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November 2006 Archive

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

Band vs. Chop:
Abrasive chop saws heat the work considerably. They will cut hardened steel and will also cut small amounts of refractory material. They will ruin the annealed condition of expensive annealed tool steel by making it glass hard AND they leave a REALLY bad burr that is dangerous and hard to remove. They are also noisy and dirty.

Besides steel the band saw is also good for soft aluminium, brass, plastic and wood which you cannot cut with the abrasive chop saw. In general the blades are MUCH less expensive per cut than abrasive cut off wheels. The saw is also quiet and when running properly can cut unattended, or at least without you hovering over it.

Personaly I would not have a chop saw as the primary cutoff tool in my shop. I would go back to hand sawing first.

One of the first jobs I did with my little cut-off saw was build work benches for my children. The legs sloped at a 7 degree angle so the ends needed accurate cuts as did the horizontal supports. All were cut to the same angle. Due to the vise and accurate alignment of the blade it was easier to do this job on the cutoff saw than on a table saw or vertical band saw. I've also used it for blanking out swage block patterns.

So. . . you have to look at the big picture of the kinds of things you do in your shop. Due to its flexibility and ease of use my little cut-off saw gets used a LOT.
- guru - Friday, 09/01/06 15:12:43 EDT

Champion Blower @ Forge Hammer: I have a Champion Blower @ Forge hammer and need to give it a clean up and add an electric motor. Anyone out there done the same?
Several years ago Roger Smith had one and if he is seeing this can he please reply. had this little project on hold for some time now.
smokey2 - Tuesday, 10/31/06 22:53:24 EST

bandsaw for metal: Hi, I've got a wood cutting bandsaw and want to use it for a limited cutting of metal. I'd like to bandsaw a little 1.5 inch cut in some 1/4 inch stock to make a series of BBQ forks in the forge. hard to keep a hacksaw on line and my hot cut is not up to the task.
Is it just a blade and speed conversion? should I use an old fine toothed bandsaw blade? most of my cutting is with the hot cut or a hacks saw but I want to make a consistant half dozen of these forks.
- Michael - Wednesday, 11/01/06 10:18:58 EST

Smokey2, I have a Champion Hammer a #0 and it came with a motor---original motor mount and all.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/01/06 11:36:56 EST

Metal Cutting Saw:
Michael, Speed is the #1 issue followed by blade type. Metal cutting saws run REAL slow compared to wood. My old woodworking bandsaw runs 5,000 FPM and is fast even by wood standards. My cutoff saw runs 100, 160 and 220 FPM. The high speed on this saw is supposed to be for non-ferrous only but it will cut tool steel and stainless as that speed with a top quality HSS edge blade.

In any case, you see there is about 20:1 difference in these saws. For what you want to do you want to run 90 to 150 Feet Per Minute or about 30 to 50 meters per minute.

Many wood working saws do not run flat out the way mine does and they only need about 8:1 to slow them down for metal cutting but that is still a lot of reduction.

As to blades the general rule is that there should be three teeth in the work at all times, otherwise you can strip the teeth of the blade. However, you can get by if you run the blade fast and feed slow (and steady). I would get an 18TPI blade for your purpose.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/01/06 14:13:36 EST

paint/archives: Nuts. Been away from the web for a few days, and can't access your very helpful comments on painting galvanized steel -- or to check for any responses I had not had the chance to read...will they be archived? (just checked and see that it only goes to July so far).

Any other way to access? Thanks, SHep
- shep - Wednesday, 11/01/06 14:23:29 EST

Metal Cutting saw: thanks guru, I've got step pulleys on the saw and should be able to run the reduction that slow.
- Michael - Wednesday, 11/01/06 16:01:04 EST

Shep, I will have the archives posted in a few hours.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/01/06 17:46:59 EST

OLD SMALL STUMP ANVIL: Thanks to Jock Dempsey for identifying my old anvil.
I have now listed it on Ebay ID NO 270048863939
It weighs 11 lbs so I can ship anywhere but you will have to find your own stump to mount it!
- Dave - Wednesday, 11/01/06 18:28:30 EST

Michael - Bandsaw: If you slow it down to about 200fpm and use the right blade, you should be okay. For stock from about 1/8" to 5/8" thick, I recommend using a bimetal variable pitch blade like the Lenox Diemaster™ in the 10-14 tpi. I find that a 3/8" wide blade allows me to do some moderate curve cutting but will still track straight and true when I need that. Be sure to tension the blade adequately!

I think that 18tpi is definitely too fine a pitch and will cause you to use excessive feed pressure on anything thicker than about 14 gauge. I like either tallow or beeswax for a general purpose metal cutting lube for the bandsaw.
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/01/06 22:28:10 EST

Michael: The BiMetal blades are well worth the money, but if You end up using carbon steel blades [and that is all You will be able to get unless You deal with an industrial supply house]You should shoot for about 100 feet/minute. I have a saw conversion in the project pile, and plan to use a worm reduction from a coal stoker furnas, as that will give enough reduction without a lot of belts & pulleys. I like 1/4" blades because they contour better, but for what You are doing it isn't an issue.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 11/02/06 00:15:23 EST

need a forge: I do not always have access to electricity or propane, and am in need of a (cheap) hand-operated blacksmith's/riveters/farriers forge. I am in Salt Lake City, and hope to keep the costs of both the forge and the shipping as low as possible. If I can even get a working hand blower that can be used to build my toy, then my Christmas would be worth waking up to. Any advice on where else to post or look for such an item would be also appreciated. Thanks!
russell - Thursday, 11/02/06 01:44:21 EST

hiya folks ...... does anyone out there know where i might find a set of dies for a model 1 champion hammer ???? or a model 1 parts hammer..... thanks oh joy of joy's my new table top is installed in the shop.....5' by 10ft' by 1/2 inch..... took awhile to get it here but well worth the wait......
- peter - Thursday, 11/02/06 09:11:26 EST

Russel, build one. I've built them using no power tools but a 1/4" drill out of scrounged parts for under $10. Out of the past several thousand years of blacksmithing "store bought" forges have been around less than 150 years...

It was a brake drum found on the side of the road, dropped into a stool (as in lab stool or barstool) frame with a couple of plumbing fittings. I used an old universal motor handivac with a rheostat for the air (from the fleamarket).

I used to use this forge to weld billets in---I made a sheet metal C shaped fence that slipped in so I could get a real deep fire but still have a slot to stick the billet in through
Thomas P - Thursday, 11/02/06 12:52:54 EST

Need Forge:
You can also build one with professional parts such as fire pots bought from our advertisers. One thing about a commercial firepot is there is no guessing the right size and shape. Those that sell fire pots also have plans available for the forge if you ask.

Hand crank blowers are great if you are trying to work in a specific "period" as a reinactor but good ones are far and few between. Many are worn out (bad gears, bearings) and still expensive. An oriental box bellows (wood piston in square wood box) is relatively inexpensive to build as they need no leather unles you use some for the valve hinges.

The important thing about building a cheap solid fuel forge is you can test the available fuel and decide if you want to continue down this path. Of course you can use charcoal as well as coal. . .

- guru - Thursday, 11/02/06 13:03:39 EST

Bellows don't need leather either; at least my last double lunger lasteed over 20 years of rough life with "leathers" made from the heavily treated tarpolian canvas used in the oil patch for wind wings.

Thomas P - Thursday, 11/02/06 15:53:52 EST

Building a forge: Russell, yes build one. They're simple things to build and an old brake drum works great for the fire pot. How long will a brake drum last in a forge you ask? About 4 1/2 years of heavy use. The bottom fell out of mine last Thursday. What a surprise that was. Didn't take long to find another "fire pot". When I demo I use a small home made forge made from a brake drum. I want folks to see that it doesn't take a lot of money to get into blacksmithing. Hand crank blowers may be a little difficult to come up with. At least one that is in good shape and not worn out. I haven't looked on Ebay for a while but if there are any I'd bet they're expensive. Might as well go ahead and build the bellows too. Or the oriental box bellows that guru spoke of. For what it's worth too, my work forge has a 75 cfm bathroom vent fan for a blower. They last about 3 years and cost about $18. Also if you want a picture of my demo forge, let me know. I'll take the digital to the shop with me.
Doug - Thursday, 11/02/06 17:33:46 EST

I built all4 of my forges and all with scrounged materials. The most recent forge I built is a small demo unit on my forge trailer. The fire pot was a small trailer wheel with the tire removed. The advantage to the wheel is a little better profile for the pot, and it is all steel, so welding is easy. I dont know how long it will last, but the whel was two layers of steel, stamped to a dish, and welded together in the center. I have used this little forge at 6 demos so far.
ptree - Thursday, 11/02/06 20:22:12 EST

Forges and Wheels: My first forge (there is an article here about it) used a wheel as well rather than a brake drum. The thing about specifying a brake drum on a DIY forge is they are fairly standard. Wheels on the other hand can be pretty bizarr and often have a lot of extra holes. But they ARE generally a better size and shape. In fact, I have an old two piece (safety ring) wheel from my long dead pickup that I may recycle into a forge just for old times sake. My original "first forge" had many parts with memories in it and maybe I should make another. I still have a few of the original parts. . the control handle I made for it which was the first forging I ever made.

Although a lot of folks like the independence of not needing an electrical cord (or big ugly battery) an electric blown forge reduces the frustration of the learning curve a LOT. I used a bellows daily for many years and I still love to use a bellows but if you want to get WORK done. . that little miracle of the electric motor sure is nice.

Note also that the common flat bottomed rivet forge you are looking for is a lousy forge even though they were a commercial forge.
- guru - Friday, 11/03/06 00:16:20 EST

first forge: my first forge was quite the monstrosity. It consisted of a 15 gallon drum split in half the long way, a piece of 2x3x1/4 inch tube, alot of firebricks and some sand. The bottom was lined with sand and a layer of firebrick, and the tube was placed on top of that. The end of the tube ran out through one end of the half-barrel and was connected directly to the blower, the other end had a piece of 1/4 plate placed over it (not welded)and there was about a dozen holes drilled in the middle of the tube. The rest of the forge was then lined with brick and sand where neccesary. no real firepot, and when i had to clean the ashes out of the tube i just removed the 1/4 inch plate from the end and turned the little squirrel cage up full blast and blew them out. It was crude, it was ugly, but it worked for me for quite a few years.

My new forge is also a monstrosity, but in a good way, with a 1/4 inch plate bottom, 5 inch channel iron sides (i cut off one edge of the channel to make a modified angle iron shape), and a fabricated firepot made of 1"plate. Total cost-about 5 dollars worth of welding rod and about 20 dollars worth of firebrick. Everything else was scrounged. Unfortunately I made the firepot too deep, so it eats up a lot more coal than it should, so one of these days i will take it out and trim it down some.
thesandycreekforge - Friday, 11/03/06 10:33:41 EST

First Forge:

My first forge was someone elses first forge, just a rough wooden-plank box about 24" on a side, with a hole in the plywood bottom. At least, that's what I had after he dumped out the jury-rigged contents. Into this I placed a cast iron grate, firebricks carted from a previous dwelling, and a copious amount of dirt. Then I rigged up a Rube Goldberg system of piping for the air supply with a ash dump sealed with (wait for it...) Playdoh! I used the blower off of a copying machine for the blast, on an old light rheostat.

Actually, the new forge has a much better height and layout and a Centaur Forge firepot; but it's still made of wood, has many of the same firebricks, uses the same blower, and has lasted over 15 years. (Fire pot is rusting out on the sides, but the firebrick and dirt are doing just fine.)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 11/03/06 16:48:34 EST

Sandycreek - too deep: How deep is Your too deep firepot? I made Mine too shallow. I think 4" from the air hole to the work, and an inch higher on the other 2 sides is what I will make it next.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 11/03/06 23:06:37 EST

Auction Treasures II: Another farm sale in my neck of the woods today....another leg vice in good condition for 12 bucks. Also mowing scythe's for a dollar a throw (the handles make nice replacement handles for small forges).

To think when I first started this hobby it took me 3 months to find a leg vise, now I find one every weekend.
- Mike Sa - Sunday, 11/05/06 00:32:58 EST

My first forge: I had a lot of firebricks sitting around,built up a nice little area(about 2 feet wide and 1 1/2 of depth),put some steel tubing in from under it,which is hooked up to a strangest blower anyone has ever seen,large objects go though someholes drilled in the sides,yet to test it thoughourly though...only done small things as of yet,till I can get an actual anvil,instead of this tiny little thing I use right now...
Chris - Sunday, 11/05/06 02:09:45 EST

up the creek: a family member had a baby the other day and everyone went to the hospital to go see it....except me. i stayed home and played in the smithy. i was wondering if anyone ever made a babys rattle. the handle seems easy but what about the rattle part? i guess it would start like a four leaf clover shaped blank and then bend it up and put a little ball bearing in it before closing the leaves? ANY ideas? float me a paddle here people. please.
- coolhand - Sunday, 11/05/06 16:36:03 EST

It depends on if you want it to be one or two pieces. I would go with a one piece design. Start by drawing down a piece of bar into the handle (no bigger than 3/16" dia). Then flaten the remaining material nearly as thin as possible using a bolster plate over the hardy hole or a hole in a swage block. You need about 1-1/2 to 2" diameter. Then cut the notches and remove extra material with a hack saw. I am not sure if two or three lobes would be best. Be sure to SMOOTH all the edges.

Cold work the lobes into hemispheres. Dress again. Then hot work the center over a ball peen hammer clamped in a vise to act as a small mushroom stake. Then close as required.

The whole needs to be very light weight. Hardness means nothing, its the mass that hurts when it strikes something. . .
- guru - Sunday, 11/05/06 18:55:25 EST

Baby Rattle: Why not start with a piece of pipe? I'd suggest stainless for obvious reasons. Forge down the handle then insert the basll bearings and neck the top closed with a guillotine swage.

Clean and POLISH!

Remember that you will be responsible when the kid takes out a relative with it...thwack!

- Thomas P - Sunday, 11/05/06 20:09:48 EST

Absence: I may be a bit absent for the next week or two. Sally's Mom passed away yesterday after a long battle with bone cancer, so ther will be some disruption to the normal order of things around here. I really don't know yet how much disruption; may be a bunch, may not be much at all. It will all depend on how Sally gets through it. At least her Mom is no longer suffering.
vicopper - Sunday, 11/05/06 22:54:50 EST

Getting started: I am interested in getting into smithing and have a number of questions. I am wondering if there is any advantage to using coal as a fuel source (rather than propane)? Where can i get my hands on a good quality anvil? and what tools should i buy to start up a "hobby" forge? Any information would be great.
Todd - Sunday, 11/05/06 23:09:47 EST

Rich, Sorry to hear of Sally's Mom's passing away - even when expected and when one rationalizes that the pain has ended, the loss of a parent is not easy. My sincerest sympathy to both of you.
- Gavainh - Sunday, 11/05/06 23:10:17 EST

Getting Started:
Todd, click on the link to the article titled "Getting Started in Blacksmithing" that is linked on our home page, guru's den and FAQs page.

See the FAQ on coal and charcoal.

Propane is clean and easy but there are limitations to every size forge. For efficiency you need large gas forges for large work and small for small work. But propane is also available world wide.

Coal is dirty and fire maintenance has a learning curve. You can no longer get good coal everywhere and must order it byt the bag and pay UPS shipping. However, a coal fire is hotter than propane and a large coal forge can do both large and small work with almost the same efficiency. Almost anyone can build a solid fuel forge in dozens of ways. Note that in some locations you may also have legal, environmental or public relations issues with coal smoke.

Charcoal is cleaner then coal and has most of its advantages but does not make quite as hot and dense a fire (because it is not as dense). Charcoal (real lump 100% wood) is also not available everywhere and there may be added shipping. However, you can also make your own charcoal. WHile the process is smokey it is wood smoke which people are accustomed to and rarely complain about.

getting Started in Blacksmithing
- guru - Monday, 11/06/06 09:17:13 EST

Fire pot depth: Mr. Boyer,
Mine is somewhere in the range of 6-6.5 inches from bottom to top edge. The problem that I have with it is that to get a neutral zone in the fire that is above the top of the firepot, i am having to heap the the coal up another 6 or 7 inches above the rim, and i end up with a fire that is usually over 12 inches deep. This is nice when I am heating 1-2 inch stock, or when I am trying to get a nice "cave fire" for welding, but since I usually only work steel in the 1/4 to 1/2 inch range, it is a bit much, and it eats a bit more coal than I care to use up...

My plan is to trim the firepot down so it is around 4 inches, and then, on the rare occasions that i need to forge large stock, i can build up a false firepot by placing firebrick around the edges of the firepot.

-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Monday, 11/06/06 10:32:38 EST

Aaron at Sandy Creek: Your calculations are exactly the way I see it after my 40 years+ of using coal.
- Frank Turley - Monday, 11/06/06 11:06:21 EST

Baby Rattle: A good starting point is the stainless steel float from a pump assembly. I used the float from a sewage pump. You can be sure that the float was scrubbed, polished and soaked in chlorox. I never told the mother where the materials came from for obvious reasons! I used a piece of 1/4" pipe for the handle and put a little brass ball on the handle end. I used some ball bearings for the noise maker inside.
- John Odom - Monday, 11/06/06 11:06:21 EST

Todd; since you are asking where to buy blacksmithing equipment I must assume that you live in Greenland and that it is scarce there since we "liberated" the large meteorites that the indigenous peoples used as anvils and metal source.

Otherwise I am sure you would have told us what country you live in and a general idea of where you live so you could get specific suggestions on where to find heavy expensive to ship equipment...Hint Hint.

If you have a substantial budget to buy equipment you can find top notch new stuff out there. If you are like most of us and have a limit on your spending you may need to find used local stuff to start with and upgrade as you see where your would get the most bang for your buck.

Thomas P - Monday, 11/06/06 13:22:05 EST

Sorry....: I currently live in Saskatchewan, Canada but i travel to Ontario and eastern Canada to visit relatives. I guess i could draw from anywhere in Canada except the territories. Sorry for not including this info in my previous post.
Todd - Monday, 11/06/06 21:08:37 EST

That's ok Todd, to some Saskatchewan is only slightly less remote than Greenland. Farm auction sales are a good source besides asking everyone you know. There is a fairly active chapter of the WCBG in the province that brings coal in by the truckload, and has regular hammer-ins And some of members have extra equipment they may part with. And one more thing? GO RIDERS!
JimG - Tuesday, 11/07/06 08:48:12 EST

firepot : I'm looking for a firepot and tuyure for a drop in masonry forge. Any used ones out there?
- Targie - Wednesday, 11/08/06 23:37:51 EST

Used Firepots:
At least in my experience, they're sort of like used sump pumps; you use it until it's worn out/rusted away, then you get a new one. You might find a portable forge with some sort of firepot for sale, but unless someone is selling off an entire operation, the odds are that you won't find a standard firepot suitable for a brick forge floating about in good condition. I think I've seen only one or two at tailgates over the past 10-or-so years.

Unless you are skilled at fabricating, the firepot is one of those items that you're better off buying new.

Just my tuppence.
Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 11/09/06 09:01:05 EST

firebox: Targie

New/old stock never used firebox on ebay #130045789249
I hope this helps.
- Burnt Forge - Thursday, 11/09/06 10:14:03 EST

Fire Pos Post: Well, doesn't that beat all. I had to open my big keyboard and say it isn't so, and it is so!
Bruce Blackistone - Thursday, 11/09/06 14:48:32 EST

Isn't so :
Wait till the fat lady sings before you say its so. What looks like a good deal this minute may end up costing more than a new one from Centaur. It IS an auction.
- guru - Thursday, 11/09/06 15:43:44 EST

Fire Pot: John Newman of Hamilton Ont. casts and sells a heavy walled firepot and a matching tuyere. Look to spend over $250 Cdn for these new items.

The fire pot is heavy enough that if treated properly will last longer then the average persons lifespan.

- Don Shears - Thursday, 11/09/06 16:47:22 EST

John Newman has fire pots and swage blocks he can be contacted at
- Kim Saliba - Friday, 11/10/06 00:54:32 EST

John Newman's castings: In the US Kayne and Son (BlacksmithsDepot) is the sealer of John's swage blocks. Not sure about his fire pots but they sell a good one.
- guru - Friday, 11/10/06 10:47:58 EST

swage block: im looking to get a swage block, im tired of my cheap out answers if any one in the south has one for sale or something please contact me
rachel - Friday, 11/10/06 13:06:46 EST

2 powerhammers for sale in the UK, see eBay auctions
110054326053 and 200031422999
Bob G - Friday, 11/10/06 18:29:40 EST

Rachel "the south"---Tierra del Fuego or Antartica, Cape Town, Australia? This is an international site here... Also an east/west will help some too as "the north" is closer to the south than some other parts of the south...

Thomas P - Friday, 11/10/06 19:26:50 EST

Thomas, if you search her site, she is located in the Big Easy.

Rachel, see our advertisers sites and for the full low down on swage blocks including John Newman's noted above see:
Swage Blocks
- guru - Friday, 11/10/06 19:53:27 EST

Tin Supplier?: Can anyone advise where I can buy tin for tinsmithing?
Thanks in advance.
- Robert Dean - Friday, 11/10/06 21:46:57 EST

Wallace Yater's swage blocks are the ones to get. No longer made. Alas. But... fret not: Centaur's appear to be clones, or near-dupes. Not cheap, which you are tired of, anyway, so maybe they are the answer, rachel.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/11/06 01:04:40 EST

MILES: Miles, (or anybody that enjoys pontification), try to catch Roy Underhill this weekend. He wordsmithed more than usual rather than blacksmithed. He got into David Pye book, etc.,.
- Tom H - Saturday, 11/11/06 16:50:43 EST

fisher anvils: I found this while browsing. Thought it was interesting
- ML - Saturday, 11/11/06 18:31:58 EST

champion forge impellers: I recently purchased a small champoin forge that had a home-made set of impeller blades. Can anyone tell me where I can lay my hands on a replacement fan or tell me how to manufacture a replica for it.
- Eldon Currey - Sunday, 11/12/06 15:41:25 EST

Parts: Eldon, You have an orphan piece of equipment. While they were numerous and popular they have not been made for about half a century.

The OEM blades on these were riveted on sheet metal. I am not sure how thick but I would guess 18ga (.050).
- guru - Sunday, 11/12/06 18:10:48 EST

Tin and Sheet Metal Supply:
Robert, In most case you get sheet steel from the same places that sell structural steel and bar stock, steel suppliers, warehouses or "steel service centers".

The availability of what you want will be determined for the demand in your locality. Most steel serveice centers carry steel plate down to 16ga but shy away from thinner. But many also carry galvanized.

If you are looking for old fashioned tern plate you may have to do some searching. The same goes for thin galvanized. However, your local HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) shop can probably supply you with 28 ga galvanized.

If you are looking for specialty plate such as they use for deep draw or autobodies to use for repousse' or deep embossing then you may have to gig. But a lot depends on the demands of your local industry. So start with your local yellow pages.

You can also by from a number of on-line suppliers including on-line metals via our on-line store (see 4130 alloy sheet) and Mcmaster-Carr.

- guru - Sunday, 11/12/06 18:38:25 EST

Thanks Guru, I may just stick with copper since it's easier to aquire.
- Robert Dean - Sunday, 11/12/06 19:11:17 EST

blower fan blades: I made a new fan (impeller) for an old Buffalo forge I restored a few years ago. It was sheetmetal w/ a turned steel hub, held on with a set screw. Only 1 & 1/2 blades were still intact from rust, but enough was left to create a pattern. Sometimes the hardest part is getting the old hub off the shaft. Be prepared to cut the hub if you have to.

Make a flat pattern on some paper, glue it onto some scrap sheetmetal & cut it out on a bandsaw. If you can salvage your old hub, fine, or have a new one made up by someone with a lathe. Attach the hub & fan together (braze, stake, whatever works) & heat the stem of each blade up & twist it 90 degrees. Tweak the blades to fit the housing & your done.

I'm fortunate in that I have a lathe & equipment, so mine turned out an exact replica of the original. Since it's inside the blower housing, no one will ever know but me. Take your time & your's will turn out ok too & you'll feel proud of yourself for it.
- Mike Sa - Sunday, 11/12/06 23:02:42 EST

making Blower parts:
One thing mike did not mention is balance. You need to be sure the parts weigh the same. For normal low speed operation fan parts the exact same size will probably be close enough. But you cannot mix new and old parts with different weights. Where bends are involved they must be exact.

IF something like this makes a noticable vibration then you should fix it to prevent wear and tear. Hand balancing is a matter of trial and error and logic. Apply a small amount of weigh (double stick foam tape and a washer) OR just a washer and electrical or duct tape. Turn again. If the vibration is greater than you guesed the wrong side. Try another blade, and another untill you have the least vibration. Then move the weight in and out. Outward increases the effective weight and inward reduces it. Take the weight off test, and put it back on (be sure you marked location). If far out on the blade you may need to add more weight. You should be able to reduce the vibration to an undectable level with just a few tries. Then permanently afix the balance weight.

Balanced smooth running machinery runs longer and is less of a fatigue or distraction factor in the shop.
- guru - Monday, 11/13/06 10:37:39 EST

A couple of my old blowers were balanced by rivits in the fan blades.

Note I was able to pull a fan spider with out it breaking by a several week process of applying penetrating oil and heating with a propane torch and using a gear puller to apply smooth even pressure on it. I was *very* happy not to have to rebuild that part!

Thomas P - Monday, 11/13/06 17:07:14 EST

Rivets are a good way to balance fan blades as they require nothing else to hold them in place. The hole removes very little material. A short machine screw and nut will also sufice. On shafts I have used hose clamps, the screw closure being the weight. When it was not enough a thin piece of steel was placed under it.

I learned trial and error balancing on auto and truck wheels where balancing tools would not attach. At the time I was using an on-the-vehical spin balancer. By trial and error you could balance a wheel almost as fast as with the machine as long as you kept track of what you were doing. That was before the days of computer balancing systems such as they have today.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/14/06 08:43:07 EST

New gas forge: Hey guys, I'm looking at getting my first gas forge and I was wondering if Chili Forge forges ar OK. their web site is I'm looking at the single burner. Thanks alot!
- Andrew Marlin - Wednesday, 11/15/06 21:18:13 EST

Chili Forge: It looks fine to me, but more expense than is really necessary for a first-time forge. For a pro, it looks appropriate.

Look at the two-burner forge from Ken Scharabok, aka PoorBoy Blacksmith Tools on EBay. Ken doesn't make any fancy claims for his forges, but they work fine, are decently built and cost about half as much as that one-burner from Chili Forge.

For starting out, you should save some money for other tools you'll need, not spend your whole wad on just the forge. Once you've been at this for a couple of years, you can either buy the best built forge or even build your own. For a beginner, you can't beat the PoorBoy forges. They're listed on the Anvilfire Advertisers index.
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/15/06 22:41:24 EST

chili forge: Thank you very much, i've looked into Poor Boy before, but the thing that sold me on the Chili is that the burner can come out and be used as a hand torch which will REALLY help me out on larger pieces. I really can't afford a welder for a while.
- Andrew Marlin - Thursday, 11/16/06 09:48:53 EST

chili forge (edit): last part should read, welder or anything like that for a while. (I want to eventually get a Linolin MIG welder at Lowes for about... I think $650 ish.
- Andrew Marlin - Thursday, 11/16/06 09:51:18 EST

Lincoln welder: Hi Andrew,
A good alternative to a brand new welder is a used Lincoln "tombstone" type welder. This subject has been brought up several times on both forums. It seems that everyones experience (including mine) is that the Lincoln tombstone types are about bulletproof (mine is from the 50's and still running like a charm!). Granted these are stick welders and not MIGs, but they are an affordable alternative for general purpose welding. Just something to consider.
-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Thursday, 11/16/06 10:34:40 EST

anvil: Hi Andrew
Your question: how much for the anvil?
I will let it go for 300.00 plus actual ups ground shipping. I would need a zip code to calculate that for you.
- 108budden - Thursday, 11/16/06 11:43:41 EST

BuZZZZ boxes: The red Lincoln tombstones are good and so are the little blue Miller "Thunderbolt" series.

Most of both came with fans and if you don't hear them running then open it up and check. Often the fans fail. Sometimes there is a fuse and these blow if the rotor locks on the fan. The last Lincoln I worked on the fan had fallen off the motor and needed a set screw and some lock-tite.

My Miller buzz box is getting pretty rough. It is so old that the insulation has fallen off the cables and the power cord is now cracking. . . I have new cable and need to pick up a new cord. The only repairs I've made in the past were cable ends and its about 35 years old now.

Mine cost $175 new. The current version lists for $425 with wheel kit and sells for $400. Used prices should not be bad IF you can find them.

- guru - Thursday, 11/16/06 14:18:38 EST

Forges and knives: Almost any propane forge can have the burner removed and used as a torch head. I know that all the ones I've build can be used that way, but that isn't really a cnsideration to me, since I have my own hand-fire built for use outside the forge. By building one designed expreessly for use outside the forge, it is tuned to operate with NO backpressure (which does no occur in a forge) and doesn't, therefore, require adjusting differently to use outside the forge.

I stil think I would get the Poor Boy if I were you and have Ken make yo a hand-fire to go with it, if that's what you want. Unless you feel that "the more you you pay, the more it's worth." In that case, buy a Johnson. They cost a mint and don't work all that well, either.


Yep, I'm the proud owner of a nice AlMar automatic via Mr. D. I like it, even though the blade is a bit soft. Beig a cop, I can get away with carrying it. I'm NOT sayin gthat carrying it is legal, jus tthat I can get away with it. After all, it IS legal for me to carry a concealed handgun anywhere in the U.S. and its Territories, so what's the big deal about a knife? In a real tight situation, I'll use the gun anyway, and save the knife for paring my apples.

Here in the tropics, as Jock said, almost everyone has a machete or three. You see folks walking around with them all the time. They wave them around in discussions, too. Sometimes, they use them to emphasize a point in an argument, usually using the flat of the blade. A sudden movement by the one being admonished can result in a missing extremity, though. Like most items, they can be a tool or a weapon, the only difference being in the intent of the user. Machete, sword, gun, or hammer, its all the same.
vicopper - Thursday, 11/16/06 15:43:46 EST

Buzz Boxes: I was given an old Sears Buzz box years ago and it ran great. When I upgraded to a mig and a lincoln tombstone I gave the Sears buzz box to a friend, who has since passed it on, the person who has it now is still using it. YMMV

blackbart - Thursday, 11/16/06 15:53:30 EST

buzz box: I have an old Forney welder that I bought at an estate sdale. The lady selling it said her husband used it every day for years to fix something. It still works great. And as Guru's welder it had some monster cables on it, probably 1/2" diameter with the insulation flaking away. When I replaced the cable the new was about 1/4" diameter or so. I stripped the insulation off the old cable, which wasn't too hard to do, and had 35 pounds of copper to sell for scrap. I brought $2.15 a pound and that was several months ago. So don't throw out that old cable guru.
Doug Thayer - Thursday, 11/16/06 16:19:30 EST

VICopper; I figured it was you---don't worry I won't tell!

Thomas P - Thursday, 11/16/06 18:49:17 EST

Forny Farm Welder: I have one of these allso, and have replaced the power cord and leads. Mine dates from the late '40s, We did replace a capacitor in it once in '72. They work well for a simple machine.
Dave Boyer - Thursday, 11/16/06 23:18:52 EST

BuZZZ boxes:
They are not the best welder but they are the cheapest and most dependable. They are either a big transformer with taps or a sliding core and a few capicators to help stabilize the arc nothing more. After about 10 years of experiance you learn that as long as the adjustment is +/- 30 amps of right for the rod it doesn't matter. I was sold on the "fine adjustment" of the sliding core in my Miller but most of the adjustment is in the weldOR not the weldER when stick welding.

Besides dependability of the machine the rods can lay around for years. They may need to be be dried before use but old MIG wire will be rusted which will wreck the cable liner in no time. Then you have a machine that will not weld that needs repair. MIG and TIG need gas which means a cylinder or cylinder lease and a regulator which is more equipment to go bad and supplies to be out of. .

For many jobs even production shops still use straight arc welding for many applications. It is not an archaic or old hat tool. They are just BASIC. With stick welding you can burn through paint and rust and still get a decent weld. With MIG if you do not have clean metal you get a foamy weld or a weld that looks great but is just lying on the surface (you can actually peal the weld off without effort). With a stick welder you have a choice of hundreds of rod types that most welding suppliers stock while with MIG you have just a couple choices of wire (local in stock) and those may need a gas change (another cylinder) to work properly.

There are many things you cannot weld with a buzz box, they are a steel to steel welding machine and leave a heavy flux residue that must be cleaned off. But for 98% of what you need to do in the blacksmith shop it is all you need.

When you are knocking out fabricated railings more than once a month or other welding jobs with lots of welds to clean up then you need and can afford a MIG welder. But if you are building equipment for yourself and just doing an ocassional welding job then a buzz box is all you need and will be ready to use when you need it.


NOTE: I have MIG and TIG. Both have been high maintenance and needed quite technical repairs when they were only a year or so old. Now that they are 20 years old most of the very basic parts are not avilable including consumables like MIG tips and nozzels. They have sat unused for most of that time and now the MIG ist probably unusable without a serious investment in modified replacements that would probably be a bad invesetment. This was $5000 worth of equipment when I bought it and it is now only worth what a very old used buzz box would be . . . Did it pay for itself? Maybe. Did I profit from it? No, I was not in the fabrication business using it long enough.

When buying expensive high-tech equipment there are many questions to ask yourself. "Is this a good invstment" is the first.
- guru - Friday, 11/17/06 09:48:48 EST

Buzz box: I'm a self-taught welder who got a Lincoln buzz box years ago. I didn't understand about giving it a rest occasionally because of the duty cycle. I didn't know "duty cycle" from applebutter. Whan all else fails, read the directions.
Frank Turley - Friday, 11/17/06 10:52:05 EST

Mig and Tig: I have never heard of anyone who has had as bad luck with welding equipment as the poor Guru- he bought the wrong brand, at the wrong time.
I have had a series of Mig and Tig machines from Miller and Lincoln, over the last 25 years, and never had a single of the problems he describes.
Modern Miller, Lincoln, and, to a lesser degree, ESAB, Mig and Tig machines are extremely reliable, and parts and service are available everywhere.

I currently run two tig machines almost every day, the older one I bought in about 88- and in that time it has needed one $50 switch, and one $500 circuit board- and has run literally thousands of hours. The other is only about 5 years old, and has never had anything go wrong- both Miller.
I have at least 3 or 4 different Mig setups, and again, with Miller machines, have never had anything go wrong, and consumables are easy to get online, or locally in any city.
I find I seldom Mig anymore, except on fixtures or tooling, or the occasional farm project- my cosmetic standards are just too high for Mig welding- its messy and takes work to clean off the dingleballs.
I Tig almost everything. After 25 years of practice, I am almost as fast with a tig as with mig, and about as fast as most stick welders.
Of course, as I said, there are two tig welders in my shop, ready to go, along with most concievable filler rods- I use whichever is closer.
Tig is strong, and good looking, will work with any metal I use, including mixed metals. I can fix cast iron, or weld aluminum, or silicon braze stainless to bronze with it.
If I had to have only one welder, Tig would be it.
And, as a bonus, on my tig welder I have a connector to plug in my stinger for stick welding if I need it- I usually only stick weld on 1" plate or thicker.

But like the guru, I still keep my old buzzbox over in the corner, just in case. Mine is a Miller AC/DC Thunderbolt, a big 60 bucks extra for the DC when I bought it back in the 70's, and for years, I stick welded everything. It was the only welder in my shop for probably 7 years, and it earned its keep many times over.

So I would have to agree that for a cheap first welder, a Lincoln or Miller buzzbox is a great way to start.
But once you try Tig, you may not want to go back to dodging sparks and chipping slag.
- ries - Friday, 11/17/06 13:04:38 EST

Welder brands: Yep, I went in to buy another Miller and the dealer talked me into this "wiz bang nifty new" Airco. . . Which was poorly designed and an orphan machine in 3 years. The dealer swore Airco would stand behind their product!

I had the same experiance with a Sears gas welding outfit I had bought years before. Found it was orphaned the first time I went in to get a better range of tips. . . Wrote a lot of nastygrams and never got any satisfaction. And this was one of their "Professional" label products. . .

So I switched to Victor a piece at a time. Found I could get parts for Victor stuff that was older than dirt bought at auctions. .

That HF Chinese welder might LOOK like a great deal and it might even work for a weeks worth of commercial service. But when you need parts or service? These products sold at throw away prices are just that, throw aways. If you cannot afford to buy a piece of equipment, use it for ONE job and throw it away then think long term and buy a recognized brand name.

When I bought the Sears stuff I was just ignorant of service issues. When I bought the Airco I let someone sell me on something other than what I went to buy. . . Both costly mistakes.

Today, folks can ask around. Its easy to find info on these things on the web. A lot different than the 1970's.

On the other hand, the guys selling junk anvils on ebay are still doing a brisk business. . .
- guru - Friday, 11/17/06 15:26:20 EST

hardy w/o welding: For those of you, like me, that dispaired that you can't make custom hardys w/o a welder, BE HAPPY! (link attached)
- Andrew Marlin - Friday, 11/17/06 18:40:35 EST

Andrew, this is the satandard method of making this type tool. However, it is more difficult than it looks. One problem is that most American pattern anvils are much too light in the heel for this type thing. Using a sledge at that point is a good way to break the anvil. Some heavy waisted English style anvils could take it and the Austrian style anvil that has the hardy hole online with the vertical waist is perfect for it. Otherwise, this is a job for a heavy swage block or a seperate bolster plate.

- guru - Friday, 11/17/06 20:54:43 EST

Welders: When I started at the valve shop, the division on the other side of the property was a boiler shop. In 1981, about 850 welders. Most using lincoln motor generator units. A few big submerged arc units but mostly those old lincolns. Some upgrading went on and a couple of hundred Lincoln Ideal arc units went in. Just about as bullet proof as the old MG units. Then a bunch of Airco's. Those fell flat on thier face, about like the Guru's experience. We then moved to Miller for the Migs, and ESAB for the tigs. And the lincolns worked on for stick. When we shut Louisville down and shipped all the MFG to OK. the Millers went, and all the IdealArcs. I had to dispose of about a hundred MG lincolns and a big pile of canablized Aircos. Not one working Airco to ship. I kept one old Idealarc in my lab from 1994 to the plant went to India in 2002. That unit went with the plant. It was old when I got it from the boiler shop, where it had been in 3 shift production work for years, and it NEVER needed repair in the time I had it. Went to 400 amps on 3 phase, and what a wonderful machine to use.
When I bought a mig for my home shop it was a Lincoln. My DC buzz box at home is a Dayton from the 50"s. I was given a gas engined Idealarc SA-200 from the eary 60"s, and after a couple of hundred to repair the engine ignition etc, it welds great.
ptree - Friday, 11/17/06 21:05:24 EST

Welders: Guru's experience with the Airco Dip Stick 160 has something to do with the machine trying to be capable of doing everything [mig,stick & tig] IMO. This makes the machine more complicated than it would otherwise be. Airco used several different builders for their machines, among them Miller and Esab. My Airco Dip Pak 200 MIG is pretty simple inside, and it gives no problems.
Dave Boyer - Friday, 11/17/06 23:15:51 EST

Dip Stick 160: I don't know who made the DS 160 for Airco but my supplier told me there are no MIG tips to fit so it could not be very popular OR standard. I made the mistake of using one to make a gas forge burner and then went to look for replacements. . . That means DIY mods or fitting a standard assembly to the welder. Not a cheap upgrade on an old funky machine. I have one new spare left that I can probably make last quite a while. I can clean them up and have faced them off in the lathe to extend their life. . .

Back when the machine was still bright and shiney (20 years ago) the main power switch broke (just physicaly broke). There were no replacements available. When I went to my supplier their repair shop had about ALL the DS-160's they sold lined up in various states of dissasembly. . . This was about 1988. I bought a standard Eagle brand switch from my electrical supplier. It fit in basic form and rating but had to have the (very sort) leads rearranged. . .

Shortly after that the motor DC power supply quit there were no parts for that either. . . Now I have a higher rated Radio Shack bridge rectifier in place of the original.

I can fix stuff like this no problem but there are many parts that are not replaceable with off the self components. AND if I wanted a DIY welder I would have built one, not pay $5,000 for the privledge of best guessing electronic parts.

I also have an Atlanta Cryogenic Products portable gasoline engine powered welder than needs a new multi-select switch (the one that does EVERYTHING). I am told the machine was made by Marquette. . . Luckily I did not pay anything for this one. Traded something for it. Can't remember what. . .
- guru - Saturday, 11/18/06 01:28:38 EST

AIRCO WELDERS: I seem to remember a time when Miller was building Airco's welders for them. Could be wrong. Anyone else remember that?
- 3dogs - Saturday, 11/18/06 03:18:21 EST

Dip Stick 160: I don't know for sure, but I think Esab made that model. However, there are no decendants of it in the present lineup. If Your tips are 1/4-20 thread they may be the same an Esab MT200 gun uses.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 11/18/06 03:44:06 EST

Welders: One point I don't hear made too often (thought Ries alluded to it) is the ease of switching filler materials. With stick (and TIG), it's as easy as picking up a different rod and flpping a switch. If you need to switch wires with MIG (say to go from steel to aluminum, or light sheet to heavy plate), it takes 15 minutes or more of fumbling. A spool gun or two would make this a lot easier, but one costs as much as a stick welder.

Also, MIG wire isn't available (at least not readily) in as large a range of alloys, and you have to buy a whole spool even if you only need a few feet for a specific project.
Mike B - Saturday, 11/18/06 09:40:07 EST

Oops: Meant to say "though Ries alluded to it". Maybe "thought" works too . . .
Mike B - Saturday, 11/18/06 09:42:24 EST

Guru, I wished I had know you in '94. I could have sold you about a 100 airco's for $0.06/# That is what they brought from the scrap dealer. As I recall, all of them were the do anything model. We had one that we nursed with oddball repairs just as you have done in a tool and die shop. Finally went on the pile about 1998 went we moved across the river. Was not worth moving. I seem to recall it had a knock up main switch as well.
ptree - Saturday, 11/18/06 10:05:30 EST

Locally we have great support on Miller and lincholn, and pretty good for Hobart and Esab. I know of perhaps 20 oddball migs that died and are not fixable. Mostly from discount stores.
Oddly not a single dead buzz box. I guess they are so simple that even a political prisoner in China can make one that works.
ptree - Saturday, 11/18/06 10:08:27 EST

Fagot welding horseshoes: Mention was made in the Guru's Den of perhaps horseshoes and other scrap being forge welded to form an anvil in the early days. That reminded me of my horseshoeing teacher in Oregon, Charles "Dick" Dickenson, who went through the Ft. Riley, Kansas horseshoeing school, I assume during WW II, when horses and mules were still used, mainly as pack animals. He said the the school was founded in 1911, by Frank Churchill. In 1912, Churchill authored the book, "Practical and Scientific Horseshoeing". According to Dickenson, Churchill began class on the first day by demonstrating the making of a shoe by forge welding a bundle of baling wire together. The shoe always came out looking pretty decent with no shuts or flaws. The students were usually blown away by the demo and were wondering, "What next?" Churchill then demonstrated the "horseshoe sandwich", a fagot weld made of two used horseshoes. The two shoes were heated and straightened, one bent on the flat into a hairpin and the other inserted, all being parallel. The three resulting layers were closed tightly leaving a half-horseshoe "tongue" sticking out for the tong to grip. As the three layered piece was fagot welded, it was forged into a cross section of 5/16" x 3/4" (light horse-sized stock). If the used shoes were very thin, a 5/16" x 5/8" piece would be acceptable.

The resulting piece would usually wind up being 10" to 12" long, just about right for turning a new shoe. Of course, the tongue would have been cropped befor starting on the shoe. The students would then have the experience of welding and would have the stock to turn a shoe. The whole idea was to demonstrate to the soldiers that if a shoe was needed, it could be made of almost any ferrous metal that the field soldier could find. In the army, this is called a "field expedient".

Dickenson started all his students out with the horseshoe sandwich and would not allow us to use flux. After a day and a half or so, we all would have a kind of miserable looking shoe. But that was OK. We at least had a start in the world of forging.

I have read that in the European shoeing shops of old, apprentices and journeyman would do something similar with the used shoes of wrought iron. Since wrought iron was relatively expensive at the time, it made sense to recycle the old shoes into "new shoes" by fagot welding.

I met one horseshoer who was intrigued by the baling wire shoe. He made a nice looking shoe in every regard, except for leaving one heel unfinished. It had all the wire strands coming out. It surely looked goofy, but he fastened it to the side of his traveling rig as part of his advertising, a nice conversation piece.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 11/18/06 10:49:04 EST

Horseshoes: Thank You Frank for the wonderful information and history.
- Burnt Forge - Saturday, 11/18/06 10:52:07 EST

horseshoes: My friend who is a civil war buff tells me in order to become a blacksmith in the army (can't remember if it was blue or gray), a candidate had to forge a horseshoe out of a bunch of baling wire.
- Mike Sa - Saturday, 11/18/06 22:23:07 EST

A simple expedient to the problem of unavailable mig tips for an otherwise good machine is to purchase an aftermarket whip and liner for the machine. My millermatic 200 runs a very flexible and light Tweco torch rather than the clunky setup that came standard. Consumables are available at almost any welding suppier. If the base machine is unreliable though it's probably not worth changing the whip. There are lots of good used Lincoln and Miller mig units availble for cheap. For blacksmithing use though I'd buy a tig- cleaner, more discrete, and no grinding or chipping to waste time on.
- SGensh - Sunday, 11/19/06 00:24:07 EST

Mike Sa: Scroll up 2 posts
3dogs - Sunday, 11/19/06 04:53:24 EST

1902 Champion Blower: I have for sale a 1902 Champion Blower. It has 400 1/2 casted on to the blower housing. The unit is in great condition and works very well. It has all of the original gears and bearing and after careful inspection they are in near perfect condition. This blower, if taken care of will be around for many more generations to come. I am asking $400 or best offer. I live in Clovis, California and any shipping would be paid by the buyer. Please contact me for pictures of the unit and I will be glad to send them to you.
- William Boardman - Sunday, 11/19/06 11:10:02 EST

drive belt: the steel pin coupler on the belt it almost looks like a zipper let go any good idias on repairs,the litle teath ar gone
jmac - Sunday, 11/19/06 23:31:15 EST

drive belt: i forgot to mention it,s a 1inch leather drive belt of my south bend lath
jmac - Sunday, 11/19/06 23:41:53 EST

drive belt: jmac, i got a new belt from the company that made my lathe, Logan. They may very well have a lead on the coupling material. I may have some around the shop too, I will look.
- M Singleton - Monday, 11/20/06 00:16:28 EST

For custom drive belts and connecting links: Imsco Wire Rope Chain & Accsrs Address: 5830 Midway Park Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109 Phone: (505) 344-8024 Good outfit to do business with.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 11/20/06 01:31:46 EST

Dipstick: I was given a Dipstick in 1989. the only thing wrong with it was the drive motor was bad. I invested $100 and used it daily until 2000. I had a tweco gun (200?) with a 25 foot hose and it never gave me a bit of trouble. I especially liked the fact that I needed only one welder in the shop for mig, ac, and dc.Also, it was 220 single phase. I sold it in Spring of 2000 for $800.
- Loren T - Monday, 11/20/06 01:40:44 EST

Selecting Hacksaw Blades: This weekend I wanted to cut some stock to make several Celtic crosses as described in the IForge demo 79. As I don't have a bandsaw, I was not very successful in using my hacksaw. As a novice, I realize that I'm not 100% sure on what hacksaw blade is the best or correct blade to cut 3/8" sq stock, mild steel (or what the local home center had). I'd appreciate any suggestions on selecting the correct blade.
DennisM - Monday, 11/20/06 09:01:53 EST

Hand Saw Blade: Dennis, First, there are hack saw frames and there are hack saw frames. Most are too light for serious work. The "normal" frame (Type A on McMaster-Carr) with a bent bar do not cut it. The frame needs to be strong and capable of holding the tension on the blade. Really heavy duty hacksaws use small power hacksaw blades. If I had known that the blades I was using would not longer be made I would have designed my handmade saw for machine blades.

For anything other than sheet metal you DO NOT want the blades with fine teeth on a wavy edge. You want coarse teeth with a actual set to the teeth. 14 TPI is the coarsest available today. You want them in HS bimetal OR HS all hard.

For years I used the All Hard Tungsten blades at 12 TPI. They do not make these anymore. The all hard blades are brittle and break EXACTLY as easy as glass. However, they cut very fast and easy as long as you are carefull.

Often you cannot get the good blades without the wavy set at hardware stores. I have always bought mine from industrial hardware suppliers and you can get them on-line from McMaster-Carr. The gap in their lisiting (positive rake top blades at 14TPI) are the ones I used to use. . .

Buy the best blades you can get. Toss them as soon as you notice they are not cutting as efficiently as new. Your time is worth more than a saw blade.
- guru - Monday, 11/20/06 09:40:59 EST

Belt, Zipper Coupler:
Jmac, There are several types of these "patent" belt lacings. The best is the Clipper brand. They are the ones that look like many wire staples or loops with a pin throught them.

The pin is replaceable. The are often replaced with a piece of welding rod but were originally a piece of oil soaked compressed rawhide. These have been replaced with a teflon coated wire. Brazing rod works well also.

When the lacing goes bad the belt has been in use WAY too long and should probably be replaced in total. The Clipper lacings noted above are installed with a special machine made by Clipper. There are others that can be installed by hand but they are very cludgy and not suitable for a little 1" belt.

To replace Clipper lacings you need the "laces". They come on light cardboard strips with all the alternating and varying teeth lengths in order. These are installed into the Clipper lacing machine, held in place with a steel pin and the cardboard cut off. Then the fresh cut end of the belt is inserted into the machine and it is closed on the belt clamping the lacing teeth into the leather.

When repairing belts you have to remove at LEAST 1/2" from each end to put in new laces. I had often done this to shorten a belt that needed tightening. When belts need to be repaired you often need a short piece of belt and laces in two places. The extra piece wants to be fairly long so that the laces are not too close together.

Since the machines cost $50 for the smallest and laces cost $25/box you are better off going to any "Power Transmission" specialist or belt shop and asking if they make belts with Clipper brand lacing. For $10-$20 you will have a nice new belt with shiney new lacings.

Back when machine shops had dozens of flat belt driven machines they also had belt lacing equipment. I was lucky in finding a beautiful top of the line Clipper lacing machine (the ones that cost $2500 new today). It is a joy to use and the best way to maintain flat belt drive machinery.

NOTE: The reason these couplings are called "lacing" is that before the patent belt lacing systems were invented the belts were actually "laced" just like shoe laces. Two or more rows of holes were punched in the end of the belt and thin rawhide lacing was used to join the ends of the belts. Many old machinist handbooks show this technique. My 18th Edition of Machinery's Handbook has good details on this. I do not know how long they included the info and my collection is packed away. . :(

This is still a good method especially if you do not have the special tools for Clipper lacing.
- guru - Monday, 11/20/06 10:25:58 EST

clipper lacing: thanks buddy now i no what to look for
jmac - Monday, 11/20/06 11:34:53 EST

re: Hand Saw Blade: Thanks for the prompt reply. I've placed an order with McMaster-Carr.
DennisM - Monday, 11/20/06 12:24:40 EST

Clipper lacing: In Tech school We had a simple tool that fit in a vise for installing clipper lacing, but at the surplus place I only see the big machine type. There was an aluminum one there once.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 11/20/06 22:52:24 EST

cl1pper lacing: found aplace just north of me can fix me up new belt and all for $20 more for gas to drive up
jmac - Monday, 11/20/06 23:48:22 EST

Clipper lacing: We use a couple different size clipper lacers in the factory I work in. The best deal I have found was from a local ag dealer for the lacing but they also sell the vice tool. carry them also.
James R. - Tuesday, 11/21/06 07:02:35 EST

Non Clipper:
There are other patent belt lacings but they are rather crude. Their advantage is they do not require the special machine as do clipper laces. I think one brand was "Aligator". These were like sheet metal hinges with fingers that punched through the belt and folded over.

I would hand lace a belt first.

In many places the belt is made endless. This is true even on lathe spindles where you must disassemble the head stock to replace the belt. However, if you use a modern rubber faced nylon belt it may outlast the machine. These very thin belts do not build up the internal heat that a thicker leather belt does. They also do not stretch or age like leather. On large machinery belts are often made in place, skived, stretched and glued where it will run.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/21/06 10:49:04 EST

Frank Turley School: I have had the pleasure an oppertunity to read the Frank Turely Newspaper article. It is from The New Mexican Sunday, November 12, 2006. It is a wonderful lenghty article about Frank, his school and his students. It is well written and presented. The many photos are marvelous. If anyone else is able to look it up it is well worth your time. I most enjoyed it. I am glad his school exists and has been able to share the craft and art of Blacksmithing with many.
- Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 11/21/06 18:26:36 EST

hey, quick question.(I think i knew it but had a brain fart) Are the Hay-Budden anvil iron w/steel faces or all steel? thnx in advance.
- Andrew Marlin - Tuesday, 11/21/06 19:03:05 EST

Looking for Wrought Iron: I'm looking for wrought iron. Right now I need only a small quantity, so if you only have a few feet of it that you wouldn't mind selling...that would be great. As for size: anywhere from approx. 1/4" up to 2". Flat bar, round bar, square bar, doesn't matter. I'm going to be forging this stuff down to thin stock and make (try to make) shear steel.
Tyler Murch - Tuesday, 11/21/06 20:32:38 EST

belt lacing: A very good source for belt lacing is indeed ag dealers. Every round bale roller has a number of flat belts that get repaired/replaced from time to time and so they have the clipper laces.

I have used the aligator lacings with very good results on low speed conveyors. Much more resistant to ripping out than the clippers and also resistant to damage from objects dropped on the belt. I don't have experience with them in higher speed drive belts.

There is a very large conveyor shop in Louisville,KY Industrial Belting and Transmission. They have about every lacing and belt type know to man in stock, and they keep the cuts and drops. If I was unable to find belting, I would try them
ptree - Tuesday, 11/21/06 22:01:44 EST

band saw: Im looking to get a band need to cut some 5/16 stock. i need to make about 40 different cuts about 5 ft long. in the future i would like to get a wood band saw as well. Would a $1200 14" 1 hp Wilton wood/metal bandsaw be up to the task, and is it going to be any good at cutting wood. OR should i buy a used DoAll in good shape for for $1500 and worry about a wood saw in a few years.
PS. i dont really need a wood band saw at the moment but the more tools in my shop the better.
- coolhand - Tuesday, 11/21/06 22:45:51 EST

coolhand - bandsaw:: Either saw should be up to both tasks. I have no experience with the Wilton, but as a rule they make OK stuff. A DoAll is a wonderfully built machine, and if You can find a good one I don't think You will regret buying it. They have a high range with speeds for woodcutting. Be sure to get a top quality BiMetal blade for the steel work.
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 11/21/06 23:55:58 EST

Lacing: Another though on belting is depending on the application you can have the belt made endless through a method of cooking the ends, some use a diaganol slice some not. The benefit we see in these type belts in the factory is not only longer overall wear but also the running surface that the belt runs on does not take the wear of the metal lacing that the clipper and aligator give although it may be minor the wear can add up over time especially if the machinery is used a lot. If we are in production we often will use the clipper to get back on line and then have our maintenance folk cook a belt as soon as possible to take it's place.
James R. - Wednesday, 11/22/06 00:49:35 EST

Band saws: Buy the DoAll! they are of considerably heavier construction, size-for-size, than the Wilton.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 11/22/06 09:00:15 EST

Coolhand, Those are LONG cuts. What kind of metal? Steel, aluminium, brass? Curved, straight? How curved? Brass and steel take quite a bit of feed pressure. Curves are limited by depth of blade and kerf clearance. They are also limited by the size of the stock going in and the throat depth of the saw.

Cutting metal takes quite a bit of pressure. Top of the line metal cutting saws have a feed assist feature. This is usually a chain or cable pulling device operated by a heavy weight. However, these feed devices are usually limited by their length of stroke. Some pull on the miter guide, some on the work.

I ask all these questions because a bandsaw may not be the right choice for the job.

Note that even though a metal saw runs VERY slow compared to a wood working saw you CAN do limited wood work on a metalworking band saw by just changing the blade. It is a little slow but it works. How slow? Well, you can swing a baseball bat at the blade at about the speed you would swap a fly and my big wood working saw will zip through it like it wasn't there. This is my childrens' demonstration to show how fast they would be missing a hand if they got it in the saw. . . You would have to slowly push a piece that size through the metal working saw but it would only take a few seconds to make the cut. The blade on my wood working saw moves so fast that you can cut 1/16" stock smmothly even though the skip tooth blades have 1" gaps between the teeth. If you need to work wood this efficiently then you need a wood working saw. But while a metal working saw will cut wood the dedicated wood working saw will not go slow enough to cut metal.

The 1HP Wilton saws on their site only run about 350 SFPM while real wood working saws run 10 to 15 times that speed. Their 2HP 20" saws have a 2 speed gear box that gets the range for both metal and (efficient) wood cutting.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/22/06 09:33:49 EST

Tyler would some 5/15" thick byers WI plate do for starters? We tried some of the 3/16" stuff at Quad-State one year when Ric Furrer demo'd making blister steel and it blistered lovely.

Otherwise I have some 1" thich round stock I could slice a piece off of.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/22/06 11:53:44 EST

bandsaw: thanks fellas im cutting 5/16 steel with slight curves...i decided to buy the doall. i think it will be way better quality and easier to find parts if something breaks. besides real blacksmiths have DoAlls. im gonna try and work on the guy about price and see if i can get him down a few hundred bucks. Wood working can wait...i mean whats wood? not iron.
coolhand - Wednesday, 11/22/06 16:09:49 EST

What's Wood. . .:
Ah. . its what you make patterns out off for casting brass parts, cast iron swage blocks, antique style posts to go with a fence job. . . .

It what you make wood mallets for hot work out of (although you don't need a bandsaw for that).

hahahahah. . . .

I would go with the DoAll if I had a choice. On used machinery the industrial stuff is often more repairable than on the consumer side. But most of the time there is little choice in used saws.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/22/06 16:40:06 EST

carbon: when working with a 4140 steel and your told that to get it extra hard on the rc scale that you should add carbon, just how is this done and what hardness can it be raised to? will this work on other metals as well such as 1095, or 0-1??? wouldnt working the hot metal over charcoal add the extra carbon by itself?
- mike - Wednesday, 11/22/06 18:47:42 EST

You can case harden many steels which result in a very thin very hard layer on the outside of the steel.

Working it over charcoal *may* add carbon---as long as you never take it out where O2 can scale off that carbon layer...

With most smithing projects you scale or grind off any layer of added hardness so it's rather a waste of time trying to put it there.

Case hardened blades will generally be sharpened through the case in a very short order.

If you are interested in how steels were made from low carbon iron in earlier times I would suggest doing a search on "blister steel" and "shear steel"
Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/22/06 18:58:43 EST

Adding Carbon:
Mike, except for a thin case hardening trying to add carbon in the forge is more likely to reduce carbon. In either case you are most likely to ruin a good piece of steel.

Case hardening will add a thin higher carbon skin to a piece but does not increase internal hardness. It is mostly for surface wear resistance.

See our FAQ on case hardening.

The proper way to add more carbon to 4140 is to buy 4150.

- guru - Wednesday, 11/22/06 19:01:00 EST

carbon,,,,: wow,,,,,,, awsome responce time here,,,, maybe 20 minutes,,, thanks guys,,, i was told it could be done,, i got easy acess to 4140.... but i'm looking at working the forge tomorrow (my kinda holiday) and making a knife or two,,, i guess i'll mess around with the 1095 stock,, i got a cpl chunks of new material and a little in 5160.... what do you guys use in your knives? i have read that leafsprings are 5160 as are most coil springs, but stress factors say to stay clear of used springs,,,, any input on reused truck springs?
mike - Wednesday, 11/22/06 19:20:37 EST

Mike, like much "convential wisdom" the thought that a spring is 5160 only goes so far. It was repeated at about every hammer in I went to for years that truck axles are 4140. Then I started working at an axle plant and found out that no one in the truck axle industry has used 4140 for probably 20 years now. In industry, especially automotive, very little is static, especially in materials.
The Guru has placed a very good FAQ on junkyard steels on this site. Go to the navigate bar and look at the FAQ's.
Old used springs may be full of cracks, or may be sound. If the spring broke and that is why it was scrapped, I would not bother with it. If you want "good" junkyard steel, look for a spring shop, and ask about drops. It never hurts to take a little hand made something in when you ask. Leave the handmade item, expect nothing in return, and you will probably be surprised at the response. Those guys are tool guys too.
Good luck
ptree - Wednesday, 11/22/06 20:43:53 EST

thanks: the advice is much appreciated,,, i know about nothing when it comes to steel and the diferances,, as for working steel into something by heat,anvil,and hammer,,,,,,,lol,,,,,,, this is gonna get real ugly,,,i'm trying a brake drum forge with a blower fan hooked up, i cant get any "decent" coal till next week so charcoal briquets are my first attemp,,,, told ya its getting ugly,,,, anyway,,,,,, have a good turkey day,,,,,
mike - Wednesday, 11/22/06 20:56:06 EST

Mike: With respect to adding carbon to a steel like O1 or 1095, Yes you POSSIBLY COULD add more by carburizing, but these steels have plenty to begin with. If You need to carburize steel, You should get Casenit from an industrial suplier and follow the directions.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 11/22/06 21:44:11 EST

unusual hardie: I picked up an unusual hardie last week. The maker's logo is C.C. within a pair of closed calipers. The head of the hardie resembles the ball of a human hip joint.

Who is the maker and what was it used for?
david Kings - Wednesday, 11/22/06 23:17:29 EST

Do-All bandsaw: Someone made mention of Do-all band saws. I recently acquired a very large and old Do-all band saw (vertical type). Has a three phase motor wired up, and I am going to have to get a converter for it after I get the whole thing cleaned up. Does anyone know a source for information on this old saw? I believe it was made during the thirties or forties.
Mark Singleton - Thursday, 11/23/06 00:02:30 EST

Do-All bandsaw: Contact Do-All with the serial number. Yjey keep records that go way back.

Consider a variable speed drive 3 phase converter. They have come way down in price.
- John Odom - Thursday, 11/23/06 08:45:44 EST

David Kings: Your hardy tool may be a one-off ball stake. I'm not familiar with the logo. In my experience, the big, old time U.S. manufacturers of smithing tools were Quikwerk (Warren), Iron City, Heller Brothers, and Atha.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 11/23/06 10:30:28 EST

One issue to remember with Variable frequency drives that make 3 phase from single phase is that most of the 3 phase motors from the past are NOT inverter duty, and many will heat up pretty badly and may not last very long when used with a VFD. If the motor is a standard frame, then when it goes remember to buy an inverter duty motor.
ptree - Thursday, 11/23/06 10:33:52 EST

Ball Stake:
This is probably a common silversmiths or jewelers tool. Silversmiths stakes are made in infinite variety.

The problem with trying to identify the manufacturer is that many catalogs such as William Dixon Inc's put their name on the tools they sold OR at least labled them such in their catalog.
- guru - Thursday, 11/23/06 11:12:40 EST

...and a couple of more manufacturers: ...Champion and Vaughan & Bushnell, etc.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 11/23/06 11:39:05 EST

blacksmith equipment: I have about 3 semi loads of commercial grade blacksmithing, metalworking and woodworking equipment. I plan to sell everything. For a look at some photos, (i.e. Nazel 2B, anvils, welding tables, gas forge), please check our family web site where we will be displaying information periodically. I'd gladly help you with package deals.
Blacksmith Equipment
Gordon Meffert - Thursday, 11/23/06 11:42:10 EST

lessons: Hi there everybody. I've been interested in blacksmithing for a long time, specifically sword and other weapon making. I'm just wondering whether there are any blacksmiths in South Africa who will be willing to give me lessons so I can kickstart this hobby. Thanks
- Wesley - Thursday, 11/23/06 14:07:51 EST

South Africa is a big place- but there are blacksmiths there- and once you find one, he or she will lead you to others.
Why dont you start with this guy- Conrad Hicks- he is an interesting blacksmith, with quite possibly the single coolest workshop in the world- the Bijou, an old art deco movie theater in capetown.
They have classes there, as well.
- ries - Thursday, 11/23/06 14:49:12 EST

Hip Joint: Ya know, an artificial hip joint just might make a pretty good hardy. (Gotta check with the folks at the crematorium.)
3dogs - Thursday, 11/23/06 20:53:49 EST

I believe the hip joint is a Titanium alloy. They also have a Teflon typ of bearing surface. That should already be burned off in the people smoker.
- Burnt Forge - Thursday, 11/23/06 21:47:53 EST

my first knife.: ok guys i'm back,,,,,,, lots of questions,,, we fired up the forge, loaded with charcoal,,, yup, lots of smoke and sparks,,,, we decided to use a old nicolson file to practice on,,,,,, first problem was we couldnt get the hardness out of it,,, tried to heat it up and cool real slow,,,,, then reheated to bright orange and really cooled it slowly,,,,,, still was to hard to file or hacksaw...... so we just beat it up while red hot.. then we decided to get it a bit extra hot in the coals,,, bad move,,,,,, only half our knife came out of the coals,,,,, looks like we melted it in half,,,,,,lol,,,,, ok,,,, another file went into the fire,,,, this one hammered out nicly,,,,,, a little grinding with a 4" grinder and it started to actually look good,,,,,,,,,, i'm not sure if i can post a pic in here but you can use the url to see it,,,, [img][/img] anyway,,,,,, is it possible to take the hardness out of old files?
mike - Thursday, 11/23/06 22:20:49 EST

Files, Annealing:
Mike, annealing (softening) good tool steel is serious business. You don't just cool it slowly. It must be cooled from just at or slightly above the non-magnetic point down to below a red heat at less then 40 degrees F/hour (20 F/hr for some steels). Those low cooling rate steels require a temperature controlled oven to anneal.

Annealing is done by quickly burying the hot piece of steel in an insulating medium. This is commonly quick lime, wood ashes or vermiculite. Kaowool also works. On small pieces alloy tool steels you may have to heat a second larger piece or two of steel (any kind) and but them together in the annealing medium. Common practice is to let the steel cool overnight but this long is not necessary. It IS necessary NOT to overheat the steel and to quickly get it into the annealing medium. There is no time to run to other end of the shop or to fool with container lids or bad tongs.

Once annealed you should be able to saw and file the steel. IF it is well annealed you can also drill and machine it. However, tool steel is TOUGH even when annealed and if you do not use enough machining pressure to make clean chips then the tool will rub them make a hard spot in the annealed steel and then wreck the cutter bit. Dull tools, tools run too fast or without enough feed pressure will fail.

When heating the steel to forge it you do not want to over heat or burn it. That ruins the steel. You want to work it HOT but not at a white heat. You do not work it below an orange. This cuts down the working time so you MUST be fast. If you have a makeshift anvil and you are new to smithing then you will not move much metal. It will be VERY slow going. A good anvil, hammmer and lots of forging practice will improve the speed you work.
- guru - Thursday, 11/23/06 23:30:34 EST

old files: i got my hands on a old cast iron 150# anvil........ it was pretty beat up with several chunks dug right out of the top,, 4 hours with a 7" power grinder and several wheels took off enough steel to get it nice and flat again,,,,, we set up the forge right next to the anvil that sits on a 5' telephone pole end dug three feet into the ground,,, so i feel we got a decent setup and shop is right behind us, even got good the forge is a brake drum off a large truck with a gas water heater blower feeding it from underneath,,,, I'll be getting some good coal next week for it,,,also need to get the acetylene tank refilled,,, i get vermiculite for free at work,,, at least when we demo old boilers,,, should the annealing medium be wet or dry? and would the method at least make this less brittle? right now i feel the file knife is too hard and might break, as well as being ridiculously huge,,, maybe i should call it a machete,,,,lol,,,,,,, this is the link without the html,, copy/paste in the brouser bar to see my monstrocity,,,, hey,,,, its my first,,,,,,, i'll get better
mike - Friday, 11/24/06 00:06:39 EST

Mike, The annealing medium is insulation. It must be bone dry. Note that even though vermiculite is currently popular for annealing media it is not the best.

Brittleness has to do with hardening and tempering. But burnt steel is also brittle and cannot be repaired. The heat treating process for file steel is:

Anneal (this conditions the steel)
Harden (heat to the same temperature as described in the anninling process above NO HOTTER and quench in air, oil or water.
Temper, this is reheating to a point between 300F and 1300F depending on the steel and the hardeness desired. Tempering should be done immediately after hardening BEFORE the piece reaches room temperature. Tempering reduces brittleness a lot and hardness a little. Normally you want to temper to the minimum hardness you need so you have the maximum toughness.

See our Heat Treating FAQ.
- guru - Friday, 11/24/06 09:05:34 EST

quick lime..: right after i posted the question on the medium being wet or not i realized how stupid that question was,,, i wasnt useing any common sence their,,,, lol,,,,,, i assume that quick lime is better,,, i have some 1 1/2 solid steel round that i can cut up to 14" lenghts to put deep into the medium then cover that up,,sacrificial heat???, then the hot blade,,, cover that too,,,, doing it fast and keeping things hot should make it work,, i have heard of garden lime but i never heard of quick lime,,,,, i'll try finding that today,,,i'm guessing it must be masons lime? i also want to make a long forge today out of 8" round cast iron sewer pipe cut in half length ways,, weld two ends on it thn run a 2" steel gas pipe,preferated, down the trough to feed air.. the half i'm not gonna use for the forge is the question,,,, would that be deep enough and hold enough medium to use as a container?
mike - Friday, 11/24/06 10:14:02 EST

Thanks ries, I really appreciate it.
Wesley - Friday, 11/24/06 14:14:59 EST

Anvils: I have become curious as to who made my two anvils, both anvils are nearly the same size and shape and purchased at two very different places. I would love to purchase Richard Postmans book but just can not do it any time soon. I am wondering is there any place on the web that might assist me in quenching my curriousity?
Thanks in advance...
- James R. - Saturday, 11/25/06 03:18:20 EST

legal from the switch blade: ok i saw a loop hole in that law and it also seems kinda racist if u ask me i mean read it carefuly...anyway i was trying to look for the switchblade blue prints se if i could come up with a better disinge for it but im just gonna stick with what i got and besides i also am gonna be military later-on anyway so hey...and i want to thank miles for the law place o and where do i click for the sword forum thing.......look im sorry i keep asking u guys all this stuff but my life pretty much sucks so i cant do to much...i want to go to these places and get these books but...well...i just cant...look just forget i said this dont tworry about it ill try to learn it in collage...but thank u guys anyway

hope yall had a good thankgiving...
- thomas mayhugh - Saturday, 11/25/06 04:28:50 EST

thomas mayhugh-- You're welcome. As for loopholes, the law is whatever the cop patting you down says it is, unless, like O.J., you have enough money to hire a reallllllly good lawyer. Why bother?
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/25/06 11:01:20 EST

Try typing into the URL spot on your browser.

Books: If you are in the USA you can generally ILL most any book at your local public library. Go *ask* them about ILL Inter Library Loan.

Thomas Powers - Saturday, 11/25/06 11:31:32 EST

James, we ID a LOT of anvils here. You just have to kive SOME kind of description. There is also a bunch of links on our Selecting and Anvil FAQ (see FAQs page). These include several manufacturer sites and information pages with photos.
- guru - Saturday, 11/25/06 12:18:19 EST

DoALLS: i got my doall all hooked was wired 3 phase. i swapped the motor for a 220 motor with the same horespower, rpms and shaft size, and bypassed the whole eletrical system. i no longer have the blade welder or the light hooked up but who needs those? i am not buying blades in large rolls and have plenty of light. If i ever need to cut the center out of something i can weld it better than that shitty blade welder anyway. the big bonus is i traded the motors even up to the motor shop and didnt have to spend a couple hundred dollars on a phase converter. LONG LIVE DOALL this is the nicest machine ever.
coolhand - Saturday, 11/25/06 12:28:31 EST

have tried to email fredly forge but no go is he still around changed adress or is it me
- jmac - Saturday, 11/25/06 19:15:29 EST

Interesting powerhammer on ebay, item no. 200049931554
Bob G - Saturday, 11/25/06 22:17:27 EST

coolhand: The blade welder might be single phase. They are handy and if in good shape make an acceptable weld.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 11/25/06 23:43:56 EST

Blade welder.:
I don no. . . I've seen people try to weld band saw blades and have nothing but trouble. The little welders are fast and simple. However, they do not work well on many of the high tech new blades.

Band saw blade welds fail quite often when there is still a lot of life in the blade. Shorten it an inch and weld it back together and you may get another $20 work out of it.

Yep, industrial machines are great.
- guru - Saturday, 11/25/06 23:50:47 EST

DoAll: >i no longer have the blade welder or the light hooked up but who needs those?<

Connsidering that "that (unnecessary and inaccurate expletive deleted) blade welder" also aneals the welded section so it won't immediately break again and produces a properly aligned join every time, I wouldn't be without it. And considering that low visibility is one of the primary reasons (along with carelessness and incompetence) for industrial power tool injuries, I wouldn't be without the light, either. And lastly, considering that both the welder and the light are simple resistive loads and quite possibly single-phase anyway, why diminish a really great machine by not doing the whole job?
vicopper - Sunday, 11/26/06 01:05:15 EST

copper: does anyone here work with copper?
- ebenton2ph - Sunday, 11/26/06 09:54:34 EST

I am just starting to work with non-farrous matels such as copper, aluminium, brass, and bronze. but i'm probably at the same stage you are at. sorry i can't help

Andrew B.
- Andrew B. - Sunday, 11/26/06 10:50:05 EST

i got this anvil,,,,,, pretty beat up and abused,,, but i really want to try restoreing it,,, barly ledgible on the side is these letters,,, this is as close as we can read them,,, hadfield,,,,santerson shefield anyone ever heard of these or spelling close? anyway,, walking the train tracks today i swipped a chunk of track, and i found what loooks like a part of a old rail switching section,,,, the steel is about two inches thick,, 24' x 12' theirs several of these heavily covered in grease,,, i guess they would make a good new anvil top if cleaned up and welded down,,,,,,, any input?
- mike - Sunday, 11/26/06 14:12:07 EST

ebenton2ph; Copper: I believe that most of the volunteer "gurus" have worked copper. Do you have a specific question?


The Hadfield & Sanderson anvils are briefly mentioned in Postman's book, page 73. Postman has recorded five of them...says they are manufactured in England. He shows one with weight numbers stamped below "Sheffield". There are different schools of thought on restoring anvils. I suggest that your anvil is fairly old and rare. If the face needs help, it is probably best to arc weld/fill cracks and missing chunks, and NOT weld on some scrap railraod stuff or any other kind of face.

If you have a museum conservator's mentality, you will do hardly anything to it except perhaps remove superficial rust and preserve it with a microcrystalline wax coating.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 11/26/06 15:10:44 EST

thanks frank,,,: i appreciate the info,,,,, i'm actually surprised its a rare piece,,,, i actually thought it to be a cast iron anvil,,,,,,, i'll take your advice on welding the top and polishing it smooth,,, i'll have it sand blasted for some fresh paint too,,,,,,, then i'm gonna pound some steel on it,,,,, sounds like this anvil has a lot of good "mojo" left in it,,,,,,might bring me some good luck,,,,lol
- mike - Sunday, 11/26/06 15:20:12 EST

Forged Skillets: Do you folks know of any inherent metallurgical reason that a forged steel skillet would not function as well as a cast iron one, given a similar weight and thickness? Thanks-- Lee
- Lee Sauder - Sunday, 11/26/06 18:44:20 EST

Wrought Iron: Tyler (or anyone else)- I have lots of wrought (several tons),I'll sell it for 75 cents a pound but you have to come get it, I won't ship it (I'm in Virginia). It's big (like 1"x 4"), and mostly of pretty funky quality, could use a few folds before carburizing. My email-
Lee Sauder - Sunday, 11/26/06 19:02:54 EST

Skillets: Doug Hendrickson of Lesterville, MO, used to forge skillets and had a market for them. I walked into a Santa Fe coffee shop a few years back, and surprise! His signed, tagged, skillets were hanging in the shop with other kitchen parapehernalia.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 11/26/06 19:09:06 EST

Skillets: My old Marks Handbook lists 1% carbon steel as having very slightly less thermal conductivity that cast iron. Pure iron and wrought both have values significantly better than cast. There's no value given for mild steel, but mild's closer to pure iron than to 1% carbon, which suggests it might conduct heat better than cast would.
- Mike B - Sunday, 11/26/06 19:41:52 EST

Copper: Yes, I work with it. Did you have a specific question or need advice?
vicopper - Sunday, 11/26/06 22:08:01 EST

DoAll Blade welder: In the plants where I worked ALL our blades came off the 100' coil. You LEARN to weld them. My preference was the 1/4"x.035 10tpi high speed blade. The thicker blade welds easier and contours better. On thin materials We certainly didn't have 3 teeth in the work, but it didn't seem to matter.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 11/27/06 00:13:47 EST

Skillets: up until the later Renaissance cast iron cookware did not exist and everything was either forged wrought or cast copper alloy.

Cast has the advantage of being cheap and fast over forged and does not tend to warp like steel does when unevenly heated; but cheap pressed steel skillets were very common in the early-mid 20th century. I used to pick them up at the fleamarket for $1 a piece and forge medieval versions from them...

If you make one I would advise using a nice heavy piece of steel to give more even heating.

Even better would be to use wrought iron as the "tooth" of the surface will probably hold the seasoning better.

So I would suggest you e-mail yourself about picking up some of your WI....

Wish I could stop by and get some; where in VA are you at; got a sister in Manassas...
Thomas P - Monday, 11/27/06 13:40:37 EST

Blade Welder: Ive got a vertical bandsaw that only the blade welder works on (the blade tracking gave up a long time ago) - the reason? Makes a supurb cigarette lighter ! - its very convernient height, no one can wonder off with it, and it stops people grinding files / welding through paper etc when they loose their lighter - a sad but true fact !
- John N - Monday, 11/27/06 15:22:25 EST

Peter Wright font: Much good info has been presented on Guru's Den regarding the identification of bogus artifacts.

The specifics of the Peter Wright vise in question bring up the subject of font style and whether anyone of us has seen "P. Wright England" on ANY metal artifact. I have a leg vise where the P. Wright stamp is on the screw box. The serifed letters are of a specific size, all caps, and stamped lengthwise on the cylindrical box. "P. WRIGHT'S" is above in an arc form. Below is "PATENT" and below that, "SOLID BOX". I would be tempted to use these as a comparison guide. On many WRIGHT vises, these letters are not found, as they have been subject to wear and corrosion.

On some vises, sandwiched between "P. WRIGHT'S" and "PATENT", can be found the coat of arms of the British Royal Family. This would be extremely difficult to duplicate, as it consists of a decorative shield, crown, a lion, a unicorn, and foliage.
Frank Turley - Monday, 11/27/06 16:50:41 EST

blade welder: well i didnt rip the blade welder off and throw it away or anything... it is single phase and i can easily run two wires to the fuse block and it will be working again.i dont hate it, i just havent had the chance to need it yet. i bought a few blades for it and they cost 40 dollars each. i added it to a customers bill for a job under materials and they never even blinked. ill always take a new blade over a half used rewelded blade.
- coolhand - Monday, 11/27/06 17:15:11 EST

John Lowther: My ex had a housemate who had a hand-forged skillet made of about 1/8" or thereabouts steel which worked about as well as any cast iron skillet I'm aware of.
John Lowther - Monday, 11/27/06 17:28:11 EST

OOPS! : That should subject should have been Skillet.
John Lowther - Monday, 11/27/06 17:29:36 EST

buying?: ok in the mean time wile im studieing who would yall suggest for getting a blade from and im planning on using it!!! also who should i get it from if i want to fight someone with a sword naginata or and my best friend fight from time to time...( i usualy win lol)

thanks in advance
- thomas mayhugh - Monday, 11/27/06 19:56:03 EST

Coolhand: It is probably cost effective for You to buy premade blades. In the plant I last worked there were many different saws of varying size and keeping a large variety of blades in the store room would not have been cost effective.
Dave Boyer - Monday, 11/27/06 22:26:09 EST

wrought iron: Mr Sauder, could I get some wrought Iron to make a skillet? Where are you? Thanks in advance for your kind reply.
Lee Sauder - Monday, 11/27/06 22:31:54 EST

wrought iron: Lee- Sure, I'm in Lexington in the southern end of the Shanandoah Valley. For you- special deal- 60 cents a pound.
Lee Sauder - Monday, 11/27/06 22:33:23 EST

I am not sure of what info to provide to figure out the makers of my two anvils, I will try and get some photo's this week. In my opinion they both look to be nearly identical with a couple exceptions. Both have the clip on the side off the edge of the horn below the face. One has a single pritchel hole the other has two. Both are very simular in shape to a peter wright and both weigh in near 200 pounds each. One is considerabley more worn but not worn out, main wear is the face is rounded and a few chips out of the edges of the face. The second shows a lot less wear. I have not found any markings on the anvils no stamps etc., but I have not
- James R. - Tuesday, 11/28/06 01:28:15 EST

Should have said Anvil Identification: The subject fell off? Ooops
- James R. - Tuesday, 11/28/06 01:29:16 EST

Farriers' anvils: James R.,

Re your anvils, are there squarish handling holes in the waist, maybe in the center of the base? What are the face widths, close to 4"? Is there a single number stamped in the waist where the lower base of the horn joins?

If the anvils appear to be old and forged with clip horns, they are probably Hay-Budden or Trenton. They are not likely to have a cutting table, right? They normally have a swelled horn, meaning the diameter of the horn base is more than the face width measurement. However, there appears to have been a transition period with Hay-Buddens where they were experimenting with the farriers' pattern. I used to have a 158 pound Hay-Budden that had two pritchel holes and a clip horn, but no swell to the horn. I own one presently, 140 pounds, that has one pritchel hole, a clip horn, and no swell to the horn. I have a 213 pound one that has a 5" diameter swell, narrow face, clip horn, and two pritchel holes.

The waist width on many of the Hay-Budden farriers' anvils is around 4", even on the big ones.

The clip horn, the projection itself, had a flat top, but the border of it had a radius. It was an innovation that made drawing clips easier. However, many farriers found that the curvature of the clip horn "gutted out" the foot surface of the shoe, leaving a crescent shaped depression. This not only removed some of the bearing surface, but made the clip slightly weaker at its base. For this reason, many shoers eschewed the clip horn and would draw their clips over the side or the heel of the anvil. On the anvil face, a guy can use a bob punch into the ground surface of the shoe thus creating a side bulge. The shoe can then be turned over and the clip finished. In the "olden days" of my farrier work, I used to draw clips on the far anvil edge or heel edge with a ball peen.

Nowadays, shoes can be purchased with clips already on.

Frank Turley - Tuesday, 11/28/06 10:46:04 EST

Report from the field: Hi ho all....reporting in from Wenzhou, china. My company sent me over for a week to teach a company how to do our jobs. How about that for a kick in the teeth. I feel like the guy on the bulldozer in the movie grapes of wrath. If I won't do it, they'll get someone else that will & I'll be out of a job even sooner.

Anyway, I plan to seek out any metal workers while I'm here...there's some really nice railing & banister work in the hotel. That is if I survive the traffic (the stripes that separate the lanes of traffic are for decoration only....there's always 2 more rows of cars than there are lanes & the motorbikes, bicycles, & pedestrians vie for any space left over).

It's hard to get any work done at home when I'm on the wrong side of the world on my head (I'm hanging onto the straps of my bags to keep them from falling off the earth).
- Mike Sa - Tuesday, 11/28/06 11:17:05 EST

Anvil ID: one item to post would be the shape of any depression on the base of the anvil; yup the bottom can tell the maker. HB used to have a slightly projecting rim around the edge making a sort of hourglass shape---the old ones are often worn down almost flat; Trentons, IIRC, usually have a "caplet" (pill) shaped depression in the center of the bottom.

thomas mayhugh, do what the japanese professionals do and train with shinai and boken available from martial arts stores. Don't get into iato or using a shinken without proper training. Sending a friend to the ER is not a friendly thing to do.

May I commend the to you as a place dedicated to swords with many forums that will cover all you need to know about buying and using swords--though the latter will be "get training"!
Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/28/06 13:15:06 EST

Band Saw: John N: where is that non-working saw located. Tell me more!
- John Odom - Tuesday, 11/28/06 16:19:17 EST

Getting it all together: I am looking to get my stuff organized into a shop instead of having to drag it out and then tear it down and stuff it back into a corner again. I am currently using a portable ratchet forge on the occasional times I get to go out but it takes as long to set up and tear down as I get time to work most of the time and thus I don't get the time to really work like I would like. So I am eyeing a way to set up shop. I have a barn that is 18'X18' with roof rafters at 12'. Currently it has been storage but will be empty by the beginning of spring. It is bare studs and wood outside walls, tin roof and it has a wood floor. I have considered removing the wood floor but that puts me on clay with a high water table so that the clay is almost always damp to wet. I have seen shops on wood floors but never worked in one, I have concern over hot metal flakes and welding sparks getting carried away with the wood floor? I don't have the money to invest in concrete at this time, I thought about using rock or peagravel, thoughts suggestions?

Second I want to build a more permanent coal forge. I have used what I would call a table top forge that was actually a brake drum pot burried into masonry that worked well and thought about building something along those lines, I have also been looking at a forge at I have a good supply of free brick and about 50 fire bricks as well, thoughts ideas?

I have thought about where to place the forge, middle of a wall is what I have used in the past, what works best for you? Putting in the stack is not a problem and can go any place...

Most of what I do would be ornamental, but I also do some re-creation of parts for old farm equipment and such where parts are no longer available for several folks in the area. In the past I was active with a reenactment village in the time period of 1830-49 and have done numerous demo's for Boy Scouts and a few other groups, but now it is time to have my own shop without having to lug around the equipment each time I want to fire up the forge... Thanks for your help

James R. - Wednesday, 11/29/06 01:49:42 EST

Shop arrangement:
A lot depends on your end goals, if its to be a professional shop or a hobby shop and your control of buying tools.

Modern shops tend to need to be flexible. We change equipment bring in equipment, change work focus. It is very difficult to have ONE good permanent layout. Coal forges are replaced by gas forges or used together for the advantages of each. Many hobbiests end up with presses and power hammers and a selection of machine tools. A flexible layout allows for growth and change.

Permanent brick forges are best against a wall. However, you need space and there is often a hole in the wall for long pieces. They are also surprisingly large. We measured one yesterday that was 5 by 8 feet. Sound huge but looked normal in the small shop it is in.

Wood floors are not two bad a hazard if new and in good condition. Old dry rotting wood floors will light like tinder. Critical areas can be covered with tin. In a blacksmith shop scale is the least dangerous as far as fire is concerned. Loose pieces of coal, arc welding sparks, GRINDING sparks, unexpected fires (paper, cloth, solvents).

- guru - Wednesday, 11/29/06 09:06:51 EST

No Clue: I don't quite get the name, AnvilFire. A fire on your anvil seems like a pretty unusal thing.
JohnW - Wednesday, 11/29/06 10:21:36 EST

Grinder/cancer safety story: I had a student in the last class, a professional carpenter, who warned us about the big, hand held side- grinders [disc sander/grinder]. At one point in his personal history, he was using one and it jumped off the work and gouged his thigh. He had it checked, but after several months, he felt that it was not healing correctly, didn't look right, didn't feel right. At the doctor's office for his regular checkup, the doc told him that a biopsy was in order. But then it both slipped their minds, and he left the office. Several months later, the doc looked at the scarred area again and took a biopsy. It turns out that there was a malignancy present. Fortunately, it was not metastatic and an excision was performed. But that ain't all. At a later checkup, they still found traces, so another, final operation was performed.

The question arises as to whether the man in question had a predisposition toward acquiring the localized cancer, or whether something in the abrasive oxides might have triggered it.

In any event, the man would not use my 7"D side-grinder. He was a little more comfortable with the 3˝" wire cup, but was very careful in its use.


When I was a kid, we'd occasionally drive through southern Missouri, and there were lots of homemade roadside signs advertising chenille bedspreads, fruits, veggies, etc. Quite often the letter "N" would be writtern in reverse on the signs, a mirror image of the letter. At one place that we stopped, my dad corrected the owner of the stand on his use of the letter, and the owner said, "You're here, ain'tcha?"
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 11/29/06 10:51:18 EST

2 THINGS: First, is are any of you guys located in or within 45 minuets of Hickory, N.C.? Second thing, I'm looking for a good anvil around 100lbs., does anyone have one they would sell or know of anybody that would sell one? 80lbs. is O.K. to, but my price range is up to $125, mabye $130. Thanks in advance.
- Andrew Marlin - Wednesday, 11/29/06 12:27:39 EST

Clueless John; yup it is and is a pretty unusual thing too!
Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/29/06 12:51:42 EST

Clueless: Good point, Frank, I is here, and I suppose that might be one of the more important things about a site name.
JohnW - Wednesday, 11/29/06 13:04:20 EST

Andrew Marlin: I am in North Wilkesboro, The Guru is very close as well. Big Blue MFG are almost on top of you. Black Mt. is littered with smiths.
daveb - Wednesday, 11/29/06 14:46:52 EST

John Odom, Think the shipping might make the non functioning bandsaw un-economical for you, im situated about 10 miles east of Manchester, UK !

Funny thing is, it does make a cracking lighter, and ive developed a funny emotional bond with the damm thing so will have to fix it at some point in the future.

Pops bought it about 20 + years ago when he first set up in engineering so I remember it from being a kid and hanging around the factory, I vaugly recall him saying that the blade tracking was no good when he bought it!

anyways, the point of this ramble is he got the saw for next to nothing from an abattoir, where they change them regularly (corrosion etc not acceptable in those places) - cheap tools crop up in the strangest of places if your willing to look for them !
- John N - Wednesday, 11/29/06 14:53:54 EST

Big Angle Grinders: I second these things can be leathal, NEVER use them with the guard off the disc,

I was using one at the end of a long shift knealing down chopping some bolts on a machine base, it grabbed and there was so much torque it ripped from my weakened arms and, had the guard not been in place would have severed the artery in the top of my leg, it left a nasty bruise as it was, it could have severly reduced any chance of having children aswell......... familiarity breeds contempt
- John N - Wednesday, 11/29/06 15:01:10 EST

I strongly agree on keeping the guards on those big grinders. Also ring testing the wheels and buying namebrand wheels. Also check those rpm ratings. At the axle shop they had two men KILLED by 7" wheels (about 10 years previous). In one case no guard, and when the overspeeded wheel shattered, it severed the operators neck about half way off. The second case was was a proper wheel, guard on, that had been damaged. The damaged wheel shattered, and fly some distance, lodging in the heart of a worker.

One of my safety committeemen was standing in the area and witnesses both! Talk about a guy hardcore on grinding wheel safety. I figure he was entitiled.
- ptree - Wednesday, 11/29/06 18:49:30 EST

grinder mishap: have permnent nerve damage in left leg from 14" gas powerd cut off saw last guy,s whow used it were cuting concret i tried to cut 1" chain alway,s make shure right disk for the job don,t trust any disk
jmac - Wednesday, 11/29/06 19:54:37 EST

Band Saw: John N.: Yes, a little far. I couldn't just run over with the truck. Since you are a smith, you can fix whatever is wrong with the tracking. Mine is a 14" Delta ex woodworking machine that I got from a fire scene. (With permission. I am a certified fire and explosion investigator.) There was nothing left but the frame with the main shaft through it, and the table, both cast-iron. All of the guides and tracking was melted out. The mainshaft was horseshoe shaped. I straightened the shaft, hot, on the anvil and then turned it true for the next size smaller bearings. I made new parts for the guides and tracking mechanism. A home made jackshaft gave me the slow speeds I needed.

I am looking for a cheap industrial quality saw, within a day's drive of Chattanooga..
- John Odom - Wednesday, 11/29/06 21:20:32 EST

They can be killers. I have investigated several serious accidents involving them. In every case there was some safety rule violation. I am Very careful when I use mine.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 11/29/06 21:25:47 EST

Recommendation: The other day, I caved in to the demands of my aging eyesight and bought a DrillDoctor™ drill bit sharpener. Based upon what some other folks had said in the past, I bught the top of the line model, the 750X. Slightly over a hundred bucks, but worth every penny of it. Theworks like a champ. Well, sorta.

After eight or nine bits, it quit working. A piece in the diamond grinding head assembly gave out. I emailed the eBay seller, who said to cntact the manufacturer as it was under warranty for three years. I called the toll-free number for the manufacturer and spoke with a tech person who was very helpful. Since I live down here in the middle of nowhere, they said they'd just send me a new one by Priority Mail. No worries, no hassle, no cost to me. You don't find many companies these days that are that service-oriented, and I was very happily surprised. Made the price worth every penny and more.

The thing did do a fantastic job on the bits it sharpened, dong both 118° and 135° points, either regular or split-point equally easily. Test bores produced perfect spiral shavings as continuously as if the bit were new. Bettter than new, in the case of some cheapo HF bits I had that came from the factory with very poor grinds. Made them into perfectly fine bits.

If you're getting like me and can no longer see well enough to grind bits by eye, you might consider one of these things. An hour's worth of sharpening will recoup the purchase cost easily if you have as many screwed up bits laying around as I do. Much handier than running out to the store for a replacement bit when you snag one, too.

I have no affiliation with the DrillDoctor folks, nor am I getting compensated for this. I just like recommending good companies and good products, which are getting harder and harder to find these days.
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/29/06 23:06:53 EST

my misstake masonary disk to cut steel think?1think@2 maybe no ?" if you think it,s wrong no it,s wrong not going to have fun doing it do not do it think
- jmac - Thursday, 11/30/06 02:04:42 EST

Building a shop: James,

My shop is something of a work in progress but it might give you some ideas. The building I have my shop in isn't a dedicated shop so space is an issue. I don't have wooden floors but fire is always a concern when everything you work with is hot and I've managed to start a couple of little fires that my handy dandy fire extinguisher took care of...though I have gotten better at not lighting myself on fire. LOL

My forge is against a wall near a corner. It's not ideal but I haven't had to work a piece of stock that I couldn't fit in there. I picked that spot because I took my stack out through a window rather than cutting a hole in the roof.

The forge is a store baught fire pot set in a steel plate which is mounted on an angle iron frame. I built a side draft hood that sits on the table behind the fire pot. The hood can just be slid out of the stack so I can take it off and the whole forge becomes moveable. The idea was that I might haul it outside at times, which I haven't actually done. As is, it works fine for coal but I like a deeper pot for charcoal. Though I had no intention of using charcoal when I built the forge that's what I use most now so I got some fire bricks and just stacked them up around the fire pot so I can get a deeper fire. It's not perfect but I get by.

I also have a gas forge. I built the stand I use for it and I recently put some weels on the stand and a shelf for the gas bottle so I can more easily move it around. The weels are mounted so they are off the ground when the stand is sitting on all four legs.

I have two big anvils in the shop that I rarely move and a little 70 pound farriers anvil (I'm a farrier) that I usually use when I work outside.

Of course since I'm a farrier, my truck is something of a mini shop on weels and for light forging in nice weather I sometimes just back the truck up under which ever shade tree I want to use and go to work using the gas forge and the small anvil.

My "shop" wouldn't cut it as a production shop but for the horse shoe work that pays the bills and the mostly hobby blacksmithing I do, it all works pretty well.
Mike Ferrara - Thursday, 11/30/06 08:20:32 EST

tools for sale: hey folks i have a couple of pcs of equiptment i'm looking at parting with---1st is a very large foundry grinder...made by standard-5hp-wheel size 4 inch by 14? machine is 5ft from outside wheel to wheel(this machine weighs well over 1000lbs)... with extra wheels....2nd is hydraulic power unit...25hp/ pump and tankas well as lines.... 3rd is a bufflo flat belt drill-press VERY large in fair ta good shape.....will consider trade NO SHIPPING but will load .... i'm looking for a model #1 champion parts hammer(or dies) as well as a air cylinder(read air hammer)and the valving for such...if ya'll have any questions please feel free ta drop me a line @ blacklionforge at thanks...pete
blacklionforge - Thursday, 11/30/06 11:26:40 EST

JMAC, translation please?


Thomas P - Thursday, 11/30/06 12:18:05 EST

location: 1000pardons thomas..... bedford co. va 20mins from lynchburg....
blacklionforge - Thursday, 11/30/06 12:42:16 EST

Bugged out!: Hey guys,
Does anyone have a solution for the erradication of Palmetto bugs that 1) is not costly, and 2) does not involve horrendous amounts of work? My wife and I will be visiting my parents in Florida for Christmas this year, and were recently informed of a full out invassion of the beasties. My wife happens to be petrified of them, and I don't relish spending a week with them either.
Any help you gents might be would be greatly appreciated!
dragonboy - Thursday, 11/30/06 18:34:19 EST

Bugs: It doesn't matter what euphemism you hang on them, a cockroach is still a cockroach and is virtually imposible to eradicate. You hold them at bay with boric acid and other toxins and stomp on them every chance you get. I can't remember if the ones in Florida fly like the big ones down here do; if they do, then one of those electronic racquet-type bug zappers works well and is kind like playing life-or-death badminton.
vicopper - Thursday, 11/30/06 22:57:42 EST

In our tempurate climes (and in one of our office spaces) I found that a combination of lining the edges of the carpet/baseboards with boric acid powder (not viable with certain pets), roach pills in the corners and under furniture, and roach motels (sticky traps baited with molasses) worked really well; but it took a week or two to take full effect.

If you are dragging bags and boxes back home with you, get a box of old-fashiones moth balls and drop one or two in each bag or box when you pack.

For a really ecological method, bring a pack of wolf spiders with you. They love roaches, and when they run out of roaches, they eat each other. (Note: Consult your spouse before trying this. Some folks are not on such easy terms with big, hairy wolf spiders. I just like the way they look so cute staring at me with their big six or eight eyes.)
More than you want to know about spider anatomy...
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/01/06 08:53:56 EST

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