage when they go!

I have never seen a plastic gas can. Plastic Gasoline cans melt through without exploding. Again a real mess but better than an explosion.

I wasn't trying to be funny or make a put-down on the gas/gasoline thing. Propane tanks are called "gas cans" by some of our Mexican immigrants and one needs to be sure what they are talking about when you interview a witness!
   - John Odom - Sunday, 12/25/05 09:29:10 EST

In Ireland, LP powered cars are common (at least they were when I was there 15 years ago ), and most filling stations are equipped to fill them with "gas." I walked up with the can from an outboard and remembered just in time to ask for it to be filled with "petrol." Almost wished I hadn't caught myself, just to see the look on the attendant's face.
   Mike B - Sunday, 12/25/05 10:18:33 EST

In Germany, Gasoline is called benzene!
Fuel oil is called parifin in most of Europe.
   ptree - Sunday, 12/25/05 11:52:12 EST

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

I'm on the road today and will back tomarrow (Monday) sometime!

Y'all be safe now.

   - guru - Sunday, 12/25/05 12:40:52 EST

Merry Christmas to all the folks at Anvilfire. You have been such a gift to me with all your knowledge.Thanks especially to Jock. On this day, I said special prayers for Paw Paw and his family. What a great guy.
God Bless us everyone
   PapaDoc - Sunday, 12/25/05 14:09:45 EST

I've recently come across a few e-bay listings for coal. I was wondering if these were even worth my time. They do list the specs on the coal.

Size: NUT 1 5/8 x 13/16"

Moisture: 5.49%

Ash: 9.06%

Sulfur: .56%

BTU/lb: 13,451

Ash Fusion Temp: 2,700 F

Volatile Matter: 4.12%

Fixed Carbon: 95.17% (dry, ash-free)

Coal analysis 2/24/04 GeoChemical Testing, Somerset Pa.
$8.99 + shipping

If these are not good specs for blacksmithing, then what is better? There is also a listing for Pocahontas #3 coal.

Coal is $8.99 plus shipping.


Size: 1" x 3/8"

Moisture: 1.48% as recieved.

Ash: 7.12%

Sulfur: .75%

BTU/lb: 14,373

Moisture & Ash Free BTU: 15,724

Volatile Matter: 18.63%

Fixed Carbon: 79.62% (dry ash-free)

Free Swelling Index (Coke Button): 9

Lbs sulfur per million BTU: 0.52

Coal analysis report 10/14/03 by GeoChemical Testing, Somerset, PA.

Are these better specs for blacksmithing than the previous PA coal?

I'm wanting to do some iron work as a hobby, and need to know if I'd be better off buying coal from a local seller or ordering it from someone else. There are only 3 people listed selling 'Blacksmith's coal' in my area, and I have not checked their pricing yet.
   Zeek - Sunday, 12/25/05 16:27:55 EST


With 4% volatiles, the first coal you list looks like an anthracite -- not good for smithing. Pocahontas #3, on the other hand, is a well-known smithing coal. Look under the FAQs on this site.
   Mike B - Sunday, 12/25/05 17:07:38 EST

The Pochahontas looks best. The 0.75 S is a little high, but the rest of the specs are good. It is also well known as a good blacksmithing coal.
   - John Odom - Sunday, 12/25/05 19:27:56 EST

I just wanted to say thank you. I fit the profile you described of someone wanting to make a sword to a T. after reading your faqs, I think that I will stick to wood working. Furthermore, in college I did take a class in metal working, and that coupled with the articles I read on your website have made me appreciate much more the art of metal working. Again, thank you.
   Jason - Sunday, 12/25/05 19:35:01 EST

Merry Christmas to all here.

A huge thank you to Jock Dempsey for his vision and his perspiration in keeping this site going to help us all.

I'm sure Jim "Paw Paw" Wilson looks in on us from his heavenly forge shop where the iron is always hot, the anvil rings true, the hammering rhythym is perfect and all mistakes are truly artistic improvements, and the slack tub is filled with Oban so the quench is aromatic. We miss you Jim! Thanks for sharing so much with so many.

A big thanks to all the young Americans across the generations who have served to keep us free to celebrate our lives and live in precious freedom. May God bless and protect them, wherever they are.

   - Ellen - Sunday, 12/25/05 21:28:29 EST

What is a good source to purchase Mica? Thanks
   burntforge - Monday, 12/26/05 21:27:03 EST

im 15 and i try to blacksmith down here in florida. im working in a fire pit on the ground using austrailian pine wood. obviously these arent the best conditions, but im trying to persevere. i want to know about hardening. i made a knife out of steel flatbar, and i want to know about hardening it. is it too late? when should i harden my projects? is it even neccessary if its steel flatbar? i could really use some direction. thanks
   royce - Tuesday, 12/27/05 00:11:24 EST

Hello Royce, welcome to the dark side. Blacksmithing can be a very rewarding hobby. I had the best Christmas ever this year, as I made gifts for almost everyone, and the looks on their face made it all worth while.

As for heat treating your knife, go to the drop down menu in the upper right corner. Go to the FAQ and there is one on sword making. Also check out the 21st Century page and there is a section on heat treating. You may have trouble getting that knife hard if it is just made of plain old mild steel. Normally you want a higher carbon steel so it will harden.

Good luck with it.

   FredlyFX - Tuesday, 12/27/05 02:14:51 EST

Mica: From previous responses

Tar Heel Mica Co. Plumtree NC. USA 1-828-765-4535

The Cleveland Mica Co.. Cleveland Ohio 216-226-1360
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/27/05 11:11:54 EST

Happy Holidays everyone! Hope everyone got cool stuff.

Now, I am having a heck of a time frying to get a supplier of anhydrous borax, and I don't intend on attempting to make my own from store bought detergent. The sal ammoniac is easy to obtain, but this borax thing is driving me nutz. I live in/around Philadelphia, and there seems to be no one that knows what I'm talking about here. Any tips?

   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 12/27/05 13:47:39 EST

TGN It is easy to dehydrate regular Borax. Just heat in an oven to 250 F. It won't smell or make a mess, if the pan has only a thin layer. Check the FAQ at anvilfire.

DO NOT use Boraxo hand cleaner. THAT is mostly detergent, abrasive, and a little bit of Borax.

I have seen anhydrous Borax for sale, but in a damp climate it DOES NOT stay anhydrous.
   - John Odom - Tuesday, 12/27/05 13:53:29 EST

TGN, Try a ceramics supplier. We list one on our links page. But as John pointed out boras does not like to stay dehydrated. Its normal state is 10 molecules of water per one borax so it likes to absorb water from the air to return to this "balance".

Although dehydrated borax is slightly easier to use many smiths just use the stuff right out of the box. When applied to hot iron it does its little dehyration dance (a ballet) then becomes liquid. When melted on the metal it is 100% dehydrated and fluxes just as well.

For steel boric acid is more commonly used than sal ammoniac. If you are welding alloy steel then you need fluz grade flourite powder (calcium flouride). This is available (as is anhydrous borax) from many ceramics suppliers. You only need a small amount to add the 10% to your borax.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/27/05 14:28:13 EST

Thank You Jock. The Mica contact will be a great help.
   burntforge - Tuesday, 12/27/05 14:43:14 EST

Jock: I enjoyed reading your section about Costa Rica. I lived in Panama from 1936 to 1941. We went to Costa rica for vacation each year, We took a United Fruit Co Banana Boat from Colon Panama to Puerto Limon Costa Rica. Then we took a little narrow gauge steam train from Limon to San Jose. We then took a bus for a while and finaly an ox cart to the mission property. This was a former plantation of some kind, mostly decripit and unused, except as a future site for a school. the main house had been burned but we would vacation in one of the former servant's quarters units.

Once while traveling to San Jose from Limon I was (age 4) standing on the seat looking out the unglazed open wind holding the little brass bar that came about mid belly on me. Then an earthquake struck and I went out the window. My brother (10) grabbed a heel, then mother grabbed the other and they hauled me back. My earliest memory is hanging head down by my heel banging the side of the car. The train then proceeded at walking speed as the train crew walked ahead inspecting the track until dark. We sat there overnight and went on into San Jose in the morning.

In those days there were many smiths. Ox carts were common and the smiths shoed the oxen and horses, and made and repaired everything. There was quite a bit of nice ornamental ironwork around as I remember. Only "big houses" had burglar bars.
   - John Odom - Tuesday, 12/27/05 17:28:40 EST

I hope all of you had a Merry Safe Christmas! I'm at home on a slow dial-up and chained to a pick and shovel putting in a trench to run electric to my wife's studio so I'll be a bit spotty on my replies till after the new year.

WI: I will probably give correcting the wikipedia a go; but it will have to wait till I'm someplace that doesn't average at least one unscheduled power hit a day.

Rolls Royce spring eyes: I would hazard a guess that they were not forge welded but rather punched in larger stock and then worked down into the leaf spring. Much more in line with RR's processes of the time and less hazard of the weld failing. The same technique will work today but you will need a smith with good experience with a power hammer. make sure you normalize the spring a couple of times before heat treat as well as the spring shop is probably not used to working with hand forged springs and may not be familiar with that step.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/27/05 17:55:44 EST

SORRY! Jock and others: I'm sorry for the long off-topic post about Costa Rica above. I thought I was on the hammer-in.

John Odom
   - John Odom - Tuesday, 12/27/05 18:05:20 EST

Rolls Royce Springs-
On vintage cars like the Rolls, where there are many affluent collectors, there are usually specialist shops who make brand new parts the right way. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, you need to talk to some professional Rolls restorers, and my guess is they will point you to the one guy on the planet who makes absolutely correct new springs.
I know several guys like this, each with their own specialty- the guy who makes wooden rimmed, aluminum hubbed steering wheels for british sports cars, better than the originals, the guy who makes racing carbs for 50's racing cars, the guy who machines pre second world war french luxury car engines from scratch...
There are an amazing number of these guys around the world, and with today's technology, many of them do a better job than the originals.
Just google "rolls royce restoration" and you get several shops that do ground up resto's for 200 grand. Believe me, these guys use the "correct" springs- otherwise their millionaire customers would get points taken off at Pebble Beach.
Call up Chris Lee's, or Micheal Hibberd, in England, and I am sure they can tell you where to get your springs. Just dont expect em to be cheap.
   - Ries - Tuesday, 12/27/05 19:25:21 EST

For month's I have heard about folded steel. I presume that folded steel is of course, just steel that has been hammered and folded over onto itself, and hammered once more. Many people who speak of this (most of which have no experience in anything involving metal work) tell that the steel holds and exceptional edge and has much more strength. But as far as I know, it doesn't matter how many times you pound on steel, it's still the same metal. So does folding the steel add any structural stability to the metal?
   Daniel A - Tuesday, 12/27/05 22:06:58 EST

"folded steel" was a method of taking non-homogeneous early steels and by drawing out, folding them and forge welding them making them more homogeneous the technique was used both in europe and the far east with the last major use in europe being making shear steel from blister steel in the early 1800's.

In the far east the technique was preserved as part of the "art" of traditional swordmaking. There they also used it as a method of *dropping* the carbon content of the tamahagane from nearly 2% to .5%

With today's modern homogeneous steels folding them is more likely to make them weaker as you have the risk of a poor weld each time you fold them.

Now patternwelding using two or more different steels can be used to try to get the "best" qualities of each alloy into a blade and *some* patternwelded blades seem to be agressive cutters due to the microserrations that can occur when you have the different layers intersecting the cutting edge. However some of the high alloy steels can also exhibit this quality due to the large number of carbides in their structures.

Pattern welding of blades in Europe died down to a minor ammout by the year 1000 as they figured out how to make better steels that did not require it---it was very common from late roman times till late viking times.

Pattern welding in Japan continued due to the poor quality of the smelted metal.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/27/05 22:23:14 EST


Thomas pretty much covered it, but I would like ot add that repeated forge-welding of folded steel will resultin some de-carurization of the steel. Every time it is heated ot a welding heat, some of the surface carbon is burned up, lowering the overall carbon content. As Thomas said, this was a plus when starting with steel that had excessive carbon, but if you start with steel that has an acceptable amount of carbon, you will lower the carbon some, possibly too much.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 12/27/05 23:02:43 EST

I am new to blacksmithing and metal work in general. I have
heard of "heat sticks" to indicate temperature of metal
being heated. Cannot find any mention on them on the internet let alone where to get them. Would greatly appreciate any help someone out there can provide.


   ken gardner - Tuesday, 12/27/05 23:12:29 EST

Ken, those are called tempil sticks, look on google
   - Tyler Murch - Tuesday, 12/27/05 23:18:31 EST

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