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

This page is open to ALL for the purpose of advancing blacksmithing.

November 2004 Archive

WHY THREE FORUMS? Well, this is YOUR blacksmithing forum to use for whatever you wish within the rules stated above. It is different than the Slack-Tub Pub because the messages are permanently posted and archived.
This page is NOT a chat - it is a "message board"

Our chat, the (Slack-Tub Pub), is immediate but the record of it is temporary. DO NOT post permanent messages there. We refresh the "log" every 24 hours now and your message will be lost.

The Guru's Den is where I and several others try to answer ALL your blacksmithing and metalworking questions to us.

Please note that this forum uses an e-mail encryption system that prevents spam harvesters from collecting your e-mail address.

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

IR protection at forge: Seth, We sell special #2 shade glasses just for this purpose.
- guru - Monday, 11/01/04 12:36:48 EST

The lack of new iForge demos is a result of a lack of time and money. My time has been increasing needed to make a living (to support anvilfire) as well as to administering our server. Economicaly I have been going backwards. . .

I have needed full time office help for over four years but cannot afford it. CSI is helping but we needed a minimum of 4 times the current membership for dues to cover costs so that I would not need to do other work to make ends meet.

CSI is currently finalizing setting up as a non-profit so that we can apply for grants and such to try to get in a better position. Being able to have a full time office helper to contact possible advertisers might pay for the help BUT I cannot afford to find out. The soonest that CSI grants could possibly kick in is spring of 2006 unless we are very lucky and find a private insitution with mid year funding and a short application process. . .
- guru - Monday, 11/01/04 13:40:13 EST

. . . typos. . . thats what I get for talking on the phone and typing at the same time. . .
- guru - Monday, 11/01/04 13:42:32 EST

SPAM Hacks:
Larry, Etal,

Spammers and hackers are constantly testing EVERY server and EVERY URL on the internet looking for holes to send their spam or virus. Our server has over 100 URL's on it and spammers try to hack the FormMail on every one, every day, several times a day. If you have a late version of windirt and a full time (high speed) connection then YOU are running a server and the hack attacks come every 10 minutes or so.

The only protection for a full time connection is a hardware firewall. NO software firewall is secure.

Roughly half of the virus mail today is being sent by spammers trying to compromise your machine in order to use it to send their filth. . .

This is hacking. Not just playful hacking but hacking for monetary gain by organized criminals. It is a huge problem and it effects everyone on the internet. It effects more people than terrorism AND costs our economy more. Unlike other problems this one CAN BE FIXED. There are laws on the books and these guys are not that hard to trace. If ANYONE at the FBI was working on the problem there would be daily arrests and procecutions and the problem would go away.
- guru - Monday, 11/01/04 14:08:10 EST

Hey guru thanks for telling me about the shades. I just bought some from you guys as well as a pint of ITC-100.

Just as a question to everyone else, is this stuff (itc-100) really gonna be worth its money? I've got 2inches of kaowool and a one inch castable refractory with soft firebricks blocking down the openings. Hope it is ;)

- Seth - Monday, 11/01/04 19:55:27 EST

When I worked over my Whisper Momma, we painted all of the Kaowool with ITC 100. The time from cold to hot dropped by about 30%! It gets the work hotter, with less gas. And it doesn't gouge when I get in a hurry sticking stock back in and miss the other end port. Your mileage may differ, but I'll be surprised if it is much different.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/01/04 20:01:06 EST

Casting Steel and Iron: To begin with im very cheap. Maybe im not so cheap as I am just curious as how to make my own tools but anyway Ive been wanting to cast some anvil tools for awhile now and have only got serious about it in the last week. Im having a hard time finding any information on casting steel for anvil tools, Would a sand mold work for this? Would I need a special curcible? Would i need a special furnace or could i build an enclosed area on my forge with fire bricks? Would melting steel burn out the carbons, if so how would i add some back to it? Sorry for a load of questions Thanks in advance.
- DanCrabtree - Tuesday, 11/02/04 01:38:21 EST

Anyone out there who has built an iron entertain center for their home? I am thinking about the project for X-mas for the wife. Same old same old,wont due. Fancy is not nessesary, just tastefull. Thanks S. Tilton
- S. Tilton - Tuesday, 11/02/04 04:03:41 EST

iForge: Jock, if I understand your comments on this, there is no point in sending in fresh iForge material because you dont have the time to set it up?
adam - Tuesday, 11/02/04 09:52:39 EST

UV/IR protection for gas forges: Gas forges get no hotter than coal forges. If your face gets hot, you might need IR protection (but I doubt it). Most glasses and plastics are fine IR shields. Forges don't get hot enough to produce UV.
- Bruce (NJ) - Tuesday, 11/02/04 12:48:31 EST

Forge UV: I agree. There is no significant UV to speak of from a gas forge, at 3000F or less it just isnt hot enough. I suspect it's about the same as an incandescant light bulb. Arc welding runs about 6500F and that does produce enough UV to damage you. I think this business started with a comment from R. Reil's page where he was hyping the T Rex burners. All in all his pages are a great resource but this comment was over the top. Also, one doesnt usually feel UV as "heat" but rather as sunburn!

Like Bruce says, most of the energy from forge fire is in the IR
adam - Tuesday, 11/02/04 13:24:08 EST

welding in a gasser: I have been doing well with my gasser welds over the last year or so. I just finished six pairs of tongs (12 welds) in which I missed only one and that stuck on the second try. A list of the tricks I use:

1. Hot forge: color is subjective but it looks almost white to me. At this temp the pieces will stick together readily.

2. Upset to the next stock size or larger. Not only does this give you something to hammer down but it also holds the heat longer. Also, take some care that the upset ends go together well - this will reduce fumbling at that critical "sticking time"

3. Soak at welding temp: There is a tendency with gassers to take the work out as soon as it comes up to color but the center may still be cool - this means it wont hold welding temp for long and as soon as you squish it toghether and bring the weld into contact with the cold center, you get a shut.

4. I use borax with a generous sprinkling of brake drum turnings to stick the weld. These are cast iron and I think they mainly help by scavenging oxygen. I got them for the asking from an auto shop that turns brake drums. The turnings also help in trying to close a flap. I coat the entire end of the work piece including surfaces not being welded with borax. Turnings go only on the mating surfaces

4. Dont push the weld. Forging a partly closed weld after it drops below welding heat will just make cold shuts. Use several welding heats.

5. Flaps. First PUSH the flaps closed with the hammer so that they are in contact with the main body of the weld. While sticking up in the air that thin end will chill below welding temp. Give the flap few secs to warm up or reheat in the forge and then LIGHTLY hammer closed. Be sure to weld the flaps before flattening out the weld bulge.

6. Most important. Tongue gripped lightly between the left eyeteeth (right side if you are a lefty) and think only pure thoughts (you only have to do this for a few seconds so its not that hard)

7. The weld gets three tries and then it's a visit Mr Lincoln. Life must go on.

That's my bag of tricks. Perhaps some of them will be useful to you.
adam - Tuesday, 11/02/04 13:46:22 EST

Welding: Adam, I'll add your post to one of our FAQ's or demos on forge welding. Yep, smiths have been praying to a variety of gods since the first forge weld. The Japanese are quite ritualistic about the whole.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/02/04 13:58:46 EST

IR and UV:
Many people confuse the two and when glasses are mentioned that filter both the reader sometimes believes that both are present from the source when they are not.

UV (Ultraviolet) is generaly only a problem when arc welding but is also a problem for outdoor workers, thus the new "safety sunglasses". Special lenses are required for arc welding (used to be Cobalt and still is in many cases). UV from arc welding will also burn exposed skin and requires tight clothing to prevent burns. Common ones are the split of button up sleeves and the V of unbuttoned collars.

IR (infrared) is produced by ANY warm body. The hotter the body the worst the IR. Exposure to intense sources of IR such as forges and melted metals in foundries has proven to cause a variety of eye ailments. The exposure has been found to be cumulative and your lifetime exposure (as with all radiation) has a direct relationship to desiese.

Where the problem comes in is that there is no good data on what level is too much and at what level damage starts to be cumulative. IR is everywhere and at normal levels should be harmless. The lack of information includes the recomendations for eyewear for anything other than common welding processes. So foundries and forges are on their own for making recomendations and even when welding there is flexibility.

The general rule is to wear as dark a shade as you can stand without creating a situation where you cannot work. If a shade is too dark you should use the next up shade.

There are two considerations to this general rule. One is that the darkest arc welding shade is only a problem in low light. In good bright light equivalent to normal outdoor light you can see very well with #10 and #12 shades. All of a sudden the need for self darkening shades goes away AND the rule to lighten the shade as needed SHOULD be to increase the ambient lighting FIRST.

The second consideration is general safety. A shade that is worn while doing general tasks in the shop including just walking around should be light enough that you can see trip hazzards and such. For general work in the small forge shop the #2 shade works well for this purpose. In shops with larger heat sources a darker shade may be recommended.

- guru - Tuesday, 11/02/04 14:21:45 EST

ITC and Black Bodies: ITC does several things for your forge:

1) It reduces dust production from lightweight insulations. The dust is an inhalation hazzard and thus the coating makes the forge safer to use.

2) As noted it protects the lightweight insulation from mechanical damage.

3) A UNIQUE property of ITC-100 and ITC-296 is their high IR refelctivity thus improving the efficiency of forges, kilns and furnaces. Fuel use is reduced and mazimum temperatures increased.

4) Another uniqe property is its VERY high temperature rating (BP of 5,000F).

Others coatings can do items 1 and 2 but as far as I know only the ITC products do all four.

I've had long discussions with the inventor of the ITC line and he says that a "black body" is strictly a theoretical construct and that it does not apply to the real world. The fact that it is theoretical to the infinite degree also means that you can make no reasonable real world comparisons to it OR you can make data say anything you want.

Because of this confusion about a theoretical construct any comparisons or ratings based on it are pretty much useless. However, many authors use it thus confusing the issue even more. If you see materials supposedly compared to a "black body" then you should be suspicious of the rating.

That said, many people have published black body comparison ratings for ITC products. However, ITC does NOT for the reasons stated above.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/02/04 14:38:38 EST

Chain saw troubles: Sorry about not being blacksmith related, but I knew you guys could help me out.

I have one of three saw chains that I cannot get to cut straight, and it's driving me batty. What are the possible reasons for a chain that will not cut straight. It has no broken teeth. I have re-sharpened it several times being careful to follow the proper angle. Hell I'm not even sure which set of teeth left or right I should be checking closer. From the operating position the saw pulls to the left. Any light you can shed on this will be greatly appreciated.

Steve in New York
Smulch - Tuesday, 11/02/04 14:48:18 EST


First, Make sure that the angle is the same on BOTH the left and right facing teeth. And that both the left and right facing teeth are equally sharp. Check to be sure that none of the cleanout tabs are bent.

Second, Make sure the bar is seated level and has nothing under it where it is clamped to the saw body. Even a piece of sawdust between the bar and the body can cause some accuracy problems.

Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/02/04 15:33:52 EST

Thanks Paw Paw: I'll check under the bar first, if there is nothing there I'll just have to measure every tooth.
Smulch - Tuesday, 11/02/04 15:55:46 EST

Chain saws, Bar none: I'm a happy camper again...
Thanks Paw Paw
It was gunk trapped under the bar, not much, but when I cleaned it out it cut true and straight.

Steve in New York
Smulch - Tuesday, 11/02/04 16:45:34 EST

Steve: Go with all Paw Paw told you, but there are a couple things more you might check. First check the amount of wear in the slot in the bar. The constant running of the chain in the slot will wear it to the point that there will be a lot of slop( ie. Side clearnce between the sides and the tang on the chain). Enough will let the chain lay over at an angle and cut at an angle that will cause the bar to lock in the cut. Another more probable cause is improper sharpening. It is extremely hard to keep the same angle when sharpening both sides of the cutters with a hand file. Even if you are using a power grinder the stops might be off slightly. Well worth the price to take the chain into a good saw shop and have them sharpen it just to check.
- Larry - Tuesday, 11/02/04 17:02:36 EST

VERY old anvil for sale. Pictures at:

This one is a beauty. I'm torn between saying it is Spanish, (due to the long low configuration) or English (since it has a horn and a heel). It's definitely VERY old, no cutting table, no pritchel hole. Been used a lot. But I'm inclined to say this one belongs in a museum, not in a shop.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/02/04 18:29:50 EST

Stan- I posted this in the gurus den, but I will do it here too- a good place to look for ideas for entertainment centers is he is a guy I knew in Ventura Ca who makes em for a living- he makes a whole bunch of different designs, and he has already worked out most of the variations possible.

Dan- casting steel is an order of magnitude more difficult than casting aluminum or brass, or even iron. Very seldom done in a home environment, as a good deal more metallurgy is required to be known, along with more expensive and more complicated equipment to do it. Not to say it cant be done, but it isnt worth it for most people.
There is a home casting group on Yahoo- I would go there and ask for answers.
- Ries - Tuesday, 11/02/04 21:01:53 EST

Think about it a bit, and you'll understand why that causes in-accuracy. Anything between the bar and the saw body will cant the bar at an angle to the handle. If the obstruction is in front of the bolts, the saw will cut at an angle to your right. If it is behind the bolts, the saw will cut at an angle to your left. It only takes a very little bit. I've gotten in the habit over the years of wiping off the saw body and the bar anytime I have them apart to change the chain. It makes life a lot easier to do it before it starts cutting funny than to do it after it starts.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/02/04 22:13:32 EST

A single long raker will make a saw cut crooked and bind in the kerf. Doesn't take much.
- AK-ID - Wednesday, 11/03/04 03:26:49 EST

rivits: I have a quick question. The other day at an action I bought for the historical blacksmith shop that I vouluteer at a whole drawer full of rivits. I didn't take much notice of all of the rivits but knew that I had all different kinds of rivits. Well when we all took a closer look at these rivits we found a small jar of Exploding Rivits, much to our suprize. Being the mischevious types that we are we were forced to try them out in the name of all things that go BOOM. My question is what is or was the original intent and or pourpus of these Exploding Rivits, and about what time did they aprear on the market.
- Tim - Wednesday, 11/03/04 09:15:57 EST

Paw Paw, I don't think that's a very old anvil, just an ASO cast by a no-name foundry and so not following "anvil style parameters" I've seen another one like it in person. Note how the edge chipped in flakes---not like wrought iron.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/03/04 10:32:21 EST

sCrap in N. New Mexico: Thomas here's the rundown:

Los Alamos County Landfill. Maintains a scrap metal pile and allows scavenging. Waste from the county utilities, dozer parts, truck axles, leaf spring, furnaces , appliances and LOT of exercise machines in working condition :). From time to time I find heavy sections of steel. This source is erratic but rewarding especially since the community is quite wealthy. Many of the appliances and lawnmowers are in working order. It was a lot nicer when the Lab used to dump their stuff there. Open 7 days a week 8 am to 4:30pm. Gauranteed satisfaction or double your money back! :)

Lab salvage: Last thurs of every month at 12 am (I think). This is all the lab excess that didnt get picked up by the recycling contractors. Often some amazing stuff. Prices range from $2 to $50 for pallet lots. It's something of a footrace. Everyone starts at a line at the front gate and on the supervisors signal you walk as fast as you can to your target pallet. No pushing or shoving (at least not within sight of the supervisor). The good stuff is gone in 30 secs. I havent done this for a while. I did enough elbowing when I lived in the Middle East and dont have the appetite for any more.

Lab waste stream: This is really only accessible to badge holders. The other day I retrieved from a lab dumpster; 3/8 B&D drill industrial model - needed new plug, 1 hp electric motor - needed power cord and cover plate, 50 x binocular microscope - the only thing I could find wrong with this was that it was upside down - turn it right way up and it works just fine! I have also picked up a fair amount of heavy plate (2", 4" & 6") from this source - and yes I have a geiger counter :)

Black Hole: Ed Grothus - Our town eccentric who runs a one man campaign for "nukeular disarmament" sic. Ed runs a salvage business mostly based on lab stuff and maintains huge lot full of technojunk which he calls the "Black Hole". Its an amazing place to walk through but buying stuff from Ed is a trick. Actually, I dont think he really wants to sell any of it but if you catch him in weak moment he might part with some of his crap for less then you would pay for gold.

There are also local auctions when some old engineer gets recycled into the Great Scrap Heap and a basement containing a complete machine shop is sold off but this town is full of machinists and there arent many steals.

If you need grader blade, leaf spring, truck axles, heavy structural steel or heavy plate, electric motors ... I have a back yard full of that stuff and you are welcome to help yourself.
adam - Wednesday, 11/03/04 11:16:08 EST

Ed Grothus is a man of great courage, a former Los Alamos lab machinist who has stood up for what he believes in-- abolition of nuclear (Oops! Sorry, make that nucular) weapons. This he has done for the past 31 years at least, despite enormous pressure in the hothouse company town atmosphere of Los Alamos, where disagreement is literally seen as treason, from the Feds, from Los Alamos county, from neighbors living next to his wonderful yard. As for his prices, I have bought tons of steel and hardware from him and if you do not believe in a man making a profit in his business, then, why, my goodness, you can always attend all the surplus sales and stockpile the stuff yourself.
Joaquin Murietta - Wednesday, 11/03/04 18:37:26 EST

Tim, I have heard of explosive rivits, they were an eary blind rivit, stuck into a hole that did not allow bucking the rivit, and a soldiering iron was applied to the head to pop the blind end. The ones I heard of were for aircraft, and had to be kept in a refrigarator prior to useing.
ptree - Wednesday, 11/03/04 20:54:22 EST

man of great courage: Joaquin I am sorry to have offended you. I hadn't meant for my remarks to be as unkind as you seem to have taken them. That's my fault.
adam - Wednesday, 11/03/04 23:28:54 EST

Adam-- Thanks. Having grown up in company towns-- Johnstown, Pa., Dundalk, Md.-- I know how suffocatingly conformist they are. Los Alamos is the kind of town where, for example, when the U.S. anounces as it did back in the early 60s that it is resuming nucular testing, the folks there rejoice: "Yipppeee! More overtime!" It is also extremely conservative Christian. For Ed to take the stand he has against nukes, to call his A-frame warehouse (which once was a real church, actually) a church, to walk around town as he sometimes does in a bishop's cassock, to tell the county he will continue to fill his yard with goodies, thank you-- all that takes a lot of guts, and something else in short supply up on the Hill-- a sense of humor. The Black Hole is a vital resource (all the more since the lab quit selling metal to individuals), is all I am saying.
Joaquin Murietta - Thursday, 11/04/04 10:55:43 EST

non-conformity and courage: something we all need more of.
Alan-L - Thursday, 11/04/04 11:11:27 EST

eBay item #6129221214
Paw Paw - Thursday, 11/04/04 13:33:25 EST

Black Body: Jock,
I didn't catch what you were talking about in your posting where you mentioned "black bodies." Black body radiation is a useful concept, approximated by real-world objects. Objects would deviate from theoretical black body radiation if, for example, they dynamically absorbed certain energies, say by melting (!) or by fluorescing (which probably would happen only with rather high energy components). So, how does this relate to ITC, etc.?
- Bruce (NJ) - Thursday, 11/04/04 14:46:09 EST

OK im dumb (maby)....: I have played around with alot of rr-spikes and only recently have been asked what is the third symbol.
I'm sure you all are formealure with the "almost" standard "H C" marking but the backward and upside down lower case "Y" is what im asking about.. Is it a grade marke like those found on some hard bolts or something different entirely?
The particular spikes are comeing from the local UP line of course with full permission only.
- stone - Friday, 11/05/04 05:33:15 EST

or maby its a mangled "x" . to looking at other spikes and dont know if it is the same marking or different looks to be the place where the hammer strikes the head to drive it into the Tie
stone - Friday, 11/05/04 09:39:15 EST

Hammer Handles: I stopped by the Home mega-get-lost-and-never-get-out Depot yesterday. They had some nice octagonal hammer handles there for a couple dollars. I also picked up some pigskin gloves to try out on my tong hand. The cheap cotton/suede ones seem to be too thick, and the pigskin fit tight, and was flexible. We'll see how long they last. Any bets?
- Tom T - Friday, 11/05/04 12:42:44 EST

gloves: Personally I don't use a glove on tong hand but will cut out ht efingers of one of the pigskins you refer to and use it to avoid blisters on the hammer hand. After a few days of hammering the palm is built up enough I don't need/use the glove.

I don't use a gasser either so that would change things I think.
Mills - Friday, 11/05/04 13:37:56 EST

Smithing in Central America: Hello fellow Blacksmiths,
My name is Mike Deibert. I am currently a Missionary/teacher in Managua, Nicaragua. Originally I am from Bellevue, Ohio. I would like to find other blacksmiths in Central America. Anyone out there live in or know someone who lives in Central America and wants to do some smithing? As part of my vision I plan to teach blacksmithing to the locals. If anyone is interested in visiting Nicaragua and would be interested in sharing your knowledge and skills, I would love to talk to you about it. Please contact me if you have any interest at all.
- Mike Deibert - Friday, 11/05/04 13:41:02 EST

gloves: I've got a gasser, and even if the stock is sticking out a couple of feet, it will be too hot to hold after about 15 minutes. Maybe I'm just a wuss. I haven't tried the glove without fingers on my hammer hand. I'll try it out. I've got plenty of right hand gloves.

We should setup a glove exchange. Lefties send in their righties, and righties send in their lefties.
- Tom T - Friday, 11/05/04 13:57:43 EST

Mike, the United Nations Food Org, published 3 manuals for teaching blacksmithing, it was written WRT Africa; but might be a good resource for you.

Gasser: if I need to be able to hold on to a piece by hand I will make a "blast shield" for it---often a fire brick laid on top of it to diffect the dragon's breath and or keep a sopping wet rag on it "upstream" of where I need to hold it.

Thomas P - Friday, 11/05/04 16:07:51 EST

Central America:

It is hard to contact you without an e-mail address. Our system safely encrypts them if you use the input box below the text box.

A friend of mine who lives in Costa Rica part time and has recently shipped equipment like a weld platten and power hammer down there. He found a nice anvil localy and we will be building a gas forge for his shop there in a few months. He is in the North of CR so not too far from Nicaragua.

In San Jose, CR there are a couple smiths. One from Venezuela was the host for Frank Turley early this year. He knew a few other local smiths.

If Nicaragua is anything like CR they are already using a lot of metal fencing and security grates but of poor design and quality. However, this may be all the economy can afford. But you never know. There may be folks that can afford the extra.
- guru - Friday, 11/05/04 16:22:22 EST

Exploding Rivits:
Hmmmmm. . . and another long hmmmmmmm. . .

Can't be like exploding bolts that are used in space capsules and rockets to be darn sure that a dang tight fastener comes loose NOW. . . upsetting an exploding rivet would be a little harry so it can't be a fastener like and exploding bolt.

I suspect the exploding expands the far end to make it tight in a blind hole. . . a pyrotechnic expansion fastener.

- guru - Friday, 11/05/04 16:55:33 EST

As I posted, the exploding rivits were aerospace stuff. blind rivits, and in an exotic alloy that had to be refrigerated prior to use. A precip hardening alloy if I remember. Last heard discussion of them in the 1960's.
ptree - Friday, 11/05/04 19:39:57 EST

Exploding Rivits: like I said I don't have a clue but thanks for the ideas on what they might be used for. I have tried a couple of them like I said we tired them out. If you take a hammer to one setting the head of the rivit on the face of the anvil it takes a couple of good hits to get them to explode/exspand. You can also get them to go off by puting them in the fire. The idea that they would be used for a blind hole is one posibility. Thanks for your thoughts if there are any more ideas please let me know, this does have my quriosity.
- Tim - Saturday, 11/06/04 22:19:06 EST

Pure Iron: Hi All,I am looking at potentially bringing in a load of Pure Iron,but first am looking into if there is enough demand to bring it in.If it is possible could any of you out there let me know if you might be interested and what sizes/quantities you might be looking at. Thanks!
- Mark Emig - Sunday, 11/07/04 19:30:42 EST

Mark: I could be interested. Quantity and size will be dependent on price.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 11/07/04 21:24:08 EST

registration: Some time back (6months or so) I put in the info. to get reg. and never heard back I put it back in -- maybe this time I did right.--Sandpile
- sandpile - Sunday, 11/07/04 21:31:03 EST

Mark: I am interested - could go for 500# or more but it all depends on price and shipping options. If we can nail down those details, I wouldnt mind bundling orders from smiths in my area and perhaps get a few tons.

I think the big problem with this product has been that in the US smiths can get fancy tool steels for about $2 per lb (or less) and this makes it hard to see paying that much for stock. Once this stuff gets into the market and people have a chance to appreciate its advantages that might change.
adam - Monday, 11/08/04 11:51:36 EST

Pure Iron: Mark, We had a posting on that subject from the Rocky Mountain Smiths via Rome Hutchings. They have orders for a considerable quantity but need to bring in ten tons.

From previous posts and letters:
The folks that previously were importing PI have 20,000 pounds of 1/4" round. Don't ask me WHY 1/4" round but that is what they have left.

The fellow that had PI made in the US was the late Roger Duncan. He had 20,000 in 1/4" flats of various widths and still had most of it when he died. I have not had any kind of response from his heirs but most of the 10T was left. It was a replacement for Pure Iron that he called "Double Ought Iron" or 00Fe. (.003% C). It was high grade very pure "precursor" for making alloy steels and such where the mill needs a known starting point.

The problem with Roger's plan was that the top end architectural folks need 5/8", 3/4", 1", 1-1/4" stock. The biggerst thing he had was 1/4" x 2" flat. I bought a few pieces of 1/2" and 3/4" by 1/4" from him. The reason he went with 1/4" was the ONE billet he bought could be rolled to one thickness and then sheared into bar.

Yep, more size problems.

The "Double Ought" material is probably still available from sources in the US if you search. However it has the same problem of the minimum being many tons and then finding someone to roll it. On the other hand, there is 20 tons of the stuff in odd sizes languishing here in the US (if it has not been scraped).

So, there are options and problems. If you want PI in 10 ton lots it is available but in problematic sizes. WHY folks ended up with these sizes and quantities is a serious question and perhaps a warning. Ten tons of unsellable iron is enough to put anyone into bankruptcy or in the least kill their profits for next decade. . .

For all this trouble there ARE several people with old wrought bridge pieces to sell. Of course much of it is too large. And then the other (above) is too small. In either case there is a LOT of it.

What they are (or were) doing in England at an old rolling mill is taking wrought of this sort and welding it into billets under an old steam hammer of about 4,000 pounds and then rolling the billet into bar or usable sizes. They claimed to be "manufacturing" wrought iron but all they were doing was recycling it.

Now all that 1/4" round would be normal material for many smithys at one point in time. Almost everything large made of wrought was built up from smaller stock. There is a film of a great huge ship anchor about 20 feet in length being manufactured and the whole is being made of bundles of rod that look to be about 1/2" or 3/4". Bundles and bits are welded on over and over largely by hand with a team of strikers.

So maybe the solution is for someone to setup shop and convert all this odd sized stuff into more usable sizes.

Several decades ago I ordered a rolling of 7/16" square. It was about a ton but took 3 years to get rolled. However, things have changed and many US plants are in trouble. AND at least this gives you the size of the billet a small plant would roll. SO. . . perhaps instead of setting up a rolling mill the trick is to contract the rolling and produce the necessary billets. I am contacted regularly by people ton hammers to sell. . .
- guru - Monday, 11/08/04 17:56:14 EST

Mark: I'm interested as well, but would only go for a small order(#50 or so).
- Tom T - Monday, 11/08/04 18:00:55 EST

Pub registations:
I have been swamped of late but have caught up on a couple hundred. Will be getting to more soon. . .

ABOVE "people WITH ton hammers" to sell....
- guru - Monday, 11/08/04 18:02:02 EST

welding: cold rolled vs. hot rolled: I was reading Bealer's book the other night, and he made mention that cold rolled stock was much more difficult to weld than hot rolled. Has anyone noticed this to be the case? What little welding I've done has been with cold-rolled, and it doesn't seem too bad, as long as I have at least 2 operating burners at any one time.
- Tom T - Monday, 11/08/04 19:06:41 EST

ĦShills on eBay!: I don't have all the particulars, but I just now heard on the TV news that some folks were shilled (a euphamism) out of about $90,000 via eBay bidding.
Frank Turley - Monday, 11/08/04 19:24:26 EST

OO Iron: Does anyone have a contact for Roger Duncan's nephew? I hear tell he is willing to sell the stock.
- Jymm Hoffman - Monday, 11/08/04 21:27:10 EST

I've had trouble welding cold rolled steel before. Grinding a clean surface on it seems to help---very embarassing to demo welding up bandsaw blade and strapping iron stacked 20 high and then blow the weld on a 1/2 CR rod doubled back on itself for a fireplace poker...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/09/04 11:41:12 EST

Smithing in Central America: Sorry, forgot to leave my email address. Anyone interested in visiting or smithing in Nicaragua may contact me at:
Thank you,
- mike deibert - Tuesday, 11/09/04 14:32:55 EST

MIke Diebert: Mike,

Thanks for leaving the email address, I'll store it. I live not to ofar away, in the Virgin Islands, and am always hoping to get over your way for a vacation some time. If I do, I'll contact you ahead of time.
vicopper - Tuesday, 11/09/04 17:00:29 EST

welding CR: Not arguing with experience just wondering why CR should be a problem to weld? At welding heat the work hardened surface should relax.
adam - Tuesday, 11/09/04 17:44:56 EST

I wondered that myself, I didn't think it was a problem with the work hardening but perhaps the surface is "contaminated" with residue from the de-scaling and then neutralization of the de-scaling chemicals.

Since grinding the surface seemed to help and this wasn't deep enough to go past the work hardened zone.

If would be interesting to try this with HR that was similiarly de-scaled and neutralized as an experiment.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/09/04 17:55:05 EST

CR and welding.: Curious thing about mild steel. I usually have a hard time welding any of it. HR or CR. BUt the med and hi carbons steels and wrought are no problem.
Ralph - Tuesday, 11/09/04 21:07:04 EST

Faggot welds in mild: Odd thing one of the kids that I talk with was complaining that he couldn't get a faggot weld to go, he could make chain out of the same stuff all day long, but couldn't get a stupid faggot weld to take??? Curiouser, and Curiouser:-)
Fionnbharr - Tuesday, 11/09/04 21:36:30 EST

faggot welds....: It has been my expereince that most folks doing faggot welds do not really make any prep work first...... Seems to me that all welds need some prep, whether it is scarfing or something else. But that is just my nickle's worth
Ralph - Wednesday, 11/10/04 03:03:02 EST

Forge Welding: Posted this in the wrong place earlier :-/

Forge Welding

This set of instructions helped me alot when I was first struggling with the art of forge welding. Perhaps others who are having trouble mastering the technique will find it as useful as I did.

lazarus - Wednesday, 11/10/04 08:52:55 EST

McDonald rolling mill: Are the plans for the McDonald rolling mill still being sold anywhere? I'd like to pick up a copy.
- Tom T - Wednesday, 11/10/04 09:46:19 EST

Med and High C welds at a lower temp and Wrought is fairly self fluxing which helps it not oxidize. Sounds like a temp/oxidation factor in your welding.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/10/04 10:47:18 EST

Request for donations: Hello folks,
I just found this website a few days ago and it has been a great blessing to someone living away from others with the common blacksmithing interest. Currently I am a missionary/teacher at a small missionary school in Managua, Nicaragua. I would like to ask the help of anyone that may be interested.
I plan to start a class in blacksmithing for my students and for the locals in my neighborhood. I have found some of the tools I need but there are others that I am having a hard time finding. Is there anyone who may be willing to donate any of the needed items? I will be traveling to my home state of Ohio at Christmas and could bring stuff back with me if it was sent to my house. Here is what I would like to bring back: 2 or three hand blowers, hardie tools, tongs, cutoff tools, fullers, and how-to books. I will make do with the little I have but it sure doesn't hurt to ask. Basically I would bring anything that may be used in a smith shop. Please email me directly if you have something you would like to donate. Blowers would be the most important to me at this time.
Thanks and many blessings to you all,
mike deibert - Wednesday, 11/10/04 11:39:52 EST

blacksmiths school: Mike, a few questions:

Is the smith school part of your missionary work?

What size shank on the hardy tools?

What sizes in tongs?

Do the students read English.

Can you use electric blowers?
adam - Wednesday, 11/10/04 12:53:18 EST

Mike, *Where* in OH? The MOB, Mid Ohio Blacksmiths around Columbus OH might be able to donate some stuff if you could hit them up for it.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/10/04 13:31:58 EST

The fagot weld: It helps to hammer from one end towards the other, assuming there is some length to the work. It tends to squeeze the gradoo out as you go. I lap weld 7/16" cold rolled rounds to my hot rolled tong jaw rein scarfs, and it is usually at a low sweating heat. It takes more than one heat to finish the job.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Get off the subway at W. 57th Street and 7th Avenue.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 11/11/04 00:29:08 EST

Frank: What are you using for flux?
- Tom T - Thursday, 11/11/04 15:03:12 EST

I get mine from Home Hardware. The first thing I do is remove all the clear coat(varnish)Removing that removes the change of Blisters etc.. Works for me. I also try to find Oak Wagon Wheel spokes.. Cheers all from the North.
- Barney - Thursday, 11/11/04 19:28:47 EST

Fagot weld: I spent last night trying to weld in my new NC delux (2 burner). I think it gets plenty hot enough but I still didn't have much luck.

I was using EZ weld flux and I had (iron filings?) welding to the stock every where except in the joint.

By the time I get this down I'll need a new liner too but I've decided that I'm going to master this no matter how many liners (an buildings if need be) I have to burn up. LOL

Question to those who know how...When doing a fagot weld do you leave the stock seperated to get welding compount in the joint and tap it together on the anvil?

I think I'm going to make a long spoon so I can place the flux without removing the piece from the fire. I don't know if I'm cooking the flux too long or what but when I finish it looks like some one scraped an stick welder all over it and never got an arc going. Yuk!
- Mike Ferrara - Friday, 11/12/04 10:07:16 EST

Coal Supplier - Ontario: Change of Coal Supply ownership in Ontario.

The ownership of Schaner Coal Co. has changed hands. In a letter to the Ontario Artist Blacksmith Associations 'IRON TRILLIUM, magazine Harvey Kuntz announced his retirement. The Schaner Coal Co. is now under the ownership of Robb Martin at a new location.

THAK BLACKSMITH/ARMORER at 2282 Floradale Road, Floradale, Ontario N0B 1V0.

Tel (519)669-0721 Fax (519)669-0943
Don - Friday, 11/12/04 10:23:08 EST

The smith class will be part of a class I am creating called "functional art". I will also be teaching smithing to some of the locals on weekends. I am using this art as an outreach to a community with 50% unemployment so folks can learn a trade.

The hardy hole on my anvils is 1".

I would take about any tongs you would give so size isn't a concern. Just something that would fit in a suit case.
My school kids read english. I will be translating any materials for the local people.

Yes, I can use electric blowers but we have trouble with power failure often. Hand-crank blowers would be best but I will take what I can get. Thank you for your response
mike deibert - Friday, 11/12/04 11:27:50 EST

Regarding the expoding rivets: May I suggest not using them for building tongs? Still, they sound like fun.
- AK-ID - Friday, 11/12/04 20:56:52 EST

Forge liner damage!;-(: Mike if you just bought the NC, you should go back to the same supplier and buy some of the welding plates to use in your new forge!!! They are cheaper than the reliner kit! The other thing to do is to get in the store here on Anvilfire and buy some ITC100 and paint the inside of the forge, as well as the welding plates. I would probably get the ITC296 as well as a finish coat to boost your thermal reflectivity through the roof:-) The less heat you have going into your refactory the more is available to go into your work:-) Atleast in theory:-) But do try to protect your forge, if you prep things right you should be able to get several years of service out of one forge without relining.
Fionnbharr - Saturday, 11/13/04 00:52:09 EST

Sorry it took so long: To everyone that responded with my chain saw issue, Thanks!
Sorry I haven't responded sooner to say it, but it wasn't possible to. I put myself in the hospital by not paying enough attention to my stress levels. I'm home now and doing much better.

Let me take this opportunity to remind everyone that stress is VERY dangerous and can be fatal if you don't acknowlege it and deal with the causes effectively. Enough said, I hope.

Back to the chain saw, it is now cutting straight. Along with just cleaning out any build up of saw dust and oil gunk, I cleaned the bar grove out and removed a couple of burrs from the mounting holes of the bar. I do use a power grinder to sharpen my chains, but I use an angle guide to make sure I get the same angle on each tooth. There was a possibility that the teeth were not an even length, but they looked to be close. How close do they need to be, that I don't know. Also how close the depth guages need to be the same, I don't know. I can't find any literature that tells me. What I can't seem to wrap my brain around is, is it left facing or right facing teeth that if sharpened incorrectly will cause a chain to curve to the left while cutting?

Paw Paw, something behind the bar to cause it to be canted makes perfect sense that it wouldn't cut straight to the body of the saw, but my chain was curving during the cut, it wasn't just cutting at an angle inconsistant with the body.
In any case this is all just educational at this point because the saw is cutting straight again.

Thanks again,
Steve in New York.
Smulch - Sunday, 11/14/04 09:34:02 EST

I have had bars that did not receive enougn oiling and wore the bar unevenly. That will make every chain cut in a curved path. I have also had chains that hit somthing hard, like a bit of fencing in the wood,that were dulled that cut in a curve. The sharp side cuts faster, and the bar cuts in a curve away from the dulled side. This is pretty easy to do to yourself when cutting on the ground. You break through the wood and hit the dirt, and a rock will dull the chain, and usually not in an even way. I strive to keep the chain out of the dirt. I will cut almost through in many places and roll the log over if possible, then go back and make the little finish cuts. Saves a bunch of sharpening. I also use only real bar oil. everything seems to last longer.
ptree - Sunday, 11/14/04 09:44:31 EST

I was in the shop a few days ago and I was using the drill press, I turned it on and started to drill the hole for a hammer then all of the sudden the platform drops and falls off the drill press, I looked at it and the tube that holds the platform onto the drill cracked, It is also the tube that has the gears to rais and lower the platform. I tried to JB weld it back together and i havent tried it since i put hte JB weld on but something tells me that that wont work. I would have tried to actually weld it with a MIG but I heard castings wont weld like mildsteel, Is this true? Thanks for the help in advance
- DanCrabtree - Sunday, 11/14/04 11:56:45 EST

Broken drill press: Dan,

You're right, the JB Weld ain't likely to hold up. The quill feed puts a good bit of pressure on the table, which is multiplied by the distance from the column.

It sounds as though you have one of those RadioFreeTaiwan drill presses like I have. If so, they use some pretty low grade grey cast iron for most of their castings. About the only way to successfully repair it is going to be to braze it back together with brass rod. Preheating the pieces in te forge for a bit will make it a bit easier, but you'll still need a pretty good sized torch or rosebud to get the brazing heat. Post brazing, you 'll want to keep the whole piece warm and alow it to cool slowly.

If you have a gas forge that is big enough, just heat up the forge to a low red heat, then shut it off while you braze the casting. As soon as you finish the brazing, the forge should be down to below a black heat and you pop the whole thing in there and close the door. Let it cool down with the forge, like overnight.

MIG welding will concentrate too much heat in one area and result in stress fractures. And I've never seel cast iron MIG wire, either. (grin) YOu can sometimes get away with stick welding using nickel rod, but you still have the preheat/postheat issues and the nickel rod costs like sterling silver.
vicopper - Sunday, 11/14/04 12:30:35 EST

If you POS drill press is like my POS drill press, the tube you mention is a clamp, and carries the gear drive to the elevating rack as well.This will be a very unlikely repair for JB weld as Vicopper noted because it will have to carry both the clamp load as well as the down load from the quill. If the table is small and light, I would be tempted to make a simple band clamp from flat bar, with a mount for the table, and just raise and lower by hand instead of cranking. Good luck.
ptree - Sunday, 11/14/04 13:35:01 EST

Mig wire for cast iron, Broken collar: Vic, Dan, there are mig wires for cast iron welding. High nickel content. Pricey. $18 a pound and small quantities are FAR more. Works good for some things. Feeds hard, likes to break in the liner. Weld procedures have been a challenge to develop and MUST not be varied from for success for all the stuff we do with it. INCO makes it or has it made. Works really good for some TIG welding though. grin.

I agree that brazing is a good option. I like the slip on and clamp collar option best. No reason you couldn't make the collar so it holds the pieces together and everything still functions as it did, just a little bigger in diameter?

Might be better off to get a new casting or just make a new piece. Course, that may cost as much as a new complete drill. grin
- Tony - Sunday, 11/14/04 20:22:22 EST

Before I got any of the responds I attempted to MIG weld it because the JB weld fell apart the second i took the clamp off, but it didnt hold up either, the casting part was stressed as mentioned above and broke off, anyway now the switch to turn the lights on and the motor on are backwards, i mean like on is off and off is on..... go figure lol... Im gonna try and braze it tomarrow, if that doesnt work Ill try the special MIG wire or else the clamp, for some reason i feel im too lazy to raise it by hand lol
- Dan Crabtree - Sunday, 11/14/04 21:13:12 EST

Sgensh: Dan, Forget the mig for this repair. Do you have a basic stick welder or access to one? You can probably repair the collar using a machinable cast iron repair rod with an
AC stick welder. I'm not at my shop to look up the exact designation but I've had good luck with a repair rod from All States (part of Esab now) called I think super 4 -60. Weld it (even with AC) without preheat wrap in kaowool and use it the next day. If you have access to a tig torch Use that with silicon bronze rod to Heli braze it together. Again wrap in kaowool and let it cool slowly. The nickel rods work well in some applications but I've found braze welding or the repair rods to generally be better in these fracture repair situations.
SGensh - Sunday, 11/14/04 22:07:29 EST

Wasp Nest Flux: SGensh, no i dont have a stick welder, but i will braze it tomarrow.

Now for another question, Has anyone herd of using wasp nest for welding flux? I went through an old barn today and got a container full. I tried it our and it seemed to work but im still learning forge welding and im not very good at it. Well has anyone heard of using wasp nest as flux?
- Dan Crabtree - Sunday, 11/14/04 22:40:16 EST

Dan C.:
Yes, wasps nests (specifically mud daubers) have been used for flux. I have an old formula that I sometimes use.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 11/14/04 22:57:26 EST

mud dauber flux paste: I find it works better on wrought iron than on steel. It also helps to soak it into a paste to let the larvae and stunned spiders out before you use the clay! I have used it as refractory mortar on small cracks where the firepot sits in the forge table. Not as good as satanite, but better than plain mud.
Alan-L - Monday, 11/15/04 09:47:33 EST

Hmmm.... I wonder if that's where they got the idea for the celulose coating on welding rods from.
HavokTD - Monday, 11/15/04 10:04:14 EST

Doubt it. It's not cellulose, it's high-alumina clay. I fired a whole mud dauber nest once to see what would happen. It turned a nice stoneware gray color, and even glazed itself where the fly ash settled. Brittle afterwards, but that's probably because an open coal forge isn't really a pottery kiln type of atmosphere for heating or cooling...
Alan-L - Monday, 11/15/04 11:40:47 EST

welding cast: Rod designation is 909 it will be described as a true universal rod threw "lin weld" about a buck a stick.. works great if you dont wanna spend that kinda money go to the local hard ware and find e308 stainless accptably well for cast iron but if you use the stainless rod burn it in hot. not for the cast but for the sake of the rod if the flux dont glow it aint hot enough.. i have repaired the crank in a blue flame 250 with the 909 rod its a beautifull thing.
Stone - Monday, 11/15/04 14:37:44 EST

Ah, I was thinking of the paper type wasp nests, I guess. We don't have muddy wasps around here.
HavokTD - Monday, 11/15/04 17:28:00 EST

Take a look at a mud dauber wasp and their nests at;
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/15/04 19:51:49 EST

Nope, don't have those in my little bit of Canada. Must be cuz the mud freezes before they can make a proper scupture out of it. Time to move to some where nice and toasty with big, beautiful scrap steel piles. :-) Need a Roomey, Paw Paw???
HavokTD - Tuesday, 11/16/04 03:01:17 EST

Visitors are always welcome.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/16/04 09:04:32 EST

Its just dirt!: You guys are welding with dirt! Just cos its been chewed by a wasp doesnt change anything. Next time drop me a line, I'll send you some 20 Mule Team - works great and doesnt have any worms in it.

adam - Tuesday, 11/16/04 10:29:13 EST

dirt welding.....: Personally I think that a lot of flux use is more like a placebo. Yes I use flux ( 20 Mule Team) but I am moving towards fluxless welds. Of course I do not do SS welding and so do not need something to deal with Chromium etc.
Ralph - Tuesday, 11/16/04 11:01:29 EST

dirt welding: Maybe flux is a placebo but I need more because my welding isn't comming along too well. I spent some time yesterday making a spoon and poker so I can add flux in the fire without singing my ears and I'll be back at it tonight though. LOL
- Mike Ferrara - Tuesday, 11/16/04 13:55:26 EST

fagot weld: Hot dog! I hold here in my hand a piece of 1/4 inch round hot rolled folded back and perfectly welded to itself...and it won't come apart either. Now I realize that may not sound all that impressive but I worked like a dog to get it that way. LOL
- Mike Ferrara - Wednesday, 11/17/04 00:07:32 EST

Mike, welding is ALWAYS a big deal!
Ralph - Wednesday, 11/17/04 00:17:47 EST

Hi I was just wondering if anyone hear knows Brent Elder
Aaron - Wednesday, 11/17/04 01:05:40 EST

Anhydrous (sp?) Borax: I went out and bought a box of 20 mule team borax tonight and just got done drying it out in the oven at 500 degrees for 2 1/2 hours, It was very hard when I was done and like ceramic. Is this right? Should I pulverize it back into powerder, if so how coarse? Is anhydrous borax better than plain borax or is there not much a differnce? Sorry for so many question latley, I unfortontley missed the monthly hammer in here and now im loaded with questions and dont feel like waiting another month, thanks in advance and thanks for all the help with repairing the cast iron
- Dan Crabtree - Wednesday, 11/17/04 01:48:30 EST

Dan, I have not ever dries my 20 Mule team, and it works well. I did buy some anhydous borax, and to be honest I saw no real difference. Perhaps it foamed a bit less, but after a week the anhydrous had re-hydated.
AS for the hard newly made anhydrous, yes you need to grind or pulverize it back into smaller grains. About like kosher salt.
Ralph - Wednesday, 11/17/04 02:14:15 EST

Dan just whale on it with a hammer for a bit. I think the anhydrous is a bit better cause I get the piece back in the fire sooner rather than waiting on the "foam" to die down before shoving it back in.

BTAIM I never have made it on purpose. I just always catche the stuff that bubbles off the billets and over time my "can" gets full of crunchy stuff, whack it a few times and keep on using it.

For a demo borax container I use a "miniature barrel" they they sold full of wooden spoons---bought a couple of them cheap at the fleamarket and turned a lid for it that I hold on with a strap made from an old belt---use one of the old holes to fit over a sphere topped screw---very "old timey". Course when i travel overseas I use the little trial size boxes of borax---un opened...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/17/04 10:58:28 EST

borax: I prefer anhydrous because its nicer to use and doesnt wriggle all over the workpiece. But thats a small consideration and I havent seen any difference between anhydrous and plain old 20 mule in making the weld itself. Frank Turley uses 20 mule team so there cant be much wrong with it. Jock once said that if you heat the borax to 300F you drive off most of the water but it doesnt melt. I must try that when my anhydrous is gone.
adam - Wednesday, 11/17/04 12:36:55 EST

My method of using borax: I usually place the borax on the metal a bit earlier than most. I have found that if you put it on at a LOW dull red you will have almost no foaming. YMMV
Ralph - Wednesday, 11/17/04 14:55:29 EST

faggot weld: Mike - congrats! Save it. I still have my first weld.
adam - Wednesday, 11/17/04 15:27:55 EST

hi I was wondering if anyone hear knows a blacksmith named brent elder
Michael - Wednesday, 11/17/04 15:52:00 EST

LOL I did keep it.

BTW, I've been trying to get in touch with the guys at the Indiana Blacksmiths association. I've emailed both of the guys who are listed as contacts but never got an answer. If mark Thomas or Farrel Well sees this, get in tough please. If any of you guys know either of them, do me a favor and point them my way.

Mike Ferrara - Wednesday, 11/17/04 19:44:59 EST

Mike Ferrara,
For the IBA try the following,
Jean Eichhorn... copperrose at
Jennifer Hayden...Hayden0911 at
If no luck e-mail me. I am an IBA member.
ptree - Wednesday, 11/17/04 20:55:32 EST

power hammer noise reduction: hello my name is manuel tacus, im from Argentina. the fact is that i do have several problems related to the noise mi self-made power hamer makes. the only thing i know that could work is to fell the structure with sand.the question is how i could stop some of the vibrations that come from the stricking between the hammer and the anvil.
manuel tacus - Wednesday, 11/17/04 22:44:46 EST

Brent Elder: Michael, it would help a bit if you might give a small clue as to where you think he may be.
USA,Canada, NZ, Austrailia, Europe etc.....
Ralph - Thursday, 11/18/04 01:07:50 EST

Shipping?: I am thinking of buying a lathe from someone in Ohio - weights about 200# which is over UPS limit. Could someone suggest a reasonably priced alternative? Thanks
adam - Thursday, 11/18/04 12:43:53 EST

Shipping: Adam- you dont say where you want to ship the lathe to- but I am assuming continental US. Unfortunately, 200lbs is right smack dab in the middle of no-mans land. UPS, the US Postal Service, and Fed-Ex all deal with consumer shipping- light weights, high volume. That volume keeps their price down. And I can recommend freight forwarders who will ship a whole 40 foot flatbed weighing 20,000lbs across the country, right cheap. But 200lbs is LTL (less than truckload) common carrier stuff, and that is one of the worst deals on the planet.
Depending on where to where, you may be able to find a smaller trucking company- but the problem is most of them, like Yellow Freight or the now extinct Consolidated, would pick up your lathe with a small truck, take it to a terminal, unload it, put it back on a big truck, ship it to another terminal, unload it, then put it on yet another truck and deliver to you. Lots of labor, lots of money.
Sometimes you can find a real semi truck driver, who is going from where it is to where you are, and will throw it on, which eliminates all the middlemen. But mostly, with the price of diesel what it is, they dont mess around much with loads where the freight is under 500 bucks or so.
One thing you might do is see if there are any medium size trucking outfits that go from where it is to where you are- but to do that, you have to go thru the yellow pages, and talk to a lot of trucking companies. Look for "freight consolidators" and "freight brokers" and "freight forwarders" in your local yellow pages, and call them.
But my guess is, its gonna come down to a common carrier like yellow freight, and its gonna cost you $200 to $400 to ship.
Sad fact of life.
Its cheaper to ship a whole container from China sometimes, than to ship an odd shaped thing across the US. I can get a 40,000lb 40 ft container from Hong Kong for something like 2 grand.
This is why many people drive over and pick up themselves, if its under 1000miles.
- Ries - Thursday, 11/18/04 14:01:23 EST

One last thing- kinda stupid sounding, but did you get a quote from fed-ex ground? they will move heavy things, and 200lbs isnt really that heavy
- Ries - Thursday, 11/18/04 14:02:26 EST

Third World USA: The Guru has been periodically talking about how the US is turning into a third world country as manufacturing jobs go elsewhere.

Seems like a few other folks are starting to realize it: The other day (Tuesday?) the Public Radio program "Marketplace" ran a feature on Wal-Mart. Near the end of the feature, they had an interview with an official of a major California port (Long Beach?) who said something like "We send them cotton and get back clothes. We send them scrap metal and get back machines. We send them scrap paper and get back boxes. It's like we were a third world country!"

So at least some people are noticing. How long it will be before anyone does anything about it is another matter.

Just personally, I think the Yuan is grossly undervalued with respect to the dollar. I figure the honest value of the Yuan is somewhere around ten times it's current value. Of course, as Beijing cleans up its air in preparation for the Olympics, their costs will head upwards too. . .
John Lowther - Thursday, 11/18/04 16:50:37 EST

freight: Ries yes about $400, fedex, yellow freight etc .. but I did find one carrier who will do it for $150 ! So its feasible. Good to know for shipping anvils and the like. If it works out I will post the name
adam - Thursday, 11/18/04 18:14:12 EST

Adam, see if the lathe can be disassembled into several components and boxed separately. That can get you your lathe via UPS.
- John Larson - Thursday, 11/18/04 19:21:21 EST

Third World USA: Speaking of such...I just found out that my job is gone. I've spent the last 15 years as a manufacturing engineer and this will be the third plant that I moved to Mexico. Yep I'm one of the folks who has to move it and train the Mexicans before I get fired.

Before going into engineering I was a full time farrier and made a bit or branding iron once in a while. I'm going back to shoeing horses and selling whatever I can from the forge...I've had it with these 30 year old MBAs who couldn't "manage" to get themselves to work without help closing companies down on me. They're not just outsourcing assembly jobs any more they're outsourcing the engineering too! I just sold a bunch of stuff to try to pay off my students loans. LOL, I became obsolete before my education was paid for.

I think I'll go out to the garage and hit something with a hammer. LOL
Mike Ferrara - Thursday, 11/18/04 19:29:56 EST

Site I found: Dont know if many people knew about this site, I found it very imformational about the basics of blacksmithing, even a few advanced blacksmiths might learn a thing or 2.
The Site
- Dan Crabtree - Thursday, 11/18/04 20:59:26 EST

sorry I forgot to say I think He is somewear in Utah
- Michael - Friday, 11/19/04 00:09:32 EST

Food blender borax: I heard that if the borax cakes up in the oven, that you put it in a food blender to re-pulverize it. Haven't tried it.
Frank Turley - Friday, 11/19/04 08:49:51 EST

Mike, after being laid off; but hung on long enouth to see the folks I had to train for my job in a foreign country laid off first; I feel your pain.

I though long and hard when I ended up getting two job offers simultaneously. One was not as good as the other but it had a special virtue---outsourcing it's work overseas had a special term---treason---and you could get your boss thrown in the pokey for it...I really love my new job but I still sometimes miss that "special" virtue of that other offer.

I'd advise you to try one more time in your field or in a related area and this time focus your energies toward getting ready for the next time your out the door. Much easier starting a business when you are prepared than on a shoestring!

Thomas P - Friday, 11/19/04 12:07:19 EST

Food blender borax: I tried this. It smashed the plastic beaker of my $15 food blender. Plus I had to explain the mess in the kitchen
- adam - Friday, 11/19/04 12:43:54 EST

You didn't!!! ROTFLMAO!!

I broke ours by trying to make crushed ice out of ice cubes!
Paw Paw - Friday, 11/19/04 20:21:59 EST

I ruined a coffee grinder by trying to grind some cloves with my coffee beans..... Who knew cloves were so hard?
Ralph - Friday, 11/19/04 20:27:43 EST

You all are just using the wrong tool. When I was a mudlogger we used to grind up drill cuttings----stone! in a waring blender, industrial grade with the ribbed glass container and a regular blade. Had a couple of lines ground into the glass. One was for how much cuttings the other for how much water. The top had a tube on it to a gas chromatograph to tell us what was hiding in the cuttings.

When thge bust came my boss told me to take it home with me and we using for grinding dyestuff, dried beatles, wood shavings, etc.

Thomas P - Saturday, 11/20/04 00:00:25 EST

Blender Borax.: I my self use a stainless restraunt version two speed. After I smash down the "chunks" I throw soft fileings right in the blender herks and jerks a lil but no breaking the stainless lincoln rod 99 will weld cast iron but is 30 dollars lb...I also have a steady source of RR rail now anyone interested even have trolly rain from 1916 (it is stamped with manufacturer and date...i would rather trade then sell.
Stone - Saturday, 11/20/04 20:28:29 EST

Striker power hammer 88: Hey guys, have any of you heard much about one of these or have first hand experience with the Striker hammers? If so for how long and have you had any problems with them? their price seems to be right but I think they come from China. I'm asking this for friend who's head of smithing at a local small institution, so they don't have the money to make a mistake here. Thanks a bunch for your help guys.

- Stephan P - Saturday, 11/20/04 23:23:01 EST

New Mexico Horseshoers: Just finished a 1½ day workshop at Turley Forge with the N.Mex. Professional Horseshoers Association. I demoed a 16 ounce Morgan Horse toeweight shoe; W1 center punch; forge brazing a high carbon jar-calk on a low carbon shoe; S7 pritchel; trailered heel calk; square toe; horseshoe with forepunched holes; halfpenny scroll; twisting square steel; U.S. Cavalry style cropped heels; farriers' tongs with lap welded reins; and fitting tongs to 5/16" stock. We also discussed many topics including heat treatment and measuring the neutral axis of a curve to determine stock length.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 11/21/04 21:40:13 EST

power hammeer for sale: I have an early 1900's Baudry 200 # hammer I am interested in selling.I installed it in my shop about 20 years ago and rebuilt it from the ground up.Poured new bearings ,sewed new belts ,made a new wooden brake etc.It weighs nearly 7000pounds as best I remember.I really don't know what it is worth.Could anyone out there give me an idea of value.It also is powered by a 10 h.p. single phase motor run thru a phase converter into a 7 1/2 h.p 3 phase.
- mark - Sunday, 11/21/04 23:05:30 EST

Adam's Lathe: Adam; In what part of Ohio does the South Bend lathe currently reside ?
3dogs - Monday, 11/22/04 03:04:35 EST

Lathe: Its in Lakewood
adam - Monday, 11/22/04 09:37:12 EST

Horseshoe workshop: I forgot. We hogged out one other item. Punched an eye and worked on a creasing fuller, the tool that makes a nail crease in the shoe.
Frank Turley - Monday, 11/22/04 10:29:28 EST

Mark since you hammer is located in Greenland it has only scrap value cause it would cost too much to ship it. Now if it was located on the east or west coast of the USA then it would be a different story! Or it other words---location is a sizable factor in selling one of these beasts...

ThomasP - Monday, 11/22/04 10:59:33 EST

Horseshoe workshop: You farriers ought try and get along. What did you go and punch him in the eye for?
- adam - Monday, 11/22/04 11:10:03 EST

Hey guys. This may seem like a dumb question, but I'm about to try my hand at making a knife out of an old iron railroad spike. My only worry is, how do I keep it from rusting?
Seth - Monday, 11/22/04 16:01:27 EST

Spike Knife: Seth,

I wouldn't worry too much about it rusting, since it won't be that great a knife, anyway. Railroad spikes simply are too low carbon a steel to make a decent knife. Yeah, they look cool, but they simply won't hold an edge. So you can simply oil it with linseed oil or varnish it to keep it frm rusting. When there is no finish on the sharpened portion of the blade, it WILL rust.
vicopper - Monday, 11/22/04 17:03:41 EST

its true that it wont make a good knife compared to tool steel. Most high carbon knives have about 60+ points of carbon that is .6% carbon in the steel. HC rail road spikes only contain about 30 points of carbon or .3% . You can use super quench (a brine mix) to help harden it a bit more or else do what I did since I didnt have any super quench made I over heat the blade to a yellow and then quench in cool water. I did this on a RR spike axe and it holds a good edge but the edge is ground with a thick convex grind. I recommend it as a decorative knife, but doing the overheated quench it will hold a slightly better edge than with out. Atleast thats what I think, Also rail road spike knives are pretty heavy to be carrying around as a using knife, put a mirror polish on it and set it up for display.
- DanCrabtree - Monday, 11/22/04 17:40:06 EST

I'd say that most knives range a bit up from 0.6 as many of the alloys are more in the .8-1.0 range and some are above it. Bout the only commonly used alloy I can think of that's around .6 is 5160. While the lower alloys around .6 will harden as hard once you get above the eutectic you can start getting carbides for edge retention.

Thomas P - Monday, 11/22/04 19:46:20 EST

I forgot to tell you how to keep it from rusting, I use vegtable oil or mineral oil, it works like a charm if you take care of the knife. You can also use polyerothane (sp) or other clean enamels. You can also use wax, grease and many other things.
Thomas, thanks for the information.
- DanCrabtree - Monday, 11/22/04 20:26:12 EST

I'm alive and doing fine!: Hi gang and Happy thanksgiving. Hav'ent been on in a while and wanted to let you know im ok. Just busy tring to make a doller and keep my marrige together. take care/ Stiffy
- Stiffy - Monday, 11/22/04 21:27:31 EST

power hammer: Thomas P. seemed to think that the power hammer I have and am seeking info on is in Greenland.I live in Greenback,Tennessee.Which I think is still in the good ole usa.Sorry if there is some confusion.I would still really appreceiate any i9nfo any could give me on value and where I could sell this beast.It's a great hammer and needs to be used by someone.
Mark N.
mark - Monday, 11/22/04 22:31:40 EST

I'll bet the erudite Thomas P. knew,or at least suspected, you were in the U.S. He was just giving a light-hearted tug on your chain(as he often does)to point out that location is a critical factor when guesstimating a price range. We're an international forum, so sometimes it actually does get a bit confusing. I suspect Jock (Guru) or one of the big-tool junkies will provide an answer shortly.
eander4 - Tuesday, 11/23/04 00:05:30 EST

Greenland?: Mark, hey he got the "Green" part right which is pretty good considering he had nothing to go on. Thomas is just pointing out that you gave us no info about your location and left us to assume. Could have been worse, not long ago he assumed some poor guy all the way back to New Zealand!
adam - Tuesday, 11/23/04 09:41:49 EST

New Zealand is a perfectly lovely place even if Modor is there...

There was a 250# Beaudry sold off the Powerhammer page (see Navigate anvilfire) anybody know what the selling price was on it?

Sandpile sent me some rain; I'm going to refuse acceptance of any snow though. Happy now that we got the first load of wood in and stacked and tarped though it makes it hard to leave the "warm room" and get work done in the cold shop.

My daughter made a cherry and peach pie last night, all from scratch just to help me get into practice for Thursday I bet...eating pie warm from the oven on the daybed covered with a flokati in front of the woodstove with my wife listening to rain hit the windows. Life can be really nice at times.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/23/04 11:44:13 EST


Sigh. Pull up a chair for me. I'll think myself there as things are getting really crazy here.

Logistics Administrator = Cat herder, and the darned felines are going every which whay but where they're supposed to.
Monica - Tuesday, 11/23/04 14:56:01 EST

Yeah, I'm back at work too trying to integrate a project that includes parts coded by folks in different countries speaking 4 seperate languages... At least I should get some shop time over the long weekend.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/23/04 15:27:53 EST

YAHOO: I finally got the Yahoo Foto site straightened out. I just approved 4 pending memberships, so we should be back on track.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/23/04 16:45:42 EST

Link to 25# Little Giant on E-Bay for sale.
- Ron - Tuesday, 11/23/04 16:58:13 EST

Thanks for the help with the RR knife. It's going to be a gift to a friend. I'll probably just make a little display for him to keep it on instead of use.
- Seth - Tuesday, 11/23/04 17:12:28 EST

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I am going to the promised land (Lexington, KY) for turkey day. That will be a nice change, usually I have to work.

Larry- if you see this and are in Lex. over the holiday give me a call, Dad is in the book, same as my name.
Brian C - Tuesday, 11/23/04 20:20:26 EST

powerhammer: I'm new to this chatroom stuff so you folks will have to excuse this poor ignorant hillbilly.but thanks for the info and maybe somebody will come up with an estimate.I did post the same note to the guru so maybe I'll get an answer there.
mark - Tuesday, 11/23/04 21:34:09 EST

Early this year Carhartt was selling a welding jacket made of Nomex. Totally flame and spark proof. Now they don't sell that any more as the main material, just in the cuffs. Now they use something called Indura, a mix of cotton and something said to be flame resistant. Manufacturer, WestTex, says Indura's better. Chuck Roast sells a Nomex fleece sweater-type jacket. WorkRite sells Indura. The Carhartt person seemed a tad vague to me about why they dropped Nomex. Anybody got any experience with either one? I'm tired of wearing so much wool under leather these winter days at freezing and below in my shop that I can hardly move. I hate cotton, just despise it: no warmth whatever, and soaks moisture like a sponge. And holds it. Decisions, decisions! Many thanks for any first-hand experiences.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 11/23/04 21:51:44 EST

Nomex: Miles,

As a volunteer firefighter I wear a nomex hood and it does a fine job protecting my head and the part of my face not covered by the SCBA mask.

On the other hoof, in my regular job I will wear said hood when doing traffic control in severe cold and it does a great job there also.
Brian C - Tuesday, 11/23/04 22:20:19 EST

I stumbled across a hammer on the PABA site that was identical to yours and listed for $6200. It had some tooling and spare parts with it, but that might give you an idea.
eander4 - Wednesday, 11/24/04 02:03:08 EST

Don't know about that Nomex, but starch works as a retardent,or, back up from the fire! But that could be a slogen for West Tex (no imports)Sorry Uncle Pick! Have a good holiday AND give Thanks for the Right reason,God Bless...J
- Jimmy - Wednesday, 11/24/04 02:04:54 EST

I hadn't heard about starch---you sure about that? But *borax* is a fire retardent, you can soak a cotton shop apron in a borax solution to keep it from conflagerating around the forge or welder...

Mark, this ain't a chatroom and more than a few of us come from the hills, don't worry about it, just think of it as a bunch of your friends standing around the back of a pickup jawing and expect the same leg pulling and sass you would find there. We are pretty good about keeping the "earthy humour" in check though as this is a site frequented by women and children and we are afraid that if we started letting go they would join in and just plumb embarass us!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/24/04 11:17:41 EST

Mark: Welcome to Anvilfire. Just a little ragging dont pay it any mind. :)
adam - Wednesday, 11/24/04 11:29:19 EST


Actually, this area is more of a message board than a chatroom. Most chatrooms are "instant" in nature, two or more typing messages and answers back and forth to each other in real time.

Thomas was teasing, as noted above. And I'm not trying to give you a bad time, I'm trying to help. (big grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 11/24/04 14:06:00 EST

Just what I need on top of all the sweaty Thermax and wool, a starched or Boraxed apron. To go with my wing collar. For comfort and ease of movement, don't you know. Hey: a closer look at the WestTex website reveals the statement that hot ferrous metal clings to Nomex, so it's no good for welding, cutting, foundry work. But Indura, they, say, is the cat's meow. (By coincidence, they happen to make Indura.)
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 11/24/04 20:24:59 EST

SCAM?: I have had someone offering to buy a piece of machinery but they want me to take a check from an "associate" thats is for more than the amount of the machine pay the difference to there shipper and give them my machine....Guy has been hurry hurry hurry about, didn't ask any of the important info about the machine just wants to make the deal as fast as possible. Seeems like a scam to me.
- Chris Pook - Friday, 11/26/04 13:58:25 EST

Scam indeed!: Yes Chris, that is a scam that has been going around for some time now. Run away!
vicopper - Friday, 11/26/04 14:38:22 EST

thats what i figured...
Chris Pook - Friday, 11/26/04 14:41:50 EST

The scammers email addy: pat monye

this is the guy who's trying to pull off the out everyone.
Chris Pook - Friday, 11/26/04 14:43:37 EST

oh didn't work right.....anyways he goes by the name patrick moyne from
Chris Pook - Friday, 11/26/04 14:44:49 EST

scam?: So how does this work? The check bounces and the "shipper" keeps the cash?
adam - Friday, 11/26/04 17:55:31 EST

There are a couple of variations, that's one of them. Also, somehow charges keep adding up, and eventually you are out a bunch of money for a piece of crap.
Paw Paw - Friday, 11/26/04 18:22:52 EST

Brian C, Jimmy, Thomas P-- Thanx much to all for your input re: Nomex, Indura, starch, Borax. I finally went with Carhartt. They cut every corner they can, but I know the dealer. More anon, after a few arcs have been struck, some cuts burned.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/27/04 00:38:31 EST

Adam's Rubble Forge:
Adam, did you ever end up getting pictures of your Rubble-Roaster forge onto the internet? I'd like to see it :)
T. Gold - Saturday, 11/27/04 00:44:10 EST

Rubble Roaster: TG, not yet - after a series of prototypes I am finally making a keeper. I plan to take pix as I go and post those with some drawings - perhaps as a Blueprint for IforgeIron.
- adam - Saturday, 11/27/04 02:17:00 EST

Home-made anvil: When I started Smithing I couldn't afford an anvil, so this is what I did. I foung a good sized and strong tree stump, I heated some scrap sheet metal and hammered it on and around the stump, then I used hot rivets to tack it to the stump. Works just as good as an anvil without blowing $800.
- Ely - Saturday, 11/27/04 02:18:47 EST

Sheet metal anvil????: The only thing a sheet emtal anvil would be good for is photographs, unless you're talking about "sheet" metal around 4" thick. What does the work in an anvil is the hard mass under the work. There just ain't any tree stumps hard enough to have the mass and resistance to deformation that an anvil does. An old sledge hammer head set on end in the same stump would do at least ten times the work of sheet metal.

And why hot rivets? Seems to me screws would be more appropriate. But I digress. That happens when my leg is being yanked from the socket, I guess. (grin)
vicopper - Saturday, 11/27/04 12:46:14 EST

Tree Stump: Perhaps Ely lives in the petrified forest?
adam - Saturday, 11/27/04 12:57:55 EST

Come on guys! Cut him a little slack! He's new, and he did the best he could with what he had available. How many of the rest of us can say the same thing???
Paw Paw - Saturday, 11/27/04 21:44:23 EST

Tree Stump:: Quite right! Ely welcome to Anvilfire Hammerin. People really are friendly here. I have formed sheet metal over wooden blocks and I have even heard of large steel wheels being hammered hot against wooden forms. So I suppose a wooden anvil could do some kinds of work. Hard to imagine one could do any drawing on such an anvil.

Drawing: I figured out how to draw out leaves usimg the far edge of the anvil and the face of the hammer. Gives a surprising amound of control over the flow of the material. I can get a pretty 1.5" wide leaf out of a 3/8 bar this way
adam - Saturday, 11/27/04 22:40:11 EST

rants etc: drawing... Adam why not use trhe horn of the anvil? It is one of the reasons it is there.

As for a wooden anvil. My hat is off to Ely. Perhaps it is not the 'best' anvil, but he is showing that a 'true' blacksmith is adapable and will improvise as needed!
I imagine that he will go far! Especially if folks quit razzing him and start to encourage the growth of a new smith!

As for woods abliity... have any of you ever dealt with ironwood?
Ralph - Sunday, 11/28/04 02:11:38 EST

Just a quick note. I love this forum. I don't think there's any other online where a smith or would-be smith could gather so much information. The laughs are worth something, too.
- AK_ID - Sunday, 11/28/04 03:15:36 EST

Also, regarding the above posts about using a chunk of wood for an anvil, I've hauled an old stump around for years that works great for forming spoons, etc. That stumphas thus far outlasted two wives, and cost considerably less than my Peddinghaus.
AK_ID - Sunday, 11/28/04 03:23:59 EST

AK's wood anvil: .....Probably cost a whole lot less than the two wives, too !(BOG)
3dogs - Sunday, 11/28/04 05:24:57 EST

Drawing out leaves:: Ralph I did try the horn at first but it didnt work well. This method needs 1/2" or 3/8" radius curve which puts the work near the end of the horn where it is far too springy for this kind of operation. IMO the end of the horn is useful for bending but not for drawing.

Razzing: Ralph & PawPaw are right we ...hrmph... *I* need to be nicer to newcomers.
adam - Sunday, 11/28/04 12:10:03 EST

Ironwood: Ralph, I've got a couple 4"x4" chunks about 8" long out in the shop. That stuff earns its name for sure. Been saving it for I don't know what, but now I'll have to put a chunk in the vise and see if I can forge anything on it before the smoke kills me. Originally I was thinking of making a mallet head or two for straightening.

Ely, you'll have to forgive the jibs and jabs, but you gotta admit that 'petrified forest' comment was hysterical. You guys kill me.
Gronk - Sunday, 11/28/04 13:45:40 EST

Iron wood mallets are liked by armourers.

Miles, don't forget to wear your high heels and pearls with that starched apron.

Got my picture in the SWABA newsletter for forging at the NM state fair. The other pics were well lit and clear and I'm back in the gloom and smoke---you have to look closely to see the horns on my hat----I *like* it!

Thomas P - Sunday, 11/28/04 15:00:46 EST

Selling my Tools: I am selling my blacksmith equipment. Portable forge complete with hand cranked bellos. 100 lb anvil good service with hold down tool. Leg vice with 4 1/2" jaws. 20" Grinding stone mounted on bench "not chipped" 8" wet grinding stone. Black smith hammer and other tools. Call Arthur Womack at 860-739-2290 or email
- Arthur Womack - Sunday, 11/28/04 18:27:43 EST

Email to the address you listed bounced.

It might help if we knew approximately where you live. Shipping might raise the prices of your tools considerably.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 11/28/04 18:47:14 EST

Iron wood: I too have been sitting on a couple of 8' 4x4's of iron wood (Ipe, a brand name I think) contractors are using it here for decks. I turned some of it for a rolling pin for my daughter for Christmas a few years back. The stuff was like turning a concrete chilie pepper. The dust burned the eyes and skin and it ate lathe tools for lunch. I did some research and the saw dust is used as a treatment for cancer.

I have been thinking of using it for a Treadle type helve hammer.
habu - Sunday, 11/28/04 18:55:43 EST

Thomas-- I'll leave smiting in heels and pearls drag to you-- after all, the starched apron was your idea.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 11/28/04 20:40:19 EST

Just finished test running my newly converted Junk yard hammer. The hammer as seen on the power hammer page, catalog of user built hammers, was a 32# belt drive. It now is 45#, and a spare tire type drive. I like the new drive better than the belt, and would reccommend this type drive to anyone building their own power hammer.
ptree - Sunday, 11/28/04 20:41:06 EST

Thanks Anvilfire: I just thought I'd drop a note to say how much fun I've had with this site. I spent years as a farrier but when I was an apprentice I got my fanny reamed for burning gas and coal trying to learn to weld (we had an arc welder and a torch) and make things that we couldn't nail to a horses foot. Once I was on my own I was just to busy nailing things to horses feet and making things to nail there. We also didn't have the internet or even computers in those days (early 80s).

I've had a blast with the iforge page. I actually got a couple good welds in my gas forge, made a door knocker and a cross for the front of my wifes home made leather bible cover.

I'm a little slow and it takes me too many heats to get anything done but, I guess from all the farrier work, I can aim a hammer well enough and have a good enough eye that I can get it done long as I have all the GREAT "how too's" I found here that is.


- Mike Ferrara - Sunday, 11/28/04 20:45:07 EST

Iron wood: Interestingly enough, I just finished turning a chunk of Ipe' myself. A simple cylinder about 5" diameter by a food long, that is the central part for the cassava grater I'm building for the University of the Virgin Islands ag department. The stuff does turn about like rock maple and sure takes the edge off a chisel in a hurry. But it turns very cleanly with no tearing or burning. I'm glad to hear that the sawdust is a cancer cure, since I undoubtedly ate a fair amount of that noxious stuff. Burns the eyes and nose (I wore a mask) and makes the whole shop smell like stale rat poo.

The fun part came when I had to cut three dozen longitudinal saw kerfs in the thng to inset hacksaw blades. To get a thin enough kerf, I had to use my finest tenon saw. Not a speedy process, sawing the equivalent of a 12X12 beam with a tenon saw, with the grain. I'm still sore, but the thing is done. Madse a couple of bands from 1/8" x 1/2" flat bar to retain the blades at the ends. The Ipe' is hard enough to use for forming the bands over, but I didn't try any actual forging on it. (grin)

A couple more days work and I'll fire this critter up and see if it actually grates cassavas. The rasper drum running at half speed rasped a 3/4" deep gouge out of a piece of hard p/t yellow pine in a half second, so I feel pretty good about the thing working as planned. An interesting project all the way around.
vicopper - Sunday, 11/28/04 22:19:37 EST

Paw Paw:
That phone prefix if the same as a fella I know who was from southern Connecticut, so I'd bet dollars to donuts Arthur is from the same area.

eander4 - Sunday, 11/28/04 23:17:40 EST


Thank you!
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/29/04 00:05:07 EST

Junk Yard Hammer: Ptree, Would you be able to post a picture of your new drive. I just got my spring helve running. It is a 34 pounder with a belt drive. It runs well at 225 BPM. If I try to run it at 300-325, the 1 HP motor draws close to 20 Amps at 115 V and it does not hit as hard as at does at a lower speed. I have tried a variety of spring combinations and daylight spacing. I currently have 2-1/4 by 5/16 inch springs ( one 39-inch long and two 24-inch long springs) The distance between the pitman arm and the ram is 33 inches.
I have clamps on the spring assemblies that I slide back and forth to tune the stiffness of the spring assembly. At the higher speed I had a 2-1/2 inch pulley on the motor, and let it slip a bit to get it to deliver solid blows. The pulley got quite hot, and I was concerned that it might degrade the seals and possibly the motor bearings. I now have a 2-inch drive pulley and wi works OK, although it still gets quite warm. With the smaller pulley the motor current is closer to spec a shown on the nameplate. I noticed on the pictures you posted that your motor pulley looks quite large. Does it have sides on it to keep the belt on, or to help cooling, or is that just an illusion? How many BPM were you running oringinally and with the new drive?

I will post some pictures if anyone is interested, but it is not quite finished yet. I still have to add the guards, the treadle and put it on a trailer to raise it up to working height.

I would like to thank you for our previous progress reports since it encouraged me to get out and build instead just collecting more scrap.
Don Sinclaire - Monday, 11/29/04 00:07:06 EST

Isn't ironwood the same tree as hornbeam?
Miles Undercut - Monday, 11/29/04 00:58:28 EST

iron wood (Ipe) link: Vic take care with that dust, the recomended method of ingestion is oral ;-)

here is a link to some specs on Ipe it is cheaper than B grade red wood right now and makes a fine looking deck. Bring your carbide blades.
Iron wood
habu - Monday, 11/29/04 01:59:49 EST

I've seen American Hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) referred to as Ironwood or Musclewood (if you've ever seen a tree, you'll know why), but they're talking about the blackish-brown variety from Brazil. The American version is hard, but there's really no comparison.

eander4 - Monday, 11/29/04 03:07:54 EST

From what I've seen, every country/continent/county in the world outside of Europe has named their own hardest wood "ironwood." Buyer beware!
Alan-L - Monday, 11/29/04 11:13:23 EST

ThomasP & Miles: You guys have have generated an image in my already sick, perverted mind, of a Forge-Off between June Cleaver and Dorothy Stiegler.
3dogs - Monday, 11/29/04 11:27:16 EST

Tresperro's---*my* moneys on Dorthy and I'll give you odds!

Now Miles I did *not* suggest starched aprons---in fact I was dubious that starch was a fireproofer as I have seen it used for dust explosions---As for smithing in drag I have done quite a bit in a Tunic for medieval demos---does that count. Just remember not to blot your brow with your tunic hem in hot weather---it scares the horses!

On using ironwood for the beam of a hammer---make sure that it is *tough* as well as just hard. Some hard woods are rather brittle.

I'm getting ready for a business trip to Italy next week and so won't be posting as much as I usually do, (pause until spontaneous party sounds die down). Unfortunately I will have no daylight time off during my trip; my wife just saw the agenda and now realizes that we're paying all this money for her to have *2* full free days in Italy---I guess she was afraid I would come back with one of those sexy doublehorned european anvils if I went over on my own.

Play nice while I'm gone.

Thomas P - Monday, 11/29/04 11:41:22 EST

I'll take a little bit of your money by betting on Dorothy. As Thomas said, I'll give you odds, 2 to 1.
Paw Paw - Monday, 11/29/04 11:47:08 EST

THE Forge-off: I think it'd be a pretty tight contest, now. The project is to be a pattern-welded quiche, by the way.
3dogs - Monday, 11/29/04 12:10:32 EST

No, Thomas, I did not say "pattern welded cuisse".
3dogs - Monday, 11/29/04 12:56:16 EST

Thomas P-- Egad! Another mistake! By cracky, you did not mention starching an apron. You suggested Boraxing an apron. A thousand pardons! As for smiting in a tunic, no way. Whatever, I think you are totally on the money re: Ms. Steigler. A fabulous smith.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 11/29/04 13:48:15 EST

I've seen her demo at Quad-State, her method of slinging the flux off the metal *before* the weld is still vivid in my memory and that was one of the ones at Emmert's old place!

Don't recall quiche back in June Cleaver's days...also I don't know if the sctress is still around---I'm always ready to bet *against* a dead horse...

Thomas P - Monday, 11/29/04 14:27:56 EST

Tree Stump : Seems to me that this would work about as well as the ASO that I have buried under rubble in my garage.

Fellow I know actually *wants* the thing. His explination is that he's worked on nothing but an ASO, and he's afraid that the rebound of a good anvil will mess up his hammer control. I haven't gotten it to him yet... Seems like a horrible thing to do to a person, even when they ask for it.
Monica - Monday, 11/29/04 15:10:27 EST

Ironwood hammer helve: Thomas,

Ipe', the Brazilian hardwood, has exceptional strength for both torsional and dead loading, something on the order of five times that of treated yellow pine. It seems to me that it would make an excellent helve, all things considered.

Many other ironwoods are far too brittle or prone to splitting to be much use for a hammer helve. I've seen some that you couldn't hardly saw, but you could split it by hitting it with a hammer. The Ipe', on the other hand, is customarily used for decking, where it is rated for much higher live loads on wider spacings than almost anything else. Better than oak, even. It has a straight grain and finishes beautifully too, so you would have a decorator-quality hammer when you finished. (grin)
vicopper - Monday, 11/29/04 16:10:11 EST

Once in the early '80's I was forced into buying an ASO when my *only* good anvil was stolen right before a day long demo at a museum. The only thing I could find was a 100kg cast iron anvil at $1 a pound. I used it *1* time and then refused to use it again, moved it from house to house till I finally found a fellow that swore on a stack of Bibles that he would *never* allow *anyone* to try to smith on it; but would use it soley for "ornamental" purposes and sold it to him at a loss! It dented under red hot 5160!

Monica, don't be a party to him messing up his arm working on a dead anvil---of course if he offers to trade you a good anvil for it....grab the good one and run!

Thomas P - Monday, 11/29/04 17:01:41 EST

ptree - Monday, 11/29/04 19:00:13 EST

day long - 5160 - ASO

Sounds like you earned your money on that one.
- Tom T - Monday, 11/29/04 21:14:15 EST

Brian-C: Sorry. I just got around to reading Hammer-In today. Hope you had a good time in Lex. The next time you come down this way, make a detour down US-27 to Cynthiana. Look over on the east side of the tracks for a supermarket named Ken's. They have the best beer cheese I've found lately.

Also keep that white stuff north of the big crick as long as you can.
- Larry - Monday, 11/29/04 22:41:42 EST

JYH: Hi all!! I am currently building my first JYH, much thanks to this site!! i have never used a power hammer and the closest i've been to one is to peer through a now long abanded blacksmith shop dirty window.The throw on the ram is up. when i set my ram do I allow my upper die so seat on the lower anvil or should their be a small allowance so they dont meet? many thanks and goodness to all!!!
- Kainaan - Monday, 11/29/04 23:50:35 EST

JYH: Kainaan, my JYH is the Spring Helve type, and resembles "Rusty" as shown on the JYH pictures located on Anvilfire. My main spring is 39 inches long and I have 33 inches between the ram and the pitman arm. If I turn it slowly by hand, the ram comes within about 3/4 inch of the lower die on the downstroke. When it runs at full speed (225 BPM) it hits the die on the downstroke and overshoots the upper position by about an inch on the upstroke.

See my posting last Monday for more specs. The Anvil is 250 lb, the ram is 34 lb and the total weight is around 500 to 550 lb.

Have a look at ptree's hammer in the JYH section and also look for his postings regarding changes he made. It looks like he has his well-tuned.

I adjusted my hammer based on his earlier comments and it seemed to respond in a similar way.

What type of hammer did you build? If it is not a spring helve, then the adjustment might be a bit different. It would also depend on whether you want maximum power when working with light (1/2 inch) stock or if you want to optimize it for forging heavier stock such as 1 or 2 inch material, depending of course on the size of your machine.

There are others on the hammer-in that have more experience with these machines, so hopefully they can answer some of your questions too.

How about some additional descriptive info on your machine?
Don Sinclaire - Tuesday, 11/30/04 00:40:51 EST

Thomas P-- I was even luckier. I got to watch, for five whole weeks, as La Steigler took up her trade and craft at Frank Turley's Smiting Academy and Forge wayyyy back in the 70s.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 11/30/04 01:03:47 EST

I have to say that I envy you that experience.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 11/30/04 01:07:35 EST

SWAGES: hello all. I a rather new to this fine art of blacksmithing. Most of what I know has been from study and self teaching at this point.
Over the last three years I have been making (or bladesmithing) martial arts training tools.
Currently I have been contracted to make some HUGE quantities of things that I have been making.
Here is what I am looking for:
I am making traditional Kusari Fundo of an octagonal cross section starting at 3/4 of and inch on one end and tapering down to 1/4 inch on the other. I am making all of them traditionally from IRON. I am looking for something such as a swage block in this configuration that may make my life ALOT easier. Does anyone know where I can get such an item or who might be able to make one for me?? Or is any machine shop capable of this task??

Ed Green
- Ed Green - Tuesday, 11/30/04 12:29:44 EST

Ed where are you getting the iron? Most folks are working in mild steel since iron hasn't been commercially made in decades except for the very pricy stuff being recycled by the "Real Wrought Iron Co Ltd" in England.

Any good machince shop should be able to make you a swage with a tapered indent in it. You may want to have several of different sizes set up as powerhammer dies (top and bottom) if you are doing a lot of them so you have your "starter" "middle" and "tip" and just have to smooth the transitions.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/30/04 12:40:29 EST

I am getting my iron from a company that makes wrought iron furniture from old civil war fences. They cut it down to what they need and cast of many pieces of PERFECT size for what I am doing. They only dispose of them so they GIVE it to me. Guess I lucked into a good find, eh??

Ed Green - Tuesday, 11/30/04 12:58:51 EST

ALSO for swages: How hard is swaging doing it by hand?? I do not have a power hammer and do not currently have the room to add one in the near future. Is it possible to do them by hand??

Ed GReen
Ed Green - Tuesday, 11/30/04 13:17:01 EST

shipping 200#: Global Tranz is a "freight forwarding company", 866 275 1407, and they say they will ship my lathe door to door (business to business) for $158. This could be a useful resource for shipping anvils and such.
adam - Tuesday, 11/30/04 13:18:54 EST

Sorry for the diarhea.: I keep forgetting things(early stage of alzheimers??).
Would it be easier to make a two piece swage that can bolted together then take my length and drive into the hole sort of 'reverse upsetting' it or would it yield a crappy looking piece. I have a feeling that everyone would say"dunno- try it and see" but I figured I might ask anyhow.

Thanks for putting up with an overzealous beginner(I am sure we all are or were).

Ed Green
Ed Green - Tuesday, 11/30/04 13:20:42 EST

shipping: This may also be dependent on whether or not they happen to be delivering to 'your' area anyhow also.
I have never seen them in my state(NC) so I wonder if the same would apply to my area too.

Ed Green
Ed Green - Tuesday, 11/30/04 13:23:12 EST

swaging: Ed it depends on the size of the work piece and how close it is to final form before swaging. Like Thomas said, it often pays to have a series of swages that step from the rough form to the final shape.

You ought to be able to swage 5/8" round or square by hand at high heat with no trouble. It might be a good idea to set up your swages so that they can be operated hands free and allow you to use a sledge hammer
adam - Tuesday, 11/30/04 13:23:15 EST

swaging #2: No. That wont work and for a number of reasons the first being that the steel outside the die will be hot and soft while the steel inside will be chilling rapidly and you will find that you have made an upsetting jig.

If you try and work out this problem without any prior experience in swaging you are going to end up way off track. In a number of ways what happens in swaging is counter intuitive (at least it was so for me). Perhaps you imagine that you can just put a lump of soft metal in the mold, slam the mold shut and voila!, out pops a neatly formed piece. Taint so. The metal has to be coaxed into its final form and there are a number of subtleties. It really would pay to experiment a bit and get feel for how this goes before dropping $$ on a machinist. I suggest that you make up a clapper swage for producing round bar - this sort of tool can be made easily in your shop - and practice making round stock out of square. After messing with this for a while , heat up the forming blocks of this tool and hammer them closed over a piece of hex stock (perhaps a large allen wrench) to make a rough hexagonal mold and try to make that work. THEN sit down and plan what you want from the machine shop. You may well figure out that you can make what you need in your own shop.

adam - Tuesday, 11/30/04 13:41:41 EST

Posted photo to Yahoo gallery. What do y'all think.
Tone - Tuesday, 11/30/04 13:46:01 EST

Ed *GREAT* find! Get all you can ASAP as they may wise up after a while....

I mentioned power because it's going to be a pain to go from 3/4" to 1/4" by hand in quantity. if you are going into production you need to tool up for production.

You might get away with a good treadle hammer system since you will be working the wrought iron at a high yellow heat; but if you end up making a "lot" of them a power hammer will pay for itself just in lower wear and tear on *you*.

How long is the taper? I'd guess you would want to make the taper first to a "correct Dimension" and then go to the swage and convert it to octagonal. Tapering in otagonal form is possible but expecially with wrought you may end up with internal cracking around the axis of the piece.

I'd arrange to visit someone with a well set up (well controlled) powerhammer and see how much faster it is.

OTOH if you are going for the "all hand forged by hand" then don't agree to make a lot of them and make them pay for the wear and tear on *you*.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/30/04 14:12:50 EST

One Mans Huge: Ed- I dont know what huge quantities mean to you- in my shop, making a hundred of something is not a big deal, so huge would be more than a thousand, if they are medium sized, or 5 thousand if they were small. Another guy might think a huge quantity was 20 pieces.
But if your huge is anything like most peoples, ie. more than 10 a month, than I think you are crazy not to get a power hammer. A cheap old 25lb little giant, available in most parts of the country for maybe 2500 bucks, and a spring swage or two, would make your job fun and easy, not to mention profitable. There is a reason why blacksmiths have been using power hammers for a few hundred years. I can freehand forge a tapered octagon like you want in a reasonable amount of time for one piece. 20 or 30 minutes at most, with no sore arm. But a spring swage, or a couple of succesive ones, will make it a 5 minute job to knock these puppies out.
Go up to the Blacksmith Depot link on the top of this page, and check out the spring swages made by Grant over at Off Center Products. That is what you want- a couple of pieces of 4140, and a handle made from flat bar. Grant actually forges his, but you can machine one as well. I have had success making a positive just like I want it, then making a spring swage all welded together with just two rectangular blocks of mild steel- about 2" x 2" x 1" each. Put the swage in the forge, so the blocks both get nice and hot, then forge the swage to shape by putting my positive in, and slamming it with the power hammer. A big sledge and a helper would work too, if you arent a 98lb weakling like me. A mild steel swage will last a long time- not as long as grants nifty 4140, but quite a while nonetheless.
I know for a fact there are a whole passel of skilled blacksmiths with power hammers and spring swages within a few hundred miles of you in NC- do you belong to your local group? Because once you see the power hammer/swage method in real life, I am betting you find room for a hammer.
- Ries - Tuesday, 11/30/04 14:59:52 EST

4x6 Bandsaw mods: Many of us use these little imported bandsaws. I find mine extremely useful even though I am quite handy with a hacksaw.

Here's a page that has some interesting ideas for holding awkward work in the BS.

I am thinking of adding a cooling system to mine using scavenged parts. Any suggestions or comments?
adam - Tuesday, 11/30/04 17:46:15 EST

Spring helve hammer: Don Sinclaire,
Sorry to take so long to answer, but puter problems.
The original hammer, as shown on the JYH page, had a 1.75" motor pulley on an unknown motor. The crank pulley was 13.5" and the ram was 32#. Ran best with a triple spring set-up much like you describe. Ran best at about 3/4 treadle, and declined at faster speeds. The rate should have been about 217 BPM, but with slippage and heating etc I thinkl I got maybe 180 max. and probably ran best at about 90 to 120BPM.
Upped the ram to 45#, and started to burn up the belt. Motor smelled. As motors are filled with magic smoke at the factory, and mine was starting to leak this precious smoke, I upgraded to a nearly new 3Hp, 1725 220v motor. With a 20" compact spare on a Gran Caravan spindle, and a 2" drive wheel I should see about 180Bpm, but I think i get 150 with slight slippage. No burning rubber smell, and so far the magic smoke is staying inside the motor where it is supposed to be. I also upped the anvil to a total of about 660# to match the upped ram.

I still need to tune a bit, but think that at most i might go to a 3" drive wheel. Ran a leaf or to out of 1" square, Sunday night late, and was able to get a nice leaf, and 8" of stem 3/8" dia in three heats, with the last heat mostly textureing the finished leaf.
I will send Jock some update photos as soon as I paint the beast.
To all building one of these beasts, remamber to build and install proper guarding especially on the spring and ram area. Most do not restrain the ram and if the spring breaks on the upstroke, the ram flies free!
ptree - Tuesday, 11/30/04 18:20:01 EST

Spring helve hammer: I forgot to mention, I have a crank that is 3.5" off center, to yeild 7" of stroke. At speed I get close to 2" more travel at EACH end of the stroke.
ptree - Tuesday, 11/30/04 18:22:35 EST

Spring Helve Hammer: ptree: Thanks for the reply. I was wondering about my design requiring 1HP when the plans for Rusty called for a washing machine motor. Although the Rusty plans are for a 25 lb ram it probably ran slower than what I was trying to do.

The shorter, stiffer spring gave me a more compact machine, but with only an inch of over-travel, I don't have much room for top tools without adjusting the pitman arm. Thats where your longer travel will be a big advantage.

My crank pulley is a cast iron 2-grove pulley, 13 inches in diameter. I bolted a 8 in dia 5/8 disk to it to hold the crank pin. Total weight is about 15 lb. When I watch the motor current on an analog clamp-on meter, I can see the needle jump up a couple of amps over the rated motor current. The I squared R losses associated with these current spikes might cause the smoke to leak out even though it is a TEFC motor, so I will have to keep an eye on the motor temperature when I get it all set up properly.
The mass of your new flywheel will reduce these current spikes and will be much kinder to your motor.

I intend to use the second grove in the large pulley for a scrap of V-belt, achored to the frame at one end and connected to the idler pulley lever at the other end, to act as a brake.

The ram is captive in this hammer, so I am not worried about the ram flying out of the top. The biggest hazard is a broken spring coming out of the rollers on the down stroke at face level, so a guard is still required.
Don Sinclaire - Tuesday, 11/30/04 20:22:26 EST

Since I now have been properly informed of what this forum is maybe I can get some more answers to my questions about selling my powerhammer.Someone said they had seen one aon the paba site for sale.What is paba and how do I find their site.Any other suggestions as to where I might advertise this mighty beast.I'm interested in selling the hammer to buy a CNC machine.Would ebay be a good place or would a smithing site draw more looks or bids if there is an auction site?Thanks again
Mark the hillbilly
- mark the hillbilly - Tuesday, 11/30/04 21:15:27 EST

4X6 Bandsaws: There's a whole Yahoo group dedicated to modifying these imports. CHeck out

- MarcG - Tuesday, 11/30/04 21:32:07 EST

email: Larry,

Send me your e-mail address. I have some pics to send you.
Brian C - Tuesday, 11/30/04 21:44:29 EST

JYH: Don Sinclaire, Thank you for the help! Much appreciated. The JYH I am building is a single shock absorber hammer.main base for the anvil is 10"round 1/2" walled pipe with a 10 1/2" x 1 1/2 round plate that a friend has machined a female dovetail so i can place differnt lower anvil dies as i find what dies i need. I plan to pack the base with sand to deaden sound. Upper ram is 35# with dovetail dies, main mass of ram 20# dies 6#plus shock and guide.for drive I found a a small belt driven 4 speed rear tractor axle that has a stick shift which shifts on the fly. powered by a 1 hp motor. My great uncle gave me 20 or so differnt size pulleys to choose from for the motor. For the brake i hope to adapt the brakes from an old motorcycle. not built yet just scetches and parts. Will it work? dunno!! any ideas?
Kainaan - Tuesday, 11/30/04 22:27:46 EST

JYH hammers: Don Sinclaire,
I had a two groove crank pulley in the original set up. The motor sheave was an adjustable sheave with a sleeve spacer to allow the belt to run on the flat. If I let it idle for a while I did get a bit of rubber burnt off the belt, but with a flat drive, no grabbing of the belt, and did not need a brake. My current set up does not seem to need a brake, but then I only have about 20 minutes of run on it.
The new 3 Hp motor is a TEFC, 1.25 service factor industrial motor. I think that the magic smoke will stay put.

Kainaan, If you can find it, steel shot makes a very nice sound deadener. I don't know how well the anvil filled with sand will work. For a power hammer anvil the GURU advocates 10 to 15 times the ram weight. After upping the ram weight on my hammer, I noticed different action. I added weight to the anvil to regain that ratio, and I think it was worthwhile.

My current JYH is not a factory air hammer, and does not perform like one. I do have a very small amount of money invested, as I am a good scrounger. Time invested is industrial stress relief. I need to be pounding on somthing, after a day of dealing with safety and enviro issues in a large factory. Better on an overbuilt JYH than someone!
ptree - Tuesday, 11/30/04 22:51:41 EST

Junk Yard Hammer: Kainaan, if there is any way to use a spring somewhere in your design instead of a shock absorber, you will get significantly greater efficiency.

When the hammer goes up, it picks up speed and momentum. At the top of the stroke, the motor and flywheel have to stop the hammer momentarily, slowing down the flywheel a bit and the rest is absorbed by the shock absorber and converted to heat. Then the flywheel has to accellerate the hammer down towards the anvil.

If you have a spring in the design such as in the toggle link of a Little Giant, or a leaf spring in the case of a spring helve design, the kinetic energy of the hammer's upward motion is stored in the spring at the top of the stroke, and is then returned to the hammer on it's downward stroke adding to the power that the flywheel is providing. Instead of disipating the energy of the upward stroke as in the case of a shock absorber, the spring more or less doubles the force of the blow, provided of course that the timing is right.

With a spring design, the hammer does not touch the lower die at rest. It is suspended an inch or more above the die, and depends on the overshoot allowed by the spring when it runs at full speed. With a shock absorber design, I think the machine essentially tries to squish the workpiece at the bottom of the stroke, so the hammer should just touch the lower die at rest. However, if you place thick stock under the hammer, the shock absorber has to allow for the change in clearance. Since shock absorbers don't like change, it transmits the force to the upper bearing and frame, so make sure the bearings and shaft are sturdy.

The dovetails for the dies and slide are a neat way to go. I don't have the equiment to build anything that fancy. Have you checked out the write-ups and pictures of the JYH and Homemade hammers on this website? There are a few that did use dovetails.

Some of the hammers in that section also used pipe or tube anvils (the NC JYH). The heavier the amvil, the less energy that is transmitted to your floor. I have some hollow spots under my garage floor, so I am a bit concerned about damaging the concrete, even with a total weight of 500 -550 lbs. On the prairies everything is built on clay, and my wife can hear the vibration in the house even though the house and garage are separated by about 10 feet.

ptree: I have one of those adjustable pulleys on my furnace motor, but it is for a 1/2 inch shaft, and I haven't seen one for a 5/8 shaft.
Don Sinclaire - Wednesday, 12/01/04 00:44:42 EST

Mark the Hilbilly: Mark,

That was a slight typo on my part. I actually meant PAABA, the Pittsburg Area Artist-Blacksmith Association. I'm attaching a link to their site that shows the hammer in question. You could start by posting your hammer over at They have a buy and sell section called the scrapbin. Good luck!

(An Arkansas Hillbilly)
Big Hammer
eander4 - Wednesday, 12/01/04 00:55:15 EST

Counter    Copyright © 2003 Jock Dempsey, Cummulative_Arc GSC