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October 2003 Archive

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

Angle radius: I am making a kitchen hood. It has a radiused / hipped top. I need to roll angle iron, vee down, to fit along this radius. I need to give it a hammered finish. Basic straight line type hammering.

(Answered on guru page)
- 10bender - Wednesday, 10/01/03 13:45:24 EDT


I don't blame you for being disappointed, but walking out was the right thing to do. The guy was not being up front and honest with you.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/01/03 14:39:01 EDT

disappointment: I'm with PawPaw. Sounds like a classic bait'n switch. I would have walked away too. Too bad!
adam - Wednesday, 10/01/03 18:19:31 EDT

Score: I think anvils have this almost mythological power of growing in people's minds. Many the time I have tracked down *large* anvils only to find out they were 100# and the 3' faces were more like 16". Many auctioneers seem surprised when I tell them that to a blacksmith "Large anvils" start around 250# and go up until they get washed away in the flood of drool, (smiths being very much prey to Anvil Envy).

Just think of all the money in dental work you saved *other" smiths who were grinding their teeth over them never getting such a deal.

For someone just starting out it would still be a good deal.

(Saw a 55# ASO at the fleamarket today, someone had ground off the "CHINA" markings and wanted $40 for their effort in "upgrading" the $24 on sale ASO....they make a decent propane stove though...)

Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/01/03 18:35:40 EDT

Anvils: There is a very reasonable alternative to railroad anvils now available. I picked up one of Tom Clark's small double horned anvils for my student set ups. While waiting for my Euroanvil to arrive, I am using the small anvil (Tom has 3 sizes and I am using the middle one, I think 45K.) I am actually impressed with the little devil. Since I am not at the shop to measure it, I think it is 41/2" wide face, at least 8" between the hardie hole and pritchle hole, horns at least 6" long, no step, but nice a flat. He sells them for $210. So if you are tired of spending time going on wild goose chases of anvils, you really may want to look at what is being imported from eastern Europe. I will let you know what I think of my Euroanvil once it gets here. I ordered the 335 pounder to replace my 330 pound Armand Hammer. The three sellers I would suggest you look at are Tom Clark, Euroanvils (advertises here) and Old World Anvils. I here that those are made in with either the same or close same materials and methods, with the exception of Tom's 250 pounder which is cast S7.
Jymm Hoffman - Wednesday, 10/01/03 22:30:14 EDT

tools/anvils: Chris,
I assume you have put the word out with friends etc.... even if they do not look like it you will find that the tools etc are hiding in the oddest places.....
Ralph - Thursday, 10/02/03 01:30:47 EDT

PU Trucks?: Thinking of trading in my beat up old Toyota PU for a later model 1/2 ton truck - something with air bags and ABS. 4WD is a must in my area. I'd be happy for any advice.

Jymm where does one find Tom Clark's anvils online?
adam - Thursday, 10/02/03 11:17:47 EDT

Pickup Trucks: Adam - When mine finally dies, I'll get another one. One thing I do know, is that I want the extended cab so I can store a few tools in out of the weather. The only disadvantage to it is that it cuts into the long bed capacity, but a stock rack should take care of that. It's been almost twenty years since I had to buy a new truck, so I have no idea what is good these days. I'll be interested to hear what others recommend, myself.
vicopper - Thursday, 10/02/03 11:46:29 EDT

Pickem ups: Adam What will be your work load? do you haul bulky items or not much or lots of heavy stuff? Personally i gave up on 1/2 ton full size long ago when I was a mechanic. mainly they were too light for just about anything except hauling an occasional load or a lot of bulky stuff. I'd say stick with a Taco ext cab 4x or a prerunner (Has the limited slip differential) and a v-6. Will haul as much as the 1/2 and get better mileage and go twice as long. A small trailer for the occasional heavy long load is a pretty nice package. really use it? Then a 3/4 ton diesel would be the next step up the food chain. IMO '4 wheel' drive is overrated, I'll buy a strong two wheel and add a locker on the rearend. Now if you get a 4 wheeler w ltd slip THAT is a pretty good package, come to think of it that is precisely what my piggy bank is for these days.
:) my advice may not be worth as much as you paid but I feel better.
Mills - Thursday, 10/02/03 12:26:53 EDT

Tom Clark: Tom has a web site that is lagging behind all of the tools he has added to his line. But you can get his phone number from it and call him. He will (or have someone) respond to emails as well. He carries top of the line tools at good prices.
Jymm Hoffman - Thursday, 10/02/03 12:51:51 EDT

PU Truck: Thanks Rich & Mills. I dont haul heavy loads - my Toyota 4banger has been up to any job Ive asked. We get a lot of slick icy conditions here and 4wd really helps. Limited slip would be very nice! Also, we like to go tent camping in the National Forest so I thought a 1/2 ton bed with a camper shell would be a good substitute for a tent on rainy days. Extra cab is on my must list along with AC . Tired of having my tools piled up on the passenger seat. I may well end up with the Tacoma if I can afford it - toyotas are just so well made - why doesnt America produce something of equal quality?
adam - Thursday, 10/02/03 13:00:43 EDT


> why doesn't America produce something of equal quality?

Darn good question. We recently went shopping for a new car for her. We've been buying Chrysler's for her for 20 years or better. After comparing quality, price, and all the other factors that go into purchasing a new car, we decided NOT to buy a Chrysler.

Instead, we got her a 2003 Toyota Camray.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/02/03 13:51:24 EDT


Her is SWMBO.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/02/03 13:53:13 EDT

Mo' pickup: I've been quite satisfied with both of my Dakota pickups. I traded my '84 4-banger in at 250,000 miles, and have 189,000 0n my 98 V-6, driving 110 miles a day to and from work. A lot of those miles are with 5-600 lb loads in the back. AND, the body is made from steel that I helped make. Would I buy another one? You betcha, Kemo Sabe
3dogs - Thursday, 10/02/03 13:58:15 EDT

Amen and Amen: You have that right! I would love to buy a Ranger or S-10 and get that kind of miles w/o stuff breaking off of it. The current crop of 3/4 ton and up diesels seems to be getting up to the same levels as the even larger trucks have traditionally had, and what the imports seem to have been born with. I will insert that the 'import' quality may be slipping a bit. We had to put in a clutch at 150K in our 97 Nissan and went ahead and had the bearings done in the tranny as I could tell 5th was on the downward spiral. And the 97 2.4 doesn't deliver the fuel mileage that the 84 did. 22-23 vs 24-25. The 84 didn't need a clutch until 210k and that was only cause I had lost 3rd and 5th gear and might as well while I'm putting in the tranny. My 01 Tacoma has 78k and is needing the inner socket assemblies replaced but the tires are original! There are some improvements. Unless Bridgestones are offshore.

So space is needed and no heavy stuff. Well then let me take back some of the aspersions I cast on the lowly 1/2 ton. That may fill your needs quite admirably for what you describe,especially sleeping. And it is tough to find the ltd slip in 1/2's so 4X is next best IMO. You do get a stiffer frame with 4X and usually they are bought with a 350 or bigger so they have more oomph than the lil uns. You can pull a trailer then, but still have small brakes, light springs and usually a higher geared rear end.

Course if your buying new then a lot of options are available to you. OK no more ramblings.
Mills - Thursday, 10/02/03 14:12:25 EDT

pick-m-ups: I'm happy with my '96 dodge 1500 4x4, bought it with 50k miles, it now has 137k. Only things I've had to do were a fuel sending unit at 98k (no excuse for that, crappy electronics, made in Japan, BTW) and a new seal on the transfer case at 110k because I actually do use it to travel off pavement! It has a 318, which I figured ought to be good since those have been made since 1961. Unfortunately that was the last year Dodge did a solid front axle on the 1/2 ton 4x4s. Independent front suspension on a light truck taken where bulldozers go is a surefire recipe for a missing oil pan sooner or later.

I do wish it had limited slip, though...

It carried my whole shop full of heavy BSing stuff from western KY to upper E. TN with no complaints, but I don't haul heavy stuff more than four or five times a year.

I am envious of my brother, though. He just got a '03 Dodge 3/4 ton with four doors and the Cummins turbodiesel. 304 horsepower and 550 ft-lbs of torque. Oh, well.

Alan-L - Thursday, 10/02/03 15:51:40 EDT

pre cut/stamped rose petals: could anyone here point me toward the right supplier to buy precut or stamped 18 gauge petals for making some roses?
- Rick Barrett - Thursday, 10/02/03 16:02:05 EDT

Kayne and Son, and Centaur forge, both advertisors on anvilfire, sell them.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/02/03 16:22:26 EDT

Rick: Also Valley Forge and Welding, Jere Kirkpatrick, if he is still in business.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/02/03 17:32:04 EDT

Some are good, some are bad. I think the prices on new trucks are ridiculous. Setting in my yard is an old 1973 Dodge 3/4 ton PU with 300HP 360 CID Engine and a rock crusher four speed. It had about 300K on it when I quit driving it. I had put 200K of that mileage on it. Paid $1500 for it when it was 10 years old and had been put together from a total. NEW it was only $4,800 in 19763. After the first 100K I had a friend overhaul the engine. I broke some rings hot-dogging it at about +80K and drove it until the smoke was too embarasing. It would haul over a ton easily and pass anything on wheels going UP HILL at the same time.

In an odd coincidence I had looked at the exact same model truck with a friend when it was NEW. The plain stripped down WORK truck with no AC or PS cost $1000 MORE than a Ford or Chevy with 4WD, AC and PS. But it had REAL STEEL in the body. The floor of the bed was hot dip galvanized and it had big 8 lug two piece wheels. A REAL TRUCK. Now that it is 31 years old it has a little rust while all those Fords and Chevys from the 1970's have mostly turned to dust. . . or have replacement beds. . .

I keep that old truck hoping I could get ahead about $5 to $8K and restore it. It would perform as well as a new $30K truck, NOT have the associated tax burden and be just as dependable. . . Did I mention it will haul over a TON? Ah. . . it gets 11 MPG loaded OR unloaded. . .

I bought a little 1971 Pinto from a customer back in 1975. It was pretty clean, had the German 2 liter OHC engine and transmission. +200K, 1 timing belt, 1 valve job and 1 carb later we sold it. I put spark plugs in it every 50K and points every 15K (the VW/Bosch distributor was like that). In 1979 we replaced it with a hand me down 1972 Pinto Wagon with the same engine and transmission. I gave $200 and a set of fire place tools for it. We drove it 8 years and put 200K on it. Neither Pinto needed suspension parts other than shocks. Both had the OEM clutches when they went to car heaven. Good solid German engineering. Cheep, dependable. The British made Pintos were junk and rarely outlived the 12K warantee by much.

We replaced the Pinto wagon with a NEW Dodge "K" car wagon. It was the new "small" Dodge with front wheel drive. About the same as the Pinto but lighter. We traded it at 50K when the front suspension and axels started to make noises that told me it was about to become a pile of manure. . . At 2 years old it was worth about $500. We traded it on a NEW 1986 Dodge Caravan. My wife drove it for 180K then started to worry about dependability. I drove it for another 100K and the only major incident was needing a timing chain. Now I have a 1987 van that we are fixing up by taking parts off the 86. . . Other than nagging transmission trouble when they have over 200K they are very comfortable and dependable.

The only vehical I ever lost money on and got no use of was a beat up Jeep Wagoneer. I paid $800 for it, put another $800 into it, couldn't get the transmission fixed (AAMCO could not even properly identify it as a 3 speed Ford trans). And sold it at a loss for what I originaly paid. . The electrical system was fried and the 6cyl engine was a bastard aluminum OHC copy of a Mercedes 6 that the Pentagon had insisted Jeep make. . . A one year special with no parts available. . .

The days are gone when you can buy a $50 car, drive it for a year at almost no cost and get another. . . When I take my Dodge van to the dealer I know it is going to cost a minimum of $150 no matter what they do. . . every time.

I don't have a clue what's good in a late model truck. Most of them are way too complicated for a WORK vehical. AC and PS make it difficult to get to things and electronic fuel injection is completly out for DIY.

The 87 Dodge van I just bought was (is) suffering from a bunch of Red Neck and DIY mechanicing. Lots of little things that added up to making it a $600 car rather than $2000. . bolt missing from the alternator - wrong carburettor - wrong size tires (3) and pimpmobile hub caps - things loose under the dash. When we get all the things put back that others didn't finish it will be a pretty good vehical.

But dependibility is hard to determine. The 86 and 87 Dodge vans were great. The 93 we had was a piece of junk that the dealer could not figure out.
- guru - Thursday, 10/02/03 18:42:49 EDT

MY truck: 1985 Chev S-10, 297,756 miles, all of them hard. Habitually driven to Mexico hauling a travel trailer over almost roads. After it got here, with nearly 200,000 miles on it, I repeatedly used it to haul 1.7 TONS of rock at a time while I was building my house. Never complained. Only real service problem was when it needed a clutch an I let my ex-wife talk me into having it done at the shop. 1200 miles later I had to re-do i9t because the pilot bearing was grabbing. My biggest gripe is that it is a pain to service some things, like the distributor, which is at the rear of the block b ehind everything else. Stupid design. Can't pull the oil pan, have to pull the whole engine. 'Nother dumb design. In spite of all that, if I could find a good clean one for a thousand bucks I'd buy it in a second. Down here, another 200,000 mile should take the rest of my life to run up. (grin)

My choice would be a 1940 Ford P/U with the flathead V-8. Dependable, durable and serviceable. I just can't afford one these days. (grin)
vicopper - Thursday, 10/02/03 20:04:05 EDT

So, adam, seeing as how we are all in agreement here, have you seen the light? BOCG
Mills - Thursday, 10/02/03 22:37:52 EDT

haulin rigs: i put a lot of miles on my 96 f250 powerstoke ford. that being said, my favoite truck is a 1956 chev 2 1/2 ton ag truck that i found on a ditchbank. i got it for free, spent about 2500 dollars rebuilding the 235, kingpins , hydrovac, etc. built a 8x14 foot stake bed on the back. it's got enough ground clearance to cover any wagon trail high desert road,starts every time i squish down on the flintstone pedal starter, and will tote 10,000 pounds without complaining. it goes up hills at 45mph, and gets unlimited mpg when i put in in neutral going looks freakin awesome pulling into a hammer-in with half the shop in the back, all the tools lined up buffet-style around the perimeter of the bed.spending $30k is just a state of mind...
mike-hr - Friday, 10/03/03 01:02:46 EDT

Trucks I have known:
Trucks are like women. To each his own flavor.

I've always considered the ability to fix a truck myself as a strong requirement. My first truck at 16, a new (I was working quite a few construction hours for cash) 350 v8 2wd GMC. The GMC was a great chick magnet and party truck in high school. Good truck, 120 mph downhill, but only had the turbo 350 trans and it didn't hold up. When I got college poor, I got a 68 Ford for $300 with more rust than metal. Had to put in a new pieced in riveted floor, but that truck always started and always got me home. Never should have sold it. Had a '83 GMC 4 by 4 with the 6.2 diesel and that truck was OK for 100,000 miles but was mostly used up after that. Open diffs on that truck were totally useless. Then I got a great deal on a used '90 GMC 350 5 speed manual 4 by 4. That was a GREAT truck. Lots of power, good mileage, limited slip rear end, drove well down the road, etc. Then I rolled it over after falling asleep one early morning when I was working full time and building my house full time. It landed back on it's feet minus some glass, and I drove it home, but the frame and enough sheet metal got twisted that it was totalled. Sad day. Had a '41 Studebaker for a while, but that was a collector piece, not a work truck. A waste of my time.

My '51 International dump truck is sweet. Started right up after 8 years sitting in the woods with just a plug and point cleaning and new/used plug wires from a VW. Has been under water a couple times from plowing the ice rink off too early, Sucks fuel like a jet engine, but I can see around that. Hauls 24,000 pounds gross on a single rear axle
without much complaint.

Other trucks I have known, worked on, but not owned.... we had a 72 Dodge with 360 like Jock said. Huge power, and dependable, but ours handled bad. 72 Chevy with a carburetor from Hexx. '75 Ford 351 that handled bad, sucked fuel and had no power. A string of '75, '76, '78 GMC 454 crew cabs. Great trucks, but sucked fuel and lost one motor (spun a rod bearing to start) when my uncle advanced the timing too much.

Everything has it's plus' and minus'.

I can't wait to get the '52 Studebaker 6 x 6 deuce and a half going for the boy to drive. It won't be fast, but it should be fun. grin! And I hope, safe. I'm debating whether we should put a party box on the back. It's a fifth wheel now. Maybe the party box would be inviting trouble?

I'm probably just trying to relive my high school days with that one. But what the heck! grin
- Tony - Friday, 10/03/03 09:40:55 EDT

Bad Handling Dodge:
My Dodge PU was a dog on handling when I bought it. Michlin truck radials made it like it had power stearing and a Cadilac ride! But darn expensive tires. $600/set in the 1980's. Well, expensive INITIALY. They last so long that they are actually cheaper per mile than any other tire. Plus you get dependability.
- guru - Friday, 10/03/03 17:44:41 EDT

habu: Yes the habu is a viper snake found in oky, it was also the name the locals gave to a "Black Bird" that that the Air Force flew out of the base there durring Nam. See for pictures and history. The heck with swords I came here to learn to forge one of these. anyone have any experence froging Titanium? grin. My AF job was to draw cicles on the photos that it took, the circles represented areas from 6' to 25 miles in diameter around the selected target.
habu - Saturday, 10/04/03 11:05:37 EDT

79 Chev Crew Cab: 200 $ in 96.. One clutch so far.. Looks rough around the edges, But its mine. Bring my fire wood home and my steel. Thats I ask it to do.. In the winter up here it starts better than most new stuff. But being a standard, you wait abit before you can move. tranny a little stiff. Has a flat bed on it now. My son says it has more sheet metal screws in it than the local hardware. But it adds to it. Anyway getting cold up here 1 degree Celus today..

Cheers Barney
Barney - Saturday, 10/04/03 17:08:11 EDT

Freezing - It was the same here night before last and this is the SOUTH!

My favorite old truck was a 1950 GMC/Chevy. . Started life as a 1950 1/2T GMC 3SP and a 1954 235-6. Engine and a bunch of parts ended up in a 1950 Chevy 3/4T with a rock crusher 4 speed and long bed. Had 8 lug 2 piece 15" wheels! Shortly after I bought it I put in king pins and ALL new brakes and front bearings. Later I had to put in rings due to a couple broke. After that it used NO oil (ever - for many years). Electrical system was bastardized from the GMC with a system that let the 6V fuel gauge and 6V distributor work with the 12V starter/generator and battery. Was ABSOLUTELY dependable and you could depend on it overheating. . .

Drove it all the way to Keen NH and back to haul my brother in-law home from school. 24 hours round trip in the summer running the heater to keep from overheating the engine. . .

GREAT truck except for long trips. . .

What I liked about those old vehicals is that you could FIX them. You take any late model the engine can die and nobody can even guess what is wrong with a computer analysis system. . . I used to carry 100lbs of tools with me everywhere but I never worried about getting home. Today I don't dare carry tools in the car because there is a high likelyhood that it will need to be abandoned somewhere on the road . . . and the tools would have done no good in the first place.

I ended up giving that old Chevy + a new deck plate steel bed to my brother who drove it another 5-6 years while building a house. It finally got caught in a flood and had to be gotten rid of. I had gotten the GMC from my brother in law and between the three of us we drove it for over 15 years and it was ANCIENT when we got it. GREAT old truck. . . Probably a hot rod now.....
- guru - Saturday, 10/04/03 17:47:23 EDT

Freezing: You guys are making me nervous. I'm flying to Philadelphia this Thursday. I guess my first stop will have to be the local Salvation Army to see if I can find a nice warm jacket. That's my usual m.o. when I travel up north in cold weather. Buy one to wear while I'm there and then either find someone worthy to give it to or take it back to the SA when I leave. NO point in having it here, and I don't have room to store stuff like that. Tools are different, of course. I can MAKE room to store them. (grin)
vicopper - Sunday, 10/05/03 00:04:08 EDT

Trucks - schmucks: Aah - nostalgia ain't what it used to be. My uncle used to say he only had one good horse and it died. Same with trucks, by the look of it.

My favourite truck was a W model Kenworth with a 525 HP Cummins, 20 speed Spicer with a 4 speed joey box. Didn't own it but got to drive it a couple of times - King of the Road! (Especially with 2x40' double deck stock trailers behind.)
- Big A - Sunday, 10/05/03 06:28:03 EDT

Read with a smile: Weelll Now, I used to pull a stock trailer like Big A, only I used my 38 crashbox Coastal Canardly with the warped head motor. Starter went out but they had included a nifty little pulley from the factory for a rope pull right inside the cab, can't find them anymore, can you. And had a back up motor in it as well, a chain drive run all the way to the rearend with a pedal assembly you could mount for both the driver and passenger, hhehhehhhe. Yessir they don't build em like that no more, why I never hardly did use the engine at all onlyst if I was feel a bit puny or couldn't get the wife or boy to do their fair share. No need to carry no tools neither just a hammer and anvil make what you need when you need it no sense carying extry..
Hoot and a holler guys don't take that personally! I had a favorite truck or two as well But shoot I change oil at 5k don't turn a wrench on anything for 50k when I do plugs and nothing but tires til 150k or more and even the full size trucks are getting better mileage than the cars of 30 years a go with more appointments, No they do NOT build em like they used to.
Mills - Sunday, 10/05/03 09:42:57 EDT

Gearheads:, some of you old double cluchen', gear jambn', old coots might find this interesting. (I know I did). It has fire, steel, steam, and wheels. One of the reason kids "don't get no learning" today is that the extended family lives out of town. I spent my free time at my grandfather's, the son of a black smith,a hard rock miner, welder, and machinest. We had taken a trip to the Stanley hotel in Estes Park, where I had seen a Stanley Steamer. Back at home, my grandfather took me to his "Good Junk" shed and dug out an old Stanley engine, a boiler, and pipe, within the week we had a operating steam engine. That "Good Junk" shed was the acumulation of 100 years of industrial history, coupled with 75 years of experience, handed to a bull headed kid.

The reason that Grandparents and Grandchildren get along so well is a common enemy. Grin
habu - Sunday, 10/05/03 12:01:32 EDT

Greetings, Firelings!: Well, I found a few minutes Sunday afternoon to get on my puter at work. I can see I am way behind on the topics. I am renting an apartment in Blytheville Arkansas until I sell my house in Longview and move my wife, forge, and stuff up here. Next weekend I plan to visit the National Ornamental Iron Museum in Memphis. The River Bluff Forge Council, an ABANA chapter, meets there and I hope to become a member there soon. I do have access to my MSN email account so if anyone has a question regarding metallurgy that has not been answered, feel free to send it to me.
Quenchcrack - Sunday, 10/05/03 14:36:24 EDT

Old Stuff: habu,

When I was teaching Dusty to do phoney indian jewelry, he worked at a welding shop in Longmont that still used an antique acetylene generator. He and I went down there one day to do some welding on a couple of portable forges we were building, and when I saw that acetylene generator, I almost decided to abandon the project. I'd heard too many stories from Pop of those things blowing up, taking a city block with them. It did seem to work though, and I remember they had the whole shop manifolded off that big generator. The extra weight on the pop-off valve was what worried me. (grin)

That old Steamer they kept parked in front of the hotel was a beauty! When I was about 15, Everett Long sold me an old pickup he had sitting around the iris gardens. It was a '34 Ford. Still ran, not much rust and only cost me fifteen bucks. I had a couple of good years fiddling around learning to work on cars with that. Everett had a pretty nifty shop there at the gardens, with a huge old railroad lathe. Probably still there, ssince I imagine Catherine hasn't gotten rid of it. I finally sold that truck when I got the urge to buy that old Indian motorcycle. I wish I still had both of them now. My current Chevy S-10 and Harley Sportster are unquestionably better built vehicles, but not nearly as romantic or nostalgic.
vicopper - Sunday, 10/05/03 18:31:09 EDT

Vic: I had a Boy Scout leader who used to amaze the troop on winter camping trips. He would pick up a few small stones while palming some carbide rocks, and pack them in a snow ball, set the snowball in a Teepee of sticks for a campfire, take a mouth full of water,(or Take a Pee) on the snowball, the smoke (acetylene) would rise form the snowball. Srike a small spark and the fire was lit. A Scoutmaster would go to jail for that today, but we thought it was GREAT.
habu - Sunday, 10/05/03 20:50:21 EDT

Joyce: Saw a thing on CBS Sunday Morning about the MacArtur Foundation awarding it's grants. Tom Joyce was awarded $500,000 over five years for his work in artistic and archetectural blacksmithing. $100,000 a year and he can use it anyway he likes. Bet there will be some new tools rolling in there before long.
- Larry - Sunday, 10/05/03 20:56:29 EDT

scouts etc: Habu, a few years ago ( like 4) we had an asst scoutmaster who was also an explosives expert ( as his day job) and we would light various cerimonial fires using det cord and other pyro effects... was always a crowd attention getter....
Ralph - Sunday, 10/05/03 23:15:31 EDT

Orlando Bloom and Blacksmithing: "KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is set in the 12th century and the start of the Crusades. Bloom would play a blacksmith who through a twist of events becomes a knight in order to defend Jerusalem from the approaching armies. He would also find romance with a princess." (From a movie news site)

So, let's see, after playing an elf in Lord of the Rings, Orlando plays a blacksmith in Pirates of the Carribean, and now he'll be playing a blacksmith in an upcoming medieval flick?

So how come we haven't seen him at any recent hammer-ins? Maybe someone should extend an invitation to him to "learn the mysteries" of the craft? I mean, how often do we get someone playiong a blacksmith even once, let alone twice?

Maybe he'll enhance our image. ;-)

Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 10/06/03 08:48:23 EDT

Trucks: Ok, so I am a day late and a dollar short! But here goes!
I, like the Guru, have a 1973 Dodge 3/4t (club cab) truck sittin in the yard that someday I will get around to puttin back on the road. It has some body cancer in the roof of the cab and a little in the quarters and the tailgate is broken (jeesh you would think that years of using it for a loading ramp for my motorcycles, riding them up it, wouldn't be so hard on it! big grin). It has sat for so long that everything will need to be worked on cept for the new springs and front end that I put on it and didn't use much oh about 15 years ago. It needs a new seat also. It once hauled about 2 yards of wet sand for me, about 6,000#s, yep the front end was mighty light going down the road (big grin)
I bought it in 1976 for $1800 with a 4 speed granny first gear, 3:11 rear axle and a 318 cu inch engine that had a steady miss in it. I replaced the plugs, (8 different heat ranges and brands!) but that didn't fix the problem. So I went to the head and that was ok, next step, take out the piston. Well all the rings had lined up the gaps and she was oil fouling out the plugs. I spun the rings around, put it back together and she has run fine ever since! Up to about 10 years ago when she was put into retirement.

I now have a 94 dodge 1/2t with a V6 and auto. The trans has had a problem ever since I bought the truck for $4,000 two years ago. She likes to take her time shifting into 3rd gear when she is cold from a new, first time in the day start. I take it easy and let her take her own sweet time with no pressure to do the first couple of shifts and once she is warmed up, she runs just fine. It think it needs a new shift solenoid. Gotta get that fixed one of these days. So far I have put over 20,000 miles on her and she is at about 108,000 miles total.

For a "work" car, the one I drive 120+ miles a day back and forth to work, I have a '95 Plymouth neon. 5-speed gearbox. I get 30 mpg at 80 mph with the air conditioning on. It has about 145,000 miles on her and she is running strong. Had to put a few $ into her from the previous owners maintance (or lack of) program. New Rad, motor mounts, front axles, rear wheel brake cylinders, radio and a few other pieces but it starts and runs reliably, runs clean (just smoged last week) and suits the needs of a commuter car very well.

The last two cars I had were also Plymouths. Acclaim models to be exact. I had over 240,000 miles on each of them with few complaints when it was time to retire them.

The worst car I have ever had was the Nissan Stanza wagon we bought new in 1986. That car would pull left after a left turn but would straighten out after a right turn. They replaced brakes, axels, transmission and the tie rods. Never did get that car to drive correctly. The transmission went out at about 65,000 miles and the engine started a rod knock at about 105,000. I dumped that car and bought the first acclaim then. I have had a Mopar since I bought my truck in 1976. I'm sorry Paw Paw that you have left the fold, but you will be back. BTW, I don't EVER buy a new car now; the deprecation hit is just too much. I try to find one less than 2 years old with less than 25,000 miles on them, though the neon had 116,000 on it when it was bought.
Wayne P - Monday, 10/06/03 08:58:50 EDT

Oh, and Trucks::
I’m still driving my 1984 Ford F-150 six cylinder Supercab. When we bought it the idea was for something that could haul all six family members and a half-ton of "fertilizer". Now the kids are all grown and have vehicles of their own (‘cept Mandy) and I’m hauling the faering boat, or blacksmithing gear, or making dump-runs. A recent Chesapeake Bay magazine article (October) on the Longship Company describes the truck as “battered.” I think of it as “well used.” ;-)

Actually (for you mechanics out there) I’ve been having trouble with it overheating in any sort of traffic and then running rough (really rough) between 35 and 50 MPH until I can get the temperature back down. Sitting there with the heater going full blast in traffic while I watch the heat gauge climb does have its drawbacks. I’ve made sure that the radiator is full, and our local mechanic hasn’t been able to spot anything (it usually takes an hour running, and then a traffic slow-down to bring this on), so I’m a tad puzzled. I know we aren’t the “car guys” but with all of the pickups we use, have any of y’all had this happen? Cause or cure?

Very cool and gray on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks.
Bruce Blackistone - Monday, 10/06/03 09:03:27 EDT

over heat: Bruce, check for a stuck open thermastat. it could be that the hot coolant is not siting long enough in the radiator. If the coolant does not "rest" in the raditor to cool the heat will gradualy rise. Easyest way to check it is to replace it, If you have recenty replaced it is it up side down? I only ask because this dummy has been there.
habu - Monday, 10/06/03 10:10:31 EDT

Orlando Bloom: Sounds like that dreaded Hollywood syndrome to me. Typecasting. (grin)


It's probably time for a new radiator. I went through the same thing with my truck a while back. I tried everything, even threatening the mechanic. Nothing helped. I could see the coolant flowing through the radiator, so I assumed it was fine. A mistake. The coolant was only flowing through the very top part of the radiator. The botton 2/3 of it were still cool while the engine was overheating. New radiator and it solved the problem.
vicopper - Monday, 10/06/03 10:24:50 EDT

Trucks: I had a 91 GMC extended cab truck with over 200,000 miles on it that I loved. It was in great shape with no rust. It did have a small hole in the bed wall from an anvil that I thought I had snugged down. Unfortunately, I got hit on the right front which bent the frame and it got totalled last May. I ended up replacing it with a 93 GMC regular cab pick-up with 132,000 miles on it. I miss the extended cab, but the ones available used at the time were too much money.
The one thing I noticed when I was shopping for a used truck was there were a lot of Fords available but not that many GMC's. It was easy to find a GMC that was 3 years old or less, but older Gmc's were mostly wore out and on the bottom of the food chain used car lots. I was looking for a early 90's GMC in good shape and they were hard to find. It seemed like Ford owners traded in more often, and GMC owners held on to their trucks until they were used up. At leaast that's what I had planned to do with my '91. My '93 is a good truck, but I still miss my '91.
- Rob - Monday, 10/06/03 13:52:54 EDT

TRUCKS: HUMMER that is all I'm gonna say folks, not the h2.
- dragon-boy - Monday, 10/06/03 14:55:59 EDT

Trucks: I've had a few old trucks over the years, some that I really wish I still had. Like the 34 Ford pickup I bought for $15 running. I was young and dumb, is all I can say.

I had a 50-something International 1-1/2 ton flatbed with a crane on it when I had my sign shop in Denver. The thing had a straight 6 that only turned about 2800rpm tops, but it would climb a telephone pole at an idle. That truck had some really strange design concepts, but they seemed to work.

Like all International Harvester vehicles other than their combines and over-the-road tractors, my truck was cobbled together at the factory from leftovers from everything else they made. The power steering used hydraulic cylinders on the Pitman arms instead of recirculating ball, the brakes were power hydraulic, rather than air-assist, etc. With all of that, anything that broke on it could (and usually HAD to) be fixed with shade-tree engineering and vise-grip CAD. If you wanted a replacement part, you HAD to take the old part with you since part numbers meant absolutely nothing. If it looked right and could be made to fit with anything less than an eight-pound sledge, it was the right part. Great truck. Now the crane, that was a different matter. The rotate mechanism was a worm gear arangement with about 15º of slop in it. To replace the 34" ring gear would have required having Boston Gear custom make one, which I couldn't afford. I just learned to be really, really, careful around neon. And high voltage lines. (grin)
vicopper - Monday, 10/06/03 15:04:37 EDT

trucks....: Well since the subject came up....
I was going home today for lunch ( any excuse to ride the bike) And was following a Toyota P/U that had a pumpkin in the bed..... I mean it Filled the bed, and the front end of the truck looked like it was about to come off the ground......

As for favorite trucks, well I had a '75 chevy 3/4 T that ran stong on 6 cylinders, unfortunately it was a V-8. But it only ran on 6 right before I got rid of it. It always started, always got 8 mpg ( except while running on 6, then it got 5mpg) Was ugly as sin and carried every thing I asked it to.
The truck I miss most was my first one. a '52 chevy 3/4T with a granny gear that would not stop.... shoulda kept that one and sold the '63 Falcon and the '60 Comet.... sigh
Ralph - Monday, 10/06/03 17:01:17 EDT

Wisdom: A wise fellow once said, "Too soon we grow old, too late we get smart." That pretty well sums up my experiences with vehicles.
vicopper - Monday, 10/06/03 19:07:19 EDT

Gentelmen, where can I find used equipment, hammers, forges, etc. new comer here
Jamal - Monday, 10/06/03 22:16:53 EDT

equipment: Jamal,
can find it everywhere.... perhaps not for free but if you look you will find it.
You can scroung a workable anvil by getting a fairly large chunk of steel form a scrapyard. ( make sure it has at least one fairly flat face) Can build a forge with some wood and clay or an old brake drum. Blowers are in every car heater, dryers, shop vacs... need to be a backyard tinkerer/engineer/jury-rig master... (grin)
Ralph - Tuesday, 10/07/03 00:04:39 EDT

Alti: It could also be that there has been a build up of crud inside of the block and it needs to be flushed.

But it sort of sounds like it could also use a can of compression and some new muffler bearings. . . sorry, I just couldn't resist.

Caleb Ramsby
Caleb Ramsby - Tuesday, 10/07/03 03:10:02 EDT

Dragon boy, Atli : I probably shouldn't be doing this, but.....

Dragon boy, I agree with you. What was the last "good" year for Hummers? The last year you could fix one without a computer?

Atli, in addition to what has been said, check for a small head crack or failing head gasket that might be allowing combustion gasses to get into the coolant sides of the heads? Does the temperature go up in surges or does it steadily climb? If it surges, that indicates combustion gasses pushing the coolant out of the heads and off the tempsensor. The coolant temp sensor is frequently in the head. Sometimes a coolant pressure test will not show a leak unless the engine is hot. Check to see if the water pump bearings are rough also.
- Tony - Tuesday, 10/07/03 10:00:46 EDT

adam: PU Trucks: I sure am glad I asked! Thanks everyone for weighing in. (I mean that without irony) The only coherent thread in this discussion is that we like OLD trucks. Now there's a surprise - blacksmiths confessing to a fondness for ancient machinery. I feel the same way. I like machines that are solid, rugged and simple enough that I can work on them. I have replaced three clutches on my toyota PU trucks - as three teenage boys learned to drive. On my wife's late model Subaru I dont do anything more than change the oil - I can hardly make sense of what goes on in the engine compartment. Periodically we get a phantom check engine light which means wasting a morning and $60 at the garage to have them tell us "Dunno - probably weren't nothing".

However, ABS and airbags are worth a lot IMO. We recently had a head on collision in my area in which one car vehicle was doing over 100mph. The engine from the other vehicle ended up in his passenger seat. Both drivers walked away!
adam - Tuesday, 10/07/03 11:36:04 EDT

TONY HUMMER YEAR: Most definately, however if one can afford the $150,000 for the slightly demiliterized orginal hummer, then why can you not afford a few hundred to get the bugger fixed. The biggest perk on these bad boys it that when the do break you have enough room to crawl inside and invite several frinds to help work on it!) this differs from those foreign cars and trucks, although the wifes buick skylark suffers from the same small engine compartment syndrome.
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 10/07/03 11:40:24 EDT

Dragon Boy/Hummers: 93 was the last year for non computerized civilian Hummers. The point about fixing is so that one can do it yourself. Not a matter of affording it. Also having the abilty to fix it when you are far from one who accepts money to screw it up. Not that there aren't good Hummer mechanics out there. They are just few and far between.

Hummers could be had in the early 90's, new, for not much more than a 4 wheel drive extended cab pickup. They have since been priced out of sight of course. Mostly due to a financial corporate raider buying AM General and raping the customers and the company.

There is a guy here in WI who (re)builds original military Hummers in great shape for around $40K. Titled and DOT ready. A little more if you want a gun hatch/turret and a .50 BMG replica that shoots a propane flame. Most people wouldn't want to ride one down the road every day however. Just a bit noisy. Grin!

Hummers DO break if you use them anywhere near their limit. But the early ones are truly easy to fix in the field and they were one of the last vehicles to have nearly 100% US content. That is an important point for many also. New Hummers have enough electronics under the hood to make any significant part replacement take quite a bit longer. Not really much different than new pick up trucks.

As you mentioned, the new H2 is truly a joke on the consumer. Beautiful marketing job, but not much of a truck.
- Tony - Tuesday, 10/07/03 12:05:44 EDT

more truck stuff: That's okay about the H2 being unsuitable for off-road use, I've never seen one with a speck of dust on it anyway.

I saw a bumpersticker on a truck the other day that Iwould modify and use myself if I did stickers, which I don't: It said "Little boys have bowties, Big boys drive Fords." I would add to that "but grownups drive Dodge!"

Rich: I had a '77 international scout, and I can vouch that part numbers still meant nothing even then. Of course, it DID run, usually, even with the battery hooked up backwards (don't ask...)

If you are interested in Euro military vehicles, there's a company that is buying up Pinzgauers (Austrian NATO issue) and a few other neat-looking serious vehicles from europe and modifying them to be US street legal (except for the Swedish sno-cat looking tracked thingys) and selling them relatively cheap.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 10/07/03 12:30:39 EDT

EURO SURPLUS: Hello NAPA ? Yeah, you got a throwout bearing for my 1981 Pinzgauer ? Cool ! I'll be right over.
3dogs - Tuesday, 10/07/03 14:16:04 EDT

coal forge and Dodge trucks: It's amazing what casual conversation will do for a person. Went up fishing to Canada a couple of weeks ago and met a gentleman from Wisconsin. Started talking about my passion for blacksmithing. Ends up he collects and sells antiques and had a 'forge' that he said he would give it to me if only I'd come and pick it up. He stated he would rather give it to someone who would appreciate it and use it than to sell it to some pilgrim. Well, you don't have to tell me twice. It looks like a Champion forge and the blower works great. A little clean up and it will be a nice addition to the NC tool Whisper Momma! I need to do a little more research to find out exactly what make and model it is.

So to all you critters out there that are looking to get started in blacksmithing, don't keep it a secret! The more you talk about your passion, you'll find leads, ideas, knowledge and opportunities likely to come your way.

Alan - like your idea for the bumper sticker. I have a 2002 Dodge Ram and love it! It's taken me up to Minnesota and back to Texas twice now and is hitting 25,500. No problems except the recall on the mirrors.

p.s. You outdoor types can check out photos of the fishing trip at This site belongs to my parents and two younger sisters, but she did me a favor and added the fishing photos.
Matt Berge - Tuesday, 10/07/03 15:15:46 EDT

Airbags, etc.: Personally, I think that airbags need to be more intelligent. The guy going over 100 mph should NOT have had his bag inflate. Airbags for idiots who drive like that on public roads is a form of inverse Darwinian selection. Much better that they should suffer the consequences of their decisions and keep the gene pool free of maniac genes. IMNSHO

I had a '66 Scout and a '68 scout, both of which had the part number situation. Always an adventure. Good vehicles, though. Well, the '66 4-cylinder was good. Incredible torque. I once towed a semi with trailer that had broken down. Slowly. The '68 had a V-8 that was more powerful than the axles. Guess how I know that?

Hummers? Old ones are good if they have 42" wheels, I suppose. Pinzgauers? Isn't that a breed of dog?
vicopper - Tuesday, 10/07/03 15:53:53 EDT

Trucks: I'm a little late on this one but my all time best truck was a 1961 Ford Econoline Pickup. I always liked the funky little cabover look and when I saw this beat up thing for sale I couldn't resist. It started out with a 144 cu in six that probably weighed more than the rest of the truck and made about as much power as an early volkswagen. I yanked that out and installed a nice tourqey 302 V8 with a small four barrel (okay I did have to do a little sheet metal work to make it fit between the seats), found the wide ratio four speed and then had to fabricate an interesting shift linkage to put the Hurst up front where it belonged, replaced the half ton axle with one from a 1 ton van and had myself a real truck. I never did get around to painting it though- it looked bad but ran great. I once loaded 4000 pounds of gravel in it at the local quarry. I only got rid of it when I got employees. Just a little too much of a handfull for the unwary. If you punched it unloaded even in fourth gear you could pretty much count on the rear stepping out.

These days the truck is a boring 94 GMC Sierra. Lousy mileage but the cab is big enough for me and it runs pretty well with 140,000 miles
SGensh - Tuesday, 10/07/03 20:35:05 EDT

airbags: I once saw an interview with an automotive engineer who said that if you want to encourage safe driving airbags are NOT the way to go. What you want is a sharp spike in the middle of the steering wheel! lol

The guy doing 100mph was in the oncoming traffic lane headed towards a hill crest. Thing is, most of these guys by the time they are old enough to afford a fast car, have already gotten one or more teenage girls pregnant. In addition to a very high teen pregnancy rate, NM has nearly double the natl. average rate of fatalities per vehicle passenger. In general rural states are bad but NM is a leader
- adam - Tuesday, 10/07/03 20:44:24 EDT

that thing is hugh!!!: Vicopper what do you think you are going to do with that vice? I was just tugging my beard trying to figure out where I could put that thing I know you tag it. I won't fight you for it, but it is tempting.
Myke - Tuesday, 10/07/03 21:06:02 EDT

Vise: Myke- I need a really big one to feed my ego and little else. least I'm honest. (grin) Seriously, the big thing is that the seller is in W. Palm Beach and that is the location of one of Tropical Shipping's terminals. I can afford to ship it to the V.I. over water, it's the overland freight that kills me on buying anything heavy in the States. Only costs a hundred bucks or so to ship several hundred pounds by ocean freight. The same weight overland costs three to six times as much, or more.

Someone is no doubt going to run the price waaaay up on that thing just because they can, unfortunately. I have a use for it and I want it, but I'm not going to get stupid about it. Heck, I can build one from scratch for a couple hundred bucks that would probably work much better, I just prefer the classic appearance. It will be interesting to see what happens with it. I will tell you up front that there is no way I'd go over a couple hundred for it, so if it goes beyond that, I quit.
vicopper - Tuesday, 10/07/03 21:15:53 EDT

Vise: That is funny... I didn't bid because it would easily double the price to get it to me. I have a vise that weighs around 95Lb. I just can't think of a good excuse to get a bigger one, other than the obvious.
Myke - Tuesday, 10/07/03 21:34:40 EDT

I am looking for advise on brands for a mig welder to be used for nonproduction work, mostly occasional use on thin metal that I can't use my buzz box for. It could be 120 or 240 and I don't figure it would matter if it was gas shielded or flux wire.
888 - Tuesday, 10/07/03 21:52:35 EDT

MIG Welders: If you want quality and a machine that will not only last, but also have resale value, then go with the big names like Miller or Lincoln. Hobart is next in line, still a high quality machine, but they offer a couple of lower-priced machines designed for hobbyist use. If cost is more of a factor than quality, the import brand Century has a pretty good reputation. If you have 240 available, and the welder is unlikely ever to need to be taken out of the shop, then go with the bigger 240 only machine. They'll have the capability to do larger work if you want to. Personally, I'd go with the gas shielding. The flux wire will give a bit greater range of use for a given current, but is more difficult to dial down for really fine work. Flux wire likes to be kept really dry, too.
vicopper - Wednesday, 10/08/03 00:34:00 EDT

mig welders: I have the Hobart 135 mig welder and I love it. It runs off 115 V and at low current settings it will happily run on a regular 15A outlet which is very convenient. I use it all the time with flux core wire which is very easy to use if you are not an expert welder. MIG only occaisonally. For heavy plate I use the AC buzzbox. Lincoln makes a similar model but it, IMO, its built like a toy compared to the Hobart. Also, the basic Lincoln model is just wire feed - you have to buy the gas kit as an upgrade. I have seen a Miller that looks just like my Hobart.
adam - Wednesday, 10/08/03 13:52:11 EDT

Millbart Welders: Adam, your Hobart looks like a Miller because the two companies are now in cahoots. This was told to me by a recently retired engineer from Hobart, who I was jawboning with at Quad State.
3dogs - Thursday, 10/09/03 01:37:10 EDT

oh, what the heck - Trucks: There's a big Dodge, mid '90s I've seen a couple times around town with a banner/sticker in the rear window proclaiming "Eats Chevys, Sh*ts Fords." Pretty much says it all, I guess.

Me, I've had S10s and full size (half or 3/4) Chebbies and Fords from 1972 to 1995. They're all tasty. Now I got a purty blue '79 Ford shortbed that's just crying for the 429 Interceptor I saw for sale a while back. Mine's got 35's and a Detroit in the 9" rear. It's what I wanted to drive to Quad, but, as they say, the best laid plans. Everyday zoom is a little Honda Civic my wife liked more than I did when we were shopping. Nothing wrong with it though, and I'll take the mileage and ease of care/feeding until just the right Mustang comes along (grin).

Happy Leif Erikson Day! I gotta sleep.
Two Swords - Thursday, 10/09/03 04:58:40 EDT

Looking for Old Wrought Iron: I'm looking for a source of old wrought iron. Anything that has grain and fiber to it. Old wagon wheel rims are good. Apparently they were made of single puddle wrought iron, a very low grade type. I do not necessarily want high grade knife making stock. Any help would be appreciated.
- Jefferson Mack - Thursday, 10/09/03 09:15:32 EDT

wrought: Jefferson,
try old mining areas and places like that. I know Ron Reil found about a ton or so of wrought a few years back at an old mine in Idaho. And was able to get it quite in-expensively too.
Ralph - Thursday, 10/09/03 11:01:30 EDT

WI: Ahh Jefferson, Where are you at? Start with continent, then country then general location in country and we can help you more...

Me I bought 3 long tons of WI from the old Ohio Pennitentiary---it was the tank from the water tower. Know a fellow selling WI from a bridge at $1 a pound and there is supposed to be a lot for sale out in western Ohio from an estate.

Got some out of a stream near an old RR bridge, looks like they just dumped scrap over the rail so to speak.

Old wagon tyres are often WI but the price is usually high due to their aunty-queue value to many dealers.

Old WI fences *were* WI; you might talk with the local fab shop about what they do with the stuff they replace when it gets mangled by a car. (Un-mangled stuff is $$$, mangled stuff is FREE!)

And lastly you can make your own with a bloomery...been there done that have the bloom!

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/09/03 11:18:27 EDT

wrought: Thomas The Orange... show off..... Before Torin moved to PA,
I was over at his place picking up a NG forge and he was showing me a piece of his bloomery results from Penisic (sp?)
I would like to travel east and what you guys do this one of these years.
As forfinding wrought. I have a feeling it is just like finding smithing tools and books. Put the word out and look. as it usually does not just show up on your door step by itself
Ralph - Thursday, 10/09/03 13:53:50 EDT

WI: Ralph; funny it has shown up on my doorstep by itself...

The blooms get bigger and better each year we smelt. Now it's time for me to run my own bloomery at home...

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/09/03 16:09:10 EDT

wrought: Thomas, I sorta knew that having foloowed your exploits for quite a while now.
I too have had some wrought show up... good to have freinds who like to get rid of what is to them junk....
- Ralph - Thursday, 10/09/03 18:50:05 EDT

Wrought Iron: Thomas, got any books to recommend on bloomery iron? I've always wanted to work with some wrought, but I'd like to control the source so's I know what I'm working with.
T. Gold - Thursday, 10/09/03 19:41:00 EDT

air hammers: What do you guys think of the current crop of fabricated air hammers on the market? Sizes run 75-125 lbs, prices run $4000 to $7500. Do you think there is a market for a 50lb air hammer in the $2500 range?
- brent - Thursday, 10/09/03 20:06:46 EDT

Air Hammers: Brent,

I'll let you know on this in a week or so. Tuesday I'll be in Maryland checking out some pretty nifty hammers made by John Larson. I do know fgrom several exchanges with John that he really knows his stuff on air hammers.

As for a market for a 50# hammer in the 2.5K range, it is going to depend on what the hammer can do in real terms, more than the hammer weight. There are 50# hammers and then there are 50# hammers that really move the metal. Fit, finish, style and availibility of various dies all make a difference. There's also the "nostalgia" appeal of the Little Giant and other small mechanical hammers to contend with in that price range. If you can make a reliable, hard-hitting 50# hammer and sell it profitably for $2500, I'm sure there wil be at least some market for it. Merchanndising will make a significant difference in sales, too.
vicopper - Thursday, 10/09/03 21:12:28 EDT

air hammers: Vicopper: Does John have a website? I agree that older antique mechanical hammers are the competition for a smaller air hammer, but how many of us have driven 250 miles to look at one that's "Just like new" just to find another wore out little giant needing babbit, springs, arms, dies...... Good point about needing more than just weight. It'll have to hit. I'm building the prototype now. I believe the capacity will be about the same as a 50lb little giant but with a 10" stroke. A medium size air compressor should run it.

What do the rest of you guys think?
- brent - Thursday, 10/09/03 22:33:25 EDT

Brent: You're looking at a pretty tough market in my opinion. A basic air hammer is a fairly simple machine and your potential buyers are pretty much all amatuer blacksmiths who suffer from the the "I could do that myself" syndrome. That said there are huge variations in performance and convenience in the various hammers already available so don't be discouraged from trying to improve the breed. Good Luck.
SGensh - Friday, 10/10/03 10:30:34 EDT

Revolving photos: Guru - The different photos on the anvilfire home page are really appreciated. Thanks!
Matt Berge - Friday, 10/10/03 14:17:32 EDT

Matt: As soon as the Guru gets time(he's busy man!) there will be a photo that my great-grandmother took of my great-grandfather in his smithy added to the circulation. I think that you will like it!

All of them are great and I think that the revolving photo idea is an excellent one.

Caleb Ramsby
Caleb Ramsby - Saturday, 10/11/03 14:03:07 EDT

spell dreck: Looking at a job post and found this typo: "Their services have expanded, and today they include not only geotechnical engineering, but environmental, geosciences, damn
engineering, materials engineering...."

Boy have I run into some Damn engineering before, the Damn engineer should have been taken out and shot! Like the one that terminated the heater line several inches *inside* the fender wall of a '68 Ford Country Sedan Station Wagon to save 10 cents of tubing to put it in the engine compartment, only car I ever had where you had to remove the hood and fender to replace a heater hose.

Thomas, UNIX Software Engineer (13 years 10 months 2 weeks with Lucent Technologies), Geologist, still looking for work.
Thomas P - Saturday, 10/11/03 22:39:48 EDT

fire: wow fire. the cooper an abondoned 14 acre building that made steam locomitives and later diesel went up my home being beside it was a little scarey houses with their back yards to it for 2 city blocks were hosed down from the fire. a block and a half away glowin embers were tinkling as they hit the ground all around you scarey huge fire
kainaan - Sunday, 10/12/03 10:29:27 EDT

Matches: Ok, this is a little strange, but when was the sulphor match invented? I figure with all the history buffs here, someone might know.
Bob H - Sunday, 10/12/03 18:05:11 EDT

Matches:: Matches were invented in 1827 by the English druggist, John Walker..."Dictionary of the American West" by Winfred Blevins.
- gerald - Sunday, 10/12/03 21:36:07 EDT

Matches: See, I knew this was the place to find out! Thanks.
Bob H - Sunday, 10/12/03 22:33:03 EDT

Thomas P --- Jobsearch: Thomas, do any of these look good to you? Not that my motives are affected by my greed for your knowledge and anvil-hoard, or anything, (of course, nothing of the sort, I'm an altruist at heart) but hey, it's worth a try to help a brother smith, and should you happen to accept a position and relocate to a university with its own medieval studies institute (and which happens to be very close to my place)....

Two Swords - Monday, 10/13/03 03:52:46 EDT

Ooh boy is my face red: I just noticed they were all the same. Sorry, guess it's time for a nap. At any rate, that goofy-link takes you to the menu. Hope it's worth a look.
Two Swords - Monday, 10/13/03 03:56:49 EDT

Two Swords: Well, one of them was fit so I sent out an application for it.

Thanks for the notice!

Thomas P - Monday, 10/13/03 12:56:27 EDT

jobs: Thomas: glad to help! I'm really just trying to shift the magnetic center of North America a little farther north-by-northwest. I figure if you relocate up this way - with your shop and hoard - why, that'll be enough to cause the shift.

By the bye, I was set to give the guy in Guru's den an answer about his 200 pound sword which might have looked a lot like yours (less well informed but along the same lines). I did a google on the name of the sword (zambuchi? I forget) and came up with a quick few minutes of reading on a couple other forums where people know what a particular sword looks like because they have played this game or that. I imagine most of you guys figured that out ahead of me, but after that, I lost interest in the thread and deleted before posting. I'd say you were right on, mentioning anime.

And my hat's off to you for taking the time to write something for that particular guy.
Two Swords - Monday, 10/13/03 14:18:38 EDT

Movie Review: Kill Bill: Went and saw the Quentin Tarentino movie, Kill Bill, this weekend. The main actress, Uma Thurman, goes to see a Japanese sword smith to obtain a 'killing' sword. Quentin missed an excellent opportunity to show the actual forging of the sword. Guess it didn't play to the story line.
The movie does show some excellent up close shots of different swords and what they can do when used for the intended purpose.

Caution: If you get queasy, you may want to pass up on this one. Very bloody...but then what would you expect when you get a bunch of individuals slicing and dicing.
- Matt Berge - Monday, 10/13/03 14:43:00 EDT

Kill Bill: I second what Matt said... I was *so* disappointed when Tarantino skipped over the forging sequence... probably overbudget, but I'm sure we'd all have liked to see it and poke fun at it. Good movie to see if you already like Tarantino movies... incredibly, hilariously gory, to the point where in one scene they filmed in black and white and used water for the blood because there was just so much of it.

By the way, Guru, the "POST" button in the Hammerin doesn't work on Opera... have to switch to IE to post in here.
- T. Gold - Monday, 10/13/03 15:24:34 EDT

Brent's Q on air hammers: I lurk here, and saw your question about hammers. I don't have a web site yet, but have posted a lot across the street at the junkyard forum and have posted a picture in that sketchbook.
- John Larson - Monday, 10/13/03 19:15:07 EDT

Russian Anvils: Hi; I'm just trying to get into Blacksmithing, and haven't been able to find a "master" in my area to "apprentice" me, so I've been doing research here on how to start up on my own:
FORGE: brake drum - can it be bolted together, or must it be welded? either way, doable.
ANVIL: don't have a lot of money, so I've been looking at the Russian Anvil, and I have a number of questions -
1) how do I tell the diffence between the Russian Anvil and the Russian ASO before buying? any clues or just "never from ebay" (where I first saw the russian)
2) On older, cast iron anvils, I've heard that they had a tool steel plate "welded on" to the face. would it be possible to weld a 1" tool steel plate to the face of a scarred russian anvil to make it last longer? or does that require an industrial-only type set up?

Those are my two main questions. except, of course, the obligatory: Does anyone live in the Panama City, Fl area, or know a smith in the Panama City area who would be willing to teach me?

Thanks in advance.
- EbeneezerSquid - Monday, 10/13/03 20:54:53 EDT

Ebeneezer: Try This is the link for the Florida Artist Blacksmith Assoc. See what info you can find there on local meetings of their group. Then when you attend some meetings, talk to the smiths there about finding an anvil. The Russian anvil will work, and can be bought from Harbor Frieght, but it really isn't the best option. Check the review here on Anvil Fire about the Russian Anvil. But again, your best bet for instruction and finding tools will be with your local blackmith association. Now do your leg work on that, and good luck.
Bob H - Monday, 10/13/03 21:30:51 EDT

Russian anvils: Ebeneezer,
Bob pretty much covered it. Altho I will say that unlesds it is a cast iron anvil one of teh HF anvils will do for a first anvil, just as long as you realize that a 'good' anvil will be 'lively' meaning it will return a large part of the hammer blow back to you so you will not get nearly as tired working.
But I do know FABA is an excellent place to start. I seem to remember that there are several smiths in your area.
Also they can often times help loacting low cost stuff.
Ralph - Tuesday, 10/14/03 02:02:38 EDT

Ebeneezer : A brake drum is not the only option - guru's den this week had a good discussion on using an old sink for a forge. Tai Goo uses, or did use, a washtub to forge wonderful knives. Plenty of options, they're all around. I do not believe the drum has to be welded to its bottom. Mine is not even bolted to the bottom plate, and I have no complaints about how it works. My blower is "divorced" so there is no vibration or shaking. I had planned to use furnace gasket and bolt it together, but this step is not needed. My brake drum was from an International semi tractor, though, and is very large, thick and HEAVY. It does not move around on the bottom plate at all. It's also *too* deep as is, and I had to elevate the grate off the bottom by 3-3.5". Keep this in mind, if you have not yet acquired a firepot.

Bob and Ralph make good points regarding anvils, Russian and otherwise. Harbor Freight sells a 55# cast-iron ASO which is made...God knows where, blacksmith hell, maybe.

*CAVEAT: Most (not all) people on Ebay and at Harbor Freight do NOT know the difference between cast, wrought, iron, steel, Kyptonite, or Shinola, but they WILL tell you what you want to hear in order to get your money. Study this deeply.*

Avoid the cast-iron ASO unless you need a doorstop, paperweight, or very snazzy gas grill for next year's Quad State meet. The 110# Russian is...serviceable. I own one. I'm about to loan it out to someone else, because the Trenton I found later makes the Russian feel inadequate, and I'm sensitive to its little stubby-horned Russian feelings. It's probably the only *useable* anvil you will buy for under $1/pound unless you have the incredible luck of the Powers clan. OK, it's probably the only one I will ever buy for under $1/pound, because I don't have that luck. Ebay can be a treasure house, but there's a significant risk of being hosed. And prices are high there even if you don't get played.

A local or state BS group will also usually have some equipment listed for sale, say, in a newsletter. Keep on looking, my man, you're on the right track. Search the archives. Don't neglect the possibility of homemade anvils. These can easily be more serviceable than HF's finest, and at less cost.
Two Swords - Tuesday, 10/14/03 03:28:00 EDT

forge weilding: Ureka! tada, and hot damn! I did it. Over the weekend I was able to styme the mysteries of this sacred art and finally figured it out! and boy do I feel stupid, cause it aint hard at all! once you follow the chosen mystical steps on the iforgeiron website!
- dragon-boy - Tuesday, 10/14/03 09:02:10 EDT

Wayne Parris: Ebeneezer,
When you are first starting out it is easy to be overwhelmed with the tools and "traditional" looks. Break down what you need to the basic components. You need:

A) A place to hold your fire.
B) A source of air under pressure to blow into the fire.
C) You need something hard to hammer on.
D) Something to hammer with.
E) Something to hold hot metal with.

Take the first requirement. The forge. This can be as simple as a hole in the ground. I have seen forges made with nothing more than a cardboard box, lined with dirt and a pipe stuck in the side. How about a wooden box with dirt or ash lining? Use your imagination, brake drum? Sure, sink, why not? How about the bottom, of an old water heater? Make your own from steel plate? Sure, that is what I did. Buy a ready made forge, ok. All you need is something to hold the fire with a provision to allow air under pressure to enter the fire from the bottom.

The next thing is a source of air under pressure. This can be a set of bellows, two goat skin bags and someone to pump them, a hand powered crank blower, a motor powered blower, a vacuum cleaner, a fan from the heating system in a car, an old hair dryer, use your imagination.

Next you need something to hammer on. You can get a serviceable first anvil but by no means a great anvil from Harbor Freight, (the source of all the Russian anvils on Ebay) It is easy to tell the difference between the fair anvil they sell and the doorstops that pass for anvils. The better one is made from cast STEEL, rings when you hit it with a hammer and says, “made in Russia” on a nameplate stuck on the side with glue. This anvil has a very soft face and will mark easily but it is light years ahead of the cast iron ASOs they and most other stores sell. You can search the flea markets, yard sales, farm sales nooks and crannies etc until you find a good forged anvil with a tool steel face. You might find an anvil made by Fisher or Vulcan. These are cast iron anvils with tool steel faces welded on at the time of the casting being poured. You cannot weld on a tool steel face to the ASOs that you find at HF or other stores; you will never get a good bond. There are quite a few people who prefer the Fisher to a forged anvil due to the fact that they don’t ring and are more neighbor friendly in an urban environment. You can go to the local scrap yard and buy a piece of metal that weighs about 100 + lbs. If you get a piece of say 6” round stock a few feet long, you will have a more than serviceable anvil. The idea is to have as much mass under the place where you are hammering as possible. Some people use RR track as an anvil. BUT don’t fall into the trap of trying to cut and grind it into a thing with an anvil shape. There is LITTLE support in the web and the flexing will waste your hammering blows. Rather, set it on end so you are looking at it from the end. You will then have a solid place that is oh, 2” by 21/2” to hammer on; this may seem small but is normally all the area you need to work effectively. Again, use your imagination.

As for something to hammer with, you can start with a claw hammer. Not the best tool for the job but it will do in a pinch. You can get ball peen hammers from HF for something like $6 for a set. Look in all the usual places for used tools. Yard sales etc.

Now for something to hold the metal. You can start by using long (say 2 foot) stock. This will not need tongs as you can hold the metal directly. (You can make your first set of tongs this way) Sometimes Vice grips are used. They are not the BEST devices for holding your stock, but they will work. Again, look in the usual places for used tongs. You might pay a bit much for them at antique shops but one or two from such places won’t kill you.

You can certainly go out and buy all of the above new, and spend a small kings ransom for them, or you can make the needed items from the junk you probably have lying around. Certainly as you progress, you will want and will appreciate better tools, but there is no need to break the bank to get started.
Wayne P - Tuesday, 10/14/03 09:16:20 EDT

OOPS!: I didn't intend to put my name as the subject, It is early yet!
Wayne P - Tuesday, 10/14/03 09:22:21 EDT

Canedy-Otto: Managed to get most of the crud scraped off the blower over the weekend. What I found was that I had aquired a Canedy-Otto forge and blower, not a Champion as I had first thought. Works for me!
- Matt Berge - Tuesday, 10/14/03 09:59:07 EDT

forge welding: Congrats, dragonboy, you've learned that the only hard part about forge welding is getting over the idea that it's hard!

I was lucky in that regard. My first smithing experience was a class at John C. Campbell, and on day three of five we were introduced to welding without being told it's hard. As a result, since it was treated like there was no big deal to it, I wasn't intimidated. I have since met several people who were always told it was extremely difficult, and as a result are convinced it's magic rather than the natural result of following a simple set of steps. That said, I have yet to get this big coil spring I use for chisels to stick to itself. I blame the chrome content! yeah, that's it...
Alan-L - Tuesday, 10/14/03 11:14:31 EDT

Brake drum forge: Ebeneezer: I dont think you can go wrong with a brake drum forge. They are cheap ( mostly scrouged material), simple and adaptable enough to take different design features.

The first forge I built was a brake drum type and I had no idea what I was doing. First select a wide shallow drum. Mine was fourteen inches wide by about three inches deep. Affix some sort of legs to it to get it to the proper height. I wrapped a 3/4 inch round steel rod around mine and added three legs with braces. The only problem with this design is the small area of the pan.Stuff keeps falling out unless you stand there and hold it. I solved this by acquiring a 55 gallon steel barrel, laid out a mark around the side the thickness of a brick from the top and ran it down farther on about one third of the circumference. Take a jig saw with bimetal blade and cut out the lines. Turn it over and you will have the barrel end with a lip around two thirds and a higher back that helps to serve as a wind shield. Bore a small hole directly in the center and use a string and nail to scribe a circle just slightly larger than your brake drum. Cut that out and set it on the forge. Use small scraps of steel to attach the barrel head to the forge. Line the barrel head with fire brick laid flat and secured with mortar. Two inch water pipe plumbed up to the hole in the bottom of the brake drum and hook up a twelve volt heater motor and a battery charger and your ready to go. The brick lined barrel head creates more space to hold tools and steel, a deeper fire pot and helps to hold the heat in better. I now have two more forges but I still use the brake drum for most work. Also, the left over piece of barrel makes an ideal slack tub. Two birds with one stone.
- Larry - Tuesday, 10/14/03 12:56:13 EDT

My Creed: "Anything that doesn't burn is a forge, Anything that doesn't break is an anvil"

Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/14/03 13:31:04 EDT

Square Tube twisting: Hi, I am wondering what technique is the best for twisting a 1" square tube. I have had several ideas thrown my way, but not by anyone who does this alot.
- Whitney Adams - Tuesday, 10/14/03 15:01:43 EDT

TUBE TWIST: The best way I have found is to plug one end with a threaded pipe cap( this implies that the ends of the pipe are threaded), fill the pipe with dry sand, cap the other end loosely, heat and twist. the sand keeps it from collapseing, it is imparative that it is very dry sand though or you get a nasty little explosion. You don't want to know how I came by this info.
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 10/14/03 15:21:28 EDT

Tube twist : another method is to insert a piece of round stock into the square tube that "Just fits" and twist around that. The round stock will support the square tube.
- habu - Tuesday, 10/14/03 18:02:00 EDT

tube twist: Habu has the better way in my opinion.... :)
Ralph - Tuesday, 10/14/03 18:09:36 EDT

twisting: definatley safer, but were is the fun in that?:)I know mine works,That is how I've done it, I never thaught about twisting it around a piece of round. definately the better way lies with habu!
dragon-boy - Wednesday, 10/15/03 08:41:19 EDT

Home Again:
Paw-Paw came home to a dead computer. While on the road he couldn't get out going e-mail to work and now he has a dead PC (power supply we think). SO, it may be a day or two more before you hear from him.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/15/03 10:33:34 EDT

Building Hammers: I've designed and estimated costs on a variety of small "low cost" hammers and it is impossible to construct a good small hammer from new parts and materials (in the US) and sell it for $2500. You MIGHT build it for that but you won't stay in business long with zero markup. Cheating on the design by using less than the necessary anvil mass also gets you nowhere.

Non-self contained air hammers are cheaper to build than mechanical hammers. However, a good small mechanical hammer is much more efficient than an air hammer. You can run a mechnaical hammer on 1/3 the horse power of an equivalent air hammer. There are some simple spring helve hammer designs around but they do not have the efficiency or striking power of the toggle linkage designs. It is the only linkage system that efficiently converts rotary to liniear hammer motion.

Trip-Air was the original small fabricated air hammer. They built a very fast 35 pound hammer that would actually run on the small air compressors that their competition claimed their's could run on (very poorly). However, their price was close to the 75 pound Old Blu (replaced by the 100 pound Big BLU). I haven't seen a Trip-Air ad for quite a while and I am not sure they are still in business.

Yes, The market could stand a good small mechanical hammer. But the builder is going to need to test the machine under production conditions for at least a year before selling to the public. Otherwise there will very likely be failures that would quickly lead to bankruptcy. The fabricated air hammer manufacturers have been fighing with component failure problems from the begining. Most have had to go to custom made heavy duty cylinders in order to have a semblance of dependibility. Warantee replacements cost them all a fortune a few years ago.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/15/03 11:27:48 EDT

Forge Welding: When everything comes together, clean fire and a little luck, it can be easy. But even the best have forge welds fail. The most common culprit in failed welds is either a bad forge or a dirty (ususaly an ash and clinker cloged) fire.

This past Saturday we had a visiting smith try a forge weld that he does often. He was using the coal forge in Paw-Paw's portable shop. I could tell from the way that they had to pump the bellows that it was not going to work. We were about a half day into our fire which was none too clean that morning. Usualy you could burn a piece in an instant in this forge but just getting a decent heat was difficult at the moment. Instead of rebuilding the fire, stuborness prevailed. The weld was made and the piece finished. Then it was turned around to finish the other end. . . the weld that had held up through punching and chisleing a nice horse head fell apart under the load of the bar. . .

My friend Josh Greenwood who is an excellent forge welder and uses nothing but forge welds in complicated decorative work where there may be a dozen branching welds on a single bar trys to avoid demonstrating forge welds because there is always a chance of failure. I do not think I have ever seen him miss a weld but it DOES happen and he knows it. In a discussion with the late Francis Whitaker, Francis admited that he was more likely to miss a forge weld when demonstrating than at any other time.

Or maybe you remember the ones that fail when you are demonstrating. . . .
- guru - Wednesday, 10/15/03 12:05:20 EDT

I'm looking for some information on a #50 Novelty Iron Works Power Hammer. Any pictures or links would be great so I can get the size, power requirements etc. Thanks in advance.
- Bob H. - Wednesday, 10/15/03 14:07:30 EDT

forge welding: I didn't mean to imply that I get all mine to stick either. The one I remember best was a tomahawk head that I had put about eight hours into, including forging, grinding, and filing, and when I heated up the poll end to braze a bowl on, the blade weld split down the middle with a heartbreaking PING!

Someday someone may find it, if they dredge the Green River in the right place...
Alan-L - Wednesday, 10/15/03 15:03:09 EDT

Guys, it is the power supply on my computer. I'm using Sheri's at the moment. I should be back on line sometime tomorrow, and I'll start catching up on my e-mail then.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/15/03 22:35:52 EDT

Tube Twist: Thanks for your suggestions,
Those two are really close to the ideas I was thinking of useing exept for the sand one I was going to try welding a peice of strap on for the cap. then twist. Or else I was thinking of twisting it around a small pipe so I won't have to worry about getting the stock back out.

But thank very much you for your help. I'm goingto try this in oder to make a set of lamps. I hope the'll turn out.
Whitney Adams - Thursday, 10/16/03 00:58:34 EDT

bare brazing rod: Were can i get it? does lowe's posibly carry it or should I try to finda weilding supply store? or just go through on line shopping? the bare rods were used in an iforge demo by guru. any help would be great!
dragon-boy - Thursday, 10/16/03 09:26:11 EDT

bare brazing: Well, I usually recommend wearing clothes when brazing so's the rod doesn't get hurt, but if you gotta...

When I need bare rod, I just remove the flux from flux-coated rod with a wire brush. Save the flux coat, it's good for forge welding when you just can't get stuff to stick.
Alan-L - Thursday, 10/16/03 09:42:27 EDT

welding: I've been making branching scrolls out of 5/16" stock. I do these like a poker - fold over a short loop and weld the end back on to itself - then cut the loop and forge the branches into tapers etc. I find it tough to get a nice looking weld on thin stock. Brazo, a brazing flux sold in welding stores, seems to work better than borax in my gas forge. The other trick is to sandwich a thin piece of wrought in the weld - makes it weld easier and stops it separating at the branch.
adam - Thursday, 10/16/03 09:51:44 EDT

claw hammer?: Would'nt use a claw hammer on metal work.Hardened face could result in serious shrapnel.
- Ritch - Thursday, 10/16/03 09:51:58 EDT

brazing rod: Ha! Now that I read Alan's post, I see he says the same thing about brass welding flux! :)

I have occaisonally seen bare brazing rod in hardware stores but its usually flux coated. The flux is basically borax and you can scrape it off. A welding supply store is really the place to go or an online supplier like . You need a welding store in your list of resources so this is a good excuse to hunt one down.
adam - Thursday, 10/16/03 09:57:58 EDT

Bare brazing rod, as sold in welding stores, is generally cheaper than the flux coated rods one finds in stores like Ace hardware, and for most applications you can use a can of flux like brazo or anit-borax (brand name) and save several dollars with the bare brazing rod; also the bare rod can be had in several different diameters......
Ellen - Thursday, 10/16/03 12:52:34 EDT

.....ANTI-borax......darned keyboard again!
Ellen - Thursday, 10/16/03 12:53:33 EDT

D-B a good welding supply store will beat Lowes' prices hands down; besides which you want to get to know them so you can ask about getting failed hydrotest tanks---the top is a bell the middle is a gas forge shell that you can weld all sorts of gimmicks too and the bottom is adishing form...

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/16/03 16:00:05 EDT

Both of the Tractor Supply stores that I consider "local" have non-flux-coated brazing rod. So do the local welding stores. And the guys at the welding stores even listen and then offer suggestions when I try to describe what I'm doing. Most recently, the guy knew exactly what I wanted when I went in to try to buy TIG wire for use in pinning folders together. What a place!

Steve A - Thursday, 10/16/03 18:17:09 EDT

building hammers: Hi Guru: Thanks for the tip on the air cylinder problems. Can you shed any more light on this? Also, were there any failures that resulted in injury?

One the big questions I have on any new hammer is safety. One of the manufacturers states they have an OSHA approved guard over the foot pedal, but I really don't think it would pass muster. Also, warning labels are common place and required for most industrial machines, but I don't see any of the manufacturers using any of the standardized ones. Not a lot of guarding evident on the non-self contained air hammers on the market either, While I admit a guy does have to accept a certain amount of personal risk when doing blacksmithing, more of the non-hitting mechanism could be covered. Whaddya think?
brent - Thursday, 10/16/03 19:36:30 EDT

Air Hammers: Brent (and others):

Just got home last night from my trip up north. I was fortunate enough to spend the better part of Tuesday at John Larson's shop in the third-world industrial park near Baltimore somewhere. Hey, I wasn't driving, so I don't know exactly where I was. Actually, John may be relieved to hear that I couldn't find his shop again unassisted, since we managed to disassemble a couple of his tools while I was there. (grin)

The visit to John's shop was tremendously enlightening. John builds both Kinyon-style air hammers and self-contained hammers. I could see that John has spent way more than just a couple of months, (more like a couple of years), on research and development. His "test mule" self-contained was a real revelation to me. For the first time, I finally understand how those things actually work. And for a "test project", that thing hits really hard! His full-sized self contained hammer really pounds iron impressively. Heat up a railroad spike and turn it into a Calla Lily in one heat with that hammer if you know what you're doing. Or, if you're like me and it's your first time at a power hammer, you get a mashed-up, crooked railroad spike in TWO heats. (grin)

John's Kinyon-style hammer was very impressive, also. Good design ideas coupled with sound construction practices. The one I saw wasn't completely finished, but the action was predictable and strong nonetheless, and the hammer was a good bit shorter than most Kinyon types I've seen before. John has obviously spent thousands of hours developing his hammers and it has payed off.

I said I would be able to give a better response to your question after my trip and I think I can, now. The answer is no, I don't think you can make a good air hammer to sell for $2,500. You can make one for that, but you can't sell it at enough profit to stay alive. To sell one for $2500 and make a profit, you have to be able to make it for no more than $400 in materials cost. That plus three times that amount for labor costs equals $1600 cost before overhead. If you have absolutely NO overhead, you can sell it for $2500 and be profitable.

Of course, you really MUST have product-liability insurance if you're going to be selling industrial equipment, and that is NOT going to be cheap, either. You'll need to make several hammers to get the per-hammer cost of the insurance to a manageable level. If you have ANY overhead, you are operating at a working loss and will very soon be bankrupt.

I've priced the materials to build a SMALL air hammer from new stock and I came up with a figure of about $800. MINIMUM. That results in a selling price of $4500 or so, if you are very efficient. Interestingly enough, that's just about the price range for many new air hammers. I won't even get into the area of service and warranty, which is a whole 'nother aspect of manufacturing that greatly influences profitability. Just imagine that one of the components you use to build several hammers fails and has to be YOUR cost. Another profit-killer. What about schlepping a hammer or two around to various hammer-ins and conferences, trying to build a market? That takes time away from design and production and adds to overhead.

All of the foregoing comes to you with the caveat that I know VERY LITTLE about marketing. I've never been particularly successful at marketing so I've undoubtedly left out any number of factors, both positive and negative. As they say, your mileage may vary.

My sincerest thanks go to Steve Gensheimer for his time and effort to show me his and his friends' shops and haul me down to John Larson's. Steve is a fascinating person with an obvious love of metalworking. It was a joy to spend a couple of days with him.
vicopper - Thursday, 10/16/03 20:00:22 EDT

spear tangs: I was wondering if someone could tell me how to lengthen a tang with out having to do any really complicated stuff. (if there is an uncomplicated way)
- walker - Thursday, 10/16/03 23:26:33 EDT

One can lengthen a tang by forging it out---makes it smaller in cross section though.

One can lengthen a tang by welding on a section either by forge welding or arc welding *but* you need to be a good welder and understand HAZ, heat treat, working with high carbon steels, stress concentrators etc to get a good results, just buzzing a piece on will most likely result in it breaking off in use.

In general socketed spears seem to be the norm after the lithic ages were over..

Thomas P - Friday, 10/17/03 08:01:29 EDT

OSHA Guards and component life:
Brent, See our Power hammer Page article. The Big BLU, KA-75 and Kuhn all have OSHA treadle guards. The purpose of these is to prevent a piece of bar or work from accidentaly engaging the treadle. None are perfect. In OSHA parlance perfect would mean inoperable. . .

Flash guards are required on production forging machines but those used for hand forging where access is required from all angles and especialy those used for artistic work cannot have guards blocking the dies. The OSHA rules specificaly exempt this type of operation. Forging hammers put into production situations where flash could strike workers NOT using the subject machine OR other workers in the vicinity (passing by) must have guards added by the owner. Usualy these are plates or panels that are not necessarily part of the machine. Guarding in this situation can also include safety zones.

Tom Troszak (formerly of Bull Hammers) had a safety sticker on all his machines that said "Engage mind before machine". I thought that sort of summed up the subject of warning labels.

The cylinder problems were numerous and included everything from broken rods, bolting falling apart, severe wear and seal failure. Most air cylinders are not designed for the heavy inertial and impact loading of a power hammer and their use is a misapplication of the product. The ram speed should be limited for certain seal types. Building a faster hammer can result in a machine that works fine slow but the seals fail when run at full speed.

I always found it more difficult to engineer around standard components than to design and build custom components. As soon as you push the envelope of the the standard component you are in big trouble. You need to fully understand the OEM application the component was designed for and its limitations before you specify it. Generaly you need to know as much (or more) about the component as the engineers who designed it.

When you build a hobby machine you can get away with all kinds of misaplications. Sure, parts fail, but it was YOUR project and you can put up with crankyness that you created. I have a bunch of old USED worn out cylinders I will probably use to build an air hammer. I have no expectation of their having a long life. But they will probably more than earn their replacements before they fail. It is completely different than building a production machine for resale.
- guru - Friday, 10/17/03 15:27:30 EDT

tangs: I figured I had to forge it out, but was just checking if there was another way.
Thanks alot for the advice.
- walker - Friday, 10/17/03 16:39:36 EDT

those days: have you ever had those days where all the training just crumbles aound you ,the corner stone is no longer the structure. And for all its worth it has seen you,.for your wisdom and said SCREW YOU!! not always you step with your square is it the truth . And sometimes a dual pitch 5/12 12/12 isnt realy a 81/2 -12 its a 7/12 damn the multiple dual pitch. Sorry for the rant ya'll but i pride my framing and build the quality i know my grandfathter would. today i disapoint all, so tomorrow i will go and fix and fix it well!! Goodness to all!!
- kainaan - Friday, 10/17/03 20:49:33 EDT

Kill Bill swords: From what I've seen of the movie it looks like someone forgot to teach Uma Therman how to properly hold a katana. It really stings when you see a decent katana (for a movie) not held right. I just wish directors would get someone to go down to the local martial arts school and just ask how to hold one! :-|
- walker - Saturday, 10/18/03 01:10:04 EDT

Da Movies: WALKER; I, myself hope they stay just as stupid as they've always been. The film industry has always been a source of amusement for Tradesmen of all sorts. It gives those of us who know the realities an opportunity to point, snicker and snort, and say to each other,"Did you see what that schmuck just DID ????"
3dogs - Saturday, 10/18/03 01:48:56 EDT

3dogs: Even after you "snicker and snort" they got your money, why would they care? grin
habu - Saturday, 10/18/03 12:07:37 EDT

building hammers: Hi Guru, vicopper and others. Thanks for all the real good input and opinions. It begs the question: If a lower cost hammer (50lb. or so) did come on the market in the $2500-3000 range, and it did what it said it could do, and the builder did a reasonable job of promoting it, how big is the market? 10/year? 50/year? Thanks in advance!
brent - Saturday, 10/18/03 13:09:53 EDT

I enjoy them as escapest fair and it is nice when they are technicaly correct. But when a story is as far out there as the Highlander movies or something like Kill Bill what is "accuracy". Although they make reference to the real world they write their own history and physics often replacing technology with magic (the "magic" is even mentioned in the Highlander theme music) so why not take liberties with EVERYTHING else. . . ???

Today more NYC street scenes are filmed in Toronto than in NY. Its almost as bad as the spaghetti Westerns filmed in Spain and Italy that were supposed to be on the US/Mexico border. OR those Hollywood films shot in Bakersfield, CA. Although desert looks like desert to most folks anyone with an eye for detail and has visited those places know they are wrong. . .

After Disney made "Pochantus" the people of the state of Virgina wouldn't let them buy property to build a theme park because we knew how bad they would continue to screw up Virginia history. . . We like jobs and money in Virgina but don't mess with our history! Let FL and CA have em. . .

The forging sequence in Conan the Barbarian is GREAT! It is probably the most inaccurate piece of tripe out there but it was GREAT fiction. . which is the point. Its fiction. Its art. Its make believe. It is a dream.

Enjoy the dream. I laugh at the inaccuracy too. But then have to put up with the imbeciles who think it is REAL LIFE and want to know how to make a sword in 50 words or less.
- guru - Saturday, 10/18/03 16:52:10 EDT

Bare Brazing Rod:
Brazing rod is available from any good welding supplier in both bare and coated rod. Bare is cheaper. Coated becomes bare over time setting in my welding rig. . . But it is worth the cost if doing a lot of brazing.
- guru - Saturday, 10/18/03 16:55:17 EDT

SWABA: Went to a SWABA meet today (SouthWest Arteest Blacksmith Assn)- I should go more often - and picked up an Acme post drill in what looks like very good cond. Not that I need it. I have a perfectly good heavy duty drill press but it's such a cool piece of machinery I couldnt resist.

The demo was in a new shop - guy had just erected one of those ribbed sheds that you buy as a kit. He had a 50# little giant in pieces while rebuilding. All in all it's going to be a very nice setup. However he was using a gas forge and working the steel at what looked to be dull red heat, even for the heavy forging. He mentioned how much he was looking forward to getting his powerhammer working. I've seen this a couple of times before and dont understand why one would do this? I run my forge at or near welding heat and do my heavy forging at those temps.
adam - Saturday, 10/18/03 19:18:47 EDT

Sword in 50 words or less: Get metal. Heat. Hammer into shape. Reheat and get it bright red. Plunge in COLD snow water. Take and add handle. Rub with rock till sharp and shiny.

WOOHOO now can I get a job in Hollyweird and be a technical advisor? (g)
Ralph - Saturday, 10/18/03 21:20:35 EDT

Cold Forge:
Adam, He probably hasn't figured out how to adjust his forge. . . Its easy to have a gas forge run at less than nominal.
- guru - Sunday, 10/19/03 16:10:35 EDT

Movies : yeah i guess the movie industry will never get it right. (sigh) But it is, like you said, usually a good laugh on them.
- walker - Sunday, 10/19/03 19:27:02 EDT

I know its an old question, but I have a slightly different angle on it- I too have owned lots of old trucks, and fixed them all- some sort of coincidence there? I have had fords, chevy's, dodges, toyota's,nissans, and they were all pretty good. But recently I decided to buy a new truck. I dont have time to fix it, and I have had pretty good luck lately with newer autos- they are all a lot better than older ones in terms of reliability.
Anyway, I wanted a full size truck, because I need a lot of carrying capacity. so I wanted an 8 foot bed. Toyota tundras and the new Nissan Titan are out- they only make short beds. Same with Tacoma's and Frontier's. Although I have had good chevy's in the past, something about the last few years of GM production has left me cold, so I went looking at Ford's and Dodges. The dodge dealers did a computer search and told me there were NO 8 foot bed 2 wheel drive dodge pickup trucks available in a 5 state area. None. Only 4 wheel drive, short bed, leather interior, pimpmobiles. They were available with diesel engines for 6 grand more, or large, larger or even hugest v-8s and v-10s, only 30 to 40 grand. In other words, Dodge is out of the work truck business, unless you want all the trimmings. Ford at least would order me one- They still make a few work trucks. So for under 20 grand new, I got a ford 150, 2 wheel drive, with ac, cruise, and a vinyl bench seat. Roll up windows, no electric nothing, but it is a big cab with the back seat, not a full crew cab but big enough for kids and tools. They said there were 2 or maybe 3 trucks like this in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
My point is that americans no longer buy trucks to work with- they buy them as big luxury single person vehicles. And if you want a new work truck, and want to spend less than 40k, at least around here, good luck.
- Ries - Monday, 10/20/03 00:50:04 EDT

movies, fiction: Yup, for my tuppence the Guru's got the right of it. When you don't know, LIE to make the story go right. That's the mantra of screenwriters everywhere. And their craft is telling a story (escapist goodness), not giving a how-to on anything in that story. Ah, well. My oldest surviving friend in the world wants me to make him a knife like Del Torro used in "The Hunted." I said I haven't even seen that movie yet. Escapist fiction is so pervasive. I liked the spaghetti westerns, though.

I would say the movies where the people DO know how to hold a sword are good in their way, but usually end up as grind-house flicks with no redeeming qualities (for example, a plot....) but their expert techniques of violence.

Non-fiction: had my second CAT scan in the span of a week. Looks like #3 is coming up and then some surgery. Yay. If there's anything I hate worse than needles, it's scalpels. I could never be a junkie, or a bodybuilder (smirk).

Forged a spanner wrench for the production CNC heads at work, my company is too cheap to buy us new ones. I was pretty happy with it, til it disappeared. So I WAS going to get a picture of it.
Two Swords - Monday, 10/20/03 01:09:56 EDT

Ries, trucks: I looked at a 3 year old Chevy dually a year or so ago (guess it's 4 years old now, wherever it is). The sales guy made sure to tell me about the condition of the leather seats, all the power switches for doors, lights, mirrors, seats, etc. I said, what's the axle ratio? blank look. I asked about injector service, as in interval. blank look. When I said I didn't care about leather seats he looked like I had slapped him. Pimpmobile indeed. Congrats on the new Ford, Ries.

Forgot to mention, also - Master Powers will relate to this - I made it to the very last performance of the Comhaltas tour this past Saturday night, at Notre Dame. This was no Riverdance, but real live traditional Irish music. They were very good, and very few grey heads in the bunch. The kids could play. Three Ceilidh dancers came out for six or seven numbers and they were very good also. Just for Paw Paw, I will now mention the two lovely redheaded fiddle players. The wife unit was unimpressed with the prospect at first, but turned out that her ladyship enjoyed the show, too.
Two Swords - Monday, 10/20/03 01:30:07 EDT

Trucks: When they try to impress me with all the junk on a truck I always ask them how much are they going to take off the price for it. They get a look like they are trying to extrude a porqupine as I explain that I don't want that stuff, don't need it and it makes the vehicle more expensive to run and repair One little used truck fit my needs prettywell but the dealer had junked the bench seat and added bucket seats---so there was no way to get both my kids in it when necessary (and he had upped the price!)

My latest "truck" was unfortunatly P'd out---large whip antennae, roll bar, driving lights, tinted windows, alloy wheels *BUT* put 200# in the bed and the fenders rested *on* the too wide alloy wheels---good by alloy wheels.

The roll bar was loosely fastened on with carriage bolts---I took a couple off with my bare hands.

All his extra electronics had been stripped out crudely, couple of gaps in the dash and a lot of loose wires (and what did that switch marked "icemaker" and installed upside down do...

Now to top it off---it was a 4cyl *automatic*! All show and *NO* go...but it was in decent condition and cheap.

I did like the Yosemitie Sam "All Fired Up" mud flaps though

Thomas P - Monday, 10/20/03 08:45:45 EDT

Still more trucks...: Yep, it's hard not to get a pimpmobile foisted on you, but you can still find honest work trucks sometimes. My brother's new Dodge (and my '96) are both what we call "strippers" in that they are bare bone stock minimum, no bells or whistles. Except in his case with the cummins turbodiesel. He realized how bad things had gotten when his twin 6-year-old daughters were showing all their friends the latest thing in auto design, the window crank! Six years old and they had never seen a car window that was not power-activated...
Where are you, Ries? In the mid-south, you can still find work trucks. You just have to walk up to the saleperson and say "I want a stripped work truck with none o' this pansy-@$$ed cr@p on it, and if you can't help me I'll find someone who will." If all else fails, they'll order you one from the factory, but you won't get a price break on it. Glad you found one you can live with, anyway. Hope it's a good one for you.
One of the local dealers around here just advertised a'03 2500 series dodge 2wd with long bed, 360 (5.9 L) and carpetless cloth-seated interior for $17k.
- Alan-L - Monday, 10/20/03 11:49:51 EDT

Pimpmobiles: I think this is a cyclical thing. A while back you couldnt find a van that hadnt been decked out to look like a traveling brothel - than the fashion turned to SUVs and vans calmed down somewhat. Now it's trucks. There's a mini cycle going now with humvees - cant you just see the special forces showing up for a mission with a pink humvee? "Sorry sarge - it was this or special order and wait 6 weeks"

What's next? Backhoes?
post drill - Monday, 10/20/03 16:24:14 EDT

hoes...: Hmmm I could use a backhoe for a day or so.....(grin) And I could care less what color or 'frillys' it has.....
Ralph - Monday, 10/20/03 16:34:07 EDT


"Paint the damm thing!!"
Paw Paw - Monday, 10/20/03 18:42:47 EDT

pink....: Depends on the color of the back ground....
I have seen pink sand dunes..... But then again they were in the US of A... Utah to be exact
Ralph - Monday, 10/20/03 18:46:43 EDT

Pink: A bit of heavy equipment trivia: Henry J. Kiaser's, the one time owner of Jeep,favorite colors were pink and white during the 50's thru the 70s he owned the largest construction company in Hawaii all of his equipment was painted "Kaiser" pink and white stripe. Cement trucks, earth movers, barges, catamarans, rental jeeps, yes, even the backhoes. I am not sure if he had a hand in the royal Hawaiian hotel or not but it is the same color pink.
habu - Monday, 10/20/03 21:24:27 EDT

New guy on the block: Hey all, its great to know that there are some metal work sources out there for those select people who's lives were about 1 or 2 hundred years too late. In the world of plastic and wires and computer chips we are somewhat the last of a dieing group. Hope you all many good fires.

Yours truly William P. Prophet
- William P. - Monday, 10/20/03 21:36:57 EDT

Will Prophet and Hawaii: Will, doesn't seem like we're a dying breed at all... downsized definitely, but growing if anything (big grin).

Habu, do you live in HI by any chance? Or did you just visit and see the hotel? Wondering if I might be able to up my "local blacksmith count" from 2 (me and Ted Shanks) to 3.
- T. Gold - Monday, 10/20/03 21:57:45 EDT

T. gold Re: Hawaii: I lived there from 1959 to 1964 as a snot nosed military brat, then returned in 1970-72 as a snot nosed Airman, went back in 84 and could not find the beach. okole maluna, bro
habu - Monday, 10/20/03 23:39:01 EDT

Pink Backhoes and Hand Cranks:
Our local heavy equipment dealer has several beautifuly painted purple/complementary blue and pink track hoes. VERY slick color selections that LOOK right after the initial shock. These were small Japanese machines but they had some very slick features. Operators tell me these are some of the best and easiest machines around to use. .

I spent about 5 hours last night swapping carberettors from my old van to the new (86 to 87). Kinda like heart surgery, there were hundreds of hoses, wires etc. . . The choke didn't work on the old one, it had been partly proped open with a cotter pin! All those wires, hoses, pipes. . and not a single adjustment screw. . . . At least it WAS a carberettor (not computerized electronic fuel injection) and I could at least swap parts and have it work. . .

I hate electric windows and locks and my "new" 87 van has brought this home to haunt me. When we got it I noticed the passenger electric window didn't work (on the way out of the car lot). I figured I was in for a new window moter. . .

Then we got the van inspected. Brake lights didn't work. So the mechanic put in a fuse. . . all was fine until we brought the van home and got out. . . all the doors were locked and the keys inside!

After a little cursing I dug out my lock picks and started work on the driver door . . . but I kept hearing this low, thump, thump, thump . . the electric locks were relocking themselves (or trying to) every few seconds. . try picking THAT! So I moved to the rear hatch. I knew the hatch didn't have electric locking. After a minute or so (I'm out of practice) I got the hatch open and we climbed in and and opened the door. We pulled the keys, shut the doors and they locked them selves again. . .

Hmmmmmmm the LOCK ALL button on the driver door now ran the passenger window UP. The down button on the passenger window ran the window down but the UP locked all the doors. The driver to passenger side UP button unlocked the doors and. . . . .

After some discussion about what the mechanic actually DID I pulled the fuse. . . More study later I found the wires that go from the passenger door to the body had shorted and most of the wires fused together. At LEAST a dozen wires. The brake light fuse fed the interior lights and THAT was powering the "automatic locking" somehow. . .

I haven't had time to sort out the wires and the thing ocassionaly locks all the doors without warning about once a week. . . It will be one of those headache days trying to seperate all those wires. . . No, a harness is not available AND where it attaches you have to remove the entire dash (starting with the front seats).

I'll take hand crank windows and mechanical locks ANY DAY!

I am not ready to buy a new vehical that the SPECIAL tools to keep it running cost half of what the vehical cost. And then a few years later parts are not available. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 10/21/03 10:41:18 EDT

Cub Scout Metal Badge: I have some info on this Badge.In the issue of the Anvil Ring Mag. Is there any other info out there. I have been asked if I would interested in teaching this to the local Scout group up here in Ont Canada. Also what does the badge look like?
Thanks in advance. Barney
Barney - Tuesday, 10/21/03 12:47:44 EDT

Scout merit badge... : Barney did you look at the BSA web site? They used to have some info on various badges on it. Also you might drop Atli ( AKA Bruce Blackistone) as if I remember correctly he had something to do with formulating the format and projects required....
Ralph - Tuesday, 10/21/03 16:18:46 EDT


Jock and I both helped with taking a troop through the Merit Badge requiremennts. And I sent Barney the BSA URL. (grin)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/21/03 16:37:31 EDT

I kow that y'all did. But I was not sure how stable your computing enviornment is these days......
BTW Nathan sent a second note that we got yesterday.... it was a brouchure from SATO travel agency( remeber it is the govt travel agency) I think he is trying to make sure that we get down to see him..... Just another example of how he is growing up....
Ralph - Tuesday, 10/21/03 18:37:35 EDT


Boot camp tends to do that! (grin)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/21/03 19:27:55 EDT

De-Flux: Any thoughts on the best way to de-flux old welding rods?
- gerald - Tuesday, 10/21/03 21:11:04 EDT


I use a wire wheel.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/21/03 21:13:40 EDT

De-fluxing: PawPaw; You and Gerald just reminded me of the strength test we used to give apprentice welders. We'd give him about 4 LH 7018 electrodes and let him know that he'd be pretty tough if he could bend all four of them across the back of his neck at the same time. Invariably, they all would try the crumbled flux went down their backs and into their shorts.
3dogs - Wednesday, 10/22/03 02:27:35 EDT

De fluxing: I put them into my treadle hammer. Works good here
Barney - Wednesday, 10/22/03 09:33:36 EDT

de fluxing rods....: Well you could clamp it into the electrode and then strike and arc. that pretty much seems to remove the flux from the end... But I am sure that is not how you wanted to hear this....
Wire wheel is good, but remember all the normal cautions with those buggers.....
Can also lightly hammer it. it pops off pretty good
Ralph - Wednesday, 10/22/03 12:14:34 EDT


That's MEAN! (huge grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/22/03 13:02:29 EDT

mean....: Now PPW you can not tell me that you did not or would not have done something like that especially to the new guys in the feild while you was in the Service?
Reminds me of one fellow who sat for over an hour hoping to be able to feed the shy 'shaft seals' on the boat....(grin) Only problem was that the open can of sardines started to smell up the engineroom.....
Ralph - Wednesday, 10/22/03 13:45:26 EDT

Interesting thread on de-fluxing welding rods. May I ask what the purpose of this is? Obviously you have thought of a use for the old rods........I have a bunch of old rod, it would be nice to have a use for it.....Thanks!
Ellen - Wednesday, 10/22/03 14:17:42 EDT

old fluxless rods......: Ellen,
You could make art from it. Like pipeclean mean but from rod...
Or keyfob type stuff?
Ralph - Wednesday, 10/22/03 15:08:53 EDT

old rod: or perhaps some small basket twists, flowing into a brass candelstick! Which is precisely what lead me to ask for a source for un coated/bare brazing rod and in turn got people to think about thier old rods with flux and so on and so forth.
- dragon-boy - Wednesday, 10/22/03 16:03:07 EDT

Defluxing Rods: I usualy use a hammer and crush the flux then polish off the residue. A power wire brush helps.

I deflux SS rods ocassionaly when I need a short piece of SS. I've defluxed E6013 when I need 1/8" rod or bare rod for gas welding. I buy bare brazing rod when that is what I need and my coated rod usualy becomes bare on its own accord over time. . .

I only deflux ocassionaly.

If you have a bunch of arc welding rod you want to deflux soak it in water. The flux will crack, become soft and most will fall off.

Note that almost all E#### series rods are the same low carbon steel alloy. The flux contains additives that change the weld composition.

- guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 16:20:57 EDT

BSA Metalworking Merit Badge:
The requirements are in the NEW BSA Metalworking Merit badge booklet. The adviser, and EACH BOY should have a copy of the booklet. As a new badge the booklets have been sparse. If you find a good source get me one and I'll buy it from your or trade for something!

The requirments include learning some general information and doing some general projects including hardening and tempering a punch and some sheet metal work. THEN the boy has a choice of one of three areas to do projects in, Casting, Sheet Metal and Forging. Each subject has basic requirements for the projects. For forging I think it is, bend, draw out, rivet.

The boy is supposed to make a scale drawing of two "tastful" projects then make them. Nothing is said of originality and few real smiths design all their own projects.


Our situation was a Merit Badge Jamboree where hundreds of Scouts are run through workshops. Everything must be completed in one day. Supposedly the boys have studied the manual and done what they can at home. I don't think any of ours had seen a manual but Atli had mailed the requirement list.

Atli ran the boys through the general and sheetmetal. They make a punch from a cut concrete nail and harden it. Then they make a luminair from a tin can and rivet on a handle. They also had to study and answer some questions about metal.

I ran the boys through forging. The first project was to make a tent stake from a piece of 1/2" square. Forge a rounded "rock point" then heat and bend an L hook end. The second project was to forge an S-hook from 10" of 1/4" round or square. We had round so that is what we used. The ends were tapered, a small scroll made then the hook.

MOST of the boys just made it through the above two stages. The two years I worked at it we had ONE boy each year that had used a hammer a few times before that day. These fellows had time to forge a simple sconce as shown in iForge demo #135. I provided the candle cup brazed to the pan as a component. I have not found a good source for these that can be riveted on as I show other than the ones I make.

NOW. . . the above is not entirely what the book calls for. But I am sure that none of the other badges being processed at these Merit Badge Jamborees are meeting 100% of the requirements either (I was a Scout and I still have a shelf of merit badge booklets). So, allowances are made and someone signs off on the badge.

It would be much better if the boy spent a couple hours a day for two or three weeks in someone's shop OR at least a couple Saturdays. But we were running a dozen boys through in one 8 hour day using a make shift shop space and one or two forges. How you handle your applicants and the detailed requirments is between you and your Scoutmaster.

Atli has said he would NOT do this workshop again since it is out of his territory and in the Middle of BGoP's. I am not going to do it again because it is also out of MY area and conflicts with a major local event. I know there are guys in the area with suitable shops to hold this workshop OR a lot closer to haul equipment to a school or church as has been done in the past.

Atli has done this workshop for 5 years and I have helped for 2, Paw-Paw for 1. I don't know HOW Atli handled it alone. It is too far for all of us. BGoP is right there and needs to take it over. I would not mind hosting it on another weekend if the group were willing to travel HERE.

If you take on this task "be prepared", as the Scout motto says. . . I was surprised at how many boys chose this badge that had NEVER touched a hammer in their life. Forget forging experiance, almost none had driven a tent stake or tack much less a nail or built a tree house. Out of two years groups of 14-16 boys we ONE each year that had used a hammer. One had been doing cold work in his dads machine shop and was delerious with HOT metal. The other had built a tree house and had some carpentry experiance. That is only 6%.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 18:01:49 EDT


Didn't say I wouldn't have done it, just said that it was mean! (grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/22/03 18:02:07 EDT

De Flux: Save all your de flux powder. Put it in can and keep dry. If you are foreg welding, use this de flux material you saved. It works well. But once again practice works.
Barney - Wednesday, 10/22/03 18:55:33 EDT

Merit Badge: We are looking into this badge work. The boys we want to take are only the senior ones. Most by then I hope have used other tools beside computers. I meet with the leaders next week. Guidlines will be set and followed. As for now I have the Anvil Mag print out to adjust accordly. Will keep you in mind for the book you ask for Guru.

Cheers from the North... Slight chance of snow tonight..
Barney - Wednesday, 10/22/03 19:00:42 EDT

SNOW? Barney you're a sadist! 103 F here (Arizona) today.

Merit Badges: I've done some work with girl scouts on their equestrian (horseriding) merit badges. We are asked by the scout leader to spend about 15 minutes on horse grooming, hoof picking, adjusting the saddle (stirrups, cinch, breast collar) and bridle. Then we take them on a 45 minute ride.
Then they have fulfilled their badge requirements.

Discouraging at first, but I've found that some of the girls come back for more rides, take lessons, etc. I should imagine the forging merit badge would have similar results. All will learn **something** some will go on to learn more...and perhaps teach the subject to others someday.
Ellen - Wednesday, 10/22/03 19:16:06 EDT

Merit Badge and Age:
This year the boy with the most promise was a CUB Scout and not officialy part of the group! He had the most determination, manual skills and wanted to show that he could do anything his older brother could do. . . and did. I've run across a couple 9-10 year olds like this and would rather teach them than older kids that think they know everything because they've watched Connan a dozen times. . .

The two others were in the middle of the age range somewhere (12-14). These days I don't think being 15-17 makes much difference in having real mechanical skills. Kids will either be exposed to them or NOT.

I suspect there is a big difference between city and country kids and all these were city/suburban kids. It would probably be a neighborhood emergency if KIDS built a tree house (the good old ramshakle kind WE built that looked more like a buzzards roost than a "house") in these suburbs . . . probably have special zoning laws covering them . . and charge the parents for its removal and damages. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 19:30:02 EDT

De Flux: Thanks for the responses to my question about de-fluxing old rods. I bought a stack of junk at an auction the other day and in the stack was a 50# can (opened of course) of 5/32 x 18" Fleetweld 5 rod. My reference sheet shows the Fleetweld 5 series as the current E6010 rod. Anyway, I thought that I'd clean a few up and try Jim Carothers' braided handle technique (iForge #150).

Barney, good tip about saving the flux powder for forge welding. May try that, too.

Thanks again for the responses.
- gerald - Wednesday, 10/22/03 20:21:20 EDT

Cursory Training:
Yes, I have noticed that this kind of thing is more and more common in everything from merit badges to all kinds of industrial training and now it is the standard in American schools.

Recently there was a news article where people were outraged to find out that the thousands of new Federal air port security people were given the answers to tests immediately before the test. IDIOTS! Have they not listened? Do they not realize that when our President "W" Bush said in his inaguration speach that he didn't see anything wrong with "teaching to the test" that this is what we are talking about?

Modern industry is required to give every employee various levels of safety training. The way this is done it the employee reads the information with the group, they discuss the concepts and THE RIGHT ANSWERS and then immediately take the test. Ten minutes later most people cannot tell you 10% of what they were just tested on. THIS is teaching to the test 21st Century style.

Teaching to the test is the new standard. It is by Presidential edict the new standard by which we teach in America. It started with places like Virginia where we have SOL's (Standards of Learning) which are in fact a list of questions and answers which every student is taught and tested on. Nothing more, nothing less. Virginia's system is no looked upon as a model. . . Those Federal security people were just being taught and tested by the NEW standard as approved by the President of the United States (perhaps this is how HE managed to graduate?).

SOL's and teaching to the text completely abandons the theory of a liberal education where broad subjects are taught and students are tested on a sampling. The system of a liberal education brought us out of the depression, through the space age, into the computer age, put us at the TOP of thechnological heap and makes education at American Universities the most sought after in the world. So now we abandon it. . .

The new system does not teach concepts, only factoids. The new system does not teach reading comprehension, it only teaches memorization of preselected facts. It does not teach how to learn or to do research.

SO. . glossing over the details, doing a few cursory excersizes, memorizing a dozen facts from a list. This is the NEW education model. . .

If we are going to abandon liberal educations we had better redesign the entire system. Currently we are testing for a few factoids applicable to liberal education subjects. This is pointless. If you are going to teach nothing but facts they must apply to specific applicable subjects geared toward the end result - a job. A liberal education was never designed to apply to a specific job. But teaching factoids by route and teaching to the test must or it is a waste.

It is NOT the right thing to do. Teaching to the test has been recognized as cheating for the past 90 years and would get you fired from any American school at any level. The President does not know right from wrong (according to a century or more of educational theory). So don't be surprised when workers in critical positions are spoon fed the answers to tests. THAT is the new system. George Orwell's 1984 has just come a little late. Right is wrong, love is hate and Iraq is full of weapons of mass destruction. . .

Enough politics. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 10/22/03 20:25:33 EDT

More on Boy Scout Merit Badge: It's really a good news/bad news scenario. the good news is that the new merit badge requirements book has some great material on silversmithing, tinsmithing, foundry (pewter) and blacksmithing (pick one) AND a safety section that was definately missed in the original book. I had putterd around with a redrafting of the original book for a couple of years, but this is far superior. The bad news is that they still have the darn "tin can project" requirements, and that, done right, you can't run a batch of boys through the requirement in one day like you used to do with the old requirements.

I had hoped for better results from the pre-meeting requirements, but only one of the scouts did a complete job, and most of the rest muddled through with partial pieces that I spent a lot of time helping them finish up instead of helping them learn something new.

IF you have everything pre-planned, IF the boys have actually read the book, and IF you have at least two other folks helping you, you could probably get a dozen through on a weekend, at your own forge/shop and have some projects to be proud of. Most of the boys squeaked by, and we had four smiths and a couple of VERY helpful parents. As Jock said, you can't rely on the boys having some of the projects completed at home; some of these kids didn't have access to a hammer, a nail, a log, and a #10 can at home.

However, if you have everything organized, laid out, and enough help and time, it is VERY worth while. The Scouts love it, and it had become the most popular badge at the Merit Badge Jamboree. I regret that I can't keep it going, but I hope BGOP will pick up the ball.

Good luck!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 10/22/03 23:41:39 EDT

Factoids: Remember: The word "factoid" (used correctly by the Guru above) means "Like or resembling a fact." Note that it does not have to be an actual fact, it just has to look like one. A good thing to keep in mind when discussing the leader-oid of the free-oid world! No more poly-ticks for me either!
Alan-L - Thursday, 10/23/03 13:24:25 EDT

Training: Teaching to the test, I agree, is crazy. But even crazier is handing out the test and then teaching. That is what happened on my most recent OSHA recertification for industrial power equipment. I looked at the instructor like he was nuts...which he probably was.

I have to tell you though, that what is missing is the passion for learning. Oh, you see small percentage of students that want to learn, but generally, these students become bored and never truly realize thier full potential. Our current education system cannot handle these 'exceptions'.

So the real question does a society create and generate a real desire and passion in all ages to LEARN? Is it through the imparting of knowledge that this passion is kindled? Perhaps. The Good Book tells us that we should train our children in the way they should go and when they are old, they will not depart from that training. That is one reason my wife and I discontinued the cable TV about a year ago. You know what? We don't miss it one bit.

- Matt Berge - Thursday, 10/23/03 14:51:11 EDT

cable? try tv in general: Well that is the reason that my wife and I only watch videos. Ones that we can both agree on for our future family, Basically if it is not prudent for a 8 yearold to qote any of the lines then it is a no go. Also the reason the DG and i are dead set on home schooling our children when they come.
- dragon-boy - Thursday, 10/23/03 16:09:08 EDT

Dragon boy:
Good for you! And the DG, as well. Your kids will be leaders in what ever fields they choose.

May I empathise (sp?) reading skills? To me, reading is the basis for all education.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/23/03 16:26:43 EDT

reading.....: PPW I agree reading is very important, but I still think that learning to truely listen is more important.....

BTW got a note form Nathan today. said that the other day they had to go for a 2 mile run. After the run was over( which eveeryone thought took longer than it should have) the DI asked how far dod we go. 2 MILES, Sir! was the answer but the DI said no, and held up 6 fingers..... Nathan said that since he kept up no problem that this was real good for his confidence..... Sneaky @##$#@ DI's.... (grin)
Ralph - Thursday, 10/23/03 16:35:21 EDT


Listening is certainly important, but I don't care how well you can listen, if you can't read, you are going to have a hard time learning.

Sneaky DI's? So, what's your point?? (grin)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/23/03 16:58:53 EDT

Reading: PPW Wouldn't you agree that once you get someone to actively read, then they are engaged in the learning process? Self education. The individuals I'm concerned about are the ones who don't or cannot read.

Dragon boy - Congratulations on the decision to home school. You have nothing but support from this home schooled graduate.

I leave you all with this:
Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.
- Matt Berge - Thursday, 10/23/03 17:39:57 EDT


That's exactly why I think that of the three R's, Reading is the most important.

If you can't read, you can't do a math word problem. If you can't read, you can't write a coherent sentence. Listening is good, and very important, but it will never replace reading in educational importance. Consider all of the "local" words that creep into the spoken languange that are not properly part of the written langauage. There ain't no substitute for being able to read! (grin)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/23/03 18:23:32 EDT

Chapter Four of TRB-3 is now on line. Use the chapter index to go to it. Illustrations to follow.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/23/03 19:59:29 EDT

rrr vs listining: PPW, since man has been learning a lot longer than he had been able to read I would say that there is a small flaw in your statement.
Now I will agree that in order to be able to learn with out having someone there reading is a MUST.
Perhaps I should also clarify that 'listening' to me is more than ears... it is being able to sit back and absorb ideas ( heard or seen or read
Ralph - Thursday, 10/23/03 20:31:57 EDT

vices: hey I was wondering if anyone had any great models/plans/etc. for how to make a large metal or wood vice stand, that will not tip. My old one cracked(metal has to be stainless steel because other wise will rust too fast) thx very much
- Walker - Thursday, 10/23/03 21:55:35 EDT

The three R's: Ralph,

I suspect that PawPaw's point is that by being able to read, you open yourself up to the ideas of the world, not just those you directly interact with. This gives you unique opportunities to form your own opinions based on the experience of many more learned individuals than you might ever personally encounter in a lifetime. Having said that, I must admit I often learn more by listening rather than just reading, but it's nice to be able to write it down, so I don't have to rely on my somewhat feeble memory. Then I end up reading it later anyway ;-).

eander4 - Friday, 10/24/03 00:42:11 EDT

vice stands.....: Walker,
once I get off my lazy but I will make mine form a piece of 1/2 plate I had given to me. It is only about 4 feet round.... To this I will find the largest pipe flange ( I think I saw a 3" one at the hardware store.) and bolt that to the plate, and then screw in a section of 3" pipe the correct length. The another flange on top and then bolt the vise to that..... Since my vise only weighs about 95 or so pounds I expect with the plate I should not get much movement... especially with me standing on it.
Ralph - Friday, 10/24/03 01:36:36 EDT

learning skills: my only question is who wants a leader who can only read or write. Like my self my kids will learn what it means to love the spoken and the written word. A leader is only a true leader if he/she can listen to the NEEDS of their followers and translate thoes needs into actions that rectify those needs!
- dragon-boy - Friday, 10/24/03 08:54:27 EDT

LEADERSHIP: This is not to say that I feel that writting is a unneeded skill. I feel that to lead doesnot take great education, or any for that matter, It takes the ability to comprehend, to think, and to be strong enough to do that which is needed. needs are not always in line with wants. In short It takes love to lead, just as christ teaches us. And that is taught in some fashion in all the major reliegions in this world. The golden rule it is also called.
ps introductory line in my previous post should read read or listen not read or write.
pps- I know most of you don't need to hear this and I appologize for it, but realize that this is what our government needs to know,and since others have voiced thier view I feel I get to as well. Even if I'm only 22, you might think I'm nieve,however that is one of the privilidges of this nation i8'm allowed to voice my nievite(spelling cannot be held as a sign of knowledge either!)
Dragon-boy - Friday, 10/24/03 10:01:21 EDT

TRB C4: Sniff sniff Cmon PPW cut it out it ain't seemly to get us all blubberin like that. Sniif HHOOOONkk.

Basic training is where I learned the teaching to the test idea, and then was involved in applying that when I was a DS. Did not like it in either case nor did the trainees for the most part. It is a cheap shoddy way of pumping up the pass/fail ratio and to get numbers that look good for a report on readiness training. I refused to have the trainees memorize the target sequence for marksmanship. That is life or death! Target aquisition is no numbers game.

Over a longer period of time, regurgitation education will destroy this nation the same way. To that end I try to inspire as many young people as I can with blacksmithing. The fire and anvil capture the imagination and then sneak in some chemistry physics algebra metallurgy and english when they aren't looking. Maybe there will be a few that stay.
Mills - Friday, 10/24/03 10:43:04 EDT

Learning Skills: First time poster, long time lurker :~)

I've enjoyed the thread on learning and feel a need to interject...

While reading and listening are very important they will not get you very far if you are not taught how to think critically. To some people this comes naturally, but to most I fear it does not and it must be taught. Common sense is the by product of being taught critical thinking. Learning to read and listen allows someone to find answers to problems, but without critical thinking and common sense, most will not realize a problem exists.

Just my two cents

How do I make a sword from coat hangers and what kind of coat hangers should I use ;~)

Steve in New York - Friday, 10/24/03 12:26:07 EDT

STEVE: essentally that is what I was meaning to say with the leadership thing. I just could not express the thoughts in my head!
Dragon-boy - Friday, 10/24/03 13:22:13 EDT

Country/city kids: My bus route is 50/50 for both. But you listen to the talk on the bus and you can tell the two apart. The country folk on my route are talking about rebuilding their snow machines and go carts for the winter. Studded tires etc etc.. The city ones well its whats on TV this weekend. Or have you beaten the next level on the that game yet. The kids that sit behind me, male and female. Some are going squirral hunting. They have new pellt guns to try out.

Cheers from the north
Barney - Friday, 10/24/03 13:32:16 EDT

trb: dangit, man that is a great additon. even now thinking about the closing of that chapter the tears wellup and threaten to come freely falling. Oh that those things would be said of me as my time dims into memory. I honestly don't see how that can be matched.
Dragon-boy - Friday, 10/24/03 13:48:23 EDT

Barney; Country Kids: Many country kids also seem to have the ability to listen and learn, but I think riding on buses with some of the city kids who think they know it all is leading to their demise. It also seems that instead of listening to what is actually being said, and learning from it, the TV and mall-raised city kid is merely waiting to jump into the conversation and expound upon what he THINKS he knows. He also seems to think that he is equal to, and in competition with, the adult. NOT! (well, maybe some adults.)I'd be willing to bet that 98% of the sword maker wanna-be's are city bred. That's why 25 years ago I got my kid outa town, but, dammit the town's headed this way!
3dogs - Friday, 10/24/03 14:10:00 EDT

kids and town or not: Does not matter city or country.... I know too many folks in the country who think like city folks and visa-versa....
I am thinking it is in our blood......
Ralph - Friday, 10/24/03 14:17:54 EDT

learning--one class which was exceptional in that regard was my high school speech class. The instructor would get a discussion going, listen to who had a strong opinion for or against a particular topic; if you were against or critical of something your assignment for the next class was a speech in defense of that which you had just criticized. A nice mind opener!

Steve: metal coat hangers will work better than plastic ones for your sword.....VBG.

Walker...I'm making a stand for most leg vice using a large steel disc from a farm implement (quite cheap at most junk yards), a 4
- Ellen - Friday, 10/24/03 15:23:50 EDT

vice stand continued: got cut off.....a 4 inch square section of steel tubing, and a section of heavy angle iron to bolt my leg vice to. I used one at a hammer in and liked being able to add my weight to the base for extra leverage....
- Ellen - Friday, 10/24/03 15:26:54 EDT

Mills & DB:
If you think Four was bad, wait till you read Five. Have Kleenex handy! (Evil Grin)
Paw Paw - Friday, 10/24/03 18:33:07 EDT

Chapter 4: PPW nicely done......Now you should not be giving hints.... (grin) nor reminding me either.....
Ralph - Saturday, 10/25/03 01:21:06 EDT

unabashed plug for wife :): now up on ebay

all money going to charity. having lived with this quilt in the making for a year now will be sorry to see it go.
quilt on ebay
Mark P - Saturday, 10/25/03 19:09:07 EDT

Chapter 4: Yep. Brought a tear to my eye too. Even though they were "Damn Yankees".
- Larry - Saturday, 10/25/03 21:11:57 EDT


I'm sure at time's you've thought that you'd be glad when it's gone, but at the same time, what a gorgeous piece of work. If I could afford it, I'd bid on it myself.

But I'll bet I can talk my Sheri into embroidering a square for next year!
Paw Paw - Sunday, 10/26/03 00:13:51 EDT

Country vs city kids: I live in a rural setting quite close to a major city. Got lots of city types who moved "out to the country" Drive polished suv's so big the have to have a step ladder to get in. Got two in high school, one in jr. high. and one in grade school. They tell me every day about who was hauled off for drugs, who got who pregant ETC! There is no where in America that is safe from this. The only thing is to teach your kids young! My mother worked for many years with kids in rehab. She says that the best investment that parents can make in their kids future is to ALWAYS have a responsible adult see them off to school, and be there when they get home.Also lead by example, Never drink and drive, from the monent they are born, NEVER drink even one drink and then drive. I made sure to once in a while drink a beer when out for pizza, and then have my wife drive. You can bet the kids noticed. Same goes for illegeal drugs. Never use them, even if you think a little one won't notice. They will notice.
Do your best, train early,cause by 10 they are mostly set.
ptree - Sunday, 10/26/03 07:58:18 EST

air hammers: Guru,
you noted a difference in the air hammer, crank style mechanicals, and the helve type spring hammers. I have a crank actuated, spring hammer somewhat like the RUSTY. I think the best layout I have seen is the patent drawings on or about page 214 in "POUNDING OUT THE PROFITS" While I have spent some effort in tuning the spring ETC., I don't think I can agree that the crank styled machines like the Little Giant are inherently more effecient. A spring is used in both cases to store some energy and allow the machine to not go solid. In fact, I think that the inherent simplicity of the pivoting spring machines lends itself to home building and maintnence. The only drawback that I see is the lenght of the machine. The long shaft of the LG looks to suffer from torsional failure, and the babitt bearings take a beating. The crank shaft of my machine is only about 8" long, and is quite massive. Mounted in large pillow block bearing. Yes they will brinell eventually, but a lot easier to change then repouring babbit. All of the other slidees, bearings etc are all straight line and therefore less wear.This is my opinion, and i do agree that there are a lot of LG's out there.
ptree - Sunday, 10/26/03 08:12:05 EST


Anybody that believes in prayer, please remember my Sheri and her mother. Sheri flew out this moring trying desperately to make it to California within the 12 hours that the Dr. gave her mother. She was late, but Evie held on and was still hanging on as of an hour ago. But it won't be long now.

I've got a tremendous amount of respect for that old lady. She inherited a very tough situaion when she married my father in law, and has held up like a trooper. No body could have been a better mother than she was to John's three children, or a better wife for John.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 10/26/03 22:57:37 EST

Fires: I see on the news tonight that there are some severe fires in California. Hope all Hammer-Innners and their kin are not in the fire-ing line.
Cheers from Down Under.
- Big A - Monday, 10/27/03 06:14:31 EST

Sheri's mom passed away at 0830 PDT this morning. Now Sheri has to deal with the usual after work, then she'll be coming home.
Paw Paw - Monday, 10/27/03 12:19:08 EST

ppw: My prayers are with thee, and thy wife at this trying time
- dragon-boy - Monday, 10/27/03 13:00:39 EST

paw paw: God bless and God speed
- Ritch - Monday, 10/27/03 13:16:05 EST


The messages of condolence are much appreciated. I'm printing them out for Sheri to read when she comes home.

Many Thanks!
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/28/03 10:31:38 EST

Learning: I was also home schooled for the majority of my schooling. When we would get the reading books for the year, usually two volumes with many storys. My sibling and I would finish them all in a few weeks.

I believe it to be impossible and futile to try and segregate the effects and values of various skills.

I believe that the most challenging skill that one can try to achieve is that of displaced understanding. Such as that of seeing something from the perspective of another.

I know that the skill that has served me the most in my life is that of studying EVERYTHING that my life involves. Questioning all that I do. Questioning why something is being done first, THEN how and by who.

Reading provides ideas(technical realm) and hapenings(imigination) that would take much longer to experience in real life.

Yet again I find myself preaching balance. As a child the learning of music is the most effective way to increase the rate of learning ability for that child. This has been proven! It is almost three times as effective in the area of brain development than any other activity. This can even occur when the child is in the womb. Bass waves can acomplish this.

I wish I had longer to write in this post, I have a lot more to say. However I must get some work done.grin

Caleb Ramsby
Caleb Ramsby - Tuesday, 10/28/03 13:50:45 EST

music: Folks I work with think me slightly loopy, but Everything I do I either am listening to music or whistleing my day along. my parents did the whole Clasical music project at me while in the womb and in my oppinion has given me an everlasting love for music and art. it calms me in my frantic moods, and inspires me to creativity. In short us celts live with music in our lives and this helps balance our warlike tendencies.
- Dragon-boy - Tuesday, 10/28/03 15:02:36 EST

Dragon Boy:
So THAT'S where it comes from! I often wondered. My mother and I (and 1 of her sisters) were the only musicians in her family. Has to come from the Celtic background.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/28/03 15:06:15 EST

celts: Most definatly, The celts were the most highly sought after bards, smiths, warriors,..... The only thing besides booze that kept us from ruling the world is the fact that we are a very proud people and would not come together to unite under any authority figure.
Dragon-boy - Tuesday, 10/28/03 16:02:35 EST

Dragon Boy:
That also explains why I've always said there are two thing us Wilson boys love to do. Fighting and the other one starts with an F, too! (grin) And we rarely turn down a pint!
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/28/03 16:04:55 EST

Celts .....: Hmmm, I must be the exception... as I have no talent for music...... barely have smithing talent, but that is another story......(g)
Ralph - Tuesday, 10/28/03 16:20:52 EST

helve hammer: Jeff/ptree - I would love to see some pix or sketches of your homemade hammer - perhaps sometime you could post them to the anvilfire group at yahoo?
adam - Tuesday, 10/28/03 16:32:52 EST

ralph : I left of the most important aspect of the celts, They are the best lovers, and fathers/mothers.
Dragon-boy - Wednesday, 10/29/03 08:31:23 EST

Bumper sticker: Blacksmiths do it by the fire, with tools of iron
habu - Wednesday, 10/29/03 08:55:52 EST

DB & Habu: DB, makes sense to me! (grin)

Habu, "Blacksmiths do it with fire and wear like iron!"
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/29/03 09:37:04 EST

The best blacksmiths have twisted pokers? VBEG!
Alan-L - Wednesday, 10/29/03 09:39:04 EST

PPW: You did get the mail from me with the winning ticket stub included, didn't you? Can't wait for Nov 16 to go and officially retrieve my anvil. Just for conversation, as if I hadn't already won, What are the odds now?
Mills - Wednesday, 10/29/03 10:48:17 EST

Odds? I don't really know, but we've sold less than a hundred tickets so far.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/29/03 10:49:48 EST

Mills: Yes, your ticket stubs did come in.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/29/03 10:50:28 EST

Celts: And modest too!
adam - Wednesday, 10/29/03 11:29:42 EST

Twisted pokers:: That will teach you not to leave your tool on the anvil!
habu - Wednesday, 10/29/03 11:51:27 EST

Iron in the Hat : Dadgum! I will be in Tulsa this weekend and will see if I can get some chances sold then. No sweat for me since I have the winner already. :)
Mills - Wednesday, 10/29/03 12:36:19 EST

Hammer Linkages:
Jeff, There is a tremondous difference between spring helve and toggle linkage hammers. Little Giant is far from the best example, Bradleys and Fairbanks being MUCH superior hammers.

I have seen hundreds of worn out trashed Little Giants and NEVER saw one with a shaft failure (or keys). There are many with bad babbit but this is from the fact that many were in farms and small shops where there was no such thing as an oil can. By far the worst damage to all power hammers is abuse by users that treat them as a sledge hammer, not a machine. Every idiot with a welder thought they could work on a power hammer. . .

The toggle linkage patented by DuPont and copied by everyone else has some amazing features that make it the most powerful and most efficient hammer linkage ever developed. Very few people understand its sophistication.

First, the toggles create a condition where little or no force is required to compress the spring at the horizontal position. In fact when they are in a perfect straight line the force multiplier is infinite thus the force to compress the spring approaches 0. As the ram moves from inertia and change the angle of the toggles the leverage ration increases greatly and surpasses 1:1. This allows the ram to be caught on the up stroke and the energy required to stop its upward motion stored in the spring and released on the next down stroke. THIS is where the efficiency come from that is not found in any other linkage. When a spring helve hammer stops the load it is done at a 1:1 ratio with the all the force trying to lift the hammer off the ground.

On the down stroke the the ram is thrown past the center of the link position (that 0 infinity point) with much higher velocity than the crank would indicate. The actual stroke is normally 3x the crank stroke and the maximum speed some 6 to 10 times. This creates a very hard hitting hammer.

When a spring helve hammer gives back the stored energy it does so at a 1:1 ratio providing little acceleration and it starts to absorb the energy immediately as it passes center and at a 1:1 ratio. The harmonic motion of the toggle system applies increased resistance at the ends of the stroke where it is needed and no resistance at the center.

At the bottom of the stroke the die height is set so that the toggles are far from the point where they absorb energy like they do at the top. This allows for a hard blow but still provides added power to lift the ram.

Altogether the Dupont toggle linkage is faster, harder hitting and more efficient than any other mechanical configuration.

Bradley got around the DuPont patent by using rubber cushions instead of a spring. Little Giant got around the patent by using their primitive one piece toggle without a pin. Later Little Giants do not have this as DuPont's patent had run out. Fairbanks was THE DuPont hammer and has the best operating toggle tinkage.

Fairbanks uses short toggles that make a much more compact linkage than the Little Giant and for some reason the geometry is much more forgiving. They have both stroke and height adjustments which make them VERY flexible in use. They also use bronze bushings rather than babbit bearings and have a much shorter shaft. The Fairbanks has a very wide range of operating speeds due to the stroke adjustment and can be run much faster (about 25%) than a Little Giant. Late Fairbanks hammers had taper gib ram adjustments on what was already a very ridgid heavy duty frame.

When I refer to toggle linkages "like Little Giant" it is because almost everyone knows what a Little Giant looks like but do not have a clue about Fairbanks or the Bradley Compact. Little Giants were one of the cheapest hammers on the market and the only one sold to anyone and everyone on credit. The combination of price and credit resulted in Little Giant becoming the most popular of the mechanical power hammers but it was far from the best.

Although the spring helve was invented in America it was only popular in Sweden where power hammers are most often called a fjäderhammare or "spring hammer". They were made in many types often with stroke adjustments.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/29/03 13:15:16 EST

The other "F" word: PawPaw, You mean you can FIDDLE, too ?
3dogs - Wednesday, 10/29/03 14:13:02 EST

Tres Chiens:

I've been known to fiddle around with a willing partner. (grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/29/03 14:59:48 EST

bold and brazin: Okey now that you minds have all been corupted, here is a question for you. How does one go about forge welding these lovly bare brazing rods together? is it the same as mild steel only at a lower temp? Detailed instuctions please, oh and I only have my forge to do this in. no acess to a welder of any other type.
Dragon-boy - Wednesday, 10/29/03 16:02:06 EST

You'd better ask the guru that question, I've never done it.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/29/03 17:55:33 EST

Hammer Linkages: If I may suggest, get Dave Manzers video on how to cure the tap bang miss blues. I got one before I got my powerhammer and it was great because now I know WHY the worn out (but oil/grease covered)pile does what it does. The stop action, and drawings and everything is explained very well.
- JimG - Wednesday, 10/29/03 19:36:57 EST

DB: I have done this. Its takes abit of practice. Low temp yes but I do not know how low.. I do the same thing as welding Alummin with a torch. When it starts to turn soft tap very gently as it spreads quikly.. Hope it helped you..

Cool and damp up here but no snow yet..
Barney - Wednesday, 10/29/03 19:40:53 EST

Brass Welding:
Dragonboy. . . You MIGHT be able to do it with a big hot iron soldering "iron" put this is not a method I have ever tried. All my brass baskets are gas welded.

You will find it nearly impossible to braze brass in a forge. The high conductivity of the brass will create a situation where the whole will melt not just a controlled area. When you use a torch you can bring a controlled spot up to a welding temperature.

Before the era of the gas torch Jewelers used alcohol "blow torches". These work by blowing into an atomizer tube which sucks up the alcohol, mixes it with air and it is ignited over a simple alcohol lamp. These are still made and it is suspected that they were in use thousands of years ago. They were used for soldering, brazing, and welding non-ferrous metals. However, they are limited in their capacity.

Get thee to an oxy-acteylene torch.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/29/03 19:46:14 EST

I have sent in a series of pix to the guru for the catalog of junkyard hammers. I think he is working on these and another series he has been sent. I have some useful detail sketchs of some of the details that use items I had and was familiar with. May I commend "Pounding out the Profits" . look I think around page 214 for the Powel spring hammer. I built mine prior to seeing these pix and would have found them VERY helpful.
ptree - Wednesday, 10/29/03 19:56:10 EST

On Celts,
Having a taste of celt from three different families in the past, how is it I can't carry a tune in a bucket? I do agree on the the other couple of traits , as the morgans in my past produced John Hunt Morgan, a great, great great uncle.
Blacksmiths have the hottest tools.
55F dark and foggy inS. Indiana.
ptree - Wednesday, 10/29/03 19:59:54 EST

weather report: 80 degrees 80mph wind and 10% humidity in Boulder county Colorado today, power line knocked down and started a fire in a canyon above Boulder, the fire went from 5 acres to 1000 acres in 4 hours. They evacuated the Jamestown (500 homes) as of now no homes/lives lost. the smoke in Longmont ,45miles away, was bad enough that people were putting on their head lights at noon. We are expecting a cold front tonight to bring a high tomorow of 40 and posable snow,and shift in the wind that should blow the fire back on it's self. Lets hope and pray.
habu - Wednesday, 10/29/03 20:54:13 EST


Be Well, brother!
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/29/03 22:05:51 EST

fires: 10,000 evacuated south of denver, in second fire of 900 acres,
boulder fire at 5000 acres. cooler weather is helping.
fire news
habu - Thursday, 10/30/03 01:05:07 EST

update: Rain and Snow in the mountains. My brother in law, a battalion chief with the Boulder Fire Department, says, " we fight wild fires by pouring money on them until God brings rain or snow."
habu - Thursday, 10/30/03 07:02:58 EST

Jeff, thanks - I should buy that book. Looking forward to seeing the pix on the power hammer page
adam - Thursday, 10/30/03 09:40:02 EST

Calling all blade/blacksmiths!!:

We need your help. We at Primal Fires are compiling a collective list of all bladesmiths and blacksmiths all over the world. The desire is to have a simple reference map of people interested in the arts of blacksmithing and bladesmithing, accessible to all. With this map the smiting community can be more closely knit. I know it helped me when trying to find a smith near me.
Please send an e-mail to

Email (optional)

With “Smith Project” in the subject.

I am posting this on the following forums.

Primal Fires,
The Outpost on CKD,
Tai's Crucible forums,,

If you know of another please e-mail me with the address. Also if you know anyone else that does not participate online but is a smith please e-mail their address also.(with there permission)

Thanks, David Kurin
David Kurin - Thursday, 10/30/03 14:06:30 EST

Smithing List: David,

I'm happy to list my name and all, but I'd feel better if I had some assurance that my email addfress would be somehow protected from spam harvesters. One of the really good things that Jock has done with Anvilfire is to encode email addresses so they cannot be harvested by spambots and other lowlifes. Given that Primalfires is hosted by a commercial site, I'm understandably concerned about subjecting myself to additional spam. Do you have a solution to this dilemma?

vicopper - Thursday, 10/30/03 17:14:54 EST


David did say that listing the email address was optional. I did list mine, but I get so dam much spam already that one or two more pieces a day won't matter much.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/30/03 18:44:57 EST

Spam: We are taking measures to protect against spamers. The way that seems the best right now is to put all of the info into a picture (gif or jpg) so that web crawlers cannot see them. About the lowlifes... I don’t see anyway around them. I could set up a retrieval system where you had to submit a request for the persons info but that wouldn’t help ether.
David Kurin - Friday, 10/31/03 10:15:22 EST

Plus: There will be one mass e-mail that I will send out at the end to tell everyone that the project in finished and to check to make sure all of there info is right. After that no more mass(not personal) e-mail will be sent out. Thanks to all of the people that are helping us out.
David Kurin - Friday, 10/31/03 10:18:57 EST

nonferrous: ok me boyos, After not recieve any response on the guru's page i will ask my quiery again. I have recently purchased a small torch tank of maap gas and wonder if it would be worth my time to try welding those brazing rods together with it. Any advice other then get a welder would be much apreciated.
Dragon-boy - Friday, 10/31/03 11:44:50 EST

Dragon Boy: I'm quite sure the mapp gas is up to the task, particularly if you get some brazing alloy with a lower flow point than that of the material you wish to join.
3dogs - Friday, 10/31/03 13:58:41 EST

3 dogs: So if I have brass rods what do you suggest for the brazing alloy?
Dragon-boy - Friday, 10/31/03 16:08:59 EST

Coated brazing rod.
Paw Paw - Friday, 10/31/03 18:32:07 EST

Brazing brass: If color is not a big issue, the simplest and easiest filler to use is Sil-Fos rod. Very strong, dependable and forgiving. Not real cheap, but good.
vicopper - Friday, 10/31/03 22:30:48 EST

Brazing alloy: DB, I always had pretty good luck with bare silver brazing alloy and its recommended flux. If you're nervous about cadmium (and probably should be), ask for the food grade cad-free variety. That's what the tin knockers use in commercial kitchens.
3dogs - Saturday, 11/01/03 03:43:26 EST

Braze Welding with MAPP:
DB, There was no answer because I do not know. AND you did not say what kind of torch you are using. The quality of an air-gas torch makes a huge difference. You cannot just screw a bottle of MAPP onto a cheap Chinese no-name propane torch and go to it.

I have an air-acetylene torch that I inherited. It was designed for soldering plumbing. Radiator repair guys often use the same style torch. It does not get hot enough in a concentrated spot to braze with it. It WILL melt brass but you have no control over a bead. It is a soldering torch.

The problem with what you want do do is that it takes a very small intense flame so that you can control the heat. Due to the high conductivity in brass and bronze the entire piece rapidly becomes nearly the same temperature. Unless you have a very concentrated heat the entire piece will melt at the same time. You cannot create a welding puddle.

Bernzomatic makes some very nice air-fuel torches that are infinitely different than the common propane torch. One of those MIGHT work. Read the instructions. IF it says you can braze it might work (within some specific range). But a common torch WILL NOT. I'm not even sure an oxy-propane torch will do the job.

I've made dozens of brass basket twists and built up sculptures. It was all done with common 1/4" brazing rod and 3/32" coated brazing rod and a small oxy-acetylene torch. The welded assemblies can be forged if the weld penetrates deep enough. Afterward the parts can be braze-welded or riveted. I have also built up pieces such as ram's heads on steel shanks for fire place tools. I know it cannot be done with a propane torch.
- guru - Saturday, 11/01/03 12:42:30 EST

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