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September 2003 Archive

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

Annealing: I have access to a bit of tool steel. Trouble is it is hardened. Is it practical to anneal it in the forge? I have access to H12 and M2. It seems to me that it would take too long going by the material annealing specs. I have tried but tend to get spots that have been softened and spots that are still hard.
- Tim Harvey - Monday, 09/01/03 22:49:37 EDT

The method most of us use calls for a magnet and a bucket of small chunk vermiculite.

I keep a magnet suspended on a string over my forge. When the steel is hot enough to no longer attract the magnet, I bury it in the vermiculite so that it is completely and well covered. Let it sis till it's cool to the touch. If there is much mass in the piece that could be as much as a couple of days.

That's about as soft as you are going to get MOST steels, without going throught the entire mettalurgical sequence.
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/01/03 23:17:45 EDT

Let it SIT, not sis. Heat and bury the steel, not the magnet. The way I wrote that it could be either.
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/01/03 23:18:58 EDT

Annealing Tool Steels: Tim, annealing H12 and M2 requires a temperature of 1550F to 1650F. This is 100 to 200 degrees ABOVE the temperature at which steel becomes non-magnetic. Cooling should not exceed 40 degrees per hour to achieve the lowest hardness. If you could do that, it would take about 40 hrs to cool so cooling overnight in vermiculite would not get you the lowest hardness. But it might be good enough. Now then, to reharden, heat the H12 to about 1800F and air cool. Heat the M2 to 2100F and air cool. You would do well to buy some temperature indicating crayons at a welding supply store. They can explain how to use them.
quenchcrack - Tuesday, 09/02/03 00:04:23 EDT

Didn't I say it might take a couple of days? (grin)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/02/03 00:14:15 EDT

Thanks guys: I'll try the vermicullite and see what happens
- Tim Harvey - Tuesday, 09/02/03 00:41:41 EDT

pawpaw: super quench with loc substitution seems to work well. scared the ever livin' crap out of the other smithin the shop, haveing never heard the unearthly squliztshing that this particular blend gives off. has a nice citrius aroma. I used icecream salt, it was all I could get for a five # bag. does this really mater? Also It leaves a white crusty residue on the metal. this is salt deposits correct? will it damage the work? I have been wiping it off asap. Thought I would ask how much ya'll pay for the shaklee stuff and quantity per bottle?
- dragon-boy - Tuesday, 09/02/03 08:17:19 EDT


The squealing noise is normal for SQ. I don't know what the white crusty stuff is, probably sodium chloride as you suspect. Salt is salt, all day long, whether it's table salt or icream salt. As long as it dissolves in the water.

I don't know how much a bottle of Shaklee Basic I costs, been a couple of years since I bought any. Wasn't expensive, though.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/02/03 08:38:37 EDT

squeals.... of laughter: His niece(7 years old) just cracked up laughing at his surprised dismay at the loud sqeals comming from my corner of the smithy. I got a good kick outa it too. littl'un wanted us to heat stuff up over and over again just to here it squeal! all in all it was a good weekend!
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 09/02/03 09:06:21 EDT

all knowledgable folks: Before I go and do something stupid, Is it bad to quench copper and other nonferrous ateals in sq? I know not to stick high carbon stuff in it, but what of this?
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 09/02/03 15:06:41 EDT

should read 'metals' not 'ateals" finers tripped all over themselves
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 09/02/03 15:09:18 EDT

did it again 'fingers'
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 09/02/03 15:10:16 EDT


Quenching of copper and other nonferrous metals is only done to anneal them. The process is exactly the opposite from ferrous metals. I don't KNOW that SQ would not be good for the purpose, but I rather doubt that it would help, and it might be harmful. Just use plain, room temperature water.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/02/03 15:10:57 EDT

ppw- non ferrous: do I then let the heated stuff air cool? How does it harden or does it?
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 09/02/03 15:25:36 EDT

nonferrous wielding: is the forge wielding process the same for this as for regular steel?
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 09/02/03 15:28:33 EDT

Non-ferrous annealing: Most non-ferrous metals are hardened either by cold working or by precipitating a second phase in the material. Aluminum can be precipitation strengthened with alloys like copper, magnesium, iron, to name a few. When you heat it up, the harder second phase particles dissolve, making the metal softer. When you quench it, it cools too fast to allow the second phase particle to reprecipitate. Heating after cold working causes new normal-shaped grains to form from the grains distorted by cold working. Austenitic stainless steels behave much like aluminum and need to be heated to about 2000F and water quenched to anneal them.
quenchcrack - Tuesday, 09/02/03 15:58:57 EDT

Non-ferrous welding: May I commend "Solid Phase Welding", Tylecote, to you.

Many metals can be welded "solid phase", doing it in a blacksmith's forge is another story. Look into how they make Mokume, the traditional way is a solid phase weld of non-ferrous metals.

- Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 09/02/03 16:32:41 EDT

Mokume: I have heard of this but how does one go about doing it
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 09/02/03 16:44:50 EDT

Mokume gane': DB:

Mokume gane is made by stacking layers of non-ferrous metals such as copper, silver, gold and bronze and then welding them together by a solid-phase welding process very similar to forge-welding of steel. The sheets of metal must be scrupulously clean and are usually fluxed with a bit of boric acid paste. the entire stack is heated to just a very few degrees below the fluidus stage of the lowest melting-point metal in the stack and then either hammered or pressed or rolled. The pressure of the pressing creates the join at the surfaces. The stack is then (usually) rolled down to one third of its original thickness, cut up and stacked and welded again. This can be repeated until the desired number of layers are created, at which point the stack is rolled to about twice the desired thickness. At that time, dents are cut or ground into the sheet and it is then rolled to the desired final thickness and dressed with abrasives. The gouged-out areas that have been flattened then show the pattern, the same way the pattern-welded steel does.

The big trick on mokume gane is to get the temperature correct. Most non-ferrous metal have a range of temperatures that comprised the "melting point." At the low end of the reange is the solidus point, or that point at which the metal is a solid, albeit somewhat plastic. At the high end of the range is the fluidus point, where the metal becomes liquid and flows under its own weight. Too cold and the metal won't reach a high enough surface temperature to weld under pressure. To hot and when lyou press it it just smooshes (technical jeweler's term) out all over like stepping on melted ice cream. The Japanese masters of the technique have secret flux recipes that they claim do a better job and make the weld possible. Many latter-day metalsmiths just use a high-temperature silver or gold solder and solder the sheets together prior to rolling.
vicopper - Tuesday, 09/02/03 21:28:17 EDT

salt....: Actually salt is NOT salt..... I mena there are lots of kinds of salts, besides good ole NaCl... but then again I can understand how a groundpounder can get confused......
Ralph - Wednesday, 09/03/03 02:01:10 EDT


Since common table or ice cream salt is used for SQ, I rather expect that plain old NaCl aka Sodium Chloride is what is preciptated out of SQ.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/03/03 02:14:37 EDT

mokume: so if i interpret the silver dollar words to read: Solder together layers of chosen non ferous material useing silver or gold solder only, heat up until just below the lowest liquind state in the stack. gently tapping the stack to fuse together, cut stack and repeat several times until satisfied. once satisfied grind a few dents in through the layers to reveal paterns,and flaten and shape to desired project. usually a knife, but could this be used for a rose? it sounds as if it would create an unsurpassable beauty in the metal and set a very big brownie point in the eye of the favored lady. very exotic looking anyway!
dragon-boy - Wednesday, 09/03/03 10:37:57 EDT

power rollers: im looking for plans for the power rollers developed by an australian blacksmith, i had a link to the site but now it appears its missing, im sure there used to be a link on anvilfire, there used to be a site that offered the plans for 29 dollars or some such figure and that it was manufactured under licence as the big blue power roller,
can any of you guys help?
thanks in advance
- ian schofield - Wednesday, 09/03/03 12:47:17 EDT

salt again: PPW I think you missed my humor... I kow that your assesment of the salt in this case was right....
Ralph - Wednesday, 09/03/03 12:58:20 EDT

McDonald Rolling Mill:
Ian, the review of the plans is here on our book review page. Norm Larson sells them but not online. You will need to write or call him. The information is at the bottom of the review.
- guru - Wednesday, 09/03/03 13:28:11 EDT

Mokume gane':
The modern method is to stack the pieces between to heavy steel plates and clamp them together tight. Then heat in kiln or forge. The tension of clamping should create the weld. OR the stack is taken out and the top plate struck or pressed to finish the weld.

The "solder" is not a seperate item. The stack is alternating materials, the lowest temperature melting one is the "solder". However, if it melts to the flowing point you have over heated (I understand).


Once the stack is welded it is then processed by forging or rolling. Then the pattern is cut and rolling continues. Often there will be annealing stages needed.

Objects are made by the usual non-ferrous processes including raising. The work is finished and then usualy etched or colored to increase the contrast in the metal.

We have a bunch of photos for an iForge demo or article on it but have not gotten the last of them.

The material was developed to complement pattern welded steel in Japanese sword making and has gone on to be an art form in itself. Mokume gane' translates as "wood grain" or "grain like wood" . .
- guru - Wednesday, 09/03/03 13:42:29 EDT

Mokume Gane: By far the most comprehensive work I have seen on mokume gane is a relatively new book by Steve Midgett entitled Mokume Gane: A Comprehensive Study. Steve has both studied and taught in Japan and is a true master of the art. His book is to mokume gane what Dr. J's books are to pattern welded blades. He covers all the methods from eutectic welding to soldering, including the use of the forge, and shows how to develop a few nice patterns.
vicopper - Wednesday, 09/03/03 18:19:35 EDT

Bradley hammer for sale:
Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/04/03 15:24:01 EDT

Bradley cushioned helve hammer: I am a 62 yr youn blacksmith of over 40 yrs and I think this site is really great.
I am in the Tampa, FL area.
Although I have 3 power hammers in my shop I have always wanted a Bradley helve hammer after seeing one in operation in Michigan many years ago.
Is there anyone out there that knows of one for sale or how to find one. I am not sure how they rated those hammers but I am probably looking for one with top die weight of 50 to 100 lbs.
Any help for this old guy would be appreciated.
Dave Plowman - Thursday, 09/04/03 20:03:48 EDT

feme fatales: The wife and I recently got in a descussion over female blacksmiths, is there a list of female blacksmiths so where to prove me right? preferably with pics, my arguement was that the art is not a chuvanistic way of putting down women, and that we welcome sister smiths into our ranks quite often. she ofcourse said so show me. Have I stepped into the deep end?
dragon-boy - Friday, 09/05/03 15:36:55 EDT

my wife does not have red hair by the way. I think she should,at times she has the razor for a tonuge that would match said hair.
dragon-boy - Friday, 09/05/03 15:39:16 EDT

Lady-Smiths: Wasn't Dorthy Stigler president of ABANA at one point?

"Heartland Blacksmiths", Richard Reichelt has a chapter on Roberta Elliot

Several of the "Knives 'year'" have had pics of lady bladesmiths.

And IIRC, "Cathedral Forge and Waterwheel" Gies & Gies mentions lady smiths in the medieval period---at least we have guild regulations defining what they could and could not do---which indicates that they *did* exist! (Gies and Gies have written so many books on medieval topics it's hard to keep straight what is in which...)

I myself have taught a number of the opposite gender smithing and do not tend to label folks by their gender when it comes to smithing, (just celebrated 19 years of marriage so I'm not in the market so to speak...)

- Thomas Powers - Friday, 09/05/03 15:48:54 EDT


Look through the news section here at anvilfire. There are several stories about lady smiths. Dorothy Stiegler, 4 times president of ABANA and a long time member of the board of directors is probably the most well known, but there are many others as well.
Paw Paw - Friday, 09/05/03 15:49:20 EDT

Lady Smiths:


We have lady smiths here on Anvilfire (YoooHooo... Monica, Ellen!) and there are lady smith websites as well. Unfortunately the only one I can remember is Lorelei's, which I'll post a link to -- though, the name DOES give it away ;-)
Zero - Friday, 09/05/03 16:17:40 EDT

Don't forget Elizabeth Brim, Kirsten Skiles, Melissa Sechrist (?), Kim Harris occasionally works with Tal Harris, Corrina Messoff, Paige Davis, Andrea Steele. Most of them can be found in the Anvilfire News, usually with pictures.
Paw Paw - Friday, 09/05/03 16:43:10 EDT

Meagan Croweley -

Diana Davis -

Amanda McNab - website is down.

Should I continue? (grin)

This isn't all of them, by any means. My Sheri would be the last to call herself a blacksmith, but she frequently holds and manipulates stock while I use the sledge. Bill Epps former wife Sharon swings a mean hammer, too.
Paw Paw - Friday, 09/05/03 16:52:15 EDT

There are enough lady smiths, that it isn't hard to find them. And now for the male chauvinist remark that your lady is expecting:

Most of them are a whole lot better looking than the average smith! (grin)

OH! Lest I forget, there's a lady smith named Dee in The Revolutionary Blacksmith. (shameless plug time!)
Paw Paw - Friday, 09/05/03 16:54:55 EDT

Lady Blacksmiths: We certainly can not forget Nancy Little, Johns wife. To see the two of them squaring off over an anvil after many years of marriage is an unforgetable sight
- JimG - Friday, 09/05/03 17:35:59 EDT

DB: Have you're wife check out iForge Demo's 107, 109 and 156 for more supporting documentation :-).
eander4 - Friday, 09/05/03 18:32:33 EDT

DB: Yikes! Guys we left out Wendy!
Paw Paw - Friday, 09/05/03 20:42:19 EDT

The Revolutionary Blacksmith : If anyone here has not read Paw Paw's The Revolutionary Blacksmith do your self a favor and thake the time...I await the next chapters.

Jim, My father was a tail gunner in B-17s in WW-II and has just compleated his own memoir of "his" war. he also chose to "cut those pages out of his life" until his 78th birthday when he began to write for his children, his grand children, and his great-grand children. I hope some day that you can do for your children what he did for us.

Thank you for The Revolutionary Blacksmith, well done.

habu - Saturday, 09/06/03 00:28:07 EDT

Maybe, but I kinda doubt it. "My" war wasn't as straight forward as your dads. (that does NOT belittle what he did, at ALL) He was part of the greatest generation. You should be proud of him, and I suspect that you are.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 09/06/03 00:46:07 EDT

Letters from "home" : Well perhaps all of you may have heard me mentioning that my youngest is going into the USMC. Well he has been at Basic for 2 weeks now and we just got his contact info. So if any of you wish to write to him ( cause I am his proud Dad.) Let me know and I will send his contact info.

Ralph - Saturday, 09/06/03 01:28:50 EDT

Paw Paw: No "Our" war was not as strait forward, and my own part in that war was from a distance, my brother in law was a Navy Seal with two tours In Country. Only those who serve "know" and only they can tell the next generation.
I accoumpanied my father to a reunion of his bomber group last year and listening to the stories that were told, made me realize how much history we are losing each day as these brash young boys become wise old men and pass on.

we should be proud also, we, like the young men and women, today, were called and served and our children deserve to know.
habu - Saturday, 09/06/03 02:06:25 EDT

power roller: cheers guru, i knew it was on here but couldnt for the life of me find it, i coulda sworn it was on the plans page but all i could find was treadle hammers, cheers again
- ian schofield - Saturday, 09/06/03 05:32:28 EDT

Mike, my grandfather was a young grunt in the third wave on Iwo Jima, he never talked about it till 50 years later, though my mother mentioned that he still had nightmares decades afterwards.

I'm sitting about 1 mile from the site of the "War is Hell" speech and I'm gratefull for all those folks who went through such a hell for us (and US).

May we never start a war; but always be able to finish one!

- Thomas Powers - Saturday, 09/06/03 14:57:38 EDT

I came home from the last tour in 66. Thirty nine years ago. I still have nightmares. According to my step dad (who was a grunt with the Big Red One at the Kasserine Pass in North Africa) they never go away, though they do get easier to live with. He was right, they don't wake me up as often as they used to.

My kids know I was there, they just don't know the who, what, when, how. I don't really think they need to.

> May we never start a war; but always be able to finish one!

WELL said!
Paw Paw - Saturday, 09/06/03 15:58:41 EDT

Hi all.It's been awhile.I just wanted to drop in and say hi.I'm in Tikrit Iraq and don't know how long I'll be here.Can't say I've enjoied it,it's sure not a vacation.I'm not allowed to go into the chat room,but I sure would like to,I miss all of yall so I just wanted to say hi.I did find some blacksmithing tools here in one of Saddam's metal shops,one guy found an anvil,hope he got it home.Yall be good.I'll check back on here tommorrow. J.R.
- hotmetal - Sunday, 09/07/03 05:34:26 EDT


We're praying for you, and hope you make it home soon! Good to hear from you, keep us posted as often as you can.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/07/03 09:54:55 EDT

Lady-Smiths: dragon-boy,

Several women teach blacksmithing at John C. Campbell Folk School. I took a class there last year from Susan Hutchinson, and will take one there from Elizabeth Brimm later this month. I have NEVER felt anything but welcome from any blacksmith, male or female.
Leah - Sunday, 09/07/03 10:30:00 EDT

looking to buy or swap for a swedge block. always looking for hardies. I am not a dealer, just a retired old man entertaining myself and teaching a few young ones what little I know of blacksmithing.
thank you for the help,

John DeVaney Sr
john devaney - Sunday, 09/07/03 15:22:34 EDT

Looking for tools---General Reply: John; this forum goes out to just about all the continents in the world, (I'll be sure about Antartica when my friend gets down there to work on the neutrino capture experiment)

Unless you are quite willing and happy to pay shipping for heavy objects it would be a good idea to indicate *where* you are at, save all the time of folks trying to help you out but that are too far away for consideration.

Now there are usually a handfull of old blocks and a bunch of new ones at Quad-State which is in NW Ohio in a couple of weeks; but they are not cheap, still kicking myself for not latching on to the 191# swageblock I found for $100 in good shape a couple of years ago, brokered the deal for a friend cause I already had one, then saw the prices at Quad-State...

- Thomas Powers - Sunday, 09/07/03 15:57:56 EDT

October Auction: Just got an auction flyer. Why, I don't know. I live in Michigan and the sale is in Missouri. Anyways, lots of tools and blacksmith stuff. It is October 10 and 11 in Richmond, MO. The web site with pictures of the tools is at Thought some of you might like to know about it. Not quite close enough for me. Guess I'll have to wait till I get to Quad State.
Bob H - Sunday, 09/07/03 19:37:41 EDT

Hotmetal: Good to hear from you. And sending up a little prayer smoke for your safe return. Tell everybody over there that there are people back home who care about them and wish them a safe tour and a speedy return.
Larry- Viet Vet 70-71
- Larry - Sunday, 09/07/03 21:17:22 EDT

Thomas, Saltfork Craftsmen have swage blocks they sell, cost is $75. Contact Jim Carothers I have one I really like and several from the anvil fire slack-tub pub have gotten them
Stan F - Sunday, 09/07/03 21:59:13 EDT

Here's an endorsement of the Salt Fork Block. I've got one and use it regularly. You can see pictures at:

Scroll down to Basic Swage Block Stand
Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/07/03 22:03:48 EDT

Thomas: Oops! Forgot to make the link hot. Here tis again.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/07/03 22:10:46 EDT

"brokered the deal for a friend cause I already had one"

This line doesn't seem to be clear since several folk seemed to think I needed instructions on finding another one; when what I was lamenting was that I let the SB go way too cheap...and to a friend so a midnight visit is right out!

I will admit I don't use it as much as I used to; funny how with time at the forge the hammer and anvil seem to replace more and more fancy tools...

Picked up my swage block, about 125#, from a "Thrifty Nickle" add in OKC back in the early 80's, 1980's thank you very much! Add said anvil and when I called he said it was a "funny one" with shapes all around the sides...called my boss and told him I would be late and picked it up on the way to work. Used to keep a log chain through it, the anvil hardy hole and the triphammer frame after a good 200# anvil walked off one time. Every since I've wanted a "user" and a "spare" for all my equipment. Now to convince the wife...
- Thomas Powers - Monday, 09/08/03 00:00:41 EDT

service men: While I have never, and pray to god I will never have to serve in a war, I am extremely proud to say that my uncle served in nam. he was a marine and went for 3 tours. I have heard some of his tales of the front, and the thought of that chaos gives me nightmares. all I Know is that to this day it is a very bad Idea to sneak up on uncle Leroy.
- dragon-boy - Monday, 09/08/03 08:41:31 EDT

I think we were telling John DeVaney some places to find blocks. (grin)

Dragon Boy. That's never a wise thing to do to a veteran.
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/08/03 10:36:55 EDT

vets: Esepcially one who takes pleasure in making you aware of the stupidity of said Idea
dragon-boy - Monday, 09/08/03 11:37:39 EDT

DB: I was with the local PD, stopped for 10-100 (meal break) at Burger King. Friend walked in behind me and jabbed me in both ribs. When things calmed down, he asked me what I was carrying, and I answered that it was a S&W .357 Mag. He informed me that it looked like a 155 when it was two inches from his nose.

Scared the he!! out of both of us!
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/08/03 14:02:29 EDT

vets and jumpiness: Well I can tell you that you do not have to be a vet that served in a combat situation, to have that jumpiness. As I am that way to an extent.
Perhas it is a good thing I never had a job that required I carry......
Ralph - Monday, 09/08/03 15:14:44 EDT


That's true, I've known other folks that were equally jumpy.
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/08/03 15:58:12 EDT

Ahh, you were posting to John DeVaney---*thats* why you started the posts with "Thomas"! I must be down on my CO count or something...(is it safe to ragg on a vet a bit? If you are several hundred miles away?)

Sorry you'll miss quad-state; we're discussing how to cook the deer meat one of our members has offered to contribute.

Thomas not John
- Thomas Powers - Monday, 09/08/03 16:17:08 EDT

Safe? Probably! (grin)

If it's a roast, over an open fire, basted with a vinagrett marinade is always good. If it's chunks, then a stew with vegetables cooked in a dutch oven is good.
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/08/03 17:42:08 EDT

forge question: i'm an aspiring cowboy bit and spur maker. i have built several spurs and bits with an oxy-actelyne torch, anvil, and hammer and had luck finishing them. now i want to start builinding one peice spure with a forge. i have built one that is only a peice of 6 inch diamter pipe with a tractor disk as a bottom and top. what i'm asking is should i line my forge with fire bricks like a horshoers forge or just fill wiith lava rock. and what should i fill it with? where can i find it at?
- mac - Monday, 09/08/03 19:17:58 EDT

Forge: What fuel? Coal, gas, oil? If coal you don't need a refractory lining. If gas or oil you need refractory and usualy a door and roof to keep the heat in so it builds up.
- guru - Monday, 09/08/03 20:36:21 EDT

Venison: "Probably????"

We usually use our take on a medieval receipe with burgandy, raisons, etc. When my hunting friends aren't lucky we replace the venison with lamb.

- Thomas Powers - Monday, 09/08/03 23:57:31 EDT

csi anvil: Folks having actually seen this thing, I giving a shameless plug for it. IT IS A BEAUTY. Never been used, and the only rust on it is from my droolings over it.

Sorry i tried to control my self.
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 09/09/03 08:38:13 EDT

"Wood Pellets": Has anyone used wood pellets for a heat source. Coal in my area is getting harder to find. Wood pellets are a easy source for me @ 5$ per 100lb bag.
Barney - Tuesday, 09/09/03 11:28:56 EDT

help with forge liner: hello I got a 1800 forge and I need to line the bowl with I guess forging sand? is this correct what kind do I need and how do I do it? Thank you very much
- Heinz - Tuesday, 09/09/03 17:50:42 EDT

Barney & Heinze:

Barney, I've never used wood pellets, but I suspect they'd be a lot like working with charcoal, just more smoke and possibly more fly ash.


Any kind of sand will work, so would most types of clay. Or you could just wait and build up a layer of coal ash. I use refractory cement, but I tend to go overboard on stuff like that.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/09/03 18:00:07 EDT

Charlie Hinton,:

Please send me an email, I've managed to lose your address.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/09/03 18:04:38 EDT

forge welders : for those of you who actually forge weld, what do you use for wire? do metal hangers work? I've tried these, but i could not get the wire tight enough to keep the bundel from sliping and getting uneven. What can I do about this?
- dragon-boy - Wednesday, 09/10/03 11:44:54 EDT

Dragon-Boy: What do you mean "use for wire"? What are you trying to weld up? Slap the side of your head your telepathy is on the fritz again...

I will assume you are trying to weld a bundle of rods together like making a basket hook: I use re-bar tie wire, wrap it around the bundle, cut it off and use a pair of pliers to twist the ends together and tighten it, learning to stop before the wire breaks is the skill!

Some folks use hose clamps, some tack weld the ends together with an arc welder, some slide them in a piece of tube or pipe to hold it together while welding up the end that sticks out of the pipe or tube.

Some folks use nichrome wire---don't let it get forged into the piece! some folks use galvanized wire, (as above)

It just needs to be small and soft and not melt before welding temp

For doing a billet of pattern welded steel I have even used cable staples as they slotted over the BSB and SI and I could bend the points over to hold the bundle together.

Give us details!!!

- Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 09/10/03 12:35:49 EDT

Tie wire: DB: tie wire is very handy especialy if you get the preformed stuff with a loop on each end and the quick twist handle. Then you can wrap a bundle that is coming apart and falling out of the tongs quickly, with no burnt fingers. or so I been told, thats my story and I'm sticking to it.

Speaking of Wire anybody tried to forge weld wire together? I have tried the tie wire but it doesn't seem to weld unless it is being used to hold a bundle together. By itself I've had no luck. I have also tried the heavier wire used to hold up drop ceilings with no success. Comments or suggestions?

Mills - Wednesday, 09/10/03 13:17:44 EDT

wire to hold weld: I have some real "bailing wire" It is a soft nearly pure iron wire. It forms nice and close to the project. If I am welding say the end of a bundle of rods as in Mr Powers example, I tie the bundle in the middle and the end I am holding. The end getting welded, is uasually without a wire. Take your time and let the heat soak through ALL of the metal to be welded, if it isn't even and all at the same temp, it will not weld.... at least it won't for me!
- wayne parris - Wednesday, 09/10/03 14:55:10 EDT

FWW: After 1 Quad-State where I had stayed up late shooting the bull with other smiths about patternwelding I welded up some chain mail and thought well of myself until the next Quad-State where a fellow had a blade he had welded up from lathe swarf, (collected in a can pressed in a press then fluxed & welded)

Forge welding cable is essentially forge welding wire;

doing *small* baskets is forge welding wire.

Shoot I welded up a control cable billet once with a bunch of the stuff that looks like a minature plumbing snake made from coiled wire---I ran tie wire through the sections I had cut so I could accordian fold them and get a "bundle" to weld up.

- Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 09/10/03 15:38:22 EDT

I see Pieh tools is no longer advertising on Anvilfire. Any idea why?

Also, is there somewhere I can check the due date on my CSI fees?
adam - Wednesday, 09/10/03 19:11:06 EDT

welding: Welding small dia wire is harder than thick wire or rod. There is less mass to hold the heat and more surface area to weld. With forge welding, bigger is easier (mostly).
I suggest start with a bundle of 1/4" or 3/16" rod and work down from there. Also, you can make the bundle by folding the rod back and forth against itself. Makes it easier to handle since its all one piece. I've used coat hanger for oxy acc. welding but never tried a forge weld with it.

At the steel yard I pick up loose pcs of the baling wire they use to bundle rebar. Its about 3/16 and very soft - mebbe the same stuff that wayne has.
adam - Wednesday, 09/10/03 19:19:04 EDT

CSI Dues: Adam, go to the members forum. Below the text entry box will be your membership expiration date.
- guru - Wednesday, 09/10/03 23:12:23 EDT

Out Of Service: Well guys and gals. Got good news, and bad news. The good news is that I passed my written cdl exam. And will be leaving for Dallas Tx. the 6th of next month.

I'll check in, and let you know how I am doing.

Catch ya'll later, and If you see a big redneck in an orange cabover. It might be me.
- 15yearsmith - Thursday, 09/11/03 01:09:51 EDT

Cabover: Orange cabover? Sounds like you might have got on with Schneider. Lotsa them around. Good luck, drive safely and never let the fire go out.
3dogs - Thursday, 09/11/03 01:57:02 EDT

Smithing Demo Perry, OK: Members of the Saltfork Craftsmen ABA will have an open air smithy set up and demonstrating the basics of our craft on Saturday, Sept. 13 at the Cherokee Strip Museum on the west side of Perry, OK. You are welcome to join us for a day of fun. Bring your portable forge and tools, or just show up and use what we will have on hand. Tailgate and other items for sale are fine. Jim C.
- Jim Carothers - Thursday, 09/11/03 09:05:26 EDT

practice pieces: Hi all every day as soon as the forge is fired up i make a simple drawn "S" hook before i start on my work. i'm interested in what others may do for a warm up and the techniques involved. many thanks
- kainaan - Thursday, 09/11/03 09:36:47 EDT

hunh?: I know I am being obtuse but I dont find a member's forum. When I click on MEMBERS ONLY-CSI I get a login dialog and then the anvilfire home page
adam - Thursday, 09/11/03 10:16:14 EDT

practice: I like to forge a ball on the end of a rod using just the anvil and hammer. My goal is to be able to do it consistently in one heat.
adam - Thursday, 09/11/03 10:18:27 EDT

for sale: blacksmith journals champion railroad forge, welder, bullet heater, haybudden anvil aprox 135 lb, other assorted items. leg vise.
Email for info and phone number
Located in Maryland
Hey Jock how are ya, been a long time, site looks great
Rick C - Thursday, 09/11/03 10:54:14 EDT

platten table: obtw I have a solid steel table from the navy ship yard. Problem is it weighs abot 2500 lbs or more, beautiful thing, has the stand and all. Make me an offer and come up with a big truck and I will get my farmer neighbor to load it with his tractor.
Rick C - Thursday, 09/11/03 11:02:42 EDT

I got more practice doing demos than anything else. I often made little horseshoes (yeah . . I know) and hooks (by the ton) and leaves. The thing about demos is that I like to keep something happening CONSTANTLY and you can't work on anything that takes more than a few minutes or you will lose your audiance OR bore them. So I made little things that I can make start to finish in 5 minutes or less.

My apprentice has spent the past 6 months making hooks. All the same size and style. The goal was to wholesale hooks to folks doing shows that need lots of hooks and have better things to do.

After forging 150 hooks or so I had him start on some fancier ones with leaves and what not. . . surprise surprise. . . (to him) he can now forge things like he wants to. So he finished a pair of tongs and is going to work on more tools.

It DOES take practice to get to where you have the control necessary to do what you want. I've had a few carpenters that went into smithing and picked it up very quickly. But for the average folk that don't have a LOT of hours using a hammer it is very frustrating until you put in those hours of practice.

Let me know if you need small hooks by the dozen.
- guru - Thursday, 09/11/03 11:52:29 EDT

Member's Forum: Adam,
After you log in to CSI, the Forum link will be at the upper left-hand side of your screen (beside Home, Store and Pub Watch). Click it to enter the Forum, and your CSI expiration date will be at the bottom, if you scroll all the way down.
eander4 - Thursday, 09/11/03 11:59:25 EDT

wood chips: eye protection is a must wood chips spit badly
- colinau - Thursday, 09/11/03 23:08:41 EDT

reproductions: Is there a proper way to mark (touchmark?) a piece so as to keep it from being mistaken for an antique at a later time? I am thinking of making a few Stickin' Tommys ( miners candle holdeers) for gifts. Since these were made in mining comunities through out the world the shape and styles are varried.
stickin' tommy
- habu - Friday, 09/12/03 01:21:03 EDT

Mark them with your touchmark, AND the year, 2003.
Paw Paw - Friday, 09/12/03 06:13:16 EDT

colinau - Friday, 09/12/03 06:48:42 EDT

I currently have four Lincoln welding machines for sale.1 SA-200 Classic 1 ,low hours - built for the pipeliners. 1 300D This machine is like new, with the Perkins 104-22 engine.(balanced) 1 250 Diesel in a 200 frame. This one has the TD four cylinder engine. 1 250 Diesel with Perkins three cylinder in good shape. Several rig trucks available.
- spurz - Friday, 09/12/03 13:16:47 EDT

FA: Spurz; are any of these located on the North American Continent or are you willing to foot the bill to ship overseas?

Not giving the general location in an international forum is kind of like taking an ad out in the paper and not listing a phone number or address.

- Thomas Powers - Friday, 09/12/03 14:04:53 EDT

Welding Machines: Sorry about that,new to the game. These machines are located in Sealy, Texas. Just west of Houston, Texas.
- spurz - Friday, 09/12/03 14:36:20 EDT

Paw- Paw: it was late last night all I can say Is "Dhaa"
Thanks for not saying "dumby", Grin
- habu - Friday, 09/12/03 15:18:46 EDT

Jock is running about a month behind on pub registrations. He's trying to get caught up.
Paw Paw - Friday, 09/12/03 18:50:33 EDT


Two rules:

Rule 1: Don't sweat the small stuff.

Rule 2: It's all small stuff.
Paw Paw - Friday, 09/12/03 18:51:37 EDT

thanks{practice}: thanks Adam and Guru for your input i've never tried making a ball sounds like a chore to duplicate repedetaly i will definatley try! Guru do you upset the steel before forging the leaf on the s hook? also i'm making a wooden anvil for my 8 year old son{same scale as my 160 pnd anvil i use}he loves my shop !! so he can use clay and light wooden mallets does any one think this would be a good method to keep him interested and learn at the same time? many thanks again to all!!!
- kainaan - Saturday, 09/13/03 12:48:27 EDT


It's an excellent way. lay to pieces of 1/2" stock down and "roll" the clay so it is that thickness. Then cut it with a sharp knife, and he'll be working with 1/2" square stock.

Many smith's (myself included) use this method to "research" the right order for forging complicated pieces.

Make him a cross peen and a straight peen hammer out of wood. Use a hardwood for both the anvil and the hammers. Oak, Maple, or Walnut.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 09/13/03 13:47:36 EDT


Let me also add that Whitesmith (on the iForge page) started with hot metal when he was 9 years old. He is now 11, doing very nice work, with a customer base that likes what he does, in Charleston, WV.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 09/13/03 17:35:46 EDT

Paw Paw: many thanks for your input,i just so happen to have some oak around the shop so oak peens it is . any reason you suggest hardwood as to a a dry light softwood?and would you allow the clay to dry a little to give it some ridgity.thanks again i'm sure my son and his four little chums will have many hours of fun.
kainaan - Saturday, 09/13/03 18:07:42 EDT


Hardwood will last longer and you can finish it smoother, so the clay won't stick as badly. But dry softwood could certainly could be used.

Yes, if the clay is dried a littl bit it will give it a bit of rigidity. That wouldn't hurt, and might help.

I expect they will, and you may very well be starting 5 friends down the road to smithing.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 09/13/03 18:26:00 EDT

Leaves: These are normally not upset. In most cases it is easier to reduce stock (draw out) than to upset. In decorative work you often start with a large piece, forge to shape with a stem or shank then weld to long bar.
- guru - Saturday, 09/13/03 20:51:56 EDT

Kainaan: Mabey a coating of linsead oil on the anvil and hammer would help keep the clay from clinging to them.

Hey, you could even make them some wooden tongs. You know, just to get them used to using them.

One warning that I might add, is that I would be sure to teach them to act as if the clay is "hot", whenever it is aplicable. If they developed bad habits with the clay, such as catching it as it falls, then it may be hard to break later.

Caleb Ramsby
Caleb Ramsby - Saturday, 09/13/03 21:04:02 EDT

Kids and Tools - Don't give them toys:
When I was 4 years old my dad gave me a little desk for a work bench with a 3" bench vise and a bag full of old bicycle wrenches (from about a 1938 Royal). The desk was later replaced and the replacement is gone too but I still have the little vise and the all wrenches. . . They still come in handy once in a while.

The only thing I ever remember on my Christmas list was tools. I was sorely disapointed when a relative gave me a "toy" tool kit one year. Cast iron hammers and plastic saws didn't get it.

But that was ME. But I do know that kids of any age know REAL tools from toys. I was building tree houses with MY 16oz Craftsman hammer when I was 8 years old and cutting the wood with an electric sabre saw. I was TAUGHT how to operate a Shop Smith converting it from table saw to drill press to lathe. . and back again. I built competitive soap box racers when I was 11 and learned to use an engine lathe to make the stearing pullies, mix epoxy and spray lacquer. I built a large part of my current shop with that same hammer and I've restored and still use that old 6" Craftsman lathe. . . I've worn out more sabre saws than most carpenters in a life time.

I've taught 8 year olds how to forge. Now, this is an age where kids are a LOT different from one to the other. The last 8 year old I gave a hammer to wanted to show up his 12 year old brother . . and he DID. He was a little clumbsy and had never hammered ANYTHING but he was determined. Surprised his parents TOO. The one before that was tough as nails and fearless. Sadly I could only spend a couple hours with both.

When my twins were 10 they went out on a demo with me. My daughter was the star (see Red Hill Demo at the bottom of my bio - link below). I had two old anvils set on short stands for the kids. . . They spent most of a summer sharing building the fire, pumping the bellows and hammering. They never made much but the had fun. And probably learned more about REAL physics and mechanics than many adults learn in a life time.

When the twins were about 6 I gave them tool boxes (small steel tackle boxes), with a small claw hammer (I lucked into two 4oz REAL hammers), a compass, a 4 in hand rasp, a pair of pliers, a coping saw and some small pliers and some screw drivers. They were not "tool nuts" and lost many of the small tools playing in sand and woods but they are both now grown and have a few of those tools still. When my daughter graduated from college a year ago she called me and said she wanted a TOOL CHEST. So I got her the biggest Kennedy machinests top chest they make. It is full. . .

If you want them to hammer give them a real hammer, some nails and wood. IF they are interested in working in the forge then set them an anvil the right height, give them a hammer and let them beat so hot iron. They will probably give it a few tries and lose interest. . that is the nature of kids. But then they may be like Whitesmith and you'll find them pounding iron by candle light when it is way past bed time. . . Could anything be better?

I think the worse thing you can do is give a child a TOY tool unless they are still crawling. . .
Guru bio
- guru - Saturday, 09/13/03 21:30:44 EDT

leaves: thanks again Guru and Paw Paw !! paw paw i took three of the boys scrap diving at the salvage yard today we all had great fun. Guru I had just finnished 10 3 ft tall candle holders for a friends wedding in a park. cith by-law doesnt allow you to pierce the earth so i made them with three legs the top of each leg a leaf. i used 3/8 round stock and the leaf looked more like a feather or a willow realy thin, not round and cuped like i had in my schetches. i work all day framing and only had 3 weeks to finnish. would the leaves have been more full if i had upset first or is their another way? I hope i don't make ya sick with all this ramblin on .... Again many thanks
kainaan - Saturday, 09/13/03 21:35:48 EDT

Reproductions: Touch marks help to prevent forgeries. You usualy want a small mark but anyone that complains is probably looking for fakes to resell.

Reproductions made of mild steel are generally not a problem unless you are talking about late 19th century stuff. Making reproductions of wrought iron is problematic and is wide open for fraud.

- guru - Saturday, 09/13/03 21:46:40 EDT

Leaves again: kainaan, Starting with 3/8 round is tough to make a full leaf. Yes upsetting would help but it would be easier to forge a leaf out of 1/2" or 5/8" square and weld it on to the 3/8" bar. Upsetting a ball or a mass for a leaf is MUCH more difficult and takes more skill than making a leaf.

Skill and practice have a lot to do with how some things turn out. When I was at my best I could get a 1-1/2" wide leaf out of 7/16" square without upsetting. Today I am lucky to get a 1" leaf out of the same bar. I can still make the others but it is serious work.
- guru - Saturday, 09/13/03 21:53:56 EDT

guru: thanks again. and yes i need practice. its taken nearly 5 years to gather together a fair shop and a place where all the nieghbors dont mind the smell of burning coal;)and with all the awesome knowledge in anvilfire i'll get lots of practice thank you so much !!
kainaan - Saturday, 09/13/03 22:14:30 EDT

First of all, answering questions is WHY anvilfire exists. So you will NOT make us sick asking questions, that's what we're here for.

And second, a shameless plug. Running anvilfire costs money. Part of the money for doing so comes from the dues of CSI members. For less than the price of a cup of coffee a week, you can be a member of the anvilfire support group. You get a few perks, your name in anvilfire blue, a discount in the anvilfire store, a private forum for the CSI members.

I urge you to consider joining.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 09/13/03 22:51:06 EDT


I should have noted that your name in blue would be on the guru's page, nowhere else except in the Slack Tub Pub.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/14/03 02:22:25 EDT

Real vs Toys: I would like to give a resounding AMEN to Guru. Being given toys was a tremendous discouragement to me as boy. It is a fascination with building that draws kids but having an adult especially DAD look over them and coach them is what will build maturity and confidence and responsibility.

It is also of note that Elmer Keith, known for his role in developing major caliber hand guns such as the 44 Magnum, wrote a similar sentiment in his book of growing up in Montana and Wyoming. In 'Hell, I was there!' he writes of a good portion of the school kids carrying a firearm to school every day and racking them up beside their coats. The idea was to bag something before or after school for supper or on the outside chance some biteya kickya scratchya would be on the prowl.

(Engaging smile and even tone)
My children have never had a TOY weapon or tool. Weapons and tools are serious and treated like sex, if you are old enough to ask you are old enough to learn the rules.
Lest that sounds like a rant against a wooden mallet and clay er umm I have just added those items to my repetoire to work out in advance what I can do versus what I think I can do. I whole heartedly recommend it, great training aid. No scrap iron to have to dispose of or (shudder) explain.
Mills - Sunday, 09/14/03 16:46:31 EDT


Didn't sound like a rant to me. Neither did guru's comments either, for that matter. (grin)

RE: Weapons in schoole. I went the last half of my senior year to school in Kenai, Alaska. Most of us (the boys at least) carried either a rifle or a shotgun with us to school. I used to nail a rabbit or two, or a couple of Spruce Hens (a stupid grouse like bird) on the way to school. We'd field dress them as soon as we got them, then drop them off in the home ec classroom when we got to school. The girls would finish cleaning them and either wrap them for freezing, or cook them for our lunch. The only rule was that we had to unload them before entering the school and put them in the rack in the school office. Never any problems. I don't know whether they still do it that way or not, but would not be a bit surprised to find out that they do.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/14/03 17:11:58 EDT

Tools vs. toys: A way to make the wooden hammer(s) and clay feel more like real tools(which they are), is to have the kids make them. With a little asistance they shouldn't have any problem with profiling the hammers with a rasp or such.

That is why I got into blacksmithing, to be able to make tools.

Also, the clay can be made into tools and artistic things. A well fired clay makes a great wind chime, or dinner bell.

I think that the main thing that clay and wooden hammers would be able to teach is the relationship between the hammer/tools shape and what it does to the work. Swages, cutoff tools and other various profiling tools would also be much easier to make and modify out of wood that metal.

Hum, I think that I am begining to be motivated to make a few wooden tools and get some clay.grin

So would that be called earthsmithing, dirtsmithing or claysmithing?

By the time I was 8 years old I was helping my father and brothers in the side buisness of construction of wooden and cement structures. That begat a rather sharp learning curve. I still hate pulling nails out of boards, however I sure know what to do with a crowbar.grin

Caleb Ramsby
Caleb Ramsby - Sunday, 09/14/03 19:34:56 EDT

Tools: My father raised four of us boys and claimed that in doing so he sacrificed at least a hundred bucks worth of good tools to the sandbox. Actually, that may have been a bit of an underestimate. HOWEVER...he never bought us toy tools, he bought us the same tools he would use. And he let us use his tools without reservation. He even opened charge accounts at the hardware and lumber yards with all of us able to charge at will. He claimed, and rightly so, that it was cheaper in the long run than buying toys that break or having offspring that were incapable of fending for themselves. The only line Pop drew was that he refused to buy power saws or jointers, reasoning that hand tools would leave enough to put back together at the emergency room...another place that we had an open charge account. (grin)My father is still the epitome of what I think a man should be. I make it a point to thank him for that every time I write or call him. Because of him, I can do plumbing, wiring, carpentry, cabinetry, mechanics, welding, forging and a host of other things I can't recall right now. Helluva fine accomplishment for a guy who spent his entire life as a hotshot chemist. Of course, I have always refused to learn any chemistry...that would be too tough an act to follow.

Now that most of the school systems have seen fit to eliminate shop classes from the curriculum, I think it is even more important for parents to give their kids tools and books and turn them loose. It is the only chance that we have of keeping this a nation of survivors.

I agree with RAH. Teach everyone to shoot at the age of majority and then require them to carry. Sure, you'd have a bloodbath with the first generation, but after that only the polite and the quick would be left to pass on their genes.
vicopper - Sunday, 09/14/03 19:39:08 EDT

Your father taught you the same lessons my grandfather taught me. And they were lessons that were/are truly invaluable.

Guns? You guys already know how I feel about them. They'r just another tool. A way to put food on the table, and protect the table.

But I'd never do what I saw one guy doing. Using a Peacemaker for a hammer! While it was loaded!
Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/14/03 21:56:55 EDT

Hammerguns: Too damn many western movies show that stupidness. It's gotta be both embarrassing and painful when the thing goes off and shoots you in some lower extremity! Like yu say, guns are for propelling an object quickly a long way with more force than we can muster by hand, usually with the objective of causing immediate cessation of movement of the target so we can then deal with it at our leisure, either dressing for the table or undressing it for the burial. But they sure ain't hammers, boomerangs, doorknockers or dental tools, all of which uses, and more, I have seen Hollywood put them to.
vicopper - Sunday, 09/14/03 22:07:24 EDT

Hammerguns: Too damn many western movies show that stupidness. It's gotta be both embarrassing and painful when the thing goes off and shoots you in some lower extremity! Like yu say, guns are for propelling an object quickly a long way with more force than we can muster by hand, usually with the objective of causing immediate cessation of movement of the target so we can then deal with it at our leisure, either dressing for the table or undressing it for the burial. But they sure ain't hammers, boomerangs, doorknockers or dental tools, all of which uses, and more, I have seen Hollywood put them to.
vicopper - Sunday, 09/14/03 22:07:25 EDT

tools for kids: I still have the first tool I remember my Dad buying me. It was a little pair of needlenose pliers with rubber yellow handles. The rubber is long gone and I've reworked them, but they now hang on one of my tong racks and I used them when I made the sweetpeas for his grave cross. Real tools may not be toys, but I go out to the shop every day to 'play', not work
- JimG - Monday, 09/15/03 00:16:04 EDT

Hammerguns: I once bought from a co-worker a little .25cal F.N. (browning) simi-auto handgun. The poor thing had been used as a hammer. The bottom of the magazine was caved in and there were gouges in the muzzle of the barrel. The main spring (a dual leaf spring) was broken and gone. Someone had tried to use the spring from a ball point pen in its place. I gave $50 for the poor thing and spent the better part of a day cleaning up the past sins of the previous owner. It took over an hour just to un-jamb the thing to get it appart. I made a new leaf spring for it, fixed the magazine, Dremmeled out the burs from the muzzle and gave it a good once over cleaning. I took it to the range and it shot pretty darn good for a micro sized gun. It stayed inside a 5" circle at 25 yards, much farther than the one on one distance it was made for.
You could still tell that it had been abused but it took some looking to see it. I traded that little semi-auto and $100 for a new in the box Browning .22 semi-auto rifle. A quite good trade as the rifle was selling for about $300 at the time.
- Wayne Parris - Monday, 09/15/03 10:00:26 EDT

Tools for kids: I have seen many, many Christmases but one of the gifts that stands out in my mind is the year I was about 12 years old and recieved a Black & Decker 3/8 electric drill. Man that was the thing I wanted most and I still have it these many years later. The next best item was the Weller soldering gun I recieved the next year. I still have that also. I can't remember when I last saw any of the toys I recieved, nor can I even remember what most of them even were!
- Wayne Parris - Monday, 09/15/03 10:11:18 EDT

Vicopper; don't think I would like the mix, most politicians are polite and fast! And some ornery codgers are good folks to have around.

When I was in highschool every birthday and christmas was another "tool"; 3/8" drill, metric and US sockets and wrenches, full screwdriver set, etc. When I went off on my own I had the basics of a good set of tools. Now I find my tooling far exceeds what my father has; but I am happy to have him borrow tools when he needs to and I use them when I go and visit---can't sit around for long so fixing stuff around the place makes me feel usefull

When my daughter turned 4 I took a saw and cut down the blade and the handle to fit her and carved her initials on it. The *both* daughters got french pattern cross peins; last christmas they both got 3/8" drills; they are not into them as much as I was but they should have the necessaries when going out into the world!
- Thomas Powers - Monday, 09/15/03 10:18:41 EDT

Kids & Tools: Vicopper: I had to grin when I caught your comment about the sandbox. Been there for that one! My poor ol' Dad also found that the lawn mower served well as a metal detector, especially for the wrench sizes that fit things on bicycles. (CLANK! @#$%^&*) 3dogs
3dogs - Monday, 09/15/03 12:38:10 EDT

Tools for the Kids:
I too laughed at Vic's "tools for the sandbox". But justice does prevail.

Jim Jr. was the worlds worst about using tools and not putting them away. I'd come home and there'd be a hammer and two crescent wrenchs laying in the driveway, and I knew darn good and well who had left them there. I come into the house and holler, "Jimmy! Go put those dam* tools away!" He'd mutter under his breath a bit, then go do as he was told.

Some years ago, I was talking to him on the phone. He was in Tucson, we were here in NC. At one point in the conversation, he said, "Just a second, dad." "ANDREW! IF YOU DON'T PUT THAT HAMMER BACK WHERE YOU GOT IT, I'M GOING TO HIT YOU WITH IT!"

I roared with laughter. He came back on the phone, heard me laughing, and said, "Yes, I know! I sound just like you! But now that I've bought a few tools, I understand better!" All I said was, "Thank you Jesus, I've lived long enough!"
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/15/03 13:31:28 EDT

"Tools for Bigger Kids": PPW We have all been there... I still look for stuff.. I also still don't put them where they go.. My son gives me a blast once awhile.. " Dad I don't know about you somedays" he says with a big grin...

Cheers from the North.. Trees are changing color
Barney - Monday, 09/15/03 19:59:44 EDT


I'll admit that I'm not as fanatical about it as I once was. Part of that is not enough space part of it is aging memory.
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/15/03 20:33:17 EDT

Tools Kids Sand:
I'm glad there are more of your that feel the way I do. Or perhaps being given REAL tools is one of the reasons we ended up in smithing. . .

Of course VI now lives in one of worlds finest sandboxes ;)

I have nothing against the plastic mallet and wood pin sets for todlers. But kids KNOW when you are talking down to them and generaly know real objects from phoney starting at about 4 to 5 years of age. We always treated ours as we would adults and then turned out fine.

I must reiterate though that you need to KNOW your children. I've known kids I wouldn't give anything sharper than a bowling ball.

We were blessed with our twins. They were almost clones of ourselves. Bright, intelegent. But with some of our own personality faults too. My son is a stubborn as I am. Oddly even though my son is a great user of tools I don't think he appreciates there value much. My daughter on the other hand has spent her own money adding to her tool collection. A couple times she has come home and said "Lets go tool shopping". Not for me to buy her tools but to advise her on what is useful or not and good from bad.

There have been a few tool mishaps over the years. When I was 3 (I don't remember this), I "helped" my Dad by drilling a dozen holes in the solid cherry coffee table he was building . . The drill was a huge 3/8" electric! The table became a black lacquered piece instead of natural cherry.

When our twins were about the same age they took the bolts out of the gear box cover on my band saw. . . Tough job. I had just put them in fairly tight a few days earlier. Luckily the gasket cement kept thecover on, the oil in and dirt out. . . The same summer they "helped" Daddy by filling the tank of the NEW lawnmower with sand. . . . No tools this time but the same mechanical curiosity. 25 years later that same mower is still running but every time I start it I expect it to blow up. . .

Started with sand, ended with sand.
- guru - Tuesday, 09/16/03 10:20:02 EDT

Fake toys: I was given a gift at around the age of 8-9. It was the first time that I remember getting truly upset over such a thing. It was a model of a battleship. I never have cared for models,too much work for something that doesn't DO anything, doesn't serve a purpose. Anyways, I saw it in the store, the picture on the box showed a plethora of machines on the ship. When, after a few weeks of working for it, I finally got it. I opened it up and began to inspect the pieces. Then I became furious, none of them were real mechanisms, just plastic pop on pieces that just sit there, ughh. So, I ended using the hollow hull of the battleship to test principles of bouyancy.grin

When at the age of 5 in Colorado, I was helping my father on a horse/bull farm that he was working. He was driving a bobcat and I was riding on his lap. He showed me how the pedels and levers worked and let me "operate" them. When we got to where we were going, he had to stand in the bucket to be able to get at something. Well, just being taught how to operate the thing and sitting in it's control seat, I couldn't control myself. Pushing on the toe of one of the foot pedels, the bucket began to rise very fast, my father grabing on to it and giving me a look of panic that I didn't understand(he was invincable, right?). After letting him down from the bucket, I remember him just staring in utter disbelief.

About two years before that, at three. I had managed to get the keys for the family car and tried to start it. The keys got jamed in the ignition of the car and had to be repaired, I got spanked. The very next weekend, I did the very same thing, keys got stuck, car repaired again, got spanked again. Yet again, the next weekend I got the keys again, got in the car, sat at the wheel alone and stuck the keys into the ignition, I remember sitting at the wheel looking at about the middle of it. Shoving a key in the ignition and trying to turn it, grabbing the big lever and pulling it(column shifter). Thank God that I never managed to get the thing started, I think that after the THIRD time my parents hid the keys a little better.

Curiosity is what makes ones childhood a grand adventure, and a parenthood a living. . . well we laugh about it now.

Caleb Ramsby
Caleb Ramsby - Tuesday, 09/16/03 11:58:50 EDT

Tools: I grew up as a middle class boy in a 5th floor apt. in London. Although I was fairly handy ( I was Mr Fixit around my house), a serious interest in crafts was not encouraged because it smacked of working class. I can't say that my family actively discouraged me but this attitude was pervasive throughout the society. At that time, middle class people were supposed to have clean hands. The response to expressing an interest in tools and handcrafts was similar to what one might expect today if one confessed to a weakness for cross dressing - amused tolerance for a harmless lunatic - (NO! I dont cross dress - at least I have never confessed to it :) ) The English are VERY class conscious although I think this has changed in recent years. Also, it's difficult to set up a workshop in an apartment. I remember looking through American magazines at the time and being envious of the easy familiarity with machinery, tools and automobiles that Americans seemed to take for granted. I recall the frustration of trying to fix my motorcycle with just a pair of pliers and a screwdriver. I had no idea what I was doing and no one that I could ask.

My interest in mechinical things became a sort of surreptitious vice. When my parents left the house I would take things apart and reassemble them (usually with a few screws left over). In this way I learned quite a lot about how things worked and got away with it until I set my sights on the kitchen clock. This was a large clockwork beast with a loud alarm. I still remember the awful sound of the mainspring breaking loose and scattering small parts all over the kitchen. The dreadful realization that I was seriously out of my depth and no way to swim for shore. I reassembled the clock (minus mainspring and assorted pesky little gears). My parents just assumed it was "broken" and replaced it.

I have no complaints against my parents who are good people and raised what must have been a difficult child with love and patience. Still, I am envious of you guys :)
- adam - Tuesday, 09/16/03 13:05:22 EDT

Working Class: The way to tell the difference between a person who truly works with his/her hands and one who doesn't is easy. The real worker washes his hands BEFORE using the restroom.
vicopper - Tuesday, 09/16/03 14:07:06 EDT

Well sir, since we're sharing today:
I didn't get much encouragement from my father in anything, mostly just left alone. He was a highly stressed programmer who wanted as far away from the farm he grew up on as possible. Granpa was a blacksmith in the oilfield as well as a mason and whatever else it took live. I never knew him though. I didn't learn work or much of responsibility til I was a teenager and fell in with a rough crowd, 2 retired Air Force MP's. Didn't take them long to explain what they thought of something or the way it was done. I learned to DO or NOT DO. Not a lot of gray area that I had become accustomed to.
As my dad gets older there is more that he will do with me and teach, but it is a struggle for us both. We have very little interests in common. :) you should a heard him when I asked if he would crank the blower for me, that really played on a nerve. He remembers doing that for his dad (whoda thought) and he definitely didn't have any desire to go back in time! LOL
You guys who do things with your kids rate real hi in my book. Teach them something real and then they will have "Self Esteem" through being competent. That is the real education.
Mills - Tuesday, 09/16/03 15:44:06 EDT

Teaching: Or they will end up hatting what their parents are/were and strive to become someone as different from them as possible.

I don't think that I have ever met(my self included) someone that feels like they got the right amount of attention from their parents. It is either too little attention to what they are interested in or too much attention to what they are not interested in.

Most likely when one looks at someone elses childhood and wishes they had it like them, there are many things that one doesn't see from the outside. There is also something that is part of you that wouldn't be there anymore, I can't imagine having part of myself never existing, but I can imagine there being more of me here.

To quote Mills:

"Teach them something real and then they will have "Self Esteem" through being competent. That is the real education."

It would be hard for me to find anything with which I could agree greater.

Walking through stores now I am sickened by the sight of what one is "supposed" to give to their children. Such as the electronic books that "teach" the kids on their own, toys that have absolutly no foothold in reality. Although it is much worse, to me, that the imagination of a child is given practically NO chance to grow and be utilized. In about 100 years or so I think that America(of which I am part) will begin to understand that to acquire happiness is based more upon the balance that is used in ones life. Many asain cultures have known this for thousands of years, not because of some magical history of differing capacity to understand. Simply because they have existed as a loose knit, yet comprehensive civilization for loosly 25-100 times longer that we/America have been in existance.

I think that the search for answers on how to live on a personal answer should be found now just like it was in the old days. When Grandparents, Parents and children all lived in one home. The grandparents would teach and bring up the children more than the parents would, which is good because most parents are too young and havn't had enough time to collect an adequate supply of wisdom. The parents would make sure that they would all survive in the world, that was their main responsibility. If one looks at the globe with this eye, then one finds that we(America, the baby) should be looking at the grandparents(asia) for ways to improve the quality of ones personal life. You know, how to keep a balance in every aspect of their life, they are very good at that.

However I find it sad that there has been a severe conection between a government and it's supposed effect on it's peoples individual balances or life style. I think that most of the asian countrys have made some bad originazational desisions, such as communism and other such governments. Many countrys look at America and wonder what makes us free. They figure that if they emulate our life style(which in most cases is deplorable, and atrophic) they will gain the political freedom that we have, WRONG. Political preferance of a given group of people is often not what they are forced to exist under. I wonder how often one could take a random group of people from any place on earth. Set them all in a room and have them come up with a system upon which to govern themselves. Then compare what they all agreed upon with what they live under and "support". Often a nations choice of government is not the peoples. Look at China, Iraq or America for that matter.

The only way for an average person to get through life without some type of self-induced trauma is by gaining balance on ALL FRONTS. Develop imagination with reality, bravery with fear, art with math.

The top chess players in the world have the physical workout regiment that would make most triathalon people blush. In this case Newtons law, with every action there is an equal and oposite reaction, could be modified for every force exerted, there should be one of as great power exerted in the oposite realm.

Well, my brain won't stop thinking so I guese I have to stop writing.grin

I hope I have a few people thinking,

Caleb Ramsby
Caleb Ramsby - Tuesday, 09/16/03 19:22:07 EDT

Tools: I remember doing the same thing to my dad's tools. Big sockets make really neat sand forms for castles! When I graduated from college, I spent all my graduation money on tools. Still have almost all of them, too! However, since cars became host bodies for computers, I don't use them as much as I used to. I still prefer to make tools at the forge. I am a reasonably artistic person (I wanted to be an artist until I discovered Geology which is why I went into Metallurgy) but making artistic pieces is not very interesting to me. Granted, a beautifully crafted piece of hand-forged art is wonderful but it just doesn't do anything but sit there. A beautifully crafted set of tongs is both art and a technical accomplishment. It's hard to get an engineer to relax, I guess.
quenchcrack - Tuesday, 09/16/03 19:24:00 EDT


Engineer? So THAT'S what wrong! (grin)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/16/03 23:57:55 EDT

ENGINEER?: PawPaw, you reckon Ol'QC's got his own locomotive?
3dogs - Wednesday, 09/17/03 01:31:13 EDT


Might could be! (grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/17/03 09:36:10 EDT

top chess players: some of the best chess players do keep physically fit. Botvinnik who dominated chess for several decades was a big proponent of brisk walks before a match. He lost his title to Tal who was a chain smoker. (He regained the title in a rematch). Gary Kasparov is a fit guy but he lost his title to Kramnik who is a complete couch potatoe.

Top chess players, like top athletes in most other sports, are very narrowly focussed. These are guys who have been playing chess professionally and intensely since childhood. The days of the well rounded man being able to compete at top level chess ended when the Russians appeared on the scene after the second world war.
adam - Wednesday, 09/17/03 11:53:45 EDT

Isabel: Guru, Jim and all in the path of Isabel, we are praying for y'all. Hope all is better than the weather seems to show.
Ralph - Wednesday, 09/17/03 13:40:40 EDT

Engineers: All right! Now ya'll quit pickin' on engineers. Becoming an engineer seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, after 5 tough years of college and 25 years of experience, I can look forward to making a tiny fraction of what a CEO with an arts-and-parties batchelors degree in business makes.
quenchcrack - Wednesday, 09/17/03 18:56:56 EDT

Chuckle! Reminds me of a kid I knew in college. He graduated with a degree in mining engineering. At the party, he made the comment that "Four years ago, I didn'e even know what an engineer was, and now I are one!" (grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/17/03 19:26:28 EDT


But your comment on comparative salary is right on the money! (sorry, just couldn't resist it!) I once had an attorney ask me why I charged him $30 an hour. I countered with the qeustion of why he charged $120 an hour. He replied that he had to go to college for four years and then pass the bar association test. I replied that I had been going to school for almost (at that time) 40 years and that I took a final exam every working day, on every job. He paid without a quiver, and never questioned the size of a bill again.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/17/03 19:30:54 EDT

PPW, I was approached by a company to do some consulting recently. I said I would and received by email a 3 page contract with all the legalese you would expect. It enforced on me confidentiality about the project. No problem. It assigned any technology I developed to the sole ownership of the company. Small problem. I was to indemnify the company against all suits, claims, damages, etc. Uh...hold on. This contract gave the company ALL the protection and hung me out to dry. And on top of that, it set the fee at $75 per hour. I sent them back an email withdrawing my offer and informed them that it was up to me to set the fee and the fee would $100 per hour except I didn't want the *&%$#@! job. Never heard another word.
quenchcrack - Wednesday, 09/17/03 20:25:33 EDT


You have to protect yourself in situations like that. You did everything right except for the fee. They pay computer consultants up to $185 an hour. Why should you get less?

Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/17/03 20:38:37 EDT

Isabel: Hope all you folks down around the strike area are taking all precautions. A good friend of mine just left Lexington this morning headed for Charlotte for a convention. Now that makes another one down there to worry about. Keep dry and safe.
- Larry - Wednesday, 09/17/03 21:12:43 EDT

Engineer:: en-j&-'nir :- Someone who turns abstractions into malfunctions.
adam - Thursday, 09/18/03 11:04:51 EDT

Isabel: Consulting: PawPaw is right. You need to charge more. Part of that fat consulting fee goes to pay YOUR lawyer to negotiate contracts with clients. He will protect you and he wont take it personally when they try and get away with something.

Personally, I wouldnt take $200/hour to spend my life being a lawyer or a CEO for that matter. I have watched several colleagues move "up" from technical work to management. Now they spend their time dealing with bull**** paperwork and other managers. I'd rather have fun in this life than be rich in the next one. :)
adam - Thursday, 09/18/03 11:16:00 EDT

Isabel: I am not a praying man, but like Ralph I hope everyone finds a safe harbor in this storm.
adam - Thursday, 09/18/03 12:28:41 EDT

Quenchcrack: Remember, the other thing a blacksmith will go to hell for is for not charging enough.
- 3dogs - Thursday, 09/18/03 12:42:37 EDT

Demo Day Chouteau, OK: As part of the town of Chouteau, Oklahoma annual celebration (Black Buggy Day), members of the Saltfork Craftsmen ABA will have an open-air smithy going on Saturday, September 20th. The event will be held in Guy Williams Park; festivities start at 9:00 AM and run until 6:00 PM. We should have the smithy set up by about 8:00 or so.
Bring your portable forge and tools or just show up; use what we will have on hand for a day of fun. The daylong event will highlight a “step back in time”. Not only will there be a smithy in operation, there will be horse drawn wagons and buggies and an antique tractor show. “Pioneer Day” attire is encouraged; selling of your ironwork or tailgate tool items is OK. Jim C.
- Jim C. - Thursday, 09/18/03 22:51:29 EDT

Toys for tots, etc: Just thought I'd drop in, and Oooo, hot buttons today. Grin.

Useful tools are great things. Useless tools are a waste. Plastic tools are indicative of one of the areas where our society is going bad. I put plastic hammers in the same mental box as our society supporting sports figures multimillion dollar salaries. That money comes from somewhere. And the time spent on watching it could be better spent making something useful or having good discourse with good people.

The best tool we can give our kids is encouragement. Involve them in what we do. When something NEEDS to be done, they should help. Even if it slows things down. They need to be taught that sometimes in life, you have to get things taken care of. Sometimes life IS hard work and you'd better have the tenacity to deal with it. When we have free time, we should involve them in that too. And make a point of the difference. Work hard, play hard. Like Vic said, life can be short. Don't waste it! We make work fun as often as we can around here.

Parents who do not spend time with their kids are making my life more difficult. I have to pay for the resultant social programs, crime, resulting adults that don't know how to support themselves and be useful in society, etc.

I'm all for taking kids away from bad parents and giving them to those who will raise them with love and as useful respectful people. Heck of a thing to do for a generation or so, but I think it would be well worth it.

Adam, have a hard time with engineers? Turn off the computer, electricity and stop driving the car/truck for a while. Don't use roads, bridges, multistory buildings, aircraft, pharmaceuticals, etc. Don't let doctors use their tools, etc. Only use what you can make and build yourself. I know, you just forgot to add the "Big Grin"! Big Grin.

Quenchcrack, good choice on telling them to go away with the contract. When I hire out, there is no big contract. If I can't reach a verbal agreement and get paid every week, I don't work for those people. The prevalence of manipulative people and the lawyers they hire to help them needs to stop somewhere. You just did your part. If we all did that, the manipulative ones couldn't exist. They would have no workers to make their living off the labor of.

How idealistic, huh? grinning a little, but serious on the concept.

Vic! Stop that. errrrr.... Keep doing that! The breathing. Keep breathing. Yikes! I can only imagine what is going through your mind after that. Know that we are thinking good thoughts. Give Sally a hug.

Jock, my first power tool was a sabre saw too. A tool that can get some work done, but won't take an arm off unless you really work at it. The other kids were jealous and their parents wouldn't let them play with me when I was using it. They were liberal democrats. But they did let me make the cuts and drills so their kids could bolt together a junkyard go cart like I was building. Hypocritical, manipulative SOB's. Grin!

Off to drill holes in 2" thick plate so I can raise the anvil a little. Wish I had the magnetic drill.
- Tony - Friday, 09/19/03 08:34:32 EDT

Guru and I are OK. His power is out, but should be back on sometime today
Paw Paw - Friday, 09/19/03 08:46:50 EDT

Tools & Kids: My father joined the RCAF (Royal Canadian Air Force) to get off the farm in Newfoundland. From him I learned more then I thought, plus the fortunate luck of going to some good quality schools With excellent manditory shop programs in drafting, metal and wood working (school funding wasn't cutting away the bone(s) then in the 70's.)

My first real tools came as a Christmas present. they were a box set of carpenters tools scaled down for an 8 year old's hands. At that time manderines and tangerines came in small wooden crates, so there was plently of material to practice with.

Over the years I joined the airforce myself, and have gathered tools (He who dies with the most tools wins!?!) Now, my son (7) is showing an interest in tools - I've been preparing for this. A couple of years ago I bought a tool box. Then keeping an eye out at yard sales and the hardware stores for sale items I've kitted it out fairly well. So this Christmas He'll get "real tools" of his own to care for and loose, wear out and most importantly LEARN with.
- Don - Friday, 09/19/03 09:26:14 EDT

TONY; Great Post!: I have always thought that many of the young, eager beaver engineers were placed in factories for the entertainment or annoyance of the older millwrights. (Especially since I am now one of the older millwrights). Quite often their zeal has to be restrained, and they have to be convinced (sometimes loudly) that, regardless of what they THINK their professor said, their idea is quite full of holes, and a waste of their time AND mine. Unfortunately, they often successfully enlist the aid of an equally uninformed member of management to support their cause, resulting in even greater expense and aggravation. Once in a while though, God sends a kid who can be a joy to work with, one who in his recent past actually tore things apart and eventually learned to reassemble them successfully. For him (or her) we give great thanks. Also, a hearty AMEN to your assessment of the liberal "Brad and Ashley breeders" of the world! Best regards, 3dogs
- 3dogs - Friday, 09/19/03 11:41:33 EDT

DON : Sounds like you're not just a father. You're a DAD! God bless. 3dogs
- 3dogs - Friday, 09/19/03 11:46:25 EDT

Engineers: One of the biggest obstacles for a young engineer to overcome is the belief that after they graduate, they are actually engineers. I found college to be 5 years of learning how to learn. I had the tools when I graduated but have spent the last 25+ years learning how to use them. The greatest blessings a new graduate will have is the friendship of an experienced engineer to guide them, the gentle thump on the head from an experienced shop floor person, and and the privelege of working in an environment where mistakes are not considered fatal.
quenchcrack - Friday, 09/19/03 13:54:24 EDT


Just in case you've never heard it, what 3dogs was referring to is the old saying, "Any male can be a father, but it takes a man to be a Dad."

And I agree with tres chiens!
- Paw Paw - Friday, 09/19/03 14:03:26 EDT

Ahoy, it's September, 19. Aye, we all know what that is, International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Avast Vic, you just need a small set of bellows hooked up to your lungs. Arrr, that would fix you right up. Keep in good spirits ya bilge rat!

Hey talking like a pirate IS fun. Yeehaw, wait thats cowboy/redneck jargon.

Caleb Ramsby
Caleb Ramsby - Friday, 09/19/03 14:14:46 EDT

Talk Like a Blacksmith Day: Ok, as long as we are totally off the subject, lets talk like Blacksmiths:

OW! Dang, that's still hot!
OW! Dang, that was heavy!
OW! Dang, that was sharp!
OW! Dang, that horn is pointy!
OW! Dang, that was my favorite thumb!

You get the idea.............
quenchcrack - Friday, 09/19/03 17:30:52 EDT

Aftermath: Paw Paw and Jock: Glad to hear you folks are alright.Hope everybody else is also. My friend who went to Charlotte said it just barely rained there. Slipped around east of Kentucky, so I'm working in dust.
- Larry - Friday, 09/19/03 20:30:53 EDT

3 Dogs, Talk like a Blacksmith:
Always tried to be on the entertaining side, not the annoying side myself. Grin. Gotta have good trades people, millwrights and maintenance people to get the job done. I can't count the times I was on a job with good people and wasn't even needed.

A good team makes the accomplishment MUCH more fun!

I've gotten stuck with working with and managing prima donna engineers too. Have a couple now. A terrible thing to work with. And in most cases I've seen, they are a product of the more liberal engineering schools and not very mechanically inclined. Gotta be skeptical of a mechanical engineer who doesn't change his own engine oil, etc.

Best thing for my engineering career was being put to work on a variety of maintenance work by my father at a very young age. Seeing the stuff before learning it is a BIG plus. It goes back to DOING things and not watching.

Talk like a blacksmith? For me today it was DANG, that brass makes a mess when it melts in the gas forge!

And then of course I burned too much of the zinc out and it crumbled under the press dies. Good thing it was from work scrap. Kinda looks like a ruptured overripe peach. I'll call it art. Grin.

- Tony - Friday, 09/19/03 21:56:24 EDT

Tony: Say, if you are burning the zinc out, I sure hope you have some positive ventilation. We should all be aware of the dangers of inhaling zinc fumes. It can cause welders shakes, or even convulsions. One time of exposure or multiple, all depends on how lucky we are. And it never leaves the body. So for everyone out there, be extremely careful of heating or cutting anything with zinc. That means all those galvinized pipes you were thinking of doing something with. :]
Bob H - Friday, 09/19/03 22:15:17 EDT

quenchcrack: I've uttered all of those at one time or another...can't recall "dang" being the expletive I used though. (Grin)

eander4 - Friday, 09/19/03 23:15:28 EDT

black smith words: Heard a blacksmith at a Rocky Mountain Smiths hammerin this summer who refered to his pile of "seconds" as his humble pile.
habu - Friday, 09/19/03 23:27:17 EDT


Yea, that was my problem too. I don't think I've EVER said Dang under circumstances like that. Much more likely to have been an explitive with a scatlogical origin. (grin)
Paw Paw - Friday, 09/19/03 23:37:30 EDT

Life: Is a truly wonderful thing. Really glad to have mine back!

Spent my enforced day of rest (Chief's orders), picking up refills on the oxy/acet cylinders, getting some steel, cuting/welding a little triler to drag around behind the new lawn mower machine. Nice, healthy restful day, and only one small burn, too! Someday I may have to give up welding in sandals and short pants. (grin)

Thanks to all of you for your words of encouragement. It means more to me than I can properly express.
vicopper - Friday, 09/19/03 23:43:29 EDT

Advice: To all of you,

Thanks for your well wishes, they mean very much to me. I seem to be just fine now, the tests show no heart damage and the brain seems to be only as good as it ever was, darn the luck. I had hoped that might improve. (grin) Thank God my wife Sally is a trained professional nurse or I wouldn't be here to thank you all.

If you haven't already taken a Red Cross course in CPR, I suggest you check into it. If it enables you to do for someone else what Sally did for me, you will have done a miraculous thing. Believe me, even if I had lived right in a city, no ambulance could have gotten there quickly enough to save my life. Only Sally, who was right there, could do that. Make the time in your life to learn the skills that it takes to protect your own loved ones, PLEASE. I will be going for my own re-certification next week.
vicopper - Saturday, 09/20/03 01:46:55 EDT

Blacksmith talk, Born Again...: Dang, I sure don't use that word in practice but this is a family forum. I to am far more prone to string together a list of expletives, invectives, a just plain nasty terms.

Viccopper: I too am grateful to count you among the living. My mother suffers from apnea and must sleep wearing a pressurized oxygen mask to force air into her lungs when she stops breathing. Not a pleasant solution but it works.
quenchcrack - Saturday, 09/20/03 06:53:24 EDT

Vicopper's near miss: QC, your post made me remember Sleep Apnea... for a long time, we thought my dad had it. We did a lot of research and found that he didn't, but it's *definitely* something to look into... and it doesn't show up on any chemical tests (i.e. blood tests, etc.). Generally one good indicator is if, during the night, you snore very loudly and then sound like you stop breathing for a moment. Look into it! I don't want to miss that Caribbean Hammer-in. (VBG)

Glad to hear that the Guru and others are all OK. Now the cleanup begins...
T. Gold - Saturday, 09/20/03 16:49:00 EDT

CPR: I would heartily suggest that anyone living too far for me to attend the estate sale take CPR with your *family*--you don't know who may need it!

Folks close to me need only to program my number in your speed dialer as the fellow who comes and cleans up all that junk in the shop *cheap*!

Thomas Powers - Saturday, 09/20/03 20:17:48 EDT

Sleep apnea: Tyler,

That is definitely not something I have, fortunately. I was actually sitting up awake when I had the respiratory arrest. I believe it was brought on by cardiac arrythmia, and there is some evidence to support that notion. I have to have more tests done to know more, maybe.

In any event, I doubt if my sudden demise would stop a planned Hammer-in. Sally would just turn it into a shop sale, if she had any sense at all. Of course, having been raised in a hardware store, she loves tools as much as I do and might just decide to keep them all. (grin) I don't know how I could have chose a better woman to share my life. A wonderful cook, obviously a good nurse, her family owns a hardware store and she never,ever complains when I buy tools. On top of that, she puts up with my being a cop and cluttering the whole place up with various projects. A gem!
vicopper - Saturday, 09/20/03 23:48:05 EDT

SALLY: Vicopper: It is absolutely imperative that the woman be cloned, posthaste! The future of the craft could hinge upon it. Picture it; a veritable Valhalla, full of smiling, well fed, iron bashing packrat smiths. 'Twould indeed be Paradise enow!
- 3dogs - Sunday, 09/21/03 01:13:40 EDT

for sale: First, VC..once was enough for that!

Here on the central CA coast..
Hawkeye Helve Hammer 30#? Needs work..$800
3'bellows, leather marginal..........$300
30 Ton (appx) punch press on massive steel frame $600
4'homemade slip rolls.......$150
Trades respectfully considered
- Pete F - Sunday, 09/21/03 03:23:27 EDT

long time no post - question for medievalists: I gotta say I like the mental picture of Hotmetal and his buddies picking over the plunder in Saddam's metal shops for blacksmithing tools.

It's good to hear that Isabel left most of y'all well enough alone. It's a relief. So is Vic's continued presence here among us. Please no more of that scary stuff, Rich!

I have a question for master Powers - hope to see ya at SOFA - and Uncle Atli. Doing a large-ish research paper in a medieval civ. class - heheh, it's one of those "I can't believe I'm getting credit for this" types of classes, heheh. heh. Education helps. Need primary sources for early to mid period metalworking. Say up to 11th century. Have Agricola, have Biringuccio, getting Moxon and Theo...Theo...the Antioch guy. The Italians are too late for what I had in mind. Need primary sources to make my prof happy - and her name's Isabel, so I want to stay on the good side of this one. I'm thinking of Viking age and Nordic metalworking technology in general, so I can slip the Mastermyr book in as a secondary source. Any more titles you guys can suggest would be great.
Two Swords - Sunday, 09/21/03 03:43:39 EDT

Early medieval sources: Two Swords; your teacher is probably smirking right now; sources for that period are either extant pieces or brief asides in other works. Even illuminations of iron working are pretty rare in the early medieval period.

My suggestion is to hit the bibliographies of tertiary sources of well known medievalists and hit the ILL ASAP!

R.F Tylecote; C.S.Smith, Radomir Pleiner are all names I would expect to see in your bibliography! And they will point you at more obscure works in *their* bibliographies...

Check out "Cathedral, Forge and Waterwheel" by Gies & Gies.

Look for symposia publications like "Medieval Iron in Society" papers presented at the symposium in Norberg, Jernkontoret and Riksantikvariea:mbetet (Swedish Ironmasters' Association and the Central board of National Antiquities)

A couple of friends of mine presented their 10 years of research on building and firing short stack bloomery furnaces at last years Ironmasters Conference---would you like contact info for them? If you are at Quad-State I'll bring along a copy of a thesis on Crucible Steel in Central Asia from that time period (on cd).

If you can provide me with the specific area you want to cover in your paper I can give some more specific cites

Thomas Powers - Sunday, 09/21/03 10:56:36 EDT

Foggy Grey . . :
THAT is the color for a medievalist! Hmmmmm but that doesn't show up on our grey signiture background on the guru page. . . Maybe a blue grey. . .

TALK LIKE A BLACKSMITH. . . Hmmmmm my favorite is stollen from the pirates:

ARGggggg . . my back hurts!
ARGggggg . . . my aprentice dinged my anvil!
ARRggggg . . where the heck is that tool!?
ARRggggg (while hoping on ONE foot) . .who put that swage block in the isle?????
ARGgggg . . I'm outa fuel on a weekend!

I don't think a talk like a blacksmith day is going to be very popular (even among smiths) SO, lets come up with a GOOD date for HANDLE & HAMMER day and I will post it on the Calendar page. That is the day that you STOP, clean, sand, tighten, oil and rewedge the eye if necessary and varnish EVERY wood handle your shop. Also dress the faces and corners of your hammers.

What other days does the blacksmithing community need? Give a tool to a needy newbie day? Recycle seconds and oh-shoots into bar stock day? . . .

Handle day has become handle YEAR in my shop. We keep bringing home old hammers with bad handles and cut up faces and repairing them. . . The collection grows and they are all in good condition.
- guru - Sunday, 09/21/03 14:32:01 EDT

Arggg: Looking over to the left I see the button colours; red is taken, yellow is taken; what about orange? (shading to an amusing gray at one end...)

I wish I had thought of it earlier; but I'm bringing some of my total loss hammer handles to quad-state as fuel for our raised fire pit.

Since some of my hammers have quite outre eyes on them I can sometimes reshape ones that are falling out of fleamarket hammers to correctly fit a different hammer.

(I'm not a big fan of jamming in a "thirds" handle that has daylight all around it save for a crushed bit and then upping the price by $3; talked one fellow $3 down by saying that I'd *give* him the "new" handle back that he thought was worth that and I thought was 50 cents---except it didn't fit the hammer. I put it on the ground steped on the head on either side of the "new" handle and pulled it out and handed it to him... Also picked up a WI small straight pein from him with a square eye. Guess I will use it nonferrous since it does not seem steeled)

Thomas Powers - Sunday, 09/21/03 14:54:48 EDT

Handle day: I suggest the 3rd saturday in August, In memory of a hammer handle my shop mates made me take and toss in the firebox of the boiler on the caliope at Those were the Days at the Museum. This was about the third time they had to duck from the head flying off the handle. Not being compleatly addled by the smoke, and I did consider that one of my shopmates that weekend is an instructor in marshal arts.... anyway that's my suggestion for handle day.
BTW after two years I don't have the new handle fitting my hand as nice yet. If handle day can prevent one tradegy like mine.......
ok ok I'll shut up now
- JimG - Sunday, 09/21/03 16:21:59 EDT

Forge Dezincing Brass: Bob H., thanks for mentioning the zinc fume problem. I should have said it. Yes, we were working outside with a good breeze and I kept the boy and I up wind.
- Tony - Sunday, 09/21/03 21:30:53 EDT

Early medieval sources: Thank you Thomas! My prof specialized in Muslim Spain and told me I would be teaching her something new with my paper (I think maybe she was being polite).

Well, originally I wanted to sort-of go the Blackistone route and concentrate on Vikings in, say, the 10th century. There might be more meat on the bone for me in that time period, but it's a pretty popular gig, and been done before.

So then I thought I would examine side-by-side development of religious dogma, as Rome's leavings and the White Martyrs proselytized the Continent and Isles, and metalworking technique - or rediscovery, in the case of smithing - and what influences each worked on the other. A line in one translation of "St. Patrick's Breastplate" (I summon these powers today
to take my part against every implacable power...entrapments of idols,
enchantments of women
or SMITHS or druids....)gave me the idea. Then I could trace that line of thought in more general terms (dogma vs. technology) all the way into the Rennaisance, or beyond.

I would love a copy of the Crucible Steel thesis. It sounds fascinating - not for class but for my own reading enjoyment. What is your trouble worth? I'll be in your debt for such knowledge! I'll be at Quad either Friday morning or Saturday morning, until Sunday, noon or so.

Oh yes, the reason I might not make it to Quad Friday morning is a lecture on Ireland and Dante at Notre Dame, followed by a reading by Seamus Heaney. Smithing content (weak as it is): Heaney, recent re-translator of "Beowulf," wrote an early poem about a local smith in his native Co. Derry, called "Door into the Dark." It's really good if you're tired of the spreading chestnut tree.
Two Swords - Monday, 09/22/03 00:43:14 EDT

Cussin': I used to work with an old guy who would holler out, GOTdandruff son I betcha thought I wuz gonna cuss!
- 3dogs - Monday, 09/22/03 09:38:04 EDT

Door into the Dark: Two Swords?
Is there any place on line we could find this Door into the Dark?
I'd like to see it.
- JimG - Monday, 09/22/03 10:00:36 EDT

Two Swords, Atli: I was amazed at how much platonic idealism showed up in "Sources for the History of the Science of Steel" even into the 18th century (unfortunately the book covers only the 16-18th centuries)

Some of the large monastic orders were big in the iron smelting business in the middle ages so the gap wasn't irreducible.(in the Weald IIRC)

You may want to look for some work on the Weyland the Smith Legends; The Voulsong Saga with Siggard, etc

"The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England" should have a good bibliography as she used many "literature" sources in her chapters on making and using swords---many of them are viking based as little was written in A-S england.

If the weather is good I'll try to bring a stack of books for you to look through at Quad-State---anyone else is welcome to as well!

Atli, don't forget to wax and save some of the pecan for hammer handles, it's a lot like hickory. Limb wood seems to have been used for handles a lot.

Thomas Powers - Monday, 09/22/03 10:34:48 EDT

Tony: Just for the record, I consider myself an engineer although my training is mostly in applied math. I certainly am no Luddite. I was just pointing out that engineers dont always get it right. At least not the first time.
- adam - Monday, 09/22/03 11:35:35 EDT

I cant find the post that explains what happened but I gather you had a medical emergency? Rich, I do wish you a quick recovery and good health!
- adam - Monday, 09/22/03 11:45:09 EDT

Quad State: OK, if I've got this right, the Guru will be going, 3dogs, Thomas Powers, myself, and who else? I'd like to meet all of you. The Guru I should recognize from his pictures here, and to find Thomas I will be looking for that flaming anvil. I'll also be looking for anyone wearing a Anvilfire cap, tho I don't have one, dang it! Too bad PawPaw ain't gonna be there, would have liked to have met him too. So, any others going, put your name down and let's see if we can meet!
Bob H - Monday, 09/22/03 11:46:14 EDT

JimG; Door in the Dark: Me, too! I ran the title on my search engine and ran into nothing but book reports and dealers. (I reckon Ol' Seamus still wants to be paid for it. Oh, well, I reckon I would, too.) I guess I'll check the local library. 3dogs
- 3dogs - Monday, 09/22/03 11:48:53 EDT

Adam: Luddism ain't ALL bad either.
- 3dogs - Monday, 09/22/03 13:37:33 EDT

Door in the Dark: ISBN: 0571101267
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Format: Paperback, 56pp
Barnes & Noble Sales Rank: 526,907
Pub. Date: October 1985
Series: Faber Paperbacks Series

Our Price: $13.95

All the previous was form Barnes and Noble web page. Found after about 2 nanoseconds of google search
Ralph - Monday, 09/22/03 15:18:06 EDT

Handle day: Guess that I could use a Handles 101 class! So where does one find handles for something other than a claw hammer anyway? Do they actually make handles that sort of fit without whitteling? Heaven forbid, are there actual standard sizes?
Roy B - Monday, 09/22/03 16:29:33 EDT

Standard Sizes?:

Surely you jest! (grin) But, most ACE hardware stores carry a selection of various sizes of wood handles. When in doubt, buy the next size up, it's a lot easier to takes some wood off than it is to glue popsicle stics on it to fill up the eye of the hammer.
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/22/03 16:43:50 EDT

Book FS: I have a spare, brand new copy of Peter Parkin's "Artist Blacksmith" This book is well worth it for the beautiful pictures. I had bought myself a copy and then someone gave me another as gift. $14 + shipping
- adam - Monday, 09/22/03 17:00:18 EDT

Standard Sizes: Thanks for the info! I don't mind doing a little whitteling, but there is just something fundamentally wrong with putting a rectangular peg in an oval hole!
Roy B - Monday, 09/22/03 17:06:43 EDT

Adam, Lead too.: Adam, I figured. No offense taken or meant, and no, engineers DON'T always get it right the first time. Some of them don't ever get some things right. Grin!

BTW, the brass we were dezincing by accident also had a fair amount of lead in it. We were being careful of that too.

Bob H., et al, I plan to be at Quad State Friday noonish. I'm there if a slightly muddy blue and aluminum truck with 42 inch tires is there. Other than that, I have a beard and will be wearing carharts or bibs. grin.
- Tony - Monday, 09/22/03 20:29:05 EDT

Medieval sources, Quad: Door into the Dark: JimG, 3 Dogs, So far as I ken (heheh) there is no site where you might read the poem. I first read it in an anthology, and later bought the collection named after that poem. I hesitate to post the work in its entirety but I sure wish there was a way I could share it with you guys. If I had written anything that good I'd sure want to share it with folks who'd like it. Here's a link to either his site or a site about him with some of his work. Bogland is very good (for me at least) and possesses some of the introspective tone of Door into the Dark.

Bob H - Quad - I'm heading down Friday or early Saturday. I don't have an Anvilfire cap but I, uh, DO have a beard. I'm sure that'll help. At least I'll be in uniform! Here's the basic description: 5'10" 205# pretty lean build. Brown hair/eyes/beard. Scar on my throat. Boots, jeans, faded denim shirt. Will be trying to see EVERYTHING and ALL AT ONCE with the unmitigated enthusiasm of an undermedicated 7-yr. old. If the weather's kewlish I'll have a black wool Guinness hat over me eyes. Looking forward to seeing you and all.

Thomas, - I'll be in your debt once again, if I get even a few minutes to paw through your stack of books. Here's hoping for good weather! Hmm, viking literary sources on sword making. Hope I don't soak the pages in drool.

Tony - but how will we know it's you? BOEG.

This is going to be a really good time.
Two Swords - Tuesday, 09/23/03 02:22:03 EDT

Book tour: Hey! Maybe it's just the late/early hour, but here's an idea. Let me bounce this off you fellas. How about I mail my copy of Door into the Dark to the first person who wants to read it, you read it, jot your comments in the margin or somewhere, and send it on to the next (I mean, there can't be THAT many, right?). Everybody gets to read the poem, and I get to keep your impressions of it for inspiration at a later date. Groovy?

Aw, h@ll, I gotta go to bed.

Two Swords - Tuesday, 09/23/03 05:28:38 EDT

Two Swords:

Wouldn't it just be easier to type the poem in and post it as a message?
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/23/03 10:46:38 EDT

book tour: and interesting concept TwoSwords, I'd be game
- JimG - Tuesday, 09/23/03 10:47:40 EDT

Quad-State: Well, easiest way to find me is to look for the disreputable red felt hat, trust me, there won't be another like it there and while you may mistake another for it---you will *know* it when you see it!

TS, I'm looking for a weatherproof box since the bookload is increasing. I have a copy of "The Two Handed Sword of the German Migration Period"---can you puzzle out German? If you can, sources in foreign languages that you actually *use* are a big plus in a bibliography---trying to remember if their is any references to iron/steel in the Poema del Mio Cid, a work anyone big on Muslim Spain would be familiar with; shoot I'll throw on "Nuevas Tecnicas Metalurgicas en Armas de la II Edad del Hierro" a bit early for your interests; but you may want to write a paper on Iberian Ironworking some day...

Thomas; hmmm more books maybe I'll skip bringing food to Quad-State
Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 09/23/03 11:10:18 EDT

oh boy: Thomas - Disreputable? Can't wait. I hope this isn't turning into a massive increase in workload for you, lugging all these books around. I uh, can read eine kleine Deutsch, but when I try to speak it well it just gets laughs. We will cover some of El Cid later in this class, guess the prof's got her favorites. Iberians? (We don't need no stinkin Iberians...heehee) They interest me insofar as the earlier Celtiberian combinations and the sack and conquest of Rome in, what, 400-390 BC? Not to encourage you to go hungry, I hear the granges serve really good food down there. Heck I probably owe you at the very least a good meal for everything.

Paw Paw - It's tempting, but I want to respect the copyright. Sadly, for somebody who might want to publish one day, I have only a vague idea of what is allowed and what not. Especially online. 'Sides, Jim G likes it. Grin.

Got spam today from Union Bank of Nigeria. Still at it.
Two Swords - Tuesday, 09/23/03 13:59:55 EDT

Handle Sizes and fitting:
McMaster-Carr sells a wide range of handles. So far every one purchased based on the TYPE of hammer and weight range has fit.

I have also made handles. Hickory and Ash are best. Oak is too splintery and open grained but DOES work. I also RECYCLE handles. If you need wood a broken bat, ax, or sledge handle can be cut down, reworked and fitted.

I throw away those soft wood wedges that come with handles and cut new ones from maple, cherry or walnut. I recycle old steel wedges and new handles often come with them. However, it is a 30 second job to forge and cut off a nice hammer wedge. I texture the sides with a chisel or put dragon's teeth on the corners.

Hammers usualy have some taper or a better round edge to the eye on the bottom. Ocassionaly I dress the hole with a grinder (Dremel or die grinder).

The handle should fit the eye tightly but not be TOO tight. They normally need to be pounded in so trail fitting is usualy not possible. If you make your own the wood wedge goes front to back and the slot needs to be sawn about as deep as the hammer head. There should be a slight swell in the handle for the hammer to seat on.

Drive the handle in as far as it will go. Put glue in the wedge slot and on the wood wedge and drive in. Cut the wood flush to the hammer. Then drive in one or two metal wedges (depending on the size and shape of the eye). Then sand/grind the handle flush to the head. Afterwards oil the handle in the eye with linseed oil. We leave the hammer setting overnight with oils standing on the handle. It usualy soaks in. If the wood looks dry oil again. The oil swells the wood AND prevents drying.

Trim any chips, sand and varnish the handle as needed.

Some folks drill a LONG hole from the end of the handle to near the head and fill with oil regularly.

On old tight handles check for cracks and splintering. Cracks in non-critical areas get filled with glue. Scrape or sand the handle to remove chipping and splintering. Varnish. If the handle has chips or cuts hear the head then tape the handle for a few inches with electrical tape. Many of my hammers have been abused by others (nailing chips and cuts near the head where they were used to pound nails and spikes and someone missed) and needed taping. Many of the used hammers we have bought were similarly abused so they too have been taped. If an old hammer has been taped then remove the tape and check for cracks. Glue or replace handle as necessary. If the tape was covering chips then retape after scraping and varnishing.

Fitting the handle to fit your hand is another subject. I use mostly commercial handles and like them. Others do a lot of fitting. This can be done with a rasp, file or large knife.scraper. Some smiths burn the wood and then scrape off the char to work their handles. This also leaves behind a fire hardened surface.
- guru - Tuesday, 09/23/03 14:05:54 EDT

Handle Day: Ah. . I forgot to suggest a day. . This is winter activity for me. When the days are long and too cold to work in or out. So sometime in January or February would seem best to me.
- guru - Tuesday, 09/23/03 14:10:52 EDT

Yeah, I much prefer the flea marketer's and tail gaters NOT to put a badly fitted or CHEEP handle on a hammer to raise its price. I'd much rather have no handle than a poorly fitted or cheap one. I pay the extra buck on McMaster-Carr's premium handles. They are much better select straight grained ash or maple.

We traded a hammer from Dragonboy the other week. It was an odd shape my apprentice wanted. The cheap Chinese hammer had the handle fitted with parafin and the steel wedge was sticking through past the the head! How stuff like this leaves the factory ANYWHERE is amazing.
- guru - Tuesday, 09/23/03 14:18:21 EDT

Two Swords Etal,

In a compilation you may quote a book or reference but cannot use a significant part. You should always give a credit or footnote. A poem, story or illustration is a complete work in itself and cannot be copied (unless it is public domain). Book reviews come under usage call "fair use". Reveiwers can use text and images. Certain educational use also comes under fair use.

Since 1984 Copyright exists from the moment you put the idea to words or in any tangeble form. Prior to that it had to be "published" WITH a legal copyright notice. A badly formed copyright notice was worse than no copyright. Today you do not need to meet the "publication" rule OR the notice rule. So just because something does not say "copyright" it doesn't mean it is public domain.

Putting something that is copyrighted on the web is just as ilegal as putting it in print. If you post a copyrighted work here I would be forced to delete it.

I've been told by a reputable source that old books printed prior to 1926 are all out of copyright. Later publications are complicated as the copyright can be renewed and renewal periods have been extended several times recently. In the last extension there were works in public domain reprint that came back under copyright. . .

Just because something is out of print does not mean it's copyright no longer exists.

You do not need to register your copyright HOWEVER, registration alows you to force the infringer to pay your legal costs.

I have had numerous submissions over the years that were original articles but with copies of copyrighted illustrations. I cannot use them with the infringing material. When something like this is used the author must get permission from the original author/heir or publisher.

You MAY use anything that the author or publisher gives you permission to use. However, I have contacted numerous publishers since launching anvilfire and have never recieved a response. I suspect that unless you are offering to PAY for use that they consider most requests a nuisance. Or perhaps the request needs to come from a literary agent or someone in the field. . .

- guru - Tuesday, 09/23/03 14:46:05 EDT

Ok; OK "The Celtic Sword" by Radomir Pleiner is on the pile; wish I had his book on Iron too.

Guru; I'd have to admit some of my hammers have pattern welded wedges---what are you going to do with the tag ends of things like clips and tangs that you "trim" to size???

Course none of the ones I sell have them; mostly thay have the original fleamarket handle so a person can fit it to suit themselves.

or I'm lazy

Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 09/23/03 15:43:54 EDT

Anneal: I'm having trouble annealing M2. What is a method of doing it without a furnace, and preferably using my forge? I have tried burying it in vermicullite after heating it to the recommended annealing temperature, but it is still hard.
- Tim - Tuesday, 09/23/03 16:18:46 EDT

Chinese quality control: Guru, I, too, am always amazed that the Chinese will go to such great lengths to make a totally non-functional tool. I bought some Chinese hacksaw blades at HF today. Put one in the saw frame, and gave a few quick strokes on some A36 HR. Stripped all the teeth right off! Took them back and the manager asked "well, what did you expect for this price?". WHAT DID I EXPECT? I expected it to cut mild steel! Maybe not last as long as a Lennox blade, but at least make a few cuts! Never bought a Chinese hammer that didn't have a loose head either. I think they would be money ahead if they just sold framed, color pictures of good tools. People who don't actually use the tools could then hang the pictures in their shops, expecting,and getting, nothing from their investment.
quenchcrack - Tuesday, 09/23/03 16:29:01 EDT

Annealing M2: Tim, M2 is a high chromium,molybdenum, tungsten, vanadium tool steel made to resist softening at elevated working temperatures. It just doesn't want to anneal! The only way to do it is to heat to about 1625F and cooling it very slowly . By slowly, I mean no more than 40 degrees per hour. I have toyed with the idea of placing several pieces of hot steel around the tool steel to add heat and slow the process down but this is still not very controlable. You really need a furnace with an electronic contoller on it to do it right.
quenchcrack - Tuesday, 09/23/03 16:37:28 EDT

QC & QC: Honorable Quenchclack; Chinese hacksaw brades are subjected to extensive testing here at Three Smiling Elephants Hacksaw and Bicycle Works. Our highly skilled and motivated workers test each and every hacksaw brade by sawing the horn off a Harba Flate cast iron anvil before we allow its sale to honorable Yankee customer.
- 3dogs - Tuesday, 09/23/03 19:11:59 EDT

Hacksaw Brades: ROFLMAO! I am at a loss for a reply to that one, 3 Dogs!

Things not to buy at Hahbah Flate:
1. Anything that uses electricty.
2. Anything that needs a hardened cutting edge to work.
3. Anything that is supposed to protect you from anything.
4. Any tool that requires precision tolerances to work.
5. Any tool used for precise measurements.
6. Any tool used to contain liquids or gasses under pressure.
7. Any tool you plan to use to make a living with.
8. Any tool that says "Professional" or "Industrial" on it.

Any I left off?
quenchcrack - Tuesday, 09/23/03 20:35:58 EDT

Chinese tools: Well, I normally go out of my way to avoid buying chinese anything. But try to buy a pair of tennis shoes that aren't maed in China! Anyway, I see China as an agressive communist country, that threatens U.S. security and interests. They have copyright infringements and terribly abuse human rights. But I do still ocasionally buy Chinese products when it seems I can't get anything else. Wish it were different. Now, the one thing I did buy at Harbor Freight was a cast iron grinder stand for $30. Couldn't beat that price, but my concience still bothers me!
Bob H - Tuesday, 09/23/03 21:23:41 EDT

Tools Marked "Professional" and China:
In my youth I bought many high priced American made tools marked "Professional" from the place "Where America Shops". These were the best, highest priced tools they carried. I TRIED to do the right thing.

NONE were professional quality. How do I define "professional quality"? A professional tool is any tool having an expected lifetime of a LEAST a year in daily service. Mechanics, carpenters, electricians, ANYONE that WORKS for a living cannot spend their life running back and forth replacing tools.

Now. . . when I bought those tools marked "professional" I expected something better than "homeowner" or "hobby" quality. These are tools that get used a couple times a year and may never see a month's daily usage EVER. Now. . . when I went into blacksmithing I expected these "professional" tools to last me a while. They did not. ALL the motor driven tools died in the first month under ocassional use. The angle grinder I bought did not wear out ONE wheel. In fact the wheel that came with it wore out THREE MORE identical greinders. And guess what? The warantee on these "professional" tools if actualy used in a profession (commercialy) reverts to 30 days from what was "lifetime". I replaced that LAST angle grinder with a Black and Decker Wildcat. It wore out that old wheel and case or so more since. . THAT is a professional tool.

My new definition of "lifetime" warantee became "life of the tool". . . Now GOOD tools normaly outlast their owners if not abused. We all have collections of tools that outlasted several generations of owners. . . But the mass marketeers gamble on you never using the tool. . .

The "Professional" welding outfit I purchased from the same place was orphaned a year after I bought it and a year before I tried to buy some extra tips to use in my new blacksmithing business. . . $300 wasted. OR spent on my education about tools. . .

When I went to purchase my second welder (MIG-TIG . .) I went to my welding supplier (having learned from the above) and asked for a Miller. Then I let myself be talked into a new AirCo combination machine made for small shops. . . IT was orphaned two years later. . . a $4000 investment now worth $50 resale . . I am still kicking myself for not buying the Miller.

So, it is not just a Chinese problem. These were American made tools from when "Made in USA" usualy meant something. How many of these "Professional" tools were exported to countries that now send us THEIR crap???? Probably a LOT.

I ALWAYS purchase the best high quality saw blades I can get. Most are/were made by or for top tool names like Nicholson and Morse. I have also bought Swedish made Sandivic. I'm sure there are many other good European brands.

The Japanese also make excellent tools. The best are made for their domestic market. I suspect the Chinese make some good stuff too (I can not believe they can afford to import all their tools used to make the cheap crap for export).

Note that the "Place where America Shops" no longer sells their own line of electric tools, they now carry Milwaukee, DeWalt and the top Japanese lines.

SO, I buy old used good quality PROFESSIONAL tools or new top quality tools from makers I trust. I bought Black and Decker Professional grinders when they made them. Now the line is made by DeWalt. When I bought electric drills I bought Milwaukee. When I bought electric drills for my children I bought the same Milwaukee drills. However, Milwaukee now makes a mass market tool line with plastic chucks for the "Place where America Shops". But you can still get the good ones that use REAL Jacobs chucks IF you go to a store that has the catalog and full line.

Cheap tools cost you money in the long run.

Many import machines and tools are well made but you have to consider who is selling them. I understand that the Chinese complain to buyers exporting to the US about the quality they ask for. We know these folks.

CHINA! Wake UP! If you want to stop the bad reputation don't make the junk. Refuse. Make the best you can. We will still buy it (to OUR shame). Let some other country become a joke.

Remember when "Made in Japan" was a joke? (it WAS) Now, as noted in the movie "Back to the Future", they make all the "best stuff" . . . Then Taiwan was the joke, then Korea, now China.
- guru - Tuesday, 09/23/03 23:20:50 EDT

copyright: (in my best miserable wail) "But Guru, Paw Paw told me toooo...." Alright, better now. And let's look at the "kewl" factor here; I had just professed ignorance of copyright law and once again the GURU has the answer! His knowledge is boundless! Seriously, thanks Jock for a very comprehensive answer.

Thomas - Celtic Sword? I didn't even see that one in the "out of print" section for Pleiner - course I'm lazy too and only searched at Amazon for a little while. That I needed a nap. Grin.

Quench & 3dogs - Harba Flate & Chinese tools - heheheh. Guru's right, again, but you guys are funnier. I have one to add - anything that says "precision" on it. They sell lathes and mills in there too - the kind where ya gotta crank the handwheel about a turn and a half to reverse direction, and you can measure the slop between any two "mating" surfaces in inches (well at least large fractions), not thousandths or tenths.

Looking over the list, though, I think the Russian 110# anvil might actually slip in between the cracks, Quench. Whatdya think?
Two Swords - Wednesday, 09/24/03 01:57:01 EDT

Harba Flate Russian Anvil: Actually, the 110# Russian Anvil is entirely consistent with most HF tools. It looks just like a real anvil, it is made of steel, it is for "professional" use. However, the face is a bit soft, the horn is useless and the hardy hole is HUGE and not square. Yeah, a good beginner anvil and I keep mine for demos. But after using a good Czech anvil, I could probably not go back to the Ruskie on a daily basis. In fairness to HF, they do sell some useable tools for home and hobby. By selling very cheap tools, they allow beginners to get to work on a shoestring budget. The crime is when those of us who know better buy their stuff and expect it to perform like the tools our Dad used. Guru, I bought a Skil 4.5" sidewheel grinder about a year ago. Gone through about 2 boxes of wheels so far and it still works fine. Paid about $25 for it at Wally World. Made in China, though......
quenchcrack - Wednesday, 09/24/03 09:08:56 EDT

Skil Grinder: Whoa! I just went out and checked and the Skil grinder is....GASP....MADE IN THE USA! I am truely amazed! Uh...amazed, that Wally World is carrying US made tools, and that there is still a US Tool Maker in business, that is.
quenchcrack - Wednesday, 09/24/03 09:12:03 EDT

More Chinese Clap: Two things I thought I'd never see on the same label were "Craftsman" and "Made in China", but, sureashell, a high percentage of the tools at Sears are so marked. And, if memory serves me, I recall a salesman telling me that the 4" angle grinders were produced by Skil, in China. It is my understanding that the Chinese industries WILL produce products to spec., viz. Grizzly Industries merchandise. Though some of the products may look similar to the cheaper stuff, the quality is better. The prices are higher, too. Grizzly Industries, an American company, maintains their own Quality Control department in the Chinese factories to assure that their standards are upheld.
- 3dogs - Wednesday, 09/24/03 09:47:08 EDT

USA and tools: qc,
Now I could be all wet, but....
Years ago my wife was involved in a business venture of having silver jewelry made in Bolivia ( or was it Chile?) and then sold here in the USA. During all this we found out that items can be made overseas, and then in the free trade zones at US shipping ports could have the 'Made in USA' tag afixed as long as some small and minor manufactoring item was done in the trade zone. Such as .....adding a tag.... Sorta like how little an item can contain of Nautural ingredients and still be called Natural ......
Ralph - Wednesday, 09/24/03 11:24:16 EDT

Celtic Sword: There's your problem! When looking for an out of print book check out; it's a consortium of several thousand used book dealers often with wildly ranging prices, (read the details on condition, editions, etc bought a book to *use* recently that was dirt cheap cause there was 4 or 5 lines underlined...)

Only 1 Celtic Sword and yup that's about the going price; looks expensive till you look up Alan Williams' "The Knight and the Blast Furnace"...
Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/24/03 14:11:36 EDT

I finally found something to buy there.Large needle nose pliers that I'll grind to make scrolling pliers.They were only $1.95 oh yea and some ear plugs fo .35
Chris Makin - Wednesday, 09/24/03 16:03:15 EDT

Made in the USA: With free trade screwing up country of origin lables, I expect to find a "Made on Planet Earth" tag pretty soon. The Skil grinder does have a metal tag attached to the motor housing and it has performed quite well. The only problem with it is that it has a 1/2" arbor instead of a 5/8" arbor. I usually have to use 4" wheels with the 1/2" hole instead of the 4.5" wheels with the 5/8" hole.
quenchcrack - Wednesday, 09/24/03 18:15:35 EDT

Quad State: Well, I finally managed to upload a couple pictures of myself to the Yahoo site, even tho I kept getting a message that the upoad failed. So, those of you going down there, if ya want to see how ugly I am so you can avoid me, check under Bob Harasim. I be there.
Bob H - Wednesday, 09/24/03 19:13:06 EDT

Bob H.: You're right, you're almost as ugly as I am. (grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/24/03 19:53:16 EDT

PawPaw: Now there's no point in gettin' mean. (VBG)

eander4 - Wednesday, 09/24/03 22:04:15 EDT

Believe me, I wasn't mean. That was kind! (LOL)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 09/24/03 23:10:27 EDT

UGLY?: PawPaw; I didn't think there was sech a thing as a ugly Wilson. I thought we wuz born purty and just got better. "Maybe beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes right to the bone."
- 3dogs - Thursday, 09/25/03 02:17:52 EDT


But I've been rode hard and put up wet a few times. And to top it off, the road wasn't paved! (grin)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 09/25/03 09:05:20 EDT

Quad State: Well, I'm off. Gonna spend the nite at my brother in laws and then we will head down first thing in the morning. Hope to get a little smithing in tonight on his forge. Hope to meet some smiths from here. Everyone have a safe trip and bring warm clothes!
Bob H - Thursday, 09/25/03 12:12:26 EDT

Quad State: Got an email from Guru stating that he was at Quad State and had never seen so much equipment for sale; hundreds of anvils! With that much iron in one place, it just might be bending the earths magnetic field. Gonna be some angry knifemakers who got caught pointing their blades at the wrong spot while quenching........
quenchcrack - Saturday, 09/27/03 07:44:42 EDT

Jes' like I told Jock, Quad State is just about the best time a man's gonna have with his pants on!
- 3dogs - Sunday, 09/28/03 16:44:41 EDT

Bob H: Did we meet?
3dogs - Sunday, 09/28/03 16:53:22 EDT

Quad State: 3dogs, I seemed to have missed you. I did get to meet Jock and some dude with a REALLY strange hat. Thomas Powers was his name! Had a good time, saw some nice stuff, talked to a ton of people. Blacksmiths can stand around all day just talking. Friday nite we had 3 very strong storms come thru. Had to tie my tent down to my truck to keep it from blowing away. Got to met Stephen, of Euroanvils, one of our sponsers. If I buy a larger anvil, it will be from Euroanvils. Great anvils at great prices, and Stephen will talk your ear off. See note above about blacksmiths! :] Lot's of anvils there this year, but prices where quite a bit higher than last year. And I really did see a lot of junk anvils, which were not cheap. So that makes Euroanvils that much of a better buy. Why not buy new for such a good price than pay so much for something beat up? Lot's of anvils had been welded on. Never noticed that much before. Hint: When you see an old anvil with a well used horn and marks on the body, but with nice edges, it has probably been welded. Not always, it could just have been ground. But welding may take some of the temper from the anvil. Just beware.
Bob H - Sunday, 09/28/03 18:45:33 EDT

Quad Stae: Made it up to Quad State Saturday. Talked to a whole bunch of people. Didn't catch half the names. Did meet one interesting fellow with a red hat with horns and tail. Right in the middle of a place called MOB. Had a flaming anvil, two in fact. Great bunch of guys. And ladies. Didn't get to see any demos. The place was packed. So I hung out in the "hands on" first time forging area and helped the attending smith. Strange thing. Everyone looked just like me. Beard, blue denim outfit, cap. Even the women.
- Larry - Sunday, 09/28/03 21:10:58 EDT

leg vice: hi all !! i just purchased a legvice 40"3/4" in hieght with 4 1/2"jaws in good working order for 75$ is this an average price? my first legvice was 1/2 the price purchased four years ago. thanks for any input.
- kainaan - Sunday, 09/28/03 22:31:58 EDT

Quad Stat: Check out the pictures on the Pittsburgh Area Artist Blacksmith Association website.
- Jymm Hoffman - Sunday, 09/28/03 22:34:18 EDT


Where you are located has a bearing on how much smithing tools are worth. Some areas of the country which have very few tools, the prices are considerably higher that areas where they are plentiful.

That said, here in NC where tools are fairly plentiful, that's not a bad price at all.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/28/03 23:07:57 EDT

Paw Paw: thanks.i was hoping that was a decent buy, most smithing tools around {Ontario} here are in antique stores. my forge had a glass top on it they were selling it as a table it still had the {Working}wooden squirlcage blower attached. lol a table couldnt believe it.
kainaan - Sunday, 09/28/03 23:19:24 EDT

Jymm: What was on the disc that Gary Cooper was selling ? Was that a screen saver with you on it, or just assorted photos ? Gary didn't seem to know.
3dogs - Sunday, 09/28/03 23:51:12 EDT


Seeing a forge as a table isn't half as bad as seeing one stored outside being used as a flower pot! Did you rescue the one "under glass"? (grin)
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/29/03 09:29:52 EDT

Quad - Quenchcrack: Got back around 5 pm last night. It was my first time down there and I'm not for missing another one. Missed meeting Guru and 3dogs, though. The MOBsters were awesome; even Clifton Ralph had to come check out the new flaming anvil.

Thomas Powers gets a special vote of thanks from me for sharing portions of his personal library. Thank you Thomas!

Quench - does that mean it should not be pointed magnetic north at all, but rather the "indigent smith's Mecca"? Grin.

More later, busy catching up on everything.
Two Swords - Monday, 09/29/03 09:32:49 EDT

Hey Devon,
If you read this let us know you survived Juan etc.
- JimG - Monday, 09/29/03 14:35:48 EDT

Just wondering if anyone has tried to use a
- Greg Clasby - Monday, 09/29/03 14:57:15 EDT

Stainless pickle solution: Just wondering if there is a way to remove the oxide layer off forged stainless without still rusts wherever it is black, though not as bad as mild, and I would like to return it to omewhat shiny.
Any ideas? please reply to
- Greg Clasby - Monday, 09/29/03 15:02:54 EDT


Try soaking it in vinegar. Or pure lemon juice. I'd try it on a test sample first if I was doing it.
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/29/03 15:13:26 EDT

Quad State Photos: I've just posted the main NEWS page but none of the sub-pages. Will be posting more soon.

If you have Quad State photos you think need to be in the News mail me your best. I only went to a couple demos (I was too busy drooling over and photographing the tools).
- guru - Monday, 09/29/03 15:17:10 EDT

SS rusting.....: I seem to remember that SS had to be passivated. To prevent rusting. Which if memory serves correct was letting sit in acid for a period of time. The acid would remove any of the left over carbon steel that was embedded into the surface of the SS during forging. NOt sure vinegar is strong enough but it does not hurt to try a sample piece
Ralph - Monday, 09/29/03 15:45:25 EDT


With Vinegar (white vinegar works best) or Lemon juice either one, you just have to let it sit longer. And that's not really a bad thing. Plus the left overs are not classified as hazardous waste.
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/29/03 16:49:19 EDT

Added note:

But you wouldn't want to use the stuff as a food item after you finish with it!!!!
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/29/03 17:41:20 EDT

Paw Paw: recued and am useing that forge, without the woooden squirl cage. great lil forge. just set two anvils today for my height used two 5' /12" round beams fun diggin and reseting the brick floor, cant wait to use them at a propper hieght!! you take care good sir.
kainaan - Monday, 09/29/03 18:55:41 EDT


Fantastic! Enjoy! That's what smithing is all about.

It is sometimes hot and heavy work. But if we love the craft, we can still enjoy it.
Paw Paw - Monday, 09/29/03 19:17:00 EDT

Stainless Steel Passivation: The industry standard these days has pretty much shifted to either electropolishing or aqcid passivation using citric acid. A 20% solution in water, heated to about 140F and keep it in the bath for anywhere from a half hour to overnight, depending on how long it takes.

Passivation can also be done using a solution of phosphoric acid, sulfuric acid and glycol ester in water, and electrlytically stripping/polishing the surface. I have worked out a poor man's version of this using off-the-shelf stuff and a battery charger which seems to work fairly well. If you chaeck the archives, I believe I detailed the process pretty thoroughly a couple of times.
vicopper - Monday, 09/29/03 20:22:52 EDT

SCORE!!: Hello everyone, I have been trying to register for the slack tub for quite a while and I know Jock has been quite busy. Hopefully I will be able to get in there soon and chat with everyone.

Anyway, I am excited as a kid at Christmas today for I get to go pick up an entire shop of blacksmith stuff for 400 dollars. I was at a garage sale on Saturday and was browsing at the usual junk (nothing really interesting except for a antique railroad telegraph key, sounder and battery that I picked up for 10 bucks!) but I did notice alot of scrap iron laying around in piles. Just out of curiosity I asked the guy if he would happen to have an anvil laying around for sale ( I have been needing one for a while) and he said he did but if I wanted it I would have to buy "all that blacksmith crap in my shop". At that moment my heart truly skipped a beat. I followed him to his shop and looked inside. I couldnt really get in real close to the stuff for I was piled with other crap almost to the ceiling (which was black with the stain of coal smoke). He said to come back by Tuesday and he would have all the other stuff out of the way and have all the blacksmithing stuff ready for me to pick up. I am not positive what all I am getting but a few of the thing I could see past the pile was....a LARGE forge with a very large hand crank blower, either a champion or a buffalo. He said it cranked very smoothly and produced lots of air. There is also a fairly large anvil, very antique but in great condition mounted on an old oak block and looks to be at least 200 pounds. There is a large post vise also, looks to be a five inch jaw. Then there are the tools. I saw them everywhere....hammers, flatters, hardy tools, tongs, punches, drifts, mandrel...Just about everything I have needed. And that is just the stuff I noticed. All this stuff belonged to this mans uncle who used to own the house and died 20 years ago. He was a railroad employee for the Southern Pacific. Needless to say I am pretty excited.

I will post some pictures of all the stuff soon so you guys can see! Have a great day!

Chris Simmonds
- Chris Simmonds - Tuesday, 09/30/03 11:40:18 EDT

Chris, The karma of waiting to get in the pub has truly paid off! I would be thanking my lucky sparks. I look forward to seeing your haul.
Blessings, David
- PapaDoc - Tuesday, 09/30/03 13:06:02 EDT

The afore mentioned chinese piece of junk they had the nerve to call a hammer was traded for two hammers, and three dressing performed by the guru. So as I have said many times the guru is a most noble and generous man. Look forward to picking up MY anvil in november! feel sorry for anyone who has not bought raphel tickets to win said beauty.
- dragon-boy - Tuesday, 09/30/03 13:18:01 EDT

SCORE: Great news Chris....
Now where in Oregon are you? I ask as I am in Oregon.
Ralph - Tuesday, 09/30/03 14:35:24 EDT

CD: 3 Dogs, incase you did not get the email, my portfolio is on the CD that Gary Cooper was selling for me. I assumed he knew or forgot to mention it when my mind was on an anvil or demonstration or who knows when you are at SOFA.
- Jymm Hoffman - Tuesday, 09/30/03 15:26:57 EDT

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