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October 2005 Archive

WHY THREE FORUMS? Well, this is YOUR blacksmithing forum to use for whatever you wish within the rules stated above. It is different than the Slack-Tub Pub because the messages are permanently posted and archived.
This page is NOT a chat - it is a "message board"

Our chat, the (Slack-Tub Pub), is immediate but the record of it is temporary. DO NOT post permanent messages there. We refresh the "log" every 24 hours now and your message will be lost.

The Guru's Den is where I and several others try to answer ALL your blacksmithing and metalworking questions to us.

Please note that this forum uses an e-mail encryption system that prevents spam harvesters from collecting your e-mail address.

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

Alternative to Rigid Fiber Board-

Instead of spending big bucks for Duraboard or Kaowool board, you can get the same effect by using regular Kaowool and "accordian folding" it. Stuff it iside a light weight steel box. Now you can use it for veritical and horizontal surfaces without the problem of it peeling off. This is a common way to use Kaowool in industry. I recently made a door for my forge by welding up a 12x12x4 steel box and stuffing Kaowool in it. This seems to hold up much better than stacking fire bricks infront of the forge because it won't break if dropped like the bricks will.
Patrick Nowak - Saturday, 10/01/05 08:21:48 EDT

Patrick Nowak,
Good to meet you at Quad State, and I agree about the accordian folding. At my last employer, we had a 120' long, by 8' wide, by 5' tall stress relief furnace, and the entire roof was accordian folded Kaowool. Only difference was it was sewn together with fine wire. I suspect inconel. The pleats were about 8", and the kaowool was 1" thick. The steel faced box would be far better in any place where contact with metal or flame impingment might occur. The furnace mentioned had an arched roof, and had no contact. Can you guess the amount of kaowhool required? Or guess the Natural gas required to fire?
ptree - Saturday, 10/01/05 08:59:25 EDT

surgery: I will be having my 6th knee surgery monday. They are going to transplant some of the good cartiledge in the knee to fill in the damaged areas of same. The good side is that they are supposed get good results . The down side is no shop time for 6-10 weeks
Brian C - Saturday, 10/01/05 09:51:51 EDT

Kaowool Board:
We used to list it in the store as a "special order" item. However, it is expensive and the bigger problem is shipping. Although fairly strong it is delicate to ship and must be supported by plywood when shipped as individual sheets. . . I planned to offer it in small cut pieces that could be easily shipped but in the end decided that I did not need another refractory cutting operation.

To accordian fold Kaowool you use two smooth boards or pieces of sheet metal to support the wool while you fold it. Then you sew the panel together using stainless tie wire or inconel wire. The inconel is better for high temperatures. The same wire is used to anchor the panels to their backing or attachment surface by hooking it on the wires in the center of the panel. Sewing and anchoring is done with shop made needles (welding rod works well). After the panels are installed the surface is coated with ITC-100 to further hold it together. There are photos of this process on our ITC information pages.

Panels from 3" to a foot thick are built this way using 1" Kaowool.
- guru - Saturday, 10/01/05 12:47:56 EDT

kaoboard, insboard, kiln shelf, etc.: May I reiterate my earlier post? Darrin Ellis has most any common refractory you may want, and will cut to size for you. Buy from the Guru if he has it, but otherwise ask Darrin!
Alan-L - Saturday, 10/01/05 13:37:39 EDT

Tyler; last time I was there there was one about that size for sale at a junk store in Malmesbury England. Start at the city hall with your back to the door and go down the road at the far end, left of the square. Junk store on the right.

If one in England won't do; why didn't you tell us a LOCATION???

Thomas in NM (Usually one at the implement auction in Lemitar NM in 2 weeks time.)
Thomas P - Saturday, 10/01/05 15:35:33 EDT

SCA events in VA: Hey, Atli, Guru, rest of the crew, are y'all going to the 2 SCA events up around Richmond?
The Sedley one is close to me but the Blue Ridge, VA event has cabins (and the wife's tired of sleeping in tents!). I haven't been to either site, but they both sound good.

I've been too busy with work and all to do any SCA or much forging since we moved to Norfolk last year- but I'm happy to say that my forge is up, my anvils are set, even got a new drill press I have to mount. Glad to hear you're healthy again, Atli. I'll have to catch up with you when I'm up at Dahlgren again (heading up there every month on Navy business).

Cheers. Hope to see some of y'all if you make it to one of the Halloween weekend SCA events in central VA.
VA SCA events
Doug P - Saturday, 10/01/05 17:01:45 EDT

Free From Forging with Uri Hofi is now out. It is a beautifully put together video.

If you haven't been to the Power Hammer School you will be amazed. If you HAVE BEEN it is a great refresher and may include elements new to you or that you forgot how they were done.

Free Form Forging - Review
- guru - Saturday, 10/01/05 18:01:36 EDT

Location: I'm looking for an anvil in Macon, Georgia. I don't mind having to pay shipping for a good anvil though.
Tyler Murch - Saturday, 10/01/05 18:31:51 EDT

Accordion folding Kaowool:
In glass we have a slightly different technique, which I believe was originated by Dudley Giberson. He calls it Z-folding, I call it a pain in the butt... but I digress. Basically you start with a steel cylinder with one end covered, and you cut a set of pieces of kaowool that are the length of the cylinder and about 5-7" wide, depending on how thick you want your insulation to be. Soak them in water, fold them in half, and put them in the cylinder with the point of the "V" formed by folding them facing in. Makes a self-supporting arch that has zero tendency to spring back out like an accordion fold sometimes can. Cover it with ITC-100 and it's good for two years or more in student service (brutal!). Just thought you guys might like to know.
T. Gold - Saturday, 10/01/05 21:39:53 EDT

Be well: Ralph and Dave and Brian, prayers out for you guys. Hope all works out well.
- Tony - Saturday, 10/01/05 22:20:58 EDT

Timex: K

For thoughs who are not aware of the mechanics of the human body.


Granted I have bad genitics for this , and have bad life for this. You younger guy ( man boob ) need to be aware of this. the over development of ones' sholder and pectoral mucils can lead to a condition called upper clavical thrombosuios.
In "are " terms it means a blood clot in the vein in the
left arm just bellow the male nipple. What it can caust :

1. spinning haed: dizzyness, followed by stroke like symptoms
2. loss of wind or short of breath

3. migrains followed by swelling of left arm

4. misty limbs: *** important**
is a lack of blood flow and needs to be treated post haste!!!!!!!!
- Timex - Sunday, 10/02/05 04:02:54 EDT

TIMEX: You OK ? Your last post looks like you are either sick or trying to type in your sleep.
3dogs - Sunday, 10/02/05 08:14:44 EDT

Hot Iron Muster in Australia: Now that I'm home from my toolsmithing workshop in Logan Village, Queensland, I can offer a few impressions.

Alan & Helen Ball were my gracious hosts. They fed and housed me, and the workshop was behind their house in a long open air building. There were 10 students and 10 forging stations. We worked with coke and started the fires with homemade Eucalyptus charcoal. The forge blast was supplied with electric fans and each forge had an air gate. Alan has a business not far from his home in a large building where he fabs sheet metal, welds, does forged work, and sells bar stock off the racks. Alan also collects pertinent tools and machinery, some of which are antiques, as he runs across them. One example is a slightly dished "wheelwrights table" of cast iron, 1 5/8" thick with a 68" diameter. There is a central hole of 19 3/4" D. In his yard, he has such things as a drop hammer, about 10' tall, and a couple of old back geared drill presses. Alan had just got a new/old power hammer set up for the workshop, an English made 60# Goliath. It was not too unlike a Little Giant, but with a larger, more circular, cast body. It was quite a hog compared to my 25 pounder.

Alan made some charcoal while I was there. He placed short logs in a steel box after getting a fire started with smaller material. The box is about 30" square on the end and about 40" long. When it is loaded and pretty well on fire, he closes the hinged lid and leaves it overnight. Interestingly, he doesn't concern himself with portholes, etc. The charring we got was not 100%, but quite adequate for our needs.

Some of the participants in the workshop were collectors of smithing tools and equipment. For a country of about 18 million inhabitants, there is a surprising amount of material at the flea markets and swap meets. Alan's anvils were mostly imported from England in the early days; however, he did have one nice Hay-Budden. Probably his oldest anvil was a nice William Foster marked with the date of 1848 and with the weight of 1 3 21 (217#).

The leg vises are mostly Peter Wrights, but they lack the style of chamfering on the legs that we usually see in the America. I suspect they were of later manufacture than the ones imported into the United States. The legs are either of plain rectangular section or they have a corner fuller mark at the top of the leg, and a quite narrow chamfer below that. Alan had one antique leg vise with the tenoned mounting plate.

The forge fire pots and hand cranked blowers, when found, were nearly always from the United States. However, Alan had a nearby iron foundry cast a number of fire pots for his own use and for sale. A few Little Giant power hammers were imported into Adelaide in the early 1900s.

Because Australia, after European contact, was used by England as a penal colony, there was not a large amount of ornamental ironwork during that period. When ironwork was started in earnest, it was of a practical sort, mainly for farming, mining, and early manufacture. Nowadays, the current crop of smiths is playing catch-up-ball, so to speak.

Blacksmithing is alive and well in Australia. The forged work is sometimes combined with contemporary welding methods, and the work is often powder coated. We were a few kilometers in from the coast, but the atmosphere is, nevertheless, saline.

An Australian team of smiths is planning to come to the Seattle ABANA conference in early July, 2006, and they have been offered a forging and exhibit area.

I will get some photos to the alpha guru.

Frank Turley - Sunday, 10/02/05 10:21:03 EDT

FRANK: Good to see you back, my friend. I guess I missed your earlier posts upon your return last week.
3dogs - Sunday, 10/02/05 11:46:02 EDT

malloneej, The Tinker, Ron60nc, Forged Steel, Mike, Sundance, dirty-smithy, Bersh, Sarevok, Cabela, jimshaw, Manolita, laker, bamb-bam, kev67, fred2005, Canadagoose, etal. . .: Your pub registration mails bounced.

Many more bounced as well that were typos. .NWT instead of .NET, erathlink instead of Earthlink, leading www. on mail accounts. Folks you MUST learn to fill in on-line forms accurately.

Many JOB and SCHOOL applications are now done on-line. If you miss spell your name or address and ESPECIALLY your e-mail addess you WILL NOT get into the school you want, you WILL NOT get that job you applied for, you WILL NOT get that loan you applied for, the item you ordered on-line WILL NOT not get delivered, you WILL NOT get the credit card you applied for. You will probably not marry the person you want and will probably have a miserable life all because of a simple typo.

Bad spelling and typos are one thing, but filling our forms is a serious business. Stop THINK, double check. We go to a lot of trouble editing and resending mails based on our best guess. Almost nobody else does this. Practicaly ALL systems automatically check bounced mail and deletes the form from the system.
- guru - Sunday, 10/02/05 12:10:12 EDT

OZ (Austrailia) and the Pub: Frank, nice write up. Send some photos and I will put them with your text in the news. Working on SOFA news now. .

Pub registrations: Among those with bounced e-mails were at least two people that have complained about not hearing back recently. . . We are DONE catching up. We went back 9 months. There are more but a very high percentage this old and older have bouncing emails due to changes and expiring unchecked email accounts. SOON we will have to do a bulk mail to clear out the old deadwood as there are over 3,000 people registered and only a few hundred that realy use the system.
- guru - Sunday, 10/02/05 12:32:39 EDT

speaking of charcoal: I did my first real forging with my home made charcoal yesterday. What great stuff! It's clean, hot and no bucket of clinker to have to get rid of.

I was a bit worried about burning the shop down with the fleas I heard about but it wan't any worse than the occasional piece of green coal popping or dancing fines in a coal fire.

I was concerned that I'd need a mountain of the stuff to get any amount of forging done but it seemed to go pretty far. It's hard to tell but I don't know that I used any more by volume than I would have with coal for the same job. Maybe because the coal I have is such garbage.

My bottom draft fire pot seemed to work fine. My blower is more than I need but it didn't blow the fire out of the pot like I thought it might. A little deeper pot might be nice and maybe I'll rig one up but I think I'm good to go for now.

Working the fire seemed pretty much a no-brainer...just pile on more when you need it.

When I take apart a coal fire, I pull the fire out of the pot and drop a little water on it. When I do that, I lose the draft in the hood and it smokes up the shop a bit. Sometimes I get a little smoke when first lighting a coal fire too until there's some heat to get a draft going. Not with the charcoal. I pulled it out of the pot, sprinkled some water on to put it out, looked up and was nicely surprised to see nothing but clear air.

I ran right out back and started another batch burning.
Mike Ferrara - Monday, 10/03/05 05:26:50 EDT

Anvil rework: : I am in the process of reworking my 350# HB. This is a sound anvil - plenty of plate - welds are good etc - It was poorly forged and had a lot of defects right from the mfr. I believe it was a "second" in its day. It had previously been used for heavy sledge work and the sweept spot is dished and mushroomed. Thats fine - I am quite happy forging in the dish, I know its shape intimately and use it to advantate.

The plate is about 22" x 5.5" the area around the hardy was very lumpy with a big uneven crown in the center. Hardy tools would not seat and the surface was not a lot of use for forging. I have mostly ground this down to flat and its a vast improvement. I now have about 10" of flat surface for things like chisel work and the hardy tools seat nicely. However, the edges are still crappy in that there is a short 30 deg slope between the flat surface and the edge which really reduces its usefulness. To clean them up would mean grinding another 1/8" off the plate so its time for the welder.

While I am at it, I am thinking of cutting away some material from under the heel at a 45 deg angle to leave a forging shelf (like you see on some European anvils). The plate would stay intact but the supporting material would be undercut at 45 deg.

The other problem area is the horn. This 11" long with an elliptical cross section. At its base its 4" deep and 5" wide. It is swollwen and bulgy like most American anvils. In addition it is very crudely forged. I am thinking of reshaping the last 8" of the horn into a cone. This will leave me with about 3" of crowned elliptican horn for heavy forging continued into an 8" cone for formin scrolls etc. There are two ways to go, take 1/2" off each side (cutting torch) and reduce to 4" diameter. Alternatively, I could build up on top and bottom with welding rod to about 1/2" and have a 5" base to my cone. In any case I plan to surface the horn and cutting table with MG740 (see below). I have considered reforging the horn but I really dont think it would be practical in my setup.

The welding rod is 7018 to butter over any wrought and then Messer MG 740 a hardfacing underlay rod - which goes on at R30 and work hardens to R40. Has unlimited buildup capacity.

I would appreciate any feed back and comments. But before anyone tells me I am butchering a priceless antique, let me say a few things: I believe tools are born to work and the most respect you can show them is to use them well. I have had this anvil for several years now and thought a lot about what kind of forging surface I want. This was never a priceless antique. In its day it was probably considered a piece of crap - Hay Budden did not stamp their name on it -though it clearly is an HB.

- adam - Monday, 10/03/05 10:58:47 EDT

Adam: Hey, Adam
How about writing an article "pro rebuilding of an anvil", our Editor is needing an opposing article to the question of "To rebuild or not to rebiuld?",for the newsletter she is working on. You can email it to me or the Guru and we'll pass in on. Thanks Daveb
daveb - Monday, 10/03/05 11:50:54 EDT

wallpaper: Thanks for the information. I've only got four walls left to strip, & I'll tackle them next weekend.
- packrat_red - Monday, 10/03/05 11:59:16 EDT

Anvil Corners: I like softly rounded anvil corners. In Paw-Paw's shop where there are two anvils with crisply repaired corners I cannot work. The corners are too sharp to work on and create cold shuts and mark the work.

The anvil I choose to use is an old English anvil missing its horn. It had worn corners and is slightly saddled. When I bought it the only problem was that the face was severely pitted with rust and some of the edge chips were still sharp. I ground the face only enough to remove most of the pitting (maybe 1/64") and dressed the edges where they were mushroomed. Then using a soft flap wheel in a 4-1/2" grinder I radiused and polished the edges to no less than 1/16" radius. Some places were already rounded so the radii vary. When done the old abused anvil looked much like a very old gently worn anvil. Nothing about it is very flat or straight but it is an easy to use anvil. The only thing missing is the horn which is not an absolute neccessity but you sure get accustomed to having one. . .

At SOFA I bought an old 112 pound Mousehole anvil in fairly good condition. For $140 it was a bargain. It could be used as-is but needs some dressing. The edges are slightly mushroomed and drop at that 30 degrees and Adam was talking about for about 3/8". The horn is a little cut up from someone doing cold work on it but it is not hurt. There is ONE old chip out of the edge that that has since been worn in a bit.

On this second anvil I will clean up the mushrooming from the sides. On this one just bringing the edges back to vertical will remove 1/16 to 1/8" of that slope. Blending with radiusing will finish the job further removing another 1/8" of the slope. Dressing the top 1/64" will remove another 1/16". The remaining slope will just make the whole into a slightly ovoid edge.

Working the corners from two directions will often clean up a lot of problems without heavy clean up on the face. In fact some manufacturers called for machining one side of the anvil to make a clean straight edge. In making repairs you are much better off to follow this line of logic rather than try to reduce the top to do all the clean up.

One of the anvils in Paw-Paw's shop is a nice big old English anvil of around 225 pounds. Someone machined the face to clean up the anvil. They nearly removed the entire face and to compensate they then ground the step at about a 5 degree angle so it looked like a step. The face is soft because the hard portion near the surface was all machined away. I estimate there is no more than 1/8" of the face left. In all probability this anvil just had heavy chipping at the edges that could have been worked around if dressed to round edges. But now it is mostly a curiosity and fine example of the folly of many "repairs". It is not mine and I would be afraid to use it for fear of damaging the plate weld . . .

- guru - Monday, 10/03/05 14:17:44 EDT

Adam's Anvil:
First note that most Hay-Buddens I've seen were the two piece construction with all steel upper bodies. There is no plate and the horn is all crucible steel.

I've seen some Hay-Buddens with pretty ugly horns. The late models with all steel upper bodies have a nearly square horn section estending from the body then blending into a round semi conical shape. I've also seen quite a few anvils where the tip of the horn was broken off and rounded rather than repaired. This leaves them blunt and reduces the usefulness a lot.

There are two schools of thought on horn shape. Round or slightly eliptical for strength, the long axis vertical. OR slightly flat making an eliptical section on top and the bottom round or eliptical (the two with oposite axiis). The purely conical horn of the Peddinghaus was designed to be machine finished and sadly they are not. It is a poor shape otherwise. The more organic shape with curving sides is much better. I do not have a strong opinion about the slightly flattened horn. I have primarily used anvils with nearly round horns and like them.

I would not get carried away with a torch trying to make a horn more slender. It is very difficult to keep from cutting too deep on a round surface.

Notching under the heel is weakening an already weak area. However, 45 degrees is not too bad. However on the Austrian anvils with the 45 degree heal the line continues all the way to the body of the anvil and is VERY strong. An alternative is to ADD a shelf to the side of the anvil. Dean Curfman of Big BLU added a shelf to his Peddinghaus. He made the shelf out of a piece of 4140 and welded it on with Super Missle rod preheating as necessary. There are large fillets which make a nice inside round to work in besides adding strength. As-dressed it looks like a factory job and has seen a lot of heavy use. On an anvil with some heavy chipping toward the front this would be a nice alternative to weld build up on a hard use area.

There is nothing wrong with rebuilding an old junker anvil that has no historic value. However, a LOT of "repairs" made for cosmetic purposes reduce the working value of the tool. Sharp edges from weld build up will chip off easier than the original edges. A decent radius prevents a lot of chiping and covers old chipping as well.

Gross modifications should be carefully thought out. It may be just a working tool to you today but one day it will be an asset for sale that might keep you in some old age medication for a month or more. . . Don't tell the IRS but many blacksmithing tools bought used do nothing but appreciate over time, especially if kept well maintained.
- guru - Monday, 10/03/05 15:04:03 EDT

Anvil fixes: I baught a beatup 170ish pount Peter Right. The horn was cut up, the face saddled and the edges chiped. After talking to some people and doing some reading I decided to have the face machined. I specifically told the shop how much to take off at a maximum. They decided to take off more to make it "flat" and it seemed a bit soft. I think it's hardened up some and I use it almost every day so I'm still in business but if I had to do it again I wouldn't take it anywhere near a machine shop. I'd do like our knowledgeable Guru and at most round off the sharp spots on the dings. A flat face doesn't insure flat work and I often find myself going to the step to "flatten" work because the face is too flat to do it. LOL a little saddle might not be as bad a thing as some of us think. I do like to have a sharp edge someplace but that can sure be bad news too. The best place for one if you think you need it might be on a hardy tool or something.

Live and learn, huh?
Mike Ferrara - Monday, 10/03/05 15:47:19 EDT

Anvil rework:: Thanks for the comments:

Dave, I really dont think I am qualified. It's one thing to screw up my anvil...

This anvil has a plate and the body is wrought. I agree sharp edges are a bad idea - I have enough trouble protecting my jewels from the point of the horn. An accidental hand strike against a sharp edge while holding a hammer would be devastating. What I want are some SQUARE edges with rounded corners. Currently most of my edges have a rolloff to the corner which greatly decreases their usefulness

Flat is very nice to have for chisel work. I agree with Mike you dont need it for general forging or straightening. I have a piece of heavy plate that I use for chisel work. But this is a big anvil face and I feel I ought to be able to do my chisel work right on it.

As for cutting back the end, this anvil is pretty heavy in that area and I was planning to use it for light forging and bending. All I really want is an acute angle.

Adding a shelf is a great idea that I hadnt considered at all. I might do it as an extension to the cutting table. European anvils put their shelves right where I like to do my heavy drawing, but the cutting table would be out of the way.

As for torch work, I was planning to just wash away some material in lieu of heavy grinding and then refine.

While I feel this is my anvil and I am entitled to make it suit me, I do agree that it would be wrong to ruin a valuable tool. Also, this tool will outlast me and I dorecognize some responsibility to the men who will come after me.
adam - Monday, 10/03/05 17:42:19 EDT

Flat anvils:
Folks go to a lot of trouble to make or get flat anvils. The fact is you cannot flatten a piece on a flat surface, you need some curvature for overtravel and spring back. If you want a reference surface to check that something is flat that is another thing. Reference flats are also something you do not hammer on and are often cast iron. A reference flat can be an actual precision flat OR the table off and old machine tool depending on how flat you need. Old machinery tables like shaper tables are wonderful for checking flat and square. I have two off machines that were being scraped. Then there are granite prescision flats. . which I have one of as well.

A micrometer is not a C-clamp and an anvil is not a reference flat.

Many good carbon steel anvils make a reasonable flat when new but wear as well as become swayed over time. However, many are belt ground and are not nearly as flat as they look when shiney and new. The old wrought anvils are the worst as the wrought iron is very soft and the steel plate follows it.
- guru - Monday, 10/03/05 19:15:47 EDT

HB anvil: The horn may be ugly, but it is used primarily for drawing on the base and mid area, and as a support for bending. The bending normally takes place beyond the horn with a leverage blow. A cone does not a better scroll or circle make. The farrier pattern with the swell and later with a slight "flat" on top was used to help open a horseshoe. By hanging the hot shoe over the horn, the farrier was bound to get a little daylight.

My reference flat which I use mainly for leveling branding iron stamps, is a discarded, small, printing press platen, made of steel. I use it for reference only; I don't hammer the work while on the platen. I don't want to distort it.
Frank Turley - Monday, 10/03/05 21:27:44 EDT

There are imported ones available for reasonable prices from MSC, they are plenty flat for general use. 12
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 10/03/05 23:08:16 EDT

Granite surface plates: There are imported ones available from MSC, They are plenty flat for general use. 12"x18"x3" for$35. this is a fraction of what American made ones cost 30 years ago.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 10/03/05 23:13:45 EDT

Hand crank blowers: Is any one selling new hand crank blowers?

I could have sworn that I recently saw them in one of the catalogs (centaur maybe?) but now that I go back and look I don't see any.
Mike Ferrara - Tuesday, 10/04/05 06:49:11 EDT

Surface plate: If you go by a place that cuts stone for kitchen counters and pick up a small cuttoff of granite. That stuff is all machined to a few thou of flat. Not a machinists plate but plenty flat for a smiths shop.
adam - Tuesday, 10/04/05 08:47:41 EDT

forge hood: Im thinking on making a new hood for the forge and would like to know if anyone has used either of the hoods in the plan file? how does it work for you and what if anything you would change. im thinking of building the smaller one. if any one could help i would apreciate it thanks
- msc - Tuesday, 10/04/05 09:41:29 EDT

forge hoods: I built a larger side-draft hood that works extremely well. It looks much like the bigger of the two in the plan file, but has a sloped front and a rear exhaust to fit a 12"x16" hole in a masonry chimney. At the risk of starting a debate in which I will not participate, you don't need a smoke shelf. A side draft hood with 10" or bigger pipe topped with the low-loss stack cap will make you forget what coal smoke smells like! You do need to throw a wad of lit newspaper in to start the draft before you light the coal, but once you get it going it'll pull the flame sideways.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 10/04/05 10:25:53 EDT

I built the small hood (10 X 10 opening) and it works fine. I even have a normal rain cap (a tall one I built) and a couple of 90's in the pipe (because I took it out a window and up the side of the building. I did use 12 inch pipe though. I know the 90's are a no-no but I wanted to be able to see all the pipe that is inside and I wouldn't be able to do that if I went through the roof. I also have lots of trees and the wind does some funny things but without remodeling the county there isn't much I can do about it.

I guess it depends on outside conditions but I often have a raging draft even with no fire in the pot. I do get some smoke when I put a fire out and once in a while a little when I first light a fire (depending how it starts). I was throwing a wad of lighted paper in the hood to help start a draft. It does seem to help but I don't usually bother.
Mike Ferrara - Tuesday, 10/04/05 10:41:31 EDT

I need some tips...: I'll start demonstrating in front of lots of people soon.
I tried to demonstrate at Andersonville last saturday, & totaly screwed up.

any info y'all might have on doing good demos would be great.
- packrat_red - Tuesday, 10/04/05 11:11:54 EDT

Packrat: Relax. There's them that's screwed up already, and them that's gonna screw up. You just got it out of the way sooner. Besides, it's not your fault, Andersonville is full of spooks.
3dogs - Tuesday, 10/04/05 13:43:47 EDT

Smoke Shelf:
I agree that a smoke shelf is generaly not needed and often is a hinderance. Their biggest purpose is to prevent down drafts in unused chimneys and keep junk like birds nests and guano from droping into the fire or COOK POT. In heavy snow country they keep snow out of the ashes. The complex arguments about how shelfs create a draft is hogwash. The reason for the one in the one plan is to placate those that think they need it.

Several old dry mason chimneys I have looked at that were built by experts of the era (1800's) were mearly long slender gradualy tapering tubes with no sudden changes or angles. To work in a two story chimney they had long spiral sweeps around the upstairs fireplace before the two met.

The smoke shelf does not come into serious play until the cast iron damper needed a place to be installed. . .

There are photos all through our news of side draft hoods in use practicaly sucking the entire fire up the flue.
- guru - Tuesday, 10/04/05 13:53:22 EDT

forge hoods: thanks guys for the input. I think ill try the smaller hood. I do have the larger one half built but I like the size of the other one. I plan to use a 12" pipe, I was told to try culvert pipe but I'm concerned with it being galvanized? any thoughts or recommendations on this? I to will have a 90 bend temporarily I hope. if all works well for me ill install it strait later.
msc - Tuesday, 10/04/05 14:06:32 EDT

Demo tips:
1) The general public knows NOTHING about the details of blacksmithing. Do not worry about the questions they will ask.

2) Tell the truth, do not get into to much detail. You CAN tell the ignorant public anything and they will believe you. Please dont. What people want to know:

a) How hot the fire gets (coal 3200 F)
b) How hot the metal gets (steel 2500 F)
c) Do you ever get burt? Yes, small burns daily.
d) What is your fuel? (bituminous or soft coal - or charcoal).
e) What kind of metal are you working? (mild steel)
f) Where did you learn to do this?! ;)
Self taught, friend, family member, craft school. . .

3) There is always at least one A-hole that knows it all and thinks he can do it beter or cheaper than you. There are two responses that work.

a) Just politly ask him if he has an anvil and forge (he doesn't or he wouldn't brag). Then ask him if he knows where to get them and the coal and steel. Then let him stew.

b) Step across the rope, hand him a hammer and say, "Here, show us what you can do". . .

Note, that real smiths, hobby or otherwise will introduce themselves and will not be a smart ass at your demo.


a) Keep it short and do what you KNOW. Something you can make in one or two heats is best. The public WILL NOT set through the kind of demos you see at conferences for blacksmiths. Five minutes is a LONG demo. I make hooks and leaves sometimes hooks with leaves, in the past I made pokers and rakes, others make nails, souvenier horseshoes, anything that can be made quick.

b) Have your stock pre-cut. I usualy have 4-1/2 and 5" long 1/4" square for making J and drive hooks already cut. Sometimes I carry 8, 10 and 12" for S-hooks. If you are going to make things like tent stakes for the reanactors have all your foot long stock pre-cut.

c) It is OK to carry extra uncut stock just in case. But if you do not have a good way to cut it leave it at home.

d) I avoid the use of a hardy as much as possible in demos and saw things off. The chance of a piece flying off like a bullet is too great ESPECIALLY when talking or paying attention to the croud.

e) DO NOT wear yourself out when there is no crowd. Keep the fire hot and a piece warming, ring the anvil ocassionaly if you need to attract attention. Then forge like crazy when the kids show up.

f) Keep your demo safe. There should be a minimum of about 6 to 8 feet between the anvil and the rope, 10 feet is better. IF the show sponsor will not give you a circle this big then tell then that you cannot safely do a demo and back out. You should also have extra water on hand for the inevitable grass fire. That grass that was lush and green on Friday will be dead and dry where you stand by Saturday noon.

g) Enjoy yourself! Demonstrating for the public, especially kids is fun. Just keep it safe and simple.
- guru - Tuesday, 10/04/05 14:20:38 EDT

Culvert Pipe stack.:
MSC, Nothing wrong with galvanized on stacks, in fact it is best especially with coal fires. Generally nothing on the hood or stack will get hot enough to burn off the zinc. Ocassionaly is will get hot enough to melt a little or oxidize slowly but not burn.

To be a problem the zinc must burn. It burns bright white similar to magnesium burning. The hazzard is the zinc oxide in the yellow and white smoke. It does terrible things to the lining of your lungs and can cause metal fume fever or in the worse case pnemonia and death.

The biggest problem is in the fabrication. You will create a zinc oxide hazzard if you cut with a torch and with any kind of welding. However, if you use good forced ventilation outdoors it should not be a problem. Zinc oxide is only a hazzard if you inhale it. The heavy smoke will settle and is not a poison on the ground.

Where people run into problems is welding zinc plate. They weld like they always do leaning over the work, the smoke curling up into their helmet. This is not safe with carbon steel and is a serious hazzard with all plating (zinc, cadnium, chrome). If you use a local fan to pull the smoke away from you OR you work outside and are clearly aware of the breeze at all times then the hazzard goes away. However, relying on nature is how people "get away" with doing things one day that kills them or others the next. Setup that exhust fan.
- guru - Tuesday, 10/04/05 14:38:56 EDT

demos: Jock, if it isnt already, you should make a FAQ out of that post.
adam - Tuesday, 10/04/05 16:14:21 EDT

Culvert Pipe stack: Thanks guru for that information, I still would like to here what others are using for a 12" pipe. I cant find a source of suitable pipe other than fabricating one myself. maybe culvert is the way I should go. would duct work be possible and if so would it be a flow issue if it was a square stack as apposed to a round? Derik at the newengland school of metal work used cut sections of oxy tanks welded together for his pipe. its a great idea to me but the diameter is not what im looking for.
- msc - Tuesday, 10/04/05 20:25:35 EDT

i have the honor of living and working in philadelphia, a city proud for its ironwork. I often find myself taking in the amazing hingework on many of the churchs around town, and it strikes me that many of the doors are painted red. Does anyone out there know the symbolism behind the red door?
andy - Tuesday, 10/04/05 20:53:27 EDT

Demonstrating: Pack_red.

I've been demonstrating at my school for 35 years. It' a little difficult to "keep your powder dry" (keep the demos fresh) after all this time, but I try. You need to treat it a little like "show biz". Throw in a few jokes, like probably the oldest blacksmith joke. A kid enters the shop and sees a horseshoe at a black heat on the floor. He picks it up, hollers, and drops it right away. The blacksmith says, "What's the matter son; is that horseshoe hot?" The kid replies, "Nawsir, it just don't take me very long to inspect a horseshoe!" [et cetera]

You must realize that it takes time to do several things at once, what is sometimes termed being "poly-modal or multi-phasic". It took me quite a while to learn to speak, draw on the chalk board, and do forged work at pretty much the same time.

We joke about the questions people ask and some of the responses given.

Have you ever been burned? Yeah, but I got rid of him (her).
What's that black stuff you're burning? Cottage cheese spray painted black. [Thanks, Tom Turtzo]
Is that hot? It'll only burn you to the bone.
What do you REALLY do for a living? [et cetera]

You'll also hear some good ones.
My grandfather was a blacksmith...but he was a REAL blacksmith.
Addressing Peter Ross, a Texas boy informed Ross during a demo break that his grandfather invented the cold chisel. Ross was so take aback that he agreed with the kid, and told the kid he should be real proud of his grandpa.

Try to keep cool. I missed a forge weld four times in a row recently in front of 11 onlookers and a camcorder, so we talked about cleaning the fire and the different fluxes to use...while I cleaned the fire.

Frank Turley - Tuesday, 10/04/05 21:40:45 EDT

Andy: The red church doors are symbolic of the blood of Christ. Jesus said in John 10:9 "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." The Bible tells us that we are saved by the blood of Jesus. By the way, I am not looking for a theological debate for those of you getting cranked up. I am simply answering the mans question.
- Jeff G. - Tuesday, 10/04/05 22:09:44 EDT

Red doors and other colors: Peter Ross, formerly head smith at Williamsburg, Virginia, says that during the colonial period, blacksmiths were not special nor was their work considered all that special. Getting hinges and latches in those days was equivalent to our purchasing them at the building supply. The early hardware was sold filed and finished "armour bright". Many of the doors were painted and the hardware was painted as well, using the same paint. During later architectural revivals of colonial work, the revivalists usually missed the boat on what was originally done. For instance, nowadays, we often think a "colonial door" needs to be a natural wood finish or painted white, and with black hardware.

To paint my beautifully forged hardware blue, green, orange, or red? ANATHEMA! Yet that's exactly what was done in colonial and the immediate post colonial days.

Frank Turley - Tuesday, 10/04/05 22:34:15 EDT

Update: Today I got the results of a CT scan I had last week:My lungs are unchanged from before I started this round of chemo. That MAY mean that whatever is there isn't cancerous, which would be good news. Next week I have an MRI of My liver to see how the tumor reacted to this chemo. I'm darn glad I kept up My health insurance when I quit My "real" job.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 10/04/05 23:55:38 EDT

Red Doors: ANother therory I have heard was red doors signified WELCOME.
Why I do not know.
Ralph - Wednesday, 10/05/05 01:35:03 EDT

Demo Screw ups:
At the first ABANA conferenece I went to in Ripley, WV a demonstrator started to use the Little Giant they had set up and the guide bolts were loose and suddenly the ram was flopping around unusable. . . The demonstrator stormed off in a snit (primodonna!).

That would have been a GREAT point to do a demo on adjusting LG hammer guides but it was missed. After the site cleared out Josh Greenwood and I used the available tongs and a pipe wrench to adjust the guides then oiled and tested the hammer. It worked great and Josh did an impromptu demo for the gathering crowd. It continued to work for the rest of the weekend.

This would have been different if demonstrating for the public. You just would have had to do something else until the hammer could be adjusted. But demoing for blacksmiths, many of whom are NOT nearly as mechanicaly astute as I think they need to be, is a different thing. A hammer adjustment demo would be just as valuable as the forging demo. The fact that Dave Manzer Little Giant video sells so well today prooves this point.

At some historic places like Colonial Wiliamsburg they try to portray an actual shop operation. This often means the smiths and apprentices spend hours filing and doing detail work with little forging going on. It is boring as heck for the public and even for other smiths. The public wants to see HOT iron and most of us do too. The fastst way to lose your audiance is to pick up a file. . .

My portable shop had a great old hand crank drill press. I did not use it often but it drew a crowd. They were amazed that an old antique looking hand cranked machine could cut metal as well a modern machine tool. But a minute or two was enough. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 10/05/05 09:44:22 EDT

Chef's Knives: One of my sons who has become quite interested in cooking. I would like to buy him some good quality chef's knives. I know little about knives and less about brands. I would appreciate any suggestions. Looking for something good but not extravagant. Was hoping to buy him 2 or 3 knives for under $200. Thank you.
adam - Wednesday, 10/05/05 09:47:04 EDT

adam; using knives are very personal I would suggest taking him into a good kitchen supply place and letting him heft what they have until he finds what he likes---give him a dollar limit too as they do get pricy fast and make sure he holds out enough cash for a sharpening system!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/05/05 10:19:12 EDT

Adam: The traditional French knives were of high carbon steel, not stainless. The 8" and 10" are commonly used. Other countries, especially Asian, have other shapes for the blades.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 10/05/05 10:29:11 EDT

Knives and demos: Wusthof and Henckel are as good as any out there. The "Santoku" style is a popular blade shape these days. Get him a good steel for the knives too.

Demoing is great fun even when you screw up. I make a point of telling folks that I was showing the wrong way of doing things. The only trouble I can't seem to deal with is when one member of the crowd starts to tell all the others wrong information. Like "He's tempering the metal so he can hammer it". I'm torn on whether to correct them or let it slide.
Gronk - Wednesday, 10/05/05 10:36:23 EDT

Red Doors: The Anglican church kitty corner from me has red doors. I can see them through my shop window where I stand at the forge most of the time. Was interesting one time in the late fall, it was real foggy and as the fog rolled in and the difference between land and sky dissappeared, the white build too faded from site, till I could see nothing but the red doors.
JimG - Wednesday, 10/05/05 10:44:32 EDT

Demo's: If possible get help when demoing, that way you have someone to talk to the people,etc while you work, and vicey versy. The best demo I ever did had one of my guild brothers in the crowd who started describing (accuratly) what I was doing etc. Was funny cause he spoke in a low quiet voice, and the crownd shut up to listen to him, It reminded me of listening to the announcer of a golf game on tv.
JimG - Wednesday, 10/05/05 10:54:58 EDT

Demo Patter:
If asked or otherwise,

"I am a blacksmith and today I am making S hooks"

"S-Hooks are made for hanging pots for cooking, or flower pots. Today I am making fancy leaf ended hooks for my lady's humming bird feeders."

"Here is what I start with" - pass around a sample bar.

While pumping the bellows -

"The thing I am pumping is called a Great Double Chambered Bellows. Air goes from the bottom to the top, then blows the fire to make it very hot."

"The fire can reach over 3000 degrees. I want the steel to be 2500 degrees to make it soft enough to forge - shape with the hammer."

Pull out piece and start pointing and necking.

"First I make a point" (while hammering) "then I make a neck or stem." I hold it up to show the audiance. "I call this a bud. The leaf will come from this bud".

"Even though this does not look hot any more it is still very hot." - as I burn a place on the anvil stand with the black iron.

"Now I will heat the iron again" - answer questions about fuel that come about now.

I forge the leaf, scroll into a hook, then do the black heat demo again and quench the piece.

"I'm coling the piece in water, magic stuff."

Then I pass the cooled piece around.

"Yes, it is safe to touch, there is nothing special about my hands, I burn just like you do."

Back to the fire, repeat the process.

"Now I have a hook" - as I hold it up.
"But what shape is it?"
"Yep, it is a "C" hook! I messed up!" (I always do.)
"So I will fix it." - back into the fire.

I pull out the hook, twist it using two pairs of tongs while out close to the crowd as it is much more dramitic.

"See, now it is an 'S', WHoops, now it is a 'C' agian!. OK, NOW it is an S again. Isn't that pretty! That delicate little leaf made with this big heavy hammer"

I quench and pass around the finished hook. I will often let small children hold my hammer to see how heavy it is. I gear my demo for the 8 and 10 year olds but NEVER talk down to children. Most of the adults know as little as their children and appreciate the basics.

"OK, now here we go again. Today I am making . . ."

I make standard S-hooks with a tight little scroll rolled up from a paper thin taper. I also make the leaf S-hooks above and J-hooks and drive hooks.

When asked how a drive hook is used I will tap one into my anvil stand and hang an S-hook off of it. When I make J-hooks I drill them thus the drill press demo. At home I cold punch them with a Whittney punch.

Depending on the stock needed, how tired I am or if the same people are coming back I will make different items. All small and fast to make. When I was in better shape I made small primitive horse shoes from 3/8 x 1/2" bar.

Whatever you make you need to be in shape to make it fast and to do it ALL day. When I demo I try to make sure that EVERYONE that passes sees hot iron being forged. I am too out of shape and one leg will not let me stand on it all day any more so I take breaks when I can. I used to spell Paw-Paw but it more the other way around, I did the demo and he filled in when I needed a short break. But when I was younger an all day demo was an ALL DAY demo, I often ate at the forge while pulling the bellows.


The last time I did a demo at a school it was for a middle school technology class. The demo was the same, the patter was a little different.

"Hello, I am . . . . Today I am demonstrating forging steel."

Steel is a metal. What is the most important property of a metal?" pause for an answer (smoetimes they know).

"Metals are maleable. That means they can be shaped and bent into useful items."

"What is the most maleable metal?"

"Gold is the most maleable metal. It can be worked cold and does not work harden. Besides its beauty it does not corrode. These are the properties that make it vauable."

"Gold is called a precious metal along with silver and platinium and their alloys". "Alloys are mixtures or metals. Brass and bronze are alloys of copper, tin and zinc."

I used a gas forge at this demo. By the time I had made this speach and answered a few questions it was hot and I put a piece of steel into the forge.

"I am puting a piece of steel into the forge. It will be ready to work when it is about 2500 degrees."

The tools I am using are hammer, tongs and this anvil. These tools have changed very little in over 3000 years. The only difference is that the steel to make tools is more plentiful and less expensive than in the past.

"Now I am going to forge a taper with a lump on the end."

- forging

"Now I am dressing the lump into a little ball. It is just like working clay except it is too hot to touch with you fingers."

- I do the black heat demo described above.

- back to the forge

"Now I am going to twist the bar. This can be done cold with a machine because the steel is maleable. But I can do it easily by hand when the steel is hot."

- quench the sample piece and pass it around. Then start on the next item.

"Steel is what almost all tools are made of, what the important parts of your automobile are made of as well as many other important things like bridges and building frames. Blacksmiths can make almost all their own tools as well as those of other craft folk. This made them one of the most important workers of the industrial revolution.

For thousands of years everything made of steel was made this way, heated in a fire, forged by hand. Today machines do most of the forging but the people that run the machines are still called blacksmiths. There is also a great number of smiths that make decorative work by hand as well as farriers who make horseshoes and small shops that still make tools for others."

I also let every group know that there are women in smithing and that there is a desperate need for women in the technical mechanical fields like engineering.

- I forged this sample then a small scroll and a leaf for each class doing five 40 minute demos in one day. At the end of each demo I ask if there are any questions. With this age student you never know what they will ask. Some classes will be so full of questions you have to cut the Q&A short. With others you have to force feed them information. Classes will take on the character of their dominant personalities.

Also note that in todays fear driven society you CANNOT give or sell any kind of sample to school children that has a point, sharp edge or is heavy enough to be a thrown projectile (anything iron). I give samples to the teacher of each class and let them decide what to do with them. A friend of mine went to the trouble to forge a nail for EVERY child in a school group only to have them all confiscated before the got on the bus. . . he did not know the new rules.

Notice that the patter for the two demos was much different. The public gets the simplest basics. The school group was studying metals thus the talk about maleability and the importance of metals. The school groups were captive for 40 minutes so the patter could have a little more depth. Demos need to be taylored to the situation and the audiance. If you are an historic intreperter then you talk about the things that the smith would have historicly done at that location. If you are working a craft show you might want to talk about the art form of working iron. Previoulsy I had done a school demo for a transportation day and the talk was about horse shoes, wagon tires and the change to automobiles which still have forged parts in them.

- guru - Wednesday, 10/05/05 11:34:06 EDT

More about demos and fairs:
If you plan on doing these events there are some things you need to know. If you do a demo you are educating the public. There is no money in educating the public. I did it for many years and it just did not pay financialy. I got a lot of satisfaction from it but there was no money.

Many crafts demonstrators do shows hoping to make sales to cover costs. It rarely happens for blacksmiths. If you expect to make money demonstrating at a show then the hosts will need to pay you. You cannot haul half a ton of equipment, burn fuel, use up stock and work eight hours a day for nothing. Having a blacksmith at a show is often a big draw and is advertised. The organizers know this and will often pay. If they want part of your sales, FINE, Let them have a percentage against your demo fee. You will be way ahead.

If you MUST make sales you need a helper. You cannot demonstrate for the children and have a sales discussion at the same time. Have a spouse or business partner that makes sales, takes orders and so on. They can also help answer questions AND if a smith can trade off with you as needed. You still need to have the show pay you for your demo.

As noted above when I was demoing when with the portable forge trailer I would request a 25 by 25 foot area with room to circulate around it. Much of that was the safety barrier around the demo area, the rest was the area for sales or display. Many show organizers would be shocked by this requirement as they are used to assigning a 10x10 space to each crafts person. I would explain that I am bringing an entire blackmsith shop AND there are safety concerns that require a significant safety buffer between public and the white hot iron. Most would hem and haw then realize that my request was not so out of line. They WANTED a blacksmith and this was part of the price.

You may not be hauling such a big rig but you still need that safety zone. Eight feet in all directions from the anvil PLUS circulation space is NOT an exorbitant request. This puts you at 20 x 20 feet (6 x 6 meter) which is what they expect for four booth spaces. No safety zone, no demo.

Also note that public school systems DO have a budget for educational demos and entertainment. There are people that travel the country doing puppet shows, plays, scienctific demonstrations and such for schools. They often do two schools a day in a locality and make a living out of it as well as paying motel and transportation bills. I do not know how you get into this business but I expect you can find out with a little research.

MORE ON THE DEMO: Be sure your demo has balance. Do not talk too long but DO talk. Be sure to forge something that people can see the results of in a short time. It is best NOT to take orders and try to make something at a demo that makes a slow demo. When I was making souviner horse shoes my rule was you had to watch while I made them. This kept some grandaparnt from ordering a dozen initialed shoes and then walking off. This could dominate your demo.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/05/05 12:07:54 EDT

Colonial Red Doors: Another possible reason - I remember being told that the color we typically call barn red was one of the least expensive colored paints to produce in earlier times.
- Gavainh - Wednesday, 10/05/05 12:10:10 EDT

Demos and bad info from the public:
When this occurs I just keep up my usual banter and may casualy address the error by simply stating the facts.

Sometimes the errors are not worth correcting especialy if it is a parent speaking to very small children who will not remember what they were told in two minutes time. . .

In either case you do not want to embarass the person in error. The term "temper and tempering" is used so inaccurately by people that should know better or THINK they know that there is not much you can do.

ERRORS show up everywhere in our field. There is a wonderful British BBC film about Ironbridge anf the Bliss Hill Ironworks where wrought iron is processed. The film clearly starts with "the only place left in Britian that MAKES wrought iron" then later, "putting the iron in the puddling furnace". Both are serious factual errors. The furnace is a billet heating furnace and no puddling is going on at this site today. Old wrought is being recycled. They DO heat, forge weld the billet under a large steam hammer and roll the iron with steam powered machinery. It is a great film and demo but they needed the narration checked by independent technical editors.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/05/05 12:24:22 EDT

Errors: Here is a grossly erronious definition from a popular site that sells iron!

"WROUGHT IRON - the result of forging pig iron by continued hammering and re-heating - more supple than pig iron and suitable for tools, weapons, screws and nails. The term is often incorrectly used to describe ornamental ironwork."

Hard to get away from. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 10/05/05 13:24:12 EDT

Demo's: Jock,I agree with Adam, I think all of your posts concerning demo's should be complied and listed as a FAQ.
something like Demonstration etiquette. :)
daveb - Wednesday, 10/05/05 14:09:42 EDT

Adam-- I have a piece here in my haha files from The London Times c. 1986 re: Sabatier knives and the various grades thereof. I'll see if I can scan and send-- otherwise, fall by and take a peek whenever. My advice on kitchen cutlery is go with carbon steel whatever you get.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 10/05/05 16:58:09 EDT

Demos, Colors: The first (and, so far, almost the only) time I helped out at a demo, two boys around 8 - 10 were watching me, and I heard them talking to their mother in Chinese. I finished the piece I was working on, cooled it, and put it on the table in front. One of the boys picked it up and asked if he could have it. I said "I can't give it to you" in Chinese. When I say anything in Chinese, it usually starts a conversation (which unfortunately doesn't last long, unless the other person speaks English). This time the boy just nodded and set the piece down. His mother broke out laughing. I think she assumed I'd memorized the sentence in *every* language.

Farley Mowat wrote in "The Boat Who Wouldn't Float" that there was an influx both cash and paint salesman into Newfoundland when it became part of Canada in 1949. "Drunk with color, many outporters were not content to paint their houses red, or grass green, or boudoir pink -- they painted them varicolored with horizontal, vertical, and even diagonal stripes." I wonder if something similiar could have happened in CW?
Mike B - Wednesday, 10/05/05 17:56:25 EDT

NFLD House colours: Now how much truth is to it I don't know, but I was told the outporters like the bright and varied colour schemes was as an aid to navigation. Not sure though if it's cause and effect.

Given Farley Mowats reputation for taking liberty with the facts...............
JimG - Wednesday, 10/05/05 18:07:05 EDT

Chefs' Knives: As a former restauranteur and sometimes cook still, I heartily second what Thomas Powers recommended. Take your son to the nearest *commercial* kitchen supply and let him pick his own weapons. Avoid the chachi "gournet" stores, as they cater to the wanna-be's and fashion conscious types rather than working chefs.

I own Henckels 4-star knives for the home kitchen, and find them just about satisfactory. Being stainless, they take an edge fairly poorly, but hold it pretty adequately. The do have the advantage of having absolutely no corners that can harbor bacteria, something to be considered in both home and commercial cooking. The fit, finish and balance are all better than average. They are attractive and durable enough that spouses and visitors treat them with respect and don't mung them up too badly. A set of proper diamond laps is an imperative, if you want to get them truly sharp, and a good steel to keep the edge straight.

For serious commercial cooking, I find the high-carbon Russell chefs' knives hard to beat, both for utility and value. They require vigilant care to keep them rust free, but they take and hold an edge extremely well. They have no cachet at all, they're just extremely well made functional knives at a reasonable price.

If you want to drop the big bucks, Kyocera makes a good ceramic blade, but they are really, really proud of them. I don't find any of the ceramic blades to be nearly as big a bang for the buck as a high quality carbon steel blade. The day that Henckels switched from carbon to stainless steel was a sad day indeed, in my not at all humble opinion.
vicopper - Wednesday, 10/05/05 19:48:05 EDT

Ergonomics and Hand Tools; FYI: I'm a little ways into a book I recently purchased, "Ergonomics and Safety in Hand Tool Design" by Charles A. Cacha, 1999 AD. Cacha is a professional ergonomist who is an author and consultant regarding safety and injury avoidance in the work place. The book has 117 pages and will probably cost $80.00 or more new. I got a used copy.

The book is written like a text. It may be dry in places for some readers, but it contains many drawings as they relate to anatomy, physiology, and tool use. As a teacher, I intend to ingest some of the material and use the book as a reference.

Ergonomics is one of those words that came along after my birth, and I was a little unclear as to its meaning. The word's sense, as used in the book, has to do with the study of how we physically posture ourselves in relationship to the many artifacts we have created. The "artifacts" vary in size and complexity: vehicles, buildings, materials, implements, controls, tools, etc.

The ultimate aim is the control of musculoskeletal disease. The ergonomist takes into account the fields of anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and biomechanics. These areas are dealt with in the book.

Frank Turley - Wednesday, 10/05/05 22:11:29 EDT

Knives: Adam, Japan woodworker carries some nice relatively inexpensive carbon steel japanese knives - some chisel grind and some double bevel. Another suggestion is to have him try commercially available knives out at a good store, Henckels, Wusthof, Lamson, Sabatier, etc. to determine preferred handle style, blade material, etc. then go online to find them at a discount. There are several companies that sell by mail order that cut significant deals on top quality chef style knifes. I should have a catalog or 2 lying around if I find it the next day or two, I'll post the name, they also carry names from european and japanese cutlery manufacturers that don't show up in the big box stores. From the family cook and kitchen knife junky.
- Gavainh - Wednesday, 10/05/05 22:20:17 EDT

Henckels knives: My Mom has a set that She asks Me to sharpen a few times a year. They are the hardest stainless I have ever seen.I use the diamond laps on them, VIcopper is dead on, it is hard to do anything to them otherwise. Now, if Mom would stop cutting against the plates...
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 10/05/05 23:03:38 EDT

I picked up a couple of henckels table knives that must be 100 years old or so---horn handles, (not antler, horn). They take such an edge on them that I would have no problem letting a surgeon use them on me in place of a scapel.

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/06/05 10:34:51 EDT

Yeah Dave, there's nothing like the screeeechhhh of a knife against a plate to make the skin crawl. Sweetie-pie likes the 4 star and I prefer the Twin Select. Like Vicopper said, they don't have nooks and crannies. The only down side to the Twins is the spine is left sharp and will wear on the skin in short order. (I "pinch" the blade.) A little dressing just to knock off the corners and you can slice n' dice all day.
Gronk - Thursday, 10/06/05 11:28:49 EDT

Amsterdam Smithy: Hi guys and girls. Haven't posted for a bit and the logs been refreshed but who ever it was that told me there was a blacksmiths shop below a 'house of ill repute' (or 'knocking shop' as we call them in England)in the middle of Amsterdam was absolutely right! lol. I've just been to visit it. Very crowded but its been in use since 1861 and is run by a father and son (although as the father is in his 70's mostly by his 26 year old son) They have some very very nice work and some very trick bits of kit. Well worth a visit, although be aware if you try to take photo's of the shop the girls upstairs might come down and give you grief (its not allowed to photo the girls who 'work' in the red light zone of Amsterdam)
Don't let that put you off though, the stuff they make is incredibly good, in fact most of the work around town on the houses is theirs and they get called out to repair the heavier bridgework and iron work around town too. Truly experts, even if the area changed around them into what it is now.
- Ian Lowe - Thursday, 10/06/05 11:42:35 EDT

Chef's knives: Thank you very much for all the comments and info. One thing I am confused about: Carbon vs Stainless: How does 440 (martensitic) stainless compare?

Japan WW is a good idea - used to buy my chisels there.
adam - Thursday, 10/06/05 11:47:30 EDT

440 stainless is stainless, alright, but it is a poor cutlery steel in my opinion. That very well may, however, be the result of my never having used a blade made of 440 that was properly heat treated. Some folks like it just fine. I prefer 154CM or ATS-34.
vicopper - Thursday, 10/06/05 14:40:16 EDT

Chef's knives: I've seen a lot of R.H. Forschner knives in high-class restaurant kitchens. I have a set that was given to me and find them excellent. I have no basis to compare them to other brands, though.
- John odom - Thursday, 10/06/05 15:31:02 EDT

surgery: Hi folks,

My surgery went well. Having a spinal was a weird new experience. Hope this works because the pain after the fact has been a real buster :(

We shall endeavor to persevere:)
- Brian C. - Thursday, 10/06/05 18:14:06 EDT

Forschner Knives: Yes, they're another very good knife made to sell primarily to commercial chefs who just want a good knife at a reasonable price. I've used them and found them to be quite acceptable.
vicopper - Thursday, 10/06/05 20:40:12 EDT

Glad to hear the surgery went well, Brian! Now follow the Doc's orders on rehab scrupulously, or pay severe consequences.
vicopper - Thursday, 10/06/05 20:40:57 EDT

CHEFS BLADES: CARBON-- means a steady cleaning and drying. If not any juice will blue or tarnish the metal. 440C is almost like a good carbon if it has been heat threated right.

My preference would be with a nice high carbon 10XX or 52100
steel. Made by an blademan. You would not have to buy them but once in a lifetime.

My 2 cents worth.
sandpile - Thursday, 10/06/05 21:27:41 EDT

CHEF KNIVES: ADAM-- You might watch THOMAS P. and catch him gone to the flea-market and make a trade for his HENCKELS, with his Mrs., while The Mad Hatter is out of pocket.
sandpile - Thursday, 10/06/05 21:41:06 EDT

More chefs' knives: I will agreee with Chuck that a good high-carbon steel blade made by a quality bladesmith will both last a lifetime if cared for, and be the best possible knife...with one minor caveat. For someone just starting out in the serious *use* of knives, a custom knife would be a risky purchase. It takes a fair amount of experience in working with culinary knives to determine which style, size and balance one really prefers for any given task.

Every cutting task in the culinary arts has different requirements for the proper (read, most generally liked) knife design. Different regions and styles use different patterns; the French chef's knife, for example, has a differently shaped blade than the German equivalent. The Japanese Santoku style is coming into favor with a large number of chefs of all different cuisines, as are other variations. I think a beginning chef is well advised to start out with good quality, commercial knives in relatively standard patterns (chef's, slicer, paring, boning and bird's beak) and try others as the opportunity arises.

Many commercial kitchen supplies have showrooms in major cities where you can try out the "knife du jour" and see how it fits *you*. As Will Rogers remarked, people don't grow in identical rows like corn, and their needs and tastes differ widely. What suits me may be totally unsuitable for someone else. Neither one of us is rightor wrong, we're just different.

Learn the basics of proper knife-wielding in the kitchen using decent quality standard knives, then experiment with as many different kinds as you can to decide which is right for *you*. I know one highly regarded chef working in a five-star kitchen whose favorite knife is about the rattiest-looking old thing I've ever seen, but he produces the most incredible tournee'd vegetables with it in seconds flat. He is the master chef, not the is just the tool he wields.
vicopper - Thursday, 10/06/05 21:44:58 EDT

Quality Knives: I noticed nobody has mentioned Ron Popiel of "Ronco" fame. Surely there must be one You will like, look how many You get for just 3 easy payments...LOL
Dave Boyer - Thursday, 10/06/05 23:28:30 EDT

Hay guru: Your demo tip for dealing with an A-hole sounds just like what Bob said to me when I introduced myself in Andersonville.
Maybe I should work extra hard on introducing myself.

Y'all should wright a book specifficly for demonstraiters.
I know for a fact that lots of people would buy it, I'm one of them...
Thanks, I'm going to Albany for more practice...see ya!
- packrat_red - Friday, 10/07/05 08:11:54 EDT

Packrat, it is probably your personality. Then again, you may have interupted someones sales pitch. . .

Demos are like public speaking. Even with practice some folks can't get it right. After all the speaches "W" has made he still comes off sounding like he has a 60 IQ.

Dave, If I needed a knife to cut through marble I know where to go!
- guru - Friday, 10/07/05 10:00:21 EDT

Demonstrators dealing with sharpshooters: My euphamism, "sharpshooters", is for those who verbally and persistently try to shoot you out of the saddle while you're demonstrating.

Our old farrier instructor, Charles "Dick" Dickenson, told us to take off the apron and hold it out to the heckler. The sharpshooter will either show you something that you didn't know, or he/she will shaddup.

I did this in Ohio in the early 80's when the then-owner of the Anti-Borax Company was sharpshooting me while I was preparing to do a forge weld. I didn't know who he was at the time, but apparently he was miffed because I was not using one of his products, but rather, borax. He was repetitive and pestiferous to the point that I took off my apron, held it out to him, and asked him to come forward to perform the weld. He was quiet after that. Later, one of my friends told me that I was mean to him. I said, "No I wasn't; it worked, didn't it?"

THREE KINDS OF QUESTIONS. I think I've posted these before, but they might bear repeating. Before demonstrating, you may make the following announcement.

"There are three kinds of questions that are sometimes asked during a demonstration. The first kind lets the demonstrator know how much YOU know. The second kind of question lets the demonstrator know how little HE knows. And the third kind of question asks for information. I would appreciate it if we only deal with the third kind of question."

Frank Turley - Friday, 10/07/05 10:14:08 EDT

last post: No offence Bob, maybe I over reacted shouldn't have posted that...
- packrat_red - Friday, 10/07/05 10:42:27 EDT

CHEF KNIFE: ADAM-- I was looking through this months KNIVES ILLUSTRATED--There was an article by PAT CASCIO. He had tested an new KEN ONION desigh for KERSHAW KNIVES. It was pretty impressively presented as the cats meow as far as chefs knife goes. If your intersted in a top of the line --once in a life time 'MAIN' knife for your son. This might fit your deal.---WWW.KERSHAWKNIVES.COM--- It is designed right and made of the right stuff. They branded it under the SHUN knives logo.

sandpile - Friday, 10/07/05 10:58:02 EDT

Demos: I'll keep all this in mind when I practice this weekend:
a.) Know the questions & answers to the most frequently asked blacksmithing questions.
b.) Simple, short jokes are good.
c.) Always face the crowd. Neverblock the crowds view of the anvil.
d.) Get rid of distracting personel quickly without causing an uproar.
e.) Modify the demo for each age group.
f.) Be friendly, & do short demos.
g.) Screw-ups are Ok. Metal can be fixed.
I've got to go. See y'all later...
- packrat_red - Friday, 10/07/05 11:05:27 EDT

Sandpile; ask your wife if she'd like me to make her a branding iron for you, 1/2x1" stock starting with "Property Of and ending with If Found Lost Or Strayed Please Return To..." Sure it will take a lot of gas heating it up but she'll only have to do it once!

Better yet I'll give that grandson of yours some of my "magic forge dust" to mix up with your coal---it's made by carefully removing the coating from white sparklers and is guarenteed to have you fishing through the fire trying to find what's burning up in it!

Taking a man's Henckels, sheesh

Course I found one of the laminated japanese chef's knives at the fleamarket in OH oncet, think I gave $1.50 for it. *hard* edge!


Thomas P - Friday, 10/07/05 11:20:15 EDT

Knives: I've got to throw in my two cents. I've had a set of Cutco Knives for about 15 years. Cutco is a division of Case. These are well made and seem to hold an edge well. Some of them have a special serrated edge and about every 5 years, somebody from the company shows up at my house and sharpens them free of charge.
- Jeff G. - Friday, 10/07/05 12:17:35 EDT

BRANDS: T.P.--If that brand were on me.---It would probably say-"Not to be reused, discard in dumpster" BOG. She has a pretty bad attitude, about me straying off on my own.GRIN.
sandpile - Friday, 10/07/05 13:55:04 EDT

"No Deposit, No Return"...I can do that...

Thomas P - Friday, 10/07/05 15:24:54 EDT

I was commisioned to make a brand for the wife of a friend with the family initials. Much to my surprise the wife only used it to brand steaks at parties!
ptree - Friday, 10/07/05 17:26:19 EDT

CROSSES: THOMAS P. Do you have any 1/16" O1??? I need to make some dies for punching/clipping small crosses. The crosses need to be the same, 5/16" wide and long 3/8" tall.

These are from nickel silver and for spurs and bits.

Any body else have any O! in the 1/16" thickness???

sandpile - Friday, 10/07/05 18:38:10 EDT

Jeff G & vicopper cutlery knives: Hi Jeff G
He is correct that Cutco knives are very nice kitchen cutlery. I just need to clear up they are no longer part of Case. They were Alcas originally owned by 51% Alcoa and 49% Case untill aprrox 1981 under the Wearever trademark. They are a privately owned company producing high quality kitchen cutlery, shears, hunting knives, fishing knives and and some pocket knives. At one time they still made a great deal of Case lockback knives, Zippo and Kabar knives. They know own Kabar and have continued to manufacture the Marine Corp knives for the government and for the retail market. They have made these knives since the old Kabar plant went out of business in 1978. The old plant was one block from my house and I had family work there. I also worked at Cutco for many years. They are every bit as high quality knife as the Henkels and other brands etc. As an American I would rather buy from a company that employs people here and gives a great deal of funds for good causes in our country before buying a foreign made knife. No offense to people in other countries. vicopper mentions stainless and his preferred cutlery materials. As he pointed out heat treating is a key component. I can assure you a Cutco product is properly heat treated and also many of the the marine knives are cryogentically frozen etc... Also a great deal of edge retention also has to do not only with the heat treat and materials, but with how a blade is ground and sharpened. They certainly have lead the race in that arena. I know the materials these knives are made from, but I do not know if it readily available to the public or proprietory information. Therefore I am not going to pass that along other than the Carbon Steel Kabar marine blades are 1095 as that is common knowledge.
- burntforge - Friday, 10/07/05 20:37:05 EDT

Cutco: How in the world could I have forgotten Cutco? I went door-to-door for a summer selling (okay, trying to sell) Cutco knives. I was a pretty poor salesperson, but the product really was good. I don't personally care for their balance, but that is a purely personal preference and NO reflection on their quality. I think I still have a set of the "complimentary" steak knives packed away somewhere.
vicopper - Friday, 10/07/05 21:48:10 EDT

Sandpile: I will look for thin 01 mañana. It's a maybe.
Frank Turley - Friday, 10/07/05 23:33:15 EDT

Cutco: I once worked at the Armco [Now AK] Steel mill in Coshocton, OH, where they make they steel for Cutco knives. I remember being told that its a trade secrete exactly what the blades were made of, but that the recipe was one of Armco's major points of pride. Its not a big $$ account, as one 60 ton roll of stainless can make a years work of knife sets, but its a mater of quality that no foreign plant could match. Luckily, I no longer remember the exact spec of the steel, so I can't be tempted to tell. :) And I LOVE my cutco knifes, except that my wife talked me into buying the "Petite" set with the 7 inch chef and the 9 inch carver instead of 11" and 13". Doesn't make a difference until the BIG roast is done, then its sometimes hard to reach all the way through the slice.

Tangent, it makes my heart break to remember working for that steel mill... see, I was doing computer work for them, and had not yet discovered the world of smithing yet. I spent a day a week in each of their 5 plants. I had access to absolutely disgusting piles of scrap and samples that we were encouraged to take... but no interest. I could have had as much stainless sheet [polished and square cut] and plate and I could carry each day. There was "electrical" steel too [not stainless, but I'm not sure exactly what] in sheet and bar. Short drops and sales samples piled in the corner of the parking lot. Now, 10 years later, I begin to realize how blind I was....
MikeM-OH - Friday, 10/07/05 23:45:34 EDT

Knives: Found the reference I was looking for - professional cutler direct aka as pcd, the web site is For some reason more options show up by not looking in the pcd catalog. I haven't purchased cutlery from them but have bought other kitchen equipment from them. For US brands, they carry Lamson sharp, Japanese is Kyocera and Global, plus a good selection of German and French manufacturers.

On the other hand, I just got some inexpensive Chinese knockoffs of european styles from Atlanta Cutlery - chef's style was 9.99. They seem to be well made, fit isn't too bad, and they are extremely sharp. How well they'll hold up? The smaller one did a great job for dinner this PM. (I did say I was a kitchen cutlery junky didn't I?) On the high priced end, I ran across a secondary reference while on Don Fogg's bladesmith's forum it is The Epicurean Edge - heavily leaning towards high priced Japanese cutlery with some european and mid priced japanese knifes included as well. The web site is - can't recommend them or anything, but they've got some pretty knives. There are more out there - in the past I've run across web sites that carry Swedish & Norwegian kitchen cutlery as well - their using knives are good, so I see no reason that their kitchen cutlery wouldn't be as well.
- Gavainh - Friday, 10/07/05 23:49:02 EDT

Thin 1/16" O1 may have - will check.

Chef's Knives. Once again thanks for all the info and advice.

Anvil Rework: Going to start welding up the edges of the plate around the heel this morning. This is the least critical area. If that goes well I will weld up the step which is more like a jagged New Mexican mesa than a "step". If that goes well then its on to more ambitous ideas.

Bizzare fantasies that I am currently entertaining:

Weld on a small square horn to the side of the cutting table at rt angles to the round horn.

Weld on a 2.5" wedge to the heel to extend the taper of the heel out to a narrow edge (3/8 radius)

Drilling a variety of different sized punching holes in the area of the heel or in the newly added sq horn.
- adam - Saturday, 10/08/05 10:32:46 EDT

Hey Guys, Check out this anvil on ebay. I've not seen one like this before.Item number: 6214217702
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 10/08/05 13:22:35 EDT

Ebay Anvil:
Whoa, how funky! Looks like it was cast like that, too. Think of the size of hot cut you could clamp in there... I don't think it was for jigs or suchlike though, because there's no through hole for a retaining bolt or anything. I sure wouldn't mind having it in my shop.
- T. Gold - Saturday, 10/08/05 16:08:54 EDT

steak brands,Knives: ptree, Iknow a blacksmith in Az who was supporting himself, wife, and 7 kids making nothing but steak branding irons for some high dollar restaurant chains. They would brand your initial in your steak, and you could have the brand thrown into your bill for a nominal charge.

I make kitchen knives from 12 inch wide band saw blades that have been scrapped out. Simply cut out with a plasma cutter, add red oak or other wood handle and sharpen. The first time I made a set for my wife, she had bandages on her fingers for 6 months. She had never had a really sharp set before. They will hold an edge 10 times longer than any stainless. Several years ago A friend helped me butcher 55 chickens. He had to stop and sharpen his fancy stainless one every other chicken. Mine stayed sharp from beginning to end, and that included cutting all the heads off!
- Loren T - Saturday, 10/08/05 22:15:29 EDT

Ptree---at least that was what they told you...

Sandpile, no 1/16 O1; but I picked up about 100' of 1" stock today that may be wrought iron, paid only in sweat and sore muscles too..., told the tale across the street.

Thomas P - Saturday, 10/08/05 23:36:24 EDT

I hate it when folks say across the street.
Where in hades are you talking about?
Ralph - Sunday, 10/09/05 00:13:51 EDT

Forgemagic, Ralph
- 3dogs - Sunday, 10/09/05 08:38:15 EDT

Since these forums have been described as the virtual reincarnation of folks standing around the back of a pickup out front of the feed store; across the street refers to a forum at a different site. In general across the street refers to when here and here when there.

It's just a bit of insider knowledge that gives some flavour to what could be just a bunch of folks typing on a keyboard...

Thomas P - Sunday, 10/09/05 11:11:47 EDT

anvil welding: got one edge and a couple of other defects welded and ground. I am very pleased with the results. The rod is the same color as the plate and goes down in nice stringers - once you have it figured out. Rod is very tricky to strike and ticklish to holding an arc. Had a frustrating time till I discovered that laying it over at a steep angle helped a lot. Also starting the arc on a scrap tab of metal helped. DC is probably a lot more stable. Supposed to go on as R30 - its just fileable with a fine file. I have a bit of trouble with pitting - that may be due to the AC and the steep angle - but its only a few.
adam - Sunday, 10/09/05 13:10:54 EDT

Anvil fire: I have sent you a application about 2 mounths agowith no reply i would really like to join in the slack tub pub please e-mail me asap to confirm. Thanks alot.
- Johnathan Pitts - Sunday, 10/09/05 20:28:35 EDT

Johnathan Pitts: Last I heard from the webmaster, all the Pub registrations were up to date, except for those whose confirmation e-mail bounced. If you register wihtout a valid, accessible e-mail address, you can't get registered. You might try again, in case your mail box was full or there was a typo.
vicopper - Sunday, 10/09/05 21:56:43 EDT

I found that a 36" bolt cutter, on sale at HF for about $12 will cut 3/8" to 1/2" mild steel rounds. It is faster than a saw although it is difficult to convince even the most ingorant spectator that bolt cutters are authentic period equipment......
- Quenchcrack - Monday, 10/10/05 12:51:07 EDT

Bolt cutters: These are real nice in a small shop. To use my saw, anything longer than 6-ft or so requires me to open the garage door. In nice weather the doors are normally open, but NH doesn't have as many of those days as I'd like. And maneuvering a 10-ft piece to get it to the saw is usually some kind of dance.

But with the bolt cutters, I just cut it right off the rack.

Another thing I did that's come in handy is mark the back of the rack in 1-ft increments. The back is a peg-board, so inches are already there. No tape measure needed.
- Marc - Monday, 10/10/05 13:52:44 EDT

vise screw: Does anyone know if there is a reasonably priced source to purchase buttress or acme screw assemblies for blacksmith leg vises? Thanks Or would a acme woodworkers tail vise screw be a good option to fit and use? Thanks
- burntforge - Monday, 10/10/05 14:50:33 EDT

acme: a WW tail vise screw would work :) but you can find acme threaded rod at McMaster Carr.
adam - Monday, 10/10/05 14:57:09 EDT

Pub Registrations:
Yep, all up to date back to the beginning of the year and now kept up within 48 hours!

If you did not hear back from us then you typoed your e-mail. No matter what the reason we dump registrations if the return email does not work. If it bouncs we have no way to contact you and ask for the correct address. . .

NOTE: We correct obvious typoes when we can figure them out. In fact, yours bounced today and we had to figure it out and send again (midsoth didn't work). I don't know what happened earlier.
- guru - Monday, 10/10/05 16:08:24 EDT

Bolt Cutters:
I built a little shear for small stock that I cut LOTS of short pieces from. It was made from a couple peices of small car leaf spring. I drilled three holes, one 5/16 for a pivot made from a grade 8 bolt and two about 3/4" away from that for shearing 1/4" and 3/16" stock. One piece was welded to a peice of angle iron so it could be clamped in a vise and the other had the end tapered and a peice of 1/2" pipe about 18" long welded to it for a handle. There is also a stock feed tube that helps keep stock in place.

The whole looks primitive enough to be an "early" tool and snips small bar as fast as you feed it. It is used primarily for 1/4" used in basket twists. It is not as convienient as a bolt cutter in some cases but it also uses a very clean cut.
- guru - Monday, 10/10/05 16:43:34 EDT

Big Fisher on E-bay:
That anvil is a Special Fisher made for an early Bradley power hammer that was a power helve or powered Oliver similar to the blacker. The rectangular cut out was for some kind of saddle or clamping dies in place.

I saw one like this at SOFA. Probably the same one before it was cleaned and painted. Will have a photo in the news. It had a die clamped on top and a bottom round too in one hardy hole.
- guru - Monday, 10/10/05 16:55:14 EDT

Vise screw: Most Big industrial supply companies and most Industrial fastener places stock Acme nuts and threaded rod. Scaffold rental places are good too, I've gotten a bent adjustable scaffold leg (both screw and nut) and used only the straight part. A lathe helps and most of the remainder of the screw box can be fabricated from pipe and fittings.
- John Odom - Monday, 10/10/05 18:01:56 EDT

I have that very same anvil, and know that Larry Wood had one like it---so maybe not so unreplaceable...Course mine cost me severnty cents a pound.... The hardy holes are 1.5" which is handy since I have two other anvils with 1.5" hardy holes...

Thomas P - Monday, 10/10/05 19:09:58 EDT

Vise Screws: Other sources are: Large scrap water valves (usually have a 1" acme rod and a brass nut), adjustable office chairs (the screws not bad but the nut is just sheet metal). Scaffolding jacks, John has mentioned this, the screw is often about 2" dia.
- adam - Tuesday, 10/11/05 10:04:14 EDT

7018 work hardens: Does anyone have any figures for the hardness that can be achieved by say, peening, a 7018 bead?
adam - Tuesday, 10/11/05 10:27:56 EDT

Big Fisher Anvil: This IS the one I saw at SOFA, it has the same small casting defects.

I get around to a lot of blacksmithing events and I have seen these other places myself so they cannot be too rare. I've seen more of these than really good hornless Colonial anvils. What I have never seen other than in photos is a heavy stake anvil of the type designed for forging (110 pounds or more). In the US they must be quite rare.

We have a photo of a heavy stake anvil in the detail of the Mexican Army smiths (link below) and there are several in the NEW 2006 Military Blacksmiths Calendar by Gill Fahrenwald. Jul(1), Nov(2), Dec(1). On the June page there is a VERY srange anvil that is part of or fitted into a tub that could be a slack tub OR a tool caddy.
- guru - Tuesday, 10/11/05 10:38:04 EDT

7018 hardness:
E70 series rods have 70,000 PSI tensile strength. The slightly higher carbon in the rod comes from the coating as all welding rods except high alloy rods like nickle and stainless are the same low carbon steel.

According to the hardness conversion table 70,000 PSI carbon steel does not even rank on the Rockwell A or C scales. Anvil faces run in the 235,000 to 320,000 PSI range according to hardness which is 3 to 5 times greater than E70 series rod.

It might be interesting the research the carbon content to go with the hardness and strength ratings on this chart. But common welding rods don't even rate. Which is one reason I tell folks that repaired anvils are usualy a far cry from OEM condition and their prices should reflect it. It is also why I much prefer and old beat up anvil to one with repairs.

Hardness Conversion Table
- guru - Tuesday, 10/11/05 11:21:24 EDT

Finally got a chance to saw/break a piece of that 1" stock I picked up last Saturday for sweat equity, nice fiberous break and it was *hard* to break even just the little bit left from sawing---about 1/4" of the bottom of the rod.

So it looks like another 250+ pounds of wrought iron added to the stash...bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha

Once the triphammer is back on line I will have to use a piece to duplicate one of the early iron swords.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/11/05 11:30:06 EDT

vise screw: Thanks Adam & John
I now have some good direction to pursue repair.
- burntforge - Tuesday, 10/11/05 11:48:07 EDT

burntforge: pretty sure I have some water valve screws and other acme threaded rod in 1" or thereabouts - you can have some if it suits.

Nuts can be refurbished with hard babbit.
adam - Tuesday, 10/11/05 12:06:54 EDT

Valve stems for vise screws: Be aware that most GATE valves with outside screw and yoke have left hand Acme threads, and outside screw and yoke GLOBE valves have right hand threads. This is because the handwheel turns clockwise to close on both. The gate stem rises as it passes thru the turning nut on the gate and the stem turns and rises in a fixed nut on the globe.
For the best stem stock, look for a steam type valve instead of the water valve. The water valve will tend to have a brass or bronze stem, and the steam will have a 400 series stainless stem or 300 series. If the valve has a nameplate left look for the section listed as "trim" 13Cr is the 400 (best choice). Also beware of double lead. These give a fast translation but half the thrust.
Most valve threads are ACME, but are often stub acme. not as much thread flank as full acme.
ptree - Tuesday, 10/11/05 18:00:47 EDT

Right before Quad-State I had a root canal that ate up a lot of my spending money and maxed out my dental insurance for the year.

This Friday&Saturday is the local implement auction with various other things ranging from bulldozers to smithing stuff; so today I had another root canal and this time I get to pay full price. I'm so mad I could bite myself; but I'm afraid my teeth wouldn't take it--I think I need to forge some Ti replacements...I gratefull that I can get the work done---taking big doses of Ibuprofen all the time is not suggested for long term use and the percocet they gave me to ride out the wearing off of all the shots in the mouth is nice but I lose another night working in my shop---the wife offered to tie me to a chair if I even tried to head that way...

Modern medicine and dentistry is a wonderfull thing; but it would have paid to get my shop wired professionally. I guess I get another winter of watching my power tools collect dust and my handtools get polished from use...

Thomas I'm going to lay down and watch the ceiling for a while.
Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/11/05 20:35:59 EDT

Dear CSI Members:

It is CSI election time!

This message is being sent to all CSI members past and present. If
your membership has expired you cannot run or vote. Please consider
re-upping. We still need your support. Expired members will be
removed from our database prior to the election. Until that time
your login will work so that you may access the members business
forum. This gives you access to the document viewer and all
pertinent CSI documents.

Over the last several years CSI has gone through many trials and
tribulations. Through it all there has been the focus on growing the
organization so that there will be a permanent group in place to
perpetuate the teaching, learning, camaraderie, and skills that are
displayed daily on the anvilfire website.

As you may be aware, a group of Anvilfire regulars met on-line on
August 10th, 2004 to form a volunteer board of directors to guide CSI
through the incorporation process towards becoming a 501c3 non profit
organization. That process is well underway now, and approval is
expected in the near future.

The interim volunteer board of directors of Cybersmiths International
Incorporated has reached the point where it is time to call an
election to elect the permanent board per the adopted by-laws. At the
August 30th, 2005 meeting the BoD appointed an election committee to
oversee the election process. The purpose of this email is to
announce that nominations are open for members of CSI to run for
these positions, and to provide you with the election rules. The
election guidelines are on the next 2 pages of this document.

The newly elected board will take over on January 1st of 2006. All
seven (7) BOD positions will be filled in this election, with the
President, Vice-President and Treasurer having two-year terms and the
remaining four positions, one-year terms.

This is your organization. Please take the time to vote in December,
and please feel free to post up any questions you may have, or email
any of the election committee members.

For election guidelines see or the
business forum document viewer.

CSI Election Committee

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Note: If you cannot remember if your membership has lapsed login to the
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look below the control buttons at the bottom. Your membership
expirey date is shown there. Business details are listed in the
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- Gronk - Tuesday, 10/11/05 21:54:16 EDT

demo screwups: I just did a two day demo for the local grade school and you are right about screwups can happen anytime. Kids love to horseshoes made. I usually just make blanks because of the time, but one kid wanted to know how the noles were put in. I brought my heat up and fore punched the shoe. When I started using the pritchel, wouldn't you know the point broke off in the shoe. I just told them sometimes the tools get wore out. They all laughed. So, don't worry about screwups.
- Richard Key @ Keystone Ironworks - Wednesday, 10/12/05 05:43:01 EDT

MISSING BLACKSMITH ALERT - Matt Tilton, from Ballard (Seattle), Washington: MISSING BLACKSMITH ALERT - Matt Tilton, from Ballard (Seattle), Washington

Matt is missing. His family has not been able to contact him for over a year. If you know him please tell him that his brother Rob is looking for him and to PLEASE call.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/12/05 07:52:28 EDT

hawkeye helve hammer: Ive just aquired the small version of this style and looking for measurements of the original dimensions of the wood post and base. This hammer is all there but the wood has rotted off, leaving just the lag bolts. With a little work i think i can get all the parts moving again to restore it like new. If anyone has pictures and or mounting measurements i would appriciate them. I do have the book pounding out profits ,but no info that i'm looking for. thanks -jeremy-
- jeremy k - Wednesday, 10/12/05 11:39:13 EDT

hammer handles: If y'all are looking for hammer handles, I just found this site, McSurplus- cheaper than I've been seeing on Ebay, etc. Got hammer handles, mixed sizes for 30 cents each and sledge handles for $2.90; seems to have a large supply.
They're seconds but in good shape. I'm going to fit some this weekend- I have way too many loose hammer heads laying around!

Norfolk, VA- but having Seattle rainy weather
Doug P - Wednesday, 10/12/05 16:37:03 EDT

McSurplus: They have some interesting stuff on McSurplus. Are they reputable? I might like to buy some stuff, like an electric chainsaw.

Seattle rainy weather? Bah, try heading 50 miles northeast into the cascades, where I live. If the orographic precipitation doesn't kill you, the lack of sun will! If it wasn't for being able to let off steam at the anvil, there's no telling what I might do :)
- Tom T - Wednesday, 10/12/05 19:33:18 EDT

McSurplus: Oh wait, I'd have to buy $2000 worth of electric chainsaws. Nevermind!
- Tom T - Wednesday, 10/12/05 19:38:13 EDT

Adam Vise Screw: Hi Adam
Thank You very much for the offer of the acme rod. I really appreciate it. Before I read your post I found a site that sold nice tail vise screw with acme nut flanges that would make it easy to adapt to my leg vise at a really affordable price. I really apprecciate your offer and many ideas that helped me figure out how to tackle the rebuild. Thank You very much for your kindness.
burntforge - Wednesday, 10/12/05 23:39:16 EDT

Vise screw: Good luck with your project. Let us know how it goes.
adam - Thursday, 10/13/05 10:30:22 EDT

Burntforge - Acme Screw Site..: Would you mind posting the url ? I've got an old one with a broken 1/2" screw I'de like to fix..

Bert - Thursday, 10/13/05 11:47:43 EDT

Thanks for the info.: I havn't been around recently because I had to cram-study blueprint reading. I'm almost thruogh. Again, Thanks for the demo info.
- packrat - Thursday, 10/13/05 13:03:01 EDT

Another group I belong to set one of these up, and I thought it would
be an interesting diversion for the Smiths. No email address or snail
mail address required so I don't believe it'll result in any spam.
Enter a name, zip code and a "shout out" and stick your pin in the
Blacksmiths map. Let's see how far out we're spread.

Ralph - Thursday, 10/13/05 18:33:37 EDT

cool site Ralph. Just had to add myself on there.
- Daveb - Thursday, 10/13/05 22:09:10 EDT

Frapped Map: Lousy communist cartographers won't accept my perfectly valid, genuine United States official zip code! I absolutely hate these parochial, geo-centric, bassackward things that refuse to acknowledge that we are part of the United States.
vicopper - Thursday, 10/13/05 22:30:22 EDT

Bert: Hi Bert
The place I got my vise screw only carries 1 1/8" and nothing smaller like you 1/2". carries all sizes of acme thread rod and all kinds of nuts. The affordable screws are the general steel non-precision acme rod. I am pretty sure I saw 1/2" on that site. I hope this helps.
burntforge - Thursday, 10/13/05 23:04:25 EDT

vicopper did you try the outside the US part. Yeah I know you are in but ......
Ralph - Thursday, 10/13/05 23:25:23 EDT

FURRINERS: Rich; Now you know how the folks in Nuevo Mexico feel.
3dogs - Friday, 10/14/05 01:54:12 EDT

TURLEY TECH: I was going through some old "ANVIL'S RING" magazines yesterday and came upon a short piece about Dorothy Stiegler winning the Bealer Award. Seems our girl is a Turley alumna. I guess she AND Frank have something to brag about, then. Two class acts.
3dogs - Friday, 10/14/05 02:01:00 EDT

Disenfrachised citizens: Ralph, I did try the outside the US routine and it said my city didn't exist. Howinell they would know is beyond me, but it certainly exists for me; I go there almost every day to pick up my mail from my gen-u-wine United States Postal Service mailbox.

3dogs, at least the Nuevo Mexicanos get to vote for the President, which we don't. Of course, my tax dollars stay here in the Territory and don't get squandered on foreign soil, either. On balance, I guess I come out ahead. (grin)
vicopper - Friday, 10/14/05 08:44:40 EDT

Stiegler: The story goes that Dorothy and husband (Ed, now deceased) had gone to a farriers' school before finding out about Turley Forge school. They came early in the 1970's to take my class. They had an unwritten pact that whoever did the best work would be the future shop journeyman and the other would be the helper. Dorothy had a final class project of making a decorative, hot-split, branching hinge, so she "won". Ed was also a good smith; I think the competition was all fun and games. I believe they 'shooed' the horses soon after they left Santa Fe in order to specialize in decorative work.
Frank Turley - Friday, 10/14/05 08:50:19 EDT

maps..: Rich,
the other group I got this map idea from has folks listed on it from as far off as Austtralia and I think So Africa.
Curious glitch. Just goes to show that Paradise does not really exsits here on Earth... (smile)
Ralph - Friday, 10/14/05 10:35:55 EDT

I think Vicopper must be on that secret island the US has for the uppity up folks---like they had that private bombshelter under that resort in the mountains near DC.

What do we really know about his location? Good booze, doesn't show up using the official zipcode, nice weather, grass grows fast,...etc. *And* the only person I've met from there carries a gun and badge! I think somethings going on thet we're not supposed to know about....gotta go these nice mouth breathing one eyebrow knuckledragging neanderthals tell me I have just won a free non-determinate vacation in american Cuba!

Thomas P - Friday, 10/14/05 10:55:22 EDT

V.I. Grass: Yes, Thomas, and I imagine their lawns can get pretty tall, too!!
3dogs - Friday, 10/14/05 11:48:23 EDT

VI: Thomas you do have a point. Even the name is suspicuos, "Virgin Islands" Really!??! If ever there were such a place the entire population would have lasted only one generation and what a grumpy generation that would have been!
adam - Friday, 10/14/05 13:28:31 EDT

Virgin Islands: Actually, there is a LOT I could tell you about the place, but then I'd have to....well, you guys already know too much.

One weekend this winter or next, I'm going to have a CSI Caribbean Hammer-In and Beach Barbecue. Then you can see first hand what the place is all about. Heck, we may even let you leave afterward. After suitable ethanol-induced amnesia, of course. (grin)
vicopper - Friday, 10/14/05 22:22:40 EDT

US VI: The only problem with that area is it is a long way right into the wind from My "stomping grounds" in the southern Bahamas, where I wasted My time before I got cancer. To put the situation in perspective for this site, lets say going into the wind in a sailboat is like trying to forge dull red stainless steel with a 3 oz hammer.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 10/15/05 01:41:53 EDT

Frapper Map: Just out of curiosity, after I posted on that map, I zoomed all the way in and the thing had my pin within 30 seconds drive time of my house. That's pretty close for not having any real info about me. I was just wondering if any of the rest of you have checked to see how close it put your pin to your house.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 10/15/05 06:35:22 EDT

Jeff G,
Lost your e-mail address to send the photos of the bamboo. Please resend, and I'll send the photos.
ptree - Saturday, 10/15/05 09:26:47 EDT

map: Jeff,
my pin was also about 1/2 mile off. But I am not too worried as it was also a picture from several years back as there are empty lots on it that are no longer empty.
And it does say it is a beta program up at the top left corner so I figure for a quick and dirty who is where it is good enough for me.

Now if I were wnating to check up on you or another it would be worthless. But I am sure NSA has something more usefull. (VBG)
Ralph - Saturday, 10/15/05 10:40:55 EDT

frappin map: My pin is a 160 km from where I am
JimG - Saturday, 10/15/05 10:58:44 EDT

MAPS: I've used something called "Mapquest" in the past, and that pretty well zeros in on anyplace that I've been looking for.
3dogs - Saturday, 10/15/05 13:35:16 EDT

MO' Mappin': There's also a satellite camera program that showed me my own backyard. Now, THAT'S scary !!
3dogs - Saturday, 10/15/05 13:37:54 EDT

smoke stack: could anyone tell me what there using for a 12" stack. I posted last week about using colvert but im looking for other alternitives..thanks
- msc - Saturday, 10/15/05 16:45:11 EDT

smoke stack: Two 6" stove pipes fit together to make a 12 " stovepipe. Galvanized is better that blued steel.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 10/15/05 21:46:58 EDT

I'm Almost Back on Board: Forgive me if I've been missing of late; I've been under the tripple whammy of the auditors at work (since August, for cat's sake, and experience that can only be likened to being nibbled to death by ducks); the seemingly eternal "ironing the sleighs" project (good and cheap, but not fast, plus some health problems that put me on light duty for weeks or months in the last year); and the new longship, which sucks up a lot of my organizational skills. Oh yes, we're subdividing Oakley Farm so that Christi and I can build our own house, which has required endless negotiations with beloved siblings so that everyone can feel that everyone gets a fair shake, plus lawyers, appraisers, surveyors and timbering operations to pay for parts of the surveys.

Camp Fenby's Autumn Sessions are still on for the first two weekends of November, and the first weekend will feature a storytelling festival at our church for the non-crafty spouse or self-reliant child (1:00-5:00, $5) and a Guy Fawkes Day bonfire on Saturday night. Over the two weekends I'm hoping to forge a small anchor for the Gyrfalcon, and, if that's successful, a larger anchor for the Sæ Hrafn. We will also be holding the Great Medieval Barn Sale to help clear out the barn (some tools, furniture and gardening equipment from my parent's estate and some surplus cloth, armor, and wargear) and to raise money for the Longship Company.

We're definitely going to miss Paw Paw, but we'll be raising a few horns of mead in his memory.

"I may die of exhaustion, but I'll never die of boredom." (Uncle Atli's Very Thin Book of Wisdom)
Updated Longship Company Opening Page
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 10/15/05 22:23:53 EDT

Brian C from Waverly: I can't remember if I have talked to you before, but in case I haven't, we get together every week up in Lancaster. We have a big meeting on the second Thursday of every month where one guy demos something for the group. You are welcome to visit if you want.I know that's a little bit of a drive for you but thought you might be interested. Different backgrounds in the group. Two fulltime smiths, machinists, mould makers and foundrymen, gunsmiths and knifemakers and whoever else wanders in.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 10/15/05 22:29:28 EDT

Mosaic Damascus: Hello ya'll. Looking for a commercial supplier of Powdered metals. I'm finding a lot of manufactures, but so far everyone wants you to buy tons of the stuff, and really I just need a few pounds for cut offs and scrap.
Any help would be appreciated.

Robert P. Norwalt - Saturday, 10/15/05 22:45:29 EDT

Garage Door: I need ideas for a garage door. My standard overhead sliding garage door was damaged when some idiot forgot to set the parking brake on his truck and it rolled into the door.

I hate overhead doors in my garage - they are flimsy, complicated and worst of all they take up a lot of overhead space. I would like to run outlets over my work stations but I cant because when the door is open it blocks the joists. I sometimes bump the overhead door on the top of a hammer swing etc. A whole pile of inconveniences like this make me really want to find an alternative. My garage is a small space for a shop (20x20) and it has to be used efficiently - the overhead door is just too awkward and clumsy.

I priced a rollup door 26 ga sheet metal at $2200. A replacement overhead door is about $800. I was hoping to find something for around $1.2K . The other problem is that I dont have the clearance over the door to put the roll up on the inside so it would have to go in a box outside above the door and my wife is not keen on the idea. We are in residential neighborhood and this cant look too much like a commercial shop.

I was hoping to find concertina doors or even sliding panels. My vehicles are NEVER in the garage.

I'd be grateful for suggestions. Thank you.
adam - Sunday, 10/16/05 09:54:36 EDT

Adam, Folks like Kayne and Son sell sliding barn door hardware. You mount a track then hang the wheeled door on the track. The track normally slopes a bit so that the door lifts as it is opened and MAY set on the sill when closed. You can do the door as one or two pieces if you have room. The disadvantage is they cover windows when open. However, you can put windows in the doors that align with those in the walls for light. . .

- guru - Sunday, 10/16/05 12:31:14 EDT

Doubling pipe. . .:
Amazingly stupid simple idea. . . wish I had thought of it! A piece of 6" and 8" will make a 14" for an insulating sleave, shell or low-loss stack cap over the (2x6) 12".
- guru - Sunday, 10/16/05 12:42:53 EDT

Shop (ex-garage) doors: Adam, are swing-outs also out of the question? I replaced my overheads for the same reasons. My new ones are swing-outs that I built myself, including the strap hinges. A fun project and probably cost around $200.

I put a few pics in the Users Gallery under the album MarcG. The doors are made out of 1X6 V-groove pine on a 2X3 frame. I got the windows for $25 apiece from a local custom window place. They were leftover sashes. I hinge them at the top so they open out, and I prop them open with some pieces of 3/16 rod I had. The props double as locks.
- Marc - Sunday, 10/16/05 12:56:39 EDT

Doors again: OK, I re-read and miscalculated. The doors themselves were about $200 for the wood, + $100 for windows, and maybe $30 worth of stain.
- Marc - Sunday, 10/16/05 12:58:04 EDT

books: If anyone need's copy's of the "Machinery's Handbook"
you can find almost any edition at "" you can
also find about any book on metalworking that has been printed
Plato - Sunday, 10/16/05 13:18:32 EDT

Doors: Marc, yeah swing outs would have been ideal and cheap (even at $300) but my driveway slopes up to the road starting about 3 feet from the garage door. In icy weather I need 4WD just to pull out of my driveway. So it probably has to be rollup, concertina or sliding panels.
adam - Sunday, 10/16/05 13:21:14 EDT

Sliding doors: I think I really like this idea. My opening is 20'x8' so I could frame in 10' and have a 10' sliding panel with windows that line up when open. After poking around on the web I see the hardware is so simple I could make everything except the rollers. So it would be cheaper even than a replacement overhead door. Plus it would give some real protection against the elements.

Jock I think this counts as a direct hit amidships. :)
adam - Sunday, 10/16/05 13:42:00 EDT

Just a thought on the garage doors: If they are open, it wouldn't matter if the windows are covered as the doors would let in light.
Jeff G. - Sunday, 10/16/05 14:20:24 EDT

Doors: I use home-made sliding doors on Richards-Wilcox rollers and track. My opening is 16' wide and 10' high so the roll-up I wanted was priced Way out of sight.

Herethe link is to a picture of the front of the shop that I posted at forgemagic.

front of shop with doors on 16'X10' opening.
- John Odom - Sunday, 10/16/05 14:31:57 EDT

Jeff G.: We exchanged e-mail sometime in the past year & you told me about your operation up there. I would like to visit at some point. Will be on crutches for at least another month right now.

I saw your bamboo demo at Quad State, but didnt get a chance to visit. I was impressed.

I will email you when I can get up that way. Thnks for the invite.
Brian C - Sunday, 10/16/05 17:36:57 EDT

Made Big bamboo today. Used 2 1/2" schedule 10 sprinkler pipe. Came out very nicely. Jeff G's demo was indeed impressive and showed a complete technique in an hour. I like the one hour demos at quad state and am going to suggest that we do the same at the IBA conference in Tipton IN. Will probably borrow Jeff G's bamboo demo:)
ptree - Sunday, 10/16/05 18:52:07 EDT

Garage Door: I got some sliding door hardware from a farm store, I think National was the maker. I used it to make a light duty monorail hoist. It had a boxed in track which would keep the wheels out of the weather.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 10/16/05 22:54:12 EDT

Door hardware: I much prefer the "boxed in" track, like the Richards-Wilcox" and appearently the National brand. I too have used a lot of it for light-duty monorail hoist track.

Notice in the picture of my shop I covered the whole rail with finish coated aluminum sheet metal flashing so It dosen't look to "industrial" from the dining room window.
That was orders from my wife. She still wants the trim finished out.
- John Odom - Monday, 10/17/05 08:58:24 EDT

Door Hardware: After looking at pix of Johns shop I realize the best solution would be simply to swap shops with John. Unfortunately the optimum is not always feasible.

The hanging/ sliding door is definitely the way to go for me if I can talk Rena into it. I believe I can mount the hardware on the inside of the frame so that when the trim is finished it will look very clean. Of course I never get around to the trim until a couple of years after the "job is finished".

Even at $2K the 26ga rollup would have been flimsy and flex a lot in the wind. A real industrial rollup door would have been $5k - $10k! I expect to do the sliding door for less than the cost of new overhead garage door.

Thank you all for your comments, pix, suggestions. It has been a big help.
adam - Monday, 10/17/05 10:45:02 EDT

Books: A good place to look for used books of any kind is at:
Jim C.
- Jim C. - Monday, 10/17/05 13:05:56 EDT

Doc said I broke my toe very throughly Saturday; didn't give me near as much trouble forging on Sunday as it does now that they have x-rayed it and messed with it---the swelling was doing a good job of keeping it in line with the other toes...I get to wear Frankenstein's Monster's boot for a couple of weeks though.

Thomas P - Monday, 10/17/05 14:22:42 EDT

double pipe: thanks frank doubleing 6" did cross my mind once but then it went some were? how knows thanks for the information its a big help
- msc - Monday, 10/17/05 19:51:43 EDT

Thomas P, which toe? I broke my little toe about the same way you did. The DG left the vaccum in an unexpected place and I kicked it barefoot in the dark. Turned on the lights, and made her watch as I relocated it from the 90 degrees out of alignment it had been. Then drove to Canada on vacation the next day in sandles as my shoes would not fit. It thumped all the way there and back. Have to wear wide shoes now were before i wore regular width. Good luck with the healing. PS, She blamed it on me as usual.
ptree - Monday, 10/17/05 20:06:25 EDT

???: Does anyone Know the guy that demonstrates in Gay Georgia?
- packrat_red - Tuesday, 10/18/05 08:35:27 EDT

Gay Georgia: Uhhhhhhhh....nope, I'm not gonna say it.
vicopper - Tuesday, 10/18/05 10:16:39 EDT

packrat, demos what? And demos in a park, museum? Or at home?
While I guess Gay GA is not as big as Hotlanta, it helps to have a wee bit more info. Be like saying who does demos in Hillsboro, Or.
Ralph - Tuesday, 10/18/05 10:30:54 EDT

Gay GA: I was gonna say Elton John, but I won't.
3dogs - Tuesday, 10/18/05 10:55:57 EDT

DOOR TRACK: Adam; Take a look at They have a really good system. Unistrut is kinda like a giant adult erector set. Picture an inverted, sqared-off "U"with inward-turned flanges. They have a wheel trolley unit (part #P2751), which works very well as a door roller. Once you start using the stuff, it will always be in the back of your mind when you want to build something. Your local source is :Sandia Storage and Strut, 2240 Phoenix N.E., in ABQ. Talk to Larry Brooks at (505)830-1510.
3dogs - Tuesday, 10/18/05 11:25:06 EDT

Ptree the penultimate one on my right foot. It was pointed funny too so I pulled on it to see if it was just a dislocation, nope and still pointed like I was doing a vulcan greeting with my feet. The swelling put it right between the other toes and lined up nicely.

Sure is bothering me more now that the Dr has messed with it. My wife wqas afraid it would have to come off if I didn't get it checked out and didn't like my suggestion about a small hand forged hook or wooden "peg toe".

It's not bad enough to stay home but sure is a bother at work.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/18/05 11:41:55 EDT

Thos. P.: Those comminuted fractures are a real pain. Too many little pieces to get them lined up right except by support and tincture of time. Usually a lot of time for us older and/or slower-to-heal types.

In the meantime, pretty continuous discomfort interrupted by a few brief moments of absolutely blinding agony when the affected fracture is inadvertently disturbed, like by a loved one rolling over on it in her sleep. Best of luck with your toe. Single-malt helps some, BTW.
vicopper - Tuesday, 10/18/05 12:21:42 EDT

I had a 50# sheet metal stake fall off the wall and crush my little toe this summer. Steel toed boots don't protect that toe. I then worked at an auction all day. The toe was only painful for two months.
Jeff G. - Tuesday, 10/18/05 13:08:42 EDT

reply: It's not real important, someone in welding class just wanted to know.
- packrat - Tuesday, 10/18/05 13:28:06 EDT

Thanks for the encouragement. Oh well it's only pain... The Dr very kindly wrote me a prescription which I tried out last night and so was only 1 hour late for work today---it's really nice to work someplace where you don't have set working hours!

OTOH there has been a lot of amusement about the fellow with a shop full of heavy steel objects breaking his toe in the kitchen...
Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/18/05 15:07:25 EDT

demos in GA: packrat, seriously tell us more. We do want to help but it is hard to finger out who waht where without more info.
Ralph - Tuesday, 10/18/05 20:43:15 EDT

Homemade Firebrick: Looking for some homemade firebrick recipes that are suitable for using in my homemade woodstove project. I was given a recipe in the past that was for lining a forge, but not sure it would work well for a woodstove. I want somthing that will absorb and retain the heat, not somthing that insulates and reflects.

T.N. Miller - Wednesday, 10/19/05 01:30:42 EDT

Firebrick: T.N.

The trick here is finding local refractory clay. Clays vary greatly in their temperature resistance. Typical white clay used in ceramic slip for molding can be boiled in a gas furnace. Good high aluminia clay can resist all but the highest temperature flames (hydrogen torch). Knowing what the local clay is good for makes a huge difference.

Refractory bricks are made by firing (at very high temperature) a mixture of high alumina fire clay, a refractory agregate like mullite or a zirconia sand plus something to add porosity like saw dust or chopped straw as in ancient times.

In Foxfire 8, one of the potters describes how he made his own firebricks. My copy is missing or I would give some of the details.

Then there are refractory minerals. Mullite is a very high temperature resistant mineral but fairly rare (named for the Isle of Mull where it was first identified). Synthetic mullite is made by heating a more common mineral called Kyanite.

KYANITE is an important mineral used for the production of refractory material mullite, used in various metallurgical and glass industries, except steel metallurgy as mullite refractory bricks are corroded by iron slag and are not highly resistant to metallic oxides. Oddly, mullite chips are used in the ceramic chip forges. . .

In our FAQ on claying forges there are two DIY refractory mixes.

Unless you are ready to dive into local mineralogy and a somewhat mysterious technology you are much better off just to purchase a handful of refractory bricks.

- guru - Wednesday, 10/19/05 09:42:06 EDT

Toe: Thomas hope you feel better soon. Those things take about 6 mos or more to completely mend but the pain fades to tenderness. I had one a few years ago when torch cutting a piece of heavy (1/2") angle iron. The cut piece twisted as it separated and landed thin end down on my toe. @#$%! and double @#$%! Since then I've got religion and ALWAYS wear my steel toed boots in the shop.

Unistrut. Paul I was wondering about that since I do have a couple of 20' pcs of unistrut and mebbe it could be pressed into service. Thanks I will follow that up.
- adam - Wednesday, 10/19/05 10:37:41 EDT

MURRAY POWER HAMMER: We have a 100 pound, Murray Power Hammer for sale. We have had this in our shop for about 30 years. Only ocasionally seeing a job by us, we have decided to put it up for sale. It is in good working condition (that means it has not been abused, all berings and moving parts are tight) Their are no cracks in the base or anywhere else. It has a 3HP electric motor, 220/3phase. It will need a new drive belt (and magnetic starter, if you choose to use one). We are asking $4500 OBO. I can e-mail you photos upon request. Contact Steve at 410-573-1188 or This machine is in Annapolis MD.
Steve Van Dercook - Wednesday, 10/19/05 12:18:42 EDT

UNISTRUT: ADAM; The green stuff just has some kind of paint on it that stinks when it gets hot. Be careful with the gray stuff, it's galvanized.
3dogs - Wednesday, 10/19/05 14:11:24 EDT

Guru: Firebrick: Thanks Guru. I have Foxfire 8. I'll take a look in there. I'm trying to stay away from anything manufactured. This is a DIY experiment project.
T.N. Miller - Wednesday, 10/19/05 16:32:21 EDT

1. Go to

2. Type the word: Failure

3. Instead of hitting "Search" hit "I'm Feeling Lucky"

4. Look at it and see what comes up!

5. Tell your friends before the people at Google fix it

Insiders. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 10/19/05 23:19:23 EDT

google: Jock what makes you think they plan on fixing it? I am thinking that it is thier way of making a political statement with out really doing so. Have a built in excuse that it was a programing error. If I remember correctly it was first seen that way prior to the last election. Leastwise I had seen it before in the same 'search pattern'
Ralph - Thursday, 10/20/05 04:24:40 EDT

Mo' Google: They have offered an explanation, and a piece about that Neanderthal of the writing craft, Michael Moore spewing out more Taurean excreta.
3dogs - Thursday, 10/20/05 08:32:30 EDT

google: It isnt Google that's doing it. It done as coordinated effort by group of people who all set their links to the same page and manipulate the hit rating that Google generates. Most rating systems are vulnerable to this kind of attack.

Its hard to imagine Google would indulge in this kind of thing. They are in business and in business it never pays to piss people off just for fun least of all the most powerful man in the world together with all the people who support him.
adam - Thursday, 10/20/05 16:11:31 EDT

Hmmmmmm. . I'd heard of google bombing but did not believe it would work. However, this is being done on a mass scale that thwarts googles filters. . .

- guru - Thursday, 10/20/05 18:06:16 EDT

google,: Adam, when it comes to politics folks will do anything. As I said they can always claim that it was a programing error. And who could prove them wrong
Ralph - Thursday, 10/20/05 20:25:42 EDT

- IFIXTRUCKS - Thursday, 10/20/05 22:35:26 EDT

- IFIXTRUCKS - Thursday, 10/20/05 22:47:08 EDT

Google: That setup has been on there since before the election. Whatever. Are there any weird anvils on Ebay?
Koomori - Thursday, 10/20/05 22:53:36 EDT

accordian folding kaowool: I just saw this post up top and decided to toss in my 2c.

I am too lazy to mess with folding and sewing. I take piece of 3/16" plate about 3/4" narrower than the panel that I need, I cut one piece of wool to the exact size of the a second piece oversized by 4" in one dimension ( this is the outer, retain piece) and fold it back over the edges of the panel and clamp the folded over flap to the back side with bolts tapped into the plate and some wide washers. This is quick easy and works well. The roof of my forge is a piece made like this - at welding heat it, the open back side of the plate is at about 400F.

With a little thought you can make curve panels too.
- adam - Friday, 10/21/05 08:57:18 EDT

Hurricanes, Florida and Longships: I had an e-mail from GSA inviting me to a conference call today on hurricane preparations. (I will say that with all of the confusion exhibited by the government on Katrina, GSA has really made a consistent effort to help keep things going from their end so that the rest of our folks could keep functioning, help our employees and assist the public.)

They wanted to know if we had anything in Florida that would be affected. I sent them the map (see link) and said that no matter where the hurricane might go, we had something in the way. ;-) That's not even counting stray offices working with other programs (and my elder brother in the Keys).

The parks are already battening down, and even the Longship Company has a plan in-place to double-up the lines, hang more fenders, and open the seacocks to flood the Sæ Hrafn in her slip should Wilma come staggering up the East Coast. (We're better off sunk, with less surface exposed to the winds, than high and dry.)

Anyway, if you're in the way of this cosmic game of skittles, batten down and stay safe.
NPS Sites in Florida
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 10/21/05 08:58:43 EDT

ps: I also recommend coating the kaowool with a skim of Satanite or some castable refractory (Jock's suggestion). Nekkid kaowool wears poorly in a forge. And of course, a final coat of ITC100 is always worth it.
- adam - Friday, 10/21/05 09:00:05 EDT

IFIXTRUCKS /tools: Well we are blacksmiths. We love tools. We have lots of them but we always need more. Many of us like to make our own.

I expect you will get a lot more interest if you A. List some of the goodies that you willing to part with. B. What sort of smith tools are you looking for?

Are you a new smith trying to get a small basic kit started? (hammers, tongs, chisels perhaps a block of steel for an anvil.

Are you setting up a professional shop where you will need things like power hammers, brakes, presses, ironworkers etc.

C. Are you collecting antique tools? Mostly we are not collectors ( or at least we kid ourselves that we mean to use all our tools) but some people here are very knowledgeable about the history of smithing and its tools.

Are you interested in shop made tools - smiths do a lot of this - or just factory made?

Tell us a bit more. I bet you will get a bite or two
- adam - Friday, 10/21/05 09:09:55 EDT

smoke stack: rule of thumb; double your pipe size,4x the volume it will carry, so 2-6" pipes will not carry what 1 12" will.Area for 6"=28.2743, for 12" it's 113.0973,113 devided by 28= 4.035 so 2-6" will only carry 1/2 of what 1 12" will.
- jimmy - Friday, 10/21/05 09:27:49 EDT

Smoke Stacks: Jimmy,

I agree with you about stack capacity. However, I think the idea being disucssed was to open the seam on a piece of 6" pipe and insert another piece, so you have a 12" pipe with a seam on both sides. Ths works because, even though the area of a 12" pipe is four times the area of a 6" pipe, the circumference is only double.
Mike B - Friday, 10/21/05 09:38:04 EDT

Google:: Ralph sure if they did do it they could deny intention with the excuse you suggested. But deniability is not the point. Even if they were innocent, many people would blame them anyways - I think you have just demonstrated this :). Google is big business and their control of market share is not at all certain. Microsoft and several other big software outfits are trying to take some of that share. It would be monumentally stupid from a business point of view to alienate people over this kind of prank. After all this is a sitting President with a lot of very loyal supporters and furthermore, even some who didnt vote for him will be offended by the disrespect. These people have money, use the internet, some of them will be in a position to sign contracts for search engines in for their companies' software. Google knows this, they didnt get rich by being stupid or reckless. Jokes are fine until they cost you real money. OTH there are several hundred thousand undergrads out there with more technical skill than sense of responsibility and who would LOVE to pull off something like this. Dont you think its more likely that a group like this conspired over the internet to bomb google?
adam - Friday, 10/21/05 12:33:01 EDT

: Hi...
- packrat - Friday, 10/21/05 13:22:14 EDT

ADAM: Well stated; I will reserve my right wing paranoia for another, more worthy, cause.
3dogs - Friday, 10/21/05 15:09:05 EDT

Adam, true enough. BUt if I remembercorrectly the google founders also donate to Now I need to see if I can find that info to be sure.

I guess what I am saying is that biz folks are often more likely to use their biz for a political soapbox than they seemed to be in the past. Works on both sides of the aisle too.
Curious is that most print media seems to have a more liberal slant than not. ( even tho it is often owned by a conservative) But radio seems to be more conservative. Wonder why? Sure it has to do with add demographics. But for the life of me I can not see what it is. Then we have the web. hard to pin down folks on this faceless thing. Mixed bag over all. But as long as folks think about what they believe and make their OWN minds up I do not care. opposing discourse is healthy and needed. as is intelligent thought processes.

Now I will get off the soap box and say I think I am going to try a bit of light forging today if my energy level keeps up.
Ralph - Friday, 10/21/05 16:32:51 EDT

Hammer handle: Is it wrong to get excited when you put a new handle on a good hammer, and it seats just perfect, and the newly shaped handle feels just right? Maybe it's time to get a new hobby before it's too late.
- Tom T - Friday, 10/21/05 16:50:37 EDT

Hammer handle: 'fraid you just used up all your good luck. Time to move on to another trade. I can take your tools off your hands if you like. :)
adam - Friday, 10/21/05 17:08:23 EDT

One of the qualities that I most admire about smiths is a certain stubborn, pigheaded obstinate, "I'm gonna do it my way" attitude. Like the guy who's still going to braze a plate onto his anvil after everyone here explained him that hes wasting his time. Still a bad idea but he might make a very good smith (if he lives long enough). :)
adam - Friday, 10/21/05 17:12:06 EDT

OBSTINACY: Let us hope if he doesn't learn from our experience, that he at least learns from his own, and does not go down in utter defeat, having profited from neither.
3dogs - Friday, 10/21/05 19:21:16 EDT

I always get a sense of satisfaction when I repair, rebuild or clean and adjust a tool or machine and put it into good working order. I recently brought home a vise that had lived in a foundry and was mostly locked up due to the grit permeating everythiug including the nut and screw. An hour with some WD-40 and some grease and it went from locked up to smooth operating. Very satisfying. Now it needs to be washed down with degreaser or soap and water to remove the grit filled grease and oil then lubed again with clean grease. But it is working fine for the time being. I have two more that need the slides derusted and polished up then everything greased again. Vises are wonderful tools when smooth operating but it doesn't take much friction to make them slow and clumbsy.

I too like to rehandle hammers when they need it but despise rehandling others screw ups. I had someone give me a couple of poorly rehandled hammers at SOFA. One came apart easily and I made a wooden and steel wedge to fit. It reassembled tight and sound. The other had a big steel wedge but no wooden wedge. It is loose on the handle and will not retighten. Neither will the wedge pull out. . it will require sawing the handle off then driving out the stub then replacing with a new handle. Not a bad job but it HAS a new handle. . . I find this common at fle markets and often let the sellers know that for a dollar less I would have bought the hammer WITHOUT a handle. Removing bad handles is labor which is time and money. . .

You've got to have some love for your tools to keep them properly maintained. Maybe that is why I have several ragged misconfigured PC's that work marginaly. I hate them and the software they run on and would rather user a bigger hammer on them. . .
- guru - Friday, 10/21/05 19:26:14 EDT

VISES, etc: Jock; Did you ever get the one with the fresh gray paint loosened up properly? BTW, I haven't forgotten the $2. Is the "Gladys" address still good? Re:The ragged PC's. Good trebuchet ammo.
3dogs - Friday, 10/21/05 21:46:49 EDT

Rehabilitating tools: Of all the things I do, which are certainly many varied, the one I truly love the most is building or re-building a good tool. Nothing delights quite so much as resurrecting a tool from the trash heap and making it once again pristine and fully functional. Okay, I admit I sometimes get a tiny little bit carried away with the extent of the refurbishing, like the polished and blued post vise. On the whole though, I stay fairly reasonable about it.

Over the years when I was very short of funds, I hav epurchased a few stationary tools from Harbor Freight and their ilk. Every one of those tools is still in use more than twenty years later, and all work just fine. The list encompasses table saw, band saw, jointer, drill press, belt grinder, AC/DC arc welder and perhaps a few others I'm forgetting. With the exception of the welder, none of these tools was really fully useable right out of the box.

Every one of the stationary tools had rough castings that caused misalignment problems, some had poor switches, a few had dry bearings, and all of them were manufactured to somewhat arbitrary tolerances. But every one of them became an eminently useable tool after a few hours of fitting and adjusting followed by careful set-up. Those folks steal their designs from venerable tools of quality and character, and then figure out how to make them cheaper. In a few instances they actually figure out design improvements. But you have to be knowledgeable, patient and thorough plus own some good measuring and fitting tools to get them dialed-in. These days, I don't have the time to invest in them, so I try to buy tools that don't need that much TLC right out of the box. Back when I had more time than money though, they made good economic sense and they're still all around today. I almost wish a couple of them would die so I would have an excuse to upgrade them to something much better now that I can almost afford to. (grin)

Still, the greatest satisfaction comes from dragging various mismatched bits and oddments from the dumpster and alleys and putting it all together to make a really fine belt grinder, for example. With all the requisite embellishments and adornments, of course. If I'm going to spend time making a tool, I'm going to make it look distinctive as well as do the job it is intended to do; that's just my own personal weird.

I used to get all involved with my handguns the same way I do with my shop tools, but time has certainly changed that. Nowadays, I just take the thing out of the box, test fire it to be sure it goes bang, and lug it around day after long day. No interest in the things at all, somehow; they're just a necessary tool of the trade for me, not a concubine. And I only have one. Go figure. (grin)
vicopper - Friday, 10/21/05 23:26:37 EDT

tools: the tools i have for trade would be impact guns(ir 3/4",blue point 1/2") sockets(snap on, mac,matco) tools used in rebuilding motors timing lights,ring compressors,impact drivers,valve spring compressors,diesel injection timing tools, and injector pressure setters all good names not craftsman!
IFIXTRUCKS - Saturday, 10/22/05 00:02:24 EDT

Gray Vise:
3dogs, that was the one I was talking about. . ah, who painted over the foundry grit?

The week after I got home we had a nice (abiet Chinese) universal bench vise in Iron in the hat and we got it for $15 worth of tickets. Its a little ragged like the tools Vicopper was talking about but is good for an apprentists bench. . . Sometimes you accumulate tools when you are not looking for them.

What $2. .

I keep my old so-so PC's around until they no longer work. . . they always have SOMETHING on them that you didn't back up or software that cannot be installed on the new PC. . .

NOT Craftsman!!!! I remember when having Craftsman tools was as good as having Snap-On. I have a chest and shop full of them. However, I remember when the quality started going down hill. Wrench patterns became heavier and less useful as a trade off to never have to replace a broken one. Sockets were no longer deep broached (I have deep well sockets broached 3" deep down to 7/16 hex). Everything electric including the "Professional" line had less than a year's life and some just a few hours. Now they are a happy homeowner line. Buy them, hang them on the peg board to look at and maye use once in a lifetime. . .
- guru - Saturday, 10/22/05 11:11:36 EDT

I would be very selective about divesting of tools.

Other than very specialized automotive tools most shops NEED a full set of mechanics tools. Blacksmith shops need welders, power hammers, air compressors, saws. . . then drill presses, lathes and even milling machines. All these need maintenance requiring a good complete set of tools. The machine tools require tools to operate them. I usualy have local boxes for each machine with the wrenches that fit but sometimes they walk away. . . Small 3/8" air ratchets are handy as heck for working with machine tool setups, lathe chucks. . .

I have always been amazed at folks that run shops with lots of machinery and do not have a set of sockets or a full set of wrenches. . .

Except for a Coats 20-20 air tire changer I have regretted every tool that I have let get away from me. About 10 years ago I broke down and sold some "excess" tools including four power hammers (now I have none) and a Pexto Bar-Fold, Circle cutter and numerous anvils. . . I THOUGHT I was getting out of blacksmithing and going into other fields. . But here I am spending money to replace my portable anvil and wishing I had kept ONE of the 50# Little Giants. . .

- guru - Saturday, 10/22/05 11:28:56 EDT

Tools: The wife of a friend of mine would always say that men dont really want to work on cars - it's just an excuse to buy a lot of tools. :)
adam - Saturday, 10/22/05 12:06:20 EDT

tools: the reason i am getting rid of some of my tools is iam sutting sown one of my service trucks and hopefully branching out into some othe areas of work as well
IFIXTRUCKS - Saturday, 10/22/05 21:11:32 EDT

It becomes obvious that many of us are COLECTORS as well as users. I am sure glad I kept My tire changer, last Sat. I busted a tire at 10:00 PM and needed to use the van in the morning. Also glad I had a tire that held air laying around.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 10/22/05 22:34:21 EDT

Craftsman tools:
Where I work, my supervisor bought a set of tools mainly for my work -- a few other people's. Most all are Craftsman; this includes a socket wrench, crescent wrenches, spanners, nutdrivers, screwdrivers, pliers, cutters, and a few other pieces of kit. The screwdrivers could be made of a harder steel, and the nippers and pliers could use more steel and less plastic. Other than that, I'm finding them to be pretty decent tools; I have yet to break one, at least! :) However, I won't make the same statements of quality about Craftsman power tools, since I only own a woodworking belt sander by them and I hardly use it.
- T. Gold - Saturday, 10/22/05 23:16:17 EDT

As Guru stated, the slim wrenches of our youth are not available anymore, unfortunatly I bent a bunch of the ones I had when I was a gung-ho get the job done teenager and they were replaced with the newer bulky ones. The ratchets have gon down hill, at least the ones that look like the old ones have. As far as the power tools, the industrial line is usually OK, at least in the recent past many were Black& Decker/Dewalt[now many of which are made in China]. The homeowner grade is usually just that, even if it says
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 10/23/05 01:24:39 EDT

Continued from above: "sears Best", it still isn't industrial duty. My Dad had a saying about things that just didn't work all that well: "It works like something from Sears"
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 10/23/05 01:29:55 EDT

Tire Changers and other tools:
Those of you that remember our identify the tools in photo contest may remember that the ONE tool that is not a blacksmithing tool in the photo at the top of this page is a Coats 125 Star manual tire changer. I have often regretted selling it. Not that I want to change my own tires but I was expert at changing odd things like wheelbarrow, wire wheels, light truck and mags. Ocassionaly there have been ocassions where I could not get an odd tire changed OR it was a Sunday and it sure would have been nice. . .

I also sold my good Chicago Pneumatic 1/2" air wrench (back when Chicago was US made) impact wrench. I kept my antique Chicago Pneumatic ELECTRIC impact wrench. Now THAT was a slick tool. No air compressor needed! I changed tires with it for years after my predesessor who had used it for 30 years. We used it to install hundreds of bolts holding my shop together and over the years it was used to remove all kinds of over tight or rusted fasteners. I had repaired the switch numerous times. The switch which was prone to failure stoped being made about 1973 and the last time I had to repair it I torch welded the switch frame! Last summer while working on my Dad's lawn tractor the armature went up in smoke. . . It was ONLY 55 years old!

Almost all my wrenches and sockets are Craftsman (from the 1970's) and I still prefer them to others. The only others I purchased are Snap-On from whom I purchased a complete set of Whitworth and British Standard. The salesman had to get them from all over the world! I also replaced all the Craftsman snap action torque wrenches with Snap-on after shearing several engine studs with the Craftsman. If they were in a slight bind they would never click and when torquing at 75 pounds it is easy to go over 100. . . Calibration was not the problem. They just did not work out of the box.

- guru - Sunday, 10/23/05 07:47:47 EDT

"New Smitty?": Grand-son-in-law, came out yesterday to lend a helping hand! Wanted to know where he might acquire an anvil. Since I am almost past my "anvil-working" days, and had in my possesion 6 anvils ranging from 75lbs. to 250 lbs. He chose a very nice "OMAHA" 110 pounder. I am now left with one "hay-Buddin", two "Peter Wright" and two "M.H. Armitage" for distibution among my gran-children. Just passing on items of treasure.
- Bill - Sunday, 10/23/05 08:43:53 EDT

Tool Manufacturing:
What brought down Sears tools when they WERE about the best was penny pinching. In the early days their wrenches were made to their specs by the same folks that made Snap-On. Then they got into going out for bids and talking the lowest bid. This is NOT how you produce a fine line of tools. Burning your suppliers who have a huge investment in tools and dies for a few pennies is also not good business practice. That is how IBM lost the PC to the cloner market. They kept changing suppliers of major components until there were dozens with all the dies nad fixtures to make their product without going to IBM. . .

In the 1970's Sears spent a great deal on Industrial Design and had BEAUTIFUL tools in their electric line. But they spent their money on the appearance of quality rather than the substanc of quality. Somewhere along the line they picked up a maunfacturer that got the low bid by making motor armatures primarily of plastic. The commutator bars where made of thin sheet copper glued into place. These had the bad habbit of suddenly flying off and the electric motor suddenly sounding like it had thrown a rod!
- guru - Sunday, 10/23/05 08:56:32 EDT

Wrenchs: My Dad was a garage mechanic. He only had a few snapons. His favourite brands were SK Wayne, and Grey. I have his set of grey wrenchs. They have a nice feel in the hand.
JimG - Sunday, 10/23/05 10:49:40 EDT

Tool Talk: After much of this tool talk I decided. I am a complete Tool myself!! LOLOLOLOL. I have every brand of wrenchs you can imagine. I do prefer the oldies like Williams etc. I pretty much will use any type of tool that will do the job. I frequently employee functional fixedness to get things done. Therefore I fell I have earned the title of a Tool...I hope I have brought some humor to your blacksmith filled day :)
burntforge - Sunday, 10/23/05 11:23:49 EDT

Saturday & Shears: I didnt get to the SWABA meet - had to work this weekedn and couldnt get away early enough but I did spend Sat aft with my old friend and mentor, Jim Treadwell in Tijeras. He's doing good. Bought an old Beverly B2 from him - somewhat beat up but still sound and cuts suweeetly. We dickered on the price a bit. I tried to get him to take $250 but he stood firm at $200. The blades need a touch up and there are some burrs to file off but its a great machine. I like bench shears and they are quiet which is nice for a residential area. So I also picked up this guy, ebay item # 7554752939, an angle iron shear which should be very handy. I have the HF ripoff of the B1 which now after some work is a great little tool. Still if I could find a B1 at a decent price, Id replace it in an eyeblink.
adam - Sunday, 10/23/05 11:28:59 EDT

compressor: Im looking in to buying a new air compressor and was wondering if anyone has any recomendations? im looking for a stationary two stage. im not a profesional smith but would like to know if i was to some day be this machine could still work for me. i plan on using it for a number of things, as for now i rebuild old tractors and could use it alot, but later on i would like it to support a good plasma cutter and other heaveir uses any sugestions would help. i guess my buget is around $1000 give or take. the wifes buying it for christmas. thanks all
- msc - Sunday, 10/23/05 21:44:51 EDT

Air Compressor: I recently bought a new air compressor and did a bunch of research before doing so. I needed one that would run my new air hammer and be a general shop air supply. After checking out just about everything out there, the best value was the Ingersoll-Rand 5 hp 60 gallon unit with the T-30 2-stage compressor head. Mine cost me grand plus shipping from the States. Not bad for a unit that reliably delivers about 15cfm all day long and runs on single-phase 220.

The T-30 compressor head is a venerable piece of equipment that IR has been making for 75 years now, mostly with no real changes. There are thousands of them out there still running after thirty or more years of use. If maintained decently it will probably outlive you.

The key to maintaining an air compressor to get the best life out of it is this: Start out with the oil that the manufacturer recommends (in this case, their own brand of synthetic) and change it after the first couple of hours running time. With synthetic oil at about $12/qt, that may seem extravagant, but the first couple of hours is the time when any reciprocating equipment sheds most of the odd bits of swarf and crud that are left from the manufacturing process. You want to get this stuff out of the unit right away. After that, you can be more frugal with the oil changes, but never skimp on that first one!

Change the oil as recommended, and the air filters as well. Mount it level; it needs to be level to lubricate itself properly. Make sure it has plenty of "breathing room" all around it so it doesn't overheat. Drain it religiously, or install an automatic drain valve on it.

If you do these things, you'll have no problems and the machine will still be running sweetly when you retire.

Check with, on of Anvilfire's advertisers for a very reasonable price on Ingersoll-Rand compressors. They're good folks who will take good care of you.
vicopper - Monday, 10/24/05 01:22:44 EDT

msc - compressor: The 15 CFM vicopper mentions is enough to run a sandblaster with a reasonable size nozzle, or heavy duty sander, grinder or buffer, or multiple smaller air tools. It is right for a small shop,any larger and You have to run a serious electric service. This size machine is usually OK on a 30 amp 230 volt line. Be leary of any machine that takes less than 20-22 amps and claims to make 5 or over HP. The aprox. 15 cfm[or more] is the important part.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 10/24/05 03:22:38 EDT

Air Compressors:
Depending on your future plans you want as much compressor as you can afford. 5HP compressors will run a small power hammer quite well but are stretched under commercial service or multiple hammers.

Also note that many of the department store compressors and those sold by auto parts stores are far over rated by using small pumps running at very high speed. These machines do not state duty cycles but should be rated at about 15% to 25% due to the high speed they run. Look closely at their warantees. Many have exclusions for commercial service or very limited 30 day coverage. This means that they expect "home duty" where the thing is used once a year or a few hours at most and KNOW the thing will have trouble under daily use.

BigBLU sold other brands and has delt with a number of air compressor makers and has found Ingersol Rand to be the best to deal with and they have service centers all over the country and parts of the world.

Ingersol Rand Air Compressors
- guru - Monday, 10/24/05 10:23:42 EDT


At the last board meeting I announced to the board that I would not be running for the board again. While I fully support the goals of CSI and have enjoyed working with the other board members I am finding it difficult to be at the late evening online meetings. It is time for someone else to take the position of secretary after the election.

If you would like to run for the position or nominate someone else please speak up. We are getting close to election time and so far there have been no nominations other than Dale's nomination of the existing board members.
- SGensh - Monday, 10/24/05 13:01:15 EDT

Vicopper, it's perfectly OK to have just the one concubine; more than that and they start interferring with your shop and scrounging time!

Bill; tell your kids to adopt me!

Adam if I could find a B3 I could afford I'd sell you my B1 to help pay for it...

Thomas P - Monday, 10/24/05 13:46:46 EDT

Beverly Shears:
I bought an old B2 at the Southeast conference a couple years ago. It had blades so worn that there was a 1/4" gap between them. Since this is impossible I suspect they were each out of two different shears. Beverly still has blades. You can order them from McMaster-Carr.

The new blades were a little too wide and interfered with each other. So I had to grind them on the surface grinder. I want to make a jig to hold Beverly shear blades on my surface grinder. To sharpen them properly they need to be held at a 10 to 11 degree angle. Beverly will resharpen their blades for you for a small fee. . .

When installing the blades they should have .005 to .008" clearance between them. Use a feeler guage to set the distance. If too close or interfering they will chip themselves. If too open they will leave a heavy burr.

Beverly's are rated for fairly heavy stock but I prefer to use them for no more than half their maximum rating.
- guru - Monday, 10/24/05 17:26:30 EDT

I've been asked to pull this offer as there has been no commited responses. I am going to leave this link for a few days. If you are interested we need at least 6 or more folks to commit by the end of the month.
- guru - Monday, 10/24/05 19:15:19 EDT

Testing, testing
- Jeff G. - Tuesday, 10/25/05 23:00:05 EDT

Ve hear *Nuthing*! Bit slow on the forum lately. I'm going to make sure my lighting system is working so I can spend some time out in the forge after Sunday's "get home from work in the dark" change.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/26/05 10:50:16 EDT

Welder suggestions: I am going to upgrade my Lincoln AC welder to an AC/DC model - either the Lincoln AC/DC ($384 +tax at HD) or the Hobart LX stickmate ($486 ship free from Northern). Probably the Hobart because it has continuous amp control. I would appreciate any suggestions or advice. Thanks
adam - Wednesday, 10/26/05 14:23:27 EDT

Camp fenby Next Weekend, Nov 5 & 6: Camp Fenby Autumn Session I, Nov. 5 & 6
Camp Fenby is the Longship Company’s (and Markland’s) long-running medieval arts and crafts campout and workshop, held at Oakley Farm in Avenue (that’s a town, not a street) Maryland (St. Mary’s County), about 1 ½ hours south of downtown D.C.

Camp Fenby has available a working forge, barn space, camp space, shoreside launching area (Wade’s Landing), and over a hide of land for maximum-impact campcraft. Since we just logged off over 20 acres, there’s plenty of hardwood about that didn’t make it to the sawmill.

Come learn, come teach, come have a good time. :)

Camp Fenby Preliminary Schedule

(Additional sessions as interest and volunteer instructors dictate)

Friday, November 4, evening: Camping available for early arrivals at
Oakley. Signs posted for parking, camping, etc.

Saturday, November 5, 10:00 – Noon: Clear out barns, set up for Great
Medieval Barn Sale and Camp Fenby. Great Medieval Barn Sale will
continue (in a no-doubt desultory manner) through both weekends.
There is also a storytelling festival at All Saints' Church Hall for
spouses and children and occasional breaks. ($5)

Noon to 1:00: Lunch Break

1:00 – 3:00: Brass Casting- lost wax and styrofoam masters and
plaster molds. (More experienced folks at home may wish to start
their molds too, to allow sufficient time to dry.)

3:00 – 5:00: Wood working projects; maybe some simple wood turning and lathe work and setting up woodworking projects for the following week. Work on small anchor for Gyrfalcon in forge.

6:00: Evening meal, guitars, and Guy Fawkes Day bonfire (try not to
burn down the barns). Handouts for medieval locks and discussions.

Sunday, November 6:

A.M. great Medieval Barn Sale continues

Noon – 2:00

Forge: Hinges and hardware for chests.

Barn: Open lathe for experienced hands; Woodworking as desired

2:00 tuck away and set up as necessary for the next weekend, Session II.

Camp Fenby Yahoo Site
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 10/26/05 15:36:46 EDT

Camp Fenby; Supplemental::
The site fee is $10 a person or $30 a family to cover the cost of the porta potties. Profits from the barn sale will go to the Longship Company to help with the costs of the new ship.
Bruce Blackistone - Wednesday, 10/26/05 15:55:34 EDT

Old industrial films: While wandering through the Library of Congress website, I ran across some films that may be of interest to some of you. These films are from the Westinghouse works in 1904. These films include a large steam hammer in operation as well as casting and other manufacturing operations. The URL is included at the end of this post. Note that some of these films are quite large in size.
Library of Congress " Films of the Westinghouse Works"
Bluejeep - Wednesday, 10/26/05 22:30:22 EDT

Tin Punch: I am looking for someone who will be able to make or supply various shaped punches for cutting stars and flowers etc out of tin.
Sara Browne - Thursday, 10/27/05 08:08:18 EDT

Welders: I have a Hobart stickmate LX (AC only)and it's worked great fo me. While I'd like to have the option of using DC, they're more expensive and I get along fine doing what I do with AC. I picked this one up on sale at rural King for right around $200 and I couldn't get myself to go home without it.
Mike Ferrara - Thursday, 10/27/05 09:22:53 EDT

Adam Welder/Anvil repair: Adam
Welder/Anvil repair
It sounds like you already have a nice AC welder. I would go to a mig welder instead of purchacing an ac/dc welder. To repair your anvil use 4030 tool steel mig wire and preheat the anvil to 400 degrees. Then flap disc it to blend when finished. You probably will not need to heat treat it when done. Give the anvil a wack and see if it still has a good ring after repair. If you need it heat treated after send bring it to a local heat treat company. It would likely cost around 150.00 to heat treat. I understand you would like a better weld by using a DC welder. Purchasing another stick welder when you have one would be like buying a car with a carburetor when you already have one. Why not buy one with fuel injection instead. Adam I hope this helps.
burntforge - Thursday, 10/27/05 11:47:18 EDT

Tin Punches Sara: Sara Guru gave you soom good info on the guru's den.
Tandy leather sells all kinds of punches and shapes for leather. You may purchase a couple and see if they are hard enough and will hold up well for thin tin punching. They don't cost very much. The website is: 1-800-446-2999
burntforge - Thursday, 10/27/05 11:56:00 EDT

Welder: Burnt, thanks for your comments. They make sense and if I were starting fresh I would go for the biggest mig I could afford. But I already have a small Hobart 135 mig box and that does 90% of my welding. But I do need something for the heavy stuff, like anvil repair, and a stick is very versatile. DC even more so. I would consider adding diodes like Dave suggested but the other thing is the tombstone had very coarse current adjustments and I find that a real limitation. I have a buyer for the tombstone which will offset some of the expense of the new machine.

I am repairing the anvil with messer MG740 which is a hard face underlay. Its designed to be crush resistant and for unlimited buildup. Goes on r30. If I need harder I will lay down some hardface on top of that. I had never heard of using a 4030 wire I will look into that too.
- adam - Thursday, 10/27/05 13:32:06 EDT

Handle: I have a question. Reference AnvilFire News Page 12 Photo Collection #2: What are the steps to forge the handle of the fire rake?
- Jim C. - Thursday, 10/27/05 13:46:48 EDT

Hofi Fire Rake - Free Form Forging Video Chapter 9/27:
Step one, get a Big BLU. . . :)

Starting with 3/4" round (or square) 12" - 14" long.

Mark ends at 2-1/4" and 1-1/4" with chalk.

Using the narrow side of the Hofi Combo dies and a 3/8" stock stop clamped to wide side of die -

Form 5 pairs of flats on the short end with 90 degrees rotation between each.

Flatten a place just beyond each handle end to clamp and turn with a spanner.

Heat evenly, clamp end in vise and twist each flat 1/4 turn. Use water as necessary to make twists even. Straighten on wood block before and after.

Remove stock stop.

Shoulder at long end of handle to about 3/8" and at 2-1/4" mark to about 5/16 or 1/4" using narrow portion of Combo Dies.

Draw out taper between handle and rake stock. Square, octogon and round (one heat on BigBLU). This more than doubles the length of the stock in this area.

Shoulder at short end using narrow portion of Combo Dies then draw a long tapered point.

Form hook on anvil using anvil fork and horn.

Forge long square point on rake end. Flatten on diagonal to about 1" to 1-1/8" wide. Bend on anvil.

Wire brush finish


There are 27 chapters with one or more elements in the Hofi video. At the beginning of each section the stock, dies and mehods to be used are explained, then there is a very clear well filmed and edited demo (no waits between heats). There is more forging of more things in this video than you will see anywhere else short of taking several of the Power Hammer School courses.

Even if you do not have a power hammer it is great fun to watch. If you are unsure about going to the Power Hammer School this is close to tour of what you will see and do. We sell the video and both Big BLU and the Power Hammer School are advertisers.

Power Hammer School
- guru - Thursday, 10/27/05 18:32:24 EDT

Christmas sales: Someone offered to carry some of my stuff at a local arts and craft fair. The fair is christmas themed, and I'm trying to think of some "christmasy" forgins to make. I'm not domesticated enough to know the niceties people like to have for christmas. I thought about some gothic style candle holders, maybe some small hooks with a snub end scroll for stocking hangers. Maybe a holly leaf plant hanger. In other words, not really any good ideas.

Any suggestions for christmasy projects to make for under $50?
- Tom T - Thursday, 10/27/05 19:19:07 EDT

Handle: Guru:
Thanks; very well explained.
Jim C.
- Jim C. - Thursday, 10/27/05 21:26:54 EDT

X-Mas Project: Tom: Take a look at AnvilFire iForge How-To's number 56 & 79. I make the small crosses like Demo 79 but don't open up the center as much and use a 1/2" or 5/8" sq. drift. Put one of the small crosses on a leather or other material necklace or put it on a key ring. The larger cross like demo 56 mounted on a horseshoe with two of the small demo 79 crosses on either side makes a nice piece too. I tenon the crosses into the horseshoe.
Jim C. - Thursday, 10/27/05 21:36:31 EDT

pedal grinding stone: I'm looking for an old pedal grinding stone in working or repairable order for historical demos.I'm in western NC but am willing to travel if the deal is sweet.If anyone has A lead please email me at, please put something about grinding stone in the title.Thanks
- David Burress - Thursday, 10/27/05 22:28:43 EDT

Christmas projects: Last year I was a big hit with some of the iforge projects. I gave door knockers, heart hooks and crosses (the bigger ones). My father loves the little drive hooks and everytime I get a bunch made up he comes over and takes them. I don't know what kind of gift they'd make but every one who sees them wants a bunch.I'm itching to do some fire place tools but I don't know any one with a fire place (that I give gifts to anyway). LOL, I made a set for myself but I don't have a fire place either!

The night before one of my blade making days a week or so ago my wife said "I want you to make me a paper towel holder and I want it tomarrow" LOL she was in the process of searching the kitchen for the role of paper towels that she knew was there someplace. I had a piece of half inch sq stock that I had put one of Bill Epp's horse heads on, just practicing. I didn''t like the way it came out so I was using that piece of stock for a handle when making pattern welded billets. Anyway, I dressed up the horse head and bent it over and it ended up looking pretty good. I tennoned the bar (upright) to piece of 3/8 inch round scrap (horizontal) and that to a horse shoe which I have plenty of and screwed it to the wall. She liked it so I'll bet others would too.

Mike Ferrara - Friday, 10/28/05 07:10:04 EDT

David B---what era of "historical" you doing? Don't want you to be steered to a post civil war variety if you are doing 1840's... I do Y1K myself...

(The earliest depiction we have of a round grindstone being used to sharpen a blade is from the 900's IIRC a drawing in the side of a book of the Devils and Angels getting ready to battle. The Devils are using to oldfashoned linear hone stone while the Angels are using the modern round grindstone being turned with a crank! You can see a copy of it in "Cathedral Forge and Waterwheel", Gies & Gies)
Thomas P - Friday, 10/28/05 11:42:57 EDT

pedal grinding stone: There appears to be a grinding stone here in warmsprings GA. I'm not sure its quite what you wan't, but its been sitting in a booth at the Antiques Unlimited Antique Mall for the last 10 months. The price tag says $50.00.
A discreption of it from my memmory is...
Its like a huge off-white grinding disk with a bar of iron in the middle of it. I ware size 14 mens boots, & I think...(my guesses are often wrong) the stone is both of my boots end-to-end (thats how long it is... I think).
I believe its... maybe 5" wide (thats the face of the stone).
I'll check this weekend if you wan't.
I'll post more info Monday, or Tuesday when I get back...
- packrat_red - Friday, 10/28/05 13:17:58 EDT

Anvil Hit-N-Run: Wouldn't it figure. I have been trying to save money for a double horn anvil. Today I was in a single lane to make a left hand turn into the gas station as I was on E. A guy behind me had to wait probably 15-20 minutes. He then became outraged that he now had to wait for me to make a left hand turn and was going crazy on his horn. On purpose he went over the line and took the mirror right off my car. He then tried to take off because of traffic i caught up. He wipes his badge out and starts going off on me trying to make it all my fault and making up a story for his road rage. I stated totally calm. I decided there was no point of calling our local police since they were probably tight with this fella and it would work aaginst me. Ofcoarse my mirror is the exspensive electronic type. I could have paid for 3/4 of a new anvil alone. I figured it would get all twisted around on me since this fella with a badge was crazy and the local cops are mostly dishonest and drug dealer. I am not saying all the police officers are bad. Our sherriff department is awesome. I new there was no point to do anything, but let the crazy guy go. He threatened me and the whole works. Pretty good since I can't use one leg and walk. I still could have whipped him, but stayed total calm-no point and making two wrongs. I am just mad now I can't get my anvil. Interesting story of the day.
burntforge - Friday, 10/28/05 14:52:49 EDT

Anvil hit-n-run: I forgot to mention he had to wait behind me first because the the school kids in their costumes were being processed across the road making a huge traffic jam. thinks happen. He told me I was just getting gas and some people need to be places and have things to do. Sorry I just left the hospital from my treatment for the day. Sorry I am sick and need to gas. You get the idea. There is a break in the road line to make a left into the station.
burntforge - Friday, 10/28/05 14:56:01 EDT

Burntforg'es encounter: P T Barnum said there is a sucker born every minute, and I think assholes must be born at 3 times that rate. But there is no use getting a permit and carying a gun, because they won't give You a permit to shoot the assholes. At least not in My state [Pa].
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 10/29/05 03:44:53 EDT

Takes a licking and I'm still ticking.

Hey BF how about a
- Timex - Saturday, 10/29/05 06:51:29 EDT

Pins in Shear: There has been some discussion in the "gurus Den" about pins loaded in shear. The shear strength of steel is about (.57 x the tensile strength). Yield strength or ultimate tensile strengths are what you usually find in hand books and catalogs. It is not common to find published shear strength data for common materials. Here's an example: a pin made of SAE 4140 at approximately Rc 34 having an ultimate tensile strength of 150,000 psi and a yield strength of 130,000 psi would have an ultimate shear strength of about 85,500 psi and a shear yield strength of about 74,100 psi. Quench Crack: you might shed a little more light on shear strength vs tensile strength. Jim C.
Jim C. - Saturday, 10/29/05 08:45:55 EDT

Burnt: That story make me angry. I am impressed with your self restraint. I would be in jail now. I hope you still get your anvil soon. I too would like a sq bick on my anvil - if I ever get a different one it will have a sq horn.
- adam - Saturday, 10/29/05 09:15:54 EDT

Oink!: Since we are on this topic :) Weather in N. New Mexico has turned cool. Mornings are often frosty with days in the 40's or 50's. Usually by this time, my annual struggle with dermatatitis on my palms takes a turn for the worse. Cracks in the skin of the palms make it hard to grip effectively. A while back there was a thread in this forum that discussed hand cleansers. One technique that was mentioned several times was "washing" one's hands with lard or petroleum jelly. Since then I have been cleaning my hands with lard (Snow Cap @ 57c per lb) and wiping clean with a paper towel. I wash with soap just once a day. This year the skin on my hands has stayed soft and supple. The little dragons that live in my palms are still there but they have each contracted to a small quiet spot in the center. Sure, my ancestors are spinning in their graves, but this wont be our first disagreement! :)

I know it seems like a small thing. Especially in light of the problems that afflict others around me, and on this forum, but hands are very important and this is a significant improvement in the quality of my life. Thank you!
- adam - Saturday, 10/29/05 10:27:45 EDT

Language: Please, everyone!~ Let's not forget that this forum is read by people of all ages, temperaments and locales, and moderate our language accordingly. I talk like a longshoreman (or a cop, funny thing) in my own shop, but here I try my best to keep it moderate. If I can do it with my habitual toilet mouth, I know all of you better-mannered folks can too. Thanks!
vicopper - Saturday, 10/29/05 11:53:07 EDT

Adam & Dave: Good Morning Guys
Thanks you made me feel much better about the situation.
I smell bacon roasting on an open coal fire...oink!... squeel!...oink! Ok Ok vicopper is right, but I just had to fun with him a little first. ;)
burntforge - Saturday, 10/29/05 12:14:36 EDT

Leg vise: I'm having some trouble with a leg vise I aquired. I cant seem to get it to open properly. If I pull on the jaws it opens just fine, and then it will close without any problems, but it won't reopen again. I took the whole thing apart and cleaned it up, so thats not the problem. Do I need to anneal and re-temper the spring, make a new one, or am I just wasting time? Thanks in advance for your help.
- John Thompson - Saturday, 10/29/05 16:54:17 EDT

John, Just take the spring out, give it a little more set and re-install. Normally these springs are not tempered very hard or are mild steel. Bending is not that difficult. Lack of spring force is usualy due to a little wear OR the spring having taken a set over a long period of time.
- guru - Saturday, 10/29/05 17:17:01 EDT

Leg vise: Do you have the vise mounted to a post or bench, John? The spring on a leg vise is held in proper orientation by the mounting boss, usually. If the wedges in the boss aren't set firmly, the spring will rock, canceling out its spring action.
vicopper - Saturday, 10/29/05 20:36:31 EDT

Slip roll: Was at nice demonstration today at the Mt.Vernon, IL blacksmith shop. A fellow was showing us how to make a kid sized antique Indy 500 racer, using sheet metal tools.

I also bought slip roll (I think this is what they're called....3 adjustable rollers with a crank for curling metal) at the tail gate sale. It has some light surface rust on the rollers. I'd like to take it apart & true up the rollers in my lathe. The 2 drive gears appear to be pressed onto the shafts of the rollers. Can anyone tell me if the gears will pull off with a gear puller? The only markings on it are a ship's anchor on each end casting.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Saturday, 10/29/05 21:40:04 EDT

Timex: Hi Timex
Glad to here from you. I hope you are getting better and are able to continue forging.
burntforge - Saturday, 10/29/05 21:40:57 EDT

Adam: I don't know if this will be of any help to you but it works for me. My fingers crack at the corners of the nails every winter. I use super glue on the cracks and they are usually healed in two days. It does not keep them from cracking again down the road, but it does bring relief fast. Gel type glue does not work as well as liquid. I got this tip out of The Climbers Bible back when I was doing alot of rock climbing.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 10/29/05 21:44:29 EDT

Leg Vise : Right now the vise is not mounted at all. I made new wedges for it and they sit in nice and tight. Tomorrow, I'll try bending the spring a little and see if that helps.
Thanks for the advice.
- John Thompson - Saturday, 10/29/05 22:25:08 EDT

Slip Rolls:
Good old slip rolls have rolls made of cast iron cast around a steel shaft. The gears are sometimes rough cast as part of the roll OR machined as part of the roll. If they do not have a shoulder or means of safely using a puller on them they were not designed to be removed if pressed on.

Hand polish off the rust. The porosity and a little rust create better friction for the rolls. They are also highly stressed and any reduction in diameter greatly reduces the device's capacity. Machining them, even only .010" is a disaster on small rolls less than 4" in diameter (most for sheet metal are only about 2").

The anchor is probably the trade mark of Yerkes & Plumb (now Plumb Tools I believe).
- guru - Sunday, 10/30/05 00:27:37 EDT

Leg Vise: Because the box and screw are straight and the jaw opens in a mild arc, there is very occasionally a binding in the eye of the movable jaw. This happened to me once on a large WW II vintage Columbian vise, and I had to weld a flange around the internal hole of the thrust washer as a support and lift.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 10/30/05 08:14:22 EST

pedal grinding stone...: I was wrong, as usual on my guesses.
The stone is 2-1/2" wide, & 1' in length.
It has a wooden block lodged in the squarehole in the center.
Theres a rod that runs through the wooden block with a wheel that has a trough that runs around the rim.
Its round/ no visable cracks.
Price tag says: $45.00
- packrat_red - Monday, 10/31/05 07:59:01 EST

Welder: So Hobart Stickmate AC/DC 235/160 from Denver. I originally ordered from Northern Tools but they gave me a song and dance. "Sure its in stock" "Then why havent you shipped yet", "Oh it'll ship tomorrow." Eventually I lose patience and want to cancel "Oh sir its just shipped we cant recall it!" Ive danced to this tune before ... now you wait two weeks for it to show up and then you can start all over again. Meanwhile they didnt have it in stock they are collecting orders until they are ready to turn around and order from Hobart etc. By the time I finished yelling at them and telling them what a sleazy outfit I thought they were, the truck had miraculously been turned around and my welder unloaded. Yeah, right. Then I found an outfit in Denver had one for $7 more than Northern - should be here Fri if they are on the up and up.

On the internet you never know. Anyone can talk a good game but you might be dealing with a dog. grrrrrr.....!
- forge/drum - Monday, 10/31/05 14:34:35 EST

Forge/Drum---like all the folks selling HF stuff on E-bay who don't even own it, they just hope someone will be stupid enough to pay more than the catalog price and then they will submitt an order to HF and have the stuff directly shipped to the "winner" pocketing the difference.

This annoys me only in that it clutters up the system to where it is hard for me to find the stuff I am interested in due to misleading key word padding in their listings.

Thomas P - Monday, 10/31/05 15:49:52 EST

forge and drum: hunh? apparently while incoherent with self righteous rage I failed to notice that some one had snuck in and changed my name to "forge/drum"
- adam - Monday, 10/31/05 18:12:47 EST

Mail order welder: I purchased my TIG welder from an eBay seller located in Indianapolis, IN. He was 1/3 the price of the dealer here (who sells at retail times 2.5) and he shipped almost immediately to my freight forwarder in charge for the shipping to FL. Not only that, but the guy answers his phone, provides helpful advice and no BS. I don't get a nickel from him, he isn't my brother-in-law and I'm not employed by him, but I WILL recommend him. The link is for his eBay store.
vicopper - Monday, 10/31/05 20:21:03 EST

Erratum: I purchased a MIG welder, not a TIG as previously posted. Gee, you'd think I would know the difference.
vicopper - Monday, 10/31/05 21:12:44 EST

Another anvil: Well, I did it again. I don't know that I needed another anvil but I ran across a guy right down the street with a Peter Right with what I think are weight markings 1,2,14... so 182 pounds? I gave 300 for it. I felt like it was a little too much but I don't know why given what new anvils are going for. The edges are banged up, a few chisle markes on the horn and it has the same slight sadle in it my other one had (you almost need a streight edge to see it. I had the other one ground but I won't do that to this one. Good rebound, good ring (I guess)and the horn is in better shape than my other one. Well, for better or worse it's mine now so I guess I'll pound some hot steel on it.
Mike Ferrara - Monday, 10/31/05 21:57:14 EST

forge master: I'm concidering using natural gas on a forgemaster. I was wondering if it will burn hot enough to weld and if there are any other significant differences to running with natural gas instead of propane.
- Bjorn - Monday, 10/31/05 23:48:01 EST

Welders: I bought my TIG at They're close enough to me that I picked up my welder there (after they had it shipped in from Miller). They were mostly a welder repair business with a few supplies on display in the front. Easy to deal with (at least they were 5 years ago), and their prices seem to be some of the lowest on the Web.
Mike B - Tuesday, 11/01/05 06:50:54 EST

Swayed Peter Wrights:
I do not know if it is because they used a better grade of wrought rather than scrap as did other makers OR they were a top brand bought by professionals and more heavily used with strikers but I have seen more Peter Wrights with more sway than any other brand.

Anvils made with scrap for bodies after the invention of bulk steel may have a significant percentage of steel in the their bodies thus making them more resistant to swaying than the 100% wrought iron bodies. It is possible that PW in trying to make a superior product failed to recognize this. On the other hand, many old anvils with broken bodies indicate that the welding of the scrap was poorly done. Like all welds they would had more inclusions using dirty iron or steel. The body breaks clearly show these unwelded surfaces. So the 100% wrought body was less likely to break but was more likely to become swayed. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 11/01/05 08:05:13 EST

Natural Gas:
NG forges run the same temperatures or a little higher than propane. However, it is a small molecule and is delivered at lower pressure. This means significantly larger orifices are needed in NG burners.

Forge Master will be glad to answer specific questions about NG conversion.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/01/05 08:25:42 EST

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