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This page is open to ALL for the purpose of advancing blacksmithing, swaping lies, selling tools.

December 2007 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

TC30 Forklift For Sale:
Caterpillar 3000 pound solid tired forklift. LPG with tank. New tires, new seat, complete shop, parts and operation manuals.

This is an old forklift, Serial number 12X1784. No side shift. 42" forks, 106" lift.

It starts like new and runs good. It is a little rough looking due to being stored outside for a time. This is a great small lift truck for use in the shop or warehouse. Its hard to find a running forklift for this price.

Prefer that you pick up. We can arrange delivery within a few hundred miles from location in Boonville, NC. Reason for selling, need larger all terrain lift.


Call 336-414-3737 or email.
- guru - Thursday, 12/01/07 10:05:51 EST

Brian: How do you think I know about it? Back at the height of the cold war an unscrupulous scrap dealer in my hometown made a fortune buying anything he could from the plants at Oak Ridge, usually without a paper trail or permits as Union Carbide was only too happy to see potentially dangerous scrap on their premesis. The scrap dealer had it hauled by railroad to his yards in a poor neighborhood, where he paid widows and single mothers to scrape out the yellow stuff that was left in the pipes so he could then sell it as clean scrap to a local foundry. You can guess what has happened to all the ladies who worked for him. For some reason no doubt related to homeland security the EPA can't touch the place, so it remains surrounded by a 6-foot fence with a few tiny little radiation hazard signs that keep mysteriously disappearing. They almost got the guy into court for other EPA violations in the late 80s, but he declared bankruptcy and moved to Switzerland to be closer to his funds.

I'll take out to the yards if you wanna try to recover whatever's left, but I'll stay well upwind and inside YOUR vehicle!

Alan-L - Saturday, 12/01/07 08:25:28 EST

Alan-L, Thanks for the invite, but I must decline. I figure I have had more than my share of exposure over the last 29 years. The "rules" were a lot different back in the early days of my time on site.
- Brian C. - Saturday, 12/01/07 12:16:17 EST

Brian, then you must remember the age rule. The older you get the more exposure you are allowed based on expected future life and likelihood of developing a radiation related cancer in that time. .
- guru - Sunday, 12/02/07 09:22:40 EST

Jock- they dont talk about that very much around here. :) I try to stay clear as much as possible, but I have been here a long time so it probably is moot at this point.
- Brian C. - Sunday, 12/02/07 10:51:19 EST

Plain old radiation like cosmic, xrays, UV and some low level alpha and gamma from rocks is part of life as we know it. The stuff you don't want is anything processed by man.

There was an interesting report about "natural" atomic reactors in the Okla mines Africa. These natural reactor were generating life altering neutrons for millions of years while there was early life on Earth. Are we a result of a different "natural" radiation?
- guru - Sunday, 12/02/07 17:10:43 EST

Low-level "natural" radiation I don't mind. Here in Eastern TN there's a rock formation called the Chattanooga Shale that is fairly hot on its own. It's an oil shale that has a lot of uranium and thorium in it for reasons unknown. I don't let it bother me, as it's not under my house producing radon. Now, that half-acre lot full of U-235 hexafluoride, that bothers me, even if I do only go by it a few times a year. Alpha and Beta particles are easy to protect against if you know they're around. Gamma and higher-energy stuff, not so much.

Life in the modern world, eh?
Alan-L - Monday, 12/03/07 09:17:56 EST

Where I live we already have natural radiation problems---altitude and igneous rocks they are a much bigger issue than the unnatural ones around, (Trinity Site, U238 ordanance testing); but folks sure like to make a fuss about the un-natural ones.

Radionucliades generally weather out of igneous rocks and then bind to organics, (how the point bar deposits formed!). A lot of sedimentary rocks can have them and even concentrate them. Coal is a bad one; burning coal in a power plant releases more radiation then a nuclear power plant does---made me wonder about the "no nukes" crowd pushing coal over nuclear power.

Thomas P - Monday, 12/03/07 12:33:37 EST

ebay auctions ads banished:
I have banished the ebay ads. They had been very buggy, only providing the right ads about 60% of the time and often leaving big ugly blanks due to time outs. They were also earning much less than the google ads in the same locations.

However, tonight was the last straw. While most of the irrelevant junk ads have been harmless tonight we had several pages with items listed as "gay interest". These were totally inappropriate ads for this venue and it displayed a complete lack of system control by ebay and auctionads.

SO, they are gone.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/04/07 04:12:37 EST

Biometric no key door knob: Wave of the future? I received a spam, and it looked interesting, partly because the company name was Tychi, and I practice tai chi. Turns out that they manufacture a fingerprint actuated door knob and door lever system which can be programed to take up to 1,000 prints. The mechanism has a regular bolt that is thrown and retracted. It does away with carrying a key.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/04/07 10:05:00 EST

Tychi e-address:
- Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/04/07 10:06:32 EST

Biometrics are the wave of the future. My laptop has a a little slot that is a fingerprint scanner designed to make it more secure. I thought the idea was way too scary and did not set it up. Too many technical reasons for it to fail. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 12/04/07 11:06:31 EST

ads clarification:
I must appologize for some errors in my post about auction ads and ebay. Auction ads is a reseller of ebay services and is NOT part of ebay. They are a portal to accessing ebay's affiliate program which is much more difficult to setup.

I might try ebay content again after testing on some other pages.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/04/07 11:17:13 EST

A frustrated blacksmith: I finally have reached a point in my life when I can take all of the Blacksmith equipment I inherited from my great grandfather and carried by covered wagon from Oklahoma to work. I can't afford the luxury of my own property out way away from town. So I am resigned to a small studio close to Corvallis Oregon.
I can't get it insured. I have found if I follow fire codes and current laws. There is no way a blacksmith forge will ever burn in Oregon with the said laws! So do I break the law and still "forge" ahead and become an outlaw or follow the law and turn my forge into a nice yard ornament? This is a sad time for America, when the Blacksmith is not allowed to light the fire!!! Thanks to our wonderful lawyers and politicians! There is even a law that could hold me liable if I were out in a field blacksmithing and had a fire. I can't afford the insurance! Heck I grew up with learning on a forge that was used in a coal mine for gosh sakes! I'm done! The pierced eared tattoo'd mongrels can just have this country!
Herman - Tuesday, 12/04/07 16:56:42 EST

I had a similar story from a fellow that does reenactments and is a blacksmith. His Iowa insurance to do such is thousands of dollars and every year they get more restrictive.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/04/07 23:29:29 EST

Herman: Sounds like You need one of Grant Sarvers induction heater units.
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 12/04/07 23:32:58 EST

Herman-- check out I met this smith back in 2004, friendly fellow, found him in the Corvallis yellow pages. Fabulous shop, situated just across the city line. I mean the city line was literally one of his fence lines. I had a city employee tell me one morning there was no way I could even think of smithing inside the city limits.
- Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 12/04/07 23:48:12 EST

Herman, you also need to look at if there is a difference between a commercial shop, an artists studio and a hobby shop.
- guru - Wednesday, 12/05/07 09:52:04 EST

Frustrated blacksmith: I heard this story about Bob Bourdon of Vermont, and I think it's true. Bob was in on the "revival of blacksmithing" in the late 1960's into the 70's. At that time, he was a kind of lone ranger with not much happening in the world of blacksmithing. Vermont had similar laws to what Herman is mentioning. Bob made an in-person appointment to see the governor of Vermont, and persuaded the governer to give him a special dispensation to allow a coal forge.

I demonstrated for the Northwest Blacksmiths in Philomath, OR, in 2005, and we had coal forges going. The farriers' school east of Corvallis (Linn-Benton) has fires going, but I don't know whether they are using coal or gas.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 12/05/07 11:49:38 EST

Wrought iron: I'm trying to make a katana in the traditional way as best I can. The core of the traditional katana was a low carbon iron the came from purified river sand. I was wondering if wrought iron could be what their describing?
Andrew - Wednesday, 12/05/07 15:47:18 EST

Blacker Power Hammer: A friend of mine is looking for either a chambersburg or blacker b power hammer. Old traversing style hammer that uses the anvil and stand. He has the anvil and stand already, but would still be interested in a complete machine.
- Burnt Forge - Wednesday, 12/05/07 15:59:56 EST

Andrew a low carbon wrought iron; especially one that was a charcoal iron would make a good replacement for the low carbon tamahagne iron as they are both basically a bloomery iron. (though the charcoal iron may have been puddled...)

You do need to refine the wrought iron by folding and welding as many times as is needed before using it if it's not of the highest grades.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/05/07 16:11:48 EST

Andrew: Thanks Tom! i found this iron powder on a catalouge for powdered iron for 5$ a .lb and it's made from wrought iron so I'm going to see how it is.
Andrew - Wednesday, 12/05/07 17:54:11 EST

Andrew, powdered iron made from REAL wrought iron is a stupidly dense thing to sell when the actual unpowdered stuff is worth more as-is. Are you sure it's made from wrought iron, or is it listed as pure iron powder? There is a BIG difference.

Depending on which school of katana-making you subscribe to, simple tamahagane will give you the same result, i.e. unhardened interior with glass-hard edge. It's a function of the hardenability of steel that has no chromium or manganese as part of the formula. But you should know that already. If not, you have some work ahead of you.

I don't mean to come off sounding harsh, but you're hardly the first person to want to re-create something that has and is still being done by hundreds of smiths worldwide. I do understand if you don't care about anyone else since YOU have not done it before, that's perfectly legitimate. Heck, I myself have not done it since everyone else seems to want to. May I suggest checking out various bladesmithing forums before you get too far into this project? My own preference is Don Fogg's forum, but there are others.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 12/05/07 19:27:00 EST

Herman the Frustrated: Don't use the term "forge", use the term "workshop" or refer to the structure as a "garage" or "storage shed". If you check your zoning, see if there's a lower limit to building permits (300 square feet and up where I am; anything under 300 sq. ft. (as long as it doesn't have plumbing) doesn't need one here. If it's a workshop, then you just have some blacksmithing equipment in the corner "for occasional metalworking." Contemplate using charcoal in your open forge (the "backyard BBQ" dodge") or a gas forge; anything that doesn't create smoke and smell. Be nice to your neighbors and don't hammer into the night. It's all in how you present yourself; if it's a hobby, people will cut you some slack. If you intend to do it as a business, you have to follow the rules.

As for insurance- it's a method to spread the risk. If the shop burns down, can you afford to replace it without undue pain? Then you don't need insurance. Are you having people working with you? Then you may need insurance for liability, but not if you work alone. If the building burns down will it take the neighborhood with it? Then you will need insurance; but not if it stands alone and poses no hazard to other structures. If you have no insurance, be very, very careful; and save up enough money so that you can self-insure.

My tattooed and pierced eldest daughter does very nice work at her anvil and with her welding equipment, by the way; and she is by no means "a dog." ;-)
Go viking!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 12/05/07 22:41:23 EST

Blacksmith Shop Leagalisms: Yep, Keeping out of the "industrial" category is often important.

Artists "studios" are often allowed in any location that a professional inhabits. That includes metal sculptors with welders, grinders and FORGES. . .

Open fires are often allowed as long as they are for cooking. Who is it (Thomas?) that used to keep a teapot on his forge and would offer the fire marshal some tea or coffee when the neighbors sent them by. .

An open fire is not "open" if it is indoors.

One smith reported that he had to meet EPA regulations according to the locality. He called the EPA. The wanted to know how many tons of coal he burned PER HOUR! . . He said he would have to work it out from about a ton a year. The EPA said, "You don't come under our jurisdiction". . . End of problem. But you might need to get that in writing.

Body shops and welding shops do all the same things as blacksmith shops (just in different proportions). If they are acceptable so are you just be careful what you call yourself.
- guru - Wednesday, 12/05/07 23:30:41 EST

Computer problems: It seems my laptop is about to puke itself, since it took fifteen or twenty tries to get it to start last night and this morning. It would start to start, then suddenly shut off before even getting to Windows. And so on, sometimes gettng further, sometimes not. Totally confusing to me, because I know squat about laptops.

I've spent the morning backing up my emails and stuff, but I'm still concerned. Once I get the backups done, I can shut off the damn thing and try to open it up and clean it out. IF that helps, good. If not, it may be time for a new laptop. I'm hooked now, and can't live without one.

Anyway, if I disappear for a few days or a week or two even, it's just the timelag to get a new laptop delivered. I'll probably still try to check in once and awhile on the desktop, but I don't use that much these days since it's indoors and I like to be on the porch.

All this computer problem crap is taking time away form the shop, where I'm busy as hell making four scale model cannons (non-functional) for a guy's "pirate ship" project. Kinda fun, since I haven't done any wood turning or model-making since I was in junior high school- say, more than forty years ago. Having fun and getting paid to do it; I love it!
vicopper - Thursday, 12/06/07 10:40:25 EST

I think it was Rob Gunter who had that dodge when he was still "in town". I was lucky enough that the Fire Department was called on me when I was actually using my smoker---3 times! (on the Q-T I learned that the "neighbor" was told they would be charged with a false alarm the next time they were called out for a similiar reason and I had nho further problems with them...)

I also had a student who had to get a letter from the EPA telling the city that the EPA was not concerned until his coal use was several thousand times greater---then he was hit with the "open burning" rule and they demanded that he get a $25 permit *every* time he lit the coal forge.

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/06/07 10:54:24 EST

Computer Problems: Hey viccopper, if you haven't done it, run scan disk and the disk defragger. Also, delete all of the files and directories that you can live without. You can also reinstall Windows and go to the MS site and get all of the updates
- JohnW - Thursday, 12/06/07 13:01:02 EST

Laptops: I'm on my third laptop since starting anvilfire and needing one for business purposes. I look at them as a necessary inconvenient expense. I don't like the small monitors and keyboards. They generally have a short life. Packing all that stuff from a desk top box into the size of book means a lot of heat and very special miniaturized components. For dependability my tower case desktop has an oversize heatsink and fan that weigh half of what my laptop does. . AND the case has 5 fans. . . my laptop has a couple of little 3/4" diameter fans.

Even though prices have come down laptops are the cutting edge of miniaturization and are thus delicate and prone to failure. 3/4" FANS!

I do not know how many hours my laptops have had on them when they failed but I suspect it was only in the low hundreds. Much of the real wear and tear is the transport. Mine are only used when I am on the road and spend most of their time in the padded carrying bag. I never check it at the airport and never let anyone else carry them. Yet they get beat and broken. My last laptop had one of those indestructible Titanium cases. . . It just made it heavy and put more load on the plastic hinges (which failed).

I'm using my laptop now since I am on the road "at home" in Virginia. Since I am doing programming and CAD I am using a full size monitor and an add on mouse. Been a lot to haul around. . . I'm staring to think that a tower case on wheels with a shelf for the keyboard and monitor would be more convenient. .

A portability option is a wireless keyboard and monitor. I've got a monitor big enough now (24" flat) that I could read it from across the room at low (standard resolution). You could sit it in a window and then all you need is a wireless keyboard. . .

Laptops are also high theft items. . On my desktop I have a lot of shortcuts but on the laptop there are no saved passwords. My laptop mail leaves mail on the server and when I get home I download from the server (and erase) so that mail is on the desktop but not necessarily on the laptop.

Everyone has their own reasons for using a laptop computer but they are still a delicate expensive electronic item. If I didn't have to have one it would be a luxury item.
- guru - Thursday, 12/06/07 16:37:22 EST


It sounds like your student needed to light his forge *once* and *never* put it out. There's more than one way to be safe (grin).
Mike BR - Thursday, 12/06/07 16:54:22 EST

Hi Guru, If you don't like the minurature laptop, but need a tower small enough to trave easilly, check into the ones that are designed for LAN Parties. THe gamers use them and they are full size components, but the motherboard is a micro ATX with only one add on slot instead of 5 or 6. This way it fits in a much smaller case. They use full size fans and the cases frequently have built in carry handles.
portable gaming pc case
FredlyFX - Thursday, 12/06/07 17:34:18 EST

No he needed to get out of the city; nobody wins when you start warring with your neighbors!

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/06/07 17:53:01 EST

new anvil: I just acquired anew anvil, 100# and am not sure of it's pedigree. one side says 100# and JB, other has 45 kg and england. thought it was a record but I'm not sure now...might just be cast, can anyone shead any light on this? also It's not terribly old.
thanks, john
john - Thursday, 12/06/07 20:11:12 EST

Blacker Power Hammer: Blacker Power Hammer: A friend of mine is looking for either a chambersburg or blacker b power hammer. Old traversing style hammer that uses the anvil and stand. He has the anvil and stand already, but would still be interested in a complete machine.
- Burnt Forge - Friday, 12/07/07 12:48:43 EST

anvil: John you have a John Brooks anvil also known as Vaughn Brooks made in England.
- Burnt Forge - Friday, 12/07/07 12:50:14 EST

adjunct anvil: John
The Vaughn anvils are produced by hope works and made of cast steel.
- Burnt Forge - Friday, 12/07/07 12:52:09 EST

Thomas, I'm fairly sure that my place looks like a steam tractor threshing event sometimes. The current coal I have been getting smokes big time but cokes fairly well. I have zero issues with neighbors and noise. Have had no complaints ( ever ) on coal smoke. Another good reason not to live in a city.
- Ten Hammers - Friday, 12/07/07 18:54:01 EST

I too live somewhat in the country. I have 6.5 acres, but the nearest house is only about 150 yards from the shop. All my neighbors are pretty cool with the blacksmith shop as i weld and fix stuff for them from time to time and don't as a rule charge them. A little further out neighbors get at most 1/2 wholsale rates. Mostly trades. all happy.
ptree - Friday, 12/07/07 20:03:04 EST

2008 Hammer-In: Please consider joining us for the 2008 Fire and Brimstone Hammer-In and Smelt on March 21st.-23rd. 2008 in Historic Marriottsville, Maryland

The event will include Jesus Hernandez and Walter Sorrells running a smelt on Friday and working toward a finished blade (or 2?) over the weekend. Additional demonstrators and lectures will be happening all weekend. We will have forging on our power hammers all weekend as well as metal casting and metal spinning on our lathes. Event will be at our forge (Baltimore Knife and Sword Co.) and the Church/Studio next door (Fire and Brimstone Studio)

Additional confirmed demonstrators we will be working into the schedule include Rick Barrett, Kerry and Matt Stagmer, Christopher Price, Deker and Paul Dubro of Legacy Forge. If you are a demonstrator or are planning to come and have something to share, please touch base as we would like to pack in as much information as possible for attendees.

We will be limiting attendance to 50 INCLUDING demonstrators. Registration will be $65 for the entire weekend to offset our costs. Vendors and tailgating is encouraged at no additional fee and will have separate parking, trailers allowed.

Please visit our site

The site includes accommodations, Schedule, and Artists/Demonstrators.

We will be updating the site often as we confirm additions to the event.
kerrystagmer - Saturday, 12/08/07 11:01:01 EST

Newbie: Finally did some research today on blacksmithing and this website was my first stop. I've been interested in the trade for a few years now. Been turning it over in my mind for quite some time actually. I'm 32 years old and a crafstman in my own trade (concrete and decorative concrete) but I have a love of cutlery and decorative ironwork. I have dreams of running a little tourist shop selling trinkets, blades and decorative ironwork. This site pointed me in the right direction. Thank you for for having such a well thought out and informative section on getting started.
ErnieLarkin - Saturday, 12/08/07 23:21:34 EST

looking for a way to draw ovals for a project. Do you have any easy ideas?
kvn57 - Monday, 12/10/07 16:32:22 EST

ovals: looking for a way to draw ovals for a project. Do you have any easy ideas?
kvn57 - Monday, 12/10/07 16:32:42 EST

Ovals: If I'm not mistaken, a true oval is just two semi-circles connected by straight lines. A pair of dividers (compass) and a straight edge is all you'd need.

If what you really want is an ellipse, there's an easy way to draw one. Drive two nails into a board. Drop a loose loop of string over them. Put your pencil inside the loop, and use it to pull the string taught (so it forms a triangle). Move the pencil around outside the nails, keeping the string taught at all times. Obviously, you'll have to adjust the spacing of the nails and the length of the string to get the shape you want.
Mike BR - Monday, 12/10/07 17:23:03 EST

Ovals and Ellipses:
Technically an oval is any non-round shape similar to an egg shape. Ovals can be symmetrical or asymmetrical (like an egg). A logenze is a shape with round ends (or pointed ends. . .) and straight sides.

Ovals are often drawn using two radii, a small one for the ends and a larger one for the sides. If done well the lines of the two radii are the same angle where they meet. This roughly equates an ellipse but is NOT an ellipse and the eye can tell.

An ellipse is a shape where the curvature of each quadrant is in continuous change. If you cut a cone OR a cylinder at an angle the result is an ellipse.

See our mathematics FAQ and oval string calculator. No trial and error required.
Ellipse FAQ
- guru - Tuesday, 12/11/07 09:56:11 EST

Drawing Ellipses Geometrically :

A major and minor circle are drawn to match the major and minor dimensions of the ellipse. Lines are drawn from the center out. These may be equally divided or not.

Then descenders are drawn on the X and Y axis from where each of the radial line cross the circles. Where they meet is a point on an ellipse. This method is best done on a drawing board with squares or a drafting machine but some of us can do this freehand.

I've added this to the string layout article linked above.

- guru - Tuesday, 12/11/07 10:58:12 EST

ellipse: Thats a cool technique for drawing an elipse. If it were small enough, I would draw one quater on a piece of card and use it as a template to mark out the whole ellipse
adam - Wednesday, 12/12/07 11:32:43 EST

Problem with PVC Pipes, Glue, and Open Torches:
A new wrinkle on the old "torch and closed tank" scenario; forwarded from my Sister at the Department of Energy:

" a newly installed, sealed PVC/steel pipe system in the empty cooling tower water system exploded when the steel pipe was exposed to an acetylene torch during a procedure to attach a threadlet device needed for a pressure test. The direct cause was ignition of the PVC glue vapors trapped in the pipe by the hot steel/acetylene flame. Rapid combustion of the fuel within the trapped volume of the pipe produced an explosion. Several nearby employees were affected by the blast, but injuries appear to be limited to temporary hearing loss. The PVC piping was destroyed and pieces of the pipe punctured the sheet metal wall and in some cases traveled 150 yards. "

Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 12/13/07 08:38:47 EST

PVC solvent:
I could still smell the solvent in the water from the installation of a new shower valve a month after the installation. The shower had not been run in that time but it had been used near the time of installation. Makes you wonder how long it takes before it is really safe to use.
- guru - Thursday, 12/13/07 08:46:35 EST

looking for anvil: new at Blacksmithing Looking for a Anvil in the 200 to 250lb around atlanta area
- jimbo - Thursday, 12/13/07 17:44:30 EST

NEW BLACKSMITH: Looking for a 200lb to 250lb Anvil in the Atlanta Area
jimbo - Thursday, 12/13/07 17:47:42 EST

"NEW BLACKSMITH";": Looking for a 200lb to 250lb Anvil in the Atlanta Area
jimbo - Thursday, 12/13/07 17:50:07 EST

Forge Combustor Update: Mad scientist report from Los Alamos:

I have tried a number of ideas for casting a refractory cylinder none of which worked. SS lathe turnings simply oxydized inside the refractory. I also tried mixing in some sawdust with the idea that some porosity would give the refractory space to expand without stressing itself. Made no difference. The cylinder lies horizontally and the main failure seems always to be at the bottom leading me to suspect the weight of the ceramic matrix elements is more than the hot refractory can bear. But cracks appear all over the tube. I looked into manufactured ceramic tubes but a 4" tube is around $400 which is way over my R&D budget.

However I have had some success with a different approach. I built up the cylinder from thin layers of inswool heavily impregnated with Plistix 900. A sort of paper mache idea. This has held up for over a week now without any sign of trouble, whereas the refractory cylinders died in one or two days. The combustor is about 6" long. The front end runs at welding heat while the back end stays cool enough to touch. This means I can switch to a high temp automotive gasket material to seal the mixture tube. Seals have to be tight because of the pressure. Stove gasket compound turns brittle.

I am using this burner like a coal forge. I lay the work across the mouth of the burner and can get a short heat in the middle of the bar. In front of the burner, I build up a work chamber out of fire brick and inswool coated with Plistix 900. Inside the chamber I make pile of refractory rubble several inches long to reflect back the heat and to recover some of the heat from the exhaust gas. The hot exhaust is the main heat loss from a gas forge and having it heat up the rubble on its way out recovers some of this.

At first I used the cylinder in a vertical position like a coal forge but this wont work. Hot flux dripping into the cylinder will eventually destroy *any* refractory material I have used and even iron scale is corrosive. After trying this I realized that a coal forge gets cleaned out at least once a day while this is a permanent setup and must be kept clean.

My next goal is to find a way of making a good porous ceramic matrix. Currently I am using three 2" deep disks of refractory with holes in them stacked together. The holes are of increasing size which prevents burn back to the inlet and the first stage serves as a preheat zone. I have tried a number of different refractories such as mizzou but the only one that holds up to the conditions inside the combustor is Greencast 94 plus

I have two ideas for this, one is Greencast brogue (I have a lot of this from previous experiments) glued together with Plistix 900. My reservation is that refractory chips tend to sag at operating temps, leaving a gap at the top and allowing the combustor to burn back to the inlet. The other is to cast the matrix out of a mix Plistix 900 and wax chips or small styrofoam chunks which I will then bake out.

I welcome any suggestions or comments.
adam - Monday, 12/17/07 11:06:15 EST

jimbo: How about a 338 pound anvil in central Georgia? email me.
TM - Tuesday, 12/18/07 20:19:34 EST

Adam, you dont say what refractory you are using, but I am guessing thats the problem.

I run a forge that is entirely cast refractory, and it has lasted years with no problems. My first one ran for 3 or 4 years before physical damage (whacking on it with 20 foot lengths of 1 1/2" pipe, 12 footers of 5/8" round, and so on) finally beat it up.
My second one is on its third year or so, we run it all the time, and forge hundreds of pieces in it.

The trick is using the right high temp refractory.
Mine is made from a Pryor Giggey product,
I believe its an Econocast 32 or so- the bag is out in the shop, and its warm in here, so I might check it tomorrow.
But whichever it is, it works great.

We cast em with two sonotubes, maybe a 16" and a 12", each about 18" long, so we get consistent wall thickness, peel away the cardboard when it cures.
I have used both stainless tig filler rod and little stainless needles for "rebar" the needles are better, but harder to find, but a decent refractory supply place ought to have em.
I also cast refractory ends. just a circle with a hole in it.

I roll the whole thing in some kaowool blanket, so the kaowool is on the outside, not inside, then roll it again in stainless expanded metal.
It is light, gets hot fast, stays hot a long time, and works great.

The design is not mine- it was developed by Phillip Baldwin, and he helped me make mine.

But the basic concept is simple, and it works. Cast refractory makes a great forge, but you have to have a castable refractory.

I have been running mine lately exclusively with Chemtane as well- it runs 500 degrees or so hotter than propane, and seems to last longer as well. I like that, as the refills are a half hour drive each way.
- Ries - Wednesday, 12/19/07 00:44:45 EST

Reffractory: Ries. Thanks for the info. I have been using mostly Mizzou and Greencast Plus 34. These are fine for a forge chamber but I am making a combustion chamber and the temp & pressure is higher. I think I will try some of that Econocast that you suggest and I think I will cast the cylinder with a thicker wall like you do. I see PG makes an Econocast 33 rated for 3300F with promising mechanical properties.

I hadnt expected to do this much R&D to get this idea working. The basic idea is very simple and works very well but I was surprised to run up against this construction problem since these refractories have all perform well for forge chambers.

I had originally avoided thick walled cylinders since I assume the problem we due to thermal stress but now I am inclined to think it is mostly a simple mechanical failure due to the weight and possible expansion of the matrix in the chamber and the pressure. The pressure is not really that high but it is probably at least 1 atmosphere.
adam - Wednesday, 12/19/07 09:54:35 EST

I am no expert, but I know that mere wall thickness should not be the problem- in commercial usage, the castable refractories are often 3" to 12" thick, in very hot funaces, with no failures.

Obviously, proper curing, with a very slow rampup of heat will help.
- Ries - Wednesday, 12/19/07 11:53:57 EST

1 atmosphere is over 14 psi which is quite a pressure for a masonry enclosure!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/19/07 15:32:11 EST

pressure: You are probably right Thomas. I just pulled that number out of the air. Sometime I should try to measure it.
adam - Wednesday, 12/19/07 18:44:47 EST

Cast Refractories:
There are special refractories for making ladles, nozzles and various things. They are not the cheap grades AND after drying they also need to be carefully calcined and fired. Normally fired refractories are 2 to 3 times as strong as chemically bonded refractories. If you need high strength you need high purities and high firing.

Firing as used is not proper firing/calcining. This must be done slowly and evenly in a furnace built for the same.

Stainless wire and reinforcing are used in thick walls where much of it does not reach full heat. Where high temperatures and penetrating oxidizing gaes are involved Inconel(tm) is used then nichrome (heating element material).

In a conversation with the owner of International Technical Ceramics he suggested using ITC-200 for this type of thing. I have not tried it for parts. I guess I should. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 12/19/07 20:06:04 EST


I saw one of your posts on your project over at the Guru's Den, but I didn't really follow what you're trying to do. Still don't, exactly. But are you sure you wouldn't rather just buy your tube: Or you could try slip-casting it from mullite:
- Matt B - Wednesday, 12/19/07 20:21:10 EST

Fire and Brimstone Hammer-In update: For those interested in our hammer-in (March 21-23 2008) check our info at

Sword Swallower Dai Andrews as decided to join us for the entire weekend! Dai is an artist,magician and blacksmith. He will be demonstrating his abilities and hanging out smashing metal with us. Check his site out at
KerryStagmer - Wednesday, 12/19/07 22:48:22 EST

Nice pseudo-anvil source: Following the instructions here, i found a source for
good tool-steel blocks for using as an anvil.

I found a good source - Lindquist Steel. They sold me
a very nice block of 4140HT 3" thick, 8" deep, and 14
inches long, nicely finished (blanchard ground on
the large faces, cold-sawed on the sides) for under
$300 - including shipping! The block rings out at
about 70-80% and has no soft spots at all. All I
did was knocked off the corners with a mill file and
it was ready for hammering. Yeah, it's just a 100
lb anvil, but flipped onto end and it's still 14
inches of really good steel underneath your hammer.
Flipped onto the side, it's a flattening area bigger
than the biggest Nimba.

Yes, there's no horn or hole (yet) but if your
interests like parallel to mine, that's not a big

Next up- a beefy sawhorse-style stand with rubber
pads to damp the ringing.
- Bill - Thursday, 12/20/07 14:37:38 EST

Bill, While the price may seem high to many that is a very fine piece of steel, better than most commercial anvils. That compact mass is equivalent to an anvil double that size. Until you really need a horn that is a great anvil. In fact, many bladesmiths are using cylindrical pieces with less edge to work.

One of the finest Colonial era anvils was the hornless style. It was used with a narrower bickern for scrolling, tubes and other small work.
- guru - Thursday, 12/20/07 15:14:56 EST

Hornless Anvils: From a medieval, and even colonial, point of view: hardy holes, pritchel holes and horns were more of a convenience than a necessity. Bicks on separate stakes, hardies and fullers mounted in the stump (or sometimes in a convenient leg-vise), and underlays to allow for punching are very practical, if not quite as convenient as having a horn, hardy hole and pritchel hole on the anvil.

Rather than send a lot of time and effort conforming to the “modern” idea of an anvil-as-multi-tool, you can mount the ancillary pieces separately (and conveniently) and use the time for more productive work. Besides, just as you finish all the work on your anvil block, some friend or relative will probably come along with an incredible bargain on “Great-Uncle Harry’s really big anvil” and you’ll be wondering why you went through all of the drilling/grinding/filing/machining/etc.

My favorite case of “put-together” was equipping a young smith with one anvil without a horn* and one anvil without a heel**.

A agree with Jock, you have multiple faces to use; why mess with it?

* No sense blaming it on “D@mn Yankees”, you could see where the weld failed.

** This one looked like some sort of crack propagation, somewhat irregular and near (but not exactly on) the corners of the hardy hole.

Visit your National Parks!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/21/07 08:59:33 EST


I am trying to develop a flameless combustor for propane air to achieve high temps and efficient burning in a small volume. The design is basically a cylinder filled with a porous matrix. The air/propane mix flows through the matrix, which gets very hot and combustion occurs over a very large surface area without a flame front. This works well except that I am having trouble keeping the cylinder together. The mouth of the combustor is white hot. I would guess that internally the temps are above 2600F. Also there is some pressure due to the porous matrix. I have been using refractories rated at least 3000F.

I looked at that site you liste, thank you, but I get the impression that they are working with aluminum and brass which is a much lower temp range.
adam - Friday, 12/21/07 11:16:00 EST

Adam how big a cylinder do you need? I have a bit of mullenite tube in my stash IIRC but it's not too big in diameter, perhaps and inch ID?

Thomas P - Friday, 12/21/07 11:33:41 EST

Thomas, thanks for the offer! Currently the burner is 4" ID and about 6" long. I think anything between 3" ID and 5" ID would work. The idea being that the volume should be as close to spherical as possible to concentrate the heat. It might be fun to try 1" ID - at least it might test the material. I dont have the background to do any design analysis so I am just flying by the seat of my pants. What is the temp limit for mullenite?

Thanks again
adam - Friday, 12/21/07 12:35:43 EST

Refractory Burner: Adam,

What about cutting a kiln shelf into pieces like barrel staves (only without the taper) and assembling the pieces into a tube? Maybe you could wrap with nichrome wire to keep them together, and then with kaowool for insulation, if necessary. My highly uneducated guess says silicon carbide kiln shelf might hold up.
Mike BR - Friday, 12/21/07 19:39:06 EST

Adam, I'm in Las Cruces for the holidays, I'll try digging up a piece when I get back

Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 12/25/07 20:09:58 EST

Burner:: Thomas - thanks. Actually I found a length of commercially made refractory tube 4"ID so I will try a piece of that first.

Mike. Kiln shelves seemed to be rated up to about 2600 F and I need 3000F + but I might try your idea with some fire brick that I have. It doesnt absolutely have to be a cylinder. Square would work well enough for test purposes.
- adam - Wednesday, 12/26/07 15:54:15 EST

Edwards #10 cold shear: Have edwards #10 cold shear for sale. Contact Gene. 1-903-785-1486 e-mail Thank you
Gene - Thursday, 12/27/07 11:31:35 EST

Question on Bells: Some time in the past I have seen a procedure for making sleigh bells from sheet brass. I have some old door kick plates, 1/16" brass, I would like to use. Does any one know where I can find info on this
- Brent - Thursday, 12/27/07 11:50:39 EST

Brent, Bell making is a rather arcane subject and a specialty. While there is a little published about simple vibrators there is very little on the details of bells. Most of what is published about bells is on classic bell shaped bells which are an outgrowth of a simple tube or bar vibrator. The shape and thickness varying in order to reinforce or dampen overtones as needed. There is actually acoustical purpose to a bell shape.

Bell alloys are also a complicated subject. Bell alloys are made for their hardness ignoring most common sense aspects of alloying such as strength and ductility. Thus you have results like the Liberty Bell.

For a general survey and a little bit about the technology of bells see Eric Sloane's "The Sound of Bells". Yes, this is the same author that wrote on tools and Americana. You will have to search the used book sources for it but the same is true of almost every book on making musical instruments or acoustic technology.

Trace or sleigh bells are usually made of steel then plated with a corrosion resistant coating. They could be made of brass but the tone will be very different.

Your best bet is to just start making bells. No book that I know of (and I studied musical instrument making for many years) has specific details. So, cut a pattern, form it, test it. The following affect the result.

1) Proportions of thickness to size.
2) Density of the alloy
3) Hardness (temper) of the alloy.
4) How the resonator is supported.

When using steel for bells you usually do not harden it. When using non-ferrous alloys work hardening may be critical so do not apply heat late in the game UNLESS you need to to lower the note or prevent cracking. The biggest difference in non-ferrous bell metal is the actual alloy.

While you may not have a lot of choice in thickness of commercial plate you DO have control of overall size. Often a little change in size, a little trim on an arm, make a big difference in tone.

Your pattern for a spherical bell is a lot like making a two or four petal flower. You may need to make some forming tools (a punch and die) for making the shape. Wood is suitable for support dies. Your best bet is to find one of these bells and study its shape closely.

- guru - Friday, 12/28/07 10:26:56 EST

More Bells: I'm involved in native American dance, so have used several types of sleigh bells. The older ones, what we called "Swedish", were fairly thick walled and sand-cast of brass. They had a tang or lug with a hole through it. I have some other old ones that are also cast and thick enough to drill and use self-tapping screws for mounting to leather. I have some thinner gage stamped bells, machine made, that appear to be flanged and crimped around the center circumference. I can't detect any solder. I think the clapper ball on the inside of the bell is steel. Bells are also made of steel as guru notes, but both steel and brass can be nickel plated. You can view different styles of bells at

My first thought was to use a jeweler's dapping block-and-punch to shape two hemispheres and to solder the halves together. The sound opening could be sawed in a cross shape and one "corner" peeled back for insertion of clapper ball. You would still need to attach something for mounting.
Frank Turley - Friday, 12/28/07 11:31:41 EST

cold: well its 10F in my shop. had to warm up the leather welding gloves before I could put them on and then the rod didnt want to start until I cranked up the current some.
adam - Friday, 12/28/07 12:49:47 EST

It all depends on what kind of jingle bell you want. . .

What my Morris dancer friends call an American style bell has a cross shaped opening and the body is formed from one piece of metal, with the
- John Lowther - Friday, 12/28/07 14:32:59 EST

Jingle bells: oops. . .

It all depends on what kind of jingle bell you want. . .

What my Morris dancer friends call an American style bell has a cross shaped opening and the body is formed from one piece of metal, with the "clapper" ball inserted before the four leaves are closed. These are normally stamped in just a few operations. They often produce a noise which is more of a clatter than ring.

English style bells have a shell made in two pieces with a dumbell shaped opening. Some are stamped in two pieces and crimped together, often with a separate wire loop for mounting. others (mostly very large ones for harnesses) are cast in two pieces and soldered together.

The English style bells I've encountered generally ring better than American style bells, and the cast ones better than the stamped.

One of my friends has a beautiful cast brass set of harness bells which are graduated from about one inch in diameter up to over two inches, with no two bells on a side the same diameter.
John Lowther - Friday, 12/28/07 14:33:54 EST

Sliegh Bells: I just made about 38 little steel "jingle bells" based on the patterns and process Bill Clemons had demonstrated at Gichner's last year and then published an article on in the last PABA newsletter (the article is probably in other newsleters also). I modified his pattern slightly and reduced its size to result in a bell with a 1" interior diameter. They have a cross shaped opening and are made of 1 piece of .090 cold rolled steel. I formed them mostly hot into a bottom form on my flypress then finished them cold with a flat bar with a disc shaped end through the slots before a final inverted tap into the form to even up the closure. They even sound pretty good when shaken. They ring rather than clatter. If you know anyone in the Pennsylvania Artist Blacksmith group ask them for the newsletter article and the patterns.
SGensh - Friday, 12/28/07 16:45:51 EST

Jingle Bells...

Bill Clemens, a blacksmith that lives in Pennsylvania, found an article in a Michigan blacksmith guild newsletter a couple years ago that explained how to make jingle bells. He had little luck with his early efforts, but eventually figured out how to make high quality bells from plate metal. He published, in the Blacksmith Guild of Central Maryland (BGCM) Jan/Feb 2007 newsletter the process he uses to make them. Bill is the editor of that newsletter. The BGCM website is at If you go to that website and click on NEWSLETTERS on the right side of the page, you will see a picture of the bells Bill makes. There is also guild contact information on the website.
- djhammerd - Friday, 12/28/07 17:01:50 EST

Bell Photo: I just posted a photo of the bells I made in the gallery at These are based on Bill's work but smaller.
SGensh - Friday, 12/28/07 19:15:32 EST

Slack tub: I have a piece of railroad steel. I want to buy an anvil. The NC-70 and NC-112 seem like good deals but is it hard enough? Will the low Hardie hole make it to be a problem? The Delta-3 looks good but a lot more money. Suggestions.
Garry - Friday, 12/28/07 21:15:41 EST

Steve G: How did you cut out your bells?
- djhammerd - Saturday, 12/29/07 06:56:55 EST

Despite the cold yesterday, I converted a heavy (200# +) structural element made of 2
- adam - Saturday, 12/29/07 10:46:57 EST

tool stand: Despite the cold yesterday, I converted a heavy (200# +) structural element made of 2" plate into a tool stand. I used Rich's idea and welded on a post of 2" thick wall tubing as a receiver for tool bases. I havent yet found the 1.5" tubing which fits inside but I have some heavy angle iron of the right size so I made a base for my Beverly B2 shear which had been moldering in a corner for years. I think today I will make an adapter for a 1" stem and it will be very nice to have somewhere else to mount my hardy tools other than the anvil. Handling steel in this weather is not fun.
- adam - Saturday, 12/29/07 10:47:45 EST

Bell Cutting: Dave, I made a cad drawing from Bill's template, modified it a little to put less material for upsetting in the area around the "holes" at the end of the slots then scaled it based on the diameters Bill said would result from his patterns so that I would get the smaller bell I needed. Then I took a disc over to a local sheet metal shop for laser cutting. I would have made them from some Silicon Bronze sheet I have laying around but he has a CO2 laser not a YAG so he couldn't cut the bronze for me. The water jet guy couldn't do it in time- hence the steel bells. Shorter answer- laser!
SGensh - Saturday, 12/29/07 11:21:23 EST

Adam-- just out of curiosity, whatcha wearing on your tootsies to keep from frostbiting those all-important digital extremities? Onliest thing I can find in a waterproof insulated leathern 16EE is a Georgia boot, which chums tell me ain't the greatest.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 12/29/07 11:42:07 EST

toes: Miles: I have a couple of pairs of steel toed boots which I wear with wool/polyester socks. My toes freeze. I just take regular warmup breaks in the house. As a boy I got chilblains from the winters in London and the circulation in my toes is permanently compromised. If you find a magic bullet, lemme know. I also find that I am getting a lot of small cuts because my hands are cold and clumsy. Hmmm why is there blood all over the work? Check hands - damn! Didnt even feel it happen
adam - Saturday, 12/29/07 12:33:54 EST

Adam-- thanks. I was gonna mention clilblains as a hazard, but thought they went out with gaslights. Steelies are plumb awful in cold weather. FYI, those cracks are not necessarily cuts: one's epidermis just splits at stress risers, and then the splits hurt like hell. A dollop of hand lotion before setting forth helps a lot. What kind? Any kind helps. Some prefer Cornhusker's Lotion, others swear by Bag Balm, comes in a cute little green tin box. Joan, who frotst bit some toes some years ago XC skiing, likes Kroger's, Trader Joe's, and Curel "ultra-healing." So, therefore, do I. But an outdoorsy Scandinavian friend who lives in Minneapolis says nothing, underline nothing, really works.
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 12/29/07 18:35:11 EST

real industrial strenght hand lotion: Miles, the all time best for repairing dry skin from shop work, and especially if the skin has been defatted from petroleum or solvents has been in my experience "Stoko Vitan" from Stockhausen. Does not smell like a "bath and bodyworks " creme, but works better than any I have found. I have had despensors put up in THREE factories so far. The folks with the skin splitting at the tips of the fingers have found it to be the best as well.
I think what makes it different than most of the rest is that it is based on grapeseed oil.
- ptree - Saturday, 12/29/07 19:13:06 EST

ptree-- Many thanks! sounds wonderful! How much? Where do I get it? Do you have a favorite dealer or should I just Google?
Miles Undercut - Saturday, 12/29/07 22:45:21 EST

cracks: Yeah I get cracks in the ends of my fingers and also dermatitis on my palms. I have had good luck with a product called Corona available from feed stores. It says on the side "For horses, cattle, small animals and pets" I am sure I fit in there somewhere
adam - Sunday, 12/30/07 10:12:38 EST

Bells: Thanks for the information on bells. S Gensh mentioned Bill's template for bells. Could some one tell me where I could get a copy of this template?
- Brent - Sunday, 12/30/07 10:53:43 EST

cracks: Best cure that I have found for the cracks in the end of fingers from the cold dry weather is a drop of super glue in the crack. Allows them to heal right up.
- Bernard Tappel - Sunday, 12/30/07 11:16:25 EST

Bernard Tappel-- Super Glue!! Ewwww! Owwwie! Stings! But, thanks. I've tried that. I am a sissy and would like to stop the problem before it starts.
Miles Undercut - Sunday, 12/30/07 11:38:42 EST

Stoko Vitan: Miles, I get mine from Hagemeyer. I use Mike at 502-961-5930. It comes is tubes of about 3 or 4 oz. and also bigger dispensors. Since a little goes a long way. I would go with the tube. Last I bought in the tube was maybe $6.00 but since i usually buy in cases of 6 each 600ml bottles for despensors, i may not be current. Stockhausen does have a web site.
I usually just salvage the half oz. left in the despensor bottles when I change them out:)

This stuff when used regulary, especially if a little excess is wiped into the cuticles and finger tips is magic against the dreaded finger tip splits.
Caution, the ladies in the house may at first remark that it feels odd, and does not smell pretty, but may soon swipe the tube as it is far better than the stuff with the pretty sm,ell they get at the mall.
ptree - Sunday, 12/30/07 11:52:02 EST

Chapped hands.: If all else fails, try "Hoof-Alive", made for horses but works on fossilized horseshoers and smiths.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/30/07 12:45:22 EST

Looking for Anvil: I'm in Yakima Washington and am looking for a good used anvil, preferably 150lbs or bigger.
Within a couple hundred miles drive.......
But I do get down to central oregon, Corvalis, Lincoln city and Newport on occasion for fishing trips.
Anyone out there ?
Archie M. - Sunday, 12/30/07 19:24:00 EST

Archie, the Spring meet of the NWBA in Mt. Vernon is one place where there ought to be a few used anvils for sale.
April 25, 26, 27 at the fairgrounds.
- ries - Sunday, 12/30/07 20:59:14 EST

Archie,: Corky Storer of Maple Valley sometimes has anvils for sale. There is a young man from The Dalles, OR, who shows up at the blacksmith meets. I got an anvil from him two years ago, but can't call his name.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 12/30/07 21:54:39 EST

ptree-- Many thanks! I will definitely try this stuff, and already have interested my sister-in-law and others at a family holiday gathering this evening in checking it out. If it works, you can expect a Nobel Prize at the very least.
Miles Undercut - Monday, 12/31/07 00:08:24 EST

Split Fingertips: Crazy Glue works great for me as well, especially with a shot of accelerator. Does indeed hurt like hell for a couple of seconds, but worth it. For the past two years, I have had great luck using a hot parraffin bath . Very few splits compared to previous years, and something about the experience satisifys the pyromaniac in me as well. Now....on to 2008
- Charlie Spademan - Monday, 12/31/07 08:01:27 EST

Thanks for the heads up "ries" and "Frank".
I found Corky Storers web site and sent him an email.
Have a Happy New Year!
Archie M. - Monday, 12/31/07 11:14:44 EST

Split fingertips: Years ago my boss told me that the best thing he had found was to completely coat your hands with vaseline before you go to bed, then put a pair of socks on over it. WORST NIGHT I EVER SPENT !!!

(But it worked)
- Loren T - Monday, 12/31/07 14:13:53 EST

Loren T-- Thanks! Some Hispanic country-folk neighbors told me about the sock-mitten & Vaseline therapy some years back but I have not tried it. Sounds good!
Miles Undercut - Monday, 12/31/07 21:43:58 EST

I prefer a lotion /vaseline with latex or nitrile gloves. You can still work then remove before bed.
- Mills - Tuesday, 01/01/08 09:51:01 EST

Neutrogena foot cream works better on my hands than anything else I've tried (not that I've tried a whole lot else).
Mike BR - Tuesday, 01/01/08 11:13:38 EST

vaseline & gloves: I have done this too and found it very effective. I am prone to bouts of severe dermatitis on my palms. I tried all kinds of unguents from the dermatologist and even a course of steroids but they didnt even control it let alone cure it. I used surgical gloves and bag balm (I dont think it really matters what you use) overnight for a few nights and it was gone. Since my palms were the problem I cut the fingers off the gloves. I have used superglue and it works but it doesnt hold long if you are out in the shop. I find now that regular application of Corona keeps the nasties away.

The only permanent solution to this problem is to move to Missouri or Hawaii where the humidity is 90%.

My dermatologis did tell me not to bother with lotions since they are not nearly as effective as stuff like petroleum jelly
adam - Tuesday, 01/01/08 11:52:59 EST

New Years Day Weather: 62F under cloudless skies in Cypress Texas today. This is why one lives on the Gulf Coast. Let's not think about summer yet.
quenchcrack - Tuesday, 01/01/08 15:12:27 EST

New Years Day Weather: In the foothills of Virginia and North Carolina it was in the 60's yesterday, 40's and windy today. Colder tonight and tomorrow.

However, it is balmy compared to what normal January weather was when I was a kid. We used to have this kind of weather up until mid-December but after Christmas and by January it rarely got above freezing, 20's (-7 C) and snow was the norm for all of January and well into February. We have not had serious snow here in over 20 years. A period of the kind of cold here that was normal for the first half of my life would be declared a national disaster today due to the fact that pipes would freeze due to poor construction practices of the last decades and fuel would run out due to planning based on recent history. "Normal" snow of the 60's and 70's would bankrupt the highway departments snow clearing budgets that now run out of salt on given ONE snow storm of a few inches. . .

The climate has changed here. Has it changed where you live?
- guru - Tuesday, 01/01/08 17:31:38 EST

Dermatitis &weather: When i lived in Colorado, I suffered every winter with terrible dermatitis on my legs where the socks rubbed, my lips and my hands. I tried all the remedies, both medical and folklore. Not one of them really offered complete relief. Same problem when I lived in Phoenix. Then I moved tothe Virgin Islands and all those issues became moot.

We have about 60% humidity most of the time, and the temperature rarely gets much below 70 and never above 100. Just about perfect weather, in my view. Today the temp was about 75 to 80, with the Christmas winds blowing a bit, as is normal for this time of year.

I couldn't say if the climate has changed where I live. The weather has, but that is a short-lived phenomenon, subject to swings. If I'm still around in another twenty thousand or so years, I'll let you know if the climate has changed. :-)
vicopper - Tuesday, 01/01/08 18:31:00 EST

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