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 February 1 - 7, 2012 on the Guru's Den
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Old Foundry : The one in Sutter Creek is making some noise about trying to do some work. Designated Historical Landmark (California) with a Coke fuel variance. Most of the equipment (I'm told) on site. Owner looking for a guild to do the daily work and management. Will be trying to get more info and confirmation of above.
I know there is a few of you that use this site that live in No. Cal. , BUT are any of you interested? I am.
   - Geezers' Forge - Wednesday, 02/01/12 00:13:56 EST

Knight Foundry, Sutter Creek CA. : I was given a tour by the owners in 1984. The son was a machinist at the Ranco Seco Nuclear Power plant where we were doing a job.

At the time they were doing some bronze casting heating a crucible in a pit using rose buds. But there was an old copula. The shop was originally Knight Foundry and Machine Works. A Fellow named Knight made his version of Pelton wheel turbines during the gold rush era. They had squarish cast buckets that were easy to replace. High pressure turbines wear rapidly if there is grit in the water and the hydraulic mining definitely churned up grit. So Knight designed a turbine with throw away buckets rather than the expensive precision, hydrodynamic polished Pelton wheel buckets.

The shop ran on hydro-power with various size Knight turbines. The water head was 200 feet (about 88 PSI). A bench grinder ran on a little 10" turbine. The speed was incredible. They also had a water operated press and a turbine driven air compressor among other tools.

Its an interesting place. Lots of dangerous mechanical hazards besides the usual old foundry problems.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/01/12 00:45:55 EST

Gold : Do they still mine gold at Sutter Creek ? There is a diamond mine in Murpheesboro, Ark. and mining companies have tried to get the state to allow them to come in and do commercial mining, but the state will not allow it. However, individuals can look all they want, I saw on the news a couple of months back where someone had found a very expensive diamond there. I would love to try my hand at panning for gold. When we think of gold mining, we tend to think of western states like California, etc. but immigrants flocked to places like N. Carolina, Georgia to pan for gold. Let me tell you how the gold rush started in N. Carolina. A boy was walking in a creek and found a big yellow rock. He took it home and the folks thought it was pretty so they used it for a door stop. A traveling salesman was in the house and saw the rock and offered to buy it. He paid them $15.00 for it, then took it to a gold assayers office where he was told it was almost pure gold. A gold rush started and folks walked the creek and found large gold nuggets just laying on top of the ground. Of course mining equipment was brought in, not only there but other locations too. I was watching a program a while back and heard the governor of Georgia say that 80% of the gold in that state has yet to be found or mined. With the price being $ 1500-$1600 an ounce now, I would love to find a few ounces.
   Mike T. - Wednesday, 02/01/12 04:49:35 EST

gold mining : MIKE T. not the way I think you're asking.
There are some small ops in the Motherlode Country. No large scale. Can pan in most creeks / rivers but watch out for claimed areas / private property.
   - Geezers' Forge - Wednesday, 02/01/12 05:27:26 EST

Gold Mining :
All over the West there is government land where you can buy leases for very little. Most have the value of the gold on the property well established. . . all you have to do is go into that hundreds of acres where there is no roads (other than mining) and no utilities and setup to move mountains of rock/dirt, grind and process, seperate the gold and. . . You find out why YES there are profits in gold mining and NO you will not get rich. Its a JOB.

The leases are so cheap that many folks lease land for weekend panning expeditions. Most never break even with the lease cost but have a lot of fun and dream of finding that giant nugget. . .

I ran across these leases while investigating realestate in the Western states. I could not believe the prices then realized it was lease property. You cannot live there permanently but its nice for solitude.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/01/12 13:02:38 EST

You can find Gold and Diamonds in Indiana along the glacial terminal moraine region---I had a State Geological Survey pamphlet on it decades ago.

The source was in Canada and Glacial Transport was what got them to Southern Indiana. (This was one of the ways we *knew* there was diamond pipes in Canada and fairly recently they have finally found a source up there!)

Gold has been found in Socorro County NM---I've given some though to pegging down a shag carpet piece where the arroyo crosses under a road and see if any colour can be washed out of it after a storm.
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 02/01/12 13:08:41 EST

Gold : I grew up in gold mining country, even panned a little a few times. Lots of effort for very little reward, in my case. And that was in an area noted for producing lots of gold over the years. At the current prices of gold, some guys are re-opening a few of the old mines and getting an income out of them, but I don't know of anyone getting rich at it.

An acquaintance who did some mining once told me that he enjoyed it so much that if he ever won the Powerball millions he'd keep at the gold mining until it was all gone. Much the same way I feel about being a full-time professional blacksmith. (grin)

Since St. Croix is on the uplift side of the Caribbean tectonic plate and not volcanic in origin, I keep thinking there *should* be some gold in our soil. Look as I might though, I never find any quartz, much less gold. No useful minerals at all, in fact. And I was soooooo hoping to strike it rich! I did find a working Nikon optical rangefinder one day, though I have no use for it.
   Rich Waugh - Wednesday, 02/01/12 15:20:24 EST

Trolly rail : Guru,

I have a copy of The Complete Modern Blacksmith by Alexander G. Weygers. In it he shows a method of reenforcing a section of trolly rail to use as an anvil for a tool. His method involves drilling two holes through the web and using two blocks of hardwood shaped to fit the contour between the rail and the bottom flange, then bolting them in place to reduce the spring effect. I have read many comments by you and others warning against using rail as an anvil and I am wondering if using two blocks of steel instead of the wood would provide enough mass to use the rail I have as the anvil on a small power hammer. You may recall the post I left on the Hammer-In last night about the "Pocket-Hammer". I don't intend to work anything above 3/8" with the tool. If the rail won't work I'll have to suck it up and spend a little cash at the flea market to get something else. Maybe I'll splurge and get a big sledge hammer head.

Thanks for any information,
   - Bill - Wednesday, 02/01/12 17:12:04 EST

Reinforcing with wood is a worthless exercise with the exception of reducing noise.

The "pocket hammer" as shown will not forge 3/8" material. It is too slow, too little mass. It is a very light duty planishing hammer (sheet metal only). You could work the material faster and easier with a small 2 pound hand hammer or even a treadle hammer. So unless you have some physical problem this hammer is not going to be of any advantage.

A very light forging hammer would be about 10 pounds. This needs a minimum of a 50 pound anvil, 100 would be better and 150 pounds about optimal.

To be effective a 10 pound hammer (which hits about like using a half pound hand hammer) needs to run VERY fast. 500 to 800 plows per minute.

If you want a CHEAP small hammer find a hand held air hammer and mount it in a frame. They throttle nicely and force is determined by push.


Sorry about the small images. . . The hammer above is nothing but a tubular frame and a hand held air hammer floating in a snug fitting tube. It is operated by a foot valve. If more or less force is needed the weights on top of the hammer are changed.

This hammer will hit harder with a decent anvil but it does fine with the C frame.

8

9

10
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/01/12 18:42:10 EST

Trolly Rail : I understand about the use of wood but is my idea of using steel blocks worth attempting? Another thought I had was to cut the flange off and mount the web and the rail like a die.

The "pocket hammer" caught my eye because it was compact. As you guessed, I do have an issue with my shoulders caused by a fall from a horse several years ago. I have difficulty forging for more than five hours and sometimes require a full day to get movement back to normal. That can really slow down production. However, I came to the conclusion you confirmed about the size of that tool. I built a similar machine for texturing parts and it is completely unsuited to anything else. My intention is to construct a real power hammer small enough to fit in my workshop. I already have much of the material I will need including a couple of I beams and some C channel for the frame.

You mentioned the other day that my 4X4X7 pounding block was roughly equivalent to a 100LB anvil. Would a similar block serve for this machine or do I need a 100LB mass under the hammer head?

I think I am finally going to have a practical use for that ASO of mine. I may incorporate it into the base of this tool as ballast.

I do have one question I really need answered before I can proceed with any drawings or measurements. I have observed in most JYH designs that the arm supporting the hammer head is very long. Is there a structural reason for that or is it merely the preference of the builder?

I am sorry to ask so many questions of you lately and have nothing to offer in return but my thanks. I'll take a look at your plans page now and hopefully have fewer questions in the future. Thank you sincerely for all of the advice and answers.
   - Bill - Wednesday, 02/01/12 20:21:53 EST

Hammer Design : Yes you can fill in the sides of the rail by welding. The problem is this is still a relatively small piece of steel. There is more than enough for dies but not enough to be anvil. An option to filling in the sides is to cut the cap off and use it for die material.

The compact mass equivalent is only applicable to horned anvils that have lots of distributed mass that is nut directly under the hammer. Power hammer anvils are generally always compact mass. When makers try to claim the frame and mass far off the center line of the dies then your have to make adjustments for the true mass.

"Arm supporting the hammer" ?? Do you mean the frame extension creating throat depth? Many modern builders have made machines with lots of throat depth. The only work this applies to is sheet and plate, something rarely done on forging hammers. Machines with a deep throat are much springier than shallow throat machines (all types). In forging hammers, frame stiffness means more accurate die alignment under load and better control. It also means a more compact machine. The only machines that lend themselves naturally to a deep throat are spring helve hammers. However, this is only because the center column of the frame supporting the spring arm needs to be set back a considerable distance. The frame CAN be boxed in so that it is shallower and stiffer (extra material).
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/01/12 23:49:24 EST

Note that Weygers use of trolly rail was to make specialty *DIES* for a powerhammer and the only function of the oak was to engage the anvil's dovetails.

Repeat the trolly rail was not used as an anvil for the powerhammer. It was a cheap and fast way to make a bunch of low use dies for a specific purpose and was intended as an example for people who do not have cheap access to a complete machine shop.

Thomas who has been eyeing mine rail at the scrapyard---it's even smaller then the trolly rail I found in Ohio!
   Thomas P - Thursday, 02/02/12 13:23:12 EST

Removing galvanized layer : Using a 3'x 3'piece of galvanized steel for the table surrounding my fire pot, I need to remove the zinc. Will muradic acid (HCl) react to remove the Zn or is grinding the only effective way. The dust from a flap disk may be of concern also. I would appreciate your thoughts.
   - Gil - Thursday, 02/02/12 14:22:05 EST

Rail . . : The standard rail section, shaped like RR-rail is or was made for all kinds of purposes. Crane rail came in sizes larger and smaller than RR-rail. Much of the old small stuff was used atop wooden beams as the wear surface. Josh Greenwood's machine shop is in an old 19th Century foundry that has a rectilinear hoist or bridge crane. The bridge is steel but the side rails are wood sitting on brick piers built into the building. The wood side rails have small crane rail on top to distribute the load and take the pressure of the iron wheels. None of this type construction is allowed today.

I've got some little rail I inherited from Paw-Paw that is only about 3" tall and has a 1/4" web. Cute stuff. Maybe 3 pounds per foot or 10 pound (per yard) rail.

Wooden wedges would hold rail quite snugly in a DIY hammer and stiffen things up a bit.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/02/12 14:25:57 EST

Galvanized table. . . :
Gil, This is a BIG area to remove the zinc from and I assume both sides. . . Acid will remove the zinc but it will need to soak. Do you have a non-metal tank big enough to put several gallons of acid in and the plate?. Depending on the quality of galvanizing you may have to do it server times. .

I'd save the plate for something that needs galvanizing and find another for the forge.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/02/12 15:35:07 EST

Rail and Galvanized plate : Thomas, do you want some small rail? I have a few lengths of rail that is about 3-1/2" tall with a 1-1/2" bulb, 5/16" web and 3" base. If you want some, drop me an email. You were generous at QS and I haven't forgotten. :-)

Gil, if you're determined to strip off the galvanizing form that sheet, make a frame of 1x4 pine and line it with heavy polyethylene sheet to make a dip tank. If you get ~33% HCl you can dilute it 5:1 and it will strip off the galvanizing overnight. Use marbles to lift the plate off the bottom of the tank.

However, if you're using a sho-nuff cast iron firepot and have good fire management skills, I shouldn't think you would have any problems with the galvanizing burning off. I've seen firepots glowing red-orange and the coal on the table around them wasn't even smoking.

I do agree with Jock though - get some black plate for the table and save the galvanized stuff for a project where you need it. The top of a forge table really should be 3/16" thick at a minimum, and black iron sheet that gauge isn't expensive if you can find a drop.
   Rich Waugh - Thursday, 02/02/12 16:00:16 EST

Rich I found a length of trolley rail in a downtown creek in Columbus OH. Cut it in two with a hacksaw and shipped one of the pieces out here with me. I also have easy access to mine car rail (at least till the last of it goes to China) and took home a 3' piece from the scrap yard. So I'm good with small rail as it's not a size/shape I use very often.

As for quad State---after what Steve Parker gave me---that lovely new forged ancient to medieval to modern travel anvil I'm still in everyone's debt---yours in particular for introducing me to that brand of rum that goes so good with tollhouse cookies!

I just wish I could go to Q-S this year. I must admit that OH is on my job hunt possibilities just because of Q-S!

Thomas
   Thomas P - Thursday, 02/02/12 17:49:37 EST

Anvil Mass : As I have been reading these posts regarding the anvil and the importance of having a sizable mass, I'm wondering if a simple piece of rectangular tubing filled with compacted metal scrap would serve. I looked at the plans for creating the anvil with built up components such as plates welded and banded together. I have a LOT of endcuts from small round stock, pounds of old nails and a variety of other scrap that I had intended for the recycle bin. However, if I could reasonably use them to create the needed mass inside a piece of scrap 4X8 tube with a 1/4" wall I would forego the chore of hauling all that down the road and selling it. I've even considered tack welding the stuff together but would rather not waste good wire if it's not important.

In the mean time I am still assessing the parts I have laying around considering which friends I might hit up for the components I will need to acquire. The springs are my toughest find so far but I know a guy who owns a custom motorcycle shop and he may be able to hook me up with what I need once I figure out which design I'll be building.

Thanks again!
   - Bill - Thursday, 02/02/12 19:26:41 EST

Galvanised plate : I also suggest forget messing with the zink.
Firstly, If you acid bathe it, Now what to do(responsibility) with the waste ??
Secondly alot of work for minimal gain. A piece decent size of sheetmetal for a forgetop can be as close as the nearest junked refrigerator or clothesdryer... Save the galvanised sheet for something else.
   - Sven - Thursday, 02/02/12 22:02:09 EST

Bill, The anvil is the toughest part to find on the cheap. Scrap is up and big steel hard to find. Anvils, whether hand or machine need to be the the densest solid mass you can find, not just dead weight. The energy of the hammer impact must be efficiently transmitted through the entire anvil for the mass to do its job.

Generally multiple parts do not work. Flat plates in a stack will not conduct the shock wave efficiently because each joint has a microscopic amount of space over a large part of the area that acts as resistance to transmitting the energy. With each joint the mass rapidly does less and less until it is doing almost nothing at all.

If you fill a box full of anything and strike it the box will move and the contents hold still until the gaps are taken up and then the contents will start moving. By this time it is too late and the force has been transmitted to the support below or distorted (sprung) the box. So you could have a 100 pound box you are dragging around that is effectively a hollow 10 pound anvil.

My bundled anvil uses multiple parts with one joint between them and the top distribution plate. This does not have multiple joints to act as resistance to the shock wave. All the bars are in contact with the anvil cap and all the bars are welded at their edges to the bottom flange. The intermediate bands also tie all the bars together so that they do not buckle outward due to column loading. It is not solid mass but it is very close.

Our second anvil option (a heavy shaft with added mass bars welded to the sides) is more solid but has spaces between the bars thus does not fill 100% of the space it is in. This anvil requires a center core large enough to resist buckling (generally a little bigger than the dies). On a bench top power hammer the anvil could be 2" (50mm) cylinder a foot long with heavy bars or plates welded to it. Eight .5" x 2" x 12" bars welded on would add 27 pounds to the 10.5 pound core for a total of 37 pounds of solid and effective mass. However if that 6" diameter space was filled solid the mass would = 96 pounds.

To understand anvil mass you must think of it floating in space not connected to anything. The larger the mass in proportion to that striking it the less the motion. Motion due to off center blows or to thin plates is easier to understand.

Where scrap comes in handy is trying to create heavy fill. Mix it with concrete or better yet epoxy and you get a heavy moderate density mass. This is good for machine bases, vise anchors or anvil supports. Filling a hollow machine frame this way increases mass and resistance to vibration with dead fill. HOWEVER, concrete dries out, even when enclosed in steel and plastic resins react with metals producing corrosion.

Like Big BLUs we will be filling our power hammer frames with sand. This adds a couple hundred pounds to the machine making it more stable and quieting noise from the hollow frame. But a couple hundred pounds of sand in a steel box does not make an anvil. Under sharp impact each grain of sand floats in its own space until the surfaces imparting motion compress all the spaces and move all the sand. The sand resists gross motions but not small.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/02/12 22:04:14 EST

I filled my hammer frame with spent steel shot and fines from a shot blaster, added about 500# to the frame mass. Steel shot and fines, with the addition of our regular humidity in the summers sets up this mass into a harder than concrete mass.
   ptree - Friday, 02/03/12 07:30:20 EST

But you would not make an anvil out of it. . .

I got the idea of using old damaged and rusted nuts and bolts plus scrap in concrete as additional aggregate from the shielding concrete they use in the nuclear industry. They use a barium mineral as aggregate due to its high density to increase the radiation shielding of hot room walls. However, IF they had been thinking with some imagination they would have used treated industrial scrap like steel punchings which have a MUCH higher density than minerals and much better shielding value. Gives ferro-concrete a whole new meaning.
   - guru - Friday, 02/03/12 09:29:02 EST

Gold and Silver in Colorado : There is still a lot of gold and silver in Colorado. I did some panning up above Central City when in collage. I saw a placer miner come in with a pickup truck of black sand concentrate to use the riffle table in the Met lab at the Colorado School of Mines. He almost filled up a 1lb coffee can with gold from his years work. Wouldn't tell me exactly where he got it, though.
   quenchcrack - Friday, 02/03/12 14:23:14 EST

oxidizing metal : Had reblued a set of barrels on an old double barrel shotgun except would like to know how to age/oxidize the look of the barrels as to blend in with the rest of the gun. Had left the barrels outdoors under glass in the sun and air for a month and a half and appeared to have helped a little. Thanks in advance.
   mike - Friday, 02/03/12 15:50:42 EST

Oxidizing Metal - Gunsmithing : Mike, The bluing process IS a form of controlled oxidizing. As such it is designed to STOP rust. Aged bluing or blacking turns brown from microscopic and not so microscopic scratches in the finish that rust and then are oiled, then rust some more. Some is also the result of skin oils and salt, fingerprints that corrode the surface.

Browning is a form of controlled rusting done in a "damp box" made of wood. Similar to bluing the metal is finely finished and cleaned. Then it is hung in a hi humidity box (usually has wet rags in the bottom to hold water). The part is rusted, then carded (rubbed with the end grain of a piece of wood (plywood works well) to remove loose rust, then cleaned and put back into the box. . . over and over until it has a nice even brown. To accelerate the process some folks use a pan of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in the browning box. Hydrogen peroxide is an unstable compound that gives off its extra oxygen as it changes to water. This makes the atmosphere in the damp box moist AND oxygen enriched. The browned part is then left as is and oiled or treated by boiling in a chemical bath to darken and fix the color.

Browning is what happens over time to any marginally maintained piece of steel including things that are blued.

To brown a fresh blued surface you will need to scratch the surface with very fine sandpaper then let is rust (such as in a damp box). Then clean and rust again. . . until you get the finish you want.

Like all such finishes you need to experiment on something unimportant or a metal sample with the same finish as the real part. As an "aged" finish you do not want it even all over so the scratching may be different coarseness and density in places where there would naturally be wear.
   - guru - Friday, 02/03/12 17:25:05 EST

How to find a Blacksmith? : Yes I'm trying to find a blacksmith because I have an idea that I want to get made as a unique gift to each of my three brothers and the only way I can think of it to get made is through a blacksmith. But I can't figure out a way to find a blacksmith? Any and all help would be greatly appreciated or even an email of someone who could help me find a blacksmith? thank you very much for your help.
   Jake - Friday, 02/03/12 17:38:39 EST

Finding a Smith : Jake, You have come to the right place. You may get volunteers from here BUT remember, the Internet is INTERNATIONAL! We have folks here from everywhere in the US, Australia, Great Britian, Canada, South America, China, Russia, the African Continent. . . The only place we have not had contact from is Antarctica and the International Space Station. There are a lot of Eastern European and Asian smiths that advertise for work internationally as well.

Also remember that while some smiths are generalists other are quite specialized making only armour, knives, lighting, sculptural pieces, architectural work. . . If you let folks know what you need you are more likely to get a volunteer.

Try our Blacksmiths Webring. Most of the sites on there are blacksmiths and various metalworkers.

Then try ABANA-Chapter.com. This is a listing of blacksmithing organizations world wide. Many have contacts but try to remember that they are small loosely organized groups and many may not respond right away.
   - guru - Friday, 02/03/12 18:30:39 EST

Stamping slugs in concrete : This is/was commonly done to make inexpensive ballast for amature built and some production sailboat keels. It is a poor substitute for lead.
   - Dave Boyer - Friday, 02/03/12 21:14:13 EST

Diamond : On CNN news tonight, they announced the find of a diamond in Arkansas. After being cut, it was valued at $21,000. Not bad for a days work. :-)
   Mike T. - Friday, 02/03/12 21:31:39 EST

You can't beat solid mass. And even then, on an atomic level it is mostly open space.
   - guru - Friday, 02/03/12 21:51:56 EST

Mass : Guru, you are absolutely right about open space at an atomic level. I was watching a program not long ago and a scientist said that you can compare an atom like this...the nucleus would be like a basketball in the middle of a football field and the electrons circling around it like oranges as far out as the goal post, you could sort of compare it to our solar system.
   Mike T. - Friday, 02/03/12 22:02:12 EST

Blacksmith for Jake : Jake, I would be pleased to try to do whatever it is you want making. The best thing is for you to call by and I will show you the facilities I have got here. I have just finished a run of hair grips which are selling well. Then I have to make a new anchor for an oil tanker. Once I have got that out of the way I shall have some free time.
Alternatively maybe if you indicate where you are and the kind of work you want doing somebody else might be able to help.
   philip in china - Friday, 02/03/12 23:50:49 EST

Sarcasm :
Phillip sent me a note apologizing about being a little over the top, but as I posted, the Internet IS International. You may not want to try to explain your project in Hindi or have it shipped from Pakistan.

Asking for a "blacksmith" with no qualifications is like asking for a doctor with no specifics. Do you need a surgeon, an opthomologist, or a Psychologist? OR, in some circles asking for a blacksmith is actually asking for a farrier (a horse shoer or equine podiatrist).

Asking overly broad unqualified questions on an international forum will also get you lots of irrelevant and un-helpful responses.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/04/12 03:15:59 EST

Shop setup and tool selection : Hello all! I have been reading posts on this site for a while and finally realized that I should ask some of the questions I have. Forgive me if I ask something that has already been asked and please point me in the right direction to find any possible answers. A bit about me so you know where I am coming from before I go into my question. I have a bachelors degree in studio art concentrating on jewelry and metal smithing and I have been into historical re-enactment for about 15 years. I have been making knives off and on for about 10 years but without any consistent direction or shop to speak of but now I have concentrated on setting up a black smithing, knife making and armoring shop for a full time business.
I have a decent forge, crappy anvil, various tongs, hammers and I am beginning to build and collect stakes and other swage type objects but I am curious about what you all find to be the most important tools and machines in your shops so I know where to spend the time and money on first. I have the plans for a no-weld grinder and I am going to build one but what else do you consider to be the more important tools. I have a lot of Harbor freight tools, crappy wire-feed welder, 1X30 belt grinder, bench grinder, angle grinder,scroll saw and assorted hand tools and cordless tools. I am considering an Oxy-acetylene welder, metal cutting bandsaw, and whatever other items the general populace would consider important. I have a relatively limited budget so I want to get the most important tools first and work on the rest later. Thanks for your time and all the lessons I have already learned from this site

Sincerely
William Conn
   William Conn - Saturday, 02/04/12 06:25:25 EST

I had to clear up some ignorace on another site (the magic one) where the topic of polishing aluminum came up. This self proclaimed genius says "There are only 2 types of aluminum. One that can be polished and the other can't as it is dull all the way through". I explained (for the sake of the sites readers) that no metal is "dull all the way through" and explained even further the effect of Al oxides. Sighh.....
   - Nippulini - Saturday, 02/04/12 09:14:04 EST

In Order of Importance - Costs Considered :
For General Metal working.

A good set of mechanics tools in a chest to store them. You can't maintain any of the following without a good range of metric and English wrenches (spanners), screw drivers, hex (Allen) wrenches), pliers and so on.

Measuring and layout tools -- precision square (or square and protractor set), 8" to 10" dividers (good quality with hard sharp points) 6" dial calipers, scriber, layout fluid. . .

Buzz Box Arc Welder (AC-DC Miller) Wire feed is nice but high maintenance. Comes before OA because its less expensive.

Oxy-acetylene outfit with cart (a brand name so you can get parts - expand).

Welding classes to learn how to properly use the above safely. A cutting torch is the most efficient affordable way to cut heavy plate. A buzz box the most efficient cost effective way to put that plate to use. But for small brazing, welding, soldering and OA system is the most flexible tool in the land.

Heavy shop vise (blacksmith leg vice or heavy 100 lb.+ chipping vise).

Good 4x6 Cut off saw (most are junk, Jet Brand is OK)

Beverly 2B or 3B Throatless shear (in armour could move up one slot).

Motor Grinders and buffers of all sorts.

Good HD metalworking drill press (most are for wood). Plus vise, bits and furniture.

Heavy work bench (up to 1500 lbs).

In my shop the drill press and buzz box get used more than any other equipment followed by the cut off saw and vise BUT these all follow the use of layout tools. While you can cut with an OA torch the stuff that can be cut on a saw and shear will save you MANY hours of grinding torch cuts (an expensive waste of time).

I did not list a Lathe since most people don't get how important a tool this is and even if they get one may not learn to use one and take advantage of it.

Many of the tools above are tools you use to build other tools -- grinders, treadle and power hammers, presses, fixtures of all types.

After these you specialize according to what you want to do. Almost anything else is shop specific OR what you get a good deal on. .

If you do a lot of forging a power hammer is a necessity to be competitive. But if your work is mostly in sheet then you will want various shears, rolls, brakes, presses, an English Wheel, planishing hammer. . . Flypresses are good for both areas.

Equipment that is VERY important to me that others often do not have include hoisting and lifting equipment, a truck to haul tools, stock and machinery. Then there are various test meters and electrical tools. The lift tools can save your back and permanent dissability as well as preventing damage to expensive equipment when you unload it.

The simplest lifting tool is a chain hoist (NEVER one of those little Taiwan specials that slip. . .) but a good industrial quality hoist of a ton or two capacity. This can be hung from a single point OR on a trolley and monorail. Trolleys can cost as much as the hoist and are harder to find. However, BOTH systems rely on a structure to support them. In my old shop I designed the framing to support a 5 ton load but in my new shop the building is lucky to support itself. . . SO I was forced to buy a folk lift. THIS in turn is a high maintenance tool and I am learning that putting up a huge steel frame to support a monorail might have been more cost effective AND definitely more dependable.

To me dependability is KEY in tools and machinery. That is why I like a buzz box. Almost nothing to go wrong. They will last until the insulation rots off the wires (I've replaces one set of rotten leads in 30 years and stingers twice). Chain hoists will hang there for 100 years with no maintenance and work when you want. My used fork lift needs brakes, a main mast cylinder rebuild and the exhaust pipe fell off last night. . . I can't even SEE where it goes much less get to it to fix. . . I've put two new tires on it and its going to need a battery soon. . . Meanwhile I have a 70 year old 2 ton Yale hoist in my old shop that unloaded everything in the shop and is dependably loading it all on my truck for the move. . .

Now. . the fork lift is VERY handy and lets me move things in and out rapidly as well as store heavy things in the yard. But that handiness comes at a significant cost.



   - guru - Saturday, 02/04/12 11:51:26 EST

Little Giant 50 lb replacement dies : This week I hope to make some flat dies for my 50 lb Little Giant. Any advise would be good.
As in heat treat to 59 60 Rockwell ? (S7)
There are dowel holes top and bottom any comment? They are egg shamed washed out.
Any taped holes in the end of the bottom Die ? Would this be handy?
Heres the big one , Im looking for any drawings with dimensions that would be handy.

Thank you for any help.

Dan
   Dan - Saturday, 02/04/12 11:57:09 EST

Little Giant Dies :
Dan, I've made drawings of Little Giant dies many years ago but there are just as many dovetails and die configuations on LG's as there are models (dozens) not including user mods and wear and tear.

Critical dimensions start with height. You can over travel the hammer, bottom out the spring. . . All your dies need to be the same total height. Little Giants have large dovetails so that the dies sit on the bottom of the dovetail not on the ledges.

The dowel holes are to keep the dies centered while putting in the wedges and keep the dies from moving if loose and damaging the machine. If they are washed out then someone had bad fitting dies and wedging OR they did not know they were there and forced the dies to remove them. Dowels were pressed into the ram and sow block and the dies have clearance holes.

Drilled and taped holes are not good in hard dies because the sharp points are places for cracks to start from. Taped holes in hardened steel are also tricky due to the size change during hardening. Holes for guides, tooling and such should be in the die holder or sow block.

Flat dies do not need to be made of expensive steel like S7. SAE 4140 or a similar allow would be good. R38 to 48 would be good. For drawing the dies should have well radiused edges. The shape is actually oval (1 x 3 or 1 x 5). Some makers use a 3&176; taper on top about 1/2" to 5/8" (12 to 16mm) wide then radius and blend it in. Generally the most useful flat dies are the largest that fit the hammer. But the most useful general purpose dies are combo dies, half flat and half narrow drawing and isolating. These are best for free hand forging without hand held tooling.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/04/12 13:10:21 EST

Bottom Die Option :
On one of his power hammers Bill Epps had a large mild steel plate fitted as lower die. It had numerous drilled and taped holes on the top and sides as well as a square shank holder for clapper dies. Small dies of all sorts were bolted on. Dies made on pieces of angle iron bolted on from the side of the thick plate.

If you do this on a mechanical hammer be sure the plate is the minimum die height so that no over-travel situations can occur.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/04/12 13:24:12 EST

More Hammer Dies :
On our project hammers I decided to use Big BLU die holders and dies. But I also had full size 3" x 5" flat dies made that sit on the top ledge of the holders. The standard Big BLU flat dies are 1.75" x 5" which is a little narrow for flat die hand held tooling work. My larger dies will not work as upper dies on a Big BLU due to clearance problems. On our ram the holders and dies just fit but on the bottom there is more room. So on my sow block I drilled and taped extra holes for longer dies and other tooling. On a Little Giant, if you can get the sow block off you could drill and tap tooling holes away from the dies and possibly holes in the dovetail for bolt on dies.

When I started designing dies for production operations I found that it was difficult to put all the operations into one die. Our 100 lb. rams are 3.5 x 5" due to material availability and other design considerations. However, next time I would go with 3 x 6 or 3 x 7 (or wider) so that more multiple operations would fit side by side.

Design and engineering is always trade offs and compromises. It is also experience. When I designed our hammers I was not thinking of them for production die work, I was thinking about free hand forging. The Big BLU sized dies were plenty big on this size hammer. But ONE more inch would have made the multi-step dies I'm working on fit.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/04/12 14:22:19 EST

Dies : Thank you. this clears a few things up. I will try and copy the dovetails in the original draw dies.

Quote" But the most useful general purpose dies are combo dies, half flat and half narrow drawing and isolating. These are best for free hand forging without hand held tooling. "

I wish I had a good photo of these. I may go that way with the S7 and build flat dies out of 4140.
Would 4140 Pre Hard be ok and no heat treat.?
I do have the S7 cut what rockwell #s do you think best?.
   Dan - Saturday, 02/04/12 14:57:59 EST

Elk Horn : I am making a knife with an elk horn handle. How do people finish this material? Are there any burning techniques that look nice? Or do you just let it get a natural patina? Thanks,
   - Eric - Saturday, 02/04/12 18:42:46 EST

Horn and Ivory :
Eric there are specialty books with info on these materials. Generally they are unfinished. Antler has surface color that you leave where you want and remove where you do not. Its an art. However, these materials can dry, shrink and crack. One reference on ivory said to oil with baby-oil (clear mineral oil) to prevent drying out (sort of like using Neets Foot Oil on leather).

As always, TEST you finishes on scrap or make a sample tool for yourself and use it.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/04/12 19:49:59 EST

Elk Horn : Good luck with elkhorn,
Maybe its the elk species here or my local environment. (Northwest USA.)
I find the surface of the horns very dense and good but thats just about 1/8 -3/16" thick, the interior is a soft pulp.
Ok for buttons and beads and stuff, Not for knife furniture.
I use reindeerhorn with my knives. Its much more solid all the way through, (there is a minor pulpy center but its minor and much more dense than the local elk or deerhorns.
I expect caribou may work also as its a relative of reindeer.

Google pictures for "samekniv" to view examples to style of knives I make.
BTW, I dont do the handles and scabbards scrimshaw, Thats an art all of own that I lack the skill of.
Reindeer horn is sort of like ivory but a somewhat coarseer texture.
Good luck,
   - Sven - Saturday, 02/04/12 20:22:16 EST

Combo Dies : There are a lot of variations on these. The best are those evolved from the old Rieter dies and manufactured by Big BLU, also called "Hofi Dies" but having input from a lot of people over the years.

Big BLU Power Hammer Dies
Early style Big BLU Combo Dies.

The narrow drawing face focuses the force of the blow so it displaces more metal faster. That narrow (about 1") section can also be used to isolate stock for fast efficient hand forging. There is very little flat in the center the two dressed edges almost meeting. These have that near or faux elliptical edge dress I described above. The 100-150 pound Big-BLU dies are about the same size as 50 pound Little Giant dies.

These differ from "standard" combo dies where the drawing surface is a simple radius with a very narrow flat in the center. These are often half the width of the die but about 40% is best. When I make standard type dies I center drill the ends of the die about 3/4 of the height down form the face, then turn the radius on a lathe until there is a narrow flat 3/8 to 1/2" wide. This is then hand dressed with a file but still leaving a narrow flat. The flat side of the dies should also have the corners radiused for light drawing and smoothing.

   - guru - Saturday, 02/04/12 20:39:08 EST

Sven : On elk and deer horn with a pulpy center, could you ream them out and fill them with epoxy putty ? I like the look of Impala horn and have thought about making a mold of the Impala horn, then using dyed ground bone or something to mold it to look like horn, the hole for the tang could be molded into it as well. I read an article on how to blacken bone, and for the life of me can't find the article. Have you ever experimented with something like this ?
   Mike T. - Sunday, 02/05/12 01:50:06 EST

Machinery : Rather than cut steel with a hardy, or a bandsaw, because time is money, I purchased, at a steel mill liquidatioin auction, a HUMONGOUS Radiac abrasive cutoff saw, powered by a seven and a half horsepower 3 phase motor. I only have single phase power in my shop, so I bought one of those little red box phase converters, which works like a charm. Included with the saw were boxes and boxes of 16 inch blades, new in the box, a lifetime supply for me. I bought this monster for 100 bucks!
   stewartthesmith - Sunday, 02/05/12 08:24:48 EST

bladesmithign shop : in a bladesmithing shop that you are trying to make a living from, tools in order of importance.
1st A good 2/72" 3 wheel style belt grinder at least 1 1/2 HP to include 8" wheel, flat platen, and small wheels (at min, 1/2" 3/4 2"and 3" more is better) variable speed is best. nothing will else will speed up knife making more than good grinders. 2-3 grinders is better 1 set up with a flat platen, 1 with the 8" and the last with small wheels.
2 a good gas forge with even heat for heat treating. (better is a salt pot set up for high temp)
3 an oven for tempering. torch tempering works but is easy to go to far and wast time, soak tempering (in an oven) is more repeatable and controllable. this can be nothing more than a kitchen oven with an oven thermometer as long as it hold temp up to 450F with in a 25f range.
4 A good drill press, for drilling handles and fittings.
5 a good heavy vice, for fileing out guards etc.
6 good set of files (needle files, flat, round and half round in VS sizes at a min.)

if doing pattern welding
forgeing press of at least 20 ton
power hammer
if sword making
a large salt pot and temper oven.
hope this helps
just remember a good tool that helps you get things done right and faster will always make you money in the end, buying/building a good tool will always be something you will not regret.
MP
   MP - Sunday, 02/05/12 09:32:45 EST

anvil : Im looking at a simmons keen kutter anvil and dont know what it is Is it iron with a plate on top or is it steel?
   vern kelderman - Sunday, 02/05/12 10:03:07 EST

Vern, I'm sure its in AIA. Pretty sure they are cast steel.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/05/12 11:45:37 EST

Elk Horn : Thanks, I already know of the various epoxy tricks, In fact one can buy already horn already treated. Its some kind of vacuum process where a resin of some kind is forced into the porosity then cured.

BTW, I like reindeer horns for a variety of reasons. Its just rather expensive as the Chinese make some kind of traditional medicine of it
and will buy it by the 40' container full, that runs up the price for the knife making trades.
   - Sven - Sunday, 02/05/12 18:54:02 EST

Sven : I like the looks of reindeer horn myself and it does look heavier, and wider in diameter than elk horn.
   Mike T. - Sunday, 02/05/12 22:27:54 EST

Any tips on dressing a lead filled brass hammer? It's cylindrical about 3" x 1/2", old and beat up. I tried some cold forging ON it, that's when the brass shined and the lead started to flake out (I originally thought it was entirely lead). Should I heat it? Pour out the lead, re-forge the hammer and pour lead back in? I need a good non-marring hammer and all the mallets I have just don't cut it.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 02/06/12 09:38:11 EST

dimension correction: 3-1/2" x 1-1/2" cylindrical
   - Nippulini - Monday, 02/06/12 09:38:50 EST

Non-marring mallet : Nip the best non-marring hammers and mallets are the urethane hammers filled with shot. They don't bounce and the soft plastic faces hold up well and don't marr. Available from 1# to sledges.
I bought mine at Harbor freight. AND no lead to deal with.
   ptree - Monday, 02/06/12 10:45:21 EST

Dressing Brass Hammers :
I never heard of lead filled brass hammers. . . "flake out?" don't quite understand that either. However, lots of soft free machining brass is has lead in the alloy. Makes them crumbly at forging temperatures.

Best way to dress brass hammers is machining, usually in a lathe. Next is belt grinding but the belt will clog AND the dust is not good to breath. Inhaled copper is almost as bad as the lead. . . OR use a file.

WARNING Many bronze non-sparking hammers and tools are beryllium bronze. Beryllium dust is toxic producing pneumonia like symptoms that are misdiagnosed until the autopsy. . . NEVER grind or polish beryllium bronze. Even machining should be done with dust controls. It can be identified by its light redish color and its hardness (more than mild steel). Most beryllium bronze tools are marked "non-sparking".
   - guru - Monday, 02/06/12 11:10:55 EST

Non-marring mallets :
You see lots of mushroomed brass and bronze bars in machine shops. These start as nice new stock and end up in the scrap bin. . . Often making brass hammers was an apprentice project - usually with metal handles.

For decades we had a little billet of babbit that sat on our lathe stand that was used for taping in and out, tapered shank tools. It might still be hiding in Dad's stuff. If so it will get parked on the end of his old lathe he gave me. . .

Those heavy plastic shot filled "dead blow" hammers are great for some things. The large ones are usually too big. Those about the size of a 3 pound hammer are best.

The hammers with the rolled rawhide ends are good. They are non-maring and hit hard. I have an OLD tire changing hammer with a steel body, slightly curved metal pien and a big rubber face. We used it on hub-caps. Works great but it is getting to be 50 years old or more. I expect the rubber to split into a bunch of pieces one day. . .

Plain old wooden mallets work well for a lot of things. A lot of smith use them for hot work that they don't want to ding (bending on a wood anvil with wood hammer).
   - guru - Monday, 02/06/12 12:08:52 EST

Non-Marring Hammer : TGN - I may have one similar to what you’re describing. Mine's a bronze bushing or piece of thick walled brass tubing filled with lead (cast in place), then drilled for a handle. To deal with the slight mushrooming I used a soft metal file. Eventually the outer piece will fail and split - at which time I'll melt out the lead and make another.

Jock - good advice about the beryllium (Be) alloys, I worked with tools made from Be alloys in the past and they were usually well marked. And in the shops I worked in all those tools were specially marked to stand out. Plus specific safety briefings about them were given, and the tech manuals had explicit warnings. The effects of beryllium poisoning are extremely unpleasant.
   - Don Shears - Monday, 02/06/12 15:26:18 EST

For armour making I commend to your attention armourarchive.org and yes the english spelling of armor is used.

For armour making the important thing is a good stake table, stakes, dishing forms, hammers and a beverly shear Most likely a B-2

For knives a belt grinder and a good propane forge.

For blacksmithing a powerhammer is a must have tool for a business.
   Thomas P - Monday, 02/06/12 16:51:49 EST

Elk Horn : soaking in strong tea or using shoe polish is a way of colouring antler usually followed by buffing to create highlights.
   Thomas P - Monday, 02/06/12 16:52:59 EST

Shop Must Haves :
AND if you are doing ANYTHING technical (bladsmithing AND armour IS technical), lots of references. Machinery's Handbook at a minimum, The ASM Metals Reference Book if you are going to use a lot of alloys or specify them, The ASM Heat Treater's Guide if you are going to do a lot of heat treating OR specify it. . . and MANY more.

The data contained in these books is far more than ANYONE can memorize and thus are essential references.

   - guru - Monday, 02/06/12 17:33:11 EST

Non Marring Hammers : In VoTec school We had lead hammers about 3#. These were cast on a steel handle. When they were deformed enough they were returned to the manufacturer for a credit against the new ones ordered.

The auto frame shop had 3# copper hammers on a steel tube handle, similar program to the lead hammers at school.

In a plastic faced hammer You can't beat a Lixie Dead Blow. These have a wood handle, shot filled steel head and replacable tips in several grades of hardness.

The "BASA" hammer and similar [iron head/wood handle] designs can be fitted with tips of a variety of materials, rawhide,plastic & soft metals. Ralph Sproul commented on the usefulness of a 4# rawhide faceed hammer of this type for shaping & streightening detailed work while hot. The trick is to always use the same side on hot work so You only screw up 1 end.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/06/12 17:45:27 EST

Clarification : What I refered to as a "BASA" hammer is one of these:
http://www.garlandmfg.com/mallets/split.html
The old ones I have say "BASA" on them.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/06/12 17:48:40 EST

Maybe its copper, I don't know. It has a wood handle, the seller had a bunch of nice tools a similar one with a pipe handle. I turned that one down. Maybe it's babbit? I have no experience with babitt although I've read a lot on the subject, but it definitely has a flaky appearance. I'll take photos.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 02/06/12 19:53:05 EST

Oh, and Jock I DO have a copy of "Forging Industry Handbook"..... amazing fountain of technical info. Any 2" thick hardbound book is worth its weight in gold (or wrought iron).
   - Nippulini - Monday, 02/06/12 19:56:25 EST

Nip : I don't know what babbit is either, all I know is, before they went to roller bearings on railroad freight cars, they used two piece babbit bearings on each side. That's the reason carmen had to walk a train and put grease in the journal boxes. I've seen them run out of grease and at night they would burn a cherry red. They had to place them in a siding before the journal dropped.
   Mike T. - Monday, 02/06/12 22:11:49 EST

Babbit : From American Machinists' Handbook Second Eddition 1914:

[parts of each material]

Babbit: 92 Tin, 8 Copper, 4 Antimony

Anti Friction Metal: 88.8 Tin, 7.5 Antimony, 3.7 Copper

Bearing Metal [Pennsylvania Rail Road]: 77 Copper, 15 Lead, 8 Tin

Babbit in bar form looks a lot like a lead bar, but rings when You bump them together.

The Pennsylvania Railroad mixture is & would lok like bronze.

   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 02/06/12 23:19:57 EST

Mr. Boyer : Your absolutely right,the railroad mixture does look like bronze or brass. My grandpaw told me back in the old Model A days instead of having rod bearings, they had shims. He said when a shim wore out, he would pull over, crawl underneath and cut a shim from a Prince Albert tobacco can. One guy told me he heard of using leather from an old shoe or belt. When my mama's folks migrated to Arkansas from Alabama, it took three days ( also they had to cover up with blankets, no heater, no top ) in that old model A, back during the depression Arkansas was called the land of opportunity, the reason for this was the fact you could get a job cutting timber, working on levees, etc. I still miss the old stories the older generation told, but we were left with a lot of memories.
   Mike T. - Tuesday, 02/07/12 00:32:35 EST

Mike : Old car engines had poured babbit bearings, it is anybody's guess what was used in a pinch when they were completely shot.

They had shim packs where the rod and main bearing caps bolted up, and when the bearings started to knock from being loose, a shim was removed to get back to a running fit. This was refered to as "taking up the bearings" if You ever heard an old timer talk about it. It was a regular maintainance job after an engine had some wear on it.

There were also grinders made to smooth up crank journals with the crank still in the engine. As the shims could be removed to fit a smaller size, they just made it smooth, but not to any particular size. Pretty crude by modern standards.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/07/12 02:31:32 EST

Depression Era Stories :
My Dad had quite a few of these stories. You also have to remember that this was on the heals of prohibition as well. Many good otherwise honest folks had stills in their attics and frequented Speak Easies. Moonshining was done in cities as well as out in the country. It was done more for family and to protest the government than to make a profit.

When my dad was a teenager he and his buddies would go out spotlighting rabbits while riding on the hood of an old car, a model A Ford I think. They also did a lot of frog gigging along streams at night. He said he was surprised they never grabbed a snake instead of a frog. . .

Dad said many of the old cars had water pumps with manually adjustable packing glands and you had to know how to adjust them to keep the car running. The packing was water lubricated. If there was not a slight leak the shaft and the packing would burn up. Too much leak and you couldn't keep the engine cool. Little did he know that he would spend the majority of his working career improving seals and fixing pumps.

My grandfather built "tanks" and "tankers" (armored cars and moonshine runners) for the Chicago mob. As a result my Dad met a lot of famous and unsavory characters as a kid. At this time cars were painted with a brush, flowing the paint on from the top down. Besides cars for the mob they painted hearses. Black paint was one of the most difficult to get perfect and grandpa and my fathers "uncles" were some of the best.

Lead solder was used for auto body work during this era. The torch used was acetylene fueled from a carbide generator. The carbide generators were given up for safety reasons long ago but lead solder was used in auto factories for a much longer time.

Grandpa and his cohorts had an early airplane which they flew from the sandbars on the Ohio River in the days when there were no regulations or licensing. Dad spent his last days building an Ultra-Light trying to relive those days.

Life was harder but simpler. Things changed rapidly with WWII.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/07/12 05:15:41 EST

Shims :
Automobile engines had main bearing shims up into the 1950's. When I replaced the bearings in my 1950 Chevy truck 235 straight six it had shims that I very carefully did not disturb and luckily did not have to.

Many machine tools had shims in plain bearings for a very long time. Both my old and our relatively modern enclosed drive Southbend lathes have shims in the main bearings. There is usually a stack with a number of very fine shims. Tailstocks on lathes tend to wear and become lower due to their small base. To adjust them upward you have to make shims to fit between the upper and lower parts. I've done this on several old lathes.

On Little Giants with wrap around guides you add shims to tighten the ram. Addition is required due to the way the guide wraps around the flanges on the frame. To do this properly you need to make a set of shims in advance so that you can trial and error the final fit. To get +/-.0005 you replace a .0015 (the thinnest practical shim in many cases) with a .002 or a .002 with a .0015. The set I made for my 100 pound LG had an .020", several .010", some .003" and .002", plus a pair .0015". Shims were required for both sides so a pair of shim packs are needed. When I was finished I bolted the remaining shims to the side of the hammer.

That is three machines I've worked on that required additional shims late in life when none were available from the manufacturer. Making shims is not difficult. It requires tin snips (scissors work best on thin shims) and punches for the holes. . . but these are often cut with snips. But I have also setup on the punch press to make hundreds of blanks (about 2" OD) and then punch holes (25/64")

On most Little Giant bearings they had wood shims which you simply tightened to compress. When you rebabbit an LG you need new wood shims or there will be no adjustment.

When designing machines there are many places that need close fits. Often the best way to get them is with shims or spacers. On a number of gear boxes I've built the best way to account for the stack up of a bunch of parts was a machinable spacer. The spacer was made with some extra length and then ground on the surface grinder in a trial and error fit process.

On the old German Pinto manual transmissions there were large snap rings that held parts of the housing together. These doubled as shims.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/07/12 12:26:19 EST

German made VW engines in the Rabbit had shims on the valve springs to set lash,Dumb in my opinion.
The Chrysler mini-vans use shims to align the rear bearing hub assy to the weldedup axle assy. This is a smart use of shims. Unles the axle is bent no need to further alter.
Most bug plantary final drives have very high bearing prelaods on the main bearings and are both hydraulicly loaded and the shim thickness measured in an automatic machine at the assembly factory. Local shop that fabbed stuff up for me made these and track assembly and maintenace machines for Cat.
   ptree - Tuesday, 02/07/12 14:25:55 EST

Shimed Valves :
The Triumph TR7 automobile, a typical British low tech attempt at being high tech had little shims under the overhead cam valve caps. To adjust the backlash you had to measure, then remove the cam, measure the shims and change them out. Measuring the backlash was simple using a feeler gauge. But measuring the shims required a micrometer (something very few mechanics have or use well). THEN, you had to juggle the shims for all the valves since no NEW shims were available. Luckily the first couple of these I did needed shims removed and that started a collection. . .

I performed this service for the local dealer from my shop for several years. I probably would have done more but the cars faded. The worst part of this job was the cast aluminum valve covers did not fit. They had a 3/4" gap at the front bottom and nearly 2" or more at the back bottom. The frequent valve checks required about 4 tubes of silicon to fill the gaps. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/07/12 16:45:38 EST

firebrick forge : I need to make a small gas forge. In the past I have cast them using Kruzite Castable. I thought I would try a firebrick forge , as shown on Larry Zoeller's website. He did one version that was multiple bricks wide.I thought I would try that without the mortar and just hold them together with a steel frame. Has anyone tried this? I am not inclined to do it in kaowool, I would rather not be concerned about flying fibers.

Thanks,

Steven
   Steven Bronstein - Tuesday, 02/07/12 17:33:11 EST

shimmed valves : Guru, the first engine I know of that had the overhead cam and shimmed valve stem caps was a Hispano Suiza of about 1914. A big V-8Wwater cooled aircraft engine, one of the first with mono bloc cylinder blocks and a number of other advanced features for the day. Way advanced over the Curtis OX-5 a separate cylinder V-8 of about the same displacement that made 90Hp on a good day and had exposed rockers that allowed screwing in the grease cups occasionally.
I do tend to much prefer adjustable tappets.
   ptree - Tuesday, 02/07/12 20:26:28 EST

Lead Hammers : Dave and all
Lead hammers used to be procurred with handle and mold.
When the hammer was 'used up', the lead was re-melted, additional lead added as necessary, and the hammer mold poured for a 'new' hammer.
Great 'dead blow' hammers and would recycle indefinitely.
Can't hardly 'steal' one on eBay but I would like to. A link to my early days in the trade.
   - Tom H - Tuesday, 02/07/12 20:28:50 EST

Tom H : I have 2 sizes of lead hammer molds marked "Chas M Field". These have a scoop cast as part of them and take a round handle of schedule 40 pipe.

I have not cast any, as I have some from the same salvage co. the molds came from.

The ones at school were from "Cook Lead Hammer Co." if I remember right. They used a forged handle.

Perhaps I should cast a mess of them for "Iron in the Hat".
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/07/12 22:20:55 EST

Valves shimmed for lash ajustment. : This is the method used in DOHC motorcycle engines, as it takes little space. There is not the need for frequent ajustment, as there are few wear surfaces with the cam riding directly against the valve cap.

One down side is that with a rocker arm, there is generally a mechanical ratio of 1:1.5 or greater to give more valve lift with a less severe cam profile. With a direct cam folower, all the lift is in the lobe.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 02/07/12 22:28:13 EST

blacksmith : I have a friend in Charleston, SC that needs an iron table made to hold a hexagon stone. Can you give me names or a way to find a blacksmith in that area? Thanks, Betsy
   Betsy - Tuesday, 02/07/12 23:13:13 EST

Betsy, Try the Philip Simmons Artist Blacksmith Guild at http://simmons.abana-chapter.com/ Some of the contacts MAY still work. According to the site they have a new web address but it does not work . . . . Sadly this is typical of small groups that don't have the continuity to maintain a web address.

There are also many blacksmiths nearby in North Carolina and Georgia. Check ABANA-Chapter.com for the associations in those areas. If you don't have any luck contact me directly. I have a friend in the furniture business here in North Carolina.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/07/12 23:43:34 EST

[ Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]
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