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December 2003 Archive

Wooden Forge:
Novel fan on this one
ebay forge
habu - Sunday, 11/30/03 22:51:34 EST

wooden forge blower: it don't look that hard to copy the blower, now is there anyone who could figure (in language of the scrap heap) how to copy this blower?
- dragon-boy - Monday, 12/01/03 08:28:22 EST

Wooden forge blower: The blower would be no big deal. Gingery has a book on the subject. But that screw-shaft might be a project. Simple in principle, but the torque that thing must experience could be wild. I'd like to know how hard it is to crank that blower. My guess is you'd have to spin it by hand a little, then it might not be too bad to keep going.
- Bruce - Monday, 12/01/03 11:32:35 EST

Wooden Blower:
Great Piece!

The worm is a steep multi start (2 lead). These are designed to be powered as step up gearing. Champion does the same in their blowers but with precision gears. The problem with these is they are high friction and wear rapidly compared to other gears the roll rather than slide. A small belt system works better and is easier to build.

Old grist mills are full of hand built blowers. Most are 90% wood with wood bearings. A square block on a shaft is easy to nail 4 sheet metal blades to and the scroll housing is easy to make from two boards and some sheet metal for the curved sides. To get the necessary head pressure for a forge it helps to have a fairly large diameter. In the case of a large diameter blower it is good to have a disk on the back of the fan to support the blades.

I have two books to review by Steve Chastain on building foundry furnaces. They include details of designing and building blowers using wood and sheet metal. Great books. They are the third generation of modern foundry books designed for the do-it-yourselfer and take advantage of the previous books by people like CW Ammen and Gingery.

- guru - Monday, 12/01/03 18:04:09 EST

Wooden Forge: Geee; I'm part of a proud, or at least old, tradition!
Visit your National Parks
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 12/02/03 08:16:36 EST

blower: Question, now that the blower has my mind spining. How difficult would it be to use a ten speed bike to power a blower?
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 12/02/03 15:47:37 EST

bike: meaning the gears, and chain
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 12/02/03 16:01:16 EST


Not difficult at all. Just substitute the rear axle of the bike for the axle of the fan.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/02/03 18:17:51 EST

dragon-boy: why a ten speed bicycle? a wrecked 750 kawasaki would spin faster, and less elbow grease...
mike-hr - Tuesday, 12/02/03 23:25:48 EST

Kawasaki blower: And you could route the muffler in there to utilize all that unburnt gasoline and hot air... (VBG)

I've seen that wood forge/blower up on eBay many times... always the same one. They appear to be having some difficulty selling it, which is a shame, as it looks like a fairly decent piece of equipment.
T. Gold - Wednesday, 12/03/03 00:27:03 EST

bike: well I happen to have 4 extra bike and a mouthy partner. sooo.... I figure I can kill two birds withthe same stone so to speak
- dragon-boy - Wednesday, 12/03/03 08:36:25 EST

bike fan: There were plans in Fine Woodworking (possibly in their "making and modifing tools" book)a few years ago about using the ratchet system from a bicycle for a treadlepowered lathe, as soon as I seen it I figured it might be a way to turn a rotary blower into lever action
JimG - Wednesday, 12/03/03 13:41:27 EST

Kawasaki 750's: If you use just two of the cylinders to run the engine, the other two could be re-configured to compress air. Just takes a good bit of jiggery-pokery with the cams and intake manifold and exhaust. They do it with VW engines, why not with a Kaw engine? Can't do it with my Harley engine, its too good. (grin)
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/03/03 13:48:28 EST

Day on the road = Day in the shop.

I gave up on Harleys while I was with the down town squad. Bought a Honda for personal use and was well satisfied with my purchase.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/03/03 14:19:22 EST

Harleys: I dunno...mine has never required me to do anything but change the oil and gas it up. I love it. I've owned Hondas, BMW's, Triumphs, BSA's, Indians (the real ones) and a handful or two of 2-stroke dirt bikes that I raced in the desert. Probably a few others I've forgotten, too. One of the reasons that the knees are shot all to h*ll these days. (grin) But I do love my Sportster for just chuffing around the island on a nice day.

I suppose if I was going to spend long haul rides on a bike, I'd get a Geezerglide or a Honda, but how far can you go on an itty-bitty island? The Sporty fits the bill just fine. Besides, it's a chick magnet. They hear that throaty rumble, start to get all excited and look, then see the grey-haired old doofus riding it and look the other way. But at least they look. (grin) Sally calls it my mid-life crisis medication. Probably right, too.
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/03/03 16:12:43 EST

Chick Magnet?:

Used to ride over to Wake Forest on the first few bikini days to line up my summers entertainment. Carry an extra helmet along. Be surprised what kind of riders you can pick up. (grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/03/03 17:51:50 EST

snow!: Okay folks who in tsarnation decided to turn the water on upstairs in december? Cold and wet snow here in christiansburg va. there caling fer 3-4 inchs overnight, and freezeing rain tommorrow, followed by more snow on sat. Heads up jock and ppw I beleve it's heading east!
dragon-boy - Thursday, 12/04/03 08:19:50 EST

snow: heads up to points east of Christiansburg, va. it's a wet white christmas this year charlie brown, at least if it continues as it is right now 3-4 in today frezin rain tommorrow and snow again sat. How lucky can a guy get specailly when I have to drive in the shmucky weather. Jock & ppw get prepared if not already it seems to be heading your way!
dragon-boy - Thursday, 12/04/03 08:23:42 EST

redundent: sorry I had problems posting this morningso I in advertently was redundent
dragon-boy - Thursday, 12/04/03 08:42:55 EST


Just a skiff of snow on the ground this morning, temp is still above freezing, (although not much) so it's just light rain at the moment.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/04/03 15:14:18 EST

Hogs...: PPW that might have been the case a hundered years ago.....
Mine has almost 10K on it and only work needed was routine maint and replace rear tire and brake as they was worn out.....
Ralph - Thursday, 12/04/03 19:23:49 EST

Harleys: Ralph,

Maybe PawPaw had one of those miserable AMF Harleys they made during the early 70's? Those WERE a P.O.S., each and every one of them. Before and after AMF were fine, but AMF knew as much about building bikes as Willie G. knows about making pinsetters. My '97 Evo Sportster Custom is a trouble-free bike with low maintenance, good handling and adequate power. It sure ain't one of those Japanese or Italian crotch rockets that will do 0-120 in a city block, but who cares? I'm too old for that stupidness, anyway. Never too old for a bike, but way too old for speed. (grin)
vicopper - Thursday, 12/04/03 19:38:12 EST

You got it in one. First one I was issued was a 73.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/04/03 20:03:05 EST

AMF: Yeah, those were some poorly made things.....
I know I sure like my bike.... Funny thing is since I have it now I have put only about 200 miles in my ( used to be ) daily driver..... (grin)
Going on a Toy Run Sat.....
Ralph - Thursday, 12/04/03 23:06:23 EST


I used to average about 8 - 10 thousand miles a year on mine.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/04/03 23:37:41 EST

Table top coal forge: It will be fun to see what this one goes for
ebay minifroge
- habu - Friday, 12/05/03 02:31:42 EST

virginal confesssion: greeting gentlemen! I am a newcomer. A metal-minded Australian(western)I've monitored Anvilfire for many months. It provides great interst, great insight and offers an abandance of learning. The chat, the questions, the ansawers are increadible in every realm. To a newcomer... the banter can run from 'first-aid' to 'defence or nuclear' physics in a a matter of parragraphs ... with several qustions of anvil or hammer in between.
I am a lucky guy!! I run my own workshop. Predomintly light fab/wrought-iron, i do it all. It is my living. The artistry is rarer, the utilitarian work is what pays the bills & buys the matereial Equipment is everything!! but generally you never have what you what, so innovation / and creative application are what get me 'round the difficult bends ... For the many inexperienced folk who write in to 'anvilfire' and wish to know more, i offer my simple slice of advice .... get amongst it, read what you can, but the greatest speed to learn any metal craft is by getting dirty hands working alongside experienced people. "Other peoples' application stays in your mind".
Now I have to confess to my feeling of "gutted" that no one has yet said 'boo' about my 'cry for help' regarding Elliott-Cardiff#1 punch and shear ... ironworker (december 1 ... guru -advice) It is becoming probable that i have the second last one in the world! ....So who's got the other???With another deep swig of 'Coonawarra Red' I'll say cheers
mark power - Friday, 12/05/03 09:54:32 EST


Yes, it will. It should be worth $500 +, though I doubt if it will go for that much.

That's a "Prospector's" forge. It packed up into a wooden box for packing on a mule.
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/05/03 11:37:30 EST

Mark Power:

I didn't realize your question hadn't been answered. I'll mention it to Jock. But I suspect that everyone is waiting for the elusive "someone" who knows what the answer is! (grin
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/05/03 11:39:29 EST

Elliott-Cardiff tools: Mark Power; The only thing I could come up with on the Google search engine was .There is an e-mail address at that site for a chap named Tony, who could possibly steer you in the right direction. You might also contact the folks at, they have a lot of metalworking equipment, etc. Good luck, "3dogs"
3dogs - Friday, 12/05/03 12:34:49 EST

Mark, Ocassionaly I do not address questions that I do not have an answer for, and hope that someone else may have a response. This is especialy true of the "I have machine made by "xxxxxxx" do you have the history of it?" questions.

There have been literally millions of machinery manufacturers come and go who's machinery is still in use. Most have dissapeared without a trace other than the machinery they built. If they were successful or in business for a long time then there may be lots of folks that have them and have some information. But unless a machine was VERY popular or very common there is little to be found. That said,

A friend of mine in the US (PA) has a Cardiff Ironworker. About 30-40 tons cap I think. It is a relatively modern machine built of heavy steel plate that looks like a "Scottsman". Other than the fact that he calls it a Cardiff, I know nothing about it.

A google search for "Cardiff Ironworker" brought up a bunch of ebay-store listings.

I do not know if Elliot-Cardiff is the same company. Might be, might not.
- guru - Friday, 12/05/03 13:32:22 EST

riding....: I was rather disappointed in that I was not able to go on any long rides this year.
Almost all my miles are to and from work and also my weekly trip to visit my friend in Portland( 60 mile round) But this next year I am looking to do at least one long trip ( more than 500 mile) Hopefully more
Ralph - Friday, 12/05/03 14:16:14 EST

Nifty new aquisition: Hello all
I just had to tell someone about this who would appreciate it... my wife just shakes her head and rolls her eyes.

At a flea market last weekend, I stopped by the tool and junk guy's stand. He usually has smithing stuff including anvils, but he knows enough about them to charge more than I like to pay.
Anyway, what do I see but a hornless anvil, what Postman in "Anvils in America" describes as Colonial pattern, with the 5th foot. Since I want to start smithing at Rev War, buckskinning and SCA events, this was an item on my "if only" list for some time.
I paid just around $1.35 per pound for it, which was amazingly cheap for this dealer. It has good ring and rebound, the face is very good except a noticeable step-down at the joint of the two steel plates. I'm amazed its condition is so good considering it's 200+ years old.

Not that I ever plan to part with it, but does anyone have an idea of what it would be worth? I'm talking "Antiques Roadshow," not a working smith or scrap dealer price. Beyond curiosity, I'd like the info for the "bragging factor" to tell folks at events or demos while I work.
Now I need to build a tool stake for my hardies, since this one doesn't have a hardy hole. I think I saw one in the iforge section.

Thanks for letting me brag...
Tim Button
Tim Button - Friday, 12/05/03 17:29:52 EST

Colonial forges are sometimes going as high as $500 - $600 on eBay. I'd put the top end, based on your description, sight unseen at about the bottom figure, $500. At $1.35 a pound, you done real good! (grin)

The one I use with the travelling forge for Historic Bethabara Park, I paid just a bit over $1.00 a pound. Richard Postman and I figured it was made about 1700, so it's around 300 years old. And it's in darn near perfect condition. (grin)
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/05/03 22:37:56 EST

That's supposed to read colonial anvils, not forges. Forgive the brain phart! (grin)
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/05/03 22:38:51 EST

Just got around to looking at the pic of the hand cranked blower. That "screw shaft" that changes the cranking motion to vertical rotation looks just like the end of the steering shaft from my '53 Chevy! The end that goes down into the steering gear looks just like that, and it's darn good steel. I use and old shaft to make tools. I bet there are a lot of those type of shafts laing around.
- Mathias - Saturday, 12/06/03 10:23:54 EST

Mark Power, Be sure and try the site.Been in Sydney, and took a tour into the Blue Mtns.You have a beautiful country and good people.
- Ritch - Saturday, 12/06/03 14:54:11 EST


I was looking for a good forge design that I could possibly recreate, and I was wondering if ya'll thought that this was a good design:

IF I do this design, the blower will probably be replaced with something more accessible, like a hair dryer or something (I've been told that those work quite well).

Anyways, tell me what you think.
- Candace - Saturday, 12/06/03 18:18:03 EST

The illustrations for Chapter Four are up. Guess I'd better get busy on Chapter Five. (it's already written. grin)
Paw Paw - Saturday, 12/06/03 18:27:21 EST

Paw Paw: re: the illustration of Will and the children: over time only the battle dress changes. Touching. thanks again for a wonderful story.
habu - Saturday, 12/06/03 20:14:07 EST


Yep. And that's a moment no father can ever forget.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 12/06/03 22:41:26 EST


That is what was called a prospector's forge. They were made by both Buffalo and Champion (and possibly others, for all I know) It should work very well for a small forge.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 12/06/03 23:31:53 EST

PeteF: There was a guy who came to the CBA spring conf before last with a forge and blower built from glued up cardboard. Only the blower axle and the bike innertube drive belt was not laminated cardboard. He heaped some dirt and ashes up in the firebox and every now and then splashed a little water on the sides to snuff a wandering flame. It worked just fine. His point was that it doesn't take much money to start forging...and he did so in style. Wish I got his name.

When I smashed my thumb on the treadle hammer ,tenderizing abalone, they gave me some real funny looks at the ER when I answered their " how'd you do it?".
Even funnier was how it got transcribed in the ER records.
They asked " was it a work related injury?" Didn't quite know what to say.
- Pete F - Sunday, 12/07/03 03:01:07 EST

Cardiff:: thanks for the replies...Paw Pawó'I like your optimism"
3dogs ... thanks ... is somewhere I haven't been yet! Tony at lathes.u.k. was quite helpfull in an email to my request some time ago(it is an interesting site which has a user pay ad' board. All other U.K. leads I chased drew little or no info.
And Guru ... It's spot on what you say. I've been at this for 6 months when I purchased this rustly darling from a small-time dealer who was using it for his own work. (everyone else has heard the story so you might as well too)It had a stuck on anodised badge that Elliott could be barely read on, so for a long time I chased Elliot as a defunt machine dealer, and received much advice that it could have come from anywhere ... Indian manufacture was the least desirable opinion. So I had certainly resigned myself to the fact that i may never have found it's true pedigree.
A stroke of luck came when I saw an Elliott milling machine for sale in a trading magazine, that chap gave me the contact of an old guy in Eastern Auustralia, a retired Elliot repair-specialist.
He was very vauge on the punch and shears side of things but, from the photos' I sent he thought it might be a #3
...he said was he'd have a look up in his shed...months later an envelope arrived. 2 Original operator manual for Cardiff#2 and also a parts and diagram list, and a component/picture list for Cardiff #1 which I could instanly recognise my machine as. These booklets then offered the clues that Elliot was of the B.Elliott Group who tell me they sold off all the ironworker side of thing 20 odd years ago.
The #2 booklets' punching limits workout to a 45 ton medium machine, where as my #1 is in the small to medium range, but whether it be 25 or 30 ton capacity is the mystery. I'd be gratefull if at sometime you could quizz your friend.
Mine is also a fabricated type of heavy 'sandwiched' plates, They have part numbers stamped into them under the motor plate. She has the original Brook 2hp motor, all the original steadies work, some old 'enots' oiler that all the lines work on. I've tidied her up and made my contribution of modifications.
It's all been an education! cheers

mark power - Sunday, 12/07/03 10:07:01 EST

Ritch, thanks for the,Didn't know that was out there. just had a quick look then, tried a few options, I need to devote some time and explore it.
Kind words you have for Australia ... many say the lucky country. Western Austrlia is pretty isolated and incredibly vast ...lots of mineral wealth!!
mark power - Sunday, 12/07/03 10:26:27 EST

Hornless Colonial: These tend to be older than the typical "Colonial", closer to late 1600's or circa 1700. In good condition they ocassionaly go for as much as $800 to $1000 to serious collectors.
- guru - Sunday, 12/07/03 11:12:32 EST

Cardiff Capacity:
Regardless of brand, limiting the work is critical in punch presses and shears. All the mechanical types have a nasty habit of breaking critical parts when overloaded. Before operating any punch of questionable capacity you need to reverse engineer the machine.

On punch presses the capacity IS the capacity. However, on ironworkers you need to look at the distance from the pivot point. Some parts of the machine do not have the same rating as others.

One way to determine the rating of an ironworker if from the largest piece it normally accepts in one of the shaped dies (round, square, angle). These are normally a loose fit on common inch sizes on older machines. Increments no smaller than 1/8" on small machines and 1/4" on larger ones. Calculate the area of the section then multiple by 30 tons. If the machine has a hole for 1" square then it is a 30 ton machine. Measure the distance of that hole to the pivot. Then measure the distance from the pivot to the punch station. If these are the same then the rating is the same. If the punch station is closer then it is proportionaly higher. If farther away then it is lower.

The other method is to reverse engineer the flywheel capacity. See MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK for doing this. Note that in this type of machine that only about 15% of the flywheel's energy is used per stroke. That is how much the flywheel is slowed. You will need to determine the gearing and lever arm ratios as part of the calculations. One ton applied on the end of a 2 foot arm where the work is done at 1 foot results in TWO tons of force.

I use both methods IF the die sizing is available. When I did the calcs on my old Hendly and Whitmore it came up as being around 40 tons. But I had to do a lot of guessing as the original reduction drive was missing so I was guessing at the flywheel speed. THEN I noticed a hole for shearing bar in the back of the jaw. It was for 1-1/4" round. This takes 36.8 tons ignoring friction. So the 40 ton capacity was right assuming that the machine was slightly over built. The 1-1/4" shearing hole would also accept 1-5/16" bar (just barely) and this takes 40.6 tons to shear using the 30 ton per square inch value which has some built in fudge factor. . . So 40 tons it is.

This kind of thing takes some experiance with old machinery. Things like the size of a drive belt can tell you what the maxium possible horse power a machine takes. So the needed motor size is usualy something less. The maximum HP my old 20-21" drill press flat belt drives can deliver is 1-1/2 HP. I've used a 2HP motor because that is what I had and a 1-1/2 HP when I bought a new motor for another. Someone sent me drawings for this size machine and the manufacturer used 1HP. So the belting was rated at 50% extra on these machines. Of course originally they were connected to line shafting where the only real limit was the belting itself. So I still like 1-1/2 HP but it is nice to know it will operate on 1HP.

If you use old machinery you need to practice those reverse engineering skills.
- guru - Sunday, 12/07/03 11:50:11 EST

trip report: Well I just got back from a week long bidniss trip to Las Vegas. Not nearly as much fun as you might think. Spent the week being indoctrinated in the latest BS management fad (The Six Sigma Way). I dont gamble. No, I am not virtuous, but I have taken a lot of math classes and that pretty much killed it for me. In the plus column, I stopped off on the way back to attemnd a SWABA meet in Albuquerque, saw Rob Gunter demo and also bumped into Frank Turley.

Gunter has made a number of mods to the standard treadle hammer. Of particular interest is a safety stop which is just half a wood working clamp (the sliding jaw half) set up so that it will arrest the hammer before it bottoms out on your hand. Makes it much safer to do chasing work holding a tool under the hammer. Also recommended when tenderizing abalone. Gunter commented that he prefers the swing arm style over the roller guides because they hit harder. I did get to check out a roller guide TH and there is noticeable drag.

Monkey Tool. Frank Turley explained that this tool used to be a very heavy cast iron bar that was suspended horizontally at about anvil height and swung horizontaly against the end of the work. Perhaps it was called a "monkey" because it swung on a rope (actually a chain). Hasluck has a picture of this tool. Our little monkey tools that we use for upsetting tenon shoulders are named after this heavy shop tool. Frank pointed out that he was just speculating. However, its the best explanation for its name that I have heard to date

Finally, I managed to snag the SWABA library tape of Peter Ross giving a demo for SWABA. Been stalking this tape for a couple of years. It's just a home video with dreadful audio and crummy camera work but nevertheless, it's terrific! Ross's hammer work is just awesome and his knowledge of colonial smithing is both vast and deep. I am not that interested in historical blacksmithing but Ross is a very engaging speaker and I found myself wishing I could spent a a couple of years in Williamsburg working in his shop. Later I might post some his his comments in this forum.

So the week was not a total loss

- adam - Monday, 12/08/03 11:54:29 EST

Blower Diagram: Does anyone have a diagram for the internals of a blower? (particularly the one for the prospector's tabletop forge?)
- Candace - Monday, 12/08/03 14:22:25 EST

Peter Ross: Yes Peter Ross is a great demo smith and historical smith.
I have had the good fortune to be able to atend several demos/workshop he did for us at Ft Vancouver NHS.
Ralph - Monday, 12/08/03 15:20:20 EST

How to make a fan: Candace,

Check out the link, it goes to Lindsay Publications. Scroll down, there is a book called "How to design and build centrifugal fans". I have it, it completely describes how to design a fan, all the way from raw materials to testing it and fine tuning it.

You should be able to find a book at your local library that describes how centrifugal fans work also.

Here is another link to a description of how to make a centrifugal four pladed fan. With a drawing.

Caleb Ramsby
Fan book.
Caleb Ramsby - Tuesday, 12/09/03 02:03:09 EST

Thanks! I never even though of Lindsay. Duh!
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/09/03 02:17:49 EST

Thanks Caleb! That was really helpful. I'm still not sure if I know EXACTLY how to make them, but I'm going to check out that book as soon as I can.
- Candace - Tuesday, 12/09/03 18:28:18 EST


See if your library has a copy of the book, or if they can get it on Inter Library Loan (ILL).
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/09/03 22:06:51 EST

refractory: I have an N.C. Tool four burner forge that I use for forge welding. The problem is that the flux(borax) destroys the refractory too quickly.
Is there a special kind of refractory avaliable that will stand up to the flux better?
- JPhelps - Tuesday, 12/09/03 22:12:11 EST

Your question was answered within the last month on the guru's page. Check the archives.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/09/03 22:30:22 EST

strange tongs: Geared tongs on ebay, Self adjusting?
ebay tongs
- habu - Wednesday, 12/10/03 00:12:10 EST

Darned if I know. Strange looking things.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/10/03 00:14:06 EST

Refractory: JPhelps:
Phosphate based refractory.
I replied the same day or at most a day later.... Look back till you find your original post.....
Ralph - Wednesday, 12/10/03 03:31:43 EST

odd tongs?: Why do they have to be blacksmith tongs? Just because the basic shape is there? I mean really, after all sellers know that certain 'keywords' are good sellers. Add blacksmith and you have an instant seller. Now I will readily admit I could be wrong, but how often have you seen other tools listed as smithing stuff when in fact it was not.
Ralph - Wednesday, 12/10/03 03:34:16 EST


> how often have you seen other tools listed as smithing stuff when in fact it was not.

Good point, that's happened more times than I can easily count.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/10/03 07:44:36 EST

Tongs: Isn't Winkoff a blacksmith site? They just looked like a long way to go around the barn.
habu - Wednesday, 12/10/03 09:27:38 EST

Hornless anvil: Listed as a sawyers anvil
ebay anvil
habu - Wednesday, 12/10/03 09:33:36 EST


Neil Winikoff operates the Virtual Junkyard web site.

The name of the maker of those tongs was John Wikoff is apparently the name on the "tongs"
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/10/03 10:18:10 EST


The seller is right, that's a strange one. It looks like a saw makers anvil, but like the seller, I've never seen a sawyers with a hardy hole and a pritchel hole.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/10/03 10:57:33 EST

extreme grip tongs: From the looks of it, the geared griping device would give the greatest advantage against the work being pulled out of the tongs. If the part of the work that was in the jaws was hot it would be mared easily by the teath and the teeth would loose their shape rather fast. I would assume that either it was used to hold cold work or hold a sacrificial part of the work.

If I am seeing the picture right the wheel that the teeth and gear is on is shaped slightly as a cam. That is, as the jaws close on each other, the wheel is spun and a higher point of the wheel is at oposition to the flat jaw. Even a minute amount of rise of the cam would create a significant increase in griping force.

Even if it is just a bizarre type of nut cracker(hey it would work), it is very cool indead.


The ISBN# for the centrifugal fan book is 0-917914-60-0

Have fun.

Caleb Ramsby
Caleb Ramsby - Wednesday, 12/10/03 13:41:50 EST

Strange tongs: could the cam on the tongs be used to grip wire pulled through a die. the pull would tighten the grip like a fence puller?
habu - Wednesday, 12/10/03 18:18:14 EST

Fancy tongs:
They have no mechanical advantage at all. The force is through the pivot to the roller and the gears have no effect.

All the gear does is keep the roller from rotating when the work is pulled on. Odd design.
- guru - Wednesday, 12/10/03 19:15:51 EST

More power: A little "Mechanical Advantage"
big 12 cyl engine
habu - Wednesday, 12/10/03 19:43:54 EST

power..... engine: Habu have seen that before. It is rather impressive.
Some where I have a site that shows a video clip of a small scale Ferrari race car a man built at home. Took him 15 years.
When I say small scale I mean he made an exact replica with a working 12 cyl engine tranny etc. Car would be about the right size if you were one of then GI Joe sized dolls..... If I can find it I will post it
Ralph - Wednesday, 12/10/03 20:20:20 EST


Hmm... Wonder if I can cram that under the hood of my truck????
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/10/03 21:23:55 EST


I've seen that tiny Ferrari. Beautiful workmanship. I can't understand why he didn't build it full size, or at least half scale so he could drive it.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/10/03 21:46:46 EST

Ittybitty Ferrari: PawPaw, you know why he made it so small. Same reason the ol' dawg licks hisself.
3dogs - Thursday, 12/11/03 03:06:48 EST


"Because he can?" (grin)

I think he might have gotten in trouble with Ferrari if it had been big enough to actually drive.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/11/03 07:49:57 EST

Power: I got to be right across the water when Apollo 1 lifted off; *that* is power and no measily 100K HP! The crawler had power too but it was kinda slow...

(should be packing)
Thomas P - Thursday, 12/11/03 09:19:59 EST

odd ball query: Do any of you know of a use for kevlar rope? I was given about 75 feet of this stuff and can't figure out a use that is not destuctive to the idots that live around me!
- dragon-boy - Thursday, 12/11/03 11:54:35 EST

rope: Besides the wife already to me I am not allowed to string it across the road and decapitate the stupid people out on 4 wheelers at 4 in the morning!:)
- dragon-boy - Thursday, 12/11/03 11:57:59 EST

Power and rockets...: Watching the shuttle launch ( while not as powerfull as the Saturn V ) was impressive. It was one of the best perks with working out at the space center.
Ralph - Thursday, 12/11/03 12:09:28 EST

SuperSteels: Has anyone done any work with CRUWEAR and CPM 15V made by Crucible?
- The Rabbit! - Thursday, 12/11/03 12:11:33 EST


I'll get Jock to come answer your question. Or Quenchcrack, either of them is better qualified than I am in that area.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/11/03 12:17:18 EST

Super Steels:
Rabbit, "super steels" are no better than their handling and heat treating. In fact, do a poor job and they are less than normal in performance. Study the specs and the working tolerances.
- guru - Thursday, 12/11/03 16:03:06 EST

Horsepower: Ever see a 10,000 HP electric motor? They are surprisingly small, only about 5 feet in diameter and 8 feet tall and halve of that is bearings. Westinghouse turned one on coupled to a water pump of equivalent size and blacked out Pittsburg. . . You would have thought that the biggest maker of electric utility equipment would know that you have to call the folks managing the grid to have them ready to supply the surge. . . Many nukes have their own small hydro plant just to start the motors. . .

Not as impressive as the shuttle.

I remember watching all the early orbital and moon shots. The Saturn V may have been big but it didn't JUMP off the pad like the Shuttle. Or at least it seems so. Maybe the TV cameras do a better job today.
- guru - Thursday, 12/11/03 16:10:23 EST

Horse Power:

I watched all the early orbital and moon shot's too. And I've been lucky enough to have watched one shuttle launch in person. While I'll agree that the shuttle doesn't seem to "disappear" as quickly as the Saturn Five, I think it's more a case of better cameras and better tracking, than the difference in launch speed. Actually, they both have to reach approximately the same escape velocity.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/11/03 16:20:55 EST

Shuttle jumping...: Not sure how the Sat V rockets did it , but the shuttle has retaining bolts ( if I remember correctly they are about 5 " dia) that hold it down untill ALL motors are going full then explosive bolts let go and the shuttle 'jumps' There is a 'strech spec' on htese too. One of my NASA counterparts said they had to stretch 2 feet.....Talk about plastic deformation......
I sure wish sometimes I had my old job back at the space center. I really miss seeing the launches up close... well as close as allowed, 3 miles out.
Ralph - Thursday, 12/11/03 18:37:10 EST


IF I remember correctly, the Saturn V got Main Engine Ignition at minus 5 seconds, Lift Off and at plus 5 seconds the bird was gone. In that sequence and it took about that long.

"At minus 15 seconds and counting, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, we have ignition, five, four, three, two, one, and LIFTOFF."

Does that sound right to anybody else?
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/11/03 20:18:17 EST

Launch: PPW yes that is about the same. Theshuttle does it too. Just it sorta sits there pulling at the retaining bolts till the explosive sharges sever them then it jumps.
I was tolkd by fellow workers that the difference between shuttle and Sat V was that windows in Cocoa rattle with the Shuttle but not in Daytona. But the Sat V rattled windows in Daytona... this is with essentially the same flight path and tack-off trajectorys......
Have to remeber that thte Sat V had 4 or 5 main engine nozzles and the shuttle has one ( I believe both are the same kind) Either way I would love to be on one of those launch vehicles.... I am sure that NASA should consider taking a blacksmith up in space.... Just imagine zero -G forging(grin) Or a solar collector powered forge......
Ralph - Thursday, 12/11/03 20:23:41 EST

Solar Forge: I've thought more than just once about trying to cobble together a solar powered forge. Down here, we get such high solar influx that it shouldn't be impossible. The tracking hardware might be a bit of a nuisance, though. I suppose you just mount the anvil on the same base with forge, and chase it around slowly as the days goes by. (grin)

I do know that they have build solar arrays in New Mexico (I think), that generated superheated steam, so solar forging should be very do-able. Hate like heck to get in the way of the mirrors' output, though. That would make a slag burn seem like one of mom's kisses!

I was driving up I-95 one day when the shuttle took off. Pretty impressive. I wish I'd been a bit closer, though. Say, inside it. (grin)
vicopper - Thursday, 12/11/03 20:42:17 EST

Ralph & Vic,: Ralph, I'll wrestle you for first blacksmith in space. Best two out of three falls, and I plan on cheating!

Slight change of subject, but within the same area, I want to buy TWO of the engines at this URL:

Mount them on top of my truck, put four 100 lb propane tanks IN the truck and use them as JATO bottles at the drag strip!!!

Or on the highway. Can you imagine the look on the cops face as you go by?? (grin)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/11/03 20:54:21 EST

I always forget about the hot link option till after I've posted the message, durnit!
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/11/03 20:55:19 EST

Jphelps and refactory. The guru is right you can repair the bottom with ITC200, or you can just replace it and get the welding plates that NC sells to protect the bottom from flux:-)Most online farrier suppliers and some of the blacksmithing suppliers carry the reliner kits and the welding plates. Once you do that coating everything (separately:-) with ITC100, and ITC296 will improve its thermal reflectivity as well as help with the resistance to the flux.

The Rabbit and exotic stainless alloys, if you bought the steel from crucible, they may have a heattreating service that they can recommend, otherwise Wayne Goddard uses Paul Brothers, and most of the big name knifemaker supply houses offer in house heattreating of stainless alloys. In theory they are probably forgeable:-) But it is MUCH safer to just use stockremoval and be careful to get as even a grind as possible (the heattreater assumes no responsibility for warpage due to stresses in the blade, or uneven grinds:-) Otherwise they are just fancy knifesteels, nothing special really:-)
Fionnbharr - Thursday, 12/11/03 21:57:34 EST

Super Steels: Rabbit,Can't say for sure about CRUWEAR, but CPM 15V starts life as powdered metal - melt steel to correct chemistry, then atomize it by either hitting it with a gas or water. Then compress it into a shape and process under controlled atmsophere at high temperature. I think, but am not positive that Crucible is using gas atomization and HIPing (Hot Isostatic Pressing) material to shape. The big advantage is eliminating the segregation of elements during cooling that occurs if you make steel by ingot or continuous casting methods. Cooling is very rapid, and the size of the particle being cooled is that of a grain of fine sand or smaller. By the way, I worked for Crucible back when they had a real steel mill in the late 70's as their heast treat metallurgist. Currently work in quality assurance for a iron powder manufacturer.
- Gavainh - Thursday, 12/11/03 22:32:19 EST

Kevlar rope: Dragon-boy, In the 70's small gage kevlar braided line of 750 to 1200# tensile was breifly used in skydiving parachutes for shroud lines, as the packed smaller. I said briefly, as it was quickly discovered that these kevlar lines had some bad habits, like not stretching during opening, causing very hard openings, and also when the parachutes were packed on the ground, small dirt particles entered the braid, causing small scratchs to the filiment surface. Like steel, the kevlar cracked, causing line parting, usually at opening.
- ptree - Thursday, 12/11/03 22:35:42 EST

Posting error: Drat all keyboards - that should have been heat treat met, not heast.
- Gavainh - Thursday, 12/11/03 22:37:33 EST

power: I was stationed at Redstone Arsenal during some of the rocket motor testing for the space program. They scheduled for afternoon testing, but with countdown holds usually fired at about 2:00am. The test range was a long way away, but it usally woke us as our bunks skated across the floor!
- ptree - Thursday, 12/11/03 22:39:21 EST


And falling through the air at 1,500 Feet AGL is no time to be wondering why your risers are flopping around. (wry grin)
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/12/03 07:30:56 EST

rope: So in other word I should throw it in the car as a tow rope? The guy giving it to me said it would hold 18,000 pounds per square inch.
dragon-boy - Friday, 12/12/03 09:02:01 EST

rope: it would work, but the snap if it went slack then tight would be

vishous x

veshous x

very bad
Nigel - Friday, 12/12/03 09:35:21 EST

Paw Paw: You are avery sick man to post a site like aardvark in front of people who are still making swords. Grin, I NEED one of THOSE
habu - Friday, 12/12/03 10:06:28 EST

Jet engines: Jim, Mike, et al.

I think putting it on any vehicle a blacksmith drives would be like putting a hundred dollar saddle on a ten dollar horse, but suit yourself. Now on the other hand, that looks like one heck of a forge burner, doesn't it? Ought to get your anvil up to heat in no time for those cold winter forging days, too. The possibilities are almost endless. Barbecue, anyone?

Kevlay rope...nope. Wrong stuff to use for rope. Very limited elasticity. That's why they use it for body armor and tire cord. Might be okay for staking up your pup tent, if the wind wasn't too high. Make a good clothesline that wouldn't sag, either. Trust my life or valuables to it? Nope.
vicopper - Friday, 12/12/03 11:14:04 EST

Odd Tongs: I've actually seen wire drawing tongs. They come in two pairs, so you can switch off between them as the wire is drawn and spooled, the jaws were knurled or ridged, the reigns were spread about 45 degrees, and they had eyes at the end of the reigns for attaching the draw lines. I wish I had bought them, now. (They were in Ohio, I was on my way to the medieval conference in Kalamazoo, and I was saving my money for BOOKS.)

Anyway, whatever these are, I THINK we can rule out wire drawing tongs.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/12/03 11:14:16 EST


Sorry about that! (chuckle)
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/12/03 11:38:05 EST

Jet Engines: quoting vicopper "I think putting it on any vehicle a blacksmith drives would be like putting a hundred dollar saddle on a ten dollar horse, but suit yourself" Now wait a min... I have you know I have a 1974 Dodge Dart ( too bad it is a 4 door) that looks almost new... I think a jet motor would be just right on it.
Ralph - Friday, 12/12/03 11:55:17 EST

Yankees Freezing: It would seem obvious to those that are watching,namely the unemployed oil field workers in TEXAS that it might be a good idea ,to go ahead and drill in Alaska, after all my bible says That WE are to have dominion over the animals. Oh yea, I almost forgot about the tree huggers in California .When they needed energy they cried like babies.
- spurz - Friday, 12/12/03 14:42:01 EST

Ntech's info: For all you who are craving something spectacular check out what Ntech has to offer! His presentation is wonderful, the aroma grand, and the shaush coly how. het shaush is ta dei fer!
dragon-boy - Friday, 12/12/03 15:24:50 EST

kEVAR ROPE: Pawpaw, I had some buddies that actually lost several lines on squares, vicious spinning malfunctions! Also the opening shock was severe enough to cause several guys to walk funny, and a couple to have to get lacerations sutured! Kevlar is a wonderful material that has useful applications, but like the current sexy metal, titanium, you chose to use it for its useful qualities.
- ptree - Friday, 12/12/03 18:51:59 EST


I was still a member of the USPA when Kevlar was first tried. I remember some of the horror stories.

I've still got all my gear, and have been toying with the idea of having my PC Mk-1 (clown configuration) and one of my reserves rigger inspected and packed for one more jump on my 65th birthday. Sheri doesn't smile when I talk about it, though. (grin) She used to pack for me all the time, but says she's too far out of practice. I'd have to check my log, but it's been a while since I've been out the door.
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/12/03 19:44:32 EST

POPs: Pawpaw,
There is the organization "Parachutists Over Phorty". I think that if you want to do a jump, I would consider a student square. You would need a bit of training, but the landings are a lot easier on the old knees. I tore up my left(torn ACL) at 23 years old, and made 400 more on the unrepaired torn ACL and both minscus removed. Went from a 28" military mk-1 pc to a 230 Strato-cloud, to a 300 sqaure foot Comet. The square set me down soft. Pres. Bush used a square when he made his jumps. And yes I did say a 28' mk-1 pc. OD green and extra heavy cloth! Don't ask, and I won't have to tell.Very big grin.
- ptree - Friday, 12/12/03 20:40:12 EST

Pawpaw: If you want to do a jump, consider a student square, They have HUGE squares that are designed to open soft and land even softer. I have about 400 square jumps on a left knee that is missing both the lateral and radial menisicus, as well as a shredded ACL, Didn't even have a real brace until the last 100 or so. I'm a rigger, but a long way away. I think I remember how to pack a MK-1. Wanna find out? BG. I had a rare MK-1, a 28' instead of 24', and extra thick, low porisity fabric, and it was od. Made about 70 jumps on it. Opened slow, decended slow, and landed soft.
- ptree - Friday, 12/12/03 20:50:04 EST

Odd I thaught I had lost the post, as I left and came back and it did not show, then after the second post there it was. Oh well sorry
- ptree - Friday, 12/12/03 20:52:05 EST


Contact me email, please. I want to send something to you.

(No, it's not explosive, I can send it email. grin)
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/12/03 23:54:08 EST

Bar Ditch.: Off subject. In Texas, why do they call the roadside drainage ditches, "bar ditches". Ive already heard the one about if you drink too much and you're driving home from the bar, you might wind up in the bar ditch. Sounds like a crock to me.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 12/13/03 07:12:02 EST

Bar Ditch:: Bar ditch is Texan for Barrow as in Wheelbarrow. I think it has something to do with the way Texans form words whith their mouths. "see y'all tamarrie at the all patch by the bar ditch" VBG
habu - Saturday, 12/13/03 10:31:36 EST

Barrow: from

"B.Bronze age burials.
During the bronze age, there is an increasing tendency towards single burial, a trend which began in the later neolithic.
Many bronze age burials were covered by a round barrow or cairn.
There were different types of barrows in use in the British bronze age:

* The bowl barrow is the most common type of round barrow and is a simple round mound, usually with a surrounding ditch and sometimes a bank, found all over Britain.
* bermed barrows:
o A bell barrow has a berm between the mound and the surrounding ditch and occasionally an outer bank.
o A disc barrow has a small central mound on a wide platform surrounded by a ditch and an outer bank.
* A saucer barrow has a low mound surrounded by a ditch and outer bank, with no berm.
* A pond barrow is a circular depression surrounded by an outer bank and can contain cremations, inhumations, and dismembered inhumations, as well as empty pits, and may have had other ritual functions besides burial."

This sounds alot like the bar ditches on the way home from bar....

this site also has some info on bronze age spear points and metalergy
habu - Saturday, 12/13/03 10:55:04 EST

metalergy: no really, that's how they spelled it in the bronze age....
habu - Saturday, 12/13/03 13:24:21 EST

bar ditch: This is in reference to the ditch as the source of fill dirt used to form the roadway prisim. The dirt was "borrowed" from the ditch. Over the years the borrow ditch has been shortened to bar ditch.
- Ernie - Saturday, 12/13/03 13:57:25 EST

Niiiice glasses!
- ptree - Saturday, 12/13/03 14:53:14 EST


Which one, iForge #66?
Paw Paw - Saturday, 12/13/03 15:59:01 EST

Pawpaw, No, just admiring the the military issue frames in the photo. I still have occasional nightmares about my pair. grin.
- ptree - Saturday, 12/13/03 17:31:15 EST


Oh! OK, that makes sense. (grin)
Paw Paw - Saturday, 12/13/03 17:34:36 EST

Anvil ID help: Hi guys. I have the opportunity to buy a 150lb anvil and I'm tryig to identify it. It has an eagle on one side. Any idea what it might be? It has a date stamped in the base at one end of 1912.

Also, part of the deal is a champion 400 blower and coal forge. What are they worth? Both have a dat of 1907 on them. I have never priced a champion blower or forge, and will probably just turn around and re-sell them. I am very happy with my propane forge.

The guy wants $650 for the anvil, blower, and forge. The blower is complete and turns nicly. The anvil is in very good shape with no maoks in the face and just some minor damage to part of the edge.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
FredlyFX - Saturday, 12/13/03 20:00:03 EST

Anvil: Fisher anvil.....$350
Champion 400.......75
Forge (unknown)....50
Forge (big, good).200

So, if the anvil is really good, the forge is big and good with clinker breaker, tuyere, ash dump., water trough, steady rests and legs, and the blower is very quiet and almost turns itself, then it is a good deal. Less than that, I'd pass. If you plan to sell off the forge and blower, you might even wind up paying too much for the anvil. My opinion only, YMMV.

Have you looked at Euroanvils? Fine anvils at very good prices.
vicopper - Saturday, 12/13/03 20:46:10 EST

Thanks Much vicopper. I'm kind of thinking the same thing. The forge is also a champion 400. It is pretty rusty, but the stand, tuyere, clinker breaker etc is all there. The blower wants to turn itself it runs so smooth. Your figures aer pretty much where I was at.

We both agree that the anvil is worth about 300 to 350, but then he wants another 3 to 350 for the forge & blower, and that is just too much. I think I may go back in a few weeks and if he still has it I will offer about 450 or 500. I don't think it is worth more than that. I have been looking hard at the euroanvils, and may just go that way as well. Thanks again.
FredlyFX - Saturday, 12/13/03 22:19:23 EST

Thanks Habu: A native Texan told me a few years back that "bar" came from "barrow", but I didn't 'get it', nor did I research it.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/14/03 08:35:47 EST

Frank : I like Erinie's Borrow too, although in TX Borrowing just might get you shot or streched. Two other words that Texans use that confused me for a while were Bob as in bobwire, and arah, as in what an native american shoots from a bow. "rye"
habu - Sunday, 12/14/03 09:26:14 EST

barditch:: section #2

As early as 1200, Boston, England had a moat called the "barditch". Yes, there is a Boston in England, and there's even a Paris in France. Those Europeans are just a bunch of shameless wannabes :)

The Language of that time was very different from modern English and any attempt to extrapolate from the modern meanins of "bar" are likely to be misleading
adam - Sunday, 12/14/03 18:36:06 EST

Solar Forge: The first furnace to get hot enough to melt platinium was a solar array in France. Have to wear a welding helmet with a #20 shade to look in the forge. . .

When solar was hot I saw an article in Mother Earth News about a solar tracking device that used a low boling point substance like freon. As the angle of the sun moved more freon moved from one tank to another swiviling the reflector. No mechanical moving parts.

Digging holes in the ground to extract the last of a finite fuel supply is a dead end. We need to be developing more solar AND nuclear. Japan has been taking (paid to haul away) Europe's nuclear waste which is still over 75% usable fuel. They are not reprocessing it yet but they are stockpiling for the day when the West has no energy left and they have all the marbles. . .

I do not believe nuclear is the long term solution but it will keep us from going to war with every country that has a little bit of oil left. We are not in Iraq for humanitarian reasons. If we cared about people we would be in Africa.
- guru - Sunday, 12/14/03 19:25:03 EST

Solar forge: Jock,

Since the melting point of platinum is around 3200F, a solar forge should be dandy for forge welding. Clean fire, no clinker, neutral atmosphere. Heck, inert atmosphere should be pretty easy to do. Gonna have to rethink the clorinated fluorocarbon drive mechanism, though. I'd hate to be the guy who built the environmentally friendly forge who got shut down and fined by the EPA. (grin) But a non-CFC volatile should work just as well. Seems to me you could "adjust" the temperature by how accurately you aimed the array, too.

Anybody know where I can get a cheap parabolic mirror array or giant magnifiying glass? Or ten thousand makeup mirrors and surplus satellite dish? (grin) I you throw in really honkin' big fiber optic conductor, I can have a solar torch, too.

vicopper - Sunday, 12/14/03 20:10:32 EST

Borrow ditch or pit: Frank,

I suspect that Ernie is correct in his assumption that the term comes from roadbuilding. When I still lived in the States, roads were made that way, by "borrowing the fill from the two sides to raise the middle. This is because "dirt work", or roadbuilding, is NOT about dirt, it is all about WATER. If there is soomewhere for the water to go besides the roadway, the road stays as a road. If not, the road becomes a creek bed. Ufortunately, here in the Virginn Islands, like most of the Caribbean, they don't seem to grasp that simple principle. Every time we get a good rain, the roads all become rivers and wash away.
vicopper - Sunday, 12/14/03 20:16:18 EST

Vicopper the solar forge should have a very oxidizing atmosphere as none of the oxygen is being consumed burning the fuel, It has to have 1 or two openings (one for the beam to enter and one for the stock---you might be able to get a saphire plate that wood take the heat to cover the beam window) anyway the air will convect bringing in even more fresh O2 laden air...

Now if you orient the forge vertical so that the hot air rises into the closed end you should get less oxidizing, but harder to use and keep the beam on.

I've thought about doing this and now that I'm moving to NM I probably will. I have a Mother Earth News that had a collector made from 1' square mirror tiles that was getting 1600 degF uninsulated into a nice kaowool/firebrick box it should do OK...

Thomas, a good friend just dropped off 80+ book boxes Hurray!! earlier some folks came by to help clean out the shop---one brought a dumptruck---I guess he does know me pretty well...
Thomas P - Sunday, 12/14/03 22:12:41 EST

parabolic mirror: a simple way to lay out a parabolic mirror is with a framing square as in the example: once the basic curve is defined on ply-wood the curve can be copied to a trough or swung around its axis to form a dish. When i worked at the National Bureau of Standards we used a ply-wood cut out attached to a pipe along the focal axis, we shoved this into a pile of concrete and rotated it to make a male form for several dishes for a micro wave project. The surface was covered with a metallic Mylar and fiberglass. The first thing the scientist did was point it toward the sun and set fire to a 2x4.
habu - Sunday, 12/14/03 23:01:43 EST

Found this looking for other things: Dynamite Shoot for a good cause sound like a real bang
habu - Monday, 12/15/03 00:32:47 EST

Dam! That looks like FUN!
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/15/03 03:02:02 EST

Solar Forge oxidizing problem: Couple of possible solutions to this? I am liking this idea...

1) Salt pot. Black crucible full of a very high-vaporization point salt. Put the piece in to heat it, scrape it off on the lip as you pull it out to forge it. A medium-melt metal with the appropriate boiling point might also work. The chemists in here will have some words on these matters, I hope!

2) I have heard of ceramic artists trickling propane into their electric furnaces to create reducing atmospheres. Same thing may work here. May be a good idea to make a bell-shaped forge and stick work up inside it to heat...

3) Sacrificial chunks of charcoal to create CO2/CO?

4) Just use the dern thing to generate electricity and power an induction/resistance heater.

5) Coat item with ceramic dip or kiln wash (like katana backs, but all over)? One good tap on something hard should knock all that off, but there are several obvious drawbacks to this.

Nothing else is coming to mind... Hope this gives y'all some ideas, though!

Vicopper, C-band satellite dish and aluminum foil?

I love the idea of a solar torch. Gotta do some sketches of that...

Thomas, don't s'pose you've got any 50-75lb anvils you don't want?
T. Gold - Monday, 12/15/03 05:38:29 EST

fundraiser: Habu- I forwarded that link to my fire chief. Looks like a heckofa lot more fun than the fish fry we do.
Brian C - Monday, 12/15/03 08:47:50 EST

Odd anvil: I was looking on the keenjunk site, and say what the seller was claiming to be a 701 pound anvil! now I am a skeptic so you tell me is this a likly thing or not? seller had no pictures.
dragon-boy - Monday, 12/15/03 08:52:31 EST

701 lb anvil: here is one on Ebay
habu - Monday, 12/15/03 09:14:01 EST

Bullhammer 125 for sale: Blacksmith power hammer, Bullhammer 125 (check website Virtually new w/options, (save thousands), can demonstrate forging, has the force to really shape large stock yet can feather gently.
Great space usage. Can email photos.
- Gordon Meffert - Monday, 12/15/03 10:15:20 EST

large haybudden: This vendor sells a lot of anvils and vises through keenjunk. In fact, I bought a nice post vise from him and discussed a 250# PW that he had for sale. He knows his stuff.
adam - Monday, 12/15/03 10:23:29 EST

Cardiff #1: Guru: sorry it's taken a while to respond. I am very grateful for your input. Reverse engineering ... whadt??
So with fresh eyes I've looked at the Cardiff. I can see what you are saying. First: although it does have an inch square hole section, there isn't much play, and although I have previously snapped some 20mm square i wouldn't dare go any bigger. That should roughly be about 24 ton.
Punch wise I've put a 16.5mm through 12mm m/s which by my formula equals 25.3 ton. Getting to it's top limit i reakon. But looking at the principles you described, it could be more, as the pivot points of the shear and punch are at very different lengths. The punch works off a very short lever, it's clutch-cog shaft is directly over it with a very short connecting arm. The shear action is by way of a much longer lever, and as the cogs are offset towards the punch end, the shear has a longer connecting arm, and on a more diagagonal travel. I don't cut angle on it but it would be able to receive 65x65 and flat bar on the shear 75x10 is it's maximum on a single cut. It's interesting on the shear that it's designed to allow for continual long cuts 'scissor like' at some very acute degrees ... just keep feeding it in.
The "best" Australian tips I've recieved from men in the trade have been, "ya 2HP equals 20ton" "50mm shafts ... half that means she's about a 25 tonner".
I know very well that it is in that 25 ton zone. And i am perfectly happy with what is does, and like you say they do break, so I am not about to try it any further. I'll have a scatch around for a copy of Machinery's Handboook.
Incidently, i've seen a few internet pictures of Hendly & Whitmore machines. They look quite different to typical ironworker configurations. What sort of age are they? Numbers made?
Thanks for your help! Cheers.

mark power - Monday, 12/15/03 10:51:00 EST

Moonshot: I remember sitting on my Grampas lap to watch the moonshot on their television. My Grampa was a young man in 1903 when the first powered flight was made. Has there ever been, a generation that has seen such a leap in technolgy?
100 years
JimG - Monday, 12/15/03 13:06:22 EST

I'm liking the solar forge talk, too. May have to dig an old dish out of the junk pile... sometime next year. Santa's little helper is starting to think it *might* be possible to get everything done and on the sleigh by Christmas Eve. Three days ago I wasn't so sure.

One of the Woodsmaster survival videos (, I think) has a bit about solar cookers... the parabolic dish segment has a scene with a burn on a hand that got in the focal point. Yow!

I guess I'm contemplating how to get the heat down to some convenient level to put the steel in the heat. Even with the sun at 30 degrees or so, it seems like the focal point could be well above shoulder height. Or maybe not, if I arranged a mount that held the dish a little lower...

Steve A - Monday, 12/15/03 14:19:37 EST

solar: Steve,
it seems to me that you could use a series of mirrors to reposition teh heat beam to a more convient location. But then I am just speculating as I have no real idea....
Ralph - Monday, 12/15/03 15:07:23 EST

701# Hay Budden: Dragon-Boy, I bought a post vise from that vendor in Cape Girardeau.......good price, good condition, exactly as advertised, promptly shipped. I would classify him as a reputable vendor, but not an expert photographer (grin!)...I suspect that is why he doesn't have a pic readily available.
Ellen - Monday, 12/15/03 15:47:46 EST

Re:dynamite shoot. Our local range, has a machine gun shoot twice a year, with explosive targets. Draws a huge crowd. Also draws things like truck mounted quad Fifties, and GE Mini-guns and flame throwers! They use things like refrigarators and cars filled with explosives and gas. Thousands attend.
- ptree - Monday, 12/15/03 17:38:19 EST

Moonshot: JimG
I also sat with my Grandmother to watch the first moonshot. She was born in 1886. She went from the age of steam to spaceflight. Her brothers fought in WW-I, her son in WW-II, and her grandsons in Vietnam. She lived to be 100, and boy was she a smart 4th grade drop-out. She read EVERYTHING, and I mean everything. Ceral boxs to the bible and everything in between. I agree about a leap in technology.
- ptree - Monday, 12/15/03 17:43:31 EST

OBTW, Pawpaw is so old he jumped out of C-47s when they were NEW!
- ptree - Monday, 12/15/03 17:44:39 EST


You sorry dog! I'll get you for that! (grin)
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/15/03 17:55:18 EST

Ptree: > Her brothers fought in WW-I, her son in WW-II, and her grandsons in Vietnam.

That's the military cycle of life. My grandfather missed WWI, but the rest was the same. He had no sons, but his son in laws fought in WWII and Korea, and his oldest grandson was a VietVet. (wry grin)
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/15/03 17:58:02 EST

Slack Tubs: With something so simple as a container of water, one would think that an ideal option would be obvious! Over the years the most convenient choice for me has been a five-gallon bucket both metal and plastic, but they have a limited lifespan. The metal ones rapidly rust out and as soon as I used a plastic one I would miss the middle and catch the top with a piece of hot metal! I was recently at the local garden center and spotted an oak half-barrel and decided to try something traditional, or so I thought! I got my new find home, thoroughly soaked the outside and filled it with water only to come back to find a huge puddle and the water level inside the half barrel down to the first hoop and still weeping! Five gallons of water has pretty much been enough quench for me, so even with the lowered level in the half-barrel the volume was more than enough, but I wasn't convinced the weeping would ever end. My question to the group is what favorite slack tub configurations are popular?
- Roy - Monday, 12/15/03 18:31:35 EST


The half oak barrel will work, but yoou will have to let is soak. Keep re-filling it and the wood will eventually swell enough to keep it from leaking. If you ever let it dry out, you will have to do it all over again.

I did "seal" one wooden bucket by using clear silicone caulk to fill all the seams, but it didn't "look" right. (I was using it for demo's, so the appearance was a bit more important than if I was using it at the shop.)
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/15/03 18:55:09 EST

Solar forge and Slack Tubs:

About the solar forge, it should be pretty painless to use mirrors (CLEAN ones!) to reposition the beam. You could even use lenses to spread it out over a piece of work or a furnace body.

Desired slack tub? Half a wood barrel or a decent-sized steel container with good galvanizing.

Slack tub I actually use? Five-gallon plastic drum. I usually put a piece of angle iron on the rim as a work rest to keep it from getting all melty. (Grin) We have quite a few buckets up at the shop with divots in their rims...
- T. Gold - Monday, 12/15/03 18:58:32 EST

Roy: the bottom 3/4 of a beer keg works good. i made a lid from the top 1/4, brazed some tabs on to locate it. it's stainless steel, also can double as a huge corn cooker.
mike-hr - Monday, 12/15/03 19:00:27 EST

slack tub, not the chat room....: I use half of a wine barrel. Unfortunately I let is dry and now it will only seal up to within 5 inches from the top, but that is enough for what I need. And with all the rain we are getting it is definately not going to dry out anytime soon....
Ralph - Monday, 12/15/03 19:15:28 EST

wooden tubs: Salt fish barrels are sealed with sealing wax,paraffin, like grandma used in canning. Might be worth a try untill the barrel has a chance to cure.
habu - Monday, 12/15/03 19:30:52 EST

slacktub: Like PawPaw says, the staves of a wooden barrel are designed to swell from being wet and form a seal. I use a galvanized 5 ga bucket that I found.

Rob Gunter uses 5 ga plastic buckets and I thought I might try that. Then I noticed that he also wears a light colored button down shirt and finishes the day of forging at a coal fire without a smudge on him. It works for him but it aint gonna work for me!

Frank Nowicki uses a large steel tank with walls 1/4" thick. Every thing in Frank's shop is large. This was true even when he was working out of a 1 car garage at his house.

Frank Turley uses 50 ga drums. If you burn yourself you can submerge your arm up to the armpit. I had occasion to fish around the bottom of one of his tanks for a lost rivet and judging from the layer of sludge that I had to dredge through, I'd say those drums have been there since the 1800's like the rest of his shop :). Never did find the rivet. On cold days they had a skim of ice on top but never froze up solid. I have to keep a heater in my little 5ga bucket or it turns to solid ice making the bottom bulge out so it wont sit on the floor.

I do have a beer keg sitting in my junk pile - Ralph, whats the best way to cut the top off?
adam - Monday, 12/15/03 19:31:08 EST

slack tub: I took a plactic 55 gallon drum and split it vertically, made an angle fram to hold it, with an angle rim. Put some gravel in the bottom. I "think" this will not rupture from freezing, as it is half round, and the angle should prevent divots, with the gravel preventing melt thru of the bottom. been using it since spring, will advise if it survives the winter.
- ptree - Monday, 12/15/03 20:15:14 EST

Beer keg: Adam
best way to get the top off that is to tell Paw-Paw theres at least a glass full left in there (GRIN)....(put down that gun Paw-Paw it wasn't that bad)
Mark P - Monday, 12/15/03 20:23:09 EST


Half a glass would be enough.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/15/03 22:47:05 EST


Especially if it was Lowenbrau Dark Draft.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/15/03 22:47:48 EST

PawPaw's first 'chute jump: Is it really true that PawPaw jumped off'n Icarus' back ?
3dogs - Tuesday, 12/16/03 01:56:23 EST

first jump: 3dogs....only if Icarus had a walk up ramp and a really mean jump master to chuck him out (pulling hole in over me)
Mark P - Tuesday, 12/16/03 07:51:45 EST

pains: my partner, Matthew, has had some shoulder pain. we got him checked out and he has tendonitis in his shoulder. Of course the young(17) man did not tell the doc that he is doing bs work, and now he has a question about his ailment!
I thought maybe ya'll could help. ? is this : Is Tendonitis some he can overcome through use or is he doomed to suffer from withdrawl of forgeing and n'er again swing a hammer?
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 12/16/03 08:54:36 EST

pain cont.: Over comeing the pain through strength training is his idea, is this a possibility or will this damage the sholder even more?
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 12/16/03 08:57:15 EST

slack-tub: I use an old stainless steel laundry trough, quiet a deep thing, holds about 60litres, the plug hole is sealed, an old zinc annode lives at the bottom. A lot of rusty bits stick to it, so far(3 & 1/2 years) it hasn't pitted through. I'll give it a fibreglass skin when it does. Also it's on a frame with wheels at one end so i can shift it about full. I tip the filth out occasionally. Once or twice I've done a leak in it!! The water never seems to settle clear again. Probably something to do with acid.
mark power - Tuesday, 12/16/03 09:11:32 EST

Parabolic mirrir---go get a junked metal mesh satellite dish and go ask your local glass shop for broken mirror bits and BE CAREFUL that invisible death ray is not a toy

(One of my favorite Chas Addams cartoons showed a patent attourny pointing a weird object out a window and talking to an "inventor" saying "Death Ray---it's not even slowing them down!")

I was thinking of trying a solar forge with the "firebox" having a slit in it that is oriented that the sun's progression will track from one end of the slit to the other allowing a reasonable forging time between adjustments, MEN had a tracking circuit but I don't know if I want something messing with the mirrors when *I'm* standing close to the focal point...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/16/03 09:29:10 EST

Great find: I found a book today called the Art of blacksmithing by alex w. bealer. It was only $11.00 so i bought it. Anyone got or read this'un?
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 12/16/03 11:50:11 EST

I've had several types. In the mid 1970's used Whisky barrels were cheap and plentiful ($7 US I think) and we bought a number. I used half of one for many years as a slack tub until it fell apart and I couldn't put it back together. I worked outside and it dried out regularly, the bands loosening and sliding off. I would put them back in place, tighten and fill with water. Last summer we cut the last of the barrels in two for the shop and have only had to add water a couple times.

I've had galvanized tubs and they would rust out in a short time or freeze and split. That was before I knew about zinc annodes.

I've used plastic buckets in a pinch. The problem is the first time you drop a hot piece and it melts a hole in the bottom. The heavy plastic barrels are better but still have the same problem.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/16/03 11:57:29 EST


Strength training will help, but his basic problem is almost certainly hammer control. Have him read iForge demo #6 about the subject.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/16/03 13:01:12 EST


THE ART OF BLACKSMITHING is one of the first books most smiths buy. There are some relatively minor mistakes in it, when he wrote the book Alex was interviewing some "old timers". Occasonally they would "pull his leg" a bit. A couple of times it's a wonder his leg didn't come off in his hand!
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/16/03 13:03:49 EST

The Art of Blacksmithing: DB; If you were to assemble all the active iron bashers who DIDN'T have that book, or at least have read it, you could stuff 'em in a phone booth.:<) Mr. Bealer was one of the leaders of the blacksmithing renaissance who got together back in the 70's to breathe new life into the craft, and establish ABANA.
3dogs - Tuesday, 12/16/03 13:08:52 EST

? : What the he11 happened there?
3dogs - Tuesday, 12/16/03 13:12:29 EST

Lemme try that again: Mr. Bealer was one of the people who got together back in the 70's to breathe new life into the craft, and start this blacksmithing renaissance. That meeting led to the establishment of ABANA.
3dogs - Tuesday, 12/16/03 13:21:37 EST

books: Well I guess I shall not be number among those who could be bodily thrust into a cramped and tiny glass booth, Thanks to my hunch that I really need to stop at the antique store today!
dragon-boy - Tuesday, 12/16/03 13:22:09 EST

Leg Pullin': PawPaw; I'd be willing to bet the farm that Judd Nelson was one of the hardest pullers. A fine man, a joy to talk with and funnier than a rubber crutch. I had the pleasure of jawboning with him for about 3 hours at the first Alfred conference.
3dogs - Tuesday, 12/16/03 13:27:59 EST

3 Dogs:

Wouldn't surprise me a bit.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/16/03 13:50:16 EST

Slack tub: Stainless steel barrel with a lid (keeps the small critters out) They are quite common and inexpensive in the farmers market bulletin. I did go to dunk a burn one time and found a drowned rat in the tub. Yuck!
Tone - Tuesday, 12/16/03 14:43:08 EST

Cutting barrels.: Use a Sawzall and use duct tape to mark your cut. In other words put the tap around the middle then cut thru the tape (Start at bung hole) Beer keg? metal or wood? If metal ignor what I said about cutting as I have no idea how best cut metal kegs....
Ralph - Tuesday, 12/16/03 16:11:15 EST

Cutting Barrels:

Ralph, if metal, use a Sawzall with metal cutting blades.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/16/03 16:33:01 EST

Cutting Barrels:

Jigsaw with metal-cutting blades will work too, in a pinch. Buy several blades, you WILL break them... (Grin) That's what I used to cut up my forge body. Loud, not pretty, but it works.
- T. Gold - Tuesday, 12/16/03 17:23:00 EST

Barrels: PPW, I think I would be tempted to torch cut a SS barrel.... Yeah I know blowing up is a real hazard, but.....(grin) sorta like this phrase " Hold my beer, and watch this...."

Actually I have a few other uses for a SS beer keg... Like refilling it with its intended product.....
Ralph - Tuesday, 12/16/03 17:24:15 EST

Well for those who may care, and I am still going to post this for those who don't care......

We took our boy ( Nathan) to the airport this AM (tomorrow is his 19th Bday). He is going to be pulling guard duty for the next two weeks or so until his SOI ( School of Infantry) classes up. Then right now it looks as if his unit will be in Iraq by March.
So if you are inclined a few thoughts and prayers will be appreciated. Needless to say Dawn is rather sad right now.
- Ralph - Tuesday, 12/16/03 17:27:45 EST

cutting SS: Can one torch cut SS? I have never succeeded - no surprise since it's designed to resist oxidation.

Sawzall - SS work hardens something nasty- 18 ga SS took the teeth off my bandsaw blade and also trashed the cutting edges of my HF throatless shear.

I am thinking abrasive cutting disk?

Bealer: This book was very important to the renaissance of smithing in the US. A lot of good info but some BS mixed in too. Dont take it all as gospel. I find his writing stiff and pompous. Why use one word when three will do the job? Nevertheless, it's well worth reading and owning. I think you can buy it new for about $10. To paraphrase 3dogs: if you're going to be a smith, you need to own a copy.

Ralph, I hope your boy is safe and sound through his tour of duty. It must be very hard on his mother
adam - Tuesday, 12/16/03 19:20:08 EST

Cutting SS beer keg: I burned out 2 drill bits on the starter holes, broke 2 jig saw blades, stripped the teeth off 4 bi-metal sawzall blades, and shot the thing with a .45 to no avail.

Then I bought a $3 abrasive disk for my circular saw and cut the keg into lots of little pieces in about 10 minutes. DEFINITELY get the abrasive disk, its the easiest, cheapest method.

Its LOUD, though, REAL LOUD.
- Mike M - Tuesday, 12/16/03 19:49:15 EST

Slack tub: One source that I have not heard mentioned is a paint barrel. I have a friend who paints barns and fences. Got one of his empties to make a brakedrum forge with. After I cut what I needed from the top section, I took a good look at what was left. Perfect slack tub. Have been using it for about three or four years and it stll works great. The left over paint coated the interior and sort of rustproofs it. Water based paint so no oil film on the water surface. Also, it sits outside and have had no damage from freezing during Kentucky winters.
Ralph. Will do. Walked a similar path myself.
- Larry - Tuesday, 12/16/03 20:12:01 EST

Ralph, :

I don't have to change a thing, just leave his name where I have my own grandson. (wry grin) Yes, I can still grin about it, but if you know me like Sheri does, you can see the worry in my eyes.


Here in the states most guys (certainly Ralph and myself) were raised with the machismo, big boys don't cry, nothing to worry about, he's just going into combat, bull crap. Don't believe a word of it! Ralph is as worried about his son as Dawn is, he just handles it differently. I'm just as worried about my grandson as his mother is, but I also handle it differently.

I'd give my arm if I could go in his place. So would Ralph. But that's not the way it works, each generation has to do it's own share.

But don't ever believe that we don't worry.

Mike, I never thought of an abrasive disk in my circular saw, but I will in the future. I'm looking for a keg, just because it's stainless.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/16/03 20:41:42 EST

keg cuttin': i've done three kegs so far, my buddies use them for crab cookers. i draw a line with a sharpie marker, and use those .045" abrasive slitting wheels on 4 1/2" grinder. you can use the draw pipe inside the keg for a handle. i roll them into a radius, and braze onto lid.
mike-hr - Tuesday, 12/16/03 20:58:18 EST

Jim, tis true. I worry about my boys and when they hurt I do too. The agony is worse than if it actually happened to me.

circular saw, this works well BUT the grit is hard on the saw, use an old beater - or better yet use an angle grinder.

Also, use earplugs. For those of you that dont, I'll repeat this loud so you can hear. USE EARPLUGS OR YOU'LL GO DEAF! :) Really! YOu can buy a box of 200 prs of tapered foam earplugs for about $20. When they get grubby I throw them in the laundry. Hearing is something you use up - save it for stuff you really want to hear
adam - Tuesday, 12/16/03 21:32:48 EST


I thought you understood, from things that have been said in the past. But wanted to be sure. I don't think you took offense, but if my remarks bothered you at all, I didn't mean for them to.

But I tend to get "short" when I'm worried. I'm sure you know what I mean.

And dannit I am worried! I've got a picture of my grandson holding a punch while I'm punching a hole in a piece of hot steel. He was the first of the grands to go to a demo with me. And he's on his way to the same place Nathan is. His mother (our foster daughter) had a rough time for a while and struggled her way through to come out a fine young lady. Last September, she had our 24th grandchild. She and Brendan and her little girl are very special to Sheri and I.

I wish it was me.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/16/03 22:06:42 EST

3dogs: The same Judd Nelson that was in the foxfire book on wagon building? He looked like a character in the pictures. In colorado road ditches are called barrow pits, cause the wind blows so bad the road grader has to keep borrowing dirt from them to keep the road in place. I've got a beer keg turned barbque, looks like it was cut with a torch.
possum - Tuesday, 12/16/03 22:07:44 EST

Hearing: All this talk of cutting with nooisy things prompts me to jump on my bandwagon again. Forget ear plugs. Get real hearing protectors rated for a minimum of 30 dB sound reduction. Hell, they only cost about ten bucks at the welding supply, and they WILL SAVE YOU A THREE THOUSAND DOLLAR HEARING AID LATER IN LIFE. Please, trust me on this. I am ging deaf at the tender age of 55 from not having used them when I should. The type of damage they do cannot be relieved by cheap hearing aids, either. The only thing that wroks even halfway is the most expensive ones made. Three grand per ear is what I was quoted recently. Hammering alone will do it, the machines are just faster and worse. WEAR HEARING PROTECTION!

I just had to spend over a hundred bucks for a new phone for the house. Why? I can't afford the hearing aids, and I can't hear on a regular phone well enough to undrstand what folks are saying. Want to know why I now have an office job instead of being a street detective which I love? Because the loss of hearing makes me a liability. I won't risk someone else's life because I can't hear. The sad thing is, all of this could have been avoided for ten bucks.
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/16/03 23:03:06 EST


I wondered if that was why you left the street. I kinda thought it might be. You did the right thing, as I'm sure you know.

Doesn't make it any easier, though.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/16/03 23:33:46 EST

earplugs: vicopper - if you look at the ratings for sound reduction for earplugs versus those for good earmuffs, the rating for a good pair of ear plugs is often better than that for a fairly expensive set of muffs. I poured over safety catalogs a lot in my last job as a lab supervisor in a steel mill and was truly surprised by that. Also, if you want maximum noise reduction, pair a good set of plugs with a good set of muffs. Concientiosly using mine since about age 30, when I noticed my father's hearing loss. He'd worked in strip mines and steel mills, usually I suspect without hearing protection.
- Gavainh - Tuesday, 12/16/03 23:59:17 EST

Judd Nelson: POSSUM; That'd be him.
3dogs - Wednesday, 12/17/03 04:03:27 EST

metal cutting: Milwaukee has come out with new circular saw and blade.8".blade is cermet tipped, outlasts 7"abrasive disks.Somebody buy one quick!Tell us how it works.
- ritch - Wednesday, 12/17/03 09:21:14 EST

jkrau / possum:
Please use another handle. We have a long time regular user that is registered under that name in the pub and other places.
- guru - Wednesday, 12/17/03 10:17:54 EST

I know! I KNOW!! : Ok, it has been a little while since I have read this fourm so cought up. A while ago there was a question on what the heck a pair of "tongs" were. WELL, I OWNED A PAIR OF THESE and what they are used for is, are you ready? CLINCHING NAILS ON HORSES HOOFS. Yep, after the nails are in, you bend the ends of the nails down and that is what these "tongs" do. The flat "jaw" goes under the hoof and the turning "jaw" rolls the end of the nail down. I traded them to a good frend who is a farrier (ok so he told me what they were used for!) in exchange for a pair of tongs that he made. I would rather have something made by somone I know over a factory item anyday. The link, incase everyone forgot what I am talking about is:

My clinchers were in much better shape though.
Wayne P - Wednesday, 12/17/03 10:26:00 EST

Cutting stainless kegs: Plasma cutters do a nice job. I also whacked one a long time ago with a saber saw with a metal cutting blade in it.
3dogs - Wednesday, 12/17/03 11:09:40 EST

noise: Hearing loss is no fun. My wife is losing hers for reasons no one understands - she is about Rich's age. Hearing aids are VERY expensive. They are not covered by most insurance and they don't help nearly as much as, say, glasses do. It's very frustrating and it's never going to get any better.

Even without power tools, working with metal is hard on the ears. The sound of a hammer blow is a short pulse with a lot of energy packed into it - especially if the anvil rings loudly. In the course of a day's forging there may be thousands of these pulses bouncing off your eardrums.

However, hearing loss is cumulative. It's worn away in small steps. Just one careless day of not wearing one's safety glasses can cost an eye but forgetting one's earplugs onces or twice wont result in deafness. For this reason, IMO, the difference between good hearing protection and excellent hearing protection is not as critical as it would be with other safety equipment. It's more important to find something that is comfortable and that one will use all the time.

The earplugs that I buy (from Safety Direct) are rated 30dB noise reduction. I think one only gets the full effect if they are properly inserted. I have seen a lot of people with foam plugs just pushed into their ears, and sticking half way out. This is worthless. The technique is to roll the plug up into a tight pencil and then reach over the top of one's head to grab the ear on the other side. By pulling on the ear, one can open the ear canal so that the pencil can be inserted all the way. The plug will take a few mins to expand and seal up the canal. It also takes practice to get used to having them in one's ears for a long time. Some people have two different sized canals and should buy two sizes so they can mix and match. Some people have canals that are too tight and convoluted and earplugs just wont work.

I like to wear earplugs for airplane flights. Jet engines put out a lot of noise, especially in the high frequencies. I find I get a lot less tired this way.

There is a downside to blocking off one's hearing. I walked unawares into a wasps nest and it wasnt until they mobbed me that I realized what had happened. I have also been startled to find someone right behind me, not having heard his approach.

Tongs: Wayne thanks! My guess had been that they were a relic from the Inquisition used to pull the nails of heretics. Not too far off the mark :)
adam - Wednesday, 12/17/03 11:36:12 EST

Jim: I was very touched by your admission of vulnerability.
adam - Wednesday, 12/17/03 11:45:06 EST

earplugs: I agree with all that has been said about protecting one's hearing. I've lost some hearing, mostly afield in pursuit of quail, doves, javelina, mule deer and elk. I jealously guard what is left! IF you have a pair of shooter's earmuffs, they work well at the anvil in cooler weather. Plugs are preferred when summer has come to call.

Happy birthday to the airplane, and a tip of the hat to the bicycle repairmen from Dayton, Ohio.
Ellen - Wednesday, 12/17/03 11:46:59 EST

Duty....: All I appreciate the words of support and concern for our boy ( Dawn and mine as well as all of the folks in harms way) Yeah worry is a part and like PPW I would much rather have to go than see you youngest go, but each generation has to do its part.
So instead I lite the forge for the first time in almost a year last night..... And I was able to do so because we have young folks who are willing to put it all on the line so that we here at home and abroad can be free......
And let me tell you even tho I really disagree with certain counties positions on this they can have those positions as they are free due to the fact that the USA is willing to place our youth in harms way to insure freedom will endure..... hmmm I had better get of the soapbox before I get really worked up... (smile)
Ralph - Wednesday, 12/17/03 12:09:47 EST


Any one who is not willing to admit to vunerability in SOME area has some growing up to do. I've grown up far enough to be able to admit it without feeling guilty or diminished.

But my lady says that in many ways I'm still just a little boy growed up tall! (grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/17/03 12:59:32 EST

Hearing protection: As Gavainh noted the noise reduction rating for most earplugs is better than for the muffs. But, with that said, please note the following: the NRR on the package is the noise reduction rating. This is a laboratory test, and is a representation, not a real number. Most industrial hygenists will tell you that the real world numbers should be half of the package rating. It seems that most people do not read and follow instructions for insertion ETC. Dirty foam earplugs transmit more noise, some of us have bigger ear canals. Osha thinks that at 90Db hearing protection should be mandatory. I agree. One should be able to take a noise meter reading, pick a NRR that reduces that sound level to less than 90Db and move on. NOPE, devide the NRR by half from a package rating of 32 and one can only work at 106Db without doing damage. A 4"side grinder will hit 125Db on light gage material. Plugs and muffs are great, but most won't use that much. Heck, I have a constant struggle to get my guys to wear any hearing protection in a production forge shop. Motto, muffs are easy to fit and wear. Muffs probably come close to the package rating, even if you don't read and follow instructions. I wear muffs in my shop at home, have worn earplugs or muffs for the 22+ years I have spent in industry (and many years around military gunfire up to 203mm cannons)I still can hear. I watched my father go stone deaf fron noise damage. My grandfather went stone deaf from noise damage.
Still think noise is a joke? Osha requires a hearing conservation program at 85Db.No noise meter? if you have to raise your voice to be heard, your over 85Db.
I have now concluded this rant, and will save my next rant about safety glasses till later. Thank you.
- ptree - Wednesday, 12/17/03 17:28:51 EST

Cutting drums: After the previous rant re: hearing protection this will be quick. Be aware the SS drums, as opposed to bear kegs, are SS for a reason. Usually to keep something nasty that likes to eat steel inside. Often the nasties are left inside enough to explode from sparks etc. Also those that don't explode work on you another way. Please do youself and those around you a favor and only cut drums that have been professionally cleaned. For clean drums look in the yellow pages and you will ussally find a drum recycler in any reasonable sized local. They often scrap drums that are dented etc. May be able to obtain clean scrap drums cheap.
- ptree - Wednesday, 12/17/03 17:36:43 EST

Pawpaws first jump: If pawpaw had been there Icarus would not have suffered from the whole melting wax thing as there would have been parachutes. However, have recently looked at pictures of both Pawpaw and Leonardo De Vinci, who is credited with inventing parachutes, I see a very strong resemblance, perhaps one and the same?
- ptree - Wednesday, 12/17/03 17:40:34 EST

Having gotten on a OD green bus at 18, and not really understanding why my dad was choked-up, I gain the insight as my 18 year old daughter mentions the USAF before college.
I also understand your wish to go in his place, as I would do the same.My families thoughts and prayers are with yours and all the militery families. Especially hard at holidays.
- ptree - Wednesday, 12/17/03 17:44:49 EST


SA! I'm a time travelor, I taught Lenny everything he thought he knew!

Re: choked up fathers.

Now you know. Not too long before my dad passed away, I was visiting him in the hospital. He had spider cell carcinoma, and we all knew it was a one way trip. I got in one evening, and he looked at me and asked why I was so tired. I told him I'd had a bad night, the night before. He asked, "Nightmares?" When I answered yes, he told me that was why he
had tried to talk me out of going into the service.

NOW I understand. Then, I didn't.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/17/03 18:19:46 EST

stuff: PPW,
That is one thing I am greatfull for... I do not have nightmares. Partly as during my time in service we were not at war with anyone to speak of, but more importanly if we had been it would have not been that bad as I was on a submarine and for the most part it is a quite uneventfull thing. But to be honest while playing war games and having the 'enemy' shot a dummyload torpedo at you does get the heart pumping... as you can hear the screw of the torp....

Ralph - Wednesday, 12/17/03 18:55:40 EST

Paw Paw: I had a chance to meet PP at a gathering a few months ago. He was more than I imagined, which was a lot! He is the real deal, as he has served our country in so many ways. He has the steel of a knight but the heart of a saint. The combination I am sure confuses, but that is who he is. We pray constantly for his wife, but through our short time, I am proud to call him "friend". Merry Christmas, PP and Jock and all you folks who keep me rocking.
PapaDoc - Wednesday, 12/17/03 21:21:47 EST

IRL: PapaDoc,
are you sure that you saw PPW? (grin)
After my daughter met Jim IRL ( ABANA 2000) She could not remember his name and was trying to tell me something and so described him as "That gnome like man" I rolled on the floor as the way his beard was cut etc it was perfect.....

But Jim is truely a good man.
He has helped me in many ways. I am also glad to call him freind.

Ralph - Wednesday, 12/17/03 23:12:46 EST


In the spirit of the season:


The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
in perfect contentment, or so it would seem.

So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know.
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

"What are you doing?" I asked without fear.
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light
Then he sighed and he said "Its really all right,
I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night"
"Its my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at 'Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, "That's a Christmas 'Gram always

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile. >
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red white and blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,
I can carry the weight of killing another or lay down
my life with my sisters and brothers who stand at the
front against any and all,
To insure for all time that this flag will not fall."

"So go back inside," he said, "harbor no fright
Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you've done,
For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
to know you remember we fought and we bled is payment
enough, and with that we will trust.
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.

Unknown Author
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/17/03 23:23:13 EST


The preceeding was sent to me by Jerry Carrol, and I thought it deserved a wider distribution.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/17/03 23:24:32 EST

Blue Steel: Hey everyone, I just saw this beautiful locking blade demascus knife on the Texas Knifemaker Supply website. It was BLUE and I mean Sky blue, with midnight blue grains. Does anyone know how thats done?
The Rabbit! - Wednesday, 12/17/03 23:58:20 EST

Papa Doc & Ralph:

You guys trying to make me blush! Can't be done! (grin)

> "the steel of a knight but the heart of a saint."

I wish that were more truth than compliment.

Ralph, the foster son that committed suicide a couple of years ago used to call me, "The Leprechaun From Hell!" (chuckle)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/18/03 00:00:20 EST

PawPaw wider distribution: you said it needed { Wider Distribution } so I sent it on to's America In Uniform.

DanD-scavenger SSG.Retired USAR
- Dan Dowdrick - Thursday, 12/18/03 01:58:13 EST

Paw Paw: Dang it man you did it again where is the klenex... I too set it on.

From my Heart to your's
habu - Thursday, 12/18/03 03:03:34 EST

habu - Thursday, 12/18/03 09:45:57 EST

Leprechaun....: Big Grin PPW.... It fits.....

Nathan has taken to calling me 'Ol Timer' Dawn seems to get upset, but I see it differently. Mostly because Nathan and I shall we say were not talking that much the last year he was home... wrong freinds and actions on his part and be having high standards etc on my part. Anyhoo.... I look at it as his way of showing respect now that he understands a little more the military mind set....
Ralph - Thursday, 12/18/03 11:34:44 EST

Randall Knives: For those interested in knifemaking, there is an illustrated article in the current American Rifleman which relates the history of the company and has pictures of some of the steps used in making these knives. It was interesting to learn the grandsons of "Bo" Randall are still using his 25# Little Giant to forge the blades. Good pix of the grinding and finishing process, alas no pix of the LG forging away. Randalls are truly beautiful knives and have been around since the 1930's.
Ellen - Thursday, 12/18/03 11:39:30 EST

Slack Tubs and Ear Protection: Back from the Lord of the Rings marathon; somewhat of an essay on loyalty, duty and doing the right thing against great odds.

Slack tubs: Mine is a 44 gallon square stainless steel crab cooker from our church yardsale. The lid keeps vermin out, too. Only in the tidewater...

I've used steel drums, but they seem to develop pinhole leaks after a few years, even with sacrificial zincs. The wooden buckets I use for medieval demos need to be pre-swelled, and I have seen wooden barrels quietly deteriorate over a couple of years, depending on the ambient conditions. I think this one should last a while.

Ear protection: I use shooters muffs, which allow me to hear the radio, but drastically cut back on the louder sounds. I may look a tad silly, but there's seldom anyone else at the forge to laugh at me anyway. The only problem is they do make it difficult to instruct someone. They are, however, also right handy when firing off the family collection of small arms and artillery.
Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 12/18/03 12:43:57 EST

Rabbit, blue damascus, bluing salts. At least that's one way, but I don't know from experience. There's been some discussion about it on the knifemakers' forums.

Coming down to the last weekend of the pre-Christmas panic. The hot work is done but there's still some polishing and some woodwork for handles and presentation boxes. Every year I ask myself why I do it this way... and I keep coming to the conclusion that making my gifts means a lot to me. I'd be missing something if went back to just buying things and wrapping them up.

Steve A - Thursday, 12/18/03 12:46:46 EST

About this time last year I posted a query and was very encoureged by the replies. Since then I have got back to work. the hand has improved greatly i have good range of grip, working on gaining strength and teaching the nerves to record touch properly otherwise things are great.
Many thanks for all your sujestions they gave me hope And with hope one can do anything
God Bless you all
P. J. Conlan
- P. J. Conlan - Thursday, 12/18/03 15:34:49 EST

Paw-Paw and stuff:
Dangit, Paw-Paw, I dunno where they hide the tissues at school... That one is a keeper.

On a lighter note, what happened to the solar forge discussion!? It seems to have died off amongst the hubbub.

Cool and windy in Honolulu, Hawaii.
T. Gold - Thursday, 12/18/03 17:05:48 EST

Quick and Cute Cristmass idea for the Kids.: Last year my grand kids made Rice filled Heat Pads They took wool socks with the red toes, like Your grandmother used made sock monkeys, and filled them 3/4 full of white(not minute)rice and they sewed the top of the sock closed. The tube is then placed in the microwave for 2-3 minutes the warm moist heat will last about 30 minutes , or if you put them in the fridge you can use them cold. Last Christmas there were 20 people in the living room each with a sock around the part that hurt the most. I use mine at least twice a week. Great for sick children too.
habu - Thursday, 12/18/03 17:48:27 EST

beautiful iron: Check out the hungarian blacksmith's guild. these guys know their stuff!

Click on a name to get a bio page, then on the "masterpiece" link to see the work.

"Harbor no Fright": Arent they the outfit that sells cheap Chinese tools?
adam - Thursday, 12/18/03 18:49:23 EST

Poem: Dammit Paw Paw. You went and done it again. That poem touches a spot, even if it was about Marines. Sometimes we do things that don't make good sense to anybody else or even ourselves, but we know we are supposed to do it. Honor those who keep us safe.
- Larry - Thursday, 12/18/03 21:15:11 EST

Merry Christmas!: Two Weeks Before Christmas!

(Great job, Army Mom Deborah!)

T'was two weeks before Christmas, And all through Iraq,
The people still worried that Saddam would be back.
The soldiers went out on their nightly patrol,
Capturing the bad guys was always their goal!

With raids seeming endless in the triangle Sunni,
We hoped that not all of Iraq was so looney!
We gathered the tribe of Saddam, in Tikrit,
And suddenly now they all started to snit!

They told of a farm where Hussein just might be
Odierno then called on our boys- from the great 4th ID!
More rapid than Baathists our soldiers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name

Now Delta, Now Rangers, Now Cavalry too!
On Green Hats, on Pilots, I need all of you!

Go to that farm and secure it right now!
Capture his --- -you guys know how!

Off went our soldiers under cover of night,
So stealthy, so quiet with no trace of light
While we back at home were eating our lunches,
Our boys on the ground were following hunches!

And then it was time for the raid to begin.
The first target came up -empty within!
Could it be our Intel was wrong once again?
No! Somewhere nearby is the wolf in his den!

And then, in a twinkling, camouflage torn away
In a hole in the ground did their quarry lay
Dazed and confused, right at them he looked,
Did the stupid old fool know his goose was now cooked?

He was dressed all in rags from his toes to his head,
And his beard was as matted as 12 day-old bread!
How the mighty had fallen, could this be Hussein?
One look in his eyes was to know he's insane!

Our boys got their man - how proud we all are
The relief in our country is felt near and far
A bath he has had now -yet he'll never be clean
Forever tainted with mass torture and his Fedaheen

To our soldiers we give our undying respect
You always give more than we ever expect
We hope you can have now a night with some fun
Your loved ones back home say - JOB DAMN WELL DONE!

Deborah Sandberg
Proud Army Mom (101st)
14 December 2003
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/18/03 22:36:40 EST

P.J. Conlan:

That's probably the nicest thing I've heard today. This has been kind of a crappy day, but you just made it MUCH better! Thank you, and may the blessings of the season fall on you and yours.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/18/03 22:43:40 EST


Darn good thought! I read it to my wife and she started writing.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/18/03 22:45:32 EST

I am from Northern Indiana, and I am looking for a good coal forge in working order (with blower), and posably an anvil if it is in good shape and still has good edges. These are for my wife who is a blacksmith, possibly for christmas. If anybody can help I would appriciate it.
Thanks In Christ, Aaron
- Aaron Smith - Thursday, 12/18/03 22:56:55 EST

Go to:

Go to the Affiliates tab and scroll down to find the one for Indiana. Call the contact person, they may know of one at least in the state.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/18/03 23:43:32 EST

wayne p: Tongs, thanks i knew that someone here could make sense of them.

Paw Paw I sent the first poem to a friend that I served with in the AirForce and he reminded me how bad we "Really" had it
"Yep, reminds me exactly of us when we were on the beach defending Honolulu harbor from the marauding Vietnamese in gun boats. Puting our life on the line every day (we could get skin cancer you know) for America kind of makes me proud. War was hell. George"
He was right not everybody gets rough duty. grin
habu - Friday, 12/19/03 00:23:07 EST


> He was right not everybody gets rough duty. grin

Wry grin.
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/19/03 00:43:30 EST

Rice socks: I've been using my rice sock for a few years now, they are really great. Other things that work well instead of rice... Dried beans hold the heat longer than rice. Our bean bag heat pad is made bigger (wider) than the rice sock so it covers a larger area. It's better for back pains. Ive also used a cherry pit heat pad. The cherry pits are very light compared to rice or beans. They hold the heat about as long as the rice does, but they are more expensive unless you have a cherry tree. The benefit of the cherry pits is the weight. I get migrains and the lighter wieght doesn't make my head pound more while the heat is absorbed. Another good thing to do is to have a flannel bag to cover the heat bag. it helps to be able to remove the bag for washing. The flannel bag can be wetted and put onto a hot bag for more moisture without damaging the dried media inside the sock.

Happy holidays to all!!

Steve in New York
- Smulch - Friday, 12/19/03 09:11:21 EST

Poem: Dang it PawPaw, I just don't have tissues here at work! Yep, the eyes were wet. That is just the way I felt when it was my turn to do my duty. Though I didn't have "rough duty" through your ministry, I do indeed for the first time feel like a "true" vet. Thanks.

Thanks to all who walk the line tonight and every night to keep us free and safe. God bless you and yours.
Wayne P - Friday, 12/19/03 09:17:57 EST

Wayne, and all who responded:

Very few folks realize that it is love that motivates most service people and law enforcement officers. There are always a few venial folks, but they are amazingly rare.

May the blessings of the HolyDay season be with all of you and all of yours.

As Tiny Tim says, "Merry Christmas to all!"

Paw Paw - Friday, 12/19/03 10:28:53 EST

Various stuff: T.Gold,

The solar forge concept is probably not that intriguing to folks who live in northern climes where they can't even maintain a decent tan in the summer. (grin) You, me, a few guys from the very southern states could make one useful, I think. Heck, I've cooked a lot of food in simple solar ovens over the years in lots of different places. All I want to do now is multiply the heat a few dozen times, so I can cook steel. Like you, I get enough sun about 350 days a year to do the job, I'm sure. I just need to know more about the technology and how to adapt it to a blacksmith's needs. If I was smart enough, I could figure it out myself, but I'm apparently not. (grin) So, It's up to you, the bright young fellow from the land of Aloha to do the hard work. Now get busy! (big grin)


Goods words on the motivation of those of us who choose to put ourselves in harm's way. Thank you for expressing it. Like you, I wish all a very peaceful and happy Holiday season, be it Christmas, Chanukkah, Kwanzaa, the Solstice or whatever you are celebrating. I hope that all can keep firmly in mind that there is only one race...the Human race, and we are all brothers under the skin.

Peace to all,
Rich Waugh
vicopper - Friday, 12/19/03 11:58:47 EST


> there is only one race...the Human race, and we are all brothers under the skin.

I like that!
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/19/03 12:25:53 EST

Powder River Coal: Anyone tried to forge with power plant coal from the Powder River area of Wyoming? I know it's low sulpher, but nothing else about it.

UP is trying to figure out what to do with about 1600 tons from a derailment here in Lawrence (KS) Might be worth a try to talk 'em into selling some of it in small quantities. . .
John Lowther - Friday, 12/19/03 13:26:04 EST

Hearing: Rich - The eensy weensie all-in-your-ear hearing aids that the audiologists push are hugely expensive, but a "Game Ear" is essentially an old-fashioned hearing aid with a foam earplug. And that includes a limiter to cut out excessively loud noises.

Depending on the features, most of 'em are priced comparably to electronic muffs.
John Lowther - Friday, 12/19/03 13:40:26 EST

john lowther coal: The stuff I Borrowed from a passing train to the local power plant in northern colorado was pretty good.grin It was bituminumus (sp), low sulphur plenty hot after cokeing , smokes a bit. did not seem to hold shape in the fire box, but I'm new at all of this and first time with coal (new forge). I did some fairly large welds with no problems. Somewhere in anvilfire i found a link that gives the coal specs for each mine. but I can't find it now.

here it is:
coal specs
habu - Friday, 12/19/03 14:19:46 EST

Hearing aids: John Lowther,

Yep, those itty-bitty buggers are really expensive, and not as good as the larger, behind-the-ear (BTE) aids. The type of hearing damage that I have suffered from too many loud and percussive noises is called cochlear ciliar damage and is pretty specific in the frequency range of the atenuation. What it amounts to is that I can't hear the frequencies between about 2000Hz and 6000Hz worth a damn. That range includes all the consonants in normal speech, unfortunately. So everything sounds like mush and I confuse words badly at times. Sometimes it can be funny, but mostly it frustrates the beejeezus out of me and my wife. I'll check into the Game Ear thing and maybe try it. I appreciate your input, John.

The BTE hearing aids that are totally digital, have three microphones and precisely adjustable frequency response are the only ones that will be much help, according to my niece who is an audiologist. Any hearing aid that amplifies all the sound spectrum equally just increases the babel level to louder and more annoying levels, but doesn't clariy things a bit. So I need the hotshot ones. Two to three grand per ear, and I need both to get the most benefit. I gaveit a lot of thought and bought a new truck instead. At least I KNOW the truck will do what I need it to do. (grin) I also dropped a hundred and fifty bucks on a new telephone that amplifies the speech frequencies, which helps a lot. My wife hates it, though. She forgets to turn it down when she uses it. (grin)

What all the docs have told me is to wear all the hearing protection I can get to stop further damage. So I wear 30dB attenuation muffs for mowing the lawn and forging, and if I'm shooting I use the fancy electronic ones that allow me to hear the rangemaster's commands. They get annoyed when you shoot at the wrong time. (grin) When I'm doing anything that is really, really loud, I use barrier plugs in the ears and muffs over them. About all the sound you get that way is by bone conduction, which won't cause me any more damage. I find that the muffs also keep me from getting welder berries in my ears when welding overhead, too. I really hate those!
vicopper - Friday, 12/19/03 14:48:01 EST

Game Ear: Rich - The digital version of Walker's Game Ear, might maybe work for you: They seem to support multi-spectral EQ. Of course they are still expensive at $400 a piece at Cabela's. Might be worth a try since Cabela's is really good about taking back products that don't work out for curtomers.

There is also an analog version for half the price with an EQ circuit, but I suspect it's filters aren't precise enough .
- John Lowther - Friday, 12/19/03 17:07:35 EST


I've ordered several things from Cabela's over the years, the most recent is a Cattleman's Carbine in .44 cal. Everything I've bought has been exactly as described, although not always historically 100% accurate. I won't have any hesitation about ordering from them again.
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/19/03 17:09:59 EST

T. Gold, solar forge -

I guess I had thought to kind of leave experiments for summer, maybe thinking about it some more in the meantime. I know I have a dish in the stash to try it. Getting enough energy isn't expected to be a problem. Putting the energy where I want it and keeping it there is the issue... and the interesting part. And doing so without injury...
Steve A - Friday, 12/19/03 18:00:14 EST

Thinking about another project that I hope is more near term for me... Treadle hammers... To summarize what I've absorbed from years of reading forums and talking to other smiths and trying a few:
1. Big hammer mass is good.
2. Big anvil mass is good.
3. Stiffness is good except where a little give is needed.
4. Anvil-to-hammer ratio is important. Guru had some stuff I read today that even many power hammers are in the 5:1 range. I seem to remember that 15:1 is desireable. Working by hand, I found a great improvement with bigger anvils so the ratio got up in the 40:1 or 50:1 range. (I'm not even going to try to build a hammer in that range ;)

So, with a 6" square anvil and a 3" square hammer on a treadle hammer, I'd be looking at a ratio in the range of 4:1. Could imagine getting up to 5:1 with a smaller hammer, or down to 3:1 with a smaller anvil. Will variations in that range have much effect? Does the intended use of the hammer enter into the answer to that question? That is, would the ratio be less significant if the hammer was used more for guillotine-like tooling, and more significant in drawing operations? The treadles I've used seem to have smaller ratios, partly because they tend to have 4" round anvils, but they do get the job done. I'm trying to do a little better for my own, and wondering about tradeoffs. Just not sure how to calculate the performance. Or even how to quantify it.

Another idea that struck today: What about using a timber base or even a timber column, and bolting the steel parts - anvil, pivots, treadle, hammer assembly, to the timber? Again, the hammers I've seen use 1/2 or even 3/8 plate for bases, and that doesn't seem so substantial that wood - 6x6s or 4x4s joined together - absolutely couldn't do the job.

Any comments?


Steve A - Friday, 12/19/03 18:21:39 EST

Cabela's: When I lived in the States, I often ordered from Cabela's and had very good fortune with them. However, when I moved to the Virgin Islands, I discovered that they automatically add 30% to the invoice, plus ship ONLY by UPS 2nd Day Air at an astronomical cost! The cost of any item nearly doubled that way. I will never deal with Cabela's again, uless they rescind their policy of treating citizens of US Territories as undesirable aliens. My citizenship is US, my taxes are US, my money is US, and they treat me like a red-headed stepchild. No thanks, I can always find another dealer who will accept my American money and send things to me by US Mail.
vicopper - Friday, 12/19/03 18:33:58 EST

Rich: My brother and I go to Cabela's about twice a year to "Reload" if you need something let me know, we will use about any excuse to sneak up there. (don't tell Margie I offered)
habu - Friday, 12/19/03 19:42:42 EST

Mike;: Thanks for the offer, I'll keep it in mind. And I would never rat you out to M, as long as you don't tell Sally how much I spend. (grin)
vicopper - Friday, 12/19/03 21:36:37 EST

Try harbor can get a good starter anvil for around &100. Any questions e-mail me @
- Alan B - Friday, 12/19/03 23:19:14 EST

Treadle Hammers: I just got Hans Peot booklet from Abana. "Modified Treadle Hammer". IMO, if you are thinking about building a TH you should get this book. You will likely get a lot of good ideas even if you design your own.

Some criticism: The booklet is a bit terse. The text is realy just a list of short notes. If you know something about TH's it's readable - though some parts might take several readings. I still dont understand what the "adjustment bolts do" - they seem to be different from the "adjustment screws" which ... Well anyway my main gripe is with the photos which aren't great. More drawings and fewer photos IMO.

Despite it's shortcomings, I think it's a very helpful publication. Thanks Hans!

BEGIN RANT: I often see beautiful ironwork photographed realy badly. It's a shame. I've seen portfolios of professional smiths in which the photos are out of focus, badly lit and include a confusing cluttered background. I mean criminy! If you are going to show off a great piece to a customer, at least stick a piece of plywood behind it so he doesnt see the shambles that is your shop. It's one thing if its a quick photo to post on the net, why take a lot of trouble? But for publication or to show clients one owes it to the ironwork to do a good job. END RANT

Steve: I am not ignoring you :) By coincidence, I've been thinking along the same track and I had this post mentally composed before I saw yours.

My anvil will proably be around 250# and the hammer 50# - 5:1 ratio. Since I have very little experience, I plan to use traditional proportions since I know they work. Its not hard to add weight to the hammer so why not start with 25# and see what adding weight does?
- adam - Saturday, 12/20/03 00:02:57 EST


> Dawn seems to get upset, but I see it differently

I'd handle it the same way you did, and for the same reasons plus one. There was one squad that used to call me Pop. I was 22 years old, and the oldest squad leader in the platoon.

So I got used to it. Some folks get irritated when they are called "old". I play like I do, but in reality I consider it a compliment, most of the time.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 12/20/03 09:52:17 EST

Hi All : I have not been around for a bit as I have had all sorts of computer problems, I think every thing is fixed finally (only the 5th try) so you all should be seeing more of me again.
MP - Saturday, 12/20/03 14:57:29 EST


I'm sorry to hear you've been having puter problems. I know all to well how frustrating that can be.
Paw Paw - Saturday, 12/20/03 15:53:54 EST

Well I had to fly to NM for a job interview (*another* NM Job!) so I wasn't around to talk about solar forges.

Got it and so a solar forge is in my future! box lined in Kaowool with a slot aligned with the sun focuser beam's path and a "shield" to protect from misalignment,

Probably try the Mother Earth News 1' mirror tile collector of the metal mesh satellite dish with mirror pieces glued to it---perhaps both...

Gotta go to a party, (birthday, going away, kahunika, solstice, etc.

Thomas P - Saturday, 12/20/03 18:12:16 EST

Thomas Powers: Congratulations on the new job! I know you must be very relievedafter months of looking. Good things come when you least expect them, don't they?

Soccoro is a neat place, I'm sure you're going to like it. Plenty of sun too.
vicopper - Saturday, 12/20/03 22:07:54 EST

jobs.....: Merry Christmas Thomas!
It sounds like an interesting place and project....
I hope it goes well.

Ralph - Sunday, 12/21/03 00:15:22 EST

.44 carbine: Sweet piece, PawPaw. Got one myself at Cabela's in Dundee, Michigan, about 15 miles from my house. Do you know about the "special" cylinder that's available for the carbine and all other Remington replicas?
3dogs - Sunday, 12/21/03 03:35:15 EST

Special cylinder? Nope.

I picked up a tin of "pistol" caps at a re-enacatment recently. Number 11's. Should have left them on the table! Both of my 1858 Texas (one Uberti and one Connecticut Valley Arms) use # 10. I suspect the Carbine does too, although I haven't checked.

Dammit! I want them all to load and fire the same components!

Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/21/03 09:32:02 EST

Thomas P.
Congrats! I looked at my shop yesterday, and thought of moving all my"treasures" Despair reigned! Good luck.
- ptree - Sunday, 12/21/03 10:59:46 EST

Hang on to the #11's. Charcoal burner shooters are a strange breed, and sooner or later one of us will need the 11's.I need to get out and make some smoke. Mine have been in the cabinet far too long!
- ptree - Sunday, 12/21/03 11:03:04 EST


I had no intention of throwing them away, I'll trade them for something, someplace down the road. (grin)
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/21/03 14:28:53 EST

treadle hammer : Some comments about Hans Peots design: He makes a rack and pinion (to adjust the hammer height) out of a sprocket and a piece of roller chain welded to a plate - very cute! However, I have a lot of jack screws and that's what I will use. His anvil is pieces of heavy plate stacked with the seam running vertically and held together by pieces of 3/8" strap welded across the seam. He uses far fewer of these straps than I would have guessed. The anvil face and the hammer face are both pieces of 1" plate with a sq 'hardy' hole drilled and filed to hold tooling. The top tool is held in with a wedge - neat and simple. The lower pivot arm is made of leaf - but the upper arm is 5/16" hot rolled. I dont understand why spring necessary only on the lower arm?

Also, I am thinking I will set my hammer base on a couple of inches of plywood to dampen the shock to the floor. Mostly I am thinking of my neighbors :)
adam - Sunday, 12/21/03 14:48:29 EST


I don't think the plywood base will be necessary for a treadle hammer. It's not going to "shake the earth" or make "thundering noises" like a power hammer will. Remember, the power of a treadle hammer is not measured in the number of horse power, they all run on one man power. (grin)
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/21/03 22:36:04 EST

Anvils: Once when I was near Kansas City I saw quite a collection of anvils on display. I think it was at the Ag Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs KS. Anybody know anything about that??
- Tom H - Monday, 12/22/03 00:08:33 EST

PawPaw; .44 cylinder: Take a look at
3dogs - Monday, 12/22/03 02:10:50 EST


Ahah! Cheater cylinders! (grin)
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/22/03 11:01:31 EST


A picture of the new carbine is posted on the foto site.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/22/03 11:05:05 EST

treadle hammer: Jim, thanks for your comment. You are right about the HP but I think the main difference might be in the frequency of the blows not the power in each blow. I probably cant shake the earth while standing on one leg but I am concerned about noise.

Torsional Stability: TH columns are a lot flimsier than their power hammer counterparts. I am wondering if there is ever a problem with the hammer twisting? Here is an extreme example

Since I have a lot of scrap, I plan to overbuild mine but OTH I dont want to end up with a hammer that weighs 5000# and works about as well as one that weighs 500#
adam - Monday, 12/22/03 11:26:40 EST

carbine: Paw Paw, your new carbine looks like FUN! Enjoy! If you find cleaning black powder a hassle might be time to try the new Triple 7 from Hogden. Works good for me in my Sharps.
Ellen - Monday, 12/22/03 14:35:17 EST

Anvil Question: What is a 300# Fisher in decent condition worth? Heard of one locally for $600. Is it worth a look? And what to look for other than obvious, face, bounce, etc? Thanks!
Ellen - Monday, 12/22/03 14:38:06 EST

Ellen,: I've never minded cleaning weapons. Been doing it all my life. And black powder is easy, Dis-assemble, hot soapy water, hot water, dry, oil, re-assemble. I had the new carbine in pieces within 10 minutes of opening the box. Without looking at the manual. All the rest of my black powder are Colt reproductions, the Carbine is Remington. So the dis-assembly, and re-assemble is different.

$600 is a little steep, if it is in usable condition, I'd try top get him down to $450 or $500.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/22/03 14:45:20 EST


Paw Paw - Monday, 12/22/03 15:09:30 EST

But can you feild strip clean and reassemlbe blindfolded? While I do love charcoal burners, there are those who hate to clean em. I had a shooter friend buy a .44 colt, shoot and clean it once, gave it to me as he had had enough! And this was a force recon devil dog, with too many trips to the "nam. No acounting for taste. His favorite shooters were High standards issued without serials!
- ptree - Monday, 12/22/03 18:03:43 EST


field strip, clean and reassemble blindfolded? M-1 Carbine, M-1 Garand, M1919 Machine Gun, M-6 Machine Gun, Colt M1911A1 Pistol, 3.5 Rocket Launcher, yes. Never tried any of my black powder weapons, but more than likely. Not fast probably.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/22/03 18:31:43 EST

M-60 Machine Gun, not M-6.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/22/03 18:32:09 EST

in the rain (monsoon) in a rice paddy, at nite, with mud up to there! right paw paw.LOL!
- Garey Ford - Monday, 12/22/03 22:36:20 EST


Sounds like you knew exactly what I meant.

Some things, once you learn, you never forget. Parachuting, for example. Just like falling out of an airplane! (grin)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/23/03 00:09:11 EST

Falling out? Heck I like to LEAP out.By the way, in your list I notice the omission of the lowely M-16.I did almost slid off an old biplane's wing as the engine was throwing so much oil that the wing walk was well oiled. I was at 4000', and waiting for a chase plane to photograph. managed to hold on!
- ptree - Tuesday, 12/23/03 16:42:46 EST


I don't consider the M-16 to be a weapon.

I'm a bit of a lazy exit. Not as much as some folks I know, but not as energetic as others.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/23/03 17:26:49 EST

m-16: Paw Paw-
The M-16 has ben our issue rifle for probably 23 of my 25 years with the dept.. Although the latest editions are far better than the first ones we had, I still preferred the M-14 that we used when I started.
Brian C - Tuesday, 12/23/03 20:33:03 EST

Never had any rifle issued to me except various models of M-16. Had'em with M-203 grenade launchers mounted underneath. Did not have to use in anger. Never had problems except fot the one I got in basic. It had about a million rounds through it, and it was just a worn out old hydromatic divsion m-16! carried the M-60. ok by me. Later was around 203mm howitzers. Seemed better to shoot at things about 19,000meters away than at people close enough to shoot back!
ptree - Tuesday, 12/23/03 20:47:20 EST

M-16: Paw Paw,

I agree with you about the Mattel rifle. Don't think much of the H&K MP-5 either, though lots of our guys covet the dumb things. The M-1 Garand may have been a mite heavy, but it was foolproof and effective. Likewise the M1911A1, the finest pistol ever designed. Some things don't need "improving."

I will grant that the High Standard with the recoil lock made a very useful up-close covert take-out weapon. Put a Maxim on the thing for noise and flash suppression and, with the recoil lock on, no brass left lying around, and no mechanical noise. Very straightforward mechanically and almost impossible to screw up. Pretty illegal in that configuration, too. (grin)
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/23/03 21:59:02 EST

weapons....: Well howitzers are ok, but I sorta like tommahawks fired from a sub.... that way you can reach out and touch someone and have MUCH less chance of being shot at...... (grin)
But then again I am a coward.... just ask me.
Ralph - Tuesday, 12/23/03 22:29:16 EST

Vic: The illegality of the described weapon depends a great deal upon who the issuing Company is! (wry grin)
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/23/03 23:10:56 EST

Brian C.:

You guys are just gonna have to call me old fashioned. I don't like the M-16, and never did. First time a supply sergeant handed me one, I took one look at it and gave it back to him. He said he had to issue it to me. I said, "Fine! I'll sign for it, you put it back in the rack and keep it clean!" He asked what I was going to do for a weapon and I told him to mind his own bleeping business. About two hours later, he saw me walking toward my hooch with an M-1 Garand hanging over my shoulder. He said, "First Sergeant, I can't get ammo for that any more!" I hooked my thumb behind me and said, "Look what Marvin is carrying." Here came Starvin' Marvin and his twin brother, each carrying a case of Ammo. The supply sergeant looked at me and said, "Top, would you like a scope for that, I've got a couple that didn't get turned in because they were in the field. When the troops came back, I had already written them off as combat loss."

He got me a scope, and a friend of his had the necessary equipment to mount it.

I've seen Sir Charles take three hits to body mass from an M-16 and keep coming. I don't think I know ANYBODY who can take three hits to body mass from my Garand and keep coming!

First time the Old Man saw me with it, his comment was, "Top, that's the longest M-16 I've ever seen!" Then he grinned and walked away.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/24/03 04:54:47 EST

M-16 again:

Folks say that the M-16 has been improved a lot since that first one. I always say that there was plenty of room for improvement!
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/24/03 04:58:11 EST

Ralp, I've always heard that there are two kinds of ships in the Navy, targets and submarines! I just don't know how long I could stay in a sub. All the coal smoke from the forge would play hell with the scrubbers.BG
ptree - Wednesday, 12/24/03 09:58:53 EST

ptree, coal forge? who said anything about a coal forge? On that there boat I wuz on had one of them genuwine NuClear reactor forges.... and I was train by Uncle Rickover ( well actually he retired just before my training) to be one of them reactor operators...(grin)
Ralph - Wednesday, 12/24/03 11:36:29 EST

Improved M-16: I think the SEALS call that a Stoner 63, My brother-in-law likes his. I noticed that he has a lot of "extra" parts. He just said something about flexibility. grin
habu - Wednesday, 12/24/03 12:13:53 EST

Paw Paw-

I wasnt defending the M-16, just stated that they had improved over the years. Notice the last line-I liked using the M-14 much better. Then someone in the govt. had a "better idea". :)

Merry Christmas to all of you and your families. I already got a great present, one of my buddies is working for me tomorrow so I can be home with the family.
- BrianC - Wednesday, 12/24/03 12:41:35 EST

Brian, :

Didn't mean to sound critical of you Brian, and I apologize if I sounded that way. I did see your remark about the M-14, and understood it.

I also have a problem with the M-14 but it's not as serious as my hatred for the M-16.

The M-14 is actually a modified M-1 Garand. The Trigger Housing group was re-manufactured to hold a 20 or 30 round box magazine, instead of the 8 round clip and the weapon was re-chambered from 30.06 to the 7.62 mm NATO round.

The re-chambering was a good idea, ballistically there are a few differences between the two rounds, but they are relativly minor, and range time will cure the "newness" of the round.

In addion, the re-chambering made the weapons ammunition once again compatible with the Squad Machine Gun, the M-60. No one who has not been in combat can really understand WHY that is so important. Folks can understand intellectually, but they've never had their gonads try to crawl back up inside their abdomen from fear when they realize that they are OUT of MG ammo and Charlie is in the wire! With compatible ammos, that is not a problem. I've reloaded clips from an extra belt of MG ammo, and I've made up a belt of MG ammo by stripping the rounds out of clips, depending on need. Wounded troops can do either in the middle of a fire fight, and keep the guys on the line in operating condition.

The addition of the magazine and ammo weight in front of the trigger guard totally screwed the balance of the weapon. It also made it more difficult for a person with short arms to fire in the prone position.

The M-1919 30 caliber MG was 30.06, same as the Garand. Compatible Ammo.

I'm a stickler and a stubborn basta** about ammo compatibility. I've been there, done that, got the scars, and do NOT want to go back.

Every one of my black powder weapons is .44 Cal. Now you know why. When I buy a reproduction Henry Model 1860, it will probably be in either 30.06 (if I can get it that way) or in 44. Wonder why? (grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/24/03 14:58:01 EST

Ammo Compatibility:

Somebody is probably thinking "What about the AK-47?

It's a great weapon. Androv Kalisnikov was a genius, and his weapon shows it. Simple, rugged, reliable, loose enough to be usable dirty, just like the Garand is.

And Ivan is NOT stupid. The AK-47 is chambered in 7.63 caliber. No, that's not a typo, it is chambered for a round that is .01 bigger than our M-14, and M-60 LMG.


Ivan can use our ammo is his weapon with no problems. We can't use Ivan's ammo in our weapon. In other words, Ivan can re-supply with ammo he takes off of our dead bodies, but his ammo is useless to us. As I said, Ivan is NOT stupid! (wry grin)
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/24/03 15:02:52 EST


The guy taking your shift for you is a true friend. You owe him either a favor, or a bonus. How about a railroad spike knife for him for Christmas?
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/24/03 15:04:20 EST

Paw Paw-

He got the last colonial type cooking fork that I made (for free). He has a home in Gallipolis, OH that was built in 1806. I have done several little jobs for him over the past year or so.

Ref. the 1919 MG, I believe that was the model that we had when I first got to this job. Used a twin mount on our V-100 armored cars.
Brian C - Wednesday, 12/24/03 15:28:00 EST


It could be mounted as a single, or as half of a pair of twins. It was 30.06 Caliber, had a perforated barrel jacket for cooling, and was sometimes (in fixed locations) equipped with a water filled cooling jacket. In an emergency when the weapon started to over heat and "cook off" rounds gunners have been known to urinate on the barrel to cool it off. It could be pintle mounted on the bed of a truck, at the Commander's Cupola in the turret of a tank, as a hull mounted quad that was electrically fired by the Gunner in a tank, and either hood mounted or pintle mounted in a jeep. It could also be shoulder fired in the prone position, but it tended to beat the snot out of the gunner when doing so. As I well remember! My shoulder aches just thinking about it!

Jeeze! My age is sure showing! (wry grin) Looks like my profession is pretty obvious too!

A well done for giving the guy a fork that almost certainly fits the decor of his home.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/24/03 15:45:41 EST

Weapons: I was one of the last classes going through Knox to be trained on the M-14. Had one in Germany too. Got to Nam and they handed me an M-79 grenade launcher and a .45 automatic. Sweet little weapon the 79. HE, buckshot, white phosphorous. You can bring a heap of trouble down with that baby.
Never fired an M-1, but the 14 was the best weapon I ever picked up. Wish I had one now.
Merry Christmas from Larry and Linda at Blueheron Forge.
- Larry - Wednesday, 12/24/03 16:27:58 EST

Using the other side's Ammo: Um, Paw Paw, I hate to disagree with you, but I think you're a victim of an "Urban Legend." The Kalishnikov shoots 7.62x39 and has a bullet diameter of .312"; .308 Winchester, AKA 7.62x51 NATO has a bullet diameter of .308" Now, the case being 12mm longer and bigger in base diameter to boot .308 won't chamber, even if our bullets will fit their barrels and there's won't fit ours. . .

.308 would chamber in their 7.62x54R (bullet diameter .312") rifles, but ejecting for the next shot would be a problem, there being no rim on the .308 and a quite substantial rim on the 7.62x54R so the extractor is unlikely to get much of a grip.

Now, don't ask me about actually USING 'em. 'cause I've never shot at much but bullseyes.
- John Lowther - Wednesday, 12/24/03 17:16:47 EST

And it was the Czar's folk who chose .312" as a bullet diameter way back in 1891 IIRC, long before the Reds came to power.

OH! Merry Christmas!
- John Lowther - Wednesday, 12/24/03 17:32:22 EST

Kalashnikov: Far and away the best all-around light assault weapon ever designed was the Kalashnikov AK-47. As PawPaw said, rugged, reliable, interchangeable and simple. Ugly, too, but so what? (grin)

If I ever had to carry a spray-n-pray weapon, I would opt for the AK over anything else.
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/24/03 17:38:21 EST

Paw Paw-

Thats the one! I loved them (long as the head space was correct)
Brian C - Wednesday, 12/24/03 18:01:37 EST

The Revolutionary Blacksmith

Chapter Five is online with part of the illustrations. Use the pull down chapter menu to access i
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/24/03 18:06:43 EST


Could be, but I don't think so. The Chinese copy is listed as 7.62 X 39, bu mic the slug that the Chinese supply. As I said, 7.62 will work in theirs. Their's won't work in ours.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/24/03 18:12:42 EST


If I need to rock and roll, I want an M-60. I loved that piece. And as Larry said, the Thumper was a nice piece, too.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/24/03 18:14:42 EST

To All Who Enter Here: May we all find Peace in our hearts and lives.

Thank you all.
habu - Wednesday, 12/24/03 18:39:54 EST

Brian C.:

Head space was VERY important on the M-1919 and the M-50 BOTH. Get them wrong on re-assembly and you were in for an embarassing moment or two!
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/24/03 20:14:31 EST


Talk about a Dichotomy! Here it is, the season of love and joy, (well. for most folks, anyway) and what are we talking about??

Weapons of human destruction! Sure, some of them can and have been converted to civilian use, I use an M-1 Garand for a deer rifle. But that's not what it was designed for.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/24/03 20:17:16 EST

Pawpaw, I have an SKS that is 7.65x39. ain't nothing I ever shot in this mans Army that would fit that ugly thing.However, that said, shot 2"groups out of the box at 100 yards offhand,and hasn't misfeed, or misfired yet.I had heard that ivan could use our 12.5 in thier 12.7 heavy MG's, but the links look a lot different.
yes this is the season of peace and joy, but only because hard men and women wait to visit violence on those who would seek to visit thier violence on us. Peace thru fire superiority is still valid.
ptree - Wednesday, 12/24/03 20:49:09 EST


> but only because hard men and women wait to visit violence
> on those who would seek to visit their violence on us.
> Peace thru fire superiority is still valid.

All so very true.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/24/03 22:18:35 EST

Peace: >Peace thru fire superiority is still valid.<

Sadly, this is still true. One can only hope that this Human race of ours will one day mature to the point that it can stop visiting inhumane acts upon one another. I would love to live to see my job become obsolete.
vicopper - Thursday, 12/25/03 00:08:03 EST

Best Wishes: Merry Christmas to all my friends here.
vicopper - Thursday, 12/25/03 00:09:42 EST

AK-47: I have a nice, reliable Maadi AK as a house gun. If any whitetail deer tries to break in, he's in deep doo.
3dogs - Thursday, 12/25/03 01:56:22 EST

Peace....: not gained through concessions, but through victory. The quicker we drive that into the heads of our "peaceniks" the better off we'll be.
3dogs - Thursday, 12/25/03 02:01:02 EST

Now's my chance!:

I want to take an opportunity here, while I know Jock is in bed asleep.

I get a bit impatient with Jock sometimes over how long it takes to get some things posted in TRB.

But invariably, the result is worth the wait. The illustrations for Chapter five, three of which Jock did and two of which Walt Sherrill did are some of the best every. I wrote the words, I did the descriptions, but Jock and Walt brought my words to life.

Thanks, guys!
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/25/03 02:34:57 EST

Thank you all: I want to express my thanks to all those folks who have been reading Paw Paw Wilson's book, The Revolutionary Blacksmith and have not mentioned too many details here. You have all saved me untold angst, for which I am forever in debt to you.

I am NOT a person who can do things by degrees. If I start a project, it is "full speed ahead and d*mn the torpedos," to borrow a phrase. As my ever-patient wife Sally can attest, I once cloistered myself in the basement for almost two weeks, coming up only for a meal a day and a couple hours sleep, in order to teach myself to do stained glass. I believe this is what those who provide "professional help" refer to as obsessive-compulsive behavior. (grin) Whatever, it is also the way I read books. From one end to the other, often without stopping. If I had to read a chapter of a book this month, then another chapter two months later, and so on, I would be totally impossible to live with.

I am going to wait until Jim has FINISHED the book before I read it. I am dying to read it, knowing that Jim is a fine writer and captivating storyteller. It is just easier on my constitution to wait to start it than it would be to wait for installments. I'm sure it will be easier on Jim too, if I am not pestering him for more output on a daily basis. (grin)

So, thank you all and Merry Christmas to you.
vicopper - Thursday, 12/25/03 07:45:01 EST

Chapter Five: Wow, Rich. Have you got a treat awaiting you. Paw Paw is a great story teller. I don't think I could make it without a shot of the RB every once in awhile. And I have learned so much too. I had no idea that they had full automatic weapons back then. And then when Washington rode the M-1 tank through the streets of Boston. I'm sure things will be on the upswing as soon as Ben Franklin perfects his laser guided cannon.Well, don't want to give away too much of the ending. Guess you'll just have to wait. (VBEG)
- Larry - Thursday, 12/25/03 08:08:17 EST

I think that when the human race becomes aware that war is armed robbery on an international scale, and loses its fear of policing the criminals who perpetuate this crime, then and only then will we have true peace. At present we have far too many criminals in the world to even think of the cops being obsolete.And as long as the world is as it is, I truely wish to thank all the cops who fight the good fight to keep us safe from the evil doers in the world.My ancesters in E. Ky were sheriffs way back, My great uncles were in France in the great war, my dad was a combat gunner in a B-17 over Germany,My cousins fought in Nam. My little brother is a 911 dispatcher, and good cops all!
ptree - Thursday, 12/25/03 08:51:06 EST

PEACE: Gentlemen, One day Peace will come again. HE was here once already. Today we celebrate HIS birthday. Then and only then will Peace truly come. I beseech you to carefully consider your eternal destiny. Peace.
- Tom H - Thursday, 12/25/03 12:36:52 EST

Rich, I have the same philosophy "If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing" :)

Gradue (gradoo) What's the origin of this word, anyone? My searches have turned up nothing. It has a French/Cajun sound to my ear, but in fact I think it may come from Texas and is more likely to be Spanish.

- adam - Thursday, 12/25/03 13:08:04 EST

Veterans Oral History Project: AARP is doing the Veterans oral history project and is collecting interviews from veterans of all wars I would encourage those of you who are Vets or have Veterans in your families to set up for an interview. These stories are being archived by the Library of Congress.
We are losing too many of the old timers and the memories of some of us "younger" ones are not as good as they once were. Now is the time to get these stories told.
vets oral histoty project
habu - Thursday, 12/25/03 18:02:12 EST

Gradoo: Adam,

I found this, but that's about all.

Funky Gradoo
Colorful Southern term for schmutz (Yiddish), crud (Yankee) or other unwanted marks, spots or streaks on a copy.


That rather sketchy etymology does jive with my recollections of hearing it used that way by an old printmaker I knew. He was from somewhere in the South and was full of colorful aphorisms and interesting words. He was also full of cr*p sometimes. (grin)

vicopper - Thursday, 12/25/03 19:52:42 EST

Gradue: Also look on (found on google, the first place I go for just about everything.)Keep Paul Ailing, smith, reenactor, book & tool dealer and all around good ol' boy in your prayers. He sustained burns to his upper body and lung damage trying to put out a fire in his home. Another event in a long run of bad luck for this guy.
3dogs - Thursday, 12/25/03 21:37:49 EST


Paul Ailing - Can do, will do.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/25/03 21:48:02 EST

Dan D.:

Guess what todays America in Uniform is?

You must have copy and pasted it, it's exactly the same as it was above.

We were right, it needed wider distribution.

And it got it.

Thanks to you.

Well done!
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/26/03 09:46:24 EST

Flux: I think I have tried about every welding flux in my gasser. They all work most days. Swan's will let you weld at a slightly lower temp. Its a bit pricey but you dont need much and only use it to stick the weld. Brazo works nearly as well a Swans and is available in many welding stores. Brazo doesnt have any iron filings and is a bit slippery for sticking a weld. I have heard that in horseshoe making competitions they use EZ weld to stick the weld and Brazo to finish. I have a bag of anhydrous borax. Its nicer to use than plain ole 20 Mule team but it doesnt really work any better IMO. My 25# bag of anhydrous is slowly turning "hydrous" even out here in bone dry NM. To date my fave method is borax (or brazo for small stock that chills quickly) and to stick the weld I sprinkle drum turnings onto the molten flux. These are cast iron I guess - the auto shop looked at me funny when I asked for them - but they know me as a harmless lunatic. I dont bother to wash them as a Jock suggests since I figure at 2000+F the grease is gone. The trick is to put a generous amount on the scarf - I heap on as much as the scarf will hold. Put it in the fire and little sparks fly everywhere - magic pixie dust! The turnings make the weld less slippery and the lower welding point of the CI helps too. In any case it's cheap, simple and works great.

Gradue Thanks Rich and 3dogs for your comments.

I do hope Paul recovers quickly and that his luck turns around.

War & Peace: IMO we may one day eliminate poverty but war will always be with us. Life is a fight and we will always need soldiers.
adam - Friday, 12/26/03 11:31:39 EST

VIc, He was full of gradue!

This is a term I have never looked up but was in common useage here in central Virginia at one time. VI got the definition right but the source was applying it to their specific field. Crud fits best. I apply it to things like the burnt on grease it the corners of a pan that are hard to remove and similar substances in oil pans, rocker covers, chip pans and anywhere else the most tenacious dirt sticks in hard to get to places.
- guru - Friday, 12/26/03 11:53:36 EST

Welding with CI chips:
Daryl Meier did a demonstration where he had a set of steel plates set verticaly (on edge) about 1/32" apart, fluxed them and then put a mound of CI chips on top of the flux and then fluxed that more. The CI melts and runs between the plates and stays by capilary action IF not overheated. The ends of the plate stack could be closed to help prevent runout.

The point was to produce an alternating stack of mild steel and cast iron to reproduce one of the unsubstantiated methods of producing steel which was to emerse a set of plates into a crucible of cast iron. The problem with the unsubstantiated method is that the proportion of steel to CI would chill the CI and it would not flow and bond.

After making the steel/CI sandwich it is put through the cutting and lamination process to mix the parts of the billet to near homogeneity.

Interesting solution to an old problem. It sort of jump starts the method of using CI on a wrought billet to start similar to the Japanese method and is much more uniform.
- guru - Friday, 12/26/03 12:16:22 EST

Cast iron welding: When making shear steel out of wrought iron you carburize or blister the wrought and someyimes the surface of the wrought can get enough carbon to be essentially a thin skin of cast iron. Forge welding the billet of blistered pieces of wrought you start to get better diffusion of the carbon throughout the blank. I was doing a demo on shear steel,and after the intial welds and a twist you could see the pattern ing due to the differences in the carbon content, but after welding it three more times almost all the patterning is gone due to diffusion and probably a little decarb:-) (I was using an unfamiliar coal forge with someone else runing the blower since it was set up for a lefty, burned the rotten thing atleast twice:-) I still have a little pattern because it is a wrought steel, but it isn't much....
Fionnbharr - Friday, 12/26/03 23:06:47 EST

Vic: If we'ed knowed we were to live so long we'ed taken better care of ourselves. Grin
Happy Birthday.
By-the-way where do you go to retire when you live in VI? Bangor Main?
Habu - Monday, 12/29/03 01:12:58 EST

Retirement: Mike,

Where to go, hmmm? Further south, I suppose. Certainly no place where it smows! Or maybe to the Dominican Republic where I could afford to live on a cop's pension. Actually, I've been told where to go more times than I can count. (grin)

And yes, I sure do wish I'd listened to all those people who told me years ago that all the stuff I was doing was going to haunt me later. Of course, I would have been bored to death long before I reached middle age. (grin)
vicopper - Monday, 12/29/03 02:00:13 EST

hi im fairly new at this but can any one give me a good couple of web sites for blade and swordsmithing
- rowan - Monday, 12/29/03 02:28:46 EST

knife: Speaking of knives, I have made my first actual, real life pig sticker,The first four were railroad spikes. Took pictures of it and will have them up shortly, I hope! all I have to do now is use the other 20 pictures!
dragon-boy - Monday, 12/29/03 09:49:45 EST

Rowan: If you are "fairly new" at this, you are already on the best site for general smithing information. I would also commend to you as another source of general info. You'll see many of the same people on both forums.

There are also a few good blade forums, although I can't give you the links off the top of my head. (I'm at work and don't have them on this comp.) If you do a Google search for "knife forums" and for "sword forums", I'm sure you'll find them. Use the Boolean quotes or you'll get more hits than you can handle and most won't be what you want.

Bladesmithing is at the pinnacle of technical smithing and requires a totally solid background in smithing techniques and knowledge to begin to learn. For a general overview of what the requirements are to be considered a "Journeyman" bladesmith, go to the American Bladesmith's Society website and read the test requirements.
vicopper - Monday, 12/29/03 12:40:44 EST

National Park: Atli/Bruce; went sledding over at White Sands yesterday; you sure could use someone to clean up all that raw sheetrock stuff; I was expecting the nice officer to run us in what with all the sand in our pockets, shoes, hair, etc. Kids had a blast and with "air temps" in the 30's it was comfortable without a jacket---in the sun.

In the summer even their special breed of rattle snake will get sunstroke in just a few minutes if placed in the sun. However the full moon tour of the dunes is truely an out of this world experience.

- ThomasP - Monday, 12/29/03 13:09:46 EST

Rowan: Also check out
adam - Monday, 12/29/03 14:36:35 EST

anvil for sale $25.52/lb: reserve not met...suckers
P.t. barnum vastly underestamated their birthrate
10lb anvil
Habu - Monday, 12/29/03 20:20:40 EST

interesting wooden forge blower.: nice detail in the ad.
Habu - Monday, 12/29/03 20:27:44 EST

White Sands: Thomas Is that your first trip there? I grew up in Alamogordo and am somewhat familiar with the area. Sunspot was always an interesting field trip but don't know its status anymore. Ahh the memories.
Mills - Tuesday, 12/30/03 09:38:12 EST

Mills, nope, my parents moved to Las Cruces over a decade ago and so we get down there on a regular basis.

Getting an itch to forge and will be back in cold dreary Ohio before I can scratch it...

- ThomasP - Tuesday, 12/30/03 10:41:16 EST

Call to Artists ABANA Poster Contest:
Win admission to the 2004 ABANA conference
Poster Contest Details
- - guru - Tuesday, 12/30/03 15:02:07 EST

VIc, Friends of mine have moved to central Costa Rica. Average temperature 72F min of 55 max of 84. . . Stable government, friendly people. Low wages (don't plan on working there). However, the low wages make it possible to retire and afford a housekeeper.

I've seriously looked at it. My anvilfire income is marginal to live on in the US but would be more than enough there.

Places with low costs of living are funny though. In CI housing is cheaper but not much, food is cheap, but automobiles are expensive. Due to the climate utilities are low and the phone co is nationalized at a low rate. Taxes are are significantly lower.

CI encourages retiries and permanent residency is automatic if you have a retirement fund of about $600/month.

Huricanes tend to mix CI so violent weather is very rare. However, there are several active volcanoes.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/30/03 15:49:46 EST


What is the national language in Costa Rica? Spanish, or Portugese? Is english a common second language?
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/30/03 16:25:31 EST

Costa Rica: PPW, according to
Spanish is the official lang and English is also spoken
Ralph - Tuesday, 12/30/03 17:39:16 EST

CI: Try the proper hot link
Ralph - Tuesday, 12/30/03 17:40:26 EST

Costa Rica: My former Brother-in-law's wife was a Costa Rican national and he has nothing but good things to say about the country and it's people. He DID choose to stay in the States to raise his kids where the education system is better, but plans to retire in Costa Rica as soon as the kids are all grown and out of the house.

I have seriously considered Costa Rica as a retirement home, though I will have to improve my Spanish considerably. They speak very "clean" Castillian Spanish in Costa Rica, and my mix of Chicano Spanish, Puerto Rican Spanglish and various other abominations would need improving. But they also speak English to some greater or lesser degree, depending on where you are in the country. Everyone who has been there tells me that you have to work very hard to find more friendly people anywhere on this Earth. It is definitely a thought.
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/30/03 19:03:46 EST

Ralph: Aren't the CIA and "facts" mutually exclusive terms? (grin) If I remember correctly, they're the whiz kids who said that we would have no trouble at all at the Bay of Pigs.
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/30/03 19:07:27 EST

CIA: Yes that is true. BUt that web site is the one that popped up on Google and I am guessing the Lang listed is correct...
Ralph - Tuesday, 12/30/03 20:59:44 EST

Ralph,: Yeah, and they were probably guessing, too. (grin)
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/30/03 21:25:44 EST

islands: vic,
which Island do you live on? Was looking around at info on the 3 islands and realized I could not remember..... no suprise there
Ralph - Wednesday, 12/31/03 08:19:39 EST

Too Much White Sand...: ...and not enough iron ore.

Now that's a desert's desert. Sunny, dry, hot in the day and cold at night; lots of poisonous, venemous or sharp spiny plants and animals. ( I'm glad y'all enjoyed/survived the experience.

And a Happy New Year to all of you fine folks at Anvilfire! Overheard on the elevator: "I'm ready for another exciting year!" My own, unspoken, thought: "Be careful what you wish for!" Calm, peaceful and progressive appeals to me, these days. We'll just have to see what tomorrow brings.

Pax vobiscum.
White Sands National Monument
Bruce Blackistone - Wednesday, 12/31/03 08:52:22 EST

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