Some tools to drool over.  Image (c) 1998 Jock Dempsey WELCOME to the
Virtual Hammer-In!

This page is open to ALL for the purpose of advancing blacksmithing.
Please read the RULES before posting a message. NOTE: This IS NOT the Guru page!

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.

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

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

Jock Dempsey -- guru at - Monday, 07/27/98 16:00:00 GMT

I give up
I have had no luck finding the temp to remove the wather from borax (to make dehydrated borax).
I would guess around 250-400*C, but want a better answer.
Can anyone help? (I KNOW it can be done without melting the borax)
If not I have to experiment myself. lets see what do i need, kiselgur nitrogl, oh that was dynamite hmm lets see borax, heat-sour......

OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Monday, 02/01/99 14:11:42 GMT

OErjan, my chemistry is a little weak but I DID find data on Borax in the CRC handbook. The problem is I don't fully understand some of the nomenclature.
  • Sodium tetraborate Na2B4O7 melts at 741°C (1,366°F)

  • Sodium tetraborate, decahydrate, Borax Na2B4O7·10H2O melts at 75°C (167°F), -8H2O, 60°C ?

  • Sodium tetraborate, pentahydrate Na2B4O7·5H2O melts at -H2O, 120°C (248°F)

  • Does this help? If it does then YOU explain it to me.

    Jock D. -- guru at - Monday, 02/01/99 14:58:27 GMT

    Sodium tetraborate Na2B4O7 melts at 741°C (1,366°F)
    Sodium tetraborate, decahydrate, Borax Na2B4O7·10H2O dehydrates at 75°C (167°F)
    Sodium tetraborate, pentahydrate Na2B4O7·5H2O dehydrates -H2O, 120°C (248°F)

    GREAT Jock,
    What it means is that borax only needs to get 120°C (248°F) to become dehydrated e.g. it will loose the water trapped around the molecules (due to the polarity of the water molecules and the affinity that Oxygen has to electrons....)
    So, to get borax that doesn't make that weird dance on the steel. Just pop it in the oven at 150°C for an hour or so and the water will go away. This will make the borax slightly faster in protecting the steel from oxygen and other harm. THANKS I had a lot of trouble finding that piece of data (went trough the entire library on chemistry)

    Thanks Jock

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Tuesday, 02/02/99 08:35:53 GMT

    Dobbin, here is the links to grinders (had misplaced the second one sorry

    Aardvark Grinder Plans (thanks to Knifemaker Mike Alexander for providing these pictures and drawings)

    A Lot Of Brass

    I hope they help making bits a little less work for you
    Good luck
    P.S. Thanks again on the borax facts Jock

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Tuesday, 02/02/99 08:47:17 GMT

    Jock the penta and deca is latin five resp ten water molecules around each borax molecule

    OErjan -- OErjan - Tuesday, 02/02/99 10:56:04 GMT


    When you de-hydrate the borax, does it clump up and need to be re-ground, or does it stay in powder form? How long does it take to re-absorb the water? When you finish working the process out, can you report how it worked to the rest of us? Thanks for the help!

    Jim Wilson -- pawpaw at - Tuesday, 02/02/99 13:15:31 GMT

    OErjan, I understand chemical structures, its just that I didn't understand the way CRC had the dehydration described. I THOUGHT that's what they meant. That would sure beat melting and grinding to powder (and then have it rehydrate) Let us know how it works out and I will post a long planned FAQ on Borax.

    Jock D. -- guru at - Tuesday, 02/02/99 13:20:29 GMT

    OK, a silly question.
    Does it really make that much of a difference using anhydrous borax vs
    plain ole borax?
    Not that my welding is all that good, But I can not say I have seen any difference.
    Just wondered...


    Ralph Douglass -- douglass at - Tuesday, 02/02/99 22:47:35 GMT


    EARTHCARVER -- EARTHCARVER at AOL.COM - Wednesday, 02/03/99 04:33:26 GMT

    Borax: Frank Turley, out in New Mexico, swears by the stuff straight out of the Twenty Mule Team box. I've "cooked" mine (never got it to the glassy state, though) and keep it in a tight lidded tea tin. It still rehydrates after a while. The dessicated version is a bit easier to control. Wildly foaming hydrated borax does create large amusing clinkers in my fire pot; a little wasteful of coal, but good for filling potholes in the gravel road.

    Visit your National Parks:

    Come have a row with us: (cASE sENSITIVE)

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at - Wednesday, 02/03/99 13:55:10 GMT

    Hmmm, Thanks Bruce.
    Perhaps I am not using as much borax. I do not get what I'd call Wildly foaming from my 20 Mule Team. Oh well it really makes no difference cause the best flux is one that works for YOU.


    Ralph Douglass -- douglass at - Wednesday, 02/03/99 17:09:53 GMT

    Well I put away the hand crank blower. I have hooked up a elt blower to my forge and like it. I use the old hand crank in farm shows/fall fairs. The second one I have is for sale. What are they worth nowadays ??. My shop is in North Bay Canada. Trade name - Barney the Blacksmith - Background as a welder. Own and built alot of my equipment. But look around at the flea markets in the junk piles and find lots of goodies {4 leg vises so far} So stop in if any of you are in town...Chow

    Barney -- barney at - Thursday, 02/04/99 02:39:50 GMT

    Re: Borax...I have been reading the posts on borax and would add these comments. Borax is hygroscopic (attracts water) and will always rehydrate, even if you cook it to the point of the glassy substance. Here in Fla the humidity is always high and it is impossible to keep my 20 mule team borax dry...but...I keep it inside the house near the AC (I know its winter now) and this removes most of the ambient moisture. It works for me straight out of the can I keep it in and yep, mine bubbles like crazy and sometimes falls off before I get it inside the forge. A dehumidifier might work as well as an Air conditioner. I am by no measure an expert but in the 2 years I have been forge welding, the plain 20 mule team borax has worked.
    Warm and rainy on Amelia Island, Florida

    Randall Guess -- rguess at - Thursday, 02/04/99 02:57:49 GMT

    Sorry you all for the bum address in the earlier posting:
    All I will certainly re-post with my results (I have lots of things to do, an anvil hard-facing to try, learning to do "karvsnitts-knivar",…. so it may take a few weeks)

    Randall Guess I have a small bag filed with silica gel in the borax can to give me some more time before it re-hydrates. In winter (right now) it is so dry it really doesn't mater if I have the bag there or not, the temp outside right now is -16°C (kind of warm it was -42°C last weekend) this means really dry air.

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Thursday, 02/04/99 08:02:55 GMT

    VALUE of HAND CRANK BLOWER: Depends on type and condition. There were some really NICE ball bearing models that run smooth and quiet and some cheap bronze bushed models that also had as-cast gears that were rough and noisy when they were new. Were supposed to "break in". Don't believe it! Selling for $50 to $150 US.

    Only the anhydrous Borax is hydroscopic. The "decahydrate" 20 Mule team has absorbed all the water it can!

    Jock D. -- webmaster at - Thursday, 02/04/99 13:17:20 GMT

    CORRECTION: It has been brought to my attention that I made a mistake in my post about Hawkeye Hammers. When I said Hawkeye only made wood beam hammers, I was wrong. They also made metal (steel or iron) beam hammers. Thank you Paul for correcting me.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Walmetalwk at - Thursday, 02/04/99 17:21:39 GMT

    OErjan..Thanks for the tip about silica in the flux. We have few days here where the humidity is below 70% and these days are also in winter and spring.. Summer is normally 90 to 100% humidity..The air is thick and wet and the borax will stick together in a clump if you pinch a little between your thumb and finger.
    Jock..ooops my mistake..hydro (water). *hygro* must have been a typo in the material I got the infor from. Sometimes it is so damp here that I find my anvil covered in dew when I go to the shop in the mornings..and it is under a covered tin structure. It dosent seem to have any adverse affect on the welding process as the H2O is vaporized from the flux instantly as the metal goes into the forge.
    And may I say this page is like a continuing book of knowledge, with new chapters written each day..The more I read here, the more I learn.
    Warm and humid on Amelia Island, Fla

    Randall Guess -- rguess at - Friday, 02/05/99 03:06:46 GMT

    I use SilicaGEL in a cloth-bag (silica gel is the stuff you get together with cameras, VCR's, radios... to keep moisture away) it works by absorbing and BINDING water in the same way as borax, amonium-nitrate.... The difference is that the water doesn't get absorbed by the borax ( OK OK the borax does absorb some water but much less) the silicagel takes care of it instead

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Friday, 02/05/99 09:26:18 GMT

    I apologise it wasn't suposed to be so aggresive i just wanted to point out that you DONT mix it in the borax and that it is SILICAGEL not silica (not that i imply that you didnt know that, sorry if it sounds that way, just pointing it out to people that don't know the diferense)
    kindly OErjan

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Friday, 02/05/99 09:39:15 GMT

    OErjan..Thanks for the tip. I have a couple of those *gel* packets and will try it. I didnt notice you being *agressive* at all. It was a helpful bit of info that I am sure many of us will use.

    Sunny and less humid on Amelia Island, Fla.

    R. Guess -- rguess at - Friday, 02/05/99 13:59:04 GMT

    Barney -- welcome to the madhouse! What provence is North Bay in? I spend quite a bit of time in Canada (father lives in Creston BC, brother lives in Vanderhoof BC). Are you planning on attending the CANIRON II conference in Calgary? I went to CANIRON I and had a great time (even with the tight camping and worst coal anyone has ever seen). I'm planning on it from down here!

    Morgan Hall -- morganh at - Friday, 02/05/99 14:50:45 GMT

    evenin all

    Pete -- par at - Saturday, 02/06/99 23:51:10 GMT

    RE: Borax I keep my 20 mule team in my rod box(old refrig with a light bulb in it) seems to stay dry

    Brad -- Moore77 at - Monday, 02/08/99 02:04:00 GMT

    While peddling my wares (iron, I assure you) at a science fiction convention last month near Williamsburgh, I was approached by a lady from that area regarding several projects. The smaller stuff I can handle, but she also was seriously contemplating an iron fence about 15' long and 3' high. If you have the capacity, you can forward some ballpark estimates through me at "asylum" and we'll see if she wants to go further with the fence.

    "A man should know his limitations."
    Dirty Harry Calahan (Clint Eastwood)

    40s with drizzle on the banks of the lower Potomac, but a good forging night.

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- asylum at - Monday, 02/08/99 04:13:57 GMT

    Has anyone heard of a new book on smithing by Charles McRaven? Or has anyone got any info on his old book called "Country Blacksmith". Someone said he has a website any info? Thanks Gary

    Gary Smith -- boosmith at - Monday, 02/08/99 04:14:08 GMT

    Hey everyone....really enjoy the website. Maybe someone can help me, am looking for a toggle arm assembly and dies for a 25 pound Little Giant. Email if you can help. Thanks.

    Bob -- bboyd26347 at - Monday, 02/08/99 06:26:38 GMT

    Jock, thanks for the great site. For a deceased friend,s wife, I am trying to move/sell two lathes. Bridgport 32" swing/6-7foot to tail stock[#5 morse taper] tooling/220 1 ph/ very good condition. Leblond,"heavy duty" 4-6 foot length. 22" swing[fair + cond] 220 1 phase, tooling[I know nothing about lathes but theis fellow was a machinist and built everyting and anything. Fort Bragg calif location, 2000.00 for the big one 500.00 for the Leblond, also a 16" shaper. [no price set but any reasonable offer I believe will be accepted. Thanks again Jock, for this great web site and the service it provides. david Schiff

    david Schiff -- dschiff at - Monday, 02/08/99 06:33:24 GMT

    I am looking for an anvil for horse shoeing about 110 lbs also I am looking for a coal forge, can any one help me locate these idems

    Fredric G Sandusky -- fgs1371 at - Tuesday, 02/09/99 15:00:11 GMT

    if anyone can help it would greatly be appreciated, i am looking for plans for building a hydrolic press. please e-mail me direct if you can help. thank-you

    John Doubek -- doubek at - Tuesday, 02/09/99 19:30:52 GMT

    John Plans for the hydraulic forming press can be found for sale over on Don Fogg's fine web Fine set of plans,

    Bob Miller -- robert_miller at - Wednesday, 02/10/99 01:34:59 GMT

    John Plans for the hydraulic forming press can be found for sale over on Don Fogg's fine web Fine set of plans,

    Bob Miller -- robert_miller at - Wednesday, 02/10/99 01:35:37 GMT

    Bob Boyd, Check the listings on the Power hammer Page for Sid Sudemeier, he's the current owner of Little Giant and has some parts available.

    Jock D. -- webmaster at - Wednesday, 02/10/99 03:19:08 GMT

    Looking for 100-200# anvil in fair to good condition in the So.Cal. area. New to blacksmithing but have learned that cheapo 50# I have does not cut it. Thanks.

    Marcus Meredith -- marcusiv at - Wednesday, 02/10/99 16:39:42 GMT

    In Houtzdale (Pa.) State Prison, I saw in a letter in the
    issue of the Home Shop Machinist, David Lee Durachko, who says he's been a professional
    machinist since 1969 when he started working in his grandfather's shop,
    is teaching "19-year-old gangster rap-singing drug dealers that there
    may be another way to make a living."
    Durachko has helped set up, inside the prison, what sounds like
    first-class professional shop, with a drill press, lathes, milling
    machines, heat-treating oven, arc welder, oxy-acetylene rig, the works.
    (Everything you need, by the way, to make a really serviceable shank--
    or a gun, for that matter.)
    Now, Durachko tells Home Shop readers, he needs some help with a
    challenging task: designing a small lathe which he then wants the
    gangsters to build with the tooling at hand.
    "Help give a life worth living to a young man," Durachko asks.
    Durachko, by the way, is an inmate himself, address: At0439,
    State Prison, PA 16698-1000.

    john neary -- jneary at - Wednesday, 02/10/99 19:41:34 GMT

    North Bay Canada is in Ontario. I will not be in Cal Alberta for the Blacksmiths Show this year. My hand crank blowers are cast shell. gear driven. They are noisy but I guess I would be to if I was that old and used. They were made in Kitchner Ont by Forge and Blower Co. Both work well. Chow for now...

    Barney -- barney at - Thursday, 02/11/99 00:57:57 GMT

    I have been studying old(1300-1700 AD) swords and knives and am looking for similar finishes. I am especially looking for niello, gold damascening, and "watered" blade finishes. Most of these finishes are on Indian, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian Blades. Thanks

    emerys -- ndg at - Thursday, 02/11/99 02:31:38 GMT

    Bruce Blackistone
    have you got the wrought yet?

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Thursday, 02/11/99 09:11:36 GMT

    wanted:used air hammer-75# to 100# range

    KARL ORNDORFF -- karl_orndorff at - Thursday, 02/11/99 11:12:57 GMT

    wanted:used air hammer-75# to 100# range

    KARL ORNDORFF -- karl_orndorff at - Thursday, 02/11/99 11:13:11 GMT


    The package hasn't shown up yet. I'll be at home with the daughters next week while my wife takes care of family business out of state. I may even be able to hit the morning chat in the Slack Tub Pub.

    For the rest of you, OErjan and I are exchanging some wrought iron to compare working properties. These are samples, of course. Otherwise this could become an expensive hobby.* We will let you know what we observe comparing the samples of Swedish and American wrought.

    A lovely, sunny day on the banks of the Potomac. A nice contrast to the cold, grey and windy on the upper Hudson, yesterday.

    Visit your National Parks:

    * For a while, in Alaska, contractors found that it was cheaper to mail cinderblocks parcel post than to pay commercial shipping charges. The Postal Service caught on when it grew too popular, and all of these cinderblock size packages started flooding the post offices. At least that's what they told me up in Kotzebue a couple of years back.
    (Whoa! Footnotes!) ;->

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- bruce_blackistone at - Thursday, 02/11/99 14:03:01 GMT

    Emerys, those "finishes" are not just on the surface of the metal they ARE the metal and penetrate the blade! See the web page of Daryl Meier, and my review of the Jim Hrisoulas video. Also try the page of Don Fogg from our links page.

    Jock D. -- webmaster at - Friday, 02/12/99 03:02:27 GMT

    hi all i just found nome alaska on the map, it apears I live slightly north of it, (on 21*east instead of aprox 165*west where nome is)

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Friday, 02/12/99 10:23:21 GMT

    Well, OErjan, whose name really isn´t spelled that way, you seem to be incredibly active. I have some questions for you, but instead of mailing you I´ll mystify the other guys here by writing in our own beautiful language: Just nu håller jag på att lära mig tillverka bösspipor (det vill säga när jag har tid över). Har du genom ditt experimenterande och studerande kommit in på det området kan du väl kontakta mig. Here endeth todays lesson in swedish. If it looks strange it´s because swedish require three more characters than english and most american sites can´t take that.

    Olle Andersson -- utgaardaolle at - Friday, 02/12/99 22:50:52 GMT

    I've got a few questions if any one could anser them i would be most thankfull my first one is how to heat treat and temper a knife blade corectly . And my second one is if their is any type of wood that can by used and work good in a forge.thanks joe

    joe -- ingoldenlight at - Saturday, 02/13/99 04:50:18 GMT

    Joe, sees Knives01 on the 21st Century page for an intro to heattreating. This is a very broad subject that VOLUMES have been written about. You will get NO simple answers.

    Some folks DO manage to burn wood in their forges. It takes a deeeper fire than coal or charcoal. Almost any wood will work some even when green but most work better dry. It is more efficient to make charcoal out of the wood first.

    Jock D. -- webmaster at - Saturday, 02/13/99 05:04:49 GMT

    To add to Jock's Reply; Fruit woods and hardwoods work best, but be prepared to consume a LOT of wood and don't expect welding temps unless the air supply and wood supply are significant. Briquet charcoal is better than wood for heat, but coal is even better, by far.

    hope this helps,

    Chris -- kilpe4 at - Saturday, 02/13/99 12:17:09 GMT

    To slow your borax from absorbing moisture, ask a housewife what she puts in the salt shaker to keep it loose and usable. Rice . just tie a tablespoon worth of rice in a piece of old panty hose and place it in the borax container. It also works well in gun cases ,too.

    Dean the Red -- Mizlplick at - Saturday, 02/13/99 14:12:54 GMT

    Excuse me, but I don´t see the problem with foaming borax.Some of it sticks anyway, just rub in the rest with the spoon or whatever you are using to aply the stuff. The flakes that fall of are dehydrated (if slightly dirty)borax that can be used for "black" blacksmithing, where a small amount of dirt woun´t matter as long as the weld is sound. By the way, if you are welding at really high temperatures silica sand or ground glass works as well today as it did thousands of years ago. If it can just be forced out of the weld completely (wich has been my problem) it seems to protect the metal even better than borax.
    As for alternatives to coal and charcoal: Peat briquets has been used traditionally in the less wooded areas of Europe. Never tried me self, but is supposed to work well enough.

    Olle Andersson -- utgaardaolle at - Saturday, 02/13/99 17:33:13 GMT

    Does anyone know of someone making European style swedge blocks (approx. 4"x4" x18") Looks to me like they would be a lot handier than the big square ones & a lot easier on fimgers. Super site Jock, see you at Caniron

    Muldoon -- mullock at - Monday, 02/15/99 05:23:37 GMT

    The problem with foaming borax is not great but they exist. There are several negatives with the above condition, 1/the borax will draw more heat from the steel (meaning longer re heat). 2/it will have to be exposed longer to the air before the borax melts (adding to the above problem) witch will give more scale. 3/the water vapour will introduce hydrogen in the steel surface (I know not much, but why not keep negatives to a minimum). Welding is ard eough as it is without extra trouble introdused (have anyone managed 100% welds all the time without fail, I doubt it)
    Olle: Tyvärr har jag bara hjälpt till att räffla en pipa (dock med gamla metoder)hoppas vi ses.
    have i made any mistakes in my statement? if so which

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Monday, 02/15/99 08:24:41 GMT

    I've got to find my Grandmother-in-law's Swedish-English dictionary!
    Or maybe I could try Old Norse or....
    |\ |\ | |\/| |
    |/ || \| | | |/|
    |\ || |\ | | |
    || || | | | |

    (Okay Jock: I promise. No more runes.)

    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- asylum at - Monday, 02/15/99 14:15:29 GMT

    I think the finishes emerys is refering to are surface finishes.

    unknown blacksmith -- none - Monday, 02/15/99 23:51:59 GMT

    Unknown: Do you mean like wax,laquer,etc.?

    grandpa -- darylmeier at - Tuesday, 02/16/99 01:34:05 GMT

    Grandpa, Unknown is right. I did find some info on niello, it is a mix of copper,silver,lead,and sulfer. It is a filler for engraved designs in the metal,a black color. And the Gold Damascening appeared to be similar. I am assuming the Watered finish is the acid etch. Thanks guys.

    emerys -- ndg at - Tuesday, 02/16/99 07:18:38 GMT

    Atli we are just discusing some wrought gun barels...Olle asked me if i had tried to make one.......(No i havent sorry)

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Tuesday, 02/16/99 13:48:36 GMT

    Atli mail me your thoughts on the iron.
    PLESE promise to use charcoal when smithing it PLLLEEESSSE it gets ruined and britle with coal (I guess is the sulfur making it britle)

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Tuesday, 02/16/99 14:39:37 GMT

    OErjan: What kind of coal are you using? I agree that charcoal is the cleaner fuel and I use it when i can afford it, but good smithing-coal shouldnt be that sulphourus. I once used oven-coal by mistake, and that was sulphourus enough to creata a yellow fall-out close to the hearth.

    Olle Andersson -- utgaardaolle at - Tuesday, 02/16/99 16:33:30 GMT

    I believe the watered finish is done with a resist applied to the blade in a pattern prior to quenching.

    unknown blacksmith -- none - Tuesday, 02/16/99 18:09:36 GMT

    If I knew what a "watered finish" was, I would have an opinion.

    grandpa -- darylmeier at - Tuesday, 02/16/99 23:48:04 GMT

    How does one hammer polish/finish. I have looked it up in many books I have, The new edge of the anvil, modern blacksmith, etc but I have not found it. {I tried to ask guar but my machine locks up, on that part, checking into it} I have waxed, painted, blued, etc now I would like to try the hammer finish. Thankyou. From Barney the Blacksmith in North Bay Ontario Canada....

    Barney -- barney at - Wednesday, 02/17/99 00:44:53 GMT

    How does one hammer polish/finish. I have looked it up in many books I have, The new edge of the anvil, modern blacksmith, etc but I have not found it. {I tried to ask guar but my machine locks up, on that part, checking into it} I have waxed, painted, blued, etc now I would like to try the hammer finish. Thankyou. From Barney the Blacksmith in North Bay Ontario Canada....

    Barney -- barney at - Wednesday, 02/17/99 00:56:51 GMT

    I use antracit (sorry no idea about the eng name) which is hard allmost sulfur free coal (90%C less than 6% ashes and werry litle sulfor)
    by the way charcoal is approx 25-30 Mj/kg(and verry pure) and bituminous coal about 23-28 Mj/kg

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Wednesday, 02/17/99 10:42:49 GMT

    Barney -- I believe what you are calling a hammer finish is also called a 'planished' finish. It's more common in non-ferrous metalworking (copper, brass, silver, etc.). You get it by hammering the entire surface lightly with a polished hammer called --taa daa! --
    a planishing hammer. To get a planished finish on iron, you need to clean all the fire scale off of it, file the pits out, and hammer lightly with a planishing hammer. The polished flat facets caused by hammering should completely cover the surface and be of a fairly uniform size. Oh, you should also be sure that you've annealed the work before you clean and file it -- the planishing hammer has to actually flatten the metal to make the polished facets. Also - the filing has to be SMOOTH -- otherwise you get big noticable scratches all over an otherwise nice piece. It takes a lot of time and patience to get a well-done planished surface. Once you're done, you better plan on a clear laquer finish to keep the surface. A little bit of rust and all the work went down the drain. Probably why it's more poplular on non-ferrous. Planished copper can oxidize, but a little work with a polishing cloth and the finish is back (no pitting).

    Morgan -- morganh at - Wednesday, 02/17/99 14:39:54 GMT

    Sorry what I meant was: when I use coal I use antrasit.I normally use charcoal (make it from driftwood). I got a good 2 tons for free so I use it sometimes to keep my charcoal for other inportant stuff (like blades and other tools).

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Wednesday, 02/17/99 16:03:30 GMT

    Perhaps(most likely even) I am wrong, but I believe a "watered" finish is what the Japanese swordsmiths do to get the trademark temper lines.

    Ralph -- douglass at - Wednesday, 02/17/99 16:49:11 GMT

    It looks like I have asked a difficult question about watered steel. There are many steels refered to by that name. The one I am refering to is simply a dark gray surface that seems to be darker toward the edge or in a groove. It almost seems like it was boiled. In 18th-19th century persia.
    Ralph those "temper lines" are called the hamon. It is actually the change in molecular structure to martensite or harden lines not temper lines

    emerys -- ndg at - Wednesday, 02/17/99 18:28:11 GMT

    Let´s add to the confusion: To the best of my knowledge - When something is called "watered steel" the item always shows a very tight pattern "damascus steel". This is either made from a billet of very many layers of forge-welded steel OR a billet of wootz,bulat (or a dozen other names), wich is a kind of crucible steel said to have been first made in India, although no-one seems to agree about when. Wootz steel has recently been recreated in USA.

    Olle Andersson -- utgaardaolle at - Wednesday, 02/17/99 21:13:28 GMT

    Ralph,emerys, Concering the "temper lines" or "hamon" on Japanese blades. They are made traditionally by using what we refer to as a heat sink. The blade is coated with a clay mixture and the pattern is made along the cutting edge by pushing back the coating to make the design that is associated with certain bladesmiths or areas. Some collectors can tell you a great deal about a blade just by the "temper line". I don't know how the copies of today get their lines except by etching. I have one blade that has been dated at around 1650 by D. Pepin, a well known collector.

    jerry -- birdlegs at - Thursday, 02/18/99 04:22:50 GMT

    Does anybody have an educated guess as to what type of steel an International tractor axle would be made of and also kingpins out of a big truck? I want to make some hardy tools and am wondering about heat treating procedures. I annealed the axle and it machined well, now it's time to reharden it .Would a straw temper be close for a cutoff hardy? Thanks .... cold in Sask. canada

    Muldoon -- mullock at - Friday, 02/19/99 00:28:04 GMT

    Just saying hello. I am the editor of The Texas Forge Review and I'm collecting newsworthy material.

    Hollis Wooldridge -- laura.l.wooldridge at - Friday, 02/19/99 03:03:37 GMT

    According to Stone in "A GLOSSARY OF THE CONSTRUCTION, DECORATION AND US OF ARMS AND ARMOR", watered steel, or watered damascus is wootz or pattern welded steel. From the pics he offers as examples, I believe it to be pattern welded; looks like wood grain.

    Chris -- kilpe4 at - Friday, 02/19/99 14:25:35 GMT

    For Muldoon,
    If you check in the Machinery Handbook, it will give you a good guide for the axle material (probably 4130). The material for the cut-off hardy would need to be a good grade of steel because what you are cutting will have an effect on the temper after a while. Truck axle would be a good source of material. straw would be good
    warm and wet in Victoria B.C. Canada
    see you at Caniron

    Neil Gustafson -- swedefiddle at - Saturday, 02/20/99 08:20:07 GMT

    I have a recepie for gold luster (to be aplyed cold)on steel. just got to translate (its ooold pre 1900 stuff hard finding the modern names of some cemicals)any one interested?

    OErjan -- pokerbacken at - Saturday, 02/20/99 16:06:59 GMT

    Gold luster ... yes please I would be.. If it is not to hard appling. My 250 lb anvil would look very nice at the up coming shows here in South River Ontario...

    Barney -- barney at - Saturday, 02/20/99 23:50:49 GMT

    Possible Paying Project:

    The local library has expressed an interest in a "Sword in the Stone" sculpture. Said piece to be pretty much kid proof, and, perhaps (knowing some of our neighbors) pick-up truck proof. Piece would be lifesize or a little larger (for larger than life characters). Stainless steel or other durable materials would be good. Toughness and durability would be considerations, edge holding capacity WOULD NOT be a consideration. Some possibilities were kicked about in tonights Slack-Tub Pub. Other solutions, concepts and possibilities can be posted here. Proposals and ball-park estimates can be sent to "asylum" and I will forward them to the interested library.

    Library is located in St. Mary's County, Maryland, about 50 miles south of Washington, DC.


    Bruce Blackistone (Atli) -- asylum at - Monday, 02/22/99 04:48:17 GMT

    Hi. I'm really glad I found this site. For years I've been wanting to build a forge/shop in the back yard. I'm perfectly clueless. Just a place for a hot fire. How hot do I want it to get? What kind of brick, mortar do I use?
    I feel really stupid asking what most of you probably think is a very elementary question. Books, teachers are expensive and rare. So I'm asking here.
    You can post here, or send to my e-mail. Thanksx10^6! (thanks a million)


    Paul Grammer -- tetragdn at - Monday, 02/22/99 16:19:38 GMT


    I have just gone through the build a shop experience in my back yard. Best advice I got from folks was to build it so everything was portable (wheels/casters) & give a lot of thought to advance planning...what am I going to use for machinery, what might I want in the I going to want a mechanical/air hammer (where might I want to put the thing. A lot of it might have to do with how much money/space you have to build....& where you are building. In the pacific north west we get a LOT of rain & I built over a dirt floor wasn't a good idea. Can you be a bit more specific about what sorts of things you want to do in your shop.

    Re a forge & blacksmithing equipment, their is a wealth of information on this site...with the folks that post here & the guru's page as well as his plans section. The other thing I would recomend is go to the links page & go over to the ABANA site (Artist Blacksmith Asso of N America)...find the nearest local chapter to you & consider joining. Great folks who are worth while getting to know....good source of used equipment & a wealth of ideas. Local chapter confrences are a good way to get to know these people, in your area, many of have been smithing for years.

    Good is great fun.

    Bob....Windy & raining in Vancouver....

    Bob -- robert_miller at - Monday, 02/22/99 16:42:10 GMT

    I have ben doing metalwork for most of my life and forging for about 5 years now.I have just recently started making patern welded blades.Most of the blades I have done are made from 1018 and 5160.I would like to try using 1095 and A203 grade E.Can anyone tell me where I might find some A203 grade E?As far as I know this is made in only sheet form.I dont wish to purchase a full sheet.I just need enough to do a few blades so I can see how I like it.Has anyone used 1095 and A203 grade E?How do you like it?How does it weld?

    John -- John_Meitner at - Monday, 02/22/99 20:28:15 GMT

    John: 1095 + 203e is the mix that I have used for about 25 years. I like it just fine--etches very nicely. 203e is available from "American Alloy Steel co" Houston, Tx. I also sell it in small quantities.

    grandpa -- darylmeier at - Monday, 02/22/99 23:26:03 GMT


    What thickness does 203E come in?

    Bob -- robert_miller at - Tuesday, 02/23/99 04:17:20 GMT

    Bob: American alloy has it from 1/4" to 6" thickness. I have it in 1/4", 3/8"/ and 1/2".

    grandpa -- darylmeier at - Tuesday, 02/23/99 04:32:06 GMT

    Hi, Any comments, ideas or prefefences as to using brass, bronze or plastic or nylons for the guides on a power hammer. Hammer will probably be air powered. Thank

    Larry Brown -- brownln at - Wednesday, 02/24/99 18:27:35 GMT

    Hi, Any comments, ideas or prefefences as to using brass, bronze or plastic or nylons for the guides on a power hammer. Hammer will probably be air powered. Thank

    Larry Brown -- brownln at - Wednesday, 02/24/99 18:28:00 GMT

    Grandpa: You said you sell 203e in small quantities.I am looking at about 1/4" thikness.What dimensions would It be and what quantities are we talking about?

    John -- John_Meitner at - Wednesday, 02/24/99 20:31:53 GMT

    John: Why don't you email me your size needs, and I will email a quote. ----darylmeier at

    grandpa -- darylmeier at - Wednesday, 02/24/99 23:46:18 GMT


    Cast iron is best for hammer guides.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Walmetalwk at - Wednesday, 02/24/99 23:51:34 GMT

    grandpa I found some steel marked -nickel alloy 330- is this some sort of stainless or is it similar to the 203e that you use? By the way I watched Clifton and Curt make an 80lb anvil out of 4140 on Curts 500 hammer a couple of weeks ago. Clifton still going strong.

    kid -- none - Thursday, 02/25/99 00:46:50 GMT

    kid: Sorry I can't help on identification. Not that familiar with all the classification systems.

    grandpa -- darylmeier at - Thursday, 02/25/99 05:28:27 GMT

    what is in the 203e? % of C,Ni,Mn,etc.

    emerys -- ndg at - Thursday, 02/25/99 07:49:50 GMT

    Emerys: A203e= 3.5% Ni, .20%C, .60%Mn. S,&P less than0.030%, bal Fe.

    grandpa -- darylmeier at - Thursday, 02/25/99 14:14:29 GMT

    I am looking for a steam/mechanical hammer of my shop. Any ideas on who to call????

    Ray Spears -- rspears777 at - Thursday, 02/25/99 16:15:22 GMT


    What size hammer are you looking for? We have a Nazel 3B for sale. If you interested you can check it out here on anvilfire. Go to anvilfire's home page, click in the power hammer section and scroll down to see pictures.

    Bruce R. Wallace -- Walmetalwk at - Thursday, 02/25/99 21:18:08 GMT

    That Nickle 300 is an International Nickle Corp. number. If you REALLY need to know what it is I can try looking it up in Woldman's Alloys and the AISI-SAE UNS number book this weekend. I don't travel with the Woldman's because it is a big expensive rarely used ref. It is not a Nickle alloy steel but a Nickle alloy (primarily Ni).

    POWER HAMMERS (Ray): Bruce has been the dealer/middleman for practicaly ALL the hammers seen on anvilfire. In the past year he has bought and sold Little Giants, Bradleys, Chambersburgs, Nazels and Bements.

    Jock D. -- webmaster at - Thursday, 02/25/99 23:40:24 GMT

    jock d the reason i asked about the 330 nickel is i was wondering if i could use it in patern welding. i'm sorry i havent got anymore info on it like suplier or something. thanks Grandpa & Jock enjoy the site!!

    kid -- none - Friday, 02/26/99 00:30:02 GMT

    Please send recipe for gold luster. Any other finish info would also be appreciated.

    anomymous -- from - Sunday, 02/28/99 02:52:00 GMT

    Help Find ?? Looking for the Sears Roebuck Co of 1904.It has the a page on Blacksmith equipment back then that you can order. Anyway I wish to get that page for a display I am setting for the local farm and trade shows. Coloured would be get.. Thanks

    Barney -- barney at - Monday, 03/01/99 00:05:11 GMT

    Barney, I have a 1902. . . All the reprint Sears catalogs have it. There are a number of pages. I expect you are looking for the one with the $25 Farmers Kit of Blacksmithing tools. They were all black and white back then. Are you going to blow it up? If not a scaned page may work.

    Jock Dempsey -- webmaster at - Monday, 03/01/99 01:47:23 GMT

    Grant, AKA ????????, AKA jgnoth (Hmmm, I see you are talking to yourself now. .), If you are going to post here please use your real name.

    Jock D. -- webmaster at - Tuesday, 03/02/99 00:27:18 GMT

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