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

Wayne's Hammers: Howdy Wayne! I'll be happy to buy as many Little Giant Hammers in top working condition that you want to sell me for $800 a piece.Send me an email and I'll get a truck out to you right away to pick them up.You can save the advertising.Let me know.
- Barry Denton - Friday, 11/01/02 03:27:23 GMT

Hammer: Barry, I wish I had em to sell you. These tools went at auction. It seems that that was all the market was willing to bear. I have seen them go for as much as $2200 at auction but it was a complete new rebuild by LG themselves with not even enough time on it to mark up the paint.

That E-Bay has driven up the cost of equipment beyond reason. Now collector and antique prices dominate the market because E-Bay has become the standard place to check what thngs cost. I mean REALLY $3.50 to $4.00 / lb for anvils, new cast steel anvils sell for about the same price, and you get to chip the edges yourself!
- Wayne Parris - Friday, 11/01/02 16:13:00 GMT

antique: you can buy a new anvil cheaper than some of the old wore out anvils I see o ebay
junk is junk no matter how old it is
Bill-E - Wednesday, 11/06/02 14:58:25 GMT

eBay & antiques.: To play the devil's advocate a little bit...Will Rogers said about real estate, "They ain't makin' any new land." And I say, "They ain't makin' any new Hay-Buddens, Trentons, Peter Wrights, or Mouse Holes". We may resent that such anvils are creeping into the antique market, but it's a fact. And we may resent eBay for various reasons. But, as the guru told me once about viruses, "Welcome to the Brave New World". A friend has a gallery of high-end Native American beadwork and went on a buying trip recently. He covered three states and wound up with one little necklace. When I asked him what gives, he said that a lot of what he used to buy is now put on eBay by individual owners, and it is hurting his business. I really felt sorry for him, but I couldn't tell him what to do. Galloping Inflation affects nearly all aspects of our economy.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 11/06/02 15:50:35 GMT

Good point Frank, I like your reasoning.
triw - Wednesday, 11/06/02 17:39:12 GMT

Ebay: Speaking of ebay, I was wondering if any of those anvils are worth it. I mean, I smith for fun, and am still definitely a beginner, but if these are the anvils that are like hitting concrete rebound wise, I don't want them. I have a cast 55# right now, and I like it, but we need another anvil (two of us). Any help would be great.
- Jonathan Troyer - Wednesday, 11/06/02 20:25:31 GMT

Worth it?: Since you can get a servicable russian cast *steel* anvil fairly cheap. I'd say get one of those and start looking for a high grade old anvil on the cheap. I buy at least one high grade old anvil for under $1 a pound in good to excellent condition a year from just asking around until I find one someone wants to get rid of---and they set the price!

- Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 11/06/02 22:15:37 GMT

TRENTON ANVIL?: I just bought my first anvil yesterday. I think it reads "Trenton". The markings are hard to read. It weighs 164# (stamped 165#) and has some other markings. It has some chipping around the edges with the worst place being a half quarter sized chip out of the back side. Bought it for .79 cent a pound. Anyone know anything about Trentons?
Nathan - Thursday, 11/07/02 14:33:29 GMT

Trenton anvil: Nathan, Congrats! you now own one of the finest American made forged anvils ever made:D Others are Hey Budden and Arm and Hammer plus several lower volume makers.

You should have a serial number under the horn on the foot of the anvil. With that and a copy of Anvils in America you can get the year it was made. $.79/lb is a great price. I bought my forged all tool steel trenton for $2.00/lb but it was in near mint condition with only a small cuting torch mark in the heal. Anvils were sold by the pound, thus the marking for 165# and it is common for them to weigh a little less after years of use. Take care of it and it will out last your lifetime.
- Wayne Parris - Thursday, 11/07/02 19:37:46 GMT

Fisher Anvil: I aquired my grandfathers anvil a short time ago and would like to know more about it. under the horn is stamped fisher, and under the heal it is dated 1905. so i know it's a fisher, and made in 1905. my question is should I keep using it or clean it and put it away. it's got some deep chipping were you can tell the diffrance from the face and cast steel body.
zern - Thursday, 11/07/02 20:44:45 GMT

Fisher Anvil: there is no marking on the near side (horn faceing left). on the other side on the front foot (under the horn)is the #8 and on the aft foot marked with the leter "N" and under the heal is 2 hash marks "II"
any help will be very helpfull
thanks to all
zern - Thursday, 11/07/02 20:58:42 GMT

Trenton: Thanks for the info Wayne! I,m so excited about finally owning one of my own. I had been looking for a while. When I bought it I was so excited I picked it up off the ground, walked straight out of the store and through the parking lot without even getting out of breath. The guy that sold it to me said,"I was going to help you with that!"
- Nathan - Thursday, 11/07/02 22:33:59 GMT

Your choice, actually. Anvil's aren't really considered antiques in the blacksmithing world till they get close to 200 years old. But they're useable, even at that age. I use a colonial style that is probably closer to 300 years old than 200.

Personlly, I'd use it, and remember my grandfather every time I did.
Paw Paw - Friday, 11/08/02 00:48:06 GMT

Anvil "sitting": Personally, I don't think that anvils should just sit around they are tools and should be used. Some anvils are true antiques, and have historical value above their value as just a really excellent tool. And of course some anvils have been so abused for so long that most of their value as a tool has been defaced... The only good reason to let an anvil sit, is while you get your hammer control good enough that you are not going to deface your family heirloom. And the only solution for that is pateince and practice:-)

I know far too many collectors with piles of tools that see no use, and many people who have heirloom anvils... ( I have client that has three haybudden anvils in 200-300# range that are drop dead gorgeous!!! but they are heirlooms and he won't part with them, I have suggested that I be included in the will, or at the very least called when he passes on...:-)

Personally Zern I would use it, I might have another anvil or two about the shop for rough work that might damage the fisher, and I would be cautious with my hammer control. But I would use it.
Fionnbharr - Friday, 11/08/02 02:40:13 GMT

Buy "Anvils in America": With all the chat on anvils, i must point out the obvios. Buy the book "Anvils in America" by Mr. Richard Postman. I spent a few days with Richard recently and it was quite enjoyable. Saw some very fine, and very unique anvils among other things. I purchased a copy of his book and it is HIGHLY RECOMENDED. It will save you alot of time and guesswork on whats what in the anvil world.

Jock sells the book on this site, and im betting if you buy it, you will agree its the best $ youve spent in a while on reading material. Also plenty of good reference photos for dummies like me ;-)

...And also be assured your $ is going to a good man, Mr. Postman and his Wife are good folk indeed.

Lamey Custom Knives
Machinehead - Friday, 11/08/02 23:19:41 GMT

I've been using a personal Trenton for 30 years. It has a slender horn for its size. Also, has a deep step (which I use often as a Vee block) and a fairly thin heel. I like all of these features.
Frank Turley - Friday, 11/08/02 23:22:15 GMT

Weightless Hammer: So many of you expressed interest in this idea earlier this year that I figured you both would want to check this out.

Weightless Hammer Plans
- Bruce - Saturday, 11/09/02 04:03:27 GMT

Interesting concept! How does it work? (effeciency wise) Do you get as "hard" a stroke as with a normal hammer?
Paw Paw - Saturday, 11/09/02 14:16:47 GMT

Paw Paw,: Well, there is some friction, but the ball bearings in the wheel and pulleys keep that low. A wheel, once accelerated, wants to keep spinning. (Seems to me there's a law of physics that says something like that!) Anyway, that's why it's important to keep the wheel large (so it doesn't spin fast) and light (so the angular momentum is low). So I'd say it's pretty decent, efficiency-wise.

As for how hard a blow, it's true you don't have gravity helping you, but that's not as much a problem as it may seem. Imagine accelating a 16-lb weight horizontally on a frictionless surface. That's not so hard! Well, this is the same. In short, the feel isn't the same as an ordinary sledge, but the blow seems to be about the same.

However, the greater the mass of the hammer, the harder you'll have to work to accelerate it, so there's no point going to a 50-lb hammer, and some folks might prefer, say, a 12-lb hammer. Once the machine is built, you can swap hammers and simply readjust the spring tension.
- Bruce - Sunday, 11/10/02 01:49:02 GMT

Bruce: very nice . . . very clean instructions, might have to try this myself (as if I don't have enough projects) ;-)}
Escher - Monday, 11/11/02 15:59:05 GMT

Golden Corral:

I'm not much of a Golden Corral fan, but Sheri and I eat there fairly regularly.


On Veteran's Day, no veteran is permitted to pay for his meal. I understand (but cannot be sure) that the CEO has said "As
long as I am head of Golden Corral, on at least one day of the year, every veteran will have one good meal available."

I eat there more often than I normally would because of that. They deserve my business.

And to add to that, they took a "prize crew" and a bunch of steaks to Kabul to feed the troops.

I wish more companies felt that way.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/11/02 21:00:07 GMT

Rebar Couplings: A certain project I am working on could be improved if I had an efficient method for joining two pieces of rebar. The rebar is joined along its side, as opposed to butt joining the ends. Currently, welding the two pieces works. However, something similar to a wire rope clip (Crosby Clip) would allow for easier disassebly. However, this alternative is relativly expensive. Do you guys have any ideas? If so, please e-mail me at the following Thanks
Lance - Wednesday, 11/13/02 22:28:51 GMT

lance: what about useing the strap clamps like those used for radatior hose in cars?
MP - Thursday, 11/14/02 01:50:40 GMT

Favor for a Friend: All: I have a favor to ask of this group. My friend and mentor who taught me how to do the braided steel handle I demonstrated for anvilfire iForge last night (Demo No. 150) is in ICU with pneumonia. It would really pick him up to get a card from some of us. Please take a minute to mail a get-well card or a short note of encouragement to: Mr. Bill Wilda c/o Cushing Regional Hospital, 1027 East Cherry St. No. F, Cushing, OK 74023. If you are one who prays, I ask also that you remember Bill and his family. Thanks, Jim C.
Jim C. - Thursday, 11/14/02 12:04:50 GMT

Rebar joint:
Lance, does the rebar joint need to flex in more than one direction? If not, use the blacksmith solution.... forge a yoke type pin joint? Pin in shear only.
- Tony - Thursday, 11/14/02 14:49:01 GMT

for sale: lots of blacksmith tools. floor vise champion railroad forge in good shape band saws scroll saw many sifferent hammers jay sharp ect.
Domain name for sale too! make offer
email for details
Rick C - Thursday, 11/14/02 15:46:08 GMT

Anvilfire Auctions: Jock, I suggest that you take the old, closed auctions off the page so I'll quit drooling over the tools that were sold before I ever found the site. For all you hammer makers out there, I sure wouldn't mind bidding on a 3lb Hoffi-like forging hammer.
I really like those RR spike tongs too.
robcostello - Thursday, 11/14/02 20:31:46 GMT

Auctions. . .: Yep, I have some admin/maint to do. Probably need to put a CSI member in charge of the thing. At least get rid of year old auctions!

I have a new one to post. A NEW Victor torch outfit. I'll try to get t up this weekend.
- guru - Thursday, 11/14/02 20:45:23 GMT

Plans? : Hey. I'm interested in setting up a home shop. I've been gathering tools for a bit, and now I need a forge. I don't yet have the money to buy a propane forge like an NC tool or anything. So, could anyone point me towards a website that has good coal forge plans (appropriate for hopefully bladesmithing in the future)that would be fairly easy and cheap to make?
- Gerg - Thursday, 11/14/02 21:19:08 GMT

Gas Forge Plans: Gerg:

You can make your own propane forge too. See the following link.
Ron Reil's Propane Forge Page
- Bruce - Thursday, 11/14/02 22:06:27 GMT

Thanks for your help!
Gerg - Thursday, 11/14/02 22:17:24 GMT

For coal forge plans, go to the plans page here at anvil fire and look at the brake drum forge.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 11/14/02 22:36:20 GMT

Sca Hammerin: Could some one please tell me the contact info for the SCA hammerin near Attica last Oct. I live 15 miles south of there and did not know of it. Thanks Stiffy
- Stiffy - Friday, 11/15/02 05:05:45 GMT

Attica Hammer--in: Stiffy; if you look in the midrealm info under equestrian you can find our host---kingdom EQ officer.

I won't post his contact info without his permission on a public forum; but I'll send it to you by e-mail if you send me mail. Note I will be at Make it or Break it with the forge and not back on-line till Monday.

Thomas Powers - Friday, 11/15/02 17:32:55 GMT

auctions, help etc: Guru,
I am willing to try and help if you want me to try and do so .
Ralph - Friday, 11/15/02 18:34:48 GMT

Stiffy: I am the person who hosted the SCA hammer-in near Attica Indiana. You can contact me directly through my email link here on this post:-) Are you in the SCA or are you just a smith who is interested in having someone else to play with?

Shane Stegmeier
The Merelion's lair Forge
Fionnbharr - Saturday, 11/16/02 04:28:44 GMT

re: auctions: I have to agree with Rob, I drool every time I look at the tool auctions that have expired. Especially JJ's hammer. There are some mighty fine Craftsmen in the group. I have a 3lb Hoffi, and like it real well. A smaller one would be nice to have, too. I tried to get a 2#- several times this summer to no avail. No reponse to email, or phone messages. Guess at a 100.00 each there mustn't be enough profit to sell'm. *sigh*
Randye - Saturday, 11/16/02 15:54:09 GMT

Handles: Just made 2 braided handles as were demonstrated this past wed. on Iforge page. They were easy to do and look real neat when finished.
Brian C - Sunday, 11/17/02 01:13:17 GMT

HOLIDAYS: Its that time of year to think about gifts for the inlaws. I enjoy giving things from the forge. (Cheap and no lines to wait in) However I am having difficulties coming up with new ideas I've done plenty of candle holders and wall hangers. The plans on anvilfire always help. Though we could all use a couple more. Any ideas for gifts? thanks.
Maya - Monday, 11/18/02 00:55:31 GMT

Gifts: Maya, go out and grap a bunch of the wire frames for election signs. Forge up a bunch of long baskets ( 4 rods does fine) make a nice hook on one end and rivit the other end to a revere ware pot you have removed the original handle from.

Wire brush/polish and you have a very nice ornamental pan with copper bottom that's great for camping and cooking over a wood fire too!

Total cost for materials should be about US$1...

- Thomas Powers - Monday, 11/18/02 23:39:37 GMT

Buy a Forge: Hello, I am looking to buy a used forge or get an illustration on how to build one. I am a pipe welder by trade, but like to create with metal in my spare time. Any advise?
Alan - Tuesday, 11/19/02 02:18:01 GMT

Go to the plans page here at anvilfire, and look up the brake drum forge.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/19/02 02:51:08 GMT

Tomahawk: I need to find information on making a tomahawk head. Like what kind of steel, size, temper and so on.
Justin - Wednesday, 11/20/02 18:10:19 GMT

Go to the iForge demo's here at anvilfire. You want iForge demo #12.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 11/20/02 21:54:16 GMT

beeswax: Ok, here's the dumb question of the day. How do you use beeswax? I am sure it's for the finish, but how is it applied? Thanks
- Luke - Thursday, 11/21/02 04:23:17 GMT

re: beeswax: Luke - if you buy the bees a generous amount of their favorite beverage, sometimes you can sweet-talk them into washing, waxing, and buffing the work in for you (cheesy grin). I got some yellerjackets to wet sand a piece for me once but it cost me a crock of honey mead (not Screaming Viking).

Alternate method (not as much fun) - touch the cake of wax to yer metal when it's black-hot. If the wax goes yer still too warm. Way I understand, if it runs down along the workpiece a bit and slowly "freezes off" then that's about right. Just one way.

Sorry for poking fun; it's pathological.
Eggleston - Thursday, 11/21/02 07:52:15 GMT

wax errata: should read, "if the wax goes POOF! you're still too warm."
Eggleston - Thursday, 11/21/02 07:55:24 GMT

'nother beeswax use: Eggleston & Luke; Us ol' geezer millwrights also use beeswax like Liquid Wrench. You heat up the offending nut with a torch, and then touch the beeswax to the area where the threads meet. Capillary action pulls the molten wax into the threads. Just like Liquid Wrench, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Best regards, 3dogs
- 3dogs - Thursday, 11/21/02 09:02:44 GMT it loose yet, bzzzz: beeswax - I work in a place that does die casting of magnesium (I machine it when it's cooled off a little). They use beeswax there to lube slides & cores to the dies and coat the faces if they have castings sticking. Toolmakers (my buddies) there use it for the same thing, when the casting machine operator has tried everything else, can't make it work, and is angered beyond the point of reason. 'Course, when he sees his problems solved with a lil' bitty cake of wax, that sure doesn't help things....
Best thing is, they get the stuff in bulk so I buy it from the stockroom cheap. Everybody wonders what the heck I'm gonna do with that much wax at home.
Sure smells a lot better than Liquid Wrench, too, eh 3dogs?
Looks like I learned 2 new things today. Bonus!
Best to all,
Eggleston - Thursday, 11/21/02 16:29:35 GMT

yellow jackets:: I dont think yellow jackets make wax - at least not in useful quantities. Those guys are on my s*** list right now. Not long ago I was organizing scrap in my back yard and wearing hearing protection. After the 3rd prick I looked down to see my black T shirt dotted with yellow! ****er's even got me a couple of times in the armpits. I think they are more likely to land on dark colored spots being as these would be the eyes and nose of a bear.
adam - Thursday, 11/21/02 17:11:32 GMT

Hofi hammer: Randye I have a 2.5 lb Hofi hammer that I got from Tom Joyce.
Instead of a cross peen I asked for a rounding face which I find more useful. I was reluctant to fork out $100 but my wife insisted since I was getting tendonitis.

I was skeptical but I have come to love this hammer and my arm is all better.

Kayne has a czech hammer which I think is the same thing
adam - Thursday, 11/21/02 17:18:35 GMT

Bzzzzwax: Eggleston; It definitely smells better than Liquid Wrench. That smell takes me back about 55 years to Granny's house. Grandpa kept bees, and that smell was always there. Getting candy at Granny's meant lopping off the corner of a chunk of comb honey. Makes me grin every time I think of it. Best regards, 3dogs
- 3dogs - Thursday, 11/21/02 18:58:47 GMT

champion 400 blower: I have an original Champion 400 blower that I would like to know the value of. It is in good shape (the wooden crank handle is the only thing missing) and works beautifully. If anyone knows what it might be worth, please let me know.
- Keith Proffitt - Friday, 11/22/02 01:05:34 GMT

Blower value: I think it was the noted economist Adam Smith who said, "The value of a thing is what that thing will bring." That applies to all manner of things, including old blacksmithing equipment. On eBay the things sell for upwards of fifty or sixty bucks. At a hammer-in or other gathering of smiths, you might get anywhere from half that to the same amount, depending on the day and the crowd.
vicopper - Friday, 11/22/02 03:36:17 GMT

400 blower: Mr Proffitt - I got one of those off ebay (cuz the pictures were so darn pretty, and I never got to one single tailgate event this whole year) it had no base or legs, the wood was intact on the handle, and it had been apart & cleaned. All it needed was oil. I paid around $65 IIRC, plus a couple coins for shipping. Honestly I was expecting it to go higher. I've used these blowers before and I like them so when I got what I wanted in real good shape it was definitely worth the money. I'd have paid more, in all honesty. 'Course now that I have one I wanna build a bellows.

3dogs, my granpa never had bees (at least that I can remember) but that sweet smell sure puts me in a "happy place" too :)

Eggleston - Friday, 11/22/02 07:37:49 GMT

Wax: Thanks for the help with the beeswax. It's nice to know about these different uses, even bribing bees with mead to buff my work. I think I will just take your word on that one!!
- Luke - Friday, 11/22/02 15:57:41 GMT

Willing to be an Apprentice: I'm very interested in becoming a Blacksmith, it has been a dream of mine for the past 5 years. so far, you are only person I have run into. I hope that you are still teaching Blacksmithing, and are willing to take on an apprentice. There is not alot of places from me, to learn this profession. I am very willing to do what is takes to become a Blacksmith. For I am still young enough to grasp the knowledge through hard work. I know that you most likely, have millions of applicants. But, I hope that you'll be able to send me word of when you need a new apprentice. That is if you decide to give me the opportunity to show you, that I am worthy to be taught by you. I will leave posts from now and then to see, if your offer is still there. Thank-you for taking the time to read my post.
Sean F. Sunday
- Sean F. Sunday - Friday, 11/22/02 17:32:58 GMT

It would be a lot easier to help a bit, if we knew about where you live. (grin)
Paw Paw - Friday, 11/22/02 20:17:25 GMT

Relative Value: Vicopper, to paraphrase Adam Smith, in the words of my old friend, philosopher and journeyman auto mechanic par excellence, "There's an arse fer every seat, and a seat fer every arse."
- 3dogs - Saturday, 11/23/02 08:29:02 GMT

Pipe Tomahawk: Justin, I've made pipe tomahawks the old fashiond way out of either a gun barrel or from wrought iron with a high carbon steel bit welded in. The haft is also a pipe stem. These were old Indian trade items in the 1800s. The source is Harold Peterson's book, "American Indian Tomahawks". There is an appendix in the book written by Milford Chandler where he shows several methods of making a pipe tomahawk.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 11/23/02 14:21:42 GMT


I have recently been doing some genealogical searching and discovered that I have a relative whose job title was "Railway spring smith".I assume this involved making springs for railway wagons (suspension etc)but would be interested if anyone could enlighten me a bit further on what this might have involved-given that this was around the turn of the century (in Britain).

Thanks alot for any info.

Ron Brown
- Ron Brown - Sunday, 11/24/02 20:07:23 GMT

Spring Smith: Ron, Railroad engines and cars both have springs. Some were flat stacked leaf springs like you see on heavy trucks and others were huge coil springs weighing hundreds of pounds. But there are also hundreds of special little spings in latches, coupling and controls.

Springs are shaped by normal smithing technique (heated, forged and bent). Then they are heat treated. Heat treating by blacksmith methods is a highly skilled job. In the case of large heavy load springs it is also a job with great responsibility. A broken load spring can result in the entire train de-railing and costing milions of dollars (even then).
- guru - Sunday, 11/24/02 21:14:15 GMT

Bees and Wasps: Yellow-Jackets are a wasp and they build nests in hidden places (logs, hollow places) as well as under ground. Their nests are paper like paper wasps and hornets. They eat other insects and stuff the prey paralized with their poison in the cells with eggs/larva. Yellow jackets can sting many times and live.

Wasps that live in colonies are very agressive and sting you just because you are in their territory. Wasps that live alone like mud daubers are not agressive and generaly do not sting (they DO sting prey). You can identify a mud-dauber in flight by its impossibly long waist and blue black color.

Sweat "bees" are a small wasp that lives in the ground.

Honey bees make wax as part of the process. They are vegetarians (compared to wasps) and feed their young honey. Bees sting you once, the stinger stays in YOU and the bee dies.

Wasps and bees are enemys and certain large wasps like Cow Killers prey on honey bees and if they get a chance will build their nest in a bee's hive in order to be close to food. .

More than you ever wanted to know. . .
- guru - Sunday, 11/24/02 21:28:05 GMT

Yellow Jackets: We had a big nest of yellow jackets behind some railroad tie retaining walls this summer. Couldn't get the (supposed) yellow jacket killing chemicals in to get them all without taking the wall down. They laughed at the chemicals and just made more entrances and exits. Ended up standing there with a weed burner and burning them as they came out or came back. Took 3 sessions of flaming to get them all.

In the past, mixing diesel with gas, half and half, pouring it down the hole and lighting it off has worked well on ground stingers of various sorts.

Be careful not to burn your house down, yada yada.... Grin!

Allergic reactions to the stingers can come late in life. My Dad nearly died of suffocaton when he was stung in the neck by a ground dweller. Never had a problem with stings before.
- Tony - Monday, 11/25/02 02:30:28 GMT

Bees, etc.: Down here in what we call Paradise, we have nice honey bees, Africanized honey bees, and a variety of yellow-jacket called a Jack Spaniard.

I used to think that bees were bees until I saw the way the Africanized ones behave. Sort of like a regular bee on steriods, testosterone and a really bad attitude. They attack in swarms and can be lethal. The Jack Spaniards attack territorially and sting you as many times as they can, just out of spite. One interesting thing I found with them is that they only come around people when things are dry and they're thirsty. They like to sip sweat off unprotected skin. If you place a dish of water a little ways away, they will drink from it and leave you alone. I never tried it with the Colorado yellow-jackets when I was growing up, so I don't know if it will work with them. Somebody should try it and let me know. :-)

What I DO know for certain, is that if you have a significant chance of being stung by any of them, and are either allergic or think you might be, you should get a bee-sting kit from your doctor. I always carried one when I worked on old buildings and signs, and twice I've used them to save a helper's life. Anaphylaxis is an ugly way to die, and a very real possibility from insect stings. A kit is not expensive and could save your life. These days they are so easy to use that even a child can use one if necessary.

Bees and Jack Spaniards are nothing, however, compared to our local centipedes! When I first moved here, I asked what to watch out for and was told "centipedes." When I asked what one looked like, I was told, "Don't worry, when you see your first one, you'll know it." Boy, was that true! Those things are six or more inches long and look like the Spawn of the Devil. An eight-pound sledge is about right for massaging them into some semblance of civility.
vicopper - Monday, 11/25/02 05:45:47 GMT

For me it would be a tossup between centipedes and scorpions. I don't care for either of them.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/25/02 06:32:49 GMT

OH!: My sting kit is in the jump bag in my truck. If I'm in a car, it will probably be in the trunk. I carry injectible Benedryl and Epenepherin both. Yes, I'm venom alergic.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/25/02 06:34:01 GMT

yellerjackets: Gee, Paw Paw, mebbe it's a Wilson thang! I gotta carry one of those epinephrine leg stabbers with me, too. Been that way ever since about 30 of the li'l buggers took umbrage at me digging up their ground nest 3 years ago. Never was allergic to anything before that. The doctor said that the allergy could go away as sudden as it came on. (But how does one know when that will be????) Best regards, 3dogs (Wilson)
- 3dogs - Monday, 11/25/02 07:28:16 GMT

Bee Sting Kits: That was my point exactly, guys. Some folks go most of their lives without any ill effects whatsoever from various stings, bites and scratches, only to suddenly develop an alergy. Ten bucks for an EpiPen to tote around is cheap insurance against death by suffocation from anaphylactic shock.

Something to stick in the back of your mind: If for some reason the need arises and a kit isn't at hand, drugstore Benadryl capsules and a Primatene asthma inhaler will do the job if used very promptly. And get going to the emergency room!

Now if they just made something that would make me smart enough that I would never again pick up the wrong end of a piece of hot iron, or forge barefoot, or whack my hand with the hammer, or put my bare leg on my bike's exhaust pipe, or... [GRIN] They say that too soon we grow old and too late we grow smart. Okay, I got old. So when do I get smart?
vicopper - Monday, 11/25/02 14:38:51 GMT

Wasps Hiding Places: I've found that the local paper wasps love to build nests in welding cylinder caps (on or OFF the cylinder. They are the perfect little house for bugs.

If the cylinder or cap has been setting a while, take a peak before wrapping your fist around it. . .
- guru - Monday, 11/25/02 15:35:33 GMT

rotisserie: Hey to everybody! I'm looking for a clockwork/mechanical in-fireplace rotisserie for doing giant roasts. The kind that you wind up or pull the pendulum weights up and it keeps a roast turning in front of a fireplace for hours. I would like to talk to anyone who makes them or has one (all I need is one).
- John Crain - Monday, 11/25/02 22:52:41 GMT

spit jack: John Crain,
I believe what you are looking for is properly called a spit jack or clock jack? I never have seen one for sale. I am no expert in the field of early hearths however, and perhaps one the others here will help you. they certainly can be made, although there is only smith I am aware of that has ever made one. If you are interested try me at mccarthymp AT Hotmail DOTCOM.
- michaelm - Tuesday, 11/26/02 03:35:34 GMT

Michaelm is correct, but the only spitjack I know of is located in Monticello. I've played with the idea a few times, but never been able to get one to work the way I wanted.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/26/02 03:40:56 GMT

Spitjack: I think if I had to try to make one, (which is really unlikely where I live), I'd do it the same way we build barbecue spits. That is, put a sprocket on the spit, with a chain running down to another sprocket under the firedogs. If you used sprockets designed for jack chain instead of roller chain, the lower sprocket could be turned 90 to the spit sprocket and turned from the front of the hearth. Jack chain won't mind the heat, either. Personally, I'd put a kid to turn the crank instead of some clockwork arrangement. {GRIN}

You could always tear apart a cheap wind-up alarm clock to get the pattern for an escapement mechanism and just scale it up to where it would have the hump to turn a side of beef, I suppose. I wouldn't want to be the guy standing around if that big spring goes sproing! Or the escapement freewheels and fifty pounds of rare roast start rotating like a lathe, spewing a rooster tail of au jus across the room. This project has all the possibilities for a real comedy of errors. I may have to try it after all.
vicopper - Tuesday, 11/26/02 04:38:08 GMT

spitjacks: I remember seeing a dog powered hearth spit. I just can not remember where.....
That is the problem of having been across this nation several times.... Too many things seen to remember where they all were.
I bet it was very simular to what Guru described, but the lower gear was connected to a treadmill.
Ralph - Tuesday, 11/26/02 19:36:07 GMT

Spit Jack,

John, many of my future projects include a system that utilizes the falling of a series of weights where there is one heavy weight that keeps all of them going. This is a VERY complicated system and will take me a while to get it all down, right now I am VERY close on the design aspect.

That being said, one very easy way to run one of these would be to use a chain as described by the others and power it via a small motor. You probally wouldn't need much more that 1/10 th of a horse power and I doubt it would even take that much. There would need to be a drastic gear down, but with a system of calculated gears and such it wouldn't be that hard. This would of course give you a constant state of rotation. So if you needed to make it a intermediate motion then I suggest using a geneva mechanism(one which I am also going to utilize). You can find a great deal of information as well as manufactures of this mechanism at, by typing in geneva mechanism.

Another idea, although not an easy one, would be to install a turbine or centrifugal fan in the chimney of your fireplace to drive the aparatus and many other things I am sure you would concieve of.
Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 11/27/02 02:48:31 GMT

dog spits: I was once told that the breed of dog call spits was bread down to turn the spits (shocking isn't it) the breed is known for it's small size (they don't eat much) and a LOT of engery.
MP - Wednesday, 11/27/02 04:06:27 GMT

Paradise & Jacks: Paradise:

When I was in the British Virgin Islands I observed that almost everything on the land was poisonous, venomous, or had long, sharp spines; whereas almost everything in the sea was poisonous, venomous, had long, sharp spines or wanted to EAT you! ;-)

Jacks and Culture Shock:

Years back when I first looked at Moxon's book, I saw the chapter on making a jack. I couldn't imagine what the heck it was for! The only jacks that I was familiar with were for lifting things- and mostly automobiles. It was only when I got further into my Colonial (as opposed to medieval) studies that I finally came across their culinary purpose. The progression of such mechanisms seems to show (for me) the change from a materials poor, labor rich society to a materials rich, labor dear society. I guess it could be considered one of the first modern conveniences, to be followed by the many mechanisms that we avail ourselves with today.

Egregious NPS plug: I THINK they have one in the kitchen at George Washington Birthplace National Monument (see link). The kitchen is a separate building from the house. (They also have an active forge there.)

GW Birthplace
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 11/27/02 15:27:21 GMT

spit: Hook it up to an old washing machine motor - spin it up to about 1800rpm and stick the meaty end into your gasser (caution dont use a coal forge it tastes terrible!) Evenly done in 30 secs.
adam - Wednesday, 11/27/02 16:07:55 GMT

Atli-: The teeny little cottage I live in now is the building that used to be the kitchen for the greathouse next door, a couple hundred years ago. The Danes who built the plantations here had their kitchens separate from the main houses for reasons of both the heat and the fire danger. Was it the same for the buildings up north?
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/27/02 17:06:35 GMT

Yes, especially in the south.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 11/27/02 17:43:50 GMT

Summer Kitchens: Yep, the "summer kitchen" line runs south of the Mason-Dixon. There's one associated with a house on our farm from the 1820-30s.

No jacks, though. (...probably somewhere in the 100' long midden back in the hedgerow...)
Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 11/27/02 19:33:02 GMT

Peter Wright - 230 Lbs.: Today, I was at Texas Farrier Supply. Some guy brought in a very nice 230 pound Peter Wright anvil to sell. I am glad he wants $700 for it, or I would have been tempted to buy it! Anyone interested can find the phone number through Information. They are in Kennedale, Texas; the owner is James Cox. The anvil supposedly came from a blacksmith shop in Childress, Texas. Somebody buy it before I get tempted to!
Mike Bowen - Thursday, 11/28/02 02:06:57 GMT

Peter Wright - 230:
Mike, $500 top dollar. For almost like new condition.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 11/28/02 02:30:12 GMT

Peter Wright 0 230: Paw Paw,

That's why I am glad it is $700 --- not as tempting. James Cox also thought the guy wanted too much for it. I doubt anyone will pay $700j, but maybe he will take less after it sits there for a while.
Mike Bowen - Thursday, 11/28/02 04:17:13 GMT

Peter Wright - 230:
It would tempt mem too. But I also would wait for the price to come down. Or, I'd walk in with 5 $100 bills in my hand and say "Take it or leave it." If the guy said he'd leave it, I'd pick up the money and leave.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 11/28/02 05:04:35 GMT

Holidays: Happy Thanksgiving to all. We all have a bunch to be thankfull for, Family, friends, health,and last but perhaps the most important FREEDOM. Do'nt forget our Vets and other folks whom gave up some of their family time and thanksgiving celibrations to keep us safe and Free. Heck, I am evan thankfull I have 2 mother-in-laws to celibrate with. Take care and God bless y'all
Stiffy - Thursday, 11/28/02 12:07:58 GMT

I've never been afraid of bees myself. We were having a back yard bbq and I was letting yellerjackets drink off the end of my tongue. All of a sudden one of the beautiful young ladies (my wife) screams and jumps out of her chair. She pulls up her skirt and starts to swat at the wasp that just stung her on the inner thigh. Now this takes place in the center of a ring of chairs with all the occupants eyes as big as donuts and grins on all the males. Now they know why I married her. :) She finally realizes what she's doing and says
  Pete-Raven - Thursday, 11/28/02 13:16:17 GMT

"sorry, bee sting." My neighbor Louie says "Thats OK, but I do hope you get stung again, that was pretty GOOD!)
- Pete-Raven - Thursday, 11/28/02 13:20:36 GMT

I need new mud flaps for my truck, and some where I've seen a picture of a set that had a blacksmith on them. But
now that I need a set, of course I can't find the darn things. Anybody else seen them and remember where?
  Paw Paw - Thursday, 11/28/02 18:02:16 GMT

BELLOW OUTPUT: Does anyone know of a simple set of guides to calculate the output of leather lung bellows?
- Wayne - Thursday, 11/28/02 18:56:33 GMT

Flaps: Paw Paw; Was the blacksmith molded in the rubber, or was he a chrome plated metal attachment? 3dogs
- 3dogs - Friday, 11/29/02 07:17:24 GMT

3Dogs: Metal attachment. Look at:

Left side of the page, under gifts, scroll down to the bottom of the mud flaps.
Paw Paw - Friday, 11/29/02 14:18:36 GMT


I've got a close buddy, VietVet Brother, that collects what he calls "logo" golf balls. He likes to get them from
different countries and different clubs all over the world. I'd like to give him some for Christmas, if they don't cost
me a fortune in shipment. Just one from each place.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 11/30/02 05:19:50 GMT

Dog Powered Spit Jack:
I have seen these in books but I can't place one now. . Maybe (probably) in Diderot's, Moxons is a possiblity too.

But I DO remember seeing one in a film. Would you believe a dog powered spit showed up numerous times in the "Our Gang" series. . . Some of the details in these early 1900's films were not that far from real life when they were dealing with folks at the low income end of life. When cooking over an open fire the tools had not changed since the 1700's in many homes.

At least one spit jack I have seen plans for ran off a turbine in the chimney. I doubt is worked well. The wind up clock work jacks were not uncommon. Using weights OR a spring the mechanism would require an escapement and a pendelum like a clock.
- guru - Saturday, 11/30/02 06:15:47 GMT

Flap Design: Paw Paw; I bought a real nice key chain tag from Ken Davis when I was at the Quarter Horse Congress. It looks similar to the flap plate in the technique that was used to cut out the design, either with a very fine laser or with a pinless jeweller's saw blade mounted in a regular benchtop scrollsaw. Find a design you like, Xerox it to the size you want, rubber cement it to the metal, and attack it with the saw. Feller named Patrick Speilmann has put out a MESS of really good books on high detail scrollsaw work, with some "Xeroxable" designs. Available at most good sized bookstores. Folks are gonna say, "Ya can't cut metal on a scrollsaw!", to which I reply "BS". Slow the speed down, and lube the blade guessed it; BEESWAX! If you don't have a power scrollsaw, gitcherself a jeweller's saw frame (they're cheap) and do it that way. It's slower, but you'll have more control. And, ya made it yerself! Best regards, 3dogs
- 3dogs - Saturday, 11/30/02 08:36:41 GMT

Hmm... Have to cut them out of stainless, but I've got some. And I've got a scroll saw. Can slow that down with a dimmer switch. Hmm...
Paw Paw - Saturday, 11/30/02 09:57:04 GMT

Off Center?: Grant! In this artistic burg, we have what I believe to be a well funded art center titled, "Site Santa Fe", where on occasion, one can glimpse an Exhibition. As a reaction to this, a few years ago, some local artists put on their own show, having a lower budget. They called it "Offsite". When I first heard about your tongs via Kayne's catalog, I thought there must be a reason, as related above, for the name, Off Center. Or, maybe the jaws were offset or cranked somehow. But the pictures did not show that. Then, perhaps the reins were askew...for a reason? Then I saw the tongs at Kayne & Sons booth at the Texas Ironfest. Well, I'll be! They were pretty straightforward; no eccentricity. So, why's come the name?
Frank Turley - Saturday, 11/30/02 16:37:17 GMT

Paw paw : why not use Aluminum in place of the Stainless way easyer to work with and it should cost all that much, plus it is much easyer to buff, and with a bit of clear coat it should hold up fine.
MP - Saturday, 11/30/02 17:27:28 GMT

Paw Paw: I don't know how you feel about eBay, but they've got a nice collection of "logo golf balls". The link is to Gov't and military logos. --Z
Logo Golf Balls
- Zero - Saturday, 11/30/02 17:54:04 GMT

MP & Zero:

Hmm... I've got some heavy aluminum plate, some stray highway signs that found their way here.


Not at THOSE prices! (grin)
Paw Paw - Saturday, 11/30/02 19:40:47 GMT

Paw Paw: Jeeze! I'm glad your not buying a gift for ME...

Seems an old 'Nam buddy would be worth eight bucks (Grin)?

I've got a Mycogen (feed/seed company) golf ball if you'd like it -- I'm serious about the ball, all else in jest.


Zero - Saturday, 11/30/02 20:03:37 GMT

Well Frank, I just like the name I guess. I've been accused of being a little off-center for a long time.

OBTW, do you remember a student by the name of Geoff Kelso? He and I shared shop space 25 years or so ago. He gave up on blacksmithing though.
- grant - Saturday, 11/30/02 22:33:43 GMT

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