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

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

This is an archive of posts from March 8 - 15, 2012 on the Guru's Den
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Anchors for the galleon San Salvador : Thanks to everyone who responded to my inquiry! Guru: thanks! Yes our first preference would be wrought iron on basis of authenticity , but as building a 16th century ship is not an inexpensive project, money is a consideration in the decision between wrought iron and cast steel. The material interest actually goes further in that we also have an entire 1200 ton sailing ship built of wrought iron (1863) which we still operate, so i'm always on the lookout . .. Bajajoaquin: yes the San Salvador being built in San Diego is the ship in question and I believe that the Vista Forge folks have actually trained some of our crew who are manning the forge on site as well as participating. Don't think we have the capability locally to be forging objects the size of the anchors we need however. Bruce Blackstone: thanks for the great tip on Diderot's Enclycopedie Francaise, we have an original copy in our library collection so I'll be sure to look up the article. Thomas: thanks! Bruce Wilcock looks like a great resource though a bit far away. That's a fine looking anchor in their gallery, though a few centuries removed from the pattern we'll be needing. I've also been contacted by Josh Greenwood who seems to be very helpful.

Thanks in advance for additional ideas, for which I can be reached at: ashley@sdmaritime.org
   Ray Ashley - Thursday, 03/08/12 00:34:38 EST

Miniature Bronze Anvil : I have a small bronze anvil that I would like some information on. It measures in at 1 & 3/4 in. tall, 4 & 1/4 in. high. The base is 1 & 1/2 in wide and the top is 1 in wide. The top is marked as follows "USS THATCHER DD-514 JAP SUICIDE PLANE MAY 20 1945". It was a gift & I have no idea when or where this piece originated. Any assistance would be much appreciated.
   Tonya - Thursday, 03/08/12 13:55:23 EST

Miniature Bronze Anvil : I have a small bronze anvil that I would like some information on. It measures in at 1 & 3/4 in. tall, 4 & 1/4 in. high. The base is 1 & 1/2 in wide and the top is 1 in wide. The top is marked as follows "USS THATCHER DD-514 JAP SUICIDE PLANE MAY 20 1945". It was a gift & I have no idea when or where this piece originated. Any assistance would be much appreciated.
   - Tonya - Thursday, 03/08/12 13:56:54 EST

Further Thoughts on Anchors : If you cannot have anchors fabricated for your requirements, there are also a number of museums (and oddities like Mel Fisher's operation in Florida) with anchors of the appropriate design (wooden stocked, triangular flukes...) and even of appropriate vintage. Perhaps, given your non-profit educational status they might be persuaded to lend or donate an anchor (or two; you can never have enough good anchors when on a lee shore) to your worthy cause. There are a number of directories of maritime museums available; I would try contacting them if needs be.

You also might contact our folks at San Francisco Maritime National Historic Site to pick their minds on the subject: http://www.nps.gov/safr/

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 03/08/12 18:44:23 EST

Miniature Bronze Anvil : It is probably a souvenir made either of a salvaged part of the ship, or the Japanese aircraft:


Miniature anvils were (and are) popular souvenirs and paperweights, and can be fabricated in simple machine shops aboard ship or at larger shops at the repair base.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 03/08/12 18:52:58 EST

Miniature Bronze Anvil :
These small anvils were (and are) made as advertising samples. At one time anvil salesmen gave them away as paper weights but even modern businesses still give them away as salesman's trinkets. Some are also works of art and others folk craft. See our anvil gallery of Miniature Anvils. See #9 in the Sovie Collection. These are high production anvils that are machine stamped at very low cost. Their collectors value is relatively low.

Miniature anvils were made by numerous companies, most unknown. Some were made by the companies giving them away but most were made by specialty houses. A couple companies made thousands for hundreds of companies and others just a few hundred. Some are made in short runs of a dozen or so.

This one sounds like it was made for a Veterans reunion. Your best bet would be contacting Navy veterans groups. The ranks of folks from that era are shrinking rapidly so you had better do your research now rather than later.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/08/12 21:48:05 EST

Vice stand : I am making a stand for an engineering vice. I have 2 questions. I shall be welding a piece of 20mm plate to the end of an old axle. The plate will be drilled with 15mm holes to fix the vice. I shall tap these out to M16 x 1.5. (they will be 0.5mm over size I know but I can live with that. I shall then put nuts on the under side to lock everything up securely:
1. After welding the plate should I anneal it?
2. The vice body is cast but it will be cinched down to plate. Should I put a gasket between the two? I am woried about the plate cracking the casting.
   philip in china - Friday, 03/09/12 02:12:31 EST

Mounting a Bench (Engineering) Vice : Phillip,

After welding most mild and architectural steel you do not need to do any heat treatment. Just don't quench the welds while at a red heat.

If the plate is flat it should not hurt the vice to bolt it down solid. If the plate and OR the vice is not flat then you might want to shim the low bolting points. However, most vices bolt down with three bolts so there is no high and low unless the surface is very out of flat. I find it helpful to have a bit of bench surface around my vice. A piece of wood or plywood about 18" square would be nice AND provide your "gasket".

What I would worry about is if the base is large and heavy enough to make it worthwhile to mount a vise on it. The stand is a lot of leverage.
   - guru - Friday, 03/09/12 02:32:06 EST

Thank you : This is a vice just for very light work such as filing keys. I have a leg vice for the heavy stuff. Actually the vice is an afterthought. The main reason for the stand is to be able to mount a 1" hardie hole to take my anvil stakes. I have 3 different anvils and at times I swear there are 4 different sized hardie holes!
   philip in china - Friday, 03/09/12 04:11:49 EST

anvil can you tell me about this anvil : http://www.auctionzip.com/cgi-bin/photopanel.cgi?listingid=1381538&category=0&zip=45840&kwd=

this is a link to a auction that has a picture of an anvil
can you please tell me about it thanks mike devore if you like i can send you a picture of it
   it has a 0 on the side of it - Friday, 03/09/12 07:21:30 EST

That is a cast iron junker. Not worth the effort to bring home unless you need a huge door stop or paper weight.
   - guru - Friday, 03/09/12 09:13:00 EST

Hardy Hole Sizes:

I've had up to a dozen anvils at one time and I think almost all of them had different sized hardy holes. Worse, the old forged anvils often had crooked holes. You could either bend the shank to fit at an angle and in only direction OR taper the shank so it fits in all directions more or less.

I have fewer anvils now but dozens of square shanked hardy tools with shanks ranging from 7/8" up to 1-3/4". Most are undersized and I just let them bounce around. The large ones I use in a vise or swage block. One of the few tools that must fit right is a hardy cutter.

Lots of folks go to the trouble to make adapter sleeves for their anvil but I find that when I'm doing forge work if the tool doesn't change quickly and easily then it does little good. If you use a lot of tools in your anvil then the tools should fit. When you change anvils. . . then another set of tools to fit. This is true of most base tools and machines in the shop. Attachments usually only fit a given size or brand.
   - guru - Friday, 03/09/12 12:50:23 EST

The "out of square" ones give you the feel that there are different sizes as a hardy tool that fits perfectly in one orientation may not fit at all in another. If you are making or adapting your tools you can work the stems to fit both ways though that may leave it a bit loose one way---better than a wedge in fit though!

Some folks will dress their hardy holes to be square if they are off.

As for adapters: My large anvil has 2 1.5" hardy holes and I tend to leave a nested set of tubing adapters taking it down to 1" in one of them to make it easy to use tooling from the "small" anvils...
   Thomas P - Friday, 03/09/12 13:38:27 EST

Welding on axles : Phillip-in-China, In the US and I think Japan and Europe as well, axles for crs and trucks have been a heat treatable alloy since well before WWII. Before WWII in the US most were 4140. I worked at an axle plant and when there the alloys were chosen to allow fast heat treatment by scanning induction methods. These steels are fast and deep hardening and will quench crack easily. If you have the oppurtunity try a test weld and see if it has any strenght. Other wise you may be welding mild to alloy medium carbon steel like 1541H or 1045H
   ptree - Friday, 03/09/12 14:30:28 EST

I forgot about the axle. But then it could be an old wrought iron wagon axle. . .
   - guru - Friday, 03/09/12 16:11:43 EST

Hardy Holes : I wish my big Nimba had a bigger hardy hole, actually. They sensibly went with 1", which is probably becoming fairly standard these days from what I see on new anvils, but I really do wish it was more like 1-1/2". That way, I could make an adapter sleeve to drop (or weld) in so I could use hex-shanked breaker bits for hardy tools. The hex shank allows much better angles of attack and trashed bits are a readily available source of good tough steel for hardy tooling.

I may still do it with my 250# Fisher, which does have a 1-1/2" hardy hole. Don't dare weld that sleeve in, though.

Someday, a really sensible anvil maker will offer a standard hexagonal hardy hole. Probably not in my lifetime, though. (sigh)
   Rich Waugh - Friday, 03/09/12 16:55:35 EST

stake : i bought a 26lb stake that has a 4 sided stake that is tapered. It also has a collar
would it fit a stake plate or is it designed to fit a block of wood
   vern kelderman - Friday, 03/09/12 18:05:57 EST

ps : its the one i sent you a pic of a few weeks ago thanks
   vern kelderman - Friday, 03/09/12 18:09:09 EST

Rich, some sensible anvil maker already does- Kris Ketchum has square, round, and hex holes in his Blackjack anvils. For exactly the reason you mention- so you can use hex shank breaker bits for tooling. The Blackjack is an amazing anvil- it looks like an aircraft carrier, the "deck" is so big. Its around 500 lbs, and 3 feet long. Kris actually has a trailer for his Harley that he hauls the demo model around on.
Unfortunately, he has basically no web presence- he is a hard man to track down. He has only made a few of em. They are cast, like a Nimba, and very nicely finished, not cheap, of course, last price I heard was north of $2500.
   - Ries - Friday, 03/09/12 19:46:48 EST

Stakes : Vern, That shank is strictly designed for embedding in a stump. The slight curve to the sides prevents it from fitting anything else.
   - guru - Friday, 03/09/12 19:55:17 EST

Making Hardy Holes :
The better modern anvils have broached hardy holes. Broaches take a lot of force and are expensive tools. In anvils they have a short life. A one inch costs over $300. The force to push one doubles when you add 1/4". Big old hardy holes were either hot punched OR cast.

Hex Sockets: At the 1998 ABANA Conference the Late Grant Sarver has one of those hex holes in his WC-JYH. However, the heel of the built up anvil was only 1/2" to 3/4" thick and the hole not difficult to make. I suspect it was milled then hand dressed.
   - guru - Friday, 03/09/12 19:55:54 EST

More hex sockets :
The more sides a socket has the better the parts need to fit correctly, in in other words a tighter tolerance. A loose fitting hex can be like a round hole or have a high degree of rotation.
   - guru - Friday, 03/09/12 20:57:15 EST

I wouldnt be at all surprised if modern anvil hardy holes were actually wire EDM cut. Thats sure how I would do it if I was making any quantity at all. With EDM, its no big deal to make any size square or hex hole, straight or tapered, in thicknesses up to 6" or so, to the ten thousandth of an inch.
Of course, you dont buy the machine yourself unless you are making a few hundred a week.
But thats true with many machines- for instance, after casting, most modern anvils are blanchard ground for flatness, but the anvil makers dont buy their own Blanchard Grinders- they send it out. Same thing with EDM- there are lots of EDM job shops out there.
There just isnt the market these days to justify a dedicated start to finish anvil factory- instead, the small US makers- Rathole, Nimba, Ketchum, Jymm Hoffman, and the Farrier Anvil companies- have patterns made, send them to a foundry, send them to a heat treater, send them to a grinding shop, and, quite possibly, an EDM shop along the way.
   - Ries - Friday, 03/09/12 21:39:38 EST

A friend of mine just built a treadle hammer that has cut-off 12-point sockets welded into the anvil and ram. In theory you could use those with both round and square-shanked tools. (He's using them with square-shanked dies.)
   Mike BR - Friday, 03/09/12 22:17:34 EST

EDM & Hardy Holes : Wire EDM would make a nice hardy hole, but it would be an expensive hardy hole, as wire EDM is a slow process.

I would not have been surprised if Grant used sink EDM for His hex hardy hole, as He had a high amperage sinker.
   - Dave Boyer - Friday, 03/09/12 22:43:31 EST

Modern Hardy Holes :
I know for a fact that Peddinghaus and Nimba have broached hardy holes. Peddinghaus drills a bit oversize so the life of the broach is longer. But the hole is not truly square. Most of the cast anvils have cast (cored) hardy hole. This is the most efficient way to go in a cast anvil. I have never seen one EDM cut but I have not been traveling as much as I was 5 or 6 years ago.

SAC MNOSz1300 cast steel anvilHungarian SAC Cast Steel Austrian Style Anvil
Cast steel anvil with cored hardy and handling holes. Article includes drawing of core and details of an exceptional first class foundry job the likes of which new makers are not getting.

A well made core will produce a fairly accurate hardy hole. But on cheap anvils they often do a poor job resulting in odd size, rough and tapered holes. Several VERY LAZY pattern makers have made diagonal holes which are the height of stupidity and shows how the foundries are in control NOT an anvil designer or manufacturer. But these are usually on ASO's.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/10/12 00:09:18 EST

Giant Liverpool Anvil : My friend has a giant anvil in his yard and wants to know more about it. It is about 3ft tall, 5ft long and 16" wide. The owner tried to move it with a 10k lbs winch and it wouldn't budge it. The only info is- 1883, Liverpool Shipyard and a chevron and leaf logo. Any ideas about this beast?
   Randall - Saturday, 03/10/12 00:30:24 EST

Twelve Point Sockets :
Common double hex sockets will fit a few square sizes with the corners rounded. But if you are going to go this route they sell 8 point sockets to fit square head bolts. Available up to 1-1/4". On the other hand, if you want a square hole you can use the wrench end. They are available up to 2-1/2" in 1/2" increments over 1".

An interesting shape in key socket heads is the German tri-square. This has 12 corners but they are 90° instead of 120° like a 12 point hex. It is almost a spline. The only place I have run across these is German engine Pinto head bolts. Metric to boot. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 03/10/12 00:31:11 EST

Giant Liverpool Anvil :
Randall, some photos would be nice. You could mail them to me. I'll call Richard Postman about it tomorrow.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/10/12 00:34:27 EST

Giant Liverpool Anvil : I will try to go by his house next week and get some photo's. Just to let you know I'm in New Mexico so if it really came from the famous Liverpool shipyards it's a long way from home.
   Randall - Saturday, 03/10/12 00:56:00 EST

broaching : We broached all of the hand wheels in the valves at VOGT. Now the material was a nice to broach malleable iron. We drilled over size so a square was superimposed over the drilled hole, but that still left a very nice square set of corners. We push broached to about 5/8" and used a pull broach for bigger. The pull broach for a 1.5" hex was about 3' long. And since the progressive teeth were spaced at roughly 3/4 the thickness of the part, many many teeth to generate in the tool making. Slow process for us, but way way faster than EDM. Last I remember the wire EDM's we used in the die shop would burn about 1 square inch an hour, but that was 9 years ago.
   ptree - Saturday, 03/10/12 08:44:46 EST

Big Broaches :
Back in the 1950's my Dad worked on production tooling for an automobile engine plant. They used a huge broaching process to shape the front profile of V-8 engine blocks. This process pushed the block through the inside of a broach tunnel and shaped the main bearing, head and pan gasket and other surfaces in one step. The problem was that the block came out of the broach so fast that when it hit the back stop it bounced back a foot and damaged the broach. . . So my Dad designed a high speed part grabber that prevented the moving block from traveling backwards. He called it "The ball'em roll'em stop'em keep'em from hopping device". It operated on the overrunning clutch principal but on big flat surfaces.

My Dad liked designing devices that used this kind of friction locking and together we had a patent on a wrench using it.

Dad also like using bearing balls in various devices. Another device he designed back in the 1950's was the leveling clamp for the taped gibs used in lathes. These long thin wedges are difficult to machine without springing them when you clamp them down. Even magnetic vises would distort the part. So dad designed a mechanical equivalent of hydraulics. Pins with slopes on the ends pushed on multiple balls in bores 90#7176; to the pusher and these raised pins that supported the work. The tapered piece was pushed down against these pins and they all equalized to support the part evenly, even if it had some curve. Then the part was machined flat and flipped over in the same fixture. If there was any residual warp in the part the self leveling plate support the part without distorting it. The back side was now machined and the part flipped over. After a couple more passes like this the wedge had no residual stresses or curvature. Years later I used this mechanism to adjust flat gibs in a cross rest.

   - guru - Saturday, 03/10/12 12:30:20 EST

At the Valve shop we also had a tunnel broach, much smaller in profile then for a engine block. Made by Detroit Broach, it did however have a very difficult cutting task, as it was shaving the end radius in blanks to make gate vale gates and then the tooling was changed and the slugs run thru again to put the Tee slot in. All this was to make the slugs for up to 4" gate valve gates from 316 & 410 stainless, and Monel. None of these machined well. There was a conveyor under the tunnel that gripped the slugs and carried them under the tunnel.
We ran about 60,000 parts thru twice every month. Consider that the bars came in rectangular, were slugged to length in 1903 screw machines, tunnel broached twice, then chucked in a New Britain chucker to put the circular 5 degree face on one side, flipped and placed in a second New Britain to make the second face to make a 10 degree included angle gate. Then heat treated, then placed in a Super finish machine to make one seat, flipped and super finished in a second Super finish machine and then flat lapped on both sides. You see why this part had more operations then any other valve part.
Then some young upstart in the R&D lab suggested precision investment casting the gates. Then only had to heat treat Super Finish both sides and flat lap.
Took about 5 years to fully implement my suggestion:)
   ptree - Saturday, 03/10/12 14:52:57 EST

I was wondering if anyone has used the rolling mill plans offered here to make shapes instead of just using it to draw out, taper or flatten work? I've been looking for a way to get some odd sized miniature structural shapes (I beams, C channel) and was wondering if this might be a solution. I have a small lathe so I think I could machine the rollers but my only blacksmith experience is reading some books or watching videos on it. Thanks in advance.
   - BrianS - Saturday, 03/10/12 17:47:28 EST

Rolling Mill question : I was wondering if anyone has used the rolling mill plans offered here to make shapes instead of just using it to draw out, taper or flatten work? I've been looking for a way to get some odd sized miniature structural shapes (I beams, C channel) and was wondering if this might be a solution. I have a small lathe so I think I could machine the rollers but my only blacksmith experience is reading some books or watching videos on it. Thanks in advance.
   BrianS - Saturday, 03/10/12 17:52:35 EST

Liverpool anvil is the "leaf logo" the British army mark to indicate it is the property of the crown? 3 marks forming a /|\ ??? AKA the "broad Arrow"
   Thomas Powers - Saturday, 03/10/12 19:39:52 EST

Rolling Mill for Mini-Beams :
Brian, Yes you could. It would work fine for short pieces of a foot to 18". However, it takes multiple passes in progressive groove shapes to to convert from bar to structural. H beams are particularly difficult in full scale and would be the same in miniature. Standard I-beam (S section) with its sloping flanges would be much easier.

I've done some research on this and have not had any luck finding a good resource with roll details or design information. If you find one please let me know.

Some suggestions: For your purpose a pass through mill would work best. This does not need the foot treadle mechanism in the design. It also requires operating the motor the opposite direction so that the work is fed in from the front and exits the rear. You would also need to add a shelf to catch the part as it exits. All easy changes.

A more difficult change would be to add gears so both rolls feed the work. If you use 2" rolls that contact each other between the impression grooves then gears with a 2" Pitch diameter would work. Not much engineering in that. I would use 12 pitch so there are 24 teeth. The tooth profile starts getting odd below 20 teeth. 10 DP 20 tooth gears would also work fine. - This is off the top of my head. After looking at the torque values on the mill I might decide to use heavier teeth.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/10/12 20:00:10 EST

stake hole : Is there a clever way to make a square tapered hole into the end grain of a stump. I find it easy to think of the hard way. I want to put my stake into a piece of osage orange.
   vern kelderman - Saturday, 03/10/12 20:23:38 EST

Vern forge a burning iron slightly smaller than the stake, drill out a smaller hole than the small end of the stake then heat the burning iron in and drive it down---make take a couple of times. Do not let it burn out larger than your stake though.
   Thomas Powers - Saturday, 03/10/12 22:41:09 EST

Stake Stumps :
Vern, They used two methods, burning and chiseling (or both). An easier modern way is to bore an oversize hole (have fun the Osage), then fit quarter round "shims" to the stake. Make the whole a good fitting slip fit then glue the shims into the stump. The fast way to make the round sided shims is with a lathe but they could also be hand carved. The inner surfaces to fit the curved and tapered square shank will need to be hand carved. But its a lot easier than carving a deep square hole in end grain.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/10/12 22:59:34 EST

More Stake Stump Mounting :
Yet another way. . . ON stake I bought was set in plaster in an oversized hole. Not sure how it worked as the stump had rotted away. However, another easy method is to bore that big hole (its going to take a real machine in that Osage), then bed the stake in auto body putty "Bondo" to make it fit the hole.

I would mask off the top of the stump with masking tape and paper, and cover the stake with several layers of aluminium foil. Fill the hole as necessary, then insert the stake and hold it while the putty sets. Body putty mixed to the label proportions will set rapidly in this thick of section. So don't dally. Have everything ready, mix a little more than you need and then DO IT. Then when the putty is set (about 5 to 10 minutes) pull the stake out. If you remove the foil you will now have a hole just loose enough to put the stake back in. While you have the stake out trim off the excess putty with a knife or chisel.

Done right you will not see any putty and have a perfect fit.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/11/12 01:54:16 EST

Bending : I am a beginning blacksmith. I have to bend 1" X 1/8" X 44" cold rolled steel. I have to bend it the hard way so each end droops about 3/16". A nice gentle curve. When done it has to feed through guides, so I would rather not heat it. Any ideas on how to do it without expensive tooling and/or machines?

Thank you.
   Milton Rodewald - Sunday, 03/11/12 08:44:56 EDT

Milton : Yes, no, and maybe. Is it a circular curve? Do you have a sturdy layout table? Can you lay out the curve on your table? If you know the radius and it is circular, you can fabricate trammel points on a long mild steel bar, and scribe the curve. I just arc weld small forged points onto the bar, given the correct radius. One route to go would be to lay out a rectangle on the table 1 3/16" wide x 44" long and get the curve to match the layout.

You'll need a bending "fork" and bending wrench. The fork can be two pipes welded vertically to the table about 1 1/16" apart. The wrench can be maybe 3/4" round with two projections the same distance apart. Work from one end to the other. Don't reverse it or flop it. It's going to be bend, try, bend, try. If overbent, unbend using your tools. You'll be giving it levelups as you go to get rid of small twists and flat bends. I would suggest cold flatting (using a flatter).

On cold finished steel, you'll have more spring-back than with hot rolled. Just keep at it. It's likely that you'll get small edge marks on the work from the tools. If that is a problem, you might smooth them when the bending is completed.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 03/11/12 11:14:21 EDT

Bending the hard way :
Milton, Knowing the whole picture helps greatly.

First, I calculated the radius based on a chord of 44" and arc 3/16" high. . . That is a 1290.75" (107.5 foot) radius. Even if you decrease the radius a lot its going to take a HUGE trammel or compass to check the radius. About the only way to make a gauge for such a part is to either use a CNC mill OR make several dozen chordal calculations and make a precision segmented layout.

Second, knowing WHAT you are making helps tremendously. People always want to hide what they are making and then we have to guess. Most of the time we guess pretty good but we should not have to.

My guess is you are trying to make a Japanese type sword by stock removal in some grinding or grinding fixture. The was that curve gets into the blade is from the heat treating process then gentle persuasion.

Now HERE is an interesting fact. Most cold finished steel (drawn or rolled) has tension built up in the surface of the bar. When you cut the surface off the bar it warps. In fact is warps a LOT. Designers and machinists that know better either leave the surface on or plan to remove it from both sides. Even doing this is difficult because once you take the surface off one side and un-clamp it the warp is enough to be visible in a part as short as 6". To remove the opposite surface the part will need to sprung back into flat THEN machined. OR you take of a microscopic amount from one side, then the other then the other. . . repeatedly until the part is flat. The other method is to anneal the part to remove the internal stresses before you start. That is why so many books recommend an anneal of stressed parts of all types prior to machining, not just to make the metal soft.

   - guru - Sunday, 03/11/12 11:50:55 EDT

the was that. . . blub blub blub. . . thinking too far ahead of my typing. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 03/11/12 13:09:52 EDT

Bending bar : With such a miniscule bend in such light bar, I'd probably just pull it through a 3-roll setup made from sealed bearings. Wouldn't take more than ten minuted to cobble up the rolls on a welding bench, including making one of them screw-adjustable. Start with stock a foot or so longer than needed, place it the rolls and apply a bit of pressure to the middle roll and pull the stock through - repeat as necessary.
   Rich Waugh - Sunday, 03/11/12 13:33:38 EDT

I wonder if a wooden mallet on a concave stump (or the like) would work. Sort of seems like it would, but I haven't done enough cold bending to have a very good sense.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 03/11/12 18:47:24 EDT

Tuning wind chimes : Do I just make them over length and then cut them down until they sound correct?
   philip in china - Sunday, 03/11/12 19:00:34 EDT

Chimes :
Phillip, Yes and no. There are many ways to vary a chime. Length is one, adding weight or removing weight is another. The problem with cutting off material is it is easy to go too far. The other problem with cutting off material is that the hanging point should be at a dead node which is normally at 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 of the length.

For tuning you can use these nodes to an advantage. Make a support from two narrow rails with a taper between them representing the nodes at 1/4 and 3/4 of your range of chimes. Then put a soft cord or strip of felt on top (On glockenspiels they use dense felt with a line of a pair of twisted cotton twine down the center). So while tuning you can keep the chime supported at its nodes (where it will be the loudest and clearest) until it is tuned. When done you measure and drill for the hanging string. Yes this is going to change the note a bit. . . but microscopically at a dead node.

I used to have the math for calculating the bars for a glockenspiel. Given a known cross section (bar or tube size) the vibration frequency is determined by length and mass. I did some comparison against a commercial instrument and the accuracy was within the measurement limit of error. The bars tended to be within about +/- .005" (0.13 mm) and had slight tuning cuts (small grinding marks) underneath.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/11/12 20:40:32 EDT

Blacksmith Guilds in Ireland and US : I am trying to trace Manus McLaughlin's origins in Ireland. He was a blacksmith on Philadelphia, PA from 1875-1907. I have read your stories regarding apprenticeships and journeyman training and assume his occurred in Ireland. Were there guilds in Ireland and Philadelphia where I might find him listed
   Pat - Sunday, 03/11/12 20:46:29 EDT

Practice Katana : I would like to make a simple, unsharpened metal practice Katana. I've built plenty of wooden ones, but they keep breaking, and they aren't as heavy as the real thing. I would like to have a sword that looks decent enough, but still functional probably around three feet in blade length, by about 1 1/2" blade height. could you suggest a proper type of metal, and perhaps a thickness? I'm looking to go cheap, here.
   Arden - Sunday, 03/11/12 20:50:44 EDT

Arden : I'm also wondering, would a simple, 1/4" thick, 1 1/2" high, 3' long piece of flat steel work if i just shape it into the basic shape of a Katana? I'm concerned about how it will hold up in practice combat.
   Arden - Sunday, 03/11/12 21:15:04 EDT

Wind chimes : Philip,

I emailed you a spreadsheet of the calcs for wind chimes that I've used and it works dandy. I copied Jock on it, too. For another source, look at this site: http://home.fuse.net/engineering/Chimes.htm This guy is an engineer and wind chime hobbyist and has it all figured out pretty well , it seems.

Have fun, and remember this - if you make a set for your house, be sure to incorporate a way to lash down the striker or you'll be driven crazy by the thing after a few weeks. Been there, done that!
   Rich Waugh - Sunday, 03/11/12 21:20:25 EDT

Katana : Arden,

Unless you do a LOT of grinding to create the proper tapers both in cross section and distally, the thing will be about twice as heavy as a real sword. It will hold up fine in mock combat as it will not be brittle, but you still need to avoid grinding in sharp inside corners at the blade/hilt junction or you'll create a stress riser that may break under heavy impact or stress. Inside corners should always be radiused.

You might also look into aluminum as it would require less grinding to get to the proper weight and balance.
   Rich Waugh - Sunday, 03/11/12 21:26:42 EDT

Spreadsheets :
I can't open late Microsnot spread sheets. The program I use supports some formats but not the latest artsy stuff. A spreadsheet saved as a Lotus 1.1a WKS file will include ALL the possible math of any spreadsheet. What is lost is colors, fonts, images, graphs. . . all the eyecandy. But the meat, the purpose of a spread sheet is retained.

The constant changing of file formats to include more and more eyecandy is stupid but is what keeps Microsnot in control.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/11/12 21:43:45 EDT

Windchimes :
I think these need a little turbine to be more energetic . . . wind up a screw striking one way and then run down when the wind stops. .
   - guru - Sunday, 03/11/12 21:46:41 EDT

Thanks : Thanks for the info. I'm also a little unsure about a sheath. I think a simple length of tubing should suffice, as long as I flatten it to the right thickness. Any thoughts?
   Arden - Sunday, 03/11/12 21:46:54 EDT

Adventures with the Gas Forge : So I've been using my one-burner Whisper Baby (the "Baby Balrog") for small jobs quite a bit with little problem or complaint. However, I ran into a problem the other week. The handle for the main valve to the burner turns 90 degrees to the line for "off" and parallel to the line for "on." I keep the tank outside and connect the hose for the gas forge through a hatch under a window. This way I can look in and make sure that the valve is closed off when I connect the tank. The other week, after I did this, I walked back into the building and smelled gas! I went back out, closed the main valve on the tank, and let the building air out for a while. Then I went in and looked for a disconnect or defect on the hose or other cause. It turns out that the valve was about 5 degrees or so from the 90 degree off position; not enough to be obvious through the window, but obviously enough to leak a detectable amount of gas!

I now make sure to hand check that the valve lever is all the way to the off position before connecting the tank, but my question is: is this particular valve defective of overly sensitive, or is this just the nature of the valve and something to always lookout for?
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 03/11/12 22:38:07 EDT

Personally, I dont use any actual Microsoft products if I can possibly avoid it- so I use Open Office, which is a free download, and will open most all microsoft office formats, including the spreadsheets.
   - Ries - Sunday, 03/11/12 22:38:44 EDT

Pratice Swords : Arden, The traditional sheaths are made of wood. Two pieces are are carved to fit the sword and then glued together. Test the sword sliding in and out prior to gluing. The wood it then lacquered. The sword grip often matches. Its not a difficult job but there are details to learn about. Too much to get into here.

Practice swords are often made from stainless with the edges left slightly thick and rounded. Getting the weight right is a tad tricky. I would try to keep the cross section close to correct and take of some length. But all is compromise.

While stainless does not grind well I would start with a bar near the right proportions, spring a curve into it then grind the V cross section using a hand held grinder if you don't have a good belt grinder. A high proportion of the movie swords you see are made this way.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/11/12 22:58:53 EDT

Practice Swords : Thanks! I'll give it a try.
   Arden - Sunday, 03/11/12 23:17:44 EDT

Gas Valve :
Bruce, Ball valves start opening pretty soon in their movement. Your 5 degrees seems a little early but its a guess at an angle.

These valves have an o-ring in them that wears and may need replacing.

You can put a coil spring on the valve at a 45 degree angle across the center of the valve. The spring will hold the valve all the way closed OR all the way open. Yeah. . . it takes making a little bracket for the valve.

A change I made in my Whisper Baby was to add a shield or diverter plate above the rear port so that the hot exhaust would not be sucked into the intake. This is the only NC that has this problem.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/11/12 23:26:40 EDT

Arden; you have not shared with us what type of practice combat this will be?

Full speed with full metal armour, half speed, just drawing and cutting, etc.

Turns out that each type has it's own constraints.

HOWEVER if you are doing this through a group *THEY* should have full requirements on what is best and what is allowed.

Swordfighting is NOT something to try to learn on your own.
   Thomas Powers - Monday, 03/12/12 01:52:59 EDT

Bending CRS : Thank you for all of the responses. I try to not take up so much space, and in doing so, shoot myself in the foot. I am making carrier bars for a hand saw retoothing machine. I did not look at the messages yesterday, because I made two straight ones. The curved one puts a slight crown in the line of the teeth on a saw. It slides through two sets of guides about 8" apart that contact the edges of the guide bar, and in up to 1/8".

I have a 4' square, 1/2 thick plate welding table. The two main ways I thought of doing this myself: 1)Use wider stock, spring a batten that appears correct, mark, cut and file, measuring all the time. This would remove two opposite edges. 2) Leave my stock 6' long and try to bend it around stops welded to the table. I am assuming I would need to have guides to keep it from flipping up. Trim ends after bending.

I have no idea how much force it takes to bend 1" X 1/8" CRS the hard direction. Or the spring back (i.e. how far to over bend it). By the way, after bending, or machining, I only have to put small holes and slots on the center line.

I am assuming if I used a roller bender I would have to build guides to keep the stock from flopping down on it's thin side. Correct? This way may take more time, but I would also have another machine for later projects.

Thank you for all of your help.

   Milton Rodewald - Monday, 03/12/12 07:34:04 EDT

Gas valves : Bruce most inexpensive ball valves are teflon seated and do not have O-rings for a seal. Some do use an O-ring behind the teflon seats to energize the seals. Most ball valve will seal to they are opened between 5-15 degrees. Then they have a severe s-shaped flow curve meaning they go from no flow to almost complete flow in a very short amount of rotation and then get total flow in the last little bit of the turn. Nature of the beast.

On my gas forges in the shop, I have the tank valve outside, a main on/off at the manifols, then at the manifold selector ball valves and then on/off at the appliance. At $3/5 per valve, why not?
   ptree - Monday, 03/12/12 08:09:32 EDT

Bend on Edge :

Wow, I guessed wrong. . .

The amount of bend you are creating is so slight that the stock will not flip when bent laying on a table.

The amount of force to bend this stock is low enough to do by hand.

The amount of spring back is a trial and error problem. Variations in how steel products are made makes a big different in how they are work hardened and thus the yeild point.

A roller bender would need guides or grooves in the rollers for this stock on edge.

To make this part I would start with a layout scribed on a piece of steel for a reference. I would tack weld two round pins on my welding bench top and do the bending by hand. An option is to use 3 pins and a heavier bar as bending "wrench".

temp bending jig
Temporary Bending Jig for 1" Pipe
   - guru - Monday, 03/12/12 09:47:54 EDT

More Bending - 3 pins :
3 pin bend
3 Pin Bnder

This sketch shows how to do a controlled bend using 3 pins and a plain steel bar for the bending wrench. The bending wrench needs to be wider than the piece being bent by at least 25%.

To prevent dings in the part shoes or pipe bushings can be put on the bending pins. OR the pins can be bent pieces of flat bar with a gentle curve.

The above could be a fixture on a plate made to clamp in a vise OR just pins temporarily welded to a steel bench. IF a heavy permanent fixture is to be made then the pins may want to be set in drilled holes then welded in place. If a heavy plate is used the pins can be made movable.
   - guru - Monday, 03/12/12 12:10:26 EDT

power hammer anvil base : I would like to build a JYH in the 50#-75# range. My question is, for the anvil base would a old cast iron fire hydrant work?. It has a flanged base and top, plus plenty of wieght-mass. I could fill with melted lead for more mass. I thougth the flanges would be great for mounting to floor and the top flange for the bottom die plate mounting. And would railroad track make do as dies for now?. Oh my ideal is for a CR-JYH style hammer, but will try a motorized reduction box unit for the drive mech. to save space (bulk)on top; 10-1 ratio, should be 175 beats per min. These iteams are eazy to find at my local salvage yard.
   - Kevin S. - Monday, 03/12/12 22:09:23 EDT

JYH parameters :
Kevin, The smaller the hammer, the faster it needs to run to do useful work. The hammer size you are planning needs to run about 250 to 350 RPM (top speed).

A fire hydrant sounds like an interesting anvil base. Solid mass is best. Try to find a heavy block of steel to cap it. RR-rail is fair material for dies. Its about 75 point carbon steel and can be hardened. The shape is not great for hammer dies but we had a recent discussion about using wooden wedges that fill the space between the flange and head, holding the rail in Fabricated dovetail. When I build the EC-JYH I cut the head off some rail and welded it to a flange and to the ram.

Gear reduction is great for many machines but cyclic loads like air compressors and power hammers are hard on the gears. You will need a clutch and belts or a tire hammer drive are the way to go. Save the gear reducers for other machines such as a rolling mill or bar twister.

Scrounge as much iron and parts as you can then plan from there. A good smooth guide system is the toughest part to build.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/13/12 00:28:43 EDT

Bending : Thank you for the help with bending. I will attempt it this weekend.
Thanks again.
   Milton Rodewald - Tuesday, 03/13/12 07:04:08 EDT

Welding Gas - Lease or Buy? : My wonderful wife got me an oxy-acetylene cutting/welding set up for Christmas. Now that the weather is getting nice enough that I can go out to my shop and do some work, I'm looking at getting some tanks and lighting 'er up (the torch, not the wife!). I don't anticipate doing any hardcore welding - a little cutting, some brazing, that sort of thing. My question to some of the more experienced folks here is: am I better off buying the tanks or leasing? A five year lease will run me about $300, buying both tanks will run about $500. Buying looks more economical in the long run, but some concerns I have are - having them hydro tested, if I find I'm not using them as much as I thought can I unload them easily, that kind of thing.

Any thoughts? Good or bad experiences with leasing? Leased and wished you'd bought?
   Chris C. - Tuesday, 03/13/12 14:09:20 EDT

The Buying/versus/Leasing question for welding gas tanks is extremely regional. We dont live in one USA- we live in 6 or so very different countries, in many ways, and this is another example of this. Different regions, and even different states, in the US, have completely different laws and customary business practices when it comes to welding tanks, and you need to find out what experienced shops in your state do.
Some states prohibit owning certain sizes of tanks, others are completely wide open. In some areas, you can buy tanks used on craigslist for very little.
Some welding supply chains will not do anything BUT lease, or will not fill any tanks but their own.
Here in Washington State, for instance, owning is a no-brainer. I can buy any tank, from anyone, and take it in and get it exchanged for another "customer owned" tank at my local welding supply. So I never pay for hydro testing, dont pay any lease fees, there is no paperwork- I just swap my empties for fulls. So I own close to a dozen tanks, including oxy, acetylene, argon, CO2 mix, propane and Chemtane for the forge. All are straight swaps for new ones at my supplier- here, "owning" a tank means you own A tank, but not any specific tank- which makes it very simple and affordable.
But in other states, its completely different. Ask at your local welding supply stores- thats the only way to find out how it works where you live.
   - Ries - Tuesday, 03/13/12 14:29:41 EDT

You might ask at the local gas place if they know of a set of used tanks for sale too---if they broker the deal you shouldn't have any problems with re-fills and there is often someone getting out of the business due to age or economy.

And my advice mirrors Ries in many ways: do what folks in your area do!
And get in good with the gas dealer! When I needed to do a LOT of cutting my dealer in Columbus loaned me the big O2 tanks and just charged me for gas used---he did put a hold on the amount they cost on my credit card just in case; but no problem as I finished the job before it would cause interest accrual.
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/13/12 15:04:03 EDT

Welding Cylinders : (similar to Ries response)

Chris, The option to lease or buy varies from place to place, company to company. While buying may seem more economical it has some problems. Yes, as the owner of the cylinders you are responsible for their testing as well as repair and replacement. Now, if you lease you still may be responsible for damaged cylinders but things like worn valves, rust and normal wear and tear are not your problem. Selling privately owned cylinders can be an issue. I have a shop full of someone else's cylinders and no-paperwork. According to the welding company they belong to them. If I take them in I lose them. . . The previous owner said they belonged to him. . . Privately owned cylinders may be refillable where you are but not across the state line or in the next city.

Long term leases also have problems IF you move (as does filling private cylinders). I moved out of my local area (140 miles) and my leases are no good here. . . So I have to return my current cylinders and get new leases. I've just finished step 1, a credit check. Now I just need to pay for them (I need 4).

A big advantage of the lease is IF you have a big job come up you can pickup a bigger set of cylinders OR an extra cylinder (usually free if returned in less than 30 days).

In Virginia I had leased cylinders. When I got mine you could buy but a full size set was over $1000 in 1973. . . (half the cost of a Toyata then). During the time I had leased cylinders the rules changed several times. My first lease was for 10 years. My second could only be for 5 and then 3 years. The place here in North Carolina will not sell and leases are annual only.

As Ries pointed out ASK questions and not of just one supplier.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/13/12 15:09:16 EDT

gas tanks. : I own mine in Indiana, and have no problems. I also have the owner's paperwork, it any question arises. I have oxygen, acetylene, 100# propane and a small CO2.
   ptree - Tuesday, 03/13/12 16:04:39 EDT

Gas tanks : I some from a defunct construction company and already had a few. One gas co here will only exchange their own tanks and others will exchange any tank that isn't dented or pitted.I gave several to friends and they had no problems at "my" dealer.
Tire hammer: Plans are only $30 from clay@tirehammer.com : $$ well spent. Dimensions and specs are all there.
   Ron Childers - Tuesday, 03/13/12 16:40:20 EDT

Sawyers Anvil Purchase - Where? : Hello. I'd like to buy a sawyer's anvil for my shop for small metal work on my cases that I make. I have pictures of antiques that are about 8"L X 5"W, or so, but I cannot find one similar for sale anywhere. Is there someone who makes new ones, that are good quality? Or a good place for used ones (obviously ebay is no good)? I'd like to find one for $500 or so, but cannot afford a $2000 antique. Thanks for the help. scottd.
   scottd. - Tuesday, 03/13/12 18:17:50 EDT

Scottd why not a big cube of steel from a scrapyard?
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 03/13/12 18:47:00 EDT

Sawyers Anvil : There is a company that makes modern sawyers anvils. They are just a big rectangular block finished on top as Thomas suggested. If you buy a piece NEW cut to size you would appreciate used anvil prices.
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/13/12 18:59:42 EDT

Scottd : You don't say where you are. Vaughan used to list a saw maker's anvil up until the last couple of years. They also make anvils in sizes from 5 to 254 Kg (single bick) or 18 to 254 Kg (double bick). I can't see the saw anvil listed currently but they may have some. www.anvils.co.uk
   philip in china - Tuesday, 03/13/12 20:35:07 EDT

Cylinders : I have owned My own since 1978. at that time a 75 acetylene and 125 oxygen cost about $150 total here in Pa.

I don't know about different laws, but each gas company will have it's own rules about what size cylinder it will sell. Some companies will exchange pretty much any cylinder in safe working condition. All I have dealt with here will exchange any customer owned cylinder, but the one You get in exchange may have a company name on the neck ring that they [that gas company] owns, if that is the case, be sure to keep Your paperwork showing that You OWN the cylinder.

Depending on the gas company You may be charged with a fee for hydro testing an out of date cylinder, when I have been charged, it was $15-20 if I remember right.

Customer owned high pressure cylinders usually have nothing on the neck ring or may say "customer owned"

It pays to check with every welding supply company in Your area and see what they offer, and if they will give You a problem with privatly purchased cylinders.

Before You get ANY acetylene cylinder, make sure You understand the 7:1 rule or the more current 10:1 rule. Determine the acetylene flow of the largest tip You plan to use, and be sure the cubic foot capacity is at least 7 or better 10 times the acetylene flow rate in CFH.

This becomes an issue with large brazing & cutting tips, and with rosebuds.

If Your welding supply shops will not sell the size cylinders You want, check with www,gaspony.com they are available at TSC farm stores, and other retalers. These are customer owned cylinders and You shold be able to exchange them anywhere.

When You find a gas company that will work with You, stick with them.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 03/13/12 22:37:56 EDT

Cylinder Costs / Sizes :
When I got my cylinders there was ONE supplier in a 60 mile radius and I was 25 miles on the far side of that. It was 20 years before they got competition and there prices dropped a bit - but the company also changed hands. Where I am now there is competition if I drive 40 miles in heavy traffic. My preferred supplier is about 18 miles in a small town. At today's fuel costs the small down dealer may be a bit more expensive but they will also deliver to my area. Interstate and city traffic also have a cost (stress, possible accidents). So I will stick to the small town dealer even if costs are higher.

The draw rule on acetylene works out to where a small rose bud (1/2" diameter with 6 ports) requires a large (about 4 foot tall, 10" diameter) cylinder to fuel it. Small cylinders won't cut it. A large 1" rosebud generally requires two cylinders ganged together. I've found that its better to go with a large propane at this point.

Besides the cylinders you will need a cart if you expect to have any kind of portability. Cylinder carts are not inexpensive new and I've found that most can stand some customization, a tube to carry rods, a tool box (more than the typical tray) and better cylinder ties and anchors for lifting and hauling in a truck. Its like the difference between a common belt for your pants and a utility belt with loops, snaps, D-rings. . .

Some folks make their own cylinder carts. I've seen hand truck conversions, old wheeled drink racks and various toy wheel parts used to make them. Most of these are for small cylinders and have little 6 to 8" wheels. A cart for full size the wheels are often 12" but old heavy duty carts had 20-24" spoked wheels.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/14/12 00:57:49 EDT

Cylinders : I know I have exceded the 7:1 rule, but You can only get away with it for a short duration. I have some 100 CFH rosebuds, they require a 300 and 390 tank manifolded together to get close to 7:1, something I am not real keen on doing. I have briefly lit up these rosebuds, they are like a rocket. The cost of operation at current acetylene prices would be high. I had some even larger ones, but sold them off.

I have since accumulated all the gear for a propane/oxygen setup with a #3 rosebud and injector cutting attachments, including a propane tank that is the same size as a 145 acetylene tank, holds about 30#. I have not put it all together yet.

The previously mentiond oxy/acet setup I got in 77, not 78. I did not get a cart, so I tied the cylinders to the H collum between the garage bays. The 20' hose reached all over the garage bays and out the door, but at times I did add another 20' to reach where I needed to work outside.

The home made cart for My Grandpop's set has old steel spoked & tired wheel barrow wheels, He didn't weld, it is all brazed together.

I now have quite a few tanks, carts, regulators & torches, at some point I will put sets together and sell off some.
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 03/14/12 02:46:41 EDT

Oxy-Acetylene : One other issue in this discussion is when or how you get refilled tanks. I have rented for many years. They would deliver to my place of employment. When I switched jobs it was almost impossible to get them filled. I switched to "owned" tanks, but here, in practicality they are leased. I can only fill them at a chain store. The big difference- I use the torches the most on a weekend. If I run out on an important job, I can get filled tanks on the weekend, and have several stores I could go to.
   Milton Rodewald - Wednesday, 03/14/12 07:35:10 EDT

Saw anvil: I was thinking that something like a nice used Die from a drop forge would work well turned over so the flat side was up---and a lot cheaper than buying new stock...
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 03/14/12 12:25:36 EDT

Hmmmmm. . . The lower die for a 750 Niles Bement weighs about 300 pounds. . . . about 4 x 12 top surface. A lot depends on the character of local industry as to what ends up in the scrap.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/14/12 13:19:35 EDT

I have the 6" x6" x 18" insert from a Closed die set for Vogt 2" tees in the ground just outside the door with the flat back facing up. Makes a nice upsetting block, and since it was worn beyond re-sinking, i got that H-13 commercially heat treated block for $0.06/#
   ptree - Wednesday, 03/14/12 16:04:18 EDT

Rocket Rosebuds :
Indeed the big oxy-acetylene rosebubs ARE like holding onto a rocket engine and they DO produce significant thrust. They are noisy and scary to hang onto. They have enough thrust to lift themselves and fly around like a high pressure hose. The last time I had to manifold cylinders together to run one was at a nuclear power plant. Besides the draw rate the hoses ran from outside the containment to inside about 20 feet above the door. I think we had 75 feet of hose with its significant pressure loss. Had to run the regulators right at 15 PSI to get enough pressure and flow to the torch. On top of everything else it was summer time in California and I put on two layers of cotton anti-contamination coveralls for fire protection. . . I probably lost 10 pounds that day.

There are few tools a really dislike and this is at the top of the list (right after dentist's pliers for self removal of teeth. . ).

The next job that I needed a big rosebud for we used oxy-propane. It is much quieter and a more gentle flame with less thrust for the same BTU's as the acetylene. But I think the next time I need this kind of heat I will go with air-propane hand held forge burner.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/14/12 18:02:58 EDT

Rosebuds : At the boiler shops we had acetylene piped through the shops and the welders just plugged QC equipped hose and torch sets in. Since we had something like 200 bottles in battery in the acetylene room the rosebuds could be rather large. Like Saturn 5 large:) My pipe fitters had the task to PM the water traps on all the acetylene lines. took them several weeks to check, refill and service that many traps. The Oxygen came from a 5 ton liquid Oxygen tank and likewise plumbed throughout. We also had a 10 ton nitrogen and 5 ton argon. The nitrogen was used in large amounts by the 2 big MG systems cutting tables that had 3 plasma cutters each. The oxy/actylene torch on those cnc MG tables would make a very nice cut up to about 8" thick, but started to splay pretty bad at 10" and thicker.
   ptree - Wednesday, 03/14/12 21:30:08 EDT

Oxy/Fuel in the plant : The truck plant had oxygen and propane piped around the production buildings. Ours was a bulk liquid Oxy tank up on legs, looked like a small water tank. I don't know it's capacity. As well as bulk propane, We had bulk CO2 for MIG welding shielding gas.

Our flame cutting machine used oxy/propane. The piped oxy pressure was only 60 PSI, so for over 6" they had to manifold high pressure cylinders. We had plate in stock to 12" thick, but were instructed to keep to 6" & under wherever possible to prevent having to manifold cylinders.

They should have run a higher pressure line to the flame cutter, but I suspect that the bulk oxy system was there before they got the flame cutter. It was a '70s era Airco optical line tracer. Prior to that they had a hand held device like a Handy Auto and a track torch.
   - Dave Boyer - Thursday, 03/15/12 00:38:04 EDT

oxy propane : What is involved in setting up torches for oxy propane? Do all the torches have to be changed ie the tips? . Are there fitting adapters for the gauges or do they have to be specific for the gas used? Is this a cost effective thing to do in a small use shop doing heating and a little cutting?
   we@nb - Thursday, 03/15/12 08:59:58 EDT

oxy/petrol (gasoline to those in the colonies) : I have seen great things talked about for this but suspect most of it is hype. Does anybody know the truth?
   philip in china - Thursday, 03/15/12 09:38:32 EDT

oxy/petrol (gasoline to those in the colonies) : Never heard of oxy/gasoline,
Oxy/diesel is used by stonemasons to cause surface spalling of granite to 'freshen' a surface to remove toolmarks or give a nonslip walking surface etc.
Of course diesel & air are used to fuel forges and such.
   - Sven - Thursday, 03/15/12 09:58:29 EDT

Welding Gas Tanks : Thanks for all the great advice. I did find out that if I lease the tanks I'm leasing A tank, not THE tank - so when I need a refill, they just swap tanks. If I buy, I buy THE tank and I'd have to drop off, wait for them to fill it and pick it up again. All else being equal, the extra cash in the long run to lease is worth the hassle for me. Thanks all for your great input!
   Chris C. - Thursday, 03/15/12 10:00:47 EDT

Oxy/Propane Setup : we@nb,

You will need to get special 2-piece cutting tips for the propane, a propane-rated regulator that will deliver up to 30psig or more propane and kyou must use type T hose rather than the cheaper type R hose. Propane is hard on some rubber products so your regulator and hoses must be suitable for use with propane. The hose type will be molded into the rubber of the hose and you can check to see if you already have type T or not. Some acetylene regulators have diaphragms and seal that are suitable for propane, and some don't - your welding shop can tell you. Most acetylene regulators are designed to not readily go above the 15 psig safe limit for acetylene, which may not be enough pressure for propane cutting or thicker sections and will definitely not be suitable for larger rosebuds. However, the same propane regulator you would use for a forge will work fine for an oxy/propane torch in intermittent use. If you're going to use it for long periods, then a good 2-stage regulator would be better as it will deliver consistent flow as the tank delivery pressure drops, just as a 2-stage acetylene regulator does.

If yo do much cutting and/or heating, propane will certainly save you way more money than the tips and equipment costs. Tips are fairly cheap, as is the hose and you can economize on the regulator as noted. You will use about 20% more oxygen with propane than you would with acetylene. With the loss of the big acetylene plant in Tennessee a lot of shops are switching to propane.

Note, however, that you cannot weld with oxy/propane. You'll need to keep acetylene on hand if you want to do that. The Type T hose is fine iwth acetylene and you can use your old welding tips, but you would want to use the acetylene regulator with the the acetylene and not try to use the propane regulator - you don't want to risk overpressure on the acetylene.
   Rich Waugh - Thursday, 03/15/12 10:49:06 EDT

Oxy/Gasoline : Philip,

I've seen the advertising for the "PetroGen" gasoline/oxy torch outfit and they do make some pretty dramatic claims about it, for sure. I've never seen one in use and don't know anyone who has. It isn't cheap on the front end, though they clam the savings pay for it in short order.

I've used a number of old gasoline plumber's torches and they're just fine, but I'd be leery of creating my own pressurized gasoline vapors for use with oxygen. It's just too easy to use compressed gas cylinders for me to bother changing. I understand that in undeveloped areas where there is no access to acetylene or propane that the PetroGen is supposed tot shine, but I can't figure out where they get their oxygen if they can't get acetylene or propane. Are they cracking water and compressing the O2? If so, why not use the hydrogen by-product instead of gasoline?
   Rich Waugh - Thursday, 03/15/12 11:14:02 EDT

Global Availability of Gases :
Due to medical use of oxygen these cylinders and gas are available almost everywhere. Acetylene is very specific industrial gas and is more difficult to obtain in general. Propane, is used for cooking in the remotest of places and is often hand carried great distances in 20 pound cylinders. . .

The PetroGen torch appears to be a great tool but is only used for cutting, not welding. The requirement of only ONE industrial gas cylinder is a big plus in remote areas.

Some of the plasma torches that use air or water instead of inert cylinder gases are the cat's meow if working in a remote location. If you can generate electricity you can do (light) cutting and welding without a source of cylinders or hauling them. There are lots of places in the world where this is a big plus.

You can TRY to weld with oxy-propane but the results are horrible. Seems like it should work but the result is a foamy weld bead. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 03/15/12 13:40:07 EDT


These things work, they are real, and they are great for some applications. Wreckers and ShipBreakers and building demolition being the most common.
They are loud, dangerous, and nasty to use- but will cut thru 6" steel cheaply. They dont give a great edge finish- no CNC cutting table would use one, for example- but if you need to chop up a bridge that is 300 feet long, and its all going to be scrapped, they are the perfect tool for the job.
The Name Brand, made in America torchsets start at $2000 and go up from there- although there are, of course, cheaper chinese knockoffs.

But for a small shop that wants to occasionally cut bars to length, or cutting shapes in 3/16", they are probably not what you want.

Personally, I wont store gasoline in my shop, much less have it running around thru rubber hoses. Gas fumes are more explosive than I want to deal with, and easier to ignite. Acetylene safety protocols are pretty worked out, and you need to do things really stupid to blow yourself up with a standard oxy-acetylene set, but cans of gasoline and cutting torches with sparks flying are not a mix I want to work around.
   - Ries - Thursday, 03/15/12 14:01:21 EDT

The difference between kerosene, gasoline and other flammable liquids and gases is that the gases dissipate and are not a problem unless of significant concentration. But flammable liquids are generally always producing by evaporation a cloud of gas above them that is ready to explode and the liquids are relatively persistent when spilled.

Acetylene is considered safer than propane indoors because the light acetylene disperses while the heavy propane collects near the floor. Of course most of us have both in our shop BUT many homes have propane gas stoves and appliances. Natural gas is also easily dispersed compare to propane.

I do not keep gas cans in the shop but we often have paint solvents out. . . which reminds me - I need to pick some up today.
   - guru - Thursday, 03/15/12 14:20:58 EDT

When dealing with flammable liquids one needs to look at several physical properties before considering danger.
The first is Flash point. This is the temp at which the bulk liquid will evaporate enough vapor to support combustion. Below that temp not enough vapor to continue to burn.
LEL and UEL. These are thelower explosive and upper explosive limits. These are the percentages between which the vapor will explode or burn in air. Example, flash point 27F LEL= 3% UEL=9%. This liquid will eplode if the liquid is at 27F or above and between 3 and 9% in the air.

Then one wants to look at vapor density. Vapor density above 1 is heavier than air, less than 1 lighter.

So, if you compare MEK and Gasoline, you would see that MEK has a flash of 27F and Gasoline is usually -40 to -50F depending on the blend. Both will make enough vapor to explode at any temp you would likely work with a few cold weather areas.

An MSDS is a handy thing to read.
   ptree - Thursday, 03/15/12 14:39:48 EDT

Its one of our society's ironies. A container of Windex sold to a Nuclear Power plant must come with an MSDS attached (at extra cost) but we buy gasoline by the millions of gallons without a clue. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 03/15/12 16:13:55 EDT

Safety : I don't keep liquid fuels or propane in my shop area. Gasoline and diesel are stored in a separate closed room with constant ventilation and my propane cylinders are outside the shop. The propane is piped into the shop at 60psig in black iron pipe and further regulated at the point of use. I do keep paint and industrial solvents in the shop, but they are away form the welding/forging/grinding areas and kept in a steel cabinet. It's not a real flammables cabinet, just a steel office storage cabinet, but it does keep out sparks, dirt and brief flames. The Fire Marshall even allowed as how it was okay.

One big danger is from solvent-soaked rags and the like - those I keep outdoors in an open steel drum until they've dried sufficiently to either clean and re-use or dispose of. Bad idea to keep them in a closed container.

I don't keep the propane cylinders indoors due to the panic it creates in insurance companies. They assuage that panic by cancelling policies so I'd like to avoid that. They don't seem to panic over the acetylene for some reason.

I have fire extinguishers in every room. The extinguishers are for the Fire Marshall - if he wants them used he can use them, but I plan on running like hell if I have a real fire. (grin)
   Rich Waugh - Thursday, 03/15/12 17:05:12 EDT

Safety : Firstly, Dont mistake me, I am not doubting the soaked rags danger!

Anyway, Since I was a kid, Having always thought it bizar.
On occasion(Under safe conditions)I endeavoured to create a oil soaked rags spontaneous combustion situation and never managed to so much as get the rags pile to feel warm.

Anyway the comment above "Bad idea to keep them in a closed container"
is not really correct. A tightly closed metal container is preferred.
Keep out excess oxygen is a goal to store oily waste before it can be properly disposed of or cleaned.
   - Sven - Thursday, 03/15/12 18:48:05 EDT

MSDS : Guru, if extra was paid for a MSDS they brole the law. If a chemical is used in Industry, the CFR's that govern OSHA and the OSHA reg's lead to MSDS will be provided by the maker or importer of the chemical. I have been requesting MSDS from lots of companies And have never paid one red cent for one. I now get the great majority off the web. Free downloads. And by the way Gasoline has been in the file of every company I have worked for since we used gasoline.
If you read the labels on most containers these days you will find a near complete MSDS right there. CRC chemicals come with the MSDS on the inside of the label. Almost all have a 1-800 number, call them and bingo you can get a MSDS.
So I can not agree an irony.
What I can agree is an irony is that in industry we have to keep and maintain the mSDS, We have to train on how to read them, and NOBODY does. In my years of dealing with this I have had perhaps 5 out of thousands who have actually accessed an MSDS and read it, BEFORE than NEEDED to know something in an emergency.
The info is there, the need is there. Say asbestos and most people run. Say amorphous silica and people just look at you with that cud chewing complacency.
Get a snoot full of ethylene Glycol, what is the antidote? Do you vomit it up and leave it in the stomach? How would you know unless you read the info.
   ptree - Thursday, 03/15/12 19:18:36 EDT

Petree, wasn't it ethanol for the EG poisoning?

Sven one of our SWABA members had a pretty bad fire from linseed soaked rags self combusting; so I quite believe it. It's just like Ti, I *know* that it burns and burns *BAD*; but I've been forging it for over a decade in gas, coal and charcoal forges with no problems...(or for the general public, Steel, which we burn at will but they can't get a spark out of it!)
   Thomas P - Thursday, 03/15/12 19:25:24 EDT

OILY rags : The old issue about oily rags in closed container is really a case of misunderstood definition of oil. petroleum oils on rags go into closed metal containers. Linseed oil or other oils that polymerize like Tung oil are the ones that spontaneously catch fire. The heat of polymerization is the cause.
If you spill a good sized puddle of "superglue" and try and wipe it up with a rag, in most normal humidity conditions will leave you with your hand glued to a rag with rapidly heating polymer that will often burst into flame. If you add water the monomer is actually catalyzed and heats faster unless the water is flowing fast enough to carry the heat away.

And that is why you want to read the MSDS BEFORE you have the spill, not after.
In the section about stability hazardous polymerization and reactivity with other chemicals will be described.
   ptree - Thursday, 03/15/12 19:25:39 EDT

The Victor torch I bought a few years ago has propane-rated components. When I bought it, I expected I'd save money by not buying an acetylene cylinder. It turned out that by the time I'd bought the torch, the O2 cylinder, and two propane tips (one cutting and one brazing), I'd paid more than I would have for the outfit with oxygen and acetylene cylinders and a cart. I've since bought additional knock-off tips on line for *much* less; they seem to work fine. I am happy with the propane though (and with a TIG welder have no real need to gas weld).


When I was working in a model airplane project in college, I got a drop of cyanoacrylate on my finger. Not wanting to stick to anything, I sprayed it with accelerant to cure it. Wound with dry glue, but a burned finger. (Luckily a second-degree burn the size of a pinhead isn't something you need to take much notice of . . .)
   Mike BR - Thursday, 03/15/12 21:32:04 EDT

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