Some tools to drool over.  Image (c) 1998 Jock Dempsey.  Click for enlargement. WELCOME to the anvilfire!
Virtual Hammer-In!

This page is open to ALL for the purpose of advancing blacksmithing.

September 2004 Archive

Lost Posts:
We had some kind of glitch last night folks and lost the log for the Hammer-In. Investigating now.

Sorry for the inconvienience.
- guru - Tuesday, 09/14/04 10:05:56 EDT

Dang, that's too bad and here I had just posted my sure fire method of converting clinker to goled; sure wish I remembered how to do it...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 09/14/04 13:07:29 EDT

clinker to gold....: good thing I copied it ..... (grin)
Ralph - Tuesday, 09/14/04 13:22:04 EDT

new buisness: I am starting a new buisness "Arroll Forge" And would appreciate any and all advice on marketing strategies. I live in a very rural area in south central Missouri.
- Mike Brooks - Tuesday, 09/14/04 13:37:06 EDT

marketing.....: Mike,
Best thing to do is to find out what folks in your selling area are wanting. And make that. Sounds simple, but for some odd reason it is not as simple as it sounds. I am betting that what will sell for you is not what will sell for me ( if I were selling which I am not doing right now) as I live in the PNW not too far from wine country, rural farm lands the coast and cities.... so for me it will be hard ot say what you need to make. Will you be trying to market to locals? Or folks traveling thru on vacation ( are you near state parks etc? )
Ralph - Tuesday, 09/14/04 13:54:10 EDT

Marketting and BS Business:
Rule #1, Most of the folks you know, friends, relatives and such probably cannot aford your work. Good ironwork is bought by folks with lots of disposable income.

Rule #2, Unless your area is SO rural that common products of the forge (which you really cannot afford to make and sell profitably) are in demand then your market is in distant cities, not your back yard. The other problem with a rural area is that the population density generally does not support enough possible customers to keep you in business.

Rule #3, Putting your work in craft shops on consignment is not a way to make a living. If the craft shop owner like your work enough they will pay cash. Otherwise you are usualy giving your work away. If you insist on going the consignment route you need to find a couple dozen shops and put tens of thousnads of dollars worth of inventory in them. Then YOU need to travel to all of them at least once a month and take inventory. . . Oh yeah, you have to have time to make all this stuff too.

Rule #4, The Intenet has made EVERYWHERE a global market with global competition. Wrought good are coming in to the US by the container ship load from India, Pakistan and Mexico. To compete, you MUST be efficient. YES, you can compete with these folks. It is not hard to produce better quality. However, you still have to produce it fast and efficiently. That means an investment in machinery such as cut off saws and power hammers.

To make $50k/yr you have to charge $100/hour for your shop labor in this business. To make only $25k/yr all you have to do is charge $75/hour. At $50/hr you can easily make nothing. I just had a long discussion with a fellow that has been working hard selling lots of product and has made no money for several years. The problem is that he doesn't charge enough. Often you cannot unless you market in the right place.

Last point. It is VERY difficult to make more than a minimum living wage from your own labors. People that have employees make theirs PLUS something from the employees labor. Note however that I do not recommend jumping into hiring help unless you can afford it AND all the tax and insurance complexities that go with it.

The internet is a fine marketing tool and it can get you to markets in places you would not even imagine. However, there are billions of web sites and yours would be just one grain of sand on the information highway. Web sites must be advertised and promoted. They must also have good professional quality photos of your products presented in a professional matter. Most people that do their own web sites fail to create interest or make sales from them.

Without a web site you can market on ebay. However, you still need professional photos of your product and well written copy. With a web site you can attact a lot of trafic and business from ebay. However, they do not alow direct links.

Advertising is part of any plan. If you are selling a product you need to find the right magazine for your product and run whatever ads you can afford. If you are very creative you can get FREE advertising in the form of a new product press release. However, this requires even better photos and copy that a catalog. The magazines WANT your new product announcements but they expect high quality photos and copy. Determine the magazines you want to target then call and find out the correct editor to send the press release.

LOTS to think about. IT can be done but you have to hustle constantly.
- guru - Tuesday, 09/14/04 14:37:49 EDT


As I was saying last night before the system ate all of our collective brilliant writings. You get no argument here regarding being proud of your kids as they get older. I am tickled with all 3 of mine. The oldest is a Youth Pastor in South Carolina, and the 2 younger ones are both honor students.

Redid the bathroom while I was on vacation, now I am in the basement re-doing it. I am afraid my forge wil dry rot. :(
Brian C - Tuesday, 09/14/04 16:09:24 EDT

Hi I
- Jeff H - Tuesday, 09/14/04 17:09:21 EDT

Hi- I"m looking for a fella named jock, Jim Wilson said to
look him up about a large swage block I have. Please
e-mail me at Thanks
- Jeff H - Tuesday, 09/14/04 17:13:38 EDT

Ralph; A couple of my "associates" will be dropping by to retreive the instructions, don't mind the fellow who's the mouth breather and knuckle dragger, he's saving up for an IQ transplant. I'll admit that the other one makes a bit of a mess as he squishes small live mammals and eats them raw---he picked up that habit while at summer camp from a fellow he just calls Sir Yes Sir DI Wilson Sir.

Jeff H do you want to know about swage blocks or sell it? As an under equipped novice smith I'm in the market\\\\\ sorry my nose keeps pushing the monitor off my desk...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 09/14/04 17:28:18 EDT

associates: Thomas;
I know a few folks like that too.... (smile) perhaps we can save time and effort and decide to meet in the middle ground somewheres?
Ralph - Tuesday, 09/14/04 17:46:30 EDT

Re: Ralph, thomas and clinker to gold.
Can the CSM and I watch? Might be fun.
ptree - Tuesday, 09/14/04 18:03:31 EDT

meeting in the middle.: ptree, you miss my meaning all together. I merely meant that Thomas and I should meet somewhere in the middle and have a beer or two and plot how to gather all the clinker in the world...... that and something about world domination thru clinker conversion......

So I guess in answer to your question, .... errrr it all depends on how much clinker or single malt you bring.....
Ralph - Tuesday, 09/14/04 19:11:30 EDT

BS & Marketing : Guru & Ralph
The whole question of marketing in a BS vocation comes down to who you can sell your product to and for how much?
The big company's have shareholders that want return on their investment, that means that someone get's the screw some where along the way to make this happen.
The big boy's are always trying to make more maoney. When you are talking about 100,000 of pieces of product moving along a line and out the door this is not hard to do.
Now the Asian folks are happy producing all kinds of product for the global market because there is a lack of: pollution control,worker benefits,workers wages, standards of living,Value of life and so on.These are values that are in the Americian constition as rights of the people.In Canada we have similar laws.Due to the fact that a great number of these countries are Third World they are exempt from W.T.O. rules.It's about time that these political people started working for thier countryman instead of them selves.
Both Canada and United States have lost major ground in this fight and don't stand on good footing for the future.Ask the unemployed why they are not working.
Two Cents Steve
two cent steve
- stephen - Tuesday, 09/14/04 21:18:23 EDT

Paw Paw and Vicopper: Re: the Anvil Qwencher(Trebuchet)in the gallery pics:
It was designed to carry a 2000lb counter weight , but we only had time to test it to 750lb before putting it in front of a crowd. The arm as you can see in the picture is a bit stressed and will be upgraded to a microlam before the Great Pumpkin Chunkin contest in October . We were also sandbagging the competition. We were out shooting every thing at the Highland festival except the 12” mortar, they were getting about 50’ better range. The axel is at 12’, the long arm is 16’ with a 16’ sling, the release arc is 44’ above the ground. It makes a nasty woosh as the ball leaves the chute. It was a real crowd pleaser.

For those with hi-speed connections we have a Quicktime movie on it is 4megs so it may take some time to download.

As to getting it on the plane to the VI: we had not planned to take it as carry-on but to check it as excess baggage, but we still need a sponsor. Still Grinning

Trebuchet movie
habu - Tuesday, 09/14/04 21:35:50 EDT

Swage Block: Thomas- I am selling it. It is very large, 350-400 pounds
and 2 to 3 dollarsa pd. is average. It has no dishes for
ladles, spoons, etc. just large holes all the way
through. If you want more info, no problem. If I dont sell
it before Quad state I"ll be selling it there. E_mail
me, leave me your phone # and I"ll call. Whats to late
to call? Jeff
Jeff H - Tuesday, 09/14/04 21:38:43 EDT

Swage [again]: Thomas- One more thing, bing a novice, Idont know how much
you know about these blocks. I wouldn"t want to sell this
or anything else to someone if its not financially
practical OR they find they cant use it. I have found this
forum and keenjunk are a good bunch of guys, none of
which would knowingly make a less than honourable sale.
My E-mail is Thanks
Jeff H - Tuesday, 09/14/04 21:46:06 EDT

Jeff H-- a really good old swage block is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. Not to mention just about impossible to find. You NEVER see them for sale. Well, hardly ever. There was one for sale at a Santa Fe art gallery a few years back for $1,200. Eventually went for much less, but still....
Sean O'Mayo - Tuesday, 09/14/04 22:08:50 EDT

Swage block: Sean- I completely agree, I just wouldnt want anyone to feel cheated, I dont do bussiness that way. I can send pics
to any e-mail address as an attachment if there is interest
in this. Just got the camera and have to figure out how.
Jeff H - Tuesday, 09/14/04 22:34:50 EDT

Will, I can download it, but Winduz media player and Real Time both play the sound, but not the clip.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/14/04 22:56:21 EDT

I am no novice blacksmith, but when it comes to marketing i sometimes feel like it.I have had three consecutive customers this month pull an old familiar trick.After discussing the client'sneeds and potential costI submit a fourth bid(this was my mistake)to find that the client has either
1) completly changed te design
and / or
2)reduced their available budget to1/3 of my COST!
One if the three did both. I am quite shocked that on a two million dollar house the railing budget is only 5000.00. For 120 feet of custom forged rail! What am I doing wrong and why are these morons coming to me?
Jason - Tuesday, 09/14/04 23:25:35 EDT

Treb Flick: PawPaw,

You need Apple Quicktime™ Movie Viewer. It's a free download. Then you can see it happen.
vicopper - Tuesday, 09/14/04 23:45:59 EDT

Jason : YOu got victimized by the "shop-it-around" syndrome. I had it happen in the sign business, too. YOu put time into educating the client and doing drawings then they take your efforts and go to some schlock cut & paste shop to get ersatz work done cheap now that they know what to ask for.

Now I never, ever let a drawing leave my shop without a deposit that is sufficient to pay me $100/hr for the design work, I copyright everything I draw, and I let them know up front that I refuse to work cheap, no matter who they are or what their problems are. If that scares them off I don't really care, since I'm not doing this for a living.

Architects usually have a better grasp of what things should cost than the client does. Until the architect is the client, of course. Then they get even cheaper and more difficult than the layman. I've been screwed by a few architects, as you might guess. (grin)

On the bright side, bad things usually come in threes, so you should have all three of yours out of the way so you can get a few good jobs in the door.
vicopper - Tuesday, 09/14/04 23:56:55 EDT

Railing Jobs: The current rule of thumb is around $350/ft for good hand made rail (straight), possibly more. Most folks quoting this rate are not including a proper finish (add $100/ft). The reason folks distill theses things down to "rule of thumb" is to prevent needing to make a detailed quote. If the client is still standing after the rule of thumb quote then you can discuss design in vague terms but as VIc mentioned DO NOT do drawings (even rough sketches) for nothing.

If you make sketches or drawings NEVER EVER let the customer have them unless they are fully paid for. Sometimes you have to make drawings to show the customer your idea but do not let a copy out the door.

The last two gate jobs I bid on went to other people after I made the drawings. On the last one the client came back and said she had a bid $200 less than my (low ball ) bid. I told her that was the difference between my making the drawings and the other guy not. She did not get it and did not understand that taking MY drawings to someone else was stealing.

DO NOT THINK for a minute that your client will not do this. I've had people do it with million dollar machinery bids much less $4000 gate jobs. . .

A great way around drawings is a few scaled down samples. A small short section of "fence" with top rail and pickets demonstrating riveted construction. Something easy to carry and put on a desk top. If you are serious about architectural work you should have at least four of these in different styles.

Bidding jobs and making quotes is always a win some lose some deal. The trick is to learn not to put in TOO much time on them or to underbid. You can negotiate details when the client is serious.
- guru - Wednesday, 09/15/04 02:51:04 EDT

quoting jobs.: I have to agree on the never let your drawings leave your hands or sight.This was told to me by the fellow who taught me blacksmithing, One of his favourite things was to do sketches for people on his workbench in chalk...have fun taking that to another shop to bid on.

When I first started I was excited just to get the work and underbid some jobs just to get my foot in the door it helped a bit but as I started to raise my prices the some of the old customers started disapearing to the new new guy who'd do it for cheap. It was a game they played, one old customer is on his third metalworker (none actaully did smithing work all cut and paste)so I get the odd call for the has to be blacksmithed stuff.So now I really sock it to him when it comes to price.

A godd trick I've learnede when I get a job that I know they can't afford the true market price but I like the job due to its artistic merrit or challenge, I quote the full price to them and let them know I'm willing to discount a certian percentage if I can extend the time frame. That way I use it as fill in work, but don't let it go to long Becuase you'll eat up the deposit real fast on other typical shop expenses ( I hate having to use the deposit as everyday $ while the job is being done but thats part of having a new business and purchasing equipment)
- Chris Pook - Wednesday, 09/15/04 14:15:29 EDT

Hammer-in Peterborough Ont.: My apologies for the short notice. There's going to be a hammer-in this Sunday the 19th of Sept. at the Lang Pioneer Village (East on Hwy. 7 from) Peterborough, Ontario. This hammer-in is taking place in conjunction with the Applefest taking place at the village. Gates will probably open about 0930 to move equipment in for set-up at the blacksmiths shop.

Don - Wednesday, 09/15/04 14:42:02 EDT

anvil: I'm looking for a 50 kg or 100 lb forged steel anvil with in a reasonable driving distance of central Nebraska. Please let me know if you have one available.
- Stan Lightner - Wednesday, 09/15/04 23:44:52 EDT

Cosira books - free download: The Cosira books are available for down load free of charge at:

adam - Thursday, 09/16/04 10:27:18 EDT

Stan, so all the really great wrought iron anvils with tool steel faces are not of interest to you? Or the cast steel sweedish anvils? (or the nice *quiet* hard face fishers?).

Only 1 company is currently making a forged steel anvil and they are *very* expensive. Check the Centaur Forge catalogue.

Thomas P - Thursday, 09/16/04 10:54:43 EDT

Post Button Test:
I have changed the post button code so it should work with more browsers will fix others.
- guru - Thursday, 09/16/04 13:54:40 EDT

Second Button Test: test
- guru - Thursday, 09/16/04 14:00:30 EDT

Testing in IE: Another botton test
- Jock D - Thursday, 09/16/04 14:02:11 EDT

I've never had trouble posting here, using both netscape and IE. Maybe it's a regional server thing?
Alan-L - Thursday, 09/16/04 15:50:29 EDT

Opera/Win98 test: Test
- T. Gold - Thursday, 09/16/04 15:50:58 EDT

*shock* It works! However, it didn't post my email to the page.
T. Gold - Thursday, 09/16/04 15:51:26 EDT

Hmmm...: How peculiar.
T. Gold - Thursday, 09/16/04 15:51:41 EDT

Both my versions of Netscape (old) and IE (new) worked before. The folks having trouble were using browsers I don't test with and from platforms I do not have as well as the newest mozillia.

E-mail is encrypted in your name link like on the guru's page.
- guru - Thursday, 09/16/04 16:30:10 EDT

May be the same problem I am having with the order button in the store. . .
- guru - Thursday, 09/16/04 16:31:20 EDT

I was calmly sipping on my hurricane when a funny little man ran up yelling De Shop, De Shop as I was trying to figure out what was going on Igor-Quasimodo "Lurched" up and said "Master it is done!" while gradually turning into a werewolf.

About this time I realized that 1: my sinus medication was waaaaay too strong and 2: my blacksmith shop was done!

Thomas P - Thursday, 09/16/04 22:27:55 EDT

What hath God- and the estimable Guru with Her help-- wrought?
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 09/16/04 23:18:55 EDT

Thomas' Shop:

Pics! Come on, Thomas, give us the goods (Grin).
- T. Gold - Thursday, 09/16/04 23:48:29 EDT

Congratulations Tom, time to move in!
- Stephan Pawloski - Thursday, 09/16/04 23:56:50 EDT

Coal Analysis - Acceptable?: Guru / anyone knowledgeable in coal analysis figures please take a look at these figures on coal. It is a high volatile Bit B-C. I can mine this stuff myself or I can get it after it has been washed, which leads me to me first main question, why do coal companies wash their coal? Is it to break it down into smaller pieces or to remove dirt, hence the name "clean coal", which would probably burn much better (Ie, less clinker) right?
Typical Coal Quality
Proximate Analysis (as received basis
Moisture 10.0%
Residual Moisture 3.0%
Ash 12.0%
Volatile Matter 32.5%
Fixed Carbon 45.0%
Sulphur 0.5%

Ultimate Analysis
Carbon 62.7%
Hydrogen 4.8%
Nitrogen 1.3%
Oxygen 13.6%
Sulphur 0.5%
Ash 12.0%

Approx. Sulphur Breakdown
Organic 0.46%
Pyritic 0.09%
Sulphate 0.01%

Hardgrove grindability index 45 -59
Free Swelling Index 0 to 1.0
Gross Heat Value kcal/kg 6,000
Btu/lb 10,800

Ash Fusibility
Reducing Condition Deg. Centigrade
Initial Deformation 1,288
Softening Temp. 1,399
Hemisphere Temp. 1,435
Fluid Temp. 1,482

Oxidizing Conditions
Initial Deformation 1,354
Softening Temp. 1,438
Hemisphere Temp. 1,460
Fluid Temp. 1,482

Ash Analysis
SiO2 70.5%
Al2O3 16.2%
Fe2O3 5.1%
CaO 0.7%
MgO 0.5%
Na2O 0.6%
K2O 0.6%
TiO2 0.7%
P2O5 0.2%
Undetermined 4.5%

Thanks guys for the help.
I have already burned a batch and it doesn't puff up big when coking but it does seem to coke ok and the heat is definitely more than ample, but there appears to be more clinker (at high heat and in a shallow firepot) than the really expensive coal produces($2000 / tonne, vs. $80 apprx / tonne that I can get this stuff for). I know that smiths used to use coal from this same location and seam 100 years ago, and they felt it "was of surprising good quality."

Sorry this is so long,
Thanks for all,
Stephan P - Friday, 09/17/04 00:28:42 EDT

I've used a few different coals not sure the make ups of em, and other than some creating more clinkers and not quite being hot enough for forge welding, most has been adequite to forge with unless your in a real big hurry to heat a piece up. just have some good stuff on hand for when you need to do some welding. price seems right to me i'd take a tonne.
Chris Pook - Friday, 09/17/04 03:12:16 EDT

Testing post button: I could not post here in the recent past using Opera v7.23.
I still see only one post button.
Smulch - Friday, 09/17/04 09:41:46 EDT

Stephan & Smulch:

In the menu on the top right hand side of this page, click on the FAQ's and scroll down to Coal & Charcoal.


There is only one post button on this page. The guru's page has two.
Paw Paw - Friday, 09/17/04 09:54:52 EDT

Missing button: Thanks PPW. I seemed to recall Jock saying this page and the Den were supposed to be the same. Since the Den has two buttons I looked for two here also.

I still cannot post to the members forum using Opera.
Smulch - Friday, 09/17/04 10:09:35 EDT

Well it looks a whole lot like Wayne's shop building across the street in their photo gallery---from 50,000 feet up; *much* *smaller* but it was pretty cheap too about 10K for the complete job---with some sweat equity thrown in. They used good components and not an oz of wood in the whole thing!

Hard concentrating on work today, what with the meds and the shop taking over the old gray matter...

Now to get working on the "coal" porch, this shop's too nice to soot up inside---so a jib crane to swing the 515# anvil from the propane set up to the coal set up seems to be in order...

I gotta finish that 641 layer knife and see if I can trade it for some electrical work...

Thomas P - Friday, 09/17/04 11:06:50 EDT

THOMAS: Check yer mailbox, Thomas.
- 3dogs - Friday, 09/17/04 12:36:12 EDT

Both pages used a common library of javascript routines. . . EXCEPT for the POST button. The extra one on the guru's den was added for OErjan in sweden as he was using a VERY strange little lap top setup.

I have not fixed the Members forum or Calander of events posting form as of yet. I had the same buggy code on a dozen pages that used the same basic routines. Will fix now that it seems my fix is working in the effected browsers.

Just goes to show how screwy web work is. My code worked in IE 4.2 and 6.2 and Netscape 3.0 to 4.7. This is a range of about a dozen browsers and at least two platmorms. Most of anvilfire works in Opera but I do not have a copy to test with and my nearly 5 year old PC is too overloaded for anymore installs at this point.

Where the problem lies is browser code that is fault tolerant. Nobody even follows their own rules much less thee WWW3 standard. The new MS IE is the worst. It will let the grossest of errors go by without any kind of warning. So you cannot test a web site with IE and expect it to work in anything else.

Worse yet, most web designers ignore all other browsers. If it works in the current version of MS IE that is all they care about. At least I try to support the top two browers.
- guru - Friday, 09/17/04 13:07:22 EDT

Testing 1,2,3
ries - Friday, 09/17/04 14:13:56 EDT

Well, it worketh. So it wasnt only my perverse macintosh computer.
Now I can pontificate to my hearts content.
Thomas is gonna win the get the shop done race, hands down. But both he and wayne have more energy and pent up needs than I do- we started building the new shop, a 1200 sq footer, in may, but we still havent got the insulation and wiring done. Of course, 30 feet away, we have the old shop, 2500 square feet, and full of stuff, including paying work that is late already. So its hard to find the time to work on the new one. The plan is to move a few machines over there, but keep the majority of the floor space pretty clear, for bigger fabricating projects. Of course, that may change a little, as I currently have a line on 4 platen tables, 5 feet square each. Always wanted a 5 foot by 20 foot 4 ton table. Currently the new shop is storage, but I can use that- it is full of parts for a couple of different jobs, and makes a nice garage for the forklift, which starts a lot easier when it isnt so cold.
ries - Friday, 09/17/04 14:22:50 EDT

3Dogs, which one: zianet, att, armour archive, swordforum, nrao, primal fires? I've checked three and didn't see anything, yet...

Thomas P - Friday, 09/17/04 16:08:17 EDT

Buttons and Broswers:

Guru, if you can handle it, dump Netscape and install Opera... You're completely right about W3C compliance, and it's one of the reasons why I hate it when someone links me something and it doesn't work in Opera. It just means that someone did not care enough to do a really good job.
- T. Gold - Friday, 09/17/04 16:48:48 EDT

Jock's power is off, may be a while before he gets back on line. CSI, handle the questions as best you can till he returns. I'll be back late this evening.
Paw Paw - Friday, 09/17/04 17:45:51 EDT

Ries, still no mail; may I commend thomaspowers at zianet dot com to your attention?

I'll try to check it over the weekend---but it will probably be when it's too dark or hot to move stuff.

Gentle people, it's been surreal

Thomas P - Friday, 09/17/04 18:34:55 EDT

wire-wrapping handles: Hello again everyone! It's been quite a while since I was last able to post here, so you guys may or may not remember me. I have an odd question that's somewhat related to smithing: Does anyone know how to wire-wrap handles, such as hilts on a sword? My Google searches are yielding a bunch of crap that deals with electrical, but not what I'm looking for. Either that, or they're trying to bloody SELL me the swords, which I don't want and don't need atm. Thanks for any replies on how to do it, or how to find the information!
- Hidaguard - Friday, 09/17/04 20:45:30 EDT

Wire wrapping.: About the best info I have seen on it is in The Complete Bladesmith by Jim Hrisolous(sp?)
Ralph - Friday, 09/17/04 21:14:06 EDT

Wire Wrap:

Jim Hrisoulas covers wire wrap in his videos on forging a Damascus blade. See our book review page. I'm sure he probably covers it in one of his books also.

The basics:

Fit a hardwood grip that can be installed as one piece. This may be two parts glued prior to wrapping.

Make shallow notches in the ends of the wood for the wire start and finish so that the wire terminates against the tang.

Create your wire. This is often twisted pairs and sometimes alternated with plain wire. I would start with just one pass of twisted wire. Twisting is done quickly with an electric drill while the fare end is clamped in a vise. Be sure to start with annealed wire.

The hard part is holding everything together. Start the wire at the guard end in the prepared notch and tightly wrap around the wood. Good design has a slight straight at the ends and not too much bulge so the wire does not try to push off the ends.

When done clip the excess and tap snuggly into terminating notches (you may make this when you get there).

Fit grip to tang with epoxy and install pomel at the same time. Jim uses threaded pommels so that they make a tight fit. Clean the excess epoxy with solvent before it sets. After the epoxy sets finish and oil the wrap.

Simple, but requires a few hand skills akin to juggling.
- guru - Friday, 09/17/04 21:23:42 EDT

Thanks!: This would mainly be for things like walking sticks and the like, but it seems like the principle would be the same. I just got into woodcarving (all by hand)since I don't currently have the resources to do any metalwork, and so far, it's a great experience. Leatherwork is enjoyable, as well, and, from your swordmaking tutorial, it would seem I'll be needing all three to make the sort of things I want to make. (Don't worry, most of my stuff is of the DEfensive nature, since I have a damn good idea of how difficult sword-crafting can be.) For right now, since, like I said, budget's tight, I have a spool of "multi-purpose craft wire." Would you know if this is annealed or how can I tell?

Again, thanks for your reply.
Hidaguard - Friday, 09/17/04 21:53:07 EDT

thanks: Thanks PAw PAw, I have already read those FAQs and many other articles on coal, but I don't know how to interpret the analysis very well and it is no where close to many of the Poco seam analysis. I found some #s on the Elektricanvil and from what I can tell, the #s are much closer but the coking index is 6.0 rather than my 0-1.0 and my ash and moisture is higher.

Chris Pook, you don't live anywhere near South West British Columbia, do you. If this stuff turns out than maybe we could split some.
Stephan P - Saturday, 09/18/04 00:50:25 EDT

south west bc is where i live. Langley to be excact. I currently have about 1000lbs of nice clean coke but I may now a few others that may be interested in some or I just find another spot to store it if the price is good.
Chris Pook - Saturday, 09/18/04 03:34:08 EDT

Bacially, you want a high BTU, high Coking, and low ash and moisture content. You need a constant to work with, and the Poco Seam analysis is a generally accepted standard. I prefer Poco #3, but not every one does. Course, I was born in WV, so my standard is pretty set based on what I grew up with.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 09/18/04 10:18:34 EDT

Annealed Wire:

Normally if the wire is soft and bends easily it is annealed. Most "craft" wire is annealed as is most safety tie wire including stainless steel. However, music wire is high carbon and often work hardened and ocassionaly spring tempered.

Stainless steel safety tie wire is one of the best for doing wire wrap. However, it is not easy to find. We still buy ours from Dillsburg Aerocraft Works. . . Brass wire is also nice and the fancier wire wraps often mixes metals. You can use alternating metals and even twist two dissimilar metals together. I have also seen an open network of wire work over a leather covered grip.

Doing wire wrap on a cane or walking stick would be a little different than a knife or sword grip. But I'm sure you can start with my instructions and figure out the best method for your application with some practice. This is a rare art form and you will probably need to do much of your own development and pioneering in the field.
- guru - Saturday, 09/18/04 13:30:00 EDT

Wire wrap on Walking Stick: Hidaguard, Where you will obviously need to vary my described method is the termination of the wires. At the start it is possible cut a shallow groove about half the wire depth for about an inch an then have your wrap go over top of this. That way the wrap anchors the end. If done carefully there will be a very slight ridge from the hidden ends. I would probably still use a drilled hole as the starting point with this method.

The ending termination is still a problem. You will probably want to use a drilled hole and stuff the end in the hole. To keep it tight you might want to try a wood or metal pin in the hole. A small screw is another possibility.

Another alternative is to have a metal ferrule that fits over the end of the wrap to cover the termination. Ferrules can be made from brass, copper and steel tubing. Ocassionaly I have used copper pipe caps. One method to make a ferrule tight on wood it to use a tubing cutter with a dulled or rounded cutting wheel. This is used to form a groove (or several) that embeds into the wood.

When working with pipe and tubing you need to start with samples of the metal parts and then design your work to fit.

I would finish my wood (varnish, lacquer, oil, wax) before doing the wrap. You may want to buff or polish the wrap when complete and this will prevent the wood from getting stained with buffing compound.

As you can see, there are lots of ways to apply this as an art form.
- guru - Saturday, 09/18/04 13:50:42 EDT

Thomas: I went into att. Is it still functioning?
- 3dogs - Saturday, 09/18/04 13:55:02 EDT

Tubing Cutter Method: We have used this method in our shop as a metal to metal assembly method. A groove is machined in a "head" to fit into a tube, the parts aligned and then the tube formed into the groove with the tubing cutter. This makes a very permanent tight clean joint using relatively simple tools.
Our application was end caps for 4" aluminium irrigation pipe being used for a filter housing.

Paint brushes used crimped ferrules but this is done on a press and does not produce a continous crimp groove. Using the rotary wheel method makes a nice unending crimp that is first class job.
- guru - Saturday, 09/18/04 14:02:09 EDT

Oprea and other Browsers:
The practical economic problem for web developers is that when you examine sever logs the other browsers (including Netscape) are a very small minority of users (less than 1%).

Back when Netscape declared the browser wars over (they had lost), IE and Netscape ruled the GUI browser market and Netscape was still an appreciable part of the market. Both had features that did not meet W3C standards and they still do.

Many of the special IE features are taken advantage of by web developers because all they support is the latest version of IE. Some of these features like MARQUEE (ticker) are only supported by IE and it was in version 2.0! Some items like Xobjects and VBscripts open HUGE security holes in folks systems but Bill Gates says we need them. . .

I still stubornly try to support at least Netscape as well as IE without using a browser detect. Many systems detect which browser you are using and serve code that suits that browser. I decided a LONG time ago that I could not afford the time to build systems that served different pages.

Today I looked at our "user agents" list. Only a few are listed (all are versions of IE) but the total is nearly 5,000 browser versions! EVERY ONE has pecularities that cause pages to display differently, javascripts to behave differntly and many things not to work. This includes W3C standard pages.

So, we build and we test, a few of us test in Netscape, but for simple economic reasons most people ignore any browser other than IE 6.x. I continue to support old versions of Netscape because that is what I use and I HATE Bill Gates' monopoly.
- guru - Saturday, 09/18/04 14:30:40 EDT

Note to Guru::
The marquee code works in Opera. (Grin) Also bear in mind that many non-IE/Netscape browsers have a "cloak"--they can be set to read as another browser, for instance IE 6. Doesn't fool a stack check, but it does fool a lot of other checks. Opera and I believe Mozilla can do that.
- T-Gold - Saturday, 09/18/04 18:23:07 EDT

Rust Removal: I just bought a bucketful of "monkey wrenches" (old pipe wrenches without jaw serations) at an auction which I want to use as twisting wrenches. My question is this: they are rusted to the point they won't adjust. Does anyone know of a good way to remove enough rust to get these to work again? Any advise will be greatly appreciated. Thanks much, Mike
- Mike House - Saturday, 09/18/04 22:55:53 EDT

Go to your nearest NAPA auto parts store. On the shelf with the WD-40, you will find a product called B'Laster. Spray the wrenches down with B'Laster every day for about a week. Then rinse the loosened crud off with HOT water. Wipe them down with WE-40, they should work. If necessary, disassemble them, wire brush them, and reassemble them. Keep them lubed with WD-40 afterwards. Just spray them down, and wipe the excess off.

If that doesn't work, let me know. There is another method that WILL work, but I don't think you should use it unless absolutely required.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 09/19/04 00:25:47 EDT

Blaster from your local NAPA dealer is the best derustifier I have come across, better than Kroil, Knockerloose, WD-40, Liquid Wrench, etc. It has loosened stuff-- old wing dividers, pliers, Crescent wrenches, etc.-- that was buried outdoors for years and frozen solid with rust that looked like a coral growth. It may take a while. Like maybe several weeks or longer of patient soaking and re-soaking and more soaking, but Blaster will do it. A little acid dip won't hurt, either.
Sebastian Chippinghammer - Sunday, 09/19/04 00:27:42 EDT

wire wrap: If I were doing the handle section of a walking stick, I would use the deeper groove under the beginning and end technique. BUT I would also lower the surface of the wood to be wrapped by the thickness of the wire either at both ends or full-length, depending on the desired contour. Look at the wrap as an inlay rather than an overlay. Just my $.02.
Alan-L - Sunday, 09/19/04 11:41:46 EDT

Attn Chris: Chris Pook,
I also live in Langley. Did I possibly meet you at kwantlen a few months ago on one of Gerards (sp?) wednesday night hammerings? Do you still have a line on that clean coke and how do you like burning it over coal? I was corresponding with Mark Pearce out of Alberta and he preferred decent coke to any other fuel.

Stephan P - Sunday, 09/19/04 12:56:52 EDT

Forum: Forum seems to be out of order for posting. So, who all is going to Quad State? I suggest we all meet at Paw Paw's. What say ya to that? See ya there.
Bob H - Sunday, 09/19/04 14:10:33 EDT

3dogs, yes the ATT address is still working but we stopped paying them over a month ago and told them to terminate it since they don't have a local dial in number out here. Zianet is a home grown ISP out here and so we're on it.

BTW would that be Sabastian Chippinghammer III of Lower Dripping Crudd, Hants?

We am *not* going to quad-State and we are not amused! Who's going to put the floating eyeball and plastic squid in the quench tank????

Thomas loading equipment into the new shop---in the rain...
- Thomas Powers - Sunday, 09/19/04 19:25:00 EDT

Quad Stae & Thomas: Yep. I'm going if everything holds together. Be there Saturday morning, staying till Sunday.
Thomas. Couldn't get that rain to soften up the ground back when you were digging the foundation could you? Oh well. Guess we'll have to do without the eyeball in the quench tank. Unless there is some sort of freak accident when everybody heads to chow.
- Larry - Sunday, 09/19/04 20:37:53 EDT

de-rusting wrenches: de-rusting wrenches:
reverse electrolysis works well. At least I like it.
Ralph - Sunday, 09/19/04 21:08:40 EDT

Thanks guys for all the help on the rusted wrenches. I knew I could count on all of you for some great ideas. I'm sure I'll be able to save some of these now. I really appreciate the help! Mike
- Mike House - Sunday, 09/19/04 21:53:22 EDT

Thos. P-- ununderstand your question. As Popeye says, I yam what I yam.
Sebastian Chippinghammer - Monday, 09/20/04 00:05:11 EDT

Fionnbharr: Coal versus Coke
Stephan was asking about a high volitiles coal (yech!) Freinds don't let freinds use bad coal;-) Personally I can't stand coal with a lot of volitiles, though the green and blue flames shooting out of the fire are very pretty, and once it is burning it will often continue to burn nicely without an airblast... But I like breathing, and it is annoying to constantly be pulling grits out of your fire, so it doesn't choke itself off! Good clean coke is a joy to use!, but takes some getting used to, and an electric blower on a rehistat is nice too. All of the different fuel types have slightly different fire tending skills, and affect how you work somewhat.

For everyday production type work I like propane. If I need a selective heat or just a ton of heat I like coke, charcoal, and poco#3:-)
Fionnbharr - Monday, 09/20/04 01:37:15 EDT

Fionnbharr: Thomas sorry I won't get to see you at Quadstate this year, or my hammer in:-( I finally finished pouring the slab for the porch on my shop, by hand... Last 4x8 section yesterday around noon. Trying to find room for all the tools and still have room to work with them, and have other people over to play. Probably not as overwhelming a problem for me as it is for Thomas:-)

Looking forward to the forging contest at Quadstate, not to mention the demos, and the shopping:-) I will be there assuming my truck doesn't give up the ghost, (pray for me:-)I long red hair and beard, and will have Fionnbharr on Anvilfire on my name tag:-)
Fionnbharr - Monday, 09/20/04 01:49:28 EDT

Wire-wrap and rusty wrenches: Thanks for your replies on wire-wrapping. I'd already recessed the wood a bit for the wrap, but was mainly trying to figure out where to start. I'm also thinking about a variation on a half-hitch to end the wrap, where I would tuck the wire under itself, pulling a loop over the end and drawing it tight to anchor itself, like when you moor a boat. Any thoughts on how that would work out?

On the wrenches, I would say straight DW-40 would do the trick alone, just liberally spray it and let it set for a while, then work it loose. I've fixed some pretty rusted stuff just by that.
Hidaguard - Monday, 09/20/04 04:23:08 EDT

broom winding treadle machine: I recently bought an antique broom machine, it has a foot wheel that sort of like a large hampster wheel that you use your foot to spin the outside of the wheel. this is connected to a gear and chain that drives a hollow spindle that has a very large chuck attached. the broom handle is inserted in the chuck and the broom materal is wound/bound to the handle, the frame is oak, mortised and pinned together. anyone have a source of information of this or general value? thanks, Vance
- Vance - Monday, 09/20/04 10:43:46 EDT

wire anchoring: I'd suspect the half-hitch wouldn't hold without some kind of glue underneath. I know there won't be that much tension on the wire, but you don't want it to ever loosen up. Dr. Hrisoulas laquers his wire wrapped grips heavily, then buffs the laquer back even with the tops of the wire. This both protects the surface of reactive wire like brass and acts as a glue that holds all the wires in place the full length of the grip. He also usually puts a ferrule on each end to really anchor them.
I've never done it, so keep that in mind!
Alan-L - Monday, 09/20/04 10:44:44 EDT

Rusty wrenches. If you can find it, try Lubriplate Chain and Cable lube. It knocked the rust off of a crescent wrench that had been buried in the ground that we found at work. Soaked it for a week.
- Kent Fowler - Monday, 09/20/04 10:52:51 EDT

Quad State: BOB H; I'd miss my own funeral before I'd miss Quad State.
- 3dogs - Monday, 09/20/04 11:08:53 EDT

Wire wraps: One way to deal with the wire wrapping is this:

If using twisted pair wire, solder one end together with silver bearing solder, for a distance of about half an inch. Then file this end down to half its diameter. This allows it to be overwrapped with the first three or four wraps without making a lump. A slight channel for it to lay into is also a good idea, but not so deep that the overwraps don't put pressure on it.

The last end gets the same treatment, once you know where to solder it. You wrap it up the handle to get the measurement then allow it to unwrap just enough to solder an inch of it and file it down. File it to just less than half its diameter. When you wrap the last four wraps of the handle, lay under them a loop of fine tough wire that is long enough to get hold of. Finish wrapping the last four wraps then tuck the filed-down end into the loop and pull the loop through the last four wraps, pulling the end of the wrapping back under itself.

This works only with fairly fine wire and takes a bit of practice. Try it using cord to get the hang of it before you use the wire. Once the filed-down end has been pulled under the last wraps, trim it off with a very sharp craft knife and push it down. With care and planning, it will leave a smooth wrap that won't come undone.
vicopper - Monday, 09/20/04 11:13:19 EDT

Wire wrapping: I've always used a technique I got from a book on knots and ropework. It's the same as serving the end of a piece of rope, but you make a longitudinal groove down the handle. (I use light aircraft cable.)
- 3dogs - Monday, 09/20/04 11:15:48 EDT

oversized drifts: I am putting together an order for oversized drill rods to make accurate drifts for common hole sizes 1/4" to 5/8". The point being that a correctly oversized drift driven through the hole at , say, 1450F will shrink down to exact size as the steel cools. Will cost about $50 for the bundle of 01 rods from McMaster and there will be enough to make 5 or 6 complete sets. If anyone would like a set of blanks (make your own drifts from 6" pcs of stock) I would be happy to share for about 1/5th of the total cost of the order (order + shipping to me + shipping to you)

If interested drop me a line (yes my email is FINALLY working)
adam - Monday, 09/20/04 12:51:08 EDT

CSI Board Meeting: The board of directors of Cyber Smiths International will be meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday September 21) at 10:00 PM Eastern Time. They will be considering adoption of the bylaws which are posted on the text viewer which can be accessed by going to the members business forum. If anyone wishes to comment on the bylaws please post a comment in the members business forum or email one of the board members with your comments. All board of directors meetings are open to all members of CSI.
SGensh - Monday, 09/20/04 18:12:38 EDT

As I understand drill rod, it will be far too brittle for a good drift, and will air harden. Is this a good choice?
ptree - Monday, 09/20/04 18:12:52 EDT

McMaster also lists drill rod in O1 steel and S7 but how do you hold the drifts perfectly vertical to take advantage of the perfectly ground dimensions?
SGensh - Monday, 09/20/04 19:05:47 EDT

Wire Wrapped Handle: Try this link: :// NOTICE you must add "http" immediatly in front of the :// when you type it into your browser address line. Guru has asked that we not post http addresses as it screws things up.....
quenchcrack - Monday, 09/20/04 20:06:05 EDT

drifts: Drifts are for final sizing only - no heavy pounding no heavy heating. I have used O1 oil quench tempered in the oven set on CLEAN

I have not seen other alloys in the right sizes - drill rod is very cheap and available in small steps.

You do your best to hold it straight and thats good enough . If y ou need better than that, then finish it on a drill press or take it to a machinist. This is blacksmithing
- adam - Monday, 09/20/04 20:57:00 EDT

oil drums: doesanyone have any ideas what the value of old oil drums would be? I am thinking of selling a few that i have lying around the shed.
- Steven - Monday, 09/20/04 20:59:56 EDT

Rust Removal: I have some info if anyoine is interested. Found a GREAT way to remove rust in just a few minutes.Get a gallon of muratic acid(available at Menards and other lumber and hardware type stores for just a couple bucks a gallon)mix it 50/50 with water and soak the rusty thing in it for 5-10 minutes. Wire brush it a little, wipe it with a rag and it does WONDERS. Repeat as many times as you want.I had some of this stuff on hand because my wife uses the same mix to get mineral stains out of stainless steel pans.You can use it over and over no matter how dirty it gets.I wear rubber gloves, although if you get it on your skin it won't leave a burn or anything.May sting a little but it's pretty mild acid.Anyway, it works really well. Just thought I'd pass it along. Mike
Mike House - Monday, 09/20/04 21:01:09 EDT

Oil drums. In dollars the value runs from $5.00 to several hunderd dollars. Depends on what was in them to determine what you pay to have them safely recycled. Triple rinsed, less than 1" of liquid remaining, from a non-hazardous product, a drum in very good condition with both bungs can be recyled for free in Louisville Ky. The trucking is even free if you have 50 good drums at a time.
Ask Quenchcrack what a drum with pickeric acid residue fom metal lab might cost to recycle.
ptree - Monday, 09/20/04 21:13:35 EDT

rust removal: why use acid when there are other methods which work well? And also do not have to deal with haz waste?
Ralph - Monday, 09/20/04 21:33:17 EDT

drifts: Odd, most of my drifts are not round..... most are shaped such as for axes or hammers, none of which are round..... (smile)
Ralph - Monday, 09/20/04 21:34:22 EDT

Ralph-- In a world where the polar ice caps are melting because of global warming (I know, I know, we need more research), caused by countless smokestacks pouring countless tons of particulate matter into the air we breathe, where ships at sea blow their bilges and throw their junk over the rail, where factories discharge countless tons of filth into the rivers and lakes, and in a situation of finite time, sorry, but I like acid because the little bit I use of it gets the heavy rust off lickety-split so the Blaster can get right in there and do its thang. Shocking, no? Next question. How about: howcum use coal when it's so icky, or propane when it's so gassy, or use up all those amps (made by burning what?)to run those electric furnaces to melt that scrap down, etc.? We're just a messy species, is all I can figure.
Sebastian Chippinghammer - Tuesday, 09/21/04 00:29:20 EDT

Steven,: Empty and clean, they sell for between $5. and $10 dollars around here. The plastic (usually blue) 55 gal drums run between $10 and $15.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/21/04 00:36:19 EDT

testing: is Mozilla posting here yet?
Elliott Olson - Tuesday, 09/21/04 04:28:11 EDT

hey, it is now!
past bedtime, cya l8r
Elliott Olson - Tuesday, 09/21/04 04:29:25 EDT

heeelp: hey guys,im 17 years and very intrested in becoming a blacksmith but the yhing is theres no where local i can doin a weld&fab course in my local college,through this i hav access to an anvil&oxy-acytaline burners.i also hav access to a limeted amount of tool steel if theres any tools that my workshop does not have,i have tons of mild steel at my disposal to practise on.basicly guys im fishin for any advice&tips u can give me until i can afford to move to somewhere i can learn.
- Andrew - Tuesday, 09/21/04 05:27:42 EDT

Picric acid =BLOOEY!!!: Ptree; The hazmat training officer of our fire department categorizes that stuff under Methylethylbadsh*t. Real Mad Bomber stuff
- 3dogs - Tuesday, 09/21/04 10:34:47 EDT

Drifts: Adam, I'm sorry if I sounded like too much of a smart ass in my drift comment. Your last point is exactly the same point I was making somewhat obliquely. This is blacksmithing and most holes don't actually wind up perfectly round or perfectly sized. Most don't need to be. I agree that drill rod is a relatively inexpensive and convenient way to obtain stock. Look on the next page of your Mcmaster and check out the difference in price of ground S7 and oversize round stock. I buy my S7 as oversize rod and forge or grind to size and shape.
SGensh - Tuesday, 09/21/04 10:36:34 EDT

Um... Andrew, where are you? That might help.

Isn't picric acid impact sensitive?
Alan-L - Tuesday, 09/21/04 10:46:04 EDT

DRIFTS: How about going to Haba Flate and getting a complete set of transfer punches, chucking them up in the drill press and attacking them with an angle grinder to form the taper. Apply light pressure with the grinder so as to avoid drawing the temper. ("Drill Press"= Appalachian Vertical Lathe.) Be careful, however, some drill press have a tapered shank on the chuck, and the downward pressure and vibration of grinding can cause the chuck to drop out and generate considerable excitement, to say the least.
- 3dogs - Tuesday, 09/21/04 11:27:58 EDT

Picric Acid can form metal picricates that can explode spontaneously. When they found an old bottle of it at the Univ chem lab they cleared the building and had the local bomb squad dispose of it. Not quite as bad as when they accidently formed silver azide in the pyrex pipes of the lab sink drains...

Elliot, I've been posting using mozilla for over a year now.

I've always liked the barrels used to ship tomato or banana puree---I *NEVER* want to get involved with one used for pesticides or something like Methyl-ethyl-DEAD---gives your liver that lovely hand rubbed look when they slab it for tabletops...I need to dig up a source of some barrels to make a short stock storage stack up off the ground to discourage the local cold blooded fauna from gracing my scrap pile.

3dogs, that's a great idea for a drift set!

Only 2 pallets and 2 pieces of machinery left to go into my new shop---unfortunately they outweigh the 12 pallets already loaded into the shop.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 09/21/04 11:55:33 EDT

Short Stock Racks.

I use "rings" of PVC pile screwed to the wall with a shelf under the bottom one about a foot off the floor. I normally use 4" pipe, but 6" would work just as well and give a good bit more room.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/21/04 12:24:22 EDT

barrel sources...: Thomas,
You might just want to check with the local home brew shop.
They might, I repeat might, have some older malt extract barrels that are no longer fit for food service.
Ralph - Tuesday, 09/21/04 12:33:50 EDT

polar ice caps and all that: Bah humbug!
I think I would argue that there even thought there may be more folks there is a lot less particulate going into the air now than say 200 years ago.
How many homes are heated woth coal nowdays? as compared with 200 years ago ( in the cities that is) How many homes are heated only by wood fires? etc etc.....
Ralph - Tuesday, 09/21/04 12:36:48 EDT

Thomas P, last week I couldn't post here (hammer-in), now I can. I should have been a little more specific, it's Mozilla Firefox.
Elliott Olson - Tuesday, 09/21/04 12:42:29 EDT

drifts: 3dogs: Indeed a clever idea - and only $8.00 for the set (my scheme which costs about $10 / set). I assume these are made of something harder than MS. A couple of draw backs are: oversizing by 1/64th gives sloppier results on the small diameters - I had planned to used appropriately selected letter sizes for the small drifts. Also no 5/8th or 9/16.

As SGensh points out one shouldnt make too much of the size issue - the object is to be able to drop a standard sized bolt or rivet into the cooled hole for a snug fit - we are not trying to produce bearing surfaces. For my part, I too am sorry if I sounded testy on that topic :)

Also I will check out the S7 rods - S7 would be nice.

On the matter of HF tools, I bought a 1/8" letter & number stamp set from them. Recently, while looking for the digit "4" I found it to be missing but that the set included two "A" s. I guess if you dont read the Latin alphabet, these two characters look confusingly alike. If anyone out there has two "4" s and needs an "A" ...

Yeah the chuck pops off my drill press every now and then. I prolly need to clean the taper * socket
adam - Tuesday, 09/21/04 12:45:48 EDT

Particulates, etc. : Seems I read somewhere that the last time Mt. Pinatubo(sp)in the Philppines blew, she put out more greenhouse gases and assorted other environmentally unfriendly goodies than man has been able to generate since he discovered fire. The EPA is now preparing to give God a severe tongue lashing and a fine of biblical magnitude, I reckon.
- 3dogs - Tuesday, 09/21/04 13:45:18 EDT

Particulates, Greenhouse Effects, and other BS: Turns out that good ole Mother Earth actually generates more gases, smoke and other airborn agents that eat holes in the ozone than man ever could. One such gas causing "the greenhouse effect" is methane (you smell somethin' Claude?) which marshy areas, large groups of animals (zebras, wildebeast, flamingos, caribou, etc, etc...), volcanos, and naturally occuring forest fires (don't even get me started on Smokey the Bear) all release "greenhouse gasses" which is supposed to change the temperature in a somehow-unnatural-way. The common "the sky is falling" mentality of these so-called scientists prophecying some cataclysmic change in climate must think that cavemen camp fires must have put a hole in the ozone. Sure they did, right along with dinosaur farts and smelly swamps. But anyway...

The turk's head finish, methinks just might do the trick. You guys are giving me a lot more advise than I could have hoped for, thanks. Seems like it's only a matter of time before I'll be asking for metalworking advice /grin.
- Hidaguard - Tuesday, 09/21/04 16:10:37 EDT

Good site I just found:

Knife making, finishing, etc. Enjoy!
Hidaguard - Tuesday, 09/21/04 16:47:54 EDT

Yeah, listen that global warming baloney is all a lot of blather coming from the pinko-commie-Birkenstock crowd. Hey, I don't really use acid. I just said that outrageous stuff to get a dialogue started here. What I actually use is telepathy, yup, mentally transmitted negative ions that reverse the oxidation. Gotta be really careful, though. Once I mis-aimed it and the grille on the neighbor's Escalade went poof!
Sebastian Chippinghammer - Tuesday, 09/21/04 20:03:51 EDT

3Dogs, alan, and ThomasP,
Yes picric acid is senstive, especially if one finds a bottle so labeled and with only dry crystals remaining, as I did when I lab packed out the remains of the metalurgy lab that was about a hundred years old. Found lots of interesting bottles, and some even had labels!

By the way, I use "interesting' in the Irish context, As in the curse my 100 year old, 4' tall grandmother Hazel Fitzgerald used, "may you live in interesting times"
ptree - Tuesday, 09/21/04 21:11:44 EDT

I repeat that unlabeled barrels are to be avoided.
Plastic drums are indeed used for food grade stuff, as well as for the stuff that eats thru steel drums. Be very careful with orphan drums lest you get one that held Methyl-ethyl Death.
ptree - Tuesday, 09/21/04 21:14:26 EDT

Environment: I usually try to stay out of the arguments - but, try reading "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by Bjorn Lundberg, a Danish environmentalist, and professor. He was challenged to prove that a number of environmentalist claims were correct and set a college class to proving them true. This is the resulting book that made him unpopular in environmental circles - that's because all of the work proved that most of the environmental claims were not correct.

Note: I find it hard to believe that the world/USA is much worse off (polution wise) than 30 years ago, when I compare the air quality in downtown Pittsburgh on a pollution alert day now to just a standard mid-summer day back then.
Just class me as a proud ex-Sierra Club member - dropped out in the 90's when they got to be totally ridculous and non-fact based.
- Gavainh - Tuesday, 09/21/04 21:49:52 EDT

methyl-ethyl - sounds like an Archie comic: Someone give me the low-down on this methyl-ethyl-death stuff. One specific chemical or bad stuff in general. I've collected past fuel barrels that hopefully doesn't have dear old methyl-ethyl in it.
Stephan P - Tuesday, 09/21/04 22:09:17 EDT

100+ year old cable?: Does anyone know what a 1.5" cable that is roughly 100-130 years old might be made of? It is actually made up of rectangular strands about 1mm thick and 3mm wide.
Stephan P - Tuesday, 09/21/04 23:17:31 EDT

Sebastian, the reverse electrolysis I spoke of does just that... causes the iron oxides to leave the base material.
Onlt chemical is baking soda and water. and a battery charger.
Ralph - Wednesday, 09/22/04 01:04:24 EDT

reverse electrolysis: Last fall we started trying this with a few parts. The info we found was on using A&H Washing Soda. Does regular baking soda work as well as washing soda?
Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 09/22/04 02:07:27 EDT

hey Alun i live in south west wales in the uk.
- andrew - Wednesday, 09/22/04 04:27:36 EDT

Reverse electrolysis: Yes, washing soda (sodium carbonate) is preferred. Baking soda, (sodium bicarbonate) will also work, just not as fast or as aggressively. Sodium hydroxide (lye) will work a lot more aggressively, but is too dangerous. Try to get washing soda.
vicopper - Wednesday, 09/22/04 09:46:53 EDT

Bragging: Yesterday I went to the dock and picked up the Fisher anvil I bought on eBay for less than $1.50/lb. The shipping costs brought it up to a bit over $2/lb, due to a new "minimum charge" the shippers have. With some trepidation I unwrapped the thing to see if I got a good deal or a bad one, sinceyou are never quite sure when buying on eBay. Well, I didn't get a good deal, I got a great deal. This anvil was minimally dressed and then hardly used at all. But for one place where someone dinged the horn with a hammer edge, it is pristine. No hits, no runs, no errors, no repairs. I am thrilled, to say the least.

That will be the total of my gambling for this year. I'm quitting while I'm a winner. (grin)

Tonmorrow I get on the plane for Quad States!
vicopper - Wednesday, 09/22/04 09:47:27 EDT

soda.......: baking soda washing soda both work use what you can find.
Since time was not really an issue with me I used the easy to find baking soda. BTW use a plastic container to put it all in. And you will need a sacraficial(sp?) anode. I use stainless steel stuff I get at garage sales.
Ralph - Wednesday, 09/22/04 11:06:13 EDT

Things to avoid: Methyl ethyl Keytone MEK; Methyl Alcohol, Methelyne Chloride, Tetra Ethyl Lead, (see a pattern?). In general organic solvents are not good things to mess with. (In general the better the solvent it is the worse it is for you.)

Things to AVOID!: pesticides---many of them are really quite close to nerve agents. PCBs--old oil filled transformers, Mercury compounds, Asbestos (I personally don't go for this one much as most asbestos does not cause problems; but if your land is found to be "contaminated" it can be a heap of trouble and expense to get it "cleaned")

Other suggestions?

Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/22/04 11:20:17 EDT

Yeah, them pointy-headed so-called scientists, what do they know?
Sebastian Chippinghammer - Wednesday, 09/22/04 11:20:22 EDT

Methylethyls: Uhhhh, not sure I completely agree here.

Yeah, methyl bromide will kill ANY living organism, but ethyl alcohol will just make you stupid if used immoderately. (grin)

Chlorinated hydrocarbons, such as methylene chloride (also known as di-chloroethane, which has no methyl or ethyl), are toxic and bad for the ozone layer. Maybe. Benzene, which isn't a methyl or an ethyl, has become practically impossible to get due to health concerns, but is a terrific solvent and not that toxic compared to household bleach (sodium hypoclorite).

DDT saved a few million lives by eradicating the mosquitos that carry malaria in many parts of the world, but was banned because it may have caused some birds to lay thin-shelled eggs after having eaten a lot of dead insects that had been killed by the over-zealous application of tons of DDT on farmland. Somewhere, we need to get a little perspective on things here.

In California, you simply cannot buy a two-stroke weedeater or chainsaw, but every household has two or three gas-guzzling SUVs being driven on congested freeways spewing out fifty times the pollutants of a chainsaw. Of course, everything causes cancer in California, judging from the warnings on labels. Maybe Californians are just cancer-prone; perhaps too much time in the sun and smog has mutated their genes?

Some of our legislators are beginning to sound alarmingly like a bunch of Luddites, terrified of technology and science, yearning for the good old days of living in cold, dark sod huts with rampant disease, ignorance and superstition. Me, I like the light.
vicopper - Wednesday, 09/22/04 11:52:56 EDT

Stephan P: nope never met. As far as I know the source of the coke may be dried up. There was 20 tonnes of it in the begining but I believe the owner sold as much as he wanted to sell and is now keeping the rest for himself. I could ask though.
- Chris Pook - Wednesday, 09/22/04 12:57:17 EDT

more things to avoid: avoid being on the recieving end of a sword or a knife. Or axe. Also bullets are bad to be on the recieving end of.
Most deadly of all is to be on the recieving end of my wife's ire....(smile)

Seriously there are many things that are bad out there. Best thing to do is do a bit of research before starting the use of something. Then if you decide to use it, follow the directions. If you can not do that then do it in such a way that only you are the one hurt or killed. That way no innocents are brought down, other than your own family, that is.

So the moral is be smart.
Ralph - Wednesday, 09/22/04 13:11:51 EDT

Risk aversion is a big thing in the states these days; folks drive to rallys to protest things that are a couple orders of magnitude *less* dangerous than their driving to the rally was. I don't understand it; but if it makes your property unsaleable it would be wise to at least factor that into your actions.

With a geology degree I have seen the data on a couple of phobic materials---mainly asbestos and radiation. Very little asbestos mined was of the type to cause asbestiosis, most of the big wave of folks who worked in the WWII shipyards and did develop it had both massive exposure and smoked---a double whammey like unto playing russian roulete with 5 chambers loaded.

Unfortunately there is a slow stream of cases that seem to be statistical flukes---the kid that played in the garage where his father blew out the brake drums, the wife that washed her husband's overalls. These cases have been used in scare tactics as an industry has been brought into existance to remediate the "problem"---though asbestos removal can actually be *more* dangereous than just leaving it in place and ignoring it!

Radiation scares people too. I moved volunterily to a locale close to 5000' in elevation and in a volcanic region. I also burn coal---driving the 7 miles to work is *Still* by far the most dangerous thing I do.

Oft times it's not the scientists---it's the people who read the reports and then strain at gnats while swallowing camels...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/22/04 13:51:05 EDT

chris pook: I would appreciate that if you could ask about the coke. If nothing else, it would be nice to find out where and who he got it from so that some of us down here could bring another load in and split it.
Let me know if you want me to bring over a gallon or two of this coal I was talking about one of these weekends. It is not washed, but the comercially produced stuff goes through a washer. I mined this myself out of the seam, so it's a bit dirty, but it still burns decent. If I could find a few more buyers I would be able to warrent bringing in a B train (43 tonnes). There's no way I'll go through that much myself though.
Stephan P - Wednesday, 09/22/04 13:54:23 EDT

dirty coal????: isn't coal by definition dirty? Why wash it? Unless you mean that you got it from the edge of the seam and it is mixed with a lot of actual dirt? But coal and coal dust are all good. At least it would seem that way to me
Ralph - Wednesday, 09/22/04 14:38:33 EDT

I agree! I used to tell folks that while I was in the Navy I most likely recieved less radiation exposure operating the reactor on the submarine I was on than they were recieving at home living their lives sking and hiking etc. They would not believe me as the out doors was a 'natural' environment and I was in an 'un-natural' environment.... SIGH Sometimes education seems to pass folks by.
- Ralph - Wednesday, 09/22/04 14:42:31 EDT

risks: Driving in New Mexico is damn dangerous, last time I looked, we were close to twice the natl average for highway fatalities per passenger and bucking for top place among the 50 states. States like California & New York are among the safest. Rural, sparsely populated states with low income populations tend like Wyoming & New Mexico are among the most dangerous. People drive long distances so collisions tend to occur at high speeds and it may be several hours before EMTs get there. Add to this a high incidence of DWI and crappy old vehicles and its not hard to see why.

adam - Wednesday, 09/22/04 15:38:17 EDT

Radiation: Santa Fe recently completed a bypass so that the WIPP trucks going from Los Alamos , south to the WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant) near Carlsbad. These vehicles carry low level radioactive waste (things like discarded gloves, kleenex etc). If you were to ride in the back of the truck all the way to WIPP you would probably be none the worse for it. Nevertheless SantaFeans are were so frightened of the idea of one of these vehicles overturning and spilling its load in the downtown area that they built this bypass. Meanwhile tankers carrying propane, gasoline and what have you barrel through the town at reckless speeds. Not too long ago a big log rolled off a logging truck and crushed a sedan killing two women inside. The truck driver had no insurance of course.
adam - Wednesday, 09/22/04 15:48:16 EDT

Safety: When I lived in the shadow of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Arsenal Plant in Arvada CO, the Chamber of Commerce was all twitter-pated about the radiation hazard. The chief spokesperson was a woman who had obviously spent countless hours perfecting her deep dark tan. No doubt in my mind that she'll blame her skin cancer on Rocky Flats rather than her sunning. Most people just don't seem to understand either statistics, science or cause and effect.

I work with a couple hundred other cops who spend vast amounts of energy debating the merits ofvarious handguns and personal body armor, but who simultaneously resist wearing seatbelts or learning proper driving skills. Yet way more cops are killed by cars than by bullets. Cause and effect again.
vicopper - Wednesday, 09/22/04 18:29:04 EDT

On things dangerous.
Stupidity first, ignorance second.
The second killed my Grandmother and my Father. Ignorgance of the effects of the solvents in laquer thinner and paint. Both died of bone cancer, less than 6 months apart. She 100 and 6 months, he 62.5 years old. Doctor studied thier backgroundgs and that was the link. A family busniess in the depression, making and painting cast iron dogs. Did the painting in the basement.

Ignorance cost my grandfather and Dad thier hearing from industrial noise, in the early 1900s when my grandfather started as a molder nobody knew what an earplug was.
Stupidity cost me some hearing as I KNOW better.

Benzene, that wonderful solvent, IS much more toxic than bleach. Ask the several hundred chemical workers from rubbertown here in Louisville, no... wait can't do that ask thier survivors. Liver cancer!

Asbestos? Ask the suvivors of the 50 men who made Kent Micro-light filters for the first couple of years they were made. ALL dead. Any type of asbestos that is of a 4 to 1 aspect ratio fiber, and respirable is a potential cancer site when it sticks in the lung. Smoking increases the risk by an unknowable amount. Never, Never ignore asbestos. Does that mean rip it out? No! Asbestos in good shape, properly maintained, and labeled so that everyone knows that it is there so as not to disturb it, is often the best choice.

Everything in life has risks. Some are worth taking. Some are not. And that boys and girls is the whole thing in a nut shell. Everything has risks, some worth taking. And how does one decide? You have to know the risks and then decide.
No knowledge in this information rich society is not ignorance. Its stupidity.

Life is too short to spend any of it Dead, Injuried, or in Jail.
ptree - Wednesday, 09/22/04 18:46:11 EDT

After that rant I just posted, perhaps those interested should know that I have made about 600 jumps, on purpose, have raced cars, am a pilot, and spent several years in the military. I have been an industrial safety guy for many years now. Do I avoid risk? sometimes. Do I want to know the risks, and then plan to handle those risks? YES.Everytime. That comes from all those previous pursuits. Jumping is dangerous. Plan and equip, and train for every instance, and then the risk is balenced by the fact that it is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
I quit jumping when family needs required more time. I did NOT want to be wondering, what comes next at 125 foot per second. Same reason I have interupted my flying.
- ptree - Wednesday, 09/22/04 18:53:28 EDT

Good rant, Ptree. I maintain that 99.9% of all humans presently living (most readers of this site excluded of course!) are too stupid/willfully ignorant to continue burdening society with their presence. Sometimes I'm one of them. I try not to be. I don't know many people who actually *try* not to be stupid. Many of them are smiths. Figure that one out.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 09/22/04 19:45:31 EDT

Hey guys, I appologize if I started an environmental war with the acid rust removal advice. I was just trying to offer another solution to anyone who might be able to use it. I figured most of us are wise enough to know the proper way to dispose of the stuff. Besides , I've used my muratic acid for about 5 years now(same batch) for many different things and it hasn't worn out yet. My grandkids might be using it for all I know. Anyway sorry if I caused trouble. I'll just read from now on and forget about posting. Mike
- Mike House - Wednesday, 09/22/04 22:31:52 EDT

Mike House:
Don't sweat it. I think it's safe to say most of the posts had very little/nothing to do with your post. If you hang around these parts long enough you'll figure out that most of us have at least one soapbox we love to stand on.

Experience in life gives you opinions, and you should never be afraid to share yours, even if it might stir the occassional hornets nest. That just makes things more interesting.

eander4 - Wednesday, 09/22/04 23:51:11 EDT

QuadState:-): Hope to get to meet a bunch of the boys face to face at Quadstate this weekend, not to mention see the demos, do some shopping, and compete in the forging contest!
Fionnbharr - Thursday, 09/23/04 00:34:42 EDT

what steel?: Scrounging in the CN RR scrap bin (with permission), I found what appears to be drill bits. These aren't twisted bits, they're straight/flat (like spade bits) and seem to be sized to drill the rail for 1-1/4" bolts. Does anyone have a guess what kind of steel these might be and what it is or isn't good for (knives, punches, chisels, etc.)? When struck, they have a nice ring (wind chimes?).
Elliott Olson - Thursday, 09/23/04 02:35:45 EDT

Mike House: Man do not I repeat do NOT, fail to post because you think we might get off on a tangent...... Well we will but the point is this. anvilfire will only work if we all try to help share our own lessons. Some may not agree with the lesson that you are sharing, but that is a different matter. I would guess that there are dozens of folks who are out there just lurking, and occationally find answers to questions from people posting stuff just like you did Mike. Or perhaps it is an answer that is found that comes from the ensuing discussion after the fact.
Either way don't stop posting.
Ralph - Thursday, 09/23/04 03:01:12 EDT

old tools......: Why is it that when ever some one finds old tools the first thing they want to do is make knives out of them?
If they are in fact old spade bits they may not be good for much, or they might still be good steel, or perhaps they might be a good thing to keep as is. Or let a collector buy.
Personally as a packrat I would keep them. In fact I might even look into using them in my old post drill. But I digress
Ralph - Thursday, 09/23/04 03:04:14 EDT

old tools...: Knives were just one of the first things I could think of for hard steel (has to be hard to drill through steel tracks). They are almost 3/8" thick, over 1-1/4" wide and 6" long with a 1/8" ridge running down the center and look kind of blue-gray. They are not standard wood spade bits, the shank is as thick and a bit wider than the cutting section.
Elliott Olson - Thursday, 09/23/04 03:17:14 EDT

Old drill bits...:
1-1/4"? I'd keep that around... d**n expensive to buy a 1-1/4" holesaw or drill bit nowadays.
- T. Gold - Thursday, 09/23/04 04:52:38 EDT

SGensh: Mike House, Keep on posting; don't just lurk. Discussion and dissent are good things not bad ones. You don't need to say you're sorry for contributing- it's what keeps a site alive.

Elliot Olsen, Spade bits are used for drilling hard materials. They are commonly used at very slow speeds with lubrication and high feed pressures. Be careful if you make some kind of punches out of them as they are likely to be brittle.
SGensh - Thursday, 09/23/04 09:43:26 EDT

drill bits: Probably good for chisels and punches etc. You will have to experiment. If you are going to scrounge tool steel you should learn to use a spark test. You can guess a lot about the properties of junk steel by looking at the spark shower from a grinder
adam - Thursday, 09/23/04 10:40:23 EDT

spark test: I've seen comments on this but where can I find information on this spark test (what to look for with each type)? A week ago, I tried an unmarked RR spike and a HC (high carbon) one on the bench grinder, but didn't notice any difference in the sparks.
Elliott Olson - Thursday, 09/23/04 14:24:35 EDT

spade drills: Now if these are used to drill the rails they will be used to drill the flat part. Not the top part of the rail. And if I remember correctly that flat is not really all that high carbon. so it does not really track that the drill has to be that high of a carbon steel.

Spark testing. Elliott, you might want to look on ebay for a used copy of Machinery Handbook. An older version. It willhave good info about all these things. plus more. I got mine for 5 dollars plus 5 dollors for shipping. Well worth the cost.
Ralph - Thursday, 09/23/04 14:30:58 EDT

Rail has the same ammout of carbon in all parts. Fairly high in Mn too IIRC.

All newer spikes are HC whether they are marked or not because the spike setting machines require the tougher spikes. During setting the top markings are often obliterated. *old* spikes should show a difference---I've even picked up some wrought iron ones near *old* lines.

Most welding textbooks have a spark test chart somewhere in them as it's a field expedient when you need to weld unknown alloys.

Thomas P - Thursday, 09/23/04 14:57:07 EDT

spark test:

With LIGHT pressure press the end of the piece against the top of the wheel. The spark trajectory will be about 12" long - look at the end of the trajectories not where the sparks come off the wheel. It takes practice but its worth it especially if you are inclined to scavenge (and what smith isnt?). Start with a few pcs of known steel - Jock's suggestion is to keep a small reference set of scraps of known steel for comparision of spark patterns with unidentified steel.
adam - Thursday, 09/23/04 15:53:11 EDT

I have a very strange urge to forge a viking styled fire striker out of Ti---to go with my Ti Penannular brooch...

Thomas P - Thursday, 09/23/04 16:14:36 EDT

Mike House,
I did not aim my rant re: chemical safety etc. at you but rather at the several who seemed to state that "household bleach is more toxic than benzene etc.
We have younger readers that do not have the life experience to judge for themselves what may be dangerous, and MUST always be careful, even when joking to remember that there are indeed dangerous chemicals, available thru big box stores etc that are very dangerous to the longterm health. As a longterm safety guy, in industry, I have heard that the EPA and OSHA are full of**** and that the EPA is a bunch of nutty tree huggers. I have heard all kinds of horror stories about the mean, spitefull, unreasonable OSHA inspectors.
Now let me relate my personal experience. Every OSHA inspector that I have dealt with over the last 15 years or so(thats about half the lifetime of OSHA) has been professional, polite, reasonable persons. I have indeed had citations, and all were justified.
I am known on this site for the rant response to what I see as bad advice on safety and environmental issues. I do not have a perfect answer for every issue. I do tend to err to the safe side. I tend to err to the very very safe side in advice to people that I can't see eye to eye and judge.
I hope that I never chase anyone from this site and heartly appologize if I offended.

I will still weigh in on issues of this type.
ptree - Thursday, 09/23/04 17:46:02 EDT

Okay guys, I admit it. I over reacted. It's just that I'm brand new to this site and pretty new to 'smithing and I guess I just don't want to become the "class Ditz". I'll get my ducks in a row as time goes on. I AM learning MUCH from all of you. Thanks so much for all the great information!!! Sorry about the mix-up. Clean slate from my end. Mike
- Mike House - Thursday, 09/23/04 20:21:12 EDT

Oh, while I'm thinking of it, if anyone hasn't found them, I found two web sites with 15 pages of blacksmith suppliers. Let me know if you want the site addresses. Also does anyone know where I can get or how to make a nail header? If you want you can e-mail me at Mike
- Mike House - Thursday, 09/23/04 20:27:53 EDT

nail headers.......: Mike funny you should ask.......
If you go to the iForge demo section here on anvilfire there just happens to be a demo on making a nail header. More work than some like, but it is the style that I like to make ( since it is the demo I wrote it is not suprising ) Actually it is the same demo we use at Fort Vancouver NSH .
Ralph - Thursday, 09/23/04 21:16:09 EDT

Stephan P: Hi Stephan, you can email me at
I'll see if I can find out if any of the coke is available.
- Chris Pook - Thursday, 09/23/04 21:20:55 EDT

Ralph, Looks like I could handle that. I like the fact that the insert is interchangable. One question. Are you making your square punch or buying it? The only place I've found to buy one so far is Centaur for around $65 each. Is it possible to do better than that? Thanks, Mike
- Mike House - Thursday, 09/23/04 21:45:37 EDT

punches: Mike, with the exception of the twist drill bit I used to drill the tiny starter hole, and the post vise for a few operations and the anvil, and the bellows, oh and the hammer and the file, I made every single tool I used in making the nail header..... hmmm put that way, it is not all that much. SO in other words, I made all the punches, drifts, scribes, chisels used in the making of this nail header. I did make the forge..... does that count. I also helped a bit with making the bellows, but only in some of the assembly.
Ralph - Friday, 09/24/04 02:43:21 EDT

tools part deux: Mike, one of the most attractive aspects to this hobby is that
I can make almost all of the tooling I need to make the tools I need to make the items I want to make. Yes it is easier to buy it. And if I were in a production mode I would most likely buy a lot of stuff as time can and is money lost. But as a hobby smith part of the joy ( and pain ) is figuring out how to make stuff mtself. That and I am often times to cheap to pay cash for it and I am more willing to pay in my time and sweat for it.
Ralph - Friday, 09/24/04 02:47:03 EDT

a second to ptree's rant: In my very limited experience with that subject, I have noticed the folks who complain about the unreasonableness of inspectors are the same ones who don't see what's wrong with pouring their used motor oil on the ground near my well, and who come up with "innovative" ways to do things without the proper equipment. Remember that picture of the forklift lifting the fully raised forklift while a guy with no harness stood on the forks of the top lift?
Alan-L - Friday, 09/24/04 09:19:38 EDT

Jock's away 2 days and they are already doing coke deals on the hammer-in! (cue Foghorn Leghorn voice---"It's a joke Son")

Mike; may I point out that a square punch is much easier to forge than a round punch. To make a tapered round punch from scratch you first forge the stock square then draw it to a taper and then forge it round again.

I pick up cheap punches from the flemarket of various sizes and forge them for the job I need them to do.

Thomas P - Friday, 09/24/04 12:13:38 EDT

Jock's coke deals: I just had a thought. If I knew of a source near me but across the border in Canada, I wonder what the customs agents' response would be to my statement of buying a load of coke (all that black stuff in the back of the truck)? "No, really officer, that's coke."
Elliott Olson - Friday, 09/24/04 13:19:19 EDT

Random answers to straight questions: Don't worry about tangents... Hell, sometimes I think I AM a tangent. As far as new to blacksmithing goes, you can't possibly get any greener than me... I think Paw Paw will testify, having seen some of my writing attempts.

And thanks for the link Quenchcrack. Actually some useful stuff there. Turk's heads are very interesting knots, heh.
- Hidaguard - Friday, 09/24/04 16:38:07 EDT

When I saw the picture you mentioned, it reminded me of the day I and my union safety rep. spent 3 hours cleaning another friends blood etc off a fork truck. I was deeply affected for months. And yes he was standing on the forks, up in the air. Threw a chain over a stuck machine. The machine unstuck, and pinned him to the forks, 12' in the air.
I have sworn, to all who will listen that I will fire anyone I catch standing on the forks, and driver as well.
ptree - Friday, 09/24/04 17:07:22 EDT

Ptree; I bought a house from a young widow with two small kids; her husband was a maintenance tech for the phone co and electrocuted himself using a drop light under a leaky kitchen sink in metal kitchen cabinets---I've been a *LOT* more carefull working with electricity ever since!
Thomas P - Friday, 09/24/04 18:16:04 EDT

Tools: I'm with Ralph on that. The main thing that drew me to smithing is that you get to make your own tools. IMO among all the things that men make, tools are special. Making tools is very special
- adam - Friday, 09/24/04 18:49:44 EDT

Forklift saftey: This may or may not be the photo you were talking about but the title says it all
forklift saftey photo
- habu - Friday, 09/24/04 19:41:59 EDT

Habu, thats the picture. The machine part that fell on my guy weighed several thousand pounds. We spent hours trying to remove the blood etc to remove any potential bloodbourne pathogens. After wiping with the antiseptic wipes, we finally had to steam clean it.
When I say that every OSHA reg is written in blood, Imean it and literally, I have seen far too much of it.
Far those who don't believe in lockout/tagout, I have two amputation kits, and I hope to never ever have to use one. Again.
ptree - Friday, 09/24/04 22:55:04 EDT

On a brighter note, since Thomas P and I and a few others can't get to SOFA, I scored a large rosebud tip, and a complete torch body with complete rosebud attached today. A Harris, good condition and $50.00 Tomorrow I am visiting a wharehouse of industrial surplus, machines etc. They invited me to check it out as they are closing and offered me pre-auction buy rights!
For good luck do I need a funny hat?
- ptree - Friday, 09/24/04 22:59:23 EDT

When living in Western NY, and not happy with coal source that was 11/2 hours away and coke in St. Cath. I decided to try it, twice. I admit that I was nervous when they asked what I had to declare and said 3/4 ton of coke. To make a long story short, it was not too bad, but not fun or worth it. I went back to the coal source until I switched to propane. If you must use coke or coal, have it shipped to you, it is worth every penny to have someone else deal with the shipping. There are a couple of sources in the states that will ship, one is Kayne & Son, at least coal.
- Jymm Hoffman - Friday, 09/24/04 23:46:49 EDT

ptree, I have a sombrero (sp?) or a jester hat you could borrow if you were nearby.
Elliott Olson - Saturday, 09/25/04 00:11:23 EDT

Jymm, I won't be needing tons of coal for quite some time. I'll get by with making charcoal or buying 50-100LB bags from other smiths who buy it by the ton.
Elliott Olson - Saturday, 09/25/04 00:16:10 EDT

Elliott Olson, I have a rather large collection of hats. Most are military type that I got the hard way. I do have a somewhat disreputable TILLY hat that i wear to demos. Thank you for the offer. I am however looking for something funny for the slacktub. I hear that Thomas P has set a veru high standard in that area, as well as a high standard at scrounging. As I am on the hunt today, i will report later if any success.

Thomas P, I am about to enter the RUST ZONE!
ptree - Saturday, 09/25/04 08:33:52 EDT

Tools --- You guys are right and I'm finding that out. I've made all my own hardies so far. I'm finding it works well to make the hardies and bending jigs to fit the particular need.Rest assured as I get stuck and can't figure something out after several tries, I'm going to give you all a holler for help and/or ideas. Mike
- Mike House - Saturday, 09/25/04 17:21:55 EDT

Hazards & Reality: It is a bit ironic to see blacksmiths posting on the hazards of things like benzene. Have you not thought about the organic chemicals released from the heating of and the burning of coal; or burning oil off of greasy chain to make damacus? (Think of dioxins or PAH's.) And you are up close and personal. But you treat methyl- or benzene with the fear of God. Why is that? Without benzene in your body, you would die. The benzene ring is part of vitamins, amino acids (protein), etc. Your body can and does produce it naturally. Yes, benzene in large doses is toxic. But then, every other molecule in your body including water, sodium, potassium, oxygen, etc. is also toxic at high doses. Your body has a multitude of chemical processes for safely destroying hazardous chemicals that it produces as a simple function of living; and of eating the hazardous chemicals naturally produced by foods (plants and animals)needed to sustain life. Risk comes from exceeding the natural capacity of the body to detoxify a chemical. Give me a break.
- dloc - Sunday, 09/26/04 00:59:11 EDT

Hazards......: dloc..... I'll give you a clue. Read a bit and then think about what we are saying. Every post we have made has pointed out at one point or another the inherient dangers of our hobby. We are just trying to pass on some of our collective wisdom to the younger or the less educated smiths in the group.
Sure benzene and many other compounds are in the body naturally. and are supposed to be there. But they got there in a carefully arranged method. expousure due to a solvent was not the method intended. SO why add to what you already have?
Part of the job and responsiblity of the more experienced smiths or the more knowledgeable folks on this site is to insure that knowledge is passed on to those who might need it. THAT is the REAL REALITY not some small minded comment such as yours. Perhaps my comments are not as politically correct as they could be, but it really irks me to see comments like this when we have folks who are experts trying to share the knowledge of schooling and experience here so that we have new generations of smiths with out the problems of health or safety that plagued past generations of smiths.
Ralph - Sunday, 09/26/04 01:42:58 EDT

If benzene is so good far you, why are there several hundred families without fathers in Louisville? They worked with benzene at Rubbertown in the west end of Louisville. Were their bodies not the same as mine? Did the benzene they were exposed to have some different property than the benzene that I might buy?
Your comments border on the dangerous. Young readers, who don't have the experience of a lifetime in industry may have a hard time in seeing your arguments for what they are. It is generally accepted that benzene is a very good solvent. And like most very good solvents is harmfull to the body. The one exception to the solvents is water, a very good solvent.
Yes we are exposed to all manner of nasty things in life. Yes we who burn coal are up close. I have a very good ventilation system. I even have a stack on my demo rig to carry the smoke out of my, and my viewers faces. That is an acceptable risk.
Benzene occurs in the body naturally, so it is good for us? Give me a break.
ptree - Sunday, 09/26/04 09:51:41 EDT

Quad State: Just back from Quad State. Had a great time as usual. Spent more time loafing, I mean having a learned discussion, in Paw Paw's pavilion than anything else. #2 son minded the store for him for awhile on Saturday. Got to meet Vicopper, Patrick Nowak, 3 Dogs, Fionbahr, and a whole slew of others.

You should have seen Paw Paw's scooter race. I will leave him to fill in the details.
Brian C - Sunday, 09/26/04 16:19:04 EDT

Benzene and reality:

I normally refrain from entering into such discussions, but you seem to have some misconceptions regarding the toxicity of benzene that I wanted to clear up.

First, you are correct, in that blacksmiths are exposed to a number of nasty chemicals when forging. Actually, benzene was first identified in the early 1800's as a compound released from the burning of coal tar. Environmental levels of benzene during the industrial revolution increased dramatically, in part due to the buring of coal and other petroleum products. So poorly ventilated smithys are a potential source of benzene exposure (and other stuff) for blacksmiths. For the average joe, the most common source of benzene exposure is from cigarette smoke.

You mention the body's ability to cope with exposure to chemicals, and this is where your error lies. While in many situations, detoxification is a phenomenal work of biology, with benzene, this is actually the primary cause of toxicity. Benzene localizes to the blood producing organs and bone marrow. The body's efforts to break it down result in the formation of compounds called metabolites. These particular metabolites are far more destructive to the body that the parent substance, which if left alone, will degrade in short order. Current research supports that it is, in fact, the body's attempt to dispose of benzene that results in the long-term effects associated with exposure, such as anemia, and acute myeloid leukemia.

Actually, as we learn more about mammalian biochemistry, we are discovering that the body often makes a bad situation worse by coping, as best it can, with compounds it should never be exposed to in the first place.

The lesson. Just because a burn will heal doesn't mean you need to intentionally stick your hand in the fire.

We sould all be more careful than we are.

eander4 - Sunday, 09/26/04 17:27:29 EDT

Quad State: Got back a couple hours ago. Wore out but happy. As Brian C mentioned above, Paw Paw's pavillion was the place to be. Tall tales and BS with a resident flintknapper thrown in. Putting names to faces, laughing at jokes. Yep, it was worth it.

I will not comment on the scooter race until Paw Paw gives his official version. Other than to say: there was a race, Paw Paw said the rematch will be run downhill and Jock has it on film. Now I will go hide out for awhile in case witnesses suddenly start disappearing.
- Larry - Sunday, 09/26/04 19:36:34 EDT

Larry: Are you the Larry from central Ky I spent the last 2 days with? Want to make sure I got all my players correct.
Brian C - Sunday, 09/26/04 20:14:59 EDT

Brian:: I am the Larry from Central Ky. Maker of beer cheese, frequent visitor of Cynthiana where one Jesse Coy had a bakery, the guy who married a girl from West Virginia because I am related to every woman within thirty miles. I'm sure you remember the rest of that story.I am also known as Blueheron in certain circles. Be damn careful if you go into those circles. Tell Tyler Hi for me and to lay off the hot wings.
- Larry - Sunday, 09/26/04 21:14:02 EDT

Building a gas forge: Hey guys I'm new to smithing and I'm in the process of building my first gas forge. Today I stumbled upon a rusty old smoker a neighbor was throwing away and thought I might be able to put it to use. The dimensions are 20" in diameter and 30" deep. The only thing I'm wondering is will this be too big to convert to a gas forge? At that size will it be able to reach high enough temps for say, forge welding? Thanks for any tips.

Seth - Sunday, 09/26/04 21:16:50 EDT

Seth-- That is awfully big, and if it's that thin sheet metal a lot of smokers are made of, that doesn't help, either. But if you can supply enough gas it could be made to work. First, though, you have to figure out the doors and then you are going to have to line it with some substantial insulation to retain the heat, and maybe feed at least three or four burners into it. Why not just build a firebrick box with a couple of burners?
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 09/26/04 22:22:04 EDT

hello from the small town of Smiths Falls ontario. I hear it called Smiths Falls cause all the smiths working on the rideau canal were at one spot. And on friday night they all had balancing problems and the step out of the pub had been removed.Upon exiting all the smiths fell. And thats what they called the place , anyway thats my story an Immm stickin toher.!
sm-duck - Sunday, 09/26/04 23:27:46 EDT

Got back from SOFA this afternoon and am already making plans for next year. Great to meet Paw Paw, Jock, Vicopper,Tony, the guys from the MOB and probably a bunch of other folks that I haven't realized who they are yet! Good time sitting around the MOB's campfire and famous flaming anvil shooting the bull with Paw Paw and the rest. Got a really nice Cannedy Otto blower too!
Dave C - Sunday, 09/26/04 23:35:09 EDT

The anvilfire site has got to be the most travelled spot on my screen. I've tried several of the projects inthe iforge and can now justify having put electricity in the big house. The little one still uses moonlite. I have tried to enter the STP half a dozen times but my machine has not been able to pick up the return e mail. Like my neighbour says be like a steer, all he can do is try! And so will I. I keep all my horseshoes pointing down and wish all my luck to everyone involved with the anvilfire site. I've been watching the site for almost a year an can't contain mahself naw longggerr! Like Toni says IT'S GREAT.
sm-duck - Sunday, 09/26/04 23:51:39 EDT

Hmm..yeah i was afraid it would be too big. When you say just build a fire brick box, do you mean stand alone or inside the smoker to shrink down the actual cubic space? I'm gonna use kaowool to insulate. Oh, one more question. That stuff that you use to seal kaowool.. ITC-100..could it be used as sort of a mortar for the bricks? or is there anything else that is made for that so they dont tople over if bumped?
Seth - Monday, 09/27/04 00:17:06 EDT

Heh..maybe I'll make a coal forge first instead. =)
Seth - Monday, 09/27/04 00:47:59 EDT

Seth, that's how I'm starting, making a coal forge. Also, I'll be trying charcoal. There's various recipes/instructions on making chunk charcoal, some using a stovetop method (better do it outside). Later, I'll see about buying coal from another smith.
Elliott Olson - Monday, 09/27/04 01:16:58 EDT

Good to hear that the MOB Flaming anvil(s) made it. Which one(s) did you see? The ASO propane stove or the flaming anvil outline?

I'm getting one of those MOB shirts to wear around the SWABA meetings.

Thomas P - Monday, 09/27/04 10:28:57 EDT

gas forge shell: Seth: look for something 10" - 12" dia and about 12" long
adam - Monday, 09/27/04 11:58:38 EDT

Seth: Alright, I think i'm going to try the gas forge later when I can find something to use about the size adam suggested. For now I'm going to try the coal forge since there's a supply not far from my house. Now, if i'm doing it outside, will it matter if I dont have a chimney? or should i go ahead and make one anyway? Thanks for all your help those of you who have responded to my questions!
- Seth - Monday, 09/27/04 12:33:43 EDT

Thomas P,
I saw the propane outline flaming anvil in action as our "nightlight" around the MOB camp. I was shown the ASO unit, but sadly, not in all it's flaming glory. You were a topic of discussion around the campfire Saturday night I may add. (nothing too bad...) I regret not having the chance to meet you. I sure would like one of those shirts too! Let me know how to get one if possible.
Dave C - Monday, 09/27/04 14:24:40 EDT

THOMAS: I,too stopped at the Shrine of St. Thomas the Absent, and knelt at the most sacred Blazing Anvil, which, it is said, is the selfsame anvil which ignited up on Mt. Columbus when God Himself presented the sacred text which contained the formula for the flux, whereby St. Thomas, patron saint of the MOB was able to achieve coal fusion. I truly believe that having visited there, I will finally be able to get a decent forge weld. CAN I GET AN AMEN?!
- 3dogs - Monday, 09/27/04 16:29:55 EDT

3Dogs *NEVER* mix rum and hot sauce from the VI; but don't worry the effects do taper off in a month or two...If we had just told Paw Paw this in time he would still be 6'6" and look his age---25...!

I'll consult my "normally reliable sources" as to what was *really* said.

Thomas P - Monday, 09/27/04 16:44:30 EDT

6"6" and 25? Thomas P wants something!
ptree - Monday, 09/27/04 17:19:41 EDT


Not necessarily. You'll note he said "If we had just told Paw Paw this in time ". It's obvious that window of opportunity has passed. (evil grin)
eander4 - Monday, 09/27/04 17:38:41 EDT

Seth-- Stand alone. It will work fine with just bricks, no kaowool, no mortar. Make a totally stable pedestal for it (a truck or tractor rim is ideal), with a steel plate platform for the bricks, run some bolts up to another plate for the top so you can tighten up on the box, anchor the manifold and the Venturis to that top plate, aim the jets from the manifold squarely into the Venturis (bell reducers work, but real Venturis off an old furnace work better) on the ends of the pipes which then go through two or three holes in the top bricks, block around the openings of the firebox fore and aft with more bricks or pieces of brick, turn on the gas, something like 5 to 10 psi, light up and Bob's your uncle. However, the more heat-tight it is, of course, the better-- allowing for venting, that is. The pressure gauge and main shut-off is at the tank, not the forge.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 09/27/04 19:35:08 EDT

Thomas: Both the Flaming Anvil, and the ASO Propane stove.

Nobody really "took your name in vain", but I'm sure glad they can't tell those stories on me!

- Paw Paw - Monday, 09/27/04 19:55:53 EDT

seth up in canada heating companies have old furnaces sitting around back till there are enough to take to the scrap yard or someone comes to buy the scrap. some of the oldy but goody ones have cast iron burners manifolds all attached look on the rating plate and read the size of the furnace divided by the number of burners tells you the btu's of each burner. block off what you don't want.
sm-duck - Monday, 09/27/04 20:37:57 EDT

Awsome! thanks a lot Miles. I'm gonna get right to work on that tommorow! Sounds like the simplest plan yet. I'll let you guys know how the progress goes later. Thanks again!
Seth - Monday, 09/27/04 23:47:00 EDT

Seth-- Beware the humongous exhaust this thing will put out. It can readiy asphyxiate you with bad ventilation. Do it outdoors. You can use soft firebrick for the top bricks, easy to make the holes for the pipes with a carpenter's rasp. You'll have to experiment with the jet size, to suit your altitude, and with line pressure to get the best burn. Nice thing about old furnace Venturis, they have butterfly valves to adjust the air mix to a neutral blue flame. Use extreme caution and build it kosher all the way, using steel pipe or if it's going to be portable then only hose or flex connector approved for propane. There can be a shut-off at the forge, but you absolutely want a main shut-off at the tank, then the pressure gauge, the valve to which also can open and close the line. Get your local fire marshal to check it out.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 09/28/04 00:16:05 EDT

Paw Paw, Now you got me wondering *what* they were saying about me...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 09/28/04 12:28:17 EDT

fabricate cookie cutter: I live in west palm beach and have a small ice cream store there. I would like to have a cookie cutter of my ice cream cone logo to sell in my store. Is there someone in my area who does this sort of wholesale work. I would appreciate any info or advice of how to contact such a firm.Please contact me at
Thanks very much for your help.
sal - Tuesday, 09/28/04 14:46:17 EDT

Awww! I'm sorry! (evil chuckle!)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/28/04 15:00:06 EDT

Well I'll just have to relax and keep chanting my mantra "They only suspect, they will never know". I'm betting you heard the "wrench on the far side of the interstate at 60mph" story; perhaps the sledgehammer on the side of the road while recovering from pneumonia...

I've *never* worn a kilt so the sheep story is just a made-up mendacious tapestry of fabricated lies!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 09/28/04 16:37:05 EDT

pics: Paw Paw,

Did you recieve the e-mail photos I sent to you?
- Brian C - Tuesday, 09/28/04 16:46:26 EDT

Thomas and Brian: Thomas,

Which sheep story? There were a couple that sounded awfully convincing! (grin)


Yep, just responded to them in email. I'm just about caught up.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/28/04 16:54:10 EDT

pics: Paw Paw,

I will check the mail when I get home, just checked in here from work. Hope I dont hear any whet stone sounds behind me for starting this bunch off on the scooter races (huge grin). Tyler had a ball hanging around you guys.
- Brian C - Tuesday, 09/28/04 17:00:36 EDT

Blacksmith's Cookbook/ Whitaker: I found a copy of this book online for $159 !! Since it was published in 1986 I wonder if the copyright has expired. Perhaps we could scan a copy and make it available online, say at Anvilfire? Just a thought

Also, on the geometry of drilling square holes
adam - Tuesday, 09/28/04 19:22:44 EDT

ps: no I didnt buy it! $159 sheesh!
adam - Tuesday, 09/28/04 19:23:50 EDT

The copyright on Francis Whitaker's BLACKSMITH COOKBOOK is still active. It may not be re-printed in any format, electronic or other without written permission from the author's family.

I have a copy and it's not for sale.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 09/28/04 22:52:56 EDT

hammer and shop question: Ok, ill start off witht the big question first. My father and I are going to start building a blacksmith shop the fall. I plan on having an anvil, forge, mandrel, swage block, power hammer, fly press, various stake tools in log, various hand held tools (tongs, hammers, etc.), and many other blacksmith tools. Ofcourse I wont be aquiring all of these at once but at the moment I have a forge, anvil, stake tools, post vise, and various hand tools. My question is how big of a shop would you recommend. I plan to have 2 anvils in the shop. A small bench anvil and my 120 lbs peter wright blacksmith anvil. It will be attached to a large auto shop by a door. I keep all my grinders in the auto shop and plan to keep them there. We will mostlikley pour a concrete floor.

Now my 2nd question. I am currently working on a hammer. the hammer is going nicley exept i cant seem to drift the hole through it. Someone please help me with advice on how to drift out a hole in a hammer. Thank you for your help in advance.
- Dan Crabtree - Wednesday, 09/29/04 00:55:28 EDT

drifting a hammer: You can first hot punch a slot (slowly working it from one side and then the other) and then drift the hole to shape it. You can also cheat a bit and drill to holes, then use the torch to cut the slot and then drift it.
- pook - Wednesday, 09/29/04 02:08:04 EDT

shop size: As big as you can make it. It is never big enough.
If your just smithing in that portion of the shop I'd leave it a dirt floor and use the money saved to make it larger.
Besides with a dirt floor you don't need to sweep up and hot metal when it falls on concrete causes it to pop and pit.
- pook - Wednesday, 09/29/04 02:12:00 EDT

Power Hammer schools: Never having any formal training on powerhammers, just taught myself and watched numerous video's, I was wondering what schools offer strictly powerhammer forging courses? I know of the BigBlu courses, just wondering if there are an others out there.

- pook - Wednesday, 09/29/04 02:16:32 EDT

Power Hammer Schools: Ozark School of Blacksmithing has been offering courses for several years. I took one with Bob Patrick as the teacher, good class, especially with an instructor with as much experience as Bob.
- Jymm Hoffman - Wednesday, 09/29/04 08:55:03 EDT

Power Hammer School: Pook - depending where you live, one option is a weekend course. David Robertson (Cargill ON, Canada N0G 1J0)offers a 2 day course. Info on his website (link given.) Certainly asking here and across the street at keenjunk are a great way to find out other options.

Sunny and brisk (10 Deg Cel) North of the Lake Ontario.

Don Shears - Wednesday, 09/29/04 08:59:08 EDT

Blacksmith's Cookbook/ Whitaker:: Oh well - a pity
adam - Wednesday, 09/29/04 10:41:08 EDT

Paw Paw, I guess with your background you'd be able to pick up on all the little details...; (perhaps it was wise of me not to attend!)

Shop size; some of it depends on what you are going to be doing too. You need a lot more shop to swing 20' pieces of stock through the fire/anvil/hammer than you need if the longest piece you work is 3'.

My suggestion, get a piece of chalk and an empty parking lot and lay out all your present equipment and your planned future equipment in a good easy to use configuration, then measure what you got. Don't forget storage, extra work benches---don't think one would want to do much grinding in an auto shop lessun one didn't *like* the fellow whose car was being worked on...welding area, etc.

My shop is 20x30 with the first 10x20 section for forging/welding, the second for storage and sheet metal work (armour), the third for wood working on one side and knifemaking on the other. In addition I plan to put a "forging porch" out front for the coal forges so the screw press and triphammer will end up sort of smack dab by the roll up door so I can access them from either side. Out the back is a scrap metal pile.

Too soon to see how cramped I am, I'm still setting up equipment.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/29/04 10:41:12 EDT

Adam-- Got library with the book on the shelf? Or an interlibrary loan system hooked up to your local library? Got a Kinko's nearby?

Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 09/29/04 12:00:51 EDT

forgefodder: Gadday to everbady fum da ottawa vallie: Well I finnally run out of coal, damn! Years ago I was lucky and found a big house that used to order in a traincar of coal for heating, every two years. I emptied out the basement! Now I'm wunderin about burning scrap firewood(small bits)ash.And then theres the question of making charcoal.Like OL"Colonel" the elephant said I'm all ears.
sm-duck - Wednesday, 09/29/04 12:26:21 EDT

Miles: Yes - thats my plan - our state smithing organization, SWABA, has copy which just might find it self scanned to a PC hard drive after the the next meeting. I just thought that while this person (who shall remain nameless) was doing this, he could make it available to others too.

Shop: Do what Thomas says with the parking lot + chalk and then double the result.
adam - Wednesday, 09/29/04 12:37:57 EDT

powerhammer courses: I know most of the basics etc. I can draw, taper, punch. Free hand forge leafs etc. in reality I'm not search what I am even looking for in a course. I guess I want to do some larger forge work with some guidance, I have just finished rebuilding a nazel 3b and really would like to work some large material but unsure of how the material should be rigged, what to watch for etc.
- pook - Wednesday, 09/29/04 12:55:06 EDT

Rustcake? AnvilPorn? Eye Candy for Smiths?: Dunno what you call it but I always enjoy this site
adam - Wednesday, 09/29/04 16:06:37 EDT

RE:sm-duck: I got a phone call last night to remind me of a hammer-in at the Lang Pioneer Village, East of Peterborough, on Sunday, 3 Oct. I won't be able to attend this one (first weekend home in a month.) There's going to be several smiths there that you can meet up with.

Broken cloud and 9 Cel. North of the Lake Ontario.

Don Shears - Thursday, 09/30/04 08:14:59 EDT

you might take a look at
- mills - Thursday, 09/30/04 08:48:27 EDT

Pook: You might take a look at Blacksmith Manual Illustrated it has a heavy emphasis on the use of power hammers. It is a download.
- Mills - Thursday, 09/30/04 08:53:59 EDT

Square Holes:
Adam, Nice theoretical piece. In practice it only works in very thin material. Consider the reasons a twist drill has flutes to move chips. You can't have spiral flutes on the triangle geometry drill.
- guru - Thursday, 09/30/04 09:13:07 EDT

Benzene and benzene ring:
The benzene ring is nothing but a hexagonal arrangement of carbon atoms. It is NOT benzene. The carbon ring or parts of it are present in many organic chemicals including many protiens. Some are harmless but others are not.

Then there are matters of degrees. Organic solvents in smoke are measured in parts per billion (PPB) and in a clean fire most of the volatiles burn up. There is a huge difference in PPB levels and chemicaly pure liquid solvents.

Even so, many toxins and carcenogens are dangerous at the PPB level. Failing to understand and ignoring health hazzards is a quick way to an early grave. As an example small amounts of manganese is not a problem but years of welding manganese steels is now being found to result in respiratory and brain damage. All the effects are not yet understood. However, welder exposure to heavy metals is known to be directly attributable to liver and other internal organ disease and a slow painful death.

Then there is the misconception that because something is "natural" that it is not dangerous. Some of the most deadly toxins are natural substances.

Educate yourself, recognize shop hazzards and avoid them.

In the case of smoke from forges and welding you cannot have enough ventilation. Open air forge shops are best but a lot can be done with fans and common sense.
- guru - Thursday, 09/30/04 10:38:24 EDT

DON thanks for the heads up . Have to check with ranch foreman to see if I can borrey a hoss!
- smDuck - Thursday, 09/30/04 11:18:58 EDT

Adam-- I am deeply shocked.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 09/30/04 11:35:03 EDT

55lb anvils: I know we go on and on about trust and eBay and ASO's and such, and I am willing to get riled about such things as much as the next person.

But the following is not really intended to start that discussion.

That said, there is a 55lb anvil that says it is made of "top grade cast iron". And another one was listed as being "solid gray iron".

My question is, are there in fact grades of cast iron? And what does "gray iron" mean?
Escher - Thursday, 09/30/04 13:00:23 EDT

Adam -that just shows what Jock is always saying "anvils don't have to look ugly to do the job"
- Mark P - Thursday, 09/30/04 13:15:53 EDT

Gray iron is alloyed and cooled such that the excess carbon in it forms lenticular graphite inclusions. or to put it another way it's about the worst stuff you could make an anvil from cause it comes soft with built in cracks and stress concentrators. It's called gray cause when you break it you see all the graphite inclusions as it breaks along them and they are "gray".

Cast iron can also be white cast iron AKA chilled cast iron that is cast so that the surface is cooled forming a very hard layer.

There is also ductile/nodular/semi steel cast irons which are alloyed and cooled such that the carbon forms spheres. Much less prone to breaking but still dead soft.

"top grade" can only refer to a spec. What's top grade for one use may be pretty poor for another. Unfortunately cast iron is *NOT* a good material for anvil faces. Some good anvils have been made using a tool steel face and a cast iron body---like the Fisher anvils; but cast iron only anvils lookalikes are just ASO's.

I drilled out a HF cast iron anvil to make a propane stove from it---it had so much graphite in it I'm amazed it had any iron in it at all. Definitely *NOT* top grade in my book!

Thomas P - Thursday, 09/30/04 17:28:52 EDT

square holes: How about square, hex, spined, or other wierd shaped holes in steel up to 1" thick?
Yeah, they call it "rotary broaching" but it will work in a mill or drill, and make square holes.
Then there are Watts drills- they will drill square holes in thick steel as well- they work exactly like the link that was posted:
PO BOX 335
phone, 412-823-7877
The ingenuity of american industry never ceases to amaze me!
Personally, I like to punch square holes with my hydraulic ironworker.
- Ries - Thursday, 09/30/04 20:08:41 EDT

Square Holes:
Broaching is considerably different than drilling. AND, I would bet that anything less rigid than a huge #3 Cincinatti mill isn't solid enough to use one of these in the larger sizes. The 1.5 times diameter is a considerable limitation. The feed pressure is also considerable. It is less than actual broaching but still very high comaperd to drilling. The 7,600 to 9,500 pounds required for a 1" square is far beyond the capacity of a drill press (normally about 1,500 to 2,000 pounds MAX for a large drill press).

These tools are designed to replace a seperate broaching operation on parts being made on big CNC machining centers that have rotary spindles. Nifty tool but not suitable for making hardy holes. . .
- guru - Thursday, 09/30/04 20:52:15 EDT

On the square drilling rigs. YEP! way beyond anything a drill press will do. Maybe a 50,000# Bickford with a #6 morse spindle. We used these things in the smaller sizes, in WarnerSwasey 4AC's. Tooling life sucked, tolerence control? Hah.
We converted to all broaching. We pull broached up to 2" square and hex. Now that was a man's machine!
ptree - Thursday, 09/30/04 21:11:26 EDT

Grades of cast iron:
There are many grades of cast iron. In the US most are given ASTM numbers. The numbers are roughly equivalent to the strength of the iron in KPSI from 20 to 60. The best cast iron is roughly equivalent to mild steel in strength but is still very brittle. Instead of denting like a mild steel anvil would a CI anvil chips (big chips).

Back when folks had more sense than money the cheapest low grade anvils were made of chilled cast iron. These were ocassional use junkers. The evidence of how poorly they held up is that you NEVER see any old examples of these. Of the thousands of anvils I have seen while traveling for anvilfire I have seen only ONE. Of those thousands there have been hundreds of Colonial era anvils (over 250 years old).

As we have all noted many times CI is NOT suitable for anvils. The fact that someone on eBay admits that their anvil is CI is progress. Maybe calling them liers and theives OVER and OVER and OVER as well as telling eBay over and over that these folks have been knowingly misrepresenting their product is soaking in. . . But I doubt it.

After sending eBay a 12 page complaint about the creep that used our anvil images all I have recieved is the company line and a link to another form to fill in. This infringing photos are still on the eBay server. . .

Properties of Cast Iron
- guru - Thursday, 09/30/04 21:24:16 EDT

More about Cast Iron: I've updated the Cast Irons properties chart by including three common steels for comparison. It is hard to compare because some of the properties of cast iron do not relate directly to steel or are so absurd that engineers do not make the comparison. If I find the same for steel I will update the chart just for absurdity's sake.

ASTM 30 is the most common "grey iron" cast by most foundries and is fairly standard. Cheap Chinese ASO's MIGHT qualify as ASTM 20. Compare this to mild steel (the steel is 3 times stronger and also harder). The best alloy cast iron which is a rare product just about meets mild steel in stength and hardness. However, it is still brittle and will break where the steel just yeilds (one of the absurdity factors).

The 1050 heat treated is roughly the properties of most anvils. However the temper condition given is softer. Use the 1095 temper for anvils.

When you compae SAE 1050 which is approximately what plated anvils use for the face to ASTM 30 CI the steel is 5 times stronger and almost twice as hard. The resistance to brittle fracture (not given) is many times greater than CI.

SO. . . a mild steel anvil is better than CI and real anvils are MANY times stronger than CI. Where CI has a VERY short life as an anvil, good steel has an almost infinite life in comparison.

Science to back up the rhetoric.
- guru - Thursday, 09/30/04 22:57:09 EDT

Now Guru, I have seen a passel of the cheap "Sears" cast iron anvils out around the "homeplace (AR/OK)" usually the faces are worn till they look like the back of a razorback and they are wired to the bottom of fences where they cross a gully...

(If you read the 1900's sears catalog they offered several levels of quality and the bottom rungs were cast iron and chilled face cast iron)

Stopped by the fleamarket today and picked up a heavy duty comealong. My old one will be crushed and discarded so that I will never be tempted to risk life and limb using it...I already jacked up the WI pile to fish it out and use it when I know better....

Thomas P - Friday, 10/01/04 11:39:47 EDT

Counter    Copyright © 2004 Jock Dempsey, Cummulative_Arc GSC