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Virtual Hammer-In!

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October 2007 Archive

"Blacksmith Equipment For Sale":: 25 LB. Little Giant Power Hammer

165 LB. Hay-Budden Horseshoers’ anvil

125 LB. Trenton Horseshoers’ anvil

135 LB. Trenton Horseshoers’ anvil

Buffalo Forge (cast) comes with Vulcan tuyere, #200 hand blower, and electric blower

Several Firepots, Buffalo, and Champion, some new
Several Blowers- Champions’# 400 and Buffalos’

Many parts for Forges, Blowers and miscellaneous items, to numerous to mention.

Several Blacksmiths Leg Vices, one is 180 LB.

Approx., 2 ton 1/4x1/2 & 1/4x7/16 Flat C1035 bar steel

Note: All items are of exceptional quality and are in as good a condition as any I have seen.

Northern Il. area
Donna - Monday, 10/01/07 17:54:06 EDT

Penmanship (a very sexist word sice most women do it better), Handwriting:
It takes practice. When making drafting drawings the lettering is thoughtfully DRAWN, not written. It makes a big difference. The same technique can be applied to all hand writing.

In school I preferred printing in all CAPS (like on bluprints) which drove my teachers crazy. But they got used to it. At least my double spaced print was easier to read than many other students scratchings. I had an English teacher complain that capitalization was part of the course so I made my capitals about 30% bigger thus creating an all caps font.

I HAD learned script in the 3rd grade but had not used it afterwards. I started using it again in high school when I was writing love letters to my wife to be. I did this because it was smoother and faster. However, I had not written in script in so long that I had to think about each character, then practiced for a while. Over the years I had picked up some original characters that looked good and I added them to the standard. When I started using it again my script was much better than it had ever been before and was quite nice if I say so myself. But it took some practice.

When I stopped writing love letters it was back to printing for work making engineering drawings. While many will say my technical printing is very good it is in fact quite mediocre. But it is dense (dark), clean, neat and legible. Not nearly as good as my father's who's is excellent.

Since school I would use script only when writing checks and it was still fairly good. However, it has been over 20 years since I started doing most of my writing on the PC and 15 years since I did any hand drafting. When I write by hand now it is only notes for my self when on the phone or in the car and often I cannot read my own. . . So both my script and printing have gone down the drain. However, I do so little of either that I have no strongly ingrained poor writing habits. SO, if I was forced to I could probably train myself again and write poetry, that novel or future love letters by hand in a very clean script. But that is a very low probability.

Those who write a lot and in a hurry develop bad habits and get very sloppy if not just down right lazy. For some prime examples of this just look in old court record books and deed books where everything was permanently recorded by hand. Over time many clerks handwriting devolved into a big swoop identifiable as a capital and a lot of little mostly unidentifiable swoops. The surprising thing is that much of it can still be read (with effort).
- guru - Monday, 10/01/07 12:45:53 EDT

Rob; I got a chance to forge on the S1 yesterday. It was reasonable under a hammer---I did use the upper end of my handsledges though, a bit tougher than mild steel.

The ASM handbook suggested an oil quench followed by tempering at a fairly high range compared to many knives; I ran it a bit above 450degF and plan to use the forge to temper from the top down a bit higher when I get a chance---(never! leave a hardened object un tempered if it needs it, the ASM hand books said 15 to 30 min between hardening and tempering for S1) The ASm also said not to do a normalization step.

I haven't had a chance to try it yet but I have high hopes.

Thanks again!

Note one marketing play is to have an exhibit of tools made from them so people can see what other's have made/use them for. I'll try to get a picture of the marking chisel I made to you but it may be thanksgiving before my daughter is home with the digital camera.

Thomas P - Monday, 10/01/07 12:59:23 EDT

Digital cameras: You know, digital cameras are not really an essential to digital photography: Use your good old film camera, and have the photofinisher scan it on to CD-R. You don't even have to have the photos printed, just develop and scan. For internet purposes Wal-Mart's medium resolution scan works pretty well.

I have a friend who has become quite something of a digital photography aficionado who still uses his (rather large) collection of Nikon "F" cameras exclusively: Back in the '80s he picked up enough of 'em to be reasonably sure he would have a lifetime supply.
John Lowther - Monday, 10/01/07 15:01:01 EDT

Rob's punches: Thomas,

Before I went off to QS, I grabbed one of them and forged a quick slitter. I then stuck it back in the forge and shut it down to anneal. When I got back from QS, I discovered it, still in the forge.

I ground an edge on it and tested it, in the annealed condition, on a piece of 1/8 by 1 flat bar. I drove the slitter through the flat bar, *cold*, with no loss of edge at all. That is some nice S-1! I think I'll probably try it on some hot stock to see how it holds up on that, too. If it does as well on hot as it does on cold, I doubt that I'll bother heat treating it, at least for most of my punches, slitters and top tools.
vicopper - Monday, 10/01/07 17:03:25 EDT

Digital Conversion:
Digital photos direct from the camera have a lot of depth that scans do not have. The digital photo is more akin to the negative where a lot more can be drawn out into a print. A scan is more like a print where only a narrow range of the possibilities of the negative are recorded.

That said, there are scanners and there are scanners. Super high resolution scans of negatives and slides can produce very good images. But a scan of any print can do no more than reproduce the print. The really good scanners to do professional work are still very expensive machines. Meanwhile you can get a top of the line digital camera quite reasonably and even some of the cheaper cameras produce very good results and cost less than buying and having a dozen rolls of film processed.

THEN, you have the problem that many places that process color film do a lousy job. I've had many rolls of film wrecked by the discount processors (light leaks, bad processing, cutting into the image area. . .). Simply not replacing the developer often enough or maintaining the exacting temperatures needed for accurate color is a huge problem among labs. I finally learned my lesson and took ALL my color film and slides to Kodak.

When you take digitals you avoid bad labs, you avoid film and processing costs and, you avoid the processing time.

THEN. . IF you are really cheap. A $30 "web cam" with microscopic lens will take reasonable 640x480 images under good light and properly focused. THEN. . . there are cell phones that take pictures (even if you do not want the feature). Mine does but I have NO IDEA how to get the images out so I just delete them when I accidentally hit the photo button.
- guru - Monday, 10/01/07 17:38:38 EDT

Why should I buy a camera when my daughter will be home "soon enough"? (Nope I don't own a camera of either type or even a cell phone) I guess I could go out and start carving a wood cut of it...

Thomas the "luddite"
Thomas P - Monday, 10/01/07 19:04:52 EDT

Luddites: Hmmmm would a luddite even acknowledge the computer and internet use....never mind use one
- Mark Parkinson - Monday, 10/01/07 20:27:56 EDT

Punches: Thanks for the updates guys! I'm not able to work on any myself so it puts a smile on my face knowing SOMEONE is using them.

I think I'm going to try to run to my storage unit this week to pull the ram from my flypress. I need to find a local machine shop that can bore the holder out to 1" dia. (or allow me to use thier machines to do it myself....not going to hold my breath on that happening)

can anyone think of a reason to NOT bore it out to 1"? its currently either 13/16" or 15/16" I forget which. When I served my tool and diemaker apprenticeship all our flypresses and kick presses had the same odd ball tooling shanks. I never could get an explanation why it wouldnt be a round number like 3/4" or 1"

I'd be happy to hear any experiences from people who bought some at quadstate. (both good and bad)
- Rob Barnett - Tuesday, 10/02/07 00:25:48 EDT

Bad Quad-State experience, not going. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 10/02/07 11:06:41 EDT

So I'm an eclectic eccentric lollygagging luddite of ludicrous mien---where is Gilbert and Sullivan when you need them?

Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/02/07 11:07:16 EDT

Rob; I'm going to see if I can fit a punch to my screwpress to use for lining sq stock before twisting.
Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/02/07 11:08:42 EDT

Upon the compressor and handwritting: T30: Went to the local electrical supply store (the real one, not Menards) and the guy was able to hook me up with a 5hp extreme duty motor (designed for BIG grain bin fans, etc.) He took the 3ph Baldor in trade, and I ended up with the motor for a mere 150 buckaroos! Including the price of wiring, conduit, etc. from Menards, I am STILL well under 1/4 the price of a new T30!
He also pretty well guaranteed that this motor had at least the same duty rating as the 7.5hp. He's always known what he was talking about in the past, so I took his word that this should be a direct pull and replace situation. If the motor does end up being underpowered, he had a 7.5hp single phase that he'd charge me another additional 100 dollars on, but it needs new bearings and a little work so wasn't ready on hand... so the saga continues.

Handwritting: After learning cursive script in the second grade, I pretty well took to mimicking my dad's handwriting. He has beautiful artistic handwriting, unfortunately it isn't always legible unless you're used to reading it.
Then in 6th grade I ran into a somewhat senile older lady who taught reading and spelling. I swear she sat at night with a set of digital calipers and precision measured our handwriting exercises. If they didn't meet the standards of the workbooks to with .001", we failed..... so now i just print everything out. Easy to read, easy to write, problem solved.
thesandycreekforge - Tuesday, 10/02/07 11:38:56 EDT

Punch Shanks:
1" is a very common size for most American tools but every size machine and manufacturer pretty much does their own thing. I use a lot of 1" because that is what my little 4 ton punch press uses AND my first dieset of my hydraulic press used AND I have quite a bit of 1" shank tooling on hand. . . I have numerous punches purchased from Roper-Whitney that are larger and smaller than 1" with 1" shanks.

The 3/4" receiver hole on the small punch presses can and has been bored out by a number of folks. The trick is to do a good job boring (not drilling) so that a hardened 1" shank is a nice easy slip fit into the hole which should be about .003 to .005" oversize.

It is good to have as much interchangeable tooling in your shop as possible. This is a good size to go with.

- guru - Tuesday, 10/02/07 12:34:35 EDT

Scans & luddites: When a photofinisher scans a negative, you skip the considerable degradation in making a photochemical print. (This is particularly severe with color print material which can't handle much contrast.) For that matter, nowadays most photofinishers print exclusively from scans, whether or not you ask them to scan the negatives.

Anything non-replicable I take to the professional lab, and not all at once at that, but for family snaps and product shots, the local Wal-mart hasn't screwed up too bad lately.

BTW I understand there are a few professional labs which will scan your negatives on a 36 bit, 8K pixels per inch drum scanner, resulting in a 7,740x11,610 resolution from a 35mm, that's about an 89 megapixel image. That will resolve the individual grains of the finest grained films. (Which you can then interpolate and smooth in the Gimp or Photoshop.)

I've been tempted by some of the high end digital Canons, but it'd cost not only the $3K for the body, but several kilobucks more for a new set of lenses. I hate having to pop a flash just to take a picture, so I use f:1.4 a LOT, which lets out getting just one general-purpose zoom. Hmmm, I wonder if juried shows are still demanding actual slides, or have they started preferring digital slide shows of some sort. My new LCD screen's reproduction rivals projected Kodachrome when the digital image is up to snuff. . .

Luddites: Late in the last century there was a rather intriguing magazine called _Plain_, published by the Center for Plain Living, who sponsored the "Second Luddite Congress" back in the '90s. Most of the contributers to the magazine were Amish or other conservative Anabaptists. Towards the end of its run they obtained an old hand fed flat-bed newspaper press and were printing the majority of the magazine with hand set type. They Seems like they folded in '97 or '98. I wonder what became of them? I've seen that the editor, Scott Savage has a couple of books out, as does contributor David Kline, but. . .
John Lowther - Tuesday, 10/02/07 12:43:59 EDT

Juried Shows: John L.
I entered 2 juried shows in college with a little helicopter sculpture I made out of an old furnace blower fan (take a good look at one sometime, the form will almost pop right out at you!). Both shows were aimed at the advanced high school/college level work, and both listed hi-res digital scans as preferred submission method, with slides being the second preference. Yep, the art world is going digital, me thinks.
-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Tuesday, 10/02/07 13:28:53 EDT

Addendum : Sorry should read "high-res digital files." Got my work life mixed up with real life again :)
-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Tuesday, 10/02/07 13:38:58 EDT

Esisting Light Photography:
I did a LOT of that with my old Olympus f1.4 50mm lens (one of the biggest pieces of glass you ever saw). I bought a good friend an f1.2 Olympus lens. . . even bigger. I took thousands of slides with that camera. The photo at the top of this page and of me on the guru's den were taken with it. The one above under a 100 watt light bulb hand held at about 1/15 second. The one on the guru's den was a 2.5 second timed exposure.

My first digital was a 1.4Megapixel Olympus. It was the only SLR digital on the market. Cost $1,500 and was a dog. Maximum of 640x480 and 99 images on an 8Mb chip. Hard on batteries and the autofocus did not work in low light or low contrast. But it DID produce photos for anvilfire for 7 years. My son has it now.

I replaced the Olympus with a Nikon D70 with a wide range zoom lens. With a new padded bag to fit, an extra battery and two 512k memory chips it cost less than the Olympus. Takes great pictures. I use it most often with the flash turned OFF and it will take photos in just about as low of light as my old Olympus film camera. You can also tell it to push the exposure by giving it a film equivalent of ASA 1600 which I have never played with. I could probably do a lot more with it than I do if I studied the technical bits. The battery lasts forever. The camera often sets for weeks turned on with draining the battery.

The difference in these two cameras is 7 years of the digital revolution. As the Megapixels increase so does light sensitivity. Lenses do not need to be nearly as big as they were in the film days. I still miss a lot of the features of my manual Olympus but not the expense and hassle of film.
- guru - Tuesday, 10/02/07 14:06:34 EDT


Digital calipers in 6th grade -- you must be younger than I am (grin).
Mike BR - Tuesday, 10/02/07 17:12:52 EDT

Mike BR,
My almost 16 year old ran a mini CNC turning center in school in a class called Job and Home. The turning center was loaded with a tiny robot. The kids input a program that was printed out, and ran the piece and then made measurements with a digital caliber and then made offsets till in spec. She thought it was pretty cool, but found the digital calibers
- ptree - Tuesday, 10/02/07 18:05:14 EDT

Odd had a full post..
The little one found the digitals uncool as she has used verniers for a fair while now in my shop.
- ptree - Tuesday, 10/02/07 18:06:43 EDT

I wonder if juried shows are still demanding actual slides, or have they started preferring digital slide shows of some sort.: John,
Bazzart in Regina started accepting digital images this year. When I applied at the SCC Gallery in 2002 for a 2003 show I was the first person to use digital images, it did cause some consternation amoung the committee. I think most of the applications I see now prefer digital over slides.
JimG - Tuesday, 10/02/07 18:38:27 EDT

Aron - motor: Be sure to check the full load amperage draw [when the compressor is near cutout pressure] and see how it compaires to the spec plate amperage. If You don't have an amprobe, get one from Harbor Frieght. This has nothing to do with duty rating [service factor], at the same RPM 7.5 HP produces 50% greater torque than 5 HP, now way around that. You can excede the rated load by the service factor on the motor tag, but not continuously.
- Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 10/03/07 00:37:02 EDT

Verniers and Related: I just ordered parts to repair and old 20" K&E slide rule. While I do not use it anymore, it is a great old piece of history. Something the two most recent generations know little or nothing about. Remember when every photo of every engineering office or desk and all the consoles at NASA had slide rules prominently displayed. . . It was not that long ago but it was definitely the end of an era.

Verniers still have their place. They are still a very cost effective accurate method of measurement. I have a 40" Starrett that would cost a good pile of coins to replace with an electronic unit.

I also do not trust the electronic linear resistance scales. We have a digital height gauge in the the shop that I have seen rattling off digits while holding perfectly still. . . If the batteries are not absolutely fresh it goes berserk.

Mechanical digital micrometers are another thing altogether. More .025" mistakes have been made misreading standard micrometers than from any thing else and it is not unusual for an experianced machinist to make this mistake.

But like the slide rule, standard micrometers and vernier scales are fading fast.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/03/07 01:34:34 EDT

Jock; I once read on old science fiction story where all the calculations were done on a motorized sliderule that filled an airplane hanger to get the accuracy needed for spaceflight. No when I read SF from that period I just mentally translate sliderule to pocket calculator in my mind.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/03/07 10:52:14 EDT

At one time I had the opportunity to haul away one of those class room sized slide rules that was about eight feet long. . . I passed on it. A K&E. I THINK at the time I had some feminine help passing on it. I do remember looking at it and thinking that it was a shame that it was not made with any finer scale than the 10" slide rule that it was used teach about.

For a modest trade I could get a 14 FOOT long vernier caliper. . . It was one of a pair custom made by one of the smaller instrument companies. Not sure for what. Very difficult to use something that big. Unless the air temperature is exactly the same as when calibrated then it would be no more accurate than a tape measure, maybe less.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/03/07 18:15:08 EDT

Slide rule & stuff: My 7th grade math teacher ['71-'72] was a slide rule fan, He had one of those 20" jobs. Only about 1 year later all the geeks had a Texas Instruments TI-30 hanging from thier belt. When I started My apprenticeship the instructor at night school told Us to buy calculators, and preferably ones with trig functions. They still taught the use of the trig tables & interpolation, but said these excersizes were on the way out. Acurate measurement on anything You might need a 14' caliper for is going to be temperature dependant, work temperature as well as tool temperature. In the auto frame plant We used precision scales, 12" standards, guage blocks and a depth mike for measuring long parts, all lined up along a straightedge. The work was steel, and all the measuring tools were steel too. The rules,standards, and blocks became the same temperature as the work from lying on it.
- Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 10/03/07 23:05:55 EDT

Temperatures and Measurement:
In most cases the ambient temperature has so little effect on measurements that we ignore it. As Dave noted as long as everything is the same temperature then accuracy is still maintained even if shop temperatures are not uniform.

Where things get dicey is on big parts that must be precision fits and care to normalize work and tool temperature is not taken. We had a large 40" inside diameter gear come in that would not fit the pilot on the hollow shaft it was supposed to fit. The gear was made in Florida in the summer time and the shaft in Oregon in the winter. There was just enough difference that the parts did not fit and we had to grind the fit on the gear. . . Calculations showed that it was probably temperature related.

In the famous Space Shuttle disaster it turned out that neither Morton-Thiacol nor NASA had a way to accurately measure the 17 foot diameter fit between the solid state booster and nozzle assembly. The problem with big parts like this is that you can stretch them on the machine they are made on and they don't measure right as soon as they are taken off the machine. They are also so flexible they distort so that you can measure them in 10 places and get 10 different answers. Imagine what sun shining on half of a part like this does to the shape. .

The answer to this problem was fairly simple once they decided that there were no excuses for not doing it right. A rotating device was setup inside the part with a measurement probe and the part was measured and recorded in thousands of places using a PC. The true circumference was the result which could be converted to diameter. The average of the measurements should have also matched the calculated result so you had two checks. This and a way to make a molded o-ring to fit were both found within a year of the disaster.

Often excuses are made to technical problems (it can't be done) that simply need the will to solve.
- guru - Thursday, 10/04/07 11:31:44 EDT

Guru, On the failure of the booster on the shuttle, I believe the root cause was a failed O-ring joint. They also used an ablative putty inside the joint as I recall. I remember at the time looking at the joint design and thinking the guys that wrote the seal design portion of the Parker seal group manual would have marked that joint as "not acceptable" The real issue is that the engineers knew the joint was an issue, and had placed a low temp limit for use. The seal material would NEVER stand up to the gas temp of the burning fuel. They kept nibbling at the lower limit, and the joint failed when the ambiant temp was low enough.
There were a couple of engineers on the launch site that tried to stop the launch as I recall as they knew of the issue.
ptreeforge - Thursday, 10/04/07 19:14:45 EDT

Shuttle seal failure: One of the problems they identified is that they could not reliably prove the tolerances were met. The probability is that they WERE but it could not be proved by inspection after the parts were removed from the machining fixtures. So when asked if they could say that X part met the design criteria the answer was NO. Not the right answer. Being forced to take the question seriously they found a way.

We often agree to avoid certain questions because we don't want the answer or know that there is no good answer. In this case there was a fairly simple technical solution (for the measurement). But often the answer is, "you don't want to know".

Same with the glued joint in the o-ring. These are used every day but the seal people will admit that the joint is always the place they will fail IF they fail. Removing the joint removed one failure possibility. Was it worth the difference in cost? Who knows? However, if the cost was that we would stop traveling in space and maybe never return to the moon again then the answer is YES.

NASA is not perfect. People are not perfect. But sometimes that lack of perfection is the pressuring of people to do things faster or cheaper than they should. . . NASA BELIEVED the Hubble lens manufacturers that they could make a perfect lens, that it was all mathematics. KODAK said they would have to build TWO lenses, one for the telescope, another similarly sized to TEST the former. The low bidder got the job, Hubble was a joke and a NASA failure for many years. Isn't it great they they could fix it! But I hate to trust critical things to the low bidder. . .
- guru - Thursday, 10/04/07 22:55:45 EDT

Metal Techniques for Craftsmen by Oppi Untracht: The copy of _Metal Techniques for Craftsmen_ by Oppi Untracht I ordered a while back finally turned up in the mail box today. What a fabulous book! It will take months to digest this treasure trove of information.

Thanks for putting me onto this book, Great Guru & vicopper.

Seeing (on the review page) that the price of the current printing is $71 makes me feel a lot better about giving $35 for a book with a dust jacket price of $19.95. . .
John Lowther - Friday, 10/05/07 00:21:32 EDT

Metal Techniques for Craftsmen: John, I think I found a deal on a used copy as well but it is definitely worth the list price. It was not available new (from Artisan Ideas) when I purchased it. You quickly find why Rich is constantly referring to it.

While blacksmithing books are important in our craft I think the technical books are the money makers. Welding, machine work, finishing, materials references.
- guru - Friday, 10/05/07 09:58:54 EDT

Dang now smithing is going to lose John to Bidri work!
(an inlay process done on zinc in a couple of villages in India that _Metal Techniques for Craftsmen_ has a write up on. It truly has a lot of info---sort of an introduction to all the Metal Techniques that a Craftsmen might get involved with. I've had a copy for about 25 years now and still like to wander through it learning stuff I will never do!
Thomas P - Friday, 10/05/07 11:42:24 EDT

". . .learning stuff I will never do!": Well, you can never tell when odd bits of information that had no use to you whatsoever when you picked them up, will find themselves merged into a brilliant insight as to how to do something new. . .

As for losing me to Bidri work, I've always been a generalist, futzing with stuff ranging from agricultural equipment to clocks. Nevermind programing, writing, photography, music and dance. . .

I'm 51 and I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. . . if I grow up.
John Lowther - Friday, 10/05/07 14:34:47 EDT

Cross Discipline Techniques:
There are lots of techniques and tools that cross over from one narrow discipline to another. I had always thought I was an imaginative user of tools then one day I opened the Anvils Ring to an article on using hand held air hammers for hot iron sculpture. I was stupefied. I had the air compressor, the air chisels and had used them regularly during my days as a mechanic. There they lay in my tool chest and I had never thought to pull them out and use them. . . I MIGHT have done a lot more sculptured pieces if I had tried it.

They sell thrumming cord to jewelers and sewing machine repairmen. I had never seen it until I saw an industrial sewing machine tech polish the hole in a needle plate with some. I described it here and VIcopper named it. . . I have since found a supplier and bought two rolls of different grades and divided them up for the sewing room and for my machinists tool chest. In the past I had done this task using twisted strips of Wet-or-Dry sand paper. . . Not a very good method but it worked in a pinch. The thrumming cord is wonderful stuff!

THEN there are the ingenious or outrageous uses of tools in your shop. In his techniques video the late Dave Manzer takes a feather he has just forged and while it is still at a low red heat trims it using his Beverly Shear! WHO would have thought to use a cold shear on hot work? It is fast so the heat doesn't damage the blades and the work so soft that at full capacity or more the shear just falls through the piece like it is clay.

I use my big bench vises as presses for bearings including universal joints. The well lubricated screw is more than powerful enough and has much better feedback than hydraulics. Pressing in a bearing is like using your bare fingers but with great controllable strength. Bending jigs can also be setup to use in a vice. This is a lot like using a flypress for the applications that do not need so high a force or as fast of operation.

Good blacksmiths use EVERY surface of their anvil as the need arises. Some of the old European anvils had a completely flat back so they cold be tipped on their side and "church windows" used like forms in a swage block. This was a design for much more flexible use that has been lost in modern anvils.

Scrapers of all sorts are used across disciplines but are not considered a key tool by many.

In a machine shop I watched a fellow use babbitt to fill the gap at the back of a broach bushing in an oversize hole. He melted it on an ancient gas stove that had a teapot setting on the back burner. He poured the babbitt, broached the keyway, and handed me the still warm gear all in a couple minutes. The technique was ingenious but having the kitchen stove in the middle of a machine shop was something else. . .

When we retired our kitchen stove we put it in the welding shop. The stove top gets used for melting babbitt, the oven for heating parts to be shrunk and to soften Plexiglass for forming. While the the oven is not hot enough to calcine molds it is a good first stage in drying before transferring molds to a hotter calcining furnace. Both the oven and the stove top can be used for tempering and preheating parts for welding. And you can always boil water or toast a grilled cheese sandwich. . .

What do you do with nylon slings when they get grease soaked and filthy? Wash them in your washing machine!

I recently came by a book press (I need a larger one if you have it). I found it works great for laminating verniers into plywood for musical instrument details. Who knows what else.

Do you have a cross-over technique.
- guru - Friday, 10/05/07 19:19:30 EDT

A cross over technique, that I suspect Vicopper uses as well. In jewelery making most filing is done at the bench, with the part held in the fingers, on a file post. I learned it as a Filenoggin in German. It is a wooden block with a Vee cut in it. it is fastened to the high bench, at about shoulder height when seated. One cuts notchs etc to hold the particular part. The wood block is expendable, and easly replaced. For fine work like sawing and filing of tricky or delicate parts, nothing better.
I also learned to silver solder on a charcoal block, and often use a light insulating brick and a tourch to heat small parts for forging.
ptreeforge - Friday, 10/05/07 19:33:19 EDT


Oh yea, verily! I use crossover techniques form all sorts of differing disciplines all the time. When asked what I do, I generally refer to myself as a Renaissance man, as I do a bit of everything, and only rarely call myself a master of one or two.

The item Jeff refers to is called a "bench pin" in English, and I have three or four of them in various place around the shop. I also use them in a vertical orientation for heavy filing at times, as they provide a secure backup for parts and don't get in the way.

I use a fancy Rockwell scroll saw designed for fine woodworking to cut metal all the time. In fact, I bought it originally to cut metal letters for my sign shop. It has a variable speed DC motor and will do as few as four strokes a minute, and it will take jeweler's saw blades.

I use thrumming cords, needle files, gravers and such from jewelry work for my blacksmithing. I use Coors pyroceramic laboratory ware for low-temp crucibles and melting ladles. I use a variation of a potter's wheel for turning pieces while welding. I use air chisel guns for driving monkey tools on large tenons, for setting rivets, and for other forging uses. I also use a large square-shank air chisel as an "engraver-on-steroids" for trimming welds, engraving lines and chasing grooves, as well as for rough repousse work in steel. A great tool!

I use a pipe threading machine for twisting and also for turning pipe for welding. Stoves have already been mentioned, but did you know that a stove with a self-cleaning oven will get hot enough to calcine molds? It will. You can also take the elements and controls out of an electric stovetop and make a perfectly serviceable kiln for burnouts.

Artist's china white is a good marker for hot steel. Yellow ochre will keep solder from going where you don't want it. Lead-free solder is a fine substitute for babbit if you're caught short. Babbit makes a pretty fair hammer for beating on polished, blued surfaces without damaging them (learned from S&W gunsmiths school). Prussian blue is good for keeping your friend's welding goggles from sticking to his face (joke!).

A Sawzall with the right blade is a joy for pruning trees, particularly citrus and other nasty hard woods. You can thaw frozen pipes with a buzzbox, you can cook French bread pizza in a gas forge, and a propane torch is wonder in the kitchen for browning creme brule and meringue.

There a lot more, but they only come to mind when I need them.

vicopper - Friday, 10/05/07 20:21:17 EDT

Another couple: A table saw is a fine tool for cutting up brass and aluminum plate, and a circular saw will do it too, if you don't mind a million hot little chips flying all over.

A husky Porter-Cable router with a carbide bit will take 1x2 bronze bar and turn it into nicely profiled handrail cap, but there come those hot chips again.

Having trouble visualizing where the raising stake is under that metal? Mount a small laser pointer on the ceiling and aim it right at the impact point. Insert metal and hit the red dot. Voila! Same for veining into a vee block, or planishing on a mushroom stake.

Need to flatten a big piece of warped plate steel? Try renting a "jumping jack" earth rammer. It will shake the fillings out of your teeth, but it will do a lot of straightening, too. Wear ear protection. People three blocks away will be cringing, believe me!
vicopper - Friday, 10/05/07 20:29:44 EDT

And...: I use a cement mixer for tumbling small forged parts to remove scale. Same cement mixer is good for mixing potting soil, castable refractory and probably bread dough, too. Let me know how the dough comes out.
vicopper - Friday, 10/05/07 20:31:12 EDT

Circular saw & metal-- I used my B&D worm drive with a metal-cutting blade to cut some corrugated roofing a while back, as I have done a jillion times. Only this time somethingwas different. There was thick smoke curling out ofthe saw's retractable guard after I set it down. Turned out the guard was packed with old sawdust and a spark had ignited it. Good thing I hadn't put it back in the shop next to something combustible before I noticed the smoke. Now I have a dedicated metal-cutting circular saw.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 10/05/07 21:27:08 EDT

Miles, I used my hand-held belt sander on steel without removing the dust collection bag once. The bag doesn't collect dust too well with two holes burned in it.

VICopper uses his air chisel for setting rivets. I had a friend one time who was in aircraft mechanic school. I pulled out my muffler gun, and he said "what are you going to do with that rivet gun." Sometimes it's hard to figure out which way something's crossed over.
Mike BR - Saturday, 10/06/07 07:33:37 EDT

Vicoppers Note on air tools to cut welds and such, reminds me that when I scrapped out the boiler shop there were crates and crates of big air hammers. They were the big boys and had been used to gouge out welds, and to CUT rivets, as well as to head them. These were big rivets on boilers, 1" and up.
Across over sorta is to use a needle gun designed to remove flux from stick welds to texture. Use a big needle gun on yellow steel and you get a deep interesting texture. Again a hearing protection requirement.
As for the disposition of the air tools... Most were scrap, worn out. But many ended up in home shops:)
ptreeforge - Saturday, 10/06/07 09:11:06 EDT

This is what is so fascinating about accidents. They are ventures truly accidental in going awry-- but obviously doomed in the mirror of hindsight. i've done that with a table saw, too. Scary to be so challenged, ain't it? It's a wonder we are still on the planet.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 10/07/07 00:04:46 EDT

I am looking at selling an anvil. I have a Trenton 155lb with #8068 on it it has the extra flat area on the horn. Is it cast or wrought? What is it worth? Located in Stratford ON Can.
- Mike C - Sunday, 10/07/07 11:59:27 EDT

Trenton Anvil: See guru's den. You don't need to post questions on both forums.
- guru - Sunday, 10/07/07 12:15:57 EDT

More Cross Over and odd applications:
Those hand held air hammers are also used for repousse' in thicknesses up to heavy plate (hearing protection ABSOLUTELY required). The stone carving industry sells little air hammers in many increments from little pen sizes and palm sizes to big two handed models. All could be applied to metal work as well.

For many purposes you need durable non-metallic containers. Good Pyrex and Corel type glass ware and ceramics are the best containers for small acid baths like Sparex and for bluing. Enameled (ceramic glazed) metalware used to be recommended for this but it is not as common as it used to be AND the slightest chip will rapidly become a hole when used for acids.

Just don't let the wife know you are bluing your gun parts in her favorite souffl dish. Better yet, buy one for the shop.

Paper cutters, while designed for paper are great for cutting shim stock, copper and brass. Don't cut stainless as it will rapidly dull the blade. They also work on wood vernier and thin plastics.

IF you are careful not to overload the gears a back geared lathe can twist small bar stock. The chuck and floating carriage are key to the process. I think someone noted above that pipe threaders are used for twisting. I've seen miles of 1/2" stock twisted with an old pipe threader.

A lathe can be used like a drill press and a drill press like a lathe. However, these are inefficient uses.

A drill press OR an electric drill can be used to mix paints and clay slip. A big long Allen wrench (hex key) makes a good stirrer.

Drill presses can also be used to hold a grinding wheel, sanding drums and polishing wheels. Sanding drums are thought of by most as woodworking tools but they work well on metal as well.

DO NOT use a drill press for heavy pressing as the rack and gears are not heavy enough. However, a drill press is heavy enough for light pressing including operating small punching tools such as for gaskets and shims.

Yes, I've done all the above with a drill press.

Old treadle sewing machine bases are good for operating small machinery such as locksmith/jeweler/hobby size lathes, flexible shafts and small, buffing and grinding equipment.

More specialized Auto-Body tools are sold today than repousse' and silversmiths' tools and are basically the same. The hand held dollies can be shank mounted for stationary or bench work.

While it was commonly done 200 years ago people forget that a carpenter's brace can also be used to drill metal. You are just limited by the bite you can take and constant pressure is required. I've drilled hole up to 9/16" in 1/8" steel with a brace when another drill was not available.

A variety of hand held deburring tools are sold to machinists that are very handy in the blacksmith and welding shop.

Precision tool magnetic bases with the on/off button are handy for all kinds of things in the welding shop. I have one with a brass holder to hang my TIG torch on. The bracket is brass so that it does not get hot from the high frequency magnetic field. I have seen the same used to hold a large welding filter rather than use a helmet or hand held.

Of course some cross over works both ways. I've heard more than one wife say she would have a walnut Gerstner tool chest for a jewelery box before her husband could have one to put tools in. . . Maybe if she knew the precision tools cost MORE than her jewelery. . . hmmmmm maybe NOT TELL.

- guru - Sunday, 10/07/07 13:43:10 EDT

51---John I hadn't realized you were sold *old*! I don't turn 51 for nearly another 2 months!

I recently picked up a large pyrex baking pan for etching patternwelded item in---it never made it to the shop. My wife latched onto it for cooking for potlucks and other large group dinners. Oh well it only cost me $1 at the thrift store.

DO NOT MIX FOOD PREPARATION AND SHOP ITEMS! So we have dedicated dyeing cookware, dedicated metalshop cookware, dedicated camping cookware and even dedicated cooking cookware---it's sort of like keeping a Kosher kitchen twice over and spread around the homeplace.

Thomas P - Sunday, 10/07/07 15:18:15 EDT

Thomas is right and I should have mentioned that. Almost anything you do with strong chemicals and acids is going to leave heavy metal residue on the items. . .

Boiling water (without parts in it) is about the only safe cross boundry in this area.

- guru - Sunday, 10/07/07 23:00:49 EDT

Cross Over: Retired, rusted muffin pans (due to rust) are good for sorting hardware. Not too good for storage but do work for keeping batches of small hardware in an assembly process.

One of those calibrated Pyrex measuring cups is handy in the shop (lab) if you can keep it safe from breaking (as with all glass in the metal shop). The high temperature candy thermometers are also good for keeping an eye on the oil quench. Oil heats rapidly and you need to stay well below the flash point.

Similar to the pyrex measuring cup are dark room calibrated liquid measures (graduated cylinders or beakers). As digital is rapidly replacing film more and more of this equipment will be available. If you get heavy into etching, bluing and metal coloring then many odd laboratory tools find a place in the shop.

Platform scales are handy for the shop and are also the only accurate scale to weigh one's self if you are over a couple hundred pounds. Handy if you deal in anvils or scrap anything by the pound.

Plumbers pipe cutters come in large sizes and are a handy way to cut round tubing if you do not have a good saw.

- guru - Sunday, 10/07/07 23:24:27 EDT

My drill press sits next to my welding table (such as it is). I have a length of 2X4 with a bracket that locks into one of the drill press table slots. I use it a height-adjustable armrest when TIG welding.

When I have to weld a rod or small tube to a plate at a specific angle, I chuck the rod in the chuck, place the plate on the press table, and tack the piece there. (Yes, I'm careful about heat and spatter, and unplug the drill press to make *sure* the electrical ground doesn't become part of the welding circuit.)
Mike BR - Monday, 10/08/07 07:17:29 EDT

Crossovers: Try using a vacuum pump and accompanying hardware for clamping the sides of doors or sheet metal to the side of the workbench or the vacuum pump with an old waterbed mattress or air mattress attached for vacuum clamping wooden veneer onto forms.
- juterbock - Monday, 10/08/07 09:25:01 EDT

Southwestern Colonial Ironwork (and stuff)...:
I love that book! My "horsey" friends love that book for the information on the bits, spurs and stirrups. The National Park Service loves the book because it ties in with so many of our Southwestern historical sites. Now, if I can just find the box I packed my copy in...

I haven't been posting much lately; my home computer's modem has died (I'm using my wif's laptop for this) and work has been busier than ever. Add to this that the new house has sucked up all of my spare time (and money) and I find myself way behind in even reading Anvilfire, much less contributing.

However, it's not all grim. We are reorganizing at work, and I may hve some relief by the beginning of next year. The new owner of the "other side of the road" has no immediate need of the old stripping house that I use for the forge, and I'm slowly scraping together more money to buy the materials for the 12' X 24' replacement. Several folks from Camp Fenby have volunteered to help me with the construction, so I may be able to kick-off after Christmas, when there's a tad more money and my wif doesn't have me out with pick and shovel digging through drought-hardened clay planting more trees that she's bought. Now, if I can actually get some time to work at the forge... :-)

Hot and humid and sometimes foggy (from all the humidity) on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks:

Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 10/08/07 22:54:48 EDT

Inheritance Otto Schmirler: 8500 original sketches and plans with matching photographs of the respective workpieces, further some literature, decorations and the diploma of Otto Schmirler (located in Vienna, Austria) for sale. Please make me an offer per email if interested.
Rene Winkler - Tuesday, 10/09/07 10:53:44 EDT

I finally got to trade away my pattern welded pizza cutter. The other smith claimed to be impressed; he didn't bring his version to trade me back this meeting though so I don't know how his worked out.

Looks like I'll be out of the shop for a while as I will be having some shoulder surgery sometime fairly soon.

Saving the money I made at the Fair for a copy of Frank's (et al) book. Hope he sends a bunch down to the December Swaba meeting.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/09/07 12:35:23 EDT

Art fairs: It occurs to me that when it comes to art fairs, steel may have an image problem as an artist's material: It is so common and so functional. It is the stuff of I-beams and cars and cookware.

This, I suspect makes it significantly harder to sell work made of steel. A set of nice steel candle sticks may take more time to make than the silver ones in the next booth, but people will be inclined to spend disproportionately more money on the silver than on steel, even though the labor input vastly outweighs the material cost in either case.
John Lowther - Tuesday, 10/09/07 13:37:15 EDT

Art Fairs: Years ago, I had a student who was a sculptor. He offered the following as food for thought. "The average Joe thinks of steel as being hard, heavy, cold, and strong. I want to make something that would show the opposites of those adjectives. For example, if I could make a steel chair that looked soft and inviting, and perhaps light in appearance using negative space. I would try to make the iron look warm; some twists look soft and warm. Finally, I wouldn't want the chair to look weak, the opposite of strong, but it could have some delicate touches. If I could succeed in making something like that, I would consider myself a good designer."
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 10/09/07 22:44:01 EDT

To add to what Frank posted, take a look at what we produce where I work .
Steel can indeed look soft and warm. A good designer is worth every penny he/she is paid. Most of ours get 3 to 8% royalties. Lighting and the "atmosphere" can also influence how a customer will perceive your work. We paid to have our showrooms in Las Vegas and Highpoint arranged in such a way as to keep the customer in the best possible mood while showing our furniture at it's best. I think if our fellow smiths displayed their work in as nice a way as possible, not just laid out on a table or in a box, they will get a better price for it. Use display racks , stepped racks, multi-level bases. Be different and get noticed. Don’t forget to use a nice fabric as a back drop. Premounted examples such as hinges, handles, towel racks, coat hangers, etc... would give the customer ideas as to where and how they could used your wares. Sometimes they don’t know they need it until they see it. This can also lead to "can you make a ......." question( Custom work ).
One last thing, SMILE and be inviting. Don’t make them feel like they are interrupting and not welcome.

Sorry about the rant, we just wrapped up one of our markets in Highpoint, NC. this weekend
OK I’m done.
daveb - Wednesday, 10/10/07 10:03:01 EDT

Be inviting. . . . look good:
In many cases we fat ugly old farts need to hire sales people. The most money I ever made at a show was one where I had almost no inventory and had not planned on making any sales. I had just cleaned up a bunch of old junk and wiped on some paint just in case folks wanted something. My beautiful (then 10 year old) daughter took it upon herself to be the sales person.

"See what my Daddy made. Would you like to buy one?"

At the end of the day there was nothing left. Even the hooks and stuff she and her brother made were gone. The cuteness factor did not hurt but she also did something that many of us do not do, she ASKED for the sale.

So, if you are good at production but not at sales it may pay to hire a sales person. Same goes for design. I keep harping on the fact that we are ARTIST blacksmiths. If you are not an artist then you had better HIRE one. See the books on our review page by Giuseppe Ciscato. Many of the Italian smiths featured work with professional designers. Often a couple works together, one doing design and sales and the other the production. It is one of those magical combinations that you cannot force but they occur surprisingly often.

A pretty face can improve your business.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/10/07 11:34:56 EDT

I caught hell at a "starving artists' market" a few years ago from some fellow vendors across the aisle for down-classing the nabe. I had thought my table was fine: a brand-new hollow-core door across two nifty trestles, my wares atop a snazzy table cloth. They-- a jewelry-maker and his main squeeze a bead artist-- however, had a vastly more finished booth, as did the silversmith next to me. They sold some stuff on a bad day in a really terrible venue. I did not. Customers had come to this garden supply center on the main drag in artsy Santa Fe looking not for art but for flower pots and trowels, and those who happened to wander into the artists' market were not psyched to do high-end impulse buying. There is a good book about all this, based on hard experience and covering in detail how to think about your sales booth, down to where to place it in the market when you get there, how to pick which shows to get into, etc. Title is something like "You Can Make Money (or maybe it's How to Make Money) from Your Arts and Crafts, by Steve and Cindy Long. It's an oldie by now, but still solid advice. Except that almost all the artists I have talked with say crafts shows are passe. To get really decent money you have to be in a gallery. It reassures the customers to be not customers but clients, nay, collectors, and handing over all those bucks to that slender lovely in the simple little black dress amid those white walls and polished floors means it just HAS to be art, right?
- Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 10/10/07 13:12:03 EDT

Craft fairs: Plenty of people sell things made out of steel and make money.
What it takes is good design,good quality, good marketing, and perseverance.

Certainly, a decent presentation makes a big difference. And the people who do a lot of shows realize the investment in a good looking booth, including, where appropriate, lighting and flooring, makes a difference.
You dont have to be pretty- but you do have to be pleasant, outgoing, clean and responsive. I know some pretty funny looking guys (and girls) who do just fine. And I know some great craftsmen who sit, grumpy and wearing their shop clothes, way in the back of their booth, refusing to talk to anybody, then wonder why they didnt sell anything.

Some craft shows suck, and some are great. Over on the Gurus Den, I listed a few of the better ones. It really pays to do your research before wasting your time- some shows are just $5 chinese imports, but if you have ever been to the Smithsonian Show in DC, for example, you can see that the quality of the work is universally impeccable.
So just because its a craft fair doesnt mean people wont spend money- I had a neighbor in Ojai, a metal sculptor, who consistently sold sculptures at the Coconut Grove show in Miami for up to $25,000. Cash and carry. He would drive back east, do 5 shows in a month, and come back with $125,000 in cash. It doesnt take an art gallery to sell expensive stuff. But it does take years of work, both on the work itself, and on building a clientele and a reputation. He would show in galleries, he would do a mailing every year to past buyers, in other words, he would run his business like a business.

Galleries, in and of themselves, arent so great- some are, some arent.
I have had much better luck with mid range ironwork - retail prices between say $50 and $1000- with outright stores, as opposed to galleries. At one point, I had 50 stores around the country selling my stuff, and I wouldnt do consignment with a single one. If the work is good, and the store is good, they can sell it, and they actually have more incentive to sell your work if they actually paid for it.

The trick, of course, is to find the one store in any given city that can actually sell the work. And usually, they have lots more artists wanting to sell to them than room in the store.

A really good store, though, doesnt have to resort to BS to sell the work- they have built a rep, and customers trust em to have great things. Many of these stores do well over a million a year, selling exclusively handmade in the USA crafts.

Like anything else, you gotta do your homework. You gotta try harder than the next guy. You cant take rejection personally, and you gotta build up to it slowly.

A lot of people seem to like to imply that "customers" are some kind of inferior species, who can be easily conned into buying expensive crap if only you know the magic formula. That has not been my experience- the people I have sold to have been smart, interesting, educated people who really like to look at, and live with, handmade stuff. They totally understand why handmade work is better, and more expensive, and are willing to pay to have it. And they respond best to being treated as intelligent equals, not as some kind of noveau riche boobs who are just too dumb to realize how great I am.
I have had many long conversations with people who dont buy, because they dont have the money or room- not because they havent been told they are collectors by cute girls in black dresses.

Sure, its fun to make fun of the craft show/gallery/craft collector scene- but in reality, most of the people involved are smart and honest, and most of the work that sells, especially for high dollars, is really good work, made by really serious artists who have been at it for years and years.
- Ries - Wednesday, 10/10/07 14:36:03 EDT has the Long book starting at $1. Another vendor has it for $3, and lists its many goodies: a practical handbook, a mixture of common sense, experience and business knowhow covering the most asked questions such as salesmanship, product lines, wholesaling, consignment, mailing lists, displays, shows, and pricing. Nothing is left out, including packaging and signs, dickering and discounting, dealing with show promoters, sales reps, store and gallery owners, employees, difficult customers, finding new and unusual sales outlets, licensing artwork, and much more. Make Money from Your Arts & Crafts features a thoroughly researched directory of publications for artists and craftspeople, state arts agencies, promoters, museum gift shops, and a calendar of the larger arts and crafts shows held annually across the country.-- As I recall, American Craft Magazine, publication of the Crafts Council, gave it a good review when it came out

Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 10/10/07 15:20:34 EDT

Gee, Ries, that was harsh. However, I call 'em as I see 'em. Sorry about that.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 10/10/07 15:24:28 EDT

Arts Room vs. Huckster Room: I used to display my wares at the MarsCon Sci-Fi & Gaming Convention in the "Huckster Room." The Huckster Room is where you get anybody selling anything: comic books, paperbacks, anime, whips-and-chains, cheap Pakistani daggers, books, fuzzy dragons, books, games, books... It cost about ~$60 (includes membership and Saturday evening pizza) and I'd man the table just about all day all weekend, with only occasional spells from my children. Then I wised-up, concentrated on the artwork (nothing truly practical, but lots of items that are fun and interesting to make) and started exhibiting in the Art Room. They keep watch and sell the stuff, man the buying table with pretty girls, and run anything that gets more than one minimum price bid at an auction. I get to hang out with friends and family, attend lectures, watch anime, read, eat, visit Williamsburg, and such.

I find being an "artist" is a much better use of my time, and certainly a step up from "huckster." :-)
MarsCon, Williamsburg, VA
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 10/10/07 15:55:30 EDT

Fairs: When dealing with the Artist crowd, One sure way to differentiate Yourself is to Have a STUDIO, not a shop. That alone is good for a multiplier of 7 to 10 in Your prices.
Loren T - Wednesday, 10/10/07 17:23:20 EDT

Customers: I don't have customers any longer. I now have clients. Clients imply an interactive relationship, and that means happier buyers and better income.

Another factor that can really make a big difference is nothing more than professionalism. One of my best clients is an interior design firm whose work has made the cover of Architectural Digest twicein the past ten years. The single biggest reason they come to me instead of buying stock items is that I work *with* them to achieve what they need, and I provide drawings, photos, sketches, written estimates or bids, installation instructions if I'm not doing the actual installation myself, and even prototypes where appropriate. I've also made complete mock-ups of tricky installation procedures so that remote carpenters could get the job done right. When the job is complete, I always check back with them to make sure there are no unmentioned issues or questions, and I absolutely *never* go around them in any way at all. For these few simple amenities, they are happy as can be to pay me adequately for my time, and they expect to be billed for 'phone consultations, site visits, etc.

The important thing is to keep in mind that they are professionals and want to be treated as such. When you do, they treat you the same way. We're both happy.
vicopper - Wednesday, 10/10/07 18:38:19 EDT

Craft/Art Fairs: I talked to one successful craft fair seller who said that it wasn't just the art on the tables and walls that was important. He would get into conversations with the buyers and would get commissions which he could do at home.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 10/10/07 20:37:14 EDT

Miles I am not trying to slam you- but its true.
Loren, who is a good guy I have met in person, when he visited my "shop" (Thats what I call it, anyway) just did the same thing.

I dont think even he believes that if you take the exact same animal head fireplace set with a hand tied broom, which a decent smith at a good craft show sells for say, $500, and tell people that you made it in your "studio" instead of your "shop", they are instantly going to pay $3500 for it.

But its funny to say so, and it makes us guys with dirty hands feel superior to the stupid lawyers and doctors who spend big bucks on crafts.

On the other hand, I know that Daniel Miller did a set of Andirons for a couple that he spent something like 3 months designing and making- and that the people might well have paid as much as $3500 for em, and gotten a hell of a deal at that price. If you have ever seen any of his work, its just amazingly well designed, and the craftsmanship is out of this world.
But I doubt the buyers even knew what he called his workspace- they paid the money because of the obvious quality of the work.

And thats my basic point- the guys who get the big bucks, in metalworking (I am not talking about artists like Damian Hirst here) get it because their work is really good, and they have spent 20 or 30 years learning how and where to sell it to people who appreciate it enough to pay what it costs.
No smoke, no mirrors, no BS.

- Ries - Thursday, 10/11/07 09:37:07 EDT

Oh, well.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 10/11/07 09:41:38 EDT

ARCHIVE SEARCH: Is there a way to search subjects within each archive period ?

Roller - Thursday, 10/11/07 10:31:00 EDT

My shop is an Atelier not a studio---when I've put all the tools away and swept the floor. Generally I'll just call it the smithy.

Got a job over breakfast this am---straightening the steel on a folding table leg; unpaid in cash but for the church I attend.

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/11/07 10:56:26 EDT

Roller, Try our FAQs page first.

Yes, our search system sucks. This is largely related to the form of our forums and the fact that we cover too many topics in any one. I had a multi level search in progress but got bogged down on some technical issues. . .
- guru - Thursday, 10/11/07 11:06:30 EDT

Big Bucks and Fame:
Have you seen the stainless metal sculpture by David Smith in the National Gallery in DC?. It is a trapezoidal piece of scrap stainless about 4 feet high welded to another smaller piece as a base. Both are mill finish with the corners just dusted off with a grinder. The arc welds look like first attempts and there are several long arc tracks across the main plate. It is junk but it is in the National Gallery. Ries, I KNOW your work is infinitely better. WHat is the difference? David Smith was a BS artist that made his clients feel that if they questioned the "art" that there was something wrong with them. . . The gallery buyer was snowed too as have been many others who have bought similar works.

On the other hand there is a fellow who's works I have seen in a couple Galleries that build stuff from industrial and automotive scrap. He has an excellent eye for form and produces beautiful and often functional pieces. All the "scrap" pieces are carefully selected to have no rust of corrosion unless it adds to the composition. The welds are PERFECT and do not detract from the art nor stand out as part of it. The pieces are then beautifully finished. It is classy work and I would buy it IF I had the money. I have seen others try to copy these methods and fail miserably because without the eye for form and absolute craftsmanship they end up with junk. . .

There is a grate in the National Cathedral by a popular current smith whom I will not name. It has hundreds of leaves or no specific type that are all the same and roughly forged. They are all arc welded to the branches and then ground smooth, then the lumpy welds hammer textured. . . The design is geometrically laid out in all directions and has NO composition, movement or feeling to it. Its OK mediocre work. I would not buy it. However, this particular smith has been to all the right art schools and has a great line of BS and managed to sell this travesty to a review board that is usually above being snowed. . .

The BS artists are real and they manage to get work in some of the most respected places.
- guru - Thursday, 10/11/07 11:10:05 EDT

Exception Taken: Guru

Arts Vs Crafts. Goodness gratious me OH my. Well- I dare not tread there.

However in defense of David Smith - Seeing a David Smith in a gallery (any gallery) is like seeing the Parthenon Pediment inside the BM in London. It is a mater of scale. Smith produced much of his work on a farm in upstate NY. My belief is that his sculptures were intended to be viewed from a distance in a pastoral setting.

So far as BS artists re concerned, I doubt that Smith meets the criteria. Smith was producing welded modern sculptures at least as early as 1935. That is long before any other artist that I know of. It was also a couple of years before I was born, and I am not a young man. So far as I can tell he paved the way/broke the ice, etc for the rest of us who consider ourselves artists using fabricatedand forged metal as a medium.

My opinion is that Smith was compelled to follow his vision, and that he did so using the skills, materials, and technology available to him at the time. If his welding skill was lacking I doubt that his vision was. I also believe that, if he had lived past middle age, his work would have progressed both techincally and aesthetically.
Roller - Thursday, 10/11/07 12:59:39 EDT

"David Smith was a BS artist," quoth the Guruissimo. Well, that's what makes horseracing. On the other hand, David Smith is America's greatest sculptor, says the guide in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Smith was a welder at the Studebaker plant in his salad days. He could run a bead in ferrous or stainless with the best of them. But so when did running a bead become the sine qua non of art? Check out Picasso's welds. Gonzalez's. Giacometti's. Etc. None of them could pass an AWS certification. My welding teacher, the great Seferino Archuleta of Northern New Mexico Community College would say all these guys could use another semester. So what's that got to do with the price of eggs? Sheesh! Let's get real here, guys!!
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 10/11/07 15:44:52 EDT

My two cents worth: Interesting subject. Craft shows and art fairs. My experience has been that if an event is advertised as a "craft show" the buyers that attend are looking for items for a dollar or two or three or three for ten, that sort of thing. And most of the product for sale is mass produced. Nothing wrong with that and these shows have their place but I can't justify the time and entry fees to go to these shows and try to sell a $500 coffee table or a $300 dollar fire set or even a small $50 hammered tray. So I stick to "art fairs". That's where my market is. This is a tough subject. I've watched a lot of "artists" really struggle with selling at "fairs" in general. They try everything. The question I ask myself when things aren't selling is, "maybe it's my product". Sometimes it is my product. The key here is being able to determine that. Anyway, I guess each artist has to look at their own situation. If craft shows work for you then go for it. Vicopper hit it on the head though. The best way to sell is to be professional. When I started doing this "art" thing full time five years ago I would never of thought that I would have created a "following". But I have and I have several "clients" who have a lot of my work in their house or gardens. I have been professional with them and worked with them on design. Makes it a lot more fun. Have even had a couple of clients come to the shop and just hang out while I worked on their project. I try to give them a quality peice of work and always tell them it has warranty until I'm gone. (I'm 61 so I hope there is a fairly long warranty there). The "art fair" vs "craft show" will rage on forever. I guess everyone has to make their own decision about that and what works best for them. If you've got good quality, good design, a fair price and are willing to work with your customer, client or whatever you call them you've got most of the battle won. The other key here is to be consistent. You can't do a show, have low or no sales and just walk away. You have to be out in front of the public all the time. These shows are a great way to get exposure. You may not sell much but someone may have picked up your card and will call you with a really big project. When I do an art fair I sit right out front of my booth in a tall directors chair and speak to everyone that looks my way or comes into the booth. I joke with them, maybe even say "I can load that right up for you". Sometimes that works. I try not to look too surprised when it does. And if I see chanel 6 or chanel 10 news cameras coming, well, a little television never hurts. OK. I've really rambled here and I appreciate everyone letting me put in my two cents worth.
- Doug - Thursday, 10/11/07 17:03:03 EDT

Business As Usual: I just purchased a Clausing 12 inch Series 5900 variable speed metal lathe. As you guys must know the speed control uses a hydraulic system to actuate a split pulley.

The hydraulic system on this machine is shot. The guy that I bought this machine from advises me to remove the counter shaft and install a slightly larger motor and a variable frequency motor control.

My question is do any of you have a Clausing 5900. My inclination is to restore the hydraulic system or just install a step pulley and forget the on the fly speed adustment.

I understand that the parts for the hydraulic system are still available from Atlas. I have a factory manual - replacement of the hydraulics looks dead simple. Was the system asdesigned a good system ? Any comments/information will be appreciated.
Roller - Thursday, 10/11/07 17:15:15 EDT

Just because the art establishment says a BS artist is a great artist doesn't make them one. These are the people that are the biggest target and often the most successful target of the BS artists. They are also the same group that said the impressionists were no good. . .

Craftsmanship in art IS important. Bad welds fail. Paint fades, media disintegrates. The city of Asheville purchased numerous large metal sculptures a decade or so ago and now they are ALL falling to pieces and many are fenced off as safety hazards. I suspect they will be permanently removed or scraped once the cost of restoration is known. The Cochran gallery in Washington DC has the art works of a painter who applied various thinned paints to raw canvas. They are kept in the dark because the once white canvas is turning brown. Even when displayed they are done so under very dim light that makes them difficult to see.

What it the point of public art that cannot be displayed or that is so shoddily made that it is a bad investment?

I've seen many wonderful pieces of old ironwork less than 200 years old that are nothing but rust supported by a shell of paint. . . But I've also seen work that was only a decade or so old rapidly heading that way. There may have been an excuse for not using good finishing technique 200 years ago but not today.

The quality of manufacturing of a work of art has always been a serious issue. If the Renaissance artists did not care about the quality of their pigments, oil and the sizing of their canvas we would not have any of their works today.

Shoddy work is shoddy work. Just because a random happening looks interesting it is not art. Sculpture with arc scores because the artist was in too big a hurry to apply good technique is rushed shoddy work all the same.
- guru - Thursday, 10/11/07 18:56:07 EDT

Maybe I am reading this wrong. Do you mean BS as an abbreviation for blacksmith, or for something else, which is what I took it to mean? If the latter, I think you should go look at David Smith again. I have not seen all of Smith's works-- there are scores of them. But I have seen many, and I just now went back and took another look at four books about him and his work, and I see nary a bad weld. I do see surface texture striven for and achieved. But I also see beads so absolutely perfect they would satisfy the most persnickety fab shop foreman. I see huge cubes in which the slightest thermal warpage would show at a glance but which are perfectly rectilinear. You can say what you like about the art David Smith did-- de gustibus non est disputandum, as the Romans said-- but you cannot, fairly and accurately anyway, call him a bad welder or a poor craftsman. I can't believe I am writing this in this forum!!
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 10/11/07 19:51:44 EDT

Roller - lathe: A shop I worked in in '82 had a lathe like Yours, the drive system in that one worked OK the 1 1/2 years I worked there. I would try rebuilding it if the parts aren't outragous. Could the variable pulley be moved manually with a cam or screw? I prefer step pulleys over a VFD for economy, and if You do end up with a VFD remember that You dont get the torque increases as You slow down, like You would with a belt reduction, so the motor must be quite a lot bigger.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 10/11/07 22:34:18 EDT

Miles, Maybe the Smith sculpture I saw in the National gallery was a forgery. It looked like day 2 in an arc welding class.
- guru - Thursday, 10/11/07 23:24:03 EDT

If parts are available for an old machine I would try to repair it. I have lots of OLD machinery that I have had to retrofit with drives and it is never easy.
- guru - Thursday, 10/11/07 23:26:57 EDT

john lewicki:
Response to your emails about your order keep bouncing.
- guru - Thursday, 10/11/07 23:36:40 EDT

I am reading this but I cannot believe it. No kidding, Jock, this is just amazing to me, this coming from you. Enough. Basta! I give up. I've seen the work. I've seen the pictures. The welds, the fillets, the beads, the polish, are all top shelf. The man was a master welder and a fine artist in control of his medium, our medium, steel. Yes, he took his cue from Picasso and maybe Bracque as well. He is far out. No question. Oh, well. Look, I don't know what I like, but I know about art. If you've seen it before, it ain't art. No matter how many times you see a David Smith, you haven't seen it before. It always just blows you away.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 10/12/07 00:20:51 EDT

Maybe the Smith in the NGA was cut apart for transport, and then welded back together on site by who-knows-who? I'd like to think the Gallery wouldn't do that to a piece of art, but maybe it's possible?
Mike BR - Friday, 10/12/07 16:42:53 EDT

David Smith: Well, I'm no expert but I do have a smattering of training in the arts and even a piece of paper attesting to certain achievements in that venue. That, and a buck, etc.

That said, David Smith is certainly NOT a b.s. artist at all. He is recognized as one of the premier American sculptors for good reason; his works are the equal of those of Picasso, Arp, and others of his time, and technically superior to most all of them. His years as a production welder in a Studebaker plant taught him to be much more than passing fair as a weldor, and his works reflect that. I simply find it impossible to believe that anything he welded would exhibit crappy welds. I can accept that a work of his may have weld-graffiti on the surface, as Smith constantly experimented with texture, surface adornments and various messages, but his later works, notably the Cubi series, featured mostly polished surfaces devoid of enhancements. It is in his transitional works, during his movement from painting/collage to sculpture, that one generally sees the decorated surfaces. Enough of that.

In reviewing what is available online about Smith's works at the National Gallery of Art, I find nothing that meets the description that Jock gave, not even close. Please note that I'm NOT saying that it doesn't exist, only that it is not readily found on an online search of the NGA works of Smith.

There may very well be some out there who have achieved popularity and acclaim as artists who are charlatans, but damn few. Andy Warhol and David Smith are most assuredly NOT charlatans; there are both pivotal figures in the world of American art and remarkably creative and productive artists who richly deserve the accolades they are given. No lmatter what you may think, it really isn't all that easy to fool all the gallery owners, art professors, art critics and the public for more than a moment. When an artist's work endures the test of time, it is a fair bet that there is something of substance there; if you don't see it, the failing is most likely your own, not that of the rest of the art world.

Personally, the whole cubist movement leaves me pretty underwhelmed. That doesn't mean it has no artistic value, however. It just means that it isn't speaking to me. On a visceral level, I am deaf to its message, although I certainly understand its significance and value. It would be easy to dismiss it as a failing of the work, but that would be untrue and unfair. The failing, if any, is mine. That's okay - I'm no judge of modern music either, having stopped my musical growth at the blues. I accept who I am, and leave room for others to be who they are. (As long as they don't make me listen to rap "music.")
vicopper - Friday, 10/12/07 19:48:19 EDT

Rich, I have to agree on the part about the failing being mine when it comes to much art. It may speak, but I too am deaf to some languages and quite a bit of morden art is a language I don't speak. What it does leave me is to look then to technique. If I don't care for the art as a message, I can then look to the alphabet of the language. I may not be able to speak the language but I can always see the letters. I like to see good technique, and usually learn something from every work I see.

OBTW, I have not seen any of the works or artists noted with the exception of Craig Kavier. He is local, and I have seen his work. I have seen some of his work that speaks to me and some I am deaf to, but I always find his alphabet to be excellent, and one i would like to match
ptree - Friday, 10/12/07 20:06:13 EDT

Jet Model 10 Hand Sheat: Does anyone have or know of anyone who has a Jet Model US 10 Hand Shear? This is a pretty beefy shear-hand operated. Cuts angle iron, flat stock, round stock, and square stock. Specs say it will cut 3 1/2" by 9/16" flat stock. I recently purchased one and am trying to locate someone who might have an owners manual and has experience with the machine. I've contacted Jet Co. and the machine was discontinued in 1993. They now have very little info on this machine since it is now considered obsolete. My machine was made in 1986. Any help or leads would be appreciated.

Bill Bruce
16941 Royal Ave
Spring Lake, Michigan
Bill Bruce - Friday, 10/12/07 21:16:31 EDT

skunk stink remedy: I saw in the Guru page someone had this problem , Get some peppermint oil [natural food store], and mix it in some shampoo apply and ... it's gone! I mean .. gone! . Somehow the peppemint smell locks in and neutralizes the skunk stink. If you don't want to wash the dog and it's not a ''direct'' hit you can spot rub in the oil.
- tim - Saturday, 10/13/07 11:43:33 EDT

Electropneumatic hammers: Hello all, James here.
I am in the market for an electropneumatic hammer.
I would like to hear of experience with available brands -Striker/Saymak/Sahinler/etc. Preferably experienced smiths in high production settings and control comparisons for free-forming.
- james gonzalez - Saturday, 10/13/07 18:14:01 EDT

David Smith:
I have since gone back and looked at more of his works. Most are better than the one I personally saw but I still am not impressed by his technique. Yes his work was revolutionary for the time. Some pieces are OK but I am still not impressed by the body of his wok.

A contemporary of Smith's was Alexander Calder. While he is known mostly for his mobiles he also made stationary sculpture. When he wanted a taper he forged it. When welds were used they were finished. He used a lot of pins and rivets to avoid welds. His larger works were often made by fabrication shops from his drawings or models.

The fact is when I saw that Smith in the National Gallery I thought it was a current artist's work. I was not impressed and I am still not. No it was not cut up to move it. It was only about 5 feet tall. The Hirshorn has a web site with a number of Smiths works from their sculpture garden along with other metal artists. The others are all much better in my opinion.

While many do understand Picasso's work he could express more in a simple curved line a few inches long than other could in entire paintings. He could convey character ond emotion is fewer lines than any other artist before or since. Much of his work was designed to be avant garde and to shock but under it was a keen knowledge of using line and space. Calder had some of this sense but struggled with it. Smith had little sense of expression in his lines.

I spent several years doing nothing except studying the artists, reading their biographies, critiques, visiting museums. Even if I did not like an artist's work I usually have an appreciation for their technique or style. So, I will let it go at that. Maybe Smith just does not speek to me as Rich
pointed out.
- guru - Sunday, 10/14/07 15:36:29 EDT

Pish tosh.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 10/14/07 18:39:52 EDT

James G,

Suprised no ones given any pointers on this one, I sell the chinese Anyang hammer in the UK and personally think they are more compact, hit harder and are more controlable than the turkish machines.

Some of the folks at 'forgemagic' might be able to give some hands on reviews, there are sahindler owners that post over there, and i think some people on this site are Anyang owners

The turkish machines can run very hot.

I would long & hard at the person you buy it from and see if they will support the machine in the future, whatever you go for ! they can all have problems, it helps if the person you buy it from really knows hammers.

Miles, as a normally very elequent man im slightly tickled by your last post ! :)
- John N - Sunday, 10/14/07 20:17:55 EDT

I just got back from Memphis, where I was working hard, eating hearty, and sipping a bit at Repair Days at the Metal Museum.
Quite a lot of fun, as anybody can bring ANYTHING in that is made of metal, and an attempt will be made to fix it. Fine silver candlesticks, pewter pitchers, lamps and sculptures, and a bunch of patio furniture.
And 50 or 75 or so metalworkers from all around who, between em, can do just about anything.
I had a good time jawboning with Dick Quinnell, from England, Mike Bondi, from Cali, and Rick Smith, who runs the grad program in metals at Carbondale.
So I missed all the talk of art criticism here.

But, of course, I do have a few things to say.

First- what makes art so interesting is that NOBODY can say what it is, or what it aint- just what they like and what they dont.
So if the guru doesnt like David Smith, or Andy Warhol- he is 100% correct, but that doesnt make it bad or not art- it just means TO HIM, they are not art.
Everybody has different tastes- me, I cant get out of an Italian Church fast enough, and I have seen enough paintings of Dutch rich guys by Rembrandt to last me a lifetime.

Second- people like David Smith are not considered to be important because of their welding skills- its the ideas he was attempting to communicate that interests those who like his work. Me, personally, I have seen a lot of it in person, and it doesnt really ring my bell, but all that I have seen was very competently fabricated, and in point of fact he even did a series of forged pieces. Which are no Yellins, but they are done well for what they are.

But at the time he was doing the work, be it good or bad, he was pretty much a lone voice in the wilderness- virtually nobody in america was doing anything similar, and a lot of his artworld cachet has to do with that- firstness, so to speak. And so, he blazed a trail that later, perhaps better, artists could then follow, and amplify upon.
And for that, I give the man props.

I feel similarly about Mark Di Suvero, who I think the guru was also referring to- interesting work, especially for its time, but rarely does it make wanna get up and shout. Although the piece at the Hirschorn, in DC,with the entire bow of a ship suspended from it, is kinda nice.

I do find though, that actually learning about an artist, even one whose work doesnt move me, makes me understand where they are coming from, and the actual number of charlatans who are trying to con people in the artworld is suprisingly small- most of these guys, and gals, were 100% as serious and earnest about their work as any blacksmith I know. You dont have to like it, but to call somebody a BS artist, I would ask you really know the work and the history.
Mark Kostabi, or Jeff Koons- I aint gonna defend. But David Smith was a standup guy, who made things with metal all his life, and deeply cared about it. He made almost no money most of his life, and did not become acclaimed until shortly before his death. And even then, he was much more interested in welding metal than in speaking artbabble to curators or collectors.
- ries - Sunday, 10/14/07 20:46:10 EDT

Ries: Well put, though I'd welcome the opportunity to get sated with Italian churches and Rembrandts. And a whole host of other things I've only seen in print. So far, I'm still kind of awed by the work in the Italian churches I've seen pictured in books and film, if only for the sheer scope of it.

Right after Ed McMahon drops off my check from the Sweepstakes, I'll be posting from Europe, Asia and other far-flung environs, letting you all know what I think of the work I see. Until then, I look at the pretty (and not so pretty) pictures and wish I could do some of what I see.
vicopper - Sunday, 10/14/07 22:50:37 EDT

Coal: I baught some coal from Hoover Lumber & Coal Co., 24120-2 Cr 142, Foraker, In which is listed in the "Coal Scuttle". I've used it before and it wasn't great but it was useable.

This time I had them deliver a ton of it and it's really lousy stuff.

The coal from Centaur was good when I used it but it cost too much to those prices, I'd frame it and hang it on the wall or something. LOL. Anyway, I came to find out that they actually buy it from the other Indiana coal source listed in the "Coal Scuttle" (City Coal Yard, 116 N. Depot Street, Brazil, IN 47834)and re-sell it. can buy direct for the same price they get it for but it's still not cheap.

I need to get busy and get some charcoal made.
Mike Ferrara - Monday, 10/15/07 08:24:54 EDT

Something is Amiss: Under the Anvilfire Slack tub Pub Virtual Hammer-In Rules there is a headder in red Caps which reads "RULES WHAT RULES? We dont need no stinckin rules". There is another at the bottom equally offensive.

What Gives ?

Roller - Monday, 10/15/07 15:31:44 EDT

coal: Mike, I do not know where you live, but Cumberland Elkorn coal co, on Swan St in Louisville Ky has the best smithing coal I have ever tried. It beats the caol from City Coal Yard, although that coal is not bad. They ship in bagged quantity. I bought a pickup truck load loose, and they had shipped a skid to ABANA Seatle the day before. Nice folks to deal with.
ptree - Monday, 10/15/07 19:04:33 EDT

Rules: Roller,

Those little quips have been there for years now. I'm not sure what you find offensive about them, though. It's a joke, Son!
vicopper - Monday, 10/15/07 19:55:13 EDT

What Rules: either jocks gettin a bit more relaxed in his auld age, or someones had a little hack for fun!
- John N - Monday, 10/15/07 20:05:10 EDT

Email: Hello Ten Hammers. Request that you sent me your email address. May have a hammer in here next yr. At Martin river lumber camp web page is
- barney - Monday, 10/15/07 20:28:58 EDT

HOPE SO: Vicopper,

Hope so pop.
Roller - Monday, 10/15/07 21:08:05 EDT

> My name is john lewicki and this is the 3rd email I have sent you . . .

John, Your mail has repeatedly bounced. Yahoo says you do not have an account.
- guru - Tuesday, 10/16/07 00:01:40 EDT

coal: ptree,

Thanks. I'm in north central Indiana. I'll give them a try when I burn through some of this pile.
- Mike Ferrara - Tuesday, 10/16/07 01:50:35 EDT

Coal: Mike, There's a place in Streator, Illinois (not sure if it's any closer to you) called I believe Missal Grain Company that carries bagged and bulk coal. I'll check when I get home for the actual spelling and possibly a phone number if I can find it.
-Aaron @ the SCF
- thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 10/17/07 13:51:40 EDT

Coal continued: Oh yeh, shoulda mentioned that it's real good stuff, Pocahontas and all! :)
-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Wednesday, 10/17/07 13:52:19 EDT

coal: Thanks Aaron, I found the contact info on mapquest.
- MikeFerrara - Thursday, 10/18/07 08:11:22 EDT

Acetylene Torch Regulator Repair: Smiths 2 stage regulator rebuild kit
Ken Opdycke - Saturday, 10/20/07 08:45:54 EDT

Acetylene Torch Regulator Rebuild Kit: Looking for a plce to get rebuild kits for my old Smiths 2 stage regulators. Can someone help?
Ken Opdycke - Saturday, 10/20/07 08:48:45 EDT

Smith Regu;ators: A lot of Smith equipment has a lifetime gurantee. Check with Smith.
- Jphn Odom - Saturday, 10/20/07 14:47:30 EDT

For Sale - Cat C30 Fork Lift :
3000 pound capacity, propane engine, starts and runs good. Solid tires. Been outdoors, needs paint), new seat ordered. Operation, Maintenance and Parts manuals included. $1,500 OBO

Reason for selling: Will not operate off shop floor (Hilly gravel drive requires all terrain type).

Location, Boonville, NC, Pickup only.

- guru - Saturday, 10/20/07 16:47:13 EDT

Post vise stand: Just wanted to get oppinions on a post vise stand before I build it. I recently bought a 5 1/2 post vise and need it to be semi portable.

I have 2 28" lengths of 18 x 54.7 I beam (18" x 6" x.691" flange and .461" web). I was thinking weld the two beams together forming a box section and setting it on a 3/8- 1/2" plate for a base. For the top I want aprox. 1"-2" thick. before I weld it on I was going to get a couple 1" and 1.25" grooves cut into it, then weld strap on the outside to make a couple hardy holes. I dont have an anvil yet and it would provide a flat surface to hammer on and a place for some simple hardy tools.

I also plan to cut a hole in the box section and bolt a 3" pipe flange that can be plugged after filling with sand to deaden the ringing.

I have it sketched out in cad that shows it better than I've explained it. any suggestions?

Rob Barnett - Sunday, 10/21/07 12:14:24 EDT

"portable" post vise stand: btw, According to my calculations the stand will end up between 400 and 500 lbs. (before filling with sand). I have plans for a removable set of casters that will allow it to be moved like a hand truck.
Rob Barnett - Sunday, 10/21/07 12:17:29 EDT

Electropneumatic Hammers: James, I bought a SayHa 50Kg(now SayMak) from Tom Clark 4 years ago. There are days it runs all day long in my shop, then days it sits idle.
I liked it and Tom's service well enough that when I had an intern for 8 weeks this past summer, I bought another one, this time the 60Kg. In other words, I would highly recomend buying one from Tom Clark.
Most people that have bought one from Tom will let you try it out. I did that and it pushed me over the edge to buy one. I switched from a Bradley 100lb. compact and have not regretted the move one bit. I am in the Pittsburgh, Pa area, feel free to contact me. I get no reembursemnts or purks from this.
Jymm Hoffman - Sunday, 10/21/07 12:42:27 EDT

Ooops: Purks should be perks.
Jymm Hoffman - Sunday, 10/21/07 12:44:19 EDT

Tell me, what capacity can you work under it?
How does it fare with drawing down very thin material?
Can you get single blows out of it?
What DONT you like?
Your information is much appreciated
- james gonzalez - Sunday, 10/21/07 13:25:09 EDT

Hammers: 3 to 4 inch solid, sometimes 1/2" thick by 5 inch wide.
I can make common nails, starting with 1/4" round stock and taper to paper thin point with no troubles.
Single blows, frequently.
What I don't like, have to think for a while on that.
Jymm Hoffman - Sunday, 10/21/07 14:43:06 EDT

Multi-use Vise Stand: Rob, While you can hammer on such an arrangement and anvil it does not make. Anvils need to be compact mass, not spread out.

For "semi-portablility" it sounds like overkill. That much steel would build a very nice heavy duty bench that could have the vise mounted on one corner. Even then the bench should be anchored to the floor to provide sufficient anchorage for the vise.

Those 18" pieces of beam would make very nice legs for a trestle style bench. OR they could be split for a four legged bench.

Even for blacksmithing I like a wood top bench for working. About the only thing they are not good for is welding. Combination wood and steel benches work well.

In the end you have to built what makes you happy. It sounds like you have a sturdy design that will suit your purposes.
- guru - Sunday, 10/21/07 15:30:58 EDT

I have a wood faced work bench that I have placed a chunk of soapstone laboratory bench top on to put a gas forge on top and have a place to lay hot metal that will not burn and will not pull heat out of a piece as fast as a steel top would---when making knives you have to watch out that you don't accidently "quench" things on cold surfaces!

It also has two postvises on it on opposed corners.

Thomas P - Monday, 10/22/07 11:16:38 EDT

Fireplace Accessories: I own a highend fireplace accessory store and am interested in featuring the work of artisan blacksmiths.
- Dan Constance - Wednesday, 10/24/07 17:33:02 EDT

Call Dan at 847-869-6773. He is looking for first class work for a fireplace gallery.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/24/07 18:15:43 EDT

Starting up: Right now I am just trying to find all the items I need to start up, examples are the materials for the gas forge, types of containers that could hold melted metals, forms to make stock, protective items (leather approns and gloves already have glasses and plugs), and finaly finding a person near by to have a few answers that I need. Ultimitly I want to be a weaponsmith above all but first is to know how to work the metal and get everything started
- Forrest - Thursday, 10/25/07 03:01:12 EDT

Looking for Guidence:
Forest, It helps a lot to let folks know where you are. Australia, Kenya, New Zealand, Alaska? Often someone will volunteer.

The second thing is that the "I wanna make a sword" guys are a joke in the blacksmithing and bladesmithing world. That MAY be your goal but do not announce it. You start small making working knives then work UP. Learn the basics on a reasonable scale. Bladesmithing and making edge tools covers a LOT of ground including making wood working tools. There is a LOT to learn.

Casting is generally a different field from forging and requires different tools and a LOT more study to do it well. Many craftsfolk do both but they are generally different fields. In Armoury work casting is important but is a small part of the overall job.

The thing you melt metal in is called a crucible. There are different types for different uses and different metals. They are made of clay, graphite and Silicon carbide. The silicon carbide are the most expensive but generally more durable. A small one will cost $30 to $50.

The "forms" are molds or moulds. You make your own from patterns. The material of the mold varies from sand, to plaster, to rubber or metal. Sand molds are the most common as the sand is reusable. Plaster molds are used for detailed parts. Patterns are made from everything from paper mache to steel. Wood is most common but wax is also used for master patterns and non-reusable "investments".

Molds are made in a container called a flask. This can be as simple as a paper cup or as sophisticated as modular die cast aluminium machined snap flasks. Traditionally they are wood. Good small ones for jeweler's are made of cast iron.

On your list of things you need I do not see BOOKS. There are many good books on every aspect of these subjects and you SHOULD include a small library of them as being as important as any of your other tools. Books are necessary to sharpen and add utility to your most important tool, the one between your ears.

Our advertisers sell most of what you need. With knowledge you can also make many of your more unusual tools. Our advertisers also sell the books you need.

See our Sword Making article, particularly the resources list. It has links to many of our book reviews and other sources.
- guru - Thursday, 10/25/07 10:26:22 EDT

Looking For Guidence:
I forget to mention to go to and look for your local blacksmithing organization. That is the best way to find a mentor.
- guru - Thursday, 10/25/07 10:29:44 EDT

Forrest, tell folks that you are interested in "edged tools" and want to make some chisels and drawknives.

The metallurgy and forging will be much the same as for blades and you will get a lot more help from folks sick of the "swordmaker wannabe's".

Only molten metal I'm involved with is to cast fittings for blade hilts sometimes. I like using Petrobond oilsand for casting and use the forge to melt the metals in small crucibles.

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/25/07 10:57:07 EDT

Royersford Excelsior drill press: I know there are a few owners of the 21" drill press here. The manual was just posted for another forum. It includes instrustions, parts list, and oiling diagram.

I know there is at least one oil hole I should go looking for.
Royersford pdf
Jacob - Thursday, 10/25/07 15:32:19 EDT

Jacob, Thanks. I have one of theses and so does Miles.

I also have a Champion and Joseph T. Ryerson that are nearly identical to the Royersford.

Finding oil holes on old machinery is part of the game. Often they get full of grease and dirt and or painted over (industrial painters are the WORST). Close examination of the machine is necessary. If there is thick paint you often have to guess at a good lubrication point and scrape the paint off. Sometimes you can see a very shallow depression in the paint and clear it out.

Once you find all the oil holes most old machinery needs to be lubricated at all points once in a while and places like rotating shafts, slides and pivots with every use. If you do not use your machine very often you should lubricate it fully with every use.

I have an old Brown and Sharp surface grinder that has more lubrication points than a steam locomotive. One takes special spindle (sewing machine) oil, most regular 20W20 and a couple have zerk fittings for grease. I FEEL like a rail road engineer when I am walking all around the machine with my big oil can warming it up and hitting all the lube points.

Then there are machines that surprise you. Most folks do not know that Little Giant clutch linings get oiled with every use and several times a day if run enough.
- guru - Friday, 10/26/07 12:25:08 EDT

I picked up a couple of old sheath knives at the fleamarket this morning for $3 a piece; both with stacked leather handles. One is a Pal and the other a Marbles; not too bad shape either!

Anybody know where I can find out more about them?

- Thomas P - Friday, 10/26/07 15:59:24 EDT

Thomas P: There was a company called Marbles that made gun sights and other shooting/hunting stuff, maybee even guns? quite some time ago. You might find something in one of the old "Shooter's Bible"s that had ads and articles from long ago.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 10/26/07 22:51:23 EDT

Thomas P: Marbles is alive and well in the UP of Michigan,
Jim Curtis - Saturday, 10/27/07 09:34:08 EDT

Milling Machine For Sale: Due to a friend's illness and our overly enthusiastic bidding at a farm auction, we find ourselves owners of a Van Norman Milling Machine.It is maybe from the 50s or 60s- predates computers. Very good shape.
The main motor is 5 hpr. It is 3 phase, 575 volt, works fine on 480. It is a horizontal milling machine with a Bridgeport attachment (1/2 hpr.) Table powered in all 3 directions. It is about 6 ft tall and 5 ft wide - and very heavy.
Variable feed rates, tooling included.
Any interest? It is located in southern
British Columbia, Canada Reply to
DAR - Sunday, 10/28/07 12:39:19 EST

Albany Georgia: I'm leaving this as a eye catcher for the young man I talked with who has been lurking on this sight. email me, or ask Mrs. Lynch for my number. we'll get together, & make something.
Brian (AKA packrat) - Monday, 10/29/07 03:16:49 EST

Van Norman: DAR - I understand a well equipped Van Norman is a wonderful machine and I'd love to have one, but you are just too far from Kansas for me to even consider it. . . Not to mention one of their 5Hp machines will probably weigh more than my truck does.

I hope you find it a good home.
John Lowther - Wednesday, 10/31/07 14:53:32 EST

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