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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 1 - 7, 2012 on the Guru's Den
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Striker Hammer : Be aware that James Cosgrove, of Striker, imported two different brands over the period of time he ran the company, and rebadged both as Striker. So the hammer could either be a Shanxi, or an Anyang. Both are variations on the Chambersburg design, but they differ a fair amount in execution.
Anyangs are supported in the USA, and John N, above, is the importer for Great Britain, so there is more info on them available these days. Shanxi currently has no US importer/distributor, so any parts would have to come direct from China.
So first step in diagnosis would be determining which it is, then getting a manual/schematic, if you dont already have one.
Shanxi is at www.sxqd.cn and there is indeed an english button at the top right you can press to get pages in english.
All Chinese self contained air hammers are generically called C-41- this is an internationally agreed upon designation for small (under 10,000 lb or so ram weight) self contained hammers.
These machines are pretty simple, and assuming there are no obvious broken parts in the driveline, and the oiler is working right, and there are no air leaks from the master cylinder in back,its a pretty good chance that something is wrong with the valving. The 5 or so moving parts seldom screw up- the drive pulley linkage to the master cylinder is bone simple, and the driven cylinder is basically a one piece piston. So air movement via valving is your number one culprit.
   - ries - Thursday, 03/01/12 09:18:58 EST

Temper Time : I have heard/read that it is a good idea to temper a piece as soon as possible after heat treating it. Is there truth to this? If so what is the chemistry behind why? Also, I want to know more information about what is happening at a molecular level when different temper colors appear. And for that matter, I am really interesting in learning more about what is happening at the molecular level is all areas of blacksmithing. Can anyone point me towards good resources? Thanks in advance,
   - Eric - Thursday, 03/01/12 10:17:44 EST

Anvil height : Bruce Blackstone's comment on having anvils mounted at different heights for different work prompted me to post this. I have only one real anvil but I do a variety of things with it as any metal worker would. I find working detail much easier if the anvil is higher. Most of my work is not detail oriented, though. My solution was simple. I mounted the anvil so that it was at a comfortable level to do the detail work and then made a small platform of wood on which to stand when doing heavier work. When the platform is not needed, I just set it out of the way. It saved me money and space in a very small workshop.
   - Bill - Thursday, 03/01/12 11:06:35 EST

Temper Time da - da da da :
Eric, I will not get into the molecular details but there are several reasons for tempering ASAP. 1) Generally you do not want high carbon steels to cool all the way to room temperature or less when hardening as cracking is more likely to occur. 2) You may forget to temper a piece if it is not done immediately.

Temper colors are fine surface oxidation that cause color by refraction. The internal change in the steel has nothing to do with the colors. The colors are simply an indication of the maximum temperature achieved on the surface.

If you are going to work with a lot of steel and do hardening and tempering you should have some understanding of what is going on. The grain and crystal structure in iron and steel have a lot to do with their strength and how they are worked. In steel you control this with proper handling and heat treating.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/01/12 11:18:59 EST

Anvil Height :
For some work I sit at the anvil. . . very close. For standing adjustments I have hollow stands that have a wooden pad that keys into the hollow. I made these for training so that we could adjust the height if necessary.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/01/12 11:22:25 EST

Work Height :
The tool that I like mounted in more variations is the vise. The standard blacksmiths height leg vise is good for hammering, bending, heavy sawing. But for fine work and some types of bending I like a vise mounted nearly a foot higher. You can put your shoulders into bending at this height. But a vise mounted low lets you put your hips into bending. . . I also like using a plane at the higher height.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/01/12 11:37:22 EST

mineral salt coating : I am using recycled agricultural items as steel for some basic projects. Disc plates for hoes and hand weeders mostly. Using a piece of old chisel plow wing-blade for a bowie knife project although my forging abilities are limited by the heat produced by my very crude forge. While playing around with some borax, I found that it will produce a very very hard and durable black coating on the steel that is very resistant to scratching or even grinding with an abrasive disc. Any information on mineral salts or other heat based coatings that can be achieved on carbon steels with basic techniques? In the case of the blade I was experimenting on, the coating was durable through quenching and heat treatment, seems to be somewhat rust resistant. Thank you for your time and expertise.
   Matt Werner - Thursday, 03/01/12 12:47:59 EST

Eric; tempering is a part of heat treating just as normalization is so your post translates as "I have heard/read that it is a good idea to heat treat a piece as soon as possible after heat treating it."

And yes it definitely is so! I had a student who hardened a knife late at night and decided to temper it the next day. Next morning when he went to the shop the blade had broken in several pieces from the hardening strains. Tempering should be done ASAP after hardening. Why run the added risk of destroying a piece. If you want to do a fancy differential temper on a blade you could still do a snap temper at a lower temperature to provide some basic protection while waiting on the more involved one.
   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/01/12 14:21:11 EST

Vises; hardly any two of my postvises are the same height so I can choose the one that is best for my need.

I also have a machinists vise that will mount to the worktable of my large drill press and can then be cranked to any convenient height---very handy!
   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/01/12 14:23:12 EST

Borax Coating :
Matt, This glassy coating is anhydrous borax and will break down from moisture in the air turning into white powder. The attraction of moisture from the air causes corrosion and rust. It should be avoided and is difficult to get off. When used for flux most of it ends up boiling off. To get it out of crevices it should be boiled in weak acid (boric acid, a close relative to borax is sometimes used for this).
   - guru - Thursday, 03/01/12 18:28:33 EST

Hobby gifts : Thomas, I knew I had you pegged for a wise man! My wife of 42+ years and I do the same thing. In fact, we do not buy gifts for each other at all. If one feels the need for a gift, we go out and buy it and thank the other at an appropriate time and manner. This has really cut down on the useless gifting.
   quenchcrack - Thursday, 03/01/12 19:04:02 EST

coating suggestions? : for the purpose of garden tools, is there a coating that will be superior in any way to a premium spray paint? simple enamel? powder coating? i have heard something about a sort of developed rust patina, or "hard" rust. this is sort of what exists on the disc plate in its native form. thanks for the input. although i have been told to expect poor results from salvaged steel, the bowie in question hacked through a six inch knotty ash log and still shaved the hairs off my arm quite easily with the portion that did the chopping. due to my grinding resources and inability to forge down the profile, the bevel is not hollow ground or finely profiled and somewhat axe-like. thanks!
   Matt Werner - Thursday, 03/01/12 19:16:21 EST

Coatings :
Matt, Nothing holds up on digging tools. Shovels, hoes, pick axes, all wear from abrasives in the soil. If the steel wears, then anything softer will also wear. Even hard chrome plating wears off digging tools.

The hardest coating you could apply is two part epoxy. But even that is soft compared to steel. The best garden tool finish is whatever looks good.

Salvaged Steel, AKA Junkyard Steel: Providing you determine approximately what steel you are working and handle it properly you should be able to make things as good as from any similar steel. All the famous tools and weapons of early times were made from much inferior steels with much less knowledge about them.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/01/12 20:33:18 EST

A diamond coating should hold up pretty well, if you had access to the correct vapor deposition equipment. Might be a little expensive, though . . .
   Mike BR - Thursday, 03/01/12 21:00:28 EST

PU truck coal max. cap : Guru, How much coal would you safely transport in a Tundra PU? I don't want the steering
to get light on a 1200 mile trip. Thanks, Har
   Har - Friday, 03/02/12 11:01:35 EST

PU truck coal max. cap : This sounds like a question for the Toyota nameplate somewhere on your truck.
Typically its on a door column, under the hood or look in the owners manual.
With that said, considering the degrees of sheer abuse a Toyota can withstand, One could likely exceed that amount considerably.

But just be aware,
1, The more one loads or abuses the truck the faster it wears out or breaks.
2, If something breaks and caused third party damage, You could be on the hook for serious legal problems.
(depending if your locality has a functioning legal system, You did not say where you are located...)
Good luck to you
   - Sven - Friday, 03/02/12 12:45:54 EST

PU truck capacity :
Har, I have no idea what the capacity of your truck is. The max loading including fuel and passengers should be on the door plate OR clovebox cover. If not there then in the owners manual. However, this is for springs only. If you do not have the correct tires rated for the load capacity then the truck cannot be safely loaded to the full capacity. Year model also makes a difference. . .

The owners manual should include capacity, tire size and rating as well as tire air pressure under load.

How you load a truck also makes a difference. A truck loaded low and to the front of the bed can safely carry more load than one loaded behind the rear axle or a high top heavy load.

Truck ratings by generic type do not mean much. A half ton pickup often had a 1,000 pound capacity including driver, passenger, fuel and optional spare tire. My old '73 "3/4" ton Dodge had a rock crusher four speed and 8 lug truck wheels. It was name-plate rated for over 3,000 pounds. The last heavy thing I hauled in it was a 4x4 weld platen. This truck would pass going up hill towing a 5,000 trailer.

Then there are "ton" trucks which generally means multiple tons. . .
   - guru - Friday, 03/02/12 12:56:14 EST

Tires are a big deal with pickups. The ones sold for "car pickups" are often fairly light duty as they are engineered to provide a more car like driving experience.

I tend to get commercial tires for my pickup. The general ride is much worse; but when I load it to the gills my friends with the tire shop up the pressure to 40 psi in the tires (rated to take that!) and off down the road I trundle.

Now my little 4 banger does not pass people going uphills but I do generally get to the top the same day I started.

Now on your 1200 mile trip---will you be crossing the Rockies; spending days on unpaved roads, or just doing 1200 miles of flatland interstate driving?

Generally it's a good idea to de-rate the load for "interesting" driving conditions.
   Thomas P - Friday, 03/02/12 14:10:19 EST

PU truck hauling : As several noted the tires are very critical on a long hual with a load. They need to be rated for the load, pressurized for the load, and last in good condition. If weathered the tires are not capable of carring full load. At load, drive slower, as tire heat from speed and load causes failures.
   ptree - Friday, 03/02/12 14:25:06 EST

More Truck Loading :
Ptree mentioned heat. . . at every stop check the temperature (with your hand) of your truck (or car) tires. Warm to the hand but not uncomfortable is OK. If they feel too warm check the air immediately. If you practice this you will easily know when you have an under inflated tire.

Shortly after purchasing my 3/4 ton Dodge PU I went to move something heavy and realized that there was no place sturdy to chain down a load. Immediately after that I installed eye-bolts with large support plate "washers" under the floor, and bought chains and load binders for the truck. A pickup does not need heavy chain. I bought 5/16" proof coil AND load binders to match. This made moving loads much safer over the years I used that ruck.

Not long after buying that truck Josh Greenwood and I drove up to Pennsylvania to pickup a 100 pound Fairbanks power hammer in my Dodge 3/4 ton. This hammer weighed 2900 to 3200 (it might have been a 125). Now, the hammer weight was one thing but we also had "luggage" and various travel gear of maybe 150 pounds, and a truck tool chest with maybe another 250 pounds including rigging. Then there was the two of us, about 300 pounds at the time. That all adds up to 700 pounds without the hammer. So a total of about 3600 pounds, quite a bit of which was behind the rear axle.

I knew the tuck was riding a little high in the front but it was no problem handling wise. THEN it got dark. The headlights were pointing so high that the only thing they lit was highway overpasses. So, we stopped and adjusted the lights down about as far as they would go. Just one of many reasons to carry some tools with you!

After we unloaded the hammer I adjusted the lights down about as many turns as I counted when adjusting them up. That was close enough until I could do it right.

The next heavy load carried in that truck was a 10 ton electric hoist and carriage. It was a "quick" trip up to Baltimore and then home. . . about a 14 hour drive. The hoist was heavy, about 1,900 pounds. The pallet it was on was about 1/2" wider than the distance between wheel wells. . . It was riding up at an angle when we left but had stretched the distance between wheel wells by the time we got home.

On that trip we had a flat due to a pinched tube (common in two piece truck wheels). That was when I realized that the heavy scissors jack I carried was far from heavy enough to lift a loaded truck. . . We managed to lift the truck with some lumber brought for dunnage and help from a state trooper who added his weight to the end of the lever. . . . Then we rolled the tire down the exit ramp and to the nearest garage. Luckily the guy there was willing to repair a 2 piece truck wheel (most do not). We did not use the spare because at the time I had a common auto tire (not a truck tire) on the spare wheel. The others were 8 ply truck tires. This stop added about 2 hours to a long day.

A month later I was bringing home a 100 pound Little Giant (3200 pounds). . and had ANOTHER flat. Seems like the only flats I had were when the truck was well loaded. THIS time I had a hydraulic jack and some support blocks to distribute the load. Jacks DO NOT work well on soft ground and are worthless without a board or plate for load distribution.

This one cost a lot of time and I was lucky to be picked up by a guy on the way to work in a service station. . . After that incident I made sure to get a TRUCK tire on the spare!

A couple years later I bought all new tubeless truck wheels and put truck radials on my Dodge. . wow, what a difference! But as usual I got less than half usage from these when the truck died before having a chance to wear them out. . . My F600 needs the same but on a dual rear wheel truck this is a huge investment. I've already replaced all but 2 re-caps with NEW tires. . . After I replace those it may be quite a few years (maybe not my lifetime) before new tires are needed.

The moral of this story is trucks require a bit more effort to be "prepared". Tools, rigging, jacks, supports for the jack on top of the emergency kit (flashlight, reflectors. . ). All things that need to be done in advance of hauling a load.
   - guru - Friday, 03/02/12 14:33:22 EST

modifying belt sander : I have an Porter Cable model 362 4x24" belt sander, loaned out to a meat cutter friend, burned up the platen resurfacing his cutting boards. I replaced the unit with a couple of craftsmen 3" models that use a bit cheaper belt for my woodworking purposes. The motor and other parts of the damaged sander work great. Would it be worthwhile to modify the porter cable machine into a stand mounted unit that can handle the longer sanding belts? Or alternatively, are there plans somewhere online for building a long-belt sander assembly with a belt drive? My situation is lots of time in the winter/spring as my income/job is growing vegetables and melons. Two welders(small wirefeed, larger stick), cutoff saw, grinders, extensive carpentry tools. Thanks
   Matt Werner - Friday, 03/02/12 15:06:14 EST

Matt, Portable tool motors are noisy, make sparks and have a limited life. You might take the parts and build a stationary grinder with them. First thing to do is figure out the wheel RPM or belt FPM then not run the top idler pulley much faster. The bearings in this part are designed for a certain speed and will have a short life if you run them a lot faster. This is the handiest part because it has the tracking mechanism attached.

The book Wayne Goddard's $50 Knife Shop has a number of grinder plans including some with wooden frames.

4" wide belts are great. We had an industrial belt sander with 6" belts that was a dream. . . It got away at a time when money was low. .

Hmmmmm. .. I've got (had) an old table saw that the raising and lowering mechanism is stripped but the tilt still works. . . Might make a nice grinder table. . .
   - guru - Friday, 03/02/12 16:00:37 EST

great advice : Really appreciate the advice on using the sander components. Very correct on the noise (although the tool is sold as "whisper" series it does not whisper at all). Great book recommendation for my situation as well, my carpentry and woodworking are pretty advanced so wood frames simplify things a bit, and cheap is good too. It was the tracking mechanism and roller that seemed valuable to me, in my situation a better grinder will have lots of applications. I routinely sharpen up to twenty hoes at a time, tiller blades, plow cutters, most of the hoes are hardened disc plate so a more aggressive grinder that leaves a smoother finish would be very handy beyond its more obvious applications towards crafting. Not having particular success with the search function on the archives so I am just reading all of them, very informative and interesting. You are providing a great service to a large number of crafters. I have wandered the site for over a decade, on and off, you are the best place on the internet. Thanks! Making some crude tongs to replace my vice-grips today, some by modifying end-cutters and hoof trimmers and also working on one from scratch, 1/2 rebar for stock. I also have a broken table saw, sadly it is the motor but I like the idea about the tilt. Thanks again.
   Matt Werner - Friday, 03/02/12 18:02:50 EST

Matt - belt grinder : I built one using layered plywood discs for the drive wheel. A 10" diameter drive wheel works well with a 1750 RPM motor, 12" would be fine too. If You use a 3450 RPM motor, use a 5" -6" drive wheel. The wood was coated with epoxy resin, and a hole drilled to corospond with the motor keway cutting into 1/2 of the drive wheel bore. It is epoxied on the shaft.

The idler wheel is layered from plywood and epoxied also, ball bearings epoxied in place.

This is a 2"x48" machine with a 1 HP industrial motor. It runs quiet and smooth, and has plenty of power. 1-2 HP is plenty.

The idea was to build a grinder simple enough that a friend could copy it, so far He has not, but it does work well.

You should be able to get parts for the Porter Cable if it is not really old. The steel plate and cork backer are consumable parts.

   - Dave Boyer - Friday, 03/02/12 21:56:31 EST

belt grinder : It would probably be pretty easy to replace the parts, it is a relatively new belt sander. I replaced with two craftsmen units out of the pawnshops, and I do not know what I would do with three of them. My concern with a homebuilt machine was the tracking of the belt, but maybe at the tension that a large belt runs at it is not as critical. Did you use a lathe to get the drive wheel accurate enough? (concentric?) 2"x48" is a good size for economy in regards to the abrasives. The best epoxy I have used is PC 101, mostly for tilesetting soapdishes and for plastics work. Any epoxies specific to metal work? (I play around with stick types like marine and JB weld a bit for modeling to make rubber molds for casting but they do not seem appropriate) Currently reading old posts, some include a discussion you had regarding propane on boats. :)
   Matt Werner - Friday, 03/02/12 23:16:24 EST

idler wheel : sorry, missed my other question - idler wheel equal in size to the drive wheel? also, I am assuming that the ball bearings referred to was an intact assembly. thanks Dave
   Matt Werner - Friday, 03/02/12 23:19:19 EST

Matt : I have a metal lathe, so I was able to turn the wheels concentric and true. The drive wheel could be turned with wood lathe turning tools after being mounted on the motor, lacking ready made wood lathe tools, they can be ground from old files.

I used West System epoxy with #406 filler, but JB Weld in tubes would work the same.

2"x72" is a common belt size for these grinders, but I got a deal on the 2x48s and was trying to keep the machine compact anyway. My idler wheel is about 4 3/4" diameter, this is not critical. The idler wheel is crowned, the drive wheel is flat. I used door hinges welded to the other steel parts to make the tracking and tension pivots, if You use this method, use heavy hinges.

The original plan was to be able to use the 10" diameter drive wheel for hollow grinding knife blades [friend wants to be a knife maker]. I don't use the drive wheel as a contact wheel, as I am not making knives, and a rubber faced wheel would work better if You did want to use it as a contact wheel.

You can find pictures of several home built grinders here, most are more involved than Mine. http://www.forgemagic.com/bsgview.php?cat=M
   - Dave Boyer - Saturday, 03/03/12 00:21:37 EST

Wood Pulleys :
We had a discussion a few weeks ago about wooden machinery or wood framed machinery. I've seen all sorts of machines built primarily with wood. The most interesting was a band saw with wood frame, table and old wood spoke auto wheels.

A common pulley on old line shafting was laminated wood pulleys. They were made of small hard wood segments about 1" thick. The hub was fairly heavy to hold on to the shaft and the outer rim about 1" thick. Their advantage was light weight and high friction. They were made from 3" to 10 feet in diameter. Another similar type were laminated fibre or leather pulleys.

Idler Pulleys on Belt Grinders For simplicity these are usually the same size as the drive pulley but they can be considerably smaller if that is what is available.

Tracking is always needed on belt grinder/sanders due to the flat
pulleys used.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/03/12 00:27:45 EST

chambersburg repair : For the last three years I have been using and loving a Chambersburg 200lb general utility hammer. The old boy was in virtually new condition when I got it to my shop, and sprang to life once I got enough air, made the dies and found an oiler(thanks Bob Bergman!). I have just run in to my first malfunction. There is a wooden piece that screws to the back of the hammer, It soaks up oil and grease and works as a lubricated wear surface as it slides against the sword cam which regulates the length of the stroke. The four machine screws securing it to the hammer have fallen out or broken off, and the piece dropped out. Must I remove the hammer to get at the back of the thing? If so I am open to suggestions as to how to avoid being killed in the process described in the maintenance manual. Alternatively, if the ways are removed will the hammer spin 180 , giving me access to the back? Finally, can the small plate that the skid piece screws to be driven up and out of the hammer?
   Scott Wadsworth - Saturday, 03/03/12 00:29:27 EST

anvil : would a columbian anvil made by soderfors be as collectable as the earlier ones. It looks just like the paragon and lacks the faux table of the earlier columbians
   vern kelderman - Saturday, 03/03/12 09:41:25 EST

springiness? : In the tip of the day it is stated that all steels have the same" modulus of elasticity" . It seems to me that elasticity or springiness are the ability to return to shape after being deformed. Obviously thats not the same for all steel so what does E measure? And what do you call the ability to spring back into shape and how is it measured?
   wayne @ nb - Saturday, 03/03/12 12:02:42 EST

Advice : Sir,
I am a military individual stationed in England at the moment and would like to have some of your advice. you mention frequently about buying books on the topic of blacksmithing. i would like to know what you think the best ones to read are. I have no problem paying to learn something i have been interested in since childhood. I understand though if you feel no need to respond to this.
   J Jaynes - Saturday, 03/03/12 16:22:30 EST

book reviews : anvilfire has great book reviews in the store section, reviewed by experienced blacksmiths.
   Matt Werner - Saturday, 03/03/12 16:46:49 EST

springiness :
Wayne, they are ALL the same +/- less than 1%. The difference between a mild steel spring and a high carbon spring is the hardened high carbon spring can be deflected farther without yielding. But the mild steel spring has the same spring rate up to the point where it deforms.

Strange but ture.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/03/12 21:29:49 EST

Just to add to Guru's answer, the modulus of elasticity is not a measure of a material's *ability* to return to shape, but the force required to deflect it. Softer steels yield sooner, permanently deforming and losing the ability to return to their original shape. But until that happens, they flex the same amount as harder steels under a given load.
   Mike BR - Saturday, 03/03/12 22:25:50 EST

chambersburg repaired : Disregard last night's question...removed ways...removed all(save one) of the bolts fastening the upper active mechanical portion of the hammer to the lower frame...rotated upper portion, swinging ram away from frame... spun hammer 180... repaired/replaced wooden wear plate with piece of UHMW(?)...reassembled! Will sleep better tonight. Thanks anyhow!
   Scott Wadsworth - Saturday, 03/03/12 23:30:03 EST

Best Books :
A lot depends on your focus. Historical perspective or step by step how-to. One of the first modern books written on blacksmithing, Alex Bealer's The Art of Blacksmithing is mostly a historical tretise covering primarily the late 19th and early 20th century American blacksmithing. Many techniques are described in detail but it is not a how-to book. This book started more modern blacksmiths on their path than any other.

Peter Parkinson', The Artist Blacksmith is a much more recent book about design and technique. It goes more into how-to than Bealer.

Werk und Werkzeug des Kunstschmieds by Otto Schmirler introduced the world to the modern treadle hammer and techniques using special tooling.

There are many more depending on your needs and interest. I've been a user of Machinery's Handbook for over 50 years and have written the most comprehensive reviews of the reference found anywhere. My father's copy was the first reference I looked in for blacksmithing information. I believe it is an absolute necessity in any metalwork's reference collection. Blacksmithing being one of the broadest of metalworking trades makes this reference more important to smiths than to the engineers, designers and machinists that are the book's target market.

   - guru - Sunday, 03/04/12 00:22:11 EST

I second the thoughts expressed by the Guru on the Machinery's Manual. If I could have but one reference in my shop for metalwork, that is the one I would choose hands down.
   ptree - Sunday, 03/04/12 08:28:27 EST

Machinery's Handbook : I just re-read my review of the 1914 First Edition Reprint of Machinery's Handbook. It is a pretty good read if I do say so myself. Consider this:

When editing on the book started the HMS Titanic had just sunk.

When published WWI had started. At the beginning of WWI Horse Calvary and horse draw conveyances were the standard of all armies. At its end motor trucks, tanks and aircraft were in use.

In the first month they sold 10,000 copies of the Handbook. This was in the days of horse and buggy communication. Forge welding and riveting were the primary methods of joining iron and steel.

The 1400 pages were typeset by hand with virtually no errors.

All the information in this now nearly 100 year old reference holds up and most is still included in the new 29th Edition. For its first decade and sales of over 200,000 copies the only changes in the 5th 1400 page edition was the correction of a few typos and clarification of a few sentences.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/04/12 12:36:41 EST

j.jaynes books : Some of my favorite reference books are Schwarzkopf, "Plain and Ornamental Forging"; RIB, "The Blacksmith's Craft"; and RIB, "Wrought Ironwork." The latter two were printed in London and may be available on line.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 03/04/12 12:59:46 EST

back : hi all at anvil fire i have not been in here in a long time its good to get back on the anvil fire good to see all is well
   moony - Sunday, 03/04/12 18:22:27 EST

Forged anchors : Hello:

i am not a blacksmith, however, I am a Maritime Museum director that is utilizing blacksmiths on our current project of building a full scale, 16th century Spanish galleon. We are going to need one 700 and one 900 pound anchor fabricated as per period pattern infromation. We'd prefer for it to be forged, problem is that the project is behind our capabilities. Any suggestions?
   Ray Ashley - Sunday, 03/04/12 18:37:13 EST

The Best Books : From my vantagepoint, being a hand tool forger, the best books I ever read on blacksmithing, especially for beginners, is the Trilogy "The Complete Blacksmith" by Alexander Weygers, which can be purchased on ebay for a mere fifteen dollars. A lot of "bang for the buck" with that book, trust me on that!
   stewartthesmith - Sunday, 03/04/12 19:06:02 EST

Forged anchors : :
Ray, I know a couple smiths with this capability - contact me directly.

So here is the critical question. The metal used in these early ships was wrought iron. If you want absolute authenticity a smith would need to collect nearly a ton of it to produce your anchors. This would likely multiply the anchors cost by several times. So you will need to make that decision before specing out the job.

   - guru - Sunday, 03/04/12 19:33:46 EST

Galleon? : Ray, are you in charge of the Galleon being built at Spanish Landing in San Diego? The Guru probably has better sources, but you might also check with the California Blacksmith Association (CBA), and in particular Vista Forge. I don't think we have anyone locally who can do something of that size, but you never know.

You can also send me an email, and I'll put you in touch with some people who will know more about local capabilities.
   Bajajoaquin - Monday, 03/05/12 00:24:58 EST

bearings : I was reading a reprint of the original 1918 Machinery Handbook (I think it was given away as a promotion). Anyway it talked about how the outer race of ball bearings should be be free to align with the inner race. Is this a issue with modern bearings? I dont have a modern copy of M H to check out.
   wayne @ nb - Monday, 03/05/12 08:49:27 EST

Bearings :
Wayne, This was in the early days of ball bearings and self-aligning (spherically mounted) pillow blocks were not common. Today ball bearings are either mounted in precision assemblies OR in self aligning pillow blocks.

Other bearings such as spherical roller bearings have rollers that match a spherical outer race. In this case the outer race is stationary and the inner race and rollers can self align in the outer race.

Tapered roller bearings (Timken) must be in precision assemblies but are often used in slow speed applications such as gates and jib cranes with questionable alignment.
   - guru - Monday, 03/05/12 11:29:17 EST

bearing alignment : On the idler pulley for a Clontz grinder which a friend is making for me in his machining course the bearings are planned to be a light driving fit on both the inner and outer races as per our previous discussion (02/11/12) Seems like the order of assembly would be : tap bearing on shaft , tap pulley on to bearing while supporting the outer race,then tap other bearing onto shaft and into pulley simultaneously (not so easy) Am I in danger of putting too much sideways load on the bearings during assembly or for subsequent running ? As was pointed out these bearings will be spinning pretty fast. As is no doubt obvious I dont have any experience designing machinery ,all help appreciated.
   wayne @ nb - Monday, 03/05/12 13:44:39 EST

   GREY AND RUSTY - Monday, 03/05/12 14:08:13 EST

Bearings : Yay For the Swedes!
Our friend Sven Wingqvist invented the selfaligning ballbearing.
You can see modern versions here.http://tinyurl.com/87pu3wp.
I think self aligning rollerbearings were invented by somebody else.
   - Sven - Monday, 03/05/12 14:16:48 EST

Bearing Assemblies :
Wayne, Normally the bearings are press fit into the pulley first. There should be shoulders on both sides for the bearings to stop on. This puts no load on the bearing. Then the shaft is installed.

Note that the shoulders should leave some bearing exposed so they can be removed. When heavy shoulders are needed they have notches for bearing removal.

It is MUCH better to press such assemblies together. An arbor press is the professional tool but a big vise works fine. C-clamps also work. If you have to use a hammer use something soft and a block of wood between the hammer and parts.

Note that a press fit shrinks the bearing ID as well as the OD. A close slip fit becomes a tighter fit after pressing it into the housing or pulley. You want just a snug enough fit that the bearing does not spin on the shaft (or in the housing). If you miss the fits too tight it can damage the bearing. If too loose there are fixes.

Among the fixes are Lock-Tite Press Tit, essentially filling the space gluing the parts together. Another fix is called a strawberry fit. This is done by putting a pattern of center punch marks on the shaft to tighten the fit. Its a hack, but it works.
   - guru - Monday, 03/05/12 14:29:33 EST

annealing A2 : I recently forged 6 hoof knives from 1/8"x3/4" A2. This is the third series I have done. 4 of the blades came out fine; on the other 2, the heat must have came down the tangs and they are now too hard to drill. Anyway to spot anneal these? Is it worth trying to re heattreat them? If so, how?
   brian robertson - Monday, 03/05/12 14:39:55 EST

Anchors for Galleons : Until the 19th century, anchors were about the largest objects ever wrought. (They had some pretty big cannons, but they were usually cast.) Even in the Viking age, forging anchors was a large-scale project. We’re talking the beginnings of industrial scale here, with multiple hammer-men involved; and later in the medieval period and beyond large trip hammers and water-blown bellows. There are some excellent illustrations of the later processes (including how to weld up smaller bars to create the shaft and arms and flukes) in Diderot’s Encyclopedia. It has some fascinating insights about how they did it in the 18th century for the great sailing ships of that period.

Please keep us informed about your progress on this project.

Still snowing on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Go viking: www.longshipco.org

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 03/05/12 14:57:40 EST

annealing A2 : You could try a better drill bit.
I have used drillbits intended to be used by locksmiths(or burglars) to drill through hardplate of a safe to compromise its lock.
About 3/16" is about the smallest dia. you are likely to find these special drillbits.
In a drillbress at the correct speed, You should have no problem drilling RC60
   - Sven - Monday, 03/05/12 15:05:15 EST

Bearing fits : After the invention of Loctite PressFit, I never again used interference fit bearings - for just the reason Jock mentioned. When the o.d. is compressed and i.d. is expanded, even by a tenth or so, the bearing is no longer going to run under optimum conditions and may fail early. Why risk it when the Loctite will hold a close fit bearing perfectly in the bore?

Press fit bushings are a different matter. They are customarily pressed in and then reamed to precision size and so end up perfect.

I've used Jock's "strawberry" fit method a time or two when circumstances dictated. With a metal lathe, it is easy to chuck up the shaft, give it alight knurl and thus get a snug fit. If freehand punching divots to get a knurled effect, be careful to keep them uniformly spaced around the circumference or you can get the bearing off center of the shaft - only a hair but it can matter at high rpm or centrifugal load.
   Rich Waugh - Monday, 03/05/12 15:26:06 EST

hand reaper : As relates to a hand reaper or sickle blade, is the back fuller groove a way to compensate for the the removal of the pre-curved shape when the edge bevel is forged? Or is it a compensation for the thinning of the steel at the back edge when making the pre-curve? Or was it the way in which the curved shape was actually formed in the first place, also providing a structure with which to maintain the shape of the blade while making the cutting edge? Or just a combination of all of these? My apologies for a rambling and inexact question, thanks in advance.
   Matt Werner - Monday, 03/05/12 16:07:37 EST

annealing A2 : Just remembered the name,
Its strongdrills.com, There are others, But this is the one we used.
   - Sven - Monday, 03/05/12 16:19:23 EST

annealing A2 : Oops ! I am being an idiot today.
the right name is...
   - Sven - Monday, 03/05/12 16:30:34 EST

Anchor Smithing: May I commend to your attention Bruce Wilcock & Son
www.brucewilcockforgings.com Their website shows one of the anchors they have forged in recent times!

I don't know where you are at Ray so it's had to suggest someone close.

   Thomas P - Monday, 03/05/12 16:55:47 EST

Vise Value :
Allen, This is not a brand I am familiar with but there were many vise manufacturers and they came and went, merged or were bought out by other vise makers. For some reason this was a common occurrence among vise manufacturers.

Value as in all things old depends on quality, condition and rarity. Prices on some tools are high to their collectiblity. This is a tricky thing. If something is TOO rare it will have no record of collectibility. If too common then no rarity points. But some common tools are collectible due to quality.

The best quality vises are forged steel. Not many of these are made. The majority of high quality vises are heavy and made of ductile iron (this is hard to distinguish from cast iron but it is MUCH more durable). They have machined sliding surfaces that fit well and replaceable steel jaws. The handles have forged upset ball ends. Some have swivel bases (I prefer without). Overall they have good clean lines.

Cheaper vises were cast iron, had as cast running fits and not so graceful lines. Cheap modern import vises have screw on handle ends which all work loose or will break in time.

The best swivel bases have serrations or teeth to lock the vise and prevent it from rotating. This is a rare feature. Otherwise the base is difficult to keep locked in position if doing work requiring leverage. If not, it can be a useful feature.

Top grade vises sold for as much or more than anvils per pound. Today this means $4 to $10/lb. or more. Collectability adds to the value. Old vise makers made vises up to several hundred pounds or more.
   - guru - Monday, 03/05/12 16:58:32 EST

Annealing A2 Tool Steel :
This is one of those air quench tool steels that takes a VERY slow controlled anneal. Heat to 1550 - 1600F, cool at no more than 40F/hour until you reach 1000 F. Then let air cool. That is 15 hours.

The advantage of A2 is the easy of heat treating from the expensive annealed condition. It is great for making machined parts such as punches and dies. But you forge air cool steels at your own risk.

Your best bet to save the parts is to temper to the highest recommended temper temperature. About 1200F will get the hardness down to about 44HRc which is normally machinable.

A2 is one of a few steels that benefit from cryogenic treatment. Temper at 300 to 320 F then refrigerate to -120F. After slowly warming to room temperature temper immediately.
   - guru - Monday, 03/05/12 17:48:40 EST

Loctite and Fits :
My problem with planning on using Loctite is that I have NEVER had it work. Back in the 1960's we had some of the original red, thick gooey Loctite and it worked like a champ until the bottle was so old and gummy you couldn't read the label. But since then all the (relatively expensive) Loctite I've purchased never set. It just ran out of the fit leaving a mess.

Just use Super Glue (a related product - cynoacrylic). This is another of those product that we used back in the 60's VERY shortly after it became available (my Dad was in Nuclear Engineering and got samples of ALL the newest toys). The early Super Glue had no filler or retarder and was thinner than water. The new stuff will glue your fingers together in seconds. The old stuff would glue them INSTANTLY. The combination of being so fluid and instant is where all the Super Glue stories come from. Today's stuff is much slower and safer.

Note that both these products are released by the use of relatively low heat (about 300-350F). So while they work on mechanical devices they loosen when parts get hot. I would not trust them on a grinder.
   - guru - Monday, 03/05/12 18:30:42 EST

I have no problems with any Loctite as long as directions are followed. Many require a safety solvent to remove oils, and a Loctite primer that has a safety solvent to remove oils and a very finely divided copper as a cataylist.
Since the Loctite products are acrylic monomer that is polymerized into what is essentially Plexiglas an acrylic material at 350F and above the acrylic melts. In fact on the permanent grades used on studs and pneumatic and hydraulic cylinder pistons, the way to disassemble is to heat to 350F+ and the parts easily unscrew.
   ptree - Monday, 03/05/12 21:47:24 EST

Hot steels : I have always thought the high carbon steels (10's) would make good hot hardies, slitters, etc.

Just did some reading where the author said the high carbons were great, but NOT for hot work tools.

I've learned a lot of knowledgable people out there are not the final word, but now I've got two different stories and they BOTH explain some of my less successful projects.

   Rudy - Monday, 03/05/12 21:52:54 EST

High Carbon vs. Alloy Steels : For hot work Alloy steels perform far better than plain carbon steels. The temperature that reduces hardness of steels is much lower for high carbon steels.

At 900°F SAE1095 tempers to 44HRc, A2 (air hardening but not a hot work steel is 44HRc at 1200°F. H13 increases in hardness when tempered peaking at 54Hrc at 980°F and maintaining 44 HRC @ 1150°F. H42 maintains 50 HRc at 1,150°F and 45 HRc at 1,200°F. 1095 is less than 30 HRc at that point.

THEN you have the Tungsten alloy tool steels. T1 is harder than 65 HRc at 1,000°F and over 50 HRc at 1,200°F. The M series HSS retain over 60 HRC at a red glow. . . That is what makes them SO useful as sharp edged tools cutting steel. However, these T and M steels are more difficult to handle and heat treat and have properties that make other hot work steels better for forge tools.

High carbon steels have been used for hot work for thousands of years but modern steels are MUCH better. If you ever try one of those thin (1/8") French made hot work chisels that Blacksmiths Depot sells you will realize the miracle of modern hot work steels.
   - guru - Monday, 03/05/12 23:41:58 EST

Moony : Good to see you back. Meet in Slack Tub some time.
   philip in china - Tuesday, 03/06/12 08:02:22 EST

Hand Reaper : Matt – every scythe and sickle blade that I’ve ever come across has been a mass produced/industrial forging. So best guess is it comes from the way the blade is made. The grove towards the back of the blade is basically a fuller (groove) to stiffen the thin blade, keeping (or reducing) the amount of sag and twisting the blade to a minimum while in use.

   - Don Shears - Wednesday, 03/07/12 19:16:04 EST

Slow. . :
It is good things are a little slow. I am repairing (try to recover data) on my main Win 2000 PC that I've used for 6 years. . . Amazingly my old Win98 machine I bought in 1999 still runs. . . Its just a tad slow and needs a new monitor. We had sopped using it but it had business backups (forms) on it. Luckily my laptop is still up to keeping things going.

Power Hammers: Dave and I got our second project power hammer running last weekend. It makes a BIG difference when you put in all the shims and tighten all the bolts! This one had all the design changes from testing the first and performs very well. Had a minor setback (stripped threads in a hole) so did not work hot metal with it yet. As soon as we apply the updates to hammer #1 we will invite everyone to a hammer-in to show them off.

As originally designed our hammers worked but had a moving part clearance and adjustment range issue both associated with a dimensional error. We backed up, lengthened the frames 3" and changed a bunch of linkage parts. A big improvement. Since then I see other things that should be changed but not in this build. It has taken us three years as-is! The improvements will be in the final plans.

The length of the build has mostly been due to schedules trying to get two people with family and job responsibilities together on the job on Saturdays. Most months its been one weekend and some none at all.

The down sides of such a long project are many. At the top of the list is frustration. We want to USE our hammers! All the new steel I bought hast rusted, and much has been derusted, rusted then derusted again. . . Hardware we bought has disappeared under other things on the shelves and looking for it has used up precious time. Paint has gotten old. . and costs have risen. We also have other projects to move onto that have been in the works since we started the hammers. . . .

Getting there. ALL the software is gone on my PC along with all the factory drivers. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/07/12 21:15:02 EST

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