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October 2008 Archive

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

Craftsman Oxyacetelyne Rig: Picked up a Craftsman OA rig superhcheap, and of course the one piece that's missin is the one that Sears apparently does not sell separately from its kits: the cutting torch. SO I'm looking for one, or any other that may fit the craftsman blowpipe (my local Victor dealer says no go, but he is a dealer)Any idears?
Peter Hirst - Tuesday, 09/30/08 21:35:31 EDT

Peter-- try the nice people at Harris. They make/made a lot of Sears stuff (as they did Wards) and much-- not all-- of their name brand equipment is compatible with Sears. Their tech support people are terrific, and would know which of their torches will mate up with what you have. Sears, on the other hand, does not know nothin'. I mean zilch. There is one (1) Sears person who does liasion with Harris. Nobody else in the entire company even knows what an oxy-acetylene torch is, despite the fact that they have them in their catalog. Do not bother trying to deal with them. They are just a ghost of the company they once were.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 09/30/08 23:06:29 EDT

Craftsman Torches. . : It depends on how old. Sears entirely speced out the one I bought in 1972. No part fits any other make or brand other than the standard pipe threads and gas fittings. . . I couldn't even get tips from Sears 3 years after I bought it. . .

I DID find a Victor torch adaptor that would accept the gooseneck from the Craftsman torch. The gooseneck takes seperate tips and had a neck on it the was handy to hang the torch from. So I put them together and call it my "VicMan" torch. The rest has all been scrapped. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 10/01/08 00:23:59 EDT

Champion Tuyere: Compared to many castings it is tricky. To start with it is very odd shaped bulging toward the top then necking in at the flange. Not a hard shape to make but it is hollow with a very thin wall, maybe 1/8" to 3/16" max. The middle is ovoid in section and blends to round ports. The clinker breaker that rotates through it clears the interior by about 1/8" and the bearing point bosses must be drilled so that the T end of the clinker breaker fits into those slots in the fire pot. +/- 1/32" and it won't fit.

Its one of those simple little parts that has a lot of tight as-cast tolerences along with the thin wall. Its not a casting you make a pattern for low production. . . or a repair part.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/01/08 00:39:13 EDT

Miles: Thanks for the info, and your take on sears. Sad but true, I couldn't have said it better. At sears last night, the sales creature showed me a soldering gun when I asked where the welding gear was. Sheesh. My old wood shop used to look like a Craftsman showroom. No more. Now the only piece left is a beautiful cast iron lathe that I believe is pre-Sears. At least, it doesn't say Sears on it anywhere, and it fits generic parts of the period. I found an old Morse taper live head at the dump that slipped right in and went to work. Every other tool, I have had to phase out. SHould have known better about the OA rig, but the price was right, so I'll hang on till I find the right torch or a good deal on another blowpipe.
It took them a couple of generations to do it, but Sears have finally run the Craftsman brand into the ground. Lots of sizzle, no steak. WHich means of course that the lifetime guarantee on hand tools is now practically worthless. Anyway, Thanks for the tip on Harris. The one and only useful piece of information in what now passes for the Sears catalogue (a computerized POS that lists entire categories of tools in random order) is that they carry a lot of Harris and Lincoln stuff that they don't even try to pass off as Craftsman. ANd naturally the only part of their "own" OA welding rigs that they do not market separately is the cutter.
Peter Hirst - Wednesday, 10/01/08 08:05:46 EDT

The problem with the big outfits like Sears, a consumer goods store, carrying true industrial brands is that the quality of those brands goes down because they are now making money on the numbers, not on user loyalty or durability of the product. . .

At one time my shop looked like a Sears showroom as well. I had the misfortune of purchasing a lot of their electric hand tools in the 70's. . . They had spent a LOT of their money on sharp looking industrial design but nothing on the innards. All their hand tool motors had little pieces of copper sheet metal glued to a plastic base. . They would run for a short while and WHACK. . thacheta, thachecta. . . the end. I had one angle grinder I replaced 3 times without putting visible wear on the grinding wheel. . The fancy router I'd purchased lasted for 15 to 20 minutes of use. Other tools had similar fates. All these tools had Sears "Professional" labels on them. . . At some point the cost of transporting the tools and lack of having them work when you need them becomes too much. .

The last tool I returned to Sears was a hand stapler. When I handed it to the sales clerk he pulled out a box that was filled with the same stapler and tossed mine on top of the pile. . .

I still buy Sears screw drivers because they have a set that when it is on sale is an unbeatable price AND their handle design (the one with the ball end) is the BEST.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/01/08 08:30:45 EDT

Another way to skin this cat, maybe-- I wonder if the Sears repair department might show a replacement torch for your particular rig on their microfiche? I was not exaggerating in my earlier report re: Sears. Our oldest son got a fine Sears Craftsman 2-stage O/A set maybe 30 years ago, which needed some new gaskets recently. Harris was willing, but first needed a referral from Sears. There ensued a detective job the likes of which I had not encountered in a lifetime as a reporter, trying to track down somebody in the Sears organization who knew what an oxy-acetylene torch is and who could arrange for a repair. Finally, I gave up after days of talking with maybe two dozen Sears noodlebrains, and by working backwards, not through Sears but through the Harris customer service office, I located the ONE Sears liaison person empowered to issue the okay for Harris to take it back for the work. No kidding, nobody else in the ntire Sears organization knew of this person's existence. Ironically, Harris simply replaced the torch handpiece and welding, cutting components. What happened to all that magnificent old hardware I sent in, I dunno.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 10/01/08 11:10:40 EDT

About a year ago I used a brand new Craftsman #1 philips to back out a barely finger tight sheet metal screw. The tip broke off flush with the screw. Well, stuff happens.

I went to take it back. The store was sold out of #1 philips. *Every* time (probably 5 or 6) since that I've been at a Sears store and thought to look, the things have been out of stock. I guess maybe they're all in the box next to the one with Jock's stapler.
Mike BR - Wednesday, 10/01/08 18:23:53 EDT

i need help: : i want to start blacksmithing in my weilding class at high school but when i try i cant get the metal to stick together ive tried about 50 times now in the last 3 days and it just wont stick can anybody tell me what im doing wrong if so e-mail me at and pkease please help me or click the url below if u have a myspace
eric harrison - Wednesday, 10/01/08 18:43:03 EDT

Eric, we need more specifics. What metal? What kind of heat source? Type of glue? Ya GOTTA have glue to stick things together. . ;) We recommend "Old Forge Iron Glue". . .

Redefine the question. We don't do myspace.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/01/08 19:14:09 EDT

Although we do kinda wonder about your welding instructor. You have a forge but the teacher can't help you use it?????
Peter Hirst - Wednesday, 10/01/08 20:31:31 EDT

Eric-- most not-sticking problems are caused by not enout heat, but this sounds to me like something your weilding teacher should be able to clear up on the spot in a jiffy by just looking over your shoulder while you try to weild. That's what she is getting paid all that money for, to teach you how to weild without blowing yourself up or electrocuting yourself or blinding yourself or burning yourself badly. Don't be afraid to ask questions. That's how you learn.
- Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 10/01/08 20:36:50 EDT

Apple Butter: Most welding instructors wouldn't know a forge weld from apple butter.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 10/01/08 21:09:09 EDT

I need help: Eric
I think I know the problem. The Blacksmith and welding god's do not respect emo's. You must first do a spiritual cleansing.

If the metal you are trying to weld is rusty, dirty, oily, not pre-heated or high carbon it will not stick together. This is mainly due to lack of instruction, experience and possibly the type of welder you are using and its capabilities. Also the wire or stick elctrodes can be a factor.

I am not condeming, but your question was much to broad and not specific. As others usggested you should consult with your teacher or provide us with much more details.
- Rustystuff - Wednesday, 10/01/08 22:42:45 EDT

Apple butter is extremely difficult to wield. Unless you use my secret wielding powder. Send $15 in unmarked bills for a 2-ounce can.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 10/01/08 22:58:11 EDT

Peter Hirst: If Your Craftsman torch LOOKS something like a Harris it is compatible. Mine made in '76 is a version of the #62 Harris handle [now discontinued] & #73 cutting atachment. Both parts were built to slightly different specs, but compatible with the Harris units. If You post a picture of what You have across the street at FM I may be able to identify it.
- Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 10/01/08 23:43:53 EDT

Beware-- some of the Harris cutting tips will fit into the Sears torch, but not all. Some won't seal or perform properly-- the supply ports don't quite match up. Very exciting.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 10/02/08 00:26:08 EDT

Miles: Not a problem. In its infinite wisdom, Sears sells the cutting TIPS separately, just not the torch

Dave: I'd love to post a pic. Uhhh ... what's FM again?
Peter Hirst - Thursday, 10/02/08 08:48:18 EDT

Miles, I can wield a jar of apple butter at will. Loose apple butter is more difficult. On the other hand, loose apple butter will weld better than that in a jar, assuming you don't open the jars...


I have one of the little Harris torches Lowe's used to sell. No other Harris tips will fit the welding torch, but cutting tips are fully interchangeable. And it's all made in Ireland, of all places.
Alan-L - Thursday, 10/02/08 11:54:27 EDT

Forge welding is NOT a new student technique. You should have a good and through background in smithing before you try it so that fuel management, forge atmospheres and heat levels are already easily dealt with and you can concentrate on just the welding part.
Thomas P - Thursday, 10/02/08 13:35:36 EDT

Forgot to add that it really helps having a trained forge welder work you through your first trys to point out what you are doing ringt and wrong. I still remember mine yelling at me "Don't look at it---HIT IT!" back in 1983...

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/02/08 13:36:55 EDT

I've posted some photos in the news: . . . .
Photos of Fire at Black Lion Forge
- guru - Thursday, 10/02/08 17:09:49 EDT

Meanwhile, I should have known that industry pricing practices would kill me. The Harris 72-3 cutting attachment lists at $235. I can get it discounted for about $145. Or a knockoff for about 100. The entire Harris "Classic" rig, which includes the 72-3 cutting attachment, lists at 175.
Peter Hirst - Thursday, 10/02/08 17:13:53 EDT

"Of all places?" Hmpf! And why not? Well-educated, literate, follow orders well, and best of all, a strong recollection of what it's like to miss a meal. Or two. Or three. When I got my replacement Sears rig back from Harris, as I recall, it was marked Ireland. If Ridgid can get pipethreading tools made there, why not Harris? Imperial has some pocketknives made there, too. After all, clever people, the Irish, once you pry their spades from their clawlike grip. As for weilding apple butter, and without my magic powder, no less, my hat is off to you! Now for a real challenge, try conjoining a freeze-dried dog bolus to a scoop of ice cream.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 10/02/08 18:20:10 EDT

Miles, Miles, Miles: I meant no slight to the Irish, after all they did some of the best metalwork ever about 1000 years ago or so. I just meant it struck me as odd that they were cheaper than China or India if one is going to outsource.

As for your second challenge, eeewwwwwwwwww! No, thank you sir, I want no part of it. Where do you even get... No, nevermind, I don't want it to be public knowledge. I'll just stick with my trusty damascus sword, and wield the welds in the wild weild of the wold, as it were.

Hint to people in general: learn to spell. One missed letter makes a big difference in the meaning of the word, as the above was meant to point out. You may say "But you know what I mean." The answer is, no, not all the time. It's important. Now I must go weld some apple butter, the better to wield it at Miles!
Alan-L - Thursday, 10/02/08 19:27:48 EDT

Keep Your eye open at flea markets, yard sales, eBay & craigs list. These do show up from time to time. If You can't find one in a reasonable timeframe mention it here, I might have an extra amongst My stash of goodies.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 10/02/08 21:20:05 EDT

Peter Hirst: Above message is for You.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 10/02/08 21:21:42 EDT

Thanks. Preaching to the choir. Man, I LIVE at those places, and havent found one. I can imagne how much you hate digging in the toy chest, but I would really appreciate the effort.
Peter Hirst - Thursday, 10/02/08 22:25:07 EDT

Current Prices: Peter, The pricing you quote is not much different than what I paid for equipment 30 years ago. Much welding equipment lasts a lifetime if cared for. On the other hand I have had a life time collection of torches become scrap due to small insects building nests in them. . . If its not in use, seal it up. If its in the flea market it may cost more to have repaired than it costs new. That is why I had to buy an all new torch set this past spring. . . A complete outfit was only about 30% more than the first set I bought 40 years ago.

All tools are a serious investments and buying the best you can find usually pays off in the long run.
- guru - Thursday, 10/02/08 22:27:49 EDT

That hmpf was merely a joshing hmpf, not an outraged hmpf. And the freeze-dried, I was gripped by an irresistable impulse. (See the old McNaughton defense.) But I do doubt going to Ireland instead of ewwwww! China was merely a low-bid decision for Harris. Big liability in O/A equipment. And a rep to maintain. As to spelling, I was just following the inital questioner's style. Hey, man thinks he wants to learn to weild, or wield, whatever, that's his decision and I will defend to the death, etc.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 10/02/08 22:37:41 EDT

Speaking of quixotic searches for orphan equipment, anybody know of a better source/price for a 10-inch aluminum contact wheel for a Square Wheel belt grinder than Sun Ray's $243.67? That's pretty good, granted, but I'd sure like to do better.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 10/02/08 22:42:00 EDT

Guru: I always get the best I cna find and afford. ANd I've never lost out on picking up a bargain, never won by passing one up. That's why I grabbed this rig. Its not the price level, its the price structure. Sold separately, the torch I need costs $100 more than the entire set -- handle, 3 weld tips, cutting torch, hoses, dual regulators acessories -- that includes it. The set I bought was fine: vintage Craftsman in A-1 shape (and it was sealed up): hoses and regulators tested out fine. SO I'll hang on to it till I run across that torch in the bottom of some box at the swap meet for 5 bucks.
Peter Hirst - Thursday, 10/02/08 23:40:38 EDT

Anvil For Sale: If someone out there needs a great 250lb. Peter Wright shop anvil in nice shape for $799 let me know. The reason I say "great" is because it is one of the most "live" Peter Wright anvils I have worked on and I have owned hundreds. The face is flat and the ring is sharp. I can send photos if you are interested. You can contact me at :
- Barry Denton - Friday, 10/03/08 00:17:59 EDT

Sunray has the best price of anyplace I've found, unfortunately. Their 8-inch wheels are much cheaper, but it does seem once you cross that magical line prices jump substantially. At least you can order the rubber in groovy colors.
Alan-L - Friday, 10/03/08 09:02:34 EDT

Alan-L-- I have 8-inch contact wheel, got it from them. I am consoling myself-- for now, anyway-- by deciding $243.67 plus shipping for another inch of radius is not going to make a magical difference on an inch and a quarter-wide blade one-eighth thick.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 10/03/08 10:37:53 EDT

Many items have large price jumps at certain points. 10Hp motors and especially their control systems are tremendously more expensive per HP than smaller systems.
- guru - Friday, 10/03/08 13:42:10 EDT

Miles, I feel your pain. One of these days I'm gonna bend a flat platen to a 36" radius (72" diameter) so I can pretend I'm grinding on a big stone. Probably shorten belt life dramatically, but ya gotta pay to play. Is it worth it? Probably not, but then who in their right mind pays me to make stuff anyway? I rely on the insanity of strangers, and haven't been disappointed yet.
Alan-L - Friday, 10/03/08 15:02:34 EDT

Alan-L-- I had the same thought a while back, then found a knifemaker who's done it, simulating a 24-inch wheel with a curved platen, which discouraged me-- British Blades, go to cutlery section, search for "hollow grinding without a contact wheel" posted June 19 '07. Encountered friction problems, but.... Some day, maybe.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 10/03/08 15:38:59 EDT

There's actually quite a bit of stuff being outsourced to Ireland. I'd heard about call centers (supposedly there are now entire villages with American accents), but a Google search turned up everything from consulting services to microchips. I suspect they're catching up with the rest of Europe too quickly for their cost advantage to last, though.
Mike BR - Saturday, 10/04/08 08:32:06 EDT

Harris: Harris has gone to Ireland, have they ? Last I knew, all the Harrises in my family's history were of The Auld Sod.
3dogs - Sunday, 10/05/08 23:59:58 EDT

3dogs -- That's a good one. Although Google says it's originally an English name. Maybe, unlike the corporation, your ancestors didn't come to the Emerald Isle by invitation (grin).
Mike BR - Monday, 10/06/08 17:38:47 EDT

3dogs?: Do you happen to be in Columbia TN?
I bought some stuff on Ebay that came from Three Dog Wholesale, and the Vender's signature was Wilson.
JimG - Tuesday, 10/07/08 15:05:40 EDT

Jim G;: T'ain't me, Jim. I'm in Michigan, and I've been using "3dogs" since Hector was a pup.
3dogs - Tuesday, 10/07/08 20:31:04 EDT

Back from CBA Oktoberfest: I was invited to demo for the Oktoberfest near Cazadero, CA, about 60-70 miles north of the Bay area. This is their 30th year, the event being held on Fritz Hagist's property. This is a rugged, hilly Redwood forested area, quite beautiful and not far from the coast. The participants numbered over 200, and they put up personal camps. There were lots of open forges and boo coo exchanges of information. A good time, and my thanks go to the CBA and Fritz.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 10/08/08 08:23:13 EDT

Chinese steel: I had to share this one with you.

What I ordered: 3 6 metre lengths of cold rolled square 1 of 10 x 10, 1 of 15 x 15 & 1 of 20 x 20mm. Not difficult. I got a Chinese speaker to give them
exact details.

What I got..............................

3 pieces each 1.1 metres long.

1 is 12 x 21
1 is 10 x 16.5
1 is 8 x 9 mm.

It is all sheared out of plate.
- philip in china - Thursday, 10/09/08 00:53:09 EDT

Phillip, Since they sell so much steel to the U.S. perhaps you should have asked for inch dimensions, 3/8", 9/16" and 3/4" (+1/32") are what you asked for. The closest available sizes would be 3/8, 5/8, and 3/4". A smith in the U.S. would probably order 1/2" instead of the 3/8" unless he really needed that small.

The cold roll spec may have thrown them as well. HR (hot rolled) bar is cheaper and what most smiths use. CF bar is usually not specified unless you need the accuracy for key stock to fit shafts OR you need the better chemistry. Good cold finished bar is usually SAE 1018-1020 and HR bar is any one of the structural grades known commonly as A36. See my FAQ on "Steel Product Types"

LAST. . There may also be a Chinese trade term for exactly what you wanted that your translator did not know. technical language is MUCH different than common language. If you ever bought plumbing parts in the U.S. a reducer coupling is a "red" and reducer (bushing) is a "bush". Then you has "street els" verses common els and other such terms that you need to know to get the right thing at a sales counter.

The sheared bar may also be a clue that there is a bar-stock shortage. In the 1980's I ordered some 3/16" x 2" HR flat bar. The first sample pieces I got were nice soft round edged like you expect. When I ordered a quantity of the material I was given bar sheared from plate with rolled edges. Plate is much different than bar and is often quite work hardened. This stuff had been straightened and the edge rolling had further hardened the edges. Really bad material.
- guru - Thursday, 10/09/08 09:04:59 EDT

I once had to vet blueprints that were in Japanese for earthquake bracing for a computer installation.

I found a native speaker in our large company and she brough a technical japanese dictionary as she didn't know the "jargon" words for mechanical engineering.

One I remember was a brace that was described as a piece of steel "like what a ship travels through" ---"channel" steel and it was of appropriate size and insulated. (For several years after that I knew the kanji for "insulated bushing").

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/09/08 10:32:17 EDT

Chinese Steel: Actually, the chinese export a relatively small amount of steel to the USA. In 2006, the last year I can find numbers for, they sent us under 5 Million Tons- out of our total consumption of close to 100 Million tons.
We import somewhere around a third of our consumption, and make the other two thirds here, (about 80 Million tons or so made domestically a year, as opposed to that 4 Million tons or so of Chinese steel)
We import from probably 2 dozen countries, with as much steel coming from European Mills as coming from China, along with steel from Korea, Japan, Ukraine, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, and many more.
Chinese imports total about 1 months worth of our import amount- 1/12 of our imported steel is chinese, in other words.
- Ries - Thursday, 10/09/08 10:33:39 EDT

Chinese exports of "steel" as such are small. Exports of steel as a major part of manufactured goods are huge. For example they export huge numbers of containers to overseas buyers. Other than a couple of pounds of paint a container is exclusively steel.

One interesting feature here is the amount of steel (and everything else including plastic bottles etc) that is recycled. When a container goes to USA full of grizzly anvils and other high quality goods it often comes back full of recyclable waste which is then reprocessed into more grizzly anvils, lathes, table lamps, lawnmowers, shoes, TV sets,.......
philip in china - Thursday, 10/09/08 20:29:04 EDT


There's that old story from back when there was a Shah. Iranian roughnecks were assembling some imported oil equipment, until they came across an instruction to unpack the wet sheep. It was the next morning before they could call Houston. Turns out it was someone's attempt to translate "hydraulic ram" into Persian.
Mike BR - Thursday, 10/09/08 21:12:15 EDT

Thanksgiving: Happy Thanksgiving to you all,
One of the things I'm thankful for is this site.
JimG - Monday, 10/13/08 09:04:48 EDT

Time to hunker down: Hurricane Omar has us dead center in its sights, with landfall predicted for sometime around midnight tomorrow. I may drop offline for anywhere from a couple to several days, depending on the severity of the storm and the extent of damage, if any. Still no home phone or internet, so things may be a bit sketchy for a while. Y'all play nice while I'm playing with Omar, okay? :-)


vicopper - Tuesday, 10/14/08 22:31:09 EDT

Batten down yer hatches: and the best of luck to you Rich.
John F. Christiansen - Wednesday, 10/15/08 07:47:00 EDT

Good luck Rich.
- Judson Yaggy - Wednesday, 10/15/08 18:55:26 EDT

For the first time in perhaps 30 years, my Lodge and Shipley 14.5" x 56 tool makers lathe tonight made chips! it has been a 4 year project to get it home,stripped of the old smoked drive, smoked hydraulic tracer, stripped of the huge DC motor and mount. About 1000# to the scrap yard. Installed, leveled a drive found scroungered and installed. Then to get a tool post. Then to get the tee nut for the tool post cut down. Tonight I put a hunk of steel in the chuck, ground a HSS bit, and made chips. Then I tried the feed and that worked as well! I had to rebuil the gear selector for the feed, as some ham fist had forced the selector and broken it.
BUT, I made chips:)
ptree - Wednesday, 10/15/08 19:16:48 EDT

Jeff-- Bravo!!
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 10/15/08 19:19:04 EDT

Rich; I've heard the administration has decided to extend their "Just Say No" and "abstinence" programs to FEMA to cover hurricanes; so you should have no problems as I'm sure they will obey.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/15/08 20:29:03 EDT

Lodge and Shipley:
Ptree, There is a good chance that the tapered gibs in your cross and compound slides and the tooling to make them was designed by my father. . . Great machine. Designed back when American tool makers tried to outdo each other in quality and dependibility.

Its funny its all the little junk that holds you up. I've got to make a tool post for my old non-name flat belt lathe. . Will probably make it in the same lathe that needs it. All the parts are custom to fit right. The ONE part I was tickled with was making the rocker bar. I forged it by hand and it fit almost perfectly needing just a touch with a file.

But its always a great feeling to make chips the first time. Its like driving a car or motorcycle the first time after you rebuilt it.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/15/08 23:20:40 EDT

With terror in your heart listening for "expensive" sounds?

Thomas P - Thursday, 10/16/08 10:24:17 EDT

"expensive" sounds: A good friend of mine has been working for 4 years to get his K O Lee B400 Universal grinder going.
The other night I stopped over to see what progress had been made and he was delieghted to demonstraight the 3 phase 220 variable speed motor controler he had instaled on the powered work head.
It was an impressive sight, as he has done a great job of rebuilding the whole machine and this was the last bit to be fixed up.
I noticed that the motor head and the motor controler bothe have forward/stop/reverse switches on them so, I ask witch one is the master? or is it like two switches in a room for the same lite?
He says it shouldn't make a diff as they're bothe doing the same thing (famous last words) and flips the switch on the motor to off. The resaulting shower of sparks from the motor controler was also quite impressive!
I didn't know what to say and he just said "well that was going to have happend sooner or later I guess"
Fortunately it looks like the controler can be fixed so I guess he'll have something to do this week end...
- merl - Thursday, 10/16/08 17:46:59 EDT

I hate expensive sounds:) I tested very carefully, first hand turning every shaft and device, oiling and cleaning and then doing that again. Changed every drop of oil and lube. Then changed again after the first year of sitting in my shop. Now that I have it running, I will again change the oil. When those old machines sit that long all sorts of bad things happen to the oil.

I cut with the feed last evening and it is smooth. The cone traction drive is smooth and easy to change speed, just twist the speed crank. I even remebered how to hand make a HSS tool from a blank:) And it worked:) Now to test a long bar for taper etc. Then a little more tooling.
Next on my list is to find a shaper or mill.
ptree - Thursday, 10/16/08 19:17:16 EDT

Wrought Iron from 1887 Grain Elevator for Sale!: Rods up to 14' long
We are in the process of dismantling the 1887 Globe Elevator near the Duluth-Superior Harbor and reclaiming its old-growth pine. Among its other treasures are several hundred thousand pounds of Real Wrought Iron rods ranging from 5/8" to 1-1/2" in diameter. We also have flat bars and millions of wrought (square) nails. Prices start at $2 per pound. Call to check current inventory.

Wisconsin Woodchuck LLC
2 Banks Avenue P.O. Box 97 * Superior, WI 54880-0097
Phone: 715.392.5110 * Fax: 715.392.5112
Web site:
- Judy Peres - Friday, 10/17/08 10:58:45 EDT

shaper or mill: ptree, if you're anywere near Manitowok, Wis. I just heard of a super sweet Bridgeport knee mill with a Proto-Trak cnc controle on it that has come up for sale (along with a few other items)
This is through an engine modeling club I belong to.
- merl - Saturday, 10/18/08 02:57:50 EDT

Merl, thanks for the tip, however I live in very Southern Indiana.
ptree - Saturday, 10/18/08 07:35:40 EDT

PW ANVIL SOLD: Hey Folks....The 250lb. PW Anvil I had for sale in an earlier post has sold. Thanks for all your inquiries.
- Barry Denton - Saturday, 10/18/08 10:42:40 EDT

Anvil: Great Barry
Did the anvil sell from your listing on ebay or advertisement here on anvilfire?

Is a new policy a good consideration to donate 10% of sales to the guru for any items sold that were advertised on anvilfire?

I for one would be more than happy to support anvilfire because of the advertising privilege.

I remember Keenjunk asking for a fee percent donation to anyone who sold an item that was listed.

I would think tool dealers would be more than supportive of a donation for helping them with continued success. I can understand where it may be harder for the non tool dealer person who sells an anvil or forge because they need the money to pay medical bills or such.
- Rustystuff - Saturday, 10/18/08 22:02:27 EDT

Sold Anvil: Barubar Supply: I forgot to mention that was a great looking anvil you sold. I almost considered it myself. Glad you were able to pass it along.
- Rustystuff - Saturday, 10/18/08 22:06:18 EDT

adjustable file handle: Hey gang, Just came into possession of a "Lutz" file and tool, #11 handle. Had never heard of them before, though a quick google shows they have been around a long time. It appears useful, and nearly new, but I am wondering what sizes it can take, etc. Anyone got a chart or website or something to lead me the right direction? Like a lot of us, I have lots of files from Nicholson, and their "pound em in" handles. They work fine mostly, but this handle is adjustable with a knurled bolt at the bottom that actuates two "forks" at the business end. Seems to grip pretty well, I tried it on a small triangle file I keep near the lathe. Looks like it would take files much larger though. Any thoughts?
Mark Singleton - Sunday, 10/19/08 21:01:21 EDT

Files and lathes : A file without a handle should never be used for lathe work. No exceptions.
John Christiansen - Sunday, 10/19/08 22:07:01 EDT

How to...: The thread on GD about getting a chuck off a lathe reminds me of a story I was told just after I was commissioned.

A staff sergeant is talking to a subaltern and says "How would you erect a flagpole, sir?" The officer says "bore a hole and stick the end in". "Ingenious but wrong sir." "Then I would put it into an oil drum and fill the drum with rocks and concrete. 55 Gallons of concrete will hold it up." "Better still, sir, but still wide of the mark. Have one last try." "OK. I would fabricate a stand with 2 holes in it and use bolts through the pole. The whole assembly anchored to the ground with foundation bolts."

"Let me explain sir. The correct way for YOU to do it is to say 'Sergeant! Get that flagpole erected'".

There is always another way! BTW I know even less about lathes than I do about blacksmithing.
- philip in china - Monday, 10/20/08 05:29:24 EDT

File Handle:
Mark, I suspect if it fits it works. . . I looked in my collection of tool catalogs and all I could find were the push on and "scroo" on (threaded) file handles.
- guru - Monday, 10/20/08 09:30:22 EDT

FEEs: This page has always been free to use to sell individual items. The exception has been regular dealers that should pay to advertise.

The reason THIS page has always been free to non-commercial sellers is because of when the JunkYard became "Keenjunk" and all of a sudden listings that had been free for years became percentage based with no added benefits.

Over the years I have pointed people here that were selling large machines or collections. I've suggested to those with the machinery that a percentage would be appropriate but never received a dime. . .

We are in the process of setting up a sales page which will allow photos, links, ebay and paypal buttons. . . This page will be supported by our regular advertisers, google ads, ebay commissions AND a membership fee IF you want to run images or external links. Plain classified type text ads will be free as they have been here but with a posted suggestion to make a donation.

Our new user sales page will provide many benefits based on automated server software. As a sales only page it will be better for buyers and sellers alike. Look for it in a few weeks. Users will be able to edit, end or renew their ads. Normal ad duration will be one month.
- guru - Monday, 10/20/08 11:55:58 EDT

Thanks Phillip, that gave me a good chuckle but, there is only one CORRECT way...
"clamp on file handle"
when I was in the service that particular file handle was a standard issue item in every General Mechanic tool box. Can't think who made it though
- merl - Monday, 10/20/08 19:41:30 EDT

Sales Page: Guru
You're plans of a sales page sounds very exciting and well thought out. Looking forward to it.
- Rustystuff - Monday, 10/20/08 21:20:06 EDT

Files, Holders, Book: Ace hardware sells an adjustable file holder made by General tools MFG #890 & Ace #26309. also sells another version of an universal file holder #14497. None of them list tang sizes. Like the Guru says if it fits use it. The general mentions it is rust proof and holds reamers and hacksaw blade as well. Sounds very versitile in a rang of sizes. I have held them and they seem well made. The general cost much less than the woodcraft and appears better made.

I have a small book of 47 pages called File Filosophy. It shows all the types of files, how to use them, how to file all types of materials, sharpening items and maintenance of files. Just a wonderful little book. It was put out by Nicholson File Comapny. I really wish they would reproduce it. I wish I knew how to go out obtaining the copyright and having it made myself to share the wealth of knowledge on the subject of filing not as profit minded endeavor. Any advice in that direction would be appreciated.
- Rustystuff - Monday, 10/20/08 21:37:00 EDT

File Holders 2: General also has a newer file holder version MFG #810890

The File and Tool Handle turns stray hacksaw blades, reamers and files into graspable, workable tools. The exclusive parallel clamping jaws grip the entire length of the tool's tang, while the knurled adjusting knob ensures a positive lock. This item is equipped with a large 800 Series handle for applying maximum torque
  • For holding files, reamers, hacksaw blades and other tang-handled tools.
  • Steel parallel clamping jaws grip entire length of tang.
  • Large quick-adjusting knob for easy holding and releasing of tool attachment.
  • Exclusive Versa-Grip handle for comfort and control
- Rustystuff - Monday, 10/20/08 21:49:01 EDT

File Handle/ Safety : I knew this was the place to ask. Thanks to all for the replies. Have made a few more experimental 'grabs' with it, and it appears to tighten up sufficiently on a range of tools, as Rustystuff states above. And a heartfelt thank you to John for the reminder about files needing handles on the lathe. My lathe files do indeed all have handles! I am a rank amateur at lathe work and have a very healthy respect for its dangers.
Mark Singleton - Monday, 10/20/08 22:22:16 EDT

Rustystuff. Ask the company if they want to sell the rights. IF it is older than 1926 it is out of copyright.

Hmmm. .. this one has updated copyrights to at least 1956. .

The alternative is to find the source material and write a similar booklet. It may have been written mostly by someone else like Hasluck or was in a textbook like "Metalwork, Technology and Practice" or a catalog like Dixons. . . Maybe even an early Machinery's Handbook.

I've started on a file article several times. I have a bunch of photos but file types are almost infinite. . . There needs to be drawings as well. I've had volunteers send articles but all the illustrations were from copyrighted works. . .

So. . I ordered a copy of "File Filosophy". Pricey little thing. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 10/21/08 13:18:51 EDT

Copyright-- Data, facts, are not copyrightable, nor are titles. Files are an ancient tool, and the types of files are standard info, available from many sources, as is the care of files, how to use a file, etc. Do some research and write your own book. It'll be a lot easier, faster and more fun than finding the brave corporate soul who will send you something in writing telling you it's okay to Xerox his company's book.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 10/21/08 15:55:53 EDT

Files: Machineries Handbook has a nice section on file shapes. That's where I learned my favourite file is called a "crosscut" file and when I went to order one the counterman was able to find it right away in his catalog.
JimG - Tuesday, 10/21/08 17:09:50 EDT

borrowing from one source is plagiarizm, borrowing from three sources is research...
JimG - Tuesday, 10/21/08 17:11:52 EDT

File Filosophy: Rustystuff, if you would just scan that little gem into your computor for a low level distribution, I promis not to reprint it for profit.
- merl - Tuesday, 10/21/08 17:37:41 EDT

Nothing in the world wrong or immoral with borrowing. It's doing it without attribution that is plagiarism. It's copying the language of a text, not the factual content, that might be copyright violation.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 10/21/08 18:38:25 EDT

Copyright is concerned on if your messing with the work would cause others to not buy it; so a review with a quote in it is generally OK; sending copies around electronically is not---if it's still in copyright!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/21/08 19:53:55 EDT

Hi Merl
I am so out dated here I don't have one of those fancy scanner doohickies otherwise I would have sent you an electronic copy. I am going to try and pursue permission to reproduce a few versions of that book. I know a place that could make some reasonably priced hardcopy versions if I get permission. This has been something I have been thinking about for about five years. I will give it a whurl and let you know if it happens.
- Rustystuff - Tuesday, 10/21/08 20:21:50 EDT

Copyright: So how much does anybody know on this subject. I want to use some photographs of the squares on a monopoly board for my own private use. Not selling them etc. I have contacted the copyright holders. Do I need to pay them? I know that this is far from Blacksmithing but the thread was running.
philip in china - Tuesday, 10/21/08 20:27:06 EDT

Phillip, There is a doctrine called "fair use". As Thomas noted you can use parts of a work in a review or critique. We use quite a bit in our our reviews because the authors LIKE it because it sells books. But there is a line you need a feel for that is too much. Educational use is also allowed to a limited extant. If a teacher want to teach about a poet then copies of their work is fair game. But reproducing the published book the poetry appeared in is NOT.

Under fair use you are allowed to make archival copies of works you purchased as long as they are only for your use. This applies primarily to electronic works where the media may fail but can also be applied in other ways.

Reproduction for your own use is a private matter and you will either not hear from the copyright holder OR you will receive a curt form letter full of legalese in an attempt to scare you.

There is a MYTH on the web that if you do not profit or make money from something you find on the web and use it on your own web site then no harm no foul. However, distributed use diminishes the value of the original when it can be found anywhere. On the web traffic IS money and if you reduce MY traffic by posting something of mine elsewhere then you have diminished my traffic and thus have cost ME money.

In the case of text the problem usually is that the "borrowers" generally do not have the skills to write a sentence of their own and just copy and paste.

On the web there are a whole set of special rules that still end up in the courts. . .

Then there are "compilations". This is a tricky area and every author and publisher that deals in compilations also has a bevy of lawyers to review the work. If you borrow from enough works that yours stands alone then it is a compilation. However, where compilers have run afoul of the rules is taking the works from an artists own compilation and thus reducing its value. . .

Where things get rather odd is when you have been writing and teaching on a subject for so long that your words and entire paraphrased paragraphs that you cannot tell from your own show up in other people's works. In recent years I have found many of my personal (original) ideas showing up in others works. On one hand I should feel honored that I have a following in the field. On the other hand the shock is a bit alarming. . . It is one disadvantage of being a book reviewer in the field. . . I suspect it will get worse as time goes on.
- guru - Tuesday, 10/21/08 21:51:04 EDT

Thanks Rustystuff, If you do get to having some printed I would be happy to purchase one.
Unfortunatly the proper use of the file is all but a "lost technology" to most and I'm concerned that the good file makers will finely give up and stop making them.
Bench work and file work were the first thing to be taught at the shop I took my apprenticship at. Now I don't think the tech schools even know what a file is for.
I would have to agree with Guru about the deminished value thing... I once had a couple of ideas stolen from me that I was willing to share but wanted to be compensated for if they turned out to be usable. That was nearly 20 years ago and I've yet to see any money.
- merl - Wednesday, 10/22/08 18:30:28 EDT

For Sale: Hay Budden 114 pound anvil. Good condition.Purchased from 92 year old Tennessee farmer.Face is flat & very minimal chipping on the edge.Can send you pics.
Located in Telford,Tennessee Call Roger 423 384-3939
Asking $525 plus freight or you pickup
Roger Scott - Thursday, 10/23/08 08:39:53 EDT

STEEL SCRAP PRICES: Just a heads up everybody. We were told this morning
from our scrap guy, that the mill was not taking any scrap until Jan. He was only willing to pay .03/lb now. He will however hold our tickets until Jan to see if the price goes up. So now or the next few weeks may be the time get that scrap steel you've been eyeing.
DAVEB - Thursday, 10/23/08 14:04:24 EDT

So where were these prices when I was buying steel last February?
- guru - Thursday, 10/23/08 19:29:54 EDT

.03/lb scrap: At that price the 1000lbs I got picked out at the scrap yard will be coming home this weekend.
Can you say, "$30. power hammer frame"?
- merl - Thursday, 10/23/08 21:51:57 EDT

Swage Block Needed: Dose anyone have a swage block there needing or willing to sell, not to big and not to small, 20-50.
sam - Thursday, 10/23/08 22:47:43 EDT

Swage Block Needed.: 20-50. lbs
sam - Thursday, 10/23/08 22:50:08 EDT

Scrap steel prices: Note that DAVEB said they are PAYING $.03/lb. You know darn well that the selling price will not have gone down in porportion.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 10/23/08 23:38:31 EDT

Sort of files: I wondered having made a big butcher knife how would I make a sharpening steel to go with it?
philip in china - Friday, 10/24/08 01:19:22 EDT

Butcher steel: With the steel, you're not really sharpening, but rather you are straightening and smoothing the microscopic teeth at the knife's cutting edge.

I offer the following, although I haven't tried it. H. Holford's old book, "The 20th Century Toolsmith and Steelworker" talks about the butcher steel. He starts with 5/8" round high carbon steel. He shoulders it to a smaller, square, tapered tang, and "feathers" the tang, meaning he puts barbs in the corners to keep it from "outenin" (Vermont term). The steel is drawn to a long round taper. I assume Holford anneals the steel for the next step; he doesn't say. It is fixed in a vise and a course single-cut file is held so the cuts are 90º to the steel length. The file is drawn over the steel all around to give the fine lines. A mixture of ½ wheat flour and ½ salt are mixed with water to the consistancey of "mud". The steel is rolled in the mixture and smoothed all around. A cherry red heat is taken on the steel except for the tang, and Holford plunges it vertically in the water bath holding it still until cold. The mixture and the lack of agitation prevents it from hardening fully, so that no temper is drawn. The mixture also protects the fine cuts, so that they don't scale away.
Frank Turley - Friday, 10/24/08 08:54:16 EDT

Sam, any particular patterns you need on that swage block or will any swage block do for you? The small ones can be fairly specific where the large ones have *everything*!

Thomas P - Friday, 10/24/08 10:57:48 EDT

Scrap Prices : A good thing I've moved most of my modest scrap pile "out of site" back in my woods on "my side of the farm." My wif thought it an eyesore (it was invisible at 400 yards from the old house and totally out of site from the new, and wasn't all that big) but she was somewhat more benign when I told her that the scrap value was probably a "couple of hundred dollars and someday maybe more." Now that it's in the $60 range, it's an eyesore again! (Funny how money changes perceptions! ;-)
Bruce Blackistone - Friday, 10/24/08 11:49:05 EDT

Swage Blocks: Sam, See our link on the drop down menu to (or just type it in).

There are a LOT of swage block shapes and many are useless to artist blacksmiths and bladesmiths. In many cases what you need is a simple dies machined to the shape you need (like an octagon for a gun barrel) or holes drilled in a bar to make a bolster plate.

If you are doing small work you may need a dapping block rather than a swage block.

Used swage blocks (for sale) are pretty rare and bring anvil prices or better.
- guru - Friday, 10/24/08 17:08:34 EDT

Sam, Bob Cruikshank sells a very nice small block. I believe that the SOFA site has a link.
ptree - Friday, 10/24/08 18:00:19 EDT

Cheap Quality Swage Block: Sam
Go to the swage block website guru gave you and click on blocks currently available. Look at the small 7 lb artisan burnt forge block. They are sold by who is on the anvilfire drop down menu. This block can do just about anything and is only 45.00. Frank Turley, Guru, Peter Buchanan and I have one. Any of those fellas could tell you great things about that handy little block. I met the designer and he is a real wizbang. Just set it on the anvil face and go to town or make a hardy hole holder for it.
- Rustystuff - Friday, 10/24/08 19:15:03 EDT

Butcher steel: WOW, Frank! what a gem that was.
I will defenitly be trying that one myself.
I can't tell you how vital the explination of "why" somthing is done a certain way,is to me. I always need to know why I am doing something a particular way for it to stick in my head.
My next question is about the teeth cut on the steel. Would they work better in one direction and not the other?
Would I be makeing a "Left" or a "Right" hand steel?
If I put the tang of the cutting file to one side or the other I should get the corresponding profile on the steel. Or am I chasing my tail with that question?
Thanks again Frank.
- merl - Friday, 10/24/08 19:30:34 EDT

Swage Block: Sam,

I would recommend you try to get hold of a Mengel and Green swage block. They sell them at Quad States every year, and I 'm sure they must have some web presence somewhere. Coincidentally (or maybe not), their blocks are exactly the right size to fit in the flatter of the USPS Flat Rate boxes and weigh two pounds under the maximum weight allowed. Thatis, the block weighs 68 pounds and is about 11" square by 3" thick. They have two styles, one with a "shovel pan" form in one side, and the other with a large spherical depression instead of the shovel pan. I have the second version and I have found it to be a very useful swage block. I've had mine for about three or four years now and really like it.
vicopper - Friday, 10/24/08 19:51:41 EDT

Knife Steel: Merl,

Since the steel is only for straightening the knife edge and not for actually filing it, I think that symmetrical grooves would be the most appropriate. If'n ya want a file, use a file, so to speak. :-)

As to knowing the "why" of things, I agree wholeheartedly! That is one reason I now recommend Mark Aspery's book as my first choice for a beginner's book on smithing. He is about the only author who thoroughly explains the why of things, and doesn't just tell you the how of them.
vicopper - Friday, 10/24/08 19:55:26 EDT

swage block: Sam
I also have a Green & Mengel Block with the big round depression on one side. I have had it for several years. I make a forged plate with a special adapter I made for in the large dish. Great block also. I have their contact info if you need it. I still find I use the little 7 lb block much more and for every other thing I make. :)
- Rustystuff - Friday, 10/24/08 20:11:04 EDT

Adjustable file handle: I order two new General Tool adjustable file handles. The old one #890 and new version #810890. The new version has a non-slip plastic & rubberized ergonomic handle. The old version has a smooth straight plastic handle that allows your hand to slide. The jaws function properly in the new one. The old one you have to pull the jaws up once you loosen them. They just do not function as well, though still work fine. I recommend the #810890 version. To order go to
- Rustystuff - Friday, 10/24/08 20:16:08 EDT

Merl: All butcher steels I've seen had very fine lines (grooves) running lengthwise of the tool. No spirals.
Frank Turley - Friday, 10/24/08 21:23:20 EDT

Swage Block: If you could give me the contact information that would be great, and thank you for the tips
sam - Friday, 10/24/08 22:14:26 EDT

Anvils and blocks:
Neither are happy and neither are you unless they are in a harem. . . I love my personal pattern blocks and use them the most. But I also have a big 18" industrial block with all the holes and it is real handy as well. BUT it weighs around 300 pounds and I cannot move it without help or a machine. So I'd like a nice 12" industrial block that can be rolled around by one person. . . and the next thing you know you have a harem. You can't have just one.
- guru - Saturday, 10/25/08 00:37:46 EDT

Butcher steel correction: I should have said that the file cuts are in line with the tool length, so you're drawing the file lengthwise.
- Frank Turley - Saturday, 10/25/08 06:48:54 EDT

Butcher Steel: I also suspect it was supposed to be scraped filed or ground as clean and smooth as possible prior to doing the teeth draw filing.
- guru - Saturday, 10/25/08 08:52:41 EDT

Drawing file heel to point: Yes, if I were doing it, I would take it to virgin metal. Besides giving the steel the finish it should have, it saves files, because scale is quite hard.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 10/25/08 10:11:58 EDT

Butcher steel function: On knife steels: I question whether it is stricly true that the steel removes not material from the knife, but only shapes it. When using a really good steel, I can feel a definite bite that is not there when using a cheap steel or one that is so old that the filed lines are worn. When using a good or new steel, I also notice a distinct brightening to the edge. I own/use only non-stainless high carbon knives, and the very best ones -- Dexter, Sabatier -- all show these characterisics. I suspect that what is really happening is that the file lines in the steel are actually removing at least corrosion and probably microscopic irregularities in the burr. Otherwise, if the function were stricly shaping of the burr, why the file lines in the steel? Woulodn't a flat, smooth surface be sufficient for shaping the burr?
- Peter Hirst - Saturday, 10/25/08 13:10:31 EDT

Butcher steel : I guess I always understood that the steeling of the freashly sharpend knife was to smooth the cutting edge the same as stropping a straight razor but, there must be some micro amount of material removed.
I would say that the butcher steel must act as a fine finishing file for the knife and so, it must have teeth in it. Even teeth with a positive rake and minimal clearance will take a cut.

Yes Frank, I understood about the groove pattern.
When you draw file, if you hold your file 90deg perpendicular to the work, the file will cut and remove stock.
If you hold it so the theeth of the file run parallel to the work then the file teeth will cut grooves down the length of the work and not realy remove any more stock than it takes to make the grooves them selves.
This of course only works with a single cut file.
I was asumeing that the file teeth would make a mirror image of them selves and therefor give you a steel that cut better from one direction than the other.
I suppose someone with a good optical comparitor will have to get a sectional veiw of the teeth profile so we can make the proper cutting tool to allow an ambidextrious cutting butcher steel to be made in about a month or so or, I can follow your advice and get the job done tomorrow...
Thanks again for the good advice Frank...
- merl - Saturday, 10/25/08 22:20:01 EDT

Peter H: I agree with Your findings about the butcher steel. My Mom has J A Henckels stainless knives, and the steel hardly bites on these. It works better on the old 1952 Dexter carbon steel knife.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 10/25/08 22:20:19 EDT

I think a razor strop actually removes material and sharpens the blade. It is impregnated with a dressing that usually contains emery powder.
- Peter Hirst - Saturday, 10/25/08 22:41:27 EDT

Razor Strop: When sharpening a knife or razor blade you get a microscopic burr on the edge. A leather strop can be used to remove this burr leaving a razor sharp edge. Most cutleries use a high speed buff. Very dangerous if you are not trained how to do it.

Former Cutler
- Burnt Forge - Sunday, 10/26/08 00:25:18 EDT

Butch Steel teeth:
"the "draw file" was my mistake. . .

You could also make a scraper with very small notches and do the same.
- guru - Sunday, 10/26/08 07:46:43 EST

Urgent non-smiting bulletin: if you have not got your free coupon(s) for a digital/analog TV converter box yet, do it soon. Nation goes digital Feb. 17, 2009. Hooking up a simple set-top box is a snap. Installing a VCR with a digital tuner built in has proved a nightmare. Don't let it go until the afternoon of the evening your favorite show airs. I am Miles Undercut and I approve this message.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 10/26/08 16:52:59 EST

I should add the set-top box hook-up is a snap IF your TV has an antenna jack. If it's an oldie like my little garage sale B&W kitchen table Zenith and only has set-screws for the rabbit-ears, gotta go to Radio Shack or some similar purveyor of electronics and get a transformer/adaptor.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 10/26/08 16:58:54 EST

Digital TV. . .: OR if its like my little Sony portable it has a proprietary antenna plug that even Sony did not provide the adapter for when it was new, or at any time there after. It was purchased for my office and never picked up ANYTHING well. . but it would have made a nice little VCR monitor. . IF it could be attached to ANYTHING.

We have numerous old TV's and I may just quit watching broadcast TV altogether. I refuse cable until they let ME pick what I want and do not force extras on the account that I do not want.

- guru - Sunday, 10/26/08 22:14:40 EST

I live in a very close-in suburb, but get lousy reception with rabbit ears. One small factor in my decision to stop watching TV. I helped my parents (who live near by) install a digital converter, and their reception improved *greatly*.

I ordered the $40 coupons last month -- I guess I'll buy converters before the coupons expire, just in case.
Mike BR - Monday, 10/27/08 15:54:30 EST

We don't have any real broadcast TV reception where I live, so I use a big satellite dish and an FTA receiver. The reciever does the digital to analog conversion so I should be fine after the change of life, right? I mean the TV's change of life, not mine. :-)
vicopper - Monday, 10/27/08 20:06:03 EST

Rich-- dunno re: FTA receiver. New sets have the tuner or receiver built in. The taxonomy of this electrocrapola is maddening and the boffins love it that way. Makes them feel special, elite, as with the damned mystifying acronyms they drop ever so casually. Check the website. The info I have seen says an old set may (key word) need a new "steerable" antenna in addition to the digital/analog tuner. Sounds major but I think (haha) I read or heard this is a set-top item.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 10/27/08 21:58:41 EST

- Burnt Forge - Monday, 10/27/08 22:15:42 EST

Living in china: I was asked if I like it etc. so here goes:

China is efectively as big as USA. So there is every type of climate here. I am in Sichuan which is very wet and warmer than UK. Very lush and fertile.

Some areas of China are still quite backward but it is making huge leaps forward.

Do NOT believe 10% of what you read about the government. There is, as far as I have seen, complete religious freedom. If "religious" types start deliberately causing trouble they are stamped on, hard. I wish the law was enforced in UK like it is here. If it were then I would probably still be there! By and large we are treated very well here.

I am fortunate that I have a good job, a superb boss, a comfortable house and a wife who looks like the female lead from a kung fu movie. Not every expatriate is quite as fortunate although many do very well.

I sometimes have problems finding, for example, high quality specialised tools but that is getting easier all the time.

Really it is a great place to be and I wouldn't have missed it for anything.
philip in china - Tuesday, 10/28/08 02:42:12 EST

Digital TV: There's a big gotcha with DTV. IF, and that's a big "if", your reception is good, DTV is much clearer than analog. There's a range of "good enough" reception where your picture will always be super clear and pretty. But once you go over that line, you start getting pixelation, frozen frames, sound cutting out completely, etc. Where with analog you just get snow, at least it stays pretty watchable for a while. Poor reception causes loss of information in DTV and it takes some frames for the video to catch up. This, at least in my opinion, makes things unwatchable.

That may be why they recommend a directional antenna. You really need good reception to get that "superior" video. There's no such thing as a digital antenna. RF is RF and only the content of the RF signal is changing. But it needs to be a good antenna. All this talk about getting a converter if you have rabbit ears is going to get a whole lot of people PO'ed. Except for those living right near the one station they watch exclusively, those with rabbit ears are most probably going to lose their ability to watch TV. Expect the FCC to get tons of calls this coming Feb.Sure, the converter is free, or cheap, with the coupons. But I don't see any coupons for antenna installation.
- Marc - Tuesday, 10/28/08 06:18:34 EST

Long Live Li: Philip: So, you are developing your Falun Gong practice nicely, are you? Congratulations. Actually, there was a time when the UK did enforce laws just like the Peoples' Republic. That's why so much of the civilized world are former Crown colonies, isn't it? Emphasis on "former".
- Peter Hirst - Tuesday, 10/28/08 08:16:26 EST

Forge Blower: Large hand crank Buffalo #2 blower, perfect condition, $75. Nevada City, CA. Sorry, I will not ship. Tel.530-272-4599
- Jim Jacobs - Tuesday, 10/28/08 10:36:19 EST

DTV reception:
I kinda figured that out here in the sticks (literal boonies AKA Boonville, NC) where we get poor and poorer reception with rabbit ears. We have a large set top antenna up high that has a tuner on it. When carefully aimed and tuned it does OK with ONE STATION. To get another better than ghosts and hissing we have to adjust it another direction. . . I suspect digital will reduce our reception except that many stations are using the signals to piggyback more than one signal.

To get the best clear multi-channel reception you need a roof top or pole mount multi-frequency antenna (more than one bar length). With the bars aimed to the match the station/frequency. Properly done they only have a few bars matching the available frequencies and the rest are removed. This can be done by professionals for a fee. . .

What I do not like about roof top antennas is that they look like a lightening hazard to me. . . Pole mount is worse but does remove the hazard from the house. Where we are to get above the tree line interference and distant hills would take about a 50 foot pole. . .

So, we will try converter boxes. But may be forced into cable if we want more than watching videos on the tube. Of course there is PC based video. . . we get that via the telephone company.
- guru - Wednesday, 10/29/08 08:55:01 EST

Lightening will be quite happy to follow the cable from the pole mount antenna into your house. They make lightening blockers for such cables and they work *sometimes*. Lightening is one of those things that pretty much does what it feels like and not what you feel it should.

When our house was hit---old plumbing vent pipe, we lost all the consumer electronics *and* it jumped from the vent pipe to a cold water line in the basement blowing a hole in it so when our kids called us the said that every was dead *and* it was raining in the basement on my tools....(we were at the police impound lot seeing if our stolen and recovered car was drivable---nope it was totaled, not a good day for us).

I'll probably have to get an antenna rotor and new antenna. Any suggests on where to buy a good one? The ones with plastic components don't last long up here with strong UV and strong winds on a regular basis.
Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/29/08 09:55:07 EST

Sam Swage Block: Hi Sam

I sent the Green & Mengel information concerning swage blocks to your email address. Hope this helps. :)

- Rustystuff - Wednesday, 10/29/08 12:25:50 EST

Antennas: Jock and Thomas:

A good multi-element yagi antenna will boost your reception several dB. With the proliferation of cable and internet TV, I seriously doubt there are many antenna manufacturers left in this country. Radio Shack sell decent ones, but they do have plastic components. Since a high-dielectric component is needed to isolate the directors, reflectors and active elements form the main beam, this is pretty unavoidable. You could do a couple of things; either paint the plastic with a UV barrier before installation (non-conductive at RF frequencies, of course), or make new pieces out of laminated phenolic, fiberglass or acetyl resin (Delrin).

As for lightning, as long as you put a lightning arrestor on the downfeed, you're no more likely to get hit with the antenna than without it. The arrestor bleeds off any static charge continuously to minimize the likelihood of a hit and it tries to divert anyh strike to ground, but we all know that part is a joke unless the arrestor is the size of a Volkswagen.

I lived and installed TV antennas in a very lightning-prone area in Colorado. I probably installed hundreds of antennas in the three years I worked for the shop, and none of them ever was hit, though nearby trees were blasted several times.

I do recomment that when installing an antenna, you use 75 ohm coaxial cable and not the 300 ohm twinlead. If the antenna is not equipped with a connection for the coax, simply use a 75-300 ohm balun coil. If you live in a weak signal area, consider getting a signal amplifier; they really work wonders and the better ones incorporate filters that greatly reduce "ghosting" and spurious signals. A side benefit of a nice antenna and amp is that you'll get absolutely terrific FM reception. :-)

If your broadcast facility is more than 50 miles away, consider getting a nine to eleven-element antenna. With an amplifier you can get by with fewer elements, but the better your actual signal is, the better the amp can defeat spurious signals.

Those are a few thoughts that come to mind right off. If you have any questions, shoot me an email.
vicopper - Wednesday, 10/29/08 17:51:26 EST

Anteannas, n.b.: Whenever installing an antenna of any sort, you simply MUST put in a good earth ground. This means a six to ten foot copper-clad steel rod driven into the ground, preferably where the soil stays somewhat damp, connected to the ground block of your antenna, line, phone, etc, with no less than a #8 wire. Forget the notion of grounding to a copper water pipe. Too often there are dielectric unions in the line somewhere, or the lines are too shallow, or some other issue. The only good substitute for a ground rod is a loop ground installed under the slab when the house is built, not an easy afterthought item. YOur lightning arrestor needs a good ground to bleed off static charges, BTW.
vicopper - Wednesday, 10/29/08 17:56:15 EST

Antennas: I will say that Rich has covered about all the issues. The signal amp really improved my reception as did the switch to the 75 ohm cable. I used Radio shack rotators for about 16 years and wore one out. When I went to satellite, the existing one still worked. We have had a number of lightning strikes that damaged stuff in the house, but never thru the antenna. Most came in on the telephone line. I do have the arrestor on the antenna. It is connected to the driven ground that was handy right there anyway.

For lighting damage prevention, I had three strikes that blew up stuff in a 2 year period. I had a friend to suggest a suppressor that fits in the electrical panel. Replaces two single pole breakers, and has tripped several times. When it trips, it dumps the voltage to ground and it drops those circuits, as a warning to check the suppressor. As long as the diodes light up when reset it is good to go. No diode? replace. Cost abot $60 about 6 or 8 years ago. Priceless.
Remember though that if lightning can jump miles of air, there is little help when it wants to go over, around or thru. It simply will.
ptree - Wednesday, 10/29/08 18:23:15 EST

HOT OFF THE PRESSES!: so to speak:

Google and the consortium of publishers have settled their differences apparently and there is averitable plethora of books on blacksmithing available for free viewing on the internet. There is no further excuse for anyone to say they don't ahve access to a library, or bookstore or such any longer. If you have internet access to whine about it here, you have access to read about it there. So there. :-)

Google has books on file from back as far a the 1700s or so, up to books as recent as Weygers, Andrews and Bealer. The information is there if you take the time to read it. If such things were available when I was young, I would never have made it to school. I'd have been glued to the computer twenty hours a day, soaking up everything I could find. Man, I really LOVE the information age!
vicopper - Wednesday, 10/29/08 22:28:47 EST

And the big get bigger. . . .:
For many years I have been collecting rare and hard to find books. Some of them have been scanned to be either put on line or to be sold on CD. So now if Google has found them the value has dropped considerably. Books such as thin 1850's volume that I paid $450 for may have no commercial value now.

The worst part is that Google has struck a deal where if its not easy to find a copyright holder or their heirs they can now just charge ahead and use those works (IF they have them) and ones that collectors may have cannot (without worry of a lawsuit). . . unless they are big enough to have the clout of Google.

Google did not pursue this through the courts based on "fair use" or "no-harm" and thus the legal climate is the same for everyone other than Google. It may be good for the public in some aspects, it may be good for a few publishers but is very doubtful to be good for small publishers and authors.

Many out of copyright books that had been out of print for decades are now in print because there is a demand. I LIKE books and many of those on my book shelf are those reprints, many better than originals. That part of the business may be severely hurt by Google's deal. Such reprints may no longer be worthwhile to publishers. The "aggreement" also forces every publisher to be proactive about what is put on the web by Google. Suppose someone like Richard Postman, who is not on the web, fails to notice that AIA has been on google for an extended time? He mortgaged his home to print the first editions. . . Will google make up for unknown lost sales? The big guys that had the power to make Google more responsible have settled. . leaving the small guys in the dust.

Many folks prefer print copies of books. However, more and more people are getting used to reading on-line. Kids take lap-tops to bed with them. Can you read from a laptop in bed? Is the printed book going to become a thing of the past?

Consider this. How long does a typical PC or laptop last? How long does a well made book last?

The fact is, most books last longer than any current digital media including writable CD's. Even so, huge parts of our written history have been lost. Do we want to trust digital media held by a single corporation to maintain the historical record?

Google's win was good for Google. Is it really good for society as a whole? THAT is another question.
- guru - Thursday, 10/30/08 11:58:01 EST

Counterpoint: Sorry to hear that you think Google has diminished the market value of your collectible books, Jock. I rather doubt that that wil be the case, however. In fact, the opposite may very well happen, with the diminution of numbers of printed books, actual print copies will become more scarce and therefore more, rather than less, valuable.

I am of the opinion that anything that brings information to people is good. Just as this website you built brings to people information that is freely contributed by many of us who could just as well keep it to ourselves until the opportunity comes along to profit from it, the Google offerings will bring information to people. While that may have fallout for publishers, it will benefit vast mumbers of people across the globe.

The same doomcrying went on with the advent of television - it would kill off the movies. DVD's would kill off the theaters. CD's would end live concerts, etc. None of this has come to pass yet, as far as I can see. On the other hand, what I can see is that in places such as I live, where there are no public libraries and shipping is costly and time-consuming, electronic access to written matter is a real godsend.

The worldwide paradigm for informationsharing is changing, without question. Where will it all end up? I don't know and wouldn't hazard a guess, as I am so hopelessly out of touch with the current advancesin informaiton technology and law that anything I might imagine would already be passe'. I do know that changeis inevitable and all I can do is make it as comfortable as possible for me by encompassing what I can and ignoring whatI can't. Bemoaning the future is profitless.
vicopper - Thursday, 10/30/08 17:53:59 EST

preservation: I don't have the answer for the preservation of technology and history. However I'm with the Guru as far as books are concerned. I do not trust these huge conglomerates to protect our best intrests in the preservation of history.
They will only do so as long as they can make an ever increasing profit from it. When they no longer can they will gut the best parts from the general body of works to be sold off to privet collectors and leave the rest to be salvaged by the government.
Fortunatly thosoe who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it so, mankind will get the chance to learn it all over again...
- merl - Thursday, 10/30/08 20:37:59 EST

I've always preferred the archival quality of stone tablets, myself. It's been pretty much downhill ever since the days when Moses came down from Mt. Sinai.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 10/31/08 09:56:54 EST

Miles: If they're so good, where are they? :-) Now, the Dead Sea scrolls, done on papyrus think, are still around and readable, (assuming you read Aramaic or Hebrew or whatever it is.) Maybe all our written works should be sealed in amphorae and kept in dry caves... Come to think of it, those scribbles at Lascaux are still around - forget the papyrus and just draw on the cave walls.
vicopper - Friday, 10/31/08 17:09:20 EST

Rich can I just crayon on the padded walls instead?
Thomas P - Friday, 10/31/08 18:05:31 EST

Stone tablets & scrolls: If You can believe Mel Brooks, Moses lost one stone tablet on the way down the mountain, leaving Us with 10 commandments rather than the original 15. On the other hand, papyrus is flexable enough to not shatter when dropped, at least for the first handfull of centuries.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 10/31/08 21:05:28 EST

Commandments: Dave there are actually 613 commandments. I see we need some soals saved in here...LOL.
- Rustystuff - Friday, 10/31/08 22:33:50 EST

Thing of it is, see, man had already progressed to the point where a commandment prohibiting cannibalism was not felt to be necessary. Or maybe that was on the missing tablet.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 10/31/08 23:24:49 EST

Dead Sea Scrolls:
Many of these, the most readable were on metal, copper and gold sheet. The rest only survived by an accident of nature. The amazing thing is that they are still being translated and the bits and pieces fitted together.
- guru - Saturday, 11/01/08 08:25:28 EST

Truth stranger than Fiction:
If you have a chance check out the newest National Geographic. There are photos of a "crystal cave" in Mexico where the formations are gigantic and look like something from a Jules Vern movie. Amazing and beautiful.

They also had an article on light pollution, one of my bug-a-boos. I absolutely HATE it when folks move out into the country and the first thing they have to do is put in a security light. We can actually see the Milky Way from here on a clear night but are partially blinded by neighbors security lights. We like to soak in the hot tub at night and watch for shooting stars, which we see quite often. But to the West there is a shopping center 20 miles away that lights the sky like a permanent hazy sunset. To the South a truck lot lights the local sky. And then two neighbors at about 100 yards each who are apparently afraid of the dark. . .

The National Geographic article points out that properly designed lights with shades on them are more efficient AND produce less light pollution. Remember when all the old lights had large steel reflectors? They were actually a GOOD thing. . .
- guru - Saturday, 11/01/08 08:37:17 EST

Solder: During a shop cleaning I found two bars of Oatley 40/60 4 in 1 solder. Anyone have a use for these? They're free to a good home.
- Doug - Saturday, 11/01/08 09:48:37 EST

Hi Rustystuff et al, My anvil actually sold to a former customer from Utah that happened to stop by. In regard to donating a portion of future proceeds to Anvilfire I'm happy to comply with any rules they have in place. I'll have a bunch more stuff coming up so keep your eyes peeled.
- Barry Denton - Saturday, 11/01/08 19:29:48 EST

yard lites: We are a ways out in the country and have exalent "seeing" conditions with a vast uninhabited marsh sytem to the North and only small towns on the other horizens so we get an exelent view of the Milky Way. The yard lite gave out early in the summer and I find I like it so mutch better with out it. I'll have to replace it pretty soon or I won't be able to plow snow this winter. It's on the way, I saw the first snow last week Monday for about half an hour!
- merl - Saturday, 11/01/08 21:04:58 EST

Outdoor lighting: Commercial outdoor lighting plans now do have restrictions on the ammount of light that is emmitted "upward", but it reflects up from whatever it shines on anyway.

When aproaching the South Florida coast at night You can see lighter areas in the darkness over the heavily populated areas long before they come over the horizon. One time sailing north off of Florida I saw the light spot in the darkness TO THE NORTH, where there is no land. When I got closer I realized it was coming from a fleet of shrimp trawlers working the area. They had powerfull lights shining off the back of their boats.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 11/01/08 22:11:37 EST

Reflectors: These do make a lot of difference as well as reducing the unwanted side glare.

The utilities usually make a deal on "security" lights that homeowners can't refuse. However, if you put your OWN light up you can also put it on a switch and turn it off when you don't need it. Lights on motion detectors are also very handy and save a lot of electricity. Combined with timers they can provide better security than just leaving the light on all the time.

"Security" is a joke when it comes to bright lights unless you make everywhere look like daylight. As kids we used to sneak up on various places by using the shadows between the light. The bright lights blind the looker and make it easier to hide in the shadows. Even a slight dip in a lawn makes a hiding place.

According to the National Geographic article one of the brightest spots on Earth is the fishing fleet off the coast of Argentina.

Flying up the East Coast at night is an amazing light show. A continuous spider web of lights with bright knots and trailing lines along roads and highways. If there are no utility lights there is truck and auto traffic. . . In the Florida and the Carolinas it is a continous mesh but as you travel Northward the lights cluster more around cities.

We have a bunch of solar charged battery powered ground/garden lamps. Just enough light to keep from falling off retaining walls. They are cheap and do not last long, but they are REALLY cheap. . . A dozen cost less than a utility supplied light for two months.
- guru - Saturday, 11/01/08 23:02:43 EST

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