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.
This is an archive of the V.Hammer-In from April to June 2001.

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.

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

WELCOME! To the NEW Virtual Hammer-In! We now has a new look and smoother operation!

This page now uses cookies to remember your name and e-mail address. This is stored on your computer as a convenience so you don't need to type it in every time you visit. To change the cookie just type in new (or no) information in the name and e-mail boxes.

We also have a New Hot Link box. Use it to post a link to your home page or to something of interest. Links should apply to the topic of discussion. Blatent spam or links abusing our generosity will be removed. Please use a short discription for LONG URL's in the "Link Text" Box.

Thanks go to OErjan, Ralph, Alan and Adam Smith for helping test and debug the new system.

J. Dempsey  <webmaster> - Friday, 04/06-26/01

For Sale: 250 pound Little Giant powerhammer. Excellent shape. Low frame, serial #403. I have a 3 phase 7.5 hp motor with a super heavy duty motor mount for the hammer, belt guard, safety cage, and new matching flat dies. The hammer needs a new treadle, and the motor needs to be mounted. The dies need new keys. Other than that and a good oiling, she is ready to roll. I really hate to part with it, but economics and a change of direction in the shop make it necessary. I have the hammer on ebay at the moment: but the pictures aren't that great right now. Feel free to email me ryan at with any questions, and please visit our website to see the tomahawks and knives we forge. The hammer is $6400, buyer is responsible for hauling it. I also have a 24 ton Johnson punch press for sale ($700) and a VERY large hydraulic press frame for sale as well. ($450). If you want specific pictures, email me and I'll send them to you. Thanks! Ryan M. Johnson, Chattanooga Tennessee.
  Ryan M. Johnson - Friday, 04/27/01 04:51:56 GMT

Smithing Opportunity: Join members of the Saltfork Craftsmen ABA this Saturday April 28th in Marshall, OK. We'll have the open air smithy going as part of the town celebration day. Meet up about 9:00 AM or so; we should be wrapped up about 4:30 PM. Bring you portable tools or use ours. We'll have a fun day.
  Jim Carothers - Friday, 04/27/01 04:53:30 GMT

smithy: Marshal, where? Ohio?
  AdamSmith - Friday, 04/27/01 13:09:45 GMT

New Site: Guru, New page looks GREAT! Thanks for all the work you and your helpers put into it!
My Web Page, Smithing, etc...
  Mike Roth - Friday, 04/27/01 14:02:18 GMT

Errors: Hmmm, got a bug to fix. . . Adam's name should have posted.

It ain't tested until you let a teenager (or a bunch of blacksmiths) play with it :)

Marshall, OK. . . Yeah unfortuanate word wrap combined with an abreviation that is a common term.

Fixed the Name without mail error and installed a filter to fix the http:// problem. Should be A-OK now.

  Jock D. - Friday, 04/27/01 15:06:06 GMT

smithy: Awe, Bummer, oh well, happy smithing to all who will attend.
man, I have a new favorite power tool, my angle grinder. I resurfaced both of my anvils, doorstop and railroad.
Heh, This beauty of a forum brings back some cool recent memories.

TGIF, now, as others are taking a break from thier work, I get to spend a break from school in the shop.
Well, the site is teen-tested now guru, great work.
  AdamSmith - Friday, 04/27/01 19:02:06 GMT

New Look: Well, you guys have outdone yourselves...looks great, and I especially like the hotlinks. Keep up the good work!
  Chad - Saturday, 04/28/01 01:13:09 GMT

RR versus Doorstop: I have alot of experience in the field of cheap immitation anvils, I have a foundry cut(with horn) rail road anvil about 1.5ft long that was never ground flat, and a 100lb Grizzly doorstop. Doorstops have one advantage that the railroad does'nt have, they dont hop around like a hyper active chihuaha(Chawawa), but, the doorstops, in order to maintain a decent(and I say that loosely)face must be reground weekly(at least in my shop), The railroad really only has to be ground to get rid of any seems or blemishes, of course it still looks pretty if you grind it fresh every now and then.

RUST can be a problem with such a big grinding task if you have no way to ventilate your shop(like me) without angering livingmates(my parents). boy, I had no Idea how long rust could stay in the air, heck If it werent for my proffessional(at least on the package) organic vapor and dust respirator I probably would be stuck upstairs for the night.

anywho, Niether of them are top of the line, so problems should be taken in stride.
BTW, im interested in anymore pros and cons, just incase I haven't found some yet.
  AdamSmith - Saturday, 04/28/01 01:37:20 GMT

Grinding:: Adam, The biggest breathing hazzard to grinding with the semi flexible fibreglass reinforced wheels used with angle grinders is not the material being ground. The problem is the fiber glass dust.

Most of the dust from what you ar grinding settles out of the air relatively quickly. The fiber glass dust (fibers) is hard to see and hangs in the air for hours. A sunbeam or bright light will show them. If your shop is in or attached to your house heating/ventilating system they will be spread throughout the house.

Fiber glass has not gotten the bad reputation that asbestoes has but it is probably just as dangerous or more dangerous when inhaled. It is also just as pervasive as asbestoes was. We use it to insulate our homes, make fireproof fabrics and build everything from boats and sports cars to porta-toilets. Like asbestoes, the only real hazzard is to people that work with it regularly.

Ventilation, ventilation, ventilation!
  Jock D. - Saturday, 04/28/01 14:16:06 GMT

Vent: Adam, about your ventilation or lack of it. What exactly does that mean? No windows or no fan? If you have no window, well that is a tough problem.

A fairly simple suggestion if you have a window is to use one of the big box fans found at (around here) Wal-Mart. I have used them with scoops drummed up from cardboard boxes to vent specific areas. It is an ungainly setup and prone to failure sometimes (duct tape lets go after awhile) but really helps. As Jock mentioned air quality suffers for all on the same vent system that connects to your shop.

One Caveat this type of system is not for volatiles (paint) or hi dust content. Within the confines of drawing grinding dust out of the air it would be OK, but don't set up a paint booth! :)
  Mills - Sunday, 04/29/01 11:42:22 GMT

Forge: I have inherited a forge ... that is very old but in very good shape I was wondering if there is any kind of demand for this type of forge anymore.
  Debra - Monday, 04/30/01 14:25:41 GMT

Old Forge: Debra,

Depending on the type and condition, there might be a buyer. Since a forge is really nothing more than a way to hold burning fuel and blow air on it at the same time, it would have to be really unusual to be valuable. Forges are very easy to make, there are several different sets of plans on the 21st Century page here at anvilfire.
  Paw Paw - Monday, 04/30/01 15:59:20 GMT

Welding Cap Lore: More trivia and bunkum. About 10 years ago, I met a couple of not-quite-fossilized welders, and they gave me this story about the baloon caps that are now made by U.S. Weld, Kromer, etc. They said that in the 1940s, this one welder from Oklahoma was doing some overhead work and the gradoo kept falling onto his sideburns and into his ears. He mentioned this to his wife one Sunday, when he was off work, and wondered if she could sew up some kind of protective cap. She made a quick search and told him that she could only come up with some wild printed, colorful material...and that the dry goods stores were closed. So he is thinking, "Any port in a storm", and gave her the go-ahead to start sewing. She made the first big cap to fit down over the ears (the original intent). The manufacturers noticed the wild cap and eventually jumped on the band wagon. Is true? Comments and criticism always welcome.
  Frank Turley - Monday, 04/30/01 19:24:02 GMT

Welding Caps: Frank,

Dunno whether it's true or not, but it does sound logical. I know I have a heckuva time finding plain black or blue caps! Everybody wants to sell me zebra stripes, or something else equally wild.
  Paw Paw - Monday, 04/30/01 19:56:39 GMT

Ventilation: in my case it means that the only doors lead upstairs, or out of garage(with my parents cars). and no real windows, unless you cound the window well in the big crawl space(really neat place).
  AdamSmith - Monday, 04/30/01 20:12:39 GMT

Welding Caps: Sounds likely to me. Someone had to start it! It was either out of desperation as in your story OR someone that got tired of his caps getting walked off with, which is another possibility.

The reason you see old machinists and RR engineers and mechanics wearing hats as part of their uniform is similar. Oil and belt dressing dripping from line shafting, smoke and water from the boiler and piping, grease from shafts. . .
  Jock D. - Monday, 04/30/01 23:19:28 GMT

Forge: Debra, Depending on size, type and condition it could be worth anywhere from $50 to $300 to someone that really wants it. Forges vary from little things about like a charcoal grill to monsters that weigh a thousand pounds. On all of them, if they have a hand crank blower its condition is the most important. The gears in these tend to wear out and get noisy.
  Jock D. - Monday, 04/30/01 23:24:23 GMT

PawPaw, what is wrong with zebra stripes? (grin)
Actually the place I go to only has black caps or a multicolor mess.(looks like paint splatter)
  Ralph - Tuesday, 05/01/01 18:43:20 GMT

Welding Hats: Ralph,

Nothing wrong with zebra stripes.

On a zebra.

Not on me.
  Paw Paw - Tuesday, 05/01/01 20:11:41 GMT

Welding Hats: I wore a skull cap as flightline/flightdeck personnel. This was 30 years ago. I know that aviator caps exsisted in WW1. Leather and Dungaree. Hard hat liners with storm flaps have been around for many years. This ain't nothin' contradictory or anything, just another view. The feller that had his wife sew him some flaps was the epitome of need fostering demand. This may be the chicken and the egg deal, don't know. Tapley, Barney, and the boys from the great White North may have additions to this as well ( for summer and winter protective caps ). My 2¢ worth
  Steve O'Grady - Wednesday, 05/02/01 00:06:46 GMT

rolling mill: I am a self learning blacksmith who wants to go into swordsmithing. Getting tired of folding steel for blades by hand, need a rolling/forging mill(sort of like Kayne & Sons' Blu Crusher), not too exspensive but still working
  Jan Ouellette - Wednesday, 05/02/01 13:01:47 GMT

Rolling Mill: Jan, The new small McDonald Mills are a recent invention. I doubt that you will will find a used one. Norm Larson sells the plans by Hugh McDonald. They are very good and worth the price. Besides the construction details Hugh includes instructions on how to use the Mill. I'm writing a review of the plans if you can wait. . . There is also a short video making the rounds (I have it now) that is very enlightening. I will be including stills from the video in the review.
  Jock D. - Wednesday, 05/02/01 17:03:22 GMT

test: test
  Jock D. - Wednesday, 05/02/01 18:29:07 GMT

I have an NC Tool Whisper Daddy propane forge that I use for production work. I can't seem to get up to a high heat with it. I can't get to a yellow heat. Can anyone maybe tell me why? Any thoughts on the subject? Thanks
  Steve Stransky - Thursday, 05/03/01 03:29:31 GMT

Whisper Daddy: Steve, How long are you waiting? (It takes a while) How many doors open? Have you adjusted the pressure? What pressure are you running? What altitude are you at?

On the issue of pressure you may not be getting enough from a small propane bottle on this size forge. Does the bottle freeze up after a while?

Sometimes you have to close extra doors and vents to choke the forge just enough to reach welding heat.

Altitude and ambient air temperature both reduce the maximum achievable temperature. At 5,000 feet it is tricky to get a welding heat in an atmospheric forge.
  Jock D. - Thursday, 05/03/01 04:38:02 GMT

Smithing Opportunity, Perry, OK: All: If you were thinking about coming to Perry, OK this weekend (May 05)for the hammer-in / demos at the Cherokee Strip Museum, you may want to watch the weather closely. Looks like rain will be a pretty sure thing for Saturday. You can check the forecast on line at or take a look at The phone number at the museum is 580-336-2405.
Jim C.
  Jim Carothers - Thursday, 05/03/01 10:59:03 GMT

Jock--I'm at 2200ft elevation. My forge is hooked up to a 100 lb. propane bottle and I am running at or above recommended pressure. The only opening is the one in front(unless heating the middle of long stock). I did add 3/4" fire brick to the bottom when it started cracking out. Might that be affecting the performance? Thanks.
  Steve Stransky - Thursday, 05/03/01 15:41:01 GMT

Forge Adjustments: Altitude reduces the maximum temperature by about 10 deg F per 1,000 feet. . I'd have to look it up to be sure. But I don't think 2K is a problem. . .

Gas forges like to run lean. On most you adjust the mixture back until you get the loudest roar and then increase it slightly (to reduce the noise and prevent the vibration). However, I've found it hard to tell the difference in many atmospheric forges such as the NC-TOOL forges. So try the following.

Back off on the pressure a little at a time. Give the forge time to stabilize (pressure in lines to equalize, temperature to change) and then see how it's doing. Keep backing off until the forge doesn't operate properly. It will start poping back and fireing in the burners. . . THEN increase the pressure a little. This SHOULD be the optimum setting.

Running gas forges rich reduces scaling but also reduces the maximum temperature.

Adding fire brick to the bottom MAY have effected the performance. Gas forges require a balance between burners and fire chamber volume. But I think adjustment is more likely your problem. Whisper Daddies are known to melt stacks of billets when you have "two many irons in the fire".
  Jock D. - Thursday, 05/03/01 18:25:42 GMT

Jock--Thanks for your suggestion. I'll let you know what happens.
  Steve Stransky - Thursday, 05/03/01 20:23:13 GMT

Changes: More changes. . Yeah. . I know, nobody likes changes. . .

NOW, In this forum, the "Top Post" and "Last Post" buttons work on the archive pages too! It took a fancy bit of Javascript slight of hand to make work. Will be adding same to other forums as soon as code is cleaned up. .

We are almost done with the remodeling then I will leave you alone.
  Jock D. - Thursday, 05/03/01 20:37:30 GMT

Weapons: Swords: I dont know how many times Ive read the swords page by Bruce Blackistone, truly great reading. What I would like to see such a page on would be maces, war hammers, Axes, and odd designs(for example) axes that are more like cleavers, swords that exceed the average wielders height, and sword type blades attatched to gauntlets(I read about it in elementary). Perhaps not all of these have enough info available on them, but it would be neat. I look foreward with great anticipation to part 2.
  AdamSmith - Friday, 05/04/01 00:47:47 GMT

Swords and Things: Thank you Adam.

Part II is planned to be mostly illustrations and an exhaustive annotated bibliography so that people can read the various sources and draw their own conclusions. At your suggestion I'll add some works on general weaponry and maybe some museums.
Sail into history:
  Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 05/04/01 02:44:23 GMT

Crazy steel Effects: Ok, Ive always loved mokume gain, damascus, woot and other such effects. problem is, I don't have reliable means to create these specifically(though I will soon) Here are some of my Ideas and methods.

To get interesting patterns in steel, pound steel wool into different steel(LOTSA pounding, heh). Be artistic with case hardening. Coca Cola makes a fun overnight(sometimes longer) acid. I have more, I just have to find my notebook.
Food for thought perhaps.
  AdamSmith - Friday, 05/04/01 19:19:21 GMT

Crazy steel Effects: Ok, Ive always loved mokume gain, damascus, woot and other such effects. problem is, I don't have reliable means to create these specifically(though I will soon) Here are some of my Ideas and methods.

To get interesting patterns in steel, pound steel wool into different steel(LOTSA pounding, heh). Be artistic with case hardening. Coca Cola makes a fun overnight(sometimes longer) acid. I have more, I just have to find my notebook.
Food for thought perhaps.
  AdamSmith - Friday, 05/04/01 19:19:22 GMT

Sorry about the double post.
  AdamSmith - Friday, 05/04/01 19:21:14 GMT

accurate heat treating: Hi I'm interested in finding out more about using molten salt baths for heat treating. I have found very little on the subject anywhere, I would like to know what combinatons work better than others and what temperatures salt melts at. Any help on this subject would be appreciated.
Regards Keith
  Keith - Saturday, 05/05/01 06:21:04 GMT


I'd suggest you ask your question on the guru's page. He can give you a better answer than I can.
  Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 05/05/01 12:00:56 GMT

Salt Baths: Keith, Don Fogg had some nice articles on his web site about building and using a salt bath. Common table salt works and is fairly good all round medium. Special heat treating salts are sold. The only time the type of salt is critical is if the bath is to be used for hardening (yes they get that hot) OR if there is a a "use no chlorides" requirement for the application.

From Grant Sarver "guru page" post in September 1998:
All sorts of salts are used in "salt" pots (as they are called in the heatreat biz) For temperatures up to 1000F sodium nitrate can be used. Barium cloride is used for high temps (like 2500F). For temps to 3000F magesium fluoride can be used. Most heatreat salt pots are heated simply by passing an electric current thru, controled by thermostat. Heatreat supplies have an assortment of salts for this purpose.

From a post of mine in October 2000:
A salt bath can be used to harden, temper or anneal.

Common Salt:

801°C / 1473.8°F Melts
1413°C / 2575.4°F Boils

The melting point is high for hardening high carbon steels but is satifactory for steels up to about 65 point carbon.

Potassium Chloride

770°C / 1418°F melts
1550°C / 2822°F Sublimates

This has a wider working range.

Potassium Nitrate (Saltpeter)

334°C / 633°F melts
400°C / 752°F decomposes

This is easier to melt but has a narrow working range. Organics mixed with nitrates can produce dangerous situations. Small amounts of sulfur can result in explosive mixtures but saltpeter is still commonly used for various metal working processes.

Heat treating suppliers sell various salt mixtures. Some are considered "neutral" some carburizing.

Don Fogg Knives
  Jock D. - Saturday, 05/05/01 18:04:25 GMT

Paw Paw Book..: Would like a copy when done..Just require cost.. TTYL...
  Barney - Sunday, 05/06/01 01:26:58 GMT

Power Hammer: Looking for a used power hammer for my shop. Somerthing like a "Little Giant" power hammer. Please contact me on my e-mail.
  Shawn A. Cave - Sunday, 05/06/01 01:54:44 GMT

Ironfest, Grapevine, TX: Get in touch with Ironfest: It's in Grapevine, TX, right in between Ft. Worth, "where the West begins" and Dallas, "where the East peters out". June 1-2-3.
  Frank Turley - Sunday, 05/06/01 03:52:47 GMT

salt baths: Hi thanks paw paw thats really helpful now to make a decent receptical to use.
Regards keith
  Keith - Sunday, 05/06/01 04:56:47 GMT


Actually, that was the guru that posted the answer to your question.
  Paw-Paw - Sunday, 05/06/01 11:14:01 GMT

Sorry if I've offended anyone.
  Keith - Monday, 05/07/01 00:24:45 GMT


No one was offended, I just didn't want to take credit for some one elses effort.
  Paw Paw - Monday, 05/07/01 02:56:11 GMT

im looking for kasonite or an alternative for it
  joe - Monday, 05/07/01 10:47:37 GMT

kasonite?: Joe, are you sure of the product name? Nothing is listed under that or "casonite" in Thomas Register nor has my foundry supplier heard of it.

What IS it?

  Jock D. - Monday, 05/07/01 13:17:34 GMT


It's spelled Kasenite. MSC carries it, you can contact them through the links page here at Anvilfire.

Jock, it's a case hardening product.
  Paw Paw - Monday, 05/07/01 13:41:02 GMT


Couple of corrections, the product is actually spelled Kasenit. McMaster & Carr sells it. I had ordered some last week and it just came in.

  Paw-Paw - Monday, 05/07/01 17:38:04 GMT

Newcomer: Hi, I'm a newcomer to the realm of blacksmithing, (and probably an annoyance to most of you people), but if there were just a few basics principles that someone could teach over the internet they would be very helpful. Thanks.
  Jeff Newland - Tuesday, 05/08/01 05:11:33 GMT

Basic principles: Jeff,

Not an annoyance! Answering questions is why we are here!

Take a look at the iForge section here at anvilfire. There is a lot of basic type information there that will be a big help to you.

As for a basic, guiding principle, Vance Baker said it best, I think: "Get it hot, hit it hard, quit when you're done!"
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Tuesday, 05/08/01 11:56:54 GMT

basic questions: ok, some basic questions,
when I heat some metal to the point that it is red, or orange, by the time that I get it out of the forge, and ready to pound on, it is almost colorless, and I can't do a lot with it. Is there any way to make the metal keep the color longer, or do I just have to learn to do things faster?
also, how exactly does metal get burnt? does it happen by keeping the metal at one color for to long, or heating it up to to hot of a color?
  Jeff - Thursday, 05/10/01 05:30:08 GMT

Sounds like you aren't getting the metal hot enough. Assuming that you're using a form of mild steel, I like to get it all the way up into the yellow before I start. Then you have to learn to work fast. You have to "strike while the iron is hot".

Mild steel burns at about 2750 degrees farenheight. You will see a LOT of little tiny sparks (sometimes called fleas) flying off of the hot part of the piece of steel.
When that happens, you know that you got it too hot.

  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Thursday, 05/10/01 12:51:34 GMT

Jeff, the ammount of light in your shop also affects how hot you think the metal is. If you are in birght sunlight, the metal will be much hotter than you think it is because it needs to compete with the SUN! The first time people forge at night they are fooled and the metal is much cooler than they think it is because it is nearly the only source of light. You need to keep the shop in at least shade if not dark shade. Judging the temp of the metal will come with experience in your shop. Like PawPaw says "strike while the iron is hot" This means to get your hammer and tools ready before the metal comes out of the forge and know what you are going to do before you take the metal out of the fire. This gives you the most working time. Burning metal happens because you got it too hot. If it looks like the 4th of July when you take the metal out, YOU ARE TOO HOT! (big grin)
  Wayne Parris - Thursday, 05/10/01 13:46:19 GMT

Fastening Kaowool: Building a gas forge and thinking about using Kaowool top and part of sides. Firebrick bottom and one brick high (on end) around sides. Fire brick not a problem, but how do I attach Kaowool to top and sides. Is there a high temp. cement available? Or another method?
  Jack Davis - Thursday, 05/10/01 15:37:25 GMT

Fastening Kaowool: Jack,

Fasten several small wires to the shell, and form the opposite end into a small hook. When you press the Kaowool into place, it will snag on the hooks. Then when you coat the Kaowool with ITX-100, it will form a solid "shell" that will stay where you want it. Most folks also cut the Kaowool a little oversize and "sqaush" it into place. The resulting friction fit is pretty stable.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Thursday, 05/10/01 16:32:27 GMT

Insulating Forge: Jack: You might think about using an insulation called Cera-Blanket. I use it in my forge for 15 years and it is still as good as day one. No coating is necessary and I would use stainless wire(T-310)
  Steve Stransky - Thursday, 05/10/01 16:46:48 GMT

Insulating Forge: Steve,

Thats also a good option. My only question would be does the Cera-Blanket have the same heat reflective factor as ITC-100?
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Thursday, 05/10/01 17:07:28 GMT

Insulating Forge: Jack,PawPaw: I don't really know anything about the ITX-100. The company I work for has used some sort of coating on Cera-Blanket before but not always, so I don't know for sure. Jack, there are a couple of really good castable refractories out there. KS-4 and Lo-Abrade are very good. Greencleen is another one that is extremely tough.
  Steve Stransky - Thursday, 05/10/01 19:08:35 GMT

Metal Effects: Does anyone know of any other non-metals(such as carbon/kasonite in case hardening)that can be "soaked" into hot metals? I've read much, but found only carbon for steel.

I would also like to know any thoughts on the creation of a personalized metal, It's one of my newest fascinations, I intend to make one. Thanks Fellows
  AdamSmith - Thursday, 05/10/01 21:40:14 GMT

Metal absorbtion: Adam,

Well . . . Steel will absorb sulphur. It's not a good idea, sulphur causes steel to become brittle. (the tecnical term is sulphur embittlement) Other than that, I can't think of any off of the top of my head.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Thursday, 05/10/01 22:29:18 GMT

MYSTERY METAL: Thankyou paw paw.
Has anyone ever heard of an alloy of copper and ALUMINUM? I've just succeeded in the molten combination of copper and aluminum, I didnt think it could be done, because aluminum has a sort of "skin" when I bring it up to melting heat, but when I impaled a cold aluminum leaf(very thin) with a just melting copper rod, the aluminum first formed a spikey cap, then, I cooled them and hammered them back to rod shape, then I heated them again, I continued pounding and heating until I had a copper rod with a reddish brass looking end. Im happy, Has anyone else heard of such a....well, thing?
  AdamSmith - Thursday, 05/10/01 23:55:19 GMT


You're out of my field, now. Better take this one to the guru.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Friday, 05/11/01 00:12:14 GMT

Cu/Al: Yes, copper is soluble in aluminum. these alloys are called aluminum bronzes, and are commonly cast. They have some desireable properties but are are trickey to work.
  John Odom - Friday, 05/11/01 11:34:01 GMT

Metal Absorbtion: Phosphorous, Nitrogen (nitriding), Hydrogen (hydrogen embrittlement) all soak into hot steel to a point but like sulfur they generally are a bad thing. Phosphorous will harden iron but not as well as carbon and makes it red short IIRC (discussion in "The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England")

  Thomas Powers - Friday, 05/11/01 16:02:59 GMT

Fastening Kaowool: Jack, The pros use special clips but the supplier told me to just weld common nails that were not a long as the blanket thickness to the liner then push the blanket onto the nails, the heads will hold the blanket. You could use SS nails. The nails don't need to be very close together.

They also use a water base glue that is made of sodium silicate along with the anchors. This is the same stuff used to make water softener. It melts at 1864F but by the time the forge has gotten that hot it has done its job.

If you are lining a rectangular forge you should be using a board product not a blanket. The blanket materials are actually designed to go OUTSIDE a hard refractory liner. . .

The heat reflectivity of a forge liner is an odd thing. Most gas forges do not produce enough BTU/minute to do the job so the heat absorbed by the refractory lining and returned slowly as infra-red is part of the process. Maybe a hot low mass surface does the same. . .

On the other hand, I've used reflective linings in furnaces that used LIGHT as the heat source (dozens of projector bulbs). In this case the inner surfaces of the furnace were bright aluminium or an ITC-100 type product. Instant heat, but a very high power demand.
  - guru - Saturday, 05/12/01 18:13:31 GMT

Alloying: Adam, see my LONG post on the subject on the guru page. But consider this. There are Copper aluminium alloys with low percentages of Al, there are Aluminium alloys with low percentage of copper, however there are no 50/50 or 30/70 mixes of these metals. There are good reasons for it found out the hard way. . .

Generaly the addition of copper to many alloys increases corrosion resistance but the result is often much more brittle than without. Iron and Aluminium do not like more than a very small amount of copper.

There are other mixes such as Copper/Nickel that reach these proportions and produce important alloys.

Study the existing alloys and you will quickly see the limits that others have discovered.
  - guru - Saturday, 05/12/01 18:27:28 GMT

top/bottom tooling: At IRONFEST, Dan anvilguy of Old World Anvils, is allowing me to use his personal 476# anvil. We are going to make top and bottom tools. There will be four demonstrators at the Grapevine, TX, get-together, June 1-2-3, so "pick your choose". Tune in:
  Frank Turley - Monday, 05/14/01 13:28:17 GMT

Heavy Grating: Im looking at some heavy grating(sort of like the grating over sewers) and was wondering what kind of steel these would be, and if they would be good for making tools. I looked in my Thypin steel catalogue where New York's gratings come from(or used to) and It gave no specifications. So if anyone has any information on that I would be quite grateful.
Thankyou :)
  AdamSmith - Tuesday, 05/15/01 20:52:15 GMT

Heavy Grating: Adam,

Most of that stuff is cast iron.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Wednesday, 05/16/01 00:14:03 GMT

Rebar: HI Does anyone know what kind of steel Rebar is?

Is it even steel?
  Mike - Wednesday, 05/16/01 01:30:44 GMT


It's steel, but it's all mixed up. Wierd stuff. One inch may be tool steel, the next may be a tin can. Very little if any quality control.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Wednesday, 05/16/01 02:04:50 GMT

Rebar: Mike, Paw-Paw, very old rebar used to be made of scrap, the ends of billets and various odd steels. Modern rebar is a little more controled. It comes in three grades that meet minimum strength requirements. The chemistry is not specified and that is where smiths get into trouble.

Modern steels are wonderful things designed to forged, welded, bent, stretched, machined. . . This requires both careful control of the chemistry and the manufacturing process. Rebar isn't intended to be any of the above. It IS bent and welded. However, don't try to bend the high strength stuff cold.

Over the years many smiths have made various tools from rebar and some hardens quite nicely. However, unlike higher pedigreed steels it is not designed to be made into anything other than what it is.
  - guru - Wednesday, 05/16/01 11:36:08 GMT

Kiwi and Debs: Kiwi says, "Its a BOY!" :)

It was a couple months early but at 3 pounds, 3 ounces the baby seems prety healthy so far.

Andrew Hooper

  - guru - Wednesday, 05/16/01 13:29:54 GMT

May Saltfork Craftsmen meeting: All: The May meeting of the Saltfork Craftsmen ABA will be this Saturday, the 19th, in Guthrie, OK. There will also be a machinists and tool collectors swap meet going on at the same time / location. Bring your portable forging equipment and bring your tailgate stuff. The trade item is a tool. Just make it yourself. Ideas include dividers, tongs, punch, chisel, etc. Join us at the old Southwestern Iron Works 302 West College. Jim C.
  Jim Carothers - Thursday, 05/17/01 01:38:52 GMT

Babies and big brother: Kiwi and wife, congratulations on the baby boy! I read your story in the Anvilfire news yesterday. Best luck with the outcome of the legal stuff. Human nature.... what a concept. Good to get the story out there. Hopefully it will all come out right in the end. Truth can not be hidden for long.

Paw Paw, your latest chapter is as good or better than the earlier ones. I still think that would make a great movie or serial.
  Tony - Thursday, 05/17/01 12:15:41 GMT

hammer 4 sale: 50# Little Giant. 1917 model from Cody, WY smithy. Rebuilt. Matching flat dies for versitality. Wrap-around hardy for tooling. Both toggle links adjustable for fine tuning. Brake for single blows. 2 HP, Single Phase motor. $2600. Heartmtnforge at 307 754 4173.
  Rik Mettes - Thursday, 05/17/01 13:36:47 GMT

Last Chapter: Tony,

  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Thursday, 05/17/01 13:47:24 GMT

just wishing well to Kiwis little one: grattis Kiwi:-) (congratulations in Swedish)
  OErjan - Friday, 05/18/01 12:58:22 GMT

How exactly should one put out the fire in a forge? is it ok to dump water on it, or can that crack the forge?
  Jeff - Friday, 05/18/01 18:49:32 GMT

puting out fire in a forge: water for puting out fire in a forge (yes it wil crack it sooner or later)? no just rake it open stop blowing air and let it burn itself out. I just put a 1/4" sheet over and leave it at that (all metal building and sand/gravel floor so nowere to catch fire).
if you must leave it in a hurry (no time to let die slowly)just rake little by little into a bucket of water (careful not to scald yourself).
disadvantage with raking is it wil burn some coal. advantage is it will leave "breeze" (soft koke) to help start fire next time.
disadvantage is firehazard.
you COULD rake it into a bucket of water everytime(careful scalding risk) but you would loose the breeze and get a bucket of contaminated water to dael with each time.
  OErjan - Friday, 05/18/01 19:30:03 GMT

Killing forge fire: Jeff, OErjan methods all work well. Those of us that use water have a sprinkler can to help control the fire. A light sprinkle of water will help put out the fire. But cold water and a cast iron firepot mean disaster. I sprinkle the outer edges of the fire where the fresh coal is burning, then let it sit, then break open the fire and let it cool.
  - guru - Friday, 05/18/01 20:10:10 GMT

anvil horn: is the horn on an anvil supposed to be sharp, or come to a deffinite point? I have a couple of old anvils, but the horns are very dull, is there any way to sharpen them again?
  Jeff - Saturday, 05/19/01 04:21:24 GMT

Anvil Horn : Jeff,

That's a matter of individual taste. I like mine sharp, but not TOO sharp. First time you gouge your thigh as you walk by, you'll understand why. As for how, a file works about the best. You could use an angle grinder, but I prefer the file. That way I can make the "repair" without taking off too much material.
  Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 05/19/01 11:28:11 GMT

employment opportunity: Opening for experienced smith in SF shop. Need 3yrs power hammer experience(200lb or larger)and experience producing large architectural projects.
  Mack Metal Inc. - Saturday, 05/19/01 19:23:09 GMT

forge fire: could someone explain exactly how to you make a fire in the forge? and also, what exactly is coke?
  Jeff - Sunday, 05/20/01 08:04:45 GMT

Anvil Horns and Forge Fire: New, most anvils have a 3/8" to 1/2" flat on the end for safety. Generaly when abused they are mushroomed and need to be dressed with a grinder.

Forge fires are built like all others, with tinder and kindling. It depends on the type coal being used. Some lights easily and others with great difficulty. Good coal can be lit with a couple sheets of news print. Many of us just stick the end of a lit welding torch in the coal and when some is burning turn on the air.

Coke is coal that has the volitiles cooked out of it. Like charcoal is wood that has had the volitiles cooked out of it. It is light and porous, mostly pure carbon and burns the hotter than raw coal.
  - guru - Sunday, 05/20/01 11:36:03 GMT

Forge Fire: And when you run out of newspaper sometime, you can just take a piece of 2 x 4 about 4-6" long, and split it into kindling. Lay it in the firepot so there is a cavity underneath. Light the end of a piece, and light the underside of the kindling in the pot. May require a couple of pieces split up to get a large enough fire. Then shovel some coke lightly on the fire. Blower to get it going. I regularly use the daily rag ( newspaper ) to light the forge and get a fire going in short time. The coal I've been using for the past year or so lights well. The coke from it ( fresh coke ) lights well. Any grey in the coke from the coal I use tells me that it will light hard, and I just use it to fill the pot after the fire is going. Sorry long winded. Tendin a forge is like tendin a wood stove. Takes time to get experience, and different fuels ( types of coal and types of wood ) make a difference. You also may not have a deep firepot, and that makes some difference in lighting too, but not much. Just build a pyramid from the sticks, or lay the paper ball on the grate ( flames down ) and rake the coal up from the edges and over the top of the paper to get a mound. Keep crankin'. It'll light.
  Ten Hammers - Sunday, 05/20/01 19:54:33 GMT

Chapter Contacts: Does anyone know how to contact someone with the OCMULGEE BLACKSMITH GUILD? Donnie Fulwoods AT&T address bounces and the GUILD site is labeled "content blocked"

Does anyone know if Dan Tull still the president of the Alex Bealer Blacksmith Association? I'm looking for someone with that group to contact by e-mail too.

  - guru - Monday, 05/21/01 20:25:29 GMT

I am new to smithing. I was at a class recently and they had a hammer i liked and was comfortable. But I forgot the name. I think it was a "pendinghaus"? I was told it was German made. Any Ideas of what it was or where to pick one up?
  Ranth - Tuesday, 05/22/01 00:07:16 GMT

Suppliers: Ranth,

At the top of the page, you can click on banners for (in alphabetical order) Centaur Forge, Kayne and Son, and Wallace Metalworks. All three carry hammers. I think Kayne and Son carry the best selection, but that's a personal opinion.
  Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 05/22/01 00:43:32 GMT

Anvil Shoots and Opinions: All,

If ABANA does not re-think their opinion by the next meeting of the NCABANA, I will do three things.

At that meeting,

1. I will make a motion that the NCABANA change it's name to the North Carolina Blacksmith's Guild.

2. I will make a motion that the NCBG direct a letter to the ABANA Board of Dictators telling them in polite words to go
pound sand.

Immediately after that meeting, I will cancel my membership in ABANA, and I *WILL* tell the board of dictators to go pound sand. I probably will not use polite language.

Dictatorship of ANY kind makes me furious!

(or had you figured that out already?)
  Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 05/22/01 00:54:28 GMT

Abana: PawPaw, you might quit and you might give them a piece of your mind,but I know you are to big of a man to Cuss them. Cool off and let the dust settle. Evan Dictators know when they have gone to far. Talk later/Stiffy
  Stiffy - Tuesday, 05/22/01 02:30:43 GMT


I'd like to think you're right, but I'm a retired Green Beret and Drill Sgt. My language can get pretty "salty" when I'm angry, and I'm VERY angry about this.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Tuesday, 05/22/01 13:59:42 GMT

ABANA: PawPaw...if you need fire support or relief or help, just holler.....wasn't greenberet,but been thar......
  Mikey - Tuesday, 05/22/01 14:07:44 GMT


  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Tuesday, 05/22/01 15:38:43 GMT

"Shooting Anvils:": If all done under control and all safety aspects are done I do not see any problem in the act. But they all must be followed to the strickest guide lines.Also done by the pros.It was part of our Hertiage at one time, so lets keep it. Following the guidleines of course..
Thats my 2 cents worth.... Good day all...
  Barney - Wednesday, 05/23/01 00:59:18 GMT

Blacksmithing Opportunity: As part of the town's 100 year celebration, members of the Saltfork Craftsmen will be doing blacksmithing demonstrations this next weekend (May 26) in Kremlin, OK. Kremlin is a little North of Enid on Hwy 81 and back East a mile or so. If you would like to join in the fun, bring your portable equipment or just come and use what we will have on hand. Tailgate items are welcome. Jim C.
  Jim Carothers - Wednesday, 05/23/01 01:30:07 GMT

Sargent: PawPaw, my Dad was a Sargent at Fort Benning Ga. and served 2 tours in Korea, 1 as a pow for a while. It was'nt polite and nice at our house when Dad sounded off. But time ease's things a bit and now he is a Deacon in a Baptist church. i learned the hard way that noise and bluster,coupled with profanity accomplish very little, were the smallest act or right word said can move a mountain.//Later Stiffy
  Stiffy - Wednesday, 05/23/01 03:05:21 GMT

Knives: has anyone here made knives by forging? is it hard?
What scrap can i use that would be good for that?
All i know of is files
  Mike - Wednesday, 05/23/01 03:56:20 GMT


Old car and truck springs work well. Even better is the cut off ends from places that make springs for cars and trucks. The problem with used springs is that there are frequently many small "micro-cracks" that don't show up until you're almost finished.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Wednesday, 05/23/01 12:45:36 GMT

knives: Mike: It can be hard! The first few I tried, starting on mild steel for practice, looked more like tapeworms than blades by the time I finished with them. But a bit of practice, plus knowledge of techniques (which you can get from several different books, it's too complex to fit here), it gets a lot easier. I still use files, but I think coil spring makes a better blade. It's a lot tougher steel. But like Paw Paw said, watch out for cracks!

If you want to see the results of my efforts, look at my web page. They aren't pretty, but I didn't mean them to be. I like the rough, early smith-made look to my knives. Plus, that way you don't have to polish 'em so much!
Alan's smithing page
  Alan-L - Wednesday, 05/23/01 16:05:50 GMT

Rayen Blade makers: Reading this months National geograghic there is an artical on Marco Polo who travalled through Iran in 1271 or there abouts He came accross some steel blade makers in town called Rayen in Southern Iran. According to this artical there still remains this tradition in this area today,However ther seems to be a shortage of steel so the boys are using car parts to creat thier art, imagine going to chech those guys out.Has anyone come these fellow blacksmiths of Rayen in southern Iran?
  Seamus Raben - Thursday, 05/24/01 08:33:31 GMT

Power Hammer: I was wondering if anyone had a picture of foundations for a power hammer that has a separate anvil block. The machine we have is approx 8 cwt (I will confirm this later) and the anvil is subsiding on the existing foundations. I would like to get it right the next time.
FWR Blacksmiths
  Col - Thursday, 05/24/01 14:37:24 GMT

Power Hammer Foundation: Colin, Bruce Wallace (Nazel Hammers) will sell you a foundation plan if you need it. B&S Massey drawings and manuals are also still available from the most current owner. See our Power hammer Page manufacturer's list for contact information.

The Massey manual shows a monolithic concrete foundation with heavy wood timbers under the anvil AND the hammer and motor. Anchors are set in the concrete and go through the timbers and the hammer frame to hold it in place. The wood is both a cushion and is trimmed to align the two components. The anvil is also centered with wooden wedges and Massey recommends that the wedges be trimmed in a straight line and capped with an angle iron ring that fits the anvil snuggly.

The foundation below the hammer was almost always custom engineered. Soil specialists are generaly in the consultation loop. In the end most folks just over build.

IF there may be a vibration transmission problem due to high ground water levels or bedrock and nearby residences or sensitive machinery, a special floating inertia block foundation is required. These are quite expensive and also require special engineering.
  - guru - Thursday, 05/24/01 16:12:37 GMT

Employment: Looking for experienced smiths to work in San Francisco shop. Must have 2-3 years experience on large power hammer(200+)Four ten hour days/week. Should have experience running architectural jobs from start to install. Call 415-550-9328 or fax resume to 415-285-3365
  Jefferson Mack - Friday, 05/25/01 13:50:32 GMT

Virus Alert! : NEW, Unknown Virus. This morning I recieved several e-mails with EXE files attached. These came from people I know. However, there was no mention of the EXE in the body of the mail AND there were tell tail code errors in the body of the letters. I have NOT confirmed that this is a virus. But DO NOT open EXE's attached to mail. If you use MS Outlook Express you may inadvertantly launch and spread a virus by just looking at the mail and not "running" the virus since Outlook Express does that automaticaly.


I will report more details when I find them.
  Jock D. - Saturday, 05/26/01 14:18:46 GMT

YES ITS A VIRUS! : See posting on guru page. This is a REAL nasty and is going around in OUR group.
  Jock D. - Saturday, 05/26/01 15:28:49 GMT

Anvil shoot: I am TOTALLY against anvil shoots, and this is why. A few years ago , there was an anvil shoot in Novice, Texas, at a forging contest. The anvil was a 250# Kohlswa, owned by Kirk Caudle, the anvil LITERALLY went out of sight.... then came down in TWO PIECES!!!!!!!! The horn landed about 12 feet from a friend of mine. The other stuck in the blacktop road. I was not present at this function, BUT, most of the people present we're friends/ competitors of mine, EVERY ONE told the same story!!Also, this was in NO WAY an ABANA event.Also, what does blowing an anvil in the air prove? I own a small blacksmithing shop in Western Colorado, doing work in Vail, Aspen, and Telluride, the ironwork is my focal point,NOT how high an anvil will go. Thanks!
  Wayne - Sunday, 05/27/01 03:22:30 GMT


Not to doubt your word, but can you provide any documentation of the event? Contemporary newspaper articles, magazine articles, photographs, etc?
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Sunday, 05/27/01 14:45:34 GMT

Anvil Shoot: Wayne, Shooting or blowing anvils is a unique AMERICAN tradition. In a past era it was done at every major celebration and especialy on the fourth of July.

I agree that "how high" is a problem and that is the crux of the safety problem. Localy the shoots we have only travel 20 to 25 feet or so. Even broken pieces cannot travel beyond the safety zone.

Like all fireworks, and anvil shooting IS a form of fireworks, it should only be done by trained professionals. And THAT is another problem. Instead of trying to set guidelines and regulate it or find someone else to regulate it ABANA has not only said NO, but has set itself up to punish others for doing it.

After reading ABANA's bylaws they are probably doing the right thing if they follow the bylaws literaly. There is NOTHING in the ABANA bylaws that says they are to support "traditional" blacksmithing OR blacksmithing "traditions." However, in the past they have been most emphatic about "traditional methods" being the only way. It seems that there has been some confusion about the support of traditional methods and "traditions". Although anvil shoots have nothing to do with blacksmithing per se, they ARE an American tradition currently supported only by the blacksmithing community.

So the argument comes down to traditions vs traditional methods. And the problem is a matter of rules, guidelines, training. Cast steel anvils are VERY good but they should NOT be used for anvil shoots. Nor should cast iron anvils. As in many areas black powder is the only recommended propelent. Smokeless powder is much more severe and is classified as a high explosive. If you use smokless powder in a blackpowder gun (hand, rifle, cannon) there is a distinct likely hood of explosion and injury. Likewise it should not be used in shooting anvils. There is also a probably a ratio of powder to anvil weight that should be observed. However in the current contentious environment nobody is willing to agree on anything much less an argument based on logic. . .
  - guru - Sunday, 05/27/01 17:25:44 GMT

CLOSING my SHOP: I'm closing my shop for good every thing for $3000.00. 300+ anuil ,coal ,portable coal forge, hand tools,large post vice , swage blocks,and some metal
  Paul Fuese - Monday, 05/28/01 00:21:43 GMT


Where is your shop located?
  Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 05/28/01 00:52:24 GMT

Hardware magazines for sale: 64 copies of HARDWARE WORLD trade magazine for sale, all from the 1930s. Great B&W and Color ads for such things as: Collins ax, Stanley Tool Works, Yale Locks, Winchester rifles, Coleman Lanterns, Phoenix/Juniata horseshoes, KeenKutter tools, Parkersburg stove pipe, Gardex garden tools, etc., etc. A number of articles directed toward the retailers of the period (conservative to reactionary viewpoints). Condition, very good to fair. A few have slight cover damage. $100.00 plus shipping (slick paper; fairly heavy). The magazine was a monthly out of Chicago.
  Frank Turley - Monday, 05/28/01 20:29:13 GMT

helm: i want a barbute helm...i don't have alot of money but im offering up to $25 plus two chainmail objects: huaberk, camail, coif, guantlets, greaves, jewelry, etc. basiccally anything you want.
  mike wilkinson - Tuesday, 05/29/01 01:47:44 GMT

Closing Shop: Paul says he's in Southern Maine. He will sell individual pieces but requests serious inquiries only.

The lot price is a good one for someone serious about getting into the business. A lot better than new but no giveaway deals.
  - guru - Tuesday, 05/29/01 02:36:16 GMT

Wayne: I am visiting Montrose this weekend. If your shop is somewhere nearby, would it be possible to wrangle an invitation for a visit?
  J. Dickson - Tuesday, 05/29/01 21:05:53 GMT

weekend: If anyone dosen't have anything real important to do this weekend you should come to the Indiana Blacksmiths Ass. conference this wekend. More info on IBA website
  dettmer - Wednesday, 05/30/01 02:42:58 GMT

If you're interested in forging blades as a beginner with simple tools and simple methods, check out Tim Lively's Neo-Tribal School. He treats it as a quest to go farther and farther back into primitive beginnings (he even has a "total tribal" setup that uses nothing but sticks and rocks as tools) but you don't have to do it that way. You can learn a lot from the members at his forum.
No disrespect to the smiths here, but those guys concentrate almost exclusively on blades.
Neo-Tribal Forum
  Don Gwinn - Wednesday, 05/30/01 17:28:05 GMT


That's informational, not dis-respectful.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Wednesday, 05/30/01 18:50:10 GMT

power hammer: I have located a "Modern" brand trip hammer, it is 30# and
is in running condition, needs a motor. can anyone give me a
ballpark value on this hammer. The seller is asking $1000 with a small lineshaft with pulleys and hangers. any informed opinion appreciated Vance
  Vance Combs - Thursday, 05/31/01 21:04:14 GMT

Modern: Vance, It sounds a little high for an "unknown" name hammer. It may be "worth" that much but the resale value may not be there if you want to sell it later. There are parts or drawings to make parts from available for some of the more popular brands, Little Giant, Fairbanks, Bradley and Beaudry. However, in this case you are 100% on your own if anything is worn or broken (or breaks). For some of us this is not an issue but for others it can be central.
  - guru - Friday, 06/01/01 07:32:29 GMT

Hammer price: Vance, not to discourge you, but to give an example of prices, I have a little Giant Hammer with 50lb. head and extra dies and motor for $2500. And some people will think thats an ok price and some will think its too much. I sold a Central Mach. works hammer with a 100lb. head and extra dies for $3000. Its just a matter of what works for you.
  Stiffy - Friday, 06/01/01 20:31:53 GMT

Tantos: Hi,i'm currently making hand forged and clay tempered traditionaly made tantos.Well mabe not totally traditional but they are made of laminated steel in the correct style or shape up to 14".please take time to check out my site.thank you Chris Makin
sandia forge hand forged tantos
  chris makin - Saturday, 06/02/01 00:45:49 GMT

Tantos: Hi,i'm currently making hand forged and clay tempered traditionaly made tantos.Well mabe not totally traditional but they are made of laminated steel in the correct style or shape up to 14".please take time to check out my site.thank you Chris Makin
sandia forge hand forged tantos
  chris makin - Saturday, 06/02/01 00:49:38 GMT

"Just in Passing:": We up here in Canada, had frost last couple on nights. Just thought I would let you all know...Keep the Forges hot.
Paw Paw enjoyed the last chapter, keep typing. In the Anvil Ring Mag this month,,, A big write up on Anvil Shoots. Got to go........
  Barney - Saturday, 06/02/01 01:02:57 GMT


Will do, glad you're enjoying the book.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Saturday, 06/02/01 03:33:39 GMT

charcoal forge: hi,
Is there a way to work out the hole size for a charcoal
forge (hand cranked blower) 2 inch pipe.
Any help would be appreciated

regards rob
  robert schmidbauer - Saturday, 06/02/01 08:39:31 GMT


I'd just weld a couple of scraps of 1/8" round into a plus mark, and weld it to the end of the pipe. Most charcoal will be large enough to not fall through that.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Saturday, 06/02/01 16:11:01 GMT

Smithing Opportunity: Smithing Opportunity: If you are in the Shawnee, OK area on June 15 / 16, you might like to take in the 3rd Annual Farming Heritage Festival. Admission is free. On display and working will be draft horses, antique tractors, engines, trucks, and equipment. There will be tractor pulls, corn shelling, plowing, and field work. The Saltfork Craftsmen ABA will be doing the blacksmithing demonstrations on Saturday (June 16). Join us for the smithing if you can. Bring your portable equipment or just show up and use what we will have on hand. Tailgate items are welcome. The Festival is located at the Shawnee Feed Center grounds 7 miles South of I-40 on OK State Highway 177. Set up time is 9:00 AM. Jim C. colonel at
  Jim Carothers - Sunday, 06/03/01 12:50:28 GMT

1955 Chevy Truck for sale: For Sale 1955 Chevy Truck 4400
1 1/2 ton flat bed with rack. New deck and rack. New tires. New brake cylinders and shoes. New king pins. Four speed manual tranny. Single speed rear end. Turn signals with four way flasher added. Seat recovered with oxblood naugahide. Interior painted chocolate lab brown. Exterior is Praire Gold with red wheels. Engine is six cylinder inline from 1975 Nova. Truck is converted to 12 volt system. Tach has been added. 77,815 miles on the truck. About 45,000 on the engine
Asking $5,500.00
Located in Petoskey, MI
Pic of truck loaded w/ 2123lbs of wheat
  John Stanbarger - Sunday, 06/03/01 15:01:59 GMT

BS Equipment for sale: Grandpa is determined to clean out his shop. Three additions have been built, but there are still only paths--- no working room. A list of items ( tools, machines, oddities) that are closest to the door, and available for sale is located at -- More will be added as we dig deeper into the pile.
blacksmith stuff
  grandpa - Sunday, 06/03/01 21:34:39 GMT

satinite: does anybody out there know what satinite is and were i could get some? thanks chris
  chris makin - Sunday, 06/03/01 21:38:00 GMT

Annealing: I am looking for info on methods of annealing and working sheet metal for the purpose of constructing armor. Any advise or ideas where I could find this info would be greatly appreciated.
  Tyler McIntosh - Monday, 06/04/01 16:37:39 GMT

Equipment sale: Grandpa, Your link doesn't seem to work, either the typed one or the hotlink.

Emerald Isle Forge
  Mike Roth - Monday, 06/04/01 17:33:43 GMT

equipment for sale: Mike: Don't know what the problem is. Hot link doesn't work, but if I type in the address as given, I get there fine.
  grandpa - Tuesday, 06/05/01 01:45:53 GMT

equipment for sale: Mike: Found the error!!!
  grandpa - Tuesday, 06/05/01 04:03:58 GMT

equipment: Grandpa, That did it! Thanks.
Emerald Isle Forge
  Mike Roth - Tuesday, 06/05/01 18:20:03 GMT

Armor: Tyler, See our Armoury page (its on the drop down menu). Remember that annealing non-ferrous is generally the opposite of ferrous. You quench brass, copper and silver but must cool steel as slowly as possible. Stainless steels vary and you should check on the specific alloy.

URL error. Glad you guys sorted it out and it wasn't MY fault :o)
  Jock D. - Wednesday, 06/06/01 04:30:33 GMT

Ash Sifter: Does anyone know if the old, galvanized, hand-cranked ash sifters are still manufactured, and if so, any information on the compaany?
  Mark Layton - Wednesday, 06/06/01 12:04:41 GMT

Ash Sifter: Mark,

I have no idea whether they are still made or not, but if they are, thesese folks either have them or can get them;
  Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 06/06/01 15:47:26 GMT

Thanks Jock.
  Tyler McIntosh - Wednesday, 06/06/01 18:59:56 GMT

Camp Fenby, June 22-24: Camp Fenby, 2001

Held at Oakley Farm in St. Mary's County, Maryland from Friday, June 22 to Sunday, June 24.

Camp Fenby is a laid-back medieval arts and crafts weekend sponsored by the Longship Company, Ltd. Comfortable 21st century civilian clothes are perfectly acceptable, and the emphasis is upon learning, scholarship, relaxing, teaching others, good food and good fellowship. I will be teaching beginning blacksmithing classes in the morning and at night (when it's cool) and there will be an open forge for those with some experience in the afternoons. We plan to have two forging stations, one in the forge and the other in the barn.

Camping is available on the farm and motels are within a half-hour drive. We usually have a crab feast Saturday night for which the crab eaters pitch in on the cost for these delectable crustaceans (have you seen the price of crabs lately?!) and there are several general stores, groceries, fast food joints and restaurants within a 15 minute drive. Oakley Farm is a maximum impact camping area, so fire pits for cooking and tree cutting for camp structures and firewood are fine (just ask first).

Event fee is $10/person or $30/family to cover the port-a-potty rental and other expenses.

This is a non-public official event in which non-Marklanders are also welcome to attend and participate. Because this is an official Markland event, people without Markland a membership must pay a $2 surcharge, which will be forwarded to Markland's Treasury.

Further information may be found at: (Note: this is last years schedule, but should be updated to the 2001 version soon.)

Last Year's Schedule
  Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 06/07/01 12:34:10 GMT

Heat treat furnace For Sale: Paragon Model KM14 knifemakers furnace. 120 volt Max temperature 2300F. Like new condition used very little. Selling for a friend whose father passed away. $600 or best. Located in southeast Wisconsin
  Ed - Friday, 06/08/01 17:25:47 GMT

shop mathmatics: This riddle MUST be done in your head and NOT using pen and paper.

Take 1000.
And add 40 to it.
Now add another 1000.
Now add another 30.
Another 1000.
Now add 20.
Now add another 1000.
Now add 10.

What is the total?
Did you get 5000?

NOW try it paper, or a calculator. :)
  G. Conner - Saturday, 06/09/01 04:40:25 GMT

More math: Conner, that's a good 'un. Here's another. A guy walks into a blacksmith shop with 5 sections of chain, 3 links connected in each section. He says to the smith, "Could you make this into one length of chain without using any new stock, just cutting and re-welding?" The smith says, "Yep, 10 cents for each cut and weld." {tells you how old the story is} The customer says, "Fifty cents? No, forty?" The ol' blacksmith replies, "Nope, thirty cents, and you'll have a complete chain.

Now, you might be tempted to send in the answer, but let's not and say we did. It would be nice if the puzzle drifted in cyberspace allowing each individual to figure it out on his/her own. P.S. There are no tricks. The answer is straightforward.
  Frank Turley - Saturday, 06/09/01 13:11:41 GMT

little giant: i'm new to blacksmithing but i've rounded up a few tools.i found a little giant 25 lb. hammer that works.does anyone have a ball park figure of what it might be worth?the guy wants $1500 for it.
  J.R. - Saturday, 06/09/01 23:46:16 GMT

25# LG: JR. See my post from today on the guru page about Little Giants.

The price is about right if its in good condition. Rebuilt with new bearings and shiney new paint they go for around $2400 USD. Look at it close.

Are there any cracks in the casting around the lower die?
Put a pry bar under the ram and lift it up and down. Look at the place where the toggle arms connect to the crank wheel. Is there any play? If so it needs refitting.

Grab the toggle arms at the end and twist the ram side to side and in and out. You shouldn't see but just a little play. The arms may be loose in the ram, that is normal in old type hammers. If the links have pins at the ends look at the play there. A little is to be expected.

Put the pry bar under the ram again. Lift enough that the crank wheel is being lifted. 1/32" or so play is OK but more may be a problem.

Grab the clutch. Shake it. Center mount clutches can have lots of play but rear mount clutches MUST BE SNUG.

It the machine clean or covered in oil? If it looks like a big black ball of grease then it MIGHT have been oiled enough. If is is shiney and clean and the hammer has been in use there should be long black drips of oil on the new paint. Lack of lubrication is the biggest problem with all mechanical hammers. Operated properly they are filthy greasy machines. If its not then ask how recently it was rebuilt and if it has been run at all.

Does it have dies in it? One infamous dealer sells hammers without the dies then hits you for a couple hundred for the factory dies that came out of the hammer you just bought. . . The hammer CAME WITH DIES.
  - guru - Sunday, 06/10/01 02:55:09 GMT

Teaching at Penland: I'll be at Penland School, Penland, NC, June 11-22. Come say "hoddy" if you're in that neck of the woods.

OILING LITTLE GIANT. Francis Whitaker used to say that if you're going to use the hammer on a particular day, oil it. If you're not going to use it, you don't need to.
  Frank Turley - Sunday, 06/10/01 10:57:33 GMT

Frank, that oiling advise sounds kinda like the advise on wearing safety glasses I heard once: "You only need to wear protection on the eye you want to keep".
  Alan-L - Sunday, 06/10/01 15:29:16 GMT

Oiling Little Giants/Anvil Firing: I concur with Frank Turley's advice on this one.Oil your hammer when you are using it!Alan, why would you wear safety glasses when you are in no danger of being injured.Osha's biggest problem is overkill to the point of obsurdity.
Hey everyone,keep firing anvils.It is a great tradition and who cares what ABANA or anyone else thinks.Use caution before you fire.Are you going to tell me welding sparks flying at demonstrations and pouring molten hot iron are any safer.We live in a dangerous world.I'd say the odds of being in a car wreck are alot greater than dying at an anvil shoot.If you are scared of firing anvils then don't come to the anvil shoot.Life is simple.Cheers!
  Barry Denton - Monday, 06/11/01 13:18:58 GMT

Barry: I did mean only wear 'em when you need to. Kind of humorous, I thought. I'm not an alarmist OSHA lawyer type, and I too support anvil shooting and other activities that require a little common sense. Chlorine for the gene pool, I say :-)
  Alan-L - Monday, 06/11/01 13:25:13 GMT

Black Smith shop on auction: There will be an auction of a passed Blacksmiths shop the 24th of June. The info can be found at:
  Larry House - Tuesday, 06/12/01 18:03:40 GMT

Safety Glasses:: I'll have to disagree on this one. The problem is that you don't KNOW when you are going to need safety glasses in the shop (except perhaps when you pick up a grinder). If you put them on when you enter the shopp you get used to wearing them and after a while you feel naked without them.

I've worked an awful lot without safety glasses. Pounding steel chisels with steel hammers, pounding rock with sledge hammers, sharpening tools on the bench grinder (its got those little shields), working at the anvil, driling holes. At any time a splinter of wood, stone or metal is lible to fly off whatever and cause you a LOT of difficulties and expense.

Before I was working metal full time I was bad about not wearing safety glasses. When I WAS working metal full time I lived with safety glasses. Now that I work at the PC more than in the shop I've gotten sloppy about it again. DUMB! I admit it!

Another place I disagree about safety glasses is the sporty wrap around glasses that plants (and ABANA) hands out. Safety glasses without snug fitting side shields are only HALF the protection of REAL safety glasses. I don't care if they have 1001 approvals on them, they are not worth the plastic they are made of. This is another area that if ABANA were REALLY worried about safety they would get serious about. Handing out junk glasses just gets people used to BAD protection. And guess what? The ugly ones that WORK are cheaper!!!!

  - guru - Tuesday, 06/12/01 18:16:50 GMT

Junk Yard Wars: Has anyone else noticed that most of the US shows are repeats of the British scripts including the designs used, the scrap used, and even the outcome of the "combat" including exactly the same failures. Who would want to take part in this if they were told, "THIS is how you are going to do it and WE determine the results. YOU lose, the other side wins."

Something REALLY stinks on the Texas (USA) set of Junk Yard Wars. What do you think???
  - guru - Tuesday, 06/12/01 18:20:01 GMT

Safety Glasses: I'm a firm believer in safety glasses. Check out iForge demo #66 if you want to see why.

I've had eye surgery 4 times in 60 years, or I'd be blind today. I was 14 the first time. When I woke up in recovery, I tried to look at my watch to see what time it was. I wasn't wearing my watch, it was night and there was only a night light in the room, both eye's were bandaged shut, and there was a stitch through the surface of each eye ball, and through the bandages to immobilize the eye. (I'd had a muscle resection to correct "wall eyes") Naturally, I ouldn't see my watch.

I screamed "I'm Blind! and reached for the bandages. Fortunately my 6'4", 230# step father was fast enough to catch my arms before I got to the bandages. He had to lay over my body with his full weight to hold me down till they could get me restrained. Then they gave me a tranquillizer and talked to me for almost 4 hours to get me calmed down and explain what the situation was.

For four and a half tours in SE Asia, I kept a live hand grenade with me at all times. I would not have come home blind, I would have used the grenade if I had been blinded.

I absolutely *BELIEVE* in safety glasses. I pay $75 bucks a pair for the best darn safety glasses I can buy. My READING glasses are safety glasses!

I *KNOW* what it's like to not be able to see!

Safety glasses is not a joking matter to me. Never will be.
Not that I'm offended by jokes about them, I'm not. But it'll be a real cold day in a real hot climate before you'll ever catch me without a pair of safety glasses in my pocket!

Most likely, I'll be wearing the glasses and the case will be in my pocket.

Enough! Someone else can have the soap box now. (grin)
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Tuesday, 06/12/01 18:42:30 GMT

Safety glasses: Paw Paw, you're welcome at my school!
  Steve Rutterbush - Tuesday, 06/12/01 20:39:16 GMT

Eye Safety: I too was once blind for a week(chemical accident). It was no fun whatsoever(can't say as I would off myself though if it was permanent). After 25 years of fabricating and welding and 3 or 4 trips to the doc to have steel removed from an eye, I cannot stress the need to wear safety glasses(good ones)enough. Just do it.
  Steve Stransky - Tuesday, 06/12/01 21:06:58 GMT

Safety glasses: Steve, R.

Where are you located?

Steve S.

I don't know that I would handle it that way today, either. But that's how I felt THEN. You have to realize that there's 35 years of maturity ( well, I HOPE it's maturity! grin) between then and now.
  Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 06/12/01 21:35:08 GMT

glases: I have safety-glases on EVERY TIME I go into a place where work is going on.
To me it is a reflex to put them on with my working clothes.

The fact is that according to statistics more than half of injuries are caused by someone else than the injured, you are prepared for what YOU do and MAY have time to flinch, THAT to me is a strong reason for tight fitting side shields.

Can ANYONE give me a reason NOT to wear them?
They are not in the way after a few days you wont even realise you have them on, the good ones will be as comfortable as glasses are likely to get.
They may be saving you expensive surgery in the future...
Only advantages as far as I see. The cost is bearable (compare to cost of even simple surgery and loss of hours/days/lifetime worth of production).

Proper lenses can even help you get better at forging (you can focus better on what you do and so keep eyes from tiring). Clips that flip up and out of the way when not needed fitted with proper welding lens will help you judge welding temp better and save your eyes so you can concentrate on your work.
Btw if you see a recommendation for didyum lenses DON’T get them.
The didyum WILL take away the sodium glare and give some little protection otherwise (even regular clear glasses will take about as much of the IR and UV) but that sadly is the WRONG protection as far as forge work is concerned.
You need 100%protection from IR and UV, and little shading (Din 4-7).

And remember you will NOT get thanked for getting blind, deaf or crippled while forging that hinge, blade…
The fact that there are much less people getting hurt at work today when we have good protection/safety awareness is also a hint to be considered, The earmuffs/plugs, safety glasses, steeltoed-boots, smokestacks… where invented because there was a NEED for them.

demo on safety by Pawpaw with VERY interesting images
  OErjan - Tuesday, 06/12/01 21:52:53 GMT

Re: Junk yard wars. Dear Guru, It's TV for the masses. Can you REALLY expect it to be legit. Very few people "do" anymore, they just observe. We may not be a dying breed but we certainly are an endangered one. Cheers......Bob.
  Bob - Tuesday, 06/12/01 22:22:18 GMT

glasses, JWars: Guys: note that I didn't say when I felt they were necessary! Ever since Dr. J's accident, I even wear 'em to mow the yard! So, when do I need to? ANY time I do ANYTHING that might make stuff fly. I like to see stuff too, darnit!

I don't wear them as reading glasses, though...(grin, PPW)

Check out the official junkyard wars website and then the one of the First american team, and compare notes. It's fun to watch, but IT AIN'T REAL!
  Alan-L - Tuesday, 06/12/01 23:09:17 GMT


I actually have three different prescriptions. One for reading, one for driving, and one for the computer. PITA sometimes, but beats not being able to see! (grin)
  Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 06/12/01 23:24:10 GMT

Junk Yard Wars: Alan, we knew there was a lot that wasn't quite kosher (like the one week time line sqeezed into 10 hours and the seeded yard). But the rest SEEMED legit. Team A ideas and talent v.s Team B ideas and talent. But now even the outcome down to the last detail of the failure is scripted!

Now, I KNOW a lot of you guys. And I'm SURE a team of us could do many of the things they've done and do it in REAL TIME.

I'm just POed that they don't have any originality left and the outcomes are rigged.
  - guru - Tuesday, 06/12/01 23:42:53 GMT

JYW's and Safety: Junkyard wars: Yup, sadly it is scripted. And the “experts” tell the teams what to do. Jock, remember a few months back when I suggested we put two teams together and compete good naturedly? At that time, I had the forms all filled out for my team. They pretty much tell you on the forms how it works. I didn’t send the forms in because I really didn’t want to take the vacation and if the expert isn’t right, well then....... let’s just say I don’t take poor direction very well. Grin.

It’s still better TV than some of the broken home/homosexual/lawyer/cop show crap that’s on. But I do agree that it could be real creative competition and be better. But then the producers would have to understand what good mechanical aptitude is and what it can accomplish.

Can we do that for real? Sure we can. I do it all the time. Everybody usually enjoys the results, and every now and then, some guys will show up just to see what the latest project is. They seem to like it better though, when they just drink my beer and watch. Grin. Sweat and sparks and big noise and sore backs seem to turn some people off. Wussies! Little grin....

Glasses: I’ve had a hole in one eye from flying debris. Not fun. Kept leaking. Hurt like hexx! Rust flecks inside the eyeball. Doc wanted to put stitches in. Wear the glasses!

And don’t forget ear plugs when overhead arc welding! Burnt holes in eardrums hurt more than holes in eyeballs. I had a sizzler in my left ear again last night because I didn't take the time to put the plugs in. Thankfully, it didn't burn through this time.

Funny how much more careful I became after I had a kid, too. Hmmmm.... Why is that?
  Tony - Wednesday, 06/13/01 14:30:52 GMT

Junk Yard Wars: What I don't get is having NEW teams make the same OLD mistakes. Outrigger boat with ONE outrigger on wrong side, Hover craft too low digs in and rips skirt. . . Same exact errors using almost identical "junk". They even had the US team find the "mate" of the jet engine intake found in England so that they could waste the same time trying to cut it apart. . .

I went to the Junk Yard Wars forum site and nobody seems interested in the fact that they seem to be ruining a good thing.

I suspect that the "experts" aren't doing a lot and somewhere they have lost their junk yard mechanical genious. Maybe he wanted real money and wasn't appreciated. THAT is the guy I wanted to pit a team of American blacksmiths and Iron Bodgers against.
  - guru - Wednesday, 06/13/01 17:12:07 GMT

Hey, Tony: I'll quit spraying molten flux on my pants at crotch level if you'll quit out-of-position welding that gets sizzlers in your ears! (grin!)
  Alan-L - Wednesday, 06/13/01 17:44:16 GMT

Foibles: Alan, Ok, Ok... I’m human. And I have human foibles.

Hey.... wait a minute...... that means all those people (including my wife) who say I’m an alien, must be wrong!
  Tony - Wednesday, 06/13/01 19:57:12 GMT

100th iForge demo tonight: Bill Epps will be doing his famous humming bird!

9:30 PM Eastern, 8:30 Central
iForge Classroom
  - guru - Thursday, 06/14/01 00:50:06 GMT

Tony: No, that just means you've learned (or been programmed!) to blend well (grin!!)! You'd have thought I'd remember to put on my apron when welding up tomahawks after burning holes in four pairs of pants and three shirts, or at least that's what my wife tells me...
  Alan-L - Thursday, 06/14/01 01:12:44 GMT


Funny, my wife says the same thing! (grin)
  Paw Paw Wilson - Thursday, 06/14/01 04:00:50 GMT

anvil shoots: First: I love anvil shoots.
Second: I saw something at one that scared me. The buzz went around that the anvil was about to be shot. I went on over and stood with my back to the eating hall. I'm watching the shooter go through his motions and then off to the right hand side over near some campers are two young boys. One turns to the other and says something and then they both run towards the anvils just as the shooter lights the fuse and runs. The boys stop when the boom hits, they were at about 100' or so. Too close.... and there was no one between them and the anvils. It was not a controlled situation. There should have been a perimeter guard.
Third: I don't like lawyers. They can and will yank one's chain and not think twice about it. I think one put a burr under the ABANA councels saddle. I really don't blame them for being scared. I also don't think this situation was handled right. And damned if the south did'nt secede again.
  Pete - Sunday, 06/17/01 23:29:57 GMT


Actually, the Rebel Seven didn't secede, we were booted out. (grin)
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Sunday, 06/17/01 23:31:54 GMT

Champion Forge: I have an interesting forge\blower\anvil\vice combination that I would like some information on if anyone has any.

The combination unit was made by Champion and has a pat. pend. date of Jan 15, 1920. The blower is a 2 speed side draft blower. The fire pan has a ring in it that looks like maybe it held some sort of fire pot for the cole.

This is a really unusual forge combination. I will try to get a picture of it so send anyone who would like a copy.

Any information that anyone might have on this forge would be helpful.

Yes, I have used it but I don't want to use it anymore till I have more information on the setup for holding cole. I don't want to burn the ring in the bottom of the fire pan out. It is quite different from using bottom draft forges.

Thanks for any help on this.
  WillieC - Sunday, 06/17/01 23:51:32 GMT

Seven Rebellian: Paw Paw, Yes they were. But they also turned around and presented thier arses to get the boot they knew was coming. I must admit, being from the "Heart of Dixie ( Alabama for those who don't know) I am a mite proud!
  Pete - Monday, 06/18/01 00:36:49 GMT


When you get the picture, give me a holler, I'll try to help you.


This NC boy is a little on the proud side, too. (grin)
As someone said, "Well honey, we sure will miss you all!"
  Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 06/18/01 00:52:47 GMT

Redressing Anvil:: I read somewhere, I beleive it was Bealers book on Blacksmithing that the old time smiths would redress thier anvils on their own forges and then reharden. Is this feaseable or possible if so what would it take?
  Jeff - Thursday, 06/21/01 20:41:58 GMT


Some of the old timers that Alex Bealer was talking to occasionally pulled his leg. A couple of times, it's a wonder the leg didn't come off in their hands! Since Alex didn't know any better (at the time) some mis-information found it's way into the book. Not much, and not enough to detract from the book, in my opinion. (and it's one of the first I bought for my own library)
  Paw Paw Wilson - Thursday, 06/21/01 21:30:00 GMT

Anvil Dressing: Jeff, There were a few tales that were told to Bealer that he swallowed hook line and sinker. . . and repeated them in his book.

It is "possible", however it takes a very large forge and a LOT of fuel. THEN it takes a small river to properly quench an anvil. If done incorrectly the face will be soft, or shatter or seperate from the body.

Then there are composite castiron/steel anvils (not repairable or forgable) and cast aloy steel anvils that require different treatment than wrought with a steel face.

99% of the time you are best off to dress the anvil with a grinder and then live with the rest.

VERY early smiths with small anvils might have been able to do the task with everyone in the shop helping. However, even the factories had occasional failures where the face popped off after cooling and grinding.

Read my story on the story page "Blacksmith of 1776" (not to be confused with Jim Wilson's "Revolutionary Blacksmith".
  - guru - Thursday, 06/21/01 21:36:34 GMT

Anvil Dressing: Practical Blacksmithing has a couple of articles on fixing anvils, and several on modifying them. One of the articles was talking about the procedure for dressing anvils, including forge welding in pieces of toe calk steel on the edges wherever they were chipped. Another ariticle was talking about repairing an anvil that had somehow gotten its hind feet broken off (How in the world? Extremely burly strikers playing "Hot Potato" on their break and dropping it?). The ones talking about modifying anvils included cutting a hole *through* the main part of the anvil, and cutting a certain shape out of the face of an old anvil for making the mysterious and oft-talked-about "French clips".

These were large shops doing some massive forgings on a fairly regular basis, though. Plus, they knew what they were doing.

However, it was kind of funny in the contrast. Nowadays the advice (which I think is good) is to work around the problem. Then you read this article telling you to just chunk it up in the forge and re-forge the dang thing!
  Stormcrow - Friday, 06/22/01 03:37:09 GMT

Anvil Dressing: Gentleman; Thanks for the input! figure i'll just work around the defects as I have done for some time now ( Mostly swayback) It's just that whenever I see advertisements for new anvils with their beautiful flat face my mouth waters. Still the old Foster is a good anvil with much character and nodoubt history, I really would hate to ruin it! It"s just that I'm a firm believer that the only reason old ways die out is because most folks want a quicker easier way to do things( present company omitted) Thanks once again for your time aqnd the shareing of knowledge.
  Jeff - Friday, 06/22/01 19:32:01 GMT

METAL TO MAKE KNIVES: anybody know where i can buy metal that has already
been worked, and folded, to make knives.
  william l. brown - Sunday, 06/24/01 01:19:40 GMT

Knife metal: William, I'm assuming you mean pattern-welded or "damascus" steel, since you said "folded". Daryl Meier at can set you up. For plain carbon steel or stainless cutlery steel, try either the on-line metal store on this site (in the pull-down menu) or Of course, after you shape it it will have to be heat-treated, and if you aren't set up to do that, I'd suggest looking in the back of a knife magazine for folks who can do that for you.
  Alan-L - Sunday, 06/24/01 01:44:10 GMT


You have really been on the ball while the boss and I were gone! Thank you!
  Paw Paw Wilson - Sunday, 06/24/01 07:51:30 GMT

More knife parts: Paw-Paw: No problem for a natural know-it-all! (I've been called worse, but let's leave it at that).

William: I forgot to tell you to look at Texas Knifemaker's Supply online catalog, They've got lots of stuff including ready-shaped, heat-treated blades for you to put a handle on. They also do heat-treating.
  Alan-L - Sunday, 06/24/01 13:51:56 GMT

wanting to get started: I would like to get into blacksmithing somehow. I was an artist before turning computer engineer. I have always been able to so just about anything that I set my mind to and would like to explore this art form. As you can imagine, I would like to meet someone who is experienced in this area. I am in NW Ohio. If any of you have the time and are in the area, please contact me via E-mail and get in contact with me to let me know a little bit more about blacksmithing. cnicholl at
  Chris Nicholl - Sunday, 06/24/01 14:33:34 GMT


You and I have both been called a Smart A** on occasion, haven't we? (grin)


Check for a local chapter near you.
  Paw Paw Wilson - Sunday, 06/24/01 15:13:28 GMT

I try to keep the upper end smarter than the lower, but I can only do so much...Knowledge, like water, seems to flow downhill!

  Alan-L - Sunday, 06/24/01 20:20:10 GMT


Yep! Sometimes the belt stops it, though. (wry grin)
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Sunday, 06/24/01 20:23:04 GMT

Heating iron: I have been working with some iron that I would like to heat and would like to try some things that some of you have made and shown in the i-forge. Now I am heating metal with a acetaline torch and am searching for a better way. I went so far as to try a fish fryer using propane, it didn't work. I have heard that coal is used in forges and I don't know anything about this stuff, even where to get it. Is there something that you can help me with. I would like to heat railroad spikes, more than one at a time, ends of rods,and flats.
  Don Austin - Monday, 06/25/01 13:28:44 GMT


Suggest you get in touch with the blacksmithing group closest to you. They can give you the information you need.

Tell us approximately where you are located, and I'll help you find a group, if there is one close to you.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Monday, 06/25/01 14:04:22 GMT

forge design: I recently purchased what I believe to be a rather old forge, but it came in pieces and I'm not sure if we are assembling it correctly. It has a bowl about 2 feet across with 3 legs and a wood shaft to pump the blower. The wood shaft is attached to a V shaped metal part with a heavy metal ball shaped on one end. Two leather straps attach to each end of the V and each attaches to a central shaft - when the handle pumps, one leather strap winds and the other unwinds on the central shaft - this turns the central shaft which turns a wheel which some how attaches to the blower pully and blows air into the forge.

The problem is, we seem to have the blower going in the wrong direction, and the leater belts are almost under the port that releases the ashes. Is there a source that shows pictures for such forges which would help us out?
  Gary Eatherton - Tuesday, 06/26/01 01:02:33 GMT

Power hammer: Howdy,
I'm building a power hammer and i want it to be unique in concept but functional. I plan to achieve this by using linear induction to hoist and drive the hammer. any comments?
you heard it here first
Dustin "Herz Aus Stein" Schexnayder
  Dustin "Herz Aus Stein" Schexnayder - Tuesday, 06/26/01 06:40:16 GMT

Nearest Blacksmithing Group: I am situated in Madisonville, Texas and I am looking for a helpful group of Blacksmiths near to me. Madisonville is betweeen Houston and Dallas, College Station and Lufkin. With all of the horseshoers, farriers in Texas there has to be some answers on heating metal. Whatever help you can lend will be appreciated.
  Don Austin - Tuesday, 06/26/01 13:17:36 GMT

Power hammer: Heart of stone, the power company is going to love you! Neat idea, hope it works.
  Alan-L - Tuesday, 06/26/01 14:25:30 GMT

Heating Iron: Don, Coal is the most economical fuel to burn for the heat desired. However, even the best is very smokey. It also used to be available everywhere people heated with coal but heating with coal is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Check the local phone directory under fuel suppliers. The local oil company probably sold coal at one time.

Build a forge like our "brake drum forge" on our plans page before buying more than a bucket full of coal. Lots of coal is not suitable for forging.

The next most economical method is a propane forge. All our major advertisers sell them and Wallace Metal works has an on line catalog with details and prices on a wide range of models. Propane is clean and need little ventilation (compared to coal or oil).
  - guru - Tuesday, 06/26/01 15:40:36 GMT

Electromagnetic hammer: Heart of Stone, Nope, you didn't here it here first. I posted a design 3 years ago based on discussions 4 years ago, based on private (pre internet) discussions 20 years ago.

The problem IS that the dies will become magnetic picking up the work and scale will stick to them making a huge mess. There is also a high probability of magnetising the work too. To isolate the magnet core from the dies an aluminium block can be used but then you need to do some VERY careful engineering and use the highest strength aluminium available (7075-T6 ?). Even then it may not be strong enough. Bronze can be used but that greatly increases the non-magnetic mass as bronze is more dense than steel.

As you can see the problems are not just with the electro magnetics.

I solved some of the problems with a magneticaly actuated cylinders coupling to the ram. This solves many problems but requires a lot of expensive R&D as there is much more to it than this simple diagram. In production (and operation) the hammer would be very efficient but the development costs would be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Alan, HP is HP. Electric motors are nothing more than a circular magnetic circuit instead of a straight line. And both are much more efficient than compressing air.
  - guru - Tuesday, 06/26/01 16:07:52 GMT

Leather Strap driven forge.: This is a new one on me. There are a lot of lever operated forges but these either operated through a segment gear and overrunning clutches or a flwheel and crank.

This one sounds like an odd duck or a home built.
  - guru - Tuesday, 06/26/01 16:12:13 GMT

Texas Blacksmiths: Don, pull down the menu and select There are several groups in Texas.
  - guru - Tuesday, 06/26/01 16:14:47 GMT

leather belt blower?: On the leather strap forge:

How could it run backwards? On any of the blowers I have seen or used they will blow air out in either direction. I understand that if you have contured blades it will be less effcient in the off direction. But my Champion 400 and teh Candady-Otto's I have seen have flat blades.

Also thinking about this blower hook up.... If the two belts are working like I think, one will wind as the other unwinds. When you move the lever the other direction the belts should reverse... ergo the fan goes one way then the next..... Or am I missing the picture.....?
  Ralph - Tuesday, 06/26/01 18:27:11 GMT

leather belt blower: I have a Canedy Otto blower which has the two leather belts attached to the central wheel from the weighted quadrant which was pumped with a wood staff. The central wheel which is wound and unwound by the two leather belts engages the large flywheel which is also on the shaft, by a centrifical clutch mechanism and only drives it in one direction, when you are pumping the staff down. On the recovery the staff moves up because of the weight on the end of the quadrant, and the two bars in the clutch do not engage. The large wheel is connected to the blower by a leather flatbelt which drives the blower in the preferred direction. If you take apart the smaller wheel to which the two belts attach, you will probably see the way the clutch works. Canedy Otto made theirs in such a manner that the two flat bar pieces which open out to engage the large fly wheel...those bars can be replaced quite easily.
  Rob - Tuesday, 06/26/01 19:03:20 GMT

My lever action forge has a quarter arc gear, that has a pawl clutch, which drives the flywheel that the belt rides on which turns the blower pully..... All in all it is very ineffecient.. my hand crank work VERY much better. even better is the electric vlower I run to the lever forge... (VBG)
  Ralph - Tuesday, 06/26/01 20:41:43 GMT

EMF hammer rambling: Jock:

I am not even close to building a power hammer yet but an EMF hammer is where my dreams tend to take me. It seems that the benefits might be an infinite controlability as well as a small footprint. Opinion? I am assuming there would need to be a large capacitance to run it, based on other types of electrical motors. I haven't even gone so far as to do any initial calcs yet. Isolating with bronze sounds like a pretty good way to go for smaller hammers.

I had not considered the possibility of building it like your drawing depicts. Alas I have yet to see a power hammer of any persuasion outside of pictures. One thought not completely thunk yet, would magnetism still occur when you drive as well as retract with the coil? Seems that the reversing flow would keep the iron scrambled. Am I looking at that right? Physics was a while ago and I've had a lot of thoughts since.

One other posibility while I muse is using resonance to drive a spring hammer perhaps in conjunction with a solenoid to set the frequency. An thoughts along that line?

This is what happens when I get well rested and off early.
  Mills - Tuesday, 06/26/01 23:54:38 GMT

blower direction: I think he has a small rivit forge with an over-runing clutch. If this is true, the clutch will only let the blower turn the "right" way. There are some hand crank blowers that are directional. They uasualy have an arrow to show the direction of crank rotation. You can tell a directional blower by the fan housing. If the outlet of the blower comes out of the center of the housing, the blower is bidirectonal. If the outlet is not centered but comes off the "top" or "bottom" the blower is directional and will work much better if it is turned so that the blades push the air straight out of the outlet rather than the air needing to make a 180 deg turn to exit the blower, Is that understandable???
  Wayne Parris - Wednesday, 06/27/01 03:11:03 GMT

100 LB. LITTLE GIANT 4SALE: Rebuilt. Less motor. $3600. 307 754 4173
  Hammers R us - Wednesday, 06/27/01 11:21:44 GMT

direction again: It occured to me last night after I signed off that Gary might have the straps to the clutch reversed. If this is so, then when you lift the handle, you get air and when you pull the handle down, you wind the clutch.
  Wayne Parris - Wednesday, 06/27/01 13:08:45 GMT

A little social-psychological theory (very little). I have had the feeling that the the leather belted forge with clutch and wooden haft was an attempt to pacify the farmers and part-time smiths who probably purchased them. The manufacturers may have thought that a geared blower with a circular-motion hand crank would be too high falutin' and uppity compared to an old fashioned bellows. So they compromised, and came up with a blower that had a
  Frank Turley - Thursday, 06/28/01 00:57:37 GMT

...that had a bellows handle. I wonder if any serious work was done on these forges. I don't think I would want to work with one for a prolonged period. Please tell me if I'm wrong.

To me, this particular forge is kind of like peanut butter. It's not peanuts and it's not butter. It's peanut butter.
  Frank Turley - Thursday, 06/28/01 01:03:10 GMT

Odd Forge: The Sears Roebuck Catalog for 1915 (I think that date is correct.) showed the forge with a lever action handle. I've always been told that it was an intermediate step to wean folks away from the up and down of the bellows to the round and round of the blower.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Thursday, 06/28/01 02:17:17 GMT

wooden handle forge: Frank, in the 1890s Buffalo forge Co had sold tens of thousands of these forges worldwide, and they kept them in their catalogues for over 40 years. I have used a blower of theirs in the museum shop here for about 5 years and of course it is not electric or a gas forge, but for the time period was very effective. We have had a number of people who have been very surprised at how efficient the particular blower is, even though it is temperamental and gets out of adjustment occasionally, but it will raise a welding heat in the same time as a Champion 400, and you get used to the pumping and the clank of clutch irons engaging and disengaging. A lot of the predjudice against the equipment comes from the fact that most of it after 120 years is broken or at best out of adjustment, needs to be shimmed, etc: just like us old guys, we need some care to perform. I can give you more particulars if you're interested.
  Rob - Thursday, 06/28/01 05:28:16 GMT

lever blower: Just last week, I picked up a lever operated blower. A Canedy-Otto (sorry about the spelling) and it looks to be a serious blower for work. It is NOT a rivit forge blower. It stands about 5' tall and uses a flywheel about 30" in dia to drive the blower. It is about 95% there and in fair shape. I beleave that with a little care it will be back up to spec. I boutght it for demos, LOTS of monkey motion :D For my day to day work, I use an electric blower, nothing like it :D
I have 2 Champ 400s and another crank blower but the problem is that they are all made for RIGHT HANDED SMITHS!! You use your left hand to crank them. If you use your left hand to strike with and then crank that blower with it also, your left arm sure gets a work out! That lever doesn't care which hand you use, it just blows the same :D
  Wayne Parris - Thursday, 06/28/01 13:12:14 GMT

Wayne, I saw several blowers like that at teh tailgater at ABANA2K. That type was probably pretty good. But I was talking about the ranch forge(which most folks mistakenly call a rivet forge). The lever action on my foge works just fine. It is the blower size that makes this a much less effieceint forge......
Why can't you use a 400 with the right hand? If the mount is fixed like my current setup I can understand, but if you make your own stand it should work just as well?
  Ralph - Thursday, 06/28/01 17:40:23 GMT

Ralph, With a separate stand you could place the 400 to the right of the forge but you would still need to reach around it to turn the crank or have a real long connection from the blower to the forge. Not a big deal really as the 400 will turn either way, it just is not as nice of a setup as a right hander gets out of the same equipment. Most of the forges I use at our museum are setup with a fixed blower and it is a bit of a pain to work on them for me.
I had a "ranch" lever operated forge for years, and it worked fine. As you mentioned, the blower is a little small for a lot of use but it is a nice compact design. I would work up to ¾ stock in it with no problem; you just needed to make a good and deep fire.
  Wayne Parris - Thursday, 06/28/01 18:22:05 GMT

OK Wayne, I know what you are talking about, but I meant that the blower could be positioned to where it is comfortable for you. Yeah it would need a bit more air hose, but if you are using that metal dryer hose it would not matter...

Well if I needed a small traveling forge my ranch forge would be ok, but my next traveler will be a side blast wood frame dirt filled one.....

BTW did your video at the conference(the JYH show) turn out?
What!? Who am I? I was sitting next to you up on the bleachers... was trying to get PawPaw's camera to work.... it was too dark in the tent for his video equip without a light bar.....
  Ralph - Thursday, 06/28/01 18:34:52 GMT

video!: Ok, I know you now! The exposure came out fine, but with only a monopod to work with it is sometimes a little unsteady. Entirely viewable though. I recorded all of every demo I went to with the exception of:
The forging press demo, making the buffalo skull, it took as long as paint does drying
Rob Gunters demo (I did record it all but accidentally recorded over the second half L I did get the making of the hammer that I bought thoughJ)
I had to edit (but got all the important parts of) the traditional grill demo (was running out of tape)

I was going to make copies of the tapes and send them to Jock but never got around to doing it. Is there something you would like to have? I might have it!

I was going to make a side draft, dirt lined wooden forge to go along with the lever blower I bought to make a traveling rig. I have the anvil (bought at ABANA2K) and an extra post vice. I think I will use a metal wash tub as a slack tub. It should be a good outfit.

  Wayne Parris - Thursday, 06/28/01 20:18:09 GMT

Wash tub will work nicely....
Gotta use what is on hand... and I have plenty of wood...
Thanks for the offer. I am not sure of what all I might have missed..... IN fact a lot of the conference is a blur... :) I do remember Dorothy Steigler's demo with here daughter, and the demo by Lorelei Sims. Both very nice demos and nice ladies.....
  Ralph - Thursday, 06/28/01 22:21:22 GMT

conference a blur: Your right about that! That time went WAY too fast! That is why I recorded everything I could. I even bought the video camera just for that event, money well spent I would say!

I've seen Dorothy several times. She was at the CBA Spring conf. in Orange co. just a month or so before ABANA. That is where I told her about using baby oil for enamiling insted of the concoction she had. It works well and ......YOU CAN GET IT ON SUNDAY (big grin)
  Wayne Parris - Friday, 06/29/01 13:22:18 GMT

Conference a blur, EMF: Jet lag didn't help here. . . I have a set of videos Torin made that I owe a bunch of folks copies. . .

Mills, The drawing is an idea sketch. The coils are progressive with electronic switching. I figured something like a stepper motor controller. The problems with this device include valving the air to induct fresh air. The air in an air hammer will rapidly overheat and and any lubricant becomes fuel and the cylinder can diesel.

In the end a good mechanical hammer like a Fairbanks or a Bradley can't be beat for simplicity, controlability and durability.
  - guru - Friday, 06/29/01 20:35:15 GMT

Powerhammer: Wanted: 25 lb Little Giant or Meyer powerhammer anywhere in the southwest. e-mail jmac at
  John MacArthur - Saturday, 06/30/01 12:25:12 GMT

Ins.: I need help in finding insurance for demos and county fairs. The company's I have contacted so far have not responded. Need a $1,000,000 liability policy. Would Farrier's ins. work? Thanks Stiffy
  Stiffy - Saturday, 06/30/01 14:01:32 GMT

Ins.: I need help in finding insurance for demos and county fairs. The company's I have contacted so far have not responded. Need a $1,000,000 liability policy. Would Farrier's ins. work? Thanks Stiffy
  Stiffy - Saturday, 06/30/01 14:01:32 GMT

Insruance: Stiffy,

Figure I'd better drop you a not, just so you know you aren't being ignored.

But none of us have a good answer for you. Insurance is a subject that comes up fairly often. I've been doing public, museum and school demonstrations for almost 11 years now. I've looked for insurance for 10 of those years. I can find insurance that is reasonable in cost, but it only covers when I'm doing a re-enactment event.

I've never had an accident involving anyone other than myself or a helper, (minor burns) but it would only take one to wipe me out.
  Paw+Paw+Wilson - Sunday, 07/01/01 14:38:34 GMT

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