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Virtual Hammer-In!

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June 2005 Archive

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

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

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

patina/copper: Patina agents act differently based on temperature, humidity,and other factors. Try different dilutions on small samples and mark them so you know what you did. Quick acting patinas I have used tend to want to flake off. I use a more dilute form and use a spray bottle of clear ammonia to make sure it bites into the copper or brass. Then, just before it is completely dry, I hit it with a spray of clear enamel (99 cents a can). This bonds the agent to the copper and after a few days, you can't hardly scrub it off.
- Loren T. - Wednesday, 06/01/05 01:19:04 EDT

Frank Turley: Dayton International Airport is the closest big airport to Quad State. Dayton is just south of Troy (which is where Quad is held)
- Jeff G. - Wednesday, 06/01/05 08:19:01 EDT

Loren T.: Have you any experience with gilders paste ( not sure if the spelling is correct) I ran across this finish from a blacksmith, and briefly talked about it, looks like a pretty neat finish and wondered how to use it and protect it.
- Duck - Wednesday, 06/01/05 09:09:59 EDT

Morning posts: Sorry, I may have stepped on some posts this morning while archiving the page. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 11:13:07 EDT

Jim Paw Paw Wilson Memorial Hammer-In:
For those of you that missed the announcement there will be a memorial hammer-in at Paw-Paw's on June 18th. There will be demos, iron in the hat and luch served. See Calendar of events page for details and directions.
- guru - Wednesday, 06/01/05 13:45:34 EDT

PPW leaf address: I missed the special address for sending an iron leaf. Thanks.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 06/01/05 14:28:27 EDT

hardies: hello, im very new at blacksmithing and have recently begun making my own tools. Last night i was trying to make a hardie for fullering out of some railroad hardware and hit a few snags: first, it was a larger piece or steel than i am used to and was jumping all over the place when struck. Is this a sign that my anvil(read: doorstop) is too small? its a 110lb cast iron hunk-a-junk. Secondly, how snugly should hardies fit into their holes? one final question: i use a homemade charcoal forge, and i noticed some very pretty grey-white flames that i had never seen before. is this normal, or has my charcoal (which has been sitting around for a month or so, but burned fine) gone sour? Thanks in advance,
- Payday - Wednesday, 06/01/05 15:58:15 EDT

Hardies: My hardie is made from RR track web. Thats tough stuff. Even at orange heat it didnt move much. 110# should be up to the job if you have it tied down securely - sounds like you dont. Hardies are usually a sloppy fit so that they can be quickly dropped into the hardy hole and quickly removed. since the cut stroke is downwards they dont need a lot of bracing. Still I remember it took me a while to get used to a loose hardie when I started.
adam - Wednesday, 06/01/05 16:39:38 EDT

Hardies PS: Are you trying to forge the whole tool out of one piece, stem included? This is an ambitious project for *any* smith working by himself. Those of use w/o power hammers usually arc weld on the stem.
adam - Wednesday, 06/01/05 16:50:23 EDT

hofi hammer.......again !: hi !
I want to buy an Hofi Cast Hammer but I don't know where I can find it........
If you coud help me.........
thanks !
- F. - Wednesday, 06/01/05 18:05:22 EDT

My hardy was the broken off end of jackhammer bit. I drew down the stem on a power hammer and it is a snug fit so I made sure the stem protrudes out the bottom of the hardy hole so I can pop it out.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/01/05 18:17:31 EDT

Hofi Hammer: For a cast steel Hofi Hammer, available in your chooice of two weights, follow th elink to the BigBlu Powerhammer folks, advertisers here on Anvilfire. Tell them you found it here, please.
vicopper - Wednesday, 06/01/05 19:35:24 EDT

charcoal: Payday, that funny looking flame is from charcoal that has gotten pretty damp and is letting off steam before it truly burns, or is caused by ash. If you are using charcoal briquettes, the funny flame could be from any of a number of adulterants in the fuel. You only want to use real charcoal made directly from wood and nothing else.

Most railroad steel is fairly tuff stuff. If you were using a spring clip, that stuff is pretty near too tough to hand forge. It is a workout for a good-sized power hammer. Avoid snug fits for anything in the hardy hole that is going to be hit hard, or the wedging action could crack the heel of the anvil. Particularly so on a cast iron ASO.
vicopper - Wednesday, 06/01/05 19:40:53 EDT

Hofi Hammer: vicopper
I ordered my hofi hammer last week. The fellas at bigbluhammer are top notch. They are very nice and appreciative of their customers. I highly recommend them. The hammers they have are forged now and no longer cast. I think they said they are 4140.
burntforge - Wednesday, 06/01/05 19:49:27 EDT

Burntforge: Yep, after I posted that link I noticed that it said a cast hammer was shown, but forged hammers are sold. I doubt it makes a whit of difference whether it is forged or cast, It is the shape, the balance and the resiliency of the hammer that matters.

The guys from BigBlu are definitely good guys. I had a bunch of fun with them last year at Quad States, well in to the night a time or two.
vicopper - Wednesday, 06/01/05 20:23:17 EDT

Duck: I am not familiar with gilders paste. Most of my experience with agents are learned from a friend who does nothing but copper and brass kachinas, etc.
- Loren T. - Thursday, 06/02/05 00:18:39 EDT

BigBLU and Hofi Hammers:
Note that BigBLU is currently buying hammers directly from Uri Hofi. When they start manufacturing them in-house they will be the only maker(that I know of) paying master Hofi a licencing fee for the use of his name and design. As mentioned above, good folks.

I'm told that Uri prefers the cast hammers as they are investment centrifugal cast and more precision than the low production forgings. Lots of critical military and gun parts are made this way. However, he is supplying forged hammers due to the demand and soon BigBLU will be making them here using the same techniques as Uri.

They are a well made tool and worth the price. Think not? Try making one.
- guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 00:58:52 EDT

Leaves for PPW: Frank,
You can find the address where the leaves are being collected on the opening page of, or

All leaves should be in the mail by October 1, 2005.
Leaves for PPW
- Conner - Thursday, 06/02/05 01:22:24 EDT

PPW iForge Safety Demo:
Posted the posthumous iForge safety demo on metal fume fever by Jim paw-Paw Wilson. Moved safety demos to top of the list.
- guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 05:02:03 EDT

guru: I just read the iforge safety on metal fume fever. I am glad you posted all that info. A couple of weeks back I purchased a respirator with special filters to use in my blacksmith shop while using the electric welder. The only window in the shop no longer has stuff piled in front of it and now opens. The metal fume fever Paw Paw suffered really made me think- a great deal.
- burntforge - Thursday, 06/02/05 07:15:25 EDT

Hardy shank: When forging them, it helps to chamfer the corners a bit, especially if you are fitting to an old, forged anvil. On the old anvils, the hole is usually out of square and the corners aren't always sharp. If you do achieve a reasonably snug fit, there will be some shrinkage when the metal cools and you'll have a little slop. When you get a reasonable shoulder, you guesstimate where to cut for the tool in question, and upset into the hardy hole, as in making a big rivet head. Then forge the tool portion.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 06/02/05 08:00:38 EDT

Plan of attack: My particular specialty(if you can call my backyard obsession anything that official) is forged plant hangars/hooks. I'm thinking of visiting a large, high-traffic retail plant nursery near my house to see if they want to carry some of my plant hangers. I've sold a few sets to various people, and a small, sole-proprietership nursery near my house, but nothing very substantial. I've never approached, what I would term, a 'real business'. I'm wondering what an effective technique would be to get them to buy, on consignment, or outright, some forged items.

I've thought about making a 'sampler set', and throwing them in a backpack(at least the ones that fit). I'd go in, and ask for the manager, then break out the hooks for display if he/she was interested. Does this seem like a reasonable approach, or will it look like amateur hour?

- Tom T - Thursday, 06/02/05 09:56:19 EDT

S-7: Frank,

Your technique, as described at the NWBA conference, for heat-treating S-7 for hot-work is great. I've used my newly forged and heat-treated S-7 hot-cut extensively, and still have the file marks and keen edge left over from my initial sharpening. I wish I had my notes handy so I could share the procedure...
- Tom T - Thursday, 06/02/05 09:59:41 EDT

Tom T: Tom this is just a thought as I have sold things in the manner you describe above and it usuallyy has not worked well for me. It may fine for you. You may make a flyer with photos of all your standard hooks, with names for them and set prices. This elliminates them trying to squeek you down to a non-profit price. I would give them on of the smallest hooks with the flyer. Put the ball in their court, so it doesn't look like you are beging for sales. This way it is more like they need your plant hanger to sell your product. After I post this it may lead to people plowing my idea apart. I will state this is just a thought and It may be very wrong approach or a potential one as others may have better ideas.
burntforge - Thursday, 06/02/05 10:22:01 EDT

Tom T: Sentence correction in my last post
This way it is like they need your plant hangers for them to sell thier product.
burntforge - Thursday, 06/02/05 10:24:25 EDT

oh sure!.......: conspirras...conscriptacy ....cover up!....:-)
i did ask about the slack tub pub rego ...being from australia i have no zip code...and if it was a money thing.
Mick's backyard bodgie forge
Mike - Thursday, 06/02/05 10:35:54 EDT

TOM T'S Hangers: TOM: Be at the top of your game with that product. The market is flooded with Chinese and Mexican stuff, and people are buying it. You must offer a far superior product to make the people with the deep pockets bypass the import display and go nuts for yours. Another area which is becoming cutthroat is the produce of all these computer controlled plasma cutters. The stuff looks great, but the novelty is wearing off. Go to a big craft show, and you'll see 4 guys with the same rigs, all with the same software patterns, trying to hustle similar products and pay off the equipment that they had to convince their wives was gonna make them a pile of dough. I didn't write this to be a party-pooper, really, but you're entering a tough market. Dig in and be the best there is. Good luck.
3dogs - Thursday, 06/02/05 11:29:09 EDT

"Go to a big craft show, and you'll see 4 guys with the same rigs, all with the same software patterns, trying to hustle similar products and pay off the equipment that they had to convince their wives was gonna make them a pile of dough."

adam - Thursday, 06/02/05 11:36:51 EDT

Duck: We used gilders paste at the architectural shop where I used to work. It can be applied in a number of ways. We wiped it on with a cloth to highlight collars on pickets. It can be applied light or heavy for the look you want. I can't speak for durability as I left that place not too long after we used the stuff. We were pleased with the results though. They were giving out free samples 2 or 3 yrs ago at Quad State, but I didn't see them last year. You might call and see if they would send you a sample
- Jeff G. - Thursday, 06/02/05 11:36:56 EDT

Tom T: Don't just show up and expect them to drop everything to talk to you. This is usually an irritation to somebody running a business. Go in and introduce yourself and see if you can set an appointment to meet with the owner. But have your stuff with you in case you get lucky and they have time to talk. Make sure you give them a card and if you score a meeting send a thank you note with something you have made that can set on thier desk so they think of you when they see it. This got me in with an award winning landscape designer in my area. Led to some real nice jobs.
- Jeff G. - Thursday, 06/02/05 11:46:10 EDT

Limited Markets: Tom T.

Usualy what happens is you rapidly saturate the market with you limited product line. However, it depends on your market. Also note that this small stuff that was once the bread and butter of small part time and hobby smiths is now being made overseas and imported by the container load. Most is pretty bad but often the customer does not know the difference. The last craft show I was at a "renny" (Ren faire dealer) was selling a large line of forged items that looked pretty good. . it was ALL imported. They had more inventory than I was ever capable of assembling.

Consignment is usualy amature hour on both parties part. The business does not have enough capital to buy inventory NOR do they know their market well enough to make a buying decision. The seller has not researched his market and doesn't know what sells at what price and is not producing at sufficient production levels to sell at whole sale competitively. Since it is not an outright sale things often get "lost" in the consignment business and most shops will claim theft and want you to cover it 100%. Unless the shop is primarily consignment AND has a computerized inventory plan then there probably will be trouble. You need a CONTRACT, inventory lists and accountability. You should also go inventory the stock once a month.

As I was getting out of the consignment business I came up with a declining discount plan. IF the shop owner really wanted my work they would get a wholesale (50%) price for two months. That would drop to 40% for the next two months then 30% for two months. If they wanted to keep the inventory after that they had to buy it OR return it. Remember, consignment is investing in THEIR business. If they need the inventory to fill their shelves and look prosperous then they should buy it from you.

Most retail outlets need product that is properly finished, packaged and displayed. That means paint, containers (if necessary) and a display. They also need to know that inventory can be restocked as needed AND they need the lowest price possible.

An online store or Ebay is another possibility.

Working crafts shows is a full time job and HARD work. You have to like to travel on the cheap. I know folks that have done it for years and many that got burned out rapidly. Some can make money at it while others fair miserably (I did).
- guru - Thursday, 06/02/05 12:49:26 EDT

Gilder Paste:
That was pretty cool, []I like the clear powder coat final. Thanks for the help Jeff & Loren.

"Caution this may be off color"
A little boy was sitting on the curb with a gallon of turpentine.

He was Shaking it up and watching all the bubbles.

A little while later a Priest came along and asked the boy what he had.

The little boy replied, "this is the most powerfull liquid in the World, Its called Turpentine."

The Priest said "No the most powerfull liquid in the world is Holy Water."

The Priest told the little boy "If you take some of this Holy Water and rub it on a pregnant womens belly she'll pass a healthy baby."

The little boy looked a little confused for a moment.

He then turned to the priest and replied, "You take some of this here Turpentine and rub it on a cat's bottom, and it will pass a Harley."

LDuck - Thursday, 06/02/05 13:42:46 EDT

Hangar's and such: Sage advice, one and all. I don't try to compete with the ready made plant hangars. I only do custom business, as I never had luck competeing with the mass-produced general purpose items. I just got done doing a set that had to be made to particular specifications, which preventing the buyers from going with the mass-produced items. I see a general lack of heavy duty plant hangars at the nursery. If someone wants to hang a 1 gallon planter filled with wet soil, it's going to weigh more than the mass produced hooks can handle. 3/8" by 1" stock seems to work well for planters that size. I'm going to try to work that angle.

Art and quality. There are very few who are willing to go the extra mile, or pay the extra money to get high-quality or artistic(not mutually exclusive) items these days. The Wal-Mart society, as I like to call it, makes cash the bottom-line top-priority. I try to inform people why they need to appreciate fine craftmanship, but it's a tough road to travel.
- Tom T - Thursday, 06/02/05 13:45:42 EDT

hammer.....: humm, hofi cast hammer are difficult to find !
thanks for your help..........
F. - Thursday, 06/02/05 16:34:18 EDT

I too do custom, heavy plant hangers. I sell through a nursery/gallery. They have the run from scrap welded into "art" to very high class carved limestone sculpture. I am towards the bottom end in price, but still much higher than Wally world. Mine is marketed as heavy enough to hold up, well finished(painted) and if welded, every joint is seal welded. Most of the import junk is tacked together with spot welds, and a thin coat of black spit on it. Believe it or not some out there are serious gardeners that use their stuff for years. They look for heavy, and want the seal weld so the piece isn't rusting from the joints after the first rain. I even get requests to refinish after years out in the weather.( another small profit center)
To do well you have to be well made, and it has to be obvious to the customer that they are getting a quality that is not availble from the import junk.
ptree - Thursday, 06/02/05 17:16:54 EDT

What is "Seal Welded" ptree?
JimG - Thursday, 06/02/05 17:49:42 EDT

I do not know but I suspect that it is a nice finish weld pass with a nice fillet to prevent a place for water to collect.
I envision in my mind something that looks like a GOOD solder fillet on electronics.
Ralph - Thursday, 06/02/05 18:29:08 EDT

Seal welded: I know what you mean Ptree :)
It goes all the way across so it keeps water out so it's a 'seal weld'. BOG (thats my kind of thinking)

My Nana was a Romany and she had the 'fakmenondidderywasher' it means (according to her at least!) 'the thing I can't describe but can see as clear as a bell in my minds eye'. :)
Tinker - Thursday, 06/02/05 19:06:18 EDT

Tinker and Ralph got it. A seal weld is a water tight weld around a joint. As in a seal welded bonnet on a valve. Any pin hole of tight crack lets in water and bingo, rust. No matter how good the finish, a joint that has a defect like this will pop rust. Sometimes galvanize won't even get into the joint.
ptree - Thursday, 06/02/05 21:32:51 EDT

Ducks Babble: Good evening Folks,
Thought I might babble and brag a little tonight, Bill Epps of iForge has a neat rose project/lesson for beginners. I followed his directions (also read the safety thing from the guru) and the rose turned out pretty good, also did two leaves (welded them to the stem) and a rat tail scrolled stem, so the thing is free standing at about 10”, finally, the finish is bead blasted and subbed in acid, air dried and then high lighted the edges with steel wool, sprayed it with a clear coat and put in the oven, the finish looks pretty cool, but I think it’s basically home made paint? (this is my idea of a good time). By the way, it’s strange how a little home made rose can erase the little wifes concerns about how many $ have been spent tools.
- LDuck - Thursday, 06/02/05 22:26:26 EDT

cost of tools: remember, it is never erased, just put on the back-burner awhile . . . ;-)}
Escher - Friday, 06/03/05 09:48:08 EDT

Doug Smith of Tabernash, CO, shares notes from Spain including "Welding Plate": A "Turley grad", a blacksmith, and furniture maker sent me some smithery notes from his journey to Spain. He visited the taller escuela (smithing shop school) in León, which is in the "Guía Práctica de la Forja Artística"; see the 'Bookshelf, Reviews' from the pulldown menu. Apparently, it is housed in a dilapidated building which is destined to be torn down. Then, they'll look for a new home. Good Luck. Their summer short courses are successful.

Doug found good examples of ironwork in the towns of Albarracín, Taramundi, Sitges, and in a working shop in Sangüesa.

The Sangüesa smith, Pedro J. Manchado Palacios, a gracious host, gave Doug two tablets of welding plate (plaquitas para soldar), one of which he sent to me along with a xerox of directions from the original box. Each tablet is about 5" x 8" and is scored into breakable 5/16" squares. This material is described in several languages, and in English, "Iron Welding Chemical Metallic Ready for Use to Forge Weld Iron or Steel without Reaching the Melting Point". It is no longer manufactured, so it is of heirloom or museum value to the right museum. The tablet is a scant 1/8" thick and the whole is of an orangish color. It is placed between the pieces to be welded as an aid to more easily achieve the weld.

I read that the British used a similar material which I believe was called by the trade name, "Laffite Welding
Plate". I have no idea where this sort of material was manufactured, nor do I know its composition.
Frank Turley - Friday, 06/03/05 10:46:22 EDT

Tied-up and Behind the Flow!:

Crash projects at work, and I'm off to Omaha next week for an annual conference with a full schedule, so I'll catch up when I get a chance.

Just wanted y'all to know I haven't been eaten by bears! ;-)
Checking Out the New NPS Digs:
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 06/03/05 11:23:40 EDT

Dang nabbit! Tell them bears that there is *no* payment till the job is done *right*! Course if Atli went one on one with a bear---how could we tell which one came back...

Have fun! I'm off to the SWABA campout meeting after work today.

Thomas P - Friday, 06/03/05 12:00:53 EDT

champion hammer parts: howdy folks ............ i'm looking for dies for a model 1 champion hammer(65lb)....... if anyone has some or has any leads please drop me an email........... also VERY interested in finding the #2 model hammer(120lb) so the above applies for that as well...........mean while back at the ranch i'm still looking at putting a 150lb or air hammer togather. i have all the steel i need for the frame base and sowblock----- i still need a good sized air cyclinder as well as the valving and such and would love ta workout a trade with a fellow smith....... thanks everyone
blacklionforge - Friday, 06/03/05 12:08:15 EDT

Forge Welding Plates: Frank- they used to manufacture and sell similar stuff here in the USA as well, its just been a while. I have a pretty big collection of old tool and machinery catalogs, and in my Beals & Company Catalog, from Buffalo NY, 1913, they carry a whole line of forge welding plates like you describe. They are made by the Lafitte company, and in the illustration they say "plaque a souder" on them, leading me to believe they were imported from France.
They were made in 4" x 8" sheets, divided into little squares so you can break off just as much as you want, kinda like a hershey bar. 15 dollars a hundred, in 1913.
The catalog says
" lower your costs, improve your work, and do what you cannot do now. The chemical action of the plate increases the strength of the weld. You can weld at a low heat. Used in the simplest manner, the two pieces being heated to cherry red if steel, white heat if iron. Plate of sufficient size is placed between the parts to be welded; press them together until the plate fuses, hammer lightly, and complete by hammering the usual way. The pieces may be reheated to any desired heat without endangering weld."

They also sold brazing plates, for forge brazing.
I am pretty sure I have seen these in other old american catalogs as well- so when there was a lot of forge welding going on in the US, my guess is this stuff was pretty widely available.
- Ries - Friday, 06/03/05 14:02:01 EDT

Ries; Welding Plate: Thanks. I was misspelling Lafitte. I can't locate a brand name on the xeroxes that I have, but I bet it's the same stuff. The brief description is written in English, German, French, Italian, Portugese, and Spanish. I'll bet the Lafitte plate was made in France for wide distribution.
Frank Turley - Friday, 06/03/05 15:10:16 EDT

I'd sure like to see an analysis of the stuff---was it patented? (might give us some idea what was going on)

Thomas P - Friday, 06/03/05 17:50:49 EDT

Apprentice : Im a norwegian girl, and im just finish with my farrier education here in Norway (we have a vocational educatoion collage here were we learn a little about have to smith horseshoes and have to "fix" the hoofs over 2years) as a part of the education to become a profesional farrier in norway, we need after the 2 year in school,to be an apprentice for 2years. Then after this 2apprentice years we can take an exam,and if we graduate this exam we are profesional farriers,and can start our own buisnis.
So what I wondered is, is it enyone interesting in haveing me as an apprentice ?
It is not many farriers here in Norway right now who wanted an apprentice so i thought I could try in another country. as my master you will recive money each month from the norwegian education system, and the education system also pays me,so you will not need pay me,and will aculy earn a little for schooling me.
The education system will give you a list over thing i need to learn from you , and the appreticeship program we make a contract for will be two years.
please contact me for more information if you are interested.
- norwegian farrier - Friday, 06/03/05 18:58:10 EDT

Im a norwegian girl, and im just finish with my farrier education here in Norway (we have a vocational educatoion collage here were we learn a little about have to smith horseshoes and have to "fix" the hoofs over 2years) as a part of the education to become a profesional farrier in norway, we need after the 2 year in school,to be an apprentice for 2years. Then after this 2apprentice years we can take an exam,and if we graduate this exam we are profesional farriers,and can start our own buisnis.
So what I wondered is, is it enyone interesting in haveing me as an apprentice ?
It is not many farriers here in Norway right now who wanted an apprentice so i thought I could try in another country. as my master you will recive money each month from the norwegian education system, and the education system also pays me,so you will not need pay me,and will aculy earn a little for schooling me.
The education system will give you a list over thing i need to learn from you , and the appreticeship program we make a contract for will be two years.
please contact me for more information if you are interested.
- norwegian farrier - Friday, 06/03/05 19:02:01 EDT
opop - Friday, 06/03/05 19:06:21 EDT

Thomas P; patents and Farrier contact: Written on the box is this: "Registered Patents, Models and Trade Marks". I can also make out, "Rectangular Superior Plates". In the interstices where a few of the portions have broken away, I can see a network or matrix of fine wires. I assume they are of iron, and that when heated, they may act like the "iron filings" in Anti-Borax brand fluxes.

NORWEGIAN FARRIER. You could contact the American Farriers Association. Their magazine is titled, "Professional Farrier". They have a "Letters to the Editor" column, and the two Managing Editors are: Matthew Gillis; and Laura Gillis; They also have a classified advertisement section on the last page, minimum of $ 32.00. A letter to the editors expressing your need would be free, if they published it. Good Luck.
Frank Turley - Friday, 06/03/05 20:28:06 EDT

Norwegian Farrier: So how is Norway this time of year. Both my parents are from Norway.[ Fredrikstad and Kristiansand]If you need any Help in America, you can email me. Its good to help a fellow Country men
- Ken Kristiansen - Friday, 06/03/05 21:40:10 EDT

little giant: hey guys there ia a 100lb little giant on ebay, what is a resonable price to stop bidding at? guy says its in exellent cond. please advise
- jim - Saturday, 06/04/05 08:55:47 EDT

Converting power hammer to sheet metal press: I am curious if any of you fellas have used or converted your power hammers for use as a press for stamping out small sheet metal parts.

Wondering if it is feasible.
T.N. Miller - Saturday, 06/04/05 11:32:13 EDT

sheet metal press: why would you convert a press when you could buy a small punch press cheep?
Ken Kristiansen - Saturday, 06/04/05 15:12:52 EDT

I gotta agree with Ken- although "cheap" is a regional thing- where Ken is, in the meltdown of american manufacturing, there are lots of cheap punch presses, while out here on the west coast, a small 5 ton Kenco can often go for thousands of dollars.
But a power hammer for forging is designed to hit hard, again and again- which is not the same force you need for stamping sheet metal. You need one good hit for sheet metal. Then you take the part out, and hit the next one, once. With most forging hammers, its quite hard to control it down to one hit. Also, the dies on a power hammer are relatively small, while a punch press has a big table, designed to take appropriate sized dies- a 5 ton might be 8" or 10" square, which is bigger than a 300 ton power hammer. A 200 ton punch press could have a 24" square or even 36" square table.

For small runs of sheet metal stampings, if you cant find a cheap punch press where you live, you could do it with a hydraulic press- many jewelers make stampings this way, often using urethane sheet so they can make very cheap dies. Real stamping dies can cost thousands, but jewelers, including Bonny Doon Engineering and Charles Brain (google em) have developed some pretty cool systems for making small runs of small sheet metal parts cheaply and easily.
- Ries - Saturday, 06/04/05 15:59:32 EDT

Lessons Learned Today!: Lesson #1...Wrapping the tender meat of the inside of your bicep around a freshly torched tendril for a trellis hurts...ALOT!

Lesson #2...Teaching the youngins' shop safety pays off. The boy (13 year old) was texturizig a spoon he found in the farmers field (?!), and doing a fine job I might add...came out very primitive looking. Anyway, whilst I was doing a very good imitation of one of those Polynesion Tiki Torch dancers across the shop, my son was already turning off the Oxy/Acetylene tanks...Good boy!

and Lesson #3...screaming "GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY!!!!!" after cauterizing your armpit actually cracks you (and the boy) up enough to make the pain go away quicker. I think....

Just wanted to yak...time for another medicinal beverage...have a nice weekend!

Gator - Saturday, 06/04/05 16:59:58 EDT

punch press: you could get a small punch press for under $500.00. and as far as the dies, I just scraped 14K LBS of die shoes.I live and work in New Jersey.We still have some industry left
Ken Kristiansen - Saturday, 06/04/05 17:19:58 EDT

punch press: By small I mean free standing 5ft tall. If you are looking for a table top, it would be even less
Ken Kristiansen - Saturday, 06/04/05 17:25:10 EDT

lessons: I have found that screaming "Great googly moogly" is always a crowd-pleaser, but I haven't ever had the presence of mind to scream it in an actual emergency. Naughty words almost always make it out first! (grin!)
Alan-L - Saturday, 06/04/05 19:49:55 EDT

Ken Kristiansen - Saturday, 06/04/05 20:04:35 EDT

Ken: I've been trying to get hold of you. I just sent you an email.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 06/04/05 20:13:11 EDT

Jeff G: Left message call me at home
Ken Kristiansen - Saturday, 06/04/05 20:31:30 EDT

Great googly moogly: I have been sitting here wondering where I had heard that term before. Then it hit me. NO, NO! Not the iron skillet. I think it was Grady on the old Sandford show that used it. Funny how my mind clings to the odd little bits and forgets all the important stuff.
- Larry - Saturday, 06/04/05 20:33:42 EDT

Hmmm.... Grady may have said it, but I swiped it from The Simpsons.
Alan-L - Saturday, 06/04/05 20:35:56 EDT

Great googly,etc.: Pat Boone used it back in the '50's.
3dogs - Saturday, 06/04/05 21:41:37 EDT

Powerhammer Project: I spent a few long hours working on the powerhammer today. One of those days when things don't go the way you want and too much time is taken up with getting around problems.

First problem was not having the right size taps for the screws for the retainer plates for the wear bands in the tup guide asembly. That necessitated a trip across the island to the only decent hardware store, which naturally was out of stock on that size tap. So I had to redesign to a larger size; no big deal really, and if I'd done it in the first place it would have saved me a two hour round trip. (Okay, the driving time is only an hour, but can *you* go in a hardware store without looking around?)

Finally got that taken care of and went to bolt up the tup guide to the frame and promptly dropped the socket down the frame tube. So, get out the gas axe and make a hatch to get the socket back. Should have thought of that earlier; it will be handy for another chore down the road. The guide assembly *did* fit up just fine, which was a relief.

Next up on the daily-dammit roster was making the anti-rotation follower for the tup. Couldn't find the size plate I wanted, to begin with. Then, when I decided that it would be okay to make it from what I had on hand, I discovered that the bandsaw blades I'd ordered several months ago were all about an inch too long for the saw. The blades being bimetals and me not having a blade welder, that meant I had to modify the saw to accept the overlength blades. No big deal, right? Just cut a quickie shim plate about 1/2" thick to stick in the column of the saw. Wrong, that's the size plate I don't have. So make it two pieces of 3/8" plate, then. That means making dowels to index the plates to the column flanges and to leach other. NO biggie, just use some 1/4" rod. Wrong, again. No 1/4" rod to be found. Not even a long-shanked bolt.

While grubbing around in the corners looking for any littl e bit of 1/4" round scrap, I finally spotted what appeared to be a couple inches. Turned out it was a practice tenon I'd forged on a piece of 1/2" square a couple years ago. Tickled it with the calipers and, lo and behold, it was spot on 1/4". Used it happily; how many people can say they hand forge their dowel pins? (Okay, I'll admit not many would think that was a bragging point. grin) Anyway, got the saw rigged, and finally got the stupid little part cut out.

All in all, a day of mostly making the tools to make the tools. Net progress was pretty miniscule, but at least not going in reverse. Tomorrow, after a couple of nasty hours on the mower, I'll try to get some real progress made. *is* starting to look like it might become a sho-nuf power hammer if I live long enough.
vicopper - Saturday, 06/04/05 22:59:06 EDT

hmmmmm if this next surgery does not allow healing of MY armpit I might go the cauterizing path......
Ralph - Saturday, 06/04/05 23:09:09 EDT

Forge Welding Plates: This sounds like the "Surface Alloying Technology" that EUTECTIC Co. specializes in. They have lower temperature joining & overlaying alloys for just about any metal, including torch sprayed powder for wear, corosion and friction resistance, too many flavors to list.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 06/04/05 23:13:06 EDT

Ken K. -- If My shop wasn't overflowing I would empty that building of Yours.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 06/04/05 23:19:05 EDT

Eutectic: Y'know, that's an interesting thought, Dave. I'll bet they have something that would make positively dandy forge welding flux, if we just knew what it was. Somebody who has a Eutectic dealer nearby should look into that.
vicopper - Saturday, 06/04/05 23:45:26 EDT

googly moogly: It was one of my grandpas favorites...I use it when the boy is around...more Viking-ish epitaphs are uttered (screamed) when by myself....
Gator - Sunday, 06/05/05 00:24:36 EDT

arm pit branding...: The tendril shaped brand is very fashionable, my sarcastic sweetie has informed me!
Gator - Sunday, 06/05/05 00:27:15 EDT

NORWEGIAN FARRIER: Contact JIM KEITH at . JIM has a school here in AMERICA. They shoe alot of horses every week. JIM is a very good instructor and is an excellent farrier. He also has won the world championship at CALGARY CAN. He also has judged there when he is not competing. He is an older man and is pretty easy to get along with.

If you could work a deal with him, it would benefit both of you

Tell him I give you his contact addy.

Chuck Bennett
sandpile - Sunday, 06/05/05 00:28:18 EDT

Gator: It could have been worse, you might have been sitting and dropped it into your lap.
welcome to the hot hand...err. hot pit club.

Who was the bubble head that posted to me?
Any who
Avation Electriction( second class )
served on the USS Independence, Atsugi Japan( VS-21 )
USS Enchon, Corpus Christi Texas( HM-15)
Also served as EODT for varied units throught lower Asia and the upper African areas.
- timex - Sunday, 06/05/05 03:56:20 EDT

punch press: if anyone is interested i have an alva allen 12 ton punch press i would let go off fairly cheap or for a good trade..........
blacklionforge - Sunday, 06/05/05 07:24:50 EDT

Walmart Mentality: Good term, very descriptive. I was in Lowes the other day and say a "clearance" rack with a bunch of those cold bent plant hangers. It did my heart good to see these cheap imports not selling and being sold at a fraction of the original price. Then I realized that the REALLY cheap plastic crap was still selling at full price. I made a few flower pot wall hangars as gifts but I doubt I could ever sell them at a profit.
quenchcrack - Sunday, 06/05/05 12:21:31 EDT

old lathe : I just saw an old lathe that was foot pedal operated. It had all the tooling with it. I don't know what he wants for it. let me know if someone is interested
Ken Kristiansen - Sunday, 06/05/05 13:20:01 EDT

press or fly-press ???: hi!
if you have choice, for blacksmithing, you're buying 20 tonnes press or an heavy hand fly-press ?????
- F. - Sunday, 06/05/05 16:13:12 EDT

Gator- your post has made my day. Sorry for your pain though! The dance reminded me of my own when Dad dropped the head of a 1947 Chevy engine on my right forefinger.

Do you guys suppose that might be a reason why my ironwork doesnt look any better? Maybe a post-stress finger mashing syndrome (BOG)
Brian C - Sunday, 06/05/05 16:26:18 EDT

ouch...: Brian
In this day of syndromes, I like that one! When various body parts got smushed or dinked, my grandad, in a very deadpan way, would look up and just mutter "well...there's a pain that'll linger..." and then go back to what he was doing. He was very...uh..."focused" i guess. Heck of a guy though...:)
Gator - Sunday, 06/05/05 18:31:48 EDT

New Toy's: Can actually be very usefull as well :)
Now I've something that drills straighter than me I've redone the burner for the furnace today.(It worked well, but not as well as it should in my opinion) New 'bang on' 1mm jet hole, and new mounts in the bellhousing for the 'jetted' pipe. Even used it to drill and tap new securing screws for the pipe mounting. All in all a much neater job.
A final flourish was added with a spring retained choke plate. Jet aligned via the (safer) water hose method. She'll now go from a candle flame to a jet engine like she's supposed to. And will be an ideal forge burner down the line...:)
I'm a happy man.
Tinker - Sunday, 06/05/05 19:10:58 EDT

Ken Kristiansen,
Any details on the foot powered lathe?
ptree - Sunday, 06/05/05 19:47:33 EDT

foot powered lathe: It said seneca falls on it. aprox. swing 9" aprox. 30" between center.
Ken Kristiansen - Sunday, 06/05/05 20:36:31 EDT

F: I had a 20 ton flywheel press at the first shop where I worked. We used it to make some pretty fancy pickets on custom rails. We would build die sets for it out of mild steel, since the pickets were forged hot, that was adequate. Had to have the clearance just right though or it would gall the cam. I have a swing press in my shop now, and while I don't use it often, I'm starting to figure out that it is pretty versatile. I think it depends on your intended use. And your available space. Some others on here can probably give more advice.
- Jeff G. - Sunday, 06/05/05 22:08:11 EDT

Fly press or 20 tonne: BY 20 tonne, I'm assuming, (dangerous, I know) that you mean a punch press. That being the case, give me the flypress every time, for blacksmithing. There isn't the level of control with a punch press that there is with a fly press, nor the versatility. That's just my opinion, your mileage may vary considerably.
vicopper - Sunday, 06/05/05 22:22:50 EDT

also most punch presses have to complete the stroke. ANd if it gets bound up something will give. Usually in a not plesant manner.
Ralph - Sunday, 06/05/05 22:51:26 EDT

As has been said many times already, a punchpress isn't the proper tool for open die forging, as if severly overloaded pieces will fly, and You will likeley get hurt. Next to the worst case, when one gets stuck on bottom dead center You have to sacrifice the part or tooling or both to the torch to get it freed up. If You understand presswork and tool design, a punchpress CAN be a versitle machine, but tooling expenses usually require a large production run to amortize over.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 06/05/05 23:09:20 EDT

Eutectic:: The spray torch powders for joining might work, but are expensive. What I have in quantity is RC60 overlay powder. There are probably bare rods intended to be used with a torch that would be a better choice.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 06/05/05 23:46:12 EDT

hello all: hey the site all new
bent twisted and hammered
- a.c scott - Monday, 06/06/05 02:17:59 EDT

Power Hammer Is Done: Hello all. Last September I bought a Common Sense #2 75 lb power hammer. As soon as I got it home I started tearing it apart and rebuilding it. Well, today I finally finished it. I've been posting my progress up on my web site if any of you are interested. It's a pretty nifty looking old hammer. I still have to set it in a foundation and get electric run to it, but I have video on the site of it running with my son turning the main wheel.
FredlyFX - Monday, 06/06/05 02:57:31 EDT

fredly: very nice work............... colors for your hammer???? flipping sweet !!!!!!!i have a really cool ole stump anvil in safety i got from the guru that i painted in safety yellow........... the guru flipped out when i told him about it-------- i could hear rodney dangerfeild in his voice......... no respect no respect i tell you !!!! lol anyways would love ta know if you come up with any solutions for your die issues........... anyway keep up the good work.......
blacklionforge - Monday, 06/06/05 09:25:14 EDT

To all those who wish to learn blacksmithing: Check into your local historical parks... I responded to a broadcast E-mail sent out by my local B/S group, Rocky mountain Smiths. I now have a full time position doing demos Rock Ledge Ranch historical park at The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. They were looking for someone with an understanding of blacksmithing, not necessarily an accomplished smith. The director of the park is the master smith, and I portray the journeyman trying to recruit a new apprentice. The master smith Andy Morris has studied under Francis Whitaker and, I believe our own, Frank Turley, at least Frank's signature is on the wall.

I get to make any thing I want with free Iron, while talking to people from around the world who want to be there. Each day includes a lesson at the anvil.

My thanks to EVERYONE at this wonderful site who have contributed to my ability to qualify for this summer's experience Next pay check my name will appear in anvil fire Blue. I open my shop each morning with three rings of the anvil in honor of Paw-Paw.

NOW, can someone help me wipe this silly grin off my face
Rock Ledge Ranch historic site
- Habu - Monday, 06/06/05 11:54:31 EDT

"By St Loi" is traditional---the strongest oath that the nun in the Canterbury Tales would use; however as smiths we should use St Dunstan, St Eligius or any of the other smithing saints...I think that "By the blistered fingers of St. Dismis" would work well---didn't take him much time to "look" at a horseshoe...

Gator; I'm assuming that that cold beverage is being applied still in the can to the affected part?

Went to the SWABA meeting up at Christopher Thomson's shop. *wow* being in a place where 1" stock is the "light stuff"
He must have a goodly portion of the smithing equipment in NM there too. I thought his Chambersburg that's working in the shop was large till I saw the one out by the foundation hole with the 20,000# anvil block...

Thomas P - Monday, 06/06/05 12:10:18 EDT

press or fly-press ???: excuse me, the press is an hydraulic press..........
I have see a fly-press in "the artist blacksmith" by Peter Parkinson (p.142) and I asked me if I could do the same thing with an hydraulic press........
F. - Monday, 06/06/05 12:48:54 EDT

Habu: Michael, me lad, you've still got that knack for comin' up smellin' like a rose, don't ye? Congratulations! I'll be looking forward to hearing how it goes. You going to have to commute down there every day?
vicopper - Monday, 06/06/05 13:10:28 EDT

There are a lot of blacksmiths doing interesting work with a hydraulic press- I have done a bit myself. But- it is different from a fly press, and is used for different things. A fly press is great for stamping, bending, punching, chasing, chiseling, and the like- it has a good manual feel- hand feedback, if you like. A light touch is possible, and due to the multicut threads, it moves very fast.
An hydraulic press, on the other hand, is slow. So for many applications, the metal gets cool before the tool gets there. And since a hydraulic press is so strong, the dies and tooling must be bigger and stronger as well, and they add in sucking the heat out of the hot iron. So for the more delicate jobs the fly press excells at, the hydraulic press is not so good. It is better for one shot repeatable jobs, where it is worth the time to build the tooling, and you really need that tonnage.
One smith who does quite a bit with a hydraulic press, and has a good website, is Paul Thorne-
He makes quite a bit of custom tooling to make all kinds of things with his hydraulic press. He has customized it quite a bit, to make it better for forging- it is a "C" frame, rather than an "H" , and he has a power return cylinder, rather than a spring return, which he controls with a foot pedal. He also uses a large 2 speed pump, so the approach and retreat of the cylinder, when it is not actually pushing the metal, is very quick.
Ries - Monday, 06/06/05 16:09:23 EDT

There are a lot of blacksmiths doing interesting work with a hydraulic press- I have done a bit myself. But- it is different from a fly press, and is used for different things. A fly press is great for stamping, bending, punching, chasing, chiseling, and the like- it has a good manual feel- hand feedback, if you like. A light touch is possible, and due to the multicut threads, it moves very fast.
An hydraulic press, on the other hand, is slow. So for many applications, the metal gets cool before the tool gets there. And since a hydraulic press is so strong, the dies and tooling must be bigger and stronger as well, and they add in sucking the heat out of the hot iron. So for the more delicate jobs the fly press excells at, the hydraulic press is not so good. It is better for one shot repeatable jobs, where it is worth the time to build the tooling, and you really need that tonnage.
One smith who does quite a bit with a hydraulic press, and has a good website, is Paul Thorne-
He makes quite a bit of custom tooling to make all kinds of things with his hydraulic press. He has customized it quite a bit, to make it better for forging- it is a "C" frame, rather than an "H" , and he has a power return cylinder, rather than a spring return, which he controls with a foot pedal. He also uses a large 2 speed pump, so the approach and retreat of the cylinder, when it is not actually pushing the metal, is very quick.
Ries - Monday, 06/06/05 16:09:24 EDT

local historical parks: Habu,
That sounds like a damn good idea. I'm gonna go check with my local historical parks for some work. I can strut around all day pretending like I know what I'm doing, in front of all the japanese tourists :P
T.N. Miller - Monday, 06/06/05 16:55:27 EDT

Patrick got a summer job pounding iron at an amusement park, it was a learning experience IIRC...

A local place was looking for a smith to do a week of teaching but their pay scale was less than 1/2 what I make sitting on my bohunkus in an airconditioned room staring at the pretty colours on the CRT; so I passed.

Thomas P - Monday, 06/06/05 17:45:44 EDT

drop hammer: I tried to sell this drop hammer of mine for 4 weeks now. Alot of lookers but no intrest. I will have to scrap it at the end June to make room. it's a shame but what can you do. If anyone has intrest in it let me know. ken
Ken Kristiansen - Monday, 06/06/05 19:05:43 EDT

Historic parks etc: Shoot that is where I started.
At Fort Vancouver NHS in Vancouver Washington. Almost 12 years ago.
Of course it is not paid work, but using other folks fuel and iron is sorta nice. Yeah I know it is all paid for with our tax dollars.
Ralph - Monday, 06/06/05 19:34:57 EDT

HIstoric Parks & Volunteers:

Ralph- I would say it was tax dollars well spent! Without our Volunteers in Parks (VIPs) the National Park Service would not be nearly as effective and educational. Your knowledge and time more than repaid us taxpayers the paltry amount of coal and iron you used.
Ft. Vancouver NHS
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 06/06/05 23:44:57 EDT

Thomas...I neglected to read the prescription on the can of my liquid "painkiller". I went with the tried and true dosage of 12 fluid ounces taken internally, once every hour (give or take a 1/2 hour) until snoring insues...:)
Gator - Tuesday, 06/07/05 02:23:31 EDT

Parks and taxes: Bruce amen to that.
When I started at teh Fort aside from the smith shop about all we had were tour guides and a great garden crew. Now we have a carpenter program like the smith program. Meaning that experience is noce but they will train you as needed.
Also have a blackpowder program. ( I am on teh cannon crew) IN fact curiously many of the smiths are also working in teh carpenter shop. And almost every one in teh cannon crew is also a smith...... hmmmmm.

Now that I am on medical leave. ANd once I am moble from my surgery in 2 weeks I plan on getting back into teh shop. May not be able to swing a hammer for a few months, but I can do one of my favorite things, and that is help teach teh public.

Speaking of which, when ever I hear someone talk about how 'Grand dad' was a smith, I mention that if this were true then there could not possibly be anyone who was a carpenter etc. I also ask was he a rancher or farmer. Usually the answer is yes and I say that he most likely had a small forge and anvil ( probably from Sears or Ward's ) to effect repairs as needed, and so technically was a smith, but did not earn a living as a smith.
Think I will go in on Mondays as that is when the school groups are there....
Ralph - Tuesday, 06/07/05 03:42:41 EDT

See my iForge article on presses. Each type has its own advantages and best uses. Most can be used interchangably up to a point. Ratings on hand operated flypresses are tricky (see
- guru - Tuesday, 06/07/05 09:43:58 EDT

Park Demonstrators, Demonstrating:
It is good to see folks from our group doing this. Most often they have folks that don't have a clue about the craft. The worst I have seen were the paid demonstrators. They are often sent off for a weekend course and POOF! they are a "blacksmith". . . Rarely do they take much interest in the details or history of the craft, its just a job. Volunteers are generaly better because they love the craft. However, many do little studying and are as bad as thoise to whom it is only a job. Out of three volunteers at our local historical spot ONE found me and has setup his own shop at home to learn. I also loaned him some books. The other two just build a fire, mangle some iron and do a darn good job of misinforming the public.

My feeling has been that the folks managing these sites are the ones that need educating so that they fill the demo positions with knowledgable people. WE KNOW there are plenty to do the job and are willing to do so but the managers do not.

A smith in a busy location can use up a LOT of fuel and iron demonstrating RIGHT. Often you do not finish projects and it is high waste. The public wants to see FORGING and hot iron. And that is what the demonstrator should give them. When I demponstrate for a large crowd or in a busy location there is usualy two irons in the fire (OR some vry small pieces) and the forging is going on for at least 50% of the time. It can make for some VERY long days. About the only thing I can make fast enough for public demos is hooks. S hooks, J hooks, drive hooks. I can usualy keep kids of any age interested through several.

Answering questions is a BIG part of being a demonstrator but it can kill the demo. You have to work a balance and keep things moving. I talk and answer questions while pulling the bellows. The most common question

Do you every get burned?

Best answer (from Paw-Paw - edited), "The question is not IF I get burned it is how often and how badly. You get little burns every day and try your best to avoid serious burns. But they DO happen, usualy when I do something stupid."

When working with school groups we talk about metals and maleability, Mass times velocity squared, cross sectional area, the Pythagorean Therom, geometric volumes. . . Things you learn in school that you think will never apply to REAL life.

Working with a group of Paw-Paws grand kids we used the Pythagorean Therom twice while measuring for and laying out a railing. We needed an average slope for unequal steps to set the railing slope, then used it to make a plywood reference guage (12.75 x 24 x 20-1/3). In the process of laying out the rail on the weld platten we used a 3-4-5 triangle to check the layout for square.

I try to impress on them that the things they are learning in school that don't seem important or have any future use may apply not matter WHAT you do, even blacksmithing or being a carpenter. History, science, math, literature. . .

I should probably write a course on being a blacksmith demonstrator.
- guru - Tuesday, 06/07/05 10:20:27 EDT

OFF to buy a new water pump ($400 I don't have). . all my plumbing has broken down. Pump, supply pipe, toilet. I can do plumbing well but it is my VERY least favorite thing and I really do not have time for it now. But when you gotta GO you gotta GO. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 06/07/05 10:24:22 EDT

HABU: Good on ya, lad!! I think your post should be chiseled in stone somewhere and be required reading for all aspiring smiths. You are living the dream of many of us, and in between pangs of envy, we all applaud you.
3dogs - Tuesday, 06/07/05 10:26:29 EDT

Branding iron guidelines: I'm working on a steak brander for a friend, and found this information for making "official" branding irons. It's of some interest.
- Tom T - Tuesday, 06/07/05 16:40:32 EDT

Branding: Tom,
your right. I don't think branding has been allowed in the UK for quite some time. Over here I've seen cattle that are tatooed in the ear with a code number and have a plastic yellow tag (often in the other ear) with the same number on it for identity.
I've never heard of ANYONE branding their dogs, (electronic tagging, yes) it would probably cause outrage here, in spite of the fact that freeze branding seems to be fairly painless if you believe the literature.
Ian Lowe - Tuesday, 06/07/05 18:02:58 EDT

Well a burn is a burn. ANd unless the burn completely destroys all the nerves it WILL HURT. I have been burnt both by hot iron and by cold metal ( LN cooled) Must say both hurt. But one did not have a cooked meat smell.....
Ralph - Tuesday, 06/07/05 19:31:20 EDT

As a blacksmith wannabe, I am starting to volunteer at Mabry Mill's smithy, on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There'a a VERY knowledgable smith there who will be teaching me during the demo time. I assumed that I'll play striker and observer most of the time, but he says he'll have me pushing the iron around, too.

Here's the question: what would you use to prepare for the common questions? I really do need background - as an ex-science teacher I am fearless and can keep up a patter, but it would be nice to have some substance and accurate info! I assume that reading the historical fiction stories would be a good start. And I already sleep with Bealer's book under my pillow. Anyone have other suggestions?
- Tim - Tuesday, 06/07/05 21:21:34 EDT

I'd say you've got a good start, remember most people dont have a clue what your doing. An extreamly good sorce is the iforge page on theis site. I probably shouldnt publisise other sites on this forum, but Iforgeiron has some good stuff on it.
- Bjorn - Tuesday, 06/07/05 23:05:25 EDT

here's the link
- Bjorn - Tuesday, 06/07/05 23:06:29 EDT

Scholar Blacksmiths: My own personal opinion here, but I think that blacksmiths working at historical sites should have a background not only in modern and historic blacksmithing, but in what else was involved in the daily life of the era. We ran into a "professional" reenactor up at Norstead in L'anse aux Meadows, who, when faced with any detailed question replied "I just carry the wood and fetch the water." and then scurried off. :-P

I'm not saying one needs to know everything about everything, but they should at least do a bit of homework to understand how society worked and their place in it.

Hot and humid on the banks of the Missouri. They have a nice, larger than life, statue on the shore near our Regional Headquarters, but the man is just beating the metal to a mangle. I'll take pictures. ;-)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli). - Tuesday, 06/07/05 23:26:32 EDT

Tim: My Mom is[was] a volunteer at Hopewell Furnace, She portrayed an old widdow who did sewing to pay off Her bad account at the company store.She and the others dressed in period clothing [which She made] and talked about things that would have been the common BS of the period. Of course the primative farm She grew up on wasn't a whole lot different in the 1930's of Her youth than the 1830's period of the furnace. You can expect to get questions about the life in general of the person You are portraying, and yes, questions about the privvy.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 06/08/05 00:09:13 EDT

First find any books or reference material about the place.
Also do not worry as much about teh iron work. As you will get that down soon enough.
Listen to the 'spiel' or interpretaion of this smith while talking to the crowd. Add what you hear from him to what you learn about the area.

For example, when I talk to folks about Ft Vancouver, I talk about how long the Hudson Bay Company ( HBC) has been around. ANd when they got to the Fort Vancouver area. I then talk about some of the more colorfull characters, etc.
I talk about why we had a smith shop, what was made. ANd go from there.
Ralph - Wednesday, 06/08/05 05:35:43 EDT

Timex said " One does not use a hammer to turn a screw, no a torch to trim ones hair"---funny but I have done both quite a few times---though the trimming is always accidental!

What time period is Mabry Mills??

*Most* "historical fiction" is bigger on the fiction than the historical. Some historical books would be: Joseph Moxon's "Mechanick Exercises or the Doctrine of Handy-Works, applied to the arts of Smithing, Joinery, Carpentry, Turning, Bricklaying" ---a bit early or "Practical Blacksmithing", Richardson, a bit late.

"Bond of Iron", Dew, is a study on the Buffalo Forge (actually a smelter) pre-civil war and it's use of slaves as labour. Very cheap over at and will provide a lot of background on what things were really like rather than popular misconceptions.

As a historical interpreter you should be able to talk about daily life, how the smith became the smith, length of work day, lunch and perhaps most importantly how things are different than they were back in the time of the site---so people don't assume that, say, a smithy back then was a 1 man operation...


Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/08/05 10:49:36 EDT

Mabry Mills:
Been there many times. Was never impressed by the demos. Weekends are a zoo and needed a GOOD showman. But it has been a decade since I was there.

Mabry Mills is late 19th, early 20th century, rural appalachian. It is a Blue Ridge Parkway preservation/reconstruction historical site.

Reading material for this:

Alex Bealers "The Art of Blackmsithing" is perfect. This is his time period. Covers the technology well.

The complete "Foxfire" books would be a manual for the area, the culture, the technology. These were self relient hard working farm folk.

The works of Eric Sloane, A Museum of Early American Tools, American Barns and Covered Bridges, Noah Blake - Diary of an Early American Boy, cover this time period and earlier quite well both culturaly and technologicaly. These books are in reprint ocassionaly and are also available used.

These cover the cultural and historical aspects of this historic site (as well as many others). However, my post earlier about integrating math and science into a demo for children also applies.
- guru - Wednesday, 06/08/05 12:17:18 EDT

Demo-work: I first learned blacksmithing volunteering at Fort Snelling in Minneapolis/St.Paul. That was a very good time. There was a fabulous smith by the name of Tom Sanders who was the head smith at the time. I am pretty sure I learned more just watching him than most of my subsequent hands-on experience.

Volunteering with knowledge is a very good thing to do.
Escher - Wednesday, 06/08/05 12:38:29 EDT

Ah so "Practical Blacksmithing", Richardson, a collection of articles from a smithing journal from the 1880's and 1890's would be spot on for time but might be a bit progressive for place...

One other suggestion: look at the artifacts! They will tell you a lot about how things were back then in that place.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/08/05 13:39:03 EDT

Ralph: I agree fully, a burn is a burn and will have you yelling 'Great Googly Moogly!' with the best of them ;)

But it does say within the site that the idea is to carefully balance freezing the nerves out so it doesn't hurt and not 'burning' too deep (so that it doesn't cause an open sore and risk infection).
It sounds like somthing for a skilled brander.
To be honest it strikes me at best as an archaic practice given the alternatives available and isn't somthing I would EVER do to an animal, even if I was ultimately going to eat it.
Its hard enough to deal with the idea of 'topping' an animal for food without compounding its woes by sticking a red hot iron on its backside first!
Before anyone asks NO I'm not a vegetarian :)
Tinker - Wednesday, 06/08/05 16:25:59 EDT

Branding?: I wear a wedding ring, myself...
Tim - Wednesday, 06/08/05 16:58:55 EDT

Tatooing Animals: I have this mental picture of a biker turned rancher with His herd of tatoo covered cattle. BOG
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 06/08/05 22:58:55 EDT

Babbling in Fatigue: Reference to my above posting; That'a a statue of a blacksmith own by the riverside. I've got a nice shot of him with the new Regional HQ in the background.

One of the fascinating things about reenacting, and especially blacksmithing is the amazing coontinuity of tools and techniques; what works, works. this can be worked into a "compare and contrast" talks for the crowd on several levels.

Isn't "Great Googly Moogly" from Pogo? I think I remember Albert the Alligator shouting it in my youth.

Thunderstorms, hail, locusts, frogs and boils on the banks of the Missouri; I'm told that this is "weather as usual". ;-) Already replied to a request for an emergency lease in Guam; time to start getting dressed for the morning conferences.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 06/09/05 06:53:29 EDT

There is a statue of a smith on the west side of the OH state Capitol plaza, also a mosaic of one in one of the 1930's state office buildings---Vulcan in one stairwell and Demeter in the other IIRC.

Thomas P - Thursday, 06/09/05 11:00:04 EDT

I do historical Re-creations of the medieval period here in Southern California. My guild goes to about 3 or 4 Renaisance Faires a year here. I bring my propane forge to do demos, then explain that although the forge is obviously modern, pretty much everything I am doing once the steel comes out of the forge is as it has been done for thousands of years. I also go to great lenghts to explain the differences between the modern mild steel I am using and the wrought iron they would have used, and some of the process they went through to make it. Anvilfire has been instrumental to my education in these matters.

Each of the people in my guild have to have a story of their life. We can explain who our character is and where we came from, and how we came to do what we are doing. We have spent a lot of time reading and researching the period we portray.

FredlyFX - Thursday, 06/09/05 13:59:02 EDT

FredlyFX---have you come up with a medieval anvil or are you using a modern version?

I use a cube of steel for my Y1K set up and found a large T stake anvil that will do for renaissance.

Got a large forklift tine that will get forged into a better viking anvil when I get access to the correct equipment.

Thomas P - Thursday, 06/09/05 14:02:49 EDT

I'm using and old Peter Wright 130lb anvil. Not period at all, but I also explain that they typically used smaller anvils that lacked many of the modern newfangled attachments my 100 year old anvil has such as a horn.
FredlyFX - Thursday, 06/09/05 15:45:02 EDT

BOOM!: Got a pretty good picture of the anvil shoot at se conference in Madison Ga.
I’d say it’s about 50’ up. Goto and scroll down to anvil button
LDuck - Thursday, 06/09/05 16:18:36 EDT

Anvilshoot: While thats a pretty cool picture, I'm not sure I'd be standing there waiting for it to come down. I've never seen this done in person. Guess I'm not going to the right hammer ins.
- Jeff G. - Thursday, 06/09/05 17:13:52 EDT

BOOM: Ruddy hell!!! lol. That things shifting!! I like the fact its that high in the pic you have to scroll up to find it!
Spot on about the audience, somthing strange about human nature. We seem to be the only species capable of watching impending disaster. Everything else I know of RUNS before its too late! :)
Ian Lowe - Thursday, 06/09/05 19:52:59 EDT

Flying anvils: I thought I missed when I flinched as all I saw was a cloud of smoke. . In fact I caught it spining at about 30 feet on the way UP. . .

Fredly, You are just practicing the black arts and have a magic forge. . . ;)
- guru - Thursday, 06/09/05 21:05:29 EDT

Flying Anvil: Brings to mind the joke about the famous last words: Y'all watch this! One fellow was telling Me about the time He tried it - landed about 20' from His buddies truck.
Dave boyer - Thursday, 06/09/05 21:26:54 EDT

How to bend steel: I am fabricating a linkage for my kids go kart throttle i am using 1/4" steel rod, I need a sharp bend. i am correct to heat with a propane torch until blue then bend and quench in oil?
- Mick - Friday, 06/10/05 10:56:04 EDT

Bending steel: Mick,

If you're using 1/4" mild steel rod from the hardware store, you can just clamp it in a vise and bend it cold with a hammer. Mild steel doesn't have enough carbon in it to make heat treating necesary, and for jus tone bend, heating isn't necessary. If you do feel that you need it hot to bend, then you need to get it to a heat that is sufficient to bring it to a plastic state; a red-orange to yellow incandescent heat would be about right. At that temperature, over 2000°F, the steel will be soft enough to bend very easily. There is no need to quench it in anything, simply let it cool in air until it is cool to the touch. This is the "normalized" state for steel and is free of internal stresses.

If you need the part to be very resistant to deformation under stress, you may need to change to either a higher carbon alloy steel or a heavier cross section, or both, and heat treat as appropriate for the particular alloy. But for a go kart throttle linkage, I can't see why plain old hardware store 1/4" rod won't work just fine without heat treating.
vicopper - Friday, 06/10/05 11:22:32 EDT

Mick what kind of steel is it? Mild steel quenching it should have no effect; alloy steels it depends on the alloy what will happen and if you need to temper it after quenching to make it tough rather than brittle.

Seat of the pants---"I don't know what it is"---heat, quench in oil and check with a file. If the file skates over it like it was glass, heat in an over to about 400-500 degF and check with the file again. If still too hard heat it higher.

If it shattered when you put it in oil it was an air hardening steel...

Thomas P - Friday, 06/10/05 11:28:38 EDT

A bit of old bedspring works great for throttle linkage. Heat it, shape it, let it air cool. Did one for a BMW motorcycle that is holding up years later under daily use.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 06/10/05 11:34:10 EDT

Mick: Let me second ViCopper about bending it cold and leaving it as-is. 1/4" rod, as long as it's hardware store "welding steel" will be just fine that way. If it's drill rod, you'll find out when you try to cold bend it and it breaks...

Plain ol' steel is fine for a throttle rod, by the way. Leave heat out of the equation unless you absolutely have to have it.
Alan-L - Friday, 06/10/05 11:37:13 EDT

excess smithing tools: I need room,must sell excess smithing tools and equipment. I have anvils, tongs, blowers, forges and many other items.
- mike - Friday, 06/10/05 22:37:37 EDT

(Be still, my fluttering heart) : Whereabouts are you?
- Tim - Friday, 06/10/05 23:23:59 EDT

Mike-- Do you have an excess pair of Wallace Yater swage blocks?
Miles Undercut - Friday, 06/10/05 23:49:23 EDT

excess smithing tools: More info and details to mike
mike - Friday, 06/10/05 23:55:48 EDT

Wanted: I've run out of rr spikes and for the life of me I can't find any more. Any one know a supplier or dealer that handles small quanities? ( 35 - 40 pc.)

- Timex - Saturday, 06/11/05 15:19:39 EDT

Railroad spikes: I could use RR spikes as well, they are handy for making many things. you can make em into knives, hatcets, chisels, punches, and many more.
- Nolan - Saturday, 06/11/05 15:48:12 EDT

Yes you can make them into a lot of things that would be better made from a higher carbon steel that RR spikes are...Even the HC ones are at the lower end of medium carbon as the trest of the world thinks of it. You can find A36 in about that same range at times...

- Thomas P - Saturday, 06/11/05 16:18:13 EDT

RR Spikes: Timex and Nolan. If you happen to be coming to Quad State this fall, I may be able to bring a few up. Let's see. A pond of spikes ought be worth a pound of wrought iron. If that is not available gold might work. (BOG)
- Larry - Saturday, 06/11/05 21:26:50 EDT

Spikes: That should be a "pound of spikes". I'm not really sure how many pounds are in a pond
- Larry - Saturday, 06/11/05 21:28:54 EDT

RR spikes: Timex- I bought 40 off ebay for .25 cent each and had them shipped to me in a $7.70 flat rate postal box- gave my mailman a hernia
ptpiddler - Saturday, 06/11/05 21:42:41 EDT

Wrought iron: I just had a guy from a bridge construction company give me a section of a tie rod from a covered bridge built in 1913. It has a forge welded eye and we thought it was probably wrought iron. But it doesn't show the grain structure normally seen in wi and it doesn't quite look like mild steel either. It doesn't smell like wrought iron either when I heat it. It is extremly tough, I quenched it at a light orange color and then hammered it to almost a 90 degree bend with no fracture. Have any of you ever seen any really high grade wi that was really fine grained? He said I could have all of it that was being scrapped and there is quite a bit. Just curious what you think. I'll probably bring a piece to Quad State and let somebody look at it.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 06/11/05 22:21:32 EDT

Hot and humid: Spent most of this stinking hot day, shoveling sand. Why? Because the wife, in all her infinite wisdom, decided she needed one of those inflateable type above ground pools. Now, I live on a narrow five acres, with the house in the center, on the RIDGE. So, where is the level spot to put the pool? AIN'T ONE. So I've got to shovel and haul and shovel and level a place out. Good thing the back ridge is mostly sand. At least I don't have to buy that. But, after spending untold hours, and sweat, and even money fixing up my wifes pole barn so she can someday have little barn sales and sell all the crap, er, antiques she has been collecting, PLUS the labor for the POOL, I definitly am getting a POWER HAMMER this year. Might as well, I'm too worn out now to hardly swing a hammer. At least today. Lucky I didn't pass out, it was so dang hot. Couldn't seem to drink enough water.

Oh, and the leaves for Paw Paw? Do we put a finish on them or just brush them and send them on? I'd like to drop mine off next Saturday at the Hammer-in.

Larry, are you gonna be there?
Bob H - Saturday, 06/11/05 22:29:57 EDT


Might, could be high grade wrought, I wouldn't want tie rods to be made from wuck-bar. Try that bend test again but this time hacksaw 1/4 of the way through. Put the saw cut on the outside of the bend. Smell??? Did you taste it too??
- grant - Saturday, 06/11/05 23:24:46 EDT

Wuck-bar?? How did I do THAT?? MUCK-BAR. Poof then prost.
- grant - Saturday, 06/11/05 23:27:15 EDT

Grant: Haven't you ever noticed that wrought smells different from steel when you heat it? I get enough minerals from grinding, I don't need to taste it.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 06/11/05 23:40:42 EDT

Grant: Forgot to say already did the cut and bend. That's why I said it does'nt show long fibrous grain like wrought. But it also doesn't show grain like steel. If it is wrought, it is very tightly packed
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 06/11/05 23:43:54 EDT

Members of the CSI Board of Directors and general membership,

As you may know, I have been filling the roles of both Vice Chair and Chairman of the CSI Board of Directors since the death of our good friend and leader, Chairman Jim Wilson, on the13th of May, 2005. During this time, there have been two meetings, which I had responsibility for conducting and did conduct. I have never been informed by anyone of any objections, or of any criticism concerning any of my duties as either Vice Chair or Chairman.

Right before the BOD meeting was to begin on Tuesday, June 7th, I received an email from Jock, asking that I allow him to change the agenda. With no reason or explanations given, the agenda was changed. During the meeting, when Jock was recognized and with no preamble, and again, no prior warning to me as to what was going on, a new appointed BOD was proposed. Jock called for a vote to accept the change and the new appointed BOD. The vote passed.

When any group selects a person to be the Vice-Chair, they are acknowledging that this person is capable and expected to fulfill the position of Chairman, if needed. When the call for a new BOD was voted on, and passed, it was a vote of no confidence in me and my abilities. The part that hurt most was the way this was done, as a behind-the-scenes scheme, in secrecy.

Since the first election of CSI Board of Directors, I, as Vice Chair, had been assisting Chairman Jim Wilson and was expected (by the rules of the charter??) to replace the Chairman if for any reason he could not perform his duties. This vote of no confidence essentially states that I was never capable to be Vice Chair under Chairman Jim Wilson, in which case, I am not deemed as capable to be Vice Chair under the new Chairman, Rich Waugh.

After many hours of reflection and consultation with several people I trust, I have decided to resign as the CSI Vice-Chair, effective immediately. This was not an easy decision, but is one I needed to make. I believe in the group's charter goals, but I can no longer work as a CSI Board member.
This is effective as of today, Jun 11, 2005

Ralph - Sunday, 06/12/05 01:27:42 EDT

ptpiddler/Larry: Thanks I musta had a brain Fart.( Ebay )

Larry I'll bring the gold just as soon as I finish my Lead to Gold forge. Hmmn a golden rr spike....
- Timex - Sunday, 06/12/05 06:06:24 EDT

good wrought: Jeff, I have a tie rod that sounds just like that. In the late period of wrought iron manufacture, when it was being made by the puddling process, you could get some REALLY clean stuff with almost no slag. That sounds like what you have, too.
Alan-L - Sunday, 06/12/05 06:49:02 EDT

Thamks Alan. I'll tell the guy I'll take all of it. It's almost 1" dia and longer than he can fit in his truck. It's always nice to get free stuff.
- Jeff G. - Sunday, 06/12/05 08:38:43 EDT

KEITH - Sunday, 06/12/05 09:23:05 EDT

Ralph, I am only an Honorary Member of CSI by virtue of my status as subordinate guru. However, your work for CSI is appreciated. Thank you.

RR Spikes: I have made knives, T=hawks, BBQ forks, and steak turners out of RR Spikes. The steak turners turned out best. It is interesting to note that the value of the object made from the spike derives almost entirely from the recognition of the source object in the final object. If you totally obscure that the source was a RR spike, the perceived value changes. I see no similar characteristic for hammers made from axels, knives made from springs, etc.
quenchcrack - Sunday, 06/12/05 10:00:17 EDT

Timex RR Spikes: Hi Timex
I have a bunch of RR spikes laying around in my shop. I will count them all up and you can have them for .50 each and I will put them in a flat rate priority mail box at the rate of 7.70. Let me know as I would be happy to get them out of my way. Infact I will likely be selling most things off except for the old family smitty due to health problems. All my extra blacksmith tools will be sold.
burntforge - Sunday, 06/12/05 14:19:08 EDT

H ANVIL: I saw an anvil in a antique store. It had the letter H on the front waist and no other markings of any kind. It was about an 80 lb or so weight. It was mounted on a factory looking base. No visible means of holding it to the base, must of had something coming from underneath.

Anyone have any ideas on this anvil?? They had it priced at $225,00. It is in pretty good shape, with no damage anywhere. There is very little flaking on the edges and the horn is perfect condition and a shape to it.
sandpile - Sunday, 06/12/05 14:36:04 EDT

Piles of Sand:: Yo, Chuck, did you see if it rang? And was the H stamped or cast into the anvil? That is over $2 a pound, but I don't know what the rates are in your area of Texas. Anyone else have any thoughts on this anvil? I'd want to know what it looked like, as in Haybudden like? Or what if any the hollow spot under the base looked like. What did the base look like, as in the style of the feet, etc. Man, a picture would sure be worth a thousand words about now. Hmm, where have I heard that before?
Bob H - Sunday, 06/12/05 15:49:02 EDT

Hunny Do's: LOL Bob H., I've been there and done that at least twice. Next time go buy some rr ties make a circle and fill it with foundation dirt( not green sand, or clay sand ) it should be compacted as you cover the body er.. the surface of the ring[ inside ] and home depo rents all the tools and equipment that you should need, other than labor.
- Timex - Sunday, 06/12/05 19:53:09 EDT

Joke: This old man was sitting on his porch one afternoon, sipping some Carolina rumertiz and he noticed a young boy walking down the dirt road dragging some chicken wire behind him. Being a busy body he yelled from his porch at the boy and asked;" Hey boy, what'cha doin draggen that chickn wire fer?" upon wich the boy replied " Gonna catch me some chickens fer dinner."The old man belched a" Fool you ain't gonna catch a thing. " and promptly went back to sippn.
Later, that evening the old man spyed that same boy dragging that same wire with six chickens trapped in it.
The next day the old man, again sippin the day away, saw the same boy walking down the dirt road dragging 4 rolls of duck tape behind him. Now, the old man, again yelld oput to the boy and asked him" Hey boy, watcha doing with that Duct tape?" and of cource the boy replied" well mister, me and momma only ate three chickens last nicht so I traded the last three fer this here duct tape." the old man" well what fer?" The boy replied smartly" So I can catch me some duck!"
Again the old man belched out " Fool boy thats not how its done!" But the boy just dropped his shoulders and went his way. Later that evening the old man saw that same boy walking up that dirt road dragging eight ducks trapped in the duct tape.
The next day the old man, still sippn that shine, saw that same boy walking up that same dirt road, dragging some pussy willow branches; and this time the old man went inside to get his hat and good shirt on, yelling all the way " Hey boy, wait up fer me."
- Timex - Sunday, 06/12/05 20:13:29 EDT

Fire resistant gloves: Im looking for some fire resistant gloves for blacksmithing/welding. I would like any suggestions, although I need it to be relatively inexpensive. I was looking at tig welding gloves, as they are heat resistant, and are comfortable.
- Nolan - Sunday, 06/12/05 23:34:14 EDT

Wrought: at that time it could go either way WI or bessemer steel. You might try to etch a smooth section and see what turns up. Sounds like lovely stuff either way---I'd probably try to figure out a item that would make use of the forge welded eyes---table legs perhaps...

RR spikes: going to the SOFA meeing once in the MOB carpool We went over a RR crossing and I yelled to stop the van. The had recently redone the crossing and did a nice job of cleanup except someone had rolled a spike drum down the hill into the ditch and wasn't up to fetching it out; 2/3 full of brand new HC spikes---the yound folk managed to haul it out...

I live 2 houses away from a set of tracks and the only thing I use spikes for are tent stakes---draw them out on a powerhammer to about a foot long and they make a dandy stake.

Thomas P - Sunday, 06/12/05 23:44:43 EDT

Fire Resistant Gloves: Nolan,
Have you tried any foundry suppliers? The gloves they sell are excellent for avoiding the hot hand shake :) I got a couple of pairs of heavy leather welding gloves but they still get pretty flippin warm. My foundry gloves were a pain to find over here and not that cheap but they certainly do an excellent job. Or failing that what about motorsports places, i'm sure that racecar drivers wear flame proof (neoprene?) gloves, maybe you could use them under the tig gloves?
Any how, just a thought
p.s. tight fitting outer gloves make it a lot harder to shake them off before the heat really hits you. Trust me :)
Ian Lowe - Monday, 06/13/05 09:12:12 EDT

Nolan : Nolan try McMaster Carr they have a very very large selection of gloves. lefts , rights or sets.
daveb - Monday, 06/13/05 09:22:34 EDT

Fire Resistant Gloves 2: I should have added: as a back up to the tig gloves, seeing as you say they are already heat proof :)
It depends, most of the gents here use tongs to keep them at a reasonable distance from the heat of the metal, so I would imagine (and there are wiser heads to jump up here) that welders gloves would do. I think how much 'feel' they give you on the work is somthing to bear in mind too. I have to be able to 'feel' how tight i'm holding my crucible in the tongs very accurately because graphite isn't tough like steel and liquid silver and gold ain't cheap or somthing you want flying around either :)
Ian Lowe - Monday, 06/13/05 09:28:03 EDT

gloves, fire resistant: Ian, I think you're looking for "nomex" for the race drivers. Anyway, get thee to Kayne and son and look at the kevlar gloves by Carolina glove. They're lightweight, highly heat-resistant, and relatively cheap.

In my opinion, and I may be in the minority, I prefer to forge without gloves. There have been pages and pages about this in the archives, so I won't go into it here. Of course, you can't arc weld without gloves if you want to remained unscathed. Arc welding gloves are hot, uncomfortable, and dangerous for forging in my opinion.
Alan-L - Monday, 06/13/05 10:49:00 EDT

There's a thread on this on the IforgeIron forum,

Lots of voices = lots of different opinions.

- Marc - Monday, 06/13/05 11:46:13 EDT

Gloves: The previous post somehow lost the subject title.
- Marc - Monday, 06/13/05 11:47:25 EDT

Gloves: Nolan,

There simply is no glove that will do everything well. Gloves that are great for dexterity are less protective for most uses; tig welding gloves are really designed to prevent arc burn and some light degree of heat protection. If used for heavy stick welding, they will quickly let too much heat through and will also wear out quickly from the sweat and abrasion of rough steel. Think of them as basically a driving glove with a long cuff.

Arc welding gloves are good insulators and have good durability for abrasion, but the dexterity is very limited and the fit is sloppy to allow you to shuck one off in a hury when a red hot dingleberry gets in it. They're fine for what they're designed for, and not much good for much else.

For forging, I sometimes want a glove on my tong hand. For that, I like a relatively light smooth cowhide work glove. The ones I get have elastic sewn in to the back of the cuff, and I immediately clip the elastic threads so that I can fling the glove off if I need to. I have several gloves, probably eight or ten, so that as one gets damp I can change to a dry one. Wet gloves will steam burn you before you can get one off. If they get slick and lose their grip, I rub them with a tiny bit of V-belt friction dressing. Mostly though, I forge bare handed. I never wear a glove on my hammer hand unless I have an open wound I need to protect, and then I have to be careful because gloves reduce grip friction so you have to hold the hammer so hard you risk tendonitis.

The bottom line is, you need to have the right glove for the job. Generally, the glove that was designed for the job does it better than one designed for some other job.
vicopper - Monday, 06/13/05 11:55:04 EDT

H ANVIL: BOB H.: No, I did not try to ring it. I knew nothing about it and felt it was over priced. If it is a Haybuddin, I will go back and look a little closer, might take a camera. I don't know how to post pics. I might get one of the daughters to post for me.

The only HAYBUDDIN, I have ever seen, was a 250+ anvil that was sold for $250.00 dollars. My son-in-law had it and sold it to A blacksmith North of here.

This was before I started thinking about Bladesmithing.BOG. Would love to have it now.GRIN.

sandpile - Monday, 06/13/05 14:03:15 EDT

Heat resistant gloves: The gloves arent just for forging, but also for oxy/acetylene welding, which can spark and sputter and fling hot painful things. I TIG welded for a long time, so I like the feel of those gloves. But I am going to go to the welding supply shop tomorrow and see what they have that would work.
- Nolan - Monday, 06/13/05 14:58:12 EDT

Cool Drill Press: I spotted this old flat belt drill press on ebay. It still has one day left and is only at .99 still. Item number is: 4387619145 The drill is in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He's willing to ship, but I expect it would cost a fortune.

FredlyFX - Monday, 06/13/05 15:08:22 EDT

Carhartt has a line of Indura clothing for welders, which has an advantage over Nomex in that hot steel won't stick to it, or so they claim. Maybe they make Indura gloves.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 06/13/05 17:46:37 EDT

Gloves etc: Gloves for hot work come in many versions. 24 to 28 oz. hot mill gloves are used very heavily in the comercial forging industry, so are available and pretty cheap. I like a kevlar sleeve on my tong arm when chesiling etc to protect from radiant heat. Cheap at a couple of bucks, and it will also help with scale burns. I usually use leather palm on my tong hand, and I too clip the elastic.
I use welding gaulants when using the power hammer, as then protect from radiant heat, scale burns that tend occur from the more violently flying scale, and also cushion the vibration a bit.
For all those in the boonies, Hagemeyer has them all, and tell them to advertise on Anvilfire.
ptree - Monday, 06/13/05 18:24:06 EDT

gloves....: ptree,
I think I would be leery about gloves near moving power tools.
True your arguments ( reasons) are good ones. But even to this day I make sure that long sleeves and jewlery are off or buttoned down, so as not to get caught up. This is even using
small electric drill motors etc.
Ralph - Monday, 06/13/05 19:33:31 EDT

When using the powerhammer with gloves, I am either holding a long bar or tongs, or both, and so my hands and gloves are well out of reach. Are you aware that tear away gloves are made for use aroud rotating equipment?

I look at the risks of wearing/not wearing gloves and then decide. The real way to safety is to take a minute and think thru the actions and possible reactions, and then plan and act accordingly. So far never hurt wearing gloves, several burns and cuts that would have been less injurious if I had the gloves. Course, as there were many times I could have been hurt by wearing gloves, and I wasn't wearing them, I again go back to stop and think a moment.
ptree - Monday, 06/13/05 21:37:45 EDT

I was not aware. But like I said that I agree with your reasons. But the only real power hammer work I have done was mostly pattern-weld billets. Using more or less normal sized tongs.
I would consider it foolish to not protect yourself while working large stuff. Like in the small operation where you work. (smile)
Which would be a most excellent place to see working.....
The Head smith at Ft Vancouver has a painting ( copy of) an old forging factory with one of Naismiths LARGE hammers working a shaft ( based on the people figures ) that looks to be over 3 feet in diameter. It was painted or draw showing a YELLOW heat. Can not imagine the radiant heat. Also in the forground on the floor is a broken handled sledge. indicating to my mind the artist understood what power tools would do to the craft.
Ralph - Monday, 06/13/05 22:24:44 EDT

Gloves: Reading with interest the glove discussion. I wear gloves most of the time in the shop, but rarely on my hammer hand while forging. I do like hot mill gloves but have every kind of glove you can imagine. I'm more likely to have gloves on doing cold work and have found some automotive assembly gloves that I really like, cotton knit with some kind of finish that gives real good grip, they are like a second skin. They are really cheap like $3.00 a dozen pair and I just throw them out when they are dirty. A nice hot mill glove that I buy are really called baker's gloves, they are terry and ambidextrous, so a dozen pair = 24 left handed gloves. I've used Kevlar which last a long time but not as comfortable. YMMV
- Daryl - Monday, 06/13/05 23:47:11 EDT

Prescription Safety Glasses: Just found out that the local WalMart eyeglass center will sell me prescription safety glasses (polycarbonate lens and side wings) for $29 - $50 depending on the frame ($20 + frame cost, and the $9 frame, though plastic, is bigger than the others). Woo, woo! With these for regular work and Guru's #2 for welding, I'm on my way!

Did first gig as blacksmith demonstrator at Mabry Mill yesterday. Assisted the real smith in making small hooks for the gift shop. Decided to play around, and couldn't find any small stock among the scrap... you know, that nice twisted hook I made for my dear wife was a LOT heftier than I meant for it to be, coming, as it did, from half-inch stock...
Tim - Tuesday, 06/14/05 00:21:16 EDT

- Tyler The Blade - Tuesday, 06/14/05 02:11:54 EDT

Tear Away Gloves: Some of the men in a shop I worked in liked to wear cotton canvas gloves while operating radial drill presses. We used a type of quick change tooling that released when You gripped a collar WHILE IT WAS ROTATING. If You arent wearing gloves this isn't as riskey as it may sound, but on a couple ocasions these glove wearers got the glove torn off thier hand due to a long, stringy chip stuck to the drill bit snagging the glove and winding it around the drill. As these were industrial machines, they didn't even slow down. These were not tear away gloves, those guys were lucky to still have a hand, a really sore hand. Another got His wedding ring caught on the drillbit, fortunatly just got a really sore hand allso.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 06/14/05 02:12:16 EDT

I own 2 pairs of perscription safty glasses from wally world. I found that the cost was about the same as normal glasses, but where the normal glasses the large cost is frame and in safty glasses it's in the glass. My every day glasses are safety as well for those times I forget to switch to the larger ones with side wings.

FredlyFX - Tuesday, 06/14/05 02:32:24 EDT

Gloves, loose clothing, long sleves, jewlery, rings etc:
Anything that can become tangled in your work is dangerous. Getting things snagged and having body parts, and/or body, drawn into moving equiptment is never a good thing. Add to the list the long hair many folks think fashionable now days, because scalped is a real possibility if it becomes entangled.

If you plan on being able to get your hand out of loose fitting gloves, or plan on an old shirt being torn away before your injured, then you are planning on getting into trouble from the start. Change whatever needs changed so you can BE safe.
- Conner - Tuesday, 06/14/05 04:24:54 EDT

Snagable items: See, that's one of those things that I think everyone knows... but they don't. It was drilled into our heads in Jr. high and high school metal shop, wood shop and auto shop (high school). Rings and unrestrained long hair were really frowned upon. The safety films alone were horrifying. Meant to be I suppose. Well, it stuck with me that's for sure. I get the impression that these programs have been either scaled way down or dropped from many school systems. That is unfortunate, since some folks still do work with their hands using some pretty mean machines. I was taught to safely use a table saw, drill press and band saw when I was 11 at the local "Y". Don't get me wrong, I'm still a clutz and get hurt plenty. But that's with me paying attention. Anything that a machine can snag and pull into it needs to be kept away, tied back, buttoned down, etc... It only takes a second to really ruin your day.
Gronk - Tuesday, 06/14/05 09:50:16 EDT

Poor Man Publications: Didn't we run this guy off a while back?
3dogs - Tuesday, 06/14/05 09:56:10 EDT

Prescription glasses and gloves: The only time I wear a glove in the shop is when doing hot chiselwork, and then it's only on my left hand to protect from radiant heat. I only work on small stuff, though, so the radiant heat isn't that big a deal. Well, except for the time I wasn't wearing that glove and the chisel slipped,allowing the newly-pointy ear of the dragonhed I was working on to rip a hole in the side of my little finger. Instantly cauterized since the steel was at a lemon yellow heat, but the smell was unpleasant...

I just ordered some prescription safety specs online. I had been putting regular ones on over my normal glasses, but that's a pain in the rear. I had to go online, because for whatever reason my problems with stuff in the eyes come from over the top of the frame where the side shields don't protect. I have a nice pit melted into the INSIDE of the right lens where a grinder spark bounced off my neandertal-like brow ridge and got inside the glasses. The site I found has several styles of goggle-esque glasses that protect from all directions. Style ranges from dweeb supreme to ultracool spiffo, on an ascending scale of price, but any single (non-bifocal) Rx lens pair is $55, frames extra. The site is well worth a look! They have the best selection of frames for all purposes of anywhere I've found. As PPW used to say, you can still poke things with an artificial finger, but you can't see out of a glass eye.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 06/14/05 11:20:08 EDT

Poor Man: Yeah, we ridiculed and sent him away, but some folks don't take the hint, especially those who sell shoddy and/or suspicious stuff.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 06/14/05 11:22:30 EDT

I just get my regular glasses as prescription safety glasses and was pleasently pleased to find out that the safety frames were about 1/2 the price of the "fashion frames" and looked just like what I have been wearing the last 20 years or so.

They are always ragging on me to get smaller lighter lenses or go to contacts for "comfort", (not good eyes for laser surgery) till I haul out my old pairs and start cataloging the chips and burns in them and how much more comfortable I am with the damage done to the glasses than the eyes.

Even so I like to wear a full face shieled on top of that for some operations. Nothing like a nice juicy billet weld to remind one that molten borax is not your friend...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/14/05 11:35:48 EDT

Jim Paw-Paw Wilson Memorial Hammer-In:
A last reminder. This coming Saturday will be the Memorial Hammer-In at Jim Paw-Paw Wilson's. Everyone is invited, friends, smiths, acquaintences. Details on the Calendar of events.
guru - Tuesday, 06/14/05 13:02:49 EDT

I wear a full-face shield with chin seal and powered respirator for a few operations where I don't want ANYTHING coming in at my face. My regular glasses are ANSI Z-87 rated too. Been wearing them so long I don't have the blink reflex as strong as I ought, and I'm not about to stick a piece of plastic in my eye on a daily basis either...
Alan-L - Tuesday, 06/14/05 16:12:18 EDT

Eye Protection: I always thought that the Hathaway man in those shirt ads looked rather dashing with that black eye patch. Still, I don't really want one for myself all that much.
vicopper - Tuesday, 06/14/05 16:26:05 EDT

You can drink a cold one with a plastic hand. You can walk on a plastic foot, but you can't see out of a plastic eye.
I believe that PPW said this on more than one occasion.

I have in the last 25 years had 7 lens bought to replace the ones damaged while protecting my eyes, by the companies I worked for. They were tickled to do so as the cost was far less than the medical bills would have been.

Many people think they have safety glasses on because the sales guy said that the polycarbonate lens was the safest.
To be safety spec's the frames and side shields must be marked "ANSI Z-87", and if prescription the lens get a hallmark in the upper outer corner. Often one must hold the lens up to strong light and look close to see the hallmark. I believe that safety lens must be 3mm think minimum, versus 2 for regular lens. The frames must retain the lens in the frame after a impact of a steel ball dropped a set distance. I can look up those exact spec's if someone wants to know.
Personally I prefer the polycarbonate lens as they are stronger, and in the somewhat large size lens I prefer, lighter on the nose. Polycarbonate also block some UV.
I tend to the stainless steel frames as I save last years frames from work,and put new lens in when I get new ones for work. That way I have a good set at home in the shop.
ptree - Tuesday, 06/14/05 17:52:13 EDT

Ha my "S"s are clearly visible in the corners and the Z87 on the frame.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/14/05 18:56:22 EDT

gloves: what about firefighter gloves?
- ken kristiansen - Tuesday, 06/14/05 19:05:21 EDT

I wear gloves at work only when I need to move heavy and/or sharp edged parts or stock, never while using power equipment of any sort. The latest serious injury I have seen due to wearing gloves while operating equipment was extremely nasty. A drill press pulled two fingers off a guys hand at the palm. They could not be reattached because it pulled the tendons out all the way from the elbow.

Gloves and power equipment simply do not belong together for any reason.
Ano - Tuesday, 06/14/05 19:39:50 EDT

PPW Hammer-In: I tried, but I'm not going to be able to make it down. I sure wish I could. So all you guys have a good time, share a few stories about Paw Paw and ring the anvil loud so I can hear it up here. And don't be surprised if you peer through the smoke and catch a glimpse of him standing over in the corner enjoying the event.
- Larry - Tuesday, 06/14/05 19:48:57 EDT

Larry:: If'n ya want, I could make a detour your way and give you a ride to the hammer-in. My plans are to go down on Friday, scope out the place, and find a nearby motel. Then come morning, I'll have a good idea of how to find it again, after breakfast of course. Hell, I'm heading south outa Michigan, ain't no big deal to pick up an old redneck in Kentucky.
Bob H - Tuesday, 06/14/05 20:34:22 EDT

Bob H: I didn't know angels hid out in Michigan and knapped flint. Thanks a whole big heap. I'll contact you by email.
- Larry - Tuesday, 06/14/05 22:08:59 EDT

If I had not already promised a demo this weekend way back in Feb. I'd be there. I will toll the anvil, and will do it in unison with the tolling at PPW's if advised of the time. The demo is an invitational demo/hammer-in in Utica In. I will have the other smiths toll as a group if possible.
PPW was invited but had not decided whether to attend when he became ill.
ptree - Tuesday, 06/14/05 22:12:34 EDT

Prescription Safety Glasses: I went out and bought prescription safety glasses through my optometrist, they are progressives. Anyone else wearing them? I did the five days of getting use to them, a royal pain. Everything still seams distorted. I did a marking on a piece of paper tonight and looking through the reading part there is 2 inches at reading distance without distortion. If this is a good as it gets they are going in the scrap pile. I'm wondering if I would be better getting regular trivocals? Up til now I have just used two sets of glasses. Getting old is no fun. But the wife is looking better:)
- Trent - Wednesday, 06/15/05 01:22:44 EDT

Trent: My dad had bifocals made with the close grind on the top as well as the bottom, He was a carpenter and needed it for overhead work.The top section was for work at arms length, the bottom was the usual length for reading. I am considering the same for Myself, as I find I am looking over the tops of the lenses while grinding, and not getting protection in the operation where I am most likley to need it. His were not progressive, the regular bifocals I wear are not either. I have been told the problem You have is common, the corection isn't really progressive, the transition has just been blended to remove the line. In some grinds, it may be possible to have a true progressive corection, but I don't think it can be done if You have astigmatism.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 06/15/05 01:52:32 EDT

ptree: Grinding sparks deposit little specks of steel on My glass lenses, when I scrape them off a little white pit is left in the glass. I have been told that the sparks won't stick to polycarbonate, is tis true? How carefull do You have to bee to keep from scratching the plastic lenses when cleaning? This is the reason I havn't been using plastic. Once the tempered glass lenses are pitted I can't imagine that they would pass the strength test. My corection is thick around the edges, It would be nice to shed the extra weight of glass, but if You cant see through the scratches, what good are they?
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 06/15/05 02:07:06 EDT

polycarbonate lenses: Dave
The down side to polycarbonate lenses is they can not take high temperatures very well. They are not a good option for forging. I found the regular plastic lenses with the scratch guard protection hold up better. They can take high temperatures. Cleaning plastic lenses. I always rinse them with hot water before cleaning. Then I use the lense cleaning solution because some chemical like windex sometimes causes a reaction and will give the lenses a pink hue. I then spray on the lense cleaner and rinse them off. I look at the lenses for any obvious debree before spraying them with the lenses cleaner and rubbing the lenses in one direction. I then use a lense cleaning cloth with the soft micro fibers. I have found the lenses scratch very little if I am careful while cleaning and store them in the case when not in use. They don't tend to shatter like glass when struck by a flying object. This is just my opinion and years at the forge and machine shop. I have played with glasses to find what worked best for me. I almost forgot they are much lighter than glass. Poly are lighter yet, but above heat problem.
burntforge - Wednesday, 06/15/05 08:13:26 EDT

Grinding Dave: I forgot your question about grinding. The plastic lenses pit less in my experience-less brittle. They will scratch a little from grinding, but hold up surprisingly well. A very hot piece will sometime stick to the lense. Over the years I have had a couple of pieces burn in a little and stick. I went to using a clear face shield after a couple of eye injuries while wearing safety glasses from hot shards going up over the glasses frame and into my eye.
burntforge - Wednesday, 06/15/05 08:19:58 EDT

Progressive lenses: I tried them just last month, Trent. I kept them for two full weeks, wearing nothing else, and absolutely, positively HATED them. The optometrist guaranteed them, so when I could not accomodate them, they gave me regular old bifocals again and some money back. I would recommend getting the trifocals, if you need the middle vision correction. I use my computer glasses for that stuff, and keep a paior of them in the shop for those times I have to work overhead or under a car or other weird positions where the bifocals don't work.

With the cost of a new pair of glasses running over four hundred bucks these days, I now wear a plastic face shield when doing anything that might throw stuff at my face. It has certainly saved my glasses, and it saved me a couple of nasty facial cuts, as well. Cooler than goggles, too.

Getting past 40 or 50 is a pain in the rear, where vision is concerned. (grin)
vicopper - Wednesday, 06/15/05 08:40:09 EDT

My wife surprised the eye Dr by taking back her progressive lenses too. I just went with bifocals and had them make the bottom section as large as they could as I do a bunch of close up work that isn't reading!

If stuff is hitting my glasses it's time for the face shield!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/15/05 10:41:41 EDT

I agree that when stuff is hitting the glasses it's time for the face shield, but I like having the almost-goggle safety glasses on anytime I'm in the shop. This is because I know I tend to do quick stupid things like grab the angle grinder and take one pass off a chunk of steel, among other things that may send stuff flying. I can't forge in the full-face, so the over-the-top protection from the goggles is appreciated there too. Maybe if I were welding up billets in a power hammer I'd keep the full-face on while forging, though...
Alan-L - Wednesday, 06/15/05 10:59:03 EDT


I'm with you on the face shield. I have tri-focals, tried the progressive & had the headache from h--l for 2 days. Back to the regulars. The face shield covers all my bases so far.

Some of you might remember my post from last summer when the piece came off the pedestal grinder wire wheel & caught me in the face. It cut me & made the teeth sore, but I did not need any stitches or lose any teeth. I did need to replace the shield though. :-)
Brian C - Wednesday, 06/15/05 16:06:42 EDT

There is such a thing as painter's glasses, I have heard, with the close-up lens up on top. The tech in my opthalmologist's office says lots of shop workers use off-the-rack drugstore reading glasses for their manual work, giving good depth of field on the bench. I use those cheapo reading glasses because they work better for me under a welding helmet. And, if you can track them down, you can get magnifier plates and lenses for arc and oxy-acetylene. But for real life, tri-focals are the cat's meow! They make browsing flea markets sooooo much easier than bi-focals.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 06/15/05 17:13:45 EDT

I made the mistake of buying the same very large size avaitor style frames/lens that I had worn for years. The true correction is only in a band up the center of the lens! The bigger the lens, the more distortion as you look more to the side of the lens. I walked around like a drunken sailor( Sorry Ralph) for two weeks. I have now gone down a lens size, and gotten trained to use this style lens. That is I turn my head to look at things instaed of moving the eyeballs:). I like polycarbonate lens as they are the most impact resistant, and stop some UV. I have never had the lens dis-color. I have had some very good scratch guard coatings and some very weak. I found a place that will replace the lens with in a year if damaged for an extra $10 when you buy the glasses. I too find that the grinder stuff does not seem to stick to the polycarbonate.
I was told to always wet the lens to clean and to never wipe the lens with a dry cloth. I use a tiny dot of dish soap, after wetting the lens under flowing water. Use my finger to spread the soap, and then rinse with plenty of water. I dry with a kleenex, and my lens seem to last as long as the prescription does:)
ptree - Wednesday, 06/15/05 20:41:07 EDT

I do wear the full face shield - when I think of it, or when there is so much stuff flying around that I am reminded. I think most of the lens damage comes from the bench grinder, the one used most often has no guards whatsoever. With the angle grinder I am not usually in the line of fire. If I go with the plastic lenses I will have 40 years of glasses cleaning habits to break, as it is I wipe them with anything I can find.
Dave Boyer - Thursday, 06/16/05 01:51:46 EDT

Glasses: Besides being a spectacle wearer myself at the tender age of 30 :) (too much reading with a torch as a kid :)
I can tell you for a fact Paw Paw was right, my old man had only one good eye from the age of 25. He was a machinist and took a half inch splinter of steel dead centre in his right eye, because...
"I was a p*llock and was in a rush, the two minutes it would have taken to find 'em wasn't worth it... Hindsight is wonderfully ironic term to me son". Then he'd give me a wry grin and half scowl at me with his dicky eye :)
It ripped apart his cornea, iris, cilary muscles and finally stopped when it got to his retina. They were 50/50 about taking his eye out completely but a VERY good surgeon in what was then still a pioneering field of microsurgery managed to save his eyeball. His right eye had a white line clear through the iris and pupil that made it look like two halves. When he scowled at you over it he looked scary.
But I've never made the same mistake, full clear face shield every time. If molten metal hits the slightest damp spot you can get an explosion. I've had it happen once when a mould failed. pulled a 2mm ball shaped lump out of the face guard right in front of my left eye, it had distorted the plastic but cooled before it came through. Doubt my eye would do that :)
Tinker - Thursday, 06/16/05 06:43:55 EDT

Tinker: Those are the sort of stories that I sincerely hope the newbies AND the cocky old-timers read and heed. Thanks for sharing it with us. I know that the older I get, the more I value my eyesight and the more steps I take to protect and prolong it.

When I was younger and still thought I was immortal (before a few near-death experiences and emergency surgeries) I did a lot of things that were very foolish. The hubris of youth, you know? Only good fortune prevented me form being sightless, limbless and likely lifeless. How many times can you go to that well before it runs dry? I don't want to find out the hard way.
vicopper - Thursday, 06/16/05 10:04:12 EDT

Not only of youth, there are jobs where folks think it's "sissy" to use the mandated safety equipment; never bothered me as I was serene in the knowledged that I'd be able to come back and beat them to a pulp one they were missing their fingers/toes/eyes...I sure wanted to be able to hear my grandkids say "grampaw-grandma *stop* doing that, you're embarassing me" too

Thomas P - Thursday, 06/16/05 10:41:49 EDT

Glasses aditional: Sarge,
he was by his own admition 'very,VERY, stupid' that day and for no other reason than an excellent surgeons work was lucky, in that...

a) he even kept the ruddy thing at all, it was 'a right mess'
b) he could eventually distinguish between light and dark with it, BUT that was ALL.

My own 'near' miss was fortunately, not a very 'accurate' tragedy ( for me:) because of the safety gear I was wearing and NO other reason.
Really Lads and Lasses, I don't know as much as some but I do know - dont think about it, do it. Get the safety gear you NEED and MAKE yourself use it till it becomes habit, that way you can focus more on what it is your doing that REQUIRES the use of safety gear in the first place :)

My Dad had to live with one 'good' eye for another THIRTY TWO years after his accident, and he was ONLY fifty six when he died in march of this year. To my mind I wouldn't give a flying one if it took me an hour to find the gear I needed. Thirty two years is a long time folks.
Tinker - Thursday, 06/16/05 11:15:40 EDT

Full Face Shield: Funny that I found this post today.

I had debated over full face shields or over glasses ventilated Goggles for a while and then decided to get the over the glasses from McMaster-Carr.

Last night I decided to go to a full face shield. I was practicing grinding and the tool rest dropped. The metal I was grinding bounced off the rest or bench not sure which and hit me in the cheek. That made the decision for me right then. When I inspected the tool rest the lock washer (aluminum) was compressed to flat with no weight/tension on it. I replaced it with a toothed lock washer which looked like it had originally used.

Luckily all I have is a sore hand and cheek.

Arron Cissell - Thursday, 06/16/05 13:28:24 EDT

Lessons to Learn:
vicopper - I'm a cocky old-timer (by years) who is also a newbie (by skill). I appreciate all that everyone has said, and will be doing the full-face-shield-AND-safety-glasses trick. I'll tell the observers that the 1900s shop we're staffing as demonstrators was VERY progressive...
- Tim S. - Thursday, 06/16/05 13:48:52 EDT

Further question: OK, now to get practical... would you wear the full face shield all the time, or just when grinding/drilling, or when forge welding? I guess what I'm asking is that with legitimate sideflaps and polycarbonate lenses, should I consider that sufficient for heating, pounding, and bending?
Tim S. - Thursday, 06/16/05 13:51:26 EDT

Sideshields: Tim; I've had particles from all kinds of sources bounce off the sideshields of my industrial safety glasses, and go into my eyes. OSHA and your shop's insurance carrier don't care diddley-squat about historical correctness. If one wants to look for excuses to avoid wearing eye protection in the name of historical correctness, maybe there will be a spot on the sidewalk outside the smithy for a historically correct blind former blacksmith, complete with historically correct tin cup and appropriately lettered sign alluding to his stupidity. I have one functional eye, due to a birth defect, and I'm damned if I'm gonna be the guy with the tin cup. How many eyes can YOU afford to lose?
3dogs - Thursday, 06/16/05 14:25:48 EDT

I'm on your side!:
3dogs - you're preaching to the choir. I used to work for an amulance company and in surgery, so my "bias" towards safety is already present. I make my living on the 'puter, and need my eyesight to keep my job. Not to mention seeing grandkids someday.

And I don't care about OSHA or insurance - I want to keep my eyes.

But my question really was legit - there are truly SOME times when eye protection is NOT required (like right now, while I'm typing). Other times, needing eye protection is a no-brainer (like making a forge weld, or working overhead, or when using any sort of power tool). It is the INTERMEDIATE risks that I'm curious about.

It would seem overkill to have safety goggles and a face shield while twisting a piece of bar stock using a wrench and a post vice, for instance. I would think it OK to leave the face shield near the anvil in such cases, but get used to wearing the glasses. Forget historical accuracy - if they want me there, they'll live with it. But what is reasonable, what is overkill, and what is foolhardy when it comes to heating, bending and pounding?

Please forgive me if I sound like an idiot - I really want to know from some experienced folks whether the WalMart side-shield-and-polycarbonate lenses should be OK for general non-power-tool show work, with a face shield added for forge welding and any power work?
Tim S. - Thursday, 06/16/05 15:08:41 EDT

last sentence - "show work" should have been "shop work"
Tim S. - Thursday, 06/16/05 15:09:36 EDT

3dogs, I think Tim was asking when it's okay not to wear the full-face, not saying he wasn't going to wear glasses at all.

For general forging I've done okay with normal safety glasses, but prefer the semi-goggle type such as the Uvex Cricket that fits much closer to the face over the tops of the lenses. For grinding, power sanding, and everything else that wants to throw crap at me I do the full shield.

I've always liked Atli's quotes about historical correctness and safety gear to be used when the Period-Correct police ask about the glasses (and the life jackets aboard the viking ship); "Blindness (Drowning, death, etc.), while historically accurate, is not a desired outcome of this re-enactment."
Alan-L - Thursday, 06/16/05 15:10:04 EDT

Seems like I generally end up taking a wire brush to the piece when twisting it to get a good look at how it's going. Now it's a manual powered brush but still can throw a bit of scale in use. But then I swim wearing safety glasses...

Thomas P - Thursday, 06/16/05 15:26:58 EDT

Eyesight: One can supposedly perform various exercise to improve eyesight. I've actually done the near/far exercise off and on while commuting home, but not regularly. Although I can't place the source, professional athletes often train their eyes to improve focusing speed in order to reduce the time to acquire targets(think baseball).

Here's a link to a page that was somewhat insightful, and have a few exercises. Most of the others are only trying to sell you some magical cure.
- Tom T - Thursday, 06/16/05 16:44:48 EDT

Eye exercises: hmmm, might give that a go, you never know
Ian Lowe - Thursday, 06/16/05 17:58:32 EDT

A couple of bits about eye protection.
A relatively new product is cheap throwaway safety glasses with near correction. Several companies offer near vision correction in throw away cheap safety glasses. If you know the diopter, they run in the $6.00 range. Diopter correction lens are avaiable for welding hoods for in the $5.00 range. A welding hood with the clear safety lens is NOT rated for the impact that safety glasses are. I wear my safety glasses under the hood, and raise the shade to grind.

Has splatter and slag in the face when oxy-fuel burning? shade 4 face shiel windows are available for standard headgear. I prefer the ratchet type headgear as it make on/off a snap.

Face shields are to protect the face. Safety glasses are to protect the eyes. I like to layer both when wire wheel and grinding. I wear standard safety glasses to forge.
ptree - Thursday, 06/16/05 18:08:36 EDT

I too wear safety glasses to swim and lay on the beach. Mine are stainless frames with shade 4 dark lens that I normally wear to drive.(Sensitive to bright sunlight)
As both the wif and the cuties can never tell where you are looking thru the dark lens, these are indeed very safe glasses to wear on the beach! :)
ptree - Thursday, 06/16/05 18:16:17 EDT

Bearings.: Update on the precision drill from junk....

I've FINALLY had the threaded rod back from the local engineers, took them long enough :(

Now cut into two equal sections & has the threads at the ends of each machined off. I've had two of the ends drilled and tapped for bolts (for the hand drill gears). Also been checked for trueness.

Couldn't wait on the gingery books landing so its my own fault :)

The rod has been machined down to the same diameter as bearings from a rollerblade I've found (tried playing with the bycle ones and wasn't too impressed, they werent near what i'm willing to put up with as far as 'play' goes).

Now, a thought im mulling over...

I'm thinking of the vertical loads on the rods and the ease of them rotating, all the bearings i've looked at from easy junk sources really aren't made to deal with stress in the direction it will be coming from on the press so what do you think to the idea of getting a lump of square or round solid steel bar say 1 in by 1 in, and drilling a hole in it the same diameter as the 'machined' bit of rod, and deep enough for it to take a length of rod and a ball bearing. That way the roller blade bearings can concentrate on turning and the verticle forces travel to the ball bearing instead. The roller blade bearing will keep the rotation 'tight' so the socket wouldn't have to be dramatically precise would it?

If the tolerences were close enough on the rod and 'socket' would that be good enough on its own? If it was it would make this a hell of a lot easier for other folks to do themselves.
I don't know if it 'could' be that simple and whether I've wasted a lot of time :( ?
Any thoughts?
Tinker - Thursday, 06/16/05 19:23:16 EDT

Ruddy hell that was a long post!
sorry people :(
Tinker - Thursday, 06/16/05 19:25:08 EDT

I do not know what size you are looking for but what you need to take the thrust is a thrust bearing. A tapered roller bearing can take a bit of thrust, but a true thrust bearing is better. These can be a simple nylon or brass washer to a ball bearing thrust washer as in those used to allow a crane hook to rotate in the sheave block. If you think you will have acceptable thrust to not deform the metal, a dab of high moly content moly disulfide paste will reduce the friction and wear. A very good paste is Dow Corning's "Molykote GN Assembly paste" Available in the US in a toothpaste size tube that is usually a life time supply. This stuff should be in every bloggers kit.

The last was an attempt to show Humor from your side of the pound by a hillbilly. Did I get it right?
ptree - Thursday, 06/16/05 19:54:26 EDT

Tinker, another thought,
Is "Small Parts" a source available to you? They sell small quanities of neat bits to the retail by mail. I suppose they may sell by web as well.
ptree - Thursday, 06/16/05 19:56:15 EDT

glasses: have youguys seen the add for wiley X military glasses. This link is very graphic but shows how strong the glasses are.
- ken kristiansen - Thursday, 06/16/05 20:55:07 EDT

ptree: I think the word you really wanted was "bodger", Jeff. But I wouldn't swear to it, as those lads across the pond *do* have a funny way with words. (grin)
vicopper - Thursday, 06/16/05 20:56:36 EDT

wiley-x: I've seen them, Ken. We have a bunch of young guys on the force here who wear them. They are the current rage for the SWAT guys and wannabes, from what I can see. Way too expensive for my wallet, though. I've been thoroughly pleassed with the Boultons I got from the Anvilfire Store for around ten bucks a pair. At that price, I can afford to replace them when they get scuffed up or bent too far out of shape, something that happens with pretty fair regularity in my shop. I'm not much of a fashion model, an dmy fashion sense in both clothes and eyewear tends much more to the purely utilitarian than the vogue. Those Wiley's *do* look pretty avant garde, I have to admit. For a hundred bucks though, they need to come in my bifocal prescription and have a replacement guarantee against scratching. I'm cheap, what can I say?
vicopper - Thursday, 06/16/05 21:05:39 EDT

Ralph's Surgery: Hello Everybody,

I just want to let everyone know that Ralph's surgery today went very well. They removed an area under his arm about the size of a hot dog bun and grafted muscle and skin harvested from his back. He had two surgeons, and both said it couldn't have gone better. He'll be in the hospital for a few days. We've already got a hospital bed set up for him at home, so he should be comfortable when he gets here. In the meantime, just a lot of pain medication and sleep. His mother is here, too. Between the two of us, we'll take good care of him.

Thank you for all your prayers and good wishes!!

- Ntech - Thursday, 06/16/05 21:18:59 EDT

wileyX: You are right. I have a stigmatizum [?]and need to use glasses. It's no fun trying to buy good perscrips just to scrach them up. I found a good pair of glasses [bole] that have a perscription insert that clips under the "unbreakable" lens. A pain to clean, but I just scach the outer lens not the perscrips. I buy just the outer lens by the box
ken kristiansen - Thursday, 06/16/05 21:21:13 EDT

Tinker: An ordinary ball bearing isn't ideal for thrust, but We are talking about a small drillpress arent We? the load is small, rotation speed is really slow, allmost anything would work. The ball in the bottom of a drilled hole included.The plans from "Poorman's Publications"[the guy plugged it on this page a few days ago] has plans to make a drill similar to what You are building, I have never seen their plans, but most of the stuff looked like You wouldn't need plans to build it, I will give them the benifit where there is doubt by not commenting on how well I think most of the stuff would work.
Dave Boyer - Thursday, 06/16/05 21:57:55 EDT

I recently aquired a Canedy otto royal western chief forge, anvil, hammer as a set. From the research I did on the net, I see it's an earlier model. Any way, my wife tells me I have too many hobbies and too little money to take up learnig to make swords. (I already build and play guitars, restore cars, etc.) So I thought someone out there might want this stuff? or at least point me in a direction where I could find someone who is into this sort of thing. Email me and I'll send a picture. I like this site!
Mel Hudson - Friday, 06/17/05 00:35:25 EDT

Mel-- Canedy-Otto is top drawer stuff. Where are you?
Miles Undercut - Friday, 06/17/05 00:40:10 EDT

One-eyed fanatic: Sorry if I came off as too harsh, but my point was the fact that little flying nasties will still come up under, over and behind the sideshields on safety glasses, bounce off the lens and head right for yer peepers. I have on just such occasions, had to have things removed from the surface of my baby blues with the $2000.00 version of the Dremel Moto-Tool. (Funny how stuff never seems to head for the non-functional eye.)The fly ash that comes up when the forge is being blown a little too vigorously is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.
3dogs - Friday, 06/17/05 00:53:20 EDT

Junk Drill Press: Thanks all, lots more to scratch my chin over. I'm familiar with tapered roller bearings, because they're used on rear brake drums but thats a bit too big for what I want. I'm really trying to do this without having to go anywhere near specialist tools or bits so I can share it as an 'easy' junkyard 'cheap as chips' make here. For example I realised I could have drilled the ends of the threaded rods and inserted a length of thinner plain rod instead of having them machined. The press will be reasonably small, and will use a flexishaft from a normal drill (as the dremel needs expensive 'dremel' drill bits to realy work well, think its down to the rpm the dremel kicks out) Anyhow I checked out small parts, very nice stuff for future reference, but the shipping on top kills them economically from the scrapyard philosophy p.o.v.
As its not mega heavy duty I'll try both the ball bearing and also a thick nylon thrust washer (I have an old chopping board somewhere) I'll keep you all posted and many thanks for the ideas :)

Ptree.. :) you did better with 'Tyke' humour than I would do hillbilly (BOG)
Sarge is right, to bodge is to do/make somthing with what you can grab, similar to the term 'jerry rig', hence Bodger, someone like me who does it all the time :).
You came closer to 'blagger' someone who talks their way into places or getting stuff for free (and I have 'blagged' more than a few things in my time :)

Just to confuse all my american cousins further we also have 'bludger', thats someone who takes but never offers anything in return (and is not what I'm about at all :)

So.. I'm a blagging bodger who hates bludgers.
lol :)
Tinker - Friday, 06/17/05 06:45:02 EDT

Wiley-x: You have to love Marine Core mentality :)
Mind you that lad was lucky he still had the finger in the first place though :)
Tinker - Friday, 06/17/05 06:51:33 EDT

British slang: Somebody said the Americans & British were peoples separated by a common language. I find idiomatic wordplay to be the spice of the English language. I found a site that tries to narrow the gap in our mutual understanding of the nuances of our "shared" language. It's
Tom C - Friday, 06/17/05 07:39:32 EDT

password: I am pretty sure I registered awhile ago but haven't used the site for awhile. How do I get my password for slack-tub or should I just re-register.
tomg - Friday, 06/17/05 08:55:57 EDT

British Slang: Very funny site and well worth a look.
If you want to see what will make a 'tyke' grin try
The main site has a lot to offer, especially the recordings of 'old' Yorkshire dialect :)
Translations available for a small fee payable to CSI :)
Tinker - Friday, 06/17/05 09:26:02 EDT

CAMP FENBY to be Rescheduled:
Maybe to late October or November...

No sympathy or commiseration needed; just a note that I messed up my back in Omaha, and have spent the better part of the last week prone. I have been not answering e-mail, the pains associated with sitting up leads to limited computer time, and the meds are unkind to coherrent thought.

Three more weeks of light duty after this.

Will reserve myself to short, pithy comments, if anything at all.

Y'all be nice to each other.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 06/17/05 09:44:16 EDT

TomG: Registrations for the Slack Tub Pub are usually several weeks behind in being processed. The webmaster simply has too much work to do and the slack gets taken up there. Be patient and it will happen, though. If you have any problems with your email, that can cause issues with registering you. If email to you bounces, then your registration can't be processed.
vicopper - Friday, 06/17/05 09:44:19 EDT

Atli: Take care of the back! We'll struggle along without you for a while, don't worry. If there is anything you need, let us know and someone will find a way.
vicopper - Friday, 06/17/05 09:46:35 EDT

Translations: I dunno, Tinker. I heard tell that translating Yorky was a black art practiced only in secret. (grin)
vicopper - Friday, 06/17/05 09:47:52 EDT

Eyesight/Glasses: The authour of "1984" George Orwell wrote a book based on his eye injuries/illness(?) IFRC called "THE ART OF SEEING." I've only ever seen one copy at the Base Library in CFB Borden (Ont.)

My wife would like me to get the laser surgery; my response usually is to take off my 'working' glasses (I work in a small, but busy avionics shop) and show her the scratches on the lenses. Usually ends the discussion for a few months.

Overcast and 17 Cel. North of the Lake (Ontario.)
Don - Friday, 06/17/05 09:57:01 EDT

You are trying to save our eyes for us - thanks a bunch! Your remark about ash and zealous blower work is particularly interesting...
Tim S. - Friday, 06/17/05 11:43:52 EDT

Fun with Language Dept.: The word bodger also refers to a woodturner. Yup. I know you don't believe this, but it does. None of my dictionaries says this, and I bet your don't either, but it's a fact-- the guys who went into the woods and turned the legs for Windsor chairs with their springpole lathes were known as bodgers locally in that district of England. I know this because I have been having a lonnnnnnng dispute over it with a woodturner friend, a retired surgeon, who insists he, too, is a bodger. There is a dictionary of woodworking tools that has a note about it. I resolved the problem by giving him an asterisk, like Roger Maris's for his home run record to distinguish his total from Ruth's in a shorter season, and the one Doonesbury gave Top Gun after the 2000 selection. He is a bodger*.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 06/17/05 12:11:32 EDT

Lens replaced by my employers
1979 both glass lens pitted beyond use, while on my face, when a valve blew a diaphragm, at 200 psi, and full of test dirt and metal particles. Face was about 12" away, and you have never seen acne like I had on all my exposed skin for several weeks! Even had acne on the fronts of my ears!

1981 Twice had a single lens with a major pit from impact of metal gouged by air arc from a distance. ( I was NOT doing the gouging but was on the other side of the shop.)

1984 Stepped off the elevator on the 7th floor of our machine shop, took one step, and a blob of molten metal hit the lens right in line with the pupil. Cutting hard steel in a lathe, and the tool broke down and threw that blob about 40'.

1987 talking to a tool maker, and the mill next to us broke a tungston carbide tool, which sounder like a gunshot. Splinters took out both lens from scratchs and pits, but I lost just 1 drop of blood from my nose.

1998 lost one lens pretty much as from above. No blood.

Through all this I have never had any eye injuries, although the face has suffered. A face shield would have helped.

You get two eyes per life. Only protect those you wish to use.
ptree - Friday, 06/17/05 12:17:06 EDT

vicopper/password: When I say I gegistered awhile ago it was over a year ago. And I am not 100% sure if I did.
tomg - Friday, 06/17/05 12:19:35 EDT

Eyes: ptree - have to agree with you on safety glass use - have gotten much "more religious" around the home shop over the years. Alwas wore required PPE in work/industrial environments.

Don - I had Lasik for nearsightedness back in 1999/2000 - personally, I like it even though I now wear reading glasses (age 53) It's fun to be able to get up and see enough to function without having to search for glasses or insert contacts. For awhile I was wearing extended wear contacts - again the same principle fun to see when you get up. Feedback from some dr.'s was that that habit was starting to promote blood vessel growth in the eye to get oxygen to the area covered by the contacts - not a long term favorable trend.
- Gavainh - Friday, 06/17/05 12:32:39 EDT

eye glasses saftey: One cannot say enough about shop saftey. I checked my eye glasses to make sure they weere in compliance. I wear the glasses(with side shields) all the time, a face shield when grinding, wire brushing, and causing stuff to fly about.
Also I wear ear muffs almost constantly in the shop, my ears are very important, can't stand those ear plugs.
Good and safe Friday to all.
blackbart - Friday, 06/17/05 12:49:09 EDT

Brake Drum Forge: What do you fellas think abou this article.

He is pretty critical on the design. I'm not calling the guy unskilled, he looks as though he could run circles around my smithing. But, most brake drum forges i've seen have worked great for small stuff. I disagree with his assertion that it costs just as much to make one as buying a commercial firepot. I made a brake drum for for under 20 bucks.
T.N. Miller - Friday, 06/17/05 14:19:58 EDT

that beautiful iron guy: yeah, we had a long discussion about him sometime back.

I think the final point was, all we can do is inform in the best way possible and let people make their decisions.
Escher - Friday, 06/17/05 14:59:51 EDT

Paw-Paw Memorial Hammer-In:
Due to there being a local town parade attendees will want to be early or they will be late. Routes 901 and 67 will be blocked off for the parade at 10am. Should not be long but there will be a delay.
- guru - Friday, 06/17/05 16:00:40 EDT

Pub registrations:
I am way behind on pub registrations. However, one out of 8 registrations has a problem, usualy the email bounces. When this happens I have no way to contact the registrant. This also causes a work delay as bogus or typo registrations must be edited by hand.
- guru - Friday, 06/17/05 16:04:59 EDT

I made a brake drum forge for under $10 including all parts, blower and speed control for same. Fanciest tool I used was 3/8" VSR drill (no welding, machining, etc) I used it as a billet welding forge for a number of years.

Sure wish I could get a good firepot for that---my RR forge could use one.

Thomas P - Friday, 06/17/05 16:32:21 EDT

eyes: The refinery that I work at gives us 2 pair of perscription safety glasses per year. They had rules that said , no contacts because you could get chemicals on them and damage your eyes. now they say it's ok to use them. that they protect your eyes.but you still need to use glasses.
ken kristiansen - Friday, 06/17/05 19:00:18 EDT

A little Hammer Base: I got a chance today to meet Ken Kristiansen who seems to be a real nice guy. I made a trip up to his shop and bought the drop hammer he had posted here a while ago. I'll be using the 3500 pound base as an anvil for a new air hammer. He was good enough to disassemble the thing rather than just lay it down in the trailer. I managed to resist a bunch of other neat things he had for sale though I did pick up an electric hoist for a buddy. I rented a three ton tilt trailer for this little operation and was able to skid the base off onto the ground with no troubles after I used my little forklift to pick all the small stuff off the trailer. I'll need to borrow a larger lift to put the base on the loading dock though. Somehow I don't think it's going to dissappear from where it's sitting over the weekend!
SGensh - Friday, 06/17/05 19:36:00 EDT

SteveG: Hmmmmm, lemme think this through. A good ratio for hammer to anvil is around 1:15. So, you have a 3500# anvil. I guess you're going to build a 230# hammer, right? Good thing you've got that big compressor. You gonna have it finished by Quad States? (grin)
vicopper - Friday, 06/17/05 20:00:04 EDT

A question: I got a call from my freight forwarder today, and my new compressor is on the boat headed my way. Should get here Wednesday or so. That means I have to come up with a place to put it. I'd really prefer to have it outside the shop, to minimize the racket and to keep it from needing a new air filter every week.

I'm going to have to make some sort of a little enclosure for it, to keep it out of the rain and keep critters from nesting in it, I suppose. Anybody got any suggestons for design parameters? It's a 5hp vertical 80 gal I-R. Naturally, I want simple ideas...I can overcomplicate the simplest thing almost effortlessly. (grin)
vicopper - Friday, 06/17/05 20:04:17 EDT

Translations: It is Sarge! :)
Thats why when I said 'small' donations to CSI for the unravelling of the most sacred of mysteries to a Yorky (his own native tongue:) I was thinking along the Texan idea of 'small'
Ian Lowe - Friday, 06/17/05 20:44:07 EDT

vicopper: The main suggestion I have is to isolate the structure from your shop and floor so the vibrations don't carry through to your main shop.

blackbart - Friday, 06/17/05 21:14:11 EDT

Homeless Compressor: If your gonna put it flush up against the workshop wall then somthing like a 'lean to' will be a doddle. Using the wall to anchor the roof and wooden frame of the lean to will make the shack? much stronger and reduce materials needed too. A picture here would really help :(
For the critters (I'm not sure what the biggest nuisance animal is over there)I'd cover the bottom 12 inches of the door and frame with thin steel plate and use a decent guage wire mesh for any ventilation. The little b*ggers who gnaw just never stop on wood if they want in. Making the base raised (and with no gaps in it to tempt them under the floor) will have the advantage of lifting the entry point above a normal rodent run. Rats etc are 'keyed' to try any dark spot or hole on the same level as them first.
Worked for rento-kill over here for a few months, rats are as hard as nails so god knows what the bigger critters are like :)
Ian Lowe - Friday, 06/17/05 21:23:18 EDT

vicopper: I think I would put it on the leward side of the building if You are located on the windward side of the island, unless You are at a high elevation. The pully side of the unit should be 18"to 24" from the wall to alow air flow, the building should have vents near the bottom and top so heated air can escape by convection. My 5 HP Champion sits on the concrete floor and doesn't make any vibration problems, but would probably be quieter if it sat on rubber pads. I think I will use 1" PVC pipe when I move & re-plumb Mine, as it is cheap, strong enough, doesn't rust,& it worked well in My cousin's shop.
Dave Boyer - Friday, 06/17/05 21:57:45 EDT

Compressor: Tinker,

Yeah, a lean-to is probably what I'll use. I'm leaning (inadvertent pun) toward using corrugated roofing tin for the walls as well as the roof, since I have a few extra sheets. Rat wire for ventilation, as I seem to have an adequate supply of the buggers.


I'm on the leeward side of the island at only about fifty feet elevation. But we *have* had hurricanes come from the wrong side a time or two, so nothing is a sure bet. I'll heed your advice about isolating the slab from the shop slab, and the clearance for the air flow. I will eschew the plastic pipe, though.

I saw a friends plastic pipe spud gun explode, shooting shrapnel a hundred feet into tree trunks. The ozone and UV levels here are too high to trust any plastic. Plain old copper will stand the pressure just fine, doesn't cost too much and is easy to make leakproof joints. If it does rupture, there's little likelihood of shrapnel. So sayeth my engineer friend anyway, and I believe him on that one. Another friend does use pvc, but has a hefty section of rubber hose between the receiver and the plastic pipe, for the purpose of absorbing the shocks. If you're going to use th eplastic, I'd sure recommend the expansion tube.
vicopper - Saturday, 06/18/05 00:32:45 EDT

vicopper: I use about 4' of refrigeration hose coming off the tank going to the distribution equiptment as a flexable coupling. This is as necessairy with copper pipe as with any other material. A lot of people questioned/criticised My cousin about the PVC, but it is rated for 600# working pressure @ 73deg.F [if I remember corectly]. He saw an article in "Compressed Air" Ingersol-Rand's trade magazine describing the use of large diameter PVC distribution pipes as part of the air storage system, it adds up to a lot of volume in an industrial setup [quite large diameter pipe was used]
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 06/18/05 01:40:32 EDT

I prefer black pipe for plumbing air. There is never any question of positive seal at the joints, it lasts basically forever (provide the air is kept properly dry), and can be completely disassembled if it is ever necessary to move it.
Ano - Saturday, 06/18/05 07:57:13 EDT

PVC Air Lnes: I strongly discourage the use of PVC for air lines, IR's trade mag not withstanding. Unlike metal, plastic deteriorates with time, particularly if it is exposed to oil, as in an air line. When it gives way it does so catastrophicaly. Steel will just rust holes and leak. Also, use over size lines so that the air velocity is too low to carry droplets of oil and water. Remember drip legs and taps off the top of the horizontal runs.
- John Odom - Saturday, 06/18/05 08:06:28 EDT

As John Odom noted, PVC and other piping made from plastic is a very bad idea. The oils used in compressors will remove the plasticizers in the plastic making it brittle. The was one plastic pipe system on the market for compressed air, but I will never trust plastic for this service.
Also as John Odom notes ALWAYS tap branches and drops off the top of the main run. Slope the main run back to the compressor tank and this will help greatly in keeping the water in the tank where it can be drained. By the way the condensate will be oil laden so treat it as a environmental pollutant. Drip legs will also help your filter dryers to handle the condensation. Put a ball vale at the bottom of the drip leg to allow ease in draining. There are auto drains that will work for the tank. Do not trust the auto drains that are float operated as they clog and stick, usually in the leaking mode. A electric operated ball valve with a built in timer is the best and will work for years. They sell for a couple of hundred dollars. All others are probably not work bothering with. Auto drains on the filters are also not worth bothering with as they also fail. Parker has a wonderful drain on their filters that takes a side ways push to operate. The Parker "Micro-Mist" is the best lubricator on the market from my research testing in a plant that ran hundreds of impact guns ETC.
If you can splurge a bit and make the main a 2" pipe, it is a bit more expensive, but adds air storage, at less cost than a tank.
ptree - Saturday, 06/18/05 08:32:02 EDT

Air system: I don't care who says plastic is okay for air, I will never do it. Doesn't matter what the stuff is rated at or anything else. I *know* it isn't safe; I saw the shrapnel embedded in mahogany trees a hundred feet away. I was pretty damn lucky none was embedded in me. I'm not going to that well again, no thanks!

I'll price both black iron and copper, and use what I can afford the best. If I determine that I want/need additional storage volume, I can get used 100# to 500 gallon propane tanks for less than the cost of scrap steel. They'll stand the pressure and come equipped with pipe fittings. Since they would be stored outside with a concrete wall between them and me, I'd be pretty comfortable using them. After suitable purging and cleaning, of course.

With the local scrap guys charging .40/lb for rusty, bent, painted and concrete-covered plate, those old propane tanks are the only inexpensive steel I can get down here. The price of 2" pipe is so astronomical that I only use it for critical things like workbench legs. And those only when I find a rusty piece at the dumpster. The other day, I caught myself slowing down at a road construction site and scheming how to swipe the 4x8 piece of 1" plate they were using to cover a hole. When steel is outlawed, only outlaws will have steel! (grin)

I probably won't have any automatic drains on my air system; just can't afford to buy an expensive gadget to open a valve that I am accustomed to opening every week anyway. (grin) I'll save that $200 to use for some other tool. I have a very long list of goodies that I lust after, so the only hard part is choosing which one to get. The good part is, if I don't buy the drain valve, I have a great excuse to buy something else. :-)

I will use drip legs and top taps on all the air runs. I like to put a ball valve on one of the drip legs on every long run, or before I turn a corner. In the past, I've noticed a nasty habit of later lusing the valved drip leg for a "temporary" air supply, only to have it turn out to be more permanent than temporary. This time, I'll be sure to stub up a tap and ell right next to the valved drip legs, so I'm less tempted to pirate them. It's a shame that I have to resort to tricking myself into doing the right thing. (grin)
vicopper - Saturday, 06/18/05 14:56:38 EDT

Drain leg: Vicopper, you can also put a quick disconnect on those ball valves and drain them using an air gun... best of both worlds IMHO. Not exactly a production shop solution, though. :)
- T. Gold - Saturday, 06/18/05 16:26:03 EDT

Vicopper, when you start running an air hammer, the volume of air you consume will require more than a weekly drain. You will probably want to drain every hour or so of air hammer run in a humid environment. Thats the reason for the auto drain. If you compressor is a load/unload type, a simple pulse drainer is available. I think your small compressor is a start stop machine and Harbor freight makes a tank drain for those. Never used one, so can't offer an opinion.
In your oiler for the hammer, avoid the oils like "Marvel mystery oil", as they play havoc with anything plastic in the system like seals and hoses. I am partial to a light oil like a AW-32 hydraulic oil. Works well, is cheap, and does not hurt the system. (The AW stands for anti-wear) ATF is just such an oil.
ptree - Saturday, 06/18/05 18:21:07 EDT

Air,oil and water: Jeff,

Thanks for that advice! I'm sure that hydraulic oil is priced about the same as snake oil here, but ATF is cheap enough. I've never been a big fan of Marvel oil, it seems too heavily hyped to be that good.

I may look into the auto drain thingie from HF, as the new compressor is a pressure-switch start-stop, probably without an unloader valve. I'll know more along about Wednesday when it gets here, I suppose. Or not. (grin)
vicopper - Saturday, 06/18/05 21:03:31 EDT

PPW Hammer in: There were about 60 folks that showed up for the PPW hammer in at Boonville, NC. One third of those were blacksmiths.

A memorial to Jim was presented, leaves were demoed by Jock and others, Iron in the hat, and the food in NC is always good, but todays BBQ and Sheri's home cookin' were great.

Folks came in from Michigan, Florida, New Jersey, West Virginia, Kentucky, and many other states. It was nice to put faces with the names we have seen so often on the internet.
- Conner - Saturday, 06/18/05 21:40:36 EDT

Air piping:
Do not use plastic. Especially PVC. Most of the reasons I know have been said. The plastic that I am aware of that was sold for air lines was polyurethane. Wiggly stuff.

Soldered copper is the way to go from a corrosion, ease and low leak standpoint. Someone argued about pressure rating before they looked once, but they seem to have wised up.

Copper is pretty too. And pretty is important. grin.

Rich, if the compressor does not have a good air filter, a smart guy like yourself can figure out how to rig up an old car air cleaner. Your tools and compressor will last much longer with clean air going IN. We all know about how the air on the out needs to be filtered, but it's far better to do a good job filtering IN also.

And since air compressors that size generally do not have oil filters, and oil is cheaper than compressors, changing the oil more often than recommended is a good idea too. But I know you know that.

I use a three or 4 foot hydraulic hose for the vibration reducing connection between the compressor and the piping. Love that steel braid for toughness around hot stuff. And if it rots, it generally won't blow out like fabric reinforced hose. The air will just leak between the wires.

Top taps are good for drops, but along with that you MUST run the pipe so it is pitched to drain or condensate will build up in the low spots of the horizontal pipe and it's a big pressure drop as well as a big condensate slugging issue.

I used to use PVC for spud guns and I do still have a triple barrel PVC, but I'm doing them in stainless now. Much safer and the bore is better if you use sanitary tubing. Spud accuracy and range performance is far better. grin.

Been very very busy here. Wish I could have made it to the PPW hammer in.

- Tony - Saturday, 06/18/05 22:41:31 EDT

Tony: You made a triple barrel spud gun? And now in stainless? For sale?
ken kristiansen - Sunday, 06/19/05 07:49:45 EDT

Compresor oils.
From experience with a plant that had 7200 cfm in compressors (6 total) the compressor oil you choose can make a very big difference. We had twin screw, recip, and a HUGE steam driven recip.

Straight turbine oil, Yeilds about 1000 hours in a screw compressor prior to oxidation.

PAO (poly alky-olefin, SP?) was in the 2000-3000 range

Poly-gycol was in the 6000+hour range.

Silicon is beyond belief.
All the above are ok to use with standard hoses and polycarbonate filter bowls. The cost of the fluid increases with the life. The PAO is probably the wise choice for the serious home user. The poly gycol, at $35 to $45 per gallon, is the wise choice for the more industrial shop where two and three shift use in screw compressors occurs, and has the environmentally friendly nature that allows many sewer systems to allow direct dump of condensate to a city sewer (Ask first)

Several of the SUPER compressor oils will play havoc with seals, hoses and polycarbonate bowls. I tested one product back in the late 70's for the pnuematic maker I then worked for that would leach the zinc out of the metal bowls making them leak through the bowls!
If running a small, say 25 cfm and under recip, I would use the turbin oil, and change often. As Tony noted, I would filter intake air. I would however, filter the entire intake, ie: I would put a set of furnace filters, or roll filter into the fresh air intake for the room, and stop the dust and lint that clogs the cooling fins on the machine. I would also filter the intake air also. The best intake filter is a large truck filter. The kind used on Army trucks mounted on the fender. Has a top entry, and side outlet. Uses centrifugal seperation and the filters. Donaldson makes these and they are used on many brands of industrial compressor. The are designed for ducting from the filter outlet so are easy to refit.
ptree - Sunday, 06/19/05 08:47:12 EDT

Oil degredation and spud propellers: Ken, yes, and anything for a price. Grin. I have not "sold" any due to liabilities. But there are a few out there. One of my mild PVC spud shooters will put a potato through 2 layers of 1/4" masonite, so they can be deadly. The stainless single barrel takes out 5/8 plywood like it's not there. Just about all of them put the potato well out of sight. Got any machines to trade? Would you like the standard barrel or first level or second level improved barrel version? Pneumatic or hairspray? "Shrapnel capable" for when you want a good potato spread?

Engineering makes play more fun too! grin.

Oil degredation is basically two things. Chemical breakdown, which can be corrosive and lower the film strength, and particulate. Super oils that delay chemical problems still need particulate removed. New machined parts, no matter how well machined, shed the peaks of the machining off and those are small metal particles that can create more metal particles to come off, etc. So whatever oil you use in a non filtered compressor, it is still a good idea to change it when the particulate level goes high. Particulate comes from wear within the machine and what is drawn through the intake. Hence the suggestion to filter well. You can get oil analysis done, but for a small compressor, just change the oil more.

Many people make the mistake of using synthetic oils in engines and totally forget about the particulate side of oil failure. Extending drain intervals when they should not.

If we say it, they will believe it.... If we make it, they will buy it....... Marketing mantras that have nothing to do with integrity.

I just splurged and bought a new motorcycle. Before I got there to drive it away, I told the service guys to start it up, bring it up to temp, shut it down and drain the oil and change the filter immediately after shutdown. They thought I was nuts. That's OK. I do know what's in that oil from 5 minutes of running. Even with a filter. I changed it again after 250 easy miles. The book says change first at 600 miles. No thanks. I'm not the typical owner who doesn't want to be bothered with maintenance.

I'll be out for the rest of the day. It's sunny and will be close to 80 and that new bike requires me to put some breakin miles on it!

Have a good Fathers Day all.
- Tony - Sunday, 06/19/05 09:31:54 EDT

Tony, Agree completly on particulate. My hours for compressors was on big industrials, with filters, and I changed those at 1000 hours regardless of oil type. I change new car oil at about 500 miles and 5000 thereafter. Based on a consumers reports test of a few years ago. Also use Fram on the cars based again on a CR test.
I read that the Russians expected a kilo of metal at the first oil change on tank engines!
We used to change the engine oil on the trainer airplanes at 20 hours of operation VS the 50 in the manual. These engines were a 200 CI 4, and were equiped with an oil screen only. Typical service in trainers was 600 to 800 hours to a top overhaul, and another 600 to 800 to a major. We got 1000 to 1100 to a top and 2200 to 2400 to a major. Oil was cheap, and overhauls for those engines are in the $5000 and up range.
ptree - Sunday, 06/19/05 11:18:59 EDT

New I-R startup: Rich, hopefully you also ordered the startup /setup kit with your new unit. It will include the new synthetic I-R oil, a couple of air filters, 3' flex hose and mounting pads. The 5 hp unit ain't too loud, but you probably want to put it outside (under cover). Look into the I-R float valves for your dirt legs. I think they are about $25 and are automatic draining. Also, use ONLY air tool oil in a pneumatic hammer (kinda like Brylcream- a little dab i'll do ya), too much just makes a mess. Had a BIG time @ Paw Paw's on Saturday. Alan L. sure makes a fine looking firearm ( and knife and tommyhawk).
- Whitetrash - Sunday, 06/19/05 12:43:16 EDT

PPW:: Well, got back to Michigan today. Man, am I sore. I really need a mASSage. Ain't used to sitting that long! Let's see, 7 hours to Kentucky to pick up Larry, then 6 or more to Boonville NC. Left there Saturday afternoon and made it back almost to Dayton Ohio before I found a motel. Home at last. Met lots of nice people, and even some Whitetrash! [see above post] I'm glad I went. But dang, I ain't as young as I once was. Them long road trips are a bit harder these days. Nice to put some faces with the names I see here.
Bob H - Sunday, 06/19/05 14:19:06 EDT

PPW Hammerin: Finally got settled down enough to post again. Went to the PPW Hammerin with Bob-H and had a great trip. Long ride and sore back, but it was worth it. Met people who had only been faceless names until now. All of them were great.
Sheri is one of the nicest ladies I ever met and all the kids were really great too. Good food, young people, old people, kids and dogs. Just like a family reunion.
Bob-H and I talked all the way down and back about every subject you can think of. You're a great guy Bob, even if you can't spot KY bluegrass.
Jock, thanks for all you did and what I know you will continue to do. The Hammerin was one hell of a success.
- Larry - Sunday, 06/19/05 20:44:02 EDT

PPW Hammer in: Meeting you guys was the best. I learned a few things and now have the faces to match the names. With any kind of luck and your kind permission I think I'd like to hang around for awhile.
- Dale - Sunday, 06/19/05 20:53:31 EDT

More compressor stuff: I'm with ya on the oil change thing, Tony. Those little compressors don't have oil filters, so I change the oil after the first five hours of running time. After that, I change it when I remember to. That first change makes the biggest difference though, on any thing with moving parts. My old Sears 2hp compressor last had its oil changed during the Carter administration. (grin)

I doubt very much that I'll bother with the fancy synthetic oils. Regular compressor oil is obtainable here, but I would have to order in a case of the synthetic, and wait for ocean shipping. The simple addition of a ball valve on the oil drain makes changing easy and painless.

After the original air filter craps out (I'd guess a month), I'll probably replace it with a K&N high volume filter. A few years of racing motorcycles taught me that K&N makes a really good filter. Jeff's idea of a filtered enclosure is good, but would drive the cost out of sight if I intend to keep those filter panels dry in our sometimes horizontal rain.

So Tony, what kind of bike did you get?
vicopper - Sunday, 06/19/05 21:25:59 EDT

Dale: Glad you enjoyed yourself, wish I could have been there. You're quite welcome around here anytime, we can always use another friendly face.
vicopper - Sunday, 06/19/05 21:27:18 EDT

you haven't seen this ugly mugg of mine yet.BOG
- dale - Sunday, 06/19/05 21:54:04 EDT

Bike. Filters. No smithing: Rich, BMW R12 GS. Had to do the environmentally responsible thing for going back and forth to work and that's the story I'm stickin with! grin. As I was tooling around today, ran into a couple in a bar from the town where I went to high school. They told me about a motorcycle hill climb at the local ski hill. So I had to go over. Had to be 3000 bikes and more cars there. Just to see some crazies run up a steep hill on a motorcycle. Once there, the place where I bought the bike had a tent setup. The guy I bought the bike from had two sons running the hill. Cool run, but maybe not for old farts like me. Two hills at the bottom of the hill. Meant for skiers to jump off and get some air. Bikes go over the hills on the way up. The guys with best times took the second hill fast and landed about 60 feet up the hill. When launched, they were moving darn near vertical. Not for the faint of heart. Maybe 20% made it up the hill.

Next year. Grin. I did take the Beemer over some of the hills I made in the yard when I got home.

PTree, yup on the filtering. I used to use Fram Extra Guard. Then I heard they had a cardboard end glued onto the end opposite the screw end of the pleat pack. Took one apart maybe 10 years ago and sure enough.... Cardboard and hot melt glue holding the filter together. Now I use ACDelco and Purolator Pure One (blue can) grade exclusively. They have more pleats which is more filter area (all else being equal means filter better and last longer) than anything else I have taken apart. Sometimes the ACDelco has more area, sometimes the Blue Purolator is better. Got tilted in this direction by a guy who had a masters degree in physics and worked for Clevite which is or was a big engine plain bearing manufacturer.

I also use Slick 50 in slinger lube stuff like small 4 cycle engines and small air compressors. 20% max. Never used to believe in the stuff and was concerned about filling the rings, but when I was Kart racing I knew a guy whose kid forgot to fill the engines with oil before a race. So there were two hopped up Briggs 4 strokes with no oil in them on the track. The first one that had not seen slick 50 siezed up right away. The second one lasted far longer. Many of the small engine racers around here run the slick 50 now. Keeping the oil level low reduces power lost to oil churning and the slick 50 seems to let them live that way. I don't use it in the diesels, but it has not hurt the performance and life of any of the small 4 strokes. In fact, I have not had a small 4 stroke fail or wear out since I have been using it.
- Tony - Sunday, 06/19/05 22:34:16 EDT

Where were you???: Now they tell me... Where were you guys when I first got my Quincy 7.5HP Air Master light industrial compressor. They recommended in the manual intial oil change at 100hours. I haven't been tracking very well to be honest, but I am somewhere between 50-150+ hours??? Hard to say really. I have the Quincy Quinclip oil for it, will stop and get a bottle of slick 50 and do the deed. And will look into improving the filter settup. I had a redneck tell me once jokingly, "Yah, I got a cuttin torch and a hammer, I am a mechanic":-) Well I got those things but I wouldn't call myself a mechanic. Well live and learn... I suppose it helps to read too;-)

Thanks for the tips, I need this compressor to last and work well for a long time:-) Or atleast until I need a MUCH bigger compressor to throw, a MUCH bigger hammer:-)
Fionnbharr - Sunday, 06/19/05 23:47:17 EDT

spud guns: Kool stuff, but you guys need to check out the local laws in you state as well as your city. I could cost you a night in the steel box as well as a load of money.
- Timex - Monday, 06/20/05 01:52:12 EDT

sorry : It was ment to read It could cost you NOT I could cost you

Prof then post bites me yet again
- Timex - Monday, 06/20/05 01:53:57 EDT

Empire Forge Chest, no.4853 :: Any pointers to where I can find out more would be super.This steel box has been around for as long as I can remember: width 22",Height 11 1/2",Depth 15 5/8" Still has contents label on inside top of box in pristine condition, listing as follows: 1-Forge Body, 3-Forge Legs, 1-Gear Wheel, 1-Shield, 2-Fire Pan Extensions. Also on label is:Clqass 15,Division 5,Drawing 123. Unfortunatly the contents are not in there, only a open end wrench made by "BON NEY" 51/2" long, looks like size 7/8's I think but no marking of the size on it, in a slot on left side of inside.(Probably did not come with it but who knows) Box is in great shape, heavy as I get out with latch lock and snap chain intact. On top is a solid cast brass plate which reads "NO 4853 EMPIRE FORGE CHEST".
I have gone from web site to web site and have not been successful in coming up with anything on age or the manufactuar and yes value if any. But your forums have kept me busy reading for hours on end here, since tripping into your site here.(No worry, I did not even skin my knees,lol) I put site in favorites for hubby to enjoy reading. Thankyou in advance for your time.
- Diana - Monday, 06/20/05 05:27:55 EDT

Ptree's spring helve: Ptree, I'm rounding up pieces to build a PH very similar to yours (spare tire clutch, spring helve, 40 - 50 lbs). I seem to remember you "spec'ed" out the spring you were using, but after searching the archives, I just couldn't find that post (assuming I actually did remember correctly). Would you be so kind as to post that info again.

I also remember you saying you used a minivan bearing and wheel mount for the tire. My problem is I'm not too well informed on car parts. When I head to the boneyard, what should I look/ask for? I would expect I need the non-driving wheel parts, but that's as much as I can figure out.


- Marc - Monday, 06/20/05 07:49:15 EDT

timex, spud guns: You are Right. I don't now the laws in New Jersey, But if I had to guess I would say that everything is outlawed. Its a shame. I haven't seen a spud gun in years. good thing we have paintball guns [ for now] for some good not so clean fun. grin
ken kristiansen - Monday, 06/20/05 08:23:35 EDT

Hammerin: It was a good time indeed! Bob H is a heck of a flintknapper, Larry seems like I've known him forever (have I?) and Dale is a mean skirler of bagpipes. Whitetrash builds a darn nice hammer as well, and Dave B is a source of great drops, not to mention a great guy. Heck, they're all great guys or they wouldn't have been there.
Alan-L - Monday, 06/20/05 08:58:51 EDT

Spud guns and laws: Okay, I'll jump in on this one with my limited bit of knowledge. Spud guns, *if they operate with compressed air*, are usually legal to possess. They come under the same general class of mischief as BB guns. HOW you use them determines what the official reaciton will be. If you just shoot them on your property, only at inanimate targets, being cautious that no projectiles leave your property, you should be left unmolested by the local constabulary. Unless a neighbor whines about the racket or alleges that you pointed in the direction of *her* pointy little gray head. In that case, you iwll be doing some explaining and may forfeit the spud gun unti a higher authority (read, judge) determines the law. In the end, you will most likely prevail, as far as criminal charges are concerned. Note I said "most likely", and not absolutely. Local cops and judges have a broad latitude in their actions and reactions.

NOw we come to the other side of the coin. A lot of folks build spud guns that are designed to "propel a projectile by means of the explosive combustion of gasses", namely hairspray, butane, acetylene or other flammable vapor. The phrase, "propel a projectile by means of the explosive combustion of gasses" was taken directly from the criminal code in my jurisdiction [VIC Title 14, Section 2251(a)], and is the legal definition of a *firearm*. Under that definition, a spud gun using hairspray could be classed as a firearm, with the attendant penalties for possessing an unregistered firearm, possession of a firearm without a serial number, unlawful discharge of a firearm, etc.

While most judges would likely nullify if you were not assaulting a person with your spud gun, they would *not* be required to do so, and could fine or jail you. In my jurisdiction, the unlicensed possession charge is good for a mandatory minimum five (5) years of three hots and a cot courtesy of the state.

Give the above, I would recommend that if you feel you simply must propel lowly vegetables across vast distances, (fun, I must admit), you use *only* compressed air for propulsion and avoid flammables. The compressed air is more reliable and controllable than the ersatz gunpowder vapor explosions, anyway.

Legal caution: I am NOT an attorney, nor a judge, and I do NOT have knowledge of the laws in YOUR jurisdiction. If you rely on what I think, and wind up peeling spuds in the kitchen at Joliet or some such state-sponsored vacation spot, don't come looking for me. You have to make an informed choice based upon your local laws and common sense.

Final caution: If you ignore the advice others have posted and elect to use PVC pipe to build your potato-puking war toy, you are just baiting fate. Sooner or later, that sucker will, instead of propelling the old tuber, propel pieces of itself all over the landscape, your anatoomy and perhaps the anatomy of the little old lady next door with hungry lawyer son. In other words, iffen ya don't know what yer doin', get good advice or don't do it at all.
vicopper - Monday, 06/20/05 09:07:41 EDT

California laws: Spud guns were dandy for science classes discussing fuel-air mixtures (I used to teach). We discovered that California law considers these to be major bad things, though, and I'm glad we found out early (the department stopped using them pronto). I can't remember the exact wording, but they were classified along with bombs...
- nevermind - Monday, 06/20/05 11:17:00 EDT

Spud gun: Think yourselves lucky!
In jolly old blighty if you use anything to fire a projectile with more than 12psi (maximum operating pressure) of just compressed air be prepared to go to jail, (directly to jail, do not stop, do not pass go, do not collect £200...) because any higher than that and you need a Firearms Control Certificate. Exactly the same as if it was a shotgun under law. Blackpowder? ditto. So how about 'chargeless' tackle?
Compound bow? At least GNAAS membership to avoid INSTANT prosecution under 'Offensive weapons' act. Recurve/ longbow? Ditto
Slingshot? Section 2 offensive weapons act.....
Hell, poke someone with an umbrella and its an offensive weapon over here :(
in short stay in the USA, cos our laws suck. :(
Ian Lowe - Monday, 06/20/05 15:20:52 EDT

Larry: Hey larry, you gonna tell about catching Jock in the hot tub with a couple of lovely ladies, or are we just gonna keep that secret? :]
Bob H - Monday, 06/20/05 20:34:27 EDT

The spindle and wheel and tire I used was off a Gran Voyager. This being a front wheel drive minivan. I used the rear spindle. It is bolted to the rear axle with a 4 bolt flange and is a sealed tapered roller bearing unit. I removed the hub and drove the drum off, but it would add flywheel weight if you leave it on. I choose the Gran voyager as #1 I had the spindles laying in the shop from one of my wifes encounters with off road driving, bending the rear axle severely:( no this was not an intentional act) The Gran Voyager/caravan are the stretched van and have a beefier rear end. I cut the center from a spare wheel that had the same bolt pattern and welded a chunk of steel to it for my pivot. That way I can change the pivot throw without getting another spare tire. I used a junk yard compact spare. Looked brand new and cost $5.00. The junkyard would sell me the spindles for $40 for the pair,$30 for a single. Note that the 4 bolt pattern is not symetrical.

The spring I have ended up with is 36" long, pivoted in the center. I have two short leafs, one above one below. All straight, IE no arch. I used the center hole in th spring for the spring bolt to locate the springs. I drilled the pivot to locate the standard spring bolt. I believe that I have a 5/16" by 2 1/4" springs. I would have to lift the safety hood that you MUST install to protect against flying parts when things fail. Next time I have the cover off I will measure.Shoulder injury prevents this at this time:(

Radius the short leafs to a full width radius on each end, and the full radius to the thickness to prevent stress risors. This is experience speaking.(Explains the hood,no?) I had some hydraulic cylinders laying about that were the right size to make the spring pivots from, using the rear cap of the clevis mount cylinder to pivot, and the flat to lay the springs on. The tierod holes were perfect to run bolts thru to a made top plate. Do NOT knotch the springs for clamp bolts as this makes a stress risor. I did put a locating hole at the rear of the spring to locate the pittman pivot. The most experienced spring guy I know furnished the springs, Name on application, and he said to drill holes in these springs with a standard HSS drill at 90 rpm. He does this everyday, and his father and grandfather ran the same shop with the same camelback drill press. I had good results when I drilled mine at 90 rpm. I am using a 3Hp 1725 Rpm motor with a 2" drive wheel. and it works.
ptree - Monday, 06/20/05 21:21:44 EDT

Laws. We don't need no stinkin laws. We just need respect!:

I don't need any laws to figure out how dangerous something is. That's why I went to train driver school. The most dangerous thing out there remains the human mind. Though active dangerous thought or inactive attention or lack of knowledge.

If we all acted with respect, we'd have a lot less problems. I don't shoot the neighbors cows, I don't drink and spud shoot (much). I never shoot anything but low mass spud shrapnel at children. And then just in the air to let gravity do it's thing and rain down on them. We're talking hash brown sized potatoes here, so don't get your undies in a bundle! Measured terminal velocity of the spud shrapnel is about 2 feet per second and hardness is about 70 shore. You do the F=ma math(estimate) when it bounces off your noggin.

And I'll never run for public office on purpose so you can't use this against me! Grin.

By the odds, high school sports do far more damage to kids than spud guns. Where are the priorities? This was just an example of inconsistency, so don't go defending organized sports please.

Fionnbharr, we were here. Did you ask? grin. You are most welcome.

Ken, I've had some nasty bleeders from paintball games. And my brother was pulling the trigger!

SASS Spuds Are Surprisingly Safe.

Flaming treb shots are better though! We have a nice pile of brush built up in the field. 4th of July, (Independence from Oppression Day) we may lob a big flaming ball into an accelerant doused pile of brush and celebrate our Freedom! If you don't respectfuly push the envelope, you are part of the problem, not the solution.

Hey "Big Brother"! You Listening? Come on over and have a beer and watch the fire. Loosen up a little. You don't need that big power trip.
- Tony - Monday, 06/20/05 22:04:26 EDT

BobH: Better not mention anything about the hot tub until I see if the pictures came out. Jock might get mad, hack into my bank account and see I'm overdrawn. BOG
- Larry - Monday, 06/20/05 22:06:09 EDT

SPUDGUNS? PAINTBALL?: Tony, In NJ we can't burn brush. Go figure
- Ken Kristiansen - Tuesday, 06/21/05 01:43:06 EDT

spuds n projectiles: I was just trying to to keep some one from having to exp. a BIG fine to mom or Dad.
- Timex - Tuesday, 06/21/05 02:31:59 EDT

Thanks, Ptree: Thanks for the info on your spring hammer. Take care of that shoulder :-)
- Marc - Tuesday, 06/21/05 07:42:04 EDT

PPW Hammer in photos: Join us if you get the chance to see photos from the hammer in at Jim Wilson's. Doors open 9 ish pm EDT and show starts at 10 pm EDT sharp.

Photos from PPW's Hammer in
- Ntech - Tuesday, 06/21/05 15:31:07 EDT

Hammer In: Alan, I would be insulted, except for the fact that I don't post on the hammer in often! Sigh.

It was a great time, though. I was lucky enough to get the spearhead that Bob H brought for the Iron in the hat, and folks here have been impressed. Nice work.

I'll be sending up my pics, the mail server had caniptions last night after the first batch. I'm turning in the camera, though. Everlything looked good in the camera, but when transfered to the computer, about 3/4 were underexposed.

Except for the pictures of Jock and the ladies in the hot tub.
Monica - Tuesday, 06/21/05 16:01:03 EDT

Monica, While we wish to see those photos, I believe that CSI menbers should see them only. Want to see Jock in the hot tub with the ladies? Join cSI!
- ptree - Tuesday, 06/21/05 18:02:25 EDT

hot tub: ...........I keep getting this picture of Jock in the hottub..............and he's still wearing his carharts..........
JimG - Tuesday, 06/21/05 19:14:39 EDT

D'oh!: No insult intended, Monica! I humbly beg your pardon for the omission, must've been the Oban...Or the sight of Jock in the hot tub, which I missed by leaving early!
Alan-L - Tuesday, 06/21/05 21:08:31 EDT

CSI: Shoot - I would join CSI to *NOT* see Jock in the hot tub!
Tim S. - Tuesday, 06/21/05 21:28:58 EDT

Clifton Ralph: I have heard a lot of praise for Clifton Ralph and his techniques with the power hammer. I have also heard there are tapes of same. Anyone know a source for said tapes?

And just for the record, Jock does not have Carhart swim trunks! Yet.
Bob H - Tuesday, 06/21/05 22:10:14 EDT

Is Jock still wearing those same old Speedos?
vicopper - Tuesday, 06/21/05 23:32:15 EDT

Ahh just got off the phone with Homeland security---something about some pics that qualify as WMDs...I told them to see Jock and they kept repeating "that's the problem"

Was probably the single malt---or was it the over-under malt? Never can keep them straight!

- Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/22/05 00:20:37 EDT

Joke 18 or older: Ok I'm pretty spent but here goes:

I man goes to the doctor and states that he is having problems sleeping. The doctor states that he wants to ' do some Tests.
As follows:

Doctor what seems to be the problem?
Man I can't sleep , I can't work, I can't even eat. Whats' wrong with me?
Doctor : Well it could be Physosempatic( sp ) lets do some tests.
holding a card with a square drawn on it " What do you see?"
Man " A room full of nakey women."
Doctor " Hmmmn, how about this?"
The doctor holds up a card with a circle drawn on it.
Again the Man responds" a room full of Nakey women!"

The doctor , after some thought, tells the man that his problem is the he is a hopeless sex fiend.
Upon the Man responce is " ME!? , you're the one who keeps showing me the dirty pictures!!"
- Timex - Wednesday, 06/22/05 01:31:51 EDT

ID: who is "ironize", an ebay alias. just curious. i was planning on making a serious run on a collection of albert paley publications and saw that the price got out of hand. "ironize" was also interested and i suspect that "he" frequents AF....
- bored today - Wednesday, 06/22/05 12:01:08 EDT

PPW Hammer-In, Photos: Ah. . . no Carharts, just a great white whale between the beautiful ladies. It REALLY was not a pretty picture.

Now, there were these missed photo oportunities of a certain jokester with this sexy wet imprint of a wowan on his T-shirt (small woman large shirt), I won't say how it got there . . . I was in the hot tub and my camera out of reach. And then later a certain unnamed female blacksmith in my T-shirt in the hot tub. . . I wouldn't dare take that photo without permission. . she knows how to shoot!


We had 5 CSI board members and 2 regular members at the Hammer-In. CSI was well represented and we thank you all for attending. Iron in the hat covered expenses so besides being a general success it was a financial success (thanks to all the ladies putting tickets on my leaf S-hook and Bob's spear point). Monica also took home a stack of steel cookies (18" dia x 3/16) that looked pretty handy. . .

Will have some photos in the NEWS shortly (none from the hot tub).
- guru - Wednesday, 06/22/05 12:52:26 EDT

PPW photos: Jock, what size/resolution do you want pictures in? I can send you what I took... IF my email system doesn't keep spazzing about the large emails I'd been sending.
Monica - Wednesday, 06/22/05 14:21:20 EDT

Photos: 1040x728 is OK, a little big but OK. Send in batches.

I use the images in the NEWS at 300 wide but often crop down before resizing. 640x480 is fine but if they need work or cropping it is sometimes a bit small.

- guru - Wednesday, 06/22/05 15:51:06 EDT

Escher: beautiful iron guy: the site is intersting. i dont remember reading about "him" here. what was the discussion? on this forum? i will try to search it..the guy seems pretty opinionated. does he post here? thanks
- rugg - Thursday, 06/23/05 13:05:45 EDT

moving anvils: I am looking to get started in blacksmithing.
My 1st question is how do you move the larger size anvils around?
I know that they usually stay put, but there will be occasions when they need to be moved.

- Mike - Thursday, 06/23/05 15:34:58 EDT

moving anvils: I'm just getting started in blacksmithing.
I would like to know how you go about moving the larger anvils around.
I know they stay in place most of the time, but there will be occasions to move them. how's it usually done?

- Mike - Thursday, 06/23/05 15:43:17 EDT

See reply on Guru's page; we all read all the forums, no need to repeat a question. (and folks are generally not shy about replying to questions on the Guru's page---no problem as long as they know their stuff.)

Thomas P - Thursday, 06/23/05 17:36:16 EDT

pattern weld: I've been experementing with patten welding and was wondering how much of a carbon point difference should their be for the pattern to be visible. I was also wondering if anyone has made a billet by braiding (as in iforge #150)One problem I have had is welding without acidentaly burning teh metal, I usaly end up with a conciderably smaller blade then I intended to. Will Cable yeild a pattern?
- Bjorn - Thursday, 06/23/05 18:43:33 EDT

Speaking as another pattern welding rookie and not a guru...can I do that here?

The visability of the pattern is also dependant on how the piece is polished and etched. Nichel alloys or even pure nickel are sometimes added for more contrast.

Wire rope gives a neat pattern but here too some smiths add a wrap of nickle around alternating wires. I've welded up one piece of cable and I apparantly got it too hot because when I was finished making a blade that I really liked I found that I couldn't harden it...A KSO (knife shaped object) LOL I did check the cable by heating and water quenching and it got glass hard. The supplier swears it's EIPS. After my test I believe him. I just burned it I guess.

Billets I welded with coil spring and plain mild steel (1018?) had great contrast and took heat treating perectly.

UPS should bring me a load of 1095 tomarrow and I'll be in the shop pounding away soon. I need to have something go right before I have another go at the cable.
Mike Ferrara - Thursday, 06/23/05 20:46:13 EDT

pattern weld: What is the best way to etch? And what are good sorces of metal for either plain high carbon or nickel allow steel?
- Bjorn - Thursday, 06/23/05 22:56:01 EDT

Swage blox-- two absolutely beeeyoootiful swage blox on Ebay right now, items 6188562419 and 6189198705. Caveat emptor!!!!!!!
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 06/23/05 23:49:37 EDT

Weighing an anvil:
Not long ago I had a bit of a brain fade. I have a spare anvil that probably weighs about 280 lbs, but I don't know just how much.

In a hazy moment I decided to weigh it on the bathroom scales - - - ( some people must weigh that much, so they should be good for it.)

A very slight accident occurred whilst placing the anvil on the scales. Please don't be comcerned for me, I'm quite alright. I wasn't injured in the least. I'm fine.

However the scales were stressed beyond their limit (only on one corner), and subsequently declined to function. I can fix most things that go wrong, but these scales were beyond my help.

My wife loves her new bathroom scales. They have four little feet and a round glass top. They weigh you and also measure your water content and your muscle and fat ratios ( none of these are good news as far as I am concerned).

I was looking at them last night and I noticed that they will weigh up to 330 lbs. ……. Hmmmmmmm ……..
- Phil H - Friday, 06/24/05 03:22:13 EDT

Try this Pickup truck go to weigh staition. I use the city dump. Weigh truck with and with out anvil.
Ralph - Friday, 06/24/05 03:24:20 EDT

pattern weld: Bjorn

I ordered from Admiral steel (online). There isn't any tool/blade steel available locally. In fact when I called steel suppliers and asked for 1095 they hadn't ever heard of it. LOL

Admiral even has a seperate section for blade steels and I think they have just about everything including nickel.

Etching can in theory be done with about any acid or base. Feric chloride (circuit board etchant from radio shack)is popular. I did some etching with diluted muratic acid because I have some.

A good book on the subject is "The pattern Welded Blade" by Jim Hrisoulas.
Mike Ferrara - Friday, 06/24/05 07:37:59 EDT

Scrap Yard Visit: Ow do all :)
Thought I'd share another of my sojourns to the local scrap metal mans yard, only a few photo's on Iforgeiron under Tinker. Are those brake drums any good for a forge? Or are they too big :)
Saw a similar 'visit' on that site so thought I'd do a UK version for fun.
Also the beltsander/bandsaw? question posted a while back. Those wheels look good? yes/no?
By the by, the quality is poor because its a camera phone. you can still make most of the stuff out.
Enjoy :)
Ian Lowe - Friday, 06/24/05 09:18:59 EDT

Weighing heavy things: Rather than mash the snot out of Milady's marvelous weigh station, why not rig a simple balance? A piece of channel or tube about ten feet long with a pivot point set at a measured distance fron one end, say one foot. big heavy at that end, small weight (say forty pounds) that can move along the long end of the beam. When it balances, just measure the respective distances and do the simple math. I've weighed some fairly hefty things this way, and that is basically how big truck scales used to be made.
vicopper - Friday, 06/24/05 09:48:11 EDT

Phils Anvil: Phil, you mentioned having a brain fade and hazy moments,,, when the haze becomes a permanent, uninterrupted bliss, your anvil weight won’t matter, but until then go ahead and weigh the thing on the new scales, I’m dieing to know what the fat content of an anvil is :)
LDuck - Friday, 06/24/05 11:09:30 EDT

Bjorn; the best way to etch is to use what works best for what you've welded up. So what works great for one billet may be pretty poor for another different billet. Lots of people use ferric chloride as it's easy and a lot safer than many of the acids used; but I don't like the colour. Hot vinegar and salt does a brilliant etch of BSB and strapping---but no topography; shoot even a very strong tea solution can show a pattern (tannic acid) and in purple-black on the billet I experimented with.

The basics are *CLEANLINESS*; good base polish, good differentiation in alloys and etchant choice.

Phil, suggest you put off weighing experiment till SO is on road trip of sufficient length to allow for scale substitution if required...if over 2% fat send to Powers Fat Farm for Heavy Anvils; Lemitar NM and with out secret process we will change that ugly anvil fat to muscle in just a few years of concentrated work...

Thomas P - Friday, 06/24/05 11:25:26 EDT

Anvil weight: Phil: I have a restored and calibrated HOWE 2000# platform scale. Bring the anvile here to Chattanooga, we can weigh it and then you can store it in my shop for a few years. I won't even charge for the weighing or storage!
- John Odom - Friday, 06/24/05 12:53:21 EDT

happy birthday to me: this morning was so cool i felt like share with you fine folks........ while stopping in at my local country store i saw an old fella i had chatted with early this week........ i had asked him about old blacksmith shops in the area he shared a few stories and told me about this ole black fella who had a smithy up on the mountain(who has been dead and going well over 40 years)_ when i asked for details bout the shop he passed on to me that the shop had fallen in on itself and at a later date had been pushed in a hole and buried----- of course i had ta ask about the tools well he said lets go to my shop and i'll show you he said....... so off we went before i got to see the tools he showed me a 29 ford truck that he and his son had refurbished a really lovely thing but not what i was there for------- the long and the short of it------ a #40 champion blower on a stand a nice heavy leg vice (bout 90lber) and bout a dozen hand made tongs(some made from wrought iron) i had ta ask you wanna get rid of them???? well he said they aint doing me no good........ 20 dollars i said????? sure thing hope you get some good milage out of them he said........ well sir needless ta say i was cleaning up the vice and blower the second i got home....... blower was locked up------- took the face plate off and all that was locking it up was a mouse nest... runs like a champ---- pun intended...... as of now the leg vice is apart and just needs a good wire brushing and a paint job---- the screw is pristine........most of the tongs are locked up real good so they will be wall hangers more than likely ..... with the tongs was a divider one of the biggest ive seen think i'm going ta try freeing those up....... but anyway turning 35 isnt seeming that bad now....... also the smith parent where slaves so that kinda gives you an idea how old that smith musta been........ mr breedlove said that the oldest living sister is 103...... man if these tools could talk......... i feel honored to have them..........well anyway off to my b-day dinner......... dont forget get folks i still have a rather large hoard of 1080 toolsteel---- happy hammering........
blacklionforge - Friday, 06/24/05 18:31:53 EDT

simple math: Not being good at math, what's the formula viccopper?
As a guess (and being too lazy to look it up on Machineries handbook I'd go Known Weight X distance divided by known distance equals unknown weight
JimG - Friday, 06/24/05 21:30:16 EDT

Knife making: Is mild steel sufficient for knives and larger blades(read:Swords and daggers)? Or should I use tool steel?
- Nolan - Friday, 06/24/05 21:54:18 EDT

blacklionforge-- (you lucky devil!) soak those tongs for a few weeks in kerosene, or souse the joints with B'laster, or do both, and they'll loosen up eventually. Watch it with those cute l'il mouse nests: deadly hanta virus is believed to spread via the ambient dust kicked up moving stuff around in places wherein mousies have dwelt. Hefty body count here in the desert Southwest.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 06/24/05 22:50:40 EDT

balance weight formula: It's a straightforward ratio of the distances of the two weights from the pivot point multiplied by the weight of the known weight. So, if you have an unknown weight (X) two feet from the pivot, and it is balanced by a twenty pound weight placed a distance of eight feet from the pivot, then the formula is 8÷2=4 times the known weight, 20#, or eighty pounds for the unknown weight.
vicopper - Friday, 06/24/05 23:05:15 EDT

Knife making: Nolan, the short answer is, no. Not if yo want them to take and hold an edge. Read the FAQ's on steels, knife making and getting started here on Anvilfire to learn more.
vicopper - Friday, 06/24/05 23:07:24 EDT

Thanks vicopper,
My formula worked for that ferinstance as well, yours looks much simpler,
JimG - Friday, 06/24/05 23:49:05 EDT

Kinfe making: Well darn. I was going to get 1/2" hot rolled square for some knife making at around a buck a foot.... but tool steel is far too expensive for me. I could buy a few feet, but I havbe other plans for that cash.
- Nolan - Saturday, 06/25/05 01:19:14 EDT

Knife Making: There is no reason you need to spend even ten cents on steel for making knives, if you don't wish to. You can get scrap coil springs from cars and light trucks which make a fine steel for knife projects, as do old files, some leaf springs and some old saw blades. Before you do this, though you really need to read up on the subject some more to become familiar with the guidelines for using "junkyard" steels. There is useable scrap lying around everywhere.
vicopper - Saturday, 06/25/05 02:31:37 EDT

Steels for knives and pattern welding: Nolan look for schedule 60 rebar, it is roughly 1060 steel with other alloys as impurities and will make a decent knife, shouldn't be much more expensive than the hotrolled mild.

On pattern welding. You can get patterning from variations in carbon content, but the patterning will tend to be subtle and you have the problem of carbon mirgration and decarb. (Decarberazation at the weld junctures are what gives simple cable damascus its pattern) If you work quickly and weld at low temps you can maintain a significant pattern using carbon as the sole basis for the contrast. What is better is to use alloys to get more contrast and better pattern, Nichol and Chrome are your freinds in gettin a nice high contrast, but Manganese and Vanadium will also provide some contrast.

Sources of cheap or free steels that will pattern weld well... Thomas has mentioned the best simple patternwelding combo: bandsaw blade (L6 steel which has a nice amount of nichol, which resist the etchant and gives you the shiney strips:-) and banding iron (The metal straps that things get shipped in, the narrower stuff starts out at about 1060, and the wider strap is available in 1095) The nice thing about using stock in this size is you can start your billet with 10-20-30 layers so you can have more layers with less welding. Much more efficient especially if you are not using a power hammer, if you are using a power hammer you can try some BIG billets wher you only need to weld the billet once and then draw it out into knife stock (unless you are sick and doing composite patterns (last weekend I welded up a billet and drew it out into 3/8 square and then welded the pieces into a four core viking pattern seax, by hand took me 4.5-5 hours (would have take me maybe an hour and a half on my hammer at home, but it was a public demo...:-)

Other neat sources of metal, chainsaw chain, chain saw files, timing chains, circular saw blades, old high quality files, new junkier files (Modern horse shoers rasps are 1035 at best and are specially heat treated and aren't great steel for knives or pattern welding....:-) leaf spring, coil spring. Saw blades and some files will tend to etch bright. Springs, and medium, and simple high carbon steels will tend to etch dark.

You can do some neat things with junkyard steels, but you cannot rely upon them to always act the same way. If you want true reliability, and reproduceability, you need to buy new steel of know composition. (The exception to this is bandsaw and banding iron, which tend to be pretty reliable:-) Billy Merrit is a part professional knife maker and he sells his pattern welded steels to other makers, and he uses a ton of found steel, and whatever scrap he can weld together. He does very nice work. Other makers only buy new steel, and stick with combonations that they can very precisely heat treat, and that they are good at Kevin Cashen uses clean new L6 and O1 in the vast majority of his blades because he can saltbath harden and temper them, and he KNOWS what he is going to get out of them... Professional makers look at the steels that they would like to combine and check to make sure that they will harden at about the same temperature, and will temper at a similiar temp. Mixing air hardening tool steels and a water hardening, and an oil hardening steel, and wrought iron might in theory produce a wonderful pattern, it would be doubtful it would make a very stable or sharp knife:-) (I know... if ground thin and allowed to air cool reasonably quickly it might hold a decent edge, but it would be nearly as likely to fail, because of internal stresses... Man it is late... ;-)
Fionnbharr - Saturday, 06/25/05 02:33:58 EDT

knife and other tool making: It has been said before but are making to sell. Or own use.
nothing worse then to be getting ready to do the FINAL heat treatment and then see all thos micro-cracks. Sure It may have been me. But on found steels you are running extra risks.
Yes I have lots of tools made from various junk steels. But if I am asked to make a new tool for someone I spend the dollor or so to get new steel. Just my thoughts
Ralph - Saturday, 06/25/05 05:11:24 EDT

There's one thing Vicopper left unsaid in his excellent explanation. Probably because it would be obvious when you went to set up your scale, but just in case: You have to take the force needed to balance the beam itself into account.

The easy way would be to pivot the beam at the center (or the balance point if it's not symmetrical), then hang the heavy weight a relatively short known distance from the pivot. If you follow Vicopper's directions literally and pivot nearer one end, you could preweight the short end to get the beam to balance on its own, or calibrate the scale by math or experiment.
- Mike B - Saturday, 06/25/05 06:49:30 EDT

Juniata Anvil: I have recently purchased an anvil that was advertised as a Hay Budden but is marked Juniata. Is it a Hay Budden? Is it still a good anvil?
- Mike Blais - Saturday, 06/25/05 08:08:56 EDT

Rescheduling Camp Fenby: I'm planning to propose several weekends in late October or early November to hold the autumn session for Camp Fenby. Are there any weekends with big blacksmithing events in the Mid Atlantic that I should avoid?
Camp Fenby BB on Yahoo Groups
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 06/25/05 14:44:26 EDT

anvil makers: juniata anvils, are they any good, are they models of Hay Budden?
- Mike Blais - Saturday, 06/25/05 15:58:49 EDT

scales: Thanks Mike B. Now I think I know why there is such a heavy mass of metal on the short end of a steelyard scale.
JimG - Saturday, 06/25/05 17:37:35 EDT

Mike Blais: Your question was answered at some length on the Guru's Den. No need to cross-post, most of us read all the forums every day, at least once.
vicopper - Saturday, 06/25/05 21:27:13 EDT

Nolan: If Your time is worth money, or Your reputation is at stake heed Ralph's advice. If You have the time to experiment, and make it over if it doesnt work out, follow vicopper's advice and read up on junkyard steel BEFORE You start. Both points are valid.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 06/25/05 23:36:00 EDT

Dang; storm moving in so I can't prose on and on about the auction I went to today---the *scrap* steel went for over 75$ a pallet, but I picked up a bunch of UPS's and a sun workstation and monitor for $1 a pallet.

Did talk a gut out of selling a 27"x48"x1"---about 360+ pounds of plate so I now have a treadle hammer base---it sure hurt to pay $25 for steel; but I ran across a place to scrounga a bunch so that will sooth my soul---bat power hit

Thomas P - Saturday, 06/25/05 23:58:49 EDT

traveling forge: I am searching desperayely for information on traveling Forges. Anything will help. What is the earliest known use of the device? Were they known by any other name before or during the war? Do any originals still exist? Does anyone out there own a reproduction, I would like to include your name, data and perhaps photographs in a historical work. I once heard that there is an original "In a museum down south." Is anyone familiar with this museum? All Credible information will be duely credited. This is an ongoing search so if you find more information in the future please forward it. Thank you for your support of this research.
Karl Orndorff - Sunday, 06/26/05 08:03:43 EDT

If you decide to drive a truck to Quad state, boy do I have a treadle hammer anvil for you! Two sizes 274# and 454#.
ptree - Sunday, 06/26/05 08:05:33 EDT

Lost and Found::
Small sanyo charger, perhaps for cell phone, found plugged in next to dinning room table at Sheri Wilson's after Hammer-In.
- guru - Sunday, 06/26/05 08:51:10 EDT

Traveling Forge: Karl, You might scroll upwards for starters to Monday 6/20/05, 5:27 EDT. Diana has posted a little information about the inventory of the Empire Forge Chest.

Jim "PawPaw" Wilson wrote a small fiction, The Revolutionary Blacksmith, which included info on a traveling forge of that period, probably improvised. The book is available, I believe, on this site. Check the Navigate Anvilfire menu, upper right. Unfortunately, Jim passed away recently, but I believe he had a personal archive of traveling forge information, especially from the Civil War period.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 06/26/05 10:55:37 EDT

More Traveling Forge: I just googled "traveling forge" [Images] and came up with some interesting descriptions, photos and diagrams of a limber: "Old South Blacksmith's Forge Wagon".
Frank Turley - Sunday, 06/26/05 11:07:28 EDT

Wild Smith's Layout Tool: This hardy tool going for big bucks on eBay: 6189219176
Frank Turley - Sunday, 06/26/05 14:29:11 EDT

after what war?
There was a find made in teh 1930's in a farmers field of what appears to be a travling blacksmith/carpenters toolchest.
This stuff was from around 1050ad. From knowing the life of the times the researchers believe this man was an itenerint smith. Trqavelling the 'cordaroy' roads( log roads over bogs etc)

I am assuming that you are looking to AMerican ( USA) about 1860's? Probably for re-enactment?
At one point I had looked up a fair bit of these on the net but right now do not have the info anymore, nor do I have the energry. I know that there are several web pages that have pictures of various and interesting military things.
Right on anvil fire there is a pic at the homepage that rotates thru of a MExican army field forge. Should be about the same.

Good luck. Perhaps if you can find some research you can write an aritical for GURU and he can archive it so we can point to it instead of shrug (smile) The same article can also be submitted to the CSI newsletter
Ralph - Sunday, 06/26/05 18:26:11 EDT

"Layout Tool" on eBay:
This is a tinsmith's tool... cannot quite remember what it's for but I've seen 'em on a tinsmith's egroup that I'm on. They are very rare, if memory serves. I think they are for rolling beads or edges on work. Hence the depth gauge.
- T. Gold - Sunday, 06/26/05 19:08:13 EDT

eBay's item 6189219176-- The book Jedediah North's Tinner's Tool Business, by John H. Demer, published by The Early American Industries Association, 1978, shows a picture of this tool, or one exactly like it, on page 83, identifies it as a creasing swage.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 06/26/05 21:18:31 EDT

Tool: Tinsmith's seam setter. Not that rare, and I have NO idea why anyone in his right mind would pay that much money for one. You could buy a box/pan brake for that kind of money, if you shop carefully. Of course, I'm not a collector.

It does look as though I could make about $75/hr for my time, making the things, if I could find a few pigeons like that one.
vicopper - Sunday, 06/26/05 21:25:31 EDT

That tool is actually a creasing swedge. It was used to make a rim around a vessel, for stiffness or to set in a bottom. What it does can't be replicated with a break. The same function can be done with a creasing stake and hammer, as shown in The Art of Coppersmithing.This is the one coppersmith tool I haven't been able to find, but I wouldn't give that kind of money for it. Vicopper, you have seen the pigeons, they are on ebay. Maybe you should try it.
- Jeff G. - Sunday, 06/26/05 22:01:38 EDT

Traveling Forge: Karl, Jymm Hoffman has a traveling forge representative of those used during the French & Indian & American Revolutionary War Times. Jymm wotks in Ambridge, PA and based his traveling forge on British documentation. He teaches on occasion at the Touchstone crafts school, and also posts more often over on forgemagic, includinga number of photos of his work - The setup noted by Ralph is documented as the Mastermyr finds - as a book documenting the contents of the tool chest with many measured photographs.
- Gavainh - Sunday, 06/26/05 23:07:55 EDT

Demer's book and others show similar but each slightly different hinged swages for various tinsmithing purposes. The adjustable sliding stop takes the guesswork out of where the crease will be after the strike, gives the piece that craftspersonlike regularity so highly desirable in today's competitive market. Try making something tinsmithly with this beauty after you make one and see how much you can sell it for. Youbetcha. There's 3rd world cats doing this with a dull cold chisel and a hunk of RR track who'll blow your doors off.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 06/27/05 01:36:28 EDT

Weighing an Anvil - Episode IV:
My last post has evoked some replies. I have received some good advice from those who really want me to discover the weight of my anvil.

The main point of the post was that when my wife's new bathroom scales tell me my fat content, most of it is between my ears.

I was , however, suitably shamed that I should reduce something as serious as weighing an anvil to the level of an anecdote. So, armed with good advice AND THE NEW SCALES, I proceeded to weigh the sod.

I wound a soft sling around the beak and under the heel, built a pivot point out of 4"blocks of wood, and placed a 5' crowbar under the sling and over the pivot (on a bit of 1/4" rod).

I then placed a large weight (with high fat content and low muscle tone) on the crowbar in just such a place as to cause the anvil to float ever so slightly. I measured the distance between the weight and the pivot and that between the pivot and the anvil.

I went inside and placed the large weight on THE NEW SCALES. Using this figure (not telling) and the conversion factor provided by the measurements along the crowbar, I then calculated the weight of the anvil.

It turned out to be about 260 lbs. The swage block came out at about 280 lbs (feels heavier)

My thanks for the advice.
- Phil H - Monday, 06/27/05 08:06:11 EDT

Stuff: A day of mixed blessings today....

Firstly I had fun demolishing the Jehovas witnesses who happened to choose my door to pound on in that grating 'have you heard the word' way at 7am. Although to be honest at that time in the morning St Peter himself would get short shrift. I have the uttermost respect for anyones belief system (hey it gets you through the day, right?) but I don't expect them to try and ram it down my throat at 7am. Especially if I don't want it ramming down my throat that early in the day. Anyhow, after creating two more Atheists to swell the ranks I set out to purchase some heavy duty hosing, this duly done I called in to Mend-a-hose on the off chance they might have a vacuum guage. Its been a nightmare sourcing one locally, most of the internet hits are American. Lo and behold they not only had one ideal for my uses, but were more than happy to help sort all the bits and bobs I needed to install it it my casting system! Even better the whole lot came to less than £15! Result!
So why a mixed blessing kind of day?
Turns out my vacuum pumps (old fridge pumps)are only drawing -26in Hg. I've heard I need at least -28in Hg :(
Not enough for debubbling my investment, so its back to the drawing board and scrapyard for a bigger, meaner pump.
Oh well, at least its lovely and sunny :)
Ian Lowe - Monday, 06/27/05 11:10:07 EDT

skunk: After about three hours of sleep my wife comes into the bedroom with my Aussie. She leaves around five am for work. She said something spit in Riley's face and burned her eyes etc. I told my wife to take her right to the tub and give her a bath because she got sprayed by a skunk. I was like: "Can't you smell that?" Soon we were both about puking from the smell in the house. I had to laugh because my Dad lives next door and was trying to trap the skunk, so it doesn't spray the dogs. My wife took the dog out and put her on her cable. She looked first for the skunk. Wouldn't you know it she could not see the have a heart trap with the skunk in it. The trap was set by the fence at the end of Riley's cable reach. She went and bought the stuff to nuetralize the smell and she is out buying the stuff to mix and wash the dog with. To top it all off all the windows and doors are now open with tarts burning. This may sound like winter for you guys down south, but it is in the 90's and 100% humdity. It is not helping the smell with the humidity. Our blood is thick up here. We can wear shorts outside when it is 20 below zero...BOG. Anyway I am contemplating dropping an anvil on the skunk in the trap. Not really...I just had to relate this to blacksmithing somehow. LOLOL. A construction company owns the barn next to our property and uses it for storage. Many critters live in the walls of the barn. This big fatty skunk has been living there and hanging out under our vehicles and in the fenced in dog area the dogs play. I just thought this may give some interesting humor to your day. My dog keep rubbing her head on my legs, so I have to keep spraying myself with the nuetralizing stuff...BOG.
- burntforge - Monday, 06/27/05 11:51:52 EDT

Stuff:: Ian, what are you making? (Apart from atheists I mean :) )
- adam - Monday, 06/27/05 12:25:07 EDT

STUFF: Do atheists have blessings?
- Tom H - Monday, 06/27/05 12:51:48 EDT

ACW Traveling Forge:

I have copies of the official drawings of the traveling forge, and equipment, used by the Federals in the Late Unpleasantness, and a number of notes and pictures. However, it's terribly busy at the National Park Service right now, and I doubt that I could get around to reproducing them much before mid-July.

I gave a full set to the late Jim (Paw Paw) Wilson as a gift; so maybe you might obtain them from his estate if you're really in a hurry and/or desperate.

Recovering slowly on the banks of the Potomac. Still owe Ken S. a reply on JWB.
Visit your National Parks
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 06/27/05 12:53:42 EDT

Vacuum debubbling/casting: Ian, I'd try doing a few pours of investment with your current setup, and check their porosity after they set. As far as I can recall it just takes a little longer with a lower vacuum, that's all. Someone else who's done investment casting might could chime in :)
T. Gold - Monday, 06/27/05 13:03:54 EDT

My in-laws used to use tomato juice to good effect on their skunkly dogs.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 06/27/05 13:44:00 EDT

Tom; I don't know about athiests but there is a well known agnostics prayer from Zelazney's "Creatures of Light and Darkness" IIRC.

Burntforge is running a skunkworks!!!

PTREE ifn I was going to *buy* a TH I wouldn't have been scrounging the parts to one all this time---I have the baseplate and the anvil so now to find the upright...course if the price is right I have been known to compromise my principles...

Thomas P - Monday, 06/27/05 14:59:53 EDT

Have any of you folks heard of a Cray anvil? A friend found a large anvil in an antuiqe store and told me it is stamped CRAY on the side. It has 150 stamped above the laft front foot and a long number stamped above the right. I am waiting on the pictures and contact info still, but he says it is much larger than my 130lb Peter Wright.

He also has a portable forge and post vice available, so I am thinking a road trip is in the works this weekend.

Thanks for any info.

FredlyFX - Monday, 06/27/05 16:04:40 EDT

Lafitte: Frank Turley,Many years ago an old blacksmith told me that once there existed a chocolate like tablet used for forge welding which rendered it easy. Since then I have been hoping to find some in an old hardware shop or from an old smith but without success. Researching in the public library in Florence I discovered a manual from 1923 which said "to facilitate the forge welding of difficult pieces...a special powder is used called weldimg powder made from a mixture of, from 2 to 3 equal parts of sale ammoniaco & prussiato di potassa increasing proportionally the borace(borax) plus one part of ferro ricotto(?). Mr Lafitte made a tablet to make welding easier in critical places by adding some of this welding powder to a fine metal mesh. The powder & the tablet facilitate welding at a lower temperature."Many other smiths of a certian age here in Italy have talked about this chocolate like tablet.Once I tried to make it usung a recipe given to me (sale ammoniaco 1g prussiato giallo 1g borax 8g mixed to a paste with boiling water & placed over a mesh similar to flyscreen, but it didn't harden & remained white. I would be interested to know more about this Lafitte.
Susan - Monday, 06/27/05 16:43:18 EDT

CORRECTION!-- Here, all these years I thought a swage was a swage was a swage, but I see that is not the case when that nifty creasing tool Frank found on Ebay was probably made, back in the 1800s. According to John H. Demer, in whose book I found the picture, and whom I misquoted, a swage, was a two-piece tool, like the top and bottom swages we use today. A dingus like the one Frank found was, however (and as Jeff G. states sbove), a swedge, "a shaping hammer attached to a long pivoting arm that enables a tinner to quickly and uniformly shape tin. The swedge needed no striking implement, other than the force of the falling hammer." A thousand pardons! Time for new glasses.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 06/27/05 16:53:43 EDT

ThomasP, While I am glad of you already being anviled for your TH, i was offering a do it yourself portion of a TH. And at mY prices, it would qualify as scrounging! Imagine 454# of 4140, 37" long, and it already has a handy base! And its forged to boot.
ptree - Monday, 06/27/05 17:20:36 EDT

Well my piece of 4140 about that size was free; bought four pieces from the Timken scrap pile when a friend worked there and sold 2 for double their cost and gave one of the "free" ones to a friend. They didn't have a base though...

Thanks for thinking about me; unfortunately I'll most likely be flying out to Quad-State as my next busy time at work starts Oct 3rd and I'll probably need to be in Germany for a couple of weeks then. I already am planning to do a complete shakedown of my luggage before it goes back on the plane after QS. I'd trust my friends with my life---but with very little else!

Thomas P - Monday, 06/27/05 17:42:16 EDT

Knife making: Well, Im not making them to sell, Im basically just doing it for practice. If I start selling them, then I plan on using higher quality material.
- Nolan Chase - Monday, 06/27/05 19:11:48 EDT

Mastermyr find.: BTW several members of ABANA's 'theforge' group decided to duplicate the 'find' Including the chest etc. There are still a handfull of items to be finished, but I think we did an excellent job. Project was started after teh 2000 ABANA conference, and was displayed at the 2002 Conference. Can not remember who currently is the curator, but I do know that it is avalible for display at local and larger events.
It was one of the more fun things I have worked on.
Ralph - Monday, 06/27/05 19:15:22 EDT

Vacuum Investing: Well Tinker, you've come to the right place. In my checkered past I did a few thousand or so vacuum investings. For the greateswt majoriuty of them, I used a scrounged vacuum pump that worked a dream. It was an old Cenco Megavac, allegedly capable of pulling down to something like .001 millitors. Old and decrepit that it was, it probably couldn't do anything even close to that, but it did work and had a prodigious volume. Get to the point, he says...

For vacuum investing, the point is to make the bubbles swell up so that they have greater displacement and therefore break loose form the model and rise to the top. If you halve the ambient pressure, the bubble double in volume. Halve it again and they again double in volume. And so forth, up to a point. 26" of mercury should be more than adequate to expand the bubbles enough to get them to break loose. A little agitation, such as a vibrator, wouldn't hurt, either.

One absurdly simple and cheap way to achiev a pretty decent vacuum is a simple aspirator. They seel them for use on both water hoses or air lines. The cheapies for air lines can be had at your local discount auto service place, where they are used for evacuating air conditioning systems. The water type can be had at the local garden supply, where they are used to siphon liquid fertilizer into the hose water. Both will pull a vacuum that is limited only by the vapor pressure of water. I've sued both very successfully. I currently have the air-powered one and use it for de-gassing solutions from time to time.
vicopper - Monday, 06/27/05 19:57:19 EDT

stuff: "gesundheit" works :)
adam - Monday, 06/27/05 20:00:14 EDT

Vicopper, what did the court award when you successfully sued the aspirators?:)
I too have made investment castings although it was about 30 years ago. As I remember, 26 to 28" was what we could get, but with a little shaking of the stage/bell jar I do not remember any problems. As I recall, the German master goldsmith who taught me did not like to go above 28". Something about the water going into vapor and leaving the investment too dry.
Daughter #2 wants some rings like I made for her mother many moons ago, so I may be back in the casting biz.
ptree - Monday, 06/27/05 20:17:42 EDT

More casting: For those who have aspirations of successful casting, here are a few tips:

Do NOT boil the investment water with the vacuum. It will indeed become too dry. It will also make a really weird investment, one that may spall terribly upon firing. Been there, done that.

It is really quick and easy to build a vibrating investment platform. A piece of wood, four springs and a scrap motor from just about any small appliance. Bolt the motor to the table and put an eccentric weight on the motor shaft. The table sits on the springs. All done. The reason I specified a scrap motor is that the eccentric weight will wreck it in a couple of years. So scrounge another one, no big deal.

Kodak Photo-flo 2000, a darkroom photo wetting agent, makes a good bubble release agent for wax models. Paint it on like yo would the more expensive Kerr de-bubblizer goop. Tincture of green soap works, too.

If you want good castings, never get cheap when it comes to the investment. For jewelry work, I always used the best investment that I could find. In the old days, it was Kerr Satin-Cast. I have no idea what is available today, but I would just get the best stuff sold for dental labs. Their work is very precise, and they use good stuff.

I always used to sift my investment through a kitchen flour sifter before mixing it. Ferreted out any little lumps and loosened it up nicely for better mixing. Siften it right into the water, let it sit a half minute and mixed very gently so as not to entrain any extra air. It worked for me. (I have successfully cast detail as fine as a human hair.)

If anything more comes to mind, I'll post it.
vicopper - Monday, 06/27/05 20:53:46 EDT

Casting: I saw the casting question and decided to reply. Then aI saw that vicopper covered it all. Good post.

I mostly do larger stuff than jewelry or dental.
- John Odom - Monday, 06/27/05 21:22:44 EDT

compressor / vacuum pump: I used an old compressor for evacuating refrigeration systems, it did a lot better than 26", so if You want more, try to find a compressor from a system that was scrapped for some other reason than a worn out compressor.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 06/27/05 23:51:45 EDT

Steel Carbon content: I was poking around the internet looking for a place to find info on the content of various steels, and I found this:
There is a search, where you enter in 1144, D2, O1, A36 or whatever you know about the steel,and it will find 1 or hundreds of results. very helpful.
- Nolan Chase - Tuesday, 06/28/05 00:02:55 EDT

Cool old bellows available on ebay. item # 6189588676 They are located in Maryland. Need the leather replaced, but look like a nice project for someone so inclined. They are 8 ft long and almost 3 ft wide.

FredlyFX - Tuesday, 06/28/05 03:56:04 EDT

Mästermyer Project / Find:
The replicas made for the ABANA conference are displayed on tour ocassionaly. They were supposed to be at the recent SouthEast Confernece. I had commitments that took me away from the conference and forgot to look for them. . . If anyone has photos I will post them.

Note that we previously posted a group of photos of these in the 2002 ABANA conference NEWS. Pages 3-5.

On the subject of photos. . I broke down and went into debt and bought a new camera for my anvilfire work. A Nikon D-70. The advantage over my aging Olympus is that it will take phots in the near dark (such as many blacksmith shops) and is very fast so it will catch those perfect moments that I have missed over and over in recent years. My old Olympus digital SLR (no longer made) was a state of the art professional camera 8 years ago and cost more than the fancy Nikon. Since then many of the low cost digitals outperform it. High tech technology. . . .
- guru - Tuesday, 06/28/05 11:43:31 EDT

Swages or Swedges:
MANY tools in blacksmithing come under this category. Almost anything that is not a specific die of mold that is used for general purpose shaping and dressing is a swage. Toip and bottom tools are also called swages and I have seen rivet headers called a rivet heading swage. In modern terms we tend to use "die" such as in punch and die, blanking die, die set or "shape" die to cover a wide range of tools with little simularity or function. In the end they are all tools.
- guru - Tuesday, 06/28/05 11:49:56 EDT

Nolan you don't forge mild steel the same way one forges the high carbon knife steels. So while it will be great practice for hammer control you are likely to gain bad habits on temperature control---you want to forge mild as hot as possible while the knife alloys have definite upper *and* lower limits for forging.

Also if you do turn out a great knife by "beginner's luck" if you use a proper alloy you can go ahead and heat treat it and have a knife rather than have a knife shaped object...

So you can go out and get a coil spring and have a decent steel for knives that you can train on for about 10 cents a blade or you can pay more for a steel that is better left for ornamental forging---why fight to do it the hard way?

Guru---I'm sure a *fast* camera that will take pics in the near dark will pay for itself in blackmail pics at just one or two smithing conferences. Of course I'm safe as my wife knows my problems with anvil envy and I can blame anything else as a set up by my friends---and probably be right...

Memo to self: avoid spiritous liquors at Quad-State.
Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/28/05 13:25:17 EDT

Vibrating vac platform:

One vacuum debubbler I once used had the bell jar protruding directly up from the vacuum pump. Can't remember what pressure it got to but the vibration from the pump sure helped. Worked good.
- T. Gold - Tuesday, 06/28/05 14:14:03 EDT

Casting: Anybody ever try cuttlebone (that's the stuff in the birdcage that yer parakeet sharpens his beak on)casting? I was amazed at the simplicity and results of the process. I cast some hard pewter repros of antique drawer pulls, taking an impression from an original. It works VERY well.
3dogs - Tuesday, 06/28/05 14:42:09 EDT

Smiths in Myrtle Beach?: I will be in Myrtle Beach next week. Does anyone know of any smiths working in that area or other iron related sights?
Brian C - Tuesday, 06/28/05 16:07:35 EDT

Cuttlebone Casting: Yes, that was one of the first casting projects I ever did. works well for objects the right size and shape.
- John Odom - Tuesday, 06/28/05 16:20:32 EDT

Cuttlebone casting: Sure, I've done a few of those. If you get a good cuttlefish bone,you can get remarkably good detail. But there are good cuttlefish and not so good cuttlefish. The not so good ones will often leave a lot of "fish texture" in the final product.

Another nice thing to use for simple castings is tufa stone. Tufa is the stuf that the Southwest Indians used for casting the classic belt buckles and other adornments. If you can't obtain tufa stone, you can fake it by casting blocks of investment plaster and carving into them. They carve a lot easier if you fire them to about 900F for an hour or so first.
vicopper - Tuesday, 06/28/05 16:26:10 EDT

myrtle beach: Brian: My wife is there with her mother and sister this week, and that's about as much as I know of any connection to smithing there! (grin!)
Alan-L - Tuesday, 06/28/05 17:11:47 EDT


Other than your family, all I know so far is that about 4 other guys from work are going to be there also. As if I dont see enuff of them (BOG)
Brian C - Tuesday, 06/28/05 20:53:36 EDT

Myrtle Beach: Brian you could try contacting our news letter editor and she might be able to pass along some contact information for some of our members that live close to there. I know we have a couple that live in or around georgetown not shure of any ware ealse close to MB. You can find her contact information at Have fun in Myrtle Beach.
RBrown - Tuesday, 06/28/05 20:59:42 EDT

Knife making: Thomas P: So by a coil spring, what do you mean? one from a car?
- Nolan Chase - Tuesday, 06/28/05 23:35:22 EDT

Spring steel fer knifes and other kliving things: K.. I 'm verry tyred but here goes:

spring steel from cars is pretty good fer knifes, but if you can get a leaf spring from an old hevy duty truck. One its allready hardned( from use) Its already proved its worthyness for a stock removal process( filing and sanding). But be aware that sme or a lot of cracks may be hidden within the steel.
For finding some spring dteel on the cheep you should consult you local ' pull a part auto scrap' dealer. He or she( my fav and prefered dealer) will most often give you a free peice if you promise to either help aroung the yard or make a gift or the first cut or product ( my dealer gave me gave me nnot only a free cut but a discount on my steel fer a hand made hammer) just rember to be polite , look poor, and keep your word ( don't make
- Timex - Wednesday, 06/29/05 02:40:19 EDT

Spring steel fer knifes and other kliving things: K.. I 'm verry tyred but here goes:

spring steel from cars is pretty good fer knifes, but if you can get a leaf spring from an old hevy duty truck. One its allready hardned( from use) Its already proved its worthyness for a stock removal process( filing and sanding). But be aware that sme or a lot of cracks may be hidden within the steel.
For finding some spring dteel on the cheep you should consult you local ' pull a part auto scrap' dealer. He or she( my fav and prefered dealer) will most often give you a free peice if you promise to either help aroung the yard or make a gift or the first cut or product ( my dealer gave me gave me nnot only a free cut but a discount on my steel fer a hand made hammer) just rember to be polite , look poor, and keep your word ( don't make
- Timex - Wednesday, 06/29/05 02:40:30 EDT

sorry comp AND me are tired: ( don't make any promises that you can't or won't keep). For the most part you should be able to find a good length of spring steel for less than 25$ US. From that a fair smith will get about six to ten large show knifes or ten to twelve usable work knifes. Just rember to hit hot and quench yellow( dull yellow). if you have the time or the drive you could even ' Blue blush then for added case hardning and asthetik value.
- Timex - Wednesday, 06/29/05 02:45:58 EDT

Casting stuff: Wow!
Been incomunicado for a spell and am dead chuffed and surprised by everyone weighing in with their experiances, I was just sharing my day!
Thanks Sarge, you've done it again. Theres some top stuff for me there, but can you be a star and tell me what tincture of green soap is? :) (heard of 50/50 washing up liquid/peroxide but cant source pure peroxide here without LOTS of paperwork).
I've already got 2 thin 12in diameter steel discs and some tappet valve springs to make a shaker table, just waiting for a chance to go looking for a small motor :)

Adam, I usually cast Sterling or fine Silver, although it depends on the piece and the best technique to use to get what I want (its just as easy to make a ring from wire and solder it if all you need is a simple band). Most of my work is bespoke, without trying to sound pretentious or 'arty farty'. It boils down to cash. If You pay for the bullion I can afford to make it. Gold jewelry is WAY too expensive for me to make on 'spec', as yet its still a hobby:)
A few weeks ago I did do a 9ct gold signet ring for my friend who recently became a DAD (you'll have seen similar i'm sure, but this had his sons name and birthweight running around the edge too. He paid for the gold, I was privelidged to do the work for free.
I also made him a little rattle shaped piece in silver with 'Jack' on the back to put over the babys cot for luck (Its a Romany tradition to give a baby 'blessed', wealth etc), and I COULD afford that ;)

WHEN, or IF..:( my Gingery books get here I'll be trying sand casting Alluminium too :)
I have also done a little copper and brass casting just to 'try' it.

Dave, I'm currently trying to get two big refridgeration places to entertain me but I'm not 'Trade':( I'll ask my scrap man to keep an eye open :)

3dogs, Yep! First thing I ever tried as cuttlebone is very easily had. My wife has the ring i made with it. She loves the characteristic 'fingerprint' pattern on the metal that cuttlebone leaves, if you want to accentuate that as I did you use an artists brush to clean out the softer inner portions of the ridges.

Apologies for taking a whole page ;) but I wanted to answer everyone and say thank you for proving CSI membership is worth anyones dime.

Tinker - Wednesday, 06/29/05 09:06:36 EDT

Tinker - casting: Tincture of green soap is the stuff the doctor used ot use when you were a little kid...if you're old enough. When I was a kid, at least. It is nothing more than a liquid soap that is dissolved in alcohol. YOu can use a non-sudsing soap such as Dr. Bronner's Castille and mix it into alcohol and achieve the same result. The alcohol and the soap combine to make a pretty fair wetting agent. The Photo-flo stuff is better. A dab of propylene glycol is a good wetting agent, too. (The new radiator stuff that is puppy-friendly is propylene glycol based.)

Want high-strength peroxide? Try the local beauty supply. The peroxide used for taking milady from mousy to brassy is about 30% peroxide. Any hotter than that and you're pretty much closing in on rocket fuel, and the nosies will be all over you. (grin)

I'm happy to answer any jewelry-making or silversmithing questions you may have, if I know the answer. I do have my degree in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design (BFA), and taught a course or two at college. I have a fairly comprehensive library of books on the subject, from Cellini to Choate, so I can research what I don't know. So feel free to ask away.
vicopper - Wednesday, 06/29/05 09:21:38 EDT

Peroxide:: Plant nurseries and hydroponics stores also sell high strength peroxide. Its added to the water to oxygenate the roots.

BTW: 30% H2O2 is an excellent emergency coagulant (it's the oxygen that triggers the blood's coagulant). I keep some in my 1st aid cabinet.
adam - Wednesday, 06/29/05 10:09:00 EDT

Refrigeration: I want to install AC in a small room that doesnt have a window. The logical solution would be to install a window AC unit throught the wall. But this involves opening up a lot of sheetrock to head off studs etc. Also "political" factors make this impractical. It would be very handy if I could split a window AC unit so that I could put the condensor outside and just reconnect thru the exterior wall. ONe can buy "splits" - AC units where the coils and condesors are separate - but they are expensive $500+ (not inc. installation) while window units can be had for $100 or less. (Likely its a volume thing.) One cheapy 5k BTU would be overkill by a factor of 10.

Can I legally buy refrigerant in the USA? And if not are there substitute compounds that might work well enough - I dont need full efficiency - the unit would be way overrated anyway. What kind of equipment do I need to repressurize an AC system? What kind of pressures are involved?

adam - Wednesday, 06/29/05 10:29:55 EDT

Refrigeration: You can buy non-cfc refrigerant legally at auto supply places for recharging A/C systems in cars. They also sell the gauges and fittings. What you will need that you may not have is a vacuum pump to evacuate the system prior to charging. If you have an air compressor, you can use a simple aspirator type vacuum pump, also sold at auto places and Harbor Freight for about $20.

The biggest thing you need to know is the volume of the system, for the correct amount of refrigerant, and the high and low side pressures. If you get those wrong, the system either doesn't work or it blows up. :-(

If you scrounge an A/C system from a junk car,you'd have a split unit right there. You'd need to get a motor to drive it, and I have NO idea how efficient it would be, but it could be done. I'd ask Ray Clontz, aka "ptpiddler" about it, since he makes more useful things out of old car parts than anyone else I've ever seen.
vicopper - Wednesday, 06/29/05 10:57:01 EDT

Appreciation: Mine, I'd like to offer it. An extremely gracious offer Rich. Thankyou :)

Will definitely try the propylene glycol based antifreeze as pure Alcohol is yet another not easily obtained 'over here', (honestly I swear I'm ruddy emigrating! :( Everytime I get some great info from you fellas on chemicals or bits I go out all wide eyed and hopeful and get shot down in flames) unless Methylated Spirit, the purple stuff used in camping cookers and as a thinner is the same?
Peroxide, you know I never realised hairdressers stuff was that strong? Don't envy the wife having that stuff ladled on. Mind you my hair never gets any longer than a mirror finish grade one so its not my fault!
Tinker - Wednesday, 06/29/05 11:47:20 EDT

Yes I was referring to car springs, usually you can get them cheap or free if they are not attached to a car---hard to sell an "unknown make or model" spring. Stop by a garage and ask them too. Avoild any that seem to be galvanized

I also used to get spring steel drops from a local small shop that did auto spring making and repair---new unused stock in knife lengths for US$1 a pound

One of the MOBsters worked for a company that made ambulences and other rescue vehicles---first thing they did was to remove the brand new leaf springs and toss them in the scrap bin---had to replace them with extra heavy duty ones...

Coil springs are nice cause if you can find a friend with a cutting torch you can run it down the side and get a number of rings that can be heated and opened and make usually two knives from each ring. Hot cutting them are a bit harder but it can be done with a long chisel.

The warning is that *broken* springs usually have more cracks that didn't propagate catastrophically in them that you can find the hard way---ie: after 6 hours of work on it...

If you are near central NM I would be happy to pass on a bunch of springs that Miles passed on to me.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/29/05 12:19:42 EDT

Vicopper: : I got my copy of Shar Choate's "Creative Casting" around 1973. Damfine book. That's the book that turned me on to cuttlebone. I still refer to it from time to time. Not too wild about Percy Blandford's stuff, though.
3dogs - Wednesday, 06/29/05 12:52:04 EDT

Blandford: I'm not too thrilled with his books, either. But he is a writer of do-it-yourself books n a wide range of diverse subjects, so I assume he is a writer first and a do-er as only a distant second. There are definitely much better out there. All of Sharr's books are good, Oppi Untracht's book is the classic reference, Von Neumann is good, and there are a host of others. Tim McCreight has written a range of books on jewelry and metal working, none of which I've looked at. They get pretty good reviews, though. Since he only writes n jewelry and related things, I assume he is a craftsman first and a writer second. Possibly an erroneous assumption, of course.

For a fascinating read, and a bit of knowledge too, read Bienvenutto Cellini's "Treatises on Goldsmithing and Sculpture", or his autobiography. Both available in Dover editions. He was not only a damn fine artist, he was an inveterate raconteur. Well, probably a bald-faced liar, but entertaining nonetheless.
vicopper - Wednesday, 06/29/05 14:22:16 EDT

Books: I have two of Tim McCreights books; 'The complete Metalsmith' published by Davis, and 'Practical Casting- A Studio Reference' published by Brynmorgan Press.
I believe he is/was a college professor. I found his books excellent 'starting points'.
He covers a lot of ground in the first (sadly forging gets a mere two pages)and so there is never the detailed information of an exclusive in depth study of any given technique. He seems to give enough to get you started and keen and then points you in the proper direction, backing this up with lots of contact info (ABANA gets listed).
To my mind his suggested reading sections are the real stars (he sites everyone of the Authors above except Cellini and Blandford, as well as many others).
I'm still waiting for the local library to track down Untracht's books (are there any others apart from 'Metal Techniques for the Craftsman' and 'Jewelry Concepts and Technology'?).
They passed the two recommendations rule a while back :)
Ian Lowe - Wednesday, 06/29/05 16:51:15 EDT

Hydrogen peroxide: The hydrogen peroxide for first aid is THREE percent. Thirty percent will cause severe tissue damage!
- John Odom - Wednesday, 06/29/05 17:07:37 EDT

hydrogen peroxide: The professional beauty shop peroxide is fifteen percent. the thitry percent stuff is mostly for laboratoryand industrial use. the 90% stuff is the most concentrated that is legal to ship, and has only specialized uses.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 06/29/05 17:10:51 EDT

ACs, Peroixide: Adam,

A friend of mine just bought one of those ACs where the whole unit sits inside, but exhausts the hot air from the condenser coils through a small duct out the window. Still close to $500, but no installation to speak of. I've thought about putting the "outside" end of a standard window unit into a big plywood box. I'd put a blower in the box exhausting air to outside through a flexible duct, and probably use a second duct to bring air from outside into the box.

I still remember dropping mangenese dioxide into sixty-something per cent hydrogen peroxide in eighth-grade science. I was following the directions (or thought I was) but it went up like, well, rocket fuel. No damage except to my composure.
Mike B - Wednesday, 06/29/05 17:32:58 EDT

Didn't Oppi also do "Enameling on Metal"?

I really need to finish off another bookcase so I can get the rest of my library out of boxes...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/29/05 17:46:11 EDT

hydrogen peroxide at strenghts above 15% are really quite dangerous.
I have the responsibility to maintain about 20 evaporative cooling towers. These are swamp coolers on steriods. Imagine your garage as a swamp cooler and you have an idea of the small ones. The swamp cooler name comes from the dismaying habit of evaporative coolers to become a swamp of algue and other fun things like legionnella.
At any rate, chemicals are added to the sump water to kill the growing things. Often resistant strains are developed over time and the things need shocking to kill out everything. My chemical company wanted to use 45% peroxide. Did a little research after remembering that high strenght peroxides were used as the oxidizer in early rocket fuels.
After the reading,NOT IN MY SHOP!
ptree - Wednesday, 06/29/05 18:00:11 EDT

I know this doesn't happen often, but one more place to get coil springs is a train wreck. We had two of them near where I live several years ago. It looked like a spring factory blew up. One crew let me take as many as I wanted and one crew wouldn't let me have any. Never hurts to ask.
- Jeff G. - Wednesday, 06/29/05 18:04:10 EDT

AC?: One more half-baked idea: Build a water tank around the condenser coil of a window unit and circulate the water to a radiator outside.

I'm no refrigeration engineer, but the one problem I see with this idea is that the heat might transfer from the coil too fast, filling the coil with liquid refrigerant and starving the system. Maybe you could avoid this by coating the first 80 or 90% of the coil with urethane foam, and/or keeping the first section outside the tank altogether.
Mike B - Wednesday, 06/29/05 18:23:19 EDT

ptree any strong oxidizer makes me break out in a sweat---LOX can make asphalt into an explosive!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/29/05 19:11:01 EDT

H2O2 - concentrated: Just before I left AKSteel's Butler PA works they were running tests to develop a process to replace nitric acid in pickling stainless with concentrated hydrogen peroxide - about 45 % if I remember correctly - the safety facts/MSDS on the concentrated H2O2 were such that I had a very, very healthy respect for it. It was able to do extremely nasty things to a person if there was skin contact.

On the other hand you were replacing a nasty material - concentrated nitric acid, that produced nitrates and nitrites in our waste water stream with something that broke down into water and oxygen, so from a process point it was a positive.
- Gavainh - Wednesday, 06/29/05 19:22:41 EDT

LOX: I was once involved in the investigatiion and litigation of a wreck that involved the spill of a large amount of liquid oxygen onto asphalt. Spectacular!
- John Odom - Wednesday, 06/29/05 19:36:19 EDT

H202: Hydrogen Peroxide is an oxidizer, for sure. It can also be used as a rocket propellant simply by running it over a catalyst and breaking it down into oxygen and steam -- no other fuel needed.
Mike B - Wednesday, 06/29/05 20:37:34 EDT

Many thanks to all who replied to my questions regarding a traveling forge. Bless all who frequent this site!
- karl - Wednesday, 06/29/05 20:41:18 EDT

H2O2, books, etc.: John Odom,

I stand corrected, thank you. Beauty shop peroxide is "30 volume" not 30%. A considerable difference.

As for medical peroxide, it is *highly* over-rated and overused. It can destroy living tissue as well as dead. A good cleaning with soap and water is just about as good for most purposes, and isn't going to do any damage. Just one dose of peroxide for a short duration on a wound is okay, but repeated or prolonged applications are a bad idea. This according to my medical friends and advisors.


Yes, I have a copy of Oppi's "Enameling on Metal". I have another book on enameling too, that I think is bvetter, but I can't remember the author offhand, and that one is packed away. The guy wrote several books on enameling in the fifties and sixties. Somehow, I never did much with enamels after college. I still have several dozen jars of enamels squirreled away in my silversmithing tool chest, just in case I get the urge again someday. (grin) I may combine it with some steel one day, who knows?

LOX: I saw a thing on the 'net once of a guy lighting a charcoal grill with LOX. Got the coals ready to grill in under two seconds. Fireball about fifteen feet in diameter, too. Too exciting for me!

A/C: When I lived in Phoenix, my AC unit had an evaporative cooler as a pre-cooler for the condenser and compressor head. It saved me about half on my electric bills in the summer. My shop just had the swamp cooler, without the AC; not nearly as comfy when the temp was over 114ºF and the humidity was over 50%. Now you know why I moved to the tropics...not as hot.
vicopper - Wednesday, 06/29/05 20:42:08 EDT

More on peroxide: One las tnote on hydrogen peroxide: It is the only substance that does a really good job on removing bloodstains from clothing. You can guess how I know this, I'm sure. (grin)
vicopper - Wednesday, 06/29/05 20:44:03 EDT

Knife making: There is a pick & pull near here, but i'm nowhere near NM. My dad did reccomend springs from cars, but I didnt think that would work. I guess I'll head out ther on saturday. I used to have a 6ft peice of 1 1/2" spring steel from a car, but I have no idea where that went.
- Nolan Chase - Wednesday, 06/29/05 20:54:30 EDT

Now that we have beaten hydrogen peroxide to death, have I told you about the company here in town who decided to convert a CO2 liquid tank to a liquid nitrous oxide tank?
Sandblasted to clean, clogging the undersized safety relief valve, removed the wire insulation off the ac/heater package that maintained the outgoing gas pressure, so had it rewired. Put it in a lot behind the shop and one of the fellows brought his son to work on Saturday while he hydro'ed the 3 ton capacity tank. Yep, you guessed it, hydro'ed with nitrous. Started to leak, and he tightened the 6" x 18" manway. Manway extruded out of the tank under pressure, making a three ton liquid fueled rocket which flew about 300 yards landing in a street. The rewire had placed the heater lead onto the normally closed contact instead of the NO contact. In-op relief, and stupid planning, cost the 12 year old child his life.
and that is part of the reason I am carefull with chemicals
ptree - Wednesday, 06/29/05 21:05:49 EDT

Chemicals: Are a good thing to be careful with, and one more place where a *little* knowledge is often a dangerous thing. I grew up in a chemical company, and learned just enough to make me really dangerous, but not enough to make me really safe. I can still call Dad and get the straight dope from him, but mostly I just try to stay away frm things I don't know enough about these days. I just don't heal as fast as I used to.
vicopper - Wednesday, 06/29/05 22:26:29 EDT

Adam-refrigeration: Awindow unit uses the same motor to drive the both fan for the evaporator[coilthat gets cold]and the fan for the condenser[coil that gets hot], so You cant just cut it apart in the middle. Allso, if You live in a humid area the condensate from the evaporator needs to be dealt with. Cutting a window unit through the wall is pretty easy in frame construction. My Dad did about hundred of them for a local apliance store, about a 4 hour job complete. You are supposed to be liscenced to handle any refrigerant with an ozone depletion potential, that includes R22 which is used in residential central AC. The refrigerant is fed into the low side of the system, so tank pressure is all You need, other than a vacuum pump, gauge set, and to keep it legal a recovery system. A ventury will make enough vacuum to do the job, but no where near the 50 microns or less You are SUPPOSED to have. If You yse an automotive system it will need about 3/4 to 1 HP motor and a 12 volt suply to run the clutch and fans. These systems are pretty powerfull, about 1 ton. My preferance would be the window unit cut through the wall,a split system if You can find one small enough or the all inside ducted system Mike B mentioned. If You try to put small ducts on a regular window unit without a booster fan the high side pressure will get too high due to restricted air flow. Dont oversize the unit if You need to remove humiditty, because the temperature will drop before the humidity is low enough to be comfortable.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 06/29/05 23:19:15 EDT

Ralph back to the hospital: I hate to have to report this, but Ralph almost died this morning and he's not out of the woods yet. This morning a LARGE blood clot went to his lungs. They had to give a high risk medicine to dissolve the clot in order to try to save his life. It has caused some internal bleeding, but it's not nearly as bad as it could have been. His blood pressure and oxygen level are good right now. They may give him just one unit of blood. Ralph is going to be staying in ICU for two three days.

Please pray for him and give his name to any prayer chains at churches, etc., if you can.
Thank you Dawn
Ntech - Thursday, 06/30/05 01:12:53 EDT

hoping ralph...: recovers quikly and fully........... punched and drifted my 1st hammer head yesterday......... looks as if its going ta turn out to be a nice straight peen....... hoping everyone is doing ok.... happy hammering
blacklionforge - Thursday, 06/30/05 07:54:02 EDT

Ralph: Got my support.
Alan-L - Thursday, 06/30/05 08:07:16 EDT

Oxygen: We mix diving gas and use a variety of mixes of oxygen, helium and nitrogen up to pure oxygen used for decompression at and above 20 ft.

In our case where we partial pressure blend the O2 is trnsfilled from a higher pressure tank. For continuous blending oporations O2 mixed with air and/or helium prior to compression. It's typical for large oporations to use LOX. The downside is that you need to use it before you loose it and that's why only sellers of large volumes use it.

We do our best to limit fuel by cleaning components and keeping them clean but we don't do this in a clean room. We try to use O2 compatable materials but that just means better than others and not perfect. We also try to use valves and plumbing of correct design and open valves slowly to limit heat. Still fill panels and valves go poof once in a while, sometimes taking some one or part of them with it.

With O2 being the great oxydizer that it is, all we can do is try to limit the the fuel and heat as you need all three to get fire.
Mike Ferrara - Thursday, 06/30/05 08:17:44 EDT

Trip Hammer Price??: i just wanted to ask a question i know nothign about blacksmithing. one of my relatives has passed away and they had a trip hammer stored away which says if im reading it right that the brand is perfect and it also says sept.10 1907 which i guess is the date it was built. does anyone know about how much i should try and sell it for. thanks. my email is
Jammie - Thursday, 06/30/05 11:11:43 EDT

Dawn, knee-mail sent! Tell Ralph we are pulling for him; I worked with a guy who had the same problem after a "routine" surgery. It was a long row to hoe but he made it back to close to 100%. Take care of yourself as Ralph will need your support over the long run and you have had a rough time of it too!

Thomas P - Thursday, 06/30/05 11:12:25 EDT

From the Armour Archive: General Forum:

" I was talking to a guy who went by Pacific Industries and he said they had some anvils in the 300# range for 400. I asked about the faces he said one looked good and one was humped. He didn't mention the others other then there are about 5-5 anvils. Now this guy doesn't know anvils, so it might be an ASO, but it is worth a check."

Thomas P - Thursday, 06/30/05 11:32:59 EDT

Ptree - working for an industrial gas company for 6 years is what made me sensitive to safety around chemicals - we had the training about LOX and asphalt, also how to properly use all of the gases, and how to pipe them & prepare piping for them. The crazy thing is we had customer's who didn't want our free help in setting up piping, training, etc. Had to refuse to put oxygen in a line at a steel mill because they'd cleaned black iron pipe with carbon tetrachloide, which leaves a residue that's flammable/explosve with oxygen. Had to shut down a paper mill trial of oxygen bleaching of pulp (replacing chlorine) because their engineer undersized the control valve - couldn't get adequate flow through it and were approaching maximum allowable gas velocity. I never did understand the reason some of the customers just didn't want to avail themselves of free technical expertise.
- Gavainh - Thursday, 06/30/05 12:22:32 EDT

Ralph update: Ralph has made it through the most dangerous hours. They'll probably do another Cat Scan on his chest later today. Thank you for your prayers. Dawn
- Ntech - Thursday, 06/30/05 12:57:37 EDT

OOPS that was from Seattle WA IIRC.

Thomas P - Thursday, 06/30/05 13:17:24 EDT

AC: Thanks Rich, Mike Dave (and anyone I missed) for your comments.

Mike I did think of a similar idea using a coil of copper pipe with water to carry the cold output of an AC unit in another room into the room that needs chilling. Then I realized it would be easier just to capture the cold air into a flexibe 4" dryer duct and pipe it into the room. This is plan B and its what I will do until I can install something in the room itself

1 ton = 12000BTU (yes?) this means that an auto AC is waaay more than I need. Prolly around 1000BTU would be seriously overrated.

Yes my preference would be to just set a small window unit through the wall. Only need to head off one stud and its only a one story house so, like Dave says, its an afternoon's work. It would be neat, tidy, cheap and easy. But my better half cant be persuaded to let me use my Sawzall on the frame of our house so thats out.

I have access to a mountain of discarded fridges and AC units at the landfill so I am thinking of cobbling something together out of scrap appliances. At least it would be a cheap way to learn something. I reckon that if I can reassemble an AC unit to 30% of its original efficiency, it will be more than sufficient. Adding another fan to cool the coils would b e no problem

Ducted AC units - this was my first thought too but they are spendy - about $500 - and very bulky.

So I think I will mess around based on the tips I got here. At the very least I will learn something about refrigeration units. That cant be bad.

Ive been here a few years now. I still am astounded by the range and depth of knowledge in this community
- adam - Thursday, 06/30/05 15:13:35 EDT

Ralph: Rough ride! Hang in there my friend!
adam - Thursday, 06/30/05 15:14:08 EDT

Peroxide: 3% is good for sterilizing wounds. 30% is for stanching blood flow in an emergency.
adam - Thursday, 06/30/05 15:19:20 EDT

AC: Peltier TEC!!

check out ebay item #7525092915

Some a 12v DC supply, heat sinks, couple of fans and I am in bidniss!
adam - Thursday, 06/30/05 19:26:47 EDT

The idiots in my true story were one of the bigger welding and hospital gas suppliers in the area. When we moved our plant across the river to Indiana, they called and asked to quote on our LOX, LN2 and LAr tanks for welding gasses. I refused them access to the property to quote!
ptree - Thursday, 06/30/05 21:11:49 EDT

Ralph: Hang in there friend. You still have things to do.
- Larry - Thursday, 06/30/05 21:17:08 EDT

Stanching blood flow: Adam and others:

If you want the very best, safest product available for stopping bleeding, even in massive trauma cases, check out QuikClot™. This stuff really works.
vicopper - Thursday, 06/30/05 21:38:10 EDT

adam: Peltier systems sound better than they work in the field. They will drop temperature 40 degrees per stage, but require more energy per BTU than expansion refrigeration. You CAN build Your own split system from scrounged parts, If You go that route put the entire unit minus the condenser coil and fan inside the room, and use the condenser and a scrounged motor outside. The tiny little section of tube [capilary tube] that feeds the evaporator coil is engineered to the specific aplication, DONT CHANGE IT'S LENGTH. Add a filter/dryer and a sight glass with a moisture indicator in the high side between the compressor and cap tube, and add a schrader valve port on the high and low side to atach the gauge set too. Put a condensate drain in the bottom of the housing and pipe it outside. Silver bearing soft solder will work if You don't want to use 15% silver. Put the drier in with flare fittings so You can change it if You need to.
Dave Boyer - Thursday, 06/30/05 22:11:54 EDT

adam: Corection- Should read : Add a filter /drier and a sight glass with a moisture indicator in the high side between the CONDENSER and cap tube,
Dave Boyer - Thursday, 06/30/05 22:45:43 EDT

LOX, LAR, LN: ptree - just a question, when you say supplier, do you mean distributor? I worked for Airco, now BOC, and at the time I don't believe we would have done anything like what you described. Some of our independent distributors, (used the Airco name, but were independently owned) I'm a lot less certain of. I normally didn't work with distributors - if an account wasn't using about a million cubic feet a month, I wasn't usually involved.

That said, there are chuckleheads in every industry - still remember the sory of a college classmate who went into the nuclear industry as an engineer. As part of the training he got sent out to do some field work in a hot zone in a reactor. Got suited up, got his instructions, got inserted, started arguing with maintenace & burned up his entire years rad dose arguing - got nothing done.

He had a very good grade average from a top grade engineering school, but had no common sense. None of the rest of us peons wanted to work with him in school on projects - too scared of what might happen if while we were doing something he suddenly "engaged his brain" and took off on some uncharted/unplanned tangent.
- gavainh - Friday, 07/01/05 00:01:49 EDT

Longship & Updates: The back is back (what a pain) so I haven't been keeping up with the wonders of Anvilfire, but I hope to catch up this long weekend.

Meanwhile, for those who are interested, the new longship will soon be on its way!

Transportation for the Sae Hrafn [Sea Hrafn] has been arranged, and we expect delivery on the 14th or 15th of July (depending on traffic, weather, and brush fires), with a Survey Party shortly thereafter to celebrate delivery and make further plans. The Sae Hrafn will be kept at Calvert Marina in Solomons Island, Maryland, on the lower Patuxent. This location provides an excellent harbor, good support facilities, and puts us in easy striking distance of the Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries. She will need additional work at this end of the country, but we plan to have her operational and in the water as soon as we have her bottom painted in anti-fouling paint and get the topsides and inboard painted and coated. Further details and updates may be found at or web page at .

Now that he’s finished with the Sae Hrafn our shipwright, Kerry Eikenskold, is now available for other projects. Further information may be found at: . He does beautiful work, and takes his time to provide a quality job at a fair price. It has long been the Longship Company’s policy to have other, more skilful folks, build our hulls, while we fit them out. (Operations and maintenance is quite labor and money intensive all by themselves, thank you.) After all, King Harald Hardratha didn’t build his own ships, and neither do we. We leave the critical hull in the hands of those with the talent and skill to do the best job, because our lives depend upon it.

SO if you have a yen to go viking, we hope to see some of you soon, once we get her here. Once I get back to the forge, it's time to forge more spearheads, shield bosses, and boarding axes! (Hurrah!) (...and couple of boat hooks and a nice diamond-fluked, wooden stocked anchor wouldn't be a bad thing either. ;-)

Busy and medicated on the banks ofthe Potomac; looks like rain is coming this afternoon.

Longship Company Site and Links
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 07/01/05 10:38:25 EDT

So Atli, what does a viking ship look like when you're sighting down the barrel of a carronade?

Gonna fire the falconette this weekend!

Thomas P - Friday, 07/01/05 11:48:38 EDT

Correction: Authour: The authour of "THE ART OF SEEING: AN ADVENTURE IN RE-EDUCATION" is Aldous Huxley. Not George Orwell as I posted earlier (06/17/05)

Huxley is better known for his other works including "BRAVE NEW WORLD"

A pleasent Canada Day out on Vancouver Island. At present, broken overcast at about 20 Cel.

- Don Shears - Friday, 07/01/05 13:39:11 EDT

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