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

This page is open to ALL for the purpose of advancing blacksmithing.

January 2007 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.

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

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

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

Forge welding problems: Hi EJ. It may be good to have someone show you how it works for the first time. Forge welding is one of those "unreliable" processes. In other words, false starts and random successes can undo a lot of teaching. The key is to develop a procedure that works more reliably and commit it to regularity through practice. I recently botched a weld in front of a bunch of spectators. It was embarassing, and I still have not figured out why it did not work. Somehow, I don't fully understand the mechanism. The metal just was not getting sticky. When the failed piece was examined, the faying surface was too hard to file. Maybe burned. It needs a consistent process.
EricC - Sunday, 12/31/06 13:41:53 EST

Spectators: When a weld fails in front of an audience, the spectators usually enjoy that, and you have shown them your human side. Someone usually asks what went wrong. "Now, if I had known what went wrong, I would've got the weld."
Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/31/06 14:39:10 EST

Frank; funny hiow ones point of view affects things---I've always considered the indirect method of wrought iron smelting to be a fairly "recent" one as it only came around about 1000 years after the direct method did.

In charcoal making the "indirect method" refers to any process where the wood itself is not burned to produce the heat to char the wood into charcoal. So the paint can put into a fire is an indirect method.

The direct method uses some of the wood to produce the heat to char the rest of the wood so the pit clamp is a direct method.

- Thomas Powers - Sunday, 12/31/06 21:17:28 EST

casting: I am looking for someone that has the facilities cast iron. I have a prototype that I would like to have some made. Someone in wisconsin would be nice but not necessary. I can be reached at
- Tom Heideman - Sunday, 12/31/06 21:46:32 EST

Tom, When looking for a foundry you need to be slightly more specific. Foundries are rated largely by the maximum size of the casting. If the part is very small there are a number of

You will also need to work with a specific foundry on the pattern type. Very few foundries will deal with loose patterns and require patterns for even one offs to be boarded or as mold boxes.

Usually it is best if you do not have a pattern already made and you work with the patternmaker recommended by the foundry. Sometimes you can DIY it but it can be a difficult learning process.
- guru - Monday, 01/01/07 16:32:29 EST

what makes store bought briquetes unusable for forging
- i - Tuesday, 01/02/07 10:42:21 EST

they don't have much charcoal in them. look at the charcoal FAQ
- Tyler Murch - Tuesday, 01/02/07 10:43:45 EST

1: what do they have in them then
- i - Tuesday, 01/02/07 10:51:13 EST

briquetes: i,
I don't know what they have in them. You can actually use them for forging. They will make the steel hot. They have a few things that make them less desireable for forging, some of which probably make them good for grilling. They're slow starting and burn only at the edges. You can never get the same pile of embers as when you use real charcoal.

You know, I bet you could actually forge steel with cow chips, if you have a good forge.
JohnW - Tuesday, 01/02/07 12:55:09 EST

Charcoal, etc.: Briquettes have all sorts of other junk in them besides wod charcoal. They ahve sawdust, starches, binders, dirt, ash, coal, and anything else that the manufacturer wants to throw in there to make tham saleable. They will work in a forge, they just make a fire that is not as hot as real charcoal, they produce copius amounts of clinker, and they tend to have even worse fleas than soft wood charcoal.

Yes, you can forge with cowchips. A large part of the population of the world does just that. In Africa and India, there aer areas where trees are not in abundant supply, but cattle are. The trees are reserved for cooking fires, and the dung is used for forges, pottery kilns, and other heating uses.

ANY source of carbon can be a forge fuel, with the exception of diamonds. Carbon is carbon, and that is what you're actually burning, whether you're using coal, coke, charcoal, oil, gas or old tires, for that matter. Some forms of carbon are more convenient than others, depending on what you're doing and where you're doing it.
vicopper - Tuesday, 01/02/07 13:21:38 EST

Blacksmiths Best Cow Chips:
I can see the bags lined up now at the tailgate sales. . . Hmmm I think Ken has quite a few cows, he's on the inside track.

Ah. . . Diamonds do burn if you can afford it. . . I suspect they are more difficult to start than coke and need a constant air supply. I doubt we will doing the R&D. I also suspect you could forge with hydrogen but that opens up a whole different set of problems.

Besides cow dung, peat, which is close in consistancy is also used.

For forging you are better off with dry hard wood than charcoal briquettes. The reason is that briquettes have a lot of low grade saw dust that does not coal and the real wood WILL turn directly into charcoal in the process of burning while that sawdust just makes a lot of ash.

I'm also not sure what it is about the briquette ash but it resulted in the worst scale I have ever experienced.
- guru - Tuesday, 01/02/07 14:23:35 EST

Guru; for one thing briquettes leave large air passages for the forced air to get to your metyal without the O2 being consumed by the fuel. In a book on biomass furnaces I read it mentioned that the distance from the tuyere to the point where the fire is reducing is around 12-16 times the mean fuel diameter---think of the stack of briquettes you would need for *that*!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/02/07 17:00:03 EST

Burning Diamonds: I saw this as a demonstration in an Oxygen atmosphere. Of course the diamond was NOT gem quality. That demo was for a film made at a Chemistry teacher's conference.
- John Odom - Tuesday, 01/02/07 17:44:32 EST

Hi Guys;
I love thisfasinating theoretical stuff and I hate to bother you with an iron question.However' I have been approached to make a branding iron. The approachee has an official Colorado brand registration from 1914 and wants an iron for father's day. Isn't it great to see someone plan ahead. I don't have a problem working with what I've got but are there any code or requirements ( say size wise or depth or whatever ) that I should do to make sure that this is authentic?

Thanks Tinker
- atinker - Tuesday, 01/02/07 21:55:06 EST

Branding iron: I'd check with a large-animal vet. One of them would know if there are current state regs covering brands. I thought pretty much everyone had switched over to ear tags.
vicopper - Tuesday, 01/02/07 22:28:47 EST

Branding Iron: I have a branding iron made in Colorado between 1868 and 1903, when my grandfather acquired it. It was in the first CO brand book (1868), and has been continuously used since.

It is made of 1/4 x 1, chamfered to 1/8 inch on the side that meets the hide, so it ended up 1 1/8". It is a 4" brand, meaning each letter is 4" top to bottom. You can get 3" brands, but it is easy to blotch them, and most people have gotten rid of them if favor of the 4". Horse people prefer the 3" brands though.

If you have a point where two letters meet, for example mine is an inverted heart, string connected B, (a single iron stamp brand) make a small notch where the iron meets. If you don't it will make a really hot spot that could burn right through the hide.

The handle is 36" long, 1/2 inch rod, with a ring forged on the end for hanging. The handle is forge welded to the iron letters using a Y arrangement, in two places

While I love the old iron and use it once in a while, when I am doing a whole herd, I have moved on to electric irons. While it doesn't have the 'flavor' of the old way, it is sure a lot quieter and safer as long as everything is properly grounded. Nothing disrupts a branding more than having the corral catch fire around you. Experience is a hard teacher!

Hope this helps
Owen W - Tuesday, 01/02/07 22:59:13 EST

vicopper: Colorado has a brand law, anytime an animal changes ownership, moves over 75 miles unless it is going to a sale barn, or crosses a state line, it has to be inspected by a state inspector. The only legal brand is a fire brand, though in the past few years freeze brands have been accepted, especially in the horse world.

When you run in timber or the brush of western Colorado, eartags are torn out quite frequently, a 5-10% loss in a herd is not unheard of. Tattoos help, but sometimes you don't have the luxury of catching each individual and looking in the ear to make an identification. The new RFID tags are a little better, but with most of them you have to be within 10-15 feet to make the 'read' with the scanner. After being on the range for 4-5 months, sometimes you are lucky to get within 200' of some of the wild ones.

It is hard to alter a brand, despite the old western stories and movies. The main reason is that it takes 6-8 weeks for the burn to heal and for it not to look altered. In CO, it is not recommended that you try to sell an animal until the brand has peeled (the scab peeled off), usually 6-8 weeks. The rustling that went on back then was usually a bunch of cowboys finding a bunch of mavericks (unbranded animals) putting a brand on them with a running iron, and setting up their own ranch with the instant herd with their brand on them.
Owen W - Tuesday, 01/02/07 23:16:13 EST

Branding Irons: I've made lots of forged, traditional irons in New Mexico, and I don't believe we have a size rule here. The smallest I've made was a 2" brand of a simple shape for a horse's jaw. One must realize that the calf brand will get larger as the animal grows up. A 3" or 4" brand may do for calves, and a 5" to 7" brand my do for mature animals. A couple of ranchers have shown me their old, original irons, as OwenW talked about. The men were adamant that I follow those dimensions, so I did.

A well made iron will have the tapered stamp stock, which is flat stock re-forged to be thicker at the top and thinner on the hide side. The design is for holding the heat longer, and the thinner 'hide side' leaves a cleaner, neater mark.

Check out "The Manual of Brands and Marks" by Wolfenstine.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/03/07 09:34:14 EST

Branding: Thanks for the update on the branding laws and practices, owen! I was sure there would be someone herre with the current info. I haven't llived in Colorado for more than thirty years now, so what I might have known once is dubious.

As for changing brands, my middle name is Stratton, apparently after a distant relative who made his living as a "horse trader" in Eastern Colorado a hundred or more years ago, ostensibly dealing with mavericks and green-breaking them. He was reputed to be a passing fair artist with a running iron, but nothing was ever proven, I don't think. (grin)
vicopper - Wednesday, 01/03/07 14:29:32 EST

vicopper: ...from whence comes the Old West horse bloodline expression. "That horse? Why, that's by Long Rope out of Hidden Canyon."
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/03/07 20:34:48 EST

does anyone out there have any thoughts or info on the scranton mechanical hammer ????
- peter - Thursday, 01/04/07 08:43:25 EST

Scranton hammer: Peter; The Scranton, originally designed by Thomas Shaw (who also invented the gunpowder powered piledriver, and subsequently a like-powered forging hammer, neither of which generated enough interest for further production). Mr. Shaw licensed the manufacture of his design to others, and changes and improvements occurred over time and under various names. He gets a fair amount of mention in Chapter 4 of Douglas Freund's book "Pounding Out the Profits; A Century of American Invention" ISBN 0-9657652-0-2. Pretty good book, if your interest lies in American mechanical power hammers.
- 3dogs - Thursday, 01/04/07 16:52:27 EST

finishes: i was wondering about finishes...i usually just let my pieces rust and if i want to shine them up i use some butchers wax. on hinges that are going to be outside i was wondering of any super wax recipes...and does it even do any better then butchers wax?
- coolhand - Thursday, 01/04/07 18:22:07 EST

Well coolhand since you obviously live in the desert like myself I'd say that a wax finish will last less than a week during the high summer, of course in Antartica it will last until the wind driven snow scrubs it off...

Thomas in Central NM
Thomas P - Thursday, 01/04/07 18:45:24 EST

thanks 3dogs
blacklionforge - Thursday, 01/04/07 21:06:20 EST

DoAll bandsaw update: Awhile back I posted that I am restoring an old DoAll model J. Got lucky on the motor, my buddy and I re-wired it,and it runs great. Now the not so good news. The pinion gear is missing. Called the company, they are still around, but they have nothing to help, parts, drawings, manuals, zero. Apparently this thing was made "before 1939" according to the guy on the phone. Any ideas gang?
- Mark Singleton - Thursday, 01/04/07 21:47:11 EST

DoAll Gears:
Mark, First task is to determine EXACTLY what the gear specs were. This can be done by reverse engineering. You need careful measurements between shaft centers, tooth counts, pitch diameters and tooth angles. From these you can determine what the gear surface looked like. Add the bore shoulder, keyway and any other feature to put it in the right place and you have everything for a gear drawing. The drive HP and torque at the gear will determine the material and quality class. It would help to consult a machinist that has made gears or an engineer that has done gearing work.

THEN with a sketch with all the particulars you can go to a gear manufacturer and have the gear made for a few hundred dollars. These folks may be able to help with the specs but you have to do the preliminaries.

When you have the shafts and one gear you have everything you need to know to make a replacement gear. But it will take CAREFUL measurements with calipers and possibly gear tooth gauges. You will need to understand something about gearing to make the right measurements and make the right assumptions. OLD Boston Gear catalogs were good at explaining the details clearly and Machinery's Handbook gets into more details than you want to think about.

You called the missing gear a "pinion". Most bandsaws that have gear boxes have worm gear drives. Is it a pinion or worm? Big difference.

This is just one of those little tasks that you have to learn OR pay an engineer for when repairing old machinery.
DO NOT try to make your own gear.
- guru - Friday, 01/05/07 01:27:05 EST

Super Wax:
Carabuna wax, boiled linseed oil, petroleum distillate (thinner), Japan drier (cobalt compound).

You will find this "super wax" finish in a variety of books and web sites. Now go read the contents on a can of commercial varnish. Same thing.

Well, sort of. . . Its made by professionals that have labrotories for accurate measurement and test stands to accelerated test under various weather and sunlight conditions and can obtain substances that are difficult to purchase in anything less than a RR-tanker. All this as apposed to some home brew recipe that every batch is different and was never REALLY tested or reported on. . .

Professionals use professional tools and products including paints. This is one area that if you want to play alchemist then FINE. . but don't expect customers to come back and don't tell folks how great your finish is until it has been field tested for 10 or 20 years. . .

Good professional paint is too cheap to be out making your own.
- guru - Friday, 01/05/07 01:39:12 EST

DoAll gear: Thanks guru. A quick look-around on the internet indicates I am looking for a spur gear, not a pinion. The missing gear spins in the same plane as the driven(larger) one, with the shafts parallel. This is really a neat old saw, and I will get a gear made, if I cannot find one somewhere. There is a Do-All even older than mine (running apparently) on E-bay right now. When I saw the asking price I was stunned. Got mine for free, and it was even delivered to my shop door! Thanks again. Mark S.
Mark Singleton - Friday, 01/05/07 01:59:07 EST

Wife wants towel racks: Wife has made a request of her resident blacksmith, Towel racks for the bathroom along with shower curtain rings and drawer pulls. Not to hard of a task but I am wondering about what would be the best finish. I forge in coal and have found in the past that paint only adheres for a short time, wet or damp towels would excellerate that problem I am sure. I thought about sand blasting and then taking the parts to a local guy who I have had do some powder coating for me in the past. What is your thoughts about powder coat on smithed work? What do you use?
James Rader - Friday, 01/05/07 05:38:11 EST

Pinion: A pinion is the small gear in a pair of gears where there is usually a large difference in size (2 to 1 or greater). It is also the gear (any size) used with a rack (as in rack and pinion steering). Pinion's are normally straight (spur) or helical gears.

Spur gears are made in two contact angles, 20 deg. and 14.5 deg. Generally the 20 deg are standard for production equipment but some old equipment and lathe change gears use 14.5. To determine the angle and tooth size they make little template type gages (I've got one).

The link below is a gear tutorial. It gets a little too technical for most of us that are not designing gears for high performance applications but it has some good illustrations and animations.
NA Notes Spur Gears
- guru - Friday, 01/05/07 10:01:31 EST

"paint only adheres for a short time":
James, Your truck sets out in the weather all year and the paint will last 20 years if you do not scratch it. Steel ships at sea are painted and their biggest problem is moss, sea urchins and such growing on the submerged parts. . .

Paint is the best finish unless you want to go with all stainless or brass hardware. You can also polish and plate if you want. . .

Paint will stick FINE but you must clean the meal first. You cannot paint over loose scale and coal plating. Power wire brush, sand blast or chemically etch first then apply paint according to specs and it will last as long as ANY commercial product. Doing anything less is bad craftsmanship.

Note that you can use a combination of cleaning techniques to good effect.
- guru - Friday, 01/05/07 10:09:03 EST

Powder coating: James, We use powder coating where I work.( I got the paint super to add some art work to the line for clear coating, looks fine and no rust after two months. Now the quality and coverage (at least 3 mils) of the powder will affect the look and length of service of your work. A few things to remember, the ovens will burn thin work,(300 to 500 deg) black and brown spots will show in clear coats. Work marks will still show thru powder any color. You must make some type of hanger for your work, especially your rings, just putting them over a hook or peg will leave a raw spot that will rust. No matter how good the finish is, poor work will show thru and be highlighted by any finish, clean up and prep is half the job, maybe the more important half. Sand blasting will help, but oil from bare hands could ruin them, the powder coater should have a washer system.

If your wife is anything like mine, she knows what you are capable of and will accept nothing less than your very best. But shouldn't we make everything at that level? Hope this helped.

Support CSI
daveb - Friday, 01/05/07 10:17:57 EST

I'd just go stainless myself.

Thomas P - Friday, 01/05/07 12:23:01 EST

DoAll Gear: Mark,

You can simplify the pitch/angle determinations by making a wax impression of the existing bull gear. Oil it up evenly, then make a little dam with plasticine clay and pour molten casting wax in the mold area. (You want to get three or four adjacent teeth in the finished impression.)

When the wax cools, you'll have a very good impression of the teeth of the bull gear, from which a gear company can determine all the necessary data (except diametral pitch). Give them the C to C measurements of the two shafts and the radius of the bull gear from the center of the shaft to the bottom of the valley of a tooth. Note that is the valley, and NOT the tip of the tooth. The wax impression will give them the height of the teeth and the valley dimension is all that they need.

On your way down to order that custom cut gear from Boston Gear or someone, you should go to the local Mercedes Benz or Jaguar dealer and test drive a new car. That will get you in the right frame of mind to write the check for a custom gear. (grin)
vicopper - Friday, 01/05/07 12:53:19 EST

Gears: A wax impression is a good idea but a tooth count is absolutely necessary. The difference in +/-1 tooth makes a difference in diameter that will be hard to measure. With the tooth size/shape and the quantity you can calculate the pitch diameter (the pitch line is about the center of the teeth). If the calculations do not add up to the measurements then you measure and count again. . . . It is a good test.

I've had a number of gears made for machinery and the price was not too bad. There is a big difference in slow speed conservatively designed machinery gears and high performance hardened and ground gears. I've paid as little as $120 for a lathe reversing gear PAIR and $500 for a pinion for an old shear punch (ironworker).
- guru - Friday, 01/05/07 18:50:20 EST

SGensh: Mark, It's unlikely you will actually need a custom cut gear for most simple American machinery like that Do All. Most sensible designers chose relatively standard gears when possible to keep costs down. Once you determine the pressre angle the material and width of the gear face will actually give you a clue to the diametrical pitch simply by checking a gear manufacturers availability chart. If you are really lucky the driven gear may even list a part number indicating its pressure angle and diametrical pitch. Measuring the center to center distance will then give you the size of the missing gear. Many sizes are still easily available at a reasonable cost when supplied with a minimum plain bore which you then modify yourself (or have a machinist do it for you). A local industrial supply house may be willing to lend you a set of gear guages with a deposit but it's usually best if you bring them the other gear.
SGensh - Friday, 01/05/07 19:08:15 EST

Your suggestion is a valad one, that is always first see if the machine designer did the reasonable thing and bought an off the shelf component. In this case however, as he noted that the machine was pre-1939, it may not be as valid. Many large companies in that time tended to be intergrated, and made most everything if possible. But at any rate I would always first look for a store bought gear.
Another possibility is to buy a storebought pair. You will still have to do the measure/math to figure what you need, but it will still be cheaped than a custom.
ptree - Friday, 01/05/07 20:55:37 EST

Standard Gears:
Sometimes this works, sometimes not. For plain spur gears I have found that gear manufacturers prices for custom gears are very similar and you get exactly what you want.

The problem with standard gears is that they seldom have the right bore or keyway. As soon as you add the cost of reboring the gear the gear to suit then your cost is greater than or equal to a custom gear. Other differences are face width (must match) and shoulder type/length.

I have a box full of gears to replace the back gears on an old drill press. They cost over $500 some 20 years ago. Each one will have to be rebored and two will have to have the sides machined out and filler plates fitted then the drive dog mechanism fited. It will be several days to a week's worth of work on top of the gear cost. It may be cheaper to scrap the stock gears and go to the OEM whom I did not know still existed and buy OEM parts. . .

As a machine designer I designed and built a number of gear boxes and transmissions. We tried using stock gears but as soon as we did any minor modification it was cheaper to have the local machine shop who made gears make them from scratch for us.

But the stock gear catalogs are the place to start. Even though many machines had nearly every part made in-house the standard forms that the stock gear folks make are based on what was "normal" practice. You still have to do all the measuring and calculations mentioned above. . .
- guru - Saturday, 01/06/07 10:14:12 EST

wax: yeah powder coat everything. who cares if your boss wants it to be historically acurate.
- coolhand - Sunday, 01/07/07 15:07:34 EST

Frank Turlely: Google booksearch found this: Spanish Ironwork in america. I thought you might like to see it.
spanish iron work
habu - Sunday, 01/07/07 17:56:35 EST

Turley: heavy fingers ;-)
habu - Sunday, 01/07/07 19:49:06 EST

Habu,: Midnight supply company?

Thanks for the picture and reference. I do have that old book but haven't looked at it for a while. The photo first shown when I clicked is a good one. Through more research, we have found that the jingles on the ring bit really do not ward off the evil eye, unless they are in the shape of a fist. In Spanish, one of these little charms is called an "higa", somehow related to the "hand of Fatima". The old horse trainers enjoyed the sound of the jingles, but it was also believed that the sound helped to set a horse in his gaits. Donald Minzenmeyer of Houston, Texas, is currently writing a book solely about ring bits. He has quite a large collection of them.

My co-author, Marc Simmons, and I could find no evidence of conquistadors using the large cruciform stirrups. We think they were a Mexican development, but done by highly skilled artisans who were perhaps originally from Spain. You'll note that the stirrup is upside down in the photo. The stirrup leather goes through the loop.

It is quite common in 20th century and current equine literature to find bits, spurs, and stirrups photographed upside down and at odd angles. "We're too far from the tree."

Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/07/07 19:53:00 EST

Cow Chips: I believe that Master Hofi recently posted that he has forged with animal waste and prefured sheep and camel dung to cow. please correct me if I am wrong. I have read that horse is of the lowest quality.....BOG
habu - Sunday, 01/07/07 21:34:59 EST

South Dakota: South Dakota now has one redeeming quality, and that is the Mechanical engineering and metallurgy/materials engineering degree program, all the way through PhDPHPdHadHadn'tAPBPLPVPOpUpODOhPaidPhone. I have almost completed an associate through the Community College of the Air Force and can not what to get started at the South Dakota School of mines and technologies. I sit her and check this site almost every day and hope to one day fully comprehend some of the technical topics that i find myself rereading and cross referencing on the net to even begin to understand what your talking about. I hop to one day join your ranks, then all i need are some jeans overalls and a beard.
- Machado - Sunday, 01/07/07 22:43:24 EST

?: I have no idea why it did that, its just suppose to be PhD.
- Machado - Sunday, 01/07/07 22:46:42 EST

Habu: I guess We need to consult someone who "Really Knows His S..."
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 01/07/07 22:56:04 EST

Odd Photo Angles:
I get this all the time. I have one client that I keep trying to explain that things must be photographed at "natural" viewing angles. . . I still get photos with the parts upside down and with extreme perspective. The problem is not that of not understanding the object, the problem is not knowing how to LOOK at something when photographing it OR how to communicate visually.

I've recently been working on and I was surprised at how many photographs I was sent of every side of a block and NONE a normal view. If a block is in good condition and is the same on both sides it only takes ONE photograph taken at the angle of an isometric drawing to show the whole thing. If the sides are different or there is a damaged corner and you want to show every surface all it takes is an opposite view. TWO photos to show all six surfaces in a natural view that lets you know exactly what the block looks like. . . But for some reason folks keep rolling them over and over, often taking duplicate photos while missing one surface or the other.

Once in a while you are in a situation where you can not get a proper view (such as in a museum or some public display). But when photographing something to sell or to publish in a book there is NEVER an excuse. Now. . once in a while the printer does not know what the item is or which way is up, down, right or left. . . But that is a different problem that is supposed to be addressed by the author or editor.

Just because an author can write does not mean they can communicate visually. In this case they should not be taking their own photos. But many do. . .
- guru - Monday, 01/08/07 10:02:58 EST

Photos.: I'm not a skilled photographer, but I can draw three views as in a mechanical drawing, and I can draw something in perspective. For our book, my co-author, Marc Simmons, and I had one heck of a time working with about 5 different photographers. Even the professional museum photographers wanted to take straight-on shots of the objects. We explained repeatedly that straight-on photos do not show depth, nor much chiaroscuro. Our book was done in pre-disc days, so we lightly marked each photo on the back with a pencil showing which side was the top. We also provided a caption, so that the printer had an idea of what was photographed.
Frank Turley - Monday, 01/08/07 11:53:41 EST

Correction: When mentioning the author of the ring bit book earlier, I misspelled his last name. It should be Minzenmayer.
Frank Turley - Monday, 01/08/07 12:09:39 EST

Coolhand; powder coating *IS* historically "accurate"---for some periods of history. History doesn't magically start at 100 years ago.

If you actually read this site you would find out that it is generally *not* suggested for forged work as chips and scratches can't be repaired in situ but the entire piece needs to be cleaned back down to the raw metal and the powder coating re-applied.

Now back a ways real wrought iron was used not mild steel, linseed oil based paints---a lot of ironwork was painted originally---as were stone statues, a very different cultural/artistic meme back then.

Back far enough and around 1120 AD a German monk mentions tinning iron work to prevent rust as well as making a black coating by burning feathers on it.

So "historically accurate" is meaningless unless the person asking has specified *WHEN* and *WHERE*.

Thomas P - Monday, 01/08/07 13:07:00 EST

The historically accurate finish for iron is rust. . until it turns to dust. That is why we have NO Roman era locks and only hints of many tools prior to 1000 AD. It really hurts our knowledge of technology in the first millennium as there is nothing left. We are missing 2500 years of knowledge of the iron age due to rust.

- guru - Monday, 01/08/07 19:09:02 EST

Studio photography is an art unto itself. And the day rates for the people who can do it reflect it. In photography as in the rest of life, you get what you pay for. Or, speaking as a longtime (30+ years in photojrnlsm) freeluncher, there is no free lunch.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/08/07 19:51:06 EST

I got married in the house I grew up in (and still live in). It can be tricky to find, as the Guru can probably confirm, so we included a map with the invitations, which my parents were good enough to mail out for us.

My mother had a map she'd drawn when some friends were coming to a party. They mostly lived to the north, so she drew it with South at the top. Not something I'd have done, but you have to admit it had a certain logic to it. There was a vertical arrow in the corner, with an "S" at the top.

My father, who's usually quite good with directions, decided at the last minute he couldn't bear to send out a map with south at the top. So he whited out the "S" atop the arrow and wrote in an "N"!
Mike B - Monday, 01/08/07 20:37:25 EST

Please be advised that the next scheduled meeting of the elected Board
of Directors of CSI will take place tomorrow night at 8:00PM. All CSI members are welcomed to participate.
- dale - Secretary - - Monday, 01/08/07 20:50:55 EST

Map: Mike,
If there're people that actually need the map, I promise you that some of them will be in trouble. They would have been in trouble in the first place, but even more so with "S" replaced by "N".
- JohnW - Tuesday, 01/09/07 10:01:20 EST

DIrections and up and down:
As I mentioned recently I had been playing with Google Earth. Once in a while when your used to the orientation of someplace from on the ground it is handy to change the axis. For some reason some places look right with South at the top. . . As in Mike's mother's map I sometimes find it easier to navigate with the road on the map oriented in the direction I am going as it helps keep left and right oriented naturally. I do this more in cities where I am likely to be frustrated and confused. . .

But photographing some things at an odd angle is really bad. One photo I was given was of an item that is wall maounted. The only way you would ever see the view provided would to have been fallen down drunk and done just that, fallen down. And that is the feeling the photo gave me.

An upside down story:

While inventorying a shop recently we go to an item that the shop owners had no clue what it was even though it had been setting prominently out in the floor in the way for a number of years. I looked at it second and announced it was a tire shrinker, EXACTLY the same as one mounted to a post of the building in the middle of the shop! The tool was setting upside down and was unrecognizable to those familiar with the other one that was mounted upright.

I have seen this before. Folks not being able to recognize an item simply because it was turned upside down.
- guru - Tuesday, 01/09/07 10:13:33 EST

Before the compass: In the Lakota sweat lodges, the direction west is considered the special referential one, not north. I'm sure that the Lakota were aware of the northern pole star, but that was not as important as the western direction. There is a "four direction song" sung in the sweat lodge, and it begins by singing about the west. The west was considered the home of the Thunders, therefore very powerful.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/09/07 11:30:22 EST

we can and do lament rust, but what a boon it (oxidation) is when using the hot saw. Makes a nice patina when you finish it right too.
- vorpal - Tuesday, 01/09/07 16:49:39 EST

JohnW -- That was 13 years ago. I'm still waiting for some of the guests to show up.

Actually, my wife's uncle caught it as soon as he got the map, and we were able to warn people in time.
Mike B - Tuesday, 01/09/07 19:49:58 EST

Scranton Hammer: Peter,

I had a Scranton 100 pounder that came off a ranch in central Arizona, and I used it for 20 years, the last 10 almost daily. I made a grass fence out of steel and the pickets were 1/2" round drawn out to a point. As I was doing one, I asked My wife to count the number of blows, and it was 245. That means that extended out, there were somewhere around a quarter million blows to finish that fence.

I was never one to believe in massive footings, and so I mounted it on top of 2 4' long pieces of railroad tie, with a 24" square piece of plate spanning them, to keep the anvil from sinking out of sight. The ground acted as a very good shock absorber, and it didn't shift in 10 years.The only trouble I ever had was a burned out motor.
- Loren T - Wednesday, 01/10/07 03:33:42 EST

Paint: The biggest portion of work I have done has been in a 1830 village that screamed bloody murder if a smith on the grounds would use such modern things as paint. On personal items I have wired brushed but have still had times that apparently I did not get all the coal gunk off cause I have had small areas peel after just a few months outside. I will give the sandblasting a go along with a trial towel bar using primer and rattle can. I also just found out she wants me to replace the door with a door made of rough sawn tulip poplar with a moon cut in it, so now I am completely rethinking what she is actually wanting in the way of hardware???
James Rader - Wednesday, 01/10/07 03:41:57 EST

For the Farriers in the crowd: Stallions
Two show stallions are arguing over who should take best of breed.
The first says, "I'll grant you are the closest I have ever seen to my equal, but my legs are just a bit straighter than yours, and, you know, the legs are of prime importance. No foot, no horse!"
The second horse says, "I'll allow your legs are just a bit better than mine, but mine are the legs I was born with. I know for a fact you had thousands of dollars of corrective work. Your foals will inherit your natural legs, not your genius farrier!"
The first horse mulls this for a moment, then says, "You're right. I stand corrected."
James Rader - Wednesday, 01/10/07 04:17:18 EST

Horse Story: the one Stallion, a Thoroughbred, says to one of the horses at the show, "I'm told you're a Quarter horse; just exactly what is a Quarter horse?"
The Quarter horse replies, "Why, it's a horse with two bits!"
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/10/07 10:14:22 EST

Dang James I never though of those 1000 year old painted church door hinges as "Modern"---perhaps you should have just shown them where their thinking was wrong by documenting the use of paint on iron for that time period. IIRC at Williamsburg they paint over the hinges on shutters as that was the common practice of the day.

It's a common thing that people's misconceptions get in the way of history---I know at least a half a dozen smiths doing historical stuff who have been told that "They didn't have nails back then" to which the stock answer is "What did the Romans use to Crucify people with?"

Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/10/07 11:58:31 EST

thanks for the info on the hammer...... do you have any sales/paperwork info on the hammer???
- pete - Wednesday, 01/10/07 12:58:55 EST

Map: Yes Mike, silly me. A statement like I got married in the house I grew up in, would tell most people that this happened in the past. Congratulations on your long marriage.
- JohnW - Wednesday, 01/10/07 13:03:13 EST

The Ancient Egyptians painted their faces and their buildings as well as metalwork. The Ancient Greeks painted their bronze sculptures, ships and armour and their paintings on wood and fabric were said to be the best in the Mediterranean.

These methods using vegatable oils were lost and had to be reinvented by the Europeans in the 1300's.

Whitewash has been used on buildings for millenia.

Lacquer was known to the Chinese as early as 4,000BC

"The first recorded paint mill in America was reportedly established in Boston in 1700 by Thomas Child." -

Flax and flaxseed oil (linseed) were common products of the Early American Colonial Era and used for paints.

No paint in 1830?
- guru - Wednesday, 01/10/07 14:27:42 EST

Anybody know how the great gates that Tijou (sp?) did were finished---besides the gilding of course...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/10/07 16:09:20 EST

The great Renaissance painters were pretty impressive, but I don't think even they could have painted without paint.
Mike B - Wednesday, 01/10/07 17:53:47 EST

You spelled it correctly. I'll let the anti-paint folks look it up. But here is a tease.

". . .to restore this most important ironwork both in form and decoration to its 18th-century splendour, for which traditional paint and gilding materials and methods have been used."

The article on the restoration has some telling and troubling statements such as the above. The panels were in such bad shape after 150 years that they were removed for preservation and restoration. Much of this was done poorly by people without the skills of the original smith so restoration is still on going. But the fact is they WERE painted.

What is the most troubling is that in "restoring" the work they are using the same paint that let the original rot in the first place. Properly painted with modern materials it would LOOK no different and could easily go 20 years ignored and possibly 50 without serious damage. . .

Resoration and preservation are not always mutually the same.
- guru - Wednesday, 01/10/07 18:25:16 EST

I have a book on Ironwork printed in the 1920's that has very nice pictures of some of Tijou's work---minus another 80 years of weathering of course.

One reason I haunt the fleamarkets on trips---find the books with pictures *before* the war (WWII, WWI, SAW, ACW, etc) where some items have been lost and others are reproductions of varrying accuracy.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/10/07 18:44:12 EST

The villages inacuracies was only one of many reasons I left. When challenged about the paint they would tell me that paint was available on the east coast but such remote locations as Indiana would seldom if ever have seen paint. Yet since my leaving they have whitewashed most of the interior walls of the cabins in the village? Where'd they get it from? Another reason to leave was the work done in the blacksmith shop was not allowed to be sold, however they had some "nice" chinese iron trinkets in the gift shop with lots of flat black paint on them? Most everything I did in the village stayed in the village. They didn't like me telling them we was using the wrong metal either... hot roll and cold roll was the stock at hand... where is the wrought? the answer was always silence.
James Rader - Thursday, 01/11/07 00:14:49 EST

Stallion Joke!: It took all day for that to sink in!

I'm going to hit the rack now; my brain is obviously fried since Monday. ;-)
Bruce Blackistone - Thursday, 01/11/07 00:38:46 EST

PAPERWORK: to anyone out there .... i'm looking for ANY paperwork on the scranton hammer..... i have pounding out the profits but very little is really covered.....looking for sales lit. or any thing related.... thanks ahead of time.........
- pete - Thursday, 01/11/07 09:12:42 EST

Hey Bruce: I lobster and I never flounder.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/11/07 10:16:33 EST

A couple years ago the curator of a homeplace museum of one of the early US Presidents in Virginia wanted me to make them a simple lintel bar for an 1820's brick fireplace they were restoring (recreating). The dimensions were very odd which is typical of much early wrought bar as there were few standards in those days.

I managed to find some hot roll in the right dimensions and quoted the job. The curator knew the job was going to be in mild steel and had agreed to that modern concession.

THEN the curator came back and insisted that the lintel bar be hammer textured all over. I politely told him that old lintle bars were made from rolled flat bar and only the ends were forged to a taper so that they would fit in the brick joints. I pointed out that I had a small collection of early Virgina lintel bars dating from the 1700's and 1800's and only the ends were forged, any other texture was rust.

The curator wanted to argue the point and I told him that if he wanted 1950's faux texture and since he was the ironwork expert he could make it himself. He said, Well! I will get my contacts at Colonial Williamsburg to make it then. . .

It was just a simple lintel bar but the fellow did not have a clue. Rolled wrought iron was available both in imported iron and locally made. If a smith did not need to forge a shape they did not AND it was considered bad craftsmanship to leave hammer marks showing.

One of my treasured old pieces is a fireplace crane and a lintel bar from the ruins of a 1700's early Virginia cook house. The lintel bar is five feet of 1-1/4" x 2 wrought iron bar with the chalcony end showing the bloom surface. The crane is 1-1/4" square with a four foot tapering jib that starts at 2-1/2" and tapers to about 1" with a slight hook at the end. It is tennoned into the vertical and there is a small riveted diagonal brace. Very simple, HEAVY and NO hammer marks to be seen.
- guru - Thursday, 01/11/07 10:19:51 EST

To paint: aye, that is the question: My perspective is the California Gold Rush, a recent event as some things go. Paint was a joy, when your options were local-sawn wood and iron. Since current tastes run toward natural wood, restoration or repair usually involves removing multiple layers of paint. When you go into some "old" place and see acres of wood, that is probably not right as a restoration, but is a product of modern times superimposed on the old days. Administrators of such historic places usually have their own agenda which often does not necessarly include authenticity (see, for example, Columbia, California, "The Gem of the Southern Mines", currently perverted by the CA State Park system as Columbialand Park: once again they (the State) is trying to take over the county streets so they can build a fence around town and charge admission) ("Oh no, we would never do that"--horse exhaust).

Not that I have my own agenda, no.
- David Hughes - Thursday, 01/11/07 13:33:21 EST

Colonial Slitting and Rolling: Saugus Ironworks back inthe 1600 had a small slitting and rolling mill; the latest technology transported to the wilds of early colonial New England!

NPS site:
Even better pictures!
Bruce Blackistone - Friday, 01/12/07 00:25:13 EST

Horse agenda: All this talk of horse horse shoes, Branding irons and such I had to laugh when the horse gets even....
- habu - Friday, 01/12/07 00:41:07 EST

Ouch: Habu,

A couple of lessons learned. One is the horse's reaction time and speed of response, which is probably 20 time or more faster than a human's. I speak from experience.

Another is to use proper restraints when doing such a procedure: stocks, ropes, squeeze chute, whatever.

GRIME BAR. Great name for a bar of soap, one of my Christmas presents [a broad hint?}. It is hard milled, has fine pumice grit in it, and is made by the All Terrain Company which specializes in using "natural ingredients" in their products. I'm not necessarily touting it or saying it's better that many of the other products and soaps that are on the market. Great name, though.
Frank Turley - Friday, 01/12/07 10:18:37 EST

CA Gold Rush Era - paint:
Although pre Civil War this was on the crux of the industrial revolution. Steam engines, hydraulic mining. . technology was exploding along with paint manufacturing. The tin can had been invented in 1810 and production machinery in 1846. I am not sure when the paint can was invented but I suspect it was in there somewhere.

Ever see a Civil War era steam locomotive? Lots of paint on all that metal (and wood). The Baldwins in the Sacramento RR museum are works of art. They were delivered (painted) via sailing ships and unloaded using wood and rope rigging. . .

Why do you NOT paint wooden ladders and wood crane beams?

Paint might hide cracks!
- guru - Friday, 01/12/07 14:27:17 EST

Habu, And now you know why I don't shoe horses, and really don't much like horses, except medium well with gravey, and spatzle noodles :)
- ptree - Friday, 01/12/07 20:52:12 EST

We have 5 copies of Machinery's Handbooks from Paw-Paw Wilson's collection. They all available for $25 each + $5 for priority mail shipping in the US and standard rate to Canada. There were others, his sons had first choice. All were bought in recent years from ebay and bookfinder for about what we are asking. See our comparative review linked below for details of editions. Note that most prices mentioned there are now 8 years old.

5th Edition, 10th printing (1919) Moderately rough condition, cover intact, spine split in middle but not separated. A few torn pages and the owners name, date and gift information written on the title page. This one would be worth much more in slightly better condition and I think Paw-Paw paid too much for it.

10th, 13th and 15th Editions, Good condition. slight wear on covers.

11th Edition, well used with old tape on cover edges.

Drop me an e-mail to reserve a copy, first come first serve. Give me a first and second choice unless you are dead set on a specific edition.
Machinery's Comparitive Review
- guru - Friday, 01/12/07 21:47:00 EST

paw paws handbooks: Guru, If you got one left, I will take it. Not particular on the year, the older the better I guess, since if I am starting to collect em I only have 26th edition now!
- Mark Singleton - Friday, 01/12/07 23:25:36 EST

The 10th edition is somewhat of a landmark edition and this one is in good usable condition. The 5th is basically the same as a 1st edition and mostly only suitable for occasional comparisons and setting on the shelf. Drop me a line and we will close the deal.
- guru - Saturday, 01/13/07 00:31:22 EST

Machinery's Handbook: I have a 5th and 11th edition Machinery's Handbook that I bought on Ebay over the years. I have seen a 1st edition for sale at Quad State tailgate sales seems like. Have never seen 2nd, 3rd or 4th editions. Are there any such editions?
- Doug - Saturday, 01/13/07 10:17:59 EST

Machineries Manual: I have a priceless to me 13th edition, 1946. Bought for $1.00 at a yard sale. The spine is bound with duct tape, but the pages are perfect. The inscription in the front, is from a deceased father to me, in 1982.
I have found the machineries to be the single most used reference in my total career at both work and blacksmithing.
ptree - Saturday, 01/13/07 11:36:19 EST

line shafting: just wondering..... anybody out there interested in a intact line shafting system? little to no rust......
- pete - Saturday, 01/13/07 11:43:23 EST

EDITIONS: See our review linked in the offer above. There is information about the early editions at the bottom of the review.

I have a 3rd Edition that I paid a fairly high price for. This was not as a collector's item but to help fill in the comparative review. Some of that information is stuff that Industrial Press does not even have. In fact, I helped them buy a first edition last year so they would have one to reproduce.

The first through fourth "editions" of Machinery's Handbook are all actually printings, not editions. They were all printed in the same year from the same plates with the exception of updating the title page to note the "edition". This was a mistake and a surprise at how popular the reference instantly became. With the 5th "edition" which was actually still the same as the first they stopped this practice and just noted the printings. The 6th edition which came out in 1924 was the first actual new "edition".

First through 5th editions sold from 1914 until 1923. Then the 6th Edition, which was the first update (an actual second edition) sold from 1924 to about 1928. Since then there has been a new edition every 4 years. Each new edition has included changes in technology and compressed the previous information to make room. The editors have removed old information very reluctantly in recent years as standards and technology have had explosive growth.

I put together a collection of Machinery's Handbooks to support our collective review. It has quite a few holes in it and a few were traded off after I did the initial review and before I started filling in gaps for the review. Otherwise I am not sure why folks would want a full collection.
- guru - Saturday, 01/13/07 13:30:18 EST

Machinery's Handbook: The two books I have are both signed by their original owners. The 5th edition, 1919, eighth printing, is signed Carl L. Amway. It was in a box of junk, er, stuff that I bought at an auction for a dollar. My 11th edition, 1942, second printing is signed A. Gordon Lumm and has his architects stamp from the state of Washington on the inside of the front cover. This one I bought some years ago on Ebay. I put this information out because it is possible that someone reading these posts may see these names and know who these gentlemen are or were or know of their families. You never know.
- Doug - Saturday, 01/13/07 16:20:01 EST

American invaders: Guru, you may find this of intrest, it is a booklet written in 1901 by an Englishman about the distruction of UK industry by American manufacture of cheap goods by superior equiment and work habits. It is an eye opener for today and our relationship with the far east
American invaders 1901
habu - Saturday, 01/13/07 21:27:00 EST

Help needed: I got overcome the other day with anvil lust (it happens, even to the best of folks), and bought an anvil I've been wanting for years. Unfortunately, it's about twent miles west of Dallas TX, and I'm nowhere near there. Not even close. In fact, I'm in the Virgin Islands, so you can imagine how this is a bit of a problem.

I need someone in the Dallas area who might be willing to pick up that anvil and take it to a freight company for me, so it can be shipped. It will need to be strapped to a pallet and dropped at he shipping depot, the shippers will take it from there and bill me at this end. Naturally, I'll pay any costs incurred, plus something for the help.

Is there anyone out there who might be able to help me with this? I can be reached by clicking on my name and sending an email if you might be able to help me out with this.

vicopper - Saturday, 01/13/07 21:37:54 EST

Vic: My bride and I would be happy to hand deliver it to you for the cost of the plane ticket, one way would be fine, the way snow has been in boulder this year. BOG
habu - Saturday, 01/13/07 22:47:42 EST

Books: I have "American Machinists' Handbook" 2nd and 3rd editions as well as "Machinery's" The former is a smaller book, 2nd edition was My granddad's, He got it in 1919 when starting the trade. 3rd edition and an 11th of Machineries came from a local guy's set of tools I bought from His widow. 21st of Machineries was what they gave us on completion of the tool&die apprenticeship. These early American Machinists' Handbooks are small, but still full of good information.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 01/13/07 23:24:48 EST

Pete - line shafting: Where is it located?
- btappel - Sunday, 01/14/07 01:03:24 EST

Mrs. Coalforge passes: Karen Lewis, wife of Wayne (Coalforge) Lewis passed away in her sleep Saturday morning, after a long fight with cancer. They had been married 37 years this past July, and have 2 kids and 7 grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time. Additional information will be posted on the prayer list as it becomes available.
- IForgeIron - Sunday, 01/14/07 01:34:30 EST

btappel: anyone interested in the lineshafting please email me for details.....
pete - Sunday, 01/14/07 08:44:28 EST

Line Shaft: The few that I've seen were mounted high up along a wall. As a matter of possible interest, I salvaged one homemade line shaft of 1"D x 16' machinery steel. It had one cast driving pulley and three homemade wooden pulleys of sandwiched wood and held together with glue and carriage bolts. The hangers were of wood also. Old fashioned grease cups were screwed right into the wood. A couple of the pulleys were duck covered.

This line shaft came from a 1906 homestead in eastern New Mexico near the Texas border. Its method of manufacture sounds primitive in some respects, but these old homesteaders were ingenious and used anything at hand. I saw this one when it was hooked up, and a 25 pound LG hammer and a grinder were attached to it as the time. Everything worked.

For the "fancier" line shafts, cast iron hangers used to be sold, some of them with babbited bearings built in.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/14/07 14:44:51 EST

line shafts: At one time, the valve shop I worked in had perhaps 2000' of line shafting in use. In the original machine shop in the "New" plant(1905), all the lineshafting was in place. Gorgous cast hangers with much style. Drip oilers and nicely made pans to catch the oil after it worked out of the bearings. Flat pulleys to 4' diameter. It ran off a DC motor. It seems the Tomas Edison had been a telegrapher in Louisville, and lived a few doors from the founder. Mr. Vogt apparently kept in touch and used a Edison built generator in the old shop and moved it to the new one. The generator ran off steam. There was still a dual grid over the 40 acre facility as DC was used for bridge cranes, and later the new fangled AC was put in and that was made from waste steam returned from the drop forge hammers. They ran that mixed steam turbine into the 70's. They kept the recip steam driven air compressor in use daily till the drop forge hammers went into retirement about 1994.
ptree - Sunday, 01/14/07 17:44:45 EST

Little correction: Talking about the line shaft above, I meant to say "driven pulley", not driving.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/14/07 20:26:11 EST

Horse story : Quarter horse is a thoroughbred that coulden go the distance
- Bill E - Sunday, 01/14/07 23:13:00 EST

line shafts: Ptree, I have several of those cast hangers with the cast drip pans under each babbitt bearing. I think the ones that I have came out of a shoe factory.
Frank, I have seen some laminated wooden pulleys that I believe were factory made. They were split in the middle and bolted together. I guess these could be inserted anywhere in an existing shaft without tearing anything down.
btappel - Sunday, 01/14/07 23:47:58 EST

A book from Google books on line shafts and belting.
Line shaft and power belting book
habu - Monday, 01/15/07 00:51:49 EST

Rust: I've started working for a blacksmith with somewhat limited and self taught experience from what I can gather. We've been talking about this job he has for some pretty wealthy clients that want there railings pre-rusted. Now, from what I understand, rust is not something you want on mild steel that will be subjected to the exterior, but he seems to think that soaking the railings in muriatic acid, letting them sit out for a while, nuetralizing the acid and clear coating it is pretty normal. I work with copper, so I'm not really sure, but it seems a little sketchy to me. Won't the rust eat through the clear coat eventually and just continue to wear away at the metal, if the clearcoat doesn't wear away first? Also, he is convinced that you can by muriatic acid powder, but how the heck do you created a powder from a dissolved gas?
Jonathan - Monday, 01/15/07 04:27:48 EST

Rust: Jonathan,

The traditional finish for many old fireaarms was called "browning", which was nothing more than a controlled rusting process followed by oiling. The rust is allowed to happen in a thin layer, then steel wooled mostly off and re-rusted. This is repeated until a nice uniform patina of iron oxide (rust) is achieved, andit is used as a very fine, slightly porous surface to hold oil. The same thing can be done and clear coated instead of oiled.

Muriatic acid (~30%HCl+H2O) is NOT the best oxidant to use by any means. For one thing, acids are really reducing agents, not oxidizing agents. What the muriatic will do is remove the firescale, which is another type of iron oxide. You'll note that good tight millscale will delay rusting much better than bare steel, rigfht? That's because it is a more stable iron oxide, namely hematite (Fe3O4). If some sccale is left on the piece before browning, it will eventually pop off, leaving a bare spot beneath it, and taking off the clear coat as well. So, a soak in muriatic, (followed by rigorous wire brushing and neutralizing) to remove all scale IS appropriate.

Beadblasting, grit- or sandblasting to remove scale would be even better. Then you rust the piece with either nature (tincture of time) or accelerators such as 30 volume hydrogen peroxide (hair bleach), or sodium hypoclorite (Clorox). Again, multiple treatments followed by steel wooling will achieve the smoothest, most ultimately durable finish. No matter how you get the piece rusted, it must be thoroughly rinsed and the piece totally dry before the application of any coating.

For a durable cleaer coating, check into automotive acrylic lacquer or polyisocyanurate-catalyzed urethane coatings. Note, however:

NO CLEAR COATING IS AS DURABLE AS A PIGMENTED PAINT. You can just as easily sandblast the piece, give it a coat of 90% zinc primer, then a coat of red oxide primer and finally, a couple of coats of pigmented paint the color of rust, and have a MUCH more durable finish that should last for ten years outside. NO clear coat can do that, period. If you want the mottled patina of aged iron, then you use some artistry with sponges, cloth balls, and rubbing felts along with highlight colors and shade colors to achieve ANY look you want.

Powdered muriatic acid? I'd have to agree that it just ain't so. Oh, there are some powdered acids, oxalic comes to mind right off, but chlorine is so tough to get dry. (grin)

Your octopus is a masterpiece! Absolutely beautifully captured. So well, in fact, that I have to assume you are a diver as well as an artist.
vicopper - Monday, 01/15/07 08:25:32 EST

Gotta agree with vicopper- clear coats have an extremely limited lifespan outdoors- depends a lot on local climate- in the SF Bay area, for example, figure 1 to 2 years- this is based on actual clearcoated chairs of mine, which I TOLD THE CUSTOMER NOT TO LEAVE OUTSIDE- which he sent back to me complaining about the crummy finish.
In more moderate climates, far from the ocean, with minimal rain, and no freezing, maybe 5 to 7 years max.
I have found that acid, once put on steel, will keep rusting, no matter how well you think you neutralized it.

Rich people often want stuff they have seen in magazines, and refuse to believe that they cant have what they want, regardless of laws of nature. Then, to make things worse, they try to get it for a lower price, telling you what great "exposure" you will get.
Well, exposure causes rust.

I have, as the late great Lowell George said, "done my time in THAT rodeo"- and I dont miss it.

Paint it, like Rich says, or dont offer any kind of warranty on finish.
- Ries - Monday, 01/15/07 12:33:56 EST

Rust: Thanks. The guy I am working for is really nice, but really hasn't been doing this for very long. His education was related to more art than science, which is the oposite for me. I want to tell him he's nuts though for some of the ideas he has, but I just started the job, and he does know a lot more about working steel than I do. But finish is something that I have done a lot of research on for my copper.

Thanks for looking at my octopus vicopper, I am a diver. That is finished with a marine urethane called Awl Grip, which is supposedly pretty tough stuff, UV inhibitors etc. The guy at the boatworks told me 5-10 years, but it is really nasty stuff to work with.
Jonathan - Monday, 01/15/07 12:49:38 EST

Jonathan - propverb: " There is little future in being right when the boss is wrong" Don't piss the guy off, at least not untill You have learned all You can from Him.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 01/15/07 14:16:33 EST

Awl grip: Nasty to work with doesn't even begin to describe that stuff. It is tough, especially below the waterline. But it is just as tough to get off your skin, I've found. (grin) I really don't know how it holds up on bare metal.
vicopper - Monday, 01/15/07 19:41:34 EST

Please be advised that the next scheduled meeting of the elected Board
of Directors of CSI will take place tomorrow night at 8:00PM. All CSI members are welcomed to participate.
- dale - secretary - CSI - Monday, 01/15/07 21:00:40 EST

Awl Grip: I didn't have any trouble getting it off my skin because I was fully covered. I was told that the stuff can actually seep through your skin and that it kills massive amounts of brains cells, so I suited up fully. Even so, I still had headaches and stomachaches the next day.

But it is really hard stuff. I have moved that octopus many times, and if I had used the acylic that I used previously, I would have scratched the living s**t out of it a few times. So far though, I don't have a single scratch in it. And it hasn't lost any color at all, nor has it turned yellow, despite being in the sun a quite a bit over the last 2 years.

Update on new boss: Apparently, said wealthy clients are of the "I know what I want" persuasion, and he is too nice of a guy to try to convince them that they are nuts for wanting it that way. Apparently he got the job from a contractor, so he feels it's not his problem when it turns to crap in a year.

Jonathan - Monday, 01/15/07 22:46:47 EST

Jonathan - Awlgrip: Awlgrip, Amerflint,Imron, and a handfull of other tradenames are linear pollyurethanes, or LPU's. There are special respirator cartriges that You should be using when You apply this stuff. It is really toxic.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 01/15/07 23:02:59 EST

Dave Boyer: Yeah, I had 'em. Guy that helped me decide on the stuff gave me the run down on it. I did the best I could, but I should have had a full face mask like the guys in the boatyard use, but I was pretty broke at the time an in a hurry.

Thanks for all the help from everyone.
Jonathan - Tuesday, 01/16/07 04:58:31 EST

Weather: vicopper, just curious, how "cold" is it at your place today? It's about 13 degrees here right now in mid Michigan and I need a warm place to think about.
- Doug - Tuesday, 01/16/07 17:15:06 EST

weather: vicopper: put up another hammock under the palm tree next to the one for Doug. -21F last night, high today was 8, and they are saying -30F tonight. The Mrs. would love to be looking at palm trees right now.
- Owen w - Tuesday, 01/16/07 20:37:33 EST

Weather: It's about our usual winter weather. HIghs in the 80's, lows in the 70's. Suits me!

In a month, I'm going to be in Philly and New Hampshire, so I'll get all the cold I need for a whole year. Or two.
St. Croix weather
vicopper, Chairman - Tuesday, 01/16/07 20:54:19 EST

Weather: vicopper, thanks. I needed that. Owen, it was zero this morning at 6 am and it is up to 8 degrees now. Sounds like a heat wave compared to your temps. Sure do hope the forge will keep me warm today.
- Doug - Wednesday, 01/17/07 09:01:22 EST

Hitting the Art Room: Off to MarsCon for the weekend; hoping to cover expenses and guild dues. At any rate I get to hang out with friends and family in the Williamsburg area, so I'll enjoy myself whether I have decent sales or not. :-)
MarsCon, a laid-back gaming and sci fi con
Bruce Blackistone - Friday, 01/19/07 00:58:54 EST

best of luck to ya bruce hope your rolling all 20's .... yes yes i was a AD&D geek in high school ....have fun but watchout for the stromtroopers
- pete - Friday, 01/19/07 08:08:58 EST

Postvice: Looking for a used post vice.
Dan McCombie - Friday, 01/19/07 09:07:17 EST

Postvice: Where you at, Dan? I saw a decent post vice laying around in one of the Louisville antique stores a few months ago.
JohnW - Friday, 01/19/07 09:21:24 EST

IRON TOOLS: On 01 08 o7 Jock wrote that we have no iron TOOLS from 1000 year before,which is not complitly corect. We have in israel in our museums lots of iron stuff from:
hofi - Friday, 01/19/07 15:46:55 EST

Iron Tools: What is thought to be the oldest piece of wrought iron in existence is a sickle blade found under the base of a sphinx near Karnac, Thebes, Egypt. Perhaps may be added a blade, probably five thousand years old, found in one of the pyramids.-----------From The Pure Iron Era magazine june 1923
- DW - Friday, 01/19/07 18:04:41 EST

Mexico Iron: Hi ho gang...just back from Cuernavaca Mexico. 83 daytime & 65 nighttime temps all week. Had to visit a supplier down there that needed "encouragement" to improve his quality on parts he sells to us.

Got to visit Cortes's palace & the big old cathedral. A lot of the iron work seemed to be replacement stuff of average to low quality, but the hardware on the large woodendoors seemed original & with lots of effort showing. The streets thru the city are where the original cow paths were & they curve & weave around with little to no organization.
- Mike Sa - Saturday, 01/20/07 00:19:41 EST

Forklift tines: I am the proud new owner of two forklift tines, they are both in pretty good condition no cracks, breaks, or chips (someone overloaded the tow motor and bent them enough to require replacement)

I know there has been some folks looking for something to use as a makeshift anvil, if you are interested and live near Terre Haute, Indiana send me an email and we can discuss it. Please mark the subject with Forklift tine.

James Rader - Saturday, 01/20/07 04:37:43 EST

forklift parts: James, I don't need them (i've got a set on a crown lift that I'm converting into an elevator), but I don't live that far from you (about 2 hours, in southern IL). Do you belong to the group that works the shop at the park south of Terre Haute? I happened uppon it during the festival this fall. pretty nice place. Are they getting the new(er) building finished yet?
- Mike Sa - Saturday, 01/20/07 22:44:49 EST

Hardware: Here is my site with lots of different door hardware. Because of my customers hardware has turned out to be what I do most. I saw someone was asking about it earlier. Couldn't find it again so hope he reads this. Has some different types of hardware that are kind of unique.
Stretch - Sunday, 01/21/07 18:54:12 EST

Stretch-- you've been practicing! Beeyootiful work!
Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/22/07 20:16:14 EST

Thanks Miles
I just started yesterday. Ha Ha!!!!!
Thank you very much
Stretch - Monday, 01/22/07 21:42:40 EST

Mike Sa
I used to participate at the village, however I left as we were being over run by young folk who only had one thought and that was making knives and swords, neither really could be well made nor tought in the old building and unfortunately when Kenny, the far more experienced smith would try and teach them or have me work with them on basic principles of moving and controlling the metal and heat most of the young folk became upset because it did not yield a knife in a day. It was increasingly getting dangerous trying to appease the volunteers to let their friends and relitives pursue their lust for sharp objects in such a small confined space especially with a constant flow of visitors coming in and out too. Kenny was an employee of the park and did not feel he could stop the problems without repercussions so it was stay and get upset or leave and smith in peace.

I don't see how their new building really fits with the intention of the rest of the village and the time period being displayed, but I will say that it will be one of the nicest places near by to teach the art of blacksmithing on several different levels and styles I have ever seen in a public setting. My understanding is they are planning to have several forge styles from coal to modern gas. I really wish they planned to keep the old shop as a smithy shop too as it comes much closer to representing a blacksmith shop from the 1830-40s than does the new one will and honestly I helped build the current forge with Kenny that is currently in use so it has some memory value of working with Kenny who taught me a great deal, but last I heard it will be returned to a small barn. I was over to the park with the family mid December and at that point it looked like the building was at a standstill and I did not see much of anything that had been done since the festival so I don't know what kind of completion time they have for the project. I will be interested in seeing the the finished product and how it will be used for sure.

James Rader
- James Rader - Tuesday, 01/23/07 18:19:12 EST

village smithy: James, you are right in that the current smithy appears very correct for the current village atmosphere. It would be a shame to see it changed.

I was told the new building was hampered by restrictions as to who can work on it. No volunteers allowed, only park empoyees, who have other things to do.

It's too bad about the dissent umong the troops. Our smithy at the historical village in Mt. Vernon IL is not period correct, but our village isn't as "old" of a setting as yours. We have 4 forges, a host of tools, & a concrete floor to make about anything. Our equipment & setting is more "1900" than "pioneer".
- Mike Sa - Tuesday, 01/23/07 23:31:52 EST

Frank Turley; Darts?: Frank: I'm posting the below from the Armour Archive bulletin board. I think it refers to small vaned javelins, but so far none of my sources have panned out. Does it ring any bells with you? You had a nice list of arms and armor from the O~nate expedition, so maybe you've come across a mantion of them elsewhere.

"From a Spanish shipping manifest, dated 1560...

'Item- 18 dozen worked darts with their large blades he had purchased from the aforesaid as 16 reales per dozen, which amounted to 9,792 maravedis'

Darts with large blades?
In the manifest they mention buying javelins in larger quantities (and, by MY reasoning, you'd buy FAR more bolts than javelins, right?), so I'm pretty sure they're not talking about crossbow bolts....

Anyone got any ideas about what these things look like?

Thanks, " (From Vermin)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 01/23/07 23:37:15 EST

Demo and Teaching Shops: Historic venues are generally poor demonstrating venues and poor teaching situations except perhaps one on one. A great many of the demonstrating sites I have seen were just plain dangerous and difficult for both the demonstrator and the audience. I've consulted on a couple but there was rarely sufficient space to do demos safely.

A proper public demo area is not a good shop.

If kids are being taught there should be a clear list of goals and exercises. If the student has signed up for a specific course of instruction and doesn't want to go along the snd them home. . Got a real brat? Hand them a short piece of 1" square and a 3 pond hammer. . .

Even though most kids start out with the idea that they are going to forge a Connan the Barbarian sword as their first project I have never had one that was truly interested that wasn't satisfied with drawing a point, making a twist and a simple scroll. When they find out how hard it is they back off on their "dream project" for the time being.

I had a rather dull looking guy come into a shop I was working in several mornings in a row and ask "show me how to make a knife, show me how to make a knife". . and when there was not an immediate reply he wandered off. Then one day he came in and was being a bit of a pest until about quarter till twelve he asked again, Show me how to make a knife. So I said alright, just let me get a heat on this piece of steel. . . I heated a piece of 1/2" round for about an 8" heat and took it to the Nazel 1B, pointed it, flattened a bit, put a wave in it at the anvil, went back to Nazel flattened and tapered a bit more using a tapered fuller then quickly put it back in the fire. With the second heat I adjusted the curves and shaped the inside edges on the horn of the anvil. From there I clamped the hot work in vise, slid the angle grinder down the faces, flipped the work over and did the same on the other side. This was just a light fast grind that didn't touch but about 50% of the surface. Total time, about 10 minutes. I was on a ROLL.

Voila! There is your knife! (a kris) And I laid it on the bench in front of the fellow. He didn't make a comment, say "wow" or ask what next. . He just walked away. Apparently he REALLY didn't want to know. . .

The point? A lot of people think its magic and don't really want to know. The fact is, IT IS a kind of magic, but not one everyone is truly interested in. Those that ARE are a joy to teach.

- guru - Wednesday, 01/24/07 00:49:29 EST

A cruel way to teach: If a bratty kid wants to make a sword give Him a 9" long chunk of 1" square tool steel and a 3# hammer and let'em try. Shame to waste the tool steel however. But if He has the fortitude to draw it out, teach Him how to finish it. Thanks for the idea Jock.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 01/24/07 03:14:28 EST

Life is a cruel teacher: I didn't say a piece of tool steel. . .

If they are serious they will keep working until you feel sorry for them OR they politely ask if there is a better way. By then THEY may have some humility. Start over.

IF they are not serious they will quit after the first heat or while the steel is still hot from the first heat OR even before it is hot. . . Those not serious are a waste of time so you have filtered them quickly.

Some folks (kids and adults) just don't have it in them to be a smith. They must WANT it, be stubborn enough butt heads with solid steel, have the patience to wait for a heat AND be willing to learn from your mistakes. This is a rare combination of traits. Lack any one and you are not going to make it.

My last apprentice would make a mistake or have some difficulty getting the results he wanted and would throw the piece across the shop and quit for the day. . . He was not willing to learn from his mistakes and not stubborn enough (about blacksmithing) to keep trying. The first time I observed this I should have suggested he look for a different position.

I've seen 8 year old kids that had the DRIVE to be a blacksmith. Give them a hammer and a piece of steel and they would work on it until it was something. It was a shame they couldn't quit their normal life and go somewhere to follow that dream. When my kids were a little older (maybe 10) they got very interested in the craft and spent a summer mangling pieces of steel and arguing about who should pump the bellows. But it was not their destiny. It was a summer lark. If they HAD shown serious interest then I would have done everything I could to let them follow that dream.

Probably the best folks to teach are those that spend THEIR hard earned money on the lessons or have already started collecting tools and have enough experience to know that it is not an easy "magic".

LOTS of folks have dreams that they are not willing or do not have the characteristics to fulfill. THAT is the cruelity of life.
- guru - Wednesday, 01/24/07 10:10:35 EST

I have a chunk of jackhammer bit that is now on it's 4th time being "made into a knife" by obnoxious wannabe's.

It's almost drawn down enough to start the actual blade forging Funny how the first 3 gave up after less than an hour of work...My current guestimate is that only 1 blade out of ten that I help a new person forge gets finished---and I will not start another blade with them until the first one is *done*!

One of the problems is with TV and Games where even complex projects take just a few minutes from beginning to end. I was consulted once by a fellow who wanted to add in "realism" to a computer game. He wanted to know the steps to start with ore and end up with a sword and oh by the way it should only take 6 hours and people did not need the years of experience learning how to mine, refine, forge and finish a blade---each step being an entirely *different* career in the "old days"...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/24/07 12:18:33 EST

Time and skills:
We have it really easy compared to doing it from the start. .

Iron ore is JUST rock isn't it? Everyone's backyard is full of it. . . Clay is JUST clay, isn't it? I mean just ANY old clay can be made into refractory bricks or crucibles can't it?

That is the point of view of the uneducated. They forget (or never paid attention) to those geography lessons whee you had to know what natural resources were found where. . . or that many are only found in decent quantities only in ONE place in the world. OR that many cities are founded on the fact that a combination of natural resources were located in close proximity. Forget that just identifying the fact that the local limestone was a good grade for flux and the local iron ore buried deep in the ground was rich enough in iron to be worth mining takes a great deal of knowledge AND hard work.

Today we have maps that show mineral deposits but where did THEY come from?

The development of technology is a complete mystery to most people. The fact is our modern world is based on the hard work and discoveries of thousands of brilliant individuals over the course of about 10 to 15,000 years (since the last ice age). Everything as basic as what is edible to the shape of the Earth took thousands of years to discover and we still do not know what we should eat after a couple million years. . .

Even the primitive smith working naked in front of a wine skin blown charcoal fire forging native metal is using technology that took 10,000 years to develop.
- guru - Wednesday, 01/24/07 14:11:23 EST

Refractories are *difficult* and often many years are spent in trial and error (and bankruptcies) getting something that will work for a new high temp process. look at all the trouble they had in the 1700's with the crucible steel process in England till they got a refractory that worked!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/24/07 17:17:10 EST

I have no ill fealings with the village folk. I understand why they was pushing, they wanted their grand-kids and such to share an interest with them and that is cool. The method they tried to use to build that intrest just was wrong. The good news is since Kenny passed away and I left a few very good smiths have come along and do some amazing work. One in particular stands out and his work stands second only to his heart. I miss the weekends and the fellowship with all the oddly dressed people but I have a lot of fun beating on things by myself too plus I accomplish a lot more and burn a lot less metal when I am not trying to entertain the visitors.

I have a nephew who is on the knife kick, up to now I have told him that before he would forge a knife, he would have to complete some basic projects first, now I think I might just let him try that knife after all, I have a 3/4 inch square bar of tool steel about 4 1/2 inches long that just might fit the need... Thanks for the idea.

- James Rader - Thursday, 01/25/07 01:05:17 EST

nazel power hammer: Does any one have any info, detailed drawings or pictures of the nazel 2b power hammer, I am interested in building a working scaled down model, Its a machinist thing, I hope you blacksmiths will understand. any info will help. thanks Johnny Nailz
Johnny Nail - Friday, 01/26/07 17:35:46 EST

Johnny, see my post in the guru's den.
- guru - Friday, 01/26/07 18:23:18 EST

crazy project: allright, i got one of my crazy project ideas today and i was wondering if you guys had any suggestions of how to go about it. the project is to make a solid steel lightsaber, like one of those extending plastic lightsabers you can find in a store only made out of steel. i figure its a crazy enough project for me to at least think about :P.

anyway, how would one of you guys make the tubing required for the "beam" of the lightsaber? i thought about casting the metal in molds but some nagging thought in the back of my mind makes me question if thats the best path...

also, if it winds up that replicating the pieces that makes the lighsaber by casting it is the best choice could anyone tip me in on some good books on the matter of casting metal? not to mention give me the most inportant safety tips in such a process... ive never cast anything in a mold before so i want to aproch this carefully...
- Isaac - Saturday, 01/27/07 15:06:37 EST

Issac: If I recall the ones some kids had when Star Wars was new, the light shines through the translucent "blade" Light doesn't shine through steel. When You need steel tube, You BUY steel tube. Casting steel at home is not a project for amatures, and if one WAS cast it would be so heavy it wouldn't be fun to play with.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 01/27/07 23:41:18 EST

star wars lightsabre: Issac: If we are thinking of the same thing, the "blade" of the toy was made in about 4 sections, each of which was a somewhat truncated(?) cone. When collapsed the sections all set inside each other and then when you swung the lightsabre the sections expanded and wedged against each other, creating a single tapered tube.

So what you would need to do would be to create several sheet metal cones (NOT cast) where the sides all had the same angle. Here's some imaginary numbers for an example. Lets say the first cone has a base opening of 2 inches and tapers up to a 1.5 inch top opening. The second cone that sits inside the first would have a base opening of maybe 1.6 inches or so and taper up to a 1 inch top opening. The third cone (which sits inside of the previous two) would have a base opening of 1.1 inches and taper up to a .5 inch top opening. The final section (which sits inside the three before it) would have a bottom opening of .6 inches and taper up to a .25 inch tip, keeping it a little dull on the point to be safe;) By having the bottom of the next cone slightly greater in diameter than the top opening of the one before it, the cones should wedge together. Personally, to me it sounds like lots of math, maybe some specialty sheet metal tools and patience. I think it is completely do-able though, and might prove to be pretty clever when down right.
-Aaron @ the SCF
sandycreekforge - Sunday, 01/28/07 00:39:34 EST

Issac: If You want to make the cones as Aaron describes You can cut a tapered section out of a thin steel tube and weld it back together. Getting it round again will take a series of solid mandrills for inside the tube and carefull hammer work.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 01/28/07 03:35:19 EST

Light Saber:
Besides traveling faster than the speed of light (which is the only thing that makes space travel sci-fi possible) the light saber saw a very questionable piece of sci-fi technology. Even the late greeat Isaac Asimov gave into FTL travel but everything else he did (including his robots) was possible given the advanced technology.

Just HOW do you stop or control the length of a beam of light? There is no known hint of any kind of physics that can do this. Once light is created it moves until it is absorbed by something else OR reflected.

Making a physical representation of something that is impossible in physics in the first place is real trick. . .

The closest thing is a good florescent light bulb. You can light one of these from one end with a small high voltage (or static) charge. They are wonderfully light weight and make great play sword fighting objects until you strike something and they explode into a million pieces and you get covered with the broken glass and florescent powder that they coat the inside with.

How do I know this. . . ? Well, when I was young we lived near a gasoline service station that had a million florescent lights that they replaced fairly often OR at least batches fairly often. In any case we could often find a pile of bulbs in their trash. We charged the ones that still had some life in them with my Van deGraf generator (a science project) and had "light saber" battles decades before StarWars. . . They always ended in a great smashing of the bulbs at the end. . .

DO NOT try this at home!

I have no idea how I survived childhood.
- guru - Sunday, 01/28/07 12:45:22 EST

Isaac's "Light Sabre": It sounds like you are trying to make a two handed version of the collapsible baton some police carry.

These are made with nesting steel tubes with the ends rolled in (On the outer ends of the tubes) and out (on the inner ends) to limit the travel.

I expect a pick handle would be a more effective weapon.
- John Lowther - Sunday, 01/28/07 13:07:59 EST

Flourescent lamps: That white powder in the lamps also contains a drop of mercury. Mercury is the reason the Flourescent lamps are now regulated, as "Universal Waste" as far as industry and so forth is concerned. The best new lamps have almost no mercury and the Phillips brand have a Green end cap to show their environmental greenness. With better understanding of the persistant nature of mercury in the environment, and its effects, most people try to avoid breaking flourescent lamps and recycle them.
ptree - Sunday, 01/28/07 14:30:54 EST

And I used to play with drops of mercury in my bare hand as a child! How did I survive childhood as well?
ptree - Sunday, 01/28/07 14:31:58 EST

Light saber: I think you may still be able to find those plastic toys. Maybe you could get one of those and use the plastic as a pattern to cut the sheet metal.
- Marc - Sunday, 01/28/07 15:48:20 EST

Hi, I am looking for unique metal work to buy wholesale for my gallery. I've been in business for 14 years but am constantly looking for new and exciting work to dazzle my customers. Unfortunately, thus far we only sell Canadian made products. If you have something you think might fit, please email me with photos, description, and prices. Thanks, Lisa, Ah! Some Art
- Lisa Walton - Sunday, 01/28/07 19:43:44 EST

ichthus: Can any of you involved in ornamental work give me a rule of thumb for the proportions of an ichthus
- rentaratchet - Sunday, 01/28/07 21:41:38 EST

Lisa?: You can put your email address in the box next to your name without fear of spam harvesters. This site has an encryption program to prevent that.
JimG - Sunday, 01/28/07 23:07:52 EST

Surviving Childhood: We all played with the nasty stuff, but fortunatly Our parents had the sense to keep us from chewing on the windowsills, a quality aparently lacking in some parents today.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 01/29/07 00:11:24 EST

Somehow "unique" and "wholesale" seem odd paired toogether...

ThomasP - Monday, 01/29/07 01:04:36 EST

Thomas-- Picky, picky, picky!
Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/29/07 01:08:20 EST

Ichthus: As a general rule, ichthi (ichthuses?) don't have thumbs. That'll take another couple million years of evolution, I'd think. (grin)

Visually, the symbol should be three units high by eight units long, more or less. There is no "official" standard, as far as I know.
vicopper - Monday, 01/29/07 01:22:30 EST

Icanthus Leaf:
These have been symbolized so long that most people only know the artistic form. In real life they are actually a relatively wide leaf for their length. They taper smoothly from a stalk to about 4" wide at three feet and are probably 6" wide if pressed flat.

In actual usage they are just a long convex slender leaf that arcs from its weight with rounded teminations.

There are numerous books on the style of archetectural and decorative elements. I have several packed away in boxes. . .

There are also pattern books such as the the one ABANA reprinted in 1983 for the ABANA 10th Aniversary. "Patternbook for Artsmiths" (translated from the German Title) by Max Metzger. This reference was found in the Samuel Yellin library. It is full of drawings and patterns for leaves. I have a similar original somewhere here as well that came from the yellin library.

Leaf samples by Josh Greenwood
- guru - Monday, 01/29/07 01:31:50 EST

AN unscientific poll - Help the guru:
We are in the process of redesigning the page layouts of anvilfire. Since our humble beginnings in 1998 we have tried to support low resolution monitors and have dynamic resising for those with higher resolution monitors. Some of the more complex pages such as this and the guru's den still fit in 640x480 pixel windows! However, time passes, technology changes and this is nearly 10 years later.

The new layout will be wider. Probably 800 to 900 pixels. However, it will still be dynamic in width. However, below 800 pixels it will most likely become cramped and distorted. We WILL NOT be going to a forced 1024 width as many inconsiderate designers do.

I would like comments on this subject. Test pages are in progress and will soon be available. Please post here or drop me a line.
- guru - Monday, 01/29/07 01:36:49 EST

Chinese anvils: The strange world of traditional Chinese anvils- We've all heard of the horrible cast iron Chinese made efforts on the market, but I was interested to see traditional Chinese anvils at the beginning of this video- , and pictured in this ebay auction- 200072742987 (I realize we aren't supposed to post active ebay items, but it's the only picture I could find!) Anybody have any knowledge to share on these unusual looking anvils? They actually look very handy.
- Dan P. - Monday, 01/29/07 05:44:01 EST

Chinese anvils: Here's another picture;
Dan P. - Monday, 01/29/07 05:56:32 EST

FUEL OIL BURNERs: i was hoping someone here might have some detailed info on making your own fuel oil burner..... anyone with drawing ideas or other input please cantact me here or via email
- peter - Monday, 01/29/07 10:52:21 EST

Miles, I guess it's from all those folks expecting handmade knives to be cheaper than mass produced factory ones...

Thomas P - Monday, 01/29/07 14:03:38 EST

Screen resolution: Dear Guru - I'm a programmer for a state agency and we have been using 800x600 as our normal expectation for screen resolution for about the last five (maybe seven) years, and don't see moving away from that for the foreseeable future: While 17" monitors are capable of displaying much higher resolutions, the limitation is in the user's eyes: Middle aged folk have trouble reading their screens at a higher resolution.
- John Lowther - Monday, 01/29/07 14:16:25 EST

Thomas-- why, certainly, they do. After all, think of the saving in blisterpaks alone.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/29/07 20:06:23 EST

peter-- The book Kilns Design, Construction and Operation, by Daniel Rhodes, Chilton,1968, 234 pp. is about pottery kilns, but it has detailed instructions, diagrams, photographs re: building oil burners.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 01/29/07 20:11:49 EST

Chinese anvil: There is one pictured in Rudolf Hommel's book "China at Work", 1937, page 14. It is cast and is quite similar to the ones DanP. has forwarded, except there is no rounded horn. Both "horns" are the flat topped wedge shape with the "bellied" bottoms, the latter probably for strength. There are no feet; there is no tang or bottom projection to inlet into a stump.
- Frank Turley - Monday, 01/29/07 21:11:57 EST

Screen Resolution: Good to go on the 800. Jim
Jim Warren - Monday, 01/29/07 21:18:29 EST

fuel oil burners: If someone does have info about oil burners, I would like to get a copy also.
rentaratchet - Monday, 01/29/07 22:52:24 EST

Screen Res: works for me.

- James Rader - Tuesday, 01/30/07 00:13:27 EST

The Other Chinese Anvils: Dan P: Somehow, I don't think they started out as anvils. They look like parts from larger machinery to me; the old "field expedient" style anvil that we know and love.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 01/30/07 00:19:35 EST

Oil Burners: I think it would be prudent to get the entire assembly from a furnace or boiler. The ones for normal size homes are from about .65 to about 1.65 gallons/ hour. The ones built in the last 30 years are the flame retention type, and will work better than the older ones. Check with a fuel oil dealer or a HVAC contractor for one from a tearout heater. These use a fan to blow air and a pump to preasurize the oil to 100 - 150 PSI and force it through an atomizing nozzel. This makes a mist of fine droplets that burn readily. There is an ignition transformer and spark gap points to light the fire, and a photocell that shuts down the system if the fire doesn't light. These units operate on 115 VAC and draw verry little power.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 01/30/07 00:22:44 EST

thanks: to you both miles and dave
peter - Tuesday, 01/30/07 14:48:10 EST

Resolution: I prefer lower resolution for pages with this type of content. I see no reason to change.
- John Odom - Tuesday, 01/30/07 17:05:02 EST

poll: for what it's worth my monitor is set at 1152x864 and I have no problem with the look of these pages currently
JimG - Tuesday, 01/30/07 18:05:53 EST

peter-- what Dave Boyer says is valid and critically important. I grew up in a house with an oil burning furnace smack in the living room that worked the way some of the ones in the kiln book do-- a little drip hits a hot plate and spatters and the resulting spray burns. If there should be a malfunction, the result can be an interesting puddle of flame on the floor. Such burners are pretty good. But they do sometimes require the ministrations of the fire department. I am also not sure hot they get cf. propane. For propane equipment, you can readily obtain Venturis from the scrap pile out behind any HVAC shop (ask first!!), jets from your propane dealer and Bob's your uncle. I would go that way if I were you. My simple little (a firebrick box) propane forge has worked great for the past 16 years, doing small stuff, big stuff, hammers, railings, etc. If you want to go first cabin, see Ransome gas equipment. They are now a subsidiary of Meeder.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 01/30/07 21:11:06 EST

screen res: Guru: This layout is fine and dandy on this end.
-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 01/31/07 10:24:31 EST

poll: screen res... whats that? must be some new kind of flux for forge welding. all i know is where the power button is. other than that i think the hammer-in is perfect.
- coolhand - Wednesday, 01/31/07 18:14:28 EST

Screen Resolution:
Currently most of our pages including this one shrink to 640 wide (or narrower) so you do not have to scroll sideways. A few are wider. Most, not all, expand to fit whatever size window you use.

If you open our calculator Mass3j it will open in a 800x480 window. Currently I am having a hard time working to less than a 850 pixel width (900x600). To go smaller I would have to go to small type like so many web sites do and I DO NOT want to have to do that.

To go over 800 wide is to go wider than some folks screens on old small monitors OR folks with failing eyesight that keep the resolution low OR folks that that have no idea they can change it (Windows Setings, Control Panel, Display, Settings, Screen area). 640x480 is an ancient standard now and I would like to skip past 800x600 to something that is works on much less than 1024 (I use 1024x768) but wider than 800. . .

Where we are going is back to a right hand menu column and a content area wide enough to hold the old 640 wide content. If I can get the menus sorted out I will try to launch a test before I leave for "vacation" next week.
- guru - Thursday, 02/01/07 01:12:06 EST

Counter    Copyright © 2007 Jock Dempsey, Cummulative_Arc GSC