Some tools to drool over.  Image (c) 1998 Jock Dempsey.  Click for enlargement. WELCOME to the anvilfire!
Virtual Hammer-In!

This page is open to ALL for the purpose of advancing blacksmithing.
Please read the RULES before posting a message.
NOTE: This IS NOT the Guru page!

WHY THREE FORUMS? Well, this is YOUR blacksmithing forum to use for whatever you wish within the rules stated above. It is different than the Slack-Tub Pub because the messages are permanently posted and archived.
This page is NOT a chat - it is a "message board"

Our chat, the (Slack-Tub Pub), is immediate but the record of it is temporary. DO NOT post permanent messages there. We refresh the "log" every 24 hours now and your message will be lost.

The Guru's Den is where I and several others try to answer ALL your blacksmithing and metalworking questions to us.

Please note that this forum uses an e-mail encryption system that prevents spam harvesters from collecting your e-mail address.

J. Dempsey  <webmaster> Rev. 7/98, 3/99, 5/2k, 6/2k, Friday, 04/06/01 16:43:25 GMT

Did I say you were out there in the boonies, temp nose-diving toward zero, and it's starting to rain? Rain? At that temp? I meant that my hypothetical "you" was beginning to go hypothermic, and only imagining it was raining. Actually, what it was doing was, it was coming down freezing sleet, little eency ice needles. Pretty soon, it would start to feel all warm and comfy despite not having a fire on account of your chispa wouldn't spark, and even a bit too warm, and "you" would start to disrobe and then.... All because you allowed your fire steel to go into your tinder box decarburized. Tsk, tsk, a helluva way to start the new year! Yrs., etc., Miles
Miles Undercut - Monday, 12/31/01 23:37:17 GMT

I hope every one has a HAPPY NEW YEAR and alway hit it while its hot!!!!!
oofftaa - Tuesday, 01/01/02 03:06:09 GMT

BULLETIN: The hammering and clatter has been ferocious out in the forge for the past several days, but it halted late this afternoon and a mysterious silence ensued. Just now Cracked and Swarf started pushing this monster contrivance out of the shadows onto the driveway. The story of a riveting machine was just a ruse, it seems, to throw snooping industrial espionage agents off the scent. Cracked has just now announced that he has succeeded in building a ... you're not going to believe this... a time machine! It looks... like a Miller Roughneck mated with an acetylene generator crossed with the world's oldest TIG welder, and the leads are connected to a thick copper plate mounted on what looks like a welding positioner. The plate is just barely big enough for Chastity, Yummi, and Swarf to stand together on. Cracked is firing up the Roughneck right now. The engine is making an hellacious racket as he runs over now to squeeze in and join the others atop the plate. I asked him as he passed: why? All I could make out was something to the effect that the 21st Century did not appear to be his cup of tea so far, and not about to be getting any better. Oops, the engine just stalled. I'll keep you posted as this historic, nay, horrific, evening progresses. Yrs. in smiting, Miles Undercut, acting provost, Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/01/02 04:06:07 GMT

I guess there'll probably have to be some kind of coroner's jury or some such, although how they'll do that without a corpus delicti beats me. But, as I told the sheriff a minute or so ago, all I saw was old Cracked running back over to the copper plate after he got the Roughneck popping and backfiring and roaring again, full RPMs, and hopped aboard, up there with Yummi and Swarf and Chaz. They were there one minute, is all I know, and the pressure gauge on the acetylene generator was redlining, the leads on the copper plate were sparking and smoking, and then, the next minute, POOF! They were just plumb gone, vanished. To a better century, I hope. Yrs in smiting well smitten, Miles Undercut, for Cracked Anvil, here at CACA, Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/01/02 05:41:20 GMT

decarborization: Larry: Miles is miles ahead as usual. In addition, it is carbon that changes iron into steel. The more carbon, the more hardenable it becomes. Too much carbon and it becomes unworkably cast iron.
In a reducing fire ( too much fuel) iron picks up carbon. In an oxidizing fire ( too much air) steel looses carbon ( decarborization) and scales.
- Pete F - Tuesday, 01/01/02 08:59:59 GMT

You are confusing S1 with S7. S7 is higher carbon , air hardening and much less forgiving. It is S1 that Dixon uses.

Miles; the loss of your lush crew and their boss is a terrible way to start the new year. Woe is us what yearned for Yummie, hoped for Chastity, and had come to anticipate the colorful advice and adventures of Rev Cracked. I won't know what to do without them...maybe I'll reinstall Windows just to pass the time.
  Pete F - Wednesday, 01/02/02 05:31:46 GMT

passing time: Pete F: If I did not know better I would say you are depresed, even near suicidal. please just try to survive the enormous loss to us all.
OErjan - Wednesday, 01/02/02 12:29:02 GMT

Thinking of Moving to Maine: My wife and I are thinking of moving to Maine in the next year or two. Somewhere close to the coast. Probably no farther north than Penobscot Bay. I am from Michigan and my Wife has spent a lot of time up north so we are familar with snow. What's it like to live in Maine. I heard the taxes were killers. We don't have any children. We would like to get something affordable-150K that would have a small house-a great shop area-she's the blacksmith- and most importantly a fantastic view ot the water if possible. We are living in PA and it is becoming way too politically correct. Appreciate your advice.

Ken - Wednesday, 01/02/02 13:57:10 GMT

S1 or 7: Pete,
Actually, I said S1 in my first post on the subject and Jock wrote back about S7 and I confess that I didn't Know the difference anyway and sorta figured that the S stood for SHOCK resistant but who knows where I got that idea.
Anyway, I got a good temper on my Enders pritchel/butcher by heating the blunt end and watching the rainbow run to purple.
Let me quote a friend who may be misquoting George Dixon and see if someone can correct this or confirm it.
1. Add salt to water until a potato floats in it.
2. Heat tool to light orange. That would be S1.
3. Quench whole tool til cool.
4. don,t temper it.

Mr. Dixon said he makes a tool a day and has about a 1000.
He has found that this method works for him.
I hope I am right in this reporting.
As for me and my house of Enders, I'll harden in peanut oil and temper to brown, purple or pigeon.
Missing him who slipped between the Cracked,
- Larry Sundstrom - Wednesday, 01/02/02 14:04:08 GMT

Whoa! I never intimated that cold shoers were dust at my feet. Some cold shoers can trim, fit, and nail better than some hot shoers.

I bought a pair of Enderes tongs at the Flea years ago, and one jaw broke off upon first usage. The steel may have been OK, but sometimes the heat treatment sucks hind tit. I suspect this was the case. You can tune into and do your own research. Make sure you add that extra 'e' onto their name.

I try to be circumspect when I give heat treatment advice, especially on the Forum. One little mistake, and you could lose an eye {remember the Red Ryder B-B gun warning in the
  Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/02/02 15:05:18 GMT

film, *A Christmas Story*}. S1 and S7 have different compositions, although they are both 'shock resisting' steels, as indicated by the 'S'. The manufacturer recommends that S1 is oil hardening and that S7 is air hardening except when the section is 2 1/2" or above. If you do the potato-brine thing, you're on your own hook.

When you order tool steel, demand that you receive the forging/heat treatment specifications.

Happy Long Ears
- Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/02/02 15:12:54 GMT

frank and sense: Mr. Turley,
I went to the Cal Poly shoeing school in 1971. We hand made all our shoes from bar stock. Probem with that was that we only did two feet a day. Gene Armstrong, the instructor at the time warned us about going up to the mountains and working as packers cause we could get corrupted and end up shoeing cold. But I went anyway and between summers did an apprentiship in Virginia with another "cold shoer". Then I worked on my own for about eight years and was a pretty good basic shoer who took pride in good nailing and perserving the intergrety of the wall. Shaping the shoe to fit was my thing.
Anyway, sorry about that remark, I just guess I have a guilty conscience for beating on all that cold steel (and early onset arthritis in my hands). I changed professions in 85 and then in 97 found myself discovering the joys (and frustrations) of forge work. Now, I don't shoe and mainly
do bench work (off the ground).
Thanks for your reply. I think I'm heat treating the Enderes punches alright now. The separate issue is how Geo. Dixon makes tools and it would be nice if he would drop us a line on that. I probably never should have gotten started on that topic only I was triing to explain why I hadn't tempered a butcher.
- Larry Sundstrom - Wednesday, 01/02/02 17:42:34 GMT

VIRUS ALERT: If you get an e-mail from me, DON'T OPEN IT. It contains a virus that stupid me opened up in a mail from a friend. It sends the virus to everybody in my address book. Sorry!!

Steve Barringer - Thursday, 01/03/02 00:24:17 GMT

passing time/grieflet: OErjan:
Thank you for your concern....mourning fades in afternoon fortunately.
You are certainly right that reinstalling Windows repeatedly is a sign of possible impending suicide.

Larry: I have been oil quenching my S1 and not tapering and they come out a tiddle soft. There does seem to be a difference between different mfg's S1,,some being more hardenable. I have hundreds of the silly little time eaters and have mostly switched over to S7, but perhaps a more severe quench would make the more forgiving S1 usable..but for more complex punches that are hard to dress...I've been going over to S7 because, once you bury that stamp in hot steel a few times...the temper is gone, gone, gone.
Last...dont harden the whole tool...leave the butt as soft as possible...they stick better and are easier on the hammer.
Tempering an unknown steel.
If you stroke the cutting edge with an old file as the temper colors run towards it...then you can feel when the file begins to grab a little and stop the action...
- Pete F - Thursday, 01/03/02 05:10:25 GMT

Confession: Guys,

I really don't want to enter this message.

Some of you will probably never forgive me.

But I went to confession last week, and the priest made me promise faithfully that I would tell the truth.

He's sure to ask me Sunday if I've done it yet. I've been putting it off, cause I don't want to lose your respect.

But I have to tell the truth.

The fruitcake jokes bother me.

You see, I LIKE fruitcake! Always have. One of my favorite memories from childhood is walking across the tracks to the A & P store on the day after Christmas to buy a couple of their fruit cakes. It was always a special treat to me.

There! I did it! Please don't be TOO hard on me. (plaintive whine)

Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 01/04/02 04:15:40 GMT

Fruitcake: Paw Paw;
I simply would never have associated you with fruitcakes!
I thought they were a California specialty.
It is a measure of our fabulous plenty and fat times, that we would turn our heads and poke fun at such a sweet rich foodstuff. May we always have that luxury. ANd I'm glad we have you Jim, cause somebody has to eat them.
Im imagining a nationwide movement of folks sending Paw Paw their fruitcakes by the thousands. By spring he is too fat to swing a hammer and is using them as bricks to add to the house. Ants swarm as do bees but never bother to come inside.
Jim...round the first of the month I find myself checking in to see if youv'e posted another chapter...just can't help it...Perhaps it is all that fruitcake influencing your pen, but if this excess of wholesomness doesn't stop I'm gonna start trying to corrupt your hero and herone(sp?). Or perhaps we could get Miles U. to write alternative chapters.
- Pete F - Friday, 01/04/02 05:12:49 GMT

Pete F.:
You leave my kids alone! I want them sweet and wholesome!

(and if you think it was easy keeping them out of the sack in book one, wait till you read book two! grin)

Miles, you stay out of this! (nother grin)
Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 01/04/02 06:39:56 GMT

The mention of fruitcake reminds me of the old joke about carrot cake. "Hey, how'd you like the carrot cake?" "Pretty good; I couldn't taste the carrots!"
- Frank Turley - Friday, 01/04/02 13:55:28 GMT

One last fruitcake posting. My reciepe calls for only two types of fruit, candied cherries and golden raisins. The secret is the pint of Kentuckie's finest that I soak them in, and then add all to the batter. Works wonders for the cake, and does the cook some good too.
Brian C - Friday, 01/04/02 23:00:08 GMT

Sounds edible. Or drinkable, as the case may be. You use Maker's Mark? (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 01/04/02 23:59:34 GMT

Paw Paw:
Nope. I'm an Ancient Age man. Maybe a little of that cake would make this broken ankle heal better, What do you think?
Brian C - Saturday, 01/05/02 01:03:55 GMT

Kentucky's Finest: Brian and Paw Paw, You have just named two of Kentucky's greatest claims to fame. And as for fruitcake, it is a southern treat. In fact, there is a monastery here that makes a considerable amount of there income from the baking and sale of fruitcakes. The secret? One of the monks uses some technology from the life he led before becoming a monk. He has developed an injector system that consists of several long needles that injects the secret ingredient into the cakes. The ingredient? Good old Kentucky bourbon.
- Larry - Saturday, 01/05/02 04:03:17 GMT

Now what makes you think I have ANY experience with Kentucky's finest? (grin)

Jim, Jack, and Jim. We're very old friends.

Jim Wilson, Jack Daniels, and Jim Beam.

Spent a lot of time together in some rough parts of the world.
Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 01/05/02 04:23:19 GMT

Larry: Where in the Commonwealth are you located? I grew up in Lexington. Matter of fact I requested the Wildcat blue cast for my leg yesterday>
Brian C - Saturday, 01/05/02 15:36:13 GMT

From their record the last few years, you might consider changing their name to the Mildcats. It'd be cheap to do, just turn the W over. (evil grin)

Good thing for them they aren't in the same conference as the Demon Deacons! (chuckle)
Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 01/05/02 16:49:49 GMT

Ky. Connection: Brian,
Lexington?.... I think that is the big glow on the horizon to the south of me. Actually I live about thirty miles north of Lexington. Halfway between Paris and Cynthiana. I know Lexington well. We did a lot of work there when I worked for the fabrication and erection company. UK campus, Federal prison out on Lesstown, Lafayette High School. And my oldest son lives just off Versailles Road.
Paw Paw,
I agree the Wildcats are only a shadow of their former selves. The team to watch in the next two years will be the Louisville Cardinals. Rick Pitino will build them up into a winning team just like he did the Wildcats.
I know I'm going to regret this, but.... Who are the Demon Deacons?
- Larry - Saturday, 01/05/02 20:02:48 GMT

Well, since you're a Kentuckian, I'll grant you absolution (ONCE!) for not knowing that the Demon Deacons are THE teams from Wake Forest University. (grin)

Paw Paw Wilson - Sunday, 01/06/02 02:49:28 GMT

KY's finest product...: Paw Paw, as a Tennessean exiled to KY I'm forced to point out that Mr. Daniel's elixir is a product of Tennessee!

All: If you like bourbon, Buffalo Trace is a near-religious experience. Made near Frankfort, KY, not too steep, and smooth as a green rouge polish...
Alan-L - Sunday, 01/06/02 15:57:22 GMT

Ky's finest: Paw Paw,
Thanks for cluing me in on the Demon Deacons. Seems to me Kentucky has played them a time or two.

I'm not much of a bourbon drinker myself ( I prefer Salty Dogs). But I have heard that Buffalo Trace turns out a real good product. If you ever get up to Frankfort check out the carved buffalo in front of the distillery. A guy by the name of Sandy Shu, from Georgetown, carved it from a big tree stump with a chainsaw. His wife says he can't draw a straight line with pencil and paper, but give him a chainsaw and he is a master artist.
- Larry - Sunday, 01/06/02 19:09:30 GMT

Blacksmith's Magician: At one time, I had a set of plans for building a "blacksmith' magician. Even printed them out. Now I've lost the darn
thing. And I've promised to send a copy to a friend.

Any body got a copy? Or a source? Or an idea?
Paw Paw Wilson - Sunday, 01/06/02 20:08:33 GMT

Peter Wright Anvil:
Howdy All-

I have just received a Peter Wright Anvil from my neighbor. I tried to buy it from him but he won't sell. I have it on loan for a while so I can try out some bladesmithing.

Anyway, the numbers on the anvil are 0 3 15 which i think I figured out to be 99 pounds, right?

The anvil surface has some rust pits in it, should I have the surface ground or milled or just use it as is?

Last question, how can I figure out how old the anvil is?

Thanks for your help-

L. Wood - Monday, 01/07/02 01:14:56 GMT

Peter Wright Anvil:


I had a typo in the above email addy. This one is good.
L. Wood - Monday, 01/07/02 01:17:51 GMT

L. Wood:
Yep, 99 pounds is correct. 28 pounds times 3 equals 84 pounds, plus 15 pounds equals a total of 99 pounds.

For dating, I'll need some more information. Do a rubbing on the side which has the weight markes. Might want to do both sides, just for luck. Also check under the horn on the front foot and see if there is a serial number there.
Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 01/07/02 01:28:25 GMT

Paw Paw:

on the side with the weight marks it says:

Peter Wright Patent (each word underneath each other)

Under that is says:

Solid wrought (the words make a circle)

Below that are the weight marks of 0 3 15. there are eight puch holes in an oval pattern above the 15 in the weight mark. I assume those were for hardness testing. Below the 0 in the weight mark are four more puch marks forming a line.

On the same side, above and inbetween the feet there is another mark that looks kinda like an upsidedown capital letter F.

The only markings under the horn were in between the two front feet. There are two of the same markings. The markings look like four triangles all at 90 degrees from each other with the tips in the middle. They kinda look like "iron crosses".

I will try and get some pics of it and give you a link to them. The is alot of rust and stuff so I don't know if the pics will work.

BTW, what is the best way to clean this guy up?

Thanks for your help.
L. Wood - Monday, 01/07/02 02:21:09 GMT

Anvil Pics:

Here are some Pics, hope this helps:

I think you can just cut and paste those links.

Thanks again.
L. Wood - Monday, 01/07/02 02:53:22 GMT

L. Wood:
Those help, but if you can email them to me, I'll be able to see them better. Just click on my name for my e-mail address.
Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 01/07/02 02:59:11 GMT

Thanks, Larry!

My wife loves chainsaw art, we have a couple of bears around the house, I'd kinda like a buffalo out front myself!
Alan-L - Monday, 01/07/02 15:46:34 GMT

Buffalo Trace: For those who are interested, check out

Brian C - Monday, 01/07/02 16:15:45 GMT

new comers to blacksmithing: Check in your area for a blacksmithing group that meets regulary. Join the group, the information and contacts are priceless.

Our group met Saturday. Roger Lorance of Illinois demonstrated. He demonstrated the making of a handcuff, candle holder out of a fence post, a hack saw, a knife made out of a 3 tine pitch fork. No books I know of would give this information. Things like this you learn that you can't find in a book. Even if you need to drive a couple hundred miles it is worth it for the information gained.
- Dave Wells - Tuesday, 01/08/02 00:11:21 GMT

GROUPS: Dave is right. And if you can't find a local group START one. I ran an ad selling some blacksmithing equipment a few years ago and got a tremondous response. I'm sure many of the same folks would love to get together and pound some iron. There is power in numbers!

Books don't cover it all and never will. Our iForge demos already cover many more specific items than do all the blacksmithing books I know of. We just keep adding more and more. . . But we need more volunteers and ideas to keep it up.

Soon I will be reorganizing the demos into groups to make it easier to find specific items. Its one of those things you don't think of until you need to organize. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 01/08/02 19:05:48 GMT

Sad News: Fred Caylor passed away recently. He was founder of Rural Smiths of Mid-America and past president. Fred was mainly known for giving Little Giant power hammer rebuilding workshops in conjuction with Sid Suedmeir of Little Giant.
- Dave Wells - Wednesday, 01/09/02 01:00:03 GMT

Where to start?: Hello all, I am just starting to get into Blacksmithing, and was wondering where i should start.
Is there any price guides out there for todays prices for tools, forge's and anvils etc. ?
Any info you can provide would be greatly appreciated
- Flint Blackmane - Friday, 01/11/02 00:02:36 GMT

books books and more books
art of smithing ,new edge of the anvil,modern blacksmith are three I sigest
then there is also courses or joining a local chapter of ABANA (look in the links page for there web site)
as to tool prices were you are and who you know (or meet) makes a large diferance in the cost.
keep your eyes open and know what you can afford to spend.
anvils go for $1 per LB up to $6 a LB I sigest you buy the best anvil you can find and afford
  MP - Friday, 01/11/02 00:53:36 GMT

Sources & Prices: Flint, click the drop down menu at the upper right. Down toward the lower middle of the menu is our all of our advertisers. Centaur has an on-line catalog with prices as does Kayne and Son. Wallace Metal Works has a used equipment page with prices and Bull Hammer and Nimba Anvil also have web sites with prices.

You had to look no further than here. The same drop down menu is on most of the other pages.
- guru - Friday, 01/11/02 00:54:03 GMT

Getting Started: Linked on our guru page is an article titled "Getting Started".
Getting Started
- guru - Friday, 01/11/02 01:00:14 GMT

Flint, after you look over the getting started, and get your feet wet a little, check the LINKS page on this site. Killer amount of information there too. This site is a gold mine of information.
- Steve ( Ten Hammers ) O'Grady - Friday, 01/11/02 07:51:15 GMT

Thank you all: Thank you to all that made the above suggestions, this is a HUGE help. I have been looking for prices, equipment etc. for about 2 months now, and I have only managed to find one book so far, The Art of Blacksmithing. The author talked about the ABANA a fair bit. Of that I was super thankful. To hear that there was a blacksmithing community put a light in the tunnel.
This site is truly a prize and indeed a goldmine of information.
Again thank you for the help and I look forward to talking with you all in the future.

- Flint Blackmane - Friday, 01/11/02 11:01:33 GMT

Flint Blackmane:
In additon to ABANA, there is a growing organization called Cyber Smiths International (CSI for short). You can find information about joining that organization on the main page here at Anvilfire.
Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 01/11/02 18:39:08 GMT

Paw Paw Wilson:: Thanks bud i will check that out also.
Flint Blackmane - Saturday, 01/12/02 13:14:41 GMT

DOWN TIME: Sometime this weekend our server will be off line for an hour or so for updating.
- guru - Saturday, 01/12/02 16:51:04 GMT

Does anyone know of a source for Sq. Head Lag Bolts?
- Geoff - Saturday, 01/12/02 17:38:31 GMT

SQUARE HEADS: Geoff, Sadly they are no longer made. If you must have them then cut off a longer bolt and rehead it. Square head machine screws are still available if it is possible for you to use them.

As long ago as 20 years ago I was told they were no longer available. However, at the time, bolt makers would make them if you bought a barrel full (thousands) and could wait for the production scheduling. Today there are many less bolt makers (in the US) and finding one to deal with might be imposible.
- guru - Saturday, 01/12/02 22:30:22 GMT

Square heads: Good Guru, I have simply heated the heads of bolts, and forged them square for specific needs. None broke yet, but nothing real tough needed either ( meaning not for an overhead shelf, or something where I NEED to know that the bolt is proper hardness ). These were just off the shelf common grade 5 bolts. Heat the washers too, to remove the galvanize, and you got an authentic look. No guarantee on the hardness though. I have also done this with lags.
- Steve ( Ten Hammers ) O'Grady - Saturday, 01/12/02 23:11:14 GMT

heating galvi: steve
be real carefull of heating galvinsed products burned zinc gives a toxic vapor that can make you VERY ill (even in a well vented shop) before I knew of it I gave my self zinc fever (a form of heavy metal poisioning) (feels kind of like a bad flu) the effects are cumilative and once you Have had it if you are exposed YOU WILL GET IT AGAIN and worse case. welding galvanised metal and in some cases over heating brass along with brass grinding/sanding dust can also poision you.
to be safe soak the park in mearic acid over night (to remove the zinc) and then then rinse with water (may want to nutralise the acid with bakeing soda) then treat it as any other part.
- MP - Saturday, 01/12/02 23:47:49 GMT

Thanks Mark. :) The hood takes the nasties away. I don't weld the stuff though. Good tip on the muratic acid.

  Steve ( Ten Hammers ) O'Grady - Sunday, 01/13/02 08:39:08 GMT

Zinc shakes: 10, I'll second MP on this.
It is cumulative and really vivid!
That is the short term effect, emphasema is the long term.
Grimm stuff.
Just after I had my worst round of metal fume fever with projectile vomiting and #$# at #$# at # on a 15 second cycle for hours....I went to my sister's "touch for health" folks at her insistance. They performed a bunch of quasi-scientific tests and a thorough hair analysis.
Their conclusion was
- Pete F - Monday, 01/14/02 04:17:53 GMT

Pub Registrations: Hey folks, we send a mail response to the e-mail address you register! If it bounces then we don't register you. About 1 out of 10 is either a phoney address OR bounces for some other reason.

Many people setup phoney addresses for use on public forums and then forget to check them. At some point the host closes them down due to non-use or being overfull. When these bounce we pull your registration.

The most recent error we got was "box not accepting mail from your address" (ours). I had to reject the registration.

Our forums now use methods to prevent spammers from harvesting addresses automaticaly. Short of not using e-mail addresses at all, anvilfire is one of the safest systems on the net. If you sign up for forums such as e-groups you will get flooded with spam within hours. Not here!
- guru - Monday, 01/14/02 17:07:46 GMT

Steve I am Matt there seems to be two of use parkinsons on here, mark and matt. some times even I can't keep us straight.(grin)
pete that is classic!!! god save those who think they know more than they do. (I don't think I will)
RE zinc feverhe Be very careful even a forced air hood can leave enough in the air to get you sick over time. you wont notice the effects untill it is to late. I have chucked any thing that is galvnised from the shop but I still run in to the problem now and then.
the last time was when I got a job repairing some lawn chairs they were painted and even though I striped the paint to work on them some remained it was a high content zinc primer with a zinc based top coat (worse than galvnising) the heat burned the paint and I didn't even notice till I woke the next day feeling like hammered S*&t then when I looked at the parts I saw the tell tail white dust (kind of yellow sometimes) and I was being careful (I thought) cleaned the work area with a angle grinder was wearing a mask I was even working out side and I still got sick most likely becouse I have gotten it before and now I am sensative to it.
better to be safe the sick. sorry to beat this point but I wish some one had told me about this before I got sick the first time.
- MP - Tuesday, 01/15/02 00:35:32 GMT


Would sandblasting galvanized material remove the zinc?
Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 01/16/02 02:34:39 GMT

re sandblasting : paw paw
I am not all that sure on that one I think it might depend on the tipe of abrasave used and the flow rate to fast or not an agreseve enough and it might just peen it into the steel. also I have run into the problem with conduit ( and some galvanized tubeing) that the inside is also galvanized and unless you etch it off with acid it will still be there.
you may want to try a small amoutn then burn it and see if you get the white/yellow powder a very small amount should be enought to test and shouldn't be to dangerise if done in very good vetalation.
MP - Wednesday, 01/16/02 02:44:16 GMT

Cone Mandrels: I know we beat this to death a while back, but I have a new floor cone mandrel. 5 inch at the top, 24 inch at the bottom. Just shy of 5 feet tall. Steel. At some point in its life, It was a flanged pipe reducer. It was sitting at my favorite scrap purveyor and yelling at me to take it home and save it from a remelt. I looked at it in the dark.

Then I had to get some steel plate for a friend and told the scrap guy I wanted the cone. I dropped the trailer off this morning and picked it up on the way home. Friends steel and the cone were sitting on the trailer. Tires looked a little low. No scrap guy to be found. I get it home and was trying to unload it. It wouldn't budge. Hmmmmmmm.

Friend comes over to get his steel after I acetylene drill some holes in it. This was submarine builder left overs. HARD plate. He brings a third friend along. It's all the three of us could do to roll the cone off the trailer. Hmmmmmmm.

After it falls on the ground and tips over, I measure the wall thickness. 1.5 inches thick. Hmmmmmmmmmmm

Looks like it was a very high pressure steam nozzle from the local nuclear power plant refit. The small top I looked at was eroded severely. Still about 1/2 inch thick. I figued all of it was about half inch thick. Nice and stout.

So how much is a similar sized cone mandrel worth? I'm guessing this baby goes well over 500 pounds. Even at $.1 per pound......

My ears are ringing. I think the scrap guy is laughing all the way to the bank.

And there is this green glow to it.........
Tony - Wednesday, 01/16/02 03:44:25 GMT

Hey Tony: That scrap guy must have taken a real shine to you..that's the cone we all with for. Easy to find at night...even if it doesn't glow, murphy says your toe will find it in the dark.
Zinc shakes; a good particle filter will take most of the zinc oxide out of the air. It is a smell to remember.
10 Hammers is right about the HCL cleaning the zinc off as will a thorough sandblasting.
Metal fume fever is real memorable if you do it right.It is comparable ( if briefer) to old time chemotherapy...I didn't like either much.
- Pete F - Wednesday, 01/16/02 07:45:28 GMT

sand blasting : I think that one might want to be rael careful with the swarf fron the blasting as it would contain zinc dust that would be almost as bad as the vapor.
pete I don't think any thing short of a fresh air rig would stop the vapor that is produced when zinc is burned. not sure but worth checking into.
- MP - Wednesday, 01/16/02 08:35:48 GMT

You know boys, I really appreciate the concern on the zinc and stuff. Pete is correct on the taste. Kinda like cleaning out an LB White heater thats been in a hoghouse too long. This needs to be done OUTSIDE ( even in subzero weather )with a long snouted blower before bringing it in to replace the thermocouple or corroded wiring that disabled it. Mebbe the valve was bad, whatever. Welding galvanized don't cut it for me, unless it is something of MINE that won't live without the weld ( or braze ). THEN, I use a shopvac hose placed near the stock, and it sucs most of the nasties in the vaccum. Seems to let the shielding gas stay OK, but that can get weird too if the hose is too close. Like I said, this ain't done for anybody else. Some folks weld gas tanks, but there ain't nuff money for that! Epoxy works. I suspect that I really should get checked for heavy metals in my system ( no, not the Hendrix ) someday, and welcome the advice of you folks on which tests you may have had in the past, to advise the healthcare folks here about. Being informed is important. Tony, nice to see you have a nightlight for the shop.
  Steve ( Ten Hammers ) O'Grady - Wednesday, 01/16/02 15:47:01 GMT

VIRUS: This is an old virus with a new twist. I've gotten several copies. A Spanish language letter including some non-sense about Intel software copyrights and a GIF file titled "Intel.GIF". The virus is PE.MAGISTER.B.

This is a destructive variant of PE.MAGISTER.A and trashes the Hard Drive and deletes certain files.

I'm also still getting daily copies of BADTRANS from all over the world. More non-English addresses now. This is one of those that you don't have to open if you use a Microsoft mail program. . . The last copy had a "screened to be virus free" message in the header.

The anti-virus sites hot lists now have all new viruses that I don't recognize. That means that in the last month there have been a dozen new viruses identified in that time. A dozen that would have gotten past month old anti-virus software. If you trust your anti-virus software to protect you it is like playing Russian roulette. Eventualy you WILL lose.
- guru - Wednesday, 01/16/02 17:18:27 GMT

Bellows: Guru and guys,
I know there is probably a listing for this somewhere in the archives of other sections of this site, but I would like to get some fresh input. There was mention on the Guru page about building a bellows. I have plans and enough wood to throw one together, but I was wondering what you guys would suggest for the cover material. I would like to use leather, but a piece that size would be hard to come by around here and the cost would be way out of my range at the moment. Any cheap alternatives out there?
Larry - Thursday, 01/17/02 04:07:30 GMT

Use Nauguhide. Most cloth shops carry it. Upholstry shop might be the best bet, though.
Paw Paw Wilson - Thursday, 01/17/02 05:10:08 GMT

larry: I used vinal nauguhide on my bellow and I am happy with the results with the only exception being that is is very easy to put a hole in and I find that I have to patch it often.
helps if you use a rigid mount and be sure that there is nothing to pinch or catch the materal. patching is easy I use cloth tape (like sports tape) and some caulk. most holes bon't couse any probles but I like to keep ahead of them.
I also tried two valve designs the first being soft lether loosely nailed to a board with 10-12 3/4" holes in it worked but it had trouble filling the botom chamber fast enough to keep up. the new valves are a more traditional flap valve sealed with felt works well and my only advice is to use a light but stiff wood for the "flap" and be sure to use a thin leather/ cloth/ vinal strip to linet the movement haveing a valve pop open and get stuck is kind of a pain in the back side and I had a bit of trouble with that when I moved them around.

any one know if there is any health isues with ARC welding SS I have a job that just came in and I need to know if there are any precautions I need to take. I haven't done much SS welding and am I bit nervese about it. A welder friend of mine is going to help me out but has a tendace to take risks with his health that I don't so....
- MP - Thursday, 01/17/02 06:17:12 GMT

Fray vertical mill: Just wondering if anyone has any info on a Fray #7 vertical mill. It was bought at an auction and we need the manual and any first hand experience. Any info would be appreciated.
- Amy - Thursday, 01/17/02 10:54:31 GMT

Bellows: I used heavily treated canvas for my bellows" "leathers". It was scraps from a place that made Oil Field wind break tarps---I'm still on my first set and it's been 20 years, no burn holes I can find.

For the valves I used thin T6 Aluminum sheet with felt contact cemented on----make sure your hinge mechanism is really "loose". I also installed a "flipover" preventer.

I actually like using the bellows more than the nice hand crank blower I have.

The last set of single action bellows I built I used a staple gun to apply the "leathers" and then nailed strapping over the staples---nicely painted banding material makes it look spiff! Got the wood from discarded furniture, used a tubular metal table leg for the nozzle


- Thomas Powers - Thursday, 01/17/02 16:28:08 GMT

Bellows Leather: When I built my bellows some 25 years ago I bought "buck skin" (I think it was split cowhide) on sale from Tandy leather for $32. We sewed it together with heavy nylon thread. Paw-paw is just starting to have trouble with the seams after 25 years of exposure outdoors.

A few years ago I was at an upholstery supply shop and they had soft tanned whole hides for $80 to $120. A VERY reasonable price for material that will last generations if kept oiled. Lots of nice colors too!

The trick is finding one or two pieces big enough. A 5 foot long bellows has a 12-13 foot long perimiter. You might want to design your bellows AFTER finding leather.

At one time commercial bellows were made with heavy cotton duck. I would wash it a couple times to remove the sizing and then wax/oil it with heavy water proofing to help seal it and retain the washed flexability.

The valves on mine had 3-1/2" holes. Four on the bottom (intake) and two on the center board. The pressure differential is less on the intake so you need more valve area (just like in an internal combustion engine). For maintenance access the valves were on seperate boards. The middle board valve fitting through the larger bottom opening. I never needed to remove them but Paw-paw may now that he has seams to re-sew.

The valve flaps were made of a rubberized laminated material and did not require a supporting board or plate on the back side. The material was about 0.050" thick, a little light. McMaster-Carr sells a heavy cotton/rubber gasket material that would be better.

The reason I prefer leather is its flexability and durability. It is hard to beat. Once you put all those nails in a bellows to hold on the covering there is a high probability that the wood may not withstand recovering. So you want to do the job right the first time.
- guru - Thursday, 01/17/02 17:19:00 GMT

great news : after a difficult interveiw i just landed a job a few days a go at as a full time blacksmtih at a blacksmith shop making everything and anything and it is so fun and i get paid for it. you cant beat that
- rich M - Thursday, 01/17/02 23:49:58 GMT

Welding SS: MP, SS welding rods have the same flourite or flourspar in them that is used as an addition for forge welding. Then there is a little chrome oxide vapor and manganese.

It is more hazardous than common arc welding but the standard ventilation should take care of it.
- guru - Friday, 01/18/02 00:19:53 GMT

zinc Shakes: MP, you are correct...a particle filter won't take all the zinc oxide out of the air, only most...which is no longer good enough for you and me, sensitized as we are.
UM, stainless fumes ain't good for you either...sigh.
- Pete F - Friday, 01/18/02 07:14:32 GMT

how do you get the leather on the bellows to collaspe in when the bellows is pulled shut, I have seen some homemade bellows where the leather baloons outside the bellows frame from the air pressure? Does the leather have to be molded wet or sewn in an accordian fashon? Steve
  steve - Friday, 01/18/02 15:12:56 GMT

Rich M.:
That's good news, congratulations!
Paw+Paw+Wilson - Friday, 01/18/02 15:33:39 GMT

bellows: so far as I know the leather will allways balloon outward trick is to limt how far out it will go easyest way to do this is with a second board per chamber this is just a frame to hold the leather in but is hollow to alow the air to pass through. I guess this could also be done with wire sewn in that would hold it's shape when comepressed

the amount of throw on the boards also makes a big diferance in the amount of ballooning. I made mine to be the same sise full open (both chambers) as the width of the board. I also made the botom board drop down allmost twice the hight of the top board. this lets me fill the top chamber faster and still have enough air in the chamber to push into the fire before my down stroke.
MP - Friday, 01/18/02 18:20:55 GMT

Bellows: Actually, some goes in, some goes out but not much farther than the boards unless the covering is put on loose. You can "train" most materials. However, there is no nice neat shape for the standard smiths bellows.

Accordians and other musical instruments have a "bellows" made of carefully folded paper and cloth. They are often multi part and some are molded. The ones that look like leather are paper covered with thin leather or imitation leather similar to that used on books.

Blacksmiths bellows can have middle boards as MP noted (the way I built mine) or wooden ribs. Traditional bellows had bent wooden ribs that the leather was nailed to along with the boards. Its hard to nail to the ribs so I prefer boards stiff enough to drive nails into. All the working edges of the boards should have heavily rounded edges (1/4" radius) to prevent cutting or wearing the covering.
- guru - Friday, 01/18/02 21:50:03 GMT

For Sale or TRADE:

I have several items surplus to my needs
(no room left in the smithy) they are 1 cast rivet forge,1 5" post vice (needs a sping), 1 hand crank blower ( Canadian Forge & Blower Co. Kitchener Ont) with tripod stand(works great no oil leaks), Anvil with horn broken off(remainder approx #130)..... will sell but would prefer to trade for other useful blacksmithing stuff (swage blocks, tire bender, etc.) :)

My smithy is located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. but will deliver within 400 mile radius ( U.S. border is only 30 miles away ) e-mail me for pics .... or any ? as to what I will trade for.....
Mark Parkinson - Friday, 01/18/02 22:42:53 GMT

Canvas bellows: I have had good luck with the following method of sealing canvas: Wash it first in HOT water to pre-shrink and remove the sizing. Then put a bunch of wax (beeswax is best, but parrafin works) in an old can (1# coffee or similar) and put it in a pot of water on the stove. Use this to melt the wax and brush it into the canvas real good with a 2 inch paintbrush. When dry, heat with a hairdryer so the wax melts and is absorbed. Apply a second coat and remelt again. I did this to a ditty bag I made (sewn first then waxed) and I can submerge it to almost its top with no water getting through.
- Jay Templin - Saturday, 01/19/02 03:07:03 GMT

Bellows: Thanks guys. I knew I could count on you. I am currently using a 12 volt blower, but an old smith told me if I ever do demos I need to go the bellows route. If I dont someone is bound to walk up and proclaim that my rig is not traditional and then try to school me on the way his grand daddy did it. Besides, I want to see what it feels like to work the bellows.
Larry - Saturday, 01/19/02 03:59:19 GMT

You will like working with a bellows. I have a bellows on the demo rig, and have both electric and hand crank blowers.

Of the three, I prefer to work with the bellows. It gives a slower more even heat. MUCH better for forge welding, IMO
Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 01/19/02 05:25:53 GMT

bellows: I agree with paw paw working with bellows gives the niceest heat and is the most fun. the only down side I find to them is that my arms feel the diferance. At home a have a electric champion blower, and I have worked on a hand crank, the bellows puts a lot more strain on my arm over time and when I am pushing the fire back up or doing largish work I can realy feel the diferance . on the other hand the blower tends to be less forgiveing and a lot harder to control the temp of the fire so in the end I don't think I would part with ether of them(grin)

As to the center board thing I forgot to mention that I didn't bother to put in any center boardson my set. Mine are 3'/ 2' and are about 3' at full open the botom board is about 1'10" drop and the top is about 1'6" or so I used 3/8" plywood and some furing strips the nosel is 2" muffler pipe that has a restricter in it (later addition to help keep the top chamber filled and to keep ash and coal out)
I used some 2/4s for the hinge plates and as a place to hang from. I coverd them with vinal and sealed all the seams with caulk. IMO all bellows leak but if it isn't to bad they'll work fine so don't be to stressed about keeping the air in.
one of these days I find the plans for them and post then along with some pix.
I built them for around $50 (one sheet of plywood 3yards of vinal a bundle of furing strips and one 2/4 two hinges and 3 boxs of tacks a box and some scrap) and it took me a day or two to build (I am not a very good wood worker)
MP - Saturday, 01/19/02 12:55:10 GMT

Bellows, Leaks: My bellows had a couple small leaks at the corners where the heavy hinges met the leather. If I had used the classic method of continuing the covering around the hinges (instead of using decorative hinges) there would not have been any leaks. If you use canvas I suggest using leather around the hinge areas. This is economical and durable.
- guru - Saturday, 01/19/02 18:24:16 GMT

Bellows, Tradition and Demos: I always used a bellows when demonstrating. On one occasion while vigorously pumping the belows I had a woman come up and walk around my rig bent over looking for something. I aked, "Could I help you?"

She says, "Where are the tanks?"

What tanks?

She says, "The gas tanks."

I'm burning coal and using a bellows to blow the fire.

She says, "No you aren't. You're using gas, I just can't see the tanks."

I continued to work and she went away. On other occasions I was told I wasn't "traditional" because I wasn't using a hand crank blower. And then there are the DA's that say "well *I* could do that!" . . .

AND THEN. . There was the Ferrum Folklife Festival that wouldn't accept craftspeople that hadn't learned from their parents or grandparents. . . At the time I didn't know I had three generations of Ironmasters as ancestors. . THAT would have really confused them.

How many crafts shows have you been to that the glassblower was using a big charcoal fired glass oven? They burn oxy-acetylene! Or the potters that use hand dug clay and a groundhog kiln?

SO, Don't worry about it. Fire is FIRE. Iron is IRON. Its the results that count. And there will ALWAYS be some dumb SOB that says you aren't doing it "right". Use what works best for you. I love a bellows but for daily work I MUCH prefer to use my gas forge. Some folks claim better control with a bellows but that is usualy because their electric blown forge has no control at all. . . Who's fault is that?

Bellows quit while you are forging. Good sometimes but a pain when you are trying to keep up a hot fire for welding or a heavy piece. As Ralph noted you can also have them explode if you let coal gas filter into them (its when fresh air hits that hot viscous yellow/white smoke that it happens).

An electric blower can be adjusted with a control to produce a gentle contant blast that makes consistant welding fires and it will run while you work. Bellows are from an age when a labor was cheap and the motive power was an apprentice, bondsman or slave. . .

Now you COULD build an electric powered bellows. . . :) A low speed motor and a crank linked to the handle?
- guru - Saturday, 01/19/02 18:50:34 GMT

Bellows Power:
That's what grandchildren are for! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 01/19/02 21:59:00 GMT

Blowers: One thing guaranteed. I used crank blowers for many ( 14 or so ) years. I poo poo'd 'lectric blowers. I now have an airgate made from a scrap tierod cylinder tube, and use the shopvac for a blower. This is the deal for sure. Bellows at Threshers ( Midwest Old Threshers ) in the north shop is VERY good to use. Crank blowers are great too, but the 'lectric blower in my shop is there to stay. I have a demo rig to use when it's important to look correct. Guru's correct though, some folks won't be pleased.
- Steve ( Ten Hammers ) O'Grady - Saturday, 01/19/02 23:28:57 GMT

VIRUSES: There are new even more sophisticated versions of magistr and other viruses circulating. DO NOT open unexpected attachments and NEVER NEVER run EXE's or PIF's that are sent by e-mail.

The new versions have longer well written letters and the trojan file for you to open OR your MIcrosft mail program to automaticaly open.

Be suspisious of any attachment.
- guru - Saturday, 01/19/02 23:49:53 GMT

Guru, Speaking about your conversation with the lady. I was at a festival one time with my wife. Noticed a bunch of iron work for sell along with a forge with hot coals glowing. Getting closer I noticed all the iron was cold bent and electric welded. Looking closer they had a red light bulb burried down in the cold coal.
  Dave Wells - Saturday, 01/19/02 23:50:58 GMT

blowers/bellows: I have a problem with remembering to watch my fire when I am useing a electric blower I tend to turn my back to it to forge and not readjust the air or pile on more coal I end up spending more time "playing" with the fire than when I use my bellows. on the other hand the electric is easyer to change when I switch the fire around to alow for diferant work.
I had a womon come up to me and ask "good sir what maner of beastly skin doth cover your bellows"I ancered her "is the fearsome nauga me lady" most renn faires arn't all the strict when it comes to "corect" methads so long as it has the "feel" I run into more coments when I work a show that has a heavy SCA patonage hear a lot more of those DA's saying I can do/make that. I find that to be verry bad form you may very well be able to make it but dont come into my shop and tell me!!
did a show like ferrum there rules sated that any ony who worked for/with you had to be kin fine for me but some of the vendors were cheating a bit (laser cut parts assembled in house) never do that one again. didn't help that tare down was in the middle of a fish concert. (grin)
MP - Sunday, 01/20/02 15:13:42 GMT


I've been known to handle the person who says, "I can do that!" by just handing he/she/it the hammer and sitting down. Usually get a response on the order of, "I guess that'll teach me!"
Paw Paw Wilson - Sunday, 01/20/02 19:33:03 GMT

Phoneys: Dave, Sadly, I too have seen some real phoneys at shows. But a red light in a pile of coal goes a little too far. . .

I LIKE Paw-Paw's response to "I can do that". Just hand them (preferably the heaviest hammer you have) and sit down. The last show we did I carried a short handled 8 pound sledge (it can in handy). THAT is the one I would hand to the smart mouth heckler.

My response used to be, "Well, just go home, fire up your forge and do it". Of course you know they don't have a forge. . otherwise they wouldn't be smart mouthing you.

But I like Paw-Paw's better. Don't say anything else, don't show them how the forge works. Just hand 'em that big hammer. You might hand them a pair of safety glasses. . . and a short piece of steel. Leave your apron on the anvil.

Helpers, kin? That's a new one on me. But when I went to the 1998 ABANA conference I DID claim the kid I took with me was my son. . the family plan. He was actually a friend of my son's. When show BS levels get that high I would just lie a snake today. . . welll. . make up a good story. Better yet, get Paw-Paw to make up a story. He will have them believing you are a decendant of Th0r! Besides, if you go back far enough we are ALL kin. . .
- guru - Sunday, 01/20/02 22:33:36 GMT

Good Story:
Thanks a lot, guru! (grin)

Sheri just said, "Well, you do have good story telling ability!"

Sheesh! I'm surrounded by dis-believers!

Anybody need a story?
Paw Paw Wilson - Sunday, 01/20/02 23:42:44 GMT

bellows: I am building a pair of bellows. The info ano here is great but it hasn't answerd one of my questions:how thick should the wood be? I bought a lot of wood at a farmers auction, the biggest piece is 16 inches wide an 3/4 thick. Is that to thick? Also will the size of my bellows work : 16 inches wide and about 3 feet long. The second size for the bellows can be : 2 feet wide and three feet long.

I am tanning two deer hides the bellows cant be two large.
Joel - Monday, 01/21/02 00:02:17 GMT

bellows: the thinkness on the wood isn't all that inportant so long as it is stiff enough and has enough of an edge to nail to.
do remember that the more weight the boards have the harder it will be to lift them. I do fine that the top board on mine tends to be to light so I just through a hammer that I am not useing on the top. it is easy er to add weight than to lighten it up or to add a counter weight.
2'/3' is what mine are. I would go with that sise as it will give you a much larger area and there for more volume of air into the fire.

paw paw tryed that once the MOMO put an dent in my anvil chiped off a corner and dinged up the face of my hammer. was kind of fun to watch though. I can't do it any more though becouse I could lose my insurance.

so far as I know they droped that requrment the next sesion. they had prevesly drop the jury requrment (though they still wanted slides with the app.) the show has goten worse and worse sense.
and besides I AM a decendant of Thor!!!
MP - Monday, 01/21/02 14:42:22 GMT

parentage: I have SEVERAL Thor in my lineage;-)(rather common name here in Sweden)
OErjan - Monday, 01/21/02 17:28:44 GMT

bellows: Thanks for the measurements. One more question: How heavy would my bellows be if they are 2 feet wide 3 feet long and 3/4 OF AN INCH THICK. Is that too thick for boards for my bellows and is that to heavy for a kid to pump let's say a 11 year old.
Joel - Monday, 01/21/02 20:52:33 GMT

weight of bellows: Those bellows can weigh anything from 10Kg up to say 60Kg depending on:
how they are made
what wood the boards are made of
how many "ribs" you have....
one Kg is about 2.205 lbs that is 22-132# but you wont be lifting that weight by pumping the belows,
how mych of their total weight you lift is depending on HOW they are made if just 3 boards and no ribs about 7-8kg (15-18#)+ the energy spent to move the air trough the valves are needed.
does it sound right felow smiths? i am tired when writing this and start to get doubts on my thinking straight (spelling gets bad when i am tired).
OErjan - Monday, 01/21/02 21:43:28 GMT

bellows: thanks GET SOME SLEEP
Joel - Monday, 01/21/02 22:53:54 GMT

Weight of Bellows: There is the total weight and the weight to pump.

The weight to pump includes half the top and bottom boards, ribs and half of the covering. Since these parts are anchored to the middle board or end block only half of it applies to the working load. Note that the top is coupled to the bottom by the air so you are lifting both. You could calculate it but it is a bunch of work.

My big bellows were about 5 feet long and 3 feet wide with middle "rib" boards that were about 2/3 the weight of the top and bottom boards. Boards were 1" nominal (3/4" finished) pine shelving, tongue and gooved with a cross brace on the the outer boards (see article).

They are very easy to pump and kids much younger than 11 have tried them (8 years old maybe). My twins spent a summer working at the forge when they were about 10 and had no problems. I DID have to tie a rope to the handle with a triangle attached so they could comfortably pull the bellows.

On some occasions I would set a hammer or two on top to increase the pressure when I was working a big fire or it was clogged. . . I HAD planned to build a counter weight system to decrease the pressure but the relatively thin pine shelving was just about perfect so I never did. When using "rib" boards you get a two stage pressure effect. When one board is lifted you get a given pressure/flow. When pumped enough to lift the second board the pressure/flow increases by the increased weight added by half the middle board.

Old bellows had thicker boards ranging from 1" to 1-1/2" (25 to 38mm) and were often tulip poplar (another light wood). Polar was used because it was soft and easily took the nails used for holding the covering. It is also a stable wood.
- guru - Monday, 01/21/02 23:27:18 GMT

Bellows: I can pump my bellows with my pinky and it's larger than yours. T he trick is to have the lever mounted to get the right "advantage" mine is about 1:2. It inflates fine but there is not a lot of "weight" to overcome when pumping---big valves help too! A friend of mine uses bellows that the lever is more 1:1 and it's too much like work for me!
- Thomas Powers - Monday, 01/21/02 23:32:55 GMT

For Sale: 260# Peter Wright (the markings and weight arent legible except for the GHT in WROUGHT) This anvil had repairs done with stoody rod before I acquired it. The corners are clean and crisp. Slight sway in face. Good rebound. $450. + shipping. photo avaliable on request.
R. Guess - Thursday, 01/24/02 22:17:22 GMT

R. Guess,
You might wish to give your general geographic location. It will help folks figure shipping costs.... (smile)
Ralph - Thursday, 01/24/02 22:54:55 GMT

Anvil above: Ralph, thanks for the reminder about the location. I am located in North Florida, just above Jacksonville.
R. Guess - Friday, 01/25/02 00:30:40 GMT

Bellows.: Victor Vera (see Stories section of Anvilfire) told me that when his dad and uncle were heating big, heavy iron, they used to sit him, as a little boy, on top of the bellows for a weight.
- Frank Turley - Friday, 01/25/02 04:30:01 GMT

LOL I've only come acrost a very few kid that would sit still for that .... of course if they do then they are BORN to be smiths!!
MP - Friday, 01/25/02 05:27:28 GMT

Anybody have an address for Buck Brown of Coyote Forge? I've lost it somehow, and need to thank him for sending some things to me.
Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 01/26/02 05:21:42 GMT

bellowing: Mr Turley;
Thanks for the Vera piece, good writing, I liked it.
- Pete F - Saturday, 01/26/02 07:40:20 GMT

Press, stainless cone mandrel:
My life will never be the same. I now have a 45 ton hydraulic press. 9 inch bore, 5.5" stroke, 1 inch per second running off the tractor for now. What a great tool! I canít wait to get 5000 psi to the cylinder and really get the tonnage up.

Pete, did you get your tensile tester press together?

Remember that big cone I got from the scrap guy? Nearly 1000 pounds worth of Big flanged pipe reducer? I was gonna torch the top flange off Saturday. It melted in a puddle, but it wouldnít burn. Gotta be stainless and 400 series since it is highly magnetic. So now, how do I get that 3/4" thick top flange off so I can use the top of the cone? A stainless steel cone mandrel. Whoíd a thunk such a thing was out there?
- Tony - Monday, 01/28/02 03:03:21 GMT

The Revolutionary Blacksmith:

A serious problem with the books surfaced Friday the 18th. I got a call from Tracy.
(publisher) Her husband has been having persistent headaches,
which they and his Dr. thought were from sinus problems.

Monday, he called her at the office and asked her to come get
him and take him to the emergency room. Was in so much pain
he didn't feel safe to drive. (he's a colonel with the Illinois
State Police)

EOR Dr. agreed that it was probably sinus, but ordered a CT,
just in case.

Found three brain tumors. He has lung cancer (which they didn't
know) it has already metastasized. He is a level 4 patient.

They have him on radiation therapy and a steroid to reduce
swelling of the brain tissue, but that is actually just palliative.

They give him six to 12 months, but I think that is overly
optimistic. Three months sounds more likely to me and to two
oncologist friends that I talked to on Sunday the 20th.

I told Tracy to forget about the damn book, take care of her
husband. That's when she started to cry.

Her daughter is a mid-level executive with a major publishing
company in Chicago. She called her mom and told her that she
had turned in her notice and would be there as soon as she
trained a replacement. Tracy told her, "Carol, I can't afford
to pay you the kind of money you earn."

Carol's reply was, "Mom, I didn't say a damn word about money,
this is family!"

Her son Tony, quit his job, came home to take over the retail
crafts store they are supposed to open on February 1st.

It's called family.

I'm not sure what's going to happen at the moment. I know Carol,
and we get along well. How much of a delay this will cause, I
don't know.

And I truthfully don't care how much of a delay it causes. Tracy
is doing exactly what I would have expected her to do. I would
have been very dis-appointed in her if she had done anything else.

In the final analysis, all we have is family. And friends. Both deserve our every effort.
Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 01/28/02 05:18:48 GMT

SS Cone:

Side Grinder and a big stack of cut off wheels.
Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 01/28/02 05:20:00 GMT

Cone, testing press: Stainless!?!? Wow! How much of a mess do you want to make? If you get a bunch of sacrifice steel for it's exothermic virtues and a big hairy cutting torch ( hairy is a technical term), You could feed the steel into the cut to keep it going and just hot-wallow your way through the flange.
Perhaps PPWs plan with slitting disks..cleaner but boring.
Testing press..naw , darn it..too many projects all at once, the big grinder and the chinese hammer are all slowly progressing at once..sorta like herding geese in a wind storm.
I'm concerned about the effect that the inevitable off-center loads will have on the 2 big screw shafts that hold the top platten. Be real nasty to break one..they told me that the cloth bellows cover for the screws cost $300 to replace, much less the screws themselves. Have been thinking of setting up 4 vertical bars attached to the frame to guide the plattens. When I asked Tinneus Olsen about tolerance for side loading they had the proverbial cow....same about overpressure. Poor machine doesn't deserve what is going to happen to it. Yup, mechanical empathy won't save it.
- Pete F - Monday, 01/28/02 06:18:49 GMT

Stainless and press. No starch please:
Paw Paw, let them know weíre praying for them. A reminder that life should be considered precious and fleeting. Use it wisely.

Paw Paw, thanks for the cut off idea too.

Pete F., I was just reading about carbon steel fed acetylene cutting of stainless. Sounds like something I should try! Just for the experience. Mess is my middle name.

Yeah, itís stainless. Now I know why the scrap guy gave me such a good deal. He couldnít cut it up or shear it either. Now, I have to polish it up and let it shine. grin.

Should I tell him to get another, for you?

Side loads on press frame.... Yup, Iím seeing those too. My press was a big hose crimper. There are 8, 1.125 rods holding the cylinder cap plate to a big donut on the bottom that the crimper dies went in. Even at less than 1/3 itís rated pressure, I get side sway when making 3 inch diameter balls from T-1 bar. My plan is to weld some of that 1.5 by 3.5 T-1 bar to supplement the rods unless I put that cylinder in my junkyard press frame. The nice thing about hydraulics is that even if you do break one of the shafts, as long as you let off the oil valve, you wonít send stuff flying in most cases. Just a ďtinkĒ and a damn. You were going to use the adjustment screws for different distances between dies? Iím just stacking plates to raise the lower die if I need to. Whatís the rod size on that Tinneus cylinder? I wouldnít worry about side load if itís over 3 inch. Just keep the rod clean and donít run the piston all the way down.

My opinion....If itís not useful as a tester cylinder anymore, itís fair game for recycling. And a far better end of life than landfill or remelt. It wants you to use it Pete! Donít deny itís destiny. Grin.

I can rationalize ANYTHING.
- Tony - Monday, 01/28/02 14:36:14 GMT

Anvil for sale mid west: I have a "English Short horn" anvil for sale with a swage that my grandpa had on the back of his Massey Harris for years. It's got a nice face, a few dings but is good and flat, rebounds okay, crisp straight horn. I don't have my own computer so's I don't have a pic to show, but I could send one snail mail. I'm not in a hurry to get rid of it, It's just I got a newer better, bigger one, and it's actually in the way now. I want $225 and if yer an SCAer I can bring it to an event.
- Robert P. Norwalt - Monday, 01/28/02 19:23:07 GMT

New Virus Alert:

This UPX-compressed mass-mailer has a built-in
SMTP engine which it uses to send itself to all
users listed in an infected user's Windows Address
Book. It arrives in an email with the subject line: "new photos from my
party!" and the attachment
Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 01/28/02 19:38:38 GMT

Virus Warning: All: Don't open anything with "party photos"; it's a virus. More info. at: at mm.html
- Jim C. - Tuesday, 01/29/02 02:45:39 GMT

Bellows cover: I was wondering if bellows have to be completely covered,
since the bellows I'm making are made from two boards. Or could I just caulk it and put a strip of leather down the middle?
- Joel - Tuesday, 01/29/02 16:43:05 GMT

Weightless hammer.

I finished another prototype (emphasis: prototype) of the weightless hammer last night. It works pretty well. I can strike a blow a second with a 16+# hammer, and I could keep it up almost indefinately. I cut off flattened the end of a cold 3/8
  Bruce - Tuesday, 01/29/02 17:54:22 GMT

Weightless hammer.

This posting software isn't working right. My last message was clipped off. I'm trying again:

I finished another prototype (emphasis: prototype) of the weightless hammer last night. It works pretty well. I can strike a blow a second with a 16+# hammer, and I could keep it up almost indefinately. I cut off flattened the end of a cold 3/8
  Bruce - Tuesday, 01/29/02 17:55:50 GMT

Weightless hammer.

One more try. Apparently this posting program is allergic to quotation marks:

I finished another prototype (emphasis: prototype) of the weightless hammer last night. It works pretty well. I can strike a blow a second with a 16+# hammer, and I could keep it up almost indefinately. I cut off flattened the end of a cold 3/8-inch rod of pure iron with no trouble at all.

I did run into the three-handed problem using this thing: First hand on the hammer, second hand on the work, third hand on the tool. All the usual solutions apply.

I'm kinda disappointed with this project, though. I was expecting a challenging engineering problem, but the solution turned out to be trivial. The up side is that anyone could build himself such a prototype in an hour or two for an outlay of less than $30.

However, the prototype lacks all the flexibility I want to build into the final design. It can only hammer up and down, making it suitable only as a striking hammer. I want to be able to swing the final version in any direction, including an upwards angle. I also want flexibility in where I work with this thing. The prototype can only work on a single anvil. I'd like to be able to use it anywhere in the shop. Finally, the device is not easily transportable. I'd like to make it moveable from place to place or shop to shop with little trouble.

I know how to approach these problems, so I'd say I'm still on course to make plans available by mid summer. Knock on wood. Or iron, if you prefer.

BTW, I can't get this entry page to behave. I don't know which of the vacant boxes is for

  Bruce - Tuesday, 01/29/02 17:57:19 GMT

  Bruce - Tuesday, 01/29/02 17:59:29 GMT

Errors: I'm not sure what you are doing wrong Bruce. I suspect your browser because nobody else is having trouble. One thing you cannot do in an HTML filtered browser is use right or left arrow brackets. Those are the delimiters for HTML code and will be filtered as well as what follows or is within a pair.

"quote marks" work fine. However, MACs and some word processors do not use the standard ASCII quote codes.

If the navigation buttons are blank then it is a browser/html problem. Maybe a failure to support Javascript. The buttons on this page are currently non-standard and need updating but they work on all 4.0 and up browsers as well as Netscape 3.x.
- guru - Tuesday, 01/29/02 19:28:03 GMT

The site isn't coming up right. On the home page, the left frame is white on white, which makes it kinda hard to read. The buttons are hidden there, but I can only read one when I click on it, which ain't too useful. I've been useing the "select a page" pull-down menu to get to the virtual hammer-in.
In the posting window, the input boxes are not labeled. I'm sure they used to be. The buttons are readable, however. This business of truncating my input is new. It twice did it at a quotation mark, so I guessed that might be an illegal character. The third time I have no clue why it truncated. There are no arrow delimters in the message I sent.
I'm using Netscape 4.08, and am not having trouble with any other sites.
Bruce - Tuesday, 01/29/02 21:44:08 GMT

Bruce: What operating system are you using? I'd suggest dumping your caches, possibly de-fragging your hard drive, and re-booting your system. Should clear up the problem.
Paw+Paw+Wilson - Tuesday, 01/29/02 22:20:58 GMT

Errors:: Bruce, you either have something very wrong in Windows, your graphics card OR you have a virus.

On the home page the menu has a dark graphic for the background but if it doesn't load the background is a dark maroon that the near white text should display on just fine.

On this page the buttons are created by a background graphic with text on them. It is non-standard HTML but it works perfectly in Netscape. In IE the letters change color when the mouse moves across them.

Both systems work on almost all browsers.

Many viruses work overtime on your Internet connection and can cause components of pages not to load correctly.

Try the virus scan URL below. If you get a not found error OR your browser locks up trying to get to it then you DO have a virus and will need to get up to date software without using an on-line connection.

- guru - Wednesday, 01/30/02 04:25:34 GMT

Bruce, Maybe its the anti-gravity field from your weightless hammer that is causing the colors to float off the screen. . . :)
- guru - Wednesday, 01/30/02 04:30:03 GMT

LOL now that was just mean (big grin)
MP - Wednesday, 01/30/02 06:39:42 GMT

Bellows Plans: Does anyone have plans for smaller bellows to power a small portable forge?
- Rob Costello - Wednesday, 01/30/02 18:29:47 GMT

Bellows plans : You can make a nice pair of bellows that are 2 feet wide and 3 feet long. Im making a pair myself. Im using half a circle for the top and then a triangle for the bottom understand? thats one board you need 2 more. Then you need leather. Im using two deer hides that im tanning. how much leather you need you have two decide.(oh yeah ill have extra leather) make practice boards from cardboad.It helps. you can measure how much leather you need by taking string and go around the primiter of the board and then measuring the sting you need a piece of leather that long. Thats all I can say thats how far ive gooten on my bellows.

- Joel - Wednesday, 01/30/02 22:28:24 GMT

Joel, I understand the half circle and triangle. With three boards, are you making a 2 stage bellows? I know the top board will be solid and there are valves in the bottom board, but what holes and how big in the middle board? What are you using for a nozzle? What is the shape of the leather to fit the bellows? If you could make me a quick scetch and send it to robcostello at, I would appreciate it!
Thanks for responding. Guru ignored me.
  Rob Costello - Thursday, 01/31/02 05:03:03 GMT

Bellows: Rob, there are photos of the bellows I built in an article on our 21st Century page. I used (4) 3" diameter valves in the bottom intake and (2) the same between the upper and lower.

The valves were in seperate boards so they could be removed for maintanence. They never needed it but the seams in the leather is giving up and Paw-Paw may need to take them out to work on it.

I would use the same valve sizes on a smaller bellows since it is going to need to be pumped faster. .
- guru - Thursday, 01/31/02 05:19:31 GMT

bellows : I made mine out of 1 4'/8' sheet of 3/8" plywood. I made each panel 2'/3' and use the remander to make the valves. I backed the plywood up with furing strips to nail into and I made the nosel out of 2" muffler pipe attached to two 1 foot long 2/4's nailed together then attached to the center board. I used a restrictor plate on the inside (a 4" strip of 1' angle on the inside) the restrictor plate helps keep coal dust and ash out as I didn't put any bends betwine the nosel and the forge (the forge is based on the brake drum forge w/a fabracated ducks nest in place of the brake drum. the valves are just foot SQ's of plywood w/2" holes drilled (4 on the center board 6 on the bottom) and a 6"/10" (2 5"/10 flaps on bottom) flap attached with a bit of leather and covered with felt. I used vinal inplace of leather and cluked all the seams.
they cost me around $50 and I have used them for two years now. I did have to change the valves last spring the old valves were of a diferant design that restriced the flow to much and did not fill the bottom chamber fast enough and that resuted in the bottom chamber sucking air/smoke in from the fire (NOT GOOD!!!)
I have been meening to scan in my plans for these but my scaner just died so it may have to wait for a bi.
MP - Thursday, 01/31/02 06:00:12 GMT

bellows: Thanks MP!
Rob Costello - Thursday, 01/31/02 15:32:14 GMT

teacher?: Ō'm looking for someone in the Netherlands who can teach me the basic basics on (blade)forging.
I am a goldsmith and tig/mig-mag foto welder and do have some other metalworking experience.
jurgen - Thursday, 01/31/02 16:48:59 GMT

e-mail: forgot my mail adress.....duhh......
jur at
jurgen - Thursday, 01/31/02 20:14:03 GMT

bellows: the info on bellows are great but i have one problem. what do i use in the front where the air goes out. i really need pics of that, please. I also need it to be simple no lamenating or stuff like that........I have raw hide. Also will a 2 foot by 3 foot bellow give enough air for forge welding?
- Joel - Thursday, 01/31/02 20:14:16 GMT

air pipe: if I had to doit again I would use a peice of pipe that had a slip fitinto the air intake of the forge (mine slip fits onto the outside) somewere around 1 1/2" or so. then I would not have needed the restrictor plate. how I mounted it was to cut two 1 foot long 2"/4" boards and nail and glue them together then drill through for the pipe. I flared the end that inside and screwed the flange into the boards.
as to the weldign heat the quality of the coal, the sise of the fire pan(forge) the depth of the fire and how fast you pump all make a big diferance. on my setup, useing good coal, I can melt and puddle the steel if I am not paying attition, (ancering questions etc.) I make it a point not to do any forge welding at demos but I am sure that the forge is capable of doing them. (safty isue)
- MP - Thursday, 01/31/02 21:31:28 GMT

Bellows & welding: Joel you won't weld any 16" shafts with that; *what* type of thing were you interested in welding? That would do basket hooks with no problems given a good forge set up and good fuel (coal or real charcoal)

- Thomas Powers - Friday, 02/01/02 00:28:34 GMT

Counter    Copyright © 2001 Jock Dempsey, Cummulative_Arc GSC