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This is an archive of posts from April 24 - 30, 2011 on the Guru's Den
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Eiffel Tower : I believe the Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest structure until the Eiffel Tower was built.
   Mike T. - Sunday, 04/24/11 03:51:45 EDT

Cast Iron Tower : I was in Eastern Germany briefly in 2009, and my hosts drove me areound to look at some ironwork. In Loebau, they took me to an impressive cast iron tower, the King Friedrich-August tower, which was built in 1854. It is an impressive structure, reportedly the tallest, cast iron tower in Europe, 28 meters.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 04/24/11 09:23:16 EDT

Monument : Wasn't the Washington monument capped with an all aluminum pyramid? I read that, at the time, aluminum was considered a precious metal.
   - Nippulini - Sunday, 04/24/11 10:19:04 EDT

Victor Lustig : Eiffel Tower Trivia, Victor Lustig, con man extrodinare, saw a press release about the enormous cost to refurbish the tower in the 20's and used it as a ploy to sell the tower not once...but twice for scrap to a couple of scrap metal merchants. He also convinced a bank after bilking them out of around 30K, that it would be in their best interest to pay him $1000.00 have him vanish and forget about the con, otherwise the sensation in the press would cause a run on the bank. Sheesh......and I thought Jesse James was a bad guy!!!
Nip, at one time, when alumionum was first discovered and produced, it was more expensive than gold.
   Thumper - Sunday, 04/24/11 12:33:47 EDT

Tip of Washington Monument :
The story is more complicated than that and apparently the story Thumper gave is a popular myth that I have also repeated.

The original request for quote was for Copper, brass or bronze plated with platinum. The reply from William Frishmuth the only aluminum producer in the U.S. at the time, a non-ferrous foundry operator and holder of several plating patents, was to make it from aluminum for $75 or aluminum bronze plated with gold for $50 OR bronze plated with platinum for $75.

Frishmuth had trouble casting the aluminum and had to have a cast iron mold made. There were many other failures not reported in the attempt to make a perfect casting. The final bill was $256.10. Was over bid. The government audited Frishmuth and settled for $225.

At the time the price of aluminum was the same as for silver, about $1/ounce. The high cost was due to the chemical reduction process used. The modern electric process was invented at this time but was not commercially in use so aluminum was still expensive.

The high cost was the result of needing a large perfect aluminum casting unlike anyone had produced OR would know how to produce with confidence for many years. Gas in the metal causing porosity was the problem and degassing would not be developed until much later.

If the monument builders had known what the cost was going to be they could have had a solid silver tip plated with gold. OR would have refused the suggestion to make it from aluminum.

A History of the Aluminum Cap of the Washington Monument
   - guru - Sunday, 04/24/11 14:31:33 EDT

Tallest Structures :
Wikipedia has an article on tall structures but is a bit disorganized. part of the problem stems from historic structures being destroyed and later day arguments about such things as radio antennas vs. habitable structures. However, many churches held the record only by the tip of the spire. When the Washington Monument was built IT was the tallest man made structure in the world.

The Great Pyramid was the tallest at a calculated 481 feet but had lost its surface and cap stone millinia ago. However, it is reported to be 455 feet today.

The Light House of Alexandria at a height of 377-443 feet held the record for any other structure for approx. 1500 years and then but the light house and pyramid were surpassed by Lincoln Cathedral in England, 1311. The great light house was destroyed by an earthquake in 1323. The cathedral's center spire which supposedly gave it the record height was destroyed in a store in 1549.

The current record holder as tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, Dubai, United Arab Emirates is 900 feet taller than its closest rival and over double the height of the old World Trade center. In an article on the new Freedom tower they state that the building was redesigned in order to exceed the height of the Burj Khalifa at 2313 feet but the current height of the Burj Khalifa is reported to be 2717 feet.

There is a a lot of argument about where to measure and the difference between building and tower. Included in the height of both the buildings above are tall antenna spires I think).

Now. . this would all be very important IF they were asking blacksmiths to forge the top tip of the spires or antenna. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 04/24/11 14:34:04 EDT

Lady Liberty : Lady Liberty is on top of the Capital building in Washington D.C. and there is an ordinance that states any building built there cannot exceed the height of Lady Liberty.
   Mike T. - Sunday, 04/24/11 20:12:04 EDT

Similar story with the William Penn statue in Philly. Apparently at one point it was a law to not have any building taller than the William Penn statue on City Hall. The law was revoked and skyscrapers were built. All Philadelphia sports teams lost successively and it was supposed to be the William Penn curse.
   - Nippulini - Sunday, 04/24/11 20:56:36 EDT

Supposedly there was a saying in 1889 that the only decent view in Paris was from the top of the Eiffel tower -- because it was the only place from which you couldn't see it. As the Guru points out, it's now hard to imagine Paris without the Tower, but it doesn't exactly blend with the preexisting architecture. I imagine there were folks counting the years until 1908, only to be disappointed.
   Mike BR - Monday, 04/25/11 19:51:03 EDT

Help? : I'm sure you guys get this ALL the time, but:

After only a few weeks of asking around looking for an anvil, I found one for sale online in western NC (I live a few hours east of there, near Raleigh). The seller says he brought it south from up north (where he's from originally) along with some other tools-which he apparently does often. He says the anvil is English, 100 years old and about 280 lbs. He sent me six pictures of it this evening. It looks fine to me except for a ding on the top edge, but I've read enough here to worry that I'm getting a doorstop.

While you could barely call me a beginner blacksmith (I've held a hammer only once, but it was enough), I am interested and don't mind paying a fair amount for something of good quality...

...Only it's not produce and my virgin eyes can't tell if it's rotten or not.

So, I was wondering if the knowledgable gentlemen folks of anvilfire could take a look at the pictures (I can e-mail them to you-or if someone could tell me how to post pics here) and let me know if I'm getting crap or a good piece with which to start or if there are questions I haven't asked yet. For instance, I've read that older anvils lose some weight and quality over time, but I'm not sure that the weight issue would matter much in this case, with an anvil this large.

Also, does anyone know where I can get a single large ball bearing for the bounce testing? I can use the hammer test, but it seems as if the ball test would be easier to measure.

I'm going to see the anvil on Thursday afternoon.

Thanks very much for your time in advance!
   Sam - Monday, 04/25/11 22:42:52 EDT

Sam, e-mail coming your way.

If its an English anvil that old the probability is its a pretty good anvil unless someone has machined it trying to clean up sway or chipped edges.
   - guru - Monday, 04/25/11 22:49:54 EDT

Help : Thanks, Guru! Looking forward to hearing from you. I'll send pictures when I do.
   Sam - Tuesday, 04/26/11 12:47:59 EDT

Sam, you must have typoed your e-mail. Will sent to second one with a 7
   - guru - Tuesday, 04/26/11 13:16:58 EDT

Everyone in awhile... : When you're auto-didactic sometimes simple little ways to make your work more efficient just get over looked. I occasionally make a branding iron. Any old ones I've seen are made from tapered stock. I don't know if tapered stock was once available, but I've never seen any, so have always tapered it, then straightened it, cut to length, forge welded a stem to it, straightened back out, the formed the letter shape. Today I had the brainwave to cut the stock to length first (I allowed a 1/4 inch for it to grow, welded the stem on, and then tapered. There was minimal straightening to do after. I love it when a plan comes together.
   JimG - Tuesday, 04/26/11 18:26:32 EDT

Branding iron man : Yah JimG. You can also pre curve the stamp stock like a banana, on edge, like some knife makers do. After welding the connecting rod "handle" to the convex edge, the hammer-tapering will straighten it.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 04/26/11 20:14:24 EDT

Arch de Triumph : I don't know how you spell the darn thing, but you see pictures of Hitler and his army in a parade celebration coming through the Arch de Triumph when they over took Paris. Did you know Napoleon had that arch built ?
   Mike T. - Tuesday, 04/26/11 23:01:55 EDT

Anvil Identification : I'm looking into buying an anvil, but I have never seen this marking, and cannot find anything about it online. It appears to be ACN, but the strike to make the imprint was either bad, or not hit hard enough. So it's either ACN, ACR, or possibly even AC1. I couldn't get the picture to load right. But heres the web site www.garnettauctions.com go to estate items, and it's on the first page. I also bought a 75 pound Fulton anvil for $250, (I bough it for the base it was on.) It was used be a professional welder in his shop, before that it was a farriers anvil, the base and anvil together weigh right at 300 pounds.
   Hayden H - Wednesday, 04/27/11 02:01:06 EDT

Anvil i.d. : Hayden,

That anvil looks to be an ACME - Wile E. Coyote's favorite brand for smashing road runners. I believe Trenton was the actual manufacturer of Acme anvils, but they were sold by Sears and Roebuck. That particular anvil, however, looks like it has been pretty badly thrashed. In the photo I can see what appears to be severe edge chipping, bad enough that moderate dressing won't cure it. Unless you can get it for under $1/lb, I would pass on it.

   - Rich - Wednesday, 04/27/11 04:10:46 EDT

ACME Anvils : These were made by both Trenton and Hay-Budden. To me this one looks a bit more like a Hay-Budden than a Trenton but its difficult to tell without looking at details not shown. Both were made in a similar manner. Good wrought anvils.

The photos do not show enough detail but as Rich noted the edges appears to be chipped pretty badly all around. This is typical on anvils used with too sharp or edges (not dressed), working cold iron or with strikers. Neither photo shows all the anvil.

The stump is a fine big piece of wood but it is too big. The two pieces together will probably sell for a lot more than they are worth which is typical at auctions. I'd be more interested in the bench vise at this auction - it will probably go for less than it is worth.

Speaking of auctions, See our calendar of Events page. On May 21 there is an Estate auction in Illinois with many anvils, forges, vises. Then there is another on Memorial day weekend in Maryland (not yet posted. . .)
   - guru - Wednesday, 04/27/11 08:12:40 EDT

Thanks for the info, I'm a young blacksmith and bladesmith.(Just truned 15.) I already own one anvil, a medium sized table forge, and a H.M.D. post vice. I'm looking into expanding my "collection", of tools, but at the moment fires across Texas have devastated the industry. So I cannot forge at the moment due to the dry weather. Thanks you
   Hayden H - Wednesday, 04/27/11 20:14:44 EDT

OK for bladesmithing the go to place is the ABS school at Texarkana, (American Bladesmith Society)

They offer a lot of courses at different skill levels on different topics.

(and again another state contiguous to TX)
   Thomas P - Thursday, 04/28/11 16:37:03 EDT

Power Hammer Foot Peddle Guarding : We have a number of power hammers that OSHA has said need the foot peddles guarded. Has anyone run a crossed this in the past? Our hammers are belt driver mechanical devices and are over 100 years old. I would be interested to know if anyone else has had to deal with this in the past and how they satisfied the OSHA requirement.
   Steven - Friday, 04/29/11 17:10:08 EDT

dunn & murcott anvil : my father in law left me a dunn & murcott anvil and i would like to sell it and want to know what would be a resonable price.
   danny - Friday, 04/29/11 18:05:58 EDT

Power Hammer Foot Guards:

I did not have to do it to comply with OSHA since I'm a one-man shop and therefore exempt from OSHA, but the concept is fairly simple. Add a ring of round steel bar parallel to the foot treadle and about four inches above it. This ring needs to be strong enough to support a person standing on it without noticeable deflection. With that safety ring above the treadle it cannot be accidentally depressed. That should satisfy OSHA.

I have a friend and client who is an OSHA consultant and he suggested that you should make a prototype installation such as I described and have the inspector check it and pass on it. According to him, (and verified by my own experiences in the past),most OSHA inspectors are reasonable people who DO understand that you have to make a living with your equipment and will try to work with you to achieve a solution that satisfies everyone.

Let us know how it all works out, please; this is a topic that has potential impact for a lot of shops.
   - Rich - Friday, 04/29/11 18:08:50 EDT

Treadle Guard : Steven, This is the only part of a small open die hammer used for machine hand forging that is required to be guarded (say a hammer of 500 pounds or less). See OSHA Regulations and Forging Machines.

On large machines with big bolts that if they fell could injure a worker, the bolts must be safety wired. On closed die production machines there is also a requirement for flash guards anywhere that forging flash could spray a working not operating the machine such as someone passing behind the machine or an operator of another machine.

The necessary guards are fairly simple but only one manufacturer of small power hammers anywhere provides one. Big BLU.

DIY Hammer Anvils

The anvil to the right above has a guard made of bar or pipe. The guard is the same shape as the treadle and just high enough above it to not be an obstruction to the worker.

The point of the guard is to prevent falling work OR tools from activating the hammer, OR other accidental operation. The Big Blu guard and the guard in the above drawing are open guards. A guard could also be solid, made of plate or heavy expanded metal on a framework.

We are putting treadle guards on the hammers we are building. It is a simple enough thing to do.

   - guru - Friday, 04/29/11 18:25:17 EDT

Danny; I have a Ford vehicle can you give me a reasonable price on it?

Kind of hard without knowing the model, condition, any accidents it's had and finally location! (anvils sell for substantially *more* where I live now as where I used to live and they are both in the continental USA! Where you live we haven't a clue.)

These are the same sort of things we need to know to make an educated guess, without them I would have to say "scrap rate to US$5 per pound"

   Thomas P - Friday, 04/29/11 18:42:27 EDT

Flash Guard Exceptions :
Hammers used for most open die work, especially decorative ironwork that are approached from every direction are not required to have flash guards. But even on a small hammer, if its converted to production use where all the work is done from one position then it may need a guard.
   - guru - Friday, 04/29/11 18:49:07 EDT

Treadle guard : My Massey hammer has a large treadle guard that was put on at the steel mill the hammer was at before I bought it. if you look at this post across the street http://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/8974-anvil-tool-holder/page__hl__stopper__st__20 my post, post # 31 there is a picture of the guard. This guard is also very handy as a table for tooling that is used under the hammer for the job you are working on.
   - JNewman - Friday, 04/29/11 22:51:43 EDT

Treadle guard : I think treadle guards are a very good idea. I had a friend who is an experienced smith who was putting a sacrificial mild steel block on the bottom die of a Kinyon style hammer so she could cut off the end of a bar using a top cut off tool. Something fell and struck the treadle, the hammer came down and caught her finger between the dies. Luckily it was just a light blow, but it still split the end of her finger and required a trip to the emergency room.
   - JNewman - Friday, 04/29/11 23:03:22 EDT

OSHA and forging equipment : In the US OSHA has little that is specific to forging machine. There are the required treadle guards. On hammers and presses there is the requirement for the availability and use of stop blocks when changing dies to hold the ram up. On presses there are requirements on the controls and for preventive maintenance.
Most of the requirements a comercial shop faces are the same for all industry, that is hearing and eye protection, foot protective, and all the other PPE for the dangers present.
In all machines guarding is in the regulations, but when it comes to forging equipment, the general rules apply.

Remember that OSHA regulations are the bare minimum basic rules as specified by law, these are not the best case.
Last, for those who pooh-pooh OSHA reg's, remember the reg's were written by folks who know little about what they are regulating, they can not see in the future, they therefore write every single reg in the blood of those who got hurt. The reg's are written after the statistics are anaylized.
   ptree - Saturday, 04/30/11 07:49:06 EDT

My Paragon Anvil : I have my Great Grandfathers anvil that he allegedly brought from Mississippi to my home town in Whitney Texas in 1867. He died in 1928 at the age of 83. I have researched the internet for days and have not found markings on any Paragon Anvil like this one. It has a Crown, the Paragon stamp inside a rectangle, Sweden and 91 lbs on the side. On the front foot there is a large "C" with either a "F or E" inside the "C". Can you tell anything about the anvil from these markings?
   Ott Boswell - Saturday, 04/30/11 11:31:28 EDT

Little Giant 25lb Trip Hammer : Whats the value of it it's in (as far as I can tell) A condition. Is $1975 to much tp pay for it? It lacks the motor, and probably needs a few bearings replaced.
   Hayden H - Saturday, 04/30/11 12:59:39 EDT

Paragon Anvil : Ott, Yep, Its a Paragon anvil, made in Sweden. . .

Not much to say about these other than they were a good anvil. They were made for import into the U.S. by Södersfors for the Horace Potts Company. Many early ads said they were forged steel but the indications are they were cast steel like the other such as Kohlswa. It was probably not made any earlier than 1900 since the earliest notice of them is in 1901.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/30/11 14:20:53 EDT

Little Gaint Prices :
Hayden, There is a lot than can be wrong with a 25 pound Little Giant. If is all there then that is a plus. "Some worn bearings" can cost a LOT to fix. The big pulleys on these hammers (both the center line shaft driven and rear motor driven) have an internal Babbitt bearing that must be cast in place then machined to fit the shaft. The main journal bearings are also Babbitt and cast in place. These are cast against the shaft (which needs to be in good condition) then adjusted with shims. Normally you need a dummy shaft and a bunch of collars and brackets to perform this task. There are kits you can rent when available.

The crank connector is bronze and must be machined to fit if worn.

If the bearings are worn then almost assuredly the guides and other pins are worn. Depending on the style of LG the repairs vary. The late model dovetail guide hammers are the worst because they tend to wear curved and must be machined in almost every case of significant wear. The wrap around guide type can often be shimmed but if worn out require weld build up. The current repair method which I think is a bit of a red-neck fix is to weld a small piece of angle iron into the guide. . .

If you can do all this yourself its not a problem. But there is a lot of machining that you can end up paying others a lot to do.

The only 25 pound LG that I would want in my shop is the so called "transition" model with the heavy cast and bolted surround guides. There was nothing transitional about this. They were made in two sizes, the 25 and 250. But it was a more expensive design to manufacture requiring more precise machining than the manufacturers liked. . . So they only made them a short time. It was not an in between design phase. There are other variations in LG's including anvil (sow) block or no.

Common 25 pound LG's in terrible condition are bought at this price or less, rebuilt and sold for $3500 to $4000.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/30/11 15:10:20 EDT

25 L.G. Power Hammer : Dang, thats something a 15 year old can't do. I don't have a machine shop to work in, but I'm good with my hands and designing and building, so I'll save my money to build a shop to put my growing "collection" of tools into. Then find a power hammer and the other tools I need.
   Hayden H - Saturday, 04/30/11 17:50:53 EDT


I'd say your best plan would be to save your money for now and set about assembling some basic fabrication tools like an arc welder, grinders, drill press such. Then, when you're ready, you'll be in a position to build your own Kinyon-style pneumatic power hammer and end up having much better set-up. You'll have a power hammer that is far superior to a wimpy 25# LG, you'll understand exactly how the hammer was built and know how to maintain and repair it, and you'll have the freedom to do much more with a pneumatic hammer than you can with a small mechanical hammer. That opinion will probably rile up the LG advocates, but it is true. :-)
   - Rich - Saturday, 04/30/11 18:09:04 EDT

Rich you opinion of Little Giants does not rile me up :)
However, if building your first hammer, I would suggest a simple Rusty style such as I built. Easiest to scrounge and build.
   ptree - Saturday, 04/30/11 21:07:11 EDT

Need some AIA help : I am looking for a manufacture date for an Arm and Hammer anvil S/N 45751.
Thank you

   Rustyanchor - Saturday, 04/30/11 21:20:53 EDT

1939 or 1940 more or less. You should buy the book.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/30/11 23:14:46 EDT

Little Giants are a serviceable hammer but were the bottom of the line compared to Fairbanks and Bradleys. However, these are all ancient the newest being 50 years old, the average 75 years and many 100 years. While they all can be good machines they are also all orphans that can be expensive to maintain. Lots of folks still make a living with such machines and may for decades more. But maintaining them can be expensive.

While small air hammers are relatively easy to build they are terribly energy inefficient. Too expensive to run unless you are making an income with them.

On the capacity side a 25 pound LG can do lots more work than a man can do but for nearly the same money, space and a little more power a 100 pound LG can do just as delicate of work but also do a lot heavier work.
   - guru - Saturday, 04/30/11 23:46:54 EDT

Guru, I own a 25# Little Giant, and I am wondering if you would recommend the videos by Dave Manzer?
   Kelly - Sunday, 05/01/11 10:39:11 EDT

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