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December 2004 Archive

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

JYH hammers: Don Sinclaire,
I had a two groove crank pulley in the original set up. The motor sheave was an adjustable sheave with a sleeve spacer to allow the belt to run on the flat. If I let it idle for a while I did get a bit of rubber burnt off the belt, but with a flat drive, no grabbing of the belt, and did not need a brake. My current set up does not seem to need a brake, but then I only have about 20 minutes of run on it.
The new 3 Hp motor is a TEFC, 1.25 service factor industrial motor. I think that the magic smoke will stay put.

Kainaan, If you can find it, steel shot makes a very nice sound deadener. I don't know how well the anvil filled with sand will work. For a power hammer anvil the GURU advocates 10 to 15 times the ram weight. After upping the ram weight on my hammer, I noticed different action. I added weight to the anvil to regain that ratio, and I think it was worthwhile.

My current JYH is not a factory air hammer, and does not perform like one. I do have a very small amount of money invested, as I am a good scrounger. Time invested is industrial stress relief. I need to be pounding on somthing, after a day of dealing with safety and enviro issues in a large factory. Better on an overbuilt JYH than someone!
ptree - Tuesday, 11/30/04 22:51:41 EST

Junk Yard Hammer: Kainaan, if there is any way to use a spring somewhere in your design instead of a shock absorber, you will get significantly greater efficiency.

When the hammer goes up, it picks up speed and momentum. At the top of the stroke, the motor and flywheel have to stop the hammer momentarily, slowing down the flywheel a bit and the rest is absorbed by the shock absorber and converted to heat. Then the flywheel has to accellerate the hammer down towards the anvil.

If you have a spring in the design such as in the toggle link of a Little Giant, or a leaf spring in the case of a spring helve design, the kinetic energy of the hammer's upward motion is stored in the spring at the top of the stroke, and is then returned to the hammer on it's downward stroke adding to the power that the flywheel is providing. Instead of disipating the energy of the upward stroke as in the case of a shock absorber, the spring more or less doubles the force of the blow, provided of course that the timing is right.

With a spring design, the hammer does not touch the lower die at rest. It is suspended an inch or more above the die, and depends on the overshoot allowed by the spring when it runs at full speed. With a shock absorber design, I think the machine essentially tries to squish the workpiece at the bottom of the stroke, so the hammer should just touch the lower die at rest. However, if you place thick stock under the hammer, the shock absorber has to allow for the change in clearance. Since shock absorbers don't like change, it transmits the force to the upper bearing and frame, so make sure the bearings and shaft are sturdy.

The dovetails for the dies and slide are a neat way to go. I don't have the equiment to build anything that fancy. Have you checked out the write-ups and pictures of the JYH and Homemade hammers on this website? There are a few that did use dovetails.

Some of the hammers in that section also used pipe or tube anvils (the NC JYH). The heavier the amvil, the less energy that is transmitted to your floor. I have some hollow spots under my garage floor, so I am a bit concerned about damaging the concrete, even with a total weight of 500 -550 lbs. On the prairies everything is built on clay, and my wife can hear the vibration in the house even though the house and garage are separated by about 10 feet.

ptree: I have one of those adjustable pulleys on my furnace motor, but it is for a 1/2 inch shaft, and I haven't seen one for a 5/8 shaft.
Don Sinclaire - Wednesday, 12/01/04 00:44:42 EST

Mark the Hilbilly: Mark,

That was a slight typo on my part. I actually meant PAABA, the Pittsburg Area Artist-Blacksmith Association. I'm attaching a link to their site that shows the hammer in question. You could start by posting your hammer over at They have a buy and sell section called the scrapbin. Good luck!

(An Arkansas Hillbilly)
Big Hammer
eander4 - Wednesday, 12/01/04 00:55:15 EST

forge blower: I am looking for a good electric forge blower, not to expensive. If you have one or know where I can look please e-mail me.
- Jared Alexander - Wednesday, 12/01/04 16:51:49 EST

Eric:Thanks a lot for the info,I checked it out.Looks like the keenjunk website might be a good place to start.I hate to sell the hammer but I haven't used it much in the past few years ansd I need a CNC machine .Anyway thanks again for the info .
- Mark Mcbilly - Wednesday, 12/01/04 18:42:20 EST

building my first forge: I'm currently in the middle of building my first forge (I finally got around to it after years of thought) my plan for building the forge is simple based off the freon tank mini forge but its going to be square made out of 22ga. sheet metal kinda like the little mamma forge but the dimensions of the shell are going to be 15" long by 10" tall by 9" deep lined with 2" of kaowhool with a kiln shelf on the bottum first question I have is should I put kaowhool underneeth the kiln shelf with tci-100 on the kaowhool? and second question I have is how should I fasten the forge together I am thinking about welding it but with the tools I have I can only braze(sp) it I dont know if that will hold up under the heat I'm going to have angle iron reenforcments for the corners (kinda like in drywall but thicker angle iron) so should I weld it or screw the shell together or what?
Roy - Wednesday, 12/01/04 18:57:04 EST

elec blowers: Jared get thee to a junkyard and get teh electric blower for a heater unit. With some creative ducting and air gates you are in business
Ralph - Wednesday, 12/01/04 19:46:19 EST

Roy: The shell of the forge shouldn't get hot enough to melt brazing, which melts at nearly the temperature of the firebox itself. To be safe though, I would just go ahead and screw or rivet it together.

You should put Kaowool under the floor, yes. There is no reason to put ITC-100 on the Kaowool undr the floor, but it is a good idea to put some ITC-100 on the floor itself, as well as the sidewalls and roof. ITC-100 reflects infrared heat, so it makes the forge more efficient, as well as protecting the Kaowool.
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/01/04 22:46:43 EST

Roy: My first forge went together with brazing and sheet metal screws which all held up fine. Welding is fastest if you have the equipment but even if you splurge for a buzz box (very very useful in a smiths shop) you wont be able to weld 22 ga with it.

After adding 2" of kaowool your burn chamber is going to be about 8" x 7" x 15" which comes to roughly 800 cu. This is a large forge especially for a first gasser. You would need three Reil EZ burners to run this chamber and they will eat a 20lb propane bottle in a couple of hours! I suggest you consider a design that gives you a 5"x 5" x 9" dia burn chamber. This is a very useful size.
adam - Thursday, 12/02/04 12:10:31 EST

Mike Ferrara-
Perhaps you should consider becoming a consultant specializing in relocating companies to Mexico. If this has happened to you several time, you already have a lot of hands on experience and as a consultant you would not be tied into one company but could go wherever you were needed. You could still do smith work as well, but the consulting should be more lucrative.

- patrick nowak - Thursday, 12/02/04 14:30:19 EST


You may be right but I'm a long time farrier also and made a pretty good living at it before I got stupid and went into engineering. I've never totally stopped shoeing and with luck it shouldn't be too hard to build things back up to full time.
Mike Ferrara - Thursday, 12/02/04 14:39:11 EST

Gas forge floors: I recently came into a reasonable amount of solid graphite rod, about 2 inches square, by 12 inches long. The thought occured to me that since this stuff is used to make crucibles, it might do well on the bottom of a propane forge, I realize that it wouldn't insulate very well, so I'd have to put either some fire brick, or castable refractory underneath, but I was thinking it might stand up to flux pretty well, since is sure seems to when used as a crucible.

I'd apreciate any thoughts on this one.

- Tony - Thursday, 12/02/04 15:22:47 EST

Graphite would be great for a forge floor, but it would need full-on insulation under it because it is an excellent conductor of heat. It would never react to flux or scale, and as long as you were gentle with it it would probably last forver. Congratulations on your find, Tony :)
T. Gold - Thursday, 12/02/04 16:54:53 EST

And forever, too... PTP!
T. Gold - Thursday, 12/02/04 16:56:17 EST

I think it would be worth a try, anyway. You might want to coat it with ITC-100, but it might also work well without any coating.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/02/04 18:31:29 EST

I brazed the two cast iron Venturis on my propane forge onto the steel down pipes which go all the way into the fire box, the braze joints being separated from the firebox by a couple of inches of insulating "Duraboard," which sold a couple of years ago for $100 for two pieces 2 inches by 2 feet by 4 feet, and above that they are then an inch or so up over a quarter inch plate top piece. The braze joints show no sign of melting even after several hours of running at max heat.
Sebastian Chippinghammer - Thursday, 12/02/04 20:06:21 EST

Attention slacktub pub users: In the spirit of Christmas we're having a tong exchange amoung the SlackTubPub users.
To get in on this send me your snail mail address via email by Dec 15th. I will draw names and let you know who to send your pair of tongs too. I will NOT let you know who your getting your tongs from so it will be a suprise. Getting to close to the Christmas rush so 3 Kings Day (Jan 6th)will be the day you have to have yours tongs mailed by.
Merry Christmas
JimG - Thursday, 12/02/04 22:56:58 EST

graphite: Wont graphite react with the free oxygen in the kiln? At 2000F the chemistry would be much like having charcoal in the burn chamber
adam - Friday, 12/03/04 12:30:03 EST

graphite: I did this several years ago when I was given a 14" diameter section of melting electrode from a steel foundry. The graphite will oxidize over a faily long time, but it is impervious to flux. Additional insulation is definitly required under the graphite. If you plan to do a lot of welding, you may want to dish out the graphite a bit to keep the flux from running of it and onto the forge insulation.

Patrick Nowak - Friday, 12/03/04 14:08:47 EST

back to flux: Tom T. & All, I use grocery store 20 Mule Team borax for fagot welds. When two separate pieces go together as in a lap weld, I use borax with E-Z Weld on top of it.
Frank Turley - Friday, 12/03/04 20:11:43 EST

Ladies & Gentlemen,: Paw Paw is making up sets of the state quarters for 2 grandchildren for Christmas. I am missing the following coins.

1999 New Jersey D
2003 Maine D
2003 Arkansas D
2004 Michigan P
2004 Texas P
2004 Florida D
2004 Texas D
2004 Iowas D
2004 Wisconsin D

I'll be glad to pay for the coins and postage if anyone has some extras.

OH! If anyone has one or more to send, please announce what you are sending, I don't really need 5,000 Texas D's!
Paw Paw - Friday, 12/03/04 21:50:13 EST

Coins: Let's see... got the Michigan'04-P and the Texas'04-P for ya. Haven't hit the big jar yet. Let me know if I have to push it over on the floor or not. Geez I should cash this in. Let me know where to send them.
Gronk - Saturday, 12/04/04 14:25:37 EST

Burning work in a gasser: I hate to disagree with the Guru, but I am here to tell you that it is entirely possible to burn up your work in a gasser. It was a heavy piece and took a while to heat so when the phone rang I was reluctant to pull the work out. Instead I gambled on it being a quickie. After all, if the call did last too long I could always excuse myself for a moment with "I have something cooking that needs attention". I forgot about "oldtimers" disease. Some time later, I found myself in the kitchen fixing a snack when I remembered ... oh @#$*! What had been a 4" piece of 1 1/2" rebar was now reduced to a sparkling nubbin. When I pulled it out, it bubbled and blue flames issued along with sparks. I guess they dont drain the oil out of old cars before making them into rebar. Nearly 3lbs of steel had vanished and left a very messy puddle of slag on the floor or the forge.

For the truly incompetent, no mishap is beyond reach.
adam - Saturday, 12/04/04 17:07:15 EST

Quarters and graphite: How many of each of the quarters are you in need of, since I see that you're making the sets for the grandkids, I assume you need mare than one of some of these, and if anyone wants to send me 5,000 of any kind of quarter, (for free) I'd gladly accept :)

On the graphite forge floor, I think I can saw it about 3/4 inch thick, and essentially use it in the same way most guys use kiln shelf. I don't know about the oxidation problem, I imagine the main problem would be at start up, and cool down, since the forge should be burning at something (hopefully) near neutral once it's warm.
youngsmith - Saturday, 12/04/04 19:09:32 EST

I need two of each year. Both sets have the same holes. A fluke, I'll admit, but true nontheless.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/05/04 00:39:53 EST

Regarding electric blowers: Somebody up the chain mentioned heading for the scrapyard for an electric blower, and he was right. An auto heater blower (especially from an OLD truck) works great if you're using 12 V power, which is really nice for demonstrations where you might not have 110 available. There are a lot of 110 V blowers that can be adapted easily too. A really raunchy-looking (and noisy) one is a vaccuum cleaner, but it works.
Anything that blows enough volume works so long as you have an airgate to control the flow. With a bit of innovation, I could have probably found a way to use my former mother in law for a forge blower (although I doubt she would have agreed to being baling wired to the intake).
AK_ID - Sunday, 12/05/04 03:18:32 EST

Incidentally, I feel kind of honored to have this remote connection with the great Frank Turley, who is something of an icon to we amateur hobbyists. Years ago, in the mid-70s, I worked as a floor sweeper, hammer holder, coal breaker and all-around reason for cursing for a smith in Prescott, AZ, Kent Gugler, and I remember him talking about Turley more than once. The internet is an amazing thing.
Great site here, y'all. I truly enjoy the humor and the info.
AK_ID - Sunday, 12/05/04 03:32:32 EST

mindfulness and being great;; separate subjects::
Adam and Burning Iron. It is said that Buddhists practice "mindfulness excercises". I tell my people that in blacksmithing, the mindfulness exercises are built in.

AK_ID. I would like to point out that there is a difference between being great and being well known in a small field of endeavor. Thanks, anyway. I still have a 213 pound horseshoers' HeyBud that I got from Gugler many years ago.

Again, going way back in time, when horseshoeing, we would look for Cadillac 12 volt blowers with the smooth rheostats, trying to avoid the cheesy 3-way switches that were usually sold at the auto supply joints.

Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/05/04 10:17:14 EST

Don't be so modest! You've EARNED the appellative great.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/05/04 11:34:05 EST

Power Hammer Discussion: Regarding the hammer discussion we had in the Slack Tub last night, I just now took another gander at the photos emailed to me, and noticed that right above the drive wheel of the ornery, sticky machine, there's a textured ceiling. My gosh, does your wife know you're building this thing in her kitchen? If so, God bless her. Also, does she have a single sister?
AK_ID - Sunday, 12/05/04 18:56:57 EST

Turley regarding Gugler: I hope he sold you a good anvil. Kent Gugler was decent, more than decent, to me as a kid -- when I was 12, my father died, and Kent took me under his wing for a year or so, teaching me how to make nails and such at his home shop and also at the Pioneer Museum shop in Prescott. He also helped my family by hauling firewood for us a couple of times.
At the time, he was a hippy blacksmith with a masters degree. I did talk to him a couple years ago, and he was teaching high school and had pretty well given up smithing. A shame, because he not only produced some very nice gratings and poker sets, but also some beautiful Damascus knives.
It truly is a small world.
AK_ID - Sunday, 12/05/04 19:13:53 EST

Adam:: I recently put the shell of my forge together and I dropped the outside measurements down to 15" X 10" X 9" do you still think I would need 3 ez burners and would it matter if I used a sidearm instead of the ez?
- Roy - Sunday, 12/05/04 22:24:20 EST

Roy - Check the rating. Different burners are rated for different volumes, depending on their efficiency.
Monica - Sunday, 12/05/04 23:06:09 EST

Great?: Paw Paw; The Frank I know is not defined as "great". Simply a "Mensch", which is what we should all aspire to.
3dogs - Monday, 12/06/04 03:40:14 EST

Howdy from Garching Germany, got to visit the Neues Rathaus in Munich yesterday; lovely ironwork. The building is in neo-gothic style and so uses a lot of iron. Also attended an advent music program in the FrauenKirche, beautiful music and nice bars on the chapels

Back to work

- ThomasP - Monday, 12/06/04 08:10:40 EST

Will you accept that he is a great mensch? I've met him too, and watched him work for a little while. He's better than good.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/06/04 09:55:56 EST

Proverb:: Der Mensch denkt; Gott lenkt. Man proposes; God disposes.
Frank Turley - Monday, 12/06/04 10:31:57 EST

Burners: Roy good to hear you are moving forward with your project

The rule of thumb for the 3/4" EZ burners is 250 cu in ea. So.... 10x9x15 allowing for a 2" layer of kaowool gives a burn chamber of 6x5x11 (I am assuming the end caps fit INSDE the forge hence 11" interior dimension) = 330 cu ins which is about 30% oversize for a single EZ burner. I havent seen a cu ins rating for the sidearms but they are more efficient than the EZ - perhaps enough that a single one could run the whole chamber. Its not clear to me - are you making a two burner forge ? Two Ez burners should be ample. I forget what you said originally, are you going to feed a power hammers? If not this seems like long chamber. What are you going to do with 11" of hot steel at the anvil? But thats my prejudice - I think small hot chambers are more useful.
adam - Monday, 12/06/04 10:37:32 EST

Great Mensch: Completely agree but I think we are embarassing Frank. :)
adam - Monday, 12/06/04 10:41:53 EST

Menschlichkeit(?): I'll give ya that one, Jim. Frank, you may now say "Aww shucks, fellers", and scuff yer boot in the dust.
3dogs - Monday, 12/06/04 11:03:55 EST

Chuckle, and I'll take that one. (grin)
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/06/04 12:44:43 EST

testing welds?: Still practicing welds here.

I made a chain link with 3/8 mild rod (ez weld and borax). The weld looked good except you could see that it wasn't quite bonded at the very ends.

I stuck it in a vice and after much bending and twisting with a long bar got one of the tails to pop up...a little more work and some different positioning (it wanted to bend every place except where the weld was)and I got the other tail up. Laying the piece over the step of the anvil and beating it down into the step finally got it apart.

Where the weld broke the metal is a bright grey with some shinny spots and has a grainy texture. Where the tails were for sure not welded the surface is just black and smooth.

Was it welded? A good weld?

I've done other pieces that though they looked ok from the out side they peeled and when they did the surfaces were very smooth and didn't look like they ever flowed.

I'd sure like some opinions.
Mike Ferrara - Tuesday, 12/07/04 07:17:53 EST

Weld testing: MIke, it sure sounds like a sound weld to me. That "grainy" and grey surface indicates a couple of things. The grey color indicates that no oxidation took place, which is necessary for a weld to take, of course. The grainy texture indicates that the two pieces were joined molecularly and only came apart after sufficient force was applied to part the grain boundaries in the steel. In other words, a good weld.

When you get a shiny surface when they come apart, that indicates that the two surfaces were mashed against each other, but did not bond.
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/07/04 08:38:20 EST

Welding: Sounds like a good weld. The two simple tests that I know are: wrap it around the horn at red heat - if it doesnt open up its a good weld. Bend it cold in the vise - if you can get to 90 deg before it breaks open its good. In both tests you bend in the direction that is most likely to open the flaps

Last night I forged a few small balls with stems and welded them into a bunch of berries in my gasser. Coating the whole piece with borax did a good job of protecting it from the hot gas - of course I had to be careful not to let the berries weld. Next I will try flour mixed with Satanite along the lines of what Frank suggested
adam - Tuesday, 12/07/04 11:37:13 EST

chain link: Seldom do we obtain perfect cohesion with a forge weld. It has to do with grain growth and contaminants. I've seen many old hand forged links where the points of the scarfs show, but the welds looked solid between the points. And the chain worked.

When making a link, the scarfs are drawn toward the inside of the U-bend at a 45º angle. When you lap them, close them to look like 90º where they meet, so the scarfs line up properly. Do not allow the link to look like a smoothly curved, finished link before welding (like most books show). When ready to weld, I find the short jawed flat tongs are better than link tongs. Hold the tong length parallel to the link length. Make sure the scarf faces are making gaps. The proper order of hammering is to hit both sides of the link on the anvil face close to the horn; then move quickly to the horn and swing the link away from you as you hammer, holding the 'flat' of the link at about a 45º angle. By doing so, you should be hammering toward the point. Turn over; repeat.

A second heat is usually required on mild steel to get rid of interior shuts. Go straight to the horn and hit at various angles. When finished hammering, the link will have an oversized, curved shape at the weld end. Now is the time to close it to a good-looking shape. A finished hand forged link weld will have a ridge-like peaky look at the outside end for strength.

You didn't ask for all this, but so often the procedures involved are not really taught properly. By setting all this down, I hope it will help others. It is not likely that one will use this on a real job, especially on a repair job, but it is a good exercise. One time, a friend and I forged an 18 foot tow chain out of 3/8" round, and with grab hooks, and it worked!
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/07/04 11:43:45 EST

Chain Link: Frank, the method you described puts the weld on the curve. I've seen other welded links with the weld on the side (straight). Is there a structural reason for the distintion?
Monica - Tuesday, 12/07/04 13:18:28 EST

Chain Link: When the chain is under load, the greatest tension is in the straight sides - the least tension is in the middle of the curved ends
adam - Tuesday, 12/07/04 13:29:03 EST

Chain Link: Monica, Besides Adam's response, it has to do with ease of handling as a smith. The smith's method is to make one U-bend, scarf the other ends and bend them together. This avoids the situation of making TWO uniform U-bends and trying to meet in the middle. Additionally, if the weld is on the side, it would require upsetting. If the scarfs are made properly to be welded on the curve, you can get the job done without upsetting. The only welds I've seen on the side are on manufactured links where you can usually find a little swelling on the link from the resistance weld.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/07/04 14:50:02 EST

chain link: Thanks every one.

I put the weld on the side and upset the ends big time.

Frank, I'm not sure I understand how you're setting up the scarfs.
Mike ferrara - Tuesday, 12/07/04 15:21:39 EST

More link: Mike, It's difficult to explain. The lessons are shown in several texts, among them Ernst Schwarzkopf, Plain and Ornamental forging, Astragal Press, and The Blacksmith's Craft, London, England. The scarf is made diagonally at a 45º angle near the 90º cut end of the stock. It can either be held at an angle on the near, radiused edge of the anvil and half-faced...or done with a cross peen. On 3/8" stock, leave the scarf point about 1/16" thick. Each scarf face will look like a mild ski slope. The scarf shoulder starts where you have full thickness. When the scarfs are bent to meet at 90º, check the inside of the link. The line of the weld should appear as a moderate S-shape before welding.

This line of question/answer is normally done on the Guru's den, but not to worry.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/07/04 16:39:42 EST

More Link:: Mike, this is how I understand what Frank is saying: Stick your arms out straight in front of you, right palm down, left palm up - thats the unwelded U and your hands are the scarfed ends. Now bending at the elbows only clasp your hands - thats the weld - notice that where your hands clasp your forearms meet at 90 deg (approx). Now it goes to the horn to dress the weld and make it round. Frank will set us straight if I have it bass ackwards.

Schwartzkopf /Plain & Ornamental Forging is a great book, packed with info and forging projects. Very reasonably priced. I dont understand why it isnt more popular. Frank uses it as his basic reference for his class.
adam - Tuesday, 12/07/04 20:26:27 EST

Thanks Frank and Adam.
It looks like I'm gonna buy my wife some more books for Christmas. LOL
Mike Ferrara - Tuesday, 12/07/04 21:19:21 EST

flux: has anny one here ever had a problem with a flux called CH weld, I think it used to be called something other than that, but the stuff is kind of like heavy dirt.half powder with some small specks of shiny stuff in it. It is realy tricky stuff because whenever I think I have a good weld with it, I can break the weld with little effort and inside it's silvery with a ton of the little shiny things,compleetly unmelted inside.gass or coal its the same. Is it something I am doing wrong or what do you guys think?
- treavor - Tuesday, 12/07/04 21:28:10 EST

Chain link and CH flux: Adam and Mike, Yes, that's a good way of explaining the join. The "elbow bends" will naturally become rounding as you work over the horn.

Treavor, I never heerdtell of CH Weld. Maybe you ought to try borax and E-Z Weld.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/07/04 22:02:11 EST

CH WELD: Frank, could that be the old Cherry Heat Weld compound?
3dogs - Wednesday, 12/08/04 09:57:53 EST

MO' CH WELD: Could be. Amy and Centaur are both selling it.
3dogs - Wednesday, 12/08/04 10:06:24 EST

Treavor: Could it be that the can of CH got left open for a while? Mebbe it got wet and/or contaminated. (I'm just scratchin' around for possibilities.)
3dogs - Wednesday, 12/08/04 10:16:08 EST

lathe: well my lathe deal went south. not sure what happened but the seller stopped responding to emails while we were finalizing shipping arrangements. so I am again in the market for a small, reasonably priced metal lathe.
adam - Wednesday, 12/08/04 11:58:27 EST

The old brand names: In the early 80's, I demoed at the "Quad State Roundup" in Ohio, and the then-owner of the Anti-Borax Company was present. He told me, as an aside, that Cherry Heat, Climax, and E-Z Weld all came out of the same vat. He laughed uproariously about that, because he knew that some smiths would swear that one was better than the other.

And have you ever noticed that the three trade names have a certain, related connotation?
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 12/08/04 12:12:22 EST

Deals: I fell into one last weekend, but didn't complete it until yesterday evening. A complete post drill, that needs some cleaning before mounting it. I haven't been able to verify the manufacturer due to the dirt, and I'm not going to start on that till I get into the new shop.
Paw Paw - Wednesday, 12/08/04 12:35:04 EST

Flux: "inside it's silvery with a ton of the little shiny things,compleetly unmelted" Sounds to me like you didn't get your metal hot enough. If it's silvery, then there wasn't a problem with oxidization/scale forming.
Monica - Wednesday, 12/08/04 13:25:57 EST

Lathe: Adam, I have a lathe looking for a new home: It's a 1939 South Bend 9" floor standing lathe with the pedestal drive, 5" 3-jaw and 6" 4-jaw chucks, change gears, lantern tool post, spindle sleeve, centers, face plate and the tool rest for hand turning (You remove the compound to put this on). Somewhere around here I have the parts & maintenance book. IIRC it's a 42" bed which accomodates about 18" between centers. I'm looking for about $900.

This machine spent most of it's life thus far in the shop of the physics department of a state teachers' college, so it isn't as worn as you might expect for its 65 years. The motor does sometimes get hot and shuts itself down when engaging in an extended turning session. . . But there is plenty of space to mount a new one and this one does seem to be original. . .

This style of lathe has no covers on the flat drive belt. The v-belt to the jackshaft in the drive has a quite massive cover, as do the change gears, but the flat cone pully belt is out flapping in the breeze. . .

This is a MUCH more massive machine than the Chinese lathes this size. IIRC South Bend listed the weight as 500 some pounds for the lathe & legs and another 200 some pounds for the pedistal drive.

It's in Lawrence, KS. & weighs something between 700 & 800 pounds.
John Lowther - Wednesday, 12/08/04 17:24:17 EST

Cherry heat, EZ-weld etc
I think in the centaur catalog it says all the fluxs are the same, and it appears to be a MFG's statement!
ptree - Wednesday, 12/08/04 17:46:04 EST

Lathe:: John, sounds like a real possibility. I will send you an email when I get home - thanks.
adam - Wednesday, 12/08/04 18:07:10 EST

John: my email to you is bouncing. perhaps you could emaail me? Thanks
adam - Wednesday, 12/08/04 22:37:31 EST

Speaking of chain, any in the congregation got or know of the whereabouts of-- textbook citations and such-- any solid figures on what cold does by way of weakening chain? I know I have a table or chart around here (it's been down to around 7 F. at dawn lately) somewhere and cannot find it. Many thanks!
Sebastian Chippinghammer - Wednesday, 12/08/04 22:45:04 EST

CNN & Blacksmithing: CNN TV is coming to visit and "shoot" the Turley Forge School/Shop today. I talked to them briefly on the phone about two weeks ago, and I believe they are going to do a feature about the revival of blacksmithing in the US. I'll find out for sure and deliver more poop later.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/09/04 10:43:06 EST

Went to the Doc this a.m.. He says the knee is coming along as expected and I can return to work on Jan. 3. The better half has had the audacity to ask me to clean out 1/2 the shop just so she can park in there this winter (she has some notion that garages are for vehicles) :-)
Brian C - Thursday, 12/09/04 10:45:24 EST

Chain and Temperatures: In general, the colder the temperature the lower the impact strength a piece of steel with have. Impact strength and tensile strength are not the same. Lower temps have less effect on tesnile strength, which I suspect is the typical mode of loading a chain. Some alloys are specifically designed to meet minimum impact strength requirements at low temperatures. Most steels exhibit a dramitic decrease in impact streght at a specific temperature, know as the Ductile To Brittle Transition Temperature (DBTT). Some of you may recall the Liberty ships of WWII fame cracking in half in cold water climates. The steel used had a relatively high DBTT and could not withstand the loading at the cold temps. I do not have specific info on chain/cable loading limits at various temps, but I would be surpised any but the most extreme cold temps had a marked effect on load bearing capacity.
- Patirck Nowak - Thursday, 12/09/04 14:38:11 EST

As part of the arrangement with CNN, please get a copy of the aired footage, so those of us who do not have cable TV can see the show.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/09/04 16:53:34 EST

John: My email attempt bounced too.

Are you locked into the $900? Lawrence is about 2100 miles, round trip,
and that would run my diesel cost up to almost $$400 alone. That jacks
up the price a good bit.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/09/04 16:56:17 EST

Shipping: Yes I was going to raise that issue with John if we ever got to exchange emails. :) Tranz Global quoted me about $400 to ship from KS to NM so you pretty much nailed that, Jim!
adam - Thursday, 12/09/04 17:02:09 EST


Not really, that $400 figure was for diesel for my truck. That didn't include any meal cost. I'd sleep in the truck inrough, but for me that's about a 3 day drive each way, or approximately 15 meals (I don't eat breakfast), so that would also be a expense.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/09/04 17:14:48 EST

CNN hoax: The CNN TV shoot was apparently a hoax. I made a morning appointment and waited around all day for naught. The guy who called dropped the names of two well known smiths, whom he said were cooperating in the venture, and I found that not to be true.

I'm crushed. Sob, sob, snuffle. I'm going to go out in the garden and eat worms.

Beware of sh~t-aces bearing gifts.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/09/04 19:53:58 EST

Patirck Nowak-- Many thanks for the chain info!
Sebastian Chippinghammer - Thursday, 12/09/04 20:05:17 EST

Now that is irritating as hel*!! I'm disappointed on your behalf as well as my own.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/09/04 21:25:32 EST

Frank Turley,
you guys still hang horse thieves out west right? Seems approiate for that jerk.
ptree - Thursday, 12/09/04 21:43:42 EST

Anyone seen the MACHINE DESIGN magazine for the Nov. issue? Has a nice big article on powder damascus. I would especially like Quenchcrack's and Patrick Norwalk's views on same.
Has some very nice photos, not sure I understand all I read.
ptree - Thursday, 12/09/04 21:46:15 EST

new burners: my two t Rex burners arived today, but I am not sure if I am getting a high enough temperature, I made one good weld on a peice of angle Iron, but as hard as I tried at fifteen pounds pressure I couldn't burn it up,I set the choke at one half and the gas jet down 1/2inch below the air intake slots, but it only got hot enough to weld. should those burners be able to burn up the steel or not, if anny one has some expeeriance with those burners I'd sure appriciate some advice,
- treavor - Thursday, 12/09/04 22:28:37 EST

Treavor's new T-Rexes:
Rejoice! You have the perfect forge --- one that will weld and not burn! Why would you ever want to burn steel!? Except if you were cutting it :) Burning is also a matter of oxygen level, did you try pulling the piece out of the forge or opening the choke all the way? Also you can play with the jet placement on those burners.
T. Gold - Thursday, 12/09/04 23:12:24 EST

CNN: I too feel outraged on Frank's behalf. But I think this kind of behavior is common in the movie business and some movies actually get made this way. If you BS enough people eventually you get lucky, everything falls into place and you have a movie.
adam - Friday, 12/10/04 01:04:20 EST

I love it: Have not had a chance to hi in a long time. Hope everyone is doing well. all my anvils are now completely rusted. The forges are so cold that they may never see fire again. But that does not mean that I don't think about it a lot.
- scotty - Friday, 12/10/04 03:50:50 EST

CNN Hoax: Some people don't require a licenced proctologist to properly identify them.
3dogs - Friday, 12/10/04 04:49:37 EST

scrollmaking jigs: Have you any illistrations of scrollmaking jigs pupils could use in a school project?
dave wearing - Friday, 12/10/04 10:14:56 EST

Scroll jigs: Dave,

If you will check the iForge page on the drop-down menu at the top of this page, you'll find just what you're looking for in iForge demo #31, "Spirals and Scrolls" by Jock Dempsey.
vicopper - Friday, 12/10/04 12:11:53 EST

sourcing: could anyone suggest a source for flat bar stock which has serrated corners on one edge,at least,which provides a grip for the movable jaw on bar clamps. this type of steel bar usually has a smaller dimention at its centre section ,ie it is concave across both "flatts" .
- Faymus - Friday, 12/10/04 12:22:01 EST

burning : I know I shouldn't want the steel to burn but it is like a fancy new toy, I just wanted to try it out.
- treavor - Friday, 12/10/04 13:28:38 EST

Powder Damascus: I read the article a few weeks back and was impressed with the fact that it was both historically and metallurgically accurate, although I think that thier explanation of the word "tilting" was a bit off. It seems to me that that term would mean "hammering under a tilt hammer" where a tilt hammer is a water driven helve type machine. The discussion of inclusions and thier impact on steel performace was well done and I would agree that powder metal prodcuts of most/all types would tend to be cleaner than airmelt ingot or strand cast alloys. The real advantage of powder metal (for Damascus) as I see it is not in metallurgical advancement, although that cannot be denied. Rather, ease of manufacture and pattern development seem to be the main advantages. Let me know if you have specific questions and I'll give them a go.

- Patirck Nowak - Friday, 12/10/04 14:16:54 EST

Faymus: Sounds like with a bit of work you could use a flat bar/ tubing roller to get the serated edge you want probably have to bend the metal on edge the rollers would leave the lines and then roll it back straight. I'm usually trying to smooth those grooves out of a piece ;)
- Chris Pook - Friday, 12/10/04 14:27:36 EST

In case you don't have access to one...try a gate or railing company in your area.
- Chris Pook - Friday, 12/10/04 14:28:32 EST

Faymus,: The flat bar stock that bar clamps such as Jorgensens and Besseys use is milled especially for their use, to their specifications. Were it not so, they would have no way of guaranteeing the performance of their clamps, nor any defensibility in a product liability lawsuit in the event of failure.

With a hydraulic rolling mill, such as the McDonald Mill, you could "roll yer own", but you would have tom make special rollers for both the profile and for the edge serrations. If you have access to a lathe and a shaper, this would be only an afternoon's work. After that, you can make all you want. But you're not going to find it for sale in the ready-to-wear.
vicopper - Friday, 12/10/04 15:06:05 EST

I've got a very nice, rebuilt 50lb. Little Giant that I might be interested in selling. Anyone interested?
- kc - Friday, 12/10/04 16:10:52 EST

Little Giant: I might be interested in buying an LG or other powerhammer, but only if it is not too expensive to ship it to my shop. Which, by the way, is located at 17.7ºN, 64.5ºW, or at the eastern edge of the Caribbean Ocean. Where is the hammer?
vicopper - Friday, 12/10/04 19:09:23 EST

As with Real Estate Location location location! Where is it located???
- Ron J. - Friday, 12/10/04 22:40:37 EST

RR Track Anvil: After the monthly hammer in today here in IL a friend of mine needed an anvil he was currently barrowing one of my ASO. We took about a 3 section peice of RR track took a 1 ft peice of angle iron and a 1/4 inch thick plate. We curled the angle iron and formed it to my mandrel to give it a rough horn shape, then punched a square 3/4 hardy hole and a 1/2 in pritchel hole. Then using a MIG welder welded both onto the track, It weights roughly 150 lbs and it works almost as well as my 120 peter wright. The rail is hardened enough were a good hammer blow wont dent it and the welds are good and strong. Maybe one of the ugliest anvils ive seen but with out a doubt a very functional one.
- DanCrabtree - Sunday, 12/12/04 01:21:09 EST

The about a 3 section peice of RR means about a 3 ft section of rail road track.
- DanCrabtree - Sunday, 12/12/04 01:30:31 EST

rant:: My son gave me an 800gm forging hammer as a present. The hammer came from a domestic blacksmith supplier and is in fact made by an American smith. Yesterday I set about dressing it for work and I was just appalled at the condition of the tool. It had been badly dressed on a belt sander by an aggressive idiot. The face was out of square in 3 planes - the corners and the bevels were grossly uneven. The steel was so soft I dont believe it had been heat treated. The handle was loose, the shaft of the handle was way crooked with the head (even allowing for the slop in the fit) and the shaft itself had been beltsanded to a twist. After all this, it's hard to believe much more that could have been wrong with it but there was. The list is long enough. Now I am not talking about an "unfinished kit" - the head had been damaged in the "dressing" and it would have been much better if it had been shipped in its raw state. I must have ground 150 gms off that little 800gm hammer to get it straight and shaped. Now I can understand making this kind of crap if if one is in a Chinese factory working for a 25c/day and is told that Americans are the source of all the world's troubles. But in fact the three HF ball piens that I was working on the same day were decently dressed and ready for work except for rounding the flat bevels on the faces. They cost about $3.50 ea and looked like the maker had some pride of workmanship. The forging hammer cost about $25 and looked like the maker really didn't give a flying unprintable about the guy who was going to use it. Why be a smith if one can't be proud of one's work?

Wthe hammer is finished, I will heat up a red spot on the cheek of this hammer and stamp it with my own touchmark.

adam - Sunday, 12/12/04 15:20:49 EST

Today is Cathy and my 17th wedding anniversary. She must be a veritible saint to put up with all these years of me being on extended schedules at work, and then out on fire runs after that (unless maybe it makes life easier when I'm gone).
- Brian C - Sunday, 12/12/04 18:10:33 EST

A Tough Read: I rarely forward messages, there are just too many to keep up with. But the following, I must, in all justice, post.

This is not an easy read but I felt it mustbe passed on.


I just wanted to share with all of you my most recent Air Force Reserve trip. As most of you know, I have decided to go back into the Air Force Reserves as a part time reservist and after 6 months of training, I have recently been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and have been fully mission
qualified as an Aircraft Commander of a KC-135R strato tanker aircraft.

On Friday of last week, my crew and I were tasked with a mission to provide air refueling support in order to tanker 6 F-16's over to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. We were then to tanker back to the states, 6 more F-16's that were due maintenance. It started out as a fairly standard mission - one that I have done many times as an active duty Captain in my former jet - the KC10a extender.

We dragged the F-16's to Moron Air Base in Spain where we spent the night and then finished the first part of our mission the next day by successfully delivering them to Incirlik. When I got on the ground in Turkey, I received a message to call the Tanker Airlift Control Center that my mission would change. Instead of tankering the F-16's that were due maintenance, I was cut new orders to fly to Kuwait City and pick up 22 "HR's" and return them to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

It had been a while since I had heard of the term "HR" used, and as I pondered what the acronym could possibly stand for, when it dawned on me that it stood for human remains. There were 22 fallen comrades who had just been killed in the most recent attacks in Fallujah and Baghdad, Iraq over the last week.

I immediately alerted the crew of the mission change and although they were exhausted due to an ocean crossing, the time change and minimum ground time in Spain for crew rest, we all agreed that it was more important to get these men back to their families as soon as possible.

We were scheduled to crew rest in Incirlik, Turkey for the evening and start the mission the next day. Instead, we decided to extend/continue our day and fly to Kuwait in order to pick up our precious cargo. While on the flight over to Kuwait, I knew that there were protocol procedures for accepting and caring for human remains, however, in my 13 years of active duty service, I never once had to refer to this regulation. As I read the regulation on the flight over, I felt prepared and ready to do the mission. My game plan was to pick up the HR's and turn around to fly to Mildenhal Air Base in England, spend the night, and then fly back the next day.

This was the quickest way to get them home, considering the maximum crew duty day that I could subject my crew to legally and physically. I really pushed them to the limits but no one complained at all.

I thought that I was prepared for the acceptance of these men until we landed at Kuwait International. I taxied the jet over to a staging area where the honor guard was waiting to load our soldiers. I stopped the jet and the entire crew was required to stay on board. We opened the cargo door, and according to procedure, I had the crew line up in the back of the aircraft in formation and stand at attention.

As the cargo loader brought up the first pallet of caskets, I ordered the crew to "Present Arms". Normally, we would snap a salute at this command, however, when you are
dealing with a fallen soldier, the salute is a slow 3 second pace to position. As I stood there and finally saw the first four of twenty-two caskets draped with the American Flags, the reality had hit me. As the Marine Corps honor guard delivered the first pallet on board, I then ordered the crew to "Order Arms" - where they rendered an equally slow 3 second return to the attention position. I then commanded the crew to assume an at ease position and directed them to properly place the pallet. The protocol requires that the caskets are to be loaded so when it comes
time to exit the aircraft - they will go head first. We did this same procedure for each and every pallet until we could not fit any more.

I felt a deep pit in my stomach when there were more caskets to be brought home and that they would have to wait for the next jet to come through. I tried to do everything in my power to bring more home but they I had no more space on board. When we were finally loaded, with our precious cargo
and fueled for the trip back to England, a Marine Corps Colonel from first battalion came on board our jet in order to talk to us. I gathered the crew to listen to him and his words of wisdom.

He introduced himself and said that it is the motto of the Marines to leave no man behind and it makes their job easier knowing that there were men like us to help them complete this task. He was very grateful for our help and the strings that we were pulling in order to get this mission done in the most expeditious manner possible. He then said -" Major Zarnik - these are MY MARINES and I am giving them to you. Please take great care of them as I know you will". I responded with telling him that they are my highest priority and that although this was one of the saddest days of my life, we are all up for the challenge and will go above and beyond to take care of your Marines - "Semper Fi Sir" A smile came on his face and he responded with a loud and thunderous, "Ooo Rah".

He then asked me to please pass along to the families that these men were extremely brave and had made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and that we appreciate and empathize with what they are going through at this time of their grievance. With that, he departed the jet and we were on our way to England.

I had a lot of time to think about the men that I had the privilege to carry. I had a chance to read the manifest on each and every one of them. I read about their religious preferences, their marital status, the injuries that were their cause of death. All of them were under age 27 with most in the 18-24 range. Most of them had wives and children. They had all been killed by an " IED" which I can only deduce as an incendiary explosive devices like rocket propelled grenades. Mostly fatal head injuries and injuries to the chest area. I could not even imagine the bravery that they must have displayed and the agony suffered in this God Forsaken War. My respect and admiration for these men and what they are doing to help others in a foreign land is beyond calculation. I know that they are all with God now and in a better place.

The stop in Mildenhal was uneventful and then we pressed on to Dover where we would meet the receiving Marine Corps honor guard. When we arrived, we applied the same procedures in reverse. The head of each casket was to
come out first. This was a sign of respect rather than defeat. As the honor guard carried each and every American flag covered casket off of the jet, they delivered them to awaiting families with military hearses. I was extremely impressed with how diligent the Honor Guard had performed the seemingly endless task of delivering each of the caskets to the families without fail and with precision. There was not a dry eye on our crew or in the crowd. The Chaplain then said a prayer followed by a speech from Lt. Col. Klaus of the second Battalion. In his speech, he also reiterated
similar condolences to the families as the Colonel from First Battalion back in Kuwait.

I then went out to speak with the families as I felt it was my duty to help console them in this difficult time. Although I would probably be one of the last military contacts that they would have for a while - the military
tends to take care of it's own. I wanted to make sure that they did not feel abandoned and more than that appreciated for their ultimate sacrifice. It was the most difficult thing that I have ever done in my life. I listened to the stories of each and every one that I had come in contact
with and they all displayed a sense of pride during an obviously difficult time. The Marine Corps had obviously prepared their families well for this potential outcome.

So, why do I write this story to you all? I just wanted to put a little personal attention to the numbers that you hear about and see in the media. It is almost like we are desensitized by all of the "numbers" of our fallen comrades coming out of Iraq. I heard one commentator say that "it is just a number". Are you kidding me? These are our American Soldiers not numbers! It is truly a sad situation that I hope will end soon. Please hug and embrace your loved ones a little closer and know that there are men out there that are defending you and trying to make this a better world.
Please pray for their families and when you hear the latest statistic's and numbers of our soldiers killed in combat, please remember this story. It is the only way that I know to more personalize these figures and have them truly mean something to us all.

Thanks for all of your support for me and my family as I take on this new role in completing my Air Force Career and supporting our country. I greatly appreciate all of your comments, gestures and prayers.

May God Bless America, us all, and especially the United States Marine Corps.

Semper Fi!!

Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/12/04 19:07:37 EST

The 50lb. power hammer is in Montana. My prayers go out to you Paw Paw. I hope that the troops come home soon.
- kc - Sunday, 12/12/04 19:48:46 EST

The way that message is written is a little mis-leading. I'm not the author, I simply posted the message for others to see what our military has to do sometimes.

I said to Sheri that I didn't know whether I could have done that mission or not. Even if I was qualified to fly, which I am not.

She answered, "You did the honor guard for your father and your foster son. You could have done it, but it would have hurt." I guess she's right.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/12/04 20:09:52 EST

Regarding Semper Fi: Thank you for posting the above letter from the AF pilot. As I've stated in other, more political, groups, none of us here stateside would have the right to speak our thoughts if it weren't for the bravery and sacrifice of our military. God bless them all, and God bless their families.
AK_ID - Monday, 12/13/04 01:58:22 EST

PawPaw: Are you sending email regarding" Anvilfire Photos I need help IDing ...."??
Also from MParkinson?? same subject
Just being cautious.

Jim Curtis - Monday, 12/13/04 11:24:31 EST

Fallen Soldiers: A very sad story.
adam - Monday, 12/13/04 11:48:48 EST

TRIP HAMMER:: little giant 25lb $2200,174lb peter wright anvle $325,post vise 5in.$175post vise adjustble jaws 6in.$300.north of detroit phone 1-248-5458211
robert parker - Monday, 12/13/04 16:56:00 EST

Jim Curtis:
All messages posted on the anvilfire foto site are "general" messages. They come to me first to make sure that no "sporn" messages go out, but when I approve them, they go to everryone that is on the list.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/13/04 18:40:34 EST

Fallen Soldiers: Thanks for posting the letter about the KIA'S coming home. I never had to deal with such a situation and, like you, I don't know if I could. I just pray the public doesn't turn against our troops like they did us.
- Larry - Monday, 12/13/04 21:06:25 EST

You and I both, like a lot of our brothers and sisters, have sworn that as long as I am alive and within hearing that NO American service person will EVER be treated like we were.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/13/04 22:04:38 EST

Larry, PawPaw: Salute.
Monica - Monday, 12/13/04 23:47:28 EST

anvils: Hello I am looking for european old used anvils.French ,German and other country. I will buy if in Europe and here. Anyones help or connections I would be grateful.I am a serious buyer. thanks
shirley - Tuesday, 12/14/04 02:00:22 EST

Can anyone tell me if it's safe to put ITC-100 on soft firebrick? They're a little porous and I'm not sure if there's a chance of sealing in moisture that would later cause a steam explosion.

- Seth - Tuesday, 12/14/04 02:12:43 EST


Sorry about the picture quality. I had to lug my laptop and webcam out there just to get these shots. =p

The grill I put everything in is a little ghetto, but it's the heart that counts ;)

Thanks for everone's help answering my questions through the process of building it.

Let me know if it looks uhhh about right for a gas forge =D

Seth - Tuesday, 12/14/04 02:22:12 EST

ITC 0n Firebrick : Seth,

Yes, you can put ITC products on soft or hard firebrick. There is no problem with trapping moisture because when you bring it up to heat it will allow the moisture, if any, to pass throught itself. I suppose if you put it on a soft firebrick that youhad submerged in a bucket overnight you might possibly trap some moisture, but that would only make it take longer for the ITC-100 todry before you could fire it up. ITC-100 is water soluble before firing, so any moisture present will become incorporated into it. The direction sfor application advise that the surface be wetted with a water spray before applying the ITC-100, if you recall.
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/14/04 09:51:57 EST

Yeah it did say that. Thanks for your help!
Seth - Tuesday, 12/14/04 11:57:49 EST

Wow. I just realized I've been posting questions on the wrong message board the whole time. =/ Sorry guys. THanks for you help anyway!
Seth - Tuesday, 12/14/04 12:03:51 EST

BBQ Forge: Seth, forge looks great! Not sure why it's inside a BBQ but why not? : ) I have fired up my forge with soaking wet parts in it because I was too impatient to wait for it to dry slowly. Not good for the refractory but no danger of explosions. Like VIC explains, firebrick and refractory are soft and porous and cant hold a pocket of steam under pressure. Do be careful with your fuel line though - thats a real danger - keep it away from the heat (of course) and from hot iron - I like to shield mine with a length of flexible electrical conduit.

Fire it up!
adam - Tuesday, 12/14/04 12:15:08 EST

Heheh yeah I should probably do something to shield that gas line. I built it inside the BBQ because 1. It was available and easy to convert to hold the forge. 2. I dont have anything to weld stuff yet so I can't fabricate legs or anything for the interior forge. Thanks for the comment! =)
Seth - Tuesday, 12/14/04 12:24:55 EST

Barbecue forge: Seth,

That's a clever way around a problem; good thinking. That looks to me like it should work just fine, too. Like Adam says, see if you can find a piece of scrap BX flexible conduit to slip over the gas line for protection from hot/sharp things. Then get busy and start forging stuff!
- vicopper - Tuesday, 12/14/04 14:08:21 EST


The first real forge that I built for coal used a cast aluminum charcoal grill for the frame. Used a hole saw to make a hole in the bottom for the tuyere made from plumbing fittings, lined it with firebrick, hooked up a blower and was forging in just a couple of days. It even had one of those neat carts that I could just roll around to wherever I needed the forge. I think it's still hanging around here somewhere. You'll use yours for a long time, it's versatile enough to do a lot of work with.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/14/04 19:15:45 EST

Awesome. Yeah I've already got a 100pounds of coal to use on my future coal forge. First I'm gonna take a crack at actual forging since I just finished this gas one. It's exciting! =p I'm trying to figuer out how malleable the metal is supposed to get. After letting the it warm up for about 5 minutes at roughly 5 psi I stuck in a 1/2" mild steel rod. Only took about a minute to get it to a really bright orange. I banged it a few times with my hammer and makeshift anvil and was able to flatten the end of it nicely with two or three heats.

What's a good color to generally work with? (In this case mild steel)
Seth - Tuesday, 12/14/04 19:49:23 EST

Seth basically you want to work mild steel as hot as possible. Alloy and carbon steels usually have strict forging ranges; but the mild stuff just gets softer the hotter you go---till it starts burning. A high orange to a yellow is usually a good working temp(depending on what you want to do) many folk work too cold and it's more *work*!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/14/04 20:18:22 EST

ca be, as Thomas said, just short of burning it up when you're working with mild steel. The hotter, the softer. If you try to work it much below a low red heat, you may wind up creating stress fractures in it. At the high end, expect it to spray scale and sparks when you hit it the first blow or two. This is a good reason to wear long pants and boots that fit UNDER the pants. Those bits of hot scale wil fly right into a sneaker and join the sneaker to your foot in a second flat. Long before youcan react, you will have a second or even third degree burn that is in a really uncomfortable place that doesn't heal as well as it might. Nevermind how I know this (twice).

When you get the feel for the heat and the tools, you will be able to draw out a nice square point about 2" long on a 1/2" bar in one heat with no problem. This, of course, is based upon having a decent anvil of 100# or more, some sort of decent hammer, and plenty of PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. So get out there and get hammering! (Hint: Don't try to use a hammer any bigger than about 1-1/2 lbs until you've had a month or two of stedy hammering, unless you want to wreck your arm.)

vicopper - Tuesday, 12/14/04 20:33:16 EST

Forging temps: Hot as possible for major reshaping, like Thomas says its less work and the steel moves in a different way at hi temp. Much less prone to develop folds.

Colors are subjective everyone sees differently. Hot as possible means just below welding temp. I see a lot of people who using gassers and working the steel much too cold - not sure why. Perhaps because colors are subjective :)

For bending and twisting orange is good. For finish hammering red heat works well. So, a rule of thumb, as the piece develops the forging heats get progressively cooler.

I also suggest that you stick with stock that is under 1/2" thick until you get your sealegs.
adam - Tuesday, 12/14/04 20:41:25 EST

Forging Heat: I don't have the book at hand, but I believe that in "The Blacksmith's Craft", they recommend forging a flat tong jaw with its shoulders at light welding heats, even though you're not welding. It makes the work go easy and it helps get rid of small surface shuts as you work. Most smiths form mild steel beginning at a lemon heat, around 2100ºF.

In the U.S., many smiths and wannabees work at heats that are too low. When learning, and sometimes without expert direction, a beginner will notice that the metal at the bright heats has a heavier scale, and that the brightness of the workpiece is off putting. It's a little harder to see the behavior of the piece at the brighter heats. So the neophyte winds up with the horrid habit of trying to forge everything at the red heats. If you're guilty, I have this to say, "GET OVER IT"! Learn to take bright heats. Get the job done.

There are exceptions. On very light stock, you can perform easy bends and lazy twists at the red heats. When cutting metal with hot chisels and punches as on an animal head, it helps to use the darker heats like low cherry, blood, and below. There is less heavy scale, you can see better, and the steel tends to shear better.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/14/04 22:39:32 EST

sourcing: Vicopper ,Chris Pook,
thank you both for your response to my query last friday. As I want to make about 40 clamps with maple or beech jaws ,for stringed instrument making, I`m sure ordinary flat bar will be more than adequate and these of course are for my own use only . I can purchase two or three Besseys for more robust requirements
- Faymus. - Wednesday, 12/15/04 11:49:59 EST

One thing about forging that has changed is that real wrought iron burns at a much higher temperature than mild steel. Working wrought iron at a lemon yellow to white heat is almost a necessity for the lower grades. At high temps it's so plastic and welds so nicely you find out why some of the old smiths grumbled about the "new" mild steel.

A36 can have enough carbon to burn at the working temp of old mild steel (1018) or wrought iron.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/15/04 12:01:49 EST

Thanks for all your responses! I successfully forged a simple tool from that 1/2in rod to hold my rail road spike in the fire (no tongs yet =p). I'm having a lot of fun finally working a little bit in the trade. Thanks again!
Seth - Wednesday, 12/15/04 14:25:30 EST

clamps: YOu can make a very nice clamp with a hardwood bar and sliding wedge - I have seen these used by instrument makers. They dont exert the same pressure as a steel clamp but for this kind of work they are fine.
adam - Wednesday, 12/15/04 15:51:21 EST

Tong Exchange: Last call on the slack tub pub (and others) tong exchange. Deadline is tonight. To get in on this send me your snail mail address via email by Dec 15th. I will draw names and let you know who to send your pair of tongs too. I will NOT let you know who your getting your tongs from so it will be a suprise. Getting too close to the Christmas rush so 3 Kings Day (Jan 6th)will be the day you have to have yours tongs mailed by.
Merry Christmas
JimG - Wednesday, 12/15/04 18:53:36 EST

Clamp: I saw a home-made vise in the shop of a jewlery maker last week, It was a strap hinge, with the hinge most hole of one side screwed to a scrap of wood. The next hole out was fitted with a bolt and wing nut so as to close the two halves of the hinge,and the ends were padded with bits of leather. The whole rig was supported in a larger vise and could be adjusted to any angle. cheap, quick and dirty. Fits my style..
habu - Thursday, 12/16/04 01:03:37 EST

JYH durability: Hello,
My brother and I have a question about JYHs. How durable are the hammers using a car or truck rear end? Anybody had any problems with the "spider gears" yet?

- richard - Thursday, 12/16/04 02:50:03 EST

Richard, The EC-JYH has only been run a few hours in total but the gears do not seem to be a problem. Although they are in constant use it is no different than in automotive use. The overall size is a consideration though. There have also been folks buildiing these things using lawn tractor axels which I do not recommend.

See comments in this weeks guru's den about the JYH linkage.
- - guru - Thursday, 12/16/04 16:17:55 EST

Darn it, I've lost one of my notes! I got quarters in yesterday from Joe, and two sets of 3 quarters today from some one and I've lost the note that came with them today.

Thanks guys!
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/16/04 22:10:33 EST


Would a lawn tractor axel and a single motorcycle shock make a bench top ECJYH? (evil grin)
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/16/04 22:23:25 EST

lost notes?: Are you sure you lost them? I am betting on CRS.......

Ralph - Thursday, 12/16/04 23:11:25 EST


Well, it is't in any of the piles of paper where it should be.
Paw Paw - Thursday, 12/16/04 23:15:28 EST

CRS strikes again.
ptree - Friday, 12/17/04 08:08:05 EST

motorcycle shock: These don't work. Spring is wrong action. Give up on the benchtop hammer, unless you bench weighs a few thousand pounds it would not takes the forces and you have the point of the little hammer unless all you want to do is head 1/4" rivets.
- guru - Friday, 12/17/04 11:05:42 EST

Forging Heat:
I go by feel but when people want an answer I go to the Tempil chart which says from 0 to 90 point carbon the maximum temperature is 2400 to 2150 F in a straight line. One 90 to 50 degrees above that line is the burning range, also a striaght line.

This is normal industrial practice where the steel is large and often soaks a while a temperature. The blacksmith can get away with higher heats in a controled atmosphere forge. If its not burning its forgable. Note that this does not apply to some high alloy steels.
- guru - Friday, 12/17/04 11:16:24 EST

One of the SOFA gents make "anvil top" junkyard hammers. Not very big on ram weights but it will hammer stuff out if you are restricted from using a hammer yourself.

Thomas P - Friday, 12/17/04 14:48:16 EST

Bodacious info website: Gennamins; I recently came upon a website with info on just about anything you wanna know. Go check out an outfit named Integrated Publishing. Their web addy is Lotsa free smarts
3dogs - Friday, 12/17/04 19:32:43 EST

Lost stuff: Don't feel lonesome, Paw Paw. I had a three pound straight peen hammer sitting beside my easy chair for months. Did a little work on the handle and left it where I could find it. Needed it yesterday, still haven't found it. Reckon the gremlins have been around again.
- Larry - Friday, 12/17/04 19:56:12 EST

Soft Tie Wire: I've had a lot of fun recently with this stuff. Jock says its 1008. It is *very* soft and ductile and you can forge it at almost any temp from welding heat down to black! I havent been able generate a single crack - doesnt seem to work harden apprecialbly. Havent managed to burn it either despite drawing out leaves to 1/32". Welds soooo easy. Seems to have all the best qualities of wrought iron w/o the drawbacks.

Of course the drawback is that you cant get it larger than 1/4" dia but thats still useful for small detail pieces and it can be so easily welded that making small quantities of thicker stock is a possibility for special elements.

I get it for the asking from a local hardware store where it comes tied around bundles of rebar. Compare with PI which, when available, costs over $2/lb by the time its in your shop.
adam - Saturday, 12/18/04 13:57:35 EST

Tongs trade: Because:
1)I'm president of the Procrastinators' Club of America;
2)We're having our first meeting January 1, 1957;
3)You're all invited;
4)It's Christmas Rush Season, which isn't always jolly...
I went to the shop this morning, forged the trade tongs and got them sent!
Frank Turley - Saturday, 12/18/04 18:39:23 EST

Just came in from the garage for a drink, was cutting some stock -- thank you for reminding me to cut stock for tongs, Frank! (BoG)
- T. Gold - Saturday, 12/18/04 23:22:08 EST

I can finally do it good.... Forge welding that is... Ive made about 3 pattern welded knives and im now confident with my forge welding. the one i just finished is for my grandfather who was in the shop with me and i kept asking him
- Dan Crabtree - Sunday, 12/19/04 00:33:48 EST

got cut off.....: "What do you think would look good?" I dont think he caught on to what i was doing. I also made a BBQ fork for my father and also an axe, with a wrought iron and plowtine welded in for the blade. I also made a candlestick similar to the courting candles but the spiral gets wider as it goes down. And countless other gifts for relatives, usally knives for guys and candlesticks for girls. This got me thinking, what projects did you make to give away as presents to you loved ones... or not so loved ones but you have to give them something anyway ;)
- Dan Crabtree - Sunday, 12/19/04 00:40:37 EST

Projects: Dan,

More often than not, it's candle holders, roses or some eclectic combination of the two. As for "out of the ordinary" items, I made a set of wood carving tools for my Dad once, a partial fireplace set for my brother-in-law (out of rebar, to match his other pieces), and an equatorial sundial for my wife's father.
eander4 - Sunday, 12/19/04 01:49:42 EST

projects: I've been pounding projects from the iforge page. I kept the tongs for myself. I made a little cross to try it out. It came out good so my wife tied it to the front of her Bible. It goes good with her home made leather cover.

I made another one but left the stock long, twisted it forged a tenon on the end. My son made a base out of flat bar stock and screwed the whole thing down to a piece of our barn that fell off. That's my mothers Christmas present. I made a whole bunch of differnt kinds of hooks for the shop and the bar too.

My forge welding is also getting better. I haven't done anything fancy like a pattern welded knife but while I was doing that other stuff I turned the heels of a horse shoe I made, shaped, offsetted, scarfed and welded it into a perfect bar shoe...and it's welded.

Incedentally a couple of things seemed to help. first for lap welds I tried what Frank mentioned and use borax and EZweld. The other is I just wasn't getting things hot enough in the beginning. The literature that came with my NC delux claims that 10 pounds is the majic welding cookies!. I make sure the forge is warmed up at below 10 pounds before even getting started. I let the piece soak and during this time I'll prepare the weld. When I'm ready to weld I crank things up a few pounds to get some serious heat. It also seemed to help when I started banging off the excess flux before taping things together. I think that scale floating around in the flux doesn't let things fuse?

Another thing I did with the bar shoe and maybe some one will step in and correct me. In most texts I see it done basically as a fagot weld. It's scarfed and set together before fluxing and welding. I don't. I tap it together to make sure the scarfs line up but then I set the 2 ends apart (one above the other) so I can flux between them. If everything is really ready to weld you set it on the anvil and you can see it weld right before your eyes almost.

I still have a hard time managing two seperate pieces when I have to ditch the tongs and get hold of a hammer. It's hard to weld two pieces when they are on oposite sides of the shop. All aspireing blacksmiths would do well to remember that. LOL but if I can keep them close enough together before everything gets cold I seem to be able to get them welded. There's nothing quit like droping the tongs, grabing a hammer, hitting the piece and seeing it launch into the air looking for a place to land where it is certain of burning the place down.
- Mike Ferrara - Sunday, 12/19/04 10:15:15 EST

clamps: Thanks Adam ,however I think I`ll run with the idea of using 1" or 3/4" by 3/16" flat for my cam clamps .
- faymus - Sunday, 12/19/04 11:44:55 EST

Projects: I just finished an angon made from a mcpherson strut. Plus I have a pair of tongs to get done............
I'm planning on joining the procrastinators club, just haven't gotten around to it yet.
JimG - Sunday, 12/19/04 11:50:20 EST

Forge Welds: Mike & All, A couple of thoughts. I have had students who were accomplislhed pattern welders, but had one heck of a time with a lap weld (two separate pieces coming together). It's a dance; the movements have to be right.

Ideally, when welding bar shoes and chain links and suchlike, the two inner faces of the scarfs should be making contact. You can flux in between if you want, but then hit each quarter of the shoe on opposite sides which will cause a closure. Sometimes, depending on the heat location, a separation will STAY SEPARATED WHILE you're trying to hammer it closed at the welding heat. I don't think it has anything to do with springback, but you're asking the metal to bend and weld without any leverage support under the bend. Sometimes, the gap just stays a gap and laughs at you.

If, on such a weld, you do not flux between faces, you can still get the weld. Some of the external flux, especially borax will enter the shut area by capillary attraction while you're taking the welding heat. However, the Hammering needs to be correct, the blows being directed toward the middle of the weld first. You want to squeeze the "fleece" (soup) out while hammering.

About the above, there seems to be two schools of thought. Some skilled smiths flux in between the faces and close. Others don't; they flux outside. Fluxing the outside is faster.

In thinking about a lap weld, in the early shops, there was almost always one or more helpers, and the helper held the one piece which belonged on the other side of the anvil. So, this "drop the tongs" idea was almost unheard of. But now, we mostly work on our own, and we need to drop the tongs. Of course, sometimes we don't need the tongs if we can hand-hold the piece.

A handy work support for the side opposite the smith can be made from an anvil length of stock by forging a round section to fit the pritchel hole and to act as a pivot. At its base, a right angle bend is made and the remainder, being horizontal, can swing around in order to support long or short pieces. The support can be curved, if need be. I first saw this "third hand" in use at a Francis Whitaker workshop.

A final note. Use the near and far edges of the anvil as rests and fulcrums. These points also help with your aim.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/19/04 12:09:00 EST

the best gift I came up with in my shop was for a friend of mine that is a sculpter, I made him set of tools, the handle was a snake head that I polished and drilled out to take the tip's I made (picks,spoons,v-gouges...etc) these are held in place with a set screw. I fit all of this into a carved box along with a allen wrench for the set screw.
made that 5 or 6 years ago and he still uses it, the best part is stoping by his shop and seeing it being used!
- MP - Sunday, 12/19/04 12:25:55 EST

FERRARA: GREAT name for an Italian iron beater! ....(or should it be FerrarO ?)
3dogs - Sunday, 12/19/04 12:51:41 EST

Got a question, guys. Afriend of mine gave me a bunch of auto leaf springs, auto coil springs and some old shocks. I can sort use my imagination on using the springs, but are the steel shafts in the shocks usable? Thanks, Mike
- Mike House - Sunday, 12/19/04 19:48:52 EST


Yes, the steel shafts from the shocks are usable. I've made several punches from them. I don't know what alloy they are, but the ones I've made I heated to non-magnetic, and then drew them to a peacock blue, and they've held up well.
Paw Paw - Sunday, 12/19/04 23:37:19 EST

electric forge blowers: I use an oil furnace injection/mixing blower that has a side gate for air adjustment. Standard pipe threads make it easy to set up with a "T" for air and ash dump. Pictures are available on request. I got mine free from a furnace repairman just for asking.
Jerry - Monday, 12/20/04 00:07:59 EST

CRS @ CSI: PPW...sure, use the motorcycle engine to run your benchtop power hammer, say any old Harley and a big old flywheel.You may need both axels from that little lawn tractor. The motorcycle shock will be when the bike owner finds out.
Bore a big hole in the head and weld the hammer shaft straight up from the piston, place the die on top. Suspend the anvil from the ceiling upside down over the die. Hook the treadle to the gas linkage...don't forget ear protection.!
- PF - Monday, 12/20/04 01:29:37 EST


You've got a sick sense of humor! I'd NEVER desecrate a Hog that way. Even if it belonged to my worst enemy. (grin)
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/20/04 03:19:47 EST

clamps: Hi Habu, I take it your response was for me? If not , I`m still interested in the clamp you mentioned. Would it hold irregular shapes like the slow taper on a guitar neck. To understand it better would you send a picture or sketch if I post my e-mail? Thanks.
faymus - Monday, 12/20/04 10:12:38 EST

Is it possible to weld without a flux? And if not, are there any house hold materials or something i could pick up from the hardware store that would work?

Seth - Monday, 12/20/04 16:48:04 EST

flux: Yes its possible without flux (I think the Europeans do it this way routinely) but its more difficult because the temp range is narrower. Flux makes it possible to weld at a lower temp. Many gassers cant get hot enough to weld w/o flux so it's a must in that case.

Go to the supermarket and on the laundry soap isle look for 20 Mule Team Borax (turquoise box). This is what most American smiths use. Collect some steel filings, drillings, turnings - I get mine from an auto shop where they turn brake drums. Sprinkle the filings on the mating weld surfaces when the borax is hot and melted.
adam - Monday, 12/20/04 17:06:26 EST

Ah I see. Thanks a lot! I'm gonna go pick some up right now ;)
Seth - Monday, 12/20/04 17:58:37 EST

would the dust from grinding down some of my metal work as well?
Seth - Monday, 12/20/04 17:59:23 EST

Seth: No; because it would be contaminated with grinder grit.
3dogs - Monday, 12/20/04 18:19:28 EST


I use the saw "dust" from my metal cutting band saw. Since I do almost all cutting dry, it's easy to use. I mix it into the Borax in equal amounts. But it's not really necessary, most of the timd.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/20/04 18:27:25 EST

Seth: No (like 3Dogs said). Filings are not absolutely necessary. They help some especially in overcoming the slipperiness of the borax. Some smiths use EZ weld to stick the weld and borax to finish - EZ weld has gritty components - perhaps steel filings - that help make the weld more "grabby". Probably the first weld to try is the faggot weld - actually its early days to be forge welding but I probably am wasting my breath there :). For welds like a faggot weld where you arent trying to join two completely separate pcs, plain borax works fine.
adam - Monday, 12/20/04 18:37:06 EST

Thanks for the help guys. I found the 20 Mule Borax you were talking about. I only need to make one weld on this cattle brander I'm making so I think I can just get out my drill and shave off enough filings from scrap.

Thanks again!
Seth - Monday, 12/20/04 19:36:02 EST

welding and flux: Why on earth would you want to put any EXTRA impurities into the weld area.
PPW Shame on you. Dry or wet your cutoff blade is also adding to the metal dust. Bad PawPaw. (smile)

Seth just use plain ole borax. If you want 'stuff' added then go ahead and spend a lot of $$$$ for the E-Z- Weld and other such stuff.

The preceding is just my opinion. And since it is mine it must be right.(smile)
Ralph - Monday, 12/20/04 19:42:34 EST

welding: impurities from a bandsaw blade? like what?
- adam - Monday, 12/20/04 20:56:50 EST

On filings,
Metal particals from brake drum turning will be cast iron.

Metal particals from Pawpaws bandsaw will be whatever metal he is cutting, plus very minute amounts of either High Speed Steel or other high alloy tool steel.(since Crs may be an issue, we hope all he cuts is A-36)

Be very cautious of filings from saws that you did not make as most anything may have been cut.

Pawpaw 1 Ralph 0
ptree - Monday, 12/20/04 21:04:29 EST

Hey, sorry I got another question now. In my gas forge I generally run at 5 psi and can get work up to an orangeish yellow. I read that welding should be around white hot so my question is, should I just crank up the psi or will that really make much of a difference?

I'm also thinking that my vents on the ends might be too big. I dont know the specific sizes but I have pics in a previous post above.

Thanks again for everyones help!
Seth - Monday, 12/20/04 21:04:33 EST

Firebrick Refractory Limits - A Question: I am looking to build my first gasser - probably a dome-topped or rectangular forge, lined with firebrick, coated with ITC-100, burning two Reil EZ-Burners. Forge is for communal use, general blacksmithing for me and pattern welding/novice blacksmith cousin. Brick is primary plan, based on durability to impact and unaffected by flux.

My Question - The firebrick I now own, and have easy and inexpensive access to more, is made by Georgia Vitrified. The sales rep. said it is rated as 2100 degree brick. Not too bad, but I am unsure if it will get up to the higher temps needed, 2400-2700 degrees without melting, even with the ITC100.

Any ideas as to the relationships between insulation, refraction, reflection. And will the coated brick mentioned make it to the 2400-2700 range for any reasonable life span. I kinda need to know before continuing with the forge building project.
- CCHarper - Monday, 12/20/04 21:10:35 EST

Ooops - is my last post on the wrong board? Should I use the Guru's board?
- CCHarper - Monday, 12/20/04 21:14:58 EST

Welding heat: Seth, you need to be at a high yellow, almost white heat, generally speaking. There is room for some interpretation here, since different people see colors differently and ambient lighting and other factors affect the way the color shows. But basically, orange-yellow probably isn't hot enough.

You might get the temp up by turning the regulator up to around 10-15 psi, possibly even higher. IIRC, you're using a T-rex burner, right? Check Rex's website and go with his recommendations. If you need to decrease your forge volume, you can fill up some of it with scraps of firebrick or Kaowool, whatever you have, or use some to decrease the area of the vents. Experiment and see what works for you.
vicopper - Monday, 12/20/04 21:16:48 EST

Sounds good. Thanks for the tips
Seth - Monday, 12/20/04 21:21:55 EST

Firebrick: CCHarper, we'll answer questions here or the Guru's Den, either one.

There aren't, as far as I know, any firm formulas for the relationships between insulation, refractoriness and reflectivity. There are some general relationships, though.

The higher the insulation value, the lower the density, usually. Soft firebrick is a much better insulator than hard firebrick, but more fragile and much more subject to degradation from flux. It seems to be more reflective than hard firebrick, too. ITC-100 will make any refractory more reflective to infrared.

Brick rated at 2100ºF will begin to break down at higher temperatures as the components aren't designed for those higher temps. It won't, however, melt at forge welding temps.

You mention temps up to 2700ºF. I doubt very, very much if you can ever reach that high a temp in a propane fired forge, no matter what you. While the adiabatic flame temp of propane/air is about 3600ºF, the actual working chamber temperature will be more than a thousand degrees lower. So, the lower rated brick will probably work alright for a reasonable period before they begin to start cracking frm the binders deteriorating from the overheating. A good coating of ITC-100 will reflect 90% of the heat back from the surface, decreasing the amount that the brick is absorbing and thus extend its life. Yo do need to refresh the ITC-100 from time to time.

No lmatter wht yo use, I recommemd that you make and use a sacrificial covering for the forge floor if you plan on using flux a lot. A piece of 1/2" kiln shelf, a sheet of stainless steel plate or something similar will save you a lot of grief. If you're going to overrate the firebrick, you may find that flux has more effect on it at higher temps.

vicopper - Monday, 12/20/04 21:34:44 EST

Bad Bob: Well, yesterday I was just begining to think I was getting pretty good at this blacksmithing stuff. Forged out two spike knives as gifts, and started working on a lilly candle stick. Drew the stem out really nice. But when I went to spread the leaf, as it thinned, it just broke apart. I was using some hex stock given to me as mild steel. Something funny about it tho. And today, after grinding my spike letter openers, I decided to try to harden the blades, by edge quenching in water. Can you say "quench crack"? Dang! And they were looking so nice, too. So it looks like tomorrow nite after work, I'll have to start all over. Time is getting short on these Christmas presents.
Bob H - Monday, 12/20/04 22:34:49 EST

Thanks. Now we can move ahead with our project. I have been scouring all sorts of reference materials, but no one seemed to have the combined knowledge of my question until you answered. Now if I can just figure out how to bore a 1:12 cone in hard firebrick for the flame holder?

I am thinking of drilling with a 3/4" masonary bit (on hand).. then forging a simple 1:12 tapered butterfly bit with a piece of 3/4" stock welded to the tip as a pilot.
- CCHarper - Monday, 12/20/04 22:39:36 EST

Bob H.:

We all have days like that. Throw them in the scrap pile and start over is usually the best answer. Good luck!
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/20/04 22:40:09 EST


That should work for the flare. You might want to had quench the butterfly bit, especailly if you are forging it from mild steel.
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/20/04 22:41:39 EST

Bad Bob, could you have been given some "leaded" steel PTO shaft material?
- CCHarper - Monday, 12/20/04 22:42:10 EST

ooops... some how 'bandsaw' did not make it past my occular filters.
Ralph - Monday, 12/20/04 22:53:37 EST

my version of weld temp: OK,
now we get to play and experiement.
Take a piece of bread and place it under the broiler. Once toasted, then put a pat of butter on it. Watch the butter. once it starts to get a liquid swirly pattern on the surface, THAT is the color of weld temp, usually for mild to med carbon steel. High carbon is a lower temp but you can experiement. And for wrought iron it is almost white hot.
Ralph - Monday, 12/20/04 22:56:59 EST


Can you say "Gotcha!"? (big grin)
Paw Paw - Monday, 12/20/04 23:25:34 EST

Clamps: Faymus, I put a couple pictures of a small hinge clamp on the yahoo gallery, (under the navigate bar in the upper right). You need to register and approval of Paw Paw to view. Sorry they are fuzzy, my better half is out of town with the good camera. That is a dime in the jaws for scale. If you need to contact me please feel free.
habu - Tuesday, 12/21/04 00:39:31 EST

Forge welding temps: I'll start off by saying I've never welded using a propane forge. I have been successful, though, using coal many times, but not very scientifically. I've found that mild steel welds nicely (if you're using clean coal) just about when the steel is starting to throw sparks. I'm probably using too much heat, lol. Every time I've tried forge welding at temps much lower than burning, it hasn't stuck well. In my limited experience, the steel should be hot enough to stick together without hammering -- then you know you've got it hot enough.
AK_ID - Tuesday, 12/21/04 01:36:43 EST

Cleaning Brake-Shop Iron Powder.: Brake Shop turning can be cleaned up to get rid of the abrasive wheel powder-cuttings. (alumininum oxide,silicon carbide and less commonly boron nitride).
I use a large magnet(rare earth magnets are best but regular magnets will do). The magnet attracts the ferrous cuttings and and the abrasive powder is not attracted. The magnet-attached ferrous cuttings should be pulled off the magnet and placed in a separate container. Then I dump the container contents onto a clean surface and carefully spread out the powder to make a thin layer. This separates the iron particles from the abrasive particles.
I repeat the preceding magnet routine and place the magnet-attracted ferrous cuttings into a new clean receptacle. I repeat the process three or four times using a new collector container each time. The resultant cuttings should become abrasive free.
Please use a good resperator in order to avoid inhaling the abrasive particles. (while doing the above process and while grinding). And do not use a paper mask. They do not work, and are illegal at work sites in many jurisdictions.
Inhaled abrasive powder can destroy lung tissue through chronic inflammation caused by the particles.
The above cleaning process also cleans the cuttings of cigarette buts and used (dull) carbide cutter triangle points/bits.
Regards and a Merry X-mas to all,
SLAG - Tuesday, 12/21/04 03:11:30 EST

MO' IRON PARTICLES: Put a Zip-Loc bag inside out over your magnet, pick up the particles, turn the bag back the right way. No muss, no fuss. Hi, Dan.
3dogs - Tuesday, 12/21/04 09:09:56 EST

Bad Bob's Quench Crack: The hex stock is probably a high carbon alloy. Spark test it by comparing to a known piece of mild steel.

Quench blades in oil not above a medium cherry red with the cutting edge still a little thick. Sharpen and polish after you temper. Don't screw up the original temper with friction heat.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/21/04 11:14:50 EST

Firebrick: While most of the inside of the forge will probably never get that hot, if your flame is aimed at the floor, you could get a spot to melt there. I was experimenting with a blown forge and melted a small puddle in my 2600dF insulating firebrick.

- MarcG - Tuesday, 12/21/04 12:45:26 EST

Non Profit Status for Anvilfire: the paperwork has been completed and is being submitted to IRS. What this means, among other things, is that membership dues to CSI will soon be tax deductible as a charitable contribution. One more reason to support this wonderful site.

My homemade propane forge does fine welds for me. I use firebrick to block up the openings so I can barely peep in, 20 mule team borax for a flux, and look for when the metal seems to disappear into the flame of the propane (this is a "slippery orange" which has white overtones to it. The steel is sticky at this point in time, and with a preheated anvil (park a hot piece of steel on the anvil face while waiting), things weld up good for me, and the process can be repeated. I do have the regulator cranked up to about 15psi and this is a two burner forge with goodly sized burners. It helps...a lot...if the steel is NOT rusty or yukky when it goes into the forge.
Ellen - Tuesday, 12/21/04 15:51:16 EST

Propane Forge: I built a single burner, blower type propane forge a couple months ago, and am real happy with it. I especially like the added feature of it working to heat the shop faster than the wood stove. I remembered reading here about the nighthawk carbon monoxide detector, and bought one last week. My shop is 24 x 36 feet with 15 foot high ceiling, and the CO level gets above 'safe' in less than 20 minutes with the doors shut! So thats why i've been getting headaches lately...
I heartily recommend getting one of these gizmo's, i know it's been mentioned before, but i feel i should mention it again.
Happy holidays,mike
mike-hr - Tuesday, 12/21/04 18:04:37 EST

Mike, hr:

Thank the good lord that you listened! And thank you for telling your story for other folks to learn from!
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/21/04 18:39:51 EST

Typo Correction: I failed to capatilize two words in my message to Mikehr.

That sentence should read Good Lord, NOT good lord.
Paw Paw - Tuesday, 12/21/04 18:52:38 EST

Pawpaw, I suspect HE was not insulted. The result of testing for CO is scarry. CO is ordorless, tastless, colorless, and an insidious KILLER. You blood has a stronger afinity for CO than the O2 in air. You can be removed from the CO exposure, be breathing pure O2, and still die.
I never run my forges with the door closed, and I have a 24" wind turbine that runs all year. I think I will still get a detector!
ptree - Tuesday, 12/21/04 20:00:31 EST

CSI non profit: org: Is this by design or did things just turn out that way? :)
adam - Tuesday, 12/21/04 20:27:07 EST

regulator: i need to find a good propane regulator for my forge. any sugestions? and if anyone knows of any really simple projects that i could start off with i would apreciate it.
thanks chris
- chris - Tuesday, 12/21/04 20:44:04 EST

Chris: Go to your local propane bulk suppliere and get a Red Head regulator. They can be adjusted from 0 to about 30 psi. Or you can order one online from Larry Zoeller. Click on the link for Larry's webpage.

Good projects? Just go to the pulldown menu at the top of this page and go to the iForge page to find over 150 projects with instructions.

After you've gotten your regulator and looked over the projects, you might want to seriously consider joining CSI, the group that supports this site with its membership dues. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee per week, you can know that this site will endure for your benefit for years to come. Besides, you'll get to see your name in "true blue" on the Guru's page.
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/21/04 21:59:28 EST

Is it generally easier to weld in a coal fire? I just can't seem to get the steel up to temp to weld in my gas forge, but I read that it's a little easier in coal. I've got a 100 pounds sitting in my garage so all I gotta do is build a coal forge for it =p. Has anyone ever heard of using an air compressor to supply the air blast? Hair dryer maybe?

- Seth - Tuesday, 12/21/04 22:32:13 EST

clamps: Thanks Mike for the photos you mailed and I`ve just discovered how you did it .
faymus - Wednesday, 12/22/04 07:14:58 EST

Seth: An air compressor is the wrong source for forge air. That gives you high pressure, but relatively low volume, and the velocity is way too high. There are ways it can be done, and has been done industrially (using venturi induction) but they are not practical at home or in a small shop. Your hair dryer idea is much better.

A blowdryer will supply adequate air at sufficient volume to fire a coal forge just fine. If it is a throw-away blow dryer, disconnect the heating coil, since that may cause it to overheat and shut itself off. Some of them have a switch position that allow blow without heat, and that will work.

You will need some way to control the amount of air it puts out. A simple air gate on the INPUT side of the blowdryer will do this just fine, but you MUST have the heating capability of the thing disabled to do this, or you will melt it down. Or you can use a ceiling fan speed control on it. Again, if the heating coil is active, it will draw more current than the speed control can handle.
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/22/04 12:14:48 EST

Seth: It is easier to weld in a coal fire if you know how to manage a coal fire. But learning that takes time too.

Generally with a new gasser and especially with a new smith, it takes some time and practice to get the forge up to a good welding heat. Your gas forge ought to be capable.

Forge welding is an advanced skill or at the very least, an intermediate skill. It really is early days to be doing a forge welding project and I think you are setting yourself up for frustration.

Chris: Simple projects - hooks. These are an excellent excercise in drawing and bending -(Drawing to a taper is a basic smithing skill that must be mastered) also, a variety of other techniques can be used to decorate the item eg: punching, twisting, splitting.... Hooks are useful and I am always surprised at how well they are appreciated by the recipients.-
adam - Wednesday, 12/22/04 12:48:55 EST

Fish Gigs: How to temper Fish Gigs forged from old pitch forks?
- rick.c. - Wednesday, 12/22/04 16:19:40 EST

Moving day has finally come. He may be off-line for a couple days as he moves and sets up his computer system. See his web site for new home address and phone (ground line).
- guru - Wednesday, 12/22/04 16:22:28 EST

CSI Non Profit: Adam, it is actually by design as that is the only way to keep this site going and make the improvements to it we would all like to see: more iForge demos, up to date software, etc. The name of that game is grants from philanthropic organizations. Most smiths just don't have the money or the inclination to spend it on anything other than tools and stock to make those good things happen.
Ellen - Wednesday, 12/22/04 16:50:45 EST

CSI Non-Profit:
Anvilfire was setup as a commercial web site from the beginning. However, advertising revenues fell way short of supporting the site which requires a 7 day week 12 hours a day to monitor and maintain. Although "for-profit" it has never made a profit.

So, We established CSI to support anvilfire. It was hoped that as a group there would be enough members to support the site. We need 1,000 members or more. That seemed reasonable out of the 16,000 that access the site each month and the 5,000 that are regular users. But that too has fallen way short. We currently have about 105 paying members.

I opened the anvilfire store to help generate a little revenue to keep things going. That has made a littl more money than advertising or CSI. . . However, it takes a LOT of my time and just does make ends meet. The result of the amount of time it takes is that we have not had new iForge demos in a while and I am way behind on many other tasks.

SO, In order to try to find the $150,000 or more necessary to run anvilfire the way it needs to be we have finaly incorporated CSI as a legal non-profit and have applied for IRS 501(3)c status. This is necessary in order to apply for grants from public OR private institutions. It also helps in asking for funds from individuals.

Although this sounds like a lot of money your average local PBS radio station that serves roughly the same size audiance needs half a million dollars a year to operate. ABANA's office expense is roughly the same and they do not provide nearly the level of service or services we do. Don't be surprised if we start running PBS type fund raisers very soon. . .

The higher purpose of CSI is to keep anvilfire on-line in the event that something happens to me. In order to hire a full time webmaster and an office manager it will take roughly the amount listed above. In the short term it would let me drop the store, hire office help and travel to a few major events a year. The extra time would also mean more articles and iForge demos. We would also seek more sponsors and members. Officialy anvilfire will be the CSI publication and educational branch and CSI the membership and fund raiser.

CSI currently has a board of directors and has had dozens of organizational meetings. There have been 6 offical board meetings using our e-meeting system. We are making progress but it is slow. It has taken a year to incorporate and it may take a year before we see our first grant. So I am just trying to hang on with your help.

guru - Wednesday, 12/22/04 17:05:02 EST

Alright thanks for the help. I'll probably try the welding again after I get some more practice and control over the gasser. I'd still like to make a coal one sometime though ;)
Seth - Wednesday, 12/22/04 17:31:29 EST

CSI Non-Profit: : Ellen yes I was just being a smartaleck. More appropriapriately let me say "thank you very much for all your work on this matter".

I do hope CSI manages to get itself onto a firm financial foundation. This site has developed into a gold mine for smithing and metal work information - not only because of all the articles but also the live expertise that is so readily available. I've been here a few years and I am still sometimes amazed at the depth and breadth of knowledge that crossed these pages. Plus its a great place to hang out. I wish it the best, in fact the very best- I am sure many people do. It surely is worthy of support by philanthropic institutions.

As for getting people to pay dues, it's always been my opinion that too many features are available, without restriction for free. Apart from wanting to do the right thing, there just arent a lot of inducements to be a member. Questions dont get answered any sooner for paying members. One has free and unfettered access to all the articles and demos - why pay? I dont mean to be mean spirited - its not that I resent seeing people get services for free - not at all. Just that human nature being what it isn't, I think one needs more direct inducements to get people to pay.
adam - Wednesday, 12/22/04 17:46:39 EST

fish gigs: If you can take a heat at least 2" back on all points at once, take them up to just beyond loss of magnetism, and quench vertically in oil. Clean off the oil with a rag and rub each tine with abrasive down to bare metal. Chase color toward each point using a torch, directing the hot tip in a direction away from the point. When full blue hits the tip, quench to "hold your temper". If you can't get a hardening heat on all tines at once, do the whole job with the oxy-acetylene torch, maybe one at a time.

If you don't have a torch, you can temper over a hot block of steel after quenching to harden. Take a bright heat on the steel and lay the gig tines on the block with the points just off of the block. The heat rainbows may not run uniformly on each tine, so quench each one as needed.

My experience with OLD pitch forks and hay rake teeth is that you should not overheat to quench, or the pieces will be subject to cracking. It could be that some of those old tools were made of crucible steel (cast steel in England), and that crucible steel is less forgiving than modern W1.

If you can't follow what I've said, use the pulldown menu at the upper right of this page, click on FAQs, scroll down and click on Heat Treatment.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 12/22/04 19:26:19 EST

To honor all our Military that are away from home and at war this Christmas, May I suggest a ringing of the anvil at noon on Christmas day? 5 strokes, one for each branch.
ptree - Wednesday, 12/22/04 19:48:00 EST

Pay Services: Adam, This has been a long hard debate. One of the premmises of anvilfire was that what people want from the Internet is information, they want it FREE and they WANT IT NOW.

So far we have been VERY sucessful at meeting those goals. Its the paid advertising that has been hard to come up with. It MAY still be possible to get enough advertisers/sponsors to take off a lot of the burden. However, this is a full time job. Making lists, sending snail mail, making calls. Just finding out who the RIGHT person is to talk to or to send information to is a BIG job. It is a job I know how to do but if I did it then there would be nothing to advertise on. . . So it is a catch 22 situation. Getting a helper in the office to make calls, do research, make lists and mail letters MAY pay profit anvilfire. However, wages are a VERY tough nut to crack and it may take a year before it starts to pay.

Another thing is the old chicken or the egg question. In the web world it is which comes first, traffic or the advertisers? It would see obvious that you need the traffic to give advertisers something of value. But to get to that point you need time and money. We have been successful at the traffic game (3:1 over the nearest competition and 10:1 over the next). But it is still relatively small numbers when you go to talk to corporate America. AND THAT is who we need advertising.

The free services aspect as well as archive of information is what we have to sell to philanthropic institutions. If they see no value in it then we will have to do something different.
guru - Wednesday, 12/22/04 20:09:18 EST

anvils: Does anyone know of a cheap anvil that i could buy to start with? or even if any of you have an old anvil that i could buy. if you have an anvil email me at please reply i live in northern new jersey. thanks chris
chris - Wednesday, 12/22/04 22:05:40 EST

Anvils: Chris, I'd recommend that you seriously consider the Euroanvil. The 175 lb. Euroanvil is a great design and big enough to be of real use for most any work you will want to do. The side shelf and upsetting block are very useful additions to the European two-horned design, which is more useful than the standard American or Engilsh pattern. At only $425 it is a heck of a deal and about the same price you will pay for a similar sized used anvil most places. I've worked on one and loved it. Another solid factor is that Euroanvils is an advertiser here, supporting this website to keep beringing you and others good advice and answers to questions.
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/22/04 22:44:05 EST

anvil: i wish i could afford the 425 but im on a tight budget. im only 14 and just getting started so i really cant spend 425 on an anvil. i wish i could maybe once i get into and maybe make some money with hooks and other simple things i could have my blacksmithing pay for itself. that would be awesome. my robotics teacher wants me to make armour for him once i get better so that would be cool. but i probably wont be anywhere near skilled enough by the time i get out of highschool thanks
chris - Wednesday, 12/22/04 22:52:18 EST

Affordable Anvil: Chris, I love my 335 pound Euro, but that is even more expensive. However, I used a 45 KG double horn for 9 months full time that I bought new from Tom Clark $210. They do not have these anvils on their web site. Euroanvils used to carry a similar anvil but not any more. I highly recomend this anvil and bought a second for my classes. I hope to eventually have each of my 6 student forges set up with one of these. It is not perfect, but for the money it is great. As I said, I am full time and really liked this smaller double horned anvil and still use it for certain work.
- Jymm Hoffman - Wednesday, 12/22/04 23:35:27 EST

If you're a major tight-wad like me, you can spend some time scouring the local scrapyards for a hefty hunk of steel to bang on. The cost per pound is minimal (scrap rate), and if you're interested in developing your armor-making skills, you'll find a fancy anvil to be the least used tool in your shop. They tend to use a lot more stakes and such.

The important thing is to avoid getting caught up in the idea of a "traditional" looking anvil as your only option. Any 100+ pound hunk of steel with a few square inches of flat surface will work, and you can always upgrade as your skills develop, or as the right tool at the right price becomes available.

eander4 - Thursday, 12/23/04 00:27:58 EST

Non Profit vs. Profit: Adam,and anyone else who is interested, there have been a number of serious discussions as to how to keep this website going. At present, it is a labor of love on the part of Jock and a handful of appreciative folk. But the time is drawing near when some funds HAVE to come in. Jock is running this site with a six year old computer....and scratching hard to make ends meet and still keep this information available for free. The decision made was to seek non profit status and apply for philanthropic grants.

It is also fervently hoped that now that dues are tax deductible more users of this site will join CSI and lend their financial support and moral encouragement. It's not too late for anyone reading this post to join CSI and get a charitable write off on this year's taxes for the dues.

If this site were to be run on a for profit basis, I suspect there would be some sample free information, like excerpts from the guru's den, iForge, etc, and the majority of the information would be for members only. Exactly like a subscription to cable TV. No pay, no service. Or else the site would simply just go away.
Ellen - Thursday, 12/23/04 01:39:58 EST

CSI: Email me about annual dues. I love this site. Thanks.
AK_ID - Thursday, 12/23/04 02:49:22 EST

Steel Selection: I am ordering some steel for general use, i.e. small art projects and minor architectural projects. What differences will I find between the 1018 cold-rolled and A36 hot-rolled round mild steels? Should I have a preference, or are both of these equally suited to such purposes?
Rob Miller - Thursday, 12/23/04 09:35:49 EST

Steel: Rob,

The 1018 is a known, specific alloy of low carbon steel and should be consistent in its characteristics (for the most part) from batch to batch. The A-36 is a specification for tensile strength rather than alloy content, so it may vary all over the place. Some batches easy to work, some more difficult. Some may weld easily, some may be a pain.

If you can get 1018 hot-rolled, that would be less expensive and better. Why pay for a cold-finished surface when you're just going to immediately scale it up?

For what you're making, either 1018 or A-36 will work. If the price is not an issue, I would go with the 1018 as it is nicer to work.
vicopper - Thursday, 12/23/04 10:11:34 EST

Rob Miller: Both steels are suitable. A36 has more carbon content up to about 0.28% and might resist your hammer blows a little more than 1018. Both steels contain 0.60/0.90% manganese. The cold finished 1018 will lose its work-hardened properties once heated to forging range. One should realize also, that quality control being what it is, 1018 will hardly ever have EXACTLY 0.18% carbon. Technically, it is described as being somewhere between 0.15% and 0.20%. The same holds true for A36. The carbon content will vary a little on either side of the manufacturer's reported specification.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/23/04 10:26:37 EST

chris/anvil: This is a hard hurdle to get past - especially for a young guy with limited funds. A new Euro anvil is the best option and 175# is a very nice weight but in addition to the purchase price, it will probably cost you another $125+ in shipping. So you are facing an outlay of $550+. A chunk of cash but you get something of lasting value. Anvils dont depreciate much unless they are misused. Perhaps a year of doing odd jobs for $$ and saving any spare cash. Perhaps a year of nagging for gift options? It will take time but if you can convince the parents that you are really serious and the nagging isnt going to let up any time soon they might at least help and go, say, halves for your b'day? I am being facetious but the point is if you can convince the adults in your life that this is a serious interest, not another passing fad, they might decide to support it. You might point out that the family PC which cost $1500 a two years ago is now worth $150 while an anvil will keep most of its value for a hundred years, it may even appreciate.

(Of course I know nothing about your family's finances. I am basing my comments on "Mr Average")

You need to connect with your local blacksmith's organization - you can find them thru the ABANA site. You simply must do this if you are serious about learning the craft and also because these guys can help with the anvil search. Many smith's have an anvil (or two or three) that they might sell to another smith and many more have junk piles with heavy scrap that would serve in the meantime. Were you in my area I could set you up with #200 block of steel and some 3" shafting for a horn.

In the meantime there is the scrap metal option: A big part of being a smith is being able to make do with what's at hand. This skill (or attitude) is probably as important as being able to work the steel. Good smiths are great scroungers and innovators.

Some scrap options:

RR track Not the best but quite workable

Heavy shafting 3" dia or larger set on end - very effective

Heavy steel plate 2" thick or larger again this should be set on edge.

All of these need to be solidly mounted for best effect so you might need to spend some $$ to pay a guy with a welder to weld on some tabs so it can be bolted down
adam - Thursday, 12/23/04 12:16:08 EST

Weather : Well its -20cel out -40 plus with the wind chill. about 2' more snow to fall and blowing winds.. SO I would be safe to say it is dam cold out for shop work .

You all have a Merry Xmas and New year. Be warm we are..Fire place is glowing nice.

From Barney from the North Country
Barney - Thursday, 12/23/04 12:34:03 EST

if i got into the blacksmithing a month earlier i would be set. my grandmothers father had an anvil and it has been sitting for like 40 years and like this month a family member in arizona asked for it so its goin to arizona. i have a welder so im not worried about that. i was thinking of getting some rail road rail and flattening the top until i save some money to buy a real anvil
- chris - Thursday, 12/23/04 14:43:49 EST

First, for a RR anvil, a 3' lenght of rail, set on end in the ground puts the iron under the hammer. If the rail end is rough, a side grinder can do a fair job of smoothing it.

You very first things to buy/find are as follows;
1. Safety glasses. Any hardware or home depot, or the anvilfir store has really nice ones.
2. hearing protection. ear plugs or muffs. available same as the glasses.
3. All cotton pants and shirt with long sleeves. Leather boots. All should be old enough to get foul and not earn you the wrath of your parents.
4. A decent size hammer. Depending on you size the hammet should be somewhere between 1# and 2# to start.

The first three, if you ask with some respect should be available from your parents, as I feel pretty sure that most parents will be surprised that you care to protect yourself, and will probably help. The glasses/ear plugs are available for a few dollars, and you can surely earn this doing an odd job.
At 14, jobs are tuff to find, but if you put the word out people will find you tasks to earn $ or trade for some of the stuff you need. You did not advise you area of the world, or if you are in an urban or country setting. If in a snowy area, sidewalk shoveling = $. If you can advise the region(I understand not putting exact location, I have kids) perhaps we can help you find a local blacksmith group to help you out. Also, most of us have chunks of scrap that would make a decent starter anvil for scrap prices.
ptree - Thursday, 12/23/04 17:28:42 EST

Getting tools: As ptree said, jobs can be tough for a 14 yr old to find, and many adults have reservations about spending very much money on what might prove to be just a passing fancy. However, if you're really serious about getting into smithing, there are a few things that should help convince others of your sincerity.

Putting safety first always demonstrates maturity and forethought. Along with the personal safety gear, get a fire extinguisher. Even a small kitchen-type dry chemical extinguisher is way better than none at all if you need it.

Sit down at the computer and make a detailed list of the tools you feel you need and want, and the order in which you think you should acquire them. This helps you stay focused and it can be shown to others to demonstrate that you have a "plan".

Make a similar list of things that you could make to sell, or services that you can sell in order to raise money for your tools. If you make the list so that it can be printed 4-up on a sheet of paper, then you can print up ten pages (40 lists) and distribute them among the neighbors and acquaintances who might have need of those services. If, on the other side of the list, you print a brief statement of your purpose, you'll very likely find that you get more takers.

Most of us "old fogies" like to support a young person who is serious and determined, but we find it hard to get too excited about helping a kid get money for video games, cigarettes or loud music. I know it ain't fair, but that's the way it is. (grin) Blacksmithing, tools and materials appeal to the nostalgic side of the baby-boomer generation, and we're the ones with the bucks you want. Salesmanship is all about convincing your target market that you have something they need or want.

As pretty much the only blacksmith in town, so to speak, I often wish I had just one youngster eager to learn. One who was willing to put forth some effort to help me in excvhange for teaching and use of the tools. There are a lot more people in my position than you might imagine, so get to the nearest blacksmith group meeting and make yourself available. The benefits will be amazing. If you doubt this, just look at all the help you're getting here.
vicopper - Thursday, 12/23/04 18:21:01 EST

well to start off i have a job but i got layed off for winter. i live in northern new jersey. i dont smoke i dont listen to much music and i hate video games. i plan to pursue blacksmithing as a hobby but i would love to be able to do more than that with it. i would love to meet someone in my area that would be able to help me without 800 dollars for a class well im not 18 so even if i had 800 that i could spend for a class i couldnt. thanks
chris - Thursday, 12/23/04 19:12:12 EST


Try these guys here they have open anvil nights and I understand that they are really into helping people get started. It is a membership association but I am told that the dues are only like $20.00 per year. My friends was from New Jersey and spoke highly of them.
New Jersey Blacksmiths Association
Arron Cissell - Thursday, 12/23/04 20:30:06 EST

Chris: Norther NJ is a pretty good place to be in terms of finding other smiths and for scrounging tools and materials. There are plenty of scrap yards in the northeast, places where you should be able to find a hefty chunk of scrap steel shaft or plate for a really good makeshift anvil. Also heavy equipment places often have broken axle shafts form big trucks, graders and the like. A piece of 3" or 4" diameter shafting set in the ground a couple of feet with the end ground smooth will make a really excellent anvil. Another shorter piece set on its side on a stump is a decent makeshiift anvil horn for bending.

Check out blacksmiths groups in the surrounding area, too. New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut shuld al lhave more than one group each. Perhaps one of them has weekend meetings in a place you could get one of your parents to want to visit. They drop you off at the meeting, eyeball the the guys there so they know you're not with a bunch of hoodlums, then they go shopping, golfing or whatever while you do your thing. Check the website for affiliate groups in those states.
vicopper - Thursday, 12/23/04 21:07:36 EST

A thought is that perhaps your Dad might get interested if you can show him you are interested. Most Dads are very interested in things a 14 year old is if it does not involve drugs ETC. I know I am! Maybe you can get him to go along to a blacksmiths meeting and he might catch the bug as well.
Merry Christmas
ptree - Thursday, 12/23/04 21:57:04 EST

Maybe a contact: Chris, A nice place to visit is a farrier and blacksmith supply in Port Jervis, New York, near the New Jersey line. It's called Montague Blacksmith Supply, 176 Jersey Avenue, Zip 12771. The owner, Tom Maiorana, is a friend, and I think he would be happy to show you his tools, equipment, and supplies. Maiorana is a blacksmith, and his son is the resident blacksmith at Penland School of Crafts in Penland, North Carolina. Tom commutes to work from his home in New Jersey, and he has a forge at his home. He would probably have some ideas on how to get started. You may mention my name if you see him. Phone: 800-666-8248, WebSite: www,
Frank Turley - Friday, 12/24/04 00:32:51 EST

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!: Merry Christmas to all of you, and thank you for all the assistance.
Rob Miller - Friday, 12/24/04 09:02:36 EST

Merry Christmas to you all!
Brian C - Friday, 12/24/04 12:18:56 EST

Anvil ring on Christmas: Snowed in in S. Indiana. I will have to shovel a 3 to 4' snow drift from in front of the shop door, and ring lightly in the forcasted -7F temp, but still intend to ring my anvil 5 strokes to honor our military on Christmas.
ptree - Friday, 12/24/04 12:30:33 EST

Help: I feel the same way up here vicopper.. I do have a helper and is a fast learner, Been with me for 2 yrs now.. But they are hard to find..
- Barney - Friday, 12/24/04 14:46:27 EST

Christmas: ptree got the snow, we got the ice storm, but Barney has us all beat. Merry Christmas from Larry and Linda at Blueheron Forge.
- Larry - Friday, 12/24/04 15:38:10 EST

Merry Christmas to all.
ptree - Friday, 12/24/04 19:58:09 EST

...and a happy new year!
- Bjorn - Friday, 12/24/04 20:35:32 EST

Helper: Some of the "helpers" like me "not yet" say the same as Barney, hard to find people to "help" if thats what you call it.

Anyone in Kansas City?
- Bjorn - Friday, 12/24/04 22:45:51 EST

It is now 10 PM here in Michigan, and 3*. Supposed to get down to -5* here in Lowell tonight. Merry Christmas to all. You know, I like to share what little knowledge I have, but would be extremely caustious in instructing a minor. You know, law suits and all that. I'd be willing to invite an adult to my forge, but can't see taking a chance teaching a juvenile. It's not like I've got insurance to cover anything like that, it would all be on my homeowners insurance. Sad but true. I've talked to one customer of ours, whose house I am trimming. Her son is in the Boy Scouts, and would like the metal working merit badge. I said I'd be willing to teach the scout leader, and he could teach the boys. Liability is not something to sneeze at. I wish it were otherwise.
Bob H - Friday, 12/24/04 23:01:23 EST

thanks for all your help. i am very grateful for all of your help. i emailed Tom and am waiting for a reply. hopefully by monday i get a reply. my t rex burner should be coming in any day and my insulation will be here monday or tuesday. i cant wait to fire the forge up and begin to forge some scrap steel around my yard. hopefully Tom can help me with getting started. thanks
chris - Friday, 12/24/04 23:31:22 EST

Chris: "i dont smoke i dont listen to much music and i hate video games." Your missing out on the good stuff!
Seriously though, To start with im 15 and know what its like trying to blacksmith at a young age. Im assuming you have got some sort of anvil and will have a forge running soon. Im assuming its a gas forge, Im a coal forge person myself but anway, dont try to make a sword first (I will admit it I tried too) You wont do anything except have a burnt peice of metal and a bruised outlook on smithing. Ive been smithing for about 7 months and I am starting to gain some respect from the area blacksmiths. Dont be put down by being the youngest person at the monthly hammer ins if you attend them, I wasnt bashful at all, ours is an open forge and I grabbed a forge and fired it up. Check antique stores for some tools, a good pair of tongs mainly, dont buy a hammer from the antique store or anything you can get at the hardware store or make yourself. Antique stores are a killer as far as price but its the only place i could find a pair of tongs. Dont be shy to ask these old guys for help, they have been at it awhile and know whats going on. The best feeling ive had in a while was welding up a damascus billet while a couple of other blacksmiths watched in amazement, one even said "Im an expert and I cant even forge weld like that." Attend some historical reinactments and talk to the smith there. Remember the more friends you have in this the better off you are. drop me an email at If you have a AIM instant message name I would like to have it so I can contact you and talk in real time. btw any other smiths that have AIM or AOL drop me an email with your SN, I would love to have some contacts for blacksmithing. hope I havent been rambling on for too long now. Just a little advice for a new blacksmith from a new blacksmith.
- Dan Crabtree - Saturday, 12/25/04 02:52:23 EST

Merry Christmas!: Forgot to wish you all a merry Christmas its 12:53 pm. Have a happy and safe holiday.
Dan Crabtree - Saturday, 12/25/04 02:54:10 EST

Christmas: I rang my banged-up old Eagle six times tonight. Five for our folks in uniform, and number six for the other folks who work behind the scenes to keep us free. May God bless them all. To those of you who have served our nation, thank you. To those who have lost loved ones in service to our nation, no payment can ever repay the debt we owe you.
Merry Christmas, all,
AK_ID - Saturday, 12/25/04 05:55:37 EST

I will ring my beat up old "Vanadium steel" at noon today, and I too will ring 6 as you did.
Merry Christmas to all from the artic in S. Indiana.
ptree - Saturday, 12/25/04 09:30:47 EST

Bench Vise: I have a great vise for sale. Made by the Sawyer tool co. in Oswego, NY. This 53lb vise is the "oswego model 14 1/2." It mesures 19" long and 10" high. The jaws open to 8" wide. for more info please E-mail me @
John - Saturday, 12/25/04 11:20:33 EST

CSI: I tried to buy in yesterday but, for whatever reason, the transaction was declined? The credit card is good honest! Anyway I'll give it another try tomarrow and try to figure out what went wrong.

This site is worth it's weight in gold and was worth far more than the CSI membership fee just in the amount of help I got in pounding the Christmas gifts I pounded out this year. Shoot, I'm even getting good welds in the forge! I made my sister one of Bill Epps heart hooks forge welded and of the crosses on a stand for my mother and one of his door knockers for my inlaws. Years ago about all I made was horse shoes and an once in a while a snake from an old rasp. Needless to say, this site saved me a huge amount of trial and error.
Mike Ferrara - Saturday, 12/25/04 11:24:36 EST

CSI: I tried to buy in yesterday but, for whatever reason, the transaction was declined? The credit card is good honest! Anyway I'll give it another try tomarrow and try to figure out what went wrong.

This site is worth it's weight in gold and was worth far more than the CSI membership fee just in the amount of help I got in pounding the Christmas gifts I pounded out this year. Shoot, I'm even getting good welds in the forge! I made my sister one of Bill Epps heart hooks forge welded and of the crosses on a stand for my mother and one of his door knockers for my inlaws. Years ago about all I made was horse shoes and an once in a while a snake from an old rasp. Needless to say, this site saved me a huge amount of trial and error.
Mike Ferrara - Saturday, 12/25/04 11:24:59 EST

To all who gather here: May the coal in your stockings be high in btu, low in sulfur, and completly lacking in clinker.
- habu - Saturday, 12/25/04 11:31:37 EST

Frank i was wondering about your school that you have. you dont have prices on your website. i might be intrested in your 6 day course. im not 18 so if i could afford the price of the class plus airfare and such would i be able to? i would be honoured to be able to work with you....ive been sitting around all day waiting for monday when hopefully my kaowool and itc 100 comes in. hopefully friday i will visit your friend in port jervis its a straight shot up route 23 from me to port jervis. thanks for all your help
chris - Saturday, 12/25/04 13:34:07 EST

Rang my anvil at noon in a heat wave of several degrees above zero! Nuch better than the forecast -7F!
Kids all at home, good Christmas, I hope everyone enjoys their Christmas as I did.
ptree - Saturday, 12/25/04 17:04:01 EST

Mike Ferra,

Sometimes there is a glitch in the system. E-mail Jock directly and advise him of the problem. I had to do this when I renewed my membership.
Brian C - Saturday, 12/25/04 18:11:15 EST

Computer Drawing Program: I am looking for a "sketch" style computer program to create, print, and file my drawings, brainstorms, and project processes. I guess something like what seems to be used to create the drawings for the iForge demonstrations.

I am looking for something a bit smoother than MSPaint or Paintbrush, but not really a CAD program of schematics and technicals. If anyone has some experience with a program of this sort.. please let me know the name and what you think are the pros and cons of it. Thanks all.

SIX rings on my homemade hammer stop too today.
ccharper - Saturday, 12/25/04 19:13:32 EST

Drawing Program: ccharper:

The "program" used to create the drawings for the iForge demos is known as "graphite CAD". In other words, a plain old pencil on plain old paper, then scanned and cleaned up with a photo editor program. I know that's the way Jock Dempsey does his and that's the way I do mine, mostly.

There are programs where you can sketch, but in order to use them you'll need to invest in a graphics tablet. One of the Wacom tablets like the Graphire™ or Intuos™ will work. The Graphire is a bit small, but the bigger Intuos costs a few hundred bucks. Then you need just about any CAD or drawing program or high-end photo editor and a PC with some pretty serious RAM and a decent processor. Getting things that are designed to work with numbers to work with arbitrary movements takes computing power.

The cheapest way to do it is to get an inexpensive flatbed scanner and just scan your pencil drawings and save them as jpeg files. You can't really edit them, but you will have them saved. With a high-end photo editor like Adobe Photoshop 7 or higher, you can edit them, but it takes a fair bit of learning and lots of practice.

When I want to draw something so it is scalable and editable, I do it in a CAD program using Bezier or cubic spline curves and absolute coordinates. After a few yearts of using my cad program, I can pretty much get it to do what I need, but it was a long learning curve. And mine is a really simple 2-D program that sells for under a hundred bucks. Basically, if you can't do basic drafting and freehand drawing, then no computer program will do the work for you.

There may a higher-end sketch program out there, but I don't know of one that is reasonable. Adobe Illustrator™ is a good one, but it costs a bundle and has a really tough learning curve, I've found. Too tough for me, anyway. YMMV
vicopper - Saturday, 12/25/04 21:00:31 EST

Merry Christmas: Just wanted to say Merry Christmas to all.
- Kainaan - Saturday, 12/25/04 22:39:28 EST

I am looking for information about either a gas or air powered vise. Does such a tool available? Thanks
- boneman - Sunday, 12/26/04 09:34:35 EST

Christmas Weather: It's 70F here (Scottsdale, AZ), the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and I think I'll paint the arbor today. Nice day for forging, too. ;) I might not be so enthusiastic in July, though.
Rob Miller - Sunday, 12/26/04 13:28:05 EST

at my previous employ we used almost a hundred air clamped vises for assembly work. These looked just like a machinest vise, but had a large single acting cylinder with a short stroke to close about 1/2". These were set to the part to be clamped, the lead screw backed off a bit, and then the foot treadle valve was used to close up the vise. Came in two sizes, and were just the thing for repetive assembly tasks. The company that made them went bust in about '93, and a folow on company that sent the patterns overseas for casting lasted about 6 months. Seems that every vise they sold, and every spare part was too brittle, and failed in a week or so. These things were about 200# for the small 6" jaw and the 8" would have been maybe three times that. I searched without success for years to find a replacement that ran on air. We built a number of hydraulic vises, but they were slow. I was in the design stages when the end came.
If looking for a production vise for smaller stuff, check out the Heinrich co. They make some smaller vises for mounting on a mill or drill to do repetive work. We used these too, and they were well made.
None of the above are intended for anyting other the speeding up a repetive clamping job, such as drill several hundred parts in the same place.
If you are looking for an air powered vise to increase clampnig power,for one off jobs, a better route is to get a bigger, stronger machinest vise.
ptree - Sunday, 12/26/04 14:34:06 EST

Rob Miller, while it is 70F there, we have an abundant supply of snow cream makings. We are now in a heat wave, with the temp. at 30F. Used the oppurtunity to continue clearing snow from the drive. The 52Hp deisel tractor has some trouble with the drifts and ice underneath, but I expect we can get out now.
ptree - Sunday, 12/26/04 14:36:49 EST

Drawing Programs:
If you cannot draw freehand and/or with drafting tools then a CAD program will be of no help. CAD programs have no smarts or advanced ability. In fact they are slow and difficult to learn and many of the most popular are the terrible for creative drawing.

So, as ViCopper said, learn to use a pencil.

Where CAD is useful is keeping a record of changes and making seemless changes in formal drawings. However, even this is a terribly flawed application because the idiotic authors of CAD programs frequently abandon file types so that your current copy of CompuDraw can't open or properly display or print earlier versions of the program's file formats. This means that for large companies that have a significant investment in CAD drawings they must be constantly updating file formats. Sometimes this is easy but most often it means practicaly redrawing the image from scratch. Importation of a AutoCAD 6 drawing into AutoCAD 2000 or DesignCAD 3 into DesignCAD 6 would seem like it should be as simple as opening the drawing and resaving it. But it is not. Scale is screwed up, fonts are lost meaning entire notes and dimensions may be lost, features often show up dislocated or line types change. . . . It is all pretty idiotic and VERY VERY expensive. I have a 10 year collection of DOS DesignCAD drawings that do not open properly in the Windirt version of DesignCAD. And THIS is the of DesignCAD that brags it can open every CAD format on the market. . . and it cannot even open its own. . .

Many people will say "I can't draw by hand". Well, this is usualy nonsense. They have just not practiced drawing by hand. Learning to draw is like anything else, it takes practice. And think of this, Bill Gates is not going to make your drawing software obsolete on a wim either!

Learning to draw is a two part process. One is to learn to SEE. Looking at things and seeing their shapes and relationships relative to making a 2D image takes practice. All humans with sight SEE but most do not LOOK. The second part of learing to draw is the manual dexterity or eye-hand coordination, to make stright lines, circles and ovals freehand is no different than learing to write or to aim a gun an pull a trigger. It takes practice.

Truely skilled artists draw all the time. I started drawing isometric drawings when I was 5 and waisted most of my school years drawing everything from people's faces to cars and motorcycles to nudes. When I graduated from high school my drawing skills were at their highest (due to all the practice). I could draw a charactiture in less than a minute and a fair likness in two. Today my figure drawing skills are much atrophied due to decades of drawing machinery. With practice I could probably get these skills back but it would take PRACTICE.

To learn to draw you need to do what art schools do. They have the art student draw in a hard bound sketch book. When they fill the book they start another. A LEAST one or more is used up in a year. These keep the artists drawings as a collection for future reference AND they are a record of the artist's progress. They also let the art instructor know just how much time the student has spent drawing AND LOOKING at things with an artistic eye.

Not everyone is destined to be a great artist. But almost everyone can learn to draw reasonable well IF THEY WANT TO.

AFTER you learn to make reasonable renderings by hand and AFTER you learn to make proper technical drawings by hand THEN you may be ready to use a CAD program. . . . or know if you want one.

OBTW - Those who "sketch" in computer graphic programs use a graphics pad and draw through it. Often an actual pencil is used on paper support on the graphics pad. The skill is still in the artist, not the computer program.
- guru - Sunday, 12/26/04 18:01:27 EST

Class fee: Chris, I haven't posted my fee on my website, because a lot of people read the amount and say "forget it", not realizing what they are passing up. Currently, it is $2200 for a three week intensive, requiring a $500 deposit. The deposit applies to the total cost of the tuition. I also forward a lodging list. One neighbor has short-term rentals. A slug mail brochure will answer all your questions if you would care to share your postal address.
- Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/26/04 18:11:19 EST

Frank's class fee:
I'm not planning on taking the class, but that sounds very favorable compared to Penland or Pilchuck. Actually, now that I think about it, I'll have to consider that vs Penland... Grin.
- T. Gold - Sunday, 12/26/04 18:58:58 EST

How much is your six day course? the 3 week course would be nice but money plus time just doesnt add up for me. three weeks is a long time to be on the other side of the country. but maybe the six day course would work better.i got a reply from your friend today. hes closed this week so next saturday i might run up by him.
chris - Sunday, 12/26/04 19:56:41 EST

Cad vs pencil,
I agree with the Guru. I have seen countless redraws, due to changes in the software, and it is a real amazing occurence when a drawing imported from another system works first try. I worked for a company that was 118 years old when it was broken up, with about another 20 years prior to that name as a partnership. So 128 years, and never once was a pen and ink drawing redrawn due to a software change :) The cad system is great for a manufactor that has a large library of drawings and professionals to use the system. I see no advantage to the creative artist. Once in a while the ability to do a quick graphical solution to a problem is wanted, but if a scale and board is available then it is still doable. Most graphite cad operators can make a drawing to make a simple part, and have it in the shop for fabrication before the cad has begun to do the second layer. Both have their place. I learned graphite cad, and then advanced to "Rapido-graph" plot. I use the graphite cad exclusivelly in the shop for one off items.
ptree - Sunday, 12/26/04 20:33:32 EST

Drawing: No doubt about it, freehand drawing is here to stay. Good bad or indifferent, drawings are necessary in order to assist in visualization, define objects or processes and to record thoughts. From the "prehistoric" cave drawings at Lascaux, France (I put "prehistoric" in quotes because those drawings actually WERE a historic record of someone's hunt) to yesterday's courtroom sketch where cameras were forbidden, drawing has remained a constant.

Learning to draw is actually MUCH LESS difficult than learning even the most rudimentary CAD program. 90% of the drawing that a blacksmith will do consists of nothing more than thinking on paper. The old "one picture is worth a thousand words" thing. About 90% of those sketches will be for the sole use of the person who drew them, so they can be remarkably crude and objectively inaccurate as long as the author can use them. So, for about 80% of your drawing you don't need to know anything more than how to sharpen the pencil without cutting yourself. (grin)

The other 20% of your drawing will be for sales and presentation purposes or similar purposes where the objective is to communicate with another person. As long as thoey communicate effectively, they are just fine. I can do a really hyper-accurate scale drawing in my CAD program, but when I show it to a layman, he is incapable of reading it and thus it fails to communicate. A ten minute sketch with a ten cent pencil on a bar napkin would have been more effective than ten hours of work in a thousand dollar CAD program printed out on Mylar from a $10K plotter printer.

Where CAD programs have a place is in industry where a drawing may have to be reworked a hundred or a thousand times before it is finalized. The computer can redraw the same assembly a thousand times without tiring or making a mistake, and can store the previous 999 drawings so that if the change you made is wrong, you have lost only a small amount of time. For the average blacksmith however, CAD is highly overrated.

After a hundred or more hours of experimentation and practice, I can draw a very nice scroll in my CAD program. I learned to do that so I could then expand or compress a scroll to fit a given space, something that the CAD program can do with a single keystroke. Guess what? It doesn't really work. The program is literal, rather than intuitive, and it doesn't know to make the tiny adjustments in thickness of stock, length of taper or progression of a curve that the human kind can see in an instant.

CAD is good for drawing things that can then be downloaded to a a computer-aided-machine tool for production. So lyou can laser cut a hundred thousand identical blanks for the handle of your new turnip-twaddler and make a profit. But is that really blacksmithing? No, that is manufacturing.

Where I find the CAD program to be useful is for things like designing a mechanical creation like a powerhammer. I can draw the thing as a series of subassemblies and then move and adjust them until I see that all the various relationships work together. That sort of thing is difficult to do with a pencil because of the necessity of doing dozens and dozens of draw-overs. So I let the dumb computer do the draw-overs and I focus on the relationships. Let the machine do what it does well and let the human brain do what it does well.

The simplest analogy I can give is this: If you need to know EXACTLY, precisely what time it is to the ten-thousandth of a second, you use a digital chronograph computer-linked to the National Time Standard and reading out to five significant places. But if you just want to know how soon dinner is, a plain old analog wristwatch with Mickey Mouse hands will be good enough and a thousand times more intuitive to "read". The human brain is the greatest averaging, approximating and generalizing tool ever discovered. Sometimes, it is the right tool for the job.
vicopper - Sunday, 12/26/04 22:26:06 EST

Chris, Six days: My six day is $885 with a $250 deposit. If you want to be closer to home and possibly save money, maybe you could go to the New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, Maine. I'll be giving a class there June 10 through 14, 2005. You might also check out Peters Valley Craft Center in Layton, New Jersey. They have a nice shop with short courses. Peters Valley is in the Delaware Water Gap.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/26/04 22:42:04 EST

Chris; Living History Farm: In Mercer County, New Jersey, there is Howell Living History Farm which has a blacksmith shop. One of my old students, Anton Holström, may still be working there as the blacksmith. Not sure.
Frank Turley - Monday, 12/27/04 09:15:11 EST

Drawing: Thanks for the advice on the computer aided drawing programs. I think I will just skip them. I have a rather steady hand and some experience in mechanical drawing as is, seems like a better solution for me is to invest in a scanner to convert my graphite into ink.

Thanks again... I think those who responded just saved me many hours, dollars, and frustration. I appreciate the advice.
- CCHarper - Monday, 12/27/04 10:51:15 EST

Chris Location: Chris When you say North Jersey where do you mean? I'm located in Rosemont, NJ which is in Hunterdon County. There is a very active group of farriers in this area- many also do other blacksmithing. I've been privilaged to attend a few of their meetings with some very good demonstrators. I believe a few of those guys have taken Frank's course.
SGensh - Monday, 12/27/04 11:57:46 EST

location: i live in passaic county in wayne. can you send me a website for them or a list of meetings? i would love to go to these meetings. hopefully my kaowool will come in today. then i can build my forge. thanks
chris - Monday, 12/27/04 12:36:55 EST

Hi to all: This is my first post here, I have been hanging out at the Junkyard, which is closing. I see some familliar names here.

It will take a little to get used to the more complex format here, but smiths are resourcefull and used to challenges!
- John Odom - Monday, 12/27/04 12:41:40 EST

my kaowool came in!! just came in to look at the stuff then im heading out to build my forge. my burner should be here the end of this week or next week. i cant wait to start forging. hopefully everything will go alright in building it.
chris - Monday, 12/27/04 13:59:25 EST

The Junkyard is closing.: It's a sad day when this happens, but the internet smithing community is losing one of its resources. The Blacksmith's Virtual Junkyard, AKA "across the street," is going offline this week. Expect to see a few new-to-here faces and names as some of the regulars from over there step in to check out the lay of the virtual land over here. I have been a regular on both sites from darned near the beginning.

Howdy, John Odom! As you get used to this place you'll start noticing several of the same names, plus the occasional same person under a different name!

Alan-L - Monday, 12/27/04 14:11:38 EST

Hello from me, too: This is my first post here, also. I pretty much stayed "across the street" 'cause that's where my crew hung out. I suppose we'll gather here if that's okay with you guys.
- Tom C - Monday, 12/27/04 18:22:15 EST

Welcome, friends:
Just a short hello to my friends from "across the street" who have come here seeking refuge. This is a great place and will become greater with your presence. So welcome, John Odom, Tom Chenowith and whoever else drops in. Stay awhile and you'll find you like it, I think.

Rich Waugh, aka "vicopper"
vicopper - Monday, 12/27/04 18:42:35 EST

And one more thing: Heck Tom, we won't even make ya shave, either! (grin) And your lovely wife is welcome, too. For those who don't know, Tom's wife is a fine artist in her own right.
vicopper - Monday, 12/27/04 18:44:30 EST

cheap $20 forge: im am a 12 year old boy, and after seaching the web, i realised clearly that a $2000 forge is clearly out of the question. Using a titanium drill bit, i drilled several holes trought24 inch round concave cast iron "dish". Using a coffee can, tin sheeting, and some galvinized steel piping to conect an old gas fireplace blower to my dish. it works quite well and i didnt pay a cent over $20.
Grayton Cloos - Monday, 12/27/04 19:30:42 EST

Another Welcome: Hi John, Hi Tom, and Hello to anybody else who walks across the street. I hope you'll all stick around and speak up too. Everyone is welcome.

Many of the people here have been trying to make sure that this site can survive so you'll see lots of references to CSI which is a voluntary support group for the site. We're really not just addicted to CBS crime shows!

SGensh - Monday, 12/27/04 20:05:58 EST

¿Scam in "eBay's Name"?: Tonight I received a long, technical, official looking e-letter from "eBay Billing Department" They aver that my billing information has a slight error in it. They want me to click on a long url, and give them all my eBay sign-in information, etc. IT LOOKED LIKE A BIG CROCK TO ME, SO I FLUSHED IT.
Frank Turley - Monday, 12/27/04 21:07:16 EST

Just checking in to see who's migrating from the Junkyard.
- Rutterbush - Monday, 12/27/04 22:06:02 EST

ebay scam: You are correct, Frank it is a scam.

Hi all junkyarders, I have a dual citizenship much like vicopper and others but don't say as much here as I do there.
Mills - Monday, 12/27/04 22:58:59 EST

Grayton Cloos:-): You have a good eye for blacksmithing, seeing posibility and making that possibility into a reality is a the very heart of blacksmithing. It is good to see a young person who won't let being young and poor slow them down. Learn to scrounge tools from the people around you, and you will a step ahead of most blacksmiths. Scrounging is being excited about your craft, and asking every person you come across if they know of any blacksmithing tools...
Fionnbharr - Monday, 12/27/04 23:42:14 EST

Welcome and kudos:
Welcome, Steve Rutterbush! Pull up a seat and get comfortable friend, I 'spect you'll find it pretty fine here.

Grayton Cloos: Good job on creatinga forge from what you had. You've got the right mentality to make a fine smith. We'll all be happy to help out as we can.
vicopper - Monday, 12/27/04 23:53:06 EST

refuge from the junkyard: Hello,
I've posted here a couple of times, but mainly hung out acrosse the street. I hope to see a bunch of the regulars from over there.

Richard Jensen
- richard Jensen - Tuesday, 12/28/04 02:52:55 EST

Hello All: Rich W, Alan, Tom and others from junkyard. Glad too see friendly faces on a new (for me) tailgate.
- Stephan Pawloski - Tuesday, 12/28/04 05:01:37 EST

Ralph - Tuesday, 12/28/04 06:29:35 EST

Scam is called Phishing: A friend has introduced me to the web term "phishing" which is derived from "fishing". The 'phishermen' want you to surrender(update)your personal information or they will "suspend your account" or some such thing. Don't fall for it. There is a site:
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/28/04 08:13:23 EST

Junkyarders: Welcome to all of the folks migrating in from the junkyard!
Brian C - Tuesday, 12/28/04 09:30:23 EST

phishing: thanks for the post Frank I did not realize how large this was, kinda saw it as a nigerian type of thing. this isn't quite so easy to sort out.
- Mills - Tuesday, 12/28/04 11:56:16 EST

brazing/welding: whats the differnce between oxyacetelene welding and brazing? is there any differnce? is it just a differnce in the rod. is one stronger than the other.
chris - Tuesday, 12/28/04 12:11:16 EST

I just wrote a long reply that disappeared into cyberspace, but basically welding is done with steel rod (copper coated to reduce rust) where you do actually make a molten puddle of steel and melt the rod into it.

Brazing uses brass, bronze, nickle, or silver alloy rod melted into a joint at a temperature lower than the melting point of steel.

Welding is usually stronger.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 12/28/04 12:25:42 EST

I'm here too: Well having surveyed things I'll come back to my beginings.
Hi to all!
- dragon-boy - Tuesday, 12/28/04 13:00:45 EST

Bending Silver Flatware: Hello. I am trying to make kechains out of silver plate flatware. Can silver plate be heated? If so to what temp or does it need to be hammered with a rubber mallet. This is for a personal hobby to make stuff from family heirlooms. Thanks for any information that would helpful.
- Lori - Tuesday, 12/28/04 14:07:25 EST

Junkyard closing?: why? has Neil lost interest?
- adam - Tuesday, 12/28/04 16:46:26 EST

brazing: brazing is like soldering but at higher temp - two pieces of steel are joined by a filler metal (brass or copper) that melts at a lower temperature than does steel. In welding the steel is fused to itself and if a filler is used it's a material with a similar melting point
adam - Tuesday, 12/28/04 16:49:04 EST

ALAN-L, let 'er rip. I would have appreciated reading that long reply about the difference between O/A welding and brazing that disappeared. You got the Clift's notes version right.

RALPH...(sigh) ?
- Rutterbush - Tuesday, 12/28/04 17:11:08 EST

OOPS. I shoulda said hello to Vicopper. Thanks for the greating.
- Rutterbush - Tuesday, 12/28/04 17:16:29 EST

I am looking for a blacksmith located in Northeastern PA.
I want to have an easel custom made for a piece of art that is done on stone. Any suggestions ?
- Bobbi - Tuesday, 12/28/04 17:18:55 EST

Silver plate: I have had poor success with heating silver plate unless I was prepared to and had the facillities to replate. The base metal is usually a bronze.

Sterling, of course is a whole different thing.

John Odom
John Odom - Tuesday, 12/28/04 17:21:08 EST

brazing and searching for smiths: About the only thing I said different was the bit about how brazing and high-temp silver solder work by getting into the intercrystalline boundaries of the metals being joined, thus holding the works together better than low-temp solders which are basically glue, and that the whole invasion of crystal boundaries thing is why brazing some alloys causes cracks, and that some nickel brazing alloys can have a shear strength of 80,000 psi, which is stronger than many arc welding rods, and so on and so forth.

Bobbi, if you put your email address in the box under the posting window, interested smiths can click on it to email you. This site uses an encryption system to keep spam harvesters from reading your address. Unfortunately, I'm not in PA! Somebody may pipe up, though.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 12/28/04 17:48:55 EST

Silver Plate: Thank you. I will keep trying. I guess a little elbow grease will be the best. Thank you very much!
Lori - Tuesday, 12/28/04 18:25:44 EST

Welcome Junkyarders: Welcome to this side of the street. I've read the Junkyard for about three years now, didn't post there much, but it was a fine site and will be missed. Hope this forum works out o.k. for all you wonderful people, I would miss your information and sense of humor....a lot.
Ellen - Tuesday, 12/28/04 18:54:39 EST

NE PA smith: Bobbi, a shop by the name of Artisans of the Anvil is in Stroudsburg and they do really fine work. Anthony or Andy Molinaro is the smith who runs it, but there are a couple of other artists there as well. They hosted the Pensylvania Artist Blacksmiths a few months ago and put on a great show.
- John Larson - Tuesday, 12/28/04 20:55:44 EST

John Larson, good to see you here. Keep up the daily work reports! They make mine seem so much easier, especially the ones you start out with by saying "I had to put on a suit today..."
Alan-L - Tuesday, 12/28/04 21:16:02 EST

Further Thoughts on the Subject of Drawing: I've never been proficient at drawing ideas on paper. I have used clay or Play-Doh many times over the years, though, to play with ideas for scrolls or leaves or whatever. My poor daughters grew up Play-Doh-less, I'm afraid, because of my tendency to steal that part of their Christmas booty whenever I got a new idea in my head. Anyway, this might help some other "graphically-challenged" folks.
- AK_ID - Tuesday, 12/28/04 22:24:09 EST

Hobby Lobby Clay: Hobby Lobby and similar stores sell 5 pound blocks of plasticene modeling clay. You can draw it out, upset it, twist it, and so on.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/28/04 23:46:31 EST

Claymashin': Thaqt's a really good point, AK. Some folks simply think better in three dimensions than in two. (Some, notably politicians, think in only one.) For those 3D thinkers, clay is a wonderful way to get an idea visualized and begin the process of actualization. There's another benefit, too.

Many people who can't seem to move an idea from the brain to paper, but who can move it from brain to 3D, can actually draw an abject their eyes can see. So, make it in clay, then draw it. Over the years, there have been some gimmicks that aided this, in the form of smoked glass easels, foleys and other mirror devices that "project" an image of an object onto paper so it can be traced. Some of the caricature "artists" at amusement parks use these to simplifiy their shtick. Whatever works, I say.

The more you draw the better you get at it, even without training. The clay will help you to train yourself and besides, it's fun!

vicopper, Member-At-Large - Wednesday, 12/29/04 00:04:56 EST

I had a freind who was serious enough about clay 'drawing' that he made a wooden anvil and a wooden hammer to work the clay.
SO he would work clay at night and work all the kinks out of it then in the day would smoothly transition into the hot metal. Took me a while to find out how it was we would talk a bit in the evening about a project and then seem him make it before my eyes like he had made dozens.......
Ralph - Wednesday, 12/29/04 00:33:48 EST

Junkyard: It seems to be a mystery why the Junkyard is closing but it's too bad. It was a very nice site. Anyway I follow Ellen in welcoming Junkyarders to the Hammerin
- adam - Wednesday, 12/29/04 01:47:46 EST

Appology: I woould like to appologise for posting off context in the Den. Didnt know how things worked till vicopper set me right. Guru awsome work you have done with this site, so good I suggested it to my friend who is teaching me the art of smithing. I will continue to pass the word too. Good day my friends.
stormcloud_2 - Wednesday, 12/29/04 03:11:40 EST

There's really no need to apologize. I can safely say that a number of us have drifted out of the "official" context of the Den (and on more than one occassion!). The main idea with the Den is to keep questions and answers in a fairly continuous thread, so folks can find 'em easier. The rule's aren't exactly set in stone or anything.

That said, there's still a lot of question and answer stuff that goes on here in the hammer-in, just in a more casual, occassionally round-about, and often smart-@$$ fashion (grin). Welcome to the fold!

I'd like to welcome the Junkyarders as well! I've lurked there often, and always enjoyed the site. There's a lot of good stuff there. It seems a shame to see it pass.

eander4 - Wednesday, 12/29/04 04:01:29 EST

It is good to see Ken Scharabok posting on this site. I have done business with him several times, a nice guy. Look on the page 18 of the Anvilfire news for a photo of my #2 son working out with Ken's anvil at Quad State.
Brian C - Wednesday, 12/29/04 09:57:10 EST

Steve Rutterbush, It's good to see you sharing your knowledge in the Guru's den. Stick around and speak up if you can.
SGensh - Wednesday, 12/29/04 13:49:35 EST

a problem: i ran into a bit of a problem. the inlet on my acetelyne regulator is fine thread but the valve that hooks up to the propane tank is coarse. is there an adapter that i could by. i was thinking of maybe getting a short piece of copper pipe and solder a finethread male end on one side and a coarse thread female end on the other. is there an eaiser way to do it? other wise my forge is going together really well. im using 1/8 inch steel for the roof will that work? the kaowool should keep in cool enough not to deform right? thanks
chris - Wednesday, 12/29/04 14:46:26 EST

SGensh: Do you have a link for MSC that you frequently mention? I used to get their catalog, until I moved that is. Thanks.
Bob H - Wednesday, 12/29/04 15:12:02 EST

Chris: The newer style propane valves have a coarse thread on the outside, but have a fine thread on the inside. The coarse thread is for the new handwheel-type of barbecue regulators. Most acetylene cylinders around here have a valve that takes a female POL fitting, that is, the threads on the cylinder are on the outside. If you gfo to your local welding supplier, he can adapt your regulator to have a male POL fitting that will screw into the propane cylinder. If you want to use the modified regulator on an acetylene cylinder, you would then need a coupling adaptor.
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/29/04 15:26:35 EST

MSC: Bob-H, MSC is on the web at or you can call them at 800-645-7270. It's a lot easier to get their catalog than the one from McMaster- Carr.
SGensh - Wednesday, 12/29/04 18:09:53 EST

Santa Cruz New Years: Hello Everybody

I am getting a chance to go to Santa Cruz California for the weekend. IF anybody knows anything going on there please drop me a line.

Thanks and Happy New Years
Arron Cissell - Wednesday, 12/29/04 19:28:15 EST

Santa Cruz: We had an ABANA Conference there in the early 80's, and camped in the Redwoods. Check out the Redwood forests; they should still be in the area.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 12/29/04 20:08:36 EST

Santa Cruz: Arron, the local redwoods in the best shape a while back are called Mt. Madonna state park. Worth getting lost in. Also be sure to haunt the boardwalk in Santa Cruz. The movie "The Lost Boys" was filmed there. Neat place.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 12/29/04 21:16:40 EST

my day: Alan L, I didn't put on a suit today!!! Instead I put on my dirty Carhart overalls and jacket and went to an auction. Kinda like R&R. But I was on the lookout for air compressors, mill tooling, fire extinguishers, and tool upgrades that wouldn't break the bank. :-) I found this crowd willing to bid more than me, but I did get a nifty drill bit rack and a very heavy duty table for building power hammer frames. Others as well as myself have not been willing to pay the reserve price on the table for the past three months, so today I talked to the auction master. He was able to get the resrve changed and I got it. It has three T-slots in its 4" thick top and a frame made from 1" plate, all welds are superb, and the top has been surfaced. It is FLAT. I'll fetch it tomorrow and use the landlord's big forklift to get it off the trailer. The auction master said he's not sure if an 8000 pound forklift will pick it up and put it in the middle of the trailer. However, he's got a big one to get it loaded. I think it is substantially more than 6000 pounds.
- John Larson - Wednesday, 12/29/04 21:19:06 EST

Darnit, John L, I wish I had a good substantial layout table like that! Of course,there's no room in the shop at present, but that can always change...
I just posted in the junkyard on the subject, so please ignore that one.

I don't have to wear a suit until January 12, as far as I know. Wish it were longer. Any folks out there interested in Civil Engineering, please get a grip on the way physics and reality on Earth works before you get an MBA, please...
Alan-L - Wednesday, 12/29/04 21:31:18 EST

High gang, hows the water over here these days?

Alan, having a problem with the "civies"?
- Tony - Thursday, 12/30/04 00:42:14 EST

Test post, having some computer problems tonight.
Ellen - Thursday, 12/30/04 01:26:18 EST

John Larson - your table: hey John, I just did a quick steel mass calculation. In short, the top of your newly aquired table should weigh in around 10,269 lbs plus whatever extra you got hanging off of it. Better get a bigger forklift BOG.
- Stephan Pawloski - Thursday, 12/30/04 04:30:13 EST

missed the rest of the posts: Tony, great to see you. Water's feeling mighty nice. (Better than my icy slacktub at least).

Alan L, I started out in school heading towards mechanical engineering, turned out that I found mech Engineering pretty boring and what I really wanted was something more like industrial design, but in the end I ended up in Criminal Justice. If someone can figure that transition out, please let me know. I'm still wondering how it all happened myself.
- Stephan Pawloski - Thursday, 12/30/04 04:40:15 EST

Stephan Pawloski- Thats an easy transition. I began as a physical therapy major, then wound up as a police administration graduate. See, nothing to it. :)
Brian C - Thursday, 12/30/04 09:21:05 EST

stuff: Tony, it's more of an ignorance thing. I make recommendations, they ignore them. Then they complain about the resulting project delays...

I started out in Physics and almost went to EE, and now I'm an archaeologist and petty bureaucrat! Annoys the heck out of the civvies that I can speak their language and they don't know mine.
Alan-L - Thursday, 12/30/04 11:06:28 EST

John's Table:

Stephan, how do you reckon? You don't know the measurements of the table, other than the thickness... if it were 2'x2' it wouldn't weigh anywhere near that much, and if it were 10' x 4' (a large but possible size for a layout table) it would be far too heavy for an 8000lb forklift. Sounds like a beauty of a table. Wish I had space for something like that in my shop. Grin.
- T. Gold - Thursday, 12/30/04 11:23:01 EST

TURLEY'S SCHOOL: Whaddaya get for your money at Frank's that ya don't get at the others? Ya get FRANK! 'Nuff said.
3dogs - Thursday, 12/30/04 12:36:34 EST

Sculptural engineering: One of my favorite analogies regarding sculpture and design was the one wherein Michaelangelo was asked how he was able to make a beautiful statue of a horse. He said "First I get a big rock, then I take a hammer and a chisel and knock off everything that doesn't look like a horse."
3dogs - Thursday, 12/30/04 12:52:41 EST

T Gold: Actually, I do know the diemensions of the table. Back on the Keenjunk forum John mentioned that the table was 7X3 feet in area, and 4"thick. It didn't occur to me that he didn't mention full measurements here.
- Stephan Pawloski - Thursday, 12/30/04 15:29:40 EST

Transferring the Flag: All but salvage and securing parties are abandoning ship over at the HMS Keenjunk; so I'm standing by. I see a lot of the old crew hanging out here.

I usually post in the Guru's Den, mostly on history or early medieval technology (along with Thomas Powers); or when I have a technical question. I tend to lurk at the Hammer-In and usually post when I have a question (or a useful opinion) regarding related things, like my pickup truck overheating. I guess with the Junkyard gone, I'll browse in the VH-I a little more often.

If you're new to Anvilfire, or you haven't been here in years, you'll find some of my writings in the Armoury and a couple of reviews in the Bookshelf section (try the pull-down menu on the upper right). An English reenactor liked my sword article so much that he used large hunks of it in his book. We have since reached a settlement, and I'm looking forward to his published apology in the upcoming edition. Not that I'm bitter, or anything... ;-)

Anyways, welcome to all my old friends, and we'll dry out soon.
Come have a row with us...
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 12/30/04 15:41:00 EST

Today: I put on a suit today. I had to go to the funeral of a former student who was murdered ( 19 stab wounds) while studying medicine in the Philippines. So sad. There is time to change clothes and work in the shop, but I have no heart for it.
John Odom - Thursday, 12/30/04 15:51:44 EST

ATLI, tall skinny white boys don't get bitter, they row their long boat to England and go medieval on the person who wronged them. grin
- Rutterbush - Thursday, 12/30/04 19:13:29 EST

the table: I fetched the table today and it is NOT as heavy as the guy told me. The top's edges are 4" thick but it can't be 4" everywhere. My biggest forklift can grunt about 5700 pounds if it has to and that is what it took to place it inside my shop tonight. The top must be steel, probably cast, because it is welded to the steel plates that make its base. I'll eventually get the landlord's big brute forklift to put it up high enough to take a look-see. The three T-slots use bigger T-nuts and studs than my #4 Cincinnati horizontal mill. Before leaving the shop this morning I rummaged around in my stash of mill tooling and took four stud assemblies from the #4 and four bigger assemblies. It was the big ones that I used with chains to lift the thing over the fenders on the trailer. Good news items are that the fenders are still pristine and my forklift can reposition it in the shop as needed. Now I have to extract the 5'x10' layout table I've been using and put it upside down on one of my steel plate stacks. There are also two pallets of anvils (that have been hiding under the table)to sell. Anyone want to buy the shiny layout table? You haul, I'll load, $150, Baltimore, MD.
- John Larson - Thursday, 12/30/04 19:17:14 EST

John Odom, I'm sorry you had to put on that suit today. I just lost my second grandfather, which having been expected for a month or two is not as bad as your student.

John Larson, got a 300 lb Fisher with my name on it? I'd settle for a 250...
Alan-L - Thursday, 12/30/04 20:13:40 EST

FrankenVine: Rutterbush, I kinda lost touch with Keenjunk these last 2-3 months since I don't own a power hammer. I never did see any photos of the Frankenvine. Is it finished? Any photos? If so, can you post them at iforgeiron ?
quenchcrack - Thursday, 12/30/04 20:14:35 EST

Suit: I have a suit for weddings, funerals and court appearances. John I am sad to hear about your student.
adam - Thursday, 12/30/04 20:19:38 EST

Frankenvine: Quenchcrack, Good to hear from you. I'm using that same tired excuse for not completing the Frankenvine, holidays, end of semester, start of new semester, starting new blacksmithing classes, freebie building projects for local city, county and college...etc.

It IS high priority when the new blacksmithing class starts in February. That and powerhammer, treadle hammer, and other stuff. As far as posting them at iforgeiron, I can do that? That's good to know since we're losing Keenjunk's photo gallery.

JOHN LARSON, anvil donations to the college of welding knowledge equal tax write offs. GRIN WINK HINT

JOHN ODOM, Sorry to hear about the student. That would be kinda like losing family. Hang in there.
- Rutterbush - Thursday, 12/30/04 20:49:26 EST

John Larson,
Sorry about the suit wearing requirement.
I have discovered a stash of horzontal mill cutters of various sizes, trades?
ptree - Thursday, 12/30/04 21:00:55 EST

iforgeiron: Yes, you can post photos directly at iforgeiron. I forget where but if you go there you can find it on the forum. I have been posting here for quite some time although I am sorry to see Keenjunk go. The breadth of topics posted here and in the Guru's den are greater than at Keenjunk.
quenchcrack - Thursday, 12/30/04 21:34:52 EST

Row on the Fyrdraca: Actually, Atli I have gone for a row with the Longship Co. - It was about 24 years ago when I was a member living in Pittsburgh. It was difficult to get down there then, but I went thru downsizing in the steel indutry and ended up living in New Hampshire - an absolutely ridiculous distance to drive for a row. If you still have old membership lists, I was registered as Kevin Haffey. Regards, Gavainh
- Gavainh - Thursday, 12/30/04 21:40:22 EST

Post Vice: I'm looking for a post vice, know a good place to get one for cheeper than brand new. I don,t have a lot of money. It dosen't have to be extreamly cheep just worth its cost.
- Bjorn - Thursday, 12/30/04 21:47:42 EST

Alan, etc.: Alan, just tell them all a civvie really needs to know is that water runs downhill. Mechanicals like me are taught you can't push a rope. Electricals should know you can't charge a rock. Architecturals? Hmmmm... well, what can you say? Fuchsia is not a primary color?

Owww... OOWWWW!

Wife (Architectural Engineer, NOT Architect) just hit me! The nerve! You all just witnessed spousal abuse.

I gave up on suits. I'll rent one when I need one. Otherwise, If I have to suit up to impress someone, I'm talkin to the wrong people. Been there, did that, for too many years. Don't like that game anymore. No offense to anyone who does suit up. I'd do it again if I had too.

Not all suits are bad, yadda yadda....

Had much recreational shop bliss today. Spent a lot of time in "The Comfy Chair" though. Thinking and sketching of course!

May you all have a safe and happy New Years eve. And a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2005 and beyond.
- Tony - Friday, 12/31/04 00:00:35 EST

Bjorn-post vice: where are you located?
Tony, you got a chair in your shop? I thought we all were supposed to be smiths, oh wait, lets see, roger has a TV in his, and I've seen countless mini-fridges in others. Guess I'm once again behind in the times *grin*
- Stephan Pawloski - Friday, 12/31/04 00:47:11 EST

Frankenvine, Oarsfolk and Funerial Duties: Quenchcrack: I've actually had two samples almost finished for a number of months. Now that I know that I haven't missed the boat, maybe I'll be able to wrap them up and send them off to you. I'm a little slow at times, and I also tend to over-commit and run too many projects in parallel (plus unexpected trips to parks); but maybe I can save my tattered reputation.

Gavainh: You're Kevin Haffey! I remember you well; as do some of the other old hands.

Well, this certainly answers the question: "Whatever happened to Kevin Haffey?"

John: Sometimes work is a balm and takes us from our worries and sadness, but sometimes you just have to sit in peace and quiet and let things sort themselves out. I think you should take some comfort in the fact that you were a positive part of his life, part of the good part. In the great cosmic scheme of things, I feel, goodness is never wasted. I wish you peace.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/31/04 01:00:00 EST

"The Comfy Chair":
That one's never worked for me. It turns too quickly into "The Napping Chair".

No fridge in the shop? Man, you are behind the times! (grin) Don't forget the essential toaster oven to warm your chilled treats.


eander4 - Friday, 12/31/04 01:22:21 EST

New Drill Press: Just wanted to holler about my new 5 speed drill press. Goes from 760 min to 3070 max. Bought it for 50 bucks from Big Lots, cheap chinese made one but its better than nothing! Took me 20 min to put together and have running, out of the box. Would pass cigars but I dont smoke and this is cyber space so it wouldnt work anyway...

Adam Scott
stormcloud_2 - Friday, 12/31/04 03:39:24 EST

shops, suits, and cheap drill presses: In reverse order: I have one of those cheapie drill presses branded "Delta". It's worth approximately $0.75. The chuck can't be tightened to the spindle as the taper is wrong, which results in the chuck falling off if I put Forstners or other heavy bits in, and the bearings are out of alignment resulting in a constantly wandering center. It's really good at drilling flared oval holes, though. I hope yours is better. I've seen some that were. I have two cigars on hand, Arturo Fuente imperial coronas. I'll have one in your honor this afternoon!

Minifridge? Now that I have electricity in the shop I have a full-sized fridge! And a coal stove rescued from a condemned chickenhouse that seems to be a 1930s Warm Morning #2, but has cast into the lid "US Army Space Heater #1." I like it. Also have a small radio/cd player, a ceiling fan scavenged from an upgrade to the house, a genuine English-made boar bristle dart board, and much junk. two chairs, neither of which are particularly comfy. Oh, and the smithing equipment!

I don't actually own a suit. I have three pairs of presentable pants, two good shirts, and three sportcoats, one of which is actually a repro of an 1870s frock coat. Add a couple of Irish vests (waistcoats to the brits) and three ties (one of which is spangled with skulls) and you have the limit of my "fancy" clothes. Sometimes you have to adopt a costume to show respect for others. I don't do it to get respect for myself.

Tony: remember I work for a state department of transportation, with all the benefits of pay scales state employment offers towards securing the best engineers money can buy. One could say the same for the archaeologists, but the lower pay is worth the steady work and not having to deal with academia. Sure you can push on a rope! You just have to soak it in epoxy first...
Alan-L - Friday, 12/31/04 09:57:01 EST

Frankenvine: Atli, I assume you meant you would send them to Rutterbush, not to me. Having seen some of the offerings posted at KJ, I might even decide to make another, more radiantly splendiforous, than the first one I sent.
Cloudy and light rain in Left Tennessee.
quenchcrack - Friday, 12/31/04 11:44:22 EST

Comfy Chairs: I've got a really comfortable Eames Chair and the matching footstool in the office. I try to keep it filled with something other than me though. Every time I try sitting in it to think about something I wind up "dreaming" of my solution!
SGensh - Friday, 12/31/04 11:58:54 EST

Tony: Phone numbers are:

340-772-5833 home
340-277-6857 cell
340 778-2211 ect 4517 office
340 778-2244 ext 4723 other office
vicopper - Friday, 12/31/04 12:12:55 EST

Suits: I spent 13 years in a school system where teachers were expected to wear a "coat and tie." When I was actually remodeling asome of my labs they winked at it. They officially gave in that a lab coat was a coat. One day I was writtenup formally because the principal caught me in the hall without a coat. I quit that year on April 1, in his honor, and told him I could have a new job before he could find a replacement. I did too. It was 18 years before I went back to teaching. The new school was like heaven, No dress code, few rules, mutual respect and the Golden Rule was all we needed. I did 15 years there, some of the best of my life.

John O
John Odom - Friday, 12/31/04 13:48:15 EST

Bjorn-Post Vise: I've bought two nice post vises from Ryan Wasson from Cape Girardeau, MO. I don't have his email address handy, will look next week when I am back at work. I think he works for a shipping company as shipping was free. He was a frequent advertiser over on the Keenjunk Scrapbin.
Ellen - Friday, 12/31/04 13:50:39 EST

Hello, Shop amenities..: This is my first time posting at this sight- I'm a transplant from the Junkyard. Good to see a number of familiar names & hi to everyone else. Going into the forge on Sat. & Sun. to work on my own projects. Fridge?? Chair?? This shop doesn't even have a bathroom! I have to use the one at the kayak shop next door! Not that I'm complaining, I'm just thankful to have a place to work.
- HeatherK - Friday, 12/31/04 13:55:35 EST

Alan L : Thanks for the honor guard. This is a big tool addition for me, took my dad 20 something years to get a drill press in his shop but he got himself a beauty, big old and green thing, dont remember the brand. I have a very limited collection of tools, just got my first bench vice for Xmas, 4 1/2" 's heavy too! Now need a 2 ended bench grinder, forge and anvil and I should have a good start for a smithy!

Adam Scott
stormcloud_2 - Friday, 12/31/04 14:54:28 EST

Bathroom?: I have a fridge full of malty over-21 goodness for non-forging times, but there's no plumbing in the shop. Being male on a two-acre lot with bushes I shouldn't need to elaborate on #1...

Yep, a GOOD drill press is a wonderful thing. Wish I had one!
Alan-L - Friday, 12/31/04 15:09:57 EST

Alan-L: Well, at least it sounds like you have the essentials covered and your priorities straight (grin)!
HeatherK - Friday, 12/31/04 15:23:48 EST

Facilities: Heather, I have known folks that had shops for DECADES that uses other's facilities. For the men semi-private bush's can work but there are times when we ALL need to squat.

The dissadvantage to using the bushes is that being well fertilized they grow REAL fast and become another job to take care of! And in our part of the country it can attract skunks which are yet another problem. . .

Uncle Atli often comments about the high phosphorus levels in soil near the doorways of of old rural homes. . .

An option is a porta-pot. I dislike the things but they are better than nothing. They are also usualy much cleaner when only a small group are using them. Around here fees run about $30/month and they are serviced weekly.

The last place I was at that used them eventualy needed two. We unoficialy designated one the "women's" but everyone knew it was available if the first was occupied.

It also pays to situate the things in the shade. In semi permanent applications the addition of a night light and a water container to wash with can make them much nicer.

When you run or manage a small business you would be surprised at how much time goes into such a simple yet basic thing. . .
- guru - Friday, 12/31/04 15:51:03 EST

facilities: Why not get one of them camp toilets that compose? Then all you need do is rig up a screen.
Ralph - Friday, 12/31/04 17:36:20 EST

Guru-re:facilities: That's a great idea, thanks for the suggestion!

Dennis (my friend/part-time employer/owner of the Ashland Forge) built the forge in 1974. He also owns the building next door that the kayak business rents out from him.

I guess he has never felt the need for facilities because even if the shop next door is not open, he has a key and can get in to use the bathroom. My problem is that I work a lot of nights and on weekends when there is no one around and though I have a key to the forge, I can't use the facilities next door.

Right now I am finished with the work that he had for me on an ongoing project, so I am just going in to do my own work. He also lets me keep some of my equipment there, so I guess I have no room to complain!

Dennis did have running water that was excellent for drinking (from the mountain) up until about a month ago. The city decided to put in a new sidewalk that ran in front of the shop which he was taxed heavily for. When they did this they ran it over an old water line and it busted, so he had to shut off all water to the shop.

HeatherK - Friday, 12/31/04 17:59:01 EST

Urine and skunks: I am surprised at the statement that urine attracts skunks.
We had a problem with skunks congregating and odorizing the area under the bedroom window. My wife is sensitive to smells and the skunk odod made her sick. I consulted an accademic wildlife expert and he told me to spray human urine around the area once a week. It Worked! so more skunk problem. I now do maintaince about once a month. We live next to dense woods in Tennessee.
John Odom - Friday, 12/31/04 18:32:54 EST

I may be wrong and repeating an old wives tale. . . I know they LOVE garbage, especialy meat scraps (they ARE scavangers). Next door neighbor had a typical country organics dump near her house. Anytime she cleaned chickens or after making sausage we had skunks for months. . . Now I have a new neighbor and he prefers to keep the skunks away.
- guru - Friday, 12/31/04 19:01:37 EST

What Was I Thinking?: Quenchcrack: I'm obviously suffering from... I forget?

Mini-fridge: When we moved to the "New Building" at 1201 Eye Street, each floor was equipped with a galley and we were ordered to take our mini-fridges and coffeepots home. Thus mine ended up in the forge, where it at least keeps the drinks cold in the summer and puts a little heat into the forge in the winter. I've always had a teapot there for the more vital fluid; but the toaster oven and the hotplate are used strictly for tempering, heating and waxing. :-)

As for Other Amenities:

Yep, high concentrations outside of the bedroom windows, too. Believe it or not, an old-fashioned outhouse (if your in a rural setting; don't try this in the 'burbs), properly tended, is an ecologically viable alternative. Of course, some folks (almost all of whom are no longer with the National Park Service) just have to carry evrything to the nth degree, so just click on the link below for the ultimate of all outhouses. Some of the extra costs made sense in terms of reduced maintenance, but the overhead was an organizational defect that just became real obvious on this project.

"Warts and All" on the banks of the lower Potomac. In the 50s, and wonderful forging weather- I worked on a couple of art projects for MarsCon in Williamsburg on Jan. 21-23.
The Opulent Outhouse
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/31/04 19:08:57 EST

Power hammers on eBay: Hello all, welcome to the folks from across the street.

For anyone in the Kansas area. I just spotted a 50lb LIttle Giant on eBay. item #: 6142937327 the seller also has a 25lb LG and a full line shaft machine shop for sale.
FredlyFX - Friday, 12/31/04 19:13:09 EST

Post Vice : I live in Shawnee Kansas, a right outside of kansas city.
- Bjorn - Friday, 12/31/04 19:26:39 EST

The Opulent Outhouse: Atli, pretty nice digs. I am sure using it would be a moving experience............
quenchcrack - Friday, 12/31/04 19:36:14 EST

Opulent Outhouse: Sheesh, no wonder the Feds are broke!

I read where a few years ago they "remodeled" the ranger cabins at the Grand Canyon and they ran over 200K apiece.
Ellen - Friday, 12/31/04 20:26:44 EST

Alan L, I'm winding down my memberships on boards as time passes after retirement. My lingo for attending to such duties is that I gotta wear a suit. I really don't mind the attire, or having to clean my fingernails (grin), but driving into the city is a royal PITA. BTW, I posted a note across the street on anvils.

ptree, I already have a very large stash of horizontal cutters. No one wants the things so I buy them real cheap at auctions.

vicopper, I agree with your assessments of the various other sites, especially those of ABANA.

I cleaned up the new layout table today. Peeked underneath and found massive cross plates. This thing must have been used to hold something really heavy. Either that or the designer had a bad case of massiveism.

Also bolted the hammer crane tracks on the trailer. Shoulda gone further, but got lazy about 4:00.

Happy New Year.
- John Larson - Friday, 12/31/04 20:31:17 EST

Little Giant: So, anyone have an idea on what a 25# Little Giant in good condition should cost these days? I'm thinking that 2005 may be a good year to invest in one of those.
Bob H - Friday, 12/31/04 20:41:14 EST

Ashland forge: Heather, is this as in Ashland Oregon?
Ralph - Friday, 12/31/04 21:29:07 EST

Ralph, Ashland Forge: That's the one- Ashland, Oregon. Located on the corner of Siskiyou Blvd. and Tollman Creek Rd.
HeatherK - Friday, 12/31/04 21:42:48 EST

Farewell to the Junkyard: A few minutes ago I made my last post in the Junkuyard. I'm going to miss the place across the street. While I know that Neil didn't quit for economic reasons I'd like to ask everyone here to think about how easily we could lose this forum too. Please, if you think that being able to communicate with other smiths and to share ideas is important to you, consider a membership in CSI the voluntary group that helps to support this site. Right now the financial burden to maintain this site is borne by Jock. He is NOT making money at it! Help us keeep this site alive by becoming a member in 2005.
SGensh - Friday, 12/31/04 23:49:36 EST

Amenities, etc.: Yup, We do in fact have a "Comfy Chair" in the new cave smithy. And an ottoman to go with it. Only one short nap in it so far. I really do sit in it when I'm sketching or thinking. We have this party on the ice nearly every year and request people bring old furniture to sit around the fire on the ice. The Comfy Chair is a left over from a previous year. Normally we burn all the furniture at the end of the night. This one needed to be saved. A lovely Calf poop green in color and the Ottoman is brown. Most of the stuffing was torn out of the back of the chair by our female lab since she likes to make "nests". She doesn't understand she has been fixed for many years now. So I have another cushion stuffed in there. Only the best.

The boy and I were talking today about putting an old microwave that doesn't restart until it cools off, in there for popcorn. When the weather gets warmer, we may move a rusty old fridge in there.

Ground hole Outhouses are now off limits here in WI. You may be surprised how well just a 5 gallon bucket with good seat works. With only an occasional user, the bucket never gets full and doesn't smell nearly as bad as some porta-potties you may have been in. For heavier uses, a plastic 55 gallon drum cut to the appropriate height, with plywood top and good seat, works good. Just keep the inputs to the usual output, and toilet paper only and it composts just fine on it's own. So says your friendly licensed Master Plumber. grin.

The problem we have with outhouses is the porcupines. They eat anything that has plywood or stain on it. Must be a delicacy for them. I'm not joking when I tell you we have had visitors while using the facilities. And porcupines are fearless. What attacks a porcupine? Our latest outhouse at the hunting shack is railroad tie frame with miscut metal bulding siding for sides and roof. The porkies still eat their way under the door sill to get at the plywood floor. They do leave prodigious output behind however. How appropriate.

Alan, some rocks can be charged too. But work with me here! Grin!
- Tony - Saturday, 01/01/05 00:01:31 EST

Happy New Year to all of you.
Brian C - Saturday, 01/01/05 00:11:30 EST

Keenjunk: Keenjunk is officially gone. Now we know what it is like to lose a favorite site. We need to make sure that does not happen here. Support CSI, and the voluntary dues are tax deductible. Thank you.
Ellen - Saturday, 01/01/05 06:13:57 EST

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