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September 2006 Archive

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

Band vs. Chop:
Abrasive chop saws heat the work considerably. They will cut hardened steel and will also cut small amounts of refractory material. They will ruin the annealed condition of expensive annealed tool steel by making it glass hard AND they leave a REALLY bad burr that is dangerous and hard to remove. They are also noisy and dirty.

Besides steel the band saw is also good for soft aluminium, brass, plastic and wood which you cannot cut with the abrasive chop saw. In general the blades are MUCH less expensive per cut than abrasive cut off wheels. The saw is also quiet and when running properly can cut unattended, or at least without you hovering over it.

Personaly I would not have a chop saw as the primary cutoff tool in my shop. I would go back to hand sawing first.

One of the first jobs I did with my little cut-off saw was build work benches for my children. The legs sloped at a 7 degree angle so the ends needed accurate cuts as did the horizontal supports. All were cut to the same angle. Due to the vise and accurate alignment of the blade it was easier to do this job on the cutoff saw than on a table saw or vertical band saw. I've also used it for blanking out swage block patterns.

So. . . you have to look at the big picture of the kinds of things you do in your shop. Due to its flexibility and ease of use my little cut-off saw gets used a LOT.
- guru - Friday, 09/01/06 15:12:43 EDT

2" square: Tyler, If Doug doesn't have it I have some.
- guru - Friday, 09/01/06 15:14:42 EDT

Going back to hand sawing: Glad (I guess) to hear you say that guru. I regularly cut 1" square with a hack saw, and sometimes 1-1/4" hex.
Tyler Murch - Friday, 09/01/06 18:50:32 EDT

blew a fuse: Well after several hours of trying to design molds to cast refractory parts for my forge, and having to turn things mirror image and negative, I think I did something to my head. I probably shouldnt drive unless its in the UK. I think I will go for a walk...
adam - Friday, 09/01/06 18:52:17 EDT

2 x 2: Tyler, I don't have any 2 x 2 steel bar. I was working from memory and that's always dangerous for me.
- Doug Thayer - Friday, 09/01/06 21:42:29 EDT

Band saw: Had a chance to look a little closer today at my horizontal bandsaw. I checked the alignment of the blade to the cut out in the frame where the blade drops in after the cut is finished. From one end to the other it's off about a quarter inch. And the guide roller assemblies are fully adjustable so all I need now is time to adjust this saw. The fellow I bought the saw from said it always cut good for him. But I now remember "adjusting" this and that after I got it home. Starting to look like operator error. I've used a abrasive chop saw just about from day one in my shop. Seemed to be the most practical for the work I was doing. In the beginning I built a lot of garden art using rebar. Rebar will rip the teeth off a good hacksaw blade without much effort. That is something I was told early on and didn't believe until I tried it. My first chopsaw was a 4 1/2" angle grinder with a cut off blade mounted in a home made frame. I cut a lot of steel with that rig. Then I got a DeWalt 14" saw and thought I was in heaven. But now as my work changes and I move into new things a horizontal bandsaw is beginning to look like what will be the most efficient. So I won't get the for sale sign out yet.
- Doug Thayer - Friday, 09/01/06 22:01:10 EDT

B2 prices: so this item# 290023175894 just sold for $355. It does seem the market has cooled a bit - 6 mos ago they were going for $450+
adam - Friday, 09/01/06 22:27:46 EDT

Colonial Period: As I would point out to the Colonial Maritime Association (a association of historic replica tallships) the "colonial period" ran from at least as early as the Viking Age (Greenland) to right now (the British Virgin Islands).

Jymm: do you have a website for pictures or drawings of the project? Pre-Moxon and larger medieval-style block anvils are particularly lacking in our venue. :-)

Off to get some breakfast and clean up the wreckage from Ernesto.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 09/02/06 09:16:35 EDT

Prices on ebay:
You can't go by auction prices. You have to take an average. Even then, without auction fever people like to "win" and this always adds 10 to 15% on any auction item. Get several people in a bidding war and I have seen old used worn out tools sell for as much or more than the same tool new.

Right now on ebay there is a very nice Greenwood swage block selling for $70 more than a new one. It IS a better casting (ductile rather than grey iron) but the bidding is not done and the reserve not met.

I have also found a disturbing pricing policy among used book dealers and it is creaping into the ebay "buy it now" category. Prices that are 10 to 50 times market price! This is because a long list sorted by price has TWO easy to find ends, the top and the bottom. To be on one end of the list or the other is a good thing in order to be found.

This pricing is crazy and I suspect a few suckers get caught. A few dealers have the listed price then the REAL price but not always. Often you do not know exactly how rare or hard to find something is or the actual market price and you would like to trust your dealer to have a fair price. It is not unusual to pay two or even three times as much at one dealer than another due to the individual dealer's cost and overhead but 10 times is obscene.
- guru - Saturday, 09/02/06 10:33:33 EDT

Colonial Eras: As Bruce pointed out, there still is colonialism. . There there will be the future space colonies on the Moon, Mars and on space stations. . . Or sea bed colonies. .
- guru - Saturday, 09/02/06 10:39:59 EDT

All depends on how you define your words---ALMA announced that our OSF building was the highest building in the world causing a lot of discussion at lunch about huts in Tebit or even the international space station. We did agree that Highest building with an ethernet jack was locked in solid though.

Guru; do you have an english translation of "La Fidelle Ouvertire de l' Art de Serrurier", Mathurin Jousse? Most of it is devoted to locks, lock furniture and the tools and techniques for shaping and finishing them, 1627

Thomas P - Saturday, 09/02/06 11:38:52 EDT

Locks: Thomas, No, I haven't seen that one. Been collecting a few lock books here and there recently. The most recent was "Antique Locks" from the collection of Josiah Parkes & Sons Ltd. Willenhall Staffs England. It is a catalog of the Company's collection published in 1955. As many collections are it is rather eclectic and catch as catch can. Photos are very good but you can only tell so much from the outside of a lock. It identified an Armada Chest I had posted information on. It also had sample ward assemblies removed from locks to show the construction.

It also had an interesting "counter" lock. Each time it was operated a set of geared wheels kept count of the openings. So if an employee who had keys operated a lock off-hours it could be detected. . .

French locks of that period (mid 1600's) were near the height of locks as an art form. Sounds like a wonderful book.
- guru - Saturday, 09/02/06 20:35:54 EDT

Cyril Stanley Smith was involved in publishing a translation of it sou it should be pretty good on the metallurgical side of things. I'm going to track down a copy myself.

Thomas P - Saturday, 09/02/06 20:41:46 EDT

La Fidelle Ouvertire de l' Art de Serrurier:
Found an 1874 copy on bookfinder for a little over $2,000 in the Netherlands. . . I think I'll whip out my MasterCard and go into debt. . . HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

- guru - Saturday, 09/02/06 20:41:49 EDT

2": Guru, sent you an email a few days ago regarding the 2".
- Tyler Murch - Saturday, 09/02/06 21:49:53 EDT

Counter Locks: I heard an interesting story once about how counter locks were used on mail bags. In seems they worked like an odometer, but with three wheels, so they went from 000 to 999. The trick, for people who had reason to do such things, was to pick the lock not once, but 1000 times. Then no one would be the wiser. The locks were replaced with ones that go to 10,000, and then stop working altogether.
Mike B - Saturday, 09/02/06 22:06:44 EDT

Tyler, I responded to your mail. Did you typo your address. . . tymurch@ . . .
- guru - Sunday, 09/03/06 09:53:26 EDT

Counter Lock: This lock had simple bit keys with almost no warding (like a key blank), the counting being the only security. There was a large or normal door key size key for the lock and a smaller one for the counter wheels. The discription says 10,000 tounts but the photo only showed three wheels. . .

Supposedly it was for a place like a wine cellar within a resturant or private home where the exterior key was the primary security and the owner just wanted to know how many times the employees entered.

Picking a lock 999 times would put considerable were andtear on the lock. . rotating one of these keys that many times would not be bad. 9,999 would take persistance!

I suspect that counter locks were made with more security than just the counter.
- guru - Sunday, 09/03/06 10:08:20 EDT

Riggers nightmare: I thought some of you might like to look at this problem in moving heavy equipment.

Recovery pics of that B-1 that landed . . . GEAR-UP ~OOoops


Here are the recovery pics of that B-1 that landed GEAR-UP a few months ago!!

Easy deal, just need the correct equiptment to do the job. No matter how little or how BIG they are - you still have to recover them when someone or something screws up!!!

Go to:

B-1 wheels up
- Habu - Sunday, 09/03/06 10:10:08 EDT

tymurchATaolDOTcom Don't know what could have happened. I haven't gotten it.
Tyler Murch - Sunday, 09/03/06 11:21:57 EDT

Moving Loads - Riggers:
Neat pictures. . .

There are two very nifty tools for moving heavy loads, air bags (in use in Habu's link) and air platforms. Air platforms ride on a cushion of air. They are sort of like rolling something on a field of steel balls without the friction.

However, even when you have ALL the needed tools at hand I have seen some major rigger screw ups. On a recent TV bloopers show they showed a heavy crane on a bridge picking up a bus that had gone off the bridge. During the lift the bus swung outward and overcame the crane balance. . yep the bus AND the crane ended up in the river. Tipping over cranes is a more common occurance than it should be. The mathematics are pretty simple.

One of the Nuclear jobs we did they used an air platform to move a 10 ton box on a special ramp. The problem was that the ramp sloped side to side as well as long ways. It took several people to control the load but the ramp was not wide enough to get people pushing from the sides. . . It pays to use a level when setting up such things.

Where things get REAL tricky is when loads are on soft ground or in water.

Then there are the times when you need a sky hook, there is no place for it and you do not have the proper tools. . . THAT is when imagination and a cool head come into play. Twice I've had to take heavy loads off ceilings without the proper tools. One was a 600 pound motor and a 300 pound 42" diameter pulley (same job). Heavy rope and a lot of chupzta got the job done. The other was removing a 24 foot bridge crane from the inside of a nearly falling down wood foundry building. . . There was no space for chain falls or rigging above. Imaginative use of load binders and chain lowered the load until a couple come-alongs would fit. . not a method I would reccomend but sometimes you do what you need to do and stay well clear of the load.
- guru - Sunday, 09/03/06 14:04:10 EDT

sometimes you do what you need to do and stay well clear of the load.

Words to *survive* by!

Thomas P - Sunday, 09/03/06 14:41:00 EDT

Bookseller: Chapitre livres neufs
(Lamnay, ., France) Price: US$ 37.68

Better that $2K (
Thomas P - Sunday, 09/03/06 14:43:00 EDT

Well. . you did better than I did. I won't say what I paid but it was more than that. I tried a bunch of variations in the search. However, I DID pay a LOT less than the $2k for the same printing with library markings.

I've noticed a couple other books I purchased a few years ago that are going for MUCH higher prices.
- guru - Sunday, 09/03/06 17:51:52 EDT

Fidelle, Locksmiths' Art: I'm tempted. I'll look for it.

I have a 1962 book, all in French, and very good with superb line drawings. "Fer forgé et Serrurerie" by Raymond Lecoq. I has 127 pages, the last 20 having to do with locks, keys, bolts, and latches. It also has sections on ornamental ironwork construction, foliage in relief, and builders'hardware, all traditional. G.M. Perrin, publisher.
- Frank Turley - Sunday, 09/03/06 19:18:27 EDT

Habu, I would definetly expect that a crew is outa work, and looking on the civilian market.

There is an old saying among pilots,
- - Sunday, 09/03/06 21:17:47 EDT

There are those pilots that have landed with the gear up, there are those who are going to land with the gear up, and there are those who are going to do it again.

How did the crack pilot know he had landed with the gear up?
ptree - Sunday, 09/03/06 21:20:33 EDT

Answer, When it took full power to taxi off the runway!
ptree - Sunday, 09/03/06 21:21:39 EDT

LG triphammer: for sale 50#LG triphammer 1800 OBO. email me for pictures and more information
- Coldiron - Sunday, 09/03/06 23:18:56 EDT

As a contractor I worked for told me years ago when he grabbed my arm as I was about to stoop to retrieve my hammer that I had dropped under a big hunk of 6 x 30 or some such wide flange we were installing as a lintel, "Miles! Never get under a piece of steel! Get a laborer to do it!" I cross the street to get away from cranes, and never, ever, drive under one.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 09/04/06 00:03:25 EDT

power hammer info wanted: Looking for info on a Dienelt & Eisenhardt power hammers, found very little by google. The particular one interested in
is a sheet metal(we think) 24" throat. any info would be appreciated! Thanks! tt
- oldgoaly - Monday, 09/04/06 15:31:29 EDT

Once when we moved a 80,000# Warner and Swasey chucker, we found a desicated, very, very thin cat under it. I have no idea how it got there, but we propped it up against the wall near the machine, and it was there for severel years. It was a very good lesson to folks about not putting anything that they wanted to keep three demensional under heavy things.
ptree - Monday, 09/04/06 19:35:13 EDT

ptree-- Yowsuh! That's what's technically known as a flat cat. Tom Bredlow made one out of steel long time back and gave it to Frank Turley, who still has it, I believe, somewhere in the Stygian depths of his shop.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 09/05/06 00:31:37 EDT

Valuable Article: anyone grappling with what to tell a young person trying to decide on a vocation, or agonizing over that decision him or herself, would benefit from reading this fine piece about the life of an artisan (that's us, guys) vs. an office worker. Skip to the last graf if you want the gist of it.

Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 09/05/06 00:35:17 EDT

Miles: Thank you for sharing that with us. It was good. I just wish the educators would understand it.
- Jeff G. - Tuesday, 09/05/06 07:53:53 EDT

rigging: they have just concluded the investigation ofa rigging accident here at Los Alamos Lab . A contractor was hoisting staircase when it slipped from the rigging and crushed two of his employees. One was seriously injured. When questioned , the contractors employees said they knew it was dangerous to be under the load but considered it part of the job.
adam - Tuesday, 09/05/06 09:49:46 EDT

Shop Class as Soulcraft:
An amazing article. Says many of the things I have been saying for years but also puts it into historical perspective as well as having supporting references. It is a long read (for setting at the computer) but worthwhile.

One thing the article lacks is a conclusion as to what all this means in the big picture. In the US we are training ALL our children to live and work in a virtual world and information society while importing labor to do the manual jobs. There can be no good end to this.

We are dependent on forign natural resources, forign labor and soon those same sources will be providing all the information services. . . It is already happening. When you call about a computer problem, credit card problem or even TAX problems you may be speaking to somone in India or Central America. Much large scale programming and web development is done in India at a fraction of the cost it can be done HERE. We are training most of our students for "information society" jobs that are being sent overseas as fast as they can train people THERE.

So what will be left?

To have a healthy economy you need a wide range of activities. You need to wisely use natural resources incluiding raw materials (plant and mineral) and the energy to convert them into goods. Manufactured goods need to include everything, not just high tech goods. At some point those that survive economicaly will be those that have the entire supply chain for a product from natural resources to finished product. That means we must produce our own energy, make our own steel, raise crops that replace petroleum in plastics manufacturing and make our own tools and machinery at every level to make whatever finished goods we produce.

It used to be this way in the US. But now we are highly dependent on the supply of imported resources that can be interupted at any time. In the linked article Matthew Crawford mentions the term "Post Industrial Society", something that we are rapidly becoming. Many put no great meaning to this term but I consider a Post Industrial Society and a The "service economy" the same as a Post Apocalyptic Society. It is the end of life in the US as we know it. Producing GOODS is producing wealth. Nothing else support a real economy. Shuffling information is primarily a clerical task that is overhead. It is an expense to providing a service or producing a product. It cannot be the WHOLE economy. Yes, it is a growth industry today, but in the rapidly changing world of computer technology this is rapidly becoming a dead end. As computers become more and more powerful and we become more and more efficient at organizing information it will require less and less people and should return back to its status of a small part of the overhead of the economy. This is a cost of government and doing business, NOT a wealth producing aspect of an ecomomy. Yes, people are employed to do it but something else greater must support it.

The "service economy" is a myth that we need to leave far behind.

It is not just educators that need to understand where we are headed but government and industry in general. Without a long term plan the future is pretty bleak. We need leaders that LEAD, and not into unwinable wars over the robber barron tactics of the past (grabing natural resources in forign lands) but leaders that lead us to a healthy economic future. We need leaders that know what it means to MAKE things. Leaders grounded in reality.

Shop Class as Soulcraft
- guru - Tuesday, 09/05/06 10:29:19 EDT

Rigging, Dangers of doing a job:
Over the centuries there have always been human costs to manufacturing and construction. In this enlightened age we try to reduce those costs as much as possible. But it is a fact of life that on every large job workers blood has been spilled in order to further society. But SOMEONE must climb to the top of that steeple to attach the anchor and safety line for others to follow.

However, when loads are dropped there is usualy a degree of stupidity OR a macho attitude involved. Most guys that have bad backs would not wait for the fork lift OR were too macho to ask for help. Rigging failures rarely involve failure of the rigging to hold its rated load. Usualy it is improperly rigged, not secure or the incorrect rigging. When the incorrect rigging is used either someone was not prepared to do the job OR was too impatient to wait for the right rigging. Even when the rigging is rated for the load you can still break it by improperly applying it.

Rigging also takes a degree of thought that many are not willing to put forth OR even though they took the all the rigging classes still do not understand. Where is the center of gravity? How much overhang will there be? What is the angle of the application? Is THIS move safe?

Most often the failure is nobody of the proper skills is in charge. While working in nuclear power plants I was often the person in charge simply because nobody else would take charge. Out of hundreds of workers that were supposedly trained in rigging only one or two were competent AND would take charge. On a large site this often meant that only the most critical lifts were being done competently.

During the last large lift I was in charge of (turbine draft tube in a river) we did not have the proper rigging to level the load. If the rigging failed the load would swing wildly possibly injuring someone on my crew OR even tipping over the crane. The tools at hand were under capacity and in bad condition. I put the job on pause and sent my assistant to the nearest industrial supplier to buy a HD 3 ton ratchet hoist. It cost me $700. The job went smoothly even though I and another worker ended up being the heroic types that had to swim under the load to position dunnage. But I knew at that point that the load was safely positioned and the only risk was the river water. . .

I still have the $700 hoist. It was the cost of doing the job that day, even though it was not my responsibility to provide tools. It was cheap considering the other possibilities. What is a man's life worth? Or his arm or legs? Would YOU take on this responsibility?

In most cases the worker's responsibility is limited to stopping the job when it is unsafe. I have done this as well. There was a 12 man crew suited up to work in a nuclear environment and very expensive crane time scheduled. Here the problem was that I was chastised for stopping what was clearly an unsafe situation. And THIS is the reason people get killed on the job. You are told over and over to STOP the job if there is a clear danger. But when you do so it can be deterimental to your carreer. SO. . . workers do not stop unsafe jobs. They do what they are told and ocassionaly someone gets killed. Time and money considerations still come before people. When a crew is involved and someone is seriously hurt it is becaused nobody is being paid to be in charge. Nobody is responsible.
- guru - Tuesday, 09/05/06 11:36:37 EDT

L'Art du Serrurier: Thomas,

Thanks for the abebooks link. I just ordered that copy. Now I have 6 - 9 days to learn French before it arrives.

Incidently, last time I was in Strand books in NYC I saw that they have reprints of Diderot's encyclopedia. It shows up on their website as 40 volumes, paperback, $200. I don't know if it's the entire work, but more than the Dover edition at least, and the price isn't bad per pound.

- Dave A. - Tuesday, 09/05/06 16:12:31 EDT

The accidents I have been around happened because of sheer moronic unthinking stupidity. Guy working on a roof reaches up to pull himself up off the scaffold onto the slope, only he grabs the board they leave loose for an opening to stick their feet in. Falls off scaffold. Lands on a laborer. Guy pushing a wheelbarrow full of scrap pieces of lumber along the unfinished second floor. Piece scrap gets under whee, barrow goes into stairwell. Guy doesn't let go. Falls into stairwell, wraps back around cross-brace at first floor level. Guy finishes varnishing the tongue & groove flooring, steps into doorway to light a ciggie, fumes go BOOM-- phenom known in trade as FUMEBOOM-- and wakes up across the street. Guy uses guard as a grabber on circular saw runs blade up into web of thumb.... Then there is the guy who miscalculated the balance point on the 50-pound Little Giant and told his wife to go ahead and pull the truck out from under it....
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 09/05/06 16:15:07 EDT

Idiots:: A renewable resource! Go ahead - crunch all you want - we'll make more!
adam - Tuesday, 09/05/06 16:20:49 EDT

That's why I hired a wrecker to unload my new 50-lber. I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid! (grin!)
Alan-L - Tuesday, 09/05/06 16:48:29 EDT

Alldays and Onions catalog: Well, I wanted to bid on the little 8-page Alldays & Onions catalog that had all the vises within, but it went for $76.50 with nine bidders. A little to high for my little ol' sky.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 09/05/06 19:00:40 EDT

Heavy Moves:
Surprisingly "light" moves can break hands, feet etc. . . Anvils, swage blocks, Sledge hammers. . . anything with mass can get away from you. It does not need to be hung from a crane to be dangerous.

A common injury or near injury can occur when you remove a lathe chuck. A small lathe chuck may only weigh 20 pounds and SEEMS easy to handle. You think you can support it with one hand as you remove it from the spindle. In fact, you probably ARE stong enough to support that little piece of steel. But even though you are expecting it that sudden application of load happens TOO fast and the lathe ways are only about 2" below the chuck. . The result is often bruised or broken bones. To avoid this injury is easy. Make a wood V-block that fits the lathe and the chuck. I've made them for all my lathes and chuck AND the ones in our family shop. The only take minutes to make from scrap lumber. Simple solution, only takes minutes, but it requires ACTION. This tool is recommended in numerous lathe opperation manuals but is rarely found.

Then the ignorance factor enters. One day I was in the family shop and a worker was cleaning up. Both the chuck blocks were in the trash. . I pulled them out and asked the employee if he knew what they were. . "old junk, he thought". They had been carefully stored on the lathe tool rack with the chucks. . . I had him paint the blocks and stencil them "lathe tool". The worse thing was that two machinists had watched him toss the blocks. One was for a large chuck that weighed nearly 100 pounds and could not be handled without the block.

There are many hazzards in the shop. Most can be avoided if you are observant. But those that go through life with their mind closed to their surroundings are destined to have simple things get the best of them. . .

On the subject of stupid accidents. I just heard that the "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin died from a one. One too many risks. Eventualy the odds catch up with you. His accident was very unexpected (low probability). But even low probability things happen. He leaves a wife and very young son.
- guru - Tuesday, 09/05/06 19:30:47 EDT

injuries: As a safety guy who responds to industrial accidents to do first aid and clean up, I can echo the Guru. I can say that all the really bad accidents I have been to had a forklift involved. Had one Friday as a matter of fact. The urban myth that a steel toe will be crushed down and cut you toes off or trap them if run over by a fork truck was tested. Forklift was a 5000# capacity, with no load, so about 6600# weight, and a heavy amount on the steer tires, and one of those solid rubber steer tires went over a toe of a tennis shoe style steel toe shoe with a ladies foot in it. She had a crushing injury to the foot behind the toe cap, but as the toe cap did not collaspe, the injuries did NOT involve a single broken bone. Her foot swelled badly, and she is in a special walking boot and crutches.

Last time I was at a forklift VS foot incident the man did not have a steel toe, and now has no toes on his right foot.

By the way, we are buying her a new set of shoes as those have been tested one time too many for use.
ptree - Tuesday, 09/05/06 20:29:58 EDT

Working Under Loads:
Funny, I never thought of it this way but I practicaly grew up working under loads. Cars and trucks on lifts! Of course this is what they are designed for and is one reason they are designed to move slow. Slow moving hydraulics will not drop a load. It can only ove as fast as the outlet will alow. However, I HAVE seen automobiles almost fall off a lift. . .

Cranes are a different animal. They can tip over. Clutches, cables and chains can fail. Rigging can slip or break. The most common failure is loads slipping due to bad rigging, the HUMAN factor.

You can get away with a basket hitch on the middle of a beam for a low lift (only a foot or two from the ground) because the wosrt thing that can happen is the CG will shift and one end tip the foot or so. But the same rig overhead can let slip to one end and let the beam swing uncontrolably perhaps even dropping the beam if the hitch slips off the end. . A rig that is safe in one circumstance is a possible disaster in another.

The big problem is the dangerous people that are lucky or "get away with" things that often go wrong. There are a lot of dangerous things that people get away with every day. Not stopping at lights, not looking when they should. . . It is like the drunk driver that gets away with it for years. . . finally they end up killing someone else. We had a guy that would take long objects (ladders, pipe, steel bars, lumber) and turn around with it without looking. . . He looked like something out of a cartoon but this was REAL! He nearly cleared a crowded scaffold once. If it had been my decision we would have let him go that day.
- guru - Wednesday, 09/06/06 10:28:28 EDT

Lathe chuck "cradles" I've always heard that you used them to protect the *lathe*---don't want to ding the ways---and that explination probably will get them used more than saying they are PPE. Most machinists are very protective of their lathes, not so much their hearing, fingers etc.

I used to work in the oilpatch and an accident involving a forklift was probably a "minor" one. Saw the chain break while a hand was throwing it to make a joint and only the fact that it was the dead of winter saved his life, all the heavy duty winter work clothing kept him from having a stove in chest a couple of hours away from a good trauma hospital.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/06/06 11:07:58 EDT

steel toe myth: They did a really good debunking of that one on mythbusters a month or so ago. I don't often watch the show, as I find the hosts too annoying be worth slapping, but my wife was out of town and it was on.

They ended up having to put the steel toecaps in a hydraulic press to cause enough damage to the cap to result in a loss-of-toe injury, estimated pressure of 6.5 tons or so. This did not cause it to bend backward and amputate the toes, it just pressed it fairly flat. Compare this to a mere 300 pounds from three feet without steel caps needed to squish those little ballistic-gelatin toes into formless jello...

My problem was always that the edge of things can fall *behind* the steel toecap, bruising or breaking the metatarsals. That's why I now have a nice pair of Redwings with internal metatarsal guards as well as the steel toe.

The only forklift accident I've seen resulted in the catastrophic demise of a custom-made armoire during a forlift drag race in a furniture warehouse. Turns out the little lift didn't have the brakes the kid driving thought it did. The armoire and the kid's job were the only casualties. This same kid used to brag about rolling a dump truck in the strip mines. He never understood why he lost that job either...
Alan-L - Wednesday, 09/06/06 12:41:24 EDT

Toes: Alan,

If my math's not off, it would take about 5.5 tons of force applied over 1" of travel to stop a 300 pound mass that had fallen 3'. I guess they built the toe caps with a 1 ton safety factor (grin).

I knew a mechanic once who'd worked at a Dodge dealership when the Omni came out. They had the old lifts with two v-notched shafts that caught the rear axle of a car. The Omni was so short that the only way to lift it was to put a 4X4 across the shafts to rest under the rear bumper. You can probably guess what happened one day.
Mike B - Wednesday, 09/06/06 16:49:34 EDT

I'm probably not remembering the force required, but it was more than enough to remove appendages whether or not there was a steel toecap in the way. After a point, it really doesn't matter, in other words. (grin!)
Alan-L - Wednesday, 09/06/06 18:03:01 EDT

If I remember the spec's, an ANSI safety toe (not all are steel, titanium and composite are now very popular)are required to pass a drop test of 75 foot pounds. I suspect that that test is easily passed and they far surpass that level.

For those who wear safety shoes, the composite toe caps are bigger inside for more toe room, and warmer in the winter.
ptree - Wednesday, 09/06/06 20:50:48 EDT

Rigging: Down the road from me in the next town recently, they were dismanteling an old steel truss bridge. They brought in two large cranes and slung the ends of the bridge with cables. It looked to me as if they were pretty indiscriminate with the torches, but anyhow, one of the cranes failed in some way and the old bridge collapsed and fell over against the new concrete structure. That was on Friday evening and by Monday morning, most of that steel was gone. I think they were more than a little embarassed and were trying to clean up the evidence fast. By the way, Doug and I made sure the bridge wasn't wrought as we were going to bring some to Quad State.
- Jeff G. - Wednesday, 09/06/06 21:59:30 EDT

Speaking of Quad State: On Friday morning of Quad State, I have arranged a tour of an aluminum foundry about ten minutes up the road. I do not have a set time yet, but it will be before noon as they shut down early on Friday. They did some castings for me two years ago for a job I did for HGTV. They have everything from hand poured permanent molds to an automated system. If you would be interested in going with us, please let me know so I can give the guy an approximate number. This is not a part of Quad State, just something I put together.
- Jeff G. - Wednesday, 09/06/06 22:09:16 EDT

Here's my email I think
Jeff G. - Wednesday, 09/06/06 22:12:04 EDT

Retro Arts & Crafts and Soulcraft: "What a pretty copper box, John. Where did you get it?"
"I made it."
"You made it?"
"Yes, out of sheet copper in my room last night. That's the way I spend my evenings. And such fun as it is! I enjoy every minute of the time. Mother says I'd work all night if she didn't stop me."
"I'd like to do something like that. Do you think I could learn to do it?"
"I'm sure you could. Do you know the blacksmith around the corner? He taught me how to do this work, and ever so much more. He got me the tools, too. He says every boy can lear to work with metals, so I thought I'd try it. I'll take you around to see him sometime. Come up to my room an I'll show you my workshop and all the tools I use."
"It would be mighty nice to know how to do something besides running an elevator all day..." *

A little corny perhaps in the light of present day thinking? However, the intent and attitude here is sadly what is missing in our headlong quest for a Virtual Age. This passage was written as a book "Introductory" in 1911, in the midst of the Arts & Crafts Movement. The book, "Working in Metals", was directed to a junior readership, but the lessons are fairly involved. The author, Charles Conrad Sleffel, begins with copper work, goes on to silverwork, and has a brief section on enameling. Nearly one half of the book is devoted to "The Blacksmith's Shop". The blacksmithing lessons and line drawings are very good; I still refer to the book. The book is hard to find. It was part of "The Library of Work and Play"; McGowen-Maier & Co., Chicago. Copyright 1911 by Doubleday, Page & Co.

*For the youth reading this, elevator operators used a knobbed lever to control and guide the elevator up, down, and to the proper floor. No push buttons.

Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/07/06 09:04:41 EDT

Frank I found a copy on Alibris via Bookfinder. A search under "The Library of Work and Play" failed but brought up many other titles in the series. The title "Working in Metals" worked but returned many other books as well. .

It is rather perverse that in a society where we are forced to do some things for ourselves such as operate the new-fangled elevator and pump our own gas that we are getting rid of shop class in public education.

The 21st century has brought us some of the things predicted in science fiction and literaure. Cell phones have gone way beyond the Dick Tracy wrist video telephone. But then we have also come to see the reality of what was a joke on the cartoon show "The Jetsons". George Jettson would have his button finger bandaged up after a long day pushing the botton a work. The reality is repetetive stress syndrom from keyboard and mouse use. We don't have the flying cars but we have the comic injury.
- guru - Thursday, 09/07/06 11:28:04 EDT

Safety Toe Boots: I am in the market for a new pair of safety toe boots with the metatarsal guard, I know about Redwings, but what other brands would you folks recommend?

blackbart - Thursday, 09/07/06 12:53:45 EDT

trends: Well Jock, your George Jettson comparison is kind of funny. Have you ever thought how much more we look like the Borg (from Star Trek) these days? A large percentage of the population is in constant cell phone communication, some with no hands models that hang from their ears, not to mention a large increase in the use of articial body parts. I know the pc industry would like to develop something to replace the monitor, I just hope when they do, it's not a Borg like eye piece. On a more alarming note, there is no shortage of organizations with a Borg like philosphy. "We are the Borg. You will be assimilated or desroyed." Sounds a little like a large US software outfit. We are ___. We will take your ideas and technology. You will not operate in the marketplace anymore.

But don't worry. I know we will do better in the future.
- JohnW - Thursday, 09/07/06 13:05:21 EDT

DIY: It became painfully obvious to me how far we're getting from doing things ourselves. Sure, we don't mind pumping gas - that's easy stuff. But let's not get our hands dirty!

My previous house was over 100 yrs old and needed work if you wanted it to look new. My wife and I brought much of it up ourselves in the 20+ years we owned it, but the floors were still uneven, stairs creaky, etc.

It took over six months to sell it in what still was a pretty hot market, and I had to drop the price substantially. Most comments were things like "Needs too much work". Everybody wanted a spiffy, new house and didn't want to spend the time to get it "live-able", even if they had to spend another $120K to get that. I guess people are too busy tying there kayaks to their SUV roof and driving to Starbucks.

That's why I'm really thrilled with my son and his girlfriend. They bought a condo, but sold it six months later because they just couldn't make it theirs. They then bought a small fixer-upper. On move-in day the girlfriend started hammering down a wall to make their living room bigger. My son would have helped, but it *was* Superbowl Sunday and he had priorities. Since then, they finished that job and just recently completed an English-style brick patio out of old, free, clay bricks. Next is finishing the basement.

Good ol' Dad is always getting calls to help lay a hardwood floor or something. It's pretty tiring, but I love it!
- Marc - Thursday, 09/07/06 13:35:41 EDT

boots: I got a pair of caterpillar boots discounted through SierraTrading and they are very well made and very comfortable.
adam - Thursday, 09/07/06 14:16:49 EDT

Borg Eyepiece:
John, these were available about 10 years ago and I think the technology is still used in virtual reality games. Then there is military night vision systems with range finding as well as other "heads up" displays that operate on transparent surfaces.

Where the Asimovian future failed is a lack of power source for his many future inventions including the robot and energy tools like the hand held laser "punch" that could pierce a plug out of 6" steel plate. . Asimov was primarily a biochemist and when the physics experts predicted egg sized life time nuclear power plants for the automobile he believed them AND had much more interesting uses.

Although AI is not quite to his expectations I am sure were are very close. The computers powerful enough for an AI are already here. They are just overburdened by microsnot and GUI's. We have flash memory in gigabytes that is postage stamp sized and will soon have terabytes. In mechnaics we have the steady cam and solid state gyroscopes. The personal navigator has been made possible by GPS. Factories use vision systems for inspecting parts and OCR systems are getting very good. Computers can now read to you and although voice command is tweeky at this time it will get MUCH better. Digital cameras now do almost instantly what scanners took minutes to do. "Consummer" electronics are driving the avaiability of small powerful components that are needed in autonomous robots.

All these are the bits and pieces that are coming together that would make the Asimovian robot possible, EXCEPT for the power supply. When the oil runs out even THAT may become possible in one form or another. As to a cross between US and the robot, that is a whole different thing. ..
- guru - Thursday, 09/07/06 14:28:04 EDT

Gyros: "solid state gyroscope" - sounds like an oxymoron to me, but what I know about gyros is limited to the dreidel I played with as a kid.
vicopper - Thursday, 09/07/06 16:58:28 EDT

Safety Boots: Blackbart,
I studdied the available meta-tarsel equipped boots pretty hard when I converted several factories to meta-tarsels in 2003. We had die hard Redwing fans as well as die hard Wolverine fans. We had many the like both Iron Age and Lehiegh.
The following is purely my opinions;
Red Wing boots were over priced, and the meta-tarsels were a cheap, plain plastic plate that the scale melted in to.

Wolverines are comfortable, reasonable price, but very limited choices of metatersals. They do have a very nice internal model.

Lehiegh has good choice in styles, Both internal and external models, some American made, you can get non-conductive for electrical work. They stand behind what they sell. Price OK.

Iron Age has the best choice, both internal and external giuards, and if you go to the store, good fitters, good service, and they stand behind what they sell.If you have foot problems, diabetes, ETC, they have trained folks to help you get the footwear you need. Price is OK.

I wore Iron Age meta-tarsels every working day for about 10 to 12 hours a day for three years. I wore out three pair,from the 10 to 16 miles a day I covered, and I wear Iron Age at my new job.
ptree - Thursday, 09/07/06 18:15:06 EDT

Saftey Boots: Thanks PTree,
I'll check out the Iron Age.
blackbart - Thursday, 09/07/06 19:58:38 EDT

Solid State Gyro: Oxymoron is putting it lightly, at least for the ones I know about. They DO have moving parts, but they WILL NOT find & lock on true north, so they are not solid state or really a gyrocompass, but a rate of change sensor usually coupled to GPS & fluxgate system to get real time acceleration input [fluxgate compasses are buffered too much, so it isn't really real time]
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 09/07/06 22:20:11 EDT

Iron Age boot warning: I have personally witnessed ptree wearing those boots, and I can say without any reservations whatsoever that they are without a doubt the homeliest damn boots I have ever seen. They must be good, 'cuz nothing that ugly could sell based on appearance! (grin)
vicopper - Thursday, 09/07/06 22:39:31 EDT

swage block: Guru
A swage block has been shipped to you today priority mail as a gift. Enjoy.
- Burnt Forge - Thursday, 09/07/06 22:59:15 EDT

Burnt: Hey! On this forum, we try to share with all the guru's helpers. Hecky darn, ennyhoo.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/07/06 23:03:04 EDT

Hi Frank
Send me your address and I will give you one as well.
- Burnt Forge - Thursday, 09/07/06 23:42:42 EDT

High tech navigating devices:
Well. . . I know folks. . . that's all I can say.
- guru - Thursday, 09/07/06 23:46:22 EDT

Hi Frank
I just sent you an email. You can mail me back to get a swage block. Just make me a forged trinket when you get it as a thank you. Jock could always do the same if he wants.
Burnt Forge - Thursday, 09/07/06 23:52:07 EDT

welding SS: Been trying to weld some random 18ga SS using some random SS wire as filler rod and getting random results. Actually things improved after I realized it needs a LOT more heat than I expected and you have to keep the filler rod in the flame all the time otherwise it wont melt in time to work with the puddle.
adam - Friday, 09/08/06 01:03:13 EDT

Adam- SS gas weld: The problem with welding SS in a flame is that there is usually some extra carbon in the flame, and You end up adding carbon to the material in the heat affected zone [HAZ]. If corosion resistance is important this is not good, as the carbon will join up with the chrome in the stainless forming chrome carbides. This depletes the chrome in the HAZ. Stainless resists rust due to the chrome oxides present on the surface. When some of the chrome is tied up in carbides the surrounding areas with little chrome are suseptable to corosion.Heating above critical and quenching reduces this problem somewhat as more of the carbon and chrome will be in solution, rather than forming carbides. Henrob claims this problem doesn't happen with their torch, due to its better gas mixing, something I would have to see to believe.
Dave Boyer - Friday, 09/08/06 01:53:26 EDT

Burnt: Ya mean like for a charm bracelet, har de har? It's a deal. Gracias.
Frank Turley - Friday, 09/08/06 07:36:15 EDT

Adam, besides the metalurgical reasons given by Dave it just isn't done due to the difficulty. Normally SS is welded with SS arc welding rods or TIG. IF you are using a flux while wedling note that the electric rods have the same addition of flourite powder as does forge welding flux. However, at the high flame temperatures and normaly close face position you need VERY good ventilation. Same goes for the SS due to the chrome in any case. But the flourite forms some real nasties as it combines with moisture in the air.
- guru - Friday, 09/08/06 09:41:18 EDT

Rich, may I point out that several members of the smithing community are known to wear homely if not just plain ugly items of clothing---it helps distract folk from looking at our---I mean *their* faces and so prevents premature loss of already consumed vittles...
- Thomas Powers - Friday, 09/08/06 11:06:20 EDT

SS welding w/O/A-- Lindsay Books has a thing called Aircraft Welding which covers it, at least as far as the airframe mfr. shop guidelines upon which it is based went. Says it demands a special flux-- but does not give details, alas.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 09/08/06 12:45:12 EDT

SS welding - thanks for all the comments. At the moment I am only welding up light sheet to make forge furniture. Although I am interested in being able to do sound welds in heavier SS. The actual welding was a bit more difficult than MS - the liquid range seems much shorter and it doesnt flow as readily. But it wasnt hard to get the puddle going and to move it around to make the weld.

I should get a small roll of stainless mig wire for filler rod.
adam - Friday, 09/08/06 13:12:02 EDT

Saftey Boots: This is a great forum!
Not only can you get some of the best blacksmithing advice on the planet, but you also get fashion tips!
Can't beat that with a striker and a #10 sledge.
blackbart - Friday, 09/08/06 14:47:56 EDT

Ries: I am holding out for the titanium metarsal implants- I figger when I go in for new knees and hips, I will just get the titanium sheilds done at the same time- then I can just wear my carbon fiber slippers around the shop.
- Ries - Friday, 09/08/06 16:23:42 EDT

first time swage block advise: This is probably better for the Guru forum, but seeing the talking about swage blocks here has prompted me to ask the question here which has been going through my head for a while. With the cost of swage blocks, both new and used, is there any particular pattern and\or vendor that people here would recomend for a garage hobby smith whose budget dictates that he can only afford to pick up one for a good long time?

That and would it be better to invest in a good sized cone mandrel before a swage block, or the other way around? A swage block and some sort of larger sized cone are the two major things missing in my workshop. While i've found several times when a large radius to bang against would be very handy and havent /yet/ got to the point where I'd need a swage, as I gain experience Iv'e been told a good swage block is much more handy to have around than (as it was described to me) "a coat rack that you can make circles with"
jmercier - Friday, 09/08/06 16:44:15 EDT

Centaur has or used to have anyway a cone something like 18 inches high, maybe 6 inches diameter, with a stub that fits into hardy hole. Mine came needing a lot of dressing, but it's proved to be a handy little devil, being round which anvil horns tend not to be. The Centaur blocks are virtually exact clones of the classic Wally Yaters, expensive but worth it.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 09/08/06 18:39:57 EDT

swage blocks: I have 2, a 200# foundry block that I picked up from weldor and a 60#'er from Kaynes. I do use mine but I think many smiths would tell you that they rarely use theirs. When outfitting a shop with essential tools I would not include swage blocks nor cone mandrels.

I would much sooner have:

A good range of tongs

A good array of top tools - chisels punches flatter sethammer etc

A drill press

A second vise

An OA rig

Any kind of welder

Chop saw

4.5 grinder

air compressor

Also I have picked up a lot of scrap iron in interesting round shapes. If you have an anvil with a horn, you can find a large radius by laying the work along the horn rather than across it.

Some people like to use a lot of specialized tools for forging. I try to do as much as possible with just the hammer and the anvil. Everyone is different. Swage blocks and cone mandrels are very cool but they look more useful than they are. Its the sort of item that you can wait until one comes along at a good price.

Just my 10c worth
adam - Friday, 09/08/06 18:44:48 EDT

jmercier : I would recommend a small 7 lbs swage block that can be purchased from Centaur Forge. It has a Burnt Forge Logo. It has many shapes and sizes on a small sturdy block. I believe they only sell for 45.00. It also travels easily.
If you are looking for a handy swage block without spending a lot of money and is easy to handle I recommend that one. I make zero on them as they are owned by them. I was just the designer.
Burnt Forge - Friday, 09/08/06 19:29:11 EDT

jmercier : I would buy that small swage block and then a little mandral cone to fit in the hardie hole to start out with. You can make a holder for the small swage block to fit in your hardie hole as well. I just think they are two tools you can't live without. Some folks make things where they don't need those tools. It is really up to what you make. I find them invaluable.
Burnt Forge - Friday, 09/08/06 19:32:04 EDT

Swage block.
I recently got my first swage block, one from honest bob. I use it far more than I thought. The range of angles down the side, and the raduis's down another are quite usefull to me.
ptree - Friday, 09/08/06 20:43:48 EDT

safety shoes: I think Rich is just jealous of my really very sexy boots. I have to agree with ThomasP, some of us may be doing a bit of diversion:) How many of you who saw the anvil hat at Quad State remember the face under it?
ptree - Friday, 09/08/06 20:48:06 EDT

swage blocks & mandrels: If a guy's doing heavy work, he might want to look for one of the old style of swage block with holes through it. I started gathering tools years ago, and I found a block with round, rectangular, and square holes. They are especially handy for through-punching and drifting. The old blocks are often 4" thick or thereabouts, which gives you a good length when bottom swaging or top and bottom swaging. My swage block came with it's own cast iron stand, and I believe the stand weighs more than the block!

I don't know the thickness of these newer ones that have the dapping depressions on them. The blocks do look handy for light and moderate sized work. I have an early Lorance block, 8" x 8.5" x 2 3/4", about 70#. I don't think he makes them anymore, but it acts as a dapping block, no holes. The circular depressions are nice for candle pans and hardware bosses. Lorance now makes a rectangular style which Pieh Tool carries.

I hope to try out the Burnt Forge small block. I like to forge builders' hardware, and I can probably use it for some of the smaller hardware pieces.

The Lorance mandrel has a 4.5" D base and is 13" tall. It has a 1¼" square shank. It is heavier than it looks.

I have a big ol' floor mandrel with a 1" thick wall. I use it, but not very often. I hold the ring parallel to the mandrel base when truing up. When rounding a flat stock band, I keep the blows on the base of the band. You "beat the daylights out of it".
Frank Turley - Friday, 09/08/06 23:06:01 EDT

Cone vs. Swage:
Cones were a standard shop tool in the days of wagon repair when you needed rings to fit axels, wheel hubs and mill shafts. . . If you make lots of round rings they are handy. But otherwise they are a just another BGT (big heavy thing).

Swage blocks come in infinite variety. The earliest blocks were cutom made personal patterns. These usualy had a bowl or spoon and a number of curves or half rounds.

When industrial blocks came into play the blacksmith shop often supported a factory and forging bolts and nut blanks was a big part of daily work. Industrial blocks had many holes, round and square for heading, many half rounds for dressing shankes and many hexes to help form heads. Those for the general blacksmith shop sometimes had the addition of large radius "tire curves" and rectangular holes for bending.

Most modern swage blocks are the products of artist blacksmiths or designed for artist blacksmiths and have curves, bowls and spoons. The majority on the market are poorly designed and the pattern dictated by the foundry. A few are very good such as those by John Newman and sold by Kayne and Son. Most have no holes because of the cost addition and technical requirements.

Swage blocks can be just another BHT or toe stumper if it doesn't have the shapes you need. A personal block had what the smith thought he wanted and he usualy hand carved the pattern himself. Modern artist blacksmith blocks are a best guess by someone elses at what you MIGHT need. Since there is limited space on blocks designers try to get as much as possible on them but there are still many variations.

I've designed many blocks and made patterns for several. Good general patterns have several things in common. You do not waste space on highly specialized shapes like shovel pans. This is something that everyone makes different and a mold is usless unless it is YOUR mold.

For initial boughing or stretching bowl and helmet shapes a shallow dish of 1/5 diameter deep or less is all that is necessary. This makes many bowls and spoons in blocks too deep. Deep bowls and spoons can be used for hot shaping to the predetermined shape of the mold but shallow depressions can be used for various shapes as needed. I made the mistake of making too deep of impressions in my first blocks. However, they also had shallow opposite sides.

If you cannot afford a good block then wood can be used for most hot and cold sheet metal work. Iron is more durable but there are costs to it including the limitation of not easily modifying the shape. While wood must be renewed it can also be easily modified. Metal has the advantage of being able to be finished and transfering that finish to the work, wood does not. But wood also tends to mar less at edges. Lots of pros and cons.


I often use the big curve on my block for making curved bends cold. I use the side grooves for supporting work while chisling. So far I have never used a bowl or spoon on my blocks prefering wood for the non-ferrous work I've done.

Holes get used for all kinds of things. Most blocks are not sized well or are grey cast iron so a bolster plate should be used over them. I have a big commercial block that weighs close to 300 pounds I think. It makes a good hardy and stake holder.

You never know what use you will have for a block so those of us with them tend to want to collect more. Even industrial blocks vary greatly.

A good universal block will have spoons and bowls as well as holes, curves and standard grooves. A few are cast steel but ductile iron is the prefered material. Grey iron is also common but does not have the strength of ductile. However, for certain shapes it is fine and is what all the old blocks were made of.
- guru - Friday, 09/08/06 23:59:21 EDT

Reis would that be with your kaowool and spandex thong?

BHT's: well you can make/buy tools to do the work or design the work to use what you have availble...I have a set of shelves that are overflowing with "shapes" to work metal against so much so that when I have a new project I have to review what I have so as to not do it the hard way then find I had the exact shape needed in the pile on the shelf.

OTOH I have bought "extras" of things I use a lot when they are available and cheap

Doing "one of's" I tend to like the hammer and anvil a lot. I picked up a bunch of jigs for bending curves (pieces of pipe welded to heavy angle iron) from a shop going out of business and I can say that what I use most of them for is holding chisels/punches, soapstone/pencils and the tangs of blades I am working on.

- Thomas Powers - Saturday, 09/09/06 13:01:54 EDT

MILES/SS FLUX: (No, that's not the name of a steamboat)From somewhere in the depths of my rapidly fading memory the word "fluoride" comes, ever so faintly. (But, then, when the hearing aids are turned off, everything kinda comes in that way.)
3dogs - Saturday, 09/09/06 15:15:18 EDT

3dogs-- I think this is what you or perhaps someone else said was used, when I mentioned this book some time back. Any brands come to mind? Next week: how did the ancient ones cut stainless in the long-ago, wayyyyy back before plasma cutters? I have heard laying a thin sheet of ferrous atop the SS plate and cutting the pattern out of that will carry the kerf on through the SS. Stay tuned. Never mind about cold chisels and hot chisels and hack saws, bandsaws, etc. What's the secret for production work? Inquiring minds want to know.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/09/06 16:43:35 EDT

3dogs-- For got to say thanks! Thanks! But all I can think of with fluoride in it hereabouts is the tube of Crest toohpaste in the bathroom. I guess I will to my friendly naighborhood welding boutique ("Our motto: We don't care if you live or die.") and see if they know what flux is and if they have any with fluoride in it.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/09/06 16:54:15 EDT

Cutting SS: Miles, I seem to remember reading about the ferrous contamination trick you mentioned, but I've never tried it. I imagine an Arcair could do it, in the hands of a good operator, (a non-me person). I worked in a fab shop back in the mid-70's, and we cut shapes out of stainless sheet with a real healthy Trumpf nibbler. Speaking of creative cutting, didja see the article about the Brit railroad weldor who set off a Thermit charge in one of those traffic cameras that takes your picture as you run the light, then sends you a ticket? Good form, I say! Unfortunately the camera got a picture of the railroad service van he was driving, since all the processing gear was in another box further down the pole. It did, however get a really spiffy picture of the explosion. He is no longer a RR employee, and is facing some pretty stiff restitution and civil fines. He said he went back and did the deed after the thing busted him going through a red light, because he couldn't afford the ticket. The unit on the pole cost 75,000 pounds Sterling, whatever that comes to in US$.
3dogs - Saturday, 09/09/06 18:47:03 EDT

Miles/fluxes: Try You can go down the column on the left side of the page, and get all the MSDS poop on the fluxes.
3dogs - Saturday, 09/09/06 19:14:40 EDT

3dogs-- currency conversion website sez that blow for freedom from Big Bother works out to $139,886.23. Woof!Thanks for the flux URL.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/09/06 20:08:07 EDT

Hardy hole sizes: Did a little smithing at our local fall festival today. They had a ferrier set up near us & he works on several horses during the event (they have a big parade too with lots of horses). He asked me a question that I thought I knew, but am coming to the collective here for confirmation.

Are typical anvil hardy's sold by actual shank size, or what hole they will fit. For example, his anvil had a 1" hole. He wanted to know if he should buy hardies that are advertized as 7/8", or 1". I told him I thought they were typically sized by actual shank size, not what hole they fit. Is this correct? All of my hardies are home made, so I didn't have anything to prove or disprove my opinion.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Saturday, 09/09/06 22:36:32 EDT

Mike Sa-- I would buy the one advertised as 1" but only if seller agrees I could return it if it arrives vastly smaller. He can always grind it a bit if it's a smidge too big.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/09/06 23:21:57 EDT

John Odom: The flouride containing fluxes often refer to "chrome" in their name. I have a very old can that originaly said "ChromaFlux". The label is gone now. I used it for torch welding SS and high-chrome cast irons.
- John Odom - Sunday, 09/10/06 09:15:20 EDT

Cutting SS: There are special torches that add powdered iron to the OA flame for a process called "powder cutting." It would be hard to find one of them since the advent of plasma.
- John Odom - Sunday, 09/10/06 09:17:59 EDT

Hardy hole sizes and Fits:
Until the Modern Era (After Mousehole, Hay-Budden, Fisher Etal) almost every size anvil had a different hardy hole size. There was no standard. Many of the punched hardy holes were crooked, diamond shaped, tapered. Cast holes are more uniform but cores often have burn-in and end up with ugly obstructions or rough areas proteruding into the hole. All were sold as X size by what they were supposed to be but most seem to have a little oversize for fit.

Many old anvils had fairly even sized hardy holes up to 1" (5/8, 3/4, 7/8) but over one inch where various odd sizes that no hardy tools have ever been made to fit. If you wanted a set of tools that fit that 1-3/16 hardy hole you made them. One of the last makers to use progressive hole sizes is Kohlswa who uses metric sizes. There are other makes with metric hardy holes. In this case a 25mm hole is 0.9843".

Old factory hardy shanks that I have measured were as-marked with no allowance for fit.

A number of modern anvils (Peddinghaus, Nimba. . .) have drilled and broached hardy holes. The tooling for this is expensive so the manufacturers have "standardized" on 1". I do not believe there is a fit allowance (I currently have neither or I would go measure). However, being a machined hole a piece of standard stock with just a few thousandths ground or sanded off off should drop in.

As far as I know most 1" shanks on tools are 1" +/- .005" (normal production tolerances in this size).

WE ARE BLACKSMITHS - We should be able to make this fit in less time than it takes to write about it!

You should buy on-size tools and do the little dressing it takes. If you are picky and buying tooling you should also KNOW what size your hardy hole actualy is. This means measuring it with dial calipers and/or testing it with a piece of on-size stock.

I am not picky about my hardy hole tooling. I could not tell you what size hardy hole either of my anvils have. I have a collection of several dozen bottom tools and even those that all came from one shop had various sized shanks. EXCEPT for the hardy that was made especially for my Hay-Budden (about 1-1/16) they all fit loose or are too big. Many have 3/4" or 7/8" shanks and have fit loose OR about right in my old 100 pound anvils that I no longer have. On those the only snug fitting tool was the hardy.

Everyone has a preference to hardy fits. Those that are picky make all their tools from scratch to FIT and they often fit so snug they only fit one way. I hate hardy tools that only fit one way. I like them that drop in and pop out without consideration for alignment. On anvils with crooked hardy holes this can mean a tapered shank that fits a little loose.

Some folks make bushings for their hardy holes. I would just make a small set of common tools that fit and let the rest go. Most bottom tools only need the shank in order to not bounce off the anvil while in use. If they need to be held very tight then use a vise.

Two problem that occur with tight or tapered hardy shanks. One is that they ocassionaly get stuck and break off in the anvil. I have removed several for people and about the only way is with a cutting torch. The other is that tapered shanks MAY cause the heel of the anvil to break off. The same goes for tools with too much overhang.

There are a number of tools currently in production that are large and unweildly that have very small shanks that LOOK like they could be use in an anvil. Do not do it. Make stands for these tools or avoid them altogether. Old stake anvils had stake ends the same size as the body of the tool, not little undersized shanks. These are prone to breaking off OR damaging the anvil. Also do not use sheet metal stakes with tapered shanks in hardy holes. These should be used in a stake holder, stake plate or mounted in a heavy wood block.
- guru - Sunday, 09/10/06 09:28:48 EDT

Forging hardy shank on forged anvils: The inside corners of the hardy hole are normally radiused and irregular. My experience with forged shanks is when you neck down and get close to the right size, you should chamfer the corners. If it fits with sharp corners, you may have a little too much slop.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 09/10/06 09:48:04 EDT

oa welding: I had occasion to do some OA welding on various projects yesterday and I find that my welds are very much improved and that I can reliably run a nice bead even on 20ga SS sheet The main idea seems to be to set the torch as hot as possible and move along smartly. So I wanted to say thanks to everyone here for your advice, encouragement and patience. It helped a lot
adam - Sunday, 09/10/06 12:24:47 EDT

cold sores: Browsing thru my Lincoln Arc Welding Projects (that guy even knew how to weld! no wonder the Union won!), I find several plans for "cut off saws" similar to the high rpm 14" blade DeeWalt that I have but much heavier construction, motors are 3-5HP and the blades are like 7" dia. Then I also find a similar machine, I think Kalamzoo makes them, called "cold saws".
adam - Sunday, 09/10/06 15:57:49 EDT

hardy fits: Since I dressed the area around the hardy hole on my HB, I find I can tolerate a much sloppier shank fit on most tools. The hardy hole on my HB is 1 1/8 roughly. I use an insert and I hate it. Its on my short list to weld it in to 1" sq.
adam - Sunday, 09/10/06 16:06:04 EDT

Hardy fitting: My everyday hardy was manufactured and needed a welded bead buildup to make it fit my anvil. Didn't take long.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 09/10/06 19:02:38 EDT

Hardy Fits: ya, I told this guy the same thing about "Hey, we make our tools, don't we?" & that if the thing was too tight, he had the technology to fix it.

All my hardy tools are old hand made ones except for a cut off that I made from a jack hammer bit (sure was glad I had access to a little giant that day!). Only a few of them are "good fits" in my 1" hole, the other tools are a little loose, but have enough face on the anvil to work well.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Sunday, 09/10/06 21:52:05 EDT

Adam - saws: Industrial abrasive saws usually use wheels from 1/32 - 1/16" thick 7" diameter unreinforced to several feet in diameter and fiberglass reinforced like the common portable chopsaw, but they all used belt drives to a powerfull induction motor. Cold saws use a steel blade that looks sort of like a skillsaw blade, but in actuality is closer to a milling cutter in material and tooth geometry. The cold saws turn MUCH slower.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 09/11/06 01:46:30 EDT

Miles - plasma: plasma cutting and welding goes back to about the WW2 era, but back then they used bottled industrial gasses instead of shop air. When the air units came out they started to gain popularity, and when the compact inverter driven machines came on the market they got really popular. When did stainless steel come out anyway?
Dave Boyer - Monday, 09/11/06 02:02:15 EDT

Stainless: Somewhere I read long ago, that stainless steel was first experimented with in 1913. It may not have been 18-8 at that time, but the metallurgists were aware that chromium retarded corrosion, and they knew about additions of nickel helping out.
- Frank Turley - Monday, 09/11/06 04:58:11 EDT

Hardie Hole Edges:
Besides the fit the chamfer or radius of the top edge is critical. On an old anvil detail drawing it calls for hand filing a significant radius on the edge. This is usually more than 1/16" and less than 1/8" but about 1/8" on large anvils with large hardie holes. More is better than less for the purpose of the hole. This also applies to pritichel holes with prortionately smaller radii.

As Frank noted you have to be careful not to have too much fillet on the tool that fits or it will not fit well. However, the most common problem is that there is insufficient or no radius at all on the hardie hole. This requires hand work that is rarely being done today and was sometimes glossed over in the past.

On new Peddinghaus anvils the hole looks chamfered but in fact only the round drilled hole was chamfered heavily before broaching. Afterwards the corners are knocked off but not much. These leaves a partialy chamfered hole.

So we are left to do this ourselves in many cases even on old anvils and on any that has been heavily dressed. Since the face of the anvil is quite hard and difficult to file we are left with a die grinder or Dremmel and strips of sand paper.

To get even radii I find that it is easiest to make a heavy chamfer first, then knock off its corners and then theirs. The width of the first 45 degree chamfer is a little over 80% the radius (2r * sqr(2)). This is the same process as forging square to round. You can also use a little convex curved grinding stone but these do not last long and should be saved for final dressing.

To get a nice polish and smooth curve on the radius strips of sanding belt can be used and pulled through the hole. Before doing this you may want to check and clean up the bottom of the hard hole as this is often quite sharp and ragged. This may snag and rig your abrasive strip.

A good healthy radius on the hardie hole lets tools fit better, reduces stress on the anvil and reduces marking of work done over the hole.
- guru - Monday, 09/11/06 09:11:45 EDT

Dave Boyer-- Thanks. Every O/A welding text I have seen begs the question of cutting stainless. I wonder if it might be because at the outset it was mostly used in sheet form or light plate, and thus easily cut with a shear.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 09/11/06 10:38:06 EDT

History: Plasma cutting was invented in 1957 by the Linde corporation.
Stainless was first made by adding chromium to steel in 1913, and by the 1920's, there were standardised grades of stainless.

So stainless was around for 40 years before plasma came along to cut it.
Its true that early plasma cutting used bottled gasess, usually argon.
And nowadays we have plasma machines that can use shop air from a compressor.
But to cut stainless with a plasma cutter, the pros still use bottled gases- otherwise the oxygen in the air combines with the chromium to make nasty carbides- hard, black crystalline "slag" that is messy, and very tough to grind off.
So while stainless certainly CAN be cut with an ordinary plasma cutter, it aint pretty. If you do it a lot, you start looking for somebody younger and dumber (and hopefully lower paid) to do the grinding.
In industry, working with stainless is always more expensive- starting with the material itself- I just bought over a ton of it, and they still charged over 3 bucks a pound for it.
Then, due to the chromium, the stuff is hard- hard on tools, hard on abrasives, hard on people.
Bi-metal saw blades, big powerful saws, giant Pullmax Nibblers, very large shears, 100 ton ironworkers- you need big toys to play with this stuff.
When we punch holes in 1/2" stainless plate with the ironworker, the whole shop vibrates from the loud bang as it punches.
And forging it is harder too- you gotta really hit that stuff, either by hand or with a power hammer.

I cant imagine the edge quality of cutting it with an oxy-fuel rig, with a sacrificial steel sheet on top, is gonna be any great guns- buy a lot of grinding discs.

I have stainless waterjet cut, when I need clean edges. No heat distortion, no slag, no grinding. For section cutting, we use bandsaws or the ironworker.

Although I have a cold saw, which, by the way, is not much like an abrasive chop saw, I dont use it on stainless because it dulls blades too quickly. This is because my cold saw only goes 45 rpm- which is kinda fast for stainless. A cold saw typically weighs 300 to 500 pounds, of extremely heavy, rigid castins, mine has a 3 1/2hp 3phase motor turning a High Speed Steel blade at 45 rpm. Coolant is pumped on the blade, and its pretty quiet, clean, and precise. Works great on mild steel, but for stainless, you want about half that speed.
An abrasive chop saw, on the other hand, uses a sacrificial bonded abrasive disc, like a grinding wheel, turning at closer to 4000rpm. They grind their way thru the steel, throwing off sparks and grit. Noisy, dirty, leaves a hot, sharp burr. But a lot cheaper, generally speaking, than a cold saw. Good cold saws are made in Italy or Holland or Germany, and cost 3 grand and up.
Average abrasive chop saws are made in China, weigh 50lbs, and cost a hunnert and fifty.
- ries - Monday, 09/11/06 10:41:04 EDT

Costs of Stainless:
When bidding stainless jobs the cost is not just the price as Ries noted (around $3/lb). It is in the difficulty working it. Stainless is hard on tools. Punches should be derated to about 60% and you still get that harsh pop that Ries noted. Punches and shears for stainless must be special extra hard abrasion resistant tool steel. Regular tools for carbon steel will make just a couple cuts and be dull or ruined. This is the difference between buying a Beverly shear with blades rated for stainless and a Chinese knock off without detail specs.

Good HSS tools are required and those with cobalt are best for cutting stainless. Even then you have to slow down about 20% from machining common steel. Machining speeds for stainless are about the same as for tool steels.

Stainless makes long chips that do not break so you must stop the machine more often to clear chips. Burrs from most machine cutting methods are much worse than on other metals and harder to remove. Between the long chips and burrs workers are cut more often on stainless jobs than on others.

Then there is finishing. Most often stainless is left bare and every change in surface texture is visible. Usualy an even finish is required and this often meas a lot of hand work.

Stainless is abrasion resistant and very hard on abrasives. Generally grinding is not a working method used stainless except as last result and for fine finishing.

In the end time/labor on a stainless job is triple that of the same job in mild steel not including paint. So you start with three times the material cost and add three times the labor - LESS paint if that was part of a job in carbon steel. That is four to six times the cost of a job in steel.

Manufacturers that specialize in stainless cut this difference a great deal by experiance and proper tooling. When job shops bid less than the 4 to 6x above they lose money.

Where blacksmiths come out ahead is they do little machining and using stainless can replace expensive outdoor finishing. The cost is still higher but long term maintenance is also avoided by the customer. However, before bidding a stainless job try working some.
- guru - Monday, 09/11/06 11:49:54 EDT

chop saws /cutoff saws: ok so whats the advantaage of a cutoff saw with a belt driven arbor and 3Hp motor at 4000 rpm over my screaming DeWalt 14" chops saw . Will it give straighter cuts - will i be able to cut 2" MS solid stock? Or are these things limited by the nature of an abrasive blade?

I am developing aserious dislike of stainless - its not fun to forge and its not fun to cut. None of my handtools are happy cutting even 20ga stainless - the one trick seems to be to make bold cuts w/o hesitating - if you stop or are tentative you find yourself trying to slice a work hardened region.
adam - Monday, 09/11/06 12:25:25 EDT

I had some 16ga 316 cut with waterjet. They were deck plates to go to Venice for a gondola. Very neat work.
- Frank Turley - Monday, 09/11/06 14:15:47 EDT

Hardie hole chamfers: Funny that this subject came up, as I figured out another reason for the chamfers or radius just last night. I noticed a long time ago that the hardie on my Fisher was chamfered maybe 1/8-in. Not a radius, though. I figured back then it was to make room for a fillet on the tool.

Recently I built a treadle hammer using Clay Spencer's inline plans as a guide. I also used his "hardie" hole for holding tools, both top and bottom. But I didn't chamfer the top edge. Last night I was making a couple bottom tools and noticed that the shank material didn't fit in the TH.

What I noticed was there was some mushrooming at that edge. Maybe from some small fillet in previous tools, maybe from general usage - I dunno. I filed over a very small chamfer and now those posts slide through.

Anyway, it's kinda funny how often I run into something in the shop and the subject coincidentally shows up here or on some other forum at the same time.
- Marc - Monday, 09/11/06 14:30:21 EDT

Marc, anvils are hard enough that mushrooming should not be much of a problem but it COULD happen with a sharp edge. However, most anvil hardie holes are also back on the heel where the anvil tips rather than absorbing heavy blows. But on your TH die holder made from soft steel it is a definite problem.

Although many things used to be left to "standard practice" I always specified a chamfer where it could be easily machined such as on drilled holes and turned parts. It is a little more time consuming (thus costly) on milled parts but it makes VERY nice looking work and relieves the machinist of the responsibility of deburing.

But when you get to a small square hole all you can do is file and grind by hand.

Work Hardening. . yep I forgot to mention that about stainless. All you have to do with a drill, mill or lathe is pause cutting for a moment and the the rubbing tool will make a hard place the that it cannot cut and when you continue the tool edge is trashed. It is worse than tool steels. You must have a sharp edge ad you must make chips.
- guru - Monday, 09/11/06 15:48:49 EDT

Adam - chopsaws: The 14" industrial saw would be a TRUE 3 HP MINIMUM maybee 5 or 7 1/2 HP. The portable saw with it's 15 amp motor will only deliver about 1 1/4 HP regardless of what it is advertised at. The industrial saw uses water soluable oil coolant and is a heavy rigid machine, it will cut the 2" solid that is making Your portable say "UNCLE". The reason they are belt driven is to acomadate a motor that is a foot in diameter and still have a usable cutting depth. On a saw this size there would be several belts to handle the power.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 09/11/06 22:26:53 EDT

Advertised Power: Claimed motor HP on tools has gotten very flaky lately and you have to look at other factors as Dave noted.

It is like the "30 ton" press frames that come with a 20 ton bottle jack. We bent one of those frames about 2" using the short handle and an average pull on the 20T jack (in other words we were NOT abusing the press). The 30 tons was probably 30,000 pounds. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 09/12/06 09:15:10 EDT

40 psi Natural gas: In the middle of making e z burner. Wondering what modifications are necessary if 40 psi natural gas is available. Does the orifice need to be larger, if so what size drill bit is recommended. Will this design still work well.
Choad - Tuesday, 09/12/06 22:02:02 EDT

high pressure gass: In a naturaly aspirated burner, the higher the pressure, the smaller the orfice needs to be. The BTU of the burner is roughly determined by the burner body size. The orfice limits the gas flow, at a given pressure to the amount that will burn properly with the air inspirated into the burner.

I tried, and failed to write a set of equations to relate bore size, orfice size and pressure. It turned out to be more complex than I could handle.

Higher pressures make the design easier, and less critical in dimensions.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 09/13/06 07:43:24 EDT

Dave thanks for the info on saws.

I like to use an orifice on my forge even though it has a blower - just to push the working press up into a range where my little gage can read it.

The Beverly B2 that I bought on ebay for $300 arrived today and its in better shape than I hoped. A bit scuffed and a few dings - the blades have a few tiny nicks in them and no handle. A teriffic tool!
adam - Wednesday, 09/13/06 17:38:16 EDT

Adam: What would be apairent right away if You could see an industrial abrasive saw or an industrial cold saw is that they are machines. The portable chopsaw and it's cousin with the carbide blade are power tools.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 09/13/06 22:43:15 EDT

I see. Do the industrial abrasive saws use a different kind of blade? Something less flexy than the 14" pizza wheel that I put in my chopsaw?
adam - Thursday, 09/14/06 00:26:27 EDT

Hey Guys Long Time No Hear: I haven't been on here for a long time! I just wanted to say that I successfully made charcoal in my backyard. I dug a pit a about 8 inches deep by 14 inches or so wide and started a fire. I then put a wheel baring (I think) on top of the fire and then after 10 minutes or so I covered the top of the wheel baring with sheet metal and man did a ton of smoke come out. After about 20-30 minutes of that I covered the fire up with dirt, since I heard water is bad? After I dug out what pieces were good, I used them! Although I didn't used them for a forge, but I still made charcoal.

It feels good when you can make something that you've never made before! Good luck all!

Cody, Wy
Matt Hunter - Thursday, 09/14/06 01:30:59 EDT

Marc: Blown burner orifices:

I think a lot depends on the actual pressure available. Since I have somewhere around 3 - 4 psi at the burner, I use three #60 holes in a pipe cap. My thinking is that I would size the orifice so that the maximum output using my needle valve would be the maximum heat needed for welding. That allows the most adjustability.
- Marc - Thursday, 09/14/06 09:32:12 EDT

Burner Orifices:
Orifices in atmospheric or venturi burners control the flow and increase the velocity of the gas jet. The velocity is needed in venturi type burners in order to move the air. The balance between the orifice size and the burner tube determine the fuel/air misture for the most part. Choking the air can increase the proportion of the fuel but increasing the fuel pressure increases both the air and fuel.

There is no need for an orifice in a blower type burner EXCEPT as noted, to create some back pressure for a gage to read as a reference. However, all you need is a valve to control flow, preferably backed by a regulator to keep the pressure steady. Adjusting the regulator OR the valve changes the fuel/air mixture.

Multiple orrifices DO help break up propane which is a heavy gas that need help to thouroughly mix with air. Mixing requires turbulance which some burners provide by putting obstructions in the flow or using small holes. In venturi type burners the turbulance comes from the high velocity jet breaking up into edies in the air as it mixes. Thus the length of the mixing tube cannot be too short.
- guru - Thursday, 09/14/06 13:08:07 EDT

- Tyler Murch - Thursday, 09/14/06 16:03:15 EDT

Tyler Murch - Thursday, 09/14/06 16:03:36 EDT

Rats! Had unexpected company last week. . . will do.
- guru - Thursday, 09/14/06 16:55:48 EDT

Check out these pwr hacksaws:

I HAVE to make one!
adam - Thursday, 09/14/06 21:42:22 EDT

Adam: The abrasive wheels are pretty much the same. There are smaller diameter unreinforced wheels 1/32 and 1/16" thick, these break really easily if abused. One of the shops at the auto & truck frame plant had a saw with a wheel about 2' in diameter, might have been bigger, [it was a while ago]that was about 1/4" thick, I don't remember exactly as it wasn't in My home department & I seldom used it. The machine frames are much more rigid, and in the case of the big saw the vise was air powered. This type of saw is usually found in a steel service center or in the "steel yard" at a manufacturing plant and used to cut dificult materials.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 09/14/06 22:06:28 EDT

Adam - power hacksaw: We have an old power hacksaw about that size from Sears, "Dunlop" brand. It cuts so slowly You could do better by hand. The homebuilts might be better in that respect, but probably not by much. Ours has a lift mechanism to lift the blade off the cut on the return stroke, supposed to help blade life. My Tiawan 4x6 band saw is much more useful, the recip has been colecting dust since '83. I think it would be a better use of Your time to build a more usable tool, belt grinder, powerhammer, etc.
Dave Boyer - Thursday, 09/14/06 23:02:19 EDT

Adam: Forget practicality, just build the thing! Looks like a cool little deal, to me.

If you want to make it more practical, I would think you could scale it up to use a 24" blade and be powered by the power steering from a small car. Shouldn't be too tough to rig a rotary valving system that would cycle the steering unit back and forth. Use the rack and pinion to power the saw frame and and the rotary drive for the valve can also run a cam that lifts the saw on the backstroke.

There. I designed it for you, now get it built. (grin)
vicopper - Thursday, 09/14/06 23:43:58 EDT

Power hacksaw: I have an old power hacksaw, home made, that I bought at Quad State several years ago. It was available right about the time I was getting ready to build one. It has a belt drive from the motor to the first pullye then it's all gears. That son of a gun is noisey. And slow but it is functional. Also it sits now in the back of my shop taking up space. If anyone is interested there is a picture of it on my web site on this page. . This one uses a 14" blade. Adam, the pictures on the web site you posted look like a more simple design than mine. I don't know about anyone else but part of the fun of doing blacksmithing, for me, is making the tools needed to do the job. So I would say, build it. Have fun with it. That's what this is all about.
Doug - Friday, 09/15/06 07:33:44 EDT

adam-- Lindsay Books qv the Net via Google has package deal for books containing a slew of plans for various essential shop machines-- or you can get just the one you need, as in a brake, or for a power hacksaw. These are products of the clever mind of the late Dave Gingery, an inventive genius who, like Alexander Weygers, could make just about anything he needed out of scrap metal and cast-off motors.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 09/15/06 11:47:49 EDT

Reciprocating Saws:
Marvel used to make a wonderful small saw that used a 17" blade. I have a heavier one that uses about a 24" blade. It has a 2HP 3PH 2SP motor. I have not figured out what speed to run it single speed. The Marvels often came with very nice quick action vises which were very convienient to use. Mine has a built in coolant system.

These saws have heavy guides and heavy frames. One that weighs near 1000 pounds will walk itself all over the shop if not bolted down. Improperly applied to a piece you can disintigrate a new $25 blade. We had a fellow do it twice in two days so I handed him a hand saw. . .

Most DIY saws use their crank geometry to lift the blade somewhat but do not have the fancy adjustable ratchet feeds of the commercial saws.

For small work up to 5/8" a hand saw is better and about as fast. But you can gang small pieces from about 3/8" up. Smaller stock gets bent by the coarse blades and makes a mess.

People have been building DIY reciprocating saws since the 1940's (see old issues of Popular Mechanics). Some use standard saw frames and 1/2 hand saw blades. Others use fabricated frames for industrial blades. Good ones are more complicated than you would think. Band saws have replaced most.
- guru - Friday, 09/15/06 12:03:22 EDT

Power hacksaw speed:

I would note that while a power hack may be slow, you can do other things while it is cutting... maybe not so salient when you just need to whack the end off a piece of 1/2" bar, but when you need to cut thirty pieces of stock for a job that's coming up... it may come in useful. (Grin)
- T. Gold - Friday, 09/15/06 12:05:17 EDT

Power HackSaw: This would be simple and fun to build so I am going to do it. I came across these while looking at linkages - I have recently gotten interested in linkages. There's more to this simple design than meets the eye. The saw cuts on the pull stroke when the crank is in the lower half of its cylce and so adds force to the blade - on the return stroke, the crank being in the upper half cycle relieves some force from the blade. This is a traditional design for power hacksaws - its been around for quite a while. So while it may not be optimal but I bet it works and its very simple to construct - no sliding bearings, scotch yoke etc, just pivots and bar links. Speed is not a prime concern in my shop - especially, as TG points out, it only needs intermittent attention. I like to use handsaws for both wood and steel - I cut a lot of stock with hacksaws. If this cuts at least that fast, I will be ahead. With a stiff design, some counterbalancing and a cooling line, I ought to be able to crank up the speed some- these things typically do 90-100 rpm.
adam - Friday, 09/15/06 12:35:54 EDT

Saw Speed:
Forget RPM, what you want to know is FPM at the peak stroke. Too fast (over 100 FPM) and you burn up blades.

On shapers they use a linkage one maker advertised as "double triple quick". On the outward cutting stroke the shaper runs its rated speed. But the return stroke is twice as fast so there is less deap time. You would want to revese this on a saw (pull cut).

Speaking of shapers. They are still a bargain, have automatic feeds and could probably be rigged as a saw. However, I have never seen this adaptation even though I have quite a few books on machine and shaper work.
- guru - Friday, 09/15/06 14:55:20 EDT

Power hacksaw: Adam, I just read Miles' post and remembered that I had bought a book on building power hacksaws. So I went digging ( and found several other books and magazines I forgot I had) and found the book. This one is by Vincent R. Gingery, maybe a relative of Dave Gingery. Adam, if I had your address I would mail it to you. I know I will never use it. Or, if you are going to Quad State Roundup next week I'll bring it along. Let me know, it's yours.
- Doug - Friday, 09/15/06 16:28:42 EDT

Power Hacksaw: I love mine. It is a little Sears & Roebuck 12" unit. It is slow and noisy. I have cut a lot of steel and stainless with it. It just sits there and works while I do something else. I would like a cut-off bandsaw but this works for me. I use pieces of bandsaw blade that I get free from a local balde supplier. I cut them to length and punch holes. I Like the price.

I keep it umder my Shaper table and pull it out when I run it.

I have used my Atlas 7" shaper as a saw too. I made a special plade holder to lold a section of saw blade for slotting. I wish I had room for a bigger shaper. They can do almost anything a mill can, and some things the mill cannot. Tooling is cheap, because it is mostly home made. It is too slow to compete with milling in a commercial environment, except for some very unusual cases.
- John Odom - Friday, 09/15/06 17:04:27 EDT

champion blower: I'd like to sell a forge blower I picked up at a garage sale. The blower stands about 4 ft tall with a 3 ft arm wich rocks a ratcheted wheel that drives a belt to the blower. I want $250.00 OBO. You pay shipping.
Bobby - Friday, 09/15/06 18:39:22 EDT

To Guru:: A long time ago I read a step by step diagram with pictures on how to make a decent anvil out of a chunk of steel. I can't find where the diagram is? I have a 465lb chunk of steel (which is cylindrical other wise I wouldn't be able to roll it) and I've been using it as a "round" anvil. I would like to eventually cut into it to shape it into something more productive. Can ya help me out? Thanks
Matt Hunter - Friday, 09/15/06 20:02:46 EDT

power hackaws: The one true shining advantage of the powerhacksaw is that a good tight machine will cut straight on stuff like big hunks of forged SS or monel. Also the ability to cut straight with a lot of down feed pressure on the thick, tall section blade is just not available in most bandsaws. We had quite a few of the big Racines. We had one in the tool and die dept that used a 2" tall blade that was at least 3/16 thick and was a 36" long blade. They would put what looked like a 4 thooth per inch blade in that monster and hack off a hunk of 12" round corner square 316 Stainless for hydro adapters for me. Took a fair while, but it hacked off a hunk with a straight cut. this thing was WWII vintage I think.
ptree - Friday, 09/15/06 21:37:54 EDT

Marvel saw: The one where I served My apprenticeship had a [4 speed if I remember right] transmision. We used coolant and a pretty high, maybee 200 strokes per minute even to cut D2. I don't remember the stroke length, maybee 6-8". This saw was old, probably from the '30s. Feed pressure had to be kept[relatively] light to prevent tearing teeth out of the blade. The blades were about 1 1/2x18". This saw was used to cut all the tool steel.
Dave Boyer - Friday, 09/15/06 22:15:48 EDT

Champion Blower: Hey Bobby, do you forge iron? I don't quite understand your price. Have you looked at blowers on ebay. If not, search for forge blower.
JohnW - Saturday, 09/16/06 18:22:34 EDT

Software: What is a good software (CAD) to help in the design of wrought iron railings?
- Patrick - Sunday, 09/17/06 09:21:59 EDT

Software Need: What is a good software for the creation of wrought iron railings? I'd like something with pre-existing designs and which has the ability to let mer create my own.
Patrick - Sunday, 09/17/06 09:26:18 EDT

Software: Patrick there are plug ins for AutoCAD that do a fair job. They come with component libraries. But in the end any drawing is done in AutoCAD. I think the Lite version is all that is needed. They all advertise in NOMMA's Fabricator magazine.

3D stuff is done in popular 3D CAD programs. Both 3D and 2D have big learning curves and are not recommended unless you are doing commercial work and are a dedicated designer.

The last architectural drawings I using a PC appeared in NOMMA's Fabricator. They were hand drawn components, scanned and then cut and pasted in a simple paint program (iPhotoPLUS 4) to produce railings. It took less time than making a CAD centerline (symbolic) drawing and had a wonderful hand crafted took. After creating sections of rail I used the distort command to give them perspective.

The trick here is to be able to draw a little and be good with ANY program you choose to create images with. The down side of my method is that you cannot take the image you have created and paste it over a photo background. CAD systems let you have a background layer and place the rail drawing over the background. It is a great sales tool.

In all cases you need to learn the progam you are using insidepout. CAD drawing requires an organized discepline that is not generally taught and is not obvious at first. Thus the long (IE expensive) learning curve.
- guru - Sunday, 09/17/06 12:06:25 EDT

adobe photoshop lets you work in layers and do the kind of processing you describe, Jock. In fact photoshop is so good that with only moderate skill and a decent color printer you could print up your own $10 bills and skip the whole fabrication/installation/waitforcustomertopay sequence which is rather time consuming and quite tiring too!
adam - Sunday, 09/17/06 12:22:30 EDT

hello im looking to get into working with bronz and was wondering if anyone knows where i can pick up some raw copper or where a good place to look for scrap thanks for any info you can provide
- Anthony - Sunday, 09/17/06 13:19:22 EDT

Copper is an element.
Bronze is a category of a few hundred alloys.
There are over 2200 commonly accepted copper alloys- some are closer to
- ries - Sunday, 09/17/06 14:25:32 EDT

Lets try that again-
Copper is an element.
Bronze is a category of a few hundred alloys.
There are over 2200 commonly accepted copper alloys- some are closer to "brass", some are closer to "bronze", but both of those words are very vague descriptive terms for a range of recipes.

For a start, hot working with bronze alloys, Its VERY IMPORTANT to know what alloy it is. There are lots of things that look alike, and work very differently. Many cannot be forged at all.

So scrap is not a good way to go.
I would recomend starting with silicon bronze- CDA 655.
It is not cheap, but of all the copper alloys, it is one of the most forgiving to forge. You can still ruin it, of course, by working it too cold (it will crack) or too hot (it will turn into a puddle with little warning).

Several places to buy it online, depending on alloy, shape, and quantity-

try these guys first-

Figure over 5 bucks a pound, for the cheapest shape, which would be a common size round bar. The prices have been skyrocketing lately, world usuage is way up. Could be 7 bucks a pound, or even closer to 10.
Some shapes are much more expensive- square, say, or angle, can get pricy.

Work it in a darkened room, and start forging it when it just starts to get dark red- much hotter, and you wont have a stick anymore, just a puddle.

Scrap stuff can have nasty stuff in it- zinc, lead, or even worse, beryllium.
Some scrap alloys just plain wont forge. And you wont know til you have already paid for it, and wasted time on it.
- Ries - Sunday, 09/17/06 14:26:06 EDT

hadtohaveit: ebay item #120030401257

paid more than I hoped but I think they are way cool
- adam - Sunday, 09/17/06 15:37:36 EDT

Ries thanks for the info and im looking to cast with it not forge im still working on building a forge but ive got almost every thing i need for a crucible furnace im still looking for a good refractory and am hoping to power my forge with my furnace im thinking of a bronze alloy with a bit higher tin content than 10% and ive heard good stuff about silicon but ill try that out when i know what im doing im just getting in to this but thanks for the good info
Anthony - Sunday, 09/17/06 21:33:54 EDT

Adam - $10 bills: Your comment made me think about a PBS "Masterpiece Theater" series, Private Shultz or something like that. The sory was that the Gearmans were forging British bank notes during WW1[?] to attemt to ruin the British economy. The rallying cry was "Forge Ahead"
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 09/17/06 22:47:14 EDT

Anthony - Bronze: Try to buy old cast bronze valves and plumbing parts from a scrap dealer, or direct from a plumber. You can seperate and use only the cast parts, as they are a casting alloy.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 09/17/06 22:52:06 EDT

Buffalo Blowers: I wandered over to Kansas State Surplus the other day and over in the receiving area were four civil-defense-yellow hand cranked Buffalo blowers. The fan housing and gear box looked to be cast, and the fan is bigger than one for a rivet forge, but the gear box is not the style I associate with their nice #200 blower. . .

Do you think they would be good forge blowers?
John Lowther - Sunday, 09/17/06 23:06:54 EDT

Adam's shears: I have a set of those that I've dragged around for over thirty years now. I use them fairly frequently, even though I have a knock-off of a Beverly B-2, Unishears and other stuff. The leg on my pair is just the right size to stick in the hardy hole of my 200# anvil, which makes a substantial base. They'll cut 14 gauge without using a hammer, and 1/8" with a hammer.
vicopper - Monday, 09/18/06 01:33:22 EDT

Buffalo Blowers: Those are probably the early 1060's bomb shelter blowers, John. I don't know any reason why they wouldn't work for a forge. They may have different gearing for a lower delivery, or different vanes for more cfm but lower static pressure. Try them out and see, I guess. And don't forget to practice your "duck and cover".
vicopper - Monday, 09/18/06 01:36:21 EDT

Out of Touch (mostly); and Blowers: I may be incommunicado for a time!

No 'phone or computer connection available at home, cell phones don’t work too well in the swamp, and things are a bit hectic at work.

I will monitor the web sites, and my e-mail as time allows.

“I told them not to break-up Ma Bell!”


They're pretty rare, those 1060s bomb shelter blowers. The English to take shelter from those Normans, who ate alot of garlic; imported from France! It was all the English could do to clear the air! ;-)

National Parks Web Page (new format)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 09/18/06 09:49:54 EDT

Poof, then Prost: "The English used to take shelter from those Normans,..."
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 09/18/06 09:51:21 EDT

Blowers: Seems like Jock or somebody once said many of those fallout-shelter blowers have pressed fiber gears instead of metal ones, since in all likelihood they'd be a one-time-use-only item...
Alan-L - Monday, 09/18/06 11:31:07 EDT

Bomb Shelter Blowers:
I've never seen them in a catalog, my information is second hand. It was indicated that they were lighter verions of the standard duty blowers. Many shelters used the currently available blacksmiths blowers but there was a competitive market that people were not spending much money in.

A little reseach on the web finds numerous home built blowers in shelters and are article that said Roots build positive displacement (screw type) shelter blowers that took WAY to much effort to crank. For group shelters the Civil Defense folks sold a fan system powered by a bicycle type afair.

All the old bomb shelter plans call for readily available hand crank blowers. However, they no longer exist. Current shelter air systems operate on electricity with a BELLOWS for backup. . . New shelter supply places are pushing HEPA filters to save you from bird flu.

- guru - Monday, 09/18/06 15:23:57 EDT

Private Schultz(sp): Dave,

That Masterpiece Theater series was hillarious. Now you've made want to see it again. I wonder if it's on DVD?
Mike B - Monday, 09/18/06 17:04:11 EDT

Bottom blown forge on ebay item no. 160030252980

This is the first British made, bottom blown forge I've seen (other than riviter's forges).
Bob G - Monday, 09/18/06 21:39:13 EDT

Shop Class as Soulcraft: Forgive me, all, that my first posting is to an old thread; I found this forum just today.

The 9/5 posting by guru addresses one of my deepest concerns. The progressive destruction of this country's industrial base is a tragedy. Every time I hear some "expert" talking about how great the new "service" economy will be, I want to scream that slavery was a "service" economy. (I am also reminded of what a farmer means by the word.)

Our current situation reminds me of an old story about a poor family living in a drafty shack. They ran out of firewood one night as the temperature plunged below freezing. To stay warm, they began feeding boards from the house into the stove. By morning, they had pretty much demolished their home. A neighbor asked one of the family if they weren't now even worse off and was told, "Sure we're worse off now, but it felt good while it lasted."

That's what we're doing. We're tearing down our home to stave off a reckoning "just a little longer". But, cheer up, there's money to be made in selling scrap!

Which leads me back to the reason I began looking for blacksmithing sites in the first place. A neighbor of mine, who hauls away scrap metal for free because he can sell it, has stumbled across a vise that my interest someone. It's nearly four feet from the jaws to the bottom of the post. The hinge for the front jaw is a good two feet below it. The jaws are six inches wide.

E-mail me if you're interested and I'll respond with a photo. Incidentally, since location may be an issue, this vise is in Nashville, TN
Bill Simmons - Monday, 09/18/06 21:42:35 EDT

Shop Class as Soulcraft: Oops, as a first time poster, I thought my e-mail address would show automatically. It's

Bill Simmons - Monday, 09/18/06 21:44:05 EDT

Bill Simmons: Welcome to Anvilfire! I think you'll find a goodly number of kindred souls here, sharing the common interest of blacksmithing.

Your email address is encrypted so that spambots and address harvesters can't get it. If you click on my name, for instance, it will open an email window in your browser with my address already in the "send to" line. The same applies to any poster's name that is in brown, underlined text. Those whose names appear in black did not fill in the email blank. The system isn't foolproof, but it works pretty darn well.

Again, thanks for dropping in and welcome to Anvilfire.
vicopper - Monday, 09/18/06 22:16:40 EDT

Sad News: I just learned that our fellow CSI member and friend Bob Harasim passed away Saturday.

Bob had been troubled with severe stomach pains for over a year now, with no relief from the doctors. He finally went in for surgery on Friday, I believe, at the University of Michigan Medical School. I don't know what happened, but something obviously went very much awry and we have lost one of the most genuinely nice men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

"Coyote" Bob was an avid mountainman re-enactor, a good amateur smith and a truly premier flintknapper. I will forever cherish the gorgeous novaculite spear point Bob gave me at QuadState two years ago. His passing is a damn shame, but he leaves us richer for having known him.

If I learn any details of his funeral arrangements or an address where flowers can bve sent, I will post it. We will drink a toast to Bob at QuadState and remember him well and fondly. Resquiat in pacem, Bob.
vicopper - Monday, 09/18/06 22:31:43 EDT

hello again i have some more questions with foam casting if any one knows. What kind of foam is best to use or what properties should I look for? And how dose the whole process work i take it that the foam is melted away but doesn’t that affect the metal in any way?

and to say something about what Bill Simmons said i am young but i grew up on a farm and have learned what it means to work hard and how to work hard for something I’ve seen so many people my age want it all and want it now its why im so interested in blacksmithing and casting I want to be able to provide for myself as much as I can and be able to look at something that I have done and put pride in to and has a standard of quality that I want

I know so many people who waste there lives doing nothing but playing games and spending hours on the internet and have nothing to show for it, heck I’ve done it my self and I hate the way I fee I like having my hands into something being productive

and all the good things in life take time and work
Anthony - Tuesday, 09/19/06 00:14:49 EDT

Pexto Stake Holder : I recently had a large Pexto stake holder fall into my lap for a great price. Now I want to build a nice table to hold it, and I'm looking for any suggestions or plans anyone can point me to. I think for now I will build it with a wood top and steel legs. Later I will change to a steel top if I feel the need. I am thinking I will use 2x4 or 2x6 on edge with angle iron around the outside edge. Any suggestions? Anything I should definetly do, or not do?

FredlyFX - Tuesday, 09/19/06 03:56:56 EDT

Foam Casting: Anthony, you might try looking on yahoo groups. I belong to a group there called castinghobby. That is just one of many casting groups. I know in this one there have been several discussions about lost foam casting, and several of the guys have extensive web sites up with a lot of pictures and explanations. Very interesting stuff. I too plan to try it one day.

FredlyFX - Tuesday, 09/19/06 04:02:15 EDT

Lost Foam Casting: I do it for brass and aluminum. I have no way to melt Iron, yet.

There is a lot of data on the internet. I have used a lot of florist's styrofoam preforms as starter shapes.

DON'T USE URETHANE FOAMS. The vapors are toxic!
- John Odom - Tuesday, 09/19/06 07:29:58 EDT

Bob Harasim: That is black news
adam - Tuesday, 09/19/06 08:03:09 EDT

Doug/ PowerHacksaw/ Gingery book: Doug, sorry this is tardy - I have the attention span of a cat! Thank you for your kind offer and yes I would love a copy of the Gingery book if its going spare - contact me at adamATwhitesonDOTorg

German 5# notes. I never saw the PBS show, and even if I had I couldnt admit to enjoying it since I am a TV snob - I dont own one and I like to feel superior to those who do. The Germans really did try such a scheme - it was WW2 and they put a lot of effort into it. The printing was better than the Brit's own and they cracked the code the Brits used to generate serial #s. The idea was to flood Britain's economy with counterfiet notes. A rather Germanic idea, I think , that if you destroy the organization of a group they wont function effectively. Shortly after they started producing high quality notes, a number of their top workers fled for England -taking with them suitcases of 5# notes - the Germans underestimated the effect of these bank notes on their own organization :)
adam - Tuesday, 09/19/06 08:15:35 EDT

thanks every one for the great info
Anthony - Tuesday, 09/19/06 11:09:37 EDT

Bill and Anthony, and anybody else I missed for which I apologize. Welcome to AnvilFire! You have found the premier site for blacksmithing. Just about any question can be answered here or at least attempted anyway. We entertain questions from all over the world and CSI has members from around the globe as well. Everyone brings a little something to the table. Just about every field of employment is represented here. I am sure the Guru can better attest to the variety of personalities found here. Our goal is to educate, preferably about blacksmithing . If someone picks up one new thing, then we are doing what we set out to do. We harbor no bias or prejudice toward anyone, nor tolerate it. We do rib one another in jest. That is all part of the family atmosphere here. All are welcome. I don’t post often, But like others, I visit every room here multiple times daily. Again welcome to AnvilFire!

Dave Baker CSI-Treasurer
daveb - Tuesday, 09/19/06 13:27:41 EDT

PBS: Adam,

As it happens I haven't watched TV in over 10 years (I do watch a video tape or DVD every month or two and will sometimes turn the set on if I'm in a hotel room). I saw the PBS show when I first came out, which must have been close to 20 years ago.

IIRC the main character was a loser criminal who was drafted into the German Army to help with the forgery, then was sent to England in plain clothes with a suitcase of notes to spend. He couldn't even do that right. My favorite scene (that I remember) was when he fled England by jumping in a dinghy and starting to row across the Channel. As it happened, the Dunkirk evacuation was underway, so a witness on the beach said "a few more like him and we'd be *winning* the war."

Back to real life though, I seem to remember that the Germans got the idea from fake food ration books the RAF dropped on Germany -- an idea that might have worked better if they'd waited until the Germans started rationing food!
Mike B - Tuesday, 09/19/06 17:12:31 EDT

Oops: that's "when *it* first came out" -- I'm more than 20.
Mike B - Tuesday, 09/19/06 17:14:02 EDT

SOFA meet this weekend: Any anvilfire people getting together during the sofa meet this weekend in Ohio? I plan to be there.
- Mike Sa - Tuesday, 09/19/06 21:59:57 EDT

I had planned to go but need to pay bills and work. . . You know the song, "I Owe, I Owe, so oft to work I go. . ." still paying for the last travel. .
- guru - Tuesday, 09/19/06 22:06:11 EDT

SOFA Quad State: I will be there, it is My first time, I am traveling with Steve Gensheimer, He knows his way around the place.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 09/19/06 22:54:36 EDT

SOFA QuadState: I will be there. This is my one real vacation every year.

I'll be wearing a dark gray fedora with a "tropical" hatband and a jean jacket, most probably. (That "northern" weather is a mite chilly for a tropical boy, you know.) If you spot me, introduce yourself.

In the evenings, I'll mostly be hangin garound with Steve Gensheimer, Dave Boyer, John Larson, Steve Parker and Thomas Powers or I'll be playing with Larson's nifty powerhammer. Be sure to try it out, too. If you like powerhammers, John's will truly delight you.
vicopper - Wednesday, 09/20/06 00:52:21 EDT

addendum: "...I'll mostly be hanging around with Steve Gensheimer, Dave Boyer, John Larson, Steve Parker and Thomas Powers..."

That is, if they let me. (grin)
vicopper - Wednesday, 09/20/06 00:53:32 EDT

Quad state: Yes, I'll be there. We're going to Troy tomorrow, and then spending friday in the antique malls in Springfield. Last time we were there I found an old marble top from a wash stand for a reasonable price. Never can tell what you'll find that you just cant live without.
- Doug - Wednesday, 09/20/06 08:55:34 EDT

quad state: I will be there around noon tomorrow. Look for a white haired fat guy with a mustache & wearing jeans (that should narrow it down) :)
Brian C - Wednesday, 09/20/06 09:23:48 EDT

Quad State: I'll be there. Hope to meet you there Mike. We should get in late Thursday afternoon or early evening. I guess white hair and jeans is the generic description- me too but I'm relatively tall and not too fat yet. (grin here) I'm bringing a laptop so we can share digital images of our shops and work. Bring a cd with JPGs and we'll play it for folks to see. Steve Gensheimer
SGensh - Wednesday, 09/20/06 09:52:51 EDT

generic descriptions: Steve, they must be common everywhere. A lot of years ago an employee was trying to tell me about another security police officer. She said "You know, he has brown hair, a mustache & wears glasses" -at that time, that would have covered about 2/3 of our department. :)

See you friday.
Brian C - Wednesday, 09/20/06 11:37:58 EDT

Every time I show my wife pictures from a hammer-in, she says "How do you guys tell each other apart? You're all big guys with beards in overalls or blue jeans!"
Alan-L - Wednesday, 09/20/06 12:06:08 EDT

QuadState 2006: I'm off to QuadState. You all play nice while I'm gone, okay?

I'm taking my camera and should have some pictures to post when I return. Back on Tuesday, with any luck.
vicopper - Wednesday, 09/20/06 12:47:46 EDT

what is QuadState?
Anthony - Wednesday, 09/20/06 13:33:24 EDT

Glasses: So Adam, what kind and shade of glasses to you use when you are OA welding or cutting.
JohnW - Wednesday, 09/20/06 14:09:52 EDT

Quad-State: QS is a big blacksmithing conference held in Troy Ohio. I have never been able to go. I really want to someday.

I expect this site, and forgemagic to be quiet for a few days as many of the more vocal folks will be at QS.

Paw Paw used to say, " Y'all play nice now while I'm gone!"
- John Odom - Wednesday, 09/20/06 15:59:20 EDT

Glass shade: I usually use a #5 for OA work. Heavy work darker, and tiny micro-sized stuff a #3. Most Arc work, with 1/16" to 3/16" electrode size, I use a #10 shade.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 09/20/06 16:02:31 EDT

SOFA Quadstate:
Anthony, SOFA is one of the oldest and largest blacksmith get togethers in the USA. It is held the third weekend of September every year at the Troy, Ohio Miami Fairgrounds. It is the BEST place to find, buy or sell used tools of all kinds but mostly blacksmithing tools. They also have demonstrations and a blacksmithing competition. It is also very economical to got to compared to an ABANA event and there is on-site camping.

See our NEWS coverage of past events.
- guru - Wednesday, 09/20/06 16:04:10 EDT

????: long time ago I read a step by step diagram with pictures on how to make a decent anvil out of a chunk of steel. I can't find where the diagram is? I have a 465lb chunk of steel (which is cylindrical other wise I wouldn't be able to roll it) and I've been using it as a "round" anvil. I would like to eventually cut into it to shape it into something more productive. Much help would be appreciated Jock.
- Matt - Wednesday, 09/20/06 16:07:33 EDT

????: long time ago I read a step by step diagram with pictures on how to make a decent anvil out of a chunk of steel. I can't find where the diagram is? I have a 465lb chunk of steel (which is cylindrical other wise I wouldn't be able to roll it) and I've been using it as a "round" anvil. I would like to eventually cut into it to shape it into something more productive. Much help would be appreciated Jock.
Matt - Wednesday, 09/20/06 16:08:11 EDT

Anvil Making:

We have a couple articles under our anvil series and on the plans page.

FAQ, Anvil Selection, Anvil Series 2. Making a good inexpensive anvil
PLANS, Anvil Make

I also posted some drawings for how to use the corner "skeleton" pieces from flame cut circles for making an anvil. See link below of page from future article.

When you have a large piece of scrap you work with what you have. FORGET preconcieved ideas about what an anvil looks like, THINK about what it is used for. In order of importance,

1) It wants to be heavy and solid (compact mass)
2) Have a flat surface
3) Have a curved surface
4) It wasnts to be hard enough to resist damage.
5) Have a place to support tooling (hardy hole)
6) Have a place to punch holes (pritichel or punching holes).

There are fine points and preferences to each feature. Then there are the tools availalable. You have a huge hunk of steel. Normal cutting tools (not even torches) can handle thick stock (you have been very non-specific so I cannot be more specific).

Compact mass is important. When you go cutting up a big hunk of steel you are going to have a lot of waste and when welded possible weak joints. What you have now may be perfect as is. If your piece is as compact as possible it would be 12.78" x 12.78". If you have a super heavy duty torch capable of cutting 8" you could cut two curving slabs off leaving a long rectangular face anf the full diameter for a base. The slabs could be fashioned into horn and heal with a hardy hole. But that is for THAT starting shape.

Anvil from Scrap
- guru - Wednesday, 09/20/06 17:35:27 EDT

SOFA meet: I'll get in tomorrow night, late & running around Friday & saturday. i'll be in bibs & an "engineers" cap.
- Mike Sa - Wednesday, 09/20/06 21:43:31 EDT

Quad State: Will be there late Thursday and leave Sunday - look for a tall, overweight, (6'2", 240 lbs) grey bearded guy in jeans :)

Will be camping in the primitve area in a wedge tent with a canvas fly - should be a maroon extended cab 2004 F150 with a cap near by. Shoudl also have 1 or more bottles of single malt scotch in camp.

Oh yeah, the name tag wil read Kevin Haffey.
- Gavainh - Wednesday, 09/20/06 22:35:54 EDT


You may be hard to find as I thought this was a requirement to be a Blacksmith: "look for a tall, overweight, (6'2", 240 lbs) grey bearded guy in jeans".


- Burnt Forge - Thursday, 09/21/06 09:50:15 EDT

Glass Shade: Thanks John. I think 5 is what I have but it seems like a lot. It's sort of abstructs my vision.
JohnW - Thursday, 09/21/06 10:23:08 EDT

Shades and Vision:
John, When gas welding you can use anything down to a #3 that is comfortable. The harmful rays are filtered and the rest is for your comfort (too bright to see). #5's are usualy reserved for heavy cutting.

However, there is a lot of debate on this subject so if you wish to continue to use a darker shade for your health (mental and physical) then just increase the ambient lighting. Even when arc welding with a #10 or #12 shade you can see clearly (sufficient to read fine print) in bright daylight. Try it.

So all you need is a good light source over your welding bench. This lets you use a dark shade and the average brightness is easier to wrk in.
- guru - Thursday, 09/21/06 11:47:30 EDT

I've added text and another drawing to the anvil from scrap article. This is just one part of a longer article on fabricated anvils.

Anvil from Scrap - updated
- guru - Thursday, 09/21/06 11:51:00 EDT

OA welding shade: John, I use a #4 shade and I like to use a full face visor shade - gives a wide field of view and works well with my bifocals. IMO there is no concern about UV from an OA flame -the temp just isnt high enough
adam - Thursday, 09/21/06 11:52:00 EDT

AAAARRRRGGHHH: Why does everyone think blacksmiths make horseshoes !!!
- Tyler Murch - Thursday, 09/21/06 17:29:23 EDT

Anvil: Thank you Guru ;)
Matt - Thursday, 09/21/06 17:40:51 EDT

Gunsmith becomes instant horseshoer: The following story was related to me. I was not present at the time.

Bruce LePage is an outstanding gunsmith and engraver from Wisconsin. In 1984, in Depere, Wisconsin, he was demonstrating in a building at the 1984 ABANA conference. Bruce was working on an incredibly involved damascus twist gun barrel. In the middle of the demo, a German tourist lady opened the door, peeked in briefly, and said loudly to her family behind her, "Ach, it's just a man making a horseshoe! Let's go."
Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/21/06 21:13:54 EDT

SOFA: I will be there Friday late afternoon/early evening...
God willing and the creek don't rise too much, the van is loaded for the forging contest;-) and I don't quite fit the description even with the saftey glasses and greying beard. I am only 5'10" and 200# with long red hair, I will be wearing green with scale burns all over my cloths;-) I will be at the forging contest Saturday night! and hopefully wearing an Anvilfire/CSI badge with Fionnbharr on it and a IForgeIron badge with Finn;-) on it. I can't believe I waited sooooo many years to start coming to SOFA... It is one of the biggest and the best in the world!
Fionnbharr - Thursday, 09/21/06 22:10:41 EDT

SOFA ID: Each of you guys seeking each other at SOFA ought to wear a pink carnation. You can leave your white sport coat at home.
- Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/21/06 22:31:26 EDT

Forgery: Reading about the Germans trying to ruin the British economy reminded me of My uncle. I was born on July 4th, 1945. My uncle Lee was stationed on Tinian Island in the Marianas. He sent My Mother a letter dated July 16th with a One dollar bill sewn in it for Me. It was sewn in so that the censors couldn't pocket it. It has the word "HAWAII" overprinted on it in 3 different places. I have been told that this was done so that if the Japanese had captured Hawaii, the currency could be devalued and be made worthless. I truly do have the first dollar i ever got. Tinian Island was where the Enola Gay took off from.

Incidently, I believe that July 16th was the day of Trinity, the first successful detonation of an Atomic weapon, not so far from Frank Turley's.Maybe that explains the green glow of your anvil!
- Loren T. - Friday, 09/22/06 00:48:56 EDT

well this krazy kanadian if off..see you boys there!
- Kim Saliba - Friday, 09/22/06 03:18:02 EDT

Tinian Island: We have an Indian Arts & Crafts store in Santa Fe named Tin-Nee-Ann. Apparently, the owner had a relative who took part in our WW II invasion of the little island. The Navaho code talkers were very much a part of the invasion; therefore, Tin-Nee-Ann, in their honor.

My anvil's green doesn't come from the detonation site at White Sands, but from where the bombs were made, Los Alamos, about 18 miles from the forge, as the crow flies. I keep trying to offset the green with red heats, and it seems to be working, poco a poco.
Frank Turley - Friday, 09/22/06 05:42:18 EDT

Yeah, the Trinity site is pretty close to where Thomas Powers now lives, which explains some things.

We have glowing anvils in Tennessee as well. I grew up not far from Oak Ridge, where the uranium was enriched before being sent to Los Alamos. Lots of "hot" objects in the vicinity, no doubt including anvils. I was called upon to do an archaeological survey of one of the valleys inside the fence, well into the classified areas. The safety officer told us to stay off the valley floor, don't touch any surface water, and if you hit metal, leave the shovel where it is and walk away. Turns out there were many drums of "stuff" carted back that valley during and immediately after the war, and nobody kept track of where it all went.

They never did tell me the results of my film badge, maybe that explains why I can heat metal with my eyes alone...
Alan-L - Friday, 09/22/06 10:32:21 EDT

Tinian: My dad was on Tinian. He witnessed her take off and return from her most important flight.
- R Dark - Friday, 09/22/06 12:00:12 EDT

Att'n Tek heads. A New Form of Iron: My eldest son sends me this information. The University of Wisconsin, Madison, released a bulletin about a new form of iron. This new form, called iron VI, has two valence electrons in the outer atomic shell, not the usual eight found in a regular iron atom. It's all beyond my peanut brain to comprehend. Someone might be interested.
Frank Turley - Friday, 09/22/06 19:27:10 EDT

Quad State Meet: Hello from Troy Ohio. I left a little early while the Israli guys are still showing off their gang striking skills with Tom Clark.

It was light rain on & off today. It appears that if it was really neat, or really cheap, it got purchased yesterday, but there were still bargains to be had today. I purchased a few things, but have not exceeded the capacity of my truck yet, so I'll hit it again tomorrow.

Even with the crummy weather, it appears the attendance is way up. I brought my pattern that I used to make a bronze gun & the flower punches I made from spoons, but they certainly pail in comparison to the neat stuff people have brought to display.

I encourage anyone who's not been here to put it on their calendar for next year.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Friday, 09/22/06 22:17:56 EDT

Quad State Meet: I picked up some old Anvil's Ring magazines & happened to notice that the ad for the national convention in '92 was going to feature Frank Turley leading some Yoga in the mornings. Frank, are you still in the "zone"? :)
- Mike Sa - Friday, 09/22/06 22:20:47 EDT

I've been doing a short-form tai chi and some chi kung for quite a few years. We'll have a little demo and talk about it at
- Frank Turley - Saturday, 09/23/06 12:02:55 EDT

I thought I might bid on this old pwr hacksaw 170030813843 with a "two phase" motor.

There is no description of wt or location so I asked the seller about shipping to NM - he answers "we only ship to the USA", even though his add says ships to USA, Europe, Asia and even though NM IS part of the USA

I called the contact # in the add - it is disconnected.

adam - Saturday, 09/23/06 17:19:48 EDT

Two Phase: Adam, You may know this already, but there *is* such a thing as a two phase motor. IIRC the two poles are 90 degrees out of phase. Obsolete, of course. I think I have seen a fairly simple converter circuit.
Mike B - Saturday, 09/23/06 18:01:17 EDT

Are you going to set up at Norris TN in October?
Saw you and Paw Paw there a couple of years ago.
- Tom H - Saturday, 09/23/06 20:50:46 EDT

Tennesee Fall Homecoming:
Tom, that was Paw-Paw's gig. In recent years the only demonstrations I had been doing were with Paw-Paw using my old portable forge trailer. The forge trailer belongs to Bethabara Museum in Winston Salem, NC and needs repairs to the bellows, forge and running gear. They use it locally at their park but it requires a significant truck to pull it on the highway. I doubt it will ever see the road again.

It was a sweetheart deal for both Jim and the Museum.

Before he died Paw-Paw did most of the maintenance to the trailer OR arranged for it to be done. He also used his heavy van to pull it to other shows. He had cart blanche use of the trailer as long as he demoed at Bethabara and kept it maintained. There was no profit in it. Just before he died he had bought a replacement van for $15,000 and spent another $5,000 outfitting it as his work and demo truck. Paid demos such as Tennesee Fall Homecoming just barely covered fuel and road expenses.
- guru - Sunday, 09/24/06 09:46:55 EDT

Two Phase:
This was a big mystery for many years and you will NOT find an electrician that can sort it out or provide an inverter. However, I HAVE seen 2 PH motors run on 3PH. Don't ask how I do not know.

Two Phase power was supplied by one of the earliest electrical systems in the country. This was in a part of downtown Phillidelphia and is the ONLY place it existed. It was an industrial area and TONS of machinery have come out of there. I bought a surface grinder with 2PH for a bargain and replaced the motor.

That saw weighs between 400 and 500 pounds. I would plan on replacing the motor (at least 1HP).
- guru - Sunday, 09/24/06 09:57:50 EDT

Adam: I looked at the saw. The fellas response to your shipping question lacked intellect. Obvious you gave him a USA location and he is located in PA. Those are really nice saws to use. I probably would not buy it from that goober with his disconnected number and lack of understanding basic questions.
- Burnt Forge - Sunday, 09/24/06 10:41:04 EDT

two phase: we still have plenty of two phase power here in philadelphia,(i think chicago also had it) as a matter of fact all through the city you will still find two phase tranformers on the pole.
getting a transformer for your shop is easy and they are readily available and cost about $800 for a unit to handle 2-4 motors. you make two phase from three phase
we have lots of two phase motors in use at the shop and i know several electricians who can sort it out. your averge home electician has no idea. you need to find an industrial electrician to install your transformer.
warren - Sunday, 09/24/06 15:09:51 EDT

adam-- it would cost a TON of money to get that relic trucked from back East out to the greater Los Alamos metro area, based on my investigations re: getting a woodstove fireplace insert from that area. Woulda cost more than the stove did new. And the truckers will not come in to the buidling to load. Or offload. And then beaucoup more bucks for a new motor.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 09/24/06 16:24:36 EDT

The other location where 2 phase power was used was not Chicago, but the Buffalo New York/Niagara Falls area.
Since both Buffalo and Philly were pretty industrialised in the earlier parts of the 20th century, there is a fair amount of 2 phase equipment still surfacing now and then in the northeast.

The issue of 2 phase to 3 phase convertors has been addressed a few times on the Practical Machinist forum, in their RPC category, if you go there and search, you can find old posts. I believe it has also been addressed on the OWWM forum as well (Old Wood Working Machinery) as many of the surviving 2 phase machines are industrial woodworking tools like large jointers, 16" tablesaws, and the like.
- ries - Sunday, 09/24/06 17:18:44 EDT

Two phase and Electircians:
Just TRY to find an electrician, industrial, utility or otherwise OUTSIDE the couple areas that use 2PH that understand it! I went to utility electricians and electrical engineers and they did not have a clue. Utilities outside the areas where it is common do not stock transformers for its use.
- guru - Sunday, 09/24/06 21:01:30 EDT

Quad State report: Back from Ohio with more treasures. I left before the saturday night auction, so can't report on that. They sold 3 little giants (for a member who had passed away earlier) at auction at noon. The late 50 pounder (ready to work) brought $2100, a 25lb (ready to work, but a little worn), brought about the same, and a barn fresh late 25 pounder, which only need a little dusting & a motor, brought 1800. Pretty cheap by my way of thinking.

I enjoyed watching Kim Thomas work the old style pieces, using small stock. The Isrealie guys worked big stuff (cool to watch, but seldom do I work 2 inch or bigger stock).

I thought I'd get away without buying anymore broken down forges, but a new guy showed up with some stuff, including a large Buffalo forge in pieces. Good fire pot, good blower, decent legs, but with a table...broke cleanly in two. I just couldn't resist (I drag home sad stray puppies too....). Because the break is so clean & straight, it will be easy to patch it back together. You just might see it back at SOFA next year, ready to go.

All in all, a pretty good time, even with the on & off rain. The worst part of the meet was I bought a piece of wroght iron bar from a guy selling old wrought bridgework, then forgot to take it back to the truck to load it. It's hard to gab & look & think all at the same time!

- Mike Sa - Sunday, 09/24/06 22:29:11 EDT

2 phase : Funny this is coming up here now. I am looking at a power hammer right now that has a large 220v 2 phase motor. I am going to ask a motor rewind shop tomorrow whether they would be able to rewind that to 575 three phase. The motor is low rpm or I would just replace it.
- JNewman - Sunday, 09/24/06 22:34:06 EDT

For Sale Forged by me Swage (I guess it's a swage): here's a link
- Tyler Murch - Sunday, 09/24/06 22:46:44 EDT
Tyler Murch - Sunday, 09/24/06 22:47:22 EDT

Hi Tyler

You did a nice job forging your bowl/swage. It is very nice. What flavor anvil is that you used? It looks like a euroanvil?
- Burnt Forge - Monday, 09/25/06 09:03:09 EDT

I hope everyone made it home from Quad State safe and sound. Can't wait to see photos from this year.
- Burnt Forge - Monday, 09/25/06 09:06:40 EDT

I love the new Ptree hat!!

I am still getting electrical shocks from putting on the Miles Undercut circiut board and visiting the cyber existence for a bit. It was truely a colorful place with all sorts of strange thoughts running through my processor. When I morphed back to a real person I seemed to carry back some secondary electrical pulsations. I don't recommend trying this at home. BOG
- Burnt Forge - Monday, 09/25/06 09:20:23 EDT

Burnt-- It's a tough and thankless job, especially on holidays, but somebody has to do it. Keep up the good work.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 09/25/06 09:51:40 EDT

Nahh, actually, all kidding aside, since you asked, what I am doing today is what I always do, working tirelessly toward forging bonds of understanding amongst the peoples of the world. Specifically, I am in the preliminary conceptualization stage of a three-pronged effort to produce a spring-wound trip hammer for use in Third World countries so that, despite lacking electricity, smiths there can build a better tomorrow for their children through simple semi-automatic weapons.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 09/25/06 11:05:14 EDT

NEW Chart:
I've been working on this idea for a while. I found a graph in one of the books we reviewed but it was WAY off. So I tried to correct the graph. . still too far off and hard to use. So I dug data out of the ASM Heat Treaters Guide. This was in the form of more graphs which had to be enlarged and higher resolution grids added to read clearly.

This makes the temper color graph quite a bit more useful and gives some insight to how carbon content increases hardness.

Steel Color Temper Chart with Hardness
- guru - Monday, 09/25/06 11:45:26 EDT

Burnt: it's a Tom Clark anvil. Not mine. A buddy took that pic forme.
- Tyler Murch - Monday, 09/25/06 14:11:14 EDT

New Chart: Jock that is very wouldn't happen to know the tempered hardness for 5160....would you?
Tyler Murch - Monday, 09/25/06 19:47:43 EDT

SAE 5160 Steel:
Tyler that data is in our Heat Treating FAQ. Note that 5160 is an alloy steel and you cannot use the temper colors exactly as published. Frank Turley says alloys have two bands of color and the second band is the correct one. I do not know if this is true.
- guru - Monday, 09/25/06 20:02:57 EDT

Misquote about 5160: Guru. That's a new one on me. No, I treat 5160 somewhat like high carbon when tembering with colors. I go with the first series of bands. However, I always harden in oil.
Frank Turley - Monday, 09/25/06 22:49:56 EDT

Degassing: is there any at home concoctions i can make for degassing aluminium and bronze?
- Anthony - Monday, 09/25/06 23:48:09 EDT

Degassing metal: In our die cast operations, we bubble nitrogen in the holding pots to degass the aluminum.
- Mike Sa - Tuesday, 09/26/06 00:06:43 EDT

Unsolicited Endorsement: Just recieved my Bouton #2 Shade glasses from the Anvilfire Store. They are without a doubt the best safety glasses I have ever used. Comfortable and durable. My wife doesn't like them because she says they make me look like Ray Charles (although I like to think it's more like the drummer from Cheap Trick, but hey) and she finds it unsettling that she can't tell where I'm looking.

Anyway, this blacksmith gives his endorsement. Thanks Mr. Dempsey.
Shep - Tuesday, 09/26/06 13:35:49 EDT

I'm trying to get in touch with the individual who signs himself BlackLionForge. He responded to my message about a post vise, requesting a picture. Two attempts to send it to him have come back as undeliverable. Does anyone know how to get in touch with him?
Bill Simmons - Wednesday, 09/27/06 06:42:10 EDT

I'm wanting to build a forge and im not sure how to start it. Latley all i've been using is an open wood fire. Please help me out pape_5406@yahoo
- Erik Lombard - Wednesday, 09/27/06 09:11:05 EDT

bill: just saw your posting not sure what the prob is i'm still getting emails(none from you ) virus maybe ??? who knows
blacklionforge - Wednesday, 09/27/06 09:46:39 EDT

l' Art de Serrurier by, Mathurin Jousse:
My copy arrived yesterday, 28 single sided plates including an added title page in English. Very little text. Only an introduction (one page). There is no lock internals or working mechanisms. Most of the illustrations are line drawings of external lock decoration and then many facny keys with complex warded bits. The keys and the complex bits have been reproduced in many other books on locks over the years. However, it IS nice to know the source.

Besides the lock plates and keys there is also some fancy door knockers, pulls and strikes. One page is an out of place lightling bracket or the period. The last illustration is of an impractical geared hand crank mechanism to power a chair on caster type wheels.

As this rare work predates Louis XVI, king of France by 100 years he probably had a copy of the original. Louis XVI's hobby was locksmithing. He and his wife Marie Antoinette lost their heads via a new French invention, the guillotine.

The copy I purchased was ex-library (Chelsey England). It was an 1889 reproduction on antique paper of the original 1627 publication. The check out return log in the back indicates it was only checked out 8 times between 1936 and 1972. It was a gift from the printer's wife (signed by her) to someone that donated it the library.

It is interesting to hold such an old reference and know that only a couple dozen people may have looked at it in 117 years. The fact that for very little money one can collect such old reference is also amazing. This one was reproduced by photo lithography so is only one generation removed from the original.
- guru - Wednesday, 09/27/06 11:35:55 EDT

Original published 1627:
The date was mentioned in the earlier posts but I overlooked it.

Thomas, I'd be interested to know if what I have is the same as what you have in number of pages. I was expecting more. On the other hand, in the 1600's you did not divulge the inner workings of locks to the public. .
- guru - Wednesday, 09/27/06 14:09:57 EDT

l' Art de Serrurier: I bought the reprint edition that was mentioned here. It's a modern reprint in a paper binding. I don't have it at hand (and I won't be able to check until the weekend), but I believe it's the same page count. Your description of the contents matches. I was also somewhat disappointed, but as you say, it's nice to see the original source. Do you know of other references which document early (say pre-1800) lock internals? Most general locksmith references have a few diagrams, and Locks, Safes, and Security has a very good historical overview, but I haven't seen anything really good. It would be very unlikely for it to have been recorded at the time, but it would be great if there was a modern book with photos of internals of old locks.

In a slightly related topic, one of my favorite old lock-related books is Charles Courtney's "Unlocking Adventure". He pioneered the art of underwater safecracking in the period between WWI and II. He also toured much of Europe collecting locks and the book has some good photos. Not much technical info, but an entertaining read in the 'boy's own adventure' genre.
- Dave A - Wednesday, 09/27/06 14:31:58 EDT

Locks References:
The other early book I have is "On Construction of Locks and Keys" by John Chubb, Assoc. Inst.G.E., Excerpt Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers Vol. IX London. Published 1850, 36 pages.

We have scanned it to distribute on disk but I would like to convert the text to actual text rather than images.

This book has much of the history found in other books on locks but misses the Roman period. However, this is generaly a period of mystery as Roman locks were iron with brass parts and keys. The locks have all evaporated to rust.

The primitive locks prior to the warded key were similar to those found in Locks of Iran. These locks were common world wide (screw and lever locks, simple bit and spring locks). This was the best book on that subject.

I have a list of others that I have loaned to a friend. I need to get them back as there is a lot of demand for them these days. One that I was going to review because it was in stock "The Lure Of The Lock" is now out of print again. . .

- guru - Wednesday, 09/27/06 15:10:18 EDT

Another Lock Reference: I mentioned this book once on this forum about 3 years ago. "Nuevo Manual del Cerrajero y Herrero" by MM... B... and G., locksmiths of G.R. and G.A Touissant, architects. I believe this was translated from the French in 1852, and facimile reprinted in 1998 by the bookseller, "Paris-Valencia".

As you might imagine, the book is in Spanish. It has 8 elongated, fold-out plates with line drawings of lock mechanisms, ornamental ironwork, and some of the tools.
- Frank Turley - Wednesday, 09/27/06 15:52:40 EDT

misspelling: The author's surname is Toussaint.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 09/27/06 15:54:16 EDT

Paris-Valencia Publishing: I located the above mentioned "Nuevo Manual..." by going to their website and clicking on "facsímiles raros y curiosos disponibles", which brought me to #3 listed book, the very one. It is listed at 8 Euros. You may need someone to translate the section, "pedidos y condiciones" (payment and conditions}. I think I ordered mine with my "tarjeta de crédito" (credit card).
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 09/27/06 18:59:05 EDT

QuadState '06: I made it back from QuadState yesterday with most of my person intact. Barely avoided losing a few digits to frostbite and trenchfoot, but survived nonetheless. Geez, it was cold and damp for a tropical lad! In spite of the rain and mud, I had a great time, as usual. Saw lots of old friends, made some new ones and learned a goodly amount. Spent money like a drunken sailor and didn't sleep enough; about par for a vacation, huh? (grin)

The demos were good, the tailgating good and the camaraderie outstanding. The exhibition had some truly outstanding pieces on display. I even made a piece to enter in the show, and it was pretty well received. I came away with ideas for a couple dozen projects and a number of new techniques I simply have to try out. I love the creative stimulation of seeing other smiths' work like that.

Next year, they just need to improve the weather about ten or twenty degrees. (grin)
vicopper - Wednesday, 09/27/06 21:54:37 EDT

Nuevo Manual del Cerrajero y Herrero: Frank,

Thanks for (re)posting the link. I think I've put in my order. If I don't hear back I'll drop them an email, apologising for my near mono-linguism. It sounds like a good read.


Would it be possible to get a copy of your scans of the Chubb book? Maybe I could help with converting it to text. It sounds like a good candidate for Project Gutenburg. As I think you've mentioned before, Yale's patents and many others are available online, but are a little later- more about machine made locks than handmade.

Another resource I found very helpful in getting started was the UMBA videos of Tom Latane's demonstrations. The video of making a key is particularly good. I've made a few using the same basic techniques and had good luck.
- Dave A - Wednesday, 09/27/06 23:24:25 EDT

original samson: floor shear what a gift!!!!!! this bugger is rated for 3/4'' does anyone have thoughts on where ta find blades for this sweety??? thanks!!!
blacklionforge - Thursday, 09/28/06 07:35:23 EDT

Quad State 06: vicopper, which peice was yours in the exhibit?
- Doug - Thursday, 09/28/06 09:24:13 EDT

Nuevo Manual del Cerrajero y Herrero:
I tried placing an order but there was no place for a CC number. I sent a note translated by babel fish. . . since it is late night there we will see. . .
- guru - Thursday, 09/28/06 10:49:21 EDT

Ah. . they suggest sending a FAX.
- guru - Thursday, 09/28/06 11:43:53 EDT

I have a feeling this $10 book is going to cost more in shipping. I faxed. . .

El enviar y dirección vía correo aéreo de la economía

So now we are members of Frank's International Book Club!
- guru - Thursday, 09/28/06 12:20:28 EDT

If you google "shear blades" you get a bunch of companies that make and sharpen blades for all kinds of shears.
Without more info, I cant be sure, but most shears are orphans these days- only a couple of the old time companies are still in business, out of hundreds over the years.
So virtually every shear blade is a custom- which isnt as big a deal as it sounds, as most start out as a simple rectangular bar with a few hole punched in it, then ground on one to four faces.
You dont say if this is a 2" long shear for cutting bars, or a 12 footer- obviously size will be a factor, and if it is rated to cut 3/4", then the blades are gonna be a lot bigger, and more expensive, than if it is rated at 18gage.
But relatively speaking, blades arent too expensive- a few hundred bucks will get you a blade for a shear that costs over 20 grand to buy new.
- ries - Thursday, 09/28/06 12:27:57 EDT

Training Advice: An often seen piece of advice to people wanting to learn about blacksmithing is to find a local class. There, one can learn more in a few hours than one year fooling around by oneself. I myself received this piece of advice almost four years ago (it seems like yesterday). The first place I looked was the local blacksmiths ABANA affiliate, the CBA. They offered monthly classes in many different locations around California. According to their website, there were 3 classes within 1-2 hours driving distance of where I live. I made a few phone calls, and found that one was full, but I could get on a waiting list. Another was ending. The third one was full, but I could drop by on an arranged basis to watch or maybe demo a bit. This turned out to work out for a while, but the opportunities to come by were few and far between. The shop was pretty busy and full. One of the old instructors was trying to restart, but there were insurance problems. Courses were available at an art center in the East Bay, but they were kind of pricey, at something like $300 for two days of instruction. This left the CBA conferences, two of which were very reasonable deals, and pretty close (less than 6 hours driving). These offered workshops and demos which really helped, but they were not classes.

Fast forwarding to the present, a CBA board meeting was scheduled in my neighborhood, and I figured that it was so close that I may as well attend. I met the local instructor and introduced myself as the person who called 4 years ago asking about class availability. He said, oh yes, a lot of people do that. Nothing available for the forseeable future. Then, the editor of the association's magazine asked me about my "pedigree". Unfortunately, about all I could say is CBA conference, Anvilfire, and my backyard. Another attendee overheard this, and mentioned that he is a metal shop instructor at a local high school. He invited me to take his course, offered in adult education. 12 lessons covering all parts of metalworking. He said that I would get a lot out of the few weeks on blacksmithing and welding, but would also derive a lot of benefit from a more broad coverage of things I would otherwise not be exposed to, like sheet metal, machining, and foundry.

I signed up for the course, and it is great! But, I have a quick question. The first hands-on exercise was making a box out of sheet metal with the bench tools. Instead of wasting stock on a box that I don't need, I decided to make a gate valve for my blower. It contains inside and outside folds (for the flange), unlike a box which only has folds facing inside. That means that at least one fold is inaccessible to the box and pan brake. Anyway, the brake was too crowded and it was impossible to get any time on it that night. I discovered that a steel jawed vise and a dead blow hammer create an "unprofessional" looking bend. The gate valve turned out great, except for the fact that the gate falls out or becomes sloppy when fully opened (bad planning). But one bend looks "unprofessional" compared to the rest. Is there any field expedient method to improve the appearance of this rogue bend?

EricC - Thursday, 09/28/06 12:28:10 EDT

Training: Eric, you might try taking some square edged steel & clamping them with your piece in the vice. Use the steel with your hammer to iron out the rough bend.

Your comment about "poor planning" is the curse we all face sometimes. It takes some practice to know to step back & plan out your moves & design prior to moving the metal.

I am very fortunate to live close to other smiths, as well as the local smithy for an abana chapter. We get together each month. You'll just have to keep poking & quizing to find others in your neck of the woods. It's amazing what just 2 individuals (as opposed to a group)can still accomplish for learning.
- Mike Sa - Thursday, 09/28/06 13:19:32 EDT

Bends: There are other tools for bending. As you found a vise can be very handy and it holds on side flat. To make the rest of the bend straight I use a block of wood and a big hammer. The wood will not mar the work and it spreads the bend. Follow the bend with the block and everything stays straight and smooth (see my guru page post today on wooden tools).

Now, on the 16ga shovel pans I bend in the vise I just used a hammer toward the edge of the sheet (about a inch from the bend) and hit just where needed and worked it down evenly. Results were straight an smooth. But these results take some practice. The thicker metal (about 16th inch) is also easier to work clean than thinner metal.

I also have a pair of tinman's crimping pliers which have about 4" jaws. These are great for light stock. Smaller ones could be made for small work in thin stock by welding wide jaws to common pliers.

It helps on thin sheet to crease the work before bending. This can be done similar to drawing a line with a pencil but using a heavy steel point with a rounded nose. Back up the sheet on soft wood or a linoleum surface (this is a common work top material for drafting and other soft surface work).

Once the line is struck you can follow it with a chisle and when the sheet has a distinct start of a fold the two halves can be bent by hand and dressed on the corner of a bench or wood block.

Working sheet is an art that takes some practice. Using a hammer is hard on the work and every blow must be well thought out and controlled. Hardwood blocks are very helpful and more readily available than many other tools.

Eric, your course may be using a book a highly reccomend, "Metalwork Technology and Practice". If not, get it. Old editions are available at reasonable prices. See my notes about it on the Sword Making Resources page
Sword Making Resources
- guru - Thursday, 09/28/06 14:53:58 EDT

Guru; I don't own a copy of that book; I had just read the description of it and remembered you were interested in locks (and musical instruments...) As a certified nut about certain things myself I know that finding references beyond the "common" ones can be hard and expensive---I spent $70 for a book in german once because it had *1* picture well dated of an item I was interested in.

BTW folks the Trinity Site is open for tours the first Saturday in October; I've been there but they wouldn't let me remove that old scrap metal they have there...

Thomas P - Thursday, 09/28/06 15:47:14 EDT

Thomas, AH. . you found the book. . Dave A. bought it. I bought another for considerably more but considering it is an 1889 reproduction (not just reprint) of the original I think it is worth it. Will probably double again in value before my children sell it off. . .
- guru - Thursday, 09/28/06 16:31:46 EDT

Frank's Intl Book Club: They quoted me 20 euros for shipping to US- If it's not much more to ship two copies, I'd buy two and ship one to you. Two copies of the book is still less than shipping for one.

I really use and appreciate the book recommendations here. I got and loved Divers Arts not long ago. I still need to ILL the Knight and the Blastfurnace.

- Dave A - Thursday, 09/28/06 22:59:13 EDT

QuadState '06: Doug,

I made the inkwell and pen set with the chased leaf for a base. Submitted under my real name, Rich Waugh.
vicopper - Thursday, 09/28/06 23:39:55 EDT

Hi Guru and Mike. Thanks for the tips for bending sheet. I will try the creasing and the hardwood block with the vise. The problem that I (we) were having was that the metal was nice and flat where it was held in the vise jaws, but it bowed out slightly on the free bended end. Also, the bend itself did not have a good sharp radius. If it was hammered too much, it would get sort of a wave on the free side. I think that creasing the line to be bent will help a lot for sharpening it up, Also, the hardwood block will help keep the free end flat up to the bend. Thanks!

One more quick question. I asked the instructor about casting a brass hammer head. He said OK, but I will have to make and bring the pattern. I looked at the iforge demo and saw two demos on mold making. Would a core be necessary for the hammer eye, or is there enough draft with a slightly hourglass shaped eye to use a one piece pattern?

The high school class has a textbook. The adult school section just uses photocopied notes and hand drawings. I will find out what the textbook is. I did see some copies of Metalwork Technology and Practice on Amazon, used from third party sellers. Is this a good way to buy out of print books?

EricC - Friday, 09/29/06 02:06:12 EDT

Quad State-exhibit: vicopper-that was a fantastic peice. We were glad to see that you won a prize with it. It's always fun to enter something in that exhibit. There are a lot of creative folks out there in the world hammering hot steel into art. Looking forward to next year already.
- Doug - Friday, 09/29/06 07:32:11 EDT

Quad State-again: vicopper-I forgot to ask, how much time did you have in that peice? Had to be several hours. Anyone else here have work in the exhibit at Quad State this year?
- Doug - Friday, 09/29/06 09:04:26 EDT

Books, cores: Dave, I didn't get a quote on shipping. Just ordered it, didn't ask questions. So I will see what happens.

When bought out bibliofind and ruined it I quit using Amazon and bibliofind unless there are no other choice. Amazon has some very nasty policies such as listing a book and saying it is "unavailable" because the publisher doesn't want to do business with Amazon on a drop ship basis. Meanwhile the book IS in print and available, just not through Amazon. They also list and SELL books they do not have, hoping it will become available by the time they need to ship it or cancel the order. . .

Many of those same used book dealers are listed on the other used book listing services like It is a wonderful resource. I've bought dozens of books from dealers world wide through them.


Eric, Many commercial hammers today are forged with the eye "drafted" for the punch part of the die to nearly meet at the center then a thin "flash" section is punched out. Others are punched in a seperate operation and still have draft but not as much. The taper then is one way.

You could do it either way but the mold making will be much easier with the core. To draft the hole you will need a follower block (half mold) to support the pattern and fill the hole to the parting. Making this will be more work than a simple cylindrical core box.
- guru - Friday, 09/29/06 09:20:01 EDT

Casting. . .:
The hammer with a core will probably also need a follower plate. However, it wound not need to be fitted, just fit the outline of the part up to the parting. This means you can saw it out of a piece of any board or plywood. This is much easier than fitting the contour of a piece.

You DO NOT want to try to draft the core all the way through the hammer unless you are using a resin bonded sand. This makes a strong mold that will take the metal. A green sand or petro bond core of this type would fail. Often moulders insert pieces of wire into the core to reinforce it. A double supported petrobond core with wires will probably hold up just fine.

Traditionaly the moulder would hand work the pattern into loose sand to the parting, then fill and ram up tight the drag side, then remove the filled drag flask and pattern and ram up the other side. In plaster work you do this with modeling clay on the first side. I find it easier to make a simple board that supports the piece to the parting. OR in the case of the iForge demo where I was making plaster molds I kept one plaster piece as the follower.

There are numerous ways to do this. Once you get into it the process is self explanitory. However, the details depend on the molding process and matrials used.

- guru - Friday, 09/29/06 10:03:14 EDT

hammer casting: another method would be to draft from one side only and then mill or file the other side *after* casting to get the hourglass shape.

Books: I really like

As to Divers Arts---who could not love a book that advises you to use goat urine for quenching steel and earwax for polishing enamels (after using powdered roman tile)

Thomas P - Friday, 09/29/06 11:02:51 EDT

Hammer pattern: For a hammer pattern s split pattern would be easier to make as well as mould, as well you would not need to make a follow board. Take a two pieces of wood that are half the width of your hammer and dowel them together. After putting center lines on the two pieces separate the two halves, and transfer your center lines onto the parting face. Cut out the profile on one half drafted away from the parting line. Put them back together on the dowels, trace the finished half onto the unfinished and cut and draft it. Place the half of the pattern that doesn't have the dowels in it on a flat surface, put half your coreprint on either side, lining them up with the centerlines. Put the two halves together and add the other two half prints. After any final shaping and sealing, fix the dowels in the cope half of the pattern and make sure that they are a loose slip fit in the drag. Not having to taper to a line in the middle of a pattern is why it is easier. If you want to turn the body of the hammer, after doweling glue the two halves together with a piece of newspaper between them. After turning they will split apart easily with a chisel.
- JNewman - Friday, 09/29/06 12:26:06 EDT

Pattern advice:
John thanks! We all get focused on doing something one way and forget the other ways sometimes. . . I am too used to ceramic molds and patterns. A split pattern is much easier in this case. However I would make the core prints one with the pattern.

The cores for a hammer pattern may want to be oval. They could be hand fitted or molded from the core box. I would make the core box first then mold the core print halves in it using resin or bondo. The middles of the core halves could be squared up to fit a matching groove in the pattern haves so that all aligns well. . . Like many things, probably easier done than said.

Round is much simpler but makes a lousy handle hole. Round handle holes are generally drilled.

While casting a brass hammer, you might think of doing a softer lead one at the same time. Just be careful of fumes from both.
- guru - Friday, 09/29/06 14:49:39 EDT

My wife thinks Amazon is okay, but I will never again buy a book from Amazon or its sub-contractor Caiman Books. Communication with them re: a recent order was totally, absolutely 100% impossible. Inquiries about howcum the book has not been shipped as promised elicit only automated and sometimes contradictory responses. Both their systems are set up to preclude any human contact. The book eventually did come, but wayyy late. I have had good luck with and recommend Campusi, BookFinder and ABE.
- Miles Undercut - Friday, 09/29/06 19:30:53 EDT

Do any of you guys live near Albuquerque, NM? I have a good friend who is moving there next week. He is a very skilled silver smith and has been a part of our blacksmith group for a little while. I would like to hook him up with some smiths out there. Thanks
- Jeff G - Friday, 09/29/06 22:01:39 EDT

Inkwell & Pen Set: Doug,

I didn't really keep track of the time I had in it, since I was trying to jam it out in the evenings after work in the two weeks prior to QuadState. I would guess that it totalled somewhere between twenty and thirty hours, given that I did some things a couple of times to get the exact effect I was looking for. That's one of the hazards of trying new techniques, I guess, but I enjoy trying different ways of doing things. I also spent a couple three hours remodeling my small modelmaker's lathe so I could turn the pen shaft freehand, and then the intermediate drive belt broke, necessitating a total teardown of the headstock to replace the belt, etc. Things like that sure gobble up the hours.

If I was to make a second one just like it, (which I won't) I think it could be done in about half the time the first one took, maybe even less than that. The first one is fun and interesting, the second one is a job and the third one starts to become torture. I just ain't cut out for production work, I guess. (grin)
vicopper - Friday, 09/29/06 23:20:49 EDT

Cast hammers: The comercially made lead and copper hammers I have used were cast with the steel pipe handles in them. Some don't like a round handle, but they worked OK.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 09/30/06 00:10:04 EDT

Jeff G: I live an hour south of Alb, Frank Turley and Miles live about an hour north of Alb. Lots of nice smiths out this way.

Go to and look for SWABA the NM smithing group.

SWABA has been doing the NM state fair demos recently and is doing an old tractor show next weekend IIRC.

BTW warn him to bring all his tools as the stuff is a lot harder to find out here than in many places!

Fell free to give him my name and e-mail address
Thomas Powers - Saturday, 09/30/06 00:15:11 EDT

Thanks Thomas. I thought you and Frank were close. Sessin wanted to come to Quad State but he was getting ready for the move. He is bringing his tools and he will be working for a jeweler's supply house. He has always wanted to live in NM, so he called this company and said I'd like a job please. They interviewed him and now he is on his way.
- Jeff G - Saturday, 09/30/06 07:38:40 EDT

Vicopper, I have to agree with you one how the development time for something not done is alway way longer than for the second. I tend to quote a first one at what I think it should take, and almost alway end up at twice the time. The second one I tend to get to what I first thought, and on more after that I tend to start making even better. Just wish I made more repeats:)
ptree - Saturday, 09/30/06 09:34:27 EDT

Years ago I worked with a fellow who said tthe best way to calculate time for a job was to estimate how long it would take then multiply by three. Seems like that advice was fairly accurate. But the first one of anything takes forever but the next ones go quite quickly. I've just started a "production" order for some items going to a gift shop. When I built the prototypes I estimated the time. Finished the first item yesterday and my estimate of four hours ended up being five hours. Not too bad. vicopper, did you also turn the ink bottle and stopper?
- Doug - Saturday, 09/30/06 14:36:12 EDT

Inkwell project: Doug,

No, the inkwell and the stopper are strictly forged. The inkwell was made by taking a piece of 2" Sch40 pipe and fitting an end plate for it. The endplate was tacked in place and then forge-welded in place. A piece of scrap rebar was welded to the end plate as a handle. The pipe was then forged down for the neck and the edge simultaneously upset with each course of shrinking. Final finishing with a file.

The stopper was made by forging a tenon on a piece of 3/4" round bar and then upsetting the head. The details were punched and the the piece filed as appropriate.

After the forging was done, the inkwell was pickled for a while in miuriatic acid and then "scoured" using a bur in a FOredom flex shaft unit. That got the surface clean and bright enough for the vitreous enamel, which was slurry-coated, dried and fired. It did take a couple of tries to get the enamel right. Removing the bad enamel is a job I don't want to have to repeat. Imagine drilling teeth inside a wine bottle to know what I'm talking about. (grin)

The pen was forged from a piece of 5/8" round bar, then center drilled and re-forged over a mandrel. The only turning involved was the lignum vitae shaft of the pen.

All in all, an educational project, and one that I'm fairly proud of.
vicopper - Saturday, 09/30/06 14:50:58 EDT

p.s.-- ironically, Amazon sent me a request just now for feedback re: my book order. In perfect keeping with their past performance, the feedback blank doesn't work.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 09/30/06 16:09:59 EDT

auction treasures: Went to a large estate auction today. The guy had been either a boiler maker or iron worker from the types of tools & the paint on them. Drug home a truck load of goodies including an 85lb. post vice in excellent condition for less than 20 bucks.

I cant get over what the scrap guys are paying for scrap piles these days. I pulled out some 1" black pipe from one of the piles & got it cheap. I got enough to make several legs for old forges.
- Mike Sa - Saturday, 09/30/06 23:18:39 EDT

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