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

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March 2008 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

Flypress Punching: You could probably do it John, but it does sound as though the press is a bit on the small side for the job. You won't hurt anything by trying, though.

You'll want to use a good punch lube; I like the stuff that Tom Clark sells. You'll also need to set up the press with a stripper. The stripper can be nothing more than a piece of barstock clamped to the press table to preven the workpiece from lifting when the punch is withdrawn. Without a stripper you end up with the punch in the work for too long so that it heats up and swells, getting stuck in the hole.
vicopper - Saturday, 03/01/08 17:31:30 EST

- John Christiansen - Sunday, 03/02/08 08:16:09 EST


I've punched 1/2" holes in 1/4" stock with my #2 flypress, no problem. (Actually I only punched half-way through, so I could raise buttons on the back side. But I'm sure it would have sheared the rest of the way easily, if I'd let it.)
Mike BR - Sunday, 03/02/08 09:02:24 EST

Mike BR: When making buttons on the back side like You described, use a punch a little bigger than the die or hole You are extruding them into. This prevents the fracturing that normally takes place when punching a hole.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 03/03/08 00:24:59 EST

Thanks, Dave. I never would have thought to try that. Luckily the buttons I made don't see much stress (they act as locating pins on a mounting bracket for the FRL unit I use with my compressor). But if I do it again, I'll use a bigger punch.
Mike BR - Monday, 03/03/08 08:38:22 EST

coal supply: Looking for a coal supply in north central AR. have tried all the feed stores with no luck, anyone have an idea?
- captjamie - Monday, 03/03/08 21:52:05 EST

Flypress Punching: John, see my capacity charts on and the riveting and punching force charts (from anvilfire). Note that hot work takes much less force than cold but there are still limitations.

Flypress information
- guru - Monday, 03/03/08 22:17:18 EST

Holes and Shearing:
Note than when cold punching the shear occurs at about 1/3 penetration. Besides using a larger punch as Dave suggests it helps if the die corners are radiused and very smooth. Even a small radius will help flow and a large radius will greatly increase die life and uniformity.
- guru - Monday, 03/03/08 22:20:02 EST

anvilfire Hammer-In:
Well, I'm beat, worn down and generally wiped out. . . Been working on getting the shop ready for the big Hammer-In. Unloaded several tons of tools and machinery on Saturday (about 1/8 of my VA shop). Moved it all and re-rearranged everything in the shop the next day to make structural repairs. Had to repair the North wall as it had a terrible design flaw and the wind was about to take it out. . . Spent today moving EVERYTHING again. Getting a LOT of use out of the fork lift. We now have a row of anvils and swage blocks along one wall and still have stuff to move so we can get to the wiring, which has been the goal since Saturday. Paw-paw had not gotten to putting in any welder outlets and I need welder AND machine outlets. Hard to do anything without the buzz box.

As noted on the guru page we are trying to build a couple mechanical power hammers. These are not Junk Yard hammers but first class mechanicals built on a design of mine and some of the ideas on the Junk Yard Hammer page. If successful we will sell plans for the machine. If the first design is not what we expect then we will modify it until we are happy before releasing plans. The recent engineering project has my CAD and PDF creation tool$ working and the plans should be first class.

Maybe we will get to wiring tomorrow. Really need a volunteer that isn't afraid to work on a ladder. . . So far much of our help has been paid (you don't want to know). Dave Baker (our CSI treasurer) had made a couple trips to VA with me to move materials and machinery. But Dave has a busy life and cannot volunteer every weekend.

Lack of time and desperation have me giving two 18 and 17 year old girls short scraping lessons and letting them loose on the lathe ways. . . removing rust and refinishing. . . without a clue about tolerances or fine accuracy. Hey, its a lathe for blacksmithing. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 03/04/08 00:35:48 EST

FOR SALE BLACKSMITH HAND CRANK FORGE BLOWER: MY FATHER PASSED AWAY ABOUT A YEAR AGO AND WAS A BLACKSSMITH. RECENTLY, I WENT UP INTO HIS SHOP'S ATTIC AND FOUND A HAND CRANK FORGE BLOWER. IT IS FROM THE 1800'S AND FROM LANCASTER,PA WEL.. MARIETTA, PA. hand cranked power capable of very high rpm. The two large pulleys are 22" diameter. The first drives an 8" pulley and the second is belted to a 2" pulley on the blower. The decorative plate on top of the stand is marked “Penna Elect Co., Marietta, PA”. This blower is almost identical to the Centennial blower introduced in 1876 by Champion Blower & Forge Co. of Lancaster, PA. suggesting that this may have been made by Champion. The 1 1/4" leather belting is intact and suitable for demonstrations. For heavy use, it may possibly be replaced. The power is 55" high with a 12" blower. The oval blower outlet is 3" x 3 3/4" i.d. All bearings turn smoothly and the air output is normal. slightly rusted, but durable cast iron.

I;ve gotten another blacksmith to look at it and he said it was worth maybe $1000. I have pictures of it and if you would like to see them, pleas email me. You may call my cell phone as well. I'm assuming that it is so big that it must be a pick-up only sell. I'm sure it could be shipped out but it may be pricey. My cellphoe is 717-364-9933. I am from Lancaster, PA.

Cristina / Brian - Tuesday, 03/04/08 19:53:54 EST

Cristina/Brian-- Hard to tell about this blower without seeing a picture of it, difficult to do on this smithing site. BUT: people here tend to be interested in working tools to be used rather than collected for their antique or decorator (wall hanger) value. I once counseled a friend not to take a dime less than $3,000 for her cabinetmaker granddaddy's knockout vintage 1800s tool chest, and a few, very few, similar ones were indeed listed at that in dealers' catalogs and the Early American Industries Association listings, etc. Be that as it may, no local dealer would come even close and she wound up selling this unique family heirloom, loaded with primo tools, for a measly $600. If you want $1,000 for a blower, my hunch is that you will have to advertise it nationally and persistently in collectors' journals, websites-- and be prepared to hold out for the right collector to come along. You may have to wind up donating it to a museum.
- Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 03/04/08 21:33:04 EST

Trouble with tools. . :
There are SOME that collector's pay large amounts for and others that should be just as collectible that still sell for scrap/flea market prices.

There are many pieces that SHOULD be in museums but there are very very few tool museums and most are full and not buying or focused only on specific manufacturers and types of tools. This is a sad truth.

Blowers of this type typically sell for $150 to $250. Those that pay more do not have a clue to what the market is and they occasionally DO pay too much.
- guru - Tuesday, 03/04/08 21:44:41 EST

The Guru speaketh verily: I know of two magnificent tool collections that have gone begging because the heirs would not break up the collection but could not interest a museum.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 03/05/08 01:44:54 EST

Thank you for your help! I'm sure that there is maybe someone who would appreciate it, but finding that someone will take some time. We sold pretty much his whole entire shop and blacksmithing tools. We still have a pretty large bellow yet and then the hand crank to find a home for. I'm going to look into some collectors / websites / etc. Thanks again.

- Cristina
Cristina / Brian - Wednesday, 03/05/08 11:43:01 EST

Are axles good stock for learning on? I've heard good and bad. But I'm still not sure.
Tom D. - Wednesday, 03/05/08 17:54:46 EST

Tom D. What kind of axles? there are bicycle axles and there are heavy equipment axles that run about 1000#.
Truck axles are pretty big to use a hand hammer on. Small car axles are still pretty big to start on with a hand hammer.
There is also the issue of alloy, with most all modern axles being made from easy to deep harden alloys that will quench crack at the bat of an eye and are somewhat temp sensative to forge.
Buy or find some nice 1/4" to 3/8" mild steel to start. Much easier.
ptree - Wednesday, 03/05/08 19:26:41 EST

ANOTHER New video:
Big BLU hammers has released ANOTHER new video. This one on forging a Copper Rose. Includes making a gouge used in making the rose.
Copper Rose Video
- guru - Thursday, 03/06/08 09:48:59 EST

In addition is the question "learn what?". Axles are great to learn certain things on and absolutely terrible to learn other things on.

The devil is in the details.

But for general smithing axles are too big, harder under the hammer and too fussy in cooling to mess with. Steel is really pretty cheap for a beginner; a 20' length from the steel distributor will last you a long time so the cost per hour will be trivial.

If you are making tooling axles may be a cheap way to learn before using the expensive high alloy steels.

Thomas P - Thursday, 03/06/08 12:21:28 EST

Heavy axles can be good things to learn on -- literally. On end, they make decent anvils.
Mike BR - Thursday, 03/06/08 21:42:39 EST

thompson shafting help: hey can this shafting be hardened at the core at all?
If so what mix is it? er should i sue oil water or air for a 2 inch dia piece. was going to make a post anvil.
Jon mire - Thursday, 03/06/08 23:24:59 EST

Shafting: Do you mean the shafting that Thomson Linear Barings ride on? If so, I'd contact one of the distributors and see what they can offer in the way of information.
vicopper - Friday, 03/07/08 00:09:47 EST

Linear Bearings:
There are several types available including 440C and 316 stainless steel. There is a case hardened carbon steel and the hollow type is made of 52100 bearing steel. The most common type is case hardened and chrome plated. But they also have a standard and a deep case.

Since all case hardenable carbon steels are steel then YES, the core can be hardened.

Like many products Thompson considers its steel proprietary and does not say what the core steel is.
Thompson Shafting Catalog
- guru - Friday, 03/07/08 12:24:11 EST

Thompson Rod: I don't know how hardenable the core is, the case is shallow and the core is easily machined. I would not be surprised if the case was carburized. If not it is an extremely shallow hardening steel.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 03/07/08 23:40:30 EST

bender: Any one have a hossfeld #2 or #1 bender for sale.
Im located in northern Illinois. Thanks in advance
- dave chiarino - Saturday, 03/08/08 13:25:41 EST

bender: Any one have a hossfeld #2 or #1 bender for sale.
Im located in northern Illinois. Thanks in advance
- dave chiarino - Saturday, 03/08/08 13:27:10 EST

Dave, The benders are not hard to come by. Benders with dies are a different story. I have pieces of two and neither has dies.
- guru - Sunday, 03/09/08 12:49:32 EST

Hammer-In saga:
Still moving machinery. Spent all day yesterday on the road and loading a few more tons of stuff. . . Then had to back track due to a minor mechanical trouble that will have to be addressed another day.

Fuel costs are becoming a significant issue in this move. The truck takes a full tank per round trip. $125!

I remember the "old timers" talking about gasoline prices being 5 and 10 cents. . . THAT was when gas was 33 cents. Now it is 10 times the 1970's pre embargo price and probably going to go much higher due to demand and having supposedly past peak oil production.

With corn now ties to "the global energy index" food is going to see a double whammy of production costs (largely fuel) PLUS an energy allowance. This is a VERY bad economic move for the U.S. and maybe the entire world.

The steel list for the NEW hammer is made. . . $1/lb steel looks cheap compared to $4/gallon gasoline. But we will see another jump in prices along with fuel costs. . .
- guru - Sunday, 03/09/08 13:01:52 EST

I'm about 5 hours away from Morgonton, NC. Would it be worth the drive to go to Big Blu'd Hammer-In?
- mike - Monday, 03/10/08 17:26:49 EST

Mike where are you at in smithing? Where do you want to go with it? Would this trip be a hardship for you? What do they plan to have at the hammer-in? Is it stuff that would help you at this stage of your smithing? Can you hold down costs? (I camp at SOFA and for the SWABA-South meeting I was able to stay with my parents and so did not have incidental costs)

For me if there was a good hammer-in within 5 hours I'd try to get there. For you I don't know enough.

With luck I'm going to drive two long days to get to Quad-State this year! See you there?

Thomas P - Monday, 03/10/08 17:51:38 EST

BigBLU Hammer-In: 5 hours is a long trip but the BigBLU hammer-In is first class for a one day event. This year Danial Boone will be the guest demonstrator. The Big BLU crew will also put on a demo making some sort of project from beginning to end. Last year they did a free form gate.

There are usually a hand full of tailgaters including some new tool dealers. This is prime time to check out a power hammer and what it could do for your shop.

Whether a hammer-in is worth while to you depends on your needs. There is always something to learn no matter how experianced you are. There are always tools and machines to see that you may never see in any other shop. This is a full time professional shop that moves a LOT of work on top of manufacturing Big BLU hammers which I am told have been "flying off the shelves" (an image I am still trying to get a handle on).

A few of the attendees camp out at the event sleeping in their trucks or campers. Lunch is provided for a small fee. The shop is only about 15 minutes from the Interstate and several (full) motels.
- guru - Tuesday, 03/11/08 07:14:15 EST

More. . : Mike, Depending on where you are, our anvilfire hammer-in could be 2 hours closer to you (or 2 hours farther). Being a month later the weather will be a bit warmer for camping.

Big BLU will be here and my friend Josh Greenwood, a world class blacksmith that has not demonstrated for a number of years. I will be demoing some machine methods (drill press and lathe).

Our shop here is a part time "demonstration" shop but with a lot of tooling. Friday will be informal demos and a get-to-know you day. Saturday will be the official demos. Sunday we are having an auction of some of Paw-Paw Wilson's tools as follows:

Coal Forge with hand crank Blower
HD Bench Vise
Project Anvil (ASO with steel plate)
DIY belt sander that needs a little work
Bench top drill press
(2) Hand crank drills that need TLC
Tote boxes with misc tools jigs fixtures.
(2) High lift jacks (4 wheeler type).
(3) Machinery's Handbooks
(2) large chrome beer taps
Other books and tools yet to be listed.
- guru - Tuesday, 03/11/08 07:32:28 EST

Big Blu in 5 hours?: Just meeting the hosts and attendees of the Big Blu event would be worth the trip. Watching Dan Boone make one of his dragons makes the trip a must if possible. Getting to observe the Big Blu crew use their power hammers (and maybe a sample use yourself) is the icing on the cake.

This event is always first class.
- djhammerd - Wednesday, 03/12/08 07:09:07 EST

The Best Tool Museum: For those of you who enjoy tools make it a point to travel to The National Museum of Horseshoeing Tools in Sulphur,OK. It is filled with more history and tools than you can imagine. Don't let the name mislead you as it is a great collection of blacksmith tools as well. Lee Liles the owner will take you on an iformation packed tour. You won't be disappointed. Contact Lee at (580) 622-4644
- Barry Denton - Wednesday, 03/12/08 12:51:08 EST

6th Annual Blacksmith Extravaganza: Please mark down on your calendar May 17 & 18 as it is our 6th Annual Blacksmith Weekend at our ranch here in beautiful Skull Valley,AZ. This has turned into quite an event sponsored by the Arizona Artists Blacksmith Assn. It will be full of demonstrators, hands on, unique ideas,educational opportunities, shenanigans,tools,tailgaters,fun,cowboy music, and things you won't see anywhere else. For more info. (928) 442-3290
Barry Denton - Wednesday, 03/12/08 13:03:00 EST

Barry; does that museum have much in the way of Renaissance, medieval and tools from antiquity; or is it mainly the fairly recent 18th and 19th century stuff?

I'd love to have a museum that close that went back a ways!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/12/08 14:41:26 EST

Temper Wrought Iron?: I think I'm saying this right, can you temper wrought iron into something stronger like steel? Also, how is steel made?

- Matt - Wednesday, 03/12/08 16:06:48 EST

Turning wrought into steel:
Matt, it can be done, but the term tempering has nothing to do with it. The process is called blistering. It's a more heavy-duty version of case-hardening, the idea of which is to force more carbon into the iron by packing it in carboniferous materials (bone charcoal and leather was a favorite) in a sealed container and holding at a red heat for days. This turns wrought iron into blister steel, so called because of the ugly blisters left. This is the first step. The next step is to stack the bars of blister steel and weld them, repeating twice. This is shear steel, and it will have a more uniform carbon distribution as well as less slag stringers than plain blister steel.

Ideally you'd start with the most highly refined wrought iron you could find, lessening the need to get rid of all that nasty slag. That's basic steelmaking in the western world from pre-Roman times to the 1850s.

Alternatively you can make crucible steel a'la Ben Huntsman by melting good-quality shear steel in a sealed crucible, thus totally removing the slag component from the iron. That's super-secret high-quality steelmaking from the 1790s to the late 1800s.

Or yet again, you could smelt iron ore in a shaft furnace and run it hotter than you would to produce wrought iron but not so hot or so long as to produce cast iron. This is the ancient Styrian (central European) and Japanese way.

OR still yet again, you could pack a specific ore and precisely measured particular organic material in a sealed crucible and melt that, that gives you central asian-style steel if you do it right.

Modern methods are very different.

The shortest book I have on the subject of iron and steelmaking throughout history that is in any way comprehensive is 1,340 pages long. You can download it (and other neato books!) for free as a .PDF file from the link below.

Books on modern steelmaking alone, I dunno, I'm not as interested in modern methods. I can outline the Bessemer process (Blow air through a huge ladle of molten cast iron to remove carbon), but industry doesn't use that much anymore. Today's methods are Basic Oxygen Furnace, or BOF, and many variations on electric arc melting.

I'm not trying to be a smart-alec, (that just happens naturally), it's just that it's such a big topic you really need to know enough to know how to narrow it down to what you want to know. What are you trying to do, that always helps to know!
1852 iron and steel book
Alan-L - Wednesday, 03/12/08 16:43:59 EST

Reply Alan L: Just interested in if it was possible or not. Wanted to know if I could "convert" wrought iron into steel to make a sword or knife so that it would be strong and not weak.

(This isn't a "how do you make swords" post!)

I guess I don't really need to investigate how you make steel since I've gotten myself a free supplier of steel scrap.

I just am a learner, I like to see how differen't things are made or made stronger ;) !

Thanks Alan
- Matt - Wednesday, 03/12/08 17:10:28 EST


Groovy. Yep, it's even possible to convert cast iron to wrought iron if you know what you're doing; iron (and steel, especially!) is one of those fun-to-play-with things that you never run out of ideas or methods for.

I make knives, tomahawks, and yes, sometimes even swords, so it's handy to know how to make steel harder, softer, and so on.

Basic answers for the above, assuming a simple straight carbon steel of 0.84% carbon content, aka 1084: To harden, heat to 1475 degrees F, hold for five minutes, and immediately quench in warm oil. This will give you the full hardness this particular steel is capable of, but it's brittle as glass.

So then you temper (there's that term!) to reduce the brittleness a bit without softening the steel. Do this by heating the steel to the temperature required to get the end hardness you want (there's tables of info for this, BTW, assuming a knife blade for heavy chopping about 375 degrees F is good) and hold for two hours. Repeat. The higher the tempering temperature, the less brittle (and the softer) the steel gets.

To get it as soft as possible, heat to above 1475 degrees F and allow to cool as slowly as possible, left in the forge (if it's a gas forge) or stuffed in a bucket of dry wood ash or other insulating material in such a way that it's still too hot to touch several hours later. This is called annealing.

There's many books about all that too, if you're really truly interested, the above is just a quick sketch that leaves out what's really going on at both the atomic level and at the merely microscopic level in the steel. There's more going on in there than you'd suspect...
- Alan-L - Wednesday, 03/12/08 17:30:51 EST

To Alan L:: So am I getting this right?

If you hold a piece of iron in the furnace for let's say 5 min to 60 min at 400 degrees the iron will be strong but if you heat the iron for 5 minutes at 1400 degrees and quench it in (warm oil) it will be weak as glass?

The longer you heat iron at a higher temperature the metal is hard but weak?

The longer you heat iron at a lower temperature
the metal is soft but strong?

Boy, maybe I'm just confusing myself ;)
- Matt - Wednesday, 03/12/08 20:45:47 EST

Matt: YOu're not getting it right, no.

The steel (iron with carbon) must be taken above the transformation point (about 1450), which is where it becomes non-magnetic, and then the heat in the steel must be abstracted (taken away) RAPIDLY to harden the steel. It is now very hard but brittle.

Then the steel is again heated, but to a lower temperature, to partially decrease the hardness to the point where the steel is still hard enough to hold an edge, but not so hard it is brittle. This process is called "tempering."

The length of time for these processes is a matter of getting the heat all the way to the very core of the steel and keeping it there long enough for the grains of the steel to undergo the necessary changes. That time varies with the particular alloy and there is not any one specific time that works for all steels. The manufacturer of a steel will publish the proper heat-treating guidlines for their particular alloy.

Hope this helps to clear up the misunderstanding.
vicopper - Wednesday, 03/12/08 21:40:08 EST

A shuck, maybe?
- Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 03/12/08 22:16:11 EST

To Vicopper:: Roger that! Thanks
- Matt - Thursday, 03/13/08 00:06:15 EST

Taking a trip:

Hey Y'all. I haven't posted on here for a while, I know -- but I'm still around. Wanted to check and see if I should pack my hammer for a trip I'm taking. Are there are any smiths in the Portland or Eugene area who'd like a visit, or anything anyone recommends I should see? I'll be hitting Oregon on 21 March and leaving on 31 March; planning on spending a few days in Portland and the remainder in Eugene. I bring awesome Hawaiian chocolate and fruit to all shop visits *grin*.
T. Gold - Thursday, 03/13/08 04:07:12 EST


Vicopper said it better than I did. Notice that we were both talking about steel. Wrought iron will not harden except under highly unusual circumstances, nor will low-carbon steel. Steel must contain more than about 0.4% carbon to be able to harden at all, and most knife and sword guys like it to contain more than 0.6%.

Add some other alloying elements and it gets really complicated, especially the time involved.

Just remember, you can't temper without hardening first, or all you're doing is baking a chunk of steel.
Alan-L - Thursday, 03/13/08 08:12:04 EST

Tempering: a Primer: Matt, Go to FAQs on the pulldown menu, and scroll to Heat Treating.

Heat treatment is the CONTROLLED heating and cooling of a metal in order to change its properties.
Tempering is a middling stage between hardness and "softness." I share with students some child-like analogies to help them internalize the concept.

We live in the TEMPERATE zone in the U.S. It is neither too hot nor too cold compared with other
world zones. It is intermediate.

Goldilocks is looking for the right bed to sleep in. Papa bear's bed is way to hard. Mama bear's bed is way to soft. Baby bear's bed is just right, temperate.

A guy gets angry, and his friend tells him to TEMPER his feelings. That does not mean to get angrier! It suggests moderation.

Not to be confused by the early literature, where the term "drawing" is often used to mean "tempering." Sometimes, you will read "drawing the temper" to indicate the tempering process. Furthermore, some of the early books talk about temper as carbon content of high carbon, plain carbon steels. For example, a saw temper would indicate a specific carbon content.

On plain carbon steels, hardening and tempering can be done on medium carbon steels: 0.30% through 0.55% carbon content, and on high carbon steels: 0.60% through 1.3%. The material selected and the correct temper depend on the proposed use of what you are making.

Frank Turley - Thursday, 03/13/08 09:17:23 EST

Matt first of all wrought iron has not been in general use since about the 1930's. The stuff they call wrought iron today is all made from mild steel or A36. So are you sure what you have is iron and not mild steel or A36?

The switch started in the 1850's with the Bessemer/Kelly process; but in the late 1880's early 1890's a lot of smiths were using a mixture of the two materials as the book "Practical Blacksmithing", Richardson, has lots of discussions on the switch, (changes in fluxes work methods, etc).

It's generally considered fairly hard to find wrought iron and a company in England, The Real Wrought Iron Co, LTD. sells recycled wrought iron scrap at a premium price for folks who just have to have it, usually high grade restoration or replication work.

Next if the carbon level is low enough you can't harden iron or steel by heating and quenching no matter *what* the temp or time. (Note that times and temps for hardening high carbon steels depends on the alloy! No single time and temp works for all steel)

Note the general times for making blister steel was hours at high temps or days at lower temps---if you are interested in the process may I commend "Steelmaking before Bessemer, vol I Blister Steel, vol II Crucible Steel" to your attention.

Jargon gets a bit mixed up as very low carbon steel is actually "iron" but *NOT* wrought iron, a material characterized by it's slag inclusions.

In addition, while most people consider wrought iron to be very low carbon you can get high carbon blooms that will work into what I call wrought iron derrived steels and used to be called "natural steels".

Confusion is compounded by using the term "wrought iron" for items made from steel nowdays. It's a lot like going into a store to the linens department----not a thing in there is made from linen---but they *used* to be made from linen and the name stuck even when the materials changed.

Since I do historical smithing I have worked with wrought and squirreled away some that I have found in the scrap stream. I have also smelted it from ore using Y1K methods.

Thomas P - Thursday, 03/13/08 10:36:54 EST

Matt, again...: And we haven't even started discussing what to quench in for which alloy! Some steels, like the 1084 I mentioned earlier, like warm oil, but can be done in water if you're good or lucky. Others like water, brine, various viscosities of oil, or even air, both moving and still.

Are you freaked out yet? We can keep it up as long as you have good questions... (insert grin and wink here)
Alan-L - Thursday, 03/13/08 11:19:50 EST

The BIG question:
Wrought iron is no longer a common material and when found is quite expensive. So the question that begs to be answered is why ask about laboriously converting something you probably do not have into something that is commonly available as scrap.

"Wrought Iron" is a specific material that is no longer made. In most forms it is nearly pure (elemental) iron with fine layers of silicous slag that give it a grain like wood. This makes is easier to work in some respects and more difficult in others. You must be aware of and consider the grain in all joints made in wrought iron. Because it is no longer made and its high demand by smiths that want to work the old material it is quite valuable selling from $1.5/pound (for scrap) to $5/pound in bar stock sizes. That was when steel was 50c/lb and now it is double and rising. . .

Steels (iron with carbon, silicon, manganeses. . .) in many varieties are available new and as scrap. Springs and recycled tools are good sources for medium to high carbon steel.

You need to read good literature on this subject and not listen to folks that do not have a clue what they are talking about. Note that our responses above are all accurate.

If you want to learn about blacksmithing there are dozens of good inexpensive books on the subject and NONE will direct you to "convert" wrought into steel.
- guru - Thursday, 03/13/08 11:39:13 EST

To Everybody:: Oh I've been here before, I know that if you post a stupid topic you will get hounded by everyone for ever, if you post a "temperate" topic you will get hounded less and if you post a good topic you won't get hounded at all :D

signed by Matt from Cody Wyoming, long time no see
- Matt - Friday, 03/14/08 05:02:40 EST

?: I've been here before so I do know about blacksmithing.

One last question though, if I most likely do not have wrought iron, and it is probably mild steel that I have, is there a scratch test or grinding test or any type of test I can do to see what type of "iron" I have? Thanks

- Matt - Friday, 03/14/08 05:13:52 EST

my last post: I hope my post's don't sound arrogant or anything, sometimes when I type something it comes out sounding a little offensive, (or is it just me?) anyways, my two cents of apologies
- Matt - Friday, 03/14/08 05:18:40 EST

Matt, it is sometimes difficult to identify.

See our FAQ on wrought iron.

Generally it is quite old and rusty. Most is scrap from something and is almost never nice straight new bar stock.

When there is heavy rust or deep corrosion you can often see the grain in the metal. If there are any splits from the rust it is definitely wrought but no longer forgeable.

A spark test can sometimes ID wrought IF you have a comparison sample, a coarse wheel and low light.

Etching with ferric chloride will often show the grain and or welds.

Breaking a piece (saw 3/4 through, then break) will often show pulled out soft iron grains.

If you heat and quench a piece and it hardens it is usually steel.

If all the tests are inconclusive it is usually old mild steel. Note that even mild steel will harden if slightly overheated (for heat treating) and quenched in water and not tempered.
- guru - Friday, 03/14/08 09:50:25 EST

Spark test; Bend & Break test: Matt,
There is a spark test which works best on plain carbon steels. On the alloy steels, it is more difficult to read. You hold the metal lightly against the grinding wheel. Wrought iron and steel will have different appearing spark "showers" coming off the wheel. Diagrams of the spark test are shown in several metalworking books.
You can also clamp and bend a piece back and forth till it breaks. The wrought iron will have a visible, fibrous, stringy structure.
Frank Turley - Friday, 03/14/08 09:53:08 EST

Matt don't worry about it; remember that most answers are being written for all those folks who *are* beginners and are lurking. Your questions just provide a convient springboard to provide *more* information than you need.

I would like to assume that anyone who "knows about blacksmithing" would know the difference between WI and mild steel and the history of both; but most blacksmiths don't know much about wrought iron, it not being a common material anymore. A few of us historical smithing nuts are big on it and use any excuse to tell folks about it. Just ignore us if it's all old hat to you; it will be new to a lot of folks.

As far as testing WI; I like the notch and break test as WI breaks with a greenstick fracture---fiberous while steels break with a granular fracture. This test needs no power equipment and can be done "in the field".

Seeing lineations in the rust patterns takes more skill and usually works best for the lowest grades of WI.

Old farm equipment can be a source of WI. The tyres on wooden wagon wheels very commonly being WI (but not always).

Now if you are interested in historical smithing and how they did things 500 to 2000 years ago let us know; me and Captn Atli can talk your leg off on the subject!

Thomas P - Friday, 03/14/08 10:50:50 EST

Wrought (last post): Thanks guys ;)

Thomas: I love history, was my favorite subject in school, didn't care much for the rest.

By the way, did I hear that someone on here was in the ARNG? I joined up in September 07.
- Matt - Friday, 03/14/08 22:30:58 EST

Matt, there are many Vet's who write on this page. I am ARMY,KyARNG,USAR and USAFNG vet. My wife is USAF and KyARNG Vet.
Ptree - Saturday, 03/15/08 17:44:17 EST

Hi Thomas....Lee's museum probably covers more 18th & 19th & 20th century stuff as opposed to the ancient stuff. Nonetheless he does have some extremely early anvils and the like. Just seeing over 500 anvils in one place is rather fascinating.
- Barry Denton - Sunday, 03/16/08 10:45:26 EST

BigBLU Hammer-In:
Had a good time. Missed getting to Dan Boones in February so had a good visit with Dan and his wife Judy.

Dan demoed his famous Dragon head. These have been evolving for 20 years and the newest had evolved a little more. Dan no longer demos outside his shop so this was a great opportunity for many.

The BigBLU crew made a heavy door pull with 1.25" square pull bar and 3/8" thick back plate.

NC-ABANA served lunch and ran the iron in the hat.

Every year there are changes in the BigBLU shop. This year they had three Big BLU hammers in a row with different dies on each one. This looked to be a fairly permanent final setup in a shop that has had hammers in different positions every time I have visited.

There was a dozen NEW Big BLUs lined up in inventory. This is at a time when I am told they are selling almost as fast as they can make them. If you ever need to outfit a shop with three, four or MORE identical hammers these folks usually have more than enough in inventory.

Klingspor was there giving away sample abrasive products and catalogs as they have for many years.

John Elliot was there with a truck load of products from Blacksmith Supply.

- guru - Sunday, 03/16/08 21:28:35 EST

Great I was working on an Anglo-Saxon spear head over the weekend: took two pieces of real wrought iron and twisted one clockwise and the other anti-clockwise and took a couple of piece of WI strap and put them in a pipe full of powdered charcoal and crimped the ends and stuck it in the gasser while I was letting some friends forge. I figure 20 hours at heat should help make the strap WI into edge material for the spearpoint.

Wind gusts over 60 mph here meant I couldn't fire up the coal forge for the welding though I did manage to move about 1 ton of wrought iron plate from where the pallets were offloaded when my shop moved out there 3.5 years ago to back to the scrap pile. One of the goals this year is to get the yard in decent shape---maybe even mow it a time or two! Of course with 1" of rain in about the last 6 months it doesn't grow much...

Thomas P - Monday, 03/17/08 11:26:54 EST

split fingertips: When I was getting my BFA. I minored in printmaking.
My fingers would dry and crack because of the solvents we used. I've tried Bag balm and vasoline with the sock trick, and many hand lotions. The absolute best was a lotion called Pen Kera. as you use it over time the less of it you need. It also seems to sterilize minor cuts and abrasions.
holons - Monday, 03/17/08 12:06:46 EST

Grass. . . .: Thomas, Where grass won't grow an inch weeds in clumps will grow feet!

I have a preference for a Japanese stone garden rather than a lawn to mow. However, even a stone garden will sprout weeds and seeds will find cracks in concrete.

Charter member of the Anti-Mowing League
- guru - Monday, 03/17/08 19:10:24 EST

Grass what is that? Is it related to the white stuff some folk claim falls from the sky but isn't cotton wood fluff? Where is Mythbusters when you need them!
Thomas P - Monday, 03/17/08 19:31:54 EST

ThomasP, I know that you have a background that includes stints in places that grew grass in great abundance. You have not been out west long enough to forget:) Weeds are those plants that you try to kill and grow with great vigor, VS flowers that you nuture, and they die quickly:)
Ptree - Monday, 03/17/08 20:33:56 EST

Southwestern Grass: Hey! We got blue grama grass ... when it rains.
- Frank Turley - Tuesday, 03/18/08 09:06:39 EST

Out here grass is something that you basically have to water *every* day. With my kids in college and the grandchild 1500 miles away we don't have much need for grass and so choose not to waste the water on it. I'd be happy with low growing weeds---except for goatheads!

I remember talking with some friends up at Los Alamos where they moved into a place about 20 years ago that had a lawn---they get a lot more moisture up there than we do but they still said their little patch of lawn cost $600 in water that first year---they xerescaped their yard pretty quickly!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/18/08 09:55:37 EST

I can't vouch for the accuracy of this, but I was told that Fort Irwin once imported cactus to landscape the headquarters compound. Then it had to install an irrigation system to keep it alive!
Mike BR - Tuesday, 03/18/08 17:19:18 EST

We're working on the third month in a row with less than 2 hundredths of an inch precip total so far. At least we've had massive snowfalls up in the northern mountains where the farmer's irrigating water comes from. Going to be quite a melt off. I have heard one estimate already that they will be sending 8 times as much water a "standard" year does down to the lakes for southern NM irrigation. Be nice not to see so many bathtub rings at the lakes...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/18/08 18:59:39 EST

Dry hands: I have a great housecure here,
raw cold pressed linseed oil (3 parts)
lanolin (5 parts)
beeswax (2 parts).
then I add tiny amount (1 tablespoon/liter) of nice honey colored Stockholm tar made the traditional way (pit with smoldering wood).
it is a very "fat" mixture and has actually been used successfully (under controlled medical supervision) to help against mild psoariasis.
there is a similar mix but with sap from spruce? not certain it is same plant as in the US, icea abies? it is also fairly efective and smells "forest".
- OErjan - Wednesday, 03/19/08 04:13:33 EST

Picea abies, sorry
- OErjan - Wednesday, 03/19/08 04:14:43 EST

EASTER: The tomb is STILL empty.
What does that mean for me?
- Tom H - Sunday, 03/23/08 09:48:48 EST

BAM Conference: I'm looking for travel info getting to the BAM Conference. Is Saint Louis the best/closest airport to fly into? Also is getting from the airport to the conference by rental car my only option? I am trying to do this on the cheap so any input would be great. Thanks
- AE Kyte - Sunday, 03/23/08 11:53:27 EST

I will answer my first question...Kansas City is the closest. Any other travel info will be great.
AE Kyte - Sunday, 03/23/08 12:23:33 EST

BAM in Sedalia: I didn't have much luck finding info. I contacted the Sedalia Chamber of Commerce, and they sent me one address of an expensive shuttle from KC to Sedalia. Fortunately for me, a friend from Dallas, TX is going, so I'm going to fly into Dallas, and we will drive up. If I lived in St. Louis, I would rent a car and drive the whole way and back again, forgetting a flight to Kansas City.

The chairman is listed on the BAM conference website. You might contact him for an idea.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 03/23/08 22:55:36 EST

Travel to CSI conference:
We are in a better area transportation wise. The closest airport is Boonville International (a sloping grass strip with no accoutrement's but it is on your GPS maps). 2 miles away. We would arrange pickup OR you could walk. . . ;) ONLY single engine prop aircraft or ultralights recommended.

The nearest major commercial airport is Piedmont Triad Airport (PTI) half way between Greensboro and Winston-Salem about a 1 hour drive away. Most flights connect at Charlotte International (CLT) so they are cheaper and only a 1.5 hour drive EXCEPT at rush hours which can add an hour. . . However, Airbus a low cost airline has discount fares directly to PTI from major cities. There is a small airport in Mt-Airy that can accept small charter aircraft.

We are conveniently located 10 miles East of I77 (Jonesville exit 82) via NC 67, 15 miles North of I421 at Yadkinville, NC, 12 miles South of I74, I77 interchange at Dobson, NC via NC 601. We are centrally located between the I40/421 East-West corridor in NC and the route 58 corridor just over the Virginia Border with easy access from Roanoke, Martinsville, Danville, Boyton. . . There are major hotel and resturant chains at all the above intersections nearby. All this and we are still out in the boonies!

Local tourist attractions include the many local wineries (from 5 to 20 miles) with tasting rooms and restaurants. Boone, NC and the Tweetsy Railroad within one hour. Old Salem and Bethabara Moravian village in Winston-Salem (45 minutes away).

Y'all come!

10th Aniversarry Hammer-In
- guru - Monday, 03/24/08 08:49:25 EST

CSI Hammer-In Preparations:
3.5 weeks to go. . . .

This weekend, Dave Baker and a couple helpers finished putting in the 240VAC circuits for welders and machines in the shop. One of our teenage helpers and I have gotten the big Champion 24" drill press cleaned and ready to put on a new motor. I've also repaired the spindle using bearings from a much older machine (an old Joseph T. Ryerson and Sons 20"). Parts from that old 20" drill are going to be used to setup the lathe we are working on so its just about scrap. . . I'm thinking about sawing off the drill head at the top of the column and using it for a heavy adjustable duty stock stand or vice support. . . A second life as something else (reincarnation, sadly to a lower form).

Both the 24" drill and the 14" lathe are to be used in my demo AND to build the 100# mechanical hammers we are building for the hammer-in! The end (time) is running out like a large wave breaking over my head. Both need motors and switches put on them and the lathe needs a cone pulley / back shaft and support. . . At least I have a place to plug them in when the time comes!

The lathe is an ancient no-name thing from the late 1800's or pre WWI. It had sat outside for a number of years and is seriously rusted. It is missing the cone drive and motor and has the typical broken back gears. We spent hours hand sanding rust off the ways and are just starting. My helpers are full time students that can only work one day a weekend. That is just 3 more days for them (maybe I can squeeze a couple more days). Dave B is the same. . . and has been indespensible.

Steel and parts for the hammers will be delivered this week. WOW has steel gotten expensive! McMaster-Carr has become my new best friend. . . However, as many things as they have, there are many they do not. I searched all over for a 16" 2 v-belt pulley and have ended up stealing the one off my old 20" drill press. It is also an expensive part and the old drill has just about had it. . .

After trying to keep up with helpers for the past 4 days I need to stay off my feet today and make drawings for flame cutting templates and finish ordering all the bits and pieces. . . Springs, taps, bolts, belts. . . . and a large dose of sanity.

AND I still need to get an "extra" fork lift out of the shop. . .

- guru - Monday, 03/24/08 09:45:25 EST

India, Outsourcing and Safety; Manhattan Manhole Covers: These links touch on a number of subjects that we have discussed here. The sites, below, were sent by a friend back in November. I just checked the links and they're still good. The top link is about 2:50 long, but if your brouser can run it, it's well worht downloading. Certainly gives you an interesting view of an off-shore (or early Industrial Revolution) practices. The bottom link is text and stills, so you should be bale to pull it up with your browser without as much problem.

NYC manhole covers are made in India these days. (Wonder if Neenah, WI didn't bid or if their foundry closed down?)

Bruce Blackistone - Monday, 03/24/08 13:46:29 EST

Am i on the right track?: Hey there fellas
I am wanting to get in to back yard knife making and just wanted to share my ideas and see if this is the correct process?
1. Heat up metal in forge
2.poud it shape it to my desire
3.repeat step 2.
4.Quench it in water or engine oil?
5.sharpin ??
6.Heat it again??

Im just guessing on some of the steps. If u got any ideas or what i am doing wrong please fill me in! and email me as well id appreictae it alot!

James - Monday, 03/24/08 16:46:31 EST

If it is high carbon steel...
Forge it to blank out the shape.
Normalize by air cooling from a medium cherry red.
[maybe some cold grinding here leaving cutting edge a little thick]
Quench in oil to harden.
[more cold work, sharpen, polish]
Mount handle.
[more cold work on handle].

Use the "NAVIGATE anvilfire" menu to locate FAQS and scroll to HEAT TREATING. Read!
Frank Turley - Monday, 03/24/08 17:05:40 EST

James if you don't have much experience smithing you may want to start with step 0---learn to smith.

As usual I let my current student jump from a simple project to knifemaking fairly fast. Last Saturday he came back and asked what he could do to learn hammer control as he found out when he went to clean up his knife that his hammer control wasn't up to knife forging standards---and he already had over 20 hours of learning at the forge.

Thomas P - Monday, 03/24/08 18:14:53 EST

Pros and Cons:
For years that is what I have been telling people (practice on something easier than a knife) but many smiths have suggested that it is not good to get used to forging mild steel then try to learn to forge high carbon which is much pickier.

However, forging LOTS of anything builds muscle and trains for control. Forging hundreds of hooks or nails is good practice IF you work on efficiency and control and do not just work willy nilly and learn bad habits. Working sloppy after you are tired is bad for your control.

I look at forging practice of any kind as good practice if it improves your skill. Trying to forge stock that is too heavy, using too heavy a hammer or overworking to the point where you don't care will all decrease your skill of foster bad habits. Working a little every day (an hour or less) until you build up strength and then start improving your skill is the best way to learn. As soon as you feel like working longer then do it but don't overwork. You want to develop both skill and muscle.

When you do start forging high carbon steel remember that it is different. It is more difficult, is worked in a narrow range and as Frank Turley says, "Tool steel will laugh at you. It will dare you to make a mistake and then laugh at you."

Where us old semi-retired smiths have a problem is our mind still knows the control but the muscles don't respond for very long. . . I have to work at the forge a little every day for weeks just to get back to a so-so level of competency. While the control is a bit like learning to ride a bicycle, you never lose it, the muscle to maintain that control is a different thing. I spent way too much time at the keyboard and with a mouse. . .

- guru - Tuesday, 03/25/08 12:04:18 EST

Indian Man Hole Covers and Trade:
There are many places in the world where workers are used up and thrown away. This is the case in the Indian foundries, the Brazilian sugar cane alcohol industry and many others.

Our modern industry with all our safety regulations competes fairly well against barefoot workers in India who have no health benefits or retirement plans. Their employers do not report ANY accidents because maiming and death are NORMAL, not unusual or "accidental" events in their plants. They do not pay damages the way a Western industry would due to maiming or death of an employee. Nor does their ancient coupla furnace have scrubbers, bag rooms and the other expensive emission controls required on US foundries.

So here it is yet another national election and when the candidates speak of the economy nothing is said about protecting industries from predatory practices or ANYTHING about exporting production to countries where there are little or no worker protection or environmental concerns. One of the few defined jobs of a republic is to protect its markets from unfair or predatory marketing. It is time we stop being patsies and defend our economy. This starts with primary metals, the machine tool industries and all manufacturing that is derived from that.

Currently we are exporting huge amounts of natural resources and scrap to other countries who process them into products to resell to us. . THIS used to be the definition of a third world economy. Are we becoming a third world economy?

ASK your candidates if they know what primary metals industries are. If they do not then they have no idea of where our economy has been and where it is headed.

- guru - Tuesday, 03/25/08 22:38:35 EST

anvilfire CSI hammer-In:
Well. . . the RSVP's are coming in. We have folks coming from Ohio, New Jersey, Tennessee, West Virginia, North and South Carolina. . .

Its going to be a big 'ol party. . .

Meanwhile almost all the steel and parts are here for the power hammer building project. I'm still making a few detailed drawings . . The shop is still a disaster with TWO fork lifts parked in it. Hopefully one will find a home tomorrow.
- guru - Wednesday, 03/26/08 16:26:07 EST

I really wish I could make it, but it still doesn't look like a scheduling possibility.

I'd like to be present for some of the "special" potential auction items, at a minimum.

Folks, if you can go, do it!
Alan-L - Wednesday, 03/26/08 19:41:35 EST

Hammer-In: As long as the creek don't rise and I don't get drafted, I'm planning on being there. I didn't want to say anything until I was sure it was going to happen, but I have the tickets purchased. So ou can add the Virgin Islands to the list of attendees, Jock. I still need to locate a place to stay in the area, but that shouldn't be too hard, I hope. Any recommendations?

Anything I should bring? I wish I had the time to get there a week early and help out, but I'm sandwiching this in the middleof a trip to Oregon to see my Pop, so time will be a bit tight.
vicopper - Thursday, 03/27/08 01:00:39 EST

Hammer-In and Other Events: Once again, I have to miss out on this. All of my money and time (left over from my wif's ambitious landscaping program for the new house, and getting the ship in the water) are going into the new forge building. I'm hoping to get the west corner posts and end studded up this weekend, between planting trees and dropping off gear at the ship.

Meanwhile, if any of y'all are near Havre de Grace, Maryland, at the head of the Chesapeake bay, some of our crew will be encamped with the faering boat this weekend for the Battle of Clontarf (Irish vs. Vikings, A.D. 1014)
Battle of Clontarf Encampment
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 03/27/08 07:52:34 EST

Hammerin, again...: Jock, I just looked at the popup page for the hammer-in, and I saw one thing in need of correction: The caliber is .45 (to take a patched .440 round ball), not .44. No big deal, though.
Alan-L - Thursday, 03/27/08 10:36:34 EST

Local places to stay:
Wish we could invite everyone to stay with us but we have a full house with demonstrators and helpers. . .

There are several motels at the I77 Jonestown/Boonville exit (#82) The Hampton Inn looks to be the newest. The BigBLU guys are staying there. The Holiday Inn Express is just the other (our) side of the Interstate next to Cracker Barrel. See link for phone numbers and links.

This exit is about 1.5 to 1.7 hours North of Charlotte on I77 and 10 miles from us. There should be rooms. If not then there is a motel in Yadkinville and the next closest is Dobson/Mt.Airy.

10th Anniversary Hammer-In
- guru - Thursday, 03/27/08 10:47:44 EST

Parts and pieces: are rolling in. UPS is pretty amazing getting things here the next day many times via regular ground. I keep filling lists but know I am missing things. . . .

Going to machine two sets of nylon guides tomorrow. One set is not bad but when you are making two hammers that is 8 parts. . . We have ordered much of our steel cut to size to save time. Dave will be delivering most of it Saturday and then the real fun starts.
- guru - Thursday, 03/27/08 10:55:55 EST

I will definitely be attending the Anvilfire hammer-in. I am lucky enough to live in nearby Winston-Salem. Will there be an anvil shoot? Not a big deal if not. It sounds as if there are plenty of other things to take care of. If there is anything I can do to help out let me know. I am a novice smith, but an experienced mechanic/welder.
Jason Mecum - Thursday, 03/27/08 18:43:07 EST

Hammer-in coordinates, please!! : Most Estimable Guru-- I want to tell a friend in Virginia about your upcoming smite-in-- maybe what I need is already up here but I can't find it-- so, could you please post re: date(s), address, directions if it's a turn left at the big tree just past the old gas station sort of thing, and starting time, especially for tailgating if any, admission fees, etc. Thanks!!
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 03/27/08 20:14:08 EST

DIRECTIONS to the Hammerin : Miles and others, if heading south on I77 take the Jonesville/Boonville EXIT #82, traffic light is at the bottom of the exit ramp. turn LEFT, Crackerbarrel will be on your left, this is RT 67 follow this to Booneville aprox 9 miles. In Boonville take a LEFT at the only traffic light in town, this is HWY 601 go 1.5 miles. There is a trucking company on the left about 600 ft before the enterance ( slow down or you will miss the gravel driveway on the LEFT.) Look for signs and parked vehicles. hope that helps.
daveb - Friday, 03/28/08 08:31:32 EST

HWPETRIE coal forge: Has anyone heared of hwpetrie coal forge leather belt drive
john - Friday, 03/28/08 12:31:28 EST

More needed re: hammerin!!: Many thanks-- now how about the other details-- such as date(s), time, fees, etc. Thanks again.
- Miles Undercut - Friday, 03/28/08 14:40:12 EST

TIME: When the crowd is thick enough to start :). most likely around 8:00. Jock will have to detail that.
Tailgating: Sat 4/19 will probably be the big day.
Auction: 4/20
Fees: donate something for Iron-in-the-hat. Jock will have to verify that too.
Jock will be back this evening, so he will have to fill in the blanks as well as a schedule of events.

Jock has a link a few entries up.

daveb - Friday, 03/28/08 16:19:33 EST

Hammer-In Info:
Most is posted in the links I have been posting.

I'll post a map in the morning. . . .

We will have a LARGE sign near the road.

Sorry, No anvil shoot. We are a little close on space and have neighbors with horses we would prefer not to spook . . .

No fees, we are trusting Iron-in-the-Hat to cover it.

Friday demos will be ersatz demonstrator testing of machinery and demo prep. Visitors and tailgaters are welcome.

Demo times starting at 8:00 on Saturday. Due to all being in the same general area there will be no overlap other than multiple things going on in each demo.

Iron in the hat will be held at 5:00 PM Saturday.

Tailgating will start when the first buyer and seller get here and will end when they go home. Tailgaters are welcome to stay for the Sunday auction as I'm sure we will have more buyers than items to sell. Things should finalize early Sunday afternoon.

The auction time is posted as 10:00 Sunday with inspection of items starting at 8:00. We are still working on the list. Paw-Paw's black powder guns made by Alan Longmire to the description in his book, The Revolutionary Blacksmith will be sold with a reserve applied. There is also a fairly new riding mower and the NC-JYH as seen on the Power Hammer Page.

NOTE: Financially these are two seperate events. The Hammer-In is an anvilfire/CSI event. The Sunday auction is to help dispose of misc. and excess tools for Sheri Wilson, widow of Jim Paw-Paw Wilson.

FORK LIFT: We have an outdoor 5,000 lb. forklift and will help folks load and move items. However, our driveway is just steep enough in a few places that it will not go there. Patience will be needed to rearrange vehicles at loading time. Since I am the driver loading will also have to wait until my demos are complete and or the auction is over.

Folks are welcome to camp on-site. There will be porta-pots and we will make water available. Note that there is not much level ground here. Think camping with Snuffy Smith and Loweezy.
10th Annual anvifire/CSI Hammer-In
- guru - Saturday, 03/29/08 00:07:04 EST

Vise Box/Screw for sale: I contacted Wayne on Guru's Den, but I haven't heard back. I have a Columbian box and screw assembly marked 1½ (their numbering system), probably designed for a 4½" vise. I tried it on my 5" Columbian, and it worked OK. The screw is 1" OD, and it contains the original dished washers. $55 includes shipping. I'm in Santa Fe, NM, USA.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 03/29/08 19:26:51 EST

daveb, Jock-- Many thanks!!
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 03/29/08 23:07:52 EST

cone mandrel: i would like to buy a 5 foot cone mandrel. does anyone have one for sale?
- kevin north - Sunday, 03/30/08 10:47:45 EST

cone mandrel: wanted to buy 5 foot cone 208-317-5587
kevin north - Sunday, 03/30/08 10:57:48 EST

Mandrel: Kevin,

I believe the average height for a floor mandrel is 48", about chest high for the average guy. Years ago, I ran across a large one, about 53 3/4" tall with a 1¼" wall thickness. I purchased it, still have it, and don't really want to part with it. It is the largest one I have ever seen.
- Frank Turley - Sunday, 03/30/08 13:39:47 EST

I just found nice anvil, I think it might be a Hay-Budden (the only thing I could make out was A) but the number was 161. Does this mean that the weight is not the english system? Or is it 1 hundred weight, 6 quarter hundred weights and 1 pound.
John Christiansen - Sunday, 03/30/08 14:52:44 EST

John, not enough information.

Hay-Buddens are fairly distinct in shape IF you have a trained eye for looking at anvils. The underside of the horn where it leaves the body is flat, horizontal and semi rectangular. It is an ugly feature of Hay-Buddens but it does help distinguish them.

Besides the lettering HAY-BUDDEN in an arc there should also be MADE IN BROOKLYN, NY (and USA I think). It helps to clean the anvil with a wire brush and then take a rubbing of the side (thin paper and the side of a pencil or charcoal).

Hay-Budden's are marked in actual pounds, not English Hundred Weight. Generally English hundredweight markings are spaced out farther and properly had a dot between each place. Not a period, but a dot half way up the figure line.
- guru - Sunday, 03/30/08 16:19:39 EST

mandrel: i appreciate the info on the mandrel.if anyone wants to part with one similar in size, let me know
kevin north - Sunday, 03/30/08 18:46:01 EST

Thanks Guru: It is a Hay-Budden from what you said. About the tenth small to mid size anvil I've found up here. The one four hundred# Peter Wright that I know about isn't for sale. Quess I'll have to keep trying to build my cupola.
John Christiansen - Sunday, 03/30/08 20:39:23 EST

Anvil Weight: John,

It isn't possible to have an anvil marked in hundredweights with the number 6 in the second (quarter-cwt) place. Any more than you could have the second digit of a binary number be a 2 or a 3. Six 1/4cwts would be 1-1/2 cwt, right?
vicopper - Sunday, 03/30/08 20:43:14 EST

Thanks Rich: I know it was a stupid question, but I didn't know anvils that old were sometimes marked actual weight.
John Christiansen - Sunday, 03/30/08 21:33:15 EST

John Christiansen: Is the A161 stamped under the horn across the base? If so, it could be a Trenton, made in Ohio until the early 1950s.
Frank Turley - Monday, 03/31/08 08:19:06 EST

Cone Mandrels:
These are like swage blocks in that there is no standard and many foundries made them. There are hundreds if not thousands of shapes and sizes for a simple cone. . .

A friend of mine has a cone collection. One is about three feet tall and 20" (~50 cm) at the base and is SOLID. That is over 1,000 pounds. It has a 1" eye bolt screwed into the top that is necessary to move it. The steep angle reduces its usefulness but its stability compensates. He has other typical hollow cones that range from 5" x 2 feet to 10" x 5 feet. Most do not have "tong grooves" nor bases. There are also tanged hardy cones of various size and proportion. He also has a rare set of wheel wright cones which are a nested set of rings about 6" tall. These are quite compact and very handy.

I have a 5 foot cone that looks to have had a removable tip that has been permanently brazed in. the entirety is also filled with concrete which about doubles its weight. A number of cones had removable tips with a square shank so they would fit the hardy hole of the anvil. I am happy someone brazed this one in so that it has not been lost. . . I also have a shop made cone that someone made of pieces of pipe and tubing each about 3" long and welded together. AND there is my jeweler's ring mandrel. . . yet another "cone".

One of the most beautiful blacksmiths cones made was the Wally Yeater cone. It is about 5 feet tall, has about a 14" square base, several turned steps leading to about a 10" cone base and also has the tongs groove.

At our Hammer-Ins in Tennessee the past few years a fellow brought enormous cones from his collection. While a typical 5 feet or so in height they were some 2 feet in diameter. One was stepped all the way up in about 3/4 diameters, every 2". To haul them the fellow had made a round yoke with side bars that could be chained to the bed of the truck.

It is amazing that such a simple shape tool could vary so much but they do. At the same time they are fairly rare, thus expensive. I have many old catalogs that have anvils and swage blocks but no cones.

We have instructions for making a fabricated cone from bar stock and concrete. If you really NEED a cone to use this will suffice. See link below.

Good luck finding yours!
Fabricated Cone
- guru - Monday, 03/31/08 08:35:24 EST

Cone plan: One thing I did not note is that the concrete could be cut back from the steel using a power wire brush OR hand scraped out while still fresh but this requires exceptional timing.

Dave-B This would be a good project with a bunch of your circular drops and odd pieces of flat!
- guru - Monday, 03/31/08 08:44:37 EST

good idea.
daveb - Monday, 03/31/08 09:20:20 EST

Ring Master: A few years ago, a Kansas smith visited my shop and called the floor mandrel a "ring master."

Frank Turley - Monday, 03/31/08 12:15:25 EST

Anvil ID: looking at the bottom will help, the Trenton's usually have a pill shaped (caplet) depression in the bottom while the Hey-Budden's have a raised edge of the base that follows the edge around; not on early HB's this was rather thin and can be worn away---I have an HB where the raised edge is nearly gone.

Thomas P - Monday, 03/31/08 12:47:37 EST

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