Some tools to drool over.  Image (c) 1998 Jock Dempsey.  Click for enlargement. WELCOME to the anvilfire!
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July 2004 Archive

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

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

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

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

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

Belt Grinders: Ive been looking for a good belt grinder for a beginner. I dont have very much money to spend so aprox anything up to 300$. Im going to be using it for knife making so any info would be well apreciated.
- Dan Crabtree - Thursday, 07/01/04 00:31:28 EDT

lincoln 300d arc welder: i recently purchased a lincoln 300d at auction, unit in great shape. too much welder for my needs. looking to sell or trade for smaller unit and cash? e-mail with offers.paid .3,700.00.
- shawn b. - Thursday, 07/01/04 04:23:46 EDT

lincoln 300d arc welder: i recently purchased a lincoln 300d at auction, unit in great shape. too much welder for my needs. looking to sell or trade for smaller unit and cash? e-mail with offers.paid .3,700.00.
- shawn b. - Thursday, 07/01/04 04:24:11 EDT

Family arrived in NM from OH at 2am---very very happy and sleepy today! Dog has already dug out of the pen, guess it *wants* to play with the coyotes!

I'll probably be spending little time on-line for a couple of weeks while I move my shop and help dig out the house..

Thomas Powers
Thomas P - Thursday, 07/01/04 12:04:01 EDT

Belt Grinder: Dan Crabtree,

I you don't want to make your own, then I would suggest the Grizzly 2"X 72" belt grinder at about $250. It isn't as snazzy as a BurrKing or a Bader, but it will definitely get the job done at a much lower cost than the big names. Grizzly will also sell the individual parts, like contact wheels, for the grinder.

Making a belt grinder really isn't all that difficult if you have a chop saw and a welder. A few pillow blocks, a pulley and some drive and idler wheels are all you might have to buy besides a good 8 to 10" ocntact wheel. If you make your own, then you can make all the special platens that you might want. Check out a few of the Google links to belt grinders to see a number of homemade ones that look pretty good. One particularly good resource is Beaumont metalworks. He sells parts, whells, etc. and has pictures of several mahcines as well as his own design.
vicopper - Thursday, 07/01/04 22:56:15 EDT

?trying to find the age of my anvil: I was on once before asking for so help to find the aprox age of my Vulcan Arm & Hammer Anvil. I have some photos and would also like to know about how much its worth. it is about 100lbs this is based on # 10 on the side, and its darn heavy. any one willing to take a look?
- aaron dominique - Friday, 07/02/04 11:15:37 EDT

Dan Crabtree/Belt Sanders: Here is another belt sander option. You can buy the complete unit, or just the belt sander attachment for your existing grinder. I purchased mine from McMaster-Carr and put it on my 3/4 HP, 8" Wheel Milwaukee bench grinder. I love it.
- Jymm Hoffman - Friday, 07/02/04 14:01:09 EDT

Larry & Steven: Thanks for the advice, 3/32 7018 and 7014 with pre-heat worked great, I think the preheat made all the difference in getting a stable arc......already tested it and the welds survived some heavy use today....
Ellen - Friday, 07/02/04 17:56:40 EDT

BELT GRINDER: DAN CRABTREE-- You need a 8" contact wheel and a BACK IDLER(SHEFFIELD in FLORIDA)(JANTZ--1-800-351-8900) and enough steel to make a table. You can hang the motor on a pin, for a tightener. You will need a shaft and two piller bearings. Mine has three pulleys on the motor and three on the shaft(for diff. sps.). The motor hangs from a 1'x 8' pin right below the shaft for the contact wheel. This would get you in at just about the three hundred. I have used the hound out of mine and would just as soon grind blades on it as my BADER--Goodluck
- SANDPILE - Friday, 07/02/04 19:56:27 EDT

Belt Grinder:
Our 32nd edition of the NEWS covering the NC-ABANA meet has photos of a very easy to build design by Ray Clontz who also designed the NC-JYH, both are very ingenious designs. You should be able to figure it out from the photos.
- guru - Saturday, 07/03/04 10:05:53 EDT

I have the first 50 copies of THE REVOLUTIONARY BLACKSMITH in my hot little hands. Jock should have them in the anvilfire store within the next week.(WHEW!)
Paw Paw - Saturday, 07/03/04 11:52:00 EDT

WooHoo!: Congrats Jim W.
Going to need at least 3 signed books. Once they are 'officailly' avalible I will send info to you as to who what etc to sign them to.....

Ralph - Sunday, 07/04/04 20:58:25 EDT

TRB Books:
Jim, I call dibs on a signed copy too! Please drop me an email when they become available... VBG.
T. Gold - Monday, 07/05/04 03:18:35 EDT

blind smiths?: This is an e-mail I recently sent to Jock Demsey who was able to advise me a little but suggested I try my query here.

"I have recently been blinded at work. This may or may not be permenant. I was in the process of setting up a full sized workshop as I've only just begun to get into smithing. I still have one good eye and I was wondering if you know of any partially sighted smiths out there. If so I would like to benefit from the pearls of wisdom you or they may have with their predicament."

I'm hoping someone out there has some good advise, thanks. HC
Hairy Chef - Monday, 07/05/04 15:06:19 EDT

Harry Chef:
While I am not blind, my vision is not very good, particularly in my right eye. I have noticed that when forging, I cannot judge depth very well. The work is in that "gray" zone. Not far enough to be claer to the distance vision of the right eye, nor close enough to be clear in the close vision of the same eye. So I wear my reading glasses when forging. ALL of my glasses are safety glasses, I doubt seriously if I need to preach to you on that subject.

As for the difficulties, forge ahead and defeat them!
Paw Paw - Monday, 07/05/04 15:23:08 EDT

Dan Crabtree belt sander: Look around for a used one, I bought a very nice little unit used for $400 its an older heavy cast machine uses 6" by 24" belts adjusteble table etc.

Another option if you decide to build your own is to use the parts of an old drive shaft. Use the splined slip part of the drive shaft, with a good spring as your belt tensioner and the yoke (were the ujoint used tobe) to put your rod through to attach your upper wheel.
I could get some photo's of this if you'd like.
- Chris Pook - Monday, 07/05/04 15:46:02 EDT

oh that was $400 canadian so about $300us for my used one i bought
Chris Pook - Monday, 07/05/04 15:46:49 EDT

Tradition!: New to the site.

I've just been reading the eary threads and people are going on about tradition. I've been interested enough in the technology of smithing enough to join a living history society(NOT SCA!!!). We have the opportunity to stay in castles and live as close to a medieval life allows. This said a few of us have tried our hands at various crafts. The research that resulted gave a great incite into 'tradition' of that period. Having built a furnace with local stone and clay then filled it with about 2 tons of iron bearing rock then filled and refilled the furnace from dawn 'til dusk in order to get what eventually turned out to be approx 2lbs of iron slag, which needed further beating to remove impurities. All that done you are left with as close to pure iron as you are going to get. NOT STEEL but iron, 'wrought' iron. All this akes time and bodies who need paying. Anything that reduced time, effort and man-power has always been sought. Metalsmith's have been at the forefront of technological advancement from the first understanding the substances called metals to the present day.

The question for the blacksmith should be 'Why?' am I making the item with or without certain tools, materials and or methods?

Smithing the traditional way is was romantic it was nessesity. Something we all forget when ordering our stock steel and using our power tools. We, as modern day smiths, have a hobby that pays. I know two fully apprenticed blacksmiths and one genuine Master Blacksmith. All use modern equipment and only use traditional methods when paid to do so. Chris, the Master Smith, has given up his life's work because people want 'Traditional' and are not willing to pay the correspondingly high price,even when they are informed of what this entails.

I personally see it as a homage to 'try' to appreciate the skill and effort of those that have gone before but unless I am commisioned to do a piece with wholly traditional methods I will stick to my grinders, pillar drill, welding's hard enough with manual bellows and charcoal, thank you very much.

I'm sorry to go on bit , especially to people who are undoubtedly far more skilled than I, but I feel traditional is a hand crafted piece that is not mass produced. Which is ironic because the best craftsman is striving to mass produce identical pieces, something that we think traditional is not!

Thanks for your patience HC.
Hairy Chef - Monday, 07/05/04 16:43:51 EDT

ancient anvil: In my pathetic trawling of exotic online auction site, I have found what I believe is the oldest ebay anvil EVER!
Take a peek;
PS Guru, you might ask this fellow for photos of this ridiculously ancient old lump?
- Dan P. - Monday, 07/05/04 17:22:13 EDT

Hairy Chef:

"Which is ironic because the best craftsman is striving to mass produce identical pieces, something that we think traditional is not!"

That depends on who your "we" is. (grin) We, as blacksmiths and craftspeople know that not to long ago the best piece of iron work was the one that didn't have any hammer marks on it. But museum people and the average citizen see those hammer marks as saying that the piece is hand made.

Regardless of our opinions, (and I pretty much agree with your) we have to make a profit to stay in business and making a profit requires that we either educate the public to the possibilities of hand work, or supply what they think is handwork.
Paw Paw - Monday, 07/05/04 21:09:42 EDT

Sight: Hairy Chef, I too am blind in one eye ( the good one ain't so good these days either.) The biggest challenge is depth perception. Smithing, driving, catching a ball... hard to tell how far away something is. Looking at the floor, (any known flat surface helps to judge distance. Looking at shadows objects make is also helpful (this becomes automatic in time.) If you can move an object to get a 2 point view of it, all the better. (triangulate) which is what having 2 eyes would do. If you can't move the object, move your head. (Driving, parking, catching a Frisbee.) This too becomes automatic over time and is not really noticable to others. Unless you start jerking your head around like a bird. You may want to get a tennis ball and keep bouncing it around and stab your hand out to catch it. You can do this alone if you like. The best recommendations I can make are; Don't get frustrated with yourself. If you start to.. walk away from it and go back to what you were doing another time. It would be great if we were all in tip-top shape, but most of us are not. Not being able to judge depth can be a bear, so can flat feet, a bad back, arthritis, etc... you either overcome or give up doing things that make you happy. Your choice. The other thing is wear poly carb. glasses ALL the time. See your Doc. and get a pair that look like every day glasses. Wear them everywhere, except when doing things that require REAL safety glasses, then switch. Forget vanity. Example: I'm traveling 60 mph or so, window open, bug flew into my "Good" eye. I was blind. I couldn't just pull over covering my eye so I could get the bug out. A good awareness of my suroundings and a boat-load of luck I made it to the shoulder without killing anyone. I bought the poly carb glasses. Been 12 years or so since that little scare-fest. I'm not too proud to wear glasses, I'm too proud to be blind. Hang in there.
Gronk - Tuesday, 07/06/04 09:36:22 EDT

Monocular Metal Mashin': HAIRY CHEF; I've been running on one headlight all my life, (62 years,) due to an uncorrectable birth defect. (Ambliopia, or "lazy eye".) The brain's response to the double vision that occurs is to tell the weaker eye to shut down. Consequently, I've had a long time to develop alternative techniques to compensate for it. It must be working, because the U.S.Army saw fit to put me through basic training, I have an unrestricted driver's license, I've been working in the metal trades as a weldor/millwright for about 40 years. Give your body and brain some credit, it WILL compensate. If you start losing your hearing, you'll start learning to read lips automatically. If you lose your depth perception as you have known it up to now, your brain will just figure out other ways of looking at things. (Consider how many times you've closed one eye to look at something.)You just have to pay attention when it starts happening, and LET it happen. The really big thing that folks like you, Gronk and I have to do is protect what we've got left and count our blessings, 'cause we've only got one more shot at it.
3dogs - Tuesday, 07/06/04 11:22:17 EDT

Well,we all have something wrong with us!Who in there right mind would burn coal,bang on an anvil like a bell,sweat like a dog and love it? Only a dedicated person would do that.Myself I do enjoy irratating the folks next door. Myself I work in the oilfield, so you can imagine why my hearing is shot,back hurts,all my joints ache,and a bad attitude. But giving up is not an option! We do have pride in what we do,and will overcome any obsticles or disabilities! My mother-in-law woke up one morning blind in one eye,had all the tests and no determened cause,but she is still mean as ever!Just remember that some things you just got to work around. The only one that can stop or giveup is you,so,don't let that happen! My .02 worth.
- Jimmy - Tuesday, 07/06/04 12:19:15 EDT

Gronk & 3dogs: Thanks for the advice. I think I was mainly worried that would have to give up a lot of things I enjoy, as they are 'too risky. Having to adjust to a 9-5 job(when I'm fit enough) will be a challenge as it is, nevermind the things I do for distraction. The fact that the 2 of you have replied so readily has cheered me up no end. Thank you both very much. I think that I shall fire up the forge as soon as the Doc gives me the go ahead. Now where did I leave that tennis ball? ;-)
Hairy Chef - Tuesday, 07/06/04 14:56:01 EDT

Hairy Chef: No problem Buckaroo. No, you don't have to give up a thing! Well, maybe bacon. They tell me bacon will kill you even if you sport 20/20 vision. Like 3dogs said... "protect what you got left and count your blessings" Take a look around, (you know... with the good eye) and you'll find folks a whole lot worse off.
Gronk - Wednesday, 07/07/04 10:40:41 EDT

not going to give up bacon... wouldn't be prudent.
Ralph - Wednesday, 07/07/04 10:57:23 EDT

Give up bacon?: Never! I'd give up a lot of things if I had to, but bacon ain't one of them.
vicopper - Wednesday, 07/07/04 21:26:02 EDT

Power Hammer : For Sale 25lb Little Giant, good condition, $1900. firm Cushing Oklahoma call Stan 918-225-4767
- Stan F - Wednesday, 07/07/04 22:49:22 EDT

skateboard trucks: i'm new to the blacksmithing business....and i wanted to know if anyone thought it would be possible to forge skateboard trucks? just a thought...i'm now trying to make a hatchet out of a railroad spike, so i'm not quite at the level for trucks. For those that don't know, skateboard trucks are the metal pieces on the bottom of a skateboard that hold the axle for the wheels in place and connects it to the board.
- Alfredo G - Thursday, 07/08/04 01:55:54 EDT

Skateboard trucks:
I was talking to a skater friend who broke his trucks recently about this, actually. Trucks are cast aluminum or aluminum alloy (like Zamak or similar). Forged trucks (assuming you mean forged *steel* as opposed to any other metal) would be inordinately heavy and make it really hard to do kickflips, ollies, etc. Forged aluminum trucks might work; maybe some of the farriers who forge aluminum shoes could chime in on this? Otherwise, I'd say leave it to the professional truckmakers... they've been doing it for a lot longer than you.

Funny how I post more when I'm out of town than when I'm in town...
T. Gold - Thursday, 07/08/04 03:39:38 EDT

Give up Bacon!!!: If God had meant us not to eat bacon and black pudding why did he make it taste so good?
Hairy Chef - Thursday, 07/08/04 09:50:10 EDT

Bacon??: Due to my medical conditions and recent encounters with VA doctors I have been advised to try a low carb, high fiber, low fat diet. After much experimentation I have arrived with the perfect, fail safe healthy diet plan.

If it tastes good spit it out! It will probably kill you.
- Larry - Thursday, 07/08/04 15:08:20 EDT

BACON: Well, oxygen will kill you if you get too much of it, but I ain't stopping breathing because of it!!!
Hairy Chef - Thursday, 07/08/04 17:05:56 EDT

You swine: Wow. The last time I opened my mouth I started an uproar too... nails I think it was. (g) Well, lemme easy your minds... My sister, as a gift to my wife and I, bought us a subscription(?) to "The bacon of the month club". Just follow the link kids. I'm talkin' BACON. Apple cured, hickory smoked, brown sugar, pepper,.... each month the UPS guy shows up with a nicely packaged random bacon... I mean thick, meaty bacon. I think she's trying to kill me, but for some reason I can't find fault with the method.
Gronk - Thursday, 07/08/04 18:25:04 EDT

Gronk, you are an evil, evil, man. That link needs to be classified!
Alan-L - Thursday, 07/08/04 19:41:58 EDT


I agree with Alan, you should be ashamed of your self! Do you know what just READING that site did to my cholesterol!
Paw Paw - Thursday, 07/08/04 22:00:06 EDT

I don't care what it did to my cholesterol, I ruined the keyboard with drool and nearly electrocuted myself trying to chomp down on the flat-screen monitor!
Alan-L - Friday, 07/09/04 08:21:28 EDT

Man, I just can't win with you guys.(G) Tell you what. I'll try to find a "Freeze-dried, tofu flavored, instant, rice cake pellets of the month club", but don't get your hopes up.

On another note: I did my first public demo last week. Kinda by accident. I found a restored smithy from the 1880's on a historic home-site and the 2 gents running the forge asked me if I'd like to make something. I jumped at the chance and as I was making a latch for a gate, interested spectators started coming in to take a look. What a blast! This could become semi-regular. I never gave much thought to doing demos before. These guys have every kind of vise, tong, shears, etc... imaginable. The real kicker was being able to watch a couple ol' pros work for hours.
Gronk - Friday, 07/09/04 10:12:22 EDT

age of my anvil: paw paw

I talked to you once before in regards of the age of my anvil, you told me to send some pic and they should be to you here soon. thanks for any help your able to give
- aaron - Friday, 07/09/04 13:35:14 EDT

Belt Grinder:: Better late then never.
I've been using this grinder in my shop for two years now. It's a great value, alot of grinder for your money. Hope this helps.
- Keith B - Friday, 07/09/04 21:20:05 EDT

Belt Grinder: Well that link did'nt work for me.
Try this: Go to
Here is the info on the grinder.
Grainger Item: 6Z117
Price (ea) : $204.25
Manufacturer: DAYTON
Belt Sander, Belt Size 2 x 42 Inches, Disc Size 8 Inches, Belt Speed 3100 RPM, Disc Speed 3450 RPM, Disc Table Size 7 1/2 x 10 3/4 Inches, Motor 3/4 HP, 120/240 Volts, Tilt Angle 45 Degrees, Overall Length 19 Inches, Overall Height 20 Inches, Overall Width 23 Inches, With Bench Top
- Keith B - Friday, 07/09/04 21:26:25 EDT


I've gotten your message all three times you've sent it. I responded with a lengty message the first time I sent it. Since the messaged didn't bounce, I assume you got it but have overlooked it.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 07/10/04 14:10:16 EDT


lengty message the first time I sent it. should read lengthy message when I recieved your first message.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 07/10/04 14:11:44 EDT

Found a 1 hp motor: I recently found a 1 hp motor in the shed. It works fine. I already ordered a grizzly knife makers belt grinder so i dont need a belt grinder anymore ( thanks for the help though). Now Im asking if anyone knows a good knife making tool or blacksmithing tool that can be made with a 1hp motor. I was thinking a metal lathe but it seems complicated. I was thinking maybe a wirewheel. or a second buffer. Any Ideas?
- DanCrabtree - Saturday, 07/10/04 15:36:38 EDT

Coal Forge Hood: Another question I forgot to ask is anyone know some plan i can get for a good forge hood that wont let fumes or smoke from coal out. We plan on moving the forge into the auto shop but my grandfather doesnt want fumes from the forge in the shop. So any suggestions would be great... I really dont want to switch to propane. thanks
- DanCrabtree - Saturday, 07/10/04 15:59:04 EDT

Forge Hood: Dan, No such thing without a huge forced air exhust fan. The side draft hoods on are plans page work the best but are not perfect. The critical thing is a large stack.

There is a lot dirtier things in an auto shop. Asbestoes and metal dust from brakes, belt dust, gasoline residues, dirty and burnt oil, hydraulic fluids, exhust fumes. . . I'd take coal smoke any day.
- guru - Saturday, 07/10/04 17:31:00 EDT

i HP motor:
Thats a little powerful for a wire brush (ask Paw-Paw).

A Hugh McDonald rolling mill runs nicely on 1 HP. If you can find a big old worm reducer you can build a bar twister.

I would not build a lathe but that is the right HP for a small 8 to 10" lathe and many have 3 PH motors and a replacement is good.

THEN. . it would also be good trade material. Its a size I would hang onto.
- guru - Saturday, 07/10/04 17:35:04 EDT

Things to do with a 1hp motor: First, is it AC or DC, single phase, what voltage, etc. Then, assuming you can hook it up without too much trouble, get a copy of "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" by Alexander Weygers. He has lots of good ideas for thing to make from scrap.
Alan-L - Saturday, 07/10/04 17:38:46 EDT

Motor uses: would 1 HP be enough power for a 10X14 bandsaw??
HavokTD - Saturday, 07/10/04 23:53:59 EDT

Catching up: Mmmmm, bacon ;-)

I returned from Arkansas today to find my very own copy of "The Revolutionary Blacksmith" by Jim "Paw Paw" Wilson waiting for me in the mail. Man, it sure does look nice in it's bound and printed form! Everyone needs a copy of their own!

On the bragging front, I managed to drag home an indecently large Champion hand-cranked blower and 5 1/2" post vise as well. Picked up the pair at a rural Arkansas second-hand shop for $20, and both are in nice shape. The sad part is that the fella I bought them from said they were the leftovers from a complete smithy he picked up at an auction near Little Rock. The rest (2 anvils, forge, blower, 30+ pairs of tongs, ~100 ft. of square and round stock and a "big" post vise) sold two weeks prior. The lot went for $300. He had picked it up at auction for half that. I nearly cried! The point is, deals are out there. You just gotta keep your eyes peeled and move fast when you find them.

Wow! After looking over the Anvilfire news, I almost wish I'd gone to ABANA this year, but the coverage is so complete, I almost feel like I was there anyway. Thanks Jock!

Cheers for now!
eander4 - Sunday, 07/11/04 00:02:35 EDT

Gents,Howdy I would like to ask ya'll out there if any of you use coal from Colorado? I was wondering on the makeup of it.The stuff I get I have to bigger deal,burns good and hot,and not much sulfer. Also it's 7$ a 50 lb. bag.Thanks
- Jimmy - Sunday, 07/11/04 01:17:29 EDT

OK, now how did that happen?: Hmmmmm, been looking for the book to show on the store page. Am I blind?
Ralph - Sunday, 07/11/04 11:34:09 EDT


Go to the Story Page, and follow the links.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 07/11/04 13:16:28 EDT

Erik-- Patience with that blower shaft! Use Blaster, from your local NAPA auto parts shop, best rust-buster known to man. Soak it in kerosene and soak it and soak it some more. Be gentle, too, trying to twist it. It may take weeks, but it'll come loose in time.
Sebastian Chippinghammer - Sunday, 07/11/04 17:11:43 EDT

For a locked shaft or anything rusted up, drop the temperature on it. Jim C told me about dry ice and alcohol. Freed up a blower I had been working on for 2 months the next day. I am fixing to put 2 blowers I have aquired into the deep freeze for a day. They should be working tomorrow.
Mills - Sunday, 07/11/04 22:23:16 EDT

I had a query to throw around the collective genies on this forum. I wonít go in to much detail because if you donít know what Iím referring to, the odds are you canít help. Long story short, I with the guidance of my mentor Ron Reil am trying to perfect the concept of the variable chamber forge able to reach a forge weld temp. In my planning of this project I have run into one huge decision, whether to have a top or bottom mounted burner system. I have used a top mounted burner system for years now on my pipe forge and have a working knowledge of this type of mounting. But on the other hand I have no experience working with a bottom-mounted burner. My question is; have any of you used a burner mounted in this fashion? And if so, wear you able to achieve a hot spot within welding temp?

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated.
Kevin Brown
Kevin Brown - Monday, 07/12/04 01:00:03 EDT

forges, gas: Kevin,
I have a bottom burner arrangement in my forge. BUT I repeat but, it is a NG forge that is blown. In fact Ron may have seen it as I got it from a fellow near Boise way back when and Ron was a somewhat teacher for him. Also with that forge I can for sure burn metal let alone weld.... don't ask how I know.....

As for my homebuilt forge I have the top arangement. And I think if I putzed around with it I could get it to welding temps. But as it is it is now over at a students house.

Ralph - Monday, 07/12/04 02:17:54 EDT

Chris Pook belt sander: Chris, I would be interested in pics. I would like to build my own belt sander / linisher type thing.
- Zedley - Monday, 07/12/04 09:43:57 EDT

Burner Location: Kevin, I prefer to build my gas forges with the burners at the bottom (as these have blowers). If everything is done well, it is best not to try to put the metal directly in front of the burner tips,especiall for welding. I make my burner tips out of 11/2" black pipe that is flattened to about an 1/8" flat opening. I tried blocking off my large forge and it was not worth the hassle. With my large forge, the top is removable so that I can easily increas the size of the forge to accomadate larger projects. My small forges are builty using old 20lb. propane tanks for the body.... and are not flexable in changing the size. They use about 1/2 gallon of propane an hour and have become my primary forge over the large one. You would be amazed at the size projects you can do with one this size. If I can't afford to run this for smaller projects, then I should not be in business.
- Jymm Hoffman - Tuesday, 07/13/04 09:06:28 EDT

Freezing Blowers: Mmph Apparently my wife didn't realize how I was able to unlock the last blower. She went to get some things out of the freezer and ... well ya'll know the rest. :)
Mills - Tuesday, 07/13/04 10:52:20 EDT


Paw Paw - Tuesday, 07/13/04 11:55:13 EDT

Zedley: I'll try and remember to get some photo's ofr the sander for you.
- Chris Pook - Tuesday, 07/13/04 21:52:19 EDT

New Anvil: I am in the process of ordering a new anvil. The 335# Euroanvil from Stephen Feinstein. The price is very right, particularly considering the rising cost of steel worldwide, and many people have given very favorable reports on this anvil. I like the European style for the variety of operations that can be performed without needing a separate bick iron, bridge, etc. Stephen sells a very nice looking anvil.

I can say that Stephen is very good to work with. I e-mailed himn last night, to get a shipping quote, and got a reply with (VERY reasonable) quote today. That's the kind of service I like!

I told Stephen in my email, and I'll tell everyone here: One BIG reason I'm buying his anvil is because he advertises on Anvilfire. I support those who support us. If YOU want to support us, JOIN CSI!
vicopper - Wednesday, 07/14/04 20:02:33 EDT

Vic:: I talked to Stephen last year at Quad State. He'll talk your ear off, like me, and I would buy his anvil if I needed a new one. Heck of a nice guy, great product.
Bob H - Wednesday, 07/14/04 20:30:07 EDT

HC if you are getting a 2 pound bloom from 12 hours of run and 2 ton of ore---you are *NOT* doing it like they did back then!

Course they had a lot more experience running a bloomery than most of us. When we started running short stack NE bloomeries built of local clay our first runs (never that long or that ammount of ore) had low yields too.

Now for a bloomery built of cob using charcoal and manual air, around 4+ feet tall and with the bore the diameter of a 5 gallon paint bucket we'll shovel in maybe 50 # of ore and get 15-20# bloom out of it in a 6 hour run---course we are in the SCA, and the folks who have run the bloomery project for over a decade now have presented on it at the Ironmasters Conference...

I'm paying to move over a ton of WI plate to my new house too, trying to get all my medieval iron kit made from the right materials! Got a WI pot and WI spangen helm on the project list for as soon as I get a shop set up down here---also a bloomery of my own since I won't be a "bellows thrall" fro Flaxy anymore---too far to travel now.

HC, I hope you can convert your LH group to using WI too!

Thomas Powers
SCA, Regia Anglorum, Vestrus Vikings, Irish Living History Society
Thomas P - Sunday, 07/18/04 00:55:44 EDT

Little Giant web site??: Does Sid have a web site??
- Dave H. - Sunday, 07/18/04 09:01:04 EDT

Dave H.: He sure does. The URL is:

You can also contact him at:

H "Sid" Suedemier
420 4th Corso
Nebraska City, NE 68410
Paw Paw - Sunday, 07/18/04 18:39:16 EDT

DAN--C.--ONE HORSE MTR> If it will reverse. That just makes it alot hp. mtr. is ideal for a disc grinder. NINE inch. k and P LAKESIDE AZ. or JANTZ are good places to look for the disc. 1725 is best but you can use 3450.
- sandpile - Monday, 07/19/04 22:16:19 EDT

Thanks for the comment Thomas P. I put a lot of it down to project by commitee. Lots of academics with little practical skills telling you how to use a shovel you know the drill. The main factor was the ore, very low grade, acquired from the smelting works in County Durham N.England. It's a real testimony to the efficiency of modern plants. All the high grade ores have gone in this area or are deep underground and as none of were miners we were glad to get hold of what we could. The yield was not as important as going through the learning process. It wasn't worth fighting over who would have the iron, so no useful item(s) were ever made out of it,with the exception of a paperweight on Stevie's desk(he thinks it impresses the students). I would love to do it again but English Heritage frown on us digging up the lawns around the castles, which I think is rather unsporting.
- Hairy Chef - Tuesday, 07/20/04 12:25:31 EDT

HC anyway of pre-processing the ore to improve it? We've had some we roasted---helps get rid of carbonates, sulfur, etc and subdivides it for better CO access. Roasting and panning are mentioned im medieval/renaissance sources as pre-processing.

You're right about the quality of the ore. If your slag is 50% iron you have to have ore that is quite a bit higher than that to get any iron at all. The first runs we did ended up as paperweights/gifts but when the consolidated bloom gets into the several pound stage then the in-fighting for it to make stuff starts.

The last few years we have been using magnetite, including some retreived by dragging a magnet along a lake shore---40# worth IIRC; but we've used a lot of different ores---even taconite processed for blast furnaces, (nasty stuff you have to crush it and with all the flux added in it makes iron soup---we did the starting consolidation of the bloom *in* the forge using tongs to gently squish it to try to get the iron to weld together---on the anvil it would just "splash")

I've had trouble pointing out that most swordsmiths of early medieval times probably did not smelt their own metal. Iron has been a trade item since day 2 of the iron age!

But I still am very greatly thankfull that Flaxy and Steve allowed me to take part in the smelts, great fun using low tech methods. Now to scratch a yen to learn how to puddle WI from CI...then I remember that Kelly did his early experiments in a barrel lined with's a disease!

- Thomas P - Tuesday, 07/20/04 12:43:53 EDT

Thomas, have you been trying to disillusion the D&D crowd again? Don't you know that a heartfelt fantasy beats gritty reality for 99% of the general population any day? BIG, sardonic, world-weary grin.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 07/20/04 21:10:28 EDT

ore and pre-processing: Thomas,
was this a light roast? or perhaps a french roast? Curious minds want to know so as we might too get thte best flavor from our ore.
Ralph - Tuesday, 07/20/04 22:13:53 EDT

more research needed: Thomas,
I need to do a little more research just to understand half of what you were saying, although I am still interested in bloomery. The point I was trying to make was that so much manual labour went into every process up to the final product that to recreate the same today is prohibitively expensive.

You are correct in thinking the bladesmith did not smelt his own iron. That was usually done very near to the iron ore, on top of or very close to the mines. This only changed in the Industrial Revolution when the transportation system was developed specifically for the movement of coal to the ironfields and beyond. For your
own research look up Medieval Guilds, a knife for example could go through 8 or 9 different craftmens hands before it gets to the finished item, hewer, bloomer, hauler.........bladesmith, grinder, polisher, sheather and finally cutler(who ends up controlling the whole process).
Today anyone of us can produce a similar or superior piece in a day with our power tools and stock steel.

My blades are bendy, unevenly tempered(if at all) and handles, don't ask! I reckon I could still put a Medieval 'blacksmith' to shame when it came to blades.
Hairy Chef - Wednesday, 07/21/04 04:48:00 EDT

HC, *exactly*! I get a lot of questions on "how long did it take a smith to make a sword?" And my stock answer is He didn't. The shop forging the blade was not the one that did the grinding was not the one that did hilting, etc. The idea of "single authorship" is a modern one. Part of this is due to the fact that you would not expect *one* craftsperson to have all the equipment---they would specialize in their area and others would specialize in other areas---in fact under guild rules if you were caught with tools for a different craft they would be confiscated or destroyed. Nowdays we are so rich in 'capital" items and so poor in labour---even just 100 years ago a "single person" blacksmith show was pretty much an oxymoron with helpers or even day labour as a standard part of doing business.

HC, I've read a bit on the guild system,(The history of technology is a bit of an avocation with me.I get to the ICMS and IronMasters every once in a while, am on the archeological metallurgy mailing list, spend way too much money on books, etc) MIT press had a nice book "A History of Western Technology" (IIRC) that I've enjoyed quite a bit especially the travails of a red metal turner in Nuremberg who kept inventing improvements to metal lathes and the guild kept destroying them..."The Metallography of Early Ferrous Edge Tools and Edged Weapons", Tylecote & Gilmour; will make you feel better about your blades as would "The Celtic Sword", Pleiner.

Ralph, definitely dark roast, we heated it until it began to glow.

- Thomas P - Wednesday, 07/21/04 11:00:54 EDT

Modern World: And to think that the division of labour is considered a modern manufacturing process!
Hairy Chef - Wednesday, 07/21/04 17:51:33 EDT

roasted ore......: Ahhhh, good to know.
BTW I am guessing that right about now you could almost roast the ore where you are at by piling it outside... (smile)
Ralph - Wednesday, 07/21/04 19:02:27 EDT

Are you saying that Tom now inhabits a realm with MUCH hotter temperatures than here on earth?????
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 07/21/04 21:15:43 EDT

PPW and Tom's location: Well he does live in NM now.... But I suppose that he may have an in to the other place as he DOES seem to have more than his share of 'luck' finding great deals for metal and equipment... (VBG)

Actually looking at the weather map of the general area Tom is in I stand corrected. He is currently having lower temps than I am here in the PNwet(less on the wet)
Ralph - Wednesday, 07/21/04 22:34:26 EDT

Shhh Paw Paw, I don't want them to notice me until I get this billet welded up! Sure is a pain keeping the sulfur out of it though...BTW why is their a seat by the fire with your name on it???

Out here there are 3 components to the temperature: heat, Humidity and direct sun impact. Heat is generally in the low to mid 90's lately. Humidity is often very low, when it does spike up a bit it's a big problem as most people are using swamp coolers and their effectiveness drops off as the humidity rises. Direct sun impact is a big component we're close to 5000' elev around here and the sun will slap you down on a whim.

When we were househunting last Christmas it was shortsleeve shirt weather in the sun---and icicles were forming in the shade where the sprinklers hit (most anything you don't water, dies!)

When I get settled I hope to experiment with a solar forge; shoot solar forge, recycled steel/iron, bearded sandle wearing---arghhhhh I'm turning into a hippie and at my age! Excuse me I have to go pig out on BBQ ribs and shoot my cannon a bit to fight the change...

Thomas P - Thursday, 07/22/04 11:20:25 EDT


Cause they need a supervisor. (grin)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 07/22/04 11:46:26 EDT

Gives me an urge to go to church *NOW*!

Thomas P - Thursday, 07/22/04 16:19:17 EDT

Chuckle!: .
Paw Paw - Thursday, 07/22/04 18:15:59 EDT

18 skids of smithing stuff, unloaded in the rain?!; but here at last

Thomas P - Saturday, 07/24/04 16:05:11 EDT

A friend stopped by today, along with his 7 year old son. I'm glad they did, I needed a break from what I was doing. So, I have got to at least show a 7 year old my forge. And then when ya got a fire, ya gotta make something. So I made him a simple hook, with a candle flame top. Also let him shoot my pellet rifle, his first time. He didn't want to leave. Got to start them young, ya know.
Bob H - Saturday, 07/24/04 20:01:06 EDT

I lived near a historical site, and they built a blacksmith shop when I was a preschooler. I was fasinated, and lived in that shop till we moved away when i was in the third grade. Got the bug young, and it stuck!
Teach them young, and well, and it sticks for a life time.
ptree - Sunday, 07/25/04 09:36:35 EDT

When packing for my move I ran accross the miniature horseshoe with my name stamped on it that they used to do at the forge in Williamsburg...must have been between 1962-1968 but it sure impressed me more than a lot of the other stuff at that time...

Thomas P - Sunday, 07/25/04 13:53:27 EDT

Training a Child:

Another way of phrasing that PTree is:

"Train up a child in the way he sould go and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (grin)
Paw Paw - Sunday, 07/25/04 13:53:28 EDT

Or should that be "keep your kids away from the smithy at all costs!"

Nowdays we have such poor outlets for folks creative urges it often takes them half a lifetime to fight their way up from plastic canvas and kits I would have been insulted by when I was in gradeschool.

I've been amazed by some of the folk I have had at the forge, ADD, local teen gang, folks you would think were headed for the downward spiral and yet when they see that *they* can make stuff, usefull, good stuff, it would almost make you cry.

Thomas still trying to get that grant for "Clinkers, coal ash and burnt metal" A retrospective of 20+ years of hobby smithing
Thomas P - Sunday, 07/25/04 17:11:33 EDT

i've got a 12 year old that hates to read but yesterday i gave him a blacksmith book and he could'nt put it down. i've been teaching him fab & we're both learning blacksmithing
travis - Sunday, 07/25/04 20:25:11 EDT

Reading: Travis - A lot of kids who "Hate to read" just don't know that there is stuff out there worth the effort! The last school library I looked at was pretty pitiful. . . And we allegedly have good schools.
John Lowther - Monday, 07/26/04 12:45:53 EDT

Without any intention of bragging, I think THE REVOLUTIONARY BLACKSMITH is a good book for any age to read.
Paw Paw - Monday, 07/26/04 14:26:04 EDT

Kids and Reading:
What makes kinds hate reading it the dribble they are given in school. If I had not had REAL books at home to read "Dick Jane and Sally" would have driven me to drop out at the earliset date. I got to a point where I just plain refused the dribble and as a result failed the second grade. . . The first book I read on my own was Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. I was about 8 years old and it was a hard read but when I was done I could read almost anything.

In a differnt era Children were taught to read with the only book in the house, which was usualy a King James edition of the Bible. Talk about a hard read for a four year old! Learning to read at this level produced all our American patriots and the authors of the US constitution.

In high school "literature" books hack editors have dumbed down the works of the great authors the students are supposed to be studying. In Mark Twain's 'A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court' a big part of the plot is the conflict agaist the anti-science Church of England who eventualy try to convict the hero of witchcraft. EVERYTHING about the church and its anti-science attitude, this huge part of the plot, has been removed in the version given to high school students to read. It has been censored of controversial content. EVERY story in public school literature has been censored and rewritten by hacks. This is like having ME rewrite Shakespere (also censored by the way).

Kids at an early age KNOW when they are being spoken down to. The response is to not listen. Treat them as adults when speaking to them and they will learn to think like adults. Dumbing down what they are given to read is the same as talking down to them.

In a weird quirk of life 'The Cat in Hat' was written on contract as a replacement reading book to rid the world of 'Dick Jane and Sally'. It was rejected by the teaching establishment as being too weird. . . But more children have learned to read via the 'Cat and the Hat' and other works of Dr Suess than anything produced by the rest of the modern teaching establishment. . .

In a further dumbing down of America folks that want the easy way out to quantifing education want everything tested using standardized tests and teaching to the test. For centuries this was considered cheating and bad teaching in general. Learning sippets and factoids rather than the entire subject. . . The current leader in this doomed policy is our current president who spent a significant portion of his inaguration speach on the subject.

Travis, Get your 12 year old a copy of Paw-Paw's 'Revolutionary Blacksmith'. Its about blacksmithing, war, love, church and life written in a manner acceptable to all.
- guru - Monday, 07/26/04 15:07:26 EDT

I am blessed in that all of my children read. ALOT. Living in one state and working in another gives us access to two library systems, and we tend to visit both systems several times a week to sastify the children and both parents.My kids are considered to be a bit strange by their peers as they read. They read on the bus, at lunch, waiting at the doctors etc. The problem now is they have nearly exhausted both systems, and interlibrary loans take too long!
Oh what a problem to have.
ptree - Monday, 07/26/04 18:31:32 EDT

It took me till grade 8 to read the interesting bits of both our town library, and school library, both. I've got to give full credit to my CHEMISTRY TEACHER, Not my english teacher for giving me a love of the written word. My english teacher taught me that any book can be made dry and dull, no matter how good the writing. That's why I would cringe to see Paw Paw's Master work introduced into the curriculum. They would make an excellent story into a dull and drab excersise in conformity. Persoanlly, I would love to see more kids read Ayne Rand, but that's just my own view of philosopy, despite the poor spelling.
HavokTD - Monday, 07/26/04 20:45:55 EDT

Reading: I was very fortunate; both my parents were avid readers and encouraged all of us kids to read from about age three. As tots we were raised on the old Burgess books, wonderful books about animals and life for kids, but written literately and entertainingly. From that beginning, we usually moved on to Kipling at about age 4 or 5. Needless to say, by the time we got to kindergarten, we could all read at about the junior high level and were bored silly with the pap the schools offered. That caused more than a few rather heated parent-teacher conferences, where frustrated teachers would try to get our parents to dumb us down to keep pace with the "normal" kids. When that was met with derision, they invariably suggested that we should be advanced a few grades. That was a no-go as well. My brothers and I endured an armed truce with most of our teachers throughout public school.

I was perhaps a bit less amenable to conforming than my brothers, so I spent a fair amount of my school years either absent or being detained for various infractions. The chronic underachiever. I learned almost nothing in school for twelve long years, though I learned everything I needed and more at home and at work. Our home was a veritable library in its own right, and all of us had (well used) library cards at the public library and even the university library, through some finagling on Pop's part. That man advocated that you could learn anything if you were willing to go do the research, and he was determined that nothing was going to stand in the way of our learning.

There were never any restrictions placed on what we could read, either. Pop was just as firm a believer in freedom of choice as he was in the power of the written word. He was always cognizant of what it was we were reading, and managed to have questions for us that provoked critical thinking. Even when what we were reading was pure unadulterated garbage or pornogrqaphy, that man made us think about what we were reading. Astonishing, what you can learn that way.

My ex-wife's son had a problem with reading, according to his teachers. From what I could see, his problem was with NOT reading. So, I waited until the right opportunity came along (read, infraction of the rules) and confiscated the TV and the Nintendo game. Simultaneously, I liberally decorated every horizontal surface in the house with some of my collection of old science fiction books, mostly Heinlein, Norton, Dickson and Smith.

After a week of electron withdrawal, the boy picked up a book or two out of boredom, finally settling on one of Dickson's space operas. Took him every bit of the week to read it. The next three books went by in as many days. After three weeks he was asking for suggestions for further reading, having polished off the two dozen or so I had spread around. His English grade went from a D to an A- in one semester.

Unfortunately, even after a forced layoff of six weeks from the Nintendo, the kid could still whip me at Mario Brothers. (grin) But he could never whip me at the shooting game, no matter how much he practiced. Probably why he's career Army now. (grin)

Were I to lose the ability to work with my hands, I would think it a high tragedy. Were I to lose the ability to read, I would think it terminal.
vicopper - Monday, 07/26/04 21:41:03 EDT

My situation is similar to VICopper's. At age 3, an uncle gve me the greatest gift I have ever recieved in my life.

He taught me to read. By the time I entered school I was reading at least 6 years ahead of my peer group. They never caught up with me.

Also like VIC, I loafed my way through high school, and my report cards from that time show it.

And finally, I have been afraid of being blind since I had eye surgery the first time at age 14. Not because I mind the idea of being blind, but because I would no longer be able to read.

Sheri says that the ability to read and write is all that kept me sane after I was hit in the head the last time.
Paw Paw - Monday, 07/26/04 22:17:39 EDT

Bradley Hammer Parts F.S.: Hello All,
I just aquired a Bradley#200 helve hammer. Included was about 1/2 a ton of NEW spare parts. I have not inventoried them all yet but I have several new die sets, a pile of rubber bushings and replacement crank and clutch parts. I think there are a bunch of drive belts as well. I am not sure if these parts are interchangable with other models but I do have a brand new wooden beam for a larger model, probably a #300 model. I want to make some of this stash available to the brotherhood to ofset the cost of the hammer which I am glad to say was reasonable. "E" me and i will see if we can help each other out.
Glen Gardner - Tuesday, 07/27/04 00:32:19 EDT

trip hammer for sale: If anyone is interested I have listed a trip hammer for sale on ebay. The hammer is located in Sacramento, CA.
- Laura - Tuesday, 07/27/04 00:48:03 EDT

Reading: I was taught you could do anything, if you could read.First books were little Golden books.Large dictionary for everyones use.My grandson is not reading enough at home.One day-care facility is using spanish on 3 year-olds. I think you need to be challenged all the way through school, or you quit trying.
Ritch - Tuesday, 07/27/04 09:39:35 EDT

Then there was the kid who wasted a lot of time in the library until he learned the difference between esoteric and erotic. As Cracked Anvil used to say, "Eschew the recondite."
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 07/27/04 09:39:54 EDT

Reading: Whats this?
You guys think that cause your blind you couldn't read?
That's not the attitude I expect from a group of smiths.
It wouldn't be easy, and would involve having to learn something new but there is Braille.

That said wear your saftey googles etc. A Braille computor monitor isn't cheap.
JimG - Tuesday, 07/27/04 10:28:44 EDT

Well there's reading and there's *reading*. I listen to books on tape quite a lot when road tripping; but haven't found "The Celtic Sword" on tape and if I did the diagrams of the metallography just don't convey the same ammount of meaning to the ear as they do to the eye.

I suspect that if I lose my eyesight I'll have to give up a lot of what I "am" and figure something else out. Not terminal but if I catch someone sticking romance novels in my kipling on tape boxs---we'll just see how good my hearing and a scatter gun will do!

Meanwhile my 21/7 glasses are polycarbonite in safety frames and I wear a face shiled on top of that when I feel it is warrented. Don't want to grow up looking like something that scares children---oops too late, though I think it's the hat...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 07/27/04 15:18:58 EDT

Thomas, it isn't nice to make jokes about pawpaw.;)
- dragon-boy - Tuesday, 07/27/04 15:59:12 EDT

DB, that's supposed to be it isn't *SAFE* to make jokes about Paw Paw; I'm sure he has "alumni" fairly close by in this neck of the wood.

I'm not hard to find; go to the site of the first attomic bomb blast, head west till you see a mountain with a "M" on it, then head north until the compass deviates, follow the compass to the scrap pile. When you hear the words "Fire in the hole" you're there---DUCK! Re-loading is slow so you can take your time.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 07/27/04 17:23:45 EDT

Thomas & DB:

59 years ago July 16th, 1945, at Alamogordo New Mexico.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 07/27/04 17:50:04 EDT

Reading, redux: JimG,

I never said anything about going blind, only about losing the ability to read. I have a cousin who is blind, and does fine with Braille. Of course, he doesn't have callouses on his callouses like I do. (grin) But I imagine I woul d find a way. If not...
vicopper - Tuesday, 07/27/04 17:50:49 EDT

The Trinity site is not "in" alamogordo; nor particularly "close" to it---it was chosen for those very reasons.

Our group at work sometimes has lunch at a cafe in San Antonio NM (12 miles south of Socorro) where the Trinity workers used to come for a green chile cheesburger---makes the atomic blast seem cooler in comparison...

They open the site twice a year for tours. I hope to be on the next one in early October; now to find some of that scrapped tower metal to forge...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 07/27/04 18:32:02 EDT


If you take the tour in October, and IF it is permissible, I'd love to have some pictures of the site.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 07/27/04 19:17:04 EDT

Reading?: Yep. I've been a reader for a long time. Love Louis Lamour, rereading all of his now. Also like Tony Hillerman, J. A. Jance, Sharyn McCrumb. Have a Carl Jung biography lying around waiting as well as several books on new age and paranormal.

This talk of losing eyesight is no joke. I've had three laser surgeries in the past year and am scheduled for another Friday. All the result of diabetic retinopathy which is a result of Agent Orange. All of the procedures have been at the Lexington VA Hospital and haven't cost me a dime.

Paw Paw, bring me a copy of "The Revolutionary Blacksmith" to Quad State. I'm looking forward to it.

Thomas, I've seen you and the hat. I don't think it is all the hat's fault.
- Larry - Tuesday, 07/27/04 20:14:00 EDT

I'll be setup near or in the tailgate area, in "shelter" with a table and a box of books.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 07/27/04 20:35:02 EDT

Red or Green?: So, Thomas, which flavor of enchiladas do you prefer? After much sampling the last time I was out that way, I settled on red enchiladas with posole on the side as the perfect meal. I have since learned to make a passable facsimile thereof, but you just can't get the right kind of hominy back east to do the posole full justice.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 07/27/04 21:02:12 EDT

Paw Paw as soon as I get a litle extra I'm going to purchase The Revolutionary Blacksmith. For now we're using the public library. We found the edge of the anvil & country Blacksmithing
- Travis - Tuesday, 07/27/04 21:25:54 EDT

Some folks had expressed an interest in the plans for the new house and shop that Sheri and are are getting ready to build. They can be seen on the Anvilfire Foto site. The property plat is there also.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 07/27/04 22:39:49 EDT

Travis, sounds good.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 07/27/04 23:58:03 EDT

Alan-L I'm working my way up; big problem is that the satinite keeps flaking off my tongue and the kaowool gives me "cotton mouth". Some folks down here seem to consider Pain a flavour.

Paw Paw, not much there, the big flash and then the later clean up made sure of that...I was trying to find an official site I had bookmarked---right before I changed OS's and lost everything. Had some good stories like the fellow who was not from around here who had guard duty in the middle of nowhere and told his releif (IIRC) that for a dry place there sure was a lot of crawdads around---scorpions of course...

To me the site marks one of the places where the world changed---wouldn't mind seeing that squash court at the univeristy in Chicago either.

I've been to Coalbrookdale and seen the remains of Abraham Darby's smelter too.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 07/28/04 11:51:42 EDT

Thomas, I'm not much of a chile-head either. That's why I liked the red sauce better, it had just an underlying smoky kind of heat, rather like a well-banked coal fire about to go out. The green stuff is more like a large blown gas burner. I did run into some carne adovada up in Chimayo that seemed to have had plutonium in the red sauce, though, I guess that just goes to show you.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 07/28/04 13:25:48 EDT

Birthday: Tommorrow is Paw-Paw's birthday.

Happy Birthday Jim, Hope you live to be 110 and I am the last man you see!
Brian C - Thursday, 07/29/04 09:56:36 EDT


Works for me, but I'd rather look at my wife! (grin) Thank you.

And Folks, Brian's birthday was a couple of days ago!
Paw Paw - Thursday, 07/29/04 10:50:53 EDT

Blow torchs: I know this is late ,but I just found it again in my favorites.
Hope this helps the guy that did not want to burn down his shop.
- DanD Skabvenger - Thursday, 07/29/04 11:38:53 EDT

Brian, did you alert the fire department? Will the infared spy satellites have their detectors stowed? Is greenpeace picketing about the increase in global warming? Have you thought of working some 3' stock once the candles are all lighted?

Paw Paw, *I* hope you look back and say "Gee I wish I was *only* 110 again". Thank your wife for us for putting up with you for another year!

Thomas P - Thursday, 07/29/04 12:18:51 EDT


I am a member of the local F.D.. Yesterday passed quite uneventfully. We never rolled a truck all day. :) Although I suspect that the chief had the cops check on me a time or two (or maybe that was the neighbors).
Brian C - Thursday, 07/29/04 12:53:19 EDT

Brithdays: PawPaw,
Happy Brithday, and don't eat "All" of the cake.
DanD Skabvenger - Thursday, 07/29/04 13:20:10 EDT

Interesting discussion about reading. My father was functionally illiterate, even though he had a high school diploma. Fortunatly my mother was an avid reader, and his one great demand on her was that she teach all his kids to read since the schools were obviously incapable of it.

I enterd kindergarten reading well above grade level and never looked back. And, like many of you I hated school overall. I was lucky then though, all it caused me was a lot of whoopings. These days I would be medicated into submission.

By the time I got to high school I seldom went to classes at all except for the shop classes. I would skip all my classes and hang out in the library for hours. When the last semester of my senior year came I went to my counselor and asked what classes I needed to take to graduate and he started laughing. I need 3 years of english and social studies, and 2 years of PE. I went down and joined the Marines the next Saturday, and got my diploma while in the service.

Now, I teach disabled students to use adaptive technology at a community college. I have a lot of students who were welders and such who have lost their sight. Most do to diabetes. Unfortunatly, many of them get neropath in their extremities as well, and can't feel the bumps of a braille page. For anyone who is looking for books in an electronic format or has limited access to a good library go to this site Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to make all classic liturature available in electronic format for the print disabled. Most of the works available have been scanned in by volunteers and then cleaned up. It is pretty amazing.
FredlyFX - Thursday, 07/29/04 13:23:20 EDT

Sorry about all the typos. Got called away by a student and hit post before I had proffread.
FredlyFX - Thursday, 07/29/04 13:35:26 EDT


Where's my razor strop, I've got a couple of smart A$$'s here!
Paw Paw - Thursday, 07/29/04 14:50:45 EDT

Birthday: Happy Birthday Paw Paw
Travis - Thursday, 07/29/04 17:07:22 EDT

DanD-- Many thanks for the blowtorch URL!
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 07/29/04 17:36:05 EDT

Please note that I did not call pawpaw old, older than dirt, ancient, or any of the many other things many of you may have thought to call a man of years. I call him friend.
ptree - Thursday, 07/29/04 18:08:23 EDT

Jim Wilson: PawPaw,

Happy Birthday. I wish you many more as well.

vicopper - Thursday, 07/29/04 18:21:54 EDT

reading young: To add to the theme on reading pre-grade school, I have four siblings older than me and it was kinda ordinary in our house for the older kids to read to the younger ones at bedtime. I could maybe read a bit before school, don't remember, but I do remember us all going to the one-room country school house. All eight grades heard what the others were doing. I can remember helping next door kids Larry and Leroy read and do arithmetic quite frequently. They were 1 and 2 years older than me and we played together all the time. Also remember the "library" of our school. Maybe 500 volumes. Read every novel the teacher would let me take home. Loved to scan the encyclopedias at my desk when I had my assignments done. When they closed the school and we went to the "town school" my three classmates and I coasted for half a year before they caught up to where we were. The new school library was relatively huge, but we got to go to it only once a week. The bigger school wasn't the incubator that the little one was.

The memories are indelible. I don't know if this early one-room school house environment influenced my eventually getting a PhD and becoming a professor, but I think it did.

Now I'm doing steel fabrication. :-)
- John Larson - Thursday, 07/29/04 18:55:14 EDT

Birthday: I will not stoop to the level of some other people around here by calling Paw Paw old. I will only mention that he still has his original uniform from his first enlistment. And those stains on the sleeve came form the time Grant fell off his horse and dropped his jug.
- Larry - Thursday, 07/29/04 20:57:58 EDT

Attention: I just received word that some unscrupulous person has stolen my identity and has been making scandalous posts on the internet. So if any should show up here pertaining to Paw Paw's age please disregard.

Happy Birthday Paw Paw

( You guys think he bought that?)
- Larry - Thursday, 07/29/04 21:03:42 EDT

Looks like I started something here Paw-Paw.

Made a towel rack with willow leaf ends today-I think the better half has visions of me spending my mid-august vacation redoing the bathroom. HA!
Brian C - Thursday, 07/29/04 21:25:23 EDT


Buy that? Not hardly! Not even in your wildest dreams.

See Brian? Ya outta be ashamed of your self! (grin)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 07/29/04 21:58:27 EDT

Those stains on CSM Pawpaw's sleeve were not from Grant falling off his horse. They are from the jug dropped by George Washington during his campaign in the French and Indian war.
Got to get your history straight.

ptree - Thursday, 07/29/04 22:36:14 EDT

Larry, it seems that the same fella using your id stole mine too!
ptree - Thursday, 07/29/04 22:37:34 EDT


Darn good reference there on the blow torches. I think I'll clean my grandfather's up, polish it, spray it down with Krylon, and maybe make something out of it. Table lamp, possibly.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 07/29/04 23:30:15 EDT

Happy B-Day Paw Paw: Paw Paw;

Greetings and birthday congrat's from north of the lake.

Don - Friday, 07/30/04 09:38:01 EDT

In his original enlistment Paw Paw got a bronze sword---to replace the chipped flint one he had in school...ptree, your just yeller! (only time I expect my friends to say nice things about me is when 6 of them carry me for a short bit---even then I expect they'll grouse about my weight, Course I plan to have a closed coffin service so they can't see that I'm taking my harem of anvils with me...hmmm better make that 18 friends carrying me...(and the head stone will have a big X on it so they know where to dig...)

To bad I'm going to be cremated, wonder if I can be tossed in a ladle or in an arc furnace...

Thomas P - Friday, 07/30/04 10:43:26 EDT

ThomasP: So, yer gonna make a big ash of yourself, eh ? Just have yer Widder send them ashes to me. I'll put you into the next heat at Henry Ford's old blast furnace. After that, what becomes of you is outa my hands. Yer either gonna be a Lincoln Town Car, or maybe a refrigerator.
3dogs - Friday, 07/30/04 11:47:42 EDT

PAW PAW: Happy Birthday, Jim, and many more. I'll hoist a couple of Root Beers to ya. God bless. 3dogs
3dogs - Friday, 07/30/04 11:50:43 EDT

Once I'm *gone* I don't care what happens with the ashes; when we lived where it got cold I told my wife to grit the walk with them when it iced over. I've always told my friends that I was going to take all the smithing equipment with me---I get a discount on my life insurace that way "lowers the risk"...

Thomas P - Friday, 07/30/04 13:08:58 EDT

PPW: Many Happy returns,I knew there was a reason this would be a good day for the wife to retire to domesticity with her 8 1/2 month pregy ness.
- dragon-boy - Friday, 07/30/04 13:55:18 EDT

Thomas's Ashes: Can I have them to use as flux in a BC iron smelt run ;-)
Shack - Friday, 07/30/04 17:00:33 EDT

Fine by me *but* I'm not planning to have them available anytime soon! I hope to make it to at least Paw Paw's age (good to have stretch goals) so's y'all can pick on me too...just hope the iron isn't short and bad tempered...

Thomas good for a long strange road---I hope.

Looks like I may be in Austria in December for a week long meeting.
Thomas P - Friday, 07/30/04 17:24:09 EDT

Phosphorus Iron: I want to do a smelt this fall and get some Phosphorus Iron to make a pre-Roman blade from. I am also hoping to get some meteoric Nickel Iron from the Diablo Crater in Arizona and make it pattern welded NiFe+Fe center with a work hardened PFe edge. The ore around here (SC) is wonderfully (but for this endevor frustratingly) P free. Do you know of anything I could add to the smelt to get some P in it?
Shack - Friday, 07/30/04 17:50:56 EDT

Bonemeal? Isn't that used as a P source for gardening? A bit stinky till it chars though (I've used it in carburizing experiments)

Thomas P - Friday, 07/30/04 17:53:50 EDT

Thomas P: Ill give it a shot and let you know. Right now I am still in the "trying to convince my wife" stage of planning, but hope to do a bowl furnace smelt in early fall. I think this will give me a good working understanding of the process and then build a shaft furnace after that. I got several of RF Tylecote's books on ILL. Whith as little forge time as I get, none in over a year:-(, I may never need to by metal again.
Shack - Friday, 07/30/04 18:04:11 EDT

that's buy metal, PTP
Shack - Friday, 07/30/04 18:04:54 EDT


Thanks for the birthday wishes. I'll even forgive the smart butts today. (grin)

Momma and I were talking to the concrete man and a couple of other folks today. Looks like I get my shop pad for sure. As for the ashes, (more correctly known as cremains.), part of them will be used in a fire in the forge by any and all blacksmiths present for the festivities. Part go to The Wall, part go to a particular drop zone that I have many fond memories of, and the final part will be scattered in Linville Gorge. All planned and written out for Sheri.
Paw Paw - Friday, 07/30/04 18:17:31 EDT

Thats a first class plan Pawpaw.
We scattered my father's ashs from a WWII biplane trainer, as he was an avaitor for over 40 years. Scattered them over his home field to have him help guide in students just as he had in life.
ptree - Friday, 07/30/04 18:33:29 EDT

iron smelting: The column "Gray Matter" in the last two Popular Science magazine issues have been about iron and smelting. Mr Gray used Thermite to melt his iron source.
- John Larson - Friday, 07/30/04 19:03:10 EDT

thermite: I played with some thermite in highschool. It was fun, lots of fireworks, I had eye burn for days. I still have some of the iron from that somewhere.
Shack - Friday, 07/30/04 19:27:22 EDT

PTree & Others:

There is a fairly well known quote, that I can't remember the attribution for, but most professional military know it well.

"A man who does not plan for his own demise does not love his family."

There's an awful lot of truth in that. I had my first will at age 19, and my wife had a complete power of attorney at the same time.

It's call plan ahead, because the one thing we can be sure of about life is that nobody gets out alive.
Paw Paw - Friday, 07/30/04 20:15:40 EDT

PPW, I can be in Linville Gorge in about an hour. Let me know, and I won't have to buy kitty litter for a while! (note to all: he knows where I live, I must be nuts OR have some really good scotch on hand...)

A belated happy B-day!

Shack: do it the old-fashioned way and carburise in pigeon poop for extra phosphorus. Bonemeal ought to work too.
Alan-L - Friday, 07/30/04 21:08:12 EDT

Phosphorus: From an extract on phosphate mining in Florida: "[phosphate] Mining in America started near Charleston, South Carolina."

It must be out there somewhere, then. Now go find that old mine and get some phosphate rock. It might smell better than burning bird dung. Or not. (grin)

I've included the link to the site, as I found it fascinating. Thanks for setting me off on this interesting diversion!
vicopper - Saturday, 07/31/04 08:01:23 EDT

Phosphorus mining in S. Carolina
I was in Charleston a few weeks ago, and visited a historic site called Middleton Place. They had mined phosphate for fertilizer just after the civil war. In some of the dirt road cuts on the tour by wagon, phosphate deposits were visible, and the guide remarked on same. As I remember, they were distinctly green.
ptree - Saturday, 07/31/04 09:10:28 EDT

Thanks for all the info. I live in the upstate, near Cherokee county where the iron industry used to be. It pretty much stopped after thw Civil War mainly because the small scale operations could not compete. We goto Charleston fairly regularly so I will see what I can dig up. (sorry for the bad pun, but I couldn't help myself)
Shack - Saturday, 07/31/04 12:40:58 EDT

employment opportunities in NYC?: I have just moved to the United States from Senegal where I was an intern at a workshop building wrought iron furniture. (My boss is the father of famous Senegalese musician Youssou N'dour for those of you who know 'World Music.') I am now living in Manhattan, New York and am looking for full time employment here. (I am from Madagascar but have moved here with my American wife and have a Green Card, which allows me to work legally in this country.) I would be willing to do any kind of work, however I would most like to continue to build on the skills I gained in Senegal. Can you suggest ways in which I might find employment in this domain? Do you know of any foundries or other businesses in the New York Metropolitan area that I could contact? What kinds of diplomas or licenses are recommended? Is there anywhere here can I learn this trade better?

Should you have the time and/or inclination to respond to my questions, I can be reached at I would greatly appreciate any advice you have for me.

coss ratiambahiny - Saturday, 07/31/04 13:32:41 EDT

old stuff revisited: at demos I am asked at least 10 time a day if I shoe horses most are ignerant, but some have horses and are on the look out for a new farrier, I have found the responces is "heck no I am they scare me they are bigger than me, and have you seen were the put the hoof!! I don't like any thing that out weights me by 1200 LB!" if they are the first kind they chuckel and walk away if they are the second kind they chuckel and ask the real reasion (being three fold , that I don't know how, my knees and back are bad enough , and that I realy am scared of horses)

I had to have a chip ground out of my eye last month, thank fully I am fine and didn't damage my sight. now here is the thing, I was wearing my safetys and didn't get the chip in my eye in the shop, I got it when I had to run down to the hardware store for some bolts, I washed up changed into my normal glasses grabed my helmet (my safetys don't fit inside of my helmet) jumped on my bike and took off (hopeing to get there before they closed) I hadn't washed my face and a chip that was on my face (or in my beard?) went in my eye at 30MPH... bad day!
the next two were ...uncomfortable

I wanted W. Clark... haveing said that I will give me vote to Kerry he is the lesser of evils right now I don't like alot of the idea that he has,(his "Exit stratgey" is a joke) but I like Bush's actions a lot less and his addmiastration scares the *&(*& out of me
regarding wining a war in the middle east .... ask the russans... afgainastan was thaer "Vietnam"

I have found my self reading a LOT of Heinlein of late ...I think it is a result of the state of the world. reading the paper seems like reading Scifi.. only less entertaining.
MP - Saturday, 07/31/04 15:35:05 EDT

Coss-- Try the Ironworkers' union for apprenticeship possibilities. They had an age cut-off but were looking for apprentices a while back in the Southwestern U.S. anyway. In NYC my son happened upon a craftsman down around Greenwich Village 20 years ago running a coal forge (!) to make leather-cutting dies. Try the art schools. There used to be a co-op studio in Manhattan with at least one welder. The Times did a piece w/in last year or so fabricating fancy bronze tree guards. I'll bet he could use some help.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 07/31/04 18:45:34 EDT

Coss-- Dropped copy--should read The Times did a piece w/in last year or so on a guy in a shop in the Bronx, I think, maybe Harlem, fabricating fancy bronze tree guards.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 07/31/04 18:50:18 EDT


Definition, please? w/in = within?
Paw Paw - Sunday, 08/01/04 10:03:29 EDT

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