WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.3

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 1 - 7, 2008 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

I am starting a Blacksmithing club at my University and I was wondering if you knew of any power hammers for sale? I would like something between 25 and 100lbs. Single phase would be preferred.
   Kyle - Monday, 12/01/08 09:25:20 EST

Kyle, where ARE you? New York, New Zealand, New Deli, New Calidonia? Makes a big difference on shipping and import duties.

If you are on the West Coast of the US try Jere Kirkpatrick at Valley Forge and welding (he is listed on our advertiser's page). He has a 25# Little Giant for sale.

Also contact your local blacksmithing organization (see ABANA-Chapter.com)
   - guru - Monday, 12/01/08 09:59:26 EST

Fisher Anvils: For you fans of Fishers, see edition 42 page 23 of our news. This is one of many I have seen in this condition. Yes, other anvils fail but not quite as catastrophically as Fishers.
   - guru - Monday, 12/01/08 10:05:04 EST

Got around to forging stainless (304L), you guys were right on, it does not bite (but is considerably harder to forge than mild steel). Polished the hammer and anvil face, only question I have left is do I need to have SS tongs? or can I just polish the mouth of my "regular tongs"? Or does it even matter? (just wack away - grin)
   - nathan - Monday, 12/01/08 10:11:59 EST

I have never found any problems using plain old mild steel tongs on Stainless.
Mill scale, grinding dust, wire brushes or sanders or grinding wheels that have been polluted by mild steel- these are all problems, but tongs, no.
   - Ries - Monday, 12/01/08 10:46:23 EST

SS The only time gripping tools might be a problem is if they slipped with hard shear and some of the jaw material embedded into the stainless. As Ries noted wire brushes, grinding wheels and other unsuspected sources of contamination are the worst problem.
   - guru - Monday, 12/01/08 12:36:08 EST

Re iron and steel tools: I forgot if I mentioned "The Metallography of Early Ferrous Edge Tools and Edged Weapons", Tylecote and Gilmour, a BAR (British Archeology Report); not hard to ILL but ducedly hard to buy! (Had a standing search for it on a major book site for over 2 years and nary a nibble!)

It has quilte a lot of detail data on how the edged items were constructed from iron and steel.

Tongs for Stainless---use the Ti ones!

   Thomas P - Monday, 12/01/08 12:58:29 EST

That Fisher in the news doesn't look all that bad. I have a Vulcan that is almost ridgebacked, deep slices on it missing most of the face plate and with the horn broken off---it was a gift from the Fine Arts Metals instructor when I found her a usable anvil to replace it.

   Thomas P - Monday, 12/01/08 13:02:59 EST

Hello, i am french and i want to know whitch kind of steel i need use to make an anvil.
Thank you.
   charles - Monday, 12/01/08 13:20:01 EST

Anvil Steel: Charles, It depends on how you manufacture the anvil.

For fabricated anvils: A medium carbon steel with 0.40% to 0.50% carbon should be used so that the working surfaces can be hardened. In the U.S. we might use SAE 1040, SAE 1050, 4140 or 4150. The body of the anvil can be anything you can find from wrought iron to structural steel. A small anvil would be all one piece. Larger anvils are usually pieced from different materials.

A popular scrap steel for anvil tops is from road scraper blades. It is often quite thick and fairly hard. Heavy RR-rail (train rail) is very good steel for this purpose.

Another option is to use mild steel or structural plate and then hard-face it with special welding rod. This is labor intensive and the materials are also expensive.
   - guru - Monday, 12/01/08 14:16:00 EST

I was asked today if I knew "how to remove a stain from a platter that we believe is tin without ruining that wonderfull aged look" I guess they mean patina.
Not knowing for shure that:
1. It is in fact tin.
2. It actually is an antique.
3. What caused the stain .
I could only tell this fellow that I would suggest a person who does restoration work.
That said, can anyone suggest a professional restorer in the Massachusetts area?
Thanks ,
   Harley - Monday, 12/01/08 18:51:23 EST

Tin and Pewter Harley, "Pewter" is mostly tin with some copper and antimony for hardness. Some decorative versions have lead in them as they are made up of scrap including solder. Some plate is mostly tin for workability. Some reproduction items are made from tin plated zinc which is then aged. Tin plated steel is an altogether different thing.

The stain is probably corrosion and it is unlikely that it can be removed without stripping the entire piece and then refinishing to look it age. If its plated steel then it is best left alone. I would not want to be responsible for it in any case. Time to note it is "non-ferrous" and not your line of work. . .
   - guru - Monday, 12/01/08 19:57:19 EST


I'd suggest looking in the Boston yellow pages for conservators. If that fails to produce results, call any of the numerous museums in that area and ask who they recommend.
   vicopper - Monday, 12/01/08 20:48:05 EST

Kyle - powerhammer
Is this Kyle at UMR? If so there is a 25 lb LG on Columbia MO Craigslist
I don't know anything about it, just saw the ad.
   Bernard Tappel - Monday, 12/01/08 22:24:36 EST

On Craigslist.com or .org, as far as I can tell you can only search by city. However, if you do a Google search you get all the listings, e.g., Google search on craigslist anvil or craigslist powerhammer or craigslist power hammer.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 12/02/08 02:51:01 EST

Thanks Jock and Vic, referal to a conservator is the route I will take.
   Harley - Tuesday, 12/02/08 04:23:07 EST

Ebay anvil,

A few days ago I posted a "guess the anvil" on an impulse buy from Ebay, I thought it was a P.W which is why I had a bid.

The description of the anvil was 'handville' with next to no info in the listing. I paid equiv $150 usd for it.

Collected it this weekend and what a little beauty! the face is flat along the whole length to within 1/16", As we were lifting it onto the van I said to the seller 'might be 100 kgs this' to which he replied 'yeah mate, its wrote (sic) on somewhere'

Sure enough under the mud is PETER WRIGHT, PATENT ENGLAND, Solid Wrought written in a circle and 2 - 0 - 2, which by my reconing is 226lbs ( good guess at 229 Rusty!)

There is some very minor chipping along the edges, and the horn needs dressing but im delighted with it! Rings very true aswell :)

I cant see a serial number on it anywhere.

Are these anvils forged, or cast onto a plate? any ideas when they stopped making them? - the only other mark I can see is a ' 0 ' stamped between the feet on the side with the makers name on it, and a ' W ' stamped on the foot under the horn. It has an extra (?) porters hole on the foot at the base heel end a square hole underneath tapering into the boy of the anvil.

Any info on the construction of this one much appreciated.
   - John N - Tuesday, 12/02/08 13:06:26 EST

hmmm, proof then post....... the extra porters bar hole is on the foot, under the heel end, and the square hole underneath tapers into the body....
   - John N - Tuesday, 12/02/08 13:08:44 EST

Jonh N,
The PW anvils were forged with a high carbon plate forge welded on top for the face. The workers did a good job of fading the possible shuts, and in finishing the nice shape of the anvil. Postman, who wrote "Anvils in America," thinks that "England" appeared on PW's made after 1910. The anvils were a great export item. Postman found more PWs than any other wrought anvils during his U.S. research.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/02/08 14:37:24 EST

Frank: Postman has backed off the 1910 date. Apparently there was a U.S. law passed something like 1896 all (or at least certain) imports had to be marked with country of origin. He now uses the earlier date as when ENGLAND was added.

I know some PW had a serial number, but apparently it was in the 1900s sometime. The company (or at least the anvil part of it) was sold to someone else before anvil production ended about 1930.

He has noted at one time PW was the largest industry in Dudley, yet almost no records exist today on the company.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 12/02/08 14:43:47 EST

PW advertised "the best wrought iron, no scrap". While this sounds better those made with the "best scrap iron" bodies it actually was not from the fact that many old PW's show a great deal of sway to them. Scrap often contained steel and was a bit less likely to deform and sway. But this is a minor thing. The fact is they tried to make the best possible anvil and defined the classic modern shape.

John, while Anvils in America is about anvils found HERE, many (most at one time) were made in England and the book has a great deal of history on English manufacturers. A man in your position should have a copy! One oddity of the dominance of British anvil making is that those that exported millions of anvils to the U.S. sold very few at home. So what may be a common English anvil in the U.S. is a rarity in Great Britain.

The porter bar hole in the base was used by some manufacturers with a special pair of anvil tongs that had a central spike and rein. The spike in the porter bar hole centered the anvil and the tongs grabbed the edges of the base Or might have engaged that small hole in the foot. However, I think that small foot hole had some other purpose in the manufacturing.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/02/08 15:38:38 EST

Thanks John N.

Wahoo!!...I still got the old anvil brand and weight detector working good. Not much else though...LOL.
   - Rustystuff - Tuesday, 12/02/08 15:49:25 EST

As I have mentioned before, the US law, AKA the McKinley Tariff Act, was passed in 1891. It required all manufactured goods to be marked with the country of origin. Some companies in England, notably a few of the Staffordshire potteries, started marking things much earlier.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 12/02/08 16:50:16 EST

I have a Marguette Redi-Spot welding gun model 21A
Serial # N899669. I have only the part that you hold with the
cord attached. What do I have, how do I use it and what more
do I need? I also have an Lincarc 185 welder (I believe made
around 1947) could I attach the stick holder to the end of the spot welder or do I need DC current?

Thank you
Ben from the Old Millstone Forge in Millstone NJ

   ben suhaka - Tuesday, 12/02/08 17:43:38 EST

Musing back on a blacksmith's slack tub being used as a 'health tonic'. In Poland, by James Mitchner, he notes Poland was essentially a feudal society until after WW-II. He writes the typical serf may have eaten meat only once a year and then it might be chicken or pork. Recently watched on the program in which the guy goes around the world eating strange (to us at least) things. It was on Ethopia and he noted the common Ethopian may only eat meat once a year.

The 'rust' in the slack tub may have offset an iron deficiency.

Maybe 24 years ago I took a trip out West and wanted to take the mule ride down into the Grand Canyon. Weight limit was 180 pounds so I needed to drop about 15. Went on pretty well a vegetarian diet for six weeks. Shortly before leaving I tried to donate blood and was rejected since I was 'iron deficient'. Nurse told me to eat a steak the day before the next drawing date.

Bear in mind the upper tier of states around the Great Lakes was once known as The Goiter Belt with goiter resulting from the soils there being iodine deficient. Primary reason why be have iodinized salt today to my understanding.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 12/02/08 17:56:15 EST

My name is Mathew Cross. I am one of the most experienced swordsman on the planet... I have made well over a hundred swords of all shapes and sizes from an accurately replicated ten pound claymore (yes I weighed the original... Have you ever actually weighed one... if not then do not presume to challenge that weight!) to rapier style swords. I have made five foot swords using a beehive furnace burning tons of charcoal as per the original methods and built a five ton charcoal fired sand table to draw the temper of big swords so I know my way around a forge... I have a web site that has been posted and evolving almost since the civilian internet began. [site name removed] My question is about the page on this site titled "poof your a swordsman" and the blatant lie posted there about making swords from leaf springs being an internet myth. To be real blunt that page and the many ignorant and hostile postings in the forums here have caused me a LOT of grief over the years because I am the one that posted the very first information on making swords from leaf springs on the internet and I am bombarded by people challenging me like I am posting misinformation specifically because of the LIES on this site... And the sad part is that it reflects very badly on not only YOU Mister Guru but also the general population here that so many people rally to present lies to those trying to make swords. My question is simple... There are a LOT of people here willing to spout nonsense about microfractures and how it is impossible to straighten a leafspring cold, preserving its heat treat, and using that as a blade blank for a stock removal project. The question is "HAS ANY ONE HERE ACTUALLY TRIED IT BEFORE SPOUTING OFF ABOUT IT?????????... A simple straightforward question... How can so many people post lies with such confidence?... And with so many ignorant declarations on this particular web site is there any one here with the balls to actually go to my web site and actually try what is posted there before claiming it is impossible? I challenge you personally mister so called GURU to back up your bold lies... Prove that your over bold statement about leaf spring swords being an internet myth is true by following the instructions on my web site and reporting back the ensuing disaster and tell your following that I am a liar!!!... Or if it works as stated CHANGE YOUR LYING WEB POSTINGS!!!!!!!!... I challenge you that there are only two reasons for your highly distorted postings on the subject. First of all NO modern sword smith, hot forging their blades has, in over thirty years, come up with a product that will last lifetimes of brutal abuse like original swords but leaf spring swords do!... In over thirty years of running sword fighting shows and making the equipment for them not one single forged sword has EVER stood up to leaf spring swords in full contact combat sports in my arena. Not one ever... Any amateur with a couple hundred bucks worth of tools can easily make a sword strong and hard enough cut the blade right off most forged swords made today. And that makes modern blacksmiths look bad. Something that costs you money. Now if this scenario is not true than there is only one other possibility. That you are willing to spout off about it being impossible to re-arc a leafspring cold WHEN YOU HAVE NEVER EVEN TRIED IT!!!!... Neither one is good for some one calling themselves a GURU.... And I take the lies on this site very, very, personally. So Mister guru I hope I rubbed your hair wrong because you certainly have been insulting me and my very real web site for years and I am sick and tired of it... The question is mister guru is do you have the balls to back your over bold words or admit publicly you are dead wrong!!!!!! Simple... For any one that cares about "TRUTH" it is easy to straighten a leaf spring cold and make a sword with it that can EAT most hot forged swords... If you want the "TRUTH" go to [site name removed] in the how to make swords and armour section and learn how FOR FREE... Hundreds and hundreds of people all over the world have done so and made wonderful swords that can cut down trees for years and are very happy with them... And I will be very, very, surprised if this ever gets posted or responded to. Any one who posts something like leaf spring swords being an internet myth is some one with very questionable morals one way or the other. And believe me Mister Guru you have insulted me plenty over the years so you can not be surprised that I am here on your site with a bad attitude. You started it... Now I have, after years of abuse, responded... Your move if you dare...
   Mathew Cross - Tuesday, 12/02/08 19:08:25 EST

Matthew Cross-
Chill out on the amphetimines.
Get a life
   - Josh S. - Tuesday, 12/02/08 19:34:37 EST

Mathew Cross:

I am the founder of MKArmory.com and have been making both sharp swords and bated training swords for 4 years. Undoubtedly, I have not made as many swords as you claim. I am an avid martial artist studying the Italian schools of the sword [Fiore, Marozzo, Capo Ferro, and Fabris], and I use the swords I have made 20+ hours a week. Undoubtedly, I am not “one of the most experienced swordsman on the planet” as you claim to be. Despite these failings, I AM qualified to answer your challenge.

I did once attempt to follow your posted method for straightening a leaf spring and making a “war sword.”

Before I talk about that, there are a few minor points of your post I would like to address. I will leave to better minds and more eloquent words than I have to point out the flaws in your logic regarding better steel and the dismissal of such concerns as micro-fractures, or to question your certainty in arguing with professional metallurgists. I will, however, suggest you take a better look at history, particularly the account books of great families in which it is common for a sword to be purchased with a extra blade, or for old weapons to be refurbished by a cutler and fitted with a new blade. The frequency with which this happened does make me wonder at your source for the phrase “last lifetimes of brutal abuse like original swords.” Did one single sword blade commonly survive a lifetime of brutal abuse? While I know of one pristine 1964 ½ mustang, I have seen far more that were restored to the *appearance* of new after a lifetime of damaging abuse… and I often can’t tell them apart. My brothers, who restore such cars for a living, take great pride in confusing the rest of us with their detailed mimicry of “new.” Since the original smiths who made these swords you believe lasted a lifetime of brutal abuse are long gone, what is the basis for your belief that such items are entirely original?

I will further give you a pass on the conversation regarding “types” of swords, as I am learning that most people simply so NOT have patience to match my passion for PRECISION in terms… to that end, I will simply state my opinion that there is no such thing as “a war sword.” Yours may differ. I would rather we all talked about swords from the standpoint of their global and chronological origins/use [i.e. 14th cen single handed sword as depicted by Fiore or 13th cen single handed Scholar’s sword from I.33], but I am not going to argue if you want to call something a “war sword” in the way I might call my brother’s masterpiece “a driving car.”

Now, on to the leaf spring. Before my partner and I began making swords for western martial arts use, I read your article and was curious enough to try it. Your instructions contain enough truth and good ideas to merit some commendation, but also contain a few very dangerous or simply inefficient ideas and thus also merit warning. Much like the *myth* your technique has been called; myths contain just enough truth to communicate the moral lesson and plenty of fantasy to appeal to the reader/listener.

First, as the Guru and other learned minds here have pointed out, *** it is DANGEROUS to hammer on the curve of a leaf spring ***, as I learned to my dismay. The spring’s natural tendency [and its DESIGN, I might add] is to store energy, then release energy. This means that the hammer blow can easily be turned into energy which the spring uses to fly through the air. Usually, 2-3 pounds of steel spring flying unexpectedly through the air is dangerous to the person with the hammer. Even if the spring stays in place on the stump, the energy must go somewhere… perhaps into hammer rebound? You know, where the spring launches the hammer back at the wieldier much faster than they anticipated? After the first time the sledge grazed my head, I was not yet willing to stop. Later, when the rebound from “as big a sledge hammer as you can use” had sufficiently wrenched my shoulder into a painful muscle pull, I did stop. Certainly, these three incidents will not happen EVERY time someone hits a spring with a big hammer, nor do I claim they will. But even one of these is sufficient to seriously injure or kill someone. Certainly injury will not occur every time I bait a bear, but if it does once, it hurts or kills.

It is far better to build a modest “forge” with a hole in the ground, a scrap of pipe, and an old hair dryer or similar blower. To prove the point, I did just that. I spent 30 minutes digging a hole, 2 hours gathering branches and scrap wood, 10 minutes burning most of that into charcoal, and then used the hot coals in the pit with a scrap of pipe/hair dryer to bring the entire 3ft of leaf spring to a bright red. Less than three hours of work, and I was able to straighten the spring with less than a minute of hammering. I see this as a far better use of my time than: “This process can take days so be patience. Some energetic young athletes can straighten a thinner spring in under an hour however. Nevertheless the very hardest springs will take days.” Further, I have also built half the tools I need to heat treat that piece of steel later.

Second, I will suggest that your primary argument against heating the blade is that your cold method preserves the heat treatment. What heat treatment, I ask? The rules of Junk Yard Steel apply here… we can only GUESS at the heat treatment state of an old spring. The only way to get a guaranteed heat treatment is to purchase NEW, KNOWN steel that is heat treated to the spec you want. I would counted that your hot grinding/cutting later with only a wet rag to cool the metal does untold damage to that original [though questionable] heat treated state. This reminds me of the time my grandmother made Osso Buco from the meat my grandfather brought home from his butcher shop… While she was very proud of her dish, the meat turned out to have been venison shank great uncle Dom shot that week, not the veal shank that is required by the recipe. While delicious, it was *not* Osso Buco.

So, I HAVE tried your method, and found it lacking on the two points above. I further suggest that the first point is specifically UNSAFE, so should not be attempted by anyone who does not pay for their own medical bills and insurance in full. Certainly no minor ought to believe or attempt that method any more than they ought to make wings from wax and feathers, then leap from a cliff face expecting to fly. Like most things, both flight and bladesmithing require a bit more detail to be successful.

[Guru, though I have been absent from your site in years whilst my ego and temper cooled, I hope you will forgive my taking the bait here and jumping in to address this matter. All mistakes here are MINE alone, and I encourage correction where I need it. After all, I am merely a student of this art.]


   Marco/Mike - Tuesday, 12/02/08 20:33:29 EST

Wow. Years of bottled anger vented like a volcano are a lot less effective than a calm rational debate. People here are as reasonable and interested in learning as any I have found on the net. Most also make an effort to be polite when they disagree. I would suggest you calmly state your opinion and then list the facts that support it, citing as many sources as you can.

As for "have I tried it", the only thing I've ever made out of a leaf spring was a froe. It cracked while in use (lateral crack). Could have been the material, could have been my technique for forging it. Having only ever made one out of that material I would have to say that 1 item is too small a sample to give any sort of scientific answer.
   Judson Yaggy - Tuesday, 12/02/08 20:50:20 EST

Guru's Response:
Mathew Cross,
My comments were directed to a popular internet article that may or may not exist today that claimed that the entire shape, including tapers, of the finished product could be cold forged with a sledge hammer. I stand by my post that it is a myth.

I am sorry if you think this comment was directed at you for some reason (unless you were the author).

Other postings on this site about straightening leaf springs have been in response to people with bent (kinked) springs on their vehicles. While re-arcing is possible, straightening kinked springs can be a serious safety hazard. We also address using old springs which many of us have done. My best wood working gouges are made of old leaf spring. However, there is always a risk of cracked material in old used springs. There would be no replacement spring market if springs did not break.

As for straightening and re-arcing springs it can be done cold in minutes (not hours or days) using a heavy vise, arbor or shop hydraulic press. If these are not available to the hobbiest he should make friends with his local auto shop owner who almost always have a small 10 ton hydraulic press that sits most of the time collecting dust.

I have never said that leaf spring material is not a good material for various blades including swords and if you read my article, one of the other myths I point out is that ancient blades were made of superior steels. I'll take a good modern steel any day and so will most bladesmiths unless they are making reproduction art, collectors or historic pieces.

Now, If you want to suffer some REAL abuse try opening an open forum on your web site where any lunatic can post their rants.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/02/08 20:54:39 EST

Mathew Cross

As Guru mentions open an open forum on your web site. We will all be happy to give you a virtual black eye!!
   - Rustystuff - Tuesday, 12/02/08 21:05:03 EST

Hmmm...never looked at that [site name removed] thing before now, actually. SOme very nice looking armor on there. The stuff about streaightening a leaf spring cold and thus making a superior sword is highly questionable, of course, but the armor sure is pretty to my uneducated eye.

Why anyone who makes a living from purveying "safety equipment" would suggest such a patently dangerous way to make a flat piece of steel is beyond me. I would think the potential liability issues would have the website's lawyers scurrying for cover. One missed blow, one fracture that discorporates catastrophically and the unwary hammeramn could be maimed or killed. Yet there is no mention of wearing safety glasses, apron, gloves, or any other ordinary safety paraphernalia such as is commonly suggested on this and other blacksmithing sites.

I would certainly suggest some ammendments to that swordmaking article to cover the use of safety equipment. As for the claims of a remodeled leaf spring surpassing any forged blade, I can only wonder why all the other swordmakers aren't following this example, rahter than taking the time to select premium steels and carefuly forge and heat treat them with equipment rivaling the auto industry's for sophistication and exactitude. Could Jim Hrisoulas, Don Fogg and numerous others possibly be deluded in their belief that good materials and proper technique are the path to success? Methinks not. Somehow I sincerely doubt that all the troops are out of step except one...

Sure pretty armor, though.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 12/02/08 21:13:46 EST

You could always go to a custom spring shop and buy a staight piece of new spring stock. At least I assume you can -- I haven't tried it myself.
   Mike BR - Tuesday, 12/02/08 21:35:39 EST

Mike BR
Has a good suggestion. We have a local spring shop. They get stock and make new springs for all kinds of vehicles and tractor trucks. They get in new straight stock. I do not remember the type of spring sttel they use.
   - Rustystuff - Tuesday, 12/02/08 21:46:33 EST

Dear Guru:

I have been digging my way to China using a stainless steel spoon.

People criticize me, and say there are better ways to get to China.

I don't care; I've been doing it for years, and every day I get closer! I must be right, and they must be wrong.

I have to go dig myself in deeper now.

   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 12/02/08 22:03:50 EST

Parry and riposte.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/02/08 23:20:05 EST

Spot Welder Parts: Ben, Sorry your post got a little lost.

I don't know enough about what you have to tell you how to make it work but I do know that spot welder requires a special power source with a timer and heavy duty relay to control the weld. In other words you need a spot welder power supply.

This is really one of those things that you take the part to your local welding supplier, put it on the counter and ask, "What do I need to make it work?"

The problem with spot welding equipment is that it is very job specific. The range of the metal being welded is part of the design of the equipment. I suspect this one, being hand held is designed for auto-body welding. Fairly thin stuff.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/03/08 00:32:38 EST

Bruce, I will start digging from this side and maybe we will meet somewhere in the middle. My coordinates are posted with my signature on another blacksmithing site.

Guru, I know very little about metallurgy as you know. I do, however, know about mentally instability. I have my own opinions about people of a certain level of such instability and their reasons for making weapons. These, of course, I keep to myself.

BTW of course a lot of the ancient swords around nowadays are very good specimens. Like a lot of old buildings are well constructed. What do you think happened to all the no good ones?

Going now to watch Kung Fu Panda. That is exciting enough for me.
   philip in china - Wednesday, 12/03/08 00:55:50 EST

Mathew Cross

At the risk of being unpopular I am going to make a declaration. Swords serve no practical purpose anymore. Most of us rather forge things of practical application. Who really cares about swords. Not like you are going to skin a deer with one. Make pocket knife or a hunting knife then you have some practical utility. Bring your sword to a gun battle and see who wins...LMAO
   - Rustystuff - Wednesday, 12/03/08 01:00:43 EST

"Bring your sword to a gun battle and see who wins...LMAO"

Ahhh, rather reminds me of that wonderful scene in the first Indiana Jones movie.

Mathew Cross: A plea for paragraphs. Us old timers have difficulty in reading extremely long paragraphs on the monitor.

Don't overlook the liability issue involved in your method. Say some 16-year-old kid reads your process, tries it, and either badly injures (or perhaps even kills) themselves or another. With today's 'sue happy' society I suspect you would be looking at a liability lawsuit in the millions of dollars.

As pointed out above, there are better mousetraps out there.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 12/03/08 01:35:49 EST

I am normally very loath to fan a flame war, especially on my favorite website, but I feel compelled to respond to Mr. Cross' post.

*Rant On*

First, I have only been a hobby blacksmith (& bladesmith) for about 3 years. However, I have been involved with various western martial arts, medieval reenactment, and renaissance faires for about 25 years off and on. From that perspective, I make the following points in response:

1. Many years ago, I made the mistake of following the tutorial posted on [site name removed] . In the process of attempting to make a sword, per those instructions, I was hit in the head by the steel. I really wanted to complete it, but after several attempts I concluded that it was too dangerous and gave up. I concluded that I must not be cut out for this sort of thing. In my ignorance and trust of Mr. Cross' information, I wrongly assumed that smithing was not for me. That cost me a lot of time before I found good information (a real blacksmithing group, Anvilfire, ABS) and have corrected that situation to my endless joy. The "war sword" tutorial, IMHO and experience, is inefficient and dangerous.

2. I have had the chance to inspect products, purchased by friends, from Blankenshield Armoury. In comparison to some other makers we have used, I would rate his armor as medium grade. This is only my opinion (as well as the opinion of some of my fighting friends). I state this point to set up point 3 below.

3. The Blankenshield website is very hostile towards other makers. It is very long on claims but very short on references. Mr. Cross makes a big deal about being the first for many things but does not give any names or dates. That makes it very difficult to validate. In regards to his armor designs, he states that his is more accurate and better than others due to his research. However, he does not cite any verifiable details about his studies. In fact, he spends a great of time and effort casting unsubstantiated aspersions on the museum pieces that others use for their designs. He seems to claim that using museum pieces as a basis for armor design/construction is inaccurate and wrong. These things, combined with his site’s overall hostility towards all other sources, makes me EXTREMELY suspicious of his claims.

4. In regards to his point about the information here on Anvilfire and this community's advice, I can say unequivocally, that I have NEVER been led astray. This site has helped me move forward in my blacksmithing safely and effectively in huge strides. The information is accurate, verifiable, and friendly.

In summary, I completely reject Mr. Cross' argument and recommend that no one waste any time with his site, his products, or his post.

One last dig (As a System's Developer, I can't help myself): Mr. Cross, your website's design/execution sucks.

*Rant Off*

My apologies to you, Guru and Everyone here, even though I am a relative newbie here, I hold you and this site in the highest regards and felt as if his attack was as if against a friend. I could not let it pass.

Keep up the good work.
   Rob Dobbs - Wednesday, 12/03/08 04:02:29 EST

Ken, Who is "Sue Happy". She sounds like a fun kind of a girl.
   philip in china - Wednesday, 12/03/08 06:30:55 EST

OK, so now [site name removed] has had more hits in a day than it's had all year. I just had to look, myself, out of curiosity.

I found many grammatical and spelling errors. I guess when "the civilian internet began", spell checkers were hard to come by.
   Dave Leppo - Wednesday, 12/03/08 07:22:52 EST

Auto Steel: Any one who claims that automotive scrap is the best steel against any new, known steel is obviously not knowledgeable in any way of how the auto trade works.
The material in any given part say a spring or axle is not defined by any standard other than the agreement between the supplier of the part and the car maker.
Springs for a car may be 5160. They may be 1018, who knows except the supplier for that given shipment.

It is "common Knowledge" that truck axels are 4140. 4140 has not been the material used by any of the US axle makers for at least 25 years. I worked for an axle maker that supplied axles to all the US makers of heavy trucks and most of the light trucks and we used two different materials. SAE 4140 was not one of those two materials.

I suspect that I will continue to support this site and its high quality, researched, developed from REAL experience information.

As the resident Safety guy, posting a how to about cold forging without safety info is criminal.
   ptree - Wednesday, 12/03/08 07:25:58 EST

Ptree, I made a minor correction in your second paragraph (springs vs. axles).

Spellin': Please don't start checking here with a fine tooth spell checker. We have nine years of posts and articles based on them before FireFox came out with a built in spell checker that works in a browser text window. . . I highly recommend it.

I also write a LOT of articles in my HTML editor and it often trips and starts checking all the HTML and code for spelling. . . I get trigger happy punching the "ignore" button and often miss words in the body text which is often a small part of modern web pages.

Our new forums WILL allow editing your posts but you will still be responsible for the spelling. AND Sue Happy will always be with us because computers are still dumb machines that still have a long way to go when it comes to use in context. However, I do think it is bad practice for any spell checker to include common names.

Experience: Hmmmm. I need to update my bio. . . But the first hot iron I hit was way back about 1969. . . I forged a pair of tongs from rail-road spikes using the worst anvil ever (some 3/4" steel plate welded into an angle bracket). It made me REALLY appreciate a real anvil.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/03/08 08:41:16 EST

With reference to the flame above:

Never engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed (and in this case unhinged) opponent.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 12/03/08 09:31:37 EST

I'm so dumb... I never thought of the possiblity that the flame could have been simply to incite traffic to his site.

   Rob Dobbs - Wednesday, 12/03/08 10:51:34 EST

Actually he makes some very bad factual mistakes in his rant: One using 5160 for larger blades is quite supported here and is the common suggestion for a beginner.

Another is that medieval swords *should* be able to chop down trees and suffer massive abuse; I would suggest people visit the Royal Armoury in Spain and see exhibits of swords built to the highest standards with tips broken off and semi lunar chips out of the edges. What one would expect from real swords heavily used. Unfortunately museums tent to show the "perfect" swords over ones that are damaged even if the damaged ones are more interesting to the smith.

I think what most of use who have posted against that site have complained about it that you generally end up with a sharpened crowbar---sure it will take massive abuse and cut down trees---but it's *not* like the originals in crossection and weight. Yes you *can* take the time to grind down a flat leafspring to get in the proper tapers but it is a whole lot of time and effort most folks are not willing to do. Mainly you get what some makers call "Machinist Swords" a flat bar with edges ground/milled in. (no aspersion on some machinists using CNC equipment to get blades milled *right*!)

I am also saddened to learn that the 25 or so museum curators that have been weighing swords for longer than MC has been alive have gotten it *wrong* all these years and that I am wrong to use their expertise in my studies. A 10 pound claymore is most likly a bearing sword or an extreme outlier.

This seems to me like someone claiming to be able to build a medieval wain from modern car parts and claiming it's better than ones built using medieval methods because it has pneumatic tires and better suspension; sure it does---it's just *not* medieval even if it's been dressed up to look like a medieval one.

As for his armour; please go over to armourarchive.org and search for blankenshield who ranted over there *years* ago and now is used as a byword and *not* for superior research and craftsmanship.

And note: just because you make a lot of something doesn't mean you good stuff, there are factories in Asia churning out more swords in a month than any of us will in a lifetime; but they are poorly designed, poorly made and dangerous to the user.

I'm Thomas Powers and I approve of this message.
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/03/08 11:36:12 EST

Rob; I don't think so as he has acted this way many times before on armour making sites. I think he finally caught up to the fact that we have always warned people off of his sword making methodology and I at least always will! (gives me a shudder just thinking about it!)

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/03/08 11:38:08 EST

kudos guys for taking "the high road" reguarding the Cross posting (even though it was no doubt tempting to say what we were all thinking)
   - Nathan - Wednesday, 12/03/08 14:00:21 EST

On high end japanese chisels there is a steel back made of "Kamaji", which supposedly is iron taken from pre-1900's anchor chain. The smiths buy these antique chains then hack off pieces they need as they need them. The wood-grain like beauty of the material is brought out by deep acid etching.

I need to make a modification to some chisels that will involve grinding into this material. I would like to re-etch it afterwards to de-uglify the grinding work. Can you suggest the proper acid/stregth/method for this?
   jg - Wednesday, 12/03/08 16:32:34 EST

jg; ferric chloride, PCB echant, from Radio Shack will work; note that the better the surface is *before* etch the better it will look after.

BTW shouldn't that read "there is an iron back" as what they are is welding wrought iron anchor chain to steel?

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/03/08 16:42:35 EST

Old chain is a primary source for wrought iron to be reprocessed in England were most of that chain was originally made. . . Nice big pieces of 1.5" to 3" diameter bar.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/03/08 16:53:58 EST

ThomasP, Did you get the wrought bar you needed?
   ptree - Wednesday, 12/03/08 18:24:28 EST

I recently saw a new type of anvil that I had never seen before. I was wondering if you could tell me what you think about it as I am in the market for a new forging anvil. It is the Delta 100 lb. Future 3 Anvil. Thanks.

   Marcus - Wednesday, 12/03/08 18:49:42 EST

I would like to add a purely theoretical perspective on the cold forging of spring steel into swords. Cold working imparted by cold forging will increase the yield strength of the material but not the tensile strength. As the yield strength goes up due to cold working, ductility usually goes down. This is due to increased dislocation density and the entangling of the dislocations. This implies that the toughness of the steel diminishes which makes it more susceptible to failure under impulsive loading. Steels intended for cold forging are alloyed to respond favorably to the cold working. Spring steel is not normally used for cold working applications. Finally, in my humble opinion, Mr. Cross displayed a temper tantrum I usually associate with teenaged boys whose virility has been challenged. Just my opinion, folks.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 12/03/08 19:04:15 EST

It's designed for horseshoer's and so not that great for general forging. At US$6.50 a pound (Centaur Forge) you could probably buy a 200 pounder at Quad-State of traditional construction and be better off.


   Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/03/08 19:05:27 EST

I had a farrier student in the last class who uses an aluminum based anvil similar to the Future 3. He likes it a lot, but then he is using it as a farrier would with the turning cams, narrow face, and clip horn. By the way, most professional farriers do not use the clip horn, but prefer to draw clips off the straight anvil edge.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 12/03/08 19:39:42 EST

I recently got a plasma cutter and I was wonder what material would be good to make patterns out of for cutting silhouettes.
   brian robertson - Wednesday, 12/03/08 19:58:05 EST

"hit a leaf spring with a hammer to straighten it"
That statement, made by anyone, would convey the length and breadth of their knowlage and experience on the subject in very short order.
Just goes to show you that an open forum is like a box of chocolates, ya never know what yer gonna' get.
   - merl - Wednesday, 12/03/08 20:05:01 EST

Didn't Monty Python have a choclate called "spring surprise?"
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 12/03/08 20:40:49 EST

Thank you Quenchcrack. I was hoping you'd post on that subject.
   Judson Yaggy - Wednesday, 12/03/08 20:59:04 EST

brian robertson,

For accuracy and speed, the best patterns for plasma cutting are made from bits and bytes. :-)

That said, I'd recommend a moderate gauge of sheet steel, if you're planning to follow it by dragging the cutter tip around the outside of it. I've used this with O/A flame cutting and it works well, with little drag. Aluminum tends to have terrible drag and make for herky-jerky cutting.

Others here who have actually done some serious plasma cutting (which I have not) can no doubt offer better guidance.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 12/03/08 22:34:45 EST

Ben, Your Redi Spot is not the type of spot welder Guru is thinking of. The power supply that came with those was a little 110 volt 100 amp max. unit [not as powerfull as Your old Lincoln]. If You google Marquett Redi-Spot You will find some info on a Chevy site. I am not sure if it uses a carbon electrode or a welding rod. I know someone who has or had one, I will try to find out.
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 12/03/08 22:51:42 EST

Bruce & Phillip: Remember it gets pretty hot in the middle, suggest You go off to the side a bit. :-)
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 12/03/08 22:54:51 EST

guru: "I also write a LOT of articles in my HTML editor and it often trips and starts checking all the HTML and code for spelling. . . I get trigger happy punching the "ignore" button and often miss words in the body text which is often a small part of modern web pages."

Right click then select 'add to dictionary' on each of those correctly spelled html 'words' and it won't bother you about them again...
   Rick Widmer - Wednesday, 12/03/08 23:08:30 EST

Rick, I don't like to pollute spell checkers with things they don't need. The real problems are things like CSS class names, script variables and such that in a short time would overwhelm the spell checker since the personal dictionary is not nearly as efficient as the built in and well indexed built in database. AND when you start adding everything they trip over you tend to end up with a lot of misspelled real words. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/03/08 23:29:00 EST

Remember spell checkers won't catch correctly spelled, but misued words such as there vs their.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 12/04/08 02:37:09 EST

Ken & Gurus

That was actually the nature of the errors I saw on the site in question, making my comment MISPLACED.
(I just had to get in my digs, and don't have enough experience to comment technically; I should have targeted the TONE of the post) I took the low road, instead.
   Dave Leppo - Thursday, 12/04/08 06:47:11 EST

Dave: The dismal command most U.S. educated folks, under able the age of 45, have today in proper grammar and simple math is one of my pet peeves. I send out a lot of packages through PayPal. Not unusual to see absolutely no capitalization in the address they created. A couple of years ago I had a high school honor student working on the farm for a couple days. Rain prevented him doing field work so I tried to use him in the shop. Assigned him to cutting lengths with the bandsaw. He didn't understand fractions much less how to use a tape measure or ruler. Ahhh, the future of America.

OK, my rant for the day.
   Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 12/04/08 08:13:34 EST

Ultimate rant on the subject: Taylor Mali's "The Impotence of Proofreading". See (and hear)

   Peter Hirst - Thursday, 12/04/08 09:21:24 EST

Typos and Misspellings: Ken, I get at LEAST one email a week asking a legitimate question to which I write a very nice response to and then have the mail bounce because folks can't remember OR they typo their e-mail address. I also get on-line orders which I cannot respond to by e-mail because the addresses are typoed there as well.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/04/08 10:10:19 EST

Spelling and punctuation: I would offer the opinion that many of todays young people cannot spell or use punctuation correctly because they do not read. Reading books gives you examples of how punctuation is used and how words are spelled. If you read the right books, you can even improve your vocabulary. I have an extensive technical library and I am usually reading at least one or two books at any given time. Even fictional literature is an improvement over comic books and computer games.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 12/04/08 12:51:43 EST

Literacy: Gee you mean Bang Pow! Broooning, thud . . . are not good literature?

I don't think it has as much to do with how much people read but how they speak which is not learned from reading, it is learned by doing and listening to others. I know a number of kids that read quite a bit but cannot pronounce what they read or do so poorly you cannot understand them. I often suggest to young women to watch the movie "My Fair Lady" and THINK hard about the message. A Princess SPEAKS like a Princess.

Speaking clearly without accent or trace of regional dialect is the difference between working a minimum wage job with no hope of advancement and, well, becoming the President of the United States. IF Barack Obama did not speak absolutely perfect mid-western American English he would not be where he is today. If he or his wife had ever ONCE said "ax a question" during the election campaign we would be celebrating a Republican victory.

If the children of this country learn nothing else from Barack Obama's victory it is that how you speak can keep you down more than any other thing. Ebonics, ghettospeak, southrin' and Spanglish may be cute where you live but they will keep one in the gutter. But speaking perfectly and with a modicum of intelligence will take you anywhere you please.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/04/08 14:28:30 EST

Language & grammer, er grammar, er, write words, er, right words, or wright words. Spelling is just too, two, to hard! And Spell-Check programs do not share my vocabulary.

When I was younger I was into creative spelling and grammar. As I've gained more experience I find that all of the silly grammatical rules and odd spellings actually allow a higher degree of communication. Communication is the objective, and anything that enhances it is a good thing. These days my supervisors and other folks will run an occasional memo by me for a quick check. Communication is part of how I make my living; if folks don't understand what the government needs, we could waste our time and the taxpayer's money. (I do like Firefox and its spelling checker, though proofing is still required to make sure it's {Its?} correct.)

When my eldest daughter started developing a heavier "Southern Maryland" accent in Middle School I would encourage her to "learn standard English first; save colloquial for your friends and family." She succeeded!

Dave Boyer: You only say the middle is hot; why should Phillip and I believe you? Your sources are obviously unreliable! I'll just keep digging, never change my mind, and never update, edit or amend my site (Sight? Cite?) at www.diggintochinawithastainlesssteelspoon.com.

Cold, cloudy and fixin' to rain (Reign?) on the banks of the Potomac. Enough of this; back to the work of the Republic!
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 12/04/08 15:28:34 EST

Have you fellas watched are you smarter than a sixth grader? I am amazed how stupid most high school and young college students are.
   - Rustystuff - Thursday, 12/04/08 15:48:01 EST

In their research paper there could be a cite to an Internet site that was first sighted on google.

The steely eyed thief plotted to steal the steel on my plot of land while I plotted the map of the plot. Meanwhile the tenth grader drove the heavy yellow grader up the plot's steep grade the tenth time as his teacher with the grayed hair graded the grading students grading work.

Now. . If I had been asked to write this in school I would have drawn pictures of pitchers with baseball pitchers on them until it was time to unpitch my tent and leave.

Bruce and Phillip, I have been digging my hole to China since I was 4 years old and the only thing I have found is cold wet mud so I KNOW it cannot be hotter as you go deeper. I just KNEW I could make it if Santa brought me enough big yellow Tonka trucks and graders. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 12/04/08 16:51:55 EST

Bu deb bu de ba ba deeeeeba that's ALL Folks!
   - guru - Thursday, 12/04/08 16:54:23 EST

Thomas: thanks for the tip. I'll try that. Iron/Steel: I don't know what "kamaji" really is. I do know, however, that pure iron wouldn't etch out that way. My guess is it's got lots of other lovelies in it: carbon, sulfur, silica, and that it's not pure iron.

These chisels are triangular, for dovetail work, but the hard steel working layer is unangled and thus too thick to get into the corner. Thus the exercise.
   jg - Thursday, 12/04/08 18:09:54 EST

The centre of the earthis hot. It is a big revolving ball. It used to have oil in the middle but we have taken all of that out so of course it is getting hot.

You claim to be metalworkers and you didn't even know that!
   philip in china - Thursday, 12/04/08 19:09:52 EST

jg, Wrought is pretty clean except for the silica slag inclusions that gives it that grainy look when etched. Wrought starts life as pure iron in silica slag left over from the ore or flux. It is then forged and welded using the same slag as flux numerous times until it is semi-homogeneous and quite solid compared to how it starts. The combination of the slag layers and welds make the characteristic grain.

Wrought is very soft, unhardenable but very weldable in the forge. In steeled blades it was a cheap material replacing what would be very expensive steel. However, today wrought costs as much or more than tool steel. Add the labor to produce a bi-metal blade and it is a very expensive method today.

In some cases there is a little advantage to the soft wrought back. Being soft is is not brittle and thus will help hold a steel edge from cracking.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/04/08 19:14:52 EST


That must explain the high-pitched squeal I keep hearing.

Here's a semi-serious quiz, though. If you *could* dig a tunnel through the Earth, how strong would gravity be at the center?
   Mike BR - Thursday, 12/04/08 19:16:42 EST

Speaking of. . . Anyone seen the New Journey to the Center of the Earth? Its not nearly as god as the old movie (which has been restored and the DVD version is beautiful). But its a good romp. My only complaint was reusing a mine cart set from another popular movie. . .

Let one of the kids answer the gravity question.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/04/08 19:56:52 EST

We have to demo / cut a large quantity of 4" and 6" wrought iron pipe (the really stout 70-year-old stuff) into short manageable 5' lengths. All this in a very confined space above a library full of books. Since sparks would be a problem, our guys plan on a portable (hand-held) bandsaw and a million blades for a million hours. Is there a better way? Any new technology like freezing or crushing?
   James Zeeck - Thursday, 12/04/08 20:02:24 EST

Mike BR, that is a fasinating question and one I like to contemplate when I need a diversion while rakeing hay or something...
I'll keep my thoughts to myself for a while on that one.
   - merl - Thursday, 12/04/08 20:24:31 EST

Mike BR
The gravitational pull is so strong it will suck one right into the Lake of Fire...LOL
   - Rustystuff - Thursday, 12/04/08 20:44:04 EST

James Zeeck,

If those pipes really are true wrought iron, all you need to do is make the location known to blacksmiths and they'll come steal all of it for the wrought in a day or so. (grin)

However, I would imagine that that pipe is actually old "black iron" pipe or cast iron, both of which were prevalent in buildings of that age. The cast iron was routinely used for drain/waste/vent (DWV) pipes and is identifiable by the heavy collars at the joint ends. The joints were customarily poured/stuffed with lead or lead wool, respectively, to make vapor-tight joints for sewer use.

That said, a PortaBand with a high-quality bi-metal variable pitch blade such as the Lenox Diemaster would make hundreds of cuts if given a bit of cutting lube frequently. Shouldn't take more than a minute or a minute and a half per cut. If the pipes are cast iron, you can easily break them with a sledge hammer too, but that would cause numerous flying bits of sharp stuff. Sawing is safest.
   vicopper - Thursday, 12/04/08 21:42:53 EST

James Zeeck,

n.b. - I've found that the best lubricant for cutting cast iron is tallow. It is still available some places, I think. If you can't find tallow, one of the newer dry stick graphite/moly/wax lubes works well.
   vicopper - Thursday, 12/04/08 21:45:42 EST

My old mentor, Victor Vera, q.v., Navigate; Stories, used tallow for all of his tap and die work. He called it "sebo" and brought it to work from his kitchen at home.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/04/08 22:36:21 EST

I wanted to mention befor in the vain of trying to smarten up the youth of today, we might start with our own.
I highly recomend the new Erector sets made by Meccano of France. Very high quality for a resonable price. I admit they are a little beyond the manual skills of my 5 and 3 year old but, we have a good time with them anyway and the boys are catching on quickly.
The new lego systems are incredable as well. Rather than spend a hundred dollers on a video game that promotes violence one could spend that much or less on a first rate set of legoes that will teach skills that will last a life time. Yes, I am aware of the you tube videos of the rubber band shooting mini-guns made of legoes. Like I said, skills to last a lifetime...
   - merl - Thursday, 12/04/08 22:39:16 EST

The gravitational pull would act on your body in an omni-directional manner, and cancel itself out to leave you floating, surrounded by iron. maybe.
I'm under 30; if that restores your faith in the future generation...
Well maybe it won't.

I have a 110 volt welder, and I use flux-core wire as it seems the penetration is better. I believe it can achieve 140 amps. I've been consistently pushing it to it's limits, welding heavy material using numerous passes of stringer beads. Thus far it has not let me down. (my power hammer is still intact!)

I need to weld gussets of quarter inch plate to one inch plate. The material is regular hot rolled sheet steel (a36?). Any suggestions or cautions? I'm planning to pre-heat, and maybe do a destructive test and examine the results. Ideally I use a bigger welder, but that is not to be thus far.
   - Josh S - Thursday, 12/04/08 22:56:32 EST

If I recall high school physics correctly, from the Newtonian perspective, that is, gravity as a vector of force, earth's gravity would be effectively zero at its center. The total gravitational pull of the earth would be huge, but it would be pulling approximately equally in all directions, and therefore have no direction, or rather, resolve to zero in any direction. I believe that is the definition of a gravitational center: the point at which all gravity vectors resolve to zero.
   Peter Hirst - Thursday, 12/04/08 22:57:33 EST

Cutting Pipe: The little tube cutters used on copper pipe are made up to the size of 4" and 6" pipe and will work on steel. Some are made with a rotating head for work in close spaces. The cutters may wear but are easily replaceable and it is much faster, smoother and quieter than a portaband.

Either way keeping the pipe supported to prevent pinching the blade or cutter is the important job.

Also note that library shelves loaded with books are often at their structural maximum and unstable (depending on their quality). Don't use them for support unless you want a costly disaster.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/04/08 23:23:14 EST

Welding Gussets: Josh, the critical thing with MIG even with flux core is clean steel. Often heavy steel plate has very heavy scale. Grind it off. Keep your ground lead short and close to the work area to reduce resistance.

When welding light to heavy direct most of your heat to the heavy and let the bead and capillary action joint the lighter part.

Yes, The gravity at the center of a large body is omnidirectional thus it would feel like zero G's.

While the majority of the Earth's core is iron/nickle it has been recently determined that near the very center is heavy metals like Uranium and the heat of the Earth is in fact nuclear. Internal heat is a major factor in the average climate of the planet. While the Sun makes up a large part of the total planetary warmth more actually comes from the Earth's core.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/04/08 23:33:03 EST

"While the majority of the Earth's core is iron/nickle it has been recently determined that near the very center is heavy metals like Uranium and the heat of the Earth is in fact nuclear. Internal heat is a major factor in the average climate of the planet. While the Sun makes up a large part of the total planetary warmth more actually comes from the Earth's core."

Without the Earth's internal heat it would be like the moon, only rotating. As the sun hit it you might go from minus a couple of hundred degrees to plus a couple of hundred degrees within a very short period of time. Not particularly conducive to life. Sort of like some desert areas on Earth where it can be quite hot duriing the day and quite cold at night.

I suspect the oceans also held serve as a heat sink.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 12/05/08 05:49:02 EST


I went to Frisco to demo a control room structure a couple of years ago, with our shop Portaband. I had to do a lot of sawing. When I opened the case to get out the saw, the blade was pre-lubed with some raw animal fat. The source of the fat was evident by the presence, also, of residual hair! This was due to the fact that the shop lead-man had borrowed the saw for home-use. My trip was in December, right after the PA November Deer season.
I'm sure it helped, and there was only a slight odor. 8)
   - Dave Leppo - Friday, 12/05/08 06:53:06 EST

If I had to demo that pipe above the books i would first determine what the pipe really is. Wrought iron pipe was indeed used extensively in the early 1900's for low pressure steam pipe and radiators for low pressure steam heat. I doubt that 4" and 6" would have been used for anything except mains though. In that size, I would expect DWV of bell and spigot type connection made from cast iron.
If wrought or black iron, I would invest in a "4 wheel pipe cutter". These will cut with a slightly more than 90 degree back and forth swing, and would be the quickest. If cast, I would invest in a "chain type" cast iron pipe cutter, that is wrapped around the pipe and tightened untill the pipe snaps in the cut. Both quick and clean and both will work in tight spaces.
Last but not least I would both insure that the pipe is braced before cutting to allow safe cutting and not dropping the pipe on the stacks below, but how to catch the probable contained mosture and pounding of liquid usual in old sagged pipe.
   ptree - Friday, 12/05/08 07:25:28 EST

Guru said... "Speaking clearly without accent or trace of regional dialect is the difference between working a minimum wage job with no hope of advancement and, well, becoming the President of the United States. IF Barack Obama did not speak absolutely perfect mid-western American English he would not be where he is today. If he or his wife had ever ONCE said "ax a question" during the election campaign we would be celebrating a Republican victory."

Perfect? I listened to him answer questions from reporters the other day and in about 5 minutes he must have said "a" or "um" at LEAST several hundred times.

Try this...when he speaks (as apposed to reading something pre-prepared) try to say "a" everytime you hear him say it. You will say "a" so often that you'll start to get a sore throat in just a few minutes.
   Mike Ferrara - Friday, 12/05/08 08:00:46 EST

If I got offered a contract to remove pipes from a 70 year old building I would be asking to see a cert that the building was asbestos free before I even pulled on my overalls!
   - John N - Friday, 12/05/08 09:45:05 EST

On the "wrought iron" pipe and along the same lines as Guru--the chain type cutters work extremely well for large cast iron pipes (I've used the Rigid brand and they're excellent). They theoretically would work on steel, but probably not as well. Used to use them on residential sewer systems.

As for the center of the earth question--I don't think it would be possible to even get to the center of the earth. Wouldn't you have to fight off the Mole People first?
   Chris F. - Friday, 12/05/08 09:45:42 EST

I think its time to move the life on Earth, Mole people and digging with a stainless spoon discussion to the Hammer-In.
   - guru - Friday, 12/05/08 10:33:14 EST

Pipe Cutters: I had forgotten the chain type. What I know of many of these devices is from old catalogs and patent research. There are hundreds if types. We have used the straight handled types (all sizes) in our shop to cut everything from thin wall aluminum irrigation pipe to solid bar (makes a circular nick so it breaks easily). We also used one with rounded wheels to do special creasing to hold an assembly together. I think we used them for more things the manufacturer warned against than what they were made for. But this removing pipe question is exactly what they were made for.

On a job like this I would take a good pipe cutter, a portaband and even hand saws.
   - guru - Friday, 12/05/08 10:41:00 EST

It has been hovering around zero (F) all week here in NE Wisconsin. My smithy is unheated and, I wonderd today as I was working at the forge, is there a real danger of damageing an anvil at those temps? I used my cast steel anvil last winter without much thought about it but, I don't want to take unessesary risks with the Hey-Bud.
BTW Guru, the stock tank de-icer is working very well in the slack tub. Thanks.
   - merl - Friday, 12/05/08 16:56:42 EST

guru, do you have a reference talking about the earth being nuclear?
I was taught that it is the atmosphere that distinguished us from our neighbours such as Venus, Mars and the moon. Venus has way too many green house gasses so is hot enough that metals are gasseous. Conversly the moon has no atmosphere to dampen the temperature fluctuations. Mars has no ozone layer to protect it from UV, which destroys DNA, and so the only hope for life is below the surface.
The molten core is the source of our magnetic field which shields us from high-energy particles from he sun and cosmic rays.
   andrew - Friday, 12/05/08 17:19:51 EST

The Winter of our Discontent: Cold weather precautions: Merl, Both in the lab and in practical use it has been found that steel is significantly more brittle at temperatures below freezing and the colder it gets the more brittle the steel. Woodcutters were always taught to bring their axe into the house or store it next to the hearth to keep warm in the winter.

What this means to the metal worker is that all his tools are more likely to fail in cold weather than in warm. Abusive things you could get with in the summer may break something in the winter.

What to do about it is and how cost effective that action is another thing. If it cost you $1500 a winter to heat your part time shop you could probably take a chance on breaking anything up to that value. If you don't break your anvil you are ahead that $1500. IF you break a hammer you are still ahead. If the broken piece spalls off, hits you in the groin and you bleed to death (absolute worse case) then you are WAY behind. . . But if you work full time ysou should heat at least part of your shop. You should be more productive in the warmth to offset the heating cost.

Many craftfolk warm their tools in the winter, many do not. Me, I hate cold weather, can not stand picking up ice cold steel and will not work in a cold shop. But I don't have to work in the shop, I have other things that need my attention more. IF I HAD to work in the shop in the winter I would make a small portion I could afford to heat to a comfortable temperature.

Some smiths heat a large piece of steel in the forge and set it on the anvil to warm it. Small tools such as hammers, chisels and set tools can be stored on the forge to warm them. It has also been suggested to wrap a heat tape around the waist and cover with some insulation.

But if you start warming every item you might find general heating cheaper. Its something to be aware of, to think about and take cost effective measures.
   - guru - Friday, 12/05/08 17:41:11 EST

I think Quenchcrack can get very technical on this subject, but I do have some experience with brittle fracture in cold temps. The standard C1023 we used in forged steel valves(modern steel) was good to -20F without qualification. We made valves/Fittings for temps to -40F and these were of the same steel, heat treated special and tested with a Charpy V notch fracture test.
I am under the impression that most of the higher temp brittle fracture steel was poorly made, poorly controlled, and IIRCC was high in sulfur. I have read of +40F brittle steel in worst case. To my knowledge wrought iron has never been mentioned as cold brittle like the steel. The tool steel top on a Hey-Bud may however be cold brittle. I don't recall hearing of tool steels being cold brittle.
   ptree - Friday, 12/05/08 18:40:46 EST

Makes ya wonder if maybe a difference in cold absorbtion could cause a plate to separate from the wrought. Or am I completely off?

BTW, I am considered a lurker of sorts here, and I don't want to bring up the Cross issue any more than to reiterate a good saying I read: "Strong words make for a weak cause"
   - Nippulini - Friday, 12/05/08 19:04:36 EST

Or as I sometimes say, "The longer the sermon, the shorter the organ." ;-)

As for cold shops and anvils, I solved it by moving them all south a couple dozen degrees of latitude. Saves on heating bills and chapped hands. I suppose you could drill and tap the waist of your wrought anvil and use a screw-in block heater. Get it up to about 350 F and it will not only not fracture, it will extend your usable heats, keep you warm and allow you to make biscuits on your break. (grin)
   vicopper - Friday, 12/05/08 20:19:37 EST

Hello All:

Once again I rear my mishapen and ugly countenence, just when you feel it is safe...

Please, do not feed the troll, this Mathew Cross. No one I know in the "sword industry" takes him seriously. What he purports is his own opinion and he is entitled to it, what ever it is. I have been swinging a hammer for 40 years now. Made countless swords and knives, did some writing on the subject even. Can you make a sword the way he describes? Yes, you can..Is it safe? To me...no way on earth. Hammering a spring cold is inviting problems and possible injury. Let him do what he wants, let him say what he wants..As the Old Sage said "It is better to remain silent and thought to be a fool than to open one's mouth and proove it".... I am one of the makers he has attacked inthepsat with his outlandish claims..I just let him rant..folks know what they are smelling...

If he wants to spout off, let him..he is only hurting himself...

   GHPoMCI - Friday, 12/05/08 20:43:56 EST

Dr. J, My most gracious thank you.
   - guru - Friday, 12/05/08 21:06:39 EST

Heating an anvil: You could likely also use a magnetic engine block heater. If you had a metal slack tub (e.g., 5-gallon metal bucket) it might work there as well.

I've read part of the problem with the Titantic sinking is the plates and rivets contained a fair amount of sulfur and that the plates were, even in their time, of inferior quality. Recall also hearing of German tanks breaking in the Russian winter for the same reason - too much sulfur. Trade off between machinability and cold weather endurance?
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 12/06/08 01:34:06 EST

Mister Guru (OK I am plagarized that title)

No need to thank me Sir. Mr Cross is well..a real character and has pretty well destroyed his own credibility amongst "legitimate" bladesmiths. As I said I have had a run in or two myself with this individual and no matter what the facts actually are, no matter how many times you present them to him, he simply doesn't listen to reason, nor can he accept the fact that could of possibly made a mistake.

The agressive and agitated behaviour demonstarted by the wording of his post points this out. Now I am, admittedly a very "passionate" man and well, as such I will defend my beliefs to the end. That "end" will be when I am presented with FACT that my belief was in fact an error, even though others at the time believed the same as myself. The ability to learn for one's mistakes is a vital trait for anyone who ventures into something that can be as hazardous as what we do here.

Yes it is possible to make a sword as he described, but his whole process is flawed on various levels. Apparently he "got away with it" but any metallurgist will tell you that in doing so, stressing a spring in that manner is asking for a catastrophic failure. He may get by doing this a few times but sooner or later it WILL get him...

As I said, he is entitled to his opinion, just as we all are, for better or for worse.

Right now I am at a point in my life where I can reflect upon all I have done...I have recently retired from Military service at the rank of 0-6, fought in wars, police actions, I have seen the horrors of those and spent all my adult life in Law Enforcement. I have seen people at their worst and at their best. I have also seen the Aurora Borealis, watched my 4 children come into the world, burried my first wife and my youngest child. All in all.I have has a pretty good life so far.

Yet there are still those miserable souls who just have to "stir the pot" and cause trouble. Life is too short to let these folks get under your skin. Mr Cross is one of those. I say let him dig his own grave...He is his own worst enemy..

   GHPoMCI - Saturday, 12/06/08 02:45:02 EST

Cold temps and tools: I am in the New England and have an unheated shop. Depending on just how cold it is determines how I start off my day in the shop. When it drops below 0f I will start the gas forge , place a block of steel in it , warm that up and place it on top of the anvil as I wait for the coal forge to to get fired up . Around the coal forge I will place the hammers and such I plan on using to take the chill out of them. This morning for example. It is currently 14f. When I go to the shop this morning I will most likely start out with some light forging to warm up my hammer arm ,(I haven't heard anyone mention the importance of warming up the muscles and joints to avoid injury to oneself),doing this I am not likely to strike the anvil face directly if I do miss it is usually a light blow. The small pieces I forge seem to take the chill out of the anvil face and helps me clean up scrap pieces cut off from the previous days work. After a half hour or so of that my arm and anvil are usually ready for some real pounding. One thing to keep in mind, you should always have hot metal to strike between the anvil and hammer.
To sum things up: Start out light warm up the tools AND the muscles. Cold weather causes blood vessels in the body (talking about the heart here) to constrict. Sudden stress on the mucsles ,heart is a muscle, calles for more blood. Lack of enough blood to the heart may cause heart failure in otherwise healthy indivuals.
The muscles in your body are as important a tool as any others you have ...Take care of them better than you take care of your other tools.
   Harley - Saturday, 12/06/08 06:51:29 EST

Dr J, Welcome home brother, and thank you for your service.

   ptree - Saturday, 12/06/08 07:29:59 EST

I just moved into my first commercial space,a small and very old but but now well heated and insulated space, and to me it has made a huge difference. Takes about 1/2 hour every morning to get the chill off of things, a time a usually spend with shop maintenance and set-up anyway. Once the forge gets cranking, it takes up most of the heating load.

The comfort of the warm shop makes the difference between a tolerable couple of hours and a full, productive work day

One thing to remember about heating a shop that has a solid fuel forge, however, is that a lot of air is going up any properly functioning flue, and either a secondary air supply or a lot of energy is required to heat even a well insulated shop. My secondary supply is a slightly leaky front door that is close enough to the forge that I am not blowing all that nice 72-degree air up the chimney. Ceates a cold spot in that area, but that's better than trying to heat the sky.
   Peter Hirst - Saturday, 12/06/08 07:35:14 EST

I have my forge in my (detached) garage and almost everything else in a basement shop. Not an ideal setup for a number of reasons, but it sure is nice to be able to do bench work in a conditioned space. (Of course, DC doesn't exactly have the coldest climate in the country anyway.)
   Mike BR - Saturday, 12/06/08 08:20:45 EST

Santa gets cold. My shop is at 7,000 feet, the adjacent mountains 9,000 to over 10,000 feet elevation. I've worked at below freezing and slightly above freezing, and I never heated my anvil or tools. No problems. I have a pot belly stove, but the shop is not insulated. The stove fire is not really a big help. Yesterday, I put my stock tank heaters in the slack barrels.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 12/06/08 09:46:59 EST

Hey, I know Santa gets cold! I meant to say Santa Fe, NM.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 12/06/08 09:48:53 EST

Yes Guru, thanks for the heat tape answer. I was thinking about wraping the anvil up with the same heat tape I use on the hydrant in the barn and makeing a cover from that silver buble wrap insulation stuff.
I did have a mis-strike the other day caused by an alarming twitch in my stock holding hand and I missed the work completely. Gave the far side edge a good half faced blow that caused a corner to spall off and riquochett off the radio. That was two weeks ago when it was still a balmy 30 F
Full time heating is not an option at this point. If you may remember I had to install a large roof ventalater due to the undersize flu on my forge.
A 10 or 12" class A thimble through the roof, to replace the 6" one I have now, would be several hundred dollers so that will have to wait.
I find that once I get the fire going it is warm enough and I usualy just have a sweatshirt on while I work.
I will follow the advise about pre-heating the anvil top with the large thermal mass when I need my number two anvil (those "Russians" are used to being cold and neglected anyway...)
I'm a little better off then it would seem however. At least the building is insulated and does actualy have gas furnace heating through out but, untill the shop makes enough to help off-set the cost of heating,I'll have to rough it.
Thanks to all for the great response.
   - merl - Saturday, 12/06/08 11:11:42 EST

Brittle fracture: Most iron and steel alloys undergo a ductile-to-brittle transformation at some reduced temperature. The temperature at which it occurs varies considerably and can be anywhere from 32F to -50F. This transformation to brittle fracture coincides with a dramatic loss of toughness. Most steels today that are intended for structural use or use in cold climates are tested extensively at a series of ever lower temperature to understand the limit of its usefulness in cold climates. Elements like Tin, Sulfur, and Phosphorus will raise the temperature at which brittle fracture occurs and lower the energy to break the steel. Think Titanic.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 12/06/08 14:47:01 EST

Anyone know how to build a small demagnetizer with stuff available from the hardware store? I don't care if it is a pass through or instatanious. I am to cheap to spend the 55.00 to 85.00 to buy a new import one. I thought it would be more fun to make it. What does this have to do with Blacksmithing you ask, nothing really. I also puter on pocket watches and always carry one. I need to demag my tools frequently and all watches I work on for proper performance. I will say I have put a watch or two on the anvil before and adjusted it with a hammer. They run real good after a good frustration adjustment.
   - Rustystuff - Saturday, 12/06/08 19:03:39 EST

Cold Anvils: As I've mentioned before, I just set my mom's old steam iron on the anvil while the forge warms up. When one is ready, so's the other. Since I work a lot of small stock, a cold anvil does seem to suck the heat out when I first start working.

Nice to hear from Dr. J again; I found his comments tight on target. Steady on, sir! "Be careful out there among all them English."

Cold and drizzling with a touch of snow on the banks of the lower Potomac. We had the last voyage of the season today; light breezes and temperatures in the upper 30s, low 40s. Good for rowing, but a little chilly when off-watch or sailing. We downrigged the mast and prepared her for haulout on Friday.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 12/06/08 22:08:17 EST

DeMag: This is just a guess but I've used the things and they seem to be just alternating poles and an AC circuit. MAYBE, just MAYBE the Windings of an AC motor with the armature removed might work. . The hum of a locked rotor on an AC motor sure sounds like a demagnetizer. Cheap to try.

I've used our shop demagnetizer on PC DAT tapes. . I couldn't get the right format and the drive would not reformat a formatted tape. So. . a few seconds on the demagnetizer. . erased the tape easily but also made it hot. I counted 1,2 flipped it over on 3 and pulled it off. That is all it took.

Don't swipe tools across the demagnetizer. . they will magnetize if used incorrectly.
   - guru - Saturday, 12/06/08 23:21:54 EST

Rusty: You need a coil of as many turns as practical insulated wire, and a way to limit it's electrical draw. This could be done with fine enough wire and a whole lot of it, but a simple approach is to power the coil in series with a 100 watt lightbulb. The bulb draws less than an amp. Without it the coil would be a dead short. This makes the pass through type. Wind the wire around an iron core and You have the open type at the end [s] of the core. YMMV
   - Dave Boyer - Saturday, 12/06/08 23:24:52 EST

So I usually only get on line a couple times a week max so I read the first days wave of response and will leisurely write a response to them and cut and paste it when I get time to get back to this farce. Amazing how internet BULLY'S always act so outraged when their VICTIMS show up angry. And of course internet bully's ALWAYS hang out in packs like wolves. Afraid to one on one with any one. Always talking behind peoples backs. Just like here... This is of course the usual forum tradition where the victim gets unfairly ratpacked by the same bad guys that have been stabbing them in the back for years so it is pointless to try to answer all this nonsense but there are a couple responses here that are just soooo outrageous that I have to laugh. First of all the guy who ran in fear when the spring bounced. OMG LOL!!! How embarrassing for them... As it plainly says in the instructions... If the hammer or spring bounces you are doing it WRONG!... Or maybe this is just a serious problem with hammer control. Either way that persons account only proves that they can not read and follow instructions. And of course pounding a leaf spring is DANGEROUS. DUH!... It says right on the site it can injure, maim, or kill you!. The armored sword fighting sports that are the main market for combat ready swords can maim or kill you too. And once again what hypocrits you people are! WHAT IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN FIRE! Especially fire hot enough to get steel red hot. Between the two FAR, FAR, FAR MORE INJURIES RESULT FROM FIRE!... Fire not only endangers the one starting the fires but every one near them. Fire can get far, far, far more out of control than a leaf spring and thus is thousands of times more dangerous... When did a leaf spring devour whole neighborhoods or forests.... Get REAL folks... And what about insurance. Be sure that forges are so dangerous that operating one without informing your insurer can get your home owners insurance canceled. It happened to me once it could happen to you too!!!... And again you can not argue with the fact that you just can not build a forge big enough to make the four foot swords that all the martial artists want, in an apartment garage without burning it down . But you can make a leaf spring sword in an apartment garage. And that is something that you money grubbing elitists can't handle. The comment on wanting a forum on my site so you can come there and give me a black eye is really cowardly and punk! You've been stabbing me in the back just fine on this site for a long time now. Too bad it is not the good old days when I could get you in an arena and match my best sword against yours and spill your steaming guts on the ground... Or a few years ago before my health took me out of the arena or I would offer you a chance to knock out a few more of my teeth in person!... And it is no surprise the same bunch of bullies with an agenda hang out at several "forums"... I wish I had that much spare time to waste. Geeze!.... I have a two year plus waiting list and turning away work. I can't spend every day on some forum and to put it bluntly no "real" smith could. The bully's that waste all their time haunting several forums at once with the same agenda can not possibly be working professionals or they would not have the time for this nonsense... In this case there are two obvious agendas!... One is pretending to help people but really discouraging them with exaggeratedly expensive equipment and processes. Then selling them something.... The other is justification for lousy craftsmanship... The thing that really hurts here though is the disrespect for the sword itself proving that this is NOT a forum for Honest sword smiths. Sure you don't bring a sword to a gunfight. Invite me to a gunfight some time!... I may be too old to swordfight and joust any more but I am a dead shot short and long. Up close I favor my tricked out stainless colt 1911 80's series with a modified weaver stance with my 50's cobra as backup and my WWII mint browning baby as emergency close in backup backup. For mid range as a californian I had to sell my AK and have to wimp out with an SKS or heaven forbid some civilian piece like one of my winchesters. Longer range I have to decide between my fifties winchester model seventy african with tipoff mount or a super tricked out Mosin Nagant sniper with leopold scope and hair trigger. But saying that swords don't go to war any more is just a digression and reflects disrespect for the sword and not at all like craftsmen dedicated to a fine product. I even read responses here from people saying that there is no need to make anything but decorators because the sword is outmoded... What total disrespect for the sword. You people are not sword smiths you are businessmen with an agenda... I hope some one is learning something here. More justification for the POOR excuses for swords being touted here. Which brings me to the next point. I am not going to back stab and name names here but the swords you mention as top of the line are DOO DOO... One name I will mention here because I have confronted this well known sword maker and author in a very public forum and made all these points to his face so there is no dishonor in restating it here. Mr Hrisoulis... You put his name first as a good example of good swords. That PROVES the ignorance or bias of the writer. Pure and simple I have used Mr. Hrisoulis's swords in my arena several times against leaf spring swords. NEVER EVER, EVER DID ONE LAST ONE SINGLE MATCH!!! They are pretty looking, outrageously expensive junk as far as I am concerned. The first salamander I ran into was early in his career and the very first time it was used to block a simple overhand blow in a simple every day training session the leafspring sword literally cleaved the salamander blade in two. Ten seconds that one lasted. By the way that one was owned by a Doctor Mike Hyson for the record... A few others have been rapidly destroyed by sporting use in my arena but I can't remember the names of their owners so I won't tell the stories. Except for the one bought by my half brother Pierre Cadieux. A couple decades later than the first mentioned sword my brothers fancy expensive salamander lasted a minute or so against a leaf spring sword before being rendered into a ragged stick. He returned it to redeem his SUPPOSED guarantee and My Hrisoulis was less than friendly. Almost beligerant... It took a long time with no apologies and the SAME SWORD was returned with the edge ground off crudely with the grind marks unpolished. About a quarter of the blade ground away and no edge at all left on it. How INSULTING! MR HRISOULIS'S guarantee was as worthless as his swords. And I said it to his face publicly already and it is done and over with or I would not have said it here. Which is why I am not going to give more similar stories about other worthless expensive junk being sold as sporting swords. But I can say with confidence that any amateur with a couple hundred bucks, a yard or garage, and the ability to READ AND FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS can easily make a sword from a common leafspring that can destroy at least the majority of supposed combat ready swords commercially available today. And I would bet dollars to doughnuts that the same applies to each of you here. Because no matter how much you try to "steer people away from it" there is a clear truth here. If your sword can not cut a leaf spring sword a leaf spring sword can surely cut yours. Anything less is just a decorator and there are a LOT of bogus sword smiths out there making worthless garbage at high prices that will go to outrageous lengths to prevent the little guys from figuring out something cheap and easy that is better. And that means YOU GUYS HERE AND NOW!... So I will admit that I am a VERY poor writer. But you grammer nazis here are just proving that you are grasping at straws and avoiding the point. I will also admit to being a mean angry old man. If I ever meet any of you personally I sure won't be any friendlier... In fact I have been called "DANGEROUS" by some of the best martial artists, sword fighters, and jousters of the last three decades. I am not a nice person and have no need to suck up to people who are already my enemy's behind my back... I make no claims here about my personal abilities as a craftsman. But I do have a VERY popular web site explaining how to make swords from leaf springs. Free information with no banner exchanges or affiliate programs... No profit here. Only truth. And I am sick and tired of getting letters telling me that I have posted some sort of joke or fraud because you people here say so. More often than not they refer to threads right here on this forum... So from my point of view you people are evil lying con artists trying to suppress a truth that makes the products you sell look bad and you have been a thorn in my side for years. Your collective opinions on me are on record... So go ahead and ratpack me some more. And like usual it will be behind my back because I'm out of here... Whew what a smell...
Mathew Cross
Oh P.S. I almost forgot. Check out the Graz armoury catalog where they list a five foot two handed sword similar in proportion to a claymore at ten pounds and the Solothurn armoury where similar weights for munitions grade war swords are listed and argue weights with them... After all you guys are the experts right...
   Mathew Cross - Sunday, 12/07/08 05:32:04 EST

This a Q & A forum , correct ? So . What was the question behind all the rant ? Talk about being able to read directions............
   Harley - Sunday, 12/07/08 07:03:20 EST

Don't feed the trolls, they just hang around and stink up the joint.
   ptree - Sunday, 12/07/08 07:39:19 EST

Last Word:

Free Information? There is no free lunch. This site is free to the public to access all the content, free to post on. It is all free and relatively accurate information considering the public's ability to post. Some sites are supported by the sales of products advertised by the site, others by advertisements on the site. Like "free" broadcast television or radio something has to pay the bills.

Product durability can be evaluated many ways. You can enjoy the fuel efficiency, comfort, agility and sportyness of a small compact car but it won't do the same job as a heavy truck. And in a collision, my old flat bed would drive over that small car without much effort, notice or damage to the truck. But I also don't want to have to drive that heavy rough riding truck everywhere. There are many such comparisons of disparately different products that could be made. Comparing a truck leaf spring to a finely crafted sword is much the same.

Popularity on the web can be fleeting but anvilfire has always been in the top listings on the search engines under hundreds of subjects including the subject rant above. We have maintained our popularity due to having volumes of accurate truthful information.

I suspect our article currently being number one under the subject on Google is much of the reason for his consternation.

Please do not post any more responses to this or the above rant. This "thread" is closed and further posts on the subject will be deleted.

   - guru - Sunday, 12/07/08 09:00:37 EST

I'm looking for very heavy duty gate hinges for a project I'm starting. The gate will be made of 4" tube and be filled with ironwork. they will be 12' long apiece and quite heavy (still figuring how heavy exactly). Any recommendations for these type of hinges? Also, to figure the weight, and the pull from the gate on the hinges, is there a formula used to figure the gravity factor in? I appriciate it....
   matthew - Sunday, 12/07/08 09:41:32 EST

Without getting into math, it's the hinge barrel and a stout leaf or strap attachment to the stile that holds up the gate. 12 feet long doesn't ring my bell. Without knowing your weight or dimensions, I can only say that I once made three strap hinges for a 1,000# wooden driveway gate. I used 3/8" x 2 1/2" x 40" stock and 5/8" round for the pintle. All mild steel.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/07/08 10:25:47 EST

A "what am I doing wrong" sort of question.

I was working on the Railroad Spike Axe from the iForge plans yesterday, and in the first step (shortening and thickening the spike), I ran into two problems. Well two approaches, both of which were problematic.

If I laid the spike across the anvil with the spike extending past the anvil edge, held it with the tongs, and hit it with the hammer, I wasn't getting much movement on the metal because the spike would slide backwards somewhat.

If I braced the foot of the spike on the anvil, and struck down on the point, I ended up with the spike curving around like a snake. I was spending more time trying to straighten the spike than to upset it.

So, what am I doing wrong, or is this just a matter of practice?
   Dave - Sunday, 12/07/08 11:00:41 EST

Upsetting: Dave, What you are doing is called "upsetting". This is a process a good friend of mine calls "an upsetting experience".

Upsetting is one of the hardest tasks in hand forging. Yes, it does require practice and experience. But it does work. The head on that spike was upset in the first place. However, this was in a monster machine with tremendous power.

Some helpful hits. When upsetting by hand quick sharp blows work better than slow heavy blows. You want a good bright heat and for it to be localized (cool the part you do not want to bend or upset). Rolling the work so you are not hitting the same place over and over helps keep it straight. Work a rounded head then strike it in the middle until nearly flat and round it toward you again.

Speed, often using a lighter hammer helps. Optionally you can clamp it in a vise and go at it like that. If you use a vise be sure to cool the area you are going to grip on larger pieces.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/07/08 11:21:23 EST

Gate Math: The force on the lower hinge is IN toward the post. The force at the top is the weight of the gate times the distance to the center of the gate panel divided by the distance between hinges (the bottom acting as a fulcrum.

ADD to this the force of one or more people standing on the far end of the gate time the gate width divided by the height between hinges. If they are bouncing, double it.

In any populous setting I would figure on the gate being covered by as many people that could climb onto it. So take the gate width and add about 300 pounds per foot or more. Since this is an even distribution use the total at the center of the gate panel then do the math.

In conservative engineering using mild steel (with no more specification than that) you should limit the shear stress on hinge pins (as well as welds, screws, bolts) to no more than 10,000 PSI. If the pin is in double shear you can use twice the cross section (Pi times the radius squared) as the amount in shear. The surface areas in thrust (bearing surface) should be about half or less this load in PSI.

Remember, the lower hinge is pushed toward the post and acts like a fulcrum. The upper hinge has the most load. A proportionally tall gate or door reduces the load and a proportionally wide gate increases it.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/07/08 11:42:09 EST

One more question.

When splitting the spike with a hot slitting chisel, I noticed afterwards that the chisel edge had noticeably rounded and had flared out. I cleaned up the edge, but is this to be expected, or something that I was doing wrong.

I was cutting onto a mild steel cut plate mounted on the anvil and secured in the Hardie hole. (As a side note, my wife has recommended a felted pad between the anvil surface and the cut plate, as the increase in noise was extremely noticeable. Does this, given that it would be dampened wool felt, sound reasonable?)

Thanks again.
   Dave - Sunday, 12/07/08 12:02:51 EST

Dave, do you cool the hot slit chisel between uses? I mean, hit it 2-3 times, cool it, hit a few more times, cool it. I just dip mine in water and make sure I don't wedge it into the hot work or let the edge get blue. You might be getting the chisel edge too hot which softens it and lets it roll over.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 12/07/08 12:53:44 EST

That's probably it. I wasn't cooling it.
   Dave - Sunday, 12/07/08 13:10:42 EST

I brought the edge back to 45 degrees; can I use it as is (cooling this time) or do I need to do something to correct for the overheating?
   Dave - Sunday, 12/07/08 13:47:16 EST

Mathew Cross: Please, pretty please, pretty pretty please write in paragraphs.
   Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 12/07/08 15:21:17 EST

slitting chisels. After sharpening my hot cuts I take a file and make one pass across the edge slightly dulling it. I find they last longer if I do this. YMWV Also when making hot punches I make them in pairs cause I have found that the punch often fails when your pushing a deadline, with one hole left...
   JimG - Sunday, 12/07/08 15:26:55 EST

Dave, I would just go ahead and use the chisel as is. If it is H13, it takes fairly precise control to heat treat it properly. If it is not H13, it really doesn't make any difference what you do, it will eventually soften and you will just resharpen it.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 12/07/08 16:46:57 EST

Quick question regarding steel.

I'm have recently moved to Finland and am trying to get set up for making some knives. While in the states I preferred 5160 & 1095. However, I am having trouble finding equivalents. Does anyone have any idea what I should be looking for over here?

I'm also having trouble finding a supplier that can help me get said metal as I do not speak (or read) Finnish. yet:)

Thanks for all of the great information and help.
   Rob Dobbs - Sunday, 12/07/08 16:59:50 EST

My apologies for the bad grammar and spelling. I'm typing outside and it is COLD. :)
   Rob Dobbs - Sunday, 12/07/08 17:00:46 EST

Matthew- Peter Parkinson has an excellent explanation of gate and hinge design in his book "The Artist-Blacksmith'.
   Judson Yaggy - Sunday, 12/07/08 18:42:30 EST

Rob, I would guess that in Finland they use a lot of Russian steels. Or maybe German or Swedish. You need to find a site that will convert US grades to their European equivalents. If I had the book "Stahlschussel" I could do it for you but even a metallurgist can't afford this book. Try a library. Now go inside and have some cocoa....or a suitable adult beverage.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 12/07/08 18:59:44 EST

Will warming up an anvil damage it? I read in Anvils in America about how some smiths heat a sad iron and lay it on the anvil face on very cold days. I have not heated the iron to a red heat, but I have heated horseshoes to an orange to hang on the horn to heat it. I noticed last night in the same book one of the old advertisements cautioned against leaving hot iron on the face too long because it will draw the temper, so now I'm wondering. BTW my anvil is a modern seven year old Brooks/Vaughn.
   - Robert Dean - Sunday, 12/07/08 20:02:32 EST

Robert Dean,

I frequently work 1" to 1-1/2" square bar on my anvil, with several pieces in the forge so a hot piece is on the anvil almost continuously for a couple hours at a time or more. I have never noticed any softening of the anvil face, nor has it ever gotten to a temperature that would burn my bare hand. This is on a 450# Nimba, a cast steel anvil. Unless you get the face of the anvil above a temperature higher than the drawing temperature of the face steel, you're not going to hurt it. For any anvil over a hundred pounds, it would take a hefty chunk of steel at red heat to overcome the thermal mass of the colder anvil. The smaller the anvil, the smaller the stock you're going to be working on it, so I doubt there would ever be a problem. Obvously, don't heat a 100# piece of steel to yellow hot and place it on the face of your 75# jeweler's anvil or you probably will damage the face.
   vicopper - Sunday, 12/07/08 21:25:27 EST

Hi Robert

As vicopper points out you would have to heat the anvil higher than the drawing temp. It would need to get over 400 degrees. You will not reach that warming an anivl.
   - Rustystuff - Sunday, 12/07/08 21:31:16 EST

Thank You for your info and input Guru & Dave
   - Rustystuff - Sunday, 12/07/08 21:54:57 EST

I've seen temper colors on the inside edge around my hardy hole after shaping a hardy tool hot. That was actually a good thing -- the tempering went just deep enough to let me do some much needed radiusing with a file. I've also burned myself on the end of my horn after flaring pipe.

If you stay away from the edges, though, it would be hard to hurt an anvil with a hot block of steel of reasonable size.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 12/07/08 21:58:10 EST

Robert, don't confuse heat and temperature! Heat is mass x temp. x specific heat capacity. SHC of the shoe and the anvil can be taken as the same so we are looking at a combination of mass and temp. Compare the mass of your anvil with the mass of the shoe. Steel is a fairly good coonductor so the heat of your shoe will be pretty quickly spread into your anvil's mass and the rise in temperature from that will be fairly small.

I use a 280 lb Brooks. Congratulations on owning a very fine anvil.
   philip in china - Monday, 12/08/08 00:08:50 EST

Reasonable size is the key statement. Temperature as well. While an anvil is a large heat sink a piece of 1"x 3" or 4" at a red to yellow heat resting on an anvil could easily draw the surface temper. Since anvil faces are much harder on the surface with the hardness falling off rapidly any reduction in hardness could be a bad thing.
   - guru - Monday, 12/08/08 00:13:19 EST

once again, anvilfire saves the day, thanks for the replies, it was just what i was looking for. thank you kindly....
   matthew - Monday, 12/08/08 00:56:11 EST

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