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November 2003 Archive

Brazing alloy: DB, I always had pretty good luck with bare silver brazing alloy and its recommended flux. If you're nervous about cadmium (and probably should be), ask for the food grade cad-free variety. That's what the tin knockers use in commercial kitchens.
3dogs - Saturday, 11/01/03 03:43:26 EST

Braze Welding with MAPP:
DB, There was no answer because I do not know. AND you did not say what kind of torch you are using. The quality of an air-gas torch makes a huge difference. You cannot just screw a bottle of MAPP onto a cheap Chinese no-name propane torch and go to it.

I have an air-acetylene torch that I inherited. It was designed for soldering plumbing. Radiator repair guys often use the same style torch. It does not get hot enough in a concentrated spot to braze with it. It WILL melt brass but you have no control over a bead. It is a soldering torch.

The problem with what you want do do is that it takes a very small intense flame so that you can control the heat. Due to the high conductivity in brass and bronze the entire piece rapidly becomes nearly the same temperature. Unless you have a very concentrated heat the entire piece will melt at the same time. You cannot create a welding puddle.

Bernzomatic makes some very nice air-fuel torches that are infinitely different than the common propane torch. One of those MIGHT work. Read the instructions. IF it says you can braze it might work (within some specific range). But a common torch WILL NOT. I'm not even sure an oxy-propane torch will do the job.

I've made dozens of brass basket twists and built up sculptures. It was all done with common 1/4" brazing rod and 3/32" coated brazing rod and a small oxy-acetylene torch. The welded assemblies can be forged if the weld penetrates deep enough. Afterward the parts can be braze-welded or riveted. I have also built up pieces such as ram's heads on steel shanks for fire place tools. I know it cannot be done with a propane torch.
- guru - Saturday, 11/01/03 12:42:30 EST


We use a proprietary encryption system on anvilfire that I wrote. It allows mail to work but prevents harvestors from gleaning the addresses. HOWEVER, they can be gotten by clicking on each one and manualy cutting and pasting into a list. This is just as labor intensive as typing the addresses from a graphical list. Some spammers do both and eventuly your name can end up on a distributed list.

I am working on a phase-two system that only allows contact via an online form from the encrypted addresses. . . a high tech approach that absolutely protects the addresses unless someone wants to go to the trouble of decrypting them. The problem with type system is that server formmail programs send the bounce mail to the server. . SO. . we need a completely custom formmail system. . .

Also note that MANY free mail and free hosting systems are in the spam harvesting business. YES, their TOS says they protect YOUR name. But is does not cover people you send mail to or clients using your system. Some of the biggest corps in the free hosting business are in the SPAM business. . .

Then there are the viruses. . . If you use your mail at all eventualy someone you wrote to will get a virus that uses YOUR return address on the mail. Many low lifes add ANY address that comes to their system to their mailing lists. This includes the porn sites and any spammer the person with the virus has written to.

The only thing that will end spam is to make it illegal or to put a cost on e-mail. . .
- guru - Saturday, 11/01/03 13:23:02 EST

So?: Are you saying not to use your e-mail at all?? We have not decided on how to do it but will implant the best way to protect them.
David Kurin - Saturday, 11/01/03 17:17:59 EST

SPAM. . .: To NEVER be spammed at all you just about have to just not use e-mail. Many folks avoid it by changing email addresses every year or so. However, when you OWN your URL and therefore your e-mail address it is a different matter. I get so much SPAM that I am about to be forced to abandon what is MY property. . .

As soon as I get server side system going I will change my e-mail. . . but it will probably be some goofy numbered account name that I can change regularly and if people want to get to me they will just have to use an online form. . .

The only 100% safe system on a web site is through a contact form. This requires a CGI and access to the sever's sendmail routine. It is easy to do for dedicated use but for public addresses it requires either a protected database or an encryption system as well as the software. Some software systems come with a protected e-mail system however most are custom solutions.

There are two ways to build web-sites. One is with other peoples software and one is with your own. At the beginning I decided that we would use our own any time we could. Over the long haul it has been best. The software that we have had the most trouble with has been other peoples. . . Our cart program is buggy as hell and hard to maintain. Our auction program started as user supported but then went commercial and became very expensive. . . Our chat was abandoned by its creator about the time we started using it. At least it was distributed as source code and we have been able to keep it going and make changes as we needed. But it is a difficult way to go.
- guru - Sunday, 11/02/03 15:12:58 EST

g'day all. I am Scott My Son Ian is particularly interested in blacksmithing and in fact has fashioned a peacod breastplate. He is interested in forgeing mor items but I am at a loss for materials. such as wrought iron coal or other material for forging greaves bracers plates helms ETC. WE live in Connecticut in New London County and wouls appreciate ANY and ALL advise for his new endevour. He says better to burn metal then burn drugs. Thanks for your time.
- Scott Donohue - Monday, 11/03/03 08:24:48 EST

Scott Donohue: Scott; Take a look at the top right hand corner of your screen, where it says "NAVIGATE anvilfire". Scroll down until you see "Coal Scuttle". Two Connecticut coal sources are given. Scroll back up 5 spots and you'll see "Armoury". Lotsa stuff there to get him started. Go to your search engine. I rather like Google. com, myself. Type in what you're looking for, hit "search", and odds are you'll get something. There's enough smithing info on the web to get him into his old age. Do what you just did; ask questions. There are about a bazillion people on this website alone who will be happy to answer. Based upon what you say he's done, he's already off to a good start. Do NOT accept what's in the movies as technical or historical fact. Make sure he can walk before he tries to run; there IS a logical sequence of steps to be taken in the learning of this craft, patience is required and will be rewarded. Pay attention to what he's doing and you will find yourself becoming curious, then interested, then fascinated, and then,possibly even involved in THIS addiction of ours. Welcome. Best regards, 3dogs
3dogs - Monday, 11/03/03 10:48:27 EST

Help getting started : Is there any one that lives in the Cleveland Ohio area that would be willing to help me get started with blacksmithing. I donít have any experience but I can weld so I guess thatís kind of a start. If you can help me out please e-mail me.
- Paul - Monday, 11/03/03 14:24:01 EST

Help getting started : Is there any one that lives in the Cleveland Ohio area that would be willing to help me get started with blacksmithing. I donít have any experience but I can weld so I guess thatís kind of a start. If you can help me out please e-mail me.
- Paul - Monday, 11/03/03 14:24:43 EST

I'd suggest that you go to the NAVIGATE anvilfire window at the top of this page, scroll down to the ABANA link, and find the chapter nearest you contact the chapter and see when they hold there meetings. I'm sure there is someone in the chapter that would be willing to help you get started.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/03/03 19:50:53 EST

Cleveland, Ohio: Now I am not sure but doesn't our own esteemed Thomas the Orange live sorta near there?
Ralph - Tuesday, 11/04/03 11:20:31 EST

Armour: Scott, many of the armour sites use the english spelling of the word, you will profit from looking up the armour archive and arador; both extensive armour making forums on the web.

Almost *NONE!* of the armour being made today is made using wrought iron like the originals and as a corollary most of it is done cold. If he is truly interested in making it as authentically as possible he has a long uphill battle against all the folks who think "steel" is as authentic as you need and never experiment or research further.

I'm interested in the history of ferrous metallury processes and wrought iron, blistyer steel etc and would be happy to "consult" with you on it by e-mail. (I also have 6000 pounds of real wrought iron plate...)

Thomas Powers
Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/04/03 11:25:46 EST

25 years: Today me and the misses have been hitched for 25 yrs... Celbrating it this weekend Nov 8th..

Cheers to all..

PS winter has blowen in today.. snow and freezing rain..
Barney - Tuesday, 11/04/03 12:27:36 EST


That's a good start! (grin) Congratulations to you and your lady.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/04/03 13:03:01 EST

CHINA QUALITY: Just want to weigh in with my two cents worth. When I talk with manufacturers in China the overwhelming question I get is: " Why do all you rich Americans want to buy so much cheap junk?" This is what they're ASKED to make. Markets are driven by demand NOT by supply. If it didn't sell, they wouldn't make it. Blame the importers for the most part.

Bidding is really different in China. You don't show them a drawing and ask for a price. Most of the time you show them a sample (usually) and tell them how much you are willing to pay. They come back with either "yes" or "no". Now, if a customer comes to you looking for a little forged hook and says he can only pay fifty-cents, but he'll take all you can make, what do you do? You either pass or figure out a way to make fifty-cent hooks. Even better when you know he will accept "wham-bam-thank-you-Ma'm" quality.

Many things that are already made for the domestic market are of low quality because their customers demand ultra low price too. A country blacksmith could not afford the price of a high quality air hammer so he demands a low price and the manufacturer builds it the best he can and still make a profit. The manufacturer is happy with a small profit and the blacksmith is happy to get a hammer at a price he can afford, even if he has to put a little "sweat equity" into it once in awhile to keep it running. Some people are importing these hammers with a little improvement in quality. You have to realize that the market shrinks fast as the price goes up. Before Chambersburg went under they were quoting around $120,000.00 for a 200 pound self-contained hammer! How many of you "quality minded" guys bought one at that price? "Buy American"?

Many manufacturers are finding they can get quality products made in China. We need to be more concerned with these than the junk. Many things you use everyday are made in China - you just don't realize it cause it ain't junk.
- grant - Tuesday, 11/04/03 14:34:41 EST


Well, I been married for more than 30 years!.................just not to the same lady!

I was asked once "how hany wives have you had?" I answered: "you mean of my own?"
- grant - Tuesday, 11/04/03 14:38:35 EST

Darn good job explaining why all sales are market drive.

Of my own? One, for 44 years next february. Of others? None that I wil admit to. (grin)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/04/03 14:54:58 EST

AND THEN THERE'S "VALUE": The air hammers comming in from China are built to a fairly low quality standard, not junk, but not first class either. All in all they seem to be a good VALUE for the money. Given a choice, I would buy 15 two-hundred pound Chinese hammers rather than the Chambersburg. Set up three or four of them and keep the rest for spares! Now which is more reliable?

I have a set of 6"-12" micrometers from china that are pretty good quality and are accurate enough for what I'm using them for (actually they check perfect against a Mitutoyo standard). Have you seen what Starrett wants for the same thing? The choice for me was: Chinese or nothing! Oh yeah, $120.00 for the set!
- grant - Tuesday, 11/04/03 15:05:14 EST


Wow! 44 years. And to the same woman! You musta been.....what.......40 years old when you got married, eh? ;)
- grant - Tuesday, 11/04/03 16:57:35 EST

Do people live that long?
I've been maried for 22Years to the same women.
ptree - Tuesday, 11/04/03 17:25:05 EST

Great anvil deal!: I don't usually recommend buying things off of eBay, but this lloks like you couldn't lose. A PW anvil for a buck a pound. Yes, the heel was broken off at the hardy hole, but it looks like the rest of it is in pristine condition. How can you go wrong? If the shipping wouldn't kill me, (and if I though I might actually lose the Iron in the Hat for the Pettingzoo), I'd snatch it up in a minute.
vicopper - Tuesday, 11/04/03 18:02:29 EST


Catch em young, and train them right. (grin)

ptree, Yep.

Vic, where on eBay?
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/04/03 18:08:12 EST

Cheap tools: I agree with Grant. Some of the market for Chinese imports is people who dont know any better and think they are getting a high quality product for a low quality price. But its not all suckers. Plenty of us buy and keep buying "junk" from HF and others because such tools have their place. Sure I would like a brand new, $500, beverly shear but I cant justify the expense for a tool that gets used only occasionaly. $90 for a cheap HF version and a few evenings work yields a serviceable tool - it's no beverly but its a lot better than nothing, in fact it aint bad. I have one of those $50 swivel in all directions chinese vises. Doesnt compare with a good quality machinist vise but nevertheless its very useful and a good deal for the money. Its also nice to have a vise that I dont worry about because it cost $400 or because its an antique. If I want to use it as a welding jig, I dont hesitate.

Another thing. I remember when "Made in Japan" was synonymous with "junk" 30 years later, Americans were scrambling to compete with the quality standards of the Japanese. Cheap low quality products are a natural for a country in the process of industrializing itself but its just one step along the the way.
- adam - Tuesday, 11/04/03 18:51:00 EST


There is a great deal of sense in what you say.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/04/03 19:02:57 EST

Anvil: OOOPS!
vicopper - Tuesday, 11/04/03 19:02:58 EST

Cheap tools: I agree with Grant and Adam on this one. I'm just about to send off an order to HF for something over a grand's worth of stuff. While it may be a heck of a lot of money, I'll be getting a good value for my bucks because I'm only getting the things that will do what I need done. I take into account the fact that they won't be the ne plus ultra in quality and may need a bit of tweaking to make right. I accept that they'll require a bit more care and feeding than a top-of-the-line tool for the same job. BUT...I am a hobbiest at most of things I want these tools for, so I can afford to settle for somewhat less than the very best. I've also bought enough of their stuff over the years that I've gotten a feel for what is going to be serviceable and what is going to just pee me off. The compressor I'm getting will run the PH I'm building just fine and do it for years to come, with a bit of care. It won't compete with a big Sullair or Ingersoll Industrial, but so what? I don't need it to and won't ask it to. The ersatz Beverly shear ain't the "real" thing, but it's still way better than nothing and just fine for my needs. The amount of money I will save by getting those things will allow me to also get a heavy-duty grinder, some big casters for the work table, a welder cart and a batch of needed consumables that cost a fortune here.

Buying Harbor Freight's Chinese made stuff doesn't make me un-American, it just makes me able to do things that I couldn't do if I had to pay for the equivalent tools in U.S. made high-end equipment. The choice is HF or nothing, so I choose HF...with my eyes wide open. Now, if I was buying new flexible body armor for work, I would ONLY get the very best that money can buy, and damn the cost. Who cares about the "warranty" on the thing anyway, my next-of-kin? I care about my tired old hindquarters and will pay the tariff, whatever it is. (grin)
vicopper - Tuesday, 11/04/03 19:36:50 EST

Paw Paw: Being married for forty four years is quite an accomplishment. But you might want to look over your shoulder before you post something like that. Women have this funny thing about ages and dates.

Okay. It's safe. Old lady is watching TV. Thirty years last March.
- Larry - Tuesday, 11/04/03 20:20:52 EST


Not Sheri. She doesn't care about the passing years any more than I do.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/04/03 20:36:14 EST

Meant to add to the previous a congratulations, but I hit the wrong darn key. (wry grin)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/04/03 20:37:12 EST

Longship Company in History Channel Filming: Last Saturday we were involved in a shoot for one of the production companies working with the History Channel. The subject was the historical and legendary King Arthur. For the historical period we dragged out our best Anglo-Saxon war gear and "de-Vikigized" the Fyrdraca. Off came the oar racks and dragon head. Shields (A-S style) were stowed inboard. A temporary horses head, put together by Leonard Leshuk, one of our board members, was set on the prow, and the scales on the sternpost were covered with black gaffer's tape and a huge yarn horse tail was hung from the top. Our early pattern storm sail, a prominent salmon/pink color, was brailed to the yard and hoisted up fore and aft, then steadied with the braces.

A site had been selected with trees and shore for a neutral background and docks on the other side of the creek for the cameras. In addition we had several other vessels as camera boats. The morning mostly consisted of "row left to right" and "row right to left" and "aim right at the dock" and "aim directly away from the dock" with the crew frozen at their stations due to continuity. Alas, I was trapped at the helm the entire time! ;-) Then they got out the smoke machine to provide fog effects. Of course, the smoke boat was moving with the cameraman aboard, and we were moving, and the smoke was moving; so getting a shot of us coming out of the fog took about a dozen and a half tries.

After a short break we reloaded all the folks on the ship, armored up the warriors, and did scenes of the ship running up on shore and the warriors jumping off the bow and moving onto the beach. And then they'd get back aboard and do it over from a different angle, and get aboard again andÖ They were dripping so much water aboard that we had to pump the bilge.

Then we filmed a scene that I had suggested, since we had so many of our women present. We set the ship with the side towards shore, rigged the gangplank, and had the women first offload baskets, chests, iron cookware (blacksmithing tie-in) and other items that one might need if you had come there to stay, and then had the women helped down the gangplank to shore. Looked good and made the point that this was invasion settlement, not just a smash-and-grab raid. (And that's why we're speaking "English" and not "British".)

After a quick lunch we rerigged the ship for the "Romantic Arthur;" vaguely set in a 12th century context. Back on went the dragon's head, off went the gaffer's tape and horse tail, the yellow and black main sail and yard was bent to the halyards, and the ship was crewed with four of us and the requisite "three ladies" to carry the dead Arthur off to Avelon. Mat Amt, who sometimes posts here, (Quintus of the XX Legion to some of you) was neatly laid out on the gangplank athwartships, abaft the mast and shrouds. (For you land-lubbers, that's cross-wise behind the mast and side rigging. :-) ) One of our Ladies was Janet (who usually shows up at Camp Fenby with her friend, Terry) who stands about 6 feet tall, with long gray white hair; another member of our crew, Casey, stood in a black hooded cape (belonging to my wif) on the thwart so that she was about even in height with Janet. Best of all Alix, our Longship Company treasurer, wore a 12th century dress she had made years ago, but the yellow and black in the dress perfectly mirrored the yellow and black on the sail. She stood on the lyfting (quarterdeck) at the helm. The effect was to give the impression that it was HER ship! I crouched down at the starboard stern oar, wearing an arming cap, and looked mournful while directing ship operations. Mat looked dead.

We were towed out to the middle of the river (about a mile wide there) with a neutral shore as a background and sailing into the sunset, while the camera boat ran about us, with and without the smoke machine, and avoiding jet skiers and other powered anachronisms in the background. For a "romantic" closing I think it will look smashing. Speaking of smashing there was a interesting incident when we were under tow that night when we just missed a daymark and snapped off one of the oars, but that's another story.

The only bad side is that the production is not slated to air until December of '04, to coincide with a Disney production about King Arthur. Ah well, that's Hollywood! ;-)

Having managed to smash my right elbow into the gun'l, I've refrained from any heavy hammer work for the next few days. Back to planning and puttering!

Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 11/04/03 22:57:10 EST

Getting quality work done in China::
Yeah, you can bid it. And hope you get the quality you want/specify/sample. Good luck. Can be done, but controlling it is a trick. Must have someone on site who knows and can be trusted.

Or you can build/start your own factory and train your own workers. Training is the key. The average Chinese worker just doesn't KNOW stuff needed to make good parts.

Chinese want to work. They are a hard working people. And they want to learn. They are sponges. After they have their families bellies full anyway.

Now contrast that with the young workforce in America.

My problem is the corporate greed mongers who are only moving to China and other cheap labor so they can line their own pockets thicker. And the politicians who are getting paid by them to allow it to happen.

And of course, the voting public who doesn't see what the rammifications are.

Chinese quality is getting better all the time. Learning curve, as has been said. Training. Education. Desire.

The hungry will find a way. The fat, greedy, lazy and ignorant will destroy for their kids, what their forebears have built for them.

Inevitable repeats of history I guess. Still a shame.

Course, it's a shame, too, that it gets harder every day to convince an engineer or purchasing agent that the low first price is not always the low life cycle value. I hear more and more that the first price is king because they have to compete with the Chinese or Indians. Whoring any prodcut brings the whole thing lower.

Blame the importers like Grant said.

And now, also, the middle men who want to take a cut to hook you up with the factory in China who can make your parts. Parasites. Feeding on the ignorant and lazy.
- Tony - Tuesday, 11/04/03 23:34:53 EST

Lack of Real Trade Policy:
Our lack of a trade policy that benifits the American worker is the primary problem. Everyone goes nuts any time a protectionist policy is discussed but everyone forgets that the US is the worlds largest single market.

Yes, puting duties on products raises their prices. But if the increased prices mean we make and sell more products at home then wages will be higher to match the higher prices.

Certain critical industries need to be protected and encouraged. We have just about killed our steel industry by alowing dumping by overseas suppliers while increasing regulations. Steel is a basic industry that a modern society MUST have. I believe we need a CLEAN steel industry. This increases costs. By buying lower cost imported steel we are often just moving the polution off-shore.

It it the job of a republic (our form of government) to do what is best economicaly for the people. NOT for a few rich people but for ALL the people.

Before the US had income taxes almost ALL tax revenues were from import duties. Now we tax workers out of being able to own a home while exporting jobs by alowing cheap imports to ship jobs overseas.

Lack of import duties is why American companies can afford to gut factories, ship the equipment elsewhere and use 3rd world slave labor to compete with the workers that originaly built those companies. . .

NAFTA is supposed to provide safeguards to prevent industries from going to Mexico and dumping polutants and using underage labor. To hold up their end Mexico has stricter environmental laws than the US. However, they are not enforced. Remember Perots "whooshing" sound of jobs leaving America? That wind has now been blowing so long that we no longer hear it. . .

The other day one government official repeated the idiotic Reganonics of a "service industry". WHO are going to service if we have no basic industry. What kind of service? Tourism? Maids, gardeners and whores for the world?

A "service" economy and exporting raw materials is what underdeveloped 3rd world countries do. . .

To big business "free trade" means doing anything you want at any cost without reguard for the consequences. Corporations are like machines and have no morals. And today when the heads of many of those corporations have no personal morals it is much worse.

Lack of a consistant long term economic policy is going to destroy life as we know it in America. It has been happening for a long time and we are just starting to feel the tingle of what will become excruating pain.

For years I have tried hard to support my neighbors by "buying American" but it has become more and more difficult, NOT because of price but because of lack of choice. This lack of choice has been orchastrated by big industry and lack of a government trade policy.

I do not have a solution, but I NEVER vote for either of the big political parties. I vote for independents. And I would gladly vote for ANY madman (or woman) willing to face down congress and do the right thing.

ANY president can stop "pork barrel" spending. All they have to do is veto ALL legislation that has non-germain spending attached from EITHER party. YES, congress can override a veto, but not the majority of the time. On many occasions that pork was attached to the government operating budget. Several presidents have held out but they have ALL given in, they blinked. We need a president that won't blink and works for the people not big corps. .
- guru - Wednesday, 11/05/03 10:58:32 EST

Viking Film Adventure:
GREAT STUFF! Now where are the photos! ;)

I know. . taken with your 800AD camera. .
- guru - Wednesday, 11/05/03 11:46:04 EST

MOVIES?: I can't find it. I'm looking for the name of the film Orlando Bloom is staring in as, once again, a fellow smith. I beleieve it was mentioned that he should study a real smith if he is to be portraying us. Please the dg was very interested in luaghing at this film with me. any help in getting the name would be greatly appreciated.
dragon-boy - Wednesday, 11/05/03 13:53:54 EST

Orlando Bloom: He's in "Pirates of the Carribean". One interesting thing was when he picked up a red-hot blade to fight with. It held up pretty well for its heat. I wonder what type of steel? :-)

As an aside, I went to a Blue Man Group concert last night. In one part they have what can best be described as a 3-D cartoon sequence where the cartoons are "playing" different percussion "instruments". One of the instruments is the good old wrench banging on the anvil, common to symphonies across the country.

MarcG - Wednesday, 11/05/03 15:48:37 EST

I sure don't know what the answer is. Service jobs? What, like McDonalds? Good time to be a dock worker I guess. A lot of white collar stuff is going over seas too. Engineering, software etc. With worldwide telecom even customer service is going off shore. Think automation will save us? I got news for you: THEY have automation too! See a lot of CNC over there too. It ain't just the cost per hour either. Toyota puts a car together in 2/3 the manhours of Ford or GM. Many people would argue that the Toyota is better quality to boot. How come Japanese cars return 70cents on the dollar after three years vs 50cents?

Greedy corporations? What SHOULD they do when they're getting beat up?
- grant - Wednesday, 11/05/03 15:50:47 EST

not PoC: marc- thanks, perhaps it was a rumour, but I thought I read that he was portraying a bs turneed knight. If this is up comming I would Definately like to know the title.
dragon-boy - Wednesday, 11/05/03 16:21:48 EST

Hey guys you do not have to settle for cheap chinese crap.
Visit you local flea markets, plenty of tooling there. Most i paid for a machinist vise is $10, Parker vises no less. I have one of these babies on each of my tables. How about auctions plenty out there spend penniies on a daolar on Iron workers,do all band saws. top quality. Just look and have patcience.
yes Guru too much going abroad I agree. next thing you know they will be making Hummers in China. We are transfering all our knowledge abroad and becoming a nation of hamberger flippers and retail clerks. No disparagment of these professions intended.
- Ron J. - Wednesday, 11/05/03 19:45:45 EST

Orlando Bloom: I just did a quick search on imdb. How's this one?

Kingdom of Heaven

Plot Outline: During the Crusades of the 12th Century, a young blacksmith leads the people of Jerusalem in defense against the Crusaders.

It may start production this Jan.

MarcG - Wednesday, 11/05/03 19:47:49 EST

Service McDonalds or Wendys, flipping burgers...around here they don't speak if we don't get some border integrity we'll lose the service jobs as well.....
Ellen - Wednesday, 11/05/03 21:30:23 EST

On jobs going off shore.
Indiana State gov't has given the data crunching job for its unemployement branch to a company in India. Now that a slap in the face.
ptree - Wednesday, 11/05/03 22:03:28 EST

ptree: As much as I hate to say it, given the caliber of many of the "specialists" I've seen "working" at the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation in Michigan, for instance, The State of Indiana is probably getting more bang for its buck in India. Accounting is kind of a specialty among the East Indians. It used to be the general concensus that the primary goal of the bureaucracy was to sustain the bureaucracy. Now it looks like it's trying to eat itself into extinction. Then the Federal bureaucracy can take control. Ah, but enough of my paranoia.
3dogs - Thursday, 11/06/03 02:14:18 EST

Orlando's Latest: Odd, I seem to remember on some of the earlier descriptions that he's a blacksmith who joins the Crusaders and lurks his way up in the organization! If he's defending AGAINST the Crusaders, that will be quite a plot-twist.
Bruce Blackistone - Thursday, 11/06/03 08:51:36 EST

marc: Thanks that is exactly what I was looking for.

Ps what is a "good"price for a tap &die set? ebay has a few for 15 dollars. just wondering if they'd be worth the $$.
dragon-boy - Thursday, 11/06/03 09:21:06 EST

Orlando: I checked a couple other movie sites and he's described as a defender against the Crusaders in all of them. It's being directed by Ridley Scott and they're expected to spend over $100M on this "epic adventure". Not due in theaters until 2005.

We'll just have to satisfy ourselves with the next Lord of the Rings and Pirates II for our blacksmithing content :-)
MarcG - Thursday, 11/06/03 11:01:01 EST

Orlando: I checked a couple other movie sites and he's described as a defender against the Crusaders in all of them. It's being directed by Ridley Scott and they're expected to spend over $100M on this "epic adventure". Not due in theaters until 2005.

We'll just have to satisfy ourselves with the next Lord of the Rings and Pirates II for our blacksmithing content :-)
MarcG - Thursday, 11/06/03 11:01:08 EST

Taps and Dies: D.B.
What is a "set"?
The good industrial taps I buy range in price from $5 to $15 each, depending on the size (up to 1/2") Dies can go for about twice that or more. A set from 10-32" to 1/2" I would expect to pay about $100 for. If you only need to tap a few holes or chase a few threads, a cheep set could be all you need. This is another case of you get what you pay for.
Wayne P - Thursday, 11/06/03 11:32:12 EST

Taps and Dies: I've been looking at 'sets' of taps and dies also. Darned expensive, which is why I'm still a'looking. Seems like most of the ones you see in Home Depot, Lowe's and such are all metric. What's up with that?
- Matt Berge - Thursday, 11/06/03 12:12:54 EST


Good taps and dies are expensive, but you get what you pay for. The cheap "sets" are usually good for one use. So the more expensive "professional" grade are actually a bargin.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 11/06/03 12:27:28 EST

all: Well thanks me boyos, I guess I'll keep looking and save in inordert to get some pro grade stuff. Any sugestions for name brands?
- Dragon-boy - Thursday, 11/06/03 13:07:12 EST

Taps & Dies: Metric dies are a worldwide market. UNC & UNF are almost exclusively for the US market. 'Though amazingly, US spec threads turn up in products from countries which have been metric for generations. The size & pitch are weird and nonsensical Ďtill you realize that the part was actually measured in inches. . .
- John Lowther - Thursday, 11/06/03 16:54:08 EST

Most of the import tap and die sets I have tried have been unable to make even one threaded hole in mild steel. I highly suspect that the marking HSS is fantasy. These taps have appeared to act as if a 50/50 mix of used beer cans and mild steel.
A good American made, HSS tap, used with good and copious lubricant, in a properly sized hole should make several hundred perfect threaded holes.(do it wrong, and anything more than one hole is good)I inherited many slightly used taps from my old employer, and I will look for brand names and post later. We used upwards of a thousand taps/month for many years, and if the brand came from there they are reliable(as long as still made in U.S.)
ptree - Thursday, 11/06/03 18:45:25 EST

I looked and the brand i have the most of is BESLEY.
ptree - Thursday, 11/06/03 20:43:31 EST

Taps and Dies: I guess it's sort of like swords: only good taps and dies get to be old taps and dies. I have a mixed set inherited from an uncle, csrefully stashed away in a chest in the forge. I don't use them often, but they're invaluable when I need one for modern work or repairs.
NPS Springfield Armory, where "accuracy" had many meanings!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 11/07/03 08:50:30 EST

Taps: The brands that I see the most are

American Vermont and

These hold up well and will serve you for many years.
I have never heard of BESLEY but that doesn't mean a thing!
Wayne P - Friday, 11/07/03 09:07:57 EST

Mo' taps: I always thought a "set" of taps was the 3 types of a particular size. Lesseenow, I think it was Starting, Plug and Bottom. Corrections graciously accepted. (Ye grynne) 3dogs
3dogs - Friday, 11/07/03 10:23:56 EST

Mo' taps: I always thought a "set" of taps was the 3 types of a particular size. Lesseenow, I think it was Starting, Plug and Bottom. Corrections graciously accepted. (Ye grynne) 3dogs
3dogs - Friday, 11/07/03 10:31:06 EST

I have found most hardware store brands to be inadequate and that includes the Vermnont American brand and those at Ace hardware. However, many companies make different quality levels and the hardware store lines may not be the brands commercial tap. My supplier carries Brubaker.

Buy taps from a machine tool dealer or commercial equipment supplier. Order them if you have to but NEVER keep cheap taps in your kit. All you are doing is creating a long expensive frustrating day for yourself.

ANY tap that is bright plated is a bad tap. Good taps are either bright ground or black-oxide (like drills). HSS are the lowest quality that are suitable, cobalt and chrome vanadium are better. The gold titanium coating is a plus HOWEVER many cheap worthless taps have this coating to fool the consumer. . . That is the importer's spec often found in hardware stores.

ALWAYS buy the best industrial quality taps you can find. ONE broken tap in a nearly finished piece of work can cost you a LOT more than the cost of the tap. Even a $25 tap is not worth a ruined piece of work or a day getting the broken pieces out. Often the only solution is to move the hole and if you cannot then the work is scrap. Discard taps that have the slightest damage (same reason).

The specs for tap drills are based on the percentage of thread. 70% thread takes about half the force to tap as 75%. If there is any question about the steel (not annealed, unknown grade) a 60% thread will work just fine. There is no correct tap drill for 1/2-13 above 60% (others must be special ground). The 27/64" drill listed on many charts is greater than 75% thread and creates a LOT of grief.

NEVER try to tap a hand drilled hole over 60%. Hand drilled holes are almost always curved and result in broken tapes if the hole is over 2 diameters deep. Machine drilled holes over 1-1/2 diameters should not be tapped to over 70% thread.

ALWAYS use a good tapping solution. WD-40 will work in a pinch.

Most fasteners will pull in two with 1-1/2 diameters of thread engagement at 70% so there is no need for deep taped holes. If you need a long bolt you can often counter drill the hole and tap a short section.

It is best if the taped hole is drilled with a drill press. After drilling do not move the work. Chamfer the hole in place, then use a center to support the tap and tap wrench in the drill press (or lathe) and start the tap using the machine alignment.

To use the above method you may need to check the work height before the tool changes to be sure the tools fit. In some cases you may remove the drill chuck and replace it with a lathe center. In other cases you may want a short center made to be chucked. These are easy to make and hand ground may be accurate enough.

Machinists also have little fixtures for holding the tap wrench in perfect alignment. An on-size counterbore can also help align a hand held tap.

When taping small holes it pays to buy multiple taps and discard them when they start to take slightly more force (feel dull). Same for the tap drills. If the corners are chipped they make rough undersized holes that will cause a tap to break.

I almost always buy taps and dies as-needed. They do come in "sets" in a case but are very expensive. I don't think I have ever heard of the different forms called a set but is is possible.

LOOK at the class work you are doing. Most people never need a tap smaller than 1/4-20 or larger than 1/2-13. So you need 1/4, 5/16, 3/8 and 1/2" (8 to 14mm). 7/16" is rarely used except in some automotive work so it was skipped. Get one each in coarse thread (NC), fine (NF) if you want to spend the money.

Coarse English threads are proportional and that is why the odd threads like 1/2-13 and 7/16-14. The fine threads are usualy series threads (similar profile in different sizes). Metric threads are all series threads. And for all the hoopla over "standard" metric the Germans and Japanese cannot agree on a fine thread. . .
- guru - Friday, 11/07/03 11:41:57 EST

CSI Iron in the Hat:
Thanks for the last few ticket sales! If you did not get your order in on time your last chance is to track down either Paw-Paw or myself.

The drawing will be held at Paw-Paw's demo Saturday the 15th about noon and I will announce as soon as possible. Some lucky winner is going to get a GREAT anvil.
- guru - Friday, 11/07/03 12:09:50 EST

anvil: Folks I had a dream last night. in it were a lot of bearded men in overalls, and they were all crying cause i won the anvil! Hahahahahahahahahahha!
Dragon-boy - Friday, 11/07/03 12:38:48 EST

Production in China: This morning there was a story on NPR about Briggs & Stratton threatening to move their production to China if California is allowed to impose emission controls on small gas engines.

They claimed it would cost $75 million to re-tool for emission-controlled engines in the US and only $10 million to set up in China.

Somehow 7.5 times the cost to re-tool existing plants vs. building new plants in China seems unlikely to me.

Several senators from states with B&S plants have introduced bills to preempt state regulation of small gas engines.
John Lowther - Friday, 11/07/03 15:10:45 EST

John,: > Somehow 7.5 times the cost to re-tool existing plants vs. building new plants in China seems unlikely to me.

Doesn't seem unlikely to me, when you consider the relative labor costs.
Paw Paw - Friday, 11/07/03 15:51:15 EST

Californication: John,

Doesn't surprise me a bit. California has already outlawed the sale and use of two-stroke engines like on weed whackers and the like. If they outlaw 4-stroke engines too, then everybody can go back to mowing the grass with a goat. No, can't have a goat in CA, either. Since they're mostly vegetabletarians out there, I guess they'll just graze their lawns themselves. (grin)

NOte: I am not disparaging vegetarians. I am practically a vegetarian myself...I only eat vegetarian animals. ;-)
vicopper - Friday, 11/07/03 17:28:07 EST

SGensh: More on Taps-

What type of hole you are tapping should also influence your choice of taps. If you are hand tapping blind holes a standard taper,plug, and bottom sequence of hand taps with a forward and reversing rotation makes a fully threaded hole. If you were tapping the same hole with a tapping head or a hand tapper you would use a spiral fluted plug tap which would be driven in one continuous motion. The chips would drawn out of the hole by the flutes.

If you are power tapping a through hole you would probably choose a plug gun tap instead which would eject its chips in front of it out the far side of the hole. This is easiest with a tapping head of course but I've tapped thousands of holes in steel and aluminum tubing and flats with a reversing hand drill. Normally the material thickness should be no more than twice the tap diameter for these taps.

Don't try to run the drill too slowly and be sure to let the tap control your feed. Use lots of lube when you start and be sure not to let chips accumulate in the flutes of the taps. Practice through holes with relatively inexpensive taps on a scrap bar first so you don't ruin a critical piece. Using a battery drill with a clutch (on high speed) is a good way to start. You can buy plug gun taps (USA brands) from MSC or McMaster for very reasonable prices.
SGensh - Friday, 11/07/03 21:08:44 EST

The taps I checked were about 50/50 "BESLEY" or"BENDIX BESLEY" I had 1 Brubaker. These were all high quality production tools. We tapped a variety of materials used in valves like forged c1023, 316SS, Cr-moly steels etc. Most of these were black. As noted by the GURU, there are various coatings. A steam oxide finish is the old traditional finish, and works quite well in common steels. The TiN(titaniium nitride) coating does reduce the drag of the chips, but in hand tapping make little difference in common steels. For an excellent tapping oil for steel and stainless use pipe threading oil. RIGID makes an excellent oil, ask any plumber/pipefitter who threads pipe. It's very available in gallons. A gallon will last a very long time. What makes the pipe threading oils work so well is the addition of sulfur. It will stain some materials such as silver.
A trick I learned from our tool and die makers was to start the tap in the drill press as noted by the GURU, but we just LIGHTLY chucked the tap in the chuck or the drill press and started the spindle and feed in a gentle manner untill the chuck slipped. Then stop the spindle and unchuck. Then, tap as usual.
ptree - Friday, 11/07/03 21:14:20 EST

Jeff, that's a clever idea! I had been turning the chuck by hand until I got stuck and then continue with a tap wrench. Letting the chuck slip is brilliant. Is cutting oil really that much better when hand tapping?
adam - Friday, 11/07/03 23:51:17 EST

I started buying taps made for my CNC machine from J&L and find they are great for hand tapping as well. With good taps you can feel the difference. Cutting oil? Another area where you can feel the difference. Some of the better ones like Rapid-tap and tap-EZ have had to change their formula, guess they can't use florinated hydrocarbons anymore, but they still work better than regular oil. The old black sulferized lard oils are still great too.
- grant - Saturday, 11/08/03 12:11:43 EST

Tap Lube: I often use a stick lube for machine or power tapping. (My favorite is Tapmatic Edge Lube) Far less messy than the oils but a little more critical in application. Don't jam a bunch into the flutes just let the tap rub against the stick to pick up a little bit. After the tap is warmed from the first hole it melts on very quickly. Particularly good in Aluminum operations and works for sawing also.
SGensh - Saturday, 11/08/03 13:07:29 EST

This product was waste dry cleaning fluid with a little beeswax and perfume (to cover the laundry stink). It was trichlorethlene I think. ABSOLUTELY the best. Reduced taping force by four to one or more. Tap life increased to 10:1. Life was good.

You could hear it sizzle at the cutting edge when you turned the tap. This cooling at the cut was what made it work so well. This required a thin liquid and a low boiling point.

It stated, DO NOT USE in automatic cooling systems and as cutting fluid. . . Well, people did it anyway. Bad fumes when used normally and much worse when abused. The abuse is what ended it. . .

The replacements are not nearly as good but are much better than nothing.
- guru - Saturday, 11/08/03 13:30:28 EST

I am looking for help regarding the construction of a "class A' chimney for my coal forge. I purchased a half-hood with a 8" flue dia.

Is 8" stove pipe a suitable/safe chimney?
Do I have to go straight up thru the roof or can I elbow out a window?
Is their a chimney cap I need to stop hot ash from coming out the chimney?

Helmut - Saturday, 11/08/03 14:31:32 EST

Tapping experience: Practice, practice, practice. It's a touchy, feely sort of thing.

Most of my experience is with A-36, 1018, and annealed 4140.

Sharp taps don't stay that way very long. As Grant said, you can feel good cutting. Pushing a less than sharp tap "to get one more hole" or to just "finish the hole" is a recipe for disaster. Always keep new taps in stock specifically to avoid the "one more hole" error.

Don't worry about using a slightly bigger than recommended pilot hole, but definitely avoid using a smaller than recommended bit. A good wall chart of metric, alphabetical, numbered, and fractional bit sizes in decimal diameter are a good help here for quick decision making.

The spiral flutes are my best choice taps (the ones that look a bit like drill bits), and I try to use those that are 1/2" to 3/4" long in the cutting zone. Most of the shards/cuttings/shavings (whatever they're called--Paul, Jr. on American Chopper calls them stringy things) just come out the top like gangbusters. I do have to stop once in a while to use a magnetic tipped scribe to extract crap from blind holes.

I use power tapping a lot with 3/8" and 1/2" NC taps. A magnetic drill with a Jacobs chuck tightened as much by hand as possible. I keep my fingers on the switch and turn it on only momentarily. I pilot drill blind holes deeply to avoid bottoming taps. Handheld drills are conducive to breaking taps by an unsteady hand. I admire Steve's ability, but I can't do it.

Junk in the relief grooves of a tap or drill bit will cause jamming and breakage. In and out, in and out, like you know what, is the best way to ensure a well done hole.

I have found the only way to keep concentricity as I go from small to larger bits and then the tap is to keep the mag drill locked into one position. It is tedious to unchuck and then rechuck, but concentricity is VITAL to good power tapping.

It is surely best to use a tapping head if using the drill press so that forward and reverse actions are quick and controllable. In a mag drill there isn't enough room to mount one. Dexterity and focused concentration are needed.

There are taps of different materials for tapping different materials. My machine shop supplier brought this to my attention, and it pays off in tap life to use the right combo. Reading the print in a voluminous catalog like MSC's ought to accomplish the same advice. I haven't checked Machinery Handbook, but I bet it is loaded with knowhow.

Tapping fluids vary enormously in productivity. I'd love to have some TapFree. I keep experimenting with brands and don't remember the name of the best stuff I've found--it is in a green and white aerosol can. Come to think of it, I'm on my last can so I gotta try to find some more. This stuff came out of an auction, so might be pretty old. Not as good as the guru says TapFree was.

With big diameter taps I use my mill and use a bit holder that allows the tap to determine feed conditions. Again, concentricity is vital. On the mill, one steady downfeed movement is all that's ever needed with spiral groove taps. I don't do much of this big stuff, so my advocacy is cautious. Your mileage may vary.
- John Larson - Saturday, 11/08/03 19:59:45 EST

Cutting fluid: Haven't worked in a steel shop in about three years, but when I did we used something to lube the mag-drill called "Hawg-Wash". It was a Milwaukee product made specifically for drill coolant and we used it in Milwaukee rotobroach or button drills. Vegetable based compound that came in a small bottle that was mixed with water. Worked very well in all applications I tried. Wonder if any of you guys have any experience with it and would it make a suitable tapping fluid?
- Larry - Saturday, 11/08/03 21:46:10 EST

Drilling and tapping lubes.
From many years experience with power tapping and internal and external die chasing of threads I can offer the following:
For the common steels, almost nothing beats a HIGH QUALITY sulfurized oil. This means a name brand like Rigid etc. We found several off brands that were very bad, and also caused derimitis in the employees. The ratio of fat to oil and sulfur in these oils is critical, and if the fat is too high, bad results!
Another good choice, that beats every other oil we tried, especially in screw machines was a MASTER CHEMICAL product, OM303. This oil was exceptional in carbon and stainless steels for all screw machine operations, and I now use it in roll splining. Harder to find for the small shop but a gallon or two will last a long time.
On Tap Free and the other trichlor products, good riddance! life is too short to spend any of it dead, injuried or in jail. These products did work somewhat, but a good tapping oil will also do the job, and not give off fumes that ARE dangerous.
For tapping aluminum, stick tallow is very good, especially with roll taps. In a pinch kerosene will work, but is not nearly as good.

On all tapping fluids. To recycle, insure good filtration. Under serious study, we found that a 10 micron filtration prior to reuse improved tool life by about 20%, reduced dermititisis, and improved the thread finish. A simple bag filter rated to 10 microns will work for the small shop.
ptree - Sunday, 11/09/03 09:39:12 EST


There are still about 6 people who have ordered raffle tickets who have not returned their ticket stubs. Tomorrow is just about the last day you have to mail them out to be sure that I get them before saturday. Tommorow is also the last day to order tickets, after that there will not be enough time for tickets and money to make the round trip before Saturday.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 11/09/03 17:52:25 EST

China, taps:
Regarding B&S moving to China, I suspect that the 10 million might be to move existing manufacturing equipment to an existing facility in China and the 75 million is for retooling completely here. If B&S moves to China, they will not buy anything appreciably different than if they put it here. There is no way B&S engines or any precision machining will be done completely on Chinese machine tools or tooling. Not yet. So the tooling cost is not significantly different. There must be more to the story?

I don't think B&S could put up a significant manufacturing facility in China, for US market engines, for less than 50 million. Labor is far cheaper in China, but building and equipment is not that much different for that type of manufacturing. I doubt there is much labor in a B&S engine anyway.

That's my experience. And I just took some card money off of engineer friends who work in China more than they want to.

Even good taps break. We EDM them out on parts that are worth it. Actually, we thread mill much of the production stuff now. Better threads and virtually no damaged holes. I really like roll tapped holes, but getting roll tapping right can be a trick. Coolant, TiN coating, and correct tap drill size are essential. When buying taps, make sure you understand what H limits are. There are classes of tapped hole size. Different H-limit taps produce different pitch diameter threads. Tight or loose. Cheap (even name brand from a hardware store) taps can be all over the map from an H-limit standpoint so may not be consistent from tap to tap. Machinery's Handbook has info. MSC catalog might discuss it.

Sulphur cutting oil is good. LPS makes a green water based cutting fluid that works well too. I can't remember the name. But it's sticky when it dries.

I like tapping holes in a lathe when I can and it's lathe work anyway. Rotating the part with the tap centered and started with a center in the tailstock. Tap drilling done in the same chucking.

Tapping heads in radial drills are sweet too! Seems like cheating almost. Grin John!

I agree that cheap taps and dies are a complete waste of time and money. I bought one cheap set from Whorbor fright one time. I let kids wreck them on inconsequential work so they learn.
- Tony - Sunday, 11/09/03 18:10:27 EST

Cameron Stoker's Grasshopper Treadle Hammer: Cameron Stoker, of Santa Fe, NM, has recently completed a Grasshopper Treadle Hammer, and has kindly provided photographs and commentary:

As far as I know, this is the first Grasshopper completed from the plans. (The one in Marshall Bienstock's shop is the prototype. At least two other people have begun work, but I haven't heard that they've completed the hammer.)

Cameron Stoker's Grasshopper Treadle Hammer
- Bruce - Sunday, 11/09/03 19:23:33 EST

Yet More Tapping : Another take on Tony's post about tapping in the lathe. One of my lathes is an old Atlas 10" which has a #3 Morse taper in the headstock bore. I have mounted my Procunier tapping head in that taper with the torque arm against the ways( rubber sleeve on the arm) to tap 2-56 holes in the ends of 1/4" thick Aluminum bars for an environmental enclosure we make for paintings. The bars are held in a fixture on the cross slide for both drilling and tapping. I used to have terrible trouble with this operation on drill press fixtures but I think we have only broken two of these tiny taps in several hundred holes with the lathe setup.

I remembered seeing old illustrations of cross drilling on the lathe with bits in the headstock and the material against a plate held in the tailstock and thought why not try something similar.
SGensh - Sunday, 11/09/03 19:36:16 EST

power hammer 4 sale: 200lb beaudry 7.5hp 3ph motor new drive belts saftey gards on belts running in my shop now sonoma ca ph 707 996 8541
come by and test drive it 3500.00 will load on your truck
aprox wt 6000lb
- gforge - Sunday, 11/09/03 22:04:02 EST

Tapping Heads:
I bought a Tapmatic tapping head for a job where I had hundreds of 1/2-13 NC holes 1.2" deep to tap. The fancy black anodized tool was mounted in my worn out hundred year old drill press (not my pretty Royersford). . . The contrast of new to old rusted machine and craters of the moon table was rather out of place. But the two worked together GREAT. Spent a day making a jig to hold the pins to be cross drilled and tapped which used a modified vise-grip for a quick clamp. Then drilled and tapped 175 1-1/4" pins and drilled and counter bored 175 mates the following day. . . All were perfect and only used one tap and tap drill. This could have easily been an architectural job with 300-400 holes.

The Tapmatic head will fit my lathe and other drill presses. However, don't buy a tapping head to tap just a few holes. Setup time alone is not worth it. But if you have 50 or more to do. . . The job I did paid for the head AND made money.
- guru - Sunday, 11/09/03 23:59:46 EST

Every Once in a while.:
This is long, but I think you folks will appreciate it. I darn sure did. It's quite a change from 40 years ago, and long overdue.


The writer and his wife live in LA and both work for Uncle Sam.

A Day at Baltimore Airport

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope that you will spare me a few minutes of your time to tell you about something that I saw on Monday, October 27. I had been attending a conference in Annapolis and was coming home on Sunday. As you may recall, Los Angeles International Airport was closed on Sunday, October 26, because of the fires that affected air traffic control. Accordingly, my flight, and many others, were canceled and I wound up spending a night in Baltimore.

My story begins the next day. When I went to check in at the United counter Monday morning I saw a lot of soldiers home from Iraq. Most were very young and all had on their desert camouflage uniforms. This was as change from earlier, when they had to buy civilian clothes in Kuwait to fly home. It was a visible reminder that we are in a war. It probably was pretty close to what train terminals were like in World War II.

Many people were stopping the troops to talk to them, asking them questions in the Starbucks line or just saying "Welcome Home." In addition to all the flights that had been canceled on Sunday, the weather was terrible in Baltimore and the flights were backed up. So, there were a lot of unhappy people in the terminal trying to get home, but nobody that I saw gave the soldiers a bad time.

By the afternoon, one plane to Denver had been delayed several hours. United personnel kept asking for volunteers to give up their seats and take another flight. They weren't getting many takers. Finally, a United spokeswoman got on
the PA and said this, "Folks. As you can see, there are a lot of soldiers in the waiting area. They only have 14 days of leave and we're trying to get them where they need to go without spending any more time in an airport then they have to. We sold them all tickets, knowing we would oversell the flight. If we can, we want to get them all on this flight. We want all the soldiers to know that we respect what you're doing, we are here for you and we love you."

At that, the entire terminal of cranky, tired, travel-weary people, a cross-section of America, broke into sustained and heartfelt applause. The soldiers looked surprised and very modest. Most of them just looked at their boots. Many of us were wiping away tears.

And, yes, people lined up to take the later flight and all the soldiers went to Denver on that flight. That little moment made me proud to be an American, and also told me why we will win this war. If you want to send my little story on to your friends and family, feel free.

This is not some urban legend. I was there, I was part of it, I saw it happen.

Will Ross Administrative Judge United States Department of Defense.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/10/03 08:46:05 EST

Ppw: Hey pawpaw, I just wanted to say tanks for that tidbit. Just when all seems dark in the world a small grain of hope trickles forth from unexpected places. I for one appreciated the reminder that humanity has a heart!
- Dragon-boy - Monday, 11/10/03 09:46:58 EST


Made me feel good, too.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/10/03 10:12:47 EST


You want to hear a story about decent people?

Sheri's flight was an hour late getting out of the local airport, so she missed her connect in Dallas. She was trying desperatly to get to her mother's bedside before Evie died. American Airlines announced the problem at the boarding gate and three people stood up to volunteer their seat.

One of them was a Marine, on his way home from Iraq! Sheri told him she'd take a later flight rather than take his seat, because her retired Green Beret would be most un-happy if she took his seat and made him late. At that one of the other volunteers, asked if I was a Viet Vet. Sheri answered yes, and the guy said, "Please take my seat, and tell my brother I said "Welcome Home!"

Sheri told me over the telephone after Evie passed away.

I cried. Sheri had sent him a thank you note from Ca. I sent him another one from here.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/10/03 11:37:05 EST

ppw: It seems to me that the little things in life make for the best and most heart touching of heroic stories. Thank God for people who do little things in service to others!
Dragon-boy - Monday, 11/10/03 11:47:12 EST

NEAT VISE TOOL : looks like it would be easy to copy
Vice tool on ebay
- habu - Monday, 11/10/03 12:18:54 EST

PPW: Where else can you get three kindly answers to the question "I have and friend who has a Machine, how much is it worth?" and one of the same grizzled old pharts bring a tear to you eye in one morning? I raise my cup to you all
habu - Monday, 11/10/03 12:28:20 EST

Habu, great post on the vice tool, thanks.
Ellen - Monday, 11/10/03 13:43:34 EST

Possible small commission job for historical smith in the CSI members forum....
Ellen - Monday, 11/10/03 13:56:08 EST

Vets : Great story Paw Paw, both the judges and yours. Ya, the eyes are a bit moist.
Wayne P - Monday, 11/10/03 14:18:25 EST

Vice/vise tool: There are some more illustrations of the angle vice clamp in "Professional Smithing" by Donald Streeter, FYI. Looks quite useful.

Going off at a slight tangent - a spelling question: Over here, we have vice grips, leg vices and the occasional vice . Are all three of those "vise" in American English?

(I'm not even starting on advise versus advice!)
Peter - Monday, 11/10/03 14:46:31 EST

LABOR?: Tony:

What part would NOT be labor? We always seem to think of "labor & materials". But why do materials cost money? Because of the labor that goes into them. Why does a bolt cost money? Because of the labor and mterials that go into it. Why does the steel for the bolt cost money? Because of the labor to mine the ore and coal and produce the steel etc. What about the machines that make the bolt or transport the ore? Labor.

Then you come down to how much does the Chinese government want to have this plant and how much will they subsidize it to create more jobs for many years to come?
- grant - Monday, 11/10/03 14:50:39 EST


A vice is a bad habit, a vise is a tool to hold something with.
Vice Grips are a portable tool to hold onto things with.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/10/03 14:59:49 EST

And I mis-spelled Vise in Vise Grips.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/10/03 15:13:24 EST

Mick Korinek:

Please contact me email as soon as possible.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/10/03 15:14:01 EST

English Vices ;-): The Oxford English Dictionary archly notes that "The (earlier) spelling 'vise' is now usual only in U.S."

As I've noted elsewhere, the vise is the only major blacksmithing tool that was not available in the early medieval period. So I guess the Vikings in England had no vices! :-)
Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 11/10/03 15:18:40 EST

The Rest of the Story::

Now why was Sheri's flight an hour late getting off the ground?

Because some IDIOT (Read that as a$$hole!) tried to sneak a loaded rifle through security IN HIS CARRY ON baggage! When TSA confronted him, he broke free and ran. Got away. So they had to do a full lockdown of the airport. Deplane all passengers, search every aircraft at the terminal, search ALL of the passengers, and re-plane all of them. Give TSA credit, they managed to do it in an hours. GSO is not as big as Atlanta, but it's not a Podunk, one grass strip airport, either.

The idiot? Oh, he left his ID in the baggage, the cops were waiting for him when he got home.

Paw Paw - Monday, 11/10/03 15:35:20 EST

Vice versa: Thanks. It's a fun topic - especially looking at the divergence in the languages. I *think* vise superceded (!) the even earlier vyse, but I'd have to check. There are a lot of Vyse Lanes and similar to be found.

I used to live in York - there's a lot of archaeological evidence that suggests that the vikings there had plenty of vices!
Peter - Monday, 11/10/03 15:40:32 EST

Taps: I spoke with an old friend today who makes his living selling Tooling and cutting fluids to the industrial market. He noted that IN HIS OPINION, the following are the best taps on the market today. EMUGE is #1 but is hard to obtain except thru industrial Dist. BALEX is #2, and is widely available, including thru MSC and other catalogs. Next was BASS, and Union Butterfield etc.( he noted that he did not sell Balex, and was therefore cutting his own sales. He also reminded me that Master Chemical makes a couple of special cutting fluids. I suggested that maybe he should set up a retail operation for small orders and advertise on Anvilfire. He did say he was going to look into it.
ptree - Monday, 11/10/03 16:54:52 EST

By the way, while a vise may be a vice, in Germany they are a "WISE" at least by pronuciation!
ptree - Monday, 11/10/03 16:56:53 EST

viking vic(s)es: My Red Headed sister is one of them- BGRIN

Michael Sheldon (habu) McGinty
habu - Monday, 11/10/03 20:59:34 EST

Mark Twain:: "I have no respect for a man who can only spell a word one way"
habu - Monday, 11/10/03 21:52:58 EST

Unknown (blacksmith?): "When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."
habu - Monday, 11/10/03 22:05:39 EST

Tool-hammer-nail: Habu - I wonder if that saying has anything to do with the fact that a large hammer is nicknamed a "chevywrench" in western PA: :) Also, if you haven't run across it Twain has an absolutely scathing commentary on James Fennimore Cooper's writing and the logic it exhibits. Coevolution Quarterly (I think its Whole Earth News now) printed it years ago.
- Gavainh - Monday, 11/10/03 22:30:07 EST


I really can't tell yet. Jock has some tickets he is bringing to me wednesday, on his way to Steve Kaynes on business. He also expects to sell some tickets while he's up there. The Bull Hammer manufacturers want some, and some other folks as well. I would GUESS that they are about 1 in about a 150. Not sure, but I think it's a bit less than that. I've been sorting things out getting ready for the big day.

Drawing is this saturday at the show I'm doing in Bethabara. A friend is going to video tape the drawing, and we'll see if we can find a sweet innocent young thing about 24 with flaming red hair to draw the ticket.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/10/03 22:43:58 EST

Grant... more China.: Grant, in my experience building and buying plants in China, the Chinese governement does not want to create jobs for their people. The Chinese government is the communists. They have control. Of everything. The Chinese government letting other countries manufacturing into their country is all about them selling their countrymens cheap labor (which they have worked hard to keep cheap and attractive) and lining their own pockets. While they can. Increased communication is what is forcing it. When I worked there, it was very difficult to get an Internet connection. As the business world sees how China works, they will exploit it. And they are. As the Chinese see how the rest of the world works, they will demand it. And they are.

We bought three plants in China and built a multiprocess manufacturing campus. The Chinese subsidized nothing.

IF you get a Chinese "joint venture partner", that can be different. But it is the good old boy network in China that will help each other make money. Not helping the foreigner.

The Chinese have the about the hardest working, willing, low cost labor force in the world. Why would they subsidize people building manufacturing in China when they are knocking the door down to get in?

Are you seeing any Chinese subsidizing in what you might be doing?

The average Chinese laborer does not know how to do the manual assembly of a B&S engine. They can't even assemble ball valves properly yet. With training, yes, but not consistently. Why would B&S do that? One of my good college buddies was in charge of a good portion of B&S manufacturing the last I saw him. He's not stupid.

The Chinese are hard working and willing to learn. The average Chinese is a good person. Much better than the average South of the border. When they DO know, the average American (and South American) worker had damn well better have another job to do because the Chinese will kick butt. I don't like it. I'm embarrassed by it. But mark my words.

And again, our business people and our politicians are hastening the process. Thank them next time you talk.

If I guess right, if B&S does a state of the art engine in China in the near future, it will be done with automatic machines. Automatic die casting, automatic machining, automatic assembly and automatic test. Very few Chinese hands.

When we bought the faucet factory, we could not use Chinese materials for casting or bar machining. Quality was too poor. Had to import materials. Glass for cast iron and porcelain enamelling had to be made in the US and imported. China has the raw materials. But they could not get them out of the ground clean enough.

Sure, materials and equipment have a big labor cost component. Your point is good and is well taken. But the machine tools and fasteners will, for the most part, not come from China. Hence my point about little Chinese labor. I question whether the aluminum could come from China.

I did say little labor in a B&S engine. I did mean direct labor. And there is not much direct labor in one. There would be less in a Chinese B&S.

I'm not meaning to harp or argue. But unless you have built manufacturing there, trying very hard to source is China, it is not as it would seem. Are there standouts in China? yes! Can they? Yes! But I'm talking averages here. Not exceptions.

Paw Paw, thanks for the good stories. We need to hear more of those. At least I do. It's easy to go toward thinking human nature sucks.
- Tony - Monday, 11/10/03 23:07:01 EST

Armistice Day: On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, the guns that had opened fire in August, 1914, fell silent. The guns had silenced a substantial portion of the manhood of Europe and its colonies and a goodly number of soldiers, sailors and citizens of the United States. It was the Great War, the first in which the machines of our ingenuity ate the men. The rest of the 20th century has been variations on the theme. Always remember that it has been the people of our armed forces that have born the burden, suffered and triumphed and failed and tried again. They are the instruments of our will. They are the powerful weapon behind all of the implements and hardware. When we commit ourselves to wage war for what we feel is right, we must not waste them in the wrong cause; we must choose wisely. No matter how you feel about the politics of any military action, whether you agree or disagree, it is the troops that face the danger, suffer the conditions, mourn the losses, and pay the price far beyond all the monies involved. They are our friends, our families, our ancestors and perfect strangers who have made the sacrifices necessary to keep us safe. We owe them all our gratitude, and need to show it the other 364 days. Perhaps in this century the great guns will finally fall silent for good; but until that happens, these folks are the ones that will face them. They all have my respect, and my thanks.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 11/11/03 00:03:51 EST

11/11/18: Hear,hear, brother Atli.
3dogs - Tuesday, 11/11/03 01:40:14 EST

veterans day: It took God, guts, and guns to found this country.We will need more of each to keep it.Thanks to the men and women in harms way now and in the past.
- ritch - Tuesday, 11/11/03 09:19:25 EST

My dads memoris:: A letter that my dad wrote to the daughter of one of his crew members:

A few years ago, to answer some questions from Matty Nathanís daughter, I sent the following letter;
June 8, 1998
Dear Debby;
I was glad to hear that you were interested in your dad's World War ll activities. I didnít fly all of the same missions that he did, because he was sent for special training after he was wounded on January 29,1944. He flew several missions as a radar pathfinder, before returning to the 379th Bomb Group and our crew. In case you donít know it, he was very heroic the day he was wounded. I have some documentation and newspaper clippings from the war that I will try to copy and send to you as soon as I find the time. I will try to give you my account of what happened on that eventful day. It may differ from Mattyís version. I can be forgiven, because in the heat of battle and being located in the opposite end of the plane, what I remember may not even resemble your dadís version.
On January 29 we were approaching the target at Frankfort am Main and starting our bomb run. We came under fighter attack while experiencing severe anti-aircraft fire at the same time. The fighters made a head-on attack and one seemed like it was trying to force us out of the formation. Matty had the dual duty of trying to ward off the fighters and man the bombsight. I remember seeing a fighter pass us to the rear just missing our right wing tip. A few seconds later I heard Matty call over the inter-phone that the navigator was down. The next thing I heard was the pilot calling for the top turret gunner to bring him an emergency oxygen bottle because the oxygen system in the nose was blown out. The gunner replied that he would get the bottle as soon as a fighter passed. The pilot said ďForget the fighter, I'm passing out.Ē In the meantime Matty went to the navigator's assistance and tried to do what he could to care for a man with a very bad stomach wound. He also had to share his oxygen. We were flying at 27 thousand feet and the outside temperature must have been about -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The next thing I remember was that the aircraft was spiraling down and I couldn't get an answer on the inter-phone. Matty somehow had dropped the bombs to lighten the plane. I decided that everyone in the front was dead and it was time to abandon the aircraft. When I reached the escape hatch, I found that my detachable parachute pack had broken loose from its stowage and been thrown forward during the violent maneuvers. I could not reach it because of the centrifugal force of our gyrations. Being in the tail exaggerated the gravity forces on my body. Soon after that I felt the aircraft straighten out in its dive and the strain of the pullout. The top turret gunner said that it took the combined effort of the three men in the cockpit to get the plane out of the dive. It felt like the wings were coming off. If Matty had not jettisoned the bombs, we would not be here today. (You either). The co-pilot went to the nose to help with the navigator and the navigator figured a compass course for home and then died in Mattyís arms. He had lost all of his blood and turned blue. We were then attacked by three enemy aircraft from the rear and when I called them out to the pilot he ducked into the clouds just as some twenty millimeter shells burst off the left side of the B-17. We were unharmed and stayed in the clouds until we neared the coast of France and then had to run through some light anti-aircraft fire to add to our misery and exhaustion. The compass heading that the mortally wounded navigator had set for us brought us to a Norwegian/ RAF base in southern England and the pilot landed without incident. The RAF crews were already alerted to our troubles and had ambulances and fire trucks standing by. They did a wonderful job of seeing that we were provided with the best care posible.
We removed the body of the navigator and then discovered that Matty had been painfully wounded and had ignored his own wounds while attending his good friend, the navigator. I have never put this in writing before and am now in tears thinking how close we all were to each other during those terrible times. Matty was always keeping our morale up with his corny jokes and he was the go-between when we wanted special favors from the officers. We missed him when he was recovering in the hospital and was absent from our crew. We were glad when we were reunited again.
For years I put the war out of my mind and did my best to forget it. Only in the last ten years, have I been able to recall some of the experiences and I sometime don't know if I can completely trust my memory. It wasn't all bad though, we had some good times. In war, strangers become like brothers and the comradeship is something that has been unique to warriors since time began. We shared the dangers and hardships that are impossible to describe to someone who has not been there. Itís not something that makes good dinner or bedtime conversations, so we spared our loved ones the grim details. I know that your dad carries some deep emotional scars and the love of his family helps to ease the pain, but like the rest of us, he is a survivor and is living a happy life thanks to your mother.
Debby, I hope I have opened a small window for you and will give you a better understanding of what your father is made of. I am very proud that he is part of my life and I know you are proud of him too or you wouldn't be asking these questions.
I send my love to all of you,ÖMac
habu - Tuesday, 11/11/03 11:04:48 EST


> In war, strangers become like brothers and the comradeship is something that has been unique to warriors since time began.

That is so very true.

Something that is a bit strange to me. I can walk into a room full of strangers, and within minutes tell you which of the men and wome are veterans. Something in the way they stand, walk, talk. I don't know what all of the non-verbal clues are, but I don't often miss. Sometimes I can even tell which of them are combat vets.

Golden Corral always has free meals for veterans on Veteran's Day. A couple of years ago, Sheri and I walked into the local Golden Corral. As we went in the door, we met a guy in a wheel chair and his wife. I looked at his wife in total dis-belief. I looked at her and said, "Bunny?" Her eyes got as big as saucers and she said, "Boom-Boom?". We fell into each others arms as her husband and my wife looked on in amazement. Bunny and I were both crying, and Sheri looked at Don (I found out his name after Bunny and I broke loose from each other.) I told Sheri that Bunny had been my nurse the second time I was wounded. Sheri hugged her and said, "Thank you for sending my man home!" And she whispered in Bunny's ear, "and I don't care what kind of medicine you gave him!" We ate dinner together that night. We've become friends, Sheri has figured out that Bunny and I had a relationship that was a bit closer than patient and nurse, and so has Don. Has never mattered to any of the four of us. Nor is it likely to ever happen again.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/11/03 11:28:29 EST

Veterans' Day: To all the vets who have served our country, whether in combat or not, I simply say "Thank you, one and all."

I was not provided the opportunity to serve in the Armed Forces due to a stupid medical situation, so I chose to do what little I could by being a cop here at home while most of my friends were humping it through picturesque places in Southeast Asia or South America. Sadly, many of the best never made it home and are remembered only by a piece of metal or a ribbon in a drawer somewhere, another name on the Wall. And in my heart and the hearts of those who have served. I am pleased that my wife has her father's medals framed and displayed on the wall of our home rather than in a drawer. It should be thus in every home where a loved one has served and passed. They should be remembered every day, not but once a year.

As Paw Paw said he was honored to serve his country, I was honored to be able to serve and protect the families of those who went. And I am honored to remember them on this day and many, many others. Thank you, I am in your debt.

Richard S. Waugh,
American citizen
vicopper - Tuesday, 11/11/03 13:41:51 EST

Veterans Day: May God bless veterans and their families. They all gave so much.
R Guess - Tuesday, 11/11/03 14:33:57 EST


I've got a couple of brothers in this group. To you I wish the best of days today. May the nightmares lesson as the years go by and may you always know "the peace that passes all understanding."
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/11/03 14:40:13 EST


To me, Service is a way of life. It always has been. I guess it was in my Pablum.

That's why I went into law enforcement when I got out of the Army. So I could "Protect and Serve" for a little bit longer.

I've never regretted either of those two decisions.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/11/03 15:27:15 EST

To all who serve and protect, whether it is in the armed forces, or those who serve here in different uniforms but of like purpose.
today is to honor those who have served, fought, or sacrificed for this country. It is also a time to try to strive for peace so that our children may never know of the things that there forebears had to endure to provide them this paridise on earth.
May all who have given the ultimate, rest in honor, may those that were forced to yeild thier youth too soon enjoy their age in freedom. May all those who serve and have served know that this citizen and soldier has tought his children to always respect those who must make sacrifice, so that they have the right to question thier government, thier leaders thier laws. This right to question, to VOTE the scoundrels out, is what makes the USA strong.
Jeff Reinhardt
Citizen, and once a soldier/airman
ptree - Tuesday, 11/11/03 21:34:12 EST

thank you: For those of you who have served our country, despite the screw ups of the politicians, YOU are the MAN! or the WOMAN. Thanks for serving us without regard of the cost. Many of you I know gave more than you were paid for. Blessings on you this day, and know of my prayers of thanksgiving for the gift you offered.
David Galloway aka PapaDoc
PapaDoc - Tuesday, 11/11/03 22:00:00 EST

anvils and tools to start a blacksmithing hobby: I am looking for an anvil, a forge, a vise, and tongs that are being sold. I am a beginner and I would like to start a hobby in blacksmithing. Please send offers via the e-mail address below.
Thank you,
- Gavin - Tuesday, 11/11/03 22:04:55 EST

Veterans, THANK YOU for keeping our country free.
Ellen - Wednesday, 11/12/03 00:13:30 EST

Gavin: Gavin can you pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars for shipping such tools? If not you should tell us *WHERE YOU ARE AT* to save all the time of folks that are trying to *help* you. We have folks here from europe, South America, Africa, India, Australia, North America, etc.

If you are near central Ohio, USA let me know and I can make some suggestions.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/12/03 10:22:31 EST

starting: i just started all i have is 2 anvils medim and small ,2hammers a short sledg and a 3lb claw hammer,a self made byclepump and gass fiting bellows/ amd a clay fire pit forge. i an just looking for advice on wher to get good but inexpencev tools and workable mettle.

sorry for my horrible typing, numb fingers
- Theo - Wednesday, 11/12/03 13:02:07 EST

Getting Started: Gavin,Theo and others,

The FIRST thing to do is to click on the "Navigte Anvilfire" drop-down at the upper right hand corner of the screen. Go to the 21st Century Page, where you will gind articles on getting started, building forges, acquiring tools, all sorts of valuable things.

After you have read and studied everything thatis there, go to the Bookshelf Review Page and check out the books that are recommended for beginners. Your public library may have some of them, if not they can get them on Inter-Library Loan. Study those books. When one of the books seems particularly meaningful to you, order your own copy of it so you can always have it at hand down through the years.

Since I don't know what area you are in, I can only recommend that you go to and look for a chapter of ABANA, the Artists Blacksmiths Association of North America, and locate a chapter near you. Once you have done that, contact them and arrange to attend their meetings. You'll find all the help you can imagine at any ABANA chapter meeting.

Steel is where you find it, but you rarely know exactly what alloy you are getting. Steel suppliers sell you known alloys, so check with them for "drop", small leftovers from other sales. steel fabricator in your area may have drop also and will often sell it to you for next to nothing or even give it away for free.

When you have done all of the above, you are ready to fire away with any further questions you have and any of us will be happy to try to help you. By then, you will be able to formulate the specific sort of questions that lend themselves to good solid answers. At this stage, we can only give very broad, generic answers that I'm sure aren't as rewarding as you would like.

Welcome to the most enjoyable pursuit a person can put a hand to.
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/12/03 14:07:28 EST

starting: Theo,
iron is not that costly. Call your local weld shop and see if they also sell stock. Many do. Ask freinds if they have any thing you can use. Look on the road ways..... Go to junk yards and ask. The list is very long... use your imagination.
Tools. Well I would say make your own. There are many many demos here on anvilfire in teh iForge section on tool making.
Then there are garage sales etc.... once again use your imagination. That I think is one of the big differences in blacksmiths... usually a good smith will use his/her imagination ot over come obsticals. Not to say we do not ask questions as we do.
Ralph - Wednesday, 11/12/03 14:16:32 EST

blue prints?: Is anyone aware of a good design for a big bellows? Have i simply over looked them? I need Help!
- dragon-boy - Wednesday, 11/12/03 15:28:19 EST

bellows: mostly I'm hunting for the inner workings.
dragon-boy - Wednesday, 11/12/03 15:28:58 EST

Dragon-boy, good pix of bellows here on anvilfire in the "21st century" section of the pull down menu....
Ellen - Wednesday, 11/12/03 16:19:13 EST

bellows: I already saw thoes, but I need to see how the air flow valves work and the placement of said valves.
dragon-boy - Wednesday, 11/12/03 17:22:46 EST

THE BLACKSMITH, Ironworker & Farrier, by Aldren A. Watson, ISBN 0-393-32057-X. Chapter 11, complete plans, with some dimensions. See if your library has it, or can order it for you tgrough the Inter Library Loan system. All else failing, buy it, I bought my copy from Barnes and Noble for less than $20.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 11/12/03 18:18:52 EST

Air in the bottom chamber thru a one way flap valve. first chamber to 2nd thru yet another one way flap valve.
Weight of top of 2nd chamber pushes air thru air nozzle....
Simple concept.. difficult to fit all together sometimes.
Ralph - Wednesday, 11/12/03 18:47:02 EST

Bellows: Dragon-boy,

The workings of a great bellows is fairly straightforward, and I don't think it is all that critical, providing you don't make them too small. I had a set of plans for bellows somewhere, but I can't find it, unfortunately. Like a bunch of other things.

In principle, the great bellows is a two-chambered bellows, with the bottom chamber filling the top chamber. Therre is a board between the two that has a one-way flap valve that only allows air to pass from the bottom chamber to the upper chamber. The center board remains stationary and is the point on which the bellows is mounted.

The bottom chamber is hooked to the lever arm, raising when the lever is pulled down. Air is drawn in through a flap valve when the handle is released and the bottom board falls. When the handle is pulled to raise the bottom board, the air in the bottom chamber is pressurized and the intake flap closes while at the same time the valve from the bottom chamber to the top chamber opens. The air pressure raises the top board as the top chamber fills. When the handle is released now, the top board falls, squeezing the air in the top chamber. As that chamber is pressurized, the flap in the center board closes and the air is forced out the nozzle.

The relationship between the size of the valves and the nozzle opening is what keeps the air from all going out the nozzle when the top chamber is being filled from the bottom chamber. Some air does, undoubtedly, go out the nozzle, but that is no problem.

The other relationship that is important is that of the size of the bottom chamber to that of the top. I have heard, though I have no personal knowledge, that the top chamber should have about 20% to 30% greater volume than the bottom. Thus, thge bottom chamber can be pumped while the top chamber is still partly full of air and maintaining a draft out the nozzle. I would think that it would be wise to have two valve openings in the bottom board and one in the center board, based on openings about 2-1/2" diameter. The flaps can be either stiff leather or lightweight wood, and should have a method of preventing them from opening beyond what is necessary for air flow, so they don't accidentally get opened so far they don't naturally close again.

There are plans in a book or two, I think, and I am quite someone else will give you the locations. If you can't find what you're looking for elsewhere, I can probably do a set of crude simplified drawings and post them on the photo site.
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/12/03 19:00:37 EST

Lets Party: I would like to announce my retirement (official now) after 26 years of service with Fernandina Beach Fire and Rescue. Party time...and we will fire up a forge tomorrow...grinning like a oppossum in a garbage can.
R Guess - Wednesday, 11/12/03 19:21:10 EST

Veterans Day: I'm always a day late and a dollar short. Thanks to all of you who posted in regard to veterans. And may you have more friends than you ever chance to meet.
- Larry - Wednesday, 11/12/03 20:13:58 EST

My most sincere congratulations!
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 11/12/03 20:41:00 EST

online info: I bought a CD book from a vendor at ebay on heat treating. The info was things that I already knew (I had just gone to a heat treating weekend hammerin) but the info was correct, condensed, and easy to use. These are e books and are only a few bucks each. The one I bought on heat treating only takes about 20 min to read from "front" to "back" but is a great refresher for the weekend. They have a section on free info for metal working and there is some good stuff there also. Give them a look, what the heck, it is free and easy (to look!)


Guru, you might want to link to this page to answer some of the more basic questions.
Wayne P - Thursday, 11/13/03 08:39:54 EST

Retirement!: Congrats Randall!
Gosh, I only have 10 to 15 more years to go, I can't wait! You go guy! I am sure the F&R team is going to miss you. Have a good, healthy and lone one!
Wayne P - Thursday, 11/13/03 08:49:28 EST

oops proof then post: That should be LONG one not lonE!
Wayne P - Thursday, 11/13/03 08:50:53 EST

Retirement: Congratulations, Randall Guess. More for having stuck it out than for retiring, I think. Anybody can quit, takes a good man to stick with it for that long. Enjoy the coming years now that you have all the time you want for smithing.
vicopper - Thursday, 11/13/03 10:07:36 EST

wills & such: To us young folk these things seem strange to discuss, however my gran'da' recently requested that I make a pick of things to inherit from him. With quite a lot of thought I came back to him with the answer of his tools. He looked at me strangely and said are you sure you want them? there all old and take a little riggin' now an again to get em ta work. With out missing a beat I looked him in the eye and told him that there wasna a moment that I could think of that I was with him but that we were out in the garage tinkering round on ancient things. He taught me the value of hard work, and what love was all about. I just hope that my grandchilderen can say the same of me when I go.
dragon-boy - Thursday, 11/13/03 10:30:16 EST

PPW, Wayne and vicopper: Thanks for those kinds words. Its easy to stick it out when you have the greatest job on earth and work with a crew a dedicated as the one I was blessed to have. I will miss my brothers and sisters greatly. On the positive, I will have much more time at home with my wife and a lot more time at the forge and anvil.

R Guess - Thursday, 11/13/03 11:04:11 EST


You're apt to find that you had a lot more time before you retired, I did. (grin)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 11/13/03 12:29:03 EST

retirement: Congrats Randall! I am looking forward to it... unforunately that is more than likely 15-20 years down the road....

PPW, You? Retire? Yeah right!
Ralph - Thursday, 11/13/03 17:53:22 EST

After I left the department I sat around the house for about a month. One mornint at breakfast, Sheri said, "Jim, I love you dearly and I married you for better or for worse. BUT NOT FOR 24 HOURS A DAY, FIND SOMETHING TO DO!! That, combined with some questions from a couple of the grandkids sent me back to the anvil. Couple of years ago, one of the kids asked me when I was going to retire. I told him when his mother found me slumped over the anvil dead. Sheri chimed in at that point and asked me to please push AWAY from the fire as I fell. (grin)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 11/13/03 18:48:06 EST

Free Time:'re right about that. I have been busy catching up fixing a bunch of minor stuff that always didnt seem to get done. I also have some siding to replace and other carpentry projects on the house. As long as the roof dont leak and the water pump works, I can always sneak in a few hours in the shop.

Ralph..It seems a stretch of time looking forward. Looking back I wonder how it passed so quickly.
R Guess - Thursday, 11/13/03 19:41:26 EST

forge grate: hi to all! today the cast drain grate on the forge finally broke into three and i am unable to find another anywhere here any ideas on what else may make a suitable grate for airflow and to stop the coal fromm falling through? many thanks dang cold here 120kmh winds and 10" of snow today
- kainaan - Thursday, 11/13/03 19:42:36 EST

Torching grader blade: Ive been making tools out of my inexaustible supply of grader blade and heavy leaf spring. Not having a power hammer, I try to torch cut the rough blank close to the final size. I can (and do) forge this stuff but it takes a a yellow heat and a 4# hammer.

In the process, my torch cutting has improved - I am still no great shakes but I have got to the point where I can cut on a curved line and not need to grind it before forging. On a good day, the kerfs are approaching those of a bandsaw. What a terrific tool this is! In just a few mins I can cut out a nearly finished blank for a complex swage and this in 1" grader blade.

I have picked up a number of tips along the way that made a real difference to my cuts. Tips that I have not seen in standard torch cutting or welding texts. The latest I got from Machinery's Handbook and that is: In cutting hig alloy steel, it helps to preheat the steel to black or even red heat. That is, heat up the stock along the whole length of the cut until it shows red then go back and start the cut using a little less preheat than you might judge. This made a big difference on grader blade where I had been plagued by messy blowouts - the cut would stop suddenly and just blow a messy crater in the steel.

Now I am still not "good" with the torch but I know some of you guys out there are. How about a FAQ or an iForge demo on torch cutting in a blacksmith shop. IMO the torch is an inexpensive and much underused tool. I used to think it was only for making messy rough cuts in the junkyard so you could fit something into the PU truck. A lot of people, like myself could benefit from it. How about it? huh? There hasnt been a new demo for a while
Adam - Thursday, 11/13/03 19:49:19 EST

Kainaan: 4" cast iron drain grate from the plumber's supply house.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 11/13/03 20:10:40 EST

Jock is out of town, and may not have gotten on line yet. I sent him an email about your idea, so he'll respond as soon as he can get on line.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 11/13/03 21:37:11 EST

found on e-bay
- habu - Thursday, 11/13/03 22:00:42 EST

another unique vise on ebay: let's try that again
ebay vise
habu - Thursday, 11/13/03 22:02:37 EST

ebay vic(s)e ??: The design looks like a heavy duty holdfast, especially if the pipe adds on where I think (top left).

- Nigel - Friday, 11/14/03 07:39:24 EST

grates: I use two peices of extruded/ expanded (catwalk) grate in the bottom of my tire rim forge. works real nice.
dragon-boy - Friday, 11/14/03 08:58:02 EST

Nigel: I think you're right I was trying to make a sawyers vi/c/s/e with a built in set tool out of it. I'm not sure what good the "fine" tuning screw would be.
habu - Friday, 11/14/03 09:41:00 EST

looking for cheep anvil: hi, reader

Im look for a cheep anvil or forge if you would like to sell it e-mail me at
- Billy Pfeffer - Friday, 11/14/03 10:36:59 EST

I don't think it is fine adjustment, but coarse adjustment (why???) and locking screw. It looks like a very specific use.
- nigel - Friday, 11/14/03 14:30:11 EST

Billy last time I was in England I saw a good anvil cheap in a junk store in Malmesbury---you are in England right? Or was it Australia, I don't remember where you said you were at and it sure does make a difference in shipping costs!

Thomas P - Friday, 11/14/03 16:51:59 EST

THANKS: Paw Paw and dragon-boy thank you both for the input 4"cast drain grate was what i used ive gone through 2 so far now the catwalk grate is a nifty idea,off to the scrapyard i go. a good friend of mine brought me an aluminum floor drain grate, i said it wouldnt work .To show him why i placed it in fired up the forge now i have a nice aluminum plug for something melted in no tme LOL
kainaan - Friday, 11/14/03 18:24:11 EST


Some years ago, I bought the last 6 drain covers my local supplier had. I didn't start using them till two years ago. I find that they last about a year. So sometime in the next four years, I'll need to find some more. (grin)
Paw Paw - Friday, 11/14/03 18:43:20 EST

Wanted to buy: I would like to buy a copy of The Blacksmith's Cookbook by Francis Whitaker after trying to find one for more than 18 months I'll even settle for a photocopy. I even try to contact the publisher "Jim Fleming Publications" but they aparently don't exist anymore or do not answer their mail... can anyone help me with this?
my web page
Mark P - Friday, 11/14/03 19:14:50 EST

cookbook.: BTW PPW?
Ralph - Friday, 11/14/03 20:42:39 EST


No. Sheri says she can't handle it right now.
Paw Paw - Friday, 11/14/03 21:02:43 EST

cookbook: I thought Norm Larson sold these?
- adam - Friday, 11/14/03 23:49:19 EST

handling....: PPW,
not to worry. I for some odd reason thought it was done...
But Sheri has way more important things going on. I will gladly take the back burner... And will also gladly run interference for y'all on this... Just let me know
Ralph - Saturday, 11/15/03 02:13:59 EST

Grate, BS Cookbook: I posted this not too long ago, but here goes again: You can make (or have made) an excellent grate that will last a long time by either using your own cutting torch or paying someone who has one to cut one out of 1/4" to 1/2" thick plate. My grate torched from 1?4" mild steel plate is still going strong after a year. My previous one lasted two years of heavy use. To make one: get a sheet of plate, draw a circle on it the size of the old one, then draw a few 1/2" wide slots inside this circle, leaving 1/2" between each slot and 1/2" from the edges. Mine has three slots. Torch out the slots, then torch out the circle. Drop in the forge. It's done. No cleanup needed. Smaller slots will clog and burn through, bigger slots let a little coal fall through.

Blacksmith's Cookbook: ISBN 0-939415-00-3. Price five years ago from Centaur: $40. You might find one used, but I doubt it. Try calling the Gift Shop at John C. Campbell Folk School. Don't know it off the top of my head, but their website is I know they had copies four years ago, so it may be worth a shot.

Alan-L - Saturday, 11/15/03 13:20:43 EST

Cookbook: Alan , thanks but they haven't had one to sell for about two years...:( I had a copy that I loaned out and has yet to make its way back home... if any one sees it ...or the ^&#@* that borrowed it please send the book back postage due .... the other just bury (death not needed) ;p
Mark P - Saturday, 11/15/03 21:17:48 EST

Cookbook again: Bummer!
That's why most folks won't loan their tech library books to anyone. And yes, I think your punishment for the offender is appropriate. Have you gone through the used-book web sites, like It's a long shot since most folks would never ever sell their copy, but you never know!
Alan-L - Sunday, 11/16/03 10:53:46 EST

Habu's ebay vise now up to $73, 99# Hey Budden at $306 (reserve not met), goodness they sure get some prices there.

I saw a nifty tool at the ferrier supply the other day: a large pair of vice grips welded to a shank to fit a hardy, and with a couple of pieces of hoof rasp welded to the jaws for gripping.....could be a $10 substitue for a $73 antique vise tool.......
Ellen - Sunday, 11/16/03 14:03:21 EST

Ellen : I'm selling all my blacksmith tools on e-bay and buying new at the flea market. VBG
habu - Sunday, 11/16/03 15:07:55 EST


> I'm selling all my blacksmith tools on e-bay and buying new at the flea market. VBG

You said that as a joke, but it might not be a bad idea!
Paw Paw - Sunday, 11/16/03 20:01:28 EST

Now we're up to $105 and $400 (reserve not met). Wow! Talk about a feeding frenzy!
Ellen - Monday, 11/17/03 00:26:50 EST

Bellows Book:: DB, Lindsay Publications has a booklet that is just on making the double acting bellows, I think it is under $5. I don't see it on their web site, but it was in their newest catalog.

I also don't see any of their blacksmithing books on their web site, there must be 5 of them in their catalog.

Caleb Ramsby
Lindsay Publications
Caleb Ramsby - Monday, 11/17/03 02:43:08 EST

attn C Ramsby: thanks for those pictures of your grandfathers shop that are in the Slideshow on the main page here, but I have to ask, What's with the "Hand's Off" on the Blower?
JimG - Monday, 11/17/03 13:06:22 EST

hardy holdfast: Saw one of those at Rob Gunters. Been meaning to make myself one. His had the jaw filed to point which he says is the best forholdng flat and sq stock
adam - Monday, 11/17/03 14:23:04 EST

#51 buffalo post drill: any one have a picture or dwng of the auto feed lever for a #51 bufflo post drill??
- jimbob - Monday, 11/17/03 14:57:18 EST

The Buggalo catalog I have does not have a #51. It does have a #61. Could you have mis-read the number? At any rate, if you will take a picture of your drill and email it to me, I'll try to match it up for you.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/17/03 15:10:25 EST

JimG: Your welcome, it was my pleasure to copy those photos of my great-grandfather's shop.

The "Hands Off" on the blower was also perplexing to me too. After talking about it with the Guru, we came to the conclusion that no maker of blowers put that on them from the factory. It was added in the shop for one of a few reasons. Peoples hands getting minced in the fans or someone(little kid or such) cranking it and burning up a piece of work. Knowing how obsessive I am about such things, this doens't sound to far out.grin

Glad you enjoy them!

Caleb Ramsby
Caleb Ramsby - Monday, 11/17/03 16:00:37 EST

Blowers: I have a Champion 400 and a 200 blowers. All working very well and on their own stands. Was asked if I would sell them. I do dont know what to ask for them.. Any hints
(think canadain funds)

No snow yet
Barney - Monday, 11/17/03 19:04:55 EST


I sold a Champion 400 sold about a year ago for $75 USD. I don't know what the current exchange rate is.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/17/03 20:55:25 EST

sell in the Great White North: Barney,
I would say that you need to know if you will need these blowers again. ALso I would say that who you sold to makes a difference. I mean to be honest if it is someone who is starting out and if they are sincere I would probably cut a good deal, but if it is someone more experienced and perhaps of better finacial condistion the price might go up.

But then again, I lucked into a free champ 400 and a free buffalo electric for my free Champion forge... :)
Ralph - Monday, 11/17/03 21:13:20 EST

flame cutting: Adam:

You're right, I've never seen that mentioned in intructions. Yeah, preheating makes it easy to flame cut many steels that are considered "impossible" to flame cut. Even (believe it or not) cast iron! If you're cutting 1" thick material you might consider doing the preheat in the forge, sure cheaper than fuel/oxy.
- grant - Tuesday, 11/18/03 00:52:15 EST

retirement?: Hmm, I usually answer to that question, "you mean quit doing what I love to sit around doing nothing? Yeah, that sounds like a worthwhile goal." You see? It's just not applicable.
- grant - Tuesday, 11/18/03 00:59:38 EST

eBay item: Stumbled across this item during my weekly eBay search. It's not what I'd call a traditional name for the item in question, or maybe it's the right name, wrong item. I'm not sure which way to go with that.;-)
eander4 - Tuesday, 11/18/03 01:08:00 EST

Hotdogs: That is what I would expect a tube steak to be GRIN!
I would say that the name is as good as any. Not a traditional tool as made, but it would do a good job for its intended purpose
Wayne P - Tuesday, 11/18/03 08:41:48 EST

eBay Item: I would classify it as a "bridge", used for working fork tines. Saw something very similar in one of my b'smithing books last week (which?).
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 11/18/03 09:13:16 EST

Lindsay Books: CALEB: Whilst you are perusing the goodies at Lindsay's, click on "The Land of Gingery" at the bottom of the page. Interesting looking gas forge plans.
3dogs - Tuesday, 11/18/03 10:54:59 EST

Blower Price: Barney, The most important question is: is the customer on his way into town or is he on his way back from town?
- adam - Tuesday, 11/18/03 12:43:13 EST

flintlock pix: Paw Paw, flintlock pix (finally) headed your way via e-mail, also 2 knives, etc.
Ellen - Tuesday, 11/18/03 15:49:30 EST

grader blade: I think, I've had enough. Been torching out the blanks and then hammering them to finished form. The forks are no big deal but the handle is a LOT of work with a 4# hammer at yellow heat. If I let it cool to orange I cant do much more than planish and if I look away and let it get to pale yellow, the steel falls apart in crumbs. So far I have ruined two this way and my arm is telling me that I am going to soon going to revisit my old troubles with tendinitis. I think I will settle for forging out a short handle stub and welding on a piece of 1/2" sq mild.

Flame cutting cast iron. Grant - thanks for the tip. I must give that a try. It could be very useful.
- adam - Tuesday, 11/18/03 15:52:00 EST

Pride: I am going to be out of town for a few days. So I hope y'all behave while I am not here....(grin)
Going down to San Diego to watch my youngest graduate into being a full fledged man and productive member of our nations fighting forces. Yup on Friday Nathan is going officially become a United States Marine Corps man.
Ralph - Wednesday, 11/19/03 03:49:31 EST

welding question: I remember a thread on welding that referred to a link to an excellent resource site. Does anyone remember that? I am looking to buy a MIG welder and need some information.
Papa Doc
PapaDoc - Wednesday, 11/19/03 11:45:10 EST

OUCH: Surrived the Dr's visit, now trying to survive the recuperation---just when the last good weather may be coming through here and I'm supposed to do *nothing*...agh well I can read "Steel Before Bessemer" when ever I'm between meds.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/19/03 11:45:43 EST

thomas: I always heal quicker with a good looking nurse taking care of me;) yeah my wife sure is great as well as patient with me! any way, I hope you heal quickly!
dragon-boy - Wednesday, 11/19/03 13:47:47 EST

copyright: do i need to copyright a metal insect?
- paul - Wednesday, 11/19/03 13:54:42 EST

Ellen: Funny you should mention flintlocks. I got home yesterday to find my Lancaster style longrifle flintlock kit leaning against the door. First thing I did when I got in was to put it on the kitchen table and open that thing up. Way cool. What became obivous was that I now need to get a good book on how to build that thing! Should be a fun project, and I sure look forward to shooting it.
Bob H - Wednesday, 11/19/03 18:59:33 EST

Marine: Ralph.. Don't blame you for feeling proud. Big step in any young man's life. Give him our best. But don't let him do carve the turkey next week. That bayonet drill is hard to get out of your system.
- Larry - Wednesday, 11/19/03 20:12:18 EST

Thomas P: Hope you recover real soon. I told you you were going to have to have that damn red hat surgically removed some day.
- Larry - Wednesday, 11/19/03 20:15:59 EST

Plans for leg (post?) vise?: Been checking around and can't find any. Does anyone know where I could get some plans?
Thanks in advance.
Professional Firefighter and amateur everything else I try to do...
- strube1369 - Wednesday, 11/19/03 21:55:38 EST

Hat: Thanks for the good wishes, I'm in the maximum discomfort stage---I hope! (I hope it doesn't get any worse---though Friday when they remove what's been left behind is not looking like fun)

Larry I can't get rid of the red hat! Last time I lost one my friends got me another---said it was how they tracked me at fleamarkets, conferences and now I know to take it off when I'm homing in on something *good*
Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/19/03 23:22:50 EST

post vise: did you want plans to forge a traditional vise? I did see some by Tom Latane. If you like I will try to dig them up. Otherwise there is a at least one fabricated leg vise in the sketch book at keenjunk
- adam - Wednesday, 11/19/03 23:44:58 EST

RED HAT: Thomas P; You wouldn't perchawnce be a member of The Red Hat Society, now, would you ? (ye grynne)
3dogs - Thursday, 11/20/03 02:16:21 EST

Stylish anvils: VBG
twisted anvils
habu - Thursday, 11/20/03 09:56:54 EST

Anvil Innovation, USMC, the Orangeman: Habu:

Obviously the first untitled is a "horseshoe" anvil while the second is a "lovers'" anvil.

Actually, if I came upon either of the first two in an industrial context, I would honestly assume that they were for some specialized operation.

Ralph: Tell him topalways pay attention to the Gunny; they're usually the only ones who know what's actually happening! Good luck to him, and tell him to keep his head down 'til he knows tha ropes. (...or as me old man said to me: "Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut.")


I love it when the doctor told me "no exertion." Right... Maybe your wif can strap you down to the bed. Mine just found "light duty" chores for me, like clearing up paperwork. ;-) Heal soon.
Visit your National Parks...
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 11/20/03 10:27:02 EST

forge: Today I stopped in to an antique/ auction store and saw a old forge. advertised as a ferrier's forge asking price was $150 minium bid had a buffalo forge blower on it other than about 50 yrs of rust max it looked brand new. my question is should This "antique" peak my monitary curiousity? or am I just wasting my time?
dragon-boy - Thursday, 11/20/03 11:54:09 EST

strapped down: Bruce---the Doc said *no* exertion!

Feeling better today so far; running through books at a fast rate---no research ones though as the pain meds result in odd notes...

This weekend sunny and in the 60's and I can't even ride around *looking* at things...

Still counting my blessings (and my anvils! several of my "friends" have volunteered to clean my shop for me, late at night with trucks equipped with hoists, *very* quietly, and for my own good!)

Thomas P - Thursday, 11/20/03 13:31:18 EST

Thomas? What's wrong wit yer? - umm scratch that... :) Why are you in bed on pain meds? I scanned the posts but couldnt find any explanation. In any case you have my sympathy and wishes for a speedy recovery. Used to be when I was home and incapacitated with a fever I could pass the time profitably watching Sesame street but daytime TV has gone to the dogs - nay to the rats! Anyway, get well soon!

Graderblade saga: Welded on handle worked very nicely. Managed to salvage a burnt piece this way which was satisfying. Surprisingly, it forgewelds very sweetly. I had been thinking there was a lot of chrome. I must try and find out whats in a grader blade.
- adam - Thursday, 11/20/03 15:15:47 EST

flintlocks: Bob H. Go to and click on the header which says "Books and Videos" and you will get some great book ideas with good reviews of the top books in the field. Personally, I used the pix from "Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle in its Golden Age" by Joe Kindig, but there are a lot more books out there now. Their forum is good too, and you'll find some from this site posting there...
Ellen - Thursday, 11/20/03 16:06:48 EST

Teufel Hounden!: Ralph - Congratulations on your son's graduation from boot. Definitely something to be proud of. Bruce is right..the Gunnys and Tops know what the plan is, but it's the NCO's that run the show (Corporals and Sargeants). It will be an experience he will never forget. I know I haven't.

Semper Fi!
- Matt Berge, Sargeant, USMC 1991 - 1998 - Thursday, 11/20/03 17:02:54 EST

Looks more like a bull dog than a Devil Dog, to me! (grin)

Paw Paw - Thursday, 11/20/03 17:42:14 EST

POST VISE: I would greatly appreciate plans. I hope to attempt to build one. Keeping in mind, I am still a "wanta-be" and am only in the process of building my first forge. Pounding iron is one of the many things I hope to work my way up to amateur status...
- strube - Thursday, 11/20/03 19:26:31 EST

vise plans. the link thru Habiron main page is broken but you can find it at in their images dir at

Look for page 1 vise notes.jpg , page 2 etc

heres the link to page 1

This is an advanced forging both because of the technique needed and also because of the size of the stock. It's hard to imagine doing this without a power hammer or a good striker (I have neither).

In Rob Gunter's shop, I saw a mini post vise he had forged - about 4" high. Beautiful work - completely out of my range
adam - Thursday, 11/20/03 20:46:17 EST


I made the link hot for you.
Paw Paw - Friday, 11/21/03 10:34:19 EST

Ralph: Congrats on your son's graduation. You must be very proud.

PawPaw. Thanks
adam - Friday, 11/21/03 12:23:16 EST

Thomas: Get well soon, but don't look at your shop without the meds in hand... I didn't want to bother you by asking, so I just cleaned it out... I mean UP... myself. On het bright side, you now have room for a all your books since all that junk [and, ooooh such wonderous "junk" it was] is gone. LOL

Kidding of course, and you'd usually know that, but I'm not sure what meds you're taking. :)

BTY, I finished the big shield with a repousse of my own helm on it. Well, not *finished*, as I still need to roll the edge after making a tool with the right curve.

Get well soon!!

- Mike - Friday, 11/21/03 13:56:31 EST

Bull Dawg: Paw Paw - that would be our four legged mascot. Not to be confused with the the two legged, lean, mean, fight'n machine that is know by many names...Leatherneck, jarhead, Marine, and my personal favorite...DEVIL DOG! Ohhh rah!!
- Matt Berge (IYAOYAS) - Friday, 11/21/03 17:14:44 EST


> Leatherneck, jarhead, Marine, and my personal favorite...DEVIL DOG!

Those are some of the names. There are others too, but this is a family foruum. (big grin)
Paw Paw - Friday, 11/21/03 17:29:25 EST

Forge Price:
Not enough description. Price is about right and very good if all the parts are there. Hand operated or electric? If hand then crank or lever? Rusted bearings will work for a short while then go all to pieces. Is there oil in the blower?

Most of these small forges are called rivet forges and have a flat bottom and no fire pot (just a grate). They work but are not very good for welding.

Go to Centaur or Kayne and son and see what parts cost to build a new forge. OR save the money and build one with a home built fire pot.

- guru - Friday, 11/21/03 17:34:48 EST

ironworker needed: Sorry to introduce a business-related thing here, but we really need some help. We have an established chandelier business, and we're looking for an experienced ironworker to make chandelier bodies from our designs. We're looking for a professional--no hobbyists, please--someone who can get things done in a timely fashion. We're located in New York, but you don't have to be. If you're interested, please write me at
gbh4 - Friday, 11/21/03 23:44:32 EST

Devil Dogs....: Well we got our Marine home safe and sound.....
Sometimes I wonder if was ever that young.....
Nathan is a lean mean fighting man now. It was so god to see him at the Pinning, and watching him in formation and also how he interacts with other troops and civilians. Big changes. And to be honest, it was good to be back on a base again. Was good to see my Dad. ALl in all it was a good trip. Only down side is that Nathan will be in Iraq by March.(sigh) But it IS something he wants....
Ralph - Monday, 11/24/03 11:18:42 EST

taps: well not that it matter really, but I purchased an antique tap and die set for $10.00 today. as one might expect there were some taps missin and one die gone too. Someone tried to replace them, however they got the wrong sizes. Now I still think this was a good deal! I got the set on some old advice of ppw's " the old sets are good or they would not still be around." Well At least it was something like that. Anyways I'm happy with them and that is what counts.
- dragon boy - Monday, 11/24/03 11:57:36 EST

Dragon Boy:

Actually I think Jock is the one that said that, but it's true, none the less. And that was a heckuva buy!
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/24/03 12:27:12 EST

Sorry to be late on this one, been busy with work. The best book I've seen for telling you what and what not to do and how to do it (or not!) is "The Gunsmith of Grenville County" by Peter A. Alexander. I'd post the whole reference, but I don't have it here in the office. He'll get you started right, but the best thing to do is to look at originals of the style you want to build. Look in museums or wherever they may be found. Get as many books of pictures as you can. Join one of the major organizations like the KRA or the CLA and go to the shows. It'll take a while, but the sense of esthetics you will get from looking at originals will stand you in good stead when you build your own by helping you avoid the common pitfalls of new makers. It's very easy to leave too much wood around the lock, or to leave the forend too thick, or to worry too much about the relative symmetry from one side to the other. Also, if you've discovered the website I'll call "track of the doglike thingy", don't believe a word of their descriptive copy. Good pictures, though!
Alan-L - Monday, 11/24/03 13:32:28 EST

flintlocks: "The Gunsmith of Grenville County" is the first book in the reviewed list on, and they have a link to the publisher for ordering it.
ellen - Monday, 11/24/03 14:55:09 EST

Boone Pasture Party: Anybody know when the 2004 event is?
robcostello - Monday, 11/24/03 15:04:17 EST

posting: hahahahah i am the first to have posted to day yipee! do I get a prize? Any Ideas for christmas presents for the wife?
She keeps saying I don't need anything, and whatever you do will be fine. Bull pucky, I know better than that!
- Dragonboy - Tuesday, 11/25/03 15:09:19 EST

Christmas presents: D-B,
I suppose it all depends on what you have made for her already. But I have several ideas.
Ralph - Tuesday, 11/25/03 16:49:23 EST

A bouquet of roses. About a dozen. Made by a blacksmith. (grin) Color them by selective heating and spray them with flat clear Krylon.

Works very well! (grin)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/25/03 18:51:37 EST

Old weapons: For those who would be weapon makers some great photos on e-bay
ebay weapons
- habu - Tuesday, 11/25/03 19:53:05 EST

the use of a treadle hammer as a kitchen aid: with saftey notes. gallows funny
kitchen hammer
habu - Tuesday, 11/25/03 22:18:08 EST

habu: You may have answered a question I've had since grade school. When digging holes around the old school yard in central Arkansas (not a malicious act, I was planting daffodils for my teacher), I uncovered an old axe head that very strongly resembles the "UNUSUAL 19th FRENCH TRADE AXE INDIAN". My Grandpa always said it looked like an axe made by a drunk blacksmith. I guess he could very well have been wrong....but then again, he might still be right. There's an awful lot of wine in France. ;-)

eander4 - Tuesday, 11/25/03 23:49:12 EST

TH as kitchen aid: Habu; Yeah, that was my thumb and I still hear about it from blacksmiths and the thumb itself.
Hawkeye Helve Hammer...I wanna sell her...she needs love.
Also 3'bellows, um, recoverable...central Ca.
Pete F - Wednesday, 11/26/03 03:25:54 EST

I must say that a lot of his "viking" axes look to have the wrong eye configuration to my first glance.

Of course you can go to the store and buy medieval patterened axes in Germany still---I guess I'm not happy with the "hype" of most stuff on e-bay. If I see another "Unusual" "Rare" set of factory made nippers advertised as "hand forged" blacksmith tongs I think I will puke.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/26/03 10:26:22 EST


> If I see another "Unusual" "Rare" set of factory made nippers advertised as "hand forged" blacksmith tongs I think I will puke.

Chuckle! I am not alone!
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 11/26/03 11:04:27 EST

drums: Hey all, while cursing at mach 1 on the highway, I found a most splindid treasure, a brake drum from a rather hefty truck! yippe now I can up grade the forge from the tire rim I've been useing.
Dragonboy - Wednesday, 11/26/03 11:58:39 EST

ebay axes; ebaxes?: Did anybody else notice that that guy's item #2205291290 seems to have a rare genuine hand-forged stick welder bead along the blade/eye junction? Now that's unusual!
Alan-L - Wednesday, 11/26/03 12:09:59 EST

I too enjoyed the "Patient Revenge of The Abalone". :)

Onetime when I missed the work on the anvil and the hammer bounced back fast and darn near clocked me, I was led to wondering what lieI could tell to the nurse in the ER. I sure as hell wasnt going to say that I smacked myself in the head with a hammer!
adam - Wednesday, 11/26/03 13:31:20 EST

DB@Mach 1: Dragonboy, I, myself have been known to curse at at least Mach 5 on I-75
3dogs - Wednesday, 11/26/03 14:15:02 EST


> I smacked myself in the head with a hammer.

Oh boy! That's almost happened to me a couple of times, and I'd never thought about what to use for a cover story.

I know, I'll blame it on my girl friend, Wilamena Fisher!
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 11/26/03 14:33:43 EST

Foster, not Fisher!
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 11/26/03 14:35:44 EST

Alibis: When my wife was working as a nurse in a Detroit hospital a guy came in to the ER with all eight fingers severed at the middle joint. She asked him what happened and this rocket scientist had the following story:

While trimming several hundred feet of privet hedge with a pair of hand shears, he got the bright idea to mechanize the process. He fired up his trusty ol' mower and, you guessed it, grabbed it by the deck to hoist it up to the hedge top. End of fingers.

I suppose I can imagine having such a total lapse of sense as to grab a whirling 4HP knife blade, but no way would I ever admit it! By the time I got to the ER, the story would have been something like the Mafia trying to get information out of me one finger at a time and how tough I was to hold out for eight whole fingers. Or something. Jeez!

Of course, the dude sued the mower manufacturer for not having sufficient safety devices and warnings, etc. Colected big bucks, and now we all get to have those annoying "deadman" handles on our mowers. He shoulda picked it up with his ears!
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/26/03 14:44:06 EST

We had a similar case in our area. Man ran a 3-wheeler into a treee, high speed. Knocked both eyeballs from the socket, lost them both. Later sued the manufacturer because there was no warning label specifically stating that if you ran said vehicle into a tree, it would knock your eyes out. He lost the case. Some folks in our dept. call adventures like this "natural selection".
Brian C - Wednesday, 11/26/03 15:31:44 EST

Paw Paw & Thomas P,

I'm with you, ref. the "old & rare". I put these folks into the same basket with the T.V. weather people in Thomas's city that put the blonde out on the freeway every time they get a snow flurry and announce that "storm team" is on the job. Your basic overkill.
Brian C - Wednesday, 11/26/03 15:35:52 EST

oops: Yeah that too, however I meant Cruising, not cursing
Dragonboy - Wednesday, 11/26/03 15:42:57 EST


DB, looks like you and I are on a typo roll! (grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 11/26/03 16:19:29 EST

Thank you: I have spent over an hour on this website, and wanted to say thank you to everyone who has contributed. I am still in my research phase, and am reading as much as I can about blacksmithing. My wife has an overwhelming urge to do some blacksmithing. She is a singer / artist, and we have both learned alot here. Thank you
- Adam - Wednesday, 11/26/03 17:11:52 EST


You are quite welcome, ask any questions you have, we'll either have or will try to find the answers for you.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 11/26/03 18:03:23 EST

Thanksgiving: To all here in the USA, Happy Thanksgiving!
I know I have a lot to be thankfull for. Both the kids will be home.
Ralph - Wednesday, 11/26/03 19:43:14 EST

Triphammer: 50# LG trip hammer for sale:
good working order. pictures available.
it is in North Dakota.
delivery posable.
Coldiron - Wednesday, 11/26/03 19:47:46 EST

cursing at Mach-1: Boy, I thought the Army taught me everything there was to know about the fine art of cursing, but I've never been able to get much above 250mph. Boy you guys must be good! And I even driven I-75, and only got to about 1251 GRIN
ptree - Wednesday, 11/26/03 19:58:20 EST

Thanksgiving: Hope all of you out there have a good one. Even if it's not a holiday where you are.
- Larry - Wednesday, 11/26/03 21:12:49 EST

Well with the advent of good weather info on the net I have sorta given up on TV, the real truth is that I watch less than 1 hour a week and many weeks none at all. I sometimes used to watch the news but lately they spend the whole show telling you wnat they will have later on the show---and then that report is less time than they spent hyping it earlier! Many times it's info that I don't need/none of my business. (Why do I need to know details of crimes over 1000 miles away?) Or the latest media hyped crisis---My kids do watch tv and were flabbergasted when I told them that driving around town is several times *more* dangerous than all the "The Sky is Falling" crisises that the TV had covered this year...

(don't reckon they will want me on a jury either...)

Been using my 1 firebrick propane forge to hot forge silver; there is a *big* irish dance contest in town Saturday and my Irish LH group has been asked to demo some stuff for "colour"; unfortunately no heat sources allowed so it will be working on pre-formed silver that can be "worked" a bunch before needing annealing.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/26/03 21:31:10 EST

cursin' at Mach-3: The Airforce can teach you to curse at Mach-3

habu - Wednesday, 11/26/03 22:37:32 EST

Cursin': ptree; It was the cursin' I was doing at Mach 5, not the cruisin'. I drive to Detroit to work every day. Life in the fast lane among the brain dead.
3dogs - Thursday, 11/27/03 01:33:34 EST

Irish Dance Contest: Thomas -
Ok, your mention of an Irish Dance Contest has my wife and her kids drooling. Can you tell me where and when? Is it open to the public?
Mike M - Thursday, 11/27/03 10:34:31 EST

hammer to the head: I managed to clock myself over my right eye while removing the rubber coller in the rear spring of a Dodge Duster. when I woke up under the car I wandered back to the house for a cool one and almost gave my father a heart attack I was covered in blood later figured I had been out for 5 min or so gave me a split eyebrow and 12 stitchs .. the nurse in the hospital asked how it had happened .....and auto acident just came out of my mouth no way was I going to tell anyone I had knocked myself out while installing lifting shackles on a Duster :)
Mark P - Saturday, 11/29/03 13:01:45 EST

hammer head: Note to self: Don't leave the 28oz framming axe on the top of the 10' step ladder again. Grin no comment
habu - Sunday, 11/30/03 19:34:47 EST

wooden forge: novel fan on this one
ebay forge
habu - Sunday, 11/30/03 22:51:34 EST

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