WELCOME to the anvilfire Guru's Den - V. 3.3

THIS is a forum for questions and answers about blacksmithing and general metalworking. Ask the Guru any reasonable question and he or one of his helpers will answer your question, find someone that can, OR research the question for you.

This is an archive of posts from January 8 - 15, 2011 on the Guru's Den
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Is there anyway to remove the scale/oxidation/black encasement of worked steel, without polish/brushing, but with a chemical?
   IsaacM. - Saturday, 01/08/11 19:59:57 EST


Yes, you can pickle it in either dilute muriatic acid or phosphoric acid. Vinegar will work, it just takes longer.
   - Rich - Saturday, 01/08/11 20:29:10 EST


Better to be a geezer than a curmudgeon.

What e-mail? 12 degrees for a bread knife.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 01/08/11 20:48:29 EST

Removing Scale, Citric acid also works and is one of the least undesirable waste or killed.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/08/11 21:29:16 EST

Removing Scale, Besides acids you can also use tumblers and vibratory finishers. These debur as well as descale. They have a high initial cost but do a lot of work that would otherwise be done by hand.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/08/11 21:30:57 EST

Many years ago one of the engineering magazines (Design News I think) had an issue about fasteners. The color cover illustration had several nuts and bolts that were obviously supposed to be hex bolts but they had 5 sides. It was a very large part of the illustration spanning several inches in the center of the page. One of the fasteners also had left hand threads (which I am sure was also unintentional).

So, apparently the artist, art editor and editor in chief or anyone else in the approval chain did not open their eyes and/or THINK about the illustration. If any had ever used a wrench to tighten a bolt they may have noticed the error. This is the state of mechanical education and knowledge in the US and many other places.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/08/11 21:39:37 EST

I was reading a (serious) history book on WW I recently. The cover illustration was a rather unusual looking weapon. I looked at the jacket flap, where it was described as a machine gun -- which it obviously wasn't. After a little digging on the web I found out it was something called a 37mm infantry cannon. (It was mounted on what looked like the tripod from a machine gun, but *still*.)

I also end up reading court decisions from time to time. It's absolutely amazing how many people are unlucky enough to end up being killed by .9mm pistols.

You'd think both military historians and Federal judges would know a little about firearms, but that's obviously not the case. (And this is from someone who's fired a gun exactly *once*).
   Mike BR - Saturday, 01/08/11 21:59:25 EST

Frank, it was about using a "speedy cut" on 1/8" blade material and not overheating the metal. this stuff is good now for a knife. i haven't had luck with tempering/drawing thin material. looking to do some "material removal" knives to try to get a few extra bucks since i only work 2 weeks out of 4 now. was also cutting down my search time by asking "greenhorn" questions. and since i decided to REALLY get serious about smithing, was making more forge time.
   - bam-bam - Sunday, 01/09/11 00:12:09 EST

Purv, I have got far more coal here than I could ever use. If you can call by you can have a couple of bags- but better bring your own bags.
   Philip in China - Sunday, 01/09/11 04:05:42 EST

Sword sticks- They used to be imported to UK from India at one time. They are very simple in concept. I think the hardest thing would be making the hollow in the stick/sheath to accomodate the blade. The way of holding those ones closed was a simple turning ring. Some officers' swagger sticks used to have a concealed blade in them. Those were leather covered and I am unsure what was inside the leather. Here I would, and probably shall, use bamboo.
   Philip in China - Sunday, 01/09/11 04:08:27 EST

Hey guys, Happy new year!

Just a heads up that sword canes are a 'go stright to jail and do not collect £200' item in the UK!
   - John N - Sunday, 01/09/11 06:05:02 EST

Sword canes - They're classed as concealed weapons herein the States, too. They're also a remarkably poor tool as swords go, and anyone who whipped one out intending to intimidate me would quickly find that a slug-thrower trumps a blade most any day. Sadly, the days of gentlemen settling disputes with swords in the street went out some little time after Col. Colt's little invention made 'em unequal. The romantic in me hates to see the change, but the pragmatic in me packs a pistol. Progress - arrrgh.
   - Rich - Sunday, 01/09/11 08:10:29 EST

I am trying to order the Champion Blower and Forge CD by Bill Lynch but can't find in on your site even though all links point to Anvilfire.com
Thanks for any help.
   Kenneth W. Imlay - Sunday, 01/09/11 10:35:13 EST

Diluting acid. ALWAYS add acid to the water. NEVER the other way around.
   Carver Jake - Sunday, 01/09/11 12:45:30 EST

Kenneth, We have been out of stock on that for a while. Let me see what I can do.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/09/11 13:05:20 EST

Hollow Cane / Sheath: Phillip, This is easy. It starts as two pieces of wood or one sawn and finished so that the grain matches from both sides. Then the channel for the blade is carefully cut in both halves and then glued together. This is how many sheaths are made including the beautiful curved and lacquered Japanese sword sheaths.

A good glue joint in wood is nearly as strong as the native wood. Add a ferrule and other furniture that binds the wood and you have a very durrable piece.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/09/11 15:43:51 EST

Good Evening Everybody, - From a starter wanabeblacksmith- bladesmith. Well, Got my anvil, got coal(not sure what BTU), got a good stump (anvil height - extended arm, knuckle high), and decided to pound on some metal. So I took a piece of metal cable and decided on forge-welding it together to make a damascus billet. No matter whaty I did, I could not get that cable to fuse. Could it be bad cable?? If anyone has the time could you please offer some advise.
Thank You
Stan C
   Stan C - Sunday, 01/09/11 18:30:57 EST

Are you able to forge weld other things Stan?
   JimG - Sunday, 01/09/11 18:53:25 EST

There are cables and there are cables. Some are simply "guy wires" for stabilizing untility poles. One that I saw was galvanized and had a hard rubber core. You probably want to use WIRE ROPE which is made of respectable steels. If it has an oil coating, the oil should be blazed off. A short length should be twisted tightly at a red heat or above using vise and wrench. Use borax for flux. For your first welding heat, the hammer may bounce a little, an odd feeling until the multiple strands start to cohere.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/09/11 18:59:49 EST

JimG - I have not tried to pound on anything else but I will try tomorrow.
Frank T - You mentioned Borax - does it have to be anhydrous?? - do I need to cook it in the oven as I have read?? Size if cable - 3/4 - 1" in Diameter.
Well - as my good friend - ex wife suggested, try pounding on something else.
By the way - I am 62 - first time pounding - how sore will I be tonight?? don't get me wrong, I am still working in my maintenence trade and sill pretty Fit. - Thank You - God Bless,

Stan C
   Stan C - Sunday, 01/09/11 19:35:35 EST

Your not the only one to have the ex suggest that you pound something else.
Sand, if I remember correctly.
   - Tom H - Sunday, 01/09/11 20:43:22 EST

Hey Tom, Thanks for th good laugh. My X thought it was great. At least we have not lost our sense of humor. By the way, I have read about clingons ( Naw!!! that's Star Treck)-clinkers. Now that I have burned some coal - what am I looking for/at to find a clinker. Does that sound like a dumb question??
Stan C
   Stan C - Sunday, 01/09/11 21:20:38 EST

Stan, when I teach forgewelding I like to start them out making chain links.
Make sure you have a good clean neutral (meaning all the oxygen is used up)fire. That your iron is hot enough, (but not too hot, for me I go by when the hot iron is the same colour as the fire, and sort of greasy looking) And don't hit it too hard. You can feel the iron stick together when done right.

   JimG - Sunday, 01/09/11 21:54:17 EST


As a neophyte, it might be good to try forge welding a solid piece, maybe a handling length of mild steel with the end, 3 or 4 inches laid back on itself. Welding the laid back portion, we call a fagot weld. The borax can be straight from the 20 mule team box. When it is applied at a red heat or hotter, it should melt immediately and glaze the surface. The welding heat is a near white color.

Clinker is earthy matter that becomes entrained in the coal as it is formed. When the coal is burned, clinker is heavier than the coke and comes out, sometimes gooey-like and coagulates, usually toward the bottom of the firepot. It is irregular looking, appears to be metallic, sometimes off colored, purple, reddish, yollow. We consider them to be ugly. Opera singers sometimes hit clinkers (sour notes).
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 01/09/11 22:06:28 EST

Cable AKA Wire Rope: As noted above it helps to learn to walk before you run. Learning to weld easy welds is a start.

Wire rope comes in many varieties. Condition also make a difference. Old rusted cable will not weld well. Stainless cable is also difficult to weld.

Borax makes good flux and so does boric acid. Many commercial fluxes are a mixture of the two the larger part being boric acid. Many commercial fluxes have powdered iron in them. This is not recommended in blade work as the iron contaminates the welds and ruins the pattern.

Wire rope needs to be fluxed early and heavily. It helps to have a container that you can roll the piece in the flux. Before hammering on it you should twist the natural twist tighter at welding heat. This tightens the cable and starts the welds. As you forge it rotate the work so that you tighten it as you go. Initial welding is done with gentle pats unto the cable feels solid.

Good Luck!
   - guru - Sunday, 01/09/11 22:53:12 EST

hey, does anybody know where to get coal in bags ordered /upsed?
   - purv - Sunday, 01/09/11 23:06:27 EST

Blacksmiths Depot and Centaur Forge sell coal and coke by the bag. Even if you have a local source it is a good idea to try at least one bag so you know good coal when you find it.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/09/11 23:10:19 EST

i dont know yall or computers and cant type very fast but damn somebody talk please.
   - purv - Sunday, 01/09/11 23:14:23 EST

just got forge tocether, thanks for that info. i put an old champion 400 hand blower on my daddys old brake drum forge
   - purv - Sunday, 01/09/11 23:18:25 EST

im just startin out and went ahead and made a pretty good fire poker yesterday
   - purv - Sunday, 01/09/11 23:22:04 EST

whats better bituminous coal or coke?
ive been using lump charcoal dont seem to cet real hot.
   - purv - Sunday, 01/09/11 23:35:21 EST

hey merl just found what ya said, sorry yall please forgive im computer illignorant alcoholic and impatient to boot. i know less about computers than ido about smithin.
   - purv - Sunday, 01/09/11 23:48:18 EST

pat sullivant , if you need to build up a large distance an old welders trick is to do it with 110-18 low hydroden rods which are a little less costly on badly worn parts then only pot hard sorface rod on the top. stoody is creat but lincoln elect makes "wearshield " its creat for abrasion dont know about impact. all are for different stuff. many great oxy/ acetylene rods for abrasion made with boron chips in a solder medium only good for abrasion though, i use em on shoes/plowshares. ask your welding supply and tell him what your workin on.
   - purv - Monday, 01/10/11 00:12:32 EST

guru, sorry again for being ignorent, but hey, iam from the deep south right?ha ha !
   - purv - Monday, 01/10/11 00:37:04 EST

Tried to duplicate a "lag screw" thread by heating and twisting some 1/4" square stock. Had mixed results mainly due to the wrong amount / rate of twist...I think i can nearly duplicate the threads of a lag by heating and twisting but will need a few more attempts. Thanks again for the words of advice. Has anybody else tried this method?
   marc - Monday, 01/10/11 00:38:38 EST

marc: Might look OK, but remember you're creating a 4 start thread, so even if the pitch looks OK, the lead is actually four time that.
   - Grant - Monday, 01/10/11 02:41:17 EST

In the flintlock days, I think all the wood screws were made individually by filing with a three corner or knife file. I was a part-time museum conservator 40 years ago, and I took apart several flintlocks for cleaning. Each wood screw went into its own paper envelope, being carefully marked and filed for later assembly.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/10/11 08:18:47 EST

Screws: marc, Yes, I've used this method. As grant noted it makes a 4 lead screw. However the pitch is no greater than whatever the comparative angle appears to be. You can get a twist in good hot steel to look like a machine thread.

As I noted you can also make a die that produces one thread ridge on round stock and then twist it. This makes a true single lead screw. However, any twisting method must be done very evenly otherwise the threads will fight themselves and strip out the hole in short order.

As Frank noted, early shop made threads were often hand filed. However, screw plates and dies go back well into the 1700's. But that does not mean every shop had them. They were also made of the tool steel of the era which was far short of the steels we are blessed with today. They were often used on hot material which was then finished by filing and hand fitting.

You might want to try making a lag thread screw plate by forcing a lag bolt into a piece of hot tool steel previously drilled slightly undersized. Screw plates vary in thickness depending on the hole sizes, are generally rectangular and have handles built into them. They are a "thread former" and work best on hot work and probably better with a good forge lube.

Thread standards were also slow to develop and it was not until WWII that enforced broad spectrum standards came about. However, we still have Inch threads in various precision grades, Whitworth threads with their radii and their larger heads, metric which have of had different fine thread pitches in Europe than in Japan and the specialty threads such as Pipe, Acme, Square, Buttress, number series. . .
   - guru - Monday, 01/10/11 09:38:35 EST

I have a question about an iforge how to. Bill Epps rams head how-to shows a carving block clamped in the vice.He remarks that this block holds the work steady.But if the vice is holding the carving block how is the work held onto the block?
   wayne@nb - Monday, 01/10/11 10:35:47 EST

I have an anvil and I was wondering if you knew anything about it. It's a bit hard to read, but stamped onto the side of the anvil is "MADE IN ENGLAND, K L, 1 1/2 O.W.T., 7 5 K.
Does that mean anything to you? The O might be a C and the 7 might be a 3; as I said, it's a bit hard to read as it's pretty old.Thanks
   Laura - Monday, 01/10/11 10:59:06 EST

Wayne, Look at these on Blacksmiths Depot under Vise Accessories.

The block just sets on the jaws of the vise with its clamping tab against the back jaw (or front). When you put work in the vise it clamps both the work and the carving block. This keeps the work from rotating or bending in the vise when worked.
   - guru - Monday, 01/10/11 11:10:36 EST

Laura, Its hard to tell from what you have supplied. You may mail me a photograph and I'll see what I can do to identify it. However, there have been hundreds of British anvil manufacturers and only the major ones are well known. However, some can be identified by the style of the anvil.

If the weight is marked in Kilograms then the anvil is not nearly as old as it may appear to be. Use of the metric system to mark weights modern starting in the mid 20th century on most products.
   - guru - Monday, 01/10/11 12:02:00 EST


The clamping tab is flat M.S. welded eccentric. It's off to one side of the anvil-block and projecting forward a bit, so when the work is clamped between it and the vise jaw, the workpiece is more or less central on the block.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 01/10/11 12:06:32 EST

ok!I get it now .Many thanks.
   wayne@nb - Monday, 01/10/11 12:20:43 EST

I was wondering about rivets. I have used different kinds o.k. ,even hot. My issue is burning the wood or bone. Looking for a flush feel and look. Any use in melting a low temp metal like aluminum and "pouring" the rivet?
   - bam-bam - Monday, 01/10/11 16:02:36 EST

Stan I STRONGLY suggest you learn how to use your coal forge before you worry about forge welding. Right now it reads like you are trying to win a formula 1 race and asking questions about how to start the car and which one is the accelerator! I've known active blacksmiths in their 80's and 90's so you most likely do have time to learn the basics before trying the advanced stuff!

Screw Threads: Moxon's Mechanic Exercises, published in 1703, strongly advises every smith to have a screw plate! Now as these were not standardized it would be common over the years as something like a gun was maintained that screws would be replaced or lost and the new ones different from the old ones. No need of hand filing to create differences!

Al is poured at over 1000 degF wood/bone will start to char around 400 degF

I don't know of any knife pro's who hot rivet. They may anneal the rivets to be dead soft and carefully hammer or even spinning the opposing face down. Flush and smooth is usually done by surfacing the rivet and the material it's set in to be even *after* the rivet is set. for metals a countersink of the rivet hole may be indicated as well before setting a rivet.

   Thomas P - Monday, 01/10/11 16:54:18 EST

Bam-Bam, A good anneal is important to cold rivet and some material works much better than others. The softer the material being riveted the softer the rivet. In wood and bone the rivet is more pin reinforcing glue than rivet doing all the work. Flush rivets need countersunk or tapered holes. Slight tapers in holes often work better than a counter sink. Be sure you have some extra material when making flush rivets. Not too much, just enough to have some to file flush.

Like many things it is a bit of an art.
   - guru - Monday, 01/10/11 17:38:29 EST

Thanks again all...I totally get the four leads from a square stock now...and the die forming either for a single ridge on round or pressing a lag into a die to recreate a thread cutter makes since too...but what the heck is a good forge lube? I hope that's not a stupid question but I'm at a loss?
   marc - Monday, 01/10/11 20:06:54 EST

Thomas, Thank you for the suggestion. I thought I was doing that. Since the forge is new to me, I thought that putting some coal in it and starting it, would be a good learning process and here is what I have learned in he last few days. 1.)Thanks to Guru, not all coal is created equal. 2.) need different flow of air for different forges. 3.)Make a smoke stack so the coal smoke does not get all over you and make you smell like a discarted oil filter.
I went and purchased a bag of forging coal and started again today. after a while, the mass of new coal kind of fused together. This did not happen to the other coal I used. The new coal turned to clusters like popcorn. Is that how to distinguish the difference between good coal and just coal?? When I purchase it, should I be requesting the BTU rating??
Stan C
   Stan C - Monday, 01/10/11 20:18:44 EST

Forge Lube: Marc, When punching, swaging, drifting and other high friction forging a lubricant helps a lot. Tools move better, stay cooler, work is cleaner.

The best forge lubes according to Ptree and others are the commercial water based alkaline salt lubes. These are non-toxic, non-flammable and environmentally friendly. They lubricate at high temperatures.

These are followed by mixtures of graphite and molybdenum disulphide. Big BLU sells such a water based mixture under the name "Puncheize". Blacksmiths Depot sells Never-Seize for the same purpose. Its a high temperature lube with low flamability but does have some oil in it as a carrier.

For punching just plain old grease works and waxes have also been used but they run off worse than grease.

The general rules or thumb are, any anvil is better than no anvil, any power hammer is better than no power hammer and any punch lube is better than no punch lube.
   - guru - Monday, 01/10/11 20:39:30 EST

Coal: Stan, Good bituminous coal coalesces into lumps as some of the volatiles melt and become plastic. This is the beginning of coking. When the coal becomes light and "pop corn" like as you described it you have coke. Coke is nearly pure carbon as all the hydrocarbons have been burned out. Coke produces the hottest fire and is needed in the core of a good compact welding fire.

See our coal and charcol FAQ.
   - guru - Monday, 01/10/11 21:50:59 EST

Ive been asked to make stone carving tools.Seems like a simple forging job but Id like advice on steel choice.Tool steel choices seem to be O1 or W1 for economy .But is A2 or D2 necessary.Are there better choices?
   wayne@nb - Tuesday, 01/11/11 09:03:00 EST

Wayne, There is a complete section on making stone carving tools in "The Complete Modern Blacksmith" by Alaxander Weygers. Hope that will help out

Stan C
   Stan C - Tuesday, 01/11/11 09:30:05 EST

Wayne, A2 is used primarily for machined parts needing a shop heat treat (no quenchant needed other than a fan). O1 is also used for machined parts because it doesn't change size or warp as much as W1 when hardened.

I haven't used D2 and I don't know what would be the best steel for stone carving. But generally alloy steels like S7 are much tougher than the lower alloy steels.

In the end the quality of the tool is as much in your hands as in the steel. Often superior tools are made from lesser steels due to having the best handling while forging, the best heat treat and best design (proper edge angles, crowned striking surfaces, strong eyes).
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/11/11 09:30:06 EST

I think I did a NO NO in trying to help someone out - I am not sure?? Sorry - My last date is 1/05/11
   Stan C - Tuesday, 01/11/11 09:38:59 EST

Well, everything is back - maybe not. - Thank you for all the information . now for another one -- If you combine the good coal with the "other" that probably will lower the temperature of the fire??

Stan C
   Stan C - Tuesday, 01/11/11 09:41:52 EST

Mixed coal = mixed results. Generally the properties that make a low BTU coal are things that do more than reduce the heat. They generally have excessive ash, make too much clinker, have too much or too little volatiles. . .

Hydrocarbon fuels and their combustion is complicated. Once reduced to charcoal and coke (the purest forms of carbon fuel) you generally get the hottest fire.

What is good coal depends on its use and the properties are not simple. In blacksmithing you want low ash that forms clinkers that can be fished out of the fire. Ash that doesn't form clinker blows out of the fire and rains down on the surrounding area. Too much non-combustible content makes large clinkers too fast and clogs the fire. Ash and clinker is unavoidable in coal so you want both little and the right kind. . .

Coal can have a high fuel value but if it is all in light volatiles (oils) you get more flame above the fire bed and going up the chimney than into the steel. While this works fine in a boiler it does not work in a forge.

Remember that coal is infinite in variety and thus infinite in burning character.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/11/11 10:03:24 EST

I have a 1970's 'Tool Steel Selector' from Bethlehem Steel.* Although dated, I trust the metallurgy and suggestions of the time.

For hand stone chisels, they suggest W1 or W2 of 0.85-0.95% carbon or 0.95-1.10% carbon. For "concrete breakers" (I assume pneumatic), they suggest W1 or W2 0.75-0.85% carbon or S5 steel. For quarrying and rock drills, they recommend W1 or W2 of 0.75-0.85% carbon content. A four point stone tool (star drill?); W1 or W2 of 0.95% carbon, and for hand points, 1.10% carbon W1 or W2.

My 1912 toolsmithing book** talks about tempering high carbon stone tools for granite and marble. He recommends a straw for granite tools unless the granite is extremely hard. In that case, he says to draw no temper, but rather harden the business end not more than 1/2" back. For marble tools, he suggests light straw for tempering.

For the softer limestone, the book recommends 0.75 carbon tool steel and tempering to a pale blue.

* "Bethlehem Tool and Die Steel Manual" Bethlehem Steel Corporation, Bethlehem, PA 18016.

** "The 20th Century Toolsmith and Steelworker" by H. Holford, Frederick J. Drake, Chicago; 1912.

   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/11/11 10:27:15 EST

D2 really requires a top notch heat treat to make use of all those various carbides in it and so not suitable for typical "blacksmith" methods.

Stan; if you have *good* information to share you are *welcome*! I might have posted that book myself.

Ash: I like fins ash that doesn't clinkerize as I am using a hand crank blower. So when I stop cranking and fish the workpiece out/into the fire the ash sifts down the grate and into the ashdump pipe. With good coal I may not have to clean the fire out till I stop in the evening!

With a powered system you tend to use mire coal and so more clinker and it can blow it around.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 01/11/11 13:17:16 EST

Rivets; thanks Guru and Thomas. sometimes i still can't see the final result 'cause of the problem. i'll get there. i have found tapered holes working best for me right now.
Coal; got mine from Utah. my feed'n'supply store carried it. have to size it but is great. this mine will no longer ship to California so i am looking for a new supply. someone in Bay Area was supposed to sell some but have not looked in right place to find who. anybody know? i'm almost ready to pay the shipping for the eastern suppliers just to get some.
   - bam-bam - Tuesday, 01/11/11 16:03:29 EST

I know a couple of bladesmiths who use faux rivets, meaning that they are not headed. One example is to have a slab handle and carefully drill holes for, say, a brass brazing rod. Everything is put todether with epoxy, and the handle gets a finish by filing and sanding, making the brass rod flush. Looks really keen and looks like a rivet.

I have also seen copper rivets peened into inlet copper washers and polished up. The washers, called a burrs by leather workers, are available from Tandy's and other leather suppliers.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 01/11/11 18:59:08 EST

Stone Tools:
Carpenter Steel [CarTec] suggests S2 for stone tools, due to it's tougness & easy heat treating. I have never seen S2 and doubt You can easily source small quantities at a reasonable price these days.

I would use O1, O2, W1, W2 or S5 based on availability and lowest cost.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 01/11/11 20:34:44 EST

Early Wood Screws
Were not screw plates used for making "machine screws"?
As in a metal screw that was screwed into a metal piece or nut of some kind?
I did not know there were screw plates for wood screws.
Frank mentioned early wood screws as seeming to be one-off items unique to each application. That sounds correct.
The items made with screw plates, or "jam" plates, might usually be for attaching two metal pieces together.
Does that sound right?
(Looks like screw plates and 'blacksmith' tapered and adjustable threading tools were still commonly used up through WWI, though the standard "on-size" tooling we know today emerged right toward the end of the Civil war and blossomed by the 1880 or so.)
   - Tom H - Tuesday, 01/11/11 20:59:49 EST

Is there an avenue where blacksmiths can sell their handcrafted products online? My son has produced many beautiful pieces and is looking for an online source to sell his work. He is not interested in having his own web site, but would like to use the web to help sell his products.
   Marietta Prevost - Tuesday, 01/11/11 21:44:43 EST

Is there an avenue where blacksmiths can sell their products online? My son has produced many beautiful pieces and would like to use the internet to help him sell his work. He is not interested in building his own web site but is interested in using a trustworthy source to display his work online.
   - Marietta Prevost - Tuesday, 01/11/11 21:49:42 EST

Marietta Prevost,

Have your son check out etsy.com an online "store" for craftspeople.
   - Rich - Wednesday, 01/12/11 00:43:19 EST

Thanks for all the input.It looks like I will choose O1 mostly because the tempering temp. ,350-400,
listed by the supplier(Online metals found on this site) is easy to get in my woodstove oven.
On another technical site they talk about "protecting" the steel when heating to the quenching temp.How would that be accomplished?
   wayne@nb - Wednesday, 01/12/11 08:46:07 EST

Wayne, Those are minimum tempering temperatures for the hardest condition and according to my Heat Treater's Guide those are for 60HRc. Tempering of O1 goes up as far as 1,000°F. Rarely are struck tools used at the hardest condition.

There are a variety of ways to protect steel during the hardening process. However, these methods are for machined and finished parts not forgings. Inert gas furnaces are the primary method used to protect work by heat treaters. Stainless foil is anther way but it must be stripped off prior to oil and water quenches. This takes time and may produce bad results. I only use stainless foil on air cooling steels such as A2. However, stainless foil can also be used for annealing where there is no rush to quench. Coatings such as ITC-213 can be used for a variety of steels and is also used to prevent or reduce oxidation when forging. However, samples should be tested to be sure it is not effecting the heat treat. It also makes judging heat by color difficult.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/11 09:52:28 EST

Selling Online and in Stores: Marietta, Note that any venue takes a sizable percentage from the list price and may compound the markup with the credit card handling fees. Your prices also need to have enough room to wholesale the work. In either case 50% is going to go to someone else. My point is that the selling price needs to reflect these factors. You do not want to price yourself out of the market but only the rich and near rich can afford good hand made craftwork these days.

Also note that "buying in" to a market is a myth unless you are a nation that can afford to dump product on another market until there are no manufacturers there to compete with you. Once an individual artist or crafts person sets a value on their time and work it is VERY difficult to get more later. The exception is that those starting out may do "nice" work but not truly exceptional work. This needs to be factored in. But a crafts person needs to carefully look at their production costs, time, fuel, materials (add a value for rent and utilities if they are working at home) plus marketing costs and anything else related to costs when they set prices.

You also need to consider that most venues, especially on-line ones do not advertise for you NOR do they make you or your work easily found on search engines. So when you advertise your work on that venue you are also advertising for the venue. If this is to be long term a web site that belongs to you may be the slow hard way to go but it belongs to you (as long as you keep up the registration and hosting payments).
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/11 10:12:57 EST

Screws: Tom, most of your observations are correct. Wood screws are a fairly modern invention. Typically hand forged hooks and such had points or spikes to be driven into wood an eyes were used for nails and rivets. The suggestion of a screw plate for wood screws was something to try other than machining.

Machine screw making tools have been around for a long time but there were many ideas about standards and fits that were not made uniform until the WWII era. 1/2-12 and 7/16-10 were once common threads that are no longer made. I once repaired some 18th century andiron that a 1/2-13 would ALMOST fit. When I checked them carefully it was 1/2-12. The side I repaired was standard. Thread points and root clearance varied by manufacturer and region. There were lots of variations. You could not by machine bolts from one place and nuts from another. Besides threads the hex size on bolts could vary. Again, you could buy batches from two places and need different wrenches to fit. The American standard which became THE standard was fractional head sizes. But the British standard and Whitworth used calculated hex sizes that came out larger and took bastard size wrenches (I've got several sets). Whitworth is still used due to its stronger thread form and the large heads being better for gaskets, o-rings and seals. The difference between UNS and Whitworth threads is a prime example of fit problems. While they use the same diameters and pitches the different thread forms will jam or strip if mixed together. . . This made working on the old T-series MGs and other WWII era British equipment loads of fun as they commonly had UNS, Whitworth and metric fasteners all on ONE piece of equipment. This was long after hand made threads went by the way. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/11 10:48:45 EST

As I recall, the Brown & Sharpe Co. continued to use their own thread system well after 'everyone' had standardized. They used the Sellers-Franklin form as others did but had their own unique pitches. Lots of older B & S equipment would have 1/2-14 or 5/8-12 threads. I know for a fact that their very popular screw machines used them as did the old No. O horizontal mill that I used to own.
I am getting interested in screw thread standardization during the "golden age", 1850-1900, and the 'screw plate for wood screws' thing had me confused.
Thanks for the response.
   - Tom H - Wednesday, 01/12/11 11:11:38 EST

May I again recommend Roy Underhill's WOODWRIGHT SHOP?
Episode #3013—Field Gate Hinges
Master blacksmith Peter Ross turns his hammer to forging iron hinges for our oak field gate. We’ll see how to shape and weld wrought iron for straps and pintles to make our gate swing true.
Interesting info on blacksmith screw threads.
(My goodness but Mr. Ross is talented with a hammer!)
   - Tom H - Wednesday, 01/12/11 11:16:56 EST

The term screw machine, for the multispindle auto bar feeding multi tooled machines comes from their first application, the making of wood screws. These were created and became very popular in victorian times from my understanding.
The ones I am familiar with are Cone-a-matic and Acme-Gridley. Both had a huge cam drum in the top to physically push cam followers and move arms that fed the tooling. At the valve shop we had 43 when I started and about half were 1903 models and the rest were pre-1960.
Now these were far too big to run wood screws on, as the smallest machine was a 5/8" bar size, and the largest an Acme ran 8" bar.
Most wood screws were run in America on Brown and Sharpes, and later on Swiss style screw machines.
I watched a tabletop sized Brown and Sharpe running size 0000 screws at the tool show in Chicago once, spit them out so fast you could not focus on it:)
True marvels of the machine tool trade, programmable in the late 1800's. Your programming tools were files and grinders and big wrenches, since the program was all in the cams. I liked to tell folks on tours that the machines were programmable but they used VERY firm software.
   ptree - Wednesday, 01/12/11 11:16:59 EST

I draw a blank in trying to access episode 3013 from Underhill's website.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 01/12/11 12:00:15 EST

PTREE Screw Machines
My first job was making form tools for various screw machines, including circular form tools for B&S #00, #0, and #2 machines. That is where I ran into the B&S thread system. (We did not make cams, only form tools.)

As I recall, James (?) Cone was one of the real pioneers in multiple spindle machines. Now days, form tools are not as common with the advent of CNC and Swiss machines and the combination thereof. And the usual method for form tools is CNC wire EDM instead of grinding.
My first skill set has gone the way of the blacksmith. Pretty handy sometimes, but hardly anyone else has a clue.
   - Tom H - Wednesday, 01/12/11 12:01:33 EST

Woodwright Shop

Looks like this episode is "coming soon".
Sorry, I saw it on TV a couple of weeks ago.


   - Tom H - Wednesday, 01/12/11 12:04:23 EST

Early wood screws tended not to be tapered and had blunt points. You would of course use your gimlet to pre-make the holes! (Only lazy modern folks expect to put fasteners in wood without making the holes first!)

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 01/12/11 12:53:25 EST

Die Sinking: The art of die sinking and engraving by hand has all rapidly gone to CNC machines and various tracers. Coin making dies which were once made true scale have long been 10 to 20 times oversize in clay and plaster then reduced by tracing machines. Most modern die sinking is now done by CNC machines following a 3D CAD model OR is done in laser rapid prototypers and then EDM'd into a pre-hardened tool steel block. Even hand worked coin dies now start as 3D models and are machine carved then hand dressed and finished before the next machine reduction stage.

There still are folks that do this work by hand but more do it as an art form than for industry. It was not that long ago that every part of a production product such as an automobile or even a child's toy represented thousands of hours of painstaking carving of tool steel using a combination of hand and machine work with all the finished detail being done by highly skilled professional die sinkers. No more.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/11 13:12:52 EST

We were still using form tools by the bucket full on the remaining 28 screw machines when the idiots bought and moved the production to india. Most of the form tools were being cut by wire EDM, but still were hand finished.
We ran things like full acme thread to 85% of full height in metals like 410SS, 316L, and Monel on these machines. We also had self built attachments on these screw machines to make flats on the fly. We used hot rolled round stock to make millions of hex pipe bushings, hex pipe plugs and the like every month. We cut the hex flats to wrench tolerance, on the hot rolled round as it rotated in the screw machines. Trying to figure out how we did that may give you a headache:) Reason we did that was the cost difference from rot rolled round to cold finished hex stock was about 10%.

If you need say about 120,000+ parts a year, in something turned, a screw machine is almost impossible to beat. They have 6 or 8 bars in the cut. The bars index around the machine, so 6 to 8 cutting stations and once the machine has indexed one full round, every index after is a finished part. One operator can easily handle 2 or 3 of these machines, and when making a typical valve stem that a CNC turning center required 3 minutes to make the screw machine made 70 completed stems an hour.
A close relative was the 200+ New Britian Chuckers" we had. The difference was you rotated 6 chucks instead of 6 bar spindles. So one full round a finished part every rotation and an operator ran two machines.
Begin to see why we were shipping about a million # os scrap a month in the 80's?
   ptree - Wednesday, 01/12/11 13:58:49 EST

Die Sinking
Guru I suspect that in China today even the original, from some easily manipulated material, is sometimes 'hand-made'. Thinking of the toy market and things like that. But then, the original is digitized into a 3-D model and the computers take over from there.
   - Tom H - Wednesday, 01/12/11 14:36:54 EST

Tom, I'm sure that is still done here today. In fact, automobiles are still modeled in clay. But many items are 100% digital. They start as 3D models which can be rendered as realistic images, the 3D surface map is sent to rapid prototyping which is often used for low production test models and the same plastic models then used to create EDM cut dies that are sued in high production of either plastic or zinc injection molded parts.

The amazing thing about all this is that product literature and advertisements are created prior to real product existing. This has been possible since the late 1980's but is very easy today. Back when Coors came out with "Zima" and its distinct bottle my brother did the design for it including bottle shape and labeling. From these he produced rendered 3D images (including beer, bubbles, foam and frostiness) that were using in advertising literature up to billboard size. All this before the first actual glass bottle or drop of product was produced. . .

On the other hand rank amateurs try doing this with the render option in their CAD programs and the results are obviously fake. If these are items for sale it is a sure sign that they do not exist. . . Or the vendor is too lazy to photograph the product OR the product does not look like it should. . . no matter, there are questions when there should be no questions. But the BIG guys can make anything appear real . . . Example, most of the movie Avatar which is almost all digital, exists nowhere other than in digital data.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/11 16:44:00 EST

Marietta Prevost:
I dabbled in "online sales" of my work with very lackluster results. I now sell through a local shop, along with 79 other craft and art folks. I seldom have to ship things. I store most of my pieces at the shop which frees up my small work shop from clutter (I wish) and the shop owner charges and tracks sales tax. I drop off my work as I finish it, pick up a check the first Wednesday of the month. The commission I pay is well worth the exposure, advertising and service I receive in exchange.
   - Willy Cunningham - Wednesday, 01/12/11 17:10:54 EST

where can i find a blacksmith in North Carolina? in the month of january. every satarday thourgh sunday
   dominic - Wednesday, 01/12/11 18:05:31 EST

Dominic, There are lots of smiths in NC. I'm in NC, BigBLU is in NC, Kayne and Son are in NC, Ptpiddler is in NC . . . there are at least a hundred others. John C. Campbell Crafts School and Penland School of crafts are both in NC.


Anywhere specific in NC? What do you need? Being mysterious does not help when looking for information.
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/12/11 18:16:22 EST

Dominic- You just missed our monthly ABANA meeting Sunday in Mooresville NC- Had about 15 blacksmiths in attendance- as Guru says- there are a lot of blacksmiths in NC
   - ptpiddler - Wednesday, 01/12/11 19:09:52 EST

Marietta Prevost, I have had mixed results with online sales. ETSY had my stuff for a year with a few sales, and then a small item in a large circulation magazine brought attention and I have since done quite well on Etsy. I have another website that lists my items, links to my eTSY page and collects a small fee for the sale. Frankly the fees on ETSY are less than the paypal fee.
I have my items in a very high end local shop catering to gardeners my target audiance. They sell my items and also get me bespoke sales for larger items.
I think t do well with sales one needs both online for the small shippable items and local for bigger items.
   ptree - Wednesday, 01/12/11 20:40:03 EST

We have a chest marked Empire Forge Chest #4853. We, unfortunatly, do not have the forge. So...we are trying to
find someone who needs, or wants, a forge chest. We have no clue what this chest may be worth but if someone were to
make us an offer we would have to assume they were being
fair. We are in Boise,ID and our phone no. is 208-322-5725.
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. We are not asking "whats it worth" because most sites don't like to go there. But if someone is interested they can call or
e-mail us and we can send pics, answer questions, ect.
Thank You
   J.P. Cantwell - Thursday, 01/13/11 14:11:50 EST

I've been looking at a steel carbon chart, http://www.scotforge.com/charts/sf_steel_carbon.htm
And want to know if I've been mistaken in calling 1040, mild steel. If so, what is the carbon content cut off to be considered "mild" steel? Thanks
   Thumper - Thursday, 01/13/11 14:52:53 EST

Thumper, 30 points. 40 point plain carbon steel can be hardened to considerable hardness and alloy versions much harder. 0-30 = mild, +30-60 = medium, +60 up = high carbon, 110 or more very high carbon, 200 up is cast iron. More or less with the transitions being fuzzy areas and alloying making differences.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/13/11 15:32:50 EST

Thanks, guru, what would be regular hot rolled mild steel in carbon content?
   Thumper - Thursday, 01/13/11 17:41:46 EST

"classic" mild steel was 1010-1020

nowadays what's sold as MS is usually A-36 which doesn't have a percentage spec but rather a minimum yield strength spec and so often should not be sold as "mild steel".

If someone sells you "mild steel" ask them what the alloy *really* is!

   Thomas P - Thursday, 01/13/11 17:54:30 EST

I am completing the manuscript for a book about my father who was a blacksmith in a small New England town from 1920 until 1986. I recently came across a poem titled "A Blacksmith's Prayer" on your website. It would be the perfect thing to follow the final chapter in my book. The poem is copyrighted by Ray Smith. I would like to obtain permission to reproduce the poem in my book, with proper credit given of course. Can you tell me how I might be able to contact Ray Smith?

   Ray Glabach - Thursday, 01/13/11 19:48:56 EST

Ray, I have not heard from Ray Smith in quite a while. Letter coming your way.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/13/11 20:28:23 EST

Mild Steel. We may not like it, but as early as 1988 and perhaps earlier, my Jorgensen catalog calls A36 'mild steel.' At the top of the page, the title reads "Hot Rolled Mild Steel Bars" and immediately underneath, "ASTM A36."The catalog also lists for sale 1018 as 1018, meaning plain carbon steel of 0.18% carbon content. A36 is not sold by carbon content, but it is usually in the neighborhood of 0.27-0.28% carbon content.

Besides the present day flats, squares, and rounds, A36 is a structural steel which can be delivered as angle, channels, I beams), and Tees.

   Frank Turley - Thursday, 01/13/11 20:38:47 EST

Thanks guy's, I am "assuming" that anything below 1020 will not be hardened by heat treating and tempering. Truly amazing, we are all (Humans, animals, vegitation) carbon based and carbon is the structural backbone of one of the materials we depend on the most and becoming a material we are depending on for future progress and toughness. No God discussion here, but what an interesting observation. Thank you Carl Sagan for your insite.
   Thumper - Thursday, 01/13/11 22:53:16 EST

Carbon and Life on Earth: Its deeper than that. In an essay on the basis of life Isaac Asimov, who was a not only a science fiction writer but a biochemist explained why there is only ONE basis for life in the Universe, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. He went through all the elements and showed why many of the alternative basises used in fiction cannot work. If you find life anywhere else in the Universe it will have proteins and DNA similar to life on Earth.

Then you have the oxygen level in our atmosphere. If it was lower it would be difficult to smelt metals and may have set back our history a few centuries to a millinea. If oxygen levels were higher common carbon fuels would burn much hotter and blacksmithing would be more difficult. It would be much more difficult to weld in a forge fire due to increased oxidation. So both smelting and working iron could be more difficult and set back technology.

Its not just life that is a magical balance, so is the basis of our technology.

Asimov also postulates in his fiction that if it were not for our proportionally large moon that creates the tides and kneads the Earth's crust that we would not have the great variety of life or as highly developed life forms (including perhaps ourselves) as we do on Earth. This means that on similar planets there may be life but probably not as varried as we are used to.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/13/11 23:34:14 EST

When dealing with plain carbon steels which are considered unalloyed for commercial purposes, 1010 to 1030 are often termed low carbon or mild steels. Some of the old texts say that when quenched, these steels "will not harden appreciably." 1030 to 1055 may be called medium carbon steels. They can be hardened and tempered. As examples of end use, axles and gun barrels are sometimes made of medium carbon steels. 1060 to 1095 is high carbon steel to be hardened and tempered for things such as wrenches, axes, hammers, auto torsion and stabilizer bars, grinding balls, pneumatic digging tools, and railroad rail anchors.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 01/14/11 08:25:59 EST

at least from my steel yards 1018 is still available but only as cold roll, all hot roll and structural is A36. for most of our work we use the A36 as it forges and welds fine only using the cold roll in sises that are unavailable in hot, (3/4"/ 3/8" is one)
more than the alloy of late we have had a lot of trouble with off sized and poorly squared stock, I got a load of 1/2" /1" for a job last fall that about half the bars were no joke a 1/4" out of square, in another load we got 5/8" sq that was a little over a 1/16" undersized on some bars and over sized by 1/16 on others, this ended up being a right pain as it messed up the picket spacing until we caught the problem, and switched to a center line spacing rather than setting the spacing based on the edge of the bar.
if this keeps up I might need to find a new source for bar stock. I have complained and rejected bar when devivered but was told that that is what they are getting from the mill and there isn't much they can do about it.
   mpmetal - Friday, 01/14/11 09:34:19 EST

I have an electric range with four heating elements. The metal on them looks tarnished and crappy ( burnt rusty look ). I looked at a price list for these elements and they run anywhere from $70 for the smaller ones to $100 for the larger ones. Have you guys got any ideas on how to clean the metal on these things ?
   Mike T. - Friday, 01/14/11 09:52:22 EST

Mike, Heating elements are generally a steel alloy tube (such as Inconel&tm;). Generally they resist rusting and do not need to be cleaned. If they are appreciably rusted then they may need to be replaced. Cleaning would be with some steel wool but if there is pitting then they may need to be replaced.

These heating elements are a high temperature alloy tube surrounding a resistance heating element made of an alloy such such as Nichrome and filled with a refractory powder (magnesium oxide I THINK) to insulate the element from the outer tube. If the tube is punctured or gets wet inside the element can short out and rapidly burns in two.
   - guru - Friday, 01/14/11 10:09:38 EST

Speaking of electric ranges, I saw in the news last week an induction hot plate that retails for $140. The first thing popped into my head was "how can I turn that into an induction forge?".
   - Nippulini - Friday, 01/14/11 10:34:57 EST

You "old"(haha) guys are an awesome resource for us "younger" guys just starting to figure out that life before computers and automation was skillful and filled with craftsman that did their work with pride. Wish I would have started on my current path a long time ago but I guess better late than never. Thanks for the background on the screw threads as my search to make them moves forward. Would like to make a product for people that is "handmade" in all aspects!
   marc - Friday, 01/14/11 12:14:28 EST

Hardenability: Thumper, almost any carbon content in steel increases both strength and hardenability. The standard SAE 1018-20 IS hardenable making it more difficult to work by chip making methods. There is also a noticeable difference in forgability between mild steel and pure iron. So don't be lulled into thinking that you can treat mild steel any way you want. Mild steel is generally not considered to develop "usable" hardness by heat treating and it is sufficient to just normalize after forging rather than anneal. A36 with its generally higher carbon content is worse. It will quench hard enough to flatten a center punch and be brittle enough to break under load. Many believers in "Super Quench" have heat treated A36 which is also often sold as "cold drawn mild steel" and substituted for the more expensive SAE 1018-1020.
   - guru - Friday, 01/14/11 14:27:41 EST

And life goes on..When I was a kid, in metal fab shops a "tool & die maker" was like a king....now any kid good at computer games can do things they never imagined !
   - arthur - Friday, 01/14/11 19:20:20 EST

Whew, lot's to know. You lost me on how they can sell A36 as a SAE 1018-1020 steel when it's merely been work hardened and does not have the same properties? Sound's a bit like fraud to me, not to mention dangerous in stress situations.
Nip, could you send me a copy of the ad, sounds like a real interesting winter project and great for jumping up metal in hard to do places!!
   Thumper - Friday, 01/14/11 19:31:21 EST

Thumper, unless you ask for certs it is all considered "mild steel" in many warehouses OR once there it is virtually impossible to tell one from the other. Can you once its in your stock rack.
   - guru - Friday, 01/14/11 21:34:08 EST

It was on a tv news program. I'm sure if you do a search on induction hot plate you'd find it.

I'm sure Thumper can tell the difference between stainless and mild in his stock rack!
   - Nippulini - Friday, 01/14/11 22:32:38 EST

Never got to run the screw machines, ptree. I did get to know the Tesker and Ernst Grob rollers really well though.

Learned to hate the 316L, too :P
   Jim B - Friday, 01/14/11 22:59:47 EST

If carbourizing, say with peanut hulls,dry beans, bones, or such is good for case hardening, could it be used in upping the carbon in a piece of forge welded steel some way?
   - PURV - Saturday, 01/15/11 03:04:23 EST

Purv, Generally no. In fact in work that is repeatedly forge welded the surfaces become decarburized. This is why you can take a uniform batch of steel pieces, laminate them and get pattern (such as in making cable Damascus).

The European product known as "blister steel" was carburized in a container similar to case hardening except it was held at temperature much longer, sometime days. The iron/steel became heavily blistered (perhaps from being wrought iron to start). The blistered steel was then laminated ("folded" in modern inaccurate slang) and welded numerous times until it became a nearly uniform product. However, in the lamination process it would lose much of that carbon that was put into the steel with much difficulty and expense so there was a practical limit to the uniformity of the steel.

Japanese steel making is a similar process except they started with pieces of very high carbon steel and near cast iron, welded it onto a piece of wrought iron or steel and made repeated laminations until nearly uniform.

In both cases carbon migration (the movement of carbon between layers) and decarburization (the burning out of carbon from surfaces) are factors. Two smiths using exactly the same process but with different fuel, fire tending, attention to heating times and how they worked the steel could get entirely different quality products. It was and IS an art.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/15/11 08:50:25 EST

Jim B, I never much minded the 316L, the 410 SS was what about stopped us cold. We had been running several million Amce threaded stems a year in 416SS on the screw machines, but 416 is the "Free machining grade". We were thread rolling to 85% thread on 55 degree acme and had been for about 40 years. The 410 made horrible ragged torn threads and destroyed the rollers in a couple of hundred parts and the "Fette" heads every other day. We were using "Black" oil, basically sulphur added to filtered used motor oil. We tested and changed to a Master Chemical semi synthetic oil OM-303, and the rollers started making 1500 to 2500 parts and the heads lasted about a month. The threads went back to acceptable. We switched out the entire system of 42 screw machines to the OM-303. After I went to the axle shop they had these wacky spline rollers that came from Germany, and were using a soluable oil but straight and getting maybe 5000 parts out of the very expensive rolls. Switched them to OM-303, and added my secret weapon for all thread rolling operations and they went to 30,000 splines per set of rolls and the quality improved greatly

The secret weapon for thread riolling you may ask? I filtered down to 10 micro-meter and added a magnetic seperator for the oil before it went to the coolant pump. Take out all the fines, and 10 micro-meter is below what is visible, and the tooling life goes up hugely. It also stops about 90% of the dermatitis on the operators hands. Those microscopic fines get into the hair follicles and are highly reactive.

Used that filter trick at 3 plants now to stop dermatitis and oh by the way make tool life improve say about times 10. If not filtering and magnetic seperating, stack the filters to get to 5 micro-meter. At even 10 gallon per minute you will be amazed how fast those big bag filters load up with fines you can not see.
   ptree - Saturday, 01/15/11 11:25:03 EST

Filters: I used the same AMF Cuno 5 micron drinking water filters in my surface grinder as on my household water. The grinder has a large settling tank with steel baffles that gets much of the debris but then the filter on the pump takes care of the rest. The clean coolant made wheels last longer, work smoother and less metal residue built up in the table splash tray. It is not an idea setup but it works well enough.

These unique cellulose filters can be rinsed off and their life quadrupled when there is a heavy sediment load. But I found that the grinder was picking up less grit than the household water at our old place. Here in the new place when the filters are loaded it is definitely time to discard them. I found the same with the grinder. By the time the filter was clogged to where it needed replacing it had enough tramp oil and fines in it that was time for a replacement. I could probably help the filter on the grinder with a magnetic pickup but space is limited in the tank.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/15/11 13:59:52 EST

Hey Jock, Ive taken some nice photos today for you of the little, very (very) old, anvil with a 'tail' ! Cant get your email addy by clicking your name, can you shoot a mail to 'nonjicholson at hotmail dot com' and I will send them to you if your interested :)
   - John N - Saturday, 01/15/11 16:15:55 EST

John, mail sent your way. Our mail link system requires Javascript to be working and some sort of mail client setup to "default". At least on Windows PC's. Otherwise it should work.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/15/11 18:19:41 EST

pics you way chief :) hope you find them intersting!
   - John N - Saturday, 01/15/11 18:48:37 EST

For a pretty simple overview of corrosion in metals, check out this animated, interactive link:

   - Rich - Saturday, 01/15/11 18:59:15 EST

Speaking of pics, Jock did you get the b&w photo of the hammer I sent you?
   - Nippulini - Saturday, 01/15/11 20:49:28 EST

Interesting ptree! I've found on my EDM that a 10 micron filter did little, but a 3 micron will clarify my fluid clear as water. Pretty surprising that a filter made that much difference in thread rolling.
   - Grant - Saturday, 01/15/11 21:09:53 EST

Grant, since we were thread rolling 410, a 13% chrome Stainless, and the rolls were harder than woodpecker lips, think brineling on both. The threads on the stem got brinealled once, the rolls every operation. I had learned the filter to stop dermatitis first, and saw the resultant improvement in tooling life as a coincidence. Followed it and it panned out.
A now passed friend with many doctorates and a 40+ year at Ft Deatrick helped me understand the dermatitis issue, explaining that plain metals, one in the 2 to 5 micron size become highly reactive. He did not explain how he new that.
In the first shop, we had a central system for the lube oil for the 42 screw machines and several other, large oil users. The system had an underground tank of about 20,000 gallons. Dermatitis had started to be a real problem with 40 guys off work. The safety guy thought the oil was at fault, perhaps bacteria etc. He had the system drained and disposed of and when they went to clean the UST, found many feet of hard metal sludge. They jetted that out, sanitized and refilled. I was given the task of installing a filtration system to keep the sludge out of the system. With-in days of the system re-start with good oil the dermatitis came back, but with-in a week or so of the filtration system coming on line the dermatitis began to decline. I had magnetic seperators by Eritz, a 10 micron and a 5 micron bag system with dual bags to allow change out as the bags clogged. We were changing every hour or so at first but as the piping was cleaned up, the filter changes finally went to about every day. The dermatitis went to zero, and tool life began to climb. A year or so later we were forced to change from the 416 to 410 and then we changed oil, and I put a bag filter on the machine itself to clean oil for the nozzle that fed the rollers.

Most folks think of cutting coolant as "Just oil" or "Just oil in water" it is not. Careful management of coolants, can make or break a operation.

Since the valve shop had about 450 chip cutting machine tools, we had 2 central systems at the last shop the one I was Plant engineer of. One was OM-303 for the screw machines and the other Trim-Sol a water based fluid. When you are running 60,000+ gallons of coolant in that many machines trends show quick, and a 1% change is huge.
   ptree - Sunday, 01/16/11 10:57:10 EST

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