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 May 16 - 22, 2011 on the Guru's Den
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Forge Lighting : Help! I am trying to get back into blacksmithing. (took a course some years ago). I have an ALCOSA forge with hand blower and coke supply. I cannot get heat into the coke. I used the forge with charcoal a few times with success, ie. hot iron and forged a few bits. Now with coke I cannot get coke to stick together or to hold enough heat to heat iron! I am trying to heat 3/8ths ish round bar but no joy. i have tried a few different fire lighters, newspaper, dry pine and even dry oak twigs and none have worked. I have tried working blower gently then building up, I have tried working it furiously. I have reduced the size of forge with bricks inserted to hold heat in but all to no avail. HELP!
   Toby - Monday, 05/16/11 07:32:11 EDT

Forge Lighting : coke needs a whole lot of air.....coal will light easier, A hand crank blower won't do it for the coke, where are you located ?
   smithy - Monday, 05/16/11 09:03:39 EDT

Coke Forges : Toby, All solid fuels vary in size and quality. Coke comes in hard and soft varieties and foundry size down to powder (coke breeze).

To work in a forge coke needs to be in about 1/2" to 3/4" lumps (12 to 18mm). Larger pieces have too much air space between lumps and insufficient surface area to burn properly in a blacksmiths forge. Coke has no volatiles so its difficult to start. Wood kindling or a small coal fire is required. Most smiths use an oxy-acetylene torch.

As noted by Larry, commercial coke requires a lot of air. Soft or natural coke will burn without an air blast for a minute or so but commercial coke needs a constant blast and will often go out while while working a piece and not cranking the blower. You need an electric blower or full time assistant to use this type coke in a forge.

If you do not have an electric blower a deep fire that creates a natural draft is required. When a forge fire is deep enough it will suck air in through the blower and keep going even when the blower is at rest. However, with coke this can be hit or miss.
   - guru - Monday, 05/16/11 10:11:13 EDT

coke : The piece size is right. This is same fuel local professional smiths use. very few suppliers in uk for smiths coke now. I feel a hairdryer moment coming on... thanks for advice both. I'm in UK, Hampshire.
   Toby - Monday, 05/16/11 10:18:24 EDT

project evaluation : Mr. Turley...if I was to send you a prototype project, would you be interested in evaluating it?
   - keith - Monday, 05/16/11 17:03:03 EDT

Coke can be a fair bit harder to light than coal. My favorite method is an oxy fuel torch, light the torch start heating the coke and then turn off the fuel gas and crank up the oxygen. After about 30 seconds to a minute you can turn the oxygen off and the blower on.

If you don't have a torch you need a wood or charcoal fire, that you give lots of air to get it really hot then you can use that to light the coke. I found I often needed to use hardwood as I couldn't get quite enough heat out of pine or cedar to ignite the coke. I would try using a slightly larger wood fire than you have been. Make sure your firepot is clean often a lot of ash in the bottom can reduce your air flow enough to make burning coke more difficult.
   - JNewman - Monday, 05/16/11 19:36:18 EDT

test IP blocking
   - guru - Monday, 05/16/11 20:30:08 EDT

Coke Forges :
I tried coke with a bellows. . . it was an impossible combination. It took a lot more work to get a hot fire and it went out often while working a piece. I gave up completely on it after a couple frustrating days and a very tired arm. I was used to working coal all day by bellows but the coke was a completely different animal. To make matters worse my supply was fist sized lumps of foundry coke that was very resistant to being broken up. Most of a bucket full is sitting somewhere. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/17/11 01:15:34 EDT

Champion 400 Forge Blower : I need to service my gear box. It has old/caked-on oil or grease inside and needs the bearings repacked with light grease.

I cannot figure out how to remove the lower (fan) shaft from the gear box and how to reset the shaft bearings.

Can you assist me in this or point me to a link about bearing removal and adjustment?
   Scott Reynolds - Tuesday, 05/17/11 07:18:15 EDT

JNewman:"If you don't have a torch you need a wood or charcoal fire,"

If you are into metalworking and smithing and you DON'T have a torch, something is wrong. That's just my personal opinion...
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 05/17/11 08:07:31 EDT

Champion Blowers : Scott, The Champion blowers are NOT designed to be grease packed. They use oil. Yes, there are no seals and it leaks out. That is the technology of the day. Oil regularly.

There are variations according to age.

On the late blowers the fan has a nut and then is threaded on the shaft. Behind that there is a cap to keep dirt out of the bearing (no seal). Another nut holds the inner bearing in place. On the opposite end there is another nut. On some the inner bearing races are threaded.

The nuts center gears and adjust the bearing clearance. There must ALWAYS be a slight amount of play in bearings or they wear out rapidly. However, if adjusted improperly the gears will run noisy OR possibly be too tight as well - both conditions causing premature failure.

Note that all the parts, gears and bearings were proprietary parts made by Champion and there are no modern replacements that fit (except the bearing balls) without modifying the parts or the blower. The worm (fan shaft) and worm wheel are irreplaceable

If you can flush enough solvent through the gear box and bearings to get the old oil and crud out without completely disassembling the blower it is best.
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/17/11 08:14:54 EDT

blower gear boxes : I have had very good luck cleaning the old grease and crud from gear boxes on Cannady Otto blowers using Kerosene. I actually submerge the entire blower in the kerosene for a week or so with the fill and drain plugs out. After a week I drain and boy does a lot of nasty stuff come out. Then a pour some kerosene through until a fairly clean stream comes from the bottom. From there I fill with 50:50 kerosene and light oil and GENTLY rotate for about 5 minutes and drain, and bingo more crud. Then I refill with ATF and use. I drain and refill yearly with ATF. Unlike most of the other oil filled blowers the Canady Otto will not leak all the oil out. If you overfill, that is above the fan shaft, it will leak there. I have also found that of the 4 I have done, 3 were stuck completly, by mud dauber nests in the blower fan case. I inspect before the unit is submerged, and use a wire to gently remove as much as possible, and the kerosene loosens the rest.
   ptree - Tuesday, 05/17/11 10:14:41 EDT

More Mud Daubers - And the oil cure :
We were just discussing Mud Daubers on the Hammer-In. . . I've had them build nests on one side of a fan and put it so out of balance you would think the machine is wrecked and about to blow up. I've also had them build nests in a truck differential vent which caused expanding air and oil to leak through all the seals (they are not designed to work under pressure).

Years ago I used a similar kerosene regimen as described above on an old Chevrolet six cylinder engine and a Dodge 383 to bring them back from having been run to ground with no coolant. . . Both had what gunk that would drain out drained and a new filter installed, then 1 qt of oil and a balance of kerosene added, then the engines were run for a while and drained, then the process repeated with oil, STP and kerosene, then oil and driven a few miles, then that drained and another oil and filter change. Both had long lives afterward (over another 100K on the 383). No modern engine would take that abuse OR the cure! I DO NOT recommend it.

But the process DOES work on old tools and machinery as ptree noted
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/17/11 10:50:32 EDT

COKE : O/A for lighting and a constant fan for keeping it lit. I have a small squirrel fan with an intake baffle to control the air flow for normal work, and for more intense heat I have a hand crank Canady Otto blower at the ready. These are connected to the forge with a "Y" fitting so I can close one off while using the other. If guru can show me how to post pic's here I will, otherwise, if you want pic's send me an email.
   Thumper - Tuesday, 05/17/11 12:16:51 EDT

Multiple Air Sources : I've seen this on coal forges from the late 1800's and early 1900's. A lot of smiths prefer the fine control the hand crank blower gives them when doing small work or welding. But if you have big work and multiple irons in the fire (AND/OR you are feeding a power hammer) an electric blower is a necessity.

Thumper, at this time you would have to mail the photos to me and I would set them up. I'm working on an article in progress on forges of all types from the pit to induction. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/17/11 12:55:46 EDT

To Service the Champion 400 Blower : I figured it out myself;

Yes, I read on another website to take it apart to clean and apply a light/non fiberous grease from the guy who rebuilds these in NY. Sending him mine is out of the question.

I did clean it with solvent (K1) and flushed it. It doesn't really clean it as I discovered.

What you do is make a special socket from a 1/2" drive 1-1/8" dia. You cut out notches where the fane blades are. The socket slips over the shaft and grips the fan hub.

An impact is required to loosen it, then it can be removed by hand. The bearings will come out along with the shaft (towards the front) and you'll se all that gunk and garbage nside the case where the front bearings were at.

I'd rather clean it properly as opposed to "flushing it" with diesel or K1 and oiling it.

I hope others can benefit from the time I invested in making this special tool to properly clean their blower case.
   Scott Reynolds - Tuesday, 05/17/11 15:39:36 EDT

Link to Champion Blower Service : Here is a link for the service of a Champion 400 blower assy. This is good reading if you have one of thee popular blowers

   Scott Reynolds - Tuesday, 05/17/11 16:16:28 EDT

Multiple Air Sources : Guru, I'll send you a couple of pic's this evening, post them or use them how ever you wish.
   Thumper - Tuesday, 05/17/11 16:20:41 EDT

Vintage Anvil ID : Hi:
I was trying to identify an anvil in my studio, I tried to do a tracing
but can only see a ??? Hammer mane and the logo has a hammer and some other type of tool in the logo?
Any info is appreciated or where I can find info on antique/vintage anvils.
Thanks for your time.
   Christine - Tuesday, 05/17/11 17:53:48 EDT

Christine; if the logo is punched into the side of the anvil it is an Arm and Hammer brand anvil made in Columbus OH and is a good brand.

If the logo projects from the side of the anvil in an oval it is a Vulcan brand anvil and about the lowest quality of the "real" anvils.

The Arm and Hammer anvil should have a piercing ring to it when struck and the Vulcan will have more of a thwap sound if you hit it

The best place to find information on anvils is "Anvils in America", by Richard Postman. if you live in the USA your local public library should be able to ILL a copy for you to consult.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 05/17/11 19:29:40 EDT

Thanks very much for the fast reply.
The logo is punched into the side, it is a large anvil, and does have a nice ring.
Good news I guess.
I think my husband did buy it in OHIO.
I will check out my library for the book.
Thanks much Christine
   Christine - Tuesday, 05/17/11 19:41:59 EDT

Anvil Value/Info : Have recently acquired a medium sized anvil, and was wondering if you could give me some information on it's value. The anvil measures 23½ from the heel to the point of the horn. The face is 14" X 4", and the table is 2 ⅜” X 3 ½”. The horn is 7” long, and the point has not been beaten or mushroomed. There is a 1 ¼” hardie hole and a ½” pritchell hole down toward the heel. The anvil measures 9 ½ “ from the base to the top, and two of the feet have been drilled for spikes or screws. The base is slightly concave, allowing the anvil to set squarely on all four feet, and the base has a moderate scallop on the sides, and the front and rear are square. The base measures 9 ¾” L X 9 ¼” W.
The sides are marked 64 KGS on the left, and 1¼ CWT and ENGLAND on the right, looking from heel to horn. I can find no other markings. Overall, the anvil looks to be in really good shape, with the exception of one small scar from a cutting torch on the horn.
Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
   Charles R. Manley - Tuesday, 05/17/11 20:25:19 EDT

Charles its probably a Brooks anvil. See this:

Brooks 1¼ CWT anvil

Anvil value varies with location, condition and how long you are willing to wait to get your price. Anywhere from $150 (if you are in a hurry) to $600 (well advertised and taking your time) or more.
   - guru - Tuesday, 05/17/11 21:35:33 EDT

Charles's anvil :
See also www.anvils.co.uk If it is a Brooks then you have got yourself an excellent tool! That site has all the dimensions of their anvils in a table in the on line catalogue so you should be able to ID it fairly positively. I have a 2.5 Cwt one and like it more than any anvil I have ever used of the size.
   philip in china - Wednesday, 05/18/11 09:08:39 EDT

Where you buy an anvil has only a loose correlation to where it was made. I own anvils made in England that I have bought in OH, NM and AR; and my made in OH anvil I bought in AR and then moved with it to OH.

Now if you are near an old anvil manufacturer the number of oddities and "lunch box specials" do seem to go up.

In general anvils are a lot like cars---trying to identify one by giving measurements is not as likely as giving a picture of it.
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 05/18/11 12:13:13 EDT

The other thing about anvil dimensions is they vary quite a bit from the same manufacturer. Even cast anvils have their patterns replaced and they are rarely the same exact style or dimensions. Many manufacturers did not publish dimensions and those that did only published the most general of dimensions. Weight is a better general indicator of size.

Identifying features are also more significant than dimensions but they do not help the uninitiated as one needs to know many anvils and their features. The Brooks has an unusually thick heel, even for cast anvils and much thicker than other cast steel anvils. It has fairly high step. Other cast anvils with thick heels usually have a steeper angle under the heal. Brooks has managed to keep their style through many ownership changes and pattern replacements.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/18/11 12:28:08 EDT

Sixteen Million Served :
As of sometime this morning we had our 16,000,000th counted visit to anvilfire. The new Tailgate Sales page has had over 14,000 page views in a little less than six weeks. The 18 month old anvil gallery has had nearly 60,000 visits. That is 3,300 visits a month over the long haul.

These are numbers based on our "honest" counters. A "visit" is one access per browser session. If you leave your browser on all the time it may only count you each time you reboot your computer or need to restart your browser. If you restart your browser many times during the day it will count each time you visit anvilfire. But the former is more often the case than the later so the average is a bit low.

We do not have counters on every page and many do not have global counters. So if someone finds a page on a search engine, visits and leaves, then they may not be in the global statistics.

Google Ads provide some stats but we do not have google ads on all our pages. They count total page impressions. Their total pages roughly equals our global visitor stats. The total pages per month is much higher (about 3 to 4x). So total pages served should be at least 500,000 / month. Our server stats say 3x that - 1,500,000 pages per month.

While these are not gigantic numbers in the web world they are sufficient to put us in the top 100,000 world wide (out of about 80 to 185 million active web sites. The indexed web is about 13.22 billion pages. All these numbers are so large and change so rapidly that it is only determined statistically.

   - guru - Wednesday, 05/18/11 14:07:05 EDT

tailgate section : is it o.k. to advertise ones' services? i am in central calif. and can't really participate in the east activities.
   - keith@geezers forge - Wednesday, 05/18/11 17:44:38 EDT

Tailgate Sales. :
Keith, I did not setup a services section but it would not be hard to do. For the time being I'd put it under WANTED, miscellaneous, "Services offered", price negotiable.

Note that tailgate ads are supposed to be time limited. We do not yet have an automated system in place but we are working on it. Then ads will expire after 30 to 60 days unless manually renewed by the poster.

Mail generated from the page has the "Item Name" in the subject so you know where the contact comes from.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/18/11 18:18:04 EDT

services : thank you....will do some set-up on my end to facilitate. meantime, if anyone looking to have stuff done,...
   - keith@geezers forge - Wednesday, 05/18/11 19:28:15 EDT

Services are setup :
I haven't tested all the variations but the category SERVICES, Shop Services works.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/18/11 22:47:30 EDT

THANKS : Thanks Guru for all you do for the blacksmiths, and congratulations on all the logins.
   Carver Jake - Thursday, 05/19/11 02:10:52 EDT

heat color : While talking about working stainless the question came up about whether stainless was at the same temperature when it was yellow hot as say mild steel.Are the colors absolutely heat related or not?
   wayne@nb - Thursday, 05/19/11 07:14:11 EDT

Wayne, For ferrous metals and related alloys yes. But the big difference in high temperature observation is ambient light. In a darkened shop you can see a slight red at around 1000°F that you cannot see at all in good light. An orange heat looks like a yellow/gray in bright daylight.

When I was forging 304 stainless it needed a good bright heat in direct sunlight. Never let it get as cold as you do working mild steel. Treat it like Wrought.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/19/11 11:01:14 EDT

Kieth are you offering to vacuum cast Ti or to mill the slides on a powerhammer? "services" is kind of vague. (My neighbor offers Paint Horse stud services...)

   Thomas P - Thursday, 05/19/11 11:55:05 EDT

Thomas.... : I know, realize, and understand that. I was just (prematurely) putting the word out there. Probably should have waited. Sorry.
   - keith@geezers forge - Thursday, 05/19/11 18:35:53 EDT

Services :
Offering services takes some thought. Many shops list capacity in machinery available and their sizes. Some in tolerances held, others in tonnage of throughput. Some give hourly rates, others do not.

I've found asking folks to provide services raises the same questions and many offering the services are not prepared to provide answers. Even for my own shop I would have to sit down and make a list.
   - guru - Friday, 05/20/11 13:42:30 EDT

the offering of..... : that is where I'm at. I know most of you here are set up WAY more than me. Out here, in my checking around, really ain't no shop to do the small, little, oddball,or the "one or two only". I have lately been doing some yard accessories and getting some response. Economy still sucks in my rural area though.
My "services post" kicked my @&& after it went out. I know what I can handle, but gitting it wrote so people will understand is a bit of a problem.
My shop is small,at home,and I'm dingy enough to tackle whatever I think I can handle.
   - keith@geezers forge - Friday, 05/20/11 16:23:18 EDT

continued thought : I do NOT call or consider myself an artist, but that seems to be the kind of stuff that I do. But then, I have made some tie-plates for a patio project a friend was building. Like I said, the kind of stuff bigger shops, at least out here, don't seem to want to do.
   - keith@geezers forge - Friday, 05/20/11 16:53:22 EDT

Sounds like a more local venue might be a better fit; Do you have a local Craigslist?

In general we don't get huffy about such things so don't sweat it!

   Thomas P - Friday, 05/20/11 17:03:33 EDT

Services :
In my old shop I used to have the occasional local walk in. One or two of the local farmers knew I was a blacksmith and had a big drill press. I did quite a bit of drilling big holes. But I never put up a sign or advertised because I was not looking for local work. If I was I would have had a sign in the yard, cards posted at all the local businesses that have a bulletin board, and run ads in local (cheap or free) papers.

I never made any money off these jobs. They were the kind of nuisance jobs most shops don't want because there is no way you can charge enough money. I think I made $50 once straightening the front axles off a Ford tractor that had rolled down a hill and hit a tree. . . Most of the job was done on my weld platen using hydraulic jacks and pry bars.

Advertising on anvilfire is very unlikely to produce work from your neighbors and less likely from the general public. Here you are more likely to find other shops or other smiths looking for someone to sub out work they cannot do or that they do not want to do. This could vary from folks looking for plate cutting services to repetitive small forgings to press or power hammer work. There is money in repetitive boring jobs IF you can produce AND keep the quality high. Some folks get better with repetition, others worse.

These same folks may be likely to purchase some sort of specialty component piece that you may be setup to make such as candle cups, twisted bars. . . A friend of mine used to make Shepard's Crook plant hangers by the hundreds for another smith who traveled to crafts shows all over the country and did the selling. . . But he was not paying very much. You had to have 10 minutes or less in each one to make money at it.

This brings up the subject of quantity pricing. A hypothetical job. To make ONE hook (nail or spike) is a $100 job. To make two is a $110 job. To make 100 is a $800 job. . . To make 1000 a $4000 job. . . (more or less) IF you can produce 1000 pieces in 40 hours. That would be about two minutes each including every step - forging would have to be half or less).

The difference between making one of something and 1000 is combining steps that you do not repeat. You do not purchase stock but once. You do not get stock off the rack and setup to cut it but once (on in one session). When you cut it you cut ten or twenty pieces per cut thus reducing the time as much as possible. If is its a forged part you will get faster with practice but only save about 50% time per unit. Parts you bend by eye in low quantity you bend faster on a jig in high quantity. A hole you may have drilled is now punched on a punch press and takes about 3 to 5 seconds each. Finishing is now done in batches in a tumbler or vibratory finisher that runs while you are doing other work.

Some of the difference is combining steps, some in tooling up (which comes out of the profit). To determine the one-off cost you need to include every second in making an item including talking to the customer and having obtained material to lighting the fire . . . If it takes less than an hour an hourly rate applies for a full hour. To determine the 1000 unit cost you must figure the most efficient production you could possibly do then reduce that figure by half (double the cost) because nobody is as efficient as they think they are.

In job shops the tendency is to never turn down ANY job. Sometimes that comes back to bite us, often it forces us to buy that next size up machine OR setup a machine we have had sitting around for years. Most job shops have all that machinery because of dozens of jobs that were high enough production OR high enough profit to pay for EACH machine doing one job.

One last thing one of our member's used to remind us about. If you do ANYTHING related to trailers or automobiles you should have good shop liability insurance.
   - guru - Friday, 05/20/11 17:40:36 EDT

anv il logo : i bought an old anvil with a circular brand logo on the side that was moulded wrong the bottom word is brand i can see a v and an n on the top extremetyis of the word the back leg has the letters II&BCo is the label vulcan brand has a no 2 on the front leg
   vern kelderman - Friday, 05/20/11 18:34:18 EDT

Vern, is there a question is that? You can send a photo to me if you are looking for the brand but it sounds like you have figured it out.

Logos were often sheet metal plate that was tacked on to a wood pattern. Occasionally a tack would fall out and the plate swivel around. Cast anvils were made in sand molds and the molds were often damaged in handling. It only takes a little brush against the sand to destroy a logo.
   - guru - Friday, 05/20/11 19:14:05 EDT

Columbia Anvil : I have a vintage Columbia Anvil in very good condition. The serial (?) number above the logo is 1027. Any idea of the significance of that number? I want to sell this anvil and stand and am located near Tampa, Florida. Would love info and advice!
   Tonya H. - Saturday, 05/21/11 11:44:48 EDT

vulcan anvil : i have one of the first vulcans made what the seller called patina is in fact the last 5 colors it was painted would i hurt its value by stripping it and painting it black itseems that black was the bottom color
   vern kelderman - Saturday, 05/21/11 13:20:40 EDT

services...... : don't know about a local craigs list. heard some locals talking about THIS site and they wondered about wny no one was offering services on it. thats what caused my query to Guru. a couple folks have contacted me but it is from word-of-mouth advertizing.
Thomas P....how are you feeling? if my info is wrong, forgive me.
   - keith@geezers forge - Saturday, 05/21/11 13:54:04 EDT

"Vintage" anvil :
Vintage is one of those strange misused words. . While Columbian anvils are no longer made they are a modern anvil in shape and construction. They are a working tool worth more for that purpose than as a collector's item. Anvils are not antique or "vintage" until about
200 years old. There are a surprising number of anvils in the 200 to 400 year old range.

As a tool OR collector's item the size and condition determine the value. If its beat up, edges broken, the horn drooping. . . OR its been repaired from such condition, it could be worth as little as $1/pound. If its in really great condition and weighs over 150 pounds it could be worth as much as $6/pound IF you advertise it right and can wait. The stand may or may not add value. Often to get top dollar you must be willing to list it several times on ebay with good photos and description AND be willing to ship it.

Florida has a strong blacksmithing organization called FABA. Look them up on ABANA-Chapter.com. A local smith could tell you about condition and local prices.
   - guru - Saturday, 05/21/11 23:34:55 EDT

forges : anyone heard of a "Whirlwind Forge"? supposedly made 1890 or early 1900's. it may have been made by Vulcan or Acme(?)
   - keith@geezers forge - Saturday, 05/21/11 23:42:35 EDT

Paint vs. Patina :
On heavy metal objects patina is generally a mixture of corrosion (rust) and dirt. Multiple layers of paint are just numerous bad shop paint jobs.

It was common to hire crews to come in to paint all the machinery in a large machine shop or fabrication plant just before trying to get a loan on the plant or equipment. Paint was usually gaudy and to those familiar with machine tools REDUCED the value. But bankers and appraisers generally know nothing about what happens when you paint slides, ways, cover oil holes, get paint in bearings. . . OR use water based paint over oil soaked surfaces. . .

Vulcans were a cheap anvil to start with and as noted above have little collector's value. Stripping, repainting and polishing up the working surfaces may increase its value a little but maybe not what the effort is worth. I wouldn't do it unless I wanted it pretty for my use. I only do these jobs when an anvil that is to be photographed and needs to look new for that purpose.

Kohlswa Anvil Portrait - Pimped up anvil.
   - guru - Saturday, 05/21/11 23:52:50 EDT

Target Market :
Keith, we are just questioning your target market. While we get a lot of the general public here most of our readers are other blacksmiths or want to be smiths. IF that is your target market then this is the place to advertise.

If your target market is the farmer a couple miles away, the garden store in town or local shops in your area looking for sub contractors then our venue is not likely to get to enough traffic from that localized area to do you much good. You get to that market by going door to door with fliers, posting notices at the local Post Office, General Store, Garage, schools. . . If you have a list of local businesses that might need your services and you are not a door-to-door guy then make up fliers and do a bulk mailing every couple months.

If you make up a flier be concise about what you can do. A lot of machine and welding shops don't have forges to do blacksmith style bending. OR they may be looking for someone to send their nuisance jobs. Offer a referral fee for those jobs (10%).

One nuisance request many shops get are from inventors who need prototypes made. They never have money, they often offer a percentage the invention (which will probably never come to fruition). When these jobs come in the door quote your hourly rate and stick to it.
   - guru - Sunday, 05/22/11 00:42:38 EDT

Grinding : I have thought many times of placing a shaft between two pillow block bearings, with pully, placing two grind rocks side by side, rounding the inside top edges of the rocks with a dressing tool. Make a jig to feed a knife blade between the rocks. Have them spaced apart enough to remove only a little material at a time, gradually moving them closer together. Maybe have coarse, medium and fine rocks on the same shaft. Could a blade be hollow ground using something like this ? Also use to taper blades ?
   Mike T. - Sunday, 05/22/11 20:30:35 EDT

Mike, there are some sharpeners that work on this principal.

The problem with grinding large surfaces between two stones is getting the part wedged and grabbed or kicked out. Guiding the part and feeding it carefully would be critical. Feed would have to be in very small increments (~0.00005") per pass.

You would be much better off to design and build tables and feeding devices to work on belt grinder. The problem with grinding on wheels is they rapidly become loaded or worn and need to be dressed. Belts last longer due to having larger surface areas. When they are replaced the working radius or surface angle does not change as it does every time you dress a wheel (unless you have a special geometry diamond dresser).
   - guru - Sunday, 05/22/11 20:52:26 EDT

Mike T : I guess by grinding rocks You mean grinding wheels. The idea may work, but will generate tremendous ammounts of heat due to the large ammount of wheel contact with the work. This will cause melted metal to plug up the wheel surface, and cut slowly generating even more heat. You might get reasonable results with wet belt grinding, but it is still a lot of surface area.

You will find that grinding wheels cut best on the outside diameter, and with little contact area. A friend of Mine was thinking of using 2 grinding wheels on seperate paralell shafts to grind both sides at the same time, having done a lot of machine grinding in My time, I don't think it will work out well.

I think most of the blade guys are using dry belt grinders, grinding one side at a time. I have tried to ask around on behalf of a friend of Mine who is starting into blade making [the guy mentioned above], and am finding that the more people I ask, the fewer are fond of a hollow grind on a "user" knife, and that those who like a hollow grind are using fairly large diameter contact wheels to generate the radius.
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 05/22/11 20:55:10 EDT

Time wasters : Guru. Yesterday you mentioned nuisance requests. I spent some time working out how to make water bufallo heads to adorn bottle openers for a chap who had a tourist ranch. Sent samples and never heard from him again. Hope he got in a stampede.
   Hugh McDonald - Sunday, 05/22/11 22:41:45 EDT

Guru and Mr. Boyer, Thank you for the input, you are very helpful.
Mr. McDonald, It is GOOD that you spent that time making the water buffalo heads, no skill is ever wasted. As a matter of fact I don't think it would take much more effort to make a big horned sheeps head ? The buffalo and sheeps head would look good on the butt cap of a knife. Mr. McDonald, would you show your technique on the how-to section of this web site ?
   Mike T. - Sunday, 05/22/11 23:11:23 EDT

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