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February 2006 Archive

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I already see the fire in the background!! Yikes!! BOG...
- Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 02/01/06 21:23:05 EST

That is the hecky darn of it all. They would send in the calvary for the puppy and leave the kids behind. LOLOL
- Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 02/01/06 21:24:10 EST

I would like to start an annual hammer in up here at my forge in mohican country Loudonville Ohio.Its located on a 600 acre campground fronting 2 miles of the mohican river. I have never hosted a hammer in but would like some input on how to do one up right!
matt blosser - Thursday, 02/02/06 01:40:17 EST

Matt:: It depends on what you want to do. And your facilities. Some hammer-ins have a main demonstrator or two, along with some extra forges for practice. One hammer-in that I go to, is a very casual affair, but man is it sweet! This one is done in a very large pole barn. Everyone just shows up, sets up their own forge, and goes to playing. As you wander around, you see something, and go hey, how did you make that? The smith shows you, and then back to your own forge to practice that. Or, you are doing what you are doing, and another smith walks up and says, hey, you wanna see another way to do that? And there you go, learning something new!
Bob H - Thursday, 02/02/06 10:25:52 EST

Again: Ah, I should have mentioned the need for portapoties. And food! Smiths gotta have food! The one I go to, you register in advance, which is actually free, unless you sign up for meals. If you want the meals, someone gathers all the funds, does the shopping, and cooks food right there. Another option is to possibly have a Roach Coach stop by. At one demo we do at a state park, most people have a canopy that they set up to work under. That option works as well for the open type set up in my last post.
Bob H - Thursday, 02/02/06 10:31:09 EST

Matt; what does the nearest smithing group think about it?

In general Smiths like to get together and do stuff; but there are already several smithing events in Ohio; including Quad-State that draws folks from over 1000 miles away.

So think about what you can offer and try to not conflict with any other event in a contiguous state.

If you are just starting out a good "theme" draws in more folks than just a generic hammer-in IMHO.

Thomas P - Thursday, 02/02/06 12:16:57 EST

Quad States: Draws folks from waaaaay more than a thousand miles. Try more like 3,000. I know, remember? (grin) It is definitely worth it, to me.
vicopper - Thursday, 02/02/06 12:48:55 EST

I have just been introduced to a great web site for material information., it may be just what your looking for and most of it's free too.
Hammerin's-- I plan on attending the hammerin at Ken's, (CSI or anvilfire's ) but it's going to be close as the furniture market is starting at High Point that weekend too. I am the cost accountant where I work and there's always that last minute frame that needs costed or revised. It will cost me two vacation days, but I think it will be worth it. Look for me at the CSI membership signup table.
daveb - Thursday, 02/02/06 14:07:41 EST

Bob H. Just kind of an informal thing like you said, I dont want to demonstrate because I'm sure everyone knows how to make a scrap pile! Me and the camp owner thought it would be good to get the general public interested ($$$!) This is a big ol tourist area in the summertime.I didnt even know hammer ins existed till I figgered out how to work this computer somewhat! Only been to quadstate once this past sept.and hope to get to the appalachian blacksmith association hammer in in may.We have a modern showerhouse/restroom facility fairly close to the site,about 150 yards or so,Did'nt think about food! I'll probably do up a leg of venison over my fire and have a keg for anyone who wants to partake,maybe i can talk some folks into providing some burgers and dogs and sodypop! Looking at the weekend of June16-17-18 yep fathers day weekend.
matt blosser - Thursday, 02/02/06 18:16:16 EST

Matt looks like you should be talking with the Western Reserve Group, MOB (Mid Ohio Blacksmiths) and you would probably want to announce it at SOFA meetings for a couple of months ahead of time.

Your June date is two weeks after the Indiana Conference; a bit close but not as bad as it could be.

Now if you had a trebuchet anvil quench planned...

I'd push the recreational aspects of the campground and try to make it a family event as many smithing events are great for the smith and only so-so for the rest of the family. (BTW don't make the assumption that smithing is a male only activity, I know several families where the wife is the smith who found out that "non-smith" activities were slanted strongly towards wives...)

At the Festival of the Cranes we had an unplanned "Blacksmithing through the ages" exhibit with a bellows blown forge, a hand crank blower forge and a propane forge all in a row. I'm tempted to do a Y1K forge there next year...
Thomas P - Thursday, 02/02/06 19:03:53 EST

Matt's Hammerin: Matt, I'm not trying to be negative, you're also up against the fact that at least some of your audience are reenactors and summer is prime reenacting time. For example, the weekend of June 24, 25 is the French & Indian War Grand Encampment at Fort Ticpnderoga. July 4th weekend is set aside for Ft. Niagara. Ft. Niagara consistently is the largest F & I draw, except for the grand encampments which occur about once every 3 years. Then, there are all the SCA events as well, plus the events already planned by different groups such as MOB, PAABA, etc. It's hard getting things like you mentioned started - you almost need to plan and advertise a year ahead.

My summer is already looking very booked, especially as PT successfully treated/alleviated my back/hip pain last December.
- Gavainh - Thursday, 02/02/06 22:05:19 EST

Thanks for the info Tom,this would be a family thing what we're aiming at,I just dont want to get on here like I'm advertising for the camp,shoot they ain't paying me! But thats the deal, the smith can smith and have fun and everyone else can just go float down the river or somethin'! We could change that date to mid or late july too. think I'll just go for it and see how it turns out and know what not to do next year!
matt blosser - Thursday, 02/02/06 22:11:25 EST

Summer blacksmithing job available: This post is to anyone who has blacksmithing experiance and would like to pass on there knowledge of the trade to children ages 12-16 over the summer. The job would provide room and board in the Adirondack Mountians of upstate New York. Ideally we would like someone who could not only teach, but also could work on improving the quality of our program, and the shop we use. If you are interested please e-mail me and we can open up lines of communication.
- Michael Carch - Friday, 02/03/06 08:46:37 EST

Att'n children nay sayers and insurance/waiver threaders: I lurked during those discussions, but Michael Carch is asking for one of you to get away for a summer and walk your talk. I was a camp counselor for three summers during my college years. I consider ages 12-16 a challenging group, and "challenging" is a euphemism.

Frank Turley - Friday, 02/03/06 09:32:04 EST

Adirondack s: Frank

OH Hecky Darn!!

I wish I was still healthy enough. I use to live in Raybrook by Lake Placid in the Adirondacks. I still live in NY. Aw Sugar. I would have loved to be able to teach blacksmithing over the summer. Oh horse hocky!! Dang it all!!
I have worked as an educator, worked for the DEC in the Adirondacks and I have a great deal of smitty experience along with teaching. Heck the family shop was in the Adirondacks.

Well...Now I am sad :(. I hope someone else takes advantage of the blacksmithing opportunity.
- Burnt Forge - Friday, 02/03/06 12:04:38 EST

This is great!: ya, sure I'll email this dude. A possable job? wonderful! whats the email address???
- packrat - Friday, 02/03/06 13:02:09 EST

Oops, I forgot to post my address..
packrat - Friday, 02/03/06 13:06:49 EST

ADAM: Has anyone heard from Adam Whiteson lately?
3dogs - Friday, 02/03/06 15:00:30 EST

Frank or Miles are close to Adam's neck of the woods.

I hope to arrange a visit to the black hole with him after the weather moderates.

Thomas P - Friday, 02/03/06 16:34:13 EST

Re Adam: Adam's messages come like bananas.
Frank Turley - Friday, 02/03/06 16:37:37 EST

Frank Turley, My wonderfull mother, 80 and still gardening strong, had a soft spot for 13 year olds! She sorta collected them. She had 7 children of her own, had 13 foster children. All about 13 years old, took in a few family strays from the mountains of E. KY. and taught the 13 year olds at Sunday school for 40 years. A very, very strong woman.
- ptree - Friday, 02/03/06 20:55:38 EST

I agree with Mike F, Mike B (informed consent), John O and The Vic. Visitors (not employees) on your place are an invitee, social guest, licensee or trespasser. You have different levels of responsibility to protect from injury. For example: with licensees and trespassers there is no implied promise that reasonable care has been made for the safety of your property. This is kind of why waivers do not all ways work. Someone has been hurt bad and you are 6 hours into a 8 hour deposition with 2 plaintiffs attorneys tag teaming and leaning on you. They ask you about waivers and informed consent. You don’t have one? I'm ready to close my eyes and start chanting "happy place" over and over. That said DO NOT try to write one yourself, get a lawyer to do it. Badly written may be worse than none. Plaintiff’s attorney is interviewing for the next million-dollar case and he knows of cases like your lawsuit that have been successfully defended with a professional consent and waiver. Sorry ma’am, NEXT. Might happen. Depend solely on a consent/waiver for protection? Very bad idea. Use it to maybe improve your defense? Not bad, but you still better have insurance that you did not go cheap on.

Y’all been busy on this insurance thread, I got more for you later. Long week and my brains tired
Tone - Friday, 02/03/06 22:57:00 EST

Whoa, now! Let's just back off a bit here. What's the pay-off for allowing somebody to come into your shop? That warm glow from showing some urchin how to pound on hot iron? Big deal. A pick-me-up from having some schmoe glim all your funky old tools and murmur perfunctory oohs and ahhs? That is what is worth putting your property on the line? No way, Jose. No visitors allowed here. Sorry. Keep out. In case of accident, your intentions don't count for squat. Someone gets hurt on your property, you are liable. Period. But at least you don't have to invite them.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 02/04/06 01:26:45 EST

Miles is Right about "pay-offs": It's been my experience that when most non-metal people visit a shop, they may or may not be enthralled momentarily, but they have NO IDEA what they are looking at. To many, the interior of the shop, in toto, appears to be a big bunch of dark, greasy, shadowy junk. You may hear an occasional, "Gee, you have a lot of hammers!" (they see your top tool hafts). So again, your pay-off is zilch. Who needs that?
Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/04/06 10:08:24 EST

Pay offs: Yeah, well there ain't any other blacksmiths down here besides me and one other guy who lives clear at the other end of the island. I gotta take my payoffs wherever and from whoever I can get them. I drag my wife over there every couple of months and show her I cleaned it, she says, "Big deal. I clean the house every day and don't drag you around to show it off. Must be guy thing." That gets me my required dose of awwwws, if not the oooohs. Of course the awww, is followed by a short expletive, but I ignore that. (grin)
vicopper - Saturday, 02/04/06 15:11:17 EST

Disclaimer: The previous post was strictly tongue-in-cheek. (Just in case my darling actually sneaks a peek in here.)
vicopper - Saturday, 02/04/06 15:12:30 EST

Traveling: To Portland, OR mext month. I'll b e there from the 17th through the 20th. Anybody recommend thing I absolutely must see or do while I'm there, besides attend my Pop's 90th birthday party?
vicopper - Saturday, 02/04/06 15:48:32 EST

Portland Oregon: Rich- my buddies Nick and Jean, aka Whitesavage and Lyle, have one of their massive plant forms at 16th and Weidler streets- Pretty amazing large scale true path forging- a mere 14 feet tall, small by their standards, but impressive nonetheless.
ries - Saturday, 02/04/06 16:24:57 EST

Vicopper,: Hey, on this forum we say "tong in cheek".
Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/04/06 18:33:18 EST

Frank: So you did. (grin)
vicopper - Saturday, 02/04/06 23:16:36 EST

Portland, OR (Stumptown as it is locally known): Rich, in addition to Ries' friends artwork, there's all the McMinnamim's (sp?) brother's breweries. I'd be pleased to buy you a cool one and make your acquaintence if you so desired. Email me the general city geography you'll be in if you want...

There's a fair bit of metal art in some of the MAX train stations and gallery's with some metal art in both Southeast and Nortwest PDX.

The purely tourista stuff includes the zoo (we're the Asian Elephant breeding capitol of the world you know), forestry center,Japanese and Chinese gardens,Forest Park if you're a hiker, Oregon Museum of Science & Industry,boat cruises on the Willamete and Columbia Rivers, etc. etc.

And Happy B-day and many returns to your Pop...
Bert - Sunday, 02/05/06 13:47:56 EST

Portland: Thanks for the suggestions, Bert. I'll be staying in the Multnomah area, a block or two from downtown (Multnomah, that is). I visited OMSI about twenty years ago, so I imagine it may be different now. I'll pass on the breweries, not being a beer drinker. As for boating down the river, I'm afraid I'm just way too used to the tropics to be getting on the water there at this time of year.
vicopper - Sunday, 02/05/06 16:28:07 EST

tidy shop?: we had a visit by a health and saftey officer at work, it was a planned visit, but its got to be said I work on a farm not in a factory, the guards were all in place and all was well, he was even satisfied with all my answers till he said,"its all in order, just needs a good tidy up" It was then it turned for the worse,"tidy up", I said ,"I've just had three days tidyin!"we didnt part on good terms,like they say, you can always tell a goverment worker, but you cant tell them much.
- grimme - Sunday, 02/05/06 16:41:20 EST

- MIKE GONZALES - Sunday, 02/05/06 16:52:54 EST

Mike Gonzales-- The late, great Bill Gichner's Iron Age Antiques shop in Ocean View, delaware, has been renamed The Front Porch by Bill's ex-son-in-law Bob Svenson, but it still has a lot of stuff from Bill's vast collection, some of it dating back no doibt to his family's historic iron business (they did the gates to the White House) in Washington, D.C. Bob had scads of miniature anvils in stock when I visited in October, but might well be interested in your oldie. 302-539-5344 is main number for The Front Porch Antiques. 302-228-6834 is on the door. 302-541-5062 is Bob's number on his card.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 02/05/06 22:14:47 EST

New Year's Presentation Tongs: Did everyone receive their tongs? I didn't. I sent mine out.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/05/06 22:20:17 EST

Tongs: I got mine and I just found out that the ones I sent got there as well.
vicopper - Sunday, 02/05/06 23:07:46 EST

"Guns, Germs, and Steel": Tuesday, February 7. On our educational channel, this program premiers at 7pm, Mountain Time, apparently a theoretical approach to the rise and fall of societies. Presenter, Jerod Diamond, is renowned in the fields of physiology, geography, and evolutionary theory. I'm going to watch, because "steel" is in the title, and that caught my eye.
Frank Turley - Monday, 02/06/06 10:08:39 EST

where is it?: I can't find anything anywhere on the internet about this summer job.
- packrat - Monday, 02/06/06 13:05:13 EST

Acorn type table: Hello, I'm Back with some things you could use. I have an acorn type table and a scaper table {good space saver}for sale on Ebay my seller name is scandia567 I will be listing an anvil, hammer and some tongs soon as well. Thanks for your time Ken 201-247-5082
Ken Kristiansen - Monday, 02/06/06 19:03:59 EST

Summer Camp; Packrat: Michael Carch did not leave his e-contact for the Adirondack camp job, mentioned above. I googled and found out that he works at
Frank Turley - Monday, 02/06/06 20:04:27 EST

band saw: Hey guys i was wondering if you could help me out? im concidering purchasing a 4"-6" horizontal/vertical metal cutting band saw from Grizzly ($250) 1/2 horse.
i have used them in other shops before but never had my own. the Question is, after looking over the types of blades avalible i relize i have no clue what is what when it comes to thease blades.they have listed as 10,14-18 and 24 raker tool steel. HU? then they go in too 6-10 bimetal blades and so on!! i cant find recomendations on what all this means to me. i would usualy cut mild steel sometimes a high carbon tool steel i may even whant a blade for brass,copper or bronze. any information would be apreciated thanks. o'yea i dont try hard to spell corectly so sorry thanks MSC
msc - Tuesday, 02/07/06 11:10:33 EST

bandsaw blades: I an no expert, but I find that I get by far the most life out of the bimetal blade and since I cut about the same materials that you mention, I like a 14 tooth/inch blade. I cut hr steel and a lot of 5160 for knife blades-some aluminum round up to 6 " dia- a good cross section of materials- the bimetal costs a lot more but they seem to last forever-forgot to mention that I also cut a lot of brass.Never used raker tooth on metals- I use a raker tooth
on my wood cutting bandsaws.
- ptpiddler - Tuesday, 02/07/06 12:03:20 EST

ABANA in Seattle: Morning Folks
I was thinking of going to the ABANA conferance in Seattle this summer. Anyone going? Any thoughts? It is quite expensive, but I have a place to stay free which will help some. Any Seattle area Blacksmiths going or have any input?
blackbart - Tuesday, 02/07/06 12:14:46 EST

Working with Charcoal.: Hi, I'm frequent reader but don't post very much. Smithing on my patio I use charcoal more than coal, get both from Lazzari here in San Francisco, but I don't see much on the web or in books about techniques specific to charcoal use. By biggest problem is what I call the Devil's Popcorn, after about two hours of work, I've got this pile of glowing pea sized embers that don't heat the metal well and don't ignite new charcoal too well either. Should I just be breaking down the fire and starting over? Any other insights would be appreciated. By the way, great way to start coal is to get a nice charcoal fire going and then add the coal, but I save that for windy cold days when the neighbors have the windows closed,
- Michael - Tuesday, 02/07/06 13:33:24 EST

Thanks dude..: I was starting to panic.
- packrat - Tuesday, 02/07/06 13:50:24 EST

Abana in Seattle: There are over 500 blacksmiths in NWBA, the Washington/Oregon blacksmithing group. Many of them will be at ABANA. There have been some stupid and unfortunate local political squabbles which mean some will not be attending, but I think its a pretty safe bet there will be over 1000 blacksmiths there.
1000 blacksmiths in one place is pretty wild, and I always enjoy watching it when it happens.
Abana conferences are usually professionally put on, with a very wide range of demonstrators appealing to all kinds of interests- knives, traditional, modern, repousse, tools, art- you name it.
There will be lots of foreign demos as well, and I always find those very worthwhile.
The Seattle scene is a bit more radical than many blacksmiths are used to- lots of women smiths, lots of tatoo's, body jewelry, dyed hair, utilikilts, and so on.
Also, one of the nations largest concentrations of kickbutt serious professional shops making a living, with employees, at real blacksmithing, both art, and industrial. There is a lot of teaching shops up here- 3 or 4 that run workshops regularly, as well.

There will be a very wide range of dealers selling tools, books, and things like that. Probably less used, cheap equipment than you would see at many meets, as there just isnt much of that up here.

The town is pretty, the conference location is great, and the food and the beer up here is excellant.

So from my viewpoint, its worth going. But only you can decide if its worth it for you.
ries - Tuesday, 02/07/06 13:55:22 EST

"Guns, Germs & Steel": Frank, in addititon to the program you mentioned "Guns, Germs & Steel" is a book by Jared Diamond. I highly recommend it as a good read with some sound thought as to why European culture has dominated to date. Some excellent thinking behind the book - tieing in a lot of different facets of life/culture.
- Gavainh - Tuesday, 02/07/06 14:21:36 EST

Using charcoal: you need a deeper fire than with coal and charcoal will spread the fire---all the fuel on the forge table will burn so I add firebrick side walls to my coal firepot to get a deeper fire and have less "wasted" charcoal burning outside of the firepot.

You also use less airblast.

What size are the holes in your grate? perhaps sizing them so the popcorn will drop into the ash dump during use might help.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/07/06 16:50:38 EST

Mr. Hofi,
I apologize for mentioning Tom Clark with the Hofi Hammer. Tom demoed for our group recently and discussed the hammer and technique. He did not mention your name, this was my mistake and will not be repeated.
Tone - Tuesday, 02/07/06 17:35:29 EST

Hofi Hammer & DVD: I followed Master Hofi's advice and purchased one of his hammers from Big Blue. It was here in two days, and the best balanced hammer I have ever held in my hand. I purchased the 1.1 Kg or 2.4# forged hammer.

I also followed his recommendation and bought the DVD from the dealer on E-Bay. It was here in four days, and is fascinating to watch. As important as the hammering technique is, of co-importance is keeping the piece hotter, longer. I watched Master Hofi forge a 6" tapered point on a piece of round stock in one heat! That one technique was worth the price of the DVD. Thank you Master Hofi.
Ellen - Tuesday, 02/07/06 18:14:39 EST

Charcoal..: Thanks Thomas, that's a great idea. holes now are about 3/16, if I drill them out to 1/4 inch or a little bigger, that stuff should drop right through.

I'll have to try it, without taking the forge apart if I can manage it.
Michael - Tuesday, 02/07/06 21:00:28 EST

Abana in Seattle: Thanks Ries for the info. The friend that I would stay with in Seattle knows a few of the blacksmiths up there who, due to the political squabble, plan not to attend. We are still discussing the matter and I figured input from this site of sound reasoning might sway us one way or the other. Will let folks know my decision and if we go give a bit of a report.

blackbart - Tuesday, 02/07/06 21:11:13 EST

Bandsaw Blades: I stsarted using the "LENOX Die Master 2 10-14 tpi variable from HAGEMEYER. They are the best blades I have used in this saw, and I have had it since '84. SOMEBODY CHIME IN WITH MIKE MORRISON'S PHONE MUMBER AT HAGEMEYER.shipping, handling, and tax included came to about $100 for 5 blades. I cut a variety of stock from heavy sheetmetal to 2 1/4 tool steel, but mostly pipe and angle & bar from 1/8 to 3/8 thk.These blades should work on everything except aluminum bronze, I havn't tried them, but hook tooth blades work best on that.[common bronze is not a problem,but alloys like Ampco#18 are]
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 02/08/06 00:55:37 EST

Bandsaw Blades: I have used different blades throughout the years, and have had the best luck with 10-14 tpi blades. For the uninitiated, this is a combination blade where it is 10 teeth per inch for a short way, then 14 tpi, and so on. The theory is that having different tpi alternating will clean out the kerf and give a better cut. If you are going to cut 16 ga. tubing, use an 18 tpi blade, or it will spit the teeth right out of the blade. Ideally, three teeth should be engaged at all times.
- Loren T - Wednesday, 02/08/06 02:17:39 EST

Just a couple of thoughts on ABANA in Seattle. How many times in your life will this conference be in your hometown? Probably only once, so it would be a real shame to miss it. Also, if you don't go, then they win. Showing up and having a great time would really show them; wouldn't it?
FredlyFX - Wednesday, 02/08/06 04:41:26 EST

Anvil for Sale: I just bought a 225lb Fisher anvil, so I am putting my 130lb Peter Wright up for sale. I'm listing it here first. If anyone is interested please email me by clicking on my name. I'm asking $300 plus shipping. I'll hold it for a week to give Anvilfire folks first crack at it, then list it on ebay. It's been well used, but still has lots of life left in it. Thanks.
Pics of the anvil.
FredlyFX - Wednesday, 02/08/06 04:59:07 EST

Hagemeyer: Mike Morrison's number is: 502-961-5930. Tell him you saw it on Anvilfire.
Bob H - Wednesday, 02/08/06 08:38:59 EST

Mensuration: It's probably time that we move the halves of the halves over to hammer-in.

When teaching, I share with my students the following. First, the old saw, "Measure once, cut twice; measure twice, cut once." Then, the old corn, "I cut it twice, and it's still too short!"

There's the story of the apprentice framer. The master sees a beam leaning against a partially framed structure, and asks the apprentice how tall it is. The apprentice lays it down, puts his yoyo on it and reports back, "That beam is 10½ feet long." The master says, "I wanted to know how TALL it was, not how LONG it was." BOL

Then, a true story of the harpsichord factory apprentice. The journeyman yells to the apprentice on the other side of the room for a measurement. The apprentice yells back, "It's 12 and duh, 12 and duh, two bumps past the big bump in the middle!"

Not to forget the width and thickness thing. Many beginning craftspeople don't fathom the difference between width and thickness. I kid you not; I know. I've had a jillion students. I usually give them the Mr. T routine. "If you don't know the difference between width and thickness before you return home, I PITY YOU POOR FOOLS!"
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/08/06 10:01:00 EST

band saw blade: Hey guys thanks alot for the information on band saw blades its a big help. ill try the 10-14s. take care.
- msc - Wednesday, 02/08/06 10:32:19 EST

ABANA Conference: I'm not planning on going - to many other things to spend money and time on, but Seattle is a great town. I've gotten out to Washington State and Seattle for 3 visits in the last 10 years (my wife has family in Seattle & some of the surronding areas) Have always enjoyed the people, food scenery you name it - just a great part of this country.
- Gavainh - Wednesday, 02/08/06 13:40:56 EST

ABANA 2006: Right now I am leaning real hard about not going. I had fun at teh 2000 Conference. But since I am having to try and make ends meet on about 65% of my normal pay, I have to pick and choose what I go to and pay for. Since Dawn and my 25th annviersary is that week I think we will be going to Colorado Springs instead to see if we can have a 2nd honeymoon at the place of the 1st one.
But the weather should be really nice during this event.
Ralph - Wednesday, 02/08/06 15:47:00 EST

Bandsaw blades: Msc: That is a good choice for bars and structurals, If you get the bimetal type. For thin-wall tubing you need more teeth per inch.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 02/08/06 16:57:21 EST

bandsaw blades: I like the Lennox 10 to 14 variable tooth bimetal blades for the thicker stuff. I use a lot of 16ga. tube and use the portaband blade stock made into the right lenght for my 4" x 6" saw. Mike Morrison at 502-961-5930 can help you with these and many other items like real industrial taps and drills. I spoke with the Hagemeyer folks again today about advertising on this site. I suspect they are fairly interested, so tell them you saw it here.
ptree - Wednesday, 02/08/06 22:40:37 EST

cool sites to order steel & gas forge supplies: fyi for anyone interested. Two good sites that I ran across looking sor supplies. 1.) for ANY type of material you may be looking for plus price lists & chemical breakdown for all alloys!

2.) They have shelves, boards, bricks, crusables, etc.

just thought I'd let everyone know
- irondreamer - Wednesday, 02/08/06 23:54:08 EST

cool sites to order steel & gas forge supplies: fyi for anyone interested. Two good sites that I ran across looking sor supplies. 1.) for ANY type of material you may be looking for plus price lists & chemical breakdown for all alloys!

2.) They have shelves, boards, bricks, crusables, etc.

just thought I'd let everyone know
- irondreamer - Wednesday, 02/08/06 23:54:27 EST

band saw blades: Ptree, thanks for the # ill give him a call now thanks to every one for the advice. MSC
msc - Thursday, 02/09/06 10:28:23 EST

Measuring: In a friends shop (who I will not mention) the joke was sadly true,

Measure with micrometers, mark with chalk, cut with chainsaw. . .

On the other hand, I have used a chainsaw a LOT in carpentry and can cut as accurately with one as many people can with a skill saw.

For those of you that have never STUDIED a framing square there are MANY types. All have different scales on each leg and they can get you into a lot of trouble. They include sixths, eighths, tenths, twelveths and sixteenths as well as a special hundreths scale on some. If this is not confusing enough to folks that do not know 4/16 = 1/4 then there are also SHRINK rules used in the patternmaking business where 12 is realy 12.125. . .

For those that said they will never need this stuff in their life, WAKE UP!
- guru - Thursday, 02/09/06 17:37:36 EST

I found a shrink rule at the fleamarket once for a couple of bucks; Al, Cast Iron, Cast Steel and Brass IIRC. I gloried in owning it till I met my friend who does casting and gave it to him---I'd blow the pattern up on the copier machine as needed---put in an easily checked scale so I didn't rely on the % the coppier *THINK* it's doing...

I also found a junked micrometer at a junkstore for $1 that I bought to use as a C clamp when my machinist friends were visiting...
Thomas P - Thursday, 02/09/06 18:55:29 EST

Shrunken Rules: For years, my mother measured everything with a 59" sewing tape. It was conveniently marked from 0" to 60". For the most part she was only comparing her own measurements, so I guess it didn't really matter.
- Mike B - Thursday, 02/09/06 21:01:26 EST

Measuring: I'm continually amazed at the lack of understanding that many folks have about units of measure. As a police supervisor, I had countless young officers, and several older ones, tell me they couldn't get any measurements at a traffic accident or a crime scene because they didn't have a tape measure with them. It beggars the imagination.

I explained to every one of them that units of measure are nothing more than convenient conventions and not magical, immutable runes writ in stone. A foot can be twelve inches, or it can be the length of your own foot; it doesn't matter one whit, as long as you can replicate it later. I've testified in court on a trial, using measurements based on the length of my shoe. That particular shoe happened to be 11-15/16" long, and I produced the shoe for the court. It was entered into evidence, the crime scene drawing was accepted as was my expert testimony, and the defendant was convicted. All that was necessary was that I demonstrate for the jury how I collected the measurements and that the drawing was a true and accurate representation of the scene as I found it.

The same principle applies elsewhere. Regardless of what measure you use, if you can reproduce it faithfully, it is a valid measure. Throughout history, people have used various units for measures of length, volume, weight and time. As long as we agree that one rod equals ten cubits, then we can speak the same language and get the same results. If my cubit (or foot, or perch or whatever) is different than yours, we just have to use mine when we're talking about *my* measurements. I'll be able to duplicate the distance in question, so the purpose is served.

It is handier, when dealing with measures, to have "standards" that are universally agreed upon, to avoid any misunderstandings. Once we all agree that a "foot" equals twelve "inches", and that one "inch" equals 2.54 centimeters, and that one centimeter is the length of one hundredth-part of the bar of unobtanium held in trust in a vault deep in the bowels of the Bank of Geneva, then we can all do commerce or trade, or exchange hat sizes, and all the hats will fit. Simple, really.

Now go calculate the speed of sound in furlongs per fortnight, or the mileage of your favorite jalopy in hogsheads per kiloparsec. There will be a quiz at the end of the term. (grin)
vicopper - Thursday, 02/09/06 22:38:05 EST

WTB Anvil: Looking for a decent anvil in the 200lb class....anybody out there selling one???
- jerry - Thursday, 02/09/06 23:16:11 EST

Actually, furlongs per fortnight would be a practical speed measure for smaller mammals, turtles and the like. I'll need to know the altitude to work outhe speed of sound, though. :-)
Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 02/09/06 23:42:42 EST

Standards: 'Mornin, Rich; I seem to recall reading somewhere that there is a one number difference between Brit and Yank hat sizes, due to a screwup in communications when the standards were being established. Anyone else seen that one ?
3dogs - Friday, 02/10/06 11:24:29 EST

Jerry; you ready to pay international shipping on that anvil or are you going to tell us which continent you are on? (There used to be a decent anvil in a junkshop in Malmesbury England I could give you directions to.)

3dogs I don't know, for me there are only 2 hat sizes: fits, doesn't fit and they seem to be the same on both sides of the pond...

In Germany you can still sometimes see the local standards for measurement mounted into the wall of the Rathaus so that everyone could compare their version to it. The also had examples of standard volume measurements and woe to anyone caught shorting the customer! When making contracts you alwaus specified what (whose) unit of measurements you were using.
Thomas P - Friday, 02/10/06 13:31:40 EST

Measuring:: Being "TRUE PATH" I measure with a vernier caliper, mark with charcoal, and cut with an axe.:)

blackbart - Friday, 02/10/06 15:25:22 EST

MEASURING: I usually measure with a stick, cut with whatever is handy, cut again, still too short!, look for more material, and repeat the cycle till I get tired. Get lots of practice cutting.
- Tom H - Friday, 02/10/06 20:33:58 EST

Sander-Polisher: Back to the Harbor Freight sander-polisher I bought for $30 a couple of weeks ago. Spent some time in the shop this week (the bronchial black death has subsided) and the slower speed works great! It makes out about 2200 rpm, I've been setting it for about 2/3 of that and using a cup wire brush; it works great on getting scale off your work after it comes out of the forge, at a dull red, or a black heat, or even cold. It's best when you use it when the work is a dull red because as the work cools it turns a nice blue which makes a pretty finish. The one I got is threaded 5/8-11 so the wire cup screws right on. A lot more civilized than an angle grinder. Stole the idea from Bill Epps, its on his DVD.
Ellen - Friday, 02/10/06 22:24:33 EST

Fly Ball Press: Woo Whoo....picked up my Denbigh 5 ton fly press today from the shipper in St.Louis today! Complete with original cast iron stand. Now all I have to do is clear some space in the shop for it.

Total cost to get it here from Feltham, England was $742.00. The boat ride was only $175 & all the rest was middle man fees. Not cheap, but still half the price of a new imported one from india (or where ever they come from), and it's got the stand.

These things are like treadle can make a career out of making tools for them.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Friday, 02/10/06 22:28:33 EST

Anvils: If you are looking for anvils check out Mike's Blacksmith Shop on ebay, he is located in Lawrence Ks. I just picked up a #300 Peter Wright from him and he has about 25 anvils in stock, a little on the expecsive side but he has them also blowers shears and so on, he will ship or pickup
- Steve - Friday, 02/10/06 23:38:26 EST

Anvil,Italian pattern: I am watching the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, and it is a guy hammering on an Anvil!!!!! It just doesn't get any better than this !!!!!
- Loren T - Saturday, 02/11/06 01:04:32 EST

Olympic Anvil:
Yes, but both horns were rounded and set below the face. One of them should have been at least even with the face and squared! ;-)

I really liked the gas flame to keep the face warm in that "Winter Olympic" weather. Do not put a hardy in THAT square hole! :-)

Waxing fussy and pedantic on the banks of the lowere Potomac, waiting for 8" to 12" of SNOW!
Visit your National Parks!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 02/11/06 11:49:28 EST

The golden Olympic anvil: The idea of the anvil had to do with the theme of the Winter Games. It was meant to evoke the host nations PASSION for sport and life. I think the organizers had to use the yin/yang of "fire and ice" to elucidate the idea of passion. It's hard to get passionate about an ice cube.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/11/06 13:33:55 EST

Did y'all see the anvil on the olympic opening ceremonoy
pretty cool
that skier made of people was cool too
- Tyler Murch - Saturday, 02/11/06 17:06:04 EST

forge blower: I have a forge blower mfg by CANEDY OTTO Chicago Heights Il. Roaly Western Chief H has anyone out there ever repaired one? There is an oil leak around the main shaft behind the fan.
- Steve - Saturday, 02/11/06 18:41:33 EST

Olympian (Hephaestian?) Anvils and Ice: Frank:

Passion would depend, I guess, on whose doing what with the ice cube. According to Jock, if you put enough ice cubes in the slack tub, you don' need no steenkin' super-quench!

Well, at least the games have begun in ernest, so there's something decent on television tonight. I'd be happy to have any of the athletes working in my forge. Loved the Mongolians in their fur hats with multiple tails.

Slowly accumulating soggy snow on the banks of the lower Potomac. Looks like Sunday will be another good day at the forge. I should be able to try out some coal that I bought via Pat Fulcher. Same stock they use at Williamsburg.

Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 02/11/06 21:00:03 EST

Steve: Those forge blowers all leak oil. They really don't seal, like modern tools. They actually only take a small amount of oil, in the bottom of the unit. It is then splashed on the gears. So do not overfill, and add a few drops every couple of days of use. You should be fine. And by the way, when I first got a handcrank blower, the first thing I did was fill it to the top. You guessed it, oil all over the floor. Now I know better.
Bob H - Saturday, 02/11/06 21:31:26 EST

Bruce; didn't the swedish style two horners have that configuration? I've seen several (and bid on one) that way.

Thomas P - Saturday, 02/11/06 23:11:34 EST

speed of sound at sea level = 2,046,124.55 furlongs per fortnight.

Enter this into google:
speed of sound in furlongs per fortnight, and have their calculator do the work.
- Tom T - Sunday, 02/12/06 03:27:57 EST

Hofi Hammer Continued: I spent a fair amount of time in the shop yesterday, and gave the Hofi hammer a workout. I like it a lot! Good balance, nice shape(s), it just seems to move metal faster, more controllably, and with less effort for me.

The $30 7" Harbor Freight variable speed sander-polisher is also working quite well for me with my wire brushing. Much safer!
Ellen - Sunday, 02/12/06 11:13:39 EST

buying a truck: hey gang. this forum is usually the best place to ask.. so here goes. I am buying an 81 GMC one ton dually flatbed truck, and am wondering if there are any known 'issues' with them. ie, problems , etc. It has a 350 smallblock, and is in fairly good shape..
- markS - Sunday, 02/12/06 18:31:47 EST

Ellen I used my "Buehler LTD makers of metallurgical equipment" double shafted bench "grinder" with a wire brush on it today. It has two speeds, 1140 rpm and 570. I liked the 1140 speed not nearly as aggressive as a crazy fast thing but I don't think I threw a single wire brushing down a handforged coal rake for a adobe beehive oven.

And it was a gift to help clean out unused stuff from a storage locker...

The nearest HF store is about a $20 gas bill from here; sigh.

Thomas P - Sunday, 02/12/06 19:16:09 EST

Went to a one day knife class yesterday, and made knife number 6. I learned some good stuff, very glad I went. Funny thing is, I did not have a specific knife in mind, yet the one I made is darn near and exact replica of the one I made my wife about 6 months ago. Mine is just larger, to fit my hand better.
Bob H - Sunday, 02/12/06 19:50:49 EST

Thomas's Grinder: Thomas,

Does that mean you found the linisher?
- Mike B - Sunday, 02/12/06 19:52:43 EST

Travelin' to HF: Thomas lamented, "The nearest HF store is about a $20 gas bill from here; sigh."

The nearest HF store is about a $450 airplane ride from here....

vicopper - Sunday, 02/12/06 22:14:42 EST

VIcopper: What sort of stuff is available in Puerto Rico? Or isn't it worth the grief.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 02/12/06 23:30:52 EST

Vicopper: Rich,
Will H.F. ship to Virgin Islands? Or is it an arm and a leg to do so?
Ellen - Sunday, 02/12/06 23:49:14 EST

Virgin Islands: Ellen, Maybe I'm wrong, but isn't V.I. considered to be just another state, as far as postage goes? (Remember those freebie priority boxes?)
3dogs - Monday, 02/13/06 04:50:28 EST

Ripping rough logs: This is way off topic, but hey, it's the hammerin :) I'm wanting to buy a handsaw, rip cut, for ripping some logs I have laying around into rough boards/beams. The logs range from 4" to 12" thick. I'm hoping someone here has done this before, and can give some info onto what sort of saw to purchase for such a venture. I've seen variety of rips saws, PAX makes a decent one, and Japan woodworker has some "timber" rip saws that look promising, but I don't have any experience or second hand knowledge of either.

The quiet sawing of a handsaw appeals to me infinitely more than the loud, obnoxious roar of a chainsaw with a rip chain. In addition, it doesn't wastes nearly as much wood. I'm not doing this for production, but for building a treehouse, and other such puttering. To put it simply, I like using handtools, just because it's can be a relaxing and meditative task. Plus, I don't have money for a 18" bandsaw, or chainsaw to handle logs of any size.

Oh, wait, I can bring this back on topic! I plan to nail the new beams with hand forged nails.
- Tom T - Monday, 02/13/06 05:13:19 EST

HF, VI, PR,PO, etc.: Sure, HF will ship here, but my experiences haven't been all that great. The Post Office seems to demolish the boxes pretty badly, and HF packs them as though they were going next door, not halfway around the world. About the only way that works is to put together a really huge order and have it drop shipped to a freight forwarder in Florida, and then put on a boat.

Buying stuff out of PR is a nightmare. The people over there just don't care, so half the time orders don't get recorded or filled, or shipped. I gave up on that.

I'm going to Portland, Oregon in a month for Pop's 90th birthday, so I'll pick up a few things there and bring them back.
vicopper - Monday, 02/13/06 08:19:27 EST

Ripping logs: Tom T.,

When I read your post, what came to mind was pictures I had seen of "pit saws" in use. You can google "pit saws" and IMAGES, and several approaches are shown. It formerly was a two man job. Google shows a pit saw being sharpened at Williamsburg, and the teeth configuration is visible.

One sawyer used to stand in a pit dug in the ground, and he wore a broad brimmed hat to catch sawdust. In one photo from Maryland, large saw horses were built, so that one sawyer could stand under the saw horses.

I guess it could be a one man job, but keeping a relatively straight kerf would require frequent checking.
Frank Turley - Monday, 02/13/06 09:18:25 EST

More ripping of logs: Tom T.,

I have a little experience in facing a log, and I'm thinking you may need to learn how to snap a chalk line and face at least one side of the log with a broad axe. While the log is resting on saw horses, you score first with a felling axe, and then remove chips with a broad axe. The flat face would give you a point of reference. Drew Langsner has a book out on log building which shows this.
Frank Turley - Monday, 02/13/06 09:40:41 EST

More timberwork: Yep, pit sawing would be the way to go, provided you have a pit man. YOU want to be the tillerman, up on top guiding, while the pitman gets showered in sawdust and provides the grunt work. (grin!) I use an old 26" 5 tpi ripsaw for slimming down gunstocks after profiling on the bandsaw for the same reasons you like to use hand tools. Also, it's too easy to really screw up an expensive chunk of wood with a bandsaw. It's a lot like work to hand cut a 30-inch rip in a 2" thick walnut board, though. For the size of board you're talking, you need a largeish saw. Personally I'd go with Ellen's suggestion of a broadaxe if surface finish isn't that important.

I've never used the Japanese timber saws, but if they're like most Japanese saws they'll be much easier to use than the Pax ripsaw.

Too bad those German one-man crosscut saws have teeth that can't be refiled to rip, they're the perfect size for what you want.
Alan-L - Monday, 02/13/06 10:53:22 EST

PO Shipping: I thought it was standard PO procedure for the carrier to put all packages in a row and drive the mailster over them first, then pack them in the vehicle; they take up less space that way.

I remember when all the hoopla was going on over airport security (don't get me started on the futility of their approach), and it was finally decided they should all be gov't employees so they could be screened, trained, have uniform standards applied. Made sense to me.....then the letter carrier came and brought part of my mail and all of someone elses. Oh well. Another day in Sun Country. 76F yesterday and again today.
Ellen - Monday, 02/13/06 10:55:07 EST

No this is a bench mount unit, the linisher looks like an angle grinder.

VICopper: While the nearest micro brewery is only a 20 min walk from here the nearest rum distillery is quite a distance away. This small town had *4* hardware stores before WalMart moved in. We've lost 1 since then but the prices on everything seem to have come down a bit and they've started pushing customer service now that the alternative is not an hour on the interstate each way...

- Thomas P - Monday, 02/13/06 12:48:02 EST

Rum Distillery: I visited the British Virgin Islands long ago on a Windjammer tour. Lots of fun. Could still drink then. On one of the islands, I think it was Virgin Gorda, there was a local rum distillery. You brought your own bottle and they would fill it up for you. You could get the "fresh" rum for 50 cents or the "aged" rum for 75 cents. I asked hold old the "aged" rum was. Answer was "yesterday". Lotsa laughs!

Beautiful scuba diving there. Spent a large part of my trip submerged; when not eating. Food was quite tasty, most nights the cooks set up on the beach wherever we were staying.

The ship had been the French sail trainer "Papeete" (it was called the Flying Cloud by the Windjammer folks) in the distant past, probably the last time it had real maintainence. Caught the tail end of a hurrricane. Exciting. Rolled the ship over on the beam ends and tore the foremast out by the roots. Lotsa white faces and fumbling for life preservers. Grin! We had a lee rocky shore, so crew dropped two anchors and paid out chain. Those of us who were qualified scuba divers went down and muscled one of the anchors into a good holding area. The other tore loose. One turned out to be just enough.

Try that on Carnival!
Ellen - Monday, 02/13/06 13:42:46 EST

Ripping: Thanks for the info. Sort of what sparked this idea was the old dude in the "Alone in the Wilderness" show/documentary, which showed this guy building a log cabin up in Alaska. They showed him mark out pieces of a tree trunk, then rip them down to size for window some window casings. It was pretty cool, and you could tell the guy had to have a good amount of experience in general carpentry to hold a decent line.

I've seen these bow saws with fairly wide 1 1/2" blades, and wonder how well they would rip a board. The one's I've seen are crafted pretty nicely.

As for pit sawing, my oldest son is only 5, so he's still a little young to dig a deep pit, then stand in it to work the bottom end of the saw.
- Tom T - Monday, 02/13/06 14:05:03 EST

Ripping: I forgot to mention that a common method was to split long pieces of timber, instead of sawing. Apparently this was common practice in a number areas, in lieu of actually sawing the pieces. Once the split is done, final hewing with a broadaxe may be minimal. I should probably mention that I'm doing this to softwoods - cedar and doug fir. Trying any of this stuffy on a hardwood would be brutal.
- Tom T - Monday, 02/13/06 14:08:47 EST

More ripping yarns: And I forgot about those frame saws, so we're even. (grin!) Yes, those wood-framed bowsaws will rip up a treat. Sometimes you can find them with a full frame and the blade in the middle. These are often called felloe or felly saws, as they were used to cut out the wooden segments of spoked wagon wheels, coincidentally called "felloes" or "fellies." If you can find one, for ripping in softwoods get the coarsest blade you can find to keep it from loading up on you. 2 or 3 tpi is not too rough for big wood. Most of them are made for hardwood, with 5 to 7 tpi. You do know how to file ripping teeth versus crosscut teeth, right? A properly sharpened handsaw is a joy to use.

And yes, splitting works a treat on straight-grained wood. You ought to be able to do a lot of that on your cedar if it's big. You'll need a froe and/or several hardwood wedges, depending on how long a timber you're splitting. I'd go over it with a scrub plane to knock the splinters off afterwards, plus that gives the wood a nice "hand-worked" surface quality.

Ellen, that sounds like a cruise I'd like, but nobody else I know of would appreciate!
Alan-L - Monday, 02/13/06 14:20:49 EST

rippin': Whoa, nifty. I never knew of the scrub plane before. They look like another tool I should own :) I know at a crude level how rip and crosscut teeth work, and I know how to sharpen a saw because I just read an article about in fine homebuilding(tongue in cheek). I can't put much stock in the article, though, because it was written by a novice sharpener, and didn't even really touch on the differences between rip vs. crosscut. They did show some jigs that look extremely useful, though.

I would appreciate any quality saw sharpening references.
- Tom T - Monday, 02/13/06 15:09:14 EST

Saws & Ships: Aw, I bet Uncle Atli would leap at the chance for a cruise like that! Paw Paw would have loved it, too. Jock is probably doing one just like it as we "speak".

Good source of bow and two man saws and various types of axes is Lehman's Non Electric Hardware. They cater to the Amish trade.
Ellen - Monday, 02/13/06 15:40:04 EST

Tom T I used to split ash and oak and if you had nice straight grain it was a joy to do, knock in a wedge add a few gluts and bang you had 16' of straight sided log.

Thomas P - Monday, 02/13/06 16:44:55 EST

just don't try this "joy of splitting" on something with interlocking elm.

let's just say that it will swallow your wedges, your gluts, and anything else you care to feed it, and then it will laugh out loud at you. There IS a reason they used to use it for parts like wagon wheel hubs.
- Matthew Groves - Monday, 02/13/06 17:26:04 EST

Something completely different: Has anyone tried sanding steel with one of these flap sanding discs that goes on a 4 1/2" angle grinder? I tried it today on a lower shelf on a hall table I'm building. WOW. That makes a really nice finish. Just thought I'd ask.
- Doug Thayer - Monday, 02/13/06 18:02:15 EST

I order 4 1/2" flap discs in boxes of 10, I usually order 2 boxes at a time- we probably use about 100 a year. Have been since 1988 or so. For a big rush, get a big 7" grinder, like a milwaukee, and try out the 7" flap discs- they really rip thru material.
I prefer the klingspor brand, in the alumina zirconia- they are blue, and last a long time on hard materials.
ries - Monday, 02/13/06 19:00:24 EST

Saw sharpening (fitting): I picked up a copy of "Farmers Shop Book" years ago. It is written by Louis M. Roehl and my copy is the 16th printing, 1948. Chapter 2, pp 45-76, is titled "Fitting Saws" and shows clearly by photos and diagrams how to sharpen, joint, and gum a variety of saws: hand saws, crosscut, and circular.

Frank Turley - Monday, 02/13/06 20:45:46 EST

ripping books and flapping discs: Tom T. : Two decent books that mention sharpening methods are "Old Ways of Working Wood" by good old Alex Bealer, copyright 1980 Castle Books, ISBN 0-7858-0710-1, and "The Complete Woodworker" edited by Bernard Jones, published by 10 speed press 1980, ISBN 0-89815-022-1. This second is a compilation of articles on woodwork from the 1910s, rather reminescent of "Practical Blacksmithing" by Richardson. Both these books assume you're using traditional western tools. Since that is, in fact, what I use, they work for me. The Japanese saws may well blow western ones out of the water, but since I've never used one I don't know. I had one of those cheapo Stanley toolbox saws with Japanese-style teeth, which was advertised as an all-purpose rip or crosscut saw, but it really didn't like to rip. I also have a Japanese folding saw like the Silky Gomboy (no, I didn't make that up) that absolutely will not rip.

The basic difference is that rip teeth must be flat-topped right triangles that cut end grain like a chisel, while crosscut teeth are isosceles triangles that slice crossgrain like a knife. Also look up Highland Hardware in Atlanta, they have stuff for doing this. Kinda like Woodcraft, but Highland was here first.

Flap discs are cool. Every metalworker needs a case or two in every grit.
Alan-L - Monday, 02/13/06 20:51:24 EST

D'oh!: Frank posted at the same time as me, and his book sounds better. Gotta find a copy of that...
Alan-L - Monday, 02/13/06 20:53:07 EST

Convienient Units:
I kinda like the Biblical cubit (elbow to finger tip) This averages 18" on most American males and has been said to be 16.58" by some that had nothing better to do and not much sense either.

When I was scaling and recording the measurments of Ancient Greek musical instuments the first thing I would do is make a paper cubit scale based on the person in the vase painting. Then I would repeat it and divide into common fractions (1/2, 1/4, 1/8) and measure the image with that. The measurements were then recorded in cubits. Averages were taken then converted to inches for modern convienience.

Now. . . this all sounds a bit flakey and full of error but you must consider that the makers of these instruments had no drawings and no standard system of fine measurement. They were probably taught to layout their work using simple proportions using dividers. This was the assumption that I used. The instuments I was measuring was the late style Kithara of the Classical period. It was not surprising that they averaged one cubit in width and were proportionate to the golden rectangle. Major features such as the width of the arms were exactly 1/6 the width and 1/3 the width apart. The base was 2/3 and the string length 1 cubit. Dozens of images were compared and all very nearly alike. They were so much alike that errors were most likely that of the artist, not the instrument maker.

So, start with your arm, a pair of dividers made from wood or metal and some education and that was all you needed to layout a sophisticated and highly developed musical instrument to the standard of the time. The same was true of architecture and engineering of the time.

The last time I had to measure something without tools it was two cubits and one hand width (+/- 1/2"). With a simple measuring stick divided by eye the measurement would have been reproducable to +/- 1/8".

Don't get me started on the metric system. I'll switch from inches when THEY adopt a universal system that would make sense to ET's. Otherwise it is just another arbitrary system.

- guru - Monday, 02/13/06 21:28:37 EST

Units, some not so convenient: When I was a metalsmithing student in college, I spent a lot of time replicating some of the techniques of Bienvenuto Cellini, the Renaissance master goldsmith. Some of his formulae called for doing processes whereby the time was measured in terms of how long it took to say an Ave Maria or a Paternoster.

Not being Catholic, I had to go to the campus Newman Center and get one of the priests there to teach me. Both in Latin and English, although Cellini certainly wouldn't have used the English translation. (grin) I also timed the speed at which an impatient priest did one in Latin, versus the time for a pious lay person to do it. The priest was about 40% faster, as I recall. I don't recall what the average time worked out to be, unfortunately. Been too many years.

Suffice it to say, that time, like other units, is arbitrary for most purposes. Hours, fortnights or Ave Marias; it doesn't matter as long as you can do it the same way repeatedly. And you thought saying all those Hail Marys was just for pennance, didn't you? (grin)
vicopper - Monday, 02/13/06 22:32:39 EST

And other nonsense: I remember a time when I had the sign company, we had to install a signpost next to a roadway. The code had a very specific setback from the edge of the pavement, and the area where the post was to go was on about a 45° slope. My installer was making himself crazy trying to calculate how far down the slope the hole had to be to net the correct setback from the edge.

After I watched him go through a couple of sheets of notebook paper trying to calculate it, since he couldn't find his plumb line, I walked over to area, stuck the tape measure out the prescribed distance and dropped a pebble from the end of it. "Dig there", I told him, "Gravity isn't just a good idea, it's also the Law." Sometimes, it's just quicker and easier to do things the simple way. (grin)
vicopper - Monday, 02/13/06 22:40:20 EST

Another note on saws: A sharp rip saw will work fine as a crosscut saw on dry lumber. Crosscut teeth were originally designed for green wood. If all you are cutting is dry wood, this eliminates the need to have two saws on hand. By the way, when any of my buddies brags about getting a new cordless saw, I show them the thirty or so cordless saws I have that never need recharged.
- Jeff G. - Monday, 02/13/06 23:22:31 EST

Handsawn Lumber: I think by the time You have handsawn enough lumber to build a treehouse You will have gained an appreciation for the sound of mechanized sawing. Or at least I would have by then. They demonstrate a sawpit at Joana Furnace during Hay Creek Festival, they don't make many boards in a couple days.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/14/06 04:16:36 EST

Ripsaws crosscutting: A sharp rip saw will work fine as a crosscut ONLY if it's tooth pattern is rather fine. Believe me, no matter how sharp your rip saw is, you wouldn't have fun using it as a crosscut if it's got 5 teeth per inch (like many rip saws do). When you get to the 12-16 and beyond range, it starts to work pretty well at crosscutting.

At this range, though, you're talking precision cuts in lumber not very thick. You also don't need much set to the teeth, which is nice, because setting a 16tpi crosscut would be nobody's idea of a good time.
Matthew Groves - Tuesday, 02/14/06 12:15:07 EST

I have a friend who had a portable structure put together with lag bolts that he used a rechargable drill to drive---he was not amused when I showed him that a brace with a socket bit and socket in it was not only much faster but could torque them all the way down with no problem. I also really hate the whine of electric air mattress pumps so I demonstrated how a hand crank blower with an improvised nozzle could inflate a queen sized air mattress in under a minute---*much* quieter.

I'm not a luddite; but new does not equal better and some of the old tools are a whole lot lighter than holding something with a big batterypack at arms length overhead...I actually prefer working with an extension cord to the weight of the battery pack...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/14/06 12:20:14 EST

Thomas P.: Thanks for the idea on the air mattress. May have to use that at Quad State this year.
- Jeff G. - Tuesday, 02/14/06 17:54:22 EST

Flapper disc: Hmmmmmmmmm, 7" grinder. I like the sound of that. Will probably try it. It's amazing what a person can stumble on when just stumbling thru life. The flap disc I have came from Sears and was in a $20 package with a 4" knoted wire wheel and a 3" cup brush. I would bet those flap discs would really carve a peice of wood.
- Doug Thayre - Tuesday, 02/14/06 18:06:05 EST

You might see if an old tapered tubular metal leg from a table would make the appropriate nozzle.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/14/06 18:16:33 EST

Brace & Bit: We used a hand brace fitted with a countersink to debur the bottom side of holes drilled on radial drilpresses, worked really well. These were large parts with lots of holes up to about 2" diameter. In His old age, My dad prefered the electric impact wrench for driving lag bolts.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/14/06 23:29:49 EST

Handsawn Lumber: Why make it hard for yourself? It may well be the romantic thing to cut timber/lumber by hand, but as Dave Boyer points out, the fun can go out of it quick. I have some logs (old house stumps) that I want to convert into slabs and Mr Shindaiwa or Mr Stihl will be my helper. This is seasoned Australian Ironbark that woodpeckers would not even consider.

I have been on one end of a crosscut saw and don't fancy ripping on my own to be a viable option. Getting a sucker to work on the bottom side - not in this lifetime!

On another topic, I bought a hardly used DeWalt 9" angle grinder for about half price just recently. Should be able to shift some material with that sucker - hope it is not parts of me! Is there a difference in using one of these as opposed to a 4" Makita? Ha! (I need this kind of machine to turn my finely textured, pebble like deposits of molten metal from the arc welder into tidy work. Commonly called bird droppings, I believe, although I prefer chook s**t!)

Big A - Wednesday, 02/15/06 06:57:10 EST

Big grinders: They're pretty much the same as the little ones, they just run slower to keep the rim speed the same. They still snag stuff, but they pull a LOT harder when snagged, often hard enough to yank them out of your hands if you're not holding on tight and using the side handle.

Lots of folk like ot take the wheel guard of of them, which is a really good way to get seriousl injured. It is easier to damage a wheel with the big ones, as they have so much more mass. A fractured wheel can provide a second or two of excitement before the pieces impale you.

With the big angle grinders, you really want to have the work clamped down solidly, as the definitely have the power to move heavy pieces when they hang up.
vicopper - Wednesday, 02/15/06 08:32:04 EST

addendum: I forgot to mention that the big ones have loads of torque when you hit the switch, and can jump around unexpectedly. The high rotating mass of the bigger armature has more of a gyroscope effect, so watch for it.
- vicopper - Wednesday, 02/15/06 08:34:33 EST

anvil for sale: I can't see any writing on it. today I'm going to wire wheel it to see.

I also have one with a triangle marking on the side.
ken Kristiansen - Wednesday, 02/15/06 09:30:05 EST

Hand and Power: It depends. David Pye in his book, "The Nature and Art of Workmanship", tried to distinguish between hand and power tools in a sociological, philosophical way, and gave up after a few pages. He realized that he wanted to talk about "workmanship of risk and workmanship of certanity". An example of workmanship of risk is heating and HAND HAMMERING in blacksmithing, where at any point one might burn the object or ruin it by too much reduction, etc. A dentist is also working at risk, but he or she is using a POWER DRILL. Workmanship of certainty is say, manufacturing a 7-UP can where each can looks pretty much like its neighbor, and it keeps going that way unless there is machinery "downtime". Note that Pye is talking about any kind of work, not necessarily "craft". About 2 pages of a day on the crapper is what I would recommend with this book.

I suppose Pye would say that using either pit saw or chain saw is workmanship of risk. You guide both, you can get off center, you can have accidents and lapses in attention. Using a mill saw is more in the line of workmanship of certainty.

When I was young and broke most of the time, I hung my first door with my shop-made strap hinges. I didn't have many power tools, although I did take a pistol drill and an extension cord. After shimming the door around, I found I could do everything efficiently with hand tools. I used an awl to layout holes and a push drill for the pilot holes. I had a speeder for the lag screws.

David Pye also wrote "The Nature and Art of Design".
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/15/06 09:45:03 EST

Firescreen doors w/ glas: Howdy all:

First post on this side of the fence...

Making some big (59" x 52") bifold type firescreen doors. Plenty of forged grillework but tempered glass behind. Still in the design phase. Anybody been there before? Any hard learned tips I should be aware of?

Appreciate it...just doing a little due diligence before I get cracking...

Shep - Wednesday, 02/15/06 11:32:55 EST

Flintlock: I posted some pics of my flintlock rifle in the Gallery at Forgemagic if anyone is interested.
Ellen - Wednesday, 02/15/06 12:55:35 EST

Ellen---you want to adopt a grown son so he can inherit????

Dave how was that impact wrench about a mile from the nearest outlet?

Big A: I have one of those and I love it but all that torque is hard on the wrists and you must be *SURE* that it's stopped before putting it down---I have an old battered anvil that I use to stop it---that horn will be cleaned up in another 100 years or so.

Ken is that triangle recesed with a C in it? If so it's a Columbian cast steel anvil.


Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/15/06 13:06:01 EST

none: Just dropped in to say hello from Maury Island Wa. state.I have been blachsmithing for about 25 yrs. Partime.Jim Grizz Griswold
- Jim Griswold - Wednesday, 02/15/06 13:34:30 EST

just wanted to say hi to everyone--- been waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to long sense ive posted computer is still down..... new job and school all taking their toll on my time as what lil time i get to spend in my shop ...... hoping to be back online fulltime within the week................ hoping everyone is well.....hoping to post some pics of my latest sculpture in the next week or so till then.............
- pete - Wednesday, 02/15/06 13:50:40 EST

Welcome to anvilfire Jim.
daveb - Wednesday, 02/15/06 15:11:59 EST

Welcome, Grizz: Good to see you around here.
vicopper - Wednesday, 02/15/06 15:48:26 EST

Depending on the distance from the fire, and the habits of the fire maker, tempered glass may shatter, or anneal to non-tempered glass that breaks into dangerous shards. Newport Glass (Google 'em) has a special transpearant ceramic for this application. Ain't cheap, though.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 02/15/06 17:23:42 EST

Glass: John:

Yea, verily. Learned that today. Local glass co. carries a pyrex type glass for this app. Thanks!
Shep - Wednesday, 02/15/06 18:59:05 EST

Big grinders: I have to agree with Vicopper about the big grinders, and weigh in with a strong amen on the taking off of the guard being DUMB. Two fellows at the last factory I worked at had taken the guards off big air powered grinders. one died. One had about half a 9" disc go thru his neck, and he bleed out in short order. The other fellow who removed the guard did NOT die.

He killed the worker in the next station over.
ptree - Wednesday, 02/15/06 19:12:10 EST

Thomas: Inherit? Hmmmmm. That implies my demise so my "son" can inherit. Methinks he hath evil plans hatching. Grin!
Ellen - Wednesday, 02/15/06 19:45:04 EST

Ellen I'm a firm believer in not trying to hurry the process---shoot I'll even sign you up for skydiving classes for your 70th birthday!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/15/06 19:58:53 EST

Thomas P : Good call on the anvil It is nice to put a name to the anvil.Thank you Ken K
ken Kristiansen - Wednesday, 02/15/06 20:26:02 EST

Law: Vicopper, your statement about gravity reminded me of a friend who is a physicist at Los Alamos Nuclear labs. His coffee cup says," 186,000 Miles per Second. It's not just a good idea, it's the LAW !!!"
- Loren T - Wednesday, 02/15/06 20:27:15 EST

Law: Make that "Speed limit: 186,000 Miles per second ...
- Loren T - Wednesday, 02/15/06 20:28:32 EST

anvils, Whats in a name?: What makes an anvil more $$$$$ then the next. Is it the name,steel, size or age?
ken Kristiansen - Wednesday, 02/15/06 20:38:08 EST

Big grinders: Amen on the guard! I know a man that lost all his genitals when a wheel let loose. He almost died.

The ones with "soft start" are safer, but the starting torque and throw one off balance. I saw a welder thrown off a barge into the river once. Also any lockable switch is dangerous.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 02/15/06 21:04:18 EST

Anvil values: Ken,

vicopper - Wednesday, 02/15/06 21:13:33 EST

Loren: Years ago I was talking with my cousin about ultralight aircraft, and said something about them being limited to 60mph. He just looked at me and said, "Try 32 feet per second, squared." I decided maybe I could get along without one, after all. (grin)
vicopper - Wednesday, 02/15/06 21:21:33 EST

Thomas: Heck, if I make it another 9 years I'll be happy to take skydiving classes.
Ellen - Wednesday, 02/15/06 21:28:52 EST

Sanding Glass: Does anyone have any tips or experience with sanding a chip out of the lip of a wine glass?
- Johnw\W - Wednesday, 02/15/06 21:52:34 EST

John W: Do it wet, use 600 grit to star, then 900 or 1200 to finish. Polish with some 1µ alumina or diamond powder on a damp piece of leather or felt.

This is based on the assumption you just want to blend the chip in, and not remove enough frm the rest of the rim to remove it completely. For that, you'd need a machine with a steel or brass lap and progressively finer grades of cutting media like diamond or carborundum.
vicopper - Wednesday, 02/15/06 22:08:36 EST

Damascus Knife: Rich, your knife is beautiful! Like your power hammer, too.
Ellen - Thursday, 02/16/06 00:46:48 EST

Ken the "brand" of anvil pretty much tells you the quality/construction after that then it's size and condition and style.

Age is generally *not* a factor till you get around 200 years; older than that and it has some cachet to collectors though they are often too worn for "users"...

Thomas BTW the Columbians were made in Cleveland OH IIRC
Thomas P - Thursday, 02/16/06 01:07:13 EST

Thomas P Impact wrench: It only deaws 8 amps at 120V, runs fine on the 1800watt portable generator, or the inverter on My boat. I have used it on the boat lots of times ancored out, as I seldom had a slip in the 12 years I spent cruising. Works great when there isn't a way to keep the part from rotating if using wrenches, like removing the alternator pulley to put it on the spare [once or twice every year].
Dave Boyer - Thursday, 02/16/06 01:09:38 EST

Big Grinders: Thanks for the comments, fellas. I was thinking that there would be a gyroscopic effect - must have used one of these when I was younger (at least 35 years ago).

With regard to the guards, do you mean that the wheel should be covered on both sides, for about half of it? I have the model that did not come with the cover for the work side of the wheel. The instruction book is downstairs, but from memory the models are the same, except one is listed as a grinder sander and the other is a grinder only.

If size counts, is a person with a big grinder a big grinner as well?

As an aside, one advantage of being upside down, down here is that we are a good few hours ahead of good ol' USA. It is just after 8pm here and I have just put in a big day of doing nothing - a lot of you would be looking for the morning break around about now? (Which means you will not be reading this drivel until you get home tonight, and I will be in the land of nod.)

As our famous bushranger Ned Kelly said, just before he was hanged/hung - "Such is life."

Big A - Thursday, 02/16/06 06:06:31 EST

Grinder guard: Big A: Not on the work side. but between you and the wheel! I did smokestack testing for years and we often had to do welding and grinding way up there. I always wore a safety belt and lanyard and had a special lanyard on my big Milwaukee grinder. I've had both me and it hanging from the lanyards after I caught the wheel wrong on the work. Be careful, they are easy to get used to and then careless with.

The sander-grinders have slower speed and less torque. Serious grinding takes longer with one of those. They are much safer, though.
- John Odom - Thursday, 02/16/06 10:29:22 EST

Thanks Frank!: Frank, your posting about David Pye may have solved a mystery for me. I've been trying to recall an artical I once read somewhere about the element of risk when making a piece. Where the premise was the more chance of hooping something up when making it the more it was "art"
Just having the concept and no author I've not been having any luck finding the origins. Currently the question of whether a computor guided plasma torch cut out design is fine craft has come up in my Craft Council.

Again thankyou. Anvilfire is great, ALL the answers are here to be found! (so now it's off to the library)
JimG - Thursday, 02/16/06 13:32:16 EST

AMEN, JimG: Great post, Frank T.
3dogs - Thursday, 02/16/06 14:33:49 EST

Jim- by all means get, and read, the David Pye book. It is probably the most serious philisophical book ever written about crafts, and it makes a lot of sense. Not very many pages, but the ideas flow so hot and heavy that it is pretty thick reading.
I think he is dead on the money, even though it was written before cnc machine tools changed a few things.

I used to routinely get into craft shows with plasma cut work- not cnc, but optical trace, which for all practical purposes is the same thing. And lots of other people would get bounced for machine cut work- the difference was weather or not there was anything more to the work than just cutting. If cutting is one part of a piece, and it then incorporates forging, bending, welding, and other hand processes, that is different than a "turd on a stick".

All kinds of hand craft work uses machines to make it- many kilns are computer controlled, I know a hand weaver who has two computer controlled looms, glass blowers can get very high tech- I knew one who had wires and computers running everywhere controlling temps for ovens and glory holes. Milling machines, or computer embroidery machines, or inkjet printers all sneak into modern craft shows.

The difference to me is whether the artist is using a tool, or just stamping out mass produced items. Which is kinda like pornography- I cant define it, but I know it when I see it.
ries - Thursday, 02/16/06 15:23:51 EST

Risk: While making a irish harp I was doing freehand sanding of the forearm on a disk sander, each pass there was the risk of ruining the whole thing, which would mean starting all over and losing $60 worth of cherry, each pass the stress got higher and higher looked just right! it might not be ART but it was Craft. no risk no craft.
Steve Mills - Thursday, 02/16/06 19:54:54 EST

Big A - Big Grinder: Do You have the one with the aluminum motor housing or the one with the plastic motor housing? The aluminum housing model comes in 5000RPM and 6000RPM. Both are 15 amps and powerfull as all hell. Use it with respect, and You should be OK.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 02/17/06 00:08:17 EST

Big A - Big Grinder: Do You have the one with the aluminum motor housing or the one with the plastic motor housing? The aluminum housing model comes in 5000RPM and 6000RPM. Both are 15 amps and powerfull as all hell. Use it with respect, and You should be OK.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 02/17/06 00:08:17 EST

Euroanvils : I was wondering if anyone has used a Euroanvil before? Do you have any opionions on them as far as there quality goes? They seem rather inexpensive for there sizes. Thanks
Tim - Friday, 02/17/06 02:26:49 EST

Tim: Several of the folks here use Euroanvils. I have a nice big one on my wish list, grin. Quality is good, the horn will need some polishing. I'm sure owners of them will speak up with more details. Also, Euroanvils has a good reputation for dealing with.
Ellen - Friday, 02/17/06 02:44:16 EST

Euroanvils: Tim: Ellen is right on the money: i have a 175lb with a side shelf and an upsetting block: my buddy has one also and he is very happy with his: i have done a lot of work on this anvil and it is still like new: hope this is of some help: skip
skip kern - Friday, 02/17/06 18:19:45 EST

big anvils: Are there any books on big anvils? I have a 509 lb anvil and the id is obscured.I do not see it in Mr. Postmans book.
Todd - Friday, 02/17/06 22:25:34 EST

Euroanvil: The Northwest Blacksmith Association uses a bunch of euroanvils for the class forging. They are nice working anvils, and a hard enough face. The only thing I don't like about them is that the horns come to a pretty blunt point. The Nimba's come to a much finer point, presumable due to the higher quality casting. I think they're a good deal.

I bought Nimba because 1.) high quality 2.) buy local 3.) buy American.
- Tom T - Saturday, 02/18/06 03:46:57 EST

Big Grinder: Dave,

It's at the electricians getting tested. I think it has a plastic housing (what doesn't these days?). We work on 240 volts here and I think it is about 2200 watts. It has a 10 amp plug.

FYI, general Aussie power is 240 volt single phase, 50 cycle. Most power points are wired to 10 amp, but 15 amp circuits can be installed. If you want real grunt you can go to 3 phase, 415 volts (probably at no small expense for a home shop).

That will do me for the big grinder thread! I will treat the big fella with respect.

Big A - Saturday, 02/18/06 05:37:56 EST

Power: Big A,

That sounds simpler than here in the U.S. Here, service to houses has two hots and a neutral (at ground [earth] potential). It's 240 (or 220) across the hots, and 120 (or 110) from each to neutral. Standard circuits are 120 volts and either 15 or 20 amps. 240 volt circuits at up to about 50 amps are used for things like dryers and air conditioners (and welders and air compressors).

In commercial buildings, 208 volt 3-phase is common, and permits 120 volt circuits to be run between one hot and the neutral. There's also 240 3-phase, 480 3-phase, and probably a few other volatages.

Mike B - Saturday, 02/18/06 10:44:40 EST

Todd Postman's book is it; if you are really hankering to know call him! He's been working on the update to AinA with a slew more makes in it.

Of course if you post pics of it over at including one of the bottom we might be able to pinch hit..

BTW does it have a thick heel, two 1.5" hardies and an indent on one side of the face? If it does then it's a Fisher anvil made for the Blacker triphammer---got one myself...
- Thomas P - Saturday, 02/18/06 16:57:25 EST

Ellen, flintlock: nice flintlock. Do you make them for your self or for sale?
- Ken Kristiansen - Sunday, 02/19/06 01:02:37 EST

Ken: Thanks for the compliment, I've only made the one (fixed a few others when I had the time), and it's not for sale. In fact it is well secure, have to get past 4 territorial German Shepherds and me to even begin the quest. Grin!

Alan Longmire might be able to help you, he posts here regularly as Alan L. You can email him and ask. He does beautiful work and knows the subject thoroughly. Nice guy, too.
Ellen - Sunday, 02/19/06 13:10:26 EST

Ellen: I tuned in your gallery of photos including your flintlock. I assume all the photos were sent by you, including you on horseback. I'm not too familiar with the forgemagic galleries. Is your name mentioned with the photos?

Nice work. Thanks for telling us about it.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/19/06 13:16:44 EST

Frank: Thanks for the compliments. I'm sure my work will be lots better when I can get to Santa Fe for your school.

Yep, I have a bunch of pictures up in the "Recent" section, also there are albums by name. I'm in there as "Ellen". Lots of nice work and varied work in the alubms, we need a gallery here. The photos disappear from the Recent section as more are added, but they are preserved in the albums, plus they are loaded there at the initial upload.

I thought folks should put up a picture of themselves so we could get to know one another, and I like the one (two years old) of me in NM on my Thoroughbrd (tall, isn't he?). I've found if I include a horse in my picture at least folks have something purty to look at.

Thanks for sharing the dark pottery technique with us. That type of work, and weaving are awesome, and the beauty is just stunning to look at.
Ellen - Sunday, 02/19/06 14:00:30 EST

Frank: I forgot to mention that if you click on the caption under the photo it expands the size, tells you who posted it, and any comments they included on making the piece.
Ellen - Sunday, 02/19/06 14:13:04 EST

Ellen-- Wow! That is some beautiful craftspersonship on the flintlock works, barrel and stock, and other pieces, and a great shop, too!
Miles Undercut - Monday, 02/20/06 01:47:51 EST

MILES: Good to hear from you mon frere! I was getting ready to fire off an email in your direction to make sure you were OK. How did the peeper overhaul go?
3dogs - Monday, 02/20/06 02:14:21 EST

3dogs-- Thanks much for your kind note! I have decided blacksmiths, this one anyway, should pretty much be obscene and not heard. My distant (that is, anything from about an arm's length on out) vision is back from the 209/80 it had been to 20/15 now, which it had been all my life before the fuzziness set in. Things can go wrong, as that four-page waiver warns, but so far, so fantastic. Next one sked for 3/9.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 02/20/06 11:32:52 EST

Oops! Another typo alert. Make that 20/80, not 209/80. GOT to start reading this stuff before hitting POST!!
Miles Undercut - Monday, 02/20/06 11:34:46 EST

Miles,-thanks for the nice compliments. Really good news on your eye. Hope next one goes as well! I had lasik on both eyes two years ago and it was a nice improvement. Contacts before that.
Ellen - Monday, 02/20/06 11:58:45 EST

Thomas p Thanks for the direction . Just 1 hardie hole 1-5" sq.
Turning this thing over is a going to be an event.
- Todd - Monday, 02/20/06 13:00:47 EST

Miles: Great news, indeed! I shall immediately sacrifice a hecatomb of groundhogs in your name! (I got lotsa groundhogs. Have you seen the market price for oxen lately?)
3dogs - Monday, 02/20/06 14:05:18 EST

Inside Stair railings: I have been in the ornamental iron business for about 28 years but I have never done inside ornamental iron railings. I have got a small 10 foot job with the pickets mounted throught the wood treads {oak}. The top rail will be the large Julius Blume top rail with the spindles welded to the under side. Like I stated earlier the bottom of the spindles will go into the treads. What is the best way to aproach a job like this. I know this may take a rather extended answer but I would apreciate it very much if someone would take the time to reply or direct me to a source where I can get the answer QUICKLY {website}. I am very familiar with the type of work just never done it myself so you can just give me a quick answer and if I have questions I will ask them. Maybe I will go ahead and ask a few questions now. Do you make your top rail then take it to the job site and mark where you want the spindles inserted into the treads? Making sure the top rail is marked the sameand then go back to the shop, layout the stairs and build the top rail with the spindles welded to it. Would you then go back to the job site and drill the holes in the treads and insert the spindles? How deep do you set the spindles into the tread plate? What do you use to fill the hole around a square spindle? Is there an apoxy used around the spindles for added strength? Thanks for any help!!!!!!!!!
- firebug - Monday, 02/20/06 17:28:38 EST

Almost Ready !: Got the forge almost finished only have to hook up the blower with the flex pipe, I have cut 4 pieces of rail road tie and am making straps to pull them together for an anvil stand for a 300 # peter wright, then I will have to mount the post vise to the work bench. only problem there is that when the vise is mounted to the work bench the leg doesn't reach the floor, I think I'll have to weld a shelf for the end of the leg to rest on. went to Blanchard Ok. this weekend and got 800 # of coal. so sometime this week I'll be firing up for the first time...Getting kinda excited. Spent part of today ox/act welding 1" sections of square tube to each end of the 1" x 1/8" straps for the bolt to go through, I have 8 straps, each bent 90 deg 1 set at top and 1 set at bottom. then I will have to fab something to hold the anvil to the to of the R/R ties....Any opinions as to what would work best for that?
- Steve Mills - Monday, 02/20/06 18:44:14 EST

holding down the anvil: Steve, just remember anvils work best when securely bolted down. My quick-and-ugly solution with an elm stump and a 143-lb Peter Wright was to lean a couple of 1/4" steel plates against the feet fore and aft, then lag bolt through those into the stump at a 45 degree angle with 1/2" by 6" lag screws. Oh, and lock washers. If the anvil is tight, all the energy you put into it comes back at you instead of being dissipated by the bounce and ring. Tight enough, and the anvil won't ring. This saves your hearing and the sanity of those around your shop. (grin!)
Alan-L - Monday, 02/20/06 18:53:43 EST

Leg Vise: Steve,

You didn't ask about your leg vise, but here are two thought anyway. First, this is probably obvious, but you can knock the wedges in the bracket loose and adjust the bracket up and down. It may be all the way up already, but just maybe you could get enough so that the leg will reach the floor.

Second, the leg is there to take a pounding -- if you weld a shelf it should be pretty heavy. It might be better to use something that rests on the floor. I have a short piece of pipe that fits the shoulder on the bottom of the leg welded to a plate that rests on the floor.
Mike B - Monday, 02/20/06 19:01:34 EST

Firebug: I don't know of any websites to send you to, but here is my 2 cents. We built these all the time where I used to work. But typically, the pickets had a small shoe welded to the bottom and that was screwed to the tread. Shoes are available from King Architectural Supplies. Our detailers would measure the stairs, each tread and riser, do a shop drawing showing us the length of each picket. We would build the rail, field fit it to make sure each shoe was touching the tread, as the shoes are cast, a swift smack of a hammer would break them loose and they would be marked if needing adjustment. Brought back to the shop and corrected, usually not many needed adjusment. Powder coated and reinstalled. We once did prelim fit at a house and while we had the rail at the powder coater, some carpenter saw all of our screw holes on the treads and filled them. That is the quick and dirty. We did do one job where the pickets went into a hole on the tread, but they were limestone and we made escutcheon plates to hide the hole and everything was epoxyed in place. I know that didn't answer all your questions, but it's a start.
- Jeff G. - Monday, 02/20/06 23:45:01 EST

Ellen, 3dogs-- I appreciate your good wishes a great deal! Many thanks. But please-- let's be able to say no groundhogs were harmed in making this movie.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 02/21/06 00:10:41 EST

Jeff G: Thanks for that explination. I will have to sink mine into the tread plates. They do that a lot around here, Montgomery Al. If anyone has the procedure for this please respond. I have seen the shoes used on the picketts but they make me nervous because they are cast iron and brittle.
firebug - Tuesday, 02/21/06 09:58:51 EST

Miles, no groundhogs around me here. Some at my cabin. So they're safe from me. 3dogs was just trying to make you feel good, that the big sacrifice was in your honor. His "friends" tell me he collects groundhogs all they time; they are a substitute for the possum and swamp rat he used to eat back home. Don't know if it's true or not......but if he stops by for a visit I'll sure watch my dogs and horses. Grin!
Ellen - Tuesday, 02/21/06 10:37:32 EST

Ellen-- I know, I know, I know, awreddy! Just kidding. But, my goodness, how could we ever look Punxatawny Phil in the eye if....
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 02/21/06 12:10:40 EST

Miles; if you are loking old Punxatawny Phil in the eye you might be drinking too much! With 20/450, 20/550 I'd be plum jealous of your 20/80!

One thing I have noticed with my legvise stash is that they came in a number of heights and height and weight are not necessarily correlated.

a 300# anvil usually doesn't bounce much; my 500# one has not moved at all in the last year it's just been sitting on my anvil baulk; of course I don't work real heavy stock on it.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/21/06 12:38:56 EST

kids today: I was reading some of the posts about kids today. I have been a Junior High teacher for four years in Nicaragua. One of reasons I went into teaching was to be a role model and mentor for young people. Living in Nicaragua for the last four years has given me a great insight into the lives of people who really have hard lives. Much of this is due to the break down of the family. It doesn't matter what country you're in, family break-down has terrible results. For this reason I am using blacksmithing as a means of mentoring young people. In about a month I plan to open a vocational school in a very poor community outside Managua, Nicaragua called Los Brasiles. It is my hope to bring in youth who may be on the verge of making poor decisions, teaching them a trade and encouraging them to use their talents and skills to become quality adults. Besides blacksmithing I will also be teaching welding and metal fabrication. If anyone is interested in learning more about this project that is on my heart please visit my website:

Maybe some people out there are interested in being a part of this vision. Please feel free to contact me.

Mike Deibert - Tuesday, 02/21/06 14:05:42 EST

Forge Blower Seal: Steve: I have a home built seal on my Caney-Otto blower. It's a washer shaped piece of harness leather. I made the ID cut using a gasket cutter. The seal is glued to the blower housing. After the glue dried, I oiled the seal; it does not leak; and I don't over fill it the case.
- Jim C. - Tuesday, 02/21/06 14:29:17 EST

Thomas P-- just now checked my atlas and was deeply shocked to discover we have been spelling Punxsutawny incorrectly. But... my goodness, as Herr Rumsfeld would say, what if Phil should ever learn of that error, AND that we were even so much as contemplating cooking up a slew of his kin? Don't you know animals have feelings, too? (Now, I am not sure whether this is anthropomorphic bilge or actually true, but for what it is worth, an animal lover once called up angrily to inform me of that after I called a dog a mutt, in print.)
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 02/21/06 16:45:20 EST

Anvil Hold Down: Unless you just want your anvil to ring, just set it in a bed of silicone caulking. I've done it on a wood base and it works great. We use a 3 leg base, made from 1-1/2" plate with 3 legs of 2" x 3" tubing. The legs are cut at 22 degrees, with a plate on the bottom. Put about an entire tube of silicone where the anvil sits ... set the anvil in place and let the caulk squish out all around ... then scrape off the excess (there should be excess)... then don't mess with it until the caulk cures. The caulk will take about 3 days to cure, but you can't knock the anvil from the base. ALSO, it will take ALL the ring out of the anvil. I can send pix if anybody wants. Regards. SB2
Whitetrash - Tuesday, 02/21/06 18:58:26 EST

Large Bridge Anvil eBay: Nice bridge anvil and accessory # 6254728330.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/21/06 20:47:48 EST

Punxsutawney: Thomas, Miles, et al I was being nice and not being the least bit A*** retentive about spelling, buttttt since you found out yourselves, I'll gloat now :) As a PA native, I knew you had it wrong, still have to look it up to be sure myself even though I've drieven through it 3 or 4 times in the last couple of years.

Frank, Darn nice bridge anvil, and not too far from where I live. Don't even want to think what it'll probably end up going for.
- Gavainh - Tuesday, 02/21/06 22:20:58 EST

IIRC Animals, Vertabrates, Mammals, Primates, Hominids, Homo Sapiens Sapiens---so yes I would believe that at least some animals had feelings. Was it not Mark Twain who said that "Man is the only animal that Blushes; or has need to."

Note the caulk method works great unless you need to unhitch the anvil from the base and transport them seperated on a frequent basis.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/21/06 22:21:27 EST

Feelings: All one needs do is observe any of the social mammals at play; monkeys, elephants, horses, dogs, wolves, ad infinitum and you will observe all the pleasures, social interactions, and petulance that we are capable of. You'll also see where the "pecking order" derived from. I suspect reptiles have similar tendencies but not as well developed. Just my opinion.
Ellen - Tuesday, 02/21/06 23:13:33 EST

Caulk: I'll try the caulk on the anvil base that sounds like it won't sound at all :-)
Steve Mills - Tuesday, 02/21/06 23:39:38 EST

Anvil Base: Uri Hofi says to oil or grease the base if You want to remove the anvil, good recomendation as the base I built as per Hoffi is about 145#, plate is 2"thk. To be used in upsetting, as the anvil doesn't have an upsetting block.
- Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 02/22/06 01:12:09 EST

Groundhogs: Look! Phil is out of the hole! BANG Spring is just around the corner. Seriously, I only shoot the destructive little buggers when they get to close to Our outbuildings, and the foxes take them away before morning.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 02/22/06 01:17:25 EST

euroanvils and the shelf: Thanks for the information on the euroanvils. Now to the little details. Perhaps someone might comment on the addition of the shelf. Is it a useful addition? Does using a sledge hammer become a comcern? What applications is useful for? Thanks again for all the input.
Tim Gibbons - Wednesday, 02/22/06 02:23:47 EST

Critters: MY SAKES!! I do have a knack for stirring things up, don't I? Miz Ellen, you needn't fret about me around your critters. If there's any thing I love as much as a big horse, it's a big dog. I don't even ride horses much. I just pet and scratch them and talk with them some.(BTW, the Lakota name for Horse is Shunka Wakan: big dog. Works fer ME.) I never had a horse or a dog undermine my shop and garage. I did have a little Husky who would make herself a considerable den in the summertime, though. She and I had an agreement; I'd let her dig ONE to suit herself, then she wouldn't dig any more. Groundhogs, however, don't know how to quit, and they won't negotiate with you. I do fully expect to see my anvil, and the hickory stump it sits on, start to lower itself into the floor one day. In the interest of ecology, the environment, and just feelin' good in general, I will do my part, and recycle the little fellers. Back in the peat bog.
3dogs - Wednesday, 02/22/06 04:50:55 EST

3dogs: Awwww, we're just joshing you some. I wouldn't worry about my critters, you can stop by anytime you're in the neighborhood. It's Thomas I'd worry about. He's been looking at my rifle and shop pics and drooling some, and he has a reputation for being a collector and all. Why he even said he'd take the house and shop away and leave me with bare dirt, some horse manure, and $50 for "shop cleaning". Nice fella. Grin!
Ellen - Wednesday, 02/22/06 10:04:51 EST

Anthropomorphic Canine : George Goebels, the old TV and Las Vegas comedian, once observed, "Did ya ever notice how your dog looks at ya, when you're getting undressed?"
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/22/06 10:15:21 EST

Ok, OK, I'll make it $100...

I once had my shop in an old chicken coop that was being undermined by groundhogs. I filled all the holes with dirt but the two that showed the most activity and then put a double powder charge in the falconette and stuck it down the holes with dirt piled around it and fired it off.

Must have hurt their feelings cause there was no sign of them for the 6 months I was there afterwards, though there was a distinct burnt powder smell around the holes that may have warned them off.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/22/06 11:32:35 EST

anvil shelves: Tim, I did a demo on making handaxes once on a 500-lb Euroanvil that had the side shelf. It was the finest anvil I've ever used. I could tell a VERY big difference in the amount of work I could do in one heat versus my 143-lb PW. I was a little worried the side shelf would get in the way, but it never did. It actually came in very handy to have a spot where I could do a greater-than-90 degree angle bend over the far edge, and then have a built-in square right there in the corner between the shelf and the body to check squareness against. The shelf goes on the far side of the anvil from you, if you didn't know, by the way.

I don't think I'd use a big sledge on the shelf, but anything you can swing single-handed won't hurt it.

I was gonna start saving up and trying to justify a big Euroanvil until I made a trade for a mint 225 lb Refflinghaus this year. It is currently sitting on the shop floor waiting for me to get a suitable stump for it, the poor thing! It doesn't have the shelf, but is otherwise identical in looks to the Euros.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 02/22/06 11:33:09 EST

3dogs-- actually, 'twas I who set off all this conjecture about the delicate sensibilities of the pore groundhogs and other varmints, demurring as I did to your kind offer to sacrifice some to win divine favour for my eye. If you want to really test your exterminative skills, come on over to my shop, where I'm currently running about a jillion head of pinon rats, ground squirrels, brown recluses and black widows. Me, I've pretty much given up. Live and let live, I say. Hey, I liked your anvil stamp technique! Betcha that'd work with totem poles and tobacco shop wooden Indians, too!
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 02/22/06 12:10:35 EST

MILES: No offense taken, my friend(s). The stamp technique has been around for centuries. My late friend, M. Buonarotti, employed that same technique when he did the Pieta. He simply got a big rock, then took a hammer and a chisel and knocked off everything that didn't look like the Pieta.
3dogs - Wednesday, 02/22/06 12:33:27 EST

Rail Measure: Firebug:

You didn't mention if thre was a curve or not, but I will assume no...if a cureve then that is a whole different kettle of fish.

Get a copy of Whitaker's Blacksmith Cookbook. It has one of the best measure methods in it. Essentially it is this - determine where you want your spindles to hit the tread (i.e. centered, whatever) Put down some masking tape and mark that point. Then, lay a long straight 1 x 6 along the steps and, using a level, measure the distance from the marked point on the tread up to the top of the 1 x 6. Record this measurement right on the stick. Now you know exactly how long to make your spindles, as you have all the variances measured. It is up to you to decide final length. Make a full sized drawing. I have used this method quite a few times and the client is always mystified at how well everything fits. Hope you can understand my description -- again, it is laid out very well in Whitaker's Cookbook.

- Shep - Wednesday, 02/22/06 12:48:28 EST

Thomas: That explains it!! Groundhogs DO migrate. The last time I was in ABQ I went up to Tijeras, where I saw a whole family of deaf groundhogs, sitting on a rock, signing to each other with their little paws. It was adorable, and inspirational, as well. I tried signing back to them, but they would only give me a strange monodigital gesture of some sort.
3dogs - Wednesday, 02/22/06 12:48:31 EST

Blacksmith Shop for Sale:

-One 700 lb. Essley Air Hammer, One 1100 lb. Essley Air Hammer,One Nazel Forging Hammer, Two Gas Furnaces, Two Coke Forging Furnaces, and that material shown in the photos
- Conner - Wednesday, 02/22/06 13:11:07 EST

G. W.s Birthday & 32 Years with the Federal Government: My first official day* was George Washington’s Birthday, 1974. Most propitious, I like to think, being as GW was a local boy** and is just about as admirable a character as any civil servant could wish for. He was the man who could have been king, and walked away from it all, reputation and soul intact. He was a man who lost battles and won the war. He was a man who kept the competing factions and ideologies in balance, mostly through sound judgment and the force of his personality. He was a man who kept his eye out for the main chance, but whom you could still trust. Lastly, he was a man who loved living in the tidewater, when duty allowed him.

Much of the miracle of the survival of the republic is due to him and the careful precedents that he set.

Meanwhile, I have muddled on at the Securities and Exchange Commission (18 ½ years) and the National Park Service (13 ½ years); working on facilities and leases; and on any good day saving the citizens (that’s ALL of us) thousands of dollars by providing the support and space where it’s needed at a reasonable cost.

“We are the infrastructure; all that other stuff is just entropy in action.” (Uncle Atli’s Very Thin Book of Wisdom)

*Barring my very brief career in the USMC
** Well he was born and spent his earliest years within site of Blackistone Island, it’s just that he was on the Virginia side of the river.

George Washington's Birthplace
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 02/22/06 13:13:10 EST

Anvil Shelves:
Dean Curfman of BigBLU Manufacturing prefers an anvil shelf so much he had one welded onto his big Peddinghaus. . . One of the professional weldors in the shop did the welding. I think the add-on was 4140. It was a slick job as it looks original and has taken a lot of beating.

If you use a sledge on the horn, heel OR shelf of an anvil you will get exactly what you deserve. Nothing is indestructable.
- guru - Wednesday, 02/22/06 14:37:07 EST

Pickets into Wood treads:
Here is how a friend of mine does it and it works quite well. It is very permanent.

3/8" or 1/2" lag bolts have the heads sawed off to makes studs to fit in the wood. Length depends on the framing below the wood treads. There should be about 2 to 3 inches above the wood.

The pickets are end drilled for the lag bolts. This is best done in a lathe but can be done in a large drill press.

The pickets are carefully measured and cut to fit each step in assembly with the rail. A trial fit is done on the actual stairs, ends ground as needed.

The lag bolt studs are set into the treads.

The pickets are set over the studs and then cross drilled and countersinked. 1/4" mild steels pins are set and upset into counter sinks.

Decorative collars are used to cover any gap and must be on each picket prior to setting the rail. It helps to tape them in place so you do not lose them.

- guru - Wednesday, 02/22/06 14:50:59 EST

Brown Recluses: Miles,

Watch out for those fiddlebacks. I got bit by one and it almost killed me! I ended up losing a chunk of my leg that measuerd about 4" X 10" by 1 1/2" deep. I was laid up for 2 months and needed corrective surgery. It was not fun. I know of others that were not so lucky. One guy I worked with knew 3 people who died from recluse bites. Try to avoid them if ya can!
- Rich33 - Thursday, 02/23/06 01:37:39 EST

Rich33, compare the survival rate from recluse bites to that of hanta virus to determine the correct ordering of the watch list; of course there is sone discussion going as to if Miles actually passed on some time ago but he just drinks so much coffee that the body hasn't caught on---oops I guess with his restored vision I should be more careful what I say lest I figure prominantly in the foundation for a new gazebo or solar chronometer...

Thomas P - Thursday, 02/23/06 11:55:00 EST

anvilfire CSI Hammer-In:
ATTENTION Tailgaters!

I have heard from several folks that they are coming to our event to BUY!
- guru - Thursday, 02/23/06 12:26:17 EST

Brown Recluse: I have a friend who was bit by a recluse,he was also dibetic, while being treated he had a stroke leaving him unable to walk very good, not good for a guy 45 years old. Be carefull Brian C, he lives in your part of the country. Fred McDaniel
Old Moose - Thursday, 02/23/06 12:27:10 EST

Brown recluse: Yes, take care. I was bitten at 17. Left a nasty hole in my calf about the diameter and depth of a half dollar and took more than a year to heal.
- John Odom - Thursday, 02/23/06 12:58:05 EST

Thanks, y'all. I am well aware of the hazards of the little bastards' nasty bites. My wife just had a real estate agent go on medical leave from trying to sell a house for her on account of surgery almost identical to Rich33's dreadful experience. This, by the way, is the very same wife who won't allow pesticides on the property. It is utterly hopeless. A friend a mile away got plague some years ago from a hot flea his dog picked up from a squirrel. I killed some three dozen pinon rats (possible vectors of plague and hanta virus)in one month or so a couple years ago, but they keep coming back. Asked an 80-some-year-old rancher what he did about the critters in his outbuildings. "You can't do anything," he said. I believe him. Let's hear it for anti-bodies (there is some thought that people who live in plague zones actually do develop them-- if they survive-- and tetracyclin if they don't develop them.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 02/23/06 13:28:57 EST

Ah, but that's not the REALLY scary stuff. Bear tracks-- biggies, too-- in the arroyo out just behind the shop. A rattler every so often. Wildcats. And then, there are those HUMONGOUS and mysterious grey spiders that I want 3dogs to come deal with, bigger'n tarantulas they are, that live back in the walls. See 'em rarely. But that is enough.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 02/23/06 13:32:46 EST

Ames True Temper: Just started looking at my Feb. 2006 issue of Industrial Heating. In the back there is an announcement of auction and preview for Thursday, March 2 of machineray & equipment no longer required in the continuing operations of Ames True Temper - further clarified as the complete closure of shovel, hoe, and hand implement manufacturing facility at 3801 Camden Ave. in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The auction is to include stamping, heat treat, finishing, forging, metalworking, toolroom and cnc euipment. Equipment includes drop forging hammers to 5000 lb, and too much more to mention. For complete terms, conditions, virtual brochure, photos and more visit (I'm not associated with Hilco in any way, just posting this as an observation on the continuing dwindling of American manufacturing.)

I'm not certain if this is a single plant and more remain, or if the manufacturing is going off-shore. (My WAG is that it's headed off shore, but I emphasize that is a personal WAG based on no other information.)
- Gavainh - Thursday, 02/23/06 14:11:57 EST

Big Grey Spiders:

They could be wolf spiders. Hairy legs and lots of eyes! If they are, they're the ones you want. Relatively harmless to humans and with a voracious appetite for other crawlies, including other spiders. Some folks sailing in the tropics keep them aboard their boats because they gobble up any roaches that come aboard with the carboard boxes for the provisions; and when they run out of roaches, they eat each other, keeping the population in balance.

We encourage them in our place, as long as they're not in our personal space. Black Widows, on the other claw, get squished if we can squish them, or doused with WD-40 or any other volatile substance if they're out of reach!
Here's a pretty one!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 02/23/06 14:15:46 EST

We have a multitude of blackwidows around the outside of the house; but for some reason they don't come inside much.

Haven't seen a rattler yet though I keep piling up scrap for them to hide in.

The scorpions are pretty small and folks don't pay them much heed.

The local small mammal control agents are barn cats and their control agents are cars, kids and coyotes.

Give me the plague and a blackwidow bite anyday over hanta virus!

Miles; Seeing big furry spiders? Time to adjust medication again! I have a floater in my eye that makes me feel like something is sneaking up on me on that side unless I tweak the tinfoil cap so it covers that region.

Thomas P - Thursday, 02/23/06 14:55:55 EST

Great Googly Moogly! That spider that Atli posted the link for is something else! Dang sure I would'nt put it in my hand. Reminds me tho of the big bannana spiders we had in Okinawa. Those things could cover a 3 x 5 index card with their legs. Nasty! Ugh!
Bob H - Thursday, 02/23/06 15:52:59 EST

Our tarantulas look fearsome but are good critters. I've picked more than one up and let it walk on me for folks from different parts. Fun to watch their faces. Esp. when you offer them the tarantula. Grin!
Ellen - Thursday, 02/23/06 16:29:39 EST

Nahhh, wolf spiders we know about here. These beauties are BIG. I mean bigger than a tarantula. Furry, too. And speedy. Once every 10 years or so one will get lost, wander out of the wall and scoot across the floor in the semi-dark. The stroboscopic effect of the TV gives its performance an unforgettable Stephen King effect. On the other hand, our few scorpions are just tiny little guys, a couple of inches max. Now, the thousand-leggers are something else! Wowee, like out of the Pleistocene.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 02/23/06 17:38:08 EST

Wolf spiders: We used to keep them in the house in the Philippines. They greatly reduce the population of the other critters. You should have seen visitors from the States react though!
- John Odom - Thursday, 02/23/06 18:15:23 EST

spiders: My oldest son has loved most critters since old enought to walk. He could not abide his mothers hurried stomping of most insects that entered the house, and would gently carry the wolf spiders out of the house. Still does it at 18. Simce we live in the forrest, mice are a definete issue here, so outdoor cats fill the bill. Our cat controls are owls, and coyotes. Oddly, the owls do prefer skunks though.

Do you westerners have screech owls? Should have seen my Colorado born and raised city girl when the screech owl about 20 yards from the door let loose as we came home one night! Our first daughter was a toddler, and about stripped the clothes off her mom climbing her!
- ptree - Thursday, 02/23/06 20:24:45 EST

Screech: Yep that'll do it....should have seen ME first time I heard a PEACOCK, We had just moved in it was just dark, HEEEELP
HEEEEELP ran out the door in my underwear with my pistol in hand.....woops. :-)
Steve Mills - Thursday, 02/23/06 21:20:40 EST

Steve: Well, Steve, at least you were armed! I hate to think of unarmed people. VICTIMS.

I was deer hunting, foggy morning before the sun came up. Well, it turns out it was just a bobcat. Of course, I didn't know that at the time, never having heard a bobcat scream before. Bout wet my pants. Sounded like a woman screaming, a long long drawn out scream. And me sitting there in the dark, with only an arrow. :[
Bob H - Thursday, 02/23/06 22:04:12 EST

We have great horned owls, that love to carry off kitty cats in their fierce talons on silent wings, my favorite one included. And cute li'l burrowing owls that move into prairie dog dens. Our Native American brethren are not fond of owls-- an emissary of death. The little lady rescues spiders and escorts them from the premises. Not brown recluses. Those she squashes. But all other arachnids have diplomatic immunity inside the house. Ellen can handle tarantulas because she is a Girl of the Golden West. But us dudes from the urban East are sissies when it comes to things with green blood and more than four legs, at least this dude is.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 02/23/06 22:06:43 EST

Critters: If it can get around n dry land without legs, or if it has more than twice as many legs as I, it cannot be in my house or I will cancel its birthday immediately. Centipedes get killed three times just to be certain. (grin)
vicopper - Thursday, 02/23/06 22:35:30 EST

Well, I'm partial to snakes, lizards and tortoises too. Hate centipedes. Been bit by them and it was not fun in the least little bit, not gentle like a scorpion sting, or grabbing a bull snake who does not want to cooperate. Grin. Go out of my way around rattlers unless they are in my living space or my horses or dogs space, then they become a hatband or a belt, or stir fry.

Bob--ever hear a mountain lion scream? That'll raise the hair on your head also. I was watching a program on calling elk (something I enjoy doing), and this caller brought a nice bull in, who turned out not to be afraid of the caller. Since they were just making a video to show how to call it, was not hunting season and neither the caller nor the camera man was armed. The camera man kept filming while his friend dodged round a big tree as the elk vented his wrath. Fortunately it was only a matter of seconds and the bull left. I imagine that was a terrifying experience. Those big bulls can shake the ground when they bugle. I've called them in lots of times outside of season just to improve my skill. I ALWAYS do it from up a tree. A stout tree.
Ellen - Thursday, 02/23/06 23:03:03 EST

Drill press: Saw a Ridgid drill press at Home Depot for around $225. I was a floor model, with 1/2 horse engine. It looked fairly decent, for the price, and for the hobby user. The demo model was all honked up. Any opinions on how well it would work for general hobbiest blacksmithy hole drilling?
- Tom T - Friday, 02/24/06 00:03:28 EST

WHOA: Blind machinist.

That's pretty cool. In the past, I've pondered what it would be like to blacksmith if I was handicapped, or blind. I wonder if someone who was blind could work out a system for smithing.
- Tom T - Friday, 02/24/06 00:28:45 EST

Ridgid: I have a large drill press I purchase from home depot. It is a rigid. I am very happy and impressed with it.
- anvilcrack - Friday, 02/24/06 01:05:13 EST

Avil Crack: Just found 2 cracks at the corners of the square hole at the front of the anvil below the horn each about 1"- 1 1/2 long (300# peter wright) leave it alone or grind & weld?
Steve Mills - Friday, 02/24/06 01:20:10 EST

MILES/Owls: I say, Miles, old chum, have you heard the call of the Brit Owl?........"WHOM, WHOM" (There's one from the archives for ya)
3dogs - Friday, 02/24/06 03:12:54 EST

Blind smith: Tom T I have a friend that i work with that has only one eye, he gets along with it real well. Bigest problem is finding center, and keeping things strait, he can do it but takes him longer. He has made some nice pieces to
Old Moose - Friday, 02/24/06 09:54:01 EST

Steve Mills: That PW anvil has a wrought iron base and any little cold shuts or minor cracks around the handling holes are not going to propagate unless you're using a 300# hammer on it. WI is also really difficult to try repair welding on, so you have nothing to gain and a lot to lose. Leave it alone.
vicopper - Friday, 02/24/06 10:16:48 EST

Critters: A woman my wife works with, has problems with a pair of Owls and too many Coyotes around her place. The coyotes are really taking a toll on the small game, which is probably why she has an owl problem. She just had a small, 6 lb puppy taken by an owl. All the other dogs have been scared to go outside. All they found was wing marks in the snow where the owl came into the kennel. Amazingly, she got her pup back. Someone else found it and took it to the vet, who checked the chip in the dogs back. Owl must have dropped the poor thing, which is a good thing. Bet that little guy will be skitish of birds from now on.
Bob H - Friday, 02/24/06 10:58:34 EST

critters and owls: Or maybe a hawk, dunno...

I got quite a set of chills once when I was tracking a rabbit through the snow as a kid. The tracks meandered all over the front yard for quite a ways, then suddenly disappeared. Very close examination revealed faint wingtip marks about three feet apart on either side of where the rabbit had been. That'll make the back of your neck itch, I tell you...
Alan-L - Friday, 02/24/06 11:52:27 EST

Yater Swage Blocks and a Champion 400 Forge: To everyone,

This is a shameless plug to individuals that may be interested in blacksmithing items for sale:

1)One Champion 400 hand-cranked forge blower complete with hearth, shield, stand and forge tuyere pipe. The height of blower and shield is 46”. The hearth is 18” in diameter.

2)Two unused Wallace Yater swage blocks, I purchased them new probably between years 1984 to 1986. I bought them and just never used them. They have been stored for at least twenty years without use.

3) Twelve blacksmithing hand tools. All used, old and still ready to work or be displayed.

In order to find some of these items on eBay, my eBay ID is: sdemba. The only current item for auction is the forge. It has a eBay listing number: 6255597839

I have posted preview pictures of some of these items at Yahoo photo hosting site. You may need to cut and paste this into your web browser address window or use the hot link feature of this website posting

If there are any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Steve Demba
Pictures on Yahoo website
Steve Demba - Friday, 02/24/06 12:10:28 EST

Steve Demba: Is this pick up only, or can you ship? Where are you located?
Frank Turley - Friday, 02/24/06 16:05:04 EST

Critters & Owls: I am a licensed falconer and fly a male redtail hawk, it's realy something to see when they come down on a rabbit, there seems to be a shortage of rabbits in my area as I haven got one this year...going hunting again this weekend.
Steve Mills - Friday, 02/24/06 17:51:52 EST

Critters: Several years ago My wife and I took our nephew to the Grand Canyon, as he'd never been. When you arrive at the south rim, the very first place to pull in is Mather Point.It is a peninsula that juts out into the canyon about 100 yds. Going to the far point, it is the best place to watch either a sunrise or sunset. As we walked up, there was a yellow tape blocking it off, and two very nice ladies passing out flyers. When I asked what was going on, one replied that the re-introduction of the California Condor was being monitored, and one was eating a carcass just over the edge, and they were closing it off until the bird was done. I said," Oh! Tourist? " . Apparently becoming a tree hugger did away with her sense of humor, since she said "No. just a deer."
- Loren T - Friday, 02/24/06 19:29:11 EST

3dogs-- great! love that Britspeak! I am counting on you-- to anybody who can not only trap a whole hecatomb of groundhogs, but then get them to march into the stewpot, dealing with a passel of pinon rats'll be a mere bagatelle.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 02/24/06 21:24:54 EST

Miles: .....It'll more likely be a bag o'rats
3dogs - Saturday, 02/25/06 04:49:00 EST

YUMM, GROUNDHOG: ..The other yellow meat.
3dogs - Saturday, 02/25/06 05:28:12 EST

Prairie Dog, a Cousin: The Western prairie dog is a cousin of the Midwestern and Eastern groundhog, and in some areas, they are a threatened species. Great White hunters shoot them while the little guys stand by their burrows, looking around. "Hey, Bungalow Bill, What'd ya kill, Bungalow Bill?"
Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/25/06 09:08:29 EST

Swage Block Finish: It has been said that Wally Yater surface finished his own cast swage blocks. Likewise, Russel Jacqua finished his Nimba anvils.

I was perusing my 1894 Manning Maxwell & Moore catalog recently, and noted that they had two prices on a 12¼ x 12¼" swage block, The "regular" block is $4.80 and "planed both sides", is $5.80. The cast iron stand is $4.80.

...thus proving that in that era, they were concerned with finish, at least on the faces.
- Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/25/06 11:49:41 EST

Prairie Dogs and Tree Huggers: Here in the Peoples Republic of Boulder Colorado, there is a woman who has a prairie dog town of pvc pipe in her home. She has requested that the county government capture and move all of the birds of prey because they are EATING all of the wild ones!
- habu - Saturday, 02/25/06 12:24:17 EST

Frank., Bill, Scholsser: Frank
I saw you in this months "Anvil's Ring". I really didn't recognize you at first. It is amazing how someone can change in ten years. I don't mean it like it is are aging gracefully. Pretty soon you will have hammered long enough to be in the "Legend" category as Francis and Philip. How young is the old prairie dog anyhow? I am always glad to see you still at the for front of the blacksmith community. Keep on a banging on Frank.

I have finally had a chance to review the Bill Epps DVDs. Boy doesn't he make everything look so relaxed and easy? I like his laid back approach and how easily everything comes togethor. I am truley enjoyingg his lessons.

I also was able to view Scholsser's Fire and Roses DVD. It was nice to see a Rose made from a solid piece of 1 1/2" round stock. I thought it turned out really nice. sure looked like an aweful lot of back breaking pounding. I was scared the whole time they would miss and chip that dandy double horn Kolhswa anvil. I was waiting for it to break in half, but it faired really well.
Burnt Forge - Saturday, 02/25/06 12:39:02 EST

Burnt: I'm old enough to know better and too young to resist.

I keep telling the photographers to "fade that double chin and that chubby tummy". Alas.

I had a student years ago who insisted on making a rose out of the solid. I relented, and we made two of them, using the hot-cut method as shown in Schwarzkopf. That was enough for me, seemed a little too tedious. I would now make the petals out of OLD car hoods, punch square holes, and stack the petals on the stem end-tenon. I DO forge weld the leaves and the leaf branch onto the stem. More fun than when the hogs ate grandma.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/25/06 13:07:11 EST

Frank: BOG :)

I am all for the stack the petal method too! I could feel the pain watching the rose made from solid bar.
Burnt Forge - Saturday, 02/25/06 15:57:27 EST

Frank ..LOLOL: Frank

I just realized the real reason for the setting of the proper height of the blacksmith's anvil. It is so as we all age and our bellies sag we have a shelf to prop them on during photo opps....LOLOL. Maybe that is why our hammer handles and tong reigns seem to be made longer over the years...BOG
Burnt Forge - Saturday, 02/25/06 16:02:54 EST

Burnt: It starts out as Dunlap's disease. Your belly dune laps over your belt buckle. Then, there's furniture disease. Your chest drops in your drawers. Finally, the worst of all, Pirate's disease: SUNKEN CHEST!
- Frank Turley - Saturday, 02/25/06 16:32:27 EST

Hmm small tender rodents fattened on pinion nuts and served with a mole sauce made from an old family receipe, (cut the receipe into small bits and then sautee till crispy...)---on a steeek.

Miles here's the perfect way to extract revenge on the yuppification of your area---open a restaurant serving
- Thomas P - Saturday, 02/25/06 17:21:23 EST

Rose: I was show how to make a rose from solid roundbar myself by a woman called Lina Sundin in Sweden, I asked her to show me somthing and thats what she picked (lol after making one I can see why you weren't so keen Frank) its a hell of a lot of work compared to cutting out and stacking petals. I'm still very much a learner, but it was fun for me to see to how much steel can be upset with a high heat and a ruddy big sledgehammer :)
However it makes for a really beautiful rose, you can really see it's all come from one piece. The Russian style rose I was also shown is nice but too square at the base where the petals meet the stem for my liking.
I was kind of flattered that she didn't have any hesitation in showing me somthing thats not the easiest thing for a novice to try out.
Ian Lowe - Sunday, 02/26/06 02:41:08 EST

Ian, re roses : Ian, when making the 'Russian' style rose, do not try and make the bottom so flat. I had a student who was learning how and I figured I would make one and he would then I could point out the differences and then he would KNOW why. Well I was going to tell him that poor hammer conrol left the gottom edge almost as shaped as the top.... But when done his was MUCH more nice looking only because of that effect so to this day I will follow suit. But I do know what you mean........So how are you doing?
Ralph - Sunday, 02/26/06 03:37:32 EST

Pretty well Ralph all things considered. I was really, really gutted that I had to come back to England, but having smashed the only means of transport I had into somthing resembling a rubiks cube my options were limited :)
All told I got through Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway before things went pearshaped. I met 55 Blacksmiths and learned from everyone of them, either by just watching them work or by actually being given a hammer and shown how to do somthing. I met some famous names like Willem Jonkers III, Hårvard Bergland, Berth Johansson and his daughter Therese and some incredibly talented and artistic Smiths too like Oona Torgersen, Erik Gjendem and too many others to mention.
I will absolutely try my best get get back to Europe and finish off what I started there but as things stand now my main focus is on getting things together for Australia. I fly out on the 17th of March and have a year there. Hopefully I'll get the chance to put a bit of what I learned into practice.
Ian Lowe - Sunday, 02/26/06 05:50:27 EST

Ian: I've missed something. Clue us in. How does one get to be world traveled and stay in the blacksmithing world at one and the same time? You're either a millionaire or you've acquired grant money?

...speaking of which, a friend told me that he got his grant money by saying that he was "working in negative space concepts". (BOL) We're ALWAYS working in negative space concepts.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/26/06 08:55:46 EST

Frank: Neither! I wish :)

What you do is scrape a few thousand pounds together (lierally, my total budget for the entire trip was just over £5000), get an old banger (or jalopy as you call them)buy the cheapest one way ticket for a Ferry to Holland from England as you can, borrow your brothers AA European Road Atlas and go :)
Then you sleep in your car or your tent, and at a push a Hostel for the big cities. You cook your own meals on a camping stove, wash your own gear wherever you can and generally survive off the land.
Next comes tracking down your target, the elusive and rare Blacksmith. Now he or she is a cunning breed, expert at tucking themselves into the most obscure places, usually well away from 'civilisation'.
The local press make excellent trackers, tourist information promise a good hunt but usually fail to provide any kind of game at all. Surprisingly once you've bagged your first Smith they have a wonderful tendency to provide you with the location of the dens of other Smiths and so armed with your trusty AA map you can begin stalking prey further afield.
The Smith, although often a solitary creature, displays an incredible willingness to share his territory, often allowing you to share his den and even his recent kills (ie a wonderful dinner of local cuisine and a bed for the night) and so your scant budget can be made to stretch further.
Okay joking aside. I had no real budget and no real idea of where to look, I'd asked for help finding folks without great response so I packed up my car and went. The biggest cost to any traveller is accomodation, using my car was a way of getting around and putting a roof over my head and it worked pretty well. I don't mind roughing it. After I met my first Blacksmith (Hello Paulus!) I asked about who they knew and followed the trial. Working that way I covered 5200 miles around 5 countries in Europe and met 55 of them. My ticket to Australia has cost me £408 and I have a working holiday Visa so I can earn money while I'm there. No big budget, no grant, no help of any kind up until recently. I've been posting reports on my trip over the road at (Sorry folks but noone from here asked me to and Glenn did) and recently launched an appeal to help me get a laptop to make this easier in OZ.
All I get out of it is an education unlike any other and a chance to show what other Smiths are up to around the world.
Ian Lowe - Sunday, 02/26/06 10:12:07 EST

Maybe if Miles' area is getting yuppified he could advertise his "restaurant special" as "all natural ingredients." Folks will line up to chow down.

Ian, great trips and great memories for you I'm sure. I'm told Australia is one of the best places to visit as folks there are real friendly and it's not so darned crowded.
Ellen - Sunday, 02/26/06 10:16:12 EST

Ellen: I had an incredible time, and was blown away by the capacity of complete strangers for kindness. How many people do you know who would open their homes and their lives to a rough looking Yorkshireman like me on the basis of:

'Hi my names Ian, I'm from England and I'm travelling the world trying to meet Blacksmiths and learn how to forge. Don't suppose I can have a go in your Smithy can I?' :)

I met some VERY special people who I will never forget, some of them have become friends I talk to whenever I get the chance. ALL of them were fantastic people who I owe a tremendous debt of thanks to.
Ian Lowe - Sunday, 02/26/06 10:34:12 EST

Ian: I understand. In my youth, I did the same in the U.S. and Canada. I had a passion for American Indian dancing and singing. A buddy and I visited powwows, mostly in the Western states and provinces, in whatever manner we budget, camping, etc. I'm still hooked.
- Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/26/06 11:19:25 EST

Ellen-- I think Thomas and you may be onto something here. Move over, Col. Sanders! Onliest problem is, um, a biggie: the image thing. Gotta find a catchy euphemism for rat. Ian-- really great mini-essay on your travels! Sounds like a book to me! I scoured central Ireland from east coast to west and the sole working smith I came across was a German, teaching in, of all places, the "heritage center" at Crossmolina. This was 1998 and my Gaelic kin were too busy getting rich and forgetting our dreary past, I guess, to care much about such antique pursuits, alas.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 02/26/06 11:21:10 EST

Frank: You also got a terrific wife out of the deal. But, I think you know that.(BOG)
3dogs - Sunday, 02/26/06 11:49:24 EST

Thomas: In Mexico, you might be able to concoct a mole mole.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/26/06 11:53:47 EST

Miles: How about natural fed free range low fat white meat? What did James Clavell call them in King Rat? Seems like they had a catchy name for them in the resort at Changji in the 1940's. Alas, the name, and the location of the book, both elude me.
Ellen - Sunday, 02/26/06 13:04:19 EST

Miles, Thomas P., & Ellen,: Leave us not forget Farley Mowat's "Never Cry Wolf". The movie gave us a visual of the wolf researcher eating rats, as the wolves were doing. The researcher told what he was doing to an elderly Indian and his son, and the old man says, "Good idea!"
Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/26/06 16:11:51 EST

Frank: That is one of my all time favorite movies. I love Rosie getting the bush plane off the ground, and then discussing boredom with the researcher as he fixes the stalled engine in mid air. Not to mention the ice "swim". Beautifully photographed.
Ellen - Sunday, 02/26/06 16:53:31 EST

How about "pinon squirrels"? Or "Pintons" for Pinon Ratons

I had some friends who worked as medical missionaries in Africa and they were telling me that rat was considered a delicacy as it was the *only* grain fed meat around...

Gotta go do another normalization...

Thomas P - Sunday, 02/26/06 19:26:30 EST

Well, if it's good enough for Farley, it ought to be good enough for our customers. Maybe he'd do an endorsement. Ellen, our weekend staff here at Entropy Research can't find King Rat, so cannot check just now. This menu item has to be something classy but not legally actionable. How about Mesa Squab? Arroyo cordero? Mesa venado? Pintons is cool. Ditto pinon squirrel. Pinton ternera? Now for a name for the joint: Senor Jock's Casa Peligroso?
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 02/26/06 20:08:32 EST

Frank : Speaking of Frank's wife; Frank, my daughter, now 22 and a senior in college, still treasures the bracelet your wife made for her when we visited you almost 18 years ago.
Bernard Tappel - Sunday, 02/26/06 21:13:14 EST

Bernard: Re past meetings and past students, it's all becoming a big gray sludge. However, I'm happy for your daughter.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/26/06 21:28:26 EST

Haute Cuisine at La Cocina Peligrosa: Ummmm, lessee now. In South America and Louisiana, they hunt and eat Nutria, I'm told. Just a swamp rat on steroids, as far as I know.

A sweater labeled as rabbit fur or goat hair won't sell at any price, but call it "angora" and it goes for big bucks. Merchandising, Madison Avenue style.

Pan-fried pigeon won't turn any heads in Manhattan, but they line up to be separated from their shekels to crunch delicately on "squab". Still just a feathered rat,if you ask me.

And we daren't forget the marketing genius of the fellow who coined the term "Rocky Mountain Oysters"; even when folks know the ingredient they still order them.

In an old Fawlty Towers episode, the rats were referred to as Siberian Golden Hamsters; still not éclat enough to get them on the menu at Maxim's. No, we need something better still. Ratto arrostito? Rongeur rôti? No, we can do better, I just know it.
vicopper - Sunday, 02/26/06 22:26:34 EST

Frank - "Never Cry Wolf": They must have cleaned it up for the movie, in the book the natives [or at least the son] didn't like the idea, as local superstition had it that eating mice would make one's privates small. Still a great book/movie buy a wonderfull author.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/27/06 00:34:25 EST

vicopper: E-mail coming Your way
Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/27/06 00:39:51 EST

It's been a while.: I have not been on in a while (personal stuff) and have some catching up to do and some major de-rusting of tools and skills. I just wanted to say hi and share a cautionary tail.
Don't laugh!
I was burning some scrap wood in a metal barrel yesterday and decided it would be a good idea to throw a box of paper (a couple phone books, a bunch of catalogues, etc.) into the barrel on top of the burning wood. I was hoping that the paper would make a nice layer of ash to smother the wood and leave me with some charcoal. All was going well for a while. I noticed that the paper was not burning. I picked up the stick I was manipulating the fire with and stirred the paper to get it burning again. I exposed the paper and it began to smoke heavily. All of a sudden the wind whipped up and the smoke was billowing into my face. Not a big deal, until it flashed. I saw the smoke backdraft at the barrel and knew it would burn all the way up the smoke. I had a flash of a long forgotten childhood incident where a neighbor was burning leaves and the smoke flashed, taking all of her hair with it. I watched as the flame roared toward my face and, closing my eyes, ducked away as fast as I could. I heard hair crackle and felt the heat on my face. I ran my arm over my face and head to be sure I wasn't still smoldering. My eyebrows, eyelashes, facial scruff, and hair are all singed. Not bad, but noticeably, especially on my right side. It could have been alot worse. My childhood neighbor didn’t fair quite so well. I was quick and lucky, neither of which are the norm for me.
Moral of the story: Wear your safety glasses (and a hat wouldn’t be a bad idea either) any time you’re working with fire. Even if you’re not worried about loosing an eye, it's really embarrassing to walk around with only one eyebrow or none at all.
shack - Monday, 02/27/06 10:49:28 EST

Monty Python has an entire menu from Chez Rat in one of their books, the winelist is priceless---it even has a couple of fine New Zealand drinking muds!

Thomas P - Monday, 02/27/06 11:23:36 EST

Wally Yeater Blocks:
The blocks Steve has are very nice.

Wally did indeed hand finish all his blocks and cone mandrels using several grinder/sanders. This made them one of the BEST blocks sold in the last half of the 20th century.

Wally was very frugal and at one time wrote an article about using 2 liter drink bottles to replace the plastic in his face mask. Turns out the plastic though thinner is much better and higher strength than that used in face shields. . .

Swage blocks of the past were cast using fine facing or finishing sand so that the general finish was usable as-is. Good finishing sand produced a finish near or better than a RMS 125. Most of the new swage blocks being sold are all cast using the coarse sand needed for the weight of the block. This is much too rough and must be ground to be of much use.

Swage blocks of the past were also mostly holes and planing the surface finished the majority of the work surface. Modern blocks with bowl and spoon depressions need these surfaces finished. When antique blocks are found with these depressions they are usualy personal patterns made from a smith's own pattern.

One of my pet projects has been to find a manufacturer (probably in a third world country) that would cast a block then finish it as it should be. This is labor intensive as even the third world foundries will not use facing sand.
- guru - Monday, 02/27/06 13:20:57 EST

Never Cry Wolf:
I had a copy of that movie and lost it somewhere. . great flick.
- guru - Monday, 02/27/06 13:23:18 EST

rats: Please stop typing about eating my babies.
- packrat - Monday, 02/27/06 14:41:36 EST

tobacco pipe: On saturday I made a pipe. Showed it to my friends, offered $50 for it..... I feel gnarly......
- packrat - Monday, 02/27/06 14:52:44 EST

Shack: Glad you survived. I've seen coal fires do similar things, but not as dramatic as paper fires. Folks like me who shoot flintlocks if we forget and touch one off without glasses, that will the shot that flashes and singes one eyebrow.

History accounts of some on the naval battles of WWI where coal was the primary source of power, talk of flames from the high smokestacks of the era sometimes 30' or more over the top of the funnel. Must have been awsome to see.
Ellen - Monday, 02/27/06 17:32:59 EST

STEVE: e mail me at about the Yeater blocks. Give me the price and a contact number for you.
- gary cremeens - Tuesday, 02/28/06 08:46:32 EST

Flash fires:
Those from coal can be pretty nasty but almost any superheated smoke can flash when it mixes with enough fresh air if the air does not cool it. In the life of a normal coal fire we often see that yellow viscous smoke flash and then the fire burns clean. However when this happens inside the tuyeer or pipe leading to the bellows you get an explosion that can wreck the bellows or launch coals out of the fire. I've also seen flames over a foot long pop out of the intake of hand crank blowers.

Dust explosions are similar and quite exciting as well. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 02/28/06 10:01:23 EST

Exciting is relative to the proximity of the explosion. Vaporization is also a possible if location is poor. Grain elevators make a huge bang! Lots of folks think a coal dust explosion blew the front of the Lusitania apart in 1915. More excitement than I want!
Ellen - Tuesday, 02/28/06 12:34:28 EST

Power Hammer Video: Hey Folks
I was looking to buy or borrow the Clifton Ralph Power Hammer Videos, any leads?
blackbart - Tuesday, 02/28/06 16:06:55 EST

Bart: Have you tried the ABANA website? I know they rent them out, as I just finished with them. Rumor had it on one site (I forget which) they had now been transposed to DVD.
Ellen - Tuesday, 02/28/06 17:18:02 EST

Bart: A google for Clifton Ralph turned up the Rocky Mountain Smiths who sell tapes and DVDS. The list an email contact of Lee Gagne at or (970) 243-5016. Let us know what you find out, please.
Ellen - Tuesday, 02/28/06 17:27:32 EST

Ellen: Found it, thanks.
They appear to have only tapes of Clifton Ralph, I called Lee Gagne and left a message to verify this info.
Will report back.
blackbart - Tuesday, 02/28/06 17:44:07 EST

Rocky Mountain Smiths: I just talked to Lee Gagne of Rocky Mountain Smiths. The tape/dvd library that they have is quite large. Lee's position is archivist, he creates a copy, tape or dvd, of what you select from their library and ships it out to you. Lee stated shipping time of 3-4 weeks. After you pay them, ofcourse. I plan to order the Clifton Ralph dvd's and will report back.
blackbart - Tuesday, 02/28/06 19:15:44 EST

Bart: Thanks for the input. What is the price, please? Some of those would interest me a lot, depending on quality. The rental tapes from ABANA are copies of copies of copies......with results you can imagine.
Ellen - Tuesday, 02/28/06 20:51:52 EST

Clifton Ralph tapes: (gosh...alomost sounds james bondish) I got to see the tapes while going to the powerhammer class at the new england school of metal work a couple years ago. Very excellent info. Even more so if you know Cliff. I'd recommend these tapes to anyone who has or wants to have a little giant style hammer.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Tuesday, 02/28/06 21:18:46 EST

Moving a LG 25: Hello all, I am wondering if anyone has any input into moving a LG 25 lb hammer? I want to use a lowboy u-haul but am not sure the hammer will handle the ramp angle as it is pretty top heavy. If anyone has any ideas or experiance, Please let me know.
Thanks, Pete
pete - Tuesday, 02/28/06 22:25:55 EST

Moving equipment: Use a loader, a backhoe or a wrecker boom to lift it onto the lowboy, don't try to move it up the ramp. One slip and somebody gets hurt.

The center of gravity on those things is high enough that I would want to sling it from the main shaft bearing head area and swing it on, likewise to remove. For transport, use a minimum of three,preferrably four load binders to secure it to the trailer; again, from the topmost anchor points down to the trailer rails. Block the base so it cannot slide, too.
vicopper - Tuesday, 02/28/06 23:01:47 EST

Moving LG: I once moved a 25 LG with a shortbed Datsun pickup. Removed the tail gate, backed up to the hammer, tilted it into the bed and slid it in. Sure made that Datsun squat.
- Bernard Tappel - Tuesday, 02/28/06 23:54:12 EST

Moving an LG or other power hammer:
A 25 pound Little Giant only weighs about 900 pounds depending on if it has the original motor or not.

I have hauled 50 and 100 pound LG's verticaly on a HD 3/4 ton pickup truck (not a so called 3/4 ton 4WD that is overloaded at 1/2 ton put a REAL HD Dodge PU). To haul these hammers verticaly you need VERY GOOD rigging and lots of it. Most small trucks and trailers do not have sufficiently sturdy tie down points to haul equipment this way. Trailers designed to haul automobiles are generaly too light. I suspect the U-haul is this category.

The safe way is lying on its side. However, to prevent damage to the hammer you want to remove the treadle and loose linkage. Set the hammer with the motor UP and be sure to block up the hammer so it is not resting on the arms.

Having sufficient dunnage (wood blocking) is important when hauling machinery. To prevent hauling damage to the machine it is as important as the tie down rigging.

Although nylon straps will work they MUST be heavy enough for the load. I prefer chain and toggle tensioners for moving machinery that may tip over.

Preventing the machine from sliding is also important. If the machine is not held down tight enough not to slide then it can shift under the tie downs and become loose. When there is ANY question or the machine is on a metal deck I rig it at the bottom so it cannot slide in ANY direction and then tie it down so it cannot tip or shift.

Most heavy trucks have wooden decks because things do not slide as easily on wood as on metal. You can also nail blocks to the deck temporarily to prevent things from moving and to support items as necessary. When rigging on metal it is much more difficult. I often put a sheet of plywood under loads in a sheet metal PU body to add friction and to protect the machine and pickup.

The vast majority of damage to machinery is moving damage. Fork lifts are the biggest culprit. Most lift operators think they can move anything and very often drop or tip over top heavy machinery.

The proper way to lift an LG is using a soft sling wrapped around the top shaft. The CG is located at the front bearing. You often need to get sling between the crankwheel and the bearing block to make a perfectly straight lift.

To tip a hammer on its side OR to right it is best done with two hooks. With the first you lift it off the ground. With the second you hook to the base and lift slightly OR if the second hook is stationary lower against it with the first. Then you lower the machine to horizontal with the first hook. This is more critical on large hammer and is very smooth and SAFE. Tipping and righting top heavy or tall machinery can be VERY scary when done with one hook. They reach the point where the center of gravity shifts over the corner resting on the ground and then rock over. This can release the rigging and happens very fast. The last thing you want when moving machinery is for anything to happen fast OR to come loose.

The backyard mechanic method of moving a 25 pound LG is to put a load of ties in the back of the PU then tip the hammer over on the tires by hand. . . Then to unload, snag it under a tree with a come-along and drive out from under it. . . Can be very exciting. . . don't want to be the helper in any more of these moves! But that is how I brought home my first 20" drill press that is more top heavy and weighs about the same as a 25 pound LG. One reason for the popularity of 25# LG's is you can haul them in the trunk of a big old car OR in a small Japanese pickup. A couple of strong fellows can right one by hand as well.

I have skidded 50 and 100 pound LG's up and down a concrete ramp with about a 20 degree slope (both on the same days). To do so required rigging just below the top of the anvil or at the base of the sow block. This is just below the vertical center of gravity and probably right at the angular CG. Then I used an anchor on the ground (a shaper bolted to the floor) and a chain type come-along to lower the hammers down the ramp (and later to pull them UP the ramp). The hammer was on rollers so the bottom could not dig in. This move went very slow as I was shifting the rollers and operating the come-along myself. It was a smooth move but I would never try to move an LG up a steeper incline while standing vertical. I also do not recommed it to someone without rigging experiance and an eye for centers of gravity. Trailer ramps are usualy much too steep and worse, the trailer moves as the load does up the ramp.

The best (safest) way is to lay on its side and load with a heavy machine or hoist.
- guru - Wednesday, 03/01/06 09:50:00 EST

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