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October 2004 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Square hole question:: Would the use of an EDM to enlarge the hardy whole on a trenton anvil form 7/8 to 1" change the temper of the face or endanger the strength of the heel? Thanks in advance
- habu - Friday, 10/01/04 23:43:16 EDT

square holes: why not change the hardy tools to 7/8ths?
Seems like a more sensable answer to me. But then I hate screwing around with anvils. Especially with square holes in one of the weakest points of an anvil. Yeah it is only 1/8 inch more, but .......
Ralph - Saturday, 10/02/04 01:23:13 EDT

Pully & Belt Info page: I found a cool site tonight while searching for a drive pully. It is a page that calculates pully and belt information. Just put in your drive wheel sizes etc and it will calculate your ratios and final drive speed etc. Very helpful for us math challenged folks.
FredlyFX - Saturday, 10/02/04 02:59:54 EDT

EDM will not change the temper in the anvil. One of the advantages of EDM is that you can cut heat treated tooling without affecting the temper. We used to cut M-42 shave and profile tools for screw machines on wire EDM by the basket full. All were from a slab of machined and fully heat treated M-42. Put a little lip on and install in the dovetail holder and start cutting stainless, monel, and carbon steel.
We also sunk dies with Ram EDM, into fully hardened die blocks.
All this of course does not address the issue of should you open out that 7/8" hardy hole. I too have a 7/8" hardy hole in a Trenton. All my hardy tooling has been made by me or Tom Clark. He made the hardy from spring steel in a demo. Rough forged the shank, and then swaged the shank with sledges into the hole. Fits well and has a chisel mark to show the alignment, as it fits well only one way. Then he forged out the cutting portion. All my other tooling is either forged solid shanks or folded 3/16" flat forged into the shank. Looking at my Trenton, I think the hardy area is a bit thin and would be leary of removing any metal in this area. If you want better detailed info on making you own tools by swaging into the hole give me an e-mail.
ptree - Saturday, 10/02/04 08:50:52 EDT

EDM. Sqare hole and shanks:
Habu, As Ptree covered it pretty well, I would not want to make this weak point weaker by making the hole bigger.

See my #164 iForge demo on bolster plates and square holes. If you are going to go through the effort of making the square hole then I'd make it in a piece of heavy plate and setup a stump or tool holder on a stand to use near the anvil. A plate with several holes could be made and then any common sized tools could be used. I would make all the holes 1/32" oversize for a good non-interference fit.

I have a bunch of 3/4" shank tooling from my first anvil. When I sold the anvil the hardy went with it but not the rest. Everything else was used on an anvil that was only 28 pounds heavier but had a 7/8" hardy hole. My Hay-Budden and big Kohlswa have holes over 1" and the only tool that "fits" is the rough hardy that came with the Hay-Budden. The sizes on both are so odd I can never remember them. . . One is 1-3/32" I think (28mm). I have a collection of square shanked tools that many only fit a 1-3/8" hardy hole. The 3/4" tools fit one of my personal pattern swage blocks and the 1-3/8" fits a hole in my big industrial block. I also have a collection of stakes that all have different sized tapered shanks even though they LOOK the same. . . NEVER use these in a anvil hardy hole unless you want a broken anvil.

Among these tools is a set of top and bottom round swages that run from 3/8" to 2". The shanks range from 3/4" to 1-3/8". Some of the largest have the smallest shanks. . . All these tools get used on ocassion but none fit my anvils. Of course these all work in larger holes. Those that are too big get used in swage blocks and vises.

I'm just glad to have the tools and make do with using them.

A good product for someone to make would be a hardy plate with 3/4", 7/8", 1" and 1-1/8" holes. 1-3/16, 1-1/4, 1-5/16 and 1-3/8 would also be useful. Yes, anvils came with all these size holes and more. . .

The advantage of having a seperate hardy holder is that you can leave the hardy in place without it being a knuckle buster.
- guru - Saturday, 10/02/04 15:46:25 EDT

Hazards: Ralph, Ptree, Eric plus

I like the passing on of collective wisdom when it is right. That is why I tune in occasionally and learn a lot. Unfortunately, collective wisdom can also fall short. In off topic areas, it is difficult for the novice and frequently difficult even for those with extended knowledge to separate fact from fiction. This is particularly true of fields like toxicology. Because I typically lurk, it usually takes some egregious comments for me to break silence.

The medical literature is full of toxicities. All of the nutrients are toxic (yes there are LD50’s for salt, sugar, Vitamin A, etc.) - but I suspect that you don’t want to stop consuming these known toxins. If you did, you would develop a deficiency which would also be fatal. Yes, it is a complex world. Toxicity is a function of quantity, rate, genetics and pre-conditioning. Animals forced to smoke cigarettes have a different LD50 for many chemicals than do normal animals. Their drug metabolizing system’s activity is increased due to chronic exposures to “low” levels. Unfortunately, some of the chemicals in tobacco smoke overload the body’s defense system and we get disease as a result. The same goes for people who consume alcohol or any other potentially hazardous chemical.

Metabolic detoxification pathways are all two edged swords. If they don’t have enough to do, they can take innocuous chemicals and “activate” them into toxic chemicals. I could selectively shut these systems down for you, but you would die. They all serve a real purpose.

When I hear a hobby smith and some industrial users talk about not being at risk because they have good ventilation on their coal fires, I roll my eyes and ask them two questions. The first question is to define the difference in health risk between particulates 0.5 to 10.0 microns in diameter (which you can’t see) and particulates greater that 50 microns in diameter (which you can see in a beam of light; and as they get bigger are very easy to see). The second question is to explain the differences in face velocities of a hood required for the removal of particulates (of both sizes) and volatile chemicals. We could take that further and talk about volatile chemicals with densities greater than air or lower than air.

When you manage a coal fire, do you manage it to produce benzene or benzpyrene? Can you not do both?

We know that ~1/3rd of the dioxin released into the atmosphere today comes from coal-fired power plants. Another 1/3rd comes from uncontrolled “trash” fires by suburban & rural homeowners. A couple of back-of-envelope calculations suggests that every time a smith fires up a coal fire, he/she releases more dioxins and PAH’s into the air than does a power plant serving 20k people. Venting those chemicals 15’ or 20’ into the air means only that you don’t have to deal with them (assuming a properly designed and operating hood). But your neighbors still do. I assume that demonstration forges are all designed to account for this plume. No? Really? Fortunately for you, all of those onlookers one aisle down have detoxification systems in their bodies to handle short-term sub-acute exposures.

Moving your stack up to 250’ above the ground (if you could) only means that people living 300 miles away are exposed. Yes, propane forges are significantly safer.

Benzene is a powerful hepatotoxin when it overloads the liver's metabolic degradation capacity. Dying of liver falure is not fun. But a coal burning smith is in a glass house.

End of comment.
- dloc - Sunday, 10/03/04 00:28:03 EDT

and your point is?: dloc,
I fail to see what your point is to be honest. If you are a lurker as you say, you will have seen repeated cautions as to the inherient hazards in this field.
Why haven't you talked about the poisons contained under the average kitchen sink? or in the average garden shed?

When I manage my coal fire I generally expect to stay out of the smoke. I also expect that I am risking a certain amount due to my hobby.
I will also argue that there are probably more dangers to a propane forge than to a coal forge for the simple reason that a propane forge has the perception of being 'clean' It has no visible smoke. But it does not mean that harmful emmisions are not there.

But back to your previous comments.
" Because I typically lurk, it usually takes some egregious comments for me to break silence."
What was it that was so egregious for you to de-lurk?
I think we were talking about various derusting methods. ANd I think I may have commented on how I prefer using fewer chemical methods as they are usually more safe. Also something to the effect that various solvents are effective but there are other means.

Ralph - Sunday, 10/03/04 01:13:07 EDT

LIFE...........: is what you do while you're waitin' to die
- 3dogs - Sunday, 10/03/04 02:41:34 EDT

LIFE: Amen to that 3dogs.
Ralph - Sunday, 10/03/04 08:47:56 EDT

Perhaps it was my comments that started all this, about benzene NOT being a friendly natural product, a chemical found in the body that is not of concern. I went on a tear about chemical hazards and bad advice to unkowing younger smiths. I tend to do that often as I deal with 5 different plants in my safety and environmental day job. Yes, coal burning produces many toxics. That is the main reason that I tend to the gasser first. Yes, I do have the hood face velocities, the behind the back make-up air and wear a particulate/organic vapor filter with NIOSH approvals on a half mask when I weld, grind, or run the coal forge at home. Yes I do live in this world, and Louisville Ky. happens to be very polluted with HAP's. You see we have Rubbertown in the west end. Left over chemical plants from WWII. I have spent the last 25 years working in industry, and for many years did trouble jobs for the valve mfg. I worked for in chemical and power plants. I have had a NIOSH pocket guide to chemical hazards in my work travel case since 1985. I do know about LD 50's. I still suggest that using benzene, breathing coal smoke, and exposing oneself to chemicals without serious thought to the hazards is foolish. I think to say that the world is full of toxics, don't worry about exposing yourself to more is beyond foolish, and borders on criminal. Yes, indeed the world is full of toxics. Yes, the world is a dangerous place. Yes, I would like to live a long, full life. I do not wish to suffer a chemical induced, cancer of the liver death. Can I prevent it? Not for sure, but I can be prudent in my choices, weigh risks and exposures. Benzene exposure in the liquid form is out for me. I will get small exposure from the atmoshere, along with the witchs brew of HAP's from the Louisville environment.
I will contimue to weigh in with rants on chemical safety, and general safety. Its what I do. I hope it does not offend.
ptree - Sunday, 10/03/04 10:12:19 EDT

email headed to you
Ralph - Sunday, 10/03/04 11:19:40 EDT

Noodles: Hey what's up guys? I'm new to the blacksmithing thing and I think I'm about to make my first attempt at a gas forge. I'm going to buy the T-Rex burner off of Rex Price's page simply because I dont want to try to whip up something on my own that's handling highly explosive gas! Plus I read that these are very good. But anyway, I'm trying to figuer out what will be best for the shell. I'm going to try to find a simple steel shell about 12" across..not sure how deep, and then I know i need to line it.

Now my question is, is castable refractory with ITC-100 painted on it good enough for basic forgeing as well as forge welding? Or do i need to have a ceramic wool on the inside as well? Thanks for any help you guys can give me ;)

- Noodles - Sunday, 10/03/04 11:20:01 EDT

Ptree: When talking about safety to new smiths or even some of us stubborn older smiths, you will never offend me or Jock. Unthinking advice to "don't worry about it, you can't do anything to stop it" is, as you said, foolish at best, criminal at worst. Even if not against the law, it's morally criminal.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 10/03/04 11:57:42 EDT

forges: Noodles,
castable or ceramic wool? Both are good. BOth have good points and bad points. the castable will be heavy, slow to heat and slow to cool.
Slow to cool is good in that once you are to temp you will use less fuel, but slow to heat requires more fuel to heat.

Wool on the other hand heats fast but cools fast. Good if you are wanting a portable forge ( you do a lot of demos etc )
You should be able to weld with both.

ITC-100 is an IR reflector type coating. It will also help hold the wool together ( not in place but keep it from flying out as particulate )
IN both forges it will help with the heat in the fogre.
Ralph - Sunday, 10/03/04 13:46:21 EDT

Advice: Advising people to exercise caution and arm themselves with REAL knowledge is never wrong. I do think that some folks were more than a bit harsh in their judgemental remarks about dloc's earlier posting regarding certain hazards. It is fine to disagree, but using inflammatory phrases like "small minded comment" and "criminal" to categorize another's comments are bound to elicit negative feelings.

Since I am the one who said that benzene is no more toxic than household bleach, I suppose I started the whole thread. Mea culpa. (I still think you guys are way overreacting about benzene, though.) The inescapable fact is that EVERYTHING is dangerous if misused. Someone said that water is one solvent that is not dangerous to the human body. Simply not so. That is why IVs use saline, not pure water. Pure water will cause serious imbalances when it dilutes human blood plasma. The cells in your veins won't like it either.

Immerse a human in pure water for a sufficient length of time and you will kill him as surely as if you dipped him in poison. Osmotic pressure differential between saline saturated human tissues and pure water will gradually leach the electrolytes out of your victim's body until he has a serious imbalance and his heart stops. Too many people fail to realize that the skin is the largest organ of the human body. Trenchfoot is a a small example of this danger of water to the human body.

As ptree said, KNOW the dangers. Most of us don't have the intimate knowledge of chemistry, physics, medicine and other disciplines to fully understand what we are dealing with sometimes. Rather than take the time and energy to learn everything we should, we let others do our thinking for us, in the person of the EPA, NIOSH, OSHA, et al. Unfortunately, even those organizations can be mislead or make errors. Knowing this, they usually try to err on the side of safety, so sometimes they go a bit overboard. That is probably better than being too pollyannaish about dangers, but it can seem a bit oppressive at times.

Each of us has to make his own choices, and live (or die) with the consequences of those choices. Informed choices skew the odds in favor of your survival; ignorant choices skew the odds against you. Think of it as "evolution in action."

Nothing in this post is intended to harm anyone, and no persons or animals or anything but wayward electrons were harmed in the making of this post.
vicopper - Sunday, 10/03/04 14:42:52 EDT

Alright. Thanks for the help Ralph. I think I'm going to use castable with ITC-100 then. I'm not moving the forge anywhere so I wont need to turn it on and off.

Now one more question is what would roughly be the biggest size I can have the forge and still be able to maintain the heat I need to forge weld throughout the entire shell. Please note I'll be using a castable refractory as well as ITC-100 and hopefully the T-Rex burner from Rex Price (if i ever get a response). Please list actual open heated space dimensions as well as the entire shell's dimensions. IE: (Open space + refractory) Thanks again!

- Noodles - Sunday, 10/03/04 16:11:31 EDT

Exposure:: my intention is not to stir the pot......
I started painting houses in my 15th year circa 1979. In 1986 I was diagnosed as having hepatitus type nonA nonB, at this point there was no test for type c hep, long story short......after five years of bad health and a change in carrer path It was discovered I had never had hepatitus but had been poisened by exposure to liquid solvents such as benzene and/or carbon tetrachloride(sp?) thru skin exposure. I consider myself lucky to have walked away from my ignorance and misdiagnosis with a mild case of necrosis of the liver. It could easily have been scerosis and death.

My 2 cents
lazarus - Sunday, 10/03/04 16:23:31 EDT

Make that,
a picture rather than a thousand words :-)
lazarus - Sunday, 10/03/04 16:41:32 EDT

On epa, OSHA, and NIOSH standards.
It has been said before that OSHA standards are written in blood. I agree in most cases. The NIOSH exposure standards have not been revised basicly since they were first developed in the 70's. The standards for exposure are now well know to be far to loose. Mineral oil exposure in mist is set so high that it would have to rain oil to exceed the standard. I try to do way better than the standard.
ptree - Sunday, 10/03/04 19:48:35 EDT

castable versus Kaolwool: I have found that the castable refactory uses up part of your available BTUs... I have much more trouble forge welding in my gas forge after pouring a castable floot into it. (I used to have the problem of pieces welding in the forge while just working...) The more insulating the refactory you use the more BTUs go into the piece, and less go into heating up your forge. The positive side of the castable is that it is very durable, and it does store heat. If I were to use all castable refactory for the bottom of a new forge I would make sure that I had more BTUs than I needed for the area of forge I was building. You NEED atleast part of the forge to be castable, or kiln shelf, or a welding plate, to protect the always more delicate insulative refactories, but go with the most efficient combination of refactories... YMM:-)
Fionnbharr - Monday, 10/04/04 01:57:51 EDT

castable vs kaowool: Fionnbharr,
That is why you need to design the forge properly. (smile) Not enough burner will do that. That is why for a same given size internal space a castable forge may need more burners initially to get to heat. But once at heat it can work on less. At least that seems to be my experience. Nothing scientific of course, just seat of the pants ops. But I also like my kaowool lined forge. HEats fast, tho I can not get it as hot right now. Not sure why. Needs tweaking. I will get around to it one day.
Ralph - Monday, 10/04/04 05:54:32 EDT

Ptree, on exceeding the code: I have a coworker who was getting a house built. One builder was bragging that they built to code and was not amused when he pointed out that code is the *minimum* spec just to have something that doesn't fall over and burst into flames (cf "Swamp Castle") and you really should *exceed* code whenever possible...

Saw a nice big thick walled tube for a large gas forge while i was at the Trinity site Saturday...

Thomas P - Monday, 10/04/04 10:45:29 EDT

kaowool vs castable: Kaowool doesnt wear that well in a gas forge. Firstly, unless you are a careful worker, it tends to snag on the work and tear and secondly, propane burns at 3500F while kaowool is rated 2400F. I find the kaowool in my forges turns powdery after a while if I use it to line the inner chamber. IMO kaowool is best used as a second layer to wrap a hard liner of castable or rammable.

That being said, kaowool is pretty good and is hands down the best choice for a first forge. It's easy to work (scissors). It's a great insulator and it has very low specific heat (takes very little heat energy to bring it up to temp). Also, the forge will be light and portable

Noodles, I strongly recommend you make a copy of Rons Mini Forge (which uses kaowool). Its easy to make and a very useful size. You will be starting with a known, sound design. Gas forges are easy to make and you will likely end up making several.

Burners. A T Rex burner is very nice. A Ron Reil EZ burner will work just fine. I have had a few "pops" when lighting forges and lost all the hair on my forearms but never an explosion. Burners are not inclined to explode. Nor have I heard of a smith blowing himself up with a gas forge. If it happens , its not often. By way of comparison, I have several times heard of smiths dying in car wrecks. The main danger from propane is allowing a large quantity to build up, unburned in a room or a cavity. It's heavier than air and will pool. If you have a slow leak in a line that is always pressurized and the propane is pooling say in your crawl space - this is bad. But if the propane is always being consumed by a flame and your tanks are always closed when the forge is unlit, I dont see how you get an explosion.

Let me refer you to the *excellent* FAQ titled "Gas Forges" on the anvilfire FAQ page. :)

Finally, if you are at high altitude, you might reconsider atmospheric burners vs blown burners
- adam - Monday, 10/04/04 10:59:08 EDT

forge insulation cont'd: Getting castable up to temp. I think there are two issues here. One is the specific heat of the refractory. Castable has to soak up a lot more BTUs to get hot and this will mean a longer time and more fuel to get there. Of course, once you get up to temp you will have a large "thermal inertia" and things like opening a door for few seconds to insert a large piece of work are will not chill the forge much.

The second issue is itseffectiveness as an insulator - that is, its ability to dam the flow of heat energy thru its walls. If Kaowool and castable both were equally good insulators then, the castable would take longer to get to forging temp, but once it reaches that temp, it shouldnt require more BTUs to keep it there.

Unfortunately castable is NOT as good an insulator as kaowool.

I have a gas forge in which the inner liner is a hard refractory wrapped in a blanket of kaowool and I find this works very well.

Sorry to be so long winded on this topic. I spent the weekend making a new gas forge and these things are on my mind
adam - Monday, 10/04/04 11:20:38 EDT

Chamber size: Hey guys quick question. I think after using my castable refractory and everything, my chamber size will be down to a 10 inch diameter by ???in deep. Is 10 inches small enough and then if so, what would be a good depth? right now it's 30 inches which i know is gonna be way too big. Thanks for the help!

Seth - Monday, 10/04/04 12:45:48 EDT

Chambersize: IMO 10" dia is waaay to big unless you running a production shop and have to feed a power hammer. It will be hard to get to welding heat and if you do you will eat up a 20lb bottle in a a couple, three hours (I have a 9" dia forge which I use very rarely and it goes through propane at a hugely expensive rate plus its a struggle to keep the bottles from freezing).

I see poorly designed gas forges that run at red or perhaps orange and the owner is struggling to move the steel. The first phase of forging should be done with the steel as hot you can get it w/o burninng - yellow or yellow white. Not only is it easier on the smith , but the steel moves differently and has warm look (even when cold :) ). Finish forging and bending are done at lower temps.

A 4" or 5" dia chamber about 9" long - the size of a RR Mini Forge - is a very useful size and easy to heat.

If you are concerned about getting large stock into the forge don't be. It took me too long to discover this simple trick, but large pieces can be heated by placing them SIDEWAYS ACROSS THE MOUTH OF THE FORGE. If you set a couple of firebrick to block the mouth but with a 1" gap or so they will heat up and reflect back the heat so effectively that the workpiece may just as well be inside the chamber. I have done welds this way, though it does require running pedal to the metal to get the mouth to welding temp. Usually large pieces only need to go to yellow or orange. With planning you can do your welds early and bend things so that they fit in the forge for welding and then, when finish forging on the straightened piece, lay it across the mouth as described. A LOT of work gets done at the mouth of the forge.

IMO you will be much better off with a small manageable design to start rather than building a monster furnace.

Just my opinion
adam - Monday, 10/04/04 14:15:26 EDT

RE: chambersize:
I would have to agree with Adam, a 10" dia forge is a bit large however, I was able to utilize a 12" dia pipe by cutting it longitudinaly(sp?) about 2/3 of the circumference so that what I had was basically a forge 'roof' which I then lined with a 1" layer of kaowool then a layer of cardboard onto which I applied approx 1" of castable refractory. I used a 8" stove pipe wrapped in plastic and set it into/ontop of the castable to hold the form while it set up for a day which also gave me the inside curve to the bottom of the forge 'roof' to help direct the flame in a circular vortex. I sit this on top of hard fire brick . This forge measures 8" across the diameter, about six inches from floor to ceiling and 12" long. I uasually have 2 mongo style burners running for about 15-20 minutes @ 20-25 psi to get a good welding heat going and then I can shut down the farthest burner and maintain the heat with 1 burner @ a very low psi at the regulator( somewhere between 2.5-5 pounds).

hope this helps

lazarus - Monday, 10/04/04 15:21:58 EDT

Forgot to mention that if you need more floor to ceiling height you can just set the forge roof on a rectangle of loose soft fire bricks to increase the hieght in increments of 2 1/2".
lazarus - Monday, 10/04/04 15:26:00 EDT

There are pictures @ the AnvilFire Fotos site in a folder called lazarus's

Again HTH
lazarus - Monday, 10/04/04 15:27:23 EDT

Gas forge size all depends on what you want to put in it---I've seen ones that a RR car can roll into---tracks built into the floor. I've seen others that I can just get two fingers in. They both have their uses.

If you start with a 10" dia and put 2" of kaowool in you now have 6" dia "working room" not excessive to heat and the double layer of wool really helps keep it where you want it.

You will probably want a hard firebrick for the floor, perhaps a facing brick that can rest on top of one of the layers of kaowool and have the other snug up against it---you may still want to put a kittylitter dam along the sides if you will be fluxing a lot.

As to length---how much will you neeed hot at one time? for knives is usually only a couple of inches. Making scrolls or twisting you may want close to a foot in length---depending on how you do things.

I have 2 propane forges a blown single burner in a light shell and an aspirated double burner in a *heavy* shell. The light one's easy to move; but I don't take it out very often. Usually use solid fuel for demo's---the mystique you know...The heavy one is nice cause I can weld things to it for special projects---why not do your twisting *inside* the gas forge? It's heavy enough that it can support an extendable stock rack a foot out from the mouth---which takes care of most of the work I do.

It was made from an O2 tank and it's a pain to lug around!

Thomas P - Monday, 10/04/04 15:35:27 EDT

Adam (Lazarus), I *like* those candle sticks. My forge too has a moveable roof (in fact I have several different roofs) stacked up on fire brick. Its very flexible and the chamber can even be reconfigured while operating. Unlike yours mine has a "trough" design so the burner is part of the base which leaves the roof simpler.

Thomas, I assumed Seth meant 10" dia *chamber* in a much larger shell. Obviously there are some things for which only a large forge will do. For example welding upp damascus billets the size of RR cars to name one. Ok, Ok - being a smartass :) Of course there are industrial applications for a forge that size. I had just meant to point out that a small forge is surprising versatile and that a 5" dia chamber doesnt restrict you to making pieces that can wholly fit inside.
adam - Monday, 10/04/04 16:25:19 EDT

forge size: Ok, folks are saying that a 10" inside dia is rather large.
I think it is almost too small. But then I am not making knives. I usually make things with curves etc. SO more space is really needed. Of course to be honest I do most of my forging in a coal or a charcoal forge for that reason.

But my home built gasser is made form an old propane tank/bottle from a BBQ. Cut the ends off and had my shell. As it is my working area is actually too small. I also have a store bought NG ( I bought it used from a freind) blown forge. gets real hot but once again the working area is a bit cramped. I just like the openess of a solid fuel fire for most of my projects. BUt as a hobby smith I am not required to be super efficeint.
Ralph - Monday, 10/04/04 16:32:24 EDT

I have a 8" id by 18" blown gasser, and often find it a challenge to get the large organic sculpture elements in it. That said, I think I will build a smaller gasser, as a demo and small forgeing forge. Should use a lot less gas.
We have several forges going surplus at work. Set up for production bar upsetting. Smallest will heat 20, 2.25"bars by about 24" heat lenght at once. The big one will take an oversize lowboy trailer. Needs 6", 8psi gas line. Reasonable offers for where is/as is.
ptree - Monday, 10/04/04 17:30:13 EDT

Kaowool and Forge temperatures:
Propane burns at a maximum of 2950 F tops, most forges run 2400-2600 and manufacturers do not promise more than 2400 F. This is the reason that higher carbon steels weld well in propane forges but low carbon and wrought which require higher temperatures do not.

Kaowool cerablanket though rated for continous use at 2150 F is RATED good to 2400 F and melts at 3200 F. Note that there are many different grades of this product and Inswool and others ARE NOT Kaowool (Kaowool and Cerablanket are trade names of Thermal Ceramics Inc.). There is one rather expense Thermal Ceramics product that has a rated working temperature of 2600 F but you are wasting your time to try to purchase it in less than car loads.

ITC-100 is good for working temperatures of up to 4,000 F and melts at 5,000 F. A coating of ITC-100 over Kaowool prevents the surface breakdown that is largely due to oxidation, not the high heat. However, it does protect the Kaowool from the highest surface heat as a physical barrier and IR reflective surface. Many other ridgidizers and coatings do not have this high a rating or the IR reflective properties. ITC claims a 200F reduction is surface temperature due to reflectance in many cases.

An ITC-100 coating over the Kaowool prevent snagging on work and the production of dust.

Many castable refractories and cements are good up to 3200F and a thin coating of one of these or ITC-200 over Kaowool can make a very durable high efficiency forge lining surface. However, nothing can beat fired refractory bricks for the floor. These are baked at temperatures far exceeding a propane forge and are much stronger than castable which is rarely cured at the necessary temperature to reach their maximum strength.

If you want a REALLY hot, coal commonly burns at 3200 F and is the reason that it is easier to forge weld with coal but also the reason you can burn up the work in a minute of inattention. The advantage to gas is that even though you CAN overheat tool steels and can scale things up pretty bad it is impossible to set fire the steel and most run right at the correct forging temperature for low to medium carbon steels.
- guru - Monday, 10/04/04 18:31:07 EDT

Thank you, those are an Iforge demo BTW. I did design the picture plate holders to go with it tho'.
Since those pics of the forge where taken I have added an old screw scissor jack from a car which allows me to jack the roof up and create a clamshell type forge for really large pieces. can get local heating on just about any shape this way.

lazarus - Monday, 10/04/04 18:50:39 EDT

Gotta crank the heat at that point tho' ;-)
lazarus - Monday, 10/04/04 18:53:25 EDT

Forge Size Shape:
One of the most flexible LOOKING forges I have seen was an old Swan's forge with the long front door and end ports (like a NC-TOOL Whisper Moma or Forgemaster). The forge had notches cut out between the end ports and door so long pieces could be put in from the side/front and the door closed. Parts that could not be manipulated through the end ports such as a long piece with a scroll or decorative element on the end can easily have the middle heated this way.

The thing about gas forges is to be efficient you need different sizes and shapes for different work. Even small S-hooks can require some wrangling in my Whisper Baby. . .

One trick Dave Manzer shows in his power hammer how-to tooling video is folding a piece so it fits in the gas forge. It is worked then straightened when finished.
- guru - Monday, 10/04/04 18:55:25 EDT

Adam, look at Sachse's book on Damascus Steel and you will see him working a billet of over 1 ton in weight...

Thomas P - Monday, 10/04/04 19:05:25 EDT

Propane Flame Temp: I got my info from this source

and figured 1980C = 3600F. I'd be happy to find out that I am wrong since it would simplify forge design

Yeah, I use ITC100 - still snags though

Also, I stumbled across this source of 2600F kaowool in small quantities

I just recvd a couple of yards - going to try it in my new forge for the "lid"
adam - Monday, 10/04/04 19:22:02 EDT

Kaowool: Ok, I reread Jocks post more carefully - I will try sealing the kaowool with ITC200 and then coating with ITC100. I assumed it was a temperature thing but if its due to oxidation, there is hope of mitigating it.

Thomas that would be a sight to see!

Also I agree with Ralph. Coal is best and I would use that if I could.
adam - Monday, 10/04/04 19:30:25 EDT

Looking for old Tinsmithing tools: Hello Fellas, I am in the market for 18th and 19th century tinsmithing tools, I just conpleted a pre 1850 shop at Old Fort Dodge in Iowa and am looking to fill it up with period tools. Email me if you know of any. Thanks, Jim
Highhorse - Monday, 10/04/04 19:34:18 EDT

Jim- try this guy-
T.O. Elliot-
he is in Mannford Ok.
Havent talked to him in a while, so I hope this is still a good number. I dont have an email for him.
He is a collector, buyer, seller and horsetrader of pre 20th century tinsmithing tools. He either has it, or knows who does, and he is not too awfully far from you.
- Ries - Monday, 10/04/04 23:18:58 EDT

I used insulating castable in my latest forge. This stuff is much lighter and insulates about as well as insulating firebrick. The price, about a year ago, was $30 for a 50lb bag.

That said, I would probably go with all Kaowool if I do another one. My forge has an arched raisable roof, made out of propane tanks, to let me play with large, or odd-shaped, pieces. But I don't often work with stuff that would scrape the ceiling. My walls are insulating firebricks, to let me move them around, if needed. And the floor is out of the same stuff. This has proven to be plenty tough enough. They tend to crack from heat stress, but basic fireplace mortar is working fine to hold them together.

- MarcG - Tuesday, 10/05/04 08:24:38 EDT

quote of the day: "Sorry I don't have a picture of the finished piece. Went to buy a digital camera, but ended up buying a Tig Welder instead." Bill Epps - introducing iForge Demo #33
adam - Tuesday, 10/05/04 10:52:23 EDT

gasers: Since we're sorta on the the subject, How well does The guru's really stupid burner work in say a 10" by 8" stacked fire brick forge?
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 10/05/04 13:25:54 EDT

Insulating Castable: Marc, do you have a brand and a distributor for this material? I am interested

I found out that generaly speaking, refractory properties( the ability to with stand hi temps without deformation) are incompatible with good insulation. This because one way to reduce internal stress from temp differences in the material is make it a good conductor and eliminate temp gradients.

Ceramics people have their own temp scale called "cones" based on a set of standard ceramic cones) which slump when heated past a certain temp. For example 2280F is "cone 10". Makes for interesting conversations when buying stuff from a ceramics supply store
adam - Tuesday, 10/05/04 13:34:38 EDT

Insulating castable: I didn't note the manufacturer, but I did write down IRC-26 as the product name. If I get a chance, I'll look for the bag to see if they put more info on there.

One thing that was suggested was to use stainless steel needles in the mix. That was supposed to help bind things when they wanted to crack. So far it's been holding up, about a year now. Some chips off the edges, but the ceiling is pretty much solid.

- MarcG - Tuesday, 10/05/04 15:32:42 EDT

Paw Paw,

The Better Half says my 03-A3 that I told you about at Quad State came today. Havent been home yet to see it. What is the best way to clean off cosmoline if necessary?
- Brian C - Tuesday, 10/05/04 17:08:29 EDT

Reinforcing castable:
Many manufacturers recommend using stainless steel machining scrap (long, thin ribbons) or wire for the same purpose, MarcG. I haven't tried this myself but it's supposed to work very well.
- T. Gold - Tuesday, 10/05/04 17:21:54 EDT

ss needles: Yeah I have a pile of SS lathe turnings but havent gotten around to using them yet. When my forge designs stablize and I get past the prototype stage, I will build something to last. Nasty stuff those SS turnings - not sure what to cut them with. Prolly just use an old pair of scissors.

Marc - thx - I think I will be able to track it down with that info. I had thought of mixing perlite or sawdust into my Mizzou castable
adam - Tuesday, 10/05/04 17:50:24 EDT

B2 Design Hammer School: Jock, I like the story on your power hammer school dayz. Well, done. And thanks for the coverage at Troy.
- John Larson - Tuesday, 10/05/04 18:18:22 EDT

Brian:: When I got my Garand from the CMP, I used oven cleaner, a brush, and a garden hose to clean off the cosmolene. It worked great, and then after steel wooling the piece, I finished it with Linseed oil. Several coats. Steel wool in between coats with OOOO wool. HTH
Bob H - Tuesday, 10/05/04 21:15:56 EDT

Garand: Tomahawks, muzzleloaders and throwing knives. Now a Garand. Did you get the accessory kit that allows firing hand knapped bullets, BobH? I wonder what .30 caliber round would look like chipped out of mahogany obsidian?
- Larry - Tuesday, 10/05/04 21:45:21 EDT

Obsidian Slugs: Anybody wanna buy a smoothbore Garand ?
- 3dogs - Wednesday, 10/06/04 02:51:09 EDT

Castable: Adam, the perlite will probably melt and turn to glass where it's close to the inside of the forge, but that's probably alright. It will still leave behind air pockets that insulate, similar to the sawdust. I tried a similar mixture, but using Portland cement. That mixture melted and was useless. But your Mizzou should stand up fine.

If anyone's interested, I put up a step-by-step of my forge building at

- MarcG - Wednesday, 10/06/04 07:58:29 EDT

Perlite: I did that experiment too (portland cement & perlite). It makes a strong light insulator but perlite melts at about
2400F which makes it unsuitable for the inner chamber walls. However as an outer fill layer it's excellent stuff and costs almost nothing.

I like your clamshell design. I had thought of doing something like that but then I went with a trough design. My latest forge has a couple of interesting design ideas. If they pan out - and I am optimistic - I will try to post some pix and notes.

Marc, I enjoyed your website (actually I had visited it few times already). You and I have come along similar paths.

Obsidian bullets? You guys are kidding, right? I mean I know you gun nuts are all bonkers but this too far over the line! Perhaps archeologists will find the remnants of an NRA card in a neolithic grave site?
adam - Wednesday, 10/06/04 10:53:54 EDT

Garand: Ok I did a Google on Garand and I see now I have been had. It's some version of the old M1 rifle.

When I was in the Civil Defense in Jerusalem they issued us old M1s each with a single clip containing 3 or 4 bullets. With this we were to defend schools against terrorists armed with Kalashnikovs (and full clips) . One day they took us out for "target practice". We got to fire four rounds at a target 50 meters away. My wife was the only one of us to get all four rounds on the target. The rest of us might just as well have been throwing rocks.

I'll stick to smithing :)
adam - Wednesday, 10/06/04 12:12:26 EDT

perlite: in the one hardware store/home center I checked yesterday, the only perlite I could find is by Miracle Gro and has plant food impregnated in it. Will this bother anything in a refractory mix or should I try to find another source (I suppose it would be cheaper without it too)?
For stove cement also, I could only find one kind and that quart tub was only labelled for up to 2100°F. Again, I'll have to do more checking around.
Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 10/06/04 12:38:31 EDT

Perlite: Avoid any additives. Plant nurseries always have Perlite and Vermiculite too which has very similar properties.

McMaster-Carr (online store for machine shop supplies) sell a 3000F furnace cement. Also ClayPeople and Bailey Pottery. In general, the ceramic supply houses cater to a temperature range similar to that used in forging steel.
adam - Wednesday, 10/06/04 13:39:39 EDT

Knapping: BOB H, Could you email me your snail mail address. I cut an article out of the paper that I wanted to send you on Flint Ridge in Ohio.
SGensh - Wednesday, 10/06/04 13:39:54 EDT

Pearlite---ther's a mountain of it a couple miles thataway from here. You can see the dust from the pearlite mine colouring the mountainside.

We had a severe hailstorm here, Socorro NM, yesterday. My 10 year old smithing truck looks like everybody at Quad-State was trying out large ballpeins on it. I'm lucky in that my Windshield is only cracked and that on the passenger's side. Most folks at work completely lost at least 1 window and several lost front, back and moonroof. One colleague ownes a saturn and the hail punched holes through the body---I should have saved a lot of it for winter to fire from my 2" bore cannon...

Luckily the storm was concentrated in Socorro and so my new shop only saw marble sized hail, it's still dry and purdy looking. The house is OK too...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/06/04 14:51:14 EDT

refractories: Have you looked at E.J. Bartells or A.P. Green ? Both have good refractories. It is what they do. Not knocking places like McMaster Carr etc, but I tend to think that if you want a specific item go to the folks who make it. Cut out the middle man. Usually it is cheaper. I got my ramable refractory for about 25.00 for 55 lbs ( i got 2 boxes ). Of course I have the advantage of having a outlet less than 20 miles form my home so I was able to pick it up in person and save on shipping. Point is since you are here on anvilfire you are using a computer. SO you can use all the info we have suggested coupled with a bit of a google ( or your favorite search ) search and find ALL SORTS of refractory info.

Now that I think of it I need ot use up my 110 lbs of refractory.... before my wife remembers I bought it.
Ralph - Wednesday, 10/06/04 15:49:20 EDT

refractories: Ralph is right. If you need a box of firebrick or a bag of castable these guys are the right address. Especially since the salesman will be very knowledgeable about the material.

I have ordered from local distributors of both firms and found them friendly helpful and the freight to be reasonable. This despite the fact that my order was basically nuisance size.

However if you need a just a pint or a quart of something like furnace cement then a retailer like McMaster or Bailey Pottery is a better choice

adam - Wednesday, 10/06/04 16:25:37 EDT

pints?????: Bah! We are blacksmiths! And we follow Tim The Tool Mans credo! More is better! So what is a Pint? Oh wait that is what you get at the local pub ( non-virtual ) (grin)

If you are getting stuff in that small of quanitiy then you need to find a local to you dealer. As Adam said almost every area will have a ceramic supply place. Shoot there are at least 2 or 3 within 40 miles of me. Plus Bartell's... (grin) As well as another place I can get ceramic fiber board. I am set.....
Now if I could just get a decent coal and charcoal supply locally......
Ralph - Wednesday, 10/06/04 19:19:15 EDT

I don't seem to have as many ceramic suppliers as you, but E. Kentucky and W. Virgina, home of very good coal is two hours away!
- ptree - Wednesday, 10/06/04 19:23:28 EDT

Garand revisited:: Actually, I probably used Tung Oil on the stock. And no, Larry, I ain't got no Mahogony Obsidian bullets, tracers or otherwise. Man, them Caintuck guys sure are smart alecks! :]
Bob H - Wednesday, 10/06/04 19:42:02 EDT

not all of us caintuck guys are smart alecks! Most of us are just plain smart!
And I happen to live near the source of wyndott flint!
ptree - Wednesday, 10/06/04 20:24:23 EDT

Message for Ralph and a Clipart question--Hey Ralph, I picked up everything I need to make my nail header according to your instructions. Try to get to it this weekend. I'll let you know how it turns out. Also, does anyone have any blacksmith clipart ? I'm looking for a business card logo and the ones on the web are all copyrighted. Thanks, Mike
- Mike House - Wednesday, 10/06/04 23:08:04 EDT

hail: Thomas P,
last year there was a hailstorm 30-40 miles SW from here, horizontal hail!! The wind side of houses really got pelted, siding and windows damaged. On one house, vinyl siding that was claimed to be nearly 'indestructible' was just shredded.
Elliott Olson - Thursday, 10/07/04 01:58:31 EDT

Mike, in the little searching I just did, much of the clipart is copyrighted, but some of it still says free (try adding "free" to your search).
Elliott Olson - Thursday, 10/07/04 02:15:20 EDT

The HAIL, you say !!??: My daughter's house and cars got hammered pretty good up in ABQ too, Thomas.
- 3dogs - Thursday, 10/07/04 02:37:16 EDT

Clipart: Mike House; check out the Countryside Agency, (formerly known as COSIRA) In addition to some great smithing info, they have a group of weather vane silhouettes, some with smithing themes.
- 3dogs - Thursday, 10/07/04 02:43:46 EDT

Hail, yup Albuquerque got it the day before we did, the local insurance agent says it's widespred enough that it may be a year before all the body work gets taken care of.

Shoot I kind of like the "hammered" look to my truck if they would just get the glass replaced.

As for clear coat---I think the dust keeps it covered...

luckily I can still drive my truck; giving my boss a lift to ABQ this evening to meet his wife in their other car and start their vacation...His car is stuck in the parking lot at work till they tow it for hail repair.

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/07/04 11:20:27 EDT

Ifn anyone wants to see the car-nage out this way New Mexico Tech has posted some pics look at "Photos taken by Community Members" #10 is a nice set.

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/07/04 18:41:47 EDT

Spybots: Awhile back Paw Paw posted an address for a site that had free Spybot downloads. I had it on my old computer and it worked great. Unfortunately, a Trojan slipped through and it cost more to have it fixed than it was worth. I would like to use the Spybot ware again, but I lost the address. Anybody out there got it lying around? Thanks
- Larry - Thursday, 10/07/04 19:55:26 EDT

Spybot S&D: Larry,

Try this link:
vicopper - Thursday, 10/07/04 21:20:10 EDT

Safety rants:
Safety rants are great..... when they are correct, factual and stripped of emotion or self importance. When they are not correct, they do considerable disservice and scare people away from useful processes and materials.

Fear is the lack of knowledge.

If you are fearful, fix that with knowledge. Do not drag others down with your fear.

This country (and the standard of living we now enjoy temporarily) was made great by people who were willing to learn and apply what can be dangerous processes. They used them wisely in many cases. Some not so wisely to be sure. The abuses were mostly done by the greedy. Greed and the willingness to abuse others is far more dangerous than most processes and materials. But we celebrate it. We are told MBA training is good. MBA training is all about manipulation of respect and reality.

We concentrate on the safety exceptions in many cases and legislate to the extreme. We are exceedingly hypocritical about others. We now have entire self serving industries and government entities to tell us what we should not be expected to work with.

And others around the world are using those same processes, safely in most cases, and jobs are flying away.

But we'll be a safe starving place.

Not really, but some will point that way.

Legislation and rules will NEVER ASSURE safety. Only personal knowledge can assure safety. Education is not an option.
- Tony - Thursday, 10/07/04 22:07:27 EDT

That should more clearly be...:

Education is not optional.
- Tony - Thursday, 10/07/04 22:10:08 EDT

For example:: "Hey Alfred Nobel, that stuff could blow up on ya and maybe put out your eye, or something, fer cryin' out loud!"
- 3dogs - Friday, 10/08/04 08:55:00 EDT

Have acquired an old wooden broom machine that winds the straw the handle, has a kicker wheel and all the orginal cast iron pieces, it is in good condition and useable, any idea on the value, thanks
- Steve - Friday, 10/08/04 10:48:59 EDT

3Dogs, Alfred lost a number of family members through accidental explosions and was so horrified over the use of his "safe explosives for mining" in warfare that he created the Nobel prize. He might not be the best one to use as an example.

I try to live a dangerous life safely. I do many things that horrify my co-workers; but I do draw the line at some things. Shoot when I was lifting the big anvils using the roof trusses I even put in jackposts "just in case".

Thomas P - Friday, 10/08/04 12:22:08 EDT

BOOM!: Point conceded, Thomas. Now, In the spirit of the second half of your post, the word "shoot" reminded me of some of the archival stuff, and a faster method of lifting your anvils. (ye grynne)
- 3dogs - Friday, 10/08/04 16:27:05 EDT

Taketh thou of the powder of the black 3 handfulls and placeth it admist the cavity that hidest beneath thy anvil with care of the utmost that it not rise before times and smiteth thou sorely...Hey Y'all, watch this!!!!

Hmm my neighbor does have a big field next door, maybe next 4th of july I will have to contravene the statuates laid down by our Mother ABANA...

Thomas P - Friday, 10/08/04 17:23:53 EDT

Spybots: Thanks Vicopper. I'll check it out a little later.Hope you got all your rasps and steel through security without too many problems.
- Larry - Friday, 10/08/04 19:53:09 EDT

I would point out that the government usually has made laws about safety and building and fire codes in response to public outcry AFTER a tragedy has occurred. Think the Beverly Hills Supper Club,The Shirtwaist company fire, hexavalent chrome used as an anti fouler in water towers, PCB's, methyl chloride and tri-chlor.
With the exception of the shirtwaist co. fire all these things occurred or were found to be dangerous in my lifetime.
The federal rule for right to know, (haz-com) has been a royal pain in the workplace for employeers. Most written citation in most states. It has changed the workplace. No longer are people handed a bucket of something and told to wipe down a machine with bare hands and a rag.(At least not legally) Now the worker has the right to review the material safety data sheet. The fact that the MSDS tells the worker that the solvent he was just handed has a flash point of 12F, a boiling point of 176F, and targets the central nervous system, the bone marrow, eyes, skin, blood and causes leukemia as well as having an IDLH of 500ppm and a lel of 1.2% with the uel being 7.8%.
Now the worker in my shop, who sat thru the training, and paid even a little attention now knows that the solvent has a low boiling point, a very low flash point, and a lower explosion limit of 1.2% in air. He knows that in a poorly vented area that a concentration of 500 parts per million is immediatlty dangerous to life and health. He knows that a concentration of 1.2% in air will explode if exposed to a spark. And he knows the organs that this chemical will attack. The msds will also tell him the types of personell protection equipment that will protect him.
Is this overkill? Is this legislated overprotection? Is this depending on the government to protect us from ourselves? Are others working safely without this knowledge? I work as a company safety and environmental guy. I speak with some experience that the haz-com rules are a pain. We have over 600 MDSD on file and add a new one every time a new chemical comes into the shop. We have MSDS on steel. We have MSDS on paint, grinding wheels, on cutting tool steel, and on the stretch wrap we send the finished parts out in. Big pain to train, every year, and maintain these files. Big cost. Is it worth it? Yes! Do you think most companies would do this on their own?
I worked in industry prior to the Haz-com rules, as a laborer, and the above scenario happened to me. But no MSDS, and I washed down metal prior to painting with MEK, Benzene, Naptha, and other solvents of unknown type. Bare hands, no respirator, no special ventalation, no splash goggles, no nothing.
By the way the chemical described in the MSDS is Benzene.
ptree - Friday, 10/08/04 20:43:36 EDT

Answers to ptree: "No longer are people handed a bucket of something and told to wipe down a machine with bare hands and a rag."

Not true. Happens every day and I think you know it. Driven by greed and the willingness to abuse in most cases. Good for you if it doesn't happen by you.

MSDS, safety training, and right to know? Good stuff. It is Education.

It is not the legislation that improves the situation, it is the education. Education is not dependent on legislation.

If your (and my) parents didn't buy all the crap the media and commercials rammed down their throats (greed and willingness to abuse on the part of the advertisers and the media they support) you (and I) would have been taught not to use an unknown to you like benzene with bare hands.

If we make it, they will buy it. If we make it, they will buy it. If they buy it, we are justified in making it. If they buy it, we are justified in making it.....

The greedy businessmans mantra.

The weakness of human nature.

Legislation is treating the symptom, not the cause. The cause is greed and willingness to abuse in most cases. Not treating the cause is inefficient. Until those whose greed and willingness to abuse are punished directly, and not allowed to hide behind a corporation, the problem will still exist.

Citations are not effective unless the stockholders see the effect. And then we just shuffle the MBA's anyway. No real improvement is gained.

The reality of environmental and safety in business is that unless you do something REALLY dumb, you just hire your legal team to make it go away. I've seen it personally so many times it makes me ill. Big business legal team makes the government regulation people roll over and say please don't hit me, will you rub my belly if I promise to go away?

Unless or course a politician thinks he/she can expand his/her power base by prosecuting. I still wonder who Martha Stewart pissed off.

And we pay for all of it in the price of the things we buy.

Business runs government because the apathetic populace does not. Environmental and safety companies lobby and influence government for their benefit. More greed. The fact that government doesn't react until after the fact of a disaster reinforces the point very well. Take tobacco as an example.

Trust the government to look out for you? Be my guest. Historically, the government has done a very poor job. Not just in our recent society. Again, the problem is greed and willingness to abuse or allow abuse. I'll educate myself, thank you.

As a safety person, the education you may do is good. But I personally, do not want your position to exist as it does. A necessary evil to the corporation. I don't want to pay for treating the symptom. I tell the same to the many personal friends I have in the safety and environmental business. One of my best friends is manager of safety, workmens comp and environment for a multibillion dollar international company. (geez, that sounds like self importance) They don't like it either. Tomorrow, I'll be on a roof pounding nails with no less than 6 engineers (if they all show up) whose job is environmental and safety compliance. And ALL of them recognize where the real problem lies.

How many anchored safety harnesses do you think will be used putting that roof on?

Would companies do it on their own? Damn right they would if they KNEW they would personally go to jail for abusing others.

But we have this nifty profession called lawyers who can protect the abusers from the punishment they rightly deserve. All it takes to get away with it is money. But the greed provides that.

I know from past experience trying to correct you when you incorrectly slammed hydraulics, and watching you have to have the last word many times here, that you will not let this go. Have at it. Those who don't get it at this point, won't. And you are welcome to your opinion. I'm just sick of paying for treating the symptom, not the cause.

The point of the earlier post, again, is that potentially dangerous materials and processes can be used in non dangerous ways. IF you know what you are doing.

IF you are educated.

Regulations and legislation do not make work safe. They drag us down. Except the lawyers and politicians, that is.
- Tony - Friday, 10/08/04 23:12:19 EDT

Legislation = rules. Rules violated, and caught= fines. Fines show up on the bottom line. Small yes. Do it several times and the fines get very big, and show on the bottom line. This gets the greedy to notice, and is the whole point. A criminal is a criminal is a criminal. Lawyers get murders off too. Still not right.
ptree - Saturday, 10/09/04 09:31:01 EDT

Finally building my gas forge...: Alright guys! I got all the stuff for my forges. I'm building both gas and coal. =D I couldn't decide which would be better so i decided to have both. The guy at the refractory place made me a deal and sold me 150 pounds of castable refractory, a box of 25 soft insulating fire brick, and a big roll of ceramic wool. I'm using an old propane tank for the gas forge (it's a little longer than BBQ 20pound tanks).

Now, what order should these be in for my forge? Should i use castable inside, then wool, then firebricks for the bottom? or should i do all cast inside and wrap wool outside the whole thing? If it was outside the castable, would it have any effect? orrr??? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!
- Seth - Saturday, 10/09/04 14:34:14 EDT

building forges: Seth if it were me, I would make the order as follows. Inside out castable wrapped with wool. The soft fire brick can bu used under the whole forge to insulate the table ( or other surface) form any heat. Also you can use the brick to make a wall in from and behind the forge opening.
Soft fire brick probably will not hold up well in the forge itself.

Just what I would do.

Ralph - Saturday, 10/09/04 14:47:28 EDT

Forge: Hmm sounds good. Thanks for the help =)
- Seth - Saturday, 10/09/04 18:10:03 EDT

Gas forge: The castyable is the most durable of the materials, but the least insulating value. The soft firebrick is in the middle, and the Kaowool is the best insulating but least durable. So, you want the inner chamber walls and floor to be castable, about 1" thick or so. Then use the Kaowool outside the castable to get the insulating value. 2" thickness of wool over the castable will be about right. The soft firebrick are fine for using to close off the ends, just make a shelf to stack them on so you can adjust the opening sizes.

Another useful idea is to make a removeable floor liner for the forge out of castable. That way, when it gets eaten up by flux, you just replace it easily instead of relining the whole forge.
vicopper - Saturday, 10/09/04 21:40:37 EDT

castable part two: BTW a good friend of mine made a gasser using a Hi Phosphate refractory. This was several years ago. ANd he says that so far the refractory is just laughing at the flux.

He used Pyramid Air Set, but unfortualtely it is not made any more.
Ralph - Saturday, 10/09/04 22:36:05 EDT

Risk, fines & education: I broke my own pronouncement for which I apologize.
1) Risk is relative and must always be kept in relative perspective. Water toxicity is a fairly common poisoning. You see it in hospitals, emergency medicine, ultra-endurance exercise and war. It is the result of giving a severely dehydrated person too much water in too short of a period of time. It screws up virtually every system in the body and is rapidly fatal. But yet, I'm not willing to forgo my daily ration because I am truly addicted to it.
2) Tony is absolutely right about education. Pharmaceutical manufacturers have to meet a set of regulations collectively known as cGMP's (current Good Manufacturing Practices). Abbott's last fine for violating cGMP requirements at a plant level was $800 million (yes, $800 million). This is after some "smaller" fines had no effect. What has gotten them is not the money but the fact that they had to hire a proctor that reports directly to the FDA. The proctor is totally responsible for education of everyone in the plant - the plant manager, the line worker, the janitor, the secretary - everyone who sets foot in the plant. Education changes the mindset of the individual and the culture of the organization. (I should note for those that use Abbott products that this fine was not for a violation of regulations that were directly related to the safety of the drug(s)produced per se or of the workers; but to the "height of the safety barrier".)
3) Skin is a major organ and without it, you die fast. It is designed to be a barrier to a hazardous world. If we assign a value of 1 to your skin surface area (square meters), the surface area of your intestinal tract will be ~1000 and the surface area of your respiratory tract will be ~1,000,000. This little bit of trivia defines why people worry so much about inhalation risks.
- dloc - Sunday, 10/10/04 01:35:05 EDT

dloc: Good points, every one. Thanks for posting that. Too many people have so little understanding of human anatomy and what makes us tick that they fail to appreciate certain risks and/or overrate others. As always, education is the best answer; factual information is our best defense.
vicopper - Sunday, 10/10/04 08:17:26 EDT

Dloc, The high risks from inhalation of toxics are very well pointed out in your post. An interesting way to do that that I can use in training the workers in my plants.
I think it meshs well in understanding the NIOSH standards for airborne vapors and mists. Got a good comparison for absorbtion rates of the three tissue types?
ptree - Sunday, 10/10/04 12:39:16 EDT

Forge Update: I got my new forge up and running this weekend and despite a few mistakes it's working better than I hoped. This is a trough style forge but the burn chamber is very small, about 4" dia and about 6" deep and its filled with firebrick rubble. The actual working chamber is assembled out of loose bricks and kaowool pads (covered with ITC200) to suit the work. This configuration can be rearranged while the forge is running. The burner tube is 1" stainless blown with a small furnace blower. I dont think a venturi burner would work owing to the back pressure from the brick rubble. The burner dia is prolly too large for this forge. I might switch to 3/4".

The burn chamber is cast from Mizzou about 1" thick and wrapped in 2" of Kaowool. The mizzou works great. I made paper mache mold for the inner cavity and baked the cast mizzou in the oven at 150F till it set up. Very easy. Seems impervious to hot flux.

The brick rubble is intended to help with mixing and ignition. Propane forges generally have a mixing problem - this togetgher with the fact that propane tends not to burn completely unless its first cracked by preheating means results in inefficiency and also a lot of scaling of the work. A suggestion: as an experiment, make a small pile of brick rubble (walnut sized pcs) in the center of your propane forge floor. When the forge gets up to temp you will likely see a significant increase in performance.

Anyway, this little trough forge cruises at high welding heat, generates very little scale on the work and is very economical on the gas.

Mistakes. Mixing perlite into outer refractory was just plain stupid. In the area around the burn chamber, the perlite melts and turns to a sticky glass which glues down the fire bricks and kaowool. Sawdust would have been a better mixer , I think. The 3000F furnace cement from McMaster Carr turns gummy and starts to slump and flow. Also, flux melts it like kaowool. Finally, in a senior moment, I cut the stock ports at the wrong angle so now I have dragon's breath flowing over the burner controls and melting the little plastic pressure gauge. A shield of 18 ga SS plate helps with that problem :)

I plan to post some pix soon as I get the time. My second son, Daniel is getting married this weekend in CA and I am a bit preoccupied.
adam - Monday, 10/11/04 12:08:18 EDT

oversized drifts: My apologies to all who expressed interest. I havent gotten to this yet. Quenchcrack suggested the possibility of the holes actually shrinking when heated, owing to the expansion of the surrounding stock. I believe this is not the case but before ordering, I want to check my calculations by drilling some holes in steel and heating it. I hope to do this soon.
adam - Monday, 10/11/04 12:15:06 EDT

The Rubble-Adamroaster sounds like a fun project. Some furnaces depend on porous firebrick and other ceramics to distribute heat, hence the name of a former employer of mine, Surface Combustion. Stay in touch with Frank; box on the way. To you and your family, and especially Daniel and his bride, a rousing MAZEL TOV !!!!!!!!
- 3dogs - Monday, 10/11/04 13:26:51 EDT

Looking to buy damascus round bar stock: Using high nickel steel like 4340, or 8620, and a low carbon steel 1 1/16 - 1 1/8 round x 8 or 10" however long you can make it? Patern may be simple WOOD GRAIN 40 -50 layers running the length of the bar. NOT TOO TIGHT OF A PATTERN, Bars must be concentric enough to be worked on a lathe.
Open for bids / doing test market and plan to need a lot of bar stock may need more than one source or can you do it all? email me w/ questions / price ranges. Contracts later.
Thanks in advance for your bid and interests. ( Ready to buy now.)

David Griffis
Nationwide Inc.
or call 888-634-7278 x 219 leave msg
evenings 909-967-3287
David Griffis - Monday, 10/11/04 13:32:09 EDT

Looking to buy damascus round bar stock: Using high nickel steel like 4340, or 8620, and a low carbon steel 1 1/16 - 1 1/8 round x 8 or 10" however long you can make it? Patern may be simple WOOD GRAIN 40 -50 layers running the length of the bar. NOT TOO TIGHT OF A PATTERN, Bars must be concentric enough to be worked on a lathe.
Open for bids / doing test market and plan to need a lot of bar stock may need more than one source or can you do it all? email me w/ questions / price ranges. Contracts later.
Thanks in advance for your bid and interests. ( Ready to buy now.)

David Griffis
Nationwide Inc.
or call 888-634-7278 x 219 leave msg
evenings 909-967-3287
David Griffis - Monday, 10/11/04 13:33:03 EDT

RUBBLE-ROASTER: ADAM; I have no idea whatsoever how your name wound up in the middle of the subject header on that last post.
- 3dogs - Monday, 10/11/04 13:36:02 EDT

Rubble Roaster!: Been looking for a catchy name - thats it! :)
adam - Monday, 10/11/04 18:13:11 EDT

Tony- I agree with you that education is paramount to safe working environments, and I agree that it is essential that the individual take charge of his own safety.
But I cannot agree that education is not dependant on legislation. It is a historical fact that business regards education as the enemy, and has fought it every step of the way, and there would be no education in this country, on just about any level, without legislation requiring it.
Before government mandated education on the primary and secondary level, there was very little of it- companies were quite happy to hire illiterate workers, as they complain less. In every industry, there are recent (in the last 50 to 75 years) of companies doing their darndest to keep employees from learning of the dangers of their jobs, or of safer ways to do things. Up where I live, companies actually did shoot employees (with guns) who complained- and I seem to remember old Henry Ford doing similar things.
So while I am a businessman and a capitalist, I have zero faith in the marketplace protecting workers. It only happens here in the US because of legislation. And in many countries where they do not have legislation, it still doesnt happen.
By the way, I got a couple of safety harnesses you can borrow if you need em....
- Ries - Monday, 10/11/04 20:32:52 EDT

Ries, allow me to rephrase....

I don't need no stinking government to learn! grin.

That is what I meant by "education is not dependent on legislation".

I'll concede that the right legislation does make it far easier to learn. But I will not agree that legislation is required. Many of the apathetic populace will want it that way, but that sad fact does not make it right.

If there is one thing I don't mind paying taxes for, it is education. I see education as the only thing that has a chance of maintaining the standard of living in this country.

Otherwise, and except for, "It only happens here in the US because of legislation." I agree with everything you said. Especially "I have zero faith in the marketplace protecting workers." I did not mean to suggest I have faith in the marketplace. I have just about zero faith in the marketplace to serve the public as it is structured and legislated.

The greed seems to get bolder every day. Maybe with instant communication, it just seems that way.

The keeping down of the people does indeed continue. For the reasons you cite. China is a good example. The communist party members realize this and are doling out freedoms as slow as they can while still maintaining control of the cheap, but hard working labor.

So learned from observation and a sharp young female Chinese communist party member with bad acne and a nice butt.

A prime point of mine is that we need to recognize these facts and be self reliant and SELF THINKING as well as self teaching. Those who rely on others to lead them will continue to be led to slaughter. Slaughter being defined in degrees of course. grin.

Only knowlege will set you free. Cliche', but I believe it.

I was thinking the other day that sites like this are a prime good thing in the education arena. Most "education" I speak of is not acquired sitting at a desk facing a blackboard.

Good discussion.

No worries on the safety harnesses. The only thing that fell off the roof was my 25 ounce ergo handled California framing hammer. It's kind of cheating being a sometime smith and roofing with friends who are not. Even my meager experience gives much better than average hammer control. I put the roofing nails down in two hits. A couple of the other pink shirt wearers did whack their thumbs though. And two of them refused to come on the roof. They cut books and flashing on the ground. Yes, we laugh at each other almost as much as others do us. Not many things funnier than engineers playing at tradesmen.

And then we drink beer.
- Tony - Monday, 10/11/04 22:36:44 EDT

You know I am at least halfway kidding-
And I wasnt meaning you need laws to learn- nor did I- I went to college a couple of times, but it didnt take either time- I dont have a degree of any kind.
But in general I think that Democracy and Capitalism are not the same thing, although sometimes they are confused. The one needs to be used to throttle back the other, else you are talking about cancer. I believe strongly in both of em.
But I also think rules are sometimes needed, and unfortunately only the government, which is really all of us agreeing, can implement them.
I built a big treehouse type thing on my property, and the roof is galvanized sheet, about 24 feet to the eaves, maybe 30 to the peak. Framing is welded rectangular tube, so the peak of the hipped roof is a finial that includes a ring about 6" in diameter of 5/8" round, perfect for clipping off a safety harness to, and believe me, me and the boys wore em. And slipped several times, but the rope wasnt long enough for us to go off the edge. That job, I wouldnt have done without em.
But I hate rules, probably more than you do. I will only put on steel toed boots when ordered to by someone who controls my cash inflow. As a father and an employer, however, I make and enforce safety rules, trying to always educate why at the same time.
- Ries - Tuesday, 10/12/04 02:20:32 EDT

OxyAcetylene torch question...: Hey guys it's me again. Just wanted to see if anyone knows anything about oxyacetylene torchs. I think i'd like to get one for cutting and maybe some welding. I've found a few kits on ebay, particularly the Victor Oxy/Acetylene Cutting/Welding Torch Kit. Here's the link to it..

Now I'm starting to try to look around for the gas, and i've found some places near me. My question is, are there different size fittings for each bottle? It appears to be that way, but maybe I'm wrong. Any general info on oxyacetylene torches would be really helpful. Thanks!

- Seth - Tuesday, 10/12/04 14:32:47 EDT

OA: OA torch is extremely useful. There are good deals to be had on ebay - I bought my OA torch there.

IMO buy a *complete* new set with a good name brand Victor/ Harris/ Smith. I think you can get a victor set for about $150 retail if you shop around (sorry I cant get to your ebay item right now). Also find out whats popular in your area. You dont want to own a Harris torch in an area where all the welding shops only carry Victor.

Except for the mini tanks, the gas fittings are standard - Acetylene uses a LH thread like other fuel gases. Anyway, its not a big deal to swap out the cylinder nut on the regulator.

Most people find it easiest to just lease the tanks from the gas supplier. If you own the tank you are responsible for getting it tested periodically and if it fails then you have to buy a new one.
adam - Tuesday, 10/12/04 15:43:26 EDT

Awsome. Yeah most of these victor kits are going for around $60 + $25 shipping with everything included. Thanks for the info!
Seth - Tuesday, 10/12/04 15:55:43 EDT

You can do far better in the long run by buying your torch outfit from a local dealer. You might pay a bit more in the beginning, but you'll be getting service from them that you can't get over the internet.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 10/12/04 15:59:54 EDT

On cultivating a local dealer---welding equipment *dealer*!

As an example of what a good relationship can do for you. I bought 10,000 pounds of wrought iron once---the tank from the old state pennitentiary's water tower. It was delivered fairly mangled and in pieces to a friends work place and we chopped it into managable pieces with O-A. My local dealer let me "borrow" the large tanks I needed for days long O-A cutting and I only had to pay for the gas used---a big savings on having to refill smaller tanks several times a day or rent the big ones just for the one job!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/12/04 17:15:55 EDT

One more vote for buying from your local dealer. I have had my shop in 3 different cities in the last 20 years, and in each case I have had local welding supply places that were incredible. They deal with the stuff every day, so they know what works and what doesnt. They have parts, they have supplies, and they know who has that tool you dont. Mine have all rented equipment as well- I dont own a gas drive welder- I rent one for 30$ a day.
I cannot count the number of times they have given me stuff for free- now granted, I have a business, and spend several hundred dollars a month, but they are nice to everyone.
Where I live, you own your own tanks, but you only own the a "virtual" tank- that is, I always own a tank, but the exact tank varies- I take in an empty, and trade it for a "customer owned" full. This is the best system, but it seems to be only found on the west coast. Other places you have to lease tanks.
But whichever system they use where you live, you will have to deal with a welding supply store, as you cannot get acetylene to go thru your dsl connection. There are tons of discount starter sets from victor and smith- but some are really mickey mouse. Another advantage of buying locally is you can hold it in your hand, and get an honest opinion if it is right for you.
I have owned both Smith and Victor, and they are both good- I prefer Victor, because the male threads are on the body, not the tip, unlike smith. When you drop a smith tip, you can ding the threads. I also prefer the Brass color to the chrome plated smiths. But they are both good. Avoid imports and no names. Stick with something that is stocked locally, for parts and tips.
- Ries - Tuesday, 10/12/04 19:11:49 EDT


Having knee surgery tomorrow. Now that I will have some time off to go after it, the beer cheese population in central KY is in jeopardy. Tyler still wont eat hot wings. :)
Brian C - Tuesday, 10/12/04 20:03:55 EDT

My local welding boutique owner could not care less if I live or die. So what? I don't care if he does, either. I don't want to marry him. All I want is oxygen, acetylene, rods, parts. When I need them. Do not buy anything from anybody that cannot be replaced or repaired by them. That means you absolutely must buy name brand. Proprietary-- Craftsman (Harris via Sears) for example-- is a pain in the ass. I have had great luck with Harris its own self, and with Miller. No hassle, no squirming, just help. Nothing but pro quality help always. There is no free lunch with this stuff. Yes, I've bought second hand gear, and I have rebuilt junkyard gear, and I have been lucky. So far. But: why take a chance if you don't absolutely have to?
Sebastian Chippinghammer - Tuesday, 10/12/04 20:14:39 EDT

Tanks and Learnin:
Ries, we agree. Sometimes I get a little serious about the education and personal responsibility and big inefficient brother government thing.

I have the same "virtual owned tank" setup you describe, in Wisconsin. I own all but one of my tanks. But I have never seen a new tank. I used to never have to pay a retest fee. But now, with more competition, the welding suppliers charge a nominal fee to retest my virtual owned tanks every 5 years. Leasing works out to pretty close to the same cost. When I upgrade to a bigger tank, I pay the current purchase price difference. Just did that recently with acetylene. One guy said I couldn't have a big acetylene tank. The next guy said sure, want to take it with you now? Rules are flexible. grin.

Be careful of the cheap "victor" sets on ebay. Many of them are "victor compatible" but are NOT made by Victor/Thermadyne.
- Tony - Tuesday, 10/12/04 22:32:57 EDT

The cheap Victor torch sets seem to be made by somebody in Mexico and sold under the Victor/Thermadyne name. I have one, and it is no where near the quality that my much older Victor made in the USA torch is. Just doesn't have nearly as nice a balance and feel, and the valves are tweaky compared to the older ones.

Your local welding supply is the place to buy a torch set, even if the price is 50% more for the SAME set. You NEED the support that only they guy who sold it to you can give. If everybody buys from ebay and big box hardware houses, your local guy goes belly up and you're left with no support. Support the guys who support you. You can be damn sure that Home Despot and eBay aren't ever going to buy from you OR recommend you to someone who calls looking for a craftsman. Your local supplier will do just that, believe me.
vicopper - Tuesday, 10/12/04 23:24:26 EDT

That's nice when you have a local dealer. For me, the "local" welding dealers are 120-160 miles away (east, south or southwest -- north 10 miles is Canada, don't want the hassle of transporting across the border). I'll go with one of those "local" ones if I decide to get my own torch. meanwhile, I can borrow Dad's torch back from my farmer uncle if I need it.
Elliott Olson - Wednesday, 10/13/04 01:33:04 EDT

Anyone from Hawaii wanting to give lessons?: I really want to be a blacksmith when I'm older. I want to attend lessons.
- Julian - Wednesday, 10/13/04 02:08:58 EDT

Lessons for Julian:
Julian: Yes. Drop me an email (click on my name below) and we can discuss it.
- T. Gold - Wednesday, 10/13/04 02:53:52 EDT

Hammer-In Oddness:
Just noticed that for some reason the Hammer-In isn't taking my email. That's zinguvok AT , swap the " AT " out for an @ to get my email address.
T. Gold - Wednesday, 10/13/04 02:55:13 EDT

Thanks for the help all: Thanks for the help guys. I'm gonna take your advice and go to the local shop. After looking through those kits on ebay I did notice that pretty much ALL of them are only Victor compatible. Thanks for the heads up!
Seth - Wednesday, 10/13/04 15:26:29 EDT

Surgery went well. They found a little more damage than expected, nothing major. Feels good right now (waiting for all the drugs to wear off & reality to set in). :) Thanks to all for the kind thoughts.
- Brian C. - Wednesday, 10/13/04 16:36:44 EDT

Seth: Good decision; you won't regret it.
vicopper - Wednesday, 10/13/04 20:16:01 EDT

Reis,I agree with your post of 10/12/04.
I very much like the "As a father and an employer, however, I make and enforce safety rules, trying to always educate why at the same time"
As a father, I do the same, all my four kids could read a tape measure, and cut steel to the 1/16" on the cut off saw by 10, and knew that the first thing they did on entering the shop was to pick up their safety glasses. Had a hard time finding safety glasses that fit little guys but did find them.
It is human nature, at least here in the states to rebel against rules. Explaining why helps sometimes.
At the plant we work with axles from 20# to 454#, and inspct them on tables. lots of materials handling, and have had 4 cases of stuff falling on feet, in the last 2 years.
The last was a 454#er, and it hit flange on to the guys foot, right behind the steel toe cap. rolled off a table, and hit on the the tiny bones behind the toes! He had on steel toe/meta-tarsal guarded shoes. He suffered a fairly mild fracture. In everyones opinion that witnessed or investigated the accident, he should have suffered an amputation, except the meta-tarsal guard, rated at only 75 ftlbs impact saved him. Odd how more people have showed up in new boots, with the external guards intact. Seems some bought the external guards, cut them off and claimed they had the internal guard.
I like the internal as they keep scale from dropping into the laces and burning thru.
all in all, while I had tryied to train to the need, the reality of the injury, forced everyone to consider, hard, their flippant disreguard of the rules. For those who flippantly disreguard rules, life can be a harsh enforcer.
ptree - Wednesday, 10/13/04 20:41:06 EDT

Been there, done that, got the scars. I found a recliner, with a pillow worth its weight in gold. Apply pillow under knee, recline, and whine alot. people will bring you things just to not feel guilty. Favorite beverags and the TV remote are two things not worth getting up for, that whineing seems to produce! BOG.
Get well soon.
ptree - Wednesday, 10/13/04 20:45:02 EDT

Change last to Brian, its seems to be harder to get names right each year. ( boy, how does Pawpaw remember names now?)
ptree - Wednesday, 10/13/04 20:48:30 EDT

BrianC: Sorry to hear about the surgery. You plan on coming down 27, 68 or 75? I want to keep out of your way. Nothing like a one legged man on meds making a run for beer cheese to endanger lives on the highway. I know a place in Winchester that has Frog Legs every Saturday night. Maybe Tyler could switch over.(VBG)

ptree.. The secret to Paw Paw's fantastic memory is that he keeps all pertinent info tattooed on the inside of his eyelids. When you think he is asleep he isn't. Just doing a little research. (Even bigger grin)
- Larry - Wednesday, 10/13/04 22:07:32 EDT

Veterans Affairs: I started taking PTSD classes a few weeks ago and they are really helping, especially the "Anger Management/Stress" classes. I can get angry even faster now, but I don't stress about it. That is progress..... Ain't it?
- Larry - Wednesday, 10/13/04 22:12:37 EDT

Champion 400: I have a Champion 400 blower in perfect condition with the original post mounting brackets (I have a bad habit of buying duplicate tools at auction and then having to explain to the wife). $100 or best offer plus shipping. Also have a few old Oregon Short Line Railroad hand tools for sale.
Rob Darling - Thursday, 10/14/04 01:11:36 EDT

Champion 400: Rob,
you may get a better response if you gave a general idea of location. Shipping can be a deal breaker for some folks.
Ralph - Thursday, 10/14/04 03:07:19 EDT

Now Ralph, don't spoil it. I always assume that anything posted here on this *international* forum without a location is from Tasmania (Australian dollars) or Hong Kong (Hong Kong dollars) and that shipping will be ten times the cost.

Keeps me from making any impulse buys...

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/14/04 14:17:12 EDT

Thomas P, sounds like you've been shopping on ebay ;)
Elliott Olson - Thursday, 10/14/04 16:14:46 EDT

vises and shopping: Thomas I am hoping that he is in the Czech republic. Then I could have my daughter pick it up for me, and then when Dawn and I visit in March I can take it luggage. (grin)
Ralph - Thursday, 10/14/04 22:14:36 EDT

firepot: hi all!! can i fabricate a firepot from plate steel if so what guage should it be? many thanks.
- kainaan - Thursday, 10/14/04 22:21:23 EDT

Yes. 1/4" or better.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/14/04 22:30:24 EDT

Efficiency: Our business is expanding and we are building a new building on our lot. I want to design the new steel building so that we can position our machinery in the most efficient way possible. I want to know if anyone has any tips on designing a floor plan to best fit our needs. Thanks.
Discount Ornamental Iron
- Marco Vasquez - Thursday, 10/14/04 23:24:27 EDT

Marco-- 1) (Good) Get some 1/4-inch square graph paper, lay out the size of the building to scale, cut some silhouettes, also to scale, of the footprints of the machines you will be using, PLUS the traffic patterns of materiel and personnel and play dollhouse until you are satisfied or 2) (Better) Go out to a big parking lot, chalk off the perimeter of the proposed building, this time full scale, lay cardboard cutouts of the footprints down and play or 3) (Best) Hire a genuine licensed AIA architect to design the whole shebang for you and crack the whip until she makes you happy.
- Juan leGubrious - Friday, 10/15/04 00:40:57 EDT

Hey guys. I'm trying to make my forge with an old supposedly "empty" propane tank i picked up from the junk yard. I need to cut the ends off, but i'm rather hesitant since I dont really know whether or not the thing is empty! Is there anyway for me to go about doing this? Am i able to slowly drill a hole in it? I think the valve is too rusted up to vent anything so I'm kinda stuck. Thanks for the help!
- Seth - Friday, 10/15/04 09:49:48 EDT

Nevermind! =p I just found a small hole in the bottom! Silly me.. Is there anything else I need to worry about when cutting it? I've read about some kind of residual grease that is in there that can blow up or something. =/ Any tips would still be helpful! Thanks!
- Seth - Friday, 10/15/04 09:56:15 EDT

Unscrew the valve assembly from the propane bottle then put some duct tape over the hole in the bottom, after that fill with water via the hole for valve to just below where you want to cut the end off. Then break out the sawzall/reciprocating saw and have at it. you need the water in there to displace any remnants of combustible gases.

lazarus - Friday, 10/15/04 11:29:52 EDT

If your going to torch cut it see the Guru's post in the guru's den about burning out solvent from drum, he goes on to explain cutting with torch.
lazarus - Friday, 10/15/04 11:47:25 EDT

Hey everyone! Quick question. I'm building a gas forge and I'm trying to decide what size propane bottles I'm gonna need. 20pnd bottles are easy to get where I am, but I'm curious as to whether they'll freeze up fast on me or not. Would they be really hard to work with? If they freeze up a lot, is there a way to prevent the freezing? (tub of water?) Thanks!
- Jeff - Friday, 10/15/04 11:57:51 EDT

They will freeze up pretty quick wich will reduce available pressure. tub of water will help. 2 or more 20# tanks ganged together with pipe manifold will also help. A larger tank in the range of 40 - 100 pounds is the better solution and you won't have to go for refills as often.

Hope this helps
lazarus - Friday, 10/15/04 14:07:43 EDT

Lazarus/ball bearings: Lazarus, 3dogs has sent me a care package, and there are some ball bearings in it for you. Stop in some time.

A a BIG THANK YOU to 3dogs for the stuff received.

Marca Vasquez, Try to put as much equipment, machinery, and storage on the walls or up high, if feasible, in order to leave the floor as clear as possible. An exception might be a layout table. Ideally, a blacksmith's leg vise should be free standing, not on a bench.
Frank Turley - Friday, 10/15/04 20:13:56 EDT

Adam W./Lazarus ?: Am I to understand that we are now doubly "Adamed"? Well, the more the merrier! Now, Adam W, ya better get down to Frank's and protect your, ummm......bearings.
- 3dogs - Saturday, 10/16/04 01:24:55 EDT

power hammer substitute: Has anybody here tried, or know anybody who has tried building a power hammer using large solenoids?
i have a couple ideas drawn out, but thought i'd see if anybody has heard of such a thing.
I was thinking up how to make a cheap/small hammer that has very few parts, and i thought of using magnatizm to move a ram rod up and down.
I would attach some simple cross section drawings, but i'm not sure of how to do that.
any info is appreciated, feel free to email me.

adimeshort - Saturday, 10/16/04 21:06:58 EDT

A big thanks...: Some time back I was in the slack tub pub, getting advice on forge welding in my gas forge...

Someone, and I wish I could remember who, advised me "Jst turn up the gas and go man!"

Well... whoever that was... thanks a MILLION. Got a chance to give it a go today... and it worked!

- mattmaus - Saturday, 10/16/04 21:42:31 EDT

Workplace Safety: Ptree,

In general, the skin has been specifically designed to protect us from water and water soluble chemicals including minerals. Blood vessels supplying the skin with nutrients and oxygen are "far" below the skin's surface protected by several layers of cells including several layers of dead cells. Conversely, the lungs have been designed to speed the movement of oxygen into the blood stream and of carbon dioxide and other gasses out of the lungs. (Other gasses include methane, hydrogen, volatile fatty acids, acetone, etc.) There is one layer of cells protecting the blood vessels. Similarly, the intestines are designed to make it easy for nutrients to pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream. Again, there is a single cell layer protecting the blood vessels.

From an absorption perspective, lung and intestinal membrane walls are similar. From a toxicological perspective, respiratory exposure is the worry. 1) The lungs have 1000x more surface area. 2) The lungs lack most of the protective mechanisms associated with the intestinal tract (sight to see poisons, nose to smell poisons, a tongue to taste poisons, a stomach to slow the release of poisons into the intestine so that you have a chance to vomit them back up, and of course, diarrhea to push poisons out the other end). The lungs have smell and a bit of taste. 3) Toxins absorbed through the intestine into the bloodstream go to the liver for processing before they are reach the brain. Toxins absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream go directly to the brain. 4) The physical structure of the lungs very efficiently traps particles between 0.5 and 5.0 microns in size; AND any chemicals carried on the backs of those particles. Particles of this size are inherently dangerous because they are a permenant physical irritant; and all of the chemicals carried on their surface will get absorbed.

HOWEVER, there is one class of chemicals (universal solvents) which can change relative risk for skin toxicity. One "universal solvent" chemical – dimethyl sulfoxide or DMSO – is used fairly widely by humans as an anti-inflammatory agent. It may be frequently used by athletes and by people experiencing muscle or joint pain (arthritis). It carries any chemical (including both water soluble and organic chemicals) that it is mixed with through the skin like the skin was a leaky sieve. If people using it apply it to dirty skin, their body immediately gets whatever is on the skin (polar chemical, non-polar chemical, big molecule, little molecule, etc.). You can buy DMSO in any health food store or any vet clinic so it is widely available. Stick you finger in it and it typically takes one breath for it to pass through your skin into your bloodstream to you lungs and out where your spouse can smell it (like garlic) or to your mouth where you can taste it.
- dloc - Sunday, 10/17/04 00:15:48 EDT

new power hammer: I have recently taken delivery of my new ANYANG C41-40 power hammer, but have not yet set it up. I would be most grateful to anyone who could put me in touch with a smith who is running a machine of this make as I wish to ask certain questions. I am in South Africa and had to import directly from the Chinese factory as there is no agency here and the booklet that came with the machine is a decidedly dubious translation from the Chinese original. Your assistancewill be welcome. Thanks
kevan - Sunday, 10/17/04 12:45:09 EDT

Kevan- I have been using a 40kg Anyang in my shop for the last 3 years or so- and I would be happy to answer any questions I may know the answers to. You can email me directly, or post here. My email is (replace the At with the symbol)
I am generally happy with the machine, and have run it for hundreds of hours and forged literally tons of metal with it.

And Dimeshort- while as others have noted on the Guru page, a magnetic soleniod power hammer is probably impractical, Grant Sarver has done a lot of theoretical musing on unusual designs for power hammers, and one thing he came up with you might want to consider, if you dont live in a populated area, is an internal combustion power hammer, which uses controlled explosions like a gasoline car engine.
But frankly, I will continue to follow the inspired words of my mentor, Ken Kesey- "look at the donut, not the hole". And so I am much happier to buy a working tool, and focus on actually making things. Works for me, but everyone is entitled to their own madness.
- Ries - Sunday, 10/17/04 15:25:28 EDT

Anyang power hammer:
Ries, I've long been curious about Anyang power hammers and how they compare to other hammers. Are there any specific issues you've had with your Anyang that you'd care to share with us? Some people say that they are lower quality than the Striker power hammers of a very similar design, but again, I don't know. Comments?
- T. Gold - Monday, 10/18/04 04:06:57 EDT

Ries/Ken Kesey: Dang, Ries, you've just taken me back about 33 years or so. I'm gonna run up into the attic and dig out my old Whole Earth Catalog. Good stuff, wasn't it?
- 3dogs - Monday, 10/18/04 08:50:43 EDT

Whole Earth Catalog: WOW ! How's that for contradiction of terms. A Conservative with a Whole Earth Catalog. (BOG)
- 3dogs - Monday, 10/18/04 08:55:25 EDT

Lever Hole Punch: Good Morning All

After much internet searching, I am posting this related plea here. I am interested in building a lever operated machine to punch holes in sheet steel. Specifically, 7/8" hole in mild steel up to 1/8" thick but likely less than .100 most of the time, and a maximum of 3" from edge of metal. I have a cnc-plasma table (6x12ftx1/2")that I can burn these holes with but may be doing low volume production and the 'cleaner' holes would be a bonus. Am I completely out of line to expect to be able to punch these holes by swinging my 150 pounds from a lever? Would chassis knockout punches be a useable starting point to make up the die sets. Any learned individuals here that can tell me the tonnage required for this punching operation?
Thanks in advance for any helpful info Jack
Jack - Monday, 10/18/04 10:18:32 EDT

lever punch: Jack, According to Roper Whitney, to punch a 7/8 round hole in .120 mild steel requires 8.3 tons.
Marten - Monday, 10/18/04 12:08:08 EDT

Reinventing the Wheel Again?: Sheet metal punching machines have been mass produced for about 150 years now- so there are new, used, and antique models available, that were made in sophisticated factories, with foundries, and skilled patternmakers. Why would you want to build one from scratch, unless it was some kind of retirement hobby?
First, look at new ones- hand operated punches are available from Roper Whitney, W.A. Whitney (two different companies) DiAcro, Tennsmith, as well as several other american companies. Then there are the imports- Jet, Grizzly, Enco, and HF all sell them. The germans made some exceptionally fine ones- Mubea and Peddinghaus both made them, and some of those are available used.
The used market is full of them- I have a really nice W.A. Whitney with a 24" throat, 10 ton punch, which I paid $150 for. Lots of Niagra's and Pexto's out there as well.
Or, for those of you, who, like me, think there is no substitute for POWER, you can get hydraulic punches, mechanical punches, and full fledged hydraulic ironworkers that not only punch, they shear and notch as well.
If you insist on making your own, at least use real punches and dies, instead of knockout punches, which are designed for a different way of punching, and cost more to boot. Go to Cleveland Punch and die, and they have all the punches you could ever want, in every size and shape.
So- google roper whitney, and cleveland punch as a starting place, then you might look at someplace like for places that have used ones for sale.
- Ries - Monday, 10/18/04 13:46:22 EDT

Conservative save their donut holes: Seems to me a lot of the stuff from the whole earth catalog was about doing more with less, scrounging, and living old timey ways- that all sounds conservative to me, although not in the Neo-con way.
My anyang is a decent hammer- it was a very good deal for the price. I paid under 5k for it, which for a brand new 88lb self contained is pretty good. They are more now- mine was a funny kind of deal.
Anyang pluses- big heavy castings, lots of weight in everything, including a 1500lb anvil. Basic machining seems accurate and alloy quality of steel seems good as well. The motor seems fine- never had a problem with it, anyway. Works every time I turn it on, and is quite controllable and accurate. I can hit hard or soft, once, or rapidly. As a tool, it works, and works hard.
Anyang minuses- crummy fit and finish- (can you say Bondo?) Substandard fasteners and electricals. But those things are easy to replace with american made motor starter and bolts. The biggest weakness is the oiling system- it over oils something terrible. I just turn it off most of the time. I have been meaning to replace it with something else- manual oilers are easy, but you have to remember to turn em on and off.
Considering a similar new American made hammer, a Chambersburg, would have cost about $100,000 when they went out of business a few years ago, I think it is a bargain for the work it can do.
I think the Stryker hammers are better, and if I was buying another one I would buy one from them, as they are only a little more expensive, and seem to be better made and better supported here in the US.
Personally I prefer a self contained hammer over a utility hammer, as I already have a big compressor that is used for other stuff- and I think a minimum of 10hp is required for the little self contained hammers you can build or buy now. Now if I had a nice Chambersburg 300lb utility hammer, that might be different, but then you are talking a 25hp or up compressor, and thats a lot of time, money, weight, and work. A self contained air hammer is simple- plug it in, turn it on. No plumbing, no compressor.
I have not used any of the Turkish Kuhn copies, but I know several people who have them and like them. They are fabricated, rather than cast, like the chinese hammers, so they are lighter, and I have heard they dont hit as hard, but I cant say for sure.
- Ries - Monday, 10/18/04 14:04:24 EDT

DMSO: I will never fathom why people will go out and poison themselves. DMSO will carry shit through your skin. DMSO is odorless and tasteless. If you smell garlic after you (stupidly) apply it to your skin, that's some of the shit it just carried through your skin.

DMSO that is used medicinally is pure enough NOT to have an odor. That's "USP" grade, and you probably cannot easily get hold of the stuff. In principle, a very high purity grade would be as good, but it would NOT be certified as USP grade, so you're taking your chances with it.

Some folks swear by DMSO for one thing or another. But if you're going to self-medicate, you're taking chances. At least have the consideration not to recommend such stupidity to others.
- Bruce - Monday, 10/18/04 14:07:54 EDT

MO' DMSO: I asked my friend the orthopaedic surgeon what he thought of DMSO one day, and he asked where folks were getting it. "Equine vet supply department at the feed store", says I. He says "Well I guess it's OK if you're the type that craps on his own floor".
- 3dogs - Monday, 10/18/04 14:32:38 EDT

Hey guys it's me again. Yesterday I was trying to mix up some refractory and was kind of confused by the instructions. It said something like mix x# of parts with xAmount of water by weight. The numbers for my mix were 15 17. Didn't say which order these were, but I assumed 15 was the water. Anyway...i Just winged it. What is the consistencey supposed to be? I made it kind of a thick muddy tooth paste. What do you guys think??
- Seth - Monday, 10/18/04 15:11:47 EDT

Thanks Ries: I have e-mailed you directly as the length of my rambling request for information would have irritated most people and as a newbie to this site, I would not want to do that at this stage.
kevan - Monday, 10/18/04 15:25:20 EDT

Stinky DMSO :

I don't think dloc was recommending DMSO for anything. The example was just to show that it promotes absorption quite readily, and you're right, USP grade DMSO has no smell. I just checked a bottle myself. I would suspect that the aforementioned smell is the result of compounds on the skin being drawn in, probably bacterial in origin. Cool but nasty stuff. We use it on bacteria to promote the uptake of foreign DNA.

I certainly would't use it on someone I liked. (evil grin)
eander4 - Monday, 10/18/04 15:27:23 EDT

74 lb Mouse Hole: Can anyone tell me the weight range for 1820 to 1875 style Mouse Holes? I have just aquired a 74 pounder and I have not personaly run across one that small before. Has anyone else? I have heard that the smaller ones are generaly older. I believe the pritchel hole to have been drilled. Just stamped M & H, Armitage, Mouse, Hole and the (English) weight. I guess what I'm asking is, does the small weight narrow down the age range and is it rare?
Layne - Monday, 10/18/04 17:22:00 EDT

Ries: You still interested in a Pullmax? I'll squirt you an e-mail.
- John Larson - Monday, 10/18/04 19:59:28 EDT

John Larson, and Ries, Pullmax. I have seen one sitting out back at one of the plants I visit. Looks like a deep throat punch. Anything that makes it special? Looks to have been Swiss made?
ptree - Monday, 10/18/04 20:13:38 EDT

what metal: i just started blacksmithing and i was wondering what metal would be best to use to get started. I wanted to make my brother a knife for Christmas about 1 1/2 wide and 7 or so in long, what metal would i need and where can i get it.
- Droz - Monday, 10/18/04 20:14:55 EDT

lever punch: Thanks guys for your input. After submitting the post I 'found' the info on this site about punches. $150 for a 10 ton, OKAY, I'll take one. I can assume that is a single station? Still great. Thanks again for the 'direction. Jack
Jack - Monday, 10/18/04 20:49:48 EDT

Alright. I succesfully ruined my first refractory pipe. ;) It ended up having a 5 inch plug at the bottom and it was too hard to break apart so i took a sledge to it and now it's in two pieces. Anyone have any good ideas for making the pipe? I was using sheetmetal, but it caved in the interior pipe from the weight. Maybe pvc next time...hmm... let me know.

- Seth - Monday, 10/18/04 21:00:16 EDT

you are trying to make a forge? If so then find the size tube ( pipe ) that you need for the OUTSIDE then find a sonotube ( used to pour concrete footings ) that will fit INSIDE the metal outer shell with enough gap for the refractory. Then pour or ram the refractory inbetween the two.
Also as a heads up you can figure out where the burners are to be and make a hole for them and let the refractory not fill them.
Just my 2 cents worth. All this is assuming that you are making a forge. In either case you are at your own risk.

Ralph - Monday, 10/18/04 21:26:34 EDT

A vote for the technical, over oiling:

Dloc, et al, thanks for the info. I for one, will never be put off by techincal info. Just one man's vote.

Ries, (blatant product plug follows) One of the things we make is a small air powered metering pump. It uses an air pulse to pump liquids. Adjustable from zero to .012 cubic inches per stroke and will stroke 4 or more times per second with oil. 40 psi is plenty to stroke it at low outlet pressure. Someone with an overoiling self contained needs to plumb one up such that the air pulse from the hammer actuates the oil pump. We won't sell direct in small quantities but either Grainger or McMaster Carr is selling them. Holler if you are interested.
- Tony - Monday, 10/18/04 21:55:45 EDT

yeah I'm making a gas forge. I tried to find one of those concrete pipes the other day, but i need one in 6 inches and they dont have any that small..maybe i can find one somewhere else. Thanks for the tip. ;)
- Seth - Monday, 10/18/04 23:19:01 EDT

Droz-- An old file or busted car spring would be about perfect. There are, of course, sniffy purists who might now say you should eschew mystery steel and instead special order an ATS 34 or some high tech space age alloy blank from some shankmaking supplier and employ "stock reduction" and cryogenic tempering, etc. Nahhh. Just get a nice old worn out file and make a knife out of it. Then anneal it, harden it, temper it and make another one. Just think: in only another 3,458 tries, why, you'll be well on your way to becoming a knifemaker.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 10/19/04 00:38:36 EDT

Then find the smallest ( 8" if I remember correctly) and then find a larger outer shell. (grin) see simple. (VBG)
Ralph - Tuesday, 10/19/04 01:14:42 EDT

Pullmax on ebay 3846290418 & 3847182533
- Daryl - Tuesday, 10/19/04 01:29:56 EDT

EGAD!: Monday has disapeared !! I'm a day younger!!
- 3dogs - Tuesday, 10/19/04 07:15:14 EDT

Never mind: 'Puter phart
- 3dogs - Tuesday, 10/19/04 07:19:20 EDT

concrete?: Seth, are you thinking about using a concrete pipe as the forge liner or even as the shell? Do you really like picking up hot broken concrete that much? I don't.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 10/19/04 10:10:34 EDT

Nooo no no the molds for concrete =p They're big cardboard tubes that you can pour the concrete in..usually they're used to make pillars. I just need a mold to pour my refractory into.
- Seth - Tuesday, 10/19/04 10:56:39 EDT

OH, okay. I see now. Heck, the Lowe's bigbox near me has 8" and 12" sonotube molds. Try that and line the eight inch with kaowool topped by ITC-100, and you're in business. Heck, why not just get some light sheet steel, bend to a tube, line it with 3 or 4 inches of kaowool, etc. and have a more efficient, lighter forge? I worked in a great little forge this past weekend made that way, with a floor of those half-thickness hard firebrick. If I weren't hung up on the romance of the coal forge, I'd make one of 'em myself!
Alan-L - Tuesday, 10/19/04 16:46:32 EDT

Another forge idea.
I built my first coal forge with a fire pot made from a head off a small pressure tank. It was 5/16" thick, about 4" deep, 12" in dia. free, and it worked.
I was pushing scrap steel off my truck at the scrap yard when the fellow doing the same next to me pushed off a large rectangular firepot, complete in every detail. Needless to say I grabbed that firepot, and watched what he threw off like a hawk! He cleaned out barns and garages for a fee. Gave him a card, but I don't think my descriptions meant much to him. Never got a call. Paid $19.00/ton for that firepot, as that was what they would have paid for the weight that I threw off but then put back on.
ptree - Tuesday, 10/19/04 17:06:55 EDT

Pullmax: Ptree, Pullmax is a Swedish machine tool manufacturer, so the machine you see might be a punch. Here in the USA is it likely to be a short-stroke mechanical sheet metal power hammer. Often they have been used with cutting blades as nibblers, such as used in the aircraft shops. They can be set up to do a very wide range of tasks, depending on tooling. Sheet metal artists love them because they are so versatile; tooling can be handmade. Tooling use is analogous to a blacksmith's use of a hardy hole tool and a mating handheld tool.
- John Larson - Tuesday, 10/19/04 18:58:37 EDT

if you use KAOwool itis true thatit will be lighter and will require less time to heat. But it is MUCH more fragile and more likely to tear than a castable/rammable lined forge. Now the best of both worlds is to make the inner most lining out of rammable ( or castable) then put kaowool over that. Then you will ahve a preety good forge. assuming your overall forge design and burner design was correct.
Ralph - Tuesday, 10/19/04 19:25:35 EDT

John Larson,
The pullmax I saw looked like a 48"throat single tool punch. Looked to have a standard Cleveland tool punch set and a top stripper. the C frame looked to be pretty light for the throat depth, maybe 4 or 5 ton. I think its on the scrap list.
ptree - Tuesday, 10/19/04 20:53:04 EDT

Pullmax: Ptree, If yuo have a little room snap up that scrap Pulmax and have some fun. They are great for forming (and cutting) sheet metal. You can make a quick visit to a metalshapers forum to see what they can do. It's fairly easy to make tooling for them for veining, dishng, raising and such. I've used John Larsons large one and I bought a smaller similar machine (Vibra Shear) from him which I use fairly often. If you find that you don't like it you'll always be able to off it to one of the car, plane, or bike guys. Have fun.
SGensh - Wednesday, 10/20/04 09:51:47 EDT

Stinky DMSO: "I would suspect that the aforementioned smell is the result of compounds on the skin being drawn in, probably bacterial in origin. "

No, it's from the impure DMSO. Sulfur compounds other than DMSO (which is "dimethylsulfoxide" AKA "methylsulfoxide"). These stinky compounds are likely to be sulfur compounds (judging from the stink) and there's no reason to believe that they're safe, much less beneficial.
- Bruce - Wednesday, 10/20/04 12:09:16 EDT

Gas Burners for Forges, Furnaces, and Kilns by Michael Porter: I just got this book and have not yet read it carefully but it looks like an excellent resource for DIY gas forges, furnaces, kilns etc. Most of the book is devoted to burner construction. The book covers only venturi style burners. Porter seems to have read every thing on the NET including Ron Reils page and added many of his own refinements. The construction guides are *very* detailed - he pretty much explains how to lay out and drill every hole. He shows several different construction methods for each burner so that if your tools or skill are not adequate for one approach, he shows another way. This does make the text a bit tedious for an experienced reader trying to get the gist of the plan. Nevertheless, his ideas are carefully thought out and often really clever which makes it worthwhile even for the impatient reader (like myself)

IMO a great book for someone making his first forge but also lots of useful ideas for those with some experience.
adam - Wednesday, 10/20/04 14:12:34 EDT

Gas Burners for Forges, Furnaces and Kilns by Michael Porter:
Adam, I have heard some less than good stuff about this book on Mike Firth's website. From what I've heard (and let it be known that I am not ragging on this book and am in fact considering buying a copy), while the burner designs are pretty solid, some of the furnace designs are not so good. Anyone who wants to can read his review. I found it to be an extremely good one, very thorough.

(The clickable link should be the same, but I have problems with these forms so I am putting it here too.)
Mike Firth's review of Gas Burners for Forges, Furnaces and Kilns
T. Gold - Wednesday, 10/20/04 16:34:05 EDT

Pullmax: Sgensh,
If the pullmax is still there when I return, I will look at it much harder. It is out in the weather, and had a hornets nest that was quite active when I was there last. They have three camel back drills that may also scrap out, two 21"cincinatis and a buffalo#3. Unfortunatly for me, they have a custom fixture replacing the table on all three. I'm still looking hard at those, but the fixture is a poor sub for the table.
ptree - Wednesday, 10/20/04 17:46:03 EDT

Buffalo: Ptree, You know that a buffalo successor (I think it's Buffalo Machine Company or such) is still making new drill presses don't you? Of course I can't imagine what they would charge for just a new table! Pricing is pretty high for a complete drill press. I've got a quote here someplace and could look up the name or you could search the archives over across the street. Our buddy Ries got the owner worked up a little over there sometime last year.
SGensh - Wednesday, 10/20/04 19:26:14 EDT

Tony- yes, I am interested in more info on your oilers. My current oiler only oils when the hammer is running- this is handy, as if I had to remember to turn it on and off, I would probably be standing in a puddle of oil most days. I will have to check if it is mechanically actuated, or if it uses air pressure from the driving cylinder. But I definitely need to replace it. Right now the plastic hoses are disconnected, with lag screws stuck in em, as the last time I ran the oiler it pumped enough oil for about a month.
Ptree- Pullmax is a big swedish company, formerly independant, now owned by another, bigger company. They have made the nibbler, which most people call a pullmax, but they also made plate rolls, angle rolls, cnc fabricators, press brakes, and all kinds of other stuff. These days I think its mostly cnc press and punches. So it is quite likely they made a single station punch as well. If so, it is not as desirable as a nibbler. The pullmax nibbler has a horse and a half or two horse motor running a small tool up and down very fast- up to a thousand hits / min, but very short stroke. They usually came set up as nibblers, but tooling was available for beading, louver punching, and doming and planishing. With the advent of plasma cutters, cnc laser/punch units, and waterjet cutting, they are pretty obsolete as nibblers. But thousands of sheet metal workers, especially in the custom car industry, are buying them up and using them.
I would love one, but cash flow this year doesnt look like I am gonna be buying any big tools. Someday, though. There is a guy up by me who uses one to do amazing sculptures in stainless sheet- check out his website,
Ries - Wednesday, 10/20/04 19:28:09 EDT

Art: Ries, all i can say is WOW! Neat stuff. I like the little mvie files so one can see the kinetic part. Dude seems to have seen some of our own Peter Fels' stuff, though; I detect a similarity of vision in a few lines. I think they should get together and do some ear-steaming thinking. I'd love to see the results of that collaboration!
Alan-L - Wednesday, 10/20/04 19:57:20 EDT

Pullmax: Reis, Sgensh,
When I looked at the thing,with 21 years in a valve, fitting and boiler fab factory, my first thought was "light punch". It had a top stripper like a punch, and my quick glance as I evaded the hornets was a cleveland tool type punch set. The weather should have taken care of the hornets by the time I return.
The camel backs are much more desireable to me, one of the cincinnatis even has the complete feed, in working order. Looks to have been set up as a production reamer after a multi-spindle drill. The fixture on the thing is useless for a general purpose drill. The table, and the suports are all gone. I am going to have another look upon my return, with the thought of using the table off a scrapped mill at another plant. May be beyond my equipment level to modify. Shame. The Buffalo is missing the table, and has been modified to single speed V-belt drive. Also missing the feed. All three have good bearings and tight spindles. I hope I can figure a way to salvage at least one. I suspect I have a month or so before they come up as scrap to decide.
I suspect that I can get them for the scrap weight price.
ptree - Wednesday, 10/20/04 20:54:38 EDT

If yout get two of the drills working, give me a call, please.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/20/04 21:26:31 EDT

Forge body: A 20-lb. propane bottle is about the right size for a smaller gas forge body. I've seen one used for the purpose.
- AK ID - Thursday, 10/21/04 04:16:20 EDT

Addendum to above post:: Remove the valve and air the bottle out well before taking a torch to it. Filling the bottle with water does a fine job of evacuating any residual gas in a hurry.
- AK ID - Thursday, 10/21/04 04:21:24 EDT

Gas Burners for Forges, Furnaces and Kilns by Michael Porter: : hmmm... I posted an answer but I dont see it. Well then: I read Mikes review and I would say that despite the deficiencies he mentions, the book is still well worth the money.
adam - Thursday, 10/21/04 10:34:39 EDT

WTB used Beverly Shear: Interested in models B1, B2 or B3
adam - Thursday, 10/21/04 11:47:23 EDT

Howdy folks, I know some of ya'll live in New Mexico. So heres the question, I travel on 285 to Colo. And my coal sorce there has all but dried up due to the hunting season. Is there anywhere that I can get some coal close to 285 around Santa Fa or in another town?
- jimmy - Friday, 10/22/04 11:48:55 EDT

Not that I know of and I can see U.S. 84-285 just north of Santa Fe out my living room window. You could buy heating coal at Monte Vista Feed in Santa Fe or smithing coal from Robb Gunter in ABQ at 505-281-8080. Unknow the price.
Joaquin Murietta - Friday, 10/22/04 13:07:00 EDT

Adam, if you hear about any extra B2's or B3's let me know! I believe you are just up the pike a bit from my location, I'm near Socorro NM.

Thomas P - Friday, 10/22/04 15:55:10 EDT

Mr.J. Murietta, What is the diffrence in heating and smithin coal? I haven't had much experince with diffrent types. Thanks for the info.
- jimmy - Friday, 10/22/04 22:04:18 EDT

Beverly Shear: Thomas: sure thing

I did try calling around to used machinery dealers. One store ("we specialize in fabrication machinery" ) where I called and told them I was looking for a beverly shear the salesman answered "Sorry, there's no one here by that name". I had to hang up when my mouthful of coffee spurted out thru my nose
adam - Friday, 10/22/04 22:23:44 EDT

coal in NM: Gunter buys good smithing coal a dump truck at a time and resells it to local smiths. Last batch I bought was 10c / lb. I doubt he covers his expenses.
adam - Friday, 10/22/04 22:27:47 EDT

jimmy- you should experiment around a bit, and who knows, maybe one is as good as another for your particular needs. There is soft coal, or bituminous, and hard coal, or anthracite. Soft cokes. They both burn plenty hot. A lot of how it works has to do with how finely pulverized it is, or is not, and how dirty it is, or is not, when you get hold of it. Take a peek at the current SWABA newsletter, Pounders Press, which has a reprint of a detailed rundown on various types of coal from the Hammer and Tong Newsletter of the Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland by Albin Drzewianowski.
Joaquin Murietta - Saturday, 10/23/04 01:26:09 EDT

Oil Pumps. Ries:
Ries, see the link below for the catalog page on the air pumps. Using bare gets you to the home page where all of the product can be seen by following the links. Call me at the number on the bottom of the page, ext. 132 to discuss during the week if you want. 7 to 4:30 CST. If you do call, I'm rarely at my phone so leave a message and I will call back. Either Grainger or McMaster sells them in small quantities. I can't remember which right now. We are in and out of the catalogs with that particular product.

The pump can be run from a compressed air line with a 3 way solenoid and timer, but I do want to see one run using the air pulses from the hammer itself. Connection would be taking a pressure tap from somewhere on the hammer and running it to the pump. The pressure line would have to go to near zero after the pressure pulse for the pump to reset for the next cycle. The pump is fed from any oil container via hose or pipe. Outlet could be pumped to anywhere on the hammer air circuit.
- Tony - Saturday, 10/23/04 04:02:24 EDT

Got the sutures out of the knee thursday. Making progress slow but sure. Was able to sit down and degrease & reassemble my 03A3, looks like new. Maybe can do some forging in a few more weeks.
Brian C - Saturday, 10/23/04 09:50:49 EDT

Brian: Great news, Brian. Getting it to bend comfortably is a slow (and painful) thing, but it will get there.
vicopper - Sunday, 10/24/04 00:43:04 EDT

DMSO: Bruce & 3dogs - "The attitude" is exactly why DMSO is a workplace hazard. People that use it don't ever talk about it. And if you are in industrial hygiene (or in health care), that is what you don't want. If you would like to talk drug development and pharmacology, we can. In all of the randomized clinical studies and animal studies that I have seen on DMSO, it has been shown to be an effective anti-inflamatory agent. The only reason that it is not in the pharmacy (except as a carrier for other drugs) is that there is no effective patent protection - so the pharmaceutical companies can't find a way to make any money from it. (Hey, you can buy it in the health food store.) The only adverse effect (up to the early 70's anyway) was a single report of eye damage which no one (to my knowledge) could ever replicate - and many tried. That creates a double whammy from an industrial hygiene perspective. You have a "folk remedy" that actually works that they can't talk about.

Somebody needs a basic education in GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) before they pollute cyberspace. (The spread of mis-information, willful or otherwise, is what started this thread.) Animal drugs follow the same good manufacturing practices that human drugs do. Things like topical ointments may come off of the same production line.

B_____, You do have a bad habit of trying to get the last word in even when it is wrong. I understand that you will find this hard to believe, but DMSO is widely use in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly in the production of coated formulations (pills), as a transdermal penetration enhancers (such as creams, ointments, skin patches), etc. It is also used widely in the food industry. I would guess that it even meets the definition of "organic".
- dloc - Sunday, 10/24/04 02:56:26 EDT

Bevery Shear: Adam, Used machinery dealers trade in almost nothing but big bucks machines where they can make serious money on every sale (kind of like used car dealers). They do not know or deal in small tools. Beverly, unlike many tool makers has only made their small line of small tools. Those that make both large and small tools are often known by the used equipment dealers but not the small folks.

Beverly is still in business and they sell their equipment through various dealers including McMaster-Carr. I purchased new blades for my B2 through McMC.

Beverly has make a unique and wonderful tool for many years. However, the Chinese are now making cheap copies and I expect that Beverly has a very short future. The result is that several dozen more American metalworkers will be out of a job.

When I have a choice, I buy American and I am willing to pay more. In most cases you get what you pay for. In others you are paying for living wages, taxes, environmental requirements and other things that are part of making a better world. Supporting your local economy is good for YOUR financial health no matter where you live.
- guru - Sunday, 10/24/04 11:27:23 EDT

BrianC: Glad to hear your knee is healing. Don't push it, but make sure you do all the rehab they advise. We don't need anymore gimpy smiths.
- Larry - Sunday, 10/24/04 12:01:24 EDT

Politics and the Economy:
This will be my only political comment prior to the election. It is Bi-Partisan and all inclusive.

I watched the national debates and recently some local ones and every politician has had a chance to weigh in on the enconomy. Absolutely NONE have a clue and have no plan to deal with the important issues.

FIRST, Chasing the last drop of oil and going to war over it is a bankrupt policy that only enriches a few and does nothing to solve the long term problem. Oil is a finite resource that is soon going to run out. The problem that all the nay-sayers have is that they do not account for the gigantic Chinese and other "third world" economies that at the current rate will dominate the global economy within this decade. IF only the people in China that speak English have automobiles there would be more autos on the road in China than in the US. Apply this to demand for applicances and things like steel and concrete for infrastructure and China's demand for resources will make North America's pale in comparison. The world demand for oil will more than triple in this decade. Will we be ready to make war against China (the most populus country in the world and a nuclear power) for the last drop of oil? We MUST have a long term plan for energy independence based on something other than oil and coal.

SECOND, Not a single politician understands that we are rapidly losing our manufacturing base including critical products like steel, rail cars, machine tools. . . Our primary metals industries are in the dumps and we now rely on China and Eastern Europe for steel. These are important to our national security and long term financial well being. We now rely on forign sources for steel and concrete to build buildings, bridges and highways. Meanwhile we are exporting raw material resouces like scrap steel, coal and lumber as fast as we can move them. These are the indicators of a third world enonomy, low wages, relying on imports, selling raw materials instead of manufacturing things with them.

THE SERVICE ECONOMY that was envisioned by Ronald Regan and labled Regonomics is still with us. The problem with a service economy is that it produces NO REAL WEALTH. It only feeds on economies that do produce real wealth.

REAL WEALTH is the creation of new things of value that have a long life. Processing natural resources into usable material and the conversion of raw materials into valuable goods and infrastructure is the ONLY real wealth. Tourism, shuffling paper, serving burgers does NOT create real wealth. Making THINGS from raw materials and creating new technologies is the only real wealth. Everything else feeds off that wealth. Workers making REAL things earn wages and buy food from the farmer, put money in the bank to earn interest and spend money on health care and taxes. Everything comes from the creators of the real wealth. The ultimate service economy is prostitution. Are we to become the prostitutes of the world?

THE JOB OF THE REPUBLIC is to defend its people and to manage its economy. It is the duty of the republic to defend the people both against physical attack as well as financial attack. Protecting one's industries that provide jobs for the people is part of that duty. Protecting one's industries that are required to protect the people against physical attack is the other part.

OUR GOVERNMENT (our elected officials) are not doing their job. They are not defending our economy, YOUR JOB and they have no long term plan for the future. They are only interested in enriching the pockets of themselves and their friends.

OTHER GOVERNMENTS do defend their ecomomies. Recently (last summer) we were going to levy duties on Chinese steel that was being dumped in the US. The Chinese response was that they would refuse to buy American soybeans (a staple of life in China) if we put restrictions on Chinese steel. THEY were willing to starve their people in order pursue their long term goals. Our president (George W) caved and the Chinese steel onslought continues. Every major country protects their economy except the US. . .

DUMPING STEEL on the US has been going on since the early 1980's. Now that we have almost no steel industry prices are rising. WHY? Because those that dumped on our market can now set ANY PRICE they want. Both parties, Republican and Democrate and presidents of both persuasions had the chance to do something. Now it is too late.

No advanced society can exist without STEEL. Everything from the food we eat to the roads we travel on rely on steel. Even critical parts of computers are made of steel. But more importantly ALL industry relies on steel for everything from the machines used to move raw materials to the pipes to pump fluids. You cannot make anything including medicines with steel AND energy (fuel).

Economical and dependable supplies of steel and fuel are absolute necessities for any modern society. Losing control of both has been a failure of our government.

We have not yet seen the results of the NEW higher prices of fuel and the NEW higher prices of steel. They will rattle through our enonomy for the next decade or longer like they did in the early 1980's. Increased fuel costs alone caused the inflation and recession of the 1980's. Now we have increased fuel and material costs. Soon, everythig will cost more. Food, medicine, housing, transportation. Industry will pull back reducing production due to high costs and construction projects will be curtailed. . .

WORSE, Every time there is a setback in the economy tax revenues drop and the government is forced to increase taxes. DO NOT kid yourself into thinking that just because the percentage of your paycheck doesn't change that you are not paying higher taxes. You will pay more for everything including some direct product and sales taxes.

THE FALACY of it costing the consumer more by taxing imports is wrong because it costs JOBS. A consumer without a job is NOT a consumer. . Protecting the economy by taxing imports creates jobs HERE with higher wages that can afford those imports IF the worker choses. But now we have no choice in hardly anything we buy. . . almost everything is imported AND now we are exporting those service jobs. . by outsourcing everything from bill collecting to managing welfare.

We must take control of our economy and plan for the long run. Greed and short sightedness are going to destroy the United States. We must elect responsible representitives that understand their duty.

Get out and VOTE!
- guru - Sunday, 10/24/04 12:41:27 EDT

Guru, that was a good commentary. I'm not from the US but that should be sent to every person running for office, and could be revised slightly and sent to every politician in the western world. Of course it would be nice if the voters could ask that of their candidates.
- Daryl - Sunday, 10/24/04 14:40:11 EDT

Guru, that is arguably the wisest thing I have ever seen said about politics and industry. Would you mind if I passed that around to some online writers and my friends?
T. Gold - Sunday, 10/24/04 17:04:20 EDT

Jock's Economic Diatribe: Well said, sir! Non-partisan, to-the-point and (sadly) deadly accurate. I would hope that those who can make a difference read it and heed the dire message.

I urge everyone to copy it and send it off to their respective congressweasel. Perhaps as many as two of them will pay attention, but that is two more than the current zero.

When copying and resending it, there is one typo that needs fixing: in the paragraph that starts out, "No advanced society can exist...", the last sentence needs the word "with" changed to "without". Nitpicking, yes, but it changes the meaning.
vicopper - Sunday, 10/24/04 20:06:29 EDT

c.oal: Jimmy, King Mine a few miles west of Hesperus, Colorado, has coking grade coal. Have them load the rocks and coal in separate bags and mix them when you get home. Just hoorawin' ya'. There are a few rocks mixed in with the coal.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 10/24/04 20:26:56 EDT

Help me find information please: I'm just getting started at blacksmithing and just got my hands on an old anvil that belonged to my grandfather. I say old because to me he was old, but I have no idea how old this thing is. It's too small for a lot of heavy use, but due to sentimental value it will be around for a long time. The only markings on it are a picture of an arm and hammer (almost like the arm and hammer baking soda) and the number 5. I've been searching the web and can't find any information. Can someone please point me in the right direction? Thanks.
- Ryan - Monday, 10/25/04 02:16:58 EDT

Ryan if the Arm and Hammer are stamped *INTO* the metal it's an "Arm and Hammer" anvil made in Columbus OH With a wrought iron body and a steeled face, (depending on the time period of course).

If they are raised *ABOVE* the surface then it's a Vulcan anvil with a steel face and a cast iron body. My bet's on the Vulcan as I've seen several small anvils made by them and none by Arm and Hammer.

Thomas P - Monday, 10/25/04 11:01:19 EDT

To add to what Thomas said, if it's a Vulcan the "5" means it weighed 50 lbs new. I don't have the book at hand, but if I remember right they were made between the 1870s and the 1930s, but I may be on the early side with those dates.
Alan-L - Monday, 10/25/04 11:20:57 EDT

Economics: Jock, well said.

The harder pill to swallow is reduced wages for non skilled jobs. No matter what we do to protect our economy, we cannot have people who expect to be paid big dollars for non skilled work. Getting paid $25 per hour or more to screw seats in a car or pour pottery slip into a mold to make toilets cannot be supported. If people expect those wages for non skilled work, our products will not sell outside our country.

Instead of buying that boat or snowmobile, you had better be assuring your kids get an education for a job that can support wages to suit their needs. There will not be enough people making high wages to pay taxes for the welfare for the unskilled who will NOT have a job.

So vote to protect our country, but also be realistic in the value of labor. Expecting big wages for unskilled work, or expecting welfare when you did not prepare (shortsightedness) is GREED also.

Get more valued!
- Tony - Monday, 10/25/04 23:27:09 EDT

Political Commentary: This will be my first and last political comment till after the election.

Voting is not a right and voting is not a privilege.

Voting is a DUTY!

It is a duty to those who lived before us, who gave us the country that we have.

It is a duty to those who fought and died to give us the country that we have.

It is a duty to those who live with the wounds they took to defend the country that we have.

It is a duty to those who continue to lay their lives and health on the line to protect the country that we have.

And it is a duty to those who will inherit the country that we leave to them.

He or she who does NOT do their duty as a citizen is NOT a good citizen.

My lady and I have been married for 44 years now. We have both voted in every election possible since we have been old enough to vote.

In all those years, I have never asked her how she voted, and she has never asked me how I voted.

I really don't give a rat's butt WHO you vote for. That's not my business. The secret ballot is the cornerstone and the mortar that holds this country together.

But if you don't vote, DON'T BITCH! If you don't vote, you have not earned the right to bitch.

Freedom isn't free, and voting is one way to pay the bill for YOUR freedom.
Paw Paw - Monday, 10/25/04 23:45:57 EDT

Can I have a rousing
- 3dogs - Tuesday, 10/26/04 03:05:30 EDT

Voting: Ah say, can I have a rousing "AMEN!!" fo' the good brother from Nawth Clinah?!!
- 3dogs - Tuesday, 10/26/04 03:08:51 EDT

Howcome.....: is my name still in black? Has there been a 'puter phart ?
- 3dogs - Tuesday, 10/26/04 03:15:54 EDT

Alan-L - Tuesday, 10/26/04 08:05:20 EDT

'lectroflatulence: 3dogs, you may need some cyber-gasX. Or compu-colon blow.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 10/26/04 11:54:16 EDT

Alan-L : You may be onto something, there. Now that you mention it, I DO use the semicolon a lot. Gotta start using the full colon. It jes' don't pay to be halfa$$ed about this 'putin stuff.
- 3dogs - Tuesday, 10/26/04 13:09:41 EDT

Vote early! Vote often!: Paw Paw: Amen!

Here in New Mexico we are so patriotic that even the dead can vote :)
adam - Tuesday, 10/26/04 16:18:15 EDT

Interesting Site: These people have developed a propane/air torch that can cut upt to 1/4" plate.
adam - Tuesday, 10/26/04 16:45:57 EDT

Adam, the motto "Vote often and early" is a Kentucky tradition. And the dead make especially good voters, as they seem to vote the straight party line on a regular basis!
ptree - Tuesday, 10/26/04 18:12:08 EDT

Thanks for the info on the anvil guys. Yes, the arm and hammer are raised, so I guess it's a 50lb Vulcan. That's great to know. I was just curious. It seems like it's in great shape, so I should be set for awhile. Now I just need to use it.
Ryan - Tuesday, 10/26/04 23:49:40 EDT


"early and often" is definately a KY tradition,but I need to add that these folks in southern Ohio have developed it to an art form. (VBG). Have you ever read Judge Mulligan's poem that ends up with "and politics the da--dest in Kentucky".
Brian C - Wednesday, 10/27/04 08:07:06 EDT

Champion 400 blower and post vice: I'm near Boise, Idaho, and have a good, clean Champion 400 blower for sale to the highest bidder (plus shipping). It turns smoothly and freewheels quite a while after a good crank. It includes the original mounting brackets and handle.
I'm also selling a nice 6" post vise with a strong spring, original mounting plate and handle. Not sure of the brand. The jaws are in almost perfect shape, so someone must have either babied it or not used it much at all.
Email me if interested.
AK ID - Wednesday, 10/27/04 11:54:33 EDT

Letters in Black:
3dogs, We only have colors on the gurusden. Here on the Hammer-In we are all the same. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 10/27/04 12:04:42 EDT

More on our sad (US) Industrial condition. . .:
The big news today sent to me by CrackedAnvil is that Lakshmi Mittal, an Indian and now British citizen as well as one of the richest men in the world has bought out what was once Bethlehem Steel.

"Originally published October 26, 2004 by the Baltimore Sun:

International Steel Group founder Wilbur Ross, who pieced together the nation's largest steel producer from the bankrupt remnants of Bethlehem Steel and LTV Steel Corp., agreed to sell his company to Indian-born billionaire Lakshmi N. Mittal for about $4.5 billion, creating the world's largest steelmaker.

The transaction, which labor leaders and company officials said could solidify the future of ISG's Sparrows Point plant in Baltimore County, will have operations in 14 countries, generate sales of more than $31.5 billion and employ 165,000 workers.

What this means is that less of America is owned by Americans and more of our security resides in the hands of forign owners. . . What will happen when this international giant starts comparing the cost of producing steel in Malasia to the US? The valuable parts will be shipped overseas and the rest scraped (and sent to those overseas plants to recycle into new steel to sell here again. . ).

Locally the news is that several of the foundries that my supplier of Kaowool depends upon have filed bankruptcy. These are major foundries that used to supply every goods used by almost EVERY American ranging from sewer pipe to critical auto parts. These are modern plants that cannot compete with slave labor rates in China and Mexico.

PREVIOUSLY the localy high tech Ericson GE plant shipped its "jobs of the 21st Century" making cell phones to Mexico. The purchase of the GE radio divison by the Swedish Ericson company was originaly vaunted as a "great sucess". Those jobs left for Mexico weeks after the election where Ross Perot repeatedly warned us of that whooshing sound of Jobs going to Mexico as a result of NAFTA. . . that wind is still blowing.

TODAY We cannot build a commercial ship or war ship without buying Chinese steel.

I have talked to numerous shop owners that claim they must order heavy plate directly from China because of the poor quality of American plate. . . Chinese steel beter than American? These are the last days of American Steel. . .

TODAY We cannot build an atomic reactor without buying European or Southeast Asian stainless. A local business makes all the reactors and fuel assemblies for our Nuclear Navy and most of the stainless is labled from Chinese mills.

During the 1980's Belgium owned stailess plants dumped cheap stainless on the US until there were no more US makers. Our government allowed this and now our military depends on Chinese steel. . .

Chinese stainless for the core and Chinese or Indian plate for the hull. . . Now depend on RED China for our national security.

TODAY We cannot fuel our economy without Middle Eastern oil. . . . We SELL coal as fast as we can dig it out of the ground to Japan, China an Europe to make steel to seel back to us. We sell our scrap iron to China as fast as our ailing rail system can haul it port (scrap was a national resource once needed as an asset to fight WWII).

How can we fight international terrorism when our economy relies on many of the countries that are the breeding grounds for the terrorists? OUR being in these countries and often supporting the wrong leaders has created many of those that hate us, often with good reason. We recently supported Saddam Hussien, Manuel Norega and even Edi Amin who admited publicly to canabalism. The ONLY terrorists that have directly done damage on US soil came from Saudia Arabia where we currently support a Kingdom (not a democracy or republic) for their oil.

Meanwhile our politicians scabble for every penny they can get from benefit of their position and the country be dammed. . .

They just don't get it. It is exactly what they meant by Nero fiddling while Rome burned. The once great USSR collapsed from economic missmagement and attacks from outside. Do not think that the US economy cannot be destroyed the same way.

And uh. . . oh yeah. The polar ice caps are melting. . . . It doesn't matter if WE are at fault OR if you believe global warming is real, it is happening.

To survive the coming century we need to be free of our dependance on oil and a have a strong prosperous economy that can absorb the costs of existing in a turbulent world.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/27/04 13:10:58 EDT

Lakshmi Mittal: It may be of interest to note that Mittal has recently bought Iscor, the sole producer of steel in South Africa and since doing so the domestic price of steel has increased by 60% in less than ONE year
- Kevan O`D - Wednesday, 10/27/04 15:32:44 EDT

Lakshmi Mittal: It may be of interest to note that Mittal has recently bought Iscor, the sole producer of steel in South Africa and since doing so the domestic price of steel has increased by 60% in less than ONE year
- Kevan O`D - Wednesday, 10/27/04 15:35:27 EDT

Hey, I moved to a place where we can survive both winter and summer without "climate control" and we could use *more* rain! I can bike to work too and were over 4000' above current sea level...There's iron ore locally too (and Manganese ore for that matter)

Actually lack of water is the big problem; of course one of the largest businesses in our hamlet builds windmills and water is pretty close to the surface---I'd have to build a solar still to make it potable though...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/27/04 15:46:53 EDT

polar ice caps....: So what is the proof? It seems that every single argument for it has one against it. From what I can see the ocean levels are not changing. So if melting where is it at?
Ralph - Wednesday, 10/27/04 16:54:23 EDT

AMERICAN STEEL: Guru, your assessment of the heavy industry in America is surely sobering, but I wonder how much of it is more inevitable rather than anyones fault in particular. Growing up in Chicago area in the 50's I knew countless who had decent jobs in the steel mills and auto industry. (Certainly NOT the kind of job todays "Friends" or "Seinfeld" watchers would EVER be caught dead in.) But the world began to shrink as the 'have nots' wanted to be like the 'haves' AND the steelworkers, as example, gloated over their 13 weeks vacation contracts and their constantly hiding behind the steward. Seems like more of a tide that may not be reversible. Things just don't stay the same. Realistically and practically, how can we compete with the Asians today? Can international trade policies change things permanently and still leave us a 'world leader'? (I have no answers and I am not nearly as up on these matters as you are. I just enjoy your rants, or most of them anyway)
- Tom H - Wednesday, 10/27/04 17:10:30 EDT

Ralph the shrinking of the ice pack is well documented and it's certainly not being stored in the mountain glaciers---they are shrinking too.

Water levels have been documented as rising, slowly---can you tell by looking if the ocean has risen an inch in your lifetime?

You have to remember that *most* (appx 3/4) of the earths surface is *ocean* so it rises slowly. Unfortunately most of what we use the ocean for is the coast line and even fairly small alterations in depth can change things quite a bit. Mammoth bones and teeth are found pretty commonly on the continental shelf which was exposed during the last ice age think wat a foot or two more would do to Fl...of course the Dutch would probably just rise above it...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/27/04 17:45:13 EDT

Ocean levels: I believe that melting ice caps contribute little to rising ocean levels - most of it being due to the expansion of the warming oceans.
adam - Wednesday, 10/27/04 18:11:43 EDT

Ocean levels....: This is what I mean.... expansion of warning oceans.
For every single study showing warming there is one for cooling oceans. All are done by 'reputable' scientists.
But It is just part of the natural cycle. I just get tee'd off when folks try to blame it on us. ( specifically the US of A)

Thomas I do realize that the oceans are most of the surface of the world and that it will take a while to show a change, but form a little looking at tidal levels the tides seem to be down a fair bit from 50 or 60 years ago. If true, then it would seem to indicate a lowering of ocean levels. But I am not a scientist nor do I play one on TV so I do not have much in the way of real bonafide reseach at hand. (smile)
Ralph - Wednesday, 10/27/04 20:34:23 EDT

Paw Paw's Post: Yep. As much as we are so different( i.e. Paw Paw is old, cranky, wore out, bearded and contrary, where I am youthful, handsome, worldly and clean shaven ), we do think a whole lot alike.

Now somebody hurry up and answer so I can take my tongue out of my cheek. She's rammed up in there so far it hurts like hell.
- Larry - Wednesday, 10/27/04 21:40:19 EDT


You earned the pain, live with it! (grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 10/27/04 22:04:45 EDT

Hopefully we all have something better to do than watch ocean levels! BOG, Like make unrecognisable metal objects,or build a fire to watch it burn. But I guess that if I were a scientist getting the $$$ for research I would spank the mule for all it's worth! But them We are the ones paying for it, I say fire the SOB pool the $$ and put a new pair of tongs in every smithy!
- Jimmy Seale - Wednesday, 10/27/04 23:05:00 EDT

Heat Treat Oven: Hi all. I've been watching this item on ebay for a couple of days, and decided to let you all in on it. I think someone here will really like it. It's a Lucifer dual chamber heat treating oven. It seems to be in good shape. Item #: 3847841271
FredlyFX - Thursday, 10/28/04 02:11:36 EDT

I distictly remember reading a cover article in Omni magazine in the mid 80's asking if we were entering the next ice age because the earth had been cooling for the past few years. Then, in the 90's it was global warming. If I remember my history and geograph correctly the world has gone through a number of ice ages and warm periods long before our SUV's were the cause of all the worlds evil. I expect that in another few years our current warming trends will reverse as they have done through the cycle of time for milenia, so I will not feel guilty about gassing up my truck or stoking my coal forge.
FredlyFX - Thursday, 10/28/04 02:36:20 EDT

Global Warming, Ice Caps and Vulcanism: No glacial geologist here, but I have seen the striations of ashfall in ice in a number of glaciers in AK, and have read studies where scientists have positively linked past melt-offs to volcanic activity (yup, ocean levels changed now and then, even before our forebears invented fire -- imagine that). Most of the environmental hullaballoo involves folks who want to invoke social change and has nothing at all to do with solid science.
My wodden nickel's worth,
AK ID - Thursday, 10/28/04 02:55:20 EDT

By the way, the above was a wooden nickel. Darned typos.
AK ID - Thursday, 10/28/04 02:55:53 EDT

Social change: I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn that AK ID is correct in his contention that the hullaballoo is aimed at social change. If so, I'm still in favor of it. There is simply no reason that half the commuters out there need to be driving gas guzzling SUV's to work and the grocery store. Just as there is no reason that the U.S. should use such a disproportionately high percentage of the world's resources, just so Mr and Mrs Average Citizen can waste gas, buy disposable everything, and have a green lawn and a 68º home in the middle of a blazing desert. If the egregious waste of resources doesn't slow down, the consequences will catastrophic.
vicopper - Thursday, 10/28/04 09:49:36 EDT

Polar Ice Caps:
The melting is serious enough that shipping companies are looking at an ice free Northwest Passage in a few years. This puts Southeast Asian exporters MUCH closer to Europe and the Eastern US. It could also damage the economy of Pannama that depends on cannal income. It also puts a burden on Canada to secure once previously inaccessable borders and to provide services to ships along a much longer coast line. . . Or maybe it would be an economic boon to Canada where they could build ports to ship goods from their far North. . .

Yes change is inevitable. But we DO have the power to control economic policies.

Environmental change is also inevitable. But the problem is that it can come much faster than people like to think and we have no control over it. Researchers studying sediments in the Great Lakes found that there were periods where North America went from ice age to not in periods as short as 250 years repeatedly. 250 years sounds like a lot but when you live in Canada and your home become uninhabitable in 20 years and you are forced to move the change is rather dramatic. Imigine if all of Canada was forced to move to the US and much of the US along the Canadian border had to move South in a 50 year period. Suddenly it would be Americans flooding Mexico instead of the reverse. . .

Forget possible rising oceans. Retreating ice caps have many other consequences such as changing weather patterns that could change the American "bread belt" into a desert in a decade or so.

I am not saying this is happening or even that it is might happen. But these changes DO occur and much quicker than we like to think. To be able to cope with them we need to have healthy economies AND a healthy political system. Under current conditions the politicians would be heading up the land grab and profiteering off the people they are supposed to serve instead of helping find solutions to the disaster. We are already squabbling over other countries resources and it is NOT a healthy way to live.

The problem with studying global change is that we do not have a long enough record to make good comparisons. But here is a simple but true antidote:

I live on a creek in a Gristmill on a pond. From the early 1800's until the mid 1950's ice was cut on that pond to fill local icehouses. 6" thick ice was normal and wagons, sleds and small trucks were driven onto ice to pick it up. I have neighbors that took part in this activity and were full of details. Since we have lived here there has not been ice over an inch of ice in 32 years and only once was there enough ice for someone (lightweight) to walk on.

Now. . . I am glad that our winters have not been that cold, as I get older I do not enjoy the cold. In fact winters have been progressivly warmer for some 25 years. But the 200 year "norm" was 10-15 degrees F colder durring the winter months. We could easily snap back to the "norm". And the fact is, I am not ready for it nor are the tens of thousands of people who have built poorly constructed houses in the past 25 years. The frozen pipes and unaffordable heating bills would result in the state calling for disaster relief. . . Simply by the climate going back to what WAS the historical norm.

It would be a good thing if we were ready to cope with such changes but I am afraid that on a whole we are not.
- guru - Thursday, 10/28/04 12:50:58 EDT

More on Social Change: Last information I ran across said the US uses about 25 % of the world's resources - it also indicated that the US is responsible for 25+% of the world's production. Are we as efficient as we could be - no, I don't think so. Are we as bad as portrayed by environmentalists - again, no I don't think that's true either. If you want a skeptical view of environmentalism, read "The Skeptical Enviromentalist" by Bjorn Lundberg ( going by memory, so some spelling may be off) he's a former greenpeace activist from Denmark,and a college professor. Got tired of having conservatives punching holes in some of greenpeace's data/etc. so set out in a college course to prove the conservatives wrong. Had a moment of major enlightenment - despite trying to prove them consistently wrong, he basically ended up supporting a lot of their findings.

I think things are a lot more complicated than we portray here - one big reason for loss of inductrial jobs is upgrading equipment, computer controls, etc. We're somewhere in the middle of a change similar to what happened to farming in the late 19th and early 20th century - 19th century you had (my guess) probably 80+% on farms. Today there's what 2 to 5%. Peak production - 1950's to 1960's US had maybe 30/40 % working in industry we're down to about 13% now and that 13% is more productive, and produces a better and more consistent product than the 30-40 %, despite all the mill closings. The last stainless steel mill I worked at had an employment of 2800 - less than half it's peak employment of 6000 + in the late 1980's. We produced over twice as much steel to higher quality standards than in 1980, and employment was not at a minimum. I ran a testing lab with 14 employees including me. We could have probably done all the required work with 10, and still not have been over worked. It would have required significant changes in bad habits that built up over years and would not have been pleasant to force, but we made no changes because management committment to support change was withdrawn due to a short term possibility impact delivery to customers.

I'm not certain it's right, or what we do with the balance of the population, but it does seem inevitable that manufacturing will employ fewer people with increased automation. Personally, I try to support US industry and craftsmen. I find that I'm often more interested in handmade items, than in machine made. Just my 2 cents
- Gavainh - Thursday, 10/28/04 12:59:57 EDT

My $0.02 worth.
On automation, When I started at the valve shop, we used about 500 people to produce the 100,000 valves and say 3.5 million fittings a month we sold. 21 years later, we were at 200, producing the same basic amount of valves, and about a third the fittings. The loss of fitting sales acounted for maybe 10% of the change, with the rest automation.
In my current employ, we are building a product with 3 people that the previous supplier needed 10 for. Seven jobs gone, but at least 3 jobs stayed here in the USA, instead of off shore where it had been headed.
In America, we have to use people for the tool between the ears, instead of a strong back, or lower rate wage earners will pervail!

Climate change;
In my meterology and climate classes in college, I was taught that the Earth has three periods of wobble in the orbit, and that the orbit change has been poorly studied. We have so little data on the weather patterns of the planet that any theory about climate change is little more than a guess.

We are a very wasteful society! I have built my entire blacksmith shop from items bound to the landfill. Would have been wasted! Thanks from the scroungers to all the wasters!
ptree - Thursday, 10/28/04 14:27:10 EDT

You notice that I didn't attribute the change to anything in particular? My first degree was in geology and I still read some of the stuff to keep my hand in. The argument is still out as to the cause IMHO. I'm just looking at the results. A lotta folks are standing around arguing how the fire started rather than how to get the family out of the burning house.

Most of the data I've seen lately does say that rapid shifts have occured over timescales that are frighteningly small.

I'm glad I got to live through the cheap gas years; don't think my kids will have nearly as much "car fun" as I did.

I'm trying to do my part by tying up carbon in knife blades that will be around a while---that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/28/04 14:46:17 EDT

Thomas P, carbon in knives? you're tieing up somthing alright!
And since one of my brothers is a certified geologist, I won't hold that part against you :) Been scrounging, found a 1940 to 1950's tool grinding shop. Has a mill and and several old tool grinders. All on the second floor, the elevator is toast, and the stairwell is tiny:( thinking hard!
ptree - Thursday, 10/28/04 16:18:04 EDT

Send me the directions, we'll have that place clean enough to eat off the floors in no time!

Look for a heavy beam with a "patch" in the floor beneath it. I've seen several shops where they hauled stuff up through a hole in the floor and then patched over it---sometimes several times over the course of years. Sliding things down stairwells on 2x12's can work too if you have good belay points and methods of control.

Last big rain flushed a plane fuel tank out of the bone yard; but someone got to it first...

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/28/04 17:46:15 EDT

Tool grinding shop:
Chainsaw. Dust mask. Instant hole in outside wall. Forklift. Need I say more? (Big, Big Ol' Grin) Of course, check for electrical and vital structural elements before commencing.
T. Gold - Thursday, 10/28/04 19:33:45 EDT


If you need help, holler. I can sleep in the truck for a few nights! (grin)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 10/28/04 20:00:58 EDT

First, chainsaw and dust mask. Siding is transite. Thats asbestos in cement about a 1/4" thick. The trap door is indeed there, with a handy trolley on a very heavy beam. Trap door has an active 8" air line, and 1500 amps of 13,600volt three phase in new conduit run just under it. The elevator is hydraulic, frozen in place at the ground level, and welded to prevent use without a permit. The mill is a very old, very very heavy knee mill. There is some talk of wrecking the building, and if so they will have to abate the sideing. Thats my chance, as the mill is up against the outer wall, and a forktruck would then work. Have to be a triple mast, as this is a 18' high story! There are two Cincinati #2 cutter grinders as well!
I do have patience, and as I am the guy who will contract the sideing abatement, I should be able to have enough notice:) And Pawpaw, I resdie 13 miles from the plant, so yopu would have to put up with the guest bed, and The Rock's cooking:)
Thanks all.
ptree - Thursday, 10/28/04 20:29:38 EDT

Thomas P
Clean enough to eat off the floor in no time? Where were you when I scrapped out the valve shop in '98? 860 tons to the scrap yard!
There are two hydraulic forgeing presses for sale at scrap prices, a 800 ton Erie and a 1500 ton Erie. I figure that these marvels of American cast iron mastery weigh about the same as the operating tonnage!
Also a handfull of old, big engine lathes. A pair of very large Warner and Swazey turret lathes is also on the list. A 60" dual tooled vertical turning lathe is also available.
All the above will involve serious rigging and oversize load semi's. The presses will need those many axle 240' long trucks I think. If they sell I will try to get a couple of pictures of the trucks.
ptree - Thursday, 10/28/04 20:36:58 EDT

Ptree wasn't moving the mill to ground level a necessary part of asbestos abatement????

I don't think highly of folks who run stuff across access ways...

Don't forget to get the trolly too.

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/28/04 20:55:07 EDT

Spam bam: I just received word from my server that some sob hacked into my computer, stole my screen name and password and made a massive emailing of spam. I apologize if any of you received any of this junk. I DID NOT send any email to anyone this morning. If I ever find out who did this I will give them a hot steel enema. Thanks and sorry.
- Larry - Thursday, 10/28/04 21:10:36 EDT

Old Tig Welder: One of my neighbors here on the farm has an older Linde Tig weldor he'd like to get rid of- (doctor says no more welding). I checked it out for Vicopper but the cost of shipping added to the price made it a bad deal for him. If someone close to my area (Rosemont, NJ- midway between NYC and Philly) is in the market for a cheap welder you may want to check it out. The machine is a Linde HDA 200 AC DC with an integrated high frequency unit and post flow timer. This is a big old unit and it is not perfect. I found that all of the panel mounted controls worked fine and it welded well in the stick mode but the foot pedal for the tig has almost no control so that would have to be worked on. The high frequency unit does work and it will start an arc in DC and maintain one in AC for Alu welding. The current tig torch is an air cooled unit- there is no water cooler with it. Pete wants to get $300 for it so if anybody is interested send me an email and I'll send you his phone number. Just remember that these old weldors are hard to find parts for and you are on your own with it. I'm just throwing it out here since I know how hard it can be to find a starter unit and somebody might be interested.
SGensh - Thursday, 10/28/04 21:13:22 EDT

Larry----waste of good steel, plain old gray cast iron is plenty good enough for them, I have some 1' mullinite pipe if you need a nozzle...

Thomas P - Friday, 10/29/04 11:51:06 EDT

UV/IR Protection: Hey guys. I'm almost done building my gas forge, but I noticed on Ron Reils site that he warns about possible UV and IR radiation from these forges. I'm using the Monster Burner made by Rex Price.

Do I need to buy some protective goggles? And do they make any that are clear enough so that I can see fairly normally while not looking at the fire?

- Seth - Friday, 10/29/04 12:01:20 EDT

Sorry, not a monster burner, a T-Rex burner
Seth - Friday, 10/29/04 12:06:31 EDT

Lets not forget the magnetic poles will swap, probably will be blamed on too much ferrous metal in civilization.
Tone - Friday, 10/29/04 12:41:16 EDT

There are safety glasses with flip up green shades, in both prescription and planos. Another possibility is to mount a #4 green shade on a strut that allows easy viewing into the forge, and is not in the way.
ptree - Friday, 10/29/04 17:20:53 EDT

Ptree, I have never found a way to have *anything* around the forge that didn't end up in the way sometime. Shoot I was forging 10' long 1/2" round outside and still managed to thwap the building with a piece.

Thomas P - Friday, 10/29/04 17:31:30 EDT

Thomas P, a great scrounger, but perhaps a bit clumsey? Seth, if you are a bit clumsey, a swing away mount would be advised.
ptree - Friday, 10/29/04 19:58:30 EDT

international trade: We used to think Japan would be the manufacturer of everything. However, it never happened. Its wages rose and its cost advantages eroded. It's hard to imagine China reaching this point any time soon, but it surely will eventually. The pressure on the Chinese communist party to permit freer markets is tremendous. The state-owned/state-run businesses are fast disappearing. International trade theory can get pretty complicated, but its essence is over 200 years old and is still being borne out in the daily evidence and numbers. Supply and demand conditions favor disparate prices found before trade happens moving toward each other as trade patterns are established. Hence, low wage countries tend to experience rising wages and high wage countries tend to experience stagnating or falling wages. Yes, this hurts when people have to change their jobs when their employer goes broke or moves. However, the payoff ends up being cheaper goods and services that those stagnate wages can buy (and that can now be bought in the rising wage countries). Every country is made better off in the sense of more goods and services are consumed by people wherever they live. This is what makes unrestricted international trade compelling. Sterile as this type of analysis can be, it is the impetus for the myriad changes we see around us that ordinarily aren't thought of as economic give and take. Social changes are mostly driven by economic changes, in my view.

If I had to choose between a world in which countries were intertwined economically so much that none could stand alone and start a war, and a world in which this degree of interdependence was curtailed because each country "needed" a set of industries to support its armed forces, I choose the former.
- John Larson - Friday, 10/29/04 20:09:48 EDT

International Trade: John L - an excellent summation. To quote the immortal Robert Heinlein "TANSTAAFL". The option we face isn't much fun, but the alternatives are much worse! Sort of like some descriptions of our republic, or democracy.
- Gavainh - Friday, 10/29/04 21:19:36 EDT

old mig welder: To accompany Steve's tig machine you can drive south from his place and stop at mine north of Baltimore to latch on to a big (3'x3'x3')red Lincoln mig machine with wire feeder. It's complete but doesn't run. Sorry, at the moment I don't have the model number. It can be fixed, I think, but haven't done so. There is a wiring diagram inside one of the panels. I put 125 into it at auction. You can bail me out. I just bought a Miller mig that fits my needs.
- John Larson - Saturday, 10/30/04 17:47:10 EDT

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