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November 2007 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

Picked up some lovely rust yesterday, old mining iron and steel I forsee having a lot of fun and heartbreak using it.

Thomas P - Thursday, 11/01/07 09:50:03 EST

Posted some 21 or more archives pages. The shorted September archives were restored from my laptop. That made a total of 502 archived forum pages.

If you don't think maintaining a site like this is a lot of work consider that it took three full days to edit, link and load those back archives and it is a task I am VERY good at.

On an average day I answer up to a dozen questions here of by mail. Often this requires referral to other sources/books. Respond to other mails and delete a truck load of spam. I'll edit/update one or more anvilfire pages, at least one page or more for someone else. There are usually 2-3 orders to take care of each day from the store as well as phone calls to take. Today I have a number of faxes to send out in regards to orders. Then there is restocking and bills to pay (lots of little tasks related to any business).

There is ALWAYS a backlog of work to do for anvilfire and often work waiting for other folks. In the past few weeks we have had a couple cases of copyright infringement that had to be addressed. There is ALWAYS something.

And amid all this I have a contract job for the next few months AND I am trying to get ready for our 10th Anniversary Hammer-In. Thus the forklift, the truck and moving a LOT of machinery. . .
- guru - Friday, 11/02/07 10:35:48 EST


That would be the Lake Erie shore, I assume?
Mike BR - Friday, 11/02/07 17:13:16 EST

Well here in NM it can be quite a drive to get somewhere---we gots lots of nowhere on tap out here! (An AZ land company has been trying to buy land in the county next to mine for $150 an acre...)

The Owl Bar in San Antonio NM's claim to fame was that folks from the trinity site used to eat there while they were prepping the first atomic bomb---must have been a 1-2 hour drive each way and was still the closest place not run by the military.
Thomas P - Friday, 11/02/07 18:32:26 EST

work and appreciation: Guru, I wasnt meaning anything bad asking about the september archives. I know all the bad things that can happen to computer files and was just wondering.

I'd like to take a moment to extend my thanks for all your work on the archives and answering all the questions thrown at you. I really appreciate the work and all the knowledge that you share freely and the forum you provide for others to share thier wealth of knowledge as well. it is appreciated :)

btw, the ram for my fly press is at the machine shop to be opened up to 1" (from 13/16") he acted sorry he had to charge $20 for the work.....I expected shop rate and at least a 1 hour minimum so I'm happy. I just told him to fit it in when he could and he asked to have a week to do it. works for me.
Rob Barnett - Saturday, 11/03/07 08:36:13 EST

Rob, Sorry, that was't pointed at you.

Good price on the overbore. You will owe the guy some straightening or bending. . .
- guru - Saturday, 11/03/07 21:58:17 EST

Nuclear Lunch: One of the last nuclear field jobs I was on the nearest place to grab a burger was about 25 miles up a country road. In an hour we would clock out, race to the Burger Hut, grab a burger and shake, eat on the way back and clock back in (through security) in under one hour. The Hut was run by two old ladies doing short order on a little grill. Fresh, fast and efficient. Even when there was a line our made to order food never put us over schedule.

A lunch run from some job sites can be a challenge.

- guru - Saturday, 11/03/07 22:15:54 EST

Lunch runs: I used to travel on "trouble jobs" for the valve company, and since chemical, waste water, paper and power plants are often in the boonies, lunch was often difficult. The locals at the site, if not really mad about whatever had gone wrong that brought me to the plant were often great about running me to the local joint. Through much trail and experience I discovered that no matter where in the US, no matter the cook, a grilled Chicken breast sandwich, bare of anything, mayo on the side was a safe bet:) Also a chicken breast grilled was palatable even after several hours in a paper plant or waste water plant:)
Ptree - Sunday, 11/04/07 09:17:56 EST

forge: I just met Kenny Braitman, Carey Run Forge, what an artisan. Kenny's forge is in the mountains of Western Maryland and is very picturesque. He is a genius when it comes to hammering hot iron.
- Michael Stakem - Sunday, 11/04/07 20:10:15 EST

Working in the oilpatch there were times that a lunch run wasn't possible. I always keep enough canned food stored in my vehicle to see me through a week or so. I would also eke this out with local "wild" foods---trotline for fish, Sloe Plums for breakfast, etc. I did a lot of camping out when I worked 12 on 12 off seven days a week and it was a 3 hour drive back to the apartment.

Out at the Trinity site they said the original ranch family used to do *2* trips to town a year by horse drawn wagon to stock up on what they couldn't make or grow or raise themselves.

The also tell the tale of a South East fellow who was a guard out in the waste near the site talking to another fellow wondering about where all the crawdads came from since there wasn't any water for *miles*; he'd never a scorpion before...

Thomas P - Monday, 11/05/07 12:05:44 EST

For Sale - Milling Machine: Van Norman Milling Machine for sale.
Located in Southern British Columbia, near USA border
Details in late October07 post
Can email pictures
Any interest? Suggestions?
- DAR - Monday, 11/05/07 13:01:36 EST

ptree- a grilled chicken breast can never compare with the sub sandwiches and bread sticks floating in garlic butter from Mamma Mias in the old days. :)

I checked with Dad awhile back and he thinks that John (the owner) is still around town.
Brian C - Monday, 11/05/07 15:36:05 EST

Soon after 9/11, I was commuting to work on Route 110, which passed almost alongside the Pentagon. Until they could relocate the road, they banned trucks. I guess they were serious, because they deployed two Humvees with M-60s (and about enough State Troopers to raise the sales tax 2%) to enforce the ban.

On my way home one day, I saw, in the distance, a car pull over near one of the Humvees. A soldier jumped out of the Humvee and started running toward the car.

When I got closer, I could see that the car had a sign on top: "Chinese Delivery." I guess there's more than one way of making a lunch run . . .
Mike BR - Monday, 11/05/07 16:56:47 EST

Lunch runs: Brian C. I lived about three blocks from Momma Mia's. I took my now wife there on one of our first dates. The Rock was pretty impressed with the food. I loved the bread sticks. But Alas Momma Mia's is no more. And when in the bonnies, that grilled chicken sandwich is still my safety food:)

I also miss "High on Rose" At the corner of High St and Rose. Best mexican food in town, and dirt cheap too.
ptree - Monday, 11/05/07 18:12:27 EST

It has been gone for many years. Dad's orthopaedic shop was right across the street and we ate there alot. Mostly we ate at the counter in Dunn's drug store there in the same building (Dunn Building, imagine that). Most of the Dr.'s from the bldg. ate there every day, chintziest dxxn bunch you ever saw. :)
Brian C - Monday, 11/05/07 20:35:49 EST

The drug store soda fountain is a thing of the past. . . killed by the fast food franchises. I remember the first time I had an ice cream float was at Peoples Drug Store with my mother. Years later my high school girl friend would work at the last of these in our area.

Restaurants with counters and bar stools still exist in many cites but are rapidly becoming a thing of the past as well and are unknown to most of the younger generation.

The only thing that is constant is change.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/06/07 12:47:58 EST

This is the Bog Where I Want to Get My Iron! : Iron, manganese, cobalt, copper; I would love to see how this "natural alloy" would work. it might be a disaster, or it might be versatile, strong, hard and tough. Sometimes the virtue is in the ore.

Breezy and cool on the banks of the Potomac; laid out the wooden beams for the bridge over Oakley Run to the forge last Sunday. 24' of clear span.

Visit your National Parks:

Go viking:
Science Daily Metal Deposit Article
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 11/06/07 14:47:52 EST

Nice ore, but I don't like that much manganese in my iron. (grin!) A little cobalt could be fun, you never know! Sort of a natural high-speed steel by the time you smelt it, eh?
Alan-L - Tuesday, 11/06/07 14:56:56 EST

Just remember Atli; just because it's in the ore doesn't mean you will get it in the bloom! Temperature makes a big difference in uptake of various elements as well as the chemistry of the entire system.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 11/06/07 17:15:14 EST

Blacksmith shop contents for sale: Due to an ongoing arm injury I will not be blacksmithing any more and I am selling off the blacksmithing tools from my workshop for $7500.00 Can. I do not wish to drag this process out (its too painful) so I will would like to sell everything at once. If I do not get a reasonable offer soon (within 30 days ) I will ask a local auctioner to take care of it.

1 coal forge cart with bellows
1 coal forge (mobile) with 12v blower
1 3 burner propane forge
1 2 burner propane burner forge shell (lined and fired but no burners)
1 1 burner propane forge
1 mouse hole anvil 1-1-11
1 Peter Wright anvil 0-3-10
1 peter Wright anvil 1-1-7
1 hornless anvil approx 160# used as a floor swage
6 post vice ( 2 Peter Wright)
3 post drills (all working)
75+ pairs of tongs
100+ hammers
12” cone mandrel
Small swadge block
2 pair anvil shears
1 floor mount bender
1 ring bender
1 48” slip roller
Assorted scroll jigs
90% finished “rusty/krusty” power hammer (1hp motor)
Assorted hardy tools
40 blacksmithing books

Please e-mail me with questions or request for photo’s at

Or phone me 613-386-7207


M Parkinson - Wednesday, 11/07/07 13:49:30 EST

corection to above:
M Parkinson - Wednesday, 11/07/07 14:35:27 EST

blacksmith curriculum?: Dear Fellow Blacksmiths,

Currently I am a missionary in Nicaragua who is using blacksmithing to teach young men a trade. The good news is that I am close to being a certified school with the local vocational school board. One thing I am lacking is having a written curriculum. I am in the process of doing this but if there is something out there already written that I could use I would love to get my hands on it so I don't have to reinvent the wheel. If you can offer any help or advice please email me at:

Thank you,
- Mike Deibert - Thursday, 11/08/07 10:40:16 EST

Mark, That is really sad. Hopefully you make a quick painless sale.
- guru - Thursday, 11/08/07 10:41:57 EST

Curriculum: Mike,
The first thing that came to ming was "Practical Blacksmithing" By Milton T. Richardson. It's available on (US) google books. While some of the exercises and projects are for obsolete machinery (like forging a yoke for a locomotive linkage), it does contain many useful projects (wrenches, chain swivels, hardware, etc.). While it won't be all inclusive, it might give you somewhere to start. Oh, and watch out for some of the information that is a little more antiquated and unsafe (such as the "molten lead heating/tempering bath").

I'll look through my PDF collection when I get home tonight and see if I have any others.

Congrats on your successes and best of luck on getting the curriculum together for certification.

-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Thursday, 11/08/07 14:38:14 EST

Buffalo Forge curriculum: Mike Deibert.
I have a catalog/booklet from 1916 which has a curriculum outline. It is out of date in some areas, as in its lectures about steel manufacture, it talks of open hearth and Bessemer. BOP, electric furnace, and vacuum methods are not included. Most of the 20 exercises are of the forge welding and hardware variety, some of it with "Norway iron." I think it could be used as a basis, and you could re-write it adding perhaps some ornamental techniques. Send me your postal address, and I'll send you photocopies.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 11/08/07 20:44:18 EST

Curriculum: Sent to Nicaragua today.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 11/10/07 00:12:42 EST

Cast Iron Andirons: Have some cast iron andirons that have been wire brushed and polished to a natural shiney grey color finish.
Is there any process that can be done to keep this patina looking like this. And yes they will be used in the fireplace.
Thank you, Ben
ifitsmetal - Sunday, 11/11/07 21:19:27 EST

Ben, No. Unless the andirons do not get used. Any clear coat will burn off making a mess. The best finish is barbecue black, a low binder graphite pigment paint. OR to just let them rust. If you use a natural wax finish such as bees wax it will melt and run off or burn off but it will slow the rust between uses and waxings. Eventually a brown/black rust finish will develop.
- guru - Sunday, 11/11/07 22:56:23 EST

Eastwood ( has high-temperature exhaust coatings in grey and "stainless steel." One of those may be close to what you want for the andirons. They're sold for exhaust manifolds, which get pretty hot. But I have not tried them.
Mike BR - Monday, 11/12/07 14:54:02 EST

Article concerning Abana's future.: Article concerning Abana's future.
I do not agree or disagree. I am merely posting so all can read it and contact the Abana folks to add their two pennies.
Burnt Forge - Monday, 11/12/07 21:41:46 EST

ABANA's Future:
ABANA has failed to keep up with the times. The Internet has changed everything about education and the distribution of information. Before sites like this the only place you could get information about modern blacksmithing was ABANA and its chapters. That is no longer true. We've educated more new blacksmiths from this site in the past 10 years than ABANA has in 30. In fact, ABANA has largely failed in its educational requirement of its non-profit status.

ABANA has also lost its way in the past few years by distancing itself from the rank and file, the local "chapters", now called "affiliates" so that there is no legal connection between them. Too many lawyers, too many insiders, too much fear mongering. On the other hand we have supported the Chapters, advertising them, recommending people join them and even giving them web space.

Some of the complaints in on POABA blog make no sense to me at all. In fact one of the biggest complaints I have heard from the rank and file is that the Anvils Ring was TOO high art and not enough nuts and bolts. POABA wants it to be MORE high art? I haven't seen a copy in a couple years but in the past the Anvils Ring was nothing but top notch. I liked it but many others have said it was TOO gentrified. Have I missed something?

While POABA wants to make ABANA a more professional organization the rank and file are mostly hobbiests (Hobbyschmied in German). Can one organization support both?

There are numerous snide asides about NOMMA that are from people that do not know what NOMMA is about and what kind of people are in NOMMA. YES, many are the "hated fabricators". But they are the folks that MAKE MONEY in this industry. They run their businesses like businessmen not starving artists. They also have members that do some very fine work. NOMMA is out to recruit professional blacksmiths and is out to train their members how to do the "high end" jobs. A professionals only blacksmiths organization will have to compete head to head with NOMMA who has shown that they know what works. For the people involved in POABA to take NOMMA lightly is foolish.

If anything, ABANA needed to be more like NOMMA. They needed to show blacksmiths what it took to make a living and stay in business. Managing time, money, where to get insurance, how to deal with contractors. Not just brag about their fancy commissions that rarely keep one in business.

I have not kept up with POABA or their doings. I guess the guy that has the ear of thousands is not part of the "in group". Or maybe my opinions are too honest. OR Maybe I was invited but have enough of my own problems. But it sounds to me that POABA mostly wants the old ABANA back. . . Maybe it can be done. But it takes a LOT of money and that takes a LOT of people no matter how much you charge for dues. It also takes good management by a board that wants nothing but the best well run organization.

I have seen the ABANA budgets and at one point bid on operating the ABANA office. So I know how much money they burn through. About $100K just for the office. I also know that they are in VERY serious trouble since canceling next year's conference. The ABANA conference used to be their significant fund raiser until they lost their way. It kept them afloat for the years between conferences, boosted their membership so that they could brag about having 4,500 members and subsidized the Anvils Ring. HOW they claim it is a money looser. Without looking at the books I know that if they do not double their dues or cut way back they are in big big trouble.

The POABA members also talk of a more educational website. Why? Yes, an organizational web site SHOULD be THE educational source on the net. It probably will be in the distant future. But it takes a LOT of time and a LOT of money. Volunteers only last so long and even paid help burns out. I've been doing this for 10 years and it is starting to get old. . . There already ARE fine educational websites that cost the organizations nothing. So Why?

I suspect that what is going to happen is that the current board of ABANA will run it into the ground and it will take all new personalities to bring it back. POABA will just have to do its own thing. OR it could be a takeover is coming.

But then, nobody involved asked me. Besides I have my own problems. . . and more newbies to put on the right path.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/13/07 00:52:08 EST

Public Education:
For many years one complaint against ABANA was that they did not get through to the public or to enough architects to help sell top end forge work. POABA is making this same complaint. However, the problem in the industry has been artist blacksmiths that underbid work and couldn't deliver (many times). NOMMA members (those nasty fabricators) generally deliver on time and on budget. The difference? Business education.

Lots of architects know blacksmiths and love the work they do. But they are businessmen as well and have schedules and budgets to meet. So they go to the guys they know can deliver, the fabricators. NOMMA members.

John Boyd, a great blacksmith that gets what his work is worth and usually has plenty to do told me his secret was simple. NEVER deliver late. NEVER change the budget. But he has ALWAYS priced his work profitably.

Another great blacksmith I know who's business dealings were generally a failure would tell you that you cannot charge that $100/hr I keep on harping about and get any work. He says you have to BUY your way in. . . . So who is right? Both are great smiths. But one made blacksmithing a success.

You cannot "buy in". Nobody respects your work or time if you under price it. Especially the folks that can afford truly high end work. These are the rich and very rich. It is a small club. It is why John Boyd says you cannot screw up. Everybody knows everybody in that small club or are only a couple degrees of separation from the person that got late delivery. . . Folks in that small club also like to brag about how much money they spent on something new. . . If you "buy in" it won't make a good story and you won't get that next job. That small club is also who the majority of architects work for.

"Buying in" is also why folks deliver late or cannot deliver. It is a bankrupt practice. Most of us are guilty of it (I admit it). It is a bad practice all the same.

Educate smiths to charge what their work is worth and deliver on time and all will do more business. THAT is what architects want to know about blacksmiths. We (as a group) have a bad reputation and it needs to be fixed. So the complaint against ABANA has been misdirected. It is the SMITHS that need education, not the customers or architects.

- guru - Tuesday, 11/13/07 01:22:48 EST

Did you know that NOMMA spends tens of thousands of dollars every year defending YOUR right to make decorative hand rails? And as far as I know ABANA has spent zero and I do not hear POABA talking about lobbying either. (I could be wrong).

Did you know there is a very small group let by ONE person on the building codes referral groups that wants to do away with decorative hand railings?

Yes there is. They want rails to be impossible to climb, rails that nothing can slip under, rails that have no spaces in them at all (by round about definition). In fact, what they define as a rail is a solid wall. . . They have been trying for a decade to get this into the BOCA national building code. This is the code adopted by almost every jurisdiction that has a building code in the US.

NOMMA has been fighting this at great cost. It is one of those things that you think you have won but it comes back next year, and next year and next. . . It costs a LOT to fight these things. You have to have a coordinator, lobbiests, industry experts. And you must be forever vigilant. It costs a LOT.

The dues NOMMA members pay to their organization pay for this lobbying and legal defense. Or at least it DID. What happens when the money runs out? The bad guys win. . .

There are priorities and there are priorities.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/13/07 02:15:16 EST

POABA: POABA seems to want to make Abana a proffesional for the Professional. We know this isn't possible to support the organization as Guru mentions.
Sparky II - Tuesday, 11/13/07 17:31:07 EST

What I have always found puzzling about smiting groups-- ABANA and Southwest Artist Blacksmiths Association (SWABA) and the Santa Fe association that should exist but does not-- is the apparent total lack of features that really would matter to me.
Health insurance. And:
Dental insurance. And:
Liability insurance. If health and liability coverage are offered, sorry-- I haven't heard. In both these areas, there are enough smiths who really need this, if they don't know it, to get the kind of group rate for members that other large organizations get.
Group buying power. SWABA has an itsy-bitsy deal with Matheson Tri-Gas but a smiting group ought to be able to cut a deal with makers of equipment at the source that would make your eyes water.
The publications are just pitiful compared to American Craft and Metalsmith Magazines. The SWABA newsletter is absurd. An embarrassment.
BUT none of this will ever change. I have been observing for nigh onto 30 years. It won't change because of people, smiths, like me. Because getting together to fix these problems would be a worse task than herding cats.
Maybe everybody should take a deep breath and just accept the fact that smiting groups are social organizations of and for blacksmiths, who are after all, people who are basically just deeply anti-social mavericks. We should go with that and get together for the tailgating and the chow and just let the deep-thinking and the rest of it slide.
Me, I resolved after my father died in 1983 never to go to another meeting of anything and I have pretty much stuck to it.
You want a union, join the Ironworkers.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 11/14/07 00:20:31 EST

I dont know if Health insurance thru a smithing group would be very cheap- most "cheap" group health insurance just means somebody else is paying for it. Like a big company.

Here in Washington, when Blue Cross, which seems like a pretty big group to me, with no middlemen, hit $800 a month for my high deductible family policy, I switched to good old fashioned socialism- I belong to a member owned HMO, with no profit anywhere in the equation- and my $2500 deductible policy for a family of four is still $550 a month.
Why would Blue Cross give a few blacksmiths a better rate?
The simple fact is, there is no incentive for cheaper health insurance unless your bargaining power is huge- even if 5000 Abana members ALL signed up, it would be pretty small potatos to most insurers- who, of course, would reject 3/4 of us anyway- there is a reason why blacksmiths wear 56" waist overalls..

As for group discounts- well margins aint what they used to be- there is no longer a 50% retail markup on everything- my welding supply store often marks up as little as 10% or 20%, to compete with internet vendors with no overhead who have the manufacturers drop ship.

I think those kind of bennies are just not feasible for groups with less than a couple hundred thousand members.

Me, I agree with Toby Hickman, who chimed in at the Poaba debate- what I want from a blacksmithing group is a good magazine, with pictures of stuff I cant do, and a good party every couple years.

Education- thats what schools, workshops, and books are for.
The locals do a great job of teaching newbies how to make a hook.
Abana should be doing what they dont do- and that means "High Art", if you wanna call it that- me, I call it professionally done work by people who really know what they are doing.
If I wanna see an amateur bang stuff up, I can watch myself.

For an Abana mag or conference, I wanna see the Chilean guy, the crazy germans, the Ukranian smith, Dick Quinnell, and so on. I wanna see Dmitri Geriakis show slides, or Steve Bondi pontificate on Mazzucatelli, or Ward Grossman turn my head inside out as he free hand chisels stainless steel into animal heads cold.

I want a 3 ring circus, and amazing feats of derring do, and to get a chance to catch up with my buddies from around the country.
- Ries - Wednesday, 11/14/07 11:03:03 EST

Socialist medicine?: Ries: A small point: Your HMO is a cooperative or perhaps a mutual insurance group.

This sort of thing is really a variant on basic capitalism: Don't like the prices? Get your friends together to organize some competition for the guys who are too expensive and have what would have been the other guy's profits stay in your own pocket.

In socialism as we know it, there is always a coercive element which does not exist in a cooperative.

Thus passeth my libertarian economics lecture for today.
- John Lowther - Wednesday, 11/14/07 12:09:29 EST

Bradley Hammer: For Sale
150 lb. bradley upright helve hammer with some spare parts.
Was running when pulled off line about 2 years ago.
asking $1800.00
will send pics.
- John Matias - Wednesday, 11/14/07 13:13:16 EST

Hearding Cats. . :
So that is what I have been doing. . and I'm allergic to cats!

Miles, I am much like you. While I do not mind being around people and enjoy any social event that I do not have to dress up for I do not go out of my way to go to any kind of event unless it is business. The only reason I have gone to as many blacksmith meets as I have is for the TOOLS!
- guru - Wednesday, 11/14/07 13:19:33 EST

The Old ABANA:
Ries, It sounds like you and Toby and many others just want the OLD ABANA back. I am inclined that way as well.

NOMMA went through a recent thing with their conference. Big conference centers are getting a bigger piece of the pie and have services that REALLY ad to the bill. So last year they reduced their trade show to a "table top" only show. No machines, no demos. . the membership and venders revolted. Said bring back the big show. SO next year it will be a big show again.

The difference between the two conventions is that ABANA has tried to do theirs on the cheap and ended up with a total cost about as high as NOMMA for vendors. Somewhat less for attendees. NOMMA goes to first class venues and the bulk of the show is indoors.

The other difference is that NOMMA is less circus more trade show with things the members buy, tools, machines, components, software.

ABANA's demos have largely gotten out of hand. Too many, too big (can't see), and not very entertaining. There is a big difference between being a great craftsperson and being a great demonstrator. There are a few that are both. Many are not. Demos either need to be small venue so that folks can see and learn OR they must have a (good) projection system and cameras so that even folks on the back row can tell what is happening.

For the vendors you need ATTENDANCE. Folks will go anywhere there is a good crowd with a special interest. In recent years the attendance at ABANA conventions have dropped to where it is not worthwhile to the vendors. I know many folks that WANT a good successful ABANA convention to go to.

I remember when folks would travel from all over the world for an ABANA conference. But I think folks want and expect a first class conference these days. Indoor all-weather venues, good accommodations, no non-germane beer gardens or amateur shows. Extras should be industrial forge or foundry tours, shop tours. . .

The REALLY big difference is that it takes more full time employees or contractors to run this kind of thing and THAT requires money. You have to raise dues, raise fees, raise interest.

Volunteers help too. ABANA conferences used to be coordinated on the local level by the LOCAL chapters. When the ABANA board cut them out of the loop and disassociated themselves from the local groups everything started going down hill. Local chapters used to compete for the conference like nations compete to hold the Olympics. This assured lots of workers and local contacts. THAT was the old ABANA.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/14/07 14:23:56 EST

Bradley Hammer: John Im interested in your Bradley 150, you didnt list any contact info. please email me specs/pics/location at
Oh yeah... I call dibs ;-)
RMLamey - Wednesday, 11/14/07 14:31:10 EST

My HMO, Group Health of Seattle, is of course, as you say, legally a co-op. But it was started by socialists, and around here the memory of the original founders still lingers. I knew a few of them, and their kids, when I was younger- crusty old Wobblies, who had been shot at, beaten up, and jailed by the powers that be around here. So its kind of a regional in joke to call it socialist- because, in the 40's when it was founded, it was considered to be extremely radical, and had many tough years due to the political climate then. Even now, its quite unusual in that it is a true not for profit, which exists only to provide health care to its members, not make money for its shareholders like many other HMO's.

Nomma is all about business- which is as it should be.
But Abana is composed of some businesses, but a lot of other categories as well- artists, hobby types, professors, students, and so on.
So the model of Nomma doesnt transfer very well.

I have attended the last 4 ABANA conferences, and, at each one, met many people from around the country and the world. If anything, I have noticed an increase in both foreign attendance and non-core attendance- that is, people who are not blacksmiths, but could be anything from museum curators to maquiadora owners to high school shop teachers to visual artists to nomma style ornamental iron fabricators. I have had long conversations with all of these, and more, at the last few ABANA conferences.

Admittedly, Seattle had its problems- but I had no trouble seeing most demo's, or hearing what the demonstrator was saying.
And I would disagree that there were too many. In fact, I would say Seattle didnt have enough. Flagstaff was more to my taste, with a great balance of types and styles of demonstrators, so if you didnt like one, there were other choices.
I usually dont sit thru each demo from start to finish anyway. I pick up a few tricks and techniques, but I dont have to see every hammer blow to do that- if there is an innovative trick, its usually easy to steal by looking at the samples, and watching for a few minutes.
A good demonstrator will keep me there not so much by witty repartee, but by doing something I havent seen before, like the japanese swordsmith, or the Chilean sculptor who made the amazing horses, or someone who really knows a specific tool or process. Ordinary forging is less of a draw- no matter how good the smith, or how elegant the finished process.
I know how to draw a taper, I dont wanna pay to watch somebody do it. But watching a real pro who is stretching the limits of the craft- that I can do all day.

I also really enjoy the non-forging presentations- Tom Joyce, for example, at Seattle, kept 300 people or so rapt for an hour, while he talked about ethics, philosophy, and the thought processes behind design.
- Ries - Wednesday, 11/14/07 16:57:47 EST

Abana: I have been to only one ABANA conference, at Richmond in 2004. I was amazed at all the folks, and there were many demos. Most were hard to hear, and almost impossible to see. I did park me rear at the HOFI demo after wandering around most of the first day. I saw a demo by a guy that gave an excellent professional demo. He did nothing the same for long. Everything was a fast show of a new method or technique, most yeilding only a element. Almost nothing in the way of a finished product, but EVERY element a brilliant display of technique that was quickly shown and easy to understand. Everyone sparked ideas like I could use that in...
It also helped that the sound system at HOFI's demo was excellent, the seating close enough and limited to the point that if swated, you could see. Period.
Saw Reis there I think but did not know him to speak.
Saw lots of wonderful vendors, and Met Nathan Robertson and bought some of his excellent hammers.
I went to Quad State the next year, and will make every effort to attend every Quad State till I die. I let my ABANA membership drop, as the main bebefit was the magazines then, and they were undependable in publishing on time, and somewhat insulting in tone to those who dared to use a welder, or mordern technique, at least as I percieved it.
I am a member of the IBA. They throw a wonderful hammer-in every year, and it is one where one can see and hear the demos.( excellent sound system) The night parties are also quite nice.
ptree - Wednesday, 11/14/07 19:03:14 EST

The Anvils Ring has always been on an irregular schedule as far as I know. But they also did some nice things over the years. One issue was a reprint Sears catalog from about 1914 and another a pattern book from the Yellin collection.

The Hofi Demo at the 2004 conference was entirely funded by Big BLU Hammers. ABANA had nothing to do with it. Big BLU paid everything for the entire crew INCLUDING full ABANA conference fees and room/board for every worker on the demo and sales crew (six people I think). They also covered my conference fees to cover the event. Not to mention hauling power hammers, air compressor, display equipment, raw materials. . .

The charging of full conference fees for everyone on a vendor crew is a little insulting when you put on this kind of demo. If this were not the case you might have seen more vendors putting on more demos at their expense over the years. But to pay a demonstrators fee, transportation, room and board PLUS conference fees (on TOP of the vendor space fee, tent fee, power hook up fee. . )????

At the end, all those little elements made by Hofi in the demo were welded together in various arrangements and sold at the conference auction (for a goodly amount) for the benefit of ABANA.

When you charge a vendor a hefty fee for a space, if he wants to bring six sales people, dancing girls, OR a demonstration crew it should not cost more. These things benefit the conference and draw people to them.

It is things like and the distancing themselves from the local groups that has hurt ABANA.
- guru - Friday, 11/16/07 09:55:44 EST

Sea Level Rise & Coal: An outfit,, purchased a full page in our Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper last Sunday calling for a total moratorium on the use of power plant coal by 2030. Their idea is that coal burning is the primary cause of sea level rise. They deal in hyperbole and innuendo, but they must have money.
Frank Turley - Friday, 11/16/07 12:13:44 EST

Global warming aside, the conversion of eons of plant life into coal and oil thus removing that carbon dioxide from the atmosphere permanently (until man) had to have had an effect on the atmosphere. As to if that was a definable change OR it was just keeping up with volcanic release is unknown.

Burning coal and oil does two things does two things. 1) reduces available oxygen, 2) adds Carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

You don't have to actually measure the change in the atmosphere, all you have to do is multiply the tons of coal burned plus the tons of bound oxygen to get the total volume of carbon dioxide. Of course the numbers would have to be estimates based on known coal and oil extraction world wide . . .

In any case, when you take a mountain of solid and convert it into a colorless gas you have made a LOT of gas.

It is also proven that C02 holds heat in the atmosphere proportionate two the amount of gas.

Does this permanently change the climate? Probably. But how much is still a big question.

It took nature eons to put that genie into the bottle converting the atmosphere from something only plants loved to something we could exist in. Now we are pulling it out all at once on the geological scale of time (a few hundred years). . .
- guru - Friday, 11/16/07 15:49:14 EST

I love those printed-on-just-one-side full-sheet ads such as the anti-coal blurt in last Sunday's New Mexican. I used the blank side of that just today to design the frame for a boiler I am making to steam-bend wood with. I used some others to design the framing for the new higher-peaked roof on my house and still more such sheets to figure out the stainless steel double-wall "relining" necessary to get my woodstove flue safely up through the newly-extended chimney. Try that with Craigslist! Love that First Amendment!
- Miles Undercut - Friday, 11/16/07 21:05:39 EST

Miles: True irony will be when You fire that steam bender with coal.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 11/16/07 23:28:15 EST

Or fire it with paper. . .

Several of my musical instrument building books have plans for steemers. Used a long large diameter pipe for the steaming chamber. It was attached to something that looked like a recycled pressure cooker by a hose. The far end were the wood was put in had a weighted vent (off a pressure cooker). It takes a little pressure for these to work well and venting at the far end, so pressure cooker parts are a treat.

But I am surprised at MR. SAFETY building a boiler????
- guru - Saturday, 11/17/07 00:41:03 EST

I love coal, havcing grown up in steel towns like Johnstown, Pa. and Dundalk, Merlin, hon, but have not burned coal here since 1991, so fearful am I of setting this poor little drought-parched canyon afire, as the National Parks Service geniuses did over across the Rio Grande Valley in 2000, massacring the entire Jemez mountainscape and a lot of lovely houses in Los Alamos. It devastated many families, truly tragic, heartbreaking. I sold my ton of coal and even my force majeure reserve, two barrels of it.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/17/07 00:41:41 EST

Jock-- my boiler has no pressure hazard... I hope. It's a 5' long piece of 1/8" wall 6" I.D. SS pipe capped with SS disks welded on, brass filler tube silver soldered on one end, steam outlet ditto on the other, fired by two junk Venturi furnace burner tubes a nice lady in Silver City was saving for just such a pilgrim as I. Stay tuned, say a Hail Mary or two-- and watch for a blinding blue flash off to the western horizon.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/17/07 00:49:39 EST

A bit more-- thermal deflection (you remember ol' Thermie, big star back in the 30s) might be a problem, so I have the boiler floating on its mounts, a semi-circle of steel at each end. The steam box is going to be simply just that, a wooden box, open at each end but stopped loosely with rags to prevent pressure build-up. See me for your wood-bending needs.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/17/07 00:58:10 EST

Boiler: If Miles does not have a method to retain pressure, that it is an atmospheric boiler and free from regulation as a boiler. It also is much safer. My home is heated in its entirity with an atmospheric wood fired boiler. The temp setpoints are for the draft to cut at 185F but there is localized boiling at the water walls. There is a nice safe vent of about 6" diameter to relieve any pressure that might occur. 185,000 BTU, and heats the house nicely., and burns scrap wood.
ptree - Saturday, 11/17/07 09:38:02 EST

Not only that, but our highly-trained boffins here at Entropy Research are even as we speak drafting preliminary conceptualizations of the accessories-- the cappucino maker, the pants presser and the engine block cleaner. The sauna, of course, comes included in the basic price.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/17/07 10:38:05 EST

Don't forget humidifier for these cold winter nights. . .
- guru - Saturday, 11/17/07 16:30:52 EST

I'll say! Not to mention the snap-on crab, carpet and wallpaper steamers. Why, the possibilities here are limitless! Simply buggers the imagination, as my friend the late, great editor, rewrite man, columnist and professional wrestler Dave Snell useta say. I think I will get some Asian entrepreneur to print me up some of the fake UL-approved tags they put onto their stuff and get 'em out there in time for the gift-giving season. No home should be without one.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/17/07 18:09:47 EST

Miles: Good grief, man, you completely neglected the vegetable steamer/rice pot and, horror of horrors for a lad from Balmer, the ubiquitous oyster/clam heater! And what about that vital accoutrement for the Bush era, the envelope steamer?

I suppose you could put wheels beneath the thing and "take it on the road," so to speak. Nuevo Maxico hasn't yet gotten around to requiring licenses for autos and drivers thereof, have they?

On the other hand, you coauld avoid all the hysteria over boilers and just use anhydrous ammonia. A feller with your sterling character wouldn't merit any attention from the diligent defenders of democracy at DHS, would he?
vicopper - Saturday, 11/17/07 21:12:41 EST

vicopper-- Many thanks! I mentioned a snap-on crab steamer as a possibility. My oysters I like raw, and as oyster fritters. Clams I love in chowder, don't think I've tried 'em steamed, maybe, but it sounds inviting. The envelope steaming I can handle with a tea kettle-- not much mail traffic here. My 7-gallon boiler won't get me very far down the road, alas. On the anhydrous ammonia suggestion: somebody else suggested ammonia, and I came across this terrifying thing at the tail end of something Google turned up, on a website about how to make fly fishing landing nets. Anyway, h'yar 'tis-- sounds scary. "Although its beyond the capabilities and needs of most do it yourselfers, it is also possible to make some extremely complex bends in wood using anhydrous ammonia, (not the common household cleaning products), but it is extremely dangerous, and requires specialized equipment. It also darkens many woods. You can get more information about this process from Understanding Wood by R. Bruce Hoadley at your library, or from most online bookstores, etc Also from Fine Woodworking, issue number 30 dated 1981 Sept/Oct., article by Bill Keenan. Experiments with ammonia bending have been conducted at the University of Wisconsin in plasticizing (making pliable) wood, via immersion in gaseous anhydrous ammonia the theory being that the ammonia is used as a solvent, and diffuses into the cell wall structure and disassembles the existing microscopic cell components producing a more pliable the solvent diffuses out of the wood the wood cell components bond in new positions and retain that shape. Steam does the same job but ammonia plasticizes more completely and quicker. The key is the word anhydrous (anhydrous means without water), so the ammonia being referred to is chemically pure ammonia NH3 in gaseous form (and it boils at 28 degrees Fahrenheit). Keenan notes that household ammonia is a dilute solution of ammonia gas in water and will not bend wood; however, although I have not tried it, a stronger concentration of ammonia is available from suppliers for use in blueprinting processes. Keenan and the U of Wisconsin procedure is done in a treatment chamber (autoclave) for introducing ammonia gas into 130 psi into a stainless steel container welded to withstand 800 psi of pressure. A combination of gaseous ammonia and steam is fed into a cylindrical container that the wood to be bent is placed in, exposing the wood for about 45 min. and it comes out like limp spaghetti. Working time to bend and shape plasticized wood is now about 15 minutes."
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 11/17/07 22:27:13 EST

Miles: Yea, verily. That certainly does describe the process pretty accurately, although the end result simply has to be seen to be believed. The wood is, indeed, like cooked spaghetti. And I don't mean al dente, either. You could do that to an oak 2x4 and tie a bowline in it, no problem.

As for scary, well...yeah. No two ways about it, the stuff is dangerous. Fun, though. :-)
vicopper - Saturday, 11/17/07 22:49:23 EST

Forget the danger FULL STEAM ahead!

Yeah, bad pun. . .

While the Ammonia process is impressive most fancy bent wood furniture has been made with steam.

For REALLY fancy bent work you can saw up your maple into nice 3/16" layers. It is then fairly flexible. Then steam it. The thin material takes less time. Then bend, let cool and dry, and laminate. Using this method you get very nice shapes plus the advantage of the laminations which results in a stronger wood.

The fun thing about laminated work is you can use different color woods (walnut and maple) for layers and inserts (think a laminated bow) to make thicker places or to add interesting color. With variable thicknesses from veneer thin to full boards you can create a very interesting look. Carving into thin alternating color laminations results in Damascus like effects.

Besides a few musical instruments I have also made bows. . . (a VERY, VERY long time ago).
- guru - Saturday, 11/17/07 23:33:50 EST

Defenders of democracy?: DHS defenders of democracy? While I'm sure Rich is speaking ironically, it gives rise to an urge to recount a tale from Dr. K.:

Back in the '80s Dr. K. was on the Administration of Justice faculty at the local university and was contracted to lecture on Constitutional Law to groups of DEA agents. He proceeded with his lecture describing in great detail our civil rights and how to avoid violating them. After the lunch break of one of his lectures, one of the agents stood up and asked "Why are you wasting our time? We want to know how to get around this stuff, not obey it!" Two which he replied something to the effect: "You have sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Your first obligation is to the Constitution, not merely obtaining convictions." and continued his lecture as planned. Needless to say, Dr. K. did not get any more contracts from the DEA.
John Lowther - Sunday, 11/18/07 13:41:03 EST

I cannot believe how much money and time have gone into this little boiler/Venturi burners/steam box project. All merely to bend two hunks of oak an inch thick, six inches wide, a couple feet long. And later on I will bend a smaller, much thinner slat to fix a fancy little kid's sleigh that somehow got a runner busted. It's like everything else, a tar baby-- gotta be right or it won't fly. "Howdja get into the steam-bending biz, Mistuh Undercut?" "Wayull, lessee now... it wuz back in the Native American Summer of Ought Seven, sonny...."
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 11/18/07 21:55:17 EST

- sheri - Monday, 11/19/07 10:59:17 EST

- Jock D. - Monday, 11/19/07 11:11:07 EST

Server Problems:
We had a DNS attack this morning to an odd URL. Server folks cleared it. Now I am having trouble posting from one browser but not the other (server error messages). If you are having the same error you may need to clear your cache shut down and reboot. I'm getting ready to do same.

Typical Monday Morning.
- Jock D. - Monday, 11/19/07 11:20:55 EST

test from Firefox: test from Firefox
- Jock D. - Monday, 11/19/07 11:39:46 EST

Miles I might have a project for your steamer, "Masterpieces" a book on making furniture shown in paintings has a lovely medieval/renaissance chair that they make by lamination and I think would be better made by steam bending...

Anyway if you need anhydrous amonia just ask your local methlab if you can borrow a gallon or two...

(Back in my oilfield mud logger days I used to have to use a roto light and the diazo process to make coppies of my logs for shipping out to all and sundry. The high test amonia is NOT user friendly!)

Thomas P - Monday, 11/19/07 12:04:42 EST

Thomas-- thanks, will check it out once all this holiday folderol is past. What I'd really love to make is a big factory-type whistle to blast with the output from this boiler. Or better yet, a steamer horn such I grew up hearing coming in off the harbor in Balmer, Merlin.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 11/19/07 20:54:49 EST

Or no, wait, how about a genuine old-time calliope?
Miles Undercut - Monday, 11/19/07 22:58:50 EST

Miles They all work on the same principal and work on steam and air alike. The only difference in an organ pipe and a steam whistle is that the steam device must be heat and water resistant. You also have to consider freezing condensation in cold weather. Those real low pitched horns with a harsh vibe are a reed instruments (harmonica, clarinet, truck air horn, fog horn. . .)
guru - Tuesday, 11/20/07 10:33:13 EST

Power Hammer for Sale in CA: Hello everyone, I am selling my power hammer. It is a 75lb mechanical hammer that has been completly reworked. It's a Common Sense Hammer No 2 Gunning Model, made by the Schuyler Company of Berkeley CA.

According to Pounding Out The Profits by Douglas Freund, it was listed in the 1924 catalogue of machinery dealer Waterhouse and Lester for $275 while the comparable Little Giant cost $365. They were supposedly a popular hammer on the west coast because of this cost savings, and I would expect a significant shipping cost savings as well.

If you would like to take a look at it here is a link to my web page where I show the whole re-build process.

I am asking $3000 for it with the motor stand. If you have a flat belt setup in your shop I will sell it without the stand for $2500.

I prefer that it be picked up here in So Cal, but could crate it and deliver it to a freight dock for a charge.

If you have questions please feel free to call or email me. My contact info is on my web page at

FredlyFX - Tuesday, 11/20/07 12:25:13 EST

Whistles: I have had several friends who were organ builders, and would like to note that the standard silvery organ pipe is made of what is essentially soft lead based solder - VERY soft metal. It might not hold up very well to steam above a few psi.

The steam whistle at the Reuter organ factory where my organ builder friends worked would gradually get more and more obnoxious over a period of months 'till one of the voicers would get so annoyed that he would go up on the roof and adjust it 'till he liked the tone. It was sort of a "who flinches first" game. . .
John Lowther - Tuesday, 11/20/07 18:08:16 EST

Calliope: On The Belle of Louisville" a real, original steam powered paddle wheel river boat here in Louisville there is a calliope, and it is played before ever cruise, and at the start of the cruise. It may resemble an organ, but they are whistles, the valving is very different, and there are far fewer pipes. It is strangly shrill somewhat like a bagpipe. And just like a well palyed bagpipe I love to listen to it. This boat is docked at the Louisville warf, and often as I pass by on the way home it is being played. I always roll down the window to listen, but once while caught in traffic I was right next to the boat, and level with the calliope, and had to roll the windows back up as it was too loud:)
If you are a steam nut this boat gives excursion cruises daily in the season. And you can go down and look over the boilers and engine room.
ptree - Tuesday, 11/20/07 18:31:31 EST

Whistles and Organ Pipes: Mechanically the sound making part of these is identical. The difference is the working gas pressure and the specifics of the pipe. Both split a stream of gas on an edge creating a turbulence that makes the sound. This then resonates at a given note determined by the length of the tube and to a lesser degree the material.

Yes, the piping and valves are different but the sound making parts are identical in operating principle. Given enough pressure a church organ could be just as shrill as a steam callipe. And the reverse could also be true. You just cannot make a durable steam whistle out of wood. . .
guru - Tuesday, 11/20/07 21:46:25 EST

I probably live a sheltered life, but I saw a manual fog horn for the first time a couple of years ago. One of our younger guild members brought one to a guild meeting and kind of nudged the handle. Talk about loud -- it just about emptied the place.

It's just a wooden box that would hold about two pairs of shoes, with a bellows and horn inside. Pull on the lever that extends through the side of the box, and everyone within a mile or five will know you did.
Mike BR - Tuesday, 11/20/07 21:58:23 EST

I have a mess of organ pipes from the church My Dad went to. Some are a soft metal, I suppose zink, and others are wood. The sound changes drasticly when You blow hard on them as opposed to gently. These were not works of bueaty, they were not where they could be seen. The organ they came from was originally a theater organ reconfigured as a church organ.
At Rough & Tumble, the local gas & steam engine club someone used to bring a large calliope mounted on a trailor. This one had pretty many pipes and a rather pleasant sound. I havn't seen or heard it in years.
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 11/20/07 23:42:19 EST

KOCH power hammer: Anyone own one. Looking for any info
Thanks, JB
John JB Bergman - Wednesday, 11/21/07 02:02:40 EST

John, See the guru's den
guru - Wednesday, 11/21/07 10:17:30 EST

Organ Pipes; Dave:
I think that traditional organ pipes are made from lead. When you blow hard on a fipple instrument it will jump up to the next octave (or at least that's how it works on Penny Whistles and such).
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 11/21/07 14:23:52 EST

Oops!: I missed John Louwher's response. The could be galvanized steel; "tin" whistles are made from anything from tinned steel to plastic to wood. Probably depends on the size and quality of the organ.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 11/21/07 14:26:42 EST

PAS Classic Steel Co., Ltd.: Dear Madam/Sir,
       We would like to introduce our company, PAS Classic Steel Company Limited, as the first manufacturer and exporter of "Wrought Iron Components" in Bangkok, Thailand, since 1994.
       Our production counts, by design and section over 1,000 components in our master catalogue, from simple "C" and "S" scrolls to pre-assembled pickets and forged panels or hot stamped spear heads.
       A 25% of our production is for the market in Thailand while the balance of 75% is exported through Asia, South Africa, Europe, and USA.
       The quality of our product followed by Italian designer and CEO, together with the skills of our Thai employees, can match European quality, while maintaining a reasonable price of each single item in production.  Nevertheless, we anticipate that being using Hot rolls steel for our components, our price could not be as cheap as companies in Asia that use mild steel cold rolled like China.  
       Beside to our market of components, we are organized to produce molds stamping tools for the production of components, which including scroll bending devices and blanking/pressing mold for hot forging works.  This special service allowed our company to accept new custom design from clients and be more flexible to meet with our clients' need.
       If your feel, this could be an opportunity to enter into a business relationship with us, please let us know about your company structure whether your company is a wholesaler, supplier, or retailer. 
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Sincerely yours,
Rassamekhae Pongnurak
Marketing Director
PAS Classic Steel Co., Ltd.
Tel: 02-735-6301
Fax: 02-735-2153
Rassamekhae Pongnurak - Thursday, 11/22/07 05:18:16 EST

SPAM: While the above is blatantly commercial and something I get weekly in SPAM it makes my point about us being in a global market with a lot of hungry folks out there that want to eat your lunch.
guru - Thursday, 11/22/07 12:29:38 EST

IMO, Thailand is the next 'boom' ecconomy, ive had one or 2 of my indian customers telling me their labour is getting to expensive, and I am starting to get more enquiries for used industrial forging machines from (companies setting up in) thailand, as oppose to Thai companies, you understand.

If you invest in funds, any geared towards manufacturing in Thailand, Indonesia etc "might" (thats me covering my back) do ok over the next 5 years :)
- John N - Thursday, 11/22/07 18:28:06 EST

new art metal book: Hello:
My name is Mathew Clarke Artist/blacksmith and Author of a new book to be titled ART METAL and to be published by Schiffer Publishing; the purpose for this letter is to announce that I am now gathering materials for this book and Im asking interested artist for there submissions. Please visit the web site or email me at for information and photo specifications.
This book will be dedicated to the sculptural art of blacksmithing; small, monumental functional sculptures, public art and more will be included. The dead line is January 31, 2008. Thank you and happy thanksgiving, Mat

mathew clarke - Thursday, 11/22/07 19:58:39 EST

Matthew Clarke: The late Dona Meilach produced many quality books on blacksmithing through Schiffer Publishing, but I don't recall Dona ever soliciting submissions with such a short deadline. I just turned down a spot in oneof the bigger art shows in my area because I am too busy to provide the requested photos and info in the time allotted.

While I rather doubt that my work is "publication quality", I would think that many of those who do wark at that level are also very busy. Is the publishing world normally that impatient? I don't know much about these things and would be interested to learn more.

One other note: Your post says the deadline is January 31, 2008, while your website says January 15.
vicopper - Thursday, 11/22/07 21:05:58 EST

book: Vicopper, believe it or not I even had to get an extension from the publisher! My deadline for the manuscript was March 31. I got it changed to may 31. I just extended the submission dead line to Jan 31 the other day; my web master has the weekend off for the holiday making it impossible to change the site at the moment. I will accept later submissions if I have notice. Anvils Ring will print the dead line at march 31 due to their print deadline, my absolute latest! I know this is short notice however I find that many artist are well prepared and have the required material on hand for such reasons. I will extend the submission dead line again if necessary but not at this time as things are going well.
Thanks Mat
mathew clarke - Thursday, 11/22/07 22:38:01 EST

Matthew: Thanks for filling me in on that. I know that publishers get quirky about deadlines, and realize that puts certain constraints on you. I'm glad that you're getting plenty of submissions. Hopefully, you'll get enough to merit another book later on.

Thanks for including us!
vicopper - Thursday, 11/22/07 23:49:02 EST

metal treatment: I have been treating meat forks with olive oil to prevent rust and being usable for food. I have a fireplace shovel and poker that I want to treat without using paint. What would you suggest that I could use.
- wayne - Sunday, 11/25/07 17:31:38 EST

wayne: wax
- Iron Balls - Sunday, 11/25/07 17:38:18 EST

Note that as soon as you mix oils and waxes, then add a solvent and drier you have become an amateur paint formulator and are trying to make varnish. You are best off to find a commercial product and use it.

If you want to experiment and make your own then FINE. The oil painters of old spent years in school studying how to properly grind paints and what oils to use. There are books on the subject. If you are going to do it, then do it right.
- guru - Monday, 11/26/07 01:35:34 EST

Welding/Forging Table: Well the parts have been cluttering up my shop for at least five years but I finally built a heavy duty welding and forging table. The frame is a heavy duty scrapped optical mount from the Los Alamos Lab. I laid it on its side and welded legs on it. The top is about 36" sq and I covered it with 3 strips of 1' wide, 1" plate. I welded down the two outside plates but left the center loose so I can lift it out for clamping etc. What used to be the feet now stick out sideways - they project 4" from the frame and have 1" plate pads on them. One pair is just perfect for holding my swage block - I think I will mount my post vise to the other. I am thinking about making a 1" socket like a hardy hole to allow me to mount and remove various vises, beverly shears and other stuff. The completed table weighs about 1000#. Moving the parts around was a trick. I dont have a hoist - only carjacks. It could probably take heavy hammering but it rings like a bell.
adam - Monday, 11/26/07 11:33:03 EST

Guru et al: there is a nice discussion on old paint and old paint formulations. This comes out of the old engine restoration area, with bits of Model T Ford restoration thrown in. Goto Google search,
- David Hughes - Monday, 11/26/07 13:49:30 EST

RE--Finishes:: Guru et al: there is a nice discussion on old paint and old paint formulations. This comes out of the old engine restoration area, with bits of Model T Ford restoration thrown in. Goto Google search, "harrys old engine", I'm feeling lucky, goto smokestack, antique gas engine discussion, it is on page 2 (as of today) of the gas engine discussion forum under "Properties of early paints and varnishes". No, it is not the ultimate source but it is a nice discussion on the old methods.

Finally scavanged a nice 26" or 30" so square steel plate to make a forge table. It is 1/2" iron, so I will never wear out. Next legs and wheels, and a firepot from one of the advertisers, hook up the Champion 300 and bend iron. This is, of course, after I finish up the antique (well, almost antique, made in 1927) engine, to make space to work on building the forge . . . .

David Hughes
- David Hughes - Monday, 11/26/07 13:50:46 EST

Try again post: It worked better the second time, go figure
- David Hughes - Monday, 11/26/07 13:52:34 EST

My next post vise:
- ries - Monday, 11/26/07 18:52:27 EST

Nice Vise: Thanks ries. Sweet!
- Tom H - Monday, 11/26/07 19:45:26 EST

Adam: Long time, no hear! Glad to see you're alive and well, and making things. That sounds like it should be a pretty darn nice bench. That was a good idea to leave the center section of the top removeable! I'll stick that one in my faulty memory for use later if I build another bench.

On my big welding bench, and on my smaller rolling welding bench, I have installed what my friend Ralph Sproul calls "gazintas," because stuff "goes into it." What he and I use is a piece of 1/4" wall by 2" square tubing. I drill holes and weld nuts at the corner of the tube for a set screw. I mount my Beverly, a medium vise, an extension wing and other items on sections of 1-1/2" square tubing that slips into the gazinta easily and is secured with the set screw. Very handy! My big bench has two of them at the end, spaced about 6" in from either side, so I can add a table extension with two arms. That will make my table stretch from 7 feet long to ten feet, for building longer gates and such. The Beverly and other small things just use one mounting arm.

I should note that a handy featue of using the 2" square tube is that it is the same size as the trailer hitch receiver on my truck. All the stuff can be put in there for use on site as needed. The arms are drilled for a receiver hitch pin. Makes a handy way to mount a vise on the job.

One of the arms I have for the gazintas has a hardy hole on the end of it, so I can use my 1" shank hardy tools and raising stakes at the weldig bench.

If yo want to stop the ringing of your bench, try spraying the underside with some of that aerosol insulating foam. It sticks to about anything and will stop the ringing to a large degree. Don't use it where it will get hot, as some of that stuff gives of toxic fumes when heated. For hot areas, try some stove cement, it should do the same thing but won't burn. You'll need to rough up the surface with a 24 grit disc on an angle grinder to get it to stick, I would think.

Good to see you back around these parts. What's been going on with you? Drop me an email an bringme up to date if you get a chance.
vicopper - Monday, 11/26/07 21:30:41 EST

Book: Mark, I'm going to try to get a picture for a submission for you. I'd also like to get in the book.
- Tyler Murch - Monday, 11/26/07 23:02:26 EST

Old Tennessee Iron Forge Hammer: Hello, thought that the following news item from ASM might be of interest it can be accessed by going to Look in the lower right hand corner for the ASM News heading, and go down to Nov. 21, 2007 to the headline Drought Reveals Hammer from Old Tennessee Iron Forge

You can also reach ASM by using your favorite search engine and searching for ASM International. You dont have to be an ASM member to access the news and a lot of other issues available on the site.

ASM news does have a limited time availability, so if you want to see the article Id pull it up today.
- Gavainh - Tuesday, 11/27/07 09:05:36 EST

Forge hammer: I saw the article in my local paper, which included pictures. It's most of a medium-sized(about 200 lbs)tilt hammer head, missing the back part where the wooden beam goes through. Pretty cool to find it in the creek after 150 years, though!

These turn up from time to time due to the size of the local iron industry in eastern TN in the early 1800s. I missed a pair of them at an auction once, they had been used as planters on a front porch. weighed about 400 lbs each.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 11/27/07 10:36:16 EST

Book: Tyler,
Thank you. i look forward to seeing your submissions. If you have any questions please email me, also if you have a web site please email me the link.
Thanks again, Mathew
mathew clarke - Tuesday, 11/27/07 14:02:19 EST

ASM hammer headline seems to have perished of old age, alas. Any other source? Also: anybody know of any online snaps? Thanks.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 11/27/07 14:56:51 EST

ASM hammer: Try this URL:

It will be with the November 21 entries.
- John Lowther - Tuesday, 11/27/07 15:53:49 EST

Hammer Article: Miles
try this link
- Bernard Tappel - Tuesday, 11/27/07 15:53:54 EST

Events?: I'm having a hard time finding any blakcmsmithing events going on around the Dallas area any time soon. I want to get back into smithing to some degree.
- Scotsman - Tuesday, 11/27/07 18:14:46 EST

John Lowther, Bernard Tappel-- Many thanks! The news billboard on the ASM home page does not list the story, but the second URL you sent does. The tinyurl URL gets me to a Commercial Appeal piece with a nice picture of the old beauty.Again, many thanks!
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 11/27/07 20:16:23 EST

Hammer, again: Thanks, Bernard. I couldn't get a picture to go with my post. The guy in the picture, Erik Kreutsch, is not just a ranger, he's also the Park Archaeologist and a very nice and knowledgeable guy.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 11/28/07 09:48:45 EST

Hammer, again, again.: To see what one of these looks like in action, check out

This is a pair of them driven off one waterwheel shaft in Germany.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 11/28/07 09:54:07 EST

And now, a video!: Here's a youtube video of a smith in Spain using a smaller hammer of this sort. He's got it rigged off an electric motor, but the log with cams is the same as the water-powered ones.

These are good comebacks to those self-appointed purists who say using a power hammer is cheating. Thanks to Kris Skelton for first posting it elsewhere!
Alan-L - Wednesday, 11/28/07 10:00:04 EST

More hammer stuff: The last time I was at the ironworks in St. James, MO the hammer from that operation was still on exhibit there, just the iron parts though. It is an interesting place to visit. I believe it was the first ironworks west of the Mississippi. This link has a few pics of the place.
Bernard Tappel - Wednesday, 11/28/07 13:49:26 EST

flameless combustion: Ive been working on a design for a propane forge burner that achieves high efficiency and complete combustion in a small volume. The standard oven or tube style forge doesnt do this very well and a lot of raw oxygen is available to scale the steel. The forge burner I am using now is a 4" dia 7" long chamber made of a castable refractory filled with refractory rubble. The size of the chips increases progressively towards the mouth of the burner. This seems to work very well. Easily reaches welding heat in 10 mins or less. Scaling is low. Fuel consumption seems to be about half what my tube forge consumed although I havent taken careful notes.
adam - Wednesday, 11/28/07 16:11:42 EST

We should share pipe-threading tools, Adam. Must be something in the air here on the slopes of the Rio formerly known as Grande Valley. Here at Entropy Research we, too, have been experimenting with propane, building a boiler for a woodbending steam box out of scrap Los Alamos stainless pipe, 6" I.D., 5' long, some burners and Venturis from a kindly lady in Silver City who must have used them to broil many an elk. Finished the rig today, achieved mucho steam. Stay tuned. Watch for a blinding blue flash....
- Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 11/28/07 16:29:51 EST

Miles, if your scrap pipe from Los Alamos is like the scrap pipe we sometimes used to see from the gaseous diffusion operations at Oak Ridge, be careful with the flaky yellow stuff you have to scrape out!
Alan-L - Wednesday, 11/28/07 16:43:17 EST

Miles, my neighbors are anxious too! :) Id love to share notes. Shoot me an email please.

Rich, I sent an email to the address I found in the Anvilfire members list. If thats not current, would you send something to my email which is listed there
adam - Wednesday, 11/28/07 17:35:44 EST

Adam; Great to hear from you---watch out which way Miles points his nuclear steam cannon and wood bender...

Folks I survived my shoulder surgery and have the follow up meeting with the Surgeeon tomorrow and expect to be put back to work.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 11/28/07 18:33:38 EST

Adam,: That address is still okay, I just don't check it but every so often. I need to update my address, I suppose.

I'm dying to hear more on the forge burner. We talked about this several months ago, and I've been waiting to hear how it worked out. I'll shoot you an email.
vicopper - Wednesday, 11/28/07 19:12:43 EST

Alan-L-- Thanks-- have not spotted any flaky yellow stuff yet. But with black widows and brown recluses in every corner of the shop, in a biome rife with rattlesnakes, bubonic, septicemic, and pneumonic plague, hanta virus, West Nile, chronic wasting disease and most likely Mad Cow and E. coli at restaurants nearby, the flaky yellow will have to take a number.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 11/28/07 21:19:03 EST

Thomas-- congrats on the surgery! We are pledged to use the steam whompus only for truth, justice and The American Way.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 11/28/07 21:21:17 EST

Adam: Are You using the combustion tube with a blown or venturi burner?
- Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 11/28/07 22:09:47 EST

Old fashioned Trip Hammers: The problem with the old hammers is they rely on gravity only. They run ONE speed. Modern hammers run much faster and are much more efficient in use of HP and materials. They also forge much faster.

The advantage to the old hammers is they DO work and DID work until there was more iron to be worked than they could be scaled up to forge. Then James Nasmyth invented the steam hammer to make that next jump in technology.
- guru - Wednesday, 11/28/07 23:25:11 EST

burner: Dave,
I doubt this combustor could be made to work with a venturi system. There is a fair amount of back pressure from the porous matrix. The blower I use is fairly high pressure and I suspect some of the blowers used for gas forges might not be forceful enough either.

The two ideas I played around with were porous matrix:

and recirculating burners

Recirculation is used in turbine engines where they employ high pressures and extremely fast flow rates. I could not get this idea to work well for a gas forge. In a forge one wants the burning gas to linger long enough to transfer its heat to the forge walls and I couldnt get my designs to operate at well at low flow rates. Also I found the tuning to be difficult. At some settings the burner would cycle with the combustion area shifting back and forth between two locations and sounding like a two stroke engine. I decided that this was too tricky for me since I am designing by guess and by golly. The articles online are by combustion engineers with access to simulation software and all sorts of fancy test equipment.

The porous matrix idea is much simpler and its design is a lot less critical. Also, it doesnt involve casting complicated combustion chambers. The one draw back is the back pressure which means it requires a strong blower and good seals.

I would be happy to write up some notes with sketches if people are interested. Is there a place to post something like this?
adam - Thursday, 11/29/07 09:56:01 EST

Thomas: Thank you for your welcome. I am very happy to be back. I am glad to hear your shoulder surgery went well, though I didnt hear about the problem
adam - Thursday, 11/29/07 12:19:41 EST

Trip to Pearl Harbor: My wife and I have been invited to the dedication of the USS Oklahoma Memorial at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7.

The flag described in the story at the posted link will be used at the dedication, and is the reason we were invited.
- John Odom - Thursday, 11/29/07 19:48:27 EST

Thomas,I have had both shoulders fixed. One thing I can tell you is do the PT, no matter how bad it hurts. You must be the freedom of movement or you will lose it. It took about 6 to 8 months to get complete recovery for me both times,( but I'm only 40). Just think, now you will actually get to sleep most of the night :).
daveb - Thursday, 11/29/07 22:17:46 EST

Well I got to see the "inside my shoulder pics" yesterday; unfortunately no "before" pic as the surgeon said the bone spur was too big to get in one shot from the the camera probe. Trying to to remember the burr the size of a volkswagon that did the work shown in the "after" picture.

Other than that the joint looks great no rotor cuff issues and that healing and recovery should be fast and "easy"---I have the PT place on my call list for today and am at work with a cryo cuff on my shoulder---rather wear it at work than try to sleep with it on at night!

Thomas P - Friday, 11/30/07 12:19:21 EST

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