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August 2008 Archive

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

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

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

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

473# double horn anvil FS: Czech 473# double horn ultimate anvil for sale One piece cast with great edges flat face good rebound minor wear on face located in Lakewood Ohio 44107 asking $1400.00 or obo call Nick 216-870-1636 thank you
- nick - Friday, 08/01/08 14:13:25 EDT

south bend lathe FS : Old South Bend bench lathe with motor and homemade stand FS. Comes with 3 jaw chuck, 4 jaw chuck , face plate, backing plate, tool post and a couple lathe dogs . it has newer twist belt and lether belt ways in good shape. missing a knob but ran when bought Asking $400.00 located in Lakewood ohio 44107 call Nick 216-870-1636 sold as is prefer pick up thank you
nick - Friday, 08/01/08 14:21:34 EDT

WantedRusty power hammer : Wanted Rusted power hammer smaller one 25# to 50#. I am in Lakewood Ohio 44107 call Nick 216-870-1636 thank you
nick - Friday, 08/01/08 14:25:39 EDT

100# Little Giant:
Late model, low mileage (good condition), complete with OEM motor, located in NC. Will arrange shipping if necessary. $4500-

Write for photos.

- guru - Friday, 08/01/08 17:12:52 EDT

Jacob Lockhart: This is rather random but i hope itll help someone.... i know that welding or working with heated galvanized material can make you sick.... but my grandfather told me if i have to work with it to drink a glass of buttermilk.......can somehow make you not get sick
- jacob lockhart - Friday, 08/01/08 22:32:31 EDT

Jacob Lockhart: maybe it coats your tummy?
- jacob lockhart - Friday, 08/01/08 22:38:52 EDT

Jacob Lockhart, drinking milk is a commonly told and used trick when welding galvanized. As an industrial safety guy, I would warn that while many stories are told of this helping, it is NEVER a good idea to breath any metal fume. Metal fume is smoke from overheated metal that becomes smoke and the solidifies into very fine particles of metal smoke. Metal fume fever is a real nasty illness and can kill you.
Most metals accumulate in your body over time and make you slowly sicker and sicker.

The best answer is ;
1. Don't make metal fume. don't weld galvanized etc.
2. If there is no way to avoid making metal fume, even welding plain metal makes fume, use ventalation to remove the fume as it is made.
3. if you have a healthy respiratory system, and do favor a beard, wear a respirator rated for metal fume when welding and so forth. Nice low profile "pancake" type filters are available that fit under a weld hood are available for less then $40 USD.
ptree - Saturday, 08/02/08 08:55:57 EDT

The above should reas... and you do NOT favor a beard.
ptree - Saturday, 08/02/08 08:57:12 EDT

Lost My Blacksmith: My Smith has gone Walk-About on me, completely out of communication and I have a small order I need filled by the end of August. I'm looking for a Smith who can work within the Celtic vocabulary that I can depend on. Does such a creature exist in this world? OH, I do hope so. If you aren't him or her, can you point me in the right direction?
Blue Smith - Saturday, 08/02/08 09:42:15 EDT

Galvanizing AKA Zinc:
Jacob, see our TOP iForge demo posthumously given by Jim "Paw-Paw" Wilson.

Then repeat after me "I WILL NOT believe in old wives tales or modern myths, I WILL NOT believe in old wives tales modern myths, I WILL NOT believe in old wives tales modern myths".

This MYTH is based on the fact that some doctors without a clue as to how to help people with heavy metal poisoning, including zinc, have told patients to drink lots of milk to help flush the metal out of their system. It doesn't hurt, but it does NOT help enough to help. It is a desperate act in a bad situation.

And YES, I really DO receive at least one letter every year from a grieving widow or "widow to be" wanting to know what made her husband sick. I've also received letters from weldors wanting to know if they should return to work welding galvanized metal after having been sick from it and sent home. . . Absolutely NOT. And they need to report their illness to workmans comp and OSHA.
- guru - Saturday, 08/02/08 20:27:52 EDT

I have about 100 feet of nice 5/8 rod from an old stave silo and after reading about what happend to "Paw-Paw" I wouldn't even think of putting it in the fire because of its hot dip galvanizing.
I have to pass this on...
I met the smartest 12 year old boy today while demonstrating at our show. We were chatting a little while taking a lunch break and I mentioned I log on to this web site quite a bit. He replied "what for?" I said there is no end of information available there and they will have the answer for any question you might have. He said "I don't have any questions" I said what do you mean. He said "I know every thing I need to know about blacksmithing already"
I was astounded. I hadn't heard anyone say something like that and really mean it since I said it probably 30+ years ago myself.
It's good to know he's got such an empty can on top of his head to start filling, if he can ever figure out how to get the lid open...
- merl - Saturday, 08/02/08 22:36:01 EDT

12 year old: He should wright a book "Everything I needed to know about blacksmithing I learned in kindergarden", might be the next "best seller"

I think the thoughts in Our head at some point reach critical mass. At that point every answer leads to 3 new questions, and We finally realise how little We know.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 08/02/08 22:54:39 EDT

12 year old: He probably learned everything he knows from a W * O * W site. . . Apparently the blacksmith and blacksmithing is a BIG thing there. It is hard to keep advertisements for that fantasy gameworld from showing up here as well as getting properly listed on search engines due to the popularity of the game (ah, alternative existence. . .).

I've had folks write about swordsmithing, describe the purely fictional forging scene from Conan the Barbarian, and say "I KNOW ALL THAT" and then ask how to do something basic that it not in the scene. . .

"I KNOW ALL THAT. . ." !!!!!!!!

It is really amazing how many people, especially today's youth that do not know the difference between fictional myth and reality. . . But if they ever pick up a REAL hammer they learn in a few seconds.

And that is the problem. Kids do nothing REAL even in school. They are more likely to mix two chemicals in a virtual computer environment than to do so in real life and "REAL" shop classes where you saw a board, hammer a nail, use a chisel or wire a lamp are long gone in most schools.

We were watching home movies of me building soap box racers at my Dad's wake and a old high school friend was practically crying as he said he never did anything like that with HIS dad. His parents had seperated then his dad died young. . . But his experience or lack of experience, is multiplied many times over by many kids today that are either not given the change or it just does not exist in their world.

The best thing anyone can do for a kid is put a hammer in his hand to drive nails, carve wood, stone or hammer metal. Do something REAL with REAL materials so they know that they resist change and require that energy be expended to make them change.
- guru - Saturday, 08/02/08 23:52:04 EDT

Not all is lost on todays youth...
Late in the day on Friday a young boy came up to the window of the smithy and asked very matter of factly, "say, do you fellas know how to shoe horses?"
I glanced over at the master smith who already had a big grin on his face and turned back to the boy (no more than 6 or 7 years old) and said, We usualy just say "go away horse!" The kid didn't quite get the joke so I quickly told him that we didn't shoe horses here and he needed a farrier. Then he said he just wanted a little shoe to keep in his pocket.
I had to tell him we had already raked the fires out for the day but, if he came back in the morning I would have one ready for him. I knew he was staying on the show grounds with his folks so, I had better get in early in the morning and get 'er done.
The next mornig while I was working on the little shoe another yong boy came up to the window with his obviously adoptive parents. I was pretty sure he had never been to a tractor show or even had an inkling about what a blacksmith was but, he stood there captivated by me shining up that shoe on the peddle grinder. when I asked him what did he think I was making He very politely said he didn't know (kid's about 10) and his dad said he probably has never seen a horse befor (inner city kid)
We have a number of old shoes lying around for "looks" so I picked out a nice one and explained what it was for and so on. Then I gave him the full size shoe so he would remember our little talk. He shook my hand, said "thank you mister" and left with his dad. Fortunaly the sweat rolling off me hid the little bit of mist coming up in my eye and I was able to get the little shoe done for the other little kid. When he arrived a little while later I presented him with his order, he deemed it "saticfactory" and helped me pick out the letters of his name to stamp it with. Then he says," How much do I do I owe you?" I looked at him over my glasses and said "How much have you got?" Just like that he slaps a quarter on the counter and pushed it at me so, just as quick I grabed it and rang it in to the old cash regiter we have and gave him back twenty cents change. He looked kind of suprized, took his change and his shoe, tipped the bill of his adult size hat to me and, said thank you and went back to his folks. Again the sweat comes to the rescue and I go on about my business.
All in all, a very good weekend.
BTW, Guru I couldn't agree with you more. Bothe my boys learnd to pound nails when they were 3
- merl - Monday, 08/04/08 00:44:18 EDT

Lost my Blacksmith: I can probably do whatever it is you need. Just tell me.
philip in china - Monday, 08/04/08 01:50:41 EDT

Czech Anvil- Nick: Nick, How is the czech anvil? I don't want to buy it but need to know about Eastern European anvils for a project I am hoping to do out there.
philip in china - Monday, 08/04/08 01:52:19 EDT

12-year-old: Maybe the kid was telling the truth. He may know everything he *needs to know* about blacksmithing. Kind of how I know everything I need to know about brain surgery. I know enough to call a brain surgeon if I want some of those extra cells removed the hard way.

But I'd guess that's not what the kid meant ;-)
- Marc - Monday, 08/04/08 08:08:53 EDT

Demos and Kids:
Merl, while this is a great story, you can get in big trouble giving things away (or selling too cheaply at shows). You can find yourself in a situation where you have 20 kids all lined up for that 5 cent deal (OR freebies).

Having gotten bogged down making souvenir shoes a couple times I made it a rule the purchaser had to watch me make the shoe(s). Back when I was doing shows in the 70's I charged too little ($2) AND would stamp a name on them. . . Today it is worth $10 or more.

One newby demonstrator I know beat himself to death making a gift nail for EVERY child on a school field trip (about 35 I think). Then he got to watch the teachers confiscate every one of them because they could not carry them on the bus. . .

Occasionally I would away stuff to kids that came back over and over or spent hours watching me work. But you must be very careful lest the child have six brothers and five cousins. . .

When I was helping with Atli doing Boy Scout merit badge workshops I was amazed at the number of the boys that had never used a hammer. But then I got thinking about it and realized that you NEVER see a real tree house any more. They are all the pre-fab stand alone things often built by a contractor or the company that sells them. . .
- guru - Monday, 08/04/08 08:23:38 EDT

By "celtic vocabulary" you talking early iron age or modern fantasy age?

Thomas P - Monday, 08/04/08 13:10:04 EDT

kids & tools: Yeah, well sometimes it works out the other way, too. I have a young kinsman whose doting mommy and daddy never made him or his older brothers lift a finger. When this kid was about 5 or 6 he and his bros came down to "do some blacksmithing." Uh huh. They decided to make swords, of course, and I deflected that into making letter openers for a start. Would I hammer this blade, please, the little guy asked. No, that's your job, I said. Whereupon the kid went out in front of the shop, sat down and bawled and bawled and bawled the rest of the morning. To my knowledge he has never picked up a hammer since. Oh, and, p.s.: Last week he left to start medical school. In four years he'll be driving a Porsche and wearing those loafers with the little tassels.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 08/04/08 13:15:49 EDT

Youth: Unless he throws a tantrum because he must REALLY work to finish med school. Many med school students end up burned out and on drugs by the time they finish. . . A cousin of mine committed suicide after succumbing to the drugs it took her to stay awake the necessary hours to work in the hospital AND study.

Recently a knife maker friend who was visiting his grandchildren came out to use the shop with the young boys. He brought form nails and had them forge then flat. The shoulder ring makes a nice guard and the finish product looks like a small "pirate" sword. after flattening he showed then how to control the curve while hammering an edge. I think the boys came with dreams of making knives like grandpa but found out it was serious work.

Some kids just can't keep their hand off the tools and have the stubbornness to make the material do what they want. We were recently watching our home videos of back when I was building soap box racers. I helped my next youngest brother build a car but his heart wasn't in it. He wanted to be in the race but did not want to have to do the work. . My next youngest brother had no interest in the cars or what went on in the shop at all. But my NEXT youngest brother who was six or seven at the time was right there pretending to do the same things I was doing. Sadly he did not get his chance as the local sponsors pulled out of the Soap Box Derby for political reasons. However, later in life he would restore old sports cars, do wood sculptures, worked in the family business and is currently building a sports aviation class airplane. Like many of us in the blacksmithing trade he can do ANYTHING he sets his mind to.

Not everyone is suited to our types of work making things but everyone should have a chance to find out. It should be a part of schoolastic life. The entire world of technology will not be ALL computers and virtual simulations. Some will always be nuts and bolts, chip making or fire and hammer.
- guru - Monday, 08/04/08 16:06:28 EDT

Sage advise about giving stuff away of course but, these two kids out of the hundred or so I saw over the week end happen to catch ME at just the right time and when no one else was around so...
Besides me beeing an old softie, the master smith insists that "charity to children is returned ten fold" and I always do what he says when I'm in "his shop".
Now my boys, on the other hand, will bee helping me make their own horse shoes. We have a small dry erase board were we mark off whoe's turn it is to crank the blower (so there is no argument while I'm standing there waiting at the forge) They each have a 55# ASO from H.F. on a stump and a set of madeinchina hammers to share. When they deside they want to "make something" I cut off a piece of 14ga. wire for them, they go to their pretend forge and get to work. They are bothe very good with pounding nails in wood and so far we have had only one minor mis-hap that resaulted in a small blood blister while in the smithy at home.
- merl - Monday, 08/04/08 17:57:36 EDT

Merl, I started out mine at about 6. I have a great picture of my oldest, her standing on a box to reack the anvil, with me sort of wrapped around her to help her hold the hammer. While tiny she did carry on with smithing thru high school. In fact she has paid for several junker cars by selling iron work.
With the little ones good fitting PPE is hard to find but out there. I found a narrow width set of small safety glasses, with adjustable temple, and with an adjustable headband they stayed put. Nothing gets a kid to take off safety glasses like them sliding down over the nose:)
I also found that muff type hearing protectors worked better with the little guys. I found that Peltor, low profile behind the head band type were the best for little guys. In fact I wear the same as they fit under my weld hood.

Enjoy them while young, because if you blink they will be 22 and perhaps more interested in the opposite sex than smithing.
- ptree - Monday, 08/04/08 18:11:32 EDT

jacob lockhart: hi, yall where talking about youth and just wanted to say im proud of my dad because he raised me in that i can have the stuff i want by working for it. he got me into the attitude and showed me what i was capable of and taught me the right way to do it and i think its worked well......oh and im still a kid im only 15 so his job isnt over yet hehe
- jacob lockhart - Monday, 08/04/08 20:17:42 EDT

Youth: My younger boy has always been interested in doing practical things. He is now in college learning woodwork which is ideal for him. He loves making things. But I am still belighted to get properly spelt and correctlt punctuated emails from him.
philip in china - Monday, 08/04/08 21:16:29 EDT

ptree, you are quite right about the PPE. That was the greatest deciding factor as to when they could come with me to the smithy or the basement shop were the machine tools are. When each of them turned three they were able to fit into the smallest pair of good wrap around safety glasses I could find (in the pellet/bb gun isle at the local farm store) and then with an elastic sports band to make sure they don't slip. If they don't want to wear the glasses that's fine but, then they know they must stay outside of building or room I'm working in. As for noise, I don't do any thing too loud with them along and if I have to make some noise I have them step out of the area untill I'm done. We also have a few absolute "must do " rules.
1. when Dad says "get ready" they bothe must stop what ever they are doing and get to the "safe area"
2. when I see that they are ready I say "coming out" and bring what ever it is out of the fire to ware ever it's got to go and start working it.
3.they bothe know there is NO talking while Dad is working with hot metal.
I still drill them on this routine once in a while to refresh their memory.
Their is no horse play in the shop. We have fun but, silliness goes outside.
BTW, thanks for reminding me, the oldest one starts full time school this fall and the younger starts pre-school. I must have some sweat in my eyes again...
- merl - Monday, 08/04/08 22:08:23 EDT

Directing children. They will do what they want to do. It is providing the opportunities that is important and supporting their interests when they have them. Both our twins (a girl and a boy) spent a summer working together at the forge together. Apparently they got it out of their system. My son wanted to build a guitar so we built a couple guitars to his design. My daughter made large tile mosaics and I helped by collecting scraps of various color tiles while traveling. While neither does metal work now both know the basics and have tools to do the things they want. My daughter has found it important to be a stay-at-home mom for a while. I'm sure my granddaughter will benefit. My son paints and has been involved in camera repair. . .

In my family 2 out of 8 followed my father's lead. The rest did what interested them.

Kids are born with a personality and certain inclinations that you cannot change. While you could force a child into the family business they might not be happy doing so.

An education in things mechanical, how to do research, use logic to figure things out and to communicate clearly (drawings if necessary). Those are skills that will profit a person for a lifetime no matter what field they choose.
- guru - Monday, 08/04/08 23:28:37 EDT

Threat to Industrial (blacksmithing) history: I received the following from New South Wales, Australia. This is a piece of world heritage that should be kept open. (See flier link below).

The NSW Government here in Australia wants to close the Eveleigh Blacksmithing Workshop. I am told that its collection of steam-powered blacksmithing machinery is the largest remaining in the world. The closure of this site would be just another nail in the coffin of the blacksmithing tradition. I have attached the flier for an open day they are holding to raise awareness.

- guru - Tuesday, 08/05/08 08:45:23 EDT

Redfern Watch Link: Do not confuse the link below with the political organization WITHOUT the .AU!
ATP's Operating Blacksmith's Shop
- guru - Tuesday, 08/05/08 09:00:57 EDT

For Farriers and Horse lovers: On May 1, 2008, a young man with aspirations of becoming a “Legendary Farrier” passed away as a result of a motorcycle accident. His name was Jamison Michael Albright.

He developed his love for horses as a young child, but it was in his teenage years when he discovered that a life working with horses was his calling. He spent every day before and after school tending to horses at the local equestrian stable. His nights away from home were usually spent sleeping with the horses there. He was willing to do anything asked of him, from helping prepare and groom the horses for equestrian show events to cleaning stalls, most of the time with little or no pay.

more about . .
- guru - Tuesday, 08/05/08 09:14:02 EDT

I think the important thing for kids is to learn that people *can* do things on their own!

My Father was an engineer who graduated in the late 1950's as an EE and taught me the "engineering mentality", the belief that anyone could do anything they could learn about and how to go about looking at a system and figuring out how it is supposed to work. With a manual or a book laid out on the workbench I learned a lot about how things are made---he was also very understanding about me dragging junk home and taking it apart to the base components; something I still enjoy doing. (Though it is shocking to see how poorly made many of our household items are; not only are they designed not to be worked on or fixed they are designed to fall apart quite rapidly!)

My wife often doesn't do minor household repairs as "she has never done that before" my reply is generally that "neither have I but you can look at it and see what needs doing!"

I have made it a point that everybody in the house should know how to switch off the power or the water if something starts going wrong with either.

Another point----I remember how shocked many of my smithing students are when I tell them to modify a store-bought tool to make it work better. Many of them have never thought it out that commercial tools are not the best design possible, they are merely a design that works ok for most people on the average that's cheapest to manufacture. I tell them that we are descended from over a million years of toolmaking/using monkeys and we have both the right and the duty to make or alter tools to work better for *ourselves*!

For my daughters I would buy used commercial tools and then retrofit them for their size---like taking a wood saw and cutting down the length and height of the blade (beverly shear!) and rasping down the handle so it would fit their hands. *real* tools were so much better and safer than kiddy tools sold (and at the fleamarket cheaper too!) As they grew older I started giving them tools for Christmas---socket sets, screwdrivers, 3/8 VSR drill. They may never use them but at least I have fulfilled my duty as a parent to send them out into the world equipped to meet it!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 08/05/08 11:16:42 EDT

Tools for the Kids: When one of my nieces (about early High School age) walked into my forge on a family visit, her first reaction was: "Wow! Look at all the neat tools!" Guess who got a tool box full of all of my handiest (but redundant) general tools, with some fill-ins from the flea market, for her next birthday? :-D (It's a shame I couldn't come up with anything for her equally nice, but leass inspired, sister. Guilty uncle!)

Meanwhile, on National Public Radio last night, they had a feature on a camp where kids actually use tools to (gasp) make thing! The link is below.

"Give your children sharp things to play with and they'll grow up careful, or maimed, or both." (UAVTBoW)

Camp Offers Kids A Chance To Play With Fire
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 08/05/08 14:08:41 EDT

czech anvil: czech anvil is older about ten years old but in very nice shape I think they have good rebound there is a heavy coat of paint on the body but think the casting is quality job thanks call nick 216-870-1636
- nick - Tuesday, 08/05/08 16:06:58 EDT

tools in Berkeley, CA : on the way home from the Alameda Flea Market, really so convenient that I couldn't NOT stop by, I followed up on a craigslist post about an estate sale that just barely mentioned blacksmithing tools. The guy there was cleaning out his grandfathers shop, filled with boxes since the last 1940*s. He shows me the back of the garage smithy, big rivet forge with blower, another Buffalo Forge #300 blower on a pipe stand, post drill, anvil, grinders, tongs, big pipe vise inside and out, piles of hammers, drifts, and other steel tools, including a plane or two. Time and finances allowed me to grab only the BF blower and a nice pair of tongs. but I told him I'd let other smiths know about what he has there, he SAID he didn't want to sell his grandfathers's anvil, but when I said I paid $300 for my 104 lb PW, his expression changed.
andy, 925/323-2134
Michael - Tuesday, 08/05/08 18:05:57 EDT

Mid Atlantic power hammer: Looking for a power hammer in the Mid Atlantic area.
- Chris - Tuesday, 08/05/08 19:56:51 EDT

Power Hammers for Sale:
We have available a 100 pound Little Giant, late model with OEM motor in perfect condition for $4,500. Perfect for the small shop for everything from blade work to architectural. Located in NC. Can arrange shipping OR local pickup. Write me for details.

Larry Harley (In Bristol TN) has a 250 Little Giant. It needs some work but I think it is all there. I've asked him to post details.
- guru - Tuesday, 08/05/08 21:26:51 EDT

250 lb little giant: For sale:
250 Little Giant number357
Purchased 2 years ago to go into the new shop, but the shop construction has stopped.
Machine has an old repair on one toggle arm.
No Motor, but I will help locate one if requested.

$4500 and I will help arrange loading.
- larry harley - Wednesday, 08/06/08 16:40:36 EDT

Chris. . If I needed a power hammer I would JUMP on the 100 pound ready to run hammer. . . I've posted it twice, its a good deal and far and few between. Yep, a few miles South of the "Mid-Atlantic" but then I had to buy a fork lift from Minnesota to get what I wanted. . .

Note Harley's 250 for the same price. I paid $3500 for one 20 years ago. LG's tend to all sell for the same price regardless of size. 50's are good, 100's are perfect. 250's are serious machines.
- guru - Wednesday, 08/06/08 16:47:03 EDT

Squirrel Cage Blower: I had an old squirrel cage blower with a 1/8 h.p. electric motor stashed away for years for use in a new forge building if I ever got around to building one. Well, here I am.

The blower is about 18" wide and 2' tall on it's frame and I intend to use it as the main exhaust ventilation for the building in the east gable. This is the "hot" end of the building, where all of the forging work will be taking place. I've got a pair of inlet vents in the west (cold work) end, not to mention a 40" wide door there, and windows on the east, north and west sides. Jock has provided me some guidance on this so the other night I lubricated the motor and pulleys, attached a new electric cord, made sure everything was properly wired and grounded, and plugged it in at the old forge building. It certainly moves a lot of air! Then the motor had a couple of blue flashes and stopped. I shook out some dead bugs and mouse-nest material and tried again and it seemed to run okay; but quickly became hot to the touch. So, do these small electric motors run hot normally? Should I take it apart, vacuum it out some more, or just get a new motor? Any other tricks that I should know about? I do plan to put it in an easily serviceable position per Jock's suggestion, but I don't want to burn-out the motor, or burn down the new forge; so I'm looking for some further guidance here.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 08/07/08 15:49:59 EDT

Bruce, I have a similar blower as my gable exhaust. My biggest problem was figureing uot what voltage it was supposed to use, as I didn't know where it came from and the motor had no markings. I wired up for 220v and jumpered it to a breaker, at which point it made a valiant attempt to go airborne as the blades went supersonic. A quick rewire to 110 and it purrs like a kitten with the hiccups.

The blue flashes mean something got into the brushes and shorted, but someone more electrically oriented than I will have to give further advise.
Alan-L - Thursday, 08/07/08 17:00:00 EDT

Hot Motors:
Many induction motors normally run at a temperature uncomfortable to touch (56C) and SHOULD have that rating on the side of the motor.

I think the correct size motor for that size fan is 1/3 so you may have misread it OR someone has replaced the motor with one too small. THAT will make it run really hot. .

Sparks from a single phase motor are no good. The only contacts in induction fan motors are the centrifugal switch that releases the start winding. IF they stay engaged the motor will run VERY hot just long enough to flambe' the windings. This is usually about 4 to 8 seconds followed by some electrical smoke. The motor is then scrap.

I would run this fan for a significant time at bench level before installing it. Bug debris can be a temporary problem OR it can prevent the centrifugal switch from operating.
- guru - Thursday, 08/07/08 17:21:03 EDT

Bruce, The blue sparking in your motor may be caused by the brushes being worn out. If one or more of the brushes are at the end of their spring travle they will continuue to work for a little while but, will give off a bright blue white spark and alot of ozone oder. It may be that what stoped the motor suddenly was one of the brush springs getting stuck in the comutator...?
I have had several salvaged furnace fans (squirle cage blowers) over the years and one thing I sometimes have to do is rig up some cardboard duct work that goes from the motor to one of the fan inlets so as to provide the same air flow over the motor as if it were still in the furnace. That could be part of the reason it seems to run so hot.
Also, I beleive that most modern motors are rated for a 40degC temp rise from ambient so your motor might be running at "normal"temp.
That is about the extent of my "thin book of wisdom" on electric motors...
- merl - Thursday, 08/07/08 17:46:49 EDT

UAVTBoW: I believe it may be quoted in the thin book;
"Electrical devices work well untill the magic smoke leaks out, and then require a return to the factory or a electrical magician to replace the lost smoke. No magic smoke, no operation" :)
ptree - Thursday, 08/07/08 18:46:24 EDT

Maybe the blue sparks were from a thermal overload switch that popped when the motor overheated (if it did).

Also, the converse of what Alan said is that a 220V motor connected to 110V will overheat very quickly (whether or not it runs). Since electric furnaces and auxiliary resistance elements on heat pumps are 220V, 220V blower motors are pretty common.

Finally, some blower motors are multispeed. You didn't mention any extra wires, but if there are more than two and you connect them wrong, that would be bad.
Mike BR - Thursday, 08/07/08 19:29:40 EDT

ptree, of course you are right! I forgot all about the level of magic smoke...
Bruce, look around for the dip stick on that motor and make sure it's not a pint low -
- merl - Thursday, 08/07/08 21:48:43 EDT

Bruce's motor: Get Yourself a cheap amprobe [HF has them] and get in the habbit of checking salvaged gear to be sure the amperage doesn't excede what the spec plate says. This is the easy way to determine if it is overloaded, and is a good general troubble shooting tool.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 08/07/08 22:36:56 EDT

Fan motors:
Note that induction fan motors do not have brushes. The only induction motors with brushes are high torque induction-repulsion motors used on air compressors and other very high starting torque applications. They make a distinct starting growl that is unmistakable.

Portable electric tools with brush motors use AC/DC brush motors, also for high torque. Never used on fans.

As mike noted, many fan motors ARE two speed. If the wiring plate or the cover diagram is missing you are in trouble. However, occasionally modern motors have some labels on the terminal board (if there is one). They often require cleaning and close inspection with a light.

Yes, when the magic smoke leaks out that is "all she wrote . .".

I've replaced enough of these motors while standing atop a ladder that I would not install one with an old used motor. . . too short a life to start.
- guru - Thursday, 08/07/08 22:43:00 EDT

More Fan motors:
In-line fans (not the type Bruce has) often rely on the fan for cooling as Merl noted. I bought a bunch of these used then found they were weird voltage, weird RPM AND required an external fan or being in-line with the driven fan . . .

Seems like my luck with used motors ran out YEARS ago. I set up a bunch of buffers and various machines with used motors. The last batch I picked up had bad bearings and other problems. I suspect they, along with the weird RPM in-line motors will be scraped with some flood damaged motor. They will follow a pallet load of odd 3PH and antique motors we recently scraped. . This year I spent a fortune on replacement motors and still have more to go. . .
- guru - Thursday, 08/07/08 22:50:37 EDT

Atli's Motor: As Merl noted, most motors these days are rated for a 40 degrees Centigrade rise. That is rise over ambient, if I'm not mistaken, and means they may run as much as 180 degrees Fahrenheit on a warm day. It is better if they don't, but at maximum rated load, they can rise that much.

The 56C Jock mentioned is unlikely to be a temperature rating, and much more likely to be a National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) frame designation - in the case of a 56-C, it would be a motor that is 56/16" (3-1/2") to the center of the shaft from the bottom of the motor, and the "C" designation would indicate that it is a face-mounted motor. That would be a pretty normal designation for a squirrel cage fan motor in the 1/4 to 3/4 hp range, but a bit hefty for a 1/8 hp motor.

I'd guess that if it is an induction motor that the sparking is a problem with the start winding centrifugal "commutator" not releasing, since induction motors don't generally have brushes to spark. If it is a universal (AC/DC) motor, then it could be crud in the commutator causing the brushes to wear and shed carbon graphite particles all around the commutator. That can bridge commutator gaps and cause cross currents in the windings, really heating up a motor to the point of failure. Blow it out, take a woodentoothpick and gently scrape the crud from between the commutator bars and try it again.

Good luck with it, Bruce! At this time of year, you probably need it. I know I'm running two fans in my shop if the forge is lit, which it mostly is these days. Still pretty darn sweaty in America's Paradise.
vicopper - Thursday, 08/07/08 23:31:54 EDT

atli.. seems your motor if induction type (no brushes)might have shorted out a few windings and will not be able to carry a normal load and should be discarded. Its also possible that the start windings have opened and the motor can't come up to speed also causing it to run hot or the run windings are open and the motor is trying to run on the start windings alone again causing it to run hot. If it's the type with a starting capacitor the cap might be bad not allowing the motor to start's not worth keeping if it's a difficult install or a fire hazard. better a new one or another motor you can trust. any motor too hot to touch is bad meaning that you could touch it but not hold it..clear as mud??
- dale - Friday, 08/08/08 16:31:37 EDT

atli's motor: Bruce is it an old furnace motor? If so you may need to restrict the incoming air as they are designed to pull air through duct work and over heat if they run too easy. Cover about 1/2 of your intake and see if this helps.

- Bud Williams - Saturday, 08/09/08 18:33:21 EDT

Blower Motor: Okay, I was able to loosen the mount and rotate the motor so that I could read the plate today:

Style: 316P503-A
Serial: ZB
Frame: 48
Thermoguard thermo protection Type: A
HP: 1/8 (I double checked that)
PH: 1
Type: FH
RPM: 1725
Service Factor: 1.4
Cycles: 60
Code: S
Volts: 115
Amps: 2.4
Deg. C: 40
Hours: CONT
Housing: OPEN
"Oil yearly after 2 years for normal operation. Oil twice a year for frequent operation."

I'm still shaking an occasional bug or spider web out of it; what sort of oil would it use? Once I have it cleaned and lubed, I could just run it for an hour in a nice, fireproof location and make sure its stable.

I guess I should have rotated it and read the plate before I even started asking questions, but it was a little obscure under the mount.

Thank you all for your past and future enlightenment.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 08/09/08 20:49:02 EDT

Atli's motor: Okay, that tells us a bit more. It is a fractional horsepower (FH) motor with an open housing, 3" from the baseplate to the center of the shaft, with a high service factor, meaning it is intended for continuous duty at or near full load. The insulation is rated for 40 degree C temperature rise (above ambient), which is pretty normal. It shouldn't get too hot to touch, but can be uncomfortably hot and still be within normal operating parameters.

It is probably equipped with a centrifugal start switch that starts it on separate "start" windings, and when it gets up to speed centrifugal force throws the contact plate out and shifts it to the "run" windings. If it is sparking more or less continuously when running, then the centrifugal throw out is probably stuck or bouncing. A liberal application of LPS-1 spray lube might free it up. Don't use WD-40, as that stuff will turn to varnish when it gets hot and really gum up the works. The LPS-1 doesn't do that, nor does a similar product made by CRC.

10W motor oil works fine for motors like that, or you can use ATF. No need for anything exotic in the way of lube.

If you have compressed air available, blow the thing out. Or take it to your local mechanic and ask him to blow it out. More effective than shaking (grin).
vicopper - Saturday, 08/09/08 22:45:36 EDT


As the Guru pointed out, 1/8 HP does sound kind of small for the blower you described. A simple test would be to disconnect the blower wheel from the shaft and see if the motor will run normally under no load.
Mike BR - Sunday, 08/10/08 08:20:12 EDT

ptree: If available, I'll buy a second gallon of the lube at Quad States.
- djhammerd - Sunday, 08/10/08 17:53:41 EDT

Dave sure thing. Your down for two.
ptree - Sunday, 08/10/08 20:31:52 EDT

Notion for Congress: Hi folk - I thought I'd share a notion I'm sending to my Congress person which has been inspired by some of Jock's rants over the years:

I have had an idea I would like for you to consider introducing for Congressional action.

I call it the Industrial Recovery Investment Stimulus Act, The IRIS Act for short.

Industry in the United States has been steadily hollowed out by decades of under-investment in not only plant and equipment, but research and development as well on account of Wall Street's obsession with short term profitability. This has forced many, many companies to not invest in the things they will need to still be in business in twenty years, since those investments are viewed as mere expenses by the financial community.

Now, this short-term focus has been exacerbated by the fact that investors obtain a preferential tax treatment after holding assets for only a single year.

What I propose you do, is amend the tax code so it takes much longer to obtain that preferential tax treatment.

I believe a preferential tax treatment should not be granted to capital gains until an investment has been held for at least five years. (It might be better to start out the legislative process with seven years, and accept five.)

My thinking is that this modification will force investors (and the analysts and advisers on Wall Street) to extend their focus from the pernicious quarter-to-quarter view to one which keeps the long-term fate of the company in which they are investing in mind.

Now, if you keep the capital gains rate steady and add inflation indexing to the cost basis, you can sell it to the Republicans as a tax cut, and because the aim is improving industry (and especially manufacturing) you can sell it to the Democrats as a form of industrial policy where the government does not have to pick the winners and losers.

I suspect this should be somewhere near revenue neutral, since more transactions being taxed as ordinary income will compensate for the loss resulting from indexing the cost basis of the longer term capital investment.

Oh - a belated condolence on Jock's loss of his father.
John Lowther - Monday, 08/11/08 19:10:42 EDT

Tax Incentives:
John, I am not sure that is the problem. However, I am not familiar with the tax code as it applies to big business. I DO know that for small (I'm talking micro small like the self employed) the code has restrictions on what you can write off in one year. The amount has been growing over time but the original rate was held back several years when I could have REALLY used it.

As a micro business I can purchase a bunch of old used machinery or MAYBE one fairly decent new machine and write it off the first year. As a cash business with little capital this is critical to my survival. In years past I used to have to keep complicated tables and write off many relatively small pieces of equipment over 3, 5 and 10 years. Imagine buying a FAX machine in the late 1970's and having to write it off for over 10 years PLUS paying property taxes based on its original on it at a high rate as "telephony" equipment forever. . . The labor keeping the books, reporting the taxes and paying continued taxes were far in excess of that high priced piece of equipment.

Today I can replace my computers and even by some tools such as a small lathe and write off 100% of it. Without those write offs I would often not be able to afford the equipment AND someone else would not get the sale. . .

Since congress passed the Rapid Recovery Act which only really helps MICRO businesses due to the limits (started at 2,500 and is now over 10 or 15,000 I have repeatedly heard people protesting the great benefits of the Act to the rich and large business.

I figure all these tax protesters must be accountants or relatives of accountants who want more work keeping depreciation schedules for small businesses for decades. . .

There IS a serious problem with long term investments and everyone looking for immediate quarterly profits. An investment implies TIME not an immediate turnover that makes a return in the first quarter. . .

The current devastating problem is fuel costs. In the 70's and 80's the costs were passed on by everyone (except the oil companies) over a period of decades. Today it is being done done almost instantaneously such as Dow Corning increasing prices across the board by 25% and food costs rising as fast as fuel. The people this hurts the worst are vast number of workers who cannot simply increase THEIR hourly rate overnight to reflect their costs. At the same time as the entire populace is being made poorer the oil companies are posting record profits. . . Sounds like the plot of a science fiction movie (See Highlander, The Quickening, mega corporation holding the world as economic hostage).

- guru - Tuesday, 08/12/08 11:44:46 EDT

ebay machines/tools: You might want to look on ebay at some nice machines and tools that are on the block right now. To find them all, go to "advanced search" on eBay and enter grm10 for seller. There's seven listings, from significant shop machines to armor tooling. Have fun.
- gmeffert - Tuesday, 08/12/08 19:32:59 EDT

nile spring hammer.: Hi ,
i was wondering if anyone has heard of a "Nile" brand or make of hammer?
the one i have seen for sale is advertized as a "1cwt nile spring hammer" does anyone have any advice or comments?
woody - Wednesday, 08/13/08 07:40:22 EDT

Nope. "Niles-Bement" made big industrial steam hammers. But I do not know of a Nile. Looked in "Pounding out the Profits" and there was no listing there.
- guru - Wednesday, 08/13/08 11:42:01 EDT

The current Section 179 deduction, the amount you can take off your taxes THIS YEAR from the purchase of new machinery is $250,000.
Yep, a cool quarter million dollars.

So for small businesses, the purchasing of new equipment is, for all practical purposes, completely deductible, and you dont need to depreciate over 20 years.

Luckily, a $50 computer tax program does all the depreciation calculations, so most businesses today dont have either of those problems the Guru describes from the 70's. I did my own taxes in the 70's, and remember that mess well- but nowadays, my tax program automatically caluculates the different depreciation amounts for my various shop buildings and additions, which you must still depreciate.
Tools, I get to just take off the top every year- at least so far, I have not had the cash to spend more than $250,000 on new equipment in a single year. Maybe next year....

But for bigger businesses, the short term profit thinking, it seems to me, is more based on the incentives that Wall Street offers than on the tax code. Most companies find ways to shuffle money around to elude whatever tax laws are instituted- but Wall Street, which worships increasing growth every year (the definition of cancer) and constantly rising stock prices, is the piper to which most CEO's dance.
Me, I am perfectly happy if my gross just rises enough to match inflation- I dont think its natural for a company to grow 20%, or 50%, a year- those companies always seem to mysteriously crash and burn, and NOBODY had any inkling that was going to happen.
But in the interim, those execs make hefty salaries. So they dont really care if the company goes bankrupt, or the employees lose their health care and pensions.
Pull up the Gangplank, mate, I'M ABOARD.
- Ries - Wednesday, 08/13/08 12:43:42 EDT

High Oil => US manufacturing growth?: Below I've given a link to an article which argues that high oil prices, along with the onset of wage inflation and QA/QC problems in developing countries may reinvigorate US manufacturing.

I don't know how long this link will work, but ZDNet usually keeps things up for quite a while
Expensive Oil & offshoring
John Lowther - Wednesday, 08/13/08 14:18:48 EDT

Taxes, Wall Street: Wow, Hadn't looked at the 179 deduction in a bunch of years because most of what I have purchased in recent years has been in the category of "small tools" (including PC's) and even then I wasn't spending that much. But this fall I made some money and spent a bunch on a fork lift and motors to refit to machinery. . . nothing near the max allowed. . .

The 179 deduction was supposed to increase $5k/year for a number of years but they skipped several JUST at the time I was making good money and buying machinery. . . cost me a BUNCH. And THAT is one problem with our tax system. It changes every year and makes it darn near impossible for a small business to plan for the future.

WALL STREET and the BIG 5 accounting firms are a whole different ball of wax. A relative who used to work for one of the Big Five told me once that the really big corporations TELL the accountants what the books are going to say then the accountants make it work. . . ENRON was no surprise to me. But the surprise from the Enron affair is that the Big Five are still the Big Five. These are certified "public" accountants that are supposed to protect the public from shady accounting practices. . . Some of these companies should have been put out of business and many or THEIR (not just Enron's) top officials put in jail. It did not happen. There was talk of setting new rules and nothing else. That means that another Enron will probably happen and probably has with the mortgage crisis. A lot of greedy people on one hand and a lot of people asleep instead of keeping an eye on what was happening. So far all that has happened is that the U.S. taxpayer is paying for the fat cat's malfeasance.

A long time problem with basing the state of the economy on Wall Street has been that emotions control the market more than reality.
- guru - Wednesday, 08/13/08 19:36:43 EDT

Beadry Hammer for sale: Matt and I have decided to offer our Beaudry for sale. We can't justify 3 hammers right now and need to complete our new shop. As the other 2 are set up and running the nicest has to go!

This hammer was purchased from the estate of Bill Gitchner along with our drop hammer. Bill was asking $10,000 It was sold to me as a 250lb hammer and I have no reason to believe otherwise. It's listed weight is around 5500lbs. My 4500 lb forklift will not lift it so it was unloaded via rollback and moved into place by the quarry guys next door. It is sitting where a rollback could snatch it up, or we can set up loading with the big lift next door.

It has a large single phase motor driving a reduction idler. As we never set it on a foundation I've only run it very little just to make sure everything was working. It has been sitting about 2 years since then as we have not been able to get a foundation finished in the new shop.

The springs have been repaired and while I would most likely run it as is, new springs should be a consideration.

Located in Maryland 21104

$5,500.00 USD

I'll be taking more pics and perhaps a video over the weekend. Visa MC Disc AMX Paypal accepted!!!!! Cash is however KING as my mother the antique dealer used to say.

Jock, I'll make sure to send you direct links to the pics if you want them for the hammer page.

Pic at;
Kerry Stagmer - Thursday, 08/14/08 08:54:48 EDT

That is two 250# hammers and a great 100# Little Giant we have listed here. No excuses if you are looking for a mechanical hammer!

Contact me about the 100 LG.
- guru - Thursday, 08/14/08 13:25:37 EDT

Undercut's Paradoxes-- howcum it is that when you are stretched as far as you can reach, can't possibly move another micromilimeter, to get the plug into the damned receptacle that some fool installed back amid the spiders behind the immoveable cabinet... the prongs... don't... fit... because... of the... bloody... polarity?
- Miles Under cut - Friday, 08/15/08 11:54:31 EDT

I don't know Miles but, I suspect the answer is related to the same reason you can't get that last section of flue pipe to slide together when you're standing three steps above the "Maximum Safe Hight" of a 10' step ladder to reach a 16'peak with any number of things to fall on and impale your self with. Invariably this will occure when nobody else is around call 911 for you as well...
- merl - Friday, 08/15/08 12:11:00 EDT

The Universe is out to get you and has a low sense of humour; can't you hear it chuckling to itself?

Thomas P - Friday, 08/15/08 12:39:42 EDT

Howcum. . :
Well, why DO they put steps on ladders and then say "this is NOT a step". . Kind of like "I dare you!"

- guru - Friday, 08/15/08 13:24:21 EDT

Undercut's Corollary to merl's and Jock's ladder paradox: why is the bit you will have in your drill driver when you at last reach your perilous and wobbly perch up there never the right one for the screws? Why is the right one ALWAYS wayyyyyyyyy down in the tool box?
Miles Under cut - Friday, 08/15/08 21:54:12 EDT

It all comes down to the 7
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 08/15/08 22:47:58 EDT

Miles - another try: It all comes down to the 7 "P"s:
Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 08/15/08 22:52:18 EDT

Here's another P for you: Pishtosh! Prior planning, indeed. What other kind of planning could there be? A posteriori planning? I myself have never made a plan in my entire life, nor kept a calendar. Doing so just taunts the gods, methinks.
Miles Under cut - Friday, 08/15/08 23:33:50 EDT

Good heavens Thomas! is that the Universe laghing at me?
Here I thought I was just going crazy...
Dave , I'm writing the "7 P's" on the shop wall above the entry way.
That's right up there with "Piss Poor Planing on Your Part, Does Not Constitute an Emergincy on My Part" (as noted on the wall outside the supply room of my old Army unit)
- merl - Friday, 08/15/08 23:39:46 EDT

Another: Always pee to lee.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 08/16/08 14:51:54 EDT

On prior and posthumous planning: In archaeology, when you have submitted a research design for a major project based on what all prior testing has told you will be present, complete with massive budget and so on (or more likely the reverse), odds are you will find something completely unexpected and contrary to the face of reason. When this happens, the report will contain what is known as the "post-hoc accomodative scenario." This translates to roughly the same thing as a rapid design change in blacksmithing, but is generally more expensive. (grin!)

As for the right bit on the driver atop the ladder, I have personally witnessed the tendency for threaded fasteners to spontaneously switch head types when approached at altitudes greater than six feet off the ground. Usually from #2 phillips to something like a #9 torx, but once they switched to #4 Robertson on a project I know full well I originally assembled with nails!
Alan-L - Saturday, 08/16/08 16:10:07 EDT

I have no affiliation with these adds but I wanted to pass them on.
Trenton Anvil for sale,300# ,"rings like a bell" $600. OBO 920-465-6870 (somewhare in Wisconsin)

Blacksmith forge 30x36, hood w/fan in exhaust pipe. Hand cranked blower on factory stand. Retiring. $475.
920-766-5806 (somewhare in Wisconsin)

As seen in this weeks Wisconsin State Farmer
- merl - Monday, 08/18/08 17:57:32 EDT

making it shiny: Hi, I just recently made my first knife. my question is about getting it to shine real nice. I've used a 60 grit flapper wheel on a 4and a half inch grinder and it looks really nice, But I cant seem to get rid of the swirl marks. Should i be using something else? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
- Bennie - Monday, 08/18/08 18:20:23 EDT

Bennie, most of my knifemaking friends wouldn't even consider 60 grit the start of a finish as they would got up the levels with 100 grit, 220 grit, 320 grit, 400 grit 600 grit and then buff. Using either a belt grinder in those grits of a hand sanding block with a different block for each grit.

Thomas P - Monday, 08/18/08 19:29:11 EDT

Polishing: Bennie, See my post today on the guru's den about making blades for files. Also see the 21st Century page on wheels. And finally Thomas's post above. As he noted, you are still at the coarse finish stage.
- guru - Monday, 08/18/08 20:42:21 EDT

. . .blades FROM files. . .
- guru - Monday, 08/18/08 20:42:53 EDT

Number of Blacksmiths: Anyone have any idea how many blacksmiths there are these days? I remember reading some time ago that there were three hundred working smiths in the U.S. Is this still an acurate figure?
John Christiansen - Monday, 08/18/08 20:53:08 EDT

Euroanvils: This might be a repeat but did we ever get a final concensus on how hard the big Euroanvils are?
philip in china - Tuesday, 08/19/08 01:14:10 EDT

Euroanvils again (sorry): What exactly does the following mean to me as a user?

Anvils Technical Parameters

1) Material: C=0,3%, Mn=1,3%, Si=0,5%
According to factory norm/standard (manganese steel)
2) Tolerance of weight is 10% according to the standards
3) Hardened shift is up to 1/3 of the high of the anvil
4) Hardness: min 420 HB (44 HRC)
5) Tolerance of HARDY HOLES:
20 x 20 till 30 x 30 mm +/- 4 mm
above 30 mm + 4 mm 6) Tolerance of PRITCHEL HOLES:
diam. 25 mm +/- 0,7 mm
diam. 12 mm +/- 0,5 mm
7) Curve of working face is up to 5,00 mm max.
8) Roughness of workoing face is Ra = 3,2
9) It is highly recomended to use the hammer weight of which doesnt
exceed the weight proportion of 1 : 30 anvil to hammer.

item 4 - hardnes is higher, usually about 48-50 HRC
item 7 - the surface is not so bent, usually it is flat by sight

Any assistance would be appreciated. I can get a 220Kg (484#) unit for less than 900 Euros (1320 US$ but obviously that is excluding delivery to my place in Bulgaria but I hope that that won't be too dear.
philip in china - Tuesday, 08/19/08 07:34:16 EDT

Phillip, They are not as hard as some and not nearly as hard as the old tool steel anvils or top quality alloy steel anvils. This is a medium to low carbon steel that relies on the manganeses to increase hardenability. They are much better than cast iron, harder than the cheapest anvils and fairly popular in the U.S.

The best anvils run about Rockwell 52-54. Small anvils may be a little more. However, up until the last decade or so anvil manufacturers never gave hardness numbers.

I do not understand line 3 "hardness shift" myself. Unless they are talking about the top third of the anvil.

The flatness spec is because they are not machined but are ground using a large belt sander. 500 pounders have been known to drop off at the heel by 3/8" (double the tolerance). The U.S. dealer replaced or heavily discounted this one. . .

The problem with Euroanvils is quality control and who you are dealing with. In the U.S. the dealer/importer stands behind the product. In Europe there have been horror stories such as one that broke in two and the selling agent refusing to replace the anvil or give a refund. Foundries have changed a number of times due to price and quality problems.

While the Euroanvil tradname was created by Steve Finestine of the U.S. and the patterns specified and paid for by him the control of the product's manufacturing has been in the hands of the Czech agent. Steve sold the business to John Elliot of Blacksmiths Supply. When you are dealing with the European agent you are dealing with a different business than the U.S. based Euroanvils.

I think their specifying the hammer to anvil ratio is funny. This is a device I came up with to compare hand hammer and anvil efficiency to power hammer anvil ratios then applied it later to selecting an anvil (normal is about 50:1). They are saying that you could use a 16 pound sledge. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 08/19/08 09:40:39 EDT

Number of Working Smiths: I guess it depends on how you define "working"- my wife certainly doesnt think I work much, for example-
But the numbers are FAR more than 300.
I would imagine that there are still at least 1000 industrial smiths, in various capacities, in the USA- some do forging all day, like the crews at Scott Forge's several plants, or Steve Parker, who often posts here, some do production work in factories, and some do repair work, but there are still a few dozen industrial forge shops, maritime repair shops, and so on, left.
Then, there are ornamental smiths.
I personally know at least 50 to 100 ornamental smiths who work full time, and a good dozen or two of em have employees as well- I gotta figure that when you add in all the ones I dont know, its another couple thousand.
Part time in fab shops, there are hundreds more.
So if you are just figuring on people who get paid, and spend some portion of their week forging, I would be amazed if it was under 5000 in the USA.
Virtually every NOMMA shop these days is dabbling in forging, for example. A fair amount of art metalsmiths and jewelers do some forging- I know a good half dozen college metalworking professors in art programs who teach some forging to a few hundred kids a year. My local community college teaches some forging. Metal arts centers in Berkeley and Seattle teach regular forging classes. Austin Community College teaches a LOT of forging, and Southern Illinois University will give you a graduate degree in it.
Add in the hobby smiths, and the number is between 15,000 and 20,000 total- these are people who do some forging, at least once a month.
Although the number of full time general blacksmiths, and the number of industrial smiths has dropped a lot since WW2, the number of people who are interested in the craft has been steadily rising since the 70's, and the skill levels for the best smiths are as high, if not higher, than ever.
- Ries - Tuesday, 08/19/08 12:58:29 EDT

Number of smiths: I agree with Ries but use slightly different math. Hobbysmiths and pros combined I would guess 17,000+ and growing. We have roughly 15,000+ addresses access anvilfire in any given month. No those are not all smiths, but the majority are interested and half probably work at the anvil.

Actual working smiths is a hard number to pin down. But the range that forge include industrial smiths, architectural smiths, bladesmiths, those that make hardware and outright artist-blacksmiths that do 100% artistic (non-functional) work.

ABANA at its peak a few more than 5,000 members in a conference year when membership spiked about +800.

There are roughly 60 local groups with an average of 100 members with about 15% being ABANA members. So that is 5,000.

That makes about 10,000 hobbiests that are members of groups. I suspect there are more. We sell enough small orders of kaowool to build more than 100 gas forges a year. That is 1,000 forges in 10 years and I suspect 4 times that many commercial forges are sold. So that is far more than 5,000 gas forges in use. BigBLU has sold about 1,000 hammers in the past 10 years. Many of those are in hobby shops but most are in commercial shops. Multiply that number by five for the other manufacturers and the thousands of old hammers still in use and you have 5,000 smiths using small power hammers and gas forges.

There are also a LOT of low profile folks that don't go to meetings, use available tools and just do their thing without being noticed.

Then there is also the large number of bladesmiths, another growing field.

Providing railings and other architectural work that is not necessarily forged requires about 10 workers per 100,000. If you extrapolate that to the entire population you would have 3000. I think NOMMA's membership is about 250 which would include a high percentage of shops with multiple employees.

While blacksmithing was at its peak just before WWI the majority served the horsedrawn transportation industry in one way or another including shoeing, wheel and wagon work. But there was also a large number of architectural smiths doing production work such as for all the big city high rises as well as fire escapes.

However, today, they claim there are more shod horses in the U.S. than at the peak of the horse drawn era. This means that there are a large number of farriers. Probably 100 or more per state.

So, for the total blacksmiths you could easily have from 5,000 to 15,000 doing one thing or another not including all the hobbysmiths and those that have other jobs.

- guru - Tuesday, 08/19/08 15:10:09 EDT

Number of blacksmiths: The 300 number came from an article in Parade magazine a few years ago, and may have refered only to artist-blacksmiths, for as you fellows quickly pointed out there are clearly far more than that. I became curious after an article in the local newspaper, which said there were twenty blacksmiths on Cape Cod, which is a pretty small strip of land. There were four smiths in my home town of 6000. None remain that I know of.
John Christiansen - Tuesday, 08/19/08 16:54:47 EDT

16 pound sledge: Sorry I didn't read your post before Guru, So are you saying I shouldn't use a sixteen pound sledge on my 170# peter wright? I try to keep the blows to the center of the anvil.
John Christiansen - Tuesday, 08/19/08 17:00:08 EDT

Shoot I've seen more than 300 show up just to one hammer-in before.

It really makes a difference how you classify them though, Scott Forge has a goodly number of folks forging the big stuff with big equipment---do you count them as smiths?

Frank Turley has taught hundreds of folks if not thousands at his smithing school; how do they fit in?

Any estimate you make is wrong so don't be too hung up on the numbers...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 08/19/08 18:51:54 EDT

Thomas P. and Guru Thanks for the advice. I was wondering if maybe I was taking things a little fast at the start here.
Bennie - Tuesday, 08/19/08 18:53:56 EDT

Thanks Guru: Actually if you read the item carefully they are suggesting I use a 6,600 Kg hammer. (They got the ratio the wrong way round).

Being produced relatively locally I think they have to be the way to go. I might have to do some finishing. Would that grade of steel work harden over time?
philip in china - Tuesday, 08/19/08 19:29:18 EDT

Work Hardening of Anvils: We have had a lot of discussion of work hardening of anvil surfaces and come to the conclusion that it is a myth promoted by sellers of soft or poorly heat treated anvils.

Yeah, I noticed the typo in the ratio as well. Be an interesting test. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 08/19/08 20:20:20 EDT

Bennie: While not the best for knife making, and not cheap, have a look at Walter Abrasives "Quick Step" finishing system. This is for an angle grinder, and if that is all You have, might be worth it. I have used these products on stainless projects, they work well.
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 08/19/08 23:24:18 EDT

Bennie-- you can achieve a pretty good finish with 3M's twist-on Roloc abrasive pads, ranging in aggressiveness from coarse to ultra-fine. As with everything from 3M, they are expensive and not long-lasting. They require buying a rubber backing disk that screws onto your grinder and then the locking abrasive pads screw onto that. (Beware the disks that fasten via a Velcro system-- they immediately turn into miniature flying saucers.) You could also give the nice man at A Cut Above abrasives a call-- Google them for their 800-- and see if he has any better suggestions.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 08/20/08 00:16:08 EDT

1:30 Anvil to Hammer: I just had a vision of a huge blacksmith struggling to drop an upside-down 400# anvil onto this gigantic six ton hammer-head set into the ground! Maybe he could use black and tackle?

Amused for the morning on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: Working this morning on the Museum Resource Center, home of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection from "the wall";

Go viking:
Museum Resource Center
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 08/20/08 07:58:42 EDT

Wrong URL for Museum Resource Center: It should have been:

Sorry 'bout that!
Correct URL for Museum Resource Center
Bruce Blackistone - Wednesday, 08/20/08 08:01:44 EDT

Apparently the new little Euros at 70Kg are .35% carbon and over 50 HRC. Certainly from the photos I have seen the general casting and finish looks better but what can you tell from photos? As a nice cheap little 150# unit they might be worth looking at. Anybody interested in seeing a photo?
- philip in china - Wednesday, 08/20/08 08:04:48 EDT

Phillip, Product photos should always look good. Ever see a fast food product that looked like the advertisements? Look at my photos of the Peddinghaus anvil used on I ground and polished the horn which comes as-forged and it looked much TOO good so I repainted it. . . along with the rest of the anvil. That still did not kill the finishing job well enough. . Then I lighted it, photographed it, adjusted and tweeked the photos. . . However, there is NO putty or casting defects to be patched with putty on these anvils.

Smaller anvils tend to be harder when everything else is equal due to quench rates.

The small Euroanvil is a nice pattern.

Peddinghaus Photos
- guru - Wednesday, 08/20/08 09:29:15 EDT

anvils for sale: I have 5 anvils for sale. Location is N. Central Mass. If interested cantact Mark Suchocki email: Phone no later than 8:30PM
978-249-6404 Price is $3.00 per pound .
Harley - Wednesday, 08/20/08 12:08:49 EDT

Turley Forge Blacksmithing School:
Has a September 15-20 opening due to a cancellation. You have another chance if you missed it!
- guru - Wednesday, 08/20/08 22:10:03 EDT

I've heard of grammar police; now I guess we've got grammar police police.
Mike BR - Saturday, 08/23/08 09:19:37 EDT

NC-ABANA at the Kaynes:
It was a nice day. Perfect weather, roomy facilities and a good demos. Tom Troszak of Phoenix Hammers gave a demo on forging with the power hammer and producing almost anything from whatever stock size you have on hand. The initial demo was making a short stubby round from a piece of 1-1/2" square stock, upsetting it then rounding it. This was followed by punching it with minimal loss then forging a doughnut from the rings using fullers and a ring forging setup with a saddle and mandrel. The next demo was making rectangular stock from round and then making a keeper -u- bracket in one blow using a simple jig using the rectangular material just made. The demo got slow at the end was still interesting.

After lunch Susan Hutchinson did a demo on traditional work using forge welding, collars and hand work. The demo was geared for beginners and was slow to some but not so to others. I had brought two teenage girls who are doing some forging to see Susan and they were quite absorbed with the demo.

Susan was making shelf brackets using numerous techniques, a forge weld, upset square corner, scrolling, leaves and a hot collar. The best part of her demo was how she adopted various methods she had been taught to her own a few of which were more suitable to a beginner or the smaller smith. She described how she had been taught to painstakingly make collars and keepers the hard way then demoed a tool using a hand hammer that was very much the same as the one used by Tom Troszak under the power hammer.

If you get a chance to go to ANY of these type events DO SO. There is much to learn.
- guru - Sunday, 08/24/08 17:28:51 EDT

Steel here in China: Steel prices are climbing even here. I got 17Kg piece yesterday and had to pay 130 local which is about US$17 but that included a cutout square and free delivery so I am still not complaining. The steel yards are all very busy supplying structural steel for the rebuilding.

Regarding my post on GD about thickness for an anvil stand etc. one choice would be to make a stand with legs and all the necessary cutouts etc. and then get it cast locally either in iron or possibly even steel. I suppose steel would be preferable although I notice that cast anvil stands are iron.

No further forward yet on my styrofoam swage block.
philip in china - Monday, 08/25/08 22:53:10 EDT

Philip: Long ago when anvil stands were cast, iron was the cheaper material, and every foundry was set up to cast iron. My preference would be steel. I still think fabricating from heavy plate and rectangular legs is less work.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 08/25/08 23:10:40 EDT

Anvil stand: I just fancied making a wooden mock up and then getting it cast. That is the idea behind the styrofoam swage block of course.

Here we have plenty of spare time so often do things a roundabout way just for the fun of it all. It is a very relaxed life- until something major goes wrong of course.

The main idea of the stand is to enable me to get closer to the anvil which must be better all round. Also to enable me to get stock right up against the sides of the anvil which would often be very convenient. (It is a Hofi anvil).
philip in china - Tuesday, 08/26/08 00:37:27 EDT

Blower Motor and Speed Control: I know that dimmer switches don't work on some motors (although one has been working very well on the blower from a copying machine for my coal forge for about 17+ years). So the question is, given the specs I posted above, would a dimmer switch/rheostat work or do harm to the motor on the ventilation blower for the new forge building? We just got it mounted in the east gable end this Saturday, and I'd hate to mess things up. On the other claw, variable speeds would be a good feature when balancing intake and outflow when the smoke stack is drawing. I don't want to suck things back in if it's moving too much air.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 08/26/08 21:44:51 EDT

Speed Controls:
Bruce, generally these only work on what are called shaded pole motors. These are often used on fans and grinders. They have no capacitors or switched start windings.

"Dimmers" come in duty for lights and heavier versions for overhead fan motors. You would need to compare the motor running amps and HP to the control specs.

Centaur Forge used to sell a heavy duty control to go with their large 500 CFM forge blowers.

Recently we have not had much luck with fan controls. We recently replaced an overhead paddle fan in our bedroom because of overheating wiring (burnt wire smells from the motor). The expensive supposedly "top quality" replacement started making short sounds about a month after installation. . . Both had internal controls designed for the units.

Note that the add-on controls require a full voltage start, then slowing the motor down. This makes sure the motor is turning and not stalled. On preset dimmers I use a fancy delay relay bypass to be sure the fan starts.
- guru - Tuesday, 08/26/08 23:38:35 EDT

Hi Guru

You use the term "We" referring to the fan in "our bedroom". You got yourself a young forging Phillie now?

- Rustystuff - Wednesday, 08/27/08 01:43:31 EDT

Dimmer switches: I use these to control the speed of the elctric blowers on the portable forges. The whole idea with the PF is that it should have as few parts as possible so I preferred a dimmer to making a gate or a butterfly valve.

The next remodelling of the PF will be a further simplification. I am going to get a 40mm thread cut on the outlet of the blower so it can screw into the 40mm pipe from which the rest of the PF air system is made. This should be a 100% airtight seal which will be good but also cuts out the need for a bracket to hold the bloer and makes the PF even easier to strip down.
philip in china - Wednesday, 08/27/08 01:46:59 EDT

I just thought if it isn't a little lady maybe like me just and old hound dog that shares the bedroom and bed. They are truely mans best friend anyway. Nothing like waking up to hot breath and a big old sloppy wet tongue on your face and in your mouth. LOL :)
- Rustystuff - Wednesday, 08/27/08 01:50:17 EDT

Nope, I am not a dog person. . . or cats (allergic to cats).
- guru - Wednesday, 08/27/08 08:04:05 EDT

PiC, on the other hand a gate or butterfly valve is usually less likely to break than an electronic dimmer sawitch and a lot easier to juryrig a fix in the field.

Of course if you are using a simple rheostat they are a bit tougher than a triac based dimmer.

Bruce if this is a fan with a "real" motor then you are pretty much out of luck unless you spring for a fancy DC with controler model that would be pricy---could you rig up a closeable vent near the fan and so cut it's force by letting it pull in outside air to make up the difference between what you want to vent and what it wants to vent?

Thomas P - Wednesday, 08/27/08 11:02:19 EDT

Blowers: ThomasP and Bruce, if this is a furnace blower, it is a squirell cage type and they are happier throttling by restricting the inlet. Most will overheat if allowed to run with little restriction on either inlet or exhaust. A flap that pivots to cover the inlet could easily be arranged to adjust witha pulley and light rope etc. Pesonally, I might tend to place the blower in the supply mode instead. Place it opposite the high exhaust, at floor level blowing in. Easier to adjust, mount and forces a nice draft at the breathing level. A supercharged building will often cause a draft stack to flow really really well:)
ptree - Wednesday, 08/27/08 17:57:26 EDT

I was not restricting anything I was adding a "make-up" air vent to replace what was being pushed out without having to pull it back down the stack; however the over pressured building does have lots of virtues---like making it harder for mosquitoes to enter when you're working.
Thomas P - Wednesday, 08/27/08 19:29:04 EDT

Blowers: What, exactly, ismeant by a squirrel cage blower? it seems to be a US expression with which I am unfamiliar.
philip in china - Wednesday, 08/27/08 19:46:04 EDT

I have both a gable end exhaust and a squirrel cage supply blower pointed at *me*. (It pulls air through a vent in the soffit on the north side of the building; otherwise the makeup air comes through a door that opens south onto a brick patio).

Phillip, "Hamster wheel" blower would actually be a more accurate description than "squirrel cage." It's the very common blower type that uses a wheel with narrow slats on the outer circumference, drawing air from inside the wheel and forcing it into a housing on the outside.
Mike BR - Wednesday, 08/27/08 20:13:54 EDT

Phillip in China,
The expression comes from the little excersize wheels one puts in small pet cages for animals such as a hamster or guinea pig. These are blowers that are commonly used for moving a fairly large volume of air at low pressure for things like furnaces and in copy machines to blow toner and for cooling. They come in varieties such as inclined wheel and back inclined wheel. They have a wheel with vanes at the OD that are only a small portion of the total diameter.
A better blower for a forge is a pressure blower. These are much like a wheel type supercharger. They usually have a disk with vanes that run all or almost all of the diameter out from the center. These are much better for moving air at higher pressures. The typical coal fire is usually right at "stagnation pressure" for a Squirell cage, that is at relatively low pressures like an inch of water column on the outlet they can't move air, just make it warmer. A pressure blower can be a centrifugul compressor and can with significant heating of the air, get to pressures of 40+ inches.
Most hand crank forge blowers are actually a pressure blower, just not full disk.
In that great reference book of American engineering, The Machineries manual, at least in my 13th edition circa 1946 are listed pressures needed for forges as 1 1/2 ounce to 6 ounces depending on size of the forge and distance and fittings and so forth. There is even a nifty chart showing the piping size required for forges based on tuyere diameter and how many forges up to as many as 10 forges with 4" tuyeres. That would be a 17" diameter at the blower discharge by the way:)
ptree - Wednesday, 08/27/08 20:19:53 EDT

Blowers: So I had 3 squirrel cages and never knew it! Thanks again for your input.
philip in china - Thursday, 08/28/08 00:26:53 EDT

Channel: Let me ask you another. This is non urgent.

I have to make covers for my good anvils to stop the locals from abusing them. The cover is a piece of 6" channel steel which drops over the anvil face. A piece of pipe welded under the channel slips over the horn and then a free rotating pin goes through the hardy hole and has a padlock snapped through the bottom.The pin rotates to make an assault on the padlock much more difficult.

The problem now is that I want to make one for an anvil with a shelf. So I have cut 2 slots in the web, one each side of the shelf. I want to bend the web out until it is allows the channel to sit flat on the anvil face. It will also, of course, provide a further cover for most of the shelf.

I have no OA to heat locally so is there an easy way to bend out that web? The whole piece of steel weighs almost 40 pounds so working with it will probably involve me and Sean! I know I can just heat it and hit it but that is not going to be easy- very awkward to get at.
philip in china - Thursday, 08/28/08 00:33:57 EDT

No easy way except perhaps a long lever with the heat. .

It might pay to grind off the corner in the bend zone until the thickness is near that of the channel. The hardest part of making a bend in the corner is that it is designed NOT to bend.
- guru - Thursday, 08/28/08 00:44:19 EDT

Don't know how you're cutting the slots, but you could alway connect them and remove the tab altogether, then weld it back on straight.
Mike BR - Thursday, 08/28/08 19:22:53 EDT

Further Considerations on the New Oakley Forge Building: Here are some links to show some of the progress on the new building for Oakley Forge. This shows the west end and south side at the door:

And here is the door, with a pair of 3 hinges salvaged from one of my great-great-grandfathers barns or stable. The door measures 86 X 44 X 2. Im still working on the handles, latches and locks at the present building.

Meanwhile, my wif ("It's my farm too.") has strongly suggested that
rather than painting the new forge building white with green trim,
mimicking Oakley House, that it would look better stained. Not only
that, but it would also blend in better with the surroundings and not
call attention to itself. (Except the roof, which will dull and darken
a bit with time, and looks like a lot of other tin roofs in the area.)

So, what sort of stain/preservatives have any of y'all had experience
with? I still figure on something light for the sides, and darker for
the trim, but most of my staining work has been the old MinWax interior
stains, and most of my preservative experience has been the "vile green
concoction" (1/3 horrible copper something-barely-legal, 1/3 turpentine, 1/3 boiled linseed oil. Its ugly and nasty, but it works.) for the bilges of our longships.

Is there anything to recommend for a humid tidewater environment? As always, advice and observations are welcome.
Picture of squirrel cage blower:
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 08/29/08 09:33:48 EDT

Wood. . .: I am the low, low, low, maintenance type. Paint is about the highest maintenance thing you can put on a wood building (5-8 years tops). It is second only below linseed oil window putty (3-4 years) and one notch above shingles (15 years).

That is why I used salt treated lumber for the exterior of my old shop which also has a tin roof and silicon/latex window caulking. All of which is maintnece free 25 years later even though the building is not complete. . . Extra expense pays in the kong run. The tin roof has JUST aged to the point where roof paint would stick well. But several commercial wood windows have glass falling out of them. . . The steel frame windows I put in with silicone caulking are still PERFECT.

Since it is too late for salt treated lumber or tin sides I would go with stain and religiously follow the manufacturers instructions on pre-finish (primiming) or aging. Much new lumber is too moist for stain to take properly.

The alternative is to just let the weather have at it and turn to a nice barn gray. . . . But I cannot tell if you used real wood throughout.

IF you used some sort of manufactured wood panels then prime it and paint it throughly. While the glues in chip board and ply panels is supposed to resist moisture they only do so for a specific warranted life and then revert to pieces under high moisture conditions. Stains do not seal such products well enough to preserve them for long duration.

- guru - Friday, 08/29/08 10:50:56 EDT

Wood: No, it's all wood-wood. Larger beams, and some more exposed 2X4s and trim are all pressure treated. The plywood (despite the presence of unwanted decorative grooving) is all exterior (actually, the grooved stuff was the only type they had with an exterior rating). No chip, strand or particle board.

I hadn't thought about the need for weathering before staining; and natural weathering is certainly a time-saver; but as you might notice, the wif is the final arbiter of good taste. :-)

East (hot work) end of forge w/ brick smoke-stack port
Bruce Blackistone - Friday, 08/29/08 11:10:35 EDT

Atli and you hanging out with vikings on a regular basis! *Blood* stains wood....(I've read of using oxblood and clay to make a "dirt" floor in a smithy before.)

Would one of those deck sealer stains available in the 5 gallon buckets work for the shop?
Thomas P - Friday, 08/29/08 11:10:48 EDT

I had my 3-story house on Long Island, NY sandblasted down to the bare pine shingles back in 1972, then linseed oiled it myself, thought it looked fine. Dunno how it held up. I have totally lost all interest in home maintenance in the years since, but here at 7,000 feet above sea level, with harsh extremes of heat and cold, ULTRA-ultra violet, wood goes to hell fast. My wife is an enthusiastic user of a sealer called Okun, sold at Home Depot, and she slathers a coat on the wood on our place every year-- but says she thinks it doesn't really need it that often. Brushes clean with water.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 08/29/08 11:58:28 EDT

Sun baked climates are a reason mud, adobe and concrete parging are still popular as well as traditional in these climates. When the climate is wet then you have to use concrete and steel is popular for roofing and siding. The first class rolled steel for the tropics uses much more UV resistant pigments and coatings than what is used in the U.S.

One cheap method of applying deck stain is to use a pump up sprayer designed for pesticides and herbicides. They are cheap enough to use for the job then scrap it. No air compressor required.
- guru - Friday, 08/29/08 14:59:56 EDT

Actually they now make adeck sprayer, a modified pest/herbicide sprayer. And they are pretty cheap.
ptree - Friday, 08/29/08 15:48:47 EDT

Wood finishing: Atli:

I can only comment on what I know works here in t6he tropics, which may not be completely valid where you also have winter cold. With that disclaimer, I'll offer the following:

Since you built with pressure-treated wood, you do want to let it dry out for a few weeks before staining. Those treating salts hold moisture for a long time in a humid environment. They also resist mildew a little bit, so you get a bit of grace period before stuff starts growing on it. But, if you wait too long and stuff does start to grow on it, you then have to go through the whole disinfecting/drying process, so don't wait too long.

I'd recommend a high-quality clear deck sealer go on as the first coat, andlet that cure a week before proceeding with your opaque stain. Wherever you can, all sides of the wood should be treated, to maintain even moisture transmission. Otherwise, you get cupping, warping and other issues when one side absorbs more moisture than the other or loses it more slowly, etc. This is particularly important on the T1-11 siding plywood.

Opaque stains are pretty much just a flat paint these days, and most are pretty darn durable. Since the do allow the wood to move a bit of moisture *vapor*, they actually seem to holdup better than a paint that totally seals the surface. at least down here. I like Sherwin-Williams products, but others are just as good I'm sure.

Many places that sell professional paints will also rent you an airless spray rig pretyt cheaply, and I sure recdommend that. They're v ery controllable and really put out the paint. I could paint your whole smithy inside and out with mine in about three hours without breaking a sweat (as long as we're not having to be real careful about overspray). :-)
vicopper - Friday, 08/29/08 22:38:05 EDT

Preserving wood: If you have a Sherwin Willians store and you want your wood to really last as long as possible, use green Cuprinol as your first coat.Let the Cuprinol dry for 6-18 months before topcoating with one or more coats of solid-body stain. Like Vicopper said, coat both sides if possible. FYI, Cuprinol improves the bonding ability of any coating to wood, including paint, polyester and epoxy resins.
John Christiansen - Friday, 08/29/08 23:18:07 EDT

Peter Herst: My yard cleaning is almost done, and the items you wanted for your display are among the only items left. I also found a very early upright drill press in the cellar, call me, I lost your number.
John Christiansen - Saturday, 08/30/08 11:45:47 EDT

Hammered finish: Here is a quest for opinions. In my location, industrial blacksmiths(whale ship employees) did much of the colonial blacksmithing, when they were on leave. I tend to leave most hammer marks in the work on colonial hinges and latches and some early style railings. There is also a lot of very finely finnished work, and some jobs that I do, I put a lot of effort into removing/not introducing tool marks. I don't think that a blanket statement about hammer marks can be made. I do agree that hammering something just to mark it up can look shabby, or the effect could be fabulous depending on skill and design.
John Christiansen - Saturday, 08/30/08 13:34:21 EDT

Gratuitous Hammering: If the hammer marks are the result of the normal process of manufacture, they an look jus tfine and appropriate. They can also be dressed off. If they're errant blows or just ugly, they should b e dressed.

Hammer marks put in for no other reason that to "looki handmade" are an abomination that is the result of bad taste and cheap hucksterism, in my opinion. They should never happen.

On the other hand, hammer texture applied to serve a useful aesthetic purpose can be absolutely appropriate and beautiful. That is a design consideration of the artist and some do it really well. But if it is that "peen-o-matic" finish that they sell on cheap Stanley gate hardware, it should be outlawed and punished severely.

There, that should start something! (grin)
vicopper - Saturday, 08/30/08 17:52:54 EDT

Hammer Marks vs. Hammer Finish:
First, Rusticated hammer finishes have been around a very long time. They hit an all time low in the 1950's when they were just blows with a ball pien hammer. . . There is a big difference between artistic texturing and low class rustication.

Second, A large number of ignorant folks including at least one museum curator I dealt with think that unless a hand made piece has hammer marks all over it, then it is not hand made. . . Old time smiths avoided leaving hammer marks and when they used bar stock they only forged as much as necessary.

Third, Classically trained smiths up until modern times were taught that hammer marks are bad workmanship. This is even more true for industrial smiths. That is why worn old flatters of various sizes and shapes are so common. I have about a dozen and have never sought to buy a one . . .

Forth, the majority of texture on old pieces is from rust. On VERY old pieces this can look like the remnants of hammer marks while it is NOT.

Fifth, Modern smiths are more likely to design heavily textured work to show off the plasticity of iron as well as to seperate it from production and fabricated work from plain bar stock. Good texturing of this type requires a power hammer on anything sizable and should be continuous.

Random hammer marks on work are generally bad artistically. A few marks or obvious imperfections on work that is forged all over is accepted on modern work but generally would not have been accepted years ago.

If you are making reproductions then hammer marks are not appropriate. If you are texturing then it should be well thought and produced. Some of the hardest work I've done is applying a good 100% coverage random ball pien texture by hand.

One of the few Francis Whitaker witticisms that makes sense to me is if you want a fully forged look make round out of square or square our of round. Then the part is 100% hand forged. If you try to make it a smooth as possible by hand it will still have just enough texture and variations to look hand forged without looking phony.

- guru - Saturday, 08/30/08 19:33:33 EDT

More on hammer evidence: Francis was pretty much right on the money about changing the shape of the stock when you forge a piece, in my view. Besides making the piece completely forged, it does one other really important thing; it frees up the smith from the mental constraint of thinking that a piece of say, 1/2x2 flat bar should be used to make something about that size. It is way too easy to get sucked into working with the existing size of the stock and "adjusting" the design to fit that, rather than make the stock fit the design. Obviously, a power hammer makes the task a lot less daunting, but even working by hand it serves a useful ehough purpose that I think it's worth the effort. The final result certainly does have a much more organic, living presence that way.

As you point out Jock, too many smiths think that removing hammer marks is not somehow "proper" or "traditional", when the opposite is actually true. They were making files a looooong time ago, and using them copiously. Whitesmithing was a separate trade in many areas, as I understand, though I'm sure most smiths routinely cleaned up their work when a few strokes of the rasp or file would do the job that the flatter started. That's what I call good workmanship and attention to detail.

When I was in my teens and doing finish carpentry for $3/hr, the guy I worked for used to say, "A buck a grin," referring to errant hammer marks in the trim work. And he deducted it from your pay, too! After all, he had to pay the painters to fill and sand them out. It was good training for hammer control and I still use the old guy's saying.

vicopper - Saturday, 08/30/08 21:07:34 EDT

Guru, "salt treated lumber"?? please explain.
I hate working with paint and stains and am always looking for an "organic" wood treatment.
Next big question is how has this treatmant held up to UV's
I do think tin roof and siding is the way to go as they only require paint every 25-30 years and that certainly reduces the amont of time spent handeling those particular chemicals.
- merl - Saturday, 08/30/08 22:50:50 EDT

hammer finish: That's interesting. When I was in 7th grade shop class one of the shop projects was a tool tote tray from sheet metal with a strap handle. The shop teacher had us put a "peen finish" on the handle as part of a number of lessons. Hammer controle,how the metal would stretch and effect the length of the piece and to demonstraight the finish effect. We had to learn hand rivit setting and peening too.
I still have that tool tote but when I look at all those little peen marks I think it's ugly. Would have looked much nicer with a larger radious on the face of the hammer.
- merl - Saturday, 08/30/08 23:16:30 EDT

Salt Treated Lumber:
It is often called "treated lumber" the salts have a green die so the wood is green in color. The salts include some toxic substances including arsenic. When left exposed to the weather the surface weathers slower than bare wood but the salt washes off so the things that cause wood to blacken or turn grey still effect the wood. Bugs don't eat it and its bacteria resistant.

When I built my shop we had a local salt treatment plant that was doing rough cut pine. I put board and batten siding on my shop over treated framing. No painting required but you have to like the rustic look.
- guru - Saturday, 08/30/08 23:41:00 EDT

salt treated wood: The most common is CCA. That is Chromated Copper Arsenate. Properly treated wood is rated by the amount of the salts the wood retains. .2 is for above ground and .4 is direct ground contact approved. This wood is now prohibited for use in items people contact like picnic tables and playground equipment.
Never burn this wood as the ash is toxic and since the salts are metals very persistant.
ptree - Sunday, 08/31/08 07:12:20 EDT

I normally hear the stuff called "pressure treated" wood. As I understand it, CCA's being phased out. I think the replacement's more expensive and may not work as well. And it wouldn't surprise me if it turns out to be just a toxic. But people will think it's safer because it doesn't have aresenic.
Mike BR - Sunday, 08/31/08 07:59:32 EDT

Treated Lumber: First came creosote. The utilities used it on poles with an ecpected replacement life of 5 years, then extended it and extended it again. . Many creosoted poles last over 40 years. I wonder what they did with the money they planed on spending on pole replacement?

Now they use salt treated (maybe with tar dipped ends). They should last as long or longer than the creosoted.

The problem IS that to prevent both insect and bacteria/microbial damage to most wood requires some kind of toxin.

Most of us would prefer the wires to be underground or in conduits but this is impractical or very expensive for high voltages.

- guru - Sunday, 08/31/08 08:43:07 EDT

Treated Lumber: The current replacements for CCA wood are mostly boric acid based with some other odd stuff mixed in but it's supposedly not as toxic. Please note that if you read the fine print in some treated wood warranties they only cover lumber in contact with or below grade. Frequent rain washings leach out the "good" stuff eventually. By eventually I mean over the life of a well built building, not the poor nail pounder putting it up.

The newer treated lumber requires above average fasteners- double dipped hot galvi., ceramic coatings, or stainless nails and screws.

For my money I'd find a local sawmill cutting white oak, any type of cedar, or best yet black locust.
- Judson Yaggy - Sunday, 08/31/08 19:23:32 EDT

Yep, Even the 1980's stuff I put up required hot dipped galvanized nails. Regular nails just dissolve in the stuff in a short time. . I used about 100 pounds of them, all put in manually. No nail guns. . .

My siding is aging (showing color). But it is 4/4 rough cut so at the laps it is a full 2" thick. All this over 6" framing (also salt treated). A lifetime+ building. . . sadly it will be someone else's.

IF I build another "dream" building it will have sufficient overhangs to keep the siding or walls (what ever it may be) dry. Since the roof and foundation are the majority cost items in a building this significantly raises the interior cost per square. But everything is drier and cooler. Thus lasting longer and costing less in energy and maintenance.

With rapidly rising energy costs the need for efficient buildings will be MUCH more critical. The shame is that regulatory powers have been asleep since the eye opener in the 1970's. Instead of building more and more efficient buildings over the last 3.5 decades we have let low low efficiency modular homes proliferate by the millions and stick built construction has changed little as well.
- guru - Sunday, 08/31/08 19:40:31 EDT

salt treatment: Ohh, those kinds of "salts".
I thought you ment sodium or calcium chloride.
If apperance is not an issue I usualy paint over the exposed surfaces and whare water might collect with "Black Jack" It's a multi purpose tar you buy at the biulding center and hardware stores to patch the drive way with or patch around the roof ect...
It soaks in after a while and is not so noticable but as I said I don't use it for looks.
I also don't use anything other than salt (sodium chloride) for killng weeds too. I can tolorate some salt leaching into the well water but Monsanto is like the "Great Satan" to me. Any thing they claim to be safe I stay far away from. (please don't anyone preach to me about how chemicals have improved our lives either)
Unless you have a drastic spill, a little tar on the ground is easy to clean up.
I'm looking at recycling a building from a neibor down the road. It's an old farm building that was probably buit as a grainery. As they are trying to sell the property due to divorce I may be able to get it for free and pay a construction company (also a neibor) to move it to my place. I have a bare cement slab that used to have a large grain dryer on it that I think it will fit on. Otherwise it is currently of the type of building that sits on peirs that are about 18-20" off the ground.
Not a very efficient biulding but, a sturdy little structure like what I used to see alot of when I was a kid. Probably one of the worst reasons to get a building like this, for nostalgia but, what the heck, I want to be a blacksmith too...
- merl - Sunday, 08/31/08 22:07:21 EDT

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