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December 2006 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.
This page is NOT a chat - it is a "message board"

Our chat, the (Slack-Tub Pub), is immediate but the record of it is temporary. DO NOT post permanent messages there. We refresh the "log" every 24 hours now and your message will be lost.

The Guru's Den is where I and several others try to answer ALL your blacksmithing and metalworking questions to us.

Please note that this forum uses an e-mail encryption system that prevents spam harvesters from collecting your e-mail address.

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

Band vs. Chop:
Abrasive chop saws heat the work considerably. They will cut hardened steel and will also cut small amounts of refractory material. They will ruin the annealed condition of expensive annealed tool steel by making it glass hard AND they leave a REALLY bad burr that is dangerous and hard to remove. They are also noisy and dirty.

Besides steel the band saw is also good for soft aluminium, brass, plastic and wood which you cannot cut with the abrasive chop saw. In general the blades are MUCH less expensive per cut than abrasive cut off wheels. The saw is also quiet and when running properly can cut unattended, or at least without you hovering over it.

Personaly I would not have a chop saw as the primary cutoff tool in my shop. I would go back to hand sawing first.

One of the first jobs I did with my little cut-off saw was build work benches for my children. The legs sloped at a 7 degree angle so the ends needed accurate cuts as did the horizontal supports. All were cut to the same angle. Due to the vise and accurate alignment of the blade it was easier to do this job on the cutoff saw than on a table saw or vertical band saw. I've also used it for blanking out swage block patterns.

So. . . you have to look at the big picture of the kinds of things you do in your shop. Due to its flexibility and ease of use my little cut-off saw gets used a LOT.
- guru - Friday, 09/01/06 15:12:43 EDT

In our tempurate climes (and in one of our office spaces) I found that a combination of lining the edges of the carpet/baseboards with boric acid powder (not viable with certain pets), roach pills in the corners and under furniture, and roach motels (sticky traps baited with molasses) worked really well; but it took a week or two to take full effect.

If you are dragging bags and boxes back home with you, get a box of old-fashiones moth balls and drop one or two in each bag or box when you pack.

For a really ecological method, bring a pack of wolf spiders with you. They love roaches, and when they run out of roaches, they eat each other. (Note: Consult your spouse before trying this. Some folks are not on such easy terms with big, hairy wolf spiders. I just like the way they look so cute staring at me with their big six or eight eyes.)
More than you want to know about spider anatomy...
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/01/06 08:53:56 EST

Anvil Pictures: Still not sure who made my anvils, I got some pictures of one of them today and uploaded them to photobucket. Hopefully this link works.

- James Rader - Friday, 12/01/06 13:14:12 EST

James, Working link: The anvil has the earmarks of a Hay-Budden. It can be used as a blacksmith's anvil, even though it was designed originally for farriers. If you did a little work with a rough steel wool on the side in the pic, horn to your right, you might turn up some letters and numbers. In an arc form on top 'HAY BUDDEN'; in the center in a straight line 'MANUFACTURING CO'; and on the bottom in a lower arc (rocker) form 'BROOKLYN NY'. The weight is sometimes stamped on the same side, could be just about anywhere, and could be cattywampus.
Frank Turley - Friday, 12/01/06 13:40:37 EST

Thank you: I may try the steel wool, a lot of texture to the sides but nothing that just jumps out as lettering right now. I have done a fair amount of smithing on it over the past 10 years that I have had it, as well as the other one that is nearly identical with the exceptions being it is minus one pritchel hole and has a lot more wear on the edges of the face. I feel very fortunate to have these and plan to have them around for a very long time to come.

Thanks for helping me quench my curiosity
James Rader - Friday, 12/01/06 15:35:24 EST

translation: safty message for crew think twice if it dont feel right dont do it my main hammer wieght 2000 lb small by sum standerd,s but will still kill you
jmac - Friday, 12/01/06 15:42:09 EST

DAVEB: thank you very much, if you would be willing to show a 16 year old some smith skill, what is your e-mail address? thnx
- Andrew Marlin - Friday, 12/01/06 19:52:42 EST

earlier posting: i had said i would consider trade on those tools.... i'm looking for an upright bass as well......thanks
blacklionforge - Friday, 12/01/06 20:03:54 EST

Wolf spiders: Bruce Blackistone,
My son the "Hoodlum Genius" has been rather fond of big wolf spiders since he turned three years old. He will not allow them to be stomped or hurt, and has been carring them out of the house to get his sisters and mother out of the state they get in when they see one. Since he was 3 he has carried them out of the house with his bare hands. I am told they can bite, but he has never had a bite. He has been doing this for 16 years.
ptree - Friday, 12/01/06 20:42:31 EST

jmac, i normally wont feed the trolls, but...... go away? very polite bunch round here so wont say it them selves ( ' apostrophy) insert in correct place.
pls nobody else tell me im wrong, or respond in any way to this post. most of us here have tried 'girlfriend' program, at least to version 1.0 ? - give it a try maybee? heard there waz a life4 sale on ebay n all....
- John N - Friday, 12/01/06 20:43:36 EST

john n: i dont no wy message posted like that. shoud say i run a small pile driveing outfit safty message for crew think about it twice if it dont look right dont do it my main hammer is 2000lb small by some standerd,sbut it will still kill you.skill testing ? hole 8"diamiter 10"deep= 62.8 squ 0r is my math wrong .[troll played under a few built the odd one] [girlfriend got my dog ] [ life buird under snow in scrap pile ]
jmac - Saturday, 12/02/06 01:05:35 EST

bugs: Thanks gents! Mom called the other day to tell me she was trying a sugar and borax recipe for roach bait. Making a syrup from the two sounded easy, and I hope it works! I mentioned the spiders to my wife... Lets just say for the sake of the life expectancy of this 25 yr old we won't be going that route! Thanks again!
dragonboy - Saturday, 12/02/06 11:05:44 EST

wilkneson anvil: battered worse than a tank at kursk... heel broken off at waist most the steel facing long gone....its still weighs in the 175lb range maybe a wee bit more---- anyone interested ????
blacklionforge - Saturday, 12/02/06 14:21:02 EST

power hammer: Hi guys. I'm starting to improve the sculpture equipment in my high school art shop. I'm looking for discounted or donated(tax deductible)equipment such as anvils, power hammers, etc. Anything that a my student can use to learn blacksmithing. Any help or advice would greatly appreciated. Thanks
Randy Calhoun - Sunday, 12/03/06 08:36:25 EST

Blacklion's anvil: Where is the remains of this Wilkinson Anvil? This is a world-wide group, I would go to Athens, TN but not Athens Greece to pick it up!
- John Odom - Sunday, 12/03/06 11:48:26 EST

Randy; I know that finding equipment in Australia is difficult---or are you in Greenland? I used to know where a reasonably priced anvil was in Malmesbury England...

When I needed a replacement anvil for the POS they had been using at a local university, I asked around church and a retired fellow donated a nice cast steel (*swedish*) anvil to the program and *NO* shipping charges!

Thomas Powers
Central NM, USA
Thomas Powers - Sunday, 12/03/06 16:37:28 EST

john/anvil: anvil is located near lynchburg va......
blacklionforge - Sunday, 12/03/06 18:22:00 EST

3 Little Pigs (from Guru's Den): Thomas,

I'd been meaning to ask you the name of the BBQ joint since the last time you mentioned it (without, IIRC, giving the name). Turns out it's around the corner from my favorite sushi place. Have to try it the next time I'm out that way. Unless my wife's with me -- she doesn't like BBQ, and I doubt she'd appreciate my going around the corner while she's eating sushi (grin).
- Mike B - Sunday, 12/03/06 19:27:59 EST

Randy's whereabouts: Randy is a student from long ago days who is in southern Wyoming, Laramie [I think]. He'll probably respond.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/03/06 22:56:05 EST

If this is the same smith I met with that name last summer, he is in Cheyenne.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 12/04/06 00:59:57 EST

Andrew Marlin: Andrew, Clicking on anyone's name that is not black will give you their email Address. Although I don't consider myself a smith. I could probably stand to let you come over for a visit after I get my shop finished.
Which may be a little while. No Swords
daveb - Monday, 12/04/06 10:06:22 EST

Anvil ID:
We get a lot of anvil ID questions and the fact is that many cannot be reliably identified. Manufacturers who cared put their name on their product. Some did so as a trade requirement. However, many manufacturers made unmarked generic products for hardware sellers who branded them as their own. In many cases this was done with a very short lived stencil or paper lable if they were marked at all. The result is a lot of tools that cannot be reliably identified other than by general style. Manufacturers like Haybudden were known to make custom anvils as well as hardware store lines. As specials these were often not marked.

Many old anvils are also not marked and some that ARE marked are rusted to the point that decyphering the marks is very difficult.

In the end what you have is a tool, probably a very good tool that with care will out live you and your grand children. Its nice to know who made it but if not it is still just as valuable as a tool.

If you REALLY must know then buy a copy of anvils in America and study it closely until you find a match.

Clean it, oil it, use it.
- guru - Monday, 12/04/06 12:21:58 EST

Three Little Pigs is not my favorite style of BBQ; but my father liked it a lot. I prefer that of Crazy Horse near Talaquah OK or State Line down near El Paso TX.

A lot of anvil have had the maker's marks removed through use/abuse. I have a 407# anvil that I believe is a trenton do to the shape and the depression on the bottom that the name side had been ground off in a welding shop---I try to remember to pray for them as folks who abuse anvils are bound to need as much praying for them as they can get! (The grinding was ok it's the gouging of the otherwise *perfect* face that's the abuse!

Thomas P - Monday, 12/04/06 14:39:38 EST

BBQ: We used to have great BBQ at Dick & Runts in Ponca City, OK. How's that for a name to keep you coming back? I think they had a special marinade.
Frank Turley - Monday, 12/04/06 20:27:00 EST

ABQ BBQ-- Powdrell's-- Mr Powdrell's Barbeque House
(505) 345-8086 Web Site 5209 4th St NW and also 298-6766 11301 Central Ave NE.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 12/04/06 21:49:19 EST

Miles Undercut - Monday, 12/04/06 21:55:00 EST

Thanks Guru: I am in full agreement, it is a tool. Just enough conversation of anvil makers to peak my curiousity. I truly love my two anvils regardless of the maker. I do plan to purchase Mr Postmans book and have added it to my "if you want to get me a gift" list. Maybe Santa will be nice this year, although the coal I have received in the past has been put to good use, I really have received coal for Christmas... Sometimes you know when your family really cares!
- James Rader - Monday, 12/04/06 22:07:27 EST

BBQ: The town I grew up in had a place called Big Shoe... Haven't been in there since the boy took over the business, but the ole man, he knew the art of real BBQ... If memory serves me right a slab of ribs would set ya back about $40 in the early 80's.
James Rader - Monday, 12/04/06 22:13:18 EST

This is my first visit to anvilfire, but it wont be the last. If anyone out there is in need of a 250lb. meyer bros. power hammer let me know.
- Dwayne Kent - Monday, 12/04/06 23:32:09 EST

This is my first visit to anvilfire, but it wont be the last. If anyone out there is in need of a 250lb. meyer bros. power hammer let me know. Contact me by e-mail at
- Dwayne Kent - Monday, 12/04/06 23:47:40 EST

Ground Anvil Sides:
At one time it was common to finish the "off" side (away from the smith) of an anvil for several inches. I have seen drawings that specified this as well as anvils where half the makers mark had been machined off.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/05/06 10:28:32 EST

Dwane, I could use a large hammer, what condition, how much and where are you at?

Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/05/06 12:47:24 EST

John Lowther: In Kansas City, the most famous barbeque is Arthur Bryant's (a stop for presidents in KC since Truman) the most prolific is Gates, and the best is Rosedale (it's sometimes overlooked 'cause it's on the Kansas side.) The sauce at Rosedale is a lot zippier than most KC barbeque.

I haven't found a barbeque good enough to go back to in Topeka, and Buffalo Bob's in Lawrence is OK, but noting to write home about.
John Lowther - Tuesday, 12/05/06 13:06:46 EST

Subject: Dog gone it, I did it again!
John Lowther - Tuesday, 12/05/06 13:08:03 EST

BBQ: EVERYONE needs to go to Arthur Bryants at least once in their life. Just plain barbecue. You'll never forget it.
- Tom H - Tuesday, 12/05/06 13:20:11 EST

Crazy Horse BBQ was a shack in the middle of the woods with picnic tables outside. The family would get up early and cook BBQ and then sell BBQ until they ran out and then shutdown and went fishing. Nice folks, good food.

Had BBQ goat on a well drilling site that went good with the moonshine---shoot I'll associate even with *blacksmiths* if there is food to be had!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/05/06 15:42:16 EST

BBQ: I would commend to all the "Moonlight Barbeque Grill" in Owensboro, KY. Next to the airport. Got the biggest, and best BBQ Buffet I have ever seen. If you can imagine a meat, it is probably there, pulled, sliced, and on the bone. The desert bar is bigger thn most joints. One of the specialities is BBQ Mutton, a west KY favorite.
- ptree - Tuesday, 12/05/06 21:05:55 EST

ThomasP, One of the old fellas at the valve shop would BBQ up stuff and bring it in from time to time. Deer season meant deer ribs, maybe 30# worth. Most of the time it was a guess till it was gone then he would fess up. Most very good. Goat OK, Raccoon fair, squirell OK, dog great, BBQ possum, NOT good. Wished for some shine to get the grease taste outa my mouth. He always had a good laugh, but I noticed that most everbody came back for more.
On the drill rig, which came first, shine or goat?
- ptree - Tuesday, 12/05/06 21:10:08 EST

goat: Goat is a popular meet in the Bahamian Out Islands. They put them on a small island, or fence them in out in the bush and let them fend for themselves. Sometimes there there is one chained to a tree in the yard. One of the churches on the Western end of Exuma was having a fund raising dinner to raise money for a new roof. The menue was chicken, konch or mutton dinner. I was there with a group of other boaters. One of them asked "What is the mutton like?" The local gal replied " It is a lot like goat"
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 12/05/06 22:41:27 EST

Tools: I want to start blacksmithing yet I cannot find any affordable anvils. Can anyone help me?
- C.J. - Wednesday, 12/06/06 08:41:37 EST

possum: hey ptree you gotta put the possum in a cage and feed it old bread /milk/and corn and it tasted better than chicken.... as for coon if it aint boiled like hades b4 you bbq it it will greasey as a garage floor,,,,and as for squirell......i never seen one really big enuff ta eat,to many darn bones but stewed their great.....but the best of the best is bbq snapping turtle done in the shell of course..... oh well as for all this bbq discourse...its one of those topics that could be talked about till the end of day....... once you guys have hashed out whats best let us all know......... lol thanks
- blacklionforge - Wednesday, 12/06/06 09:17:09 EST

Finishing work: I have been using oils to finish work. Motor oil,linseed oil, cooking oil. I like a really black finish and can get it best with motor oil and cooking oil, but it takes many coats to get it. I've never tried beeswax, how does it work? Are there other. better ways to get a black finish, short of spray paint?
- JEFF - Wednesday, 12/06/06 09:47:21 EST

BBQ: One of my favorites is Clems, just east of Pittsburgh Pa, and again in State College Pa. Same name, same initial recipe, different owners- story I heard was that Clem left his wife for another man, and she got the State College location. His is better, though.
- ries - Wednesday, 12/06/06 11:36:40 EST

Clay's Corner, Brasstown, NC: The store sells a bumber sticker: "THE OTHER OTHER WHITE MEAT - POSSUM"
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 12/06/06 11:53:35 EST

Ptree, there are some questions one doesn't ask when one is a "stranger" and details on the 'shine is one of them.

I rather like goat; BBQ helps with the greasyness as does the middle eastern yoghurt sauce. I had goat satay in Indonesia that was quite tasty too.

I went to Stat Line and had a "3 rib" dinner and ended up having to pack one of the ribs out, don't know where they got cattle that big around these parts; but I hope they keep it up!

CJ I've found two real anvils for *FREE* within a mile of where I'm sitting. I suggest you try there as well! If not if you use the search function you will find that we have answered that question at least once a week forseveral years now and the answers don't really change.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/06/06 12:07:55 EST

Jeff, Beeswax is too soft to make a nice shine. Look at the ingredients in good car and floor waxes. Generally carabuna wax. It is hard and takes a polish.

Heat cured finishes are just accelerated oxidation (drying). When you use linseed oil and heat it you are accelerating the drying process. In paint they use cobalt (Japan) drier to do the same thing. Many folks add this to their home brew finishes.

In the end what you are doing is backyard paint formulating. The results are not very good nor tested. So why not just use REAL paint formulated by professionals with vast laboratories to back up their work? Besides being better it is less expensive and the PROFESSIONAL way to finish your product.

- guru - Wednesday, 12/06/06 16:31:44 EST

Carabuna wax? Dont you mean Cowabunga wax?
Or is that New-a-car-a wax? Carborundum wax?
Nubian Car wax? Newbycar wax?

I think it might actually be Carnuba wax.
At least thats what it says on my can.
Personally, I use it on the surface of my tablesaw, but I am totally with the Guru- when it comes to paint, clear or colored, I buy the premade stuff- thousands of man hours and millions of dollars in R&D beats my abilities to alchemize every time.
- ries - Wednesday, 12/06/06 16:42:42 EST

Affordable blacksmithing tools:
IBM-PC clone cost $1500. Life 7 years tops.
iPod with accessories $500. Life 3 years or until lost or stollen.

Good used anvil $200 - $400
Good DIY coal forge $0 - $150
NEW gas forge $400 - $600
Hammer NEW $25 - $150
(5) Tongs NEW $100 - $150
Misc $100 - $300

SO for $825 to $1850 you can have a set of blacksmithing tools including TWO forges but lacking a vise (OR including a good post vise if you are careful). Life, several generations. . . compared to electronic junk that most folks just HAVE TO HAVE. . .

Balance it out. A new playstation that might last a couple years and rot your brain, or a set of tools that will last a life time and teach you things (physics, science, math) that only a small percentage of the world population knows. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 12/06/06 16:46:54 EST

And note that the prices quoted are pretty much "list price"---to get you a good set-up *fast* and *easy*.

Don't let that number scare anyone off!

My two gas forges built at SOFA workshops were under $130 a piece; my hammers are all fleamarket/conference finds and generally run me about $5 a piece as are my tongs. (I have found good commercially made tongs for $5-$10 used, my most useful pair was US$1.50!)

What the cheap prices don't include is the time I put into tracking stuff down. For 17 years now the places I work know that I will be in half an hour late on fleamarket days and as a "regular" dealers know to look for stuff assured I will buy it if the price is right.

The more people you talk to the more likely you will stumble of the "deals". Also save whenever possible to give you the ability to spend when you run into a great deal.

I enjoy hunting smithing stuff a lot more than I do watching TV so I charge that time to "entertainment".

Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/06/06 18:47:59 EST

I was not inquiring as to the pedigree of that shine, but rather, was shine or BBQ consumed first? :) This will affect the flavor percieved.

I agree with both ThomasP and the Guru. Those that claim tools are too high, probably don't scrounge or spend any effort in the search. Heck, the search is half the fun. In fact I have it on good authority that ThomasP has raised the search to a high art.
- ptree - Wednesday, 12/06/06 19:38:32 EST

mutton / goat: The trick is to let the fat get away, as that is where the funny taste is. Strong flavorings like curry cover it pretty well too.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 12/06/06 21:59:30 EST

Goat: I attended a meeting on St. Thomas today where they served lunch. Local food, of course. The choice was either stewed goat or baked fish. I don't much like fish, but I ate it. That should let you know what I generally think of stewed goat. It can be marginally edible if roasted slowly over an open fire with about a bushel of garlic, but just lying there marinating in its own grease makes it pretty unappealing to me. 'Druther've had chicken.

A friend from Colorado used to say when asked about eating pronghorn antelope, "It looks like a goat, smells like a goat and tastes like a goat, and I purely HATE goat!" Needless to say, I've never bothered to try the antelope.
vicopper - Wednesday, 12/06/06 22:36:46 EST

the search: i have to agree with ptree.... the search is where then fun matter if its a single mint condition ballpeen on a table at the flea market or finding an intact tooling/blacksmith shop.....the love of the chase......
blacklionforge - Thursday, 12/07/06 08:15:50 EST

My prices above and the Search:
These were as Thomas noted "List" prices. Even the used prices are what you would pay a dealer or on ebay. These are the "easy to find almost anywhere" prices. You could be up and running in a week to or two.

But if you are on a tight budget then that is different. I was just writing to a fellow about a friend of mine who wanted to travel the country, visit friends and just goof off for a couple years. He had the cash for gas and expenses on his (old worn out) van which he slept in most of the time. His plan was to "live off the land" when he had to. A large part of this consisted of eating road kill and dumpster diving for food. And after a few stories about eating road kill he got a lot of invitations to spend a couple days and eat REAL food. . . But he never begged, or went to soup kitchens.

Now THAT is a budget!

IF you scour flea markets you will often find NICE blacksmiths vises for $50 to $75. You will need at least one but it is not hard to sell others at a profit. Anvils are not so easy and today everyone thinks they are antique collector's items. Perhaps in unused condition but nearly 200 year old anvils still sell for a couple dollars a pound and if you find one being sold by an individual it may go for as little as $50. This is a price that has remained constant for 50 years!

To get these deals you have to go out and LOOK. If you live in a major city and haven't been to some really scary places then you haven't looked. . . (I'm talking industrial yards with rabid appearing junk yard dogs and employees that could learn something from the dogs). There are also junk shops that often have good stuff. But not ANTIQUE shops. If the shop has polished wood furniture and anything has been dusted in a decade then its the wrong place. There are also the weekend flea markets where all the locals go to trade bicycles and old clothes. . NOT the place. You want the regional markets where old and new tools get traded and are often on odd schedules including weekdays. ASK around.

So you have a choice or two. Pay list price for new tools (they are worth it if you can afford it), pay too much on ebay, go out and seriously scrounge, or eat road kill and save your grocery money.

Did I mention that the PC used to access this site probably cost more than the tools you are looking for?
- guru - Thursday, 12/07/06 09:49:23 EST

December 7: Today is Pearl Harbor Day. Time to remember and honor those who were there.
Brian C - Thursday, 12/07/06 10:52:16 EST

Deals: Speaking of deals, Guru , The anvil I was telling you about the other night fell through, The owner said he was not desperate enough yet, but I am waiting : ). I also set out immediately on the trail of another smaller one. If you don’t talk about smithing, then no one will know that you are looking for anything. The first lead was from work. The second one was stumbled on at a dinner with my wife’s coworkers.
daveb - Thursday, 12/07/06 10:57:03 EST

Scrounging: I have found that many so-called flea markets are not flea markets at all. They have become bazaars, with the same shops and stalls weekend after weekend. Most of the stuff is not old, nor is it brought in from the surrounding countryside by country folk. You'll find stalls, each one specializing. For example, one might be selling NEW Guatamalan weavings; another is offering CDs; another palm leaf hats, etc.

When I travel, I will often stop at antique malls, and I have been able to find smithing tools on occasion, and reasonably priced. It takes searching, though, and remembering that a mall is different that an antique shop. Three of my leg vises have come from antique malls.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/07/06 12:54:26 EST

Fleamarkets: Thanks for the reminder to look up when the White Cloud (KS) fleamarket will be next year. Perhaps the best in the area: May 4, 5 & 6, 2007. There is usually another, more antique oriented one in nearby Sparks the same weekend.
- John Lowther - Thursday, 12/07/06 14:56:19 EST

Tool sales: You might want to check out They run tool auctions here in NH and also in Indianapolis. But the listings are online and you can bid by proxy. The thing is, it's mostly woodworking tools. The good thing about that is I found some decent metalworking tool deals by bidding much lower than their recommended prices. most of the bidders are looking for wood tools, I guess, so nobody bids on the metal tools.

But if you're in the area of one of the auctions, as I am, the tailgate sales are great. Still mostly wood tools, but more than enough metalworking tools, including vises and anvils, to make me happy.
- Marc - Thursday, 12/07/06 15:02:51 EST

My favorite fleamarket in OH was a drive in theater---that was still in business! All the people selling stuff had to unload, set up, sell and load *every* day it was open---lots of pressure to sell and less attractive to "professional" dealers.

Here in NM the local fleamarket is held on an empty lot one morning a week though we do get people who set up here on Friday and then pack up and sell in Albuquerque on Saturday and Sunday.

A "mall" can be a good spot and you can often get a working relationship with a dealer who will hunt stuff with you in mind; but the overhead usually means that prices are higher.
Thomas P - Thursday, 12/07/06 15:32:29 EST

Hi all, just checkin out the pub here, interesting discussion, but since I like Jim Beamand am happily married, might not have much to offer.
Thumper - Thursday, 12/07/06 22:19:21 EST

Whoa, What happened, I was just in the Pub and now I'm here so my last post doesn't make much sense.
Thumper - Thursday, 12/07/06 22:21:40 EST

Back in town: Hi ho all...back from 9 days in China, where all the creatures they feed you still have their heads on & it all smells like fish & soy. Was teaching some companies there how to further their conquest of our american jobs.

The traffic is horrific. The stripes on the roads are for decoration only & there are absolutely no rules. But, no one complains or yells when you cut them off or pull out in front of them, or U-turn thru 6 lanes of traffic. We were nearly killed 3 times, which I was told was considered good.

When thru the museum under the huge tv tower in Shanghai & saw a repro of an old blacksmith shop. As soon as I download the pictures, I'll try to send them to someone who can put them up for viewing.
- Mike Sa - Thursday, 12/07/06 22:52:11 EST

tools posted earlier: grinder and hydraulic power unit ...both for 500 bills if gotten b4 xmas...........also will throwing the extra wheels for the grinder
blacklionforge - Friday, 12/08/06 10:01:57 EST

The Pursuit of Tools:
The two other ingredients are knowledge and patience.

After you have the core tools from the Guru’s list, above, you can ease back a little and pay more attention to the market. You can look at posts vises and buy them only if they are a bargain. You can look at lots of tools and prices without buying anything. I look on antique shops and flea markets as museums where you can question and learn; and IF you see the “pearl of great price” you can actually buy it. Books and sites like Anvilfire can help provide the background that makes the footwork worth while.

When I’m on travel to the odd nooks of the National Parks, I try to hit the antique shops and malls, and flea markets, during lunch hours or (if I’m lucky) evening hours (usually only the “malls” are open late). My rule is that any tool has to be desirable (meaning actually useful, and not just something to hang on the wall) affordable on my budget, and transportable. This means it has to fit in my check-through luggage. However, I once forewent a pair of 3’ metal shears for $40 in Denver because it wouldn’t fit. It was only afterwards that I realized that the antique mall would have shipped them for me at a reasonable price. The last time I came across a similar situation (a 4’+ steel yard) I boxed it up separately and added it to my check-through. (And yes, TSA /Homeland Security did open the package and take a look; the silhouette does resemble some sort of projectile weapon on the X-ray machine.)

You can find good tools at reasonable, and even low, prices at antique shops, but it’s usually when you know more than the dealer. He or she might buy something because it looks neat, or as part of a lot, and just ball-park the price. You would know what the price is in your venue, and decide as to whether it’s a bargain or overpriced. (hint- Don’t buy it if it’s overpriced unless a large, complex and highly profitable project will fail without that tool RIGHT NOW.)

Sorry, I babble on a bit because the hunt is so much fun. :-)

Knowledge and patience are your best weapons. Oh, and persistence. Um, and money…

Cold and sunny on the banks of the Potomac. More fun with the chainsaw this weekend, clearing the lot for the new forge. The 24” Stihl certainly works well; thanks for the advice.

New pictures of the new ship, Sæ Hrafn
Bruce Blackistone - Friday, 12/08/06 10:03:23 EST

Longship: Hey Bruce,
The Sae Hrafn looks wonderful (yeh, i just got around to checking out the page). How many man hours do you guys have tied up in it?? Any plans for a trip up (or down) the Mississippi?
-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Friday, 12/08/06 10:36:19 EST

Knowledge is a big part of buying stuff cheap---it is often far better to pay list price for expensive top notch tools than to buy cheap tools that are really worthless tools. Now if you know the difference between them and can find the *good* ones in good condition then you are in luck!

Knowing what repairs to tools are simple or cheap is also a big help.

Atli I once flew out of denver with a carry on bag that weighed 90#---I had found an abandoned homestead's scrap pile while hiking and there were a lot of old stuff that was worth the effort (and I had permission from the ranch owner). Sigh; back in the days before TSA and x-raying your carry on luggage---when I used to take swords as carry-on luggage.

Traffic: traffic in Jakarta was very chaotic; but very friendly. Worst I have experienced was in Rome when we used to draw straws for who had to sit in the front of the taxi...
Thomas P - Friday, 12/08/06 12:40:13 EST

Bruce- I was with you till your third rule- "transportable".
That takes all the fun out of it. The best stuff is often cheap because its heavy. Whats a few thousand pounds between friends?
I have a friend who has a 10,000 sq ft building for his tools- and its so full you gotta turn sideways to walk thru it. He has 5 forklifts of various sizes, and a big flatbed and trailer, so he is always ready to jump on that good deal. 5 power hammers, the biggest one of which is something like 1000lb ram. Unfortunately, he hasnt got around to getting most of the stuff running- there is always a new good deal to distract him- but he swears any year now he will have a working shop space carved out of the corner of the building- but for now, it looks like the warehouse at the end of the Indiana Jones movie.

I love driving in Rome- parking though- thats the challenge. Never got a chance to drive in Jakarta, had to ride in minibuses and in bicycle rickshaws- but if someone gives me the keys, I am game.
I will drive anything, anywhere, that the owner is foolish enough to let me.
- ries - Friday, 12/08/06 15:29:10 EST

Transportable is all relative. I will hunt in the puter and see if I can find the photos of the last upsetter I installed at the axle shop. We had to move it from Tiffen OH. to Louisville KY. the frame came in on one truck. 397,000#

Ries, Italy was the wildest place I drove during my 28 months in Europe. But Mexico was real close.
Fresh off the train in Rome, and the taxi was a Fiat 850, and we had three GI's and the driver in it! He had to turn the headlights off to accelerate!
ptree - Friday, 12/08/06 22:34:27 EST

Transportable. . .:
This is key to many folks and varies during one's lifetime. I used to be able to pickup a 200# anvil and carry it a considerable distance. . no longer. I used to have a pickup truck that would easily haul a ton and it had been pushed to a ton and a half. But I no longer have that truck. I DO have a much heavier truck that currently needs brakes. . but it will gracefully carry 5,000 pounds as licensed and 10,000 pounds as built. But not without brakes. .

In my soon to be lost "blacksmithing palace" I have a hoist system that would pickup 8,000 pounds. In my current situation I do not think the shop structure has a pick point that could support more than 500 pounds. . . In our (retired) family shop there is a 10 ton electric hoist that in a pinch has lifted 32,000 pounds. But it is not "here".

I have considered investing in a fork lift but all terrain lifts are expense. Even the little 2 ton Clarks sell for about $1 to $2 per pound of lift capacity when worn out and in questionable condition.

The fact IS metalworking is a heavy business. Small machine tools start at a ton and accelerate upwards in weight.
- guru - Friday, 12/08/06 23:46:15 EST

Longships and Manhours:
Aaron: We had the hull built by a shipwright in California (King Harald Hardraða didn't build his own hulls, and neither do we), but we did spend the last year and a half getting her fitted out and rigged. All of the rigging is preliminary, so there's still a lot more work to do. As for manhours, I doubt if we can come up with any sort of accurate figure. The usual work crew is three to six. A full cruising crew is 18 (minimum 8 except if you're just puttering about the harbor) and we can comfortable carry 24. All I can say is we work hard and have a lot of fun. No trips planned down the Mississippi any time soon, but we are planning to go to Norfolk the second week in June for the Sail Virginia (Jamestown 400th Anniversary) tallships event. Just us and tallships from 30 countries and "13 colonies".

Weight of Equipment:

In a book from the NPS Maritime Historian on anchors I came across a 400 pound (181 k) drop hammer used by the British Admiralty to forge anchors ca. 1793. Power was supplied by five men pulling on ropes run to a single line rove through a pulley in the ceiling beams. A hooked rod was used to control where it struck and a 200 pound (91 k) monkey hammer was used horrizontally for bucking and positioning. Looks like a lot of man hours tied up in that operation, too. Useful things, large labor pools. :-)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 12/09/06 01:06:21 EST

firepot 8 in diamiter x 10 in deep my book say x.785-d2 i get 62.8 that dont,t work ?
- jmac - Saturday, 12/09/06 02:01:56 EST

Forging of the Anchor: from Project Gutenburg


Come, see the Dolphin's anchor forged! 'tis at a white heat now -
The bellows ceased, the flames decreased; though, on the forge's brow,
The little flames still fitfully play through the sable mound,
And fitfully you still may see the grim smiths ranking round;
All clad in leathern panoply, their broad hands only bare,
Some rest upon their sledges here, some work the windlass there.

The windlass strains the tackle-chains - the black mold heaves below;
And red and deep, a hundred veins burst out at every throe.
It rises, roars, rends all outright - O Vulcan, what a glow!
'Tis blinding white, 'tis blasting bright - the high sun shines not so!
The high sun sees not, on the earth, such fiery fearful show!
The roof-ribs swarth, the candent hearth, the ruddy lurid row

Of smiths that stand, an ardent band, like men before the foe!
As, quivering through his fleece of flame, the sailing monster slow
Sinks on the anvil - all about, the faces fiery grow:
"Hurrah!" they shout, "leap out, leap out!" bang, bang! the sledges go;
Hurrah! the jetted lightnings are hissing high and low;
A hailing fount of fire is struck at every squashing blow;
The leathern mail rebounds the hail; the rattling cinders strow
The ground around; at every bound the sweltering fountains flow;
And, thick and loud, the swinking crowd at every stroke pant "ho!"

Leap out, leap out, my masters! leap out, and lay on load!
Let's forge a goodly anchor - a bower thick and broad;
For a heart of oak is hanging on every blow, I bode;
And I see the good ship riding, all in a perilous road, -
The low reef roaring on her lee; the roll of ocean poured
From stem to stern, sea after sea; the mainmast by the board;
The bulwarks down; the rudder gone; the boats stove at the chains;
But courage still, brave mariners - the bower yet remains!
And not an inch to flinch he deigns - save when ye pitch sky high;
Then moves his head, as though he said, "Fear nothing - here am I!"

Swing in your strokes in order; let foot and hand keep time;
Your blows make music sweeter far than any steeple's chime.
But while ye swing your sledges, sing, and let the burthen be -
The anchor is the anvil king, and royal craftsmen we!
Strike in, strike in! - the sparks begin to dull their rustling red;
Our hammers ring with sharper din - our work will soon be sped;
Our anchor soon must change his bed of fiery rich array
For a hammock at the roaring bows, or an oozy couch of clay;
Our anchor soon must change the lay of merry craftsmen here
For the yeo-heave-o, and the heave-away, and the sighing seamen's cheer -
When, weighing slow, at eve they go, far, far from love and home;
And sobbing sweethearts, in a row, wail o'er the ocean- foam.

In livid and obdurate gloom, he darkens down at last;
A shapely one he is, and strong, as e'er from cat was cast.
O trusted and trustworthy guard! if thou hadst life like me,
What pleasure would thy toils reward beneath the deep-green sea!
O deep sea-diver, who might then behold such sights as thou? -
The hoary monster's palaces! - Methinks what joy 'twere now
To go plumb-plunging down, amid the assembly of the whales,
And feel the churned sea round me boil beneath their scourging tails!
Then deep in tangle-woods to fight the fierce sea-unicorn,
And send him foiled and bellowing back, for all his ivory horn;
To leave the subtle sworder-fish of bony blade forlorn;
And for the ghastly-grinning shark, to laugh his jaws to scorn:
To leap down on the kraken's back, where 'mid Norwegian isles
He lies, a lubber anchorage for sudden shallowed miles -
Till, snorting like an under-sea volcano, off he rolls;
Meanwhile to swing, a-buffeting the far astonished shoals
Of his back-browsing ocean-calves; or, haply, in a cove
Shell-strown, and consecrate of old to some Undine's love,
To find the long-haired mermaidens; or, hard by icy lands,
To wrestle with the sea-serpent, upon cerulean sands.

O broad-armed fisher of the deep! whose sports can equal thine?
The Dolphin weighs a thousand tons, that tugs thy cable- line;
And night by night 'tis thy delight, thy glory day by day,
Through sable sea and breaker white the giant game to play.
But, shamer of our little sports! forgive the name I gave:
A fisher's joy is to destroy - thine office is to save.
O lodger in the sea-kings' halls! couldst thou but understand
Whose be the white bones by thy side - or who that dripping band,
Slow swaying in the heaving wave, that round about thee bend,
With sounds like breakers in a dream blessing their ancient friend -
Oh, couldst thou know what heroes glide with larger steps round thee,
Thine iron side would swell with pride - thou'dst leap within the sea!

Give honor to their memories who left the pleasant strand
To shed their blood so freely for the love of fatherland -
Who left their chance of quiet age and grassy churchyard grave
So freely, for a restless bed amid the tossing wave!
Oh, though our anchor may not be all I have fondly sung,
Honor him for their memory whose bones he goes among!

Samuel Ferguson [1810-1886]
- habu68 - Saturday, 12/09/06 09:08:21 EST

thank you : habu....... thank you for posting that.......
blacklionforge - Saturday, 12/09/06 10:50:58 EST

kohlswa: I went and looked at an anvil this morning supposedly a 350#er fairly good shape, a small casting flaw near the base anywayit sure felt light so i asked the ol gal what made here think it was 350? She said she remembered her husband [now deaceased]telling somebody it was.MY ? is did kohlswa make a 350? What would the measurements be?The anvil is marked KOHLSWA over SWEDEN and has three stamped digits on edge of one foot the first COULD be a D the second is a 7 the thirdCOULD a u,thanks fellas
- clark-kentski - Saturday, 12/09/06 12:36:26 EST

kohlswa: O i forgot what would it be worth if itchecks out ok?
clark-kentski - Saturday, 12/09/06 12:38:48 EST

Small Brass Hardware: I've just finished the woodwork on a small box for some microscope accessories, Jewelry box sized. I am looking for some brass draw-latches. I have the hinges installed.
- John Odom - Saturday, 12/09/06 20:59:04 EST

350 ??? anvil: Take 2 bathroom scales and a plank and weigh the thing. Then You will know. It is worth as much as You are willing to pay for it. 1 to 2 $/pound? or would You pay more?
Dave Boyer - Sunday, 12/10/06 00:13:40 EST

Anchors: A fascinating poem; I'll pass it on to our maritime historian. Of the three "Christian Virtues" of faith hope and love, faiith is usually symbolized by a cross, love by a heart, and hope by an anchor. Anybody who's ever ridden an anchor in a foul wind off of a lee shore knows all about anchors and hope (and frequently fervent prayer, too).

The welding of the arms at the crown was crucial, and many anchors failed at just that point from cold shuts.

The book points out that for most of history the anchor was the largest metal object made by me that wasn't a weapon! Before trip and drop hammers and (afterwards) for many of the sub-assembly operations a team of hammermen with sledges were the main method of assembling the anchor. It was welded up, piece by piece, at least in part from scrap, much like the wrought-iron steel faced anvils.

I'm still finishing the keys for a couple of modern pattern Admiralty anchors; they hold the sliding stock in place and they're almost always lost by the time they get to us via flea market or friend. I always liked ground tackle, and I'm looking forward to forging another small one for our faering boat as a lunch hook.
Bruce Blackistone - Sunday, 12/10/06 00:25:06 EST

MONKEY TOOL: I see these headers that are long hexagonal things with a hole bored longways down through the center of the shaft. I am used to a flat stock header. how do these long headers work. do they work upside down and you hammer the tool against the upseted head, against the anvil or do you clamp these thing in your vise and use it like a regular header. i need to make myself a new header any sugestions? if i wanted three inch long 3/8 dia. rivets could i get a three inch chunk of steel with a 3/8 hole in it and a hardie welded to the side of it. then could i take 3 1/2 inches of 3/8 stock, heat the tip, drop the cold end down in the hole against the anvil and hammer a head. Would it get stuck in there? or am i stuck with upsettingly upsetting then drop in a flat stock header?
- coolhand - Sunday, 12/10/06 09:54:02 EST

Monkey tools vs. headers:
Coolhand, a monkey tool is not a header. It is used to support the work through which a rivet is passing and to tighten the joint. When tight rivets are driven through several pieces the monkey tool support the work and allows the first side of the rivet that is already headed to be driven home.

Standard rivet headers had this feature built into them besides the depression for finishing the head.

A rivet header is different than a heading tool. Rivet headers have a depression for the finished head shape. A standard header has a hole to support the work while heading (shaping a head with a shoulder).
- guru - Sunday, 12/10/06 10:21:02 EST

Kohlswa Anvils:
Dimensions will not help. Kohlswa makes more different patterns than anyone else today. Well, at least they LIST them. They used to provide detailed dimensions but have replaced their patterns and no longer provide tables of dimensions. The fact that they had several London patterns (A1, A4, B27) with different proportions is what makes the dimensions useless.

The largest anvil Kohlswa makes today is their type A1 at 305 pounds. That is the one I have.

Kohlswa Anvils
- guru - Sunday, 12/10/06 10:30:39 EST

- ML - Sunday, 12/10/06 12:24:20 EST

Christmas blacksmithing: Well it's that time of the year again. I've been taking a break from making horse shoes to get some Christmas presents made. You know?...all the forging that shoeing horses and hot weather leave me to hot and tired to do during much of the year.

Last year I was into door knockers and wall hooks. this year I started to notice how many people I know have candels all over their houses and how unattractive their store baught candle holders are. This year it looks like it'll be candle holders and maybe some picture frames. Throw in a couple of horse shoes as component parts and they know who it's from without reading the card or looking at my touchmark. LOL

So far everything has been made from steel I already had laying around. With the weather we've had, I haven't wanted to go out back to cut and burn wood so I'm running low on charcoal though.

I'm going to be a busy boy for the next couple of weeks!
Mike Ferrara - Monday, 12/11/06 08:32:45 EST

Big BLU Combo Dies: hello guys!
I'm making damascus and I would change my power-hammer dies, do yo think Big BLU Combo Dies are a good choice for making damascus ?
thanks for your help !
- FF - Monday, 12/11/06 08:55:13 EST

Dies for Damascus: FF, What you generally want for drawing Damascus billets is a wide semi-flat drawing die that disturbs the pattern of the billet the least. Big BLU's "Radius Side Dies" are the best for this purpose.

Big BLU's Combo dies has a good drawing surface but is relatively narrow. The thinner side of the die is good for stock isolation and relatively agressive drawing. These are good dies for general forging such as when your billets are finished and you are ready to forge the blade to shape. However, most Damascus blades are only forged a little and then mostly stock removal.
- guru - Monday, 12/11/06 10:30:32 EST

Monkey business / terminology: We use the hex monkey tool with hole in the end, such as the Blacksmith Depot handles, to square up a tenon shoulder, at a heat.

Re the other tool with a hole in the end and with a "partly hemispherical" depression, it is a combo tool, normally used at ambient temperature. It is marketed by the C.S. Osborne Company, manufacturers of leather and upholstery tools. Osborne calls these "rivet setters". In the shop, we call it a "rivet set". The depression is a form of dolly for finishing off a hammer peened head. The resulting head will be slightly domed when finished.

For the same tool, the English have their own terms. In the States, what we call a round or button head, the British call a snap head. They refer to the hole and surrounding portion of the tool as the "rivet set" proper. The domed depression is called a "snap" because of the head shape.

Before the riveting operation begins, it is important to set the material to be riveted tight together with no gaps or daylight. The rivet is inserted into its appropriate hole, and its head is supported on the anvil or in a shaped dolly, a form of bolster. The metal pieces are set down with the rivet set, and THEN the peening can be done. If there is a gap, the rivet will upset into the gap, and you'll ALWAYS have a gap. Poor workmanship; not a keeper.

In the leather workers vernacular, a rivet finishing tool with a partially domed depression is called a "domer".

In my shop, we use "header" and "heading tool" interchangably to mean the tool in which a rivet head or nail head is made.

Frank Turley - Monday, 12/11/06 11:44:40 EST

Re the tool in the last sentence, it is the tool with handle and which is held horizontally, usually over the pritchel hole as the rivet or nail is being forged hot.
- Frank Turley - Monday, 12/11/06 12:04:45 EST

Last week I had the opportunity to study dozens of hand made headers from a 300 year old blacksmith shop. The oldest were all wrought iron and were steeled about 1/4" thick. The fellow that made them did a classic job. The steels were all tear shaped and tapered into the header shank at the point. To hold them in place the point of the tear shapes were bent at a 90 and inserted into a small hole in the shank of the header. They appeared to be sort of nailed into the wrought. There were dozens of these headers all double ended.

Will post the best example photos when I get to them.
- guru - Monday, 12/11/06 13:40:30 EST

I'm looking for an anvil: I'm relatively new to blacksmithing, having only done a bit of work on it before at a forge that's a few hours away, however, I'm trying to hunt down an anvil for to do relatively easy things, such as knives. Would anyone here know where to go to buy one for relatively cheap? My family will probably foot a good chunk of the bill, unless it's a hundred dollars or less.
Lucas - Monday, 12/11/06 17:47:53 EST

Lucas; I'd try right over *there*. Now if you tell us what continent you are on I may be able to narrow that down a bit...Or are you willing to pay several times the anvil cost for shipping?
Thomas P - Monday, 12/11/06 18:41:21 EST

I live in Washington State near Seattle. Sorry for the confusion, I don't post on message boards very much where you have to post where you live.
Lucas - Monday, 12/11/06 18:46:00 EST

dale - secretary - CSI: Please be advised that the next scheduled meeting for CSI will take place on Dec 12, 2006 at 8:00pm EST thats tomorrow night. All CSI members are welcome.
- dale - secretary - - Monday, 12/11/06 19:12:01 EST

Coal: I'm what you might call a novice at being a novice blacksmith, but nonetheless I'm trying. The only problem is that in the Pensacola area of Florida, there seems to a coal shortage, which is why I am currently using a homemade atmospheric forge. I want learn how to use coal and there in lies the problem. Does anyone know if there is a secret supplier in this area? I've tried everything else I could think of to find one myself.
ErikJ - Monday, 12/11/06 20:20:06 EST

Ted at J & M recommended that you try for small lots of useful chemicals. He noted that they have many locations across the states.
I think this is where he gets the bits and pieces for his own concoctions
Good luck
ptree - Monday, 12/11/06 21:11:19 EST

Corky Storer may have an extra anvil for sale. I think he is in Maple Valley.
- Frank Turley - Monday, 12/11/06 21:44:30 EST

Hm...does Corkey Storer have an e-mail or a webpage?
Lucas - Monday, 12/11/06 23:15:01 EST

ok!: Thanks for your answer, Guru !
best regards!
FF - Tuesday, 12/12/06 04:05:17 EST

Florida coal: Erik, go up to "navigate anvilfire" and scroll down to Coal Scuttle. There is a listing there for Florida.
- Doug - Tuesday, 12/12/06 08:23:08 EST

Location, location: Lucas, etal,

The WWW "world wide web" is just that, world wide. When you post a message here folks do not know if you are from Albania, India or Pakistan much less Western WA. This is true of all public boards, even if they are designed to be local. It is not unusual to have questions here from South Africa, Australia and India (besides all the ones from the US) in any given week.

I have to remind folks setting up to do business on the web that as soon as they do they are an INTERNATIONAL business. They have to consider international shipping and handling those sales. Even if you are not on the web we are all in an international economy.

Do you know where our servers are? It does not matter. They could be in France or New Zealand. Do you know where I am posting form? It does not matter UNTIL I offer you that anvil you are looking for CHEAP. . . But shipping from England or Central America (Pannama, Costa Rica) may be a lot more than you care to pay.

As our electronic world expands I could be answering your questions from Moonbase-1 or from a Catamaran anchored in the Bahamas and you would not know. And in turn I have no clue where YOU are. Last week I was responding from New Jersey and two months from now it will be Costa Rica.

- guru - Tuesday, 12/12/06 09:45:18 EST

Corky Storer: Corky's place is called Heritage Forge in Maple Valley, WA. Two phone numbers retrieved from the net, and they may be dysfunctional but worth a try.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/12/06 10:16:04 EST

cheap anvils near seattle: These are hard to find. Ther never were a lot, and now we have over 500 members of the NWBA looking for the few that are left.
Are you a member of the NWBA? if not, you should join.
The best way to find this kind of thing in the Northwest is to network. Take a class from Darryl Nelson, down in Eatonville, or Jerry Culberson, by Shelton- both of them know everybody, and if convinced of your sincerity, may be able to help you find one- plus both teach great classes.
Next conference is in the spring, in Enumclaw, and inevitably there will be a few used anvils for sale there.
There are currently two anvils on craigslist in Seattle- a 190lb Peter Wright for $650, and a 150lb Vulcan for $200- look under tools.

Other than that, the usual suspects- watch the little nickel, maybe even place an ad yourself, watch craigslist, go to the blacksmiths swap meet in July at the metal building in the south end of Seattle, watch the ads in the back of the Hot Iron News, and ask everybody you know or meet if they know of one.

Or convince your rich auntie that a Nimba anvil is a great investment and a classic piece of 20th century design, and it will actually appreciate in value, and she should buy you one of those.

- ries - Tuesday, 12/12/06 12:40:45 EST

Lucas; we *don't* need to know where you live to post on this forum. However it is useless to ask for something cheap that, like much of blacksmithing equipment, can be very expensive to ship without a general idea of where it would end up at.

In general we don't need an exact address and caution would be best served by not providing one on the web; but something like "central New Mexico", "northwest Arkansas" will generally pull in answers that are within common driving ranges.

I once ran across a cheap good anvil in a junkstore in Malmesbury England. I could type out the rather detailed instructions for you to find the place; but would be rather miffed if after the painstaking typing you said "I'm no where near there---I've asked you to help me an have wasted your time by not giving you enough information to do so".

Don't be upset it's a common mistake, folks who *know* what they want but fail to tell us the details when they ask about it.

My advice is to talk to everyone you meet about needing an anvil. You may be surprised at how many may turn up *local* to you!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/12/06 13:06:41 EST

ptree-- many thanks!
- Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 12/12/06 13:53:35 EST

Thanks. I'll remember that.
Lucas - Wednesday, 12/13/06 00:33:03 EST

Tools: Hey I just picked up a 302lb peter wright and a 6" wide jaw indian chief vise that weigh's 100lbs for 700.00 the stuff is in great shape. It was a good day. Merry Xmas to all.
Otisthedogking - Wednesday, 12/13/06 18:53:13 EST

Power Hammer: Hi all,
Well my (new) Ok old DuPont 75 lb hammer is on its way. I'll try to post more soon
- John "JB" Bergman - Wednesday, 12/13/06 23:46:06 EST

questions: i would first like to thank the endless pool of knowledge known as anvilfire. 1. is it bad to flux over your flux container so the borax that melts drips back into your container and not onto the floor. i havent had any problems but my flux is a little dirty end i was wondering if this was a sound practice. 2. i aquired a piece of A2 tool steel and was using it as a drift. now this being air hardening steel when im done using it as a drift and its is all hot, can i quench it in the slack tub or would that make it brittle and i should be letting it cool on the floor. thanks
- coolhand - Thursday, 12/14/06 08:02:47 EST

Coolhand, You can quench hot tool steel tools in water if it is not too hot, this is a judgment call. Part of punching is to repeatedly cool your tools. It helps if the water is room temperature.

The tool will not become brittle unless you have let it get hotter than the transformation temperature. In this case an air quench tool will self harden which is not good because they should be tempered after hardening.

Fluxing over the container is commonly done by many smiths, especially those making laminated billets or cable Damascus where the work is dripping with flux. The dirt depends on the type of dirt. Many flux mixtures contain slag and scale as part of the mix. However, coal and ash is not good.

It also depends on the type of welding you are doing. If you are making laminated steel you do not want any contamination from other metals in the weld. This is why bladesmiths use pure fluxes rather than the types with iron powder that many find easier to use.
- guru - Thursday, 12/14/06 08:57:19 EST

The "crunchy" flux that drops in the can is anhydrous borax---considered *better* than regular borax by many people.

I do try to avoid scale, ash, etc in my flux mini-barrel. (they sold a bunch of wooden kitchen ware in a small wooden barrel---I took one and made a top for it and use it for my flux container---looks better than a coffee can at demo's.)

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/14/06 12:08:49 EST

crunchy: i like those cruncy little bits of flux as well. i wire brush before fluxing and my flux container stays fairly clean. i was using the piece of A2 as a drift not a punch just using it to shape the eyes on some hinges. ill just be careful with it and not quench it. it is a million times better than using my old mild steel drift!
coolhand - Friday, 12/15/06 07:54:23 EST

hey folks, I just got my work up on a website if you want to check it out. the address is
andy upright - Friday, 12/15/06 09:52:43 EST

Paul; Longships and Exploration::
(Transferred from the Guru’s Den)

I’ve been following your progress on your faering boat. The stem and stern posts are always a problem; but I think you’ll lick it.

The Sæ Hrafn is modeled as a small coastal raider, somewhere between the Ralswiek/Rügen 2 small Slavic raider and the Skuldelev V Danish coastal defense levy ship. She is small, light and fast and she is NOT meant to cross the Atlantic. This is a vessel that would be more at home mugging the neighbors in the Baltic. Escorted, a vessel this size might participate in a fleet invasion to the British Isles or down the western coast of Europe.

Warships are somewhat specialized; built for speed and maneuverability and meant to deliver a large number of armed warrior unexpectedly to the foeman’s or victim’s doorstep. The actual workhorse of the Viking Age was the knarr; the short, rounder, sturdier trading vessel. Skuldelev I and III are examples.

Skuldelev I is the present favorite example since it’s the largest and most seaworthy of the two. The original vessel was 53 ½’ X 15’. Her sides are quite high, and they tend to ballast the replicas with tons of stone for want of cargo. As a merchant vessel, she relied primarily upon her sail, but she had rowing stations for two pair of oars for maneuvering in the harbor (or if the crew was bored with sitting about in a dead calm). A replica of this ship (with cabins and power) was sailed around the world, and Hodding Carter used a copy of it for his expedition from Greenland to Newfoundland back about 1999. We helped move her (the Snorri) into the ship shed at L’Anse aux Meadows back in 2000, so I became intimately acquainted with her construction and her weight. Very heavily built; very high sided, and very seaworthy if you’re patient. One replica weighed 10 tons (empty). The Sæ Hrafn, by contrast, weighs less than a ton, fitted and rigged out but without crew. (Crew and gear alone can weigh 3,000 pounds. The price we pay for speed, however, is a limit to our operating conditions.

As Dirty Harry Callahan said, “A man should know his limitations.” :-) If we ever cross the Atlantic, it will be as deck cargo.

Nice Site of Skuldelev I Knarr Replica
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/15/06 09:54:12 EST

Andy, beautiful site but with the first browser I tried all I got was a blank screen and "must install plug-in" message.

Flash is beautiful but it has two serious problems on the web and a third less serious (to some).

1) Not all browsers support it and MS IE high security settings see it as a problem. You cannot use a browser detect on security settings. Smart developers used mixed HTML and Flash content instead of all Flash.

2) Search engines see NOTHING on flash sites. In fact all yours has on the index page is the title, no description. If you are going to count on search engines at all then you had better start thinking text and HTML. It can be done with scripts and lots of alternative content but it is technically challengeing and expensive. It also requires an SEO expert.

3) Flash sites are completely unsupportive of the visually impaired. There is a class of tags in HTML designed to help the visually impaired.

Some things to think about. Of course your Flash developer wouldn't tell you any of this. . .
- guru - Friday, 12/15/06 12:54:39 EST

andy's site: Hey Andy,
Spoked wheel brackets- BIG thumbs up. I love the idea and design.
I am not sure if it is what you were shooting for, but the lamps somehow remind me of the Beetlejuice movie..can't pinpoint why exactly...but they do. All in all great.
-Aaron @ the SCF
thesandycreekforge - Friday, 12/15/06 18:48:47 EST

Andy's Website: Andy,

I run IE and had an issue with the page running off the screen, but I managed to get around it anyway. Some pretty darn nice stuff, from a creative standpoint. I particularly liked the triptych window grille with the swallows. Some really nice things happening in that one!

As you progress to more forged connections and away from gluing forged elements together with the welder, your work will get really great, I think. Welding is okay for the "found object" works, but when you have nice forged elements, they cry out for blacksmith solutions to fastening/joining issues. The one potrack with the penetrating elements is an example; it really sets off the piece. Nice job!
vicopper - Friday, 12/15/06 21:04:46 EST

Of course a drakkar is always the more romantic of the two, sleek lines and an evil reputation. Looking at the pictures of the shipbuilder's website, it looks huge!

I'm in the middle of "Kon-Tiki", the story about Thor Heyerdahl sailing 4,300 nautical miles over the pacific, so naturally my mind is filled with thoughts of sailing across one ocean or another. My father suggests "island hopping", making my way up the coast and then making the big jumps from island to island, until I reach Denmark. But first, I need a boat big enough, and people to help build it and sail it. I think we need a longship company here in florida, there's an idea...

This is a totally new forum layout to me, it took me some time to actually find the forum I was looking for!
Paul Martens - Friday, 12/15/06 23:25:42 EST

-ries -: I "a fellow NWBA member" would just like to know what you have heard of the enumclaw conference in the spring? my first conference was the 2004 there "fond memories" I couldn't find the date of it in the publication....
- treavor - Friday, 12/15/06 23:43:56 EST

Early Medieval Navigation: Actually, island to island is about how the initial explorations were done, plus people being blown off course and finding their way back home. Just think about how many were blown off course and NEVER found their way back to shore. 8-0

Of course, the more islands you hop, the more your chances of running into the rocks; but it took a lot of years and expereince until the sailing instructions from Norway to Greenland essentially read: "Go to Bergen and head straight west until you get to Greenland."

There are Longship Companies in Texas and Missourie, inspired by our group, so why not Florida. Some of the local blacksmiths could help with your anchors.
My Comments on Viking Navigation and Its Hazards
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 12/16/06 00:13:10 EST

Yep, looking at Leif's route on my globe at this very moment actually. My dream since the age of 12 has been to sail from Vinland to Greenland and then back. Of course, the distance looks very short on the globe, especially compared to a straight transatlantic route, but even those "short" hops must have been brutal, the northern atlantic is a cold, mean place.

And thanks for the article, I'm making a bookmark for it, in case I don't get to read it all. I'm making myself some toolboxes for my mail-making tools early tomorrow, which will be my first day to myself in six months.
Paul Martens - Saturday, 12/16/06 01:06:54 EST

Paul Martens: In the dozen years I spent livaboard cruising on a sail boat I found that the most fun is along the edges [of the ocean] Open water passaging does apeal to some however. I singlehanded most of the time, and 3 or 4 days of sleeping less than 10 minutes at a time gets tiring. I never made any really long passages. Of course not everybody keeps a watch schedule in open water, but a minor colision with a ship can ruin the whole trip.
Dave Boyer - Saturday, 12/16/06 03:19:19 EST

Hello Neighbors: Could anyone help me with a fair and honest value of two power hammers. One is a 50# little giant,and the other is a 250# Mayer Bros.I want to sell one and keep one,but need help with a fair price. thanks for any help that anyone can offer
Dwayne Kent PH# 931-827-2312
Located in Dover Tennessee
- Dwayne Kent - Saturday, 12/16/06 09:32:14 EST

Dwayne, Would you believe that both hammers are worth about the same? The big 250 is more hammer than many people want so they are hard to sell. The little 50 is in high demand so they sell higher. The 250 will either be short the low speed motor OR have a big 3PH motor. This puts a lot of people out of the market.

That assumes both hammers are in reasonably good condition. It does not take too much being wrong with a hammer to drasticaly lower its price. Cracked frames or guides, broken pulleys and missing parts immediately reduce the price to about 1/4. Having all the parts and being ready to run (plug and play) is worth $500 to $1000 extra.

I had a 250 once and let it go. Kind of wish I had kept it. However, there are several different LG 250's. Mine had a wrap around cast guide system that was very good. The late hammers have a dovetail system that had some design flaws but they had a seperate anvil on them. Different hammers have different things to look out for. Many of these machines were not run at all and others were run to death.
- guru - Saturday, 12/16/06 16:07:17 EST

Hey,my name is Chris,I'm looking for a fellow blacksmith in Tennessee that is willing to sell tools/advice to a bunch of beginners.(I have about 4 or 5 friends that are also interested in doing this with me.)

Prefferably close to Birchwood/Harrison area,or driving distance from that area.

E-mail me if so at
Chris - Saturday, 12/16/06 20:46:24 EST

Blacksmithing in southeast TN: Chris, you're VERY near the Choo Choo forge association, a subgroup of the Appalachian Area Chapter of Blacksmiths (I'm a member of Bristol Forge in the northeast corner of TN, another subgroup of the chapter).

They meet at 6pm the first thursday of every month at the TN Valley Railroad museum on Chamberlain avenue. This info is available on the link in the dropdown menu at the upper right of this page. The former president of that group lives in Harrison, and is a nice guy. Go to a meeting and join 'em, they have forges and so on and are always willing to show beginners the basics.

Just be sure to pronounce "Appalachian" the right way, which means no part of the word will rhyme with "hay." (insert virtual wink here)

Alan-L - Sunday, 12/17/06 17:43:11 EST

Atli you might enjoy this:

Wrinkles in Practical Navigation 1884
habu - Sunday, 12/17/06 19:10:43 EST

Wrinkles: Habu- What a fascinating site. Historic, but practical for our purposes.

It has been noted on our vessels that where variation (the offset of the magnetic pole from the geographical pole) is a problem, deviation (magnetic biases aboard the vessel)is minor, since they're wooden vessels fastened with copper, brass, bronze or non-magnetic stainless steel. With no engine or fuel tanks, the largest masses that could cause deviation are the anchors and our armor. Stowage of these items do have to be attended to, with the stern anchor stowed to port far from the steerboard and compass location (and helping to trim for the weight of the steersman).

There is a story in "compass compensation circles" about someone who went crazy trying to adjust the compass until he found that the boat owner stowed his .45 Colt under the binnacle. 8-0

Of course, the compass is “so 12th century.” But having spent my time in fog and in heavy weather, the 12th century seems like a good safety compromise to me. :-)

Anyway, thank you for the site; I’ll pass it on to the crew.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 12/18/06 08:57:21 EST

Magnetic Deviation:
Many years ago when I was making a layout of our old Gristmill I tried to use a magnetic compass to orient the building. I went out into an open area of the building's second floor and sighted down the isle. But then I took a step forward and noticed the compass shift to one side then back. I took another step. . the same. So I went and sat down to THINK about it while. Had to be parts of the building. .

So I laid the compass on the floor to keep it level and tried again very slowly. . The first floor nail I came to the compass wizzed around 180. So I move my line over. The same as I crossed the floor joist. So I stood up and observed the floor joists as walked through the building. It was the lines of floor nails on about 6" spacing on the joists on 24" centers. Even at 40" off the floor the compass veered a full 15 degrees at every floor joist.

Since then I have not had much faith in magnetic compasses.

For submarine navigation the Navy uses a variety of tools. Due to sound restrictions they do not use gyroscopes. Gravity maps are the thing now. That and a combination of other things along with computerized dead reckoning.

For surface navigation you cannot beat a GPS and a good map until the batteries go dead. However, globally road maps are often not up to our standards. I thought I could find my way anywhere with a good map until I went to Costa Rica and found that 3/4 of the roads are not on the maps and only one or two have signs to tell you where you are. .

I have been fooling with a Google program called Google Earth that has a global satellite image library and digital maps. In the places where it has new high res images taken on clear days you can actually see people on the streets and differenciate types of automobiles. You can easily navigate from point A to point B by following the images of the roads AND using landmarks! Where the photos are not so good (about 90% of the world) you need the digital highway maps turned on. These are VERY good in the rich nations where every road has been digitaly mapped. But in places like Costa Rica the data point are so far apart the the digital roads often miss the actual roads by miles.

Where the high resolution is available it it GREAT. I found my friend's place in Costa Rica by finding their local village, following the road East and then recognizing the steel US Army emergency field bridge crossing the river, then following the gravel road under the trees to their Finca which was clearly recognizable. You could see where they were making improvements on one building and where they had planted thousands of trees. These high res views are like flying overhead at about 2,000 feet.

The other place we found in Costa Rica was a place that a local had guided us to that he could only recognize by a large landmark tree. It had taken us several hours and asking directions several times to find the place. There was supposed to be a Pre-Columbian city but all you could see was farm fields. . . From a satellite view it was easy to find the location having been there once. The published directions to the place were off by miles. Today we can place locations like this to withing a few feet.

Eventually the entire land mass of the world will be mapped in this kind of high resolution digital imagery. Of course nothing it perfect. We found several locations where entire subdivisions were on the digital road maps but the satellite photos were of farm fields. . . However, for countries with slow development and poor maps this will be a great boon.

For teaching kids geography this is also a great tool. Features like the Great Pyramids of Egypt, The Forbidden City in China and the Colosseum in Rome are clearly visible and identifiable. Perhaps the most outstanding image I've found was that of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

Google Earth is an application that must be downloaded and installed on a fairly fast computer with a high speed connection. The high res digital images are streamed as needed. The free version is pretty amazing.
Google Earth
- guru - Monday, 12/18/06 10:53:26 EST

website comments;: thanks for looking and commenting on my site. 1. I'll pass the word on about access issues, no conspiracy though, a buddy of mine set it up and is learning as he goes. 2. I enjoyed beetlejuice... 3. Learning the traditional techniques takes patience and is a humbling process, i appreciate the encouragement.
- andy - Monday, 12/18/06 11:14:35 EST

Andy's website: Good luck with it all, Andy! As long as you continue to try to learn, you'll continue to make progress and your finished work will reflect it. There isn't anyone here who knows it all or who can do it all; we're all still learning.

Your buddy is undoubtedly learning too, and the more he learns the better your website will look. Heck, I figure if I can live another fifty or sixty years, I might have time to learn about building myself a website. (grin) For now, though, all my spare time it filled with learning new smithing techniques and developing better design skills. That should occupy me for a few decades.
vicopper - Monday, 12/18/06 11:33:46 EST

Navigation : My stint in the Air Force was as a photo interpreter working with the SR-71. We plotted courses for the aircraft moving three times the speed of sound, with 350 mile turning radius, and flying at 80,000 ft., while keeping a camera pointed at a 1/4 mile square on the ground. We used the 1968 “state of the art” technology 8 bit computers to track the stars visible during the day at that altitude. Resolution was such that you could tell which soccer player had the ball between his feet, ( we could not read license plates in spite of the rumors). Hence my handle Habu .
habu web site
habu - Monday, 12/18/06 13:34:49 EST

Satellite Photos: I expect there are much higher resolution images around but for public mapping purpose I suspect that the the 6" resolution of the best on Google Earth will be the best published due to political sensitivities. . When you can see people on the streets you can also see them in their backyards. I also noticed that certain troubled parts of the world had much better coverage than others. . .

When they get that final 90% up to the 6" resolution range it will be quite a work of art. As a virtual traveler you could visit anyplace on the planet and actually follow roads and pathways.

- guru - Monday, 12/18/06 17:01:44 EST

Google Maps: I haven't tried Google earth yet, but just last night I did try to get a location in Costa Rica's neighbor, Honduras using Google's online maps. They had nice satellite images, but of roads, cities and towns they had Zip. They didn't even have the big cities located. . . Now, I didn't try zooming in to where roads &c would show up on the imagery, but. . .

I was looking for "Pico Bonito" which was supposed to be near "La Cieba." However, there seems to be about a dozen places called "La Cieba" that Mapquest has located in Honduras . . . So I didn't have enough info. . .
John Lowther - Monday, 12/18/06 17:07:22 EST

ChooChoo Forge: Chris: Come on over and bring your friends! We meet about 5:30 or 6 pm, the fellowship before the demo is great.
- John Odom - Monday, 12/18/06 18:27:47 EST

Magnetic deviations: Two different times on a friends boat the helmsman got reprimanded for being way off course - off so far anybody familiar with the area could tell just by looking ahead. This boat had one of those beverage holders mounted on the pedistal right in front of the compass. The culprit was a can of peanuts one time and a freon horn the other. On My first "Big Trip" south in '91 We got out in the Chesapake bay and headed south only to find that the autopilot wouldn't hold a course. The thing had worked OK in seatrials a few weeks before. The electronic compass was located in a locker under the galley table. I had been carefull about what I put in that locker, peanut butter in plastic jars w/plastic lids, things in cardboard boxes etc. After I emptied that locker the autopilot worked fine. What I didn't know was that the muffin mix that advertised "real blue berries" had a little steel "tin can" with berries in it.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 12/18/06 22:36:47 EST

Google Earth: I use it all the time at work for a quick survey of towns adjacent to the National Parks, and to check some facilities within the parks. They have the Grand Canyon set up so that by varying your altitude and angle you can "fly" down the canyon. Of course, I was more interested in the trailer housing units we were proposing to replace. :-)

Grand Canyon, D.C., our farm at Oakley and the boatyard at Solomons Island are now all on high resolution. You can even see our old ship (with the white gun'ls) in storage at the lot at Calvert Marina, and see how narrow the entrance to the Calvert Marine Museum's boat basin is- so narrow we have to haul in our oars to "shoot the needle" as we enter. Voyageurs, up in International Falls, Minnesota, was in the low resolution area, so I could glean some information about the town and the islands, but it wasn't as useful as Grand Canyon.

Calvert Marine Museum
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 12/18/06 23:35:00 EST

Google Earth Features and Honduras:
The smaller the place in population the closer you must zoom in. As you zoom in you have to wait for the data to update. It takes a little time even on a fast connection. I found the the large city of La Cieba buy putting "La Cieba, HN" in the search box. It is a major coastal city. However, much of it is in the low resolution. One other "La Cieba" is to the West.

I DID find a great number of villages in Honduras that I am surprised did not have names as they show clearly on the photos. They were clear enough you could I also noted that the few major roads that are in the digital road map are WAY off location. This means the available data is not very good.

Hurricane Mitch destroyed much of the Hondouran infrastructure in 1998 "Whole villages washed away. Estimated 70 - 80 percent of transportation infrastructure destroyed. The majority of the country's bridges and secondary roads washed away." I am sure this has a lot to do with the quality and availability of map data.

By turning on "Digital Globe Coverage" I found that the vast majority of images of Honduras were taken in recent years, many just a few months ago. By zooming in on the ?? river you can still see the tremondous changes from the flooding where the river has changed course many miles in some locations. I also noticed that most of the nearby villages and towns are all laid out on very neat uniform grids. This is an indication of all new construction of NEW villages and towns replacing those destroyed.

In many places of the globe you see roads as long straight lines between intersections but in others you see perfect fits to the curves of the roads. This is the difference in high definition digital data and very low.

Many places I have found on the Sat maps are not marked. I had to follow roads I knew and look for landmarks that I was used to seeing from the ground. This works fine in the high resolution areas but not in the low res areas.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/19/06 10:53:52 EST

i don't know if any of you have thought about this, but do you think a gasoline fired forge would work instead of propane. i would probaly have so candle/oil lamp heating a copper pipe and pump the gas through that, and burn the resulting vapor in my forge. this would be kind of like a white gas stove. it would probaly be quite eficiant, because i can't afford propane. i would probaly put the air pressure in an MSR bottle, but i don't know how to make an airtight seal with the pump. my current "forge"is just a bunch of cinderblocks and bricks. i stacked 2 for each of the sides, and i stacked bricks for the front. i put 2 broken half bricks in the back, and put a cinderblock on that my "bellows" is just a dual action air matress pump, fed through some pipe from one of those little electric cars. there are 2 cement blocks on the top. i have no fire pot, just some bricks. it's only like 2 inches deep,and impossible to get anything hotter than a medium orage. i got light orange once after i pumped for like crazy for about a minute. i burn charcoal in it, and i can,t heat anyting except the 4 inches on the end. when i do that i usualy knock the coals out of my firepot. please help
- chris heintz - Wednesday, 12/20/06 21:53:37 EST

"Gas Forge" or "How I burnt my House Down": Chris, gasolene only belongs in one your gas tank. It's way too easy to get into trouble trying to use it in a home made gadget like a forge.

Depending on where you live, you can surely scrounge a brake drum from a big truck somewhere to make a small forge until you can get, or make, a better one. This site has some great plans & ideas on the subject. If you're a young fella, maybe you just haven't learned the fine art of scrounging. This talent just came natural to us older guys because there was no other way to get stuff.
- Mike Sa - Wednesday, 12/20/06 23:10:39 EST

Chris Heintz: While the gasoline process is in fact doable it is pretty dangerous. Those stoves are an accident waiting to happen. Gasoline blowtorches lost popularity for the same reason. You need to aproximate the size of a real firepot no matter what materials You make it from. If You are going to use charcoal You need real charcoal, not briquetts. An electric blower might help, old hir dryer etc. Propane is pretty cheap all factors considered, but at the cilinder exchange sites like Blue Rino etc. You pay a premium for it. Go to a gass company that refills tanks on site.
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 12/20/06 23:19:24 EST

The current "ghetto" forge I run is just a firepot from a smoker lined with clay,set up with some firebrick that bring it up a few feet,and I hooked a top of a dasani bottle to a hair dryer and taped it on to a copper tube that goes into a hole in the bottom of the firepot.

I usually just take the hair dryer and use it by hand,blow it from the side,helps when I am making a larger fire than normal. I am currently using charcoal I make myself.
Chris Aragon - Thursday, 12/21/06 01:23:51 EST

If you plan on trying the gas forge,I would suggest adding a stabilizer to it,that way if it goes back up into it the gas will burn,not explode.
Chris Aragon - Thursday, 12/21/06 03:26:51 EST

Gasoline: There was a small Mercedes supercharger in Iron in the Hat once. If I'd won it, I was thinking about putting a VW Beetle carburetor on top and ducting the outlet into a forge. Not sure if it would have worked (the supercharger wouldn't normally come in contact with fuel and might not like it).
Mike B - Thursday, 12/21/06 08:28:12 EST

Oil forges are an industry standard and a LOT safer to mess around with though you can still make some pretty fatal mistakes with one.

Why not build a bellows instead of the pump that is not designed for the job? I once build one for zero materials cost using an old awning for the "leathers" and the plywood side of a printer cabinet scrounged out of a dumpster for the wood and hinges needed. Tools were: a sabersaw, 1/4" drill, hacksaw, screwdriver, hammer and pocket knife. Using real charcoal I could get up to welding temperature with it.

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/21/06 12:30:36 EST

Gasoline Forge or Bomb:
Note that the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the US arsenal is a gasoline dispersed in air bomb. Gasoline is also used in an oxy-fuel torch for cutting steel. Very hot. Too hot for a forge.

The commonly used liquid fuel forges run on diesel, fuel oil or kerosene. This is not nearly as volatile as gasoline and alows for a good carburizing flame. Oil forges are commonly used in industry. Unlike gas forges which can be used in an open shop oil forges absolutely MUST be vented or used outdoors. As outdoor forges they were common as riveting forges.

Stick with a tame fuel of your forge.
- guru - Thursday, 12/21/06 13:06:21 EST

oil forges: I fully agree with the statements about the danger of a gasoline fueled forge.
I must however disagree about oil forges being different than gas forges in need of venting. In all the large forge shops I have been in and worked in, the gas and the loi forges were more or less identical. In fact in two of the shops, the forges would use either fuel, so that a gas supply interuption would not shut down the shop. These were large billet forges, with the combustion products leaving the roof of the forge thru open vents. The shops had large vents in the cuppolas and also powered fans. Both forges make soot and carbon monoxide. You have to remove these with both about equally. In fact, the axle plant had bought a defunct distillery across the street just for the tanks to hold fuel oil, to allow back up fuel in the 70's.
ANY combustion appliance needs venting. Carbon monoxide kills. In industrial shops the vents are often the entire roof ridge in the form of a cuppola, with high powered fans.
ptree - Thursday, 12/21/06 14:36:10 EST

I agree with the proper venting but with the small oil forges I have been around there was a terrible diesel stink that needed better venting (a stack).
- guru - Thursday, 12/21/06 14:52:45 EST

Vee-shaped spring: The alpha guru may be thinking of the last manufactured Columbian vises, before the company quit making them. These vises were pretty "cheesy looking" compared to earlier models. A typical vise had a vee spring with the bend at the bottom when installed. The mounting plate was flat with a right angle bend, the short web of the bend having two holes. The clamp was of round stock bent in a U-clevis shape and threaded on either end. This held the spring in place on the fixed leg while entering the two holes in the plate and being tightened with nuts.

There was no chamfering on the legs or pivot beam. The larger diameter end of the screw box was short and stubby; open and not solid. I assume the box was malleable cast iron. The lug or ear extending from the base of each jaw was almost non existant. These projections were designed to keep swarf out of the washer/screw head area.

The mounting idea was with the threaded nuts was pretty straightforward and eliminated the need for a gib key and wedge.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/21/06 15:35:58 EST

Shoulda' been....: This leg vise response shoulda' been on the Guru's den. At least, it's in print.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/21/06 15:40:15 EST

columbian vise: Mr. Turley
You assume rightI have almost the exact vise you described above, except it still has the "normal" spring instead of the "vee" spring. The box is of malleable cast iron(or grey iron or whatever the period appropriate term was), and on mine the workmanship wasn't even that great because they left the casting line blatantly obvious. I actually learned something from your post because i had thought the decorative piece had broken off the back of the screw box, but now i know that it was probably non-existant to begin with.

I have recently purchased an earlier Columbian that has the wedge type mounting. Of the two I prefer the wedge type mount. It seems to be more solid feeling, as the "u-bolt" clamp doesn't seem to make enough contact no matter how tight you get it.
-Aaron @ the SCF
Merry Christmas and a happy and safe (even if it is crazy) New Year!!
thesandycreekforge - Thursday, 12/21/06 19:13:52 EST

oil forges: The oil forges I was around were big billet heaters for production. For Natural gas they ran on 6 to 8 each, 0.075" gas burner orifices at 20psi. The flames would exit the top of the forge and looked like an afterburner on a jet fighter pointing up. All of these shops had overhead bridge cranes so stacks were not real possible. All of these shops were also tall. Also stacks on a masonary forge don't work well around 25,000# hammers!
In about 1981, I went into the drop forge shop at about 5:00am in Feb. About 15F outside. This was a city block long tin shed, and had been a forge since 1905. The entire inside surfaces were soot black, so the lights were not very effective. All you could see was the yellow steel moving in the distance, and as I got close I saw that the hammer men had sweat Vee's down the front of their shirts in 15F temp. I also saw that the sweat Vee on their backs had big hoar frost crystals formed, and the steam that was leaking from the hammers and piping was rising, condensing and falling in a light soft snow flurry inside the building.
I can't say that I ever noticed any fuel oil smell over the smell of the cylinder oil from the steam.
ptree - Thursday, 12/21/06 19:16:23 EST

Factory Air: Anybody who ever smelled the air in an old fashoned factory like ptree described wouldn't order "factory air" in a car. When I started at the Dana corp car & truck frame plant I was in the Tool & Die building. This was seperate from the manufacturing buildings. It was realatively pleasant in that building compaired to the others. To get some overtime 2 of us new hires followed Marvin over to a production building to work 4 hours in one of the tool repair departments. When We were about 100 yards into the building Marvin stopped and said to Us " Take a deep Breath... Smell that?.... That is the SMELL OF FILTHY MONEY" The air was rank. Between the 50 year old grease and oil residue, rancid water soluable oil based stamping lubricant, vapors from the hot caustic dip to remove said lube from the parts, fumes from propane lift trucks, gasoline powered plant scooters, and welding fumes, You hardly wanted to take a breth. After about 10 minutes Your nose was sufficintl fatigued from the overload that You no longer noticed. Us "greedy grabbers" worked overtime there if We couldn't get any in our own department.
Dave Boyer - Thursday, 12/21/06 23:57:11 EST

Factory air.: Dave has it right. When I started at that shop in 1981, they were still running about half the equipment on black sulfur oil for the cutting lube. The rest had rancid coolant. Since we then usually were running at 200 to 400% of speed/feed rate from the machineries manual, steam and oil mist/vapor was heavy! I remember that in the winter, on the fist floor of the 7 story shop, the oil mist hung in a fog to about 3' off the floor. The ceiling dripp oil on everything. Silver jewerly would be coal black from the sulfur in a day. add in the tobacco chewers who spit on everything, the chemical plant across the street, the distillery two blocks away, and the Rainbow bread bakery on the otherside of the plant, and you have "Factory air"
And I loved the people and the work we did. It took 17 years, but we ended up in a new plant, with NO sulfur oil, No tobacco chewers allowed, and NO rancid coolant.
And I still loved the people and the work we did. (I also liked the environment we did it in better)
ptree - Friday, 12/22/06 20:43:37 EST

Ghetto anvil: Hey,I'm planning on making a anvil out of metal parts from a junkyard,mostly cars,anyone have any ideas? I hope I can find a fork-lift.
Chris Aragon - Saturday, 12/23/06 02:18:28 EST

Chris, There is not much on an automobile that is very heavy, especially on late models. About the most massive piece is the axels from trucks. That is followed by the crank shaft. The block is cast iron (or aluminum) and so full of holes there is not much there. The heaviest single piece on vehicals is the flywheel on straight drives but it too is cast iron.

Equipment to look for parts off of is heavy stuff, big earth movers and tracked vehicles. Track drive wheels frequently wear out and are a replaceable item. Axles and hubs off this class machine are very heavy but would require a torch to get off. Several years ago there was a fellow selling the rough forged ball part of a ball coupling for a heavy articulated equipment. At 4"? in diameter (plus a shank) it was a nifty piece.

Auto scrap yards are little help in this area. Check with machine shops, heavy equipment repair and scrap yards.

For many years our "shop anvil" was an angle bracket welded up from 3/4" plate. It was worthless for forging but it was enough mass for flattening and light riveting.
- guru - Saturday, 12/23/06 12:49:00 EST

Factory Air:
Once in a while I open a box or container and get a wiff of the local plant air where the product was packed. . . makes me glad I live out in the country far from heavy industry.

- guru - Saturday, 12/23/06 12:50:13 EST

Factory Air: While in china a few weeks ago, I visited a plant that made permanent magnets. They used some chemical that smelled a lot like acetone in the blending, then cooked off the solvents during the curing process. The entire complex smelled like finger nail polish remover. No OSHA over there....
- Mike Sa - Sunday, 12/24/06 00:15:46 EST

Quick Q.: Anybody know how to type a musical symbol/note "thingy?" How?

- Tyler Murch - Sunday, 12/24/06 01:42:33 EST

Chris' Anvil: Forget the auto parts; the anvil is on the front end of the forklift. Go see the forklift dealer for a chunk of broken fork. Good tough steel.
3dogs - Sunday, 12/24/06 14:27:37 EST

Factory Air: Mike Sa, with many solvents, the amount needed to smell strongly in a factory is well below the permissable exposure limit. In the US, we are so quick to complain that odors are often enough to get an inspection, and thus most factories strive to not have an observable odor. Also, with many air pollution permits, are requirements for control equipment, often charcoal filters or combustors. The difference in most of the rest of the world is that they have OSHA type regulations, but they are not enforced or are overcome thru bribes.
I like the US much better!

ptree - Sunday, 12/24/06 14:30:27 EST

Ghetto Anvil: What about granite? Something to ponder.
- Tyler Murch - Sunday, 12/24/06 21:56:05 EST

HoHoHo: From beautiful downtown Webberville Michigan a very Merry Christmas to everyone. Enjoy the day.
- Doug Thayer - Monday, 12/25/06 09:17:43 EST

Odd Characters:
Tyler, "note" characters are reserved characters in ASCII and do very bad things in computers where they are not expected. In windows they are available in the special font tables which are non-standard to other computer systems.

In Windirt it is under, Accesories, System Tools, Character Map. Then try the font "Notes" if you have it.

This is the other maddening thing about Windirt, the font sets are not standard and EVERY PC can be expected to have something different. AND many common programs install their own font collections. There is also a limit to the number of fonts you can have installed. Go over that limit and the Windirt font system crashes and you will find yourself working in the blind trying to repair it. I fount this out the hard way when a Windirt update crammed too many fonts onto my already font loaded PC. Most systems will not do this but Windirt update will.

SO, you can use notes, windings and various odd graphics on your personal system but do not expect them to display or print on anyone else's.
- guru - Monday, 12/25/06 10:19:13 EST

Charcoal: I could get the paint can method to work,but it was making too little,so I tried to do the pit method,my problem is,how big a pile of embers(coals) should I have before putting in the logs? and the air hole? Either I burn up all the wood,and leave a tiny amount of charcoal,or no charcoaling at all.
Chris Aragon - Monday, 12/25/06 23:20:06 EST

The art of making charcoal IS an art. The pit method requires sealing the air from the fire and carefully controlling the intake air and venting. This requires sheet metal sealed at the edges OR a lot of dirt (not recommended). The pit method often takes 18 to 24 hours if making a large amount of charcoal so it is a serious business. If you fall asleep on the job you can lose the whole batch OR have the coaling fire go out and have to start over again. It helps to have friends come by, deliver food and drink, swap lies. . but not TOO much partying as you MUST keep close attention to the fire AND you do not want to have to take a toliet break (best pee in the bushes).

It is common for the coaler to start early in the morning after having prepared his stack the previous day then work through to the following morning when he seals the fire making sure there are no air leaks before he goes to bed. Then there is usually a helper or a child that watches that the fire does not restart.

Normally if you understand the small scale method then the next step is to move up to a 40 to 55 gallon drum.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/26/06 10:12:06 EST

charcoal: I don't claim any expertise other than to say that my charcoal making abilities have provided me with enough charcoal for the bulk of my forging for the last couple of years.

The charcoal isn't always consistant and niether is my yield...sometimes I lose too much and sometimes it's not completely coaled. But...I use mostly scrap so I'm using different woods and inconsistant sizes.

I use the 55 gallon drum method I found someplace on the internet. I just poke some holes in the bottom of the drum. I dig a slight depression in the ground and set the drum on bricks so it's off the ground a little. I pile earth around the bottom of the drum exccept for vent hole several inches wide and a few inches deep.

I stack the barrel with wood and let it burn untill it's going good and then I cover the drum with a piece of sheet metal leaving it open a couple of inches. When the smoke thins I slide the sheet metal all the way over the top and plug the vent at the bottom. When the barrel cools I cross my fingers and dump the charcoal out.

When things go right I get a pretty good batch. Once in a while it will keep burning and I get little charcoal and lots of ash and other times it's not coaled enough.

I'm still experimenting with all the details and about the time I think I have it nailed I really screw up a batch. Still, I like forging with th stuff I make and it has definately saved me a ton of money.
Mike Ferrara - Tuesday, 12/26/06 11:15:07 EST

charcoal: If you have a neighbor that has an outside woodburning furnace, he might be willing to help out on the charcoal. I make about a drum full every other week. It falls thru the grate, and I have to shovel it out with the ashes. If it went into an airtight drum, I suspect that one would have a wealth of charcoal. Mine is about 1/2" round. I shovel it into a wheelbarrow and it just burns up, or gets rained on.
ptree - Tuesday, 12/26/06 19:46:05 EST

Odd Character: Thanks Guru !!
- Tyler Murch - Tuesday, 12/26/06 22:40:14 EST

does anyone have any projects for a begineer to cut his teeth on
i - Wednesday, 12/27/06 00:47:23 EST

first real forge: i built my first real forge today out of an old portable charcoal barbaque pit, steel pipe and clay.i punched holes in the sides of the bbq pit and placed the pipe, with about 6 or 7 holes drilled into it, through the holes in the bbq pittt. then i took the clay and packed it around the inside of the piit for insolation. previosly i had been using my foundry to heat the metal but that was a pain to reach down into to get the pice of work. xo far it heats the metal just as well and is a whole lot easier to work with.
i - Wednesday, 12/27/06 01:05:43 EST

Imelt, your questions were answered on the guru's page.
- guru - Wednesday, 12/27/06 11:08:11 EST

indirect method : does anyone hae extra adice about the indirect method of charcoal making
i - Wednesday, 12/27/06 23:11:18 EST

Charcoal: I don't bother, lately, with pit clamps. I have to burn brush piles on the farm anyway, so I just use rick burning. I wait until it has burned down to a good bed of coals, and then hose it down. When it drys out in the sun, I shovel the coal into a metal container. Another method, sometimes used by the Vikings (and when you don't have ready water) is to take the coals and shovel them into a deep, narrow pit and cover the top until it's air tight and they can extinguish. Neither is as efficient as the retort or pit clamp method on a pound for pound basis, but they're dead easy and provide a useful byproduct for normal clearing of the hedges and fringe land. Just make sure you don't get any poison ivy vines in the mix. 8-0

The random charcoaled branches look nice when you're doing a Viking blacksmith reenactment, too.
Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 12/27/06 23:50:27 EST

i, Perhaps you were thinking of...: When iron ore was converted into wrought iron in the early charcoal-fired iron furnace method, it was called an indirect method. First, a high carbon pig iron was produced from the furnace. Later, the pigs were heated in hearths to drive carbon out of them as gases. Because these two stages of production were used, the procedure was called indirect.
Frank Turley - Friday, 12/29/06 14:44:00 EST

Safety: My hand had a run in with a grinder a day(or two) ago,I consider my self lucky,it was on that I used on a electric screwdriver,only running at 100 or so RPMs,or whatever it is,thank god it wasn't a big fast one.
Chris A. - Friday, 12/29/06 17:01:04 EST

Indirect Methods: I think the earliest method of making wrought iron was actually a direct method: charge iron ore in the furnace and take a spongy wrought iron out of the bottom. It seems to me that all the more modern methods of wrought iron and steel making are indirect, but I don't know if they are actually called that.

As I see it, the indirect method of charcoal making involves a credit card and a Wal-Mart store (grin).
Mike B - Friday, 12/29/06 17:32:27 EST

Forge Welds: Being one of those amature blacksmiths that has really no choice but to learn and experiment on thier own. I have run into a bit a of snag with regard to forge welding. I put the iron in the fire flux it when it starts turns cherry red put back in the fire until the surface apears to be molten, pull the iron back out and give it a few whacks with the hammer. Of course the flux comes bursting out and once it is cooled it looks like the weld took but when I give it a complimentary whack the weld usally just pops apart and the parts don't look like they were ever together at all. I have tried as many techniques as i could find but the end result is the same with each technique or trick. Someone please help me.
- EJ Bull - Friday, 12/29/06 19:54:55 EST

E.J. Forge Welding: Go to the 'navigate anvilfire' menu on this page and click on 'iForge how to'; scroll to 95 and 95 to learn more about forge welding.

In working with mild steel, put the flux on at an orange heat, especially borax. It wants to melt right away. You want an "near white" heat for welding. The surface is not molten, but the scale and flux have melted, and the surface may look "sweaty". You can rap the pieces against the anvil to knock off "soup" before laying them on the anvil for welding. Your first few blows are RELATIVELY light. Once the pieces cohere, you hit harder. Many beginners don't realize that the heavier the stock, the harder you hit. For example, you can't lap weld two 3/4" square bars together using dinky blows.
Frank Turley - Friday, 12/29/06 20:52:10 EST

welding: EJ,

I went through the same thing. I'd weld a couiple of small pieces of stock and though that they weren't getting welded because I could break them apart.

yet, when I welded a poker with half inch round and worked the weld to blend the two pieces it's strong enough that I can lift my anvil with it. I have a few pattern welded blades that I made that sure aren't comming apart but those welds were worked enough to forge the billet down.

Heat and pressure make the weld and you need enough of both. In my experience, a couple of wacks can stick it without really giving you much of a weld. Make sure you have the joint upset enough so you have enough stock there that you can "work" the weld some.
Mike Ferrara - Saturday, 12/30/06 07:25:10 EST

Introduction: Hello there, folks. Long time lurker, first time poster. My name is Jeff, and I started in blacksmithing about a year ago. I live in the SF Bay Area, and have been lucky enough to get an apprenticeship with a traditional smith working on a historic farm run by the state park service. I don't get to have as much forge time as I would like, since life costs too darn much.

I am a tech-head, and I have been working in computers for about 10 years. Not having had any previous experience in many of the basics of simple work/body mechanics, it has been a challenging and exciting learning experience thus far.

I hope to transition to a f/t blacksmith in the next few years, since there is a real since of satisfaction to working with fire that fixing amorphous 'problems" with computers does not fulfill.

Any way, to end the rant, I have greatly enjoyed everything anvilfire has had to offer thus far, and look forward to contributing.....

steelgriffin - Saturday, 12/30/06 11:06:54 EST

Steelgriffin, welcome to the addictive world of Blacksmithing. It is not a curable addiction, but cheaper than many addictions like airplanes and boats. If you start scrounging hard, and make trinkets for your friends, you will be surprised what comes your way. The life of a full time smith is many of our dreams, but alas for many such as I, mounths to fill on a regular basis have caused us to work a day job, to feed and cloth, and nights and weekends to nourish our souls.
ptree - Saturday, 12/30/06 11:18:06 EST

Oops: Typing too fast. since=sense..... ;)
steelgriffin - Saturday, 12/30/06 12:15:03 EST

Luckily, I am a young, single guy with no financial obligations. I can get into it so deep, that by the time I have to worry about rugrats, well, I should be a f/t smith. Any woman who marries a smith should not expect to be the next rockefeller.......just need to find a sugar mama :P
steelgriffin - Saturday, 12/30/06 12:17:00 EST

Record snow/Santa Fe: After two days of snow, we had 20" on the ground this morning, and it's still snowing. I had to shovel a path to the woodpile and make a pee path for the dog. Some Interstates and state routes are closed, and travelers are stranded.

Of course, the national news concentrates on Colorado and Denver, the "mile high city", not realizing that Albuquerque, New Mexico, is higher in elevation than Denver. The New Mexico map seems to be where the weather caster stands while reporting on the rest of the country.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 12/30/06 13:16:10 EST

SF Bay, no-way dude. Thats so cool!!
I only post every couple of months because I don't have the internet where I to go, hart-burn!
- packrat - Saturday, 12/30/06 13:16:35 EST

cold weather huh?
- packrat - Saturday, 12/30/06 13:18:00 EST

permision: can i have permision to post some of this sites pics on my web site
- i - Saturday, 12/30/06 23:32:59 EST

Welcome: Hi Jeff. I am also in the Bay Area. Which historical farm is it? Blacksmithing is not all that different if you keep an open mind!

EricC - Sunday, 12/31/06 13:37:49 EST

Forge welding problems: Hi EJ. It may be good to have someone show you how it works for the first time. Forge welding is one of those "unreliable" processes. In other words, false starts and random successes can undo a lot of teaching. The key is to develop a procedure that works more reliably and commit it to regularity through practice. I recently botched a weld in front of a bunch of spectators. It was embarassing, and I still have not figured out why it did not work. Somehow, I don't fully understand the mechanism. The metal just was not getting sticky. When the failed piece was examined, the faying surface was too hard to file. Maybe burned. It needs a consistent process.
EricC - Sunday, 12/31/06 13:41:53 EST

Spectators: When a weld fails in front of an audience, the spectators usually enjoy that, and you have shown them your human side. Someone usually asks what went wrong. "Now, if I had known what went wrong, I would've got the weld."
Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/31/06 14:39:10 EST

Frank; funny hiow ones point of view affects things---I've always considered the indirect method of wrought iron smelting to be a fairly "recent" one as it only came around about 1000 years after the direct method did.

In charcoal making the "indirect method" refers to any process where the wood itself is not burned to produce the heat to char the wood into charcoal. So the paint can put into a fire is an indirect method.

The direct method uses some of the wood to produce the heat to char the rest of the wood so the pit clamp is a direct method.

- Thomas Powers - Sunday, 12/31/06 21:17:28 EST

casting: I am looking for someone that has the facilities cast iron. I have a prototype that I would like to have some made. Someone in wisconsin would be nice but not necessary. I can be reached at theidema @
- Tom Heideman - Sunday, 12/31/06 21:46:32 EST

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