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.
Please read the RULES before posting a message.
NOTE: This IS NOT the Guru page!

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

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

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

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

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

Upcoming Events: The Kaynes will be at BAM (Blacksmiths of Missouri) this coming weekend with tons of TOOLS! Bring money!

Hammer-in at Touchstone Center for Crafts May 4-5 2002
8:00 am Reg/coffee

The HART MOORE studio/shop is a 5000 Sq.. ft enclosed forge building.

Demonstrations start at 9:00am
Demonstrators are

Ray Rybar == Damascus
Richard Shepard== treadle hammer
Glenn Horr == power hammer / air tools
Jymm Hoffman == 18th reprod

Scholarship drawing at 1:00pm on Sunday
iron in the hat
A Blacksmith Exhibition opening reception in HART MOORE Museum, Glenn
Horr , Curator

Registration $25.00 for Hammer-in, food and lodging available at Touchstone

Touchstone is in the Laurel Highlands of PA.
Just south of route 40 at Farmington, PA.
60 miles southwest of Pittsburgh PA.
About a 3 hour drive from the DC / northern VA area.

For more INFO call 1-800-721-0177
- guru - Wednesday, 05/01/02 13:23:39 GMT

Just a thought. Feller here ia a student ( mech drawing, drafting). I had him read the posts above regarding drawing. The man has some sense to begin with, but was intrigued by the comments, and will hopefully respond accordingly. If he TEACHES in his life, so much the better. Spreading the word about havin some common sense is good. Thanks fellas.
  Steve O - Thursday, 05/02/02 04:47:27 GMT

NEB Spring 2002 Meet - May 3rd, 4th, and 5th: Hi, I'm a long time lurker on the board and thought I'd mention that the New England Blacksmith Chapter of ABANA is have it's semi-annual gathering this coming weekend. Additional information is available at the following link:

NEB Spring 2002 Meet - May 3rd, 4th, and 5th
The demonstrator will be Peter Ross from Colonial Williamsburg.

The meet will be held at the NEB facility in Brentwood New Hampshire. The meets are typically held over a weekend starting from noon Friday to noon Sunday and will include a catered Saturday evening meal. A green coal section (for beginners) will be held in our completed NEB teaching facility. The main meet will be at the Pavilions of the Brentwood Community Center about 100 yards away. The facilities include a large area heated for our meal, a tent for our tee shirt sales and plenty of room for camping under trees, parking and the tailgaters.
New England Blacksmiths
Pubdeamon - Thursday, 05/02/02 18:33:07 GMT

time to scan your systems: well folks its time to update your virus software and scan your systems. i just got my email with the atempts at a nasy supprise. W32.Klez.E@mm this is a nasty little bugger that will email its self out to any one and every one. the messege i receved was from not that that means any thing. this virus has the ability to pick at randome any email address in an address book on a local or networked system and send its self out as if it came from that email account. this virus is network aware and will infect any shares on a network. i hightly recomend nort2k2 it works quite well at stoping this virus.
- RBrown - Thursday, 05/02/02 23:59:00 GMT

VIRUSES: Yep, you cannot trust mail from your grandmother or baby daughter. This is the world Bill Gates has created for us by ignoring the gross security issues in MS OE and IE.

I KNOW my mail addresses are being forged by Klez on hundreds of computers world wide. Partly because I exchange e-mail with thousands of people (like the 1,600 pub uses) AND because my address is on almost every page on anvilfire.

Klez and its variations use e-mail addresses found in over a dozen types of files, mostly Microsoft mail and data files but also cached HTML. These addresses are used to SEND the mail as well as forge the return address.

However, what SPREADS these viruses faster than anything is features of Microsoft Outlook Express that are defended by Bill Gates vehemently as "good for users".

These "features" are about to bring down the global e-mail systems. Bill Gates is in effect supporting cyber terrorists. Perhaps we should apply America's new policy on those that harbor terrorists to Bill Gates. . .

Many of these mails CLAIM to be a cure for Klez and discribe what it does. Click on the "cure" and you have a new variation of Klez. . . But on systems running the default Outlook Express all you have to do is RECIEVE the mail and you are infected. You don't have to open it or click on the attachment. Thank you Bill Gates for making webmaster's lives miserable.

I NEED to send a bulk mailing to Pub members but the all the bounce KLez mails I am getting may make cleaning up the database impossible. . .

With Bill Gates as a partner the cyber terrorists are winning.
- guru - Friday, 05/03/02 14:36:46 GMT

Klez virus: Yep, I've been getting it for about three weeks now, at least four times a day. Also get an occasional piece of returned mail claiming I sent it, which of coure I did not. Reading the header reveals the returns claiming to be from me to have come from an account called "", who may or may not have the virus, but will not repond to my emails in that regard.

As the guru constantly says, don't use microsoft mail or internet products and you'll be reasonably safe from infection, but not from identity theft. I use Eudora lite email, netscape navigator 5.1, and norton 98, updated regularly. It stops the klez virus well too. Which is a good thing, because someone's address book containing LOTS of smith's email got infected. I'm just about tired of it, myself. Anyone up for lobbying congress for a mandatory death penalty for writing viruses?
Alan-L - Friday, 05/03/02 14:39:41 GMT

The latest variation of Klez encrypts its payload. So incoming payload files are not detected by many "Anti-virus" programs. I just scanned about 50 payload files with my favorite on-line scanner and it did not detect a single one.

Because each file is encrypted on each senders machine NO anti-virus software is going to be 100% effective. And NO anti-virus software detects NEW viruses for two weeks to two months.

Klez.K outgoing mail is sent using the built-in mail capabilities of IE and Outlook express THROUGH IE. If you use a version of IE less than 6.0 and haven't "patched" it then the virus can use YOUR machine to send virus mail even if you don't use OE/IE for mail.

The new virus writers are no longer kids with a wild hair. They are professional CYBER TERRORISTS and based in other parts of the world. There are now virus websites that if you visit them you can be infected. These are disguised as porn sites "Come visit ME big guy. . " OR anti-virus sites promising the latest "anti-virus technology".

The only way for these sites to exist is for the local authorities to either support them OR be too computer illiterate to track down a web-server. Both types exist.

Terrorists have threatened to damage our economy and Cyber terrorists ARE WINNING with Bill Gates help.

Even though Microsoft offers "patches" and fixes to its products the NEW default off-the-shelf products have the same virus spreading features written into them that they have had for 8 years. . .

I am not invunerable to viruses but my system does not automaticaly launch them (if your e-mail supports sound files then it will automaticaly launch a virus). Nor does my system SEND them. However, they are costing me a great deal of time and money. Every time my system checks the mail I have to wait while it downloads all the virus payloads along with the spam. Klez comes in with EVERY check. THEN I have to delete the payload files from my attachments directory AND empty the trash. . . . I often warn the sender when they can be detected AND I warn YOU!

I have paying work I NEED to do. Virus related issues have cost me months of productive time in the last year. Multiply this by tens of millions of webmasters and systems admistrators world wide and it is a terrible economic cost.

The cyber terrorists are winning with Bill Gates help.
- guru - Friday, 05/03/02 15:24:08 GMT

Failure to Respond: If you recieve repeated virus mails from the same person and you get no response after several days AND the virus mail keeps coming, then contact the postmaster@mailhost, "mailhost" being whoever the account is with (, . .).

In most Klez virus mail the sender is in the detailed or "full" headers like the following.

Return-path: ""

This is NOT the "From" address which Klez forges and is probably some innocent person.

When you contact the postmaster at the server host be sure to include a copy of the complete mail WITH headers. DO NOT forward the attachment payload. IF you are in error the numeric addresses in the mail will tell the host that it is a mistake.

This is an extreame measure. However, leaving your system running unattended is in violation of most ISP contracts. I know many people that do it even when they leave on trips. Don't do it.

Most reputable ISP's will disconnect the user or close their account until they are contacted and the problem is cleared up. The big free mail hosts (msn hotmail) will only act under extream duress.

When SIRCAM was at its peak I had a fellow overseas that had ONE huge file that SIRCAM sent over and over again for weeks. I reported the problem to the host service and got a run-a-round. I FINALLY had to report the host to a blacklisting service ( THIS got the host's attention for a short period. . as soon as they reopened the user's account the flood of SIRCAM mail started again and I had to report the problem again. . .

However, is now defunct and is being replaced. ORBZ was a system that monitored "open relays" used for sending spam on legitimate servers and spam servers. When a virus mail is sent over and over it becomes spam and is subject to investigation.

For the story on ORBZ see the link below:
- guru - Friday, 05/03/02 16:49:21 GMT

Viruses and computers: Im a heavey truck mecanic turnd computer mecanic and let me tell you there isnt a day that goes by that we dont see or hear from some one that they have goten infected by some virus and its tearing up there system. the company that i work for offers free life time labor on all the systems we sell or upgrade. with just the work load created by us having to clean, wipe, or talk some one through something over the phone to get rid of a virus is costing them a small forturn. I my self im in favor of creating laws and holding the virus writers responsible for there creations. just because some one dosnt release it but they post it on there web sight "for educational purpose " does not release them from the responsiblility for the distruction or loss of income it causes. i would love nothing more than to be able to charge them for the labor invalved for fixing there little creation.
- RBrown - Friday, 05/03/02 16:54:56 GMT

virusmail, again: I did contact aol about the problem, not expecting anything to happen. So far, though, haven't got any viral returns from that address for two days, so maybe they did something. Or not. I'm sure I'll find out soon.
Alan-L - Friday, 05/03/02 18:11:35 GMT

Light Anvil: Hi, I am looking for a lighter anvil to use....i would like a 85 pounder or so but it needs to be cheap....$70 and it needs to be in Ohio.......must have all working parts....its ok if its dinged a spot or to just not badly.

- OH Joel - Saturday, 05/04/02 12:57:35 GMT

Light anvil: OH Joel, I have a 75# Hay-Budden that I would sell. Located in Waverly, Oh. It will cost more than $70 though. E-mail me if you are interested.
Brian C - Saturday, 05/04/02 23:19:21 GMT

Turns out the Klez virus also forges the RETURN PATH:

I've recieved two virus emails with the following:

Return path:
To: guru at!

The problem with the above is that neither webmaster address is used on outgoing mail (and never has) but WILL be found on cached pages. Mail to those addresses are forwarded to guru.

I've also recieved mail to/from:

These are bogus addresses I setup in the pub because some jokesters had registered themselves with those e-mail addresses. . . That is one reason I now handle the pub regs manually. . . a time consuming but necessary task.

I am also getting a lot of Klez generated mail offering to help clean up your PC. It has links to one or the other major anti-virus sites, sometimes quotes them BUT also has the virus payload.

The Klez virus writers are thumbing their nose at the anti-virus industry, and rightly so. Any programmer can rewite their code in a few hours so that it does the same thing BUT is not recognized by anti-virus software. It then takes the anti-virus people weeks to figure out how to identify the new code. So if you rely on anti-virus software to filter your mail you WILL eventualy get infected AND become part of the problem.

The root problem is still Windows mail products including Office, IE and Outlook Express.

Even though the better virus authors are finding ways around using these directly they still depend on the these products to make their products highly virulent. Without MS mail, viruses would take years to spread globaly to the point where most of knew about them. Today it only takes hours.

On another note. The author of the Millissa virus was finally convicted but given a light sentence becasue he helped capture others that rewrote and relaunched others versions. The problem is that the Millissa virus was a joke compared to SIRCAM and Klez. All it did was take advantage of the grossest of stupidities in Microsoft Outlook Express and some vuneralbilities in mail distribution systems. The mail systems have been fixed, but OE was not.

NOTE: Please do not post e-mail addresses in open forum such as I did above. We have gone to a great deal of trouble to create our encryption system to keep SPAMers and viruses from using your e-mail addresses.
- guru - Sunday, 05/05/02 13:57:35 GMT

Light Anvil: Hmmmmmm that's an oxy-moron isn't it?

The most common sized old anvils are 100 to 130 pounds. This makes them the cheapest on the used market even though there is a high demand.

Larger anvils are usualy more expensive but not proportionately so priced per pound.

Small anvils, although less useful to most smiths are still fine for light work. They are also rare and their price goes up significantly per pound making the total price more than many larger anvils. They are also in high demand by non-smiths for the portability factor.

Large used anvils are generaly a bargain on a per pound basis but really large anvils (over 300 pounds) are relatively rare and the price starts going back up IF they are a good quality anvil.

Beware of cheap ASO's (anvil shaped objects) made of cast iron and imported by the container load from China. They are NOT anvils and are the wrong shape for boat anchors but are suitable for door stops. . but are generaly an ugly shape for an anvil. So they are an UGLY door stop. . .

If you want a good 70 pound anvil Brian's Hay-Budden is a top quality anvil and probably worth more than he is asking.
- guru - Sunday, 05/05/02 14:09:52 GMT

Mail and Virii: Yesterday, I knew I was going to be out of town for most of the day. So, just for grins and giggles, I set up a little survey of my incoming mail.

I received a total of 97 messages, about average for the day. Of the 97, 34 were either copies of the Kleez virus, or bounced mail reports for mail I had not sent. 60 were messages from friends or family, 2 were copies of the Nigerian Spam/Scam, and 1 was a possible order.

The mail wouldn't have taken nearly as long to download or sort, if it weren't for the Kleez.

Boiling in oil isn't good enough for the writer's of virii. I can think of much more fitting ways to punish them.
Paw Paw Wilson - Sunday, 05/05/02 14:15:58 GMT

It would require a lot of learning, but if everyone would switch to linux, and forget microsoft, the virus writers would have a bit harder time of it...
  Taylor - Monday, 05/06/02 01:42:28 GMT

Light vs. Heavy: If you have a 80lb. anvil and bolt it down hard to a 300lb
stump, what is the effective weight of the anvil. My point being that scrap iron is cheap compared to anvil steel so why not weld or bolt the lighter anvil to something cheap and heavy.
nevertheless....if you run into any cheap 300lb anvils, let me know.
- L.Sundstrom - Monday, 05/06/02 18:46:43 GMT

Remember that most of the world forges on things that do *NOT* look like a london pattern anvil; so don't get hung up waiting to find one cheap---find a good sized chunk of *steel* and start pounding! I found a busted RR copuler
  Thomas Powers - Monday, 05/06/02 21:50:37 GMT

Med Report: CT scan results are in.

Couple of small lesions, nothing needs to be done about them. So I'm clear to go ahead with anything I feel like doing.
Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 05/08/02 00:31:38 GMT

Paw Paw, stump:
Paw Paw, Glad to hear it! Thanks for the update. I was wondering. Carry on.

Larry, in my experience, a steel "stump" adds much more effectiveness to an anvil than a wood stump does. I have a 400 pound hardened cast iron "stump" under my 500 pound home made anvil. Originally I had the anvil sitting on a big oak stump. I noticed an increase in effectiveness when I switched to the cast iron stump. Could have been just the weight difference between the oak and iron. Clamping the anvil down to the cast iron reduced the ringing hugely also.
Tony - Wednesday, 05/08/02 12:26:48 GMT

Light vs Heavy: Went from a oak stump to an anvil stand constructed of heavy angle iron and noticed a much reduced ring to the anvil.

The oak stump was huge (24" dia x 24" long) and was several times the weight of the anvil. The well constructed angle iron stand (weighing less than the anvil) works as well or better than the stump for me. Also much easier to move.

There has been some discussions about anvils being bolted down "hard" or tight to stands resulting in broken feet on the anvil. The attachment seems to need some room to give while not letting the anvil walk about.
- Conner - Wednesday, 05/08/02 13:42:22 GMT

Broken feet:
Good point Conner. I put a layer of asphalt roofing shingle between the feet and the iron stump. I also used clamps like you would use to hold a part to a machine tool, not direct bolts. Interesting thing was that the anvil rang like a bell just sitting on the iron stump with the asphalt shingle and didn't quiet down until I clamped it down. I clamp it down hard, but it's flatter on the bottom and the feet are bigger, so no worries about broken feet.
Tony - Wednesday, 05/08/02 16:02:33 GMT

History of tools ???: Ive been trying to find out how blacksmiths used to make tools like carpenter's saws and other much needed tools of carpentry. my reserch has led to many interesting facts however none as to what i'm actually looking for does anyone have any idea how saws were made in the old world fashion before the industrial companies came on the scene. also any help with information to the making of other ancient tools of carpentry would be helpful. Thanks
- Doug Heisel - Wednesday, 05/08/02 16:17:40 GMT

saws were made by hand. the blank would be shaped into its final shape by the smith then the teeth were cut(chisled) one at a time. Very simular to making files. Both were around a LONG time earlier than most folks think.
There were saws and files included in the Mastermyr find which is from around 1050 to 1150 AD time frame. And the files and saws show enough sophistication to show that those types of tools had been around for a while.
Ralph - Wednesday, 05/08/02 16:59:38 GMT

History: Doug are you interested in A.D. 6, 600 or 1600? How much detail on the metallurgy do you want? There are some analyses of roman tools WRT the question of if they were aware of making and heat treating steel. The Saws (metal cutting for the most part) in the Mastermyr find have been examined and are about 1000 years later. There are various pictures of carpentry tools frm the later middle ages and renaissance, (St. Joseph having been a carpenter...) which give some construction details;

Basically you take a piece of iron/steel and forge it thin and then cut and or file the teeth in. Heat treat before or after teething?. Questions that need to be investigated are: direction of teeth, set of teeth; taper(s) of the saw and how these details changed over time.

Making thinner plate was made easier by use of the Batter mill a water driven triphammer (mentioned in technological history of making armour BTW)

"Mechanicks Exercises" Joseph Moxon, Published in 1703 might give you some ideas on how things were done around then. "Divers Arts" Theophilus written in 1120 gives some tool making suggestions from that time period---but not saws IIRC, (files, gravers, etc)

Do you have some specific questions?
- Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 05/08/02 17:18:03 GMT

Tool Making History: Doug, There is not much on the subject. However, the methods remained very nearly the same from the Bronze Age up through the Industrial Revolution.

In the 1800's Britian not only ruled the seas but was a leader in manufacturing.. . by cottage industry. Seasonal and part time workers were supplied raw materials by the "manufacturer" and then worked them by hand the way it had been done for millinia. The difference being that the supply of raw materials and global sales were an organized operation. Thousands of workers in small farm shops manufactured everything from files and saws to pliers, vises and small machines. Many of these tools are indistinguishable from their modern counterparts.

In his autobiography (see our story page) James Nasmyth writes about famous "Stubbs" files and the fact that they were not made in a central location but by dozens of cottage workers. Stubbs provided a fine grade of steel and the files were hand forged, ground and scraped then teeth cut by hand in many little shops. This distributed labor system probably also employed many children. It is also possibly why there is such a great variety of files.

It was not until steam engines and machine tools changed the nature of manufacturing replacing cottage workers with centralized factories in the mid to late 1800's that manufacturing methods changed.

Consider the Greeks of the classical period (~400 BC). They were technologicaly a transitional civilization. They rose during the Bronze Age and were at their zenith when the Iron Age took over. Almost none of their tools have survived but images and carvings exist. Their hammers and chisles were beautifuly formed tools with fine chamfers and graceful curves. Their smiths used tongs no different than todays.

But even more telling is the products they made that have survived. Metal jewlery that was obviously turned on a lathe and clockworks with turned shafts and precision gears.

Going back to Nasmyth over 2000 years later, early in his career machine tool parts were made by casting, then carving the parts with chisles, files and scrapers. Skilled workers made precision surfaces, slots and dovetails by hand. Precision flats to check parts against were made by hand using a method of lapping where the imperfections in three surfaces canceled out the imperfections in each other until perfectly flat parts were made. The only thing that had changed in over 2000 years was the NEED and the knowledge. The Ancient Greek craftsman had the same skills but lived in a world with different needs.

At the end of Nasmyths career (~1880) he had invented many machines such as the shaper and designed the automatic feed systems we still use today. In America the milling machine had been popularized. Jobs that had done entirely by hand 50 years prior were now done mostly by machine.

There was no "trick" or magic. . . Just painstaking labor. Starting with a hammer and a chisle, anvil and forge, better tools and machines can be built. But it was the steam era that created both the need for machines tools (to produce steam engines) and a way of powering the machines anywhere. At the beginning of the steam era there was a lack of the necessary machines, at the end we had every modern machine tool.

The information is out there, but you have to dig for it.
- guru - Thursday, 05/09/02 05:13:24 GMT

The Real Question::
Have you ever seen a jeweler's saw blade? They are typicaly about 0.010" thick and a little wider. On this hair sized piece of steel there are sharp, finely cut and set teeth. Then they are heat treated. These have been available for hundreds of years.

How DO they DO that?
- guru - Thursday, 05/09/02 05:22:27 GMT

Thanks: Thanks, as always everyone at Anvil fire has been a well of knowledge, and information. I would like to see more demos on tool making and such on iForge. I know for the majority of blacksmiths making tools useually isn't making money. However if someone could be proficient at making most all the old tools it would make for an excellent public demo. they could display a variety of tools they have made answer questions on how they were made and demonstrate maikng a few.
- Doug Heisel - Thursday, 05/09/02 13:08:29 GMT

making old tools: Doug, that's kind of like demonstrating making pattern welded steel. Most people know the nice looking end result, but few are interested in watching the process, which is a series of simple operations performed hundreds of times.

To make tools by hand, learn to file. And file. And file. Boring to watch, boring to do.

I make tomahawks by hand. Forging the head takes about 30 minutes. Filing the head until it's finished takes about six hours, during which time nothing much of interest happens. Want to hang out and watch that whole process? Most folks give up after an hour of filing.

I'm not trying to be mean, just stating a few facts about the process. It is a good thing to answer questions about, but not to demonstrate. Also, if you want to know more, I'm going to be out of town for a few days, so if I don't answer I'm not ignoring you, I'm just not here (grin)!
Alan's blacksmithing pages
Alan-L - Thursday, 05/09/02 14:04:40 GMT

Doug!: Moxon's "Mechanicks Exercises" discusses saw making a bit in the smithing part mentioning that they are often hammer hardened iron; but in the wood working section he discusses what makes a good saw and that is a wealth of info on how they were made around 1700!

Looked it up last night..

Thomas off till Monday!
- Thomas Powers - Thursday, 05/09/02 14:50:18 GMT

Old tools demos:
As Alan said, it can get real boring. Check out Eric Thing's helmet demo on our Armoury Page. Everything is done very traditionaly until he gets to the grinding and polishing. . which he leaves out.

Most modern makers use belt grinders to replace files. And like files they have them in all sizes. Big pedastile grinders, little bench top grinders and even smaller hand held grinders. There is even a little electric "file" belt grinder that takes 1/2" wide belts about 10 -12" long.

But files still have their place and are still slow to use. Years ago scrapers were used more than files for flat (and curved) surface finishing. Scrapers are cheap and easy to make and maintain. Files are expensive and once worn out are just tool steel to recycle.

Every craftsperson should probably make one file in their life. . then they might appreciate them. All those teeth are cut one at a time with a cold chisle. Cutting one side is easy, but then you need to cut side two (and the edges) without hurting the others. . .

Its one of those projects I may do one day just so I can say I did it.

At $6 to $45 each files are not cheap tools. And the well equiped tool chest has dozens in varieties of styles, sizes and cuts. $45??? Yep, Nicholson pattern maker's rasps cost that much or more. But they are agressive cutting as a rasp should be BUT unlike common rasps they don't have teeth in straight rows. This means that not only are they aggressive, they leave a smooth surface that takes little sanding. Very worthwhile if your time is worth anything.

There are special cut files for Aluminium that are also aggressive and leave a fine finish.

Sadly when the Cooper Group bought Nicholson in the 1980's they dropped dozens of file types from the line. With less hand work being done in industry and the US in general they were not as profitable as common files. So many types that were available 30 years ago are gone.

- guru - Thursday, 05/09/02 16:09:35 GMT

design input: I would like some input on the figures for a blacksmith's chess set that I want to make from pewter
I've started with but am not limited to
King ...Anvil?
Queen ...Swadge block?
Bishop ...???
Knight ...Horseshoe?
Castle ...Smithy?
Pawn ...Slake tub?

any suggestions are welcome

Mark P. - Friday, 05/10/02 00:34:05 GMT

anvil lite: Larry; An old blacksmith told me that an anvil that is bolted down will eventually break off at the waist. I certainly agree that more mass under the anvil improves it's usefulness.
- Pete F - Friday, 05/10/02 05:45:49 GMT

hmmm, I would say

King . . . Anvil
Queen . . . Hammer (given the piece's power)
Bishop . . . hmmm, just can't think of one .. .
Knight . . . Horseshoe
Castle . . . forge (with chimney)
Pawn . . . tongs (can never have too many)
Escher - Friday, 05/10/02 14:05:30 GMT

Chess set suggestions: King . . . Anvil
Queen . . . Steam/air Hammer (given the piece's power)
Bishop . . . Post vise
Knight . . . Hammer
Castle . . . Forge (with chimney)
Pawn . . . Tongs (can never have too many)
- John Lowther - Friday, 05/10/02 16:21:32 GMT

JHM Anvil: Anybody have one? Any pros or cons?
Rob Costello - Friday, 05/10/02 17:26:37 GMT

Chess:: Pawns should be hammers on a base (handle up). Two styles one for each side (common smith's verses ball pien or something obvious). Ends of handles battered. . these ARE pawns.

Knight, horse head growing out of a swage block base.

Years ago I designed a fantasy type chess set and carved about half the pieces in clay. The pawns were all little bullet headed guys with mustaches, knives in their mouths, eye patches, dented helmets. Norman style for the English and indeterminate for the other but probably something pointed.

The "forign" opposition had a turbaned king with a scimitar, and a bare chested nubian queeen with one of those tall pointed shields and a spear.

The forign side castles were plain north African mud building design with a snake wrapped base.

The English side castles had were fairy tale style with dragons on the riser base.

Bishops on both sides were religious icons with crumbling bases, a cross on the English base and stars on the forign. . .

Yep, none of this paint on side red and the other black. . .
- guru - Friday, 05/10/02 18:39:36 GMT

im a newbie: this site kicks a@@ i realy apreaciate all of you more experienced smiths sharing the knowledge. i only aprenticed for four months and now im starting my own forge so ill visit this site very often... thanks a million!!!!
- Cary Skelton - Sunday, 05/12/02 06:49:07 GMT

Thank You!: Glad to hear you think so. We constantly add to it.
- guru - Sunday, 05/12/02 21:23:56 GMT

Sledge hammers: I'm looking to pick up a few heavy sledge hammer heads, say 16#, but 12# to 20# might also be of interest. I've tried the local junk yard and so far no luck. I'd buy new if I could keep the price to $25 or less, but retail, that seems to be pushing it.

Any suggestions where to find these things. Used is fine. (I'm in NJ but I haven't checked Jos. Fazzio's yet :^).
- Bruce - Monday, 05/13/02 15:33:25 GMT

Flea markets? Some specialize in tools and the fleas travel all over the country.

Most manufacturers supply the finished handled tool not loose heads. So used may be your only supply.
- guru - Monday, 05/13/02 16:01:12 GMT

Insurance question:
Pete F, post your business insurance question; I will give it a shot. My day job is business insurance: General Liability, Commercial Property, Workers Comp, etc.

  Tony Bivens - Monday, 05/13/02 21:38:57 GMT

chess set: As an avid chess player I abhor ornate and fancy sets. Most serious players do. Trying to read a position where all the pieces are civil war soldiers or what have you is like trying to read text with an ornate illuminated script. It's a pain in the you know what. Plain old Staunton or Jacques works best IMO.

That being said, thematic sets do seem to be popular as ornaments.

Modern chess was developed by the Italians about 500 years ago based on a similar game that was brought west by the Arabs. In the Arabic game and other earlier versions of the game, the Bishop was an Elephant, the Castle was a Chariot and the Queen was a Counselor (with very weak powers)
adam - Monday, 05/13/02 21:50:43 GMT

I wouldn't call myself an avid chess player. I haven't played a whole lot since college, but I did manage to teach my oldest son to play. He's far better than I am, and was or may still be, president of the chess league in Tucson.

While I understand your objection to "fancy" chess sets, I love them. I have one of onyx, and was lucky enough to be able to get one of the civil war sets that Mark P. designed. I'm determined to get one of the sets that he's working on now. I don't really use them as "ornaments", but do keep them set up on boards around the house.

To each his own, I guess.
Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 05/14/02 04:14:32 GMT

chess sets: IMO the MOSt inportant thing is that the hight of each piece is right for the set. my main problem playing on the sets that are "fancy" is that I get the rooke confused with the pawn ... I hate giveing up a rooke!! I have played on some fancy set that I likes but I prefer Staunton to anything else.
I did want to make a set in that style out of steel and brass ...gave up on it when I priced the brass. I may have to think about it again.(grin)
MP - Tuesday, 05/14/02 04:50:34 GMT

Staunton chess set: The Staunton pattern chess set is real simple, mostly cylindrically symmetrical. Seems to me you could make it from steel and brass tubing (for two colors) very easily. Make a few custom spring swages and go to town! Rather like making finials. The little cross on the top of the king might have to be an add-in piece, and, of course, the knights might have to be made differently from the other pieces, but it seems straightforward to me.

If you want to cheat, make wax models of each piece (there are only six different ones) and use lost wax casting to cast yourself a set, from bronze and/or aluminum.
- Bruce - Tuesday, 05/14/02 15:19:37 GMT

staunton chess set: Bruce: I have had exactly those thoughts. Except the knight, all the Staunton pieces are turned on a lathe. A set of custom swages could produce a really nice set. Crucifixes on the kings are not mandatory :). I was thinking of making just such a set and brushing the white pieces down to shiny steel and leaving the black scale on the others.

For a nice feel, the bottoms should be weighted and covered with a leather pad
adam - Tuesday, 05/14/02 21:39:39 GMT

"Seras Catalog 1904": Does anyone have a colour picture of the page I do believe its 35. It has the blacksmith equipment you could purchase back then. " Do your own horsehoeing " " $14.25 outfit of blacksmith tools" " A farmers kit of blacksmith tools $25.00 Etc etc. etc etc.. I have contacted Sear long time ago and no word yet.. If so I would like a copy for my demo booth display..
Thanks Barney
Barney - Friday, 05/17/02 01:22:46 GMT

Star Brand Forge: I'm bringing a small forge back from the dead (read, table was broke in 3 pieces, legs rotted off, etc...). It was made by Star Machine Co., Buffalo, NY. It has a "C. Hammelman's" blower on it with a patent date of 1886. It's 20 inches around, it employs a rack & pinion type drive & one flywheel. The rack is mounted on one of the legs.
The handle & pivot was missing when I got it. Does anyone know what the handle/pivot looked like? Before I invent one, I thought I'd see if I could copy the original plan first. There is an ear sticking off the side of the table with a 1/2 hole in it, where the pivot(?) attached.
- Mike S. - Friday, 05/17/02 03:44:07 GMT

Glass Shelving: Available for next to nothing, various sizes of glass sheliving previously used for wrought iron shelves, backers racks, etc. Various sizes/colors. Hundreds of pieces available. You pick up.
- Tom G - Friday, 05/17/02 12:06:03 GMT

Tom G.:
Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 05/17/02 16:16:36 GMT

Chess set turning: Adam,
even the knights can be turned ... you turn the head in a "ring" section nose in ...about 10" dia then cut into sections about 7* each and then are placed on a turned base the slight angle of the section just makes them look better
Mark P. - Friday, 05/17/02 19:48:32 GMT

Advice on glass in steel inlays: can anyone point me to a webpage or something with advice on inlaying colored glass into steel. Thanks!
- Mark - Saturday, 05/18/02 01:52:55 GMT

Glass inlaying.: Mark,
there is a book (can't remember the name of it) about blacksmithing by a guy with 50 style glasses smolking a pipe (can't remember his name) considered a classic and there is a breif discussion about melting glass into iron (can't remember what page its on) in that book. I'm sure someone will come to our rescue on this because the man is so well respected in the blacksmith community but the book is at home, I'm at work so someone please help us out. There's also a museum or a something somewhere in the South named after him. Oh, and his real job was in advertising.
L.Sundstrom - Saturday, 05/18/02 12:47:47 GMT

P.S. Glass: If any one has experience with this glass inlaying I'm curious about it also. It seems to me that the glass would cool and pull away from the iron as it shrinks.
L.Sundstrom - Saturday, 05/18/02 12:51:15 GMT

Are you thinking of Alex Bealer? He was an advertising man renowned in the world of smiting for his books and his work in the 60s that helped the renaissance of the craft.
miles undercut - Saturday, 05/18/02 14:05:57 GMT

Alex Bealer: miles,
Thanks man, he be he and was The Art of Blacksmithing one of his titles? If so then its the one that discusses melting glass into an iron shaped void.
L.Sundstrom - Saturday, 05/18/02 14:22:54 GMT

L. Sundstrom,
Glass and iron. While I have not done glass inlays I have used glass inserts. The trick is to get the iron red hot before adding the glass then bring up in temp slowly till glass is starting to slump. Then I stop the air flow to the forge(coal) and let work slowly cool for about 10 min then remove from forge and let finish cooling till you can handle it. If using a gas forge I do the same as above but I turn off forge in placce of stopping air. How I use this is easy. I make a Freidrick's Cross as demoed by Bill Epps on iForge and in the center hole place a glass marble...
Ralph - Saturday, 05/18/02 14:29:42 GMT

Glass: Ralph,
That sounds really beautiful. What keeps the glass from falling through the hole when it melts. Oh yeah, it's been 45 years since I lost my marbles. Where do you get them? Toys 'R Us?
L.Sundstrom - Saturday, 05/18/02 19:33:24 GMT

I think so, and now the void is made flash.
miles undercut - Sunday, 05/19/02 04:16:05 GMT

buffulo forge: can any one tell me if there's a site that has info on buffulo forges ? i'm trying to re fit my blower on a new forge and am looking for a better way of fixing it to the forge, its the one with the pipe like hole/holes on the bottom of the blower. i've seen them with a sort of clamp arrangement on this area ,was hopeing some one had a better idea
- wayne - Sunday, 05/19/02 07:07:47 GMT

glass: Miles,
I marble at your wit.
L.Sundstrom - Sunday, 05/19/02 12:32:58 GMT

"Blower holes": Wayne -- them pipe like holes are for the blower to stand alone. It has its own stand with three pipes curved at the bottom for legs. I went to a muffler shop and had new legs bend so it stands alone once more. I use flex pipe to attach my blower to the forge for on the road demo's. Hope it was some help to you.
Barney - Sunday, 05/19/02 20:39:20 GMT

Marbles..... do not let them get to the molten stage and they do not drop thru.
Where to get them.
Now that is difficult. It appears that due to all the busi-body do-gooders marbles are not allowd to be sold as toys any longer. I have found that you can get those flattened marbles to be used as table deco or in aquariums. But they are not as nice as real marbles. I do haunt flea markets and garage sales tho.... one day I might get lucky
Ralph - Monday, 05/20/02 13:19:43 GMT

marbles: many party supply houses will have cheap marbles in little bags as party favors. They are definitely not the quality that I grew up with, but would probably work for these purposes.
- escher - Monday, 05/20/02 15:11:10 GMT

Glass inlet into metal: Look into glass enamelling where podwered glass is melted onto/into various metals. Note the type of glass makes a difference; I've tried making my own pounding stained glass obly to find that it spalled as it cooled; however an old brake light lens worked very nicely.

- Thomas Powers - Monday, 05/20/02 16:09:57 GMT

Marbles: Ralph,
Up here in Canada we haven't let the "protect people from themselfs crowd" kill off our marble sales we can still get them at the local dollar store (25 for a $1)or any toy store. Just drop me an e-mail if you need to fill your ally bag again
Mark P. - Monday, 05/20/02 17:14:05 GMT

Well I will be up at and around Victoria BC and Vancouver BC in about 2 months..... Will look for glass then.
Thomas, I have a very hard time getting reg marbles. One use I have if for them, but unfortunately almost 9 out of every 10 turns opaque. Only 1 in 10 stays a nice translucent red... :^( I suppose I should get into town and go to the glass company. I am sure they have the info I need as to why this occurs.
Ralph - Monday, 05/20/02 19:29:10 GMT

chess set: Mark, never thought of that - cool trick - wont work for forging but one could make a pair of spring dies that would at least rough out the knight's head.

Bealer: IMO this book is highly overrated. His writing style is pompous blather and his information is not dependable. He wrote a book on woodworking that is considered a joke. I wouldn't depend on anything he wrote unless I heard from a smith that he had tried it.

I am not saying the book is of no value. I appreciate that it appeared at a very important time for modern blacksmithing and it does have useful info. Just that it's way overrated.
  adam - Monday, 05/20/02 20:56:21 GMT

Glass opaqueness: Ralph,
My father worked in the glass industry for years one of the things that they where always fighting was "clear" glass going opaque the most common cause was what he called micro fractures ... when glass is not cooled in a tempering kiln at a steady rate (so many degrees per hour) the glass fractures and goes opaque... it can also be caused by the colouring agent a lot colours are fagile and can only stand one heating ... gold used to be what they used to obtain red glass various iron & copper combinations give other colours the quailty of the glass (low for marbles) can also determine the end result for a better quality get inlet pieces for a stained glass suppilers ... or try the glass cane put out for "lamp work" the making of glass animals etc. a lot of this cane in a rainbow of colours is available the most popular is made by Corel(pyrex) you can even get it with metal flecks of differing colours already in it .

good luck
Mark P. - Monday, 05/20/02 22:12:59 GMT

Enameling: Enamel spalling. Matching the expansion of the steel to the glass (or vice versa) is the trick. If the enameled glass spalls off, the steel contracted too much and there was enough compressive stress in the glass to cause it to pop off. Generally, the steel expands with heat more than the glass. Different glasses have different expansion coefficients as well as different melting and fusing temperatures.
- Tony - Tuesday, 05/21/02 12:33:43 GMT

Enamelling: Tony that is *one* cause of spalling but the glass itself can spall just from the rate of cooling since I wasn't using a tempering oven. Getting a "softer" glass helps.

Oppi Utrecht's "Enamelling on Metal" comes to mind...what I dug into when I was having problems not covered by Theophilus in "Divers Arts".

- Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 05/21/02 14:07:58 GMT

Marbles: I got curious the other day, as sometimes happens. Wondered just what the agitator in the spray paint can was. Naturally, I tore open the can, (after letting all the pressure fairies out through the nozzle), and lo, inside was a lovely blue marble! I haven't used up any more cans since then, so I don't know if this is common, or an anomaly.
vicopper - Tuesday, 05/21/02 14:56:15 GMT

Marbles and Bealer: Most all the spry paint can marbles I've collected over the years are either white or clear, what brand was the fancy blue one? When we were young teens in the model car building phase, my brother and I used to save up our "empty" spray paint cans until it snowed, then toss them out in said snow and let the pressure fairies loose from a distance with the help of a .22 rifle. Makes for neat temporary snow art, but sometimes it was a right bugger to find the marbles afterwards....

Adam: Who considers "Old Ways of Working Wood" a joke? Bealer isn't always accurate, but he did try. The information in that book is stuff he got from the old-timers around north Georgia, and does accurately reflect what they did. It may not be accurate for all geographical locations, I concede. The only problem with it that I can find is lack of research on the dates things were introduced, but almost all books on woodworking miss that one. He was trying to pass on techniques, not present a scholarly tome. Anyway, just my opinion, delivered with a smile as usual.

Alan-L - Tuesday, 05/21/02 15:22:56 GMT

Bealer: Alan; perhaps you should word that "what they *said* they did". Where Bealer ran into problems is when he could not evaluate what was said against a good through knowledge base of how things work.

OTOH we have renaissance tempering compounds using raddish juice and snails...the issue goes waaaaaaaay back...

- Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 05/21/02 18:45:13 GMT

Alan & Thomas:
Add to the above that on occasion the "old-timers" were pulling Bealer's leg. At the time, he didn't know enough to be able to tell, although a few times it's a wonder his leg didn't come off in their hand.
Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 05/21/02 20:46:54 GMT

Bealer: Alan it is a long time since I read the WW text by Bealer but I recall there were a number of things that were just plain wrong. No way around it - he didnt check his facts. Now it's one thing to report what someone told you as just that but Bealer doesnt qualify or hedge. He writes these things with an authoratative (and pompous) tone as if they were facts.

I guess he knew his blacksmithing better than woodworking but even in the smithing book, when not discussing strict smithing, he makes statements that are plain bull****.

If a book is to be valued as a trusted and reliable source then the author must show that he is careful, meticulous and really cares about the truth. Sure, an occasional error might slip by and we can overlook that because we know the author tried hard to be careful and accurate. With Bealer, I get the impression that he was in love with the sound of his own voice.

I would rate Bealers work at about the same level as a conversation in a bar with a skillful smith who has been there several hours already. Worth listening to but be sure to check.

I don't mean to disparage Bealer's contribution to modern smithing. I realize this book appeared at an important time and had a big effect. Also, I think, he himself did a lot to promote the craft and he is due a lot of respect for his contribution to the smithing rennaissance. I just think the book is overrated

What's this about radish juice and snails? Is it better than the goats urine that I have been using?
- adam - Tuesday, 05/21/02 21:54:07 GMT

Bealer again: Thomas and Paw-Paw are right as usual, I just wrote quickly without TOO deep a thought, other than I just read most of the Wood book the other day so it's still fresh in my mind. I think the dedication of that book says it all: "To my dear Helen, who has demonstrated singular patience over the years in waiting for me to make things out of wood."

It's kind of like the Foxfire books, in that much of the info is present, you just have to be able to fill in the gaps, which are many.

Incidentally, he seems to have gotten all his "historical" info from Eric Sloane's books, also a risky practice. (I'm an archaeologist, so the precision of historical data is more important to me than to many).

Adam, I think you have the perfect analogy with the bar conversation!

And as for goat urine, why the #$@@$ haven't you been using the urine of a red-headed boy like you're supposed to?!? (BIG grin, and I'd hand you a beer (or bourbon) if you were here).

Alan-L - Tuesday, 05/21/02 22:48:09 GMT


Foxfire is almost a dirty word to me!

Every year at the Museum of Appalachia, it's a safe bet that at least twenty teachers have read Foxfire 5. They've all written out "research" papers for their kids. Foxfire 5 makes the clear statement, "A blacksmith's most important tool is his anvil."

That's bull crap! I can use a darn rock for an anvil! I can use a darn rock for a hammer for that matter!

But every year, I tell every class, "The answer your teacher wants you to write is that a blacksmith's most important tool is his anvil, because that's what the Foxfire 5 book says. So write that down. BUT you will never see a blacksmith's most important tool. It's hidden right behind his eyes, and right between his ears. It's called his brain. A blacksmith has to see the iron as it is, and see all the steps to make it into what he wants. He does that with his brain, not his anvil." Every year I see teachers nodding their heads as the light finally dawns in their darn dim brains.

I get so disgusted with teachers who accept the written word as gospel, without ever bothering to THINK about what they are teaching.

Sorry for the rant, but that subject elevates me to the soapbox without any warning at all.
Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 05/22/02 00:55:08 GMT

Alex Bealer: There are only a couple of places that Bealer screwed up royaly in the Art of Blacksmithing. Bealer, like many folks today was in awe of old time smiths. And a few of them were pulling his leg or telling a tall one and he fell for it. His sin was being gulible.

I haven't seen his book on woodworking but there are a lot of primitive wood working techniques that most conventional wood workers would not believe. I've done a lot of primitive wood work including working green wood. You can do some amazing things with an axe, froe and hatchet AND in a short time. Hickory and white oak can be bent into some amazing shapes and is very easy to work green. Completed objects dry rapidly, joints tightening as they shrink.

Historicaly speaking many techniques have been found and lost, but more importantly there have been places were people either didn't know earlier techniques OR couldn't afford the tools required of the new techniques.

How the archeological record is looked at is rather odd in some cases. I've found no reference that states that Greeks of the classical period (650-450BC) had the lathe as either a metal or wood working tool, BUT the products of both exist. If the finished product existed the tool to create it must have existed. . .

The proof of the existence of many early technologies has been lost and all we have left is quesses as to what existed when.
- guru - Wednesday, 05/22/02 05:17:15 GMT

Tool: Paw Paw,
What is the second most important tool in the blacksmith shop? If you say, hands, I'll just have to ask for the third, et cetera. No evasions, please. (:-)
L.Sundstrom - Wednesday, 05/22/02 12:12:13 GMT

CHAMBERSBURG HAMMERS- DRAWINGS & ENGINEERING FILES: Chambersburg Engineering Acquisition Corporation (CEAC) recently acquired title to all proprietary plans and specifications, repair histories, etc., of all machines manufactured by Chambersburg Engineering Company (CECO) from 1897 through 2002. Those machines include Impacters, Die Forgers, Cecostamps, Ceco-Drops, Board Hammers, Power Drop Hammers, Flat Die Forging Hammers, Wheel Presses and Forcing Presses. The plans and specification include complete machine histories, parts list, vendor reference, etc., from date of original order through last repair as well as all drawings related to such machines.
CEAC offers licenses to CECO machine owners for the non-assignable use of such plans and specification. All licenses include restricted-use copies of all plans and specifications (including drawings) for each CECO machine.
For further details and information contact Larry Forsythe or RB Omo at 800-451-2326 or by e-mail or
- Larry Forsythe - Wednesday, 05/22/02 13:32:04 GMT

Adam, Alan, Guru: Adam, snail juice is about 400 years more advanced than goat urine! "Sources for the History of the Science of Steel" C.S.Smith has a number of 16th century quenching/tempering compounds in it that were written down in the 1500's.

Alan, Theophilus mentions using the uring of a small red headed boy *or* that of a goat fed ferns for 3 days---so dish into that speciality salad and start collecting!

Guru; sometimes they did it in a way we would never think of so the tool may be very different than what we would consider proper today---sort of like some of the HSM crowd telling folks how to make a cork screw "put a piece of pipe in the lathe and cut a coarse screw thread through it was my favorite!) when the smith says "heat the wire bend it around a rod"

I'm consulting with some academics in the UK about how some things could be made by someone who does not have a "modern jewelry makers" mind set. If it gets published I'll cite it here. (lost wax is *not* the best method in every case!)

- Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 05/22/02 14:06:46 GMT

Thomas: my quenchants of choice are rain water and peanut oil, since unless someone asks me to make something a certain way, I do what works for me! I have been known to collect the urine of a brown-haired bearded blacksmith for use as deer and raccoon repellent around the garden, though!

Good luck on the jewelry project, BTW.

Paw-paw: My standard rant about the Foxfire series is to remind folks they're nothing but a bunch of interviews by *high school students* who often did not really understand what they're trying to document. I tell people to ALWAYS question the source, since we're so conditioned to respect the printed word as gospel. And I'll have to read #5 again to see who said that about the anvil, but I'm sure there are smiths out there who think that as well! Which is not helped by most beginner-level books except for Weygers' insistance on a London-pattern anvil being the only suitable object to pound on.

As for the archaeological record being scratched (as I often say), Yup! That's what makes it fun! What I don't like is when someone says "This object must date to X because of this characteristic" when that characteristic may only be valid for one specific area during that date range, but survived (or preceded) in another area much longer, which is what happens with many authors. They may be absolutely correct for where they have studied, but not where I am.

Plus there's all the mythology of the immediate past to deal with, which tends to affect one's thought patterns. For instance, the upper south (where I work) was not poor and "backwards" until after the Civil War. It's still recovering. (please no political rants, I've heard 'em before, grin!) Prior to the war, the artifact assemblages resemble those from anywhere else in the settled parts of the country. After the war, things get pretty sparse, except in or near the cities. A complicated subject which I can't do justice here, I've got other stuff to do!

Sorry for this rant, I hereby retire, for a little while, anyway (grin)!
Alan-L - Wednesday, 05/22/02 14:54:23 GMT

Larry S.:
Since the secondary importance of a tool is such and individual choice from one smith to another, the answer to you question is indeterminate. You'll have to decide for yourself. (how's THAT for a load of BS? grin)

Alan, I haven't read number 5 for a long time, and somebody has "borrowed" my copy. But it's in there.
Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 05/22/02 15:37:05 GMT

Tool: Paw Paw,
Based on your flat rock argument, I would say that the most important tool in the shop is the fire. It's pretty hard, (but is it impossible?), to forge without one.

The anvil is the Lord of the Rings.
The Hammer, Prince of Pounders
The quench is Queen of Fire Arts
and the stump's for sitter-rounders.

L.Sundstrom - Wednesday, 05/22/02 16:46:05 GMT

Limerick : I like your little saying there L. Sundstrom.. I copied it down if you don't mind..
Barney - Wednesday, 05/22/02 21:29:00 GMT

Lime rick: Thanks for the compliment. Make that "sit-arounders"
L.Sundstrom - Wednesday, 05/22/02 21:38:57 GMT

Not impossible. Just difficult. And it would be easier with wrought iron than with steel. Bruce Blacksitone has a stone anvil block that he occasionally uses, just to prove it can be done.

And I'm going to steal that limerick, too. Nice work!
Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 05/22/02 21:44:36 GMT

My copy of Weygers shows a chunk of bulldozer blade frame that he is using as an anvil, accompanying text amplifying that, and I read him thus as telling the brethren to use what's at hand and get the bloody work out. Unrecall any admonition from him re London pattern anvils. Citation?
miles undercut - Thursday, 05/23/02 04:08:37 GMT

Barney: thanks for the info on the blower ,i'm only building a small portable forge this time so i think i'll try and mount it to the side ,for compactness.thanks again
- Wayne - Thursday, 05/23/02 11:55:47 GMT

Barney: thanks for the info on the blower ,i'm only building a small portable forge this time so i think i'll try and mount it to the side ,for compactness.thanks again
- Wayne - Thursday, 05/23/02 11:56:26 GMT

FOR SALE Micrometer:
NEW Starrett #216MRL-25 metric micrometer.

0-25 mm x .01mm DIGITAL with ratchet stop.

In original packaging with wrench. $105.00

US priority shipping add $5, Overseas and Canada add $10.
Misc Sales form
- guru - Thursday, 05/23/02 16:46:44 GMT

Lime rick: Paw-Paw,
Use away. In fact you inspired one of the lines, To paraphrase you, "Tell'em to go pound sand". I always wondered if I was missing something in the meaning and finally just concluded that it describes pure futility very well.
L.Sundstrom - Thursday, 05/23/02 19:24:40 GMT

Ahem! Well, maybe I'd better let you know the rest of the statement.

It has a military origin, (as you might have guessed) and the complete statement is "Go pound sand up your a**!" Or in the context when I said it to you tell them to go pound sand up their a**!

I've got a pretty earthy sense of humor sometimes. (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson - Thursday, 05/23/02 20:22:59 GMT

sand: Well, anyway, at least it ain't dirty.
L.Sundstrom - Thursday, 05/23/02 22:32:03 GMT

Miles: I've always been plagued by hard-to-read sentance structure, and working for a bureaucracy doesn't help. If you read the sentence again, it says all the books for beginners EXCEPT for Weygers insist on a London-pattern anvil. Or at least that's what I meant, if it isn't what I said. You are, as usual, right.
Alan-L - Friday, 05/24/02 00:14:06 GMT

earthy: Paw-Paw ... say it an't so ... you earthy ... next thing we know you'l be huging trees
Mark P. - Friday, 05/24/02 01:44:13 GMT

Larry, and Mark:
Larry, doesn't miss by much, though.

Mark, Don't think I'll go quite that far. (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 05/24/02 02:23:43 GMT

I'll take your word for it. Now, about your close textual analysis of Foxfire....
miles undercut - Friday, 05/24/02 03:35:48 GMT

The Foxfire Books:
Well, you DO have to consider it was high school kids doing the writing and editing but for the most part they did a VERY good job. Occasionaly their sources were a little odd but THAT was the point, recording the differences that evolve when people are isolated in a relatively poor rural area. AND they were often interviewing some very old folks about things they did in their youth, which is also not the most accurate sometimes.

On top of all this the folks they were interviewing were not particularly experts in their fields. Again, that was the point, to honestly record what these folks knew and how they did things (in that isolated environment). The research was not flawed, it was the source of the material.

Even today in our field of blacksmithing many of the old erroneous statements and ignorance of methods persist. Globaly the vast majority think "tempering" is heat treating and is what makes steel hard. Its right up there with the stupid statement that if you put a car battery on a concrete floor it will go dead. . . . Dumb! Lead acid batteries go dead from sitting anywhere for an extended period of time. IF a battery is NOT in an automobile where it belongs, thus sitting on the floor, it was most likely in poor condition in the first place and self discharged must faster. . . But everyone including many auto mechanics that should know beter will tell you. . . an ignorant old wives tale.

The Foxfire books are a wonderful source of knowledge about old ways and life in general. But one must be consious of the framework in which they were written. I've read them all several times (back when I had time to read) and may one day read them all again.
- guru - Friday, 05/24/02 15:18:57 GMT

Batteries and concrete: Guru, you may think it's not true but I've had it happen. My particular, just charged, boat battery went dead overnight on a concrete floor. I recharged it and put it on the wooden work bench. Somehow the charge stayed put till the weekend when I put it back in the boat. It may be an old wives tale but I've seen it in action. (And I hadn't heard the tale when it happened)
Rob Costello - Friday, 05/24/02 17:32:10 GMT

In an international effort to maintain their influence, the secret Association of Old Wives works round the clock making sure that randon batteries set on cement are properly shorted out till dead. There are other examples of their nefarious activities that manifest in the blacksmith shop as one might expect.
  Pete F - Saturday, 05/25/02 06:41:40 GMT

Batteries: Rob, did you use a slow charger? Like 1 or 2 amps? If the battery was sulfated, a slow charge will occasionally bring a battery back. So it could have been the second charge that helped. Jock is right, a battery will not discharge faster on a concrete floor. Unless the air down there conducts electricity better. Grin! There was some other reason for it to discharge. If it even had much of a charge. Just becasue a battery is at full voltage does not mean it can supply the current it did when new.
Tony - Saturday, 05/25/02 11:47:06 GMT

batteries: Back before the polypropylene case, batteries were in a bakelite type material which had a lot of carbonblack in it (you remember those batteries which had the tops sealed with tar, right? They were always black.). This material would let juice bleed off when it was set on a damp concrete floor (sort of a micro mini dead short, if you will).

Since the polypropylene case came along (30 years maybe?), it's very difficult for a battery to discharge from damp floor exposure. That's not to say it can't happen, but it's not as likely as when the tar top batteries were around.
- Mike S - Sunday, 05/26/02 03:33:32 GMT

I don't think the term (ignorant old wives) is conductive to a long life.
- kid - Sunday, 05/26/02 04:05:28 GMT

Batteries: Discharging a battery faster by placing it on a concrete floor than a wooden table is the reason we need Cracked Anvil and CACA available to do the research on this, and other improtant matters.

I am sure it has something to do with the sitting, as wooden chairs are more comfortable than concrete benches. It may be that the electrons also find this to be true, and must either get up and move (discharge) or think they died sitting on that hard concrete surface.
- Conner - Sunday, 05/26/02 15:57:02 GMT

Wives and Batteries: Kid, mine left me. One reason was that she couldn't stand losing an argument based on logic. . .

Batteries. . . I operated an automotive service station for several years (back in the good old days when there WERE such things). I know a LOT about auto batteries. We also had a battery manufacturer in our town who made our batteries and their sales people KNEW their stuff.

Our big "jump starting" battery sat on the concrete floor almost all the time. It only got used about once a week and then was recharged afterward if needed. It was never found to be dead and lived a LONG life (about 6 years).

Auto batteries are suseptible to several things making them "go dead" mysteriously. The primary cause is simply moving them. Battery plates are not actually solid lead. They are a porus mixture of lead, antimony and other metals pressed into lead frames. The porosity greatly increases the power of the battery. But every time a "lead acid" battery is charged and discharged some non-soluble chemical residue forms and settles to the bottom of the battery. Eventualy this residue piles up enough to short out the plates.

For most batteries the difference in "life" is only the fractions of an inch extra space put into the bottom of the case. . The more space, the longer the battery life, up to a point. Eventually the plates become to thin, warp and short out. But almost ALL automotive batteries are designed to fail long before this happens.

So, you have a perfectly good battery, you remove it from the vehical where it has been riding level on nice springs and shock absorbers and you set it down with a "thud" on a concrete floor. . this dislodges more debris and a few hours later the battery is dead. . . NOT from the floor, but because you moved it, probably tilting it. Folks with old poorly maintained cars with bad shocks or cheap out of balance tires will always be having battery trouble much more often than folks with a well maintained auto. . . Heavy trucks used on rough roads and construction sites also have a shorter life due to impact shock.

An outfit I worked for was always short a battery for one or more of their machines and was always removing the battery from one or more trucks to start the welder, air compressor or other vehical. Battery life was always less than a year and the owners bitched and complained and sometimes refused to buy new batteries for the lesser used equipment thus aggrevating the problem further.

I tried to explain that every time the battery was removed from the truck it was tilted and the muck in the bottom of the battery moved to one side prematurely shorting out the battery. . AND that if batteries were kept in ALL the equipment the overall life of ALL the batteries would be much longer. . . and in the end cost less. They didn't believe me and continue to have batteries with a 9 month life. . .

For the same reason you should charge the battery in place, not remove it and charge elsewhere. You may be killing what life is left.

Folks that "recondition" batteries generally just dump out the acid, rinse out the sludge and refill the battery with fresh acid. I've done this. It works with many batteries but is a short fix if the battery is old and not cost effective.

You can also luck out and redistribute the sludge by moving a battery and this is why it will work one time and then not another.

Now spilled or leaking acid on the battery surface definitely eats holes in the concrete. . . and is a good reason not to store old batteries on concrete.

Battery terminal maintenance is also another bug-aboo that most mechanics and others get WRONG WRONG WRONG. Never, ever, ever oil or grease battery terminals. It DOES NOT protect them from corrosion it enhances the corrosion.

Oil is non-conductive AND forms compounds of lead that are also non-conductive. So oiling or greasing battery terminals is BAD.

Top mount battery terminals are made from a hollow stud molded into the battery case. A connection pin from the plates fits inside the hollow terminal and is then soldered in place from the top closing the end of the terminal. The acid that corrodes the terminal follows the path of the partial solder joint UP the terminal and corrodes the conection from the INSIDE. Oiling the terminal helps seal in the acid preventing it from drying out thus increasing the problem!

So oiling or greasing battery terminals causes premature connection failure THREE ways. . . Occasionaly washing the top of the battery and the connections is the best preventive maintenance. I rinse with water, neutralize with a little baking soda and rinse again making sure to rince the fender and battery pan. Clean with one of those special wire brushes when necessary.

LOGIC and science wins the argument (something old wives HATE). Continue to spread ignorance if you want. But it is NOT the concrete floor that kills the battery, its getting there that kills it.

- guru - Sunday, 05/26/02 16:15:07 GMT

Viruses:: I'm still getting clobbered by 100 Klez "bounce" mails a day where Klez has forged my return address. . so someone (or more) out there that has visited anvilfire has Klez. Please get a virus scan if you have not in the past.

On a happier note I have not gotten ANY Klez virus mail sent to the special Slack-Tub Pub mail account I setup. That means that either my warning in our last mailing helped OR that Klez is just about out of our regular user base.

Those of you you with high speed cable or DSL connections need to be especially careful about viruses. Your one machine can send out enough virus mail in seconds that will take the rest of us hours to down load. This also means that if it is traced back to you there will be MANY MANY more people that want to get their hands around your neck. . .
- guru - Sunday, 05/26/02 19:34:59 GMT

Hammer in : everybody that can come
I am holdine my anyal hammer in at my shop august 24&25
at my shop in Mesquite Texas (east side of Dallas )
every body is welcom
Free food and blacksmithing fun
- Bill Epps - Monday, 05/27/02 04:42:51 GMT

Jock ol' buddy'
The facts you argued may have been based on logic but the fact you argued wasn't. My dear sweet wife once looked up at the moon and said,
  lsundstrom - Monday, 05/27/02 13:57:00 GMT

Rest of the story: "My dear, it's only 13/14th full". Won the battle, lost the war. Fortunately, I still have the honor of being her husband inspate of still being pretty obnoxious.
- lsundstrom - Monday, 05/27/02 14:09:13 GMT

P.S.: What she said was "Pretty full moon". What I said was ...

Sorry this post got so messed up.
L.Sundstrom - Monday, 05/27/02 14:34:13 GMT

LEAF SPRINGS(trailors & vehicles): We have been building a trailor and were using used leaf springs from a Ford truck. While attempting to install the sleeve going through the eye, I heated the eye to make it easyer to install. During the actual installment the eye snapped. Is there some procedure that works best?
- David G. Pelletier - Tuesday, 05/28/02 02:06:15 GMT

Broken Spring:
David, Springs must be carefully heat treated. While heating the eye you probably overheated the steel beyound the hardening temperature. Where the transition from hot to cold occured the metal probably self quenched making it full hard (or harder if you had overheated). This in turn made a VERY brittle place in the spring, where it broke.

The only right way to make the eye larger is to heat evenly (or with a long transition) to the forging and bending temperature (not hotter) then make the bend. Afterward the entire spring must be hardened and tempered. Since you are not a spring shop I doubt that you have the equipment to heat treat the spring. So DO NOT apply heat to the spring. If you do, you have ruined it.

If the sleave doesn't fit change the sleave NOT the spring.
- guru - Tuesday, 05/28/02 03:59:19 GMT

research vs. superstition: Just before Cracked departed the Cracked Anvil Center for Analysis with Chastity, Yummi and Swarf for the Dizzy Club on Holabird Avenue in Dundalk, Md. to live forever in that best of times, the mid-1950s, he carefully removed the battery from his aging and much loved internal combustion-powered Miller (which he'd entrusted to me to use as he had, welding only in behalf of Truth, Justice and the American Way) with not a rope but a motor start and placed said battery on a piece of plywood all its own on a wooden shelf. Now, much as I trust and believe in the Guruissimo, I dare not take to setting the battery on the concrete floor, lest Cracked some day return and, finding I had done so....
miles undercut - Tuesday, 05/28/02 04:38:48 GMT

Miles: I am sure Cracked is happy in the 50's surrounded by trees (Cedars, Maples and Walnuts) to form a fence of sorts, and to keep things cool.

May want to turn that motor over every once in a while to keep the pistons lubricated. How to protect the engine in storage, so it does not seize up, is another project for another time. Maybe he is still at work after all . . .
- Conner - Tuesday, 05/28/02 21:54:59 GMT

That old (1972!)Miller has but one (1), count 'em, little piston, and I do indeed fire it up and run beads for cash money with it on a regular basis, but only, as I mentioned, in the causes of Truth, Justice and the American Way. And then only for just enough cash to cover expenses. And, of course, demurrage. And removing the battery and putting it back on Cracked's plywood doily after each outing. But thanks for the kind and thoughtful cautionary thought, just the same.
miles undercut - Wednesday, 05/29/02 00:48:35 GMT

Belt Grinders: I've seen plans for junk yard hammers... does anyone have, or know where I can get something similar for a belt grinder, preferably something with multiple sizes of wheels?

Thanks in advance...
Mattmaus - Wednesday, 05/29/02 01:11:56 GMT

Seems to me I've seen something like that, but I can't remember where.

On the other hand, some years ago I bought a cheap ($79) combination belt and disk sander from Harbor Freight. After about 8 years of wood working use, and a couple of years of metal working, the bearings gave out. They were a standard size, so I replaced them with sealed Timken bearings for less than $20. With aluminum oxide belts, they do a fine job of metal working. With a 120 grit belt, you can put a mirror finish on steel.
Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 05/29/02 01:40:13 GMT

Colorado B/S Conf: Rocky Mountain Smiths presents the
2002 Rocky Mountain Blacksmithing Conference
August 8-11, 2002, Carbondale, Colorado
Demonstrations by:
Doug Hendrickson
Peter Happney
Bill Epps
Lorelei Sims

Complete information including registration forms are now available on the RMS website,
Dan Nibbelink - Wednesday, 05/29/02 04:24:41 GMT

belt grinders: check out this site ... lots o home built grinders. a word of addvise on this DON"T make or use contact wheels that are made from wood or plywood. they work but at some point they will let go and hurt you ... for low speed work they are ...OK. a better idea is to use rubber covered casters or use a wheel from Beaumont.
Beaumont Metal Works
MP - Wednesday, 05/29/02 04:54:42 GMT

Belt Grinders: Paw Paw - Thanks for confirming the harbor freight route, I've been wondering if those might work out for me.

MP - Thanks for the Beaumont site... that helps a lot.
No wooden wheels eh? I assume by "let go" you mean the belt slips off and flys in a random direction, probably at me...
What if I coated a wooden wheel in RTV rubber (which I happen to have left over from another project) that should give the belt something to stick to neh?
Mattmaus - Wednesday, 05/29/02 14:20:07 GMT

No problem. Unless they've changed their bearing type, you will have to change the bearings before too long. But that's the only problem I've had, in almost 15 years of use, now. The little "stop" that they provide for the belt can be modified easily to work better. I failed to mention that the one I bought was the 6" disc, 4" belt model. In the latest catalog that I have (559-B, Spring 2002) it's item number 38123-UPH and priced at $89.99, plus shipping. The miter table tilst, so you can set the angle for sharpening tools, and the belt can be used either horizontally, or verticaly. Versital machine, and works well.

Built up wheels have a tendency to fly apart at high speed, unless they are VERY well made.
Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 05/29/02 15:11:05 GMT

wheels: no I mean that the wheel can and will split into nasty flying slivers into you. the wood wheel isn't a way to go on this one ... main problem is that it can't realy be ballanced and at some point they shake them selfs apart.
now the drive and idler wheels can be turned on a lathe (they don't need to be rubber) (out of AL SS Steel Nylon delron etc) anouther sorce for contact wheels are the ones used by lapadarys(SP?) reo grand has them for a OK price new and used could work good.
MP - Thursday, 05/30/02 09:23:54 GMT

wheels: Ok... now I get it. Making much better sense now. I'm one of those obnoxious twits that can't just beleive something won't work, I need to know why it's no good. :) In all honesty I'm not really NEEDING it yet, and won't be for some time. I'm giving serious contemplation to taking some machineing classes at the community college and if I do do that, maybe I can talk the instructor into letting me make rollers as a final project. :)
Mattmaus - Thursday, 05/30/02 15:36:40 GMT

Wheels: I machined the wheels for my belt grinder from scrap aluminium. The driver has baler belt epoxied to it for the belt to bite on. 6 years HARD use, and no bearings yet. Arbor is machined from 1 1/4 stress, and mounted on 2 Link Belt pillow blocks with 1" bearings. Driver is zero tolerance mounted between 2 nuts and arbor washers. Other end has the pully to the motor. Tracking wheel has a .005 press fit bearing(s) that are locktited in it (green stuff). 2 x 48 belts. Best time and money I've invested in shop tools in a LONG time.
- Steve O'Grady - Friday, 05/31/02 10:05:59 GMT

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