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December 2005 Archive

WHY THREE FORUMS? Well, this is YOUR blacksmithing forum to use for whatever you wish within the rules stated above. It is different than the Slack-Tub Pub because the messages are permanently posted and archived.
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J. Dempsey  <webmaster> Rev. 7/98, 3/99, 5/2k, 6/2k, Friday, 04/06/01 16:43:25 GMT

UK-US shipping: No direct experience, but I do know that J Hirst & Sons (Bank Top, St. Mary Bourne, Andover, Hampshire SP11 6BG, +44 1264738397) have some familiarity with shipping fly presses to the US - cos that's where most of the big ones seem to end up!
- PeterB - Thursday, 12/01/05 06:10:55 EST

Risks: So much of how we choose to handle them is because of how we percieve them. Most of my income is from shoeing horses. It has it's moments but I haven't been hurt much. I was shoeing the horses for circus vargus when they were in town year ago and a guy walked up and asked "Isn't that dangerous being under a horse like that?" The next time I saw him he was doing crazy stuff and flying through the air up near the roof of the tent. I'm a cave diver and I have people tell me all the time that I'm nuts. Once while on my way to a cave in Missouri I passed a wreck on rout. There must have been wreckage spread down a mile of rout 44. I don't even know how many cars and trucks were involved (because you couldn't tell where one ended and another began) or how many people must have died. I couldn't wait to get into that nice quiet cave where I would be in control
Mike Ferrara - Thursday, 12/01/05 10:11:18 EST

Risks: asteroids: Thomas, right. I should have said "meteorites". But wait till new years when you get to dodge falling bullets here in the SW USA.

Lest anyone misinterpret what I said above. I take safety seriously and wear personal protection appropriate to the risk as I see it. I always carry ear plugs. Like Thomas I have resorted to using them when my wife (who's hearing has deteriorated) watches TV.

Actually, looking around at what the other fools in this forum do - I dont: Jump out of airplanes, fool with weapons, mess with explosives or black powder, move heavy equipment, rock climb, scuba dive, cave dive, chase down dangerous criminals, ride a motorcycle or shoe horses. This is why I hang out here, next to you guys I seem almost sane and sensible. :)

Miles: you are thinking like a tourist. Actually living in London is a different fettle of kitch.
adam - Thursday, 12/01/05 10:50:13 EST

When I brought my flypress home I paid nearly the same ammount for a rigger to put it on my small pickup as I paid for the press to start with. I had put in a sheet of 3/4" plywood to help spread the weight of the feet and then chained and tied it 6 ways from Sunday.

I had no fear that it would go before the truck would---just that it would take the truck along whenever it felt like it!

I had a 15 mile drive and did it doing about 30 in the left lane---big city street with only a 35 mph speed limit and *nobody* honked or cut in on me!

At home I used a 3000# capacity yale chain hoist to lift it from the truck off a very large tree that I checked for obvious problems and then cleared *everything* from under while doing the lift. When it was about 6" off the ground I blocked it up and bolted 4x4 skids to the feet, unblocked it and let it down. It was then chained to the pickup bumper and *SLOWLY* dragged to where it could be placed on rollers and rolled into the shop.

The governing idea was that they system should *NEVER* have enough energy in it that it could rock past the tipping point if it all went in a bad direction.

For the move to NM I hired a rigger in OH and had a 4WD forklift out here---much faster and simplier and probably cheaper in that there was minimal equipment damage and no people damage.

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/01/05 11:49:13 EST

Adam-- I've lived in London, actually. It's great.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 12/01/05 16:19:11 EST

I prefer Madrid myself.

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/01/05 19:49:20 EST

Cosmopolitan Dudes: Miles. I suppose that makes you bi-lingual?

Thomas. Madrid, New Mexico?
Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/01/05 20:12:34 EST

fly press: Mine is not too big as to need riggers. It's a 5 ton Denbigh. It has it's original cast iron stand. Without the balls, it weighs 730 lbs (335kg). I'm buying it from our former factory in Feltham. My company has sold the business to some of the employees there & they are reducing their stuff to make the business viable. The fly press was some excess inventory. A good friend who works there knew I was looking for a fly press & put dibs on this one for me.

I'll keep scrounging to see what comes up with shipping.

I smile every time I see that toyota truck commercial where the guy says "I once hauled the state of Illinois" or "How do you think Canada got there?". It seems there's something in our blood that challenges some of us to haul stuff. You should have seen some of the stuff I've dissassembled & hauled home in (or on top of) my 50 Studebaker over the years (when away from home without a truck & coming accross a great deal).
Mike Sa
Mike Sa - Thursday, 12/01/05 22:28:26 EST

Frank-- Nahh, I speak Southrun. Am just adaptable, or lazy, I guess. Cities are wonderful places, civilized engines of efficiency. More hassle to live in sometimes than the work you are there to do, but wonderful. NYC is terrific, too. Mark Twain is said to have said he thought Boston is the sphincter of the planet, but me, I would award that distinction to Chicago or maybe St. Louis. Best City: Dublin.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 12/02/05 01:15:57 EST

CSI Members: The election of the new board starts tomarrow and you should receive mail in regards to it.

As part of the process we have had to purge the records of some 100 past members who's memberships ran out in 2004. Those of you who's memberships lapsed prior to November are still on record but your passwords will not work. This was required because the election is only open to members in good standing. If your login has stopped working it is because your membership has lapsed.

- guru - Friday, 12/02/05 02:17:44 EST

Neither Madrid NM or Madrid MO, I once spent a summer in Madrid Spain and found it a very nice place and culture for living well. Of course Francisco Franco was still alive then but from all I hear life under the double bourbon (Don Juan Carlos de Bourbon de Bourbon), is if anything even better.

Long summer evenings, sangria, paella, El Prado, Toledo, Granada, Segovia... and all those Germans frying on topless beaches.

I certainly enjoyed my time in Germany near Frankfurt too for that matter.

Perhaps I would have enjoyed london better if it hadn't always been a hurried trip there on the way to somewhere else. *no* city is at their best when you are jetlagged---save for ones you may want to forget...

Thomas P - Friday, 12/02/05 12:17:00 EST

Risks (of welding): I enjoyed the discussion of risks, especially the ones about the bicycle helmets. It kind of reminds me of a risk analysis lecture given in a decision theory class. The professor insisted that helmet wearing was irrational behavior and gave a mathematical proof. The proof appeared to be sound, but as is the case with a lot of these things, its conclusions were highly dependent on input data, the key piece of which was the value that one set on his life. If you cranked the number way up, it became worthwhile to wear a bicycle helmet, but the professor also claimed that it became even more worthwhile to hire a roofer instead of climbing that ladder. Furthermore, the initial advantage of a helmet was computed with old data from the pebble finish helmets which often broke a cyclist's neck. Learn how the professor does it, but don't listen to what he says.

One of the students was a weldor, and he brought up the anecdote of the risks of welding. He asked if anyone knew any old weldors. I had a friend who died a horrible death at a fairly young age from cumulative respiratory injuries, probably due to welding. The sad part was that he was on his own and did not have adequate health insurance. I knew another weldor who fell off a ladder. I had to admit that I did not know any old ones (but I know plenty of old blacksmiths). This other student said the main risk of welding is inhaling fumes day in and day out. I did a web search, and all I found was sleezy legal stuff about manganese and Parkinson like syndromes. Is it all that risky?
EricC - Friday, 12/02/05 13:07:39 EST

all this talk of welding flash, not been 'got' for ages, and twice today, b*&^ger diddnt put a screen up (I was a good 40' away), got flashed, looked over to give a dirty look and got got again! - spent a lovely day with watering eyes, and everything being either to bright or dark, maybee some beer tonight will take the edge of it...
Ps its a very wealthy man that spends alot of time in Covent Garden!
John N - Friday, 12/02/05 13:48:08 EST

Welding Fumes: Eric,

Yes the danger of fume inhalation when welding is VERY real. Read the MSDS sheets on welding electrodes and you'll see what the OSHA types think. Actually, I think that they understate some of the hazards, rather than overstating them. It is no accident that several companies sell a LOT of very expensive supplied-air welding helmets to professional weldors.

As with most toxins or pathogens, the more exposure you get, the more risk you run. If you burn a couple of rods a year, you can probably do it for a long, long time without hurting yoiurself, provided that you're not burning off cadmium or zinc plating while you weld. Or welding high alloy steels at way too hot a heat, thus fuming off some of the alloying elements. Even a single episode can be harmful if you're stupid or careless.

Those who weld regularly need to have adequate ventilation or supplied-air devices, top quality eye protection and radiation protection for the skin. The skin is often overlooked, but plenty of old weldors have a high incidence of skin cancers of the chest and arms. The helmet only protects your face, and thin clothing isn't much protection from arc radiation.

While we're on the subject, don't overlook the hazard of electrical shock form welding apparatus. The voltage may be realtively low, but the amperage is high and really convince your heart that it is time to take a permanent nap. Also, getting zapped while up high can cause you to take a 32 feet per second squared trip to the ground, resulting in your untimely demise or disability.

Welding, skiing, motorcycle riding, commuting, cave diving, smoking and cussing out big guys all have their inherent risks. Ya just gotta pick yer fight with care, and do yer best.
vicopper - Friday, 12/02/05 18:44:05 EST

election: Attention CSI members

Could I run for court jester??? BOG
burntforge - Friday, 12/02/05 21:28:18 EST

court jester: There is absolutely no running in the Forum during safety meetings, we don't want someone to get hurt.BOG
blackbart - Friday, 12/02/05 22:08:40 EST

Hazards to Your Health Cont'd-- leave us not forget the dangers posed by brazing, hard soldering. Fluxes and brasses emit some serious nasties. And oxy-acetylene-- I've been delving into the "Rule of 1/7" lately-- never draw down the contents of an acetylene or oxygen cylinder faster than the rate of one-seventh its volume per hour. Big risk of fire and/or explosion. Which got me into how large a tip could my torch safely handle, etc. Etc. If you don't know the answers to this, better find out, pronto, from the manufacturer of your rig. The tech and customer service persons at Harris are always helpful!
Miles Undercut - Friday, 12/02/05 22:50:26 EST

welding risks: I used to work at a company that employed about 600 full time welders. Many retired after 30 to 40 years. Yes there were losses to cancer. Probably 60 to 80% also smoked. From there I don't know how you split out the risks. We did have very good PPE as far as clothing, hoods etc. We did some local exhaust, but primarily this was shop floor welding in very large high bays. When welding inside confined spaces such as inside a boiler drum, we did a lot of fume extraction with equipment. Since those shops shut down, I have lost track of those folks. I suspect that they probably do have a higher run of lung cancer etc than the average smoker population.
ptree - Saturday, 12/03/05 09:45:44 EST

1/7 Rule: This applies to Acetylene at "normal" or room temperature. In cold weather it is less. The standard 1/2" diameter small rose bub that comes with a Victor Journeyman set requires a standard size acetylene cylinder. The big 1" ones take two or more large cylinders ganged together. I have found it easier to use propane when I needed a large rose bud heating tip.

The 1/7 rule does not apply to oxygen or inert gases.
- guru - Saturday, 12/03/05 17:45:34 EST

I'm curious as to why exceeding the 1/7 rule runs the risk of explosion. I've never heard of this before and believe I have been in situations where this would probably have been relevant.
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 12/03/05 22:32:53 EST

Oops! Wrong again. Sorry! This makes 634 times just this week. Went back and checked to see what made me say that, and I found it: I'd been looking into oxy-acetylene cutting, cylinder safety, reading about the Rule of 1/7, etc.-- I wanted to know how big a rig I needed to cut 4-inch plate without blowing myself up-- when I'd come upon a hazard that exists with oxygen (and erroneously conflated the two): it's opening the bottle valve too fast. This, says Harris, is dangerous (unless you have their regulator with "Surge Guard" in its innards). "Fires can occur in any standard oxygen regulator and the primary cause is a quickly opened cylinder valve. .... this action sends an intense pressure in the regulator, generating heat up to 2400 F. ... often resulting in the likelihood of fire or explosion." Jeff--The 1/7 rule obtains with acetylene because sucking it out faster than that can cause the acetylene to boil instead of evaporate out of the acetone. This can damage the rubber seals and internal parts of the regulator, and possibly damage the cylinder. A similar hazard exists when using the bottle lying on its side. (Then there is a whole 'nother danger, that of running acetylene out of the bottle higher than 15 psig-- which causes the molecular structure of the gas to break down, becoming explosive in and of itself.)
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 12/03/05 23:26:13 EST

Miles - cutting 4": I think I would use a longer torch than a cutting atachment if possible, maybee this would be a good time to wrap your head in tinfoil, as there can be a LOT of sparks etc flying around. We used a tracing machine to cut heavy plate at work, it was not uncommon to get the paper drawing on fire. I made a Hoffi style base for My anvil, had a bitch of a time cutting 2" plate, but I got off to a bad start trying to use a cutting machine that didn't work out and not having a good edge to start on when trying to complete the cut by hand. Still, I was uncomfortably close to the action with the cutting atachment.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 12/04/05 01:35:08 EST

Looks like I have been ignorantly fighting my rosebud for years but on a good note, I haven't managed to kill myself.What are the specifics of setting up a rosebud for propane? What do I need to get?
brian robertson - Sunday, 12/04/05 11:14:48 EST

Well, losing the cut on heavy plate when smoothness really matters is a downer, all right. Those ugly scabby craters sure mess things up. I was making a silhouette of a mustang's head out of 1 1/2-inch plate to be the gnomon on a big sundial and it took a few tries. Mucho oxygen pressure is the secret, to blow out the kerf, a friend told me, and it worked. There is even more to worry about with acetylene than I mentioned earlier. When the acetone comes bubbling into the regulator, it can reduce the outflow pressure of the acetylene. If the hot torch tip then gets accidentally touched to the hot plate, it can burn back up inside the hose. Same when one ignores the safety warnings and drains the bottle down below 50 PSIG (and who has not, trying to finish the job over a weekend?) Then the oxygen can overpower the lowwwww acetylene pressure in the torch and a fire up inside can ensue. Lotta mistakes waiting to happen lurking in those bottles. Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go wrap my head in tinfoil.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 12/04/05 11:33:37 EST

mushroom stakes: i have to make some mushroom head like things and was wondering how i could without welding, i have a 1" dia bar that i was just going to upset.
- brian - Sunday, 12/04/05 14:02:25 EST

And there is yet more to fret about-- the hose diameter. If I go bigger than the tip I have, which is rated to cut up to 3 inches, and do a lot of cutting, more than say 15 monutes or so, I should probably go to a 3/8" i.d. hose to be safe.... Maybe the thing is to just stick with joolery and the trusty PrestoLite.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 12/04/05 14:29:26 EST

Mushroom Stakes: First you plant some oak logs in moist soil in a shady. . whoops wrong mushrooms.

Brian, In most forging it is easier to start with a bar larger than your shank size and draw down rather than upset all the way. Once you have a fair shoulder you can drop the piece in a swage block, hardy hole or bolster plate then upset with a sledge as needed. Do not upset tight fits in hardy holes as you can end up with a piece stuck in the anvil or the anvil broken.

When power hammer forging you often start with the largest diameter needed and work down. This assumes you have the necessary stock size. When forging machines (upsetters) are used you start with the shank size or just a little larger. However, this is big shop forging. You do not want to try to do this kind of upsetting without a bunch of helpers.

If you must upset from 1" bar then that is all you can do. Many folks use the weight of the bar as the hammer, heat the end and thrust it downward against an anvil or heavy plate on the floor. This assumes a long bar. Once the end is swelled enough then you go to a swage block or bolster plate and the sledge. No matter how you approach it the job wil not be easy.

The easier way that you have written out is welding. One way to make a lump on the end of a bar is to wrap a piece around the bar and forge weld it. This is one of the easier forge welds to make because the parts hold themselves together and the mass holds the heat.

Another source of nearly mushroom shapes is large bolts. Another is rear wheel drive car and truck axels. These have a large upset on them that can be reworked. Cut off the bolting flange and weld up the center drill divot and you are nearly there. These also have the advantage of being a nice medium carbon steel.

The last thing to remember is that there is only a very small area that is actually used on a mushroom stake. ANy larger than the face of the hammer is almost a wast of material. Small diameter stakes with different radii can be used very effectively with some practice.

- guru - Sunday, 12/04/05 14:38:13 EST

Heavy Torch work:
As Miles is pointing out EVERYTHING needs to be larger when you do larger work. In welding equipment this applies to all the hardware cables and hoses.

When cutting thick plate you need to start with the right tip size and the right torch to support it. In many brands you can pout a big machine torch tip in a small hand held tip but what it is designed for is tha big bodied machine torch with the long straight shot for the gas going to the tip. READ your torch manufacturer's specs. Even with a large enough tip the torch itself is limited by internal orrifice sizes, valves and such. THEN be sure to apply the pressure as suggested. It is not unusual when cutting heavy plate to need 50 to 100 PSI on the oxygen. Yes this drains a cylinder in a hurry!

When cutting heavy plate by hand you want to run the maximum pressure for the tip size. This gives you the biggest cleanest kerf, which you know is better than a row of craters connected by thin kerfs. . .

You must be very comfortable and in good position to hold the torch steady. THEN you must look DOWN into the progressing kerf and adjust your motion to what is happening in the kerf. This is not like cutting thin plate when you just pay attention to following the line, it is much more.

You can never be in perfect position to make a long cut so plan on making stops and repositioning yourself. When you stop it helps to make a D shaped hole at the end of the cut so that you have a clear edge to start from again. When you restart do so slightly away from the line and then move back to it.

If you have striaght lines or circles to cut in heavy steel it pays to rig up some kind of guided torch support. A guided torch cut is close to a machine torch cut and saves many hours of clean up AND produces much nicer parts that are more useful.

You can power feed a torch using a lathe carriage and get machine torch quality work. You can make a guided torch support to fit a drill press that will make near perfect circles. In both cases you want to be careful of where the hot swarf goes as both machines are associated with quantities of oil.

- guru - Sunday, 12/04/05 14:56:50 EST

Propane Torches and Adjustments:
Tips for torches using propane are sometimes the same as regular acetylene tips and other times not. Usualy cutting tips have a special fuel break down internal tip fit into a copper shell. Rosebuds also have some internal differences and most are marked NG (Natural Gas). Welding tips are the same for all fuels I believe.

As to adjustments you can either go by the book or just adjust until they work. Torches pop back and flame out most often when adjusted too low. If you have repeated pop-backs then increase the gas flow then adjust to neutral. Rosebuds are particularly bad about this because of their high fuel consumption. Blow outs due to too much pressure are obvious. Somewhere between pop backs and blow outs is JUST RIGHT. This applies to all gas torches and burners.
- guru - Sunday, 12/04/05 15:05:45 EST

O/A Cutting atachment: I have an older [1977] Craftsman setup that is Harris compatible. It is supposed to be able to cut 6" plate. We used a lot of 6" plate at work, altho it wasn't My job to cut it, I was at the burning shed enough to see what goes on when You cut 6". I think I would want a 2' or longer torch and full coverage protective gear if I was hand cutting that thick. Our bulk Oxygen tank only supplied 60 psi if I remember corectly, that was OK up to 6" but to cut the thicker stuff cilinders had to be manifolded together, as We had no boost pump or high pressure tap to the burning shed. We had plate to 12" in stock, but avoided using over 6" due to the Oxy pressure situation. That early seventies AIRCO tracing machine was slick, but sold cheaply at auction when the plant closed. I guess now everything is CNC driven.
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 12/04/05 23:52:50 EST

Lindsay Books used to, maybe still does, sell plans for a rig to hold and guide the torch on long, straight cuts. I sure wish I'd had such a rig when I had to make a slew of big boxes out of 3/16 for a sculptor for pedestals. I bought the plans but have not yet made the apparatus, mainly just a heavy piece of stainless round stock and a simple sliding frame to hold the torch.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 12/05/05 00:10:58 EST

Guided Torch: Even with stops and starts a guided cut is much cleaner than not. It does not take much to motorize such a rig if you can find the low speed motor (drive off a barbeque?)

I had a tractor type cutting rig and traded off for something I thought was more important . . It had a litle motorized unit that ran on tracks for cutting plate. I think the electronics were tweeky (and ancient) so I didm't think I was giving up much at the time. It was quite heavy and had magnetic wheels. You took it to the plate rather than the other way around. However when I bought the thing it came with two machine torches. I kept the nice big victor with the rack and pinion. I've used that torch on a lathe setup for cutting plate and on a little hob-O by bug-O that cuts circles.

Using the hob-O I have cut up to 6" plate 40" diameter with it. I had one job where we cut 24 half round notches with a 3" radius in 4" plate. I think I cut all of them in one day. At the time our plate supplier had a tracer but it would not handle the seven foot diameter template it would have taken. So we ordered a ring cut and then I did the details.

I used the same little portable machine the cut a heavy 2" chamfer on a 4 foot diameter 8" plate and made a bunch of 6" diamter round flanges from 3/4" plate. Pretty slick little tool if you have the work for it. At the time we were taking delivery on drops of all sizes of plate and had a fair mountain of it. It didn't take long with the right tools to whittle it down. Built a lot from that scrap. . .
- guru - Monday, 12/05/05 07:23:42 EST

A piece of 1/4-inch by 2 or so angle with a straight edge clamped to the work about 1/8 back from the cutting line (to allow the oxygen cutting hole to be dead center) works wonders to save a lot of dressing with the grinder. But beware cuts far enough back from the edge that the guide can only be clamped at the ends-- heat from the torch will deflect the guide. Unless you are paying attention, you'll end up with a smooth cut, all right, but it will have a slight bow to it.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 12/05/05 11:05:39 EST

My weldor friend had a simple clamp on fixture for cutting circles, you would make a center punch ding in the center and put the point of the jig in it and swing the arc. I saw him using it and went out to the truck and grabbed on of the speaker magnets I kept behind the seat. The "keeper" on it had a hole in the back center for a bolt that fit the jig's point perfectly---no more center punch dings!

Thomas P - Monday, 12/05/05 11:40:41 EST

torch cutting: I cut a fair amount of grader blade and leaf spring up to 1" for tools. I use an AllStates propane torch. For a guide I use a pc of 2 x 1/8 strap as a straight edge set ontop of a pc of 1" sq tubing - this gives a gap for the flame wash under the straightedge - (for acet. I would use a 1/2" spacer). Also I lube the edge with soapstone to stop the copper tip from sticking when hot.

I have found these tricks helpful for getting a nice cut.

Clean the cut line down to shiny metal - paint, crud, rust pockets on the top surface where the cut enters can all interrupt the cut.

Mark the cut with whiteout. Stays visible upto red hot.

Preheat the section to be cut - select 6" to cut (usually you cant cut more w/o adjusting your position) Bring it to read heat moving in the same direction as the cut will travel, then dial back the preheat and cut. This really helps with alloy steels like grader blade.

Use a cheap makeup mirror on the floor so that you can see the underside of cut and know that you are cutting clear. This will eventually trash the mirror so dont borrow your wife's compact

Use a bright light or work in sunlight so that you can see clearly

Get a decent full face mask and a long gloves for your hands. You will not be able to muster the necessary concentration while the flame wash is searing the flesh on your forearm.

Make a real effort to setup and get comfortable. Make sure slag wont fall on your ankles. Try to brace at least one forearm. Rehearse the torch travel a couple of times. Use a guide whenever possible.

Make several practice cuts in the waste area to get everything dialed in.

Restart on the waste side of the cut and walk the cut back to the true line

A nice torch cut looks like a coarse bandsaw cut and needs only a little cleanup.
- adam - Monday, 12/05/05 12:45:47 EST

SWABA meet: Once again I had to put out fires at work and didnt get to the SWABA meet - a real disappointment since the venerable Frank Turley was to demo.
adam - Monday, 12/05/05 12:47:18 EST

Hand cutting with a torch: Many years ago, before I had my own oxy-acet rig, I had a man cut some 1 1/4 inch plate for me. The edges were critical and I expected a LOT of grinding. He used a guide and made a beautiful cut. I was amazed! I had another, smaller, piece cut on a bandsaw and it was not much better as far as the finish of the cut was concerned. I don't do enough heavy cutting to keep in practice.
- John Odom - Monday, 12/05/05 13:48:02 EST

We missed you Adam---you were mentioned by name at the meeting...

One thing about cutting: I have only set myself on fire once blacksmithing but managed to do it three times in a single day cutting with the torch. Luckily my grungies are usually so grungy that they are pretty well self extinguishing...
Thomas P - Monday, 12/05/05 14:49:41 EST

Anvilfire: Hello Everyone
I just wanted to take a minute to inform all anvilfire users that I am no longer visiting this web forum. I think it is an absolutely wonderful and informative venue. I have been putting off joining mainly because of ill health and as a direct result economics. I have been wanting to support anvilfire in many ways even if I am just able to give simple information to help others. After much soul searching I feel if I join anvilfire by paying the usual membership as I have with many other blacksmith groups...I would just be considered an outsider. This is pretty much how many people have made me feel. I know I like to joke and sometimes it may not be taken like I meant it. Some folks have just been super nice to me: Adam, John Odom, JimG, Quenchcrack, Irsign, Ken S. etc... Many folks really work hard at maintaining a geographically close knit boys club. I am not the only person to feels this way. I get the subtle hints and the outright direct ones as well. I know some of those folks will have the don't let the door hit you on the way out attitude. This will just show their true colors anyway.
- burntforge - Monday, 12/05/05 15:11:39 EST

photos: Hi John Odom
I will get those pictures to you within a theday. ie... pearl harbor.
burntforge - Monday, 12/05/05 15:14:10 EST

Turbo Tax:
Do you have Turbo Tax? Check your credit card bill, you may have been charged for a new upgrade that you did not agree to.

Intuit shipped upgrade software for the 2005/2006 tax season with an invoice sealed in the box. If you automaticaly recieved an update then you have been billed for it. In the past they were mailed out and were not activated until you apid for them.
- guru - Monday, 12/05/05 15:23:20 EST

I do not know how you feel that way. If it has to do with posting your coal imformation in the FAQ it will get done. Just not immediately. I work these pages 10-12 hours a day and am currently rewriting our CSI IRS non-profit application which is due in a couple days. 12 pages of picky Q&A supported by anothe 30 pages of documents and the IRS wants more. Most of what they want I am trying to write today. . . and fill orders and answere mail and the phone and. . .
- guru - Monday, 12/05/05 15:29:27 EST

Adam and All: At the SWABA meeting, I did some forge welding. I did a hinge barrel weld on 3/16" flat and also a loop weld, similar, on 7/16" round, the latter being the kind you can cut in half to make a push-pull poker end. I forge welded three rose leaves. I welded up a bolt-end scroll, which is shown in the British book, "Wrought Ironwork". I welded a 3/8" solid square into square tubular steel, a tight fit with a 1/16" wall on the tubular. On that one, you take a slow rising heat and kind of "tease" it together with the hammer; no scarf. This solid/tubular weld I have used on electrical light fixtures where the wire is hidden in the tube and yet the solid can be turned into something decorative. It gives the appearance of all being solid.

I did a "claraboya" of all 1/2" square. It is a Mexican term for a forge welded, decorative bifurcated end where, when installed, everything is seen on the diamond. It took me a while to figure out that one, even tho' it dates to the Gothic era.

I wanted to do more. I brought a W.I. pipe tomahawk that I needed to lay some high carbon into, but we ran out of time. Another one for another time perhaps is a "T-weld", but one done on the diagonal. Francis Whitaker showed me the setup for that one. It's the kind of weld sometimes seen on flat stock on old fireplace cranes, the curved support or brace.
Frank Turley - Monday, 12/05/05 16:27:44 EST

Last Post Sorry Guru: Hi Guru...sorry I did not mean any offense
It has nothing to due with posting the coal information. I know it may take some days or weeks. I know you are a very busy person. I totally understand. If you want to talk with me about why I feel this way and some things you may not be aware of. I would be more than happy to speak with you. I emailed you my number and would call you back if I am not available. Feel free to contact me. It would be my pleasure to speak with you. I would be more than happy to call you back, so you would not have any long distance fees. We live in the same time zone as well. burntforge
burntforge - Monday, 12/05/05 17:23:47 EST

Sorry: I would like to appologize to all. If I wrote anything that is offensive to anyone I appologize and I am truely sorry. I believe this is a very educational forum with a great deal of wealth of information. I wish I could speak with a couple of folks to work some things out. I do not want anyone making assumptions as guru thought I was unhappy with him. I realize a alot of great folks put a great deal of effort into this forum.
burntforge - Monday, 12/05/05 17:38:03 EST

Gas: Well, I've got gas! Which is a good thing, cause I ran out. Had to get my acetylene tank swapped for a full one. Bad part is that there is nowhere over here to get that done. So I had to go over 20 miles to take care of that. But is was only $44.50, for the tank I use. Which is about 8 inch dia and about 34 inches tall. I see Tractor Supply, which is only 5 miles from here, has a tank swap thingy. I'll have to check into that. See what the price is, as well as if I have to buy a tank from them, or lease. My oxygen tank, is a lease, tho that is free. But again, that is from yet another company. I got my tanks from an estate sale, and naturaly, they did not match for suppliers. So I'm gonna have to check that Tractor Supply deal out. Now, the propane tank for my forge, a 100lb tank, is a freebee from the propane supplier here in town. No lease, just pay for the fill.

19 degrees now, and getting colder in Lowell Mich.
Bob H - Monday, 12/05/05 18:26:00 EST

Flashback Arrestors: With all this talk about pop backs, blow outs, and burning back up inside the hoses, there is a product that, when attached to torch handles, will actually prevent flashback.

Victor® Flashback Arrestor - FlameBuster™

•Built-in reverse check valves
•Designed to prevent flashback from torch to hose
•For all Oxy-Fuel and Welding Cutting Torches
•Greater flow than competitive models
•Designed to prevent mismating of oxygen and fuel
•100% Tested - Proudly made by Victor Equipment

Available at most welding supply stores.
- Conner - Monday, 12/05/05 20:09:14 EST

John T: Thanks John T
I will also can those photos for you and email them tomorrow evening along with John O's

I liked the email you sent me. I appreciate it. You talked me into staying around. I am just going to let some things that get emailed to me and some things people say go in one ear and out the other. I really do appreciate some of the good folks I mentioned before. I know I forgot a few nice folks. The ones that want to blow you off and treat folks like they don't exist or others are beneath them can just pound iron...LOL I am still going to start visting other blacksmith forums as well.

Anyway enough of my rants. Go pound some iron!!!
burntforge - Monday, 12/05/05 23:00:25 EST

Bob H : TSC Tank Exchange: The prices at TSC looked pretty good, however You MUST have customer owned tanks and they MUST be in date, they have no way to recertify tanks.
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 12/06/05 00:25:52 EST

Cutting Tractor: While we are on the subject, I have a really old NATIONAL CILINDER GAS model 5 cutting tractor that doesn't seem to use a track. The front wheels are spaced diferently than the back, so a track won't work. There seems to be no method of keeping a strate line. There is a cast square cross hole so a circle could be cut by extending a rod to an ancor point at the center, the one set of wheels castor, the driven wheels are fixed. Anybody have experience with a cutter like this?
Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 12/06/05 00:37:45 EST

J.Y.Hammer from Sweden: Hi

I had the opportunity to be part of the rise of the site Blacksmith Junk Yard some years ago. From there I got an invitation to participate in Asheville 1998 and could see the result of the competition Junk Yard Hammer build. That was great. Since Y2000 I’m running the Swedish forum

There’s been a lot of learning and a lot of members. Recently one member finished his own Swedish J.Y.H and it looks great!! We will have a Blacksmith meeting 2006(like we had 2004 and 2005) to see it running.

I’ll post you the link to the forum with a lot of pictures. There is a movie to. (Most text in Swedish but the pictures speak for themselves) Please welcome too see it and leave a comment.

Johan Sangberg
Swedish Junk Yard hammer
- Johan Sangberg - Tuesday, 12/06/05 10:31:45 EST

Attention Knive Lovers: Hello Knife Lovers
Bill Horn of has a quantity of Queen Mountain Man Lockback Knives with a D2 tool blade that do not have handles. They are completely assembled and ready for someone to put the handle of their choice on them. They are only $44.00 each. Believe me as a person who worked in cutlery it is a deal. I thought some other folks who like knives as well as blacksmithing like me may be interested. The knives without handles are not on the website. You can view other mountain man lockaback folders to see the size and shape. Just call him or email him from his contact info on his website. Please tell him you received this info from Burnt Forge. Thanks guys and gails.
burntforge - Tuesday, 12/06/05 14:01:04 EST

Phoenix Power Hammers: Anyone know of a dealer for Phoenix Power Hammers in or near Michigan?
- Richard - Tuesday, 12/06/05 22:20:51 EST

Tom Odom & Tom T Pearl Harbor: I emailed you fellas those pearl harbor photos in three seperate emails. Let me know you got them ok. If not we can tyr again. Thanks Burnt Forge
burntforge - Wednesday, 12/07/05 00:15:20 EST

Phoenix Forging Hammers: Richard, looks as if they are the only ones distributing them. The following is from their web site

Phoenix Forging Hammers · 125 Sweeten Creek Rd. Unit 1 · Asheville, NC 28803 · 828-713-7828
Ralph - Wednesday, 12/07/05 06:00:24 EST

Phoenix: Ralph is right. Like most U.S. hammer manufacturers, it's basically a one-man show. Prices are one their website.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 12/07/05 10:16:37 EST

Burntforge: Sorry to see you go. I have enjoyed your company. I dont understand what happened to make you feel unwelcome but then I go thru life pretty much oblivious. I hope you find sanctuary and good company where ever you go. I and hope too that your health and your finances recover. I will keep an eye on your anvil project. You MUST tell me how much it weighs coz when I make mine its going to be at least 1# heavier. :)
adam - Wednesday, 12/07/05 11:02:45 EST

Diary of a Tool Slut: Came home last night after what turned out to be a very loooon Sunday at work. IMO physicists should not be allowed to conduct experiments without a parent or some other responsible adult being present. Came home to find a package from ( I do! I do!). Four 4" grinders at $6 ea! plus a bunch of grinding disks at about $1. I also bought their $22 4 1/2" angle grinder and some other odds and ends. This is part of a scientific investigation into the feasiblity of dirt cheap tools - I wouldnt dream of buying all this stuff just for fun.

I will report back on the service of these little grinders
adam - Wednesday, 12/07/05 11:12:18 EST

Tool Tests: Adam, did youget a grant to do this testing, or are you self-funded? Uncel Sam wants to help, you know. :-)
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/07/05 11:38:36 EST

Tool Slut's of the world----remember me in your wills!

Went to the SCA meeting last night and was asked if I would like a rolling mill someone had broken an adjustment screw on---free! Now this was designed for silver smithing but I bet it would look good in my shop anyway...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/07/05 12:23:48 EST

Adam: Vicopper and Tom T talked me into staying, so don't worry we can still enjoy each others company.
- burntforge - Wednesday, 12/07/05 13:30:18 EST

guru: I am glad jock made an appearence back in the guru's den today. I thought the IRS had him in custody. I was just fixin to put on my hammer holsters and put a call out to all other hammer carrying Blacksmiths...LOLOLOLOL. BOG
burntforge - Wednesday, 12/07/05 13:32:26 EST

Senior Project: I'm making a wrough iron gate for my grandfather, and need advise on twisting the iron bars.
- Rob Folge - Wednesday, 12/07/05 14:23:31 EST

You need to give us a little more detail Rob. How long a bend? What size material? What do you have available to heat it with?
FredlyFX - Wednesday, 12/07/05 15:05:40 EST

Oops, I ment how long a twist?
FredlyFX - Wednesday, 12/07/05 15:06:55 EST

Cap'n Atli is Back (...sort of...): ...and his back still hurts!

I pulled some more muscles a few weeks back, but not as bad as the first time, when I sprained them proper in June and ended up on my back for most of the month. Lugging a laptop seems cause it or to aggravate it, so I'm easing up on the load.

Still working on the runners and top straps for the never-ending sleigh projects, but with some help from some High School "apprentices" I'm finally whipping it into shape... sort of. Just as I'm forging ahead, I have to go in for some more "slice and dice" lower g.i. surgery tomorrow, and I'll be restricted to lifting no more than five pounds (2.268 k) "...or any strenuous activity" says the doc.


On the other claw, maybe I'll catch up with my e-mail and AnvilFire and some of the other sites.

Meanwhile, the link below was sent to me by one of our crew in the Longship Company. Well, _I_ thought it was pretty funny. ;-)
OSHA Approved Anvil for Viking Longship
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 12/07/05 15:10:58 EST

Shouldn't that read "for use by Captains only" to make sure they go down with the ship?

Good luck with that GI I had emergency gall bladder surgery once and it looked like they took a chainsaw to my belly felt like it 5 weeks later when I stared a job with a lot of lifting...

Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/07/05 15:23:21 EST

Recuperation Prescription: Well, about four years or a bit less ago, my gall bladder decided that there wasn't room in my abdomen for both of us and decided to explode. The doc called it a rupture, but from the pain and the gangrene, I would call it an explosion. Naturally, the gangrene was all over the place, so they had to open me up like a turkey and root around with both hands to scrape it all out...or whatever they do. Glad I slept through it, frankly. Anyway, after a while in hospital on triple antibiotics for the gangrene/septicemia et al, they let me go home with the admonition to lift nothing, do nothing and generally die of boredom.

I am constitutionally incapable of doing nothing for any period longer than about ten minutes, so i twasn't long before I was bored to death and absolutely HAD to do something before I climbed upon a roof and started shooting. That, folks, is when I decided it was appropriate to get back into my metalsmithing. (grin)

Since I was on sick leave and had lots of time on my hands, I had time to roam the island looking for an anvil, drag a bunch of tools out of storage and set up my little smithy. The doc would have had me in restraints had she seen what I was doing, I'm sure. did me no harm that I can discern, and kept me from going nuts. Best damn thing I ever did, in fact.

So don't sit around too much, Atli. But don't be quite as stupid as I was, either. (grin)
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/07/05 18:05:02 EST

VICopper---I tell folks it is my hari kiri scar...

My job was working in a custom woodworking shop and as low man on the totem pole a lot of it consisted of throwing oak 5/4 boards 16' long and up to 20" wide back and forth across the victorian equipment. Boww was very careful to keep his payrole one short of requiring a safety inspection.

I'd been smithing for about 5 years by then...

Did you keep any of the stones?

Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/07/05 18:36:28 EST

A silver smithing rolling mill is far too light for a blacksmith shop. As I have been looking for a silver rolling mill for my silverwork shop, perhaps I can relieve you of the burden of fixing and storing that far too light mill. :)
ptree - Wednesday, 12/07/05 19:13:36 EST

2nd annual slacktubpub/CSI tong exchange.

Once again it's that time of year. To get in on the tong exchange send your name and address to with tong exchange in the subject line

It'll work the same as last year, I'll do the draw chain style, so the person you get your tongs from will not be the person you send tongs too.

Get your name in before the 21st of Dec, and all tongs must be shipped to their new homes by 3 Kings Day (Jan 6th)
JimG - Wednesday, 12/07/05 20:01:35 EST

The time has come for the first elected CSI Board of Directors to be formed. Only CyberSmiths International Members with a current membership will be allowed to vote. The alloted time frame to vote is from now until December 15th at 11:59pm, EST. We urge you to take the time to vote for the first elected CSI Board of Directors.

Thank you,
The CSI Volunteer Appointed BOD.

A copy of the actual email that went to all members will be posted on the CSI Members Forum, along with voting instructions. Anyone that did not receive a letter or has any questions about the procedure should contact me by clicking on my name. Any member that has difficulty logging on, voting or has any other issue is encouraged to do the same. ALL efforts will be made to resolve voting issues.

Thank you,
R. Garcia (aka Gronk- Member at Large)
Gronk - Wednesday, 12/07/05 20:43:39 EST

Thomas: I suppose those stones are around here someplace, if Sally didn't toss 'em. Why, you need some? You're welcome to them, as I had about all the fun I cold possibly stand with them already. (grin)
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/07/05 21:14:17 EST

Guru IRS Solution: Jock I found this online to help you out with the IRS

Ways To Annoy The IRS
Always put staples in the right hand corner. Go ahead and put down the whole right side. The extractors who remove the mail from the envelopes have to take out any staples in the right side.
Never arrange paperwork in the right order, or even facing the right way. Put a few upside down and backwards. That way they have to remove all your staples rearrange your paperwork and re-staple it (on the left side).
Line the bottom of your envelope with elmer's glue and let it dry before you put in your forms, so that the automated opener doesn't open it and the extractor has to open it by hand.
If your very unfortunate and have to pay taxes use a two or three party check.
On top of paying with a three party check pay one of the dollars you owe in cash. When an extractor receives cash, no matter how small an amount, he has to take it to a special desk and fill out of few nasty forms.
Write a little letter of appreciation. Any letter received has to read and stamped regardless of what it is or what its on. Write your letter on something misshappen and unconventional. Like on
the back of a Kroger sack.
When you mail it, mail it in a big envelope (even if its just a single EZi form). Big envelopes have to be torn and sorted differently than regular business size ones. An added bonus to the big envelope is that they take priority over other mail, so the workers can hurry up and deal with your mess.
If you send 2 checks they'll have to staple your unsightly envelope to your half destroyed form.
Always put extra paper clips on your forms. Any foreign fasteners or the like have to be removed and put away.
Sign your name in ink on every page. Any signature has to verified and then date stamped.

burntforge - Thursday, 12/08/05 00:57:25 EST

IRS: That sounds like a surefire way to obtain an audit to me.
- Jeff G. - Thursday, 12/08/05 11:27:58 EST

IRS: Hi JeffG

I absolutely agree with you
burntforge - Thursday, 12/08/05 11:34:54 EST

Vicopper I asked for mine cause they had given me hell for so long---nobody figured a male, 28 year old at 165# would have gallbladder problems...and cost a pretty penny too.

I've been thinking of making some reliquery pommels with them.

Or trying to make oxgall ink with smith gall...

besides which they are *mine* and once removed from me I would claim they count as chattles!

PTree, all that trading stuff at QS and no way to swing a deal the irony of it all. I'll see what condition it's in Saturday. If nothing else I might be able to scavanage some parts from it to make a smithing one.

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/08/05 11:51:49 EST

This is a dragon I do not like to upset. I've known too many people who were audited then audited, then audited again. In one case the auditor spent months going over books because he was SURE a near bankrupt business (it really was) had hidden millions somewhere. . . They finally audited every subcontractor and found a janitor service that was not paying their taxes and had ALL the people that they had worked for pay the service's back taxes. . .

Even if you are perfectly honest and right being audited can cost a fortune in time and agrevation.

I am not having IRS problems. We are just trying to answer all the questions in response to our non-profit application. We had a few mistakes on the original 12 page document (with some 30 pages of support documents) and the IRS had a page of extra questions which took about 8 pages more to answer.

On top of all that we have had a change of the board of directors and most of the original 12 page form had to be refiled. . .

The only time I gave the Federal Government a hard time was when I got a "Must respond under penalty of law" 6 page drug survey issued by the department of agriculture that assumed that "blacksmith" meant farrier and that I used controlled substances in my work. It was ALL fill in the little circle and there was no place on it that you mark "does not apply". So I wrote a paragraph on the difference between blacksmith and farrier in 1" tall red letters with a big magic marker. . .


Back in the Anti-Vietnam protest days someone realized that the draft law required that everyone that had ever been issued a draft card (all the way back to WWII) was required by law to update their address, employment and education status any time it changed, no matter what your age. If you had failed to send in timely notices you could send in a complete update at any time. Now. . . since NOBODY had ever updated their information this meant that there were MILLIONS of men who owed (by law) thier draft board a life history. Imagine a few million life histories floating into the draft boards. . .
- guru - Thursday, 12/08/05 12:32:25 EST

Tool Orgy: The Morning After: Its about 8 degF in my shop this morning and my newly acquired $6 angle grinders are too cold to touch. I unpack grinder #1, set it on the bench and plug it in. Apparently it's the custom in the Orient to package power tools with the switch set to "ON". Funny how these things are cultural. The little grinder jumps around the bench like a beserk salami. I am definitely awake now. Yank the plug, mount a grinding disk and try again. Now heres an interesting phenomenon, turning the grinder in my hand causes it to slow down to a crawl and speed up again as it rebuilds angular momentum. Now with a $60 grinder this interesting subtlety would be obliterated by the crude power of the motor. I touch the disk lightly to a piece of steel. It slows to about 10 rpm and a thick cloud of smoke pours out of the housing. OK somebody in China owes me $6 + shipping.

Grinder #2 has just enough oomph to be useful turning a scotch bright pad. The other two actually have enough torque to be used as grinders so long as you dont expect to lean on them. Which is fine for finishing wheels. So, two grinders @ $12 ea + a bunch of spare parts.
adam - Thursday, 12/08/05 13:29:03 EST

IRS: I know only ONE person who ever won over the IRS.

My former employer's bookkeeper. They were notified of an audit. She got ALL the requested documents ready and when the auditor came, she made him look at EVERY ONE and Initial each one indicating that he had read it! She was one of those people who kept every scrap of paper and had all the records for decades back. He called the next day and stated that he had enough information and would NOT return to finish. We all pitied the poor man. She was the worst part of that employment, because of the hassel oveser expense reports etc.

My theory is keep your head down and avoid the audit.
- John Odom - Thursday, 12/08/05 15:58:32 EST

Adam did you let them warm up first? Any lube in the geats probably has the consistance of mastadon snot at that temp and will burn out a motor before even getting up to speed.

I have a box in the house that I stash power tools in when I need to use them the next day in cold weather. Once they are in use they will generally keep themselves warm.

My father always said "Never argue with a small town Sheriff or with the IRS"

Words to live by!

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/08/05 16:58:25 EST

Viking Ship: Bruce Blackistone (Atli)

I just watched a big build program on the History Channel where they buildt a traditional viking ship in Spokane Wash. Were you involved in this project? The shipwrights and blacksmith sure did a nice job on the boat and the tools used to make it.

I really enjoyed it.
burntforge - Thursday, 12/08/05 20:21:14 EST

IRS: If you get the chance, read the book " To Harass Our People". It was written by a former congressman, I can't remember his name. It's about the IRS' abuse of power.
- Jeff G. - Thursday, 12/08/05 22:57:58 EST

My Dessolate Area: I know I've probably asked this question before but do any of you guys know of anyone who is in Southern Montana (Billings) or Northern Wyoming (Cody) who is a blacksmith...who isn't too busy? Thanks

Feel free to email me if any of you have any leads thanks
Matt - Thursday, 12/08/05 23:59:23 EST

MT smiths.....: Matt look here and contact the various contact folks
Ralph - Friday, 12/09/05 03:37:51 EST

Viking Faering Boat: I saw the program... Wow; what a nice job! These fellows seem to be all the top craftsmen. They even got in a blacksmith, although they mis-edited some of the processes.

On the whole, very satisfying; my only objections were the iterchangeable use of the terms boat, longboat and longship; some botched "popular" history, the horrible (Hagar the Horrible?) Victorian "horny helm" illustrations, and the usually "reality TV" devices of artificial deadlines and personality conflict (the poor assistant...). Despite this, I learned a lot about little quirks that our crew was unaware of.

Iced-in and recovering on the banks of the lower Potomac. Since they didn't have to hack away anything this time, I should be able to do some blacksmithing (undoubtedly the sleighs) this weekend; if I can slide to that end of the farm on the ice!
Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/09/05 09:10:58 EST

New blacksmith site: Hi all. I just wanted to let people know that I have created a new website with some new opportunities for blacksmiths. Check it out when you get some time.

- Mike Deibert - Friday, 12/09/05 09:35:19 EST

Mike: Mike
Nice website.
burntforge - Friday, 12/09/05 09:46:29 EST

Changing Grinder Angles:
Adam, This slowing can be detected in a $200 - 7" grinder IF you have the muscle power to move that fast!

So you bought four grinders and got two that worked at about zero F?

I suspect the bunch of spare parts are not the ones you will need. . . As Thomas noted it helps to keep tools warm or at least let them warm up before applying them. Even dumb tools like hammers and anvils get a lot more brittle at cold temperatures and shouldn't be used until warming slightly.
- guru - Friday, 12/09/05 13:45:06 EST

NRBA: Thanks Ralph, I'll check it out
Matt - Friday, 12/09/05 16:57:05 EST

Cold Cold Cold: In the "for what its worth" department. My slack tub is a 20 gallon trash can. And my shop is not heated except by a small wood stove and the forge. I found an old heat tape and wrapped it around the can and, surprisingly it keeps the water from freezing. And it's just a 20 watt tape. I kept the lid for the can and put it on a when the tape is plugged in. A 20 watt tape won't even use 10 cents a day in power. As I said, "for what it's worth".
- Doug Thayer - Friday, 12/09/05 17:41:13 EST

Cold, the sensitivity of high carbon steel to Dept.-- one bitterly cold day in my poverty-stricken, impetuous and ignorant youth, I took a gorgeous brand new 16-oz. TrueTemper claw hammer out to Jones Beach and used it to try to drive a Kelley axe into some driftwood to use in making a couch. One by one, after just a few blows, the claws snapped off the hammer. It's still a great trim hammer. You just can't pull nails with it.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 12/09/05 19:14:30 EST

Frezzing Slack Tubs:
I've often wondered if cold weather wasn't the reason for a brine quench at one time.

There was a brief experiment with water cooled tuyeers providing hot water for blacksmith shops. However, in severe weather water cooled tuyeers freeze and become a huge maintenance headache.

- guru - Saturday, 12/10/05 00:07:16 EST

Freezing Slack Tub: This may be a really dumb question. Can you use antifreeze in with quench water in the winter to prevent freezing? Are there health risk involved from the steam created while quenching? I never tried this or even looked into it. Just came to mind. Is it is possible what would the mix ratio be?
burntforge - Saturday, 12/10/05 00:21:18 EST

CSI membership: If I were to print off the member application and write a check where would I send it? I understand Jock has moved to NC and this site still shows his VA address.

I don't get a response from Mr.Demsey when I ask for the address to mail some general blacksmith information that may be helpful to others or to respond to my offer of a donation to benefit anvilfire as well. How do I know I can trust my payment would be applied to a membership and it activated?

Jock if this post brings on any negative conatations from you it is a very legitament request that has be completely ignore by you...thus I feel a personal discrimination towards me. It also falls under non-profit organzational law to provide this information to someone vesting into this type of business.
burntforge - Saturday, 12/10/05 00:32:55 EST

Burntforge Slack tub antifreze: The usual auto antifreze is Ethelene glycol, pets like the taste, but it is toxic. I don't particularly like the smell of the steam, it probably wouldn't do You any good either. RV / Boat antifreze is Propelene glycol and is non toxic, It would be a better bet. I don't know how well it would work as a heat treat quench, that would take some trial & error I think. RV / Boat antifreze is supposed to be OK to -30 out of the jug, it is probably slushy or thicker at that temp. Somebody across the street is using a 20W heat tape and covering the tub when not in use.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 12/10/05 01:15:37 EST

CSI Part II: I basically just need validation from Jock if the VA address is still a valid address or and if the mail gets forwarded from that one. After all it is everyone ones money who invests in this site. I think it is a very worthwhile site to support.

I am not asking for anything personal. As I don't care what he does with his life and respect his privacy. This is a reasonable request. I don't care if it is a as simple as a po box. I don't understand why I can't get an answer from jock. He seems like a good guy. If I purchased something from him as a business I am going to want to know the business address to send my funds and phone number for service if there is an issue with item or shipment of and item. I feel like I am an outsider because I just can't get a darn simple answer from Mr. Demsey. I have never done anything to you Jock. Why won't you ever respond to me on this simple manner. Honestly it seems rather odd to me. I mean absolutely NO disrespect and NO type of threat. It is just a simple question.

A Social Disclaimer. If these two posts offend anyone. I really just don't care. I am not letting anything anyone emails to me or says to me be taken personally anymore. For now on I tell it like it is.
burntforge - Saturday, 12/10/05 01:17:07 EST

Thank you Dave: Thanks Dave for your input and direction. I will give the heat tape some consideration. Thanks again
burntforge - Saturday, 12/10/05 01:18:34 EST

Stock tank heaters: In my 55 gallon drum slack water, I use electrical stock tank heaters that are available from feed stores.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 12/10/05 02:11:28 EST

I've tried anti-freeze in the slake tub. I didn't like it. Leaves a smelly, greasy residue on the iron. Try salt (brine), as the eminent guruissimo suggests. Or if it's that bloody cold, stay inside the house and do silver or read Schwarzkopf or Jack Andrews. Or Turley on Colonial Spanish iron. Or Proust. Or watch your Buffy tapes.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 12/10/05 02:12:41 EST

Burntforge: I emailed you the CSI treasurers mail address. Best place to send your dues.
Ellen - Saturday, 12/10/05 02:40:45 EST

Thank You : Thanks for all the helpful info Frank, Miles and Ellen.
burntforge - Saturday, 12/10/05 10:16:40 EST

My Address / anvilfire business: The adresses on the home page, store pages, CSI membership form and secure cert page is still my business address or it would not be on anvilfire. Mail that goes there is forwarded to my current temporary address as it will be to the next. There are a few places the phone number is still incorrect but the telephone solicitors have had no trouble finding the right one. . .

I often get mail that needs a long thoughtful response and I set it aside to reply when I have time. Often it takes a while. Besides anvilfire I maintain 5 commercial blacksmithing sites which are always a prioity to being updated as they help pay the bills. I also process, pack and ship a couple dozen orders from the anvilfire store each week, also to pay the bills (to keep anvilfire going). Then there is the daily flow of questions in the mail that you do not see here asking about anvil ID's, valuing equipment, getting started, suggested Christmas gifts. . . . AND I answer the phone (a busy business phone) and have a little bit of life where I actually interact face to face with other people.

For all this I pay taxes on an amount that is far below the poverty level and which most people could not live on. However, I CAN and DO write off travel to blacksmithing events . . (when I can afford to go). I've never have figured out how congress thinks the self employed who can barely feed themselves and can't afford health insurance or to see a doctor can come up with 15% of their utility and food bills in taxes (after already paying an average of 15% in local taxes on everything from food to the phone bill). It reminds me of the Revolutionary War political cartoon where it shows a loaf of bread full of tacks with the title "How can we eat out bread which is so full of taxes". . . Congress needs to remember that we revolted (violently) against that government that was taxing us so.

Although I run anvilfire as a full time business it has never paid for itself. Far from it. In the past 8 years it has worn out two sets of hardware - PC, printer, and other office equipment which where purchased with funds from other jobs that paid real money (I DO have valuable skills that can be applied elsewhere). Hardware that could do a little video work has died and not been replaced thus the "anvil cam" is defunct. We are currently operating our office on hardware provided by a friend, on loan. We have gone from a $50/month server, to a $150/month server to a $225/month server and are due for yet another update (hopefully not in cost but due to age of the equipment).

On top of all of this the amount of daily bookkeeping, mail and answering the phone has been enough that I needed a secretary/office manager at least 5 years ago. . . there is a backlog of things to do at least that long.

CSI helps but also has created a lot more work. The smallest part is handling membership questions (lost passwords, changed e-mail addresses and such). But then there is managing the CSI pages, archiving the forums, posting the business documents and meeting minutes. . . AND a new CSI page that needs to be built. EVENTUALLY this should all pay off. But we are still a year from being able to obtain a grant IF the IRS instantly grants our non-profit status and we manage to get a grant applied for by the dead-line (usualy six months to a year in advance). . .

So I just keep plugging along. But when people tell me they think they have been treated poorly on anvilfire and that they need more attention or quicker attention I just want to turn off the computers and go out in the shop and mindlessly pound some iron. . . or work on restoring any one of the dozen machines I have that need attention . . or packing them up (only about 3 container loads) for the pending move. . . that I cannot yet afford but must do.

Currently we have less than 100 CSI members who help support this site. That is a very small fraction of the thousands that use this site every day and have done so for years. If less than half (about 1/3) of the regular daily users supported anvilfre we would not need to be applying for IRS non-profit status or searching for grants. At a funding level of 1/3 of ABANA we would be fully funded for all the things folks want us to do as well as assuring that anvilfire would remain on-line. Meanwhile we are wearing out our third set of hardware maintaining anvilfire. . .
- guru - Saturday, 12/10/05 11:41:00 EST

Guru: You have my empathy

I ran a business that was not ever profitable, while working a job full time to be able to live, while going to college part time including all summer sections for six straight years. All of this while being very sick and much time spent traveling two states away for medical treatments and paying for this as well. Now my body is pretty much worn out and I live in high levels of pain and inmobility everyday.

You do have my empathy. If you feel my simple question to confirm a mailing address was putting a great amount of pressure on you to where you wanted to shut your computers down. Then you need to seek proffesional help. It sounds like you hold much inside and your barrell is overflowing.

If my insignificant small request would put you in such a place. Afterall I am the one trying to step all over myself to give you money to be a member to help support your site and give you a new blacksmith tool to raffle off to help support this site. I will add I have not had a single dollar in income for over a year from health issues. Though I can empahize with you are preaching to the wrong crowd.

How in the HELL am I suppose to know the mailing address on this sight was still useable if I knew you moved and asked for a new address or confirmation the old on stilled worked!! When I did the above I answered 400 emails a day.

I am not asking you to kiss my rear for money. I was just asking for an address and if you indeed would accept an item to help raise funds for anvilfire.
burntforge - Saturday, 12/10/05 13:41:50 EST

Hey: On this forum, we say hecky darn, shoot fire, and aw sugar.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 12/10/05 14:01:13 EST

Sorry: Oh hecky darn!! Sorry that word typed itself out.

I am very Sorry Jock for my above post!!

We just had a wonderful conversation!! What a great person he is. Just one of those misunderstandings because of posts are only on dimentional and you really may take things a liitle wrong. All is worked out.

I am joining this wonderful forum to help support it.
burntforge - Saturday, 12/10/05 15:03:42 EST

Burntforge: One minute you seem very upset and the next everything is hunky dory (I think?) it's just funny reading posts sometimes :)
Matt - Saturday, 12/10/05 23:24:23 EST

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 12/11/05 00:02:43 EST

Why does th time slug say 00:02:43 on that when was only 11:02:43 p.m. there on the East coast when I posted that for ol' Ralph? Hmmmm?
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 12/11/05 00:05:30 EST

Matt: Howdy Matt

Refer to Miles Post...I like it alot...Ok now I am sounding like Forest Gump.

Jock and I had a good chat today. I think we were having a misunderstanding.

I am glad the posts are entertaining as I like to joke around too.

Maybe I am bipolar and don't realize. No i'm not, but it sounded good. I think it is the voices in my head...nope not it either. That is just the dogs barking in the background.

actually i am one of those persons that just can't stay angry for more than two minutes. I go from very upset to hunky dory rather rapidly. Oh shoot fire ...I have one amazing concious too. I have to appologize if I feel I have the slightest little bit of being mean to anyone. Oh hecky darn! aw sugar! @#%!@#%!%%#@#@! Frank now you got me swearing in code!! It is all your fault. It is all that craziness you put into my head with the hot lady with all the tatoos you talked about.

Actually the asylum lets me play online with the computer a few times a day. If don't get my lithium regular in between posts I go a little nuts. I am having the shakes right now. OK I better stop before someone really thinks i am nuts. Alot of chemicals in blacksmith Coal and it affects the frontal lobe and this is the result.
burntforge - Sunday, 12/11/05 00:52:36 EST

Matt 2: You should see me on a day I am not stable...BOG.
burntforge - Sunday, 12/11/05 00:54:28 EST

I'm a slacker.: Guru makes me look like a slacker...
- Tom T - Sunday, 12/11/05 00:59:54 EST

Matt3: I almost forgot I voted myself in as the offical anvilfire court jester. I did have to stop running on the forum for safety purposes though. LOLOL
burntforge - Sunday, 12/11/05 01:01:02 EST

Champion CD-ROM: Does anyone know if the Champion Blower & Forge CD-ROM, that is listed on this website, is going to be back in stock in the near future?

- David - Sunday, 12/11/05 20:01:48 EST

Burntforge: hehe
Matt - Monday, 12/12/05 14:40:40 EST

ITC Products:
Tis a sad day for the blacksmithing community. ITC will no longer package its products in pints. Half gallons will be the minimum purchase.

For forge builders this will mean that you will either need to plan on building several forges at once or get together with others and build forges as a group.

Reasons for the change given were cost of packaging, labor and handling. As many pints as we sell it is not enough even with a price increase to continue packaging in the small containers.
- guru - Monday, 12/12/05 16:04:10 EST

BurntForge---surely you jest!

Thomas P - Monday, 12/12/05 18:37:21 EST

Tom P: BOG
My jester outfit is almost complete. I keep burning the bells of the star points of my jesters hat in the forge.
Burnt Forge - Monday, 12/12/05 19:20:47 EST

Don't tell me you're going to be "The Man in the Iron Mask"!

Thomas P - Monday, 12/12/05 19:36:54 EST

What about the plistex, replacement for ITC? Cheaper, still in pints. Seems to work aa well, anyone else tried it?
- Tone - Monday, 12/12/05 20:02:57 EST

Plistix: Plistix is a good product for increasing the durability of ceramic fiber refractories, but it does not boast the high IR reflectivity of the ITC-100. I have heard some folks say that one of the Plistix products is better at resisting flux than ITC-100, but they did not, unfortunately, say which Plistix they used. Pilbrico, the makers of Plistix, make about seven or eight different products called Plisitx, so you need to specify which one we're talking about to compare it to the ITC-100.
vicopper - Monday, 12/12/05 21:25:53 EST

ITC-100 Replacements: There are coatings that work on refractory linings but most do not do what ITC-100 does or have as high a temperature rating. IF you are really concerned about protecting your kaowool linings most folks recommend refractory cements over initial coatings. But these do not increase thermal efficiency. However, if you think half gallons are a large minimum try the 5 gallon 80 pound buckets of refractory cement! I love the stuff but can't afford the waste. . .

I did not test ITC-296A for flux resistance but it supposedly is a high purity version of ITC-100 that has much better chemical resistance.

Our test of ITC-100 was a severe test. Making a small melting crucible out of kaowool lined with a couple thin coats of ITC-100 then melting borax in it.
- guru - Monday, 12/12/05 21:39:12 EST

Making an Anvil: Hey I have a question, this can go to anybody or if Jock/Guru can answer then that is just as good. I have a question about making an anvil from the Guru's Plan File from Metal Web News by Ernie Leimkuhler, If any of you guys have read it. Where in a scrap yard can I find a piece of "anvil blank" and what is a "blank" anyways? Do they mean just a blank piece of steel?

Also what else can I use for an anvil that I can find in a dump/landfil or scrap yard that would work well? Old car parts, railroad track, washer & dryer parts...? And Since I don't have any access to any welding units and I don't have any knowlege on how to work a welder, I'm in a rut, although I'm sure I could go and buy a cheap welder from Harbor Freight and teach myself ;) I don't want to burn my house down or burn myself period. Any help will be great, my fellow blacksmiths.

One last thing, I don't have an anvil of course, nor would I be typing this message but I really don't need a horn to start off with (eventually I will) because all I need is something that I can hammer my metal against. Thanks guys,
Matt - Tuesday, 12/13/05 02:51:28 EST

Making an Anvil: I hope what I wrote makes sence.
Matt - Tuesday, 12/13/05 02:54:15 EST

making an anvil: Matt,
What is an anvil? It is a tool that is to be used to place hot metal on and hit it with an hammer. Does it have to look like the common pre-conception of an anvil? NO! I repeat NO!!!!!!
GO to the scrap/junk yard and look for a block of steel that weights about what you want. Can be round or square, or any shapr as long as you have at least one fairly striaght surface for working on. ( I would say the working surface should be about 4 inches by about 6 or so inches.)
SO if you could find a 200 pound cylinder of steel. Set it on end and use it. Or a rectangle and set it on end or a square.
As for horn shapes and all that can be made by using a smaller piece and grinding it to shape. Or making a stake tool etc.
The horn ( bick or bickern), and the heel of an anvil are nice, but can easily be made form other stock and used as a stake type piece.
For example I read of a fellow who got one of the old Rail car couplings and used it as an anvil until a 'real' anvil showed up. I think he used it for about 3 or 4 years. SO an anvil can be most anything...... they are everywhere.....
Ralph - Tuesday, 12/13/05 05:47:50 EST

DIY Anvils: I was looking for an anvil for my treadle hammer project and having a real hard time finding anything. The biggest problem is most of the scrapyards just cut everything they get during the week and sell it to the shredder. Few yards want to deal with the onesies like me.

But I lucked into a weird place for big pieces of metal. Maybe this will work for someone else, too. A friend works at a place that refurbishes rolls for paper mills. These rolls are huge, 30 - 50 ft long. The ends of the rolls that are the actual bearing surface are called journals. They're round, "stepped", cylinders. By "stepped" I mean they have varying diameters along the length. So they can start off as 6 inches and end up maybe 3. All sorts of different styles. Anyway, this refurbisher replaces worn out journals from time to time. They end up recycling them, but it's not even a minor source of income for them. Parting with a few wasn't a problem at all.

Like I said, not a real big industry, but you never know what's in your neighborhood. I'm in NH - not really the paper mill center of the world.
- Marc - Tuesday, 12/13/05 08:57:27 EST

Treadle and Hammer Anvils:
A way that works when you cannot find large steel is to bundle flats and weld them together. How you organize the pieces can make it quite simple.

First, get fairly large flat stock, 1/2 x 2 or 1/2 by 3. You need enough to make four square bundles ( 4 x four 1/2 x 2 or 4 x six 1/2 x 3). These want to be square cut as accurate as possible to almost the height of your anvil. These make a 136 pound or 306 pound anvil 30" tall respectively.

Tack the ends of the bundles together. Then stack the group with the bundles alternating in direction and tack together. Thus every group has one side with edges out and one side with widths out. Then use bar like 1/4 x 1" to strap the bundles together in at least two places and weld along both sides of each strap all the way around. This crosses the outer ends of all four bundles as well as the flats. Centered between the straps run 3" long beads at each joint in a band.

Grind the top flat (remove tacks) and fit a thick anvil cap that is at least 3/4" bigger in each dimension than the bundle and fillet weld all around. If you are using bolt on dies be sure to drill and tap the plate before welding it on!

If you use rectangular bundles (not stacked as tall as they are wide) you can make an anvil with a hollow center. This is usefull on treadle hammers where punching is done over the die hole so that biscuits and punches fall through. You will want an opening at the bottom of one side of the anvil to let bita and pieces roll out. This system is commonly used on the better treadle hammers with hollow anvils but using a bundled anvil you can have a solid anvil AND tooling hole. . .

Its all in the details. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 12/13/05 10:09:03 EST

Meteoric Anvil: A few years back, the Arizona blacksmith, Tom Bredlow, told me that he had once had the opportunity to use a "Tucson Meteor" as an anvil. The two so-called Tucson Meteors totaled over a ton in weight. They have an interesting history of reputed ownership and movement. At least one of them was used as a blacksmith's anvil at the military garrisons in the mid-1800's.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/13/05 10:33:28 EST

Anvils: I've often heard descriptions of potentional thunder clouds as "Anvil" shaped. Only knowing the london pattern as being and anvil shape I coudn't see the anvil shape to the clouds.
After I made and finished my Y1K anvil, I seen a thunderhead.

The point to this story?
(I'm getting old enough where I can have a rambling story......)
JimG - Tuesday, 12/13/05 10:36:18 EST

Fabricated anvils: As Ralph pointed out forget the preconcieved ideas about anvil shape.

First, as noted above you need to look into scrap yards (not dumps or landfills), machine shops and heavy industry. It IS everywhere in the US, even in the most rural areas.

Steel service centers often cut heavy plate ( 6, 8, 10") and hamve large drops. They also will have contracts with recylers for 100% of their scrap. Don't ask to scroung in their scrap, they don't like that for a variety of good reasons (libility). But tell them what you are looking for. Tell them you are interested in blacksmithing as a hobby *NEVER EVER tell them you want to make SWORDS* and you need a cheap anvil. They may be helpful or promise to set aside a likely scrap. Don't worry about shape, you just want heavy. One of the most common drops is the skeleton from cutting round circles or the corners from same. These are great scrap.

Then use that big heavy piece AS-IS if you do not have a torch, welder and angle grinder.

IF you have a torch and or welder then you can modify the shape. Horns are handy but any curved or round surface is usefull. A wedge from the corner of a circle skeleton can be ground round on the top all the way to the point and be as useful as a horn.

You can weld a piece of square tubing, or fabricate a tube on the side of a heavy plate to hold hardies and other hardy hole tooling. 1" shanks are the most common size today.

Click link for drawing of unconventional shaped anvil with minimal effort.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/13/05 10:46:57 EST

The anvil in the drawing above could be used AS-IS with no tools or just with some grinding (no hardie hole). It has both a round horn and a square horn when ground. With a little torch cutting the horn could be more conventional but considering they are probably mild steel or A36 plate and quite slender the extra support makes them more durable. I would under cut maybe the first inch or so for making small hooks and such.

Here is another version. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 12/13/05 11:10:02 EST

Scrounged anvil: When I set about building my powerhammer, one of the toughest things to come up with was material for an anvil. There just isn't much heavy industry inthe Virgin Islands except for the oil refinery and they won't let anything at all out of their compound, period. I did find two ways to make an anvil, though.

There was a large trubine shaft from the powerplant sitting in a yard that I could have used if I'd just had the nerve to rig an oxygen lance to cut it. I had to pass on that one, at least for now. Maybe someday...

I found a place that had scrapped out an old water tank and they had some rusty 1" plate from the tank walls. It had a curve to it, about a 40 foot radius, so I figured it would work. I torched eight pieces 8" by 28" and ground heavy chamfers on them all around. I stacked them side by side vertically, putting convex to convex, and welded them together with deep penetration welds. The welds pulled 90%of the cup out of the plates. After two plates were mated, I then welded them to another mated pair, and so on. After they were all welded together, (about 20# of rod), I chamfered the top end about 1" back and welded on the top cap which was previously drilled/tapped for the die plates. I also welded a mounting flange on the bottom, the same way. It makes a very serviceable anvil for my 65# powerhammer.

The critical part of making up this composite anvil was mating the cap plate to the main body. This is the place where you can lose a lot of effective mass if it isn't a solid connection. I dressed the top of the anvil as flat as I could with my big angle grinder, being very careful that any errors ofover-grinding were at the edges and not the center. If the center is a couple of thousnadths high it is no problem, as the welds around the perimeter will shrink upon cooling and pull the edges down, making the center a solid connection. If the center is cupped though, the shrinkage of the perimeter welds will only make it worse. When I finished mine, there was no discernable difference between the rebound at the very edge on the weld and in the center. A solid mass all the way. The same method was used to weld the mounting plates to the dies, allowing the weld shrinkage to create a plate that put the center under strong compression when bolted down to the anvil.
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/13/05 11:58:11 EST

Matt, you did leave out an important datum: your general location. You see what you are really hoping for is someone to say "Hey I got some of that and you can come and get it Saturday" Or "There's 40 pieces of 8" round under the porch at Doc Ptomaine's Bait & Sushi shop just down the road from you that he's sell for $5 a 40" long piece...

I'm slowly accruing the pieces for a treadle hammer: got the anvil---4140 IIRC---or was it 4340 Patrick?---about 5.25" diameter from the scrap bin at a plant in OH; picked up a 1" thick, 2'x4' slab at the NM tech auction and am looking for some I beam---got my eye on the EMRTC bonepile and will be paying scrap rate for it if it goes through.

I expect the scrounging rate will pick up one I get power to my shop and so can start welding stuff together and seeing what I need.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/13/05 12:38:49 EST

Making an Anvil: hmmmm (chuckle) I think I got what most of you guys are saying. A lot of it is French to me, but I think I have somewhat of a picture. I don't know too much "shop" talk. I do however think that some of you might be talking about finding 2" or more thick steel, and then cutting the steel in square pieces, sort of like tiles and then welding them up on top of eachother to make a box, right? I am more of a visual person, I have to see it to know what you are talking about kind of guy.

However, I think that Guru's picture has helped me out a bit. I know what you are talking about, although I've never heard of a skeleton corner drop, I do know what you mean. They use a torch or cutter of some kind to cut large circles out of steel and the corner pieces is what you use as your anvil! Thanks you guys, all of ya!
Matt - Tuesday, 12/13/05 13:37:53 EST

To Thomas: Actually I'm not asking anybody to give me anything, I just wanted some helpful info, tis all. BTW, I live 50 miles east of Jellystone National Park, ;)
Matt - Tuesday, 12/13/05 13:42:16 EST

Scrounging in General: Matt, you may not be asking for a give-away, but by asking your question, you might get one anyway. That's the beauty of this forum, or any smithing get-together. We've all been there, and many of us are still there. I never would have driven home with 900 lbs of usable steel if I didn't mention I was looking for some kind of heavy shaft of some sort. And I got it for nothing.

My actual anvil will be about 500 lbs. The journal is 135 lbs by itself and I also got a cylinder 11-in in diameter X 9-in high that the journal sits on. Stacking is not the most efficient, but I think it'll do fine for a treadle hammer.

So no shame in asking. That's the half of scrounging.
- Marc - Tuesday, 12/13/05 13:54:46 EST

Field Expedient Meteorite Anvils: A view of the Tucson meteorite/anvil can be found here:

And further explanatory text is here:

(scroll down to "Tucson")

I’ve been to the Smithsonian to look at it. As I remember, it has two faces (one visible in the illustration, above) with the smaller face on the edge of the ring, which also is inletted with a hardy hole.

Another meteorite/anvil, this one from Mexico, can be found at:

I guess no blacksmith worth his salt can pass by a piece of tosh as big as that. ;-)

I’ll try to get back to the Smithsonian on one of my “museum crawls” and take some decent photographs.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 12/13/05 14:56:03 EST

Bruce; forget the camera---just sneak the meteorite out for *me*! The Greenland meteorites showed evidence of use by the inuit for making iron projectile points iirc---one of the few precolumbian uses of iron in the Americas, (No I'm not forgetting the visitors at L'anse aux meadows).

Matt, ask around about old train derailments as a source of heavy abandoned steel in remote areas. Any mining out that way?

When stacking steel for an anvil far better to have each piece vertical going from top to bottom with joints on the sides than laying on top of each other providing, even microscopically, bounce space.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/13/05 16:17:16 EST

Anvils: I don't think that I'll be stacking any steel yet, but I did call a scrapyard up in Montana about some steel. "I didn't think I had to pay for scrap!??" I think he said 16 cents a pound;(btw, I don't mind paying I was joking in a round about way.) The scrapyard didn't have anything big and he said, but he did have a piece of steel that was (what did he say again...) 14 1/2" length x 10" tall? Anyways, something like that, but it will cost me about $70. Oh, and the darn thing will weigh 400lbs! Jeez, that's heavy! If you ask me a 14"x10" piece of steel doesn't sound like it would weigh 400lbs. I'll keep calling around.

My girlfriend and I have met a new friend who works for our newspaper here in town, I'm sure he'll spread the word for me, I hope.

There is an end stop of a train that comes here to town my guess is for gypsom. I could pry up some track I'm sure...NOT. However, I am sure I can find something around these parts. I kindly accept all of your responses! Thanks.
I do love posting here, ahhhh it's a stress reliever...
Matt - Tuesday, 12/13/05 17:44:37 EST

Phoenix Hammers: For general info: Just received a call back from Phoenix Hammers. They're backlogged six months or better on the small hammer (100 model costing about $6950)and are taking orders only for the bigger model 150A (about $9950).
Richard - Tuesday, 12/13/05 18:22:55 EST

Matt's Steel Block: If that block weighs 400#, then it would be 14 by 10 by 10 inches, or roughly the size of a hefty sawmaker's anvil. $70 is a real bargain for it, BTW. Down here in the Caribbean, that same piece would fetch a clean $350.

It sounds like that scrap yard would have lots of useful goodies if you go there and poke around some.
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/13/05 19:31:31 EST

ITC-100: Guru
Do you still have some ITC-100 available, or is it all gone?

Moved my 100# Little Giant to my shop this to hook it up. Any thoughts on using a 3 phase inverter verses replacing the 220v 3 phase motor with a 220v single phase motor?

blackbart - Tuesday, 12/13/05 20:12:53 EST

Matt's block: The two or three scrap steel places around here sell their stuff for .40 per lb. They haven't sold for .15 since I started playing with steel about 5 years ago. I'd say get what you can while you can.
- Marc - Tuesday, 12/13/05 21:27:59 EST

Notice: There are only two days left to vote for the first elected CyberSmiths International Board of Directors! To vote you must be a CSI member and follow this link...

Voting will take less than two minutes.
Gronk - Tuesday, 12/13/05 22:01:50 EST

Anvil Block: Vicopper,
Actually I don't think I can poke around the scrap yard with the block, they don't even have anything thicker than 3 inches it sounded like. It was just luck that the guy I talked to said that there was a left over piece laying around.

I am taking a drive with my girlfriend tomorrow to another scrap yard where I can search around hopefully finding something just as good and even cheaper. I'm not saying that the other block is expensive, but this other yard is not as far away and they did say I can rummage around!

And about the dump and landfill, what goes in doesn't come out. What I'm saying is dumb people haul all kinds of metal, good lumber and various other trinkets to throw away just because they don't know what to do with it. You can't take anything out unless you (*cough "steal") it out. I don't consider it stealing since it is just sitting there rusting and well...just waiting for someone to take it out and bring it to life. But, in the recent days I put an add in one of the local papers asking people to give me a call before they throw away precious wood and metal. I just wish that more people in this world would do the same!
- Matt - Wednesday, 12/14/05 02:07:40 EST

Recycling: It has become almost impossible most places to scrounge in dumps and landfills, mostly as a result ofever-increasingly litigious society. The operators of these sites are scared to death of lawsuits, with good cause. Very few places are immune to this problem.

When I first moved to the Territory fifteen years ago, the landfill was a treasure trove of discarded vehicles, appliances, building materials, etc. Within only a couple years, the Public Works Department instituted a "one way" policy and will have scroungers arrested. They had to do this because of lawsuits, I'm told, though I never saw anything in the news about anyone sueing them.

The only scrounging available around here now is at the public dumpsters in a couple of places. The regulations prohibit dumping building materials, appliances, and the like, but folks do it anyway and there are a few dedicated dumpster divers who check them frequently. Fortunately, many of the folks who discard useable stuff place it next to, rather than in, the dumpsters, making reclamation pretty easy. No telling how long that will last, though. I know that one day I am going to go there and find the dumpsters guarded by the trash police, prepared to enforce egregious waste by arresting me for recycling. Ironic, isn't it?
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/14/05 09:37:10 EST

Darn I'm getting old. I remember when NEW steel sold for 15 cents a pound. . . Actually it was not that long ago. In the slump of the 1980's while forign interests were dumping steel in the US we had steel warehouses offering structurals at 14 cents a pound and plate at 12 cents. . . In the 1970's I paid 15 cents for bar stock.

Now that much of US steel is out of business those forign interests are setting the world price for steel. . . and we are the second class nation supplying the raw materials rather than making it ourselves. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 12/14/05 09:46:36 EST

Phoenix Hammer: Richard, Have you taken a look at either the Big Blu (who also advertises here) or John Larson's Iron Kiss Hammer. Either will be significantly less money than the pheonix. I have not tried the new 150 pound Blu but I've run John Larson's 160 and it's a wonderful thing. Incredible control and monster power.
SGensh - Wednesday, 12/14/05 10:01:06 EST

Matt-- Whether you find anything at the scrap yard tomorrow or not, I hope you realize you have already found a one-in-a-million treasure: a girl who will actually voluntarily go to the scrap yard with you!
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 12/14/05 11:27:11 EST

ITC Products:
All the ITC products are still available, just not in pints. Due to the cost of stocking the larger containers we will be inventorying less and there will be ocassional delays in delivery.
- guru - Wednesday, 12/14/05 11:59:35 EST

I took my wife to be scrounging and to the knifemaker's guild show *before* marriage to see if we would suit...21 years so far.

One of the problems with folks scrounging is that some folks don't have the common sense given to a goose and will cheerfully go in and get stuff, hurt themselves and then want to blame other people.

Iremember a classic example from the old Mother Earth News where someone published a story on how to build kitchen cabinets from Vietnam era ammo boxes. Next issue had a retraction pointing out that such wooden boxes had been treated with *VERY* *NASTY* chemicals to keep them from rotting or being eaten by bugs while being used in Viet Nam and that cutting or sanding the ammo boxes as suggested in the original piece was a very bad idea indeed as well as burning them, skin exposure, etc. Putting food or plates in them was just stupid.

A little thinking should have raised this possibility to the original author...

I don't scrounge 55 gal drums in less I *know* what's been in them. Been a number of folks get pesticide poisoning from drum re-use.

Think things out; no project is in such a hurry that you can't be safe! Live and be an embarassement to your Grand-Kids!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/14/05 12:19:25 EST

Responsibility: And above all, if you slip and scrape you rknee or twist you back or some other mishap while scrounging, just suck it up and call it a part of living. When you try to make someone else responsible for your own mishaps, by suing or even complaining, then their only response can be to stop the practice to protect themselves.

I've been active all my life, and somewhat clumsy the whole time, too. I've got all the scars to prove it. But I've never tried to make it someone else's responsibility. Fortunately, I'm preaching to the choir here, asmost blacksmiths are independent, self-reliant types that take responsibility for their own actions. Now how can we get the rest of the human race to be the same?
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/14/05 13:06:13 EST

Weight of steel: From Mark's standard handbook for engineer's - units are pounds mass per cubic foot:
Pure iron (99.9%) - 491, Soft Steel (0.06% C) 491, Carbon Steel (0.40% C) 489, Carbon Tool Steel (0.90 % C) 487, Wrought Iron 461-493, Stainless Steel (18 % CR, 8 % Ni) 501, Stainless Steel (17 % CR, 0.12 % C) 484, Stainless Steel (27 % CR, 0.35 % C) 467, and High Speed Tool Steel (18% W i.e. tungsten) 546.
- Gavainh - Wednesday, 12/14/05 13:43:00 EST

3PH converter:
The motor/generator type or "Roto/Phase" can be used to run more than one machine. One rated for 10PH can run (start) several 3PH motors as long as they are not started simulteaneously. The down side is these things are noisy. Noisier than air compressors. Put it outside in a shed.

On a single machine you can often change the motor for the cost of a phase converter. If the machine has the original motor they were beautiful heavy duty things the like of which you cannot buy today.
- guru - Wednesday, 12/14/05 16:48:09 EST

Littel Giant For Sale: For Sale:

Little Giant Power Hammer - 50lb., good condition, fresh babbit bearings, good clutch friction materials, upper and lower plain dies, original flat belt drive installed, no motor. Located in Eatonton, Georgia on US Highway 441. Contact via email if interested:
ccharper - Wednesday, 12/14/05 19:47:38 EST

There is definitely big hunks of steel hiding around the area of northern Wyoming/ Southern Montana-
For instance, at the Flagstaff Abana Conference, I saw a fellow from northern Wyoming demonstrate. He had a bit of a liking for wrought iron- said he had something like 20 tons of it in his yard, drug out from old mines, ranches, bridges, and the mountains around there. Big pieces, too.
Seems to me Jeffrey Funk, up in Montana, drug home most of a wrought iron bridge a few years ago himself- a few tons of it, anyway.
In Jackson Hole, I know a sculptor by the name of John Simms- he works with big plate, and he has to be getting it somewhere.
My standard line is that blacksmiths are like cockroaches- they are everywhere, but you dont see em in broad daylight.
I am sure that there are both blacksmiths and big chunks of steel, and even used anvils, all within a short distance of where Matt lives. Of course, out there a short distance might be 200 miles, but still...
Scrap yards sure vary from place to place- where I live, .40 is about average, and they seldom save anything for more than a week, unless it is basically new structural steel- 1" plate, or big I beams, maybe.
Last year, they had 2 huge transmission towers- 3" and 4" angle iron, 1"x 4" flat bar, all galvanized, in big lengths. They scrapped it within a month- It took up too much room, and the ships are leaving for china every day from Seattle, Tacoma, Everett and Vancouver.
If you live anywhere near a Nucor mill, you will find the same syndrome- the steel doesnt sit around long-Nucor likes to keep a million tons of scrap on hand at most of its mills- which, in most cases, is just a 30 to 60 day supply.
ries - Thursday, 12/15/05 12:38:40 EST

To Ries: I'm deffinitely looking around for any metal I can find. I even called my old boss, which owns a bronze foundry, and when I worked there I know I saw some scrap iron lying around. My girlfriend and I got lost yesterday, in which I wasted some gas and time. Besides that I'm going up to Billings today to go pick up my anvil, or at least look at it and see if it is what I want.

We have a paper here around the county and up in Billings called the Penny Pincher, it doesn't cost anything to put an add in and I put some iron and lumber adds in last week. If I could be honest and say what I really want, it would be an acre or two of just scrap that I can horde and design stuff with.

I don't think there are any Nucor mills around here though. I am keeping my eyes open for anything though. You did say that some of these guys had iron from old mines and ranches? I wouldn't think to call any farms or ranches, I thought that they wouldn't want me poking around their property (even if I asked them). I will also give John Simms a looksee. The only problem about Jackson is that the quickest way is through Yellowstone, which takes about 2 hours tops becuase you can only drive 40 through the park + pay for a pass. Or you can go all the way around and travel like 6 + hours or so. I am not complaining though!

To Frank T.:
Hey thanks for Steve Fontanini's email I emailed him and he gave me some good info on a couple of blacksmith's and farriers only 30 minutes from here. The farrier, Rik Mettes is the instructor at the college and he invited me to his last class next monday, so that should be a little fun. He did sound cranky and busy though, I guess I'm going to have to get used to that or turn cranky myself, not like my girlfriend and mother don't already think so!
Matt - Thursday, 12/15/05 13:37:53 EST

There was mining in them thar hills and so large iron/steel around somewhere!

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/15/05 14:21:13 EST

Responsibility: Rick, I agree with you about the responsibility issue.

The local scrap yard I patronise (they allow me to wander freely) and I have an agreement - I get hurt, it was my choice to be there, my risk.

That and pointing out worthwhile amounts of Al, Cu, and boxes of welding rod mixed in with the regular scrap have kept me welcome there.

Cool with the wind at -5 Cel. North of the Lake (Ontario.) And awaiting the coming winter storm 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 in.) of snow expected.

Don - Thursday, 12/15/05 15:22:11 EST

My Anvil: I have a couple of good news!

I picked up my "anvil" (block) today. God Almighty it is heavy!

It weighs 468lbs. but it isn't very big. It has a nice striking surface on it (14" diameter) and it is 10" high by 10" thick (I think) I really didn't think it was going to be this heavy. Since it is cylindrical in shape I thought I could roll it out of my suv somehow? I am pretty sure I need to grind it since it is a bit rusty.

The other good news is that I found a more or less junk yard that to me has *good scrap metal of all sorts. Metal (rope), truck parts, barrels, angle iron, I beams, Railroad track etc. For the used rail road track they are charging $3.50 a foot, $5.00/cut that sounds reasonable but I don't know? I also bought a barrel to try and make some charcoal. For that they charged me only $3.00 per 55 gallon barrel. I think that was a bargain since I've seen some on Ebay for $10-15 plus $50 shipping! Anyways, I had a good trip and plan on going out there in the future. last note. Will a 12 x 24 storage shed like those from HD or Lowes work as a blacksmith shop? Thanks you guys!
Matt - Friday, 12/16/05 00:18:26 EST

Matt: if you look at the New Edge of the Anvil book you will find pictures and diagrams of a tipi used as a blacksmith shop. 12 X 24 shed should work fine, you will need a foundation for your anvil and is would probably sink through the floor on most of those sheds. Also have to watch out for fire. I personally like to keep a couple of fire extinguishers handy in my shop, which is steel walls, roof and concrete floor....but some of the contents will burn.
Ellen - Friday, 12/16/05 00:58:30 EST

Mike B: Matt,

If it's main line rail, it's probably somewhere around 80-100 pounds per yard. If so, they're asking $0.13/pound or less, which is a very good price. Even if the rail's a little lighter than that, it's still a good deal. Unless they're selling it for $3.00/foot aross the street (grin).
Mike - Friday, 12/16/05 07:55:29 EST

Matt: That price for the rail isn't bad at all, but rail has limited uses for blacksmithing. It works fine for making tools for powerhammer work and anvil tools, but it doesn't work well as an anvil all by itself. It is a medium high carbon steel and is a bear to work with if you don't have a powerhammer and a cut-off saw.
vicopper - Friday, 12/16/05 08:37:14 EST

Matt, thanks for the update. You are making the change from "where do I find anything" to "what the heck do I do with it all" the next progression to to start getting it free and the true master gets *paid* to haul it off!

Thomas P - Friday, 12/16/05 12:27:18 EST

rail : 72lbs. per yard or foot, can't remember. I do know that the rail was about 20'ft long and a deep reddish brown color. I found more of the rail in another part of the field about a yard long and I could easily carry it. I thought that rail was heavy? Anyways I'm starting to feel bad about buying that chunk of iron for my anvil after reading the FAQ on wrought iron.

Well, I've been in the spotlight for about a week now so I'll kindly take my leave for a bit and let someone else step up to the microphone :)

Thanks all!
Matt - Friday, 12/16/05 15:28:42 EST

12' X 24' Shops: Matt:

Hmmm, that comes to 288 square feet. I'm planning for about 300 square feet for a forge on my portion of the farm (AFTER we get the house built) and my present converted tobacco stripping house is 187 sq. ft. (11' X 17'). So, depending on the scope of work you want to do, I would say that 12' X 24' is a good size. Of course, if you're loading it up with a bunch of power hammers and acorn plates and working on large scale gates and such, I'd go with a 24' X 60' tobacco barn. ;-)

Also, I don't know what zoning and taxation you may have in your area, but in Southern Maryland up to 300 sq. ft. is not noted on the tax appraisal. (Of course, being agricultural and with an active Amish community reliant upon horses, we also have certain exceptions and exemptions for blacksmith shops.)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/16/05 16:28:15 EST

Matt-- You might do better with one or two of those ocean-going cargotainers, There are jillions of them lying around the landscape, dirt cheap-- or ought to be. Spaced far enough apart to provide a forging area with a roof overhead, they make a good, secure shop. And, when the time comes, you can them drug up onto a flatbed with all your stuff lashed down inside and move in a flash. Twelve by 24 will become a tool shed in time, anyway, and I'm with Ellen on the fire hazard. ¡Muy peligroso!
Miles Undercut - Friday, 12/16/05 18:12:03 EST

Tin Building Shop:
No. These require the floor as part of the structure and the floor sets on thin sheet metal ribs. Can't hardly walk in them much less use for shop.

After having helped put together one of those cheap steel buildings I can tell you that the labor to build a REAL building is less than to assemple one of those things. . .

The prefab framed buildings on skids that they deliver assembled on a truck work best for temp structures. Then as Miles pointed out, cargo containers are pretty good. The ones insulated for refrigerated use are pretty slick. . . However, the plain steel ones are easy to modify (add doors, windows. . ) with a cutting torch and buzz box. I'm in the market for four 20' containers to use for moving, storage and finally as part of a builsing (as storage and walls).
- guru - Saturday, 12/17/05 14:01:42 EST

I have a question. When first becoming a blacksmith, what was the most important refrence?
Tony - Saturday, 12/17/05 14:18:02 EST


who has forged a celtic leaf sword? Those are awsome swords!
Tony - Saturday, 12/17/05 14:34:59 EST


when were celtic leaf swords used?
Tony - Saturday, 12/17/05 16:09:30 EST

never mind, they were used by the greeks or romans, or modeled after their weapon.
Tony - Saturday, 12/17/05 17:36:55 EST

Cargo-tainers: I've only seen them on the east and west coasts, I'm not close to either. I might as well buy a trailor off a semi, but I don't have the money. After all, they are pretty much the same thing. Miles, Guru, do you guys know any websites that might have used ones for sale? Or heck, I'll just make a paper mache shop out of chicken wire with a dirt floor, not
Matt - Saturday, 12/17/05 17:43:41 EST


you caoun get a POD, their portable storage units.
Tony - Saturday, 12/17/05 17:54:10 EST

you can*
Tony - Saturday, 12/17/05 17:57:31 EST

Today: Went out to the barn and turned on the heat. Gotta do that first here in Michigan. Then I had to take the windows out of my cap and replace the weather seals that go against the truck. Got tired of water leaking inside the cap. Did not go as bad as I thought, but it naturally took longer than planned. Then I got to fire up the forge and make some mantle hooks for Christmas stockings. All are made so as to fit over the mantle, like a giant "C", so I don't scratch the precious thing and make the Misses mad. I made each one a bit different. On purpose even! One for me, the wife, and the two dogs. Of course my hook is the biggest. Because I've either been very good, or very bad! And besides, even if the vote goes to bad, I can still use all that coal!
Bob H - Saturday, 12/17/05 20:54:27 EST

Cargo Containers: Matt,

Those ocean freight containers are great for making shops. They're really popular down here in the Caribbean, as you might guess. I good shape, they run about two grand apiece for the 20' ones, the 40' ones are more, but not a lot more.

Actually, you'll see a number of the things inland from the coast, particularly around areas with a major railhead. They piggyback them on flat cars just like thay do with semi-trailers, then crane them onto trailer frames for overland drops.
vicopper - Saturday, 12/17/05 21:29:10 EST

Tony; have you checked out the forums over at
There has been a couple of nicely made leaf blades shown over there over the last couple of years---predating LOTR...

- Thomas Powers - Sunday, 12/18/05 01:52:01 EST

Boston Forge Co: I just picked up a forge bade by the Boston forge Co. Could you tell me the aprox age of this forge. Thanks
- Ted - Sunday, 12/18/05 19:21:02 EST

Age: I just picked up a car made by Ford. Could you tell me the age?

Tell us more about the forge and maybe we can be of more help. Lots of companies made forges over the years, some under their own names and some bvranded for sale by various stores such as Sears or Joe's Hardware. If yo can describe the forge, or post pictures of it, someone here will likely know some facts.
vicopper - Sunday, 12/18/05 22:37:45 EST

Cargotainers, or seatainers as they were called years ago: empties are lying about by the jillions, judging by the look of the landscape driving around the Pacific northwest last year. And they abound here in the hinterland (New Mexico), too. Try local storage rental outfits, which often will sell their unused units and google will turn up leads to just about anything. Beware what you google for, though-- they keep a record of all your queries.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 12/19/05 02:25:18 EST

Basket twists: I just wanted to take a second to brag on myself a little to folks who would appreciate it. I have been trying to make some Christmas gifts lately, and I finished up a couple I'm very proud of. One is a fireplace poker, and the other a candle holder. Both have basket twists in them, and both are unique designs I think. I've posted some pics on my web page.
FredlyFX - Monday, 12/19/05 03:12:25 EST

nice candle holder!
Tony G - Monday, 12/19/05 09:53:54 EST

Serious "Brutalist" Anvils: Sone of the few pieces of spam that I don't mind getting are any that are blacksmith related.

Anyang Forging in China ( ) keeps trying to sell me power hammers. This is not very likely at this point; but as I was surfing the site I came upon some free standing anvils that they offer, from the "Blunt-Heavy-Object" school of design (link below).

I have no idea of their materials or performance, but from their look they certainly lend themselves to use as roadrunner extermination tools. ;-)
Anyang Anvils
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 12/19/05 10:21:03 EST

FredlyFX, the basket twist with a heart above it is a known design. Considering the number of years folks have been pounding metal I've found that many times my "new" ideas have been done before. Very nicely executed!

Bruce; I just hate it when folk play to the ugliest anvil of the year award...

Thomas P - Monday, 12/19/05 11:04:29 EST

Anvil: i hate it when people buy tons of gunpowder and fill up a hole with it. then put the anvil on top, then blast the power sending the nvil like 200 feet in the air. CANNOT be good for the anvil!
- tony g - Monday, 12/19/05 11:38:52 EST

Anyang anvil: Bruce is it possible that you have anything in your Book of Wisdom that could describe how ugly those anvils are? :) They may work o.k. but that is a lot of ugly.
Brian C - Monday, 12/19/05 12:31:04 EST

Thanks for bursting my bubble Thomas. :) Oh well, I tried. Maybe someday I'll come up with something actually new.
FredlyFX - Monday, 12/19/05 13:14:24 EST

Tony g: I takes only a few ounces of black powder to "shoot" an anvil and the powder is placed between two anvils, not in a hole in the ground. The laws of physics will defeat you if you try to launch an anvil by putting powder in the ground; the dirt and rocks have less mass than the anvil, so they will launch and leave the anvil sitting in a hole. Crowd won't be very happy, either.

Anvil shooting is done using usually worn out, wrought iron bodied anvils. Not much chance of damaging one.

If you don't like anvil shoots, you might want to consider joining ABANA; they don't like them, either. (grin)
vicopper - Monday, 12/19/05 14:21:20 EST

Hahha ahah ahhhhhhh hahah RTFLMAO. . .!!!! Chinese anvils. . . That is the ugliest, worst designed piece of junk I have ever seen in my life! The only thing uglier is the photos! The center of gravity of their big anvil is such that unless they are bolted down to a solid base they would tip over with little effort. . .

Best laugh I have had in a long time.

Still getting spammed by those guys? They promissed not to do it any more after I wrote a scathing editorial in our news. . .
- guru - Monday, 12/19/05 14:38:02 EST

Cargo Containers: Currently it costs less to make them in CHina than to send them back empty. They cost roughly $1400 - $1500 to make and only a hundred dollars or so more to ship back. That does not include overland which adds considerably more to the cost. So they come here full and like cardboard boxes they are not returned unless cut into scrap and shipped as bulk. One of the reasons China's steel industry is burgeoning is to make steel for cargo containers. . .

Just shows how out of balance or trade with China is. . .
- guru - Monday, 12/19/05 14:44:24 EST

I was ashamed to be associated with anyang when I saw the state of those anvils (I actually cringed):(

guess there only a few £ / $ each, but why not rip off a nice shape? - can only cost the same...will get one for a laugh and let you all know. Im guessing they are for their own domestic use....

As I read recently in a UK broadsheet newspaper (and again this can only be wrong politically / and in every other way for a developed society) the goods come to the UK from china in containers (computers & every other thing its not economical to manufacture here). The containers are then filled with all our societies crap, plastic bottles etc etc, no doubt alot of it polluted, and then shipped back to china to let them sort it out (big, explotative business over there picking plastic / paper etc from our litter). This avoids having to deal with it in the uk environmentally, and avoids the expensive land fill tax etc (? £6 a ton)

Im sure the US does similar - not right in my opinion anyway.
John N - Monday, 12/19/05 15:35:49 EST

Fuel: did you know that when you burn wood, you give off methane? Methane can be used as fuel, as a liquid, or gas, so if you have like an air compressor or sumthin, couldn't you use the wood as fuel, then also use the methane?
tony g - Monday, 12/19/05 17:15:17 EST

Did you notice all the london pattern anvils being used in the Chronicals of Narnia? As based on a fantasy written by an english author I guess they were acceptable; but they always put a date/location stamp on things to my mind that's a bit jarring.

Thomas P - Monday, 12/19/05 17:42:06 EST

narnia: The odd thing I noticed was that the evil dwarf's anvil was up to his shoulders.
- bjorn - Monday, 12/19/05 18:20:52 EST

tony g:
I can't speak for others, but I give off methane whether I'm burning wood or not. I don't see the correlation.
eander4 - Monday, 12/19/05 18:32:23 EST

Gold plating: You may recall recently I was looking for a place to get a copper piece gold plated. After much frustration, I finally got my part finished by a company called Reliable Plating, in Chicago IL. Not cheap (the whole job fell under their 300 dollar set up charge), but at least it's done. Just thought I'd pass along a source for this type of service.
Mike Sa
- Mike Sa - Tuesday, 12/20/05 00:04:42 EST

Anyang Anvils: Those anvils are some serious ugly top heavy Super Junkers! Probably good old class 30 fragile as glass grey iron. Sure gave me big Flailing Laugh. BUT, what a crime wasting natural world resources to cast 100% pure JUNK!! If we ever get in a war with them we can drop those total AOS anvils at them from out bombers. We Americans are dumb to keep buying junk from China. Tell our blacksmith suppliers we no longer want junk made in China, India and Pakistan. Stand up and don't buy it anymore. Fight off the no good stuff!! Force our suppliers to only sell quality items or bankrupt them. Every time you purchase ask where it is made. Lets start a post site of where every blacksmith tool is produced. Buy the quality stuff from France,Czech Republic,USA etc!!! I for one am sick of buying blacksmith junk tools at high dollars and then finding out it was made in Pakistan!! Lets take back our economy buy pinching there cash rolls!!
- JustPlainSickOfJunk!! - Tuesday, 12/20/05 00:43:44 EST

JustPlainSickOfJunk!!: I would rather spend more money on quality made tools that will last generations then very very hard earned money on junk tools that will not do the job at all or only once!! Lets build an antiiblacksmithing junk tools site. Lets persuade those thieves that want to rob the very food from your childrens mouths to make useless stuff for themselves and not our blacksmith world families. One good page of all the junk blacksmith tools should bang a huge dent in their heavy pockets. The page needs to show manufacture, items, material made from, low quality reasons and who supplies them. Lets take a BITE out of Blacksmith CRIME!!
- JustPlainSickOfJunk!! - Tuesday, 12/20/05 01:04:24 EST

Keep In Mind!!: Our combined knowledge, intelligence, integrity, smitty hammers are greater than the junk being made and sold to just take hard earned money from all our pockets!! I did not intend to attack anyone. If you are a right smith you will all raise your hammers together as brothers against the selling of junk blacksmith tools. Don't let your fellow beginner smith get hurt by a flying spall from a cast iron anvil. It not only maimes, but can kill. You can't sue the offshore distributor or manufacturer. I am keeping anonymous for safety...please respect it. As it is time to stand and make a do not buy junk blacksmith tool page.
- JustPlainSickOfJunk!! - Tuesday, 12/20/05 01:10:48 EST

Just Plain sick of junk.... couple of points, im not disagreeing with some of what youve said, but heres my two cents (pence) worth.
The anyang anvils are not even 'ASO '(not shaped like an anvil!:) as defined by this site, if they were snide copys of a hay budden / misrepresented or whatever then thats ripping people off. (we dont know what they are made of). If (and theres a billion people in china) they are supplying a pig ugly, cheap tool for domestic market thats up to them. ive not seen any on ebay, or for sale outside china. not even a newby would buy one im sure.

Re tools from india and pakistan. I trade alot in the forging industry in these countries, supplying capital plant. It has been an eye opener to me just how good these forges are. the metallurgy, tracability of materials, state of the art tool rooms (not seen in the UK for years)
etc etc. (many now have internationally recognised quality certification including aerospace etc)

just because the labour cost is lower doesnt reflect in the quality of the product. you can buy a cheap set of spanners or expensive set made in these countries. you get what you pay for. Youve got rose tinted specs on if you think that USA or UK forges never made tools to a budget in the past.

Ive purchased (low end) chinese socket sets for peanuts, and theyve not been very good, BUT if i cannot afford Teng, or Snap On (top end stuff, not sure where its made), and the cheap chinese stuff undoes the bolts its better than not having it!
John N - Tuesday, 12/20/05 07:37:28 EST

Juat plain sick of junk. If you only want buy tools made in your own country thats fine, and entirly up to you. The way globalisations going you will be doing very well. To cite an example, a major US tool supplier makes, in my opinion one of the best 'framing' (claw) hammers ever deigned, with an 'anti vibe' handle, they are a joy, and supurb quality.

Q?Where are they forged? A) mostly in taiwan, and for the past 4 years additionally Mexico. This is fact. (though it may not say so on the label)

I fully agree that we should try to 'look after our own' but market forces will allways dictate.
John N - Tuesday, 12/20/05 07:48:39 EST

john n & junk: john you absolutly right, not everything from china is bad, because if it was, there would be nothing in america to buy! EVERYTHING is made in china. But if you can pay $50 for an item or $75 for the same but made in us, id get the $50.


you made good points, but sometimes it is better to get the foreign (is that spelled right?) item as opposed to USA.
Tony g - Tuesday, 12/20/05 08:14:42 EST

you 'forge' blades, right, so i would need a 100+ lbs anvil right?
Tony g - Tuesday, 12/20/05 08:33:09 EST

Tony g: YOu should take a look at some of the work that is done in third world countries using improvised anvils. Some places they use nothing more than an old sledge hammer head set in a stump to forge swords and knives by the thousands. In some places in Africa, they still forge tools and blades on stone anvils. It is mostly only in the western world that we think that everyone needs a 100+ pound London pattern anvil to do anything from forging a knife to squashing a roadrunner. Look around at the various resources available to see what the rest of the world is doing before you make any firm decisions. While you're at it, check out the work the the Brazeel brothers do on an anvil that looks *nothing*- at all like what you think an anvil should be.

Also, please think a moment before you type. You posted, "you 'forge' blades, right, so i would need a 100+ lbs anvil right?" I forge blades, yes. But that has NOTHING to do with what YOU need for an anvil. I have a friend who forges tools, as do I, but that doesn't mean that I need a 1000 pound power hammer to forge them, just because he uses one. As post, your question makes little sense.
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/20/05 09:12:37 EST


i am sorry, but i was looking at the anvils, and how to deside which to get and it said forging 100+ and i did not know if it included swords, so i asked if that would be the one to use.
Tony g - Tuesday, 12/20/05 09:16:33 EST

Narnian Anvils and Ambitious Projects: Hey, some of my friends are evil dwarfs! You just have to make them stand on a stump so that both of you (the smaller and the bigger) can use the anvil.

Anvil Size; Tony G:

Take a look at the FAQ on anvil selection (link below) for a clearer view. The "100#" rule of thumb is just a good average for affordable versatility. A smaller anvil may not be as efficient, but affordable or available; and a larger anvil may extend you capabilities.

In the early medieval period, swords may have very well been roughed out on stone anvils and finished on smaller iron anvils. Time, skill, experience, training, and study are all required for ambitious projects such as swords and bladesmithing in general. Have you checked the relevant articles in the Anvilfire Armoury and the iForge page yet? If so, then your next stop is the library for the books they have there and to pull other books via an inter-library loan (ILL).

Anvil Selection FAQ
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 12/20/05 09:48:15 EST

Last Call for the Tong Exchange: I'll be doing the draw for the tong exchange tomorrow. If your wanting in on this send me an email with your mailing address in. The draw will be done chain style again, and all tongs should be in the post to their new home by 3 kings day.
JimG - Tuesday, 12/20/05 10:57:30 EST

Cargo Containers: This spring I bought a 40' cargo container for $2500 delivered. In northeast Kansas, about as far as you can get from ocean going shipping in the US. It did have one damaged latch bar, so it was a couple hundred less than the usual price.

20' containers are made to carry denser products and have roughly the same maximum gross weight rating as 40' ones, so they cost nearly as much.

I can't come anywhere close to building a 360 square foot shed for that price, let alone a varmint proof one. At least not without spending a huge amount of time (that I don't have) scrounging & salvaging materials.
John Lowther - Tuesday, 12/20/05 12:10:19 EST

I'd rather have a good smaller anvil than a bad larger one. Due to a theft I once ended up buying a 220# cast iron ASO---it was an emergency as I had a demo at a museum in 3 days and no "spares" back then. I used it *once* and never again and ended up doing a lot of work on a 90# steel/WI anvil with the 220# ASO used as a doorstop.

BTAIM a large anvil has some virtues over a small one. it is well attested that you get more work done with less effort on a large anvil than a small one just due to the physics of the set up.

100# is usually about the upper limit for a travel anvil and so a good starter size. A "shop" anvil is generally 150# and up and a "big" anvil doesn't start till over 250# IMNSHO---though many auctioneers/antique/junk dealers seem to think that a 75# anvil is large and 100# anvil is huge. After wasting a lot of time and energy that way I started asking them how many people it took to move it and when they laughed and said they used a tractor or fork lift---THEN I would attend the sale.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/20/05 12:14:33 EST

Cargo container shops: one possibility is to start with one container, then add another as money allows and *space* them apart and add a roof over that space later---they are plenty strong to support a roof, have you seen how they stack them for shipment?

Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/20/05 12:17:09 EST

anvils: Just checking in once more to see if anyone can offer any (first-hand please!) reports on either JHM (competitor) anvils, or on the current quality and availability of Kohlswa anvils.
Dan P. - Tuesday, 12/20/05 12:24:36 EST

I am new to this site as well as new to blacksmithing. I am having a hard time locating a high alumina shelf 1"thick by 4" wide by 12" long. Any good leads??
iron_dreamer - Tuesday, 12/20/05 20:21:00 EST

iron dreamer: For high alumina kiln shelves, check with pottery supply places. I've used Miami Clay Company in the past, because they were located where its easy to ship to me in the Caribbean. Do a Google search for "pottery supply" and you'll find one close to you.

They may not have exactly that size, however. No problem. I use a tile saw with a diamond blade to cut kiln shelf. If you're looking for one to make the floor of a forge, you might want to consider using a silicon carbide kiln shelf, if you plan to do a lot of forge welding. It will withstand flux longer than the mullite (high alumina) shelves will. Costs a lot more, too. (grin)
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/20/05 20:42:04 EST

Dan P: Hi Dan

New Kohlswa anvils are not available. The 1 USA & 1 Canada dealer have not had one in stock for years. This swedish company is waiting for someone to finance a large production run of anvils before producing any. I was emailing them back and fourth a fews years back when I was still in business. When they found the very low quantity of anvils I wanted to start with they starting ignoring me. They are just BIG OLD TIME WASTERS.

As for JHM anvils. The are cast ductile iron heat treated . I hear many farriers like JHM anvils. I would likely spend my own money on a quality cast steel anvil with a higher rockwell and made from better material over cast ductile iron if i were buying a new anvil. I have a a double horn Branco cast steel Czech made anvil. I am very impressed with it. They are affordable and can be purchased from If you call them tell the grumpy fart you heard about them on anvilfire and his firesale on anvils are coming from anvilfire. He should support this forum. Bob B. is a bit grumpy, but will give you a great price on the anvil, shipping and very rapid shipment. He just got a new shipment of anvils. Strike while the iron is in stock as they float on a boat to the US not very often.
burntforge - Wednesday, 12/21/05 00:28:36 EST

Cargotainers: Well when I get the cash to buy one for $2500 and up I'll think about buying one. I just thought that a shed would work if you had a dirt floor or even made your own cement floor. Up where I live there are a lot of sheds. In fact just this last week I met a guy who knows another guy who is selling a 12'x 24' shop for about $250!! What a steal!

This new friend I met, R.T. is an ex Navy Seal who raised hecky darn through the Vietnam War. Terrible war, but he is a nice old fart! He's offered to help me out quite a lot since I just met him on Sunday. I suddenly feel as though I am blessed.....?

He is looking for anvils for me from nearby ranches and other old farts who don't smith he tells me.
- Matt - Wednesday, 12/21/05 01:25:46 EST

it has been 48 hours sence i registered for slack-tub pub, and i have not gotten an e-mail. what do i do now?

matt, thats cool. I'd get the shop, and use it.
Tony G - Wednesday, 12/21/05 08:28:35 EST

Tony G.: Keep waiting
- Jeff G - Wednesday, 12/21/05 08:50:28 EST

the guru says that the pub host is behind due to christmas.
Tony G - Wednesday, 12/21/05 11:10:33 EST

I still have my draft card from just after that war; I was too young to have to worry about winning the lottery. Never felt that old or that my friends who served in it were that old either. Guess the white in the beard tells a different story.

Thomas working on curmudgeon rather than Phart.
Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/21/05 12:03:04 EST

Matt-- Anything will work as a shop if you work hard enough to make it work. One of the best smiths in the world today started out, and made stunningly gorgeous work, in a chicken coop. But as soon as he could, he built a much bigger, better one. You asked about sheds. There will be problems if they come with a floor up off the ground. The carport-type would be a tad chilly in the winter anywhere north of about Houston, but one does what one must. Working around a forge in zero degree weather does a lot for warmth in even an unheated or open shop. My forge and anvil are under an open shed roof. Works well, no matter what. But if I were starting from scratch I would get a cargotainer just so I'd have a secure lock-up for tools and could avoid spending time building anything.
Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 12/21/05 13:08:59 EST

Thomas - given time I could probably find my draft card. I did worry a bit about winning that lottery as I was 18 in 1970 and going to school to become a metallurgist. As it turned out, my lottery number was over 300 as were those of my two closest friends. Of the 3 of us, the one with the highest number was also the one with the ROTC scholarship :).
- Gavainh - Wednesday, 12/21/05 13:18:51 EST

Looking for little giant power hammer. Michael Kuehn
- Michael Kuehn - Wednesday, 12/21/05 13:23:05 EST

Loking for little giant power hammer Michael Kuehn 715 539 3660
- Michael Kuehn - Wednesday, 12/21/05 13:26:15 EST

Loking for antique Machine Tools
- Michael Kuehn - Wednesday, 12/21/05 13:28:19 EST

Hi everyone
- Michael Kuehn - Wednesday, 12/21/05 13:35:49 EST

Draft: My draft number was 16 & didn't have any college excuses. Fortunately, I was just young enough that they stopped the draft before I got called up.
- Mike Sa - Wednesday, 12/21/05 14:10:01 EST

Your shop is just what you make of it. There are no specifics. My last house I built a wood patio cover off the side of the garage and worked under it for 2 years. This new hose doesn't even have a garage, so I work under pop up shelters mostly. I did build a shed, but it is mostly tool storage. The actual shop now is made of plastic tarps coming off a large A frame hoist I build over the poser hammer. It's got a basic frame of 2x4's stuck in the dirt 2ft. The tarps are held in place with 1x2's screwed to the 2x4's with tarp sandwiched in between. It holds up pretty well to our winds, and keeps the rain off most stuff. Fortunatly I live in So Cal, so I don't have to worry about snow or freezing too much. I plan to build a permanent shop that will start off as a 20X60 designed so I can add another 20X60 next to it later if needed. It will be built like a wood patio, since I know how to do those well, and can build it slowly over time.
FredlyFX - Wednesday, 12/21/05 14:28:53 EST

Doh, Proof then post. The new house doesn't have a garage, and the tarps are over my power hammer. It's not a poser, it's a real power hammer. :)
FredlyFX - Wednesday, 12/21/05 14:32:26 EST

Michael Kuehn: So are we all! This is a bulliten board, not an instant chat, by the way, so don't feel slighted if nobody answers within a day or two.

Welcome aboard!
Alan-L - Wednesday, 12/21/05 17:22:43 EST

Boxes: Read Gurus's post Monday about the cargo containers coming over from China and not going back and thought how wasteful it sounded. Then I thought about all those container ships that must be going back to China empty because it's too expensive to ship an empty container. That really blew my mind.
Mike B - Wednesday, 12/21/05 19:20:12 EST

anvils: burntforge- thanks for the feedback. i'll bear it very closely in mind. My only problem as far as anvils go is that, in spite of my better judgement, the thought of using any anvil other than a london pattern makes me queasy! Don't know why.
Dan P. - Wednesday, 12/21/05 20:02:41 EST

Dan P: I understand. I do like the appearance of my hay buddens better. Tom at Centaur Forge carries a really nice cast steel Emerson blacksmith londan pattern anvil. The Mankel london pattern 8630 cast steel and the JHM Cast Ductile iron with the best pricing. Amy Pieh carries the Texas Farrier Supply Blacksmith or TFS. They are a very nice anvil and many folks like them. They are many fine anvil makers, but they make the double horn anvils. Honesty I think the Vaughn Brooks london pattern anvils are NO GOOD. I laid out the big dollars for two brand new Vaughns. They were both no good. The tip of the horns are missing, hardie holes have significant flashing in them plus are way to big for most haride tools. The large one I had came with a cracked face before I even used it. I have heard of many of those anvils cracking. The center has way to high of a rockwell at 65 RC and the edges are softer which is good at about 40-45 RC. Trust me you would not be happy with one. Plus the heel is way to thick if you do any shoeing.
burntforge - Thursday, 12/22/05 00:12:21 EST

I have 3 anvils---all different makes (Fisher, Trenton, ? bridge anvil)---that have 1.5" hardy holes. I built an adapter to match several smaller sizes and I don't think that any two of my smaller anvils have the same size either!

Colour coding your anvils and hardy tooling is a suggestion for a shop with several sets in use.

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/22/05 12:09:39 EST

TP Anvils: Awesome Suggestion Tom!
burntforge - Thursday, 12/22/05 12:25:31 EST


Good idea. But does it only work on London pattern anvils? (grin).
- Mike B - Thursday, 12/22/05 22:08:06 EST

Colo*u*r Coding: Subject line from my last post -- dropped off due to operator error
- Mike B - Thursday, 12/22/05 22:10:30 EST

Mike; you are correct. For other types you merely stamp the size on the bottom of the anvil and just check it as necessary when you need to use a tool in the hardy hole---don't forget to grease the anvil first and be sure to wear your flip flops!

Thomas or Tomas or ...
Thomas Powers - Friday, 12/23/05 00:20:16 EST

Michael Kuehn: Where are You located, what types of machine tools are You looking for?
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 12/23/05 01:13:28 EST

Welding: I was just reading some of the posts from the beginning of the month and I was curious about fumes and hazards etc. I will probably be taking a job working out in the oil fields on pipes and such near where I live and I was wondering if working outside in an oil field is more "hazardous" than working inside of a building?
Matt - Friday, 12/23/05 01:21:46 EST

Sometime there may be residual nasties in used pipe that you don't want to breathe. Being outside helps with that a lot.
- Mills - Friday, 12/23/05 12:41:56 EST

Jingle Bells: We put up jingle anvils today instead of bells. I will be darn if the wind didn't blow so hard the anvils rang like the Bells of Saint Mary's and then ripped the door and jam right off the house. I think we over did it using several 500 lb anvils. We borrowed them from Tom P. I doubt he has noticed yet. I JB welded the Fisher back together. It is pretty darn cold and it broke when landing on the ice. From the Anvilfire Jester. BOG Happy Holidays to All!!
burntforge - Friday, 12/23/05 19:41:22 EST

Pieh firepot: As a 50 pound Christmas present to myself, I ordered a Roger Lorance firepot and clinker breaker from Pieh Tool Co., Camp Verde, AZ. I'm forging and welding up the ash barrel, myself. I'm pleased with the purchase; Roger does clean castings.

For anyone who might be interested, here are some dimensions. The thickness of the pot is approximately 7/8". The hearth line measurement is 9½" x 12". This would be the size of the hole in the hearth into which the firepot fits. The overall size with flanges is 11½" x 11 3/8". The depth is 3 7/8".

Have a nice Christmas, all. I'll be watching the Taos Pueblo Indian deer dance on Christmas day.
Frank Turley - Friday, 12/23/05 22:41:22 EST

Great Googly Moogly!: Well, my Wife got me a great present, something I've been wanting for a long time. A Hobart Auto Darkening welding helmet! Yeah baby! Now, I've only worn it around the house for about a 1/2 hour, but did shine my Surefire light into it, and that sucker works! Gonna have to go burn some rod tomorrow, to see how it really performs. Even tho I didn't get any coal, I am a happy boy!

I also got out this morning and tagged 3 rabbits. Worked on my barn installing a new chimney for my wood burner today, with the nice weather we had. That should come to an end tomorrow nite, it seems. And I hope to get out to the forge and play a bit in the morning. Then off to the wife's relatives in the evening.

Y'all have a safe and happy Holiday!
Bob H - Friday, 12/23/05 22:54:12 EST

Bob H: I got coal for christmas. I am not sure that was really a positive gift yet. LOLOL
burntforge - Saturday, 12/24/05 00:00:18 EST

How did it go: Frank how does it go. Great googly moogly sugar bar hoof dang!
burntforge - Saturday, 12/24/05 00:01:34 EST

Burnt: It went OK. The welds took, and that's really something, you ole son of a Siberian shiloney shoveler.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 12/24/05 01:23:53 EST

Frank: Frank you always make me laugh!! Oh Hecky Darn. Do you find the Lorance fire pots much better than others? I buy the Centaur buffalo forge pots because I get the entire assembly at a reasonable price. I have never had one crack, but I know they do. Do you find the other style and making your own tuyere works out better for the long run?
burntforge - Saturday, 12/24/05 01:30:02 EST

fire pot: I want to clarify a point above. I know the old style buffalo forge fire pots sold today sometime crack because the original design lends some areas to be thicker and thinner and they can crack when cooling. Over a few years of frequent use with really hot fres or controling a fire they do ten to crack. I have seen many like thise. I suspect the lorance fire pots last better. Afterall there is a significant difference in the pricing between the two styles. i like the buffalo design that Centaur forges and the casting are very good. It isn't a question of material used or pricing. I am very happy with them. I would not mind owning a fir pot that will last a life time with very hot regular. Also not having to be careful with wetting the coal. i am just looking for your thoughts on this Frank as you have a school and your fire pots see some use.
burntforge - Saturday, 12/24/05 01:43:07 EST

Bob, I got myself a $60 auto helmet and I love it! Actually 3dogs talked me into it. Well... truth to tell ...he didnt actually talk me into it but then he also didnt say "dont get one" :) Anyway, even though I had been practising for a while with a regular helmet, this was an instant improvement in the quality of my welds. Someday when this cheapo erm... accidentally breaks I may have to go out and buy myself a nice one.

scored some nice 2" x 1/4 angle iron in the form of old fencposts. while torching off the ends with the concrete on them, I noticed that my torch control has markedly improved even though I havent done any cutting in a while. This must be a side benny from the stick practice. Puddle control is a valuable skill. Whoda thunk it?

Ya'll enjoy the holidays and stay off the roads!
- adam - Saturday, 12/24/05 09:53:44 EST

Happy Holidays: I want to wish everyone here the very best that the season has to offer. Be safe and sane and enjoy your Christmas and New Years, or any other politically correct holiday or event you choose to celebrate at this time of year.
vicopper - Saturday, 12/24/05 12:17:26 EST

Darwin award: Last week I was hammering on a short pc of 1/2" x 1" strap. This was just a test pc and I didnt bother to adjust the tongs for good fit since this is kind of fiddly with flat stock. Starting out with fairly heavy stock means the first heat or so is going to involve some heavy smacking so I pick up my 4# Hofi style and start on the first setdown on the which is on the near edge of the anvil .... I found myself sitting on my be - hind with the immediate memory of a very, very loud noise and lot of pain right between my eyes! Well Mr Justatestpiece had jumped up and clocked me right on the bridge of the nose driving the crossbar of my glasses into the fleshy covering. I had forgetten how much a smack upside the head adjusts one's attitude! Even after the nausea subsided I definitely didnt feel full of myself which is quite unusual for me. Of course I didnt have time to go to the ER and "waste" four hours to get a stitch and of course, being a scalp wound it bled profusely and insistently. Nah! A piece of tape, mebbe some superglue - be fine. I spent the rest of the day walking around with brown trails of dried blood across my face. I managed to straighten out my glasses - good thing I have those metal working skills. But our cleaining lady refused to look me in the eye and quickly moved on whenever I entered the room. I think my main purpose in life is to serve as a caution to others.

I think I will get a new o2 regulator.
adam - Saturday, 12/24/05 13:21:09 EST

Life is too short to spend any of it dead, injuried, or in jail!

As quoted in Uncle Atli's very thin book of wisdom.
ptree - Saturday, 12/24/05 15:17:20 EST

I (and my family) got my Christmas present early, on the 19th. I was finally offered a regular job with benefits at the company were I had been working as a no benefits contract guy. Started on the 19th so I even get hoilday pay!

Scrap possibilities even exist as they scrap machines and stuff from time to time.

Merry Christmas and a happy new year to all!
ptree - Saturday, 12/24/05 15:20:17 EST

job!: Great news ptree! Very glad for you.
adam - Saturday, 12/24/05 15:44:56 EST

Jeff: "Twas a Christmas Miracle! Good deal.

I did run a few beads with my new auto dark welding helmet today. Boy, what a difference that makes. Me likes it!

Also fired up the forge and worked on a nail header. Just thought I'd make one. And I'm still formulating plans for making a steel gecko.
Bob H - Saturday, 12/24/05 16:28:35 EST

Congrats Ptree and a Merry Christmas to all!
- Jeff G. - Saturday, 12/24/05 17:27:53 EST

my 'new' anvil: I just got a 97 lbs anvil for Christmas. :D I can see a couple stampings on it besides the weight saying "SWEDE" and I think either "PARA" or "BARA". I can see that this is cast and am hoping it's steel and not iron.
Does anyone know anything about these?
- Elliott Olson - Saturday, 12/24/05 19:08:01 EST

HoHoHo: Merry Christmas to everyone.
- Doug Thayer - Saturday, 12/24/05 20:36:54 EST

GECKO: BobH; does this mean you're gonna save a ton of money on your shop insurance?
3dogs - Saturday, 12/24/05 22:27:40 EST

ptree: Great news on the job, Jeff! That will surely make your Christmas season much more jolly.
vicopper - Sunday, 12/25/05 02:11:01 EST

Elliott Olson: There's a Swedish anvil sold under the name Paragon, which is a cast steel anvil, and a nice one. Unlike some of the Kohlswas, the Paragon doesn't have such a brittle face that the edges chip. You should find it to be perfectly dandy anvil.
vicopper - Sunday, 12/25/05 02:14:34 EST

Merry Christmas!: Not to mention a happy Hanukah, blessed Yuletide, good Kwanzaa, and a happy new year.

Many thanks to the guru for making this site possible too!
- John Lowther - Sunday, 12/25/05 03:00:23 EST

Congratulations ptree.
FredlyFX - Sunday, 12/25/05 07:03:13 EST

Ptree: Good news on the job! Manny employers now use ONLY contractor, temporary, no benefits employees to save money and are NOT hireing any new "regular full-time" people.
- John Odom - Sunday, 12/25/05 09:32:45 EST

Temp/contractor jobs: Many of the plants I interviewed at now either go 90 to 120 days before any benefits or have a 90 day temp to hire requirement. I was blessed in that I was hired 30 days early so I could get the bennies and holiday pay in time for Christmas. The Corbra cost from the old job, at $1400/month was eating into the finances pretty hard. I am just tickled to find a job with bennies in Manufacturing. In this area (Louisville) the manufacturing sector is pretty hard hit. I even interviewed at a chicken procesing plant, as I figured that we may be stupid enough as a country to buy goods from China, but food will still be grown here. Pretty bad when a manufacturing/engineering type has to look at changing to enviro at a chicken processing plant! And the scrap possibilities there would not have had much promise BOG
ptree - Sunday, 12/25/05 10:05:39 EST

Merry Christmas to all: Well my wife gave me my Christmas gift yesterday...4 bags of charcoal! I usually make my own but everything is covered with snow and ice and I've been having a tough time of it. Snow soaked stuff just doesn't burn well. We rarely see charcoal in the stores around here but she ran accross some yesterday and purchased their whole stock, which was only the four bags.
Mike Ferrara - Sunday, 12/25/05 12:24:09 EST

Shop for Christmas: After living in a 5th wheel and traveling for several years, My wife and I came to visit our daughter here in the Pacific NW about 1 1/2 years ago. What with the increased price of gas, we just couldn't afford to travel anymore. We parked on her frontlawn and I proceeded to help build an 800 square foot addition to the house. She said I could use the garage if I wanted, so I proceeded to set up a new shop. The overall building is 16 wide X 48 long. I had about half, which was nice, but a bit cramped. Fast forward to a week ago..... She moved to Arizona to marry an old high school swwetheart, Mama and I moved into the house, and after getting her stuff out of the back end of the garage, I now have room to put my smithing operations more or less separate from the welding and general fabrication. SO..... It's been a very Merry Christmas for Me. And an very MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all.
- Loren T - Sunday, 12/25/05 13:53:19 EST

building new shop. looks awsome! Computers extremely slow.
- packrat - Sunday, 12/25/05 18:28:17 EST

THANKS!: Thanks Jock, CSI, Rich and Adam! I've been out playing in the shop today, with knowledge I got here on Anvilfire. I replaced the aluminum ground on my Lincoln with a brass ground. I got an auto dark helmet. I LISTEN for the sound of bacon frying when welding. Not enough sizzle, and the rod sticks. So up goes the Amps. I watch the puddle and not the arc. Welding MUCH improved! I burned over a dozen rods just playing around, practicing.

Also, I fired up the forge and made a tramel hook. Even picked up out in the barn a bit and swept the floor. Pretty good day.
Bob H - Sunday, 12/25/05 18:49:19 EST

Ptree: Congratulations on the new job. The timing was perfect!

Merry Christmas to all here. I spent some quality family time today, ate too much, did a horseback trail ride with friends. It was 80 today, sun was out. Nice day. Was glad to have made most of the gifts I gave. Took the commercialism out of it for me, easier on the purse too. Those who don't care for forged ironwork got home canned goodies. Shredded beef and green chilis in a mild enchilada style sauce is always a favorite, with home canned pinto beans to go along.

Thanks to all for sharing their knowledge here and in the Gurus Den.
Ellen - Sunday, 12/25/05 21:41:55 EST

Elliott Olson Anvil: Hi Elliot

You have a very excellent quality cast steel anvil. Your anvil was made in Sweden. The Brand name of these anvils were Paragon made by: Soderfors. They were in business for a very long time and made quality anvils and exported them to the US.
burntforge - Monday, 12/26/05 00:13:15 EST

Anvil: I didn't notice vicopper already responded.
burntforge - Monday, 12/26/05 00:14:41 EST

Burnt & Adam et al.,: First Burnt, about the firepots. I started out forging with a rectangular Buffalo firepot (we called them tuyere irons in the olden days) made by Buffalo in Buffalo. It had a cylindrical tuyere valve with a tapered rectangular hole through the center of the cast valve. I used it for quite a while and liked it. Is Centaur making them like that?

About four years ago, I installed in the school four Laurel firepots with ash dumps, and I would guess the wall thickness on each pot was about 1". These last longer that the thinner cast Buffalo style. I formerly used coal that was of the consistancy of chat and had lots of fines. So we built high fires and wet the coal almost to a slurry. The combination of wetness and cold winter weather caused the side flanges to not only crack but to be rusted and corrode away. It might have taken three to five years for this to happen, but it did happen.

Lorance's are built similar to the Laurels, with that nice wall and flange thickness that I like. They are longer lasting, as said above.

Bruce Lepage of Wisconsin used to (still does?) have his firepots cast especially thick and big to his custom order, because he was doing a lot of fire welding of gun barrels. He said that his cast firepots would turn red while he was working and they often would warp on cooling. He replaced his once a year!

Well Bruce, how's that for being serious, you ole Mongolian hoss breaker?

I have had three students' accidents as Adam described in my years of teaching. The pieces hit the head, and head wounds do produce a lot of blood, as Adam says.

Especially with flat-jawed tongs, this idea of parallel closure on the workpiece is no joke. If the jaws are not parallel on the work, they are tangent to the work in only one tiny area.

Clip tongs or box tongs are helpful in this regard. Clip tongs have two smallish clips at the end of one of the jaws. Box tongs have the two edges bent up at right angles the full length of one jaw. Bolt tongs with Vee jaws are also handy and fairly safe, even when holding some flats.

Frank Turley - Monday, 12/26/05 01:42:55 EST

Paragon: I't nice to have more than one source of an answer though. It's in mostly nice shape though the face is a bit dinged by cold strikes. It is straight though rather than swaybacked. I haven't found any serial number on this yet.
My 97 lbs Paragon
Elliott Olson - Monday, 12/26/05 02:03:52 EST

For working with flats I like a pair of tongs with slightly outward-curved jaws and a lot of spring in them somewhere. Seems to keep a lot of pressure on the work no matter what I do. Just got to make sure the piece doesn't work its way out the side.
- T. Gold - Monday, 12/26/05 05:05:12 EST

Paragon: Miles Undercut is a frequent contributer to this forum and has been using a Paragon as his "main anvil" for quite a few years. He likes it a lot and may comment if he comes in on this "thread".
Frank Turley - Monday, 12/26/05 08:57:43 EST

Frank: Hi Frank
Thanks for the information. I live 70 miles south of Buffalo. Years back when they went out of business Bill Pieh acquired some of the patterns from them. The Centaur fire pots are a Buffalo Forge fire pot. There are some very slight changes that you can not see visually. The angle of the dumping ash gate for instance is slightly different. I have always loved the style of them and the lip. I take excellent care of mine. My friend uses them real hard. He pours water on his fire to control it as you describe. They will crack somewhat over time from very hard use. If they are treated right they are a great firebox. I have wanted to try the Lorance style in my forge as well. Years back I use to sell a very thick all cast in one piece Sutton fire pot with tuyere and sliding ashgate. I bought them right from the foundry that went out of business and auctioned everything off. They were much thicker than one inch. They would not crack or anything. I found them to be too shallow and get an oxidizing fire. I really appreciate your info. I do highly recommend the centaur fire boxes. I would also like to have a Laurel or Lorance as well.
burntforge - Monday, 12/26/05 12:27:35 EST

PTree, Congratulations on the job!
SGensh - Monday, 12/26/05 12:51:52 EST

Adam-- Maybe the real question is, how badly does the oxygen valve leak? Just a wee smidge? A lot?
Elliott-- Paragon is a superb anvil. Just as its name implies.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 12/26/05 21:39:50 EST

Anvilfire: I just finished reading the WHOLE site. Notice I didn't say I learned everything here, I just read it. It took quite a while, and the cold rainy weather helped. There is an amazing amount of information here, and now I at least know where to look for it.

Thanks, Jock!!

Today is a sunny day and I have to get out to the shop to produce some work!
- John Odom - Tuesday, 12/27/05 10:25:59 EST

Correction:: I did NOT read the archives. I've been reading the posts several years. I read all of the other material.
- John Odom - Tuesday, 12/27/05 10:28:06 EST

Anvilfire: I spent $300 on a welding course at the local community college - about the same again on books but my welds were always hit or miss and looked like @#$!. Because of this I had about $1000 of welding equipment that was very much underused. Hanging out on Anvilfire and listening to comments like "burn a 100# of rod", "watch the puddle" or "No! Fool! Dont do that!" together with a practice regime have dramatically improved my welding. I now approach welding tasks with some confidence, and even enthusiasm. Also,I use my equipment a lot more and I dont feel I always have to hide the welds. There's a lot more to learn but what I have now is really valuable. Just to say thankyou to everyone and all the best in '06
adam - Tuesday, 12/27/05 15:51:37 EST

PTree Yeehaw! now you can stop selling your kid's plasma to buy smithing coal! I was out 7 months last time with the company only providing health benies for 6; COBRA would have been over 100% of my unemployment insurance but we had to go with it since I'm diabetic. Chicken processing plants have a lot of stainless steel scrap. (Coming from NW AR one knows this sort of thing...)

BURNTFORGE: cannot use broken 500# Fisher anvil (and as a "quiet" anvil they don't make a good chime either as you should have known!) I am having it drop shipped to you. When you hear the DC9 start circling overhead please go out to an empty spot in the yard with a catcher's mitt. The shippers will proceed to drop it. Estate Sale of smithing equipment to follow...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/27/05 18:18:18 EST

BOG Tom P: Hi Tom
That is a really good one!! I forgot the Fisher doesn't ring. You would think I would know that since I once owned a 600 lbs, 400lb, 150 lb and two 100 lb Fishers. I got my hard hat on and my catchers mitt ready. I can stick it back together. Happy New Year Tom!!
burntforge - Tuesday, 12/27/05 20:53:50 EST

I was out from Sept till Dec and the Cobra was definetly more than unemployement. Family of six, two with alergeries and the shots etc, two in braces, two in college, and trying to start as a full time smith did not quite get it done. But lucky for me I am again employed, with bennies.
I will miss the scrap oppurtunities at the old shop. Never did harvest the remaining Acorns:(

Visited a friend today, who showed me a BIG camel back drill, sitting lonely in the weather, rusted stuck. I can get it for helping him make new doors for the barn. I figure that if I pop the bearing caps, and use lots of blaster etc, I may be able to put it back in service. The quill may need polishing or replacement. Still has the cone pulley etc. Looked to be a Morse #4.He has a little one inside, and someone broke the quil feed :(
- ptree - Tuesday, 12/27/05 20:53:50 EST

My good news: I was accepted into the big Home and Garden Show here in central Ohio this coming February. About 70,000 people come through the doors in ten days, so I will get a lot of exposure. Lots of those people have money and are looking to spend it, so hopefully we can get some momentum going this coming year.
- Jeff G. - Tuesday, 12/27/05 21:21:49 EST

PTree; any friends back at the old place who might "help" with the harvest?

Blacksmith: noun, a person who can tell you the entire history of every anvil they have ever owned but has to count on their fingers to remember what grade their children are in.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/27/05 22:32:20 EST

Jeff G.: Good for you! I hope that you have great success there.
vicopper - Tuesday, 12/27/05 23:03:29 EST

ptree-- camel back restoration: Watch out especially for tapered pins in cast gears. It may take weeks or even months of soaking-- and total dunking of parts in kerosene, if possible-- before it all comes unstuck, but chances are that, even if it looks like something brought up from the Titanic, the innards are still okay. The estimable Guruissimo helped me enormously with my reincarnation of an old Royersford 21" Excelsior that arrivbed frozen solid, everything just totally paralyzed, after it had spent years abandoned out in the open down in Amarillo. It now lives, is totally functional, and is an absolutely invaluable tool. The equivalent quality drill press new would be somewhere in the five figure range.
Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 12/27/05 23:52:29 EST

Getting un-stuck: ptree;
The finest product I've ever run across is Kroil. I believe it works better and faster than PB-blaster, WD-40, or any others that I have tried. The company does not advertise, just sends out flyers at times, and has been in business for over 60 years. If you want their 800 number email me and I'll be glad to give it to you.
- Teslow - Wednesday, 12/28/05 14:32:08 EST

Camelback drill: Step one, help fix the barn doors.
step two, borrow his 933 to clear a path to rear of barn to get to drill.
step three, use 933 to pick up drill and bring around to road.
step four put on trailer.
step five bring home and figure how to remove from trailer and get inside my shop.
Step six, start restoring.

That pesky step five part about getting off the trailer and inside will be the hard part. Took me four months to get the lathe off the trailer and move it 32 feet and turn 90 degrees. I was able to borrow a fork truck, but it will not fit inside the shop. I figure the drill has to weigh a lot less. I may be able to use the neighbors tractor/loader. I can always move the drill the same way I moved the 4000# lathe, like an egyptian!
- ptree - Wednesday, 12/28/05 18:45:47 EST

Kroil: I'll second the motion on Kroil. I've used it after other products including those mentioned above, have failed. I've found it by far the best, and now I use it firse! Kano Laboratories makes it.
- John Odom - Wednesday, 12/28/05 19:51:11 EST

A great day: Today was a good one for me, which I needed; the past week has been a 14 karat stinker, what with the dog blowing out her knee and needing surgery, my lawnmower starter motor crapping out, etc. Today was my birthday, so I took the day off from work and spent it goofing around in the shop. Made a pair of tongs for the CSI tong exchange, cleaned up a bit and then about the time I was starting to get tired, my lovely wife called me in from the shop.

The snazzy massage table I bought a couple months ago got it's baptism today, and boy, did I enjoy every minute of it! My wife is an outstanding masseuse. Thirty years of nursing will do that for ya. Followed up the massage with a brief rest and then grilled a couple of steaks for supper. A very fine birthday, indeed. Other than the getting older part, but even that is still better than the only alternative, of course. (grin)
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/28/05 22:22:29 EST

I've used Kroil, Knockerloose, Liquid Wrench, WD 40, and B'laster plus a smithly friend lets me dunk in his secret bucket of who knows what-all (kerosene, I suspect, plus a soupcon of hydrochloric, a pinch of some muriatic, and I know, I know, it's toxic and combustible and probably explosive, too, but by golly, it loosens rusty stuff up realllllly fast!) B'laster is so good we ought to keep it secret lest the federales ban it. This freedom of choice is not only what makes horse-racing but also America the great nation it is, etc. etc.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 12/29/05 01:36:15 EST

Rich Waugh: Happy Birthday on ye, ya ol' rattlesnake !!!!!
3dogs - Thursday, 12/29/05 04:56:27 EST

Personally, I love B'laster -- beats heck outta anything else I've used, and that includes Kroil. 20-year-old rusty bolts that I B'lasted twenty minutes ago are easier for me to undo than bolts that I just tightened twenty minutes ago (BoG). I never wanna know what's in it. LOL.
- T. Gold - Thursday, 12/29/05 05:53:24 EST

Rich: Happy birthday! Howd you come this far? Was it your brains? Your good looks or just luck? :)
- adam - Thursday, 12/29/05 08:03:26 EST

Adam: Has to have been the luck, the other options don't apply. (grin)
vicopper - Thursday, 12/29/05 08:18:46 EST

Camelback drill: If you are talking about one of the old geared head flat belt drive drills I moved one into my shop alone, out of the pickup, onto a porch, through two door ways. . .

I took it apart. This reduced the weight JUST enough that a small rope block and tackle got the big pieces humped up the couple elevation moves. Then the parts were rolled or dragged into place.

I partialy assembled it lying down bolting the column and frame to the base. THEN righted the thing using the block and tackle. This was the tricky part as things like this tend to suddenly flip up at a certain point.

After righting I installed the table, lever arm and idler pulley assembly. Today I would need help lifting the table. . .

The trick to these moves is NOT breaking something. The lever arms ar often cast and break easily as are the pullies and various brackets. More damage occurs to machinery while moving than any other time. . .
- guru - Thursday, 12/29/05 09:50:40 EST

machine moves: I will second what the Guru notes about more equipment being damaged in moves than any other way. Where I used to work we seemed to move a magor machine a week! We had about 450 big machine tools and as time wore on the process routings changed and stuff was moved. I don't think we ever broke a frame, but the levers and light stuff tended to sometimes take a beating. We also had to move a lot of machines to do floor repair. The 7 story shop had concrete floors, and when you have a 60,000# machine in the middle of the floor between columns, on the upper floors, and a 25,000# steam drop hammer about 60 feet from the building the machines bounce. Concrete floors, no matter how good the reinforcement fail eventually. We never had a machine or a fork truck to fall ALL the way thru the floor.
- ptree - Thursday, 12/29/05 10:32:18 EST

Camelback: The drill in question is a 21" (I think) American Tool, from Cinc. Ohio. I intend to get it home first, apply lots of penetrating oil, and start removing stuff. It is too tall to go thru the door of my shop. ( bad planning on my part!) Once inside, I can start returning the moving parts to movement etc. The feed drive is intact, and the gears look to be at least 90%. The table is even in pretty good shape. It was in a heavy iron fab shop, and probably well cared for untill auctioned and left in the weather! This guy has about 30 acres of stuff with cows grazing in between. I hope yo maybe trade for some other goodies as well.
- ptree - Thursday, 12/29/05 10:38:07 EST

Miraculous Rust Removal: Across the river from me, over at the former Confederate Naval Testing Center in Rhett Butler, Virginia, the microbiologists have developed microscopic rust-munching bacteria (MRMB) to clean all sorts of machinery. They get their energy from the iron oxide as they clean all of the threads and hard to reach places, while the machine just sits there, getting cleaner and cleaner, every day. When it reaches a state that meets your satisfaction, you just spray it with a lubricant that kills off the MRMB and start the machine.

The only flaw is that the excreta is incredibly corrosive, and can create more rust than the MRMB can eat; plus any alloying metals are also excreted in a form that adheres to the remaining metal as if somebody had gone berserk with a wire welder, so that it could look like it’s covered with mini metallic spider webs. This can be prevented by fitting each of the MRMB with little diapers, and changing them regularly, an operation best performed under an electron microscope.

Please keep this under your hats, as it’s part of a top-secret project for an obscure Federal agency. (I know I can trust y’all.)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 12/29/05 12:42:20 EST

If a Mayer Bros. 50-pounder is 1,800 pounds, which it is, then my Royersford Excelsior probably weighs around 500 or more. I took it apart, but even then needed help from a burly son who was visiting to get the huge base plate and the main frame into the shop from the driveway. It had come off the trailer from Amerillo by means of an engine cherry picker. Getting the parts off makes it possible to dunk them, so dismantling is a plus. Just take pictures or make sketches of what goes where and how-- and keep the separate units together in coffee cans!! Things can come up and some considerable time might pass before you get to reassembling....
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 12/29/05 13:34:36 EST

Miles, my plan is to disassemble and saok where possible. I probably will do some digital photos just in case, but the thing is pretty simple.
- ptree - Thursday, 12/29/05 20:14:57 EST

Did some silver work yesterday. The little daughter had outgrown her rings. Melted some scrap silver and then peened out the lump to sheet. Then used the little planishing jewlers hammer to put a delicate peened finish on. Then made a simple band. Been a couple of years since I had done any silver, and I really found the Trenton nice to hammer on compared to the small steel blocks I used to use in Germany. She was tickled to end up with 3 new rings. At thirteen, pleasures can still be simple.
- ptree - Thursday, 12/29/05 20:19:18 EST

ptree-- re: pix: Good! I bet you'll be glad you did if there is any kind of a long intermission between dismantling and assembly.
Miles Undercut - Thursday, 12/29/05 21:14:54 EST

ptree: If you do that again with the scrap silver, you can take the lump and punch a hole in it with a prick punch fjirst, then drift it out with larger punches until you can get it on a ring mandrel. Then you forge it on the mandrel until it is the right size. This gets you a ring with no seams. Also a good way to occupy the hands while the mind is watching TV.
vicopper - Thursday, 12/29/05 21:32:06 EST

metal storage: Someone just asked me... is there a special blacksmiths' term for where metal to be forged is stored, or do you just call it a rack, shelf or box?
Elliott Olson - Friday, 12/30/05 03:10:54 EST

Metal Storage: Elliot, the most accurate term is usually "gravitational anomoly." Seriously, though, I think "stock rack" is commonly used.
Mike B - Friday, 12/30/05 09:12:26 EST

check out ebay item #4429318198. why should I care if Harry likes my torch? LOL

"metal storage" aka "scrap pile"
adam - Friday, 12/30/05 15:13:57 EST

Victor's Brother: Adam,

That ebay item is pretty funny. I wonder what you can gauge with an acytelene torch?
Mike B - Friday, 12/30/05 18:13:36 EST

adam-- scrap pile, indeed! Go wash your mouth out with soap, and not that nice, perfumey Camay, either. Use the yellow Fels-Naptha laundry soap. I think the ebay vendor probably means it is compatible with Hallis equipment.
Miles Undercut - Friday, 12/30/05 18:22:42 EST

Scrap pile?: Ummmm, Salvage maybe but never scrap. Scrap is what goes in that bucket of stuff that actualy is useless. (any one know where the term "gone to pot" came from?)
JimG - Friday, 12/30/05 19:51:36 EST

Iron storage at my place is refered to as "Future oppurtunities"
Scrap is things like weld splatter, saw dust and the occasional tiny drop.
- ptree - Friday, 12/30/05 20:18:51 EST

Touch marks: I have finally decided to give in to my wife and have a touch mark made (I just have trouble justifing the cost of such a tiny piece of steel) I do not see anything on Centaur's site about them. Do they still provide that service? And if not, where can a guy get one made?
- Jeff G - Friday, 12/30/05 21:44:44 EST

Touchmarks: Wagon Mound Ranch Supply,, sells them for $12 per letter. I don't see them anywhere on their web site but they are in the catalogue.
Tyler Murch - Friday, 12/30/05 22:10:21 EST

Touch Marks: Jeff, iForge #65 demos how to make a touchmark. Also, in the pull down menu at top right of the screen is the "Touchmark Registry" which shows some touchmarks and links to the iForge demo. I don't know where to buy one, but there are probably smiths out there who will make one for you.
Ellen - Friday, 12/30/05 22:17:21 EST

Jeff G: Hi Jeff
Centaur still provides the touch mark service. I have a nice one from them.
- burntforge - Friday, 12/30/05 22:25:24 EST

Tyler Murch: I remember some time ago I was looking throught the guru den archives and I came across a thread about touchmarks. A CSI member named Ano said he makes them and I sent him an e-mail wanting a tm made. I never got a reply though. Try e-mailing him maybe he just thought it was spam?
Tyler Murch - Friday, 12/30/05 22:34:32 EST

Actually, the Managing Director here at Entropy Research, tears appearing in her lovely brown eyes at the mere thought of the horrid thing, refers to it as "that HIDEOUS scrap pile of yours." Hey! Happy New Year, y'all!!!
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 12/31/05 01:20:02 EST

Touch Marks: Frank gave me the name of the company he uses. I will try to dig it out if he doesnt chime in soon.

Happy '06 to everyone. May you all have health, wealth and a @#$%load of fun!
- adam - Saturday, 12/31/05 10:01:44 EST

Touchmarks/stamps: Try
Frank Turley - Saturday, 12/31/05 10:30:19 EST

Scrap pile: Miles Undercut,
One of the small blessings of living in S. Indiana is that we have pine trees growing like weeds. If you don't mow twice a year they take over. A little creative non-mowing has led to the future oppurtunities being well screened from the DG's prying eyes. At least that works in the upper field. I am fertilizing the pines around the shop to encourage faster growth. My shop has expanded to be bigger than the house, and the DG has threatened to leave me if I add to it again. I did do the last addition while she and the girls were away at Girl Scout camp. Dug up the sidewalk and landscaping, took apart the outer wall, and moved it 12'. then replanted everthing in the same relationship. That was about three years ago, so I am due for an addition. I just gotta get those pines to grow a bit more. I hear Scout camp is in June this year. BOG
- ptree - Saturday, 12/31/05 10:39:15 EST

Jeff G.: I havent priced them yet, but I have heard that The Superior Steel Stamp Co. in Cleveland Ohio makes very good custom touchmark stamps. Their tel. number is (216)431-6460. Ask for Dale Cashins. Have him send you a catalogue.
Brian C - Saturday, 12/31/05 10:51:17 EST

ptree-- Wowee! Nice going! I especially admire the camouflage/landscaping you cunningly achieved "in the same relationship" thus concealing the expansion. I had much the same sort of cover here-- until the awful drought we have been having set in a few years ago. The yard spaces around and behind the shop where my stand-by stashes of materiel are stored were pretty well screened by pinon trees, a sort of baby pine tree that can grow to maybe three stories tops. Come the drought, though, and the onslaught of bark beetles preying on the poor water-starved trees, we had to cut down more than 100 (one hundred!) dead pinon trees right around the house and shop, because of the fire hazard. This left my supply yard naked to the world-- and the Managing Director's pitiless scowl.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 12/31/05 11:29:20 EST

Thanks for the info. As always, you all are a wealth of information.
- Jeff G - Saturday, 12/31/05 12:15:39 EST

TOUCHMARKS: I had VERY good luck with one for work at:
Auburn Hills, MI
Many characters, D-2, $80
- Tom H - Saturday, 12/31/05 13:33:48 EST

Miles Undercut,
I traded some iron wheels I scoured at the scrap yard for 50 Norway spruces. These are the best screen tree around here. planted all 50 around the shop with forethought as to future expansion. Then we had a drought this summer and 47 went belly up! Oh well, next spring I shall try again.
Plus as the DG just hit 50 her eyesight is degrading a bit so I may be able to sneak another 16' by 22.5' onto the shop!
- ptree - Saturday, 12/31/05 20:46:48 EST

Miles; Tell the Boss that if she'll throw in the stuff behind the locked door marked "Danger Mineshaft!"..or was it "Explosives" I'll be happy to haul another load down to my shop---my scrap pile was cunningly arranged so that no window from the house can get a view of it.

The particularly hideous stuff goes on the east side of the shop and only the neighbor's horses can see that side as it's in the 5' buffer zone between the shop and property line.

I expect the scrap pile will take a major hit once power is run to the shop and the welder gets to start making itself usefull again---stock racks, treadle hammer, another forge or 5....

Thomas P - Saturday, 12/31/05 21:51:01 EST

I don't know yet what we will do to replace them, but the missing trees create a huge privacy problem, plus much more road dust and noise reaching the house without their screening. So dry here I have used only the propane forge since 1991 and had to build a "burn ward" in front of the shop, with corrugated steel walls, concrete floor, to contain sparks from welding, cutting, grinding.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 12/31/05 21:51:28 EST

Pending Projects Pile:

My wif is a bit more comfortable with my scrap pile since I told her that at current salvage rates it's worth well over $100. :-) Also, it and the forge are about 400 yards from the house.

It's fascinating how, sometimes, you'll find a piece of salvage and know just what you can do with it. Thus, I think we should refer to these valuable resources as the pending Projects Pile.

It's a little over an hour 'till the new year on the East Coast. Here comes 2006; y'all keep your heads down! ;-)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 12/31/05 23:44:33 EST

Future Oportunites: My wife goes"[sigh,] What are you going to do with all that junk?" We, I mean I, scrapped out our old washing machine. The drive shaft looks nice, and hey, the shell is a nice piece of sheet stock too! So I've got that out there. Plus some stuff in buckets, some leaning into the corners, and I do have a large mobile rack with arms about 5" apart. That carries the majority of my stock these days.
Bob H - Sunday, 01/01/06 10:10:33 EST

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