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 April 16 - 22, 2011 on the Guru's Den
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Thanks. I've always seen the 400HZ sign in the airplane lavatory outlets and wondered why. (I've also been tempted to bring my old alarm clock with the synchronous motor just to see what would happen . . .)
   Mike BR - Friday, 04/15/11 21:49:49 EDT

Time would fly. .
   - guru - Friday, 04/15/11 22:37:23 EDT

Time Flys : My old 1959 [it was My Dad's] Hobart Power/Weld engine drive welder has an odd arangement of a commutator for DC weld output and a pair of slip rings for AC Aux. power on the same armature. The idea was that it would run at 1800 RPM and make 60 Hz, but run at 2200 RPM for weld output. The Aux. voltage is a compromise that allows power tools with universal motors and lights to operate at 2200 RPM at a somewhat higher voltage. The down side is that voltage at 1800 RPM is low. To get sufficient voltage to run the well pump, refrigerator and boiler without to much worry, I had to speed it up a bit, but then it put out 70 Hz.

You could tell it was off when You looked at the sweep second hand on the old type clocks. It was pretty obvious.

A few years ago I upgraded to a Lincoln Ranger 9. It is a multi process machine with 9 KW Aux. power, 250 amp weld output AC/DC CC/CV with a contactor & remote output control. It runs 3600 RPM for welding and Aux. power at 60 Hz. I am much more comfortable using this one to power the house.

Time flys like an arrow, but fruit flys like a banana.
   - Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/16/11 01:42:00 EDT

My old Lincohn SA-200 gas engine welder uses a different winding to make 13 amps of DC at 110volts. Universal motors will run on the DC. I have a couple of 4" sears side grinders that are fairly new that have universal motors and they are kept in my travel welding kit as they are the only ones I have seen.
   ptree - Saturday, 04/16/11 08:52:27 EDT

ptree as an Miller owner, i can only try to persuade you to GO BLUE! remove that LINCOLN (spit) trash from your rig, pressure wash with holy water, and maybe you can make it onto the right of way. GO blue!
   danny arnold - Saturday, 04/16/11 16:12:11 EDT

danny arnold. Oh I must beg to differ. I happen to have 30+ years of lincoln experience and have found them to be durable, reliable and they do the job. Now I do happen to have an almost new Miller in the shop. Got a super deal and it welds ok. The gas engine, generator welder makes a better arc, and runs a better looking weld. I happen to have 2 Lincolns and one Miller.
Been around Airco, Esab, Lincoln, Miller Hobart, and lately a slew of Japanese machines that do tiny little fusion welds with plasma.

And now the rest of the story, I was GIVEN the lincoln. Mounted on a trailer, it had sat for many years. When we tried to roll it over to the truck the tread literally crumbled off the tires. We used a lift to put the entire rig in the back of my truck to take it home. I put a new battery, new belts and hoses,and new ignition, wires, plugs, cap rotor cap and points. I cleaned the gas tank,changed the oil/filter and cleaned the raditor. I then put gas in it and it fired on the second revolution. Smoked like a coal train, I suspect stuck rings. I have about 200 hours on it now, and with some oil additive the rings have unstuck. I did have to stone the slip rings to get it to weld. I also found it had a bad water pump. I put some used tire on it painted it a lovely shade of Safety Blue and I have been earning money with it since. I figure to have about $200 in it, and for a Continital F-163 engine welder that ain't bad. Only reason I have the Miller is it was sold and sent back unused since it was 220 and the customer wanted 110V. The mill supply could not return it since the bax had been opened and I got a brand new, never turned on Miller ac/DC Thunderbolt for $350.
I am more cheap than proud.
   ptree - Saturday, 04/16/11 18:24:08 EDT

Yale senior dies in machine shop accident : http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/04/13/yale.student.death/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn

Long hair and lathes! Sad because "the cause of death was asphyxia due to neck compression". Which means if she had been found soon enough, she would not have died.
   Grant - Nakedanvil - Saturday, 04/16/11 18:51:14 EDT

Welders : My primary welder is still a little 1973 Miller Thunderbolt 225 (AC only - two ranges with variable Amp adjustment). I paid $130 for it then including cables and a helmet. I had gone in asking to buy a Lincoln Tombstone. But at the time they were more expensive than the Miller and the guy at the welding shop claimed the Miller had a better transformer with more copper.

The little Miller was used in an outdoor shop environment (under shelter sand floor) for 20 years. Then indoors. It was in a flood, dried out and used the next day. . . The insulation on the cables started cracking from age and I taped them up. I replaced the stinger and ground clamp. Years later the insulation finally all rotted off. I replaced the cables and nearly 40 years later it is still in use.

I've rewired and repaired numerous old welders over the years. I put a fan in a Lincoln Tombstone, rewired an old SAE motor generator DC welder from 440V 3PH to 220V 3PH. Replaced switches and plugs in assorted welders.

Most industrial welders are built just as well as another. The vast number of problems I've seen were abuse or mechanical damage. Stepping or tripping on cables and plugs, jerking cables (moving work with crane while cable attached), falling of trucks. Loose connections overheating and melting insulators which then short out on the casing is common. . . Some welders are more sensitive to dirt than others and need to be cleaned out occasionally. My little Miller is loaded with dirt and is way past due being cleaned, adjusted and lubricated (the transformer slides require a special lube). But it still rattles along welding the same as ever.

The problem welders are the ones with more complex circuitry with difficult to diagnose problem. Lots of old electric circuits use some tricky control techniques that are not clearly defined. I have an old battery charger that is as heavy as a small arc welder. The anti-reverse polarity system is bad and the power relay will not lock in. The control is a nest of resistors and maybe a capacitor. . . Maybe I'll figure it out one day.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/16/11 22:27:27 EDT

SA-200 "Redface" : These have about as good an arc as stick welders get, if all You need is a stick welder.

The DC Aux power is actually the exciter power for the welding generator, and is only 1750 watts.

Lincoln still makes esentally the same machine, but with a diesel engine. All of these "pure DC" achines are popular with pipline welders.
   - Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/16/11 23:55:57 EDT

Dave, I have to agree, the SA line of pure DC machines run about as good an arc as can be had. I looked up the spec's on mine and the 110VDC outlets are rated at 13 amps.
Heavy? Yes. Cost to repair? $200. Ability to take on the job and run all day, making sure, sound welds? Priceless.

And besides Miller blue is not my favorite shade, Safety Blue is:)
   ptree - Sunday, 04/17/11 10:13:16 EDT

I don't think anyone can go wrong with these brand of welders in their home shops: Esab (yellow), Miller (blue), Lincoln (red)and Hobart (grey).
   - Yankee - Sunday, 04/17/11 16:08:59 EDT

Ok I built it...NOW WHAT? : Hi Folks!
Well I threw this "Brake drum forge" together in an hour or so..as you can see a tape measure and square was thrown out the window, I just wanted to get this thing built. here it is here: http://www.myphotos.yahoo.com/s/20y5i235dd85bfuvwk3b
I got a bathroom fan with a squirrel cage from my neighbor whom was doing a bathroom reno...it threw so much air that I put it on a dimmer switch so I can regulate it... Got the brake drum from another neighbor (I am cashing in chips as I do free welding for the entire neighborhood when I am not busy pipe-lining). I built it with a sliding door on the bottom to collect ashes as the illustration on this site suggested... Have a photo of my Trenton anvil also... so where do I go from here?...I was gonna throw BBQ briquettes and use that but read that is a "no no"... Can I just use wood? I have no idea where to find coal in this neck of the woods....as you know, I am totally new to this.. thanks for any info on making a fire... Talk about a step backwards in time eh? I could just use a tiger torch or my oxy-acetaline but want to do this the traditional way... Thanks...
   Jim Morris - Sunday, 04/17/11 17:04:19 EDT

Forge Fuel : Jim, Often the first step is, find suitable fuel. . .

Charcoal briquettes are mostly saw dust, some charcoal dust, a pinch of bituminous coal and starch glue. They cook meat well but not steel.

So where does the charcoal dust come from? From the charcoal makers that sell charcoal to restaurant suppliers and many big box stores. Ask for "real lump charcoal". It looks like the wood it was made from, not plump little pillow shapes.

Good dry wood works but is nothing like burning charcoal. For one thing it produces that acrid eye burning smoke. AND it produces a lot of flame while making the charcoal for the hot center of the fire. In some places they burn peat or even dung.

Coal is becoming harder and harder to find as it is used less and less for heating either commercially or domestically. But it is the BEST solid fuel. When it is found locally it can very likely to be less suitable than charcoal briquettes for forging. Coal comes in infinite variety from a high performance fuel down to black gravel that we not burn. You want the good stuff.

Top quality coal can be purchased from our advertisers. If you find local coal it is a good idea to have some good stuff to compare to. Many forge problems are due to bad coal.

   - guru - Sunday, 04/17/11 17:52:55 EDT

Thank-you Guru! : Okay....Now I am off on a quest for coal.. I am in Saskatchewan Canada. I just did a pipeline for Sask power and they have a coal fired power station about 3 hrs drive from here. The power station reportedly uses 28 tons of coal per day and they have a mine approximately 14 kilometers away that runs day and night by rail cars to feed this beast...I don't think they will miss a half ton load if I go see them...I'll keep in touch and let you know how I make out... Thanks again...
   Jim Morris - Sunday, 04/17/11 19:42:28 EDT

Coal : Jim, NEVER bring home more than a bucket full to test before you get a load of coal. Lots of folks end up with large piles of useless coal in their yard. Test first! The stuff that works in power plants does not necessarily work in a forge. As local smiths in the area where they get their coal.
   - guru - Sunday, 04/17/11 20:09:20 EDT

Forge : Jim, Nice drum forge. You did a nice job and looks like you thought it out.
   - Yankee - Sunday, 04/17/11 20:53:25 EDT

Coal and Forge : Hi again...Thanks Guru again and thanks for the compliment Yankee. I can't take credit for the design as it was on this site that I got the information...I didn't think anything out. Guru, since the last post I had a buddy of mine whom belongs to a blacksmiths club steer me in the right direction for coal. He gave me the club's name and adress where I can buy a 50 lb bag, so I guess I am on my way. Thanks so much for your input...Jim
   Jim Morris - Sunday, 04/17/11 21:00:51 EDT

Jim Morris, good luck in your new obsession. I can think of few things to make when you are just starting out as good as making tongs.There are plenty of lesson plans on the internet, they can be easy, and fun to make, and you will never have too many.
   danny arnold - Monday, 04/18/11 11:27:37 EDT

anvil value : I have an anvil that says J Wilkinson+ Sons then under that says Dudley and on the other side it has 1 1 9 on it.seems to be in good shape and I was wondering the value of it
   Paul - Monday, 04/18/11 14:23:36 EDT

Paul, your anvil is worth exactly as much as someone is willing to pay for it and not a cent more. :-)

If in good condition it is probably worth somewhere between $1.50/lb and $3/lb, depending on location and supply of anvils. It's a good brand of English anvil with wrought iron body and tool steel face. At about 150# it's a good size for general hobby smithing.
   - Rich - Monday, 04/18/11 14:50:55 EDT

Anvil Size and Values. . . : I wouldn't call a medium/small sized anvil a "hobby" tool. While its small for a general shop (however we define that) a small anvil is fine for work of a certain scale. I know a professional smith the produces hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of hand forged door hardware each year using a 75 pound Hay-Budden and a 30 pound Champion Power hammer. He dose more hand forging than power. But the scale of the work (perfect Colonial reproductions) needs nothing larger and has made a very good living as a professional for decades. There are other areas such as locksmithing and small chain making where a 75 pound anvil is huge and a 150 is overkill. I made a living on a 100 pound anvil for a number of years.

A Rich pointed out "value" can vary wildly. Originally it was a top of the line professional quality anvil made by a reputable English manufacturer. It has also stood the test of time, a LOT of it (about 150 years). In mint condition this COULD be a collector's piece. But in normal "good" condition is just another old anvil. As such it is just as good a tool as a new much more expensive anvil. So as a tool it may have much greater value than its monetary value.

   - guru - Monday, 04/18/11 18:20:53 EDT

I have Wilkinson anvil, 1-0-8 +8 (don't ask.... it has a superfluous 8 under the weight markings...add it all up and it weighs 100#, which it does). I have had my Wilkinson appraised at over $500. Dudley is the town where the Wilkinsons manufactured their anvils. Mine says "WARRANTED" under the word Dudley. I absolutely love my Wilk...
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 04/19/11 09:07:03 EDT

Dudley : When I went to Costa Rica in '04, I worked in Johan Cubillos' shop. We had a minimal setup, but we had enough. Johan and I worked on a beautiful Dudley that weighed about 300 pounds. Johan was on a limited budget, but had superhuman desire in becoming an artsmith. Costa Rica does not have a history of a blacksmith on nearly every crossroads, as in the U.S., so it is difficult to locate used equipment like an anvil. In the case of Johan, perseverence paid off, and he found the big anvil by perspicacity and fortitude. The anvil can be seen on Jock's anvilCAM II; COMMUNITY.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 04/19/11 09:40:52 EDT

Anvils in Central Ameica :
Johann has since traveled to Nicaragua and found a really nice old French anvil weighing around 400 to 500 pounds. While traveling to another country to find equipment sounds like a big deal the distance is less than traveling from one state to another in the U.S.

Johann also has a shop in an industrial location and has done some very nice jobs. Look under architecture for some of his bigger jobs and "Taller" for shop photos at the following.

Johan Cubillos . com

Note that his site is broken and is being rebuilt. . . His wife was trying to do the web work but did not do enough to keep up with it.
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/19/11 10:54:41 EDT

TGN: Say What? 1.0.8 112 + 8 != 100; 112 + 8 + 8 != 100; (112 + 8 - 8 is close...)

I notice quite a few ridiculous prices on anvils advertised for sale on things like Craigslist. Those I have talked with tell me that they based their prices on other ridiculous anvil prices never checking to see if the anvils actually *sold* for that price!

OTOH an acquaintance of mine just advertised a 100# ROCO anvil---cast with thin steel face---about 1/4" and the face warped when the cast iron was applied! He wanted $250 for it but when I saw him at the fleamarket he told me he didn't expect to get it; just fishing for a sucker! (I was a trifle peeved when he told me that he had told a caller that I have vetted it as a great anvil---what I had said was that it would suit his uses (mainly straightening nails) and at the price he got it it was a fair deal.)

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 04/19/11 13:19:07 EDT

Anvil Prices :
There are some very nice anvils out there fetching prices higher than new and in the rare collector range. Many of the German anvils Josh Greenwood is selling (see our Tailgate page) are very large rare old forged anvils of the highest quality the likes of which will never be made again and are very rare in the U.S. They are also fantastic working anvils. A superior tool with collectible value. These are fetching very near the asking prices.

Steve AKA Matchless Antiques gets some stiff prices for many of his imported anvils as well. But generally those that go high are either rare, or perfect, or both rare and perfect. Steve is pretty selective in his buying.

Folks see these prices on exceptional pieces and think they apply to every piece of junk anvil they may have, many of which are worth no more than scrap price.

   - guru - Tuesday, 04/19/11 14:04:00 EDT

High Carbon Steel : Hello

I am looking into starting blacksmithing and I am just getting a feel for how things work and doing some research into the science and materials (whilst I am waiting for the basic materials to become available on ebay) I would like to make most of my own tools etc. but I digress.

I have contacted some of my local steel stock holders to try and source some high carbon steel 1084/1095. They have told me that they stock it in hardend and tempered strips and they are being evasive as to whether this will be suitable for it's intended purpose (forging into blades) I can deal with the shape but I do not know if a previously hardened and tempered steel can be reheated forged into a different shape then reharden and retemper, otherwise I am going to really struggle to source materials locally.

Hope this makes sense.


   Steve Moore - Tuesday, 04/19/11 15:29:48 EDT

Steve, The condition of the steel prior to forging is inconsequential as all previous heat treatment is destroyed once the steel is above about 1300°F or forging heat (somewhat dependent on the alloy and how long held at a high heat).

Pre-hardened and tempered stock of this sort is usually spring steel. You are paying for the heat treatment. Tool steels are also sold annealed (dead soft) for machining prior to heat treating. You also pay for the condition. As-run or normalized is the least expensive material as it does not meet any heat treatment specifications.

If you are sawing, drilling or otherwise machining a piece of hardenable steel it will need to be annealed. Some alloy steels are quite difficult to anneal and thus tool steels are commonly sold in this condition.

Tooling Up: Unless you have exhausted all other sources eBay is not the best place to tool up a shop. Start with reputable dealers of new equipment. If you cannot afford it at least you will be armed with current prices. Often used items at auction (including ebay) will sell for more than new because those bidding do not know better. Then contact your local blacksmiths and bladesmithing groups. Many folks in the business have tools to sell or trade. Then there is making your own. . . a lot of folks are obsessed with making all their own equipment but many are not suited to the task. You will have to find your own way on this.
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/19/11 16:03:21 EDT

Steve you want to buy by the alloy and then by the price. The current heat treat state of it doesn't factor in save that it may affect the price.

If you have a semi-local source don't forget to ask them about drops, over runs, out of size spec, cosmetically damaged---surface rust is *nothing* compared to scale it will develop in the forging!---,etc.

Don't pay high prices for precision ground hardened stock that you will toss in the forge and hammer on the anvil!

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 04/19/11 17:41:47 EDT

The shape is also not critical. Newbies often think they want flat bar for knives but round forges easily to square or flat OR diamond (a blade section) easily. 1/2" round forges into a fairly wide blade.

When buying almost any steel, round is cheaper than other sections and often is the only section available. Even annealed and ground drill rod (AKA silver steel) is much cheaper than a similar alloy in flat or square stock.

Besides buying new steel, Junkyard steel is a common source for many smiths. Springs of all types make fairly decent blades and many coil springs are plenty big for the purpose. See our FAQ about junkyard steels.
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/19/11 20:11:37 EDT

"s" Hook Price : I had a man that wanted to me to make four 4ft. "S" hooks out of 1/4" sq. stock. I wanted to know how much I should sell them for. I paid $12 for 24' of iron. I was thinking probaly $10 to $15, what do yall think?
   Dillon - Wednesday, 04/20/11 09:03:48 EDT

Dillon, are you doing them hot? cold? ornamented? Do you have a use for the excess stock you had to buy?

Are you sure of his use? 4' out of 1/4" is pretty spindly and won't take much weight; but if they give out in service guess who will get the smear to their reputation?

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 04/20/11 13:35:16 EDT

apprentice hooks Pricing Hooks:

Dillon, It depends on your market, and the style of the hook.

A basic rule of thumb for hand forged work is that materials should be no more than 10% of the retail price of the work. So, ~$2 for steel, $20 for the hook (minimum) unless selling wholesale in quantity to a registered dealer. But generally a $10 hook has only $0.25 steel in it.

In many urban markets a nice normal hook often sold for $25 in the 1980's. Your long ones $30-$40. But the same hook will be hard to sell today for $10 to $20 at some rural crafts show. Location, location. AND remember there are markets you CAN NOT afford to sell work in such as fleamarkets.

2 leaf hooks by the guru
How is it made? Are the ends forged to make a graceful scrolled tip? Is the middle twisted or textured? I've made hooks from 1/4" square with little leaf ends, ball ends, and little bird heads. . . (a lot easier on a little bigger stock). OR is it a square end cold bent hook? Then its a $10 hook if 4 foot long and a $1 hook if 6" long.

Does it have a uniform finish? Finish is a big issue on cold finished bar. If not heated in its entirety the slick parts do not match the heated parts and hold paint well and so not take wax finishes at all. It needs cleaning, etching or sanding and then painting. While that is not much steel is is a LOT of length to finish.

The J hooks at top were made by an apprentice I trained. He insisted on trading them and selling them for $2.50 each. . . Wholesale should have been $8 to $10 minimum. The bigger hooks are 8 to 9" long.

Don't undersell your work. It makes it hard for everyone else in the community.
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/20/11 13:36:55 EDT

French visit US Blacksmithes : Bonjour,

My name is Philippe and I am a French amateur Blacksmith.
I am part of a Blacksmith association in Toulouse, SW of France where we saved and revive an ancient village forge.

Out of passion, we participate in and organize blackmithing events with local friends and try to share our love for the Trade with as many as we can.

I will be visiting the US this coming july.
I'll go to Clarksdale, Mississipi (I am a blues fan), then Las Vegas & Grand Canion.

Do you know of blacksmithes in those areas that I could visit and share a coal nut with?

That'd be great of you to help me finding.
Thank you for help

Philippe Mil├ęsi
   Philippe - Wednesday, 04/20/11 16:48:09 EDT

Philippe, Bonjour! How do you plan to travel between Clarksdale and Las Vegas & Grand Canyon?

If you plan to drive there are quite a few Blacksmithing groups along the way and your choice of route would show which ones to contact.

(note the drop down menu in the upper right hand corner of this page: Navigate Anvilfire, Abana-Chapter.com, lists a bunch of groups and contact information.)

As ex-president of the New Mexico ABANA Affiliate I'd be happy to ask around at our June meeting if you know when you will be coming through and if you pass by my shop I'd be pleased to give you a tour. I'm in Socorro NM.

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 04/20/11 17:17:47 EDT

Philippe are you driving or flying in the US? I am in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, you would be welcome to stop at my forge.If you can stand the July heat. Come on by!
   danny arnold - Wednesday, 04/20/11 20:57:32 EDT

Thomas.... I may have been mistaken, although I was using a bathroom scale. So, it SHOULD be 128? Hmmm,there's no pritchel.. maybe the heel was broken off and repaired? I'll re-weigh and get back to ya.
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 04/20/11 22:36:33 EDT

Philippe : I have a forging school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Please visit if you come this way. My contact information can be found: www.turleyforge.com.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 04/20/11 23:12:17 EDT

old mouse anvil : I have an antique Mousehole anvil. It is in pretty good shape. I was wondering how much it was worth. It is about 120 pounds and the name area is readable. Little to no sag in the anvil.
   Justin - Thursday, 04/21/11 03:24:02 EDT

Mousehole Forge Anvil, more anvil values. . . : Justin, Look UP a day or two. There are several posts about the value of old anvils. Anvils, old or new, in the 100 to 130 pound range are the most common due to their portability. At one time every farm, country home or workshop had an anvil this size. Due to being relatively common and usually well worn they sell for about $1/pound unless perfect then $2/pound unless the buyer is desperate and does not know how to find an anvil. Then they MIGHT go for $3/pound or more if the buyer has more more money than sense.

Larger and smaller anvils go for more per pound. Really exemplary antiques go for quite a bit more but in the anvil business 200 years old is just starting to be "antique".

Prices are also determined by how long you can wait to sell and how much you advertise. If you MUST sell it today for cash $50 to $100 tops. If you can wait then $250 MAYBE. That typical $1/pound price has been holding since the 1950's but tends to be higher (around $2.5/lb) when sold by anyone that knows the value of anvils to someone that needs one.

Anvils bought right are still a good investment but I am told the market peaked a few years ago. That means holding them longer. Since the good old hand forged anvils are a finite resource and still an excellent tool no matter how old the demand should increase.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/21/11 08:00:45 EDT

Its 27 1/4'' long overall 10'' horn 11 5/8'' high and stamped 24 on one side and just wondrin what it might b worth
   - peter taylor - Thursday, 04/21/11 08:55:18 EDT

I have a wilkinson/ dudley anvil wondering what its worth its 27'' long and 17x5'' wide 10'' horn 12'' high with 24 stamped in side
   - peter taylor - Thursday, 04/21/11 09:02:20 EDT

Peter, The devil is in the details. The dimensions do not tell much because weight was often increased in the body of the anvil without changing the length much. The dimensions indicate anywhere from a 100 pound to 150 pound anvil.

Weight numbers on these anvils were marked English Hundredweights. Example:
1 · 0 · 16 = 112 + 0 + 16 = 128 pounds

2 · 1 · 3 = (112 x 2) + 28 + 3 = 255 pounds

2 · 2 · 25 = (112 x 2) + (28 x 2) + 25 = 305#
The 24 is probably the last of the three. I would guess you have a 136 pound anvil but without the first two values it is just a guess.

Condition means a lot on these common sized anvils. Chipped and dinged, sagging horn and sway in the face. . still looks like an anvil is is a good tool but $1/pound is about the maximum it should bring. With unrepaired good strait edges and perky horn about $3/pound. If its been repaired by welding up the edges its worth zero to me. I'll take chipped worn edges any day over repairs.

Everything I said about the Mousehole anvil above applies.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/21/11 11:40:39 EDT


Anvils go got much more per pound where I live now then where I used to live. Where you are---who knows!---you didn't say.

When folks list anvils for sale without giving a location I assume that they will pay for shipping---otherwise they would have mentioned such an important fact in the "total price calculation", right?

   Thomas P - Thursday, 04/21/11 12:13:07 EDT

Shipping Costs : Yep, if that anvil is in the US, but in Alaska or Hawaii the value due to scarcity and demand will be much higher AND the cost to ship to the lower 48 (or vice versa) higher than many want to pay.

I wrote recently about shipping cost and new products on the Hammer-In recently. When an industrial manufacturer makes something their materials cost may include as much as 25% shipping. When that product is shipped to me to resell another 25% is added and the same to the final user. When the product gets to the final user those percentages have ballooned to 80% of the product's total cost. Besides the direct cost there is also the necessary mark up due to handling more money that is added at each level.

When shipping costs are low or stable it is not a problem. But this second oil price peak in 3 years will ratchet through the economy for another couple years (it used to take a decade or more, down to two years, perhaps less this time). So we should see significantly higher prices on everything (inflation) in the next year or so.

When products you purchase are 80% shipping (probably 50% direct oil cost) if oil goes up 30% the goods you buy will need to go up 15% at least due to shipping alone.

Ironically oil itself is a shipped product that will see further increases due to IT affecting its own delivery cost. . . All gasoline, diesel and fuel oil is delivered by trucks to the retail locations.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/21/11 13:35:43 EDT

Shipping : I may be behind the times, but you used to be able to ship things by bus. When I ordered car parts from salvage yards, they used to ship them by bus. Remember the shipping compartment at the bottom of the bus ? I wonder if they will haul an anvil by bus now ? or if they even do that anymore.
   Mike T. - Thursday, 04/21/11 19:52:35 EDT

Mike, I remember that now that you mention it. I looked up the history of UPS. In 1975 the ICC finally removed the various state restrictions to their delivering country wide. In 1977 they gained access to deliver to all of the United States. I suspect that UPS is the reason you do not hear of shipping by bus line anymore. I did a search and Greyhound still does it. They are advertising for the services such as oversize, heavy, overnight.

But you cannot beat the door to door service UPS and FedEX provides. I put my credit card number into many order systems and the product is delivered to my rural doorstep within two or three days OR the next day if I am willing to pay extra. The amazing thing is tonight (after business hours) I can schedule a pickup for tomorrow at my rural location and have it delivered anywhere in the US in 24 hours or less from the time of pickup.

While I AM complaining about increasing shipping costs (its hurting all businesses), the infrastructure the US mail and companies like UPS provide coupled with our highway system are some of the things that make the United States economy the most dynamic in the world.
   - guru - Thursday, 04/21/11 21:35:54 EDT

What never ceases to amaze me is places like MSC, where I can place an order at 9:00 P.M. and have the order on my stoop when I come home from work the next day. Without fail. The shipping costs enough that I order elsewhere when I can, but it's only a few extra dollars per order. Dirt cheap if I'm actually in a hurry.

Back to oil, much of it gets pushed across the ocean by *large* diesel engines. And I suspect most pipelines don't run downhill. . . . On the other hand, I wouldn't be stunned if the truck from the pipeline terminal to the gas station is the biggest transportation cost (in some cases, at least).
   Mike BR - Thursday, 04/21/11 22:18:45 EDT

Cost to deliver fuel : 10,000 gallons weighs about 60,000 pounds. . with delivery radii of about 100 miles. . . The cost per gallon is not too significant but it does add up to between 5 and 10% of the retail price. Yep, that is the biggest transportation cost.

Its more for heating fuel and the trucks that deliver propane carry less and are more expensive to operate and maintain.

While the fuel to push a big ship around the globe is significant and they all dead head one way they are also pretty darn efficient. It is said to add only 1 US cent per gallon of crude oil. Pipelines are cheaper but you can't pipe everything everywhere.

It all adds up.
   - guru - Friday, 04/22/11 01:16:56 EDT

Train : You see the big diesel engines on trains and you would think they are very inefficient, but they can haul a ton of cargo a hundred miles on one gallon of fuel. Once the inertia of the weight gets going, it is hard to stop. I talked to an engineer one time who told me that he was on a chemical train, all tank cars loaded with liquids, he said when he applied the brakes the liquid would push forward, hindering the braking process, he said he began to get scared and kept applying the brakes more and more finally getting it stopped. Also the rails are kept up to optimum performance unlike highways. Watch a train go around a long curve, notice how the rail cars lean toward the inside of the curve. When putting power on a train, the grades are given a number according to how much power is required to go up them and certain grades require so much power ( number of engines on the train ). Of course, like everything else, engines have computers that adjust everything for optimum fuel consumption as well as GPS devices.
   Mike T. - Friday, 04/22/11 01:56:14 EDT

Bus shipping : I remember Dad shipping and receiving orthopedic braces on Greyhound way up into the late 60's at least.
   - Brian C - Friday, 04/22/11 11:34:31 EDT

Rail is very efficient but has a strange history in the U.S. To entice building the transcontinental railroads and I believes some other major lines the U.S. Government gave the railroads the rights to all federal land in either a mile wide or a mile from either side of the rail line. They could also force the sale of land under the rules of imminent domain. This is a large part of what made the early railroad "barons" rich. Not only did they obtain a huge amount of realestate they developed many of the towns along those rights of ways and sold or often rented land to businesses along the then, only transportation route. While this was a boon to a growing country it made a few people very rich.

In recent times some railroads have done well but many others have failed. I don't think AmTrack has ever been in profit. It seems to be a sad state of affairs when you see the thousands of miles of sidings and branch lines that are being pulled up at a time when we need greater fuel efficiency in hauling product.
   - guru - Friday, 04/22/11 11:43:20 EDT

Hammer die : Was wondering where a good source is to buy 4150 steel for power hammer dies. I heard this was the steel to use for this project? Any info would be appreciated thanks Duke
   Duke C - Friday, 04/22/11 12:12:23 EDT

Hammer die : Was wondering where a good source is to buy 4150 steel for power hammer dies. I heard this was the steel to use for this project? Any info would be appreciated thanks Duke
   Duke C - Friday, 04/22/11 12:12:23 EDT

Duke C, If you are making hammer dies for yourself, most folks use 4140 or S-7. The 4140 is probably the easist tool steel to find, and pretty easy to heat treat and it machines nicely. This is the steel used in several of the production hammers on the market for the small shop today. If you are looking for dies to hold up in multi shift high rate production, then most folks choose one of the propriatary hot work steel like Finkle or a variant of H-13.
My power hamnmer dies are S-7 since I had that available and they have held up nicely for about 8 years in weekend use.
If looking for small quantity, almost every machine shop keeps 4140 and may sell drops.
   ptree - Friday, 04/22/11 12:56:29 EDT

Bus Shipping : I remember receiving a "big" shipment of model rocket parts and engines from Estes Industries (Penrose, CO) for our National Association of Rocketry range store as a teenager back in the '60s. My parents had to drive us downtown in D.C. to pick up our prized loot at the Greyhopund station. Kits and engines could usually be sent via U.S. Mail, but I guess it was just the volume of the total order, or maybe the number of rocket engines, that made us have to ship by bus.
   Bruce Blackistone (NAR 6413) - Friday, 04/22/11 14:03:43 EDT

we will mail a 65lb. piece of forklift tine steel to anywhere that gets us post 6" x3" x 12" $100.00.talk about good power hammer die stock or an anvil.
   danny arnold - Friday, 04/22/11 17:13:42 EDT

In the 60's and early 70's before there was next day air and so forth, Greyhound was indeed a big transporter of rush items. My Dad flew air freight at night, and if you needed a part to fix a machine to keep a factory running, or small parts to feed a line that was about your only choice. With Louisville having 2 Ford assembly plants, IH tractor plant, and GE appliance park, Kentucky Flying Service kept 7 six seat twin Pipers, a 8 seat Twin Cessna and a 5 seat Piper twin flying hard. They averaged 100 flying hours a week on the Piper fleet. My Dad and most of the pilots were employed during the day, and flew freight, passengers and air ambulance at night and weekends. I grew up flying the right seat at night on freight runs that were single pilot to keep him safe. In fact I learned to hold a heading within 1 degree and hold altitude within 50 feet on instruments when I was in the third grade. Had to fly instruments since I could not then see over the dash:) We flew tractor clutchs, carburator screws and plastic elbows for dishwashers on many many occasions. Much cheaper to pay us the then rate of $0.65 one way mile then stop the assembly line in a union plant.
We also flew to take airline passengers that the airline had stranded by bypassing the stop. Eastern Airlines had a run that went from Cinncinati to Louisville to Evansville INdana. They would be running late and just skip the stop at louisville. Then My Dad would get a call at about 6:30Pm to organize taking passengers from Louisville to Evansville. Sometimes we used all 7 of the 6 seat pipers and the older 5 seater. Once we dropped off the passengers, we often in good weather flew back in tight formation at night. Close enough that we only made one return on radar. Now that was a hoot! Seldom get 8 civilian planes in formation, especially at night. BUT, no passengers, and all the pilots were high time in those Aztecs, most having more hours in that model than military pilots get in an entire flying career. That Evansville run was a 2 or 3 times a week thing for about 5 years.
   ptree - Friday, 04/22/11 17:42:57 EDT

Shipping by Rail : If You are making full cars full of product, are on a siding and shipping to a customer on a siding, it is pretty hard to beat rail.

On the other hand, if You have to truck parts to the railroad, and they have to be trucked from the railroad to the customer, all the extra handling, scheduling of trucking, posibilities of damage from handling and pilfrige gives the advantage to the truck.

The auto frame plant had about a dozen and a half sidings, but even so some material came in by truck. I don't recall but I expect that frame rails going to the Mack plant probably went out by truck, as it wasn't far away.
   - Dave Boyer - Friday, 04/22/11 21:16:21 EDT

4140 die steel : Thanks ptree, for the info ,and correction on steel for dies will visit my local machine shop in search of. Duke
   Duke C - Friday, 04/22/11 21:27:27 EDT

Thumper : Don't know what brought this question to mind, but, is the Eiffle Tower the tallest freestanding structure made out of wrought iron?
   Thumper - Friday, 04/22/11 23:42:52 EDT


Air date: May 9... well you can see on the page.
   - Nippulini - Saturday, 04/23/11 08:55:14 EDT

Eiffle Tower : I did a search to see what material it was made of. I knew it was wrought but the TOP search returns said cast iron and another steel. The correct answer was out there but not the top returned answer. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 04/23/11 10:10:58 EDT

Eiffle Tower again :
Yes the tower is the tallest wrought iron structure ever built. It was the tallest man made structure in the world until 1930.

2.5 million rivets! 70 tons of paint!

Its a nearly perfect structure geometrically. The parabolic sides result in less wind sway than thermal growth.

In 1908 they were going to tear it down but its use as a radio antenna saved it! Can you imagine Paris without it?
   - guru - Saturday, 04/23/11 23:41:01 EDT

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