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 24 - 31, 2009 on the Guru's Den
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I don't have immediate access to a hydraulic press or a large steel bench. I do have a reasonable anvil (two man flat out lift from floor to stand) securely mounted to a heavy steel frame buried about 50cm into ground. I also have a 5" vice on a heavy steel post sunk about a metre. Lastly, I have a very sturdy bolster, again sunk into the ground - top plate is broken off my anvil across the hardy hole. None of these present a large surface, but they are pretty stable. All my tools stand low since I'm not tall. I'd estimate my flypress as between a #5 and #6 compared to the presses coming out of India at the moment - e.g. Ron Reil shows a #6 on his pages.
   andrew - Thursday, 12/24/09 00:45:10 EST

I'm confident I can create an anchor the jig. I was mostly interested in the kind of leverage required. This will in turn determine the magnitude of seriousness required for the jig. 1 metre leverage easily bends 1" square bar. It'd be useful to have a grasp for how the required leverage scales in relation to the sized material to be bend.
   andrew - Thursday, 12/24/09 00:50:00 EST

Merl, response in the hammer-in
   ptree - Thursday, 12/24/09 08:23:41 EST

Andrew, It should be 4x.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/24/09 11:17:09 EST

Thx Guru
Found out a little more about the anvil based on the markings it probably dates in the range between 1820 and 1835. One more question about sway back. The anvil has a bit of sway back. The face is 3 3/4" wide. On one side the sway back is about 1/8" and it tapers off to the other side to about a 1/16". How much will this affect the usefulness of the anvil and should I get it repaired?

   Rick - Thursday, 12/24/09 12:27:44 EST

That amount of sway is negligible. In many cases a bit of sway is an advantage when straightening etc.
Think very very long and hard before doing anything to it that can't be undone.
   JimG - Thursday, 12/24/09 13:31:19 EST

Anvil Sway Rick, An anvil should not be considered a reference surface or precision flat. While a few modern anvils are machined flat historically they were ground by eye and while they LOOKED flat they could be far from it. Even today those anvils that are ground using belt grinders often drop towards the ends and those with square horns can have a LOT of drop due to the grinder taking more off the narrow part. As much as 3/8" has been seen on these anvils. There was also a period when new anvils were ground with a crown along the long axis to compensate for sway. However, sway happens in all directions so that just made an arced face that was odd to use.

A little sway also makes an anvil much better for straightening. You cannot straighten a bar on a flat surface. There is no where for it to deflect into. So a little sway makes it a better straightening surface. Any "repair" done to such an anvil is the worse kind of abuse. Unneeded removal of any of the hardest part of the top plate is ruinous and weld buildup on any anvil usable as-is greatly lowers its value.

These little 100 pound range anvils commonly get swayed or have more serious damage from folks doing much too heavy work on them. My general rule is 50:1. 50 units of anvil for one unit of hammer. So a 100 pound anvil is good for a 2 pound hammer. That is why 200 pound (90kg) anvils are considered a general shop anvil. They are suitable for using heavy forging hammers and occasional sledge use. If an anvil is going to see regular sledge use then it should be larger.

A lot of work can be done on small anvils. But they can be abused by using too heavy a hammer.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/24/09 13:37:46 EST

Rick, that amount of sway back won't bother you. You will just need to learn to work around it.
What ever you do DON'T try to have it fixed!!
From your description you have a nice piece of equipment with a history. That makes it a keeper in my book.
If you need a big flat surface for something then get a big ckunk of steel and have a flat milled on it but, don't destroy your nice old anvil by trying to fix it.
   - merl - Thursday, 12/24/09 13:40:16 EST

Bending 2" (50mm) bar Hmmmmmm . . . 4x cubed. 64x . . . ? ? ?

In any case. . . I asked a friend who has done some heavy work and he agrees with the immovable anchor for bending 2" bar. You might THINK those things are immovable but when you apply an 8 foot lever you can easily rip concrete anchors from a floor if they are too close to the center. Things with a small base such as vise stands and anvil bases can be torn from their foundations or the foundation rotated in the Earth.

The other problem with bends of this sort is stretch on the outside narrowing the bar and swell on the inside. If you need a clean bend you will also need to do some forging along the inside. This straightens the bend and it will need to be bent again. Forge 2" (50mm) stock will require heavy sledges and perhaps a helper. Also note that this size stock left on an anvil too long can heat it over the tempering point and soften the anvil.

Just more food for thought.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/24/09 13:40:26 EST

Bending 2" on a 13" radius won't distort much. How far do you need to bend it? 90 or 180 would be pretty easy. Full circle gets only a little harder. How much extra length do you have to work with? If you keep the heat just where you want the bend it should go pretty easy. 4X cubed, ya think? Seems more like 2X cubed = 16. That feels about right too.
   - grant - Thursday, 12/24/09 15:50:22 EST

Thx All for the info.

Merry Christmas

   Rick - Thursday, 12/24/09 15:52:23 EST

Merry christmas from the far east! Thanks for the info on bending big bar. Looking about my humble smithy, the biggest immovable object I can find is the planet - which should suffice. I will weld a jig to the base of my anvil stand to form the inside of the curve. I will then drive in a separate stake, welded to the stand so it can't be pushed away, but anchored separately to distribute the torsion. So I will bend around a form on the anvil stand, with the pin (I have a longish 2" round bar to sink) to hold the outer edge. In this way I will be applying shear force to the solid vice stand (8"x6" thick wall tube). The tortional force would be distributed over the frame, pin + whatever additional anchor points I weld on and sink. I have a 2.5m heavy tube for a lever. Keeping everything on the ground will mean the major forces will be pure sheer force on heavy steel.
   andrew - Thursday, 12/24/09 20:41:52 EST

Merry Christmas one and all.
   Harley - Friday, 12/25/09 05:41:35 EST

Merry Christmas to all
   - nysmithy - Friday, 12/25/09 07:46:17 EST

Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus Ex Maria virgine, gaudete!
   JimG - Friday, 12/25/09 11:31:31 EST

I saw in the postings a suggested hammer to anvil rate ration of 1:50 is this a firm rate or in the beginning can i use a lighter anvil say around 35 pounds.
   Shiloh - Friday, 12/25/09 16:28:52 EST

Shiloh, remember that alot of this is a suggestion, albeit based on much experience, and you have to keep an open mind and deside for yourself what is working and what is not. If you want to use a lighter hammer or anvil then by all meens do so. Until you get your arms built up you probably should go with something lighter rather than giving your self a case of tendonitice that lasts for a year! (personal experience here)
While it is true that a heavier anvil is more responsive and can be more efficient, alot of good work is done every day on what ever chunk of iron a particular smith can press into service at the time.
Look into something called a "stump anvil". They are a very handy item...
   - merl - Friday, 12/25/09 23:13:57 EST

Cristmas: One day down, 11 to go! Gaudete!

Eldest daughter's inamorato presented me with a pair of bolt cutters capable of severing Wolverine's vaunted claws! ;-) I guess I can now retire the WW-II wire/bolt cutters from Uncle Jack to relic status, reattaching the forked wire guide.

Light anvils: Shiloh, the other part of the equation is how well it's mounted. A good, sturdy stump is good; if the mount is bouncing all over the shop, or the anvil is bouncing all over the mount, you need to rethink. (Portability enters in to this also, but sturdy is always good!)

The snow is retreating rapidly on the banks of the lower Potomac; under the impact of an inch of warm rain. We've done from a "white Cristmas" to "snow on the north side of the hedgerow" overnight!

Visit your National Parks (open again today): www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 12/26/09 07:36:00 EST

Bruce..Just curious,Are you involved with the National Park Service? My sons a ranger..
   - arthur - Saturday, 12/26/09 12:49:50 EST

Arthur, Bruce is "middle?" management with the NPS in DC and is in charge of properties the Park Service leases from others. A lot of time is spent in the field inspecting such facilities.

Light Anvils: 35 pounds is a very nice little anvil for light work. Yes, I firmly believe my 50:1 rule is a pretty definitive rule for common blacksmiths anvils. A much lower ratio would be suitable if the mass is more compact such as a plain cylinder or cube.

When you strike an object of equal mass to the hammer it wants to move at the same speed the hammer WAS moving. This can include the mass of extensions to a part. The body holds still and the extension tries to move at high velocity.

Part of the problem is not just usability but damaging the anvil. Take that little 35 pound anvil. IF it is a fairly standard blacksmiths anvil shape the horn only weighs about 5 pounds. Strike that 5 pound horn hard with a 2 or 3 pound hammer and it MAY break off. Worse with the heel which has a hardy hole weakening it. Mounting the anvil solidly worsens this problem. Keep this in mind when using small anvils. As tough as ANY anvils seems, they can and many HAVE BEEN broken.

   - guru - Saturday, 12/26/09 15:58:13 EST

Hmm, good point on the extremities and locking-down light anvils; the only light anvils I do heavy hammering on are early medieval style block or stump anvils. Small modern style anvils I save for light work for very thin gauge or for copper and other nonferrous work.

Arthur: I'm a "suit" in the NPS Washington Office (i.e. an headquarters dweeb). If you don't mind let me know what park your son works in over in the "Hammer-In"

Snow still melting rapidly away on the banks of the lower Potomac. I forgot to mention the auto-darkening welding helmet received from the eldest daughter. Now all I have to do is get the outlet installed and she and J.D. can re-teach me all about arc welding (it's been over 40 years) and safety procedures.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 12/26/09 21:17:47 EST


I kept reading about the 50mm bar, and pardon me, but as on ol' retired horseshoer, I was thinking about how we make the toe bend on a horseshoe. The bar to be the shoe is supported against the horn on one end and held with the tongs at the other. The central "toe bend" is done by hitting the stock in the middle and slightly either side of the middle.

The idea on the large bar would be to end-support it and hammer downward where there's heat. If hammer marks would be an issue, a large fuller or fuller-like tool could be used between the sledge and the hot steel. After each heat, their might be a "level-up." This would be a "cut 'n' try" method and a little time consuming, but then bending sideways NOT to an exact form would also be a chore.

Problems come when you try to figure how much bend you want. Going beyond a curve with legs at right angles gets more involved.

Santa Fe smith, Helmut Hillenkamp, has permanently installed, shop made, hydraulic benders at his place. Pretty slick for that kind of large work.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 12/26/09 21:37:38 EST

HELLO to all had a question asking about tup seals for a nazel 12s power hammer dose any one know where i could purchase them , regards glenn moon
   - Glenn Moon - Sunday, 12/27/09 18:32:17 EST

HELLO to all had a question asking about tup seals for a nazel 12s power hammer dose any one know where i could purchase them , regards glenn moon
   - Glenn Moon - Sunday, 12/27/09 18:34:52 EST

Glenn Moon... If you are talking about leather seals, McMaster Carr sells leather strips (very pricey though). If you need something else, Google Bob Bergman (Postville Blacksmith) and ask him....
   - Dave Hammer - Sunday, 12/27/09 18:39:59 EST

Glenn.... You may need to cut and/or sand the leather strips to fit your application.
   - Dave Hammer - Sunday, 12/27/09 18:41:24 EST

Hi Frank, thanks for your insite. My only hesitation with hammering over the anvil is the need to make a full circle - requiring a full 2m of 50mm bar, which I calculate to be about 40kg. Consequently, it's a lot of weight to be working on the anvil. If I do it in a jig with bending bar, I won't need to support the weight as well as bend, since I'll just drop the steel into the jig then bend.
Hopefully one of these days, I'll find myself in the US at the same time as one of your classes. I've been close, but haven't yet managed it.
   andrew - Sunday, 12/27/09 18:43:23 EST

What's a Nazel 12s?
   - grant - Sunday, 12/27/09 19:10:45 EST

Andrew, if you need a 2" thick 2" wall ring it might be best to just have it flame cut. While the drops are expensive they can also be useful.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/27/09 21:02:10 EST

Hello,I was given an old anvil and was wondering how to clean it up properly and to protect it properly,do you apply any type of coating or oil to it.it is a 140 lb armitage mouse hole forge anvil.I would like to put it to use in my garage,i repair and restore old antique cars and this will be quite useful.thanks Tony
   Tony - Sunday, 12/27/09 21:46:55 EST

Tony, Wire brush off old paint and crud, leave the original rust finish and paint over it. Clean and oil the face and upper horn. Re-oil after use.

An anvil is an indispensable tool in any metal working shop. I had one in my sports car garage for years. . .
   - guru - Monday, 12/28/09 00:13:56 EST

Grant... It's a "big un". 23.5" stroke. 130 BPM, but capable of single blows. 5x10" dies. 8600# anvil. Can work 6.75 x 6.75 mild steel. Total weight: 27,100#.

The 12S has a steam (ram weight equivalent) of 850#.

It can also leap over tall buildings at a single bound.
   - Dave Hammer - Monday, 12/28/09 00:35:54 EST

Harbor Freight has a nice polishing kit, basically 6 4" wheels of progressively finer grit from 40 up to 600! Main problem is changing wheels. Puts a beautiful mirror finish on any steel. I use the spent discs the other day and put a grade #10 shine on my main working anvils' face. Talk about the best dressed anvil at the ball...
   - Nippulini - Monday, 12/28/09 08:24:04 EST

Polishing Anvils: Unless you are working gold or silver that polish is a waste. In fact, I have heard several people complain about using highly polished anvils as the work would slip on the surface too easy. But a little scale and a little use and it will be back to normal. . . rust will also help. But it may also be what you are used to. Seeing your face look back at you from the anvil might be disconcerting. :)
   - guru - Monday, 12/28/09 08:47:25 EST

Words are often unclear over the net. I didn't necessarily mean to use the anvil. By end-supports, they could be almost anything. My suggested method is not the best, especially for a ring.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 12/28/09 10:08:02 EST

Dave, where are you getting that information? Most of those specs fit a 5-B. I had a late model one that had a 14,000lb anvil. But it was 130 BPM and 23.5in stroke. Just trying to understand if this was something special or what.
   - grant - Monday, 12/28/09 11:00:24 EST

Bending heavy metal, I remember reading in a blacksmith magazine they had to bend a heavy handrail. They laid two pieces of railroad track a certain distance apart and heated the handrail rail with a rosebud [or weed burner?] and then pounded down on the center of the rail.
   Carver Jake - Monday, 12/28/09 11:26:55 EST

Note that many "small" anvils are made from cast iron and as such are not smithing anvils but more like bench blocks for light duty work.

A free or scrap price fork lift tine can make a much better anvil than a cast iron ASO.

   Thomas P - Monday, 12/28/09 11:32:07 EST

Some of the old small bench anvils were also fabricated from RR or Crane rail. Most of these had small welded on horns and holes drilled for bench mounting. The point being the were all steel. But most of these were in the 8 to 15 pound range. These were being sold as long ago as 1900 or so.

A few makers made really good 35 pound or 15kg anvils. But even a good 35 pound anvil is only good for the lightest work. We have a photo somewhere of a WWII German army farrier setup using a little Peddinghaus style anvil on a very sturdy hardwood stand. For small hot work this was fine. The forge was also a small light duty thing, the whole setup designed for one purpose, not general work.
   - guru - Monday, 12/28/09 14:59:09 EST

Just FYI,
If anyone here did not know,
I was playing around with Google and tried this search, "site:craigslist.org anvil" This will search ALL of craigslist for the subject word, "anvil" in this case.
I expect one could replace "craigslist.org" for different websites etc??

There is sure a lot of anvils on CL...
This one made me laugh.
   - Mike - Monday, 12/28/09 21:46:46 EST

The bad thing about that probable ASO I saw one very similar but around 400 pounds that sold for over $700 back in the 1980's at a farm auction. Same ugly shape and bright orange paint job. I had a chance to do a tap test on that one. . . dead soft cast iron. Farmer types bid it way up. . .

That same search technique will work on lathes, drill presses. . . .
   - guru - Monday, 12/28/09 22:58:26 EST

Grant.... I have a Nazel marketing brochure that came in a Nazel documentation package I bought from Bob Bergman (I'm working on a 3B). It has general specs for Type B, Type C, Type I, Type N and Type S Nazel hammers. The Type S hammers are specified to be single blow hammers (obviously still with the capability for multiple cycling hits also).
   - Dave Hammer - Tuesday, 12/29/09 00:50:48 EST

Cool! Newer literature than I have. Where can I get that?
   - grant - Tuesday, 12/29/09 01:34:54 EST

Santa bought me a ticket for two for the ABANA conferance in June!He must have found out about the money he can save from the calendar of events from Anvilfire.Thanks Anvilfire!
   Ringer - Tuesday, 12/29/09 12:40:11 EST

Thank Santa. . . Nice gift.

Note to all that haven't looked. The ABANA conference is no longer planned for Mud Island. It will be at the Ag center. I think this was a more economical venue (and less likely to be under water).
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/29/09 13:45:52 EST

Speaking of Santa, about 2 or 3 years ago I was gifted a little TIG unit, never got around to setting up the 220 line until two days ago. The argon tank sat and collected dust. After setting up and testing it out the other night I awoke the next morning to find the cylinder was empty. After a trip to the welding store and a new tank I realized one of the hose fittings was loose. Apparently the argon escaped completely out. My question is this: what are the hazards of argon exposure? My shop is in my cellar with plenty of good ventilation, does argon sink or float? Good thing the stuff is cheap.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 12/29/09 15:05:33 EST

Nip, argon is heavier than air and is used as an kill gas when they need to kill large flocks of fowl when dieseased.
The gas is almost completly inert, so won't react with anything much in the house, its chief issue for you would displacement of oxygen, leading to death if large enough concentration.
I would not consider storing a large quantity in the house safe. A small enough amount maybe. If the house is drafty, maybe a bit more. Is you furnace in the basement? It may stop the combustion or pilot light, and also may be circulated thru the dwelling by the furnace, depending on design.
You did not state bottle volume, but if a full size bottle they hold many cubic feet of gas at atmospheric pressure.
   ptree - Tuesday, 12/29/09 15:22:58 EST

Grant.... If you Google "Bob Bergman Postville", then click on the Postville Blacksmith link, you should see a phone number you can call to talk to Bob. He sells the literature.
   - Dave Hammer - Tuesday, 12/29/09 16:09:03 EST

MIG and TIG gas: Besides loose fittings both of these have valves, either manual or automatic that can leak. Always turn off the gas at the cylinder.

IF you use very little gas and cylinders are stored for a long time you should also check the packing gland on the cylinder valve. Generally these are OK but you can get a NEW cylinder of gas, let it sit for a month then find it empty. . .

At a shop I managed we kept about a dozen propane and oxygen cylinders on hand and often used them up fairly fast. Other times it would take a month or more. Once in a while an empty would be found among the full so I read the guys the riot act about where empty and full cylinders went. . . But we kept finding empties. SO, we started checking the delivered cylinders for leaks. There were a couple leakers in almost every delivery. The gas company was not happy about picking them up on a non-delivery day. I pointed out it was THEIR job to check them not ours and maybe I should ask some of their other customers if they were having the same problems. . . We started to see a lot of shiny new cylinders and new valves in the mix after that.

Now, I will admit that this was a cut-rate outfit that one of the "bosses" was a partner in . . . but even the best occasionally let a leaker through.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/29/09 16:36:01 EST

I try my hardest to close down and drain out hoses when I'm done. Oxy/acetyl is my worst habit, I usually scramble down the steps first thing in the morning. I too have returned home from Airgas only to find the cylinder I received was partially full and/or had the wrong nipple.

BTW, the argon was a 60 cu. ft. tank and the hose leak could barely make bubbles when sprayed with soapy water. Also, this cylinder sat for about 2 years before I got to it.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 12/29/09 17:48:19 EST


I figure 60 cubic feet of argon would cover the floor of a 15' X 15' room about 3" deep. Of course, the stuff could potentially be dangerous even if mixed with a few times its volume in air. But I don't lose any sleep over the 80 cubic foot bottle in my (rather drafty) basement.

I guess the comment about the stuff being cheap was tongue-in-cheek? If not, where do you get it? I think I paid around $60 for my last refill.
   Mike BR - Tuesday, 12/29/09 18:41:09 EST

HEy guys here in NY a lab near me had a argon release. no one died luckily but it was pretty nasty. MSDS sheet for it here http://www.iigas.com/argon_msds.htm .
The thing that is not mentioned in it or often is that it is very heavy. Just drafty does not mean safe room air turn over rate. I wold STRONGLY advise against placing this stuff in basements or low points in shops. THE particular incident at BNL was on a Monday they figure the gas release was on Friday. ITs a couch potatoes and doesn't like to move. SO unless by drafty you mean that your turning over the entire air volume of your room every 30 to 40 minutes do not place argon in the it to store.

On a side it would be an interesting rapid sufficant for a coal forge since it would not damage the coal in any way and displace all the oxygen.
OK total change of subject

I have been seeing a ton of anvils online and at swaps in PA. for a beginner what should i be looking for in the details of an anvil. I understand the point about mass for impact. I'm going to have a roughly 300lb oak stump ( well seasond) as my base. BUT of the actual anvil what should i be looking at in its physical make up. HOw do i know if its to soft
   Shiloh - Tuesday, 12/29/09 19:57:01 EST

Argon and other gases: While argon is "heavy" it is naturally occurring in air. It readily mixes. The ratio between the density of air and pure argon is 1:1.45. The ratio of propane is 1:1.64 and nitrogen to air 1:0.95 almost identical to acetylene. Air to CO2 is 1:1.02 Any air movement at all tends to mix it well with air.

The problem with non-breathable gases is when they are in sufficient volume to displace ALL the air. This can happen in tanks with small hatches or sealed rooms. While acetylene is on the "self dispersing" side of the line, nitrogen with the same density killed several NASA workers that walked into a nitrogen purged room. In that case the room was relatively large compared to the door, it was sealed and the pressurized purge was absolute. If they had waited 5 minutes after opening the door it probably would have been safe.

For a gas to put out a pilot light would require that there was insufficient makeup air for the pilot OR a vent for the burning gasses. The gas would have to be "dammed up" and released all at once to "flood" the pilot light.

While there is potential it is an unlikely scenario in a home shop. A 240 cuft cylinder would only fill a 10x10 room 2.4 feet deep (dangerous only to pets and very small children). Mike miscalculated. 60 cuft / 15^2 = 3.2 inches. 60 cuft / 100 = .6 feet (in a small room). These depths assume absolutely no mixing with air, no convection currents, no lower places to run into.

Now. . store two or three fast leaking 240 cuft cylinders in a small unventilated room. . . you might have a problem.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/29/09 20:25:55 EST

Shiloh, Look for good OLD anvils. Shiny new ones or bright orange painted anvils at flea markets and swap meets are almost always ASO's (Anvil Shaped Objects - usually made of cast iron).

Anvil hardness is easiest tested by the "tap test". Tap the anvil gently with a hammer (no sharp corners) and the hammer should bounce back to your hand like on a rubber band. Don't do this without asking. Taping the horn or heel gently should make the anvil ring like a high pitched bell.

If the anvil is old, the face and horn polished and the corners perfect then I would look VERY closely for weld repairs or signs of machining. While some people think their work improves the anvil in fact it does NOT. I'll buy old chipped anvils and even anvils with broken off parts before buying a repair job. A machined anvil almost always means the face is now too thin and the hardest part has been removed.

William Foster English Anvil William Foster Anvil

Classic 19th Century English anvil.

Look at this old anvil above in our Anvil Gallery. Its 150 years old and in good condition. It is typical of the type you will probably find in PA. There are a few chips out of the corners which is normal for such an old anvil. But the face is flat and the horn not abused. This anvil could be used as-is and do nothing but get better OR slide over it with belt sander and it will be near perfect.

Anvils with a LOT more chipping and obvious sway are still "good" anvils. Anvils with severe damage are still "useful" anvils and cost less.

As a tool of quality the above anvil is worth much much more than a shiney new HF, eBay Chinese or Russian anvil. It will hold its value forever if not damaged OR "repaired". Its edges are nicely rounded and could stand a little more to clean them up without hurting it.

Compare the above to our article on cheep cast iron anvils (see links on the FAQ's page or Anvil Gallery). Learn to recognize the difference. Study the good old anvils in our gallery. They all have a quality that none of the cheap anvils capture.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/29/09 21:07:04 EST

I don't worry about the argon, C02 & other cylinder gases displacing the oxygen from a small leak, as near floor level air is always going up the chimney, and the shop is not below grade. The other shop has an old in ground swimming pool for a basment/foundation, but it still has an open 2" drain.

HOWEVER a large leak doesn't have to displace ALL the air in a room for it to be unsafe, it only has to dilute the oxygen content from the normal 21% to a below 19.5% to be a health issue.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 12/29/09 21:51:49 EST


Seems to me I got the same answer you did (aside from rounding). Of course, I'm sure I've made plenty of mistakes that I haven't got called on, so this just averages things out a little (grin).
   Mike BR - Tuesday, 12/29/09 21:53:01 EST

Dave posted as I was typing. I know the 19.5% figure is an accepted value, but I've never really understood it. 19.5% oxygen at sea level should be about the same partial pressure of oxyen as you'd get at 1500 feet elevation in a normal atmosphere. That doesn't exactly sound dangerous.

Is a given partial prssure of O2 somehow more dangerous if the overall pressure is higher? Or maybe a 19.5% reading is just proof that something is diluting the air (and could be at a dangerous concentration elsewhere in the area)?
   Mike BR - Tuesday, 12/29/09 22:03:07 EST

HOORAY! Christmas Day didn't find me hip deep in gold nuggets BUT I did blow in the new forge! The twyeer is an old no-name 8 1/2 inch diameter round with a clinker breaker and an ash dump, the only marking on it is "712" cast on the blast inlet, the table is a 20" square piece of diamond plate (yes, I know, Guru, 2'X3' is better, but you use what you scrounge, and I also wanted to keep it portable with a hand truck), the legs some 1" iron pipe that has gone through a move (with Laurie saying "You'll never use that crap") cut off at 31" high (dimension from the Guru, thanx), the blower a Champion 400 I rebuilt (I know, a lot of horsepower for such a small forge, but hey, I like the Champion 400, a very elegant machine, and I like restoring old machinery, and I will never need another blower). It works MUCH better than my old brake drum forge, just as the Guru sez, the first thing cooked in the forge was some angle iron to bolt to the Champion base so it is portable with a hand truck. Total cost $50 for the twyeer, $75 for the Champion 400, 3" dryer duct hose from Home Despot, handful of bolts and a tube of stove cement from the local hardware store, handful of ball bearings for the blower, scrounging for the table and legs and floor flanges and rooting through my bolt cans . . . beating hot metal--priceless . . . .

I know, pictures, the youngest used my camera and broke it . . . grrrr . . .

Can I play with the Big Boys now?

David Hughes, in the (foggy) (YUKK) Sacramento Valley of CA, north of the Rancho Seco Nuc plant where the Guru worked once . . . on a clear winter day after a storm, you could see Rancho Seco from Beer Can Corner, up on Yankee Hill, in Tuolumne County, the land where I was born . . . .
   - David Hughes - Tuesday, 12/29/09 22:05:06 EST

Mike I misread feet instead of inches. . sorry.

David, It sounds like a great forge. Hope you can find better coal than I could when I was out there. All we could find was stuff they use for landscaping (color). It burned but smoked terribly and made a lot of clinker and little heat. For about $50 we scrounged two anvils, a vice and a forge. I bought them years later but they were never shipped. . .

While the reduced oxygen is a hazard it doesn't drop you in your tracks like pure inert gas does.

   - guru - Wednesday, 12/30/09 01:26:49 EST

Mike BR, I am the kind of guy who gets real chummy chummy with any supplier. The guys at my local Airgas love it when I come in as I am the only blacksmith that they know of. They give me deep discounts for being such a nice guy. I traded my 60 cu ft tank for an 80, got some 1/8" TIG rod and spent only $45. One time I bought a box of cast welding rod, the sticker said $60, my receipt said $35. This is the type of treatment you earn, kinda like being a "finder" as the Guru puts it. Network, make nice with the local welding shops (so I can rummage through their scrap bins), create good relationships and contacts. If the floor falls from under my regular job, I know many good metalworking shops that would hire me... and I have the basic skills to do it.
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 12/30/09 07:41:55 EST

The Oxygen discussion mentions 19.5% as a point below which is dangerous. In fact as one goes up in altitude, where the O2 partial pressure is reduced there are physilogical changes. The FAA requires O2 in unpressurized aircraft above certian altitudes because of reduced reaction time and impaired dicision making.
The ARMY used to require O2 above 12,500 and 10,000 feet at night. The lack of O2 at night also reduces night vision.

In OSHA regulations for "Permit Required Confined Space Entry" the O2 is always measured with 19.5% to 23% being the allowable range. Above 23% one has issues with increased flammability of many common materials.
Another thing to consider is that smokers already have reduced blood O2, and they inhale Carbon Monoxide with every puff. Since Hemoglobin has a stronger affinity for CO than O2, the CO clings to the hemoglobin and prevents O2 uptake. In a CO exposure, the first order of biz is 100% O2 to try to get every bit of O2 past the CO.
The human body is an amazing thing. We can vary the normal parameters in many ways and the body adapts. But as in many safety things, usually there is no one LITTLE rootcause. Usually in any accident or injury there is a stairstep of little root causes that are a chain. Since we don't always know all of the steps in that stairstep to injury, it behooves us to eleminate all we do know of. This is a dangerous hobby/profession, but with care and forethought can be made a safe and sastifing practice.
   ptree - Wednesday, 12/30/09 09:03:42 EST

well on another note i am getting hip surgery (it should be ok so no worries) and since i will be out of commission for a while i was wondering if anyone here could come up with a crutches friendly anvil. do you guys have any ideas or advice (other then don't do it)?
   bigfoot - Wednesday, 12/30/09 09:15:15 EST

Hey Bigfoot, in March of '08 I was hit by a drunk driver while in my 1980 Pinto (no it didn't blow up). My pelvis was shattered into about 9 pieces. The first thing I wanted to do when I got back from the hospital was to hit some metal. My PT (phys therapist) told me not to go downstairs (I have spiral pie steps). What do you think I did the first thing the wife went to work? I did small stuff to keep me from smashing the TV.. s hooks, drive hooks, mini horseshoes. Now I have three anvils I work on, the main one is my 108# Wilkinson. This one is mounted a lot higher than normal. (see pic here: http://greatnippulini.com/sagesmithin.jpg ). This height is very crutch friendly, there's no bending over. Of course this limits your forging abilities to small stuff 1/2" and under (my specialty, BOG). My 200 pound Mousehole and 100 pound American Wrought anvils sit lower and are used for the heavier stuff and yes, you have to bend to work. My best advice to you is utilize the physical therapy to your best advantage. If you can get into a good PT gym, DO IT! Forging is mostly upper body work, so smithing is a good way to keep an even keel on your total body workout while the PT is taking care of the bottom half. Good luck and speedy recovery!
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 12/30/09 09:41:31 EST

Oh yeah , I forgot... if anyone has a problem with you smithing, make sure you erase the little round spots left on the floor from the crutches... especially if you sweep once or twice a year (like I do)
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 12/30/09 09:44:20 EST

well my forge is outside so that won't be a problem! i can probable get some pices of 2x4 and pop those under my anvil (it is mounted loose so i can raise and lower it!). but that stinks with the stairs and such. i have a good excuse to not sit (the problem with my hip is exacerbated by sitting) so just raise up your anvil and clear the crap out of the way. that seems way simpler that i thought. and don't worry about me i heal super fast. i am more worried about my family if i am stuck on my ass for a couple of week to be honest!
ps. i am really sorry about your pelvis and that stinks that it got shattered! at least you got rid of the pinto. i just grew too fast (i am 16) so my growth plates are pressing on a nerve and messing w. my cartilage which seems to be part way torn there! yay happy pills though!
   bigfoot - Wednesday, 12/30/09 10:03:32 EST

wow i just noticed the other post of yours. conviently my family loves my hobby but is begging me to use another fuel (not coal like wood or gas). so at least i will have support (literally, some one needs to get my fire going!). cue evil laugh and bad ideas.......
   bigfoot - Wednesday, 12/30/09 10:21:34 EST

Partially Disabled: I liked the setup the mechanic used in the second Mel Gibson Road Warrior movie. It was a counter balanced gimbaled device that he rode in so he had access to vehicles at many levels and angles. A counter balanced harness on a jib crane would do about the same and not need helpers to manipulate it.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/30/09 10:32:08 EST

guru that is a good idea. now i need a welder, a crane and more money. :D although that is a great idea for when i have the resources. thanks again guys for the advice. happy new year!
   bigfoot - Wednesday, 12/30/09 11:00:31 EST

Events Leading to an Accident: As Ptree mentioned this can be complicated. Most accidents are due to inattention or distraction. This can include the unexpected or horseplay. Then there is being tired or sleepy. Low oxygen or noxious gases can contribute or BE the "accident".

I do not like music in the shop as it drowns out tell tale noises the equipment might be making.

After inattention, not following simple safety rules is the number two cause of accidents. One rule I am a real stickler about is not leaving chuck keys in chucks. If you take your hand off the key, even for a moment it MUST NOT be in the chuck. While small drill chuck keys are not quite deadly, larger lathe chuck keys can be. Due to their similarity of action one cannot apply different rules to one because it is small and the other because it is large.

Most of the time a small drill chuck key will fly out of the chuck before achieving full speed and rarely do more damage then to scare the machine user. But lathe keys normally start at about a pound in weight and go up from there, and when thrown across the shop can easily strike a fatal blow. This is a rule to be very annal about. No touch, no key in chuck, not even for a second. It only takes a millisecond of inattention to send that chunk of iron flying and only a fraction of a second to lay it safely on the bench.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/30/09 11:02:05 EST

One year when I lived in OH we had a nasty winter and I was going through smithing withdrawal. So I built a one fire brick forge run off a small plumbing propane torch and ran it in the basement. (As I could watch the curtains over the windows billow in the breeze I wasn't too concerned about O2 issues...)

That 1 firebrick forge was just right for making nails for a woodworking project. Forging copper, silver or iron penannular brooches. Making small blades, arrowheads or wood carving chisels out of garage door spring, etc.

During a Pennsic I learned I could forge sitting down.

Both good things to know about for when I'm next on the sick list---given that I can escape from Stalag Wifey...

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/30/09 12:25:24 EST

I can second the chuck key is never in the chuck unless my hand is holding it. I learned this from my Dad, it was re-inforced in a mcahine shop class, but really came home when the metalurgist at Westinghouse came to use the drill press next to where I was working in about 1979. He left the key in the chuck, and when he started the drill press it flew out, and hit me in the upper lip, drawing blood and a string of words the like of which I suspect he had not heard. (I was fresh from the ARMY)
I don't think it was a mistake he will EVER make again:)
My moustache covers that and a couple of other scars.

Take care of the small things and the bigs things will be taken care of.
   ptree - Wednesday, 12/30/09 13:25:55 EST

Bigfoot, now would be an exelant time for you to take up reposse!
Set up a nice table or bench at the right higth to sit at get yourself a big pan of pitch some sheet copper or brass and a few simple punches and a light hammer and go to it!
   - merl - Wednesday, 12/30/09 17:06:25 EST

i was never much at artsy fartsy stuff :p so i became a blacksmith! but reppose might be fun. but i think i may end up spending some of my money on a gasser (i think a whisper momma may be the right size as all of what i make is knife size bits or about 1/4in to 3/4in stock)
   bigfoot - Wednesday, 12/30/09 17:41:56 EST

Lathe chuck keys,
When I first started at the shop where I took my apprenticship, I was the helper/chip raker on a rather large horizontal boring bar (big enough to line bore 16 cyl locomotive engine blocks) and the old man that ran the machine was nearly violent about safety, especily when I had to stand there and rake the chips out as a large bore was being cut.
Anyway, we also had a Vost Alpine model engine lathe with a 48" swing that was scary big to a newbe like me.
The old guy I worked for told me that when the two brothers that owned the shop first got the lathe, they were bothe trying to be the first to take a cut on it and would not wait for one another to get out of the way.
I guess one of them was on the chuck key (3 feet across!) and the other was trying to "jog" the chuck over to the next key hole but, he hit the spindle RUN button instead of spindle JOG and took his brother for a ride right up and over the top of the spindle and into the chip pan on the back side.
Fortunately he had the spindle going in reverse too or I suppose one of them would have been killed going around the front way.
The one brother on the button shouldn't have been there but, you know one brother can't tell the other a dam thing most of the time...
So the guy that taught me lathe work in that shop would give you only one verble warning and that was the ONE time while he gave the verble introduction to the lathe itself. IF he caught you leaving a chuck key in the chuck he would grab it out and fling it out the fire exit door for you to go and find it and then you would get to explain to the owner what you were doing outside when you were supposed to be working (never a good conversation)
If it happend again you were all done with the lathe traning and possibly your job...
   - merl - Wednesday, 12/30/09 17:49:37 EST

does anyone know if it is possible to forge weld in a whisper momma? i am thinking of getting one ( i will use my car fund so i can afford 3 if need be!) to replace my old one (sorry for the double post)
   bigfoot - Wednesday, 12/30/09 18:00:34 EST

Yes, reposse, and check out fold forming! You can make some very cool shapes with it. It also can be done with lighter ga. copper and smaller tools/torches Check out this site, mostly works in copper but one guy in Florida does some really cool fold formed aluminum under his power hammer.
   Judson Yaggy - Wednesday, 12/30/09 18:03:14 EST

OOps, sorry her's the URL http://www.metalartistforum.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?fid=63
   Judson Yaggy - Wednesday, 12/30/09 18:04:12 EST


That makes sense as far as it goes, but I'm still not entirely convinced. If you go by partial pressures, at least, breathing 19.5% oxygen at sea level would be safer than living in Tucson. But I guess the OSHA rules apply everywhere, and though an extra 1500 or 2000 feet might not mean much at sea level, it could if you were in Denver.

I guess it's also possible that reduced atmospheric pressure causes your body to compensate in a way that reduced oxygen partial pressure alone doesn't.
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 12/30/09 18:28:43 EST

Mike BR. I do not how OSHA came to the 19.5% as being the definition of oxygen depleted but it is the published value. Another thing to consider is how OSHA defines levels when speaking of exposures.
First there is IDLH which is "Imediatly Dangerous to Life and Health. This is the point where bad things happen right away.
Second there is the PEL, Permisible Exposure Limit. This is usually about half the amount that will cause harm figured on an 8 hour exposure.
Third is the Action Level. This is usually about half the the PEL over an 8 hour time.
So... when speaking of Carbon Monoxide, the action level is 25 Parts per Million PPM. The PEL is 50 PPM. The action level requires a plan to combat the CO and monitoring. Above the PEL requires a method to reduce the exposure to less than the PEL, say Supplied air Respirator.

So the 19.5% is an OSHA standard. Does 19.4% mean you will tip over and die? No, but if you have complicating factors like some CO exposure say from smoking, some reduced lung capacity, say from smoking,and hard work, and you may have a cardiac event of the bad kind.

One of the resons for the OSHA mandated respirator physical is to asses the ability of the wearer to safely do so. Breathing through a filtering facemask type respirator causes increased heart load and has been documented to have caused heart attacks.

OSHA writes to cover the general population. Sometimes we can push the boundaries a little and get away with it, causing a false sense of safety. I have heard too too many times, "But I have done this for years and never got hurt"
Ptree who once went to 20,000' without oxygen as a 22 year old and stayed there for about 10 minutes. That last 3000' took about 30 minutes. My nail beds were blue, my vision a little redded out, and thought processes slow. BUT, all I had to do was roll out the door and I was at breathable levels in 20 seconds. I do not smoke and so I was the safety observer. The smokers on that mission were definatly in far worse shape. Again 20 seconds and we were breathing much higher levels of O2. The flight crew had O2.
Excederin headache #1 follows such an experience.
I hope I am now wiser.
   ptree - Wednesday, 12/30/09 18:56:22 EST


During my last year of law school, I worked at an installation that had a hyperbaric chamber where they conducted tests for days at a time (I'm sure not at 20K feet, though). The big issue when I was there was figuring how to install a flush toilet without causing the sewer main to empty into the chamber. Apparently the bucket got pretty rank after a day or two!

On the oxygen thing, I guess another reason may be the costs and benefits of the rule. I'm sure that the ideal level of CO would be zero, but it could be awfully hard to *all* of the CO from a source out of the ambient air. Presumably OSHA decided that the benefits of bringing the level below 50 PPM wouldn't be worth the cost.

19.5% O2 would be equivalent to something like 70,000 PPM argon (or other inert gas). It seems unlikely that it would often be hard to ventilate to that level, so OSHA may have been free to implement a very protective standard.

   Mike BR - Wednesday, 12/30/09 20:57:10 EST

Oops -- that would have been a hypobaric chamber. That's what I get for trying to use big words.
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 12/30/09 20:58:21 EST

Ya know ptree, when I was told the story about the boss taking a ride over the chuck of that monster lathe, I didn't have to go and try it myself to prove it was a bad thing to do...
   - merl - Wednesday, 12/30/09 21:02:22 EST

No music in the shop??? More like no singing!!!
   - Tyler Murch - Wednesday, 12/30/09 21:10:56 EST

Gotaway With: Ptree, That is my "Gotaway (got away) with it factor". Just because some redneck gotaway with arc welding some ball bearings to a cast iron bar to make pillow blocks doesn't mean its a good method OR that it will ever work again. . . The gotaway with factor results in those famous last words, "HEY Vern, watch THIS!"

The hypobaric flush toilet is easy. It just costs a lot because it must be part of the system and take both high and low pressure. Its starts with an integral system with pumped vent air designed to be vented outdoors of the entire facility and ends with a holding tank designed for the same pressures and a positive displacement "sump" pump. OR you just wait and dump the tank at normal pressure. I'm sure submarines have the same problem and less space to handle it. So plans for this kind of thing have to have been around for a long time.

I'd always heard of the many hours, sometimes DAYS of decompression divers and deep water workers required and wondered about why they were in such a panicked rush to get out . . . Its that bucket they were running away from as fast as possible.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/30/09 21:39:24 EST

I expect a honeybucket from a decompression chamber would be expelled through an double doors airlock.

Just hope it did not absorb enough CO2 at high pressure to start foaming over like a shaken sodapop as the bucket reaches atmospheric pressure !
   - Sven - Thursday, 12/31/09 01:12:41 EST

BTW< At least on older WW2 vintage subs, The sewage dumps into a holding tank well below the lowest level of drains, sinks etc. The toilets flush with pressurised seawater.

Each sink, toilet etc has a ballvalve in the drain pipe. To maintain sanitary condition, The valve was normally kept shut except when flushing.
When discharging sewage one makes sure ALL the drain valves are shut then compressed air is applied to the holdingtank as its seachest valve is opened expelling the sewage overboard.

Normally when blowing out sewage all the drains were fitted with signs warning that tanks were being emptied and to keep the valve shut, But its was not unheard of for some poor soul(out of habit)to open a toilet valve expecting to flush and get a nasty shower of sewage, Or even spray the Skipper from the sink in his cabin.
   - Sven - Thursday, 12/31/09 01:30:35 EST

Bigfoot - Arabic metal creations - check into Astrolabes(spl?), many of the ones produced in the Middle East were both practical navigation instruments and with the engraved and inset embellishments beautiful object d'art.

The Louve Museum in Paris has an extensive collection of Persian (Syria, Iran, Iraq, parts of Turkey) artifacts. one part I was impressed with was a Fire striker about 5 inches long. The side visible in the display cabinet was heavily engraved with both a decorative pattern, as well as a piece of caligraphy. This piece was obviously part of an important persons (nobleman or military officer) field kit.
   Don - Thursday, 12/31/09 07:15:07 EST


I just forge the letters (some cold)from #9 non plated brace wire. A pair of Klein angled side cutters works well for me and I then get the starting lengths of the capitol letters I want to scale the rest of the project. I then gas weld the letters with the Henrob. Yes it is tedious in some instances but it is absolutely rock strong and fairly fast if you have the setup right and a comfortable place to work.
   - Ten Hammers - Thursday, 12/31/09 07:52:56 EST

By the way, Frank, it was very nice to meet you in St. Louis at the B.A.M. event. Of course more importantly it was great to finally watch you work. It was indeed an honor to strike for you and be a third hand assistant. I only wish I could find the time to make it to one or more of your classes at your home shop. Thanks again.
   - Ten Hammers - Thursday, 12/31/09 08:06:45 EST

merl, The ride to 20,000' was one of those military thing:)

One last thing on OSHA regulations. When I get the "Gottaway" I always tell the person that OSHA is indeed very dumb, they write the rules well after they learn the need. OSHA has a survey process that generates data. After long laborous crunching the numbers are posted. You can look at them on the Bureuru of Labor Statistics site. Usually takes about 2 years for the data to appear.
Interestingly, the job type that was the most fatalities and injuries in 2001 was financial worker. The 911 attack was on people at work, and all those deaths and injuries skewed the data.
In reality OSHA regulations are written in blood. The writers have little ability to write to stop accidents before they occur. They write to prevent the RE-OCCURANCE". Someone had to bleed to teach the writers what to regulate.
That is why the best sign of a real, working safety program is an effective "near miss" reporting/investigating/corrective action program. Stat's show that about every 30 near misses lead to a recordable accident, and about every 50 recordable accidents lead to a fatal.
So,,, lets be safe out there.
   ptree - Thursday, 12/31/09 09:15:41 EST

Don, thanks for the idea i will for sure look into that. happy new year!
   bigfoot - Thursday, 12/31/09 10:59:28 EST

In my experience with OSHA, they are a bulldog waiting to be sic'd on someone. My piercing company has 4 shops and we are all regulated by Phila. tattoo and piercing laws. One of our Bucks Co. shops is constantly under fire by a dubious competitor. His favorite thing to do is report a lie (like we dispose our needles in the trash) to the local fire dpt, which in turn has to report to OSHA. Last year we had to pay thousands of dollars for a load of BS. Eventually they learned it was a scam and that the report was falsified, but at that point they stuck to their original fines and penalties. OSHA can go OSHA themselves in their OSHA.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 12/31/09 11:18:00 EST

Nip, part of your problem is you are probably dealing with State versions of OSHA. The rule IS if they are stricter than the Federal then the state can have their own. Otherwise the Federal OSHA covers the state. In states with their own they are a pain to deal with because they must constantly prove to the Feds that they are stricter.

To get your money back you would have to file a civil suit against the offending party. . .

This is one of those rare cases where you are better off dealing with the Feds than the state.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/31/09 11:27:40 EST

does anyone know how much propane is going in CT? i have been unable to find the price info so far. thanks for the help.
   bigfoot - Thursday, 12/31/09 11:31:20 EST

I work with astronomical researchers and we often have high altitude issues, (our current project is going in at 16,400' and you can *drive* to it---if your vehicle will deal with the issues)

Turns out that one of our sites that has more problems is not the highest; but it's in Hawaii and so folks are starting out at sea level and then going up.

I've gotten away with a lot in my time; however when I go to post on a safety issue I try to think about "What if someone messes up bigtime with my advice; how would I feel explaining to their spouse or kids that "well I've done it that way for years with no problems"

I bought my first house from a young widow of a telephone central office maintenance engineer who electrocuted himself working on a plumbing job in the kitchen.

CO is a concern for propane forge users in particular; so I try to err on the side of way too much ventilation---folks ask if an open window is enough and I reply that I use two 10'x10' roll up doors oriented along the prevailing wind directions.

At least with coal smoke you *know* *see* and *smell* it as being bad for you!

   Thomas P - Thursday, 12/31/09 11:37:12 EST

thomas some of use are lucky and don't have to worry about vetalation. we are already outside. lol but for real you cannot smell the smoke off or charcoal either so that might be a problem too.
   bigfoot - Thursday, 12/31/09 11:43:24 EST

Thomas, a similar conversation pops up in the sideshow forums I frequent. Many sideshow stunts are very dangerous and are usually taught in an apprentice style format... face to face in real life. Many times newbies and kids ask for method on stunts. Other times advice is not even sought, some kid will just hammer a nail into his face because he thinks he knows how. In the sideshow world, there really is no "geddawaywiddits" except for the occasional pickpocket.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 12/31/09 13:18:33 EST

Gotawaywith it: About once a year since launching anvilfire I've gotten letters from women looking for answers about their welder or retired welder husbands mystery ailments. They are often having kidney and liver problems that the doctors cannot diagnose. I ask if they have been tested for heavy metal poisioning, particularly cadmium and manganese. No, the doctor's did not expect that. . .

These guys did what they were told (what the employer could get away with) OR did what they could get away with personally. Now at retirement age they are in pain and dying. So much for their "golden years". . .

So what you can get away with doesn't just include the immediate moment and survival by dumb luck. It can wait and get you much later.

SO tonight after the big year end party, don't try to "get away with" driving home after those drinks, or during the party to "get away without" certain health protections. Have fun and take a cab home or sleep it off at your friends. Enjoy the holiday weekend but live to have another!
   - guru - Thursday, 12/31/09 14:26:22 EST

Bigfoot, I run my 2-burner gasser in my garage, at the front with the double door wide open. And a fan blowing over me out the door. Carbon Monoxide is just too deadly to take shortcuts with. Where in CT are you?
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 12/31/09 15:37:01 EST

QC i am literally under a tree with the wind at my back so i doubt there could ever be a CO build up (but i still am careful). i am a bit outside of norwalk though. have you ever been to frank pepes pizzaria? best pizza ever.
   bigfoot - Thursday, 12/31/09 15:58:47 EST

I seem to remember reading about a WWII sub blowing the holding tank when it was alongside a destroyer. I can't remember if it was deliberate.

I actually think one of those upflush toilets that sit on a tank with a built-in sewage pump might have worked in the chamber. You'd need to get a little creative on the venting and maybe add a redundant check valve or two. Code compliance might be a different matter, but there are *some* advantages to being on a federal installation. . . I think the plan, though, was to leave the technical design up to the contractor.

The problem we were having was that it would technically have been a construction contract, which meant the regulations required a performance bond. None of the potential contractors could find a surety to guarantee they could do something that had never been done before. . . I'm not much of a fan of the procurement "reform" that happened later in the 90s, but I doubt that particular problem would hold anyone up for long today. (I don't know if they ever got a toilet installed or not.)
   Mike BR - Thursday, 12/31/09 16:07:29 EST

Nip, I have never dealt with the OSHA in your State, but in KY and Indiana both State plans, You have the right to contest the violations. If you a decent reccord, in every case I have had violations written down fine wise.
Did they find needles in the trash? If not I would definetly contested that one. Did your shop have the required bloodborne Pathogens plan? If not then they would definetly have written the violation. The plan is a cinch to write, E-mail me if you need any help.

To all, the best way to not get written when the OSHA compliance officer shows up is first, be in compliance.

If you have 1 employee you can be inspected.

That sounds kinda dumb, but in every case every shop has requirements to have plans. If the noise level is above the requirement you have to have a plan. If there is any way to be exposed to body fluids, then a plan is required and so forth.
So when the officer arrives, They will almost certainly ask for your OSHA 300 form for the current year and the year before. Had ANY injuries, you need that form.
No form? had an injury that required reporting on the form? Violation.
Have body fluid exposure possible? Say from a injury and first aid? then you have to have a plan. You also have to train. you also need some simple clean up supplies.
No plan? how can you train and have the right supplies? So that could be a violation for the no plan, another for the lack of training, and another for no supplies.
\Usually the compliance officer would write the lack of plan and stop there.
Want to get three violations? be an A** when the officer arrives. Be loud and smart aleck and then the human who has a job to do will be a human who is mad at yet another violator.
I always ask the compliance officer if they need the restroom before the opening meeting, as I know they spend all day on the road. Be proffesional and so will they. If you have a safe shop, and professional attitude, the violations if minor will stay minor.

I have never had a compliance officer be anything but a proffesional doing a job that is mandated by law, in the States I have worked safety. This has been Kentucky and Indiana. The environmental folks in Kentucky, Indiana and North Carolina have all been professional. The Ohio folks were not as nice to deal with, and while they had a 'tude, they were fairly professional.
   ptree - Thursday, 12/31/09 16:34:55 EST

HEy bigfoot i keep hearing about the place (Frank Pepe's) IS it really worthy of a boat ride over from the island?
   Shiloh - Thursday, 12/31/09 18:01:01 EST

shiloh i have heard of people coming from california to go there. and i would say yes, if it is less then a 1 hour travel each way. the pizza is epic!
   bigfoot - Thursday, 12/31/09 18:31:54 EST

Mike BR: If You ever have that toilet instalation to do again, just use a Vac U Flush marine toilet. They are expensive, but all the parts are ready made.
   - Dave Boyer - Thursday, 12/31/09 18:52:29 EST

My best shop was working outdoors around the Portable Shop Trailer. LOTS of ventilation. Most of the smoke went up the stack and any that drifted was blown away quickly. I also liked working in GOOD light. But it was also cold and wet when it rained. . . Still holding out for that shop in Costa Rica.

10 years ago tonight I was manning the anvifire AnvilCAM from New Zealand to deliver the first sunrise of the new millenia. Tonight I am working on more NEW cartoons from Frank Tabor. We will be having a daily and a weekly cartoon! Folks that promised cartoons need to get them in (hint) so I can set them up and schedule them.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/31/09 19:47:28 EST

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