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

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

Scroll Saws: PawPaw- I've got a Delta scroll saw with the DC motor. At the time I bought it 20 years ago, I howled at the $700 it cost, but it sure proved to be worth the money. When I owned the sign shop, I made thousands of cutout letters from wood, brass, aluminum, stainless, plastic, etc. Some of them only 1/2" high cut out of 1/2" thick brass plate. For stuff too small to cut with the bandsaw, that scroll saw was great. The DC motor with pulse control allowed it to go as slow as 40 spm with full torque. If you use a dimmer on an AC motor, it will cut the torque as the speed drops, in my experience.

If you're going to use jewelers blades, buy the biggest ones you can find. And tension them until they sing. Delta used to sell some pretty nice small metal-cutting blades for their scroll saws, but since they quit making that high-end one I don't know if they still sell blades.

If those mudflaps are going to be used where they salt the roads in the winter, I'd avoid aluminum and go with the stainless.
vicopper - Sunday, 12/01/02 04:56:41 GMT

air force bawls: Dear Paw Paw, how very uncharitable of you!
LOL, -har har har-
(can't tell what's worse, green coal coal smoke or turkey fumes today)
Eggleston - Sunday, 12/01/02 05:50:11 GMT


The devil made me do it! (grin)
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/01/02 06:19:50 GMT

Mo' Flap Stuff: Paw Paw, I bet you didn't think you wuz gonna get all this high class help on a pair of mud flaps! I got to thinking about easier ways to cut out the design, and it occurred to me that you could rough out the design with an ordinary hand held variable speed saber saw with a fine tooth sheet metal blade in it, and then go after the details with the scroll or jeweller's saw. Whatcha think? 3dogs
- 3dogs - Sunday, 12/01/02 07:39:46 GMT

No, I didn't expect this much help, but I'm not turning it down. I've put the ideas into a file, and if Momma doesn't get the hint and get me a set for Christmas, I'll make my own. (grin)
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/01/02 17:15:32 GMT

finding anvils: now, admitidly I live in a place [upper ottawa valley] where they still use horses for logging, and is still coming out of the ''great '' depression of'29 ,but Ive had really good luck advertising in small local papers for stuff.The last auction I went to had 200# no-name, saddle- backed,no edge, beast that went for $400can!!!! ,that for an anvil only fit for a mailbox stand . But my little $20 ad ''working blacksmith looking for anvil, powerhammer etc.'' brought in a 146# mousehole,[$140], a 176#peter wright [$160] a beautifully sculpted 6'' postvice {$120} and last week [a full year after I last advertised] a 1901 champion 65# hammer in restorable shape for $200 [for US $ subtract 40%]. People in small towns devour the whole newspaper ,especially the want adds. and they keep calling for months! a pox on e=bay and tool ''collectors''!!
lydia - Sunday, 12/01/02 17:16:11 GMT

Mud Flapping:
PawPaw & Guru:

There are a lot of hungry Wire EDM, Laser and Water Jet shops out there right now. If you could (as I'm sure you can) design a silhouette of a Smith and Anvil, perhaps even with the CSI logo, and output it as a DXF file. I figure you could get a set of said cut for around $15 out of .032" 304 Stainless, mark-up to $30 and sell 'em to raise money for Anvilfire.

Take pre-orders to cover the material and manufacturing, and there's not even any out-of-pocket!

Shoot... I'd even buy a set, even though here in California we don't have mud -- it's considered a health and beauty product in this state ;)

The only down-side is: Paw Paw's better half will neeed to find a replacement gift for under the tree....
Zero - Sunday, 12/01/02 17:53:56 GMT

John Crain and Michaelm ; Theres a few smiths out there that has made spit jacks the traditional way. Peter Ross and Bob Valetine to name two. Peter has been giving a series of classes at Conner Praire on making these. Two seperate three day classes already finished. This is something that takes from begining to end to get it. No easy task making a complete one the traditional way. Bob Valetine got recognition at A.B.A.N.A. Conference a few years ago on his spit jack. A friend taking the classes at Conner has bought two off e-bay that was traditional.----
- oldtrail - Sunday, 12/01/02 22:23:34 GMT

Let me think about a pattern.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/02/02 02:51:36 GMT

Mud Flappin' and more: Jock- I think Zero has a good concept there. A slightly smaller size could also be riveted to the sides of a standard mailbox for a nice look. If you have a few cut out of 14 ga. steel, they could be used on weathervanes, forge stacks, pot racks, and the like. If you had your own placer-jet cutter, then you could just trot out and make them to order. (grin)
vicopper - Monday, 12/02/02 03:30:54 GMT

Mud: Put me down for a set if it comes to pass. They could be offered say twice a year,preordered, to cut down on labor of getting them cut and packing them and shipping them. I just have visions of running to the post office every other day to send off one set.
Gronk - Monday, 12/02/02 16:38:49 GMT

Hawkeye hammer fate blather: Just aquired what I was told was a "Hawkeye" pieces. It is a small (25#?) helve hammer with a Dupont type sprung toggle arm linkage between the eccrentric and the helve and a slip clutch set up. It is fairly worn with a truly ugly bottom die and is missing the treadle bar and the central spring mount in the linkage. Both parts seem to be easily fabricated. The helve is weathered and someone put in steel straps to stiffen it, but included is a fine laminated piece of hickory for a replacement.
My guess is that this hammer would run with a few days of work...but it would still be a long way from pinstripes.
Given a bunch of TLC it might be pretty cute.
I'm trying to be an adult, ahem, by saying that I'd like to trade or sell it ..just got way too much to do. Will start at $600 and the price will go up as I'm able to fix it up.
The hammer is in central Calif. and good luck to it..Pete
- Pete F - Tuesday, 12/03/02 09:11:55 GMT

Blacksmithing coal: Does anyone know where I can pick up some blacksmithing coal for a low price. Perhaps having it delivered.
Kent - Tuesday, 12/03/02 22:39:16 GMT

Your question would be a lot easier to answer if we knew about where you live. If you're in Europe or Australia, we might not be able to give you a very satisfactory answer. (Grin)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/03/02 23:12:03 GMT

Anvil no markings: I have an anvil, approx 130# with no markings. Any comments?
Is this common? Any idea of value? Any info would be helpful.
B Perry - Wednesday, 12/04/02 14:58:00 GMT

B Perry:
If you can take a few pictures and email them to me, I'll try to help you identify your anvil.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/04/02 15:35:48 GMT

Anvil: B Perry, anvils are kind of like cars; the make, model, condition and where you are at makes a big difference on what the price is---so I can truthfully say your 130# anvil is worth anything from 10 cents a pound to US$5 a pound and is quite common to very rare!

So where are you at? (left coast North America, England, Greenland, Pitcairn Island (Bang Iron Vally no doubt---where the anvil from the Bounty was set up...)), Is the anvil face smooth and unworn and the edges unmangled? Does the anvil ring like a bell (not necessarily an indication of quality but it does cut the number of makes possible down considerably.) Is this an "old" anvil or a newer one?

Is the design rather short and squat or long and elongated?

Check along the front of the foot under the horn with a wire brush and see if there is a serial number there.

Posting a good set of pics can really help us identify it and the "make" can affect the price by a factor of 2 or so...

- Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 12/04/02 18:08:19 GMT

Anvil Bob Perry: Thanks for the reply. I'm in Chesterton Indiana (near Chicago). The anvil is at least 50 years old (maybe double that)and and shows it has been used. It has some rust from sitting around. Total length is 23", height 10" width 4" and the feet make a 9x10'square. I will brush it down and check for a serial number and also try to get a digital picture. Thanks again.
B Perry - Wednesday, 12/04/02 22:50:57 GMT

Bladesmith photos, China: I tuned in 'tai chi sword' on eBay, and an Oriental sword dealer, "9dragonwallof china" has photos of a Chinese bladesmith forging a long quan sword. Tune in eBay and type in # 742711147.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/05/02 05:55:36 GMT

spitz dogs . I could be wrong [and it wouldn't be the last time] but I think those little dogs are from Spitzbergen [look way north] above Skandiwhovia
- lydia - Thursday, 12/05/02 14:49:56 GMT

New cast steel anvils: : I have been shopping for an anvil in the 150# range for awhile and recently found web-sites for relatively affordable new cast anvils from "euro" and "old world". I have not seen any reviews of either so wondered if anyone out there with more experience than me has any opinions they wouldn't mind sharing. Thanks!
Rob C - Thursday, 12/05/02 15:26:29 GMT

Postman's Book: I recently ordered Richard Postman's book on Anvils, from Anvilfire, naturally. I was extremely surprised at how fast it arrived. Then I find out Richard is a Michigan boy, same as myself! And in the intro, he gives mention of Ken Mankel, who has an open forge that I go to every month. Kinda cool. I've found that one of my anvils was made between 1830 and 1875. That's my M & H Mouse Hole. I find that neat, my wife says why? Huh. Women. And I'm pretty sure my other anvil is a HayBudden. It has the right base, 3 handling holes, and I can just see that there is a serial number on the front. Gonna take some work with a wire brush on my drill to clean it up enough for a better reading. But I'm having fun. Time now to go read some more of the book. I'm almost finished.
- Bob Harasim - Friday, 12/06/02 03:39:00 GMT

Railroad Nails: I've seen knives forged from railroad nails. I would like to give it a try, but I have one nails. Does anyone know of a good source, or have any to sell?
- Chuck Holmes - Friday, 12/06/02 04:21:28 GMT

Where are you?
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/06/02 05:42:47 GMT

Railroad Nails: I live in Escondido, California, Paw Paw. Near San Diego
Chuck Holmes - Friday, 12/06/02 05:48:30 GMT

Check with the guys from the California Blacksmith's Association. Somebody is bound to have some they can let you have. I've got a bunch of them and could easily part with a good stack, but shipping from the east coast would make them cost way too much. Also, haunt flea markets of all types, occasionally you'll find some there.

Paw Paw - Friday, 12/06/02 06:55:31 GMT

RR spikes: Chuck, I have many more than I need. See me at the third sat in vista. Really, you should have asked your instructor before you jumped up here on the net! Just kidding, I have some High carbon spikes (though this is a relative term) See you in class!
- Wayne Parris - Friday, 12/06/02 14:04:43 GMT

Thanks Wayne. See you in class.
  Chuck Holmes - Friday, 12/06/02 16:50:19 GMT

Australian Smithing Info.
A good site to start a search for Australian metal information is,
slag - Saturday, 12/07/02 07:33:19 GMT

finding anvils: Lydia - you've got a real treasure house going up there! Ebay prices really are hellacious a lot of the time (exception #1-the blower I got from Barry D, Anvilfire regular, last year. Thanks Barry! Sweet blower, needed nothing, bargain.) I'm jealous of the anvil deals.

Of course Ebay does have its good points; witness Mr. Turley's find. How cool is that? I love the crescent wrench resting on the anvil. What is the smithing relevance of that enormous gawd-awful pink flyswatter? Does it have to be aligned to True North along with the quenching medium? Fly sacrifice to the sword god? Lol.

Thank you, Frank. That made my day. Just curious - why were you searching for Tai Chi swords on Ebay? I studied Southern Shaolin and (very briefly) Chen Tai Chi, so I admit you've got my curiousity bump (credit PPW for coining the phrase) itching.
Eggleston - Saturday, 12/07/02 09:02:33 GMT

Burners: Tony: Just a thought on burners. I think that if you are working with low pressure they need to be efficient. The T-Rex looks real good in this case. I have only seen one and we did a test burn, but in poor conditions, (outside in a good wind). We tested it against my version of a RR style, and a side arm. In those conditions they seem to work about the same, but the only way we could check heat was by comparing the heats on same size bars. Personally I think the T rex is well worth the money, they are just so well made. My problem is that every time I order anything from the states is the $50.00 brokerage fee I have to pay.

To get around the efficiencies of the T Rex I just upped the pressure made a smaller oriface and hoped all the friction in the burner would help the mix. I do use a regulator with guage. The only way I can think of telling if I'm getting a complete burn is checking the CO levels, if I have no CO I figure I have a complete burn. Now I keep thinking that I could be doing things better, more heat, less money on fuel, but I'm not just sure what to do. The forges are all sized so I have a forge that fits the job. It would be nice to have a nice small burner for the coffee can forge, it is amazing what gets made in it. I use a small torch in it but I get CO. It does however get about 60 hours out of a 20# tank at orange heat inside dim 4" dia by 12" long.

A whole other subject would be forge design, which is just as important. I saw a couple Swan Mini Mothers and they really looked like a good system.
- Daryl - Saturday, 12/07/02 17:19:15 GMT

Tai Chi: Eggleston and All, I was introduced to Cheng Man Ching's Yang Short Form at Haystack Craft School, Deer Isle, Maine, 1981. I have continued with it, although I don't know a great deal about its martial applications. I also do a moving style of chi kung [breathing/movement excercises]. I have led pre-breakfast sessions of chi kung at two national ABANA conferences. I have been both praised and made fun of for same. The detractors have disparagingly called me a Zen Bhuddist, a spiritual leader, an Orient worshiper, and yes, even a Guru. However, those same people often have physical problems as a result of bodily misuse. So, I say har de har har.

In ANVIL'S RING, Fall, 1986, Vol. 14, No. 2, I expressed some of my ideas in an article titled, "Defining the Inner Workspace". If I rewrote the article, I would include a little social-psych regarding "relationships". Other than that, it's not too bad.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/08/02 15:19:24 GMT

Tai Chi: Frank, that's very cool! I've learned a "synthetic Chen" form, which turned out to be more of a b*stardized Sun family form, and have started with authentic Chen Tai Chi.
I have learned two hard chi kung sets and am really eager to get into the bone marrow kung (after all the time I spent around radiation) and eight pieces of brocade form.
I don't mind the Zen cracks, though it bugs me when people don't know that in a Chinese art you would call it ch'an. :) I have gotten my share of stares working through a form on my lunch break or between classes at school. Maine, huh? For some reason I thought you were out west.
Amazing the kind of peoples ya meet on a blacksmith forum!
Is there a way to find that article in archives? I'd be really interested in reading it. Xie Xian!
- Eggleston - Sunday, 12/08/02 23:06:34 GMT

Anvil's Ring retrieval: Eggleston, I give out-of-state workshops, so happend to be teaching at Haystack that summer of 1981. I tried to retrieve the workspace article via ABANA on the net and failed. They often have hard copies for sale at conferences and get-togethers. If all else fails, e-mail your postal address, and I'll get a Xeroxed copy to you.
Frank Turley - Monday, 12/09/02 01:50:26 GMT

Burners. Daryl:
Daryl, yes, if there is CO, there is incomplete combustion. Probably from poor mixing. But lack of CO does not mean you donít have excess air. If you have a lot of scaling, you have excess air. Excess air above what is necessary is a loss of usable heat. So if you were going to try to improve, you would go after improved mixing and less total air flow while still getting the heat you want.

Generally, high pressure gas will give better mixing since it generally diffuses and mixes better. The pressure energy in the gas helps the mixing. Theoretically. grin.

Without looking at your burners, I wouldnít know what to suggest.

Play on! Grin

Do you have to pay a brokerage fee if it comes through the mail? I was amazed at how cheap an express cardboard envelope from the Yukon back to Wisconsin was. I had to send credit card receipts and exposed films back to the wife. grin. I would think you could get a TRex in one of those envelopes.

Iíve never seen the Swan burners. Where can I look?

I made a Ĺ" tube sidearm and it worked well, but still probably too big for a coffee can forge. Maybe a sidearm can be made even smaller. 1/4" pipe tube with a Ĺ" reducing tee? Not sure how to get the gas orifice in there. Maybe Adamís hypodermic needle tubing idea would work?

Iím starting to mess with pure radiant burners. Zero turndown ability however. Will report when I know something. THAT might be a while..... grin.
- Tony - Monday, 12/09/02 13:57:10 GMT

Tony, Burners: Tony, I mainly check for excess air buy eye not likely the best way, and choke if needed. Altought I try to get a close as possible when I make the burner.

I use two styles of burners, Ron Riel/Derry Cook or a side arm style. The sidearm style i might be able to describe in order of parts for a general idea. Burner flair, 8" of 3/4 sch 40 threaded one end 1 1/4" to 3/4" reducer, 1 1/4" close nipple (or is it called a bushing), 1 1/4" tee, 1 1/4" to 1/8" bushing This looks like an end cap with a hole for 1/8" pipe)( tap through the 1/8" all the way, I then tread a couple inches of a 6" long 1/8" nipple and thread it back through the cap). The other end of the 6" long 1/8" pipe is welded close with a little plate which I drill out for the oriface. Reading back this sounds like a lot of work. I came up with this before I had the internet and found Ron Riel's site. I was also at the time building a Sandia style forge, this design allowed me to get away from Tig welding. As I look at this burner now I think what a piece of junk, but it works well. If you look at the burner set up for the Swan forge you will most likely think the same thing, but it also works.

Yes shipping from the states is much cheaper if done by mail, unfortunately it is rare to have alot of the companies send things by mail even if you ask. One of the guys here ordered in some tongs (not from anyone presently advertising on this site), they were out of stock so sent them as they came in. It ended up that $25.00US tongs were over $100.00cdn a each. I have had book orders done the same way. I know the companies are well meaning, but you think twice.

I have included a link for Swan forges, what I like is the way the forge works, door etc., the burner system is very simple. The forges are well insulated and I like the large working area they have. It is surprizing how little heat they lose. The one I saw was close to the "Mother" but 3 burner ports.

Forgive all the errors, I have a hard time typing in this little box.
Swan Portable Forges
- Daryl - Monday, 12/09/02 15:57:47 GMT

RR spikes: I have a handful of RR spikes: If its worth the shipping you can have 'em.
- adam - Monday, 12/09/02 18:16:17 GMT

michaelm: Hey folks,
Looking for info on the myth of the feast of craftsmen. (The king of craftsmen) specifically sources and prints.
thanks for any help.
- michaelm - Monday, 12/09/02 19:39:25 GMT


The Masons give this story. Sound like phony archaic Englist to me, though. No real source given.
  . - Monday, 12/09/02 20:25:54 GMT

RR spikes: HC RR spikes are 30 to 40 points of carbon. They make better letter openers than knives. Non-HC spikes were about 2o points of carbon. I have been told that non-HC spikes haven't been made since the 70's. All current spikes are HC, but there are variations. If there is an additional "C" on the head, it means copper has been added to the alloy. I've seen the "S" code also, but I don't remember what it stands for. As for finding them, I just take a walk along some railroad tracks and pick up cast offs. A good time is after they do track maintenance.
- Rob Fertner - Monday, 12/09/02 21:38:16 GMT

michaelm: .,

I am not a mason and would like more info on that. Where do they give this story? In the world of historic study/interpretation, that is known as a "primary source". In other words. If the masons have a version, they are the primary source of it. Even though it may be phony, it is their version. If I watch a slew of films about ww2 that were filmed during that era, I don't get the history of Japan. What I do get is the history of Hollywood's feelings about Japan during that era. :) Do you have further information on this?
- michaelm - Monday, 12/09/02 22:47:27 GMT

Getting rid of hunkered down yellow jackets: We had yellow jackets living in the walls of the garage - chemicals couldn't get to 'em. The entrance to the nest was about 2' off the ground. To get rid of 'em, I attached a metal bladed muffin fan (used to cool electronic equipment) to a 3' wooden stake, and drove the stake into the ground such that the fans inlet was about 2" from the nest entrance. You can do this at night without fear of attack. Every morning, I'd plug in the fan, and unplug it every evening - no need to run it when the bugs are sleeping! When the critters took of on their shopping trips, about half of 'em went through the fan. About half of the ones coming back went through to. After about two weeks, they were gone - either chopped up or starved. This is a solution they aren't likely to get immune to, but it does leave a messy fan.
Commodore Mike - Tuesday, 12/10/02 06:45:45 GMT

The Masonic version.: Michaelm; Macoy Publishing of Richmond, VA sells a print of an old engraving which depicts the completion ceremony at King Solomon's Temple. Macoys are a well known supplier of Masonic regalia, literature and other Fraternal materials. In the paragraph at the bottom of the picture, the scene is described, wherein, upon unveiling the throne of King Solomon, none other than the project's Blacksmith was found sitting in the seat on the right hand side of the throne. (A place of great honor.) A cry went up among the Craftsmen of the various trades, who were assembled for the ceremony, wondering just who this guy thought HE was, and they were about to seize him and throw him out. King Solomon (known for his wisdom, y'know) says "Hold on a minute, let's hear what he has to say for himself." The Smith says, "If ANY tradesman deserves to occupy this seat of honor, it would be the Smith, for without me, none of you other crafts would have had any working tools! King Solomon says, "Y'know, I think the guy has a point, there. All glory and honor to the ironworker." In small print, are the words "Old Jewish legend." Not having my copy of the picture handy, I had to paraphrase the whole thing, but I think y'all get the idea.Best regards, 3dogs
3dogs - Tuesday, 12/10/02 08:08:49 GMT

Phony?: Michaelm; I don't know if the term "phony" is exactly appropriate, since the stories depicted in Masonic ritual are allegorical, similar to biblical parables. The biblical character Tubal Cain is also mentioned, in ritual, primarily as a representative of the craft of metalwork. (Genesis, 4:22) 3dogs
3dogs - Tuesday, 12/10/02 08:55:45 GMT

3 dogs: Michaelm didn't make that comment. Somebody who had to sign his name with a period did. Which tells you about what the comment is worth, if the individual didn't have cojones enough to sign is snide comment. Add to that that the source has been found and "." looks even dumber.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/10/02 14:03:16 GMT

Burners, Daryl: Daryl, thanks for the Swan link. I machined up a venturi last night and stuck it in the inlet end of the 3/4" burner tube on a sidearm burner. It worked great to reduce the overall air flow (excess air) while still allowing excellent low and high flame control. It did add a little noise, so I know it added turbulence. Now to figure out how to accomplish the same without having to do the machining. A simple orifice plate may work. Circular disc of sheet metal with a center hole. I'll try that next maybe. One of the goals is to do stuff so people don't have to have machine tools.

Or am I wasting bandwidth and few are really interested?

The way you describe your sidearm is similar to the first one I built, but I just used a reducing bushing from the 1-1/4" tee to the 3/4" burner tube. A reducing tee (1-1/4 by 3/4 by 1-1/4) does work a little better. Yes, it's called a close nipple. A bushing has one larger male thread and a smaller female thread inside it. Like you have on the other end where you reduce down from 1-1/4 to 1/8"

Anyone with a TRex, does it have a venturi at the entrance to the burner tube besides the neck down from the bell to the tube?

Commodore Mike, I like the fan idea!
- Tony - Tuesday, 12/10/02 14:11:12 GMT

".": Sic 'em, Paw Paw! By the way, I think the picture is still available. It's a nice one to have just for its blacksmithing significance, even if one is not Masonically affiliated. Macoy Publishing has a website. 3dogs ...
3dogs - Tuesday, 12/10/02 15:49:00 GMT

You are NOT wasting bandwidth, and at least a couple of us are intensly interested. Continue the march.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/10/02 15:57:02 GMT

3dogs: I take it back I did find the web site, now where is the picture. (grin)

Oh, just for the period (does he mean that he's menstrating, I wonder?) I know who 3dogs is, he
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/10/02 16:01:39 GMT

Duh!: he knows how to fill out the email line.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/10/02 16:06:16 GMT

Picture: Paw Paw; The picture isn't on the website, but if you'd give them a call or an e-mail, they'd be glad to help you out. I'll tell you what.., if you don't like the picture, I'll buy it from you. It's that good. Great price, too. 3dogs
3dogs - Tuesday, 12/10/02 16:17:43 GMT

Now what?:
I posted a message just before the one about the web site, but it disappeared into that big bit bucket in the sky. As best as I can remember, it went something like this.

I don't have much patience with folks who have to hide. True, I don't use my full legal name (James A. Wilson Sr.) but enough folks know who Paw Paw is that I couldn't hide if I wanted to. I'm a pretty blunt guy, what you see is what you get. If you don't like what you see, don't look.

Then I asked for the URL to Macoy Publishing, but I found it.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/10/02 16:19:51 GMT

Mo' pitcher stuff: The title of the picture is "King Solomon and the Ironworker". 3dogs
3dogs - Tuesday, 12/10/02 16:20:20 GMT

Even Mo' picther stuff:
Macoy Publishing contacted. Thanks for the help.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/10/02 17:13:42 GMT

Tony, keep up with the burner work. Every bit of effort you are expending is saving me twice that much. I figure the 2:1 ratio based on the fact that you know what you're doing with fluid dynamics and I wouldn't know Bernoulli or Reynolds if they crawled into my lap and started purring. I'm delighted to benefit from your efforts, thanks!

Rich Waugh (in case anyone thinks the alias is for cover)
  vicopper - Tuesday, 12/10/02 17:17:37 GMT

Rich Waugh:
Your situation is much the same as mine. Most of the regulars know who you are and why you use the "handle" that you do.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/10/02 18:38:40 GMT

Yea, I'm following the burner comments also, even printing a few for my Forge file. I just finished a two burner sidearm forge with stainless flares, .045 tweco tip,chokes, ignitor and idle circuit. The burners worked great after a little tuning and I am now experimenting and tweaking. All my tweaking and research are going to the ABBA meeting this weekend in preperation for the gas forge workshop. So... please carry on. :)
Tone - Tuesday, 12/10/02 21:58:57 GMT

Rob C - euroanvils and old world anvils - I bought a 167-lb from Steve at Euroanvils at Tannehill in September. Really like it. Still think maybe I should've got the 260-lb. But it's great for me and I'm happy as can be with it. I had used both the London pattern and the double horn euro pattern before I bought, and knew I liked the double horn. I'm as happy with this anvil as with any I've used, and that's about 9 or 10 so far, with meetings at different shops and so on.

Tony, another vote for using BW on the burner stuff. I'd be fascinated even if I thought I'd built my last forge. But thinking about making more, well, this is REALLY good stuff.

I looked at the sidearm last night at Ron Reil's site, or the site he links to... Question - with the EZ burner I found it important to have the ability to slide the orifice tube back and forth and rotate it in order to get the jet aimed right. The only adjustment I see on the sidearm would be maybe sliding the orifice tube in and out. I guess machining it right in the middle of the plug and making it straight takes care of the aiming. Do you slide that tube in and out in the process of tuning the sidearm? Does it effect the mix by drawing more or less air in, depending on how far it's inserted?

Steve A - Tuesday, 12/10/02 23:27:54 GMT

Burner Jet Position: I have heard the jet nozzle is supposed to be right at the throut of the burnere tube (at the bottom of the bell). My experience is that it makes no noticeable difference so long as its somewhere in the reducing bell.

Burners are important. Most of us use gas forges at least part time. I dont see how there can be too much discussion of this topic. My gas forges have improved significantly in the last few weeks in large part because of this thread.

My goal is to find a design that is excellent (doesnt have to be optimal), can be made cheaply and easily in a blacksmith shop (no machinist work) and whose tuning is not critical (will work well over a wide range of adjustments). We are very lucky to have someone with an understanding of fluid dynamics take an interest in this topic. It certainly is a cut above our usual babble :)

adam - Wednesday, 12/11/02 00:43:32 GMT

Babble? BABBLE?? Hmmph! Well! All right for you then!! (grin)

All kidding aside, while dissertations on serious subjects are always welcome here, this forum is a tad less formal than the guru's den. Part of that is because I'm a slightly less formal kind of guy, (read slightly more full of bull) than the guru, and I kinda keep an eyeball on this forum for Jock. But it was also intended to be less formal from the opening of anvilfire.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/11/02 03:02:18 GMT

Burners: OK then. Grin. Babble on I will as I make mistakes, reinvent the wheels that Ron Reil, Larry Zoeller and others have made, or learn something. I hope you all know that I am NOT making any calculations. Yet. This is play time for me.

Steve A. the orifice holder I used in the sidearm is a 1/8" schedule 80 pipe nipple that I drilled and tapped for the 1/4-28 (fine) threads that the Hobart and Miller mig tips have. The plug is drilled 13/32 or 27/64 depending on how smooth the nipples are, and two set screws go in the plug flats 90 degrees apart. So you can loosen the set screws that hold the nipple and either rotate it or slide it in and out. Yes, I did try different locations for tuning. There seems a pretty wide range of acceptable in/out with the burner in still air. My goal to reduce excess air might tighten that up a bit. I'll let you know.

Excess air equals flexibility to some degree. Can't and don't want to completely eliminate excess air, just want to minimize it for the hottest flame that will do the most work. I intend to play as I go, but eventually I'd like a pourous wall cylindrical forge where the wall of the forge IS the burner. The entire cylindrical wall of the forge would be one flame. Not nearly as safe as the usual designs, but it would sure heat iron! grin. That kind of catalyzed combustion yields a higher flame temp. Some muffle kilns were built that way, but the pourous flame holder was nothing more than fire brick rubble. We'll see where we go.

I think the real key for alingnment of the mig tip is to do the plug drilling with the burner assembled reasonably tight. You can line up the burner tube by using a big drill bit in the drill press. Then screw on the tee and screw the plug in for drilling without moving the location of the burner tube. Drilling without a drill press will probably mean having to bend the nipple or the mig tip. I couldn't do it to my satisfaction without the drill press.

None of the construction details were my idea. All from Larry Zoeller or Ron's site. Except the venturi and orifice plate. I didn't get those from anyone. Or the ball valve choke. Or the sliding flat plate choke on the sidearm. Others probably did them, but I am not aware.

Rich/VIC, I figured that out one day when you said Virgin Islands here. VIC work OK for you or do you prefer the whole vicopper?

- Tony - Wednesday, 12/11/02 04:14:35 GMT

Burners and Handles: Tony, Thanks again for the efforts you're putting into "playing" with burner designs. As I said, I cheerfully swipe knowledge, and I try my best to steal from the finest and most knowledgeable sources.

I built my burners along the line of the T-Rex, but without any machine equipment, so they're a bit crude. They do work, but I know that they can be made much more efficient by better alignment of the gas jet and better mixing. Without better machine tools, concentricity has been a hit-or-miss thing, I'm afraid. The high variability of off the shelf plumbing fittings is a nightmare, and I'm thinking of going to something more consistent on the next round. Maybe try to get some DOM tubing or some such.

I, too, would like to come up with a burner flare that was more fireproof, although I've had very good luck with Larry Zoeller's flares.

On my T-rex types, I crudely "milled" the air slots with a very sloppily cobbered-together arrangement using an old clamp screw from a defunct chop saw and some angle iron. The results were a bit haphazard, but quicker than drilling and filing. For a choke, I just took a scrap of SS sheet and made a flanged wrap with a clamp screw that slides up and down over the slots. Works pretty well and is easy to adjust hot. I used 1/8" pipe for the mig tip holders, and I have found that there seems to be a very wide range of acceptable positioning in the airstream.

I used 3/4" pipe for the body of the things, but I think I should have used 1" for the air slot section and then dropped down to 3/4" for the burner tube. I notice that Rex's burners are made that way, and all accounts say they're about the best available. When I get some time to try it, I'll make one that way and see how it compares.

As far as names go, I don't get too excited by them. I usually just use my own given name, but somehow I got signed up here with a "screen name", which is fine too. I don't care how it gets shortened...whatever's convenient for you is what seems appropriate. Twenty years in law enforcement has me desensitized to what people call me. {GRIN}

Keep up the informative banter!

vicopper - Wednesday, 12/11/02 16:38:27 GMT

burner babble: Paw Paw I didnt mean to offend anyone. I have nothing against babble. We all need to talk (I know I do) and sometimes about nothing in particular. This is a very nice place to hang out. But every now and then we drift into a topic that is actually useful.

Let me add a brick to this tower of babble:

Off the shelf plumbing parts are ok. When I had no forge at all it was a lifesaver. However, with a forge and anvil at hand, I feel its easy enough to make parts that are smoother, more accurate and neater than plumbing parts. I am not boasting here - I am no great shakes as a smith so when I say "easy" I mean it!

To make a Trex style burner I neck down 2" dia pipe until its about 3/4" ID and then weld (OA torch) it on to a pc of 3/4 pipe. (2" is a bit large but I am at high altitude and air is thin) Then I slip a 5/8" mandrel into the joint and forge it down snug. This cleans up the weld and provides a constriction for venturi action. To true up the burner, I heat up the neck and then slip a long rod down the tube so it projects through the bell end and tap the bell until it looks concentric about the rod ( first time I measured the gap but found I can do as well by eyeball) Since I make the neck a bit narrower than the tube, the rod needs to be shimmed at the nozzle end so it does no float around. I cut up beer cans (avoid cheap imports).

To make the slots, I drill a set of four holes just above the bell and then with a hacksaw make a pair of parallel cuts for each so that I have four open ended slots each ending in a neat round hole. Actually, I think this is overdoing it. The burners are getting plenty of air and a row of holes would work well too.

For the gas jet I am using ss brake line tubing. I braze the end of the tube shut and then drill it out to the required jet size. To align it I take a pc of tubing that is as long as the whole burner, slip it in the jet holder until it projects out the end of the burner nozzle - tweak the holder till it looks concentric.

Things I am fixing to try out: Use ss hypo tubing for the last inch of the gas jet - no fussing with #70 bits and less interference. Instead of parallel slots, cut shallow V's so that the gap widens as the choke is drawn back. Necking down the throat to a small dia - say 3/8" to increase the venturi action.

Muffle kilns: Interesting! I have been daydreaming about a sort of "gas powered coal forge" : ) shaped much like a regular coal forge but filled with crumbled fire brick into which would be pumped a mixture gas and air. The idea being to get the flexibility and easy access of a coal forge combined with the convenience of gas.

Ok. That was several bricks. I should shut up now :)
adam - Wednesday, 12/11/02 18:06:42 GMT

Adam burners: Adam, either by accident or great minds, we are going in the same directions. Since you have much operational experience with your burners and forge, would you try a smaller venturi in the inlet end of your 3/4" tube? If you give me the ID of your tube, 5/8 even? I'll try to make a venturi and send it to you to see if you get hotter flame. I tried one 5/16" bore and it did cut down the air dramatically.

Search for surface combustion, porous burner, that kind of thing for the muffle kiln idea. I have the info from Marks Handbook where they discuss the concept, but not the details. Right now, I am working with stainless steel screen for the flame holder for the radiant burner idea. For a gas coal forge, you might try stainless screen under the firebrick rubble. I think the sidearm or TRex could easily supply the gas/air mix. I have huge amounts of 40 mesh .010 wire stainless screen. The salvage guy got a roll and didn't know what to do with it so it followed me home.

Instead of cutting shallow v's in the mixer section of burner, you might cut the v's in the sliding choke instead. That's what I did for the sliding choke on the sidearm. Better low end control of flame with notches instead of rounded slots.

I think I will have to be playing with diesel injectors and maybe an injection pump for the next little while. Might not get to burner stuff.
- Tony - Wednesday, 12/11/02 18:59:50 GMT

Dave Masse, email me, please, I've lost your address.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/11/02 19:50:37 GMT

Relax friend. No one was offended, nor was I complaining. Just explaining for new folks who might not understand.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/11/02 19:53:44 GMT

burner flares: vicopper etc,
Wouldn't a ceramic flare be most fire proof?

At least i would think so. But as you said Larry's flares are fairly cheap and easy.....
Ralph - Wednesday, 12/11/02 20:36:38 GMT

Old World Anvils: RobC.
I have a 45lbs Old World Anvil, and am extremely happy with it. It is very solid, has a nice ring, is not exceptionally hard, but for the price is much better than expected, and Dave, the owner of the firm is a joy to work with. He is also a smith himself. I would not hesitate to buy another anvil from him at any time. Email me and I will send you pics if you want them.
Bond-JamesBond - Wednesday, 12/11/02 22:21:01 GMT

Burner flares: Ralph- I really like the idea of a ceramic burner flare. I was raised in Boulder, CO just a few miles from the Coors Brewery and Ceramics plant. They made some incredible pyroceram stuff for lab ware and space shuttles. I bet they could whip up a nifty burner flare for about ten grand...

Seriously, I think that if the right method could be found to cast very high alumina flares that were a slip fit for standard pipe, they would be durable enough to fit into the shell of a forge as a burner holder/flare. I haven't really looked into what it would take to make the alumina flares, though.

Adam- What do you use to hold the gas tube? I followed your construction description (and I'm going to try it out), up until the bit about the open ended slots for the air. I can't figure out what holds the orifice tube. Is the 2" that you made the venturi out of threaded on the large end for a reducer that holds the orifice tube? I'd really like to see a picture of one of your burners, if you could post one to the Yahoo site or email it to me. You and Tony seem to have a good handle on the whole burner issue, far better than I do, anyway.
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/11/02 23:57:54 GMT

Sad news:
Just got an email in.

Ralph Zimmerman, Life Member of the NCABANA passed away today. Ralph was in his 90's, last of a line of six
generations of blacksmiths. A fine man and a good friend.

He's gone, but he'll not be forgotten. The blacksmithing museum at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds is named after

I'll miss him.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/12/02 00:31:22 GMT

ceramic burner flares: Has anyone tried using a bit of rammable? Might want them on the thick side, but should work.
- Daryl - Thursday, 12/12/02 02:18:58 GMT

sad news: Paw Paw, fine men and good friends are both getting to be rare things. I believe we'll all miss your friend more as time passes. I'll give a sad farewell to Mr. Zimmerman, though I never met him, on your word alone. Much sympathy.
Eggleston - Thursday, 12/12/02 08:04:38 GMT

Anybody know of any good lost foam casting sites. all I could find were the Ray-Vin site, (which seemed to be kinda skimpy in my nevertobehumble opinion), and a lot of industrial stuff. I need good backyard stuff. Best regards, 3dogs
3dogs - Thursday, 12/12/02 09:00:33 GMT

Burner flares, etc:
Ralph, yes, refractory flares work well. Most industrial burners use refractory flares. Called "burner blocks" There are many different grades of refractory for different applications. Generally, the more resistant to nasty atmospheres, the higher the price. Smithing forges would not need a high grade. I have not made any small refractory flares yet, but will. Jock was talking about some different methods on the guru page a week or two ago. I think there is some discussion on Ron Reils site also. Rammable should work. Castable certainly. If I remember correctly, the burner blocks and much of the high alumina stuff is pressed and fired. No idea what the temperatures for firing are. I DO know that the refractory burner blocks are fragile. Don't wanna hit one with the work in the forge. We always tried to install them in such a manner that if they cracked, they didn't fall apart and into the furnace. Like a tapered outside shape. Bigger on the shell side of the forge or furnace.

VIC, I used to buy a lot of 97% alumina wear resistant ceramic tiles from Coors and Ferro. I still wanna try a hunk of that bedded on a shaft anvil with a thin layer of hard epoxy to see how it works to keep an anvil from sucking heat out of the work. Especially in this cold weather time of the year.

And then I remember that I could just forge on a rock. Grin.

Paw Paw, sorry to hear about Ralph Zimmerman. Hoisted a beer glass in his name last night.

I'm looking at these removed diesel injectors and thinking about a diesel fired, pulsed combustion forge. I just can't seem to shut off the noggin some days. Grin.
- Tony - Thursday, 12/12/02 13:16:44 GMT

Joe and Tony, Thanks!
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/12/02 14:35:02 GMT

vicopper....: Boulder..... I worked at the Furr's cafeteria for a while there in Boulder. I lived in Longmont. Where I met my wife.
Sure am glad i lived there.... otherwise I would not have someone to keep me out of trouble and be my friend and partner...
Ralph - Thursday, 12/12/02 15:40:22 GMT

burner flares again... still?: Why not make the 'flare' and intragal part of the liner. I mean make the liner out of rammable or castable but have the burner port (inlet) a flared one. That way all you do is slip burner tube into hole adn you are done.
Or do you have to have the burner actually sticking out into the forge space? I do not see why you would but then again I know nothing... Just ask my wife...
Ralph - Thursday, 12/12/02 15:43:16 GMT

Rich, yes I omitted the propane tube holder from my description mainly because I am not entirely satisfied with what I have. There are a lot of ways to do this since it has little effect on the burner function so long as the end of the pipe is closed off. I found some brass couplers with NPT on one side and compression on the other that are a very snug sliding fix on the ss brakeline tubing. I cut a piece of 1/2
  adam - Thursday, 12/12/02 18:30:18 GMT

burner construction - long, rambling: Rich, yes I omitted the propane tube holder from my description mainly because I am not entirely satisfied with what I have. There are a lot of ways to do this since it has little effect on the burner function so long as the end of the pipe is closed off. I found some brass couplers with NPT on one side and compression on the other that are a very snug sliding fix on the ss brakeline tubing. I cut a piece of 1/2" strap to the ID of the 2" pipe, and drilled it out in the center, OA welded it into the pipe across a diameter and brazed the coupler into the hole. I also file a flat and drill and tap a small hole for a clamp screw. Solder would be better I guess but I dont have much experience with solder outside of electrical work and I had trouble getting it to wet the steel. Then I cut out a 2" dia circle from thin sheet metal punch a hole in the center and slide it over the coupler. Pretty much this was a "follow your nose" design with heavy influence from my odds and ends box. I think your idea of a screwed on reducer with a drilled out end plug - or something similar - is probably the best way to go but I was in "make it myself mode" : )

To neck down the pipe I used a guillotine tool first time - this gives a bell shaped transition which is a bit abrupt. The others I did just with the hammer in a V block and this gives an nice cone - not that I can see any difference in performance. Rather than use tongs and get an off center grip, I worked with a 2' length of tube which made it easy for me to keep the work concentric. Just working patiently at orange heat rotating the work all the time and it was easy to do a good job. I trimmed the uneven forged end with my bandsaw and then cut it off at about 4" to length. I have also done this with exhaust tubing thinking but I found that darn tricky - the thin walls fold up very easily. I got my proportions by dnloading pix from and taking measurements off those - I am a shameless thief - good thing I am out of your jurisdiction! :) The outside of the reducer gets a hammered texture of course but the inside stays quite smooth. In fact I was rather surprised how easy it was with the help of a mandrel to get a nice smooth bore and a concentric bell. Brief fantasies about black powder weapons. However, when necking down the reducer, the pipe seam had a tendency to open up - I fixed this with a quick torch weld and abandoned any ideas of making gun barrels out of black pipe.

Actually I have been making mostly 1/2" burners (modeled after Rex Price's Shorty) which I find a more convenient size - the 3/4" make a HUGE flame. For the 3/4" I use a #62 orifice and for the 1/2" a #70. Orifice sizes are very much altitude dependant - the higher you are the more air you need to entrain and this in turn requires higher operating pressures. I choose the orifice to be the largest dia for which I can make the flame run neutral throughout its operating range. If I cant get rid of the green flame I change to a smaller jet. The very low end of range will always run rich - at some point you just arent drawing air - but over the useful operating range the burner should be able to run neutral.

The 3/4" burners use Zoeller's flares - for the 1/2" burner I found some 1" ss tube that just slid over the end and cut about 1.5". At some point I hope to make a mandrel so I can make flares any size. But for forges, ceramic/refractory flares are the way to go IMO - going to try and cast some out of refractory.

I need to buy a digital camera soon. I will make some sketches and scan them in if you like - although I am a bit embarassed - I am very inept and I have seen your drawings on iForge - they are beautiful!

Tony: I will try your suggestion of a venturi constriction at the throat of the tube. I think I can do this by necking down around a mandrel. Thanks for your kind offer to send me one - if I fail I will take you up on that.
- adam - Thursday, 12/12/02 18:32:09 GMT

burners: Adam, no problem. I was intending to learn from your experience with the venturi. I do a little work, you do some, we both (all) learn. I'm not really that kind. grin. It takes only about 10 minutes to make a brass one on the lathe if I have enough caffeine in me. Grin. I'm going to try to make a flat orifice plate tonight and see how that compares to the venturi. Postal shipping something that light is cheap, so if you speak up before 4:30 CST today, I can machine one. Just need to know OD. Length would be about 1.25 to 1.5"

Ralph, industrial burners have the burner block just bricked in with the rest of the refractory. I've not seen a castable shell furnace with the flare integral with the castable, but I don't see why it wouldn't work.
- Tony - Thursday, 12/12/02 19:55:26 GMT

gassers etc: I have thought a long time about how I will build my next gasser. And I will be using the idea of having the flare as part of the lining...
But that will be a long time off... I do have a perfectly useable coal forge, and a commercially bought NG forge at home..... tho I need to re-line the gasser.....
Ralph - Thursday, 12/12/02 20:15:02 GMT

Burners: Adam, thanks for clearing up my question. After reading what you've done, I think I'm going to try building a new burner for my baby forge, as a prototype for the big forge.

I realize now, after reading what you and Toy have posted, that I failed to create a proper venturi when I made the original burners. They were made from 3/4" pipe all the way, basically. So this time I'll start with some 1-1/4" and forge it down to mate with the 3/4", creating a venturi area. Weld that on to the end a foot and a half of 3/4", using your method of keeping it concentric. Then I can forge the other end down around a round mandrel to make the gas tube holder. A piece of round rod the right diameter that is bushed to fit the 3/4" concentrically should get me lined up pretty well to have the jet come out centered in the bore. After that, broach it for a nice fit on some tubing to hold a mig tip and a couple of set screws and I'm in business. Make a sliding choke like the ones I've been using, cuz that's the easiest way I know to make them.

If I had a lathe, it would be easier to get the orifice exactly centered, but I think that the above method will get around my lack of a lathe well enough.

You guys think of anything I should do differently, or any pointers I could use?

Duh...I neglected to mention that the reason for the length of the 3/4" pipe is just to give me a handle and a longer axis for concentricity. I'll chop that down to a reasonable length and stick one of Larry's flares on the end after its all made.
vicopper - Friday, 12/13/02 00:39:37 GMT

See what's happened? A casual remark, followed by some general conversation, and a concrete project has developed for one of the members.

That's what I love about this medium.
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/13/02 02:14:04 GMT

Watson , I need you! Burner stuff:
VIC, have at it. But read on.

Adam, I turned you a venturi last night while I was making my orifice plates. Then I went home and with the 5 extra minutes I had before family stuff, I played with the orifice plates.

Ya gotta try an orifice plate!

Iím all but positive that I have eliminated unnecessary excess air. Both the venturi and the orifice plate significantly reduced the excess air and still left excellent control at both low and high end. The orifice plate is just a lot easier to make than the venturi. For those that may not know, an orifice plate is nothing more than a washer with the center hole having sharp edges. Some have a tapered sharp edged hole, but I donít think that will be necessary. When a gas goes through an orifice plate, much turbulence is generated due to the sharp edge of the hole. That turbulence gives excellent mixing of the propane and air. The orifice plate also reduces the total air flow through the burner like we use the typical choke. The key difference between the orifice plate and the choke on the inlet air flow is that the orifice plate enhances mixing better AND reduces the excess air that flows around the outside of the gas stream leaving the orifice. You can change orifice plates with different hole sizes to change the flame type and burner capacity.

The orifice plate along with the changeable mig tip and gas pressure control should give us an EXCELLENT flexible burner! In either a TRex style or a sidearm. I think a concentric bell design like the Ron Reil would benefit also.

With a 5/16 hole orifice plate, 50 psi gas upstream of the needle valve and a .035 mig tip in a Larry Zoeller picture sidearm burner, I had a nice bushy radiant flame 5 feet long and 18 inches in diameter! You couldnít stand closer than 3 feet to it. MUCH hotter than what was coming out of the sidearm before. And I could turn the gas down with the needle valve to get a stable bic lighter size flame. The sliding air choke setting is MUCH less important and virtually unnecessary. Now, with the orifice plate, the gas flow almost completely controls the air flow by venturi action through the orifice, not the choke. But the gas flow does not take too much excess air along with it because the orifice plate blocks it.

With one extreme, I was NOT able to get a fully defined center cone. The venturi allowed the center cone, but not the first orifice plate. But if you want the center cone and a oxidizing flame, you can simply remove the orifice plate or venturi and have a typical sidearm burner. A larger hole orifice plate might alow the center cone and an oxidizing flame.

The orifice plate is of the correct diameter so it can be set inside the threads of the tee and the burner tube screwed in as usual to hold the orifice plate in place between the end of the burner tube and the tee threads. Tapered threads allow this. The venturi simply slides into the upstream end of the burner tube and has a collar to hold it from sliding downstream. Both can be removed easily by unscrewing the burner tube from the tee. For a completed forge I suppose I will use a 1" drill and drill out most of the threads in the tee and use a plain end pipe (sanded down for a slip fit in the drilled 1" hole) or 1" tube for burner tube and hold the burner tube into the tee with set screws similar to how the flare is held on the end of the burner tube. The orifice plate will sit between the end of the pipe and the remaining threads in the tee. Might also need an o ring in there to keep mixed gas and fuel from leaking out and burning in the wrong spot. I'll let that fester in the noggin and try different arrangements. If anyone else has an idea, let me know.

The orifice plate I tried last night was brass (easy to machine) 1/8" thick or so, .900 OD for a 3/4" pipe burner tube, with a 5/16" drilled center hole. Must try different center holes. Orifices erode and will have to be replaced. Hardened steel is best, but harder to make since the drilling should be done after heat treating to get the sharp edges. A drilled piece of sheet metal should work. Take the burr off but leave a sharp edge. A standard 5/16" plain washer has a .344 hole and a .875 OD. the hole edges are not sharp, but it might work OK. A hardened SAE flat washer might be another good way to go for those without a lathe. Might need to shim it a little on the OD or file it down for a press fit into the 3/4" burner tube. it is not important to seal perfectly around the outside of the orifice plate.

I think any blacksmith should be able to make and harden a good orifice plate, huh?

Now we just need to figure out how to get an orifice plate in the forged style burner like Adam did. Instead of forge welding the bell to the burner tube, ya need a flanged or socket or threaded arrangement so you can get the orifice plate in. Forging the venturi in would work like Adam described, but not having the ability to change orifice plates (washers) would reduce flexibility. There will be a generally good venturi size and shape for a given burner size and someone could develop that, but I personally like being able to change stuff. So a changeable mig tip and changeable orifice plate or venturi will be the way to go for me. Even though I recognize that once I get something I like, I will probably change it infrequently. Grin.

Iím excited, but not done fine tuning. Gotta try in the forge now. Do I need to post a picture or are the words clear enough?

Higher elevations will need a larger hole in the orifice plate to let in more air like Adam said. The changeable orifice plate would facilitate that.

Industrial burners use orifice plates to control air and gas flow. I just moved the orifice plate into the burner.

Maybe I should just make these things and sell them? Nah. Like Paw Paw, I like this mutual help thing!

BTW, I kinda like Adam's brake tubing idea. Easy to bend to center the orifice. Sure canít bend the schedule 80 1/8" pipe nipple! Maybe brazing a 1/4-28 threaded plug to the end of the brake tubing so you could have the changeable mig tip would be mixing the best of both worlds. I forgot to get some SS horse needles from the farm supply when I was there last night. I still want to try that too. Set up so I can just change needle sizes. Must make the ends of the needle square though.

I LOVE FLAME! Under control of course!

Or flying through the air from a treb shot.....

Or a nice big bonfire......

Or a good forge fire.....

I guess all flame as long as no one is getting hurt. Grin!
- Tony - Friday, 12/13/02 15:48:06 GMT

Orifice Plate: Tony-

If you can post a picture, by all means do so! I think I understand, and I'm going to spend a little time this afternoon drawing until I figure out how to do it with the forged bell. I think I've worked out a good way to do a centered gas tube, and I'll let you know after I try it.

This is great! I have a feeling that we're on the verge of a significant advance in burners. Thanks!
vicopper - Friday, 12/13/02 16:49:19 GMT

Pictures, more orifice plate:
Paw Paw, how do we post a picture? I will not post on the Yahoo site, sorry, don't like Yahoo, don't want my pictures on Yahoo. I'll try to get the wife to bring home her digital camera. In the past I have sent a .jpg to Jock. But that's been years.

I should also say that the mig tip is fairly close to the orifice plate and should be well centered. Maybe 1/2" between the end of the mig tip and the orifice plate. I'm also not sure how well different orifices will work. it "should" be very important to have straight gas flow out of the orifice. A short drilled orifice might not work as well. I've not tried it.

VIC, see this for a general picture of an orifice plate ( This one has a tapered center hole and as I said, that is probabaly unnecessary for our purposes. I might try a tapered hole at some point. The sharp edge on both sides of the hole IS a good idea. Much of the turbulence is from the sharp edge.
- Tony - Friday, 12/13/02 17:36:56 GMT

burners: Rich,
I think your plan sounds great! You are going to neck down the mixer at both ends and the back end will hold the propane jet? Simple and elegant. The finished burner will look very cool.

I do the same thing as you for chokes

Of course with this method you cant cut open ended intake slots but a column of holes would serve just as well. I do think you need more than one hole at each intake port. At high pressure the burner draws so much air it only needs a tiny opening but at low pressures it needs a large intake aperture. But more holes is something you can do later.

Tony: I'd love to try out an orifice plate. My address:
Adam Whiteson
3089 Villa
Los Alamos
NM 87544

If I understand, this goes right at the throat where the reducer meets the burner tube? Necking down wont give the sharp edges you say boost the mixing - I would never have guessed this was a desirable thing! I am sure I can make something out of a washer like you suggest and if it seems necessary, I could case harden it. Or I could cut off and drill out a pc of O1 drill rod. I am very surprised to hear that they wear away but then again , I have no experience with high pressure gas jets and what they can do.

If you were to make complete burners, I am sure ppl would buy them. A lot of folks just want something ready to go. I am constantly amazed at the number of ppl who buy gas forges for big $$ when they are quite easy and cheap to make.

Ralph, IMO you are quite right - for a forge, forming the taper integral to the shell is the way to go.

I agree with PawPaw and Rich , this IS exciting :)
adam - Friday, 12/13/02 20:11:12 GMT

Adam, VIC:
Yes, it goes at the throat where the reducer meets the burner tube. What size would you like the OD and how many, but less than 10. I will make them in brass so you can redrill them easily to determine a good hole size. Also, what is your gas pressure and orifice size. I will probably make them with a 3/16" hole and you can drill it out until it works good. Drill in small increments. Like maybe 1/64" at a time.

VIC, you want any? What size? How much is a priority mail envelope to you? No, I'm not gonna send some to everyone. But if someone else is willing to do distribution, I would make a bunch and send them to a third person.

It really is something you can cut out of sheet metal, or cut off a rod and drill. It takes a while for them to wear. I won't be making any until next week.
- Tony - Friday, 12/13/02 21:46:26 GMT

Burners: Tony- Thanks for the info on the location of the orifice plate, relative to the orifice. I'll be using the Tweco mig tips I have on hand. (I bought a couple dozen of them because I like the tapered profile.) I just got a new set of taps so I should have the metric one needed for the Tweco tips, I hope.

After doing a bit of drawing (when I was supposed to be paying attention to a boring seminar), I think I'll neck down the air tube at both ends and make it so that it fits over the main burner tube. I can braze a small stop ring inside it so that the orifice plate can be held in by the main burner tube, which will be held to the air tube by a couple fof tiny set screws. I'll make it pretty much of an interference fit so it won't leak and the set screws will be just insurance. That should make the orifice plate changeable without too much trouble, too.

I'm going to try to pick up some SS brake line tubing and see about mating it to the Tweco mig tip and to a gas valve at the other end. If it can be made to work well, it should make a nice looking burner that will be very adjustable and durable.

If you don't want to post your pictures on Yahoo, you can just email them to me. If you don't mind, I can go ahead and post them on the Anvilfire Yahoo with or without attribution, as you wish. If you don't want them posted, then I won't.

Another thought: If a feller wre to make a very efficient burner, as we hope to do, could he then feed the output mixture to a "manifold" that fed say, a couple dozen small flame ports across the roof of a forge? Or would that require more than atmospheric pressure? I ask this for a couple of reasons.

1. I think it would make a pretty nice forge with very even heat distribution.

2. I've always wanted a propane-fired gas grill that got really hot for properly searing steaks and such. The regular burners just don't crank out enough BTU's to suit me. I've thought about adding forced draft, but I'd be happier with an atmospheric burner that just worked way better. Your thoughts?

Adam- Thanks for the nice words. I realize that I'll have to do a bit more work to do the air slots this way, but I think I have that covered. I picked up a couple of nice solid carbide end mills and burrs a while back and I think I can use them in the drill press to clean out a series of drilled holes to get nice slots with sharp edges. I may even know a guy who has a small mill drill that I can use, which would make it really easy.

On the neck for the gas tube, I'm considering threading the outside of it and slitting it to make a compression collar sort of thing to allow moving the tube and locking it. My thought is that this would keep it centered pretty well, at least better than set screws, which tend to gall the surface of the tube and make it hard to slide later. We'll see.

The more we toss this around, the more enthusiastic I get about the whole project. Now I want to make an improved version of my little freon can forge to get the most out of the new, soon-to-be improved burner(s).

Thanks again, guys!
vicopper - Friday, 12/13/02 22:12:55 GMT

Orifice Plates: Tony- Thanks for the offer, but it really isn't necessary. I'll just carve one out of some 14ga MS plate and try it. I can get it concentric with the drill press and a file and the way I plan to retain it relies on the flat surface for "sealing", so I should be fine, I think. I do appreciate the offer though, and I'll remember it when I need something really exotic! {grin}

I'm going to try to get this thing started this weekend. If I get something together that seems good, I'll send you a picture of it.
vicopper - Friday, 12/13/02 22:21:16 GMT

I realize that I am probably preaching to the choir, but Vicopper, are you sure that your drill press will spin fast enough to run those carbide endmills without chipping, or breaking them?
Bond-JamesBond - Saturday, 12/14/02 01:32:31 GMT

Manifold burners: VIC, the orifice plate turbulence sucks up much of the velocity in the burner tube. So if you want one mixer to feed multiple flame holders, you might be better off with a typical sidearm. Much more mix velocity in the tube after the throat.

Also remember that the unburned mix is flammable, so you have a reservoir of flammable mix in the piping between the mixer and multiple burners. Less safe.

Can be done though. Not much different than the burner on a typical gas grill or oven? One orifice, multiple holes in the burner. Similar concept to the pure radiant, surface combustion tube burner I was talking about. Except that has many thousand very small flame ports. Grin.

Let me get some pictures taken. Hopefully next week. I'd really rather not have them on Yahoo though. Thanks for the offer!
- Tony - Saturday, 12/14/02 02:44:57 GMT

Stump anvil?: I have recently purchased an anvil in central West Virginia in the United States. I found the name Owen with 2 T below the name and the number 23672 or 28672 verticle to the name Owen. The anvil is fastened to a cherry stump. The base that is fastened to the stump is of triangle shape and has a bolt at the peak of the anvil and four other bolts in pairs of two evenly spaced apart fastening it on to the stump. The horn of the anvil is in a cone shape with the end of the horn having a small flat place on top of it. The edlerly gentleman that I purchased the anvil from called it a wagon anvil or stump anvil. If you have any information concern the name. type, and use of this anvil , please email me at Thank you Joe
- Joe Singleton - Saturday, 12/14/02 02:51:50 GMT

Drill Press: Bond- I'm more concerned that the drill press quill is nowhere near rigid enough to adequately support the mill. Mills are run at slower speeds than most people think, they just run with a bunch of power and are rigid enough all the way around to make them cut cleanly. High cutter speed is often a good way to burn up a mill. Carbide will tolerate it better than HSS, but mills generally don't run fast, from what I recall of my very limited experience in a machine shop a couple of decades ago.
vicopper - Saturday, 12/14/02 04:07:50 GMT

Burner: Tony- You pretty much confirmed what I thought on the multiple outlet burner idea. Guess I'll have to put a blower on the ole gas grill. (grin)

No problem with keeping the pics off of Yahoo.
- vicopper - Saturday, 12/14/02 04:09:59 GMT

carbide endmills: VC. Quite right about the rigidity. However today's Carbide endmills are almost all coated with something. These materials require a certain amount of heat to cut properly. This heat is generated by rpm and feed rate. Interestingly enough, you can't slow down the rpm and adjust the feed rate to get the same amount of heat, I'm not sure why, but it just doesn't seem to work very well. Depending on what your particular setup is, I would spin the endmill up until the flutes start to blur, and then kick it up another notch or two and try that. The number of flutes on your particulay endmills will vary the speed and what you can do with it also.
More on cutting and heat:Here is an intriguing little tidbit I learned while I was CNC machining for a while. Carbide needs the heat at the POINT OF THE CUT, not on the rest of the endmill, so the best way we found to run them is to push them fast and hard, so that a little(little being a relative term)heat builds up at the cutting edge, but the rest of the endmill is cooled. It also helps push the chip away; another big problem when milling with carbide. It is very brittle, and any little chip that is left in the cut can snap an endmill right now.
Just trying to save you an endmill or two, but let me know if you prove me wrong. While not a gas user, I'm definately interested in the machining and engineering aspect of what you are doing here.
Bond-JamesBond - Saturday, 12/14/02 04:23:23 GMT

Endmills: Bond- Thanks for that information. I'll just have to do the best I can with what I've got. If I discover anything surprising, I'll let you know. What you say about feed rate is true for most endmills, I know. One of the reasons that milling machines aren't built like drill presses is the necessity of being able to force feed them at a rate that keeps the bit "biting cool". My best guess is that I'll wind up using he burrs more than the mills, and running them pretty fast. I'll try it all and see what works in the Mickey Mouse arrangement I'm working with. Thanks!
vicopper - Saturday, 12/14/02 11:55:11 GMT

No problem, good luck!
Bond-JamesBond - Saturday, 12/14/02 13:46:26 GMT

Burners. Orifice testing:
I've now done all the testing I can think of with a 3/4" sidearm burner without putting burners in the forge and doing exhaust gas analysis. Comparing a typical regulator and choke setup, with and without orifice plate in the burner throat, to no regulator with orifice plate. All of this was done with a 3/4" pipe burner tube with a Zoeller and my own flares. Miller mig tips, 1-1/4 by 3/4 by 1-1/4 tee, 1/8" pipe nipple tapped for the mig tips. Testing done in still air with burner in a vise. 20 pound propane cylinder.

There are a few things new that I know. With a Fisher 67 regulator on the cylinder, I have to use a choke to get low flame with any size mig tip. So going from high fire to low fire requires the choke unless I run the flame VERY fuel rich at high flame. Choke nearly closed.

Adding the orifice plate makes the burner a little noisier, but allows the choke to go away. I assume this will carry over to when the burners are in the forge. So if one was forging, and wanted to go to low fire while hammering, no choke adjustment would be necessary along with the gas pressure/flow adjustment. Less stuff to adjust = more hammer time.

With the orifice plate in, I did not need the regulator. A simple needle valve worked fine. I even found it easy to control with just a 1/4" ball valve. This removes a bit of expense. My gas train worked fine with the 20 pounder, gas hose, 1/4" ball valve and 1/8" pipe nipple with mig tip. Adding an idle circuit is an option around the ball valve, but a stop on the ball valve travel would work OK too. The regulator is limited in maximum gas flow because to get low flame, near zero psi gas pressure, the upper regulator setting is 20 psi after the tank cools down a bit. With no regulator, you can get both bic lighter size and a larger flame than with the regulator.

Moving the mig tip away from the orifice plate adds more air to the mix. Closer = less air.

Larger orifice hole = more air and larger flame as you would expect. I can't see a difference in mixing. I tried from 3/16 to 3/8" orifice holes. 3/16 is too small for a .045 tip. 3/8" is too big for the .023 tip and may have too much excess air. 5/16 to 11/32 seems a good hole size and works with any tip size. At least by eye anyway. 3/8 hole gives you a bigger flame with a larger tip like the .045.

Larger orifice = larger flame as you would expect.

The range of flame size using .023 mig tip to .045 mig tip is a lot.

Mig tip to orifice plate hole concentricity is not as critical as I thought it would be.

Adding the orifice plate does not allow you to get as lean (oxidizing) a flame as without the orifice.

I found my flare to require less adjustment than Larry's and I will discuss that with him. Mine is simply a 1" by 3/4" cast concentric reducer with the 1" threads machined out at a 1:12 ratio. About 5 degrees. The 3/4" threads were left on and it just screws onto the end of the 3/4" pipe burner tube. Refractory is still going to be the better way to go for burner flares/flame holders.

If someone runs their typical burner setup at less than 10 psi gas pressure, it looks like the orifice plate won't add much. But if running at higher gas pressure or with no regulator, the orifice plate appears to help mixing and reduce excess air. It also allows you to get a bigger flame out of a given burner because the only limit to upper gas pressure is what your tank can give you.

The next phase will be testing in a forge. And eventually I hope to borrow some exhaust gas analysis equipment to see how efficient the flame is with different variables. The next phase of testing in a forge may take me a while.

Have fun! I must go do some less fun stuff now. Dang! Grin.
- Tony - Saturday, 12/14/02 19:11:51 GMT

Burners: Yesterday I spent too much time freehand forging an air venturi from 1-1/4" pipe. In the final analysis, it was interesting, but not successful. Just too non-concentric.

So today I spent too much time making a guillotine fullering tool, a la PawPaw Wilson, to fuller the pipe down. That was also interesting, though much more successful. Still need to polish the grooves a bit more, but it works fine. Made a couple of candle sticks out of the pipe I screwed up the day before. Makes me want to draw a headboard design using pipe for the legs with fullered finials. Sally seems to think a headboard would be a good project, too. Wait until she has to paint it. {grin}

One thing about fullering the pipe that surprised me was that the necked down portion maintains about the same wall thickness. Seems counter-intuitive, but there it is. I need to do a couple test pieces, taking accurate measurements before and after to see where the metal goes.

Less progress than I'd hoped for, but lots of fun.
vicopper - Sunday, 12/15/02 23:08:35 GMT

If you neck down the end of the pipe first, move down the pipe the same distance as the diameter of the pipe, and neck down again, then saw/file off up that the top, you can forge the pipe into a ball end finial that will "fool the eye" and folks will spend hours looking for the joint. (evil grin)
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/16/02 00:02:39 GMT

i am wondering about an old 400lb. fisher anvil i found. the owner wants a grand for it ad you can get a 400+ haberman euro anvil for a grand as well...
are the fishers forged or cast??
and i will be buying bills book.
  feorge - Monday, 12/16/02 01:42:02 GMT

A grand sounds pretty high to me. A Fisher is a cast iron, steel faced anvil. Doesn't ring and doesn't re-bound as well as a wrought iron or cast steel anivl.

I'd keep looking, if it was me.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/16/02 02:27:14 GMT

Feorge - I have the 167-lb model from euroanvils and am just as happy as can be with it. But I'm pretty attached to the whole double horn anvil shape, myself...

Steve A - Monday, 12/16/02 04:33:29 GMT

burners: This wkend I completed two "shorty" style burners with 5/8" ID burner tubes and 1 5/8" mixers. Flares were short pcs of 1" SS tubing slipped over the nozzle. The throats were necked down to about 1/2" ID. This configuration produces a flame with a well defined cone. In open air the burner will run 0-18 psi. Flame stability is not great but improves as the burner warms up. I have one of thes burners running a mini forge made of some fire brick and kaowool loosely piled up to make a burn chamber. In an enclosed space the flame is a lot more stable and once the forge gets hot it will run at 25 psi - perhaps higher but the regulator on that tank doesnt go past 25psi. I used the hypo tube for the last 1" of the propane jet. This proved easy to work with and a big improvement over fiddling with #70 drill bits.

In an effort to duplicate Tony's venturi plate I necked down the throat to about 5/16". The flame did become bushy but it ran rich (green) at all pressures and flame stability was worse than without. I suspect that a necked down constriction is too smooth to provide turbulence and mixing so I will have to try this on a burner where I can use a real venturi plate. I heated up the throat and stretched it back out to about 7/16" and the burner worked as before.

Just for grins I took a Zoeller flare and using a pc of 1" pipe for a spacer I slipped it over the end of the 5/8" burner tube. The effect was dramatic! The flame was stable 0-45psi (I was testing this burner on a 10lb tank w/o a regulator and the pressure topped out at a bout 45psi). Above 35 psi the flame was starved for air and ran green - but it ran (and roared). The flare obviously creates some back pressure - in fact while sliding it back and forth I found some positions in which the flame was always green - but about 1.25" of flare seemed best. Flame stability was improved markedly at low pressures too. Also, there seemed no need to choke the intake except at very low pressures. 0-35 psi just with the twist of a valve is a tremendous range and makes for an extremely useful burner. The output of this small burner far exceeds that of the 3/4" R Reil burners that I had made previously.

I am a little confused though. I thought the burner flare was supposed to maintain laminar flow and suppress turbulence which in turn should actually increase the air draw? These seem to do the opposite. I also noticed that the burn starts inside the flare right where the burner tube ends. I had been tempted to smooth out this transition but now I wonder if this sharp step is the key to the flare's operation.

Next I plan to make a 3/4" burner according to Rich's plan of necking down both ends of the mixer and making the burner tube removeable. This should allow me to give venturi plates another go.

Rich, necking down pipe is not hard but if you have never done it before it takes a few practice runs to get the feel. A guillotine tool is really useful especially for pipe forging and like Paw Paw says there are a LOT of possibilities with pipe. I too was surprised by the way it behaves when necked down - there is some upsetting but not nearly as much as I expected. Usually what happens is that the walls stretch and the taper grows in length like when working a solid bar. With a guillotine fuller you can get a longer taper by inserting the pipe at an angle instead of normal to the tool blades

Tony, never mind about the venturi - I misunderstood and thought you had something ready to go. I think I can make what I need . However, could you be persuaded to sell a few yards of that SS mesh? I am ready to build a forge or two and it would be very nice to add ss mesh to the refractory
- adam - Monday, 12/16/02 15:57:18 GMT

ViCopper: If you really want to confuse folks, forge the balls from pipe as ppw says but leave only a small reduced section (length) between balls. Heat this section and a small portion on either side and compress the two balls together forcing the reduced section "into" the ball. The two balls will appear to touch with no visable connection.
- Ntech - Monday, 12/16/02 23:54:53 GMT

Rich Waugh: PawPaw- I did just that with a piece of pipe, as a test for a bed post idea I have floating around in my head. Looked really good. Takes an unbelievable amount of time to forge the ball down to half its original diameter, though. I was surprised.

Adam- That sounds like a really good burner. What pipe are you using that has 5/8" id? Black iron pipe or ?? I suppose 1/2" iron pipe is about that. That 1-5/8" mixer tube seems disproportionately big, but who can argue with success? (grin)

I have a surt of intuitive notion that the step created when you slip the Zoeller flare over the 3/4" pipe acts to create an eddy that markedly slows down the speed of the air/gas mixture at that point, creating a stable point for ignition. The center of the pipe has less turbulence, therefore higher speed. That should result in a delay in the ignition of the mixture at the center of the flame, causing the cone shape of the flame. The step slows it down to the point where the gas speed is slower than the flame speed (rate of ignition), so that it keeps the flame in the flare rather than burning beyond the flare where it becomes diffuse and somewhat mixed with atmospheric air which might get a more oxidising flame. Like I siad, this is intuitive; I know little or less about these things.

Glenn- I messed about a bit doing that with a series of "bumps", stacking them up until they looked like the Michelin man. Makes a thing that looks impossible, but isn't. I'm thinking that if you forge one big ball, then a narrower ring next to it, then forge that ring down to about half its original diameter, you could then bump that into the side of the big one fairly deeply, which would look kinda cool. Lots of things yet to try.
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/17/02 02:31:26 GMT

Adam, yes, the necked down venturi probably doesnít give enough turbulence. The machined venturiís can have a sharp transition.

Your spaced Zoeller flare would be nearly the same as the ones I made. I think a bigger jump from the burner tube end to the start of the 5 degree flare is good. The sharp step at the end of the burner tube is good. My burners with my flares have the flame starting at the end of the burner tube also and the flare ďprotectsĒ the flame from turbulence. The end of the burner tube is the flame holder except at very low flame.

Adam, just let me know if you want me to send you a venturi or orifice plate. It really doesnít take me much to make one and I appreciate you trying things. We all learn. I will not be able to make anything from this Thursday until into the first week of next year. but I will be in the machine shop after work tonight again.

The stainless mesh might be too tight for reinforcing refractory. There are 40 .010 wires per inch. hole size is only about .014. But if you want some, the roll is somewhere around 8 feet wide. I can cut off a little for you.

VIC, your intuition is right. The flame holder is a disturbance in the flow that affects velocity.

Once the burners get in a forge, things will change. More back pressure on the flare will affect what a good flare is. A natural draft exhaust with good draw would change what a good flare is also. Ro a recuperator. Anything that changes the pressure in part of the burner system. This is fun!
- Tony - Tuesday, 12/17/02 15:32:25 GMT

Contact me email, please.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/17/02 16:03:55 GMT

Paw Paw: E-mail on the way.
- Tony - Tuesday, 12/17/02 16:27:01 GMT

burners: So the step (and sharp edge) induce turbulence which completes the mixing. This turbulence together with the the larger diameter causes the mix to slow down and ignition occurrs. The flare itself serves to hold the flame together and prevent it from being broken up by the turbulence? Is this right?

Tony, fine mesh will work. I will just cut it up into strips and lay it criss cross like rebar. Mebbe twist them too.

I have a big gas forge with a recuperative design which is very efficient just needs a good burner and a 3/4" burner ought to be just the ticket. I presently have a blower with a mixing chamber and I am not happy with it.

The other forge that I want to make is a sort of kit for a small forge - that is a set of refractory blocks that can be arranged to form a small burn chamber suited to what ever I am working on. I have been doing this with the 1/2" burner and some soft firebrick and kaowool and it works surprisingly well. It is very economical, very quick to heat up and none of this nonsense about the work not fitting in the forge. I plan on making a floor plate and a burner block - that is a large brick with an integral nozzle flare - and a bunch of blocks of varying sizes so I can construct a burn chamber. I would use firebrick but they are so fragile they fall apart just from handling - this is why I am keen on reinforcement.

Rich, yes I use a dia pipe for the mixer - I am anxious about getting enough air. My previous experience with venturi burners at high altitude had been that it was kind of marginal and by the time I managed to get a flame big enough to heat the forge to pale yellow (welding temp) there was so much free oxygen the work would just burn up in scale. These new burners rock! This has been a great step forward for me.

Yes, I have been using black pipe about 5/8" ID - for chokes I found some thin walled tubing (about 1/40") that just slides over the mixer. The stuff came from a kids swing set - makes me very uncomfortable to see how flimsily it was constructed.
adam - Tuesday, 12/17/02 22:58:36 GMT

errata: erm... meant "Rich yes I use a 1 5/8" dia pipe for the mixer..."
adam - Tuesday, 12/17/02 23:01:36 GMT

Very new: Well, it seems I've found a bunch of experts (or at least people who don't randomly burn body parts off) and I have a question. I have wanted to smith for a long while and have recently moved to a house where I have the space. I'm looking to do the hobby thing, hopefully being able to make some SCA quality armour someday. The question is what should I try to come up with first? Should I go ahead and build my forge first? Coming up with an anvil is going to be tough so should I hold off on the rest untill I can find one?
- Aksmith - Wednesday, 12/18/02 01:47:54 GMT

Actually, you have found some experts and some experienced smiths, as well.

Go to the guru's page, and click on the "Getting Started in Blacksmithing" article at either the top or the bottom of the page.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/18/02 02:07:19 GMT

Aksmith: Like the venerable PawPaw Wilson advised, check out the "Getting Started" article. After you've perused that, and with your entusiasm in high gear, check out the article by Eric Thing on making a helmet. That should serve to set your goals high!

You can learn enough here to progress very well as a smith if you read everything, try as much as possible and always try to reach as high as possible. No doubt you can learn more, quicker, if you take classes from a good teacher in a decent studio setting, but...

Eight months ago I decided to get back into metal work after a hiatus of more than a quarter century. I live at the edge of the civilized world, with no experienced smiths nearer than a thousand miles away, so my only option was to teach myself. This website, and its participants, have made possible the growth that I have experienced in the past eight months. I have posted a few pictures of my work at:

From those you may get some confidence that you, too, can teach yourself this craft with the guidance of this forum and some good books. Get all the books you can find on the topic, and study them all. There are a couple dozen different ways to arrive at a given goal, and the more of those ways that you can master, the better you will be able to set new goals that none have reached before.

Above all else, keep an inquiring mind and keep it fun. Good luck!
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/18/02 02:34:35 GMT


Hmm... That's going to cost somebody, something, I haven't quite made up my mind what.

Now I've forgotten what I was trying to decide.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/18/02 02:46:34 GMT

Whatzis I hear about PawPaw comin' down with one of them Venerable diseases? 3dogs
- 3dogs - Wednesday, 12/18/02 14:11:42 GMT

Well! At least, I didn't catch in a social encounter of the inimate kind!
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/18/02 14:19:36 GMT

Paw Paw! You caught a venerable disease from an animal???

couldn't resist...

I know it'll cost me in future.
- Tony - Wednesday, 12/18/02 14:47:39 GMT

Whew! I'm glad you cleared that up for me, Tony. I thought he said "INMATE" 3dogs
- 3dogs - Wednesday, 12/18/02 15:17:36 GMT

Aksmith: 13 months ago I decided to learn to smith. I searched the net thouroughly and landed here. I had exactly zero metalworking skill. I read and re-read every word on this site and decided that this bunch really seemed to know what they were talking about. I followed all the steps on "Getting started". Bought the books, took the welding classes, emptied out the tool shed and built the smithy. the shed thing didn't win me any points with my wife. :} The first metal I struck was the spring for the beat up post vice I bought on the cheap. I learned how to fix the thing HERE. I built the side draft forge with advice found HERE. I learned the basics of quality anvils HERE. I learned where to buy a good firepot HERE. Type of coal? HERE. How to ease the neighbors concerning coal smoke? HERE. You see a patern forming?
I completely agree with you about the abundance of experts on this site. I have also come to value the number of novices and their questions answered on this site. Questions that I may not have thought to ask. Questions I didn't quite know how to ask. I have to point out that all of these questions are answered in the politest way and with no condescension. Even the questions that have been asked a thousand times over. Please never feel you can't ask these people anything. This is far and away the finest bunch of folks I have ever had the pleasure to be associated with.
Today I have a counter full of gifts (treble clefs, rr spike letter openers, dinner bells, bottle openers, etc...) to be wrapped that I was able to make, my wife has a 7.5' curtain rod with Russian rose ends and folded leaf brackets in the bay window.(That one got me some points back for the shed). All of these items were possible from info found HERE. (Iforge demos or variations therof). I'm not bragging by any stretch. I'm just telling you that Anvilfire is the one indespensible tool that made this fledgling smith's dream come true.
You asked which to get first, the anvil or the forge? Well, you're gonna need both so whichever you find/can build first is the one to get. I'll suggest you figure out what kind of forge you want,(gas, coal, oil, charcoal...) where you will be doing your work(indoor shop, open air, the climate...) and an aproximate budget you're working with and post that info here and you will get several detailed answers. You want to pound iron? You stay right HERE. You won't be disappointed.

Sorry to be so long winded. Me happy Gronk
Gronk - Wednesday, 12/18/02 15:53:34 GMT

SCA Armour Smith: Aksmith; 99&44/100's % of SCA armour is done cold with no hot work involved at all. If you are interested in making SCA armour Arador and the Armour Archive are the forums to hang out at.

SO for SCA armour you don't need a forge or an anvil. A whitney punch and a beverly shear and some specialized stakes will be much more useful.

Now that other .0036 armour is some of the best stuff out there made by real top end folk, or just people who are interested in how armour really was made in the medieval and renaissance time periods. Now these folks tend to use specialized equipment as heating large areas of sheet metal and forming it is not what most forges and tooling are designed for.

- Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 12/18/02 16:04:47 GMT

Venerable: Tony and 3dogs,

How long can you guys tread KimChi! Cause you're in it up to the eyebrows! (LOL)


Thank you. That note means more to me than you can imagine. And it will mean just as much to Jock as soon as I can get him on the phone!
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/18/02 16:23:26 GMT

SCA Armour Smith Stats: I have heard that 87.93% of all statistics that are quoted are actually made up on the spot!
adam - Wednesday, 12/18/02 17:03:20 GMT

I don't know about nowadays, but back when I was active in the SCA back in the '80s, it was EXTREMELY rare to see any hot work on armor.

Main tools for the armorer: B2 Beverly shear; #45 Whitney punch; a wide assortment of hammers; a dishing stump; assorted stakes, grinders, buffers, and an English roller.

Anvils were used mostly for the horn which was used for bending and bucking rivets. The hardy hole was used as a place to support some of the stakes. I don't think I ever saw an armorer use the face of his anvil. . .

A MIG welder saw some use too. . .
  John Lowther - Wednesday, 12/18/02 17:51:08 GMT

Paw-Paw; I heard that North Korea was actually re-starting a KimChi plant but told the US it was a nuclear plant to avoid a panic...

Adam; nope that one was made up on a spot far from here! I've been in a *lot* of armour shops during the last 24 years I've been in the SCA and can think of only a couple that included smithing set ups---and those were for folks who did blades as well as armour. I've met some of the high end armourers (the Pennsic Armour Confab is a good place) and they do sometimes work hot and raise as well as dish! but most of their work is done cold as well. If someone is interested oin doing SCA armour, tooling up a smithing set is not a good way to go about it.

Myself I'm trying to get back into doing a bit of armouring, haven't done any in about 20 years as I was lured into smithing. So my long term plan is a pattern welded spangen helm---the billets are easy for me it's the armouring that I need the practice on!

- Thomas Powers - Wednesday, 12/18/02 17:52:37 GMT

Up to what?:
I kinda like KimChi! It's those hundred year eggs I wonder about.

But at the moment I am full of Hungarian goulash(with huge amounts of paprika, onion and real spaetzels), microwave popcorn and coca cola. My eyebrows are sweating from the goulash. Whew!
- Tony - Wednesday, 12/18/02 19:43:39 GMT

Thanx for all the info. I guess I have a little more direction. I had already read/printed the Beginners info, the Drum Forge planns (and a couple others). I've reread Bealer's "The Art of Blacksmithings" so many time the cover is wearing off, and have looked over the helm instructions once or twice. I spent a year at a tech school (several years ago) learning MIG, Stick, Oxy-ace welding, and a little TIG stuff and I'm currently working on some chainmail so I have a little experiance. I guess I just need to do the shoe thing and 'Just do it'. ("It" being hit metal with hammer, not anyone on this Board). I'll keep watch here and maybe someday have something to show for it.
  Aksmith - Wednesday, 12/18/02 21:19:38 GMT

Anytime you have a question, that's what we're here for. Don't hesitate to ask. If we don't know the answer, (and we might not, we don't claim to know more than about 10% of everything. grin) we'll find out for you.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/18/02 21:22:23 GMT

TOOLS: I am a blacksmith and I have recently injured my left hand and will be out of action for maybe a year I need advice on holding tools that do not require full use of hand
P J CONLAN - Wednesday, 12/18/02 23:31:51 GMT

P J Conlan:
Darn! (actually, I said something worse than that, and you probably did too)

But I'm going to pass your question to the guru. I will mention that vice grips were developed by a blacksmith trying to make a better tong. You might have to clamp with the right hand, then manuever with the left, if you have enough mobility to do that.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/18/02 23:59:15 GMT

Injured tong hand: P J Conlan-

You have my sympathy, brother. I don't know just what sort of work you like to do, but maybe a treadle hammer would allow you to use your right hand for holding and your foot for hammering. It definitely won't replace hand hammering entirely, but it might allow you a place to start.

I wish you a speedy recovery
vicopper - Thursday, 12/19/02 00:42:49 GMT

Found HERE:
Gronk, Thank you VERY much!
- guru - Thursday, 12/19/02 04:29:12 GMT

One Armed Smith:
Hmmmmm, I've often thought about what I would do with my legs out of commision. . But thinking about losing the use of a hand would give me nightmares. At least you indicate you are going to get it back.

As VI mentioned a treadle hammer can help. A power hammer too.

Since the trick is manuvering the hot work without a tongs hand the thing to do is work around that. By arranging your forge and anvil at the same level work clamped in tongs anchored to a pivot half way between could easily be flipped from fire to anvil and back using your hammer.

This would have limitations but it WOULD get work to and from the fire. Rotating the work might be difficult. This could be done if the mechanical arm had bearings and rotated. Detents of some sort might be needed to hold the work on the desired axis. If an X shaped handle were mounted on the end off the anvil you could reach out with your hammer and rotate the work 90 degrees with a gentle push, give the work a few more blows and then rotate as needed.

Another help could be a light weight jib crane to hang tongs from. It would a light version of the type used in heavy forging. Between the rotating jib and a trolley you can have good shop coverage. Usualy there is a looped chain that runs in a plain chain wheel. The chain supports the tongs so they can be rotated. But I have also seen tongs with a lifting eye in the rivet so they could be supported from a hook. This keeps the tongs on the chain.

Do you still have use of your arm? A temporary hook type device straped to your arm could be used to manipulate tongs clamped to work and supported by the jib crane. You would have to get the work in the tongs and clamp it with your good hand. But then you could move it around using your arm since no grip is required. Work could be rotated 180 degrees if needed.

I would weld small rings with maybe a 5/8" hole to one rein of the tongs. Then your "hook" would be a relatively short bent piece of about 1/2" round that engaged in the ring so it would "couple" and not come loose unless you wanted it to.
- guru - Thursday, 12/19/02 05:02:09 GMT

One Armed Smith cont.:
There are all kinds of foot operated devices for holding work down to anvils and closing vises. I have never had great need for them but I can see how they would be a great help if you only have one hand. The same device I mentioned for getting work from forge to anvil would work with a vise. However, vises are usualy mounted higher than anvils and worked at standing up. Your pivoting mechanical arm would need to be arranged for the vise work height and the vise aligned so that work could be flipped over and fit between the jaws. I suspect that the vise needs to be aligned so that the line between the jaws points to the forge.

If any of these ideas sound like they would help but you are unclear on the specifics let me know and I will makes some sketches.

I am guessing from your e-mail address that you are from Ireland. Let folks know where you are when you post on these forums. We have folks from all over the world that read they pages as well as post here. You may find that you have friends nearby that will be willing to help you reorganize your shop and help make the tooling to get you back in operation. WE will do all we can from where we are.

Jock Dempsey
- guru - Thursday, 12/19/02 05:19:02 GMT

Kim Chee: Tony, you are obviously a fellow commonsewer of fine ethnic cuisine. I, myself would not tread kim chee, I would sink to the bottom and eat my way out. (After which I would go file an environmental impact report on my shorts.) Thus endeth the "Venerable/Kim Chee" dialogue. Best regards, 3dogs
- 3dogs - Thursday, 12/19/02 08:10:47 GMT

One handed: PJ, I made a leg vise that could be changed a little such that you close and clamp it with your foot and also use the foot to open. Vise grip kinda linkage. Current version doesn't have much jaw travel for foot pedal travel, but that can be changed with linkage lengths and a less stout front leg. I have e-mailed the url for pictures.

3dogs, LOL! Yeah, I eat just about anything as long as I think it's not gonna kill me.
- Tony - Thursday, 12/19/02 13:09:46 GMT

Just contemplating my revenge.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/19/02 14:46:17 GMT

one armed smith.: I am not sure if he still is around this site. But I believe Terry Ridder is one armed. Or at least can only use one arm. Might try asking him. Guru, do you perchance have his email?
Ralph - Thursday, 12/19/02 15:30:40 GMT

Revenge: Paw-Paw, how about a nice lutefisk and KimChi pie for them?

- Thomas Powers - Thursday, 12/19/02 17:09:38 GMT

Revenge: Thomas and Paw Paw, can we have some Limburger on top of that pie?

Side order of marinated scorpion work for you 3 dogs? (hint, don't let the stinger scrape the roof of your mouth)

Big Grin
- Tony - Thursday, 12/19/02 19:54:06 GMT

vice: Thanks Tony
I have a leg vise (my late fathers) what I was realy thinking was something to help with working at the fire and anvil
yes I am from Ireland. I had an accident moving a part sheet of 1/4 plate it slipped and cut my wrist a month ago today. the doctors say it will take 3 months for the tendons to heal and a year to a year and a half for the nerves. 70% recovery expected. at the moment I am looking for ideas to help me do some craft work even if my hand is less than 70%. you may publish this if you wish anvilfire is a great site for generating ideas and discussion that is why I posted my request

God Bless the good work
Merry Christmas
P. J. Conlan
P J CONLAN - Thursday, 12/19/02 19:58:24 GMT

P J Conlan,

Vice actuation, I have given the operation of a vice without the use of amrs a thought a few times. There are many times when one needs a third arm to tighten the vice. Well the best idea I have come up with is a foot powered opener/closer. Basically what it consists of is a chain drive that is actuated via two pedals, which act upon the chain with a rachet on each one. It starts with a chain gear welded onto the ball at the handle end of the threaded shaft. I would use motorcycle gears and chain. Then adhere a frame paralell to the moving leg of the leg vice. This frame should go almost to the ground. At the bottem of the frame attach another gear in line with the top gear. On the end of the shaft that is towards you when facing the vice attach another gear to the shaft which will be acted upon by the ratchets from the foot pedals. The ratchets would be the kind which is found in a come-along. Depressing the left pedal would rotate the bottem gear counter clock wise and via a chain do the same to the top, which would directly open the jaws. The right pedal would do the oposite. One would need some light coil springs which would raise the pedals after they had been depressed. I think that a setup like this would benefit any vice since one would not be loosing torque and would be freeing up ones hand(s) for uninhibited work.

As for working the metal on the anvil, I think the best, although elaborat and expensive, would be a small crane as Jock described. I could see the usage of motors to actuate the various planes of movement of the crane as a substantial help. One could use lever controls which could be hung from the crane so that they would always be in the correct position and the levers could be operated with a "bump" from your free forearm. To realy see how one of these cranes works find a local forge plant, they have been using crane systems for over fifty years to manipulate forgings in smith hammers.

The reality of it all is that you most likely arn't very fond of welding a gear directly to your fathers vice, and I could see why. The crane system could be an over kill when a simple lever system as described by Jock would sufice and could be built out of srcap.

Or you could find some willing young one who wants to learn to help you out. For some reason the Umpa-Lumpas from Charly's Chocolate Factory come to mind, I wonder what that movie would have been like if it was Charly's Metal Factory factory. . .

Speaking of strange things, I am in northern IL, yesterday it was 55 deg and we had a torential THUNDERSTORM, I keep telling myself it IS December but I am still not sure.
- Caleb Ramsby - Thursday, 12/19/02 21:27:56 GMT

Haute cuisine: Works fer me, Tony. I was hopin' fer some fire ant garnish, though. 3dogs
- 3dogs - Friday, 12/20/02 07:46:16 GMT

ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, fire ants.(shudder) Our PT field, and I daresay all of NC is FULL of Fireants. I HATE fireants.....
Bond-JamesBond - Friday, 12/20/02 13:20:03 GMT

007; Speaking of NC, When I was in Ashville a couple of years ago, I tried to find out who did the wrought iron work on the mansion there. Nobody on the staff knew. I thought some of it looked like Yellin's work, but I was'nt 100% positive. You have any info? Regards, 3dogs
- 3dogs - Friday, 12/20/02 17:20:38 GMT

speeking of strange things that storm is out side of my window right now (or one like it) in CT the temp is around 50 and it is raining buckets.... "I'm dreaming of a WET Xmass just like the ones I never know"
thomas please refarain from ever speeking of lutefisk again it brings back bad memorys of my swedish relations trying to get me to eat that stuff as a kid.... you know something is Realy bad when they go out side to open it up and it still stinks up the house ... (and the one house next door!) the only way I could sut them up was to eat the pickeled herring (that I ended up likeing) so I guess it isn't all bad.(grin)
MP - Friday, 12/20/02 17:24:28 GMT

Heads-up, Paw Paw!:
Paw Paw:

I've sent you some balls...

(Boy will THAT statement get me into deep spicy red cabbage!)
Zero - Friday, 12/20/02 19:28:52 GMT

MP, even though I grew up in Tennessee, I am not used to rain in December. Today it is below 30 and snowing, so that helps some.

I happen to like lutefisk and pickled herring. At my local real hammer-in we had a Christmas party and I brought a coffee pot with egg to put in it. You should know about this stuff, I think it is great, although I still havn't gotten up the strength to eat the egg affter the coffee is drunk. I did refrain from bringing lutefisk to the party though, there was another Swede there who told me I should have though. Grin
Caleb Ramsby - Friday, 12/20/02 19:35:06 GMT

Wife says I've got too much of them all ready! More balls than brains is the phrase she used actually. (grin)

Slowly sharpening one of his knives.
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/20/02 21:38:40 GMT

Slow revenge: Paw, Paw, I welcome the creativity of your revenge. I know you won't disappoint. But this slow and deliberate revenge stuff is just taking too long. In other words, I hate it when people use the same tactics I do! grin.

3dogs, I think we are in trouble.

- Tony - Friday, 12/20/02 22:23:09 GMT

Revenge is...: A dish best eaten cold.


All good things come to those who wait....
Zero - Friday, 12/20/02 22:32:20 GMT

Humming softly to himself,:
he smiles gently and continues sharpening the knife. Occasionaly he will pause to shave a hair or two from his arm. The blade is coming along nicely, but the point is still dull. Hard to insert it under the skin when the point is dull. As he works, he ponders the age old question, "Which one first, and where to start?"

There is a malicious quality to his smile.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 12/21/02 00:22:47 GMT

shudder.... I will eat most swedish food with the execptions of lutefisk and grog.. those two scare me ... a lot. but then I am only 1/4 swede so mabie the thined out blood has affected my tastbuds.
ever have koka korv (Xmass potato sausage), medverst,(salami) or vort limpa(black beer bread) right out)
MP - Saturday, 12/21/02 18:02:05 GMT

Ashville: No, I haven't made it up that way yet, and don't really know anything about it. PPW would probably be the one to ask though. He has been here A LOT longer than I have.
Think I'll add that to my "to do" list though, I here its pretty nice up that way.
Bond-JamesBond - Saturday, 12/21/02 19:01:02 GMT

Guess I just added another one to YOUR list didn't I PPW?
Bond-JamesBond - Saturday, 12/21/02 19:02:08 GMT

Knife sharpening:
Paw Paw:

Do you strop the edge, or just finish on an Arkansas wetstone?

I appreciate the work your putting into a sharp blade(they hurt MUCH less than a dull blade... Grin).
Zero - Saturday, 12/21/02 20:27:30 GMT

stropping: What exactly is stropping? Is it anything like using a razor-strap?
Bond-JamesBond - Saturday, 12/21/02 20:41:45 GMT

007: Yes. It folds the microscopic burr that forms at the edge "back and forth" leaving the true sharp edge.

Gives one a more durable edge for repeated cutting -- which, I assume, Paw Paw is pondering (very big Grin!)
Zero - Saturday, 12/21/02 20:51:36 GMT

More stropping: I should have elaborated:

By working the edge burr, it falls of the edge. That burr can give you a "false sharpness" that will shave arm hair, but not hold up to daily use as the burr rolls over on the edge.

Gotta go put my boots on -- so I've got something to SHAKE in!
Zero - Saturday, 12/21/02 21:02:28 GMT

Zero & 007 & Tony,: Many repeated cuts. Probably about a 1,000.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 12/21/02 21:07:10 GMT

1000 cuts...: Ooh! Skinned alive. Sounds like a Barry Sadler novel!
Zero - Saturday, 12/21/02 21:41:41 GMT

How many of Barry's novels have you read? I have the entire ETERNAL MERCENARY series, and RUN FOR THE SUN, as well.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 12/21/02 22:58:59 GMT

Paw Paw:: Most of his work, I'm sure I'm missing a few.

Barry was a "Friend of a Friend", so I actually got to meet him on several occasions -- just prior to his unfortunate mishap in Guatemala.

Quite the guy, Barry was... Loved his Casca series!

Got a copy of Cry Havoc here if you'd like to read it?

I could go into more detail, but it doesn't belong on this forum, and could STILL get a few folks in trouble...

Suffice to say, Barry and his cohorts led a VERY interesting life (Grin!)
Zero - Saturday, 12/21/02 23:17:50 GMT

Barry Sadler: Paw Paw. Did you by any chance run across Sadler in your time with the SF? I never met the man, but a friend of mine was his editor, at Bantam I think. Said Sadler would show up at his hotel room in the middle of the night with a jug and want to talk about his next book. One thing for sure he walked to a different drummer. And a good thing my friend has a taste for bourbon.
- Larry - Saturday, 12/21/02 23:30:46 GMT

Paw Paw: Col. Lew Millett(MOH)is an old friend as well (and an old Sadler associate as well). I need to make the 30 minute pilgrimage to see him, here during the holidays (he's got few years left). Will galdly carry words of good hope for any and all on AnvilFire.

Sadly, more than a few of the "good 'ol Boys" are now TDY to Heaven...
- Zero - Sunday, 12/22/02 00:00:44 GMT

Zero & Larry,:
I've got CRY HAVOC, too. (grin)

Yes, I met Barry, on a couple of occasions. Never served with him. Most of us with that hat in our background walk to the beat of our own drum.

The majority of the "Wild Geese" are gone now. I never met Col. Lew, but I've heard of him for years.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/22/02 00:16:50 GMT

Col. Lew Millett: MILLETT, LEWIS L.

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, Company E, 27th Infantry Regiment. Place and date: Vicinity of Soam-Ni, Korea, 7 February 1951. Entered service at: Mechanic Falls, Maine. Born: 15 December 1920, Mechanic Falls, Maine. G.O. No.: 69, 2 August 1951. Citation: Capt. Millett, Company E, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. While personally leading his company in an attack against a strongly held position he noted that the 1st
Platoon was pinned down by small-arms, automatic, and antitank fire. Capt. Millett ordered the 3d Platoon forward, placed himself at the head of the 2 platoons, and, with fixed bayonet, led the assault up the fire-swept hill. In the fierce charge Capt. Millett bayoneted 2 enemy soldiers and boldly continued on, throwing grenades, clubbing and bayoneting the enemy, while urging his men forward by shouting encouragement. Despite vicious opposing fire, the whirlwind hand-to-hand assault carried to the crest of the hill. His dauntless leadership and personal courage so inspired his men that they stormed into the hostile position and used their bayonets with such lethal effect that the enemy fled in wild disorder. During this fierce onslaught Capt. Millett was wounded by grenade fragments but refused evacuation until the objective was taken and firmly secured. The superb leadership, conspicuous courage, and consummate devotion to duty
demonstrated by Capt. Millett were directly responsible for the successful accomplishment of a hazardous mission and reflect the highest credit on himself and the heroic traditions of the military service.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/22/02 00:28:08 GMT

Lew recollections:: I asked him, once, about the MOH for the LAST recorded bayonet charge. He said he called to affix bayonets while they still had ammo, charged the enemy, and took the hill.

To him (Lew) this was just another drill...

God bless all you that serve (and have served) the cost of freedom!
Zero - Sunday, 12/22/02 01:22:38 GMT

I can understand Col. Millett's reaction. We do what we are trained to do. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less, depending on the situation. Do it right and you get a piece of tin and a ribbon. Do it wrong, and if you survive, you run the risk of a courts martial.

But it's fun, anyway. (wry grin)
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/22/02 01:53:36 GMT

Ashville: PawPaw; did you see my post to 007 about the mansion in Ashville? Wondering who did the ironwork. Best regards, 3dogs
- 3dogs - Sunday, 12/22/02 07:31:35 GMT

Yes, was waiting to see what 007 answered.

I've seen the iron work in the Biltmore House, and agree that much of it looks like Yellin's work. But I don't know who did it.

We've got another mansion down here in Winston where the work was done by a Yellin Journeyman. But it's not usually open to the public.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/22/02 15:22:40 GMT

Tomahawks: I know a fella that makes hawks out of old horseshoe rasps. He flattens out the fine teeth, folds and welds together. He mentioned that at one point he upsets the end, but I didn't ask him if he did that before folding and welding or after. Would a good forge weld hold up to upsetting? I know you would at least have to keep your heat high, but still, I'm not that confident that the weld would hold. Any thoughts?
Also, let us all thank the service men and women, and their families, for their support. Service life is much different than civilian, yet they give us the freedom to live as we choose. So let us always remember those who serve, and those who have served to give us what we have now.
Bob Harasim, U.S.A.F. Security Police, 84-89
- Bob Harasim - Sunday, 12/22/02 16:35:33 GMT

A well done forge weld is as strong as the parent metal, so it could certainly be upset.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/22/02 17:01:38 GMT

Bob: I agree with paw paw as when doing patern welding, if you want to draw the bar into a square you need to upset it that is to say that drawing is a form of upseting just a easier to do form (grin)
as drawing is done on a lot of patterns I would say that it isn't a problem on that ... but I would think that you would have to be VERY sure of your welds.
MP - Sunday, 12/22/02 17:16:24 GMT

upsetting: Upsetting. Reducing length; increasing section. A guy asked me once, "Can you upset a large piece of stock so much that it will turn into a dinner plate"? MP, I guess if you did, you would wind up drawing, no?
- Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/22/02 19:32:42 GMT

Flying False Colors; Sharp Story: There has been a recent spate of folks like "." posting (or trolling) under other folks names on various blacksmithing forums. Since I had someone posing as me on an armoring forum a couple of years back, and being thoroughly trashed in a flame war as a result, I've been a little "tetchy" about this.

It's just plain wrong, it's not funny, and the Great Guru (not to mention Paw Paw) will get you.

Now, everybody play nice. ;-)

Paw Paw:

I trust that the knife sharpening scene IS NOT from a future chapter of the Revolutionary Blacksmith? (I'ts actually a very nice piece of writing; er, clear cut and incisive. ;-)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 12/23/02 14:18:46 GMT

Chuckle. No I hadn't planned on using it in the Revolutionary Blacksmith. On the other hand.......

Let's see, a British prisoner, possibly a spy, un-willing to talk... Wouldn't actually have to DO anything to the prisoner, just the threat might be enough. Hmm...
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/23/02 15:26:16 GMT

Iron Work: PPW,
I did answer, but maybe I wasn't clear as to who the answer was to. Sorry.

Bob, and all.
I, or perhaps I should say "we" of the military appreciate your thanks, and occasional recognition. It is not always understood, what we do, or (to us anyway) why we do it, except that most of us have an undying love for our freedom, and helping our fellow man.
Donovan Young
Military Police,(Airborne) 2001-
Bond-JamesBond - Monday, 12/23/02 21:32:57 GMT

007: You, and all those that serve (or have served) do deserve more appreciation. I'm sorry we (I) don't show it as much as we should.

I have never served in the military, but my support for you is, nonetheless, there. Someone has to make the arms, and that's what I do.

I work very hard to keep the men and women who fight to keep America free out of harms way. And, owe an endless debt of gratitude to ALL of you for giving me the FREEDOM to serve in this capacity!

We're here... Just, maybe, not seen and heard enough...

God Bless, and Happy Holidays to all.
Zero - Monday, 12/23/02 22:04:24 GMT

What do you make? Do you make Small Arms? I LIKE small arms........Tee hee, thinking about buying a little welder, kind of makes me all silly at heart.
Thank you for what you do, I like to meet people on the civilian side of what we do, it gives a little depth to my job.
Bond-JamesBond - Monday, 12/23/02 22:17:38 GMT

Mr. Bond: No, don't build small arms (did once, left a bad taste in my pocketbook!). I have a metalstamping business that specializes in exotic electrical connectors.

You'll find my stuff in just about everything military or space based, but the GPS/Inertial Guidance gizmos have been a real hot item for the past year -- Getting PAID for them is another story!

Zero - Monday, 12/23/02 22:54:07 GMT

I just re-read the last couple posts, and I'm sorry if I made it sound like we don't get enough praise, I just mean that most of us don't like to be slathered in it. (Although, in moderation, slathering can certainly be appreciated.)
Bond-JamesBond - Tuesday, 12/24/02 01:56:31 GMT

Whoever was looking for golf balls from Palm Springs, please contact me, I've lost your message.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/24/02 17:04:20 GMT

HolyDays: A Blessed HolyDay to all, and a prosperous New Year as well!
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/24/02 17:04:59 GMT

To all: Thanks for all your help you have given me a lot to think about over the next while The next couple of months will tell how much Iwill have to employ your ideas, even if the worst to the worst you have given me emense hope. THANKS OT ALL
May God grant you Peace and Happiness this Christmas Season
- Patrick Joseph Conlan - Tuesday, 12/24/02 18:46:07 GMT

If there is any concrete way we can help, or if an idea needs worked over to make it work better, please holler. We'll be glad to do what we can.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/24/02 20:28:23 GMT

God rest ye merry gentlemen, and ye merry ladies, too. Now, go hug yo' babies, and if you got no babies, hug somebody else's. Love one another,( the Supreme Commandment)even the ones who irritate you, 'cause you can be kinda aggravatin' yo'self! End of sermon. Merry CHRISTmas! Mr. & Mrs 3dogs
- 3dogs - Wednesday, 12/25/02 06:35:14 GMT


My first reaction would be that there must be some kind of ratio of height to width that marks the difference between upsetting and drawing. Wouldn't you say? May not be a definition anywhere but it has that "feel".

"Can you upset a large piece of stock so much that it will turn into a dinner plate"? Seems like at some point it's no longer upsetting, must be the aspect ratio, eh? I do know that at a certain point it becomes less "upsetting" to do!

- grant - Wednesday, 12/25/02 17:50:41 GMT

Seems logical to me that when you shorten one dimension and increase another, its upsetting. When you increase a dimension and reduce another its drawing out.

If you take bar and upset it on its length, the point at which it becomes "square" ie as wide as its long, is the point at which you switch from upsetting to drawing out
adam-the-hidebound - Wednesday, 12/25/02 18:06:25 GMT

Monkey tool: Been reading and have another question. What is a monkey tool and how is it used? I know it is used to form a shoulder on a tenion, but do you strike it like a flatter or strike the piece against it like you would on the corner of the anvil?
- AKsmith - Wednesday, 12/25/02 18:44:20 GMT

monkey tool: this is what a monkey uses to make more monkeys : )

Seriously, you are right - its a kind of fuller but specialized for tenons. Its a rod with the end cut square and hole drilled into the center of the cut end deep enough to accomodate the tenon. So, it can be slipped over the tenon and hammered against the shoulder. Makes an easy job of getting a nice, even tenon shoulder

You can see a picture in the catalog under "anvil tools and misc items" at

I have no idea why it's called a "monkey tool". Anyway from the size they look like they might have come from gorilla :)
adam - Wednesday, 12/25/02 20:23:24 GMT

Adam: Thanks for the explination and the link. Pictures are much more my speed
- AKsmith - Wednesday, 12/25/02 20:44:30 GMT

Monkey tool:
I think it get's the name from the position of your hand when you're grasping it. It's remeniscent of the way a monkey holds his hand when you trap them.

Monkey's are trapped by cutting a hole in a coconut just big enough for a monkey to squeeze his hand into. When he grasps the bait inside the coconut, he can't pull his hand out. The monkey is too stupid to open his hand and too greedy to let go of the bait. Since the coconut is on the end of a chain, he's trapped. The trapper puts a collar on the monkey, then breaks the coconut so he can get the bait. First thing the monkey does is make sure he still has the bait. But he's traded his freedom for captivity, all for a handful of sweets.

A monkey tool needs a fair amount of mass to work correctly, hence the size of them I usually make them out of 1" hex or octagonal stock.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/25/02 21:14:19 GMT

A Conspiracy:

Now the story can be told. Remember back when I asked for help finding some mud flaps on the web? I didn't want any mud flaps for my truck, the OEM's are still in good condition. But one of our guys needed some, and his wife was looking for help finding them. So, never failing to be the gentleman that I am, especially to a lady in distress, I offered to help. Guess who gave me the information that Cathy Cornish was looking for???? LOL Why it was BRIAN Cornish, of course!! I've been laughing about this for a couple of weeks now!
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/26/02 02:30:36 GMT


Although I'm usually a pretty straight up and on the rocks kind of guy, I can be devious when the need arises! (still laughing)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/26/02 02:31:49 GMT

goin' toy shoppin': Woo Hoo....Been a very very good boy this year. Got gift certificates from Sears AND Harbor Freight.....Life don't get much better!!! The blend of "made in USA" & fish oil lubricants should make the shoppin' fun!

Hope ya all had a good holiday, where ever your from!!!
Mike S. - Friday, 12/27/02 00:45:08 GMT

Yeah, Mike, my relatives are finally wising up, too. I got close to $200 worth of Harbor freight scrip, myself. Gonna just sit on it fer a while 'til the right stuff comes on sale,(and eventually it does. Heh, heh, heh.) Best regards from SE Michigan. 3dogs
  3dogs - Friday, 12/27/02 06:51:20 GMT

3dogs' Sermon; Upcoming Event: That was one of the best, and shortest, sermons Iíve heard in a while.

Good Christmas was had by all; still waiting for my eldest daughter to report in upon her return from Denver.

I might even get to the forge tonight since I have less than a month 'till MarsCon (Jan. 17-19), which is where I usually sell enough to cover my ABANA and BGOP dues, plus expenses. MarsCon is a good venue for me, being a very laid-back Gaming and Science Fiction convention during the off-season (CHEAP) in Williamsburg. The best part is that several of my kids and crewmates show up, but I also have a market of several hundred young men and women with money in their pockets, hormones in their bloodstreams, and romantic notions in their head. An excellent venue for medieval-style lamps and other ironwork.

MarsCon Gaming Convention
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/27/02 14:03:27 GMT

Aksmith: Icemonkey-drop me an email when you can
- AKsmith - Friday, 12/27/02 19:52:19 GMT

"Mud Flaps": : Well Paw Paw I guess you got your answer. Have you enjoyed the tour of the North Bay Area. Been to most of them places that you see.. The Farmers Market is at the Old "C.P" train station.Its in there somewhere. During the winter months we are in the North Bay Mall.. I am not they don't have enough smoke fans for me "LOL's". Going to build a brake drum forge next week so I can increase my class load for the summer. That will make 3 portables and 1 large fixed forge(shop). Now to get the anvils..Just need one more. Very mild here today.. So be good all..
Happy New Year ------ from the guy up in the north country--
Barney - Friday, 12/27/02 21:44:53 GMT

Deed I did get my answer. Brake drum forges are cheap enough to make, the blowers are what winds up costing something, usually. You might want to consider a central blower with individual air gates at each forge.

As for anvils, have you thought about hitting the local junk yards for some chunks for flame cut 4" plate? Set on edge, they'd proved the equivilant of the face of an anvil. They'd probably have to be re-ground pretty regularly, but a side grinder would do that, or even a good belt sander.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 12/28/02 01:16:52 GMT

"TOYS":: Have five blowers,champ 200 & 400 plus three others. Buddy of mine at the local Railroad is scaring up track. Will get it all cleaned up. Getting a couple of 1ft chunks. They will make nice anvils.Already have my vises mounted on bus rims. Junk yards here will not let you in. They take but you cannot get something back in stock. I take my mistake plie to them. They give money for it,which is good. Chow from the guy in the north..
Barney - Saturday, 12/28/02 19:50:38 GMT

Sounds like you'll be in pretty good shape.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/30/02 03:11:16 GMT

"Shape": : I hope so. But one can never tell. Picked up 2 more brake rotors this am. Use them for forge repair, or make one. When I get back to work. Will pick up a wheel hub off of a school bus, need to mount another vise. They work well, to move it just tilt and spin. When I do demos etc I peg them into the ground through the holes already in the hubs. Use very large home made pegs.
Very cold here today. 4ļF outside with a strong wind.
Later all....
Barney - Monday, 12/30/02 20:10:32 GMT

"Anvilfire.Fotos": : Can someone pass on to me the correct wording for reaching the fotos site. I did a search and came with No site found..
Thankyou ahead of time.....
Barney - Tuesday, 12/31/02 00:05:05 GMT

Under groups, search for blacksmith. That should work. or, you can try:
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/31/02 00:40:14 GMT

Photos: Use the link on the ever-present, handy drop-down navigation window located in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. The link is filed alphabetically, right under the Touchmark registry link. Thanks again, Jock and Kiwi!
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/31/02 02:19:41 GMT

Yahoo Link: PawPaw: I only spotted the thing for the first time earlier tonight. I wonder when Jock snuck that in there? (grin)
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/31/02 02:21:00 GMT

No telling. I didn't notice it till you mentioned it.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/31/02 03:47:15 GMT

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