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Ask the Guru any reasonable blacksmithing or metalworking question. He or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

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

The Guru has three helpers that have been given a distinct colored "voice".
  • Grant Sarver of Off Center Products (purple).

  • "grandpa" Daryl Meier a Damascus steel legend (green).

  • Jim "Paw-Paw" Wilson, official demostrator at Bethbara Historical Park, Winston-Salem, NC (OD green).

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    -- guru Saturday, 08/01/98 00:00:00 EDT
    Lots of blacksmiths like S-1 because for most work they can forge it and use it without heatreat. Can be cooled in water in use if it is just dull red. ALL heatreatable steels are MUCH better when properly heatreated. I think S-1 is the only "S" steel with tungsten, which is what gives it hot working ability. Shock-resistant to stand up to beating, tungsten for hot hardness and "no-brains" heatreating, closest thing I can think of to an all purpose blacksmith tool steel!

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Tuesday, 09/01/98 02:33:00 GMT

    Cincinnati Tool Steel Co

    Telephone: 815-226-8800
    Postal Address:

    5162 28th Ave
    Rockford ,IL

    They seem happy to take small orders, they have a fantastic inventory, and prices 20 - 30% of what others want!

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Tuesday, 09/01/98 02:47:26 GMT

    I,m retired and looking to get into a rewarding hobby. I have thought about wrought iron metal working and ran into your site. My leval of experence is limited to welding and I have a MIG welder and can use it efficiently. What I need to know mostly is how to get started, what tools are needed and where to get them. I live in Sacramento Ca and know of no local outlet for tools or knowledge. Any help and direction you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks Bill

    Bill Boren -- bboren at Tuesday, 09/01/98 03:21:49 GMT

    GETTING STARTED (Bill): First see the earlier posts on this subject. Order the books and catalogs listed there. As a welder you've got a good start as it is a skill needed for building your own equipment. You should have oxy-actylene equipment to complement the welder. There are several blacksmiths in Sacremento. Seek them out. They will be your best source of supply information.

    When I was last in Sacremento I purchased an anvil at a scrapyard and was given another (175# Peter Wright)! The antique shops up in the gold country immediated above Sacremento are full of old blacksmithing equipment from the mines (or at least they were in 1985).

    Coal may be a problem. All the stuff we found locally was for landscaping. Although it DID work, it was marginal coal. This is typical of Western coal. I'd recommend buying or building a propane forge. You are also less likely to get in trouble with the local enviromental people with a nice clean gas forge.


    An anvil of 100 pounds or better. See all the info on anvils under 21st century before buying a used anvil.

    A forge. Coal, gas or oil.

    A hammer - Start with no more than a 2lb blacksmiths hammer and then work up if you need. They are available in most hardware stores. Channel lock makes a good hammer. Some folks like using a heavy ball pien. I personally avoid the fancy special hammers. Use the common ones until you can make your own.

    Tongs. You can make these but they are easier to buy (new OR used). However, making them is good practice and you can start with long stock (18" or more) and avoid needing tongs to start (making tongs).

    A good HD vise. Preferably a blacksmiths leg or "post" vise. These are the ONLY vise designed to take the pounding of smith work. A machinists "chipping" vises of over 100lbs will do.

    Common hand tools - A HD hacksaw, files, cold chisles, punches. . .

    Machine tools will be needed if you get serious. A metal working floor drill press, a power hack or band saw, lathe, POWER HAMMER?

    AND if you want to make gates or architectual work you SHOULD have a heavy duty steel bench (4x4 feet min) OR a weld platten (Acorn plate) for layout and assembly. A 4x4 weighs about a ton so they make a GREAT anchor for vises and benders.

    -- guru Tuesday, 09/01/98 12:28:41 GMT

    Guru, I''m a factory salesperson. We have a customer interested in us manufacturing a special hook made from 1050 Spring Steel with a hardness of HR-40. Only problem is that he is loooking for us to temper the products with a salt bath.

    I have not found a good reference to the process of salt tempering. Can you tell me about this procedure or point me to a good reference source.

    Best regards,
    Richard Cacciato

    Richard Cacciato -- rcacciato at Tuesday, 09/01/98 16:10:37 GMT

    Hi there, I enjoyed your page, but still can't find a plan for constructing a genuine bellows, similar to the ones used in a forge, but scaled more for the home. Any info that can be furnished would be appreciated. Thank you

    Randy Scott -- treeline at Tuesday, 09/01/98 17:14:32 GMT

    Hi there, I enjoyed your page, but still can't find a plan for constructing a genuine bellows, similar to the ones used in a forge, but scaled more for the home. Any info that can be furnished would be appreciated. Thank you

    Randy Scott -- treeline at Tuesday, 09/01/98 17:29:42 GMT

    SALT BATH: The Knifemaker, Don Fogg uses a salt bath for tempering and has built several of his own baths. He explains the process on his site (see our links page).

    The process is pretty simple. Salt (table salt) is melted in a crucible (stainless) by a controlable heat source (gas or electric). A thermocouple is used to determine the temperature of the bath and run the controls. Parts are placed in the bath and allowed to soak until evenly heated.

    The advantage of salt bath tempering is less oxidation, uniform heating and positive temperature control.

    I ALMOST picked up my ASM heat treaters manual today (I am not in my office). IT may have the information you need about regular industrial equipment for the job. See ASM on our links page.

    -- guru Wednesday, 09/02/98 02:34:17 GMT

    BELLOWS (Scott): I don't have plans but there is a photo and an article in my Great Bellows on the 21st Century page.

    I'm not sure what you mean by scaled for the home.?? Blacksmith's bellows were sized for different sized forges. Most were a little small but this was due to the availability of cheap (child or slave) labor. The ones I built were perfect for a general purpose forge.

    Small bellows were used by other craftsmen such as Jewlers and Watchmakers.

    -- guru Wednesday, 09/02/98 02:43:43 GMT

    All sorts of clorides are used in "salt" pots (as they are called in the heatreat biz) For temperatures up to 1000F sodium nitrate can be used. Barium cloride is used for high temps (like 2500F). For temps to 3000F magesium fluoride can be used. Most heatreat salt pots are heated simply by passing an electric current thru, controled by thermostat. Heatreat supplies have an assortment of salts for this purpose. Anyone ever try welding out of one of these?

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Wednesday, 09/02/98 03:05:58 GMT

    Meant to say all sorts of SALTS are used.

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Wednesday, 09/02/98 03:24:54 GMT

    My question is: I need to know the sizes for the top and bottom die on a 250# beaurdy power hammer. Thank You, Gordon's Forge.

    G.Kirby -- gforge8st at Wednesday, 09/02/98 06:35:47 GMT

    From my experience with beaudry hammers I'd say about 3 1/2 X 8, just need to make sure it will fit between the guides, nothing magic about the factory size dies. If you need dies made call Bob Bergman 608.527.2494

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Wednesday, 09/02/98 07:05:04 GMT

    Come to think of it, probably more like 4 X 8 for a 250 Beaudry.

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Wednesday, 09/02/98 07:06:34 GMT

    Harland...The July issue of the Clinker Breaker says that there will be demonstrations by Dan Tull (traditional blacksmithing) and Steve Dunn (knifemaking). K.R. Fritts (rifle making), Kenny Rowe (leathermaking), Willard Smith (beginning blacksmithing), Sharles Stemmann and Bill Roberts (intermediate blacksmithing), Jim Hastings (tinsmithing). Other demonstrators may have been added, and ther will be something of intrest for everyone..

    Randall Guess -- rguess at Wednesday, 09/02/98 13:16:42 GMT

    I am Just getting started in knife making and blacksmithing and just picked up a 100LB Vulcan anvil. I was wondering if you happen to know what manufacturing process was used to make Vulcan anvils. The only markings are the name vulcan over an arm & hammer with an uninteligable word under that, and under the horn is the number 10.

    Matt Matlock -- Matt_Matlock at Wednesday, 09/02/98 13:49:35 GMT

    Can anyone tell me how to clean the slag/flux from the bottom of my LPG forge. When I get to welding temp. there is a pool of molten "stuff" about 1/2 to 3/4" deep in the ceramic kiln shelf I put in the forge to protect it from the flux. It hasnt hurt the welding process, but will soon eat through the shelf and start eating the origional liner.

    Randall Guess -- rguess at Wednesday, 09/02/98 17:45:03 GMT


    Couldn't you just replace the ceramic kiln shelf?

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 09/02/98 22:30:25 GMT

    Jim...I forgot to mention in my post that when the forge is cool the shelf seems to be *stuck* in there pretty tight. I tried lifting it with just my fingers but it wouldnt budge. I cut it with very little clearance. I will try some gentle leverage with a poker while it is still warm. Removing and replacing is the senseable thing to do, but I thought if I could clean out the mess I could still use the shelf. Thanks for the reply.

    Randall Guess -- rguess at Thursday, 09/03/98 01:28:42 GMT


    Could you get hold of it with a pair of tongs while it's hot? Also, grandpa left you another approach over at the Junkyard. His method might stretch out the time before you have to replace.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 09/03/98 01:40:16 GMT

    A friend who is into stained glass work gave me a small amount of nitric acid patina today that I used on a candle base. It seemed to do a nice job, and I am considering waxing the base tomorrow. Does anyone have experience using this type of patina, and if so have you waxed it or left it alone? Any comments about patinas would be helpful. Rainy in Gravenhurst, Ontario.

    Mark Hachmer -- marlin at Thursday, 09/03/98 01:45:05 GMT

    VULCAN ANVIL (Matt): The Vulcan anvil with arm and hammer trade mark was made by the Illinois Iron and Bolt Company (1875-1969). It is made of cast iron with a tool steel face. They are often listed as an "occasional duty" anvil. It was a very popular anvil due to being carried by many hardware catalogs. The number 10 is the weight with the last digit removed.

    NITRIC ACID PATINIA (Mark): The substance you mentioned is for darkening the copper and lead used in the stained glass work, accelerating the natural patina. There are chemical processes for protecting steel that produce relatively durrable finnishes (such as used on guns) but they are not suitable for exterior use or use on items not that have any scale, dirt or oxide. They are designed for items that will be kept very dry or well oiled and maintained (like guns). All acid processes used on steel must be neutralized with a base such as boiling in a solution of sodium bicarbonate then haveing THAT thouroughly removed. Waxing over an acidic surface will mix the acid with the wax and produce unpredictable long term results. The best waxed finnishes for iron work start with a good clean heat oxidized surface.

    Most waxed or oiled finnishes are high maintence. Your customer may regularly polish their silver but may never think to to re-oil or was your rusting ironwork.

    FLUX IN FURNACE (Randall): This subject came up before and there seems to be few solutions. Grant said it best when he said that you should consider your forge lining a consumable item. Foundries do.

    If you do lots of forge welding the bottom of your forge is not the only part being damaged. Grandpa noted that the whole inside of the forge gets coated from the vapors (boiled flux) and stalagtites of flux may even form. He also suggests just "dipping" out the flux on a bar of steel, forming a ball of cooled flux.

    My solution was a platinium pan. I tried to get a price on material but was unsuccesful at the time (lots of web sites with no real facts). This may be expensive but it may less so than relining certain forges.

    The problem removing the liner you put in may be that it is welded in with flux, glass, or scale. Next time you put in a liner consider the little "bridges" or stands used in ceramics. These little devices have points that the work sets on. If it gets welded in with glaze the points break off and do less damage than having a large surface weld. They are about 3/8" tall and would give you some inspection space as well.

    -- guru Thursday, 09/03/98 12:08:55 GMT

    I am setting up a 12' X 20' shop and I wonder if you could help me with an efficient layout. I have 2'X2.5' coal forge now, 125# Peter Wright, 345# Peter Wright, 4.5" post vise, 202# Yost 6" Bench Vise, and an imitation Hossfield Bender, 15"x 15"x 4" Swage block. How can I make best use of what I have in the space that I have? Thank you.

    Bob Conner -- rconner at Thursday, 09/03/98 18:24:23 GMT


    There are probably going to be as many opinions on shop setup as there are members here at anvilfire! (grin)

    Jack Andrews, in his book "THE NEW EDGE OF THE ANVIL" describes a couple of layouts, and has drawings of them.

    But let's take a look at something. The most effecient working area is a circle. With you standing in the middle. If you can get to any of your major tools with no more than one or two steps from the center of the circle, you'll be in pretty good shape. A lot depends on which tools you use the most often.

    I have my forge sitting at 12 o'clock, my anvil at 9 o'clock with the slack tub directly behind it and my post vise is at 3 o'clock. 6 o'clock is open for any portable tool that I need to use. My layout table is on line to the left of my anvil when I'm facing the anvil.

    Stock storage, scrap table, paint table, are all outside the primary circle, in a secondary circle.

    But we all work a little differently, so we all arrange things a little differently.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 09/03/98 20:33:20 GMT

    Guru..I like the idea of using the ceramic *legs* to decrease the surface area that touches on the bottom. If I do get that shelf lose and out of the forge I will deffinately try your idea. I also like Grandpa's method of dipping it out and will try that first. Ultimately I think I will have to take the forge apart and reline the bottom. Again thanks to everyone who has responded with information.

    Randall Guess -- rguess at Friday, 09/04/98 02:01:27 GMT

    Shop Layout (Bob): The way most shops end up your inventory would fit in about 1/4 of your shop space!

    It mostly depends on the type work you are going to do and this may change.

    PRIMARY SMALL FORGING: The anvil should be in front or to the side of the forge with about 5 feet between the two. You should be able to rotate on one foot (turn) when taking work from the forge to the anvil. Closer is better but it can get hot next to the forge so a little distance is good in the summer. The post vise should be the same distance and is often approached from the side. The rest of the equipment goes anywhere it works for you. The bender is almost always used cold so does not need to be close to the forge. Matter a fact, the universal benders get low useage in most shops and are often kept under the bench.

    Leg or post vises should be anchored to a post or bench anchored to the floor and wall. My machinist's vise is anchored to the wall via a bracket under the bench that goes from the vise bolts to a plate on the wall. A weld platten or "Acorn" plate is also a good place to anchor a heavy vise. However, the vise should be easily removable or mounted on the side lower than the platten so full use can be made of the platen.

    My favorite forge setup (outdoor portable) is now in Jim Wilson's care. Forge with vise anchored to the left (facing the forge) and in front of the forge a few feet, tong rack on the triangular vise bench with slack tub between vise and forge. I had a hanger for my welding torch at the right corner of the forge and my arc welding stinger often hung next to that. Coal, gas and electric all in one spot.

    Although I carefully designed this particular setup most of the time we just gather our equipment near the forge and adjust as needed. The only thing that really needs careful thought is placement of the forge and later placement of heavy machinery that may be bolted to the floor. The forge is generaly backed up near a wall. Drafts from nearby doors or windows are the biggest concern. Its good to have a nice breeze in ones shop but if it blows across the forge it will be a smokey shop!

    Try laying your shop out on paper, draw your anvil, forge and vise and then but in your feet and then steps. You want the fewest steps between the things you do the most (thats right, put the anvil between the refrigerator and the bed :o)

    -- guru Friday, 09/04/98 02:06:06 GMT


    Jock of course is talking about the ultimate portable shop. There are pictures elsewhere on Anvilfire. And he's right, it's a very workable arrangement. I've only demo'd with it once, been working on re-building it since. But that's just about finished, and I'll be trying it out again about the middle of next month. When I finish the re-build, I've promised Jock to scan some before/during/after pictures and send them to him to post.


    The trailer is REALLY looking good. And I've saved a couple of souveniers for you.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 09/04/98 03:11:21 GMT

    Jock: I agree most people ignore the bender 'cause it ain't blacksmithy. Just want to let folks know that many times I've done enough in two hours on my Hossfeld to pay for it! Probably the only machine I've ever owned that I could say that for.

    You guys may get tired hearing me talk about bending, I just want people to realize the $dollar$ potential. Does'nt mean you have to become an industrial smith, just be a little more open to a good way to subsidize the part you want to do.

    Did two small custom bending jobs in recent days. One was for four pieces of 4340 bar inch and one eighth thick by four inch wide about thirty inches long to be bent with a tight 90 six inches from one end. Price:$1,000.00! The other job was for twenty-four pieces of three inch aluminum round bar sixteen inches long bent 90 degrees on a three inch radius. Price: $100.00 each or $2,400.00 for the job! Did I do these jobs on a Hossfeld bender? No! Could I have? Piece of cake! In both these cases the customer had either tried themselves or had somone else try to do these jobs using BF&I (brute force & ignorance) and were delighted to find someone who could do the job at all! You can do things with a little heat that can't be done with ANY amount of power. Neither of these jobs took more than a couple hours, and the customer was as pleased as I. I know more than a few smiths who would be happy to bring in this much in a month!


    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Friday, 09/04/98 07:16:13 GMT

    I also have a bending question. Need 16 pieces of 1"x3/8" stock bent on a 90 degree angle. The 3/8" side is to be on the inside or as was stated on the Chapter Rings Project...bent the "hard" way. The 90 degree corner is to be a forged corner. I have tried 2 methods so far: 1) the approach described by Francis Whitaker in his book and 2) a do whatever seems right at the moment approach. I have 2 forged square corners but one is too thin on the outside edge and the other has a small cold shut on the inside of the angle. The thickness is good though. I might also add that the above results did not come easy. Any suggestions?

    Ron -- hmmrhead at Friday, 09/04/98 13:19:40 GMT

    Has anyone had dealings with Little Giant in Nebraska City, NB phone#402.873.6603 they claim to have replacement parts for all sizes of Little Giant hammers?

    Rex Barker -- RexBarker at Saturday, 09/05/98 00:01:54 GMT

    Where can I find a 100 or 200 lb.power hammer Location and prices.
    Jim in the northwest.

    James Griswold -- tilliegriz at Saturday, 09/05/98 01:24:10 GMT

    A couple of us were sitting around talking and we realized that none of us knew what properties gives spring steel the ability to have spring. Also can forging, welding etc. have any effect on the steel?

    Bill -- applecross1 at Saturday, 09/05/98 01:37:30 GMT

    UNIVERSAL BENDERS: Grant, I agree wholeheartedly that these are tools AND the jobs done are largely overlooked AND can be highly proffitable. The best job I had was a bending/welding job mixed with some drilling. The combination kept the machine shops AND welding shops from even bidding on the job! Customer paid for special tooling (made money making that too).

    1x3/8 FLAT BENT THE HARD WAY (Ron): You don't mention any radius so I assume you are looking for square corners AND inside and out to boot. Technicaly this is a welding job. Old squares (such as carpenter's squares) were forge welded. A simple lap joint.

    STILL WANT TO DO IT THE HARD WAY? You have to upset the material that would be missing if you bent the stock cold. The upset should look like a blended 45x90 degree triangle and be slightly thicker (15-20%) atr the corner tapering to the inside. A little extra mass in general for a length equal to twice the with is also helpful. Then bend away at a yellow heat. Once bent you should have a little extra stock which can be smoothed out.

    LOOKING FOR 100 LB. POWER HAMMER? My 100# LG is still for sale (on the East Coast). See it on the Power Hammer Page.

    SPRING STEEL: Hate to dissapoint you guys but ALL steel is springy and has the same springyness! This property is described as the Modulus of Elasticity and is also used to calculate deflection (such as in beams). This value is aprox 29.8 million pounds per square inch for all except the highest alloy steels. All metals have this property though it is very low in some (such as lead). And varies more in alloys of non-ferrous metals such as aluminum and copper.

    SO, what's different about SPRING steel? Hardness. Soft mild steel is springy but has a low YEILD point. Hard steels have a high yeild point therefore spring further. Where a soft spring yeilds the hard spring breaks. Given two identically shaped springs, one made from mild steel the other made from "spring steel" both will deflect the same under load up to the point where the soft spring yeilds.

    Believe IT or NOT!

    LITTLE GIANT: Rex, I think you are talking about Sid Sidimyer (sp) the ONLY game in town. Sid bought out what was left of Little Giant and has both original and newly manufactured parts. I've never delt with him but the blacksmithing community is too small and too closely knit for him not be reliable and stay in business! If you talk to Sid tell him the internet is helping his business!

    -- guru Saturday, 09/05/98 04:02:48 GMT

    Re:Little Giant in Nebraska City

    Sid Sudemyer who now owns Little Giant has a sterling reputation and is doing an outstanding job giving good value and great service.

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Saturday, 09/05/98 05:30:44 GMT

    Grant, thanks for the spelling correction!

    Hector (Bub) Giumetti

    Bub Giumetti of Gibbstown, NJ, was the first to correctly identify the manual tire changer and the brand Coats! Bub's anvil is on the way to him! Bub's response was on July 14th.

    Dan Baily also correctly identified the tire changer and brand (Dan, a Coats 1010 is an air opperated tire changer). Dan's response was on August 24th. Sorry! We didn't have a second place in the contest!

    Congratulations Bub!

    -- guru Saturday, 09/05/98 18:17:55 GMT

    guru at

    Dear Jock,
    The Royersford lives! Tra la!
    Yep, plugged in my new motor-- I decided the converter route to
    activating one or the other of my two ancient 3-phase motors was too
    problematic-- and the old monster runs like a big sewing machine. Runs
    true, too. No bit-wander.
    Now to keep it that way. There are about 345 oil ports scattered around
    the machine, and feeding mostly journal bearings or naked shafts with
    open ends, they naturally leak out the ends of the shafts about as fast
    as I fill up the cups or squirt SAE 30 into the holes. Friend suggested
    chain saw oil for my Little Giant, saying it has more "cling." I haven't
    remembered to use it, but he swears by it, and I'm wondering if that
    might be part of the answer.
    Thing about the Little Giant, though, is the main shaft has one grease
    zert at the aft end, and an oil hole up front.
    The Royersford, on the other hand, has no grease zerts, just oil holes,
    and skinny, shallow, little ways cut into the babbitt to transport same.
    No oil, no lube. Plug those ways with dirt or heavy grease as some
    previous owner did, and again no lube.
    So what's a lad to do? I'd appreciate your thoughts on weight of oil to
    use, frequency of application of same.
    (Another friend, an old timer, said those cups once upon a time held
    glass vials that it was his job on the railroad as a kid to keep filled.
    Ever seen any of those... for sale?)
    Finally, one of the gears turns out to have acquireds a hairline crack
    in its cylinder-- don't look at me! I don't think I did it!-- just below
    where a pin enters to go through both sides. Crack is only on one side,
    does not go up past the pin hole. So far at least, that is. This is the
    little gear that picks up the force from the worm gear driven by the
    pulley off the main horizontal shaft and sends the force down a short
    shaft to a similar gear and thence to the power feed. I'm inclined to
    leave it to hell alone, or put a hose clamp on it as a truss, rather
    than risk brazing it or silver soldering it.
    But I don't know how much stress it gets-- plenty, maybe, on a heavy
    cut-- and how much strain that stress will exert on the remaining cast
    iron in the gear.
    So: my next question is: you mentioned a while back spending beaucoup
    bucks to replace some gearing on yours, as I recall. Where did you find
    it? Boston Gear? How much might a little gear like this go for?
    I know you're busy as hell, and this obviously isn't terribly urgent,
    but if you have any thoughts on these two questions, I'd appreciate
    hearing them.
    Next project: an ancient South Bend lathe in not-quite-but-just- about
    as bad shape. I started on it today.
    Did I tell you my major finding here at Entropy Research? The Second
    Law of Thermodynamics can be beaten, entropy can be reversed. But it
    costs extra.
    Thanks in advance.
    All best, John

    john neary -- jneary at Sunday, 09/06/98 03:34:19 GMT

    John's drill press project is the product of a long off-line discourse on how the thing was put together. . . Now the result.

    Stickier oil sounds good. We used to mix STP 50/50 with SAE30 for assempling engines (VERY sticky). However, I normally just oil once per use with whatever is in the oil can. A couple times a day if the machine is being used heavily. Oilers on these machines were just what you see - oil holes. I have occasionaly added oil cups to old machines but generaly it is impractical to do in all places. The oil cups are hard to come by too.

    I prefer non-detergent 20W20 oil for machines. Detergent oils tend to absorb water from the air (that's what they are designed to do) and then cause rust (under the oil). This doesn't happen in the engines where the oil is designed for use due to high temperatures that evaporate off the water.

    The important thing is to OIL THE MACHINE (DAVE!).

    The Slack-Tub Pub is currently broken and is being looked into.

    -- guru Sunday, 09/06/98 04:13:54 GMT

    RE: oil cups. The MSC catalog devotes 10, of its 3000+ pages to oil cups,gravity feed oilers, adjustable feed oilers etc. They are on the web at MSCDIRECT.

    John Pepon -- pepon at Sunday, 09/06/98 17:26:49 GMT

    can you tell me where in atlantic canada I could learn to blacksmithing.I have a background with horses but would like blacksmithing for a hobby.

    Steve -- sirfire at Sunday, 09/06/98 22:09:12 GMT

    I know your'e busy so I'll make this quick. I'm new to forging but have made a few knives that have turned out somewhat decent. I have built a propane forge from plans on the internet. I was wondering the process for forgewelding. I have tried it a little but the peices of steel would not fuse together. Basically all I have been able to find out is "get it white hot and beat it". Could you help?

    tom kingdom -- kingdom at Monday, 09/07/98 02:26:47 GMT

    I am interested in "getting into" blacksmithing as a hobby, but I am on a budget (grad student). What would be the best way to get started and where can I purchase supplies. I attended a vo-tech class to learn welding, but other than that, I'll be starting from scratch. Please help me get a start. Thanks!

    Marc Czapla -- mczapla at Monday, 09/07/98 03:21:08 GMT


    Need some help for a ironmonger friend who is currently laid up. He's looking for a copy of Joseph Moxon's book, "Mechanick Exercises or Doctrine of Handy Work" first printed in 1703 (?) re-printed in 1958. Any help would be appreciated.


    Rick Carignan

    Rick Carignan -- ratl at Monday, 09/07/98 05:10:50 GMT

    FORGE WELDING (Tom): There is a certain zen like aspect to forge welding that of us get and some don't. Much of this is a matter of practice. Once you do it right, practice, practice. .

    The first thing that must be right is your forge. Gas, oil OR coal. With coal forges you need a good quality coal. Good coal has a high BTU value and burns relatively clean. Some coal just can't be welded with while realy good coal makes it relatively easy. Gas forges have a tendency to run lean (oxidizing) and cause a lot of scale. It is very difficult to weld with an oxidizing fire. In any forge with the right atmosphere two pieces of steel brought up to a welding heat while touching will generally fuse.

    The next thing to know is the correct temperature. Welding heat is just at the temperature the surface starts to turn liquid or just a little below. Above that temperature the steel is generaly burning. If it does weld it may have been ruined. The higher the carbon content of the steel the lower the welding temperature. One of the reasons people like to forge weld wrought iron is that it is difficult to burn and it is welded well into the liquid temperature range.

    FLUX is required for most forge welding although there are a few people that can do without. Plain old 20 Mule Team Borax purchased at the grocery store is the most commonly used flux. Anhydrous borax can be purchased from ceramic suppliers and is a little easier to use and is recomended by many. Do not experiment with anything else until you have learned to handle borax flux.

    DOING IT: Joint preparation (you realy need a book on this point). Generaly called "scarfing" the joint may need to be upset to prevent a small place at the weld, the edges are tapered so that they blend in and the faces are gently curved so that the flux and slag can flow out of the joint during the weld.

    Heat the two pieces to be welded to a red heat and then flux. Some folks use a flux spoon, some dip the part or sprinkle by hand. A friend of mine heats a pointed tool, dips IT into the borax and then touches it to the hot metal in the fire and lets the liquidfied flux flow onto the part.

    Continue heating the metal until it is at welding temperature. You may need to flux again while heating. If the flux is boiling you have overheated and will need to reflux.

    When ready, quicky pull the pieces from the fire, align the joint and hit the middle of the joint and then work outward. DO NOT hit the joint as hard as you can. This blows out the flux AND the melted surface. Hit is just hard enough to close the joint. As soon as the joint is closed it has usualy cooled and you can now hit it as hard as you want. If the joint is not completely closed, reheat and flux then weld and dress the rest of the joint.

    The easiest weld to make is a "faggot" weld. This is where a bundle of rods are tied together and welded. It is also the same thing if you bend a rod back on itself. These type welds are used to make the "blacksmiths twist" or "basket twist".

    GETTING STARTED (Marc): Reading up on the subject is a good start. Try Alex Bealers The Art of Blacksmithing and Jack Andrews NEW Edge of the Anvil. Both are available from Centaur Forge. Ask for a catalog when you order the books. Their catalog is almost as valuable as the books and will also help you identify tools you find.

    Starting with all new equipment is generally prohibitively expensive for most. Used equipment is where you find it, however there are a few sources. Once you know what you are looking for many tools can be found in country flea markets, antique and junk shops. You can also substitute almost everything (check the archives for previous getting started posts). On the Internet try the Blacksmith's Junkyard - Scrapbin and the anvilfire Virtual Hammer-In. My friend and Peddinghaus dealer Bruce Wallace also deals in a lot of used equipment and could probably completely outfit you (see banner ad or our Directory.

    Join ABANA or a local chapter. Seek out other blacksmiths. They may be your best source of info as well as equipment and supplies. Check out the forges in the anvilfire NEWS Vol. 2 (Camp Fenby). These little do-it-yourself forges are both portable and don't take up a lot of space. We also have plans for the classic "brake drum" forge on our plans page.

    Read your books (and anvilfire!, start collecting equipment and if you have a problem feel free to ask! Finding anvilfire! was a good start!

    -- guru Monday, 09/07/98 05:18:50 GMT

    Eastern Canadian Organizations (Steve). This is the best I could find (not really Eastern). Contact them with your question. They should be able to help.

    President: Betty Hourie,
    1358 Woodbine Ave
    Toronto, ON Canada M4C 4G5
    (416) 421-7158

    -- guru Monday, 09/07/98 05:29:15 GMT

    What are some simple ways of blueing metals using common materials?

    gary c grinnell -- grinnell at Monday, 09/07/98 15:37:10 GMT


    Have you opened your mail yet? Why don't you post the picture of the fly presses on you Power Hammer Page? Let's talk about these after everybody gets a chance to see them. I'll pu tne of the smaller ones up against MY 500lb. Nazel for anything but drawing! Run on three HP motor! Quiet too. After all your crying back in the Junkyard (yeah I know, me too) about a sketch pad for guest drawings, where's yours?

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Monday, 09/07/98 20:03:43 GMT

    Overheard at Mickey Mouses divorce hearing: "I didn't say she was CRAZY! I said she was Efing' Goofey!"

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Monday, 09/07/98 20:08:04 GMT


    I got your great image of the flypresses and YES I will put them on the powerhammer page! However, there are a few problems on this end. First problem is that the image is too big for a reasonable loading time on a web page. Second problem is I just flambe'd my trusty old MultiSync 2A monitor trying to upgrade this sludge-o-matic PC I'm using at Josh's (so I could edit pages in the field)! Now I am using an OLD borrowed antique Zenith data systems 16 color VGA monitor. . . To make things even better I get a 4800 baud connection 3 out of four times. Life in the field is great!

    I'll try editing your image blind and see what happens. Do you want prices and ordering information posted???

    Sketch pad is only a matter of money (to pay a programmer). I could take off a year (ha ha) and write the thing myself. . . I tried flying an interactive sketch pad (like a chat - also now broken) past a few Internet programmers but they just didn't get the idea. Can't believe none of them understood how productive two guys can be scribbling on a napkin at lunch!

    Read your joke which I'll now censor for those more restrained folks.

    -- guru Monday, 09/07/98 22:58:37 GMT

    I can do it all this end if you want. Made it grey scale 16 color. Want ot smaller?

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Monday, 09/07/98 23:27:56 GMT

    Yeah, I keep forgetting when I make it quarter screen it's still 640 by 480!

    So, you see why I say when I'm talking fly presses I'm not talking about the same thing as other people?

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Tuesday, 09/08/98 00:06:29 GMT

    Is this like a real time chat board???

    Jere-- -- jere at Tuesday, 09/08/98 01:11:34 GMT

    Grant, send it as a JPEG at 80% compression (B&W or Color). For the specific image about 400 by 300 pixels would be a good size (most of whats left in an average browser screen.

    Jere, No, THIS is not a real time chat board - are you asking about the interactive "screen chalk" idea?

    -- guru Tuesday, 09/08/98 01:35:13 GMT

    BLUEING: The simplest blueing is called temper blue and requires nothing but heat. Polish the steel part, clean to remove ALL oils, fingerprints. . . Then, heat a relatively heavy block of steel on your kitchen stove (or shop stove if you have one). Use a clean spot on the top of the block to help judge the heat and temper color desired. Turn off the heat when hot enough and set the part to be blued on the block (using tongs, tweezers or a wood spatula). Then watch the color of the part. When it is an even blue quench the part in clean warm water. Oil or lacquer the part.

    BROWNING (the antique type) is nothing but controlled rust. Start with clean part as above. Place in a "damp box" (wooden box with wet rags). Part should be supported on wood pins where finish is not critical or not desired (inside gun barrel, screw hole. . .). When there is a light even covering covering of rust "card" the loose rust with a piece of wood. Clean with fresh water and put back in the damp box. Repeat until the part has a smooth even brown. Boiling the final finish in a strong lye water solution will make a "Plum" finish (I think). Oil to prevent further (destructive) rust. Salt can be used to accelerate the browing process.

    I have a book full of gunsmithing blueing formulas but my library is currently over 100 miles away. Most of these recipes consider common materials to be nitric acid, hydrocloric acid. . . Try Dixie Gun works for a reference on the subject and Centaur Forge has Firearms Blueing and Browning by Angier (I think this is the book I have). . . Also see my post on color case hardening on the Virtual Junkyard.

    -- guru Tuesday, 09/08/98 02:33:33 GMT


    This is a backup of the guru page as of the post above. Both the guru log and the Virtual Hammer-In logs were mysteriously errased sometime today. We are looking for the cause and a backup of the Hammer-In.

    Sorry for the inconvienience.

    -- guru Wednesday, 09/09/98 02:55:59 GMT

    I need some suggestion on a hood and flue pipe for my coal forge.
    In the back of Centaur Forge Catalog, it recommends a Class A system. This is a triple wall, stainless steel pipe according to my local supplier. Is this an overkill? I don't remember ever seeing this used.
    Please help, as I set up my new shop. Thanks!

    Bob Conner -- bob.conner at Wednesday, 09/09/98 12:28:57 GMT

    What is the best way to put a chemical rust finish on steel / metal ?
    What is the best rust finish ?????

    Thanks a bunch in advance !!

    Randy Crabtree -- rcrabtree1 at Wednesday, 09/09/98 14:07:18 GMT


    Reference a Class A smoke evacuation sytem, (ie a chimney. :))

    A class a system is a LITTLE bit of overkill, but better safe than sorry! Most building codes REQUIRE a Class A system in urban areas.
    Even in rural areas, they make sense.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 09/09/98 15:21:37 GMT


    Depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you want an "instant antique" finish, mix common clorox and water fifty fifty in a spray bottle. Take the object outside in the morning, spray it down and leave it. Go back about every 30 minutes and spray it again until dark. Next morniong flush it well with cold water, and voila! Intant antique. You can speed the process up by using pure clorox but the rust "grains" will be much larger. You can keep it wet by keeping it covered with a rag and periodically soaking the rag, but the finish will be un-even.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 09/09/98 15:27:00 GMT

    I am really grateful that there is this opportunity to ask questions related to smithing here. I know nothing about swordsmithing or at least nothing that would be real knowledge. However I am currently writing a book on the tarot. In a tarot deck there is one suits called the suits of the swords and I would like to describe the different stages of forging a sword.
    If you could give me a web-site address or hints for literature...or even answer the question yourself I would be most grateful!!!
    Thanks in advance.
    Birgit Scheja aka Shikara

    Birgit Scheja -- Shikara1 at Wednesday, 09/09/98 16:29:16 GMT

    In regards to the hood over my forge,(see above) I was also planning on using a exhaust blower over my hood. This would be difficult to connect to the triple wall pipe and will the steel blower be able to tolerate the heat it will see? Also, how much bigger does the hood need to be over the forge to properly work?. Thank you.

    Bob Conner -- bob.conner at Wednesday, 09/09/98 17:01:35 GMT


    Hood size, someone else will have to answer. But if you are going to use a blower you really should use triple wall pipe. Yes, it'll be more difficult to hook up. BUT the blower will occassionally pick up sparks from the fire. That is a definite fire hazard.

    I'm reminded of an old Pennsylvania Dutch question:

    "Why is it that there is never enough time or money to do the job right the first time, but there's always enough of both to do the job over?"

    Course, after a fire it's even easier, you just start over.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 09/09/98 20:21:10 GMT

    I forgot to ask the question, "do I need an exhaust blower to get adequate ventilation"? My forge is going to be on the east side of my building and the prevailing winds come from the South West, I am afraid of getting down drafts. Sorry for troubling you. Thanks for your help.

    Bob Conner -- bob.conner at Wednesday, 09/09/98 20:24:24 GMT


    If your chimney is tall enough I don't think you'll need a blower. The code (in this area) calls for the chimney cap to be at least 24" above the roof, 10' away from the chimney. As a general contractor (what I do for a living), I try to get at LEAST 24" above the ridge line. 36" is better. Once you get a column of air heated, natural convection will take it from there. Remember, hot air risses. And the taller the column of air, the faster the hot air will move in it.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Wednesday, 09/09/98 21:02:43 GMT


    The two most important things to remember when building a chimney of any kind are the diameter of the smoke stack (or the square if using flue tile) and the height of the column. As a general rule of thumb, a forge flue less than 10" in diameter is too small. Mine is 8" and I need to replace it. It draws, but not as well as it should.

    I have a friend who NEVER used his fireplace. I know they like to have a fire, because they always comment when they are over and we have one going in the fireplace. I asked him why they never used theirs. His response was "Because the damn thing smokes so bad that we can't stay in the room with it!" Next time I was over, I took a look. The chimney is on the North side of the house, our prevailing winds also come from the south west, and the chimney cap was BELOW the ridge line! I called my mason over, told him to raise the chimney 24" above the ridge line. He did. Told my friend to let it sit for two weeks, then try a fire. They had us over for dinner, and we lit the fireplace. No smoke, good draw, nice fire. Hadn't been able to use the fireplace in over 20 years. Curing the problem cost less than $250.

    Same principles apply to a forge chimney. Big enough, Tall enough, it'll work without a fan.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 09/10/98 00:18:24 GMT


    The two most important things to remember when building a chimney of any kind are the diameter of the smoke stack (or the square if using flue tile) and the height of the column. As a general rule of thumb, a forge flue less than 10" in diameter is too small. Mine is 8" and I need to replace it. It draws, but not as well as it should.

    I have a friend who NEVER used his fireplace. I know they like to have a fire, because they always comment when they are over and we have one going in the fireplace. I asked him why they never used theirs. His response was "Because the damn thing smokes so bad that we can't stay in the room with it!" Next time I was over, I took a look. The chimney is on the North side of the house, our prevailing winds also come from the south west, and the chimney cap was BELOW the ridge line! I called my mason over, told him to raise the chimney 24" above the ridge line. He did. Told my friend to let it sit for two weeks, then try a fire. They had us over for dinner, and we lit the fireplace. No smoke, good draw, nice fire. Hadn't been able to use the fireplace in over 20 years. Curing the problem cost less than $250.

    Same principles apply to a forge chimney. Big enough, Tall enough, it'll work without a fan.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 09/10/98 00:18:42 GMT


    Must have double clicked on the post button. Fastest trigger finger in the east! :) Sorry bout that.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 09/10/98 00:22:53 GMT


    If you lived in Pennsylvania Dutch country you'ed know the answer to your question.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Walmetalwk at Thursday, 09/10/98 02:00:58 GMT


    Have never lived there, but my step dad was from Lancaster County. He retired to Highspire just outside of Harrisburg. Have visited up that way MANY times since I was a kid. I'm now the oldest one left in the family, (no smart remarks, please! :)).

    But though I've heard the question lots of times, I've never heard a decent answer for it. Closest to a good answer I've ever heard was "human stupidity". (grin)

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 09/10/98 02:16:13 GMT

    Swords (Birgit): A lot depends on the type of sword. Books can (and have) been written on the subject. There are links to several sword sites on our links page and the knifemaker Don Fogg has a lot of information that is relative to sword making. Order a Centaur Forge catalog. They have a number of books on the subject.

    Swords can or were be made of bronze, plain steel, laminated steel, pieced steel and iron (old European), Damascus (wootz - dark and middle age Eastern swords), mixed iron/steel (Japanese swords). All different processes. Operations most have in common:

  • Forging or shaping the iron/steel.

  • Rough finishing

  • Hardening (heating to a dull red and quenching in water)

  • Tempering (Heating to 400 to 1000 degrees F to reduce the hardness and brittleness

  • Grinding and finishing (polishing - engraving - etching)

  • Assembling the hilt and grip

  • After a little study feel free to ask again.

    FORGE HOOD/VENTS: Size depends a lot on the forge and type of chimney. If you put a ventilation blower directly over the forge in a shop with low ceilings the ventilation blower will reduce the draft in the chimney and agrevate any smoking problem. Forge shops should have high ceilings (something over the min 8 feet). A forced ventilation system is good but must be correctly designed and installed with the forge in mind. If you are unsure about the specifics and the installation is permanent you should use a commercial setup and follow their recomendations and the building code.

    CHEMICAL RUST FINISH: Steel/metal is an incompatible in this question. Iron and steel rust, other metals oxidize or corrode. In most cases different chemicals and processes are required for different metals. See blueing and browning above. If you want FAST rust use a Clorox bleach solution as described by Jim.

    For the "best" finish, see my article on corrosion and its prevention under 21st Century.

    THE GURU is off and away for the AFC Tannehill conference this weekend! Will be back on-line Monday and will fix the Hammer-IN then and hopefully have a new volume of the NEWS!

    -- guru Thursday, 09/10/98 02:18:58 GMT

    Re: how big to make the hood

    The bigger you make the hood the worse it will work! The very best one I saw was a ten inch stack with a eight inch stove pipe telescoping inside counterweighted so that it could be brought down close to the fire or pulled up to clear odd work. Look at rang hoods even with a fan the smoke will billow around the sides. Then look at a Gen-aire range with it's small slot to remove the smoke and it does a nearly perfect job! With a large hood you loose velocity and are trying suck air from everywhere.

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Thursday, 09/10/98 02:25:46 GMT

    Thank you, everyone, for your good advice. I will install the right material the first time.

    Bob Conner -- bob.conner at Thursday, 09/10/98 13:11:21 GMT


    I wasn't trying to give you a bad time with my comment, but I was trying to make the point that it is usually both cheaper and easier to do something right the first time.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Thursday, 09/10/98 17:53:08 GMT


    JEFF BARTON -- CLANBARTON at AOL.COM Friday, 09/11/98 06:45:25 GMT


    The guru is the person most able to answer your question about casting brass. He's done some in the past. He' currently in PA, but will be back on line Monday the 14.

    How many rounds do you have?

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Friday, 09/11/98 11:28:11 GMT

    I am trying to build a venturi type propane forge and was wondering if you knew of any good sources for inswool or kaowool. I am in the Lubbock Tx. area. And by the way, I love your website! It has been a great help in getting me started.

    Matt Matlock -- Matt_Matlock at Friday, 09/11/98 18:56:47 GMT

    I was wondering if i could etch damacus with an electronic etcher.

    Clay Gilbert -- cgilbert at Saturday, 09/12/98 01:01:08 GMT

    Clay: Yes, damascus can be electro etched. I use a " MARKING METHODS " machine to etch my name through a stencil. Wayne Goddard used sea water as electrolite to etch the pattern in damascus about 15 years ago.

    grandpa -- darylmeier at Saturday, 09/12/98 03:58:21 GMT

    what if any is the advantage of the double horned anvils such as the peddinghaus?

    meade fox -- lcfox8930 at Saturday, 09/12/98 05:27:29 GMT


    One advantage is that you can work to either side of the anvil. There may be another more practical reason, but I'm not sure what. I suspect that it's a matter of preference.

    Most American smiths that I've met seem to prefer the "London" pattern.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Saturday, 09/12/98 12:41:48 GMT

    Not gonna let this one slide by. A double harn anvil doesn't just have two horns, it has two different horns! One is round and the other is square. This is also called the "German style" usually has a number of other features. Very robust construction with almost no distinct waist, hardie hole closer to the center of mass and a gut ugly conical horn.

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Sunday, 09/13/98 01:52:59 GMT

    Dear Guru:

    What famous company was named after Vulcan, the patron god of blacksmiths?

    Dan Hillyard -- hillyard at Sunday, 09/13/98 02:08:16 GMT


    Thank you. I had forgotten that one horn was square. Should have remembered.

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at Sunday, 09/13/98 02:33:58 GMT

    Gentlemen I have a basis knowledge of welding and have helped "hot forge" some when shoeing horses. I'd like to learn more. Recently acquired a Burns DE1 forge from a neighbors barn. Im not sure I've got all the parts. Theres a bottom pot with a grate, and a top with a flu, but they dont match up. Is ther a simple diagram or description of what this should look like? Appreciate your help.

    R. U ZIMMERMAN -- MIZZIM at Sunday, 09/13/98 22:24:42 GMT

    a wile back you were talking tre phase converters i have found a easy way at this adress
    it seems a good way if it realy works

    Örjan Sandström -- pokerbacken at Monday, 09/14/98 11:20:11 GMT

    Dear Mr.Guru,
    I'm trying to locate a source for iron(the real stuff, i.e. no carbon) rod to make authentic flintlock rifle barrels.Do you know of any sources whether in pig form or even old scrap? Thanks! Steve

    Steve Owen -- steveowen at Monday, 09/14/98 14:48:10 GMT

    Double Horned Anvils

    These seem to be a Medieval development and I suspect that they were popularized by armorers. The flat rear horn is ideal for tucking into tight corners for backing rivets as you peen them down. (Not wanting to expend a measurable portion of my salery on one of these wonderous tools, I use a "field expedient" stake for my work.) Albert H. Sonn in his "Early American Wrought Iron" (1928) shows a double horn anvil (since missing) from St. Augustine, Florida. "Believed to have been brought over in the sixteenth century...reputed to be the oldest in the United States." A number of bickerns have the same pattern of one round horn and one flat horn.

    Visit your National Parks:

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Monday, 09/14/98 15:14:23 GMT

    Historical Blacksmithing Information Wanted

    (I'd post this in the Hammer-in, were there a Hammer-in to post it in!)

    One of our National Park Service units is trying to get some information for an Oklahoma state park on blacksmithing from about 1830 to 1860. If any of you have good sources or recommended books, or do interpretations on this skill for this time period (a little out of my era) please let me know so that I may pass the information along.

    Visit your National Parks: (you can find the evolving web page for Washita Battlefield National Historic Site near Cheyenne, Oklahoma under the alphabetic index).

    Our thanks for any help.

    Bruce Edward Blackistone

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at Monday, 09/14/98 15:55:09 GMT

    GENUINE WROUGHT IRON (Steve): Try Daryl Meier, Meier Steel. He has a large stockpile and will sell you some at $1/lb.

    -- guru Monday, 09/14/98 19:32:04 GMT

    CASTING BRASS (Jeff): See the C.W. Ammen book of the same title. It is directly available from the author or can be ordered from Centaur Forge or Norman Larson, Lompoc, CA.

    Mr. Ammen also has books on setting up your own backyard foundry, making patterns and other metal casting subjects. I highly recommend them. Sometimes they can be found in your local library. Once you have studied one or more of these we can probably help you with the specifics of setting up equipment.

    -- guru Monday, 09/14/98 19:52:16 GMT

    DOUBLE HORNED ANVILS: In a recent discussion it was argued that the continential pattern anvil orginaly called the "Leige's" or French pattern anvil (and adopted and manufactured by the Germans) was superior to the "London" type but the British, being typically British, would not admit to anything French being better and never adopted it! The traditional shape was carried over in the American pattern (more slender than the London). The preference for this type may be due to the fact that American smiths were frontier smiths that did a little everything including a lot of horseshoeing. The square flat heal with pritchel hole being prefered for shoeing.

    As to Grant's comment about the "butt ugly" conical horn I will admit that my new "modern" Peddinghaus is one of the uglyest anvils I have ever seen (and I intend to complain to the manufacturer about the finish on the horn)! However, the German anvil I illustrated (Image Anvil-GR) has a very classic, symetrical shape and is a thing of beauty.

    Although rare, American manufacturers such as Hay-Budden made double horned anvils. They were the standard American pattern but had the heal forged into a square horn.

    Today, many smiths prefer the double horned pattern. I photographed a new American made double horn design this weekend and will but the picture in the new edition of the news.

    -- guru Monday, 09/14/98 20:18:51 GMT

    ADVANTAGE OF DOUBLE HORNED ANVILS: Like shaping rings on the round horn (or on a cone) collars and other square cornered shapes can be trued up on the square horn. The range of this work is limited on the American and London pattern anvil by the thickness of the heal.

    Bruce Blackistone brings up a good point mentioning that he uses a stake anvil or bickern for this type work. Although relatively rare, bickerns are found often enough to indicate that they were very common in early shops. There is a 75# bickern in the collection of tools on the Hammer-In page and I have photos of several others. I will post these together at a later date.

    NOTE: A "blowhorn stake anvil" is a sheet metal workers tool and is a true "stake" designed to fit into a socket with a square tapered hole. A bickern is typically heavier (although very small ones were made) and were designed to be anchored into a block of wood.

    -- guru Monday, 09/14/98 20:34:59 GMT

    AIR HAMMER DESIGNS (Toby Hickman): Toby, I'm sorry your post got lost in our recent server debacle. It didn't get erased because BULL is an advertiser. I'll try to address your comments from what I remembered.

    Toby commented on the review (in progress) of the new air hammers on the power hammer page. He noted that the BULL has a significant overhung or cantilevered load by not having the ram in line with the cylinder.

    I agree that this is a design fault (I will address the individual designs in a continuation of the review). However, the problem is not as bad as it initialy looks. Although the cylinder does not act directly in-line with the ram, the impact load of the ram still goes straight into the work and the majority of the impact is not transmited through the "coupling" to the cylinder. Although the BULL gives up some durability here it gains a lot in compactness, manufacturability and price.

    I personally prefer the big heavy old style machines with cast frames, heavy guides and anvils that weigh tons. But for those who want to buy "new", few can afford the $50K price of the Chambersburg or the $12K for the Kuhn. The biggest advantage of the new low dollar machines is that you can make a phone call, put the machine on your credit card and be in business the next week!

    -- guru Monday, 09/14/98 21:04:34 GMT

    R. U Zimmerman: Mis-matched parts. I don't recognize the brand of the forge. However, we have two images that may help you. On the Centaur Forge page under forges there are several types. Click on each image for a closer look. On the 21st Century page there is an antique lever action forge. Between the two off these you should be able to figure it out. If not, ask again.

    -- guru Monday, 09/14/98 22:38:05 GMT

    I seem to remember the 200lb Chambersburg being close to 100K new! And 18 months to build you one! For serious work the 12 - 18K for a used machine or a new Kuhn is pretty reasonable. If your work won't support $200 - $300 mo. payment then you don't need one, you just WANT one.

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Monday, 09/14/98 23:01:07 GMT

    i have decided to go to a spring instead of shocks, this gives me the advantage of practically floor mounting the rear end on my JYH. I was thinking of using 3x6# channel as a link between the rear end and the springs, which would attach to the ram. Am I over or under engineering this?

    Chris -- kilpe4 at Tuesday, 09/15/98 01:11:17 GMT

    Hammer Prices: The $50K was a recent quote for a 100# Chambersburg Utility hammer, the closest thing (ram capacity wise) to the new air hammers. The $17/lb price is pretty much the same for the 200# hammer. With a 500# Utility weighing about 10,000# the price would be about $170K! The amazing thing is that at the same time that these machines are being built and sold new, used machines in good condition are selling for as little as 2% to 10% of new!

    JYH Link: The 3" channel is probably OK. The important thing on a part of this type is the slenderness ratio as it is being column loaded. Without more specifics it is hard to say if this is over or under designed. Probably more important is the configuration and construction of your attachment points.

    Grant will love this! I'm looking a adding a leaf spring to the EC-JYH. A nearly flat leaf (or several) about 16" long attached horizontaly to the top of the ram. The shocks would be replaced with a pair having stud mounting on the lower end. Holes would be punched or drilled in the ends of the spring and the standard shock mounting bushings and washers used.

    With the spring the EC-JHY will hit a lot harder but the shocks will still have that wounderful automatic height compensation. The hammer will still have that odd closed die start and consistant blow.

    I haven't made the change because I am looking for a piece of steel to match the one I used before so I can make a whole new ram (hedging my bets).

    I am also working on two new JYH designs. One built on a reienforced concrete slab to avoid the cost of the hugh base plate I found. The axel would be mounted below the anvil to reduce the height and top heaviness.

    The other is that bench top hammer Jim Wilson wants. It will be a helve hammer with a counter balance spring. A treadle with a "power spring" will counter the counter balance. This machine should have the capacity to be "feathered" for light blows and hit with full capacity when you lean on the treadle. Should be very simple to build if it works as well as I imagine.

    Both these hammers will be built, tested and included in the upcoming JYH booklet.

    -- guru Tuesday, 09/15/98 02:56:36 GMT

    The 100K figure I was talking about was for 200lb self-contained hammer (motor-driven). I've yet to see a general utility hammer perform at anything close to what I would expect from it's weight rating. They seem to consume air out of all proportion to there size. You should be including the cost of a twenty horse power compressor with that hammer. I've owned a half dozen of the little steamers and run a few others and haven't seen one I'd trade a 200 or 300lb self-contained for.

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Tuesday, 09/15/98 04:12:49 GMT

    AIR CONSUMPTION: In my "bang for the bucks" comparison I included a 10HP compressor which had the capacity recomended by Chambersburg in the "installed costs". This may not be big enough but to be fair I also used the other manufacturers recomendations for sizing their compressors and they too may be trying to reduce the installed cost by down playing the needed compressor size.

    You are right. The compressors (for ALL the hammers) should be at least double the manufacturers capacity.

    I've used enough air compressors to know that I HATE to hear them running! Having considerable overcapacity in an air compressor means you get an occasional respite from the noise and a longer lived air compressor. Anyone that keeps up with the things will have noticed that the HP ratings for air compressors has dropped keeping the prices down. However, this drop was achieved by running compressors faster and for longer periods. Durability has been sacrificed for short term economic gains.

    -- guru Tuesday, 09/15/98 04:50:28 GMT

    You need a rotary screw! That's a compressor, not an executive privilage! I've got a 100hp Ingersoll-Rand and people walk by it and don't even realize it's running!

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Tuesday, 09/15/98 05:15:11 GMT

    Mr. Guru,
    I've just now become very interested in being a black smith... Could you recommend a book of some kind, that would help me out with this kind of work? It would likely be a small hobby if mine, so I would be wondering if there are books on how to make a small forge and a bellow.
    Any help or info you could give me, would be greatly appreciated.
    Kip Brower

    Kip Brower -- numbkip at Tuesday, 09/15/98 06:43:38 GMT

    Grant are you saying that a rotary screw air compressor will run an air hammer and do it quietly? I think I'm in love!

    Ron -- hmmrhead at Tuesday, 09/15/98 12:38:28 GMT

    BOOKS FOR STARTING: Jack Andrews' NEW Edge of the Anvil is an update of a classic (see the anvilfire review on the Bookshelf page). Jack has beautiful drawings of all types of tools but being a practical man he uses a blower rather than a bellows.

    There is a book called How to make a Blacksmith's Bellows by Heath. I think I saw a copy of it this weekend at the AFC conference and almost bought it. . .

    Then the classic of classics is The Art of Blacksmithing by Alex Bealer. This book started the modern rebirth of blacksmithing in North America and Mr. Bealer was instumental in the establishment of ABANA (Artists Blacksmiths' Association of North America).

    In any case Centaur Forge has all three books. Their catalog is also an education in itself. Order the books and ask for a catalog too.

    THEN - On my 21st Century page you will find articles of all types that you may find helpful including photographs of a bellows I built showing the parts before assembly and then on the Plans page there is a drawing of a Brake Drum Forge.

    -- guru Tuesday, 09/15/98 15:13:35 GMT

    ROTARY SCREW COMPRESSORS: Generaly are out of most folks price range. However, I DID purchase a USED gasoline powered rotary screw compressor to run the Bement. When I take delivery I will put the best muffler I can find on the exhaust! Being parked on its trailer outside the shop will isolate most of the noise.

    Quiet? My sand blasting contractor has a 30HP electric rotary screw compressor and it is RELATIVELY quite. It has a water cooled inter cooler with radiator and fan that makes a pretty good roar. It IS quieter than the thump, thump, thump of a piston compressor but you still wouldn't want to work next to it.

    In many rural areas (and most sububurbia and residential areas) 10HP is the max motor size you can run without an industrial electrical service (starting at about $10K for installation in VA). Even professionals run into this limitation. It is one of the costs of not wanting to live in or have your shop in a city.

    The big advantage of using a supplied air hammer in the shop is that it forces many to purchase an air compressor which will also run dozens of air tools including hand held hammers and die grinders. You can't run anything else off that Nazel! My trailer mounted gasoline powered compressor can also go to the job site!

    -- guru Tuesday, 09/15/98 15:32:06 GMT

    One point I can't remember mentioning here is that for a hammer it's best to short circut the compressors after cooler and run hot, wet air straight to a steam hammer. There is more energy in hot, wet air, these hammers were mostly made to run on steam and this prevents iceing up. You'd be amazed how hot the air from a piston compressor can get, burns the tpint right off of the pipe! Don't try this with a rubber hose!

    GRANT -- NAKEDANVIL at USA.NET Tuesday, 09/15/98 15:50:04 GMT

    Guru: I'm locked in at ANVILFIRE. This is the only site where this is happening at the present. Have to exit netscape to get out. But while I'm here- Do you know of any hydraulic abrasive cut off sawa on the market?

    grandpa -- darylmeier at Tuesday, 09/15/98 21:59:02 GMT

    Grandpa - (my trap is working! - just kidding) I'm using Netscape also and have had no problems today. Sometimes when the net is slow or your server is having a problem files being loaded can hang your browser. . . I've also had this problem when low on memory (other programs running). Netscape is notorious for being brutal about memory use and Windows is also not too bright about releaseing and making memory available. I've had occasions where I quit EVERY application and couldn't start another because Windows reported insufficient memory available. Only solution is to re-boot!

    I assume you are speaking of a cut off saw with a hydraulic motor (water cutting uses abrasives and is called abrasive hydraulic cutting). I don't know of any but I will look around.

    -- guru Tuesday, 09/15/98 23:11:51 GMT

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