Some tools to drool over.  Image (c) 1998 Jock Dempsey.  Click for enlargement. WELCOME to the anvilfire!
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January 2005 Archive

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.

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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

Future Oportunites: My wife goes"[sigh,] What are you going to do with all that junk?" We, I mean I, scrapped out our old washing machine. The drive shaft looks nice, and hey, the shell is a nice piece of sheet stock too! So I've got that out there. Plus some stuff in buckets, some leaning into the corners, and I do have a large mobile rack with arms about 5" apart. That carries the majority of my stock these days.
Bob H - Sunday, 01/01/06 10:10:33 EST

wouhaou !: hello !
I have never see a similar piece of steel!!!
how do you think it is possible to obtain this effect ????(if it isn't a secret's blacksmith, of course....)
forging and after cooling exterior's surface and pressing it for obtain cracking ?????
best regards for this year!
- F.F. - Sunday, 01/01/06 10:42:15 EST

Keep that washing machine case well hidden or there is real trouble ahead. Something about the glare off that particular hue of enamel triggers a visceral response deep within the average human female cerebral cortex. If you cannot detect this by the flared nostrils, narrowed eyes, steam coming out the ears, fear not, there will be other, even more interesting, signs.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/01/06 10:45:47 EST

scrapers: Can anyone explain to me how to use a scraper and why would you want to and when you would use one?
smitty7 - Sunday, 01/01/06 11:48:49 EST

Cracked steel: FF, any reasonably high alloy steel will do this when overheated. Many will crumble and fall apart at a yellow heat. Hofi's secret is being at just the right temperature and moving fast enough.
- guru - Sunday, 01/01/06 12:09:02 EST

scrapers: Theres a lot of different kinds of scrapers, which did you have in mind? Perhaps WW scrapers ? This is probably the right answer to the wrong questions but: WW scrapers are made from pcs of saw blade and the like. The edge is honed and then burnished with a hard steel rod to roll a fine burr which is the actual cutting edge. The steel is held in two hands, slightly bowed and leaned forward as it's pushed over the surface of the wood so that the burr engages to make a fine shaving. Scrapers like these can produce a planed surface on the most difficult of woods - eg maple burls. Sandpaper works but leaves a fuzzy pasty texture whereas planing or scraping can leave the wood with a wonderful luminous surface that just needs oiling or waxing.

Crude versions of this kind of scraper are very effective at taking off paint etc from wooden surfaces. Usually more effective than abrasives and a darn sight cheaper than either abrasives or chemicals. A piece of broken glass will work for this purpose too.

Another thing: using abrasive on wood tends to leave some grit embedded. If you plan to work the wood with fine, sharp handtools - the grit will spoil the edges. Scraping avoids this problem
adam - Sunday, 01/01/06 12:13:37 EST

SCRAPERS: BEARING SCRAPERS used primarily for babbit but also on bronze, etc.,.
MACHINE SCRAPERS used to flatten machine surfaces and provide lubrication 'pockets' common on machine tools (but not as common as once was)
Triangular scrapers are sometimes used for manually deburring in machine shops.
What kind of scrapers were you referring to??
Happy New Year to all.
- Tom H - Sunday, 01/01/06 12:39:23 EST

LOST POSTS: Sometime in the past 24hrs a glitch occured. A file error of some type. . . I repaired the file but lost the posts.
- guru - Tuesday, 01/03/06 14:58:22 EST

For those that are interested, David Kayne is now on HGTV's Dream home online video - Handmade Hardware. Here is the website:,,HGTV_22056_32757,00.html

Click on the Handmade Hardware Video to watch.

Happy New Year,
Steve Kayne
- Steve Kayne - Tuesday, 01/03/06 15:54:22 EST

Secret penetrant: Miles - I'd just about bet your buddy's "secret penetrating oil" is some old PCB transformer oil. Perhaps the best penetrant ever made, but nasty, NASTY, stuff. Exercise extreme caution.
John Lowther - Tuesday, 01/03/06 16:07:37 EST

After fumble fingering a long disjointed post about how I made my chili top fuller I find it done broke the hammerin. I'll not post it again just in case...just a handy piece of tooling I was able to make with only a 3/8" hand drill and an angle grinder---and the forge of course.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/03/06 18:57:26 EST

Thomas, in a addition to the drill didnt it also use a uniquely shaped piece of metal that had been jettisoned by UFO over your property while attempting an emergency landing at Roswell?
adam - Tuesday, 01/03/06 19:54:35 EST

Wow, I really am blessed. My better half is frequently a better scrounge than I am. She works at an auto parts place and grabs me any shelving they are throwing out. One time she set asside 2 brand new large truck brake drums that she was told to toss out because they were too out of round to turn. One of them is now my coal forge. The other is waiting for some new local smith to need a forge.
FredlyFX - Tuesday, 01/03/06 20:00:12 EST

John Lowther-- I think the stuff actually eats PCBs for breakfast. I told my sister-in-law, a retired high school science teacher and my brother-in-law, a Ph.D. nucular lab programmer what is in that handy li'l vat of derustifier and they both blanched, told me the stuff is not only dreadfully toxic, but also highly explosive and just generally ¡muy peligroso! Hey, maintaining a retirement home for worn-out obsolete tools ain't easy.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/03/06 20:54:00 EST

PCB: This is one of those political things. Even after many years of study, there is no evidence of adverse human health efects of PCBs, except for chloroacne in electricians who spent their careers awash in the stuff as they repaired transformers. Lots of evidence it is harmful to other organisms in the environment, though. I'm glad it was banned, but I would have prefered more science and less hype. I realy miss the chlorinated wax cutting lubes.
- John Odom - Tuesday, 01/03/06 22:01:33 EST

Adam; I figured they didn't need it back since they never stopped by and asked for it. Besides which I think it was Roman---had the word Agrippa on it and *he* hasn't asked for it back either---course if a legion showed up and said he wanted it I'd be mighty polite---at least till the cannon got loaded...

There are a lot of talented folk who go out of their way to make stuff up from new stock. I'm just of lazy hillbilly stock that would rather start with something someone else has already got part the way down the road to what I want.

I did buy *new* stock for teaching folks with this past year---my wife said I went a peculiar colour and they had to throw 3 buckets of scrap on me to get me back to normal.

Now Sandpile claims it was the shock of letting my money see daylight---there is no truth to the rumour that all the presidents in my wallet have turned white and gone blind from being in the dark so long...Franklin has always worn bifocals...

Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 01/03/06 22:57:58 EST

Hardware Kayne & Sons: Kayne's Great Job on the Hardware!! The video was great! Always a Pleasure!!
burntforge - Tuesday, 01/03/06 23:17:01 EST

PCB's: I was under the impression that PCB based transformer oil turns int Agent Orange or similar when exposed to the temperatures of an arcing transformer. Fact? Fiction?
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 01/03/06 23:41:25 EST

Little Giant 50lb For Sale: I have an un-restored 50lb Little Giant for sale.

Original flat leather belt drive, upper and lower flat dies, no electric motor conversion done. Babbit, clutch material, and sow block seem to be in rather good shape.

Hammer is stored on a pallet inside a garage with access to a forklift for loading on sufficient trailer or truck. Weighs about 1800 pounds. Price is negotiable, but a fair offer will be accepted.

Hammer is located in Eatonton, Georgia. About 20 miles south of I-20 on US Hwy 441. Reply to if interested.
ccharper - Wednesday, 01/04/06 00:02:50 EST


PCBs, used as a fire retardent in transformer oil, are a persistent carcinogen. So is dioxin, a contaminant in Agent Orange. My chemistry isn't good enough to say for sure that one can't turn into the other, but it sounds like an urban legend to me. But PCBs are plenty nasty on their own.
- Mike B - Wednesday, 01/04/06 08:34:20 EST

PCB & Agent orange: "Pure" PCBs arnt so bad. High temperature degradation products of them, including dioxins, are very bad. There are commercialy available herbicides that have the same active ingredients as agent orange did, but made by a different process they don't contain the impurities, including dioxins, hat agent orange had.

I use these herbicidal products VERY carefully. I don't use PCBs (except as analytical standards in the lab) anymore. I think that facts and caution are better than hysteria.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 01/04/06 10:49:26 EST

I'll have to admit that I never tied the two together, scraping wood and scraping iron.Now I'm going to have to try it, damn if you fellas don't keep me busy with all the smarts you all keep pushing into my little pea brain, but I wouldn't have it any other way.thanks, smitty
- Robert Smith - Wednesday, 01/04/06 14:20:48 EST

scrapers: I'll have to admit that I never tied the two together, scraping wood and scraping iron.Now I'm going to have to try it, damn if you fellas don't keep me busy with all the smarts you all keep pushing into my little pea brain, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
thanks, smitty
Smitty - Wednesday, 01/04/06 14:22:48 EST

PCBs: Guess I was wrong again. But PCBs still aren't cheap to clean up if you spill them, dioxin or no dioxin.
Mike B - Wednesday, 01/04/06 14:55:22 EST

Kayne and Sons: My wif has me entering the contest so that we can have a mountain place after we move when the ice caps melt. ;-) At least I can tell her it has nice ironwork. She likes ironwork, it's just that she doesn't like mine. 8-0
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 01/04/06 15:44:56 EST

Which Air Hammer?: Hello everyone, I'm looking for some opinions, and I know you folks are full of them.

I'm looking at saving my pennies and buying an air powered forging hammer. I think I have narrowed it down to the Big Blue QC-155lb or the Phoenix 150 A or B forging hammer.

I'm curious to hear from anyone who has one or the other about how you like it, and would really love to hear from anyone who has tried them both and can make a real comparison.

Also, if any of you have a suggestion for a different hammer I might want to look at I would love hear that as well.


FredlyFX - Wednesday, 01/04/06 19:00:46 EST

Pneumatic Hammers: Fred,

I've run the BigBlu, but not the Phoenix. I liked the BigBlu just fine. I've also run John Larson's Iron Kiss hammer, and like it the best of any air hammer I've tried. Best control and hardest hitting for its weight.

I would have no problem recommending either the BigBlu or the Iron Kiss. Further, deponent sayeth not.

For the money, the best value is to make your own. Building a Kinyon-type air hammer taught me what to look for, what to feel for and what to want in an air hammer. Did I achieve everything in my home-built hammer? No, not entirely. But then, I'm not done tweaking it, either. And now I know what to fiddle with to make it better, something I never would have learned by just buying a ready-made unit.

If I can build one here where there aren't many raw materials and no other smiths and having no machine tools, I'm willing to bet you can build one too. Surely, you're at least as smart as I am. (grin) If you can cut, weld and grind, you can make one.
vicopper - Wednesday, 01/04/06 20:20:19 EST

Pnuematic HAmmers: Fredly, As Rich says the best value is to build your own- if you have the time and resources. If you do; give it lots of anvil mass. My 120 hits like a wimp compared to what it should because it has too little anvil mass. Good control though. The lessons from this one are going into the next one.

If you are buying one I'd say Iron Kiss but you might have trouble getting John to deliver it so far away from home. I have not run the bigger Blu but have used the smaller one. Its a pretty nice hammer but pound for pound the Iron Kiss will do more work with better control. I've run the larger of the Bull hammers which the Pheonix is derived from and while it's got some nice features it is also a real air hog. I can't speak from experience about the newer Pheonix itself. Can you get any installed locations where you might try either one from the manufacturers so you can compare them yourself?
SGensh - Wednesday, 01/04/06 20:49:01 EST

That's kind of what I am thinking Rich. For the hobby stuff I do I just can't justify the expense of buying one. I think I'll just have to start scrounging some bigger steel and see what I can come up with.
FredlyFX - Wednesday, 01/04/06 20:49:58 EST

More on Hammers: Fred:

What Steve says is the absolute gospel; you want just about as much anvil mass as you can come up with. About 20:1 anvil to hammer is a good ratio to shoot for. Err on the heavy side, if need be.

My home built is the basic Kinyon air circuit, not yet modified to the AFC circuit, as I'm waiting for the super-secret, be-all end-all circuit from a friend of mine. Then I will rule the world! (grin)

Seriously, you will be delighted with a home-built hammer, but you will also always be wanting to "improve" it. That's the nature of the beast, I'm afraid. At least with a home-built you will know what you want to do and probably how to do it, too. The concept is simple enough that it lends itself to myriad different approaches to construction.

I had to make a laminated anvil, as I had no source for big enough single pieces of steel, but my method worked just fine. With no machine shop equipment, it wasn't easy for me to do the regular Kinyon-style sliding plate guide system, so I scrounged some odd bits and pieces that made a pretty goo tup-in-a-tube guide system. Whatever you can scrounge, whatever method you end up with, if the frame is sufficiently rigid not to flex too much and the tup goes up and down in a straight line so that it meets the anvil at the same place every hit, then it will work. And believe me, ANY powerhammer is better than none at all.

There are plenty of us around who have made hammers, and you'll have no shortage of free advice. Okay, that might be a disadvantage, but not a big one! (grin)
vicopper - Wednesday, 01/04/06 21:20:06 EST

kiln shelves VS. bricks: can a person use a typical refractory brick(fire brick) as a kiln shelf?? If not,why?
- irondreamer - Wednesday, 01/04/06 22:33:22 EST

Does this mean you've given up on the great purple beast, or is it just looking for a mate?

eander4 - Wednesday, 01/04/06 23:58:30 EST

irondreamer: Hard firebrick would work for a forge bottom, but would be far too small and too thick to be practical as a kiln shelf. Soft insulating refractory firebrick are consumed by flux just as fiber refractories are.
vicopper - Thursday, 01/05/06 00:02:24 EST

Fredly FX: There has been and probably will always be a lot of banter concerning the valving of the air hammers across the street at Forgemagic, I would pay a lot of attention to it if I was going to build one, seems to be the most critical part.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 01/05/06 02:50:41 EST

Can anyone really say if there is a
- rthibeau - Thursday, 01/05/06 05:22:05 EST

Power Hammer: 2nd try: Can anyone really say if there is a real difference between power hammers of equitable size? Say between a Little Giant 50lb and a comparable Big Blu or Phoenix or any other make? I realize there are subtle diffences per person, but effectively for working, is there a big deal between types of hammers?
rthibeau - Thursday, 01/05/06 05:27:35 EST

Well I'm home today enjoying one of my Christmas gifts, a bad case of the cringe, right when my job needs me the most and I start jury duty on Monday...who said that time was invented so that everything doesn't happen all at once?---I want to go cough on them...

Anyway while on my bed of pain I've been reading through "Asher & Adams Pictorial Album of American Industry 1876" A large scale bragging book from the Centenial Exposition in 1876 reprinted in 1976 interesting to see companies later famed for far different classes of items near their starting period.

One thing I did notice is that while nearly every large factory mentions their blacksmithing shop, eg: "The Blacksmith shop is 330 feet long and 50 feet wide and gives employment for many brawny men" Manchester Locomotive Works (thay also mention a foundry, brass foundry and boiler shop), there is no mention of a blacksmith shop as a seperate industrial entity. (Didn't see a single anvil on all the pages of items being lauded either).

It's hard for us now days to think as blacksmithing as being a factory job; but in 1876 the employment of blacksmiths in factories was very high! I've several times have talked with folks selling tools as "hand forged" telling them that yes they were hand forged in a large factory with every modern convience that the factory could supply!

I also noticed a dearth of entries for businesses south of the mason dixon line...

It's an interesting period piece; just don't believe a lot of the "facts" presented as "history" of a type of work done---they were not interested in historical accuracy but rather in puffing their own importance. You can see a lot of the "American" attitude that Mark Twain plays off on so well.

Thomas, now to make a list of vickers hardnesses of celtic swords...or sleep...
There is no
Thomas Powers - Thursday, 01/05/06 12:10:54 EST

Well Eric, I haven't actually given up on it. It is working pretty well now, and I have been using it for some recent projects. I finally got it so it runs well, but it doesn't have the control that the one home-built air hammer I once tried had. The other thing is my personal basic attention deficit. Now that it's done, I am bored with it. I need a new project. :) I am pretty sure that I will end up building one unless I hit the lotto or something.
FredlyFX - Thursday, 01/05/06 12:42:12 EST

rthibeau: Yes, there is a very noticeable difference between different hammers, both as to type and individual. I've used mechanical hammers and air hammers and self-contained hammers, and all are different in their class mannerisms, and each individual machine will have its own personal mannerisms.

Mechanical hammers, for the most part, work well in the duty they are set up for. If you want to change stock size significantly, you'll need to change the hammer's throw. That will affect the timing as well.

A utility air hammer, on the other hand, doesn't really canr what the stock thickness is, it adjusts automatically. Want a lighter hit? No problem. Up to a point, but it is a pretty small point, compared to what you can finesse with a Little Giant.

The LG isn't really a fair representative of mechanical hammers, though. There are much better and better behaved mechanical hammers than LG's, I'm told. LG is the only mechanical hammer I've personally run, so I can't speak about the others.

Self-contained hammers are yet another horse, and definitely of a different color. There is a reason that Nazel hammers are so highly prized. I've not run a Nazel, but the self-contained that I did run was very strong and well-mannered.

As to whether there is a BIG difference between hammers of a comparable type and size, you would have to judge that for yourself. I can feel a noticeable difference between two hammers of the same weight; how big that is is a matter of perception. Any powerhammer is better than no powerhammer. A great powerhammer is orders of magnitude better than a poor powerhammer.
vicopper - Thursday, 01/05/06 13:07:15 EST

Hello, this site was referred to me by Magnus. I buy and sell used machinery and he bought some tinsmith tools from me, around the middle of last year.

I just opened up a new classifieds website for the public to buy and sell machinery:

Worked very hard setting it up for all of December, and released it for alpha testing Jan 3rd. I sent out an email to the folks I have done business with, and so far 6 have registered on the site. I know, 9 members show on the site stats, but 3 are myself, an employee, and a test account.

Well, I sure could use a few more registrations. Would greatly appreciate it if a few of you folks that are regulars here would check it out.

Best Regards, Barry Kramer, Equipment Recyclers, 443-220-1300, Baltimore MD.
Barry Kramer - Thursday, 01/05/06 18:38:43 EST

Beautiful books; beautiful tools: Not to detract from the Bookshelf-Reviews section of anvilfire, but I wanted to record the names of three color photo books of early European tools that I acquired last year via internet booksellers.

The first one I noticed in pre-computer days while looking through Tom Joyce's library. It is in the French language: "l'outil" (The Tool) by Feller and Tourret, published Rhode-St-Genése (Belgique), 1978. It consists of mostly color photos of old tools with text and a few line drawings. It is 11.5" x 9"; 225 pages. There is a section depicting a "church window" anvil, a bickern with mascaron, leg vise, and filing jigs.

"l'outil" was a real treasure. I didn't think it could be eclipsed, but another huge book showed up, first edition in 2003, again in French: "Le Livre de L'Outil" (The Book of the Tool}, 13" x 10", 479 pages, definitely coffee table sized. This one is authored by Velter and Lamothe, published by Phébus in Paris. The book is divided into the trades of the last two or three centuries, such as shoemaker, blacksmith, violin maker, harness and saddle maker, carpenter, etc. Le Livre de L'Outil is helped by the addition of photos of present day craftsmen and old engravings of workers with their tools.

In 2004, a wonderful book of tools, covering the Renaissance to the beginning of the Industrial era, was published by 5 Continents Edition, Milan, Italy. This book is in English, is 12" x 10", containing 361 pages. The title: "Antique Tools and Instruments from the Nessi Collection"; ISBN # 88-7439-124-2. Multiple authors were involved including Richard Wattenmaker of the Smithsonian.

Luigi Nessi began his collection of tools and instruments in the mid-1970s. He was a trained and successful architect, and he appreciated the aesthetics of the pieces and the care given to their creation. This book shows examples from his collection after undergoing high-grading; the best of the best. This is another book that is enhanced by the use of old engravings and paintings of tools in use. Two 17th century anvils are shown, one Spanish, with decorative columnar sides, and one French, a "church window" style. Two decorated bickerns are shown.

Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/05/06 21:00:31 EST

Barry Kramer-- You perhaps posted here and in the Guru's Den without registering and entering a password. There is probably a valid reason for wanting me to register and give a password in order to get into your site, but I fail to see why I should have to get myself on yet more mailing lists and spam lists and have something else to try to remember. I just now visited as a "guest" without registering-- and will continue to do so if that option stays open. I would suggest you lower the drawbridge. And I am a Balmer County boy, delighted to hear of business a-borning in my home town and another used tool source.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 01/05/06 22:38:52 EST

Barry Kramer: I second what Miles has said about registering to browse a "anything for sale" site. If I am going to read a site that requires a password and registration, my first stop is at "" for a work around. For example if I want to read the New York Times, I long in under "Thehildebeast" and enter the password listed in bugmenot and all the spam goes to a made up email address at yahoo or some other place, and not my inbox.
Ellen - Thursday, 01/05/06 23:53:04 EST

Barry Cramer: If you guys (and gals) would put your dukes down and check out his site, you will see that it allows you to browse as a guest. I chcked out all kinds of stuff and I didn't give any info.
- Jeff G. - Friday, 01/06/06 00:57:32 EST

Barry. I second what jeff g says,seemed pretty obvious the 'guest' button was there. If you want to build some site traffic register with dmoz, then write a brief description of the site (2 or 3 lines), and register the description of the site with as many online listings as you can find, with a bit of persistance you'll creep up the google rankings! (though it takes a year or so)Google adwords is a great way to get instant traffic for small £.
Site traffic tends to lead to site traffic, if you know what I mean, you just have to be persistant! (or, and lots of links to relavent sites helps the little google bots get to you :)
John N - Friday, 01/06/06 06:49:00 EST

should read.. oh, and lots of links to relavent sites... in above post !
John N - Friday, 01/06/06 06:50:39 EST

Barry, Thinking on a bit, youve built the site, youve probably forgotten more about website optimisation than I know ! :)
John N - Friday, 01/06/06 07:06:02 EST

Nichols Mill: Funny that there's a Nichols mill on Barry's site. I was just reading a discussion this week about using one for coping bicycle tubes (over at the Framebuilders' archives on There's a description of the mill at, if you're interested. (I don't know enough about machining to decide if I am or not.)
- Mike B - Friday, 01/06/06 08:25:49 EST

Barry's Equipment Site:
He asked about advertising but has not responded. Wanted to trade ads but there is little advantage for a 6000 visitor/day site to trade ads with a 5-10 visitor/day site. His is a commercial venture that properly advertised will make a LOT of money. There is no reason NOT to pay for advertising.

AS to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) his is a commercial canned package that is missing all the key elements of SEO. This is typical as the authors of such packages don't have a clue. This is something I advise our advertisers about if they are interested. We also have free articles on the subject in our FAQs.

What people do not like to hear is that their brand new shiney web site is NOT going to get listed at the top of the search engines or generate any traffic without a lot of work and expense. Currently it takes well linked, optimized, properly submitted sites as long as two years to get listed in the top ten of non-competitive categories. And even that is not a sure thing as search engine rules change every month. What traffic a site gets until then will be from well placed advertising. Currently to get a business listing at all on Yahoo requires paying them $300 and they do not promise a listing, only that you will be considered. . .

- guru - Friday, 01/06/06 11:05:49 EST

vicopper: thanks for the input. I'm rationalizing how to explain to my wife that I bought a Little Giant.
rthibeau - Friday, 01/06/06 11:50:46 EST

Rationalizations: R. Thibeau,

I'm fortunate in that I don't have to rationalize, I just tell her I wanted a new toy and she says fine. Okay, so I *did* buy her a better car to salve the wounds a bit, maybe. Self-preservation. (grin)

Just tell your wife that you got the LG to avoid the expense of the air compressor to run an air hammer. That you're helping ot keep a piece of vintage equipment from the scrap mongers. Something like that. As long as hse knows nothing about shops, she'll buy it. Otherwise, she'll tell you that the air compressor would have done myriad other jobs besides running the air hammer, such as painting her jalopy, dusting the drapes, chipping welds, texturing steel and filling tires, to name a few. If that happens, you've just got to fess up to a love of mechanical hammers and swear by all that you hold dear that you will never develop an urge to upgrade to a Bradley. Who said being a blacksmith was going to be easy?
vicopper - Friday, 01/06/06 12:14:21 EST

R. Thibeau: Tell your wife you are going to make money with the hammer. You may or you may not. I didn't have to justifie with my wife either when I got my LG. Her mom paid for it in exchange for some ironwork at her house. Yes, she is a sweetie. And she's not hard on the eyes either.
- Jeff G. - Friday, 01/06/06 13:51:53 EST

Tell your wife you *were* going to buy a much more expensive hammer but decided to get the LG so you could save the excess money toward her longed for trip to the international ferret tossing finals in Rutabaga Springs, Botswanaland or other suitable venue...

OBTW mention to her that I clean out garages and shops *cheap*---in general I'd clean one out for $50 and if the stuff is really good I'd even give her $100! They do have to guarentee that you'll be gone that doay though...

Thomas P - Friday, 01/06/06 16:06:59 EST

Forge Welding!: To heck with the $400 gas forge. I built a charcoal forge for $50 and just did a faggot weld with a piece of 1/2 rd. My second ever and first unsupervised. Y mucho mas.
Tyler Murch - Friday, 01/06/06 17:12:05 EST

For Sale:: Shaper with 14" stroke and 12" table. Machine is in good working order. Located in Quincy MI. This machine can be transported to the southern Wisconsin area in conjuction with a lathe I purchased in the same area. Price is $600.

The seller does not have internet acess. If interested, email me with the subject "shaper" and I will send you his contact info.


Patrick Nowak - Friday, 01/06/06 17:33:27 EST

Patrick is our old MOBster friend still looking for a shaper?

Thomas P - Friday, 01/06/06 17:43:58 EST

Jeff G & John N.: At the risk of sounding bellicose and wishing to engage in fisticuffs (never been my favorite pastime, nor even an attractive one) you would note that my post about registration for Barry's site was rather mild and meant to be constructive. Barry posted here on the Guru's Den lamenting that no one had registered; it seemed a mild response was requested. Not having any interest in shopping for used equipment 3,000 miles from me, I have no interest in visiting his site either as a guest or as a registered user. Almost the end of story.

However, I will say that since our good friend and mentor Paw Paw parachuted into heaven with his Fairburn-Sykes and wonderful humor that is much too easy to post something innocuous here without getting a sharp response. Takes all the fun out of it, especially when I contributed 3 years of dues and a fair amount of sweat to help this site continue and incorporate and obtain non profit status.

I can post on a couple of other sites and get courteous responses and get my questions answered. Now, that is the end of the story. Enough said? Can we all be courteous and helpful now?
Ellen - Saturday, 01/07/06 15:50:33 EST

Ellen-- Hear, hear! Bravo!
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 01/07/06 21:32:14 EST

Ellen: Yep, I'll second that. Too many folks forget that this two-dimensional medium makes it awfully easy to misinterpret one's intent and/or humor, whether benign or foul. Now me, I am *always* kind, gentle and courteous. (grin)
vicopper - Saturday, 01/07/06 21:39:29 EST

To Ellen and Miles: I meant no disrespect to either of you, and I also am not looking for an argument. I appreciate the tremendous work that all have put into this site, and I would like to contribute financially , but right now, feeding the family takes precedence. As many of you know, starting out on your own is not a get rich quick proposition. The reason I said what I did was because Barry did seem to get a sharp response to his post. I have noticed that any time somebody (as in a newcomer) posts something on here that may help them earn a dollar or two ( or several thousand as the case may be) somebody has a sharp response for them. Yes it is very easy to misinterpret things on here. I read the posts on here regularly and if I misinterpret things, then think how easy it would be for somebody unfamiliar with everybody's sense of humor. The response I read to Barry seemed to point out everything he was doing wrong. Not quite the courteous response offered at other sites as you suggest. I am just offering my view point, sorry if that upsets anyone.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 01/07/06 22:32:48 EST

Jeff G.: I am glad no disrespect was intended as courtesy and understanding go a long way in making life smoother. And they even facilitate the flow of information.

I would mention that Miles stated there was a guest button in his first post on the subject of Barry's website.

I would also mention that Ken S. and Steve Kayne, The Great Nippulini, and Bill Pieh (before his last heart attack) and several others post here about things they have for sale and receive nothing but kind words from all here. Glenn Conner also posts here from time to time and is well received; he too maintains an excellent website. John Larson has mentioned the air hammers he builds here to well received questions and answers, so I would be reluctant to generalize about folks receiving a sharp response when they plug their wares here. When the Junkyard met its demise last year(only then did we find out Neil was 85!), all the nice folks there posted here till they got another site going, everything was quite amicable.

I'm sure most of us here, including myself, have started a small business (or two) from scratch, or are currently running one, and we all know how difficult it is. I suspect there are also many here who have to stretch every dollar as far as it can go to make ends meet.

There may be more of a suspicious attitude to someone who seems to post here on a one time basis about their site or venture, laments the lack of business, and departs without further interaction.

Hopefully we can all go forward now in friendship and courtesy and get back to blacksmithing, metal working, or the ice fishing or whatever. Thanks for listening.
Ellen - Sunday, 01/08/06 00:03:14 EST

No coal, no clue: I recently built a small coal fired forge from a semi-truck brake drum, modified a leaf blower for some forced air and test fired it with a sack of charcoal. It works like a champ. Imagine my surprize when I discovered that it is nearly impossible to find coal or coke here in Phoenix Arizona. I was born and raised in the midwest and my father and his father both worked at a coal mine and we heated our home with a coal stoker. It never even crossed my mind as I was building my forge that finding fuel would be a problem. Anybody know where I might source some affordable coal here in Phoenix ??
- Andy - Sunday, 01/08/06 01:24:00 EST

Curious thing about responses to Barry, is that not long ago I did a simular type response to few folks and I was told prtivately that I was wrong and that there WAS NO moderator on the hammer in area. So what is up now?
Yeah I am grumpy and all right now. I can say why privately as I will not discuss it here in an open forum.
Seems to me that a consistant policy needs to be set.

I also did not like the tone of Barry's post. But since anvilefire is not my site I do not make the rules. Nor do I enforce them, if any exsist. That is the job for others.
Ralph - Sunday, 01/08/06 01:38:08 EST

Now, me, I was only trying to be helpful to a fellow Baltimorean. Actually, I'm from Dundalk, not the one north of Dublin, but the town was in fact named after that one. I digress.) I think Ellen's and my main point was, if you want people to come browse, hon, don't make it hard for them to get into the tent, is all. Don't ask for passwords, registrations, log-ins or any of that mickey mouse. Life is too short, there are too many other marvels for us to go glim here in the great Internet sideshow.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/08/06 12:19:31 EST

DAVE MANZER 1949 - 2006:
A good friend to the blacksmithing community has passed away. Dave Manzer of Edmonton, Canada died Thursday night after a recurrance prostate of cancer. Dave is best known for his study of the Little Giant power hammer and his videos on the subject. He also ran a back country outfitting business in the wilds of Northern Canada and loved salt water sailing taking an Atlantic sailing trip in his boat each year.

There will be a Memorial Party held in his memory on Wednesday January 11th at 4pm MST (6pm EST). There will be a memorial program followed by a social gathering afterward. It will be held at the Queen Alexandria Community Hall, 10425 University Dr., Edmonton, CA.

For those that wish to ring the anvil for our friend and past CSI member Dave was 57 years old. The best time would be that of the memorial.
- guru - Sunday, 01/08/06 12:26:31 EST

Andy: You can probably get coal here through the Arizona Artists Blacksmith Association. Call Doug Kleunder at 602 818-1230. Also, Pieh Tool Co. in Camp Verde AZ sells Pocohantis coal reasonably, that is a top grade smithing coal.

The AABA is having propane forge building workshops on Jan. 28th and Feb. 4th at Doug Kleunders. Cost is $125 and that includes all materials except the regulator hose and tank. Those will be available at cost at the workshop(s). I made a propane forge there 3 years ago and took it home at the end of the day. It has been in constant use ever since and is a wonderful 2 burner forge. Hot enough to make nice forge welds all day long.

I also bought some smithing coke from Doug for my coal forge. It works nice, doesn't smoke, gets plenty hot. I just like propane better.

Good luck!
Ellen - Sunday, 01/08/06 13:58:07 EST

Andy: You can access Pieh Tool. Co. through the pull down menu at the top right of your screen, Amy is under "advertisers". She has lots of good stuff up there. And good classes.
Ellen - Sunday, 01/08/06 14:00:50 EST

POwer Hammer Identification: Could anyone help me identify a power hammer? The only visible markings are cast on the side of the ram "ASC" and directly beneth that is "H 18" Does this ring any bells? It is a large older, belt drive hammer. 8 ft tall. We are guessing it weighs 1500 to 2000 pounds...with a 100 pound ram. Is there anywhere I could post a picture to help identify it?
Layne Hendrickson - Sunday, 01/08/06 17:35:17 EST

coal: Andy, Western,s school of horseshoing used to have it available. You can find them in the phone book.
- Loren T - Sunday, 01/08/06 21:23:11 EST

Loren T: I've used a fair amount of Western's coal (they used to charge $5 for a five gallon bucket). It is Colorado coal and I think it would be hard for a beginning smith to use. It has a lot of impurities in it, clinkers up, and doesn't coke like good coal should. Last time I checked they were not real busy. Terry (owner) injured his leg badly about 4 years ago or so, and I am told it would not heal and had to be amputated. Shame, it was a good resource, nice folks too.
Ellen - Sunday, 01/08/06 23:03:25 EST

Air Hammer Air Cirucit: I need a little help here. Tonight I went looking on the 'net for the Mark Linn/AFC air hammer control circuit diagrams that I've seen in the past, and they weren't anywhere to be found. Does anyone know where they can be found, or if Mark's video, "Controling Your Air Hammer" is still available?
vicopper - Sunday, 01/08/06 23:23:41 EST

hammer control stuff.: google led me back here. link as follows
Ralph - Monday, 01/09/06 03:54:56 EST

Tone of posts....: Ellen & miles, Sorry if my posts diddnt come over terribly well, I was just trying to give a couple of points about successful website promotion, Ive had good info from people about smithing / forges etc, (and I cant give any advice back on this subject ..... yet :) - so I chip in every now and then on subjects I do know a bit about, diddnt mean to come across as curt in any way !
- John N - Monday, 01/09/06 07:41:06 EST

Layne Hendrickson - Hammer ID: I'll have to check to make sure, but I think my Champion hammer has those castings on the ram. It's about as you describe physically. You're welcome to send me an pic via e-mail and I'll confirm the ID. Are you considering purchase or is this one you own?
David Czerr - Monday, 01/09/06 11:04:13 EST

David Czerr: I have just purchased the hammer and I'm trying to do a little homework on the old girl before I set it up. There is an idler pulley that is not visible in this picture that is also controlled by the foot pedal in addition to the brake. I just sent you a photo. Thanks for any ideas as to the make and model.
Layne Hendrickson - Monday, 01/09/06 12:44:28 EST

Dang and here I've been leading folks on for years on various blacksmithing websites trying to get them to think I had an intrest in smithing but really setting the stage to spring my franchise opprotunities for international ferret tossing!

Thomas P - Monday, 01/09/06 12:52:23 EST

FERRET TOSSING: Thomas; I see no reason whatsoever that you also wouldn't be able to tie that in with your trebuchet interests.
3dogs - Monday, 01/09/06 13:51:00 EST

I don't know about International ferret tossing, but I'm sure some of you remember the 1999 dust-up caused by Klaus Honeysuckle when he tried to "fling" a ferret from the end of a 3 foot dowel at the Connecticut competition. The Society of Humble American Ferret Tossers (SHAFT) rules clearly states that the ferret must be "Tossed by hand" and that "Flinging from a stick", or any other mechanical contrivance, is strictly prohibited. I would like to see the international rules before introducing any talk of trebuchets.
Gronk - Monday, 01/09/06 14:36:10 EST

Layne Hendrickson - Champion Hammer: Thanks for the pic, a return message awaits you. That is a Champion Blower & Forge Co. machine, the No.2 model. The ram is presumed to weigh 120lb. I'm picking mine up tomorrow and I'll get the overall weight from the weigh station, but I'm sure it's closer to 3,000lb.

Nice hammer, you should really enjoy it.
David Czerr - Monday, 01/09/06 16:14:29 EST

Ferrets, Airborn: My eldest daughter gave her's away; so I guess I'll have to use my wif's cat.

I always ask myself: WWAD?

(What would Attila do?) ;-)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 01/09/06 16:55:05 EST

Gronk, Gronk, Gronk; it's old "stick in the mud's" like yourself that have held the sport of ferret tossing back for decades!

Yes classical "oldstyle" or "traditional" ferret tossing is done by hand---no gloves allowed!; but today's "extreme" ferret tossing is rapidly moving on from those horse and buggy days with a "freestyle" or anything goes catagory that sure brings in the media attention. I mean PETA themselves have invited our entire North American membership to a party to be held "somewhere just outside the territorial waters of the US, Canada or Mexico" and "please have everyone bring something heavy". Things are looking up for Ferret tossing!

Atli; there has been some discussion in international circles about allowing the use of felines in areas where the standard ferret is banned, like California, but there is a lot of friction against watering down "the Sport of Fools" for merely legalistic or convenience reasons---I mean look what's happened to toad swallowing when they loosened up their standards!

Thomas; Chairman, IFTL and honourary 3rd degree Raving Loony
Thomas P - Monday, 01/09/06 17:24:28 EST

Memo to self: lizard spit and cold medicines have interesting effects when mixed---stay away from the keyboard...

Thomas P - Monday, 01/09/06 17:25:38 EST

Ferret tossing: ThomasP, Having watched the girls "slow pitch" ferrets, do you favor allowing the girls to fast pitch, or do you only favor underhanded ferret pitching the girls?
- ptree - Monday, 01/09/06 18:03:35 EST

All ferrets are underhanded little critters...oh you mean the method of traditional ferret tossing women were banned from participating---like in many other blood sports. However title 9 in the USA opened the doors and the ivyleague schools had to decide if they would ban the sport all together or knuckle under an allow for women's teams to be formed.

Integrated M/F ferret tossing teams are again a manifestation of the more recent "extreme" movement in the sport---though I am thankfull to say that those shirts showing "coed nude ferret tossing" are only a joke and a rather poor one as the consequences of a bad toss/catch sequence are *not* to be thought of!

Thomas; Chairman, IFTL and honourary 3rd degree Raving Loony
Thomas P - Monday, 01/09/06 20:23:14 EST

gas hose safety-- this comes up every now and then with somebody wanting to run propane into his/her shop with a acetylene hose and then encountering the fact that acetylene hose ain't supposed to be safe for propane use, and responding that hell's bells, his/her daddy did it and his daddy afore him, and all their aunts and uncles, too, after they quit using garden hose and duct tape, amd ain't nobody blowed up yet that they've heard about, etc. The Compressed Gas Association has a detailed safety bulletin about it but my copy that I downloaded when their site was open to the public is locked in my old computer that just crashed and won't cough it up.
The wonderful public-spirited people at CGA, now that they are only getting $2 a gallon or so for their propane, want $5 or so for the bulletin now. Anyway, if anybody wants it:
Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/09/06 22:17:48 EST

John N.: All is forgiven. I think Thomas loaned me some of his Gila Monster saliva. As long as he doesn't throw a rattlesnake at me thinking it is a ferret. Actually, in New Mexico I thought they threw bobcats and mountain lions instead of ferrets.....
Ellen - Monday, 01/09/06 23:37:32 EST

John N-- Cool.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/10/06 01:55:28 EST

Ferret Tossing TINFT: international naked ferret tossing is SO last year. The stakes have been risen by Trebuchets for Intercontinental Naked Ferret Tossing. TINFT (tinfit)
the rules state that for, all test firings outside regular play, participants must ware protective gear.
- habu - Tuesday, 01/10/06 10:21:27 EST

A cat is an unacceptable substitution for a ferret according to the organizational bylaws. The only tossing activity where feline participants are allowed is my sport of choice, Mexican Cat Juggling. This is purely an underground recreational event and not endorsed by any regulatory agency.
- Pig Eye Johnson - Tuesday, 01/10/06 11:33:30 EST

Purely as a "nota bene"---don't ask how our distinguished colleague got the nick name "Pig Eye". That story is best told when one is getting ready to fast for 40 days; not just before lunch...his receipe for "Jugged Mexican Cat" is appropriate for rapid weight loss as well.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/10/06 13:24:03 EST

You guys crack me up.

NICE treb, habu... I want one!
Gronk - Tuesday, 01/10/06 15:21:41 EST

first steps: I'm trying to begin a hobby of blacksmithing and am about to check out the library...

what kinds of blacksmithing books should i look for first??
- Bren Bemus - Tuesday, 01/10/06 17:26:39 EST

Bren; ones that are not out on loan!

I assume you have read the getting started in blacksmithing link at the top of the Guru's page and then checked out the bookshelf link in the navagate anvilfire menu in the upper right hand corner.

After all those suggestions I can say I personally liked "The Modern Blacksmith" (now re-released as The Complete Modern Blacksmith with stuff from his other books jumbled in) by Alexander Weygers. However I like his "scrounge everything" style; others prefer a less "organic" approach and will recomend other books.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/10/06 17:50:21 EST

In the backwoods of KY they do not have much in the way of ferret supply for pitching, so the enterpriesing briarhoppers of eastern KY have substituted Possum pitching. Extra points are to be won if you can pitch a she possum with little critters clinging without any being detached. Of course not wanting to be wasteful, If detachment occurs then that wonderful appitiser, marsupial on a stick can be the fun result. This sport is fully approved by the local PETA chapter, and in fact the People Eating Tasty Animals chapter had a possum tossing festival for a fund raiser, but alas, rumors of sail possums being pitched for a record event has brought disgrace on the festival.
- ptree - Tuesday, 01/10/06 19:00:36 EST

PTree; back in the hills where I come from "Possum Pitching" is dealt with under the heading of "food fight" and if Granny catches you---you'd most likely expect to spend the next month having to use the slick pages of the catalog when you visit the house out back!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/10/06 19:39:24 EST

Animal Tossers: There is a road just south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, leading to almost nowhere, the Waldo Canyon Road. In the days of extreme hippiedom, there was an occasional convergence, where a cowpie tossing contest was the featured event. No blood, no injuries; just good, clean vegetarian fun.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/10/06 21:47:22 EST

Frank Turley,
in the 70's I may have heard some talk of just such a contest here in the KY area. I did not participate. That is my story and I am sticking to it!

ThomasP, I hate those glossies! I have it heard it alluded that someone had a case of the GA's. That would be a case of the Glossy... Was you grannie more of a marsupial on a stick type, or the feared flat critter fryer?
- ptree - Tuesday, 01/10/06 22:07:26 EST

Frank- Wasn't Marc (Mark) Acuff, publisher/editor of The Independent the prime instigator of the cowpie-pitching contests? Isn't he the genius who coined Land of the Plague, Home of the Flea as our state's real motto? I wonder where he is now that we need him!
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/10/06 22:32:52 EST

It took me six months but I got my forge up and running. I have a problem though. Its a 19 in. wheel and I used firebrick to focus the fire. I didn't plan for my material, and I've had a few other problems.

1.) I have a small deep forge that works very well for small articles, but not so well for larger material that is donated to me. I also deal with modifing shovels and the like. Should I make another forge or just modify the existing one.

2.) I'm reading Alex Bealers book, and had an idea to make a trip hammer, somewhat based on the drawing. The heads of two 20-50 pounds sledge hammers, one stationary, knocking against each other. How likely is a homemade one to work?

3.) I was thinking ether way of making a gas forge. They save time starting, and I can get right down to the forging part. However, I am unsure of safety. Which also brings up, should I become proficent at starting a coal fire, before becoming lazy? Also what is the best way to start a fire, it takes me about an hour each time. I just use shavings and small to medium sized chunks of wood.

4.) I made a hot cutter hardie out of a jack hammer bit, but it doesn't work very well, and dents easily. I was told I can't temper it because it could crack my hammer. So what the deal here?

5.) I would like to eventually make broad axes and other large framing chisels, what steps can I take to do this? I've told just up and try to make one, and take your time with successive approximation, and practicing techniques.

I have a lot of questions that could be answered by a non-virtual smith, but my lack of transport and the fact that the closest is 40 miles away doesn't make things easy. So I'd very much appreciate any help from you guys.
newbie in NW ILL - Tuesday, 01/10/06 22:38:01 EST

Sorry wrong forum.
newbie in NW ILL - Tuesday, 01/10/06 22:38:53 EST

Newbie in NW ILL: Gollee. It would be difficult to answer your questions without seeing what you have built and done. It sounds like you need one-on-one instruction, especially in making a broadaxe. I would suggest getting in touch with the Upper Midwest Blacksmith Association. They are having a meeting January 21 at the Country Kitchen in Beloit, Illinois, just north of Rockford. Perhaps you could join and go to educational workshops. Let your search engines find umbaonline. Another group is the Illinois Valley Blacksmiths Association. They have a big annual meeting in New Salem just north of Springfield.

One little post script. It is good to have a hardened and tempered hardie. When you use it, you hammer the metal down on it until the metal gets about cereal-box-cardboard thin. Then, take your hammer handle out to the side and give it a shearing blow on the far side of the hardie. Your hammer face should barely clear the hardie. If you don't take your hammer handle to the side after shearing, the neck of the handle will get nicked on the hardie cutting edge. Not good.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/10/06 23:39:17 EST

Newbie in NW ILL correction: 2nd paragraph. "...hammer handle to the side BEFORE AND AFTER shearing..."
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/10/06 23:56:22 EST

Newbie: Here's my 2c. If you are using coal, stick with that. Gas forges also require skill to operate properly and usually they dont heat up nearly as fast as a coal fire. Coal is very versatile. Fire management is a skill you have to develop. I use propane. I would use coal if I could.

three sheets of newspaper twisted up tight with some shavings if you like. light the paper and give just enough air to keep it going while you slowly start adding coke (NOT fresh coal) from your last fire while slowly increasing the air flow. With practice you should be able to go from a cold hearth to welding heat in 10-15 mins

At first everything takes practice and its frustrating. Patience. Fire management is a skill well worth having.

IMO every American smith should have a copy of Bealer's book because of what he did for the craft - but frankly as a how-to text book , it sucks , especially for a newbie.

Small steps with realistic goals pay off best. Become proficient at forging and welding mild steel before you try your hand at tool steels.

Ask more questions here. If you are trying, we are always willing to help.
- adam - Wednesday, 01/11/06 09:24:38 EST

Cowpie tossing was a common recreational event in rural Arkansas when I was a lad. It was less of a competetive event and more of a "who can I hit with this" sort of thing. You had to watch out for the one's that looked dry on the outside, but had a "creamy chocolate center", both when picking and dodging. (grin)
eander4 - Wednesday, 01/11/06 09:54:55 EST

Cowpie tossing: From whence, do you think, came the inspiration for the Frisbee? Looks a bit like a thin cowpie, no? Sort of an improved, more durable version that Rover can catch, and chew, without developing unpleasant halitosis which might interfere with his social standing? Humble beginnings, indeed.
vicopper - Wednesday, 01/11/06 10:00:38 EST

You reminded me that we used to have
- Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/11/06 10:32:57 EST

Continued: ...corn cob fights with the dried out ones in the barn that were bereft of their kernels. From a direct hit with one, I still retain a "flying flea" or "fleeing fly", that speck that I can sometimes see.

- Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/11/06 10:35:36 EST

Cowpies: The only use I have ever had for the things is for fertilizer, with one exception. When I was attending CSU, my friends Maria Martinez and her son Popovi Da came up to do a pottery workshop and we used them for firing the pots, as I couldn't locate sufficient horse apples for the job. Cowpies worked fine though, and we made some nice pots. I still have the one that Maria and Po made for me and the one that I made myself. Strangely enough, the one that Maria and Po made is somewhat more valuable than the one I made.
vicopper - Wednesday, 01/11/06 11:06:08 EST

vicopper-- have you been watching the Maria pot market lately? Outta sight! As in thousands of dollars! And to think that my late mother-in-law, who got hers right after coming to Los Alamos back during WW II when spouser was helping make Fat Man and Little Boy go boom, got the pots and bowls all scratched up by (gasp!) actually using them for the next 50 years!
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 01/11/06 11:52:33 EST

Actually, yeah I have, Miles. Unreal! I have a couple or three that I sort of checked the values on a couple months ago when someone commented on my display methods.

After I got over the shock of discovering that I had about twenty grand in collector's items sitting either on the desktop being used as an ashtray (gasp) or on a shelf where they could possibly topple to the tile floor, I started to re-think my setup a bit.

In the end, inertia and cussedness won out and they're still in the same places. I *like* them there, and I can enjoy them that way. If one gets broken or stolen, then so be it. I can't enjoy them if they're locked in a closet or vault. Life is full of uncertainties.
vicopper - Wednesday, 01/11/06 12:20:24 EST

My neighbors have filled in a small valley with horse apples; the stuff doesn't rot when it's so dry as is typical out here---I just hope that if it every catches fire the wind is from my house towards their place!

Frank; didn't you have a metal trash can lid for a shield?

Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/11/06 12:31:49 EST

When I was growing up in central Kentucky, anyone running the bases in our pick-up baseball games was subject to a horde of dried horse apple missles.
Brian C - Wednesday, 01/11/06 12:59:52 EST

CSI Brent Baily Fund: In November the CSI board agreed to match donations up to $300 to help send Brent Bailey to South Africa on a teaching mission in January (very soon). Brent is a well known demonstrator in the western US and has been teaching blacksmithing in Peru under the sponsorship of Aceros Arequipa (Arequipa Steel).

See our special news page on the subject.

The CBA (California Blacksmiths Association) has given Brent a $1500 grant. However, this just barely covers the plane ticket and there are other expenses to be covered. I convinced the Cybersmiths International board we should make this small grant in keeping with our educational goals. Not everyone in the world has access to the internet.

In exchange we will get photos and an article for our news as well as global good will. Brent has also sent me photos for articles on making tools.

We need to raise $300 in donations ASAP which CSI will match. You may make donations at the following link via pay pal or our cart. You can also mail a check. If you are sending a check drop Dave Baker our treasurer an email note so we know where we stand.

Brent Baily in Peru
- guru - Wednesday, 01/11/06 14:05:58 EST

CSI Brent Baily Fund: Link
CSI Donation Page
- guru - Wednesday, 01/11/06 14:07:05 EST

DAVE MANZER Memorial Anvil Ringing:
A reminder. Tonight is the night. See earlier post.
- guru - Wednesday, 01/11/06 14:09:38 EST

Hi There, i have a 2cwt power hammer looking for a home, also looking for info for it. i have used the 1cwt version as well.
- nick - Wednesday, 01/11/06 15:18:44 EST

Tall Boots: Folks...I have not been able to get in the hammer-in room for quite some time due to the critter flinging that has been going on. I finally switched from slush boots to chest waiters. Now I am able to come in and join the fun. BOG
Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 01/11/06 15:21:23 EST

Burnt Forge:
Got any critters hidin' in those waders? ;-)
eander4 - Wednesday, 01/11/06 15:42:18 EST

Burnt Forge & Eander: I had an uncle who wore waders when frog gigging ( one of the "other" white meats) at night in the swampy parts of southern Illinois. I still recall the night he acquired a water moccasin in his waders. Amusing to see how fast he could move. Fortunately, the snake was in a good mood and had recently eaten whatever water moccasins like to eat.
Ellen - Wednesday, 01/11/06 17:16:27 EST

Moccasin Food: The problem when frog gigging is that the snakes are after the same prey as you. It is not unusual to grab for a frog and get both frog AND snake. . . or so my Pappy tells me. I'm too chicken to be feeling under rocks in the creek at night. . . I've spent far too much time in creeks and ponds in the daylight . . .
- guru - Wednesday, 01/11/06 17:33:35 EST

Moccasin: My mother tells a story about relatives of hers who went out night fishing and caught a moccasin. They swung at it with an oar and knocked out their lantern. When the sun came up several hours later, they discovered they'd been fighting an eel all night!
- Mike B - Wednesday, 01/11/06 17:55:11 EST

moving sale!: Hello, folks.

I'm moving a long way--these things are just too heavy to move.

I have a pair of steel plates that I had intended to make tables out of. They're 1" thick, 5'x5', and they have 1" plate about 4" wide welded to the bottom in a grid, roughly 4"x6" if memory serves. They are pretty true. They have some scale but they clean up well. They guy I bought them from had cleaned up a 5x8 and was using it as a fab table. I'll take half the going rate for 1" plate based on the main table size, or about 25sq'. These would make great tables. I also have two strips of the same material, roughly 2' x 7'. More than happy to make a volume deal.

I also have a 750 sow block from a large Chambersburg steam hammer. It's about 15"x12"x12" in virtually as-new condition, still painted. It has nice sharp edges and a perfect machined top--just about the ultimate cutler's anvil. I'd like $2.50 a pound for that.

I need a flatdeck trailer, minimum 3000lb capacity and 16' deck. Also interested in a good belt grinder (bader b3?), a rolling mill, or a fly press. Happy to trade.

Just for grins...I also have a lovely 66 lincoln continental coupe (rare 2-door) for 5K, and '63 mercedes unimog 404 for 5k, and an 84 bmw 325e for maybe $1500. Prices negotiable.

I'm in northern va. Please feel free to email me offlist at or give me a call at 703.963.0909.


- Justin Fellenz - Wednesday, 01/11/06 18:08:57 EST

Chest Waiters---you've been spending your time at Hooters again---I can tell!

Nick *WHERE* is that hammer at? Some of us can't afford to ship stuff 12000 miles...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/11/06 18:50:26 EST

vicopper-- you and my in-laws and my wife feel exactly alike re: the Marias. Use 'em! Ashtray and salad bowl duty does reduce the value for your heirs, however, should you ever decide to assume a new molecular configuration, some day.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 01/11/06 19:07:54 EST

John Odom: Water Moccasins:
When I told my cousin about the moc who tried to crawl into my canoe, he replied with this one:

A friend went to his (my cousin's) private lake to hunt ducks. The best hunting was across the small lake from the road and landing. He took the jon-boat and started across. A moccasin jumped in the boat. He stood up and said "I'll fix that sucker" and blasted him with the 12 ga. He killed the snake but had to swim back and lost his shotgun in the process. Also had to buy my cousin a new jon-boat!
- John Odom - Wednesday, 01/11/06 20:30:34 EST

OABA meeting Sat. Jan. 14, 10 am: Greetings everyone. This is my first time posting a message. Robb and I would like to welcome anyone interested in attending an OABA meeting Jan. 14/06 featuring a demo from Robb, forge-in, blacksmith stew etc etc. Our shop is located in Floradale, Ontario and supplies and blacksmith coal are available to buy as well. We also have info on our upcoming courses. More info on our website Hope you can make it and look forward to meeting other blacksmith enthusiasts.
Angie Martin
Thak the Blacksmith & Armourer-Ontario, Canada
Thak the Blacksmith & Armourer - Wednesday, 01/11/06 21:38:26 EST

Attire Survey: I've been thinking about my setup, and I'd love for people to sound off with what they wear when they're working metal. Don't get weird on me. I don't care about your boxers or briefs. I'm talking outerwear and headwear. Do most use an apron? What style? material? Glasses? Goggles? Facemask?

Matthew Groves - Wednesday, 01/11/06 21:54:19 EST

forge wear: I use the following PPE; safety glasses with side shields, ear muff hearing protection and most of the time safety shoes with meta tarsel guards. (vicopper finds the meta tarsel guards to be the most attractive boots ever seen!)

In summer I tend to 100% cotton, with bibs and a tee.I add a welders jacket when welding to cover my arms and throat. In winter as the temps drop I move to cotton outer insulated overalls over jeans and a shirt etc.

I add a face shield for grinding, a welders hood for welding, and a low profile respirator for both jobs.

Figured out that I am a safety/enviro guy by trade?
- ptree - Wednesday, 01/11/06 22:26:52 EST

Most of the time I do not wear a leather apron or gloves. The exception for gloves is when I'm forge welding and even then the right hand is only a thin leather glove. The exception for the heavy leather apron is when forge welding or grinding.

All 100% cotton or wool---I'm married to a spinster so that's all that is allowed in my closet, (except for the silk of course), steel toed boots.

I wear safety glasses all the time except when I'm sleeping or in the shower and I wear a face shield when welding or grinding or using a powered wire brush. We all know why.

When Arc welding I wear the appropriate leathers.

Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 01/11/06 22:37:08 EST

Shop Clothes: Use sense and follow what the above guys said. I always wear safety glasses except in shower or bed, but other than that whatever beat up cloths I have on is what I wear. A leather apron while welding & grinding would probably doubble the usefull life of My teeshirts & sweatshirts. Boat shoes atract weld spatterballs better than a magnet, but not as well as bare feet, which lets You in for electric shock as well. Long sleves are a risk around drillpresses and lathes, but at least I don't wear a tie. Just about every field welder wears "Carharts" when it is cold, but they have a caution tag in them due to thier flamibility. You can get sunburned from a welding arc right through a teeshirt or other light shirt.Hearing and respritory protection are a good idea under the conditions that warrant it. Face shields as well as safetyglasses for anything that sends stuff flying makes sense.
Dave Boyer - Thursday, 01/12/06 00:23:53 EST

Matthew Groves-- stay away from anything plastic outerwear, hats or underwear that might stick to your skin when it melts from a welding, grinding or cutting spark. Avoid those cotton-backed gloves. Do not forge or weld or cut or allow anyone else into your shop in tennis shoes. Stay away from cowboy or any other open-topped boots. You cannot get them off fast enough when that hunk of slag burns through your jeans and gets down in there next to your foot. Stuff is hard to find, probably has to be special ordered from your dealer but Carhartt now makes and sells jackets and shirts, pants made of Indura, which is flame resistant. Molten steel sticks to Nomex, so avoid that. In fact, don't allow anyone else into your shop period. If you do, make 'em wear the right gear, including safety glasses, the whole deal.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 01/12/06 00:25:24 EST

The Essential Smith's Couture: All the sound advice and horror stories notwithstanding, I mostly do my forging in sandals, shorts and a much-depreciated T-shirt. On occasion I will sport a single glove on the tong hand, a la Michael Jackson. Spectacles are required due to advancing age, and earmuffs are optional accoutrements depending on the use of the powerhammer. Prior to obtaining a fine Fisher anvil, the earmuffs were mandatory, as the other two anvils were a mite shrill.

When welding billets, I will bow to necessity and exchange my loyal and familiar shorts for a pair of long pants, and even wear shoes, sometimes. On the other hand, in the height of summer, I will often shed the T-shirt and sandals in the interest of comfort.

Please note that my attire is suitable only for me, working in the tropics, and should in no way be considered an endorsement of such practices for others. You should really bundle up in Indura™ and leather, with metatarsal guards, toe guards, shin guards, face protection, ear protection, hair protection, rubber mouthpiece, gauntlets and groin cup.

If you are still able to waddle around, (or even perhaps, swing a hammer) so attired, then stroll on down and join me for a forging session. Please bring lots of water, electrolyte supplements and your emergency personal defibrillator; I'll supply the heat and humidity in ample quantities. (grin)

Actually, I sometimes wonder if all the protective equipment doesn't perhaps foster a cavalier attitude toward caution and safe practices, much the same way that air bags and roll bars seem to encourage some to drive with abandon. I do know that wearing sandals makes me very aware of exactly where my feet are and what is going on around them. Likewise for not wearing gloves; the only burned hand I've gotten has been when wearing a glove that funneled a piece of scale.

The eyes are always protected, or closed. Since it is hard to maintain good hammer control with my eyes closed, (a Zen master I am not), I wear safety glasses. At least until they invent glass eyes that can see as well as be seen. I just wish that someone would make safety glasses that have a gutter and downspout to funnel away the sweat that continually runs down mine until it feels like I'm skin diving rather than forging.

Keep in mind that a person who has every organ and part intact and unblemished makes a very attractive organ donor. Who knows what unscrupulous practitioners might do if you were to be on the cusp of the afterlife? In my case, there will be *no* incentive for them to view me as fertile ground for organ harvesting; all mine are sufficiently depreciated to have little or no resale value.

A couple more Coca-Colas and I'll be ready to face the day! (grin)
vicopper - Thursday, 01/12/06 09:06:42 EST

Marc: I wear workboots and a head-to-toe kevlar covering, complete with hood and face wrap. All in black. That way, if I'm ever attacked by ninjas, I'll have a fighting chance.

Seriously, though, I've got prescription safety glasses, with side shields. I'm going to try and get my next pair tinted to #2. Foam plugs on a string for hearing protection. Clothes are all cotton - no synthetics.

I made an apron out of thick cotton duck. It's got split legs that velcro loosely at the bottoms which go all the way to the tops of my boots. But I don't always use the apron. It's nice in the summer, because then I can wear shorts. And the cotton breathes a little better than leather. And on those occasions when I'm not wearing my grunge clothes, I can throw on the apron to keep from creating new grunge clothes.

Boots are high-top leather workboots. Nothing special - just comfortable.

I wear a terry kevlar glove at times. I like it better than leather because if the handle gets too hot all I need to do is let go and the kevlar doesn't hold the heat like leather does. It also seems to insulate better than leather. Another time I use the glove is for punching and chiseling. But I'm moving more towards using short top tools and tongs to hold those.

For welding, I have a cotton jacket that I also use before the shop warms up. I use those terry-kevlar gloves when TIG welding, but the normal big leather gloves for stick. And a Harbor Fright autodark helmet.

Face shield when grinding and wire-brushing, and a simple dust mask when grinding.
- Marc - Thursday, 01/12/06 09:24:07 EST

Must remember not to put my name in the Subject line.
- Marc - Thursday, 01/12/06 09:25:00 EST

Glove Note: In another world, Oregon Farriers' School, 1964, during a 12 week class, our instructor, Charles "Dick" Dickenson, would not allow gloves. He hollered at us from the gitgo, "You're all going to get blisters and by god, you're going to get blisters on top of the blisters until by god, you will eventually get hard hands. We all endured and got hard hands.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/12/06 09:48:30 EST

PPE: For forge work I wear jeans and a tee shirt. All cotton. If I need another layer, its cotton or wool. I love to wear polyester fleeces but early on I discovered the "polyester quench" in which a hot piece of steel instantly transforms your fleece jacket into a button. Plus it can stick to your skin while hot and molten - bad idea.

Boots: caterpillar steel toed - after droping a long pc of 3" x 1/2" angle iron on my big toe, thin side down and crushing the little bone at the end , I got religion! It took 6 mos to heal. Around the forge, running shoes, sneakers etc will quickly develop holes from the flying scale.

Safety glasses - needs no explanation

Ear plugs: I bough a box of 200 packets a few years ago and still have half of it. I run them through the laundry and reuse them. I try to wear them all the time in the shop. My wife is already losing her hearing and its *no* fun.

For arc welding I like a #7 shade :) more on this to come when I get some time.
adam - Thursday, 01/12/06 10:08:33 EST

I prefer the "muff" style hearing protectors and every time I see a good pair for a buck or two at the flea market I pick them up so I have about 8 pair floating around in my house/shop/truck and a nifty folding pair that I wear on long plane trips. Shoot I even used to wear them mowing my yard.

Notice I never said how long my shirts and pants were? A good layer of sweat helps keep the scale fleas from biting much. Fringes on old cutoffs and heavy pile on flannel shirts can ignite and surprise you.

Thomas P - Thursday, 01/12/06 11:29:44 EST

TIG: dip technique: NEED help fast.
My welds look sick!
- packrat - Thursday, 01/12/06 11:38:23 EST

Shop Clothes::
Forging: T-shirt and Carhartts or jeans. Low boots, or high steel toes if I am working with something heavy. Denim apron sometimes. Ear protection if the anvil I'm on rings loud. Left hand glove most of the time -- occasionally a right hand wrap.

Welding/cutting: Same, plus welding jacket ("welder's varsity jacket" -- half leather, half cotton), P100 respirator, welding helmet, sound suppression muffs, and something over my hair.

Grinding: Same as forging, but the apron is a must. Add in a face shield, the P100 respirator, hair covering, and heavy made-in-China work gloves.

Vicopper, I have smithed in sandals but actually prefer bare feet. Scale seems to get trapped where the straps are for me.

Regarding hearing protection, I am very fond of the Harbor Freight $4 earmuffs... work a treat, and if you smash 'em or someone lifts them it's no big deal. Gonna be ordering another couple pair soon.
T. Gold - Thursday, 01/12/06 15:09:17 EST

I wear my welding jacket, my boots, my hair in a ponytail, & a gauntlet type welding glove on my left hand.
- packrat - Thursday, 01/12/06 15:36:30 EST

Bare feet: Are just fine for smithing, using suitable caution as to where you put your feet and what you stub your toe on. I wear sandals because my feet are just too wimpy to go barefoot in my shop.
vicopper - Thursday, 01/12/06 16:08:00 EST

Matthew: Don't listen to any of these guys. The only truly safe attire is to pick up a used deep sea divers suit, with helmet and air compresser, and full body protection. You can omit the lead weight belt, but the lead soled shoes are built in. That way you are protected from burns and respiratory ailments. Just watch out your hose doesn't get tangled in your power hammer. A little hard to work in perhaps......grin!

Actually, the necessities, as repeatedly stated are safety glasses (good ones available from the Anvilfire store), hearing protection if you have a ringing anvil, (some safety glasses come with ear plugs attached) and common sense. The rest are all personal options.

Like many here, I avoid synthetic clothing (for just about everything, not just forging). I like a Kevlar heat resistant glove (I bought mine from Pieh Tool Co, lots of others available), on my left hand. A lot of that is because I use a propane forge and the "dragon's breath" (almost invisible flames exiting the front of your forge), has gotten me more than once.

I don't use a respirator or dust mask when forging, but I do when using a chop saw or grinding. Usually I don't bother with it when welding either, since I avoid welding on anything except unplated, unpainted steel. If I did welding all day long then I would worry about the fumes from the flux on the rod, but my welding is usually rather minimal. If you feel the need for a respirator, a lot of automotive parts shops carry good ones as automative paint is rather toxic, cyanide is or used to be a common ingredient in the hardener.

I wear open top boots with denim jeans. Have yet to have a "bugger" burn through and my pants and drop down inside my boot. Might change my mind when it does. For arc welding and wire wheel brushing I tend to wear the Harbor Fright leather shirt, and leather gauntlets, plus an autodark (also Harbor Fright) helmet, set to whatever is appropriate for what I am welding. Small rod on light steel calls for a lighter setting than 1/8" rod on 1/2" plate, for example. Then I will go for the darkest setting, which on my helmet is #12, and if that isn't dark enough I get my old fashioned hood with a #13 lens in it.

I do also use a #2 safety glass when I am going to be looking into the forge or forge welding. That is also a good shade when using an oxy-acetylene torch for spot heating, like adjusting your tongs.

A leather apron could be handy. I've toyed with the idea of getting one, but haven't done so yet. You'll find a lot of folks who wear them have power hammers. One of the reasons for this is the old mechanical ones like a lot of grease on them, and it does land up on the operator.

That's about it for my two cents worth. Enjoy your new craft!
Ellen - Thursday, 01/12/06 16:33:29 EST

Being a shy and gently raised person I will not be visiting packrat's shop as he wears nothing between his welding jacket and his boots.

(I thought Burnt Forge was supposed to be the Jester???)

Thomas P - Thursday, 01/12/06 17:39:10 EST

Respirators: I did not specify, but for welding grinding and wire brushing rust off I too use a P-100 respirator. The paint respirators found at auto parts house usually have "organic vapor" filters were for the particulate from grinding, and weld fume, the P-100 is the correct filter. I have found a very handy respirator to be the A.O. Safety "Quicklatch" with the low profile pancake P-100 filters. I can wear these under a weld helmet andhardy know its there. When I am in clean air I pull the latch and the facepiece falls down and hangs at my chest. A quick throw of the latch and its back fit on my face.
- ptree - Thursday, 01/12/06 19:49:06 EST

For all you daring souls who go into the smithy barefoot or in cowboy boots, silver sulfadiazene, I have learned the hard way, will stop a burn infection dead in its tracks. When the blister pops and the burn gets that rosey aura around the edge, slather some on, good and thick, pronto.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 01/12/06 19:59:51 EST

Shop Clothes:: I used to wear mostly just blue jeans and a tee shirt, except in the summer when it was shorts and optional shirt. I live in So cal, and it gets pretty hot here. One thing I doo wear almost religiously is my leather apron. I also bought my last set of normal prescription glasses as safety glasses since I normally forget to change to the ones with the side shields, at least I have something solid on. I also have 2 full face sheilds in the shop so there is always one handy. I do use those when grinding or using the wire wheels on grinders etc. I also have a couple pairs of ear muffs around so me and a visitor can put them on, as well as a couple pairs of sun glasses for visitors hanging on the peg board. Most of the time I wear tennis shoos or some cheap hiking boots. Some day I'll buy better shoes, but for now I am just mindful of what I am doing around my feet. Like Rich said, this stuff works for me so far, and I don't reccomend it for any one else.
FredlyFX - Thursday, 01/12/06 20:23:08 EST

safety glasses: My welding supply store has safety glasses & dark wrap-around glasses with little magnifying areas (diopters?)in the bottoms of the lenses, perfect for those of us with presbyopia or can't-see-up-close-itis. I used to weld in flip-flops & had a box to cover my tootsies with. I don't do much production stuff now, so steel toed boots it is.
- Tom C - Thursday, 01/12/06 21:24:36 EST

Tom-C, I have been buying those safety glasses with the diopters(cheaters) for my shop guys with the can't-see-up- close-itis. I find many styles and they run from about $5.00 to $12.00 a pair.
- ptree - Thursday, 01/12/06 21:47:46 EST

Leather apron note: I don't always wear an apron, but when I do...and I don't know about y'all, but I can't stand the bib and neck strap in hot weather. Many early American smiths wore aprons that were pretty much a rectangular piece of soft tanned leather with a fold over on top to contain the tie thong. The were worn fairly high, at least above the belly button and could be pulled higher if heavy work was being done. Farriers' aprons were worn lower and had the vertical split, so that the animal's front foot could be placed between the horseshoer's thighs, just above knee level.

Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/12/06 22:12:40 EST

I personally like the bib type leather apron. But I do not live where it routinly get HOT like Frank does. I do wear teh apron neck strop uner my shirt collar. The shirt is also a heavy cotton and long sleeved whic I keep down year round. Long heavy cotton pants and closed shoes or boots ( leather)
ONly time I wear a glove is if I an doing hot punching or using other tools hot. Since all are short shanked it helps to protect the left hand form the heat. But that is the only time I wear a glove. ALtho I was told by Dr to wear a glove on the right hand to help protect against cuts burns etc due to lymphedema. So I shal look into that once I get back to the forge..... I hate gloves.
Ralph - Thursday, 01/12/06 23:03:28 EST

packrat TIG: I guess by dip You mean scratch start- contacting the work with the tungsten. This contaminates the electrode with metal and at least for Me always gives crappy results. Does Your machine have High Frequency or a lift-start mode? These prevent contamination. As an alternative You may try starting the arc on a block of copper and trying to transfer to the weld zone then push the copper out of the way.
Dave Boyer - Friday, 01/13/06 00:56:05 EST

The apron I wear has criss cross straps instead of the neck loop. It is very comfortable to wear.
FredlyFX - Friday, 01/13/06 04:50:18 EST

Apron strings: I couldn't stand my aprons neck strap, either, so I replaced it with a "ladder"-type thing. Not criss-cross, but the same effect.

But now I have to lengthen the apron strings. They tie in the back, which is annoying. I want to wrap them around to the front.
- Marc - Friday, 01/13/06 07:52:34 EST

It's Friday---go ahead and laugh!

The apron I used the most was a vintage wrap around leather miniskirt---a hand me down from my sister. it covered the "danger zone" and was easy to put on and tied in front.

Now that I got some of you all hot and bothered---I wore it over my jeans of course.

It wore out even repairing it with copper harnessmaker's rivets....gonna have to make another.

My wife has suggested I make a "mini apron" for my beard...

Thomas P - Friday, 01/13/06 12:39:56 EST

sleepless in los alamos: Man, I need sleep but I am too traumatized by the image of Thomas in his hot leather miniskirt. augh!!! couldnt he at least spring for a decent pair of high heels to go with it? arrgh!! must ... see ... therapist......
- adam - Friday, 01/13/06 14:15:01 EST

But if I wore heels then I would have to wear a feather boa and you know how they get in the way when forging!

Thomas P - Friday, 01/13/06 15:59:50 EST

Forgin' Fashions: For some reason, I keep getting a picture in my demented mind, of Thomas at the forge replete with disreputable hat und lederhosen. Is that a recurring bad dream, or a Quad-State flashback?
3dogs - Friday, 01/13/06 16:42:56 EST

3dogs---am I singing the international friendship song from the Animaniacs as I work? If so you are channelling me perfectly! If not adjust Al foil hat and try again....

"Ist das nicht zome red hot steel? Yah das ist zome red hot steel"...

Thomas P - Friday, 01/13/06 17:43:45 EST

What color feather boa?
- ptree - Friday, 01/13/06 19:18:59 EST

I hear flamin pink!!
burntforge - Friday, 01/13/06 19:28:05 EST

Tom ask Packrat about the burns from his forging outfit. I hear burn cream and new packages of socks came in handy.
burntforge - Friday, 01/13/06 19:35:50 EST

uri hofi - Friday, 01/13/06 19:37:31 EST

Senor: Well now I need to put the sensor button on the keyboard. You know in the movie DEEDS how his friend took over the typing instead of the lady on the instant message. That is what my little girl just did. I am innocent!!! I bet you didn't know my aussie can read and type. God's honest truth...BOG
burntforge - Friday, 01/13/06 19:40:40 EST

Uri...Hands: The hard hand business was in 1964. Presently, my hands are in good order, soft as you say, and no weathered cracks. Not to forget that at shoeing school, we were repeatedly using pull-off pincers, hoof nippers, the hoof knife, clinching tongs, the rasps, crease nail pullers, etc. Therefore, it was somewhat different than just being at the anvil. Kamerad Frank
Frank Turley - Friday, 01/13/06 19:58:24 EST

vision report-- To all who encouraged me in this venue and privately to shape up and quit moaning and just go get my damned cataracts removed and replaced with plastic implant lenses, with words, good thoughts, positive vibes, old fashioned prayers, heartening anecdotes, success stories, my deepest thanks. Surgery yesterday was an absolute piece of cake. Typing and reading on this contraption last night without glasses for the first time ever. Tested 202/20 today in post-op exam this a.m. and I think if the chart had smaller type it would have been 20/15 just like the old days, in the eye operated upon. Of course, things can always still go sour, infection possible if that $50 anti-biotic fails to work, occlusions maybe down the road, etc. But as my second-oldest son the hard-nosed reporter points out, one can always get hit by a semi, too. So, now for the other one. Again, ¡muchas gracias! amigos and amigas.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 01/14/06 00:28:34 EST

vision report, part II-- that glowing report apparently does not mean typos are a thing of the past, alas. Make that 20/20 this a.m., not 202/20. Sorry.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 01/14/06 00:40:07 EST

Miles/typos: You don't actually make the typos (typi?), Miles, your keyboard just doesn't understand you.
3dogs - Saturday, 01/14/06 08:54:17 EST

Seeing Neary and Far: Miles,

'Tis delighted I am, to hear of your success with the eye-peeler. Although, you have to admit that that eye patch looks right distinguished on the Hathaway man. (grin)
vicopper - Saturday, 01/14/06 09:01:02 EST

Miles the eagle eyed: Congrats! Its always scary to submit to the knife. Very glad to hear you got it done. Do take care of them. Remember to use a #7 shade for arc welding. Now that you can see your feet again, perhaps you will be a little more careful not to kick over my cup of pencils next time you stroll around the Plaza - is that too much for a blind old man to ask? hunh?
- adam - Saturday, 01/14/06 11:31:41 EST

3 dogs: Well, Jock caved in first. (grin)

I thought he went a bit too easy, but then I'm rapidly becoming a full-fledged curmudgeon and ready to advocate binding of the hands to prevent keyboard use.
vicopper - Saturday, 01/14/06 11:42:41 EST

LOLOLOL. vicopper....I am still rolling on the floor. Binding hands to prevent keyboard use is funny!!
burntforge - Saturday, 01/14/06 12:17:57 EST

Thanks again, all!: vicopper-- Gracias, the patch is now part of my cover.
3dogs-- I have actually, no kidding, been advised by our cybershaman to go to Orifice Depot and seek a bigger, more typewriterlike, keyboard than the dinkiness what came with this Dell.
adam-- The Plaza is a muy classy hotel and does not allow people such as have cups of pencils inside... oh, you mean THAT Plaza? Fret not, I will take care.

Miles Undercut - Saturday, 01/14/06 12:43:45 EST

This & That: Catching up after our ISO/TS audit at work. Quality assurance/sytems is not nearly as much fun as bing a metallurgist. Missed the whole ferret tossing episode in real time, just when I could have used the relief. Growing up in western PA, we didn't toss cowpies, or horse apples though both were availabile on Grandma's farm (which was next door, so to speak). For some reeason, we kids decided rotten eggs were the items to toss - find an abandoned nest, choose your ammunition errr, ball replacement object, and go to. Got to be reasonably good at catching gently and also knowing when to skip the catch and dodge quickly.

Miles - good to hear that the surgery went well. Best of luck on the next eye.
- Gavainh - Sunday, 01/15/06 01:19:16 EST

Gavainh-- Thanks, much appreciated!
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/15/06 02:48:31 EST

401 lb Haybudden : There is a 401 pound haybudden anvil on e bay right now. The bid is up to 2000.00. Some people have more money than sense. And there is still 7 days left on the auction. I wonder what my mouse hole forge anvil is worth. I have a near perfect 204 pound peter wright also. I wouldn't sell them but it sure would be interesting to find out what someone would pay for them.
- firebug - Sunday, 01/15/06 02:58:57 EST

SIGHT: Miles, Congrats and glad you are having a quick recovery. The down side will be that you will now be able to see just how bad your work has been these past years anf want to take it all back and finish it! . . .GOSEG ;)
- guru - Sunday, 01/15/06 09:00:29 EST

. .disreputable hat und lederhosen . .:
Dang! That reminds me that SOMEWHERE I have a photo of that being from the land of dreams. . ha, rather NIGHTMARES!

Need to sort all the SOFA pics and get them up soon. . But there are probably more pressing things to do in the next 10 days. . . then I am off to sunny warm Cost Rica for a few weeks. More blacksmithing in the tropics. Delivering 20 Mule Team Borax this time. After scaring the bejabbers out of airline security with forge burner parts I think I will just haul white powder this year. . . hmmmmmmm might be going from bad to worse.
- guru - Sunday, 01/15/06 09:05:15 EST

Smuggling Laundry Supplies: Jock,

I would definitely leave early for the airport with that in my luggage! It should only take TSA a couple extra minutes to do a quick test on it and find out that it isn't "the other white meat", but TSA probably won't have either the test kit or the sense to realize that carrying coke to Costa Rica is like carrying coal to Newcastle. Definitely "upstream economics", if one were to do that. (grin)

TSA will have to call the guys over from Customs and Border Protection to test your suspicious white powder, I would guess. Figure an extra half hour for that delay, and also figure that they'll open every box of it and won't have any way to seal them back up properly. Take a few big Ziploc™ bags for the re-packaging, and then the TSA and CBP guys can slap some of their "we were here" tape over them for the next airport. I still wouldn't put much faith in my baggage getting there when I did though.

I'll be waiting with bated breath to hear if/how you make out with the bureaucrats. Should CSI start taking up a collection for your bail money? :-)
vicopper - Sunday, 01/15/06 09:53:21 EST

Borax: Probably OK if its in the original sealed pkg. Could put it with some other unecessary laundry supplies just to provide "context" although I am sure some of those guys have never done any laundry ever in their lives. OTH if they do take an interest and stumble across this website, well ... dangerous machinery, explosives, weapons, ferret tossing, swords ( for ritual beheading ?) ... it's "Enemy Combatant Time"

If you're going To Guantanamo Bay
You better wear some borax in your hair ...

No no no! This is all craziness! What you need to do is figure out how much you really need for the show - package it in a condom (avoid the tickler model) and swallow it before embarking. Another thought - but this is a really bizarre idea, you could ask one of the local smiths if he knows where you can buy a box of 20 mule team?
adam - Sunday, 01/15/06 11:03:51 EST

Price of Hay-Budden:
Well, this is a rather rare size and they were one of the last old forged anvils made. They are considered by many to have been the best made anvil of the 20th century.

Then there is a possibility that Peddinghaus has ended production of their forged anvils. They have not shipped product nor made anvils for 8 months. So far Ridge Tool will not say one way or the other. However, if this is so, look for prices on all old (and recent) forged steel anvils to go up.

When you consider that a 90 year old Hay-Budden in good condition is just as good (or better) a tool as a brand new Peddinghaus then why shouldn't the price approach the $5 to $6 a pound of a new anvil. In fact, it is the durability of old anvils that has kept modern anvil prices down in most cases.

All I can say is that it is a sad day when the sales of blacksmithing tools is burgeoning and the demand is higher than in 60 years and the only forged steel anvil on the market goes out of production. . .
- guru - Sunday, 01/15/06 12:06:59 EST

20 Mule Team:
It was one of the local smiths that asked me to bring a little. The US is one of the very few places it is sold. Otherwise they have to buy it from chemical supply houses or ceramics houses that have imported it from. . the USA.
- guru - Sunday, 01/15/06 12:18:58 EST

Many thanks, Honorable Guruissimo! Here is hoping you have a blast in Costa Rica!
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/15/06 12:27:32 EST

CSI - IRS status: Well. . we got a response. The same questions asked over again some exactly the same, some wanting more detailed information, some wanting more. . .

AND they want it ALL by February 2nd. . while I am going to be out of the country from the 25th of January to the 15th of February. . .

- guru - Sunday, 01/15/06 12:41:24 EST

IRS 501(c)(3): Jock,

Send that stuff to me by Priority Mail. I'll fillit out and get it to them on time, with sufficiently sesquipedalian prose that they'll allow our status. This is the sort of stuff I do for a living these days. Get it in the mail asap so I can have as much time as possible with it. It will help if you also send along the previous answers so I can keep *reasonably* consistent with them.
vicopper - Sunday, 01/15/06 15:18:47 EST

Jock-- Before you get all comfy in your hammock down there on your finca, what is this, how you say in your language, GOSEG ??? Since seeing your post I've glimmed a slew of online web and cell phone jargon and acronym dictionaries, not wanting to confess my abysmal ignorance here, but nobody seems to have heard of it. You cyberwhizzes have to remember (Thomas, N.B.) that some of us, and our vocabularies, are still locked in the 1950s.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/15/06 15:38:49 EST

Translation: Grand Ol' S*** Eating Grin
vicopper - Sunday, 01/15/06 18:44:08 EST

vicopper-- undying gratitude! I once almost found myself in a no kidding duel, having thoughtlessly used that wonderful phrase to describe the winning, nay, alluring smile on a woman's face, without realizing the man I was describing that winsome smile to... was...the... lady's... husband. Glug. Anyway, Jock is perfectly correct. All sorts of things are now in focus that happily have not been until the operation. As to work done, however, a basic rule of being a free-lunch writer is NEVER go back and read anything you've done once it's in print, and I have long applied that to ironwork sold. Out of the shop, out of mind.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/15/06 19:25:56 EST

Guru---be prepared for all the other travellers to keep whispering "wrong way" to you as you haul the powder towards Central America...

When I was going to spend the summer of '98 in Germany I brought over a billet and a couple of sample size boxes of 20 mule team borax. No trouble. I ended up leaving one with the smith at the open air museum who was kind enough to demand that I demo pattern welding to him as they were using sand for flux and thought that my "low temp" high carbon steel welding must have involved a contract with the infernal powers (cousin of mine...)

I'd follow vicopper's advice---his suggestion on how to ship 50# of coal on the plane with me after quad state was right on.

Miles; now you've gone and done it; how will I be able to pass all that counterfit money on you that a smith who shall not be named paid me for my best feather boa. n.b. spandex is not a forge friendy fabric! and in the words of the great Edna---"No Cape".

Thomas Powers - Sunday, 01/15/06 21:59:22 EST

If the early price is any indication to what the final price is going to be then that Hay Budden will be somewhere around 2,500 to 3,000 bucks. That is a lot of money. More than that anvil is worth to me and most people I believe. Are you going to be at the next advanced element and tool making class that Hofi is putting on at B2 Design in March. I met you at the last class in 05. I'll be there again in March.
- firebug - Sunday, 01/15/06 22:47:38 EST

Borax etc: I sent a "CARE package" to Johan Cubillos in Costa Rica about one year ago. I enclosed several boxes of 20 Mule Team borax, some Lava soap and a few hand tools. I made sure the borax and soap were wrapped in sheet plastic. All arrived OK.

Since that time, Johan has informed me that they have found a place where lava soap is available locally.
- Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/15/06 22:51:09 EST

401 pound Hat Budden price game: How about a game. What do you think the final price for the 401 pound Hay Budden that is on E bay will be? The winner gets a nice large 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 diameter jack hammer bit made from S-7 tool steel. I'll even pay the shiiping. They make excellent hardie tools. The person closest to the final bid price without going over wins and must get me their address either by email or post it here. GOOOOOD LUUUUCK.
firebug - Sunday, 01/15/06 22:54:37 EST

haybudden guess: My guess is 2500.00 for the Hay Budden 401 pounder
burntforge - Sunday, 01/15/06 23:38:33 EST

hay budden guess: 2500.00 plus or minus 6.00 dollars for the 401 hay budden
burntforge - Sunday, 01/15/06 23:39:42 EST

ebay anvils: I have notice the high prices one seller is able to get for anvils on ebay and is curently bidding on the big budden. He or She drives the price up of other ones sold by bidding alot of them at the end of auctions. Then they are resold on ebay and that sellers gets three times the money for the same anvil by giving them a little cleaning. The seller is matchlessantiques and bidding name is hammered2bits. I heard this outfit is nice folks. I think the anvil price frenzy is coming in from that direction. Nothing wrong with that. It is just some blacksmith folks have to spend alot of resources on one tool.
hottuyere - Sunday, 01/15/06 23:50:18 EST

Hay Budden: I'd guess it will only go to $2,055.00, or just 1400 bucks more than I'd give for it.
vicopper - Monday, 01/16/06 00:05:52 EST

Thomas, no offense, but the image of you in a feathered boa, and spandex, as a friend of mine who gave me my Paragon anvil used to say, "buggers the imagination." No money needed, counterfeit or otherwise, PLEASE come and take away some more of this stuff!!!
Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/16/06 01:32:58 EST

my guess is the 401lb Haybudden anvil will go for $2351.01
FredlyFX - Monday, 01/16/06 07:11:50 EST

401 HB: It will go for $2400.00.
- Tyler Murch - Monday, 01/16/06 13:55:13 EST

Haybudden guess: If I get the closest I will still send the jack hammer bit to the next closest guesser. My guess is 2545.00
firebug - Monday, 01/16/06 16:25:36 EST

Air Compressor: Just wanted to pass along a company I found that sells air compressors. It is called Eaton Compressors. After looking at all of the usual companies I settled on Eaton. I stumbled across them accidently on Ebay. Mine should be comming in this Friday. It is a 7 1/2 HP with a 120 Gallon tank. It has a V4 2 stage compressor capable of about 27cfm at 175 psi. The pump has rings and bearings similar to a car motor so it is totaly rebuildable. One of the best things about the compressor is it only turns about 600rpm which is much slower than any others on the market.I actually had a phone conversation with the owner while a compressor was running right next to him. The slower speeds help keep temps down and allows the compressor to last much longer. It has a built in programable electric tank drain. Delivered to me the total is just over 2100.00 bucks which I think is an outstanding price. I am getting it to run my new Phoenix power hammer. I will let you know how it does in the future. Just wanted to post this in case one of ya'll are looking for a new compressor. They have many sizes, both smaller and larger. Check them out.
firebug - Monday, 01/16/06 16:54:06 EST

401 haybudden: 3200.00
- jwolfe - Monday, 01/16/06 19:32:56 EST

Little Giant For Sale: The 1908 New Little Giant Trip Hammer, 50#, Old-Style, that I had given notification was for sale here on the Hammer-In earlier in the month has sold today, 1/16/06.
- ccharper - Monday, 01/16/06 20:58:13 EST

jwolfe: You may be right if there is a bidding frenzy towards the end. That was one thing I was considering when I tried to guess the price. I figured that since the price was already 2,000.00 bucks I thought most people would not get too carried away. You can never figure out the human emotion though.
firebug - Monday, 01/16/06 21:21:54 EST

401 Haybudden: 2675.00
- keith - Monday, 01/16/06 21:28:23 EST

Native Americans: Dave Boyer: Burntforge: Not to be a wiseass, but nobody called them "Indians" untill Columbus got here [Western Hemisphere] and presumesd He was near India. Then it was a bit longer 'till it was understood that this isn't India. It wasent even America untill Vespuci named it. Doesn't the "Native American" word for themselves [those that had a word anyway]translate to "people"? If I were to be politically corect about My ancestry I would say many of them were "Protestants from Germanic Europe" but I am not offended by being called Pa.Dutch. When no offence is intended, none should be taken.

Burnt Forge: Dave

This is most important!!

I forgot this is very offesive to natives. "Kill the Indian...Save The Man". This is directly why Natives take the I word as the N word. If all ethinic groups of the Natives were not being wiped out by genocide, they were given disease. Since they didn't succeed killing all natives they killed the native by beating the native out of them and making them a Darker skinned White Anglo Saxon Man or be killed. You have no idea how much Native Americans dislike White folks today. I don't agree with this. As my wifes family is from another country that never did anything to the natives. The Native is still being wiped out. If they ever get A Martin Luther King...look out!

Hi Dave
I really don't get offened by that word, many do. I realize most folks don't know any better, though they do for using the N word toward AA people. Since what happen was a complete act of geneocide. Then make the few of us assimilate into their culture. Put us on reservations. They are a sad poor place today. I live by one of the poorest ones in the country they read about in English classes today. Most of what is written is not factual anyway. Most Protestants wrote things to be deceptive to justify genocide. The Native Americans are still very exploited today. They do not have the same advantages of the AA. It is sad so many tribes were completely wiped out. There were something like 372 spoken languages. Today I think less than 125 exist. My memory may not be correct on the numbers. In the ball park. I believe in a prostentant faith background. I don agree with casinos and smoke shops. They need to make money to survive somehow. The farming lands have been stolen from them, fishing rights taken away, hunting grounds taken away. How are they to survive. The reservation are very poor. Schools are not very good. I am not commenting on the governments deception to the public through media. Treaties are still being broken. Land still taken. Any way to take away from them is done. Don't forget all the sayings of "Beat the Indian Down". They today are still not seen as people. Indian is the white mans word-it is the same as the N word. Anyway I appologize for this. I am not rascist toward any other race or ethinicity. I will keep future writings to the hammer-in. I just wanted to respond to Dave. The Native have their own history that does not agree with US history. I am not defending either way.

The bad term Indian instead of Native American has to do with: Genocide, Disease, Deception to justify before mention and Assimilation. Key ellements why the bad term "Indian" towrd the Native American is the same as "Nigger" toward the African American. Keep in mind both of these races have hundreds of ethnic groups. Many folks lump these people into single mined identifying catagories.
Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 00:24:37 EST

Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/17/06 01:46:05 EST

Natives: Well, I always thought I was a Pollock, until Ann Landers got in trouble for saying that. My familily ties only go back about a houndred years in this country. At one time, there was no Poland. Many times throughout history, the conquering nation destroyed all the books and languages and cultures of the people they fought. But again, that is past history. I haven't put anyone down. My parents and grand parents are not responsible for the westward expansion of white settlers in the U.S. My parents had nothing to do with slavery. We can not change the past. However, We do have opportunities here in the U.S. to improve our lives, and have a better future than our parents. No one should be expected to hand us anything, but if we work for it, the rewards are possible. Now, I do feel for the natives of this country, and what they went thru. That doesn't mean I am responsible for the past actions of my government, and it doesn't mean I should be responsible for trying to set right, something than can never be made right. That is life, that is history. That is all.
Bob H - Tuesday, 01/17/06 08:18:03 EST

Dave & Bob: I agree with you both. I am an observer. Not a partaker in all of this. It is still going on today. Not much has change. The government trys to break more treaties and step in a sovereign nation to try to get tax monies. Then the two sides collide. The Native's close the interstate and pile tires on it and set them on fire. Then the military is called in. The war begins untill the government stays out of the reservation business. Where I live after the farm land was taken away. The government flooded it and gave them swamp land. By eminent domain they took the swamp land and made it interstate. The Native just closes it down when the government fights them. Yes they do shoot at each other. It is all very sad. I really believe people need to help themselves first. Many do. Many are just beat too far down. It is sad. Usually each side is wrong concerning actions. .
Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 10:03:12 EST

Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 10:27:45 EST

"Bury my Heart"...: At a cocktail party a few years back, I met an Anglo guy who said he had just finished reading Dee Brown's "Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee". He said that he was so grieved by reading about the depredations against the Western Indians, that he actually cried repeatedly while reading the book. He said that the reading made him feel guilty, and that he couldn't seem to get it all off his mind.

I asked him if he had any real estate. He replied, "Well, yeah, a house and a couple of acres." I said, "One thing you could do is try to locate an Indian, it doesn't matter who, and make sure he or she has a CIB (Certificate of Indian Blood). Then, go to your title company and sign your property over to that person."

The guy blanched a little, and said that he didn't feel quite that bad.

I rest my case.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/17/06 11:08:51 EST

Thanks for your imput Frank.
Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 12:03:16 EST

Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 12:03:48 EST

TOUCHE', Frank
- 3dogs - Tuesday, 01/17/06 12:11:24 EST

On one of the family farms the entire Native tribe would come and stay all summer. They set up camp and cohabitated quite nicely. No one owns the land. We share it for a brief time. Only the creator owns the land. I really appreciate the input from Frank, but I don't quite understand. Yet I do from the Anglo laws of land ownership.
What I am saying it is an ethnic cultural thing. Most of us look at it from an Anglo view not a Native view. This is hard to do unless you know the culture. Also see the perspective of the creators land, respect for animals and enviornment/nature.
burntforge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 12:49:50 EST

I am just trying to be a voice of education not a critic.
burntforge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 12:51:25 EST

History: History has always been written by and to glorify the victors. School curricula have become far more balanced than they were when I learned how the brave pioneers defended themselves from the ruthless, blood thirsty savages.

But, I didn't do it, nor my ancestors. We need to make honest efforts to treat the remaining aboriginal people fairly. Even my confederate ancestors owned no slaves and as sharecroppers were little better off than the blacks.

I wish we could further improve our history curriculum. Our texts today paint us as always the "good guys." I think the things like the Mi Lai and other horific massacares in recent wars need to be taught so they won't happen again.

Not one American in a hundered has even heard of the Ballengiaga(sp?) Massacare of the Philippine American War. Most haven't even heard of the war. But EVERY Filipino has heard of it and the US government's refusal to appologize hurts our national security today. By the way I was very surprised to find that the records in the US National Archives fully support the Filipino version of events.

I'm afraid that correcting the text books and appologizing won't happen in my life time. Meanwhile I try to treat every human being I meet whit dignity and respect.

- John Odom - Tuesday, 01/17/06 14:02:05 EST

What is the Hammer_In: Seems anvilfire has gotten away from it's intended uses. Too much racial and political stuff. Please read the following which is from the rules page for the hammer-in:

* Permitted Uses: (Just about anything related to blacksmithing)

* Buying, selling, trading of metalworking tools and equipment. We would prefer dealers to purchase advertising space but we will not throw you out or censor your posts (let your conscious be your guide).

* Swapping lies, telling jokes asking or giving advise. The Guru may put in his two cents worth, time permitting, but questions for the Guru should be posted on his page.

* Posting notices of blacksmithing events or organizing same
Ralph - Tuesday, 01/17/06 14:33:30 EST

For a little different look at things, My grandfather was a sharecropper in Oklahoma. We are of the Anglo Saxon persuasion, mostly and the land lord? Kiowa tribe. Mom has several stories of those days. Most of em involve drunken braves who wanted more than agreed upon. I wasn't there and Mom may be a bit biased. :)

John it was only recently that I looked at the history of that conflict. Wow! I need to read some more.
- Mills - Tuesday, 01/17/06 14:34:07 EST

Balangiga Incident: John Odom: See You can link to others from there
3dogs - Tuesday, 01/17/06 14:51:56 EST

John Odom: "Meanwhile I try to treat every human being I meet with dignity and respect."
Well Said!! Always a man of infinite wisdom.

Ralph: We read you loud and clear brother.
Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 16:12:14 EST

anvilfire hats and shirts: hats are back and better than before! Will be on the cart in a few days.

We will also have embroidered anvilfire shirts. Both are beautifully embroidered in 6 colors by Butterflies of Gold.
Butterflies of Gold Custom Embroidery
- guru - Tuesday, 01/17/06 16:20:24 EST

Sorber collection: Sorber Collection:

After making some inquiries I found out no one from the metal museum or blacksmith realm was able to purchase part of this collection.

Many items were sold in large groups. The items were going for more than the funds collected by the metal museum and ABANA. They were unable to get into the action.

Walley is putting great efforts into other avenues of using the funds to acquire some pieces of this collection from the dealers who purchased many in large quanities.

The collection sold for over $711,000. The prices of these forged items just went out of site. Individual basic pieces sold for thousands.

This item was not part of the sorber collection, but sold at the beginning of this January 06 for over 42,000. It is the wrought iron door escutcheon found on the front cover of the Antique Iron, English and American 15th Century through 1850. By Schiffer.

Some of this info was lost in the deletion of earlier posts by accident.

Ralph I agree with you brother concerning the Guru's den!!

I have personally found the bookman I used in college made by Franklin very helpful for proper spelling in this forum. I also find the English Desk Reference: "Everything You Need To Know About English" very helpful in writting better about blacksmith related topics. If this helped me I thought others may find it helpful. I still make lots of errors.
Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 16:47:51 EST

History: History has been written by the victors. School curricula have become far more balanced that they were when I learned how the brave pioneers defended themselves from the savages.

But, I didn't do it, nor my ancestors. We need to make honest efforts to treat the remaining aboriginal people fairly. Even my confederate ancestors owned no slaves and as sharecroppers were little better off than the blacks.

I wish we could further improve our history curriculum. Our texts today paint us as always the "good guys." I think the things Like Mi Lai and other horific massacares in recent wars need to be taught so they won't happen again.

Not one American in a hundered has even heard of the Ballengiaga Massacare of the Philippine American War. Most haven't even heard of the war. But EVERY Filipino has heard of it and the US government's refusal to appologize hurts our national security today. By the way I was verry surprised to find that the records in the US

- John Odom - Tuesday, 01/17/06 17:07:26 EST

correction: Continue above post: US national archives support the Filipino version of events.
- John Odom - Tuesday, 01/17/06 17:10:11 EST

My Southern ancestors were too poor to own slaves; however my cherokee ancestors did and brought them on the trail of tears to OK with them and no these were not "war captives" they bought them at the docks in SC and GA just like the other plantation owners did.

The more you dig into history the more you find out that it's made of people both good and bad, ignorant and smart and with the very different value systems of their times.

I have a friend who worked on the Santa Maria replica in Columbus OH who once talked with a "First Nations" fellow who was there protesting Columbus's arrival. He asked why they were upset and the fellow told him that the Europeans had come and taken their lands. He asked him how they had gotton those lands and the fellow proudly told him that they had taken them from other "First Nations" people by conquest.

The protestor did not see the irony or the parallelism of his reply.

I am not guilty of what my ancestors did; I am only guilty of what *I* do and so it behooves me to watch *my* actions carefully.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/17/06 18:43:48 EST

Hay Budden Stuck At 2,000.00: With 5 days left the Hay Budden is still at 2,000.00 on E bay. I have full faith though that there will be a last minute bidding war that will drive the price up.
- Firebug - Tuesday, 01/17/06 21:43:43 EST

Hats and shirts: Let me be the first to say the shirts and hats will be well worth it! My local forge group just got some hats and shirts from Sheri at butterflies of gold, and we could not be happier with them. If you go to the website and click on "job gallery," the first bunch is us, Bristol Forge at Rocky Mount.

I hope Jock doesn't mind, since he didn't mention it, but I think I should add that Sheri is none other than Sheri Wilson. Our friend Jim's (Paw-Paw's) wife. And she does a darnedly fine job with her embroidery machines, let me tell you!

Oh, and Thomas: Good post. People are people.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 01/17/06 21:53:11 EST

History:: Someone, I wish I could remember who, said "History is a trick We play on the dead"
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 01/17/06 23:31:48 EST

What an anvilfire subscriber dreams at night: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzblacksmithingzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzhecky darnzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzaw sugar miss blowzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzshoot fire didn't need that fingerzzzzzzzzzzzzhot poker boss rearzzzzzzzzzzzzsnortzzzzzzzzzzbog snortzzzzzzzzz

This dream is approved in this forum under article A1section3a,b...BOSEG
Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 23:41:46 EST

don't forget.."self proclaimed hammer-in jester". Guess I really do need a life outside the realm of blacksmithing.
Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/17/06 23:49:41 EST

the Next Level of Smithing!!: Lets start an anvilfire radio show based in Costa Rica. "The Shoot Fire Hecky Darn Show". We can have the power hammer sound affects band. Wait! I am grabbing the bookman. Affect not effect is correct term. I got nervous. We need two or three show personalities. Hmmmm....Who will it be? Which one of these dang varmit blacksmiths is character enough. We can have a smith that gets clunked in the head each day with a horse shoe. After saying something dumb. hecky darn... adults not hurl a horse shoe directly from a hot forge. We also need a grumpy old sour smith in the show too. Who can that be?

I came up with this idea to take us to the next level. Every aspect of smithing has been talked about or recorded under the faqs or archives in this forum. Who will volunter? If we make it big like stern in a less grosser way-I get 10% off the top for creative design.
Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 01/18/06 00:08:34 EST

We would be hits on the radio broadcast. Everyone would wonder what would they do or say next!!
Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 01/18/06 00:11:01 EST

We can have cattle branding sizzle with smell commentary! If you are a guest on the "The Shoot Fire Hecky Darn Show". you get branded. Not for real just over the air. We can have a stick on tattoo for the guests. It will be crazy looks from our on air personalities wielding a red hot branding iron. What do you think?????
Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 01/18/06 00:15:26 EST

See what blacksmith guest squeels the loudest. Please don't brand me as I accidently made a few grammer errors in my last post. For this I must give a very sincere appology. Please don't stone me with flying anvils.
From the blacksmith court jester!! I just read the most boring comic strip site and felt compelled to do a much better job entertaining our smitty friends.
Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 01/18/06 00:20:27 EST

ahem... "apology" X ssssssss! You've been branded!
- adam - Wednesday, 01/18/06 10:44:32 EST

While we are on that topic, what the hecky darn happened to Jock's spelling? His posts used to be so entertaining - now it's just the odd typo! What a shame to see a free spirit become a slave to convention
adam - Wednesday, 01/18/06 10:47:47 EST

"Sound affects---what?" Sound Effects is the propper one I believe.

On the radio show I want to be the zany smith smithing in lederhosen with a feather boa that keeps getting caught in the powered machinery

The goon show did use the sound effect of a large steam hammer hitting someone IIRC.

Adam, Miles, Frank; I will be up in Santa Fe next month; my daughter is having a spot of outpatient surgery and that's where the specialist in Albuquerque does it---I guess the price goes up with the altitude.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/18/06 12:54:10 EST

Coal Forge: Anyone out there have a design for a fire pot they would recomend, or a used one for sale?
Steve - Wednesday, 01/18/06 22:10:49 EST

re: Sorber Collection: One of the smiths who is a member of PAABA picked up at least a few pieces from the Sorber collection. He had them on display last May at PAABA's weekend at Touchstone.
- Gavainh - Thursday, 01/19/06 01:17:22 EST

Fire pot: Steve, I would go with one of the commercial pots. You get a good cast iron pot with clinker breaker, which will last a long time if you take care of it. That really is the most important part of a coal forge, followed by a good side draft hood. I have made fire pots out of break drums, and when modified with furnace cement to create a funnel down into the center, work great. Except for the clinker breaker. I used a grate at the bottom, and that means you have to tear the fire down to remove clinker. The clinker breaker on my Centaur pot allows me to remove a fair amount of clinker and keep forging. I always have a little clinker left on the sides, but it keeps me from starting over. I just clean out the rest when I start my next fire.
Bob H - Thursday, 01/19/06 11:23:19 EST

Fire pot: Cut the upper rim off an castiron brake-drumb.
Someone used a old tea-kettel for a firepot. It cracked.
I found it in a antique mall & plan to braze it.
Good score that tea-kettel. The antique stores sell them for $35+ all across Georgia, but The damaged ones go for $15-.
- packrat - Thursday, 01/19/06 13:17:07 EST

Firepot: I welded up a sloping box from torch cut 1/2" ms plate. Worked great for about 6 mos till my neighbors complained about the coal.
adam - Thursday, 01/19/06 13:51:41 EST

Missing posts.: My posts are disappearing every day. Maybe I picked up another virus... yahoos' odd news seems to produce a lot of trojan horse viruses. watch out for yahoo news.
- packrat - Thursday, 01/19/06 14:30:48 EST

Yahoo: Yes, my computer gets messed up when I use Yahoo. Their new "Privacy Policy" (Ha Ha) says you have none and that they get all the information about you they can and sell it to whom ever they can. I now use a junker computer for Yahoo only and don't allow my "good" computer to ever access it.
- John Odom - Thursday, 01/19/06 21:02:47 EST

steam: Recently my great uncle passed on to me a photo album, and a couple coal oil lanterns with red glass i was told from a train. The album has some 300 photos. It is a documentation of building a railroad or roads, earliest dates found 1916 to 1938 photos range in size from 2 1/2"x3" to 7 1/2"x 9 1/2".pics show townsite teapot dome 1924 with gushing giesers cars converted to carry men on the track. first train. material yards 40 miles of steel piles .pics of cooks and names, yard foremans and names time keeper and name. athey tractors at work 1'st athey tractor on Levees 1932 E.F Powers const.1st train IIIco to salt creek 1923. peppard&fulton camp, camp Eli neb, interiors of office cars and first radio. bunk houses, tower machines 75foot bridge pilings and every sort of machine you can think they make a train into. markings on trains C.& NW RY, northern pacific, G.M.&StP. My favorite pic is texas 1932 blacksmith shop any one know anything about these markings on the trains? happy hammering!!
- mike - Thursday, 01/19/06 22:30:35 EST

Mike: Sounds really cool.
- burntforge - Thursday, 01/19/06 23:36:08 EST

slack-tub forge: There is, either on this site or on one like it, a story about engineering students in the "oldum days" making a forge out of a slack tub using electricity, i.e the resistance of whatever solution was actually in the tub causing the metal to heat. I cannot find it anywhere! Can anybody provide me with a link? Thanks, Dan P.
- Dan P. - Friday, 01/20/06 11:58:23 EST

Dan I've never heard that one as the fluid would cool the metal---however that is a method of making an arc welder, you stir up the salt solution or move the connections closer to get more amps. My grandfather described seeing them in action on a trip to Costa Rica about 30 years ago.

Thomas P - Friday, 01/20/06 12:32:38 EST

train: northern pacific... herd of it somewhere... Scosia bluffs, CA?
- packrat - Friday, 01/20/06 12:38:16 EST

Dan P: Do a search for HOHO Forge. If I recall correctly, that is what it was called. That, or the Hoho waterpail forge.
vicopper - Friday, 01/20/06 12:48:53 EST

Mike-- as you doubtless know, Teapot Dome is known as a landmark case of political corruption. In it. a U.S. Secretary of the Interior back in the 1920s gave away leases on the national strategic oil reserves, in Wyoming and California, without seeking competitive bids, in return for large sums of money deposited in his own pocket, if you can imagine a U.S. official even dreaming of doing such a thing! Betcha some museum or historical archive would dearly love to see you preserve that picture album.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 01/20/06 14:36:04 EST

Dan P.:
- Bernard Tappel - Friday, 01/20/06 17:46:37 EST

Thomas P-- Did you get my Email?
Miles Undercut - Friday, 01/20/06 19:25:28 EST

Yesterday I stopped by a local company that makes refractory cement and told them I was trying to build a small forge. The fellow gave Me a bag of 65% Alumina and a bag of the lowest density they make as well as a scrap of ceramic wool about 30"x30"x1'. He said to bring them a Pizza when I get it working. Sometimes You get luckey, I guess.
Dave Boyer - Friday, 01/20/06 22:41:49 EST

I had a similar thing happen to me Dave when I was buying 9 fire bricks to line the bottom of my brake drum forge. The guy just gave me one of their bags of high temp cement that was off the pallet of ones with tears since he knew I only needed a very small amount. I still have half a bag of it. It's sometimes amazing how much folks want to help when you talk to them about what you are doing. I find most of them facinated by the blacksmithing.
FredlyFX - Saturday, 01/21/06 00:58:28 EST

I too have been lucky with things for building forges ETC. A company that rebricked/rebuilt forges and heat treat furnaces was finishing up a job in my day job shop. I was building my first gas forge and asked if I could buy some cermic wool and a thin brick for a floor. I described what I was building and the owner brought me scraps the next day and refused to allow me to pay. He did get a nice letter opener on his next visit. I keep a selection of layout scribes, and wizard head coat hangers handy, and in the trunk of the car. Amazing how well people remember that blacksmith that said if you ever see a ... when they have an example of one of your items in daily use.
I go in and ask, and show them the item as an example, and usually leave it with them. I have gotten many usefull things this way either free or at cost or for another traded item. Give them the example up front and show them you are not a freeloader.
- ptree - Saturday, 01/21/06 10:38:11 EST

Neighbor's scrap pile: the next door neighbor's scrap pile gave up a 2'x 3' #150 cast seel flat metal gismo looks like some kind of old machine base, which I'm going to use as a forge table, and sitting on the other side of the pile was a welded angle iron frame....table fit like it was made for it...NO COST!
ordered a centar forge firepot for it. and have an old bufflo hand blower for it, so only have to make a hood now, and cut the hole for the pot.
- Steve Mills - Saturday, 01/21/06 20:54:30 EST

Scrap Piles: You never know what will turn up in someone's treasure pile. Last week at the local blacksmith get together, I mentioned I was looking for some stainless steel for a road side cross project. This morning, one of the guys stopped by & gave me some 3/16 x 3/4 strips of stainless which he had saved from the dumpster at his work place quite a while back. I now have the outline frame of the cross nearly done. A couple of years ago I had given him some old forge gears so he could fix up a small portable forge.

The bottom line is to never throw anything away & scrounge anything you can. You may not come up with a use for it, but you might find someone else who can use it & then you have bartering power.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Sunday, 01/22/06 00:22:47 EST

401 pound hay budden: It is still at 2,000.00 with 12 hours to go. We may all be wrong, the thing may have already hit its high. We shall see.
- firebug - Sunday, 01/22/06 11:07:19 EST

These folks are in a state of terminal overload. Anyone I send mail to with a Yahoo address the mail bounces three times with messages about insufficient resources and network delays. . . Probably the NSA snoop system slowing the system down.
- guru - Sunday, 01/22/06 13:33:15 EST

Internet myth or not?:
Today I recieved an email that may or may not be an Internet rumor. However, considering the tone of today's rhetoric about what part of the Bill of Rights the President can and cannot ignore in our current "state of war" I tend to think this may be real. I will keep the story short.

I am told that recently Home Land Security has been visiting banks and explaining the new "rules" regarding safe deposit boxes in the event of a national emergency. Simply put, during an emergency a Home Land Security officer's approval will be required to remove any weapons, bullion and certain amounts of cash. Banks will only be allowed to release paperwork (wills, leases and such).

Supposedly all bank officers at levels that have keys to safety deposit boxes have been notified of these rules and are not supposed to talk about it. But aparently many have talked to relatives and word it spreading - supposedly.

Any confirmations? It does not effect me or folks I know directly but it is not unusual to have valuables in safe deposit boxes. . .

- guru - Sunday, 01/22/06 14:12:34 EST

Guru: If such a "rule" is not already in place it could be implemented with the stroke of a pen. In New Orleans, after Katrina, many law abiding citizens who stayed in their homes were disarmed by the police under their "state of emergency" rule.

The prudent thing if you have any of the items mentioned is to buy your own safe, in the floor or whatever, and not be subjected to the whims of any gov't agency.
Ellen - Sunday, 01/22/06 14:21:55 EST

Scrap Piles and Anvils:
I am taking mine with me. Well, at least as far as I can. No point taking it to the grave. . . someone else could use it! With new and scrap steel increasing at its recent rate it is a better investment than high risk stocks. . .

$5/pound for a 400 pound forged steel anvil is less than what new ones last cost and is bigger than what was available from Peddinghaus.

Although Ridge Tool will not say I am told that Peddinghaus anvils have not been made for 8 months and no promises of delivery are being made. It is a shame that at a time in history when the blacksmith tool business is booming the last forged anvil manufacturer is stopping production. It will mark a passing of an era.

- guru - Sunday, 01/22/06 14:24:45 EST

10# Hay Budden: I'm more curious about the small H-B price than the larger one. It is presently at $511.99. eBay 6244100651
Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/22/06 14:31:58 EST

A fool and his money: Unbelievable! $3,077 for that anvil. Over $7.50/lb. For that kind of money, Peddinghaus should stay in business, just switch over to making narrow-waisted, top-heavy, American-pattern anvils. For that kind of money, you could get enough 350# Euroanvils to equip a small teaching shop.
vicopper - Sunday, 01/22/06 22:29:27 EST

And in this corner: The 10# H-B went for $1,504.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/22/06 22:33:41 EST

A Fool And his Money Squared: Vicopper and Frank

Yikes on those two anvils for what they sold for. The winner of the 10 lb anvil is a collector and also the runner up bidder of the 401 hay budden. chicakdee_56

As mush as I like old anvils. I would buy a new one before paying those prices.
- burntforge - Sunday, 01/22/06 23:02:24 EST

$150/lb anvils: Y'know Frank, there seems to be a market for those things. A ten pounder shouldn't be that hard to make. Just one or two a month would sure make the old social security check stretch a long way further...(grin)
vicopper - Sunday, 01/22/06 23:17:49 EST

anvilfire Caps are back:
OK folks, you've been asking for them for a couple years. . .

T shirts are next. Will be available in various sizes and colors.

NOTE: Orders placed monday will be shipped this week. Otherwise we are going to be out of the country for a couple weeks.
caps detail
- guru - Monday, 01/23/06 00:27:26 EST

Anvils: Hi folks I'm new here.Been smithin about 5 years off and on but am now full time.I have three anvils one I know is a Fisher but not sure about the other two.My 100 pounder looks like a Hay Budden or maybe a Trenton.My 300 pounder I dont know.Both are real fine tools.Does anyone know how to go about identifying them? I can not find any markings on them,the 100 pdr has A A stamped on the front of the foot(or base?)My insurance agent would really like to know and after the prices at quad-state so would I!Thank You!
matt blosser - Monday, 01/23/06 01:49:14 EST

Anvils: Hi folks I'm new here.Been smithin about 5 years off and on but am now full time.I have three anvils one I know is a Fisher but not sure about the other two.My 100 pounder looks like a Hay Budden or maybe a Trenton.My 300 pounder I dont know.Both are real fine tools.Does anyone know how to go about identifying them? I can not find any markings on them,the 100 pdr has A A stamped on the front of the foot(or base?)My insurance agent would really like to know and after the prices at quad-state so would I!Thank You!
matt blosser - Monday, 01/23/06 01:51:13 EST

Anvil value and ID:
Matt, if the anvils are not clearly marked then they will not sell at the collectors prices you are seeing on ebay. These prices come and go as well. I have known dealers that could not hardly give away GOOD anvils on ebay. Unmarked anvils generaly sell for what they are worth as tools which is around $2 to $3/pound for good clean anvils. Your unknown 300 could be worth $500 to $1000 in the US. But if you are in a hurry to sell it would go for a dollar a pound.

If you really want to learn about anvils and how to tell which is which visualy then order a copy of Anvils in America from us. See the book review page.
- guru - Monday, 01/23/06 11:41:22 EST

Matt Anvils in America can give you the complete run down on identification; but if you don't have access to a copy we can pinch hit for you.

First: turn the anvil upside down and describe what the bottom looks like. HB's tend to have a raised outer rim---often worn down on old ones and the shape of the declivity in the bottm is indicative of other types.

Thomas P - Monday, 01/23/06 11:43:36 EST

Hats: Thems are some nice anvilfire head lids. Me like'em.
- burntforge - Monday, 01/23/06 13:58:45 EST

Hats n Shirts: Funny, I just got my Anvilfire hat back from a friend -- turns out I had lost it about three years ago! Here I thought it was somewhere in my junk pile all this time. A t-shirt sure would go nice with it.
- T. Gold - Monday, 01/23/06 14:15:01 EST

i need an anvil but don't have the money for a new one does anybody in north eastern MA have one to sell
steve - Monday, 01/23/06 17:36:14 EST

Steve basically an anvil is just a chunk of steel; *much* cheaper to go to the scrap yard and find a big piece and pay scrap price for it.

The london pattern anvil is sort of a swiss army knife anvil having a lot of usefull items built into it; but you can do excellent work with out them---the famed japanese swords are done on an anvil that is just a rectangular block of steel.

I have a nice selection of anvils for my shop but used to demo on a piece of broken knuckle from a train coupler to show folks that it's the skills you need not some fancy piece of equipment. (I once did a pattern welded billet using a piece of rail and a claw hammer and charcoal raked out of the 4th of July bonfires out in the desert)

Thomas P - Monday, 01/23/06 18:01:48 EST

Thomas you would"nt mind coming over and helping me tip that 300 pdr over would you?!Haha think I'll just buy the book for now like guru suggested! My 100 has an oval shaped depression.Dont want to sell em,just want to get an idea of the worth for insurance.My shop is at a public campground,and I do black powder demo's,cannon shoots, tomahawk throwin and campfire cooking in addition to blacksmithin.Yes, I'm afraid I'm just a lowly buckskinner blacksmith.No art galleries for me!But I'll be mighty hot if any of my tools sprout legs and run off!
matt blosser - Monday, 01/23/06 19:50:44 EST

Looks like Kieth won: looks like kieth won the much coveted jack hammer bit with a bid of 2675.00 and without going over. I have got a nice one with a wide working end to send him if he will contact me with an address. My email is
- Firebug - Monday, 01/23/06 21:26:21 EST

JACKHAMMER BIT: At the present time I dont have a need for a jackhammer bit and my scrappile runneth over, I just cant resist at contest :)

- KEITH - Monday, 01/23/06 22:47:24 EST

Bob Svenson, the late, great Bill Gichner's former son-in-law and now proprietor of Bill's old shop, now renamed The Front Porch, in Ocean View, Del., has a slew of perfectly lovely old anvils for sale dirt (in my opinion) cheap and scads of other essential tools Bill left behind when he went to that Great Smithy in the Sky, too.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/24/06 01:03:21 EST

Ellen: Ellen
I thought you may get a kick out of this item on ebay. #6247625955
- burntforge - Tuesday, 01/24/06 09:43:39 EST

Matt; I've tipped my 407# over onto the heel using a pry bar in the hardy; same for the 500# one. I'd be happy to come help you if you are in driving range.

Note that there is no size of anvil that is theft proof; some just take more determined thieves. I had a 200# anvil stolen from my backyard while we were re-roofing the house and had *7* layers of nail infested shingles scattered like caltrops. AinA has a story about folks trying to steal a large anvil in a pinto...

Now is that depression in the base shaped like a "caplet"?

On insurance: see if you can get replacement insurance, I had a friend who had it as renter's insurance and when he was cleaned out the agent was saying "Anvils---where do you buy anvils?" so he handed him the centaur forge catalog and ended up with peddinghaus replacements for old farm anvils...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/24/06 12:31:25 EST

Anvil compensation: Good Form, Sir Thomas!!!
3dogs - Tuesday, 01/24/06 13:25:39 EST

No dreichen it was more adding insult to injury as he had my loaner anvil up till a week or so before the theft and if it had been there *I* would have a nice new peddinghaus anvil to play with.

As it was I was one of the people he cited to attest that he did have the anvils previously and they were no longer there. Both true.

After this incident I would hide the nice little double horned replacement anvil when ever I got the chance---slack tub, coal bin, etc---what are friends for?
Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/24/06 16:43:40 EST

thanks thomas but i have been useing a large chunk of i beem for about 6 months and feel its time to up grade
- steve - Tuesday, 01/24/06 18:11:10 EST

"Replacement Cost" and claimed value:
Many insurance companies only consider the used or depreciated costs of things. A friend of mine had a beautifully restored Austin Healy 3000 that he had invested about $8000 in back in the 1970's. He had full coverage insurance, or so he THOUGHT. When the car was totaled by a tree falling on it in a storm while the car was going 30 MPH the insurance company said, yes you are covered for $1000. . the average selling price for ratty run down models at the time. They told my friend he would have had to have had "claimed value" insurance for a vehical that was worth more than book value. Today that car would sell for $30,000 to $50,000 in the "mint" condition it was just before the crash.

On the other hand my first lap top was purchased for $400 plus a nice little 125# Mousehole anvil. When it was stolen the insurance company said just submit a bill for an equivilent replacement. I explained that nothing on the market was this primitive any more. . . they said, just pick a model that will do the same job without going overboard. At the time that was a $2500 Compaq which was a bottom of the line model at the time. With case and accessories it ran about $3500.

So you had a 75 year old anvil stolen. . . What did it cost new? Do you have the recipt?

When you have a shop full of antique equipment it pays to ask pointed questions about your policy. On the other hand, insurance companies have been known to cancel the insurance of folks that are too curious. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 01/24/06 18:41:00 EST

tredle hammer: What is the difference between the kirkpatrick and the spencer tredle hammer any recomendations
- Steve - Tuesday, 01/24/06 19:11:26 EST

I've got replacement cost now on my work tools. The old company had a nice deal, for them, where they would depreciate the tools at the time of the theft. HOWEVER, they never lowered the premiums based on depreciation.
Bob H - Tuesday, 01/24/06 21:11:36 EST

Insurance: Well gee, Bob. The premiums never did depreciate for *them*, did they? (grin)

Insurance companies have become something far removed from the original concept of distributed-risk pools. Want to know who owned all the real estate after the Great Depression? That's right kids, your friendly insurance company. Want to know who owns most of the wealth in the United States today? (except Bill Gates')? Yep, you guessed it, the insurance companies. Want to guess who is dipping their sticky fingers in your hip pocket every payday?
vicopper - Tuesday, 01/24/06 21:16:09 EST

Yeah Tom its a "caplet" depression,about 6"x3" and about an inch or so deep.Think I'll just wait for the book then maybe turn er over if I have to! My shops about ten miles from Loudonville Ohio on the mohican river.Open April-Oct 10 to 4 wed-thru sun.I'm trying to get a hammer in started this year,if we "git er done" info can be found on my website Be advised the site wont be up for about a month yet due to "technical difficulties!" Anyhow if your in the area come on by I wont make you work!
matt blosser - Tuesday, 01/24/06 22:09:16 EST

Insurance-- I could be wrong about this-- maybe things have changed since last I looked into it-- but beware the homeowners' insurance twistie about the company not covering equipment used professionally. If you don't declare yourself a pro (and likely pay a higher rate) then you better tell the agent you are a collector of antique tools. Those they will,or at least once did, cover.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/24/06 23:26:05 EST

Dave Boyer: I don't think that proportionately there are many oil burners for home heating in this neck of the woods. In fact, I was looking for a standing one, a space heater, went to Sears, and was informed that for safety reasons, they don't carry them any more. I can only get one at a second hand store, but it might blow up, for all I know. Most folks hearabouts use natural gas or propane, and both are very expensive. We heat with wood (are considering a pellet stove) and we use the propane for cooking and heating water only. The pellet stoves are now made with thermostats, although I understand they are a little noisy turning off and on. However, they are much more reasonable to operate than cord wood.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/25/06 00:45:00 EST

Dave Boyer-- My next door neighbors used to burn fuel oil, told me there was just one other household in Santa Fe County, N.M. using oil to heat. They switched to propane a few years ago, after it became impossible to find anybody to service their furnace/
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 01/25/06 01:10:51 EST

Free Blacksmithing Book Online!: Here is a Blacksmithing book called Modern Blacksmithing published in 1901 online .
Free Blacksmithing Book Online!
- dave - Wednesday, 01/25/06 08:29:16 EST

oil, gas, and insurance: I still use an oil furnace for the house, as even with oil at $2.17/gal it's still cheaper than gas or electric. Propane is up to over $3/gallon around here (upper East Tennessee). I don't know what municipal natural gas is, but my mother in law is paying about $400/month in gas bills. $800 worth of oil (#2 diesel, actually) keeps me toasty for six months.

My homeowners' insurance guy told me if I wanted to list my collection of antique smithing tools in the policy I had to buy a supplemental collectors' policy.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 01/25/06 11:41:19 EST

Frank; will that pellet stove work if you lose power?

Our primary heat is passive solar with wood stove back-up (and electric baseboard as back up for that to make the insurance co happy---only time it's been on was when it was tested at the home buyyers inspection) I looked into pellet stove thinking it would be easier on the wife but we have so many power hits out here I decided to go with something I knew would work when the weather got bad... BTW our house if over 2000 sq ft and we use only 1 of the two woodstoves in it. Passive solar is impressive out here.

Insurance: how is farm equipment handled insurance wise?

Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/25/06 11:44:56 EST

Far as I know I'm the only insurance expert here. So I'll take a wag and share for free (worth every penny): Like everywhere there's good tools and not so good tools. The good Guru is right; his friend bought the wrong policy. I guarantee the term "Full Coverage" is not in that policy. I write antique cars on an agreed value basis, you and the company agree before the policy is issued what the value is and that’s what is paid, period. Receipts, (photos, inventory lists) make valuation easy, the words in the contract do not say, "receipt required". Equipment can be valued at replacement cost, functional replacement cost, agreed value, actual cash value, stated value,.... What do these mean? Ask your Agent/Broker, not the insurance company. No Agent/Broker? Wrote it through a direct writer with a toll free number or website? Then you better be able to read and understand the contract on your own; and beware of those questions, the cat may escape. Policy premiums can be adjusted by lowering the stated values to reflect depreciation, if you aint on a replacement cost policy (do it all the time). There is no depreciation on replacement cost settlement IF you actually replace the stuff; otherwise it's ACV (depreciated). Property and casualty insurance companies underwriting profit and return on investment industry wide is at about 6% for over 20 years now. A lot less (historically) than virtually every company on the S&P 500. "Standard" Homeowners policies cover 2500 business property on premises, 250 off premises. Sometimes these numbers are higher and usually you can add or increase by endorsement. Shop building at your home occupied by a business? No coverage on the shop unless endorsed. Bottom Line: Words mean things and you better understand the contract or find (pay) someone to explain it to you. Do not buy the wrong tool for the job. Find a real Agent whom you can actually talk to, not some call center in New Delhi, India. Please add winks, smiles and a cold beer to this limited communication, not trying to start a fight.
Tone - Wednesday, 01/25/06 12:26:39 EST

Oh Yeah, If the cat does escape, better it gets out before a claim (that may not be covered) actually occurs.
Tone - Wednesday, 01/25/06 12:37:48 EST

If you have a farm (ie:land, livestock, equipment, feed, crops)then you should check on a farmowners policy, not a homeowners policy. I write these with AIG. Homeowners polices have a section that says "We do not cover motor vehicles or all other motorized land conveyances..." except " Used to service an insureds premises" So, probably covered if ON your premises. Just ask the agent.
Tone - Wednesday, 01/25/06 13:06:58 EST

Try this for collectibles or google it up.
Tone - Wednesday, 01/25/06 13:09:52 EST

And another thing. Once or twice a year I get a claims adjustor who just plain interprets the policy wrong. I love winning those arguments. Claim got denied and I got it paid after a long discussion. It happens.
Tone - Wednesday, 01/25/06 13:19:14 EST

Insurance: Tone, thanks for posting that for us. Insurance is one of those areas that people get a lot of misinformation and/or guesswork about, and rarely know enough of the "lingo" to understand the fine print. A good independent agent will usually, (though not always), be pretty darn helpful if you give him a chance, and all the facts. You'll have to expect to pay the piper, though. Tanstaafl, remember?
vicopper - Wednesday, 01/25/06 16:34:08 EST

Yep, no free lunches. I am happy to be of service; able to contribute in some small way. Heaven knows I have got a load from y'all (smile).
Tone - Wednesday, 01/25/06 18:20:12 EST

Rich: What on earth is Tanstaafl? Have heard it several times but can't visualize what kind of acronmyn or whatever it is.
Ellen - Wednesday, 01/25/06 20:06:11 EST

Ellen, "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"
- ptree - Wednesday, 01/25/06 20:40:24 EST

Thomas P: No. You plug the pellet stove into 110V.

Our investigation showed that we would have to wait 2½ months to get one delivered. There is a waiting list in New Mexico. The factories that make them are going overtime, and they are still running behind because of the demand.

Our friend MILES, also warns that there was a shortage of pellets this year. Caveat emptor.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/25/06 21:40:23 EST

Pellets: Thousands and thousands of sheep on the res and you guys are short of pellets?
vicopper - Wednesday, 01/25/06 22:06:28 EST

wood stoves: For what it is worth, Lehman's Non Electric Hardware ( has a large selection of supposedly highly efficient wood stoves. A huge market for them is the Amish community. They also have great oil lamps and a number of other interesting things.
Ellen - Wednesday, 01/25/06 22:16:51 EST

Pellet stoves & Tanstaafl: Frank, I forget where I saw it, but read an article recently about a pellet type stove set up to burn corn kernels. Turns out the BTU ouput is good and corn is now cheaper in places and more readily available than pellets. If I remember correctly, that manufacturer also was behind in production - more new orders than they expected. Should be able to find some info with a google search.

Ellen - Tanstaafl - used by Robert E. Heinlein in several stories. I'd bet that both vicopper and ptree have read at least 1 of them :)
- Gavainh - Wednesday, 01/25/06 23:03:18 EST

Oil Heat & Service: The way it has gotten here in Pa. is there are full service oil dealers who will perform maintainance and discounters who only sell oil. If You buy from a discounter but need service, You are at the mercy of the service provider, and they take care of regular customeres first.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 01/25/06 23:07:05 EST

Heinlein: Yep, read everyone of them, and most of them several times, in fact. BTW, his middle initial is A, for Anson. Arguably the best science fiction storyteller who ever put pen to paper.
vicopper - Wednesday, 01/25/06 23:09:55 EST

Re: pellet stoves, looks to me as if one problem, or at least potential problem, zone aside from getting fuel would be the auger feed. Here at Entropy Research, studies show that if something can fail, it probably will. And on a cold and snowy night, too, like tonight. This is confirmed by the local woodstove boutique, which, of course, has a vested interest-- they'd much rather sell you a Jotul or a Godin or a Morso, of maybe a custom-crafted sculpture of a stove from France for $9,000. I bought a large, second-hand Godin last winter, and I love it. Also a big Morso a few years ago, ditto. Built like Mosler safes, and will last forever. But for first choice, I'll go with my three Fishers, solid heavy steel plate, great design, best stoves ever built, I believe.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 01/25/06 23:25:45 EST

On the other hand, youngest son, who used one of my Fishers for several bitter cold winters on a game preserve wayyy up in the boonies near Colorado, gave the Fisher to his big brother and bought a pellet stove when he moved to Socorro, and liked it a lot, sold it only because he was moving to Raton into a house with no need for it.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 01/25/06 23:30:57 EST

Treadle Hammer: Steve,

I have a Clay Spenser treadle hammer (the one with the inline skate wheels) and I really like it. The head travels straight up and down and I find it easy to adjust for using with different size stock. All you do is turn a handwheel between two turnbuckles. I have been told that the Kirkpatrick style is better to use if you are going to be doing a lot of repousse work. Do a search for Valley Forge and Welding to look at the Kirkpatrick treadle hammer.
Leah - Thursday, 01/26/06 00:14:43 EST

Stoves: My understanding is that most pellet stoves can take a mixture of %25 of corn, which burns hotter. However, all corn is not processed the same, which means dirt, which means more cleaning. Also, corn is a rodent magnet, so storage must be more controlled. Fella I work with went with the pellet stove, which should only cost him about $100 more a heating season. And he doesn't have to handle the corn several times, as in dump a load in his truck, shovel into a storage bin, and shovel into his hopper. The pellets come pre bagged.
Bob H - Thursday, 01/26/06 11:02:06 EST

Shoot the local hardware store was selling pellets by the ton all summer here in Socorro NM and the lumber yard had a bunch of stoves for sale last time I visited---must be the extra effort that goes into raising the prices to sell stuff up your way...

I got up a bit early this morning and went out and sifted the ash bucket---residual charcoal goes into the forging/smelting stash---and built up the fire from last night's coals. Ate my breakfast and sipped my tea in by the fire and then had to go to work.

$100 *more* shoot $100 is our budget for the entire heating season! Turns out we spend less money on cooling here in NM than we did in OH too...

One interesting tidbit about Heinlein was that although he is considered by some to be a right wing militaristic author his book "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" was on the suggesed reading list for folks who wanted to plan their own revolution for the United States back in the '60's...

Thomas P - Thursday, 01/26/06 12:17:04 EST

Heinlein: For those who haven't heard of it read Heinlein's "Grumbles from the Grave"
JimG - Thursday, 01/26/06 13:37:34 EST

Ball Bearings: Looking a variety of sizes of ball bearings ranging in size from 1/2 inch to 2 inches. Only need 1 of each. Plan on using them to make some tools and tooling. Any suggestion where to get them?
Jim Warren - Thursday, 01/26/06 14:33:38 EST

Thomas-- the stove market and their appetite for pellets might have just a bit to do with latitude and altitude, no?
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 01/26/06 15:36:10 EST

Heinlein: As far as I can tell, "Starship Troopers" was pretty much the source, beginning and end of Heinlein as a right-wing militarist.

He WAS however a fervent anti-communist, which to some people confuse with being right wing.

I've read most of Heinlein's adult work, and would put him somewhere in the realm of Jeffersonian liberal or Libertarian, falling just a wee bit shy of Anarcho-capitalist.

"The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" is perhaps the science fiction equivalent of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged."

Anyone who could say:

"The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort."

Surely does not qualify as a right wing militarist.

Of course I'm sitting here in Northeast Kansas with two prominent members of the Taliban wing of the Republican Party allegedly representing me in Washington.
John Lowther - Thursday, 01/26/06 18:57:21 EST

RAH: Bob Heinlein was a former Annapolis graduate and career Navy man, so his take on things militaristic was born of some intimate knowledge. Mostly, he was a terrific storyteller who looked at things with great insight and humanity. He took science fiction from the realm of trivial monster stories to speculative fiction based on real knowledge and thought, and set a benchmark for others to follow. On top of all that, he was a heck of a nice fellow and a terrific conversationalist.

I will probably re-read all his books another several times before I die; I never tire of them.
vicopper - Thursday, 01/26/06 20:51:30 EST

RAH: Started reading Heinlein in H.S. deep sorrow at his death
his words will live on. in his books, water beds, CAD, FAX, power prostisis (SP?) and on and on
- Steve Mills - Thursday, 01/26/06 21:06:59 EST

Hammer-In?: Hey folks I would like some advice and suggestions for a hammer in.From my few recent posts you have probably figured out my shop is at a central Ohio campground.The camp owner has put together a group rate for demonstrating smiths.I thought it would be a little different from a regular hammer in due to the availability of canoeing,swimming hiking and other camp related stuff(beer & venison!)However we are looking for demonstrating smiths with portable set-ups to make,sell & swap.Tailgating,iron in the hat.and other hammer in events I know nothing about!Any advice,suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
- matt blosser - Thursday, 01/26/06 22:45:06 EST

'... and rest your eyes on the fleecy skies and the cool green hills of earth...." didn't Heinlein he write that? Think so. It's stayed with me since the 9th grade, and that's a lonnnnnnng time, laddies and lassies. He brought a lot of wonderment and pleasure to a great many people.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 01/27/06 00:33:07 EST

Pellet stoves-more than you want to know: I'm currrently using a whitfield pellet stove that is 12 to 14 years old. It works fine and we use about 2/3 of a 40 pound bag of pellets per day. These cost $3.99 + tax. At Co-Op there are 4 different brands of pellets available from $3.19 up. I have a friend in Arizona who found out that the cheapest ones are not always the best. They started to degrade or disintegrate and wound up packing tight in the auger, burning the motor out, not a cheap proposition. I am in the Seattle area.
While in Fairmont Minnesota a few (3) years ago, I met a fellow who was making corn stoves for about $1200 each. He had heated his shop for the whole winter with 250 bushels of corn. It was about $2 per at the time. He figured that was half the cost of propane. His shop was a quonset hut about 40 by 100. He was relocating to Texas because the area he was in would not support his fabrication business.
Fisher stoves became popular about 1978, when there was a big rush of wood burning stoves hitting the market, I think in response to the oil shortage. They went around the country and lined up welding shops to fabricate stoves for them, using their design. We also started building stoves for a company called Arizona Forest Supply, out of Flagstaff. We had a purchase order for 10,000 of them. ultimately we produced about 2500 before the company went south. The different stoves were varied in their design, and many had patented cast iron doors, as their gimmick. The one thing that they had in common was they all polluted the air a little more than the EPA would allow. Subsequently, along with EPA testing and approval came $2000 and higher prices.
I warned you....More than you wanted to know.
- Loren T - Friday, 01/27/06 01:21:58 EST

Rich how do you mean RAH was a career man? He was medically discharged. AS posted on his web site. 5 years is less than the min ( by one year) required for completeing the Academy
Military Service: United States Navy, Annapolis cadet 1925-1929, service 1929-1934. Invalided out (with rank of Lieutenant j.g.) as permanently disabled due to tuberculosis.
Being a youngster, I read my first RAH around 1969 at the ripe old age of 9. BUt I am not sure I would call him the greatest SciFi writer ever tho...... Verne is good as is Asimov ( who was BTW a bone fide scientist.) But then again I have a rather eclectic (sp?) author list. Oh I also liked EE Smith. Plot lines were a little more simple that RAH and Co but I really liked his vision of future tech. ( BTW he too was a scientist had a Phd in EE, if I remember right)
Ralph - Friday, 01/27/06 06:25:56 EST

RAH: Yes Ralph, Heinlein was medically discharged after a bout of tuberculosis. I said he was career Navy based more on the facts of his graduation from Annapolis and later years of service to the Navy as an aeronautical engineer for the Navy. Since you're former Navy, I'll take your word that he doesn't fit the criteria for career. Bad choice of words on my part, and thank you for setting me straight.

"Doc" Smith, however was a Chemical Engineer, not EE, as long as we're setting records straight. I wouldn't set him apart from RAH as they were friends, and soem of Heinlein's characters may well have been drawn from Doc and his wife.
vicopper - Friday, 01/27/06 08:50:26 EST

Don't forget RAH's work for the rare blood bank!

I started with Verne, preferred him to Wells, and went forward to RAH and "Doc" Smith. What I really like about RAH was his emphasis on self reliance and that *you* are responsible for learning what you need to know.

I was never a great fan of "As a Colour, Shade of Purple Gray"'s writings though I have read a number of his books. He was a great speaker and I was lucky enough to hear him in person several times.

One of my favorite authors currently is Bujold's Vorkosigan series.
Thomas P - Friday, 01/27/06 12:33:16 EST

Ralph: Ralph
I want to point out your previous preaching of the hammer-in only being a blacksmith forum. You pasted the rules here. I personally don't mind the Heinlein chat from everyone. You are not practicing what you preached. I felt it very important to make this point to you specifically. As you made it a big issue.
- Burnt Forge - Friday, 01/27/06 13:47:33 EST

Heinlein was a great pleasure for me to read while young (and still is today). I liked his mistrust of government and gospel of self reliance. I was also fond of Arthur C. Clarke, especially his short stories from the 50's and his earlier novels. I later became fond of Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle. The novel about the asteroid hitting the earth and putting folks back into early days was an interesting study in self reliance as well. I think it was called "Hammer of God" or something similar. I'm sure there are many other fine science fiction writers out there as well. I'm also a big fan of Tom Clancy. Also good history, preferably American History. Some fine books from the Civil War period too. It's good to read things other than technical writings. I recently picked up "A Blacksmithing Primer" by Randy McDaniel, and Practical Projects for the Blacksmith" by Ted Tucker. Both are fine books, with good drawings and/or pictures.

Does anyone have a source for diagonal peen hammers? Would like to try one, also would appreciate feedback from anyone using a Hofi hammer. I hefted one at the flypress workshop, and would have taken it home, but the owner spotted me on the way out the door (grin!).
Ellen - Friday, 01/27/06 15:11:24 EST

Diagonal Peen Hammers: Ellen,

I forged one from a Harbor Freight two-pound sledge. It really wasn't hard. (Unfortunately the hammer isn't either. I should take the handle back off and try a water quench instead of oil, though it's usable like it is.)
Mike B - Friday, 01/27/06 17:14:47 EST

Ellen: Call Nathan Robertson at Jackpine Forge. 218-659-4590 I bought a combo cross/straight peen hammer from him 2 yrs ago at Quad State. $60.00 It is very well made and balanced. I believe he makes diagonals also. He makes his hammers in a variety of weights also.
- Jeff G. - Friday, 01/27/06 17:25:34 EST

Jeff G.: Thanks, I will.
Ellen - Friday, 01/27/06 17:46:36 EST

Thanks Rich!: Well, once again I gotta thank Rich. I'm sure it was him who posted here about Welding Depot. I just ordered 3 cutting tips and a rose bud, at a much reduced price compared to the local Tractor Supply. I got all 4 pieces for less than the rosebud and one tip at TS. And that includes shipping. Hee hee.
Bob H - Friday, 01/27/06 17:58:10 EST

hammers: Ellen, I bought a Hoffi style hammer head at Quad State last year and don't really care for it. But I haven't used it a lot yet either. Also bought two sweedish style cross pein hammers and I really like them. One was 800 grams and the other was 1000 grams. I thought I was using a two pound hammer when I bought the 1000 gram but I was wrong. That's just enough extra weight to wear me out fast. The 800 gram is just a nice weight.
- Doug - Friday, 01/27/06 18:05:06 EST

Tom Clark sells the Hofi-Habermann diag peen hammer. I made mine out of dump truck axle.
Tone - Friday, 01/27/06 20:10:29 EST

Ellen Hofi Hammer: Ellen
I have a few Hofi Hammers and Love them. I also have the video on the proper way to use the hammers. It is very informative.
- Burnt Forge - Friday, 01/27/06 20:30:19 EST

Tone: Do you have contact info for Tom Clark? Afraid I don't know who he is or where he is located. Thx!
Ellen - Friday, 01/27/06 20:58:53 EST

Tom Clark: He operates in Missouri.
Frank Turley - Friday, 01/27/06 22:24:47 EST

Hofi Hammer: Ellen
You will get a real hofi hammer at a better price from Big Blu. They are very wonderful folks to deal with. They are an advertiser here. Tom Clark can be very difficult and contankerouse (spelling?) from the ozark school. I recommend calling Josh at They have a better product and A+ customer service. Why support someone who doesn't advertise here?
- Burnt Forge - Saturday, 01/28/06 02:05:42 EST

I meant my above post in a kind manner as it may not come across in this manner as how I typed it. I just can't recommend Big Blu Hammer enough. Really the best place to get a real Hofi hammer. He carries the forged and cast steel hammer.
- Burnt Forge - Saturday, 01/28/06 02:18:40 EST

Burnt Forge: Thanks, I would rather buy the original myself so the owner of the design gets the benefit, also the video would be good to have. Do you have a recommendation as to whether forged or cast, and what weight?
Ellen - Saturday, 01/28/06 13:10:11 EST

URI HOFI - Saturday, 01/28/06 14:36:30 EST

Uri: Thank you for your recommendations. I will purchase one from Big Blu and get the DVD as well. Much appreciated!
Ellen - Saturday, 01/28/06 16:59:03 EST

URI HOFI - Saturday, 01/28/06 17:49:55 EST

Uri: Thanks, I just ordered the hand hammer DVD from ebay, and will call bigblu Monday and order a hammer. I'll go with the 1.1 Kg one, at least to start, then probably add the 680 gram hammer later.
Ellen - Saturday, 01/28/06 17:55:24 EST

Where else?: Are you likely to get advice on buying a Hofi hammer straight from the master's mouth? You can't do better than that.

I have Hofi's DVD on hammer control and it makes a great deal of sense. Some of the things that Uri shows will leave you saying, "Now why couldn't I have thought of that on my own?"
vicopper - Saturday, 01/28/06 20:14:58 EST

Vicopper: More than just "kinda neat". It's wonderful. Only on Anvilfire!
Ellen - Saturday, 01/28/06 20:25:26 EST

EE Smith, and rules: Rich,
You are correct. Now I wonder where I 'thought' I read that he was an EE. I do know that he very correctly described weaponized Electro Magnetic forces, Decades before real research was done on it.

Burnt you are mostly correct. BUt did you really look at the rules? I do not think so as it is also stated the following. "Swapping lies, telling jokes asking or giving advise. The Guru may put in his two cents worth, time permitting, but questions for the Guru should be posted on his page."

I posted earlier about the rules as there was some posts that were starting to verge into personal name calling and attacks.
While it makes no difference as to how long a person has been on here, I will say that I have been here since Jock opened the doors. I will also say that I sometimes veer off the proper path and do not follow the rules correctly. But politeness is always the best course. BUt that is just my belief system. You have to live by your own belief system.
Ralph - Sunday, 01/29/06 04:05:29 EST

Politeness: is almost always a good thing. Unfortunately, I just lost mine on the Guru's page with a young dolt that exhausted my patience. I should do penance, I know, but I won't. I felt too good. (grin)
vicopper - Sunday, 01/29/06 15:09:11 EST

Rich: I thought your post on the Guru's page was both erudite and polite. On some folks politeness is so subtle they fail to grasp the content of the message. One can only hope that like a fine wine, he will improve with age. If someone doesn't strangle him first.
Ellen - Sunday, 01/29/06 15:18:37 EST

Ralph: Hi Ralph
I agree with you old chap. I do enjoy your input. I myself also get a little grouchy from time to time. I am trying to eliminate old habits. Thank You
- Burnt Forge - Sunday, 01/29/06 16:16:01 EST

Ellen & Rich
I agree with what Rich says about sword making after seeing his quality knives. That young whipper-snapper in the Guru's Den would do good to listen to Ken and Rich.
- Burnt Forge - Sunday, 01/29/06 16:18:43 EST

Politeness is wasted on some who are too self-centered to recognize it. I almost entered the discussion over on the guru's page but some of you handled it quiter well. Sometimes one has to be less than polite to get the attention of such self-centered people.

All of this fantasy and so called Sci-Fi makes me sick. I had a student who claimed he wasn't smart enough the remember that sodium was Na, not So, because with his learning disabillity, he couldn't memorize. I hapened to know that he could tell you the whole story for EVERY Star-Trek episode (by number), and countless other useless sci-fi details. So much brainpower is wasted on such uslessness.
- John Odom - Sunday, 01/29/06 17:24:52 EST

Wasted Brains: When I die, my brain goes to the Smithsonian...they said they wanted one that wasn't all used up. I'm flattered. (grin)

The guy responsible for a lot of what is wrong with modern youth is probably Vladimir Zworykin, the guy who invented television. Coincidentally, his comment on the medium some years later was, "I hate what they've done to my child...I would never let my own children watch it." If I had any children, I wouldn't own a television, as I couldn't be there every minute to police its use. A demonic device, I say!
vicopper - Sunday, 01/29/06 18:18:34 EST

I hope I don't get grouchy when I get old.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/29/06 18:38:23 EST

Wasted Youth:: The mindless video games and computer games of today are why I try my best to share my knowledge of blacksmithing and primitive skills. I really am pleased when I see a youth smile over something they made with thier own hands. And I smile when I think they made something, have a connection to the past, and just spent some quality time away from the tv or computer.
- Bob H. - Sunday, 01/29/06 19:11:28 EST

Youth: I have a 12 year old neighbor boy who comes over most weekends and we work in my shop. He has learned to cut and weld with oxy-acetylene, and passed my safety exam on the use of that equipment. He can also MIG and stick weld. He has learned to draw, upset, taper, and make reasonable acceptable bends. Funny thing is when he is doing this, his parents are sitting on their behinds watching the idiot box. I had him read the fundamentals of electric welding as well, so he would understand how it works and some of the hazards. He has learned he must put safety glasses on as soon as he comes through the door, and that all wire brushing is done in the post vise. Kids like that make me impatient with some of the ones we get here. It's also very satisfying for me. We'll work on forge welding soon.

When he does watch TV at my house it is Bill Epps, John Crouchet, Herschel House and so forth.

For his reward we go for a horse ride. I think he's got a jump on most of his classmates as far as his education goes.
Ellen - Sunday, 01/29/06 19:30:19 EST

Miles: I sure hope so, too! You're difficult enough as it is. (grin)
vicopper - Sunday, 01/29/06 20:24:15 EST

Ellen: I think it really great that you are willing to mentor that kid, and I think it's equally great that he has the wherewithal to stick with it and learn. If there were a few more like him, I wouldn't be nearly as pessimistic about youth as I am. I would like to feel more sanguine about them, believe me. They're the ones who have to go out and work hard so I can collect my Social Security to buy my Little Friskies.
vicopper - Sunday, 01/29/06 20:27:57 EST

See Miles?: I can too be positive and nicey nice.
vicopper - Sunday, 01/29/06 20:28:34 EST

Rich: I think he was a tad disappointed I made him do all the safety reading, the Welding Textbook, and the iForge demos on safety, but when he read about Paw Paw dieing from a simple mistake it really got his attention. I also have the Lincoln books on welding for him to refer to with specific questions. As long as he is willing to be safe, and clean up the shop after himself I will make the time to mentor him. Lots of folks have been plenty generous with their time and knowledge to help me out and it's good to give some back.

Anyway, even with social security you are still going to have to earn some money on the side, unless the pension benefits are that good from your job. I find I need to need to do things to make ends meet. Grin!
Ellen - Sunday, 01/29/06 21:42:46 EST

Ellen: The on eworry I certainly will NOT have after I retire is that of trying to offset earnings. I'll be lucky to net enough from my pension to pay the rent and buy the large bag of Little Friskies. I'll definitely have to be whanging some steel to buy all the little amenities that make life worthwhile, like internet access and books, though not in that order. (grin)
vicopper - Sunday, 01/29/06 21:48:41 EST

vicopper-- I am truly moved by the genuine positivity of your approach. I also agree kids need to learn something useful. I suspect what impels them to drive-bys and other such sports is their natural urge for adventure coupled with the gnawing awareness they know so little. They don't know how to do anything and they know it and they hate it-- and worse, there is nothing for them to do if they did know something. And God forbid one of the little darlings should set foot inside my shop and get a burn or a splinter of steel in her eye, what with the ambulance chasers poised for court outside the emergency room with their contingency agreements waiting to be signed.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 01/29/06 21:50:27 EST

enameling or glazing: Anyone with some experience with enameling with glass & copper? I want to end up with a piece of flat copper with an enameled surface. Can it be done without a kiln?

I was thinking of experimenting with crushed glass & a rose bud torch. Any advise appreciated.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Sunday, 01/29/06 22:06:03 EST

I too have a couple yung-uns that hang around my shop while their folks go tubing or canoeing.The parents ask them if they want to go and they say they'd rather hang out at the blacksmith shop.I reckon they're havin more fun than their parents in that ol river anyhow! Cant beat the sulphur smell and coal dust!(coughcoughcough).One young fella is makin his family some hot dog forks and the other one is building his first flintlock rifle.(He's 15)Under my tutelage of course!!lol!! Them video games sure relieve my carpal tunnel though! Now about that hammer in referred to earlier...???
- matt blosser - Sunday, 01/29/06 22:12:54 EST

Enameling: I have a bit of experience with that, Mike. You can definitely do it without a kiln, though a kiln is better for close control and neutral atmosphere. Still, I havce enameled a fair number of pieces using a propane torch and a piece of heavy wire mesh for a support.

A couple of tips: First off, copper is really active as metals go, so you absolutely MUST have flux. There are two different kinds of flux in enameling; one is a liquid that you brish or spray on the bare metal and which both protects the surface and makes the frit stick. The other is an enamel itself, but with a slightly lower melting point than other enamels. It is used to underglaze a piece to keep it protected during subsequent firings.

You won't have much joy trying to "enamel" copper with crushed glass, I don't think. Go ahead and try it, but I think you're goin gto find that the copper oxidizes way too much before the glass ever melts, and scales up so badly the glass won't stick. The galss is likely to craze and crack form shrinking upon cooling, as it has a very different coefficient of thermal expansion than the copper. Another reason for the underglaze on some pieces. Very slow cooling might give some relief, but the copper still moves a lot with temp changes.

You sure won't need a rosebud, unless you're trying to do a pretty big piece. Copper has a reaslly high thermal conductivity, so getting all of large piece up to temp without hot spots is going to be a real challenge without a kiln. You can fake it some by using a sort of "igloo" of soft firebrick or Kaowool over the piece, and heating from underneath. In any case heat from underneath, as the direct flame will screw up the enamels.

I would suggest you check online for some real enamels instead of mucking about with glass. Lower melting points, stable colors, and you can get flux at the same place. There are a couple good books on enameling, too. One is "Enameling on Metal" by Oppi Untracht. There are others too, but I'm not where I can see them right now, and the ones I have are probably out of print by now. Check Google or Amazon, I suppose.

Hope this helps. Let us know the results of your experimentation.
vicopper - Sunday, 01/29/06 23:48:17 EST

RFD-TV: I have a channel on the satellite, RFD-TV ,mostly horses, cattle sales and AG type stuff, but they have a show called, Forge and Anvil that's produced by University of Ga, hosted by Alan Rogers it airs at 10:30 EST Friday nights.
So far it's been pretty good, Direct tv channel 379.
Thought I'd pass that long, It's good to read about smithing but it's more fun to watch. as far video games goes. Studies have shown that it does help with hand-eye coordination and memory, such as quickly identifying multiple targets and determining what to do. Surgery requires that type of concentration and dexterity. But applying that to real life is a huge leap. Too much of and good thing is bad, Education is needed to apply any skill or gift. Children today are able to muli-task, just go to any mall and listen to the teens conversations, three or four conversations going on at the same time and they understand it. I did read a report that suggests that the part of the brain that controls reason and comprehension in teenagers shutdowns from around age 12 to 17 while the brain is being reshaped and the connections rewired. That could explain some of the things I’ve seen.
daveb - Monday, 01/30/06 00:10:35 EST

Kids & Shops: The first thing that happens once the kid expresses an interest in learning shop techniques is to draw up a release and have both parents sign it.
Ellen - Monday, 01/30/06 00:17:44 EST

I am a real good judge as to who to let into my shop.Be mindful I'm a buckskinner and our children are a lot more respectful of dangerous things than the "average kid" If a buckskinner kid went up to his or her mammy an said Momma I got hurt over at that mean ol blacksmiths shop,I wanna be a blacksmith!!!Mammy's gonna send him right back ,the buckskinner kid will be attentive to everything you say, and if his hearts into it,he'll be makin you wish you paid more attention to the I-forge demos! Not so with flatlander kids.They can do everything better than you because its so easy and if nothing else they can get it at WAL-MART!Well I got NO TOLERANCE fer flatlander kids and dont let em in my shop.Ennyhow about that hammer-in?
matt blosser - Monday, 01/30/06 00:49:40 EST

I'm all for teaching kids how to make stuff in the shop. I've done it, with my three boys and lots of others. And I'll doubtless do it again. I think it is vitally important for kids to learn how things are made. But the sad fact is, what with doctors and hospitals and medicines costing what they do, and the rapacity of injury lawyers, if a person is hurt badly enough on your property never mind your shop, they simply will not be able to afford not to sue. If they do, a waiver, a release, means nothing. It;s about as binding as that little notice on your dry cleaning or parking garage ticket, "Not responsible...." Baloney. Any lawyer worth her salt can get past that in a jiffy. There is no real safety except to have tons of insurance and even then it would be smart to have your property set safely aside in a trust or corporation of some kind just in case.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/30/06 01:13:17 EST

Kids 12-17: I knew a couple who both happened to be middle school teachers. They claimed the problem was "testosterone poisioning". The kids get so full of it that it eventually blocks their ears and they can't even hear what You say.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 01/30/06 01:45:49 EST

If everybody and their momma realized that common sense keeps you out of trouble there would not be a need for lawyers. Thats why common sense is not taught in public schools any more. Dumb butts who have no desire to work will think up any excuse to sue you for a fat check. My shop is safe for me but if some dummy crosses the barricade in front of the door and gets into somethin he shouldnta ,Ill bust his butt fer trespassin! An I'll make his momma blush with shame at the horrible miscreant she has raised with no COMMON SENSE!! Ah the joys of a public blacksmith shop!!! Now about that hammer in???
matt blosser - Monday, 01/30/06 02:23:58 EST

Kids in the shop: Our schools have removed anything remotely dangerous. No Shop. No Home Ec. reduced art labs and since I retired restricted chemistry labs.

Because of that I worked out a deal where I bought a huge insurance policy and then brought art IV students to my shop after school and helped them cast their sculptures made in class into either aluminum or bronze. Lots of safety instruction, No accidents, the kids learned a lot and I made life-long friends.
- John Odom - Monday, 01/30/06 09:10:33 EST

Liability: Miles said "If they do, a waiver, a release, means nothing. It;s about as binding as that little notice on your dry cleaning or parking garage ticket,... "

That's not always true. I taught scuba diving for a number of years and while I did have insurance, the insurance company insisted that we use standard releases developed by the certification agencies. There is, in fact, no shortage of legal presidence where law suits were dismissed on the basis of those releases. No one is forceed to dive and it's apparently legally acceptable to ask them to assume the responsibility for their decision to do so. We tell them up front that they might die. In theory, you can always be held liable for not acting as a reasonably prudent person. In a supervisory or teaching role you are expected to act as a reasonably prudent teacher or supervisor. That means that you must act in a manor consistant with the established duty of care. Win or not, defending yourself will cost money and that's why you need the insurance.

It is important that the release is written properly for the state or country that it's intended to be used in but they are useful and you, of course, can be held liable for doing what you said you would do (the duty of care).

In addition, some states have specific laws to protect bisinesses regarding specific activities like horseback riding, fo instance, and there may be others.

Further, in the case of some of the diving certification agencies and the insurance companies that deal with diving...EVERYTHING goes to trial. As a matter of policy, there is no automatic buy out so that acts as a deterant because it WILL be expensive for any one who does wish to sue.

Getting on a horse or diving to 300 ft is not safe. There's fair chance that you are going to get mashed up and killed and I can tell you that up front and my lawyers can make things very rough on your family or estate who might think there is profit in trying to make me pay for it.

As all this relates to the blacksmith shop, I would not be comfortable bringing the childred of John Q public into my shop that sits in a corner of my garage. My homeowners policy does cover it for personal use but not business. Clearly it would make sense to set things up a bit differently if I wanted to parade the public through.
Mike Ferrara - Monday, 01/30/06 11:11:30 EST

Having once read the fine print on a health insurance policy it stated that if I was involved in a third party accident I was *REQUIRED* to sue the other party no matter what; else the insurance company did not have to pay for medical care.

I mention this as so many folks say that they would never sue for their own idiocy.

Mike I first read that as "Getting on a horse diving to 300 ft is not safe."....You can lead a horse to water but can you make him put on a BC?

Enamelling: I tried a bunch of stained glass that I had ground samples from and they all chipped off during cooling. I did have luck with a circa 1940's truck brake lens though. I used a stainless coffee creamer stuck into the side of a pile of coke as my kiln. Note that on thin sheet you often have to enamel both sides to prevent it from bending as it cools---the undercoat stuff usually takes care of this.

Thomas P - Monday, 01/30/06 12:06:58 EST

Interesting Points: Thanks guys, these are all interesting points. I am not interested in the teaching the "public" nor making money off fact I foot the bill for materials, consumables, etc, and I am only interested in teaching one specific boy.

Your points on insurance are well taken and I would appreciate any suggestions on what kind of insurance to buy and where to get it. Would a homeowner's umbrella policy be of help? I know squat about insurance.

Ellen - Monday, 01/30/06 14:09:58 EST

Ellen: I am in the process of setting my blacksmith shop up and I am already taking classes for blacksmithing techniques. I have been in the ornamental iron business since age 12. I have taken two classes for the power hammer and both have been the Hofi method of power hammer use. The classes are taught at B2Design using the big blu hammer. I cannot say enough good things about this method of power hammer use. Hofi is a good guy but he will pop the whip every now and then if he needs to get your attention. I have taken the beginers and advanced classes and I am preparing to take the advanced class with tool making as a major area of concentration. You may want to consider taking some of the classes for the power hammer if you plan on using one. I will take the Hofi hand hammer classes next, the first chance I get. I had planned on taking them in Feb. but I had something come up that I just cannot get out of. You will like the Hofi hammer if you know how to properly use it.
- firebug - Monday, 01/30/06 15:07:45 EST

Insurance: I bought a "General liabillity" endorsement on my business policy. I explained to the insurance company in writing what I planned. It was expensive. I no longer have that business, and have only a general liabillity rider on my homeowner's policy. I don't know if it would cover the teaching or not, and in any case, I'm not doing that now since I retired from the school system. When I was doing that project I was able to get grants from a local non-profit Arts Foundation to supply the consumables and cover the premium.
- John Odom - Monday, 01/30/06 18:09:45 EST

releases-- everybody who has any kind of surgery signs all sorts of waivers and releases and acknowledgments drafted by skillful and clever lawyers stating that they have been informed of the dangers, the possibility of harm, of death. The one I signed to get my new plastic lens was four scary single-spaced pages long. Yet... somehow... them clever lawyers acting on behalf of the aggrieved patient or her heirs, somehow manage to collect. This can go on and on and probably will, world without end amen. My feeling is, anybody who owns property that can be seized in a judgment who does not have it as fully insured as possible is a lot more Zen than I am. Ommmm....
Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/30/06 18:38:46 EST

Insurance: I know a tiny bit about insurance from having been a sign contractor for fifteen years where I had to maintain a million dollar liability policy. My insurance company wanted me to post signs prohibiting customers from entering the production area, but admitted that it did little good. Signed waivers meant nothing, as far as they were concerned; I asked. Their comment was that anyone entering my premises was my responsibility whether customer, employee or sightseer. Only one I was most emphatically not covered by the liability policy, even though the business was a corporation. Since it was an "S" corp and not a "C" corp, the officers, (ME) werre not able to collect. I couldn't collect unemployment on myself either, even though I had to pay it into the state fund. Ditto for worker's comp. Life ain't fair.

These days, I have the simple expedient of beign indemnified by poverty. I simply have nothing worth suing me for. A few old tools? Not worth it. My ex-wives have the houses, so no exposure there. Pension fund? Don't be silly, I'm a cop. Your lawyer would cost more than there is in my pension, so he won't want to take your case. (grin)

Homeowners' insurance generally won't cover anything related to a business. If you admit to having ever sold anything you made in your shop, they'll call it a business and dodge the bullet. But, since "homeowners'" implies you own the house, you won't dodge the bullet. So try to get a hobby business rider and a decent liability coverage. Buy a business policy if you have to. If the nsurance company's exposure (the limit of your policy) is high enough, they'll have to defend your case. If it isn't high enough, they may accept liability and pay out the face amount, leaving you to settle up for the rest. Ouch!

Find a reputable independent insurance agent and seek his/her advice. Then get a second independent opinion. Then pay yer money and take yer chances. BTW, some places have statutory limits on the amount of payoff for wrongful death, ($25,000 here), but not for disability or dismemberment. Hmmmmmmm...makes most accidents look like fatalities, doesn't it? (grin)
vicopper - Monday, 01/30/06 18:44:22 EST

I've always told folks entering my shop to be carefull for that very reason---I'd hate for them to suffer a fatal stubbing of their toe...

Thomas P - Monday, 01/30/06 20:57:42 EST

Waivers: I tend to agree with Mike F. Of course, the real question is how often the waiver prevented someone from being sued in the first place, because winning in court may be small consolation once you've paid your lawyer. I'm certain there are plenty of instances of this as well. But even people with waivers do get sued and sometimes lose.

The paperwork Miles is talking about probably has more to do with informed consent than waiver of liability. If you go to have your arm amputated, the hospital wants to be sure it won't be held liable for not telling you that you won't be able to use your hand afterwards. If they cut off the wrong arm, it's another story altogether.
Mike B - Monday, 01/30/06 22:06:34 EST

the use of a flatter: Hello allo good smiths. I recently recieved a flatter and was wondering if anyone had an opinon on the use of it. I know it to be a finnishing tools so should it be used at a finnishing heat or hotter? I would appreciate any info. Thanks
- T. Gibbons - Tuesday, 01/31/06 11:40:14 EST

Liability: The first thing I feel compelled to bring up is you CAN NOT wright off liability. A waiver is a useless piece of paper Disclaimers are not valid either. These are scare tactics folks use to make folks think they can not be sued. A waiver is a useless piece of paper.

I will try to dig out the info on the two types of insurance you need that is specific to a blacksmith shop and the proper folks to contact later.
- Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/31/06 11:49:55 EST

Waivers: A waiver is ALMOST but NOT QUITE useless. It depends on the jurisdiction, and how the waiver is used. I have seen several successful defenses based on the waiver. But it works ONLY if you did nothing wrong, and made no mistake. I helps when the plaintif did something really stupid. In any case the cost of defense in enormous.
- John Odom - Tuesday, 01/31/06 12:49:04 EST

I need to make a correction as John pointed out. It doesn't hurt to have a waiver. It doesn't leave you harmless from any liability at all. A judge may give it a notice that you tried to make an honest effort to prevent
injury and safe guard yourself against foolish folks. Pretty much it is just a judges subjective thoughts. You can not write off liability. If you have homeowners insurance to cover yourself. The foolish person can still individually sue each person present. There is two types of insurance you need. specific for blacksmiths. I am just preaching it straight. Don't think you are covered by a silly piece of paper. You need the proper specific insurances to cover you all the way around.
- Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/31/06 13:56:03 EST

What's real fun is when you give kids a problem that the calculator gives a wrong answer for---overflow or underflow.

When the prof in my numerical methods class did that he could go around, look at what bogus answer you got and then tell you what chip your calculator used.

It was a fun class though some folks never quite internalized that you didn't care what the *right* answer was as long as you could get within a certain error range to it---2+2 really can be approximated by 3.9999999999999999usw for practical use.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/31/06 15:28:16 EST

The Flatter: T. Gibbons,

Fall off the edges with a disc sander 2º - 5º, a little ways in from the edges, so you don't get any corner/edge marks. The major portion of the central area of the face stays flat. It's a finishing tool used at the darker red heats, low cherry and below. I use mine with water. I dip the flatter in water and put some of the water on the anvil. The thermal shock of the water helps a little to "pop scale". The low heats are so that you get minimal scale. The flatter is used mainly to get rid of hammer marks. When the marks are gone and you've done your job correctly, the surface should looks almost as good as a mill scale finish.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/31/06 15:53:24 EST

I dont want to clutter up the guru's den, but I always cringe when people who dont have kids in school tell me whats wrong with schools today.
I have 2 kids in school right now, 6th and 10th grades. Both can do multiplication in their heads, neither was given a calculator to use in class before algebra classes. Now the older one is currently using a graphing calculator that is more powerful than any computer that existed prior to about 1965, but he was taught plain old rithmetic first.
Both can write quite competently in longhand.
All of these skills, and many more, were taught to them by plain old public schools where I live- and these public schools are godless and liberal, to boot. In fact, I drive my kids an extra 20 minutes every day to get em up to the next county, because the school board in my county believes there is nothing wrong with teaching creationism (not intelligent design) in biology class.
And coincedentally or not, the standards of education are quite a bit lower here, than in the liberal yuppie district I drive em up to.

But in general, my feeling would be that we are educating kids just as well as we ever have- there were plenty of oldtimers I have met over the years who were functionally illiterate, or whose math skills were rudimentary. Some kids take to learning, some dont. Some schools are overwhelmed by discipline problems, some arent.

I know some of the smartest young people I have ever met, thru my son's debate team- and they are the product of our current schooling system. I have met kids from over 20 different high schools at these debate tournaments, and they are all potential supreme court justices or college professors- and they are all the result of our current public school system.

The reason kids dont write in complete sentances on line is a combination of lazyness and the "cool" factor, not because they dont know how.
- Ries - Tuesday, 01/31/06 16:11:39 EST

Ries: I'd say you're about half right. Yes, the schools are doing as good or bad a job as they pretty much always have. As for kids onlline writing styles, it is laziness, "cool factor" and big dose of missing etiquette. The lack of manners among todays youth is, I think, significantly worse than it was with my "hippie" generation, and we were pretty rude. But some line we just didn't cross, where kids today make no distinction. The "me" generation is their parents, and that has rubbed off. They simply fail to see beyond their noses until their noses get bruised on the rest of us.

I think one difference generationally is that our generation learned that we could slide a lot of inadequacies by if we were polite, but today's kids don't have that notion. They seem to feel that their inadequacies should be accepted on their terms, not on ours. It's a different orientation, I think. May be actually healthy to a degree, as they seem to be less focused on pleasing others, or being "rated" by others, than my generation was at the same age. Or, I'm just getting old enough that I disremember the realities of life as a teenager. That wouldn't surprise me one bit.(grin)
vicopper - Tuesday, 01/31/06 17:35:30 EST

Rich- I think you are looking at the past thru rose colored granny glasses-
I know plenty of kids today, including teenagers, who can be very polite- If they want to be. And I know some rude little brats. Same as when I was a kid, back in the late 50s early 60's.
As far as being
- Ries - Tuesday, 01/31/06 18:00:45 EST

Whoops= repost

Rich- I think you are looking at the past thru rose colored granny glasses-
I know plenty of kids today, including teenagers, who can be very polite- If they want to be. And I know some rude little brats. Same as when I was a kid, back in the late 50s early 60's.
As far as being "rated" by others- I think its the exact opposite.
Back in the "hippie days" I was frequently beaten up, sworn at, had cars honk at me, and generally berated for not looking exactly like everybody else. The favorite words of derision in my elementary school in the early 60s were things like "retard", "fag", and "moron". Not to mention racial slurs.
My kids today go to schools where even the mildest fights are a rare, and notable exception to the civil day to day life- neither of my kids has ever had a bloody nose from a fight- by the time I was a 9th grader, I had had 20 or 30 of em.
I know kids today who are so "weird" compared to the standards of my school years, that they would have been tied to the chain link fence during recess- and todays kids are amazingly tolerant, supportive, and compassionate compared to the days of my youth.
I actually think in a lot of ways, kids are better today than when I was a kid- more educated about a lot of things, more tolerant of differences, and better prepared to live in the world. They know more about the perils of drugs, drink, and divorce, often from first hand observations- its tough growing up today.
Sure there are still bad apples- but in my kids schools, there are fewer of them today than when I was a kid- I knew a lot more closet drinkers and smokers and drug takers, just as many young sexual experimenters, and a lot more vandals, thieves, and just plain rotten kids in my day. And I went to the same prep school as Bill Gates! In 1968, I remember some future billionaires dealing drugs, and various escapades including a station wagon accidentally ending up in a swimming pool, lots of drinking, shoplifting, and more.
Ries - Tuesday, 01/31/06 18:01:36 EST

The local school system has plenty of fights and plenty of pregancies to go around as well. The kids seem to be quite untolerant compared to where my daughter went to her first two years of HS in OH.

I was a bit surprised as we are in one of the highest per capita pools of PhDs, (not a lot of people out here and the local university, NRAO and White Sands ups the rating quite a bit).

Having been part of "The elitist intellectual snobs" in HS (one of my HS teachers went around the room identifying the cliques and we adopted their nomenclature). I can feel for her being out of the local power structure; but assure her that being weird is it's own reward---if you survive! She does have her own line in the student dress code now---no mohawks allowed. Her last school focused on what you did not how you looked...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/31/06 18:27:47 EST

Language, Language: There's nothing new about adopting language that permits efficient communication in a given medium. Look at how business cables were drafted back when they charged by the word. Or look at police ten codes, for that matter.

What I do think *is* rude is when kids don't take the time to look around, see that (more or less) standard English is used on this site, and conform their posts to the norm. On the other hand, maybe they're just deciding that we're all sticks in the mud and need to be shown a better way. And who knows -- in five years maybe we'll all be posting in phonetic abbreviations and sentence fragments.
Mike B - Tuesday, 01/31/06 18:54:41 EST

Kids, Language, et cetera: Ries, et al.

'Taint *my* granny glasses that are rose colored, old son. The kids in school here have more fights, more weapons, more pregnancies, more dropouts, less scholars, less world-view, and far, far less vocabulary than the delinquents that I ran with in school. It is unsurprising to me that our school kids rank lower than anywhere else in the U.S., with the exception of American Samoa...maybe. So I'll admit my view may be a bit more than just a bit jaundiced, particularly since my occupation puts me in the position of social janitor after their peccadillos. But I can safely say that they are nothing like the precocious paragons you describe.

As for the language thing, I confess to a maudlin sentimentality when I think of the gracioius language of the Victorian era, and I deplore the abomination that has become of the English language in recent decades.

Yes, there are numerous "conveniences" or conventions used by subgroups to facilitate the exchange of information in a supposedly "efficient" fashion. Many of these, however, are falling by the wayside almost as rapidly as they were spawned. Very few police departments still use the 10-codes, as "clear speech" has turned out to be more effective in conveying actual information.

With the advances in the capacity of communications media to carry information, there is no excuse for abbreviated and abridged modes of communication. It doesn't cost a tuppence less to use verbal shorthand, and it dramatically raises the liklihood that misunderstandings may arise. Thank you, I still prefer good English, modern fads notwithstanding. Call me old-fashioned; I'm not ashamed of it one whit. (grin)


I thought we were "effete intellectual snobs", in the words of the immortal Spirow T. Agnew.
vicopper - Tuesday, 01/31/06 19:49:53 EST

I seem to notice how much better at chemistry some of these young folks are these days. I am amazed at the drugs they can make from things purchased at the local Walmart. I just wrote this to be a smart-aleck.
- Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/31/06 19:50:54 EST

All us old blacksmiths are called to anvilfire to rally together and fight against poor youthful language. We can roll around in our wheelchairs sticking those whiper-snappers with hot pokers.
- Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/31/06 20:02:04 EST

Just think when we all kick the bucket the youths of today will not be able to put our epitaphs properly upon our stones. We better get them ready ahead of time.
- Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 01/31/06 20:04:30 EST

Hey Burnt: I've written your epitaph beforehand, and it's gonna have hecky darn and criminetly in it!
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/31/06 20:11:50 EST

Language: ViCopper,

I too prefer standard English, and have been known to lament the apparently imminent death of the apostrophe (except in a certain impersonal possessive pronoun, of course).

I think, though, that the abbreviated language we're seeing actually originated with text messaging. If I were trying to type with my thumbs on a tiny 10-key keyboard, I might be tempted to leave out letters too. Maybe one year I'll get a cell phone, and find out for sure (grin). Of course, maybe someone will come up with a better way to input text, and text message language will go the way of the telegraph.
- Mike B - Tuesday, 01/31/06 21:17:03 EST

Waivers: Having spent ten+ years in the skydiving trade, as an instructor/jumpmaster/ and jump pilot, I can say that waivers do indeed have a valid place. Are they a proof against liability? No. Are they a valid help in disuading lawsuits? yes. Will they help in the court room? depends on how well written the waiver.

Having just had the DG read some of the above posts, She noted that Waivers are a valid defense. Since She has Esquire behind her name and quite a few years in liability defense, She may have a point.

By the way, after tens years in the jump trade, no lawsuits.
ptree - Tuesday, 01/31/06 22:26:27 EST

MikeB: I have a cellular telephone, and I suppose it may be capable of text messages, but I'll probably never know for sure. I can think of nothing that would provoke me to send little cryptic messages to someone, to be read on a teeny little screen the size of a postage stamp. Nor would I bother myself trying to read one if one were sent to me. The thing is intended to communicate through the medium of the spoken word, and that is all I'll let mine do. If it messes with me, I'll drown it in the toilet again. (grin)
vicopper - Tuesday, 01/31/06 22:28:01 EST

The one thing you can't waive with a waiver is liability for negligent acts. What everyone is trying to prove, even after they signed the waiver, is that your acttions were negligent. If they do, then it's payday for them and their lawyer. If they don't, then you keep your house after mortgaging it to pay the lawyers. I fully expect my insurance company to bail on me if I ever really need them.
FredlyFX - Tuesday, 01/31/06 23:54:28 EST

O Tempura, O Morays...: ...O Battered Fried Eels!

Next thing you know the youth of Constantinople will be wearing their hair like Huns!

I will say that brains are no guarantee of virtue, and the prisons have more than their share of geniuses. On the other claw, young folks of middling intelligence, when brought up right and polite, can be some of our best friends.

My own handwriting is atrocious, nowhere near my father's and barely improved over the years. However, that's probably due in part to my life-long problem with small muscle motor skills. Give me a hammer and I can hit stuff, give me a guitar and after 44 years I can do basic chords.

More important for communications is how they put the words together and whether you can actually figure out what they're saying. Context, syntax, spelling, grammar, all have a role; but some folks just can't handle any of these, so even if they're highly intelligent, we don't really know because they can't get their thoughts expressed in writing or in speech.

Remember that 50% of us are below average, but can you figure out where you are? (And in America, if you ask anybody to rate their driving abilities, they will inevitably tell you that they’re “above average.”)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 01/31/06 23:57:11 EST

Kids today: I think Ries is spot on with some of the kids of today. My kids have two no account parents. Some how they have managed to get great marks, their command of the English language is well beyond their parents, are fluent in more than one language. Most of their friends are the same way. If you want an update on current events talk to your kids, or the neighbor kids, you might just be surprised.
- Trent - Wednesday, 02/01/06 00:28:17 EST

I guess I should read all the way to the bottom before I start posting. Sorry for trippling up on that one.
FredlyFX - Wednesday, 02/01/06 02:09:29 EST

vicopper -kids: I think some of Your viewpoint is that in Your line of work You are more likely to deal with the problem kids, and might not realise that there are good ones as well. I am not familiar with U.S.V.I., but I am very familiar with the Bahamas and it's people and have been around some other parts of the West Indies. I am not surprised that there are problems in the schools there. Here in the mainland US it seems to Me that the schools vary quite a lot from place to place, and the kids and there antics vary a lot also. My cousin has a little boy who got kicked out of day care. Later He ended up in a Catholic preschool and school, and as much as I am not promoting that religion, the disiplin did him a lot of good.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 02/01/06 04:04:36 EST

Young'uns: What really grinds my bridgework, is to have someone whose voice is still cracking, talk to me (and us) as if we are peers. I tried it when I was a kid, and learned real quickly, that that was not the way to get in the good graces of the big people. My father verbally pinned my ears back almost instantly when he heard me address one of his friends by his first name. Suddenly I wasn't near as cool as I thought I was. "Sir" and "Mister", until told it's ok to do otherwise, will go a long way.
3dogs - Wednesday, 02/01/06 04:54:25 EST


Bravo brother Paul. I could not agree more.
Brian C - Wednesday, 02/01/06 09:54:22 EST

Handwriting: When I was a kid, we had a sheaf of old papers dating back to VanBuren's and Tyler's presidencies. I used to pore over those letters and documents and try to imitate the nice handwriting with a "real fountain pen". I got pretty good at it and I still dabble with calligraphy. At grade school, we had a putrid method of teaching handwriting, "The Palmer Method", in which you were supposed to float along on you middle, ring, and pinky fingernails. I had nubbins, anyway. I knew that the Palmer Method was sucky, so I only used it when the teacher was cruising the aisles.

I noticed that most other kids, as we grew older, did not give a fig for good handwriting, and had what I considered pitiable scrawls by the time of high school graduation. As an adult, I mentioned this phenomenon to a friend in polite conversation, and he said "Who needed good handwriting after the typewriter came into vogue"?

I also blame the kruddy Palmer Method which, if used, gives no sensitive feedback from the paper to the writing instrument to the fingers to the propriocepters. And the ball point pen didn't help any.
- Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/01/06 10:16:47 EST

Peers: It is goning to be 26 six years since I've graduated highschool. And when I see my former Principal on the street it still takes a conscious effort to call him (at his own request) by his first name.
JimG - Wednesday, 02/01/06 11:11:32 EST

Hi Frank: Oh Hecky Darn, I got to have 3pups: "What really grinds my brigework" in my epitaph too... BOG
- Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 02/01/06 11:13:09 EST

Burnt Forge; I'm sure Frank will make you a branding iron with that on it so you can make sure the coronor mentions it in his report...might be a tad pricey though...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/01/06 12:11:23 EST

Personally, I have a short attention span for swordmaking wannabees whose whole worldview is informed by Lord of the Rings and video games- and I am constantly correcting grammer, spelling, and word use, both out loud and in my own head, depending on the danger involved in correcting the individual...
And I am sure the schools in the VI, as well as parts of the Bronx, New Orleans, or South Central resemble prison movies from the 50's-
But my main point is that grumpy old farts, of which august group I consider myself a member, have been moaning about "kids today" since approximatly 5000 BC- and "kids today" have gone on to give us the most advanced, enlightened, and sophisticated democracy, with the best health, education, and standard of living in the entire history of the world.
What I mean is that every damn one of us was scoffed at by oldsters before us, and we just do it ourselves to the younguns naturally.

I object, however, to lumping all kids into the "rude, illiterate and lazy" category. Based soley on my own limited experiences, tutoring and volunteering in schools in the last 10 years, talking with many of my kids peers, chaperoning and driving on school field trips and debate tournaments, and spying on my own kids social interactions whenever possible.
So my opinions are based soley on experience with real kids, and I have to say that many of them impress the hell out of me, and if we havent spent all the money, they are gonna do just fine.
- Ries - Wednesday, 02/01/06 14:29:26 EST

Kids: I agree with Ries and others here. The ancient greeks no doubt grumbled in the Agora about their kids, too.

I think if we take a look at our all volunteer armed forces, which IMHO are the best in the world, we see all the fine qualities or more than in any preceeding generations.
Ellen - Wednesday, 02/01/06 14:36:08 EST

Kids: I spent the last 15 years as a high school chemistry teacher. There are all kinds of kids. The best are great. I often get the help of my present or former students on writing, computers and a lot of other things. One is even my doctor. Some kids of course are bad to the bone. I made my fundamental rule: You must earn my respect, and I will try to earn yours. If kids are treated with respect, they usually learn to return it. If treated disrespectfully problems grow and continue. I have many friends today who were labled "bad" by the system, but they got along fine with me, and did well. They all say "Mr. Odom you treated us with respect." Most of them still say "Mr. Odom" even though I have told them that now as adults, they may call me "John."
- John Odom - Wednesday, 02/01/06 14:53:44 EST

Kids: One other thing about kids when they come here, we should do our best to help them or at least send them to the right website for information. Without new blood this site will gradually wither and also we need new blood to keep our craft going, and to improve it.

One example is this can been seen in local gun clubs and shooting ranges. Those who mentor kids keep growing, those that don't gradually dwindle.
Ellen - Wednesday, 02/01/06 16:32:28 EST

Mr Odom; if you had been my chemistry teacher you would have probably retired early on disability---my advanced placement chem class was a tad unruly and our teacher had the patience of a saint---I'm sure you know how far a bunsen burner hooked to the water faucet will shoot; or how far the gas jet will burn without a bunsen hooked to it---we did too...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/01/06 18:24:34 EST

You know "What really grinds my brigework"?
Me either?? I can't remember!!

- Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 02/01/06 18:39:52 EST

I agree with you all. There are very good children and very bad, just like us grown ups.

I just forge the old style slave shackels and lock the little crumb snatchers in the basement. Then I have the Aussie go down and grown at them spitting in their little faces with her bad breath. Then I just thow a live chicken in the center and whoever nabs it gets a meal that day. For water I just take a firemans hose and soak them down. I don't seem to have any problem getting respect from them little buggers.
- Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 02/01/06 18:46:22 EST

Disclaimer...before the little kiddy huggers get crazy...I am just being funny in my above post.
- Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 02/01/06 18:47:58 EST

PETA already has a hit squad headed your way Bundt Fudge!
Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/01/06 19:34:40 EST

Burnt Forge: Actually Thomas is missing some of the **other** delightful events that will happen in your life. Since Slavery is involved the NAACP will send Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton down to demonstrate in front of your shop. Next the local Kleegle of the Klan will counter demonstrate and burn a cross. The flames from the burning cross will ignite the shop and the house, and since this falls under the heading of "civil disturbance" you insurance will deny your claims.
Ellen - Wednesday, 02/01/06 21:12:27 EST

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