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November 2005 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.
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J. Dempsey  <webmaster> Rev. 7/98, 3/99, 5/2k, 6/2k, Friday, 04/06/01 16:43:25 GMT

forge master: I'm considering using natural gas on a forgemaster. I was wondering if it will burn hot enough to weld and if there are any other significant differences to running with natural gas instead of propane.
- Bjorn - Monday, 10/31/05 23:48:01 EST

Welders: I bought my TIG at They're close enough to me that I picked up my welder there (after they had it shipped in from Miller). They were mostly a welder repair business with a few supplies on display in the front. Easy to deal with (at least they were 5 years ago), and their prices seem to be some of the lowest on the Web.
Mike B - Tuesday, 11/01/05 06:50:54 EST

Swayed Peter Wrights:
I do not know if it is because they used a better grade of wrought rather than scrap as did other makers OR they were a top brand bought by professionals and more heavily used with strikers but I have seen more Peter Wrights with more sway than any other brand.

Anvils made with scrap for bodies after the invention of bulk steel may have a significant percentage of steel in the their bodies thus making them more resistant to swaying than the 100% wrought iron bodies. It is possible that PW in trying to make a superior product failed to recognize this. On the other hand, many old anvils with broken bodies indicate that the welding of the scrap was poorly done. Like all welds they would had more inclusions using dirty iron or steel. The body breaks clearly show these unwelded surfaces. So the 100% wrought body was less likely to break but was more likely to become swayed. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 11/01/05 08:05:13 EST

Natural Gas:
NG forges run the same temperatures or a little higher than propane. However, it is a smal molecule and is delivered at lower pressure. This means significantly larger orifices are needed in NG burners.

Forge Master will be glad to answer specific questions about NG conversion.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/01/05 08:25:42 EST

forge master: I dont know this particular forge but in principle running nat. gas is fine provided your gas line can keep up. For safety reasons most domestic gas lines run at only a few ozs of pressure and are limited in their total BTU capacity. A big forge might be starved on such a supply line. Also, if your forge uses a venturi to induce air flow you may need to swap the gas orifice (I think for a smaller size) to get the mixture right.

Finally, you might get more answers if you post this question on GurusDen forum - this is just a place where we yak & BS.

JeffG: Superglue - yes I use that trick too! People think I am nuts (well there are other reasons too). Its nice to see I have a fellow traveller :) Actually I once had a shallow laceration "stitched" up in the emergency room in which the doc used little tabs of fabric and glued them down with superglue. It was a medical version of course, prolly at $5k per oz but essentially the same stuff you get in the hardware store
adam - Tuesday, 11/01/05 08:43:12 EST

Nat gas.: Ooops. While I was writing my answer the Guru snuck in there and trumped me! :)

Mike congrats on your new PW. What the heck does "need" have to do with anything? When your anvil collection reaches three figures (like ThomasP :) ) it might be time to slow down - or it might not.
adam - Tuesday, 11/01/05 08:48:44 EST

super glue: "tabs of fabric" called steri strips
"super glue" AKA benzoin, gentile adhesive, not methylmethacrylate
the above is cheap and available OTC (over the counter)
true wound glue is not cheap; a fibrin preparation
- morph - Tuesday, 11/01/05 09:55:08 EST

Actually I don't have that many anvils; most of the anvil deals I sussed out I passed on to other folks. I currently own 1 Fisher, 1 Trenton, 1 Peter Wright, 1 Hay Budden, 1 Arm&Hammer, 1 Powe??? missing the heel, 1 William Foster missing most of the face, 1 un-named renaissance styled T stake anvil and one cube of steel Y1K styled anvil.

I would like to pick up a mousehole....

Total Weight is about 3/4 ton...

In general I would let one go if I was upgrading to keep the numbers down or just resell with a minor "finding fee" tacked on---it was more for fun than a business. Never did get that one out back of a house in Columbus OH I spotted when dropping my daughter off at a friend's house---fellow it belonged to was doing poorly and not up to making a deal on it...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/01/05 10:55:51 EST

super glue: One of the first reasons for super glue was for surgical applictions
Ralph - Tuesday, 11/01/05 12:40:36 EST

glue and such: I have a medical version of superglue I bought at the drug store to fix up those cuts where the band-aid just won't fit.

The super glue also works very well to stop the formation of blisters. If you feel a hot spot start to form, like on the palm from using the big sledge, dab some on the area. It reduces the friction and provides a buffer between the irritant and the skin.

I would highly recommend against using hardware store super glue on an open wound. It's likely highly contaminated with bacteria.
- Tom T - Tuesday, 11/01/05 14:37:17 EST

Anvils as Investments:
There are a bunch of folks that have been collecting anvils for 20 or 30 years that have significant collections. Often they are not valuable as a collection as such but ARE valuable as investments. Although not as portable as coins they are convertable to cash on relatively short notice. Anvils bought as a good deal today can often be resold for double what it cost the buyer a day later. Those bought years ago for $50 often bring $200 or more today (depending on how big a hurry you are in).

There are few investments that are garanteed to go UP, are not tracked or taxed or need to be kept in a bank vault and can be converted to cash on short notice.

- guru - Tuesday, 11/01/05 14:53:35 EST

Guru/Anvils: Guru is right on the money as I have sold more anvils than I can count to aspiring blacksmiths. I don't collect them as I am from the school of an anvil is a tool. I was surprised that Tom P only has approx 9 anvils...LOLOL. I only have two anvils in my blacksmith shop and feel like I have many. A person only needs one good anvil. Others collect. I know many people around here with over 100 anvils in there collections and the world would end if they didn't have all of them. Someday they may use one, but that would be a crime to them. As it is a sin i think to watch them rust and pit. Each to their own anyway. I was going to buy a double horn anvil since I want an anvil with a square horn for use. I have had a huge piece of bar stock sitting around for years. I decided to follow guru'dream and have one made from the huge bar stock. I am having the shape cut out that I want and will over time do the rest. I was surprised how cheap it was since I already had my own steel.
- burntforge - Tuesday, 11/01/05 17:05:31 EST

fly ball press: MORE NEW TOOLS!!!.....Not only did I score a good deal on some slip rolls the other day, but I got a message from a work partner in England that he's found me a great deal on a 5 ton Dinbigh fly ball press!

Now for the hard part....what's the best deal as far as finding cheap shipping from Feltham UK to here in the mid-west USA?
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Tuesday, 11/01/05 17:28:23 EST

Leg vice: Did you folks see this vice? I want one!
- Tom T - Tuesday, 11/01/05 18:07:36 EST

Leg Vice: There is a similar vice in the Metropolitan Museum in NYC near the Armour section, had to believe a smith would pound on such a vice!

blackbart - Tuesday, 11/01/05 18:34:58 EST

Burntforge "A person only needs one good anvil" I would sure like to see you lug the 500 pounder around to demos or forge 1.25" diameter H13 on the 90#'r! BTW what do you do when you have a student that's about a foot taller or shorter than you with only 1 anvil?

They are tools and most all of them are mounted for use (save for the medieval styled ones that get used at LH demo's) The one missing the heel is the student loaner anvil---most students take a while to get their own anvil so having one to loan can really help them out--it's currently on loan and is ready to go from one student who located his own to another who is just getting stuff together.

Mike; the midwest is pretty tool rich, flypresses are not as common as in the NE; but you might be able to get a deal locally that would be cheaper than shipping---I got mine when they sold off the tool room of a high tech factory that got shipped to Canada---started out as a low tech factory but all the folks at the auction were buying semiconductor and circuit board fab equipment and the *large* flypress, (circular flywheel is apx 42" in diameter and the thing stands about 7' tall on it's stand with the ram down) sold for $50; paid a rigger $35 to load it and so with taxes and fees about $100 *total* fun to play with!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/01/05 18:40:36 EST

I have an opportunity to get a Bull 125 from a company going out of business. I'm told it is well used, but works flawless. What is this hammer worth? Or, does anyone have a hammer for sale in the 110-150lb range? I am truely looking for a
- Michael - Tuesday, 11/01/05 20:11:57 EST

Fancy leg vise: Any blacksmith who really wants a snazzy leg vise only needs to get some steel and get to work building one. If they could do it in 1600, we can do it today. It would definitely carry some serious bragging rights. (grin)
vicopper - Tuesday, 11/01/05 20:17:09 EST

Bull 125: I don't know where you are Mike, but the best powerhammer I've used in that weight class is the one that John Larson makes. Better control and harder hitting than any other I've used, pound for pound.
vicopper - Tuesday, 11/01/05 20:19:54 EST

Tommy P ;): Hi Tom P
Ya' know ize justa teasing...A?? When people are 7'6" tall I make them kneel to use the anvil. When they are kneehigh to a hellbender I have them stand on a wooden soap box. Honestly I sold my 600lb 400lb and both 200lb anvils along with about 100 others. The larger ones were not personally useful to me. Too far to reach across and the horn too big and blunt. I have always preferred a really small anvil. I have no problem forging large stock of a high carbon content on a 108 lb anvil. My big one is only 130 lbs. I learned from three generations of family smiths before me and other old time trained smiths. My last close family smith passed on at 88 years with about 80 years experience in blacksmithing, shoeing and wheelwright work in 2003. Actually my mother's entire family were blacksmiths. I really learned a blacksmith doesn't need a BIG Bick to finesse the metal. Talk to the cold steel first and it will move a little easiler. If you rub the metal a certain way it will curve in that direction. I rarely use anything as heavy as a 2 lb hammer either. A little charcoal grease helps keep the body moving easier. Sometimes a little Penntuckey crude oil cleans the coal webs out and makes the privey trips possible on some days. A prayer to the Almighty helps. It is all in the hammer techniques and forging temps. A few top secret tools and tricks too. I always let beginners use my personal anvil too. No point in being stingy wit it. They can't hurt it none. Just being my sparky fun self wit entertainment value. I almost forgot clean those coal BURGERS from each end before teaching and demonstrating too. Well I am off and have fun forging Tom ;) I almost forgot. If a person is way to tall to use your anvil just drop it on their foot or push the bick in their belly. You will find they will bend forward enough then. hehe
burntforge - Tuesday, 11/01/05 20:23:05 EST

forging hammers: I have an opportunity to get a Bull 125 from a company going out of business. I'm told it is well used, but works flawless. What is this hammer worth? Or, does anyone have a hammer for sale in the 110-150lb range? I am truely looking for a "Big Blue" hammer, the one with Hofi's new die system. If anyone has one can they please e-mail me. Or if you know about the Bull 125 please let me know. Thanks for all the info in the past!
Michael - Tuesday, 11/01/05 20:36:27 EST

After 41 years of home ownership, 34 of them here at Entropy Research in the scorching sun, relentless wind, heavy rains and snows, and ghastly cold at 7,000 feet above sea level, I thought I had seen every possible sort of material deterioration. Then a month or so ago I tried to loosen the brass screws securing the bronze cap to the bronze Mansfield ballcock valve in the bathroom to replace the gasket, something I have done several times on that valve over the past decade or so. Not this time. The bold heads disintegrated at the first touch of the screwdriver. They had turned to something not unlike a powdery copper. I sent the valve and the remains of the screws off to Mansfield where I heard today that their metallurgist said the water from my well had disintegrated the brass. Is this possibly correct? Some kind of bimetallic broze/brass electrolytic corrosion, perhaps? Or did somebody foist some inferior alloy off on Mansfield? I thought that was why we have brass in our plumbing, so as not to have such disasters. This is not a smithing issue, I realize, but since I incorporate brass elements in my monumental sundials, I am curious. Any thoughts?
miles undercut - Tuesday, 11/01/05 21:23:51 EST

Miles Undercut,
I have come up against something similar in copper piping. The water can be in a condition that will strip the passivated layer off the copper faster than it can form. This strips the copper. It is a real problem in this part of the country. At the factory where I work, all the copper is being removed and replaced with PVC for this very reason. I believe in the downloaded reports that this was also a problem with zinc and lead from the pipes. I can review the reports tomorrow and report back if you are interested.
ptree - Tuesday, 11/01/05 21:45:34 EST

Michael: I had a Bull 125 in the second shop I worked in. I had a Big Blu in the first shop I worked in. If money was not an object, I would get a Bull for myself. There is nothing wrong with the Blu, and Dean Curfman is a wonderful guy to deal with, but I like the Bull a little better. I was impressed with the responsiveness of it. It was just a sweet hammer. I think it was selling for about 8 to 9 grand 4 yrs ago. The one I had was brand spankin new when I got it.
- Jeff G. - Tuesday, 11/01/05 21:53:27 EST

ptree-- Many thanks for the kind offer, but please go to no trouble on this. Done is done and Mansfield replaced the valve for free. The plumber/dealer who sold me the valves (I bought two) when I lamented years ago about how much trouble I was having with chain store plastic valves said this afternoon that he has seen the phenomenon you describe with copper, and says likewise he has seen brass deteriorate in local water, too. But I just assumed he was dodging an anticipated refund requent. I guess not.
miles undercut - Tuesday, 11/01/05 21:56:12 EST

P.S.: If you are not interested in the Bull, please let me knoe where it is at and how much they are asking for it.
- Jeff G. - Tuesday, 11/01/05 21:56:51 EST

Miles: What happened to the screw was that the probably acedic water caused an electrolitic reaction between the copper and the zink in the brass. This happens in brass, but bronze which is copper and tin doesn't have this problem. The technical guys call it intergranular corosion, the boat guys call it dezinkification. Bronze screws are harder to come by, and more costly.
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 11/01/05 22:07:48 EST

Dave Boyer-- Thanks. I suggested that very possibility to Mansfield today and asked if I should replace the brass with stainless or bronze screws. Nahh, they said, it's not electrolytic, it's gotta be the water. I think you are probably right. Maybe I'll try a voltage tester in situ.
miles undercut - Tuesday, 11/01/05 22:31:39 EST

Miles: It is due to the water- distilled water won't cause the reaction. Anything that makes the water conduct electricity[acid, disolved minerals, etc.] will cayse the copper and the zink to act like the plates in a battery, the less noble zink disolves and leavs a poros weak part that crumbles with little force. See Guru's page on the galvanic series. Stainless will last better, but it will be starved of oxygen and not work up to its full potential, silicon bronze is probably the best commonly available, maybee worthwile on the sundial if stainless is unaceptable cosmeticly.The proper tester uses a silver/silver chloride half cell, and is used to see if the proper ammount of sacrificial zink is used in the bonding system of boats. The zink establishes a voltage that keeps the other metals protected as it is consumed.The same technology COULD be used in home pluming, but seldom is.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 11/01/05 23:39:11 EST

Dave Boyer-- Thanks again. The poor ravaged li'l screws certainly looked as if something like that happened.
miles undercut - Wednesday, 11/02/05 00:04:35 EST

Hah---the water round these parts doesn't have dissolved minerals in it! Rather we say that a few water molecules exist between the rocks delivered through the water pipes...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/02/05 11:55:10 EST

Thomas-- Gollee! So... that's howcum I am replacing spigot washers every few weeks, do you think?
miles undercut - Wednesday, 11/02/05 12:18:25 EST

Miles, perhaps a visit to the urologist if you are replacing spigot washers so often...

Yah the local water can be fierce on stuff my swamp cooler looks like carlsbad caverens right about now...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/02/05 19:38:21 EST

custom anvil: Well my custom anvils is starting to take shape. It just might wind up being pretty neat. The square tappered horn end of the continential pattern is finished.
burntforge - Wednesday, 11/02/05 20:12:22 EST

Fits-n-Giggles: Making stuff from nothing that turns out nicer than a manufactures piece gives me fits-n-giggles.
burntforge - Wednesday, 11/02/05 20:14:18 EST

Ben Palmer: I know none of you knew him probably, but he passed away last night in his sleep. He was a member of our local goup. Just started smithin with us in the last year or so. He was only 48. Awful nice guy.
- Jeff G. - Wednesday, 11/02/05 21:44:03 EST

Jeff G: I am sorry for your loss and his families loss. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.
burntforge - Wednesday, 11/02/05 21:58:23 EST

Ben: Sad news about your friend, Jeff.
adam - Thursday, 11/03/05 07:13:15 EST

came home last night for dinner to find my welder waiting. I had ordered it Monday from ToolKing in Denver CO and this was Wed eve. $7 shipping! No time to play with it though - back to work. Later I discovered that my problems arose from the fact that an Al mounting plate had been epoxied onto the the steel body of the stepper motor. The epoxy had given way and the rotary encoder that was mounted on the Al plate was now giving erratic results. I remember arguing with the mfr when I ordered the stepper and saying epoxy is no good here- it eventually hardens and then the contual thermal cycling and the different expansion rates will pop the bond. The HVAC cycles on and off every hour. Little joy in being right when you have to work till midnight fixing it. What really annoyed me when I peeled off the old epoxy - now about flexible as dried snot - and looked at the metal surface underneath, it was obvious that they had done no prep on the at all - I could still see the outline of a sticker, ink stamped model # digits were quite visible and the whole surface was the original dull oxide grey and had never been touched by a scouring pad or any such. Grrrr! That really ticked me off - "oh he will never see in here - no need to bother".
adam - Thursday, 11/03/05 07:29:37 EST

Hey burntforge, how about some pictures? I would love to see it in process.

FredlyFX - Thursday, 11/03/05 13:38:23 EST

fredlyFX: Howdy
I will take a couple of photos of the part that is done thus far. I sent my base down the street to get cut out. My conical horn is being shipped to me. I will take a picture of the main body with the square horn. I hope to have just a touch over 100.00 in it when I am finished. If the guru likes it I will let him post a photo of it here with all dimentions if someone wants to copy my continential anvil. I am going to call it "Burnt Forge Falcipieri". It is of Italian anvil influences: Russell Jaqua Nimba anvil was a large influence. I also want to give credit to the Bonco Bulgarian anvil that appears to be of an Itailian design.
burntforge - Thursday, 11/03/05 17:49:06 EST

Guru Anvil: The one who really put the idea in my head to get this anvil underway is Jock Dempsey talking about the plate build up anvil.
burntforge - Thursday, 11/03/05 17:52:30 EST

Anvil: I went after this anvil idea since I had all the steel laying around for years. I have considered throwing the steel away many times. My buddy talked me into storing it outside his blacksith shop in the scrap pile and not just throw it away. I thought it was so big what on earth would I use it for. Now I know. I looked at every continential pattern anvil available forsale. All the anvils dealers are nice people. The truth is due to many health issues I can't afford one. Why not make one...right!! Also T-Gold's crazy cool anvil inspired me too!!
burntforge - Thursday, 11/03/05 18:02:08 EST

Anvil:: Burnt, it wont do you any good to try and blame others - come clean and show us the pix. :)
adam - Thursday, 11/03/05 18:12:06 EST

Proud Papa...sort of: So today I finished the knife I made from the damascus billet I welded up over last weekend. I'm pretty pleased with the way it came out, being as it's the first real knife I've ever made. I posted a couple of pics of it on the Yahoo Users Gallery and also across the street.

The handle is a piece of deadfall lignum vitae heartwood that I collected a while back, and the blade is 243 layers of wrought iron and O-1. Mostly forged with just a little grinding, as I had to squeeze every bit out of the billet. If I make another one, I'll forge it just a bit less and grind a bit more so that the pattern is more dramatic. Of course, I'll take more care when welding up the billet in the first place, too. This was my first one, and I just threw a twist in it along about halfway through the process, which didn't make all that spiffy a pattern. I'll have to dig out Dr. Jim's books and read up on what I SHOULD be doing before I make the next one. (grin)

It was fun though, and I'm pretty proud of my first effort.
vicopper - Thursday, 11/03/05 22:46:47 EST

Anvil pix: I take some pix of the anvil thus far and post them tomorrow.
- burntforge - Friday, 11/04/05 00:13:25 EST

Knife: Well Rich Waugh that knife is a real Hum-Dinger for your first knife. Looks like you have done it a few thousand times before. I am a cutler and my first knife looks nothing like that one. NICE!!
burntforge - Friday, 11/04/05 00:20:29 EST

ASM dinner:: Attended a local ASM dinner to hear our Frank Turley speak. The food was mediocre but the company was excellent. Frank had a whole pile of post vices in the middle of the floor. How he got all that greasy rusty old iron into El Nido, a somewhat pretentious restaurant I ahve no idea. Frank gave an engaging and informative talk about the development of vises in Europe. Frank has a very unassuming way of sharing his scholarship. One never gets the feeling of being lectured or that he is showing off. Periodically he would squat down and snatch up a 60# vise to waive in front of the audience. Amazingly spry for a man of 29 years ( "29 and holding" he tells us). The audience, mostly metallurgists from Los Alamos, was appreciative and interested. There were a bunch of questions when Frank (finally!) stopped talking. I snuck out before anyone raised issue of carrying all the post vises back out to Frank's vehicle.
adam - Friday, 11/04/05 11:42:41 EST

El Nido isn't that pretentious, after all they have Miles Undercut as a neighbor...wish I could have gone.

Thomas P - Friday, 11/04/05 12:02:33 EST

Burntforge's Anvil:
Glad my anvil was of some help to ya! That put a smile on my face this morning. Looking forward to seeing your finished piece, too.
- T. Gold - Friday, 11/04/05 14:35:35 EST

Thomas-- me, too! But I decided to wait for the movie version to come out on DVD. It will come with a free chimichanga from the Village Market next door, I hear.
miles undercut - Friday, 11/04/05 17:15:10 EST

knife: Congrats on the knife vicopper...maybe some one could help direct me to the picture. I couldn't find it.

I recently started making blades too. I have a couple nice ones to show for my effort but my many dismal failures have greatly contributed to the rapid growth of my scrap pile too. LOL I could already tell lots of stories and I'm only a rookie.
- Mike Ferrara - Friday, 11/04/05 21:19:05 EST

Mike Ferrara: If yo ugo to the drop down menu at the top righ to f the screen, you'll see the "User Gallery (yahoo)." That will take you to the gallery, but you need to be signed up to use it. Since Jim "PawPaw" Wilson's death, I'm not sure how one gets signed up; he was the administrator for the gallery site. I also posted the pictures on the photo gallery site "across the street" at Until we get an in-house photo gallery here on Anvilfire, that's about the best I can do.
vicopper - Friday, 11/04/05 21:26:34 EST

That DVD is actually in the works, by the way. Spielberg is keeping mum, but the buzz is, Harrison Ford, with just a few blacksmithing lessons, would be a smashing Frank Turley. The principal leg vise? Angelina Jolie, who else?
miles undercut - Friday, 11/04/05 22:15:12 EST

Leg Vise Talk: For those of you who were not able to attend my talk at El Nido, my latch string is out. We'll drag out my old leg vises, and have a show-and-tell. Just call for an appointment, because my 'ahem' studio is a one man deal, and I might be out of town or running errands.
Frank Turley - Friday, 11/04/05 23:17:11 EST

knife: Rich, the knife is beautiful. You are a talented guy.
adam - Saturday, 11/05/05 02:05:00 EST

Thanks Adam, but I'm not so sure about the talent part. Bein' as that's the first one, it could just be random luck, like one of those chimps accidentally writing a sonnet or something. (grin) After I do another one or two good ones, I may be able to lean toward talent a bit more strongly. I sure do appreciate the kind words, though.

One of the great things about working with metal is that there are enough different facets that a person can keep trying around until he finds one that suits him. From Architectural work to knives to sculpture and so on, there is somewhere in there that is likely to suit just about anyone.
vicopper - Saturday, 11/05/05 07:56:57 EST

knife: I agree with Adam and Mike F, and so on! Of course, all the other work of yours I've seen has been top-notch, so I'm not really surprised that your first knife turned out so good. Jealous, maybe, but not surprised! (grin!)
Alan-L - Saturday, 11/05/05 08:57:03 EST

TOOLS GALORE: There was an auction of the late, great Bill Gichner's fabulous collection of smithing tools after his death and they sold a lot of stuff.
But there is a lot left, anvils, tongs, top and bottom tools, leg vises, smithing books, little trade favour anvils-- and all extremely reasonable. (Bill is probably rolling over in his grave.)
This trove of oldies but goodies is down in Gichner's cellar on Central Avenue in Ocean View, Delaware. Yet more, heavy stuff, out in the yard. The prices are extremely reasonable. Bob Svenson, Bill's former son-in-law, who now runs the shop, renamed The Front Porch Antiques, says he just wants to move the smithing tools. Svenson can be tough to reach by phone. Callback is iffy. Mornings, weekends seem best for catching him in the shop. 302-539-5344 is main number. I have known Bob since 1964 when we met in the Washington, D.C. I told him I would try to get the word out. 302-228-6834 is on the door. 302-541-5062 is Bob's number on his card.
miles undercut - Saturday, 11/05/05 12:29:28 EST

"pine cones": : Does any one have a good way for making pine cones, and branches? I've wasted more steel then I should trying to fiqure it out!!
- Mark Fisher - Saturday, 11/05/05 12:49:45 EST

pine cones: I saw trick using angle iron - not sure if I remember right but I think it went something like: take 4 pcs of angle iron. Use a chopsaw to notch the flanges on each side every 1/2" approx - leave plenty of spine for twisting. Do for all four and then stack back to back so they form a "German Cross". You know'm I'm talkin'? Tack weld the ends, heat to orange, twist several revolutions.
adam - Saturday, 11/05/05 14:20:23 EST

Pine Cones:

Using short lengths of heavy half round rasp torch cut and grind leaf shapes. Then heat and dish in a wood block. Three or four pieces welded together to make a round will make a fairly true to life pine cone.

Otherwise it can be done with some heavy chisling. Form the cone on the end of a bar WITHOUT a reduced stem. If using round bar create a very slightly reduced square area with shoulder. Clamp and chisel the peddles of the cone as needed THEN reduce the heavy area below the cone. This is a good place for a power hammer with a narrow isolation die section like the Big BLU Uri Hofi combo dies.
- guru - Saturday, 11/05/05 16:20:03 EST

Custom Anvil Photos: For those who have asked me for photos of the early stages of my double horn continental anvil can view them at forgemagic under forge and anvil in the recent photo images. The conical horn sitting on the face will be added to the opposite end of the square horn. Much is yet to be done. This is its present stage. Enjoy!!
burntforge - Saturday, 11/05/05 19:40:58 EST

knife: I found the picture. Looks really nice! Aint it a blast? I always took knives for granted until I started trying to make them. Tonight my wife just finished sheaths for a couple of mine so I'm sitting here wearing one and she's in the kitchen wearing one! Ok, kind of silly but what fun...a blade made from a car spring with a handle made from a deers head in a sheath made from a cows butt!
Mike Ferrara - Saturday, 11/05/05 20:54:28 EST

Pine Cones: Mark, Quite some time ago, Zeke Wedow had an article in The Hammers Blow about pine cones. I'm running on memory here but if I can find the article, I'll let you know and maybe I could fax you a copy. He took a piece of 1/8" steel 16 inches long, 1 1/4" wide at one end tapering down to 3/4" at the other end. Cut slits in this every 1/4" or so all most all the way through, so that you have a bunch of tabs connected by a spine. Pein these tabs to give texture. Weld the wide end to a piece of 3/16 or 1/4" rod a couple of inches from the end of the rod. Heat the spine with a torch and wrap the tabs around the rod. The tabs should be sticking out from the rod at about 90 degrees. Stick the end to the rod and soften the ends of the tabs with a hot torch. The pics he had were of a very realistic looking pine cone. I'll look for the article and let you know if I find it.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 11/05/05 23:51:32 EST

I have a guy that wants a set of drive gates for his proprty. Drive is fairly wide and goes uphill pretty quick. He wants the gates to swing in torwards the uphill side, so the gates will have to rise as they swing. He does not want vertical swinging gates. This guy does very high end cabinetry and case work all over the country and could hook me up with some good forging work, so I would like to make this work. I am looking for some ideas. Anybody have any?
Jeff G. - Saturday, 11/05/05 23:59:48 EST

Jeff G - gate: sounds like the pivots need to be at right angles to the hill instead of plumb. Is this to be an automated gate? it will take effort to move, as the gate is swinging "up hill".
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 11/06/05 00:13:21 EST

Yes it will be automated
Jeff G. - Sunday, 11/06/05 00:16:57 EST

Jeff - 1) the hinge/pivot point will need to be at right angle to the slope & 2) counter weight the gate on the outside of the pivot so the gate is balanced - this should then take very little force to open. Sounds like a cool project. I love the unusual jobs! Good luck & have fun!
dief - Sunday, 11/06/05 00:56:16 EST

Jeff: If You cant work a counterweight into the gate, You may be able to fit a torsion spring close to the pivot, or use a coil spring with the actuator if needed.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 11/06/05 02:12:23 EST

Jeff: another trickey counterbalance method is to put angled faces on the thrust bearings that cary the weight of the gate. The angle forces the gate to lift slightly as it swings "down hill" This is the principle on old time saloon doors,only reversed, but it only produces a little torque.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 11/06/05 02:21:24 EST

Slopping drive: The only one of these I have see had permenantly open gates.

Sloping the gates perpendicular to the slope means making the gate surface slope which would look like it was installed crooked.

An option is to angle the hinge withing the gate as part of the design or to hide it as part of the design.

At this point suggestions don't mean much because you haven't said how much the lope really is. Before you even suggest a solution you need to go and measure the slope of the driveway. The one I mentioned above with fixed gates has a rise of about 2 feet in 10.

Note that if the gate is to be sutomatic that the mechanism must be correctly aligned (or misaligned) to suit the gate. Turning things at angle means more space is needed as well as special anchor points. On this kind of job I would detail EVERYTHING. You will not be able to use the opener mechanism installation instructions which will assume some semblance of level.
- guru - Sunday, 11/06/05 11:13:53 EST

Jeff G.-- If this cat is such a hotcha craftsman, then surely he will understand that what he is asking for is completely irrational and to be solved only with a gullwing gate, like that snazzy old Mercedes had. Or a barberpole hinge with an extremely fast twist to the thread, that will lift the gate(s) as it(they) open(s). Either one is going to take a powerful motor and cost beaucoup bucks. Get the money in front.
miles undercut - Monday, 11/07/05 01:08:18 EST

Gate Hinge: Of course the gate needs to be plumb when closed, the rotational axis of the hinges is what needs to be square to the ground, and the actuator needs to be square to the rotational axis. If it was easy any darn fool could do it. Miles idea would work with a cam & roller if the actuator was fitted with Hime joints, and lift wasn't too severe.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 11/07/05 01:23:27 EST

driveway gates: Jeff, seems to me that Mighty Mule gate opener company has an opener and hardware for gates that swing up hill. Might be a good place to look. They do have a web site. But I have a King Architectural Metals catalog open here to page 369. And at the bottom of the page is hinges for uphill swing gates. They also have a web site. And they are good folks to work with.
- Doug Thayer - Monday, 11/07/05 08:29:32 EST

Help from the pros: Hello all,
It’s been awhile since I’ve been around. I hope everyone has been OK.
The boys and I have been busting my back sides, and this summer has seemed to fly right by.
I have a project that I have been working on that I was hoping I could get some input on from some pros. I hope you all don’t mind me asking. It really isn’t a blacksmithing question but rather a question about hydraulics and fluid flow.
Earlier this summer I was able to scrap up enough money for a down payment on a compact tractor with a loader/backhoe package. After doing the math this seemed a logical option, considering what it was going to cost me to do the site work for the new house. Well, the new tractor sure has made things easier for me around here, but when the price of fuel went up and I started using $25-$50 a day in diesel I had to re-think things. This brought me to discover biodiesel, and I started home brewing my own fuel.
Now, to get to the meat of this post. I’m trying to come up with a more efficient way to heat vegetable oil inline while pumping the feedstock from one process to another through the processing cycles of the oil into usable fuel. Most of the info available on the subject suggests using conventional electric heat elements for heating the feedstock, which is what I do now.
Now, I know from my experience using heavy equipment that heat generated from fluid friction can wreck a hydraulic system in no time if the system is not engineered properly and kept in good condition.
What I would like to do is create the high friction conditions needed inline to heat the oil to around 140 degrees F, while pumping.
The average pump used for the process now works at about 5 to 10 GPM. Would this be enough flow, if given the right conditions to produce friction inline and heat the oil?
My thoughts would be to fabricate a unit inline composed of shear angles and flow disrupters to cause the friction needed.
I know this seems a bit out there and off the normal topic of this forum, but I am always amazed at the level of knowledge and experience of the people that make up anvilfire.
Thanks for everything!!!!!
Your friend always,
Keith Barker
- kdbarker - Monday, 11/07/05 12:42:15 EST

Heat - Pumps:

HP in = BTU out.

All you need is head (pressure) and time. If you use an orifice to produce a restircion in flow you will get heat proportionate to the load on the prime mover. You do not need a complicated resistance path. However, you CAN end up with a very high pressure and velocity at the orrifice. The next way to produce hydraulic heat in a compact unit is with a device that is similar to a torque converter or automatic transmission coupling. You have two half doughnut sections with fins. As the device turns the fluid is forced outward and tries to couple the two parts together. For making heat you want more space between the two parts and one is stationary.

Note that this is no more or less efficient than electric heat. IF you use an electric motor then the cost of heating will be the same. Where these devices come in handy is where you have mechanical energy provided by wind or water power and do not want to waste the effort of converting to electric and then heat while you can go directly to heat.
- guru - Monday, 11/07/05 15:18:31 EST

Re: Heat-Pumps: Guru,
Wow, thank you for the info.
My thought was that since I already use pumps to transfer the oil from one process to another, I could heat it inline using this method.
So, I think you are telling me the added head pressure will require more energy from the pump, which is proportionate to heating to the same temp using heat elements.
Is that correct?
Thanks again.
kdbarker - Monday, 11/07/05 16:22:07 EST

Yep, More load, more power required.

Many pumps and machines that require xHP do not use that much unless fully loaded. Motors often idle much of the time. There is a surge on start up then they require the neccessary power to overcome friction (3%) and to do the work required (+10% up). In most cases under steady load motors only use about 75% of their rating.
- guru - Monday, 11/07/05 17:34:28 EST

Dave Thayer: You are brilliant. I completely missed those hinges in King. I deal with them all the time. I'll also check out Mighty Mule. I've not heard of them before. All you guys are great. I appreciate all the ideas. It's great to be able to pick the brains of lots of people all at once. Thanks.
Jeff G. - Monday, 11/07/05 18:01:06 EST

Well, as always…you make things much clearer.
Thanks a million!
kdbarker - Monday, 11/07/05 18:03:28 EST

iForge 27 - door knocker: iForge 27 post-mortem:

Well, I made the Epps fancy door knocker this past weekend. Thanks Bill! I figured I'd share a couple of notes.

Upsetting the 1/2" to 3/4" proved to be taking too long. I got it to 5/8" before I gave up. I started with 10" of 3/4", and tapered down to 1/2" on the end. This was much faster for me. Perhaps if I would have tried upsetting at a lemon instead of bright orange it would have went better.

Putting the twist in the 3/4" middle was a bear. It has to be darn hot.
- Tom T - Monday, 11/07/05 18:25:40 EST

TomT: Yes, the upsetting and the twisting both would be easier at a higher heat. Unless there is some overriding reason not to, I forge mild steel at a yellow heat. I only use a lower heat such as red or orange for finishing blows where I need more resistance from the metal to get smoother surface finishes.

To make upsetting considerably easier, start by forging a very short "point" on the bar. This concentrates the force of the upsetting blow down the center of the stock, minimizing bending and off-center upsetting. Also, a bigger hammer will drive the upset deeper into the stock, while a lighter hammer will spread the metal more at the point of impact.

On the bar for the door knocker, where you are upsetting the middle of the bar, I would start with about four feet of the 1/2" bar and take a concentrated heat about 6" from one end. Then you can use the bar itself for the driving force by slamming it straight down onto the anvil or a heavy block of steel on the floor. Doing it this way, you achieve two advantages: first, you KNOW the blow is going to be centered automatically with no missed blows; secondly, if the upset is not exactly centered 6" from the end, you adjust accordingly by how much you trim off the bar. It also makes is a bit easier to do the twisting evenly, I think.

Thanks for sharing you experience with the demo, Tom. I hope we can begin doing some new ones in not too distant future.
vicopper - Monday, 11/07/05 21:36:32 EST

Keith: less energy will end up as heat in the oil from pumping than if You wetre to heat the piping with resistance electric. The motor on the pump will only be 50% to 75% eficient, the heat generated by the motor is lost energy. if trying to squeze the most from the buck, maybee You should use a cheap, scroungable fuel [wood] to heat the oil.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 11/08/05 01:00:32 EST

Door knocker upset: I hadn't thought about upsetting on the end of a long bar. That's a really good idea. Starting out with a short bar doesn't provide allowance if my upset heat is off to one side.

Heating the oil:
If the setup is static, you might try utilizing solar power. Setup a glass enclosure around the piping between processing stations to support a greenhouse effect. It's surprising how much energy is supplied by the sun. The angle of incidence of the glazing to the suns rays should be less than 50 degrees.
- Tom T - Tuesday, 11/08/05 02:18:20 EST

Heating oil: One thing to think about is the static charge from the oil flowing through the piping. Basic sloshing around of the fluid flowing through the pipe generates a charge, but the addition of orifices, or other friction generating devices also increase the static charge. Make sure to ground your piping.
- Tom T - Tuesday, 11/08/05 02:27:11 EST

hi guru i am looking to be a blacksmtih aprentice and have read alot about it so i know it's not all fun and games. but to do this i still need a master or a journymen not someone with blacksmithing knolage. i heard that there is a high demand for ferriers where i live. i live on vancouver island b.c. and for the most part i am most intrested in bladesmithing or weapon smithing is weapon smithing a dead art? i mean like true weapon smithing.
- jacob - Tuesday, 11/08/05 03:12:18 EST

legal age: also is there a legal age to begin blacksmithing i want to do it as soon as possible
- jacob - Tuesday, 11/08/05 03:13:16 EST

Jacob: I am the least qualified to answer the questions, but everybody else has gone to bed. Ferriers need to know an awefull lot about horses feet and legs. True enough they also must be able to forge steel, and You would learn that if You apprenticed to one. A lot of people are hobby blade/ weapon smiths, a few can make a living at it. If You are in horse country, You would have a better chance of making a living as a ferrier than a weapon smith, But You would need to know and love horses, as this is hard and potentially dangerous work. There is probably no formal apprenticeship available, but there are ferrier & blacksmithing classes/schools. As far as legal age, whoever teaches You may have concerns about liability if You are a minor, but You can probably find someone to get You started if You try hard enough.Where You live has a lot to do with weather You can set up a shop at home, as does the feelings of Your family if You live at their home.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 11/08/05 03:47:09 EST

legal age...: Jacob,
I suppose a lot depends on where you are. Oh wiat I see you are in BC. Look for NWBA.
But now back to what I started to say;
If it is a paid postion here in teh US of A I would say most places will not look at you til you are at least 16. I do volunteer smithing at a National Historic site and the rule there is as follows. With written consent form parents and with the OK by the head smith ( a Park Ranger) you can volunteer in the shop at age 17 ( for insurance reasons) But if you find a local to you blacksmithing group or guild then they may have differnet rules.
As for doing apprentice work in the USA you most likely will not find anything like that. It is generally too costly for the shop. BUT, I repeat but if you find a local smithing group folks there will most likely be interested in helping you learn. In Europe and other areas, I have no idea of how apprenticeship works today.
Weapon smithing is not as needed as it once was. BUt some folks do make a living from it.
Ralph - Tuesday, 11/08/05 04:39:25 EST

Farriery and smithing: Jacob,

I'm a full time farrier and a hobby (and novice I might add)blade smith. As Dave said, farriery is hard work and potentially dangerous, although I've never been paid for doing anything easy. You'r folks would probably prefer you became a doctor or lawyer but the trade has been good to me. I also have a degree and spent a good number of years as an engineer and then went back to farriery.

First, if your real interest is blacksmithing, bladesmithing or whatever, farriery may not be your best bet. I say that because there is less and less blacksmithing being used by the average farrier with many not even owning a forge. Now days you can buy just about anything you need and you get paid far more for your time under a horse than you do for your time in front of a forge. Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of farriers who make at least some of their own shoes, shoe modifications and make some of their own tools. The point is, in farriery, the focus is the horse shoeing not the blacksmithing. Some horses can be hard to get along with but no worse than an MBA who is behing schedule and over budget in an early morning meeting. LOL

There are schools but most are short duration and I think most would agree that you wouldn't likely be ready to go out on your own after attending one. Real apprenticships are few and far between. There are lots of reasons for that but for starters who wants to pay you while they teach you, let you practice on their clients horses only to have you leave when you feel like you can finally do it on your own (likely taking some of their clients with you when you go)? The best you can usually do is to find one or more farriers who will let you ride with them. They likely won't let you do much and most certainly won't pay you. I will add, though, that where there's a will there's a way and new guys/gals are comming into the trade all the time.

Since I'm only a novice myself I'll let some one else address bladesmithing or ornamental blacksmithing. I do some of it but I haven't made any money at it.
- Mike Ferrara - Tuesday, 11/08/05 08:09:37 EST

driveway gate: Jeff, the only experience I have with gate openers is the Mighty Mule and that is only because I have a client that I'm doing a gate for specified that brand. When you get your project done would like to see photos of it.
- Doug Thayer - Tuesday, 11/08/05 08:22:08 EST

jacob: I have posted the link to the Vancouver Island Blacksmiths. If you have a chance maybe you can get to one of their demonstrations. They do travel the island. They also bring people in to do workshops, this may include knife making. I'm sure by emailing them or talking to them at one of their demonstrations, might give you a better idea of what is available.
Vancouver Island Blacksmith's Association
- Trent - Tuesday, 11/08/05 10:38:14 EST

Jacob: The best first step is to sniff out your local smithing group. They can be more help to you than anyone else. The other thing is be determined but patient. Time is on your side if you are steady in your aim. There are a lot of older smiths who would be happy to help and instruct a serious minded young person even if there was no financial gain in it. But older smiths know that young people get interested in all sorts of things and then move on. This is as it should be. Youth is the time to try things out. But it does make one skeptical. To be honest, there is a continous stream of teenage boys at this site and at smith meetings who want to be blade smiths. They come and they go. Next year they will be into something else. To stand out from this crowd will take time. If you show that you are serious, polite, hardworking and here to stay, you will, in time get offers to help out in smiths shops. If you do a good job there it will likely lead to more.

One quality to look for in good smiths is initiative. Show intiative by doing as much reading asyou can and starting to collect a few tools. Then find the smiths in your area.
adam - Tuesday, 11/08/05 10:39:48 EST

I'd say that less than 1 person in 20 that I teach smithing to will still be doing it 5 years later; but at least there is a whole lot of folk out there who have a greater appreciation of the craft!

IIRC a practicing farrier and smith told us that the average working life of a farrier is about 7 years so for most folks it's not so much a career than a way station. A lot of folks leave the craft due to back injuries too. Don't get into it unless you have the "horse focus" in your life!

And yes there are true bladesmiths still out there---some even supporting themselves at it! BUT if you are just interested in owning real properly made swords doing odd jobs and *buying* them will get your hands on them years faster than learning to make them yourself.

May I commed to your attention in particular the bladesmiths cafe.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/08/05 13:02:14 EST

Keith, First law of thermodynamics always holds true!.. but your post got me thinking as I misread it first time (thinking you wanted to preheat the oil onboard the vehicle)- Jock, could there not be a simple way of utilising the phenominal 'waste' heat of the I.C engine to generate some energy in some way? which could then be used to improve the vehicle efficiency ? - (improve efficency by 1% on cars = globally huge amounts of oil)- obviously the car designers spend billions on engineers to research this kinda thing but my mind wonders sometimes :),
John N - Tuesday, 11/08/05 14:07:14 EST

( Guru, if we suss this one out email me the answer and we can split the ££ $$ !) sorry to be off topic a bit as well...
John N - Tuesday, 11/08/05 14:10:48 EST

Age and Smithing:
Physicaly I put the minimum age at 8 years old. Many boys this age are tough enough and stuborn enough to swing a hammer and not let the steel beat them. I started working with machinery (saws, lathes, drills) when I was this age and I have given lessons to a few at this age. However, a little later is probably better.

Mentally there is a lot to learn especially if you are interested in the technical ends of blacksmithing such as bladesmithing and armour. To become proficient in these areas you need to study art, history, engineering, metallurgy and the trade itself. Then if you want to make a living at it you need to know how to setup and run a business as almost all smiths are self employed.

Among the things to learn are the hazards of the metal working trades and their avoidance. We work with hazzardous chemicals and machinery many of which can kill or maim. Again, being self employed you need to know these things as there is no employer or government institution looking over your shoulder keeping you out of trouble.

See our FAQ's page article on apprenticeships and our Sword Making FAQ.
Apprenticeships in Blacksmithing
- guru - Tuesday, 11/08/05 15:10:33 EST

Heat Recapture:
Most modern engines today use as much of the waste heat as possible. Engines with turbo chargers extract mechanical energy which reduces exhust temperature.

Part of the problem with gasoline engines is that a cool exhust will not operate a catalytic converter. So exhust temperatures must be kept high enough to activate the platinium screen. There are other emmisions that need to maintain a hot exhust.

You also need a certain amount of heat to carry off water vapor and prevent condensation in the exhust. Internal rust is the primary reason of exhust failures not external.

I suspect greater efficiencies can be had but are more technical than just preheating the fuel (which COULD be dangerous). In modern gas furnaces the exhust vents are two plastic pipes. One for cold CO2 and one for cool water. This is about as efficient as you can get.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/08/05 15:50:25 EST

Bladesmithing-- friend of mine's brother just sold a 1960s-vintage Randall for close to five grand ($5,000 U.S.) (!)on Ebay.
miles undercut - Tuesday, 11/08/05 17:01:06 EST

vintage randall: The Randall in question is #6571806252. It sold for 5500! What's up with this vintage randall business? I'm not privy to its history.
- Tom T - Tuesday, 11/08/05 18:10:36 EST

Randall: Mr. Randall was a famous cutom knife maker. His knives are beloved and very well known by knife enthusiasts and collectors. He passed away in 1989. This is a website that will give you a brief history:
His knives usually sell for 1200.00 and up. The special ones go for more like the above mentioned.
burntforge - Tuesday, 11/08/05 18:50:54 EST

Need a Wood Base: I am aware this is a blacksmith forum. But it thought I would ask. I HAVE built a stand for a set of fireplace tools (the person I'm making it for bought the tools at an antique store) and I need a wood base for it. Does anyone have the equipment and wood to do this for me? It needs to be 4" x 18" x 18". It doesn't have to be cleanly cut, just split with sawed ends would be fine and I could finish it up. Thanks. I will pay for it of course!
- Tyler Murch - Tuesday, 11/08/05 19:20:26 EST

wood cont.: It would need to be hardwood. Hickory, oak, ash, elm, maple, etc.
Tyler Murch - Tuesday, 11/08/05 19:23:12 EST

Tom T-- My ex-bro-in law the Viet Nam war jet fight fighter pilot turned Ob-Gyn told me wayyy back in the 1970s that the Randall was the one knife pilots wanted to be packing if they crashed in VC territory. I think that kind of trust has a lot to do with it.
miles undercut - Tuesday, 11/08/05 20:22:40 EST

Randall Knife: Miles is right on. Military personel swore by their Randall knives.
burntforge - Tuesday, 11/08/05 21:29:55 EST

Tyler - hardwood: A chunk of wood that size has a great potential for warpage, checking, cracks, & splits as it dries out. If that is OK, try firewood dealers, or small time custom sawmills. If You need furnature quality, consider building up from kiln dried material
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 11/08/05 23:42:04 EST

WASTE HEAT USE: iN THE '70s oil crunches Fiat was developing an engine driven generator that used the cooling systen for home heat and heating domestic water. The real clincher - It was fueled by methane from a compost heap. I don't know if it ever got to full production, it was intended for remote locations.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 11/09/05 00:25:26 EST

Tom T--- The knife I mentioned is another one, item 6574866363. The moral of the tale is the same, though, based on those sales and the incredible prices on the other Randalls up for grabs: a good knife is a solid investment.
miles undercut - Wednesday, 11/09/05 01:07:03 EST

Dave Boyer,
Here you go.
- kdbarker - Wednesday, 11/09/05 03:34:05 EST

Keithb: What are you using for feed stock for your bio-diesel?

Bert - Wednesday, 11/09/05 13:41:38 EST

Hardwood: Dave Boyer,
Doesn't putting linseed oil on it while it dries keep it from checking etc.
Tyler Murch - Wednesday, 11/09/05 19:11:49 EST

Bert: I'm using waste fryer oil from a couple local restaurants. One uses Canola, real nice and stays liquid at real low temps. The other source uses hydrogenated soybean oil (soy sludge). Not as good for low temps but still makes quality biodiesel.
I use it in my Kubota B2710 tractor, no modifications necessary and I can mix the biodiesel with any type or percentage of petro-diesel.
I got sick on those hot stagnant days running the backhoe for hours at a time choking on sooty diesel fumes. Now, I just get a slight whiff of chicken wings once in a while. No diesel fumes to deal with, but it does make you hungry all the time.

- kdbarker - Wednesday, 11/09/05 20:57:15 EST

Camp Fenby Autumn Session: Well, we didn't do too bad, about a dozen folks over last weekend. Taught some basic blacksmithing and worked on "lost styrofoam" molds for this weekend's pour, including the clapper for the ship's bell.

For this weekend, I'm doing metalwork (blacksmithing and small foundry), Dave Lawrence is handling woodworking, and Jan Derry is doing inkle loom work. Other folks are looking at horse tack, the small anchor, knotwork and trimming spars for the ship.

Y'all come if you have the time! :-) Still planning on crabs for Saturday. ==
Camp Fenby, Autumn Session II
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 11/09/05 22:59:51 EST

Tyler: It MAY help by slowing the drying, but that is a huge slab of wood. If "quarter sawn" [or split] from a 5' diameter or larger tree it would be the most stable.Work inside the sapwood, don't use the center of the tree. Good luck.
Dave Boyer - Thursday, 11/10/05 00:01:18 EST

welding rod price/brand: Yesterday I returned an unopened 50# box of Hobart rod to our local Franks Supply (heavy equip rental & sales franchise). I had paid e almost $100 for the box then I found the same, 6013 rod from Lincoln selling at HomeDep for $7.50 a 5# box. Some of this is Home Depot retailing of course. Franks sells mostly to the Natl Lab here and no price is too good for the American taxpayer. What is the variability between the well known brands Miller,Lincoln, Esab, Fourney, Hobart etc? What about cheapo brands? Right now I could buy 44# of Monkey King 6013 for $49 including shipping (ebay item #7560966229). Should one avoid that kind of thing are is all 6013 pretty much the same? Thanks
- adam - Thursday, 11/10/05 10:59:57 EST

Wood Slab: Tyler, that really IS a big slab of wood. Dave is right. Keeping a piece like that from checking is really tough. It wont be easy to keep it from warping either. If you look around at furniture designs you will notice that wide boards are rarely used and where they are they need special constructin techniques like frame and panel design to keep them flat. Thick wide boards are even rarer unless the appearance of the piece can tolerate checking and some warping. Its tough to use big solid pieces and experienced woodworkers usually avoid it.

One way around this problem is build up the piece by gluing narrow boards together. Table tops are generally made this way. Nice heavy woodworker benches have 4" thick tops of laminated maple or beech. Alternating the heartwood sides of the boards when assembling them for gluing helps to even out the shrinkage and even big benches can be fairly stable - staying flat throughout the seasons. You can buy these kinds of tops, from WW supply houses and this might be your best bet. There is a variety of such laminated boards intended both for making work benches and also as table tops for a DIY project. If you look around you might well find something close to the size you need - perhaps a small kitchen butcher block?

Even if you are after a "rustic" look, a solid piece like that might check and twist unacceptably. You cant be sure what it will do until its had at least a few months in the climate where it is to live - also if it gets warmed on one side by a fire this will only aggravat things.

Thats about $10 worth of my 2c :)
adam - Thursday, 11/10/05 11:17:55 EST

Big Wood chunks: Everything already said is right on, in my limited experience. If you want it to look like one big piece of wood, but need it to be stable, then you glue it up from smaller pieces and surface it with a piece of single-peel veneer of your choice. Carefully done it is almost impossible to tell it from a virgin piece of timber.
vicopper - Thursday, 11/10/05 12:22:50 EST

Wood: Tyler where are you localed, I have some ash and oak laminated 4/4 ( thats 1" ) scrap, that you can have if you could pay shipping, but that could be exspensive, I'm in NC.

daveb - Thursday, 11/10/05 13:34:06 EST

Welding Rods: Years ago I was stupid enough to order welding rods with "special sheet metal flux" from Eastwood. $16 or 17 for 3#, plus shipping. When I got them, it turned out they were the same old Lincoln Fleetweld 37 6013 rods they sell at Home Depot.
Mike B - Thursday, 11/10/05 13:35:04 EST

more on wood shrinkage::

Wood moves in response to moisture change. A dried piece of wood will slowly the humidity of its environment. This is almost impossible to prevent. Linseed oil, paint etc will only slow it down. The advantage of linseed oil is that it displaces a bit of the moisture and slows doen the rate at which water moves in the wood and gives the wood more time to accommodate shrinkage or swelling. Marine grade urethanes and the like in thick heavy coating might do it until it gets scuffed away in places. Fighting wood movement from moisture is like youknowwhating into the wind. The old wooden ships, like wooden barrels and buckets, depended on the expansion of wet wood to close their joints.

We pause now for a brief poetic interlude:~

As idle as a painted ship upon a painted sea
Water, water everywhere and all the boards did shrink
Water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink!

Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner/Coleridge

And we now return to our regular programming:-

If you ever look at dried round (cross section of a tree) you will see that the wood shrinks around its girth more than it does across its diameter - tangential shrinkage is much greater than radial shrinkage. (Along the length of the board there is practically no shrinkage.) This is why a flat sawn board will shrink much more than a quarter sawn one. The difference in shrinkage between the two sides of the board will cause cupping and checking. Unfortunately quarter sawing a whole log is wasteful so the log is flat sawn and the one center board which comes out qtr sawn is often picked out and sold at a higher price. That is there arent a lot of qtr sawn boards available. Worse yet, a nice 18" board of any kind is darn hard to find. There arent that many trees left of any kind of wood that can provide such a board. An 18" 4" thick qtr sawn board would command a special premium way above regular qtr sawn stock. Even in colonial times wide boards were in great demand. IIRC any pine board over 14" wide belonged to the crown. In any case an 18"x4" sawn slab will *still* move significantly - you just have too much span across the grain but its much less likely to cup, twist or check.

You have to be a bit careful when you use metal fasteners that you dont restrain this natural cycle of shrinkage and swelling. Around my area there are a lot of Forest Service signs made by screwing a horizontal wooden board to a post with lag bolts. After a season they are loose and sloppy. The humidity rises and the wood swells against the lag bolt head. If the bolt doesnt pull out, the wood fibers crush. Then it dries out, the crushed wood shrinks and its a loose fit. Table tops are mounted to their frames with slotted holes for this reason - to accomodate expansion.

Finally (really, I promise! ), some woods, especially oak , have a lot of tannin which will react with iron and make an inky blue black stain in the wood. This can be a nice effect but its hard on the steel fastener. This problem can be controlled if the wood stays dry or you use SS where the metal touches the wood
adam - Thursday, 11/10/05 14:04:58 EST

Big Wood Slabs: Thank you very much for the wood lecture, Adam, Dave, and vic (and everyone else). I wonder if you could also advice which kinds (spieces however you spell it) absolutely will crack and which kinds are most likely to survive without cracking, fewer cracks, less savere cracks, etc. Especially comparing black locust, ash, and black walnut.
JohnW - Thursday, 11/10/05 16:16:34 EST

Rod Quality and Price:
In general US made rods are all about the same. However some E6013's have easy strike tips and others do not. That is the ONLY difference I have ever noticed and if I had a choice I would gladly pay 25% more for the easy strike rods. These have some kind of coating on the tip that conducts and burns off starting the arc. EASY. . . But the rest of the rod is the same red/brown flux coating.
- guru - Thursday, 11/10/05 18:05:57 EST

Thick wood slabs: For a while there, there was a fashion for coffee tables made out of thick slabs of wood.

IIRC the better makers soaked the wood for quite some time in hot high molecular weight polyethylene glycol. This stuff had to be warmed to well above room temperature to melt and was said to penetrate the wood and replace the water and then not evaporate. I don't know how successful the stuff was long term, but it sounded good. Seems like they called it PEG-1000.

Seems like I read about the preservation process in Popular Science or Popular Mechanics sometime in the 1970s or maybe '80s.
John Lowther - Thursday, 11/10/05 19:06:40 EST

John W.
I have some very dry, old 12" by about 2" cherry and walnut. These were air dryed for mantles. Shipping would be a bit high, but I could sell a drop of about 18" pretty cheap.

Anyone need black walnut gun stock material?
ptree - Thursday, 11/10/05 21:43:13 EST

Welding rods: AWS classes of rods allow for some variation in the same clasification. Most of the larger rod manufacturers make several 6013 [and every other type].They handle diferently and all have their purpose. The guys who weld for a living know which ones are best for a given situation, and they can tell the difference. The rest of us pays our money and takes our chances. If I wasn't dealing with somebody who really knows the products I would try a small box before I got 50# of something that might not work out.
Dave Boyer - Friday, 11/11/05 01:36:58 EST

John W: In general the piece of wood with the stratest grain will give the least trouble all around. It may not be as beautifull or interesting as a highly figured piece, but is more likely to be predictable. If You are still stuck on the single chunk, You are going to have to take what You can get. If building up out of smaller kiln dried wood the stresses will be less severe. Could the base be an open bottomed box? It would be a lot less of a problem.
Dave Boyer - Friday, 11/11/05 01:50:44 EST

wood: Many knife maker use "stabalized wood" for handles. After drying the wood is placed in a container with whatever goup they use and a vaccume drawn on the container to pull the goup into the wood. Some swear by the process while others don't seem to think it gains you very much. From what I read it works better with some woods than with others. I guess it doesn't do as much with denser woods? Gun stock makers sometimes use thinned tung oil to attempt to seal the wood. Of course they still use glass bedding and other methods to further stabalize the rifles action.

I have a big walnut plank that I want to use for knife handles and I've been going back and forth on how to handle it. By rites I guess it should be kiln dried, sealed and finished. I think I'm going to "hope" it's dry and give it a hand rubbed oil finish, sealing it the best I can and see what happens.
Mike Ferrara - Friday, 11/11/05 06:38:18 EST

Arc Welding: In my quest to master the stick welder I ordered a bunch of books from the Lincoln site - which arrived today. These books are *tremendous* value. IIRC it was someone here who turned me onto these books - thank you.

New Lessons in Arc Welding: $10

Covers stick, mig & tig welding. First chapter is some 45 lessons on stick. The lessons cover welding technique in detail - one lesson is simply about learning to fill the crater that tends to occur at the end of a bead. But by the end of chap 1 you will have learned to weld pipe, cast iron and copper! IMO his book is far superior to most of the modern welding books like Bowditch which run about $80

Metals And How to Weld Them: $10
Contains a chapter on metallurgy pitched just about right for a metal worker - not a PhD metallurgist. Then goes on to use this material to explain the problems that arise in welding metals, alloy metals, cast iron etc and is filled with practical advice.

Arc Welded Projects Vol II & Vol III $10

What happened to Vol 1? Dunno. These are two books that are just plans for fabricated items. Both books contain plans for metal cutting bandsaws , heavy duty chop saws, trailer, log splitters etc.

The Procedure Book Arc Welding : $25

This is a tech ref on arcwelding and the design of weldments. How to design welds and set them up - tables showing different kinds of weld joints and which rods and sizes are appropriate - a chapter on welding pipe, another on welding rebar. Actually I got this one used for about $10 but even at $25 from lincoln this is very good value
adam - Friday, 11/11/05 09:18:38 EST

100# rod update.: So I have been going into the shop to run beads early in the morning before work and I think I have burned about 10# of 7018 in the process. Already I have seen a huge improvement and I can now reliably lay down a decent, flat position bead every time. Not surprising though since in most learning curves big gains are made initially then progress slows. I think the most important thing so far is that I have started to relax which not only improves control but makes the work a lot more fun. The first few days I would be really tired after running just a few rods. Now I happily burn thru a pound (about 16 rods at 1/8") and I enjoy it. I look forward to my morning welding routine.

Stick welding is like trying to pour a straight line of ketchup out of the bottle in the middle of a lightening storm. :)
adam - Friday, 11/11/05 09:28:41 EST

Anyang hammer: I have been looking at the Anyang hammers 33 and 80 pounders. Do any of you have some longer term experience with them and how do they hold up.
- Tinker - Friday, 11/11/05 11:23:03 EST

steel tubing: Can anyone tell me how to put a double flare in steel tubing? I'm talking about making up some brake lines.
smitty7 - Friday, 11/11/05 15:20:33 EST

tree stands update: A while back I asked for some ideas on flatting some emt tubing for a customer's design for several tree stands, well it turned out that the quickest way was to use an 8# sledge. Anyway they turned out really good, I even put my 255# old heinie in one and it was really stable. My whole point for this is to thank everyone for their input and support.
smitty7 - Friday, 11/11/05 15:36:57 EST

Double flare: Smitty; A double flare requires the use of a flaring tool specifically designed for that. Try Sears or Snap-on, or someone who caters to professional mechanics.
3dogs - Friday, 11/11/05 15:52:34 EST

wood: Okay, you guys, thaks for the information
JohnW - Friday, 11/11/05 18:02:09 EST

Flag: The story of my US flag from the USS Oklahoma, that saved my family's life in 1936 was featured on the local news tonite. If anyone would like the story in text form, just email me and I'll send it.
John Odom - Friday, 11/11/05 20:53:25 EST

My friend whose brother, as I noted here a few days ago, just sold his Randall for close to $5K sends me this report from the recent NYC knife show (he is himself a serious collector): "if your smithing friends go into blade-making there's more than blades involved in getting fancy prices. A dealer there had a Randall Model 14 from the Vietnam years and said he bought it directly from the lieutenant who was its only owner. Dealer was asking $1,600 for the knife. I told him about my brother's sale and the dealer asked, "was the handle green? Did it have a canteen clip?" I answered yes to both. The green stuff is called tenite and Randall used canteen clips for only about two years. Seems my brother put up for sale a model that is particularly sought by collectors right now. Ten years ago, the dealer said, he'd have been lucky to get a thousand and they were just as rare back then. So advise your smith friends to make good blades but also to choose handles and then maybe change handle materials every couple of years to create rarity from the beginning."
- Mies Undercut - Friday, 11/11/05 22:57:48 EST

Okay, okay, so, it was a typo, big deal-- I've signed up for the cataract surgery awreddy!
Miles Undercut - Friday, 11/11/05 23:03:54 EST

Adam: It probably does take 100# of rod to become real good, and then enough welding to stay good. I think I started welding when I was 10, and now I am 46. I never got realy good, just good enough. I have probably used 150# of filler in My life so far, and I have built and repaired alot of stuff using stick, mig and tig, steel, stainles,& aluminum. I notice that about when I am finishing a larger project I am better than at the start. Keep at it, it is an art when You are really good.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 11/12/05 00:22:22 EST

Mike F: If the plank has been stored inside for several years it will be at a suitable moisture level. Air dried never gets as dry as kiln dried, but kiln dried may actually pick up moisture depending on humidity where You live. If the plank is a few years old most of what will happen already has.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 11/12/05 00:30:36 EST

Miles: My Mom had Her remaning cateract removed the week after You were mentioning Yours. All is well, the lens they put in wouldn't even need a corection for distance viewing, Her "real" lens was nearsighted.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 11/12/05 00:34:48 EST

Dave-- Many thanks for the cheering-up. I need it. 20-15 all my life and now... phfffft.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/12/05 01:19:57 EST

Old Eyes: Geeez Miles, everybody I know has had cataract surgery lately. Every one of them has remarked how much better off they are after the surgery, able to see things they hadn't seen in some time. I'll probably be doing the same thing in another handful of years, as the eye doc said at my last exam that my eyeballs were getting lumpy or something. I probably should have paid more attention, but I was so engfrossed in how much money I was paying that my attention was rather narrowly focuse on that shrinking sensation in my already thin wallet. It had been a few extra yewars since I'd gotten new glasses and I'd apparently forgotten just how much it costs to be able to see. Trifocals are just the admission price to late middle age, I guess.
vicopper - Saturday, 11/12/05 07:36:53 EST

Ultimate Stabilized Wood:
In Lynchburg, VA there is an outfit called Applied Radiant Technologies. Their business is impenetrating wood with an acrylic polymer by the use of gamma radiation (Cobalt 60 source). The primary application is parquette wood tiles. They have exceptional wear resistance and are very stable.

The fellow that started the business had a patent on the process. Apparently the gamma radiation does something to cause the plactic to penetrate deeply into the wood.

My brother-in-law worked for the place years ago and we discussed running special batches for the purpose of making knife scales. The pieces they normally make are only large enough to scales for small folders or pocket knives.
- guru - Saturday, 11/12/05 08:39:02 EST

100#: I dunno about getting real good. I'd be satisfied with basic competence. I want to know that my welds are sound and not to be ashamed when people look at them. 100# is just a number to work with. I will stop when I feel my skill is adequate. I have no desire to become a welder. I am here for the blacksmithing! :)

Some skills require a lot of upkeep some dont. I taught myself to use a handsaw in the same way. 30 mins every evening until I could reliably saw out a pair of dovetails and pins that went together with just a little paring. I cant do that any more but I can still use a handsaw competently.

Part of the problem is that when I got started welding, I didnt appreciate the skill component. I knew there was a fair amount of technical stuff to master but that actually laying down a bead would be easy. ( "Pig Ignorant" is the name for this. ) So I never took it seriously, never devoted the time to developing the special manual skills needed and, of course, I never got nice results.

A local smith, Helmut Hillenkamp,, used to be a welder. He uses arc welds in his work and they fit in very well IMO.

I want to say thanks again to everyone who has given me welding advice here or thru email. I appreciate every word.
adam - Saturday, 11/12/05 08:40:19 EST

Weld Quality:
Like everything else it is practice, practice, paractice. However, I can usualy improve a novices or DIY welder's quality of weld in one sitting of a few seconds. All it takes is someone that knows how to weld to tell you to shorten the arc (if need be), run a little slower, center the puddle. . . and in a few seconds you are welding better. A few minutes practice to drill what the puddle looks and sounds like after that and you are on your way. . . I expect a pro could do the same for me. . . I suspect he would say, get a new welder but don't expect to make a living at this.

While practicing you need to get good laying down flat beads but THEN you need to learn hard welds. 1/4" plate to 1/4" plate flat or at angles is probably the easiest welding there is. Welding thin wall tubing together is tricky, so is welding something thin like 16 ga and especialy 16ga to 1/2" plate. . . .

Most of the welds you will make building tools and machinery are right angle fillet welds. These are relatively easy. The tough ones are welding rusted pitted exhust pipes, pieces out of range for your welder, overhead welding and anything requiring filling in a gap and looking good OR being straight when finished.

Certified welders do wonderful work but it is normally only on clean properly fit well engineered joints. Shade tree mechanics learn to weld anything anywhere and make it work. . .
- guru - Saturday, 11/12/05 14:31:23 EST

Hard Welds: I am working on flat pos. cross body left to right. The next excercise is to run 12" beads in all four directions, rt to lft, away from body and towards. Then after that you have to lay down a pad by welding back and forth accross the plate. Thats two lessons! by the time I get to #45 I will be able to weld paper to gasoline! Okay so mebbe I am too optimistic but this book really doesnt miss a step.
adam - Saturday, 11/12/05 16:35:14 EST

vicopper-- I know, I know. But going under the knife is an act of faith. And I just don't seem to have any, alas. Don't gamble unless you can afford to lose is my maxim. Oh, well, we'll see. Or, then again, maybe we won't.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/12/05 19:24:03 EST

Arc-- a Miller engineer told me that THE major problem most welders have is trying to work with a bad ground connection onto the work. You may get an arc, but not the most bounce to the ounce. Check the work for what the pipeliners call gradue. Rust, paint, dirt. 6011 will burn right through it, but the ground cannot make a good contact through it.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/12/05 19:27:49 EST

Small gloat and a coincidence: I purchased an anvil today for $255. It was in a junkyard sitting on the ground, nicely shaped, looked to be well over 200 pounds. There were no handling holes in the waist and nothing stamped on the sides. At first glance, I could not ID it. As the seller and I lifted it onto the tailgate, I could see the odd "hourglass shaped impression" on the base. I then rubbed a little spit on the left side of the base-face under the horn, and came up with 250, which is the weight marking for a Trenton. The odd thing is that my personal, longtime anvil is a Trenton stamped 250. They are almost twins, about 1" difference in overall length.

At some time, the anvil had been used as a welding and cutting table. A few small holes to fill and a bit of gradue (gradoo?) grinding, and Ill be home free.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 11/12/05 21:19:56 EST

Frank-- Gradoo? Gradew? Gradeau? Grahdou? Gradue? Gradieu? Oh, well, as the Bard would have said if he had only thought of it, and been a blacksmith, a speck of gradoo by any other name would be as vile, but since I heard the wonderful word first from you, I will yield to your spelling. Although, the more I think about it, I sort of tend toward preferring gradyew, myself.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 11/13/05 00:28:42 EST

Anvil Gloat: Frank - that is a terrific find. Congrats! And very timely too! Last time I was there I noticed that you were getting pretty low on anvils - you must be down to just 20 or 30? It is very handy to have two *identical* anvils so when you misplace one you will have the other to work on.

Gradue:- I learned this word in Frank Turley's School of Blacksmithing. "Eschew Gradoo!" Gesundheit! Since then I have tried to find a derivation but no luck. My speculation is that its play on the word "crud" - cruddoo ?
adam - Sunday, 11/13/05 08:23:25 EST

Hard Welds: Adam, one of the basic rules which, once you learn and accept, will make welding less of a hassle to you is: The weld on the bottom of your piece (that no one will ever see) will always look better than the one on top that everyone sees.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Sunday, 11/13/05 08:57:38 EST

Gradoo and Laying beads: "Gradoo", however it is spelled, is a word that came to me from my Texan welder students, having the meaning of welding spatter. I believe the word to be a Texicanismo. In Texas, it is apparently used outside the shop in everyday life. One day at the supermarket, I was wearing my "Eschew Gradoo" T-shirt, and a woman approached and told me that she would dearly love to get aholt of a T-shirt like that. I said that it was a custom gift from my smithing students, and I asked her if she was from Texas. She gave me an affirmative, and I asked her what gradoo meant to her. She replied without hesitation, "Oh, it's any old kind of s--t!" From that, I take it that the meaning is: crud, dreck, dirt, welding spatter, scale, brazing drool, escoria, clinker, etc.

My ex-father-in-law was a shipbuilders' welding inspector in a U.S. Navy shipyard, WW II. To be an inspector, he had to learn to weld. He said that his teacher was a huge woman who was a super-duper stick welder. He said that during his initial learning phase, he was getting wormy and superficial beads. His teacher approached with helmet on, leaned over his shoulder, took one look and said, "Watch the puddle Honey; watch the puddle!"

Frank Turley - Sunday, 11/13/05 10:08:51 EST

Adam; High-grading: I DO NOT have 20-30 anvils! I learned the term "high-grading", from the Southwestern turquois traders, also nowadays called "cherry picking". You pick the best of the lot. Well, Adam, that's all I'm trying to the good and sell the not so desirable. Pretty soon, I'll have a state of the art, circa 1920 shop instead of 1910.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 11/13/05 10:33:49 EST

Froo-froos.: As long as I am on this stream of unconsiousness quasi-thread, my Louisiana students tell me that froo-froos are highly decorative ornaments, and that the term can be applied to various arts, including ironwork.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 11/13/05 11:22:51 EST

20-30 anvils: Frank, I am just jealous of your good fortune so I tried to get even by teasing. I didnt expect to land on a button! :)
adam - Sunday, 11/13/05 15:29:37 EST

KABOOM!!: Franky Franky!! I felt the KABOOM all the way across the country!! I just counted 124 anvils piled in your secret shed yesterday. They were hidden under a pile of old leg vises. Good job finding a nice anvil. LOLOLOLOL :)
burntforge - Sunday, 11/13/05 19:44:48 EST

Hey!: I told y'll a billion times to quit exaggeratin'.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 11/13/05 19:51:03 EST

Anyang: Tinker,I wasnt going to comment on this one on account I sell anyang hammers in the UK so am not neutral!, but it may stir some comments from others. Ive only been selling them this year, and they have been very well received so far - To my eye the main parts of the hammers are well constructed, let down a bit by some pretty sloppy control links & pins and oilers that sometimes have a mind of their own (all very easy to sort out). - I know the guy that has sold them in Australia for a good few years, and he put me onto them originally - hes a 'no bull' kind of guy, and a very experienced smith - he is very impressed by them and has been using them a good few years.
Anyangs are not well rated by the anvilfire guys from a few bad experiences (incorrect motors etc), but if your buying in the US, from the dealer you will get some recourse in the event of problems.
A lot is made of the fact that the 'striker'chinese hammer is heavier, but im not sure where the extra weight is in the hammer (or if anyones ever actually weighed them!) , so without a physical back to back inspection & weigh this is not easy to verify.
I think they are very good value for money, especially in the UK, where I sell them (gbp) approx £ 2000 cheaper than equivalent size 'turkish' self contained hammers, and £ 500 cheaper than the 'strikers'.
If I was buying a hammer for my own use if im honest I dont know which (anyang / striker) I would go for, it would be swayed by the location / attitude of the dealer selling them (and from what I can gather both dealers are good in the US )

(ps this isnt an advert, just my honest assesment to date)
John N - Monday, 11/14/05 10:40:57 EST

First public demo: Went great, except the audiance's attention span lasted 2 seconds instead of 5 min.
note to self: don't set up shop next to a group of spinning weman.
spinning is apperently much more intresting then hot metal.....NOT!
Sold 1 stake flipper for $5.00, a new record in sales!
Tons-of-fun, & I beat the day lights out of a horse file.
loved it!
see y'all around.....
- packrat - Monday, 11/14/05 11:37:24 EST

Demo locations:
I once did a demo in a courtyard and they were concerned about smoke. So I used charcoal briquettes (first and last time). The light white ash rained down on the nearby glass and mirror trinkets. . . The smoke would hae been better.
- guru - Monday, 11/14/05 13:13:05 EST

Don't like it at all, had to use it all summer in 2003, coal suppliers in sanfransisco. too far to drive.
rumor about old coal mine along turnity river.
Had map, but map no good. Herd seacoal found on nearby beach. Couldn't find it. Very, very old man that lives on bottoms has ancient forge, 200 years old. was used by his grand father's father. Friend of family. Has strange coal, came from turnity river mine...
- Brian - Monday, 11/14/05 13:45:28 EST

demos: My forge group was approached last year to provide demonstrators for a nearby "faire" (always avoid anything with extra "e"s on the end...). We said we'd do it, and specified how much space we needed. With one month to go before the week-long event, we were told someone else (someone who paid to sell stuff, in other words) had taken our 20 x 20 area on the upwind side of the gathering, so would we please set up in an 8x10 slot amidst the fiber arts people right next to a historic building? Needless to say, we didn't do it, but the image of a bunch of angry spinsters with their new wool black with coal soot did make me laugh! The organization had specified we not use gas forges, as well.
Alan-L - Monday, 11/14/05 13:46:01 EST

Congratulations packrat. I've done quite a few demos like that. I usually set up a Renaissance Faires. It can be kind of depressing when you don’t sell much of anything all weekend and the most common question is, “do you make swords? “ (I don’t)

I tend to get the most appreciation from other smiths who come buy and say hi. Some are dressed mundane, and others are faire folk.

I ended up finding that most of my sales came from taking all my kilt pins and going to the vendors in market row. I have two now that buy from me regularly. They usually buy enough that it covers my gas to & from the event at least.

Keep it up. Some people do very well at demos. There is also the fun in having that occasional kid who is awe struck by what you are doing. I have invited a few behind the rope, with parents permission of course, to let them give it a try. Always fun to see them walk away so excited with a hook them made (mostly) themselves.

FredlyFX - Monday, 11/14/05 13:50:19 EST

Anvil: My new Old World double horn anvil arrived today. It is very nice. More progress has also has been made on my custom double horn anvil. I will post more pictures across the street when I get them taken. I am going to show the steps of making the anvil as FredlyFX asked me too.
burntforge - Monday, 11/14/05 15:13:58 EST

Frank talk about Anvils: Well I just wanted to mention I am catching up with Thomas p and Frank on the Anvil collection. I now have three anvils and as soon as the custom one is completed I will have four. Mine too are also hidden under leg vises....BOG. Since Tommy talked me into it I will let all beginners use only the custom anvil to protect the good ones....LOLOLOLOL.
burntforge - Monday, 11/14/05 15:22:19 EST

I try to do a "sale" piece every time I fire up a forge now because what I have learned is that I usually volunteer to demo cause i enjoy it but all the folks that just stayed home and sent stuff to sell were making the money *and* I hate to do production work.

I sold enough at the state fair to cover gas and the motel room, we were about a block from the spinning...BTW Alan; look at a set of old english wool combs and think of a group of ladies chasing you with *them*...

I demo at the NM Festival of the Cranes this weekend and the Dr said I could try wearing a boot instead of this walking splint thing!

Thomas P - Monday, 11/14/05 15:38:11 EST

Joking: I just want to let everyone know I like to joke around and tease a little like most others. I don't want Tom or Frank to be upset. This is just in good old forging fun.
burntforge - Monday, 11/14/05 15:48:11 EST

Thanks Burntforge. Also, would you mind mentioning where accross the street is, or emailing me with it? I know I've been there, but can't recall it now.


FredlyFX - Monday, 11/14/05 17:39:06 EST

Thomas, I made a wooden rack for a set of wool combs once, and was shaking in my shoes while doing the fit-up at the thought of an angry spinster chasing me with one, much less a pair!

For those who haven't seen 'em, think of a foot-long wooden handle topped with a nasty-looking set of five-inch steel needles at an 80 degree angle...
Alan-L - Monday, 11/14/05 18:30:41 EST

FredlyFX: Hi FredlyFX under forge and anvil or recent photos under burntforge. I have the first three anvils in a very rough state. I will take more photos over the next few days and post them.
burntforge - Monday, 11/14/05 18:34:42 EST

I've lucked out, everytime my spinster wife has wanted me to do a hatchel for her I've managed to find an antique one that would work and be *much* less in time cost. I have had to build a couple of wooden boxes to hold them though---for folks with a low fiber diet, a hatchel looks like a pillow for a bed of nails and is used to process flax towards linen.

Alan, are you part of another "steel-wool" couple? You sling the lingo...
Thomas P - Monday, 11/14/05 19:15:07 EST

anvil: burnt looks great! although I think the Europeans prefer the round horn horizontal instead of pointing straight up. :)

What kind of steel is that mandrel? Are you going to hardface the face and the sq horn? Are you going to filet weld the blocks together or will you cut a deep vee and make a solid weld? Did you torch cut the horn? What do you estimate the final wt?

I ask all this because I have similar scrap and similar plans :)
adam - Monday, 11/14/05 20:24:46 EST

Adam Anvil: Hi Adam
The end has been cut at the proper angle to mount the horn, so it well be level with the top face. The horn will have a level top plane with a tipped up appearance. I am going to cut the lower portion of the angle straight down, so a supporting weld can be made underneath 25% of the horn. It will have a large champher and be welded all the way around. It is going to be welded with a mig instead of a stick welder. I thought of using a rod over a 100,000 series. I decided many little strings will be stronger than using large ones. The mandral is just a mild steel...not really certain what kind. I thought about hardfacing, but I am not sure yet. The face is pretty hard and resists denting well. It has a good rebound and ring. I was thinking of seeing how it holds up without hardfacing first. The square horn was torched out. I am not sure what the final weight will be yet. I will need to weigh it. I will add some more photos tomorrow with the progress thus far. It has a 1" round hole in it right now that will be made into a square hardie hole also. Welding...Deep V cut with lots of small stringers using just a 71,000 tensile strength wire. I think the supproting weld under the horn is the key. I am not an expert welder though.
burntforge - Monday, 11/14/05 22:55:23 EST

Burntforge: Stringer beads is the prefered method mostly because they are suposed to generate less stress on cooling than really wide passes. However at the plant I was at We made large heavy plate tooling component weldments and they generally had huge fillet welds from BIG wire and a weave pattern. 1/2" to 1"fillets were used, and stupidly enough 45Deg/side weld chamfers, LOTS of filler. We should have used narrower chamfers, 30Deg? probably would have been plenty.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 11/14/05 23:20:54 EST

Dave: Thank You for the information Dave. That is very helpful.
burntforge - Tuesday, 11/15/05 09:37:58 EST

Stringer beads:

Stringer beads are OK when burned in properly. We have had welding contractors deliver parts that the beads looked like a stack of rods piled in the corner. We sent the part back, they ground the welds down to repair it. . After that our policy was no ground welds. Corners and the ocassional drip could be ground but that was all. Bad welding meant starting over from the begining.

Stringer beads are best for heavy fills because of reduced stress and warpage. However, I like to do a cover pass of a weave bead if the work can take it.

Stringer beads should be burned in and look like one weld when finished. If you get droops and slag inclusions in one pass the following passes just get worse and worse. So you need to CLEAN each pass then grind out defects before proceeding. In the cleaning process this is when you peen in order to reduce stress. Unless you have VERY clean welds and the flux peals off perfectly you need to use power tools to clean the welds. Power wire brushes and needle scalers are needed.

In welding be it arc or forge welding cleanliness is indeed next to Godliness
- guru - Tuesday, 11/15/05 10:49:14 EST

steel wooly: Yup. She's more into weaving than spinning, but has done it all at several historic sites. Currently she's an Anthro prof, which takes a bite out of the woolgathering time. For that matter, my day job takes too much time away from my smithing, too! (grin!)
Alan-L - Tuesday, 11/15/05 12:20:09 EST

Ptree: I used that punching lubricant you gave me at quad state. Did a demo on mortise and tenon joinery for the group last week. I was in a hurry and made my drift wrong, but still got it thru the hole. I think the lube is the only thing that saved face. Thanks. When we are in the market for more, are you selling it?
- Jeff G. - Tuesday, 11/15/05 22:12:08 EST

Laying beads: Still working on my flat pos. beads. I find that I get a much smoother bead with 7018 if I increase the lead angle to about 45deg instead of the recommended 30 deg. I guess this keeps the puddle hot longer and allows it blend with the previous bead. I also notice that when I do this I have to adjust my travel rate because the hotter puddle looks wider thru the glass - you know'm talking? Is this high lead angle a bad practice? Does it compromise the quality of the weld?
- adam - Wednesday, 11/16/05 10:06:05 EST

Adam: When using 7018, I use a lead angle of about 30º off of vertical. Pretty steep, but that's what I was taught in order to get good penetration. A shallower angle causes a longer, hotter arc and makes for a smooth bead, but it has less penetration as less heat is directed to the parent metal than to the electrode metal. Hope this makes sense.
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/16/05 11:24:07 EST

Arc beads.: Adam, I am a self taught "farmer welder", but 45º doesn't seem right to me. You're getting 6,000º to 10,000ºF at the electrode tip, and you're getting "spray" or "blow". At 45º, you may be staying on the bead too long and spraying away your penetration, so to speak. If I understand your question, I think it's best to hold lean the electrode 20º to 30º or so. If you're lacking penetration, change your speed or the amperage.

Are you dragging or oscillating? Just curious.

Do you have "Welder's Handbook" by Richard Finch? HP Books. It's a big paperback, very lucid.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 11/16/05 11:32:43 EST

beads: Rich & Frank - so I guess its cheating. Bead width is right so it must be the current. Or it could be that I am just not smooth enough yet. There's a lot of variables to think about and get a feel for. I still find it amazing to be peering thru a dark keyhole into this strange world.
adam - Wednesday, 11/16/05 13:57:00 EST

books: I have the New Lessons In Arc Welding which I cannot praise too highly. I will soon have Finch's book too! :)
adam - Wednesday, 11/16/05 13:59:22 EST

gold plating: Any advise on finding a source for gold plating some copper? I've got a ribbon made of 1/16 thick copper, 16 inches long & 1 inch wide. I spirol wrapped it around a 3/4 inch mandrel to where it's about 10 inches long now.

I can't find anyone that can gold plate it for less than a fortune (I had one quote from a chicago source at $1500.00).

Any suggestions?
- Mike Sa - Wednesday, 11/16/05 14:41:53 EST

Plating: There are a couple of reasoons that platers are quoting you high prices. Mostly, they have to figure that they're going to have to completely polish the piece first, as most people think that plating will correct surface flaws. The opposite is actually true; plating makes the flaws glaringly obvious. All that polishing takes expensive had labor. The other reason they quote high is that you have described a piece that is going to be a bit more work to plate nicely, as it has both "inside" and "outside" surfaces. Electrons like to flow in straight lines like light, so th einside surfaces may require a separate special anode to get evenly plated. I think it shouldn't matter too much if the inside isn't plated as heavily as the outside, but a commercial plater isn't going to take any chances on having the job refused after all that work, so they have to figure on doing it just right.

Mike, the solution is simple; do it yourself. The equipment is nothing much more than a 6/12 volt battery charger and a glass container. You can buy the electrolyte solution and gold anode from a jewelry supply house such as Rio Grande. There's nothing complicated about plating gold onto copper. Go to your local library and check out their books on jewelry making and check the internet for information on plating to get the specifics.

I recommend that you use a ready-made electrolyte, as the chemicals to make good plating solutions can be either very toxic (like cyanide) or explosive under certain circumstances. The prepared solutions are easy to use and reasonably safe if used with proper safety gear and adequate ventilation.

When you're done, you'll have a nicely plated object and the stuff to plate several more things. You want a gold-plated hammer? Here's your chance.
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/16/05 18:52:13 EST

Jeff G, I have another request for the forge lube. I am going to request a price from the wholesaler, so how much are you interested in? I was uncoiling springs hot for knife stock and was having trouble. I dipped the hot mandrel in that libe, put it back in the vise, and almost fell over backwards on the next spring as it spun so easy.
ptree - Wednesday, 11/16/05 20:02:05 EST

Au plating: Besides all of what VI covered there is also the thickness of the plate. Gold flashing is only a few atoms thick and doesn't cost much but plating heavy enough to buff has considerable thickness.

Knowing what to ask to have quouted can make a difference as well.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/16/05 20:04:28 EST

All that glitters...:
Gold is an amazing metal; it is so ductile that it can be hammered thin enough to see through. Gold leaf is routinely hammered to a thickness of .000003". In other words, it takes 300,000sheets of gold leaf to make a one inch stack. If you hold it up to the light, you can see through it.

As Jock pointed out, "gold plating" can mean different things. Normal plating can be very thin. Flash plating is thinner yet, on the order of 1 micron. That thin, the plating is permeable to gases so that the base metal will still oxidize. It takes a layer over 5 microns to be mostly impermeable to gases, as I recall. If you want a surface that can be handled and used, it will need to be plated to a thickness of around .0001" or greater. The thicker the plate, the more durable it is.

One factor in this is the purity of the plate. Most plating is done with pretty high-purity gold...23k to fine gold. Gold that pure is very soft and easily abraded. Thus, it needs to be thicker to resist the abrasion. Or it needs to be alloyed, which changes the plating bath and parameters.

If you need to achieve a perfect or near-perfect surface, you need to start with such a surface or plate heavily enough that the plate can be buffed to finish without creating holidays. When plating at more or less normal thicknesses, the plating will have the same surface as the metal it covers. A .0001 layer of metal won't change the surface of metal that is only finished to 400 grit (.0025") abrasive marks.
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/16/05 21:03:35 EST

One more thing:
When high abrasion resistance is needed, as for gold-plated jewelry, it has been customary to plate first a thin layer of 23 or 24k gold and then plate over it with a 2 micron layer of rhodium or iridium. Both of these are transparent enough that the gold color is seen, but the surface is very abrasion resistant.
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/16/05 21:06:30 EST

Au plating: I may very well try to set up a plating system here at home. The fellow who plated the flower portions (12 pieces which make up 3 rose buds) told me he could sell me the solution at a good price (gold ground up & put in an electrolite solution). He told me he couldn't handle the larger size of the ribbon (he must only be set up for rings & such).

I've been around plating (zinc, di-chromate, etc) for a long time. I've even made the home brew de-rusting system in a 5 gallon bucket & battery charger before. This shouldn't be that much harder.

I've already done the polishing work & had sent a picture of the part to the company that blew me out with the outrageous price. I think they only deal with rich clients who don't know any better (their web site shows lots of restored door knobs & hardware).

It just stinks that this is dragging out so long. I've been trying to get the plating dones since the first of September. I should have just done it myself (like everything else I've ever done) & been done with it. Seems like everytime I try to outsource something, I regret it.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Wednesday, 11/16/05 23:50:18 EST

gold: When gold is hammered thin enough to see through, the light is red. Gold is used as a coloring agent in red stained glass, making it one of the most expensive.

About 25 years ago, an employee of Motorola in Phoenix was caught stealing gold from the company. He had worked in the plating shop where they plated connectors with gold, and had been plating his belt buckle for years. At night he would switch it to a reverse plating process, and would take another buckle to work. They had no way of determining how long it had been going on, but at least years. With no proof, all they could do was fire him!!!
- Loren T - Thursday, 11/17/05 02:06:23 EST

Forge lube: I'm interested in trying some out. What does it run?
- Tom T - Thursday, 11/17/05 03:46:52 EST

bead/amps: so that was it. crank up the current by 20A and the beads come out lovely! also I switched to #9 shade (which is legal for 1/8" rod)

Finger tip cracks: Cold weather is here. If you mend the cracks in your fingertips with superglue, I suggest waiting at LEAST 5 mins before you try to pick your nose.(dont ask!)
- adam - Thursday, 11/17/05 10:08:37 EST

Gold theft is a constant worry, I have a friend who is a silversmith who told of one shop where a worker always used a lot of hair gel and then wound run his fingers through his hair during the day and then wash out the gold at night.

Where my father worked they did a lot of stuff with gold back when it was controlled and one time when the government auditor was there he had a bit of extra time and so looked over the platinum books as well. The gold was tracked down to a very fine degree---acceptable loss during processing---but he found that the Pt which wasn't govenrment controlled was missing quite a few ounces...

Thomas P - Thursday, 11/17/05 12:23:18 EST

ptree I would be interested in getting some of that as well
- Mills - Thursday, 11/17/05 14:45:33 EST

Mark Fisher: If you are interested, I found the article on making pine cones.
- Jeff G. - Thursday, 11/17/05 17:54:26 EST

Off to load for the Festival of the Cranes Demo; see y'all Monday!
Thomas P - Thursday, 11/17/05 19:47:26 EST

Forge lube. The distributor that sold the lube to the shop I used to work at has said he would be pleased to package in 1 and 5 gallons pails. It is normally sold in 350 gallon totes and tank cars! The price is $3.00/#, FOB louisville KY, and a gallon is 9.75#. The shipping would be easy as the stuff is non haz. Since the product should be diluted prior to use, a gallon should last a small shop for a long time. I use the stuff at about 20% lube to water. Freezing won't hurt it, it does not need agitation and leaves a solid film that does not fall off the tool when applied to a hot tool. This lube ONLY works when applied to a tool that is hot enough to flash off the water to leave a solid film. The stuff is good enough that the shop I used to work at used about 90,000#/month! Does not smoke, no flames, and greatly reduces friction when slitting, drifting and punching.
E-mail me for the contact for a sale if interested.
ptree - Thursday, 11/17/05 20:51:10 EST

"I've had it" rant: I've had it with Pieh tool. I've bought twice from them, and each time ended up feeling cheated in some way. The latest annoyance with them was when I ordered the Iron Menagerie book from them for 17.95, which was fine, but was charged 12.70 for shipping and handling. This is for a 33 page paperback. They have a text box to request shipping type, so I specified UPS, Fed-ex, or USPS. You might figure they would choose the cheapest shipping method of the three. WRONG. They just randomly picked UPS, which ended up costing me a bunch of extra money. I called, and they gave me a 3$ credit at their store. Big whoop. Like that will entice me to buy there again.
- Tom T - Friday, 11/18/05 01:07:14 EST

forge lube: I'd be interested in trying some too. I've always used forshners but only because that's what I was taught way back when. It definately flames and smokes. My shop isn't heated so freezing would be an issue but no more so than with my slack tub.
- Mike Ferrara - Friday, 11/18/05 05:29:20 EST

Festival of the Cranes: Thomas P. is talking about a few members of our SWABA organization meeting near San Antonio, New Mexico, and demonstrating blacksmithing at the Bosque del Apache Wildlife Sanctuary. Folks come to see the cranes and geese, but there are also arts, crafts, and food booths set up. I'll be heading down this AM. We're going to heat it and beat it.
Frank Turley - Friday, 11/18/05 09:15:31 EST

abs cases: micro rant: I just a 4" & 4.5" makita & dewalt grinder from ToolKing in Denver. Good price and prompt shipping. But what do I do with all these abs carrying cases? Do you keep all your tools in their original cases? I can see it for a tool that you only use once in a while or if you carry the tool in your PU truck. But for me they are PITA and nowadays it seems like every crappy little tool comes in its own ABS case - the novelty has faded.

Tom - yeah I hate that kind of attitude "its your money so we dont have to be careful"
adam - Friday, 11/18/05 09:22:31 EST

lube: Id be interested. If it costs $3/gal when bought in "totes" I would expect to pay about $12 +sh for an individually packaged gallon.
adam - Friday, 11/18/05 09:26:15 EST

Shipping Costs:
I'll admit that is a bit too high. That book should have gone priority mail at the minimum rate (soon to be over $4 postage). We charge a $5 minimum for light items by priority mail. Due to the slight difference between priority and parcel post I am ging to remove the parcel post option from our cart.

For the past 6 years we have been losing money on many orders due to a poorly devised shippng system. For small sales shipping costs total 1/5 to 1/4 of our sales. It is our single largest expense. Our credit card system does not alow us to add (only subtract) to the invoiced amount. So to prevent loses we have had to bump up our shipping costs.

Where it is difficult is when you ship a variety of item types by different methods. I no longer ship UPS because of their fixed fees and our costs doing business with them. They also have oversize rules which 'shipping by weight' systems cannot compensate for easily. So I have had to pad the actual weight of bulky items. We have a warehouse that drop ships by UPS but they are in a metropolitian area where they do not have a large add-on cost for daily pickup. So I send everything else by US mail. It costs a little more for some items but generally costs me less and is much more convienient. Our cart does not let us automaticaly assign shipping types so we have to let the customer do it. When we ship by another method and the system overcharged we issue the customer a credit (on their card).

Then there are the goofy things that happen. We recently had a customer from Texas order something and accidently put the state in the "province" field. Our system assumed an overseas order and trippled the shipping. . . She called and I explained that I had already credited her card.

I have not found a good way to handle overseas orders so we use a high rate and then credit folks the difference.

However, most of the time it has been us that has gotten stuck. Most multiple case orders of kaowool were by phone and I calculated the actual shipping. However, we had a few come through and our system did not handle the total weight so it used the minimum ($5). We broke even (no profit) or lost a little on a bunch of large orders before I got the system fixed.

Some folks like the Kaynes wait until they have the order packed and weighed before they bill the actual shipping. This prevents shipping cost errors but does not let them use an automated credit card handling system.

Many cart systems base the shipping on a percentage of the total order price. This charges high shipping on small light items and low shipping on heavy items. It works great for some items like from clothing stores or places with very high markup and a uniform density of product. I looked into it and it does not work when you have a range of general merchandise and modest markup.

When our system works right it charges aproximately the actual shipping cost. When it doesn't work it can go either way, up or down. It is always something when you are in business. . .
- guru - Friday, 11/18/05 10:38:16 EST

ITC Product Changes:
As of the first of the year ITC will no longer package their products in pint containers. Half gallons will be the minimum container. When we sell out of our current inventory of pints that will be it.

The reasons for the change are numerous and I had no input into the matter. I suspect the difficulty packing an abrasive paste into a screw top jar is a big part of the problem. Increasing container and labor costs are also a problems mentioned.

I suspect that this is going to severely hurt our ITC business but you never know. I do know that I will not be able to inventory as much product so orders will often take longer to fill. As I said, its always SOMETHING when you are in business.

- guru - Friday, 11/18/05 11:01:26 EST

Forge lube: Adam,The $3.00/# is for small lots like gallons. The tote price, when purchased in yearly quantities is a lot lower:) Handling is a lot less cause you only have to fill one container per 350 gallons in totes.
The cost is $3.00/#, + shipping. I use mine at about 20% lube to water, and if it freezes its fine when it melts. Mine has been through two winters and summers and all I do is add some water to make up for evaporation. I suspect a gallon will be a lifetime supply for a hobby shop.
The company I used to work for used the stuff by spraying, and every die surface got a spritz on every cycle. They ran at about 10 to 15%. The stuff will build a film so they did not want to have too much build up. The stuff allowed us to use high grade 4140 as die steel, operating at about 600F, in production forgeing. Everyone I know who has tried this stuff for slitting, drifting and punching loves it. The stuff is an industrial product that is not marketed to the retail market.
ptree - Friday, 11/18/05 19:53:58 EST

100#: I cracked my 4th 5# box of e7018 1/8" today. I really am beginning to get the hang of laying down a nice bead flat pos left to right. Stops and starts need work but they improve every time. Next is to be able to lay down beads in all 4 hz directions. Switching to a #9 shade has *really* helped.

I need longer cables - 12.5 ft which the welder came with just isnt enough slack when you drape the stinger cable over your shoulder. I think I will get about 50' of #2 cable followed by a few ft of #4 and a finally a light leader of #6 for the stinger about 3' long. Bowditch says a 4v drop is the max and I think this does it for 250A

Anyway stick welding is becoming fun. I have started to grind out some ugly welds on my tools and redo them. Some time soon my $60 auto helmet should arrive.
adam - Friday, 11/18/05 20:03:01 EST

forge lube: ptree - I wont argue with $3/gal. Laundry detergent costs more than that. :)
adam - Friday, 11/18/05 20:05:01 EST

Lubricant: I think some of you misunderstood ptrees post. The lube is $3.00 a pound and a gallon weighs 9.75 pounds. 3 * 9.75= $29.25.
- Jeff G. - Friday, 11/18/05 20:20:13 EST

Passing of a Fello Smith: Vernier M. Hornquist passed away September 30th 2005. He was from Lockport NY. He was the North American Horseshoe Champion in 1982 and he is in the Kentucky Derby Musuem Hall Of Fame Room. He also competed around the world internationally and was inducted to the international horseshoeing hall of fame in 1996. He was also a very accomplished ornamental ironwork blacksmith. He was involved as a forger and designer of the Francis Whitaker Memorial. I have even touched on his accomplishments. He never talked about all the stuff he accomplished. He was a member of the NYSDB and Abana along with a dozen other organizations. I just found out today he passed away. I was thinking last week of giving him a call to see what he was up to. I am sure many of you meet him at some point. Him and I wheeled and dealed in blacksmith tools. I sold him many of the tools that he resold. He was only 69. He worked hard in the heat up here all summer helping a friend out taking on his shoeing too. His friend was hurt and he was doing his shoeing and his. Vern had health problems himself. He had a stroke and passed on. About four or five months ago I sold him an old firebox. He was so thrilled because he loaned his out and it got broken. I remember him telling me about the extra shoeing he was doing. He is sadly missed by many.
- burntforge - Friday, 11/18/05 23:23:51 EST

Mouse Hole Anvil: I have an interesting story about a mouse hole anvil. I Have been in the Ornamental Iron business since I was 12 years old. I started with my grandparents in 1976. I have have my own shop now and have been on my own for about 15 years. I have always wanted to start a blacksmith shop within my existing building. So, I started gathering some tools. I bought some tongs, post vice a small 106 pound or so anvil at a flea market and other things. I did this probably 7 years ago. Then, as usual, I got too busy to do anything for a while. I work for the Montgomery Fire Dept and run my business on my days off. I recently started gathering tools again and aquired a 200 plus pound Peter Right in excellent condition, a full set of Tom Tongs, and a 165lb Phoenix Air Hammer. I decided I wanted a smaller anvil that I could move around and take to shows later once I got good. So I started looking for a Mouse Hole anvil. I really liked the NAME and knew they had a lot of history. I also loved the shape. I looked and looked and looked. They are pretty hard to find and when you do find them they are not cheap. So, one day I had a few extra minutes to waste in my shop and noticed the lonely anvil I had purchased 7 years earlier at the flea market. I decided to clean it up and see what it was. I started with my wire brush on my grinder. As I brushed it off I started to see a faint outline of a MOUSE. I could not believe it as I brushed it clean I discovered it was a Mouse Hole Anvil. It has a beautiful shape and horn that was perfect. According to the very good markings the anvil is about 100 years old. To think I had what I wanted all along and I only paid 60.00 for it. I guess the moral of the story is " look around you may already have what you think you want".
Firebug - Saturday, 11/19/05 00:59:06 EST

Sorry to hear that, Burntforge, I was in a class at John C. Campbell with Mr. Hornquist in 1999. He had ridden down from NY with Charley Orlando, and made a coffee table base with a horseshoe-themed design. We had another farrier in the class who asked what size shoes Mr. Hornquist was going to use, apparently thinking he was going to use keg shoes. He forged all the shoes from barstock, in sizes from Clydesdale to Shetland Pony. He could produce a plain shoe with upset heel caulks in two heats, nail grooves and holes included.
Alan-L - Saturday, 11/19/05 09:14:22 EST

Forge lube: To clarify. The price is $3.00 per pound, and a gallon weighs 9.75 pounds, so $29.25 a gallon.
as this is an industrial distributor, He has no provision for doing quarts. I should have all the details set by Monday evening and will e-mail and post the contact.
For a small shop a gallon is a lot of this as you dilute.
I even cool my touch mark in this stuff as it allow the metal to extrude up into the mark giving a better impression. I cool my hot cut an hardy and the difference is quite apparent. I would warn that you need to try with gentle hammer strokes as I cut clean thru stuff till I was used to it. (I hate redressing hammers)
ptree - Saturday, 11/19/05 11:07:51 EST

welding leads: adam, I think you ought to make your stinger whip longer, say about 10 feet. with "Tweeco" twist locks on the end With the male end on the stinger. And go with as long of lead as you can- like my extention cords- always a foot short!
- jimmy - Saturday, 11/19/05 12:25:22 EST

welding leads: Jimmy I think the same thing but 10' of #6 wire is equivalent to 40' of #1 wire - in other words each foot of #6 eliminates 4' of #1 wire. So its either a nice long leader or nice long cables but not both. Then I realized that the place for long leads is on the hi voltage side. The higher voltage means you can use a much smaller conductor - 40' of #6 should be fine. Twistlocks are a greatidea. I could set up two stingers one with a #6 leader at 10' and one for ,say , a short #4 leader for big rod.

PS there are other factors to consider when determining the current carry capacity of a cable. Heat and envronment are important and also the frequencey. I am assuming cables are unwound on the floor and DC current
- adam - Saturday, 11/19/05 15:59:47 EST

lube prices: "I think some of you misunderstood ptrees post."

Jeff I think that was the most delicate phrasing of "Adam, you're and idiot!" that I have ever heard. Took me several minutes to realize that only person who was confused was me. LOL!

Well at $30/gal +sh I'll still bite. Ii will be like that gal of way lube that I bought from McMaster - a lifetime supply
adam - Saturday, 11/19/05 16:06:22 EST

Forge lube: For those interested I will provide the e-mail contact. E-mail ted and ask for the Forge lube. Tell him you saw it on Anvilfire. I think he can also supply stuff like real quench oil rust preventives. Very nice guy, and he even likes forged art! He has bought several things from me.
Remeber folks this stuff only works when applied to a hot tool so that the water can flash off and leave a solid film. I am now in the habit of dipping the tools after use, not before. That way they are ready for use, even cool. Also remember to dilute. At the factory, they were upsetting huge flanges from barstock, in 4 or five hits with this stuff. Those at Quad state may have seen the examples I had in the trailer. 5.5" bar upset to 22" od 3" thick in 5 hits. Takes a super lube to do that and have any die life.
ptree - Saturday, 11/19/05 17:41:37 EST

Forge lube: I guess I ought to post the contact
ptree - Saturday, 11/19/05 17:42:26 EST

Adam: I had ten yrs of public service before I started smithing full time. Being able to delicatly say things in staff meetings was helpful, as there was plenty of idiocy in those. But I also had to read the post a couple of times to figure it out.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 11/19/05 17:48:55 EST

Speaking of shop chemicals, have any of you ever tried that super quench some guy came up with? It uses a Shaklee cleaning agent as a main ingredient. Suposedly will give some hardness to even mild steel.
Jeff G. - Saturday, 11/19/05 17:53:25 EST

Arc Welding Leads:
I think my original buzz box leads were 15 and 20 foot. Too short! I made up a 15 foot high amp (welding cable) extension cord with Miller push peg ends and sockets. The combination works pretty well. I still have to move the welder ocassionaly but not too often. But it sill must be moved when there is work to do outside the shop. For that I have a 30 foot #6-3 SO extension cord with a welder plug and recepticle in a HD square steel box.

I prefer the slightly tapered Miller plugs to the twist locks. Too much to go wrong with the twist type and the darn sockets tend to twist loose. The Miller's do not pull loose even when you trip on the cable. . . I've had them break rather than pull loose. I converted my Airco welder to the same cables and sockets so that all my leads work on both welders. The only shortcoming of these welding leads is that they are limited to about 225 amps, and idealy about 150.

Neither of these extension cords was cheap but they were both necessary.

Cheap welders often come with aluminium jumper cable type clamps for ground clamps. Cut them and toss them. You want the heavy all copper and bronze ones with a heavy spring. The only thing better is a welding C-clamp (copper coated threads) with the lead bolted to drilled hole. Loose grounds are the cause of more welding problems than anything else. Same goes for cheap stingers. A cheap buzz box will work fine within its limitations but cheap cable and rod connections do not cut it.

Check your lead end connections regularly. When they get loose you have a lot of resistance and this means HEAT. Often the insulation melts or the ground clamp spring gets overheated and loses its temper. This makes the clamp loose and you get even more heat. . .

Heavy Duty weld lead ends have the lugs molded onto the cable using a thermite process. Lighter duty lugs with screw clamps need the cable prepared by tinning solid with silver solder or wrapped with copper sheet. Tining does not work using tin/lead solder because it gets hot and loosens up. I prefer the copper wrap. This prevents the screw from burying into the cable and fraying the wires. It makes a nice tight compact joint.
- guru - Saturday, 11/19/05 18:17:10 EST

Super Quench:
See our FAQ on quenchants.
- guru - Saturday, 11/19/05 18:21:16 EST

leads: With the twist locks you can pull the stinger/ground clamp off and it makes it easer to roll up long leads. Also you can change rod holders, etc. Run a round or two of e-tape around it and no problem on pull a part. Some welders I know use a piece of 1/4x 1 x 4-6" on the ground and tack it to the item being welded. But it leaves a "scar" on the metal. But in the "patch" we ain't worried 'bout purtty!
- jimmy - Saturday, 11/19/05 20:39:40 EST

SGensh: I got some of Ptree's forge lube at Quad States and I'm definately a believer in it's value. Even at $30 a gallon it's not overpriced especially when you consider the final dilution. I used it for the first time on a long tapered punch/drift for hammer eyes. It worked wonderefully. I was using a punch set up in my flypress and it sailed through the hammer blank like I couldn't believe compared to the same punch unlubed.
SGensh - Saturday, 11/19/05 23:25:56 EST

Adam - leads: #6 sounds light for the stinger lead, #4 is pretty light. On a machine that doesn't have ajustable slope of the volt /amper curve You need to be careful about resistance, as it increases slope. This is different than with MIG where You can just increase the voltage setting. As Guru mentions wraping the fine strands of the cable where the binder screw presses is a good idea, I have used brass shim stock as I didn't have any copper foil handy. I replaced the light and frayed cables on My buzbox with #1 and #2 because that was at hand, BIG improvement in performance, note that the old cables were frayed at the ends.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 11/20/05 01:21:00 EST

welding cables: thanks for all the tips on welding leads. the ground clamp is cheesy and I will replace it. I think 20' of #1 with a few feet of #6 as light leader for the stinger. Resistance is a problem - its a low voltage systems like a car - but I did the math and at 250A it can stand a few ft of #6. The max acceptable voltage drop is 4V (Bowditch). @250A that comes out to 0.016 ohm and this is total resistance for the entire run coming and going! Its a tight budget.

Mostly I use 1/8" rod 120A or thereabouts. when I do use 3/16 I will swap out the #6 for a stinger with a heavier lead. I had tinned the leads with soft solder which helped some - I will try brazing or wrapping with copper sheet. I plan to make a cart for the welder - small welding project :) - and I will keep my #6 220V extension cord with welder and that should take care of any reach problems.
adam - Sunday, 11/20/05 06:32:49 EST

ground: I like that idea of welding on a ground contact! I will make up a bunch of different ground connectors for different applications - a tack on contact will definitely be one of them.
adam - Sunday, 11/20/05 06:44:24 EST

Picky, picky, picky! I got a Miller gasoline-driven welder from a guy who had been using as leads auto/truck jumper cables that he had clipped onto lag bolts or some such for connectors into the box.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 11/20/05 10:13:07 EST

Welders grounds: At the old boiler shop where I worked in the good old days, it was common practice to weld on the grounds. Often the grounds were able to rotate so that a drum could be rotated under the submerged arc. These were made up with a rotary ground but still welded on. For the seams of the drums, a start/stop place was added to each end, and one of these had the welded on ground on the bottom. When you are making a full penetration weld in 4" plate rolled into a drum that requires X-ray exam and repair if any defect is found you pay attention to every detail.
ptree - Sunday, 11/20/05 10:18:34 EST

Forge lube: SGensh,
I am glad to hear that the forge lube works well for you. Running at about 20%?
ptree - Sunday, 11/20/05 10:20:04 EST

SWABA demo at Bosque del Apache: I returned a day early from the national bird sanctuary, a riparian area in New Mexico! I'm packing for an out of town Thanksgiving.

We had five demonstrators working outside in the wind, but surviving, nonetheless. We had coal, gas, and charcoal. I worked mostly on a branding iron order. Thomas P. showed the behavior of titanium under the hammer. Sherri Riggs displayed a nicely designed garden gate with a Sandhill Crane and marsh grass motif. Gary Williams made hooks and curlicues among other things.

The Sandhill Cranes were there in force hanging out in the water and communicating with a kind of gargling coo. I learned that the big birds "roost" by standing in the water all night. In that way, they tend to avoid the predation of coyotes and bobcats.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 11/20/05 10:41:45 EST

More Welding Leads:
On my heavy welding bench with 1" plate top I have a brass plate about 3/8" thick to attach the ground clamp. That plate has a short lead that connects directly to the bench top with star washers top and bottom using bronze bolts. There is also a short ground cable with clamp attached to the brass plate.

This system works well when you clamp or tack work to the bench top OR if the ground lead is loose or on a dirty surface the benchtop acts as a secondary connection.

If this had been setup in a production situation or in a place where the welder did not need to be portable I would have bolted the ground lead from the welder to the brass connection plate on the bench.

When I setup my weld platten on a permanent stand it will have the same system.

If you weld a lot in a vise a lead attached to the moveable jaw can save arc bruns to the screw.
- guru - Sunday, 11/20/05 10:52:58 EST

"Fenton" anvil: Yup, it's looking like it might be a Trenton. The name is in a slightly flattened diamond (stamped in). Though the first "T" is not to be seen, there is room for it in the diamond. The word "Patent" is directly below the logo. Beneath this is "Solid Wrought" arranged in a circle. Below this is "116", clearly defined. all marks are stamped in. In addition to the two handling holes mentioned, there is a hole in the bottom (underneath), dead center, of the same dimentions 7/8"x 1"x 1-3/4" deep.

The hardy hole is a, not so perfect, 1" square. The hardy hole, nearing the bottom, is rounded. Could just be rust and crud buildup.
I saw no other markings. There is no hourglass shaped depression in the base. The outer edge of the base is a slightly raised border of about 3/8" and 1/8" deep. Clearly this is a forged anvil, as the handling hole under the horn is a bit sloppy and you can still see the joint where the hammering pushed some of the horn and body into the handling hole.

I can't take a wire wheel to it, or do much else, as I don't actually own it. We will have to see what this week brings, as far as that little detail is concerned.
Gronk - Sunday, 11/20/05 14:24:19 EST

My guess is still you have an early Trenton, perhaps one made for Hermann Boker in either England or Germany. On page 252 of AIA he notes the ...'flatness under the base, resembling the very erly Trentons..."
Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 11/20/05 16:32:59 EST

100# - 6011: managed to run some decent beads with 6011 today! not pretty but sound and acceptable. this is a much tougher rod to control than 7018 or 6013 - arc length had to be just right and it cant drag on the work, travel rate needs careful control too. when I got the welder I was advised to start with 6011! that guy did me no favors. only now after several weeks of daily practice I am just able to handle this rod.
adam - Sunday, 11/20/05 17:19:34 EST

Old Trenton: Last year, I sold a Trenton as you describe, a fairly small one that said "Solid Wrought". It had large square "feet" as viewed from the side.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 11/20/05 20:34:56 EST

Forge Lube: PTree, I had posted a thank you for sharing the forge lube across the street when I was describing the process of punching a hammerhead with my flypress and a punch/drift I had made from the axle stock Paul Garret was selling at QS. I guess you didn't see it so once again thanks for sharing. I was amazed at the difference between the unlubed and lubed punch performance.
SGensh - Sunday, 11/20/05 20:53:29 EST

Adam : A long time ago when I worked part-time for a machinist/welder, I wanted to learn how to TIG weld. I pestered the boss about it enough that he finally set me up with a small TIG torch at the end of the bench one afternoon. Then he took an old Gilette Blue Blade™ out of a window scraper and snapped it in half. Told me that when I could weld it back together neatly I was ready for him to teach me TIG welding.

After fifteen minutes of unmitigated frustration, I had reduced the two halves of that razor blade to lumps of slag, no two pieces adhered to each other. I guess I was whining about it pretty audibly because Morgan walked over, broke another blade in two, took the TIG torch from me and in a few seconds had welded the two *sharpened* edges together, using no filler. From that day on, I pretty much rested my chin on his shoulder every time he picked up the TIG torch. I finally learned how to weld a razor blade back together, too. Turns out there's no market for that, though. (grin)

He made me learn to stick weld with 6010, too. Of course, back then that may have been about the only electrode there was. It sure was a pain to strike and maintain an arc, much less lay a pretty bead. The first tie I tried 6013 many years later, I was instantly hooked. Finall stick welding was possible for the physically inept. (grin)
vicopper - Sunday, 11/20/05 21:18:31 EST

6011 is a wonderful rod. Like 6010. It is not meant to be pretty. It is intended to enable mere mortals to conjoin huge hunks of rusty, dirty steel in the form of pipe without any pesky slag inclusions because it magically floats the slag to the surface through the merciful intervention of the Supreme Being in Her infinite wisdom. Vicopper: your next assignment: welding tinfoil.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 11/20/05 21:32:45 EST

Adam: My dad purchased a light portable [700#] engine drive welder from Hobart in 1959 and ordered a little black book "Lessons in Arc Welding" along with it. This is an abreviated version of the book used at the Hobart Trade School at that time. They started everyone off with uncoated rods, sadists that they were. I think the idea was that once You learned to run those, You could run beautiful beads with anything.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 11/20/05 23:20:14 EST

vicopper: Your story reminds Me of one told by a co-worker who came in from our Detriot plant. One of the tool welders there was braging about how good He had become with the TIG welder, when His lead man put a piece of.010 shim stock in the vise and layed a tool steel bead on the edge with no undercut at the ends. Shut the bragart up immediatly.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 11/20/05 23:27:04 EST

Metalwork in Fiction: Your true welding stories reminded me of the book, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". If memory serves, there is a section in there where the protagonist is watching an old timer welding up sheet metal with an oxy-acetylene torch and is amazed at the "delicate dance" involved.

In "Grapes of Wrath", Steinbeck tells how when their car breaks down on the way to California, the boys have to pour their own babbitted bearings, because bearing shells were not made for their old model Hudson Terraplane.
Frank Turley - Monday, 11/21/05 09:51:23 EST

A bit more re: 6011-- the book recommends it for root welds because 7018 is not.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 11/21/05 11:53:55 EST

Make that open root welds.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 11/21/05 11:54:36 EST

100#: I have to brag. Cant help it. Sorry, but I am very pleased with my progress so far and I have to tell people :) People here should congratulate themselves since they get a big chunk of the credit.

I dont mean to be a nuisance. It has been said on this forum repeatedly that you need to burn 100# of rod to "get good". I thought it would be useful if I followed that advice and reported my progress. People like me might be encouraged to try it them selves. Others might get satisfaction from seeing that their advice works. And if I get thru 100# and still cant weld for @&^%, Anvilfire will give me refund - right? I take it that 100# is a metaphor and what Jock meant is a s*** load of road - like when ppl say "I am 99% sure" they dont have numbers what they mean is "I am #$^*ing sure!" :)

This wkend I got a tip from Bowditch that really made difference - Watching the puddle , everyone tells you this "ignore the arc and watch the puddle", but most important is watch the "shore" of the puddle where it is freezing into solid metal. the shape of this shoreline starts out pointy, swells to bulletnose and finally almost straight (a shallow arc) The contour of this shoreline at the instant advance the electrode will be the ripple the you see on the final bead. Regulate your speed by letting it swell to bulletnose and no further.
adam - Monday, 11/21/05 12:46:22 EST

I know, I know, you've been doing root welds since before I was born with 7018 just as your ol' daddy and your granddaddy did before you, with nothing but absolutely superb results. Nonetheless, the weld layer with 7018 "is protected from the atmosphere primarily by the slag layer and not by rapidly expanding gases. For this reason these electrodes should not be used for open root welds. The atmosphere may attack the root causing a porosity problem." So says Welding Principles and Applications, 2nd edition, by Larry Jeffus and Harold V. Johnson, Delmar Publishing, Inc., 1988. Tell them about it.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 11/21/05 12:52:17 EST

Adam, want to split a gal of punch lube?

I survived the Festival of the Cranes Demo---learned when trying to drive home after an exhausting day at the forge that bird watchers will slow to 25 mph in a 55 mph zone if a sparrow crosses the road or if they see a car on the side of the road that *might* be looking at something in a field (or might have a flat or letting a kid pee).

Nice folks at the demo though; Gary's bellows greatly disturbed the live wolf that was near our set up---something *big* was breathing just around that corner...

- TPowers - Monday, 11/21/05 14:31:53 EST

lube: Thomas: good idea - 1/2 gal will last only three generations by which time there'll likely be something better.

adam - Monday, 11/21/05 16:19:27 EST

welding lens: Another thing that helped was to switch to #9 shade - with this shade I can, after a pause to let the eyes adjust, see the work quite clearly and have no trouble strking an arc in the right place and when the arc is running I see the puddle quite clearly.

According to several sources *any* properly made welding lens will give complete protection from the UV and the IR and the choice of shade is *solely* a matter of comfort not protection! I had thought that there was enough in the visible spectrum to damage the retina but I guess not.
adam - Monday, 11/21/05 16:23:35 EST

Adam's Welding Obsession: Well, after reading Adam's rants, er, reports, yeah, that it, reports, on welding, I took a look at my Lincoln tombstone. Hmm, seems I've got one of those aluminum ground clamps. And his notes on a improper ground being the culprit for many bad weld really struck a note for me. I have noticed when I weld infrequently that sometimes my welds ain't bad, and sometimes they are bad. And I do recall maybe the ground not being optimal. Soooo, does everyone think I should replace that ground with a brass one? Tractor Supply has a brass one for about $20. And truthfully, I have enjoyed Adam's welding posts, and have even thought about putting in the kind of practice he is. Nah, well, maybe a LITTLE practice, when I can find time again.
Bob H - Monday, 11/21/05 19:05:15 EST

Forge lube: ThomasP/Adam,
I would certainly consider sharing a gallon with someone as the stuff is diluted, and in a hobby shop should last forever. I would even suggest that a club might come out ahead by getting the 5 gallon and splitting it up, might save on the shipping.
I do think you will be pleased with the results as have been the people that I have shared the little samples with.

SGensh, glad it hear it works well for you. Try it on you other hot work tools and i suspect you will find it useful.
ptree - Monday, 11/21/05 19:38:55 EST

WARNING Lens Darkness Rules:
The rule is to use as light as needed for applications not specifically defined by ANSI and OSHA. Arc welding shades ARE clearly defined. Where the "as light as needed" rule applies is in gas welding and brazing under unusual situations and eye protection in foundries and other places not specifically defined.

If the standard #12 shade seems too dark then simply increase your ambient lighting. In bright daylight you can read fine print through a #12 lens (Walk outdoors, TRY IT!). When welding, the visability problem is too much contrast between the dark background and the brilliant arc. Turn some light on the subject and the visibility problem goes away. It also lets you see to strike the arc as well as seeing into the puddle.

Note that the ANSI spec taken from years of research and some tricky calculations is published in almost every welding book. The shade varies slightly with the amperage range and up to a 14 is often recommended. Check it out before going off on your own.

- guru - Monday, 11/21/05 19:57:06 EST


Jock, I absolutely agree one shouldnt take unnecessary chances with one's eyeballs. But I am not sure I understand what you are saying. Do you mean to say that for arc welding darker shades do offer more protection? The article at Lincoln seems to say the opposite. Bowditch has a passage that is very similar.

Not trying to be awkward - this is important and I need to sort it out.
adam - Monday, 11/21/05 20:28:56 EST

Ahem. That was MY post re: bad grounds. How can a lens possibly darken faster than the speed of that ghastly light hurtling through your delicate lens, through your fragile intraocular fluid and on toward your naked li'l retinas? If it doesn't matter that a few lumans sneak through, then why bother to wear any protection in the first place? There must be some cumulative damage. Call me Squint.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 11/21/05 20:50:09 EST

lenses: also:
adam - Monday, 11/21/05 21:49:04 EST

Lenses: I can't speak for Guru's #12 shade, but when I tried one I could hardly see the arc, let alone the puddle. Ours are #10 they are old, 45+ years, I don't know if that makes any difference, but they are the ones used for 3/32 to 5/32 rods at the time they were made. I did once get a #8 by acident, that was not nearly dark enough. I didn't know I had a #8 lens, must have belonged to a friend who had His welder in Our shop at the time.My Auto helmet is suposed to be a #10, it seems about right for the work I do.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 11/21/05 22:24:09 EST

Lenses: I inherited my dad's old welding helmet with what must be a shade 22 lens. It's so dark, you must do exactly what guru says & add light to the subject. I'm so used to it, anything less gets me nervous.

I've tried to buy a auto darkening helmet 3 times & I've always chickened out & returned them for a refund. I'll just stick with what works.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Tuesday, 11/22/05 00:48:53 EST

Gold Plating: Ok, my source for gold plating solution didn't pan out. Anyone know where you can buy this stuff at reasonable cost? I need about a half gallon in order to cover the part I'm working on. I've already started building the set up to do the plating work.
Mike Sa
Mike Sa - Tuesday, 11/22/05 00:50:54 EST

miles' retinas: As I understand it the autodark helmets like regular welding glass, block ALL the UV & IR whether they are dark or not. Only visible light can pass that wont hurt your eyes unless you absorb enough energy to start heating the retinas. It's the retinas that get it because thats where the light is focussed. The IR & UV dont focus very tightly thru the eye's lens. Your eyes like the rest of you is mostly water and it takes a LOT of light to make even a small temp change. The helmet responds well before any heat can build up. Its probably more benign than being exposed to a camera flash.
- adam - Tuesday, 11/22/05 07:07:57 EST

Charcoal: About charcoal making with a steel drum...."Build a fire in the barrel. When it is good and hot fill with fresh wood." I don't understand if you are supposed to use fresh cut wood or if the wood has to be "moist" or if you soak some cut wood in water? Why can't you start a fire in the drum and then when the fire get's good and hot put more wood on top of that? Why does the wood have to be fresh? Thank you,
Matt - Tuesday, 11/22/05 07:28:24 EST

Burning fire. "Fresh" = new unburnt.

Dry wood works best but you can charcoal green wood.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/22/05 09:48:05 EST

I hear it but I don't believe it. No doctor, optometrist or ophthalmologist I've asked has ever seen a long-term study of the effectiveness and safety of the auto-change lenses. I'd like see one. Until then, between the X-rays at the dentist's, them nasty cosmic rays, the emanations from the electromagnetic sources in the power lines, the vibes from that pesky lee line that runs through the front yard, whatever it is this screen is emitting and the negative mojo coming via ESP from old girlfriends sticking pins in those cute li'l voodoo dolls, who needs to risk even more rays?
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 11/22/05 11:33:56 EST

voodoo dolls: There were old girlfriends?

Miles you have been hanging out with fruits & nuts from Santa Fe and listening to their BS till you cant tell the difference between figs and figments. The only thing you need to be concerned about is the Taos hummmmmmmm.......
- adam - Tuesday, 11/22/05 12:10:28 EST

Miles; you forgot the radioactive elements in the igneous rocks that are omnipresent in your locale!

note: some MIT students did a study on the effectiveness of the Al foil hat. It turns out that the typical Al Foil hat actually concentrates electro magnetic waves in a frequency owned by the US Government! Coincidence? I think not!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/22/05 13:10:16 EST

Charcoal:: Matt,
One thing I would warn you about is don't burn up your wood like I have. I've tried doing a controlled burn in a barrel, following all of the directions, only to find that, when the smoke cleared, my barrel full of oak chunks was just a small pile of ashes. Now I just cut wood chunks, cook them in a camp fire until there white on the sides, shovel them into a hole in ground as they turn white, when they're all cooked, cover the hole with a piece of sheet metal and cover that with dirt. That seems to put out the fire almost right away. When I dig up the charcoal, I sift it and, also, take out the pieces that are not charred enough. Needless to say, this is a labor intensive, small operation method.
JohnW - Tuesday, 11/22/05 13:30:27 EST

UV filtration:
FACT #1 UV is bad for live and dead organic and even some inorganic materials (causes fading of colors, damages DNA. . .). The medical community is in total agreement that all eye exposure is bad for both UV and IR and the exposure does cummultive damage. They will not quantify safe levels of exposure since all exposure is damaging to a degree.

FACT #2 Different filter lenses filter different amounts of UV in the various UV catagories.

After much research I found sites that compared the UV transmitance of various welding shades. One was laboratory test results the other suggested standards. These agreed.

The difference in "Maximum Effective Far-UV Average Transmittance" between a #9 shade and a #14 shade is 10:1. "Maximum Infrared Average Transmittance" ranges from 0.8 tp 0.3 from #9 to #14 (about 2.6:1). These are roughly proportional to the drops in visible light. So a #9 filter lets through 3 to 10 times the damaging UV rays or a #14.

Measured differences between a #12 and #14 filter were:

Welding Filter Shade 12, 0.0022, 11.9, 3.5x10-5, 3.9x10-5 , 0.0049
Welding Filter Shade 14, 0.00023, 14.2, 4.3x10-5, 3.4x10-5 , 0.0047

The darker the shade the better the protection.

The Lincoln website article on auto darkening lense repeadly qualifies itself by stating "well-constructed quality welding lenses". Its statement that all (qualified) filter lenses filter out 100% of harmful radiation is incorrect as even a #14 filter lens does not filter 100% of the UV.

FACT #3 There is clear UV filtering lens material and black UV transmitance lens material (both glass). I could not find the percentage of transmitance for the filtering but the non-filtering used for UV photography was near 100%.

FACT# 4 Retinal Burns can be caused by the full spectrum of light.

Auto darkening lenses use clear UV filtering material as part of their construction. The LCD's primary purpose is for visible light.

SO. . if you can use a #12 or #14 filter lens with more ambient lighting then you are MUCH better off than using a #8 or #9 in the dark. . .

If you look carefully at the recommended shades for arc welding a #9 is supposedly suitable for small rods at low amperage. Check it out.

Where we have problems is defining what shade to use when doing foundry work and operating a forge. OSHA leaves it up to the employer without giving any guidelines other than it must be "sufficient" protection. This means the employer must guess OR use his workforce as guinea pigs. This is where the "dark as you can stand" rule comes in.

I have a report sent in by a reader that I need to edit and post that discusses the medical aspects of this subject.

- guru - Tuesday, 11/22/05 14:34:01 EST

Welding masks: One of the ways you can tell that there aliens among us, is to watch for people welding without masks. Their eyes have evolved differently from ours because of centuries of exposure to all the cosmic, ultraviolet, X, and infrared radiation, and the ancient laser rays from the Atlantan Firestone. At least that's what they told me on the mothership last week, and I know for a fact that the big-eyed gray folks always speak the truth.
3dogs - Tuesday, 11/22/05 14:46:58 EST

ptree just finished talking with Karen at JM Lab. Should have some wonder lube here directly. :)
- Mills - Tuesday, 11/22/05 16:57:57 EST

The aluminum hat first surfaced in a NY Times Magazine piece on the work day of a pair of detectives into whose squad room a little old lady repeatedly came complaining about cosmic rays. One of the cops at last fished around in his lunch bag and pulled out some Reynolds Wrap from a sandwich and fashioned her a beanie. "There, lady, he growled, placing it gently atop her pate. "That'll keep them cosmic rays off." She departed happily. But look, joke if you will, but there has got to be some scientific reason for such bizarre phenomena as Steven Seagal movies and the proliferation of car salesmen so long after the dinosaurs went belly up. Who knows what effect all this ambient radiation is having on the old DNA? If those vibes the Navy uses to communicate with subs bother the whales and dolphins, who is to say what rap music, solar flares, arc welding, cell phones and The Today Show do to our noggins? Play it safe, I say.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 11/22/05 18:24:23 EST

I have a Lincoln Toumbstone as well, and recently replaced the old worn our ground clamp with a nice heavy duty one. I couldn't believe the difference it made. I jsut wish I had dropped that $20 a long time ago. Would have saved me way more than that in frustration trying to strike an arc.

FredlyFX - Tuesday, 11/22/05 18:31:50 EST

Mills, I have found the folks at J & M to be a delight to work with since I started buying the waste water plant chemicals from them about 15 years ago. They are also very helpfull with most any chemical application question.
I get my rustproofing and temper oils from them as well.
ptree - Tuesday, 11/22/05 19:27:47 EST

Phoenix Power Hammers: Has anyone experience with the Phoenix power hammers? I'm thinkingf of buying the smaller one and was hoping for any advice and possible pricing.
Richard T - Tuesday, 11/22/05 22:26:26 EST

Phoenix Hammers:
They are no longer taking orders for the smaller hammers, Just the big one on their home page. It is one heck of a hammer. I helped Tom put one together and the parts are magnificent. It is the best hammer in its size and weight.

If you want a lighter hammer the BigBLU's fit the bill. They are not as heavy as the Pheonix but they are well built and run well. The Uri Hofi die system is a plus if you want to do free hand forging. See our review page of the Hofi DVD.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/22/05 23:09:40 EST

Miles UV: You should have moved to Bufalow,NY instead of out west where the sun shines, You probably wouldn't have cateracts now. Seriously, unless You live in the dark You are going to be exposed to UV. The point is to keep the exposure low enough that that there is minimal damage in a lifetime.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 11/22/05 23:39:23 EST

Now you tell me, Dave. But thanks! I'll keep that in mind for my next molecular configuration.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 11/23/05 00:08:43 EST

Phoenix Hammers:
I spoke to Dave Manzer (producer of the Little Giant videos) the other day and he saw a Phoenix Hammer demonstrated at CanIron last summer and was impressed.

His comment about Little Giants is that unless you get one REALLY cheap AND/OR you are nuts about restoring and fine tuning old machinery then you should buy an air hammer. That is something coming from the wizard of Little Giants.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/23/05 10:46:19 EST

trip to Oklahoma City:
This is a quick report on our recent trip to Oklahoma City for the USS Oklahoma reunion. I was born, in Spain, in 1936
during the Spanish civil war. The USS Oklahoma was sent to evacuate refugees, but my family did not go. we were saved from the death squads by a flag from the USS Oklahoma.
I symbolicly returned the flag this past weekend.

It was such an honor to be invited to associate with these brave men who survived the sinking of the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor. I was the featured speaker at the Friday November 18 Opening Ceremony of the new Oklahoma State Museum, and I donated the Flag that is the subject of my speech to the Museum. The Flag recieved a standing ovation at the end of the speech/story.

We had a wonderful time. On Thursday afternoon we visited the Cowboy and Western Museum in Oklahoma City. This Museum has a huge collection of western art, cowboy equipment like saddles, bridles, bits and spurs. It also has a huge collection of western movie memoribilia.
One could spend days there. There were a lot of smith-made items in the display.

Thursday evening we went to a reception at the Naval Science Department of Oklahoma University. Some of the Oklahoma crew told their stories of escape from the ship as it capsized and sank on December 7, 1941. One told how he had three ships sunk from under him during the war.
We all visited with the midshipmen and cadets. There was a Captain, a Commander, a retired Admiral, and elected officials there, as well as many of lesser rank.

Friday was spent at the new Oklahoma State Museum, the opening ceremony was at noon and I spoke then. Near the end of my speech the honor guard of sailors unfolded the flag and held it aloft. This is a big flag, one that was flown on a Battleship. There was a standing ovation at this point. The flag was refolded, and handed to me. I then handed it to Paul Goodyear who is the President of the USS Oklahoma Survivors association. He then handed it to one of the crewmen and it was passed along a line of crewmen until it reached the only surviving officer who handed it to the Museum Director. A lot of tears were shed.

Saturday we had a banquet with band music from the '40s provided by a band from the nearby Tinker airbase. I was again asked to say a few words, so I told, very briefly and extemporaneously, of my meeting of a former Imperial Japanese Navy officer while I was at the Port of Nagoya in the summer of 2000, who told me to thank the American people for bringing the Japanese people freedom under the McArthur constitution. This also brought a standing ovation.

The City provided a hospitality suite with free food and drink. The men were treated like the heroes they are
and I felt honored to share with them.

If any would like a copy of the speech/story email me a request.
John odom - Wednesday, 11/23/05 12:59:03 EST

Oklahoma: Beautiful story, John. Thank you for sharing that with us.
3dogs - Wednesday, 11/23/05 13:22:05 EST

John Pearl Harbour: John

Very interesting and special life experience you had.

My Uncle was stationed in pearl Harbour. I had to just look through the photos he took. He was a photographer. I have a picture of the USS Oklahoma before it was sunk with smoke and debree flying in the air around it. Many of the crew are just standing on the ship deck watching everything going on around them.

Thank You for sharing your story.
- burntforge - Wednesday, 11/23/05 21:12:36 EST

Harbor: I meant Harbor. Where my wife is from they spell Harbor Harbour and I was there over the weekend.
burntforge - Wednesday, 11/23/05 21:15:01 EST

When by boat would come in to Pearl we would often go the long way and sail around Ford Island and pay repects to BB row. And since my manuvering station was brodge phone talkier I was up on the sail and could see all.

Also going out to the Arizona memorial is sobering...... Can see the ship laying on the bottom and oil still coming up. It is quet and peaceful as befits a memorial should be.
No words can describe the feeling.......
Had a chance to talk with a few WWII Vets who were there on that day........
Ralph - Wednesday, 11/23/05 22:43:55 EST

Autodark: I too was skeptical about autodarkening welding helmets. My current tactic is to use the beauty of the autodark to get ready to strike an arc and then just close my eyes for a brief moment before I strike the arc. That way, I can see well for setup and torch placement and still not get welding light through in the ten thousandths of a second before it gets dark. I use a Jackson Nexgen helmet. Twas tig welding thin stuff yesterday at 9 amps. The autodark helmet makes that far easier.

I do get concerned about looking in the gas forge though. Ah well... can't live life in fear and thus not live life.

Happy Thanksgiving all.
- Tony - Thursday, 11/24/05 08:32:38 EST

I have an autodark helmet that I have been using for several years. I love it, but it does have two problems. the first is that the shade adjustment knob is easly knocked off the desired setting. A bit of 200 mile an hour tape fixed that. The second is that after using it for a couple of years, I am so used to looking at the point of arc when striking, that i have almost strated an arc when I realized I did not have the helment on! :) That one is much harder to fix as I am a slow learner.
ptree - Thursday, 11/24/05 10:47:09 EST

Belt sanders: I was thinking about belts and it occurred to me that the blade smiths may not know that wet belt sander and belts are comercially available. Kalamzoo makes several models and I have bought and installed several. I was using them to belt sand flat a composite valve body that have injection molded bodies and metal thread inserts, and cast ductile iron bodies with plastic linings. Had to cool the belt to prevent burning the plastic. I have also used several for preparing metal specimens once mounted in plastic. The metalurgist supply companies sell many models of wet sander, but the kalamzoo sanders are heavy metal removing machines at a reasonable cost. The belts are available at a small premium over a dry belt. One caution is that some water spray is unavoidable, but can often be controlled by plastic guards. I believe the industrial model in 220 single phase, with tank and pump may be in the $2000 to $3000 range. I suspect that a homebuilt could be fabbed up for much less. The belts are available from Hagemeyer, at 502-961-5930. I believe that the "Superior" line was the one I found to be the best value in these belts. I used to take in the odd knife I made to grind, and found that with the wet belt I would not ever burn the metal, and I could really get aggressive without any perceptable heating of the blade.
ptree - Thursday, 11/24/05 10:56:46 EST

Auto dark welding lens: As far as I can tell this question has not been addressed yet, What is the difference between the high dollar auto dark helmets and the $50 auto dark helmets that folks like Harbor Freight sell? At that price it's almost too good to be true.
- Doug Thayer - Thursday, 11/24/05 12:51:53 EST

Auto Dark Lense: I have been using auto dark helmets for at about ten years. I can see no negative effects in my eye sight. I have owned about 4 diferent ones. Jackson, Radnor and Optrel are the helmets I have owned. The best by far is the made in Switzerland "Optrel" helemt. It was also the most expensive at about 325.00. You never see the arc and it has adjustments on speed at which it undarkens and shade darkness as well as a gringing mode which could also be used with a cutting torch. If you want the best try an Optrel. I have had one of my older Jackson helmets go down on me and I just hung my lead up and drove to the supply house and bought a new one. I am spoiled.
- firebug - Thursday, 11/24/05 12:58:40 EST

Doug: The difference is that the cheaper ones are not adjustable for shade darkness. The expensive ones typically are adjustable from a 9 shade to a 14. Usually have adjustments for sensitivity. The $50 ones are no frills. That is what I have. I figured that if I could weld with an old helmet that didn't change shades, I could probably get by with what I bought. My next one will be a better one though.
- Jeff G. - Thursday, 11/24/05 13:26:11 EST

Autodark: I have both kinds of helmets, I prefer my auto dark on most projects. I too close my eyes right before the arc, as a health precaution.
T.N. Miller - Thursday, 11/24/05 13:26:45 EST

Auto Dark Lense: I feel the difference is in the performance, darkening speed. I have a Radnor helmet and an Optrel helemt. The Radnor is made by or for Airgas welding supplies. I can tell that the helmet does not darken as fast and is more sensative to being in the weld light. In other words if the light emmitted by the arc does not strike the sensor just right the lense will liten up. The Optrel has never litened up on me while I was welding. My advise is to spring for an Optrel if you can at all afford it. They are about 325.00 but worth ever penny.
- firebug - Thursday, 11/24/05 13:30:46 EST

Auto darkening: I always used a helmet with a large glass,with 2 standard sized lenses taped onto it, a #3 and a #10.I would cover around the outside with black electrical tape and a narrow piece down the joint between them. I learned this from a guy I worked with while I was in college. I made ornamental iron on piece work and didn"t like to flip my helmet or movable lens up and down all the time. It allows you to see where you have positioned the rod, and then with a slight tilt of the head back, you are ready to strike. If you should flash by accident, the #3 is enough to keep you from getting flash burn. Also, you can use a torch without changing to goggles.
About 1992 I dropped my helmet in cold weather, and it fractured badly, so I went to buy another one. I had always wanted an electronic one, but didn"t $300 to buy one. When I arrived at the welding supply store, a standard helmet was about $45 and there was a sale on Jackson electronics for $98, so I bought one. It was one shade only, and I used it for 10 years.
About six months ago, I wanted to buy a new one, and tried out 2 different ones belonging to guys I work with, one a Radnor, and one a Harbor freight. I could not discern any noticeable difference between them. They are both adjustable and solar powered. The only down side I see to the cheap one is, the clear lenses are not standard size. I was welding with my new Harbor Freight special the other day, and a guy near me was using a torch. The light from his flame was constantly darkening my helmet, so I Had to re-position myself.
- Loren T - Thursday, 11/24/05 14:59:19 EST

Thanksgiving has been Canceled!: Well, at least postponed. Roads to the south of us just too nasty to travel. Wind and snow and ice, oh my. So my wife's relatives will just visit tomorrow. They will get leftovers, cause we are about to eat now. At least this way I get the pick of the best pieces! Yum yum.
Just came in from the shop. Finished up two roses for gifts. I arc welded on the leaves, as I don't know how to forge weld those on. Not good at drop the tongs, and the two pieces are two different sizes of stock. Big stem, little stem. Soo, arc it was, which went real well after all this welding talk. Then of course I ground the welds down, reheated that section and hammered it down to look forged. Everything turned out well. I be pleased. And no longer under pressure to get my gifts done.
Gotta add more pipe to my smoke stack for my add on wood burner in my shop. This high wind keeps causing me to get puffs of smoke coming into the shop. But I need it to be more than 14 degrees like it is now, to work on it. No way I could hold onto those sheet metal screws with my bare hands in this cold. But I like it anyhow. Deer season is almost done with, then it is time to take the dogs bunny hunting.
Bob H - Thursday, 11/24/05 15:59:18 EST

Autodark difference: One other difference between autodark helmets is the number of sensors. I've never seen one with only one sensor, but I have seen many with two. The higher end helmets have 4 sensors. More sensors means less chance of going light on you or delaying going dark. The Jackson Nexgen has 4 sensors (one in each corner of the unit), a big screen and a handy 3 in one setting. Grind (clear), Torch, (shade 5 which also works good for plasma) and Weld (whatever shade you have it set at). It was $300 when I bought it a year or more ago and my and my son's eyes are worth it. No matter how hard I tired, I would flash myself about once a year due to impatience.

Now I'll have to find someone with an Optrel and try that. Grin.

Time to go eat...
- Tony - Thursday, 11/24/05 20:59:03 EST

Spelling: tried, not tired.

Must be tired. How do you spell tryptofan?
- Tony - Thursday, 11/24/05 22:44:28 EST

Autodark Helmets: I've had an Optrel Satellite for a year now.. All the instructors in my welding classes have commented on how much better my welds are since I got it (have used it to TIG, MIG and stick weld). I don't miss arc starts, can dialin the darkness and light sensitivity speeds, it is very lightweight and comfortable, lots of room in them for bifocals or reading glasses and I still have my 4.0 GPA and passed my 7018 cert. test on the first try using it... The old single shade that came with my Monkey Wards buzz box now seems like so much old junk.

My wifey bought it for me through and e-bay store (packing slip said Chicago area I think); free shipping, 3 extra external lens covers and all for $246. Like any quality tool, ya get what ya pay for and I think they are worth every penny in the long run. They should be even cheaper a year later if ya poke around...

Just my experience yours may vary...
Bert - Thursday, 11/24/05 23:41:24 EST

Optrel Auto Darkening Shield: I love mine and believe it is the best on the market. It has more features and the quality is obvious, its made in Switzerland. 246.00 was a great deal for that helmet, it retails for over 300.00 bucks. I do a lot of short welds 1/2 inch or so, one after another. I build ornamental iron gates and fences. I figure after 6 months or a year it pays for itself in the time I saved raising and lowering the helmet. I may have 3000 welds on one job.
- firebug - Friday, 11/25/05 00:42:44 EST

A modest proposal: In this era when physicists can document the lives of atomic particles called tau leptons for the brief time they exist, less than one thousand-billionth of a second, while colleagues can study other particles called neutrinos, which are not only invisible, but have almost no physical mass at all, proving their existence merely by the fact that they cause eency light flashes five millionths of a second apart, why, my goodness, it ought to be a walk in the park to get away from this anecdotal discussion of auto-dark vs. head-flip and get down to what's what. Let's all chip in and hire some hunger-crazed graduate students to rig a Speed Graphic with UV and IR-sensitive plates that looks through an auto-dark lens at a stinger that pops the shutter when the arc strikes. If they can get play-by-play pix of a nuclear explosion at Ground Zero, this should be a snap. (Haha, that's a pun, son.) Who knows, maybe we can get a Nobel.
- Miles Undercut - Friday, 11/25/05 00:59:28 EST

Auto dark: Thanks for the input. I may start looking at auto dark lenses next year and this will help. Loren T., I like your idea of the #3 & #10 lenses but if a person is wearing bifocals........ well, could get confusing. Especially for us "older" guys. It's 10 degrees above here this morning and I've got to go to the shop and work. I suspect the slack tub has frozen over.
- Doug Thayer - Friday, 11/25/05 08:23:06 EST

Thanksgiiving: I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. My kids all came to visit with their families and I had a great time.

John, Thanks for sharing that moving story about the Oklahoma.

Auto dark. I have a $60 auto helmet on order. I really liked that trick of two lenses. Thanks for all the comments.

Ignobel prize. Miles I am working on it :)
- adam - Friday, 11/25/05 10:15:25 EST

Welding Lenses - Jock: Jock. I dont understand your postion on this subject. We need to go a couple more rounds to clarify. More to follow...
- adam - Friday, 11/25/05 10:18:08 EST

Miles, I have an old Busch Pressman (better than a Speed Graphic) if you want to borrow it for the research!
Alan-L - Friday, 11/25/05 10:43:42 EST

Alan L-- Thanks but I think I am on call (docs get away with it all the time, why can't I?)that day and must pass on your kind offer. The key words in that post were "Let's all chip in and hire some hunger-crazed graduate students to rig a...."
Miles Undercut - Friday, 11/25/05 18:38:58 EST

Welding Lenses:
Adam, I thought I was pretty clear. Simple, darker is better because regardless of what you have found they filter out MORE IR and UV. The article you were reading about autodark lenses did not say but I'm sure they are using special clear UV filter glass because they do not always work or do not work fast enough (remember the qualifying statement about "high quality").

IF you use proper ambient lighting you can use the filter lens with the highest UV filter rating. So why use a lighter shade just because you are too cheap or lazy to turn on some light? Why risk using a lower grade filter when you can use the best?

When done according to the rules modern welding setups have portable big (expensive) exhust fans with fire-proof silicon rubber hoses sucking up the smoke and gases. So why not good spot lighting??? This is a LOT cheaper than the exhust fans and anyone can rig one up. . .
- guru - Friday, 11/25/05 19:50:45 EST

Auto Tint Welding Helmets: First time into this site and Ijust had to add that the cheaper the helmet the more of a chance of a welding flash.I have used different auto tint helmets as I'm a welder by trade, but if you just do a little welding then the cost may play a factor in what you want to buy. The cheaper auto tints work well for most novice welders but I would recomend that you wear a pair of safety glasses under them. This can help reduce the effect of a flash if the tint is a little slow.
- Mont W - Friday, 11/25/05 20:39:13 EST

Until I can test new ones I will not be convinced. The one I had (back when they were a new invention) was expensive and did not work very well. I could ALWAYS see the initial flash which caused distracting floating spots, it often darkened when it was not supposed to and not when it was. I was prepared to return it as defective merchandise when it got dropped and broken. . . It was not dropped far but the mechanism was wrecked. I'd hat to see that happen to a $300 helmet.

I have no problem using a standard helmet and had bought the fancy new device because it looked like it would spedd up work and at the time I could afford it.
- guru - Friday, 11/25/05 21:48:27 EST

Auto helmet: Mine is a low cost model with 2 sensors. There have been a few times when some part of the work cast a shadow that interfered with the sensors and I got a flash. This is a few times out of many thousand starts. I am sure that I got more flashes using a regular helmet, especially when I stick welded everything, by getting the electrically hot electrode against some part of the work unexpectently before I got the helmet down. The flip front helmet helped this some, but if using both hands on a spool gun can't be used. Then there are the arc burns on the part of the work that weren't supposed to be welded, and the blind starts that happen when You flip the helmet down and aren't lined up with the lens. High intensity spot lighting works well at a welding station where the weld is always at the same place, but when You are skipping all around the job to keep distortion under controll You need extra hands to keep the light moving to where You are starting the next bead. All I can say about the auto helmet is "Try it, You'l like it"
Dave Boyer - Friday, 11/25/05 23:35:54 EST

Dropped dollars: Jock, I'm with ya on the dropping the $300 helmet. That was the hardest part. Getting used to the new expensive helmet being in ONLY two places. One, on the head. Or two, on the big red hook over the bench. Over the years, most of my helmet crashes were from leaving the helmet on the bench and dropping something on it. The Nexgen has the controls inside and the lense is protected better than others I've seen. It won't survive a big drop though.

Like I said, I was a sceptic too. Having bad flash experiences from early and less capable autodark helmets. But like Dave just said, try it. They are far better now. Not cheaper though.

I use shade 13 for most of my welding. I've not been able to reasonably add enough ambient light to see well enough for good torch placement.

Same bench damage happens to ear muffs. Now that I use shooting muffs that shut off noise electronically, I have to put those out of harms way also. Darn fragile electronic stuff that is supposed to let us grow old with less damage! Grin. The muffs have fallen to $30 now however.
- Tony - Saturday, 11/26/05 00:09:56 EST

Dropped Helmets/Dollars:
We were welding some rebar while repairing our dam. I flipped the helmet down while leaning over a 10 foot drop. My helmet flipped off and dropped 10 feet onto some rocks then into 10 feet of water. One of the guys on the crew was crazy enough to go chasing after it in the dark creek water. . . returned it and we used it to finish the job. Obviviously NOT an electronic helmet. That was almost 30 years ago and I still have the same helmet.

My autodark helmet was safely hanging on a hook over a work bench when someone else tried to hang up or retrieve something and knocked if off the hook. It bounced off the bench (only about a two foot drop) then rolled onto the wood floor (about three feet). Somewhere during the fall it broke the frame of the LCD lens. We tried repairing it but some of the electronics were broken as well. .

I don't know what the new units are made of but for $300 if the frames are not unbreakable nylon then they are charging $250 too much! I understand the LCD must be glass and silicon but they can be protected.

When I was wiring my shop we had just gone through a spat of broken electrical outlets at the family shop and at home. Almost every day for several weeks I was replacing recepticles due to someone tripping on a cord and breaking the hard brittle plastic. SO, I asked the electrical supply folks if there was something better. Yep, hospital grade recepticals. They are heavy duty nylon and designed to have cords jerked out of them at every possible angle without dammage. They cost about 3 or 4x what the cheap ones cost. However, when you consider what labor costs you and the agrevation of finding a broken outlet when you go to plug something in they are well worth their while. If you need to replace an outlet then you have already paid 2x for the hardware. I think they are also chemical resistant so that they can be cleaned with harsh disenfectants without damage.

Expensive electronic devices designed to use in a shop environment DO NOT need to be fragile! If the housing is not polycarbonate (Lexan(tm)) or nylon(tm) then you are not getting your money's worth.
- guru - Saturday, 11/26/05 09:13:54 EST

Speaking of dropping and thus desroying expensive stuff that really ought to be built tougher, beware the Makita 4-inch grinder. They are wonderful and last for years-- until they fall off the bench. The armature is secured by a web of thin plastic almost as fragile as a Ming vase. It is unrepairable for any reasonable price. Makita-authorized shop wants close to the price of a new one to do an autopsy and a repair.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/26/05 12:49:40 EST

Hospital Grade outlets: At a flea market I recently got two wastebaskets full of used Hospital grade outlets and switches and one basket full of stainless cover plates, all for $10. They came from a hospital remodel project. I am slowly replacing most of the devices and covers in my shop.
- John Odom - Saturday, 11/26/05 12:55:59 EST

Ron Reil Donates His Site to ABANA : Ron Reil Donates His Site to ABANA

Long time ABANA member Ron Reil has donated his website to ABANA. You can now find all of the valuable information that Ron has been collecting and writing for many years at:

Source: ABANA website
- Ntech - Saturday, 11/26/05 21:41:42 EST

Auto Dark Helmet: Just got a auto helmet, solar pwred , adj 7-13 $60 shippin inc. Works great! But just because its now moot, doesnt mean we are done talking about lenses :)

4" Makita Grinder. Miles you can buy a reconditioned unit for about $40 from in Denver CO
- adam - Sunday, 11/27/05 13:44:37 EST

PS: Miles: HF is selling their cheapo 4" for just $10. I was thinking of getting a couple so that I would always have several kinds of discs ready to go. I have seen a few of these in service and they are not bad for the money. $50 gets free shipping from HF so if you or anyone else local would like to go in on an order. Id be happy to order to my house and bring stuff to the next SWABA meet (unless you order something that I really like in which case it may take a few meets for my memory to kick in :) )
adam - Sunday, 11/27/05 14:00:27 EST

The HB grinder(4 1/2") seem a little fast for using with cup wire brushes but they have a polisher-grinder on sale now for $29.00 that is variable speed and has the 5/8 arbor that allows all the same items that are used on the 4 1/2" to be used at slower( safer) speeds. I have maybe 6 to 8 HF 4 1/2" grinders and have never had any problems with them. I don't like to change disc, cups etc
- ptpiddler - Sunday, 11/27/05 16:37:54 EST

HF grinders: ok pt you talked me into it! at that price I can treat them like consumables. if the grinder lasts long enough to wear out the disc its already a good deal.

about consumables: since I am ordering from HF do you have any opinion about the HF consumables. are they a waste of time? thanks

"consumables" :- I have recently found myself using this ugly piece of welding jargon when I talk to the guys at the welding store and try to sound like I'm not a total newbie. They are always very polite.
adam - Sunday, 11/27/05 18:18:56 EST

HF Grinders: I've used most all of HF's different grinders, and can offer the following observations:

The $10 blue ones are under-powered, but hold up pretty well. What do you want for a sawabuck?

The orange ones with the slide switch hold up really well, outlasting Porter Cables and Dewalts that I had. Pretty well made, actually. Usually $15-19 on sale and worth every penny. I have at least a half dozen of them and use them fairly hard.

The orange ones with the paddle switch should be outlawed, as I hate paddle switches on grinders. YMMV.

I bought one of the $29 (on sale) v.s. sander/polishers a few months ago. Looked real nice, but the first time I used it, the gears stripped out. The casting for the head was eith badly designed or mis-machined, resulting in insufficient engagement and stripping the gears.

A cheap SCR speed controller will slow any of the angle grinders down nicely for use with a wire cup brush.

Buy three of the HF orange ones on sale and change grinders when one begins to get warm to the touch. Use another one while that one cools. Heat is the real killer on these things, causing them to shed armature contacts. The expensive Porter-Cable, Dewalt, Makita and Milwaukees are just as prone to this as the cheapies, so why fight it? Avoid the heat by changing off, and the cheapies will give you great service.
vicopper - Sunday, 11/27/05 18:29:30 EST

HF Consumables: I find them to be just fine on the 4-1/2" grinder discs. For the larger 7 and 9 inch sizes, I prefer Sait. They seem to last a bit longer, and I like the cast hub.

Don't buy more grinder discs than you expect to use in one year. In my humid climate, they have a definite shelf life. Out there in the desert, this may not be too much of an issue if you keep them relatively cool, say under 90º.
vicopper - Sunday, 11/27/05 18:34:05 EST

Adam-- Thanks. I am off Makita for life. I do have some Harbor Freight stuff-- a half-ton truck crane, a pipe bender, a welding jog, a fake Brunton compass, a welding magnet. My second-oldest son says all their steel stuff is made from the helmets of dead Americans. He is probably right, but I figure as long as we are their best customers they will probably not invade and enslave us just yet, but who knows?
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 11/27/05 19:02:38 EST

I have a couple of the HF grinders. I do not like the $10 blue one (4"),slide switch is awkard to use and I can't turn it back off with gloves on. The 4 1/2" orange is fine, the switch is easy to use. I am plan on getting several more for the exact reason Vicopper said. Let em cool and they last.
ptree - Sunday, 11/27/05 21:53:26 EST

Started a commission today, three great Herons, for the Woodford Reserve Distillery. I may offer to instal for a product trade:)
ptree - Sunday, 11/27/05 21:54:58 EST

HF Grinders: The HF store near me once had a sale on 4 1/2" grinders for 8 bucks. I bought 3 of them, thinking I would give them away at work for christmas gift exchanges.

One day I was working on something & accidently ground thru the cord of my main grinder. I was in too big a hurry to fix the cord, and my other grinders were at the other shop, so I opened up one of the cheapies to use. It lasted 60 seconds before the shaft w/ grinding wheel still attached flew out & went zipping accross the yard. I went & opened another & it lasted about a minute & a half before slowing down to about 100 rpms & getting hot. I opened the 3rd one & it lasted about 2 minutes before it just quit totally.

I gave up & fixed the cord on the first grinder.....
Mike Sa - Sunday, 11/27/05 22:37:54 EST

Grinders: For the last better than a year, I've been buying Chinese grinders from Menards (one local home center setup). Tool Shop is their brand. They put them on sale now for $10 after rebate. They have a 2 year warranty, no questions asked. Just bought another one last week. Proably have 6 or 8 of them now. Use them hard and I'm actually trying to use one hard enough to see what fails. I have not wrecked one yet. Like Vic, I got sick and tired of buying US made small grinders from what used to be reliable companies and having them fail unreasonably quick. These Chinese ones work well, work hard and have not failed me yet.

Makes me sick, but there it is.

The discs that come with them are pretty good. But I do prefer Sait or Pferd or Walters discs.
- Tony - Sunday, 11/27/05 22:38:24 EST

Cheap Grinders: Having said that, the 4 1/2" I use the most is a Tawain job I bought 14 years ago. I was in a rush on a job & needed a small grinder. There was a traveling tool sale going on in town & I bought this thing, thinking that if it just made it thru the small job I was doing, it could die immediately afterwards & I wouldn't care. But, it's been working great for 10 years now. It's built much heavier than the HF ones that I bought & didn't last.
Mike Sa - Sunday, 11/27/05 22:42:06 EST

Small Grinders: I am glad to have had better luck with My non-Chinese grinders than some of You are having, but when I have really heavy work I use the Black&Decker Wildcat [7/9"15Amp]or similar heavy duty machine. My Dad picked up a 4" Makita, not realizing that it was such a light duty tool, We took it easy on it, I left it on My boat for odd jobs & gave Him a few 4-1/2 units with the standard 5/8-11 spindles to keep on His truck.I have a LOT of the black&Decker/Dewalt 6 & 7-1/2Amp grinders, some with the paddle switch, and some with the trigger switch [private branded for Sears & True Value]. Some of the others are Milwalkee & Metabo, Many of these were picked up used at pawn shops.I have 1 Chinese made Dewalt, got it used, turns out there is a chip out of one of the gear teeth, That one stays on the shelf.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 11/28/05 02:05:12 EST

Mo' cheap grinders: I bought my first HF blue $8 grinder 5 years ago, fully expecting it to puke in about an hour. I took it to work, and have averaged about an hour total of intermittent use per week ever since. It seems to be the blue version of the Eveready Bunny. I am still running on the original carbon motor brushes, and have used it for grinding, cutting and sanding. I still have 6 more of them that I have either bought in anticipation of failure, or received as gifts, that are still in the boxes, and there is one more hanging over by the lawn tractor with a sanding disc on it which is dedicated to mower blade sharpening. I guess I can quit buying them now. They also make a pretty cool accessory for them which goes on in place of the guard. You put a cutting disc on the shaft, and use it kinda like a metal cutting circular saw, setting the depth of cut with an adjustable shoe plate. It's worth the $6 price tag. The only maintenance I've done is to blow it out occasionally with an air hose, and I split the gearcase every now and then to check the gears and redistribute the grease.
3dogs - Monday, 11/28/05 02:33:22 EST

All I have to say is, I've put quite a bit of wear on my Makita 4" and haven't broken it yet. Haven't dropped it very far yet either... don't plan to. :) I like Makita green in my hand. Of course, that ends up putting wallet green in Makita's hand... but I can live with that.
- T. Gold - Monday, 11/28/05 07:05:36 EST

Grinders/speed: Rich thats a very good suggestion. A a regular 600W light dimmer ought to work very well on a 5A grinder.
adam - Monday, 11/28/05 08:10:57 EST

Grinders PS: I have one of those HF polisher sanders that use for wire brushing. has held up fine but I dont use it heavily
adam - Monday, 11/28/05 08:27:32 EST

Grinders PPS: Criminy! You can find these things for about $6 a piece online!
adam - Monday, 11/28/05 08:51:38 EST

Speed control : HF sells a motor speed control for use on routers, but it works well on any motor with brushes in it. It already has a cord, graduated rheostat and receptacle on it. I really think it would hold up better than a typical dimmer switch. Often on sale for $10.
3dogs - Monday, 11/28/05 11:31:33 EST

Adam, isn't there a HF store in Alb? If so you might be able to stop by on the way to the SWABA meeting Saturday.

Thomas P - Monday, 11/28/05 12:15:17 EST

Beverly wannabe shear: HF has released their version of the Beverly to the retail stores. Save some freight cost. Watch the catalog and the website for the sale price, (usually about$75) Take that into the store and get it cheaper. I don't know if they are going to carry the blades or not.
3dogs - Monday, 11/28/05 12:20:01 EST

I have lucked into some neat steel. I am able to get Japanese made die springs at the new job. Various sizes. Played with some and found that forged and air cooled it is filable, oil quenched hard. water quenched harder than woodpecker lips. Have a couple of hundred # of them.
they also tossed in some die inserts, in D-2. This is hard. Having never worked D-2. is it work trying to forge from the hard? Also die pins in what the Japanese fella said was 51100. They trash the springs in a PM program, so I guess I can get a couple of hundred # a year.
ptree - Monday, 11/28/05 19:45:42 EST

Ron Reil's new shop/studio!
Great new place Ron! Quite impressive! How did you pull it off in 6 months?
Terri - Monday, 11/28/05 21:41:31 EST

Ptree's die springs: What physical size(s) are the springs?
- John Odom - Monday, 11/28/05 21:57:02 EST

John Odom,
The springs vary. the smallest coils produce about 30" of about 1/4" stock. the biggest produce about 60" of about 1/2" by 3/8". These are like Danly die springs but imported fom Japan. All coils, and several nest inside another.
ptree - Monday, 11/28/05 22:15:20 EST

HF Beverly knock off: I saw one of these at the HF in Louisville. Pretty crude, and the blades looked to be badly aligned. If it is like the 12" sheet shear, that was rated to cut 1/2" bar, probably over rated. My 12" shear will cut 1/4" bar, and does so so on 18 gage.
ptree - Monday, 11/28/05 22:18:16 EST

ptree - Die springs: Raymond, a leading producer of die springs in the US [at least when I was an apprentice] used 6150 for die springs, said so righht in the booklet. Yours may well be made of similar stuff.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 11/28/05 22:58:59 EST

Speed controllers: I would advise against heavily loading a tool running at greatly reduced speed, altho the wave is chopped to a shorter duration, the amperage will be high due to the reduced back EMF from the lower speed, and the cooling fan is moving less air allso. An alternative is to use a larger tool or a buffer, with more gear reduction that is designed for the lower speed.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 11/28/05 23:05:06 EST

Grinders: Makita makes (or at least did) different quality grinders in the 4" size. The cheap standard ones are all plastic. An upgrade has a metal casing at the gear end, and costs about 1 1/2 times the cost of a cheap one. I bought one years ago, and although I didn't use it every day, I cranked out a lot of ornamental and welding jobs with it. It was 11 or 12 years before I even needed to replace the brushes. When I lived in Phoenix, I used to but all my power tools from the local Black and Decker factory repair shop. They carried DeWalt tools and you could buy refurbished ones for about half of new. I figured if anything could go wrong with it, it already had. They even carried a guarantee.
- Loren T - Tuesday, 11/29/05 02:13:58 EST

4" Makita: The one I spoke of was the all plastic cheapie, I used it hard once & decided that it probably wouldn't take a lot of that. It is a "nice" little tool, just not up to abuse.
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 11/29/05 02:33:34 EST

4" Makita Grinders: I had three of the better quality ones that served me pretty well in my sign shop for about ten years. When I was doing a remodel to build my restaurant/bar here on St. Croix, the guys working for me had no "oneness" with the tools and overheated the grinders, filled the saws with grinding swarf and overloaded the drill motors. As a result, tools that had served me well for years were destroyed in the course of a six week project. Unfortunately, those guys werre the best help I could get down here at the time.

Good craftsmen of all trades really understand tools and have a feel for them. They can make a marginal tool last well beyond its time, get more out of a good tool, and rarely if ever destroy one through exceeding its capabilities or lack of proper care. Good craftsmen understand the need for lubrication and cleanliness in their tools and they can hear or feel the slightest vibration or off-pitch sound immediately and shut down until the problem is diagnosed and cured. The hackers jus tpick up a tool and expect it to do all the work with no thought. Hackers should be restricted to using shovels and someone else's shop.
vicopper - Tuesday, 11/29/05 08:34:27 EST

Backwardness: What I just said about tools and fools applies across the board. Have you ever noticed that hardware and garden stores sell a wide range of pruning shears, all the way from little wimpy ones to compound-leverage creations designed for felling? So what happens?

They sell the little wimpy ones to housewives and force them to overwork to prune a small branch, while selling the compound leverage ones to the guy with the 23" biceps and size 5 hat. That guy could use the single action loppers easily, and the housewife could actually get something accomplished with the compound action leverage tool, but the marketers don't understand that. The little person needs the mechanical advantage, while the Hulk can get by with no help. Why is that so difficult to understand?

Fortunately, my wife understands these things and understands why I need a powerhammer. I'm a wimp.
vicopper - Tuesday, 11/29/05 08:41:12 EST

Herons: ptree,

Good luck on the herons. I was at Wodford Reserve last friday. Beautiful place. Did you see the rocking chair that Larry Zoeller made that is in the welcome center?
Brian C - Tuesday, 11/29/05 09:57:05 EST

I recently bought my father a pole saw for tree trimming as that seemed to be a lot of what I was doing on my visits. First thing I did was to tell him not to look at the prices; but to find the set-up that would work best for him---I paid a "professional" price for a lightly used item and it will be worth several times what I paid for it if it keeps him firmly on terra firma while trimming the trees.

I remember my father's old 1/4" drill; heavy Al case and we used it quite a bit since he bought it in the late 50's---still have it though the beearings are now worn and wobbly. It's replacement in the 70's has been replaced 3 times already under *much* lighter use.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/29/05 12:26:56 EST

Iron in a hat.: Theres a ocmulgee meeting just 17 miles from where I live next saturday.
I cant attend because I made plans to work at the church, which is 140 miles away from the meeting site.
I'll give my instructor my donation for the Iron in a hat.
I can't decide what to donate from my hord.
- packrat - Tuesday, 11/29/05 12:32:51 EST

Brian C
I have never been to Woodford reserve. I have sold a full size heron before, and it turns out she is a VP at B-F. I hope to visit and get photos of the installed Herons.
ptree - Tuesday, 11/29/05 20:06:03 EST


It is a beautiful area. Gorgeous farms, etc. along u.s. 60 between Frankfort and Versailles. No one along there seems to be in any danger of going hungry. :) And the finished product aint too bad either>
Brian C - Tuesday, 11/29/05 20:42:01 EST

Dad made the paper: Strictly non-smithing material. Check out Dad's latest project at
Brian C - Tuesday, 11/29/05 20:46:33 EST

I am looking for someone who can convert a size 0 or 1 horseshoe into a hoof pick with a decorative horsehead on the handle. I want to have the hoof picks made from shoes that were pulled from horses that belong to friends of mine so as to create a keepsake.
- S. Pacella - Wednesday, 11/30/05 01:09:21 EST

shoes into picks....: If I may, might I suggest that you mention the basic geogrphic
region you are in. Be much more cost effective, due to shipping etc.
Ralph - Wednesday, 11/30/05 02:23:40 EST

Hoof Picks: Bob Nett of Menifee Valley, California, has made a beaucoups horsehead hoof picks, but he probably doesn't want to make any more. I have one of his as a model, and it is made of one half of a horseshoe, so that the nail holes are still in evidence. If all else fails, I can do the job.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 11/30/05 10:29:14 EST

I have been given a coal forge and find that the fire pot is much too large (it could easily take a 5 gallon bucket of coal to fill it) it seems too deep as well. what would be the best way to build up the fire pot to make it smaller and more efficient and how deep should it be?
dale - Wednesday, 11/30/05 13:14:44 EST

Kicksled: Those things look like fun. I wish I had had one when I lived and taught physics in Alberta! I live in the south (TN) now, and overall I'm glad we have too little snow or ice to use one!
- John Odom - Wednesday, 11/30/05 13:24:40 EST

One with Tools:
VIcopper has a very good point. I almost never have trouble with tools and when I do they are really bad tools. However, in my youth I burned up a number of saws and drills trying to do jobs that were too large for them. This goes for the little 4-1/2" grinders. . . I have two heavy duty B&D Wildcat grinders (now made by DeWalt). The EAT metal and disks all day without complaint but are heavy to hang on too and resist the torque. I was always catching my apprentice using my little Milwaukee grinder on big jobs that right for the BIG grinder, not the little. I would tell the big oaf to use the BIG grinder and would get this "but its heavy" whine. . . Yep, heavy duty tools for heavy jobs ARE heavy.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/30/05 13:27:58 EST

Acceptable risk/ Welding Lenses: This is to be the first of several notes on this topic.

How much risk are you comfortable with? This is really a personal decision but it should

start with an informed and objective examination of the risk.

According to the CDC about 120,000 Americans die from accidental injuries every year ( (I have not

included suicides which account for about 40,000 per year!). Over the course of a 40 year

working career, this works out to a 1/7000 chance of being killed (though not necessarily by

a work related injury). Of course this is an average. It includes some people who are so

reckless that they are almost certain to die young and it also includes people who do little

driving and are very cautious. I live in New Mexico where the fatality rate is twice the

natl average and driving long distances is routine. I find it absurd that we Americans complain about the cost of gas for a long drive but make no mention of the risk we expose ourselves to. Like a prisoner who escapes the hangman's noose and complains about the quality of prison food! Now, even though I only need a computer to make a living, I spend my spare time doing metal work which is an inherently dangerous

activity (actually the most dangerous part of blacksmithing is driving 100 mi to a SWABA

meet). I hike, bike, ski and snowshoe in the woods around my town. These too come with

risk. I have had several near death experiences and a friend of mine was killed by PU truck

while on his bike. I could greatly improve my risk profile and with it my life expectancy

simply by moving to New York city, living in an apartment and using public transportation.

No driving, no smithing, no outdoor recreation. This is so despite the popular image of NY

as a dangerous and violent city. I have acquaintances in NY & London, UK who live like this.

I could in fact settle in London. I don't. I won't. Would you? Risk avoidance comes with

a price and that price might be too high.

However, serious eye injuries are rarely fatal. From the same source, the likelihood of a

serious injury (one requires hospitalization) is about 1/7 over a 40 yr working life. Again

these are not necessarily work related injuries. How far are you willing to go to mitigate

this risk? Do you avoid driving unless *absolutely* necessary? Do you avoid carrying heavy

objects the back of your vehicle? Do you set the parking brake and turn the wheels whenever you pull up to an intersection? Do you wear a bullet proof vest - perhaps two or three just to be sure? (gunshot deaths are a biggy for Americans). Do you see a therapist (suicide is another big killer)? Do you wear hat, sunglasses and sunscreen every time you step outside? How about the tinfoil hat to screen against CIA rays? Risk avoidance must balance the gain against cost. I will not adopt inconvenient safety measure that only marginally decreases my risk. I could probably reduce my chances of being killed by a falling asteroid by a factor of 100 just by living underground. Is it worth it? My risk of death or serious injury from an accident

would remain about 1/7000 and 1/7 respectively. More is not necessarily better.

If risk avoidance were paramount, I wouldn't weld at all. I wouldnt even go into my

adam - Wednesday, 11/30/05 14:51:12 EST

Sorry about the double spacing. I cut & pasted from notepad. I will be more careful next time.
adam - Wednesday, 11/30/05 14:52:42 EST

Adam; "falling asteroids" usually end up cracking the crust. Living underground would not decrease your hazard by any appreciable ammount and may increase it due to structural failure from the high ricter earthquate it would generate.

I find the cost/benefit ration soundly in my favour for safety glasses and hearing protectors. So much so that I wear safety glasses almost 100% of the time---my regular glasses have the S in the corners...

It's funny in a sad way but my wife's hearing has degenerated enough that I will sometimes wear hearing protectors to watch TV with her. We believe this is primarily due to her work as a telephone operator many years ago. We're getting a close caption adapted TV set for her for Christmas.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/30/05 16:49:13 EST

I forgot to mention that I was greatly surprised to find out that safety glasses were some of the cheapest to buy even in my hefty perscription bifocals!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/30/05 16:50:50 EST

Yeah, London would be a real downer, all right. Fish & chips at the Seashell in Lisson Grove. Flea markets in the stables a Camden Lock, Church Street, Portobello Road, that nasty, boring old British Museum, the V&A, the Museum of Childhood, Covent Garden, thos ghastly pubs, Egad, what a dreadful place! Nahh, Adam, you are absolutely right-- when you are tired of New Mexico, you are tired of life.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 11/30/05 17:22:33 EST

Risky business: Actually, I DO wear a bullet-proof vest. Okay, not as often now that I mostly sling words rather than guns, but there are sstill times when I feel that risk is high enough that I put the uncomfortable thing on. I find it uncomfortably hot swathing myself in many layers of aramid fiber here in the tropics, but Sally has repeatedly observed that she would much rather I be a bit too hot rather than stone cold dead.

I wear safety glasses in the shop, and hearing protectors, though both of them may be a case of latching the barn door now that the horse is gone. I currently need binaural hearing aids due to damage from loud noises and one eye needs plastic surgery to correct a problem that resulted from a fractured skull I collected playing handball forty years ago. Life is a risky business, and I spent my youth doing risky things.

I still do risky things: I go to work everyday as a cop, I ride a motorcycle when I can find the time, and I mash metal, among other things. The riskiest thing I do is get out of bed every day. Some risks I choose to avoid, some I minimize through protective equipment and/or training, and some I simply accept as a part of being alive.

I wear a helmet when riding the bike, only because the law makes me. Left to my own devices, I would ride without it; mostly those things just give the EMTs a convenient handle to load you into the morgue wagon after you break your fool neck. I really don't like other folks telling me I *have* to protect myself. Seems counter to the pioneer spirit, somehow. (grin) I really, really hate most of the safety guards that power tools come equipped with nowadays; they obstruct my vision of where my vulnerable little digits are and that makes me nervous.

Today is the anniversary of the day in 1954 when Anne Hodges of Sylacauga, Al became the only person on record to ever be struck by a meteorite. I guess I don't need to wear a hard hat to go fetch the mail. Oh...the news article didn't say, but she was only bruised and lived another 20 years after that monumental incident. The meteorite is living in a museum now. I love a happy ending!
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/30/05 20:17:46 EST

overseas shipping: I'm still looking for cheap methods of getting a fly press shipped from the UK to here in the states. Got a quote today of $700. I guess that's still cheaper than a new one, but it gripes me that I'm only paying 80 bucks for the thing to begin with.

Any leads would be appreciated. I'm checking Fed Ex tomorrow. I've heard they handle heavy stuff now.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Wednesday, 11/30/05 21:49:16 EST

Meteorite Strike: Oh gosh, now I've got one more thing to worry warming, losing pensions, hurricanes, now being beaned by a meteor.....
Mike Sa - Wednesday, 11/30/05 21:53:09 EST

I stoped commuting to a job because of too many near misses. Either me falling asleep at the wheel or someone else. . . Combined 120 MPH crasses are almost always fatal and 60 MPH into a tree is almost as bad. The daily commute is probably THE most dangerous things Americans do every day. . next to supersizing that burger.

In my shop I use all kinds of dangerous tools (OLD ones without guards) but have never felt threatened by them. I use common sense (which seems to be less and less common these days) and I UNDERSTAND my tools and their hazzards. I try to keep my head out of the line of fire and never make sudden moves. I demo my band saw by swinging a basball bat size piece of wood at the moving blade and the end falling off THAT fast. I then point out that that piece of wood if bigger than any bone in your body. . It could just as easily take your arm off THAT fast. . .

I've moved lots of heavy items over the years including tall heavy objects in pickuup truck beds. The trick is to have them tied in so tight that they will take the bed off the truck before they slip.

Most shop hazzards are always there, being aware is a full time job.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/30/05 22:06:25 EST

Meteorites: About 10 years ago I went to a zinc mine in Franklin, New Jersey, now (or at least then) a museum. They had a car there with a maybe 2" hole punched through the trunk and the gas tank by a meteorite. Amazingly enough, it didn't burn.
Mike B - Wednesday, 11/30/05 22:20:16 EST

Adam: This coming fishing season, go fishing. And try not to stab your finger with a hook.

You're making my head swim.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 11/30/05 23:48:11 EST

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