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Virtual Hammer-In!

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March 17 - 31, 2005 Archive

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

HOLY SMOKES !!!!!!!: My fellow smiths, It has been brought to my attention by no less an authority than The New England School of Blacksmithing, our dear friend and brother, Frank Turley, is far more worthy of our esteem than he already is. It seems that we have here in our midst, yea, even on this very website, THE WORLD"S OLDEST LIVING BLACKSMITH!!!!! In the latest N.E.S.B Course Description Booklet, they state that Frank's school in Santa Fe has been in operation since 1070 AD, which would make him about 973 years old. Do you realize that that makes him just a shade older than Paw Paw? If nothing else, he's a heckuva lot better preserved.
3dogs - Tuesday, 03/01/05 11:03:05 EST

a shade older than Paw Paw? : Inconceivable!
JimG - Tuesday, 03/01/05 11:58:12 EST

1070 AD: 3dogs, I saw that too and was thinking the same thing. Although, I didn't have the nerve to make the Paw Paw comparison (publicly). Says Frank started the school in 1070 on their web-site too. I'm saving my pennies in the hopes of taking part in that workshop.
Gronk - Tuesday, 03/01/05 11:59:20 EST

1070---sounds like possibly an saxon refugee from that dust up with the normans in 1066.

Older than Paw Paw? Naw Paw Paw remembers when some folks stopped by and asked directions when they *walked* over to north america...

I once helped out a "medieval summer camp" for kids being held in scandanavia by sending them my instructions on forging penannular brooches from copper grounding wire. Turned out that the project was a big hit and was mentioned in the write up the local paper did on the camp even crediting me for it---but as "using instructions left by the ancient smith Wilhelm"

The media can really age one *fast*

Thomas SKA wilelm the smith
Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/01/05 12:24:17 EST

Double action bellows..: Hi, second post here, wannabe smith, hitting hot metal since about thanksgiving. I've been using an electric squirelcage blower on a brake drum forge but would rather work with something non electric. Geared blowers are pricy or in need of much work if they are cheap (got one, needs work, stand, belt etc) As a woodworker, a double action bellows seems within my meager skills. I'm wondering if anyone has had any success using this very old technology? Is this just a reanactors way of doing things?

My forge is a little 14 inch pot, I alternate between charcoal and coal and was thinking about a little bellows, 2 or 3 feet long, maybe 15 or 20 inches at its widest.

I do small work, modifying drawknives into scorps, mattocks into gutter adzes, hooks and artsy things.

Thanks, really enjoying the forum and the iForge demos
Michael - Tuesday, 03/01/05 13:37:39 EST

Russian Anvils: Ok, so call me cheap!! I made a mistake of buyiong an anvil that I wish I hadn't bought (CAO- Cast iro9n anvil shaped object). What can I say? I am not that expoerienced in these things and I needed an anvil at a cheap price to ding around with. Now I would like to upgrade to another anvil shaped object. I am looking for one of these Russian anvils that seems to be flooding the market. I have read the write ups here and actually found the same fraud mongers on ebay chargiong $399 for these things and $60.00 shipping. I have seen elsehwere where someone found one of these things for $70.00. Problem is I cannot seem to locate one anywhere.
Does someone know where I might be able to find one in the 110 lb range?? i know they exist but obviously the yahoos on ebay won't tell you where they got them from.
Please don;t razz me for wanting one of these I am gradually working myself up to the good stuff. I am kinda hard headed and light on the pocket book right now so I need to go cheap. I just recently bought a swedisah hammer so I now know what it is like to use a good hammer- what a joy!! And to think I learnt all I now know from here.
- Ed Green - Tuesday, 03/01/05 14:14:51 EST

1070AD: Seems like only yesterday. When I went to North High in Omaha, Nebraska, we had 1066 seats in our auditorium. This was stressed in our history classes, so we could remember Hastings. So, in a sense, having been in that auditorium on numerous occasions, I consider myself a veteran of 1066.

At the New England School, we're going to cram 900 years of how-to into 5 days. See Calendar on this site, June, 2005. I will also be demoing in Corvallis, OR, in May, and in Queensland, Australia, at the "HOT IRON MUSTER", in September. See calendar.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 03/01/05 14:25:27 EST

Michael, I built my own double lunged bellows and loved it. I used to forge weld in it so it did OK for me. Mine was a big version though I liked that the speed you needed to pump it was very low and the top lung allowed you time to grab your hammer, flux or coke can while the system still was pushing air.

The big difference I noticed was how the lever was set up. Mine was set so the fulcrum was in my favor and so did not take much to pump the bellows---I've done it with my pinkie finger to show off before.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/01/05 14:53:58 EST

Anvils: Ed, IMO it is not worth it anymore when you can buy a REAL anvil for about $2lb + shipping from Euroanvils or Oldworldanvils. You are going to end up paying about 3/4 of that for a Russian anvil on ebay and you will be gambling. Someone on this forum has researched the Russian suppliers and reported that when they are back ordered they buy ASOs from China and ship those instead. So you wont know what youve got till it arrives. The Czech imports at Euro and Oldworld have a very good reputation for their quality and they come with a lot of nice features not usually found on a USA or Brit anvil that you might find 2nd hand. This is a tool that will last generations and will keep its resale value.

Hard headed and cheap are good - most smiths are that way - but this is one tool for which you oughta stretch your wallet instead of making do.

When HF was selling the Ruskie for about $95 inc shipping - it was a great deal but from ebay for $150+ AND shipping is extra - go for the real thing
adam - Tuesday, 03/01/05 15:15:13 EST

The double chamber great bellows is a very viable method of supplying air for a hobby smith. Chapter 11 of THE BLACKSMITH, Ironworker & Farrier, by Aldren A. Watson, ISBN 0-393-32057-X has a good set of plans in it. I got my copy from Barnes & Noble for less than $20. Lots of other good info in the book, as well.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 03/01/05 15:26:19 EST

Blacksmithing equipment: Hello blacksmiths: I recently bought some property in Sevier County, Tenn with a small blcksmith shop in a shed. I want to sell the blacksmithing equipment. I can help deliver some distance, yet to be determined. I live in South Carolina, but the equipment is near Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Here's an abbreviated list. Peddinhaus #125 anvil, on a heavy bolted and laminated wood base- smaller, 75 lb anvil- two post vises- Centaur Forge coal forge with electric blower- about 20 different tongs- about 15 different hammers- wall mounted, hand crank drill press- box half full of coal- hand crank blower- misc. other tools- steel block with impressions for making utensils- half oak barrel for water- tripod stand to hold long material-
Asking $4,500.00 for all.
- Alan Lait - Tuesday, 03/01/05 15:46:51 EST

Double chambered bellows:
I built a 2' single chamber and it barely puts out enough air to forge 1/2" round with charcoal. If I were you I'd build at least a 4' bellows. It is better to have excess capacity :)
- T-Gold - Tuesday, 03/01/05 18:22:32 EST

cavalry forge/pawpaw: I have a unit that I bought at abana/1998, intending to make it into a floor lamp. Very nice condition. I think it is a cavalry forge. It is cast iron with detachable legs, a square shape about 12"x12' and 2-3" deep with included blower. The gears are not all that smooth running, but I haven't tried very hard to make it functional and I've never built a fire in it. Like a darn fool I think I paid 125 for it. I'll sell it.
John Larson - Tuesday, 03/01/05 19:35:17 EST

OLD-AGE-ANVILS: So that is why FRANK is getting a little creaky, making funny noises and talking to his self. Been teaching toooo long.GRIN.
ED GREEN You are fixing to find out something else. The RUSSIAN 110 is just a very heavy doorstop.

- sandpile - Tuesday, 03/01/05 19:35:28 EST

Folks, Dawn and I will be leaving on a Jet Plane soon. Headed to the Czech Rep to visit #1 daughter. Or was it to drink beer? Hmmmmmmm. (smile)

See y'all late next week.
- Ralph - Tuesday, 03/01/05 20:15:26 EST

Thomas & Paw Paw: Thomas. I am sort of interested in the copper brooches you mentioned a little ways up the page. Have you ever posted the instructions anywhere? Would it be possible to post them somewhere on this site?

Dont worry Paw Paw. Nobody is going to knock you out as oldest member of this site. Just show them the family tree that has Moses listed as your brother. ---- That's the original Moses by the way.
- Larry - Tuesday, 03/01/05 20:26:33 EST

RALPH'S andDAWN'S: RALPH you and DAWN have safe, fun trip and A good visit. Bring back some good pictures.

- sandpile - Tuesday, 03/01/05 20:59:51 EST

John Larson,

I've got a tentative agreement at the moment, do you have the box that all of the parts fit into? The forge body is usually the box and the lid becomes the table. Are you going to Quad State this year?

All you guys that are cracking on my age might want to research who taught David to use a sling shot! (grin)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 03/01/05 21:27:38 EST

Made a tomahawk for my son the Boy Scout, with his help, this weekend. Trial piece ok, but I have questions.
1. what is the usual size starting stock for throwing tomahawks?
2. Material? I have access to leaf spring.
3. I thinned the stock prior to wrapping the stock to form the eye. Balence seems a bit off, too light in the head. Do most leave the stock full thickness in the eye?
ptree - Tuesday, 03/01/05 22:15:39 EST

HAWKS: PTREE> If I were you, I would go over on DFOGGKNIVES.COM There is a fellow over there(regular) by the name of RAYMOND RICHARDS. He is as good as they get at hawks. He is a real nice guy. Ask him.--- Look in the Show and Tell part of the Bladesmith Forum---- for hawks.

- sandpile - Tuesday, 03/01/05 22:42:23 EST

Flint Striker and Oil Burner Forge: Like so many of us do I have encountered a problem and came here for a little advice. I made a flint striker today. Piece of plow tine about 3/8ths inch round. Flattened out on end curled the other around for a handle. Just like the one show in Hershel House's 1st blacksmithing video. Anyways, I heated to an orange and quenched in oil. I tried using it and I could get a few sparks ever few tries but I cant seem to get a good enough spray, I cant even imagine ever getting a fire started if i tried all day with the results im getting now. Maybe its the flint im using, just some stuff I picked up out of an indian site along the creek by where we live. Any tips?

Also I was woundering if one could make a forge using used oil, we have an auto shop and an excess of used oil, could this some how be used as a fuel for a gas forge. Im not really into gas forges, I prefer coal, but i decided it was worth thinking about.
- Dan Crabtree - Wednesday, 03/02/05 04:24:16 EST

old hammers: I was just given a couple of old hammer heads by a friend. One is a straight peen that I am nowhere near man enough to swing, seeing as it weighs about 25#. The other is a small (maybe 2#) cross peen with a face that has been severely abused. The little one has chunks missing from the face where it looks like it was mushroomed. Can I fix this? Any info would be appreciated.
James - Wednesday, 03/02/05 07:21:01 EST

Smith tool?: I have a what is it. All that I was told was that it was a Blacksmithing tool. I have many pictures.
It has 1852? , TS , and an X (probably just decoration) stamped into it. My mom got it from her great Uncle Harvey’s estate and wants to know what it is. I have my guess but don’t want to sway opinions. Don’t know how to post a picture but can send.

Thanks in advance.
- Kenneth Tuck - Wednesday, 03/02/05 09:17:54 EST

Hawk heads: I did few of these in the last month or so, I had the best result from wraping around 1.25/.25 mild and sandwitching 1.25/.375 high carbon up to the point were the hole begins. I found welding it up , then dressing the end of the weld with a spring fuller (at a welding heat) before you drift the hole helps keep the weld from spliting, and helps keep from under cuting the area around the drifted hole.
I didn't thin the stock at all , but did wrap it so that the drift went in fairly tight so that when it is drifted out there is room to form the strap with out makeing it ill fiting or overly large.
hope that helps
- MP - Wednesday, 03/02/05 09:51:34 EST

Hawks and flint strikers: I've made a bunch of hawks over the last few years, using the same stock size MP mentions. I start with a mild steel strap 10.5 inches long, flare both ends into a flat-topped bowtie shape, wrap around the drift, and weld with a small piece of spring steel as the bit. That's the traditional method, but the flare is optional as to whether you do it first or after folding. As Sandpile points out, Raymond Richard makes some of the best-looking spike hawks you'll see out of solid 1084. However, I've never seen an old hawk that was made by punching the eye. Also, they are not very heavy as a rule, rarely exceeding 16-20 oz. Of course, modern throwing hawks are usually cast and weight up to 32 ounces.

Strikers: Two things that may help, Dan: Water quench, as those tines are usually straight carbon steels. Second, most American flint (chert) is not hard enough to strike a good spark. The trick to making a flint-n-steel set spark is to use a sharp hard flint on glass-hard steel, using a motion that suggests you're trying to just barely shave steel off the face of the striker with the sharp edge of the flint. In your part of Illinois the common flint is that pinkish-gray stuff from the Mill Creek formation. Look for darker stuff with a glassy look to it. If it's kind of translucent with a frosted sugary-looking surface that can't be scratched with a knife blade, that's really good stuff called chalcedony.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 03/02/05 10:30:17 EST

tomahawks/hatchets: Harold Peterson wrote a fairly comprehensive book, "American Indian Tomahawks". The big trade item dating way back was the pipe tomahawk, which had a bowl where the poll would be. The haft was a hollow pipe stem.

The throwing style is what the contemporary mountain men THINK that the old mountain men did at the Rendezvous. I suspect we're rewriting history. Peterson has a brief photo section showing what he calls, "Simple Hatchets and Belt Axes", sans pipe, and I suppose they could be thrown at some kind of target.

I've made some similarly to what MP talks about, using 3/8" thick, M.S. stock, and doing a "loop weld" as in making a strap hinge barrel. I thinned the stock to about 1/4" x 4" with a simple scarf. I weld up and drift to a round eye, no poll. I hot split the business end, holding it in the vise, and sharpened each split edge for a "cleft" ("bird's mouth") weld. The high carbon steel gets welded into the cleft. They are a little blade heavy, but I use mine for kindling, not throwing.

Now, as for the BSA, and if you're using a silicon manganese spring steel, it can be welded as above, using a light welding (sweating, no sparks) heat. You will need a drift, either round, oval, or elongated. You will not need to weld in high carbon steel. Harden the blade end in oil, take down to bare metal, chase color to a blue on the cutting edge.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 03/02/05 10:39:53 EST

I have a what is it? That maybe you could help me with. All that I was told was that it was a Blacksmithing tool. I have many pictures.
It has 1852? , TS , and an X (probably just decoration) stamped into it. My mom got it from her great Uncle Harvey’s estate and wants to know what it is. I have my guess but don’t want to sway opinions. I made a quick web site with more pictures.

Thanks in advance.
- Kenneth Tuck - Wednesday, 03/02/05 10:39:57 EST

Larry I might have a copy on the old system. have to get it fired up and see. Once you have made a couple with copper silve isn't that expensive and easy to hot forge down from those "coin" ingots you can get many places.

probably be the weekend before I can dig in the pile---ran out of bookcases before I ran out of boxes after the move.

Oil forges are known, usually are industrial sized ones and are *hot*! I feel I should point out that used car oil has a lot of nasty stuff in it that I would not be interested in breathing...

Flint strikers, water quench is suggested *and* sometimes there is a layer of decarb on the surface so a light grind can improve some strikers.

Old hammers: if it has muchroomed enough that chunks are missing it probably has a lot of cracks through the face area. It is possible to forge weld it to try to get it a single unit but usually you are better off scrapping it and going for another less battered old one. Of course if it is very old it may have a steeled face in which case, grind it down and re-steel. (out of the 150 or so handled tools I have, only 3 have steeled faces)

Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/02/05 11:43:10 EST

What is it? : Kenneth Tuck, I looked through D'allemagne's Decorative and Antique Ironwork and found nothing remotely like your item. Of course, at first glance it looks like a lock of some kind. Does the firepoker-shaped piece fit into the keyway? I'd like to know what it is if you ever find out for sure.
Gronk - Wednesday, 03/02/05 13:48:29 EST

What is it?: Kenneth,

After looking at all the pictures, I would say with a fair degreee of certainty that what you have is a miner's oil lamp. The part that looks vaguely like a "key" is the hanger pick, designed to either hang the lamp from a beam or by wedging into a crack in a wall. The little "pick" on the chain is just that...a pick for preening and positioning the wick, which comes up the shallow groove in the hole that has the cover. These and other similar types of oil lamps were common in the mines before the advent of acetylene headlamps. They also used the "Johnny Pick" (or Tommy Pick) candle holder, which worked similarly but used a candle instead of oil and a wick.
- vicopper - Wednesday, 03/02/05 15:11:13 EST

Kenneth's mystery object: In my opinion, it's the fanciest betty lamp I've ever seen. The thing that looks like a poker is the hanging hook, the thing that looks like a keyhole cover is both the lid to the oil reservoir and the wick holder (when closed), the thing in the spout is the bottom half of the wick holder, and the little pick on a chain is how you advance the wick, i.e. slip the lid back a hair, poke the wick and weasel it out a bit, close the lid. Kind of a safety betty lamp, in that the oil reservoir would be completely covered in use. Wonder if was made for something more flammable than the usual grease, thus making it NEED the lid?

Just my 10 cents (that had to be worth more than two!).
Alan-L - Wednesday, 03/02/05 16:24:20 EST

Double action Bellows: Paw Paw, Thomas, T-Gold, thanks for insight, Got me a stack of plywood and Naugahyde and I'm going to get started on the bellows tonight. I've got the first edition of the Watson book, with photocopies of the forge and bellows chapters from the library.
Michael - Wednesday, 03/02/05 17:25:43 EST

Hey, new here, i cant wait to figure out how to get to the forums page!!!!!!
- maddogrecurve - Wednesday, 03/02/05 18:07:16 EST

newest knife i made: She is out of a lawnmower blade, traded a guy this knife for some feather fletching......
Oh ps. Purple heart handle
warriorknife.jpg" TARGET="_blank">">warriorknife.jpg
maddogrecurve - Wednesday, 03/02/05 18:44:27 EST

Dang photohost: I cant get the link to show the pic!!!!!!
Oh well, Go to Primal and look me up in the Newbie section....Jeff
maddogrecurve - Wednesday, 03/02/05 18:45:43 EST

Thanks all for the tomahawk help. Now to see if I have any 1.25 x .25, or something close.
ptree - Wednesday, 03/02/05 19:11:47 EST


What forums page are you trying to get to? They are all listed in the pull down menu on the top right side of this page, and all other pages as well.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 03/02/05 19:19:22 EST

PawPaw, I intend to go to quad states this fall. In April I'll be at whitetrash's place for the flat die course. The unit doesn't look like what you describe.
John Larson - Wednesday, 03/02/05 19:39:09 EST

"Betty Lamp": Kenneth & All,

Two more cents worth. There are a few of these pictured in Plummer's "Colonial Wrought Iron". I think they were domestically used, and not necessarily in a mine.

At the Greenfield Village Museum near Detroit, I saw years ago, a cute, tiny shovel, very carefully forged and filed, and much in the shape of a fireplace shovel. It was labeled as a "grease primer" for loading grease or lard into a betty lamp.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 03/02/05 20:18:59 EST

John Larson,:

I'll be at Quad State, but may have already closed a deal. If I do, I'll let you know.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 03/02/05 20:52:54 EST

Hammer head: This talk about old tools reminded me that I purchased a hammer head at a flea market last summer. Just put a handle in it a few weeks ago. It's a diagonal pien, set at forty five degrees on each face, for right or left handed hits. Looks homemade, maybe hand forged out of a small sledge. Weighs about 2&1/2 to 3 pounds, peins are around a quarter inch wide. But it looks real old. How long has this type hammer been in use?
I got the head, a metal double roller rope pulley and three copies of "Workbasket Magazine" for my wife for five bucks. Funny, she never said a word about me wasting money.
- Larry - Wednesday, 03/02/05 22:34:28 EST

Betty Lamp : Also known as cruise lamps. Frequently shown hanging on mantles, or from shelves. A very fancy version is shown in the Pennsylvania German Collection book, my copy is in my shop office. The other hook thingy near the spout was to close it off (turn it out.) Basically, a fancy oil lamp normally used in houses, late 18th. to mid 19th. century?
- Jymm Hoffman - Wednesday, 03/02/05 23:01:45 EST

I have two 50# hammers and one 100# hammer set up on 4x4s held together with 3 lengths of threaded rod.
I anchored 6 pieces of 4
- Dave Plowman - Wednesday, 03/02/05 23:52:22 EST

Betty Lamps : It might have been used in a blacksmith shop, or made in a blacksmith shop, but they were quite common as general lighting devices, and show up in pictures from the late 1500s, if not earlier. They were in use into the 19th century.

(If I can get a link, I'll post it tomorrow.)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 03/03/05 00:13:09 EST

Betty Lamp Link: Here's what I was looking for; it's in the background of Portrait of a Man by Lorenzo Lotto, dated 1506-1510.

Main text and picture is at:

This is from the Web Gallery of Art ( ), which I strongly advocate. It allows searches by subject as well as artist, so if your looking for pictures of older lighting devices, you can find all sorts of cressets and candlesticks and such by doing searches for "lamp" and "torch".
Detail of Lamp
Bruce Blackistone - Thursday, 03/03/05 11:40:19 EST

Post vice, Champion blower for sale: 5" post vice, very nice condition. Also a Champion 400 blower in great condition with original handle and mounting bracket. Both for sale in Amsterdam, New York. If interested, contact me at
AK-ID - Thursday, 03/03/05 13:02:26 EST

More on Bettys, Crusies, grease, Fat Lamps: Bruce, Thanks for the wga site.

I found my 1965 notes and sketches from Greenfield Village. Some of the betty lamps were hung from sawtooth or spring-tensioned trammels, as were rush holders and sometimes, candles. The curators' notes indicate that the crudest form was a "pan lamp" where the pan was without cover and the wick was laid on solidified cooking grease, fish oil, or vegetable oil.

Because of fire hazards caused by spilled grease, covers were added at some point in time.

Some crusies (a Scottish term) had an extra drip catcher pan below the main container to catch grease for recycling, fuel which otherwise might have been wasted.

The museum had a pair of hand forged dies for making the "pear shaped" pan form of the lamps. The female was a thick, wrought iron strap shaped and lap welded into the proper form. The male was a shaped, solid block of iron which could be driven onto the pre-cut sheet that was sandwiched in between the two dies.

The grease shovels were about 7" to 8"long.

A Dover reprint from 1962 is fairly complete. "Colonial and Early American Lighting" by Arthur H. Hayward, first published in 1923. At that early date, Hayward states that betty lamps are very collectible.
- Frank Turley - Thursday, 03/03/05 13:17:10 EST

We are a small shop on a mountain top in PA right in the Pocono Region. We are looking for an EXPERIENCED metal worker who understands all facets of metal work. Our shop does EXTREMELY HIGH END fabrication in the style of the old masters. Starting Salary between $15 - $18 hr. The majority of our clients are all over the country. We do a bit of travel. For the right person, you can make good money. check out our website: also, is a good website about the area we live in. Benfits negotiable after 12 months.
Mary or Sheelah - Thursday, 03/03/05 14:53:05 EST

We are a small shop on a mountain top in PA right in the Pocono Region. We are looking for an EXPERIENCED metal worker who understands all facets of metal work. Our shop does EXTREMELY HIGH END fabrication in the style of the old masters. Starting Salary between $15 - $18 hr. The majority of our clients are all over the country. We do a bit of travel. For the right person, you can make good money. check out our website: also, is a good website about the area we live in. Benfits negotiable after 12 months.
Mary or Sheelah - Thursday, 03/03/05 14:56:26 EST

Anvil for Sale:

I can arrange a sale of a 160# Hay Budden farriers anvil in excellent condition for $400. The edges have been repaired with Stoody rod, a sledge hammer hasn't been able to crack or chip them. The face has a few hammer dings, 30 minutes with a sander would probably make almost all of them disappear. The only difference between the standard London pattern Hay Budden and the Farrier's model is the addition of a clip horn on the off side.

I will not make anything on this deal, nor do I want to. The seller is a friend, and at the moment has no internet access. Some of you may know him, it's Joe Rotenberry from Virginia.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 03/03/05 17:30:35 EST

Anvil: Jim,

If that is the same anvil the JoJo was using at Bethabara when I was up there, that is a darn good deal! Tell Joe I said hello.
vicopper - Thursday, 03/03/05 21:11:11 EST

I don't know whether it's the same one he was using at Bethabara or not, but the one I got from him (225# William Foster) was every bit as good as he said it was. It's my primary shop anvil, now. (although there are a couple of others around too. (grin)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 03/03/05 21:37:01 EST

Betty lamp: Great! Now I've got another item on the list of things to make. Collectively, you guys know everything. Kinda spooky. What say you Kenneth Tuck? Sound like the item you have?
Gronk - Friday, 03/04/05 12:06:31 EST

Steve Parker,

Came in today, thank you!

SWABA, your's also came in today, and blew me away. Thank you, also!
Paw Paw - Friday, 03/04/05 18:41:53 EST

Here I am over in the hammer-in, with a haha thought or two: before some of us get so misty-eyed and/or self-righteous at our own magnanimously selfless generosity that we cannot see straight, we ought to consider A) I did not ask for actual cash in front, merely a percentage of the gate from the smithing fantasy, if any, which I thought was merely the sort of professional respect such a literary project deserves, and B) if that request seems preposterous, it strikes me as no more so than asking somebody, or lots of somebodies, who has/have spent many thousands of hours and dollars over the last 30 years of smithing and welding to research one's book for free. (As Jock and others pointed out, it was how the question was asked, the peremptory manner of the effronterous demand for a detailed portrait, that I found so amusing.)
Try that sort of question asked that sort of way on your local neurosurgeon, and see what he says when he stops laughing.
Or orthodontist.
Anyway, Samuel Johnson said it centuries ago: no man but a blockhead ever wrote, save for money.
Sebastian Chippinghammer - Friday, 03/04/05 22:38:57 EST

talk: I guess after spending hours reading almost everything on this site for two days I made a stupid mistake. I asked a few non-tech questions with a couple of friendly statements and discovered that is a no-no in the Guru's Den. I am sorry for that for i did not realize i was in the wrong room. The gent was just pointing it out-no foul there. I just wanted to know how Philip Simmons was doing(never could spell his name). See two years ago by the master smith i apprenticed under told me philip was in the nursing home maybe after having a medical proceedure or something. I also wanted to let Ken know I like the swage block stand he made me. Philip is special to me because of his Faith in the Lord and Calm nature and simplistic lifestyle. My uncle passed a couple of years ago at 88 who ran the family smitty untill 1995. He really never talked was so mild mannered he would just show people how to do things. I made a deal to be the fourth generation to purchase the shop by a letter since he really did not talk much in a very calm friendly way. After his death it was honored. Most of the equiptment was from the 1800's purchased by his grandfather and in 1921 his father had to replace the anvil with a new Haybudden and a couple of other tools. They are published in a book i have anyway along with another one of the family shops. See my entire family were blacksmiths. I have been a part of many blacksmith organizations. There are just some really good folks out there. Equally many folks in the blacksmith realm ready to slam down on people. I for one feel like cow plop about being a part of any of it anymore. Tomorrow I may even set the shop on fire...don't worry it is not insured, so i am not breaking any laws. I have been reading some of the posts and i think some people fun on others and other maybe don't mean too but fun down on them a little hard. Please understand as this is a ramble. I am from the old school of blacksmithing, though not very highly educated know how to do a couple of things in a blacksmith shop. I am young and my body is worn out. I guess my spirit in the blacksmith world has been whittled down by the modern thought on blacksmithing. I mean a general bostfulness. See the real blacksmiths just were not this way. I see all the wonderful things in the revival of the school of blacksmithing. I know the true existance of the real gone by Blacksmith. trust me is was a poor existance, but had a special heart. I see a twinkle of this in some people. For the most part I personally feel it is gone now. Anyway I am sorry to bother you all with this. I will also be leaving this forum for good as I see someone else did today. Also all my foundry patterns are being destroyed too not just the shop. It has been a pleasure.
burntforge - Saturday, 03/05/05 02:03:20 EST

HUH?: Is it a full moon or something?
vicopper - Saturday, 03/05/05 02:08:44 EST

Idiocy: Burntforge, yeah, you are probably right. A Real blacksmith would burn down a smithy, destroy tools and foundry patterns. Yup, that's what they would do.

I'm sure the ones who bought and made that shop and those tools would be proud of you.

Get with the program. Human nature, both good and bad, has applied to blacksmithing just like anything else. Using the excuse of the bad side of others to do more bad is giving in to the bad.

Congratulations on giving up.

Regarding the arrogant request for free help in a money making endeavor, SC's initial comment was right on the mark.

- Tony - Saturday, 03/05/05 08:50:36 EST

The gur's page, is primarily a business page. Occasionally, questions like yours get asked, and it's no big deal. But when a conversation startes, one or another of the guru's will re-direct the conversation to this page which is pretty much an open forum.

No sweaty da, GI. Nobody is upset.

As for burning down the family shop, that's a sin, and you know it. That is denying your entire heritage.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 03/05/05 09:56:20 EST

a point: while i dont think burntforge is thinking real clearly on that whole shop burning thing--------- he does have a valid point there are many "smiths" using that word very loosely....... that seem to wanna one up or put folks down all the time-------it seem once they learn ta forge weld or do a rail or 2 that they now have the right ta talk down to whom ever they desire----- its a shame- it runs off or disgusts many wanna be metalworkers----- ok ok so here is my 2cents worth--------to those of you who call yourselves master smiths----- YOUR NOT while ive met many talented smiths ive only met one or 2 that truely have earned that title-------hey guru what do you think ??? am i off base???-------- and to you burntforge---- while i understand what your saying------ your allow non talented mouthy people win----- and if thats truely the case go ahead and burn your shop and patterns for your not worthy of such-------- and if your really going ta burn that stuff please feel free ta email me------- maybe we could have the 1st tool offering to the craft gods in many hundreds of years----- oooopps craft gods???/ oh yes i said craft gods oh well and to the 95% of you out there that think you have some skills----- go back to your shop and get back ta work you have a long way to go now i'm off ta take my own advice------ all hail mithra hammer held high i go
pete - Saturday, 03/05/05 10:22:35 EST

fullmoon: Good Morning fellas. I do think it was a full moon last night. I feel a little better about everything this morning. Paw Paw your right. Anyway I will try not to let people get to me anymore. I watched a teaching video from about ten years ago - JC campbell school. The smith teaching it did not have much education,but sure knew his stuff and was mild mannered. One of the darn educated people I actually know was harassing him about his welds at the school on video. This person was harping on nothing. You know one of those who has only been doing smithng for 20 years who is good, but doesn't get where the old smiths came from. I have had such a fill of those people over the last several years I guess I get upset a little quick now. Sometimes I think our for-fathers would kick us in the keester. I hope I used an appropriate word...grin. Anyway I will hang out a sit in the background like I always do.
burntforge - Saturday, 03/05/05 10:38:11 EST

OK, Folks:
Let's chill out a bit, shall we? I'm not well pleased with the way things are going, it looks like we are headed into a flame war, and we don't need that.

To those of you who have been offended, stop for a bit and think about something.

If I type "You're an idiot!" to some one, can you tell whether I wrote it with an angry scowl, a joking grin, or a friendly smile? Of course you can't, this communication media is two dimensional. And if you read a comment as a "flame" without knowing the intent of the author, you do yourself and the other person a dis-service.

To those of you who say you are leaving: If you think the flames here are bad, you haven't visited many of the chat rooms. In most of them the comment that I quoted above would have included an "F" word between an and idiot. That type of language is not tolerated here. This is a family oriented web site, and we intend to keep it that way.

As for pete's comment, there's a whole lot more smithing experience here than you realize. I'll be 65 on my next birthday, and I started learning when I was 5 years old. Many others here have as much or more experience than I do.

Does that mean that we never make mistakes? Of course not! We're humans, not craft gods. We make mistakes. I figure that any day in the shop that I don't make a mistake is a wasted day, because I (and a lot of others) learn from my mistakes. Sometimes I even get lucky and learn from someone elses mistakes.

As for the attitude of the site in general, take a look at the messages about CSI for the type of activity that this site is known for. Then think about your conclusions, and re-consider.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 03/05/05 10:45:07 EST

Full Moon: The last full moon was near Midnight on the 23rd of Feb. We can't blame it.........
(this time)
JimG - Saturday, 03/05/05 10:58:28 EST

Forums: As I understand it the guidelines are something like this.

GurusDen: we have to be nice to people

Hammerin: we get to make fun of each other

MemebersForum: we get to make fun of all the idiots that we had to be nice to in GurusDen

Correct me if I am wrong
adam - Saturday, 03/05/05 12:00:00 EST

your right: Paw Paw & Pete
You are both right. I am not letting people bother me anymore. The shop will live on. I am in full agreemet that all anvilfire/csi offers is wonderful forum and don't want to see that go away.

About tool offerings...hmmm...i will think on it...see i have thousands of blacksmith tools that did not belong to the family shop and i am tired of selling them maybe in the future i will consider such a thing as giving them away for causes. Just thinking out loud. The big things like forges and anvils are gone that are not my shop equiptment, but i am stuck with piles of hand tools.
burntforge - Saturday, 03/05/05 12:10:03 EST


That's pretty close, although we all have been known to get irritated about the perpetual question of "I wanna mek a soord!" (grin)
Paw Paw - Saturday, 03/05/05 12:17:58 EST

How about taking all of those handtools to Quad State and setting up in the tail gate area?

One thing I want to specifically mention in that context. I've talked to several folks who take "stuff" to Quad State and other affairs who just put the "stuff" out with prices on in and a bucket labelled "honor system". Not one recalls ever losing anything by doing so. By and large, blacksmiths are a pretty honest group with each other, and know the value of tools.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 03/05/05 12:20:49 EST

Makes a man feel mighty humble, and a little proud.
Sebastian Chippinghammer - Saturday, 03/05/05 12:34:40 EST

Flaming, burning, etc.: PawPaw is right about the flame thing. And the flat medium of the web. That is precisely why when I castigated Mr. I'm so smart I felloffapony, I leabeled the post as a directed comment. In his case, I didn't want anyone to think I might have been kidding. His type of arrogance is unneeded on any forum, wastes bandwidth and misdirects sincere people who come for knowledge. I'll not miss him in the least.


What I have done with "extra" tools many times is to give them away to those I would like to see get a bit of a leg up. Usually beginning smiths who impress me with their sincerity and drive. I've given away a dozen or more books several times that many hand tools. I have an almost irrepressible tendency to hoard tools, so I force myself to share from time to time. (grin) I'm no old master, either. A little old, a passing fair metalsmith, a fair artist/blacksmith, and a broke-down old cop with too many miles on him. I call myself a passing fair metalsmith without hubris, after doing it for forty years and earning my degree with honors. I will pontificate at some length about non-ferrous metalsmithing, as that is where my real credentials lie. I'll even take an easy blacksmithing question from time to time, as I think I'm beginning to get the hang of it now.

As QC mentioned, there are a LOT of old books out there written by "old Masters" that are just chock full of misinformation. In virtually every field, they abound. Are they all, all wrong? Certainly not! Most of them have voluminous amounts of good information, and only a bit of nonsense. A few are nothing but nonsense. Holding something or someone in awe simply because it/he is old is no more valid than declaring that all old folks are senile idiots or that anyone working before the industrial age was an ignorant heathen. There has been the same general mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly since the dawn of time.

Enjoy the good, avoid the bad, and try to make important decisions based solely on what you think, not what you think others may want you to think. And never work cold iron on a good anvil or you will surely pass eterninty in the ninth ring of Hell. (grin)
vicopper - Saturday, 03/05/05 12:46:26 EST

Blacksmiths are just like anybody else- some read, some dont. Some are cranky, some are nice.
There have always been arrogant mean old SOB's in blacksmithing, just like everywhere else in the world. And there have always been rich blacksmiths (only a few, but they have always existed) and educated blacksmiths, along with poor ones and uneducated ones.
Samuel Yellin is a good example of an "old timey" blacksmith who was well educated, had seen all the old masters work in europe, ran a big business, made a very good living, and hobnobbed with the rich and famous. Guys like him have existed since the greek times, at least, and still do today.
Just kinda gets to me sometimes when people believe that if you are a blacksmith, you gotta be a baccy chewing, overalls wearing, grade school dropout, married to your cousin good old boy.
Of course, I have a few friends who fit that description, and I love em dearly. But I also know a lot of blacksmiths with graduate degrees, who run successful businesess, who are women, who are gay (yeah, there are gay blacksmiths, and some of em are pretty good, too) who are damn furriners, who are pierced punk rockers, and who are grandmothers.
No stereotype fits- we are everybody.

And I have never met a single person who calls himself a "master blacksmith" They may be out there, but I dont know em. I do know a few guys I would call a master, but not to their face- it would embarass them.
Anybody here been touting themselves as a "master blacksmith" lately?
Frank Turley certainly could do so, with no shame, along with a few others I know. But by and large, they dont.
- Ries - Saturday, 03/05/05 13:28:31 EST

Masters, U.S. trained: When I started my classes many moons ago, I had a kind of crappy brochure to send out. Some time later, a professional tech writer interviewed me formally, because he was going to do the brochure properly. One of his questions was, "Are you a master smith"? and I aw-shucked the answer. I told him, "Naw, not really". He said, "Are you running the only blacksmithing school in the country"? I replied, "Yes". He said, "Then you are a master, and it's going to go into the brochure".

- Frank Turley - Saturday, 03/05/05 14:37:58 EST

In olden days (well before 1900) smithing was a perfectly conventional occupation. But today smithing is a bit "wierd" and people who choose to do it are the kind who follow their own lights regardless of what others say. Such people are likely to be hard headed and a bit prickly.
adam - Saturday, 03/05/05 15:20:11 EST

I'd just like to tell tou guys that I appreciate your willingness to share information with those of us who haven't been doing this as long as the rest of you. I don't have any really exiperienced smiths close by to bounce ideas off of. I've been making a living forging and fabricating for about 6 yrs now, 1 1/2 working for myself. I tell people regularly that the more I learn about smithing, the less I know, because I realize how much there is to learn. But I have found that smiths are always eager to share something with those of us less knowledgeable. Thank you for that generosity
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 03/05/05 15:41:06 EST

Sorry: Sorry!! vicopper and Jock...point well taken. I think we all had a bad day. Lets go forward. Friendly handshake here from me. I did not mean my original tire shrinker Q the way I wrote it. Just wanted some old feller who made wagon wheels to help me out. Mr. Turley has given me some info...Thank You.
felloffapony - Saturday, 03/05/05 15:49:39 EST

propane forges for sale: two homebuilt tube forges for sale

both built using 10" dia 1/4' wall ...two layers 1" Kaowool with firebrick floors.... painted with ITC 100
new burners built two months ago using designs from" Gas burners for Forges, Furnaces & Kilns by Micheal Porter"

one burner forge $150....two burner forge $190 both forges for $300 ... I need to make room for some new equipment something has to go...


e-mail for pictures
- Mark P - Saturday, 03/05/05 17:46:37 EST

the above post: lost my location of the previous post somewhere ...I (and the forges) are located in Kingston Canada.
Mark P - Saturday, 03/05/05 17:57:31 EST

Smithin': Well, I for one, am not a master smith, nor a journeyman, nor an apprentice. I do consider myself a wanna' be, but I ain't up to that skill level yet. The reason I like to go to Quad State is because it's the only place I know of where an ugly, bearded half wit like me can go and fit in.

By the way, I could use some advice. I want to make a four foot pattern welded samari sword. I have all the necessary equipment. A Bernzomatic Propane torch, with half a tank of fuel, a claw hammer with only one claw, a big flat limestone rock and a 60 penny nail with not too much rust. Anybody want to give me some advice?
And I ain't leavin' here either. Unless Paw Paw shows up at my front door with that damned knife. Good thing the kids stole all the road signs around here.
- Larry - Saturday, 03/05/05 18:23:28 EST

Unless Paw Paw shows up at my front door with that damned knife: It's when he doesn't bother with a door ye need ta worra Larry,
When he's at the front door it's just for a freindly visit
(insert gratuitous smiley face here)
JimG - Saturday, 03/05/05 19:02:01 EST

Some of you guys know me too well! (grin)
Paw Paw - Saturday, 03/05/05 19:34:56 EST

Master Smiths:

I never call myself a Master Smith. I don't really think I am. I'm a fair country smith, a good problem solver, but that's my limit.

In spite of that, there are a couple of guys that I've helped that insist on introducing me that way.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 03/05/05 22:00:55 EST

Pawpaw is a master of warfare. All that talk of stropping a knife? Thats all BS. When he finally gets mad, your not gonna hear anything, ever. A M-1 from 300 meters has a bullet that arrives before the sound! Good thing Pawpaw likes me, cause I tease him about his age. (his incrediably great age!)
ptree - Saturday, 03/05/05 22:15:02 EST

Anvil For Sale: It's a Fisher, I believe, roughly 225-250 lbs. Nice condition, and located in Amsterdam, NY.

On another note, I met Keith Barker this afternoon. Nice feller.

AK_ID - Saturday, 03/05/05 23:18:27 EST

metal: hey guru i was wondering, where do you get your metal for forging? so far ive been useing what i can find around but im running low so i thought i'd get your advice before i did anything.asw allways thanks for the help.John S
John S - Saturday, 03/05/05 23:28:28 EST

Manners: He, HE- If we don't start showing a little respect. We will have to start wearing face guards and shin protectors. PAW-PAW will be shouting down our throats and kicking our shins, just to make sure we are listening to what he has to say, about people being less than nice. GRINN..
- sandpile - Saturday, 03/05/05 23:32:27 EST

felloffapony: No problem, apology accepted. We all live and learn, hopefully. I look forward to sharing with you here in the future.

When it comes to wheel questions, JimG is the man to ask. He is a sho-nuff wheelwright and actualy does that stuff for real money. If he says something, you can pretty much take it to the bank.
vicopper - Sunday, 03/06/05 00:17:05 EST

Glad to see the mood lighten up.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 03/06/05 00:19:17 EST

Master Smiths: You know them when you see them. They tend to make stuff look easy because they've spent the time to learn the nature of the operation and the material. If I counted the ones I know, I wouldn't run out of fingers, and half of them would deny it anyway.

As for me, I strive for competence; and should I ever actually "master" something, there will still be another dozen or two operations where I'm still striving for competence. Early medieval blacksmiths routinely did certain operations that I still cannot duplicate, but half the fun is in the pursuit.
Visit your National Park
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 03/06/05 01:13:16 EST

Lathe: Jock comments on metal lathe. I was a machinist for a number of years. Today a fella I know stopped over. I happen to have a metal lathe in my blacksmith shop. It is one of the handiest tools. He is a tat artist and was making tat machines. He wanted my advice on his patterns to cast parts and then needed six electromagnets made. I turned them in a couple of hours for him on the lathe. I learned something today about electro magnets. I am no expert in this at all. To get myself back on track. In agreement with Jock I have found a metal lathe as important as a forge and anvil. I use mine for tenons. Your shop would benefit from a lathe.
- burntforge - Sunday, 03/06/05 02:03:07 EST

registering: I have filled out the web form to register here. Then i wrote an email. I think it has been over two weeks. i know Jock has been sick and probably trying to catch up. I was wondering if i am doing something wrong trying to register? Thanks
burntforge - Sunday, 03/06/05 02:27:23 EST

Wyoming, where's that?: Can anyone tell me why there isn't an ABANA in Wyoming? It's like no one even knows where Wyoming is. I was working down in Bakersfield California and one of my fellow employees didn't even know where Wyoming was. I was like "Are you kidding?" Just because Los Angeles is like 50 times the poppulation of Wyoming doesn't mean that you shouldn't know where it is as a state? Back to ABANA, why is there not one in Wyoming, Thank you
By the way, I live in Wyoming!!!
Matt Hunter - Sunday, 03/06/05 04:24:59 EST

Blacksmiths and stereotypes (Attn Matt Hunter :):
First... let me take that chip for you, please? Thank you. It just rained and I'm little chilly tonight -- it will warm up my feet nicely.

Now, where was I? Ah, yes. I am a 19-year-old haole [white] boy living in Kaneohe, Hawaii, ex-computer-geek, just finishing up a year of working and loafing (and learning...) and planning on going in to college in the fall. I am skinny (145lbs @ 5'10"). I use fifty-dollar words. I enjoy editing my friends' writing, playing chess, watching anime, and sewing. I have hair down to my waist. I play lots of video games. I used to consider myself a goth, and I love punk rock.

Of course, I also love to weld, pound iron, pour liquid metal, torch cut, etc, etc. In this crowd I think I need not go on.

Point? Blacksmiths really do come from all walks of life. Hopefully someone else will chime in on this.
T. Gold - Sunday, 03/06/05 06:17:11 EST

Cowboys, rodeo? country type rednecks are blacksmiths? I personally have worked in engineering for about 25 years, been a pilot since 1974, worked missile maintnance in the ARMY, was a professional skydiver for 10 years, and I have worked metal in some form since the 70's. Heck the only use I have for a horse is medium well, a litle salt and pepper with gravey on the side! ( spent too long in Europe)
Sorry Ellen.
ptree - Sunday, 03/06/05 09:28:57 EST


Can I help? I have a 12 oz. ballpeen hammer & a nail apron that I can bring. :-)
Brian C - Sunday, 03/06/05 09:49:29 EST

1080 for sale: these are very nice drops of great tool steel---- its available in 2 and 1/4 inch round--- in lengths ranging from 3 ta 5 inches average with a few pieces up to 9 inches average weight is around 5 lbs....... by the piece or by the ton......... happy hammering...........
pete - Sunday, 03/06/05 11:10:24 EST

Matt Hunter, Hey I know where Wyo is. I even know where Albin, Pine Bluffs, Chugwater, Wheatland, Dubois, and alot of other off the wall places is. Been there, done that. Seriously, why don't you try Northern Rockies Blacksmith Assc. Or try Abana affililate list.RudyH , from Spartanburg SC.

- RudyH - Sunday, 03/06/05 11:41:58 EST

Wyoming, etc.: I not only know where it is, I've even been to Cody a few times. Soaked in the hot springs at Thermopolis, too. I also know a guy from Laramie who spent the night in jail in L.A. because the policeman who pulled him over thought his drivers licence was fake, as everyone knows there's no such place as Wyoming... Not all 'Fornians are idjits, but it seems like it sometimes due to simple population percentages. No offense to any Californians unless you resemble that description (grin!)

BTW I am a professional archaeologist, and like Bruce am happy if I think I've done a competent job as a smith.

Burntforge, I agree my shop would benefit from a lathe. My bank account, however, would not at this juncture! Also said with a grin.
Alan-L - Sunday, 03/06/05 12:23:17 EST

BEARS--WYO.: ALAN l. When you were soaking up the mineral waters of Thermopolis, did you go on up to CODY and witness the POLAR BEAR and BROWN BEAR in the back of a store in CODY?? It might have been a Sporting Goods or Weastern-Wear store. I was astounded at the size of them. Talk about a big pair of dogs.Grin If you had to out-run one of them, you had better not blow out a tennis-shoe. MATT HUNTER do you live in the Scenic Town of RAWLINS??Grin

- sandpile - Sunday, 03/06/05 13:23:21 EST

Wyoming: Is that still part of the USA? I thought they gave it back years ago and demanded a refund. Anyway the name is too silly. Are you coming or going ? Nah just wyoming. :)
adam - Sunday, 03/06/05 13:25:10 EST

BurntForge: It takes a while to process registrations. Lathe, I agree - the lathe is to machines what the hammer and anvil is to hand tools. With a lathe in a blacksmith's shop you could restart the industrial revolution.

TG 19 huh? Now if I recall you used to be telling everyone that you were 17! I dunno about this. Seems like your story changes every year.

Do you play on any of the internet chess servers? I am on ICC from time to time.
adam - Sunday, 03/06/05 14:03:43 EST

BrianC: You can help, but only if the hammer has the handle broken out and the nail apron has a hole in it. I don't want you bringing in no fancy tools just to show me up.

Been aiming to ask, how's the knee?
- Larry - Sunday, 03/06/05 14:38:47 EST

Bears: Sandpile, alas I didn't see those bears. I have seen a few mounted polar bears, though, and I agree!
Alan-L - Sunday, 03/06/05 16:00:36 EST

Sandpile and Bears:: Ok Sandpile, let me clue you in on dealing with bears. All you need in bear country is a 22. See, you don't have to out run the bear, you just shoot your buddy in the leg and out run him!
Bob H - Sunday, 03/06/05 17:02:55 EST

Stuff:: Didn't pound any iron today. Hurt my back earlier in the week. It is better, but I am still going easy on it. I did do a little flintknapping tho. And decided that today was the day to tap my maple trees. This is my first time at that, and I only plan on gathering 20 gallons of sap to make my syrup. Now, does anyone know if you have to plug the tap hole when done drawing sap? And if so, with what?
Bob H - Sunday, 03/06/05 17:05:57 EST


The knee is getting along o.k.. Had a little relapse & got it injected about 2.5 weeks ago. Hopefully it will stablize. After 5 surgeries I just hope for the best.

Like the old boy said "we shall endeavor to persevere".
Brian C - Sunday, 03/06/05 17:50:24 EST

Everybody needs a lathe, My Dad found plenty of uses for one & He was a carpenter. But the lathe is just the beginning, next a Bridgeport soon after, a surface grinder. Then all the tooling to go with them. It just doesn't end.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 03/06/05 22:15:14 EST

BrianC: Five seems to be the magic number. I had five laser surgeries on my eyes before the docs were satisfied. I have retinopathy from the diabetes. At least it was covered by the VA because it is service connected. And things look alot better when you are not looking through a lace curtain.
- Larry - Sunday, 03/06/05 22:32:56 EST

Well my parents showed up Friday night with 8 teenagers in tow, 5 of them going up to Albuquerque to Magic card game tournement and three just hanging here at my house. We had a bonfire and burnt up a bunch of tumble weeds---one at a time it's like tossing a cup of gasoline on the fire! I sure could have used Paw Paw and his strop of impending doom and Sandpile with a rope and branding iron....

Well they left by noon today so I got a chance to put the new propane tank on the forge and forge out a couple of pattern welded knives from a billet I had laying about. Also started forging the spring for the big vise Sandpile didn't like.

Folks if you are having mood swings that may incline you to stupid acts please go visit a good Dr; may be something simple as blood sugar swings; I'm learning that when my blood sugar goes south I'd better deal with it *before* I do something stupid rather than after. I'm betting you could review my posts and figure out how long since I ate too---save I try *not* to post when my temper is short---well actually I generally end up writing them and *deleting* them...really I just do what the gas forge whispers in my ear---why one side of my head has *much* shorter hair than the other...

Don't laugh too much. I did an 80 layer billet once as a demo for a fellow using a claw hammer, a chunk of rail---not even worn flat---ugh! a 16 gauge firepot and charcoal sifted from bonfires in the desert.. He did have a nice hand crank blower though...

All Right who blew the beans on the double-uber-secret Forum??? Now they will all want to become CSI members to see what mystic inner cabal and 42nd degree illumnatti are discussing high in that coal smoke begrimed virtual tower...

Wyoming---you should try living in NM and all the questions about passports, laws, languages, etc from *companies* who are doing business here already!

Thomas putting on the ritual vestments and heading for the tower before my feather boa gets singed!
Thomas P - Sunday, 03/06/05 23:26:28 EST

Well to all of you craking jokes at me ha ha ok. I just have never heard any of you talk about Wyoming or even talking about any friends you have or knowing specific blacksmiths in my area (Yellowstone) who could help me out, that's all.

To Alan L,
this Bruce you talk of is the Bruce in Springville California right? Or are you talking about another Bruce?

And it sounds like the lot of you are old farts, nothing wrong with that, some day I'll become one too :) but to all of you who have degrees and stuff that's great, but I don't. I actually have a GED because I didn't like high school nor did I care for it and I don't like to do school work. Now work work is ok because you get paid and you don't have to worry about making your assignment due the next day! I probably won't go to college, actually I won't go to college. I do love metal and wood and I'm always thinking of metal and other various stuff that has to do with metal and wood. I also am glad that I can go to a website and talk with a bunch of men, and women who know their sh..stuff! I do find myself thinking about blacksmithing and so forth a little too much, but that's not bad huh? Boy, this is a longer post for me isnt' it?

Sandpile, I live in Cody Wyoming, home to the infamous Buffalo Bill Histerical, I mean Historical Center. The gun's collection is the coolest part in my opinion. And that store with the two bears was the Corral West Ranch Wear store. Rawlins isn't the smallest town in Wyoming I'm afrraid though :)

About bears up here, they run about as fast as a truck going 40 miles per hr. Especially a female with her cubs! You need to be packing some serious fire power!
Matt Hunter - Monday, 03/07/05 00:00:13 EST

Ah well...: Yesterday I was a redneck, now I'm an old fart.

When I was up at the Norsk Hustfest in Minot, North Dakota (probably the biggest gathering of Scandinavian-Americans in the U.S.) I didn't meet a single fellow blacksmith, despite tapping out light work at the anvil for two or three days. I'm sure that they're there, but it's mainly a question of both demographics and commercial viablility. Some parts of the southwest are virtually devoid of both livestock and farriers; but may have some artist-blacksmiths. On the east coast we have plenty of both. Low population and long travel distances tend to work against somewhat specialized organizations where folks benefit from meeting face to face.

Matt might want to scroll through the Anvilfire News to see what the face of blacksmithing looks like in the 21st century. He may also want to work his way through a lot of the other features at Anvilfire on the pull-down menu, the better to understantd the subject that we're posting about.

Education is nice, but attitude is also of great importance- we have a wide variety of folks here, and they get along best be behaving like, and treating everyone else as, ladies and gentlemen.

Goodnight folk.
Go viking
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 03/07/05 00:33:43 EST

STUFF: BOB H. There is a old joke in the guiding community. The guide carrys a pair of Tennis shoes around his neck till the client ask WHY are you carrying Them YUP in case we see a bear, so as to out-run YOU. he he.
THOMAS P. You old oil-field re-ject. You said "I will let a couple of them go." I bought a couple and would have bought some more stuff, remember?? I can make room for some more gooodies when, we do the anvil thing.Grin.
MATT> I am one of those COWBOYS you been thinking about.. I have been all over your state and the one just north of you. There are some smiths, knifemakers in Harrison and Bozeman, Billings. Mont Blackburn lives in Thermopolis. He can make you any thing you want. Superb craftsman.
Get yourself some kind of trade ticket. PLUMBER, A/C, WELDER, Heat,ELEC. something that will enable you to live and support a family. This is a long old life and it will take every thing you can do to make it out the other side.
Good luck---Chuck
- sandpile - Monday, 03/07/05 01:21:12 EST

If everyone thinks that I'm a jerk then think what you want. I'm not a jerk and I'm not saying that any of you are jerks, ok?
I never said that you were a redneck Bruce.

By the way.....Does anyone know where I can get a cheaper basic blacksmithing kit, (a pair of tong's, hammer, video...yadda yadda yadda) like the one's in Centaur Forge? If you need to blacksmith, then you need tools and I'm mr. cheap, cause of where I live.

One last thing, I'm not sure if anything I say makes sence around here so if I have offended any of you then I apologize!
Matt Hunter - Monday, 03/07/05 01:23:10 EST

WOW: ... I have been away far too long, everything is around our ears folks!!! It looks like its climbing back up to sanity level which is good or what ever is sanity for this site, I personally can't comment on what is sane LOL. Looks like I am getting a setup handed to me by my mentor and good friend Ron. My tone of thought is kinda down because of this because I don't want to "take" anything from him and I know he won't take any money. Looks like I will need to call in the big guns and give him hard labor in exchange for the equipment, I won't let him refuse me on that one. I am 15 days short on the rest of my military contract, after that I am going back east to take up my hammer and light the forge, to toil over my anvil till I grow weary. Just a little note to say hello to all that I don't chat with on the pub. Farewell for now friends, till my next message! Bye.
stormcloud - Monday, 03/07/05 02:28:06 EST

Sanity and old age and red-neckedness: Listen, folks, I'm perfectly willing to pass out half of my monthly dose of (government issued and sanctioned) happy pills just to keep peace in the group. Regarding Wyoming, I know exactly where that state is -- I blew an inner duel tire just west of Laramie less than a month ago. Heheh, since I've been in NY, I can't tell you how many people I've met who've confused Idaho with Iowa and Ohio. Most of we Americans are geographically challenged.
Can I offer some advice? There's plenty of nastiness in the politics groups online. Let's be nice in our little anvil-pounding corner of the world.
AK_ID - Monday, 03/07/05 02:53:01 EST

JYH&damascus: hello friends
i'm thinking to build a spring hammer to help me in my knifemaking, especialy in damascus making. i have a 2hp at 2800rpm electric motor. which would be a reasonable minimum weight and travel of the ram to do a good job? i would be pleased to hear any other sugestion or ideea about the subject from those who already experimented this.
matei campan
matei campan - Monday, 03/07/05 07:48:14 EST

Wyoming: It was meant to be good natured teasing. If I offended Matt or anyone else, I apologize.
adam - Monday, 03/07/05 10:02:15 EST

Where to Find Basic Tools: At last, a question that I'm qualified to answer!

First, the beginner’s kit is just a convenience; and convenience costs money. If you are short on funds, then you need to spend a little time hunting things down for a beginner’s kit. They have a nice list there, just use the list. (I’m sure that a number of folks here will add to the list, too.) Centaur Forge is a wonderful emporium of all things for blacksmiths, but they tend to be pricy. I generally order from them what I can’t find anywhere else.

The usual cheapest sources for tools are flea markets, yard sales and farm auctions. I’ve bought tongs for $15 or $10 or $5 depending on the circumstances. Hammers are usually found in abundance. More exotic (and useful) stuff shows up from time to time, like post vises and anvils. If you’re serious about this, ask all of your friends and relatives if they know of any blacksmithing equipment in their barns or stable or shops or warehouses that they’d be willing to part with. I came across a large colonial (!) anvil (~180#+) at the local welding shop, which I’m letting rest for right now until I contact one of my reenactment friends. Scrap yards sometimes have old anvils squirreled away in the corners. Ask; all they can do is say “no.”

Antique shops will sometimes have blacksmithing gear; sometimes at ruinous prices, and sometimes quite reasonable, depending on the local market. Just ask to see the “tool” section, which you will sometimes even find it the “frilly” antique stores.

Your local hardware store will have many items that are useful for blacksmithing. Safety glasses, blacksmith’s/mechanic’s/engineer’s cross peen hammers, cold chisels, punches; (stay away from the steel rack, the stock is almost always pricy; with the local hardware it’s sometimes cheaper to order it from Centaur Forge, and always cheaper at your local steelyard). Some hardware stores actually have blacksmithing tools to supply the local farriers.

If, after diligent searching, you still can’t find things for your basic kit, then fill in the gaps by ordering from Centaur Forge or any of a number of fine commercial establishments that have the good taste and sense to advertise here on Anvilfire. Once you get started, you can start to make many of your own tools, as shown on the iForge pages and the 21st Century Blacksmith pages.

A little footwork, research and time can save a lot of money.

Good luck.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 03/07/05 10:07:28 EST

Rednecks and Pharts: "One last thing is it seems to me that everyone who is interested in blacksmithing is a cowboy or farmer or redneck? No offence..."

Matt Hunter - Saturday, 03/05/05 18:21:57 EST

No offence taken; it was just my response to how blacksmiths are perceived. I might be considered a farmer, since I help manage the family farm; but we rent the land to a neighbor who far out-qualifies me in all things agricultural. As for the old phart part, I'm past 55, but I can be cunning as needed, swing a mean axe as well as a hammer, and still go viking with my friends; my 23 year old daughter does welding and carpentry for a theater, and is presently giving me some assistance in ironing a sled (in return for which I'm helping her finish her cutlass).

Old pharts sit on the front porch and jaw people to death; everybody I know at Anvilfire goes out and DOES stuff. THEN we jaw folks to death; but only because we know what the he11 we’re talking about (mostly).

Stick around, learn stuff; that’s what it’s all about. A gift has no worth until given, most of the folks here are very generous with what they’re willing to give.

Good luck.
Visit your National Prks
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 03/07/05 10:37:21 EST

In the heavily populated in the 19th century farm state of Ohio I only paid $5 for a pair of tongs if they were in mint condition and they were exactly what I needed for a project. I had a friend tell me not to pay $25 for a post vise at a flea market cause "then he will want $25 for every post vise he sells"

Out here in NM it's been quite a bit higher in costs save for the things you find *free*

OK Sandpile, I'd edit that if I could to say "The post vise Sandpile didn't like as much as the other one" Looks like your "anvil in" will be after the next Auction; I'll see if I can find any other goodies at the auction. If you want to go to the auction yourself you're welcome to put up at my place, got a guest room and all! Don't really know what will be there till the day of the auction though.

Thomas P - Monday, 03/07/05 12:00:30 EST

Bob H: Maple tapping: My friend's dad uses wine corks to plug the taps between draws. After he's got all he wants he removes the taps and lets the trees heal up. He's been doing it for years. He then enlists family and friends to keep the boil going. (Outdoor fire pit. Hardwood fire.)Takes forever but it's worth it. Absolutely nothing like it. If you want more info. I'll be happy to ask for you.
Gronk - Monday, 03/07/05 12:03:09 EST

Keith Barker Fund:
I have closed the linked to the Keith Barker fund as donations have almost stopped. It was a successfull fundraiser and as soon as all the funds are in one kitty we will will issue the check.

Thanks to ALL that have been so generous.
- guru - Monday, 03/07/05 12:13:36 EST

AUCTION: THOMAS P. I don't even know what auction you are speaking of. I am always interested in places to look and maybe buy, another piece or tool.
There are a couple of swadges here locally. The guy that has them thinks I have more dough than I have. He grinned, pulled on his chin and said "Yeah, I'll sale them to you at a price" I grinned and pulled on my face and said " At that price, you like them a lot more than I do". Grin. I now have the poorest blacksmith in the county trying to talk him out of the swadges.Grin He is about to get them,for me.Grin
Let me know about the sale. I might be able to come down.

- sandpile - Monday, 03/07/05 12:34:16 EST

Starter Tool Kits:
The problem with a starter kit is that everyone needs something different. Yes the tools are all the same but not everyone needs all the pieces. Anyone that has studied the literature and visited a few blacksmith shops knows how cheap and easy it is to build a forge. Those with the "finder" gene or luck will have found an decent 100# anvil and maybe even a vise.

Back at the turn of the 20th Century folks like Sears and Roebuck sold starter kits with forge, anvil, vise and small tools for around $25. Today that same kit would cost ($500 forge, $400 anvil, $350 vise, $50 hammer and tongs) $1300. I don't see a rush of folks jumping on this minimum deal!

The best "starter kit" is our advice in our Getting Started article. STUDY the literature so that you know what you need and what it looks like as well as what you can make yourself. JOIN a local group or TRAVEL to the nearest convention so that you can see the REAL thing being done. ENROLE in a welding school and or a blacksmithing course (note that many local groups have free green coal classes).

As part of this process you will run into tailgaters and NEW equipment dealers alike. Folks like Centaur Forge, Kayne and Son, Blacksmith Supply travel to meets all over the country. You will have a choice of new and used tools and can fill your needs as you can afford.

guru - Monday, 03/07/05 13:01:32 EST

Local Organizations: NO, there are not ABANA chapters in every state. And even in states where there are more than one they often meet 4 or 5 hours drive from "your" area. If you want an oranization close by then FORM ONE! Don't complain about the lack. Otherwise plan on traveling!

If you run an ad in the local paper you will easily find dozens of folks interested in blacksmithing. Out of those there is almost always someone that is a professional, a fabricator or a part time artist that has a shop and would be willing to host meetings.

Note that due to the recent restructuring of ABANA there will be less and less "affiliates". More groups will be independents. There used to be some advantage to your local group being part of ABANA, this is no longer true. Today if you form a group we will host a web page for you on or at a minimum list the group site for you. It used to be you had to be part of ABANA to get found, this is no longer true.

If you are not into being an organizer then don't complain. Get into you your car, pickup, bus (hitch hike) to the nearest meet or hammer-in. In the next couple months there are so many going on that you could easily be on the road every weekend. . . There are major annual meets being held in Virginia, North Carolina, California, Texas, Alabama and regional semi-annual meets being held in Georgia and Nova Scotia as well as in Germany and Austrailia.

It was only a few decades ago that many of us would travel all day just to meet ONE other blacksmith. Today you shouldn't need to leave your county. . IF you look!

Over the past couple years I have gotten at least a half dozen calls from folks in the Roanoke, VA area looking for a "local" group. I have told every one that they need to form one. . . Now I know MORE area smiths than these few that have called or writen me. There is no shortage, at least a dozen interested parties (KNOWN), just a lack of ONE person willing to be the organizer. The same is probably true in your area as well.

guru - Monday, 03/07/05 13:33:03 EST

used tools: The other day I drove up to get some coal (Foraker In) and stopped in a little junk/antique place to look around. I found a rack of hammers and picked up 4 or 5 for about 10 bucks and they're nicer than what you usually see new. Oh...and a top fuller.

There was a bucket of tongs. I didn't buy any because I make those but I almost did. I doubt they would have cost much and I like to look over the welds on the reins. Not very decorative in most cases but they sure seem strong!

I picked up a nice post vice for I guess a normal sort of price ($60). He had a big heavy one that looked good until I checked the jaw alignment.

there were tons of hand made tools of different kinds but I don't have room just to collect stuff.

I spotted a couple more places like this and I'll check those out when I get a chance.
Mike Ferrara - Monday, 03/07/05 14:33:34 EST

Sandpile there is a twice a year implement + clean out the barn/yard/field auction about 2 miles from my house just off the highway. (Spring and Fall, it's where I bought those two big vises. Last fall they had the post vises at least 1 good anvil and a bunch of mexico cast iron specials, a couple of forges, etc. One year thay had a triphammer I've been told.

Sales are Friday/Saturday, with one group selling tractors/dozers and another the "everything else" part.

I take off from work to attend but don't buy much.

Thomas P - Monday, 03/07/05 14:53:51 EST

ABANA Groups: To add to what Jock said, the New England Blacksmiths is a good example. We cover all of New England, and have a somewhat common, central, meeting place in NH. But meets are held all over and workshops will be wherever the blacksmith holding the workshop wants it. We even have an informal "Southern Bunch" that meets pretty regularly in RI.

So call or write the affiliate closest to you. Get a newsletter or two. See if you can get a list of members and then work with that. I drove 3 hours to a meet once ("Age of Iron" in Hancock, MA - great fun!) and stood in the registration line behind a guy from my own town!
- Marc - Monday, 03/07/05 15:00:01 EST

CSI Members: Please read the minutes of the last CSI Board of Directors meeting and the proposed motion for expanding the board which are posted in the Members Business Forum and the general Members Forum. Your comments are needed and welcomed. The next meeting of the board is at 9:30 PM EST Tuesday March 8. All CSI members are welcome to observe.
SGensh - Monday, 03/07/05 15:00:25 EST

"who are gay (yeah, there are gay blacksmiths, and some of em are pretty good, too)"

I see a gay blacksmith everytime I look in the mirror. Ries, we've never met but I hope if you ever see my work you'll rate it as pretty good.

Thankyou, it's attitudes like this that make this a more comfortable world.
- Anonymous - Monday, 03/07/05 16:34:10 EST

Hopefully: One of these days before I die, I will see the day that it is no longer significant what a person's sexual orientation, religion or gender is. The day when there is no need for the above post to be signed "anonymous" because there is no stigma associated with it. Sadly, I doubt that I'll live that long but, at least in our little community, there doesn't seeem to be that stigma for the most part. Kind of surprising for a bounch of people that most folks instinctively think of as rednecks, huh? I am proud to be associated with the folks here.
vicopper - Monday, 03/07/05 17:54:27 EST

I'll echo Vic's comments without reservation. I had two gay medics on one of my teams and they were the best dam medics I have ever known. Either one of them alone knew more than I did, and I rated a pretty good. Together they were a formidable team. I was glad they were part of the team when I was wounded the last time.
Paw Paw - Monday, 03/07/05 18:44:01 EST

Movies and Axe heads?: ...."The English don't let us train with weapons, so we train with stones"... For the 50 dollar question, who know's this line from what movie? Ok, maybe I am just kidding about paying you guys but I am interested in making an axe head out of scratch. Now before you guys say "look up some literature...." do any of you know how to make one? I would like to make a huge axe head and then use that to chop some trees down up in the mountains. The head would be about 12 to 18 inches heighth and about 12 to 18 inches length, yeah this is a big boy! Kind of like a battle axe and wood axe in one! Is this possible?

Also, rank your favorite "war/drama" movie in order, thank you!

For now, Braveheart #1
Lord of the Rings 1,2 and 3 #2
Gladiator #3
Spartigus #4
Matt - Monday, 03/07/05 22:09:41 EST

me again: movies and axe heads is me!
Matt Hunter (Bjarka) - Monday, 03/07/05 22:11:15 EST

Movie lines: Braveheart
This axe is a wee bit smaller than your thinking of it's 22cm deep 26cm from tip to tip
Standard wrap and weld construction, springsteel for the bit.
JimG - Monday, 03/07/05 22:37:21 EST

SALES: THOMAS P. I bet you won't have any idea till sale day what is going to be in the sale??? I would not mine driving over. I bought an engraver from JOE CORDOVA and I need to either have him ship it or go get it. BBUUTT at $2.00 a gallon, if I am going to take a 700 mile trip. I would like to know how pretty she is.GRIN
I have been building railing for HELEN'S deck and trying to get the big vice cleaned up and ready to finish. The scale on this vice is almost a 1/16" thick in places and having to keep the same lines, grind down to match and sand to smooth enough finish for GUN-BARREL browning is getting to be a little much of an endeaver.Grin But I am slowly getting there.BOG ---Sandpile
- sandpile - Monday, 03/07/05 22:42:14 EST

strikers the firestarting kind: Dan and strikers....
OK Dan I have been gone a week and this has most likey answered already, but here goes;
I use garage dorr spring( not better but it does work well and I have a LOT of it laying about) BTW my strikers are shaped as a 'C'and are about 3" or so long. ANy way I forge them then heat a 3lb coffee can worth of water to about 180F
ANd use a water quench. The I scuff the face on an old red brick that I have for that use. Will they draw sparks so far all have I also think that besides metal hardness, the technique used to draw the spark is critical as it the type of stone being used. They are hard and they are brittle, so it is not advised to drop one on a hard surface.
Ralph - Monday, 03/07/05 22:42:51 EST

Sexual orientation: If my relationship with someone is not sexual it shouldn't matter to either what the orientation of the other is.

As a teacher, I saw a lot of pain caused by self righteous persons who proclaimed themselves to be Christians who maliciously hurt fellos students for no other reason that that they didn't like the other's sexual orientation.

Kids knew it wasn't tolerated in my classroom or lab.

I'm not gooing into what I feel the bible does teach about the matter here, but the bible NEVER justifies unkindness.
- John Odom - Monday, 03/07/05 23:03:33 EST

Matt, if you are going to build it from scratch you better start collecting iron ore an charcoal *now*!

Note two handed axes were used by the Saxon huscarles in the 11th century. They were not that big anything ungainly is gonna get you killed, while you are starting a swing or into the follow through folks are going to be making incurable holes in you---weapons have to be *fast*. As for Fantasy---if you can draw it you probably can make it---but if you study real medieval weapons you may end up embarassed later...

I'm sorry but Braveheart had so many historical errors in it I could hardly sit through it---I mean besides the typical hollywood costume, arms, armour errors; basic errors of fact---like the English Pricess---she was about 9 when he was drawn and quartered and living in France... face painting was a thousand years out of date and kilts weren't worn for another 500 or so years (1590's).

I like lion in winter for it's dialog and the advocate for it's authenticity and humour. Don't watch too many war films---if they are good, they bother me---my grandfather has been talking about his Iwo Jima experiences lately for the first time..... If the films are not good they annoy me

Lord of the rings was pretty good till they started adding things in. I accept subtraction, nobody has a bladder big enough to get through the book filmed 100% true to form; but when they start adding in stuff it messes with the authors story...

Thomas P - Monday, 03/07/05 23:32:32 EST

Book: My local library was having another one of its books sales today. I spent a great deal of time pouring over every book and left with a treasure. I found a first edition Industrial Fire Hazards Handbook. I can't believe the weath of information in this book. It has every process imaginable and information on every metal, alloy metal, clay heat treating process goes on an on. Maybe a few accidential explosions will be avoide because of this book out in the shop. It is a wonderful reference bible for the smitty shop. Keep your eyes open for discarded books at your library. I procrastinated for a great deal of time and then parted with my dollar. I think a worthwhile investment.
burntforge - Tuesday, 03/08/05 00:37:03 EST

Burntforge...: Hey Burnt(don't know your name) how old are you and where do you live?
Matt Hunter (Bjarka) - Tuesday, 03/08/05 01:00:22 EST

Ultimate Blacksmithing: If I could have the ideal place to do all of my blacksmithing, I would build an undergound shop to fulfill my needs. The shop would begin on level ground and slowly taper into the ground at an angle. Sort of like this:

"40" ft
\ |
\ |
"20" ft \ |
\ |

Just like this except that the taper wouldn't be so straight down like it is near the 20 foot mark. More or so like this I guess:

____ |
____ |
____ |
____ |

I would put my anvil and forge way in the back, touching the edge of the dirt, rock, brick,(wall) and build tunnels up and out of the ceiling so that I could put some pipes for the smoke to go out so I won't kill my self by inhailing the ash and smoke. And if any of you are lost then sorry for the quality drawing I can do on this site!
Matt Hunter (Bjarka) - Tuesday, 03/08/05 01:28:09 EST

Great......: Just excuse the posting I just tried to draw. While posting my picture, it came out wrong and all messed up. Guess like I'd have to actually have a picture of my drawing, hmmph.
Matt Hunter (Bjarka) - Tuesday, 03/08/05 01:31:21 EST

Matt's drawing:
Matt, the forum code on this site strips leading spaces automatically. I suggest you apply to the Yahoo forum and Pawpaw will let you in -- then you can make a nice MSPaint diagram, upload it, and point us all to it :) While you're there, there are some pretty cool pictures on the group.
T. Gold - Tuesday, 03/08/05 01:44:10 EST

Yahoo Group: Forgot to mention -- use the dropdown box in the upper right hand corner to get there.
T. Gold - Tuesday, 03/08/05 01:46:06 EST

Matt's drawing...: Thanks T. Gold :)
Matt Hunter (Bjarka) - Tuesday, 03/08/05 02:16:56 EST

hmmm: Said by John Odom..."Sexual orientation: If my relationship with someone is not sexual it shouldn't matter to either what the orientation of the other is.

As a teacher, I saw a lot of pain caused by self righteous persons who proclaimed themselves to be Christians who maliciously hurt fellos students for no other reason that that they didn't like the other's sexual orientation.

Kids knew it wasn't tolerated in my classroom or lab.

I'm not gooing into what I feel the bible does teach about the matter here, but the bible NEVER justifies unkindness."

Schools can be cruel places. One will be the recipient over anything that makes them different...being smaller, not being a ball player...wearing glasses...whatever.

What the Bible says about homosexuality is simple. It's disobedient to Gods word and therefor sinful. It's not better or worse sin than the rest of us are guilty of though and that's another thing that the Bible tells us...that we are all guilty of sin and there's only one way out.

No the Bible does not teach unkindness to sinners. Jesus came and died specifically for the salvation of sinners...the ultimate act of kindness. It's not to be confused with acceptance of the sin though...only acceptance of the sinner. Jesus was anything but tolerant of sin. What was sinful to do in old testement law became sinful to think in the new testement covenant because the law was to be written to our hearts.

As a Christian who believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God I am strongly against schools using my tax money to brainwash my kids into thinking that sin is ok if you like it and that it's just a preferance like wearing blue pants rather than grey. Hatred and anger are also sinful however.
Mike Ferrara - Tuesday, 03/08/05 08:44:16 EST

LotR: One of the recent(ish) BABA magazines had a field day with Lord of the Rings - comments on not getting near welding heat on a sword, rings being cast not forged, that sort of thing.
Peter B - Tuesday, 03/08/05 09:34:22 EST

religon/politics: control....... dont worry about self knowledge and true spiritual growth---- let other men tell you how to speak with god/godhead----all hail the church of rome and its seed.....forget get not that when text we draw our words from was written politics and religon where one and the same----there was a politic agenda in the gathering of the texts that has been handed down over these many years to us.....leaving out facts and even adding some.......everyone is ENTITLED to worship as they wish...but until this strict adhearace to dogma is let go.. there will never be understanding------ 1000's na millions of lives have been lost in the churchs fights over the "word" there is truth in those words..... but too many have perverted it to their own ends---- god bless benny hinn----------
blacklionforge - Tuesday, 03/08/05 09:49:05 EST

religion/politics: Don't confuse What's in the Bible with the nasty things that men have done while carrying one. politics and religion have certainly been intertwined during periods of history and that is not consistant with scripture. It's not the call of the Christian to change or force the world but to call out of the world those who will be moved by Gods word. Give the Emporer what's his and give God what's His. We're told that we will know false profits by their deeds and there are and always have been plenty of them.

Every one is entitled to worship as they wish but by working toward the letting go of "this strict dogma" you may be telling others how they should worship. The point of my last post was of course to point out what the Bible does say on the subject not to force you or any one else to believe it. the point was that no one inflicts cruelty on another because they are a Christian. On the contrary it is a very un-Christian thing to do according to the Bible...not me). The Christian thing to do is not to beat some one on the head over their lifestyle but to lead them (if they will be lead) to a relationship with Christ and let the Holly Spirit do the rest. Whether you believe it or not is up to you but, and feel free to correct me if I missed something, what I described is consistant with scripture and blaming Christianity for cruelty is off base. As you point out too many pick just the parts they like and pervert and misuse it for their own purposes. Just point out to them that we are also instructed not to be hypocrits by pointing to the splinter in our brothers eye while ignoring the plank in our own eye. That sounds like good advice even for those who spell God with a little "g".
Mike Ferrara - Tuesday, 03/08/05 10:57:55 EST

movies: the single most horror induceing sceen I have seen was that one with the HOT (like at hardening temp+) sword being used in a fight.... any one who has tried to heat treat a sword will know that it can be like working with half cooked pasta fighting with it would turn it into a cork screw!... ither than that one sceen good movie though.
- MP - Tuesday, 03/08/05 11:37:18 EST

Putting the anvil in the far back makes it hard to drag outside when you need to forge something too long for inside the shop...I wanted a smithy on the *moon*, no O2 to scale up the steel, stuff stays hotter longer due to the vacuum, I can swing a bigger hammer, etc...

MP---"Pirates of the Carribean" was one. notice that they sword being forged very nicely had a hilt on it?

Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/08/05 12:18:57 EST

Religion and Sex: To misquote Mark Twain, I refuse to offer advice on marriage or religion because I don't want to be responsible for a man's misery in this life or the next one.
AK_ID - Tuesday, 03/08/05 13:36:46 EST

LAST WORD - RELIGION POLITICS: The following is from the Slack-Tub Pub but applies to ALL our forums. Because of certain groups feelings about things this applies to all religious discussion as well. There are plenty of sites that pander to all forms of views, please take your discussion there.

"The Slack-Tub Pub is a family forum designed for blacksmiths and metalworkers. It is both an international and public forum. As such we request that you act in a civil manner and use clean language.

Sadly we must remind a few:

We do not tolerate racial, ethnic or religious slurs or epithets. Language or remarks that denigrate or belittle people on the basis of religion, race, skin color or sexual orientation have no place in our forum.

Abusers will be asked to leave and their access privileges revoked."
guru - Tuesday, 03/08/05 14:23:21 EST

Big Axe:
Matt, There are some darn big commercial axes available but none are 1/4 the size you describe. Start with a commercial tool and THINK about it. Clamp some extra mass on and TRY to heft it. . . You can MAKE almost anything but practical is different than possible.

Many of the tools and weapons in movies (and worse animation) are way out of scale. They are often made of hollow and light weight materials in order that the actor can pick them up. In animation they have ZERO mass since they do not exist in the real world. . . They are nothing but fantasy.

We have step by step axe making articles on our iForge page. Start there (and start small) if you want to make something real.
guru - Tuesday, 03/08/05 14:40:31 EST

Movies and sword making: When I watched lord of the rings, the third one, i was almost offended by their ignorence when they forge welded the sword at a cherry heat...

Now i started working on a sword, hurry up and critisize me but make it quick, haha. I got the blade forged and I actually found it kind of easy, the sanding was a differnt story but i got that done too, now I need to heat treat the thing, The blade isnt very heavy but it might still warp. How do I keep it from warping? My friend is making one as well. We were going to make a large wood fire down by the creek, wait till we got the blades good red and hot and quench in the creek, sounds kinda like something from one of those movies. But now i realize how these myths are started, one might think that there is some advantage to these methods... Well I dont have a fire pot big enough, hence the wood fire, or a slack tub big enough, hence the creek. Well this will also give me a reason to make some hotdog sticks.
- Dan Crabtree - Tuesday, 03/08/05 14:57:16 EST

Tons of fakery in movies, everything from wood, plastic or paper mache bolders to rubber swords and armor.

I had one fellow argue that the swords were real and you could tell how hard they were by the metalic RING. . . DUHHHH. . . the sounds are phoney too! (as I clip clop off into the distance on my sound effect horse. . .)

Compare outakes and behind the scenes film before the sound was added. . . Soft stainless and aluminium swords go "clunk" and wooden axes hardly make a sound at all. . In the final film not only have sounds been added but flying sparks and closeups of REAL metal devices used ONLY for stills and closeups.

Even the motion of people is phoney, launched by springs and jerked by ropes or wires to put more "action" in the action. . . People do not get up and keep fighting when hit hard enough to explode through a door, they DIE.

I love fantasy films such as Conan and LOTR, Starwars and shows like Andromeda and Star Gate. . . but you REALLY have to suspend yourself from reality for ALL of them. Even the films that are supposed to be historical such as Braveheart use nearly as much movie magic as the most far out science fiction film.

Hey. . if skeleton men can walk under the ocean then why not fight with a red hot sword? As soon as you open the door for magic or faster than light travel then anyhing is possible.

But you need to KNOW the difference between reality and the world of Hollywood, and not try to reproduce it iron. Blacksmithing is as real as it gets. . .
guru - Tuesday, 03/08/05 15:04:59 EST

Dan, This is an idea I came up while discussing heat treating a sword.

Gravity is the primary cause of warping. Many bladesmiths now avoid the problem by supporting the blade by a hole in the end lifting and quenching verticaly.

SO, how to get from horizontal to vertical without bending a long blade? On short blades they heat in a vertical forge or salt pot but this is impractical for long blades. So why not build a tilting heat treating furnace? You need the furnace horizontal so that heat is distributed evenly (not rising to one end). But when it is time to remove the blade, tip the furnace verticaly to transfer the load from the floor to the supporting hook. . . then quench verticaly. If there is any warping it will be entirely heat or stress enduced.

This would be easiest to do with a gas forge but you could also do it with charcoal.
guru - Tuesday, 03/08/05 15:15:42 EST

Dan what kind of steel did you use? Some alloys you will have to hit the creek in about 1 second, others you can walk around the block (almost).

Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/08/05 16:27:36 EST

Swords and Movies:

Sword Forging; Dan:

At this point, we certainly wouldn’t criticize you for forging a sword; advise, yes, criticize, no. You’ve read the information, you know what you’re getting into, and your taking the time to do it right; plus your ready to ask the right questions. We generally find THAT admirable.

The Deus ex Machina in Pirates of the Caribbean:

Everyone remembers the mule propelled “hammer rack” that drove us nuts in Pirates of the Caribbean? Well, in a 17th or 18th century painting I cam across, it’s used to power a grindstone. Somewhere on the cutting room floor, there may be footage showing the grindstone (oversize, such as a cutler might use); but because it didn’t add to the action it was never shown. SOME movies do a lot of work with the research staff to get things right; then the art directors and the producers and the editors tend to toss a lot of it overboard for the sake of the story, or the vision, or the length, or the expense. Historical movies (and especially costume dramas) see the world “darkly through a broken spyglass” as Pogo would say (misquoting the Epistles). I agree with the Great Guru; once we have zombies or orcs or elven magic, we’re in another realm. It’s disappointing not to see it done the way we’d do it, but that’s the way they did it. (And I’ve done it for an 18 minute educational film, and if you gave me a six figure salary and a seven figure budget, I could do it twice as well. ;-)

Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone - Tuesday, 03/08/05 16:35:03 EST

I used ssNI for the blade, if you dont know what that is its probally because I made it up, it stands for
- Dan Crabtree - Tuesday, 03/08/05 17:45:03 EST

agh, forgot to type my name so post got cut off. It stands for Scrap So No Idea. It got glass hard when heated to a yellow and quenched in water and snapped in 2 when i tried to bend it, and a file wouldnt scratch it, it was hi carbon, not extremely high or anything but it should hold an edge, Well and I hope it only gets used as a machete and a wall hanger. Anyways I was thinking about how to do this with out warping today in algerbra class, im just sooo good I dont have to pay attention 100% of the time, but What if I tack welded on a peice of 1/2 inch bar to the blade and then heat treated it? would the 1/2 bar be strong enough to keep it from warping? and then I could just knock it off afterwards. Im ammazed soft this stuff was when we got it though, It was attached to an old telephone pole laying down along the rail road tracks, It took a few good tugs to rip the screw holding it in place out of the pole and the bar bent like mild steel during this. I figured I could use it for shelf brackets or what ever until I realized it was high carbon.its maybe about 1" x 1/4 x 3 bar, we have a few of them if someone wants a picture, someone might know what they are. Also for attaching a pommel onto the handle, how would I go about this with out it spinning around, I was planning on riveting the handle on the bottom, but the pommel would spin around then wouldnt it unless I used a square hole to fit the tang. Any Ideas on this?
- Dan Crabtree - Tuesday, 03/08/05 18:10:13 EST

Why would you make the tang round? Square tang then drill the pommel hole round and undersize. Then heat the pommel and drift to shape with a "mock tang" drift. Clean up, fit and peen the tang over like a typical medieval or renaissance sword.

When I was heat shrinking the head of my war hammer on I drilled an undersized hole and then cut the excess end off the shaft and ground it down slightly and used that as the drift. I don't think you want to heat shrink it on as that's rough on the grip; but it's an idea to start with.

I've forged those braces before and they do have an appreciable carbon content. Often a bit of galvinazation left on them too so if you see the white or yellow dust on the piece when forging make sure you are upwind.

It's kind of narrow for an european sword but would make a decent brush sword/knife.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/08/05 19:13:32 EST

To all: about my movie post...: Before I started coming here I really didn't know a lot about Blacksmithing, but I did know a lot about my past, my heritage and my favorite subject, History! I first came to know about Arms and Armour when I was very young. When I was 10, I moved to Las Vegas(with my parents of course) and we stayed at Excalibur, and I thought that they had very nice suits of armor and that was probably one of the first times in my life in which I knew I wanted to learn more and be included with a lot of other people interested in that sort of stuff. I will say this, that I don't really remember the hilt of the sword in Pirates of the Carribean but I have always loved the rapier hilt from The Princess Bride of Yinego Montoya...or how ever you spell his name. The only other picture I have seen of a hilt similar was in a book I have called "Arms and Armour". It is by Eyewitness Books, on page 42 the picture is. I have always loved swords and armor and axes and spears etc. etc. The more I learn about blacksmithing though, I get intrigued by it and want to learn more. I've met so far a lot of good people out there who are willing to talk and to teach other people about this and other trades!

And to Mike Ferrara, I have to agree with you. I have a hard time with my relationship with the Lord. It is like an emotional/physical/spiritual roller coaster ever since I got saved on Feb 12, 2000. Now, I don't want to be rude or mean, but I've been told to love the sinner, hate the sin. That's my 2 cents worth. If anyone wants to talk about God I have a lot of memories and some exp on the matter. If you want to talk about blacksmithing, I'd be happy, whoever you are! Just remember, we were all born sinners, it's just a matter of where you want to direct your life......
Matt H
Matt H (Bjarka) - Tuesday, 03/08/05 21:01:19 EST

to the Guru: Didn't see your last post, sorry!
Matt H (Bjarka) - Tuesday, 03/08/05 21:05:07 EST

Is it me or what's wrong with the screen, I can only see a little past Thomas P's post, did I ged deleted?
Matt H (Bjarka) - Tuesday, 03/08/05 21:15:07 EST

Mark H.: No, you didn't get deleted, you probably just need to hit reload. (or refresh if that's what your browser calls it.)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 03/08/05 21:31:05 EST

Matt have you seen the 3 and 4 Musketeers with Michael York, Oliver Reed, Racquel Welch, Oliver Reed, and a horde of other well know actors? Blows the Disney version out of the water. You will like the swords in it too---try to rent them this weekend.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/08/05 21:44:24 EST

Thomas, yes I have seen 1 of the movies with them, it was from the 70's I think. I did like that movie, funny too. Did you like The Count of Monte Cristo with Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce and Richard Harris? I own that one, good one also! I know this might sound corny, but how old are you and where do you live, hehe?
Matt H (Bjarka) - Tuesday, 03/08/05 22:09:06 EST

Sword Steel: Dan: I think I know what the metal piece was you made the sword from. It sounds like a cross arm brace. Come on old timers, you've seen them. The diagonal metal braces that bolted to the wooden cross arms and ran down to the post on the old phone systems, before cables. About three to four feet long with a half inch hole in each end. I have a knife that my father helped me make 40 years ago out of one. It's tough steel with some carbon in it and holds an edge fairly well. The only problem is I can't remember how he tempered it. Some of you guys may have some experience with this steel if that is what it is.
- Larry - Tuesday, 03/08/05 22:30:33 EST

Howdy Matt: I just read your post. I live in Olean NY. 70 miles south of Buffalo NY along the pa border 12 miles from Case Cutlery. I am not sure how old I am...Grin. My body is worn out and feels like 90 and my mind is 16. My name is Brande. Like the drink but with an E. I am a Mr. & not a Mrs. I don't know why, but I never really tell anyone my age. I mean all this info to be of humor anyway. Thaks for asking.
burntforge - Tuesday, 03/08/05 23:20:33 EST

Sorry, i didnt come across clearly with my post, It was actually a stupid question, i really wasnt thinking at all when I asked it. For some reason I only thought i could make a round hole, my tang is square. O well, this gives me an chance to explain my theory on how round is an inferior shape compared to square, Round bar can spin in a square hole, square bar can spin in a round hole, round can spin in a round hole, but square cant spin in a square hole...heh, just a little of my meaningless philosophy. Im so smart. lol. Dont ask me about octagon or rectangle or any of the "fancy" shapes though.
- Dan Crabtree - Wednesday, 03/09/05 00:24:19 EST

" People do not get up and keep fighting when hit hard enough to explode through a door, they DIE." Now THAT'S funny. True too!

Yup, the Oliver Reed Musketeers is the truest to the book(s), well worth renting.
Gronk - Wednesday, 03/09/05 01:11:28 EST

Good Books.:: If anyone out there needs a good book to read, I picked this one up from Barnes and Noble a couple of years back. It's called Practical Blacksmithing and Metalworking(Second Edition) by Percy W. Blandford. This book has helped me out a lot and most basic info you'll need is in this book! Good luck to all,
Matt H (Bjarka) - Wednesday, 03/09/05 02:34:45 EST

PB&M by Blandford:
My favorite smithing book out of the four I have read. And before anyone starts about Weygers' "Complete Modern Blacksmith"... that book is not much of a book for a starter smith IMO, as it has almost no real smithing content in it as I recall. It seems like it would help the newbie smith figure out how to cobble things together, but I'd like to think that most people can do that themselves... or use this site to help them. :)
T. Gold - Wednesday, 03/09/05 05:11:49 EST

Books: Of the thirty or forty smithing books that I own, my favorite for beginners is "The Artist Blacksmith" by Peter Parkinson. Thorough explanations, good photos, great drawings. I did a review on it you read on the Book Reviews page.

It is available through Artisan Books, an Anvilfire advertiser.
vicopper - Wednesday, 03/09/05 10:27:26 EST

Matt, I'm 48 and live near Socorro NM, Married 20+ years and have two daughters---told one of their boyfriends he had to become king of all of middle earth before he could marry my daughter just recently...I work for NRAO as a bit herder and have been smithing since 1981 as I recall. The capital of Asyria was Nimrude and my favorite colour is...

Well I have never been much on Blanford's books cause it always seems to me that he just cobbled together other's people's stuff, lots of times it seemed to me I could recognize which other book it came from too.

I like Weygers and "the Modern Blacksmith" was a great book for beginners. The compilation is not as good as it waters down the beginners stuff with the other two books. I would have liked it better if they left out "The Making of Tools"; but I sure did like having the info on making your own custom triphammer dies in the last book.

I particularly like that he showed 10 or more steps to working a project all up and down the margins instead of a beginning middle end shot.

See if you can find the first volume seperate from the library and see how you like it.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/09/05 11:41:43 EST

Books & Western Blacksmithing:
Books in General:

There's darn few books on blacksmithing that didn't have something useful to say that I could take with me and use. Blandford is one of the few I didn't buy, because there's a nice copy in the local library. Most of the books are good, too, the second or third (or 12th) time around. To parphrase Moxon: life is so short and the art is so interesting!


I checked Ft. Laramie in Wyoming ( but despite what I remember, there seems to be no blacksmithing action there. I do know that Grant Kohrs Ranch in Montana (link below) has had a very active blacksmithing program in the past. Neither of these is very near Yellowstone, but out in your neck of the woods, nothing is too near anything, most of the time. Actually, you might want to check with the park (Yellowstone) to see if they use any horses on their patrols. If they do, SOMEBODY's shoeing the critters. There's a number of blacksmiths lurking about in the NPS; some employed in that capacity, and some for the fun of it.
Grant-Kohrs Ranch NHS
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 03/09/05 11:54:31 EST

Thank You very Much, Everyone!!: Please relize that I am laughing and grinning,(and crying),
while typing this.
Last night,my daughter,s boyfriend asked me what I was reading on the computer. Told him -- Anvilfire. A How-to about Blacksmithing. Making stuff,Lots of great stuff on making things for working with metal. Making tools, forge,door knockers,tomahawks,tools,kinves,axes,spears,(O no, My Big Mouth).
He asked, Hey Daddy, do they have any thing on making swords???
They have some information on that. I said.
Oh good-ee Daddy, Will you help me make a forge out back so I can make a Swoord this summer.
NOoooo,,,,thought I, but I said, "Mike,go to anvilfire and read all of it, everything about 20 or 30 times,than I"ll try to help you with building the forge. After that We"ll see about making other stuff. If you still want to.
Grin--Grin--Grin, Maybe I"ll get a new forge out of this. Her boyfriend has a habit of starting things, and forgetting about it half way thru. New Forge,no SWORD,OK.
Do you know what my frist thought was?
Ask PawPaw at Anvilfire. He knows all there is to know about making SWOOooords.
Paw Paw, I moved, I no longer live by the railroad tracks in Penn PA.
DanDskabveger - Wednesday, 03/09/05 12:11:57 EST

SWOOORD making: Dan, Be sure they read my Sword Making FAQ from the beginning. . . ;)
- guru - Wednesday, 03/09/05 12:49:40 EST

Books: I loved Parkinson's book too - worth the price for the photos alone.

Weygers books made a big impression on me. I loved his attitude. Scrounge EVERYTHING. He was a special guy IMO -
- adam - Wednesday, 03/09/05 12:58:33 EST

Blades and Movies:
When Disney did Pirates of the Caribean they dug DEEP in the back lot armouries. Many of the blades carried by the pirates had corrosion, rust and wear and tear, they were OLD. When you consider how long Hollywood has been making swashbuckler movies you KNOW there are some great treasure troves of craftsmanship dating from as early as the 1920's. Some is good, some is bad but it is all interesting. Most of the stuff used in Pirates was selected by someone with an eye for classy work.

On the other hand when they made the movie "Excalibur" they had a LOT of craftsfolk work on the movie making everything NEW from armour and blades to jewelry. It was quite a showcase for the artists. It was also the biggest collection of fantasy junk aluminium armour and blades I've seen in any one collection. Most of the plate armour was so light it just barely survived making the film. Mail was made of copper wire and coated with SOMETHING black that washed off with sweat exposing the copper. . .

We never had a sword making question from a teen age girl until "Kill Bill" came out. Had several in a month's period. Just goes to show you how these things effect people (children). Guys naturaly want to make sharp pointy objects and it doesn't take much inspiration. Girls on the other hand ARE different psychologically no matter what the PC police will have you try to believe. When given material and tools to shape it their first inclination is NOT to make a weapon. Meanwhile a 5 year old boy won't even wait to find the pointed end of a stick before he is playing sword fight, throwing it as a spear or using any bent stick as a gun.

Dan, forget the forge, you need a POWER HAMMER to make a sword! ;)
- guru - Wednesday, 03/09/05 13:22:04 EST

We've really enjoyed the DVDs from LOTR that covered making and *aging* the weapons and armour and costumes in those movies---think of the fun of having a dozen sets of clothes all aged exactly the same and then having the same clothes with more or less aging in multiple sets as well.

I did wonder what happened to all their craftspeople after LOTR was over---looked like they had hired nearly eveyone on the island!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/09/05 14:45:47 EST

Portable Powerhammer: Ive got a 2.5 lbs poor boy powerhammer that I keep in my sleve. Im trying to save up for an air hammer, but the way its going im going to be powerhammerless for a while. There was a special on the history channel about sword making, the smith mined his own iron, smelted it into steel. and just when you think this guy is all out traditional he fires up the gasser and smashes out a sword on a power hammer...
- Dan Crabtree - Wednesday, 03/09/05 14:46:07 EST

I've got another cowboy smith in the offing! Of course he is from Australia and is doing a post-doc in South Carolinia; met his brother here in NM doing astrophysics stuff at the NRAO. Tells me his brother had to leave all his metalworking stuff in Australia and is having withdrawl. If he contacts me I'm going to try to get him hooked up with some SC smiths and see if we can't drag him to quad-state; bring a little class to my campsite wit dem funny Axecents...

On the whole I don't judge folks by their age; but by their actions so I associate with folks from half my daughter's age to Paw Paw who remembers planting that bristlecone pine when doing a property survey back aways.

I must admit that I look for that "spark of divine madness" in folks I call friends; I guess they are generally looking for a straight jacket for me...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/09/05 17:56:33 EST

Alan Lait; just met a fellow whose brother in SC is hunting equipment---how could he get in touch with you?

Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/09/05 18:06:05 EST

LOTR: Off-topic here, but there was a LOTR exhibit recently at the Boston Museum of Science. They had one of just about every costume used in the movie. The attention to detail was amazing. Some of these creatures had no more than a second, if that, in the movie, but their costuming, arms, and armor were detailed down to the texturing of belt buckles.

They also had Aragorn's swooooord there and let people hold it! That was a long line (and, no, I declined to participate).

And on a side note, they had the "body" of Baromir in his funereal boat. I swear that was a real person in there. I even looked for breathing. He had crows feet, beard stubble, arm hair, ... The coloring was perfect. It was nothing like the wax museums. I do believe that they've reached perfection in that field.

- Marc - Wednesday, 03/09/05 18:21:46 EST


You've got an EVIL sense of humor! (grin)


Old is how people feel after I get done chewing their A$$!! Ask the apprentice who set the brush in the woods next to the shop on fire this afternoon! I had to call the VFD to put it out! And yes, the donation check is already written and will go in the mail tomorrow.

Paw Paw - Wednesday, 03/09/05 20:23:49 EST

LOTR: Personally I think its all a bit silly but I will bet money that 10 - 20 years from now we might hear young smiths telling us that they first got into smithing because of this movie. Another show that I really cant stand is Star Trek but I have met a number of physicists who tell me that they got interested in physics because it.

The reason you stay may not be the reason you came.

PawPaw I almost feel sorry for the poor fella. Donation check is a brilliant idea :)
adam - Wednesday, 03/09/05 20:36:28 EST

was the brush that much in the way? (evil Grin)
ptree - Wednesday, 03/09/05 21:33:25 EST

brush fire: Hi Paw Paw

Look at the upside of the brush fire. A new place to store some new old rusty stuff.

Unless you are like my friend and trying to hide 85 vintage tractors from his wife.

The brush fire may have then spoiled your hiding spot.
burntforge - Wednesday, 03/09/05 22:38:31 EST

Kalamazoo Living History Show.: OK folks, many of us here are kinda trapped in the past, or at least have a more than passing interest in it. On March 19 and 20, in Southwest Michigan, we have the Living History show. From the flyer: Pre-1890 original or reproduction living history supplies and related crafts. Search your attic, garage and basement. Bring in your pre-1890 weapons and accourtrements. Experts will be on hand to identify and value them for you.

The web site is

This is a really neat show. People in costumes from Indians and pilgrims to civil war to coyboys. Wares from all periods, cloth and leather and even BLACKSMITH made camp gear and whatnot. Bows and guns and even SWORDS for sale. Anyway, I really like it, have no personal gain from this, just thought I'd shaare it to anyone who would like to make the drive to this wonderful show.

Bob H - Wednesday, 03/09/05 22:44:16 EST

Brush Fire:
Adam, I've been a volunteer fireman, remember? Just for a few months at the end of my senior year in high school and a couple of months before I left for the Army.

PTree, Heck no, I don't even own the property! Though I do have an option on it.

BurntForge, Same response as to PTree. (grin)

Paw Paw - Wednesday, 03/09/05 22:44:57 EST

LOTR: Bladesmith: Well, Thomas, you did know that Peter Lyon was the bladesmith for the movies didn't you? I own the un cut version of the Two Towers and it's pretty cool. Although, I wish they would of spent more time on showing the swords in the making! I have to also say that I loved the Rohirim(I think) suits of armor. They remind me of my ancestry of Vikings. Yes, I am part Viking if you would call it...Norwegian/Sweedish...yadda yadda yadda. Why else would I be blonde and 6'6 ft tall?
Matt H - Thursday, 03/10/05 00:57:51 EST

Photos: Finally got around to posting some photos in the photo gallery.
- Jymm Hoffman - Thursday, 03/10/05 01:00:54 EST

To Dan Crabtree:: Did this smith on the history channel have long blonde hair? If so, I saw the same show! He made the sword blade in less than an hour I think.
Matt H - Thursday, 03/10/05 01:01:12 EST

hello: what are some good steels for patternwelding blades, and where are some good links for bar stock steel?
blake - Thursday, 03/10/05 02:46:13 EST

Murphy needs a black eye: MURPHY’S LAWS OF BLACKSMITHING

Spikes from a wire wheel will find the one and only gap in between your leather apron, clothing and your safety mask

Your fuel will run out at 9pm on Saturday night when the commission is due at the clients Monday at 8.30am

The last rivet in the smithy will slip from your tongs and do a three bounce and disappearing act just as you about to finish the six month railing job

Not one 8” piece in the scrap pile will work to finish the job at hand resulting in cutting it off a 20’ piece
Once that 8” piece is cut and you are putting back the rest a 12” section falls off the rack hitting you right in the shin

A client will appear from nowhere into the middle of your smithy the second you roundly “bless” the whole world when your tongs pinch you right in the web of your hand

The stone mason will have drilled the holes for the pintels in the wrong location when the client comes to see the last gate hung

The best time for the phone call that you have been waiting for is right as the last forge weld is happening on the small leaf and vine decorations for the wall screen….and you forget to shut off the air

Your metal supplier will never have what you need for any particular job …. But when you are just stocking the racks he has every dimension known

At demonstrations the number of witnesses in inversely proportional to the skill you demonstrate…. no one will be there to see you do something brilliant …. A live news crew from national news networks will be there to watch you screw up

At demonstrations everybody whose grandfather was a smith will offer the opinion that you are not doing the way they talked about it

At demonstrations the client you hoped to impress drops by just as you remove your foot from the slack tub where you placed it when you found where the last punch “biscuit” went

At demonstrations in re-enactments the “authenticity” police will show up just as you pull out your cordless to drill a 1/8’ hole instead of punching it

At demonstrations in re-enactments six out of ten teenagers will ask you to teach them to make “an ever sharp two handed claymore bastard sword that never rusts and weighs no more than two pounds and has a dragon basket hilt handle with a blood gutter and inset gold engraving” …..all for less than the price of a tent peg

At demonstrations in re-enactments the nastiest horse that you have ever seen casts a shoe right in front of your anvil …and you forgot ..a farriers hammer, shoe nails, and your rasp

Your best apprentice will quit and open up a smithy right across the street. And the un-trainable oaf that’s been with you for years won’t leave , he doesn’t even take vacation time

The one time you think you are going to make a good profit on a commission and nothing goes wrong …your mig welder will self destruct on the last weld

if you have any to add send them to me and I will add them and then post them in a printable form with graphics etc.

Mark P - Thursday, 03/10/05 10:10:10 EST

Wyoming: Lest we discount ironworking from the least populous state, I have met Steve Fontanini who has a forge near Jackson Hole and has a website: Steve does nice work and put out a color calendar a few years back featuring power hammers.

Another acquaintance is Ward Grossman. Ward's work has been featured in past News on Anvilfire. Ward is an eisenhäuer, one of the few persons who COLD CHISELS fabulous, sculptural forms. He's in Pinedale. Ward has a great sense of humor and is built like a brick house. Maybe he pumps iron as well as carving it.

Bruce and Others, About 10 years ago, I was demonstrating at the Montana State U Horseshoeing School in Bozeman. The instructor, Tom Wolfe, said that there was a complete blacksmith shop within the wilds of Yellowstone Park, accessible by horseback. He thought that it had not been used for years, and that the tools and websites* were left in situ for maybe 40 years. He suggested that sometime he would like to packtrip in and check it out again. I suggested it would be good to camcord and inventory all the tools and equipment before it was screwed up by unthinking folks.

Frank Turley - Thursday, 03/10/05 11:07:58 EST

call out: any bladesmiths out there!
- Andrew - Thursday, 03/10/05 12:04:41 EST

Mark P, you have a couple of mistakes there, one that sword they want must be 50 pounds! not the 2-3 pounds it should be... Also if it's a nasty horse shouldn't there be *no* excuse to avoid shoeing it?

How about "when using coal the wind direction will always change so that it blows in your face" "When using propane at a demo you will always forget the wrench to fasten the regulator with".

The people wearing only polyester clothing will always crowd inside the safety line just when you do a nice juicy weld.---I've started doing my welds from the far side of the anvil so I am between it and the crowd---it's my best side anyway...

You get your entire set up set up and then find you have left the blower to forge connection at home.

Thomas P - Thursday, 03/10/05 12:37:29 EST

Nope using only stamped out stainless blades with rattail tangs! Much more authentic for late 20 century, early 21st century blades!
Thomas P - Thursday, 03/10/05 12:38:29 EST

best anvil ??: For the money, what is the best "new" anvil offered today?

In the 175 lb and over class.

I have read about 5 different ones in Blacksmith Supply. Old World and Euroanvil. Thanks
vic bitter - Thursday, 03/10/05 13:17:40 EST

Stuff.: > You get your entire set up set up and then find you have left the blower to forge connection at home.

That's happened to me! And the connector was 350 miles away. Off to Lowes for a piece of flexible metal drier duct, a couple of big U bolts and a can of flat black spray paint!


There are as many answers to your question as there are blacksmiths.

If everybody preferred blondes, I'd have a lot easier time catching red heads. (grin)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 03/10/05 14:30:12 EST

LotR Armor, Kalamazoo Timeline & Yellowstone:

LotR and Faramir’s Boat:

I saw the exhibit in Boston, including the boat. There was absolutely NO information post on the boat! Who designed it, who built it, what it was built of…? Drove me nuts! Outside of that I liked the exhibit. I noted that they even took time to decorate the saddle stand. One of my friends, at a previous exhibit in Canada, noted that the elvish armor had the rivets in the BACK decorated with little, graceful flower patterns. Truly a labor of love; which made it a better movie. (…or would we rather the Ralph Bakshi version?)

The funniest moment came when I wondered aloud to another friend about the apparent uselessness of the Gondorian armor in the movie (“…some died badly, some died well, mostly they just died.” [paraphrasing HMS Ulysses by Alistair MacLean]). Her response was priceless: “That’s because they were the direct ancestors of the Imperial Stormtroopers!”


Unfortunately, I’ll be at the 40th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo in May, so I’ll only miss the reenactment time line by a month or so. Bummer!

Yellowstone; Frank: Maybe I should have one of our folks at Curatorial Resources check it out. These folks are big into context and preservation- if it's still there.

Lightly cloudy and cold on the banks of the Potomac. Looks like some snow might be moving in tonight and over part of the weekend. I’m off light duty, so it’s back to the forge tonight for some cold work on the GIC and the sleds.

Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone - Thursday, 03/10/05 14:50:02 EST

Mark P: You got a pretty good list started there. As for the wire wheel I can testify to that. I worked in a fab shop several years. We never wore aprons. Brushing down a bunch of stick welds to remove latent slag and B-B's. Suddenly had an urgent call to call to the rest room. When I got there my zipper wouldn't work. Thinking quick, I unbuckled my belt and slid my pants down. After finishing my job, I investigated the zipper. A brush wire had come off, penetrated the outer flap over the zipper, went through the zipper and lodged in the heavy denim behind the zipper. If I remember correctly, I had to use needle nose pliers to remove it, but the zipper worked fine then.
- Larry - Thursday, 03/10/05 16:03:21 EST

Paw Paw, it was only about 1.5 hour drive away---but the nearest open hardware store was also that same distance...

Wet denim don't ask why the smith's wearing cutoffs...

Very nice private rondevous grounds---even had their own cannon range!

Thomas P - Thursday, 03/10/05 16:38:03 EST

Best for the money? Avoid cheap ones they usually are not worth their cost.

Now if I had the $$$ combusting in great wads in my pocket I would go for a Nimba---probably not the toyota of anvils but rather a maseratti...

Thomas P - Thursday, 03/10/05 17:49:50 EST

Nimba: Hi Tom

The nimba is my dream anvil. I love the look and material it is made from. I like the big mass of metal in the center of the anvil. I called them the other day.

My wife would probably horn me to death with an anvil if I bought one. I showed her the Euroanvil online and she went balistic. I tried all the tricks you guys told me about to butter her up, so I could buy one. She does not think anything of buying one of those darn longaberger baskets, though. I have watched my wife pick up a 135 lbs anvil and move it around like it was nothing. I think she could hurt me if I snuck a Nimba home...(scare...grin)
burntforge - Thursday, 03/10/05 20:27:03 EST

Thomas P:
You're a braver man that I to attempt forge welding at a demo. Given my weld/failure ratio and adding the crowd distraction factor, I'm confident I'd end up looking like a metal-whacking putz. (grin)

eander4 - Thursday, 03/10/05 20:29:00 EST

Andrew: I guess im a bladesmith. Im a blacksmith, that makes blades... so im guessing thats a bladesmith.
- Dan Crabtree - Thursday, 03/10/05 20:57:09 EST

To Frank.: and to All.:: Thanks for the info about Steve and Ward, Frank. I knew about Steve from last year, when I was living in Bakersfield Ca, I posted to see if anyone knew any blacksmiths in the Yellowstone area, (or northwestern part of the state) and someone told me about him. For all I know, it could have been you who replied back to me? The only quick way for me to drive to Jackson is to go through the Park and it will then take about 3 hours, though, I'm not complaining about how far!!!

And the other thing is that I went to the land fill, and unearthed some treasure! Well, it was treasure for me. I found two pieces of angle iron, they are rusted, but I think I can still use them, after all metal is metal. I found some weird wheel looking thing, sort of looks like a quarter about 14 inches across with about six holes through it? Maybe it used to be off of a truck or used for a belt from a machine? Anyways, it has a bunch of ridges in it where a belt or chain possibly drove on?

The other stuff was cool too. I found a break drum that is 12" in diameter and 3 3/4" deep, I'm hoping that this will be a good starting forge or hearth! I also found 2 other pieces that I thought were break drums, they kind of look like rotors? I might have to post them in the yahoo groups folder of mine. Finally, my last piece of the pile is a part of a car's suspension I think. There are 3 pieces strapped together for suspension my guess. What are they? The piece is about 4 feet long and weighs about 50lbs or more. Any help would be nice, Thank you,
Matt H
Matt H - Thursday, 03/10/05 22:11:04 EST

Yellowstone....: And.......if everyone keeps talking about yellowstone, ya might as well stop by since I live in "Cody"....just 50 miles from the east entrance.....???????

Also, is it wrong to be 23 and to still live with your mama? :)
Matt H - Thursday, 03/10/05 22:24:05 EST

forgewelds and the public: It is always smart insurance to explain to the unwashed masses that you are still learning the art of welding. Give a SHORT talk on what forge welding is and how it is SUPPOSED to work.
Then do it. At least that is what I do IF I weld in public. Usually I do not as small children's eyes are just at teh correct level for the splatter. ANd standing with your back to the crowd is good, but I did see several folks being hit with molten flux who were several feet back from the rope AND on the other side from the crowd.
Ralph - Thursday, 03/10/05 22:36:46 EST

Hammer Making: Ok, I havent made a hammer for a while, and theres a good reason for it too. thats because it took me forever to get a hole in the dang thing. How do you put a hole in the hammers you make?
- Dan Crabtree - Thursday, 03/10/05 22:42:44 EST

also im using a 120# anvil, could that be a factor in making punching 2" round so hard?
- Dan Crabtree - Thursday, 03/10/05 22:43:38 EST

Best Anvils: I tried a Nimba Gladiator that was from an early batch. It was too soft and since I was not the original owner, they did not want to help with rehardening. They have since switched heat treat companies. I really liked the horns on it. One of my students bought it and loves it.
I also tried the Euro, 335 pounder. Murphy's Law hit, I got the only one Stephen ever had with a soft spot. Stephen sounded skeptical since it never happened before, but said "if your not happy, I'm not happy. Send it back." So I did and he too was surprised. I now have and use its replacement as my main anvil. I thought it would be cool to have a bigger one, but my legs get bruised as it is, let alone one that is 10 to 12 inches longer. (I always pull my equipment in as close as possible so I take less time getting the hot metal from the forge to whatever tool. Which sometimes means the anvil is close to the post vice and the forge clos to the anvil and one of the horns seems to like to poke me from time to time.) I really do like the 335 Euro, with 2 pritcle holes. At the price the price of old anvils, when you find one worth using,I think the Euro is the best deal in town for a larger, but not huge anvil. An all around good size.
If you want a less expensive anvil, not as big, I recommend the bulgarian pattern that Tom Clark sells. I have bout @ 90 pounder(I am not good with the weight of these) cost $210. I used it for about 9 months every day. It is a very useful tool. I plan to get 4 more for my teaching stations, I have 2 now. I also really like the shapes of the double horns on these and would recommend them if you are strapped for money.
- Jymm Hoffman - Thursday, 03/10/05 22:48:00 EST

Proof reading: Sorry, just got back from the shop, long day. It may read eaier if you have your favorite beverage while reading.
- Jymm Hoffman - Thursday, 03/10/05 22:50:44 EST

Anvil Stand: Let's see if I can do this any better after my shower..
I posted a photo (in the photo section) of my EuroAnvil on my variation of Tom Clark's stand. There is a hole below the large pritchel hole and a cut out under the hardie hole so I have to the floor for long pieces. As an after thought, I dececided to add a lip all the way around so I can have a place for punches, lubricant, etc for a particular job. I do not like too many tools around the anvil and this works really well for me. I also really like being able to stand closer by not having my feet bang into the stump...
I forgot to mention, my Euro has the shelf or third horn... I find this to be very handy. First time I made a fork with this anvil, I went right out on the shelf to clean up the tines. I use it for other things too...
I have a couple of other photos of it on the stand across the street.
- Jymm Hoffman - Thursday, 03/10/05 23:17:31 EST

hello to all: just a short note to all the Smiths Falls Duck is still flying from the the farm house ta da barn ruff . I'm just not chattin no more cuss o my bill problem ducks bills never change they get jammed shut sometimes. Like that grand Scotsman Mc Authur. I shall fly on the interweb soon maybe KEEP YER HAMMERS ON THE ANVIL AN YOUR STICKS ON THE ICE DUCK
- smiths fallsDuck - Thursday, 03/10/05 23:50:59 EST

To Mike Ferrara: Hey Mike, you said that you found a bunch of tools @ that foraker in or something? They sounded strong and cheap, the stuff I like! If you were to possibly go back to that place or somewhere similiar to it, would you possibly think of purchasing some and then sending me some after I send you a check? Just reply back to me if you get a chance, thanks
Matt H - Friday, 03/11/05 00:12:41 EST

Dan Crabtree-- I mark the outline of the hole with a punch and chop it out with precision using my oxy-acetylene torch, the way God in Her infinite wisdom intended me to when She gave us the O/A rig. We shall now hear a chorus of tsk-tsks and tut-tuts about how this ain't blacksmithing, etc.
Joaquin Murietta - Friday, 03/11/05 02:31:30 EST

swap shop: hey I have a little smithing swap shop i thought i might share
swap shop
- acscott - Friday, 03/11/05 02:56:50 EST

forge welding at a demo: lol I like that I forge in public 7 months out of the year
at least one day a week I often forget its a demo I genraly do better work defenitly forge welding with a crowd
but after five years of that you get used to it lol
- acscott - Friday, 03/11/05 03:03:44 EST

acsott, where do you do demos that you demonstrate so often? Im looking into doing some demos, maybe you have a few suggestiosn.
- Dan Crabtree - Friday, 03/11/05 03:17:42 EST

Dan making hammers, Joaquin "punching": Dan, 2" round is a sledge... pretty big. You can always use a 1/2" or larger drill bit and drift, instead of punching... haven't tried it but it seems like it ought to be easier.

Smiths have had O/A for a fair while (I think back to 1900 at least... earlier? Someone chime in!)... if you've got it, use it! :) Just like using a lathe for tenoning, or an electric drill instead of a bit n brace, etc.
T. Gold - Friday, 03/11/05 03:37:03 EST

Matt H

If I come accross anything else I'll grab it and let you know. There's a couple of other places around that I haven't benn to and the other guy still has at least a trailer full of stuff I didn't have time to look at. I left my number with him and told him the kind of stuff I'm interested in.
- Mike Ferrara - Friday, 03/11/05 08:21:32 EST

Dan/2" round: Most hand hammers are made out of square stock. It sits flat on the anvil and doesn't roll around. It's easier to find center, especially when back-punching. 1 1/2" to 1 5/8" square is typical stock size. You use a hammer-eye punch. Go in at least 2/3 of the way from the fore-punch side; turn over and back-punch. You hope the compressed burr will fall out. Locating where to back-punch is tricky. Rotate the piece slowly; try to use the punched side swelling (frog eye) as a guide. It the eye is crooked or way off to one side when you have finished punching, start over.
- Frank Turley - Friday, 03/11/05 10:51:54 EST

Dan/ post script: You'll need some tapered drifts to smooth and size the eye fron both sides.
Frank Turley - Friday, 03/11/05 10:54:19 EST

I often weld up pattern welded billets at demos---lots of people are interested in that sort of thing---"Folded Steel" LOL and it's so simple to do even with the bellows blown forge.

When I did it at the state fair they had a welding shield of plexiglass.

When I used to do it at the OSU Medieval Fair we had a rope and then back from the rope there was a wide sidewalk and we would put people off the far side of the sidewalk---and be very forcefull about that.

At SCA events I just tell folks to move back and they do. Telling them about getting holes burnt in expensive costumes helps I guess...

Thomas P - Friday, 03/11/05 12:06:06 EST

I have a reprint of John Jernberg's Forging, originaly published in 1918 and he has a few pictures of heating furnaces One company he mentions is "American Gas Furnace Company" Might be possible to find out when they started.
JimG - Friday, 03/11/05 12:09:12 EST

Hammers: While a 2 inch round might seem big, it all depends on how long the piece is. I have several hammers in progress all are from 2 inch stock ( some round and some square) but they are not a long piece. Each one is about 2 1/2 lbs.
Ralph - Friday, 03/11/05 13:07:54 EST

Hammers: I have used a slitting chisel and drilled 2 holes where the end of the chisel will be. Use a Vee block with a drill press. I usualy use about a 3/16 or so bit. Anything smaller tends to break on me just before goes through. If possible I like the stock I make hammers fom long enough that I can punch the eye without needing tongs to hold it. Last hammer head I made I made from square stock that had a 1/2or so hole in it already in a handy place for the eye and just used an eyepunch.
JimG - Friday, 03/11/05 13:33:43 EST

T. Gold-- Right on, but you'd be surprised at the purists'r reactions. One old coot I was dearly fond of before he went to that Tool Crib in the Sky walked into my shop one day, spotted the bottles and regulators and growled, "What's THAT doing in a blacksmith shop?!!"
Joaquin Murietta - Friday, 03/11/05 14:31:54 EST

anvil vs. wife: This is how you know you have lusted over a new anvil too much and bothered your wife too many times.

ie: I have something on the computer to show you would you come look? or Can I ask you a question?

The first firm response is: This is not about an anvil is it?
burntforge - Friday, 03/11/05 14:34:41 EST

torch: weren't blacksmiths the first craftsmen to use this device?
adam - Friday, 03/11/05 14:39:50 EST

Well, the first "torch" was the oil lamp and a blow pipe and pre-dated the iron age by 1000 years or more.

Welding was a basic smithing skill and the welder moved into the smithy pretty fast but producing compressed and purified gasses was a difficult task and so the torch probably started in research and industry. For fun research when electric welding was demonstrated and when acetylene was produced.

Thomas P - Friday, 03/11/05 16:25:30 EST

To Frank T.: and Mike F: Hey Frank, is your school all booked for this year, if not can you tell me when the best time to come out would be? This is the 3 week course, of course. Thank you

ALSO thanks for the information on that Mike!
Matt H - Friday, 03/11/05 21:59:37 EST

Matt H: The three remaining classes are open; first come, first served. The April class has 3 openings; the August class has 1 opening; the October class has 2 openings.

Been to Cody and visited the museum there.
Frank Turley - Friday, 03/11/05 22:08:37 EST

Matt H: The three remaining classes are open; first come, first served. The April class has 3 openings; the August class has 1 opening; the October class has 2 openings.

Been to Cody and visited the museum there.
Frank Turley - Friday, 03/11/05 22:08:38 EST

Matt H: The three remaining classes are open; first come, first served. The April class has 3 openings; the August class has 1 opening; the October class has 2 openings.

Been to Cody and visited the museum there.
Frank Turley - Friday, 03/11/05 22:08:38 EST

Sorry for the multiples: I banged on Enter button. Duh, hello.
Frank Turley - Friday, 03/11/05 22:10:37 EST

Need some tools: I'm a metalworker just as the rest of you are, however I make chain mail armor. I make the rings myself, however I need a tool for closing them off while I am putting the rings together. I also need a tool to cut the rings.

If anyone could help me out it would be greatly appreciated, I'll pay for your efforts.
Matthew Propst - Friday, 03/11/05 22:18:03 EST

Gas welding origins--Fusion welding with oxyhydrogen blowpipe was patented in 1838 by a Frenchman, in 1887 an Englishman burned holes in a steel plate, in 1890 a bankrobber put it to work robbing banks. In 1901 a belgian company marketed oxyhydrogen welding equiptment, and a Frenchman built an oxyacetylene blowpipe, in the next 5 years it developed rapidly in France, and was used by the US Navy in 1907. From AWS "Welding Journal-Volume 56-No 6" June 1977. This is a great article if You ever have a chance to read it. This is about the same timeframe that the founders of what is now Esab Welding Products developed coated electrodes for "Stick" welding. You could demonstrate 100 year old technology and few would realize it.
Dave Boyer - Friday, 03/11/05 23:11:36 EST

foreign tools: I never thought of this till now. I was showing my Father different brands of anvils I was considering purchasing.

He got a little upset when I showed him the German brand and Czech brands.

Then it dawned on me. The company he has worked at for many decade was purchased by a German company and then another one. They are splitting everything up and selling it off piece by piece. The final pieces are being sold to China. The last few years have been horrible since this German company expoits the employees and took everything away from them.

What I am driving at is he had a point not to buy any foreign made Anvils from a former communist country or a German company. I never thought of that till today. You know they took the food right off our table big time.

I decided to do our country and myself a favor and buy an American made anvil.

Just my opinion and no shot at offending anyone.
coalbucketfullofsulfur - Friday, 03/11/05 23:35:51 EST

new Anvils: I bought a new Gladiator from Russell Jaqua at the Nimba Forge in September 1998. I picked it up at his shop in Port Townsend, Wa. and took it home to Arizona in the back of my minivan. For those of you who don't know, it is a 450 lb. anvil. I have nothing but good things to say about it.
- Loren T. - Saturday, 03/12/05 00:02:47 EST

anvil value: I came across an Arm & Hammer anvil recently at a restaurant being used as part of the decor. I don't think it has ever been used. The face is smooth and undented as is the horn. No radius has been ground on the edges. It has a couple of dents on the cutting table. It probably weighs around 100lbs. Any idea on the value? I would like to buy it for a collectors item. Thanks.
- Robert Dean - Saturday, 03/12/05 00:39:06 EST

anvils etc: coalbucket,
I am curious as to why being a former communist country has any bearing at all on this?
I just got back form visiting the Czech Rep this week. ANd I can tell you that I have never found a more enthusiastic and enterprising people.
Almost since its inception the people of Prague were very wealthy and prosperous. In fact in the 1350's Prague was the 3rd most influention and wealthy city in Europe. Following only Constantinople(#1) and Rome(#2). This prosparity lasted till WWII. SO what I am saying is that they have MANY more years of a capitalistic society than communist.

I do try to buy USA made but when our companies start loosing quailty and lowering standards, while NOT lowering prices why stay with them. I do know that NIMBA anvils are very good. ANd for me the price is not that bad as I am close enought to drive up and pick it up. BUt currently I am not seriously in the marketfor a new anvil.

NOw last, name one AMerican company that does not exploit its employees?
Ralph - Saturday, 03/12/05 01:32:34 EST

Massey spring hammer: I've recently bought a B&S Massey spring hammer 1cwt. It needs a little attention to get it up and going again, but is 100% complete. I'm trying to find out a bit more info on it, like the rpm for the driving wheel, when the machine was made, or anything else of interest that you may be able to offer. Many thanks
- Neil McKenzie - Saturday, 03/12/05 04:49:06 EST

To Frank.:: Ok, now I have one more question. What do you think would be more cost effective, to fly out to Sante Fe and stay the 3 weeks or to take my tahoe and drive out from Cody? I know that Mapquest sais that it is about a 14 1/2 hour drive from Cody. If I can get a plane ticket for about $2-300 I'd be in the good since I think staying for 21 days times $35 is about $735 I think, not including room and board. Jeez it might be a little expensive? Thanks for your help Frank! :)
Matt H - Saturday, 03/12/05 05:10:02 EST

American Made: Ralf

please refer to my last statement. I was stating an opinion. I am not looking to be argumentative as your comments to me suggest.
The previous coomunist country: I am sure their are many wonderful people. There industrious enthusiasm directed toward direct competion with the USA using our technology is taking food from our tables. Me personally three different times. I think we should put tarrifs on items they import into the US. Make there anvils cost as much as the US made ones and then see what Blacksmiths buy.

I agree that all companies exploit its workers in some way. Keep in mind we are a true capitalistic society and are not a true democracy. If we did it right we would be a democratic socialist economy. then non of the above would matter. Anyway I am staying off the political topics period.

Since experiencing being exploited working without breaks, safe conditions, clean conditions, without pay, loss of vacation time and pension. I would definetly rate the German countries as going a bite beyond the typicall exploits of the Us owned corps. Again for Ralf an opinion...not looking to debate with you. It appears you were looking to start one.

I made a clear subjective statement.
You can make a contrary one...just next time don't direct to me as you were looking for a fight. I have no time for that.

In the future I will have no opinion as some can not pass the kid factor here.
- coalbucketfullofsulfur - Saturday, 03/12/05 09:00:22 EST

Your last gratitus statement was not called for.

To all.

The political subject is now closed!
Paw Paw - Saturday, 03/12/05 09:23:37 EST

Politics: Heck, I come here to escape politics, and enjoy the (relatively) relaxed atmosphere.
AK_ID - Saturday, 03/12/05 09:34:55 EST

Matt H: I'm going to take this subject to email.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 03/12/05 09:56:30 EST

Matt H: My email to you bounced. Please try my email address. Thanks.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 03/12/05 10:35:17 EST

statement: Sorry_ Paw Paw

I learned the above statment from reading posts on this very site.

Guys I made a general subjective thought in my original statement. I clearly stated I mean no offense. I never include names in any staments. Ralf wanted to pick a fight and stated to me directly. I just have no interest in one. I just simply responded.

It is obvious a boys club and I will not post here again.
As an opinion can only be in agrrement with the masses. Bye

- coalbucketfullofsulfur - Saturday, 03/12/05 10:40:27 EST

Mind you shut the door on your way out.
adam - Saturday, 03/12/05 10:46:38 EST

POSTS: Good Morning everyone!!
I just read all the posts. I usually don't defend anyone and stay clear from this stuff. The above coal person just stated some thoughts and everyone here is freaking out. Everyone take a deep breath. This is a forum for doing that. I see no bad language. People have a right to say what they feel. When you attack people be ready to get attacked back. Think about that a bit...ok guys and gals. All have fun and happy forging. :)
burntforge - Saturday, 03/12/05 10:50:04 EST

Huh?: I don't get it. I see nothing inflamatory in Ralph's post. Just presenting a different view of the subject from his perspective. Ain't that what this is all about? I do know, that it is hard to read between the lines and know the tone something was said in, which means we should all just take it easy and not be so easily riled.

Off to my parents to put in a grab bar in the shower. The sap ran just a bit yesterday, and I found a couple more maples to tap. Should be warming up more at the start of the week.

Our blacksmith group, MABA, now tries to have a theme for iron in the hat. This next meeting it is forks. That way there are plenty of examples of how to make an item. I better get my fire lit, and make my fork. Just gave my neighbor a meat turner yesterday. Of course, I have been eying the maples in her yard. :}
Bob H - Saturday, 03/12/05 11:39:30 EST

No! The only person who freaked out was coalbucket. Ralph politely disagreed with his opinion and bucket flew off the handle and responded with insults. IMO Ralph's comment was a lot milder than bucket deserved. This is an international forum. Smiths from all over the world are supposed to be welcome here . How would a Czech or German smith feel reading that xenophobic rant?
adam - Saturday, 03/12/05 11:41:19 EST

Off the politics ...: Dere Sirz,
I wached a movie with lots uf kool sords in it. Plees tell me how to becom a sordsmith. Also, can i make a suit of armour in time for my hi skool prom?
AK_ID - Saturday, 03/12/05 13:16:03 EST

yes, use Duct tape over thin plywood for the soord, and wrap in aluminum foil for armor.
ptree - Saturday, 03/12/05 13:38:36 EST

Afternoon: Howdy Folks
You're right Adam. BobH is right. I think we all could have a bad day or could state things as how we don't intend to come accross. Adam as I was just trying to keep everyone calm. I don't want anyone mad at me. I really was not taking any sides...probably being a simple country boy I did not word things right in my message trying to cool a possible explosion. Thats all. Coal probably didn't mean any harm either. See I typed my last post wrong. Again not taking sides. I am off to look at the shop. I will probably torch the ice off the anvil. Burrr it is a cold one today. I can't get the shop with the wood stove and forge much beyond 50 degrees...after several hours. I can pre heat the anvil and it chills fast. Sucks the heat out of everything. Might as well work the iron cold. I am ready to move down south with some of you fellers. I am just wondering. Do any of you have to use an air conditioner in your shops to stay hot instead of scalding in the summer months? Have a good day all.

- burntforge - Saturday, 03/12/05 13:59:31 EST

I may have an oppertunity to make a 15' tall metal sculpture for a client in Scottsdale, AZ. The piece will be in a lobby of an office building. As I am a one man shop, I'll need some help installing. Do any of you know of anybody in that area with experience that I could subcontract to help out?
- Jeff G - Saturday, 03/12/05 14:58:13 EST

burnt & All, I was a presenter at Joe Evins Appalachian Craft Center in 1984, and the shop was AIR CONDITIONED... the only one I've ever been in.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 03/12/05 15:15:28 EST

Burntforge,: Well, I live in the Caribbean, where it is a balmy 85ºF right now with the humidity at a pleasant 50%. If I go out to the shop and get to whacking iron, I'm going to sweat like a pig. Of course, this is our winter season, so it hasn't really gotten up to full on warm yet. (grin)

I've thought of air conditioning the shop, but then I think of the electric bill and decide that sweating is really, really good for me.

Interestingly, I don't notice that much difference in comfort level in the shop whether the temp is in the 60's or the 80's. When the forge is running full blast and I'm whaling away on a piece of 1" bar, hot is hot. My shop does have big windows on all sides, and a couple of hefty fans that keep the air moving, which helps some. But you gotta learn to love sweating!
vicopper - Saturday, 03/12/05 15:55:11 EST

Jeff G.: I don't know any smiths in that area, but you might check out Christie Sign Company for any outside crane or welding work you need. Dane Christie is a pretty good guy who didn't used to be averse to trying the occasional oddball job. It's been fifteen years or so since I was in that area, but I'd imagine he's still around.

Of course, Ellen lives in the Phoenix general area and probably knows some folks, as would Amy Pieh of Pieh Tool Company. Pieh Tool is around Sedona, but I'd bet Amy knows most of the smiths in the Valley. Pieh tool is listed on the Adveritisers index on the pull-down menu.
vicopper - Saturday, 03/12/05 16:01:29 EST

vicopper;: I think I've seen Ellen on here, I just started visiting this site recently. If I can get hold of her I'll ask. Meantime I'll try Pieh. Thanks
Jeff G - Saturday, 03/12/05 17:13:18 EST

Jeff G.: Bill Callaway has been smithing in Phoenix for quite a while, and he may have some contacts and/or ideas.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 03/12/05 18:41:09 EST

AZ smith and freebies: SMITH: There was a smith in Patagonia, AZ maybe 10 years ago, unknow his name. Did museum-quality wagon and buggy restorations. If I can find name in my haha orifice, I will post. FREEBIES near Santa Fe: I have yours for the taking a pair of shop-size hearths, no blowers or fire pots, and a riveting forge, no blower, all on stands, lots of RR track, lots of leaf springs, coil springs, a few junk oxygen & inert gas tanks, scads of pipe and conduit, lots of odds and ends of drop, mostly odds. After 31 years, it's gotta go. Interested? Post your true E-mail address and I will contact you.
Joaquin Murietta - Saturday, 03/12/05 21:35:15 EST

SANTA FE DEALS: BEST DEAL I ever got was in THE CITY DIFFERENT, My bride of 42+ years.Grin I would be intrested for sure.
- sandpile - Saturday, 03/12/05 22:40:37 EST

Smith in SCOTTSDALE: RICH HALE member here of CSI.. He lives within a couple of rock throws of SCOTTSDALE. If you can get hold of him.

- sandpile - Saturday, 03/12/05 22:44:56 EST

Blacksmith in Patagonia: His name is Doug Thayer. I visited him several years ago. His shop is in an old adobe building 1 block off the main drag with the sign "Lopez Pool Hall" on the front. At one time he had 6 smiths working for him. He built the Budweiser wagons that are pulled by the clydsdales. He still has all the equipment, but does only appraisal work and also teaches wagon restoration.
- Loren T. - Saturday, 03/12/05 23:02:19 EST

AC: With a sweltering fab shop and two employees I put air conditioning in the shop about ten years ago. Productivity paid for the cost in no time. In the last year I downsized to a few part time workers but I'll adnit to running the AC and the forge at the same time a few days last summer. Call me a whimp if you have to!
SGensh - Saturday, 03/12/05 23:45:19 EST

Patagonia semi-quasi retired smith: We'll get it right eventually. Doug Thaemert is the man. He lived in Taos years ago where he ran a Western clothing store. Doug and some of his former workers have gone through my school...a looooong time ago.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 03/13/05 01:26:41 EST

no need to 'post' real email addys. You should be able to click on the persons name and get connected to the correct email. Was done this way to hinder or stop email harvestors
Ralph - Sunday, 03/13/05 01:42:16 EST

Joaquin Murietta: Joaquin you have everything that I need desperately, but UNFORTUNATELY I live 14 hours away and I don't have enough room in my chevy to come down and pick it up! What really chaps my arse is that when you know when there is a gold mine on the other side of the fence but you can't get to it (like my situation) it sure makes things difficult! Maybe the Blacksmithing Fairy will bless me this month, or week?
Now I'm wishing I had a week to come down and pick up some good ol' metal!!!
Matt H - Sunday, 03/13/05 03:11:15 EST

Dropped in twice in a row, hammer heads:
It's not about where. It's about greed and the desire for power and money. The desire for power (over others) and money (derived from the labor of others, not your own) is what causes the problems. And we now celebrate it and call them MBA's. Heck, we have popular television shows about it.

Capitalism is not the problem. There are companies whose purpose is to make a good product, sell it at a fair price, and help their employees put food on the table.

ALL countries have people with the same problems just as ALL countries have some of the best people you will meet. Human nature, both good and bad, applies everywhere. Travel a bit and you will learn this. Some countries DO have a higher percentage of MBA type activity though.

The greed can also come from the workers demanding unsupportable wages and protection from discipline for doing poor work.

Treat the cause, not the symptom.

The majority has power to change it ONLY through the vote. Use it wisely and use it! And make sure your elected representatives KNOW how you EXPECT them to vote. If you do not, you are destined to be one who gets food taken off the table and help it be taken off the table of others. The takers will always be there. Only the non takers can stop the takers. History dictates we do not do it until the takers have banded together to take a lot. Learn from history.

The only respectful way to get "ahead" is though personal effort and superior knowledge.

Both Coal's and Ralph's initial posts sounded fine. It's when "pride in opinion" took over that it got ugly.

I've dropped in twice in a row to find quarrel.

I had typed argument. Which I had spelled incorrectly as arguement. And when I looked up argument, I found that by definition, it is not bad. The last definition of argument was quarrel. So I learned something out of it anyway. Thanks! grin. I think.

Making the hole in a hammerhead by punching and drifting is hard work. Drilling and drifting is easier. Drifts are easy to make. The first time is worst. But when you punch and drift and get it right, it is very satisfying!

Use the oxy/fuel torch or hydraulic press after that. grin.
- Parachute - Sunday, 03/13/05 08:54:52 EST

On line smithery book: My son informed me of a community of free book developers, and they have out one book called "Down and Dirty Blacksmithing", directed toward the beginning hobbyist.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 03/13/05 10:59:06 EST

Good Message!

And I like your name. (grin)
Paw Paw - Sunday, 03/13/05 11:47:35 EST

looking for light weight replica/toy anvil: I am searching for a life-sized, light weight replica of an anvil. Would anyone out there know of a source for something like this?
Carol Rea - Sunday, 03/13/05 12:38:59 EST

anvil replica: the original email address isn't responding correctly. If you have any hot leads on where to purchase toy/ replica anvil please contact me at or Thanks!
Carol Rea - Sunday, 03/13/05 12:46:34 EST

anvil replica: the default email for original request is not pulling up correct email address- if you have info that can help me locate a replica/ toy anvil please respond to or Thanks!
Carol Rea - Sunday, 03/13/05 12:49:51 EST

Ralph-- Thanks for the info. Don't bet on it. Matt-- I know the feeling. But: fret not. This stuff is not unique enough to be worth driving 14 hours for. Any scrap yard or county landfill or transfer station has tons of the same materiel. The hearths are a somewhat different matter, but you could make better ones out of scrap in less time than it would take to get here and back.
Joaquin Murietta - Sunday, 03/13/05 13:36:02 EST

blowing off steam: I have been in contact with several different anvil dealers to buy a particular types of anvils. Why do most dealers want to ship an anvil to me in a near by state or ciy four hours round trip or so? I have a Conway terminal two miles from my shop. I live in a snowy area with lots of snow belt regions and lake affect snow. I don't want to drop a load of cash on a new anvil,then freight charges and drive to a city a great distance away through a bad area to pick it up. I have done this for used anvils but a new one?? I know they get certain discounts with ceratin freight services, but come on. If I am willing to pay the freight they should drive it to my shop door. I have had a couple of anvil suppliers who are wonderful and do offer great service in shipping an anvil to a terminal in my city. The anvils I really want I have to mess around. I could see if it were a custom boat or camper. An anvil?? Anyway I am just blowing off some steam. It is looking like my old Hay Budden will be staying in my shop. I also have a freight account and always have worked it out with people. Just frustrated and speaking out loud. I hope no one minds as I mean no harm.
burntforge - Sunday, 03/13/05 17:08:11 EST

Burntforge: That kind of complaint is perfectly acceptable. We all need to blow off steam about this kind of thing. But we also need to tell the suppliers WHY we won't buy from them. If enough of us do it, MAYBE they'll get the word.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 03/13/05 18:55:27 EST

Thank You Paw Paw
I took your advice and wrote a really nice email to one supplier just to explain my thoughts on not being able to ship to me. It was very nice as the supplier is probably very nice also. I am empathetic to there shipping problems. It is just difficult when you spend tons of time researching an item like an anvil and then set your heart on a certain type and can't get it shipped to you even if you are willing to pay for the shipping. I am sure it is as frustrating for the suppliers as they would be able to sell more product also if they had multiple freight carriers.
burntforge - Sunday, 03/13/05 20:53:55 EST

A wonderful day in the shop. Built a wheelbarrow type stand for my abrasive blast cabinet in the morning, and spent the afternoon along with my 15 year old introducing a father/son from the boy scout troop my son is in to blacksmithing. Made little patch knives from coil spring stock. Two new addicts!
Was 45F at lunch, and snowing hard at 5:00! I can't wait till May.
ptree - Sunday, 03/13/05 20:55:25 EST

I had a good day in the shop today, too. Got all of the roller conveyor track cut to length to make my steel cutting station. The two steel shelters are supposed to go up tomorrow and Tuesday.

I'll get the shop finished yet, durnit!
Paw Paw - Sunday, 03/13/05 21:04:03 EST

Burntforge: Sorry, didn't mean to skip your message, I'm about beat tonight.

I'm sure it's frustrating for the sales personnel, at least! (grin) Good for you on writing to the supplier.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 03/13/05 21:06:03 EST

Ptree, Burntforge, Paw Paw:: I guess I had a good week too :) I called two fellow blacksmiths up in my vicinity and they both agreed to show me the ropes of some techniques. One guy, Jeff Mcmanus about an hours drive from me said that he actually wanted me to come to one of his frontier/shows and work with him! Just being around another blacksmith who's interested in the work I am makes me feel good! Later all,
Matt H - Sunday, 03/13/05 22:07:45 EST

Freight: Burntforge, Does the carrier you have an acount with service the area where your anvil would come from? Why not arrange for them to pick it up rather than letting the vendor do it with their shipper? Of course you'll want to get a firm quote from your carrier before you do this but if it's a reasonable number and you set up the shipment your discount should apply. I 've made the mistake of letting the supplier send something by my preferred carrier and have not gotten my discount because they arranged the shipment. Set it up yourself if you can.
SGensh - Sunday, 03/13/05 22:39:43 EST

Hey, guys-- tomorrow, I just discovered, is Pi Day. (You remember Pi, right? That sequence of numbers Jody Foster heard when she was working at the Very Large Array where Thomas P. is this very minute, listening for that string of numbers from outer space representing the ratio of circumference to diameter that we mere earthlings use every time we calculate the stock we need to make a round chandelier. C= D times 3.1415926535897932384626433 etc.) It is also Einstein's birthday. Let's hear it for Pi, Jody, Thomas and Al!!
Joaquin Murietta - Sunday, 03/13/05 22:44:05 EST

Sheet Steel.:: Just on Friday I went to a business here in my home town and talked with the owners for about 30 minutes or so and they told me that anytime I wanted to I could grab as much scrap sheets of steel out of their bin! So I did and I will continue to, but my question is this: The steel sheets are only about 30x15 inches and about 1/8 in thick, some as much as 1/2 in thick (I think). Will these sheets of steel be useful when making things? They also said that steel is expensive at this time? Thank you and good luck!
Matt H - Sunday, 03/13/05 22:46:32 EST

Alan Lait!: Please contact me re: the blacksmith shop and tools for sale in Pigeon Forge, TN. I'm in the next county over and in bad need of an anvil... Thanks!

- PredatorGuy - Sunday, 03/13/05 22:50:42 EST

Paw Paw:

Thanks, we try!
- Parachute - Sunday, 03/13/05 23:35:14 EST

Robert: Is it a Vulcan anvil with the arm and hammer logo sticking out of the anvil or is it an Arm and Hammer anvil with the logo punched into the side of the anvil? Makes a big difference! Vulcans are cast iron bodies with a steel face---but not as well done as the Fishers IMNSHO. My Arm and Hammer is a wrought iron body with a tool steel face, rings a bit loud too---great demo anvil as it calls them in.

Matt That is good for a lot of stuff, not good for other stuff. I would stock up on a bunch---esp the heavier thicknesses to have it ready for later.

The 1/2" stuff would be good for making a fire pot, covering a work bench putting under a post vise leg, etc.

The thin stuff is great for doing chisel work on, light duty hinges, ladels, etc.

Don't forget to pass on the luck you had to others as well!

Out here it's dry enough that if you are in the shade it's not so bad. I may put in an evaporative cooler and run a flexible duct to my major work stations but so far just opening up the two 10'x10' roll up doors on opposite ends of the shop had worked well.

Yesterday and today was shorts and a T shirt weather in Socorro, still snow on the mountains and we had a bit of hail/rain and wind up at the VLA---Joaquin---you would not believe what the stars are saying about you, such language too!

Thomas P - Sunday, 03/13/05 23:50:50 EST

MattH--new metals and scrap prices are high right now, Free is always good, usefull depends on what You want to make & what equiptment You have. If You can make some trinket for the owners, it may help keep the scrap bin available to You.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 03/14/05 00:07:27 EST

Matt H.: Grab all you can get! I had to get rid of most of my "scrap" pile when I moved and it's costing me a fortune buying new steel. Dave's comment about making some kind of trinket for the owners is right on the money, but don't forget to make something for the guys in the shop as well. Doesn't have to be big or fancy, just something that will say "Thank you".
Paw Paw - Monday, 03/14/05 07:49:20 EST

more junk: Stopped in another junk/antique shop yesterday. The sign said they were supposed to be open but nobody was around. We took a walk around the yar anyway and I foung 3 post vices in a pile. All the pieces were there but one had bent jaws (didn't come close to lining up) and the other two were frozed solid (with rust I suppose). It's a darned shame that they let stuff like that sit out to rust. I also found a hand crank blower that seemed to be in working condition although the handle was missing...which I don't think should be a problem for a blacksmith. LOL

there was a coal forge next to it with a rectangular pot like the one centaur sells which may be useable but the hearth and hood are junk.

If I can get hold of them when they're open I'd probably offer scrap prices for the stuff and haul it home to see what I can salvage.
Mike Ferrara - Monday, 03/14/05 12:55:51 EST

Matt H.:
I agree with Pawpaw! Arrrrrrrgh, I'd seriously consider maiming for access to that kind of scrap pile. Just yesterday I was wracking my brain trying to think of where I could find some 1/2" plate... Argh! Oh well, hope you have fun with it (Grin).
- T. Gold - Monday, 03/14/05 14:09:10 EST

I live in British Columbia, Canada, and am looking for someone who could give me any information whatsoever that would help me get started in Blacksmithing as a career. Any help would be much appreciated, thanx.
Brendan - Monday, 03/14/05 15:46:31 EST

JUST A TIP: I found the best scrap yard by asking a guy at Praxair. They supply torch cutting supplies and gasses. Those scrap guys go through a huge amount of gas, so they'll have a good relationship with their supplier. The place I found is owned by a couple of brothers who don't advertise and don't even have a phone. Anyway, they have everything. Just a tip.
- Mike H. - Monday, 03/14/05 16:34:44 EST

Where in BC columbia are you Brendan?
There is a fairly active group on Vancouver Island VIBA.
Kooteny forge in the Kootenys(sp)Look in the Vancouver yellow pages for blacksmith
JimG - Monday, 03/14/05 19:18:19 EST

Carol Rea:
An email has been sent your way, but in case you check here first (and for everyone else's amusement), here's a link to a site with a replica anvil.

eander4 - Monday, 03/14/05 23:50:24 EST

Hammer Handles and hands.: first off, Wow.... the price of plastic anvils is about $25 a pound.... and we thought that $2 a pound was bad, haha. It must smell trying to forge on that...

Anyways, How do you attach your hammer handles, I cant seem to go but a week or two before my hammer handle breaks up at the head. I just keep reshaping the handle to fit the head and keep using that handle till its down to a nub.

Also, how do you clean your hands after playing around in the coal pile all day? This is something I HOPE everyone does after smithing. I ussally use the automotive hand cleaner stuff. Its like that goop hand cleaner. I just want to get some differnt opinions on this. We all might just learn something, haha.
- Dan Crabtree - Tuesday, 03/15/05 02:41:20 EST

Dan, I think you are either hitting the handle on the anvil, or using crummy handles. I have maybe 40 hammers in the shop, of all kinds, and in the last 10 years I have replaced maybe 3 handles. My main smithing hammers, 4 peddinghaus hammers of various weights, have never needed new handles. We did burn the handle of a small peddinghaus hammer we used for hot working sheet metal, and I bit the bullet and bought a new peddinghaus handle from centaur- yeah, it cost more, but it has lasted another 5 years since.
I wear gloves a lot in the shop. Keeps my hands cleaner, and less cut up. I take em on and off all the time, of course, but for many things I do wear them, and it makes a big difference in how often I get to touch members of the opposite sex. I have a big gallon size dispenser of goop, as well, in that sexy orange flavor.
ries - Tuesday, 03/15/05 04:30:22 EST

Hammer Handles: Dan, a properly fitted and set handle, made of good hickory, shouldn't break up at all under normal use. If the head isn't set properly, then it can wobble and that will break up the fibers of the wood, weakening it.

A handle that has been properly shaped to really FIT the eye of the head, and carefully made so that the grain is properly oriented, is a very durable. I set mine using epoxy and two wedges, since I get some extremes of humidity here in the tropics.

The first wedge is wood, running the long ways on the hole, and the secondis steel, running across the hole. It is important that the handle have the slot for the first wedge sawed, not just split. I use a fine tenon saw to cut down about 3/4 of the depth of the hammer head, and then make a wedge of the right taper and thickness out of scrap hardwood. Goop up the hole with epozy, shove the head on, seat snutgly against the shoulder (but not so hard you crush wood fibers), and the drive in the wood wedge. If the Handle eye is shaped just right, that should be all the wedging you need. If things aren't just right, then I make a steel wedge and drive it in at right angle to the wooden wedge. The steel wedge should be only half the depth of the hole.

Once I have put a new, high-quality handle on a hammer, that is it unless some catastrophe befalls it. I have never had one loosen or break under regular blacksmithing use.
vicopper - Tuesday, 03/15/05 06:41:04 EST

wooden handles: I like to take them down to bare wood and make them fit my hand and make them fit the eye snugly. I use rasps, disc sanders, and belt sanders for the rough work, and finish by steel or glass scraping. I give the haft a soak/rub with a mixture of half linseed oil and half turpentine before putting it in the head. It should fit snugly and if any wood should begin to peel away as you apply the handle, cut it off as you go with a sharp pen knife...repeatedly, if necessary. Wedge as already described. I have made many steel wedges on the anvil.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 03/15/05 08:35:41 EST

hammer handles: I've replaced a lot of them-You know roughnecks, if they don't want to use a tool they break it!Anyway, Most will have one side of the eye bigger than the other.The larger one is the one for the wedge. On small hammers I get the head started and use another hammer to drive the handle in. I hold the hammer upside down off the ground, and hammer till it seats good.On sledges,12-20 lbs. I get the head started and then bounce the handle off the floor till it bounces solid then wedge. Another little trick I learned is to trim the wood wedge so it will fit through the eye,start it in the handle before you put the head on.Hope this helps,jimmy.
- jimmy - Tuesday, 03/15/05 11:09:33 EST

Goop's good, but I found my sink drain clogged to a standstill after using it for a while. Lava's what I am using. Best ever was Anco, came in a big yellow box, but seems to have gone the way of Babo and Dr. Lyon's tooth powder. Alas.
Joaquin Murietta - Tuesday, 03/15/05 11:47:11 EST

Hand Cleaning: I'
ve found that the stuff that works the best and does the least damage to my hide is, interestingly enough, WD-40. After a washing with th eWD-40, I finish up with dishwashing detergent and everything is tidy again and no complaints from the better half.
vicopper - Tuesday, 03/15/05 11:59:17 EST

Hammer Handles: Does anyone have a good way to get a round wedge out of a hammer without ruining the handle? I just picked up a new 3# forging hammer, and the dam thing has a round wedge in it. It's been in use for less than a week, and the head is already a bit loose.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 03/15/05 12:00:17 EST

round wedges: Needlenose pliers? Better yet needlenose vice grips.
Ralph - Tuesday, 03/15/05 13:07:05 EST

WD40: vic', does it work well for the nails (WD40) also? that is the main reason why i wear gloves; to keep my fingers and nails free from dirt. i wish my occupation did not "require" clean hands..
- rugg - Tuesday, 03/15/05 13:25:50 EST

hand cleansers: I developed a very bad case of dermatitis which cleansers like Goop only aggravated. It was quite a struggle to get rid of that problem. Now, I only use Dove soap (dermatologist recommended) with a scrubbing brush and a pumice stone. I use Goop only occaisonally when working on cars.
adam - Tuesday, 03/15/05 13:43:05 EST

hammer wedge removal: I have 3 tricks and I try them in this order:

a. use an OA torch with a small flame to heat the surface of the wedge - when it gets hot it will start to char the wood deep inside and this will make it lift out and loosen enough you can pull it out with pliers - it will char the end of the handle of course but if you are quick this will be only superficial

b. weld on a bolt or something that can be gripped in a vice - THEN heat the bolt to cherry red and let the heat flow into the wedge. You should be able to pull the wedge by gripping the bolt in vice.

c. A custom drift the exact size and shape of the hammer eye will drive the handle out without driving the wedge in further. I have not tried this on a tapered eye.

adam - Tuesday, 03/15/05 13:49:32 EST

WD-40: I briefly read about the use of cleaning hands with WD-40 in above posts. I also want to mentioned I worked at a place where I had my hands in two vats full of WD-40 8hrs a day. I noticed it would eat through nitrial gloves in an hour and a few hours gloves made for acetone. A close member of the family works in a chemical plant in the lab with a chemistry background. This person informed me how hazarous WD-40 really is and also reminded me that the exposure in accumlative. It may not hurt you now or three years from now, but 20 years from now it may be the contibuting factor for your cancer. I just thought this would give us all something to think about when working with all chemicals and using WD-40 to clean your hands and nails. Just a thought.
burntforge - Tuesday, 03/15/05 14:09:38 EST

WD-40: I am curious about this. I have several times heard that skin contact with WD40 is dangerous, bad chemicals get carried past the skin barrier and migrate to the liver and brain etc... yet I see no warnings for this on the can which is strange in our litigious times. This stuff has been around for some time and is *very* widely used (who doesnt have at least one can in his shop?) yet I havent heard of any studies that support this idea.

I dont mean to pick a fight (well perhaps a teensy *discussion* :) )- I use WD40 every day and while I dont use my brain that often, I dont think it could stand much more damage so I am concerned. OTH "facts" have a way of being passed around from hand to hand and gaining weight as they go.
adam - Tuesday, 03/15/05 15:33:18 EST

test: someone said its broke?
- guru - Tuesday, 03/15/05 16:33:11 EST

Cumulative Exposure and WD-40: Cumulative exposure only occurs with things that produce immediate damage (like radiation/light exposure) or leave permanent traces in the body like heavy metals. Most nasty poisions that build up are metalic compounds.

Cumulative exposure to solvents is like that from alcohol which does damages every time you use it. Over use and you have liver failure but it takes a lot of overuse. However, any use by pregnant women has been shown to be problematic.

Sensitizing exposures are different and can occur from all kinds of exposures to anything including natural substances. The result is usualy some kind of alergy but you can also become highly sensitized to more exposures.

In our home shop over the years I have cleaned my hands with a little of EVERYTHING. Ever try to get epoxy off you hands and out of your hair? Lacquer thinner was the favorite for stuborn stuff but was very drying and its expensive. Gasoline was a favorite for many years and kerosene when it was available. Regular paint thiner (mineral spirits) was used ocassionaly but was not very good at removing any partialy set paint and had no effect on lacquer or epoxy.

That said I DO NOT recommend using these solvents. All have proven to be bad for you in one way or another. We also used carbon tetrachloride (carbon-tet) on ocassions.

GoJo, Goop and others were the favorite in our service station but I had two problems with them. Eventually I became sensitized to their smell and would get nauseous from the smell. It also cloged drains like you would not believe. I switched to Lava brand soap and have used it now for 30 years. I DO find Goop type cleaners handy for cleaning paint brushes. One brand called Lan-Lin which contained lanolin was easier on the hands and also protected brushes from drying out.

In the 1980's we used a lot of Trichlorethylene (dry cleaning fluid) in the form of "Tap-Free" tapping fluid. For a while we were using it in a relatively small poorly ventilated shop. I developed a sensitivity to it. But as long as I worked in good ventilation it was not a problem. The product clearly stated NOT FOR USE IN PUMP and SPRAY coolant systems . . . But THAT is what everybody insisted on doing which resulted from it being banned.

These days I use WD-40 for everything except hair tonic. I HAVE used it to remove paint from skin figuring the kerosene and light oil in it was better than using lacquer thinner. However, I would not recommend doing it every day. But it has to be better than benzene products and Trichlorethylene. AND it is NOT sold as a hand cleaner. . . read the directions.

Mostly I use WD-40 as a light oil and for easy to remove rust protection such as on wood working tools. I use Lava soap because it seems to be the most benign soap for as good a job as it does. I like the fact that it leaves no oily residue but is not drying.

Now, you want to worry about the chemicals people are exposed to? Tell your mothers, wives and daughters not to use fingernail polish and if they insist then be sure they NEVER use the remover (a benzine solvent like lacquer thinner that enters the blood stream through the nails). THEN keep them away from hair dye and bleaches. . . You TOO!
- guru - Tuesday, 03/15/05 17:08:18 EST

Solvent Resistan Rubber:
Gloves designed for solvent resisistance are very specific. Just because a solvent like acetone SEEMS all powerful doesn't mean that rubber that resists it also resists all other "lesser" solvents. The resistance is chemicaly specific. If you have mixed solvents. . then you have a real problem.

EXAMPLE: In the 1980's GM made carburettor floats out of a foam plastic. Worked great, was uneffected by gasoline. However, it would absorb alcohol. . The gasohol craze created huge problems for those GM engines. . . Its a chemical specific resistance. . not a general "solvent" resistance. Eventually GM adopted a plastic that was resistant to both gasoline and alcohol.

- guru - Tuesday, 03/15/05 17:19:54 EST

"RUST FREE: ": Anyone got an idea for rust free in a high humidity environment, without using paint? My clients seem to think a clear coat might be ok, but can I get it in a matt finish or is there anything else? I usually do all my work in linseed oil/beeswax finishes. Any help is appreciated! Thanks , cjhy
- Cynthia - Tuesday, 03/15/05 17:38:10 EST

rust free continued: Oops, I forgot to mention that this is in a bathroom, for towel bars(wet towels!)and the folks definately hate paint!
Cynthia - Tuesday, 03/15/05 17:45:09 EST

Undoing a wedgie: PawPaw,

What has worked for me on this and similar problem is this:

Put a 6010 rod in your buzz box and set the current to about 140 amps or so. Drive an 8d nail into the hammerhandle right alongside the wedge, making sure it makes contact. Clip the welder ground onto the nail, touch the tip of the rod to the wedge and flick the power on for just a half second or so. That will pretty reliably stick the rod to wedge and then you use it as a handle to pull the wedge out. This is about the only place I like 6010 rod...they always stick, just like when you try to weld with them. (grin)
vicopper - Tuesday, 03/15/05 17:46:44 EST

Cynthia: I'd suggest forging the work out of stainless steel. Any clear coat will eventually develop some flaw, exposing milady's fine linens to indelible rust stains.
vicopper - Tuesday, 03/15/05 17:48:34 EST

rust free with out paint....: Plastic comes to mind.

I have a towel bar in the bathroom that is going on 6 years with no rust. Made it from 1/2 square and once I was finished I wire brushed it and painted it with black paint. Have not had to re-paint yet either.
Ralph - Tuesday, 03/15/05 18:08:53 EST

My father's method of removing stubborn grease from the hands was to throughly work vaseline into the area with the grease, then wipe off the vaseline and wash. The vaseline dissolved the nasty stuff and was then much easier to remove.

Ethanol works as a solvent for many things too, toxic but not nearly as bad as many of the "ene's" and "zine's" I'm hoping that at quade state there might be a bit of it to help with the grease in the alimentary canal after the BBQ goes by! I'll make due with soap and water for the hands...

Remember Polar and Non-Polar solvents---use the right one for the task!
Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/15/05 18:20:30 EST

WD-40: Thanks for the more deatil on the WD-40 Guru as you have a great deal of knowledge in everything you stated. I was just responding because I saw people using it for a hand cleaner. I soaked my hands in it for 9 years 8 hours a day for employment. It is much much much safer than Tri-Chlor...etc you talked about. I am not an expert and just going by what I was toild and shown. The person has a chemistry degree and insists WD-40 is cumulative to exposure. I just don't think it is a good idea to soak your skin in it like I did for years or wash your hands with it. I know there are household cleaners and things we use everyday that are much worse. Even chemists just don't know the lasting affects to exposure. As stated by guru there is enviornmental sicknesses to over exposure leading to allergy responses from many chemicals. It is a cumlative affect in the body system. I was a health educator for 8 years. Not tring to be a jerk...just not a good idea to ever clean your hands with WD-40...put it on your drill bits or rusty bolts not your hands. I know I don't have all the answers or even many...lolol. We would be much better to use a base like the Lava soap with pumice to wash our hands as the Guru talked about. Gosh!!!...I don't want anyone TO'D at me for my two coppers. LOLOL :)
burntforge - Tuesday, 03/15/05 19:02:16 EST

rust free/hints: Hey thanks for the info here, I like the idea of stainless, but having no experience with forging it...can it be blackened...they want a dark, not shiney look. I certainly want to avoid angry phone calls involving stained linens! : )Paint is just "right out!" for these folks.
Cynthia - Tuesday, 03/15/05 19:11:41 EST

Perhaps you should make a test piece and paint it flat black. ( how mine is at home) and show the client. Perhaps they will be convinced.

SS forging needs to be hotter while forging. Then you need to passivate the surface to prevent rust. Then it appears they want dark so you will have to do something to get it darker.....
Ralph - Tuesday, 03/15/05 19:34:42 EST

handcleaner: For about 15 years now at two major metalworking factories with forge shops we use "Solopol EF" by Stockhausen. It is a very good cleaner, removing oils, greases, graphite and moly greases, and is VERY easy on the hands. I used to wash my hands maybe 50 to 100 times a day in the lab to allow writing the data with out staining the notebook, and every other cleaner left me with dry, split bleeding skin. The Solopol did not. It contains a small amout of ground walnut hulls for grit. It can clog drains, but if a reasonable amount of water is used this is not a problem.
ptree - Tuesday, 03/15/05 20:16:04 EST

I've been shopping for an new air hammer for about 3 months. I ran a Striker 88 in a production shop and fell in love. I tried 2 amateur built hammers (kinyan style) neat idea but way too much fiddling around with them to be at all practical in a production shop. I ran an Anyang hammer and I was back in love again. I tried to run a Phoenix hammer and was unsuccessful no matter what I tried to do. Did talk to 2 Phoenix owners and didn't want their problems so I was headed back to the Chinese. Then I went to the B2 design power hammer school, used their Big Blu 150 hard for the 2 1/2 days and I'm truly smitten. The Big Blu is an exquisitely simple machine that even I couldn't destroy and the Hofi dies are unbelieveable. Picture aggressively texturing 3/4" sqr bar stock COLD over and over again without any blemish on the dies. Picture a group of students attempting to run these machines; consistantly misfiring, just full out smacking the dies together again and again, no damage not even a blemish. Impressed the snot out of me. I'm just going to wait a bit until the euphoria of the school wears off to make sure it's just not a crush but really true love.
brian robertson - Tuesday, 03/15/05 22:15:30 EST

WD40 as a hand cleaner...:
Wow, that explains why my last boss was so wrong in the head (total WD40 freak, used it everywhere). Or it might have been the meth... Either way. I use Lava bar soap and like it. Hey, is there anything wrong with using acetone to clean your hands, guys? I use it occasionally when I'm working with Superglue and a few other things.
T. Gold - Tuesday, 03/15/05 23:32:01 EST

Stuff: You folks sure have been busy the past couple days.

Hand cleaner - Waxie Care. For industrial application. My son got a five pound refill from some of his in-laws. I just set it on the edge of the vanity and pump out a couple squirts when I clean up. Another good investment is a hand brush. They are about 3 or 4 inches long and are designed just for the job. Works well with any number of cleaners.

Hammer handles - Use only a good grade hickory, work it down with a 4 in 1 hand rasp and seat the handle like mentioned above, Jimmy, I think. Run the handle down into the small side, hold it upside down and tap on the opposite end of the handle. The handle sliding inside the head will leave dark burnished streaks and show you where to remove the necessary wood.

Wedges - I never use the round wedges. Dont like what they do to the wood. Once the handle is seated down to the swell mark a line at the top of the head. Remove the handle and use a fine blade to slot the handle down halfway between the seat and the line. Split out a hardwood wedge with a long taper and drive it down till it seats to the bottom of the slot and the handle fills the eye. Trim off the excess handle and seat your steel wedges. The best steels I have found are made from the old S-irons out of a railroad tie. Cut them a little narrower than the width of the eye and set them at a 45 degree angle to the wooden wedge.

WD-40 - They changed WD - 40 a few years back. It used to have a flammable solvent base and worked just fine for starting fluid on gas engines. Somebaody kicked and they took the solvent out. It's great for most applications, but I do not reccomend it for use when drilling holes in metal, although a lot of people still do it. My experience is if you spray it on the bit and metal both surfaces will become so slick that it acts as a bearing and prevents cutting. Much better to use a good quality cutting oil or a product put out by Milwaukee called Hawg Wash. It is a vegetable base lubricant/ coolant that is designed for rotary broach or button drills. Good stuff and not flammable.
- Larry - Tuesday, 03/15/05 23:33:01 EST

ebay anvils: I agree with both sides of the ebay selling anvil concerns. I asked everyone to take it to this forum instead of the guru's dean as i think it is better suited for non-tech comments. I don't care either way if people give non-blacksmith sellers info to boost sales. I really do see both sides. All I can say : is ebay was sure good to me selling old anvils when I was down on my luck with empty pockets.
burntforge - Wednesday, 03/16/05 00:26:07 EST

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