Self portrait (c) 1989 Jock Dempsey WELCOME to the Guru's Den!
Now including The Virtual Hammer-In

Ask the Guru any reasonable blacksmithing or metalworking question and he will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from July 1 to 15, 1998 on the Guru's Den

What if you had an arm on the ram that attached to a flywheel through a spring linkage, like a normal mech. hammer, except, this linkage would use the downward force of the hammer to turn the flywheel that would lift the hammer back up A latch system not unlike a semi-auto trigger set-up would 'catch' the hammer at TDC.

Chris -- kilpe4 at Tuesday, 06/30/98 23:32:24 EDT

Chris, I think you are talking about a perpetual motion machine.

If there is no power put in, the ram can not return to the top. If springs help the return then the hammer should never reach bottom or if it does it wouldn't go much past center. A lot of bright people have gotten triped on this one but it really doesn't work.

-- guru Wednesday, 07/01/98 00:05:02 EDT

I had to leave the conference early and I was wondering what the
Latane' door knocker brought at auction? One of the crew thought it might go for around $15,000. Peter did'nt buy it again did he?

Pete -- Ravnstudio at Wednesday, 07/01/98 00:10:12 EDT

yeah it went for 15000

Sean Chappell -- thorthor at Wednesday, 07/01/98 00:28:12 EDT

You guys reminded me I have a couple pics of the unfinished project yet to post. I understand it was still unfinished at that price!

-- guru Wednesday, 07/01/98 10:29:44 EDT

I am Very interested in medievil period weapons and armor, and I have flirted with the idea of setting up a forge o some type so I can learn the art of metal working, I was wondering if you could point me towards any good information for someone starting out and also what a good beginning setup would be for a hobbyist that is on a shoestring budget.

any information will be much appreciated, thanks


Don Logerstedt -- dino at Wednesday, 07/01/98 15:23:39 EDT

We have two general books on blacksmithing on our review page (The Bookshelf) and a brief outline on getting started in blacksmithing in 21st Century. There are also a bunch of articles posted under 21st Century on anvils which is one of the first tools you will need to purchase, make or find if you are going to do any forging. A good place to start is to order a catalog from Centaur Forge (see ads this page). For $5.00 it is a cheap guide to blacksmithing tools and books.

Most common forges are coal and gas. Coal forges are generally cheaper and easier to deal with as all they take is a source of air (fan or bellows) and a place to hold the coal. I just posted a sketch of whats known as a "brake drum forge" in plans and if you want primitive see Blacksmith of 1776 in 21st Century. A brake drum forge is a cheap do-it-yourself coal forge that is good for getting started. Gas forges are a little more sophisticated to build but not too expensive to buy. They are clean and will not upset your neighbors with a lot of smoke. The small "bean can" models could be used anywhere you can set up a bar-b-que grill or toaster oven. See the link to Ron Reil on our links page for plans. Soon we will have detailed plans here too. See Centaur Forge for commercial models of both gas and coal forges.

I just spent the weekend with a bunch of medeivalists (Vikings of the Markland Longship Co.) and brought back a bunch of photos of forges suitable for hobby type work. Both coal and gas. Will be posting a page in the NEWS soon. These groups (Markland's unoffical motto is "Not the SCA") and the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms) are good sources for books and materials on the subject of medeival arms.
I'll have links to these folks posted in the article.

And last but NOT least. Join ABANA or local chapter thereof, make friends with other blacksmiths (porfessional or hobbiest). They will know about local sources and may themselves be a good source of tools and education.

Finding this page was a good start to answering your question. We have lots of information posted as well as links to other sites (a few of them nothing but link lists). When you have more specific questions feel free to ask again.

-- guru Wednesday, 07/01/98 17:01:29 EDT

Hey Jock
What is a good book to aquire for learning how to make hinges. I have not been into makeing hings and have had many of my clients asking for them. Hope you can help me out with this. Is there a picture of the door knocker I sure would like to see it.
Nice weather in Md. Hey Jim did you catch my story about the anvil ringing?

Rick -- ricky Wednesday, 07/01/98 17:48:20 EDT


Indeed I did catch your story about the anvil ringing. I should have said so before, just been busy.

With your permission, I'm going to re-write it into legend form and post it on my website. Any problem?

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 07/01/98 18:46:13 EDT

HINGES: Donald Streeter's, Professional Smithing has some great ideas for tooling including bending jigs and press dies. Order No. BK852 - $22.95 (paperback)from Centaur Forge. Bill Gishner also had a used hard cover copy when I was in Asheville and might still have it if you are up to a trip to the beach and into the lion's den!

Latane' knocker: I posted the only photos we got today (page 23 of Vol. 2 of the NEWS). Almost made a trip to Pete's to see it Sunday but it didn't work out!

-- guru Wednesday, 07/01/98 19:55:13 EDT

Rick! Sorry I didn't comment on your Ringing the Anvil story. Great story! I was busy catching up with the technical questions!

NOW, my analytical opinion of why the smith (and I) ring the anvil.

When the smith starts his day and is fresh almost every blow efficiently strikes the work but as the work gets close to size or shape the smith may wish to look a little longer at the work OR as he turns it and a bouncing blow off the anvil keeps up his rythym while giving a moment to study the work and make a decision about the next blow.

As the day grows longer and the smith weary bouncing the hammer off the anvil gives the smith's arm a rest and still keeps up his rythm. In the morning the smith may ring the anvil one in ten or more blows but in the evening the smith may ring the anvil twice for every four or five blows!

Since I've been behind a desk WAY to long, I ring the anvil two in ten starting off and in minutes ring it more often. On the other hand, this weekend I had a fellow make the same comment about ME that I make when I watch Peter Ross, "I wish the metal would move like that for me!"

Every point of view must have a frame of reference.

-- guru Wednesday, 07/01/98 20:16:17 EDT

Dear GURU,
The discussion was about a magnetic drive hammer, if the magnets 'through' the hammer down, the linkage I alluded to would use the kinetic energy in the hammer to return it to TDC

Chris -- kilpe4 at Wednesday, 07/01/98 22:17:31 EDT


The kinetic energy in the hammer is equal to the mass of the hammer multiplied by the speed of the hammer's down stroke squared.

About 80% of that kinetic energy is going to be expended when the hammer hits the work. Part will be absorbed by the movement of hot steel, some will be released as heat. I doubt that there will be enough left to even start the hammer back up.

But I'll readily admit that I've been wrong before, and may be wrong now.

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 07/01/98 22:57:57 EDT

The bonus with a wheel/linkage arrangement would be that the ram could be connected to the wheel on one side and the electromagnetic piston on the other, then there would be no need to worry about isolating the ram/hammer from the magnetic field, also a second magnetic field could be used to return/hold the wheel at TDC. another option may be to build the electromagnet around the wheel, this could work similar to a linear accelerator and could have several stages, this would also mean that the unit could be sealed and scale/whatever could not hinder the opperation of the unit.

Its interesting to hear the ideas of others, im begining to draw a mental picture as to how to controll the system.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Wednesday, 07/01/98 23:51:54 EDT

ELECTRIC HAMMER: I LIKE the possibility of isolating the ram with linkage rather than with high tech. It makes the machine more complicated than the simple "solenoid" arrangement I was thinking of, but it simplifies the materials problems to where a simple nylon bushing on the magnetic core connection would isolate the rest of the machine from becoming magnetized.

Chris: You are partially right about the kinetic energy and the return stroke. Mechanical hammers DO take advantage of that but only when not working at full capacity. At full capacity on a soft billet (lots of energy absorbed) the motor sees almost as much load as from a dead stop on each stroke. When doing cold, light or thin work where there is a lot of rebound in a hammer the motor does very little work.

The idea of stopping the ram at the top of the stroke is a good one but requires stopping all that kinetic energy! More than a latch is required. A heavy brake like the one on the EC-JYH could do the job. I thought about leaving BOTH brakes on the JYH and using an alternating linkage ON/OFF OFF/ON possibly with a cam to lock the ram at the top when you let off the treadle. This is not super complicated but it is the kind of thing you could fiddle with for a week or so and I didn't have time to get sophisticated.

-- guru Thursday, 07/02/98 00:51:46 EDT

ELECTRIC AIR HAMMER: (Is that something like playing AIR guitar?)

Isolation! An electric driven piston! No need to key to prevent rotation, air becomes the linkage. Since air hammers are the hammer of choice THIS might be the ticket! I've been working on ideas for a simple self contained air hammer and this might be it!

This would require at least two coils (forward and back). Diameters would NOT have to be equal on the Driver and the Ram. Mechanical advantage (or disadvantage) could be built in. Could be in-line or remote. Air control valve could feather the machine the same as any self contained hammer. The difference here is that you could vary the cyle rate or even clamp.

OK, so who's going to build it?

-- guru Thursday, 07/02/98 01:03:04 EDT

Stopping the ram should be reasonably easy as it would only mean reversing the EMF of the electro magnet, this would certinaly stop the ram dead.

I just found some small impact cylinders, i went out to see if i could get my hands on a cylinder that would allow me to build a small drop hammer and stumbled acros an impact cylinder series that range in size from 195mm down to 12.7mm thats about 7" down to 1/2 inch.
Imagine a sensor/hand hammer arrangement with one of these in the head, you drop the hammer and just as the sensor detects the betal the ram pops out. The company that sels them informaed me that there is a panel beater who purchases them for a similar use.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Thursday, 07/02/98 02:11:54 EDT

Guru, the electric driven piston!, Let me see if I understand, Its a sealed case with steel ends, the body consists of 2 opposing electromagnets and in the centre is a steel piston/rod, the electomagnet alters in polarity/intensity so as to cause the piston to slide up and down and hit the steel endstops causing the shock/energy to be transferred to the workpice?. Hmm it may even be possible to mount it in some kind of press.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Thursday, 07/02/98 02:19:13 EDT

Hmmmm hadn't thought of THAT one! Intresting but I think it introduces a whole new set of problems.

AGAIN: Electromagnetic piston "A" cycles back and forth in a sealed cylinder pumping AIR to piston "B" (the ram) in a seperate cylinder and doing the "work". This is similar to the way self contained air hammers work.

A self contained air hammer has a motor driven crank and piston compressor (without storage resevoir) coupled to the ram in its cylinder by a set of pipes and valves. On startup the ram is down but is pumped UP where it cycles a little with each stroke of the motor driven piston. Air is vented when the ram is idle. When the tredle is depressed air pushes the ram down to strike the work and then back up. The control mechanism of air hammers alow you operate the ram at any position in its stroke and return. This lets you hit hard or soft at any height. WONDERFUL machines!

The control system of the ELectromagnetic Self-container Air Hammer (ELSAH) would be a hybrid. Both electric and air control would be required. The combined logic would have to be carefuly flow charted but I think it would be a great machine and possibly simpler than a normal air hammer. In an ELSAH both cylinders could be double acting AND if properly sealed a closed system could be used where no venting or makeup gas is required.

SCRATCH the closed system. Just flew the idea by Josh G. and he pointed out that the air would rapidly heat up and cause problems. SO some air must be vented and new air taken in during operation. Still this may be a small amount.

To make things less complicated to build, BOTH cylinders could be comercial cylinders. This is NOT a "pure" or "ideal" design but it takes advantage of relatively cheap commercialy available parts. The hammer would be similar to any of the NEW small machines with the difference that it would be self contained (not requiring an external compressed air source). The ONLY custom engineering would be the magnetic actuator and control system.

-- guru Thursday, 07/02/98 09:57:48 EDT

ELSAH (ELectromagnetic Self-container Air Hammer):

SO, why and what are the advantages?

If building a self contained air hammer we have reduced a few parts. No motor, gear reduction and crank. These are all replaced by one "solenoid". We have also side stepped one of the features of self contained hammers - constant operating speed (they always cycle at the same rate). In many cases this is good and is comfortable to use but most are very fast and often you want slow for detail work. The ELSAH could run fast OR slow and have all the advantages of a self contained hammer PLUS some of the advantages of plain air hammers such as clamping and single stroking. . .

Please feel free to interupt this discussion! This forum is NOT just the ELSAH - JYH developers forum! We are here to answer or discuss ALL your metal working questions!

-- guru Thursday, 07/02/98 10:10:42 EDT

Guru, Now I see, the idea is not to replace the the working side of the air hammer but to replace the compressor, A compressor of this type would be so stable if it worked and The cylinder for the electromagnet should be fun to find as its going to have to be sealed and handle pressure and allow the emf to pass, spose it could be possible to house the coil within the cylinder and build the cylinder out if aluminum and use a bakerlight or ceramic sleeve for the piston to run up and down in..

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Thursday, 07/02/98 12:40:07 EDT

I have just discovered Anvilfire. Your coverage of the Asheville
conference is very good. As editor of the New Jersey chapter's
newsletter, my hat is off to you.
I respect your copyright. Would you consider allowing reprinting of
material from Anvilfire in ABANA chapter newsletters?

Bruce Freeman

Bruce Freeman -- freeman at Thursday, 07/02/98 12:44:50 EDT

Bruce: ABANA was good enough to allow me the use of their banner and name, then gave us great support in Asheville, so how could I refuse (grin)? As long as you give credit for the photos and you are an ABANA chapter (i.e. non-profit), then I would be happy to share our NEWS coverage with you.

NOTE: These images have been de-resed to 46% and JPEGed 80% for publication on the web. If you would like the originals (640x480) I can send them to you. This isn't very high resolution but its a lot better than what's published on the site. They would convert nicely to B&W.

TO ALL: If you see someone you know in the photos that we have not correctly identified please let us know. I am still sorting through images and identification is my biggest problem. (Hate to post something that you don't know who or what - long story. . .).

-- guru Thursday, 07/02/98 16:38:26 EDT

ELSAH (Andrew): NOW its really time for me to post a quick sketch! Will do ASAP.

-- guru Thursday, 07/02/98 16:40:42 EDT


Why don't you send Jock a copy of the grasshoper (treadle/vertical motion) hammer idea. Between that & Grants motorization idea for these sorts of hammer it would make an interesting project.

Bob -- robert_miller at Thursday, 07/02/98 16:58:01 EDT

Solenoid would work good on treadle hammers too! ELSAH scan in progress!

-- guru Thursday, 07/02/98 17:00:11 EDT

Would treadle hammer need and other controll other than up and down? Im off scavanging today, so I will see if I can find a former for the electromagnet. I think for the prototype nylon may work, any volunteers for winding the coil 8-)
Looking forward to seeing the ELSAH sketch.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Thursday, 07/02/98 17:13:36 EDT

ELSAH (ELectromagnetic Self-container Air Hammer) An idea sketch by Jock Dempsey 7/2/1998

This is a rough sketch and needs to be reduced a tad but will print nicely! And DANG, I mispelled my name in the link! Normal path is through Plans

BRUCE! (Freeman): Bob sent me a copy of your Grasshopper mechanism! Great design! Took me a minute to figure out where straight came from but it sure beats a parallelogram.

Andrew: All treadle needs is DOWN. Up is provided by springs. Upper stop by snubber. Lower stop by work. Solenoid would need simple limit switch but only for automatic cycling.

-- guru Thursday, 07/02/98 17:31:15 EDT

Link to ELSAH didn't work on first post so I edited the "gurudata" three times! Took more time than the darn sketch!

GRASSHOPPER HAMMER: Bruce, I thought all the ASCII artists died out with the last BBS! As I mentioned above, great linkage. Have you seen the Grant Sarver $50 JYH? The mechanism is truely inspired (NOW I HAVE TO POST A SKETCH). A belt is pulled down by engaging it into a pulley momentatily with a tensioner. The belt pulls down on the helv (or link arm) and WHACK! A spring (they used bungy cords) is required in the connection to the helv so that the motor won't stall trying to instantly accelerate the ram. As Bob mentioned, between your linkage and Grant's simple motorization, manual treadles may be a thing of the past!

-- guru Thursday, 07/02/98 17:59:10 EDT

As the reigning MOTO (Master of the Obvious) Let me ask this; has anyone thought of puttings the coils in the center and used a tube with hammer attached to the bottom as the ram? I know it weakens the magnetic field, but could it work?

Chris -- kilpe4 at Thursday, 07/02/98 18:52:54 EDT

Oh Great MOTO, Nope! Sorry about that. The way solenoids work is that the part has a magnetic center (normally the center of gravity) and the coil has a magnetic center (center of gravity of the windings) the center of one trys to move to the center of the other. Having the ram driver outside the coil would mean having a lot of tube above the center of the coil so that the coil would have to be supported down in the tube on a long arm. . . I guess it could work! Pretty far stretch though.

Hey! I didn't know how or why a solenoid worked until a couple months ago when I read up on it! Just think about which ever end it further OUT of the coil is going to try to move IN toward the coil. Using a series of coils progressivly switched on and off can create a moving magnetic center and reduce the size of the ram. Yeah, I know, sounds like Star Trek stuff! Great ain't it!

-- guru Thursday, 07/02/98 19:16:25 EDT

I've just removed all the Java script from the banner rotation at the top of the page! If you have friends that have had trouble with anvilfire and got Javascript errors please tell them I have reduced my reliance on technology and their browsers should now work or work better!

Jock Dempsey -- webmaster at Thursday, 07/02/98 19:23:00 EDT

This discussion is flying by TOO fast. Way back there when Chris was talking about using part of the down force to return the ram I thought the same as Jock. After he explained further I got the picture. At first I agreed with Jim Wilson, then realised it could be thought of like an engine, the downward push being analagous to the power stroke of an engine, some power used and some used to turn the crank till the next power stroke.

The next idea of using a linear motor to turn a crank with the ram at the other end sound great until you realize that it is easier and cheaper to turn the crank with a motor.

Magnetic field compressor? I like this one. But is it worth the effort to replace only the motor, crank and connecting rod from a complex machine?

grant -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Thursday, 07/02/98 21:51:13 EDT

grant, the linear accelerator I was describing would be wound arrount the flywheel, it would give much better torque and would almost do anything you wanted to the point of (if required) stopping any and all rotation immediateley.

Basically you would have the crank, connected to the flywheel and there should be no need for a clutch, the stroke could be heavy or light and if ever needed the rotation could be reversed with the flick of a switch.

Yes there would be a large energy requirement but if you used a capacitor discharge system that was q-switched (4 capacitors charge in paralell then discharge in series) you would get the energy required.

I have seen a similar power supply (run from a 12v source) output 50'000 to 80'000 jewls of energy.

Jock, I like the idea, how do you think it would work if you used a double acting cylinder?, the only glitch I can see is that you would have to ensure there were no air losses (or cater for any).

Well I never found a former for the coil, looks like I may heve to make one, due to the posible heat problems it may be better to make one out of ceramic.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Thursday, 07/02/98 23:51:25 EDT


Except for the controls I was thinking KISS! The cylinders of my ELSAH sketch ARE double acting. I criss crossed the air lines so down on the ram and solenoid are both using gravity assist! On the other hand, letting gravity pull down on the solenoid to hold the ram UP would be more economical than using power all the time. Depending on the characteristics of the magnetic portion the cylinder sizes may want to be reversed. At this time I was just showing them differently to illustrate that mechanical ratios can enter into the design. As illustrated, a short stroke of the solenoid moves the ram a longer distance.

The simple piping doesn't show controls or venting but it would be neccessary to prevent overheating the air (working fluid).

Although the magnetic coils may seem complicated to the unititiated they are dead simple to manufacture. What's complex is the design of the coil. Lots of itteration is required.

NOW THAT reminded me that I know a guy that did magnetic coil development on the now defunct Super Collider!!!! Says they had made tremondous breakthroughs in magnetic flux density when the project was scrapped and the team scattered to the winds! Yep, now we've gone from Star Trek to Star Wars. . .

We've got 120VAC magnets in our shop that are about 6" (15cm) in diameter and lift 2,000 pounds (a ton). We are talking huge forces here and I don't see the need for super sophisticated magnet design. The high tech comes in to the high speed switching of the load. THIS is why I think it hasn't been done before. The magnetic hammer idea has probably been around since the late 1800's but it needs modern high speed solid state switching. Something along the line of a stepper motor control. OR it might work just fine with some limit switches for reversal. Interesting project. All we need now is R&D money!

-- guru Friday, 07/03/98 01:16:05 EDT

guru, To keep it simple te controll could be done using an opto isolator and a triac, basically the opto isolator is an LED with a simple triac trigger I have switch loads in excess of 230 volts AC 15 Amps.
the led was strobed by a simple circut, it was possible to alter the duty cycle and pulse width this way. If DC was used then the use of high power fets could be implamented, there are easier to controll but are usually more expensive.

Anyone ever heard of meninite (i think thats how its spelt) its a stone usually used in mens rings.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Friday, 07/03/98 05:51:51 EDT

MEIONITE: Scapolite Family, Ca6(SO4,CO3)(Al6Si6O24)

Pink stones discovered in Burma, 1913, Yellow stones in Madagascar and Brazil, 1920. Other colors, white, gold, violet-blue. All except the yellow provide cat's-eyes. One variety called "pink-moonstone"

GEMSTONES, G.F. Herbert Smith, Revised by F.C. Phillips, 1912-1966

-- guru Friday, 07/03/98 09:00:23 EDT

The changes (to the page) work great. My browser is much happier. Thank you.

John Pepon -- pepon at Friday, 07/03/98 09:29:11 EDT

Hey no problem at all Jim. I'm glad you liked it. And thanks Jock, for the book title.And Jock get back to me about the press. I did some recalculating, and I think I can get away with 5" circles and if it has to be 4 1/2" that might serfice as well. Man that door knocker is dream material. What a book Latane could write about his techniques.
Wife is having a big yard sale this weekend, I hope she didn't find all my old swimsuite issues.
Rick http://www.

Rick C. -- rickyc at Friday, 07/03/98 10:01:27 EDT

Rick, When my wife has a yard sale I worry about tools!

-- guru Friday, 07/03/98 10:15:41 EDT



If she did find the swimsuit issues, make sure she puts a high enough price on them! Buddy of mine had the first *36* issues of PLAYBOY. wife sold them at a yardsale for 50 cents apiece!!!!!!!! As a set, they would have sold for 10 times that!

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 07/03/98 10:17:06 EDT

guru, Erm maybe Im thinking of the wrong stone, this one is a sort of steel grey, apparently it has just been discoverd that it is a likley candidate to be used as a super conductor. (just a bit of usless information).

I have drawn up a simple circut for controlling the electromagnet, well two actually, one for 12 Vdc 35A and the other will switch up to 400 Vac 15A, I think this should be ample, will post you the circut as soon as I transfer it to the computer.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Friday, 07/03/98 10:26:31 EDT

Magnetic Hammer: Will move ELSAH drawing and post both on a ELSAH project page. . . Reminds me I still have your charcoal furnace and burner to post!

When I mentioned the 120VAC magnets it was just as an example of what I know is possible with a modest power source. These ran on a light cord good for 15A.


KOLSHWA ANVILS: A farrier wrote to ask about a 125# KOLSHWA anvil. I told him they were a Swedish cast steel anvil and very good but Centaur Forge had quality problems recently and stopped carrying them. He said that he loves it and that specialty farriers anvils are as springy as they look!

ANVILS IN AMERICA: Same fellow was intrested and wanted to know if coppies of the book were still available. They are! See our review for ordering information.

GRINDSTONES: A fellow asked about sources of old fashioned grindstones. I found the woodworkers suppliers, Garret Wade and Constantine's carried them as well as McMaster Carr. Replacement wheels were available if you wanted to build your own.

GRASSHOPPER HAMMER: Bob Miller sent me a copy of Bruce Freeman's post from "the Forge". If you are thinking about building a treadle this straight line linkage is slick!

-- guru Friday, 07/03/98 12:35:50 EDT

Re ELSAH & Linear Accelerator:
Vancouver has an entire ALRT transit system that is powered by linear induction motors. Works very well, however this system requires a HUGE amount of power. Has anyone calculated the power requiremnts? On the positive side the motors in these systems are very flexable. They don't like snow though....for an outside hammer you might have to add an optional weather guard.....:)

Re Rick's garage sale.....First thing I thought of too was tools...:)

Bob -- robert_miller at Friday, 07/03/98 13:02:04 EDT

Sorry Bob
I am not selling any tools, as a matter of fact I am always looking for more. I am trying to get Jock to build me a punch press as we speak. Well so far she hasn't found my swimsuite issues.
Rick http://www.

Rick -- rickyc at Friday, 07/03/98 14:23:51 EDT

Shucks.... Rick, here I thought we could score big....Jock has spare time on his mean he takes orders....:)
........a typical west coast rainy day.....

Bob -- robert_miller at Friday, 07/03/98 14:37:04 EDT

Shhh, don't tell EVERYBODY! . . . I'm just looking at a few projects that would make good articles for anvilfire. Manual presses are pretty easy to build. And can be very useful in a small shop. Its the tooling that's important.

The problem with Rick's request is that he wants BIG dies (6" diameter). I can make them but it is the kind of thing that is out of the range of most folks capabilities. I'm trying to figure out a low tech substitute. There is a type of die called a steel rule die that's economical and doesn't require machining such huge pieces of material. In a steel rule die the punch is steel plate but the "die" is made from bent steel "ruler" material set on edge in heavy plywood. I've never built one but there's always a first time!

-- guru Friday, 07/03/98 15:42:11 EDT

Hey Jock or Jim, how much were they asking for those side draft forges? Do either of you know? And who was selling them? I wish I could see the way they set them up, looks very interesting. I have a block chimney that I put up myself, 8" and its great in the winter but can be a little tempermental when the weather is hot. Not fun to build either. Used a block and tackle to hoist the block up about 26'. I am to old to do it again and I am thinking about moveing my shop to a different area on the property. I'm really not to old just to lazy. Any information would be great. Jim if you looked at them and don't want to comment on the web. give me a shout and let me know. I will post this twice so you can remember."GRIN"
Got to get some sleep, big yard sale in the morning. I just hope it is real hot and sunny so they show up in their short shorts and halter tops. OBTW still got my swim suit issues.

Rick -- rickyc at Friday, 07/03/98 23:36:38 EDT

Rick, Centaur Forge sells a similar forge "hood" called a "super draft", the ones we saw in Asheville were a little different, but only in fine details. Steve Kayne and Sons probably know where they came from (or possibly make them). Steve is local to Asheville and provided a LOT of the equipment used by the demonstrators.

Steve Kayne & Sons, North Carolina 704-667-8868 (Note: the area codes have changed in the Asheville area and it might be 828 now).

Details: The hoods are EXACTLY what you see. Nothing is hidden. That's why I took two views. The Centaur Forge Super Draft has the front plate removable by screws (good for cleaning) and I recomend a drain on the smoke shelf if you live in a wet climate. Years ago Steve Kayne told me that if you use a rain cap on the stack the cone should have an inner (upside down) cone so turbulence doesn't prevent the efficient operation of the stack. Made sense to me.

-- guru Saturday, 07/04/98 00:34:01 EDT


Jock already answered, but having looked at both the Kayne forge and the one from Centaur, I'd go with Centaur. Reason? Cleanable, as Jock described in his message.

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Saturday, 07/04/98 07:22:15 EDT

I am trying to identify a tool out of my Grandfathers blacksmith shop. It is a hollow cast iron cone 49" tall, 12" dia at the base and has a rough cast finish, either from the mold halves, or usage.

Could you help me identify or give me a source to help research this tool?

Thank you very much for any information given.

Ross Cole

Ross W. Cole -- rosslynn at Saturday, 07/04/98 09:24:37 EDT

Dear Guru, I am just wanting to get started with forging. I just bought an old forge. My problem is that the "Heavy Duty Vulcan Tuyere #14 was cracked. There are three bolts that hold the (not knowing the correct name) wye tube / air- ash under neith. My question is, can the wye tube be found to replace the broken piece? Or can you suggest how to repair it. It's on a Buffalo Forge Co. forge.

JOHN FABER -- JnBFaber at Saturday, 07/04/98 09:39:14 EDT

Ross, That's called exactly what it looks like a "CONE" or a "ring mandrel" like the jewlers use but a LOT bigger. Its for making rings round. They are not extreamely rare but are a LOT rarer than anvils. I have one exactly like it.

Mandrels come in a variety of sizes and tapers. Most are hollow but a few are solid and weigh a TON (literaly). Some have a "tong groove" up the side and are more highly sought out. Most are not marked with a brand name.

Centaur Forge sells one similar to yours (maybe a little smaller) new for $750 US. A friend of mine sold one at the ABANA conference for $400 (I think). It had a tong groove but with a piece broken off the base.

-- guru Saturday, 07/04/98 10:19:02 EDT


The part you are talking about is called by a very old name, the tuyre (pronounced tweer). SOME called the whole firepot the tuyre, others called it the "ducks nest". In Modern usage the pot (heavy part) is called the firepot or firebowl and the air pipe/clinker grate the tuyre.

Centaur forge sells these NEW and used to have replacement parts for some of the standards such as yours. The parts for their NEW stuff if not a perfect fit will work if you don't mind drilling a couple small holes. Centaur calls the part an Elbow/Tuyre. SEE Centaur's ad through the banner above OR call(8 to 5 Central):

414-763-9175 or 800-666-9175 (for orders)

-- guru Saturday, 07/04/98 10:37:14 EDT

Cracked Tuyres and Firepots:

All of my forges have been home built from steel so I never had to address the problem of cracked cast iron parts. Occasionaly severe over heating will damage a firepot but most damage is cause by water!

Be careful using water on your fire and NEVER put a forge fire out with water! Cold water on a hot firepot will crack it and John's cracked tuyre is probably a result of the same.

Put your forge fire out by spreading out the fire. Most of it will go out without blown air or a natural draft. THEN sprinkle a little water on the hot spots or fresh coal if necessary. In the morning you can clean out the clinkers and ash before you start the next fire.

We had to cool a firepot quickly in Asheville (our borrowed forge was sold in pieces!). We cleaned out the coal, swept out the ash and then left the blower running wide open. The firepot was still hot when we pulled it out but the air had cooled it quite a bit.

-- guru Saturday, 07/04/98 11:10:14 EDT

I am looking at buying a welder. My choices are a buzzbox for $89.00 with all the goodies (110v 110a) or a small mig unit $199.00 with all the goodies. Is the mig worth the extra $$?

Chris -- kilpe4 at Saturday, 07/04/98 11:33:02 EDT


GO FOR THE MIG!! I've had both. After I used the MIG the first couple of times, I sold the stick welder! You do know why they're called a stick welder, don't you?

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Saturday, 07/04/98 11:38:39 EDT


The 110/120 VAC welder will probably dissapoint you. They don't have the amperage to do a lot of what you probably want to do around the blacksmith shop (building a JYH). 220 Volt models will easily run at 175 anmps at 10% duty cycle (which is hard to meet with rods). Normally a 1/8" rod needs about 125 amps (and up) to burn correctly.

The advantage of a stick welder is that you can run a variety of special rods purchased in small quantities. Such as, stainless, hard facing, nickle (for cast iron) and high tech rods for tool steels.

MIG has the advantage of being clean but the shielding gas cylinder (and regulator?) probably wasn't included in that price. MIG can use special wire but it is expensive and does not come in the variety of rod. MIG units also tend to be high maintence where buzz boxes last almost forever (My little Miller buzz box has outlasted 3 stingers and a set of cables).

I reccomend a 220VAC buzz box as a first welder and then upgrade later. The buzz box will do heavier work for the money too! The better MIG units are attachments to heavy duty AC/DC welders which let you run rod, wire or TIG (Heli-arc) but are rather pricey!

ALSO - Be sure to purchase welding equipment from a welding supplier! Department stores DO NOT have the support you need when something goes wrong (it will) and they often carry od-ball brands that cannot be maintained. BEEN THERE, DONE THAT!

-- guru Saturday, 07/04/98 13:00:45 EDT


Agreed, Department stores do not have support. BUT I picked up my MIG at a Home Depot. Got the gas solonoid, etc extra (you're right about that, too) But I made sure that I was buying a brand (Miller, Weldpac 100) that was supported by my local supplier. In fact, I talked to my supplier,told him what I was thinking about, he tried to beat the price at Home Depot. When he realized that he couldn't do it, told me to go ahead and buy it, and he would support it. Course, I've been doing business with him for over 20 years, and that does make a difference. I buy all my gas/wire/tips, etc from my regular supplier.

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Saturday, 07/04/98 14:19:25 EDT

Okay, then my next question is: Have any of you dealt with HARBOR FREIGHT? And of those who have (And ONLY those who have) What was your impression?

Chris -- kilpe4 at Saturday, 07/04/98 15:34:30 EDT


Guilty as charged. My drill press came from Harbor Freight Salvage, my sander came from them, and my vertical/horizontal metal band saw came from them.

With one exception, I've always been satisfied with their service. And the exception I should have sent back when I realized that all the parts weren't there. Instead, I made the missing parts. That vertical/horizontal cutting bandsaw is laying next to the road for "large item pickup" next week. Cutting through a piece of 1/2" pipe, the fifth time the blade jumped off the rollers, I picked up an 8 lb sledge. Saw's no good anymore. Wasn't much good the day I got it.
I'd hesitate to buy a welder from them. A local company, Lowes, Home Depot, etc., if it ain't right you've got someone to talk to. Harbor Freight, ya gotta call, get an authorization number, ship it back, and hope they'll fix or replace it for you. A welder, either stick or MIG is a serious piece of equipment. You don't want to be dealing long distance if it doesn't work properly.

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Saturday, 07/04/98 18:38:38 EDT

IMPORTED TOOLS: There are two types of imported tools. The good ones made for use in that country and also exported, and those designed specificaly for export. The first type are some of the BEST tools in the world.

Many of the second type aren't tools, they are a scam. I've seen dozens of these tools AND machines that are made for the "stupid rich Americans". They were poorly designed, they didn't work as designed, didn't work as shipped and possibly can never be made to work at all. Like Jim's saw, they are purchased and then thrown away by people that are too embarased to return something that was obviously a scam that they fell for.

I won't point fingers because I know American manufactures that do the same to the American public! Who knows what they try to pull with exports? Many department store brand tools are sold knowing they will get hung on the wall and probably never used during the warranty period. Ask your favorite store how long the "lifetime" warranty lasts if used in commercial service. 30 days if you are lucky!

When buying tools you generally get what you pay for.

-- guru Saturday, 07/04/98 19:55:38 EDT

I purchased a gas set from a fellow up the road, he said that the thing had been recondidtioned and tested, whan I got it home I found that the oxy regulator was pissing out air, Phoned him and he said the it must have been due to me turning the oxy bottle on to fast (Yea Shure), he said theres noting he wasl liable to do. I got the regs serviced and found that all the seals were badly perrished.
Well another couple of hundred dollars later I have a really good welding set, and the fellow o purchased them of is having problems getting out of his gate after it was mysteriusly welded up one night.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Sunday, 07/05/98 00:26:16 GMT

anvilfire and Wallace Metal Work, your Discount Peddinghaus Anvil Dealer

Details Elsewhere!

-- guru Sunday, 07/05/98 00:38:24 GMT

THE TIME: I didn't notice for a few days that my ISP had changed the clock from GMT to EDT. When I mentioned it they said whoops! and changed it back (so much for consistancy). In the future we may have a choice. If you have an opinion speak up.

Personaly I hadn't gotten used to the "world" time but as an international venue I figure it fit. Thats my two cents.

-- guru Sunday, 07/05/98 14:05:58 GMT

Guru, I am still waiting for the pix of our walking beam (cog-activated) jyh and will mail them to you for posting. what I need now is someone to e-mail me some drawings and specs. for the Ron Reil burner I can't get them off his site due to a stone age computer. also thank you for removing the java so can finaly get in here

Bob Keyes -- keyes at Sunday, 07/05/98 19:30:33 GMT

Bob, If your computer is that stone-age I'm not sure how you got to anvilfire! Can you see/print the drawings from my plans page? How about a word picture for now. This is slightly modified from Ron's drawing and is what I saw working last weekend.

Parts: (inch nominal pipe sizes)

(1) 3/4" NPT x 8" Nipple
(1) 3/4" NPT x 1-1/2" NPT Reducer (NOT a bushing)
(1) 1/8" NPT x 3" Nipple (Bronze or stainless)
(1) 1/8" NPT Pipe Cap
(1) 1/8" x 1/4" NPT Reducer
(1) Gas line fitting to attach to 1/4" NPT above
(2) #8-32 x 1/4" socket set screws (+ drill and tap for same)
(1) #8-32 x 1/4" thumb screw
(1) 2" dia sheet metal disk (thickness as found)

The big pipe reducer is cross drilled through on the big end just under the flared edge. The 1/8" pipe is going to fit through these holes and is .405" in dia. A 13/32" drill is .4063" and will make a snug fit. Next, drill and tap (2) #8-32 holes from the end of the reducer into the holes just cross drilled. The set screws go here and will hold the small tube in alignment. Drill one more #8-32 hole half way between the other two holes. The thumb screw will hold the air valve here.

Drill a #60 (.0400") or 1 mm hole through one side on the center of the 1/8" pipe and carefuly deburr. This is your gas jet. Optionally you could drill and tap for a 1/4-28 screw and make replacable jets out of SS screws. This size is for propane. For natural gas a lot larger jet is needed.

Cut the pipe threads off on end of the 3/4" nipple.

Assemble: The parts only go together one way. The jet should be carefully aligned so that it points to the center of the 3/4" pipe and then locked in place with the set screws. Cap one end of the 1/8" pipe and attach your fuel line to the other. If used in a single burner forge you may want a valve where the fuel line attaches.

HOW IT WORKS: The fuel gas is injected into the 3/4" tube at a relatively high velocity due to the small orifice. As the gas becomes turbulent is drags the air in the tube with it. Replacement air is supplied by the large funnel opening of the reducer. If the burner runs consistantly rich then shut down the gas pressure or close the air intake. There is a careful balance required to prevent flash back into the burner. If you reduce the gas too much the fuel/air mix will not move fast enough and flash back will occur.

NOTE: These burners work differently in open air than in a forge where there is some back pressure. Some people flare the end of the 3/4" pipe or add a belled end (1/16" bigger than the 3/4" pipe OD). I've seen them work fine just stuck in the side of a forge as is too. THIS IS A SMALL BURNER. It will work for about a quarter cubic foot volume. In bigger forges you add more of these burners or scale them up. The Wisper Daddy burners are similar but not as big as 1" pipe would make them.

I just posted a picture of a small gas forge in the News and I have pictures of a Whisper Daddy from Asheville to post yet! Will do ASAP.

-- guru Sunday, 07/05/98 20:49:35 GMT

I am trying to find out the date for the Quad State conference in Troy Ohio this year. Anyone out there know?

Bill Robertson -- applecross1 at Sunday, 07/05/98 22:18:54 GMT

hummmmmmm I wonder if I could adapt one of those shelf designs to my block pipe. Ant suggestions. And did I hear a price range on those you showed from ashville.?
Great yard sale. Lots of short shorts showed up and we sold lots of STUFF.
Hey Jim how much will you give me for my swim suite issues?

Rick -- rickyc at Monday, 07/06/98 00:28:52 GMT

I realize there are no ants out there with suggestions I meant to say "ANY"

Rick -- rickyc at Monday, 07/06/98 00:31:10 GMT

You guys that have those little import bandsaws that keep throwing blades--- take off the blade, start the drivewheel turning, take a flat millfile and file a slight downangle from the inside lip of the wheel out to the edge. you dont have to take off much, just enough so the blade wants to track up next to the lip.----a flat belt-/-blade will always track to the highest point of a flat pulley. As Always------- BE CAREFULL with MOVING PARTS------- Smokey

Smokey Adams -- Smokey at Monday, 07/06/98 03:06:29 GMT


Can't take them, my wife won't let me have them any more. (grin)

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Monday, 07/06/98 03:08:58 GMT

Rick, Are you having trouble with your e-mail account? I sent a piece of mail last night and it came back tonight as undelivered RE:contest

-- guru Monday, 07/06/98 04:13:40 GMT

SMOKEY: Great tip! My original made in USA and copied around the world has a chamfer at the outside edge and a very slight crown toward the inside shoulder as you recommend.

Tracking: The original has a tracking adjustment to tilt the wheel in and out. The tracking adjustment accounts for deflection due to blade tension. If the tracking is not correctly adjusted OR if the mechanism is too light OR if there is none, the blades will always fall off and will not stay on no matter how much crown you put on the pulley!

-- guru Monday, 07/06/98 04:21:11 GMT

Thanx for the word picture will be working it up very soon obtw for you gas forge builders I have had very good luck with a castable refractory called Kurzite castable plus, I have used it to reline more than one Mankel open end +4 atmospheric forge, it took some very interesting plywood form building, and a bunch of "c" clamps but I was able to make the bottom liner with the original cavity and back wall in one pour it held up over a year with 8+ hour daily use for over a year and was still going strong when I left the company. maybe a substitute for kaowool etc obtw the stuff was reate at 3500 deg f

Bob Keyes -- keyes at Monday, 07/06/98 04:40:02 GMT

Less than 1 yr experence. What do most people use to make large uniform bends,such as shepards hooks, or large yard heart plant holders? I really have enjoyed your efferts with this page, Thanks Dave

Dave Curtis -- DCurtis176 at Monday, 07/06/98 05:09:40 GMT

Dave, Bending jigs. Oh, how to bend the jigs? Well, you can bend them around anything handy. Old welding cylinders, trash cans, car wheels.

If you want to get fancy (I did once). You can cut a series (or just the one you need) of radius gauges out of 1/2" plywood with a jig saw. Then you bend the jig around the plywood and then tighten it a little by hand.

Bending jigs don't need to be very heavy. 1" x 1/8" or 2" x 3/16" stock is plenty heavy and fairly easy to bend. Make your form and then weld it to a piece of angle iron so you can clamp it in a vise. On big jigs you need to add some light ribs in the middle. I'll post a photo in the (later) AM. A fellow showed me an idea for a universal jig and I'll post a drawing of that too.

Bending jigs are generally bent cold and can be for uniform bends or scrolls. They are one of those quick and easy tools to make that pays even when making a dozen parts or so. NOTE: Quick and easy assumes you have an arc welder. If you don't, then get one. It will pay for it self making jigs in no time!

-- guru Monday, 07/06/98 05:27:45 GMT

Wow, what great suggestions,my mind is moving now. Thanks much. "Old man with new passion." Learning mostly by myself, working to do as much, over the anvil, as possible. Dave

Dave Curtis -- DCurtis176 at Monday, 07/06/98 05:41:53 GMT

Learning by doing is best but learning from others is the best use of your time!

Some people weld a piece of 3/4" square (or whatever fits) to their jigs and use them in the hardy hole. I like angle iron because it works in a vise OR clamped to a bench. Goodnight!

-- guru Monday, 07/06/98 05:50:32 GMT

I have found a coal supplier, it costs $100 (Australian) per ton, how does this compare to other prices?

lifred -- lifred at Monday, 07/06/98 11:04:06 GMT

Do you have a news letter?

Thomas H. Tyson Treasurer PABA -- centaur at Monday, 07/06/98 12:07:52 GMT

Lifred, Its been so long since I bought coal that I had to check the price! I was quoted $100 US per ton in any quantity.

-- guru Monday, 07/06/98 13:39:55 GMT

Thomas, PABA (Is that the Pennsylvania Artist Blacksmith Associatioin?)

Sorry, No. Except for some booklets and plans (not yet available) this is strictly an electronic publishing business.

-- guru Monday, 07/06/98 13:50:31 GMT

BENDING JIGS: Posted the brief article on benders in 21st Century that I promised.


-- guru Monday, 07/06/98 21:56:56 GMT

guru, what is the most common formula for oiling ornamental pices?, i discovered (by accident) that Danish Oil used mainly for protecting wood seemed to work really well, if brushed on while the item is warm (not hot), on the down side its expensive (in NZ) but very little needs to be used.

I tried wax, but the set im working on consists of candlestick holder and napkin rings/cutlery holders and the wax rubbed off on the napkin.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Tuesday, 07/07/98 06:25:56 GMT

Just an update on the portable forge at Fenby. It works better with natural charcoal than anthraicite. The natural charcoal has very little ash and is so iregular that the fire maintains its draft. The anthracite slag and fines choke off the fire after several hours of forging. This requires the fire be dumped and rebuilt with fresh fuel. Self lighting charcoal brequets(SP) will get anthracite started, but the high level of impurities in the manufactured charcoal will also slag up the air passages, so you can't use the brequets continuously. Finally, a positive, continuous air flow is necessary for the coal. Charcoal will maintain its fire without pumping, but coal will just go out. The air choke problem may be reduced with positive displacement type of air supplies, IE bellows. centrifugal blowers move a good volume of air, but with little pressure and once the resistance to flow exceeds the blower, the fire goes out. Based on my recent experience, a shovel shaped forge with a side draft may be more practical for continuous use, tho for a suburban blacksmith/woodwork tool maker this forge has allowed me to make some repro woodworking tools.

David J. Lawrence -- David.J.Lawrence at Tuesday, 07/07/98 11:48:17 GMT

Guru on the dies for Rick's press have you thought of adapting some electrician "knock-out" dies for use in a press? I know that they leave the slug with a "wave" in it but with a press or even an anvil and hammer that is not realy a problem. Also on the R&D money/facility for the ELSAH have maybe a place in San Antonio could be interested, Southwest Research Intistute. They are non-profit so they have to spend everything they take in, so maybe us blacksmiths can get the goodie for once!!!!

Bob Keyes -- keyes at Tuesday, 07/07/98 14:17:17 GMT

OIL FINISH: Andrew, there are almost as many oil finishes as there are blacksmiths! Some are good, most are questionable. I have used beeswax softened with turpentine which is a fairly common finish. It brings out the color of the iron and is easy to apply but dirt sticks to it for a long time, it is not very permanent and it does rub off on things. Other mixtures include linseed oil which really needs a cobalt drier added if you don't want to use heat or wait a week or more. My materials book didn't list "Danish oil". Is it possible it is a Dammar or Copal finish? I was looking to see if there was a cheaper substitute.

If it performs well I think you've probably found a good finish and should stick with it.

-- guru Tuesday, 07/07/98 14:21:33 GMT

David! Glad you found anvilfire! I'll append your comments to the NEWS. The important thing about your forge is its compactness and the fact that ALL the smoke is going to go up the stack. This makes it a great forge for someone doing small work in limited space.

We've also had some intrest in Peter Lindbergh's little recuperative forge and I'd like to contact him about it. Any help would be appreciated. - Peter, if you see this drop me a line.

Jock Dempsey guru at

-- guru Tuesday, 07/07/98 14:31:55 GMT

ELECTRICAL K.O. (Bob Keyes): Great idea! I've even got a 6" K.O. die in my electrician's tool chest an hadn't thought about it! Probably because they require a 7/8" hole in the center, but used in a press this wouldn't be necessary.

The reason for the angled surfaces (called shear) on the electrician's knock outs is to reduce the force required to punch. This does indeed leave a ragged looking blank. Most standard punches also have shear cut into the punch. For blanking you grind this off.

For my purposes I'll look at the electrician's punches as raw material. The closed round back is not designed to take the full force of blanking (50tons on this size). It also makes it a pain to retrieve your blanks which are EXACTLY the same size as the hole. So, I'll find a way to remove the back (where's a HENROB torch when you need it?). The material MIGHT cut with carbide in the lathe. . . Then I'll mount it in a die set with a clearance hole below. The blanks will just fall through that way.

The punch will need to be flattened front and back. I start with a heavy angle grinder and then finish with my surface grinder (Yep, I know most folks don't have a surface ginder, but I DO and I use it a LOT for die work).

The only question I'll have to look into is the clearance between the punch and die. For "fine blanking" (without heavy burrs) the clearance should be the minimum required for the material thickness.

Bob, you may have just made this project affordable!

ELSAH R&D: Good idea. Are you going to do the paperwork? (grin)

Thought about ELSAH last night. Getting a handle on the dynamics. My diagram of a closed system looks simple but under load the air compresses so the driven end has to move farther than it would with uncompressed air. Also looking at a simple venting system since there has been some concern about the air getting hot (it will).

This kind of dynamics and logic takes a while to nail down, especially when it isn't your full time job! Our buddy, Andrew from New Zealand has worked out the electronics. I'm working on the air circuits and integration. Anyone else that wants to be in this party please jump in. I'll post a better drawing with some numbers and working parameters later.

-- guru Tuesday, 07/07/98 15:02:49 GMT

For the ELSAH: How about a convection style heat exchanger for the air that could double as a plenum to stabilize overpressures?

And another question: I am looking at one of those drill/mill/lathe combos knowing it won't be a SOUTHBEND, BRIDGEPORT hybrid. Does anyone have any recommendations for a man on a budget?

Chris -- kilpe4 at Tuesday, 07/07/98 22:08:53 GMT

What kind of surface grinder? I used to use a BLANCHARD, and have used a CHEVALIER before, prefer the BLANCHARD.

Chris -- kilpe4 at Tuesday, 07/07/98 22:11:12 GMT

Jock, Did you try out the gas fired Charcoal Retort?, Just thought of another option for it, A butterfly Valve placed before the exhaust upright elbow, it would allow the retort to heat up a little quicker but on the down side it would be a pain to clean.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Tuesday, 07/07/98 22:30:37 GMT


ELSAH: Its easier to change the (free) air than to build a heat exchanger that can take pressure (maybe 100PSI). Wall thickness would mean it would have to be water cooled like on an air compressor!

COMBINATION MACHINE. The Southbend is already a combination machine! Mill/Drills are not as good at milling as lathes and that's not saying much. An old antique lathe is a great tool to have in the blacksmith shop!

SURFACE GRINDER: Old, flat belt, Brown & Sharpe #2 w/ 12" mag chuck, full auto feeds and fully equiped OEM coolant setup. Paid only $450 for it because it had 880 VAC motor and a Seafoam green LATEX paint job!

-- guru Tuesday, 07/07/98 22:49:02 GMT


Gas fired charcoal retort looks like it will work fine. I'll post the plans shortly. However, if I built one I would prefer wood fired because if I were making charcoal it would be because I couldn't get gas! Gas fired is great if your purpose is to make charcoal the cleanest way you can. Most blacksmiths making charcoal do it because they can't get coal or gas and don't want to get into an oil fired forge.

-- guru Tuesday, 07/07/98 22:54:45 GMT

Blacksmiths that do historical re-enactments might be interested in charcoal for that purpose. I'd like to try it, but am not curious enough to invest a lot of time or money in it as a project.

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 07/08/98 00:07:30 GMT

Jock: Good point, I cant see whay it wont work with a wood or coal fire instead, as the retort is sealed, you will have to be a little more carefull in placing the coal or woon, so as not to develop a hot spot, but i think it should work well, it would be really interesting to se how well it cokes coal, and if it would be possible to feed the gas from that back in to a burner as coal produces heaps more burable gas than wood i beleive.

Jim: the retort we were talking about is build out of a 44 gallon drun and a few other bits and pices, most of them you should be able to find or attain for free. the flue/exhaust was literally made from a car exhaust pipe. (galv drain pipe almost worked on another unit but the seam needed to be welded up.)

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Wednesday, 07/08/98 01:36:51 GMT


I can see a 55 gal drum sitting over a hole in the ground, pipe leading from the bung hole in the drum down to the hole. Drum filled with loosely stacked hardwood, fire in the hole under the drum. When the wood starts gassing off, the gas would pass through the pipe to the fire under the drum where it would be ignited by the existing fire. While it wouldn't be completely self sustaining, should work pretty well and reduce the amount of fuel needed to make the charcoal.

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 07/08/98 02:36:22 GMT

Jim, that's the theory, and that's what the fellow said 20 years ago out in Idaho (not there now - can't find). I guess I better post Andrews drawings - just so many things to do.

-- guru Wednesday, 07/08/98 12:26:21 GMT

Guru:To many things and not enough time, I know the feeling!
Tell me?, Do Bladesmiths adn Knife Makers forge their blades or peirce them?, what would the correct procedure be, forge shape the knife, fuller it then hone the edge?, or just cut it out and gring it?.
why I ask is someone who I know has been preaching to me that knives should be peirced, filed and ground to shape and all the work i have been putting in to my knives is just a waste of time.

What say you?

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Wednesday, 07/08/98 13:01:37 GMT

FORGE vs. STOCK REMOVAL: Andrew, this is an argument that has been going on for a long time! Both sides have made their points numerous times. I think forging wins out but it is not for everyone.

The stock removal method assumes that the "as rolled" or "as manufactured" condition of the material cannot be improved and only hurt by other processes. This is partially true. Long heats and overheating definitely can damage the metal. A good bladesmith does neither. On the other hand forging can do some good if properly done.

For centuries it has been assumed that the forged flow lines in the metal such as at the tang strengthened the metal. Modern metalurgy has proven this false! At these critical points forging pinches the grains of the metal and makes it weaker. According to this, you should forge your tang oversized with generous fillets (NO SHARP CORNERS) and then finish by stock removal. On the other hand, "packing" or gently working the metal at a low heat does improve the strength of the material by tightening and refining the grain structure along the blade.

Where stock removal reins supreme is in the making of blades from high tech materials that is beyond the capacity of the ordinary shop to process and heat treat.

Forging reins supreme in producing shapes that are too costly to produce by stock removal AND in producing pattern welded steel and built up blades. It is also wastes less material.

-- guru Wednesday, 07/08/98 13:47:58 GMT

Thankx for the instructions on how to make tongs (tongs 01), they turned out great.

Also, I have a question- I read that you need to heat all of the blade of a sword before working it. How much truth is in this?

Lifred -- lifred at Wednesday, 07/08/98 15:59:58 GMT

NONE: If you are reworking an old blade it might be advantageous to heat it for the purpose of annealing (making soft). Hammering on one end of a piece of steel that the other end is possibly glass hard might be hazardous.

IN FACT: Heating the whole blade makes it hard to handle. I either read or heard recently from a bladesmith that the blade becomes "floppy" and therefore hard to control while working it. Of course some of this depends on how slender the blade.

When you go to heat-treat the blade (hardening and tempering) it is another story. The whole blade needs to be an even temperature prior to quenching. This is difficult to achieve and should be a consideration before making a long blade. How long is your forge?

This is an area to apply some common sense and do what works.

-- guru Wednesday, 07/08/98 18:13:00 GMT

Speaking of Bladesmithing. I just finished reading Jim Hrisoulas' book The Pattern-Welded Blade, Artistry in Iron. A wonderful book! Clear, concise and understandable with beautifuly detailed photos and diagrams. One of the better written blacksmithing books.
However, this book is about exactly what the title says. Jim has written several other books that lead up to this one that are probably better starting places if you are intrested in making knives. If this is your area, you should have all of Jim's books.

A review is forthcoming!

-- guru Wednesday, 07/08/98 18:27:22 GMT


Re prev comments Jim H & you made about cat litter & substitutes used in the bottom of forges to prevent flux damage to the refactory. Would the mositure content in the clay material have to get baked out first to be effective? (Sort of like heating the refactory material the first time you fire up a new forge...just in this case every time replace it) If so is their an optimum temp to do this at vs just bumping up the gas till it is running at a welding heat?

Bob -- robert_miller at Wednesday, 07/08/98 19:32:11 GMT

CAT LITTER (Fullers Earth): The mass of this stuff is so low and is in such small pieces that I wouldn't think it would be a problem. The thing that makes it absorbant, permeability, also means it can loose absorbed water quickly without spalling or poping. Jim Hrisoulas is the one that recomended it and didn't have any warnings so I suspect it is not a problem.

ULTIMATE FORGE DRIP PAN: You guys have been looking for a material that can take high temperatures and is resistant to flux? How about a melting point of 3217°F and used to make crucibles for growing refractory crystals in a flux liquor?

Platinium! Alone it is fairly soft but Platinium-rhenium alloys are twice as hard and have a melting point of 3272°F!

I'm looking for a source and price.

-- guru Wednesday, 07/08/98 20:47:36 GMT

Im having a little trouble welding two pices of steel together, not to shure if im not reaching welding temp or if ther is some other reason, what colour and temperature is required for a good weld?, and is a flux required, please could someone give me a few pointers on welding (forge welding that is).

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Thursday, 07/09/98 09:13:25 GMT

Did Bruce Blackistone mention a value on that Russian Anvil?

Chris -- kilpe4 at Thursday, 07/09/98 09:45:13 GMT

Bruce metioned it was a good price but I didn't take note of the exact $/lb. He and a friend bought two anvils at the same place and I think it was old inventory that they wanted to move.

-- guru Thursday, 07/09/98 13:07:44 GMT

FORGE WELDING: Let me work on a FAQ article on this one. I've answered that question on-line and in mail a couple times but maybe not on anvilfire. . .

To be brief: Yes you normally need a flux. Borax sold for washing detergent is most commonly used (In the US we use 20 Mule Team Brand), the same as brazing flux, look for 100% pure. Use no additives (sand, metal filings, witches brew).

Temperature is tricky. Hot enough? In the high orange/yellow range. Wrought iron welds at a sparkly white heat and everything else lower. You want to weld at the lowest possible heat to get a sound weld.

Touch: The real zen of forge welding. When welding most steel you get a little liquid metal under the flux, if you hit it hard this splatters out and the weld fails. The first blows should just close the gap and squeeze the flux out of the weld. Jim Hrisoulas describes it as a sticky feel when things are working right. NOTE: You do not need a liquid surface to weld steel.

Most common problems: Burning the steel, dirt in the weld, hitting it too hard, fluxing too late, burning off the flux, lack of practice.

If you are burning coal it requires a good grade of coal to produce forge welds. If using an oil or gas forge it must be properly adjusted for a neutral atomosphere.

Mostly it requires practice, practice, practice. Once you get it right it is like most things after you've learned them, you forget how hard is was getting there.

I've left out some technical details, but not enough to stop you from making a forge weld.

-- guru Thursday, 07/09/98 13:32:57 GMT

Russian Anvil (MADE IN THE U.S.S.R.):

The anvil weighs 100 kilograms or 220.26 pounds, give or take a couple of pennyweights for machining, paint, etc. It costs me $350 (don't tell my wife) for an average of $1.589031145011 give or take a farthing or maybe a kopec. LOA is about 24" and it stands (squats) about 11" high. The face is a little soft, but I can live with that for the price. Haven't chipped an edge yet and it's held up pretty well for the last 5 or 6 years. The Russians excel at heavy industry, and their tendency to overdesign does no harm whatever on items such as anvils.

I'll try to check my files tonight and see if I can come up with the name and number of the farrier supply place in N.J.

Visit your national parks:

Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Thursday, 07/09/98 14:11:15 GMT

Jock My email server was down for a while. It is up and running now. Resend the message and I should get it. Sounds like my press is going to be a "good thing" as martha steward would say. What color are you going to paint it. "grin" Just kidding, as long as it gets the job done I don't care if it is pink. Hey Jim! Heck if you want to help me pay for this thing, I will send you my address."HE HE" You know Jock doesn't work cheap.
Rick http://www.

Rick -- rickyc at fantasyforge Thursday, 07/09/98 15:11:03 GMT

That reminds me. I forged a little piece for BILL GISHNER at the conference in Asheville. He asked what I did besides build Junk Yard Hammers, and I told him I designed machinery for the nuclear industry (I do), and he said, "I can't afford your rates!"
How many people have said the same thing about Bill?

You still owe me Bill and I have the video to prove it!

OBTW- A friend of mine has a 25 pound Little Giant (old style) in good condition. He wants to trade it for a BIG anvil, 500 pounds or bigger in good condition. Let me know - Jock Dempsey

-- guru Thursday, 07/09/98 15:33:20 GMT


-- guru Thursday, 07/09/98 15:35:15 GMT

CONTEST HINT: No it is NOT the stump (its supporting the anvil so its blacksmithing equipment). The item IS metal.

-- guru Thursday, 07/09/98 16:09:25 GMT

I am recreating the two Meteorite Anvils( the Ring and the Carleton) that were used in the blacksmith shops of the Old Presidio in Tucson Arizona in the early 1800's. Do you know of any other references where meteorites were used as anvils in history. Also I need images of the types of handmade tools that the blacksmith would have used in a frontier town.


Michael Lee Thursday, 07/09/98 17:45:27 GMT

Michael, I don't but Bruce Blackistone is into the Viking history thing and may know of a few. Historians have surmised that many were used for anvils but I suspect the material was broken up and used for other things.

A book (maybe juvenile) on meteorites might list a few known uses as anvils. This is one of those subjects that probably needs lots of expensive field research. If you do it, I'll publish it here on anvilfire! (grin)

- testing papaw's OD green ink.

-- guru Thursday, 07/09/98 18:11:17 GMT

Jim pawpaw Wilson

Jim is retired military and currently the Blacksmith of Bethbara Park, Winston Salem, NC. Jim has been one of anvilfire's big supporters and without whom the EC-JYH might not have made it to Asheville. Jim's color is this OD-green. He wanted camoflage but HTML screen "ink" doesn't come in that color!

Jim joins grandpa Daryl Meier, of Damascus and knife making fame (spring green) and Grant Sarver, of Off Center Products and my West Coast veracifier and challanger in the JYH face off (purple), AND myself Jock Dempsey (dark red) as purveyors of blacksmithing information and hopefully useful advise.

-- guru Thursday, 07/09/98 19:56:14 GMT


I don't know whether I'm honored or insulted. But I guess I'll have to choose to be honored, in spite of whatever the guru's intentions MIGHT have been. Sheri says I gained an inch, (course I could stand that!) {grin}

guru, you misspelled Camouflage! (*grin*)

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 07/09/98 20:42:13 GMT


Help you pay for it?? Heck, I was gonna help Jock CHARGE for it!
(I'm more expensive than he is!)

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 07/09/98 20:54:37 GMT

Wow, design for the nuclear industry, I used to be a machinist mate 3rd class working on reactors in the Idaho desert with the Navy. Small world!

Chris -- kilpe4 at Thursday, 07/09/98 22:20:33 GMT

Designed (and built) shielded machinery for handling and disassembling RCP (main coolant pump) internals and machine tools for resurfacing the gasket and mating surfaces. - Lots of intresting problems. Main one was that these were mostly one-off machines, prototypes that HAD to work the first time! Not much of a repeat market for them either, so now its back to blacksmithing.

I went from blacksmithing, where a heavy tool might be a couple thousand pound power hammer, to machines weighing 50 tons. At least I know what it takes to move heavy stuff now (a pipe and a pry bar).

-- guru Thursday, 07/09/98 22:36:53 GMT


Welcome to the color guard....:)

Bob -- robert-miller at Thursday, 07/09/98 23:20:11 GMT

Jock I have noticed my

Plain Ol' Bill -- wcottr at Friday, 07/10/98 00:05:30 GMT


Thankee, sir! (grin)

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 07/10/98 00:30:09 GMT

Hey, Jock!
Nice webpage, man. I'm sure that I speak for everyone involved with Camp Fenby ( Marklanders and SCAdians alike) when I express my appreciation for your coverage of our event.The truck is dead.Long live the other truck!
If your readers have any questions about that little gas forge, just let me know. It's really just a modified San Dias model. By the way, I was not singing the blues, that was Canadian folk music. Just about as depressing.
Pete Lindbergh

Pete Lindbergh -- batman at dcanet Friday, 07/10/98 01:28:34 GMT


You've got at least one person VERY interested in that little forge. When Jock said that it ran all day and barely dented a 20# propane tank, he was singing my song. Jock says I'm a cheap barstard, and he probably right. (grin)

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 07/10/98 01:36:30 GMT

Ah! Now we have your e-mail address! I'll correct my musical mistake for our Canadian friends but when you have the I just totaled the love of my life Pickup truck ten minutes ago blues then its, tha BLUES. . .

I'm just curious about the parts we can't see in the burner. I can guess at most of it. I know you said what size hole you drilled for the jet (#60 - .040"?) and I should have written it down. What did you line your vent with? It looked like a thin layer of Koawool glued to the sides.

Thinking about having a "build a mini gas forge workshop" to split up the costs of a carton of Kaowool. . .

And like EVERYONE I've got my own ideas for a forge. Considering a setup like yours but putting the vent/heatexchanger up front. That should give better control of the atomosphere as cold fresh air will not be drawn in the front. It makes the fresh air intake a little tricky. It has to come in through the sides, but this should make the preheat pretty hot. - Still thinking about it.

See, now Jim's slipped in front of me AND put words in my mouth! I said he's a mean bastard, his wife says he's cheap!

-- guru Friday, 07/10/98 01:59:46 GMT

guru: I have almost finished my power hammer, (the pneumatic one) its got a 350mm stroke, 300lb clamp pressure, and 80lb head, the control is a single foot lever. runs on 90psi but requires a large tank.

managed to slap it together for a little over $1500.00 NZ.
will send you the photos and circut as soon as I develop the film.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Friday, 07/10/98 02:30:09 GMT

GREAT! I better get busy on that NEW page! Now we need action shots of that machine!

And on another subject. DO YOU EVER SLEEP? I've got to go get my 8hrs!

-- guru Friday, 07/10/98 02:36:39 GMT

Guru: Sleep?, whats that?, To many things to do, and to many toys... Im lucky if I get 5 hours.

Its a shame i live in a built up area, i would be happy hammering away in the workshop at midnight but the neighbours would not be to happy about it.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Friday, 07/10/98 02:54:09 GMT

Soft quite hammers, yeah, that's the ticket. . . gnight

-- guru Friday, 07/10/98 03:17:36 GMT

Ah, hammering at midnight! The fire's well developed, the chimney is drawing, the outside temperature has dropped to the 80s or even 70s, and the nearest neighbor (at least who isn't kin) is two bowshots away. Well guys, I've got my night planned! (I still owe my friend two shield bosses and an Anglo-Saxon helm.)

Meteorite anvils: No historic reference to them that I can recall. Large basaltic or granite rocks, yes; sway-backed iron plate, stump and bick anvils, yes; but no references to meteors. I'll check with a few of my scholarly friends. Actually, it sounds like a 19th century gimmick/innovation. SOME metallic meteorites have a high nickel content in addition to the predominant iron, so in fortuitous circumstances you may achieve a form of "natural" stainless steel. In earlier ages the material, if recognized, would have probably gone into weapons, not just for it's structural superiority, but also for its magical powers. (Sea water will work as well as a quench as blood, but blood would be considered magical. Don't ask who's or what's blood. Actually, just go ahead and use brine and SAY it was quenched in blood!) By the 19th century (and today) the magic has worn off meteorites, but we still hold them in awe as unusual and alien objects. Any two-bit ironmonger can have a mousehole anvil, but one forged from a piece of the heavens, from the mysterious cosmos, well 'e must be a heckova blacksmith!

Russian Anvil: One of our local Amishmen gave me an expired catalog (March '91)in 1993 for Summit Tech Horseshoes & Farriers' Supplies
479 Route 130 South, Cranberry, NJ 08512 (V) 1(800)325-3357;
(F)1(609)395-1962. As well as their catalog stock they had a few odds and ends such as a couple of English pattern 80# and 100# anvils for $125 and $200 and the 100 kilo Russian. They also had Atha tongs at $7 each. They (the tongs)were big and heavy, but I was happy to midify them at that price. The place was about one hour north from Philadelphia off of exit 8-A on the NJ Turnpike in the Princeton/Trenton area. I loaded 326# of anvils for my Markland friend and I, four pair of tongs, four boxes of horseshoe nails for the Amish farrier, trucked over to Freehold and picked up four 80# bags of forge coal, and headed south. (Handy things, pickup trucks.)

The staff at Summit Tech was what I would politely refer to as "crusty". They did help me load and properly lash down the anvils with some 1/2" line. (Contemplate the dynamics of large anvils loose in the back of a truck during a sudden stop from 55 mph!)

Presently I don't know what their prices are, what stock is available, or if they're still going strong. I do have an NPS unit up that way that I'm working with, so I may stop by. If someone wants to persue the source of Russian anvils, perhaps they can keep the rest of us informed.

Pete's forge: Pete has been threatening to conduct a gas forge construction workshop for us more benighted dirt-burning Marklanders. Maybe we can talk him into something in the near (1 or 2 years?) future.

Visit your National Parks:

Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Friday, 07/10/98 13:40:02 GMT

Thanks for the info Bruce! But, you're not just "burning dirt", you're burning it in a dirt forge!

Don't everyone go rushing to NJ for Russian anvils! All those prices are about 1/3 of todays! 1993? Hmmm, those folks must of wanted to dump inventory else we have a real problem with inflation in blacksmith tools. 50% year?

-- guru Friday, 07/10/98 14:23:32 GMT


Sheri says "Thank you!" (grin)

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 07/10/98 17:13:38 GMT

Was rereading my NWBA newsletter...their is a canadian company in Ontario, importing Czech anvils....1 piece cast tool steel. 110 lb is $411 up to 550 lb for $ these are in Can $$. If you haven't looked lately I think the conversion is about .675 or better Can to US $$. No idea on quality...If anyone is interested I can dig up the contact info.

Bob -- robert_miller at Friday, 07/10/98 23:37:03 GMT


I couldn't wait! Been working on these for over 12 hours today! Had to post them even though the pages need a lot more work. . .

Late ABANA Edition

Please help me identify the last people in the photo with Francis Whitaker. And if you know the titles or maker of the other pieces please let me know.

-- guru Saturday, 07/11/98 00:28:18 GMT

A little late getting back to you guys but thanks for the info. on the forges. I am in the process of rearanging my set up. I need to be a little more organized with things now that I am getting all these orders. Hey Jim you "old Hippie" Just how old are you anyway? I'v heard rumors that you are two days older than dirt. "haw" And thats fine I won't ask you for donations toward the press project any more I don't want to depleate your social security benifits it would make me feel bad.
"But I wouldn't turn down offers from any body else" Just kidding that is if Jock doesn't reem me. Funny how they bragged about how they could build a hammer for such pettence. I hope you all realize this is all in fun. Jocks a great guy from what I know of him. And heck I need the darn press real bad anyway. Boy I hope that wasn't a mistake.
OBTW has anybody got a line on a roller? You know one of those things you make circles with. If so let me know.
Nice day in Md. played golf and only lost one ball "ouch"
Rick http://www.

Rick -- rickyc at Saturday, 07/11/98 04:26:18 GMT

Hey Andrew I tried some of that FUTURE FLOOR WAX sets real hard and doesn't seem to rub off at all once it drys, and it does dry quick. I also tried waxing with paste wax first and then the Future and that was a little nicer looking and did hold up quite well. Just don't put the FUTURE on a peice while it is hot, wait untill it cools then apply.
It is not as deep a finish as wax and oil, but it doesn't attract dirt like oil and wax. Try it on something and be sure to let it dry before you buff it or it will get smeared and your buffing material will adhere to it as well. It is a little like a clear laqure finish with out the smell, and it is real cheap. "Remember don't put it on anything hot".
Never did find that ball.
The real time in Md. is 12:50 Am and the dog is barking I better get him in. Rick

Rick -- rickyc at Saturday, 07/11/98 04:53:24 GMT

Jock: How long would you estimate should it take to compleate 1 pr of Dempsey Twist tongs as per tongs01.


Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Saturday, 07/11/98 05:58:19 GMT

Rick: thanks, I will see if its avalible over here, its gotta be cheaper than Danish Oil, that stuff costs! about $23.00 nz for 500ml but it looks hot. and it must be applied while the pices is warm (just hot enough to make it smoke but not bubble) tried it cold and it looks like someone spilt milk on the item.

Thanks Again.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Saturday, 07/11/98 06:08:06 GMT

Anyone know whats different or special about a Sandia Forge?, i know its propane or lppg fired but thats all the info i have been able to come up with. even better can anyone send me or tell me where to get the plans to build one.? im told that it will get up to about 2500deg.

Thanks in advance

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Saturday, 07/11/98 07:52:42 GMT


THE SANDIA FORGE was developed in the 80's by some guys at Sandia National Labratory. They needed a forge to work at high altitudes. All that's really different is that it has a incoming air preheater. The arangement on Peter Lindberg's forge (NEWS, Fenby Edition) is a deravation of the original two burner. ABANA sells plans for the original. I'm working on a design for a mini-forge like Peter's and will build a prototype as soon as I can afford the Kaowool.

FLOOR WAX: I've heard good things about these too, and there is lots of variety.

TIME TO MAKE TONGS: Depends on how experianced a smith you are. Two hours (any method) if you are a newby. 20 minutes or less if in very good practice. You can speed things up by welding on the reins rather than drawing them out. If you are new to smithing (hand or power) it is good practice to draw them out (a lot of work, but good practice).

TIME TO PLAY GOLF? NOW I know what to charge for that press "Dr." Caballo!

THE GURU will be out most of the day. Jim and I are visiting Josh and having a blacksmith's holiday (AFTER unloading the EC-JYH). Later -

-- guru Saturday, 07/11/98 11:50:52 GMT

Just added two more pages (7 images) of Mike Linn's to the current NEWS! More to come!

-- guru Saturday, 07/11/98 12:45:08 GMT

Jock: Just bought a 25# Little Giant and now am faced with putting it in my shop. The problem is that the floor in the shop is a concret slab poured for a garage. What do I need to do for a mounting so as to not cause damage to the floor or foundation from the hammer? Thanks.

Mike Sherman -- mmsher at Sunday, 07/12/98 03:34:11 GMT

Answers to Sandia-Single Burner forge questions:
Yes, that's a thin, dense layer of fiberfrax(kaowool) on the inside of the chimney. It is not glued in place, it's a good friction fit. Put another way, I stuffed it in there. The orifice is .028" (#70 drill) for propane. I typically run my forge at 18-24 psi, depending on weather conditions and whether I am welding or not. It really does sip gas. This pattern of furnace was developed by Robb Gunter, Karl W. Schuler, and Ronald L. Ward at the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque,NM in response to the problems they were having with commercial gas forges at that altitude. The elevation there is over 5,000 ft above sea level,which spells a 20% loss in heat output from any gas fired appliance. The design that they came up with appears to more than make up for this. Revised plans (written in 1991) are available from ABANA. One of the primary reasons for my use of the cylindrical chamber rather than the box type is the availability of refractory wool versus board. Wool will hold itself to the contours of an arch better than it will hang from a horizontal ceiling. No real news there. But perhaps you didn't know that you can often get Kaowool or it's equivelant for free! Here's how: Look in your phone book for boiler repair services, and rail car repair yards. The boiler repair guys often have the end of a roll that they will let you have for little or nothing. It's scrap to them. As for the rail yards, whenever a significant amount of welding is done to a tanker car,that section of the car must be normalized. this is typically done by a mobile heat treating service, using electric heating elements and (that's right) HUGE pieces of Kaowool. They tend to use these bats only once or twice before they are tossed out. When I worked at a rail yard, I could get as much of this stuff as I wanted for free. This is a great material to be recycling .
Pete Lindbergh

Pete Lindbergh -- batman at Sunday, 07/12/98 03:34:41 GMT

SANDIA FORGE (Pete): Thank you for the very complete information (and GREAT info on finding Koawool). I've been working on what I remember about the Sandia forge from reading the Anvil's Ring in 1989 and haven't been able to find those editions recently.
(So why did I think you were running 2-3 psi. . .?) Still, you ran a LONG time on very little gas. Great forge!

Derivations of the Sandia forge are being used in the Andes and have created somewhat of an artistic/cultural revolution there.

25# LITTLE GIANT (Mike): A 25# Little Giant doesn't hit hard enough to be much of a problem. A garage floor is designed to take a HEAVY automobile (More weight per tire than the weight of the LG). The LG also has a bigger "footprint" than a tire. Of course the tire is soft and the hammer pretty hard. . .

The die height of most of these machines are a little short. You can raise the hammer AND distribute the load further with riser made of 6x6's or laminated 2x4 lumber (killing two birds with one stone). Make it big enough that you can put your "treadle" foot on the pad but not so big it gets in the way of your other foot OR puts you in an uncomfortable position (About two feet wider than the base). Setup some blocks and experiment with your body position before you build.

I've run a 50# LG bare assed on an old relatively thin chicken house floor without problem. Generaly the problem is vibration transmitted to the rest of the building (or house). A big soft pine base will soak up most of the vibration and protect both the hammer and the floor.

Optionally, you can purchase comercial rubber vibration damping pads from machine tool suppliers. You can use these alone OR with the wood riser for more load distribution.

-- guru Sunday, 07/12/98 04:18:09 GMT

I recently got some woven stuff like Kaowool, but no loose fibers. Got it for free by watching a boiler crew refit a commercial heat treating oven. They didn't give me the stuff they were tearing out, they gave a BIG sheet of the stuff they were putting in, just for asking politely.
So, let me encourage you guys to explore that resource.

Chris -- kilpe4 at Sunday, 07/12/98 05:09:27 GMT

I have just finished testing my Thermal Ceramic, (Kaowool) dual burner forge, originally I had a problem with the size (is oval and about 200mm High X 300mm Wide and 500mm deep) the Kaowoll kept falling off the top, so I sprayed it with hardner, I beleive its silica based and turns the kaowool into something nearly as hard as the thermal board.

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Sunday, 07/12/98 08:18:01 GMT

KAOWOOL: There are a number of ways to anchor the material. My foundry supplier has an assortment of patent ceramic pins and washers but says a lot of other methods are used. One is to tack weld some nails inside the furnace. They will eventualy burn up but part will remain and when the ceramic stiffens the nails will have done there job. A sugar/silicate glue is also used. The sugar makes a sticky surface to start and the silicate bonds at high temperature after the sugar burns away.

Small cylindrical shells (10") work with 1" wool. Bigger shells will work with thicker material. In both cases the lining needs to have some extra length so that it is a snug fit to be self supporting. Nails tacked in the top section wouldn't hurt either.

-- guru Sunday, 07/12/98 18:14:51 GMT

(Mike) When I got my 25 lb LG it came with a rubberized base someone had cut off a hunk of thick rubberized conveyor belting.

Bob -- robert_miller at Monday, 07/13/98 01:08:36 GMT

Mike I used a hammer drill and large lag bolts. While I had the hammer on the hoist loading it, I made a pattern of the base holes. Then I simply put the pattern down on the floor where I wanted the hammer to be, and drilled the holes with a masonary bit and hammer drill. I did put the bolts in first and then placed the hammer over them. Only because it was easier to get the nuts on under the motor of the hammer. Other wise I would have had to take the motor off to get the long lags into the frame. I used a rubber mat that is reinforced with a course nylon fiber. It has held up very well over the years and seems to dampen the vibrations quite well. Most of your tool rental places have the correct lags and the drill bits too. I would suggest you use the largest bolt size that will go thur the holes in your base. Driil hole insert lead expansion then bolt then hammer then nuts. Hope this helps
Rick Http://www.
Nice day in Md. Played golf again shot 87 if only I could putt.

Rick -- rickyc at Monday, 07/13/98 02:21:23 GMT

Rick....You keep mentioning the golf & sounds like Jock is going to keep upping your price. I suspect anyone used to designing equipment for the nuclear industry might have an awfull expensive high end price.....Bribes, go for the bribes......:)

Bob -- robert_miller at Monday, 07/13/98 05:39:54 GMT

Well i dont know about that, russia has some second hand stuff im shure could be purchased quite cheap....
Hmm... Thermo Nuclear Forge, has Potential.... 8-)

Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Monday, 07/13/98 06:43:50 GMT

I just posted Mike Linn's detail photos of the Chapter Ring Grill rings. They are exactly as recieved (good photos but slightly different sizes). I will fix ASAP. --- Still working on plumbing!

-- guru Monday, 07/13/98 21:29:20 GMT

Wehw! Was going to bed early, but that's changed! Gotta meet a truck in Burlington, NC at midnight. One of my foster son's is sending me an Armitidge anvil via his truck driving father in law. And I've got to be on the job early in the morning too, durnit! Oh well, who need sleep? (grin)

Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Tuesday, 07/14/98 01:08:54 GMT

Having trouble with your plumbing? Sorta thing happens as you get older (so I hear anyway). Try VIAGRA!

grant -- NAKEDANVI at USA.NET Tuesday, 07/14/98 03:19:29 GMT

No trouble MY plumbing but our 190 year old hippy heaven is in pretty rough shape. Gave it a triple bypass today with 50' of 1" ID PVC.

So, Grant, you've been mighty quiet for the past few weeks. Been on another vacation? I'm still puttin' in 16hr days trying to get caught up from the convention. . .

-- guru Tuesday, 07/14/98 03:53:15 GMT

Yeah, been a little busy myself. Going back to Korea first of August. Filling a container, mostly 30 ton powered fly presses. Almost all are presold. Bringing back a 60 ton one for myself.

GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Tuesday, 07/14/98 04:09:59 GMT

I am a hobbiest automotive customizer, and have been hearing about hammer welding. A search for a definition on the WEB led me here. I would like to know ;

What is hammer welding?

How is it done, or where can I find out?

Wynne -- winsue at Tuesday, 07/14/98 04:19:26 GMT

Hammer welding occurs when one hammers too fast and the hammer welds itself to the work.

GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Tuesday, 07/14/98 04:40:02 GMT

Wynne Could you be referring to forge welding? You know , when you heat to peices and then hammer them together to weld or join them.
Rick http://www.
Grant is the only one I know who can hammer fast enough to hammer weld."grin"

rick -- rickyc at Tuesday, 07/14/98 05:43:24 GMT

"two" sorry Jock I seem to do this quite often. Someone told me Grants hammers are all stuck to his work. Neat effect but expensive.
How the heck are ya Grant?

Rick -- rickyc at Tuesday, 07/14/98 05:46:55 GMT

HAMMER WELDING (Wynne): Sorry about these guys. Must be to hot to work in there shops so they are looking for something to amuse themselves. They are generally full of good information but last night they wer just full of it.

Yes, In many engineering references what we blacksmith's call forge welding is called hammer welding. Although not in popular use it is still correct. But to keep Grant from making more bad jokes we will call it forge welding.

FORGE WELDING: Two pieces of wrought iron or steel are heated to welding temperature in the forge, usualy with a flux, and then forged (hammered) together. From this simple discription we could write a book (and many have).

Welding temperature varies with the material. Wrought iron which has no carbon has a slightly higher melting point than steel and it welded when the surface is just turning liquid. If properly fluxed there may be a few sparks coming from the surface but not many. Just a tad above this temperature the piece comes out of the forge dripping and looking like a sparkler. This is a little over 2700°F. Steel is welded at lower temperatures starting around 2400°F. The lower the welding temperature the less damage to the steel.

FLUX: The most common flux is good old 20 Mule Team Borax. Just like you use for brazing. The regular stuff is in crystaline form containing water that cooks off when first applied to hot metal. To avoid this little dance many smiths use anhydrous borax (borax with the water cooked out at high temperature).

How you prepare and "hammer" the steel makes a big difference. For general purposes the parts should be "scarfed", that is upset and made slightly curved so that flux and debris flow out of the weld as it is made. The mistake most new smiths make when forge welding is hitting the metal like I hit my first crab. SPLAT, too hard! At these temperatures if the surface is not liquid it becomes liquid with the additional energy of forging. Hitting it too hard splatters the liquid surface metal along with the flux and the weld fails. At first hammering should be done gently, just pushing the metal together. Starting from the center of the joint and working out. Once the weld is made THEN you can hammer it as hard as you want (or as necessary).

Forge welding requires a lot of patience and practice. There is a certain Zen like discipline to it that some learn, some do not.

For more information on this and other blacksmithing processes see the books on the anvilfire Bookshelf. I highly recomend Jack Andrews' NEW Edge of the Anvil. More qustions? Feel free to come back!

-- guru Tuesday, 07/14/98 13:24:45 GMT

For last past 3 years I'v been making knives from files and flat metal and I'v been wanting to get in to forging so that I could make swords and odd shaped knives but I need to know where I CAN GET A KILM one that takes coal or I would like to know of a plan that I can make my oun kilm it would be a great help to me if you could tell me anything that I asked about thank you for your time and you help.

NATHAN A CAMPBELL -- BLACK GRUB at AOL.COM Tuesday, 07/14/98 13:24:21 GMT

KILN (KILM, Nathan):

The term kiln is used in pottery and ceramics. In blacksmithing it is called a forge. A coal forge is a lot different than a kiln but a gas forge is very similar to a ceramics kiln with some subtle differences.

For a typical starter forge from our Plans page try:

Brake Drum Forge

This is your basic Saturday coal forge starter project and they are often built a blacksmithing schools. The sketch is kind of rough but you'll get the idea. The ash dump tuyer on this unit may be adapted to other forges. There is a link from there to pictures of my first forge.

If you want to get fancier and you have experiance with bigger welding
projects, try our LINKs page. There's a site that has a nice plan for a forge welded from plate (I can't remember where and will make a note to find it again)

For gas forges see:

RON REIL's web page

Ron Reil's page currently hosts the ABANA scrapbook as well as Ron's
informative collection of information including lots of shop and forge

Before getting into gas forges see my info about them in 21st Century (from the home page) and the article on the "10 Minute Gas Forge". In the near future we will have gas forge plans here too.

AND I have drawings of an oil forge to post ASAP.

AND LAST but not LEAST! Try our banner advertiser Centaur Forge. They have all types of forges and books to help you.

-- guru Tuesday, 07/14/98 14:44:07 GMT

NEW anvilfire users. If you found the Guru page on a search engine, please note that this is just a small part of anvilfire! Please bookmark our home page. We have all kinds of on-line blacksmithing information including book reviews, blacksmithing news, plans and more. Check our "What's New" page for the almost daily changes!

-- guru Tuesday, 07/14/98 15:21:01 GMT

RE: "hammer welding"
Wynne, are you refering to the technique used in the restoration and fabrication of classic cars, custom cars, etc? If so, you might try WWW. They offer several books about hammer welding automobile sheet metal.

John Pepon -- pepon at Tuesday, 07/14/98 15:38:28 GMT

John, I had a little trouble with your URL so I tracked it down. The RaceSmart site is setup a little peculiar and you need the whole URL.

I found them through this link on HotBot.

On sheet metal it is done with a torch and a "buck". I've seen the results (you can't do it on modern cars, metal too thin).

-- guru Tuesday, 07/14/98 16:01:01 GMT

Morning guys and gals (gal?),

Great website, Jock! I've been reading it for a while and I finally have something to contribute.

Hammer welding: In Wynne's case "Hammer welding" refers to a process of welding sheet metal in such a way that the stresses are reduced (actually the welds are shrunk(shrinked?)) by lightly hammering and dollying the weld before the seam cools. This is another of those crafts that are in danger of disappearing (like lead filled body work) because of "better" materials and tools(Bondo, MIG welders, etc).

The process goes something like this:
1) The panels to be joined are fitted as closely together as possible. Easy access is needed to both sides of the panels and there are some size restrictions (like the length of your arms).
2) Using your smallest welding tip (did I mention that this is a gas welding process?) that will give adequate penetration and small fill rod, run a 1"-2" bead on the seam. The bead needs to be made as small as possible and a minimum of heat being transferred to the rest of the panels. Typically this involves using a small flame, holding the torch at a low angle and adding as little fill rod as you can get away with.
3) Quickly set the torch down (there are special stands for holding the torch in between welding and hammering) and lightly slap the weld with a light body hammer against a curved dolly (a common sheetmetal working tool for you blacksmiths in the audience). Lightly hammer the length of the weld until seam is even. I don't know exactly why hammering the weld makes it shrink (Jock probably can shed some light on this), but the process works like magic! Sort of like forge welding when it is done right!
4) This process is repeated until you have your panels completely joined. If it is done right there is very little finish work required when complete.

There is a pretty good explanation of the entire process in "Hot Rod" magazine's Bodywork and Painting book. That's were I learned how to do it. Like blacksmithing the only way to get good at it is to foul up some metal until you get the art mastered.

Good luck, Wynne. Some of you other guys should give it a try and let us know how you do!

Warm and Sunny in San Jose! You know if Columbus landed on the west coast, the Indians would still have the east coast!


Mark Crane -- rdcyclist at Tuesday, 07/14/98 16:09:44 GMT

Mark, Thanks much! Shrunk is correct. The example I saw was in about 1964 so my memory may have faded a little. . .

My brain went blank and I called a "dolly" a "buck" but it does the same thing. When I need a bigger one a 12# sledge hammer works!

Normally when shrinking sheet metal you heat a spot (over a dolly) and gently tap the place that rises from expansion with a hammer. Done corectly, this causes the metal to be pushed on the plane of the metal making it thicker using up the extra metal. Blacksmiths call this upsetting. Upsetting a thicker place in sheet metal tightens up the rest removing bulges. Improper hammering stretches the metal making a bigger bulge

NOTE: If the hot spot OR weld bulges AWAY from you, tap AROUND the hot spot pushing it toward the dolly. Only tap on the hot spot when it bulges UP toward you.

TORCH STAND: If you do a LOT of this there is a little device you can get from your welding supplier called an economizer valve. It has lever on which you hang or lay your torch shutting of the gas. It also has a pilot light so that when you lift the torch you just wave it by the pilot to relight. Not only does this device save gas but it improves shop safety! I use mine with rosebuds. Nothing worse than laying down a lit rosebud "rocket engine" while working!

-- guru Tuesday, 07/14/98 16:32:03 GMT

guru: regarding the power hammer, you have seen the basic layout and im about to make the die's for it, these are welded to a thick steel plate, should i weld them to the plate then arden them or harden them first?, the steel is to soft without hardenening, i will make the next set out of a harder steel but for now these ones will have to do.


Andrew Hooper -- administrator at Tuesday, 07/14/98 23:20:03 GMT

Hardening mixed materials. . . or welding hardened material?

A difficult decision that should be determined by the material type. For convienience I'd harden then weld. The large flange you are making will be difficult to handle, heat and quench.

With an unknown type of steel it would be wise to draw the temper of the dies as much as possible on the side to be welded. Then weld using a small bead on preheated parts. The preheat should be as hot as the dies can stand without drawing the temper of the faces.

Remember my suggestion to test harden a sample of the steel you are using. The same applies to tempering and welding.

The manufacturer that makes the type of dies like yours uses heat treated H-13 tool steel, preheats to about 800ºF, then welds with a special rod using DC reverse. The rod was sold as "Super Missle" rod but the name has changed. . . Very expensive.

On my JYH I used old railroad rail (similar to AISI 4140), torched, sawed and ground the dies then welded them with common E-6013 AC rod.

I was lucky and got away with it. However, there is no telling how long (or short) these dies will last. . .

-- guru Wednesday, 07/15/98 00:51:11 GMT

I just bought an anvil, in fairly good condition, marked "Lakeside" and "120" (its weight). The Base has rough, hand-forged looking marks all over it as does the underside which also looks like it sank as it cooled after casting. Have you heard of Lakeside? any thoughts?
I once saw a photo of what was called the "Sandia" forge, supposedly a very advanced, efficient atmospheric propane forge developed by Sandia Natl. Labs. Do you know anything about it and where I could find drawings?
Thank you very much.

Gary Paudler
Industrial designer, familiar with materials and processes, good craftsman but new to blacksmithing.

Gary Paudler -- atmo at Wednesday, 07/15/98 05:56:45 GMT

LAKESIDE & SANDIA (Gary): If you are new to smithing this is the place! We answer both basic and technical questions.

The Sandia forge drawings are currently available from ABANA for $25 (See the post earlier this month by Peter Lindbergh). We have a link to ABANA (Artist Blacksmith Association of North America) on our links page.

Lakeside, I've heard of it, let me look in "the" book. . .

Lakeside was a Montgomery Ward trademark, anvil's was made by Columbus Forge and Iron Company and Hay-Budden, both American companies. They also both made forged wrought iron anvils with steel faces. The hollow in the bottom is from manufacturing not shrinkage, although some look like that.

"The" book, Richard Postman's new Anvils in America. See our review in the Bookself our book review page. He still has signed numbered copies available!

-- guru Wednesday, 07/15/98 12:47:42 GMT

Counter   Copyright © 2001 Jock Dempsey, Cummulative_Arc GSC