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

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

February 2007 Archive

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

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

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

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

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

relining a propane forge: Hi, I have an NC Whisperdaddy forge. I was wondering if anyone has any information on relining and when it is needed. I am starting to get some holes in the refractoy on one of the side walls and wanted to know do you have to reline the whole unit? Is it possable to patch refractory material and is there a cheaper way then buying a reliner kit from NC forge? I have local acces to castable refractory cement. Thanks
Tim Gibbons - Thursday, 02/01/07 13:24:24 EST

Screen Res.: Just as an FYI, most of today's PCs run 1024x768 native. Windows XP runs 800x600 as its lowest setting. The only time XP runs at a smaller resolutions is in safe mode.

If it helps, in Internet Explorer, you can go to View>>Text Size, and change your default settings from there. Also, if you have a mouse w/ a scroll wheel, you can hold down CTRL and scroll down to increase text size
steelgriffin - Thursday, 02/01/07 13:40:10 EST

Tim, we have an iForge demo on relining an NC forge and simple repairs. You DO NOT want to have to reline an NC unless it is in very bad shape as the cost of the kit is a small thing compared to the entire day it will take to disassemble the rusted mess repair and reassemble with a kit that sort of fits. . Generally, unless the floor is gone you can make simple repairs.

The side walls of an NC are not hard refractory, they are a molded Kaowool board like product. Castable is not the right repair material. I use Kaowool blanket and ITC-100 as glue.

First you clean out the forge. Use a vacuum cleaner, then paint brush then vacuum again. Follow the directions with the ITC-100, spritz with water and give a first coat. It will be spotty due to the breaking up kaolin board. Then tear off bits of Kaowool blanket and stuff into holes that have fresh ITC-100 in them, then flatten and coat with ITC. Build up areas around the door and under the ports as necessary.

Allow to dry a few hours then apply a second coat of ITC-100 over the entire interior of the forge. We have applied it to the Kaowool on the door but due to compression and loose edges it tends to come off. Replace the door kaowool with two layers of 1" kaowool glued together with ITC-100.

Your forge should be good to go for another year or so. You can always do interim maintenance to the forge walls as needed. Eventually the floor will give out and THEN you will need a reline kit.

Since I have it on-hand I also coat the interior of all the metal with ITC-213. This reduces the rust and possible burning of the steel. However, the ports on the NC's scale up so bad that little will protect them. I have seen ports that needed replacement long before the refractory liner.
- guru - Thursday, 02/01/07 14:01:54 EST

Screen SIze . Resolution: Steelgriffin, I had not tried to set my XP laptop on low-low res. I know at 800x600 the XP icons are HUGE and the system unusable with multiple windows. So the 1024x makes sense for XP and up.

I've just read a bunch of articles on screen size and 800x640 is the defacto minimum today for over 99% of all machines. However, everyone recommends flexible or "liquid" designs. The problem is fitting in logos, banners and menu items that are rather inflexible. On a 1024x machine I would design for 900x so that a reduced window can be used.

SO that is what I am going to do. Design for flexibility at 800x up but with larger monitor screen size in mind. Nothing easy.
- guru - Thursday, 02/01/07 15:06:59 EST

HAMMER FOR SALE: due to a new hammer on the way, ive made up my mind to sale my model #1 champion hammer(65lb) it is in good shape and comes with a single phase motor.... interested parties please feel free to email me..... thank you
peter - Thursday, 02/01/07 18:17:22 EST

Peter; WHERE and How Much?

Thomas P - Thursday, 02/01/07 18:38:01 EST

Champion Hammer: I've always liked the looks of the Champion and would probably be interested in it if it were close to me. Or if you could deliver it. You don't say where it is, but I'm willing to bet that it is downhill from where you are to where I am, so it should be easy, right?
vicopper - Thursday, 02/01/07 22:36:17 EST

HAMMER: i'm in va(near lynchburg).... not really wanting to sell the hammer but my new hammer will be coming here soon and i dont have the space for 2 hammers.... and rich i 'm more than willing to personally deliver the hammer to long as your paying for the shipping : )
peter - Friday, 02/02/07 09:46:04 EST

Text size: You can also hold down shift and use the + and - buttons to accomplish the same thing.
thesandycreekforge - Friday, 02/02/07 11:09:59 EST

Text size: Make that the CONTROL key, not the SHIFT. Typing faster than I can think again, or vise versa.
thesandycreekforge - Friday, 02/02/07 11:11:04 EST

Rich, since the earth bulges out at the equator in the northern hemisphere going south is really going uphill...

Thomas P - Friday, 02/02/07 14:03:11 EST

wanted: broken or worn out anvils: Are there any suggestions on where to find some less than pristine anvils? My blacksmithing instructor and I are wanting to try our hands at anvil repair and/or modification.

Dinged up faces, missing the horn and/or heel, it doesn't really matter. We'd certainly take donations, but would be willing to pay a reasonable price for them. Just want to get a couple to work with.
steelgriffin - Friday, 02/02/07 15:12:25 EST

peter - Friday, 02/02/07 15:24:58 EST

power hammer: im in the market for a power hammer let me know..i live in PA i can road trip or pay for shipping.
- coolhand - Friday, 02/02/07 17:35:15 EST

SteelGriffin are you willing to pay shipping to/from Australia or will you be letting us know a location?

I have a couple that need work.....vulcan missing most of the face with a ridge back and broken horn for example...

Thomas P - Friday, 02/02/07 18:31:46 EST

Power Hammer: Coolhand
I have two hammers and willing to sell either of them. I have a fifty pound little giant and also a 250 pound Meyer bros. Price is 3500 on the 50 and 4600 on the 250 pound. My ph# is 931-827-2312 Dover tennessee
dwayne kent - Friday, 02/02/07 22:28:53 EST

coolhand: what size hammer are you looking for ?
peter - Friday, 02/02/07 23:53:27 EST

This n That: Hey, I like the site updates.

If you ordered a free sample of pure iron from wagener and haven't gotten it, have hope! I ordered mine a looooong time ago and got it today.
- Ty Murch - Saturday, 02/03/07 00:12:52 EST

Anvils: Thomas, Peter, et al -

Thanks for the quick response. We are out in CA, specifically the Bay Area (Dublin/Fremont). I'll be speaking w/ my instructor on Monday, and we'll be discussing this further.

Pete, got your e-mail. I will definitely let Scott know.

Thomas, as to shipping from Australia, I will be talking w/ him further to see how we can handle the logistics of getting the anvils. I would imagine, however, that the cost of shipping may be prohibitive for an experimental project.

The long and short of it is, we are trying our hand at the anvil repair for educational purposes. We are attempting to modify existing anvils that may have outlived their initial usefulness, back into a workable tool. More blacksmith as the ultimate recycler, eh?
steelgriffin - Saturday, 02/03/07 10:16:19 EST

hammer: peter the smaller the hammer the better.... my shop is tight as it is but i can make room. the hammer has to fit through a 34 inch doorway. ill talk to my pops and see if hes up for the challenge....when i got my do-all you should of seen us wrestling that thing into the back hurt for three days.
coolhand - Saturday, 02/03/07 10:33:15 EST

hammer pt2: oh and i would prefer an electric hammer...i think the only place a compressor would fit is on the roof.
coolhand - Saturday, 02/03/07 10:36:49 EST

I guess my anvil started all of this...: Jeff,

I think it was my anvil that started all of this. I have a 134# Peter Wright with a bad sway in the top. Me and Scott think we can reforge the anvil back into shape by hand, but over on IForgeIron, there was a group of Einsteins that didn't think that was possible.

All the more reason to try reforging the anvil by hand, I say, and Scott was all for it as well. I have never been one to let others insist what can or cannot be done, especially if they have NEVER tried to do it.

More important, the thread taught me how myopic the admins are on IForgeIron with their narrow view, as they ban'd me over the fact that someone like me shouldn't question anyone. The horn on my anvil is still good, and I think it would fit in the admins backside easily, if I was helping. In fact, I think I could fit their 55 gallon porta-potty forge in there as well, easily.

So, let's say we screw the anvil up, who cares. Like it's a tradegy to try and fix something, the worst that can happen is the face falls off and we forge weld it back on. I'm not sure that would happen, but all the Einsteins on IFI knew what would happen without trying. Ignorance is bliss. Some of those Einsteins are here on anvilfire. hehehe No matter what anyone thinks should be done with the anvil, it's mine and I own it. I can melt it down and pour it in a hole in the ground if I want.

Here's a link to the anvil in question:

Sometimes it's good to go through such an experience to know the real honest values that other people have, and I learned a great deal about the myopic admins over on IFI.
'Ol tired PW anvil
Alan DuBoff - Saturday, 02/03/07 16:42:22 EST

AAAAAHH AMEN?: congrat's alan.... einsteins are everywhere...god bless them all and all of us know nothings as well.....good luck on your anvil repair and please keep us updateed......
peter - Saturday, 02/03/07 17:32:41 EST


And there's a lot of bubbas in the world also, but I don't need to bless any of them, we're all here in it together. My God may not be the same as their God.

Some folks (Thomas for certain) felt this anvil is fine to work on as-is. Others felt it should be ground, one person thought the cavity should be filled. Yes, there are a lot of ways to fix it, or even just use it as-is.

You can use a rock to pound metal on, and people have done that with great success. But that doesn't mean I have to or even want to pound steel on a rock. Some people forge with a 55 gallon toilet, that seems to work for them. I wouldn't like doing that though.

It is not unreasonable for a smith to expect a flat anvil, IMO, and even so, it's my effort to flatten if should I be inclined to do so. Nobody should feel offended because I want to flatten this anvil.

But more importantly, as a craftsman I do things a certain way that I work. I don't always do things the most effecient, nor do I always complete a project without making a mistake. But I do the craft because I like it, and this goes for woodworking as well as blacksmithing. It is my right to be allowed to do things as I like, this is what much of America was founded on. If I needed the English telling me how to drink or pay tax on my tea, I might have been happy if the English ended up in control of America as we know it today. But that didn't happen and America turned out to be the land of the free.

To me blacksmithing represents a lot of those roots of America, it allows craftsmen to solve problems that would not have otherwise been easily solved, and not that blacksmithing is easy, I don't mean to say that. There is not a single way to forge, nor is there a single way to work, or a single way for our tools to be. I am no different than any of the other smiths who have preceeded me, or any of the other smiths that forge today. Yes, I can learn from many of those smiths of past and present, but I will still be the smith that I am.
Alan DuBoff - Saturday, 02/03/07 17:54:40 EST

sway backed anvil: My Trenton has about a 1/8" sway, and I use that to advantage when straightening stuff. Benn using it that way since I got it. Mine however has the corner broke off thru the pritchel hole.
ptree - Saturday, 02/03/07 20:11:56 EST

Reworking old anvil:
Alan, The problem is the person asking the question generally has not forged anything larger than a poker in their life IF THAT nor has the getup and go to REALLY do it. They have also not heated or been near something as large as a red hot anvil and vastly underestimate the handling problems. The job is not impossible it is just a large job that needs a team of folks committed to the job. I suspect you may have enough friends to help you.

Why a team? Well. . . there is a lot of lifting and toting of that 134 pounds while it is at an orange heat. Anvil forges are built into the floor and a small jib crane (a heavy cooking version) is used to lift the anvil in and out of the fire. Depending on the type of rig you will probably need two men to do this safely. Most of the work is done on the floor or on a slightly raised cast iron surface.

You just don't walk up to something that large and that hot either. At about two feet or a little less anything flamable will burst into flame, exposed flesh will boil. . . EVERYONE involved must wear heavy protective clothing below the waist. Once out of the forge you handle the anvil with long porter bars in the holes provided. That takes at least two men. They may switch to large tongs at times but their porter bars are going to do much of the work.

Note that ANY surface the anvil sets on must be brick, cast iron, steel or possibly clay. Concrete and limestone gravel will explosively spall sending sharp pieces flying. Sand will melt and glaze the metal. Clay must be free of sand and organic matter (good dry pottery clay).

To upset and dress the anvil into shape can be done under a 300# or larger steam hammer if you had one. Otherwise it is going to require two or three men with heavy sledges. Normally an anvil smithing team was five. A smith directing the work and holding the fullers and flatters, two porters and two strikers. With an experienced team the porters and strikes would trade off.

Note that in a piece this heavy the heat is going to last longer than the strength of inexperienced strikers. As amateur anvil makers without a big steam hammer you may need more crew.

The sway in an anvil like yours is a combination of the soft body expanding sideways and some wear. Peter Wright advertised the high quality wrought they used in their anvils and the result was that more PW's are swayed like yours than any other. Cheaper scrap material used by their competition with some steel mixed into it was a better choice. In any case, you PW is pooched out more than worn.

To reshape it you will need to forge the sides IN, not the high spots down. Where you have missing material You can move some material in this direction with a LOT of effort but it can be moved. Do not try to make crisp sharp corners. That is a mistake that results in chipped and cracked edges so there is no point recreating an error. I would grind out the chips and cracks before starting the forging process.

When you are done you will need to take a last heat and quench it. The amount of water needed is huge. Unless you have a large stream, river or pond close to the forge you do not have enough. Now. . if you can get the local fire department to cooperate in a "science experiment" . . .

Afterward it will still need quite a bit of grinding.

So prepare your forge, your shop, draft your team and get to it! If any of the above seems outrageous then do it some other way You can start simply by fitting some porter bars and doing some test moves, lifting, positioning on a bigger anvil of work surface (I do not recommend a hardened steel anvil because the heat will wreck it).

At the end of the day, ask if it was all worth it. Perhaps if you are successful, video tape it, and sell thousand copies or so. . .

I, on the other hand, am one that appreciates any gracefully shaped anvil and know how useful that sway can be. I've worked on worse and have both better and worse.
- guru - Saturday, 02/03/07 20:32:14 EST

Kane and Roach mechanical power hammers: Does anyone else out there own or know about a K+R 85 pounder? I've refurbished one that was in rough shape but I'm wondering what exactly the at rest space between dies should be and what the suggested rpm/bpm is. I made my best guesses using the Little Giant book and the settings form a Fairbanks 75#er that I used to work on and the K+R runs well but I'm wondering if i could optimize things with it. Thanks in advance!
Jud Yaggy - Saturday, 02/03/07 22:04:55 EST

Anvil: IIRC Bruce Wilcocks (sp?) *has* reforged anvils that have slumped. I would suggest you discuss it with him--a real professional with experience. I know he posts over there sometimes...

I've been trying to get SOFA to get him over the pond to demonstrate at Quad-State and have even offered up my 1828 William Foster as a sacrifice---it needs to be refaced as most of it is *gone* and I've always wanted to see that weld done. I bought it as is for US$5 just for the experiment! If Bruce won't be over I will hopefully do it myself---when the coal forge shiop gets built with a jib crane and a chain hoist on a trolly. I might even try to make a drop hammer for the first welding strike.

I also have a bridge anvil with a very bad face on it---used in the oil fields back in the cable tool days. Always wanted to find a welding school that woult take re-building that face as a "class project"---lots of preheat and lots of pounds of rod! The Vulcan is really DOA with the cast iron body and almost no face it would be cheaper and better to burn a new one out of heavy scrap.

ThomasP - Saturday, 02/03/07 23:25:42 EST

NC-Repair:: Thanks for the information. It is good to know that there are options other then relining. I will give the kaowool a go and see how that will hold up. I think the problem is when putting longer stock in throught the side doors it inevetablly pokes into the refractory material on the opposite wall. Will the treated kaowool provide some proctection or are there better options to protect under the ports. I have considered sawing up some fire brick to act as a wall. Is this a good idea? Are there better? Thanks
- Tim - Saturday, 02/03/07 23:35:42 EST

Kane & Roach: Sorry I cant answer Your questions, BUT...In 1977 I worked for Kane&Roach, at that time the company was located in Gilbertsville, Pa. and built only roll forming machines. The company was previously owned by Birdsboro Corp, Birdsboro Pa. and built roll forming machines. Your hammer was probably built before any of this. The roll forming machines were considered to be good quality for this type of machine. The machine shop I worked in wasn't anything to brag about however.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 02/03/07 23:59:48 EST

Alan: Everything Jock said is true. What You have in mind is a major undertaking that most of us are not equipped to do. Your chance of success is just that, a chance. What You risk is turning a usable but maybee not ideal tool into a $5/100# lump of scrap. It is Your anvil, so it is Your choice. It will be a learning experience either way if You try it. If it doesn't work out You can find another anvil. If You pull it off You can say "I TOLD YOU SO" and have tales to tell for the rest of Your life. Personally I would use it like it is.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 02/04/07 00:10:09 EST

optimal hardness: So I have just finnished up on a nice 15# bench anvil out of rail track to use at my goldsmith bench. I am going to have it professionally heat treat and basically have a choice as to how hard I want it. I had the steel tested and found it to be very close to a 1085 steel. The use will be for primary forging out silver and gold ingots into what ever basic shape needed for the job on hand (i.e. it will be my mill for wire and sheet)and other small bench forging on non-ferrous metals. I will be using lightweight highly polished hammers upto 12 ozs. So the question is what would be the recomended hardness. I am was intially thinking about 50 RHC. Would there be advantages to going with a harder treatment? As a second question I am making a second slightly larger anvil which I can use for some hot forging at the goldsmith bench, making small chisels and punches mainly. Does anyone have a recomendation for temper and hardness? Thank you Tim.
Tim - Sunday, 02/04/07 00:14:25 EST

Yes, reforging an anvil would be quite a job!: Jock, thanks for your comments, many are spot on, and similar to what me and Scott had discussed. While I have only made about half a dozen tools, Scott forges professionally, full time, and has done quite a variety of pieces and possesses quite a bit of skill, IMO. He is personally responsible for teaching and turning out some great smiths in our area, more than any other single smith, IMO.

I wouldn't *EVEN* consider doing it without his help.

You are correct, it would take a team. We figure if we have about 100# of mequite, build a large pit forge in the ground, run a pipe into it for air, we could build a jig that we could attach for lifting that would allow 2 people to lift the anvil. This would allow us to move it around the forge, put it on the anvil to forge, but back in the forge, etc...

Scott and me figure that we could put a plate over the top of his ~200# anvil and do just as you suggest, have 2 strikers swinging in tandem. You would certainly have plenty of time, the anvil will hold heat for a long time. You can feel the bulge on the side, we were looking at that this afternoon over at the smithy. So, it would be nice to have at least 2 strikers, and 2 lifters, if possible. We're thinking along the lines of 4-5 people. After pushing the wrought back into place, we were talking about putting a large plate on the top of Scott's anvil and using it as a large flatter, put the anvil upside down on the plate and have 2 strikers hit the base of the anvil with sledges to flat the face.

Those pictures of the anvil look pretty good that I linked to, and the anvil sat in an electrolysis tank for 3 days, if you look close you can still see green paint on the end of the horn (I didn't turn it to put the horn in the tank, and the paint wouldn't clean off as easy as I had suspected...I took the pics at night with a light on the anvil, just after I had wiped it down with Boeshield T9, so it looks pretty good in those pics, it's quite a bit faded in real life, looking more like an old anvil.;-)

Thomas, I'll try to get some contact info for Bruce Wilcocks, if you have any please pass it along to me.

Dave, I realize it's a risk, and yes it could destroy a working tool, but even if it did, what would happen? I suspect the worst case would be that we knock the tool steel off the top of the wrought iron (i.e., the weld will come loose). We could in theory just forge weld that puppy back on. And let's say we do actually destroy the anvil. Well, worse things have happened, and we will have learned something...hopefully, in the process. Some things in life have a higher priced ticked on them than an old anvil.

Scott has a 200# Peter Wright, and the smith that owned it before him used to hit his relief tap in the same spot at the back by the hardie hole. There's an indentation about the size of a walnut, and ironically, there's a lump on the bottom side of the rear of the anvil, I was surprised that the steel would be displaced that far down, it's got to be at least 2-3 inches. But as Scott pointed out, it's gotta go somewhere because iron doesn't compress.


PS: steelgriffin/Jeff, you can see the anvil over at the smithy on Monday, I took it and left it there this afternoon with Scott. For extra credit, there's a monster Iron City leg vise (6" possibly) in dire need of some TLC, check it out also, it's out by the long stock forge on the side of the smithy which Scott uses for tempering swords.
Alan DuBoff - Sunday, 02/04/07 01:15:31 EST

Earth, Fire, and Water...: Jock, yes in reading your post, I agree with the heat issue, and doing it safely. I want to go to "Burning Man", not be the burning man! One of my colleagues was telling me that when they lit the temple at Burning Man, you could feel the heat for an amazing distance from the temple.

We don't wear any gloves in the smithy, unless required for safety, which typically would mean protection from the heat.

I have to wear a glove when punching on large stock heated to a bright orange, I guess I'm a woos. I can only imagine the heat coming off a glowing anvil.

It would take at *least* 6 or 8 to have striker teams, since I think you would need 2 people holding the anvil by the porter bar or jig always. Would be best to have a rectangular/square jig with 4 bars. This way you could manipulate the anvil by any given 2 bars to turn it the way you wish. That is, 2 bars per side with each of the lifters leveraging any 2 of 4 bars on their end of the jig.

I believe I can grind/sand the top, I do believe I could take a belt sander and have it flat pretty quickly. Scott believes that might destroy the tool also, since there's a good 1/4" of dip (I haven't measured it exactly, but it's substantial) or more, but it's primarily in one area along the off edge for me in the prime area of the shoulder where I like to work. It's certainly been used.

Welding stick into the top cavity would be the other option.

I don't feel I would learn too much about forging in either the grinding/sanding or welding route, so that doesn't attract me. I would learn a lot about removing stock with a grinder most likely, an important aspect of working metal for modern professionals...I guess the analogy for me is knifemaking. Some smiths prefer to forge the blade into shape with a hammer (and in some cases a flatter also). Others prefer to remove stock with a grinder. It's not that either approach is wrong, but everyone needs to select their own journey.

BTW, when I've asked about this previously, I think partially my err was asking if the anvil could be saved, and I should have asked how I could have improved the anvil. It is usable as-is, and depending on the work, the sway could be a plus. Which is another option, leave it as-is and use the sway.

Maybe I should think about how I could push it in just a bit more, and use it like a swage. I could hammer spoons and ladels on it...
Alan DuBoff - Sunday, 02/04/07 02:22:37 EST

Tim, Hardness: See guru's den for my comments
- guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 05:39:51 EST

Large hot pieces:
I have been present when a friend bent some turbine blades that were about a foot by 2 feet. It is not particularly the temperature of the piece it is the radiating area. The total energy goes up tremondously and what works for small pieces is suddenly quite inadequate. It is hard to look when you whole face is too hot from the heat and there is nothing you can do close to the work. Gloves are necessary but damp gloves will cause steam burns.
- guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 05:44:49 EST

Kayne and Roach Hammer:
Hammer Speed: When it is too great the hammer will hit softer at the high end. Normally you want the hammer limited to hit from soft to harder and not from soft to hard to soft. On old hammers this speed can be slower than when new due to the spring taking a set and not being as strong as when new.

The clear space should be just a little greater than the work height. Say about 1" for 1/2" stock and 1.5" for 1" stock. This is an important adjustment that is often overlooked. If the work is too tall it chokes the hammer. If the at rest position is too high then the spring starts to retract the ram before it strikes the work.

Normally the spring and toggles are adjusted until the toggles are in nearly a straight line or at the point of diminising returns. The line CANNOT be perfectly straight with weight hanging on the toggles. Then the die space is adjusted.

For heavy blows at low speed the spring can be loosened a little. For lighter blows you tighten the spring. However, this is fine tuning and there is not a great range. On some hammers you cannot tell the difference. On others such as Fairbanks hammers it makes a great difference.

- guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 05:58:43 EST

If you have a masonry saw it would be good to put some protective brick in those typical poke places below the ports. You can also build up with the ITC-200 mentioned.

- guru - Sunday, 02/04/07 06:00:32 EST

Gulf Coast Conference change of venue: I'll be demonstrating toolsmithing in Bush, Louisiana this coming weekend, Feb 10 & 11, working with W1 and H13. In our events calendar, it says Covington, LA. Bush is a few miles northeast of Covington. Contact phone# is in the calendar.
- Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/04/07 09:40:05 EST

Large forgings: Having worked in a number of shops that did production forgings that were up to 1500#, I would offer that the convection heat is only a problem is you lean over the forging, and since the radiant heat pretty much prevents getting that close its not much of a problem.
Radiant heat however is a real problem that folks who have not been around this size hot metal often fail to account for.

At the valve shop, forging 1500# hunks of 12" round corner square, the tongs to move the steel were perhaps 20 to 25' long, both the balance the weight from the overhead trolly, but to also keep the operators well back from both the billet and the forge. Man when you raise the door on a forge that has the load at forging temp, and the forge door is 4' wide, the radiant heat is unbelievable. Shade 4 glasses are needed to be able to look into the Sun like interior. The guys learned to be decisive and quick at dropping the forged on billet and pick up the next!
Pity the hammerman. Once the billet was on the dies, and the tong hold drawn out, He had to manuver the billet into the impressions, from only about 4' from the billet. The hammer had many air blow nozzles to direct the scale and the burnt lubricant away from the hammer man. There were also several 5HP barrel fans, blowing on the hammerman, even in the winter.
I have been in that shop in 20F weather, and seen the hammerman to have a sweat Vee down his front, and a frozen Vee down his back! And the leaking steam from the drop hammers was falling back on him as snow. Sorta like Dante's Inferno.
At the axle shop we mostly used induction, but did use a gas forge for the big stuff like 5.5" od axle shafts that had a heat of 3 to 4' on the end upset back on itself in a 10" upsetter. The operators wore shade 3 lens, and the power porter bar to manuver kept them back about 6' from the heated end. Once in the machine, the frame and slides stopped much of the radiant heat. The cooling axles would however radiant huge amounts of heat. The radiant heat was so severe that the hoists for the power porterbar had heat shields to reflect the heat.
ptree - Sunday, 02/04/07 11:19:39 EST

Big Quench: I just got a Harbor Freight ad with a 4000 GPH waterfall pump for $140. At over 1 gallon per second, it may have anvil quenching potential. Of course, you'd need something like a pond or swimming pool to pump out of.
Mike B - Sunday, 02/04/07 13:36:32 EST

Water/steam splatter: Mike B, Even with that volume, wear protective gear and stand back. There is going to be hot water and steam splatter.
- Frank Turley - Sunday, 02/04/07 18:16:21 EST

Quench: Good advice, Frank. Just to be clear, though, I got the catalog, not the pump. I really was passing on an idea to Alan D. I don't see any anvil quenching in my own future.
Mike B - Sunday, 02/04/07 18:45:08 EST

heat radiating from large forging: ptree - my anvil is nothing like a hunk of 1500# steel, and we will only be heating up about half of it, so we'd have about 50#-70# worth of wrought/steel.

Should be possible to caclulate how much heat would radiate from such a piece of hot steel and/or how far the heat would radiate.

I'll ask Scott Thomas about this when I see him this week myself. He's not a know-it-all, but he is a professional that forges a fair amount of steel on a regular basis.

Water could be an issue, but we have a large resevoir of water that is about 50 yards from the smithy. It's about 15'x15' in size and about 4 feet deep, filled with water.

I thought about using an engine hoist to lift the anvil possibly, and that could compliment our needs, but the anvil is not that heavy, especially for 2 people lifting.
Alan DuBoff - Monday, 02/05/07 01:45:40 EST

Alan D: You would not want to have to grind 1/4" off the anvil, that would be a *BITCH*. The top plate would be softer where that much material was removed and possibly too thin to be effective, that is why Your mentor doesn't want You to go that route. If You dress it up with a belt sander You can have a nice working surface and You won't be inclined to remove too much material.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/05/07 02:11:16 EST

Dave - yes, I understand why Scott doesn't want to go the grinding/sanding route, in regards to the top being too thin where it is taken down, but I have seen reference to having 1/4" being enough. The top is 1/2", so it's marginal in that regard. Scott doesn't want to go the belt sanding route either though, although we could clean it up some, we couldn't get it flat without the possibility of making the plate too thin.

Scott already offered to buy it from me for what I paid for it, but it's not as if I need the money, although I might use it to barter for other tools. I'm not sure. It would be a great anvil for a prospering student with limited funds, needing an anvil. It will also make a good 2nd anvil to have around, IMO.

The anvil is usable, and I have used it to forge some hooks and leafs, but just not the anvil I would want to do all of my work on. It's not a bad anvil, older than the Peter Wright I use at Ardenwood (145# PW), or at least I believe mine must be older since the one at the smithy has lbs (Imperial ???) weight stamped on it, opposed to hundred weight numbers which mine has. The more interesting thing to me is that the surface on mine is only 4" in width, and the 145# at the smithy is 4 1/8" in width. To me that 1/8" is quite noticable, and the fact that the edges are much crisper on the 145# PW I use at Ardenwood makes quite a difference.
Alan DuBoff - Monday, 02/05/07 03:18:35 EST

Forged anvil plate thickness:
They often look thicker than they are at the edges. Remember, they started at 1/2" to 5/8" and were forged then ground. There are often thick and thin spots in the plate.

No, 1/4" is far from thick enough especially if rehardened. It will crack from the same forces that caused the anvil to be swayed in the first place. The ONLY saving grace to the fools that machine tops of anvils flat to repair sway, dings and corner wear (they SHOULD be round) is that the plate is softer as it gets closer to the body. Since they do not heat treat then you have a relatively soft top plate that will bend rather than crack.

There is a wonderful photo of an old anvil in the Czech castle where they have an annual hammer-in. The anvil's top plate is cracked at the center and sags to a distinct V. The entire face is highly polished from use and care. No one there would think twice about repairing it. It is quite old but it is a late London pattern so it is not THAT old.
- guru - Monday, 02/05/07 10:30:13 EST

Bruce Wilcock, posts regularly over at IFI, lives in the Shetland Islands UK IIRC.

PTree---perhaps we should have Patrick talk about forging some Large stuff instead of the piddly little 1500# items...

As for how far the heat will radiate---forever until stopped/absorbed. Now the ammount of heat per sq cm will drop off by the inverse sq law; but we still get a nice ammount radiating from an object 93,000,000 miles away in these parts.

I hadn't thought of it in terms of anvil quenching but my next door neighbor put in an 8" well with the pump run by a dedicated disel engine for irrigating---it throws a bit of water out the end of the pipe...

Thomas P - Monday, 02/05/07 14:15:27 EST

say it ain't so...: I just looked at the Anvilfire store stuff from I suffered a total mental breakdown upon seeing the official Anvilfire THONG. Not that I have anything against thongs, you understand, except that the image of Jock modelling them sprang unbidden into my head.

Hopefully the blindness will pass, but I am going to have to do some heavy-duty mind erasing excercises to cauterize the few synapses that survived the initial onslaught.

Deary me....
Alan-L - Monday, 02/05/07 16:48:32 EST

Alan our minds work differently---I was wondering about Blacksmiths who I would *like* to see modeling that thong. A MUCH smaller universe---I could only think of a couple...

Thomas P - Monday, 02/05/07 17:49:13 EST

thong?: and jock in the same sentence???? wow.... now thats a fearful thought..... arnt there laws against that??? crimes against humanity ???
peter - Monday, 02/05/07 17:57:45 EST

I should get one to wear with my lederhosen...
Thomas P - Monday, 02/05/07 20:19:02 EST

thong: ThomasP,
ptree - Monday, 02/05/07 21:40:01 EST

Large forgings: Thomasp, while many forge bigger stuff than 1500#, most here do not, and most hobby smiths really don't understand just how much you are up against when forging even a 100# billet. The biggest in my home shop was only perhaps 30#, but was a hollow so much surface area. My tongs really wern't set up for that big a part hot. The welders gaunlets started to smoke from time to time. :)
ptree - Monday, 02/05/07 21:43:00 EST

Alan D: I was only suggesting a cleaning up and smoothing, not a flattening. You will work for quite a while and use up a few belts jus to take .010" off an area the size of an anvil face. That is what I did to mine to get rid of most of the rust pits and some grinder dings from a prior owner.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/06/07 00:57:47 EST

My hot hands experience is not so much with weight as surface area---I've pounded out some pots for LH use---cast iron cookware is *so* late renaissance you know... What I have found is that a hot parabolic dish will quite happily concentrate IR radiation on your *hammer* hand. (face etc) sure is a lot quieter than working it cold though.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/06/07 12:28:24 EST

Thomas, you have got the point that others missed. Large surface areas radiating a lot of heat. Folks that have never worked a large piece in either mass or area do not realize the vast difference that area makes. It not so much the temperature but the total energy radiated. A large area at a low red can be worse than a small area at a yellow heat.

The thing about an anvil is that it is JUST enough area to radiate a LOT of energy AND it has a enough mass to do it for a long time.

Guys that melt steel in crucibles which reach the same temperature as the metal know what I mean. It is vastly different than hot metal in an insulated crucible where the heat exposure is only from the surface of the melt and the pour.
- guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 12:42:22 EST

I like how it is assumed that me and Scott have not thought about heat, because we've talked about it previously, and Scott has quite a bit of experience.

Scott does quite a bit with crucibles, I see them over at the smithy all the time with pucks and other pieces around that came out of them.

Maybe I can get him over here on AnvilFire, but he's a bit computer challenged, and this intereface won't help someone like Scott be able to participate. It won't stop someone like him from participating, but it won't help.

OTOH, Scott could be BS'n me, and he might now know what he's doing. I'm gonna check it out closer when I see him today, I'm heading over to the smithy now. Even though he's computer challenged, he's a fine smith, IMO.
Alan DuBoff - Tuesday, 02/06/07 13:45:22 EST


Be very careful when underestimating Scott. The guy can surprise you. If he doesn't know the answer, he'll tinker w/ it until it comes to him. And as far as the whole computer literacy thing, he's done alright for someone whose focus is unrelated to IT; he's managed to muddle his way through getting a website up and going, and seems to be okay w/ a least ghosting forums. I think the computer literacy w/ him is more a function of a lack of time rather than lack of ability.

In terms of the heat issue, that does seem to be a real concern that has been discussed previously. Another thing Scott & I have discussed is taking broken anvils and re-working them back into functional tools. As it stands, this is all idle fancy until we get down to brass tacks, you know?

BTW, finished the poker. :P
steelgriffin - Tuesday, 02/06/07 14:42:38 EST

Repairing Anvils:
A number of people do this on a small scale. However, at one time some of the anvil manufacturers repaired anvils from different makers. They had the same crews and equipment that made anvils in production that could also make repairs. When you are making forged anvils by the built up method a repair is not much different than just stepping into the process near the end. These folks did everything from replacing parts to refacing and heat treating.

Today with arc welders you can make all kinds of anvil repairs in a small shop including repacing horns and adding features. Where things are problematic is face repair and heat treating. Weld buildup is and art and it is never as good a material as the original. Heat treating is a big deal on something this size. Then you have the weight to deal with and it is just not a task for everyone.

- guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 16:22:06 EST

Mighty Forge: I clicked on the Mighty Forge ad on the Google ads. It's in Canada, and the contact name is Lorne. Wasn't there a Canadian smith by that name who was a regular here?
Mike BR - Tuesday, 02/06/07 19:01:08 EST

Griff, I don't underestimate Scott at all, in fact I rely on him as a valuable resource, one that I was happy to find, and to have so close. I will repeat myself in saying that Scott is certainly not the single best smith in the world, but he is a consistent one and he understands metal pretty good (much better than myself), and works it on a daily basis the good 'ol fashioned traditional way of forging it in a coal forge. If you're not doing anything on Sat., stop by the smithy. I'll be building a gas forge by wrapping my own pipe out of sheet stock. I have an 8" piece of 24 gauge (I like this gauge), but I would like to have 10-12 inches for the burner I have. We will fix Scott's old computer sometime, hopefully, and I offered him one today, but he wants a laptop and that I don't have spares of.

Guru, actually Scott has repaired and welded several anvils, and he did a fine job on the couple that he's done at the smithy...but the point of this whole exercise is if it could be done by hand, and if so, if we think it out logically and apply practical experience, could we actually do it and make the anvil "more usable". I think "more usable" is a good descriptor for my anvil, because it will function today as it is.

I spent most of the time at the smithy today fixing a mis-punched whole on a pot trammel, which I mis-punched last week. I could have fixed it more quickly, and I could have ended with the same result, but I wanted to upset the metal, and forge it back to shape and re-punch the hole where it belonged. I know that many would have gone the quicker route, but I wanted to understand how to perform and do operations on my anvil so I can move metal how I need to, not how I already know to, if that makes sense.

I am quick to admit I am a hobbyist, but that doesn't mean I want to work in any any less than a smith who forges full time. Yes, I do rely on Scott to help me reach the goals I have, and so far he's doing a great job at it, not only with me, but at least a dozen other smiths around the area as well. Sure, Scott has an arc welder and we could use it on this anvil in question, but that proves/teaches us nothing.
Alan DuBoff - Tuesday, 02/06/07 19:21:04 EST

Griff, I don't underestimate Scott at all, in fact I rely on him as a valuable resource, one that I was happy to find, and to have so close. I will repeat myself in saying that Scott is certainly not the single best smith in the world, but he is a consistent one and he understands metal pretty good (much better than myself), and works it on a daily basis the good 'ol fashioned traditional way of forging it in a coal forge. If you're not doing anything on Sat., stop by the smithy. I'll be building a gas forge by wrapping my own pipe out of sheet stock. I have an 8" piece of 24 gauge (I like this gauge), but I would like to have 10-12 inches for the burner I have. We will fix Scott's old computer sometime, hopefully, and I offered him one today, but he wants a laptop and that I don't have spares of.

Guru, actually Scott has repaired and welded several anvils, and he did a fine job on the couple that he's done at the smithy...but the point of this whole exercise is if it could be done by hand, and if so, if we think it out logically and apply practical experience, could we actually do it and make the anvil "more usable". I think "more usable" is a good descriptor for my anvil, because it will function today as it is.

I spent most of the time at the smithy today fixing a mis-punched whole on a pot trammel, which I mis-punched last week. I could have fixed it more quickly, and I could have ended with the same result, but I wanted to upset the metal, and forge it back to shape and re-punch the hole where it belonged. I know that many would have gone the quicker route, but I wanted to understand how to perform and do operations on my anvil so I can move metal how I need to, not how I already know to, if that makes sense.

I am quick to admit I am a hobbyist, but that doesn't mean I want to work in any any less than a smith who forges full time. Yes, I do rely on Scott to help me reach the goals I have, and so far he's doing a great job at it, not only with me, but at least a dozen other smiths around the area as well. Sure, Scott has an arc welder and we could use it on this anvil in question, but that proves/teaches us nothing.
Alan DuBoff - Tuesday, 02/06/07 19:22:01 EST

Griff, I don't underestimate Scott at all, in fact I rely on him as a valuable resource, one that I was happy to find, and to have so close. I will repeat myself in saying that Scott is certainly not the single best smith in the world, but he is a consistent one and he understands metal pretty good (much better than myself), and works it on a daily basis the good 'ol fashioned traditional way of forging it in a coal forge. If you're not doing anything on Sat., stop by the smithy. I'll be building a gas forge by wrapping my own pipe out of sheet stock. I have an 8" piece of 24 gauge (I like this gauge), but I would like to have 10-12 inches for the burner I have. We will fix Scott's old computer sometime, hopefully, and I offered him one today, but he wants a laptop and that I don't have spares of.

Guru, actually Scott has repaired and welded several anvils, and he did a fine job on the couple that he's done at the smithy...but the point of this whole exercise is if it could be done by hand, and if so, if we think it out logically and apply practical experience, could we actually do it and make the anvil "more usable". I think "more usable" is a good descriptor for my anvil, because it will function today as it is.

I spent most of the time at the smithy today fixing a mis-punched whole on a pot trammel, which I mis-punched last week. I could have fixed it more quickly, and I could have ended with the same result, but I wanted to upset the metal, and forge it back to shape and re-punch the hole where it belonged. I know that many would have gone the quicker route, but I wanted to understand how to perform and do operations on my anvil so I can move metal how I need to, not how I already know to, if that makes sense.

I am quick to admit I am a hobbyist, but that doesn't mean I want to work in any any less than a smith who forges full time. Yes, I do rely on Scott to help me reach the goals I have, and so far he's doing a great job at it, not only with me, but at least a dozen other smiths around the area as well. Sure, Scott has an arc welder and we could use it on this anvil in question, but that proves or teaches us nothing.
Alan DuBoff - Tuesday, 02/06/07 19:22:43 EST

New Gas Forges: Might be. I was surprised by the number of folks that are making and selling blacksmiths forges. Most are the pipe or freon can type. Too many on the market with no real design. Now the gas forges I saw at last spring's bladesmiths gathering at Larry Harley's had air curtains on them to keep you from getting singed. Smart design.

The typical forge sold today has a cheap burner design, bad doors, no hearth and few features of importance.
- guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 19:23:21 EST

Griff, I don't underestimate Scott at all, in fact I rely on him as a valuable resource, one that I was happy to find, and to have so close. I will repeat myself in saying that Scott is certainly not the single best smith in the world, but he is a consistent one and he understands metal pretty good (much better than myself), and works it on a daily basis the good 'ol fashioned traditional way of forging it in a coal forge. If you're not doing anything on Sat., stop by the smithy. I'll be building a gas forge by wrapping my own pipe out of sheet stock. I have an 8" piece of 24 gauge (I like this gauge), but I would like to have 10-12 inches for the burner I have. We will fix Scott's old computer sometime, hopefully, and I offered him one today, but he wants a laptop and that I don't have spares of.

Guru, actually Scott has repaired and welded several anvils, and he did a fine job on the couple that he's done at the smithy...but the point of this whole exercise is if it could be done by hand, and if so, if we think it out logically and apply practical experience, could we actually do it and make the anvil "more usable". I think "more usable" is a good descriptor for my anvil, because it will function today as it is.

I spent most of the time at the smithy today fixing a mis-punched whole on a pot trammel, which I mis-punched last week. I could have fixed it more quickly, and I could have ended with the same result, but I wanted to upset the metal, and forge it back to shape and re-punch the hole where it belonged. I know that many would have gone the quicker route, but I wanted to understand how to perform and do operations on my anvil so I can move metal how I need to, not how I already know to, if that makes sense.
Alan DuBoff - Tuesday, 02/06/07 19:23:57 EST

Griff, I don't underestimate Scott at all, in fact I rely on him as a valuable resource, one that I was happy to find, and to have so close. I will repeat myself in saying that Scott is certainly not the single best smith in the world, but he is a consistent one and he understands metal pretty good (much better than myself), and works it on a daily basis the good 'ol fashioned traditional way of forging it in a coal forge. If you're not doing anything on Sat., stop by the smithy. I'll be building a gas forge by wrapping my own pipe out of sheet stock. I have an 8" piece of 24 gauge (I like this gauge), but I would like to have 10-12 inches for the burner I have. We will fix Scott's old computer sometime, hopefully, and I offered him one today, but he wants a laptop and that I don't have spares of.

Guru, actually Scott has repaired and welded several anvils, and he did a fine job on the couple that he's done at the smithy...but the point of this whole exercise is if it could be done by hand, and if so, if we think it out logically and apply practical experience, could we actually do it and make the anvil more usable. I think more usable is a good descriptor for my anvil, because it will function today as it is.

I spent most of the time at the smithy today fixing a mis-punched whole on a pot trammel, which I mis-punched last week. I could have fixed it more quickly, and I could have ended with the same result, but I wanted to upset the metal, and forge it back to shape and re-punch the hole where it belonged. I know that many would have gone the quicker route, but I wanted to understand how to perform and do operations on my anvil so I can move metal how I need to, not how I already know to, if that makes sense.
Alan DuBoff - Tuesday, 02/06/07 19:25:01 EST

did I stutter or what?: Obviously the software took the entry, I didn't know if I was to wait or if it had some bad text in it...Jock, maybe you can remove the extra stutterage.
Alan DuBoff - Tuesday, 02/06/07 21:04:05 EST

Is there going to be another movie on this flight?
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 02/06/07 21:56:45 EST

Can anyone suggest a method to cut a circular hole in a piece of plate steel about 1/8 inch thick?
I was planning on using it to make a forge with(a bed,and put a firepot in center)but I can't figure out how to cut it. It's rectangular and has walls on all sides about 1 to 2 inches high.
- Chris - Tuesday, 02/06/07 21:59:37 EST

Chris-- oxy-acetylene torch'll do it nicely in a jiffy. Cold chisel will do it slowly.
- Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 02/06/07 22:07:20 EST

Chris, A reciprocating saw (sabre saw or sawzall) will do the job slowly and probably use a blade per side. Drill four holes and start sawing. Wear those ear muffs!
- guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 23:35:08 EST

I off for a couple weeks. I'll be in touch for emergencies and remote maintenance but for the most part I will be cooling it. Will check in when I can.

Y'all be good. No flame wars please.
- guru - Tuesday, 02/06/07 23:35:20 EST

I'll be out of touch for the next three days on a quick road trip for the cop shop. Play nice while I'm gone, please.
vicopper - Tuesday, 02/06/07 23:59:42 EST

50 and 100 little giant: I have a 50# that is in very good condition and a 100# that needs TLC. They are located in central calif. Any intrest I can be reached at 831 385 3343.Mon - Fri. 8-5 Thanks Danny
Danny Conatser - Wednesday, 02/07/07 12:50:55 EST

They make a neat little fixture for cutting torches that clamps onto the beam and has a point so you just pop in a center punch ding; rest the point and swivel the torch making a nice circle---much nicer than I can freehand at least.

Now for a grace note---if you actually want the circle rather than a hole you can find a trashed speaker magnet that has a screw hole in the keeper and plop that down and not ding the plate to get your pivot point.
- ThomasP - Wednesday, 02/07/07 14:58:07 EST

Hole: depending on the size of your firepot a good bi-metal holesaw might do the trick. I've never used on bigger than 1.5 inches in 1/8 inch plate, but i suppose plenty of cutting oil would help. Otherwise torch cut it.
-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 02/07/07 15:26:18 EST

Thanks for the help,I'll probably be using a torch,I'm gonna ask someone at the local ABANA sub-chapter forge about it tommorrow.

I plan on actually getting a real forge instead of the one I'm making right now,but money is an issue when you don't have a job. I'm currently making a model for one in my CAD software.

I'll upload a screenshot to my server when I get a chance.
Chris - Wednesday, 02/07/07 16:42:53 EST

Guru and V.I. Copper: Gosh, we've lost out spititual leader and our law enforcement professional! Who shall lead and guard us now? Will anarchy commence? Will we slip into the ways of wickedness?


Anybody want to go Viking? I say a ship's burden should not be measured in tuns of wine, but in hundredweights of anvils! Let the plundering commence!

(...Cap'n Atli then remembers that the ship is hauled out for the winter. :-(
Longing for a warm day and a cool breeze, or vice versa...
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 02/07/07 16:47:49 EST

I finished a preliminary drawing,not really to scale,and not very well done,but you can get the idea.
Chris - Wednesday, 02/07/07 17:44:10 EST

Striker power hammer for sale, brand new STC-88 special order single phase motor with extra dies $8500. call Denny for details 503.754.4621 Portland, Oregon.
- denny - Wednesday, 02/07/07 19:50:50 EST

Atli the anvil plunderer: I guess You will be stealing them from maritime museams, the rest of them are too far from the water's edge to carry.
- Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 02/07/07 23:15:12 EST

hole cutting: hey if you got a stick welder crank that bugger up and cut your hole that way.....aint the cleanest way....but if you dont have a red wrench or a plasma cutter it will work---- i have 300amp tombstone that cuts through 1inch plate with like butter....
- pete - Thursday, 02/08/07 06:34:22 EST

Simple way but works well if you have the time. lay out the circle,take a 3/16 drill or so and drill a bunch of holes that almost touch around the dia. good chisel will then knock out the slug and a small die grinder will clean it up and look quite professional.
- Danny Conatser - Thursday, 02/08/07 12:22:25 EST

Atli; it seems like the "climate" down in the VI would be particularly nice for a viking long boat for about the next 3 days...certainly no ice or snow to deal with...

Thomas P - Thursday, 02/08/07 13:00:10 EST

Chris-- if you have not used an oxy-acetylene torch before, it helps to mark the outline of the cut with center-punch marks, AND a chalk mark you will be able to see with goggles on. Start the hole back a bit inside away from the line and pop through there, then cut to line and follow. Otherwise you will have a smeary crater intruding onto the other side of the line. Keep your head back away from over the hole-- there will be a miniature geyser of spatter as the torch blows its way down through the steel. Tilt the torch back a bit away from the direction of the cut when you have penetrated so the flame pre-heats steel ahead of the cut. Make sure you are all the way through before moving the torch along. If you lose the cut, go back and start in the kerf, burning through at the point where you lost it. And Bob's your uncle!
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 02/08/07 13:57:58 EST

ABANA NY Cancelled.
- ANON - Friday, 02/09/07 05:11:28 EST

Anvil Raids and ABANA: The USVI do seem attractive, and we have some parks down there. The Saugus river, on the other claw, may be a little icy this time of year.

Hmmm, and the USVI are "relatively" unprotected at the moment.

ABANA: If not NY, then where?
Intelligence Data for Potential Raid
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 02/09/07 09:30:42 EST

Oxygen acetylene pattern torch /Burning machine :

This old machine is a nice example of 1940s technology.Will burn from paper or magnetic
patterns.It is a Airco # 10 Planograph.
Torch has 2 oxygen lines.Comes with a propaine tip,but can be used
with acetyiene .
Will fit into a fullsize pickup truck.
Located in North Wisconsin. Please E Mail .I am asking 1000 $.I hate to see it go, but it needs a good home as I hardly use it anymore and thats sad because its fun to operate.
Its a good rig for someone(like me) that doesnt want to learn to "program"
"...certainly no ice or snow to deal with."OUCH
15 below this morning here in North Wisconsin,

- Dan - Friday, 02/09/07 10:20:01 EST

Oxygen acetylene pattern torch /Burning machine : : So sorry. My my E Mail is
Dan - Friday, 02/09/07 10:25:40 EST

Oxygen acetylene pattern torch /Burning machine : : So sorry. My my E Mail is
Dan - Friday, 02/09/07 10:26:12 EST

Swage Blocks: Hi Y'all! I just came across a small cache of swedge blocks in nice shape. I have no idea who made them. One type is rectangular with spoon molds on one side and ladle molds on the other and various typical dies around the edges.They weigh 55lbs and are priced at $130 each. The 2nd type is your very typical square block with round & square holes in the middle and various dies around the edges.These weigh 75lbs. and are priced at $170 each. I have a few of each size. I can email you photos.Cheers!
Barry Denton - Friday, 02/09/07 11:33:16 EST

swage blocks: Barry
The modern rectangular blocks you have are designed by: Josh Greenwood.

anyone wanting to look at the industrial style and modern style swage blocks Barry has can go to ebay and search under seller barubar
- Iron Balls - Friday, 02/09/07 12:52:49 EST

Thanks for the stuff about cutting,I was thinking about putting some magnesium and letting it burn a hole,or better yet,thermite! Nah,just kidding,that would be an excessive amount of force.

What did anyone think about the CAD drawing?
Chris - Friday, 02/09/07 21:36:39 EST

thoughts....: does anyone have any POSTIVE thoughts on an across the board skills cert for american blacksmiths...
- peter - Saturday, 02/10/07 09:03:01 EST

I havn't heard from our friend on the purchace of my 250 lb. hammer. Just wanted to keep you posted.
- Dwayne - Saturday, 02/10/07 09:53:11 EST

Pet I have not heard from our friend about the purchase of my 250 lb. hammer. I just wanted to keep you posted on it.
Dwayne - Saturday, 02/10/07 09:56:05 EST

Sure hope pete gets the message because It was posted two times.
Sorry guys
Dwayne - Saturday, 02/10/07 09:57:43 EST

peter-- I think it's, like, a, you know, just a rilly superfragilisticexpialidocious idea. And it'll make it sooooo much more expeditious for Big Bother to be sure we all turn over our forges and anvils and hammers and all that other weapons-making stuff come the revolution, right? Like the Brits did in Ireland.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 02/10/07 12:03:37 EST

Oops-- make that superCALifragilisticexpialidocious. Sorry.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 02/10/07 15:56:42 EST

Miles, you been breathing that high altitude air again?
ptree - Saturday, 02/10/07 19:33:21 EST

Nahhh, the exciting notion of registering with the authorities just brings out the Mary Poppins, seems like.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 02/10/07 20:00:08 EST

While I dont think its a good idea, I think Miles is making a bit of a jump there- Skills certification tests have nothing to do with equipment ownership.
You can be a licensed electrician, and the government has no idea if you own a conduit bender, a klein screwdriver, or a Fluke multimeter.
You can be a certified welder, and they still dont know if you own one of those fingernipping mechanical ironworkers or not.

But nationwide skills certifications help industry mostly- they can then hire people with a fair amount of certainty they will know their job. And since the amount of industrial blacksmiths in the USA is pretty darn small, probably only a few thousand, I kinda doubt anybody is willing to pay the no doubt millions required to set up national standards, testing, and certification procedures.
In the welding industry, with at least a couple of hundred thousand welders in the USA, there is no such national cert- cities and states sometimes have their own, some have none, and many companies still make you test for them, regardless of your paperwork.

Union employees use certs to protect against nonunion competition- but very few working blacksmiths today are Union- probably under 2000 nationwide.

Most employed blacksmiths in america work in 1 to 5 man shops- and would not want the expense or hassle of being union, either the shops or the smiths.

If I hire a guy, and we dont do any forge welding in my shop, a forge welding cert is of no use to me- but I will want to train him or her to plasma cut, or run an ironworker, or to tig weld stainless- there are just too many variables from shop to shop to make one unified set of skills even desirable.
- Ries - Saturday, 02/10/07 21:54:04 EST

Peter: Nothing positive from Me. I am not in favor of contractor liscencing either. I think it is up to the customer to check out a smiths work and decide if it suits thier needs. I am certainly not the caliber smith of VIcopper, Ries, or a lot of other guys on this forum. but if I can do what somebody needs I am good enough for that job.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 02/10/07 23:46:25 EST

I figure just about anyone who would hold a 2000 degree piece of steel and hit it with a hammer is certifiable already (grin).
Mike BR - Sunday, 02/11/07 09:10:41 EST

I have to agree with Ries et al. In the boiler trade, welder certification is critical, and every company does their own. Every welder we hired was certed in our lab, their work tested and then they were cert'ed, and we trusted the company's liability responsibility to no one elses certification. I do not think we would have trusted even a federal gov't cert.
ptree - Sunday, 02/11/07 10:18:01 EST

Certification: I'm agin it! I have never seen a certification program that was good. I see incompetent teachers with the best looking, highest certs on the faculty. I see physicians that don't know which way is up. I've seen certified welders that couldn't weld, certified laboratories that got consistently wrong answers. Some certification is necessesary, like Doctors and engineers, but most is hogwash.

I am a certified chemistry teacher in Tennessee, certified for ANY subject in CA, can't qualify for Physics in TN, but have made my living as a physicist. Physics teachers come to me to hepl them with the tough problems. But I can't qualify for a cert.

I am a certified Fire and explosion investigator. I was good before I got the cert, and the cert didn't make me better. I know some with the cert that are not competent.
- John Odom - Sunday, 02/11/07 11:35:11 EST

You think certifacations for welding and stuff is bad,try certifications on computers,I am 15,and have had to help people with tons of certifications in computers to simply start a computer,seriously,some certifications today should proudly state:"Capable of tieing his or her shoes without choking on their own spit!"
Chris - Sunday, 02/11/07 14:12:14 EST

Certs or Qualification Papers:
A number of organizations have made up lists for blacksmithing and I have seen huge holes in them OR things that are useless to many. Today's blacksmith shop resembles a machine shop more than a forge and to be really usefull a worker needs to know how to use some basic machinery (the right way to drill a hole) and a lot about modern welding equipment. They also need to know the difference between hardening and tempering as well as what makes steels different. Basics like files and scrapers are important as well as how to use a hack saw and proper posture for all the former.

One list I saw had "how to operate a chop saw". Now this is worthless to me but a fellow that knows the basics of adjusting a band saw and the patience to do it has a real skill. Proper deburing, cleaning and finishing are also skills that are also hard to drill into folks. Hand me a part to inspect that has burrs and or is dirty and I will toss it back and tell you it is not finished. I tell workers how a part should be before I look at it ONE time. But this type thing would varies from shop to shop.

To me it is more important that a worker have pride in workmanship and the desire to produce the best work than a bunch of skills that are checked off a list them forgotten.

Some trades need licensing and others do not. It was as late as the mid 70's before locksmiths were licensed and it was (may still not be) universal until the late 1980's. It's complicated and often worthless paper chasing.
- guru - Sunday, 02/11/07 19:46:09 EST

ABANA NY Message?: Checked their website- no mention.

So, is ANON just playing troll? (I mean, when you post as anonymous, you have to figure either the person is shy or they are up to something.)

Cryptic messages may be interesting, but not if they're meaningless.

Cold and variable on the banks of the lower Potomac. More chainsaw work and clearing on the forge lot today.

Visit your National Parks:

Go viking:
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 02/11/07 23:55:27 EST

certs: ok ok enuff on the reasons not to..... how bout the reasons too?....... look at the ABS they have set standards that are upsurpassed here in the usa....i must admit you gotta kinda wonder about folks that are against certs.... are they affaid the skills wont stack up??? going from a self named master to a journeyman would be a blow..... ok guys.... looking for the reasons to have certs.....
peter - Monday, 02/12/07 08:25:54 EST

ABANA: It doesn't appear that the confrences are done but rather that they want to try to do them without the high expenses. I too went to the ABANA web site and no mention of a cancelation.
- Doug - Monday, 02/12/07 08:31:57 EST

Happy days are here again: Well my old freinds. The time has come. I am happy to announce that St. Valentine's day. I am to be wed. My future wife and I filed for our marriage license this afternoon. I would have made notice more quickly, but have been real busy with the planning.
- Jason - Monday, 02/12/07 16:20:39 EST

Okay, lets look at blacksmiths in america today, and if any of them would benefit from certification.

First, we have industrial smiths- people like Steve Parker, who runs a 400lb or so Nazel, making tooling for the 5000lb to 20,000lb hammers and presses at an industrial forging shop.
There are probably several hundred to a couple of thousand people like that in the country today, at places like Scot Forge.
They mostly run enormous hammers and presses, forging titanium billets as heavy as a volkswagen.
In their work, they need to know the principles of forging, but they do almost no hand work on anvils- no forge welding, no twists, or scrolls, or punching.
So their Certification would include running very large machines, safety procedures in large factories, crane operations, and general industrial forging principles.

Then we have the smiths who are employed in small art blacksmith shops. I would guess that nationwide, we are talking about somewhere between 3 and 10 thousand people, making ornamental iron fences and gates, stairs and railings, furniture and accessories. Every shop is different- a very few use all traditional techniques, but the vast majority I am familiar with use many modern industrial tools as well- arc welding, hydraulic ironworkers, cold saws and bandsaws, press brakes and of course, power hammers. These people also need a grounding in basic blacksmithing techniques, along with a good helping of machine shop and welding class.

We have a few hundred historical smiths, working in living history and fair demos- usually all traditional, they would not need most of the info or skills the first two groups would.

We have farriers, who have entirely different needs.

We have a huge base of hobbyiests, who do part time work of all sorts- crafts fair products, the odd railing, historical reproduction work..

Now I cannont think of any national certification that would be broad enough to cover all these people. Each specialty has different skill sets, and needs. Many mutually exclusive.

Most farriers dont make their own shoes anymore, they adjust store bought ones- so most dont need to forge weld.
The largest blacksmith shop in the country for many years was down in Arkansas, making furniture that was almost all mig welded, with forged details. They, at their peak in the 80's, employed something like 150 people- and I would bet that not a one of em needed the skills of a "Master" blacksmith from 1850.

I dont know of more than a couple of blowhards who call THEMSELVES masters- there are a few people I know who ARE masters- but they are too humble to call themselves that. There may be some Union designation- there still are something like 1500 members of the national Union who are technically blacksmiths- but in general, in the real world, you are judged by what you do, not what some piece of paper calls you.

I just cant see any upside to national certs- it would not make me automatically hire a guy.
- Ries Niemi - Monday, 02/12/07 17:50:05 EST

Certification & licensing: Peter, actually I wonder about the folks who advocate certifications and licensing.

What those do is raise the difficulty of entering the regulated business, decreasing competition and increasing prices by limiting the suppliers.

Recently, the major contractors here were advocating the creation of a contractor's license. It wouldn't have effected them much because they would be grandfathered and get their license for the price of filling out an application and paying a fee. However, it would raise the bar to entry into the business, making it easier for them to raise prices, 'cause new contractors would have to pass tests and post proof of insurance before they could even solicit for a contract.

The only reason to have certs is to exclude those who do not have them from the business.

This may be reasonable in occupations where incompetence is very hazardous to the customer, like being a physician or airline pilot, but for anything else, it is just greed and/or power tripping on the part of the regulator.
John Lowther - Monday, 02/12/07 17:50:12 EST

Jason: Congratulations Jason and bride. The very best to you two. Now where did I put that tuxcedo.
- Doug - Monday, 02/12/07 17:52:11 EST

makes sense: i guess there where alot good points raised.... i still think the issue warrents a deeper look..
peter - Monday, 02/12/07 18:27:09 EST

Peter, tell us what you think might be tested and verified-
Would it be historical smithing techniques?
You know, hot cutting and punching, forge welding, hand tapering, scrolling, and twisting?
All hand work?
Or would it be more a modern test, that included running saws, drills, and welding and power hammers?
Or maybe two levels-
The "hand" cert, and the "machine" cert?

I am just wondering what skills you think should be tested.

I guess what this really comes down to is the philisophical question, what makes a blacksmith in the 21st Century?

I know a blacksmith (Randy McDaniel) who runs his own laser cutting machine.
Another (Grant Sarver) who uses a CNC mill and CAD programs to make his forged products.
And yet another, (Tai Goo) who can dig a hole in the ground, burn some garbage, and make a knife with basically no tools beyond a flea market hammer.
Or maybe Peter Ross, who can do magic with a hammer and anvil, master of 200 year old styles and techniques.
Mike Bondi- who runs a big shop, with lots of employees and big hammers, and does things like art noveau styled Iconel railings for million dollar yachts.

They are all 21st century blacksmiths.
- Ries Niemi - Monday, 02/12/07 19:01:48 EST

The big problem I see with licensing and certification is that it is SUPPOSED to protect the public. But in most cases it does not. There are just as many or MORE crooked or sub par liscensed contractors as good ones. And the building codes do not help much. When built to the minimum standard AS INSPECTED in the US you do not get a well built home. You get an expensive hovel with high maintenance plumbing, inefficient insulation and materials that I would not build a crate or a dog house with.

Quality is still generally what you pay for and good workmanship requires honesty and trust. Our system of liscensing does not assure honesty much less quality of workmanship.
- guru - Monday, 02/12/07 20:46:05 EST

Certifications: Certification just means you MAY have some or a little knowledge in a particular area but can not atest to any verifiable wisdom.
- IRON BALLS - Monday, 02/12/07 22:20:39 EST

Good luck. May you love what she loves, may she love what you love, and may you both love each other.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 02/12/07 23:29:01 EST

ries/guru: ries- i would think atleast 2 levels...hand and machine... covering most everything you spoke for the 21st century smiths you spoke of...great talented men....all masters in their own queston in my mind....i'm thinking of the cert as more like standardized training....sure there are niches and specialization..... but the basics are the basics...basic hand work basic powerhammer work...basic machine(not that you NEED it...but so very helpful nowdays).... there are great schools out there great teachers... but a great deal of the time much is taught in facets instead of the trade as a whole...... not trying to cause a arguement about this,i just wanna see things change..... guru.... ok point taken..but this isnt protecting the public as much as the thought of doing something in the lines of the abs...the standard they have set for themselves is outstanding and i would like to be a part of helping something like that happen for the blacksmithing community..........iron balls if you havent visited the abs website check it out those cert's mean something
peter - Monday, 02/12/07 23:31:55 EST

Certifications: Certification just means you MAY have some or a little knowledge in a particular area but can not atest to any verifiable wisdom.

I have lots of certifications...they only look good to some over educated idiots that wants to hire someone. Usually the person with out it has the brain power, but doesn't get the job at first. Then after wasting big money on the igit they get the person without it to do it right.
- IRON BALLS - Monday, 02/12/07 23:46:36 EST

Certification: Another problem that comes up with certification & contractor liscencing is that the COST of getting certified and keeping it current is too expensive for part time workers. Would You bother to become certified [presuming that there would be cost involved] if You make little or no profit from the smithing You do now? Reputations are earned, and if You repeatedly let Your mouth make promises You can't keep the word gets around. If You WERE certified what guarantees that You actually do good work? Another point worth considering is that in the ARTIST blacksmith field being able to do all the procedures does not make You [read ME] an artist.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/13/07 00:22:59 EST

One example it is interesting to look at is Germany- they still certify most trades, and it is ILLEGAL to practice without a card.
You cannot set up a cabinet making shop in Germany, without being a master cabinetmaker.
I am not sure if they still certify blacksmiths or not, and artists can usually sneak under the wire- but in a state certification system like they had, there is no room for a side job making a railing in your garage on the weekend- you either ARE a real tradesman, or you are NOT- and you can get busted trying to make money at it if you arent.

This is not a system I would like to see- but it is the logical extension of making people study a set course of skills before they can work in a trade.

What is the ABS?
- Ries Niemi - Tuesday, 02/13/07 11:45:05 EST

ABS: Ries - American Bladesmith Society Note I admit to not being that familiar with ABS requirements - I've seen one demo of the testing - the test I saw were designed around the performance characteristics of one style of knife. Other styles whether mad well or poorly did poorly in the test.
- Gavainh - Tuesday, 02/13/07 13:10:46 EST

Certification & Hand/Machine comments: I'm out of the horseshoeing loop, but I think the American Farriers Association has two grades of certification: Certified Farrier and Certified Journeyman Farrier. It is not mandated that you MUST obtain certification. It's an optional thing where if you become certified, you can put a decal on your rig and can hang a certificate on the wall. The AFA is an association, not an arm of the government. The problem, as I see it, is if the AFA wanted certification as a law, they could lobby for same. That's scary.

As for hand and machine, David Pye says that it is an improper dichotomy, in his estimation. He wrote the book, "The Nature and Art of Workmanship". In terms of skill level and accomplishment, he talks about "workmanship of risk" and "workmanship of certainty". The former would be blacksmithery at the anvil or maybe an open die hammer. The latter would be, say, making a Seven-Up can. In blacksmithing, you can blow the project any time by losing too much mass, misshitting, or burning the piece. The Seven-Up can is going to continue to look pretty much like another one, unless the machine has down-time.

I think Pye uses the example of a dentist using a drill. He is using a machine. However, he is performing WORKMANSHIP OF RISK.

Just a little food for thought.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/13/07 13:11:26 EST

I am a big David Pye fan, and I would agree that the true craftsman is not defined by the tool, or even the process he uses.

I guess if you proved yourself proficient in a series of basic procedures, you get get a piece of paper that said you were a "Blacksmith".
I probably would not get one- and it would not affect what I make, or how I make it.
I tend to pick and choose among techniques used by machinists, welders, sheet metal fabricators, auto body men, blacksmiths, woodworkers, and even flooring installers when I am making my work- and so whether or not I could call myself a "certified blacksmith" is not real important to me, or my customers.

I dont see how you could certify, however, the qualities I look for in an employee- patience, the willingness to learn, the abiltiy to think, plus a basic interest in metal.
I want somebody who can measure, and be accurate, and who is pleasant to have around, doesnt throw temper tantrums when he screws up, and wants to always know more.
I can train him how to run a power hammer, or how exactly I want the end tapered, or the rivet set. Those are the easy things.

- Ries Niemi - Tuesday, 02/13/07 13:25:53 EST


Well, my wif think's I'm certifiable! ;-)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 02/13/07 13:42:21 EST

OFF Topic:
Going to go do some sight seeing here in Costa Rica for the next few days and unless we are somewhere with WiFi I will be out of touch completely for a while.

We are going to see an active volcano close up at night. Will get photos if the sky is clear and may stay up all night to do so. . . Then to the Pacific Coast. You can drive from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast here in one LONG day if you stick to the major roads small as they are. Two days would be normal travel including crossing the mountains. We are taking the "scenic" route.
- guru - Tuesday, 02/13/07 16:07:43 EST

Champion Blower: I have a 400 champion blower that is leaking oil out the fan shaft. Anyone knowing where I could get new parts please let me know.
dwayne kent - Tuesday, 02/13/07 21:03:16 EST

ABS: That allso stands for American Bureau of Shipping, who sets the standards that ships are built to, scantlings, systems, welding codes etc. And yes, you have to pass a test for that welding.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/13/07 23:18:37 EST

dwayne kent-- fret not-- most all blowers and other sorts of old machinery like drill presses and trip hammers leak like sieves. Try a heavier oil and frequent fill-ups before doing anything drastic. If you do decide to dismantle, beware of tapered pins securing gears to shafts.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 02/14/07 01:37:24 EST

more hammers for sale: ok guys updated list.....seems as if i'm becoming a clearing house for hammers list is as follows...
65lb champion(model1)
150fairbanks(model e)
50lb lil giant
100lb lil giant
200lb beaudry
250lb beaudry
location south central va.... if you have questions please email me.... thank you ---- ps there are more coming if i dont have what your looking for just ask i can find it for you
peter - Wednesday, 02/14/07 09:15:12 EST

leaky things: Dwayne: If it is leaking, that lets you know that oil is getting to the parts. On my portable rig i just hung a little catch can under the blower (mine leaked around the main shaft and around the seal in one tiny spot) as long as the can is filling up I know that my blower is not running dry!;)
-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 02/14/07 11:36:33 EST

RE: Champion #400 blower: There are no oil seals in the Champion blower. It is designed to leak oil around the fan blower shaft. This keeps the ball bearing clean and removes the crud that accumulates inside the blower. Before you use it, you are supposed to give it a squirt of oil in the top and live with the leak.

I imagine you could rig up an oil seal after dissambly (a major struggle with something probably assembled near the turn of the previous century, exposed to coal smoke and weather since then). Perhaps an O-ring. Then you would add a significant amount of friction to the system, make it hard cranking, and wear the internal gears due to increased resistance.

My 400 blower is in the reassembly stage. New ball bearings for the blower shaft and one side of the crank shaft. Twisted off one bolt in the crank handle nuckle--and, for the first time in my life, sucessfully drilled and tapped it. Going to paint the inside of the blower while it is disassembled, figure it will increase the efficiency by some small incrament.
- David Hughes - Wednesday, 02/14/07 13:19:35 EST

Dumb question: I was (am) curious--a "300 lb Bradley Power Hammer", for example, weighs more than 300 lbs. The 300 lb is the striking force? measured by the force necessary to compress the springs? (the only operating power hammer I have seen, in Willits CA, has springs in it). Thanx

Used to be young and dumb, am now old and in the way, still dumb, some things never change
- David Hughes - Wednesday, 02/14/07 13:38:34 EST

power hammer weight: David,
Not a dumb question. Actually that way of measuring makes perfect sense. However, for simplicity's sake, the "Weight" of the power hammer is the weight of all the falling parts.
-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 02/14/07 14:11:38 EST

The unit measured in a power hammer is the weight of the falling ram.
Not the spring compression force.
Especially since air hammers dont have springs.

The 300lb hammer has a ram weight of 300lbs, which the "hammer head" if you will.

A big hammer likes to have an anvil weight to falling weight ratio of at least 10 to 1 or 15 to 1.
So the anvil on a 300lb hammer can easily weigh 3000lbs, and then you have the frame to add in.

Depends on the style of hammer- But generally, a 300lb hammer is going to have a total weight of around 10,000lbs.
- Ries - Wednesday, 02/14/07 18:03:56 EST

rotary swage: i was wondering does anyone on this forum have any info on rotary swages made by standard?
peter - Thursday, 02/15/07 09:10:17 EST

ABANA: Earlier up the list a ways someone posted about ABANA no longer holding conferences. Here it is for those that haven't seen it. :(

-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Thursday, 02/15/07 14:35:54 EST

I have never heard of Standard Rotary swages- the big names in the industry are Fenn, Torrington, and maybe some europeans like Finn Power.
these guys seem to be one of the big dealers-
I would call them up and pick their brains.

Its not a very common tool, or a very big market. I would imagine there are one or two companies that deal in used ones, a couple of repairmen, and thats about it.

Big, heavy, needs expensive dedicated tooling, and when you need 500 or 5000 parts a day, the right tool for the job.
- Ries - Friday, 02/16/07 16:11:53 EST

With a big more research, my guess is your Standard Rotary Swage is actually an Aetna Standard, which was a company that made tube mill equipment in Ellwood City Pa.
Ellwood City was at one time the seamless tube manufacturing capitol of the world, and Aetna Standard grew up supplying the machinery to make it.
As far as I can tell, they are no longer in business.
- Ries - Friday, 02/16/07 16:25:57 EST

How do i get a formula for tempering steel?
- Brian - Friday, 02/16/07 19:20:41 EST

What chemicals are used to temper steel?
Brian - Friday, 02/16/07 19:21:27 EST

Brian, tempering is not a chemical process, where one uses a chemical to change the steel, but rather a heat treatment. If one has a steel with the correct amount of carbon, if you heat the steel to a temp above the critical point, and then cool, often in a medium such as water, or brine, or oil, and in some steels air, the steel is said to be quenched. It is then about as hard as it will become, but often very brittle. The stell then would be heated to a lower temp than for quenching and held at this temper for a time, and this is said to "draw" some of the hardness. This lowering of the hardness somewhat imparts a more favorable crystaline structure to the steel, and while it is a little softer, it is much less brittle and more usable.
In industry this would be a Quench and Temper.

In the old days steel was sometimes described by its 'Temper" which referred to its carbon content, and in some cases to its hardness, but that is not a common usage today.
ptree - Friday, 02/16/07 20:42:46 EST

STRIKER -88: I have recently acquired a Striker-88 power hammer and would like to get some input from someone who has experience with the Strikers about the oiling system. How many drops per minute is a good lubrication? Also, oil seems to stand in the oil glass of the compressor side more than the hammer side. Any ideas? And what might some secrets these hammers have that I should know about? Thanks.
- Mike Mc - Saturday, 02/17/07 00:14:14 EST

STRIKER -88: I have recently acquired a Striker-88 power hammer and would like to get some input from someone who has experience with the Strikers about the oiling system. How many drops per minute is a good lubrication? Also, oil seems to stand in the oil glass of the compressor side more than the hammer side. Any ideas? And what might some secrets these hammers have that I should know about? Thanks.
- Mike Mc - Saturday, 02/17/07 00:16:14 EST

standard/finn: hey ries have learned that standard was boughtout by finn in 48....its how finn got their foot in the door....
peter - Saturday, 02/17/07 05:21:47 EST

Striker 88: I have no experience of the striker hammer but I sell the Anyangs, a virtually identical hammer - the oilers are basically crap as received form the factory, I rebuild them before sale. The oil should not stand in the glass. you really just need to adjust the oil so the ram has a slight film on it, not dripping from round the gland (4 or 5 drops a min maybee) - over oil is a big problem if your forging stainess etc. sounds like you need to poilsh up the needles and replace the o ring seals, or a better mod is to replace the needles with a small ball bearing - approx 5 mm dia pushed up with a weak spring (like those found in a retractable biro pen)

I find the hammers run alot better (cooler, less smoke when very hot) if you use a 100 viscosity 'slideways' type oil, its also easier to get a consistent drip feed.

There are tons of tricks to get the best from these hammers, but the easiest ones are a baffle on the air intake behind the flywheel to quiet the 'steam train' noise down, and pouring lead (obviously with correct PPE on) into the void underneath the bottom die holder - the hammer will then be virtually silent in operation.

The hold down position on these hammers is not much use, so I put a retaining pin on the top valve boss which puts the hammer in neutral not hold down when the rams resting, this saves heat build up and power consumption.
It is also worth pulling the valves and fettling any high spots / sharp edges off - this can make a massive difference to the hammer.

A few hours of tweaking can make a good hammer into an excellent one if you know what your doing!
- John N - Saturday, 02/17/07 14:51:27 EST

Peter, you must be switching the numbers around- since Finn-Power wasnt even founded til 69, and didnt enter the US market til 1985, I dont see how they could have bought standard in 48. 1984, maybe.
Being of Finnish extraction myself, I have always looked fondly on Finn-Power equipment. Maybe I can get em to let me be an artist in residence in their factory- I would love to get my hands on a big CNC turret punch/laser machine for a few days.
- Ries - Saturday, 02/17/07 19:41:20 EST

John N, As I expect your are providing your worthwile advice to an American, for clarification would the 100 viscosity slideways oil be a ISO 100 way oil as used in machine tools? If so then the description for a USA oil purchase would be "ISO 100 waylude" for us.
Would "fettling" be stoning to remove burrs and sharp corners?
Not sniping, just a country boy from Kentucky who needs a bit of clarification.
ptree - Saturday, 02/17/07 19:46:08 EST

finn/fenn: i misspelled the name in my post....i spelled finn wrong its fenn and the DID buy standard out in 48....
peter - Saturday, 02/17/07 21:01:37 EST

mechanical hamer needed: I'm posting this for a friend, a professional smith who lost his hammer in a shop fire. Any leads would be appreciated!

I have a good friend who's shop recently burned. Friends and the local blacksmith community have built him a new building. He is a full time blacksmith and needs a small power hammer to make a living. Mechanical would be the best option as he lost air compressor along with everything else. More about the fire and situation here
Please e-mail if you know of any good deals. Close to East Tennessee would be great. I'll pass all info on to him.
Thanks .. Matt

Alan-L - Sunday, 02/18/07 15:39:45 EST

Scroll up some, Pete has a number of mechanicals for sale in Virgina
ptree - Sunday, 02/18/07 19:50:18 EST

Jeff, I saw that, but was just passing along the message. I did give him Peter's email address, hopefully they can get things done!

The guy whose shop burned lost both of his anvils ( a peddinghaus and a euro), the aforementioned power hammer, an Edwards hydraulic ironworker, I don't remember the rating; a nice old 12" x8' south bend lathe, a treadle hammer that might be rebuildable, all the handled tools, and bunches of other stuff including several sheets of tin-coated copper.

He made his living making historical repro hardware for the wholesale market, and he has an order for a BUNCH of hinges. He used to shear the taper on the ironworker and then forge the finials on the hammer. If he can get a hammer FAST he can take the order and get a little bit of income coming back in, since he can forge the tapers fast enough.

If anyone has some decent equipment they'd be willing to part with, speak up and I'll pass it along.

Note that the auto email scrambler anti-spam system can't handle my address since it has multiple periods, so here it is for all the spammers to see:
Alan DOT Longmire AT state DOT tn DOT us, remove the spaces and use dots for each DOT. Or email Matt Walker, his email is in my previous post.

Thanks, y'all.
Alan-L - Monday, 02/19/07 10:13:24 EST

alan: ive emailed matt.......gave him my #as well....hope we can help him work something out....
peter - Monday, 02/19/07 12:39:20 EST

John N.: Thanks for the great info on the Striker 88. I will tweek around with the oilers to get my best optimum lubrication. It is a great little hammer.
- Mike Mc - Monday, 02/19/07 22:40:59 EST

fly press: anyone got any leads on a good used flypress?
peter - Monday, 02/19/07 23:48:21 EST

lung damage: there was so much borax pooled up in the botom of my forge yesterday it started blowing wisps of it around the room and coating everything like a coton candy machine... wow, that really can't be good for my lungs. now that it is rebuilt it gets much hotter, I am never putting off rebuilding again.
- Leaf - Tuesday, 02/20/07 01:44:18 EST

leaf: what did you do for your rebuild?
peter - Tuesday, 02/20/07 07:52:52 EST

Alan's Address: I think you're safe around here; spammers would have a heck of a time digging it out from the messages being batted back and forth on this forum. The rest of us, you can trust. :-)

National Parks in Tennessee
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 02/20/07 10:29:14 EST

Hammers: Good Morning, I'm looking to trade or sell a 400#
Beaudry for a hammer of smaller size. I have limited space and can't set it up. A hammer that needs repair
is Ok too, so let me know if any one has any ideas.
Thanks for any help.
- Stephen Sokoloski - Tuesday, 02/20/07 12:39:43 EST

Hammers: Sorry for the mistake and I won't do it again.
Stephen Sokoloski - Tuesday, 02/20/07 12:43:39 EST

Peter, now that we have established that you are talking about a pre 1948 tool, what do you want to know?
Do you actually own one, or have a line on one?
Whats it weigh? What tooling does it currently have?
What do you want to do with it?

Probably the two guys who know the most about this sort of thing are Grant Sarver and Ptree, although I dont know if either has actually owned or run a rotary swager- but they both have more of a handle on industrial blacksmithing with big special purpose machines than most anybody else here.

A tool that old is an orphan, for sure, with all parts, and probably tooling, needing to be custom made.
- Ries - Tuesday, 02/20/07 12:56:55 EST

Striker 88 & international translations....

Ptree,Re the oil, yup im 99% sure im talking about ISO 100 slideways oil ( we also use it in the planing machines ) or " waylude " as you guys call it!

On fettling the castings I do mean stoning / grinding the high spots off them - I use one of those little carbide burrs in a pistol drill - a dremmel type tool would do the job (and probably cost less complete than one carbide de-burring bit! :)

Any high spots in this type of hammer seem to generate a huge ammount of heat.

Other hammer terminology that differs....

In the UK a 'self contained' hammer usually refers to a drop forging hammer (closed die) with the lifter mounted on top of the legs (as opposed to on a bridge structure) or a stamp thats part of a battery (a few in a line with all the lifters on the same gantry structure).

There are very few 'Kinion' type hammers in the uk (big blu, iron kiss or homemade) so all our smaller blacksmiths hammers are just classed as pneumatic (your self contained type) - or mechanical - spring hammers, blackers etc.

In the industrial forges the hammers have different names according to regional dialect - eg - a pre-form hammer in the Midlands is a 'Dummy' hammer , a hammer fitted with a becking saddle for rings is a 'leg' hammer in Yorkshire etc!

Perhaps I just get confused to easily :)

- John N - Tuesday, 02/20/07 16:18:24 EST

ABS: Peter you may not have been around when the ABS was founded but a lot of top notch bladesmiths did feel like they just set up and started calling themselves masters and wanting everyone else to jump through the hoops. It would be just as valid for you to start up the WBS (World Bladesmiths Society) and come up with your own Master designations---shoot in the SCA I am a "Master" and their system predates the ABS by a decade or two...I admire the ABS system but perhaps view it differently since I remember it's "birth pangs".

I just spent a week smithing at the SCA's Estrella War. Most of my personal projects involved forge welding---everything from trivets to basket hooks to a 1280 layer billet for a pizza cutter wheel. A colleague set up next to me and did some great ornamental work. What cert would work for both of us?

Thomas P - Tuesday, 02/20/07 18:28:27 EST

Rotary Swage: Rotary swage. Not me, no experience with that item. If it is like most of the industrial forging equipment of that time it will have plenty of frame, with massive, nicely done castings, and heavy sections and bearings. If not updated, it will probably have rotten wiring, low pressure hydraulics, and be in no way OSHA compliant for guarding. That said, most forging equipment used in industry tends to be totally overhauled about every 10 years. That being said it probably has mid 70's wiring and controls. Look at any capacitors or oil cooled transformers as they would have been PCB filled. If retrofitted in the day they probably will have a sticker or plate declaring them PCB free. If you can get drawings for THAT machine,Referencing that machines serial # add money. Get spares, add lots more money. Depending, it often costs more than the machine is really worth to move them if really big, unless you have a strong need.

If big, the bearings are usually made for that machine, meaning they are custom, meaning they are $$$$. Alot of those old large bearings say 10" id roller bearings may take 6 months to get on the list to have them made, and maybe another 2 months from then for delivery. I had to price a set of 4 10" id by 18" od by about 6" wide roller bearings for a backshaft on an AJAX 7.5" upsetter. None to be had, $20,000 for the set. The crank bearings on a big press or upsetter are bronze plain bearings and are custom poured and machined for that location, on that machine. Again $$$
Good luck.
ptree - Tuesday, 02/20/07 19:30:55 EST

John N,
I thought that was the right oil. Waylube would be used on lathes ways as well as planners etc. It would be a somewhat tacky, extreme pressure additized oil. I figured that someone in the US would ask for the oil and get a "What?" I have bought a lot of oil in the US over the years:)
In the US, What I think you call a self contained I am pretty sure we would call a drop hammer, and put in the motive power as the first word, IE steam drop hammer. All the steam and air drop hammers I have been around had two legs that sat on the anvil, with the cylinder sitting on a flange that attached to the legs. Mostly Erie's. I forget what they had at the Mexican plant, but German made I think, and they were air converted from steam. Lousy controls, as the conversion had only a electric pedal switch that fired the valve. ALL or nothing. Bad design, and it was hurting the crew often. They also had VERY bad die design, doing all the work in 3 impressions, when 4 or 5 were needed. And the first impression was to little displacement, with all the heavy movement in the second, and the third trying to coin the forgeing. Took a pair of 6 man crews, and they got beat up badly:(

We did have rements of an unusual drop hammer in the old blacksmith shop at the Boiler shop. It was a mule powered drop hammer. The mule walked, pulling a rope, and at the top of stroke a sear locked in the hammer, and the mule was trained to back up when he heard the sear pop. Then the blacksmith would hit the trip and down came the hammer. The hammer would bounce a couple of times and then when it got quite, off the mule would walk... Quaint huh?
ptree - Tuesday, 02/20/07 19:45:33 EST

Language: Way off topic, but be found out at our last guild meeting, to much laughter, that when a Brit says "outhouse," he doesn't mean a privy. Especially if he's talking about two-story one . . .
Mike BR - Tuesday, 02/20/07 21:06:34 EST

feedback/info: thanks for the ideas and thoughts..... ptree....machine seems ta have been well maintained.... and most likey can get drawings of any of the parts needed ....making or buying is a different story altogather
peter - Wednesday, 02/21/07 08:31:56 EST

Two Story Outhouse: These require very careful engineering; but usually upper management gets the top floor. It was always thus. ;-)

Park Service Over-Design
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 02/21/07 13:22:25 EST

One mule powered, is that approx .75 horse power? :)

I like the control system on the mule aswell - train it to walk when quiet!, it would probably have to be uprated with duel sensing valves now.

Ive always called outside 'facilities' the outhouse,or more universally refered to as a brick s&$thouse.

Checked the drum for the lube oil - it is ISO 100.
I was recommended it as the additives are good for protecting the gears & p.b bearings on the larger hammers, and it is less likley to leave burnt carbon deposits on the control valves - I made the leap that if its good enough for a " Massey " it will do for the Anyangs.

Hammer terminology continued: Gravity drop hammers are usually just called drop hammers or stamps, whereas powered down air hammers are die-forgers over here.

Following on from the buying ethics debate in the Gurus Den, does anyone know where I can get a Ceco No 23 die forger for scrap value (excluding anvil weight) :) ? - I have no objection to taking it away as a favour.
- John N - Wednesday, 02/21/07 14:53:15 EST

John N, Ipersonally have never seen a Ceco. I once knew where about 25 good steam hammers from 1500# to 15,000#, and 25,000# with a cracked main anvil were to be had cheap. Gone now. The boiler house, new in 1994 is still there, pickled in sulfite water. Fully automated, two 850Hp boilers, of the best design (Henry Vogt Machine Co.) But it would be a bugger to ship to the UK. That and it might suck down natural gas pressure across England when you fired it:)

Do you see many rope lift hammers in the UK? How about National Maxi-presses and Upsetters?
ptree - Wednesday, 02/21/07 19:22:11 EST

inlay chisel: I have been experimenting with some inlay for blade and art applications recently and would really appreciate some advanced knowledge/educated speculation. What does the actual chisel look like?
I achieved moderate success from cold chisels but they weren’t up to the task of making long channels. I hear that it is a triangular shape, is this so?
thanks for all the help so far and to come.
- tkwforge - Thursday, 02/22/07 01:14:04 EST

ceco: thats a chambersburg right ????
peter - Thursday, 02/22/07 07:56:35 EST

Ceco = Chambesburg Engineering Co.

Forges in the UK - I still see a few Maxipresses upto 2500T - the biggest closed die forge used to be British Steels, Garringtons, they had some big Ajaxs and Nationals upto 6000 ton, all gone now.

There are a few big hammer shops left, River Don works in Sheffield have Gravity drop hammers to 12 tons (or possibly 18 tons) still, They use old conveyor belting from the mines for the lifting belt.

Most used forge machinery is now destined for India - the rate of ecconomic growth over there is amazing.
- John N - Thursday, 02/22/07 08:48:01 EST

Ebay Anvils: I want to apologize first. I am sorry for bringing up this topic. This topic probably has been beaten like a rented mule.
Does anyone have an opinion on the anvils that are being sold on eBay? Particularly the 110# Knife Sword Making BLACKSMITH ANVIL HARD STEEL, item # 160087634262.
- tomg - Thursday, 02/22/07 09:37:00 EST

Re: Ebay Anvils: Tomg,
These anvils are basically junk. The majority of them are imported through the Harbor Freight retail stores where they are sold for about $90. There are a number of sellers on Ebay who buy them at these stores and then sell them on Ebay for inflated prices. There was a good article written on them here a while back. Check in the FAQ section of this site for an article titled "Cheap Russian 50kg anvil".
Steven Galonska - Thursday, 02/22/07 09:55:27 EST

Thank you Steven G: Thanks Steven. I am going to have to bite the bullet $$$ and get a decent anvil. That seems the only way to go.
tomg - Thursday, 02/22/07 10:06:50 EST

tkwforge-- I think GSR (Google it to confirm) sells all the tooling you need for engraving, inlaying, including a nifty little Dremel or Foredom-sized power chisel.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 02/22/07 10:18:32 EST

ceco: i know of 4 large ceco that are for sale.......
peter - Thursday, 02/22/07 10:32:52 EST

Anvil ,Struthers, Ohio foundry: Has anyone had any experience with anvils forged at a foundry in Struthers, Ohio? I amthinking of purchasing one. I have read all of the info on tis site but still don't know what questions I should ask about this anvil. I am a newbie.
tomg - Thursday, 02/22/07 11:36:56 EST

inlay chisels: are indeed triangular in the cutting edge, except for the ones that are square or rounded (insert wink here). GRS is the outfit Miles is referring to, they specialize in powered engraving equipment. I stick with hand gravers,a little bitty hammer, and an optivisor. (grin!)

What you do for wire inlay on steel, etc. is basically engrave a line with a flat graver the width of your wire, undercut both edges with a pointed graver to make a sort of dovetailed groove, then hammer the wire into the groove. File off excess and you're done. For larger plate-type inlays, use a bigger flat graver to hog out the base metal, then undercut the sides of the hole as for wire. Lay your inley in the recess (which should be a few thousandths of an inch shallower than the inlay is thick) and hammer it in. File to clean up.

You can also use a minimill or any of the powered handpieces. Dremels and Foredom tools don't like me, so I avoid them for any kind of fine work. Some folks get along fine with 'em.

I'm not going to be able to teach you hand engraving over the net, but it isn't that hard. Get a copy of "The Art of Engraving" by James B. Meek. That's probably the best overview. The main trick is that you don't just drive the tool like a cold chisel vertically into the work. You use relief angles and kind of "trace" along the steel at a 20-to-45 degree angle to the surface, depending on the face angle of your graver and how deep you're cutting. If you're doing it right you will see a tiny curl of steel ahead of the graver point just like you see on a lathe bit.
Alan-L - Thursday, 02/22/07 11:48:37 EST

Alan-L-- Many thanks for the correction. Glug!
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 02/22/07 15:18:44 EST

1. they are probably *CAST* not forged
2. What alloy?
3. What design?
4. How much cleanup/machining?
5. Price per pound?
6. What heat treat?

Isn't this the foundry where Jymm had his anvils cast?

Thomas P - Thursday, 02/22/07 15:21:24 EST

Swedisch powerhammer: Hello, Das enyone have some specs on a swedisch made air hammer jupiter 40kg. We are trying to set the one up we have and seem to have some problems. There is the motor wich seems to be to week 4 kw 1650 rpm, diameter of the driveweel, the central oiling leaves some questions and at least one thing I never experienced the top of the two cinlynders are filled with grease and have to grease nipples!? Well if enyone could help we would be most greatfull.
reinhard thiele
- reinhard thiele - Thursday, 02/22/07 16:57:10 EST

inlay chisels: Thank you for that, I should be able to get something done with that information.
- tkwforge - Thursday, 02/22/07 19:15:12 EST

John N,
Most of the hammers I have been around have been Eries. Good stout hammers with generous size castings. Ours were 145# steam.
We also had a couple of 1600 ton Maxis, a 2500 and a 5000 ton Maxi. Later, right before the sale we got a 7500Ton maxi.
In the axle shop we had both Ajax and National upsetters, 4" to 10" and a hand full of Erie hydraulic presses. Also a small Erie air hammer for the blacksmith shop to make tongs and tooling etc.

An interesting side note, at the valve shop, we had so much return steam at about 40 Psi, that we ran a 1700 Hp recip air compressor on the return steam, cooling it and dropping the pressure enough to then run it thru a de-areator heater for the boiler feed water. Pretty well squeezed every single btu out of the rail road car of coal we burned each day.( and John, our rail cars hold about 30,000 Kg of coal)

Interesting place the boiler shop there. They still had the worlds largest rivetor, used in the 20's for riveted boiler drums. It would hydraulicly head a 4" rivet. The hydraulics used water for the fluid.
ptree - Thursday, 02/22/07 21:39:39 EST

Pictures Needed: I'm doing a research paper on blacksmithing "greats".
and when I say greats I mean for the most part past blacksmiths that are well know for there work and there artistic abilites. This is for a college class that I'm taking and could use a few pictures and name. I do have a few resources near me but as always more is sometimes better. I would apreciate any and all help and or sugestions that you all could give me. Here is my e-mail also: scoob_shagg@yahoo
- Tim - Thursday, 02/22/07 23:31:57 EST

New Blacksmithing Forum: Hey I have just made a new blacksmithing forum for weapons, fell free to check it out it is
Sword Squad Forum
- Lebtiger - Friday, 02/23/07 00:26:35 EST

Blacksmithing Greats:
Tim, This would be a tough job even for those of us that have large libraries on blacksmithing. Much of the work of the past that was great for its time has been far surpassed by modern smiths who have better tools and materials to work with,

This brings up a factor that you should have applied to your project, setting a time frame. If you include all history then you have to look at items that are almost myths such as the Collosus of Rhodes which MAY have had the largest forged iron framework in history.

Another narrowing factor is type of work. To many folks the greatest blacksmith of all time was the inventory of the power hammer. Then there was the reaper (invented by a blacksmith) and other inventions. So are we talking about machines, architectural work, bladesmithing, sculpture?

Narrow your scope. I am sure you have heard that a few times before.
- guru - Friday, 02/23/07 11:09:13 EST


HAHAHAHAHAHAH. . . This rube stole images and text from our review of the same and then told us to bug off when I filed a complaint against him. It took numerous articles about him to straighten him out.

Harbor Freight used to sell this cheap anvil for $99 including shipping. You can still get them for that if you pick it up. They are a bad shape, soft, but are a good starter anvil IF you do not mind putting in a bunch of time finishing it.
- guru - Friday, 02/23/07 11:22:17 EST

Swedisch powerhammer:

It sounds like a "self-contained" air hammer. It has two cylinders, one a compressor, the other the ram or "tup".

The cylinders should not have grease in them. If the cylinders are packed with grease the machine will not run. They should only have just enough oil to lubricate the parts. If the cylinders are packed with grease the motor WILL NOT be able to turn the machine over. Occasionally machines are put into storage this way. A friend started one up that had the cylinders filled to the top with oil. . . it sprayed EVERYWHERE!

A common problem in old self contained hammers is leaking seals on the ram. The rings are steel and sometimes become compressed and stuck in their grooves. The seals at the bottom are leather and often shrink from storage OR wear out.

Another problem is wear of the compressor crank and piston pin bearings. The rotary control valves can also become worn.

Start with removing all the grease and then re-lubricating with oil.
- guru - Friday, 02/23/07 11:49:52 EST

Lebtiger---any particular reason the scads of other forums for forged weapons were not enough?

Sorry but I'm already maxed out on forums I can participate in for that topic and there are a bunch of really good ones I don't go to already for lack of time.

Thomas P - Friday, 02/23/07 12:13:57 EST

Anvils from Struthers Ohio: Thomas - I'm fairly certain that Jymm was having his anvils cast in Struthers - I am certain that it was near Youngstown, OH because we discussed me going there to review practices from a metallurgist's viewpoint - never happened, just couldn't get schedules together. From emails, Jymm is satisfied with the heat treat and surface finish provided by the foundry he's using. So far, he's also been pretty happy with the anvils. I forget the exact tool steel he's using, but it was a good choice.
- Gavainh - Friday, 02/23/07 13:18:29 EST

swedisch powerhammer: Thanks Guru!
- reinhard Thiele - Friday, 02/23/07 14:08:07 EST

the world's greatest: tim: If you are going down the line of ornamental blacksmithing (and if you are interested in U.S.A. work), my suggestion would be to look into Samuel Yellin. He worked around the turn of the century (the last century that is) and did A LOT of wonderful work in Washington DC and throughout the U.S. There has been many, many, many wonderful smiths, but my bet is that Yellin would be one with a whole lot of information published about him, both in print and on the internet.

Now, if you wanted to report on the greatest smiths of the computer age, just look around. A lot of them are right here on this website, and I'm sure you could coerce at least SOME of them into sending some pictures of their work and maybe even a mugshot or two :)

-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Friday, 02/23/07 14:58:40 EST

Blacksmith Greats: I want to thank all of thouse who have responded to my post the info is great. And I realize that maybe I need to clarifiy what it is that I'm trying to do in my report. I have short final paper due, so the topic I chose was Blksmithing. My paper is for an art class, what I'm trying to do is establish that over the many many many years blksmithing has just recently become an art form. Now I know that many would argue that it always has been an art from. But I would say that the "Art Community" has not recogizned it as an art from untill recently. So I'm looking for images and name of great smiths to help suport my stance. Agin I know that many of you have variying coments I'm sure about this topic I would love to hear them but for the purpous of my short paper I just need a some pics and some names of what we in our community would call great like that of Samuel Yellin and many others. Thanks agin for your posts and the info that you are giving me it has been a great help

Tim - Friday, 02/23/07 15:26:01 EST

I would argue that smithing as an "Art form" goes back as far as "art" as an art form does. Artists were more of Artisans during much of the period when the "great" artists lived...

However I have been a student myself before so---Check into the smiths that have been commisioned to do work at the National Cathedral in Washington DC and the rise of smithing in the Arts & Crafts movement.

Thomas P - Friday, 02/23/07 16:16:15 EST

Note that in the Renaissance one of the Negroli's signed his name in gold on the visor of a helm he made for the Emperor where it would be quite visible to all.

I believe the Emperor believed that it enhanced it's value as showing off that he was wearing Negroli!

"Heroic Armor of the Italian Renaissance Filippo Negroli and His Contemporaries" (ISBN: 0300086180) by
Stuart W. Pyhrr

Thomas P - Friday, 02/23/07 16:50:53 EST

ART, a nebulous term: When I was learning to shoe horses, I saw an English book titled, "The Art of Horseshoeing". I asked my mentor if he thought horseshoeing was an art. He said, "It's an art, a craft, a science, and a trade."

When I look at d'Allemagne's "Decorative Antique Ironwork", I am always humbled. I would call most of the items in the book "ART". Lots of the pieces are European dating from the 15th through the 18th century. Incredible design and workmanship.
Frank Turley - Friday, 02/23/07 17:00:27 EST

Yellin opened his shop in Philly in 1909, and worked til he died in 1940.
By the time he started, there is no question that blacksmiths were considered artists- the great art noveau smiths of Paris, Brussels, Italy and Spain were all acknowledged as artists in the 1880's and 90's.

Italian Smiths like Mazzucatelli and Micchelucci, French smiths like Raymond Subes and Edgar Brandt, and many others were all artists by anyone's reckoning.

It was common for architects to claim ownership of the designs, even when the smiths had a LOT to do with how things were designed and made- the smiths that made the amazing metalwork for Gaudi in Barcelona, or Victor Horta in Brussels were true artists, but are eclipsed by the reputations of the architects.

Current smiths you should look at would include Albert Paley, Micheal Bondi, Russel Jacque, and many more.
- ries - Friday, 02/23/07 18:16:47 EST

Thomas P--If you want the truth this to me isn't really a forum, I want it to be an archive of different techniques to forging weapons. And it's not only about weapons, weapons are just the main subject in my forum.
Sword Squad Forum
- Lebtiger - Friday, 02/23/07 18:37:59 EST

Blacksmithing as ART:
Tim, The established art community of almost any era has had a rather close minded point of view and then modern artists showed what hypocrisy there was in the system by making trash art then tricking the experts into saying it was great art by snowing them with psycho babble and making them feel stupid if they didn't understand the art in it. This was the basis of many art careers from about 1900 until the 1980's. Maybe it still is. In any case, the art establishment gets little respect from me and is why I left art in the early 1970's.

Historically there has been art pieces in all forms of metal work since their beginnings thousands of years ago. The trouble with art in iron is that there is almost nothing in existance from prior to 1000 AD due to rust and what IS left is not enough to be a representitive sample.

However, if you look at primitive works in iron there are some wonderful African examples dating from 1000 BC to 1000 AD and later. Many or the earliest "iron" sculptures are carved hematite and are not actually the work of the smith. Later works include animal and figure sculptures. African forged antelope have a wonderful simplicity and grace.

There is a catalog of a roaming iron art collection titled "Made of Iron" and published by the University of St. Thomas Art Department, Huston TX, 1966.

Look at the sculptures of Picasso and Calder, both of whom worked in wire and with forges. Many of Alexander Calder's large works were originally forged at a one man scale then enlarged by engineering shops.

As to "great works" some of the most impressive have been made in the last half of the 20th Century by modern smiths. While there was fantastic work done in the past I think the best is being done today. These modern smiths are some that are famous or infamous and others that are little known in their time. John Boyd Smith is one of those that is little known in many circles that is producing tremondous work. See our book review of "Ironwork Today, Inside Out" by Dona Meilach (as well as her other books on our review page). See also the review of "I Maestri Italiani Del Ferro Battuto".

Internationally there are some smiths doing fantastic work as well. My friend Johan Cubillos in Costa Rica has only been smithing a few years yet is producing some great work.

To pick one above the others would be very difficult. However, there is a significant group represented in the books of Dona Z. Meilach and Giuseppe Ciscato many of which we have reviewed and are available in public libraries.
Johan Cubillos
- guru - Friday, 02/23/07 18:54:19 EST

Lebtiger, It is bad form to advertise a competing forum in another.
- guru - Friday, 02/23/07 18:58:46 EST

ironwork as art: here is a nice book on line

also do a google book search on Ironwork.
ironwork 1907
- habu - Friday, 02/23/07 21:19:25 EST

A couple more names: A couple of families doing excellent ironwork contemporaneous with Yellin's, but perhaps not as prolific: Fiebiger in New York and the Rose family in Cleveland.
Frank Turley - Friday, 02/23/07 22:06:14 EST

large hammers, artistic metalwork: If anyone is looking for really large industrial sized hammers there are some for sale on the Used Equipment Network (UEN) under their metalworking/forgeing equip. category. CECO, Nazel, etc. starting around 1000#ers. Too big to be usefull (to me) but cool to look at.

Also, it seeems to me that most of the blacksmiths I know are Artisans, not Artists. Artisans are amazingly skilled producers of items of beauty, often with high levels of artistry in the finished piece, but artisans tend to specialize in or purposefully limit themselves to specific materials, means of production, techniques or processes. Artists on the other hand care less about limithing themselves to certain techniques (unless that is the specific goal of a given project) in favor of arriving at a finished form by whatever means necessary. It seems to me that an artist will have a much wider spectrum of possible finished forms available to them, even staying within a given medium, and an artisan will have a higher average level of skill in a specific area and in general a more refined product. When discussing blacksmithing as an art it is helpful to ask yourself if the person that made whatever you are looking at thought they were an artist or an artisan. There are of course exceptions, overlaps and shades of grey, but that is my general opinion. How's that for a can of worms. This is also another reason why certification of "blacksmithing" is tricky- as has already been pointed out it's a very wide topic and I think we need to make it wider by asking if the worker thinks of themselves first as an artist or as an artisan.
Jud Yaggy - Saturday, 02/24/07 16:55:17 EST

Spell check: Swedish (black)smith site into English.: Hi everyone. I have translated a friend of mine's Swedish site into English. And since I'm neither a blacksmith or english speaking I would love to get some comments on the spelling and the use of terms/words.

In return I can help you with any website related problems. :)
smedjan ramvik
Jari Bilén - Saturday, 02/24/07 18:07:27 EST

Jari Bilen,
I think the site is very well done. in the US we usually write Blacksmith instead of (Black)smith. I saw some grammar that would probably be fine in the UK, but is a little different than used in the US. All in all, still a very nice translation. I must however warn you that I am a Guy that was raised in Kentucky, not known for its high level of grammar and spelling skills :)
ptree - Saturday, 02/24/07 19:54:03 EST


I'll second what ptree said (except the part about being raised in Kentucky). I did notice a couple of "och"s on the Workshop page. If my little Swedish-English dictionary's right, those should be "and"s.

Does your friend take visitors? I may have a chance to come to Sweden this summer.
Mike BR - Saturday, 02/24/07 23:26:59 EST

Italy: hey does anyone know of any good places to visit in Italy that would be of interest to a cranky old blacksmith?
- coolhand - Sunday, 02/25/07 19:32:12 EST

Italy: coolhand
I will try to ask my wife tommorrow when she gets home from work. Maybe I will aks her to write a post. She is Eyetalian...:) She lived in Italy for awhile. Her family is from the old country. I have seen some pretty cool photos they have.
- Baxter John - Monday, 02/26/07 00:51:58 EST

Thanks ptree and Mike BR. I will drop parenthesis around black. I was not just sure if he is a blacksmith or just a smith, since he feels like more of an artist.
Mike: och is indeed and in swedish. Thanks for noticing that.
He does indeed take visitors, but during the weekends he might be away on trade fairs, so a visit on a weekday should probably be more suitable.
Thanks again for taking the time to look at it.
Jari - Monday, 02/26/07 08:23:18 EST

coolhand: I assume you don't want to take pictures of all the graffiti on the sides of the train cars. You can get that most anywhere.

I was in Venice and Verona a few years ago. I like door hardware, so I would look for churches and convents, not hard to find. Some of the wooden doors are about 30 feet tall, still with the old hardware in use. The big doors would often have wickets with their smaller hardware versions. With the big doors in the open position, the hardware is pretty much hidden. I got "caught" a few times by caretakers or priests who saw that I was moving them, so that I could slip behind and see the hinges and latches. They always hollered, "Prego?", which can mean 'all right' or 'you're welcome', but in this instance with the proper voice inflection, it indicates, "Hey buddy, what the heck do you think you're doing?" I learned one sentence in Italian. I told them that I was a fabbroferraio (blacksmith) from the US, studying ironwork. That seemed to satisfy them.

In Venice, of course, you walk everywhere. In the fall and winter, Venice has tide flooding, "acqua alta". If you are on the Grand Canal, you can see where the bottom portions of ironwork are rusted. That doesn't seem to be a big concern, just something that is expected to happen.

In the museums, each room has a guard, a "watcher". You do NOT touch any artifact, or you'll get the "prego" and a lecture. Taking photos in museums may not be allowed. This is true just about everywhere with large museums. The flash may have an effect on the artifacts. Another reason is that some authors publish the pictures in books or articles without giving credit.

In Verona, we saw the opera Aida in the colosseum. The colosseum dates from 30AD. What a sense of history!

I'm beginning to ramble, so that's all for now.
Frank Turley - Monday, 02/26/07 09:54:24 EST

I've never been, would like to go. Fell in love with old country places from the movie "Under a Tuscan Sun".

Cities all over the world have their share of ironwork. However, much of it is poor quality modern security grate stuff. It would pay to make contact with someone that knows a city's architecture. In San Jose', Costa Rica there is a lot of terrible ironwork. But mixed in with the bad there are some wonderful jewels that you could study for hours. FINDING them could take a lifetime, so a guide is quite helpful.

The interesting thing in Europe is that you will find a 500 year old church with modern avant'garde ironwork on an entry rail. You will also find a lot of truely modern ironwork where we in the West tend toward old traditional styles. It is one of those ironies of art that the NEW world would prefer old styles while the OLD world prefers new styles. . .
- guru - Monday, 02/26/07 10:15:09 EST

The primary reason taking photos in museums is forbidden is that they SELL photos and books of photos of their great works. It is part of their income stream that keeps the collections maintained. If you want permission to take photos in museums you will normally have to pay for the right and agree to a fairly specific contract.

Publishing photos on the web has also become somewhat an embarasment to many museums as well as a legal problem. A few years before anyone undersood the Internet's power Bill Gates had the foresight to purchase the digital rights to thousands of great works. Not only did museums not understand the future of the Internet they were sure digital rights had little value. . . So they sold the rights including the garantee that they would not allow others to infringe on those rights.

Bill Gates was not THAT good of a visionary. He too underestimated the future of the Internet. He purchased those digital rights for the purpose of displaying art on large flat panel displays which he thought was the future of art and decoration in homes and offices. His plan was to license the use of that art in some limited fashion to millions of people. . . It is still a thing of the future but it IS an amazing investment. His descendants will be fighting over those rights for centuries unless they are sold off to someone like Sony or Disney. . .
- guru - Monday, 02/26/07 10:29:12 EST

Blacksmith Greaats: I want to thank all of thought's who responded to my post about blksmith greats. Today I start the process of gathering all of this info and puting it together just to see what I have. You kids gave me alot of quality info and some great references to look up. I know that there is alot of people in here with an amazing knowlege of blksmithing, and it showed. Thanks agin for all of the info, I'll let you know how it turns out and all of that.

- Tim - Monday, 02/26/07 11:42:24 EST

"Modern" mixed with older architectural styles: This occurs not only in Europe, but in other countries. In Santa Fe, our limestone cathedral of St. Francis was dedicated in 1886, and in 1967, a "modern" designed Blessed Sacrament Chapel was added. At the time, there was a hue and cry from the general populace and the church membership, decrying this an undesirable aberration. One priest was quoted in the paper with words to this effect, "A church is not a museum!"
Frank Turley - Monday, 02/26/07 11:43:33 EST

Italy: over at the there is an Italian hobby smith named Bruno who might be able to give you some ideas.

I also recall some massive work done in Italy that was shown in the first edition of Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork by Donna M.

Thomas P - Monday, 02/26/07 12:42:53 EST

Italy: I have spent a lot of time in Italy, looking at metal- here are a few of my favorites-

Florence- the BEST museum of arms and armor in the world, in my opinion, is the seldom talked about Stibbert in Florence. Because there are so many big name art museums there, nobody mentions it, but every local knows of it, as every Florentine kid was taken there as a boy.
Stibbert was an extremely rich englishman who lived in Florence (his grandfather was the Governor of Bengal) and he collected armor in the late 19th century, during a series of recessions, when he had money and not many others did.
He combined 3 huge villas into his home/museum, and there is amazing stuff in there- He has more japanese armor than all but one of the museums in japan- over 50 suits of it. More 15th and 16th century stuff, including armor for horses and kids, than almost anyone. Entire rooms full of swords, or flintlocks and matchlocks, or Indian and Byzantine armor. Cases full of stilletos. A complete set of men and horses, all armored, riding thru a huge hall. Along with tapestries, rugs, old masters, textiles, mummies, and anything else he was taken by. Really worth the visit.
In florence there is also a LOT of great ornamental ironwork, from the 14th century up to modern, including some really good art noveau stuff, but its a bit harder to find.

Milano- the best art noveau ironwork in Italy, possibly the world- Mazzucatelli. Much of it is on buildings right downtown, and not too hard to find. You bump into it just walking around.

Rome- 3000 years of stuff, but one of my favorites is the African weapons and tools out at the museum at the EUR- this is a kind of Worlds Fair of museums Mussolini built in Fascist style, huge buildings, plazas, and fountains, a 15 minute subway ride from downtown- the african knife collection is huge, with forging tricks I have never seen elsewhere. A good half dozen interesting museums there.

Torino- lots more great Art Noveau ironwork, along with lots of older stuff, on public buildings all over town. Great auto museum- Fiat is based there- with antique race cars, early steam powered carriages, and fantastic ferraris. Really incredible egyptian museum, with hundreds of mummies of cats (who knew?) and even a bit or 5000 year old metalwork. Its amazing what lasts- there is even some paper, cloth and wood stuff from tombs.

If you are really interested in exterior ironwork, and you are going to be in Milan, Florence, or Turin, I have books with actual addresses of amazing buildings- so you could email me and I would send you some if you want.

I also have a book of addresses of contemporary art blacksmiths in Italy- there are a couple of hundred listed- and if anyone wants, and is going to be in a specific area, I can email those- its always fun to visit real people, and blacksmiths the world around are friendly.

Most small towns in Italy still have storefront metalworkers, and once in while they will still have a forge- there is so much historic ironwork there, that a lot of guys repair it the old way. I just walk around, and stick my head in shops, and find that usually they are willing to talk to me and show me stuff. Dont be bashful.
Ries - Monday, 02/26/07 13:22:03 EST

An ironwork tour if Italy would be great fun. I know a publisher that lives there and would be a great contact for such an adventure.
- guru - Monday, 02/26/07 14:20:56 EST

Sorry: Guru I'm sorry for posting my site here I won't do it again.
- Lebtiger - Tuesday, 02/27/07 01:01:20 EST

Fire screens: A prospective client has contacted me about building a fire place screen. Anyone have any ideas about what kind of screen material is used in these? In Jerry Hoffmann's book Shop Drawings, he talks about rigid screen.
- Doug - Tuesday, 02/27/07 09:17:50 EST

Fire Screens, Doug try
McNichols Co. Atlanta Ga.
1-800-237-3820 or

They have a huge selection of screens and mesh.
daveb - Tuesday, 02/27/07 09:57:23 EST

Fire Screens: Dona Meilach has a book on nothing but fireplace accessories. We do not have a review of it as the publisher did not send us a copy but it will be the same quality as all of Dona's books and will have examples as well as some details.

Many years ago I built firescreens using very small expanded metal (3/16" x 1/8" flat diamonds). This was due to lack of access at the time to good screen. Besides the source provided by Dave, McMaster-Carr also sells screen and does not have minimums like many other suppliers. Although their price is higher the advantage of being able to buy what you need at the time often outweighs the per unit price.
- guru - Tuesday, 02/27/07 10:20:29 EST

Reheat-treating a Blade: Request: One of the warehouse employees at the local Farmers' Co-op asked me about a piece of brass for a knife guard. Said his son was in Iraq and their barracks (an old wooden warehouse) burned down while on patrol. He was able to retrieve his personal knife from the ashes. Employee polished it back to shiny, but did not reheat treat it. Anyone willing to do it for him? If so, can you provide an estimate? Apparently hunting type knife blade.

Please contact me via e-mail.
Ken Scharabok (Poor Boy) - Tuesday, 02/27/07 13:18:22 EST

CSI meeting tonight and all members are encouraged to attend. We are still looking for additional board members to help decide the direction anvilfire will take in the future. -secretarty- CSI
dale - Tuesday, 02/27/07 13:52:00 EST

Reheat-treating a Blade: If the knife is a Ka-Bar Marine,Army or Navy corp knife write a letter of what the situation was that caused the damage to the knife of the American Iraq soldier and send it along to them. They will likely replace it for free.
- Baxter John - Tuesday, 02/27/07 20:00:58 EST

Fire screens: Thanks guys. That's the start I needed.
- Doug Thayer - Tuesday, 02/27/07 20:09:45 EST

knife: Ken This is some additional information. Kabar and Ontario have the military knife contracts. If his knife is an Ontario he can contact them. They may replace it as well. They are good people. I would make that knife a military wall trophy myself and get a new one if he can't get a free replacement. If it is not a military purchased knife then if may be a nother brand the soldier brought along. Assuming it is any of the steel knives in Ontario or Kabar are 1095. The Kabar is flamed hardened with natural gas in the heat treat oven. The are tempered in a induction oven and treated in a salt bath. They may be already treated twice. You can only treat a knife three times and then the quality is marginal. If the knife is stainless it is 440A. I believe Kabars are cyrogentically frozen. If it is another brand they use lesser materials and heat treat process. I really don't think the knife is a good candidate for a re-hard-temper. You may try it and it may come out good. I was just gat a new one or free replacement. They don't cost that much.
- Baxter John - Tuesday, 02/27/07 21:57:32 EST

Rathole Forge anvil website: Rathole Forge of Wyoming now has a website:

As of today, I have their 250# anvil at my work space and I intend to use it. We mounted it on a steel custom shaped tray with about a 1 1/2" depth of sand. That quiets it down. It has good rebound. The face edges are sharp, so I can radius them to my liking.

The two designers have given some thought to making it a good looking "Continental" anvil with some old timey elements such as a fifth foot (toe) and church windows. The upsetting block is on the near side rather that the far side as with many two horned patterns. The rounding horn is shaped with a little bit of lower "belly", more on the order of an American style horn.

Rathole also makes a 460# anvil of the same pattern.

Frank Turley - Tuesday, 02/27/07 23:01:26 EST

Hammer base:
Could anyone give me an idea of just how thick and what kind of base would be best to set a 250# hammer on.My shop floor is 5" of concrete.
Dwayne Kent - Tuesday, 02/27/07 23:12:51 EST

rathole anvil: Nice anvil Frank. How much is the 250 & 450? Thanks
- Baxter John - Wednesday, 02/28/07 02:04:30 EST

Rathole pricing: Click CONTACT on their site. The partners, J.B. and Steve, were able to deliver to my shop while on their way to the AFA convention in Albuquerque. I told them, "Ya know, this anvil is expensive, yet it's not expensive."

Frank Turley - Wednesday, 02/28/07 09:59:45 EST

Rathole: Mr. Turley,
Does Rathole still offer the anvil with the holes in the side for inserting bending fork bars? I know (think) that I had seen one like that at one point somewhere (might of even been here) but I looked at the website quick and didn't see that option anymore? Just wondering. Congrats on the new anvil. Two more years of loose change and I'll have enough saved up for either a Rathole or a Nimba.
-Aaron @ the SCF
- thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 02/28/07 10:15:56 EST

Rathole revisited: Nevermind that. It was the Blackjack Ketchum anvil that I was thinking of. Look first, ask later... my mistake.
-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 02/28/07 10:31:50 EST

Blackjack Ketchum: Alternately, does anyone know the website for this company?? I searched google and all I came up with was something about a shootout with someone named black jack ketchum (and the link to anvilfire news covering the conference where the anvil was displayed). Thanks everyone.
thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 02/28/07 10:41:44 EST

Baxter: if you do not decarb the steel you can heat treat *MANY* times. There are a couple of metallurgists on this site that can address this.

Now in *tempering* after about the third time you don't do much better than after the first couple of times---but it doesn't make the blade worse---it just doesn't get any better.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/28/07 13:47:49 EST

Hammer Foundations:
Dwayne, It depends on what you want and then variables like soil conditions and what is directly under that concrete floor.

Proper industrial installation of a power hammer includes a heavy foundation block that is seperate from the rest of the floor. Vibration transmitted through the floor to the feet is fatiguing as well as damaging to the building.

Modern makers claim no foundation block is needed simply because it is cheaper. Claiming no foundation is needed reduces installation costs. All the old manufactures including Little Giant and down to little 30# nammers provided foundation drawings for blocks that were larger than the hammer and roughly as deep as they were wide. These were either placed before the surrounding floor OR a hole is cut and the block poured in the existing floor. An isolation strip (rubber or laminated construction felt) should be between the floor and the block.

A heavy foundation improves hammer efficiency, reduces noise and reduces the wear and tear on the surrounding building. However, modern smiths have found they can just set their small hammers on the floor. I've seen 500# hammers operated that way.

However, if you have loose gravel or dry sand under the floor then vibration will be amplified and cracking likely to occur.

In loamy or sandy soil the concrete block is often sitting on pilings or a deep stack of heavy timbers in a pit that goes down to something solid.

But what you do is your choice.
- guru - Wednesday, 02/28/07 14:15:30 EST

Thanks Tom P
- Baxter John - Wednesday, 02/28/07 18:42:02 EST

Pellet stove pellets in the forge: Ibought a bag of pellets last week to try in my forge, $3.50/50lbs what the heck. I was pleasently supprised. The bags were rated at 4000 btu/lb that is about half that of good blacksmith coal. The pellets were easy to light and burned hot with a good clean flame and no clinker. It was interesting that when I tried to control the spread of the fire with a hand full of water the pellets swelled up and broke apart into a damp mass of saw dust that coutinued to coal and stick together like a coal fire of good coke. VERY little water is needed!

The fire started with a lot of white smoke but soon settled down to a tall flame that consumed the smoke and one eye brow. The fire needs to be built deep like a charcoal fire to get a neutral fire, but the nice side was that there was no popping or flea sparks like charcoal. The heart of the fire just turned the edges of the mound to charcoal and fell into the heart. Pound for pound you need two to three times the pellets to get the btu's that you get from coal, but welding heat was no problem. The pellets burn fast and you have to closely tend the fire. I use an electric fan on my forge and found I could cut the blast to almost nothing and the fire still burned hot. I use a foot switch to turn off the fan between heats, the fire quickly started even after a half hour "rest".

You must keep the pellets in a sealed bucket out of moist conditions or you will a have a bucket of saw dust.

Over all, I found the pellets to be a better for my uses than charcoal, and will use it again when I need a fire that is not going to run all day. I do think that good coal makes a better "working" fire, but I also think the very clean fire might be better for my feable forge welding skills .

Good coal in Colorado is running about $40/100# so the price per btu is still good for me.

YMMV (your mileage may vary)
habu - Wednesday, 02/28/07 22:36:10 EST

Counter    Copyright © 2007 Jock Dempsey, Cummulative_Arc GSC