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August 2007 Archive

I think the question of branding was more pointed at rampant chinese counterfitting and their lack of controls/will to stop that.

Would you be willing to pay extra for quality? Yes in general; but if there was no guarentee that the "brand" being sold was the high quality version or a low quality counterfit you might be much more hesitant to fork over the money for it.

Example: I might be willing to pay large ammounts of money for a Rolex watch if sold by top of the line jewelry store; but would not buy it for much much less if offered at a fleamarket. Here I trust the store rather than the brand name.
Thomas P - Wednesday, 08/01/07 12:36:08 EDT

Two reporters working for the Philadelphia Inquirer won a Pulitzer some years back with an exhaustive series examining the vulturization of American companies and the toll that has taken on U.S.workers. The series became a book, America, What Went Wrong. Authors are Barlett and Steele. To be fair, I have had several Armitron watches that say Japan on the case but that have Chinese works. They keep excellent time, vastly better than my sons' (genuine) Rolexes.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 08/01/07 15:00:18 EDT

Even though the chinese are the world center of counterfeit Gucci handbags and Rolex watches, they are also one of the largest markets for REAL Gucci handbags and Rolex watches.
They are currently the 3rd largest market in the world for most imported luxury goods- swiss watches, french designer clothes, Italian sports cars, and so on.
Individual chinese dont have much problem telling the difference between real and fake, as they would not be buying so much real expensive stuff if they did. I would bet they, too, trust retail stores, such as flagship Rolex and Gucci stores in China.

Most counterfeit consumer goods are not actually that hard to spot.
Its counterfeit grade 8 bolts, or nuclear grade stainless pipe, or replacement airplane parts, that are trickier, and potentially dangerous.
And the only way to ensure quality in those kinds of markets is the same way it always has been- paying attention, not expecting something for nothing, knowing who you do business with, and inspecting your purchases.
The chinese didnt invent this racket- you can go as far back as you want, and find american and even before that, british companies selling cheap imitations of military goods, industrial parts, and so on. War Profiteering, it used to be called, when the British Navy or the US government bought canned meat full of worms, or tents that leaked.
Plenty of american companies have tried to sell ordinary bolts for ten times the price as aircraft certified.

As the individual chinese companies realize the value of branding, first at home in China, and then overseas, they are demanding controls to stop it- which is the same way it happened here. Most of current US copyright law is a direct result of Disney protecting their rights to profit from Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse, not some magnanimous gesture of the US government, or some natural high moral conduct of american citizens.
Similarly, in China, big businesses, mostly homegrown chinese these days, are starting to demand brand protection, and, to some degree, getting it.

I am not a "china defender" per se, just a realist- I recognize the reasons we have the civil structure, and business based law system we have here- because there is money in it. And the basic principles apply there as well- when money starts to get big, the government hears about it. They just executed (yeah, shot in the back of the head) the head of the Chinese FDA, over the tainted toothpaste and cat food scandals. If that aint "will", I dont know what is.

Dont underestimate the chinese- they are changing faster than any country ever has in the history of the world. They want to be a player, on every level, and have the national will to do so. Even if it means shooting a few bureaucrats along the way.

The entire population of the USA is about what the rounding error is in estimating the current chinese population.
- ries - Wednesday, 08/01/07 15:47:25 EDT

I've often thought we'd have better government if we shot a few bureaucrats along the way, and I AM one!
Alan-L - Wednesday, 08/01/07 16:02:11 EDT


I that's part of my point, though I was thinking that a company would never be able to build a reputation for quality in the first place if it's products were constantly being counterfeited. Ries's may have proved me wrong, but I don't know if the companies involved has successfully built reputations for quailty, or if they may be special cases (like state-owned firms, for example).

I actually agree with Ries that industry probably has too much voice in U.S. intellectual property (patent, trademark and copyright) policy. But IP laws are needed for businesses to prosper, and they've always been about helping folks make money. I'm sure the laws have been passed because businesses supported them since 1789 -- and even earlier than that in England.
Mike BR - Wednesday, 08/01/07 17:03:08 EDT

The problem with the laws that support "business" is that those that are currently important to the health of are nation are NOT those supported by "big business". Big business today often makes money looting economies by trading currencies and manipulating markets and those currencies in order to make a profit. This is what is know as a "free market" by big business. These businesses know no allegiance to ANY country. If they can make money by propping up a market then pulling out the rug they will do it to ANYONE. That includes the U.S. If it benefits them to bankrupt a country by manipulating the currency they will do it. If manipulating the currency of a company lets them pay slave wages to have their products made they will do it. Buyouts and raiding the coffers of businesses are small potatoes to these guys.

We have also seen this in various segments of our economy. Insurance companies that think all your money is their money and ANY claim made by you is unfair to THEM. They claim to be there to help you but everything in your relationship with them is adversarial. They can use the money from YOUR premiums to hire lawyers to prevent paying a covered claim while you must hire lawyers out of your pocket OR from the claim if awarded. . .

When the average American says "free market" they mean they want to be able to set prices for goods as they see fit. What big business means by "free market" is the ability economically rape and steal.
- guru - Wednesday, 08/01/07 18:00:12 EDT

Speaking of counterfit bolts, The requirements for bolt tracability was greatly up graded a number of years back. It seems someone sold the Gov't a number of special grade bolts that went into the big transport helicopters that the Marines use to transport 18 and 19 year old troops with. After three loads of very young Marines crashed in a year, Congress got off center and made law about tracability and grading of bolts.
Dog food and toothpaste that hurts people in pther countries make folks upset. Killing young Marines by scamming the Gov't makes Congress lawmaking mad.
ptree - Wednesday, 08/01/07 18:03:13 EDT

Chinese Quality:
If you have doubts about the ability of the Chinese to produce quality products see the movie "HERO". Even if you do not like martial arts films this is a work of art. It has a sophisticated plot and engaging story, it has epic scale beautiful filmography and much is pure cinographic ART unlike any other.

While much of this talent came from the Hong Kong film industry the talents in all areas of business and manufacturing from Hong Kong are now part of the whole of China. Why do you think they want Taiwan back so bad? It is not just a historic/political grudge it is the vast manufacturing skills and talent.

While we rest on our economic past the Chinese are hungry and looking to the future. Our leaders have no clue how precipitous our position is and how fast we could become a third rate economy.
- guru - Wednesday, 08/01/07 18:13:52 EDT

IP law: Patent law is a two-edged sword.

It promotes development by giving creators a monopoly on their work for a period of years in return for disclosing their invention.

On the other hand, it suppresses development because it grants the creator a monopoly for a period of years, sometimes making it hard for other innovators to bring out the next thing which is a further development. . .

When a group of creators freely shares their ideas and techniques (as seems to be the case with violin and guitar makers these days) you get innovation feeding upon innovation. Perhaps the best guitars in history are being made in the US today.

Important information gets lost when it is kept a trade secret, and those who know are lost.
John Lowther - Wednesday, 08/01/07 19:05:02 EDT

chinese quality: there are some chinese companies capable of making quality products, though quality from china has been increasingly dropping such as lead paint on thomas the tank engine. honestly china is americas poison, America is unable to produce its own product. china has america in its clutches, if china squeeses we moosh until they let go.
- maiers - Wednesday, 08/01/07 20:30:12 EDT

wooden floors: I'm just getting started smithing, and have been dragging my gear outside for most of the summer, I'd really like to get my stuff under roof for the winter so I can continue making progress, but right now, all I have available is an existing shed with a wooden floor. I have obvious concerns over the floor, so my question is, does anyone know of something I could cover the floor with to make it less of a hazard? I was thinking of screwing some cement board or similar down, but didn't know if there was a better route... Thanks!

Josh - Wednesday, 08/01/07 20:39:18 EDT

Profiteering on nuts, bolts & screws: There is the time tested legal way to sell common fastners at 10 times value: Put a few of them in little blister packs and hang them on pegs in hardware stores.
- Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 08/01/07 22:04:25 EDT

Floors: Josh, the cement board will be okay, but may not last too well. The time-honored way to protect wood floors in industrial forges was by putting down a layer of sheet metal. It is still a good way to go.

If you have plenty of headroom and the floor is really solid, you could put down a layer of pea gravel and sand mix about two inches deep. I'd go for the sheet metal in the area around the forge and anvil, and leave rest wood, myself.

Pete Renzetti's shop in PA had wood floors a hundred years old and only had metal around the forge area.
vicopper - Wednesday, 08/01/07 22:18:15 EDT

tall vise?: got my vise the other day, its an iron city, about 85 pounds with 5 inch jaws. but the odd part is its 44 1/2 inches tall, if im correct thats about 3 inches tall isnt it? any signifigance?

i got the vise off ebay fo 60 bucks, the threads are slightly thin but not chewed up and it functions smoothly, and it came with original spring!
- maiers - Thursday, 08/02/07 00:00:30 EDT

floors: dont know how hard or expensive it would be but you could just spread concrete on the floor in about a 1/2 inch layer. honestly, if you were just doing light forging or hobby like things just wet the floor down with a water squirter every once in a while, and when you drop something pick it up.
- maiers - Thursday, 08/02/07 00:07:03 EDT

Vises and floors: Post vises range in height from as short as 34" to as tall as 46", depending on their intended use. Then too, many of the old ones had the leg shortened for some special purpose, making them shorter than original. Yours was probably intended to be a filing or chiseling vise, which is done at about elbow high or a bit higher. A vise for upsetting would be a much shorter one. I have one that is 38" and two that are around 42-1/2", all original.

On the wood floor, a half inch of concrete will last until the first or second time you walk on it, then it will crack until it crumbles. Concrete that thin cannot support any weight unless rigidly backed and/or reinforced by fiber. That's why I recommended the fine sand/gravel mix; it is flexible.

You don't repeatedly wet a wood floor unless you want to replace it soon. It will surely rot if you do. Wetting it will also raise the grain, causing splinters. Sheet metal is still the best solution at the lowest price, with the least maintenance. Been there, done that.

Try using the shift key to generate some capital letters, okay? Makes it easier for us geezers to read. I do believe I've mentioned this to you before.
vicopper - Thursday, 08/02/07 00:26:33 EDT

Thanks for the suggestions, I think I'll give sheet metal a try.
- Josh - Thursday, 08/02/07 08:13:57 EDT

Ahh Ries; that guy was shot for taking money to fast track certain drug approvals *Not* for the current scandal about the toothpaste and pet food---unless they have shot a second one in the last week or so!

Josh; washing the floor with a borax solution cuts down on flamability; but really is usually isn't a problem; you just get a brand when you drop a piece and you pick up the piece and step on the flames or slosh some slack tub water on it. Remember that in industry the floor may be considered a "consumable".

Thomas P - Thursday, 08/02/07 12:06:58 EDT

Wood floors and wood floors:
In most cases a wood floor is an acceptable risk especially if you keep track of sparks and don't leave immediately after working (a fire watch). Sheet metal is good directly around the anvil and at a power hammer but should not cover the entire floor as it can be slippery.

ON THE OTHER HAND. Our 200 year old Grist Mill has bug eaten wood and many insect and mice nests. The smallest spark can (an has) set the framing on fire. I had a visitor who was smoking flick an ash out the door . . but it blew back and landed in the rotted sill. Less than a minute later there was rising flames. I put it out with a shovel full of sand (the nearest thing). Since then I have not let anyone smoke in the building.

Grinding with an angle grinder or using a buzz box are probably the most dangerous things you could do in your shop. Sparks go everywhere and WILL find and rages, refuse, or critter nests to ignite. Small fires quickly become big fires.
- guru - Thursday, 08/02/07 13:50:57 EDT

I've forged in a collapsing termite eaten detached garage from the 1930's---at least those were the earliest dates branded in the walls. So small that the main anvil was up against a wall and pieces could drop behind the anvil into the dried leaves---got used to pouring some water back there before working; never had a real fire though---until after I and the smithy moved and *then* the building mysteriously burned down...

Thomas P - Thursday, 08/02/07 16:26:26 EDT

They make a cement-based floor leveler (or grout) that's designed to be applied in thin layers. Costs a lot more than concrete, and I don't know if using it without carpet or tile on top would affect the durability. Might be another possible option, though.
Mike BR - Thursday, 08/02/07 16:48:33 EDT

I forgot to respond to Dave's post. There's an independently owned hardware store near me (about the last one around) that stocks a pretty good selection of fasteners. If I need, say, a 9/16-18 grade 8 bolt, they'll probably have it.

Their prices are high (though probably not 10 times high and no blister packs). I don't mind paying $.80 for a $.20 bolt if it helps them staying in business. Sure beats paying shipping from MSC or McMaster (and waiting a day or two). If I needed a hundred (which they wouldn't have anyway), I'd order them from a catalog.
Mike BR - Thursday, 08/02/07 16:55:28 EDT

I am sure the Chinese guy feels much better now, knowing he WASNT shot for the toothpaste scandal, just the drug one...

But I think dead is still dead.
- ries - Thursday, 08/02/07 19:37:34 EDT

Floors, redux: The sheet metal is a good way to go if you want to be sure, and if you can get some old, well-weathered galvanized sheet, it will have a nice gritty surface that is not too slippery when wet. In a smithy though, it only should take a day or two and any floor will be covered in enough scale and detritus to have all the traction any runner could want. (grin)

The floor leveling compounds are primarily gypsum-based and won't tolerate a lot of abuse unless covered. The main thing that no plaster, cement or gypsum-based poured floor will withstand is flexing, and if you put it over a marginal substrate like a wood floor over wood joists, it will crack and crumble in short order. You might get away with 1-2" of concrete if you use the polyester fiber reinforcing in the mix, but i've never tried it over a wood floor, only over concrete.
vicopper - Thursday, 08/02/07 21:31:45 EDT

Ries: I agree, he's bound to feel better knowing that. I also think that the other guys thinking about skimming the system or taking shortcuts will be chary of such actions after a few are summarily terminated in that fashion. We should look into that in this country.
vicopper - Thursday, 08/02/07 21:33:34 EDT

Terminationof employment Chinese style: I have to agree with vicopper, that there are some here who should be shot, but that sort of efficiency doesn't happen in a democracy.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 08/02/07 23:10:40 EDT

Ries: Well I didn't want your argument to be shot down because you made an error of fact. Such errors tend to cast doubt on perfectly good arguments.

If the *current* one gets the same "parting gift" for the current scandals then you can argue that there seems to be a pattern here, (always can be some hidden reason for such things that they are not sharing with the public---it's a government you know!).

Thomas P - Friday, 08/03/07 12:00:18 EDT

curved iron stair rail info: Anyone know of any on-line how-to's about fabricating a curved iron stair rail? What about books?
- Jason - Friday, 08/03/07 14:44:29 EDT

wood floors: During the second world war, Reynolds aluminum built an extrusion plant in Phoenix, Az. It was Del Webb's first large commercial job. Since there was a shortage of steel, the building, 1/2 mile long, was built with poured concrete beams and columns. Then the panels in between were filled in with brick. The floor was concrete, and then the whole thing was covered with 6" pieces of 6x6, ends up, which made a good floor covering. If any gashes or other damage occurred, they simply pried out a few pieces and drove in some new ones.
The crane beanes were also poured in place concrete, with rails on the top side.
The plant operated until the mid '80s when the equipment was so outdated that the plant was shut down, and everything sold off. My partner and I were setting up a new structural steel company at the time, and bought a forklift, 2 bridge cranes, a formans trailer, and a double wide trailer to use as an office, for a song.
If memory serves me correctly, they were going to demolish the building and sell off the land, but disposal of the debris from the building was going to run $2,000,000 or so and instead they remodeled the building into different types of spaces to lease out.
- Loren T - Friday, 08/03/07 16:11:48 EDT


Those end-grain floors are neat. I did hear about one in a Government building in DC, though, that was under a water pipe that broke. The blocks swelled, and, trapped by concrete walls, they had nowhere to go. They whole floor popped up to form a dome a couple of feet high in the center. I think they had to replace the whole thing.
Mike BR - Friday, 08/03/07 18:26:55 EDT

The old Western Electric Plant in Columbus OH had end grain floors back in the old stamping press area, absorbed oil and were not slippery! Made it easy to change machinery around; yank and pour a new pad as needed.

Place was sold off to the Hospital across the street last rumour I heard.

Thomas P - Friday, 08/03/07 18:53:15 EDT

wood block floors.: At the valve shop we had about 500,000' of wood block floors. Nice to stand and walk on. It would get slicker than snot when wet or oily. I have walked over 3' high by 20' domes from water raising the floor. Expensive to maintain says the former plant engineer who was called in after a super rain that backed up the storm sewers and raised about 200,000' on a Friday evening. We only had about 10,000' of block. Took many folks about two days to lay the new.
ptree - Friday, 08/03/07 19:50:20 EDT

Wood block floors: The ones in the auto frame plant were brick sized pieces, 2" thick. They swelled up when wet, and areas that got wet frequently had blocks the same size made of a material more like a paver, suposedly asphalt, but they didn't seem to be affected by oil. With a block floor it is easy to pull up a strip of them and lay electric and air lines, and use chanel iron in place of the blocks to finish. You can't have stuff hanging from the celing if You have overhead cranes.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 08/03/07 22:37:17 EDT

The wood block floors we had were about 2" by 4" end grain blocks of pine. They were treated with creosoate in the early days. Glued down, and after laid a sealer spread. We had a floor scarfer, gas engine driven, that would mill off a little of the surface to renew the surface and remove the slick build up. After many uses of the scarfer, the blocks would be about 3/4" thinner than new and this presenter a trip hazard when new blocks were laid in a field of old. We did use the channel iron trick to run pipe and conduit as we had cranes overhead almost everywhere. Another advantage of the wood was that steel wheeled carts did not chip them like a concrete floor. We had thousands of those steel wheeld carts that went back to the 20's. They hooked up end to end and were used to transport forgings and parts. Full they went about 3000# each and we used tractor tugs to move them. They had originally been pulled by mules.
We tried the solid stone type pavers. The ones we tried had a grit top, were very uncomfortable to stand on, and after about two weeks of black oil and dust and oildry etc they too were slick as snot. And they were so hard that the wrecked the scrafer blades when he hit them unknowly.
ptree - Saturday, 08/04/07 07:47:32 EDT

Wood block floor: Our plant had a machine similar to what Ptree described,but it didn't get used much. There were many places where the wood was covered by a layer up to 1/2" thick of metal chips and crud. This was a bit uneven, and not good to roll the carts across, but it wasn't particularly slipery, I guess because of the embeded chips. The old timers said it was easier on the feet, but I couldn't tell a difference, as the bay I worked in was part wood block and part concrete. Residential wood plank or ply over joist floors have some give when You walk on them, 2" thick end grain over concrete has about none.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 08/04/07 22:36:47 EDT

China: I found it kinda funny that while reading through the posts esp. the ones about china that on the banner the anyang forging company popped up- the oldest hammer manufacturer in china.

- Bear - Sunday, 08/05/07 10:25:43 EDT

The only Chinese tool in my shop is an Anyang hammer, and while there is a good chance it has lead paint on it ( I will try to remember to not put it in my mouth) it is a great arguement the chinese industry. It is simple, rugged, and tough.
It does not compete with any american company directly, as Chambersburg and Nazel both stopped making self contained airhammers decades ago, and, when they were making em last, they were asking about $125,000 for what I paid five grand for.

As far as I know, all the Anyang hammers sold in america were actually made by Anyang- no big counterfeit rings out there making air hammers quite yet. And Anyang is a brand that people buy based on quality worldwide. John N sells em in England, I have heard of em being sold in Scandanavia, Southeast Asia, and other places as well.

Nope, its no Nazel. But it is a solid tool, one that I have used the heck out of for working on 6 years now, and I am not embarrassed in the least to own.
- ries - Sunday, 08/05/07 18:22:28 EDT

Chinese Tools in the Shop: Well, owing to my pecuniary nature and general state of genteel poverty, the number of Chinese, Taiwanese and maybe even Vietnamese tools in my shop is fairly high. In fact, if a parade went by playing the Chinese National Anthem and toting a banner of Chairman Mao, I'd guess a goodly part of my tool inventory would fall in step and march right off behind it. Poor folks gots poor ways.

Wile I have a number of Chinese tools, the real hard-use items are mostly high-dollar American or German made stuff. Like my Porta-Band, big routers, gelt sanders, etc. But for tools that I consider somewhat to completely expensable (read, disposable), I buy the Chinese ones for the most part.

As I've no doubt remarked before, I buy HF 4-1/2" angle grinders by the half-dozen and fit them out with different wheels and duplicate some like grinding wheels, so I can use a tool until it barely begins to get warm and then switch to another instantly. In fifteen years of doing this, I have only tossed ONE grinder. Before that, I canned a round dozen or so of Makitas, Metabos, Porter-Cables, Milwaukees and DeWalts. Makes better economic sense, to me, to buy the cheapies.

If I was in the market for a medium-sized self-contained air hammer, I'd probably buy the 165# Anyang. I've heard plenty of good things about them, and very little negative. While is is certainly not a Nazel, (I love Nazels) you can at least gets parts for an Anyang. Knowing how Ries feels about quality equipment, his continued ownership of one is a serious endorsement.
vicopper - Sunday, 08/05/07 19:06:16 EDT

Typo: That should read, belt sanders, not gelt sanders. I don't sand my gelt, I hoard it!
vicopper - Sunday, 08/05/07 21:24:15 EDT

sorry guys i wasnt knocking anyang tools( have heard alot of good things about them) just was kinda funny when the ad popped up when reading the stuff on china. Due to my own poverty :) a good portion of tools in my shop are chinese( harbor freight is less than 10 min from my house). My brothers wood lathe and our drill press are both from there and for the money they work great( the press cost $200 and works as well as some that cost 4 or 5 times that). Most of my smaller air tools are from there too. However my anvil is a 200lb 1940 fisher, my saw is a wellsaw 58b( got it cheap off ebay), and my forge is from centaur forge( dont know if its chinese made or not). Cant beat harbor freight for the prices and a lot of the tools aren't bad.

- Bear - Sunday, 08/05/07 22:58:04 EDT

Cheap Tools:
I looked around on the web and it seems the same folks in China are making several versions of Record style wood working vices I bought.

I have just finished the bench and the vises have only been used to install themselves. . . One handle knob has already come loose. The drilled and taped holes for attaching the jaws were so misplaced and uneven that the holes had to be transfered. One of the vise handle holes is drilled so far off center that I don't know how they managed to do it. . . In fact, many of the things that are crooked or out of place are easier to do RIGHT with a couple simple drill jigs. But they don't have or use them. . . . This is what pisses me. The tool could be well made with absolutely no more effort per unit.

This is what everyone (, Rockler, Garrett Wade) is selling. Sad times for those that WANT to buy quality tools.

- guru - Monday, 08/06/07 13:23:14 EDT

There is an Asian knock-off of the renowned Emmert woodworking vise that got a rave from someone online. Are you talking about this vise by any chance? I have this thing about vises and have been ogling this one for a while now, you see.... Viz.: Anybody have any experience with this product?
Miles Undercut - Monday, 08/06/07 19:38:15 EDT

Whitaker's shop: Just returned from Francis Whitaker's school on the Colorado Rocky Mountain School campus, Carbondale, CO. I was a demonstrator, but also learned some stuff from looking at Whitaker's tools and watching the other presenters: William Bastas; Susan Madasci; and Chris Thomson. We all demoed during separate time slots, so that there was no overkill. Very nice.

The campus is a high school campus, so the school is used during the school year by the students. The resident smith and teacher is Gordon (Gordo) Stonington.
Frank Turley - Monday, 08/06/07 22:12:28 EDT

Emmert Vise Knockoff: Boy, that thingsure looks like a dead ringer for an Emmert Patternmaker's vise, Miles. I've had the pleasure of working in my brother's shop where he has an old Emmert, and it is the nicest woodworker's vise I've ever used, bar none. Pretty damn handy for filing and sawing on metal, too. You'd have to be a complete cretin to whang on it with a big hammer, but it was sure sturdy, nonetheless.

That knockoff looks good enough to be worth the money, to me. I may order one one of these days. If you could find a real Emmert in new condition, you'd pay a grand for it, these days.
vicopper - Monday, 08/06/07 22:30:07 EDT

Nope, different vise. Mine is a copy of the Record style which is pretty standard. It has a quick action screw release, single clamp dog and holes for wood jaws. No fancy swivel actions. I have some moon shaped blocks of wood from making swage block patterns that work well for that.

I've mounted two vices on one bench 30" center to center and mortised in the back jaw as well as lowering the vise so that the wood jaws extend about 5/8" in all directions. Due to the lowering I'll have to make longer clamp dogs. The entire front edge of the bench is the back of the vises. The bench is pine and fur but I faced the front with hard maple.

This is a dream bench for me. A dedicated wood working bench 72" by 38". The back edge is a 2x4 on slides so that it can support a 4' sheet of whatever. Then the two vices on the front and a shelf underneath that ties the legs together. Legs and braces are all attached with 1/2" bolts. It does NOT wobble.

So far the dual vices have been very handy just in working on the bench itself. I need to make bench dogs to get the best use of the vices. I already see where some vise stops and spacers will be handy as well.
- guru - Monday, 08/06/07 23:14:52 EDT

Emmerts and benches-- if you watch Ebay and believe what numbers you see, the real Emmerts come along fairly frequently. They usually go for around $500 or so. In fact, one, mounted on a humongous bench, recently went for a measly $400, if you can imagine it. I was tempted but I know my ancient truck would never make it to Cal and back. Someday I will make me a bench like the Guruissimo's. He said, with a brave smile.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 08/06/07 23:44:48 EDT

More re: faux Emmerts-- makes it look pretty good. However, just about every tool I have had from Asia has been just pitiful crap, so I am chary. Two bills-plus is a lot of money. And it ain't like I need another vise.
- Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 08/07/07 00:01:26 EDT

Out of the Office and On the Move: 8/8 - 8/15/07

Just a quick general note to miscellaneous friends on the blacksmithing, armor and sword-making bulletin boards:

I will be out of the office at the National Park Service from Wednesday, August 8th through Wednesday, August 15, 2007. We will be moving our household some 300 yards (600 yards by road) to the new house on my and my wife’s portion of the farm. During this time both our telephone and computer connections will be subject to interruption and communications may be difficult (not to mention endemic problems with our home computer).

Needless to say, I will not be posting much on the bulletin boards, so please refrain from initiating any interesting threads until I’m back up and active. ;)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 08/07/07 13:03:05 EDT

Carpenter's Hammers: I have a much loved Plumb 20oz smooth face framing hammer with a carefully scraped and oiled handle, but lately the cheap "I need a hammer NOW" California framer from Wally World has been the carpenter's hammer I've been grabbing first. . .

I don't understand why, but I bend a whole lot fewer nails with that cheap critter than with the Plumb. I think it may have to do with the cross-hatching on the face, but I don't see why that would make such a big difference.

My ex had one of the elegant Estwing one-piece steel hammers with the leather grip, and after driving about one or two nails with it, my arm would start to complain and I would go looking for my hammer. I just don't understand how such a beautiful tool can be such a pain.
John Lowther - Tuesday, 08/07/07 17:20:40 EDT

Estwing hammers: I am damned if I know just WHO estwing makes hammers for, but it surely isn't me. I've tried several of them, and every one of them goes somewhere other than where I intend. I hate 'em!

I used one of those cheapo California framing hammers one time and it really wasn't bad at all. Not the comfy feeling of my tuned-up trusty Vaughns, but not bad. Way better than I expected. My two Vaughn framing hammers are both waffle-faced, though not sharp. My trim hammers are a pair of really old Plumbs, a 12 oz and a 16 oz, both smooth faced, carefully crowned the way I was taught forty years ago.

I absolutely refuse to let anyone else use any of my carpentry hammers - I let them have that nasty Estwing, instead. One guy, who is practically cross-eyed, can do beautiful, quick work with the stupid Estwing. Hmmmm...maybe HE's the guy they designed it for. (grinn)
vicopper - Tuesday, 08/07/07 18:43:51 EDT

carpenters hammers: I have used many and my favorite 16OZ was a tubular handle Plumb with a rubber grip. It dissapeared about 10 years ago:( I have a fiberglass long handled with rubber grip Eastwing 22oz framer. I have built two barns, and many additions etc with it and Ifind it fine for me. Years ago, My Dad had a Sears 16oz almost identical to my Plumb, and we were working together. We somehow swapped hammers and we both knew something was wrong in one nail.
I suspect that what you learn on is more important than the ulitmate design.
I really prefer a serrated face for framing. especially with those long pole barn spikes.
ptree - Tuesday, 08/07/07 19:22:16 EDT

I interviewed Hart, the guy who came out with the oirginal framers (based, he said, on hammers carpenters were then making by welding ears onto shingling hatchets as I recall) years ago, for a piece re: what "Made in the USA" actually means legally. (Not much, it turned out, then or now, either.) Hart told me in the case of his hammers it meant what it said-- he would not allow anything foeign near his product, not even a foreign car in his employee parking lot. I bought one because my sons had them. Prettym but I prefer either of my True Tempers or my Dad's old 16-oz. Plumb that I used throughout the 50s helping to build houses.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 08/07/07 21:15:50 EDT

Woodworking Benches and Vices:
My "dream" bench is not the one I've had on the drawing board for a couple decades. That one had a top laminated and bolted from 2x4's and was something like a classic woodworker's bench with dual screw front and a dovetailed end vice. It also had classic support pins and multiple rows of dog holes (a wooden platen). I was going to turn the screws. . .

This bench was supposed to be a quick weekend job and ended up taking more than a week. In fact I am still working on details. The time was largely a result of the heat which has been the worst in years. Being a "quicky" I did not have a detailed plan to start and winged it as I went along. Then there was the 2x12's that got picked up instead of 2x10's. . . and the last minute decision to use two vices. Then the addition of a hard maple facia board for the front edge of the bench and vise clamping surface.

The bench looks like an oversize picnic table with angled legs (5 : 1 pitch). While the top is made of 1-1/2" lumber much of it ended up much thicker and ribbed in other places. The front where the vices are mounted is 3" thick as is a center strip both made with glued on 2x6's. The edges outside the frame are 1-1/2" for a 4" depth for clamping and the frame is made of 2x4's. Every joint of the top is glued and screwed. In the end it is almost as heavy and probably every bit as strong as the solid equal thickness bench top. The bench is heavy enough that it is a load for two strong men.

The design is a step up from benches I built for my kids when they were 6 or 7 which were a step better than the benches in my old shop. Those required bolting to the wall to make them steady. The kid's benches were fairly well planned and bolted together. Since they were easy to break down they have both taken them to their respective homes.

One thing I missed about making the laminated top was I had planned on the square dog holes all being created by the lamination. Every other row of boards would be pieces of 3/4" board with gaps to make perfect deep square holes. The holes I made in the new bench are not nearly as uniform or as straight as I would have liked but they will work. I suspect angled faces will be necessary on the dogs.

I built the bench for building musical instruments. These in turn are often made on a layout board which doubles as bending and gluing fixture. So a big bench isn't really that important. But I am planning on building a couple instruments with children and the bench needed lots of work space. The two vices would give them each one to work at.

Probably as important as the rest will be a set of bench hooks, birdmouthed bench pins, vise spacers, dogs. . . Did you know there are at least four types of wood bench hooks?

- guru - Tuesday, 08/07/07 21:24:30 EDT

Hammers: My Dad was a carpenter from '46 untill the day before He died in '04. He prefered the 16 oz Plumb and used it for framing as well as finishing. In the old days He wouldn't have anyting but a wood handle, but finally went to the red fiberglass with the black rubber grip. This required the use of a belt mounted steel "hammer Hoop" as the rubber grip didn't slide nicely under the band of His nail bag. He usad the cloth ones that lumberyards gave away, not the fancy leather ones You see on TV builder's shows. By the time the face was worn enough to need to be dressed the claws were generally too dull to work nice, I guess He wore out a half dozen of them in his time.
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 08/07/07 22:30:04 EDT

"I am planning on building a couple instruments with children"

My children tended more towards woodwinds and percussion than stringed instruments; I find that building instruments with wood was a lot easier...

Thomas---blame it on the pain meds!
Thomas P - Tuesday, 08/07/07 22:36:45 EDT

Building instruments: Thomas,

I think that's a perfectly good use for children. Of course, I subscribe to W.C. Field's sentiments about kids, for the most part. It's no accident that I was never a parent, and a good thing, too. I'd have been a terrible parent, I'm sure.
- vicopper - Tuesday, 08/07/07 23:39:03 EDT

Listen, that 16-oz. Plumb was/is just a helluva good hammer. I have my father's still that he bought in 1947 and a couple of twins to it (all with the original handles) and they work just fine with the faces they were born with. Only thing they cannot do is get deep into corners to pull nails well and chop well. For that I have a straight-clawed True Temper.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 08/07/07 23:42:18 EDT

shipping: I am looking for a moving company that will ship my hammer, anvil's ,welding machines from one side of canada to the other,can you help.
- jeremy - Wednesday, 08/08/07 16:07:00 EDT

Plumb Tools & shipping: I was rooting through my old paperwork and found a 1967 "Plumb Tools" catalog. They show one b/w page of nail hammers [claw] and ripping hammers with wooden handles, octagonal-sectioned or ovoid. They were putting Permabond, a red chemical "weld" in the eyes. An inserted, colorful page shows the new "non-breakable fiber-glass handles with molded 'dura-cushion' grips." The company claimed that the grip is non-slip, absorbs shock, and reduces fatigue. The "Plumb Leader Nail Hammer" came in weights of 1¼ lbs, 1 lb, 13 oz, and 7 oz.

The "Plumb Leader Blacksmiths Hand Hammer" [cross peen] came in weights of 2, 2½, 3, and 4 pounds. FYI, Plumb made a straight pein and cross pein Blacksmiths Sledge. The cross pein weights were 6, 8, 10, and 12 pounds. The straight pein was in two weights, 12 and 14 pound.

Shipping. I don't know the carrier, but about 5 years ago, I had an anvil, leg vise, forge w/blower and crated hand tools shipped to me by truck from Chicago. They were cleverly wired and bolted to a standard wooden pallet. The shipper would only ship such a load to a registered business address, not a residence. Everything arrived OK, and the cost was about $325 at that time.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 08/08/07 18:15:33 EDT

When I shipped my shop 1500 miles a couple of years ago I hired a rigger and he made arrangements with putting a bid out for truckers---it all got here with the only wear and tear being sitting for two rainy weeks on pallets waiting for the truck to show up.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 08/08/07 18:18:52 EDT

jeremy-- this needs extremely careful scrutiny as to how responsible the company is and what it will cover in case of loss-- full value or some pro-rated baloney. The moving industry is rife with racketeers who hold goods hostage for fees higher than their bids, or who abscond with them altogether. Also, what will they actually do if hired? I found when trying to get a 400 or 500-pound woodstove moved from Delaware to New Mexico that the various freight companys' insurance, they said, would not permit them to go into the house to get it or bring into mine. Curb to curb, then, they wanted more than the stove was worth. Also rates moving east to west were higher than the same item would cost west to east.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 08/08/07 18:52:18 EDT

Jeremy,: If you're truly going from Quebec to Victoria, or some such, I'd suggest you check with a rigger/crater and local hauler and then maybe overland transit by CanRail. Rail is allmost always cheaper than trucks for long overland hauls.

I've had stuff shipped from New Jersey to Miami by rail and then by boat to here, and the rail freight was very cheap compared to having the same stuff trucked.
vicopper - Wednesday, 08/08/07 18:55:29 EDT

Moving / Shipping:
You can also arrange for a container which is dropped off, you load it and unload it. You will need a fork lift and loading docks. If you have a LOT of equipment (a full trailer load) then this is the cheapest way to go. Often the shipping company will ship by rail (piggyback) for you.

The downside of this is the loading and unloading. It may be different in Canada but in the US the bleeping Feds have gotten too involved in containers and there are strict limits on how long the the shipper can leave them out of their control. You have to be ready to load, block, tie down and close up in a very short time.

If you must crate machinery I highly recommend you do it yourself. Most "movers" are not qualified for this. Pallets for machinery must often be heavy duty. "Riggers" often do the loading and moving of heavy machinery on flat beds but you want to be sure it is not off loaded and reloaded at some mid-point. Every loading is a chance for moving damage.
- guru - Wednesday, 08/08/07 21:08:35 EDT

Moving / Shipping: : Jeremy, I shipped a legvice and post drill from Thunder Bay to Moncton. I had to go with a freight company because of the weight of the gear. After I had figured out weight and size I phoned around. The fuel surcharge added to the overall shipping cost. But they got it there when they said it would. They had a regular route. Of course it was drop off and pick up at the warehouse. I think it was either Reimer or Manitoulin.
speura - Thursday, 08/09/07 13:43:00 EDT

Shipping: I am very happy with the price and how my items have been handled by R&L Carriers, they are in Canada as well as the U.S.:
I would recomend calling the toll free number and speak to a sales rep.
Jymm Hoffman - Thursday, 08/09/07 22:08:11 EDT

Real deal on bandsaw: You may recall I've been on the prowl for a metal cutting bandsaw. I had put a bid in on a saw in chicago (I live 5 hours south of there) 3 weeks ago & was outbid. Last week I got a message from the seller, telling me the hi bidder didn't come up with the money, so I could have it for my last bid. I said yes. I had planned to go there anyway to see a supplier to my company.

the day before I left, i got another message from the seller that they had tried to plug it in & it didn't work. I could either back out of the deal, or I could have it for free, as he had to get it out of a building his lease was up on. Since I had to go anyway, I still went by & confirmed my suspicion that they had tried to hook up the 110 line which ran the lamp, instead of the 3phase line. The guy sent his son to deal with me instead if himself & the kid was in a hurry to get my out of there & told me to just take it. They still had a fork truck on site, so he plopped it into the back of my truck & away I went (after strapping it down). It's a 30 inch throat Rockwell Delta.

after I got it home & checked it out, I did send him a hundred bucks thru his pay pal account. I can live with that. Since I was on a company business trip, they footed my gas bill too. What a deal! I've swapped in a single phase motor & switches & we're ready for the next project!
- Mike Sa - Thursday, 08/09/07 23:08:49 EDT

Great score, Mike!
vicopper - Friday, 08/10/07 07:21:54 EDT

Great machine. I have an old Delta 20" wood working saw and it is a fantastic tool. Heavy cast iron table, forged parts and steel frame. They made a version with a multi-speed gearbox for both wood and metal. It is heavy enough for re-saw work and precision enough to make veneer.

Just watch those fingers! My safety demonstration for kids is to take take a heavy dowel, old axe handle or baseball bat and just flick it across the blade. . cuts it right in half without slowing down or making a sound. Then I ask if the bones in their arm would take that long to cut through. . .

However, for some reason it is the table saw that removes the most fingers. Too much noise and vibration and folks do not use pusher sticks.
- guru - Friday, 08/10/07 08:13:40 EDT

Guru. The first time my father let me use his radial arm saw that was more or less what he said, "If the saw can cut a hard piece of wood that fast and easy what will it do if you get in its way" 20 years later I still have never cut myself on a saw, came to close for comfort but haven't done it.
- juterbock - Friday, 08/10/07 08:39:04 EDT

Working in a custom woodwork shop back in college that used a lot of 100+ year old tools, (read as---no guards!) I learned a lot from the older workers about positioning myself so if something went wrong body parts were not going toward the blades.

Thomas P - Friday, 08/10/07 11:39:04 EDT

saws: When first in the business, we had an aluminum foundry along side the ornamental iron shop. A large band saw was used to cut the gates and risers off the castings. A fellow working the saw came into the office and asked the boss how much money he could collect from workers comp if he cut a finger off. The boss ran him off,back to the shop. About an hour later, he cut his left index finger off, whether by design, or coincidence, I will never know.
- Loren T - Friday, 08/10/07 13:02:26 EDT

Loren, I've heard similar stores. . If anyone asks how much they can collect on X injury fire them!

When demonstrating machinery to me as a kid my father was more concerned about the belts (even though they were mostly covered) than the obvious hazards of the cutting tools. He would demo flipping a shop rag at the moving belt. It would often catch the end and tear it off or jerk the rag out of your hand and flip it around the pulleys a couple times. I think the prime culprit was the ShopSmith as the belt guard came off and would be easy not to replace. . . The other belted machine was the Craftsman Lathe. It was considerably safer as long as you stayed in front of the lathe but the back shaft and belts were all open in back.

While a band saw has more blade exposed, I feel much safer using one than a table saw. I grew up with the ShopSmith table saw setup and avoid using one as much as possible. However, there is a little chop saw type wood saw in the shop and it sure is handy. . . I still don't like it. Maybe its the noise.
- guru - Friday, 08/10/07 16:29:17 EDT

Here is the little vise I mounted two of on my bench. Quality seems OK. Better be since they are now an un-removable part of the bench (back jaws laminated-in along with now hidden screws).

Shop Fox Vice
- guru - Friday, 08/10/07 16:44:48 EDT

saws & fingers: I have to report I'm a junior member of the "nine or less" club. A large paper cutter took 3/8" of my left thumb 10 years ago when I wasn't paying attention while trimming blueprints.

I nearly joined the club as a kid in shop class, when I accidently sawed a yard stick in two with the radial arm saw. In a knee jerk reaction, I reached in to get the stick (I don't know why, it was already in 2 pieces). The blade just nicked my pinky finger.
- Mike Sa - Friday, 08/10/07 20:46:14 EDT

Shop Safety: That tendency to want to stick your fingers where it doesn't belong will get you every time. I nearly lost the tip of a finger in a reel lawnmower when I was a kid. . I learned what inertia meant up close and personal. I will always have that shift line in my fingerprint that anyone could point out as mine. .

While fast turning sharp things are a definite hazard the biggest hazard in the blacksmith shop is heavy things. A slow moving heavy weight such as an anvil, swage block, hammer or lathe chuck can remove a digit or toe just as fast as a saw. These things make no sound, have no guards or warning signs.

- guru - Saturday, 08/11/07 11:25:27 EDT

Shop safety: Ya, I have a big "V" with stitch marks on the face of my thumb that will make it pretty obvious that it was me when I get around to stealing the hope diamond.
- Mike Sa - Sunday, 08/12/07 19:31:35 EDT

Well when they get to the "scars" section of the sheet they will probably have to staple a couple of overflow sheets on for many of us---I got about a dozen on my hands alone: bow saw, license plate (thrown)---she missed my head!, hot metal, molten metal, grinder, O2 tank, dog, knife, chisel,... used to catagorize them during boring meetings.

So far most of the real impressive ones I had to pay someone to do to me (surgeon)

Thomas P - Monday, 08/13/07 11:10:05 EDT

I'm lucky that I have no impressive scars and most that were of any significance have finally faded until they are hard to find. Pretty amazing for someone that has used machine tools since the age of 10 (not including drilling holes in my Dad's just completed cherry table at age 3). I suspect I'll either pay for some scars in the future or just suddenly drop dead as many men have a bad habit of doing. . .
- guru - Monday, 08/13/07 13:44:24 EDT

Belt guards: It has struck me as kind of strange that the v-belt from the motor to the jackshaft of my 1938 South Bend lathe has a guard with a massive iron frame and heavy gage expanded metal cover, but there is no attempt (and no sign that there ever was any) to guard the flat belts from the jackshaft to the spindle whatsoever. I've seen the same basic lathe set up as a bench lathe with a hinged cover that protects the operator, but this one, which is floor standing and has the pedestal drive, zip.

Were v-belts considered more hazardous than flat belts back then? Or was it that the speed of the flat belt was so much less? Or something else?
John Lowther - Monday, 08/13/07 15:19:30 EDT

John, I am not sure. However, the flat belts on the cone drive get shifted regularly while the primary is usually single speed. You can change speeds on a running machine with a flip of a stick. However, some folks would do it by hand and THAT is were the trouble comes in. If you are lucky the splice pin misses your hand. If not. . . you can get cut up really bad. On glued belts it was not much of a problem. But on patent metal splices it is a real hazard.

Our slightly later South Bend has the motor in the base with a flat belt to the cone drive. It is fully covered. Shifting is quick, lift the lever, open the cover, shift, close and drop the lever.
- guru - Monday, 08/13/07 16:55:38 EDT

belts and fingers: A night shift superintendent of the valve shop had just returned to work after workers comp leave when I started in 1981 at the valve shop. I was meeting with him and watched as he tried to open some cheese crackers from a vending machine with the remains of his fingers. He had one intact little finger and the rest were in varing condition from bad to worse.
I found out that he had been called to a big transfer machining center that was down to a no flow on the coolant system. He said" Its probably just stuck", grabbed the belts and yanked and sure enough it had been stuck. The motor pulled his fingers thru the belt sheave. After hand repair and a nice long leave he had returned to work and someone asked him how he had done the damage. He said " this here pump was stuck, and I grabbed these here belts like this, and yanked like this" He actually did the exact same accident twice, on the same machine! After much more surgery, he was left with claws that took him 15 minutes to tear opn a package of cheese crackers with. When I took over as safety guy a couple of years later, I went behind that machine and guess what, still no belt guard! And the same oversize starter that would not kick out when it stuck.
ptree - Monday, 08/13/07 18:05:59 EDT

Fingers: I was in pretty big meeting one time about a contract for rebuilding M-113s (they actually belonged to a foreign military -- I think they were gone from our inventory by then). I looked around the room and realized I was the only male with 10 fingers. Either it was a heck of a coincidence, or armored vehicles bite.
Mike BR - Monday, 08/13/07 18:33:44 EDT

Fingers cut: As a kid, I wondered what would happen if I pulled the Red Ryder BB gun trigger with the cocking lever in the open position. I was a little leery, so being right handed, I used my left hand. The lever closed quickly at the pull of the trigger, and my middle and ring finger ends got pretty well cut.

It seems when we get older, we start telling about more serious things, operations and stories of being maimed. One of the Louisiana old timers was at a smithing workshop, and these stories started being told one after the other. He said, "Where I come from, we call these organ recitals."
Frank Turley - Monday, 08/13/07 19:35:37 EDT

Frank Turley: I'll be dipped - I thought I must have been the only kid goofy enough to try that with a Red Ryder. Man, that thing gave me a pair of blood blisters that came up so fast they popped from the pressure! Geez, that hurt.

Did you ever try the routine with the Red Ryder where you cock and fire it as many times as possible, as fast as you can, then drop a couple of drops of 3-in-1 Oil down the barrel and do it one more time, to get the hot piston to diesel the oil? My brother and I used to shoot BB's through 3/4" plywood that way.

We are just damn lucky that we still have all our digits and both eyes after such a stupid stunt. How that thin steel ever contained that pressure is beyond me. God truly does watch over children and fools - and we certainly were both. (grin)

I still have a Red Ryder. Hmmmmm...
vicopper - Monday, 08/13/07 20:27:55 EDT

A little more Ryder: There's a Red Ryder/Fred Harman museum just west of Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Juanita and I visited about six or seven years ago, and met the comic creator's son and owner, Fred Harman, Jr. He gave us a grand tour, and we talked about the different brands they used when they ranched about 20 miles south of Pagosa.

Fred Jr. had on display one huge BB gun collection, and I started to tell him the open lever story. As soon as I said 'open lever', he grinned, took his right hand and slapped it up against his left and said, "Ouch!" So you see, Rich, we ain't the only ones!!
Frank Turley - Monday, 08/13/07 22:32:19 EDT

Red Ryder: And Your Moms thought You would "Shoot Your Eye Out". My first BBgun was the Daisy model 25 pump action. This one spared the fingers better when that mistake was made.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 08/13/07 23:14:05 EDT

I used to work in the oil patch were the official stats were that 1 in 5 career workers would end up in a severe accident. I've seen some close calls, (chain broke and hit the guy in the chest but it was midwinter and the layers of carharts kept him from traumatic chest injury; etc).

I had an "easy" job as logging geologist; but still kept my eyes open, 100,000 pounds on the hook and 5000 hp is not very forgiving.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 08/14/07 12:01:47 EDT

News from the WSJ: 2 interesting articles in the wall street journal today, both of which contradict conventional wisdom-

Item no. 1-
No less than 3 new from the ground up steel mills are being built in america right now- the biggest, in Mobile Alabama, by Thyssen Krupp, will cost $2.7 Billion dollars and produce 4.5 million tons of high carbon and stainless steel a year.
Then the Russian company Severstal is building a mill in Columbus Miss. that will pump out another 1.5 million tons a year, and the Indian company Essar is building a mill near Duluth Minn. that will make another 1.5 Million tons a year. Current US production is around 120 million tons a year, so these three new (not remelting scrap) mills will not be a huge increase, at only about 5% increase in the national capacity, but its still going to be a fair amount of steel.
For the last 20 years or so, domestic production has run about 70% of domestic consumption- but according to steel industry sources, more mills will probably be built here- foreign mills are pretty busy supplying foreign needs, and we have ore here, as well as a nice safe investment climate.
Interesting to me is that US companies, run by wall street wizards, dont invest in mills, and let them run into the ground, then shut them down. These three new mills, with a total investment of probably close to $5 Billion, are all being bankrolled by foreign companies, who seem to think the US is worth investing in.

Item no. 2-
Since 1990, the big 3 have shut down 29 auto factories in the USA, and during the same time period, asian and european auto companies have built 24 factories. 1990 auto production in the USA was about 12.5 Million cars, and today its 16 Million a year. So while its true, and sad, that many american autoworkers have been laid off, there are more cars being built here now, by slightly fewer workers, (from 1990 thru about 2006, there was an autoworker hired by the foreign plants for everyone laid off by the domestics)
Again, we see badly run US companies moving production to Mexico, or just losing market share to foreign companies, but production has actually increased in the USA, not dropped.
Mercedes exports vehicles made in their Vance, Alabama plant to 135 countries.
BMW exports 60% of the production from their Spartanburg SC plant to over 120 countries around the world.
Honda exports Elements made in Marysville Ohio to Japan. And everywhere else, too, as Ohio is the only place they make em.

The largest driveline parts manufacturer in the world, started in the 60's as a bicycle repair shop by a blacksmith, is Chinese, and they are buying, and building plants in the USA.

Haier, the biggest brand name in China in appliances, is building wine cooler fridges in Camden SC, with the sixth largest refrigerator factory in the US.

Again and again, foreign companies seem to believe in us more than we do.
- ries - Tuesday, 08/14/07 22:59:35 EDT

Ries: Perhaps that's because foreign companies aren't run by Harvard MBA's. It seems to be the bean counters that like the trash and cash business model, while foreign investors are looking to make money the old fashioned way, by working for it.
vicopper - Tuesday, 08/14/07 23:19:47 EDT

Well, I'm glad SOMEONE is making steel here. . America is for sale and the world is buying.

Honda Jet just broke ground on a new factory near Greenboro, NC. . .

The big shift was when accountants were told that employees were not profit centers but loss centers. Capital equipment was a BAD thing because it was taxes so you did not buyu new machinery or build new plants. . . the only worthwhile profit was those that took no investment. SELL it off!

Now take that model of the bean counters who are running US industry into the ground MANAGING a highly technical plant, such as a Nuclear Power Plant. . . That is what has happened since the 1980's. The old managers were engineers that usually had been there to build the plant. Their replacements are bean counters that see maintenance as an expense, not an investment in the life or safety of the plant. It has turned my Dad completely against nuclear power and he was one of those that built those plants. . .

- guru - Tuesday, 08/14/07 23:45:57 EDT

Counting Beans: Our license plates are of the three numeral-three letter variety, and we wound up with an "MBA" on ours. I told mama, "Cheez, I hope nobody thinks that's my profession."
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 08/15/07 09:22:18 EDT

Granted I'm just a provincial out here in the middle of farm country, but I think that engineers are more qualified to run a successful business than MBAs. If I remember right isn't it the second law of thermodynamics that goes something like "everything falls down if not kept propped up". I think the same applies to business.
JimG - Wednesday, 08/15/07 09:56:55 EDT

Finding Anvils: Now before you guys laugh at me too much remember I think I live about as far from the ocean as it's possible to get. I was watching "the Wickerman" (not the new one, but the original) and when the police inspector brings his boatplane into the harbour I wondered why they had all the anvils lined up on the dock...
JimG - Wednesday, 08/15/07 09:59:57 EDT

HE he he. . . Dock cleats are definitely anvil looking and some are HUGE. But most are cast iron and small ones are now aluminum. It is interesting to watch the dock workers stop a big ship or barge using big 2" housers and dock cleats. . . Imagine how well anchored the big ones must be.

Frank, I knew you had a closet occupation. . :)
- guru - Wednesday, 08/15/07 11:46:51 EDT

Well the way the tax system is set up you pretty well have to be a bean counter to make a business work. When I took accounting classes for one of my degrees I actually learned how a machine that you had paid off and was essently producing profit for free was actually costing you money compared to one you just bought and were paing hundreds of thousands of dollars for...

My Father ran into the bean counters when he had authorized a plant expansion as they were working 3 shifts overtime and the sales department had sold 40% more for the next year than they could make running flat out. Made the "numbers" wrong for the quarter and so he "retired" early. Guess keeping your customer's happy by delivering multimillion dollar items to a schedule doesn't count as "good business practice".

Thomas P - Wednesday, 08/15/07 12:05:18 EDT

Dockside Anvils: I thought the anvils would be for the mob to assist with aquatic disposals;)
- Dave Leppo - Wednesday, 08/15/07 13:17:34 EDT

They are implanting a lot of dock bollards far inland these days, to keep the creepy-crawlies from driving trucks through the gates.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 08/15/07 20:59:10 EDT

Miles: I thought that was in anticipation of global warming causing the sea level to rise...
- Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 08/15/07 22:29:13 EDT

Dave-- Wowwee, do I ever devoutly wish that were true! You should see the entrance to Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, where they put the boom in the bombs, located c. 7,000 feet above sealevel.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 08/15/07 23:11:05 EDT

Miles: I haven't seen Los Alamos since the 60's, when they just had the machine gun towers and guard shacks. Have they made it more imposing since then?
vicopper - Wednesday, 08/15/07 23:23:13 EDT

After the latest Los Alamos security breach I heard an upity-up asking "what do they do there that can't be done elsewhere" a couple of weeks later they announced that they had built a bomb core, the first they had done in a long time---I figured they were answering his kind of hard to convence a new local that you wanted to build nuclear bomb cores there, of course we in NM are used to a bit of neutron flux from our friends the Feds...

I had lunch with a lady yesterday who remembers the first atom bomb test here.

Thomas P - Thursday, 08/16/07 11:06:22 EDT

Los Alamos: I have a friend who is a Physicist at Los Alamos. His coffee cup says," 186,000 MPS! It's not just a good idea, it's the LAW!"
- Loren T - Thursday, 08/16/07 16:32:19 EDT

I read a couple of years ago about one of the DoE labs getting a 20MM (IIRC) gatling. I never did figure out what they were planning to shoot at with THAT.
Mike BR - Thursday, 08/16/07 16:41:22 EDT

Matt BR There have been rotary guns in 5.56mm, 7.62mm, 20MM, 30mm, 37mm and an experimental in 57mm. Fire rates vary, from 6000 to 1000 rounds per minute. The gatling may have been for applied research in the use of depleted uranium. The current anti-missle system in use on the NAVY's ship uses 20 mm gatlings shooting depleted uranium rounds for close in defense. Those mounts happen to be built in Louisville, across the river from me.
ptree - Thursday, 08/16/07 20:05:37 EDT

The thing was, the article I read was about a gun intended to protect a Department of Energy facility against terrorists. I can't figure out why you'd need even 1000 rounds per minute unless gun was firing at an aircraft (or missile), or mounted on one. This one didn't seem to have a mount or sights designed for anti-aircraft use. And I doubt the gun would have the range to protect the lab from a hijacked jet, anyway.

All I could figure was that someone had a bigger security budget than they could spend and ordered a gatling becaue they *could*.
Mike BR - Thursday, 08/16/07 20:17:33 EDT

vbicopper-- they still have the guard shacks and the towers but they are empty these days, padlocked. The lab areas are fenced off. The scientific library, I think, is still open to the public. What they do have nowadays that is new: at key entry points to the lab area is a mass of bollards and chicanes you have to snake around, and you stop at a guard station. I have yet to see anybody get pulled over. Dunno what sensors may be at work. The plutonium facility has a double fence with a robot, I think. In fact, they closed to the non-badge-wearing public the road that goes past it. The atmosphere in town is the same as it has always seemed to me (I've been going there since 1959), just like any company town, a steel town or a coal town. Stratified socially by graduate degree, by lab position, pretty gung ho for nukes and thermo nukes.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 08/16/07 20:31:00 EDT

Hi All: Just dropping in to say hi from the Northern Ontario Canada. Have not been on in awhile. Still hammering lots. Cheers to all
- barney - Thursday, 08/16/07 20:31:08 EDT

Miles: Well, other than the de-commissioned highway towers/gates, and the new carbomb barriers, it sounds just the same as it was in the 60's. Definitely a company town, and stratified as they all are. Our family friends there were lab types, and Pop was a serious scientist, so I got ot see a bit of the labs, even back then. A tiny bit, of course, and undoubtedly noting of any real import, even though at that age I wouldn' thave understood a bit of any of it. Still, after passing the dudes with the machine guns and attitudes, it was a sop. I still preferred wandering around Bandolier, or fishing the Piedras, though.
vicopper - Thursday, 08/16/07 21:58:10 EDT

Finally moving my stuff out of the sugar shack and into a little shed its only about 12 by 8 will it get all smokey and deadly in there eve if i have a 10 or so foot stack?
- Stephen - Thursday, 08/16/07 22:11:51 EDT

vicopper-- the fishing is pretty much elbow to elbow in a lot of places, and up around Pilar you have to cast between the rafters and the kayakers nowadays on the Rio formerly known as Grande (it has gone dry in spots at times!!). The stone cabins at Bandelier are no longer available for overnighting-- now staff quarters. No dogs allowed anywhere in Bandelier these days. Costs money to get in, even to Tsankawi. Lotsa uncertainty under the ongoing tranquility in town, re: staff cuts. Change at the top-- I have not followed it closely, but I know houses for sale far outnumber house sales, town merchants are feeling a big downhold on retail buying by fearful customers. I don't think the place has quite as many heavy-hitters on call as it once did in the likes of Bethe, Ulam, Carson Mark, Johnny von Neuman, and Teller (not held in as high regard there as in Livermore). Career bureaucrats, and the bean counters, it seems, and not the scientists, are firmly in command. And it shows.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 08/16/07 23:34:08 EDT

Miles: Hmmmm, that's too bad. For all its little (and not so little) idiosyncracies, I kind of liked Los Alamos. As a kid from Boulder, Colorado, that was the first place I'd ever been where all the houses were exactly the same colors. I always wondered how a person found their own house after a few too many cocktails. Maybe they didn't.

Like most places, if it's nice them people come in droves and then it's not nice anymore. Thirty-five or so years ago I did a two-week walk down the Grand Canyon and only saw one other person the whole time. Couldn't do that today, sadly. Guess why I like in the middle of nowhere? If it gets crowded here, I'll have to find a worse place, I guess. Ah, the difficult life of a misanthrope!
vicopper - Friday, 08/17/07 00:00:29 EDT

Aaaagh!: I did it, dammit. I have always sworn that I would never, ever use "their" as the universal pronoun, and I just damwell did it.

Next thing you know, I'll start using "loan" as a verb. From there, there can be no redemption. I must go do pennance.
vicopper - Friday, 08/17/07 00:05:57 EDT

Los Alamos Horse Stories: When I moved to New Mexico in the late 60s, I got calls to shoes horses in Los Alamos. There were stringent covenants that did not allow for horses to be in a residential backyard, so a "stable area" was devised. The stable area was and probably still is, pitiable; tiny shacks to hold hay bales; shade shelters in a state of collapse; unstapled barbed
wire on the ground; horses getting out all the time. The area was a good place for accidents waiting to happen, full of what cowboys call "boogers and traps." One customer built a scanty horizontal-rail "hitching post" appearing like the kind you see in the movies. I didn't realize that it was only sunk in the ground about 4". I was shoeing an Arab stallion who when he raised his head, he simply pulled the thing out of the ground with the halter rope still attached. The horse freaked and ran off with the hitching post bouncing and dragging behind him...ran between two upright posts throwing himself. I had out my pocket knife and ran up to the horse to cut the halter rope. The horse had only one cut on his side. Whew!

Charlie Force shod horses there in the 1940s. He said that he and his helper went to one of the pens where thare was a little pony to be shod. Every time the helper bent forward to pick up a foot, the pony fell over and played dead. After the second such time, he said to Charlie, "Hey, watch this!" Sure enough, the pony fell over for the third time. They found out later that the pony was a trained movie star for the movie, "The Red Pony", starring Robert Mitchum and Myrna Loy, originally a novel written by John Steinbeck.
Frank Turley - Friday, 08/17/07 10:08:12 EDT

Frank Turley: Is that by any chance the same Charlie Force I used to know in Albuquerque? Married to Gen Espinoza? If so, he's a heck of a nice guy. That's a great story about the pony!
vicopper - Friday, 08/17/07 11:25:19 EDT

Grammar: Vi - "Their" in a singular construction is a bit of a barbarism, but the use has been in the dictionary upwards of 30 years, since it's in my 1974 edition of _Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary_, as is the use of "loan" as a verb.

If it makes you feel any better the exemplar they give for "their" in the sense of him or her came from W. H Auden.
John Lowther - Friday, 08/17/07 14:55:52 EDT

OOPS: That should be his, her or it's
John Lowther - Friday, 08/17/07 15:01:20 EDT

Lotsa people say pled instead of pleaded, and garnish instead of garnishee, and unsanitary instead of insanitary, too, but that doesn't make such usage literate. As for Los Alamos, I like the weather up there at 7,000 feet better than I do here on the other (east) side of Rio Grande Valley at 7,000 feet. Cooler. I have been to some wonderful parties there. My Canadian-born wife, who grew up there, can't stand the place.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 08/17/07 16:49:48 EDT

John L.: I can't accept those usages, even if Mssrs. Webster and company are so willing. Call me stodgy, old-fashioned, reactionary or just plain stubborn. If we allow such barbarisms to creep in, they'll only proliferate until the langugage has become a poor, vulgar cousin of its once glorious self. Actually, that may have already hapened, if much of what I read on the internet is commonplace. A shame.
vicopper - Friday, 08/17/07 17:57:26 EDT

I have 4 kids still in the house. The English langauge, as we knew it has changed. I suspect our forefathers also said much the same. Our fathers thought a gay fellow was just a happy fun guy.
ptree - Friday, 08/17/07 18:19:38 EDT

The passing of fancies: Jeff,

Yep, I'm sure they did. As do I. I greatly enjoy reading books written in the Victorian era as they display a command of language and evocative writing skills that has largely gone by the wayside with more modern writers. It is true that reading such things causes me to sometimes drop rather arcane words into my own writings, and perhaps confuse readers not familiar with them, but I actually use those words in my everyday speech, too. I love the English language! A lingua franca of almost unimaginable complexity and variety, and yet most people get by with a working vocabulary of less than 600 words. To me, that's like owning a shop full of tools and only using three of them. If ya don't use them, they get rusty! (grin)

vicopper - Friday, 08/17/07 20:48:37 EDT

How true! I work with a bunch of 20 somethings and my boss is my age+ 6. I will use a word such as condensate, to describe the liquid emmitted by an air conditioner, and the 20 somethings roll their eyes, and tell me "its condensation" don't you know anything!
I tried showing them the dictionary a couple of times and they roll their eyes and tell me its an OLD dictionary.
My boss rolls her eyes as well, but more in disgust at the lack of usefull words contained in the working vocabulary of the kids we work with.
ptree - Friday, 08/17/07 20:59:46 EDT

Charlie and words: vicopper, It may be the same Charlie Force, if he is a funny-as-hell cowboy, horse trainer, kind of guy.

When I first started shoeing, my learned mentor, Al, heard me say "shoed" in front of a customer. As we drove from the site, he privately and mildly chewed me out, told me the correct word was "shod". I think shoed is in some recent dictionaries, but not the old ones. As the Southern boys say, "He broke me o' suckin' eggs." I still say shod.
Frank Turley - Friday, 08/17/07 21:24:09 EDT

Frank: Could be the same guy, I suppose.

I got that same lesson about shoed/shod when I was a kid. From my Pop, who (as far as I know) never even watched a horse being shod. He's a stickler for correct language usage, though.
vicopper - Friday, 08/17/07 21:58:53 EDT

Ptree: Good grief! If you referred to the sludge in the bottom of a settling tank as a "precipitate," would they tell you that should be "precipitation," too?

Or would they just tell you it was raining? (grin)
vicopper - Friday, 08/17/07 22:04:37 EDT

Vicopper, Impossible to predict with these fine products of the Kentucky public school system :)

I do have to say that they are HR types, not technical folks. I spent my entire working life till now working in engineering departments, and this is my first experience working out of HR as a EH & S guy. Almost anything technical, that is not computer related is a new experience for the young ones.
ptree - Saturday, 08/18/07 10:04:35 EDT

scranton hammers: we still have 3 weights available..... still for sale
- peter - Saturday, 08/18/07 13:57:01 EDT

my addy is
peter - Saturday, 08/18/07 13:57:39 EDT

Grammar: I don't think my current grammatical annoyance "one of the only" has made the dictionary yet, but I've heard it on NPR and seen it on the paper WAY too often. Only is emphatically singular from the same root as one. I've even caught my niece's English teacher husband using that barbarism. ONE OF THE FEW, please.
John Lowther - Monday, 08/20/07 17:33:56 EDT


I'll never forget the professor's comment when I characterized something as "somewhat unique" in one of my papers. Then there was the contract modification I reviewed that was being issued on the basis of "unilateral agreement."
Mike BR - Monday, 08/20/07 18:18:46 EDT

Yeahbut: An acquaintance, a technical writer, says that he hears "yeahbut" so often, that he thinks it might become a new word added to the language some day.
Frank Turley - Monday, 08/20/07 19:32:10 EDT

Yeahbut: : Is this not what Lou called Budd. (Yeahbut and Costello):)
- boss - Tuesday, 08/21/07 12:59:20 EDT

Mike, don't you know that most contracts are "unilateral agreement"? The big and powerful write them and the small and powerless must accept (example, all your bank and credit card contracts). The lawyer writing that one just happened to have a momentary lapse of honesty.

I'll admit to using "somewhat unique" and "one of the only" . . . I will have to think more clearly.

I often point young folks to the movie "My Fair Lady" and tell them that they should take its lessons to heart. Speak like you live in the gutter and that is where you will stay. Speak as if you are among the privileged few and you can go as far as you choose.

Sadly, among our children's heros are people who's gutter language has made them rich and famous.

When we moved to the rural South in the 1950's I was confronted with teachers that spoke so poorly and with such thick (to my young Mid-Western ears) accents that I failed a year of elementary school. Moving to the city where they spoke slightly less "sutherin" helped.

On the other hand, what we consider "standard English" and correct spelling was dictated by one self appointed man, Noah Webster. Then there are those that proclaim that if the King James Bible was good enough for Paul (the apostle) then its good enough for me.

Prior to Webster, if you could understand my spelling then it was good enough. The popular sentiment toward spelling might have best been summed up by Benjamin Franklin who said that he "had no use for a man with but one spelling for a word."

- guru - Wednesday, 08/22/07 10:06:43 EDT

One of the funny things though is that historically while there was not a single correct spelling there were often a faily small range of spellings usually based on the phonetics of the time.

Some people trying to "fake" old writings don't understand that and use spellings that would have *never* been used at the time.

And then there is the "Thorn" character as in Ye Olde Shoppe which is pronounced The Old Shop...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 08/22/07 11:36:56 EDT

Unilaterial agreements---ran into those big time at college: OSU had a policy of taking a min of thirty days to pay it's bills but wanted me to pay my tuition in ten days from when I got the bill; unfortunately I was under a program where my work was paying the tuition; so after I got the bill, I had to fill out the forms, get two levels of management to sign off and then mail them during the Christmas rush several states away for processing and then get them mailed back during the Christmas rush---all in 10 days.

I called and talked with the OSU about this and they told me it was plenty of time...never tell an engineer something like that when they have empirical evidence against it! So I asked who I could speak to about this and they said "It isn't me" and slammed the phone down claiming I had been rude---actually *they* had been rude; I was just trying to fix a problem---a bad habit of engineers.

I used to carry business cards for a friends computer consulting business and when people blamed their computer for not being able to do something I would hand them a card and suggest they get it fixed...

One of the most fun tilting at beauracracies was trying to get gas service to a new house we were in; I was 29 years old and married with kids and they demanded my parents address before they would set up service; unfortunately my parents were living in the Netherlands and their computer didn't like a zip code of 1411HT and would not handle a european phone number either...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 08/22/07 11:47:44 EDT

This was a Government contract, so we *could* have issued a truly unilateral modification (or even a unilateral *contract* under the Defense Production Act, but I never dealt with those). My first reaction, though, was that "unilateral agreement" meant the Government agreed with itself. I had to dismiss that thought as inherently improbable . . .
Mike BR - Wednesday, 08/22/07 19:23:50 EDT

i want to be a blacksmith more than anything: I just don't know how to get started. I don't know what i need or how to get it,any advice would be helpful
- David - Wednesday, 08/22/07 19:54:59 EDT

David: Welcome to Anvilfire!

The first thing you should do is go to the drop-down menu at the uper right of the screen and go to the 21st Century page and there you can read the Getting Started in Blacksmithing information. That should give you plenty of information to get going, and to ask further knowledgeable questions.
vicopper - Wednesday, 08/22/07 20:34:38 EDT

David: Okay, I steered you wrong in my previous post. The Getting Started in Blacksmithing article is on the FAQ's page on the drop-down menu.

You should stil l read the articles on the 2st Century page, too. There's a wealth of information here on Anvilfire, and you should study as much of it as you can.
vicopper - Wednesday, 08/22/07 20:38:07 EDT

Getting Started in Blacksmithing:
VIc, In the new public pages it is at the top of the page next to HOME and STORE. Hard to miss but folks do. . .
Getting Started
- guru - Thursday, 08/23/07 09:37:36 EDT

Next find the local ABANA chapter in your area: NAVIGATE anvilfire =>

Start going to meetings, they are free and you will learn a whole lot, meet other smiths, hobby and professional, find out where to get tools, etc. Some groups even give beginners classes.

If you are anywhere near Troy OH, just north of Dayton OH, go to Quad-State in September the largest annual smithing event in America, there will be a beginner's class taught there as well as tons of tools, books and materials!

OTOH if you are near central New Mexico let me know and I can get you started with a Saturday at my forge.
Thomas P - Thursday, 08/23/07 10:56:16 EDT

Seek and Ye shall find:
- guru - Thursday, 08/23/07 20:10:26 EDT

Chemical Safety: Seeing carbon monoxide and fluorine in the same sentence (in the Guru's den) somehow reminded me of the description of the manufacture of the WWI poison gas, phosgene in an old dictionary, which went something like: "Formed by the reaction of Carbon monoxide with chlorine gas in the presence of ultraviolet light." Sounds like something we might accidentally make in small quantities around the shop. . . The forge is running, something is pickling in HCl & doing a wee bit of arc welding. . . Ventilation is a really good idea.
John Lowther - Monday, 08/27/07 15:09:31 EDT

chemical safety: Another source of phosgene is the combustion of many plastics. Many plastics also give of chlorine and flourine when they are overheated or combust.
Its a dangerous world out there. Ventalation is a good thing. I like to exhaust out the highest point in the shop, and have fresh air make up at ground level. Best of both worlds is forced make up and forced exhaust.
I like large diameter, heavy pitch belt drive fans when I can afford them as they move lots of air with not too much noise. Ultimate is of course a really bif squirell cage type. high volume and very little noise. Comercial roof top HVAC units can have some really big fans. The valve factory I built had 30 Hp squirell cage blowers. Now that would be shop fan:)
ptree - Monday, 08/27/07 18:12:25 EDT

1,1,1: Not so much of a threat anymore, but for a while 1,1,1 trichloroethylene and similar chlorinated hydrocarbons were used extensively as degreasers and (excellent) cutting fluids. UV arc light would create phosgene in the presence of these vapors. I can't seem to recall right now (phosgene exposure) whether this class of chemicals were removed from the workplace due to their carcinogenic or atmospheric malfeasance (perhaps both)
- Charlie Spademan - Monday, 08/27/07 21:18:13 EDT

Phosgene gas: The old flame type leak detectors when used on freon produce it,as do halon fire extinguishers when used on extremely hot flames, or when sucked into a running diesel engine. Old transformer oils would break down into it when the transformers burned up. There are still chlorinated brake cleaners on the market, but they are being phased out I think. As bad as 1,1,1 is, it is pretty much safer than the carbon tet. that was used for most of the same uses before it.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 08/27/07 23:19:24 EDT

Questions?: I have a couple questions for everyone.
1. I can get a bunch of punches from work. 3/4" and 1" round aproximately 7-8" in length. they are an assortment of S-1 and S-7. if I were to forge these into new shapes would I need to anneal beforehand or just heat to forging temps, work as needed, aneal and re-heat treat?

2. when re arching a leaf spring what heat treating and tempering would be recomended afterword? ie. Bow spring power hammer linkage
- Rob - Tuesday, 08/28/07 01:33:39 EDT

Carbon Tetrachloride: That used to be used in old fire extinguishers, and it would generate phosgene gas when used on an electrical fire. It was sure a great cutting fluid, however!
vicopper - Tuesday, 08/28/07 09:15:36 EDT

Rob: You can just forge them, normalize and use as-is, for most uses. When forging them, I pre-heat them a bit at the forge door before shoving them in the fire, but I don't know if that is really necessary. I've never bothered trying any special heat treatments other than normalizing, as that has always worked fine for what I do with punches and chisels.

If you have more than you can use, I'd be happy to take some of them off your hands. Those would fit in a Flat Rate mail box just dandy.

For the bow spring, I'd definitely find a spring company near me and have them do the heat-treating. They'll have the spring stock and the furnaces to do the heat treating properly, as well as the fancy time/temperature controllers needed to get a predictable and repeatable result. Given the stresses on such a spring and the dangers involved with breakage in use, its not something I would try in my shop.

vicopper - Tuesday, 08/28/07 09:21:31 EDT

Carbon Tet: Many years ago we used some Carbon Tet mixed with gasoline for cleaning some bearings. When finished my Dad filtered the stuff through a cloth and put it in the lawn tractor. When he got it running the exhaust was largely chlorine gas. . .

You can no longer buy it. . . it was used as dry cleaning fluid.

Triclorethelene (the current dry cleaning fluid) with a touch of wax is the best tapping fluid there ever was. "Tap-Free" had warnings that said do not use in machine systems. . . machinists did so anyway and now you cannot buyt it either.

The MOST noxious fumes I have smelled in recent years were the result from cutting open freon cans. The epoxy (or what ever) paint is the WORST. . . I do not know how toxic it was but it really was nasty.

You often don't know where some hazzards are coming from.
- guru - Tuesday, 08/28/07 14:44:22 EDT

If the Freon can has any Freon left you can make phosgene by cutting with a torch.
See above posts about gases from plastics, the cans are probably powder coated.

And while trichlor/wax was a good tapping fluid, it has been far surpassed. In production cutting of threads, in the valve shop where we made a couple of million threaded holes a month, we had far better tapping fluids, and they were much nicer than triclor on the folks and the environment.
Heck, Out tool and die makers went to the first floor from the 7th for cutting fluid from the screw machines instead of Tapmatic when they found out they broke less taps.
ptree - Tuesday, 08/28/07 20:27:06 EDT

Large unusual vise for sale: This is a large and unusual vise that I am calling a vertical vise. No, it is not a flypress.
Jaw is 10", the frame is heavily made, and the threads are like new.
It operates very smoothly.
This came from an industrial forge shop that went out of business about 30 years ago.
Asking $900. + shipping
(478) 501-8374
Ty Murch - Tuesday, 08/28/07 21:35:44 EDT

Any one know a Morris Miller from PA who tinkers with casting blacksmith items??
- Blacksmith Whistler - Wednesday, 08/29/07 22:33:28 EDT

Rob, those punches would be solid gold at blacksmithing conferences for trade stock. Get as many as you can LEGIT! Even up to asking to pay for them at the scrap rate if they are being tossed. *NOTHING* is worth risking your job over.

I'd like to get into line right after Rich for a couple though and my hat is a lot more interesting than his is!

Thomas P - Thursday, 08/30/07 18:22:27 EDT

Rob, while I must admit that ThomasP indeed has a more "Interesting hat" than Rich's, rich brings some very lovely adult beverages to the trade table. I however only have mere metal to trade, but would also probably like to get in line as well.
ptree - Thursday, 08/30/07 18:32:54 EDT

Hats: Yes, ther is little doubt that Thomas' hat is more "interesting" than my humble fedora, but mine definitely has a certain je ne sais quoi, probably a result of the tropical print hatband adorning it.

Ptree is, as usual, correct in his assessment of of other things brought to the trade table. I do generally travel with a reasonable complement of Cruzan Blackstrap Rum for the benefit of my friends, as I've noticed that you can get more with a kind word and a jug of exotic rum than you can get with a kind word alone, to paraphrase Willy Sutton.

What it really comes down to though, is that guys like Thomas and ptree have valuable information to trade, and since I'm short on that commodity but live within spittin' distance of a world-class rum distillery, I bring what is available to me. a play the hand yer dealt, right? (grin)
vicopper - Thursday, 08/30/07 20:44:37 EDT

Vicopper, I don't speak the frenchie stuff, but I will have to check the hat band. As usual at SOFA, you will be able to find me by my new hat. I would be willing to bet not another like it.
I have also begun building the "Sledge-o-matic forge lube tester to take most of the variables out of testing forge lube. Hope to bring it to SOFA as well
ptree - Thursday, 08/30/07 21:15:08 EDT

Quad State/S1,S7: Let's see, fancy hats, Cruzan black strap, hmm - I suppose I could wear a tricorn, they don't provide much shade though, probably stick with none or just a baseball cap. S1 & S7 are tempting. I do currently get some access to scrap from our induction furnace operation when they want the incoming material tested, and since they usually don't want the test piece back I squirrel the interesting stuff away. Gave a friend that does some casting about 2 lbs of cupronickel - copper with nominal 10% nickel, a little silicon, a little iron, some niobium/columbium.

I do travel with slightly different beverages than Rich - I prefer the products of the Celtic lands, so usually have a good bottle of single malt scotch or single malt Irish. Currently I have pretty good access to spectrometers and Leco carbon/sulfur units as well as metallurgical microscopes.

I am looking forward to seeing everyone at Quad State - should get there very late Thursday night.
- Gavainh - Thursday, 08/30/07 23:22:06 EDT

Thomas (and others): get as many as I can legit? thats exactly what I did. I'm not great at guessing weights but my Toyota truck swore at me and said it was over a ton. it was in 8 small drums, each a little larger than a 5 gallon bucket. They were only filled halfway up but that is more than I can lift.....I would guess about 300lbs each.

my boss was actually excited someone was interested in them and glad it wasnt going to be trashed. He signed off on the paperwork to get it out of the plant and even had to go above his head for finance department clearance.

When I originally inquired about getting some punches and asked what they were made from he explained there were two brands. one brand was S-7 (branded thomas engineering) the other was S-1 (Elizabeth).....well looking at the tooling it was either stamped elizabeth or thomas to be found. I asked for clarification last night about it. ALL the tooling that was destroyed is Elizabeth brand S-1....maybe at a later date I can get some S-7 but I can only get what was being scrapped at the time. there is also a bunch of small dies that was mixed in with the punches. (unsure of material. I will enquire about that next week.) I cant think of a specific use for them but maybe I can get idea's from everyone here.

I do plan on selling off most the extra's. I'm working half a day today and then heading out of town to pick up my fly press and other tools in storage. when I get back I will be shipping some out to some of the main contributors here. (Guru, ptree, Vicopper, quenchcrack maybe some others I forgot about) on an honor basis. send me them money for shipping after you recieve them and what you feel is an honest price. if money is short bartering is good also! after I get an idea on what they are worth I will offer them to anyone who wants them. I just want to start off paying back the ones who contribute the most information on here!

I dont want to get rich off them, but I am just starting off blacksmithing and would like to use the money to invest in needed items. (pretty much everything!! I dont have an anvil or forge yet, and just a few flea market hammers and tongs.
Rob - Friday, 08/31/07 09:02:45 EDT

Rob that is great news!

If you could take one or two of those drums to Quad-State and set up a table with a honour system money can, you could probably sell out if they were not too expensive.

I'm notoriously cheap but would buy $20 worth if they were $1 or $2 apiece; at $3 I would buy a couple; much more and you would still sell a bunch; but I'd pass.

Don't forget to list the alloy if you set them out.

Other folks might have other pricier suggestions.

Actually I wanted to suggest some bells for Rich's hat so that you could listen to him shiver as everbody else is sweating...

Gavainh; may I suggest a tam'o'shanter lined with maille? (after that famous line from the Avengers "only you Steed would be so paranoid as to have a golf cap lined with chainmail...")

Thomas P - Friday, 08/31/07 11:35:17 EDT

Hmmm - tam'o'shanter, a wee bit too much Scots for this Irish lad, though I do like the chain maille lining idea. I do have some Irish caps, but being wool they'll be a bit too warm for September (At least I hope they'll be too warm, & I'm sure that Rich does as well.)

Rob, - regarding the dies, if you do get to Quad State and haven't found the material before hand, I could bring one back to work and post analysis and probable grade/grades here on Anvilfire.
- Gavainh - Friday, 08/31/07 12:50:12 EDT

QS Weather: I will pack for Fall weather, but I sincerely hopw that I find I need to run out and buy some shorts to be comfortable. I can never really feel at home in long pants these days.(grin)
vicopper - Friday, 08/31/07 20:20:03 EDT

Robs scraped punches: Some of these might be useful as-is.
- guru - Friday, 08/31/07 22:01:46 EDT

More Scrap Punches
- guru - Friday, 08/31/07 22:03:00 EDT

Work Bench:
This is the "little" "weekend" bench project that grew to a week.
Woodworking Bench
- guru - Saturday, 09/01/07 08:37:11 EDT

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