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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 March 8 - 15, 2011 on the Guru's Den
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Some of the vises I have look like the ball at both ends of the handle was forged to shape and size after installation. Was that the usual way they were made?

There was a four part article on vise restoration in some journal some years back. One of the segments was available online. I lost my link to that. Would someone please post that link again?

And, is there anyway to make all four parts available to the general public?

   - Tom H - Monday, 03/07/11 19:56:18 EST

Tom H.
The link to part 1 is http://www.anvilmag.com/smith/107f2.htm. You could contact the editor of Anvil Magazine, Rob Edwards, about acquiring the other three articles.

One time, I upset the end of a handle and forged it into a decent ball. On the other end, I threaded a portion and drilled, tapped a blind hole in a ball. After the handle was inserted, I screwed on the ball.

Both ends could be upset and shaped, but one would be done while the handle shank is through the screw head, a little awkward.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 03/07/11 20:26:17 EST

Tom on all good vises the ball ends are upset on the bar. Occasionally you can see the marks from the gripper dies from the upsetting machine. On very old vises with wrought handles the ball ends may have been forge welded on as a ring then shaped in dies. I have made replacement handles this way.

I've never used a vise with screw on vise handle knobs that stayed put. I've had them with plastic handles and brass inserts, screw on balls and the current Chinese cap with socket head cap screw. These last ones work loose even when the vise is not in use. . .
   - guru - Monday, 03/07/11 20:56:40 EST

Tom H. I have an old vise that came without a handle. I found the appropriate sized bar and sized the ends to fit snuggly in large nuts, I then welded them in place both top and bottom. You could grind them to round, but I didn't spend the time (I needed the vise ASAP), and now I don't much care...they can raise a blood blister as well as a round end can LOL. I can send you pic's and spec's if you'd like. They've held for over 5 years w/ no problem.
   Thumper - Monday, 03/07/11 23:48:06 EST

Thanks Thumper. I may end up doing about what you did.

Thanks Guru. I have worked with machinist or bench vises that the threaded on end cap would not stay tight. Pretty aggravating. I will look for the tell-tale gripper marks.

Thanks Frank for the link. Whenever I follow up the grandkids and straighten out the computer, I tend to lose things. I had thought of the threaded ball approach but wondered about the original method. Thanks.

Thanks all. It looks like the older and/or better vises had the ball end formed in place somehow. Kind of a challenge for the home shop but a neat challenge just the same. (If I try it there just might be a little filing involved as well.)
   - Tom H - Tuesday, 03/08/11 05:48:16 EST

Vise Handles:

I've had to do extensive repairs and/or refinishing on a few old post vises and part of that has included remaking or replacing the handles. I found the easiest way was to cut the handle shaft approximately at center, making the cut at a steep angle if I plan to re-weld with a torch. If I plan to forge weld it, I cut it square and later upset and form scarfs for welding. Once cut and removed from the screw ball, both ends can be cleaned up, the hole in the screw ball bushed down (if needed) and the handle replaced and welded, either by forge welding or gas welding. Electric welding doesn't work all that handily for wrought iron, due to the silicious inclusions.

I use the same method when I need to make a replacement handle - make tow halves and weld in the center. Since 99% of the time you use the handle the thing is stressed at or near one end, the weld in the center is not a problem and is easy to dress to invisibility.

Many old vises have the hole in the screw ball so wallowed out that it is sloppy and greatly increases the chance of pinching hell out of your hand, so I bush that down with a piece of appropriately-sized pipe or roll a strip of sheet and swage it into the hole. No need to weld it, the natural double-taper of the wallowed hole will hold it fine. I prefer to bush the hole to under-sized and then ream out to just the right size with a bridge reamer. When I put the handle back in, I add an O-ring at each end of the handle next to the knob so the falling handle doesn't continue to mash up the hole in the screw ball. That also cuts down on the hand pinching effect.
   - Rich - Tuesday, 03/08/11 07:53:38 EST

Come to think of it, I just finished making a small "gripper die" setup, because I needed some 5/16" rivets. It is a vise accessory forged from a railroad switch track, not the regular balloon track. It consists of a single piece, two "blocks" (jaws) above with vertical drilled holes...and connected by a thinned loop spring below. It fits into the large leg vise, so the shouldered blocks can be opened and closed. The shoulders rest on leg vise jaws to keep the tool in place. In making it, I annealed and drilled the closed, clamped "blocks" with a matchbook cardboard in between, in an attempt to keep the drill from wandering. This assembly was clamped in my cross vise, and I drilled for 3/16", 1/4", and 5/16". On each jaw, you wind up with a scant half-round. I hardened the jaws and tempered to a blue.

This style of rivet maker is not new; it is shown in Diderot and other books of antique tools. In using it, I was able to make 5/16" shank rivets out of 5/16" stock. The hot stock is notched for length, placed in between the dies and wrung off leaving enough above the block-like jaws for an upset head. Sometimes the shoulder may be a little sloppy, In that case, with another heat, I dropped the hot shank into a heading tool for clean-up.

Post script. Before plastic market baskets, many of them were made of 3/16" round. I would scour the alleys looking for discarded market baskets. Hey! Any port in a storm.

   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 03/08/11 08:33:04 EST

Vise Handle Bushings:

Steve Kayne showed me the rubber bushing trick many years ago and gave me a handful of electrical panel grommets for the purpose. They fit my large Prentiss vise which has a handle that weighs over 5 pounds and can do serious damage. It also makes a lot of noise which the bushings dampen. At the time Steve and I both had shops attached to the house and vise noise was a consideration.

The small 50 pound American made vise I have is all wrought and the handle much too soft. The vise itself, and especially the handle was bent up pretty bad. It did not take much to straighten it, but the handle is far too soft. It has been bent several times with only putting what I consider normal force on it. Mild steel would be much better. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/08/11 09:04:16 EST

Even more Vise Handles: I'm sure the first vise makers making vises mostly by hand figured out some sort of upsetting gripper system for handle knobs. It was their business. It was very likely something like Frank described. ALL good vises of every size from little jeweler vises with 1/8" diameter handles to big chipping vises 1-1/4" (32mm) handles had upset ends. Only low production machine shop made vises had threaded handles.

C-clamp screw handles also have upset ends. Can you imagine the short life of a C-clamp with a threaded knob that fell off on the first use? Sadly, this is what we have been reduced to with the majority of vises coming from China. The otherwise nicely made Fox vises that were Record copies that I put on my wood working bench both have cheap bolted on knobs that work loose on EVERY use. When I have time I will make some kind of repair. Either Loc-tite the threads or ding them and strip them in. . .

On my biggest Prentiss vise, an 8" monster weighing in over 200 pounds, some idiot welded the handle in the middle position. Did a good job. . . high amps deep penetration. I looked at a variety of ways to cut out the weld and decided my best choice will be to saw off the handles, then drill out the remainder, followed by judicious grinding to remove the weld. Then I'll have to repair the handle. . .

We have a big (the biggest they made) old Champion bench vise with adjustable base had locking screws with sliding handles. Its difficult to lock the base tight enough to keep from rotating so someone cut the handles off and went to using a pipe wrench on the cylindrical surfaces. Needless to say the surfaces are all cut up and rather ugly. Since it still works I doubt it will get repaired. However, a good fix would be lathe turned bolts with a tall oversize hex. Something a wrench would work on easily and provide ample clamping surface. Plain hex head bolts would probably also work. . .

On my old Sulivan lathe the compound rest locking nuts are very thin special size (some odd 1/32" size) that require a special wrench as well. They had rusted and locked up so someone took a center punch to them to try to rotate them without success. Repairs will require cutting the nuts off/out and making new ones and possibly new studs to match. None of this is "rocket science", its just part of maintaining old machinery and tools (like vises). Grab the bull by the horns and toss it. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/08/11 10:13:00 EST

btw (sorry for hijack) I just stumbled on SPHERICAL WASHERS on McMaster-Carr online catalogue. When I re-built my vice, I had a set made, but if I did it now, I think one of these may work (not sure)

The spherical washer set-up goes between the handle and the outside jaw, and helps distribute the linear force of the screw to the angular force of the jaw. Most vices I’ve seen have the shoulder in the screw formed to a male hemisphere, and should have a cupped-shaped washer to match.

No guarantee that ANY of these McMaster items will work. Just pointing it out.
   - Dave Leppo - Tuesday, 03/08/11 10:48:31 EST

I am planning on making a stand to hold some of my tooling (tongs, hammers, etc.) I wanted the stand to have riveted construction. I've never done this sort of rivet making before; any chance you guys could point me in a good direction to learn about gripper dies and the rivet making tool Frank was talking about or rivet making in general.
   RM Howell - Tuesday, 03/08/11 13:49:34 EST

I have bean working with my father-in-law in the back yard for several months now. we have a small coal forge and we've bean making things like nails, leaves, spoons, and decorative broaches out of mild steel. In my experimentation with spring steel I've noticed several properties that are puzzling. Can you explain to me Why/how the metal changes when its heated and beaten; I'm thinking its something on a chemical level but I don't know? The more pressing question that I have is what is happening to my project when when it gets white hot and it begins to disintegrate?
   Douglas Young - Tuesday, 03/08/11 14:59:37 EST

RM, The gripper dies Frank was talking about are in "The Art of Blacksmithing" as well as other resources. They are simply two blocks with shoulders that set in your vise and held in place so they spring open by a leaf spring between the two.

To make the "gripper" portion it is easiest to drill it. Clamp the two pieces together with a couple pieces of tin can between them (or a piece of 0.005" shimstock) and carefully drill at the joint. This works best when very flat pieces are tightly clamped as to present no gap at the joint. Drill carefully, a drill press is recommended. When done slightly radius the edges when the pieces meet. The shims give you the clamping you need.

You can also form the same hot by heating the gripper dies and clamping them on a suitable rod. You may need to files the surfaces to provide some gap for clamping.

You can also make rivet heads in a common header that works like a nail header. Just make a header with a round hole. If all the rivets are going to be the same and fairly short then a thick header the length of the shank works well. You may need to punch them out of the tool but they will all be uniform.

For common riveted construction smiths generally avoid making rivets all together and just use straight rod, making both heads in place on the work.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/08/11 18:21:38 EST

White Hot: Douglas, This is simply overheated or burnt steel. Wrought iron is about the only material worked at a white. Mild steel will occasionally get this hot on the surface without being damaged. The higher the carbon the lower the maximum working temperature. Alloy steels tend to crumble when overheated in the yellow range. This is due to separation of the metals.

Used spring steel has gone through heat treating (look it up on out FAQs page). It has been carefully preconditioned, hardened and tempered. This produces the best crystal structure for the metal's purpose. As soon as you heat a piece above its tempering point the original properties are lost. Overheating, quenching and other drastic changes must be avoided with medium and high carbon steels.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/08/11 18:29:02 EST

More Rivets: RM, See our iForge articles on rivets. The second one has the tool you were looking for. I think the gap I gave in the demo may be a little large.

To make larger rivets, even simply 3/8" shank rivets you can forge the shank first (say to 3/8" from 1/2") and then cut off above the shoulder and drop into a header to finish the head. Having a shoulder to start makes it easier than heading from straight bar.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/08/11 18:36:07 EST

my large post vise handle at top center would fall and pinch my hand between thumb and first finger. i welded with MIG two bumps on the handle so it wont fall all the way in , makes it easier to grab with one inch sticking up
   danny arnold - Tuesday, 03/08/11 18:59:36 EST

Hay Budden anvil - I have a HB anvil with a serial number of 67571 on it. Can anyone tell me an approx date? Thanks.
   J.D - Tuesday, 03/08/11 22:01:21 EST

anyone have any shop or ? contacts in central California that may have an opening for a millwright or maint. mechanic? I am looking for a new job as of 3/7/2011.
I'm not looking for an endorsement, just who to contact.
thank you
   - keith - Tuesday, 03/08/11 22:16:33 EST

The reason for using a matchbook cover instead of metal shim when drilling a heading die is that it acts much the same as a pilot hole to keep the drill on center.
   - Grant - Tuesday, 03/08/11 22:32:34 EST

Thanks for all the great info.
   RM Howell - Tuesday, 03/08/11 22:55:18 EST

Hay-Budden Numbers: If you read it correctly it was made in 1893 +/-2 years.

Note that this is from the list created by Richard Postman based on a few knowns and a lot of guesses. Such as assuming they applied serial numbers from the start, a 4 year discrepancy in when the company started, advertising claims of numbers manufactured.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/09/11 09:40:56 EST

Making a mini anvil from a RR spike head. Coming along nicely, but a little tough to handle such an unwieldy piece. Photos as soon as its done.

Grant... it's all about friction....
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 03/09/11 12:52:01 EST

Thanks for the info guru!
   J.D. - Wednesday, 03/09/11 13:22:46 EST

"Grant... it's all about friction...."

Hey Nip! Yeah, you really don't want them slipping when you're drilling them.
   - Grant - Wednesday, 03/09/11 17:22:09 EST

Paging Frank Turley!

Frank, over across the street at iforgeiron there is a fellow asking about what looks like a farrier's anvil with MP cast out of the side. Any idea of brand/age/value?

Anyone Else?

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/09/11 18:41:18 EST

MP is probably a "Multi Product" anvil (1955 - 1985), AIA. They made a chrome moly alloy steel farrier's anvil. No images or other info available.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/09/11 20:09:00 EST

I just found an old forge and it is made of 16 gage or more.It seems to have whats left of some type of concrete or clay in the bottem.I know I need something to keep the fire from melting the bottom.The question is what can I use for this? Thanks
   Charles - Wednesday, 03/09/11 21:44:12 EST

Hey Nip, When I used to make teeny parts in jewelery, I found the easiest way to hold the piece was keep it connected to the bulk of the metal or wax, finish it there then cut it loose and finish the bottom. Hope that helps.
   Thumper - Wednesday, 03/09/11 22:10:31 EST

Charles, Sheet metal forges are generally light duty rivet forges or portable farm forges. For the duty they are designed for no lining is usually required. The fuel bed or some ashes does the job. This assumes a hand crank or other hand powered blower.

For more details see our FAQ's page, Claying Forges
   - guru - Thursday, 03/10/11 00:50:28 EST

I want to find a job doing this kind of thing for a living. I have mostly worked creating chainmail vests and accessories but I want to learn more. Is there a way to make a career out of this and not just a hobby, if so how?
   Sean - Thursday, 03/10/11 01:21:15 EST

Sean, There are many opportunities in metalworking but very few in blacksmithing. The majority of smiths outside heavy industry are self employed, meaning they must be good at a LOT of things. Those who hire help need people with a wide range of unusual skills. Primarily they need people with skills they have confidence in.

Today you start with as much formal education as possible in math, science, art, drafting, business, machine shop, welding. . . To have the necessary skills to be a blacksmith you will need to create your own curriculum by combining trade school classes with some type of general education. There are also blacksmithing schools where you can learn to forge but that is the smallest part of what you will need to know.

Daily shop math includes simple measurement to layout, requiring geometry, trigonometry and calculating volumes and weights. You don't need to be an engineer but you need to be confident in the basics.

Anything outside of industrial blacksmithing or simple fabrication is artistic blacksmithing. This makes the smith an "Artist Blacksmith". Many get into the field overlooking this aspect of the business. Drafting, freehand drawing, layout, sculptural skills. . . are all part of the job. These too can be learned and like many things require practice.

A lot depends on where you are in life. Many go into the business from other areas or as retirement businesses. Some start as hobby smiths then segue into a full time business.

A modern blacksmith shop is very similar to a modern welding shop or ironworks. It requires a LOT to tools and machinery to be efficient enough and competitive enough to make a living. While you can practice blacksmithing with a minimal of tools you cannot make a living with a hobby setup.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/10/11 09:27:05 EST

I have a question. Can transmission fluid be used instead of used motor oil for hardening steel? Also, if I was to use used motor oil would that create any problems verses using new oil? I can't think of any major problems myself, but i'm not sure. thanks.
   RM Howell - Thursday, 03/10/11 12:59:20 EST

Sean if you can twist a rail road spike COLD, I will hire you
   danny arnold - Thursday, 03/10/11 13:03:43 EST

Charles a long time ago (14 years) i heard Frank Turley recomend sand / cement mix for forge lining. three parts sand to one part cement. mix moist will mold to shape you want. it has worked for my demo forge all this time. PAX
   danny arnold - Thursday, 03/10/11 13:11:03 EST

for what its worth i use tranny oil to hardening trans shops will give you a barrel of it and it dont stink as bad as used motor oil, just as messy though.
   danny arnold - Thursday, 03/10/11 13:15:49 EST

Does anybody used waste fry oil?
   - RM Howell - Thursday, 03/10/11 13:34:37 EST

I recently bought approx. 5 gallons of NEW fry oil at Sam's Club, and have been using that to heat treat in. Works well, and the lack of smell is very nice. The lack of zinc di-theophosphate additive in the oil as is found in almost all transmission and engine oils reduces my heavy metal exposure as well.
   Ptree - Thursday, 03/10/11 14:06:21 EST

Yes, the MP anvil is Multi Product. Dick Cropper of Chatsworth, California, visited Japan to see whether horseshoes, hand tools, and anvils could be made over there and imported for resale. This became his business. The anvils were a little freaky. Dick tried to copy some of the Hay-Budden farriers' pattern features, but he got carried away, especially on the waist and heel. Both became much too attenuated. The thin heel was springy.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 03/10/11 15:15:19 EST

Quench Oils: I had access to all the used motor oil I wanted when in the service station business. . . It is nasty stuff and besides the additives it starts with it ends up with gasoline additives, partially burned fuel, engine wear products including copper, tin, lead, cadmium. . ., engine coolant. If the oil comes directly from your automobile it may be one thing but if it comes from a service station it could have everything from drain cleaner or battery acid to pesticides in it. . . You never know what gets put in the waste oil tank.

While waste fry oil from restaurants is not as bad it can have surprises in it as well. I read one article where a fellow building a waste oil burner found most of a jar full of grated garlic in the oil. Besides the oil that starts in the fryers other oils used in the resturant as well as fat cooked out of foods (bacon grease) ends up in the oil. You may also find various dishwashing compounds in the oil.

While burning waste fry oil is pretty benign, burning waste engine oil is another. I've been around too much of it.

Quench oils produce a cloud of oil smoke/vapor that the smith often ends up inhaling. ITs a good reason to use a clean non-toxic quenchant.

   - guru - Thursday, 03/10/11 15:40:03 EST

I have a piece of tubing 3'long X 2.5 od & 1.5 id, 4130. I want to insert into a tube 20" long X 3.5 od & 2.5 id, low carbon with a seam. The clearance is not tight enough to heat the large tube and insert the smaller tube and expect it to be a tight fit. I am thinking that if I machine a V channel the lenght of the seam in the seam on the 20" piece more then half of the 1/2" of tube wall and reweld it, It will shrink to a better fit. Yes...no?
   SKSmith - Thursday, 03/10/11 16:35:09 EST

SK, I'm afraid your nominal dimensions don't tell us what the clearence is. You also do not state what kind of fit you want. Slip fit?, Press fit? Shrunk fit? Force fit? There is "tight" then there is TIGHT. . .

If you split the wall of a tube you have a 50/50 chance that it will open or close. It depends on the type of tube and the residual stresses. Some tubing would pop open creating a large cap that would be hard to close. Other tubing would spring shut and close a considerable gap where cut. This often makes it hard to split as it closes on the tool at the end of the cut.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/10/11 16:47:30 EST

   danny arnold - Thursday, 03/10/11 16:59:12 EST

Quenching Oil.
I think this is a good time to remind you to make sure you have metal container for your oil, as well as a lid, AND one other method of extinguishing the fire, such as a class B fire extinguisher, a bucket of sand, etc. Make sure you have at least 3 inches clearance from the top of the oil to the rim of the container (so if it get hot enough it won't boil over before you can get the lid on. Make sure your between the container and the door, and your fire extinguisher is near by.
   JimG - Thursday, 03/10/11 17:00:33 EST

I have some Kruzite Insulating Brick that I want to drill a hole in for my burner to pass through. I thought I would try a spade bit. Any reason why not?

   Steven Bronstein - Thursday, 03/10/11 17:11:27 EST

Steve, No matter what the refractory is, it will be hard on bits. So, as long as its not one of your best wood working bits I wouldn't worry about it. But its going to dull quickly.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/10/11 18:13:53 EST

Danny, I've got a quite large twisting wrench and a nice large vise bolted into a telephone pole. I may have to give twisting a RR spike cold a try tonight.

I may well be looking for a job later this year but was hoping to use either my Geology degree or my old unix bit-herder degree. (I was hired for the construction phase and that's winding down toward a 2012 cut off.)

   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/10/11 18:43:51 EST

Steve- Try a hole saw. I've drilled very clean holes in insulating fire brick with them, never tried it in harder brick thou.
   Judson Yaggy - Thursday, 03/10/11 19:26:03 EST

My father-in-law presented me with five gallons of lubricating oil from his boat's diesel angine many years ago. I quench in it sparingly; but is it better or worse for additives than standard gas engine motor oil?

Rain, rain and more rain on the banks of the lower Potomac. The marsh is flooded, but the swamp is still soaking it up from last year's drought.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 03/10/11 20:06:27 EST

I have used old cooking oil and new cooking oil. They seem to work fine.
   philip in china - Thursday, 03/10/11 22:42:57 EST

Bruce: I don't think there is any difference worth worrying about. It is all going to stink, nothing in the smoke is good for You. Stay up wind when You use it.
   - Dave Boyer - Thursday, 03/10/11 22:56:28 EST

Guru, I can see what you are saying about which way a tube might go with a slit. I wasn't going to slit all the way through the tube but just V groove it about half way and was thinking that when it was filled in with weld as it cooled it would shrink the ID a few thousands. I am looking for a one time assemble tight. It's 1/2" thick and low carbon.
   SKSmith - Friday, 03/11/11 00:00:14 EST

They say curiosity killed the cat, but I am getting curiouser and curiouser about what you are building. A tube within a tube. My mind works all the time thinking up
inventions and wierd stuff. Whats going on in your mind ?
   Mike T. - Friday, 03/11/11 00:38:33 EST

SKSmith: That sounds like it will work, if 1 groove isn't enough, just keep repeating the process 'till it gets tight.
I believe I would make the grooves plenty deep, perhaps 3/8" on the 1/2" wall.
How tight does it need to be? Have You considered welding the 2 materials together? If You do, preheat & post heat to reduce the chances of cracking.
   - Dave Boyer - Friday, 03/11/11 00:43:32 EST

hi guru, i live in the south of france and bought a 1903 belle epoque villa with original wrought iron window grates, fencing, and balcony. our painter reommended we 'freshen" the iron work and boy do we regret it. original color was a flat blue black - any options to restore it? Possibly gun bluing?? many thanks in advance.
   Alison - Friday, 03/11/11 02:52:50 EST

Allison tell us what method the painter used to (freshen), destroy the original finish on your period ironwork.
   danny arnold - Friday, 03/11/11 05:56:27 EST

SKSmith, In very large machines like forge presses and so forth, the bearing races are often shrunk in and to remove a 24" diameter race that is 12" wide from a half million pound frame is often tuff:) So the more or less standard trick to get a race out is to run a very hot stringer bead of weld about 1/3 to 1/2 the circumfrence of the race ID. you keep running those beads side by side till the race is loose. Usually only takes about 3 or 4 passes. Very hot and using a big rod:)
   Ptree - Friday, 03/11/11 07:23:36 EST

Cutting Forge Bricks:

For soft insulating bricks, I use either a spade bit (quick and dirty, not terribly accurate), or a hole saw. A bimetal hole saw will last for several holes before you've pretty much ruined it. For hard brick, I use a trashed bimetal hole saw that I added carbide teeth to.

It's a relatively simple process to make a carbide hole saw for masonry. Take an old hole saw and grind notches in the cutting edge with an angle grinder. Grab an old 7-1/4" carbide framing blade and, using an O/A torch, pull the teeth off of it. Then braze the teeth into the notches on the hole saw. Done. No need to orient the teeth, they cut by abrasive action, not shearing, so it doesn't matter how snaggly they go on as long as they'll stay there. The diameter of your finished hole will be larger than the hole saw you start with so adjust accordingly when selecting which one to modify.

To use the abrasive hole saw, drill a 1/4" pilot hole with a carbide bit. Then put a piece of 1/4" drill rod in the hole saw pilot bit hole and commence cutting your hole. No reason to ruin an actual drill bit when doing the hole sawing.
   - Rich - Friday, 03/11/11 08:44:20 EST

For cutting my insulating brick I cut sawtooth notches in basic black pipe and cut the holes with just hand power. IFB is really easy to cut with just about any kind of saw. And it wasn't really a drilling motion, just back and forth twisting, same as sawing.

One advantage to using pipe is I just chose the same sized pipe as the burner, so the hole fit perfectly.
   - Marc - Friday, 03/11/11 09:32:34 EST

Refinishing Ironwork, France: A lot of people like shiney "fresh" BLACK. . . The flat finish you had may have just been old aged paint but may have also been a carefully applied finish.

Generally the first step in maintaining old ironwork is to remove the old finish. The reason for this is that the finish is often cracked, chipping or otherwise compromised. All this breaks are places for rust to hid in. Painting over them just makes it worse. The rust will cause the paint to fail again and hides the damage being done. So the paint is removed.

Removing paint from ironwork is difficult and antique ironwwork is often treated with great care. I recommend sand blasting or CO2 grit blasting. However, antique restorers do not want you to damage any of the original iron-oxide scale finish under the paint so the recommend using a soft grit like walnut shells. Paint strippers and plenty of rinse water is also used.

Once stripped you may have a beautiful original iron color. DO NOT fall in love with it. Iron rusts and good paint is the only way to save it. If you like that fresh from the forge look then have the metal painted to look that way. It is ART just as much as the creation of the ironwork.

Pint should consist of a zinc cold galvanizing primer to start. Then a sealing primer over that. Then you top coats of various colors to produce the look you want. If you are looking for a metallic look you may want to start with a dark metallic blue gray. There are some wonderful automotive finishes this color. Over that you may want to spray or hand rub black or very dark gray to enhance texture, fill corners and give the work greater depth.

Baroque Art Gilders Paste

See the link above for some of the color possibilities for ironwork and the materials used to produce them. I recommend a good full coverage finish before applying hand rubbed finishes.
   - guru - Friday, 03/11/11 09:38:10 EST

So I chucked a 5/8" spike into a 6" post vise and used the twisting wrench that's about 3" total; in length, added a bit of pipe cheater on one end and have a nice smooth twist in it.

The old, smaller and lower C ones should be easy!

The biggest issue was setting my hands so if *anything* broke I wouldn't smash them into the utility pole the vise was mounted to.

   Thomas P - Friday, 03/11/11 13:43:50 EST

Mike T, I am interested in applying some of todays optics with 1860's technology. If your cat is still curious don't have her stand in front of it during ignition.
   SKSmith - Friday, 03/11/11 13:49:08 EST

a r.r spike twister can be made that twists all the way to the head, by taking a piece of flat bar 1-1/2" x 3/8"x 22" cut 2" off, save small piece. find center of long piece and trace spike head on center, torch cut hole, and weld small piece over hole, a CAJUN steering wheel! twists spikes hot or cold
   danny arnold - Friday, 03/11/11 15:06:07 EST


I'd think that grooving and welding the outer tube would distort it. The weld bead would shrink more than the metal below the groove, and I think that would suck the strip you welded on inward. You might end up with a slight 'W' (or is that 'M'?) shape as the surrounding metal compensated. If you're only trying to keep the inner tube from sliding out, that won't matter. But if you want solid contact all around the circumference of the inner tube, the distortion might be a problem.
   Mike BR - Friday, 03/11/11 20:58:35 EST

Ha Ha...well I love old technology myself, and love studying it. Nicholi Tesla's inventions were 100 or more years before his time. He discovered AC power, the methods for generating and distributing this power, the electric motor, micro waves, wireless transmitting, remote control of devices etc. etc. In school we were taught that Marconi invented wireless transmission but that is completely false, he used about 12 of Tesla's patents in order to achieve this, Tesla sued and was awarded the patent. School children are taught about Thomas Edison but Thomas Edison was a cub scout compared to Tesla. Tesla could have retired a millionaire but Edison cheated him out of a lot, then Westinghouse was about to go bankrupt and Tesla relinquished his rights in order to save Westinghouse. Sometimes, when I am driving down the highway and I look at power lines, transformers etc. I think of Tesla.
   Mike T. - Friday, 03/11/11 22:03:57 EST

Inventions and Prior Art:

You mentioned optics and it brought to mind two world class inventors with optics in their history. Before James Watt became famous for his work on steam engines he was an instrument maker and segued into surveying by make a split image rang finder in order to measure the distance across a river that previously had not been measured successfully. As a boy and adult James Nasmyth built reflecting telescopes. Nasmyth cast his mirrors from a bronze he called "speculum metal". The large telescope he made later in life had the eye piece in the pivot so the telescope's angle could be changed while the user stayed in one position. Nasmyth was the first to record the surface of the sun and sunspots.

Whle both these inventors probably made new inventions in optical equipment it was neither of their fields.
   - guru - Friday, 03/11/11 23:14:02 EST

They are still ripping poor old Tesla off. I doubt if there are any Tesla relatives left that they are getting any remuneration from the EV car company using his name. Now this leads to my newest question. The Tesla car is using a high density Panasonic ( a lot of them and labor intensive) with a limited warranty and a known life span. If a new battery pack is going to be in the 30 to 40 thousand dollar range...are there any customers for used Teslas???
   SKSmith - Saturday, 03/12/11 00:24:54 EST

The other question is what is the cost of properly disposing of large waste batteries?

Names and trademark. . . Unless one has a unique name it is difficult to trademark it. All your relatives have the right to use the name. So the form the name is used in and the field it applies to
   - guru - Saturday, 03/12/11 01:01:36 EST

Almost all of the heavy metal type batteries are fully recyclable. Lithium ion are recyclable. Lead acid car starting batteries are very recyclable and most of the lead in car batteries is from recycled car batteries.
With China being the prime source of rare earth metals and there current limits on exports increasing I look for lithium to become even more expensive, further increasing recycling.
My expectation is that the old EV batteries will be taken in for recyling when new ones are sold and will have value not cost.
I do not expect to be able to have a cost effective EV in my lifetime.
   ptree - Saturday, 03/12/11 08:36:52 EST

an auction of a complete ornamental iron shop and smithy with materials and products. can be seen at www. duckwall auctions .com i wish i had an 18 wheeler and DEEP pockets to go to Tulsa Oklahoma a smith can never have too many toys
   danny arnold - Saturday, 03/12/11 09:17:17 EST

I have been told that the lithium ion phosphates have a zero enviromental impact. They are quite remarkable in that they have no memory and are very accurate. I've had one sitting in my work shop that left China over a year a go and it still reads 3.26 volts as delivered. 50 batterys will read within a thousands of a volt of each other in a set. Our last car held 36 batterys at 12 lbs. each that was a DC to AC would go over a 100 mph and travel a 100 miles safely on a 4 hour 220 volt charge. At a 3000 charge life span the car will do over 300,000 miles. The car we are building presently is a DC to DC 11" with 50 batterys. The math says it will be over 400' lbs of torque in a 2500 lb car. The range..? Acceleration...get out the software and tell it what you want. I know we can beat the Tesla in a umber of performance areas at half the price. They have us on range per charge, but thier pack won't last as long either. LIPO batterys aren't the answer but they are pretty cool considering they are basically just dirt.
   SKSmith - Saturday, 03/12/11 09:19:06 EST

Hey SK,
Come to think of it, I was watching a program on TV and there was some guy that built a car like you are talking about. The front engine was removed and many car batteries placed under the hood. It ran very good. Railroad locomotives have electric motors connected to the wheels, the diesel engines you hear are just turning a large generator. The old locomotives had an engine air brakes, but the new ones have electric motors that start reversing, slowing it down. I think the term is dynamic brakes....I watched 60 Minutes on TV one time and there was a guy who invented a car that ran on water. The invention would separate the oxygen from the hydrogen, burning the hydrogen and giving off water as a by product. He said he had no formal education, and believed anyone could duplicate what he did. He wondered why the government had not persued this technology. Well, I believe we have an oil based economy and any invention like that would wreak havoc on the world economy.
   Mike T. - Saturday, 03/12/11 09:49:13 EST

Tulsa Auction. . .Hmm, might be an interesting auction but their low resolution slide show is nothing but a tease. .
   - guru - Saturday, 03/12/11 09:52:06 EST

Batteries. . . there is no way a electrochemically active compound can be environmentally neutral. It may start benign but there must be an anode and cathode and metal ions moving which means soluble metals. They also produce heat which can be a hazard in itself.

As to recycling, everything depends on the value of the material and the cost of recovering and processing useful material. We live in a world with mountains of eminently recyclable materials which are not recycled due to the economics and practicality. MANY localities that have setup mandatory recycling have found that they cannot find a market for their recyclables. So, they stack up, OR are still buried. The problem in many public recycling systems is that the plan must include EVERY aspect from collection, to processing to manufacturing and distributing (selling) a product using those materials.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/12/11 10:16:21 EST

H2, Free energy, Perpetual Motion Machines: All self contained hydrogen powered "systems" are BS. They are either phony perpetual motion machines OR electrolysis systems where the power used to break down the water is considered inconsequential. IT IS NOT. YouTube is loaded with these idiots and charlatans. Local and national news organizations often run these stories without any investigation OR consulting an engineer, physicist or ANYONE with a grain of education.

The first perpetual motion machine I saw in the news years ago was a kid and his father running a flywheel off a motor then turning off the power and letting the flywheel turn a generator that lit a light bulb for a few minutes. The inventor claimed (as they ALL do) is that as soon as they solved the "friction problem" it would be FREE power! They disregard the initial "power" input and the fact that a light bulb IS a form of friction in the system. . .

YouTube is loaded with guys using a big electric battery OR the automobile engine and generator to generate hydrogen by electrolysis and feeding the hydrogen into the engine. . . They never consider the energy cost (or the efficiency losses) in making that hydrogen. . . It ALWAYS costs more energy to break the bonds of the water than is available by burning that hydrogen. . . Its a basic rule of nature.

There used to be TWO things the patent office would not grant a patent for, life forms and perpetual motion machines. They screwed up big time letting life forms be patented (something that is going to be turned around). But perpetual motion is an impossibility. Always has been, always will be.

The closest thing to perpetual motion is nuclear power. In the 1940's scientists predicted (on good science), chicken egg sized nuclear power cells that would last 40 years. However, the scientists overlooked shielding, power conversion and other hazards. In the early 1960's my Dad produced commemorative coins gold plated by the first use of direct thermoelectric conversion of power from a nuclear reaction. This method still powers many military satellites and some critical ocean buoys but nothing else.

The egg sized nuclear power cell with a 40 year life was supposed to operate an automobile until it wore out then be transferred to the next automobile. . . Such portable power made the robots of science fiction possible. But for the time being, they are still science fiction.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/12/11 14:30:26 EST

I understand that the real environmental impact of Lithium ion batteries is not so much in recycling but in the processes used to produce them. True of many materials. Much mercury in waterways is from gold recovery. Even though gold itself is benign.
   - grant - nakedanvil - Saturday, 03/12/11 16:05:43 EST

The point being that no one considers gold to be an environmental hazard. But the production of it certainly can create one. Mercury is the cheapest, easiest way to recover gold fines. You have to look at the whole picture, just as Jock was pointing out with the perpetual motion machines.

Nuclear energy is highly subsidized with fuel storage and containment. But then so is oil. All of our military in the middle east and other places should be added to the cost.
   - grant - nakedanvil - Saturday, 03/12/11 16:15:37 EST

Never will be a free "free lunch", but some are more econmical then others. Personally I don't think the next new energy source even exists in thought yet. I don't consider LIPO's as anything more then interim...but they are cetainly more friendly then our archaic lead/acid cells.
   SKSmith - Saturday, 03/12/11 16:48:22 EST

SKS: yeah, all of it is just another step in the journey, not the destination. We learn and move forward.

Just think what gas would cost if we had to pay for the Iraq war at the gas pump! Or for that matter with every plastic bag or pound of petro-chemical fertilizer or pesticide. Our grand kids will be paying for our oil. Just so we can spend an hour driving to work where our grandfathers spent an hour walking to work.
   - grant - nakedanvil - Saturday, 03/12/11 17:08:27 EST

Perpetual motion and free electricity!
In England there used to be a morning radio programme called "Today". It might be still running for all I know. From being a boy through to adulthood I have heard stories on that about how we are just about to get free electricity from..... (enter waves, solar, wind, hydrogen or whatever else). 50 years later I am still waiting. I remember Swift wrote about a similar place that Gulliver visited. They were always just about to invent a new way to grow food. Meanwhile the people starved.
   philip in china - Saturday, 03/12/11 18:32:31 EST

three words: cold fusion.

the real reason why palladium was the top performing commodity of 2010 :D
   - Ty Murch - Saturday, 03/12/11 18:40:39 EST

It won't save the world, but I have to say I love the $80 Ryobi lithium ion drill I bought a couple of years ago. I can't remember the last time I drilled a hole more than 50' from an electrical outlet, so a cordless drill is strictly a convenience. And it's a lot more convenient when you can pick it up where you set it down a month ago, stick a bit in the keyless chuck, and drill a hole.

If I used a drill every day, it would be easy to keep it charged, and I probably wouldn't mind replacing the ni-cad batteries (or the drill) when they wore out. But for occasional use, the lithium ion batteries are a real plus. This particular drill doesn't have that much speed or torque, but it's very small and light (more so with the Li batteries). And it probably handles 90% of the holes that don't go in my drill press (and all the screw driving). For those times when I need a real drill with a real chuck, I just have to dig one out and plug it in.

I think I'm fairly described as cheap, but I can't see buying another ni-cad (or Nimh) powered tool.
   Mike BR - Saturday, 03/12/11 19:14:13 EST

cant beat a cordless drill for sharpening tungsten electrodes with a bench grinder dedicated to that purpose only
   danny arnold - Saturday, 03/12/11 19:39:53 EST

Ty look out for black helicopters
   danny arnold - Saturday, 03/12/11 19:42:35 EST

And learn to count. . three words?

   - guru - Saturday, 03/12/11 20:10:57 EST

The Tulsa auction is a bunch of 70's equipment that looks pretty well used-
The cold saw is only about a 10", not very big, but, I think its Italian or German. A hossfeld with some tooling, and a home made twister.
The Mubea is only a punch, not a full on ironworker, and only a 30 ton machine at that. And it is 80's at the newest- which means sketchy support, since Mubea has changed hands at least once since then.
The welders are ancient- in this day and age, its kind of silly, in my mind, not to be using an inverter if you are welding for money.
So, all in all, nothing I would drive across town for, much less to Tulsa.

You know the old song- "Dont ask me why I'm going to Tulsa, cause the answer, I just dont know".
   - Ries - Saturday, 03/12/11 20:14:53 EST

Just seen where Blue Moon Press is printing new copys of Francis Whitakers Blacksmith Cookbook Recipies in Iron for $40.00, seen a few originals on Amazon for 600-800 dollars. I picked up one unsigned original a few years ago for $50 on Ebay.
   Greg S - Saturday, 03/12/11 20:25:39 EST

When I was at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. years ago, there was a machine dubbed a perpetual motion mchine. It looked like a small ferris wheel, instead of seats, it had small buckets. There were balls in one or more of the buckets. When the bucket with a ball in it got to the top
of the wheel, a trip would let the bucket turn over dropping the ball in the bucket below it. That pushed the wheel all the way around until the ball got to the top again. All the time we were there, I never saw it stop. I'm sure it did eventually. When I was a boy, I used to think of an electric motor turning a generator, which in turn sent electricity back to the motor. I never got a satisfactory answer as to why it wouldn't work. That may be my next project. :)
   Mike T. - Saturday, 03/12/11 20:48:05 EST

Mike, the "showpiece" perpetual motion machines have a motor or switched electro magnet hiding somewhere.

The reason they don't work is as said above, you can't get something for nothing. If you hook a frictionless motor and generator together where does the initial energy come from? Then what about resistance in the wires? There are always losses. So you put a big flywheel in the system. But what initially starts it moving? Energy has to come from somewhere. And the fact is, it will run longer without the motor and generator. . . on that "free" energy you started it with. . .

There have been hundreds of these arrangements and none work or are fakes. .
   - guru - Saturday, 03/12/11 21:47:19 EST

Depending on your background, this will probably bore you, drive you nuts, or both. But I can't resist, so here goes:

Suppose you took a reverse osmosis water purification membrane, put it on the end of a *long* pipe, and lowered the string of pipe to the bottom of the Marianas Trench.

Initially, the inside of the pipe would be at atmospheric pressure (well, a little higher at the bottom due to the weight of the column of air inside the pipe). The pressure outside the pipe at the bottom would be very high. So presumably the membrane would do its thing and filter out the salt, gradually filling the pipe with fresh water.

The interesting part in my mind is what would happen next. The pressure in the pipe would increase as it filled with fresh water. But fresh water is less dense than salt water, meaning that even when the pipe was filled to the top (at sea level), there would still be a pressure differential across the membrane at the bottom. Would fresh water start overflowing the pipe?

There may be, and probably are, practical reasons why this wouldn't work. I tried to run the pressures once and came up with numbers in the right ballpark for the membrane to work, but it looked like a close thing. There may be other problems (aside from the question of what you'd do with a source of fresh water in the middle of the Pacific Ocean). But I'm having a problem coming up with a reason why it wouldn't work in theory.

On the other hand, it only *sounds* like a perpetual motion. Absent any other input, all the salt would eventually wind up on the bottom of the ocean, and it would stop. (Actually it would stop a lot sooner than that as the concentrations and pressures changed, but you get the idea). If it really did work, it might actually run forever, but only because the sun, wind, and tides would keep the water mixed up.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 03/13/11 07:40:48 EDT

Everybody would like to be able to repeal the Laws of Thermodynamics, but it just can't be done. Perpetual motion ain't gonna happen sport, so get over it.
   - Rich - Sunday, 03/13/11 08:25:54 EDT

i love my Miller inverter for in home installations of railings. tig with the clients electric power, and it is so high tech the client always go wow!if only a model would separate argon from the air and it would be PERFECT
   danny arnold - Sunday, 03/13/11 11:07:35 EDT

Mike, Did you take out the friction in the pipe? This is a surprisingly large number. It is also an odd effect. When the fluid is static on a horizontal tube the pressure is equal at both ends. But as soon as the fluid starts to move there is friction and pressure drop.

Wave action generation is one of those that many point to as promising because of the large areas available and number of buoy generators that could be deployed. But like ALL things of this sort, even wind, there are costs and environmental effects. Initial cost and maintenance is relatively high on all hydro and probably higher on wave power. A large field of these devices would take energy out of the wave and thus OFF the nearby shoreline. How this effects the nearby shore and sea bed would be difficult to determine.

Large and small scale solar is probably one of the best possibilities for cheap environmentally friendly power. However, there IS an environmental down side. Large scale solar lowers the local temperature and shades ground formerly exposed to the sun. . . However, this can be a benefit in an agriculturally integrated system.

A very interesting twist to solar is bio diesel from plankton. It requires a large scale processing plant lots of area but it is carbon neutral. The claims are that a relatively small area on the map (actually a very large area) could supply all our transportation fuel needs. If true the investment would be much better than oil wars. . .

Oh yeah. . . weren't we told that oil from Iran would pay for the war? No cost to the taxpayer or fuel buyer. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 03/13/11 11:29:14 EDT

was not about oil it was WMDs right? ... right???
   danny arnold - Sunday, 03/13/11 13:37:30 EDT

do you know about the forth style anvil from hay budden made of one piece forged steel with no face plate? was woundering if you could help me find and purchase on.thanks Darin
   darin finck - Sunday, 03/13/11 14:45:36 EDT

MikeBR: Your system is dependent on a pressure differential. Actually the water would probably not even rise all the way in the pipe because you lose the pressure required to push the water through the membrane. If it requires 1000psi to push through then the pressure on the bottom of the pipe is 1000psi lower than outside. Once the water rose a certain distance there would not be sufficient pressure to push through the membrane.
   - grant - nakedanvil - Sunday, 03/13/11 16:09:26 EDT

I read the book by Bob Woodward called " State of denial ". He interviewed many people in the government before writing the book. If I understand the book correctly, the reasons for the gulf war were for the following reasons. George Bush Sr. was a veteran and made speeches at veterans events, he found out that the vets were angry that Bush Sr. had not finished the first gulf war by going in and taking down Saddam Hussein. This was troubling to Bush Sr. When Bush Jr. comes into office and 9/11 takes place, this gives him an opportunity to right the wrongs perceived after the first gulf war and not only take down Hussein but also establish democracy in the middle east. As far as what we see on television, I think we only see what they want us to see. A majority of people has turned to the government for the answers to everything and to provide everything and they are willing to make promises and provide as long as we keep them in power. The public has been ( for the most part apathetic, maybe even myself included )to the sufferings around the world as long as our government gives us what we want. There are regions in South America that has been left devastated and polluted by major oil companies.
   Mike T. - Sunday, 03/13/11 16:19:39 EDT


You're very likely right -- it had been a long time since I ran the numbers. Based on Wikipedia, the pressure is 15,740 PSI at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Wikipedia also says that seawater is about 2.5% denser than fresh water. If my math's right, the pressure at the bottom of a pipe full of fresh water would be about 400 PSI less than the corresponding pressure outside the pipe.

Wikipedia says that reverse osmosis units fed seawater normally run at 600 to 1000 PSI, and have to overcome 350 PSI of natural osmotic pressure. So it probably wouldn't work, and certainly not at any significant flow rate.

But then it was never a practical idea anyway. And as a thought experiment, it's easy to ask what would happen if the Trench was 50% or 100% deeper.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 03/13/11 18:06:53 EDT

where to get soft coal near eastern south dakota. recently moved from california and ran out of supply that i transported here.
   wayne harless - Sunday, 03/13/11 19:07:06 EDT

Mike BR: RO membranes need a great flow of raw water over the membrane surface to move away the accumulated salt. Even if what You suggested worked, it would only work for a short time before the membrane plugged. In a RO system, product water flow is about 10% of raw water flow.
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 03/13/11 21:09:45 EDT

Darin, Late Hay-Buddens were two piece, top forged medium carbon steel, the bottom low carbon and arc welded at the waist.

See our Anvil Gallery. Hay-Budden Anvils and Large Hay-Budden Anvil and Medium Hay-Budden Anvil
   - guru - Sunday, 03/13/11 22:03:04 EDT


I think that's the best answer I've heard yet. It still wonder if there's something else I'm missing, though.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 03/13/11 22:17:40 EDT

can anyone tell me the ceramic glaze i can torch apply to steel? rememember the old steel pots with a white ceramic glaze called "granite" i made a steel magnolia and want to do that finish
   danny arnold - Monday, 03/14/11 09:35:45 EDT

Danny, These are all baked on in a furnace as far as I know.
   - guru - Monday, 03/14/11 09:38:04 EDT

The problem with real glass enamel finishes, like on bathtubs or the old cowboy coffee pots, is slow cooling- you need basically an annealing oven like glassblowers use, to let the metal cool slowly enough that contraction doesnt crack the glass off.

That said, Dorothy Stiegler has been using some sort of powdered glass to do colors on her forged steel flowers and sculpture for many years.
Its small scale, very thin, and not cheap, but the glass enamelling powders can be made to work to color steel with a torch.
There are lots of suppliers online- Thompson is a big one.
This is an art, for sure not a science, and will require a lot of experimentation.
It will not give thick, all over colors, but thin washes and tints.
   - Ries - Monday, 03/14/11 12:43:54 EDT

More on enamel-
Real enamel, like the granite finishes, required a specific alloy of steel, and uniform thickness, preferably pretty thin.
I once sold a saw to a guy who does enamel signs and artwork, and he only used a special alloy of sheet metal- it was a low carbon alloy, probably aluminum killed. And he could not do anything but sheet metal, up to about 16 gage.
A forging with varying thicknesses is the hardest to enamel- the bigger masses will hold heat longer, and it is essential to cool the whole thing slowly, or the glass all cracks off.

Kohler does enamel full sized bathtubs, but its a huge industrial setup that has had all the bugs worked out over 100 years or so. Its not a home operation.
   - Ries - Monday, 03/14/11 12:47:30 EDT

As Ries pointed out, this is an art, and probably outside of all recommended applications for the material. So, first thing you do is a LOT of experimentation. Never try these things on a finished work that you have a lot of effort in. Sometimes the Got-away-with-it factor applies to nonstandard processes.

I would do some research on enameling like they do in jewelery and start with readily available ceramic glazes. Then experiment a LOT. Keep in mind that most of these are various heavy metal compounds which produce very toxic fumes when overheated.

I believe Thomas has experience with enameling.
   - guru - Monday, 03/14/11 13:48:38 EDT

Years ago, like 30+ years ago, I was able to apply enamel to sterling silver with some success, as an inlay. It cracked rather badly but stayed intact and firmly bonded. The cracking worked well to simulate turquiose without the epoxy and ground up real stone. I made a sunken area of about 1/32" and filled heaping with the enamel powder. Tourched until melted. Then abraded the surface flush.
The Sterling was pickeled well to present a fine silver surface for the enamel.
   ptree - Monday, 03/14/11 14:01:21 EDT

what a wonderful site i pose an offthewall question at breakfast, come home for lunch, and answers! now i am intrigued with the possibles this finish even moso, than b4 i will try it 4 sure! i was told Target stores carry ceramic glazes will check them and Thompson in my e-mail i was ax about my miller inverter it is a maxstar 150 i got some time ago, at the time it was a brand new tech. and costly about a thousand $ might have got cheaper now.
   danny arnold - Monday, 03/14/11 16:10:44 EDT

do i goto guiders paste?wanted to use the dragons breath from the lil hole in the whisper daddy always thinking how to do two jobs at same time i saw at a welding confrence a demo of a gun, creamic applied with a gun like or is metalizing a hopper and torch and depressed air???
   danny arnold - Monday, 03/14/11 16:45:11 EDT

If it doesn't need to withstand high heat or be food safe, there are other "fused" finishes you could try. All of the powders used in powder coating are fused finishes and can be applied in the same manner as high-temp enamels, but at a much lower temperature.
   - Grant - Nakedanvil - Monday, 03/14/11 16:46:53 EDT

Any reviews of the two setup-type videos for LG's. Sid has one and Dave in Canada. Are they more or less the same? Is it worth getting both?
Thank you,

   Fred - Monday, 03/14/11 17:14:15 EDT

I tried some enameling using Y1K methods once, grinding my own glass and using the forge as the heat source. Things I learned:

stained glass is not "alloyed" to be used as enamels (a lot of different varieties were tried)

Adding borax to it does NOT help the problem of it spalling as it cools.

The brake light lens from a 1940's? truck did work---a piece found in the spoil piles along a river in Columbus OH

A flowerpot melted and boiled trying to use it as the "furnace" for the enameling

A stainless steel creamer did work.

I have seen the torch applied enamels demonstrated in the sales area at Quad-State, very nice touch for flowers and animals.

Working for Whirlpool (Refrigerators) I know they sent their enamel line down to Mexico to radically reduce costs and oversight. (Hospital refrigerators could still be ordered with *real* enamel interiors that can deal with solvents and cleansers.) Folks who worked in the enameling part of that line wore complete spacesuits and worked in a sealed chamber as the powdered glass was not human friendly on several levels!

   Thomas P - Monday, 03/14/11 17:26:25 EDT

Dave Manzer Videos: Fred, The Dave Manzer videos are about adjusting and tuning a Little Giant, and using a Little Giant. There is nothing else our there like the tune up video. The videos Sid distributes are about rebuilding the machines.

We are the exclusive distributor of the Dave Manzer videos in the U.S.
   - guru - Monday, 03/14/11 17:41:50 EDT

I've done a bit of enameling on various metals. About the easiest to work with is fine silver, the most difficult is mild steel. As Ries noted, the most significant problem is one of spalling as the enamel cools and shrinks at a different rate than the steel. If you can get ultra-low carbon steel like used in transformer core plates it works better than A36 by far.

If you want a "solid" color you must first undercoat with a white ground coat then fire other enamels over that. This is the best method to ensure good adhesion too, as the white is somewhat more "flexible" as to what it will adhere to. Transparent enamels are less accommodating, but they sometimes do work fine. The key to success is cleanliness, proper choice of enamels and slow, controlled cooling - there's really no good substitute for an electric kiln for this type of work.

I use and recommend Thompson enamels. Fortunately, I have a significant stock left over from doing enameling forty years ago when the stuff was almost affordable (if you didn't buy too many of the yellow/red spectrum). In addition to the enamels you'll need Kleer-Fire, a flux, gum arabic or gum tragacanth and plenty of patience.

I suggest you start your enameling attempts on copper sheet, preferably about 18-22 gauge. Much more forgiving than steel and way cheaper than fine silver. Once you master the copper, try the steel sheet, then move on to non-uniform section steel for the ultimate challenge and frustration.
   - Rich - Monday, 03/14/11 19:21:11 EDT

Im looking for an anvil for forging and hardening silver steel rod into hand tools, I think maybe a 50KG one would do, any guys recommend any british/european makers of top quality anvils?

   - Pete - Monday, 03/14/11 19:27:07 EDT

is a new world i found ! dont get many at 60+ willcall my welding sales rep tomorrow onec i see that expensive toy they sell i will make something that wwill workx
   danny arnold - Monday, 03/14/11 19:34:48 EDT

In the UK, the big supplier is Vaughans.

on the continent, its Angele-

Both sell a range of new anvils.
Used ones might be found thru members of the British Artists Blacksmiths Association-
   - Ries - Monday, 03/14/11 20:06:51 EDT

You can hot spray all kinds of amazing finishes on steel- from other metals, like aluminum, zinc, and copper, to hard surfacing steel coatings, to ceramic coatings.
Some of them would make beautiful decorative finishes.

The problem is cost. The new rigs cost $5000 and up, and the powders or wires to spray are quite expensive too.
Depending on the machine, you can even spray metals onto wood, plastics, and sheetrock.

check out thermal spray technologies online- they explain the different processes- wire, powder, hot, cold, plasma, torch, and arc.
none are cheap, but the possibilities are many, if you can afford it.
Thermion is one company that makes equipment- specially modified wire feeders and power supplies.
The old warhorse of the 60's, Metco, which made torch spray units, is now Sulzer Metco. They make a whole line of equipment for thermal spraying as well.
   - Ries - Monday, 03/14/11 20:30:55 EDT

Anvils in Europe: Currently anvils are being bought by the container load in Great Britain and Europe and shipped to the U.S. for resale. A LOT of good deals on some very classy anvils. The U.S. market has been hot for a long time and prices are generally high. The European market is heating up but there are still a lot of bargains to be found.
   - guru - Monday, 03/14/11 21:10:05 EDT

French Enclume

Classic French Anvil

123 Kilogram French Anvil marked B.B. Bissaud found in Limoges, France.

The anvil above was purchased for approximately 2 Euro/Kg. That's currently $1.25/lb. These are 1950's anvil prices. I suspect this was an unusually good deal but I'll bet there are more like it The anvil is a classic, and an antique, but it is still a usable tool as good or better than a new anvil. I'd love to have this one in MY shop. . .
   - guru - Monday, 03/14/11 21:40:10 EDT

is the powder available for less than buying the whole rig?
   danny arnold - Monday, 03/14/11 21:46:22 EDT

thanks for the response about ceramic finishes pocket book problems say guilders paste for this steel magnolia. next dumb question what is anti borax?
   danny arnold - Monday, 03/14/11 22:22:13 EDT

Danny: You can get the metal powders from your local welding supply. Be ware of sticker shock. The torches for flame powder spraying come up from time to time on eBay & Craigs List. The Eutectic Castolin fits on a Harris 85 torch handle, the Colmonoly fits a Victor 100 handle. All-State makes one too. Some use a powder hopper, others the powder bottle fits on top of the torch. The powder is fed by gravity and probably a venturi inside the torch body, and goes out into the gasses to be melted in the flame between the torch tip and the work.

I don't know how these might differ from the ceramic unit You saw.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 03/14/11 22:33:35 EDT

Anti Borax is a welding & brazing flux company. They make a few different formulas for brazing & cast iron torch welding. I don't know for sure what is in them, but have used #2 for brazing.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 03/14/11 22:38:21 EDT

Anti-Borax: This is a trade name for a line of fluxes. Most are primarily boric acid but most have a little anhydrous borax. The different fluxes vary in other ingredients such as powdered iron, ammonium chloride. . . . according to application. See our Borax FAQ.
   - guru - Monday, 03/14/11 22:40:08 EDT

I spelled one of the spray torch manufacturers wrong, it should be Colmonoy.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 03/14/11 22:44:56 EDT

Thanks guru and all, where else in the WORLD is there a resource such as this? y'all are great!now can anyone tell this old smith how to guilders paste? where to get it? and if it is my best choice for a steel magnolia?
   danny arnold - Tuesday, 03/15/11 10:42:27 EDT

You can get Gilder's paste from Blacksmith's Supply or locate a dealer near you through the manufacturer at www.gilderspaste.com online.

Personally, if the piece was to be located outdoors I'd use automotive acrylic enamels or lacquers. They are far more durable than the Gilder's Paste in my experience. Gilder's Paste is dandy for interior work, though. You can apply it with a brush, your fingers, cloth or dilute and spray it if you wish. It is similar to artists' ground pigments in consistency, though it has a binder included in the formula.
   - Rich - Tuesday, 03/15/11 11:10:50 EDT

Any suggestions where to get a nice anvil in the UK? Need one for forging silver steel rod, 25-50KG maybe.

   pete - Tuesday, 03/15/11 12:10:23 EDT

Art Finishes: I usually recommend automotive lacquers (can you still get them???). . I used to do all kinds of custom work with a cheap Sears spray gun. I used it like an air brush. The trick is mixing the colors with clear to make glazes. You can also do the same with spray cans. Ever look at some of the more artistic "graffiti"?

For small jobs spray cans are cheaper than buying paint by the quart or gallon. I use the touch up lacquers. They are very durable. The down side is you cannot mix your own.

ALL paint jobs start with clean metal, proper primer and care of execution.

I recommend using Guilders Paste over a good protective base coat of primer and a color. I have not used it for outdoor work. If I was I would test putting a clear coat of lacquer OVER the Guilders Paste. I am not sure of the compatibility, thus the test. You cannot use lacquer over enamels and certain other paints. The lacquer will soften then react with the other often creating a curdled surface that may not harden. THUS the testing.

Almost a half century ago I did a number of water based acrylic paintings over top of oil paintings I had done earlier. This was an absolute NO-NO according to all the literature. . . I tried one, it stuck so I did more. I ran out of old canvases I wanted to paint over so the issue went away. So far the paintings are holding up perfectly. No telling what they will do in the future but they have not shown any change in almost 50 years. Maybe its more "Got away with it" factor. . .

I do know that acrylic lacquer can be applied over acrylic artists colors. I put a heavy coat over a retired painting pallet as a test. I do not know how it would hold up outdoors. Artists colors are much softer than automotive finishes so there may be an issue there.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/15/11 12:21:32 EDT

Pete, your original question was answered within minutes of the posting. I then posted some other suggestions within the hour. LOOK UP!
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/15/11 12:24:11 EDT

There are also at least a half dozen good used anvils for sale on Ebay UK right now, none with current bids over 100 pounds.
There are a couple more listed on preloved.co.uk, an english version of craigslist.
And you should also check craigslist UK.

If I can find ten used anvils for sale in Britain from my computer on my farm in Edison Washington, it cant be that hard to find them from England, if you just spend some time looking.
   - Ries - Tuesday, 03/15/11 13:22:04 EDT

Pete; like item # 300535906871 at ebay.co.uk? Probably go cheap as it's a pick up only item.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/15/11 13:27:12 EDT

This steel magnolia is to be hung indoors, no one will eat it, or on it, or with it, so FOOD GRADE finish is not an issue. we got a "fool the eye" finish with a powdercoat base and airbrush
   danny arnold - Tuesday, 03/15/11 14:28:03 EDT

Several of the anvils we have on our Gallery were bought at boot sales (flea markets) in the UK at very reasonable prices. The one Thomas listed above is nice. There is also a small early 1800's anvil that is also pickup only.

These "pickup only" items will go much cheaper than they would otherwise in the U.S. But in the U.K it may not make as much difference.

But I also see what appear to be ASO's being sold there with the same hype as here. . . With so many great deals on good old anvils I'm surprised there is a market for them. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/15/11 14:30:39 EDT

Help with transitions in forged work. I'm having trouble with the small space between say..the helix part of the corkscrew and the handle, or the D ring on the bottle opener and the handle treatment. There always seems to be a couple of errant hammer blows leaving couple of dings or divots ending up as cold shuts. Last corkscrew I made I ended up filing out the marks and reheating to even out the texture, but this happens between the handle and the shaft on toasting forks, the leaf body and the stem on leaves etc. Practice, practice and hammer control, but any hints and tips would be appreciated. Thank you.
   - Michael - Tuesday, 03/15/11 14:32:18 EDT

Michael, Without seeing your process I could not comment on specifically what you are doing wrong. But I would put money on too sharp of corners on your anvil and or hammer (or power hammer dies). See our FAQ on anvil radii.

Practice helps, but LOOKING at what you are doing during the process rather than when you are finished may be an issue.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/15/11 15:00:20 EDT

Gaffney Peach Art Finishes: In Gaffney South Carolina on I-85 there is a water tank shaped like a Peach. The original paint job looked perfectly like a peach right down to the fuzz. It was repainted poorly and just looked like someone's behind. . . Then it was properly repainted again and looked almost as good as the original.

My point here is the paint job often makes the art even though it is very well "sculpted". Can you imagine this landmark painted the typical water tank white or silver? OR "wrought iron" black???
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/15/11 15:05:39 EDT

Godfrey South , Darenth Valley Forge UK is emmigrating to canada and flogging smithy leaves in sept 11
   danny arnold - Tuesday, 03/15/11 15:15:52 EDT

Michael's Transitions:

When doing things like toasting forks, I find that it is often very helpful to make a "convenience bend" in one of the tines to get it out of my way. That way it is not struck by any errant blows.

On things like bottle openers, I often use a struck tool rather than jut the hammer to place critical blows exactly where they must go. I use a bronze hammer to strike the hammer I'm using as the top tool to avoid chipping. That, and making any necessary bottom tooling, can greatly speed up production as well as make your work cleaner and require less filing.
   - Rich - Tuesday, 03/15/11 15:59:03 EDT

I like using a swing arm or guillotine fuller to start a transition. This leaves a very clean demarcation between the areas and makes it easier to work right up to the changeover often hanging one part over the edge of the anvil and then forging towards the fuller carefully one controlled blow at a time.

And don't forget the role of a flattener to dress an area---may have to make a small one for small areas; but that's a trivial thing to do.

Thomas who hopes to run a Y1K bloomery this weekend!
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/15/11 19:10:36 EDT

Transitions: Thanks for the tips, not a sharp corner on my anvil anywhere but I should look over and redress my hammers. I have a handled top fuller and need to find/make a bottom fuller and rework early attempts at spring and guillotine fullers. Appreciate the info, I'll watch what I'm doing. Thanks
   - Michael - Tuesday, 03/15/11 19:33:34 EDT

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