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Virtual Hammer-In!

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May 2008 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.

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

28.04.2008 Alfreds Habermann dies in Waidhofen to the Ybbs/Oesterreich:
The great Alfred Haberman has passed away one day before his birthdate. I have no more details.
- guru - Monday, 05/05/08 11:28:47 EDT

Wanted homemade or shop built power hammer wanted . I am in Cleveland Ohio area will pickup if close or ship. 25# hammer or more 110 electric. please email any information thank you
- nick mobley - Monday, 05/05/08 20:31:22 EDT

Nick Mobley: COntact the Souther Ohio Forge and Anvil (SOFA) group to see if they know of one for sale. Also the Mid-Ohio Blacksmiths. Both groups have websites. SOFA has already had atleast one power hammer bulding workshop with Clay Spencer, building tire hammers based on Ray Clonsky's very successful design. There may be another workshop coming up somewhere near there, and building your own is a great learning experience. That said, I still prefer an air hammer over a mechanical hammer. Your mileage may vary, as they say.
vicopper - Monday, 05/05/08 23:48:58 EDT

Arizona Blacksmith Demo: Hey folks! Come one and all to our 6th Annual Arizona Artist Blacksmith Spring Roundup Demo at the Bar U Bar Ranch in Skull Valley,AZ on May 17th & 18th. Our featured demonstrator is Mr. Jim Keith of Tucumcari,NM. We have lots of great food, blacksmith games, tailgating, and cowboy campfire music. You don't want to miss this one! Find out more at Cheers!
- Barry Denton - Monday, 05/05/08 23:59:29 EDT

Tom Clark: Tom Clark of the Ozark School had a sudden bout with cancer just before the BAM conference and underwent surgery. I think he is on the mend. A card sent to him might be in order, or an e-message. %Ozark School, 20183 W. State Hwy 8, Potosi, MO 63664.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 05/06/08 18:40:34 EDT

Jock-- Not to be picky, or a pest, and realizing full well that as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds," but... your note says May 18th... but... the announcement right below it... says... May 17. ????
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 05/08/08 00:30:20 EDT

I HATE looking at the same old posts here day after day. Hence I shall now begin... ta da!... Undercut's Almanac of Eternal Paradoxes. First post: why is it that every time you get transmission oil all over your hands a lonnnng way from the Lava soap and a sink, you urgently have to answer the call of nature? Second post: speaking of calls, why is it that every time you have everything all clamped up jussssst right, and the helmet is down... the phone rings?
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 05/11/08 16:54:41 EDT

Paradox: The difficulty of striking an arc is inversly proporsional to the ability of the individual who is trying to hold something while you tack it. The likelyhood of the rod sticking is determined by how many bystanders are watching.
- John Christiansen - Monday, 05/12/08 09:45:17 EDT

John Christiansen-- I love it! Something like that was going to be among my very next entries. Or, Undercut's Corollary to Christiansen's Paradox: the likeliness of the rod sticking is directly proportional to the wobblyness of the pieces.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 05/12/08 11:17:55 EDT

Paradoxical Answers: Miles:

In the case of the first it is, no doubt, the unfortunate result of faulty early toilet training and can only be overcome by determined re-conditioning. Or, to put it simply, "You should of thought of that before we left the house!"

In the second case, this is such a common paradox that thos clever people in R&D have come up with a simple mechanical solution to this human problem: the answering machine. Before you ask, the answer is no, I can't do it either; I drop e erything and run to the phone, only to find it to be a wrong number, just like you. (grin)

How come is it that the only time a lucrative, must-have rush order comes in is the very same time that I have planned, for the first time in months, to do something entirely for myself?
vicopper - Monday, 05/12/08 11:21:45 EDT

So Miles, am I to understand from your first question that your area has built up enough that you have to wear clothes while working?

Thomas P - Monday, 05/12/08 16:30:50 EDT

Why is it that the older you get the harder it is to remember where you put something important to keep it safe? Like the 5 pounds of black powder we are missing. Hate to find out it has been moved under the forge or welding bench. . . It WAS in a safe place. . .

- guru - Monday, 05/12/08 18:09:12 EDT

Glass is magnetic nowhere except in a metal working shop.

The one time you work without safety glasses someone will photograph you.

- guru - Monday, 05/12/08 18:32:29 EDT

on topic: I have an old foot operated vice, kind of simular to the one in the picture of " Great grandfather Frank Ramsby" It is very heavy, perhaps 150# or more. The jaws are seven inches wide, height 34", the foot petal is 24" with a wheel to acuate the closer. The curious thing is that it seems designed to be mounted to something wich would be between the vice and the user. I have had it for years and never realy figured out how to mount it. Anyone with any knowlegde about this?
John Christiansen - Monday, 05/12/08 19:21:30 EDT

Guru: My first master used to say "Too soon old, too late smart"
John Christiansen - Monday, 05/12/08 19:24:02 EDT

Foot Operated Vice:
John, All that I have seen had a nice round floor flange to bolt them down. The closing cam normally fits in the frame to actuate the movable jaw. A spring should pull the lever up and the jaws open. These are often missing.

Most of these were designed as "caulking heading" vices. They had sets of jaws that gripped various rounds and a "bucking" block that bolted to a toothed surface inside the column. Great for making bolt heads.

I had one for a while that was missing extra jaws and the ones in it were modified and did not move freely. The springs and bucking block were also missing. I finally sold it for about what I had in it. They are kind of like Hossfeld benders. They are great when you have all the parts but pretty worthless without.

- guru - Monday, 05/12/08 20:08:53 EDT

Foot Vice: This one doesn't have a spot for a bucking block, but the jaws are made readily replacable, with large external nuts on the outside. The throw is very small, 2" at most. Might well be worth setting up just for rivets and bolt heads, with interchangable jaws. Still have to figure out how to mount it though. Hope all is well with Phillip.
John Christiansen - Tuesday, 05/13/08 15:08:19 EDT

Telephone Interference: I interviewed to be a farrier's helper in the early 1960s at the home of Al, the farrier. During our talk, the phone was ringing off the wall. There was no answereing machine at that time. Al totally ignored the phone, didn't even look in its direction. I was getting figety, and I finally said,"Al, aren't you gonna' answer the phone?" He replied, "I pay the bill, and it's for my convenience!"
- Frank Turley - Tuesday, 05/13/08 23:04:02 EDT

Phones, also: My wife and I hardly ever answer the phone at home, we figure that's what the machine is for. And to be truthful, the message DOES say "leave a message and we MAY get back to you."

I have a cellphone for work, and I have to answer that one because they pay me to. Nobody pays me to answer the home phone.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 05/14/08 10:37:23 EDT

Phones and Tones:
Phones have long been one of my pet-peaves. I absolutely hate the twitty-bird rings of all the new electronic phones. . I also hate the NON-Ergonomic hand sets. Ma-Bell had it RIGHT. Even though they changed styles over the years the hardware FIT the human face.

I also almost NEVER leave a message. Either I am in or I am OUT. Call me when I am in.

Many things about cell phones drive me nuts. The fact that you often cannot tell when someone is talking on the phone is one. I hate talking to someone when I THINK I have their attention when in fact they are talking to someone else.

Cell phones should all come with the maintenance software. I can't (won't) try to maintain phone numbers on one with it. Texting? E-mail? Forget it! Two inch square numeric keypads are NOT for writing. .

I would rather have a cell phone that works everywhere than one that has a zillion features that I will never use. The reason they are called CELL phones is that the system is supposed to have antennas at the junction of hexagonal cells all over the country. So instead of government taking command of our infrastructure and licensing the grid layout we have an unregulated market where there are clusters of antennas on every hill top rather than a logical system. There are places for a free market and places where government should be involved. Distributed nationwide systems like cell systems is one.

We tried to get rid of voice mail on our cell phones. Verizon company disconnected it but the response message says, please dial a number WITH a voice mail box. . . This ends up being an endless loop. Why not just a busy or no answer?

Yep. . I'm a Luddite where phones are concerned.
- guru - Wednesday, 05/14/08 14:53:58 EDT

Cell phones: Yep, they're one of a few thorns in my side. For years I had to have one when I was a cop, then it remained somewhat of a necessity due to traveling and business. However, I am no longer required to keep it on all the damn time and I don't. The little beggar is for MY convenience, not the whim of others. When I'm home, it is off. When I don't want to be disturbed, it is off. When I'm where it would be impolite to to make or receive calls, it is off. In fact, it is only on about 10% of the time, if that.

I like the voicemail, since I need to be able to get messages from clients if I expect to remain in business for long. And, if I'm speaking with someone face to face, I let the voicemail pick up the call. The person in fromt of me is more important than an unknown quantity in ether-space, as far as I'm concerned. If I'm speakin g with someone and they stop to take a call, I assume that's the end of our conversation and walk away. No reason to wait around to continue talking with someone I consider rude, is there?

Text messages? I delete them unread - not my thing, sorry. Goofy ring tones? Never! I mostly have mine just set to vibrate, so it doesn't annoy everyone within earshot. Email? On a phone? Not bloody likely! That's why I have a laptop computer - I can actually see it. Not so the tiny screen on the phone.

I don't consider myself a Luddite, just a recalcitrant old fart who's content with things simple and understandable. I like convenience tools, but they're MY tools, for MY convenience.

Cell phones, in fact any phones, are way more convenient than telegrams! Lack some of the romantic mystique yes, but you don't have to tip the cell phone when it delivers a message. (grin)
vicopper - Wednesday, 05/14/08 19:09:44 EDT

Cell Phone: I have had one for a few months now, I keep it in the car, turned off. I didn't tell anybody the number, and I have used it to call home 2 times. It was a "leftover" from a friends family plan, all paid up for a while, but the kid wanted one of those fancy new fangled ones, so they gave this one to Me.
- Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 05/14/08 23:52:53 EDT

Phone: We got a talking Caller ID to screen calls. It announces the phone number after one ring. If it's an 800, 888, or any of the various "number unavailable" announcements we let it go. Or if it's a number we don't recognize, we let the answering machine get it. Usually there's no message.

Even though we're on the Do Not Call list, we get probably 10 - 15 junk calls a day. Most are charities, but some are from some are telemarketers. If you do business, even if it's only an inquiry, you're fair game.

I hate cute cell phone ringtones. I'm still looking for a free ringtone that sounds close to a good old fashioned phone ring. The stock "classic" is going to have to do.

But we've got a Pay-as-you-go plan right now. We make and receive so few calls, that this looks like it will cost us less than $10/month for two phones. It's still new, but if that's how it turns out, we'll probably get rid of the landline.
- Marc - Thursday, 05/15/08 09:53:14 EDT

Cell phone; what cell phone? I'm the only one in my family without one. Doesn't seem to have made my life worse; quite the converse.

There is a steam punk mod to build a cell phone into an old 500 line handset that I though was interesting.

Thomas P - Thursday, 05/15/08 11:59:58 EDT

Undercut's Paradoxes: howcum it is that just when you have crawled under the workpiece and you are finally all set to do the overhead welding, the radio over on the other side of the shop that has been playing those wonderful golden oldies without interruption suddenly switches to an hour-long in-depth analysis of NAME A GRAVE WORLD CRISIS, with not one but four experts?
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 05/15/08 12:18:06 EDT

No-Call List:
I put all my numbers and my parents numbers on the no-call list as soon as it was available. It has worked quite well.

When charities call I tell them to not call back and please remove this number from their list. I am blatantly rude to pollsters and tell them the no-call list should apply to them and I tell my congress people such.

But I had to abandon my FAX machine line because "legal" junk FAX's would use up all the (roll) paper in a week. . . The solution to this is to NEVER advertise your FAX number, only give it out as a need to know. We now use the voice line and only turn on the FAX as needed. Not as convenient as a full time FAX but then FAXing has fallen off a lot in recent years.

I've never had a business I do business with telemarket me. If they did, I would make sure they understood very clearly that I would never do business with them again. See my FAQ on SPAM. We still do not take Discover Card and never will.

When telemarketing was legal about the only calls I got were telephone slammers (billing rip-off operations). If you look at the amount of SPAM that is all criminal activity just imagine the number of calls you would get today. Telemarketer phishers operating out of overseas boiler rooms, phony sexual enhancement drug sales, dating and sex services, on top of high pressure real-estate and insurance dales. . . . (more crooks).

- guru - Thursday, 05/15/08 13:40:04 EDT

brass pipe type object: I have a brass hollow tube, decorated with flowers in relief in two places down the stem with a flattened, covered, perforated bowl, decorated with a fox's head, and a horseshoe with a riding crop across it. Approx. 9 inches long. Does anyone have anyone ideas about what it might be?


- paul - Friday, 05/16/08 17:52:30 EDT

I'm a little slow sometimes (well, most times) but here's another one for Miles' paradoxical list:

When MIG welding, the probability of neglecting to secure the ground clamp is directly proportional to the selected wire feed rate. When TIG welding, it's inversely proportional to dielectric strength of the material separating the operator from the nearest ground.
Mike BR - Saturday, 05/17/08 15:14:03 EDT

I should be able to come up with some paradox related to our recent auction debacle but cannot. Other than returns were inversely proportional to the amount spent on advertisement (which flies in the face of the usual fact) I cannot think of any.

- guru - Sunday, 05/18/08 16:45:22 EDT

Paul could it be a yerba mate straw? What diameter is the tube? How big is the perferated bowl.

Is it a specialized mint julep tool? Ornamentation could relate to the Kentucky Derby...

Thomas P - Monday, 05/19/08 10:57:25 EDT

Metal yerba mate straws-- bombillas-- I've seen are nickel plated. One had a flattened,curved, perforated end for going into the cup. Barrel about the diameter of a Bic pen.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 05/19/08 11:18:01 EDT

An Irony: For many years I have felt that a shaper was a BLACKSMITHS machine tool because it took simple cheap tooling that even a blacksmith could maintain (unlike expensive to buy and expensive to resharpen milling cutters). Now I find that machine shops in Central America (and probably other third world countries) love a shaper for the same reason.
- guru - Tuesday, 05/20/08 13:12:47 EDT

Educating youth: When I was in middle school I had already had 2 years of wood shop. An asignment in 8th grade was to interveiw a tradesman, and see what high school classes he/she recomended. I chose my father's friend, the owner of the local machine shop. He advised, drafting, wood shop, mechanical classes, math and welding. I chose to attend Chatham High school, even though there was a Technical high school in the next town over. I them proceded to study mechanical and architechural drawing, welding, small engine repair, house construction, wood shop (fabricating) and math in regular high school. When i finished High School, I worked at that machine shop, and was well prepared for it naturaly. Now, 30 years later, my son is in 8th grade. He wants to go to the Tech, and study carpentry, welding, and graphic arts. All his choices with no influence from me whatsoever. Now there are more aplicants than placable at the Tech, and none of the high schools have ANY shop programs at all, not even home economics. Some bs about liability or something, I don't want to hear it. I am fighting with the school on his admission, 1/2 way up the apeals process, school is not cooperating, etc. Sorry about the long rant, but I think this is important to all of us.
John Christiansen - Tuesday, 05/20/08 14:37:17 EDT

Rant away: Go ahead and rant John. People aren't born knowing how to do anything except nurse. If kids aren't being taught something we think they need to know it's our fault for not teaching them. I think of my neighbours kids who will have such an advantage in life cause they have parents that do things and do things with the kids. And encourage the kids to do things on their own.
JimG - Tuesday, 05/20/08 15:33:59 EDT

Shapers: Although american companies havent made a shaper in well over 30 years, more likely 50 in most cases, they are still available new in India- check out this website, where you can still buy, brand new, the finest mid 20th century designs in manual machine tools-
- Ries - Tuesday, 05/20/08 17:17:43 EDT

abs youth hammerin: Smoky Mountain Knife Works
American Bladesmith Society
Youth Hammer-In

Dates: June 20, 2008 – June 22, 2008

Location: Smoky Mountain Knife Works, Sevierville, TN

The American Bladesmith Society Youth Hammer-in is an opportunity for young people to be introduced to and learn basic forging and hammering techniques. Participants will gain actual experience in the hammering process, and all participants will walk away from the Youth Hammer-In with something they created (a blade, a leaf, a nail, an S-hook, etc).

The Youth Hammer-in teaches work ethic and the importance of working with their hands. Participants will be trained on work safety and will be supervised by an American Bladesmith Society instructor at all times.

Cost: 75.00 per Participant

Registration Deadline: May 23, 2008

Age Requirements: 10-19 (must be able to swing a hammer)

Only 50 registrations will be accepted.

Event Times:

Friday, June 20 – Time TBA
Participants and family will have a private tour of the National Knife Museum

Saturday, June 21 8am – 5pm
Sunday, June 22 8am – 3pm

*An hour lunch break will be provided each day. Please note that while a break period is allowed, lunch is not provided.

Notes for Participants:

Participants must wear non-flammable clothing (blue jeans, long sleeve cotton shirts, and closed toe leather shoes). Participants must also bring safety glasses that fit properly, ear protection, and a hat or head wrap. Summers in East Tennessee are hot and humid. We strongly suggest that each participant bring and drink ample amounts of liquid.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the La Quinta hotel located on HWY 66 across the river from SMKW. You must reserve your room by Friday June 6, 2008. To reserve a room call the hotel at 1-865-933-3339. Tell them that you want one of the rooms reserved for the SMKW for the Youth Hammer-in.

To register your child for the 2008 Youth Hammer-In please contact

Larry Harley
348 Deerfield Dr
Bristol, TN 37620
Phone # 1-423-878-5368

- larry harley - Tuesday, 05/20/08 18:41:37 EDT

BAM Conf.: Anybody get pics from the BAM Conf????
- TM - Tuesday, 05/20/08 19:53:03 EDT

John & Your rant: As a graduate from a Tec Hig School with a machine shop major I feel You should persue getting Your kid placed in the Tec School. I went on to become a tool & die maker, a field that I continued to work in for 10 years as a journyman. I don't regret that school decisionat all, even if at 32 years old I did decide that I prefered living and cruising on My sailboat to working in a shop. The skills I learned in machine building and tool & die work have been usefull in everything I have ever done. I might add that I learned woodworking, carpentry, welding and mechanics from My Dad & Granddad.
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 05/20/08 23:34:07 EDT

Tangent: Unmotivated Youth: I urge anyone with a son 0-15 yrs old to read this book. I'm reading it now and IT'S SHOCKING. Tries to answer the question "What’s wrong with today's young men?"

Dave Leppo - Wednesday, 05/21/08 07:23:19 EDT

Unmotivation: I will check out Boys Adrift, but I believe a lot of this has to do with our attitudes about working. This problem is not endemic to just our young men, but to grownups as well. Studs Terkel in his book, "Working," interviewed a large number of people, asking them to talk about their work. I can only recall one who was satisfied with his work, a mason who was skilled with brick and stone. Matthew Fox pleads with us (our society) in his book to rethink and redo the entire subject of work: "The Reinvention of Work." To a degree, the attitude is summed up in the saying, "A bad day fishing is better than a good day of work." Really? I have sat in a boat all day and caught a couple of tiny crappie that I threw back. That was no fun for me. Where's my hammer?
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 05/21/08 08:05:00 EDT

BAM Conf.:
We have a bunch of pics and are working on posting them.
- guru - Wednesday, 05/21/08 10:31:54 EDT

Motiovation and Learning:
When I was in high school the DRAFT was motivation for a lot of young men. Drop out and you would find yourself in a mud hole in Vietnam ducking sniper fire. Same with not going to college immediately after HS.

I am not recommending bringing back the draft but it WAS motivation.

I think the time pressures of two working parents, long commutes, long school bus rides (central schools are now the rule) that take away the time parents have with their children is the problem in many cases.

I hear from a lot of folks that they just cannot find good part time help such as high school kids on weekends. We hired several and after they found it was WORK (shoveling and wheel barrowing gravel and dirt) they never showed up again. Our best success was a middle aged Mexican fellow but we lost him to his primary employer putting him back on full time.

I feel sorry for high school students and recent graduates looking for summer job. It used to be that there were numerous jobs to be had in construction and at good pay. However, at least in our area construction jobs are filled by various immigrants (mostly Hispanics) AND pay no more than they did in the 1970's.

I also think there is a large segment of our workforce that just want a job doing ANYTHING that does not take a lot of thought. These are the people that fill production jobs that are being lost by the millions to imports. SO when you grow up with the expectation that there will probably never be a job to suit your mentality how much motivation do you have?

On the other hand. I also see folks that really cannot afford it that have FILLED their young children's rooms with every conceivable toy including a lot that are for much older interests. Add to this cable TV, videos and video games . . . and it is all just TOO much.

I can remember (I have a fantastically detailed memory from childhood) as a toddler spending hours studying the texture of bricks, digging in dirt with a spoon, playing with the treadle mechanism of my grandmother's sewing machine. I do not remember toys but I know I had some. When I was preschool it was somewhat the same spending time running about, playing with friends. While we were "middle class" our play rarely had a lot to do with toys unless a ball or wagon was involved. As I grew older "things" filled more of my time but not to a great deal. I have five brothers and two sisters so there was not a LOT extra. I had a few tools, we built tree houses. I had a chemistry set and we TRIED to make bombs. . . We spent a lot of time in the woods and later camping. Camping was always uncomfortable and a lot of effort but it was a way to get away on one's own at a young age (thus the motivation). But when I was old enough to enter the Soap Box Derby (eleven) my father started to teach me to use tools and involved me the design of my car. When I built my last car at age 15 I had done all the conceptual design and some of the detail design. I also BUILT it all, cutting every board, planing and carving every surface, applying the fiberglass, bondo and numerous coats of hand sanded and polished lacquer. I learned to use a lathe, drill press, hand and power tools during that time.

I was lucky that I was the oldest of so many. The oldest son usually gets the attention of his father simply because he is first in line. Those that come later get divided time and often lesser in quality.

I learned most of the things that have been important to me in my life from my father OR I have taught myself. I also learned many things from my mother including more reading than I learned in school.

I think learning is a complicated process that educators do not have a clue about how it really works. They have messed with the process and I think broken it (in the US). I think any "child expert" that cannot remember details of being a child are full of hot air (this includes education experts that do not have a CLUE what goes through a child's mind).

I think modern children in the West are pampered too much and given too many toys that are much too complex and do not leave room for the imagination to develop.

If you read the latest National Geographic you will see the middle class Chinese children are having their childhood taken away from them in order to advance them farther faster. . .

I do not think our society can fix these problems but that parents CAN by spending time with their children and working with them. The hard part is that every child is different and may not share their parents interests. I was lucky, my Dad and I had the same love of machinery and drawing. My next youngest brothers became muscians, an area neither of my parents have an interest in.
- guru - Wednesday, 05/21/08 12:53:12 EDT

Creative Play: The "Mickey Mouse Club" marks the beginning of the downward spiral of children's creative play.
The Evolution of Play
Dave Leppo - Wednesday, 05/21/08 14:05:49 EDT

Henry David Thoreau says somewhere that the trick is to make earning yout living not your trade but your sport. (He himself was a great proponent of civil disobedience, once gave his occupation as snowstorm inspector.)
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 05/21/08 14:19:46 EDT

Thoreau: He waxed poetic and profound on a number of topics, but he certainly had a much less sanguine opinion about the Irish immigrants. I guess we all have our blind spots. Ole Hank's blind spot sure didn't endear him to my Irish-American Grandmother.
vicopper - Wednesday, 05/21/08 14:34:54 EDT

vicopper-- that's news to me. Nuts to him, then.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 05/21/08 16:53:02 EDT

Vicopper, I seem to remember me dear old grannie,who at 4'-1" was a towering intellect, having graduated the 4th grade no less, but who read EVERYTHING in sight having a strong for throreau as well. She had the maiden name of Fitzgerald the dear old soul. She lived to 100.5 years, and since she was born in 1886 went from muscle powered transporation to watching a man step on the moon on TV. Imagine the changes.
She was not short of opinions either:)
- Ptree - Wednesday, 05/21/08 17:59:53 EDT

wonted: hi i was wondering if any one has an anvil that they would sell to me in Australia N.S.W if u do please contact me via email at
mick - Wednesday, 05/21/08 20:45:44 EDT

Aussie anvil: Mick, Place your inquiry in your "Solid Wrought" newsletter, edited by Graham Moyses, 8 Lake Spur, Laurieton, NSW. 2443. Tel (02)65590220.
Your group is called the "Artist Blacksmith's Association N.S.W. Inc.
- Frank Turley - Wednesday, 05/21/08 23:00:42 EDT

Got a phone call from the principal of the Tech, this morning, he decided to admit my son. The squeaky wheel gets the grease? I just feel bad for the other kids whose parents don't have the time or wherewithal to muscle their kids in where they are not welcome. Thanks for the comments and support.
John Christiansen - Wednesday, 05/21/08 23:25:34 EDT

Going your own way:
John, Hope it works out. While many schools in our part of the country are scraping their shop classes I hear from folks all over the country that still have real metal working classes in high school and are looking for blacksmithing information. Some are setting up forge shops. There is still hope.

When I went to E.C. Glass HS in Lynchburg they had a fantastic shop with every possible wood and metal working machine. I took three years of drafting but they would not let me into any of the real shop classes because I was supposedly on the "college bound" track.

Today I often recommend to folks to develop their own own curriculum's because the schools either don't have a clue what is needed in the real world OR only serve the broadest needs.

For a blacksmith, art, drafting, metal, shop, welding, sculpture, CAD and some business administration heavy on the entrapenureal classes. Also practical mathematics (geometry, statistics) and business writing. If there was room a couple strength of materials or basic metallurgy classes. Actual forge classes could be taken somewhere like Frank Turley's.
- guru - Wednesday, 05/21/08 23:44:44 EDT

Tech Classes: Way to go John! I wish your son well.
- Rustystuff - Wednesday, 05/21/08 23:52:26 EDT

John Christiansen: Good for you, for sticking with it! I'm delighted it produced the results you wanted, and I wish your son the best.
vicopper - Wednesday, 05/21/08 23:56:01 EDT

Thanks Again: Gentlemen, again, thanks for the positive comments. Guru, thanks for the reminder of the importance of business acumen. I am absolutly thrilled with this resolution.
John Christiansen - Thursday, 05/22/08 10:33:58 EDT

Business Acumen: The business skills are not necessarily needed by everyone but ANYONE that works for themselves needs to understand doing business.

This especially includes artists and crafts folk. It is an area that schools do not provide an education while many of the people taking art go on to be self employed.

My brother who has a Master in art from a very prestigious school was totally unprepared to go into business and did not know how to market himself or price his work. He found out too late that you NEVER underprice your work to "buy in" to a market. This sets your perceived value as an artist and it will be very difficult to lose that perception of your work.

That is not to say that you cannot increase your prices. But people know when you under price your labor and it is that loss of respect that is near impossible to get back.
- guru - Thursday, 05/22/08 14:14:39 EDT

Craft business: For those who may not know, there is a magazine titled, 'The Crafts Report' which deals with the business and marketing aspects of the craft world.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 05/22/08 20:53:01 EDT

Truly understanding strength of materials in a practical way requires calculus, maybe the most poorly presented subject in the curriculum. I suspect most of the students who squeak through it manage by rote memorization. The textbooks are totally opaque, just impenetrable. The "calculus made simple" books are just as bad. The charts and graphs in the set of CDs from Prof. Starbird, from The Teaching Company are largely illegible and thus meaningless. There is a fortune to be made for the person who puts together a comprehensible calculus course.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 05/23/08 00:05:38 EDT

High School Metals Program: One of New England Blacksmiths' members in Neil Mansfield, a metal fabrication teacher at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, in Marlborough, MA. Since he's a metal sculptor, he's incorporated that into his courses. These kids do fantastic work. They show up at all our meets, bring their loaded trailer, and set up shop. It's so great to see the energy and creativity. It's become a very popular course at the school. You can see some of their work at

- Marc - Friday, 05/23/08 08:05:18 EDT

I never understood the usefulness of calculus until I started computer programing. Summation, limits and many other parts of calculus are parts of simple FOR-NEXT or DO-WHILE loops with a mathematical formula.

While I was good at the math I took in school I never got into the higher math as I had been shuffled into the "new math" program. The last year of it was fairly sophisticated algebra but nothing like Trig, Functions and Calculus.

When I was writing Mass2 I spent a LOT of time dissembling the math in engineering references in order to make my set of programs more "granular" (smaller, modular units used to build larger ones). This required putting many simplified functions back into their original non-reduced form.

Where calculus came in handy was the proofs of various simplified formulae. Often I would do something by the summation of areas to test against geometric solutions which were in turn reduced to simple algebra.

Generally when it comes to math I am a hack. However, I have used it a LOT in my work and life where many completely abandon it after school. What I DO KNOW, I use.

I agree about the books being rather obtuse as I have a collection of them and could not get very far with them. I think a course integrated with using BASIC could be very enlightening.

On the other hand, Microsoft has made it impossible to do BASIC programming on a PC anymore. I do not know what they use to teach kids programming with but it sure isn't MS Visual BASIC (there is nothing Visual about it justa as there is nothing innately graphical to windows. . .)
- guru - Friday, 05/23/08 12:31:17 EDT

Upcoming Washington Post Article on Longship Company: No blacksmithing content but...

If all goes well, the Longship Company will be featured in the Washington Post Metro section this Saturday, Sunday or maybe Monday. (5/24-26/2008) If you are in the Washington area or near a regular news stand, it may be amusing. Then again, it may be interesting.

More information upon publication.
Bruce Blackistone - Friday, 05/23/08 15:36:50 EDT

The AISC tables of shape chaacteristics, such as modulus of elasticity, moment of inertia, radius of gyration, etc. that are necessary to work with in determining how big is big enough for beams, columnis, etc. require working with all those cryptic calculus symbols, those mysterious operations. I suspect many engineers would be hard put to define any of those terms, and just crank some numbers into their handy-dandy calculators. And throw in some extra for windage, cross their fingers and hope.
- Miles Undercut - Friday, 05/23/08 15:51:12 EDT

Structural Shape - AISC data:
I had all the AISC data in Mass2 (under license) but wanted to get away from being tied to them for all the data. I started writing programs that calculated all the numbers in the AISC tables. As you would expect, there were errors in the data I was using. Not large errors but the type that creep in when lots of calculations are done by hand by different people. However, a FEW of the numbers were off pretty far.

My pipe data was perfect to the last decimal place and the functions more than adequate to do the calculations on the fly OR for shapes as-needed. But when I started on more complex shapes I could not get numbers to match. So I tried a similar shape, square tubing. Some data matched and others were way off. I suspect it was due to too many people working on all those hand calcs.

So, how do you get a 38,000 entry database input perfectly?

You ask children to do it. Hunt and peck is ACCURATE. My twins input all that data into spread sheets. THEN I had to proof it. Only one error each! Pretty darn accurate data. But it could be better by letting the machine do the calculations from the basic profile data.
- guru - Friday, 05/23/08 18:50:55 EDT

I had a brief encounter of the worst kind with all this jazz about 10 years ago when I bought a surplus one-ton jib crane from Ed Grothus, of the Black Hole in Los Alamos. It came without a post and the manufacturer was coy about the specs for same, ditto hinge design. I went round the barn with the AISC tables, various calculus texts, including Engineering Made Simple for Builders and Architects or some such. Finally I gave up and ordered a 20-foot piece of 6x30 wide flange, welded some hinges of my own design onto it, got a friend to come over with his crane truck, stuck the post 3 or 4 feet into the ground, braced it, positioned the jib, slid the thrust bearings in, and with some concrete around the base, and under its outriggers, it's worked just fine. No tilt, no buckle, no bow, probably outrageously overbuilt, but better that than under. I'd still like to find me a calculus book intended to be used for learning calculus instead of to sell books by the professor.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 05/23/08 21:37:47 EDT

Jib Cranes:
The trick to any structural analysis is selecting the right model. Column calcs are a bitch and every attachment point effects the outcome.

But a jib crane is all bending moments (no columnar buckling or twisting). SO. . . you start with the load on the end of the jib and either multiply it by the ratio of the angle of the jib and brace (if the top is anchored that gives you the force on the column.) OR treat that as the bending moment of the column using vectors. The model is a beam rigidly anchored on one end.

The critical factors on a jig crane is the length of the beam (the multiplier) and how much mass balances it (the concrete under ground). For safety a jib is treated as if that concrete is above ground and only the mass is working for you, NOT the soil strength.
- guru - Saturday, 05/24/08 11:11:39 EDT

Uh huh.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 05/24/08 16:46:06 EDT

Oops! I meant "Aha!" It was the damned vectors! I forgot to interpolate the vectors! I'll get my chum with the crane truck back and we'll tear it all down and do it again, only this time with interpolated vectors!
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 05/24/08 17:00:05 EDT

Miles, If it aint broke... :)
Ptreeforge - Saturday, 05/24/08 20:20:33 EDT

Welll. . . Its nice to know the theoretical capacity so you don't end up on U-tube or America's Funniest videos with a tipped over crane. . or worse, a candidate for the Darwin awards.

Cranes are always "over built" until someone changes the hoist or adds a second. . . We have two 10 ton hoists on a 10 ton bridge. . GREAT for upending loads or lifting things that are hard to get a hold of. But there is the possibility of some idiot trying to pick 30 tons. . .

- guru - Saturday, 05/24/08 20:45:53 EDT

Thanks, Jock and Ptree! But, guys, I confess I was just joshing. I would be tempted except, you simply cannot find good vectors around here these days-- I suspect that they are all being exported. Besides, I just got down off my shop roof from replacing the ridge cap that our recent hellacious windstorms-- not nearly as bad as up around Laramie and Cheyenne, but awful for here-- blew off (!!) and am having a moment of inertia next couple days.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 05/24/08 22:07:44 EDT

Vectors: Most former U.S. vectors have been outsourced south of the border due to lower coefficients of expediency and fewer problems with the Calculators and Prestidigitators Brotherhood. However, if you go out very early in the morning, you might just be able to nab a vector or two trying to slip under the fence. If you get your hands on a couple you can impress them into service on your jib crane with very satisfactory results as long as you keep sinusoidal curves, cotangent arcs and high-proof ethanol away from them at all times.

Good luck with it! If it doesn't work out, next time try a stork or a heron instead of a crane. Much more tractable, in my experience.
vicopper - Monday, 05/26/08 00:02:18 EDT

BASIC: I hear ya on the MS thing. When we got the new computor with XP pro on it I had a bunch of stuff that runs under DOS that wouldn't work untill I went into properties and chaged it to emulate an NT op system.
I still keep my TRS 80 and the IBM PC around just because I know BASIC.
merl - Monday, 05/26/08 01:58:26 EDT

Miles, I second Vicopper, the herons aremuch easy than the crane. I have built 4 herons so far, and not a single vector needed.
I have severly tempted 3 of the herons however, as they were placed in the creek below the millrace at Woodford Reserve distillery in Woodford county KY. :)
Ptreeforge - Monday, 05/26/08 07:52:59 EDT

Forget the birds: Get shnockered on a gin pole.
Frank Turley - Monday, 05/26/08 08:29:41 EDT

Hmmm... mucho thanx, y'all! I'll give all this a shot. Or maybe two. Or even three.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 05/26/08 09:00:03 EDT

My very first class in college was an early-morning physics section with a Southeast Asian TA. He introduced himself and asked if we all knew what wectors were. Dead silence as everyone looked around the room and wondered if anyone else could have been so badly let down by their high school. Finally he said something about an arrow representing force and direction, and there was a huge collective sigh of relief as we realized that the TA's pronunciation was at fault, not our education.
Mike BR - Monday, 05/26/08 12:50:04 EDT

gin pole: Frank, I had to remove the gin pole from my sail boat as it is a "dry" ship and SHMBO will not be moved on this subject! (chuckle...)
merl - Monday, 05/26/08 20:43:14 EDT

I had a *welsh* physics TA and I well recall that instead of delta theta he would say nubla teeter.

Learning to deal with accents in college have been a big help in the business world.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 05/27/08 18:06:43 EDT

When trying to speak Spanish and deal with odd word order I try to remember that I sound as funny to them or worse than they do to ME in English.
- guru - Tuesday, 05/27/08 20:36:17 EDT

We truly are spoiled to be able to go so many places in the world and easily find someone who speaks English. Of course, it seems like most of them must have been here working as TAs while they learned it (grin).

Actually, I think my physics TA may have had a speech impediment as well as a non-English accent.
Mike BR - Tuesday, 05/27/08 21:14:46 EDT

Thomas P: My cousin [an American] is presently an assistant proff in the magnetics lab at Cardif University, Wales. You might get some comfort knowing that the shoe is now on the other foot.
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 05/27/08 22:14:29 EDT

Global English Speakers:
In China there are more people that speak English than in the U.S. But goof luck finding one when you need them! Due to the numbers they are still a small portion of the population.

In many countries many people speak as much English as I do Spanish. That is limited to "Good day. How are you? I am fine." And occasionally I can summon up "Two waters. Chicken." When in practice a few more phrases. What I always worry about is what comes after Good day. . . In my experience it is a stream of rapid Spanish that I do not understand any better than they understand my English. I need LOTS more practice.

But one wonders where our emphasis should be in schools. In business Russian, Japanese and Chinese would be more valuable than than Latin, French or Spanish. However, many that run businesses IN the U.S. are finding they need to know some Spanish. My daughter, a landscape designer, found that her high school Spanish was missing the most common phrases she needed. "Put it there. Dig here. Plant here." AND some off color slang. . . in Guatemalen. The academics will tell you all Hispanics speak the same Spanish but they do not. Mexican Spanish is especially full of modified words and Spanglish that is used universally except by the most well educated.

I have found the most universal language is drawing. Two engineers or mechanical types can have a long "conversation" with a pencil and paper without a clue what the other is saying verbally. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 05/28/08 09:03:22 EDT

The chileans working on our project make fun of the spanish used by our worker from Spain (and vice versa---working on a multinational project requires a good sense of humour about languages and nationalities)


Thomas P - Wednesday, 05/28/08 10:20:09 EDT

I suspect that to most new world Hispanics good Castilian Spanish sounds a lot like a stuffy British accent does to us.

I've tried to get my daughter to sit through "My Fair Lady" and take the message to heart. Her accent may sound sweet in the South but lowers her IQ in the view of those from elsewhere in the U.S.

Slovenly language skills also applies to guys as well. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 05/28/08 12:29:00 EDT

When I got to Boston in the mid-1950s from Balmer County, Merlin (Dundalk to be exact, Hon), another guy from the same area and I got lost while driving around out in the boonies one day that freshman year. We needed a translator. Nobody could understand a word of our pleas for directions, despite what we had thought were our nifty new Yankee accents. "Y'all lost, Honey Chile?" one young lady taunted us... somehow, despite such adversity, we survived....
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 05/28/08 20:23:03 EDT

Camp Fenby Work and Craft Session, July 4, 5, & 6: Okay, the 13 trusses are finished, I'm shoveling 8 cubic yards of bank-run gravel into the floor, if got 54 2x4x8 pieces for purlins for the roof, and by that weekend I should have gathered up enough money for the metal roofing and the plywood sides. With a little help from my friends we can get the structure up, roofed and sided and who knows what else. Although the "forge raising" will be the primary activity, the old forge building will still be up and running for related and unrelated blacksmithing and woodcraft; the canoe and the dinghy will be available (as well as the faering and possibly the LSCo's new power vessel/push boat, Ihor's Chaika); and there will be camping on site, barn space for hanging out, and other activities, such as picnicking and hiking.

No shooting this year, due to too many things and new down-range situations, maybe we can work things out for an autumn session.

So, if you have naught to do over any or all of the July 4th weekend, please consider coming to Oakley Forge and Grey Havens where you will be warmly received and immediately employed.

"Idle devils are a handy workshop." (Uncle Atli's Very Thin Book of Wisdom)

Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 05/28/08 22:01:02 EDT

No Shooting! :
What kind of party is that? How about blowing things up? ;)

And I thought you couldn't pick a HOTTER weekend than the last of June. . .

On the blowing things up note. . . A true story. Recently some of Sheri's (adult) kids were taking odds and ends home "helping" us clean out the shop. Her daughter-in-law fancied this nice small steel ammo case and tossed it into the car. . .

Weeks later we were preparing for the "endless auction that never happened" and Sheri announced that some cabinet drawers were empty and we could move them out. . . So what did you do with the black powder I asked. WHAT black powder was the response. The 5 pounds of black powder in the drawer with the bowling ball I replied. . . (I thought it was a logical place since the bowling ball looked like a very large cannon ball and it was lonely in that drawer). This in a locked building as well.

For a week we looked EVERYWHERE for that full ammo case. . . Finally I had Sheri call everyone that had taken things home. No, we didn't bring home any boxes full of black powder.

Finally another week later, we found it, came the reply.

Can you imagine having 5 pounds of black powder floating around in your car or house and not knowing it was there?

Atli, got any stumps you need relocated?
- guru - Wednesday, 05/28/08 23:52:07 EDT

Case wasn't painted bright orange and labeled was it?

Don't you think the viking ship needs a swivel gun for when powered craft won't "give way"?

Thomas P - Thursday, 05/29/08 10:11:55 EDT

Atli's Forge Bldg.: Atli, good to hear of the progress on the forge building. Can't attend that weekend as it's Ft. Niagara's F & I weekend. Also, congrats on the photo in this month's issue of Smoke & Fire News.
- Gavainh - Thursday, 05/29/08 12:00:55 EDT

Smoke & Fire News: Okay; what am I in for? My subscription lapsed when they stopped coming to Jamestown Settlement's Military Through the Ages due to the temporary space restrictions as they were building up foer the J'town 400th.

Our falconet is on loan to Merrick's Privateers, but one of our new captains has his own swivel. Hmmm...
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 05/29/08 13:41:29 EDT

Black Powder: No, just the OEM packages in a small ammo can. We did not plan on having it in storage all this time. Originally it was in the gun safe which is not a fire safe. . . so we got it out of the house. The plan was to donate it to some reenactor group.

Later I found a small packet of 4F (pan powder) in a plastic bag. . . Its in the can now as well.
- guru - Thursday, 05/29/08 14:27:02 EDT

Guru, that ammo can is probably not rated for that much powder. I would either donate it or lay a long narrow line of about 1/2" cros section and burn it off.
ptree - Thursday, 05/29/08 18:00:03 EDT

Anthropomorphic machinery: My sub teacher, Winslow, sent me this url of incredible drawings of anthropomorphic machinery done in the 1950's. Depicted are drawings of steel making. If the url gets squozed or foreshortened, type it out in full, and take a look.
Frank Turley - Friday, 05/30/08 09:16:55 EDT

Programming: For the six years (95-01) I spent getting my BA in Comp Sci we (all compsci majors) did our programming on ultra spark terminals running UNIX, IBM 3270 mainframe emulation or as400's. I took a few electives in VB and Java that we actually used the PC's with win95/8 for an OS. I personally favored the ANSI C coding, really hated the assembly language on the 3270 and found VB to be quick and dirty for making forms and other such graphical interfaces in windows.
Juterbock - Friday, 05/30/08 10:43:06 EDT

Frank-- Fantastique! Artist who did those drawings, Artzybasheff, did more Time Magazine covers than anybody else, wayyyy back when.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 05/30/08 11:04:42 EDT

Juterbock, You were using the old pre .NET versions of VB that there was a huge uproar over its abandonment. The new 2003, and again another even NEWER 2005 and now the 2008. . . do not support the previous versions code. Calls have become longer and more arcane and the architecture more Visual C like. In fact, Micrtosoft is attempting to make all versions of its Visual suit interchangeable at the compiler level. This has been a disaster to those who could program competently in VB and/or had large projects in VB.

I went through this when Microsoft abandoned Professional Basic. I had thousands invested in tools and years invested in code development. When VB came out there was no support for many of the data classes I was using and no support for them (arrays within types).

If I did not work in a PC-Windows dominated industry I would be using Linux for all my computer needs. We have code running on our server that ran on our FIRST server 10 years ago. That is nearly impossible in the world of Microsnot.

I prefer HTML with Javascript and Php. No problems with the abandonment of a vast arena of legacy code overnight.
- guru - Friday, 05/30/08 11:05:28 EDT


I am thankful that my career choice does not include any more programming than what I want to do and that is often simply VBA in Excel and Access. I started fresh out of college into project controls (cost and schedule forecasting) and project management, both in the construction industry. I am so glad I finished high school/college when I did, what I can see of the stuff going on in the schools now is scarey. My son turns 1 today, I'm half afraid of the garbage they will be trying to pawn off as an education on him in a few years.
Juterbock - Friday, 05/30/08 11:31:57 EDT

Juterbock; you are also lucky that your career has been stable. I'm basically on my 4th career right now and pretty much none of them have had much to do with the previous ones---why I have 2 BS's about 10 years apart.

Luckily most of the computer involved ones have been unix based though that went all over the place from Solaris to FTX to Linux.

Thomas P - Friday, 05/30/08 11:47:09 EDT

Anthropomorphic machinery:
Great stuff. An interesting link was the Popeye cartoon, "Lost and Foundry". I had not seen it in years! Several of the artist's animated machines predict CNC era machining centers with automatic (robotic) loaders.

The original 1840 sketch of the steam hammer by James Nasmyth includes a little sketch of a man doing pushups as the helve of a tilt hammer.

Prior to that the blacksmiths of Nuremberg made fantastic anvils and vices with all kinds of faces and organic forms. In some of Paw-Paw's tools there was a nice set of tongs made to look like an alligator.

- guru - Friday, 05/30/08 12:24:41 EDT

Modern Marvels: Axes: Tonight on History Channel.
Frank Turley - Friday, 05/30/08 15:25:23 EDT

Atli's Picture: Atli,
It's from military through the ages - portraying a Saxon leader, your clothing is green.
- Gavainh - Friday, 05/30/08 22:36:43 EDT

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