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

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

April 2005 Archive

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

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

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

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

A Beginner: Hello, I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations of good books for beginners? I've not moved onto working with any metals yet, but I do want to master the basics first. Please contact me with any information you've to offer. Thank you.
- Miranda - Saturday, 04/01/06 00:06:05 EST

Guru: Thanks for the link for the plane makers. Nice stuff and I hadn't heard of those guys. I don't spend money on wood tools anymore, but i still like to look.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 04/01/06 00:19:00 EST

PyroRob: If I remember right the loveland hammer-in is the first full weekend in june, It was the same weekend of the "Great Granby City Council Bulldozer Roundup". June 4th 2004 A lot of Loveland cops went by the hammer-in before taking the E-ticket ride over Trailridge Road that day.
granby buldozer
habu - Saturday, 04/01/06 01:21:22 EST

Getting Started:

See our book review page and Getting Started article. We have reviews and where to obtain all the following. See also our Sword Making Resources list linked below for informating about the book "Metalwork Technology and Practice".

1) The Artist Blacksmith by Peter Parkinson
2) The Edge of the Anvil by Jack Andrews
3) The Art of Blacksmithing by Alex Bealer (for an historical perspective).
4) The Blacksmiths Craft COSIRA

For general metalworking and using basic shop machinery

5) Metalwork Technology and Practice (textbook, authors vary)

For more details about small tools and techniques applicable to all metal crafts

6) Metal Techniques for Craftsmen by Oppi Untracht

If you know nothing about metalwork and are not sure what area you want to go into the last two books in the above list are a good place to start. They are designed as textbooks for students going into a variety of fields ranging from diemaking, jewelery, sculpture, welding and blacksmithing. Both can be used in a self study program.
Sword Making Resources
- guru - Saturday, 04/01/06 09:07:51 EST

There are a variety of good books out there. One that comes to mind is Making Traditional Wooden Planes, by Whelan.

An even better way to go would be a plane making video like these:

Even BETTER would be to take a weekend class by someone like Tod Herrli:

Careful, it's a slippery slope. Hope this is a pleasant shove down the hill.
- Matthew Groves - Saturday, 04/01/06 15:54:25 EST

I've always wondered why smiths don't use hammers that are not as hard as their anvils therefore marring the hammer instead of the anvil, is there an obvious reason why?
- Stephen - Saturday, 04/01/06 22:46:01 EST

Hammers: I have both types, Stephen. I like the harder ones better, as the seem to hold a high polish somewhat better when hitting scale, which can mar a softer face. But I don't hit my anvil with anything but the center of the face, so even if I do miss a blow, I won't be doing much to the anvil.

The real damage to annvil faces comes from hammers that have sharp corners and narrow peins, both of which characteristics aren't desirable in a hammer, anyway. The other cause of damaged anvil faces is people hitting cold steel on them. If it happens to be a piece of high carbon, it will mar both the anvil and the hammer.

Someone once said that the two things a blacksmith will be sent to Hell for are hitting cold steel and not charging enough. With good hammer control and hot steel, it won't matter whether or not the hammer is harder than the anvil, because it will never hit it.
vicopper - Saturday, 04/01/06 23:48:21 EST

If you hit the hot iron on the anvil, instead of hitting the anvil, you don't need to worry about marring the anvil face with your hammer. I'm not trying to be smart, but I was taught to hit the work piece, not the work surface.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 04/01/06 23:53:40 EST

Stephen: The hammer isn't supposed to hit the anvil. For the hammer to be soft enough not to mar some of the softer anviles it would have to be too soft to hold it's shape over a lot of use. Of course all that would mean is it would need dressing more often.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/01/06 23:53:49 EST

Good point I'm still a beginner and I hit my anvil (a chunk of railroad track)alot more in the begining than now even with my cheap princess auto hammers (a harbor freight type store)I stil managed to marr it up quite good but thats why I started with it. I also hav a tiny ten pound cast steel anvil I got for christmas mostly for the horn but can I harden and temper it or should I leave it as is?
- Stephen - Sunday, 04/02/06 00:25:35 EST

Stephen: I'd leave the 10# anvil as it is. It is too small to be of much use at all for serious steel forging, so keep it for small work like jewelry or wire work. It doesn't need to be real hard to be just fine for that type of work. Save your efforts for looking for a deal on a nice used anvil of 100# or more.
vicopper - Sunday, 04/02/06 00:48:54 EST

Stephen: If Your hammer has a well defined edge at the face smooth it off with a grinder or belt sander. It wont leave undesirable marks [in the work or the anvil] if the contours are blended.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 04/02/06 01:04:51 EST

Hammers and Anvils:
First, a Rail-Road rail anvil is not as hard as a real anvil and will easily mark. It is capable of being hardened but generally are not.

Second, As noted the edges of the hammer should be round and smooth. When a hard smooth hammer hits a hard anvil face both compress then rebound giving back most of the force that wnet into the blow. Marks are few but you CAN mark an anvil with any hard object with an edge.

Third, As noted you should not be hitting the anvil. The trouble with RR-rail anvils is their arced face and too round corners. When drawing points and many other forging operations you work on the rounded EDGE of the anvil. RR-Rail anvils do not have sufficient edge AND it would be floating over space where it loses most of its effectiveness. . . so you work in the wrong place and mark the anvil.

Most marking of anvils is done by helpers, apprentices and by acident. You can strike the face of an anvil quite hard with the center of the face of a hammer and leave no mark.

Generally hammers are harder than anvils because they are used not only for forgeing but to strike other hard tools such as punches and chisels.
- guru - Sunday, 04/02/06 16:30:55 EDT

Broken Anvil: I have been reading up on blacksmithing, and have recently gotten a small portable forge and an old Franklin 150# anvil. The forge works, and I'm burning anthracite coal in it at the moment. I've tried some forge welds and have started to be able to do them as well. My main problem though is the anvil. The heel has been broken off at the hardy hole. That means I have a flat work surface, but I don't have the rear third of my anvil, OR a hardy hole, OR a pritchel hole. These are things that I need. :) I'm looking for suggestions on getting it repaired. It should be repairable, as I have the missing piece. I should be able to work around a soft line (if i weld it), and get my hardy hole back in any case. Any suggestions? I can get some pictures up on my website if you want to see it.

Thanks in advance.
Manny Jacoby - Sunday, 04/02/06 19:12:10 EDT

Broken anvil: I wouldn't repair the broken anvil, Manny. What I'd do is make a separate hardy and pritchel hole. Find a piece of 1" steel plate about the size of your anvil face or even bigger. Drill a series of holes ranging from 1/4" to 3/4" in it, and weld on a 3" stub of 1-1/2" heavy wall square tube. Before you weld on the stub of tube, heat it up and forge it down until the inside fits a piece of 1" square stock snugly. 1" is one of the more common sizes for hardy shanks. If you want, you can add another one for a different size, you just have to forge one.

Mount the plate to a stump or other base, so it is a couple inches lower than your anvil. This is a good height for using top tools like punches, drifts, swages, etc.

Making a hardy/bolster plate like this is better than trying to weld the heel back on your anvil, and it doesn't run the risk of wrecking an otherwise useable anvil.
vicopper - Sunday, 04/02/06 19:56:05 EDT

One more thing: Manny, I neglected to tell you to mount the "hardy hole" tube over a drilled hole of 1/2" or so. This hole allows you to poke a rod up from the bottom to free a stuck hardy.
vicopper - Sunday, 04/02/06 19:57:53 EDT

If i were to make a plate like that, should I harden the square tube and such? I am getting visions of it bending as i hammer on a hardy in it, but then again I may be off on my feel for how strong steel is, considering I've not been around it very long yet.
Manny Jacoby - Sunday, 04/02/06 20:27:14 EDT

It won't really harden: Assuming you use ordinary A-36 structural steel, it won't really harden that much, but that stil shouldn't be a problem. 90% of the work you'll be doing on it will be that same A-36, but it will be hot and, therefore, softer.

The only place you might have an issue is with hardy shnked multiple swages that put an overhanging load on the socket. If that is a concern, and you have access to a cutting torch, then just cut a big enough hole in the plate to allow yo to drop the 1" i.d. square tube through the plate. Weld it flush with the top surface of the plate and you're all set. Looks just like a hardy hole in an anvil, right?
vicopper - Sunday, 04/02/06 21:35:01 EDT

Vicopper: Don't think I've thanked you yet for your suggestion on the Grizzly belt sander 2 X 72. I love it! Thanks!
Ellen - Sunday, 04/02/06 22:58:35 EDT

Ellen: You're certainly welcome. Glad you like it.
vicopper - Sunday, 04/02/06 23:11:29 EDT

Harrd Hammmers!: The hammer I use with my hardy is harder than the hardy, since it's a lot easier to re-grind the hardy than to reface the hammer. On the other claw, where my old 100 kilo USSR anvil is soft, it's not near as soft as the current (and much later and cheaper) 50 kilo models, but there's a couple of hammers I've learned never to use the peen on that anvil with thin stock. The worse dings (which are more irratating than defacing) are from where my friends missed with the straight peen of a 9# sledge. 8-P

My antique wrought iron and steel hammer is most the way through the steel, and has mushroomed and gone convex on me, but it makes a great fullering hammer for drawing out hot work.

In the world of hardness there are all sorts of degrees and reasons. Sometimes it just takes experience to see what combinations of tools and materials work best together.
Go viking, featuring our luxurious 40' yacht!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 04/02/06 23:45:41 EDT

Aux Hardy Hole - Broken Anvil:
On the anvil, is it cast iron, steel or wrought? Franklin is an unlisted/unknown make. It makes a difference in how you treat it. If cast iron there is not much that can be done or is worth doing.

The best repair for a broken heel is to grind to clean up, shape to suit for special purposes.

Many old anvils did not have a hardy or pritchel hole even though these features date from the bronze age. iForge demo on what VIcopper described kinked below.
Stake plates and Bolsters
- guru - Monday, 04/03/06 12:18:20 EDT

Missing Hardy Holes: My dodge for odd sized or mismatched hardies and their holes, fullers, or other bottom tools is the clamp them into a suitably sized post vise.

Fort Union, NM; Frank:

I had a link to their somewhat minimal blacksmithing page, but now it doesn't respond.

Instead I give you:
George Washington's Birthplace NHS Blacksmith Shop
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 04/03/06 12:51:43 EDT

What would be a good price on a good condition Edwards 10B shear? Thanks. Jim
- Jim Warren - Monday, 04/03/06 17:00:04 EDT

Jim, Centaur Forge still sells Edwards Shears. Not sure about that size. Check the current price then work backwards. Used should be 1/2 or less as you get no warranty.

See the drop down navigation list or advertisers page.
- guru - Monday, 04/03/06 19:26:15 EDT

Huge Anvil: Here is the ticket for those who want a crazy big anvil. Check out ebay iem # 6267870633 it's over 1000 pounds.

FredlyFX - Monday, 04/03/06 19:54:20 EDT

Too much: That thing is already at about 30¢/#, which seems high for cast iron, which I'm almost certain it is. Truth be told, I don't think it's an anvil at all, but some part of some other piece of equipment.
vicopper - Monday, 04/03/06 20:16:27 EDT

I just wanted to tell you all who I met recently. Last month I took part in the Home and Garden Show in Columbus Ohio. I made a video of myself working in the forge to play in my booth. It was a really good attention grabber. This older couple came by and they were watching the video and the gentleman said "What kind of anvil are you using?" When I replied that it was a Trenton, the wife elbowed him and said "He used to own the company". It was Mr. Tilton, written of in Postman's book. We had quite an interesting talk and I invited him down to one of our meetings. Hope he'll show up some time.
- Jeff G. - Monday, 04/03/06 21:02:33 EDT

Broken Anvil: Sorry, not a Franklin anvil. Fisher. And I was thinking about cutting the heel break off flat and then putting some sort of steel pipe contraption for a hold down on my anvil. I only spent 30$ on the thing, so it's not like I'm playing with too much money...just a darn heavy piece of steel. And I believe it is wrought. There is a hard plate on top that has clearly cracked off the heel. Looks welded. Nicely welded at that. Thanks for all the help!
Manny Jacoby - Monday, 04/03/06 22:26:25 EDT

Broken Anvil: If it is indeed a Fisher, then the body is cast iron with a tool steel top cast in place. I love my Fisher, and would strongly recommend doing nothing to yours but dress the broken edge with a grinder and use it as is. You won't have any joy at all trying to weld to that cast iron, and trying to weld to the steel plate could very well cause it to come loose.
vicopper - Monday, 04/03/06 22:53:28 EDT

brokeback anvil: Sorry, couldn't resist....Anyway, I also have a Fisher which is broken off right at the hardy hole. About 2 inches of the horn is also broken off It still wieghs about 150 lbs). I only gave 15 bucks for it at a farm sale & I use it on the floor, near the forge for use in upsetting bars, or other odd things when you need to work close to the floor. Makes life easier & you don't have to worry about it too much.
I'm in Canton Ohio tonight at the Glenmoor monastary country club. Some iron work around the place in the form of candle holders, light fixtures, & wall brackets. Not too fancy, but decent.
- Mike Sa - Monday, 04/03/06 23:29:42 EDT

Big not an anvil:
I would guess it is part of some adjustment mechanism for a big gate such as in a ship size grain dump gate or something.

Anvil, it is NOT. And worse, it is probably cast iron.

On ebay everyone wants everything to be an anvil.

Would make a great base for a JYH though. . .

- guru - Monday, 04/03/06 23:47:26 EDT

Big not an anvil: I thought it looked a little funny. I was wondering about the T slots in the base. I'm curious what his reserve is. Probably pretty high based on thinking it's an anvil. However, even at scrap value it should go around 300 to 500.
FredlyFX - Tuesday, 04/04/06 00:33:38 EDT

Broken Anvils:
I hate to see poor old abused anvils but they are still very useful and as Mike and Manny pointed out they are ofen cheap. I have several de-horned anvils that are still good tools. They are just not convienient when you are accustomed to working with a hron.

They are good "apprentice" student or grandchild anvils. They are good for floor level upsetting. They are good bench anvils for general pounding. They are good job-site anvils.

When a friend was visiting a German blacksmith shop he noticed a square hole in the masonary floor. When he looked closer he realized it was the bottom side of an anvil set flush into the floor and the square hole was the handling hole. When he commented on it the smith replied, "yes, for upsetting. . ." No telling how bad of shape that old anvil was or how much was left but it was serving a purpose.

When ASO's are old and broken they will become door stops and garden ornaments repaired with plastic. But real anvils continue to live a life as useful tools.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/04/06 10:00:07 EDT

Well Sunday I was given an anvil that is almost fascinating in it's abuse.

I had arranged for a fellow in our church to donate his old ranch anvil to the Tech Fine arts department as their anvil had lost it's horn a couple of weeks ago. The donor anvil was a 61# Sodefors in durn near mint condition and the instructor gave me the "remains" of their previous anvil.

It was a Vulcan, probably originally 50# or so but the edges had been worked off until it was nearly pointed on top instead of a face.

Where the horn broke off was so many casting flaws that I may see if the materials science department wants it as a "don't do that" exhibit, looks like marine borers had bored out most of the cast iron along an interior plane where the horn meets the body. The original steel face is about paper thin. A student was tryiung to set a steel rivet using the tip of the horn as the backer and was really walloping it when the very bad casting failed.

It's really so bad I'm tempted to drag it along to Quad-State and put it on a display table---hate to give up the 50# of coal I could haul back in my duffle though...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 04/04/06 15:55:18 EDT

Little Giant: I was wondering if anyone can help me. I would like to sell my 100lb Little Giant. I am on the cental coast of California. Is there a place on the web other then ebay that I can market it?
Allen - Tuesday, 04/04/06 18:46:26 EDT

Allen, You are welcome to advertise it right here.

List the condition, asking price and offer to email photos.

We used to have an auction here but it had a screwed up admin system so I took it down. . . sorry.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/04/06 19:42:22 EDT

AnchorMaking: Atli and others interested in some large hand forging, there is a website which shows some pictures of this being done. Great DVD available as well. His next project is planned to be to forge a large anvil in the next few days. Great guy as well. Biggest darn forge weld I've ever seen made attaching the shank to the flukes. Not a small anchor.
Ellen - Tuesday, 04/04/06 20:55:34 EDT

Bruce is one of the few left in the UK who really knows his stuff! - I remember giving him a bit of advise on installing the largest of those power hammers (250kgs) I think that one runs of a tractor or generator due to lack of supply up there in the highlands.
Many of our closed die forges are closing now due to foreign competition, I do remember one in Glasgow that open die forged shackles weighing over 1 ton (finished) - we all had to dive out of the way when they drove the tractor down the forge (connected by a chain to the forging) to put the initial bend in them!
John N - Wednesday, 04/05/06 09:49:44 EDT

China at Work:
Thanks for the recommendation Frank! I picked up a copy. It is unbelievable how primitive much of china was in the 1920's compared to Europe at the time. Technology 200 to 300 years behind and more in some cases. My obsevations. .

At this time when the West was using the finest manufactured anvils ever made the normal Chinese anvil was cast iron. I could tell by the heavily rounded slufted off conrners that they were cast iron before reading the text. Maybe that explains some things about modern Chinese anvils.

The book has wonderful details about box bellows. I have seen traditional Japanese box bellows in use and they did not have the "bird house" on the side that current plans on the net have. I knew there had to be better more elegant valving. I had come up with passages in the bottom then a single valve that swithched from side to side at the exhust port. A pretty elegant solution I thought. Well, that is exactly what the ancient Chinese (and presumably the Japanese) bellows have!

One example even had outlets on both the right and left side that could be valved so that the bellows could be used right OR left handed! Pretty ingenious for a society using such primitive tools otherwise. Cylindrical bellows have the external tube but the book is not clear on the valving simple commenting that it is "similar". Since those I have seen had the tube hidden on the bottom I suspect the outlet valve is the same.

The book also records tools of many other trades as well as samll hardware and locks. Quite interesting for those interested in the history of tools. A snapshot of a things as they were hundreds of years before the camera.
- guru - Wednesday, 04/05/06 21:15:49 EDT

china at work: I've had good news & bad news recently. The good news is the our corporate has purchased my company's major competitor. The bad news is corporate is going to let them absorb my company rather than the other way around. The major reason the other company was kicking our butts was their location in a "free trade zone" and their exclusive use of parts from china.

I've been sent to their location to help in the "integration". They tell me of how many hundreds of chinese companies are all competiting for US business, all at different levels of quality. Some foundries are first rate, equal to or better than here; others so crude that they actually use rocks to knock flash off of castings...they don't even have hammers.

- Mike Sa - Thursday, 04/06/06 23:38:55 EDT

China at Work:
Mike, that is bad news. . . my bother-in-law went through the same with a Czech company. Spent a couple years helping setup production there and then was told to hit the streets. You don't want to know how many years he spent looking for work. . .

Since I am interested in moving to Costa Rica I have studied the country and I keep up with the news there. Pay scales there are a fraction of what they are here, about 1/5 and lower in many cases. One complaint they have is that they cannot compete with Chinese manufacturers even though they have a better infrastructure and are closer to their primary market by half a world.

I spent the day going through the book China at Work. I had unexpected time waiting in the ER and doctors offices with a friend. One thing noticable about the book is that there are no beautiful tools. There is no smoothness of line, no pride of workmanship like many tools of similar development in the West. Ingenuity ocassionaly, but no beauty. These were poor, desperate people and for a lot of them times have not changed that much.

The red dragon is a VERY hungry, VERY dangerous dragon.
- guru - Friday, 04/07/06 00:16:10 EDT

Dragons and Competition: A few years ago, I believe it was Jimmy Carter, then occupying the White House, proclaimed that the migration of heavy US Industry overseas was just peachy; the pollution would be gone and these products would be cheaper for us all to buy. Globalizaton at work, ah utopia!

It was fearlessly stated that we would move forward into the Technological Era and dominate the world markets for software, computers; other complex intellectual property and move forward into an era of unrivaled prosperity; due to the backwardness of these selfsame countries they would not be able to compete in complex areas. Then, to ice the cake, our government subsidized hundreds of thousands of foreign students to attend our universitites and learn all about this "US" technology, then go home and start replicating it. Guess what, technology is moving offshore as well.

Now we export raw materials: lumber, iron ore, coal, grain, meat, etc. The term for that used to be "colony". In history, colonies have always had a lower standard of living than the developed countries, who sell finished goods: steel, oil, computers, TVs, DVD players, precision machine tools, etc.

I fear in the span of a couple of centuries we severed ourselves from that kindly old King George, who was opposed to taxes as we know them today, and cheerfuly knelt before the Dragon and the rest of the Far East.
Ellen - Friday, 04/07/06 11:14:08 EDT

Having been one who has moved/added manufacturing capacity offshore, to Mexico, then Europe, then China.... and having many friends who still do this.. and having one friend who was born in China and worked there for many years before coming here to learn and get a job and move his family here... I speak from some experience.

"Desparate" may not be the best word for the Chinese people. Motivated is a far better word. When I was working there, many of the factory workers were moving off of the family susbsistence farm because it was no longer a subsistence farm. They came to get a job, away from their family in most cases, because their kids were starving and dying. That's pretty strong motivation.

If one wants to maintain the standard of living in the USA, the WORST MISTAKE that can be made is to underestimate the Chinese in terms of intellect and drive.

Materially Poor? Yes. Very. Inexperienced in many cases? Yes, Very.

But wanting and willing to both learn AND work hard? YES!!!

The above is a key statement. I have not seen that same level of willingness to learn and work hard in many other cultures.

Actually, it is too late to maintain our standard of living. It is just a matter of how far it will fall.

We are losing it here. Or have lost it.

Another mistake is that we do not admit we are losing it. The average manufacturing worker STILL thinks their kids will be able to make the big bucks screwing car doors on and is not making sure they get the TECHNICAL education necessary for the jobs we will have for a while yet.

The main reason jobs are moving to China and elsewhere is that POLITICIANS WANT TO STAY IN OFFICE AND THE BUSINESSMEN WHO OWN THEM WANT TO MAKE MORE MONEY!!!

The lust for greed and power. Nothing more complex than that.

The same for the people who control in China. The Chinese communist party. They know what they have, and the value of that workforce to the businessmen here and the rest of the world. They are making lots of money.

Do not blame the average Chinese people and do not think ill of them. They are good people. Far better from a moral and ethical perspective than 90% of the cultures I have worked with.

At this point, we have to blame ourselves. For some lack of understanding and some misplaced trust and some very lemming like behavior.

Of course, this has many historical precedents. The fall of the Roman empire, etc.

I would have hoped we are a bit smarter, but do we elect and force our politicians to do what we want? Or do we "trust them because they are supposed to be smarter than us". The answer is we trust them. But in most cases, not all, that trust is misguided.

The only control we have is the vote, and communication TO and demand of communication FROM our elected officials.

Those who have been here a while know I have said this before. And I have to say again, the time it is taking for us to lose our standard of living is far less than I thought. And it ACCELERATES every day.

- Tony - Friday, 04/07/06 12:56:25 EDT

Beauty of tools: Jock, you are correct that there is little beauty of tool in China. There is little effort "wasted" on making a tool anything but functional. A different perspective. One that some may not like, and that's OK. But you cannot ignore that making a tool "pretty" after it is fully functional is a LUXURY.

The focus is on getting the job done. That has it's own "beauty". When everyone is eating, people will have time to make it pretty.

Don't get me wrong. I like it HERE.
- Tony - Friday, 04/07/06 13:15:14 EDT

Money & Power: Somehow this discussion of China, the Chinese and industry brings to mind a very old fallacy deeply embedded in our culture: "The love of money is the root of all evil."

Money is neutral. Power over other people on the other hand has rarely proven to be benign. It is my impression that people who pursue money with the greatest vigor, pursue it not for the mere sake of wealth, but for the sake of the power that wealth affords.

Therefore let me assert that the lust for power is the root of all evil.

- John Lowther - Friday, 04/07/06 14:11:50 EDT

fisher anvil: I was reading some past posts and see there was some discussion on fisher anvils. I had the great fortune of obtaining a 150 pounder in near new condition for 75.00. I almost felt guilty about how good a deal it was. I'm at work right now so I can't go to the shop and get all the numbers off of the anvil. Good deals are still out there.
- Rhoof - Friday, 04/07/06 14:36:55 EDT

The hidden decline:
Tony, I agree 100%. I harp on the fact that we have driven away our primary metals industry, our steel industry is nearly dead. As Ellen noted we export raw materials. But that does not make us a colony, it makes us a 3rd world economy.

Enough politics. . .
- guru - Friday, 04/07/06 15:08:16 EDT

Fisher-Norris Eagle Anvils:
Rhoof, this link has a little info and numerous photos.
- guru - Friday, 04/07/06 15:53:19 EDT

One area the USA is still a World Class Exporter is in knowledge. Countries all over the world send their best and brightest to the USA for education. Unfortunately most folks working in manufacturing cannot switch over to this booming industry save in the lowest support capacities.

Thomas P - Friday, 04/07/06 16:42:08 EDT

Chinese tools and other pitfalls: I wrote a long, impassioned diatribe about our politics and economic policies, but decided not to post it. I'd either be preachin' to the choir or making people mad, so why bother?

They don't make them pretty, do they? But, for a lot of what I do, they make them pretty serviceable. I relly prefer the aesthetics of the tools made a hundred or more years ago, when craftsmanship and visual appeal mattered more than they do now, and tools were meant to last an entire career or longer. But, for the most part, I can't afford tools like that.

I've found that if you pick and choose with some care, and keep certain parameters in mind, any number of Chinese tools will prove to be quite serviceable and certainly cost effective. Others, of course, are simply crap and a waste of money. But American-made tools have become prohibitively expensive for many of us and in many cases their quality has plummeted in the past thirty years or so. And some of the Chinese stuff has started to get to where it is plenty adequate for my needs. Not all of it, though. Sometimes, it is better to pay the tariff for the best.

A couple of years ago I bought a HF autodark welding helmet for about fifty bucks. American made ones were selling for around six times that. The cheapie seemed to work okay, but I began to notice that after a day of fairly prolonged welding, my eyes were sore. I tried flash glasses under the helmet, but that didn't eliminate the problem. Finally, I decided that I do enough welding that it was only sensible to get a helmet that would offer better protection.

Based on recommendations from a number of people I trust, I ordered a Jackson Nex/Gen helmet. I whined and sniveled about the price, but glass eyes are even more expensive. And, while they never look bloodshot and sore, glass eyes never look AT anything, either. The helmet arrived today and I'll give it a bit of workout this weekend and see if I made a wise decision. I doubt very much that I'll be disappointed. I'll let you know what I discover.
vicopper - Friday, 04/07/06 23:53:21 EDT

Small consolation to the decline of US industry: For us hobby/ small shop types located in the rust belt there is an oportunity to purchase small industrial tools and machines now that didn't exhist before our domestic industry declined. In the seventies You had a hard time getting a Bridgeport type mill new or used. The demand was greater than the supply. Most of the machinery that comes up at auction now would not be on the market, or would bring high prices beyond what most of Us could pay. Small consolation however when there aren't good paying industrial jobs to work at.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/08/06 01:46:22 EDT

US as third world: I saw a big, very new, LEXSUS SUV still with a dealer drive-out tag. there was also a bumper sticker in the window " God Bless America." God helps us with what we do. Not particularly with what we only say. The Chairman of GM was very much criticized when he said during WWII "What is good for America is good for GM." We are giving away America's strength one Toyota at a time.
- John Odom - Saturday, 04/08/06 07:48:51 EDT


My wife went to high school and college at the top schools in Taiwan, and then came here for grad school. She's constantly running into classmates from home; her high school even has an alumni association that meets locally. So if we're exporting knowledge, I guess we're also importing brains. It seems to me that has to be good for the economy as a whole, but it further reduces opportunities for our native-born citizens.
- Mike B - Saturday, 04/08/06 08:55:31 EDT

I have some big disagreements with myself over the whole buy American issue re: cars. I bought a Chevy, with a mexican transmission, a canadian engine and who knows what else. I can buy a new toyota camry, with an engine made in Georgetown KY, and the steel parts stamped in Shelbyville Ky, and assembled in Georgetown KY. Similar for nissan. I realize the profits go to japan. I have trouble deciding which is more made in the USA.

On immigration we are a nation of imigrants. Our strenghts come from the melding of cultures and ideas. Our economy was built on the backs of cheap imigrant labor. These were however imigrants that were legal, and intending to be Americans. It is worrisome to me that the protesters I see are waving a foriegn countries flag, and protesting when in fact they are here illegally. I think imigration of people dedicated to becomeing assimilated into American culture, and becoming an AMERICAN is a great thing that benefits us all. Uncontrolled illegals, who are here only to send money out of the country, is not.
- ptree - Saturday, 04/08/06 10:25:55 EDT

John Odom: I would love to support Us car makers. But they do not produce cars as dependable as the Japanese makers, in my opinion. Any US make we've ever had far exceeded the Japanese makes when it comes to repairs. I have a 94 Toyota truck that I don't even maitanence like I should. It runs like a charm and the only thing I have ever replaced is the starter. We have a 98 Dodge van and it is constantly failing us. We had a computer on the van go bad and it took 3 trys to get one that worked right. I would not expect people to continue doing business with me if my work continually failed. Likewise, I am going to buy things that give me the most usefullness for my money.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 04/08/06 11:14:39 EDT

Delicate subjects:
One complaint about UD immigration policy is that the best brains from the world often come to the US to get educations because much of the cutting edge research is being done a US colleges and Universities AND a top US Universtiry degree is recognized world wide. These folks often come here for an education planning on going home but like it here so much they decide to stay. Putting tight controls on immigration of graduate students sends these valuable people back home. Yes, we DO export knowledge but on balance we import as much or more. You do not have to spend much time in a US medical institution to see that a large number of doctors and nurses are coming from India, Korea and elsewhere. These folks were sent here for an education because their countries need them at home, but they are HERE.

A recent book about immigration from Mexico is titled "The Silent War". The author describes the current situation as government sponsored slavery. These folks come here to do ANY job and often get paid less than legaly alowed THEN have no protection in the way of a safe work place or health care. If they get sick or complain they are told to go home or they are turned in to the authorities. The current system supports this abuse. At the same time the agricultural, meat packing and other industries say they cannot survive (compete in the world market) without these slaves (ah. . "workers").

When we import goods from Southeast Asia we are often supporting similar systems, unsafe work places, minimal wages. Of course this will not last. When we import these goods we stop being able to produce them here. Then prices will rise because we have no choice and the folks that once worked at slave rates will achieve a higher standard of living. It is happening now.

Cheaper imported goods SOUNDS good but are very bad in the long run.

A little company based in Lynchburg Virgina once made one third of the free world's supply of shoes. And they were darn good all leather shoes, sold under dozens of popular brand names. Cheap imported shoes from Korea put them out of business. Now rubber and canvas shoes cost $100 a pair and UP. And for the folks here that want mindless production jobs there are none. There will always be a large segment of society that is not suitable for, nor WANTS a high tech software based job. We need those home based production jobs to keep those people employed and to keep our society healthy.

Our non-economic policy under both the Republicans and the Democrats has been a huge failure. Too few believed Ross Perot when he said there was going to be a giant sucking sound as jobs went to Mexico (NAFTA). Little did he know that we would commit economic suicide with the Chinese.

We are also finalizing support for CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement). Originaly this was supposed to be among the Central American nations that are on somewhat equal economic footing. But the U.S. gongress wants in AND to set terms. Terms that could destroy the economy of countries like Costa Rica which lives on import duties (primarily on American goods).

We are not in fact a democracy. We are a republic. It is the duty of the governing body of a republic to maintain the economy of the republic to the detriment of others. At one time the U.S. had no income tax. It taxed IMPORTS. Import duties maintained this country until WWII (our first 150 years). The income tax was a war tax and supposed to be temporary. Instead it became a gold mine for congress.

Import duties did two things. Yes, it increased the cost of imported goods. But it was also an incentive to make things HERE. When we became the worlds largest exporter (of everything manufactured) "Free Trade" became our mantra. We would put economic sanctions on a country that tried to tax our imports. . . In turn we agreed not to tax imports (because they were VERY few). Now this policy has come back to bite us in the ass. Little Japan (look at a map, they are microscopic) devastated our auto industry. Imagine what a giant like China can do using the same techniques.

Where should we go from here? I do not have the answers but I DO KNOW we cannot keep going the way we have. I DO KNOW we need a real long term plan of action. But I also know that nothing will get done until it is too late.

I too prefered to "buy American" but there is no longer anything to buy. My Dodge van has a Canadian body and a Japanese engine and who knows what else.

What is the largest city in the Western Hemisphere? In 2020 it will be the worlds largest city. Hint, they do not speak English there.
- guru - Saturday, 04/08/06 11:48:34 EDT

fisher anvils: Guru...thanks for the link to Fisher anvils. I'll post the numbers on the anvil later.
Rhoof - Saturday, 04/08/06 11:50:34 EDT

Japanese/American crankshafts: ptree,

I suppose I played an infintesimal part in this misch masch of worldwide marketing. A few years back,the forging foreman of a Kentucky based, Japanese operated crankshaft factory phoned me. He asked if I could teach a student how to make a pair of large tongs to blueprint specs. I said yes, so he sent me a young man, an employee, for my regular class.

The story goes as follows. This young man was trained as the striker by a traditional, elderly Japanese master smith, who was sent from Japan specifically to make and repair this type of tongs. There was no power hammer used. The old man showed up missing one day; he apparently got homesick, and unannounced, returned to Japan. The young striker was inundated with requests for more tongs and tong repairs, but not being a real apprentice, he was lost when it came to heating and beating on his own.

During the class, we made a couple pair of the big tongs, one of which I kept in my shop. The jaws had a compound curve, so that the crank stock could be held end-on, and after the initial rough heavy forging, it could be grabbed side-on with the same tongs. I told my student that when he returned to the factory, to DEFINITELY put in a request for a power hammer. A few short months after his return to work, he phoned me with the news that the company had purchased and installed a power hammer for him.

Frank Turley - Saturday, 04/08/06 11:53:44 EDT

Thanks to input mostly on another forum I purchased a Jet horizontal bandsaw and Jet floor model drillpress; assembled them yesterday. They assembled easily, instructions were complete as were the parts enclosed. They run perfectly and even came with the blade mounted. Ditto a Grizzly 2 X 72 belt sander/grinder I purchased recently. I don't think there are any domestic drill presses or horizontal band saws produced here, and if there were, I couldn't afford them.

My 98 Dodge Ram 2500 4WD was assembled in Mexico. Not sure were the parts were built, but a lot of the bolts are metric. Runs well, has almost 120,000 miles on, and gives me little trouble. My 91 Ford F250 was a junkpile and moneypit.

Not much I can do to change things. Used to write letters, and vote, but no one listens and there's not much choice usually.

Ben Franklan was correct when asked what kind of government they had given us ...."A Republic madam. If you have the wit to keep it."
Ellen - Saturday, 04/08/06 12:01:15 EDT

Delicate subjects: I agree about imported talent. In the late 70's I taught photography at a community college and had a student from then Yugoslavia. His family had a furniture factory and he came here to learn techniques to bring back home. We used to have very interesting political discussions and he was very opinionated reagrding the U.S. Four years ago I was working in a large cabinet making shop and strangely this person was hired as a supervisor. He didn't recognize me at first but I knew it was him right away. We talked about his decision to stay and marry an American woman. Dusan said that he fell in love with the U.S. and decided to become a citizen. He visits his war torn country once a year and sends money to his family. I believe that many more stay than leave. We may have our faults as no goverment is perfect but this is by far the best country one could ever live in. Dusan is one of a multitude of foreigners that came to learn with the intention of going back home but ultimatley stayed. We should not restrict that.
Rhoof - Saturday, 04/08/06 12:06:07 EDT

Anvil advice?: Hi all,

I'm living on the east coast, and have had a hard time finding a decent used anvil. I'm pretty tired of searching through the "ASO"'s on ebay.

I've done some smithing in College with my roomate, but would still classify myself as beginner. So I've been resisting buying new for a long time. I'm getting pretty frustrated with my search though. All the used in local auctions and occasion flea market are going as much as the new.

Lately, I've been tempted by the "Cliff Carroll 125 lb." Anvil that centaurforge and others have for sale. Can anybody tell me if that brand of anvil is decent, well known etc? I'd hate to break down and go new only to find out its poor quality.



Mark - Saturday, 04/08/06 12:06:26 EDT

export talent/import bains: Mike B. Those that come to this country for an education and become a citizen do not reduce opportunities for U.S. born citizens. It only raises the bar for everyone to compete for the hi-tech. jobs. U.S. born citizens must buckle down and take thier education as seriously as those that come here from other countries. If our children are competitive in the classroom they will have no problem in the workforce.
Rhoof - Saturday, 04/08/06 12:54:14 EDT

anvil advice: Mark. You cannot go wrong purchasing an anvil from Centaur forge. Sure it may cost more than a "good deal" on a used anvil but as you have stated that you are tired of looking. I am fortunate enough to live 45 minutes away from Centaur in Burlington Wi. and caused rust on many anvils as I drooled on 'em. Buy one and start hammerin'. You will never look back. What will probably happen is that you will buy a new one and that great deal will immediately fall into your lap. So can never have too many anvils:):):) I had a "great deal" fall into my lap with a 150 lb. Fisher for 75.00 but don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen again.
Rhoof - Saturday, 04/08/06 13:03:14 EDT

Cliff Carroll 125:

That is a farriers anvil. It is a good US made anvil. It will work for general forging but is light in the heel and very heavy in the horn. Forging anvils are typicaly body heavy so they do not tip under heavy blows and you get more resistance to movement.

In about the same price range check the TFS (Texas Farrier Supply) 100 pound anvil that BlacksmithsDepot carries. It has much more mass in the center and has been called by Bill Epps "the biggest little anvil around". Centaur may also carry this anvil.

Then if you are looking for a budget anvil the MFC hollow core anvils are available for a pretty low price. However, I cannot say how good the hollow design is, not having used one.

For the money the 175# Euroanvil is the best buy around. It is a good forging shape and has the popular side clip as well as double horn.

In anything less than 200 pounds I would get as much anvil as I could afford UNLESS portability is an issue. Then a 100 to 125# anvil is what you want.

Check the price including shipping on anything heavy you intend to buy as it can make a difference.
- guru - Saturday, 04/08/06 14:22:57 EDT


My post sounded stronger than I meant it to. I agree that native-born Americans who aren't competitive in the job market have to look at themselves first. Fewer qualified immigrants might mean more native-born Americans in high-tech jobs, or more high-tech jobs overseas. Probably some of each.
Mike B - Saturday, 04/08/06 14:47:00 EDT

I'm afraid some folks misread my post: the USA *gets* foreign exchange dollars for it's teaching. This is a good thing and not something that is usually counted when folks figure the foreign exchange balance. We also tend to skim the cream of the best and the brightest. This is also positive.

The negative is that most folks can't get jobs as teachers.

Thomas P - Saturday, 04/08/06 17:48:43 EDT

Mark: I have a 75# Cliff Carroll, and the stand it fits on with the integral vise. It has been a good anvil for me. I purchased it because I needed one I could take to hammer ins and move around easily, and for me 75# is a good size. I like the shape, the turning clips, the hardness and the quality. It is a bit horn heavy but much less so than any other comparably sized farrier's anvil. And, I didn't have to pay shipping on it. I would rate it an excellent anvil for light (up to 1/2" stock) work. Bigger is better, but not when I have to move it. Grin! It's the only small farriers anvil I would recommend. 100# would be better. If you are going with the 125# Cliff Carroll, I think the regular shape is better than than the "wide face". My opinion only.

As to people who come to this country to get an education, or in any other legal way, I say "Welcome to America." The key word is legal. Helps if they want to assimilate, learn the language, etc.
Ellen - Saturday, 04/08/06 19:38:57 EDT

Mark: Forgot to mention, working with a small anvil will teach you to work with **hot** steel. You can't stretch the envelope like we all do sometimes with a big anvil. You'll also learn about "soaking" heat. Grin!
Ellen - Saturday, 04/08/06 19:48:33 EDT

cultural changes: Our Studebaker club had an outing today & we had lunch at the Amish Gastoff Inn in Indiana. One of our members is 92 years old & still drives a studebaker (has a beautifully restored '55 hardtop). He was in the peace corp during the 60's & spent time in Africa and Indonesia. He said back then the popular slogan was "Yankee Go Home....and take me with you!". I'm afraid it's different today.

Getting back to topic, we were too early in the season to see any Amish smithing going on where we could see it.
- Mike Sa - Saturday, 04/08/06 22:29:25 EDT

Immigration & etc.: Ross perot forgot to warn of the WOOOSH sound of the air displaced by all the people coming across the border to work in the US. In spite of all the new opportunity that Mexico has from all the jobs that went south with the sucking sound, thier people still come here to look for work. The Mexican Pres. got in hot water with Jessie Jackson a couple months ago saying that the iilegals are only doing the work that the blacks won't do. Whell maybee it isn't only the blacks, but the Mexicans can find a job,work at "low" wages, live somewhere and eat, but they still send money home to thier families. We have a class of people that get welfare instead of taking those jobs. Anything wrong with this picture? I think so. When I lived in Florida on My boat I had a wiseass saying that We should send the illegal Hatians to Cuba and the illegal Cubans to Hatie. That way We could mess with Fidel and show the the Cubans how bad some have it at the same time. I don't see any reason to put up with "Demonstraters" who arer not even here legally. Causing a ruckus in almoast any other country woild get You deported or worse even if You were there legally.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/08/06 23:12:19 EDT

Jobs Taken: At one time the only jobs for illegals were really grueling agriculture, cannery and sweat shop jobs. Today in many parts of the country it is hard to find a construction crew of any sort that is not mostly Hispanic. Many are here legally, on some sort of work permit, or from the last "amensty". But these are also the jobs that used to be the mainstay of high school graduates before and during and after college in those gaps where they needed employment or if they did not go to college. These include technical jobs like electricians and HVAC techs.

The world'd biggest city? Its going to be Cuidad Mexico'. The next largest in the Westen Hemisphere will be L.A. at #6 (If I remember correctly) in the world. . .

The flood from our Southern border is huge but there is still a significant illegal influx from other parts of the world. Our best course of action would be to make them all legal and start collecting income and Social Security taxes from them all.

- guru - Saturday, 04/08/06 23:49:02 EDT

I spent a month in Indonesia back in 1995. the people were overwhelmingly effusively friendly---just random prople in Jakarta a larger city than New York City. I do not believe that to be true anymore.
- Thomas Powers - Sunday, 04/09/06 00:19:33 EDT

I don't KNOW what the best course of action is. I suspect that it is what our current law is. Want to come in? you are welcome. As long as you support yourself and your family in a legal manner and you adopt OUR culture. Not demand you maintain your own in public. What you do behind the closed doors of a home you purchase is up to you.

I applaud the initiative of those who want to better the life of their family.While being RESPECTFUL to those who are providing the opportunity!

We have had a bunch of immigrants in our area. Crime went up dramatically. I wonder if the same happened when European immigrants came in?

Letting illegals become legal just by the stroke of the pen is not a good option in my opinion. Bad precedent. Legitimizes illegal activity.

The reason we have so many illegals is again...

Greed and the lust for power. People who hire illegals are doing it to make more money. I don't buy the idea that no American workers will take those jobs. They just want too much money to do them. That doesn't make it impossible to hire the American worker. It just means we have to enforce the lower wage for a lower skill job. Hard to take, but the alternative is far worse.

If there were no jobs for the illegals, they flood would stop. They would have no way to support themselves. That is the ONLY way to stop the flood. Stop the trade in illegal workers. Throw the bizznizzmen who hire them, and the politicians and law enforcement who look the other way for a little palm grease, IN JAIL!! Same for the rich boy who hires the illegal worker to mow his lawn and clean his pool. His butt goes to JAIL!

Who is it that wants to give amnesty? I don't know many who do. In fact, Jock, you are the first real person I've heard suggest it. I suspect it is the bizznizzmen who want to make the increased profit. And the politicians they pay. And maybe the liberal media.

What are all of those American workers, who supposedly cannot learn for better jobs, going to do? How will they support themselves and their families? What is YOUR suggestion?

I see my son working very hard to earn money for college. He is making less than the same dollar per hour wage I could get when I was doing the same. This is 30 years later. We are shooting ourselves in the foot with a VERY big projectile.

The idea that foreign knowledge and professional workers do not displace or reduce opportunity for American knowledge and professional workers is not true. I know. I hired some when I could have hired American workers. At an inflated wage for their ability at the time. I was told to. Guess by who? What would be the logic behind that statement Rhoof? I agree with you that competition is good. But competition is not the only deciding factor. In the engineering field, my experience world wide in the 90's was that our engineering was far better on average than what was available elsewhere. I'm told now that the gap is closing quickly. And we are helping it do so. We are GIVING AWAY what our forefathers worked so hard for. When I was in college, we had some of those foreign students. By and large, they held the class back due to their lower starting point. I for one, was not happy about waiting to learn the next thing until the foreign student "got it". So the FACT is that we are slowing ourselves down while we educate the ones who will take our jobs.

Don't believe all of the drivel the liberal media and the politicians push. That is part of the misplaced trust issue.

If it smells like bad meat, but looks OK with dye and packaging, it's still bad meat.

If we don't discuss these things, they will happen around us. As they have. Pushed by those with initiative to do for themselves at our expense. Again, human nature to take from others if you can get away with it. If you are a follower, you get what you deserve.

Harsh words? Maybe. Unfortunately, more harshness is to come when things flip and there is no more free giveout tax money for the ignorant and lazy to take so they can feed their kids. Then they will either watch them starve or pack up and go to China or India to beg for a job as an immigrant that will not be welcome. To send money home to the family. Our country has been there. We were the land of opportunity. The wild West. Where people came to better their life by their own initiative. We are headed toward needing a place to go to do that again. Very fast. Unfortunately, the world is a smaller place and there is no more land of opportunity unless you like to live in very cold or very hot places. And I don't see many of those that will lose thir jobs having the initiative to do it.

The solution is to educate ourselves, and most importantly our kids, for what will be available and stop the politicians and bizznizzmen from raping what we have. Two major issues.

Taxes get increasingly redistributed to the lazy. If we spent all of those tax dollars on education and research with output, instead of non functional and feel good projects, maybe. The only way to maintain our standard of living is to do the same as our forefathers. Think and work and prepare for the future.

VIC, how did the helmet work?

Thomas, you are correct. Jakarta is not as safe as it was for Westerners. Lots of religious fanaticism.
- Tony - Sunday, 04/09/06 07:15:39 EDT

Writing letters: Ellen, the trick with writing letters to politicians is to make your expectations clear and tactfully DEMAND a response. You may not like the response, but they will know you may publish it elsewhere. We have to take the politicians to the task that they work for US! And if they don't serve US, we will do something about it beyond just the vote. We will publicly address their performance. Both good and bad.

I recently wrote a letter to my representatives on an issue that we were having with insurance companies. I expected them to know the difficulties we were having. I did not ask for help. It was prelude to far stronger actions and I was getting them in the loop. Lo and behold, we got a helpful response from a couple of them. So I wrote a letter to the local paper thanking them and pointing out to my neighbors that they actually did a good job. Polticians want to stay in office. A thank you letter to them only, does not help them stay in office. The paper didn't print the letter for three weeks. The staff from the politicians office had to "nudge" the paper to print it.

I sent letters to 5 representatives. Want to guess which party responded helpfully? I got no responses from the other party. Want to guess what I'm going to do with that? You bet. I am going to publicly state the fact that one party helped and the other didn't even bother to respond.

This is all very disgusting to me. Having to play these games. And it is time consuming. But unfortunately, that is the game we have. The last thing I am going to do is let it get played out around me and live with the results.

I urge everyone to do the same. Even if you don't agree with me. Be a willing participant. Not a follower.
- Tony - Sunday, 04/09/06 07:38:14 EDT

I'm sorry:
To those who come here to forget about all of this undesireable crap and just talk the lovely topic of smithing... I am sorry.

Just not half as sorry as I'd be if I didn't say it. I have to respond. Have to try.
- Tony - Sunday, 04/09/06 08:03:51 EDT

tony: i have one word to say in regards to your posting........... amen........
blacklionforge - Sunday, 04/09/06 08:22:13 EDT

The big picture:
If you read any of the anti-establishment economists such as Linden Larouche (yes he is a loose cannon but he is also a brilliant economist), the problem is that the very rich manipulate the world economy and the systems in large countries to their benifit and no one else except their friends who are also in the big game.

These are the folks that make money off money traveling from country A to country B and do not care what causes the movement of that money. It can be war, revolution, drugs, slavery or unfair economic practices, they do not care, they make money. In the war on drugs most of the money is "laundered" through big banking establishments owned by people that do not want it looked at because they make money on the trasactions. That is what Larouche meant when he went off on his tirade about the Queen of England being a dope pusher. People in high places make money on the movement of money.

The other area that the global econimists site as problematic is profiting on exchange rates. Those same people that make money on the movement of money also have the power to move their funds in and out of economies by simple bying and selling of those currencies and cause those currencies to to boom or crash. The big game of the '80's and 90's was raiding nations economies. The reason the president of Indoneasia wanted to thow the international banks out of his country a few years ago was this very same reason. They had bought the local currency to build it up, make profits on it and were then dumping it.

There are dozens of ways really big money manipulates stock markets, manipulate companies, countries, governments and in the end directly effect everyone. The "conspiracy" threorists don't have a clue. It is far bigger than even our government.

Money, power, self interest. . .

Think about it. When money is moved home by those millions of "undocumented" workers how do they do it? Send cash??? No way. They send international money orders where the cash moves through international banks who in turn make money off the process. . . LOTS of money! Ever send money to a forign country? In large amounts it is cheap. In small amounts it can be cost as much as 15%! The profits are astonomical and today there is no physical movement, it is all electronic.

Anything illegal creates financial opportunities. Big organized crime started with prohibition. That money moved into drugs and now the movement of human beings and their employment "off the books". Many people profit including you and I who get "cheaper goods". Of course this is at the expense of many who need jobs, which also include you and I.

- guru - Sunday, 04/09/06 09:24:50 EDT

The local picture - Immigration:
There are four ways to handle the problem of illegal immigration. One is to ignore it. A LOT of people like the current status quo and the benifit of economic slavery. See above.

The other is to admit we are not going to stop it and issue permanent visitor worker visas with a provision that the worker work toward a U.S. citizenship.

To be sure that employers are not hiring those without papers put a gigantic fine on every instance and make the fines mandatory, even if it means seizing the business and selling its assets to pay the fines. This will stop the illegal hiring immediatedly. (Within hours). It will also increase employment tax revenues tremondously.

This last item has been suggested by others and can be used alone to stop the illegal imigration OR it could be used in a more sane policy to assure that people are treated fairly and that we collect taxes on their employment and help them become good citizens OR guest workers.

The most radical approach would be to form a department of Mexican economic development and HELP Mexico. It may be impossible to fix but Mexico has huge resources and with the proper infrastructure could have a dynamic healthy economy.

We are much better off with a healthy stable Mexico (like Canada) as a neighbor then a troubled poor Mexico with an exploding population. Imagine if there was a revolution there to overthrow the government. OUR miltary involvement just to keep it from spilling over into the US then to try to keep the peace would cost trillions of dollars. The loss of productivity from US factories in Mexico combined with the flood of refugees would cost trillions more. So why not work with Mexico to help solve its problems?

All workable real solutions. So what gets the most interest, "The Great Wall". Sold as a deterent to possible terrorist influx it is a joke. The 9-11 terrorists came into the US through legal channels, passed through US airports, had documents stamped by US immigration. If we build a wall to prevent land crossings with Mexico then we had better build a wall between the US and Canada including along the Great Lakes. My that would make the waterfront in Chicago beautiful. . . Then we better build walls along all the beach front property along the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific coasts. . . We won't have to worry about forign terrorists, "Realtors" will become the anti-government subversive organization.

AND although we focus on the "Mexican" problem, fully 1/3 of all "illegals" in the US are overstays from other countries, mostly from Southeast asia.
- guru - Sunday, 04/09/06 10:34:17 EDT

Solving OUR government problem:
All it takes is ONE, just ONE U.S. president with gumption.

All He or She must do is announce that they WILL VETO every bill that has spending not germain to the subject of the bill. Bills we either be spending or law but not mixed and spending bills will have their purpose clearly defined. AND if such bills do come to His/Her desk they will also announce Loudly, who is trying to subvert the process.

Congress would hate this, the public would generally love it and vote for a second term. The following President would have a strong reason to follow this rule and in a short time it would become unthinkable to try to extort pork or special laws into bills and the custom would stop.

This would clean up the pork barrel process and the subversive tactic of adding law or pork to critical spending bills that often cannot wait. ANY President has the power to enact this policy. We do not need a constitutional ammendment. There are MANY areas such as this where the office of the President is very powerful. All they have to do is be willing to do the job they were elected do.

Second, Congress will by its own volition add the reason for the passage of any law to it and if that reason is no longer applicable the law will cease to be in effect. All such laws will be reviewed by a non-partisan body who'e duty is to determine if there is cause to continue the law. All that is required to enact this is to put the proper legalease into each law.

This is to reduce the huge volume of law passed for alarmist or reactionary reasons OR like the income tax to expire laws that were supposed to be temporary. Laws that survived long enough (over 25 years) could be declared permanent.

The solutions to many of our problems, percieved or otherwise, are often fairly simple. All it takes is people that do what needs to be done for the greater good.

We have had dozens of Presidents from both parties run on reducing government spending and cleaning up Pork. None have done what they promissed. It is easy, all they have to do is DO it. Just say NO.

I spent a couple years writing to congress on a regular basis. I almost always got a reply, often from the elected official. But most of the responses were trite or showed obvious lack of empathy for the "common man". Many replies were form responses that were worse than no response. I gave up.
- guru - Sunday, 04/09/06 11:12:43 EDT

Tony: The helmet works great! Thanks for the recommendation, it lives up to all its promises, at least so far. I was doing some fairly low-current MIG welding yesterday, right next to the open door of the shop. Sometimes I was in the sunlight, other times in the shade. Every time, regarless of my head position, the helmet switched properly and NEVER flashed me. No problems at all, if you don't count my crappy out of position welding. (Grin)

vicopper - Sunday, 04/09/06 12:56:40 EDT

Poli-tricks: There may be a lower life form than politicians, but if there is, I'm not personally aware of it.

As I see it, most of them fall into one of two categories:
1. The slimeball who wants a publicly-funded job with plenty of power and who will tell whatever lies, grease whatever palms, and turn his back on whatever problem, just to get/stay in office.
2. The fanatic or zealot who has an axe to grind, almost always one that will be to the benefit of a VERY select few of his friends/patrons, or wants to push his particular reeligion on the rest of us, the Constitutuion be damned.

On rare occasions, a true statesman comes along and is usually pilloried for proclaiming that the Emperor is running around in his birthday suit.

On Immigrants: Let them come just as we have for a couple centuries. While doing that, don't make the mistake of grouping illegal entrants into the class of "immigrant."

They aren't; illegal entrants are nothing more than trespassers.

When someone trespasses on YOUR property and takes away a thing of value, that is called a felony. It should not be any different for trespassers in OUR country. (Yeah, the same country WE trespassed in five hundred years ago and swiped from the local residents.) Maybe we need to learn from our own history the dangers of unchecked trespasses?
vicopper - Sunday, 04/09/06 13:12:18 EDT

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming:: I'm going to take a break from politics and other unpleasant subjects and go beat some hot steel. Anybody want to join me?

Beat iron, not dead horses. Grin!
vicopper - Sunday, 04/09/06 13:14:18 EDT

Vicopper: Amen!

Back to your new helmet. I am assuming it is the one shown on Welding Depot with the 4 1/2 by 5 1/4 lens? Room to wear reading glasses under it? I am assuming you did not find a lesser price than Welding Depot?

Reason for asking is I have the Horrible Freight auto darkening helmet and have been "burned" a couple of times when it was slow switching. Gets tiresome, and closing my eyes for a second or two while I hit the arc defeats the purpose of the helmet.


The Jet horizontal band saw and 12 sp. drill press work great!
Ellen - Sunday, 04/09/06 13:46:17 EDT

Had one of the local campus cops over to forge. He's been doing stock removal knives and wanted to learn how to heat&beat.

We are both pretty well through the forging part---instead of trading off heats like I usually do I started one of my own to show him and then coached on his; so it's 100% "his".

Ex seal, says he never has run into anything he couldn't take care of with a 4" blade and large knives are just anchors...very refreshing viewpoint!

BTW yes crime was perceived to jump with european immigration back in the 19th and early 20th centuries. (Think "Gangs of New York")
Thomas P - Sunday, 04/09/06 14:53:12 EDT

I say Guru and Vicopper in 2008!
- Jeff G. - Sunday, 04/09/06 16:25:33 EDT

Ellen: My helmet came from Harris Calorific Sales, Inc., selling as "Torchking" through eBay. The price was about the same. Nobody was cheaper - I looked. I honestly didn't think to look at Welding Depot. I surely do love that helmet! Way more expensive than the cheapies, but worth every penny. My bifocals or reading glasses fit under it just dandy.
vicopper - Sunday, 04/09/06 20:41:44 EDT

Vicopper: Thanks. Was welding up some jigs this afternoon and darned cheap helmet was slow again.
Ellen - Sunday, 04/09/06 21:07:19 EDT

Ellen - Helmet: I have a Hobart "Weld It" auto helmet. It has an "Arc One" filter plate and has served Me well since about '99. it was about 75$ on sale at the farm store. The only time it flashed Me a shadow from some part of the workpiece caused it.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 04/10/06 00:13:53 EDT

Helmet again: One of the nice things about the Jackson Nex/Gen helmet is that it has four (4) sensors in a staggered array so it is almost impossible to block the sensor and get flashed. It also seems to make it much more stable when th eambient light levels vary.

Since the Jackson will operate also as a shade 5, it can be used for gas welding/cutting and really low-current TIG work. The "clear" #3 shade is light enough to be suitable for grinding and fit-up operations, too. I'm pretty well convinced that, at least in this case, you do get what you pay for.
vicopper - Monday, 04/10/06 08:13:03 EDT

Auto Dark Helmets:
When I bought mine back in 1984 it cost $125 (real money then) and had the problems Ellen is talking about, failure to darken, getting flashed a little EVERY time. At the time it was one of the industry leaders but apparently it was not ready for prime time. . . It got dropped and broken or I would have taken it back.

Since then I have had no interest in the high tech helmets. A significant part of the reason is that it was too easy to drop and break. Welding helmets get blow off, knocked off and flipped off. I've had them drop 20 feet off structures being built and knocked off work benches. Too hazardous a life for a relatively high dollar item.

I decided low tech is better, adjust the helmet properly and tip your head and it works. . . OR as I have pointed out many times, you simply increase the ambient light and you can see fine through #10 and #12 shades.
- guru - Monday, 04/10/06 08:44:19 EDT

welding helmets: 3 times I have gotten the courage up & bought an auto dark helmet, and 3 times I have chickened out before actually using them and took them back for a refund.

Now, I actually did use these helmets when I took that week long power hammer class in new england, and they worked fine with no issues. I just can't make myself trust them at home. My dad was a welder for the Ironworkers. The memories as a kid of all the pain he would go thru after getting eye burns are still with me.
- Mike Sa - Monday, 04/10/06 13:03:15 EDT

The Original Auto-Dark Helmets:
My problem with them was that after EVERY arc strike I could see a bright floating spot. This was disconcerting and made it difficult to concentrate on the weld bead. It made it harder to weld than needing to set, flip the hood and then strike the arc. . . A lot of money spent and no advantage to me. But I also had a lot of welding experiance and even though the hood was a bother and I WANTED the auto-dark helmet to work it was not better.

I would like to try a good quality up to date model but I will not spend money again to find out it is of no advantage.
- guru - Monday, 04/10/06 14:27:41 EDT

I've been using an auto darkening helmet from Harbor Freight for the last several months. I compared the specs on all they had and bought the one that had the fastest response time. I toss it on the bench just like my old helment and have had no problems so far. I also have no problems with it not darkening. In fact, it even darkens when I use a grinder and get sparks coming off my welds. I have noticed a big improvment in the quality of my welds as well.

FredlyFX - Monday, 04/10/06 17:58:55 EDT

helmets: I have a Miller auto dark, I have found that I dont need my reading glasses under it for starting an arc like I do with my regular helmet. I like it in the shop but would not take it to the field. It does seem to take rough service well, accidently fell off the bench a couple of times. Luckily mine was given to me , I couldnt bring myself to buy one. That said I would buy one now.
crosspean - Monday, 04/10/06 18:02:36 EDT

Illegal inmigration: There are NO easy answers. The problem should have been prevented by enforcement of existing laws. It may be too late now.

Lets get back to smithing.
- John Odom - Monday, 04/10/06 18:56:24 EDT

I have been using auto dark helmets since the mid 80's or so- and never gotten flashed by one. My first one, a Jackson, lasted about 18 years. It was repeatedly dropped from ladders, knocked off my head by falling steel (thankfully small pieces) and generally kicked around in the shop.
Never broke once, til it finally wore out- which I attribute to advanced age, not abuse.
Since then, I have been running a Hornell. Dont like it quite as much as the Jackson, but it was all they had in the store, and I needed one that day.

In both cases, I have found it well worth it to buy a good quality helmet. I beat em up pretty good, and they take a licking and keep on ticking. Never gotten flash burned or even seen "floaters" with either one.

And like many good tools, they have saved me hundreds, if not thousands of dollars- especially in repetitive welding situations, but also very often when I need three hands- holding something in exactly the right spot, and then haveing to tack it in place, it would always seem to move when I flipped my old manual hood down. Never happens with the auto dark.
Over the years I have employed a good dozen or so tech school trained professional welders. Two of them, superstisiously, I thought, refused to ever try an auto dark. They claimed they could still see the flash. Every other welder I have worked with has loved em, and used em religiously- I guess its a matter of personal choice, but to me, its like an automatic transmission on a forklift, or a hydraulic versus mechanical ironworker- sure, the old styles worked fine, but the new ones are safer, faster, and when you figure in your time, LOTS cheaper.

On the subject of immigration, I know my old anarchist Finn ancestors never had no stinking green cards- some of them, undoubtedly came thru Ellis Island, but some just walked down from Canada. So I am sure I am at least part Illegal.
I know that my wifes parents on both sides immigrated to Canada first, then just sort of sidled on down to Pittsburgh, which, if they did today, would sure nuff be illegal.

Different times, different laws.

As recently as the late 80's, we were getting about 30,000 illegal irish immigrants a year- dont know if it has slowed down or not, but I do know that in construction in the northeast, on just about every job site you run into scads of Illegal Irishmen.
- Ries - Monday, 04/10/06 20:39:21 EDT

Auto Helmet: My welds improved a lot as soon as I started using it allso. Productivity went way up as well. I could never see much with a #10 shade unless in direct sunlight outside on a clear day. I used a #12 accidentally, could hardly see when the arc was lit, BUT that may be due to My photogray glasses which get pretty dark in the sunlight and take a while to lighten. Vicopper's description is making Me want one of those better auto helmets. I used a flip up helmet a lot for stick welding, it was OK as long as I had a free hand. When I got the spool gun I didn't have a free hand as the gun & cables is a handfull one handed. I got the auto helmet soon afterwards.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 04/10/06 22:00:22 EDT

Better mousetrap: After two cheapie auto helmets that never quite fully satisfied me, I was hesitant to drop the big money for the Jackson. I waffled and wavered for over a year before caving in. While the cheapies sure demonstrated that the technology should be able to do the job, they just fell short of what I thought they really should do, and that made me uncertain as to whether or not the high-dollar helmets could deliver.

So far, at least, the Jackson has proved to me that the extra money makes a big difference. It seems to clamp way faster than the cheapies, even though it doesn't boast significantly faster advertised numbers. The number may be about the same, but with the better helmet I don't have any blurry ghosts wandering aroun din my eyes after starting an arc. And after a day of welding with it, I had no "tired eyes" like I wuld have every time with the cheap helmets. That alone is worth it to me.

I do find that not having to flip m helmet down makes it quicker and more certain when I start a weld. When I was having to reach around to the offside of a joint and wqork out of position, being able to see with the helmet down made all the difference, as I was in a position where there was no headroom to flip a helmet.

I have no idea how well it will hold up to being knocked around, but it sounds as if Ries had pretty good fortune with that, so I'm optimistic. They do guarantee it for two years, and they'll send the replacement first and then you send the bad one back, which is the way a decent manufacturer does things, in my book. As clumsy as I can be sometimes I'm sure I'll have more than sufficient opportunities to test its mettle.

If you have a good welding store where you are, I'd suggest going by and trying one out in actual use. If I had such an opportunity here, I would have done that. As it was, I had some overtime on a paycheck, so I was feeling flush enough to spring for it mai-order. Glad I did, too!
vicopper - Monday, 04/10/06 23:33:22 EDT

Vicopper: Did you spring the extra $15 for a heavy duty storage bag for your new helmet? I ordered one with mine, will report back in 3 days or so. I am tired of sandy eyes after short run welding jobs. I noticed at Camp Verde at the Flypress Tool Making Class that the folks with the top of the line helmets could use them on the tig welder. My cheapo would not work at all with the tig welder. And it didn't like the mig welder much either.
Ellen - Monday, 04/10/06 23:55:29 EDT

Jackson Nexgen: VIC, glad to hear it's working out. I still try to treat mine like gold due to the cost, but it has worked flawlessly for me. One battery change required so far. It takes two. You may want to get them as spares because if you are impatient like me, when the helmet doesn't work... You may get cranky.

Oh, that's right, you have the patience of Job. Grin!
- Tony - Tuesday, 04/11/06 09:14:57 EDT

Thanks for Advice: Thanks everybody for the advice! I'm thinking I'm going to go with the Cliff, its expensive new but just the right amount of anvil for me to get started on. When I outgrow it (or over abuse it while learning), I can keep it for smaller stuff and upgrade then.


Mark - Tuesday, 04/11/06 12:33:37 EDT

Immigration: My great grandfather walked across the frozen lake Huron from Canada. He was an aprintice to an English tanner in Ireland. The tanner emigrated to Canada and brought his apprintice with him.When the apprinticeship time ended, the master convinced the Canadian authorities that the apprintice ship began when he entered Canada, and that the apprintice owed him 5 more years! G.Grandpa just walked away to the "land of the free," across the lake. I too am part illegal!
- John Odom - Tuesday, 04/11/06 16:31:03 EDT

CSI hammer in: I am planning on attending the CSI hammer in. Anyone interested in the punch and die lube? I can bring a few gallons, and save you the shipping. Let me know and i will bring the right amount.
- ptree - Tuesday, 04/11/06 21:30:31 EDT

Ellen, Tony: Mine came with a nylon bag, but for the life of me I just can't imagine myself putting the thing in a sack at the end of each day like some heirloom. It's just another tool; it gets hung on its dandy little lovingly handcrafted (okay, crappy quickie) forged peg above the welders. I did get a spare pair of batteries for it, and they're in the shop refrigerator behind the diet Coke and the Gorilla glue. See how organized I am? (grin)

Patience? You mean like not choking the living **** out of the waitress from Hell?
vicopper - Tuesday, 04/11/06 21:34:53 EDT

ptree's punch juice: is terrific stuff and I want some more. Unfortunately, I can't make it to the Hammer-In. If you'll email me with your snail mail address Jeff, I'll stick a check in the mail for you to mail me whatever will fit in on eof those cubical Flat Rate mail box deals. Let me know how much to send you. That is the best punch lube I've ever used, and it doesn't get my hands all dirty, either.
vicopper - Tuesday, 04/11/06 21:37:50 EDT

An Ohio Blacksmith?: Trying to find Marty Resnick An ohio Blacksmith
- Paul Davidson - Tuesday, 04/11/06 22:52:35 EDT

The waitress from heck:
Jeez, VIC, you know how to bring back memories. Ahh the one who could not shut up. You insulted her intelligence so many times without her knowing it.... twas a thing of beauty. If only she had done a good job and not shut up, that would have been better.

Like I said, the patience of Job. Embarrassment is so much more sublime than violence. Grin.
- Tony - Wednesday, 04/12/06 08:35:49 EDT

versa vise: And then there are times when the waitress would love to throttle certain members of the public.
- Frank Turley - Wednesday, 04/12/06 10:17:18 EDT

Farm Store compressor: The other day I wandered into TSC in search of copper free mineral blocks for my sheep, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a single-phase 7.5hp Ingersol Rand two-stage air compressor on an 80 gallon tank. The label noted something to the effect of it having well over twenty "Maximum horsepower." Sixteen hundred some odd dollars. I've never seen a new Ingersol for sale that wasn't at an industrial supplier before. . .

Anyone know what is going on? Ingersol moving down scale or the farm store moving up?
John Lowther - Wednesday, 04/12/06 15:19:34 EDT

Ingersoll: Neither one, John. Ingersoll has simply begun marketing their products much more directly and aggressively in the last year or two. Norther Tools, HF, TSC, are all carrying Ingersoll products now, as are a multitude of others. BigBLU hammers is an Ingersoll dealer and an Anvilfire advertiser. Ingersoll still makes first-rate equipment, never fear.
vicopper - Wednesday, 04/12/06 16:24:31 EDT

Punch lube: Vicopper,
Stopped by J & M today to arrange for 5 each one gallon jugs of punch juice for the CSI hammer-in. I asked about shipping to St Croix. They are checking. The issue is the post office won't allow liquids in the flat rate boxs.
I'll let you know as soon as they advise.

I will be bringing 5 one gallon jugs to the hammer-in. They will be $30 each, and you save the shipping. I will see if J & M will toss something nice in the iron in the hat. Perhaps some anti-rust oil.
ptree - Wednesday, 04/12/06 21:04:16 EDT

I think it is Tip Top Forge Talmage ohio for Marty Resnic. Fred
- Fred McDaniel - Wednesday, 04/12/06 21:14:09 EDT

Hey Fred, Thanks for the heads up on Marty. I have a young smith that I would like to have spend some time with him. The kid shows great promise but needs some of Marty's finess
Paul Davidson - Wednesday, 04/12/06 22:02:53 EDT

Ptree: Can't make the hammer in, sigh, so did the next best thing. Ordered a gallon of the punch lube from JM this AM. Easy to place an order; they've got their schtuff together.
Ellen - Wednesday, 04/12/06 22:04:50 EDT

Ingersol: They do make good products, but I wish they would cut the "Maximum Horsepower" shit. That might be acceptable for Sears, but it is a usless number. Who cares how much torque it will make for a few seconds while the smoke pours out? I have serious doubts that they ACTUALLY deliver that horsepower while overloaded, and suspect somebody is converting locked rotor amps to kilowats to horsepower to get those numbers.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 04/12/06 22:32:20 EDT

Dave: I have trouble with the concept of horsepower. Might just be me. But if a Thoroughbred can move himself and jockey, say 1200# total, at 50 mph or a tad better in short bursts, how do they rate a car at 300 HP? Or an electric motor at a similar riduculous figure. A team of two good draft horses can skid humongous logs out of a forest, pull a gang plow, or a heavy wagon. Never could get the comparison.
Ellen - Wednesday, 04/12/06 23:13:15 EDT

1 HP = 550 foot/lbs sec.

That means that the horses tested on average could raise 550 pounds one foot in one second. This was probably measured using a pulley system and a distance of several feet. Since the horse was fighting gravity the acceleration of gravity is also a factor in common or English units.

These kind of units came from the begining of real engineering in the 1700's. When James Watt (1736-1819) went to study the steam engine he found he had no mathematical tools to describe power consumption nor tools to actually measure anything more than time, weight and angles. Watt had to invent the steam pressure gage so that he could measure the pressure of the steam operating an engine and the pressure changes as the engine ran. He also invented the strip recorder! There was also no rules for the strength of materials and common tests were to place a beam between two trees and have a team of horses or mules pull on it. As you can imagine this was nothing you could use to make a comparison to anything and prooved little. But THAT was the state of much engineering at the time.

As soon as mathematicians took the problems James Watt posed (and solved many on his own) and applied rules defined by Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727) just a generation earlier engineering technology exploded so that by the mid 1800's most of the basics were defined. However it took until the 1908 publication of the Russian Stephen Timoshenko's book on the strength of materials for the science of materials and structures to be fully defined.
- guru - Thursday, 04/13/06 00:50:32 EDT

If I remeber right, one
- Rich33 - Thursday, 04/13/06 01:07:18 EDT

Horsepower: Guru, thanks, my understanding was that James Watt used horses pumping water out of a mine (or lifting ore) to come up with his definition and that way could explain to a mine owner that a 20 HP steam engine would burn less coal in cost than the hay for 20 horses, or some such.

What confuses me is that 50 MPH is 5,280' X 50 = 264,000 ft per hour, divided by 60 = 4,400 ft per minute, divided by 60 equals 73.34 ft per second, times 1200 # = 88,008 ft lbs per second divided by 550 equals 160 horsepower. Obviously I am doing something wrong, although it looks logical.
Ellen - Thursday, 04/13/06 01:25:35 EDT

Clarification: The above calculation is based on the Thoroughbred race horse running 50 mph at 1200 # weight for short distances. Secretariat (Triple Crown Winner) had a stride of 27 1/2 feet when running flat out.
Ellen - Thursday, 04/13/06 01:30:17 EDT

Just a few secs search time. I did not verify accuracy etc.
But search can work well if you choose to try, and be a bit patient. Which I am not
- Ralph - Thursday, 04/13/06 06:07:46 EDT

pwr: Seem I losy my link. Attempt number 2 or last
Ralph - Thursday, 04/13/06 06:08:57 EDT

looking for...........: pics of unusual stake tools and bicks/ bickerns-----------does anyone have any pics they care to share ??? thanks.....
blacklionforge - Thursday, 04/13/06 08:36:47 EDT

Horsepower: Watt assumed that the horse would work all a day, and calculated an average usefull output, in mine hoisting application.

In the racehorse example above, there is a flaw. The force must be measured PARALELL to the motion. Weight of the horse is perpendicular, and not directly relevant.

Peak horsepower is totally different from average continous HP and totally ficticious. Note mose consumer device motors are rated in peak HP.
- John Odom - Thursday, 04/13/06 10:15:27 EDT

Stall Torque or HP: I too have recently seen motors labeled with these far fetched values that have nothing to do with what the real usefull HP is of the motor. The starting amperage or inrush current and stall torque have nothing to do with the practical work the machine will do.

The only thing this number is good for is engineering things that will not break. Every drive part in a machine should be able to withstand stall torque.

When electrical protection is properly applied circuit breakers trip long before stall torque is achieved unless the stall is sudden then the breaker trips simulteaneously with the unexpected applied load.

In the startup case motor controls alow a short high current to allow for acceleration from rest and the high inrush current. After that the starter parts heat up and a much lower load will trip them. This stops motors from burning up when they stall and are themselves hot. Both cases are the extreames, one allowed, the other NOT.

On some devices the peak HP that does not trip a breaker is useful such as in a blender crushing ice. But that has nothing to do with the sustained rating of the device and as John noted has nothing to do with reality. Such devices normally operate well under the normal 15A circuit rating even at peak HP.

Just more modern myths. . .
- guru - Thursday, 04/13/06 11:48:55 EDT

Horsepower: I figure Ingersol included the "Maximum" horsepower on their label for purpose of comparison to consumer compressors. It was labeled as 7.5 HP.

The last Grizzly catalog I got showed a "3HP" Grizzly compressor as delivering more air than some of the consumer grade name brand "5HP" compressors they were selling.

Ellen - It would take 160 horsepower to LIFT your 1200 pound horse at 50MPH. Rolling (striding?) resistance is far less than what it takes to lift a weight. This is why they used to hitch extra locomotives onto trains in the mountains 'cause they had to LIFT the weight of the train up the pass, power they didn't need across Kansas or southern Illinois. (Which are even flatter than most of Kansas, but you don't notice on account of the trees.) Nowadays the coal trains just idle the extra engines 'till they need 'em.
- John Lowther - Thursday, 04/13/06 11:55:27 EDT

Horsepower: Thanks for the explanations; this is something which has long puzzled me. So does this mean a 320 HP car can lift 2400# at 50 MPH--I am assuming lift in this case to be at a 90 degree angle to the ground. Sorry to be so ignorant. I am **not** trying to provoke an argument; just trying to understand a concept I can't get my mind around......thanks!

Ralph, email your way.
Ellen - Thursday, 04/13/06 16:48:58 EDT

Horsepower: Ellen,

You're correct about lifting the car. Or you would be if there were no air resistance, no internal friction in the transmission, no rolling resistance etc. etc. Actually, if you made all those assumptions and the transmission were geared high enough, the car could drive up a 1 degree grade with a *vertical* velocity of 50 MPH. Yes, the horizontal speed would be almost 3000 MPH. Obviously without all the assumptions (most importantly the absence of air resistance) that can't happen.
Mike B - Thursday, 04/13/06 17:44:55 EDT

With the displayed talent at embroidering little details I would propose that the "let the smoke out" hp be known as BlackSmith hp and so be designated as B.S. hp.

Thomas P - Thursday, 04/13/06 18:16:45 EDT

Ellen, and email: Got it and thanks
Ralph - Thursday, 04/13/06 20:44:46 EDT

magic smoke: Thomasp,
I like the concept of let the smoke out Hp. Especially calling it B.S. Hp.
Years ago I was taught very primary electricity by my Dad, to quote " if you let the magic smoke come out of electrical devices they do not work, until sent back to the factory to be restuffed with more magic smoke"
I have held that theory near and dear ever since. It has been proven in my experience many times over.
ptree - Thursday, 04/13/06 20:54:30 EDT

Welding: Rich, thanks for the information. The Jackson arrived today from Welding Depot, I ran some test beads, and the improvement in my control was an order of magnitude better. The helmet was worth every hard earned penny I spent on it. I have hopes of some heavy duty fabrication in the next few months (power hammer anyone?) and am trying to get my house in order. The Jet bandsaw and drillpress are also very fine.
Ellen - Thursday, 04/13/06 21:29:32 EDT

Corollary to magic smoke: Light bulbs do not give off light they absorb darkness. They turn black and quit working when they are full.
- habu - Thursday, 04/13/06 22:57:52 EDT

HB bead roller: Finally unpacked the harbor freight bead roller I bought a few months ago when it was on sale. Needed to roll a simple bead in a sheet metal patch panel.

The base plate (22 x 8 x 3/8) is as limp as a lasagna noodle. You can't get a good tight fit of the rollers due to the deflection of the plate. The notch (throat)in the plate is 7/8" wide & 17 inches long.

I'll weld some braces on it this weekend & see if it can be stiffened up some. It's virtually worthless as is. The rollers seem to be made with enough clearance to work material much thicker than the strength of the "frame" will allow. Thought the group would want to know.
- Mike Sa - Thursday, 04/13/06 23:27:22 EDT

Horsepower: In the early days of farm tractors they were rated in horsepower both on the drawbar and on the shaft [old tractors had a shaft coming out the side with a big flat belt pulley, not the PTO in the back like modern ones]. Shaft horsepower was usually doubble the drawbar horsepower, and in some cases the 2 sets of numbers were the model # of the machine [10 / 20 etc. but I forget which manufacturer].
Dave Boyer - Friday, 04/14/06 00:17:09 EDT

bulbs....: Habu, this corrolary really only applies to fluorescent bulbs.
The used ones always have black ends. Saturated with dark. (grin)
Ralph - Friday, 04/14/06 02:16:52 EDT

Horse power: Some people rate their motors this way:
(Stall torque) X (maximum no-load RPM) and call it "peak HP"
This is totally ficticious. Another (bad) way is to measure the electrical input at stall and convert that to HP.

The actual output RPM and Torque need to be measured simultaneously, and the duty cycle stated to have a meaningful number.

The worst part is that they don't tell you how the HP was measured/calculated, and the customer service people don't know/care.
- John Odom - Friday, 04/14/06 11:22:53 EDT

Horsepower: I picked up the latest Sears tool catalog a couple of weeks ago, and notice they now rate their compressors in "running horsepower," which seem to bear at least some relation to reality. Don't know why they finally changed -- maybe they got sued. See, we lawyers are good for something (even if it's getting rich representing people who were too stupid to read the SCFM numbers).
Mike B - Friday, 04/14/06 15:45:19 EDT

Horsepower: My company once toured a Briggs Straton plant as a benchmarking excercise. Just before entering the plant, the tour guide turned to us & said "Just for the record, Briggs/Stratton doesn't make a 7 horsepower lawnmower engine". We thought that was an odd comment, but we got his point a few minutes later. Running down one of the assembly lines were an endless row of Sears lawnmower engines. The sears supplied sticker that was being applied to the cover said "7 horsepower".

So much for true advertising from major companies....
- Mike Sa - Friday, 04/14/06 22:20:28 EDT

Bead Roller Update: As expected, if you weld 6 pieces of 1 inch angle iron to the chinese frame of the harbor freight bead roller, it becomes stiff enough to be actually used for it's intended purpose. I had to tweak it a little as the welding went along to keep it flat.

It would probably have been faster just to make a new frame from thicker stock, but I was too lazy to look for a big piece of plate & spend time at the band saw.

It came with a 1/4, 3/8, & 1/2 inch bead dies, 3 flange dies (the 1/4 match the best, the 1/2 the worst), & one shearing die set. The shears aren't really large enough diameter to let the stock feed in easily. You really have to push the stock to get it to start cutting.
- Mike Sa - Friday, 04/14/06 22:29:15 EDT

Electric motors & horsepower: One sure sign of an honestly [conservatively] rated motor is when they state the service factor - and it is greater than 1. This means it will put out the rated horsepower times the service factor for the time stated.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 04/14/06 23:07:08 EDT

Horsepower: It would be fun to hitch 8 draft horses to a gang plow, say 12 to 16 shares, and then hitch the same gang plow to a car, say a nice Mercedes, and start both across a field that needs plowing, good rich bottom land with some moisture in it. Perhaps we could then get some mathematician to explain the result. Just a theoretical exercise.

Mike, interesting on the Harbor Freight bead roller. Some of their stuff is good, some isn't. As the old auctioneer used to say, I've got some bargains and some surprises for you, and it's up to you to figure out which is which.
Ellen - Friday, 04/14/06 23:15:58 EDT

Ellen: Can 8 horses pull 16 shares? Must take Really BIG horses & really good ground. My Uncle and His Brother used to plow with a Plymoth, 1 share. My Dad used to criticize My '69 GTO. It was supposed to make 350 HP @ 5500 RPM. He said "How long do You think it will make that much power?" My answer was "For longer than You will want to keep Your foot on it" That car got up to 120 MPH really quick, probably would have gone 140 in not a lot more time. Even as a half crazy kid I didn't push beyond 120, not on recap tires on country roads dragging the exhaust systen on every bump.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/15/06 03:19:42 EDT

Finish on a Champion 400 blower: I'm in the process of rebuilding a Champion 400 blower. One thing that I haven't been able to figure out is the finish that would have been applied. As found the surfaces were covered with a light rust and no obvious traces of paint. Were these ever painted or were they oiled? Some other coating? Thanks for any advise.
- Scott C - Saturday, 04/15/06 07:52:48 EDT

Scott, All that I have seen that appeared to have original paint were black. This was the common machine and machine tool color of the day. One reason was the lack of seals and leaking oil. Used oil is black and it does not show well on a black surface.
- guru - Saturday, 04/15/06 10:48:39 EDT

Horsepower and Speed: Dave, I had a 1973 Kawasaki Z-1 at 900cc. I think it was rated at 50 HP (probably baloney but that's the way things are done). At any rate the specs said you would not have to shift out of 4th gear into high gear until redline (something like 11,000 rpm), and at that point you would be doing about 125 mph.

Curiosity being what it is, and also being young, indestructible and immortal, well, you know the feeling......somewhere around 10,000 rpm (and this was going up a hill where the road was good and no side roads entered), I lost interest in the experiment, and shifted into high prepatory to slowing down. Speedometer was indicating 115 mph, and I must say the wind blast was like nothing I have experienced before or since..... That was the end of my curiosity in investing motorcycle factory specifications as to acceleration and speed. The acceleration on this beast was absolutely incredible. Lots of things can go wrong "up there" and they are **all** lethal. Not one of my smarter experiements.
Ellen - Saturday, 04/15/06 11:20:27 EDT

Horses, Oxen and Cars:
Ever watch a pulling contest? To start the load moving the horses jump against the harness then dig in. They do not use friction to drive the load as their hooves are dug into the soil and it often the strength of the soil that is a limiting factor.

To do the same with your GTO you would have to get it up to about 100 and then run head on into the load and MAYBE, just MAYBE it might move as far as the two horses did. Even with a non-totaling run against a "harness" there would be insufficient friction to keep the load moving.

Comparing apples and oranges (cars and horses) doesn't work.

When I was last in Costa Rica I saw a farm crew harvesting sugar cane in a low soft field. They had two huge oxen pulling a tractor trailer sized farm wagon. This used to be the norm in Costa Rica but tractors and trucks have replaced oxen. . . EXCEPT in soil too soft for a tractor to get traction.

The limitation of a hoof driven a foot into the soil is the shear strength of either the soil at a foot depth or the animals leg. It is not a friction problem but more like teeth on a gear.

Even tractor tires do not operate on surface to surface friction except when on a hard surface. On soil it is the internal friction or shear strength of the compressed soil between the cleats of the tractor tire.

If you are going to make comparisons in engineering or physics you need to look at what you are comparing and the mechanics involved. People often misunderstand torque and horspower, friction with shear strength. Modeling the problem is also important.

Fast cars . . a friend of mine had a Plymouth Challanger 440 six pack with a four speed. I never got it out of third gear (about 120 MPH) before I had to start braking (lousy brakes). He kept twisting off drive shafts. A customer that I used to do tune ups for had a 62 Corvette with a 327. Much smaller engine but with the light weight body made the Plymouth look sad (of course I had to test drive it after the tune up). The common thing about these overpowered monsters was you KNEW you were moving really fast.

Had a friend take me for a ride on his new Honda 4 cyl gullwing (the first year they came out) and on a back country road you could not hardly tell you were moving at 140! Now THAT was engineering. . . But none of the three could have gotten themselves out of that sugar cane field much less pull a load.
- guru - Saturday, 04/15/06 11:27:05 EDT

power: I alays wonder why put as much horse and tourque power on vechile with no mass nor braking ablity ( motorcycle) as you would in sports coupe. I get my Road King up to about 80 and I am scared spitless. Been to 90 mph once. It will be a long time before I do so again. 60-65 9keep it open with hiway speed is good enough for me) My bike according to spec is supposed to get 55-60hp at the rear wheel. Who cares. I runs, sounds good and I feel good in the wind. (smile)
Ralph - Saturday, 04/15/06 16:29:03 EDT

Ralph: I'm with you, pal. My days of getting a "speed rush" are long behind me. I have a Honda Nighthawk (a 1986 in immaculate condition), shaft drive, 700CC and I consider anything up to about 70 to be a comfortable road speed. More than that is, well, just more than I want to do. I love the wind in my face!
Ellen - Saturday, 04/15/06 18:09:41 EDT

Speed & Power: I have a somewhat overpowered motorcycle that I don't go very fast on, either. My days of going fast and dangerous ended when I quit desert racing. Back the (in my early twenties) my 225# desert racer cranked out almost 45 rear wheel horsepower and would get to 85 or 90 in less time than it takes to tell it. Doing that on raw desert was definitely an adrenal stimulant, but my reflexes are now too slow and my joints too used up for that.

My 1200cc Sportster makes about 55rwhp and is more than twice as heavy as my old 2-stroke esert bike, but it will still go waaaay faster than I will. I don't think I've ever had it above 90 and that 90 was a one-time thing. Mostly I ride it about 45, as our roads/drivers aren't suited to much more. Neither am I. But I do love whipping it through the twisties in the rainforest on a nice day!
vicopper - Saturday, 04/15/06 19:30:05 EDT

geezer memory lane: I had a '71 chevelle w/ 454 4 speed & cowl induction. A fun car. I rode on the back of one of the original kawasaki 900's & we went way fast too.

These days, it's either the studebaker, the kaiser, or the model T, or '74 suzuki 185.
- Mike Sa - Saturday, 04/15/06 20:05:44 EDT

Memory lane. . . My brother-in-law had a BSA 750. It would scare me white haired at 65 MPH. The British have a way of making you think you are going much faster than you are. That big Honda I rode at 140 on our back road really surprised me because you could not feel the speed. . . It dropped from 100 to a stop safely and firmly in 150 feet. . .

I had an old Porche 914 for a while. Not much get up and go but it DID have a high top end. It too would stop REALLY fast but one time only until the brakes cooled. Those brakes really worked and the Semprit tires gripped so well to the road that they slipped on the rims. . . Took me a while to figure out why the tires went out of balance. . . Then I discovered the rotation problem.

I sold the Porche after an engine rebuild using Porche priced parts that came in Volkswagon labled boxes. . .

I've had cars on two wheels way too many times. . . now I drive like an old lady. Last time I tried a motorcycle it scared me to go over 45 and all I could think was pain, pain, pain. . . At 40+ you don't bounce like you did at 20.
- guru - Saturday, 04/15/06 21:26:13 EDT

Bouncing: Well, as we, ahem, celebrate birthdays our bones get a tad more brittle, our joints have less working cartilege, and it takes a whooolllllle lot longer to heal up. Also, I think most of us have had enough life experiences by this time to have satisfied any need for "thrills".

From time to time a frisky horse I'm working on "gentling" may bounce me off the **soft** soil in my back arena, and it still hurts! Hardest part is to get back up on that sucker quick and make him know he hasn't found a quick way to end his lesson. I'm not sure how much longer I'll be gentling horses but it is a fairly quick way to turn a dollar into two.
Ellen - Saturday, 04/15/06 22:46:58 EDT

Bouncing: At 20 you bounce; at 50 you crumble. Guess how I learned this immutable fact. Sometime back, I took inventory of my various breaks, bends, foldings and spindlings over the years. The list frankly apalled me. The list of narrow misses and lucky escapes was even longer and more apalling. I figure I've gone to that well enough times in my life that it is time I quit baiting Fate and slow down a bit.

Last night my brother and I were in a chase with a couple of idiots in a possibly stolen car. We drove carefully enough that they had wrecked their car and fled on foot by the time we caught up. Like I said, I've gotten more cautious these days. (grin)
vicopper - Saturday, 04/15/06 23:06:34 EDT

Displacement & Horsepower: Jock, You missed My Dad's point about the GTO, because I only told 1/2 the story. The GTO had a 400" overhead valve V8, 4 barrel & dual exhaust, the typical GTO engine. Dad's sawmill was powered by a 400" Herculese flathead 6, 1 barrel carb, single 3" exhaust and a radiator as big as a barn door and 4" thick. My GTTO was supposed to make 350 HP @5500 RPM. This was not net horsepower, but measured the pre '73 way [no alternator, fan or waterpump] The Herculese was rated at 75 HP @ 1200 RPM and would probably do that for 10,000 hours between teardowns. At 1800 RPM that Herculese makes 100 HP. Dad figured that the 350 HP was a stupid rating because the motor wouldn't do it continuously, but He allso thought it was stupid to put that large a motor in a car. My point was that the horsepower was as Rolls Royce said about thier product, "sufficient". By the way, I think Ellen's 900 made well over 50 HP at the crank and probably well over 50 at the wheel.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/15/06 23:36:52 EDT

Kawasaki 900 and Horsepower: Well Dave, if I recall Kawasaki touted the beast as 83 HP in their self serving literature and their hired minions who wrote copy for the 2 or 3 magazines that dealt with motorcycles in those days......83 or 50 either way is still probably a crock, but it was enough so that the raw power and acceleration was quite awesome.

When I was a county mounty the Sheriff bought a double batch of 1968 Fords with the 429 cu inch engine, and that was when Ford did something "special" for police type engines, I think it might have been a higher compression piston, but those things really moved when you punched them. Only trouble was the suspension and brakes were a joke for that amount of raw power and speed. Sure put an end to the hot rodders using county roads at night for their races though.

I shudder to think of some of the things I did back then and can really identify with Rich's "chase" above. Let the idiots have their wreck and then arrest the pieces. That's what I call smart. Saves lawsuits too.

Dave, sent you an email earlier, I have a couple of neat illustrated books on working teams of Percherons with some pictures that will get your attention; thought I would snail mail you a couple of photocopies if you're interested. Sort of puts the concept of horsepower in perspective. I know a bit about the ifs, buts, and mathematical models, but just seeing what we used to expect horses to do in this country sure puts the concept of horsepower in perspective.

By the way, this is a more fun thread than the possum thread that ran into China and world economics across the street. Grin!
Ellen - Sunday, 04/16/06 00:32:14 EDT

Ellen: I got the E-mail & sent one back. The 429 You had was a "Police Intercepter" if it was in a muscle car it would have been a "Boss"or"Cobra Jet" Pretty much the same engine, different cam & spark timing curve for the heavier cop car and auto trans.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 04/16/06 01:13:52 EDT

Confused.....: Do we have two Dave Boyer's logged on? I too many brain cells killed off with radiation/chemo treatments, I suppose.
Too many online aliases..... Sheesh, I just used to want map wit push pins to help locate folks as I talked. Now I have no clue as to whom it is I talk.(smile)
Ralph - Sunday, 04/16/06 08:17:58 EDT

speed.: In my longer days I was somewhat addicted to going very fast. At 18 I was in Germany, and a older(25) 'nam vet had a 426 GTX. Had set it up for the autoban. He was driving me to the drop zone where he taught me to skydive. We would cruise along at about 120mph. The Germans would come up behind him and flash their lights for the dumb American iron to get out of the way. He would slide over into the slow lane, let them by, and then he would accelerate back up to their speed, and when he passed them, He would nail it, and often burn a little rubber at 140! They would follow us for miles to see what was under the hood. He changed them 50 Dm (about $20) to look under the hood.
150 mph felt very fast in that car! But 120 mph in freefall felt faster. Then I joined the ARMY jump team in Europe, and doing the diamond track, I would reach 250MPH. When we crossed at the bottom of the diamond the other jumper and I had a closure rate of close to 500MPH. We would go from 12500' to 2000' in 20 seconds or so, and make a smoke diamond 2 miles tall and two miles wide. Cars haven't felt so fast since.
- ptree - Sunday, 04/16/06 09:35:29 EDT

Ralph, one Dave Boyer logged on. He's just so busy he seems like twins. Grin! I get confused myself sometimes. Especially when folks have different handles for different sites. Then there are those critics who say it doesn't take much to confuse!

Ptree, yep, that would do it. Like a motorcycle in a way. There is a whole different feeling to speed when you can feel the wind and are not enclosed. Most biker types call cars "cages".

Speed is also relevant to perception. Walk your horse along, and that's an easy, relaxing speed. Punch him up through a trot, canter and then to a gallop and you have a whole range of speed perceptions. A galloping horse (not a racehorse) may only be able to get into the low forties or so, but it does feel faster than that. Grin!

I've had a bicycle up into the 60's; that, too is a whole new definition of speed. Clue: I was NOT going uphill!
Ellen - Sunday, 04/16/06 10:11:41 EDT

power hammers: I'm feeling the need for a power hammer and am looking at the big blu and the anyang which is self contained. Does anybody know how much air and at what pressure I need to have for the smaller big blu>
- tinker - Sunday, 04/16/06 12:50:52 EDT

Tinker: The Anyangs are self contained so no extra compressor is required. The 33# Anyang will run on 220V 1 phase. The 88# needs a special order motor to run on single phase, 3 phase is standard. 3 phase can be expensive, and may not be available in some areas (think rural). The Big Blue is going to require a stand alone compressor of probably a minimum of 5 HP and an 80 gallon tank. Something that will steadily deliver say 15 standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) at 90 psi. This is also generally a two stage compressor. Folks who actually own these hammers can chime in with more details; I am just an interested observer who is planning to build her own hammer as the cost of a ready made hammer just is not in the budget.

John Larson's Iron Kiss 90# hammer calls for 17 SCFM at 90 PSI for example.
Ellen - Sunday, 04/16/06 13:50:17 EDT

Tinker: It would probably be best to contact Big Blue directly either via email or by telephone. They are courteous and efficient. Since their smallest hammer is 110# I suspect you are looking at a requirement of 20 SCFM or a bit more to run on a fairly steady basis. Ingersoll Rand are probably about the best compressor out there and I think one in that range is going to 7.5 HP (the biggest one they make without going to 3 phase), you'll have to shop for price, Google them, I think Tractor Supply Co. now carries them as well.
Ellen - Sunday, 04/16/06 13:57:07 EDT

Dave Boyer: Some pictures to you via USPO. Just something to look at. Wish they were in color for you.
Ellen - Sunday, 04/16/06 14:03:37 EDT

Air Capacity, Apples and Oranges: Tinker, BigBLU is recommending higher pressure for their hammers these days. 150 I think. But they will run on 100. As to compressor size it depends on how you will be applying the hammer. For commercial duty you really need 10HP but 7.5 will do for heavy to moderate service with few pauses. You can run the the smaller hammer on 5 HP but will need to wait a bit now and then.

These recommendations are MUCH different than 8 years ago when Bull, KA and the Kaynes were trying to push inexpensive hammers that could run on a "3HP Kmart air compressor". Yep, they would go up and down and hit a few licks. But even slow "step at a time" tool making would overly tax the compressor. When I reviewed these machines I noted that Chambersburg recomended a 10HP compressor for their 100 pound hammer and I recommended no less than 5HP for the 75 pound Blue, Bull and KA as the 88 pound Kuhn was rated 5Hp as well. They all increased ram weight shortly after that. The only hammer that might have gotten away with the 3HP home duty compressor was the 40# Trip Air.

In commercial service the new BigBLU's hammers are being used to cold texture heavy bar. Stick after 20' stick is fed through the machine for as long as the worker can take it. 10 HP is required.

When you compare the hammers look close at the ram weight ratings vs. the total cost. When I did a comparison last week on the guru's page the smaller Chinese hammers were cheaper but to have the same size or slightly larger than the BLU then the BigBLU with air compressor was cheaper by a significant amount.

Since there are no equal sizes you are always comparing apples and oranges and it makes things tricky. One thing you may want to note is that the Big BLU dies are CNC machined to specific tolerances before hand dressing then very carefully heat treated S7 tool steel while the Chinese dies are somewhere around a 1045 (by laboratory analysis).
- guru - Sunday, 04/16/06 14:14:20 EDT

CSI-Hammer-In ROOMS:
NOTE! There are a few rooms left and some that "opened up" at the Huricane Mill Days Inn. 931-296-7647

There is another event going on localy and rooms are hard to get. If you are coming and need a room they ARE available but not for long. Make those resevations TODAY!
- guru - Sunday, 04/16/06 15:27:56 EDT

Thanks for the info. I have always thought that the 25# little giant was a touch light for my needs. So was looking at 50 pounders which I didn't find a lot of. Then I started looking at the 33# Anyang which might do what I want but probably wouldn't leave room to grow. I haven't had any feed back from anyone who has had one for a while.

I have been looking at the smaller big Blu based on comments on the Hofi Dies.

I have a 5 horse 150#Sears compressor so am researching if I'll need to replace it. It's only 6.2 scfm...which I think means it really won't do the job.

Then of course their is economics. If I have to replace the compressor I can't get the second set of dies.
- tinker - Sunday, 04/16/06 15:29:18 EDT

Compressors: Tinker, remember you can always gang compressors. A true 5 HP single stage should be around 10 SCFM at 90 PSI, and not all that expensive. Added to what you have, it might be enough.
Mike B - Sunday, 04/16/06 16:07:54 EDT

Back when we were reviewing hammers and the subject of a 10HP compressor came up the problem was 3PH. Many can't get it.

The solution was to gang two 5 HP compressors. The cost of the two compressors was only about 20% more than the single larger compressor AND the two smaller compressors added up to more storage. The only thing you don't want is both copmpressors starting at the same time.
- guru - Sunday, 04/16/06 21:01:08 EDT

Compressors & Hammers: When I visited John Larsons shop, I asked him at length about compressor sizing and comparison to a self contained, as He has built both. For His 100# hammer He says an INDUSTRIAL 5 horse compressor [16 -17 scfm @ 90 PSI] will run the hammer if You are only working 1 bar, as the time it takes to re-heat the bar is about what it takes for the compressor to catch up. He says it works out a little cheaper to build a utility hammer and buy a comercially built compressor than to build a self contained,and that maintainance is higher on the self contained. Aditionally, with a big compressor sand blasting and other big air users can run off the compressor when not forging.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 04/16/06 22:02:36 EDT

Ralph: I always go as Dave Boyer. Dave B. is Dave Baker from CSI. How are You doing anyway? I tried to E-mail You when You got back from the hospital, but I think it bounced.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 04/16/06 23:26:44 EDT

Dave Boyer.
Sorry about the perhas tersness of earlier posts. Usual sob story, lot mid leve constant pain, and a fall...... But all and all we are keeping our noses above the deep part of the pool. The email addy here in the V Hammer-in should be good.
Ralph - Monday, 04/17/06 03:07:36 EDT

I wouldn't mind a cycle; but I need a small underpowered one, just to get to work and back---about 5 miles each way and probably most of that on the dirt irrigation ditch road---the paved road is narrow, twisty, hilly and not something you want to be the smallest/slowest thing on---no berms! And sometimes I would like to head up an arroyo towards the mountains and not have to lug all the water on my back. *Quiet* is a necessary feature too. Any suggestions?

Thomas P - Monday, 04/17/06 11:54:58 EDT

Thomas-- how about something in a nice vintage bicycle, perhaps? I just happen know where there are a half-dozen or so that need just a bit of tweaking.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 04/17/06 13:01:20 EDT

Thomas -- see if you can find an used Honda 90 ... Most of them still have the little luggage rack on the back you can bungy almost anything onto it..
Bert - Monday, 04/17/06 13:33:15 EDT

Thomas: If you want cheap and low maintenance for a short commute on a canal style bank you can get some decent used mountain bikes, some bikestores have them, carport sales, and in a larger city, Play it Again Sports often has a good selection for $200 or less.......gas mileage depends on how many frijoles you had for supper.....grin! 5 miles is a short hop unless it's real sandy......
Ellen - Monday, 04/17/06 13:39:57 EDT

Dirt bike commuter: I'll second Bert's recommendation of the Honda 90. If you can find one, it would be just the thing. After that, an older used 125cc dirt bike, and put a decent muffler on it. Most of the kids who had them wanted them loud.
vicopper - Monday, 04/17/06 15:14:18 EDT

My KaBar: The KaBar knife I carried in the Philippines was being used as a letter opener on my desk when my office burned in 1976.
I wrapped it in an oiled shop cloth and put it away, as there were so many memories connected with that blade I couldn't just throw it away.

Look at this:

Words are not suficient to express my gratitude to Glen for this.
- John Odom - Monday, 04/17/06 16:44:21 EDT

Welder: Looking at buying a Miller bobcat 250
anyone with any good/bad?
any preference between onan and kohler engines?
- Steve Mille - Monday, 04/17/06 17:43:44 EDT

Tinker- power hammers- aircompressors: I have taken three classes on the Big Blu hammer using the Uri Hofi method. I believe the the Big Blu hammers are great hammers and for the money will be hard to beat. Especially when you consider the die system it employs. As far as the air compressor is concerned, a 7.5 horsepower 2 stage with a working pressure of 125 -175 will be more than adequate. You do not need that much but having it will allow you to work continuously without running out of air. You need to give Eaton Aircompressors a try. I bought a 120 gallon, two stage, V-4 compressor from them. It has built in auto tank drain, magnetic starter, switch for constant running of the electric motor. This allows the compressor to kick in and out without the electric motor restarting. This saves on your power bill and magnetic switch points. It only turns 640 rpms and is very quiet. It was delivered to my door for 2,140.00 which was a deal. It is a monster and runs my hammer without being taxed. Look them up on the web. The biggest thing I don't like about the self contained hammers is from what I understand if the built in compresser dies so does the hammer. Unless it has a bypass to hook an external compresser to you are in trouble. I have also been told that there is not as much fine control as compared to the airhammers. Just my 1 cent worth.
- firebug - Monday, 04/17/06 20:10:10 EDT

Ralph: E-mail coming Your way.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 04/17/06 21:58:39 EDT

John Odom's Kabar: That was a beautiful job on the knife! What a nice job by Glen.
John Odom's Knife (again)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 04/17/06 22:40:36 EDT

Self-contained hammers: My knowledge of these is limited to mostly hearsay, having only ever run one for a few minutes. But they way it was explained to me, the relationship between the pumping cylinder and the tup cylinder is such that I can see no way at all that yoiu could feed one from a compressor. The pumping cylinder controls both the hit and the raise, so pressure alone won't do the job.
vicopper - Monday, 04/17/06 23:03:25 EDT

That is correct. The ram operates at the same frequency as the compressor piston. In fact what you have is a pneumaticaly coupled mechanical hammer. There were some in-line designs that failed due to lack of a good method to refresh and exhust the air. The seperate cylinders provide this as well as other important features.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/18/06 08:59:37 EDT

Thank You: The preceeding information on the vulnerability of self contained hammers is an important point I had not considered when I was trying to do some comparisons. For some reason it is not mentioned in the sales is a decisive fact to me in my selection. Compressors do wear out and break. My Chinese is not good.
Ellen - Tuesday, 04/18/06 10:04:35 EDT

Self-contained hammer: One thing to keep in mind is that the the "compressor" in a self-contained hammer is reciprocating at the same rate as the hammer. Say, 240 cycles per minute. This is one third, or less, the frequency at which even low-rpm freestanding compressors run at. Most of the good commercial compressors run at 675-1000 rpm, and last for decades with decent maintenance. The lower cyclic rate of the SC hammer should keep maintenance to a very reasonable level, and allow for a very long life. There are a lot of old Nazels around still running fine.

Wiht any piece of equipment that has moving parts, lubrication is a necessity. That lubrication needs to be changed/reneewed regularly or it becomes less effective and sometimes even corrosive. Powrhammers, of any ilk, need constant lubrication, either from built-in oilers or regular oiling by the operator. The SC hammers I've seen have oilers, and they must be set-up and adjusted properly, and monitored diligently. Some oilers are better than others, and it may very well pay good dividends to replace a marginal oiler with a really good one.

If you build a DIY powerhammer, you should incorporate lots of provisions for lubrication of all moving parts. Zerk fittings for grease, oilers where appropriate, oil mist injectors for air-operated machinery, etc. Every place yo don't lubricate is a place that will have excess wear. Sometimes, it makes more sense to use consumable bearing material like ultra high molecular weight plastics (UHMW) and replace them when worn, rather than lubricate them, if you want a dry interface. These things need to be carefully thought out, not just decided based on expediency.
vicopper - Tuesday, 04/18/06 11:54:41 EDT

Well with goop and kevlar liners most mountain bikes only have a flat around once a week around here, Mesquite, goat heads, cactus and the ubiquitious beer bottle. I was hoping for thicker tires and easier repairs on powered travel---and I'm overweight...

I was just thinking for forging one of the flat spirial candle holders from copper wire for a spiffed up look for christmas---or patinate it for a patio table version...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 04/18/06 12:14:18 EDT

Career Opportunity in Montana: I am working with a great up and coming company in Western Montana that is looking for several blacksmiths and metal fabricators to help produce items ranging from custom doors, gates, stair rails and various other custom projects. If you are interested in hearing more, please send a resume to or call 800-477-2718.
- Angela - Tuesday, 04/18/06 14:26:20 EDT

Career Opportunity in Montana: I am working with a great up and coming company in Western Montana that is looking for several blacksmiths and metal fabricators to help produce items ranging from custom doors, gates, stair rails and various other custom projects. If you are interested in hearing more, please send a resume to or call 800-477-2718.
- Angela - Tuesday, 04/18/06 14:30:18 EDT

new forge: I just purchased a forge (coal) for a whopping $75. It came with a blower, hood and about 8 sets of tongs. I have a rummbermaid tub full of coal a small anvil and some various hammers. I've read a ton of material on the subject, I have a stack of stock ready to beat on, What's a good first project.
Loyd from Loveland - Tuesday, 04/18/06 15:26:51 EDT

Careers: I find it interesting and perhaps cautionary that th elink to the above employment agency show absolutely NO listings for jobs for blacksmiths, fabricators, or welders. I may generally be an optimist, but I always cut the cards. I'd want to know more before I sent them ANY personal information.
vicopper - Tuesday, 04/18/06 15:30:14 EDT

Projects: Lloyd, I'd suggest you take a long look at all the projects on the "iForge" demo page. There are a number of good first-time projects in there, just as there are in most of the books on beginning blacksmithing.

Remember that there are only a few basic operations in smithing, and most everything is a combination of those basics. Drawing, upsetting, cutting, bending, punching, fastening (really a combinaton of other basics) swaging and fullering will cover most items. Start with tapering a piece of bar, trying to achieve a pre-determined end result. This teaches drawing of metal. That is just one technique, and it will give you the fundamental operation necessary to making nails, hooks, knives, and many other things when combined with upsetting (nail heading), bending (hooks), etc. Start with practicing operations, rather than with trying to make "things". This will allow you concentrate on hammer control, fire management and planning/executing a single technique. From there yougo on to making "things."
vicopper - Tuesday, 04/18/06 15:37:37 EDT

Projects:: Thanks vicopper. I've been all over that iForge demo page and I have several demo's printed out and ready. I've been beating on copper and silver the last few months preparing for the forge. I think I'll fire it up and give it a go. Thanks for the suggestions I'm planning to do just as you suggest.
Loyd from Loveland - Tuesday, 04/18/06 15:49:43 EDT

hofi - Tuesday, 04/18/06 17:44:57 EDT

Shahinler hammers: Uri I have just aquired a 110# Shahinler and would like to find a set of your style "free forging" dies for it. Any suggestions on where I could find some?
- plain ol Bill - Tuesday, 04/18/06 17:57:15 EDT

Ellen: Ellen I have found some (if not all) hammer sales people to be close kin to used cars salesmen. The fabricated hammer people will tell you to steer clear of the cast hammers and the cast guys will tell you to steer clear of the fabricated ones. So what do you do? I tried all the hammers I could and lucked out and found a great deal on a 110# Shahinler that I am bringing home Thursday.
- plain ol Bill - Tuesday, 04/18/06 18:01:58 EDT

Thanks for the advise Guru. Black it is. Now to see if I can remember how to put it back together ;)
- Scott C - Tuesday, 04/18/06 19:10:50 EDT

Montana Opportunity: I wonder if Joe Beasley is not the contact for ornamental blacksmiths in Montana. He called me today saying that he was looking or smiths for his firm. 2988 Hwy 93 South, Kalispell, Montana 59901.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 04/18/06 19:18:41 EDT

Ellen: Hi Ellen
Many folks would be suprised at how many hammers a 100 years ago were cast steel and not forged. The large majority of them were cast. The cast steel Hofi hammer is better than the forged one. I own the forged one like you. I would prefer a cast steel one as it is better balanced and heat treated. Many of the tools years ago were cast steel verses drop forged. It really boils down to personal preference. In many cases Cast Steel is more consistant and better heat treated. It is just the same as a cast steel vs forged anvils. How it is constructed, material made from and heat treatment done. Really one isn't better than the other. Just what you like. I hope this helps. Always a pleasure Ellen
- Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 04/18/06 20:22:19 EDT

lubrication of old machines: As the Guru and others notes, lubrication of the older machines absolutly critical. Oil is cheap versus rebuilds. Case in point, at the old valve shop we had a steam driven recip air compressor. Two driver cylinders and two compression cylinders. An Ingersol Emperial # 10. I was told it was bought used in 1927, and they had to derate due to the installation in the second floor engine deck. Slowed from 55rpm to 50 rpm. This lovely machine made 3200 cfm off free return steam from the hammer shop. Had a very old, very well maintained Manzel lubricator. Lubricated about a 100 points. Also had an oil injector for the steam. Had run since installed with an occasional steam cylinder repacking. Converted to teflon rings on the pistons in about 1974. It was stopped in about 1994 and the then shortsighted management did not allow the pipefitters to care for it or turn it over. A year later a modern compressor failed at each end of the plat, Thats 2 out of 4 down, and the old steamer was desperatly needed. You guessed it, siezed! For the lack of a couple of tea cups of oil. As far as I know it is still sitting there.

I put Zerks on every moving point on my powerhammer, and grease with moly grease cheap insurance to pump a squirt into every zerk, every session. Pushes out the grit and scale, and it takes me longer to wipe off the excess with a rag than to pump it in. That rag then is used to help start the coal forge. No greasy rags laying about.
- ptree - Tuesday, 04/18/06 21:24:12 EDT

Burnt Forge: Hofi said the cast hammers were better balance than the forged ones, but forged is what I could find, and forged is what I bought.

Hamer I am currently talking about will be a home made power hammer. I am leaning very strongly to one like Ptree made; I like the guards he put on his, as breaking parts are what turn me off air hammer would be nice, but that might be a project for later. I think the spring "Rusty" type could be put together in a couple of days for not a lot of money, which really appeals to me now that I am semi-retired. Grin! Thanks for the input, I really do appreciate all the help I can get.
Ellen - Tuesday, 04/18/06 22:57:18 EDT

Ptree: Did you get the email I sent you about the spring or should I resend it with Blacksmith in the header? Thanks much!

Breaks my heart to hear of fine old machines murdered for lack of $2 worth of oil. And it is murder, too. Just think, it ran fine for over 60 years, probably had another 60 years in it if properly cared for.

Made a batch of flypress tools the last couple of days. Love my Jet bandsaw and Grizzly belt sander/grinder. Drilled my first two holes with the new Jet drill press today. Used my old, well cared for, drill press vise. It has to be 50+ years old.
Ellen - Tuesday, 04/18/06 23:01:39 EDT

Self Contained Hammer Problems: On the world's finest hammers, Nazels, the majority of problems on old hammers that weren't WORN out after 50 years of continous use is operator error.

If you operate a self contained hammer (or any hammer) without dies or too short of dies you wreck the ram. They have marks on most old air hammer rams to note maximum travel. This is for setting the anvil height and using non-standard dies. An outfit in the Carolinas took a MINT Nazel and ripped all the ram guide bolts out of the flange just because they HAD to play with it before it was setup.

Failure to lubricate is a serious issue. The crank, pin and wrist (gudgeon) bearings are drip lubricated through a torchourous path and often wear out due to lube failure.

Those with reduction gears need special open gear grease with molydenuum disulfide and tackyness aditives. Note that Nazel only used a primary gear with soft fibre pinnion on the motor. Chambersburg had a reduction gear in the middle of the gear train which is hammered by the flywheels on both sides.

Broken gear teeth is one of the most common failures on Chambersburgs and the larger Chinese hammers followed this model. Cburg used the double reduction to avoid expensive low RPM motors and the Germans, then Russians, then Chinese copied this system.

Working on one side of the dies for extended periods of time tend to result in uneven wear. It is common to do but should not be done in production situations.

Moving damage is always the worst "operator error".

Running with loose dies is a common problem. This is followed by running with miss-fit dies and broken dovetails from die changes. . .

For some reason, folks think they are a "hammer" so you fix them with a bigger hammer. . . Broken dovetails and missfit dies are one of the most common abuse problems. Dies are a precision fit and require precision tools to make them fit right. You either do it right or let someone else do it.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/18/06 23:04:13 EDT

Cast steel Confusion: The term "cast steel" can mean some object cast from steel, but lots of old tools, especially from England, were marked "CAST STEEL", and they were not cast. They were forged from a product called cast steel. In the U.S., we began to call it "crucible steel". The steel was made in a crucible weighing between 80 and 100 pounds. It was charged with wrought iron scrap or ingot iron, charcoal, and ferromanganese. In England, they used blister steel and shear steel. The crucible was furnace heated, melting the contents. The crucible was then pulled and teemed into ingot molds. Later, the ingots were heated, forged, and rolled into high carbon steel bars.

Frank Turley - Tuesday, 04/18/06 23:05:02 EDT

Cast Tools:
Good cast steel in small tools is usualy very good steel. The modern stuff is even better because it is almost all cast in centrifugal shell casting machines which produce very dense clean steel.

The problem with cast steel anvils is sand casting and LARGE sand castings. Some are done very clean and others are done quite poorly. When an engineer designs a sand casting to have good metal he alows a machining allowance. On an anvil this should be 1/4" or more. This removes the embeded sand and surface porosity OR exposes the serious inclusions. Many new anvils are just hand dressed with a heavy belt grinder, only cleaning up the surfaces.

I've seen prints of anvils requiring machining and I know Nimba machines theirs. It is one of those you get what you pay for things. . .

It is also why corners should be dressed. Even though the face has been reduced the sides are almost always as-cast. A good radius gets rid of the bad metal at the edge.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/18/06 23:14:27 EDT

We had a brief discussion about these folks a short while ago. They are being sold off next month in Canton, Ohio. . .

- guru - Tuesday, 04/18/06 23:16:30 EDT

Clarification: When I said John Larson told Me that a self contained hammer had more maintainance issues, We were talking about homebuilt ones, not Nazel and others refined over years of production. One of the seemingly easy parts that can give trouble is the belt drive. If You follow normal practices, it won't be sufficient to deal with the ciclical loading. A proven design like Hoffi has, obviously is up to the task.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 04/18/06 23:50:28 EDT

Toolsteel Castings: My Teck School Co-Op job was with a small machine building company that specialized in roll forming machines. We got some cast D2 roll blanks that must have been 500#. I don't know who cast them or if such castings are still available, that was in '77.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 04/18/06 23:57:34 EDT

air hammer+dies: Plain of Bill. The "SHAHINLER " are good hammerses I saied before they served me for 18 years withe no problams.
i am producing the dies and sell them in the u.s.a i have now some orders form the u.s.a market I am looking now for a better steel avaiable in Israel then i"ll go in production.
for more information call me or send me a mail. I do not want to use the site fore business .hofi
PS the turkiesh v belt will wore out in 1-3 years.If you have problames in the fuetuer call me the Israeli pu belts are very good holdw at least 10 years. and because they are oil retardet you get between 5-10% more rpm - mope shots per minut 240 insted of 220.
hofi - Wednesday, 04/19/06 07:20:18 EDT

CAST+FORGED HAMMERS: My cast hammers are now cast from 6150 Iget a higher RC
58-60 (BEFORE WITH THE 8650I got54-56 RC) THE hammer is more balanced they are x ryed and the dispertion of the size of grain is very very god and very eaven, which you can not get with the foged hammers. The forged hammers
are from 10 45 and to day you can get frome germany 5 types of 1045 that every one of them will give a better hammer.
hofi - Wednesday, 04/19/06 07:36:47 EDT

Hofi: I am sure we would all welcome anything you care to post on our site, be it business or not. We will all learn something from it, and lots of people have asked about your dies and availablility, etc. It would be a public service on your part. Thank you. Jock will correct me if I am wrong, but I feel confident he will agree on this point.
Ellen - Wednesday, 04/19/06 11:20:40 EDT

I too vote for your input about your products.
- ptree - Wednesday, 04/19/06 21:31:07 EDT

Another Vote For HOFI's input: And Thank You Uri for te help You have given Me in the past.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 04/19/06 22:16:56 EDT

Sales Here:
As long as sales here are not in direct competition to our advertisers AND are not avoiding advertising fees then there is nothing wrong. Hofi's products are sold here by more than one adveretiser. Dies for hammers other than Big BLU's are not really a conflict as long as they are not selling the system for other hammers and they prefer not to. AND Hofi has graciously volunteered to be on our CSI board of directors.

- guru - Wednesday, 04/19/06 22:45:15 EDT

INFOPMATION ANT TEACHING: I am a TEACHER and i have decided to spend the rest of my lifeto share my limited knoledge to every one that wants it
on this site or on any other sites.I am going to help every one that want my help idias and tooling and thcnique on the web op in privet(BILL is now getting from me information about the dies the hight of the hammer how to imstol it cheaper and easyer and som other tricks ang adjustments)Ievene sent the compleat drowings of my hand hammer when he promissed me to use only fop himself.I have some bad expirience being attacedon the sites -big ego-obnoxios-opinionated-schiser- who are you to tell us what to do-and many other names being a israeli I DO NOT CAR and I an not offended because I
know what I do and Iam proffetional-You wantit take it YOU DO NOT WANT IT LEAVE IT.
mANY TIMES PEOPLE ARE REFFERING TO THE MONEY "I make" Iwant to say once and for ever fore me to come and to teach in the u.s.a is to loose money!!! I make (an american expretion)much more money forging and teaching in Israel then in the u.s.a. and again what is bad with making money and my living by forging in Israel and Internationaly.
Icome only because I want to teach ) i hope no one was offended may be some one will think that what i said was not polite enough ,but i am for a direct speach and not going around the bush,
best regards uri hofi
hofi - Thursday, 04/20/06 00:03:39 EDT

Hofi: Thanks for your post. I can't see how anyone can be offended by what you said. Personally I prefer direct speech; I am very poor at guessing games.

I would have been surprised if you said you broke even on teaching in this country. Travel costs alone probably more than consume whatever you are paid to teach, not to mention other expenses, and the lost time from your other work.

I am sure any products you talk about here will be picked up on by advertisers here who carry your products already, and if they don't then you can have someone else supply what ever you are offering. No one should be offended in any way whatsoever.

Your knowledge is extensive and priceless. We would be fools indeed not to thirst for any information you care to post here.

I hope to make it to one or more of your classes in the next year or so. That would be the opportunity of a lifetime for me.

Thank you.
Ellen - Thursday, 04/20/06 00:38:34 EDT

CSI Hammer-In::

Have a wonderful time, wish I was there! (Once the wif's gets her house built, I may be more available. Still no ground broken, though.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 04/20/06 08:41:07 EDT

hammers dealers: Plain ol bill.... please dont compare all hammer dealers to used car salesmen. I spend hours every day giving free technical advise to customers on all matters (and makes) of power hammers, do not hard sell, and let people make up their own minds. (infact ive convinced a few people not to buy a power hammer, period, if they do not need one, and told them to spend their money on the basics, or a training course)

Fabricated 'V's cast frames? - so long as its rigid and heavy enough (in the right places) theres not alot in it.
- John N - Thursday, 04/20/06 09:43:06 EDT

Offense to Hofi: I can believe thst some are ugly to Hofi. They are"little" people who know their own inferiorities. My Daddy always said, 'Consider the source, Son, their opinions aren't worth getting upset over." I think that is good advice.

I hope he knows that such people are a very small minority, and that most smiths are good folks and appreciate him and all he has done for the craft.
- John Odom - Thursday, 04/20/06 11:01:11 EDT

URI HOFI: I, like hundreds of others of us, have met Uri Hofi on several occasions at the Quad State Conferences. We have conversed on numerous subjects, of smithing and non-smithing natures, and have found him to be a quite personable, honest, forthright, "What-you-see-is-what-you-get" kind of guy. I do believe he will share anything he knows, but does not suffer fools gladly, which, as far as I'm concerned is an admirable quality. To use one of my terms, he's a "great guy". To use one of his terms, he's a Mensch. Look it up.
3dogs - Thursday, 04/20/06 12:10:41 EDT

I too have met Uri, and found him to be a fine teacher and willing to share most anything. At ABANA in Richmond, someone came up and was taking photos of his hammer. Uri laughed and handed him some paper and a pencil, and told him to trace it, as it would make coping it easy. And he was not being sarcastic.
Indeed a mensch.
- ptree - Thursday, 04/20/06 20:48:02 EDT

Traveling hammer: Rented a single axle equipment trailer this AM and made the trip to Oregon (2 1/2 hours) and picked up the new (to me) Sahinler hammer. With a built up base made of 3/4" plate it must weigh in right at 4 thou. Got it home without any problems and had a rented forklift here to set it off the trailer and into place in the shop. Spent about thirty minutes in front of it to get its location dialed in to the forge, press, anvil etc. Need to move it back about 8" and to the side about 6 tomorrow then plant it. Uri was kind enough to send me pictures of his hammer. I really like the adjustment to the foot treadle. Thanks Uri. Will have to run a new electrical circuit to the 10 HP single phase motor before I can use it. So much to do, so little time.
- plain ol Bill - Thursday, 04/20/06 22:19:24 EDT

About Hofi: I have had the pleasure, priviledge, honor and fortune to have been personally taught by Uri at his power hammer school twice at B-2 Design. I will take the next 2 week hand hammer class if at all possible in N.Y. He is straight forward in his teaching methods which I feel is the best way to learn as efficently as possible. I feel that not only will Hofi influence your forging skills but also your life.
- firebug - Thursday, 04/20/06 22:58:15 EDT

Looking for a coal fired forge: Hello ,

I'm in the market for a coal fired forge and an armstrong powered blower .
I'm located in central Maine , and would prefer to find something in this corner of the country if possable .
any info or leads would be greatly appreciated .
Thanks peter
Peter Crockett - Friday, 04/21/06 08:50:36 EDT

Low Tech Coal Report: I just returned from the National King Coal Mine, Hesperus, Colorado. They have what they call "mine run", a grade of coal which has pieces up to 3-4" across, but also has lots of fines. It is $40.00 per ton at the mine. They sell a "stoker" grade, which has been sized, again about the same as above, but having a lot less fines. It goes for $60.00 a ton. There are more rocks a slate in the coal than one would like, but "any port in a storm".

The coal works fairly well as smithing coal, but they sell it as "domestic coal", as well, what we used to call "stove coal". The coal is sold seasonally, and the mine will be closed from May 1 to August 31. It opens again September 1st to April 30.

For other than domestic, I see that there is lots of coal being loaded onto semi trailers under contract. Perhaps it goes to the Four Corners Power Plant {?}, our plant which supplies lots of electricity to Los Angeles, California. Go figger that one.

Frank Turley - Friday, 04/21/06 08:58:23 EDT

new2 here : This is contact info for the previous " looking for forge post ".
any info or pictures may be sent to .
Thank you
peter Crockett
Peter Crockett - Friday, 04/21/06 09:04:58 EDT

Peter; central Maine: You might check with Derek Glaser at the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn or the Haystack School on Deer Isle. Doug Wilson is a talented smith on Little Deer Isle, and he may have some leads:
Frank Turley - Friday, 04/21/06 09:06:47 EDT

people: re: concerning previous comments posted about people finding offense with others .
Heres a little trueism that I like regarding people of lesser brain power and greater attitude .

those who judge do not matter - and - those who matter do not judge
thank you
Peter Crockett - Friday, 04/21/06 09:13:50 EDT

on people: We wouldn't worry about what they thought of us if we knew how seldom they did. My father; 1914-1981.
Ellen - Friday, 04/21/06 15:25:34 EDT

Hey guys I have a saftey question I work out in the open but I still get coal smoke blown in my face all the time as the wind shifts alot. How dangerous is coal smoke and what precautions should I take to keep safe? Also while forging last weekend I had the head of a store bought 2 pound cross pein fly over my shoulder and just wanted to say to any beginners like myself to always watch who is around while you are working, a 2 pound hammer head could probably kill someone, not a light fact. Thanks alot and safe smithing to you all.
- Stephen - Friday, 04/21/06 20:08:22 EDT

Thanks for the lead Frank: I will give them a try the first of the week
Peter Crockett - Friday, 04/21/06 20:15:07 EDT

Coal Smoke: You can worry about it or not, but for a couple hundred years people in major cities breathed the stuff by the ton. That was "back in the good old days." Of course, all those folks are dead now, too. So are the ones who never breathed any coal smoke. (grin)

If you're working outdoors, and you're not habitually standing there breathing the smoke, you're probably alright. If you built a decent side-draft hood with a stack more than six feet high, all the smoke would be above you. There are plans here on anvilfire for such a hood, and you'll find it makes fire-tending easier, too.
vicopper - Friday, 04/21/06 21:01:03 EDT

Stephen: Take a container, even if it's a cut up empty milk jug or similar, put 1/4" or a bit more of linseed oil in it (sold in paint dept. at most hardware stores), set the hammer in it, head down, leave it for a few days (or use it then put it back) and the hammer will swell to be tight to the head. Some of the cheap store hammers have poor handles and the hole in the head isn't done all that well to boot so they can be dangerous.
Ellen - Friday, 04/21/06 21:37:01 EDT

it was a fiberglass hammer and i guess there was a flaw in the epoxy that it was attached with but i will try your suggestion for my wodden handled hammers
- Stephen - Saturday, 04/22/06 17:27:16 EDT

Stone work: Spent the afternoon yesterday at Adams Memorials in Charleston, IL. Picked up & mounted my bronze & copper pieces (shotgun, fishing pole, & roses) to a black piece of granite they had made for me. I had never been around this type of business before. They had just expanded the facility & had 4 shot blast units which are numerically controled for blasting the markings on the stonework. I was really impressed with their air management. You couldn't hear the compressors at all. THey told me they have a 50hp & 30hp compressors, but usually run the whole shop on the 30hp unit due to the huge reservoir tank they have in the system.

I had ordered 2 stones, one a gray/green base & a black top piece which is a little narrower to provide lawnmower clearance (this is a cemetary piece). They accidently made the top piece the same width as the bottom, so I got to see their giant computer controled cut off saw work too. It cut off a 2 inch wide x 6 foot long piece in no time. It used a laser to square itself up.

Pretty interesting. The owner let me dig right in & we worked together in gettng the holes drilled & the pieces mounted. The guy even offered me a job. I may have to take him up on it some day.
- Mike Sa - Saturday, 04/22/06 21:15:10 EDT

THANKS: I want to THANK the people that expressed their simpathy
towerds me.All ways if one needs advice-help or any other thing that I can transfer by e-mail or by the web I"ll just be happy to do it!!!!!!!!!! thank you all AGAIN HOFI
hofi - Sunday, 04/23/06 10:42:50 EDT

Off to ISO 14001 lead Auditor school for a week. Probably on computer access :(
ptree - Sunday, 04/23/06 16:02:24 EDT

Hey. From UK. Taking up blacksmithing as a hobby from wood-working but having great difficulty finding any uk based organizations. Anybody know of any? I live in the south wales. Any information would be much appreciated.( Wales is not part England, it is a principality and a seperate country. It is much a part of England as Ireland or Scotland is part of England.)
- Daf - Sunday, 04/23/06 21:01:10 EDT

aplologies for the rant.
- Daf - Sunday, 04/23/06 21:01:55 EDT

DAF: Check into BABA, the British Artist Blacksmith Association. If they don't have a chapter in Wales, they wil surely be able to point you to some group or individual smith there.
BABA link
vicopper - Sunday, 04/23/06 21:31:28 EDT

new baby hs arrived: Yes Folks I am now The Proud Papa Of my second child. She was Born April 22, 2006. At 1030 est she drew her first breath, and gave forth a blood curdling wail. Which incindently brought some salty liquid to my eyes. Airyanna Nichole Langfitt is a strong girl and at a week early she weighs in at 7 pounds 4.5 ounces and is 20 inches long. Her Big sister, Tatianna, Is a wonder to see entertain the new babe. Yes Lads, and Lasses this is a good life God has Given me!
Yours humbly,
Joshua Langfitt
- dragonboy - Sunday, 04/23/06 22:49:43 EDT

Joshua: Congratulations! Not only on the birth of your new daughter but on her good health as well! May she and Tatianna both grow to be ladysmiths!
Ellen - Sunday, 04/23/06 23:56:41 EDT

BABIES: Congratulations!!!!!!!
Glad to baby is good. How is mom?!!! Dad?
Ralph - Monday, 04/24/06 00:47:37 EDT


Congradulations to mother and father. Your life will never be the same in ways you would never think of.
- guru - Monday, 04/24/06 07:36:31 EDT

Anvil wanted - Atlanta Area: I'm a novice who is looking for an anvil in the Atlanta, GA area. If you know of anyone who is interested in selling please let me know (dennismcclintockATyahooDOTcom) I would also be interested in other items to get started.

I've learned a lot from this forum and anvilfire in general.
Dennis M - Monday, 04/24/06 11:48:19 EDT

Greg Hartell:
Greg Hartell passed away last night, losing a battle with asbestos cancer. He was my friend, mentor, and teacher. The Jefferson Smith group of Oregon/California lost a good hand.

Mike-hr, prayer list
- guru - Monday, 04/24/06 14:29:30 EDT

Asbestos Cancer: I've lost two friends to asbestos cancer, and one to metal fume poisoning. We need to be careful folks! Think ventilation, eye protection, respirators, all of the simple stuff that will allow you to hold your grandchildren (well, granddogs in my case, grin).

Welding, grinding, forging, using lead to temper, all poisons eager to enter our systems, and cumulative too.

Day before yester I took a forged piece to my belt sander to clean it up a bit.....30 seconds work, and used my regular reading glasses instead of picking of my Bouton safety glasses with the 2.5 lens inserts, $5 in the Anvilfire store, guessed it....a piece of scale sailed around the end of my glasses and entered my right eye. I keep a clean magnet in my restroom in the house, and eyewash, so I was lucky and had it out in about 5 minutes or so....but the eye was red and sore for two days.

Think safety first folks! We can't afford to lose you.

Guru, how many tolls on my anvil for Greg?

Ellen - Monday, 04/24/06 15:06:12 EDT

Looking for a Northern New Engand Blacksmith/Demonstrator: Hello!

I have looked at the various areas here and this looks like the best option for posting for me. My apologies if it's not.

I am the founder and coordinator of the NH Renaissance Faire and I am attempting to find a blacksmith that is interested in selling his/her weapons, armour etc. as well as demonstrating his/her techniques on-site. Our event is in it's second year, it's a charity event that is a lot of fun. We're trying to gear it toward education and fun that the whole family can afford to attend!

If you know anyone that might be interested please forward this info. to them.

If you know someone that would *definitely* be interested, is local, has experience and is very safe that's the goal. If clothing is an issue, (our event is renaissance-themed of course), we could probably hook that person up with garb if they wish.

Thank you, in advance, for any help you might have.... finding a medieval/ren. smith isn't as easy as one might think. :)
The NH Renaissance Faire & Samhain Celebration
Shannon, aka Gypsy~Rose - Monday, 04/24/06 16:01:29 EDT

John Odom: The KaBar is back!

It is even more beautiful than the picture, and farr better looking that when It left the Kabar factory for the USMC!

If you are up to a story about that knife go to:

and read my post on the second page.

Thanks, Glenn!
- John Odom - Monday, 04/24/06 17:03:35 EDT

Eyes: Funny you should mention that, Ellen. I spent an uncomfortable hour at the opthalmologist's office today, getting a rust ring ground out of my left eye. A bit of steel from the belt grinder found its way under my safety glasses and into my eye on Saturday. A very uncomfortable weekend, to say the least. Sometimes, no matter what you do, things go awry. I'll probably start using the face shield plus the safety glasses.
vicopper - Monday, 04/24/06 20:22:23 EDT

Eyes: You can't be too careful. I am leary of safety glasses that do not have the "old fashioned" side shields on them. Nothing I know of hurts like a piece of steel in your eye, or a bad flash from a welder. The face shield is a darn good idea!
Ellen - Monday, 04/24/06 21:14:12 EDT

eyes: one thing I know is after about 20 MRI's I have clean eye now
Ralph - Monday, 04/24/06 21:43:09 EDT

Ralph: I had an MRI Monday and they did an orbital scan (whatever that is) of my eyes before doing the MRI. 2 hours in that tube is a looonnnng time.
Ellen - Monday, 04/24/06 23:16:42 EDT

scan: Ellen if i remember correct it just a super Xray of eye, but I am missing brain stuff after all the rad treats grin
well google indicats a CT scan. Hope you scans show the findings you want/need
me i usually nap
Ralph - Tuesday, 04/25/06 01:41:46 EDT

CT scans & MRIs: Mine said My brain was "unremarkable". Alltho that May sound like an insult, that was good news. Of course, before the scan they wanted to know if I ever worked with metal, and had ever got any in My eyes. I said "I better get the X rays. Odly enough there wasn't any metal in them.
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 04/25/06 02:18:57 EDT

shop safety: familarity breeds contempt... got a new paint spray gun yesterday, a couple of hours testing it (not really spraying a machine) with no respirator on (not a solvent based paint so diddnt worry to much) this morning blew my nose (yes, lovely i know) and it came out paint coloured. makes you realise that there is probably a nice lining in my lungs that wont be so easy to shift :( - it mst be the same story with grinding sdust etc etc.....
- John N - Tuesday, 04/25/06 06:59:58 EDT

Spray Paint:

Ah yes, it reminds me of my model rocketry days, painting scale models of NASA sounding rockets, and the only fluorescent paint came in spray cans.

Blowing fluorescent orange from your nose is quite a shock!

Calvert Marine Museum Viking Event
Bruce Blackistone - Tuesday, 04/25/06 07:54:24 EDT

Iron Age Vacation: Ah, here's a way to get a bunch of marks out into the boonies and have them help at the forge- call it a vacation! ;-)

I like the public comments at the end, too. Several wide of the mark on both sides. 8-P
BBC Story
Bruce Blackistone - Tuesday, 04/25/06 08:45:10 EDT

NOSE HAIRS and Fairy Dust:
A number of years ago while our crew was working in a nuclear power plant a crew many feet above them drug some contaminated chain across a bar grating floor. . . Fine invisible Cobalt 59 dust rained down on our crew. . . On exit the alarms went off and they had to be checked out. One had a very small amount of the short half life substance in his lungs (luckily) but the whole crew had a snoot full stopped by nose hairs. They got a nose trimming and all was well. One still ocassionaly remarks "Thank God for nose hairs."

It took over a week to determine where the contamination came from. Until then it was classified as "fairy dust" as nobody believed that OUR guys did not do something wrong.

Years later I heard the "fairy dust" excuse again except this time is was from a source I had repeatedly warned the crew, health physics and management about. In a meeting on the incident (several workers were send home too contaminated to enter the plant gate) the source was given as a "mystery". I blew a gasket and told the plant manager that this was a bunch of BS, very unprofessional and an attempted cover up. Experts had been consulted, their training ignored and this was the result.

Since then I have often wondered about "mystery" chemical exposures. Big industry does it all the time but I think individuals also KNOW when they have screwed up and do not want to admit it.

Twice since launching anvilfire I have had widows-to-be write to me and want to know if a carreer as a welder had led to the mystery diseases thie husbands were now dying of. Both were exibiting the symptoms of advanced heavy metal poisioning. I asked if they had told the doctors that they had possibly been exposed to lead and cadmium fumes numerous times during their working carreer. Neither had. I am sure both weldors knew that over their lifetime they had been exposed to some nasty things and had just shrugged it off and kept going. Neither considered that this might help their doctor's diagnosis or the tests they performed.

Work safe. THINK about what you do. YOU are your only real and last defense against dangerous exposures.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/25/06 10:17:52 EDT
Wayne Paris posted this link on the gurusden and I want to repeat it here. If you are a woodworker OR in the market for a table saw you need to look at this.

I was shoping now I am saving. . this is the saw.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/25/06 10:26:20 EDT

700 lb anvil: I missed out on the 700 lb (?peter wright) anvil I mentioned over in the den (7611145381), im a bit annoyed as i think my lack of ebay savvy contributed. It went for the grand total of .............£ 215.00 ($ us equiv approx 370.00 ) so someone got a bargin, just not me this time :(
- John N - Tuesday, 04/25/06 13:40:36 EDT

John N.: That's .53 per pound. Probably sold new for more than that. A great loss! I shall forthwith drape my anvil and slack tub in black bunting and toll out a funeral dirge.
Ellen - Tuesday, 04/25/06 14:09:17 EDT

babies: all Is well on the home front though a bit sleep deprived. MaMa did not go traditional lamaze route though. Used the Alexander Method, And seemed to work better than lamaze for all those who might be expecting this is worth at least researching. YMMV though.Thanks all.
- dragonboy - Tuesday, 04/25/06 14:36:43 EDT

Tools: The Guru's post on tool rich Americans reminded me of an incident. . . A few years back (2000?)I went to the big post-housing neighborhood garage sale at Ft. Leavenworth, which happens as the Command and General Staff College is rotating out a class.

Now when I go to garage sales I look primarily for tools.

Tools? What tools? Lawn mowers and lawn ewuipment were about all there was that could be called tools. Drill press? Table saw? Mechanic's tools? Zip. Lots of brick-a-brack, clothes and furniture. Guns were likewise noticable by their absence.

Now this is where they train Majors to be Colonels, some of whom are the Generals of the future. The lack of evidence of "hands on" hobbies was stunning.

There was a sense that tools are for enlisted men, not officers.
John Lowther - Tuesday, 04/25/06 15:16:04 EDT

Big air compressor for sale

Anyone looking for a very large nice air compressor may want to check out this ebay auction: item # 7613467821 They are located in Irwindale CA, so shipping may be rough for those on the EC, but this place is a pleasure to do business with. I have bought several items from them over the years. They do machinery liquidation for companies that don't want to deal with ebay.


FredlyFX - Tuesday, 04/25/06 16:45:26 EDT

Nickelite Bars: While inventorying an auction purchase I made, I found 17 - 3lb. bars of Nickelite. I had no idea what it was, but in doing a google search, I was directed to this site and thought I'd see if anyone could tell exactly what it is used for.

Thanks for any info,

Steve Strickland - Tuesday, 04/25/06 22:05:55 EDT

Steve, This is a brand name of a nickel bearing babbit. The alloy is probably primarily tin with some antimony and perhaps copper as well as a little nickle.

Babbit is a metal that is melted a relatively low temperature and poured into bearing housings to make a plain metal bearing that would run against a steel shaft. It was very common in old machinery and is still used as a thin coating over copper in automotive bearings.

Nickelite Babbit
- guru - Wednesday, 04/26/06 00:13:41 EDT

Nail Header's taper!: Learned collegues:

Which way should the taper be oriented in a nail header? The 4 or 5 books in which I found mention of this issue (e.g. Bealer, etc) say the small end of the header's taper should be up...but that just does not make sense to me. I've made several headers with the taper the other way around...i.e. matching the taper of the nails I'm going to head in it...and they work great, release the nails easily, etc. Seems like the way the books say to do it creates a potential trap for the nail, especially if you don't taper it perfectly.


Scott Little - Wednesday, 04/26/06 00:55:38 EDT

Tools & People who use them: I too was thinking about Jock's comments about Americans and tools. In many other cultures, anybody with enough wealth to OWN a lot of tools WOULD NOT, as the people who use them are of a lower social class or cast. In those societies, "manual labor" is not a fitting hobby for the well to do. Much like for Officers, I supose. This may be a way to distinguish when a society has a "middle class", wealthy enough to own tools, but not so snooty as to figure that it is beneath them to own and use tools.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 04/26/06 02:46:47 EDT

I would really love to hear from anyone who went to the CSI Hammer In last weekend how things went. What was the weather like? How were the demonstrations? How was the iron in the hat? Did you raise lots of money? Inquiring minds want to know.
FredlyFX - Wednesday, 04/26/06 04:10:06 EDT

Tool Use: Dave is right. When my friends from Japan come over they are amazed and puzzled that a TEACHER has a SHOP! And more amazed when I tell them I built it myself! Professionals don't do such things!

As a missionaries kid I remember the continual debate among the adults. Concensus was it was OK to do manual work but only as a brief demonstration to show someone how something was done. You NEVER actually do a job. Tod do so would risk losing status. Daddy never agreed with that. He preached and practiced a doctrinne called the "Dignity of Labor."

We had A Medical Doctor who was a maveric and was eventually fired because of his "Image." He had a machine shop at his house and could and would fix anything. He rebuilt the hospital after the Japanese put a 500lb bomb in the elevator shaft. He fixed the elevator himself, with his own hands!!

When they were putting the body cast on Daddy after he broke his back, Daddy was suspended between eyehooks on the opposite walls of the operating room with two come-alongs. Just as the pressure came off the operating table the table collapsed. The body cast work was being done by a visiting specialist. When the table collapsed Dr. Richli went into the hall and called me in. He said John come help me. He pulled a 12" crescent wrench and some allen wrenches from his hip pocket and we took the table apart. I used my KaBar as a lever to take pressure off the screw so he could back it out. An ACME adjusting screw had broken where the hand-wheel, which took the thrust, attached. We took the parts to his house, he welded them and turned the shaft back to diameter. Then we went back across the street to the hospital and reassembled the table. All this in the time it took to apply the plaster and for it to harden. Dr. Santos set Daddy back on the repaired table. Most of the hospital equipment at that time was US Army surplus, and a lot of it needed frequent repair. there were NO service techs to call either!

He was one of my heroes, and a good smith to boot.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 04/26/06 06:37:58 EDT

Attitudes Towards Manual Labor: Years back one of our crew's father was taking a German friend for a cruise on the Severn River, when a house on shore caught fire. The VFD showed up, and his father mentioned all the fellows he knew (neighbors, of course). The German was totally astounded at the idea of a volunteer fire department, declaring that in his country such things are properly left to professionals!

“Some people get to work with their hands, and some people get to work with their head. The lucky ones get to do both.” (Uncle Atli's Very Thin Book of Wisdom)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 04/26/06 08:52:00 EDT

Header Taper:
Scott, The taper is for clearance and to pervent the nail from sticking as most have a straight forged shank. IF the nail is tapered in its entirety as you are doing then the header could have a matching taper or be straight. The problem with a matching taper is that it requires the nail to cool to release. At that low angle of taper if the header and nail normalize in temperature and the nail is tight it may not come out.
- guru - Wednesday, 04/26/06 10:13:17 EDT

Nickelite: Gur,

Thank you for the very informative information about the Nickelite and the link. Now I just have to figure out what to do with it! :-)

Steve Strickland - Wednesday, 04/26/06 10:55:32 EDT

CSI Hammer-In 2006:
Working on NEWS now but everyone is in a hurry. Friday was drizzly and slow. We had a delay with the fork lift and unloading Big BLU. A few folks that were camping showed up Thursday evening, the rest Friday. Saturday was THE day.

Saturday was perfect weather, started a little foggy but stayed overcast just long enough to keep it from getting hot at mid day.

About 40 people attended by best guess. We had 32 register and head counts were a little higher. Not as many as we hoped but no less than we expected. There was about half a dozen or more tailgaters and quite a few anvils and vises changed hands. I bought a heavy repousse hammer of about 6 pounds. Several folks brought show and tell items such as a six foot tall cone mandrel that weighed about 600 pounds.

Lester Beckman brought one of his Super-Sucker hoods and Ken demoed it on his outdoor coal forge. The side draft hood worked without a stack and drew REALLY well with a length of stack.

Josh Smith of Big BLU demonstrated the BLU's and several others took their turn on the hammers.

Ken made a few things and held impromptu green coal classes for a couple youngsters and newbies. Later he demonstrated making burners for a gas forge.

Iron in the hat went fairly well for the number of folks attending. Donations varied from cookie shaped drops and odd pieces of spring to a George Foreman Grill, Hofi Video and anvilfire cap bought by an attendee and donated to the cause. We raised a little over $300. That is about average for Iron-In-hat on a per/person basis.

In the afternoon we visited Hunter Plinkertons "World of Tools Museum". There are collections of old tools and collections of old tools, this is THE collection of old tools. . . Hunter has been collecting tools since 1946 and is still collecting. He had so many he built a museum and now it is overflowing. . One of the most unique displays were the hand crank drill "trees". Four columns rising to the ceiling at about 12 feet had hand crank drills mounted on all four sides. Starting with the really rare big drills to little small ones on top. Name a tool and a time period in America and he has it.

After the museum tour things broke up and wound down. Dave Baker spent a couple evenings fishing in Ken's pond trying to catch the "BIG" catfish. Several campers stayed Saturday night.

Richard Postman was there, sold a few books, identified a few anvils. We had dinner at the local Mexican resturant with Richard and the Big BLU crew on Friday and Saturday nights.

We sold anvilfire hats, T-shirts and PAW-PAW's Revolutionary Blacksmith book. Sold out of hats.

The rumors that all the local motels were booked was an exageration. Only the new holiday Inn was fully booked and Loretta Lynn's ranch was the site of a motorcyle rally that had booked all the spaces there. It may have been the weather and fuel prices but there were plenty of rooms in Waverly and nearby Buffalo (on the Interstate). Ken had plenty of space for tents and RV's. Just no "hook-ups".

Ken was very pleased with our group saying that there was absolutely no mess to clean up afterwards. That says a lot for blacksmiths as a group.

The travel was a long 8 hours for me. But it was about the same for Richard Postman who came to lend his support. Draw a circle of that distance and we could have a very high attendance with folks traveling much shorter distances.

We will probably plan on the same weekend next year and will announce the date and times as soon as possible.

- guru - Wednesday, 04/26/06 11:12:37 EDT

CSI Hammer-In 2006: I did manage to get a 7 to 8 lb channel cat.
daveb - Wednesday, 04/26/06 11:54:56 EDT

Small Machines - Manual Labor:
The one reason given for why we do not see a lot of black (African American) folks involved in blacksmithing is the image of working with one's hands.

An interesting fact was given in a recent news report. Many black kids see the "easy" money of being a drug dealer and how rich they are. However, most that get into the busniess make less than minimum wage and ruin their lives to boot. Maybe looking down on working with one's hands is a bad thing. . .

The little 6" Craftsman lathe in our home shop was constantly overtaxed. Every job was too heavy, too hard, too long. But we managed to get then done and it made a world of difference in the VALUE of a shop. We had a MACHINE TOOL! After 35 years of abuse the little machine was given to me and I restored it as well as outfitted it with a complete set of attachments. It is still the King of Tools in my shop. Even when there are larger more robust tools this little gem is just SO dang handy and easy to use. .

Back to manual labor. . .

We have several doctors that are regular readers here and ocassionaly ask me questions and are CSI members. Two of these fellows forge and heat treat custom surgical tools for their own use. If I needed surgery, THESE are the kind of folks I would rather have working on me. . .

We also have several engineers and metalurgists that are regulars here. They have gone into blacksmithing to get real hands-on and practical experiance. Theory is fine but it is really something to see in practice, or how hard it is to put into practice on your own.

- guru - Wednesday, 04/26/06 12:22:27 EDT

Steve, how much do you want for it? I'm sure I'll need to repour the babbit on my power/trip hammer sometime in the next decade or so.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 04/26/06 13:35:29 EDT

IIRC one of our folks was interviewing for a job as a metallurgist at an industrial forge company and reported that his being a hobby smith was considered a positive item---proof he was interested in the field instead of just money.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 04/26/06 13:42:26 EDT

Hands on or not.: I honestly believe that many of the jobs I got thru interviews ( ones I technically was not qualified to get ) were gotten based on a fairly decent technical interest on my part and the fact I am/are very hands on and am willing to DISCOVER HOW TO FIX REPAR WORK AROUND AND THINK
Ralph - Wednesday, 04/26/06 15:32:46 EDT

Exception that Proves the Rule Dept.: of my five grandchildren, only Stanley, 3, who happens to be of the black persuasion, has any real interest in my tools and my shop, and he just loves them. He was ecstatic the other day when I fired up my 80-year-old Mayer Bros. 50-pounder. Sheer amazement and delight. He loved pounding some steel on the anvil, too. The schism 'twixt white collar and blue is ancient. Way back in 1605 essayist Francis Bacon was lamenting: "For it is esteemed a kinde of dishonour unto Learning, to descend to enquirie or Meditation uppon Matters Mechanicall…."
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 04/26/06 16:30:27 EDT

creative mined+hands: during the 2 worled war people life was saved because they had or pretended that they have a mechanical proffesion like blacksmith fabricator locksmith or welder many of them were jews that survive the holocost !!!!!!!! there are many stories about. hofi
hofi - Wednesday, 04/26/06 17:02:36 EDT

VFD: Atli,

That would have been a good time for your friend to tell his German guest that we volunteers ARE professionals. (grin)
Brian C - Wednesday, 04/26/06 17:04:24 EDT

Mike B: A friend once told me that when he was in officer training, one of the exam questions was: You need to raise a 50' flag pole. You have a sergeant, a corporal, two privates, a jeep, and 100' of rope. What do you do?

The "correct" answer: Say "Sergeant, take these men and raise the flag pole."
Mike B - Wednesday, 04/26/06 18:01:44 EDT

Hands-on: I got my first professional job as a physicist when the company president saw a spectrograph I had biult and exhibited in a hobby show. I was the ONLY professional in the company who was also given a work bench in the model shop, "behind the firewall." The local Machinists union had to vote on that, but I won their confidence and convinced them I would not take work out of their pockets.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 04/26/06 18:39:25 EDT

Francis Bacon:
I suspect this attitude is one of many reasons why there are so few early books about technology since most was manual labor of one sort or another.
- guru - Wednesday, 04/26/06 18:44:20 EDT

Culture alert: Sheryl Crow extravaganza on PBS Channel 5 tonight from 9 to 11 MDT in Albuquerque area.
Jock-- Right on! And manual labor is still sneered at to this very day. Of my many college and grad school-trained nephews not a one has ever touched a tool to do work of any kind to my knowledge except perhaps for a mandatory shop class. Worse yet, a welding teacher of mine whose son was seeking a job scoffed when I told him a world-renowned smith I know was looking for an apprentice. Chance of a lifetime, I thought. "Oh, you mean that old-time sweat-shop stuff?" the teacher said. "No way."
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 04/26/06 18:58:56 EDT

There was a quote to the tune of "a society that esteems bad philosphers over good plumbers will have neither pipes or theories that will hold water"

OTOH look how "artists" are often esteemed compared to craftsmen---many of whom put more art as well as craft into their work than some lauded artists.

Going over to help a MatSci Professor get his new forge working...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 04/26/06 19:07:51 EDT

Labor/culture: That is why most industrial arts/technology departments were dropped from colleges. Even the teachers in them didn't recruit students. And socialy the technology students were outcasts too.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 04/26/06 19:09:18 EDT

My father's first managing engineer job was running a small R&D group of less than a dozen men. He and two other engineers did design work and testing with a group of four or five machinists all working in the same "shop". There was an office drawing room and an electronics lab. The machine shop had a saw, mill, lathe and welder plus a few misc small machines and tools. With a budget that just covered materials they built remote control robots in the late 1950's when "robot" was a science fiction term. They also produced fuel handling equipment for the NS Savannah (the only non-military nuclear vessel built), and prototyped dozens of nuclear fuel rod control and fuel assembly designs. They cast the worlds largest epoxy castings of the time and managed to invent slot car racers on the side. . . All in about a 10 year period while moving shop three times.

During much of this time the shop's goal was to invent, test and patent every possible mechanical way to operate a nuclear reactor core.

Imagine a team put together with nothing to do but follow new ideas to completion. What a great life! Sadly the "company" had no idea how valuable many of these inventions were and dropped all the robotic research when the government money ran out. They were 20 to 30 years ahead of the entire world in robotics.

After my Dad retired he recreated this integrated team approach to build unique solutions to problems in the Nuclear industry. As a small group with little oversite as long as we kept the goal in sight we did tremondous things for very little money, fixed the unfixable. Again, sadly, the Nuclear industry did not want real solutions, it is much more profitable in the short run to paper whip problems rather than fix them. Cheaper to "burn up" workers than to use remotely operated machinery.

But it was a great ride. Draw a 17,000 pound part and have it MADE! Design a control system and build it. . . My dad hired me not because I was his son, but because he knew from my art and blacksmithing that I could design tools that worked, solve problems that needed creative solutions and could do both the design work on paper AND make the parts in the shop if necessary.

OBTW - The book "Metalwork Technology and Practice" was the text book for a required course when my father went to college. File, saw, forge, drill, turn, hammer repousse, cut, layout, make patterns and castings. . . Stuff every engineer should have done at least once in their lifetime.

- guru - Wednesday, 04/26/06 19:55:19 EDT

Hands-on: Being the first generation to get to college, and growing up in and around farms it was hard not to be hands-on :) Still remember the first job out of college - got almost instant respect from the union workers just because I was willing to listen and to go out in the mill if there was a problem. Had the USW guys tell me they were sorry to see me leave when I changed jobs because I was the only one who gave a s*** and came out of the AC or heat when there was a problem. Didn't always solve them, but got a heck of a lot more help towards solving them than some of the other metallurgists.
- Gavainh - Wednesday, 04/26/06 22:23:09 EDT

Tradesmen: Thinking back to the tradesmen of My Grandpop's era, [these people were middle aged during WW2] there were a LOT of REALLY SHARP men in the skilled trades in the local industries. For these folks a colege education was pretty much out of the question economicly, and the skilled trades provided the best living they could achive. As mentioned in the above posts there is an idea now [ this idea has been around for some time now] that "smart" kids should persue a "profession". This MAY be a way to earn more money, but remember where it gets us as a society when the mechanics, plumbers, electricians, etc. have troubble solving realitivly easy problems. I have never met a tradesman who was truely a MASTER of a trade that wasn't of above average intelegence. Industry and our country as a hole, benifitted greatly from these tradesmen. 20 years ago there was a stastic that Japan was graduating 10 engineers for every lawyer, and that the US was graduating 10 lawyers for every engineer. Look where that got us. The trades were just the tip of the iceberg.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 04/26/06 23:56:16 EDT

Working with hands.: Conventional wisdom says that a guy who works with his hands wears a size 48 shirt and can look through a keyhole with both eyes (at once). There seems to be this idea that we can't visualize, think, or reason.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 04/27/06 09:02:12 EDT

In the late steam era when those really fantastic RR steam engines were built that would pull a loaded train over 100 MPH there were no "detail" drawings. There was one fairly detailed assembly drawing and pulled out detail cross sections. There were overall dimensions and critical sizes but no tolerances. The pattern maker figured out the pattern dimensions and machining allowance as did the blacksmith, the machinist made parts as accurately as he could and took extra care on parts that were noted to be fine fits. The men that built these things had to KNOW what they were doing. They had to be able to scale drawings and create the extra views they needed in their mind or on scratch paper.

As drawing systems were developed and formalized less was required of the man on the shop floor. However, this often required more knowledge of the man making the detailed drawings who was often someone that had the experiance of having worked in the shop. Notes on drawings often had instructions to "grind, lap and polish", "drill and ream" or "fine cast finish allowed". These were based on shop experiance. This method got us through WWI and into the Nuclear Age. Today we have the tersest of symbolic notes designed to be minimal but sufficient. In fact they are nearly impossible to decypher being written in a language of their own.

The old ways were not necessarily better. But they produced results. The US build up for WWII was phenomenal. We built ships then in the time it takes to mobilize an army today. We built the plants to make the steel for those ships in less time than it takes to do the environmental impact studies today. We have reached the point where the bureaucratic overburden is many times more than the actual job and it is getting worse. Meanwhile our hungry competetors in the world market are working the way we did several generations ago. . .

Societies have toppled and dissapeared many times due to the bureaucratic overburden and lack of corrective measures. It can happen here too.
- guru - Thursday, 04/27/06 10:49:53 EDT

Dang Frank where are you finding shirts with a 48 neck? All I can find are 46's and they make me feel like I'm choking when I'm looking through keyholes at other folks shops!

Thomas P - Thursday, 04/27/06 12:13:09 EDT

Early Steam,

I had a lot of input, and manufactured many parts for the Steam Elephant ( ) a replica 1815 early loco. The drawings were done based only on an oil painting !

Even with a very good project manager (and some very talented sub-contractors !! :) it took 3 years to make. I bet the original took a lot less in 1815.

One of the main problem was lack of 'know how', the drawings diddnt have every machining symbol / tollerance and surface finish on them which threw the machine operators no end.
- John N - Thursday, 04/27/06 12:54:09 EDT

I'm 17 about to get out of highschool and i realy dont know what i want to do but i have always been interested in the art of blacksmithing. I havn't read any of the books cause i cant afford any but i was wondering if there were any smiths in the vicinity of Leesburg Florida that wouldn't mind taking on an apprentice.
- Raymond - Thursday, 04/27/06 13:15:13 EDT

Thomas P.: Chest and/or gut measurement.

German spelling. If the hammer is named after a swan, it is "der Schwan". "Schwanz" means variously tail, rear end, trail or breech of a gun, or a man's member, the latter being slang but oft used. I was in Germany, the peacetime army, in the 1950's (before Elvis).
Frank Turley - Thursday, 04/27/06 14:44:54 EDT

Books and cost: Raymond! Poppycock!
Many of the books can be found in the library system. Get thee there and ask about interlibrary loans.
Find a local smithing group. get to meetings. lkisten learn and after a bit you will find members will often have books in a loose library for the guild/group etc.
Ralph - Thursday, 04/27/06 15:11:30 EDT

Raymond, as an apprentice you will *cost* a working shop money---how much are you willing to pay to be one? Most shops don't have enough unskilled jobs to be worth taking an unskilled labourer on. (A lower end estimate for a knifemaker is that an apprentice should be working 10 hours for every hour of time of the skilled guy in instructing them.)

You may want to do a search on the many threads on apprenticeships that have been on this site in the past.

I would suggest getting welding or machinist cert before trying to get a job in a smithy. And if you want to try to make a living as a smith I would suggest attending college---the art, business and writing training can give you the edge you need.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to be a blacksmith---but I can name a bunch that are...

Thomas P - Thursday, 04/27/06 15:51:15 EDT

Raymond, first, let me echo Ralphs comments. There are a lot of books out there for low or no cost. There really isn't much of an apprentice system around like there is in Europe. However, there are places to learn. First off, how about taking some shop classes in school. I took welding, metal shop, wood shop, small engine repair, and auto mechanics classes in high school. I know a lot of those types of programs have been shut down, but check and see what your school offers. You might also look at your local community college once you get out of HS. Take welding classes to learn the basics of shop opperation and safty. You may also want to take some art classes as well. Then, once you have a clue what you are doing start going around to all the local metal fabrication shops and try to get on as a grunt or whatever low level job they let you do. Keep your mouth shut and your eyes open and learn all you can. While doing that, also look for local blacksmithing groups. Check out the site to find a group near you. Go to the meetings and get to know the guys. Many will be willing to help you get going. Don't expect to learn it all instantly. It is a life long process.

FredlyFX - Thursday, 04/27/06 15:56:14 EDT

Liberty Ships: If I remember correctly, Henry Kaiser, a genius at industrial organization, had one of his shipyards build a Liberty Ship from the keel up and launch it in.....24 hours. Try that today!
Ellen - Thursday, 04/27/06 15:56:44 EDT

Makin' stuff: An old acquaintance, now passed on, Lew Wilcoxen, graduated in engineering from the University of Michigan during the first quarter of the 20th century. He and his class made an airplane that they flew, before he graduated! He said for part of their curriculum, they had one forging excercise, to forge a one inch square cube. He said that when he finished the cube, he never wanted to forge anything again.
- Frank Turley - Thursday, 04/27/06 16:12:49 EDT

Ralph: We use words here like horsehockey. Just as my fellow smitty Frank. Hecky Darn, Awwh Sugar things of that nature. Poppycock is a non-smitty term. Sounds like something used on a perverted forum. I am just Razzing you for fun. ;)
- Burnt Forge - Thursday, 04/27/06 18:49:25 EDT

Old time railroad: While visiting one of the oldtimers I spoke of in the post "Tradesmen" I met a friend of His who learned the mechanical engineering trade from the rail road in England before WW1. He said the firs year of traning was spent in the machine shop WITHOUT PAY. After that they would start to teach the engineering. Jock's post about the lack of detail drawings for a locomotive is much like the drawings for the auto frame stamping dies at My last industrial job. As tool & die makers it was our responsibility to provide drawings for the machine shop fully dimentioned for the work to be done to a specific part, as well as a description of how to properly set up and machine the part. It was prudent to keep an eye on the process when the work was being done to be sure everybody was on the same page. Some other places I worked used fully detailed drawings.
Dave Boyer - Thursday, 04/27/06 21:58:11 EDT

I talked with an old Loco engineer once and he told the story of when he was taking his test to become an engineer. It was held in a train car and he was stumped on one question about the exact layout of one of the pipes in the system---you had to know all of them by heart. Just as he was about to give up the engine in question pulled up alongside with the pipe in question clearly in view---he passed!

Thomas P - Friday, 04/28/06 09:51:20 EDT

The cost of blacksmithing books is infinitesimal compared to the cost of actual text books (which is a rip-off due to a captive market and monopolistic supply).

The cost of books and technical references such as Machinery's Handbook or the ASM references is also infinitesimal compared to the cost of an education.

As Ralph pointed out, if you know how to use the library there will be books on many related subjects and even possibly blacksmithing. Note that public libraries are MUCH different than public high school libraries which are pretty miserable. The better libraries in you town will be at Beacon College or Florida Technical College. Most college and University libraries are open to the local public with some exceptions such as during exams and when school is closed. You may not be able to check out books from these sources but they have quit reading rooms except for the distraction of the coeds.

Besides interlibrary loans which is usualy free you can also buy used books on the internet for 1/2 to 1/8 of new price. Sites like give you access to used book shops world wide. See our book review pages for titles and authors.

THEN there is your local blacksmithing organization FABA. They have a library that loans books and tapes to members. For the low cost of an annual membership you can have access to thousands of dollars worth of hard to find and often expensive books such as Masters of Itailian Irowork.

If you don't have the gumption and drive to go out and find a few books then you are probably not cut out to be a blacksmith. It is an occupation that you must love.

See our getting started article and the many links from it in cluding our article on apprenticeships and sword making.

Beacon College
- guru - Friday, 04/28/06 10:26:19 EDT

Forge Parts: As I was looking for something else in the shop yesterday I came across a box with most of the parts for a Sandia style recuperative gas forge. I modified my sandia forge years ago and would be glad to give these left over parts to anyone thinking about building one of them. Included are the top cover, chimney piece and its back cover, the heat exchanger bells, gas tube and flame tubes, and the front door with hinge assembly and counterweight. Almost eveything is made of stainless (16 ga) and the refractory board is still in place. You'd have to make the base and sides part and purchase the insulating board and ramable refractory for that part. I'm located in central NJ where it can be picked up or I'll be at the power hammer school near Charlotte NC over the weekend of May 6,7 if someone is near there. First one (if anyone) to email gets it- put forge in the subject line so I don't delete it. I'll post this over on forgemagic also.

SGensh - Friday, 04/28/06 13:41:18 EDT

One of my wife's card playing buddies is selling a 1980 Scottsdale Pickup. My wife thinks it might be a good forge/anvil/scrap/coal hauling beater for me. Anybody have any experiences with such a critter?

Thomas P - Friday, 04/28/06 16:06:35 EDT

Thomas make sure to check the frame carefully I bought one from a buddy and the fram under the box was gone but otherwise they are very good trucks and will take a beating in my experience all the engines have outlasted the trucks they were in i would say it would make a very good hauler.
- stephen - Friday, 04/28/06 17:31:14 EDT

Forge Parts: It looks like I have a taker for the forge parts. It seems people do read these pages.

SGensh - Friday, 04/28/06 19:28:31 EDT

beginning: im a beginner and i have no access to tools or work space what should i do ?
- jbaer - Friday, 04/28/06 23:38:25 EDT

Liberty ships: For that publicity stunt (not trying to take away from what they accomplished, as henry & his team were truely go getters), as well as most of the production of the liberty ships, they used the moduler concept of having sections of the ship pre fab'd & then brought together & welded up.

There are stories of how a few of the ships had issues with staying together for the journey accross the sea to the war front. They weren't really built from the keel up like you would normally think.

I'm in the Kaiser Frazer car club & an interesting read if you can find a copy is "the last onslaught on Detroit" which details henry's history & his venture into the car business.
- Mike Sa - Saturday, 04/29/06 08:38:57 EDT

Beginner: should first decide what area of this hobby/obsession your interested in (tools, blades, artwork, etc). Then find the nearest smithing group to your area (You'll be surprised) & join that group. They will be more than willing to help get you started if your willing to learn.
Let us know where you are located & someone here may be able to help in finding a close by group for you.
- Mike Sa - Saturday, 04/29/06 08:44:48 EDT

Mo' Education: "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance." unknown
3dogs - Saturday, 04/29/06 10:12:59 EDT

Kaiser and Marine Engineering: Mike, you are correct, it was a publicity stunt, or propaganda to be more correct. It was meant to lift morale at home and discourage Germany, our primary submarine menace at the time.

Metallurgy was in it's infancy then (sorry Quenchcrack) and marine architects and engineers had not determined yet that certain steels became extremely bittle in cold water. They did know that two row riveting was only about 50% to 60% of the strength of welded joints, so a number of Liberty ships simply broke in half in cold water with unpleasant results. Welded hulls would have been faster and stronger. But riveting was faster due to the technology of the time.

This was fixed later during the war by affixing a band of steel, a "stiffener" around the hull above the waterline to add another layer of strength.

There is an excellent discussion of marine mettalurgy, riveting joints, and hull strength in "Titanic Ships, Titanic Disasters" by Bob Garzke and co-author. Bob is a Marine Architect and Engineer who has written several books on shipbuilding that are surprisingly easy to read and quite interesting. I have 3 of his other books, and they have all been highly interesting. Even as a lay person, something like 85% is understandable to me.

Titanic suffered from all of the above defects, but they were unknown at the time. It was actually an extemely well built and engineered ship for its time (it's surviving twin, Olympic) survived as a liner until early 1930's. It was more expensive to operate than the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth type of ship, oil vs. coal, reciprocating triple expansion engines with one low pressure turbine, vs. high pressure turbines with reduction gearing on the later ships. And more cabins with their own toilets (grin).

A truly fascinating subject for those interested in steel and technology.

Lusitania, by contrast, was launched 6 years before Titanic, and was also a well constructed ship, but it had some major flaws. It used low pressure turbines (at the insistance of the British Admiralty), before reduction gearing was available. The admiralty picked up a substantial part of the building price as she was intended to be used as an auxiliary cruiser in time of war (speed was highly important), and also had longitudinal bulkeads rather than transverse. The net result of the power plant was a very fast ship for the time, but reversing required a separate turbine with the fans facing the "other" way to impart a reverse spin to the propellers. Net result was the torpedo and secondary explosion destroyed the valving system for switching steam from the forward driving turbines to the reverse turbine, so the ship could not be rapidly stopped, and the shock also prevented steam from being completely cut off to the forward driving turbines.

The longitudinal bulkheads guaranteed she would list to the damaged side, quite quickly, which meant no lifeboats could be launched on the port side, and the ship was still moving forward at a goodly speed when she went under.

More fatalities occured on Lusitania than Titanic even though she was much closer to land (seven or eight miles, sank in daylight, but in 20 minutes instead of two hours) but also in cold water...hypothermia did most of the damage.

Sorry to be so lengthy, just thought it might be of interest to some.
Ellen - Saturday, 04/29/06 11:30:48 EDT

ships: hmmmmmm,
Isn't comparing the Titanic to the Lusitania like apples and oranges?
I thought the Lusitania was sunk by a U-boat?
Ralph - Saturday, 04/29/06 11:46:20 EDT

Scottsdale Pickup,
If it has a 350 grab it. I have a '78 scottsdale with over half a million miles on it, only major work has been replacing the camshaft at about 100,000 or so km
JimG - Saturday, 04/29/06 12:03:29 EDT

jbaer newby:
Many folks do not have actual "shop space" and work outdoors. This does not take a large space but it does require good weather and cooperative neighbors. So, then you only have to be concerned about storage and security of your tools.

Lack of access to tools is a problem. Mechanical occupations of any kind are tool intensive. However, if you keep your goals realistic you can setup to forge with very few tools. Many you will need to make on your own if you do not a budget for tools. However, there are SOME things that you will need to purchase but that does not mean you need to go to Sears and buy NEW tools. Antique shops, junk shops, thrift shops (and FLEA MARKETS) all ocassionaly have tools for much less than new. However, I advise that you shop the tools catalogs a little to know what prices to expect. Ocassionaly a dealer will have a higher price on an old tools that has no collectable value than a NEW tool from a reputable dealer. See our advertisers on-line catalogs for prices.

You will need the following at a minimum:

1) 2 pound (900 g) cross peen hammer (blacksmiths hammer).
OR a 32oz. ball peen hammer (second choice),

2) Tongs OR a pair of pliers, preferably 12 to 14" Channellocks. A pair of ViseGrips are also good.

3) Anvil. This needs to be no less than 40 pounds (18 kg) and should be about 100 pounds (45 kg). The general rule is that your anvil should be 50 times heavier (or more) than your hammer. If you use a small anvil you should use a smaller hammer and scale down the size of work you do.

An anvil is a compact mass of iron or preferably steel. There are alternatives to a real anvil but they are relatively far and few between. RR-rail is often used but improperly. The right way to use RR-rail is standing on end. This puts the mass of the rail in line with the direction of the blow. Yes the target (about 2" x 3") is small but that is all you need and about the size of the area used by most smiths on a much larger anvil. Heavy "drops" (waste steel) 4" thick or more from a steel service center are also good low cost anvils. Odd shapes are OK. DO NOT get tunnel vision thinking of a classic anvil shape and miss an oportunity. Look for compact mass.

Anvils under 130 pounds are considered "portable" and are best if you need to setup and tear down daily.

4) A forge. These can vary greatly. A forge can be a hole in the ground with air supplied by a blanket over an adjoining pit. This is very inefficient and requires a helper but it WORKS. Solid fuel forges burn charcoal and coal. Coal is best but charcoal burns cleanly and the small does not arouse suspicion in your neighbors. See our plans page for one type of DIY forge. These can be built without a welder. Forges can also run on propane and are no larger than a propane barbeque. In fact an old gas barbeque cart makes a great portable forge cart.

5) Quench tank. Preferably this is a metal container filled with 5 to 10 gallons of water. Plastic containers work but the first time you drop a piece to cool in the bucket it will have a hole in it. . .

6) Material. This is often overlooked. Many start out heating and pounding on any old scrap steel they can find such as RR-spikes or scrap re-bar. However, spikes are a relatively large piece of steel that is hard to work and re-bar is a lind of mystery metal. PLAN on purchasing some steel bar from the hardware store, a machine shop or steel supplier. 1/2" is heavy bar when starting out. 3/8" is good to learn on and the right size if your anvil is less than 100 pounds. 1/4" square is a joy to work and the right size for a hammer less than 2 pounds.

You will also find you need many other misc. tools. A hack saw and blades to cut your bar stock or to seperate the thing you made on the end of a long bar. A vise to hold work while sawing, filing, chisling. Files and chisles. Punches.

Most of your small tools will fit in a portable tool tray. If you have a vise it needs to be anchored better than the anvil. Farriers often have a small bench with both anvil and vise so that the heavy tools help anchor each other. This is a very compact way of working if you are space limited.

Getting Started
- guru - Saturday, 04/29/06 12:06:22 EDT

Ellen, Interesting stuff.

In one of my welding magazines a few years ago they had an article about cutting a cruise ship in half and adding about 100 new cabins. The new section was prebuilt, the ship moved into dry dock, cut in half, slid apart and the new section fited and the whole welded back together. Sounds simple until you think about all the decks, pipes, wires, air ducts. . . I think the whole refit was done in something like 40 days. Pretty amazing.

- guru - Saturday, 04/29/06 12:25:23 EDT

Sinking Apples and Oranges: They were both large passenger ships and even though the cause of their sinking was different the damage to the ships was similar. It was the difference in their design and mode of sinking that is interesting.

The lack of reduction gearing is a matter of the state of the art. Gears are one thing but high speed gears are a completely different animal. Gears that migh rumble a little at low speeds SCREAM at high speed. Wear goes up rapidly with the increase in speed as well. High speed gearing for turbines requires holding very fine tollerances and making gears with near perfectly finished hardened surfaces. They must also run very concentric on good ball or roller bearings that hold the positions of the mating gears within a few thousandths of an inch.

Common change gears and simple low speed gears are cut with shaped cutters and are even cast to shape. But high speed gears must be machined on machines that generate the exact involute curve for that particular gear. After hardening they are often lapped against their mating gear.

Long life high speed gearing required developing a whole series of technologies to achieve. In fact the machines are much like other machines in that they require parts almost as precision as they will make. Getting there with lesser machines is the real art.
- guru - Saturday, 04/29/06 12:48:55 EDT

Lusitania v. Titanic: Not an unreasonable comparison at all, Ralph. The lusitania was indeed sunk by a German U-boat, while the Titanic was sunk by an unaffiliated iceberg. Both were large passenger ships, both sunk at sea. In both cases, there have been years of speculation about ancillary causes: was the Lusitania carrying explosives that causd a secondary explosion, was the Titanic sabotaged, etc. But in the end what you have is two big ships that sunk after their hulls were breached. Pretty fundamentally similar, I'd say. And Ellen's information was quite interesting.

I didn't know that the Lusitania had longitudinal bulkheads; a decidedly unusual way of building a ship, from what minuscule amount I know about ships, anyway. And a critical factor in her sinking, it sound like.
vicopper - Saturday, 04/29/06 12:56:28 EDT

Titanic steel: I remember reading an article several years ago about a fellow who had a theory about why the Titanic was so badly damaged when it hit the iceberg. This was prior to "King of the World" days. He surmised that technology had far outstrippped metallurgical knowledge at the time it was built. He was able to get hold of a divot that had come from the Titanic and had been a paperweight on somebody's desk all those years. A divot is the material that is removed from the steel plate to make a hole for a rivet to be placed. He subjected it to what he called a cigarette test, in which he cut a piece of modern steel about the length and diameter as a cigarette. He fastened one end in a vise, then took a weight fastened to a cord of a certain length and let it swing in a downward arc striking the sample. Then he measured how far the steel bent. He did this with two or three samples of different types of steel(stainless, AR plate, etc.) They all bent to different degrees. Then when he used the sample from the Titanic, it didn't bend at all. Instead it broke off and went flying clear across the room. If memory serves me , later analysis found high concentrations of sulphur in it. If the plate in the Titanic had not been so brittle, very possibly the tear in the side would have been minimal and not fatal.
- Loren T - Saturday, 04/29/06 13:07:36 EDT

Ships' gearing: I saw a fascinating documentary about the Arleigh Burke type (Aegis-class) destroyers a while back. I learned that the final rotational speed of the screws was only something like 300 rpm. I found that astonishing, as I once had the opportunity to ride aboard the USS Cole when they were here for R&R once. That ship went from standing still to full speed in just about it's own length! And we're not talking a slow ship, either. That thing goes over 35 mph. And it *stopped* from full speed in it's own length, something like 500'. That was an E-ticket ride, I can tell you! Imagine the power it takes to get about 16 MILLION pounds of steel from 0 to 30 in 1/10th of a mile. I looked up the answer; a bit over 100,000 shaft horsepower. A very impressive ship, indeed.
vicopper - Saturday, 04/29/06 13:09:41 EDT

Vicopper, I was priviliged to be as close to a Saturn V take off as you could get without being in a bunker, (or in the command module)---that had some horsepower!

Loren, Large swinging weight, fixed test piece: sounds a lot like a Charpy test, except the Charpy test you expect the piece to fail and what you are measuring is the ammount of energy it absorbs doing so

Thomas Powers - Saturday, 04/29/06 14:26:53 EDT

Lusitania: The British Admiralty spec'd out some of the important things in the ship's design, since they contributed heavily to the building fund, they got their way.

The thinking on longitudinal bulkheads was that they would help to protect the interior of the ship from exposions like shellfire. Torpedoes and submarines weren't given much, if any, consideration in 1906. This was the system used on HMS Dreadnaught and successors, with some some differences.

The steel plating on a battleship was significantly thicker and heavier than on an ocean liner; it also had a hardened steel armor layer inside the outer skin, and transverse bulheads throughout. Apparently this was not considered by the designers of Lusitania. Also, in both types of ships the longitudinal bulkhead arrangement was used for coal bunkers. At the battle of Jutland, this arrangement worked very well for both German and British ships.

Lusitania, however had only part of the system, and with thin steel to boot. I don't think it would have made a huge difference if there had been no secondary explosion. Torpedoes of the time, on riveting plating, normally opened a hole about 40' X 60'. That's a lot of open area for seawater to pour in. And, they couldn't stop the beast.

Lusitania had a sister ship, Mauretania, which stayed in Transantlic service until the late 1920's with no mishaps.

Probably a large factor in the Lusitania disaster was no liner had ever been torpedoed before without warning, and the captain just could not conceive of it happening, and did not take sufficient precautions to avoid the area where the submarine was working. Also, communications of the day were primitive and he may not have had all the information he needed. There was no voice radio; everything was transmitted in morse code by primitive equipment which often did not carry as far as intended.

The Garzke book on Titanic et al has a lengthy discourse on the metallurgy of Titanic, including cross sections of the rivets, and a couple of tests I can't name (book out on loan), well illustrated, and you can see the large slag inclusions in the rivets which weakened them by about 40% over better made rivets. Likewise the hull plates.
Ellen - Saturday, 04/29/06 15:18:07 EDT

I heard a very intersting conspiricy theory that Titanic and Olympic were 'switched' after Olympic had its keel broken in an earlier colision (they then scuttled the olympic (now called the titanic) - there was supposed to be a rescue boat nearby but it didnt happen!
- John N - Saturday, 04/29/06 16:36:01 EDT

How many torps hit the Lusitania? Seems that an accident ie a ice berg is going to be one type of hole.
Remember a torp is Designed and generally deployed to explod UNDER the ship hull BREAKING IT. At least in all my Navy sub warfare traing.
Ralph - Saturday, 04/29/06 17:42:19 EDT

Ralph: Kapitan Walther Schweiger in his logbook for the U-20 states he fired one torpedo from a distance of 700 meters set to run 3 meters below the surface. Torpedo struck behind the bridge, followed by a much larger explosion. In those days, they had contact detonators, not magnetic, so it was necessary for the torpedo to strike the hull to explode. 700 meters was a long shot in 1915. The explosive was less powerful than later mixes, and the charge was also smaller.

Ironically, U-20 was heading home, low on fuel and down to 2 "G" torpedoes (considered second class by U-boat captains of the day) when sighting the Lusitania. Also ironic was the fact that Captain Turner had brought the Lusitania close in to the Irish coast, slowed to 20 knots, to take a bearing on the lighthouse at Kinsale as he feared he would have lost his license if after a transatlantic crossing he had not fixed his position accurately before making landfall at Liverpool.

Like Titanic, a lot of ironic if's and what might have beens in both stories.

Lusitania sank within 18 minutes of the first explosion and 1,151 lives were lost. Captain Turner stated she took on a 15 degree list to starboard withing 15 seconds of the explosion(s), and he knew the ship was lost, but could not stop her to safely lower lifeboats from her starboard side (port would have been impossible with that much of a list on her).
Ellen - Saturday, 04/29/06 18:21:12 EDT

liberty ships: Ellen, I suspect that if you check a bit, you will find that the Libery and Victory ships were welded construction. That was one of the major changes in shipbuilding made by Kaiser to speed the process. The ships that failed from brittle failure were T-2 tankers mostly. Kaiser also changed from the time consuming round cornered doors and bulkhead openings to a burnt square opening. I believe the ships that cracked and did not sink and were the answer to what was happening cracked from the corner of a forward hold. The causeation was brittle failure from poor quality plate and the stress riser from the square holes. These ships were still a great success as they were only expected to survive a trip or two. The valve and boiler company I used to work for made every boiler header used in these ships, as well as building a complete steam plant per week. We still had the 1200 ton bull press and the dies for converting the round header pipe into square and then making them into a serpentine header. I scrapped then in about 1996.

We made tons of valves and fittings for A350 LF-2 service. This is high pressure at -40F and below. I did a fair amount of research on the brittle failure stuff. We did special heat treat and then did Charpy V knotch tests on the steel.
Ptree - Saturday, 04/29/06 18:25:03 EDT

Ptree: I checked; you are totally correct on both points, as I have come to expect from you. Thanks! One fact of interest surfaced; the catastrphic failure mode was considered to be precipated by the welded hull as it did not flex in a seaway as a riveted hull did. Learn something every day....if you keep your mind open. Grin!
Ellen - Saturday, 04/29/06 19:48:43 EDT

Victory ships: Ellen, A few of the T-2 tankers cracked with a cannon shot like sound when being loaded/unloaded at the dock. Filled a hold at one end and the large bending moment did the deed. Of course they were in some balmy local like Murmansk at the time. Interesting thing about the liberty ships. They had steam recip compond engines. low speed direct drive. One of the reason they were so slow.
Ptree - Saturday, 04/29/06 20:01:06 EDT

Went to a KBA hammer-in today at Danny Downs shop. He has a nice large Baudry. I WANT ONE!
Ptree - Saturday, 04/29/06 20:02:16 EDT

My ex-father in law, WWII ship welding inspector: As an inspector, he said that the welders were paid wages on a piece work or per foot basis. To make more money, a scant few of the welders would place a rod of M.S. into, say, a single-vee butt in the deck and cover it with a few passes. Therefore, there was no root with multiple passes in the vee.

He claimed that this was a part of the problem of tankers breaking up. Apparently, these unscrupulous welders were caught and paid for their sins.

About all this, I say, "Hmmmm". My father in law was quite a joker. On the other hand, this could have happened, and the later board of investigators of ship weld failures may not have reported it. Perhaps it was better to sweep it under the rug. It sounded better to talk about "brittle fracture", etc.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 04/29/06 20:43:21 EDT

According to a book that I have read,the Lusitania had been secretly refurbished as an armed auxillary cruiser and regulary hauled armmament along with passengers which was in violation of neutrality laws. This practice led to the Germans torpedoing passenger ships without warning. In the closing weeks of April, 1915, some of the stuff smuggled on board the Lusitania included 600 tons pyroxaline (an explosive), 6 million rounds of ammo and 1248 cases of shrapnel rounds. That might cause a pretty good secondary explosion no doubt. The Lusitania was supposed to rendevous with the British destoyer Juno off the coast of Ireland, but the Juno was called out of the area at the last minute to leave the ship on its own.
- Jeff G - Saturday, 04/29/06 22:12:24 EDT

Bad welds: Frank; In the 70's I worked as a shipfitter in a yard at Toledo, Ohio. That yard had done much defense work in WW II, and many of the old hands were still there when I was. Much mention was made of "slugged" welds. After that, if a weldor was issued, say, 100 electrodes, he/she had better be turning in 100 stubs at the end of the day. (And very short stubs, at that.)
3dogs - Saturday, 04/29/06 22:19:56 EDT

Liberty Ships & Charpy Tests: Liberty ships - I received several interesting lectures on Liberty ships while getting my Metallurgy degree at Carnegie-Mellon. Alas, don't remember a whole lot about them. Except it pushed/started the non-destructive testing field forward. The person giving them was always called "The Admiral" within the department (at least by the undergraduates). He'd retired from the Navy as a rear admiral, and had been active in the investigations to determine the reasons for failure. Being below Charpy transition temperature in North Atlantic seas was one of the reasons he cited.

For those who arene't familiar, a Charpy is a specimen that is about 1/2 "x 1/2" x 3" long with with a sharp V notch milled into the center. (Dimensions are approximate, since I don't have access to the ASTM books at home.) There are specifications for how deep and how sharp the notch is - I used to check them under optical comparators to verify that they weren't too round at the tip. A swinging weight impacts the side opposite the notch braking the bar into two pieces. The fracture surfaces are examined and rated for bittle and or ductile failure and there is a readout of how many foot-pounds of energy it took to break the bar.

It's been nearly 30 years since I've done one, but I seem to remember 40 ft-lbs as being typical of 4140 quenched and tempered to about 302 Brinell, or 30 Rockwell C - fracture was very dutile/fibrous when tested at room temperature (70 F). Get the same specimen really cold - say about -100 F and you get a totally brittle/glass like fracture that absorbs about 1 ft-lb of energy. I may be exagerating the extremes a bit but the change really is that dramatic, and happens over a realtively small temperature band. You're dropping slow - 1 or 2 ft-lbs for about every 20 degree F drop in sample temperature, then suddenly boom you loose 10 or 15 ft-lbs , loose another 10-15 on the next sample temp drop, then back to small drops of 1 or 2 ft-lbs.
- Gavainh - Saturday, 04/29/06 22:51:41 EDT

Steel Ships: A friend of one of My boating buddies captains a 1,000' tanker. He says it flexes 10' in a rough sea, and has plenty of cracks that have been repaired and reinforced. Previously he ran an older ship built by Bethlehem Steel at Sparrow's Point Md. That ship was built verry robustly and had no cracking problems. My Dad was on a LST in Norfolk at the end of WW2. He said it was rather slopily built, plenty of distortion in plating, etc. Of course, many of those ships only made a single one way trip, so no use making them pretty.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/29/06 23:18:37 EDT

Precision Gears: During WW2 My Grandpop was a machinist for Jacobs Aircraft Co. They did a lot of War Work for other aplications at the #2 plant. He ground a lot of gears on a Swiss made Moog sp? gear grinder that generated a true involute shaped tooth. I think they were drive parts for Pratt & Whitney. There are some books on those machines around here someplace, but I am not sure where.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/29/06 23:27:56 EDT

Moog: That is the right name. Pratt and Whitney also made a lot of custom machine tools for their own use as well as selling a few. The only one I can think of off hand is a multi spindle drill press for making small parts. Down and up and you have eight holes. . (or more). Really speeds things up.
- guru - Saturday, 04/29/06 23:38:12 EDT

Moog Gear Grinder: Grandpop told a story about when the factory man came to set up the machines someone lent Him a "Yankee" screwdriver. He had never seen anything like it and purchased several to take back to Switzerland with Him.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 04/30/06 00:55:59 EDT

Liberty Ships: As a kid in the Philippines I rode around on a lot of them, being used as inter-island freighters. They were crudely built, to wartime standards of fit and finish, but they did their intended job well. Many lasted many years bast the war.

Those that were used in cold water did have the relatively high brittle transition temperature problem.

They were of all welded construction.

It has been said that the 2 1/2 ton six-by six truck and the liberty ship were the two pieces of equipment that contributed most to the war effort. I believe it.
- John Odom - Sunday, 04/30/06 07:19:45 EDT

multi spin dle drill presses: Hi Guru
I remember the multi spindle drill presses. They were used a great deal in the cutlery industry as well as other industries as you mentioned for small parts. They were used for the drilling of multi holes in knife liners and handle material. They are just a neat machine. Today many two heads are still used. I remember the 4,6 and 8 head machines. I am sure some nice old antiquated cutleries that are still using the same equiptment making everything by hand are still using them. My favorite way knives are made anyway. I know the first time you see one of those machines it is something to behold. Also they used them to have different tooling and fixtures set up on each head, so you could just go down the line doing different processes without changing tooling.
- Burnt Forge - Sunday, 04/30/06 08:10:11 EDT

Multi spindle drills: we got asked to reccomend a new machining center to drill 12 holes approx 2" dia in flanges 4' + diameter, when the engineer went and looked at the existing set up it was a (very very old) custom 12 spindle that you could change the PCD on. it banged the 12 holes through in a minute or two! - no modern CNC would have beaten it on cost / relability / tooling cost and cycle time - we just had to tell them to stick with what they had!
- John N - Sunday, 04/30/06 08:52:00 EDT

Lusitania: but those 6 million rounds of ammo being shipped to a country at war were listed as "hunting rounds" not military rounds---so it was OK!

Thomas Powers - Sunday, 04/30/06 14:20:42 EDT

Thomas: Well, all the good horses were in France mired in the mud, and foxes were over running the countryside, so they needed lots of hunting ammo since all the good shots were also in France shooting at Le Boche. Grin! Of course 303 rifle rounds might be a bit much for fox but what a trivial point between friends, esp. for a cash and carry transaction. Likewise with gun cotton, cordite, whatever else might have been on her....Garzke suspects several hundred pounds if not ten tons of so of high quality Du Pont gun cotton for naval mines. That would make quite a secondary explosion!
Ellen - Sunday, 04/30/06 17:19:48 EDT

Slugged welds etc: Several years ago, the ASME put out a report on Chinese flanges. These were large, say 24" to 48" pipe flanges. After several blew off the pipes when hydro'ed, much testing ensued. Seems they were burnt in the forge, had forging tears internally, and were all about C1029 mild steel. The C-1029 is a A-105 when forged. They stamped these flanges for materials as they were ordered, as they stamped them as several grades of Cr-Moly and also stamped them with made up factories. The best was that on a number of large flanges the raised hub that the pipe would be welded to had underfilled in the die. They were wrapped with several wraps of 1/4" wire, I suspect bar tie wire, then welded over, and ground.
As I recall they had tracked down several shipping container loads, but about 30 more container loads were unaccounted for.
Ptree - Sunday, 04/30/06 17:44:33 EDT

Pratt and Whitney: What a lot of folks don't know is that Pratt and Whitney was an old line machine tool builder when Rentsler went to them in the late 20's after he left Wright Engine Co, and asked for funding to build a 500# aircraft engine that would make 400 Hp. Pratt and Whitney set him up and the Pratt and Whitney Wasp was born. The largest Aircraft engine co in the world followed. They built something like 603,000,000 of Hp in WWII alone.

At the old valve shop, we had a Pratt and Whitney Jig bore from about 1915, a slotter, several turret lathes, and a gear hob. all first rate when built. We sold the jig bore in about 1990, and they guy who bought it handled it like it was gold. Of course a jig bore with a 6' rotary table is near gold if you need one.
Ptree - Sunday, 04/30/06 17:51:25 EDT

Multi-spindle, Multi-head:
These are two distinctly different machines. The multi spindle machine looked like a common drill press with an attachment with up to a dozen small spindles powered by shafts with universal joints so that their positions could be changed. Once setup the machine would drill all the holes with one pull of the lever. Bits could be different sizes but were typicaly all the same. Both symetrical bolt circles and non-symetrical or rectangular hole patterns could be drilled. When this system was applicable it spead up product of a single piece 8 to 12 to one.

The multi-head machine was more common type of a production drill press and is still used in less automated plants. These simply have a long table with 2 to 6 drill presses bolted on. These type machines were used with a heavy drill jig that the part was clamped into. Each station had a different size or type of drilling operation (drill, tap, counterbore, countersink) that fit the bushings on the drill jig. Jigs could have bushings on every side if needed.

On the multi-heads machine with drill jig the operator put the part in the jig and slid it from station to station performing each operation one or more times. The jigs are heavy enough that they are not bolted or clamped down. If there was six holes of the same size then the operator positioned the jig and drilled each hole individualy. This is much slower than a multi-spindle drill but is much more flexible and easier to maintain. This is still a competitive method of making parts in high production and should be considered over CNC in many cases. The tooling once made will last for centuries and is not subject to software upgrades, machine replacements or high tech electronics. . .

Multi-head drilling stations have been around since the steam era. The old ones with flat belt drive were a veritable spider web of belts! Today it is common to just buy the flange mount drill presses and bolt as many as you need to a table built with a heavy steel top. It is not unusual to see and old cast iron surface plate or planner table converted to such use.

- guru - Sunday, 04/30/06 18:09:58 EDT

Multi-head Multi-station:
There are a couple ways these setups were used with the same tooling. One was with one man from start to finish, the other was with a man at each station and multiple drill jigs. It all depended on the production rate needed. Need twice the parts, make two jigs and hire an extra man. Need a few more, hire a man to place and remove parts in the jigs. . . One thing about this system is that as long as the drills and taps were the same different parts in different jigs could be produced during the same production run. . .

One of the common jobs that robots now do is put parts in the jig or carrier that is fed to automated machines. . .

The thing about these old production methods is that they are still very useful in low to medium production situations. A fellow in a one or two man shop that knows how to make a simple drill jig can crank out thousands of parts that would otherwise require an expensive CNC machine and programming. Sometimes ingenuity will beat high tech because its a lot cheaper.
- guru - Sunday, 04/30/06 18:29:20 EDT

The "Golden Age of Machinery":
In the first half of the twentieth century it was typical for a manufacturer to have a captive foundry with their own pattern making shop, their own forge shop, machine shop and engineering dept. It often did not matter what their end product was, they could make almost anyhing. Although many manufacturers bought all their machine tools many made their own. The common 20" geared head flat belt drill press was made by dozens of makers in the same form, often with interchangable parts from one to the other. I have four, all by differnt makers and I've seen others.

What was more common was for these plants to engineer their own specialized machinery. I bought out the blacksmith shop from a 1920's cellophane factory in Virgina. The plant had their own coal fire electric plant (quite common) and a HUGE machine shop that specialized in making special rolls but could machine almost anything. They also had a large sheet metal and fabrication shop. I was surprised that for the size of the operation they did not have a foundry.

Anyway. . the point is that these manufacturers could make anything that they wanted and often did. They were only dependent on raw materials and local manpower.

Today our manufacturing (in the US) has become dependent on too many outside sources including forign nations that are also our competitors. This now includes not only raw materials but in many cases manpower. . . Where will it all end?
- guru - Sunday, 04/30/06 18:46:37 EDT

Where will it end: Jock, In a place where their eyes aren't round, that's where it's all going to end.

We've scrapped a bunch of natco's & iron horses (multi spindle drill units) because no body want's them anymore. Not even south of the border.

Management today doesn't understand the term "core competency".
- Mike Sa - Sunday, 04/30/06 21:31:07 EDT

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