Some tools to drool over.  Image (c) 1998 Jock Dempsey.  Click for enlargement. WELCOME to the anvilfire!
Virtual Hammer-In!

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

Pete F: Now Rev. Tony;
You know darn well that no blacksmith would have something like that on his or her website!
Um, how much is the minimum contribution? And do I include a few pounds of french roast with that?
And that IMAM aint no Mam at all, I'd bet.
- Pete F - Thursday, 11/01/01 06:46:53 GMT

Reverence, grinding wheels: Let's just say I do revere those sublime proportions. The BIG Artist did a good job. And truth be told, so did this blacksmith and his compatriot. Very artfull presentation. Very. But jeez, a pig? A corkscrew with your (s)wine Mam? big grin.

Ya know, my dad was in the catholic seminary for a couple of years...... they politely steered him to a different occupation after he and another future priest dropped another future priest out of a 4th floor dorm window into some rose bushes/trees. They each thought the other was going to hang on and just scare him a little for his crimes. The guy they dropped turned into one of the organized crime bosses in Milwaukee. Go figure.

Coffee as money? why not?

yes, I'm tapping the caffeine again. Sorry. I'll go stand in the corner and feel bad now.

Any of you have a grinding wheel for pedestal grinders you like? I'm making a pedestal grinder. Mostly rough grinding. Looking for a cool running aggressive wheel.
Tony - Thursday, 11/01/01 15:26:11 GMT

All right, who's the guilty party with the nudes on his web site??????
Paw+Paw+Wilson - Thursday, 11/01/01 20:32:38 GMT

English Imports: My company helps overseas manufacturers to import and warehouse their products in North America. We are primarily focused on the logistical aspects of their business, and 100% of the products are sold through distributors, manufacturer reps and brokers.

I am working with Whitehouse, an English manufacturer of quality hand tools that wishes to begin selling their special hammer lines into North American market (especially hammers popular with UK blacksmiths). Their products can be viewed at

We try to stay very sensitive to accusations of spamming, I am writing to see if your web site is or is not an appropriate forum to seek distributors or reps interested in working with Whitehouse.

Any additional input you may have would be sincerely appreciated. Thank you for your time.

Mark Prizer
Transnational Service & Operations
001-631-547-5984 phone
001-631-367-2868 fax
mark.prizer at
Mark Prizer - Thursday, 11/01/01 21:16:58 GMT

Grinding: Tony, For offhand grinding I always wanted a grinder with fiberglass reinforced wheels like used on an angle grinder. These are actualy the only thing safe for grinding hand held hunks of steel unless you can afford a huge wheel and supporting grinder. With vitrified wheels you should never grind anything heavier than the wheel (or the wheel is subject to breakage).

These wheels come in hard long lasting types and soft agresive types that don't last long but cut fast. Give me FAST cutting any day!
- guru - Thursday, 11/01/01 22:14:01 GMT

condensation & rust: Years ago, I read of an anti-rust coating that I have used successfully for a long time. It is a wax coating fluid. The fluid is a super- saturated solution of wax dissolved in warm turpentine that is poured and kept in a bottle with a tight closure (i.e. a cap etc.). Heat a container filled with turpentine in a water bath, Do NOT heat the turpentine container directly or you may burn down your house or shop. On second thoughts do this outside. When the turpentine is warm add wax and stir constantly. Add as much wax as will dissolve in the hot turpentine. Stop when no more wax will dissolve. Pour the solution into your storage bottle, and cap tightly. As the bottled solution cools some of the dissolved wax will come out of solution and sink to the bottom of the container. This is not a problem. When you wish to coat an iron/steel surface, Warm the bottled solution in a hot water bath and give the bottle a shaking often. When all the wax goes back into the turpentine solution, you are ready for action. Use a dedicated brush to coat liberallythe surface that you wish to protect. Then leave the work place and let the turpentine evaporate. ( a coffee break is probably in order at this point, you deserve it. Then Use your nose to tell you when evaporation is complete. Examine the metal surface to see if any area has been missed. That is it, oxygen is excluded and rusting should not occur. The solution bottle should, now, be tightly capped and stored in a safe place away from heat sources. (like a space heater (e.g. electrical heater or kerosene lamp, etc.)or boiler or furnace). The bottled solution should last you for a number of yours. Please note that some materials that are being machined or coated etc. require that the wax coating be removed, before using the machine. This can be done by rubbing with a clean cloth and then with a rag that is soaked in petrolium distillates ("ready all purpose super duper parts cleaning solution") or any other organic liquid that will dissolve wax. Use several rags to remove all of the wax. Wax can stain some materials or contaminate other chemical products that you may wish to use. It's worked for me allthese years and should work for you. Regards SLAG.
slag - Friday, 11/02/01 00:26:56 GMT

Star of David: After I posted the question about Iron City tools, I was cleaning & rust proofing some hand tools I got at another sale & I found the same mark on a flatter.

I've been using a "rust converter / primer" that they sell at wallmart to coat my old tools & vises, after wire brushing them (I don't remember the name...they sell it near the automotive paint supplies). It gives an appearance similar to stove black, but seems a little better. We'll see how it holds up over the course of this winter.
- Mike S - Friday, 11/02/01 04:43:15 GMT

Pete F: it was only one little nude Paw-Paw, and Life Magazine did it, not innocent me.
LOL Tony! Pig problems? Not Kosher perhaps? RE grinding wheels...the fast cutting kinds are cheaper, run cooler and wear out faster.
Mark have almost got the right approach...very close...All you need to do is advertise on this site!! Or perhaps market thru the anvilfire store....Highly recommended!
Mike S. The rust converter is a phosphoric acid solution..sometimes it also has a plastic like latex in it too. These would make a good prep for Slag's wax-kero coating but wont cut it alone, outside, for long
- Pete F - Friday, 11/02/01 06:20:51 GMT

Waxxed Pigs and grinders: Slag, you are talking about WD38! Grin.

Pete F, I like pigs a lot. Smart animal. Tastes good. And I REALLY like women. Especially nude ones. Outside. Multiples of them. In hot tubs...........

But the two together? Women that could and would mud wrestle pigs........ Ok, now stop that!

Iím glad youíre laughing. I wasnít sure if you wanted me to call attention to that. I should have asked first. I was just laughing so hard after reading IMAM.

Grinders: Thanks. Iím just checking for specific wheel recommendations. Wayne Goddard recommended Norton SG (seeded crystal) wheels. They are soft, cool and aggressive. But they are also pricey. $35 wholesale for an 8 inch. I can get free 6 inch ones out of the tool grinding area here at work, but sometimes, ya just need that bigger wheel. Iím making a fairly substantial grinder. 1.5" shaft, 24 inches end to end, 1" arbor turndown. 6 inches between the wheel and the bearings for good grinding clearance. For 12 inch max wheels. I have a reasonable 6 inch grinder, but ya know how you always bump into the motor? Itís time for a bigger, more powerful grinder and Iím too cheap to buy one. And my useful stuff pile was prodding me. The bearings are big sealed flange units and have heavy grease in them though. So to keep the power robbing grease friction down, I will purge them and put in oil.

Guru, I intend mostly to do smaller part grinding. I just want to do it faster and with more control than I can get holding that 9inch angle grinder or even a 4 inch. Using the fiberglass wheels is a good idea. Iíll be able to try that since my arbors have internal threads instead of external. However, I am trying to use the fiberglass reinforced grinding stuff less so that I breathe better. And 3600 rpm (max) may not be driving them fast enough.

Next step up will be a Big foundry casting grinder. Hung from a jib crane, 18 inch wheel, 25 hp. 500 pounds or so. A MAN's grinder. He He! Just gotta get that 3 phase power first.....
Tony - Friday, 11/02/01 15:23:56 GMT

Laughing? Laughing! Did you actually say you were laughing? Stop that back there this instant, do you hear? This is serious business here!It is written that he who laughs at the IMAM shall suffer the misery of a thousand camel belches! But your punishment, seeing as how this is a first offense: write 200 times, "I have been a naughty blacksmith by laughing and wasting pixels, and will never, ever do it again, honest!" and then write out six (6) complete sentences about the eutectic. Proclaimed This Day By order of The Committee for Image, Manners and Morals.
IMAM - Friday, 11/02/01 16:05:26 GMT

Grinder: Tony, They make those fiberglass reinforced wheels in 9" diameters. So the lower speed gives a higher surface speed. At least until the wheel wears down too much. Most of these wheels are rated at lower speeds. Yeah, I know what you mean about the glass dust floating in the air. I think its a highly under rated hazzard.

When I bought my 7" B&D angle grinders I got the 6,000 PRM models for faster cutting. When I buy electric drills I get the lower speed models for drilling steel.

When I setup my buffing rigs I had 8" wheels and 4" wheels (for tight places). The buffer that uses the small wheels is setup to run 5,400 RPM while the larger is setup for about 2400 (I think).

My bandsaw runs 5,500 Feet Per Minute. The max for wood working. Very efficient. But no chance to saw anything that requires lower speed. . . (NO METAL).

Gotta think about those optimum surface speeds. . . MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK is a good source for this.

I'm not laughing but a little chuckle did squeek out. . . :)
- guru - Friday, 11/02/01 16:58:35 GMT

Innocence: Pete,

You lost your "innocence" about the same time I did! (grin) Now, WHERE'S THE NUDE! (BIG grin)


Sorry, I laughed at you too! But if you try to assign me a punishment, I will curse you with the curse of a thousand camel fleas!
Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 11/02/01 18:29:40 GMT

You, Paw-paw, for making light of the Imam and its holiest pronouncements, shall forthwith go out and CATCH a eutectic, skin it, cook it, eat it, and write a 500-word report on the experience. NOTICE: next week, to atone for the sins of Paw-Paw, we go back to coal, as the ancient ones would have us do. No more propane, oxy-acetylene, and as for arc, MIG, TIG, fuhgeddit. So it was written and so shall it be, by order of The Committee.
IMAM - Friday, 11/02/01 21:46:18 GMT

IMAM: The Committee.

The only life form known to man with MANY bellies and no brain! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 11/02/01 23:23:07 GMT

IMAM: A camel: A horse made by a committee.
- Frank Turley - Friday, 11/02/01 23:54:56 GMT

Jock, what are you going to give the one millionth visitor
- Steve C - Saturday, 11/03/01 00:22:32 GMT

An elephant: A mouse designed by a committee.
Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 11/03/01 00:30:23 GMT

Babbit bearings: Any advise as to re-pouring the babbit bearings in the old bufallo forge I'm workin on (the blower that it)? My original plan was to melt out the old stuff, ream out the hole & use bronze bushings. But, when I melted out the babbit, I found the "bearing block" areas were actually sorta hollow & there's no wall thickness left to support a "hard" bushing. The local oil field supply store has "No. 4" type babbit. I didn't know there were different kinds. It looks & feels like the stuff I melted out. Any ideas?
Mike S - Saturday, 11/03/01 04:38:36 GMT

You think, infidels, that your jests obscure the fact that we have not yet been given the six sentences? That we see not the 500 words? You think, effendi, to obfuscate the mind of the Imam by your trivial effrontery? For that, we order you to remain in your cells-- while the rest of the brethren may stay up late and watch our special tonight, The Mysteries of the Swage Block, as performed by the 100 black-eyed virgins!
IMAM - Saturday, 11/03/01 04:56:01 GMT

1 millionth. . .: I've been thinking about that. . but determining WHO is millionth might be a trick. I think it would require them to print the home page screen and mail it to me. There will only be ONE person to see the magic 1,000,000 count when they log in.

Since it SHOULD be this month I don't have long to think about it.
- guru - Saturday, 11/03/01 07:55:31 GMT

Yea, right! Where do you think you'll find 100 virgins today! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 11/03/01 13:49:39 GMT

Misc.: Jock, my little 9" Jet cut 4 tennons in 1/2" square stock in a single pass, hand fed, with ease and very quick. I really felt like I was cheating. Thanks for the encouragement and guidence.

I've got three burned out three phase motors that for a variety of reasons bit the dust triing to run my old compressor using a static phase converter. The shafts still turn smoothly and I was thnking why not use them as bearings. I could mount a pulley on one and then mount a large grind stone on the shaft and run it with a v-belt.
Any unseen hazards?
- lsundstrom - Saturday, 11/03/01 14:11:26 GMT

That is for us to know, just one of the many perks of being a holy member of The Committee on Image, Manners and Morals, insolent one. No matter: we should not be wasting this space on such ephemera, but using it to discuss Important Issues. Next: fine-tuning your automatic center punch and 10 little-known things you can do with it around the shop and home.
IMAM - Saturday, 11/03/01 15:16:41 GMT

Motor Bearings: Larry,

Glad you got it going.

It sounds like a plan to me.
- guru - Saturday, 11/03/01 16:03:51 GMT

BOOK: Jock, do you sell The Contemporay Blacksmith at the store?
I'd like to buy a copy if you do.
- lsundstrom - Saturday, 11/03/01 23:06:31 GMT

BOOK: Sorry, no. Been trying to setup with the publisher but haven't worked out the details.
- guru - Sunday, 11/04/01 00:36:16 GMT

Naked Pigs and Grinders:
Paw Paw: RE Lost innocence....please accept my condolences on your advanced age.
Now,don't tell the grand Inquisitor at the IMAM's offices, but......
Why does it appear the revered Imam seems to be having difficulty keeping a straight face?...he keeps pulling his hood down over his mouth and making muffled noises.Look, there's beer shooting out his revered nose!
Tony; The pig was funny. I'm kinda shy, but I did post the thing on the internet and the image was it is way too late, cover up.
Wood to feed the fire went in the mouth and the mustache was the adjustable air intake. The biggest problem was that entry and exit were less than graceful..especially if you went in pretty sloshed and then cooked for a good long while. Additionally, the era offered factors that confounded much hope of gracefulness.
It ended up as the crew bath for the origonal Renn Pleasure Faire and almost every year someone would report that they were driving down the freeway and passed it on a flatbed truck as it traveled from one faire to the next. The tail/stack was another 9'tall and was removable for transport. It saw some pretty juicy times. Was years before i was finally paid for it...had to threaten repossession.

Motivated by the same grinding impatience, I suckered for a giant foundry grinder too. It swings the same 18" wheel but is a mere trifling 5 hp ( 25! whoah now!). Recently got the 3 phase converter.

Now I need the grinding wheels, the ones on the machine are worn pretty
If anyone has some in good shape they want to sell or trade...Please let me know.

Pete F - Sunday, 11/04/01 05:09:19 GMT

FOR SALE:: Massey Power Hammer (slides)
Good working order, refurbished recently.
Offers welcome.
Either phone (UK Mobile): 07979 435914
or email: nuked at
- A. Rendall - Sunday, 11/04/01 12:51:37 GMT

Grinders and magnetic tables: Pete! You've got one of those foundry grinders? I'm jealous! Let us know what your wheel width and arbor size is and I'll ask around for wheels for you. OK, so I may have been exaggerating on the 25 hp. Picky, Picky....

My homemade pedestal grinder made it's maiden spin yesterday. Works good. Now with the two belt grinders I finished recently, I almost have enough tools to grind knives reasonably.

I may have mentioned before that I have a 1.5" thick work table that is paramagnetic from the scrap guys magnet. I believe it is T1 structural plate. Using the grinders on it is a treat. No clamps required. Their metal bases stick down just enough. Light grinding and filing can be done on good sized parts without clamps too. Even though it holds grinding fuzz and needs to be swept off, I recommend you try to get one if you have the chance. I'm surprised it's still holding the magnetism. I've had it for a year or so. Works best for weld setup. The parts to weld just stay where put without clamps. Hmmmm Maybe the welding is helping it keep the flux?
Tony - Sunday, 11/04/01 13:22:04 GMT


Interesting idea. (grin)

And good friends, too! (bigger grin)
Paw+Paw+Wilson - Sunday, 11/04/01 14:07:11 GMT

That steamy URL would indeed seem to violate the Committee's ban on such frivolous diversions: not just a graven image but the unclad female form. But, nay, We of the Committee on Image, Manners and Morals deem it the exception that proves the rule, showing how The Great Smith transcends, moving in mystic ways to inspire us: behold the curvilinear grace, the exquisitely sculpted line, the beguiling caress of light and shadow, the gentle pull of mass and void, the transcendant mystery of a lovely piece.
IMAM - Sunday, 11/04/01 14:22:08 GMT

The Committee thinks the tub's groovy, too.
IMAM - Sunday, 11/04/01 14:40:51 GMT

peddinghaus anvils: Jock, I have been saving up to buy a peddinghaus 165lb. anvil and was wondering what you think about them. I have not done any work on one so have no way of compairing them to other anvils. I read the earlier post on the Czech anvils and have visited the Czech anvil website. They say that their anvils are equal to the Peddinghaus. Any info is appreciated.
Thanks, Mike
- mike - Monday, 11/05/01 00:14:20 GMT

Equality: Mike, The Peddinghaus anvils are forged steel like the late two piece Hay-Buddens and others made toward the end of boom in anvil manufacture. The Peddinghaus is the only forged steel anvil made today. The Czech anvils are hardened cast steel. The only one's I've seen were quite hard and well finished. Several years ago Peddinghaus had a finish problem but I understand that has been corrested.

There is quite a bit of debate about forged verses cast when it comes to durability. There was no question that forged was stronger and more durable 50 years ago. Today electric furnaces, casting methods and alloy steels are much improved. Now the best steel castings are considered equal to good forgings in performance.

Note that I said the best. At the worst castings can be about as uniform as a fruit cake.
- guru - Monday, 11/05/01 01:34:26 GMT

Wagon Iron:
Some time ago, someone asked me where I got the numbers for the amount of iron in a Conestoga wagon. I can't remember now who asked. But the answer is that the numbers are on page 82 of THE BLACKSMITH, Ironworker & Farrier, by Aldren A. Watson.
Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 11/05/01 01:49:28 GMT

Abrasives: Today was nice and windy, so I tried the 9 inch fiberglass abrasive wheel, intended for a hand held electric grinder, on my new pedestal grinder. Even though the fiberglass disc is rated for 6600 rpm, it was quite useful on the pedestal grinder at 3400 rpm. I thought it would cut slow and bog down.

I was wr.....

I was wrooonn.....

I was wrong!

Yup, that's still hard to say.

Fiberglass reinforcing dust everywhere, but the breeze took it away. It was fast cutting and not quite as hot on hardened steel as a cheapo grinding wheel. Now I need to make another grinder to run the wheel closer to it's rated speed.

Larry, the electic motor arbor sounds good. You might want to cut the rotor off the motor shaft so you get good clearance? My new homemade grinder is belt driven. Single B size belt and 1hp motor. Go for it!

IMAM, we're glad you saw the light....and shadow.... and....
Tony - Monday, 11/05/01 02:38:41 GMT

Pete F: Guess the Anvilfire Imam aint dead yet!
The borderline faithful in his flock reconsider.
The moon sets down, then gets up again kinda quick.

The ends of the pig-tub were cut from a bouy that washed up on the beach. Put some real mileage on a come-a long getting it across the beach and up a small cliff to the panel turned out to be 1/4 full of water. Then it wouldnt fit in the back doors of the truck.
Ended up putting a driftwood 4 X 4 across the windows and come alonging the bouy up onto the rear bumper . Drove home gingerly, hunched in front of the flexing 4 X 4. Double power steering on hwy 1. Tourists honked but didn't tailgate.
Pete F - Monday, 11/05/01 07:20:28 GMT

wagon iron: For those interested in Conestogas, there is some info and photos in *Early American Ironware* by Henry J. Kauffman, Charles E. Tuttle Co., Rutland, VT, 1966. A fairly definitive work, if you can locate it, is *Conestoga Six Horse Bell Team, 1750-1850* by John Omwake, Ebbert & Richardson Co., Cincinnati, 1930.

Borax Wagons. A little off the subject, but also on... about 25 years ago, I visited an historic site at Death Valley, CA, where some 20 mule team borax wagons were sitting in the sun. I love to tell a good story, but to the best of my recollection, the rear wheels were about eight feet tall and were ironed with 1" x 8" iron tires. The front wheels were about six feet in diameter and had 6" wide tires. The wagons were reputedly made in Modesto, CA. One time, I was in Modesto and visited the local library. I didn't have much time to spend, but I couldn't find out anything about the wainwrights that might have been there.
Frank Turley - Monday, 11/05/01 14:04:35 GMT

A real do it your sylph project, in other words.
IMAM - Tuesday, 11/06/01 01:13:21 GMT

How did you spell that last word? (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 11/06/01 01:42:25 GMT

Wagon Works: Frank, In Lynchburg, Virginia where I grew up there was "Lynchburg Wagon Works". They supposedly made a vast majority of the "Conestoga" wagons during the great westward migration. There were a dozen large industrial buildings overlooking a rail line. The old timer that sent me on this exploration had said there was a long shop with a row of a dozen power hammers and forges. Everything ran on line shafting powered by a steam engine. When I investigated it there was a sign company in the two main buildings and a large construction supply in a third. Nobody there knew anything about it. Lynchburg also had lots of pre Civil War industry including foundries, a gear manufacturer and machine manufacturers. All survived the war. It was where the cigarett manufacturing machine was invented and at one time there was even an auto manufacturer.

Although Lynchburg still has quite a bit of industry none of the old industry exists and there are few traces of its existance. I searched all the old industry looking for power hammers and other blacksmithing equipment to no avail. At one time there had to have been 100 power hammers of various sizes in Lynchburg. But there was always foundies to feed and a large OLD scrap yard on the rail line in the center of town. ALL traces of the old equipment went away in 40's and 50's.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/06/01 02:26:52 GMT

Wagon info: That was me PPW, always on the look out for good wagon info. That book is already on the list of books to get so now it is a matter of posting the christmas list in the most appropriate easily seen place, in letters 8" tall.

Thanks for remembering.
Mills - Tuesday, 11/06/01 02:59:19 GMT

Hmmm I should of read the whole log first. Good info for a wagon junkie, Thankee kindly.
Mills - Tuesday, 11/06/01 03:06:57 GMT

The word is sylph, spelt sylph, as in lissome, willowy, sylphlike. One of the race of imaginary beings who inhabit the air, you dig? (you don't think that creature in the picture of the tub is actually real, do you? With those pegs? Come on!) Yours for accuracy in media, The Committee on Image, Manners and Morals.
Imam - Tuesday, 11/06/01 04:28:39 GMT

The ISBN is 0-393-32057-X

I should have included that in the first message.
Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 11/06/01 05:02:11 GMT

sylph: LOL
Imam....( do we curtsey curtiously, mam?)There is a long and unfortunate history of those who tried to do a sylph in days gone by. They stealthily slyphed after sylvery sylphs and slyd into sylfdestruction. sylphur and brimstone were their fate. They sylpherred something does this discourse.
But you have done a great, even classical service by raising our sylph awareness.

PPW...Read the latest chapter of your story...award our hero the order of the blueballs, quick. We salute their resolve.
Pete F - Tuesday, 11/06/01 08:24:16 GMT

chinese strikers: How is the price/quality/performance ratio of striker import hammers. Thanks for any (heresay) advice.
A. Maurits de Wolff - Tuesday, 11/06/01 09:43:13 GMT

Not her's, his. She knows what she wants. Well, so does he, but he's bound and determined to do things the "right" way. (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 11/06/01 13:20:36 GMT

gas forge: I am looking for a gas forge, most of the ones I have run across on ebay went for more than they did new from the factory (or close to the same price.) Anyone who an help i would apprciate it.
- Vance2 - Tuesday, 11/06/01 14:06:29 GMT

Abrasive dust ACK!!! : one nice thing about the bench monted fiberglass wheels is that you can rig up a hose to suck up most of the dust thrown off the wheel.
mabe hook up a shop vac to a hard mounted hose, should pull most of the dust out BEFORE it can fly around the shop and into your lungs. (real hard to do that with a right angle grinder and keep the usefullness intacked)
think I might want to try that seems a great idea.

Tony you said you recently finshed some belt grinders, did you buy/trade/steal the wheels or did you make them. I am considering building one, but I don't have a lathe so makeing the wheels isn't viable, and all the wheels I have found are a touch on the pricey side. the price ended up comeing up around the same as bying the whole unit (w/out motor) as the cost of the wheels (1 drive 1 idler a square wheel and a 3" serated backed)
any advice/resorces?
MP - Tuesday, 11/06/01 15:23:55 GMT

Wheels: MP, Check out the link I posted below. I bought my wheels from him for my belt grinder & am very happy with the price & the service from him. You can see my belt grinder at under the blacksmithing projects link.
That's a good idea for the shop vac dust collection, Thanks!
Beaumont Metal Works
Mike Roth - Tuesday, 11/06/01 18:48:39 GMT

wheels : thanks his wheels look of a better quality and are much less pricey than what I was looking at earlier
- MP - Tuesday, 11/06/01 20:04:50 GMT

Grinder Wheels: MP, Beaumont prices look OK to me. Each bearing is about $7 and with two of them in each wheel(assumed), his prices are fair. I made my own grinders and made the wheels from aluminum. I used porous bronze flanged bushings for bearings and run them on a grade 5, 1/2" bolt axle. Mostly because I'm a cheap SOB. Err, I mean Frugal. It works very well as long as your smallest wheel isn't under 2.5 inches and your surface speed isn't over 4000 feet per minute. The drive and tracking wheels should be crowned. I used a lathe here at work, but if you are REALLY good with drilling, you might try just drilling 3/4" holes in the center of 2.5" aluminum round. The bronze bushings I picked are a light press in a 3/4" drilled hole. MSC has them. The bushings are a little more noisy than ball bearings would be. I made both a 2 wheel horizontal and a 4 wheel square wheel that can take different contact wheel setups. E-mail me if you want to see pictures. I would definitely have used rolling element bearings for a grinder I use every day. I figured I can recut the wheels for ball bearings later if I have to. Having a machine shop to work in and stock available is almost like cheating. But I did negotiate that into the deal when I hired on here.

The bench mounted fiberglass was the guru's idea, not mine. It does work good. I gotta get them up to about 6000 rpm now though and see what they can really do. I consider myself pretty good with a hand held grinder, but having that slotted rest on the pedestal grinder to work on gives you lots more control! I did do one of the thumb knuckle skin removal tricks though. Man I hate that. Pain, that is.

The belt grinders are one of those "how did I live without them" things now. Go for it! If you do a flat platten, make it VERY flat. It makes flat grinding very much easier. 1/2" thick cold rolled flat bar works pretty good, but surface ground tool steel is a real joy to grind on. Get all of the stray grit off the back of the belt or it will scratch the platten.
Tony - Tuesday, 11/06/01 22:40:40 GMT

grinders: Sandvic sells a graphite platten facing that reduces friction and heat buildup nicely...but I found that the spots that get used most, wear more and mess up the flatness a little.
For smaller home made belt grinder wheels, why not just buy the replacement wheel and tires they sell for wheel barrows,mowers and go-carts...bearing and all. If you get pneumatic tires and overinflate them a tad, you get a crowned wheel.
I built an 8" X 72", 5 hp monster that's loud ( bearings and all from the pile in the yard) but I sure use it a lot. Being an inexperenced tool designer and having funky materials, it took way, way, way too long to finish. The drive wheel is turned down from 2 rubber boat bumpers and squirrels around some. Ugly.
Grinder dust; I saved up my respirator filters for a couple of years and presented them under glass at one of the CBA conferences. Looked really gastly! Might even have inspired (sorry) some bsers to use their masks.
LOOK: THAT STUFF STAYS IN YOUR LUNGS! Many of the grinding and polishing particles are too heavy for the cilia in your lungs to kick them out. It is a bad way to die.
Tony, in hopes you might be able to find some usable 18" grinding wheels for the old foundry grinder...measurements as requested...the shaft is 1 1/2". The stones that are on it are 2" wide, which would be fine, but the machine seems to have been designed to accomidate stones up to 3" wide. Talk about a knuckle eater. This puppy could easily remove an arm to the elbow. It is sort of like the old finger method for rating sharks...a 3 finger shark can bite off 3 fingers at a time.
Pete F - Wednesday, 11/07/01 06:02:50 GMT

Transitions:: Five Brothers, after over 100 years of manufacturing, has gone out of business. The loss will be felt even by those who, like myself, wore their shirts and didn't even know the brand name. Now that I have found out, it is to late.
And when comfort and consolation are needed most who else can I turn to but to those who make a mockery out of red suspenders and leather aprons. You guys who are so talented that trivialities are of no importance go off to your shops and create works of art wearing flannel shirts and Levi's. Want do you care if Five Brothers has gone belly up? You probably think there are more important things in Blacksmithing that a comfortable fit and a pair of red suspenders if that's what it takes.
By the way, mine were blue along time before y'all started knocking red.
If Carharts go out of business, I'm locking the doors.
- lsundstrom - Wednesday, 11/07/01 22:58:05 GMT

thanks for the info: I had been thinking of makeing a belt grinder for a long time now and the wheels are what have made me not go for it.
as to useing a drill for the wheels I have tryed simaler things in the past and found that is is almost impossable to get a consentric hole (even with a indexing table)
how nesasery is consentricy to belt tracking ?
MP - Wednesday, 11/07/01 22:58:53 GMT

Chinese hammers: I've got a 165 lb two piece hammer. At first I thought that I'd made a big mistake. The hammer had little control. I could not forge anything under 1/2". The hammer was sticky right at the point that I wanted light taps. One miss hit and what ever I was working on was flat. Of late I've been forging 2 1/2"-2"-and 1 1/2" and it has broken in the hammer nicely. This is not the same hammer. Still anything below 5/16" and I take it over to the 50 lb L.G. The guy that works with me is thinking about getting an 88 lb. The 88 lb is going for $5500.00 right now. Plus you will have to make a base for it as they are short. I like my bottom die at 36". 55 hunert is an Old Blue and a new compressor right there. Would I buy a Striker again? Yes,I'm having fun with the hammer, it's doing what I bought the hammer for. But I would get price gaurantee's. The price dropped alot after I got mine. James (the owner)is making it up alittle but its never enough.
Pete-Raven - Thursday, 11/08/01 00:41:18 GMT

Wheels and Concentricity: There are all kinds of caster wheels that should be suitable for a belt grinder. Most come with ball bearings. They are not dead cheap but they do work. Try McMaster-Carr, they have dozens of styles.

Concentricity runout is more prone to create vibration than tracking problems. However if the hole is misalighned angularly then tracking becomes a problem. Drilling holes accuratly is more a matter of care than of finding the center to start. Drills tend to walk sidways when starting and drill to one side if they are not sharpened perfectly true.

To drill an accurately located hole, first align the spindle of the machine (drill press or mill) perfectly over the center mark. This can be done with a very sharp center and as small a center mark as you can see, OR with an optical alignment scope (which you don't have so forget it). Then using a very small center drill (drill with countersink), drill a starting hole until about half the countersink is burried. Then move up to the next size center drill. Now, drill a small pilot hole all the way through the work. The pilot drill should be just a little bigger than the straight part of the center drill. I use NEW 3/16" drills with a split point grind. Use lots of cutting fluid. Follow this with a drill about 1/32" to 1/64" under the full size. Then carefully drill with the full size drill. When step drilling remember that the feed rate should be no faster than drilling SOLID material. Otherwise you wreck the edge of the drill. If you have a reamer for the hole size use IT instead of the on size drill. Using this method your hole should be within .005" or less of center (as marked). You should be able to find the center with dividers to within about .002". In the end being off center .007-.010" is still a lot.

Wheels on bearings can be turned by friction using an electric drill and a rubber wheel such as a sanding pad. While it is turning you can use a file or scraper to true the surface. This method takes a helper to hold the drill while you true the wheel.

I used a small drum sander in a drill while the blade turned the upper wheel of my bandsaw to true it. VERY TRICKY and DANGEROUS operation. But the result was a dead steady blade and no vibration in the machine.

There are all types of methods of putting wheels on mandrels and truing them using files or scrapers. Sanding belt material glued to a board makes an excellent tool for this.
- guru - Thursday, 11/08/01 02:06:26 GMT

drilling : I remember a time when I was still in school (tech school that is) I needed a hole in the center of a 12" round of steel 2" thick the hole was to mount an arbor and needed a fare amount of concentricity I couldn't use any of our lathes as the largest only had a 5" swing (got to love state run schools sold off all our BIG turet and tool room lathes)
I mounted the part in a brigport used an edge finder to fined the edge along with the high point of the arc then I moved the table over 1/2 the diamter (I used a very large set of calapers to check the OD) I then did the same thing in the other axis. I used a 1/8" center drill and then 1/4 pilot then 3/8 then 1/2 (as my teacher sigested)when I had the part finshed we test fit it in the tool the part fit right till we turned on the motor the run out was around 0.005 enough to shake the machen off it's mount. (the part was a replacement fly wheel)
as I said I find it VERY hard to drill concentric holes, with out a lathe
- MP - Thursday, 11/08/01 07:00:59 GMT

drills: sorry I ment that the last drill sise was 1" not 1/2 and I drilled 1/4" steps after 1/2" also there were 4 monting holes.
MP - Thursday, 11/08/01 07:05:25 GMT

concentric wheels, grinders, etc: Belt grinder wheels have to be two things. Both balanced and concentric. I think it's easier to get balance with solid wheels, not rimmed wheels. But then there is more starting inertia for the motor to overcome. If the wheels are not concentric, the belt might track OK, but it may slap all over a flat platten. Even if the edge of the platten is raised slightly from the wheel OD so the belt has to ride "up" onto the platten. Obviously, if the center hole and OD are not concentric, it will also not be balanced. But if you don't want to pay for turned wheels, and don't have access to a lathe, all you can lose is time and material money trying things. Or get lucky. If you try caster wheels or wheelbarrow wheels, remember that for a given belt speed, the larger the wheel, the lower it's RPM. The lower the RPM, usually, the less problems with vibration. I know a couple of guys who used car wheels, tires and stub axles for band saw drive and idler wheels. Worked good! Looks funny to see "Studebaker" spinning around though. grin

PeteF, an 8 by 72 belt? I feel so....... inadequate.

Belt grinder wars it is! I'll see your 5 hp 8 by 72 and raise you a 24 by 72 wide belt! There, beat that. Big GRIN.

I put the word out on your foundry grinder wheels and will continue to as I talk to foundries. One guy told me good luck, they run them until they blow off the arbor. Ya never know until ya ask.
Tony - Thursday, 11/08/01 11:58:17 GMT

Belts: Hmmmmmm, I got some COARSE 12" x 12 FEET (more or less) Norton belts at the NCABANA Iron in the hat. . .
- guru - Thursday, 11/08/01 17:22:23 GMT

Drilling: Generaly step drilling is not good: The 1/4" pilot was too big and the 3/8 made it worse. The best job drilling comes from a pilot hole just about the size of the dead center on the big drill (on large drills like the 1"). Below that I find 3/16" convienient but would use smaller if I needed high accuracy on a small hole.

On the milling machine the hole would have been as true as your center alignment if you had bored the last bit (1/16 - 1/8"). Drills never run dead true but a single point boring tool will almost always be dead accurate. Should have been +/- .001" or less on that Bridgeport. However, for a flywheel this still would have been a lot.

On old funky drill presses you can bore a hole using a boring bar and a bronze bushing set in the table below the work. Single point boring tools take about an hour or less to make from CRS and cheap stock bushings will fit. I've seen large engine blocks line bored on antique drill presses using this method. The lower bearing and the block had to be bolted to the foot of the drill press (yeah, thats why they have "T" slots. . . I've made die sets using this method. The hole size is also more accurate. It is common for drills to drill up to 1% oversize due to run out. An oversize hole is as bad as a misplaced one.

Yep, drilling is generaly inacurate (on lathes too) but any drilling machine can be used to bore just like on a lathe. In either case the concentricity will be no better than your setup. Mills are rigid enoutgh to support boring tools in the spindle but drill presses need outboard supports. Measuring off edges is always tweeky. Dial indicators are almost always needed on round work and can be used on a drill or mill spindle just as well as the lathe bed.

Most folks just don't think about the extra tooling for a drill press. Many will have a drill vise but never think about standard furniture (U-clamps, studs and spacers), much less boring bars, centers and a dial indicator. Or how about a taping head?

The U-clamps and spacer furniture are things that blacksmiths can make in short order. Boring bars can be made with the drill press. I've also made arc welded "V" blocks for drilling using angle iron and channel. Plenty accurate for most work if you take care in assembly.

Maybe I need to do an iForge demo on drill press furniture.
-guru - Thursday, 11/08/01 17:53:17 GMT

consentric : yah that is what I would do now that I have forgotin MOST of what I was tought in school.
I do miss axis to all those bridgeports and even the small lathes but I don't miss the miss information and adatudes from the teachers
MP - Thursday, 11/08/01 19:05:06 GMT

iForge: Jock, I, for one, would definitely like to see an iForge demo on drill press furniture!

Emerald Isle Forge
Mike Roth - Thursday, 11/08/01 19:30:17 GMT

Jock, please do an iForge on drilling. Drills can be dangerous and easily misunderstood. I can't picture a boring bar in my mind and haven't ever seen one.
- lsundstrom - Thursday, 11/08/01 20:30:58 GMT

Saltfork Nov. Meeting: The Saltfork Craftsmen regular November meeting is the 17th. This meeting was orginally scheduled to be held at a member's shop in Kiowa, KS. Note that the meeting place has been changed to the Saltfork shop on the Major County Historical Society grounds. The MCHS grounds are a few miles East of Fairview, OK on Hwy. 8. This is a large shop with several forges, so this will be a good opportunity for teaching and for learning. Bring your portable stuff or use what we have on hand; tail gate items are welcome. Remove the "NS" from the e-mail address below if you want to relpy directly to me. Jim C.
Jim Carothers - Friday, 11/09/01 01:25:35 GMT

Drill Presses and blowers: I too would appreciate some instruction on what could be done with a drill press. Whenever the subject turns to machine work I can say Lathe and even have a general idea of what one looks like, but thats it.

On a different matter, I asked about freeing up an old blower in the Den. Short story, nothing worked. Then Jim Carothers told me his favorite trick. So I soaked the gear box in dry ice and alcohol for twenty four hours or so. Then I put it back in the kerosene it had been soaking in til warm enough to touch w/o sticking to it. When I worked the crank this time it started moving. The drive shaft twisted apart where the keeper pin goes thru it but it didn't have much steel left there, mostly rust. Now I have a genuine honest to gosh Champion blower that puts out as much air as the electric that I was using. That was a very inefficient setup tho. Feels pretty good. I have received a good education from this.
Mills - Friday, 11/09/01 02:42:47 GMT

the old grind: Thanks Tony;
When i built my belt grinder I had to slow it down to accomidate the bearing set up I had on the passive-disk end. It was almost nearly trying to be a readymade bearing and mount,and nothing else was close at the time. But then I'm slow too. Eventually I'll stumble on a replacement and speed the monster up.
Meanwhile, yours cuts faster than it's OK.
Sounds like Jock is getting ready to grind everything in sight dead flat with scratches.
The big foundry grinder is missing it's tool rests. I was going to fake some up out of heavy angle iron...any tips?
- Pete F - Friday, 11/09/01 05:03:55 GMT

Tool Rests: Pete,

Make the clearance between the tool rest and the stone adjustable. Then keep the rest as close to the stone as possible, adjusting it regularly as the stone wears.
Paw Paw Wilson - Friday, 11/09/01 20:38:30 GMT

Tool rests: Pete, in additon to what Paw Paw said, I made the tool rests for the wheel grinder out of notched angle iron. Notched so the wheel goes into the rest notch so you can work on the corner or side of the wheel. Yeah, working on the side is dangerous. A slick and easy way to do the tool rest adjustment is to have the rest attached to a vertical bar with a bolt and the lower end of the vertical bar attached to the frame with another bolt. That way, no slotting is required and you can change the angle of the tool rest to the wheel as well as move it in and out. In and out are on an arc defined by the vertical bar pivoting on it's lower bolt hole. Let me know if it's not clear.
Tony - Saturday, 11/10/01 03:37:04 GMT

Pete F: Thanks gents;
Learned that lesson when one bit me PPW. Seems i dont learn all that fast as i've been grinder bit way more than once. Sort of marvel at having all my fingers still.
The slotted rest is a good idea Tony. I do cheat on the wheels...that big side face is irresistable sometimes. a rest would help.
There are slots for the tool rest already in place.
I'm pretty pleased with how it is made..there are slides top and bottom that hold the wheel guards in place..loosen 3 big bolts and the guard slides back out of the way so you can get at the wheel unobstructed. Everything is beefy.
It's sort of the styleistic opposite of a Harbor Fright grinder.
Unlike a lot of my other stuff..this one is an adult tool.
I hate grinding and the faster I can get it done , the better.
- Pete F - Saturday, 11/10/01 05:47:54 GMT

I've been bit a time or two my self. By grinders and wire brushes both. (wry grin)

The slotted rest is a new one on me Tony, but I like the idea. I too find that big flat side irristible at times.
Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 11/10/01 10:13:43 GMT

wire brush bites: PPW; Been wondering if the right thing might not be a big wire brush diameter and an almost underpowered motor. The motor would be small so the armature would have little momentum and one would replace the heavy stone on the other side with a different type wire brush.
If you use a wire wheel right, not much pressure gets put on the brush ends to bend them downstream so they wont cut as well..when you need more penetration then slow works better anyway...Might do almost as much work and be a lot less dangerous.Whatcha think?
- Pete F - Sunday, 11/11/01 05:36:40 GMT

My wheel was running at 2100+ RPM when it bit me. I've slowed it down to 1725 RPM. It works just as well as it did before, but not quite as fast. I can live with that. (wry grin)
Paw Paw Wilson - Sunday, 11/11/01 06:35:00 GMT

H&B Horse Sales has an occasional auction in Rock Springs, WY. They usually have a bunch of blacksmithing stuff offered. It is in the hinterlands; think of it as a vacation. November 23-23-25, 2001, at Sweetwater County Fairgrounds. Contact: Tom Harrower 307-432-0404 or Chuck Bonomo 307-362-2071 for sale bills.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 11/11/01 15:38:55 GMT

Pete F: PPW;
Seeing as you have had an involintary education on eye protection...and are pretty well researched on the subject now, I'd guess......What specifically are you wearing in front of the wire wheel? Any advice on grinder's fashons?
- Pete F - Tuesday, 11/13/01 06:28:42 GMT

Eye: Pete,

I have a couple of differet sets of gear that I wear.

First of all, my safety glasses are prescription, plastic, safety thick lenses. They have heavy duty wire frames, and are expensive. Cheaper than trying to find a new eye, though.

Secondly, I also have (and usually wear) a hard hat which has a full face, lexan shield mounted on it. Sheild flips up and down.

Those protect the head, and eyes.

Then I wear normal clothing, PLUS a heavy leather apron. I also wear leather gloves, unless the item I'm wearing is too small to wear gloves with it. In that case, I usually grab the part with a set of vise grips, and wear my gloves anyway.

But the eye protection is the most important. I don't even turn on the grinder/wire brush unless I'm wearing the eye and head protectors.
Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 11/13/01 13:30:19 GMT

Just wanted everyone to know that we lost a master blacksmith and good friend last W/E . His name was Ray Baker and he lived near Little Cincinatti Indiana. He will be greatly missed.
  Mike Jean - Tuesday, 11/13/01 17:08:03 GMT

Mike Jean:
Another good man gone. Send our condolences to the family, please?
Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 11/13/01 18:53:08 GMT

Wire wheels: I have mine (a 6" narrow soft .010" SS wheel) on a 1/3 HP motor. Normally this size machine can be stalled without much dammage but it WILL grab work and throw it at you (as Paw-Paw can atest) OR at the wall, floor, ceiling. . . My buffing setups are similar and do stall occasionaly but when they grab work LOOK OUT! Thinking about buffing a sharp knife scares me worse than anything. A heavy leather apron may not be enough. I'm surprised that we don't hear of knife makers untimely deaths due to buffing accidents.

I use safety glasses with snug fitting side shields and wear my smithing apron. However, I've had gloves get snagged in wire brushes almost everytime I've used them. I've come to the conclusion that for small work bare handed is safest.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/13/01 20:37:25 GMT

Book Needed: If anyone has the book Irons In The Fire by Rachel Field,
Published by Crowood Press in 1984. If you would like to sell it or have information where I can get it , please e-mail me. A Canadian friend of mine is very interested in purchasing it.
- Dave Wells - Wednesday, 11/14/01 03:33:19 GMT

accidents: I have heard of knife makers sending a blade into hand.and feet along witha perticularly nasty story about sticking one into his ankle (into the joint) off the buffer and of course the midrid of cuts and CLOSE calls, but I dont think I have ever heard of some one getting mortaly wounded by the buffer/ wire wheel
now I have see photos and heard of men dieing in accidents involving lathes and millers ... a real nasty one comes in mind about a miller a man was fly cuting a part (a high speed operation on a miller (bridgeport)) and went to check something behind him he turned around a little to fast and his pony tail went into the cutter ripped his scalp off AND broke his neck.
my point is that all most every thing we do (in blacksmithing or not) is risky and will hurt you as soon as you forget that.
MP - Wednesday, 11/14/01 06:04:53 GMT

Scapling: MP, you brought back some old memories. My first machine shop class in high school, the instructor was very good about teaching safety. NO loose clothes or long hair. Had one big guy in class that had long hair and the instructor wanted him to wear a hair net or get out. Mark Ziegelbauer was the kids name. How the heck did I rememeber that? Liberal minded principal (with longish hair) said he could stay and didn't have to put his hair up if he didn't want. Kid got scalped by a big radial drill press a couple of months later. I understand it was a slow rip. Lots of agonizing screaming. We never saw him again in school and the instructor was never the same. It hit him pretty bad, mentally. Ended up an alcoholic. The pricipal, of course, stood behind his "defense of rights" posture. What a fool. Like high school kids have enough sense to do what is right to protect themselves. Yeah, I thought I knew it all then too.

Buffers/wire wheels and bandsaws are some of the most damaging tools I can think of. I will not have an arbor mounted wire wheel in my shop. I had a throw off on someone elses machine a long time ago. Luckily no Paw Paw type damage. But once I saw how fast it can happen and how little control you have to prevent it, I keep the wire brushes on the angle grinders and clamp the work down. No magnetic table stuff for wire brushing. I can't figure how to eliminate the buffer though for some work. I have a bunch of knives in process now and I have no intention of buffing them. I can remove the wire edge without a buffer. Light strokes on superfine water stones works well for me. A 500 grit belt finish on the blade looks good enough to me. To each his own.

MP, I agree. We need to be careful no matter what we do. Driving a vehicle on the road is the most dangerous I guess.

Ray Baker, Rest in Peace. Say Hi to the Big Guy for me.
Tony - Wednesday, 11/14/01 13:41:13 GMT

Spppeeellling: Scalping, not scapling. Principal, not pricipal. Else's, not elses. And remember, not rememeber. I'm mortified at myself. Have to go console myslef with a beer since it's after noon.
Tony - Wednesday, 11/14/01 17:57:16 GMT

BOOKS: Dave, listed 11? copies of that book at prices ranging from about $14 to over $60.

Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 11/14/01 21:02:38 GMT

spelling : mine's still worse don't think you need to sweat it
MP - Wednesday, 11/14/01 22:16:25 GMT

Machine Hazzards: There is an oft repeated (staged) photo of a guy with his necktie wrapped around a piece of work in the lathe and his face pulled up to the chuck. . . Very little imagination needed for what happens next. Ties were to be tucked into the shirt. Of course blue collar workers generally don't wear ties any longer much less many engineers. But loose clothing is always a hazzard and something to be considered when dressing for the shop in cold weather. A scarf will keep your neck warm but keep those loose ends tucked in!

But long hair comes and goes with the individual. It is both a mechanical and a fire hazzard. My dad left the belt guard off his shop smith once while using it as a drill press. It caught his hair and jerked his forhead against the pulley. It nearly knocked him unconsious. He survived with a huge bruise, but it could have just as easily been fatal.

Long hair should be kept under a hat and even though most of us with medium length hair don't do it we SHOULD keep it covered when working in the shop. Those funky looking welder's caps have a purpose.

Be safe. THINK, and keep those fingers and toes!
- guru - Wednesday, 11/14/01 22:16:40 GMT

Welder's hats:
Is why I wear one in the shop. Even though my hair is currently pretty short, it'll grow back. I've been known to walk all the way back to the house to get it when I forget. Same story about my glasses.
Paw Paw Wilson - Wednesday, 11/14/01 22:34:07 GMT

Forges: Does anyone know where I can find some plans to make my own gas forge? I need one large enough to heat a 24" blank, and run on propane.
- Jeff - Thursday, 11/15/01 02:06:52 GMT

FIRE! FIRE!: I shouldn't... but I'm gonna!

This is memory day for Tony I guess.

True story!

Think back in time to when it was OK to have a big head of frizzy hair. I mean BIG and I mean FRIZZY! And maybe just a little greasy.

See where this is goin?

Couple of second shift guys hittin the bar after work for a little liars dice and a little liquid stupidity. Pretty tired after a hard day and the beer hits the brain cells. And Jimmy Johnson, see, he has this big frizzy hairdo. Guys are always giving him flack for it. So one of his "buddies" decides to singe a little off while 'ol Jimmy is hittin on this girl. So out comes Jimmies cigarette lighter that he leaves sittin on the bar next to the dice cup.

Up goes the zippo to the frizz job.

But instead of singing, it bursts into Flames! The whole side of his head. And Jimmy doesn't even notice. And I, the guy with his Zippo, is laughing so hard, I don't know what to do. The girl sees this and douses him with her beer and walks away. Jimmy, he thinks it's a pretty strong rejection. And he's miffed at us for laughing at his rejection. We sit back down and shake the dice cup some more. Finally Jimmy sees his lopsided do in the backbar mirror. Jimmy wasn't happy. I offered to even it out since I now had experience. Jimmy was driving and he made me walk home. The nerve.

Ahhhhhh......memories! Thanks guys. I gotta call Jimmy and remind him.
Tony - Thursday, 11/15/01 03:01:34 GMT

No booze or drugs in 22 years. Somebody asked me, "AA"? I said "No, I married Juanita"!
Frank Turley - Thursday, 11/15/01 03:39:11 GMT

BIG FORGE: Jeff, we have generic forge plans on our plans page and from there links to the Ron Reil forge page. However, if you need a large forge for a one off job I highly recommend our blower type forge design. If you need multiple burner outlets plum up a manifold to feed with one blower and gas supply.
- guru - Thursday, 11/15/01 04:38:18 GMT

shop hazards : when I was in school i was told not under any conditions to wear a long sleaved anything in the shop ... then I became a smith and well.. long sleave meen less burns but I still don't feal all that safe were ing my long sleaved sherts in the shop ...adn I end up with my sleaves pushed up to my elbows...can't win I guess.
MP - Thursday, 11/15/01 04:52:50 GMT

Not wear a hat? Ya'll are woofing me ain't ya! I cannot imagine stepping outside the house with out a hat on. Thats like walking around barefooted. I am one of the few who won't wear a hat inside, either. A throw back I guess, my granpa was the same I've been told. same GI issue Hi and Tight as well. Easier for me to cut that way as my wife won't do the honors.

With all of that I still have to be on top of my actions every time I'm in the shop. I can get real careless real quick. Safety glasses are the worst problem. Can't seem to find any that fit over glasses and allow me to see my work with the lighting I have. So it is on and off and on and off....and oooppss. I need to invest in more safety stuff of higher quality. period.
When I have people with me I am much tighter.

Other stuff. Ater having made simple leaves and drawing my fire shovel out of 3/8 x 2 1/2 inch stock a couple of times, I set out to tackle some other bigger things. I am proud to report that I now have the fanciest manhole hooks in OKC, probably. Each one gets better and better. And i Have more and more fun pulling out fancy ironwork for a very mundane grungy task. Brightens those around me considerably.

Mills - Thursday, 11/15/01 19:25:06 GMT

Hats, Barefoot: I have never been a hat wearer. In the winter (fall-spring) I wear stocking hats pulled over my ears to keep them warm but that is it. But for years I wore coats with hoods and didn't need the hat. Occasionaly I wear a hat to keep the sun off my face but that is pretty rare.

As a non-hat person I have a hard time with hard hats and tend to lose hats. Same with safety glasses. I don't wear reading glasses (yet) and put often put down safety glasses and forget them. This is not a problem in my own shop but when visiting other shops it can be a real problem.

Barefoot? Never in the shop, rarely outdoors, but I DO dress very lightly in the summer while forging and would rather put up with the minor burns than be overheated. But arc welding is different - full cover and buttoned shirt collar and sleaves plus apron and gloves.
- guru - Thursday, 11/15/01 23:02:06 GMT

Safety: We want to be safety conscious in all aspects. I have a story also. Our club had a hammer in at a members shop, tool collector. Two of us working on a piece and was going to use a hand held hot cut on the anvil to cut the piece. I asked someone to put a metal sheet on the anvil to prevent nicking anvil. He did and un-knowingly it was lead sheet. As soon as I layed piece on anvil and other guy started to cut, ( lead splashed out luckly nobody got hurt). Be aware when working in someones shop there work habits may not be the same.
- Dave W - Friday, 11/16/01 03:40:12 GMT

ill fitting tongs: The worst accident is my shop was from poor fitting tongs, where there was not a tight parallel closure on the work. The piece did a flip-flop out of the tongs and opened a person's eyelid a bit. The eye was OK, praise the lord. Lots of blood.
Frank Turley - Friday, 11/16/01 06:06:04 GMT

Safety eh;
Well, I wrote a sort of a wise arse article for the CBA mag about how to pound abalonie quick and easy with your treadle hammer ( works real well).
Then I had to write the safety follow up ..sigh. One Very expensive abalonie dinner! My thumb was less than 1/8
  Pete F - Friday, 11/16/01 06:25:18 GMT

Metal Spinning: Jock, any books on metal spinning available at your store or do you have recommendations for reading up on this subject?
- Ned Digh - Sunday, 11/18/01 03:20:32 GMT

Metal Spinning: Jock, any books on metal spinning available at your store or do you have recommendations for reading up on this subject?
- Ned Digh - Sunday, 11/18/01 03:21:41 GMT

Safety Glass's: Paw-Paw .
Was out in forge today , had a piece of 3/16 rod flick up & hit me across the bridge of my nose . If i hadn't been wearing my safety glass's i'd be at the hospital now :(
For 23 month's since the last accident in shop ( grinding's in eye ) first thing i do is put on my glass's . Good thing i did today :)
- chopper - Sunday, 11/18/01 05:17:29 GMT

Saftey Glasses:
See why I get so paranoid about them? I'm glad you were wearing them!
Paw Paw Wilson - Sunday, 11/18/01 13:05:09 GMT

" Glasses:": I get in big poop if I don'y wear them.. Wife is small but carries big stick.. Hospital trips are not much fun... Sorry folks no snow yet.. Chow from the north..
Barney - Sunday, 11/18/01 22:30:28 GMT

Wife was a red head, daughter (Opthamolic LPN) is just like her mother. You think I want to get caught by EITHER of them without my safety glasses?????

Beside, I'm allergic to pain. Especially when I'm the one hurting!
Paw Paw Wilson - Sunday, 11/18/01 23:05:15 GMT

Yep me too Paw-Paw .. All the best
  Barney - Monday, 11/19/01 00:29:48 GMT

Accident Previntion Manual: All this talk about accidents reminded me that I have an old (1959) thick volume from the National Safety Council that I got at the thrift store for not much money. The entire title is, "Accident Prevention Manual for Industrial Operations". In my book, there are 60 pages devoted to "Power Press and Forging Operations". Some of the tips are good and not necessarily outmoded, even for our smaller scaled work. There are sections on guarding, die design, hammer maintenance check lists, shearing, press brakes, etc. I haven't seen an updated version, but I see some of these books are for sale on
Frank Turley - Monday, 11/19/01 02:16:32 GMT

Pete F: Somewhere in the collection ( havnt been able to find it again) is an old book with a full page of dinky little photos like a high school year book.
All the pictures are of one-eyed guys wearing their broken glasses.
- Pete F - Monday, 11/19/01 04:26:18 GMT

Frank, do you have the publication data on that book? ISBN and so forth? I'd like to get a copy.


Very probable. Years ago, safety glasses were not as good as they are today. Shatter Resistant (the best that you could find until about the middle 50's) were not really shatter proof. Even todays Safety Thick plastic lenses WILL break, Take a look at the picture of the glasses I was wearing. But they are a he**ova lot better than nothing!
Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 11/19/01 13:55:34 GMT

Safety Manual: My 1959 book has a Library of Congress number of 59-5058. The National Safety Council at that time, was in Chicago. I believe their current address is 1121 Spring Lake Rd., Itasca, IL 60143-3201.
- Frank Turley - Monday, 11/19/01 14:10:01 GMT

Found them on the web, and e-mailed them a request for information.

BTW, for anyone interested, their URL is: and the site is quite informative.

Paw Paw Wilson - Monday, 11/19/01 14:50:21 GMT

Metal Spinning: Ned, I know a little about it from general metal working books but I haven't done it or have any books specifical on it. I'm sure Centaur Forge has several on the subject.
- guru - Monday, 11/19/01 20:42:40 GMT

Peter Wright Anvil: I'm looking for a Peter Wright Anvil in the 125 lb. range,
Don't know how much to spend on one of that size?
Would be very interested in buying one!
Murv Fisher - Tuesday, 11/20/01 01:13:51 GMT

Depending on condition, you can expect to pay up to about $2.30 to $3.00 a pound.
Paw Paw Wilson - Tuesday, 11/20/01 02:16:54 GMT

Pete F: Y'know Murv;
Considering your moniker and the fact that Fisher anvils are perferred by a number of smiths (who can still hear the fat lady sing the high notes).....
Don't you have an obligation to send that pesky Peter Wright to me ( my name being peter after all) and go out and buy your self a proper Fisher anvil?
- Pete F - Tuesday, 11/20/01 02:24:36 GMT

T-Rex Burners: Hi all, Does anyone have any experience with the new T-Rex burners made by Rex in Georgia?
Kinda of spendy, but if they work it might be worth the money.
I am really interested in the heat output of the 3/4" model. I contacted Rex, and he didn't seem to know the particulars. I am looking into building a forge with an inside diameter of 8" X 18" long and am wondering if one burner will do the trick, or do I need more than one, or one of the bigger models?
Tim - Tuesday, 11/20/01 16:13:17 GMT

T-Rex Burner: Tim, I have one but have not had time to setup and test it. I want to build a test forge that I can change burners in as well as measure temperature and fuel consumption. I am embarrased because I owe Rex Price a review.

The T-Rex burner is a beautiful piece of hardare and better than most would make for themselves. Ron Reil has a review/page about them and was very impressed. The only thing that Ron is short on is that he made the assumption that using so much fuel equaled so many BTU. This is tricky to quantify as efficiency was not a measured factor. That is why I wanted to build a test forge. It would not give exact numbers but could be used to make direct comparisons.

For the test forge I have an old thermocouple temperture control and a scale to put the propane bottle on (to measure pounds used per unit time). This and temperature number would be recorded and graphed for different burners.

All takes time to build, setup and test. . as well as pay for the fuel.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/20/01 18:53:24 GMT

metal spinning: Ned,

Lindsay press inc has a couple of books on metal (pewter) spinning try this addy

or even better order their catalog 100's of books on all aspects of metal working, forging, foundry work, etc etc

lindsay books
- Mark Parkinson - Wednesday, 11/21/01 02:15:22 GMT

blacksmithing: I am interested in receiving ideas in my e-mail so if you want to trade ideas drop me a note.
- Stu Frantz - Thursday, 11/22/01 20:01:13 GMT

Mandrels (ils, els): Jock,
Great meeting you down in Petersburg. I have a new way of judging demostrations called the ego recovery system. After seeing Josh Greenwood's art and shop it took me a week to even agree with myself that I was even slightly proficent at roosting acorns. I am certain that Air Horse One, dispite the fact that he's never been out of my shop, let alone seen any of Josh's HAMMERS, was not nearly as powerful as he had been before my trip. I almost renamed him Air Pony One, but having been a horseshoer for 10 years, I knew that ponies could kick harder. He has made a slow up hill recovery and at full steam can be appreciated on the basis of his accuracy and elbow saving skills. Josh has his hammers and I got a tapper.
All kidding aside, Josh is proof that genius is a gentleman.

Now if I may...take exception to something you said in one of your answers, that being, "the mandrel is the least used peice of equipment in the blacksmith's shop". Just kidding, I know what you mean, but I keep coming up to situations where I would love to have one. I am trying to think of a sane substitute..any ideas? Besides, you have to admit, from a tool lover's point of view, it's a beautiful thing. Any ideas on where I might be able to pick one up for a reasonable price?

P.S. How 'bout "Cream Puff One"?
- L. Sundstrom - Friday, 11/23/01 14:50:40 GMT

E-mail: Stu F. You must leave an e-mail adress for people to use it as requested. . What kind of ideas? Anvilfire has enough posted on line to keep you reading for months.

Shane Swart - Your e-mail bounced so your pub registration has been declined. I had written a nice letter to help with your problem too. .
- guru - Friday, 11/23/01 16:13:50 GMT

Creame Puff One. . : Naaaaa That is the pet name for the EC-JYH. But even creme puff hammers will out work the human arm even though they may not out produce in the first few minutes. . The EC-JYH will forge points on 1" square ALL DAY. . I'm beat after a just a few and in danger of hurting myself to keep going.

But I can't wait to get my 350# Niles-Bement running! The engine powered air compressor I have to run it should be able to keep it going full tilt all day. . . Like a gas forge, it could work you to death!
- guru - Friday, 11/23/01 16:19:26 GMT

Cones or Mandrels: New ones are expensive and unlike used anvils, used cones sell for new money or BETTER!

I've seen several of these that were home made and a variety of custom cones. Somewhere in Josh's shop there is a cone that is about 3 feet tall and almost two feet in diameter at the base. Yep, a steep angle. ITS SOLID! About 1,500 pounds!

I have a small home made cone that came from an industrial shop (that also HAD a good cone). It was made from a series of short sections of pipe (about 2-3" long) welded together. It was NOT a great tool. Its range is from about 3.5" dia to about 1.5". BUT, unlike a cone OR the horn of an anvil it was not tapered, having steps. A good scrounger could probably find pipe from 6" or so down.

I have also seen heavy artiliary shells used as con mandrels. . ALL warnings about explosives and deactivating apply!

A BETTER OPTION: Start with a series of different sized rings (forged or cut from pipe). Weld square and flat bar to the sides to build a conical shape. Small gaps will not hurt as the cone is used to correct the roundness of forged rings and is not used for actual forging. Gaps of 1/2" with 1/2" bar at the top and 1-1/2" gaps with flat bar at an 8" diameter bottom will not hurt. The flat bar at the bottom can have the corners knocked of with a grinder OR forged with a SLIGHT cup. Old worn wagon tire would be perfect if the right thickness.

To stiffen the whole, short pieces of bar can be welded across the inside at various angles. You may want to start at the point of the cone while building the outside and there is access to reach in and weld.

The result would NOT be a bad looking tool. I would use 1/2" square to start, then some short pieces of 3/4" by 1/2" then 1" x 1/2" and 1.5" x 1/2" (maybe even some 1/2" x 2"). Using all 1/2" thick stock the mean surface will be very uniform. The extra internal bracing could be ANYTHING. You can also weld the cone to a nice base. Some folks like square but I find that cones are easier to move like welding cylinders by rolling tipped on the corner. So a round base might be best.

If you are not satified with the final weight then you COULD fill the cone with concrete. Concrete is not very dense but it would add 50 pounds to the average cone and a LOT of stiffness to this design. However, there is one precaution you need to take. Concrete and hot iron do not get along. The concrete spalls explosively. You will need to NOT let the concrete fill the gaps in the cone to the surface. At the point and in narrow places I would fill the gaps with modeling clay. At the base I might weld in thin cover plates from the inside. Descale and give the whole a coat of rust preventitive primer before preparing to fill with concrete. I would but in lots of internal bracing even if filling with concrete.

THEN, (after filling the gaps) wrap the cone with corrogated cardboard held in place with duct tape. Support upside down and fill with concrete. Note that pre-mixed bag concrete is VERY lean (not much cement) and results in weak low grade concrete. I would mix my own OR add a shovel full of portland cement to each bag of premix. Have a pile of short iron drops that are almost useless? Lots of iron in the agregate won't hurt and will increase the mass. . :o)

Many cones have removable top points. These are usualy an optional part that can be used in hardy hole or vise. However, I find that a threaded hole for a 1/2" or 3/4" eye bolt is MUCH handier (for lifting the cone). In this home made cone the top piece could be a piece of 1.2" to 2" round bar with a hole drilled and taped in it. Note that shanks of eye bolts are fairly long AND have a heavy fillet under the shoulder. I normaly use a countersink at the top of eyebolt holes to nearly double the shank tap drill diameter. Folks with access to a lathe could make a very nice top part for their cone. Be sure to lube and fill the tapped hole if you fill the cone with concrete.
- guru - Friday, 11/23/01 18:06:35 GMT

To go with the above:
- guru - Friday, 11/23/01 20:18:09 GMT

paint : I found ths paint sold in the UK by B.Rourke & co LTD. called vinylast
I don't know if is imported to the US. they clame it is fomulated for Iron work. has any one used it?, is it worth looking into, ETC?
MP - Friday, 11/23/01 20:48:02 GMT

Cast Iron Cones: I don't know prices, but two sources for cast cone mandrels are: Laurel Machine and Foundry in Mississippi; ph 601-428-0541; ask for Ray Robinson...and Lorance Forge & Castings in Illinois; ph 309-647-9242; Roger Lorance, proprietor.
Frank Turley - Friday, 11/23/01 22:54:57 GMT

Cone Heads: Jock,
Notice in my question I said SANE substitute for a cone mandrel. I think I just needed a little encouragement to try the insane version.....yours. The more I think about it the more I like it. It would have the look of a tapering wine press. I'm sure it would have a low impact on the electric bill, but spread out over time.....
Having met Mrs. Sundstrom, I'm sure you understand why I would not want to upset her. She really enjoyed the demo and the special guided tour of the machine shop.
Come by and see us some time,
- L. Sundstrom - Friday, 11/23/01 23:10:14 GMT

Insane???? Cone Heads? : Are you implying that my idea is a little (or a lot) crazy?
Compared to welding the heavy plate in your hammer the little tack welds holding this thing together don't amount to much. About like burning a dozen 1/8" rods.

NOW. . as to beauty, THIS design lets you get creative. You COULD forge tapers on the ends of many of the bars to get a better fit. Organizing the pattern of the parts takes some creative thinking. . . my drawings done't do it justice.

Using all square bar. You could start with as many bars as would fit with welds on one side at the top equaly spaced (say 8). Then make shorter bars to split the diference and center between each (another 8). Then pairs to go between those (16) and another set of 4 per original one (32). . .lets see that is 64, 1/2" pieces = 32" or a solid 10.2" diameter.. . . with 3/8" between each it would be 17.85" diameter ( a little big) but with 1/4" it would be 15.27"

At 1/8" clearance you would have an inside (outside ring diameter) of 12.73" and an OD of 13.75". A little tight.

SO. . if we start with SEVEN equaly spaced (see now it is creative MATH. . what beauty!).

7 + 7 + 14 + 28 = 56 pieces. Equaly spaced at the base with 1/2" between each 1/2" piece it would be 17.85 OD. A little big.

6 + 6 + 12 + 24 = 48 pieces, results in 15.27" if equaly spaced at 1/2". This could be adjusted a little and be as small as 9.5". 3/8" spacing = 13.37" OD. NOW. . . that is a nice sized cone. To keep the same spacing at the top you would want an OD of about 1.75".

That is ONE symmetrical pattern. Another would be to start with your equally spaced pieces. THEN put a bar parallel to one side of each, then a shorter bar parallel to that and so on. Now the difference here is that each bar would need a slight bend and and twist after the initial bars. This would give a mill-stone appearance when viewed from the top. It is also symmetrical around the center axis but would never look that way in the round. . .

Yeah. . . I did get a little crazy with the trashy cross bracing but it is important to make the thing strong and NOT important to be pretty. It is also a good place to use up scraps and drops and those burnt things hiding behind the forge. . .

To be the most usefull the concrete is not an option. It would help support all those unsupported ends, as well as add mass. The concrete also hides all the trashy cross bracing and the cross bracing adds steel reinforcing to the concrete.

The end result is sort of a tire tread appearance. Especialy if you give it a coat of bbq black.

It may appear to be a crazy project but it is entirely sane if you don't want to fork over the $400 for the real thing. AND it will work perfectly.

Now to go consume MASS QUANTITIES!
- guru - Saturday, 11/24/01 00:17:20 GMT

CONES: OBTW, I have the REAL thing and like the fabricated idea enough to want to build one.

The real thing had the top 6" broken off and someone brazed it back on. Nice job but it shows. It has also been filled with concrete MANY years ago. The concrete shrunk and is loose inside. Results in a very odd clunk when you strike it. Concrete shrinks over time as it loses water. Inclosed in the body of old steel safes it results in the loss of fire resistance. In conical molds with a retaining lip it just means a loose piece. . the weight gain was only about 40 pounds. . Someone probably thought they were going to make it a LOT heavier. . Only about 20%.

My fabricated cone would most likely not succumb to the shrinkage problem due to the crisscrossing reienforcement and all the entanglements for the concrete. Loosness would most likely occur from abuse (heavy hammering). But only localy.
- guru - Saturday, 11/24/01 00:33:46 GMT

The only thing beautiful about creative math is watching someone else do it! (grin)
Paw Paw Wilson - Saturday, 11/24/01 02:24:29 GMT

A collection of misc size pipe and shafting cut offs serves some of the function, the taper of the propeller shaft housing or axle housing on some old trucks serves for some tapers and some truck driveshafts end in a taper. these can be zapped together to cover most of the things a big taper will do.
Oops, I see the guru has beat my description of my old cone version all to heck.
On cement..add acrylic additive instead of water, add E type glass fibers and an air entraining agent so it wont shrink
- Pete F - Saturday, 11/24/01 07:44:30 GMT

Cones and Concrete: We had a place at a hydro station where a combination of vibration and flowing water blasted out newly applied "water proof" grout anchoring some bolts AND sealing a flange into old concrete. . . . A hugely expensive mess as it required shutting down and dismantling a running (ie money making) unit. I repaired it with bondo and gravel "plasti-crete". The gravel extended the bondo and increased its compressive strength. The bondo adheares to EVERYTHING including glass and Teflon. IT is also flexible enough to withstand vibration and distorting loads.

In heavy fabricated machinery bases they fill the hollow structure with epoxy and sand mix. The sand is cheap, the epoxy strong, and the combination vibration damping beter than cast iron. It also does not stick. But it is critical to balance the epoxy and hardener so that free corossive compounds are not left in the product.

Glass chop is a great reinforcer for concrete but a mess to deal with. They also use polyethene rope chop for driveways and such.

To get the richer mix and the fiberglass chop you could combine a bag of "Block-Bond" with "sak-crete". A low tech solution available at most construction suppliers.

Pete, Your truck rear axel housing idea is a great one! But they are not very round. . . still a useful shape.

Lets see. . . an old highway cone for a mold. A bunch of bar stock set inside and then tacked together with heavy wire. Then concrete fill. Afterwards you would have to use a wire descaler, power wire brush and/or sand blasting to recess the concrete back from the metal surface. . . .

- guru - Saturday, 11/24/01 18:13:11 GMT

Tools : a good tool is the cheapest thing a man can buy no matter what it cost him
Bill-E. - Saturday, 11/24/01 19:53:58 GMT

first time visit : hello i stumbled across your site and wanted to get in to this weath of knowledge and maybe share somthing of my own. i have been blacksmithing for a 4 years or so and also do farrier work, i live in the northeast and live on a 40 horse ranch so i have lots of thing to work on. i am looking forward to getting to know you all
- RICH M - Saturday, 11/24/01 20:42:12 GMT

Welcome:: Rich, glad you found us. We have three forums and everyone is invited to take part. Take your time to explore, we have a LOT to look at and to read. There are three and a half years of archives. . . We are always looking for new ideas and demonstrators for our iForge page.
- guru - Saturday, 11/24/01 22:30:10 GMT

Pete F: Jock, do you know who makes/carries "block bond" or other brands of surface-bonding cement? The outfits i was dealing with quit.
Big 18" grinding them on e-bay for $35 each.
I have some old Heavy-survice clamps that need new high tensile square head bolts. They are very strong steel and the threads seem to be a little larger than regular sizes.
Any idea who might carry such a thing?
Goofy forging cone proposals...mmmm
Build a form from welded bar stock in the desired shape . take 1/2" bar and preheat and weld the end horizontally to the top of the cone form. Grab the free end of the bar and with the heat of the weld start wrapping the bar around the cone, true with hammer as necessary. Wrap the bar incrementally in a tight spiral, welding up the 3/16"space between bars on each successive wrap to provide the heat for the next bending and to hammer the bead flat .By the time you weld up the bottom pass and finish your new forging cone, you will be really good at it...and really tired of it
When it comes to crazy...I live in California for a reason.
This also proves Bill is right, again.
- Pete F - Sunday, 11/25/01 06:22:59 GMT

Block Bond AKA Quick Wall: Pete, the local Lowes (big building supply mega store) carries it. Could be it is outlawed in California. . like many things.
- guru - Sunday, 11/25/01 07:32:15 GMT

In Carolina it's sold under the name ShurWall.
Paw+Paw+Wilson - Sunday, 11/25/01 14:04:39 GMT

Cones, screws: Jock, like you said, all concrete shrinks and cracks. It will add mass, but it will not add support to the back of the cone surface. I'm thinking that plugging the base and filling a fabricated cone with sand might be a better,less expensive, better dampening option? For a steep, large diameter cone, there are guys that are very good with a plate roller. 1/4"thick plate down to say 6" diameter with a machined top might be another option.

Side note on fiber reinforced concrete. Personally, I don't think fiber reinforcing should be used on concrete exposed to freezing. All those fibers are an extry point for water and freeze/thaw is one of the biggest enemies of concrete. Even if well sealed, I think those who are using the fibers in driveways in freeze zones will regret it in a few years. I hope I'm wrong. Just to prove it or not, I started an experiment about 3 years ago. I did one slab with fibers and another without. And I'm sealing half of the fiber one well and not sealing the other half.

There are some Eaton rear axle housings that have major blended tapers where the axle tubes join with the diff housing. Pete, I'm looking at my 1951 dump truck in a whole new way!

Highway cone mold..... Hmmmmm..... That might be fun....

PeteF, glad you found the grinding wheels. Want me to back off on the foundries or keep asking around? For the clamp screws, are they metric or acme thread? MSC and McMaster Carr carry high strength all thread in both and you could forge the square head on or just weld on a nut.

Nothin wrong with being crazy. Or immature. As long as you're not disrespectful. Gotta have fun or die!
Tony - Sunday, 11/25/01 14:19:31 GMT

Virus Notes: All: Seems like the W32/BadTrans at MM virus is making the blacksmithing community rounds. Be careful with the e-mail you open -- even if it's from someone you know.
- Jim Carothers - Monday, 11/26/01 00:49:58 GMT

cone mandrels: Larry-- Centaur has a handy cast iron cone mandrel c. 18 " tall with a stub that fits into a hardy hole, may come needing some dressing, pricey as is all their stuff. Size may seem small, but it actually turns out to be the one I use more than my 4' job. Save all odd sizes of pipe you come by. Pipe works better than a mandrel because you don't get the imparted slope off it.
miles undercut - Monday, 11/26/01 05:42:11 GMT

misc: Yes Tony;That should solve the grinding wheel problem. Thank you for looking!
The clamp screws seem to be regular bolt threads ( SAE?) but they are sloppy when I fake it with regular 8 point bolts...or whatever I can scrounge out of my bolt bins. On the clamps that have the remains of the original bolts, there is very little the difference isn't wear.
Now Tony, stop looking at your faithful old dump truck with a cutting torch in your hand! Pretty soon it'll be Eaton it.
Plate roller for a cone is a good idea.
I'm crazy, immature and disrespectful...tisk. Hope to have fun, gotta die; plan to make a mess before then. A bigger mess.
Cement. Even E type glass fibers eventually weaken in cement and the plastic additives preceed them...acrylic lasts longer than latex.
I suspect that the kind of glass fiber that comes in chopped bunches that dont seperate will wick water and freeze badly. The sorts that are longer, finer fibers probably do better. No real freeze thaw problem here..the most common problem is water getting to the steel, rusting and expanding to take the cement apart.
Last time I tried to get Shur pie. Local concrete supply houses say "Huh?" The ferro-cement purists sneer.
There are air-entraining agents that prevent cement from shrinking as it cures.Running a real dry mix and compacting the heck out of it helps too.
Ill run a search for block-bond...thanks.
That stuff trowled over expanded metal lath or aviary wire sure makes a fast, cheap, strong, 3D curving it sculpture or shop wall.
Oh yeah, the bolt on tail section of some old trannies has a good taper too. Yes, that's why I can't walk across my shop any more.
A last Question. How do I identify if a motor is delta or wye wound? and do i wire them differently?
- Pete F - Monday, 11/26/01 07:19:22 GMT

Screws and fibers: Pete F, Is there enough material to put a helicoil insert in the clamp body and use class 2 alloy threaded rod? If not, might have to play on a lathe and make threaded rod to fit. Use a 60 degree tool and cut the rod until it fits in the existing female. I do it all the time when I want a nice tight thread like in a leg vise screw. Got a lathe around in your pile? Or a machinist buddy who likes hot tubs? Grin.

Yeah, dry mix and air entraining agents will reduce concrete shrinkage and cracking in Portland cement concrete a lot. But they donít eliminate it. The fiber mix around here is about 1" long, really fine glass fibers in a bag. They just throw it in the truck with the mix and itís supposed to diffuse. Iíve had trucks show up with a big hairball coming out in the concrete. Most of the fibers all stuck in one spot. If it happens in the first couple of yards, you can send the truck back, but if it comes out at the end of the load, itís a pain to get that load out of the forms. I do use the fibers for interior work. Iíve never seen fibers longer than 1.5" Am I missing something?

Rusting rebar. Water getting in through the inevitable cracks. Good sealer is required on any concrete that has steel reinforcing and sees water. Also need to make sure the electricians donít tie the ground rod to the rebar in some way. Even through the steel structure. Iíve used cathodic protection anodes and suppression currents on a lot of stuff. I wonder if they would work on concrete reinforcing?

I wonít be torching that old International Dump anytime soon. It cost me too much. $100. And right now itís full of pea gravel to put on the pond ice this winter.

Tony - Monday, 11/26/01 15:23:31 GMT

bolts: Pete F
Are you sure that the class of fit is the same an your scrouged bolts .. you might try picking up a set of new bolts (the horror) in a tighter class of fit. anouther way to check this would be to use one of the bolts that fit well and move it to a place that had a bad fit if it has a good fit then it is most likely that your bolts are the wrong class of fit.
you can get the classed bolts from mcmaster carr and most machine shop supply houses.
MP - Monday, 11/26/01 22:26:18 GMT

Cone Mandrels: Jock,
what do yo think about taking a 12-14 inch diameter, thick walled pipe, (would well casing fit that description?) and cutting long tapers from the top to almost the bottom using your favorite creative use of a lathe as a troch holder idea. I'm thinking of about 5' with tapers from 2" to 0" about 4'11" long. Set the thing on its end like an elongated crown in a fire and when the bottom gets hot, bring the top points together. Weld where necessary.
P.S. Miles, I have the centaur mandrel you describe and I like it but I was wanting to make rings for pot holders somewhere around 10" in diameter. Also for those a slight taper in the ring is nice.
Thanks for all the suggestions, I would be remiss to not go to the scrap yard before any futher deliberations.
- Larry Sundstrom - Tuesday, 11/27/01 01:09:24 GMT

Virus's: I also got stuck with the "BadTrans" virus thingy. Sorry to any of you who suffered bad email from me (it raided my address book & mass emailed tons of memo out). I was lazy & didn't update my virus protection deal for a while.
- Mike S - Tuesday, 11/27/01 02:45:01 GMT

Tony; I have seen 6" glass fibers packaged for cement..never used them though.
Don't have the old lathe fixed up well enought yet to cut threads and the great old machine shop that would do oddball stuff cheap just sold..waaah.
My search did turn up several brands of surface bonding cement, thanks.
I'd been wondering about anodic protection for steel reinforcing is a problem with ferrocement boats..some of them are going to stainless rebar but Nervi's 90 odd year old boats are still afloat.
I feel better about your old truck.
MP...class of fit...mmm ,Oh...will look into that.
Thank you both for your help!

- Pete F - Tuesday, 11/27/01 06:54:33 GMT

Boats and threads:
Concrete boats! We used to have competitions between schools with concrete canoes. Fun to watch. Much cracking and sinking. I was not involved. Where can I see more about this Nervi boat? For a boat, stainless reinforcing sounds the way to go.

I wonder what additives and mix they use in precast/prestressed concrete. I know itís very strong and rich in portland and dry and vibrated all to heck with a bunch of entrained air when done. Itís the only concrete Iíve seen that doesnít pass water unsealed. Maybe thatís because of the stressed strands holding the cracks closed. Concrete is interesting stuff.

Clamp threads: I thought about class of fit, but there is only .0025" nominal difference between the pitch diameter on a 3/4" class 2 and class 3 external thread. You can certainly feel .002 in a screw, but how tight do you want them. When I do tight threads, they are generally .0005" difference in pitch diameter between male and female. Thank goodness for pitch micís. I hate the three wire method.

Another option might be to plate your male threads with hard chrome? We plate threads all the time and see buildup problems if the plater puts too much on, but Iíve never tried hard chrome. And Iíd be leery of small bump buildups in the plating. You might have a heck of a time cleaning up the threads since you probably donít have a die for the size you want. Maybe a slotted adjustable thread die...... but the heard chrome would play havoc with the die. Zinc plating would wear off. Electroless nickel maybe, but that is pricey.

If the helicoil is not to your liking, but there is material there, tap the clamp body for the next size up thread? Metric or whatever?

And finally..... Iíve never tried this either, but heat up the clamp body, forge the female threads part smaller in diameter and retap? Maybe a guy would be lucky enough that if you use the thread you want as a hot mandrel, with some graphite as a lube, you could get pretty close? Hmmmmm, I almost want to try that! If it sticks tight, you should be able to heat up the female and expand it to get the mandrel out.

Just rambling away here.....
Tony - Tuesday, 11/27/01 14:33:46 GMT

Clamp Threads: I've got several of those old heavy welding clamps. The screws fit with the closest thing to zero clearance I've ever seen and the threads AND tapped hole as SHARP 100% threads. I'm sure they are specials. But you might TRY ordering a square head set screw from McMaster-Carr. They are the closest thing I've seen.

Most of these old clamps if the threads get rusted its all over. I've rescued a few but it was a bitch. The BIG ones I've got must weight 40 pounds! Even the 8" ones take two hands to pick up.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/28/01 04:25:53 GMT

Rebar - Travel: I read a report on bridges and rebar. Rebar was never a serious rusting problem until we started salting roads. The salt absorbs into the concrete and causes the problems.

NOW. . In our ferro-crete cone we shouldn't need to worry about road salt or serious rust. We take CARE of our tools. . (eh! ;-) ). And for the light duty hammering a cone takes the concrete WILL support the ends and middles of the steel bars as I drew it. If you hit this thing hard enough to severly damage it you would also most likely knock a hole in the side of an expensive cast iron cone. We aren't making anvils. We are making something that needs to be heat resistant or hard wood would do.

But for one (or three) job I'd make circular bending jigs (see our bender 21st Century article). They are a lot more convienient and can easily be stored out of the way.

WELLLLLL I'm off to Greenwood Land to help finish up some jobs, load up some of MY equipment and help them move. . . will be a few days. Hopefully I will be able to use the laptop. . . but I still hate to carry it in my truck that has only had 500 miles put on it in 2 years. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 11/28/01 04:37:24 GMT

Rebar rust, Enamel:
Yup, road salt is the main culprit for bridges and roads. But I've had to replace rebar and do a lot of shotcreteing in buildings too. We were talking about enamel on the guru page. In the building that we made the enamel frit, the rebar rusted away on the second floor. And there was a lot of rebar in that building. Built in 1920 or so. The frit came out of the furnaces (that looked like 20 foot long, 10 foot high, brick gas forges) as a molten stream and dropped into a plain water quench bath to fracture into nice small pieces that fed into the ball mills real nice to be smushed into enamel powder. The water leaks eventually rusted the rebar away and pushed the concrete floor apart. So if you have water leaks in your basement......

I meant not to disparage the fabricated cone with concrete fill. Please accept my most humble apologies. I meant only to point out clearly that all normal portland cement concrete shrinks and cracks. Hydraulic cement is a different story.

And I'm just thinking again... Enamel can be a very durable and weather resistant finish for iron. It can also be extrememly decorative. Is there any large enameled decorative iron work out there? You would need a really big furnace for something like a gate. But how cool that would be! Has it been done? Cobalt blues, chrome yellows.....
Tony - Wednesday, 11/28/01 13:35:40 GMT

Vitreous enameling.: The Kohler Company in Wisconsin has an artist-in-residence program, where one can use their large facility to create in cast iron and/or enameling. Hoss Haley of Asheville, NC, for one, took part. "John Michael Kohler Art Center", ph 920-458-6144 or fax 920-458-4473. One of the major teachers of iron enameling at Penland, NC, in the olden days, was Bill Helwig of Kentucky. I don't know if Bill wants his address and phone published here, so you might contact me individually about this. Bill formerly worked in a caustic materials manufacturing firm, and they would enamel the insides of their vessels to handle the material. Then, he got downright arty about it.

I have a new e-address, but I don't know if it has gone into effect yet. If not, use the old nudahonga at
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 11/28/01 14:42:53 GMT

K of K: Frank, that's where I was for 14 years. The big Kohler of Kohler. In those 14 years, I was priveledged to work extensively in all of the processes. I've seen all of the Artist in Residence stuff except that done in the last couple of years. An 8 foot castiron bear, a full size cast iron deer barbecue grill, a very nice cast iron female sculpture, full size cast iron Harley, and lots more. Some very creative and process difficult stuff. Much pottery too including some really big totem poles. I don't recall any of the cast iron getting decorative enamel. Almost all of the pottery was very decoratively glazed. There are no real facilities at Kohler for hammer and anvil work. No power hammers either. Call Ruth Deyoung Kohler if you call the art center. Nice woman. I can tell you that the production folk pull their hair out working with some of the artists.

I wasn't thinking of doing any enamelled iron work myself. Not yet anyway. I need to get better at it first. I was just wondering if there was any out there to look at.
Tony - Wednesday, 11/28/01 15:23:12 GMT

Cones: This item specifically may have already been covered, but I haven't seen it, so sorry if this is an update of somebody elses information. I needed a cone a few years back, and made one from a skeins ( thimble ) for a wooden axle. Just weld a piece of plate to the base, put a stinger in it for the hardie hole, and you in business. You have a taper, plus the threads on top for repetitive work. Weld another piece of flat on top, and add a piece of round on that ( you can use precision tubing on this, and step up or down as you need if you wish ). THEN, you have a fairly good selection of tooling to wrap stuff around. Hope this helps somebody. 'Nother scan shows I got a clean pedigree ( and the log shows I sent the virus to myownself twice ). Gotta love this Outlook Express. I plan to get with the Eudora deal when I have time. Meanwhile, sorry for any bugs shipped from me. Ten
- Steve O'Grady - Wednesday, 11/28/01 15:40:00 GMT

Enameling: Someone told me that there were arty, enameled, multi-colored elevator walls, interior, maybe in San Francisco (?). And Bill Helwig said he had good results enameling with Univit, a tradenamed zero carbon steel. It used to be made by Armco Steel; Armco has been renamed, since I first heard about Univit.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 11/28/01 16:44:44 GMT

500 miles in two years..... Wow! I seem to get about 500 miles on my truck or car in about a week... or less.
Good luck on the trip Jock.
Ralph - Wednesday, 11/28/01 18:03:11 GMT

Trip: Made it OK but I left about 5am after working until 3.30am and then trying to take a nap. . never works.

Truck did fine but turn signals quit just as I got here for some reason. . . The aluminium foil on the fuses in the fuse box MIGHT have something to do with it. .

At 6 MPG I don't want to put too many miles on this monster. But with a 5 ton capacity it sure is handy. . . Kind of thing EVERY junk junky needs! I'm looking at taking home a nice 36" drill press that is about 10 feet tall! no sweat in this sucker! Now getting it off when I get home is another story.

Sorry I had to cancel the iForge demo tonight. Didn't have time to get it ready with the short notice on this trip.

Spent the day arc welding old cracked wrought iron. . . fun fun.
- guru - Thursday, 11/29/01 00:43:45 GMT

Pete F: Is deep draw, low carbon, mild steel available in smaller amounts somewhere?
- Pete F - Friday, 11/30/01 03:21:36 GMT

Pete, from what I understand it must be ordered by the sheet. 4x8 foot I think. Contact Kirsten Skiles at Koka Metalsmiths. She demonstrates using a deep draw steel and may be able to tel you where she gets it.

Koka Metalsmiths
- guru - Friday, 11/30/01 05:58:38 GMT

Deep drawing steel: A few posts above, I mentioned a special enameling steel called Univit, made by Armco. A little searching showed that Armco is now, and AK still makes Univit and two other types of "enameling steel". These steels are also touted as extremely deep drawing steels. The carbon content is almost nil; there are alloying traces of aluminum and copper. The steels are "titanium strengthened". You can search, then hit Markets & Products, then Carbon Steels, then Enameling Products. Sales phone numbers are listed.
Frank Turley - Friday, 11/30/01 16:06:22 GMT

I recently made a lead and brass forge from a old propane fired space heater it works great very fast. I got tired of buying lead or brass hammers to drive in winter studs in horse shoes since the studs tear the hammer up quick. So I took a 2 inch iron pipe tee with a 3/4 IP out let I ground all the threads off the two ends and a the 3/4 tee and cut the tee in half I placed a oakum plug in the a peace of iron pipe and can slide it half way in the tee i place a cold steel plate on one side of the two in end and support the handle, clamp the tee togeather and pour the lead in once the lead hits the cold plate it solidifies and once the lead cools I unclamp the tee and have a perfect hammer and once it gets chewed up I just melt it down and make a new one

  rich M - Friday, 11/30/01 20:08:10 GMT

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