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This is an archive of posts from May 16 - 21, 2012 on the Guru's Den
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wrought iron : The little book I mentioned above describes a "modern" mill producing wrought iron in which highly refined iron was mixed with a precise form of slag formulated from iron oxide and silica . The molten slag and iron were mixed in an oscillating furnace to form 6000 lb sponge balls which were then pressed (900 ton press) to weld the cellular mass of slag coated iron into a solid bloom. The bloom was then rolled into billets to be processed into bar, plate etc .
So all that is gone now .Cant help thinking another baby went out with the bath water.
   wayne @ nb - Wednesday, 05/16/12 08:34:59 EDT

wrought iron : I've had some experience with working wrought iron. In the 70's, I was able to get some of the high quality Swedish iron. They were no longer making it, but there was a supply on the docks, and it could be ordered. It was also called "charcoal iron." This iron can be worked from a lemon down to a bright cherry without too much worry of it separating or becoming red short. I've made tomahawks from it. Swedish iron is a joy compared to some wagon tire iron which wants to separate or crack unless it is worked at a welding or near welding heat.

When I'm talking about wrought iron, I don't use the term "grain" in the sense of wood grain. All ferrous material has grain structure, so it is a little confusing. I use the term "fibrous" instead of grain. As I understand it, the iron silicate becomes microscopic filaments which run lengthwise because of the hot rolling process and/or hammering.

Some old books call the silicate "silica slag."

   frank turley - Wednesday, 05/16/12 09:22:40 EDT

Wayne, it went out for the reasons stated. Too expensive, not strong enough for its weight, not suitable for modern manufacturing methods.

The LAST major use for wrought was bridges due to its corrosion resistance. This was followed by railings. However, modern paints gave mild steel the same life and the advantages of lower weight and simplified fabrication methods PLUS lower cost of material AND labor won out.

There have been flirtations with using the more expensive CORTEN steel for bridges and large public sculptures because of the need not to paint it. . . However, most of the things made with it ended up being painted OR replaced due to corrosion problems. CORTEN structurals not only requires all its components to be the same material but welding requires careful heat treat specifically for corrosion resistance and any place anything touches it or it touches (such as the road deck and foundations) must have special treatment (a failure in many cases). THEN you have a big expensive thing that is rusted with rust stains on the foundation, sidewalks. . . and the public does not understand why it is not being maintained.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/16/12 09:31:19 EDT

Another issue with CORTEN on public structures is graphiti. No good way to paint over, you have to blast clean and that produces waste and is costly. We have an overpass on I-64 in Louisville that is a golf cart passage for a golf course. Gets graphiti and they paint, and that looks really good:)
   ptree - Wednesday, 05/16/12 10:11:14 EDT

COR-TEN Steel, Observations; Water Tower : The most practical use (and the only one I've seen firsthand) for COR-TEN steel has been some extra-tall light posts on the Washington Beltway (Interstate 495). Sort of free standing sculptures of minimalist tendencies. SO FAR none of them have fallen over on me as I have driven by, but the rust stains on the concrete bases are noticeable. A good, brief article in Wikipedia goes over the advantages and disadvantages, many of which have been mentioned, above.

They have a water tower in nearby Leonardtown dating from the 1920s that they are planning to demolish. Far beyond my humble capabilities, but if anyone is interested in salvaging any wrought we can discuss further information and possibilities over at the Virtual Hammer-In. I just don't want to see wrought go to waste!
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 05/16/12 10:11:53 EDT

Steel that has been wrought indeed has grain that runs in flow lines. An etched drop forging was one of our tools in teaching some of the differences between cast and forged. The cast looks like sand packed into shape, the forged has lines of grain, resembling wood fibers that flow around corners. The forged also has much finer grain.
   ptree - Wednesday, 05/16/12 10:13:37 EDT

Wrought's biggest advantage in the early days was its forge weldability. Prior to machine tool methods and small shop power hammers, smiths built up shapes rather than forging them down or making upsets. Relatively intricate parts were made of many little pieces.

Availability of machinery and relatively low material costs greatly changed how things were made. For a significant time small shops and large factories made hex head bolts on screw machines. Reducing 80% of the raw material to chips was more cost effective than forging then machining. Today chip making is still the most cost effective method of making many parts. However, common bolts are now largely cold upset and the threads rolled (no hot forging OR machining in many cases).

Economical ductile iron and steel castings also replaced built up forgings and continues to replace forgings today.

Expense: In recent decades a number of purveyors have tried to sell smiths Pure Iron. While this does not have all the advantages of wrought it comes very close and also has its own advantage over wrought. It is available by modern production methods. The problem has been that its higher cost (due mostly to specialty distribution) has negated most of its advantages and OUR (blacksmiths) small market has not supported its production and distribution.

So mild steel continues to rule and wrought becomes more of a curiosity for the use of a very small group or craftsfolk.

   - guru - Wednesday, 05/16/12 10:19:57 EDT

Forged flow lines. This is indeed one of the features of a forging but can be advantageous or not.

It was found in many upset bolt heads that the relatively sharp corner at the head caused pinching of the grain and a weakness instead of strength. A bolt that was forged with a large radius and then machined was stronger BUT not significantly stronger than one machined from solid AND not as strong as one machined from solid with a significant radius at the head. . .

However, all bolts generally start as wrought material. . .

High Strength Nuclear Pump Bolt
High Strength Nuclear Pump Bolt

The bolt above was designed to replace a common forged bolt that failed in service. The shank is reduced and large fillets are used at head and threads to avoid stress concentrations. Very pricey (over $2,000 each for uncertified samples). The important features are the radii that reduce stresses. Forged OR machined the radiused corners are important.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/16/12 13:04:47 EDT

I havce to agree that radius that are too tight build in stress risers in forgings. Our bolts were made for us at VOGT and had special thick heads and better radius under the heads, as well as rolled threads. But when you order say 4 million cap screws at a time, you can get what you want a lot cheaper.
   ptree - Wednesday, 05/16/12 13:21:04 EDT

Eye Bolts generally have a very large radius under the shoulder. I think the one pictured has been machined square to fit a standard tapped hole (bad practice). When making holes for eye bolts you often need a chamfer up to 25% of the diameter of the threads. I often speced these huge chamfers on permanent lifting eye holes.

While the drawing above has radii (it is reverse engineered) the fillets for ultra high stress bolts are actually elliptical curves. The goal is for all or most the stretch in the bolt to be in the reduced shank and nowhere else.

These elliptical curves are roughly the same as what should be on your power hammer dies edges and hammer faces.
   - guru - Wednesday, 05/16/12 15:22:51 EDT

I usually describe real wrought iron as "a composite material consisting of a generally fairly pure iron with ferrous silicate spicules"

The water tower I got my WI plate from was put up in 1929 and had a mild steel tower and a wrought iron tank. The tank material had be bi-directionally rolled as broken edges were "platy" rather than fiberous.

(And I've had a copy of Aston's book for nearly 30 years now; actually I have 3 copies on my shelf and have given away more over time as I find them cheap.)
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 05/16/12 15:53:44 EDT

mounting bellows : My blacksmith shop currently is a small rivet forge in the backyard. My future shop is in the planning stages and I have been working on some floorplans. I plan to build a traditional bellows and would like to mount it overhead to save floorspace. My question would be is this practical? Would there be any danger of flammable gases migrating to an overhead bellows from the forge?
   David R. Pennington - Wednesday, 05/16/12 17:46:55 EDT

Usually it's the other way around and bellows that are low down that are in danger of flash back explosions.

Many historical examples dating all the way back to the medieval period show the bellows being mounted "up".

I would caution you to mount them *properly*. A friend was a smith at a historical site that had mounted the bellows wrong and it took a very strong downward tug to use them. A decade of that ruined his shoulder. Now the bellows I built I mounted it so I could pump it with 1 finger to welding heat!
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 05/16/12 18:55:23 EDT

Mounting Bellows :
Many old bellows and bellows plans are made much too heavy with several inch thick boards. Mine was built from 1" nominal (3/4" actual) pine shelving and worked perfectly. The operating lever had about a 1.5 : 1 ratio (in favor of the operator) and a very long stroke of about 4 feet. This was from as high as I could comfortably reach to shoulder height for most strokes to a bit longer when working max out. While this was a long motion it was with very gentle effort thus good exercise, not joint damaging force.

The standing location for operating the bellows is also critical. You want to be able to see into the fire and observe the heat but you don't want to be too close for comfort or tripping over things. You should be able to work the bellows and hold a piee of long work in the fire or a shorter piece with tongs. The operating point needs to be clear of the anvil and vise. When Paw-Paw had the roof replaced on my shop trailer either he or someone else moved the bellows pivot 4" to one side. This moved the standing location one foot so that the handle would strike anyone working at the vise in the head. . . Details, details. . .

Near my home in Virginia there are two "historical" blacksmith shops with bellows. Both were improperly setup taking too much effort to pull their short stroke. One placed the smith within a couple feet of the forge. This was too close for comfort and prevented a helper from assisting with the bellows. The other put the operator in a position where he could not see the fire and was backed up against a wall.

While your work triangle (forge, anvil, vise) should be compact and easy to work in there should be room for three people. One at the bellows with good visibility of the fire, another at the vise (sawing or filing) and the smith working at the anvil. This is not an ideal situation but it happens. The worker at the vise does not need room to do heavy bending or hammering but should be able to do small jobs while the bellows is operated.

All this requires thought and some layout. It is difficult to be specific without all the equipment and space details. The work triangle gets more complicated when a power hammer is added and the triangle becomes a square.

   - guru - Thursday, 05/17/12 00:59:03 EDT

more on bellows : There is always a danger of bellows explosions, almost always due to putting water on the fire. It's easy to avoid by simply making sure you are blowing the fire when adding water. I know the overhead bellows at the Tully Smith house at the Atlanta History Center blew up rather spectacularly back in the late 1980s because of that. Took some shingles off the shop roof in addition to ruining the leather.

I myself once blew up the duct from my hand-crank blower to the forge the same way. Sounded like a 12-gauge shotgun going off at knee level. Got my attention for sure!

Just make sure there is no reverse aspiration and keep the blast going when watering the fire and you'll be fine.
   Alan-L - Thursday, 05/17/12 11:14:26 EDT

RE: Dressing hammers (are they naked?: : Moving back to a question on dressing tools--I will usually pick up used chisels at sales, especially the larger ones and the older ones, and have some old ones including single-jack rock drills (very over rated on drilling holes in rock, unless you do it for a living). I will grind the mushroomed edge off, grind it back making a slight angle to the head (i.e., diameter slightly less than the shaft of the chisel), and grind a slight radius on the head (slightly raised in the center). Am I missing a step or not doing it right? I have a flatter I did this to, it took a lot of grinding to get it to shape
   - David Hughes - Thursday, 05/17/12 12:33:36 EDT

David, No, it doesn't sound like you are missing anything. The amount of work depends on the size and damage to the tool. Generally it should only take a few minutes unless you are using a much too fine grinding grit or one of those soft flap wheels which are best for fine finishing.

On severely mushroomed tools some smiths would forge weld them back together and then dress by forging. This is rather drastic, requires good forge welding skills and the tool must be completely refinished, heat treated and rehandeled.

On the worst tools that need more than 1/4" removed to get all the cracking I would cut the bad section off with an abrasive chop saw.

This is the recommended practice on large drill bits that have chipped sides near the point or gross overheating damage. The dab end is cut off then the web is thinned and the bit resharpened from the flat. Yes, a lot of grinding, especially on bits over 1". But when you consider a replacement tool may be $100 or more then it is worth it.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/17/12 13:20:07 EDT

Bellows Back Drafts :
My outdoor shop would often have a problem with back drafts due to the prevailing wind direction. I never had the bellow damaged but they would occasionally expand to full size with a sudden WHOOMP!

To prevent damage I found that any time the bellows had been at rest and there was a possibility of hot fuel gases wafting up the pipe that it was best to give a very short gentle tug on the bellows rather than a long hard pull. The short tug would give the gases enough oxygen to ignite while the bellow top was at rest. If the gases exploded then the bellow had room to expand. If one pulls hard on the bellows first than the top will be fully expanded when the gases ignite and there is nowhere to go. . .

In De Re Metallica many of the large bellows have a trap door or relief valve in the top of the bellows. This must be weighted to hold pressure but if there is too much pressure then it will lift relieving the pressure and saving the bellows. On these I think the purpose was to prevent the water powered bellows from over pressurizing due to operating conditions or clogged tuweres.

Another method is to just plain avoid the problem by installing a check valve at the back of the forge. This needs to be a large valve with a very light corrosion resistant flap (non-metallic, stainless or brass). This will stop the hot gases from rising in the supply pipe OR being blown up it by drafts or steam. This can be constructed of wood or metal or both. It should be gravity operated and light enough that you can blow it open with your mouth. Problem solved.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/17/12 13:29:20 EDT

I've been looking for heavily mushroomed top tools as I've been forging them down to fit the 1.5" hardy holes on my main shop anvil.

As they no longer will see impact I don't bother much with how the mushrooming is reduced---usually cut it off with an angle grinder per side and not worry about retained cracking of the middle.

Old chisels with much mushrooming get the top cut back to sound metal and then ground with an edge bevel. (But the old stone drills tend to get re-purposed as 100 year old HC for historical blade projects...)
   Thomas P - Thursday, 05/17/12 16:44:12 EDT

Bellows Back Draft : Thanks for all the input on bellows. Now I can continue my plans. I will layout for an overhead bellows. I'll have to do some thinking about that check valve. That would be the safest way it looks like. The only experience I've had with a backfire so far was once when some old burned down candles were used to start the fire. The parafin melted and ran down in the tyure before it was consumed. When I pulled on the bellows lever after everything got heated up good we heard a WHOOMP and a pretty little blue halo of fire rolled up the flue. Luckily there was no damage done.
   David R. Pennington - Thursday, 05/17/12 17:43:16 EDT

Shop Layouts :
Every shop is a little different depending on the type of equipment, shop architecture, type of work to be done. Finances also has a lot to do with it as well.

When I did an ergonomic study for my portable shop I started with anvil and forge plus a human body work space diagram. An average person needs about a 24" circle to stand in. Then there is elbow room and then there is reach (with and without tools as mentioned above). There is also the size of the work to be maneuvered in the space.

This started out with concentric circles which assumes the person turning in all directions. These circles then follow paths between equipment. In many cases the worker is only assumed to work facing one direction and the circles become ovals or a circle with an oval work area in front of it.

One example of directional work is pulling the bellows. You would assume standing to one side of the lever (it should be just outside the shoulder and perpendicular to the body). BUT when doing demos it was not unusual to turn away from the forge and be on the opposite side of the lever. IF one is going to be doing demos and facing the audience is important at times then the axis of the bellows lever may be important.

Other places tend to be directional and fairly fixed positions. Working at the vice is done from the front standing to one side or the other and occasionally at the ends of the vice (on the jaws axis). Most vise work is done at a convenient reach (eating distance) so it is fairly easy to determine the path you are going to stand around the vice.

These paths can be worked out for each piece of equipment. Then they can be made to overlap or not. As I mentioned, with a bellows you often have or need a helper and their work position has the requirement of being able to observe the fire as well as the smith, possibly hold work in the fire, but also be out of the way. This is a fairly specific position. Then the anvil and work space must be clear of this position and possibly the same for the vice. You would be surprised how many people can work in a confined space if everything is properly positioned.

There are other considerations when planning the perfect shop. Sawing is often done at the vice and this means space for stock hanging out of the vice for about 10 feet or more. The same applies to power hammers and saws. Forge shops also have the requirement of getting long work out of the forge and into a power hammer or onto the anvil. The back end of the work and the arcs it swings through must be clear.

While this sounds like a lot of overthinking it can be done in a few hours of sketching. When putting some equipment into permanent positions it can make a big difference later.
   - guru - Thursday, 05/17/12 22:53:19 EDT

Shop Layout : Changes on paper are cheap compared to mistakes in construction. I don't think it's overthinking at all. I know a small change in layout can make a big difference in efficiency. The older I get the more valuable each step becomes! My budget and space are limited so my shop will not be elaborate but because of my space limitations it must be laid out efficiently. I appreciate the input.
   David R. Pennington - Friday, 05/18/12 07:38:12 EDT

For my demo bellows frame the pole pivot was adjustable from side to side as well as front to back. Made it handy when we had to work from the opposite side of the forge or with out back to the forge. It was a bit odd when we were sharing a forge and set it up in the middle so either smith could use it---at the lowest you had your hand right over the fire and so didn't lollygag around at that part of the stroke!
   Thomas P - Friday, 05/18/12 12:35:05 EDT

Anvil with "RICA" on side : can anyone provide info on 157 pound anvil with RICA and 1.61 markings on right side view from heel toward horn
   Gregg Clinton - Friday, 05/18/12 18:50:26 EDT

Partial logos :
I had someone send me a photo of an anvil's logo they did not recognize recently. Part of the text looked like French or a related language. Ritage, LeUrges, Iefiel, Brante

The actual logo, "M&H Armitage, (Mousehole) Forge, Sheffield, Warranted".

The problem is our eyes try to make lines of things (like the Canals on Mars) and our mind tries to make sense of them. Written characters are much worse than the patterns on Mars.

The only logos that I can find or think of that might have those letters would be part of "AmeRICAn". The numbers do not make much sense.

Send me a photo of the logo and I'll see what I can see.

   - guru - Saturday, 05/19/12 00:07:26 EDT

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   - guru - Saturday, 05/19/12 01:27:18 EDT

I guess partial words can work the other way, too. When we were visiting France, my wife asked to go back to "that anger place." I was completely clueless until she lead me to the local boulangerie.
   Mike BR - Saturday, 05/19/12 10:30:22 EDT

Re: Anvil with "RICA" on side : Thanks for your response. I too am confused and thought "AMERICA" made sense. However, when trying to research this i was not able to find any info. Also, the numbers dont make since 1 (x128) 6 (not used in x28) and 1 (single pounds). after ik weighed it i got 157 pounds on a digital scales and am thinking someone may have stamped 161 as the weight (per their scales). I am going to look the anvil over good today for additional letters and/or numbers and will take some photos. thanks again for our help, i would like to know any more info that is available
   Gregg Clinton - Saturday, 05/19/12 11:59:35 EDT

Re: Anvil with "RICA" on side : I sent photos to guru any info will be appreciated i also found the numbers 1490 inder the RICA but they are stamped upside down in relations to the RICA stamp
   Gregg Clinton - Saturday, 05/19/12 18:20:11 EDT

Gregg. . . try .NET
   - guru - Saturday, 05/19/12 18:31:04 EDT

Deals :
There are still good deals on tools to be had if you are attentive and on the ball. Wednesday Dave B. called me about a small bench lathe listed locally on Craigs list. $400 with a complete set of attachments including a rare milling attachment. Less than 1/3 of its ready cash value. I called the number and wrote immediately (within an hour of the mid-day posting). No answer on the phone. I should have been more persistent. The fellow never checked the system mail so someone who called later got it. . .

Today a fellow sent me an ad and wanted to know if it was a good deal. An old English anvil (Probably a Mousehole), 100 pounds with a flat face and reasonably good corners PLUS a nice heavy English leg vise with all the parts. $200 for the pair! I told him RUN don't walk.
   - guru - Saturday, 05/19/12 19:45:26 EDT

RICA anvil : Gregg,

The best I can tell from the photos is that it is an "American" anvil.

The American Wrought Anvil Company was short lived, making and selling anvils from about 1898 to 1910-11 in Brooklyn New York. Richard Postman, author of Anvils in America believes the company was related to employees or officers of the Hay-Budden Company also located in Brooklyn.

The American logo was in a low diamond shape with the letters at the end smaller than those in the middle. These large logo punches were difficult to get a good impression on a flat surface and impossible on a slightly curved hand wrought surface.

Weight was supposed to be in pounds. The discrepancy is probably due to wear (quite a bit of the middle of the top plate is worn) but it could also be due to possible repairs. While the anvil does not look repaired the tip of the horn may have been broken off and reshaped.

The other (upside down) numbers stamped on it probably have nothing to do with its manufacture. I would suspect someone testing punches or possibly an inventory number.
   - guru - Sunday, 05/20/12 08:32:33 EDT

Support Your Local Trade Schools! :
Recently Dave B. tried to sign up for a machine shop course at the local community college. It was not very expensive but was also an unstructured course. IF you needed the access to machine tools it was a GREAT deal. However, the class was canceled due to lack of interest.

Next time Dave may try to get some others interested or even sign up one of his sons. I might have even taken the course for the access to better machines than I've got - there are ALWAYS projects that need doing.

I also heard from a fellow from Florida. No welding courses available from the local community colleges and the nearby trade school wanted over $20,000. . .

This may be a new goal for local blacksmithing groups. Keep those classes full or at least open. Most of these state supported schools have very low costs. Also imagine renting a fully equipped machine shop for just a few dollars per hour!

If you don't keep these classes operating the schools sell the equipment and that is the END. That is what happened to the nearest state school near us. They auctioned off all the lathes and got 10 cents on the dollar for them.

This trend is all part of our declining industrial base. Eventually it will have to be reversed. It would be much easier if we did not have to rebuild the necessary educational system from scratch.

If we continue to outsource jobs (one major area of outsourcing is COMPUTER jobs) and importing everything, we will suddenly find ourselves completely bankrupt. We cannot afford to buy everything from T-shirts to bridges (the new San Francisco Bay Bridge is being made in China) from overseas.
   - guru - Sunday, 05/20/12 09:39:31 EDT

RICA anvil -- Great info, a couple more Questions : Thanks for the info. It maks sense, the RICA seems to taper off to the right and the 161 is close enough to 157 less 100 years of wear. I new about the wear in the plate do you think it should be repaired and how would one go about that or just use it as it is as i know i will never use it as much as it has already been used in the past. Should i just give it a good coat of oil and let it be? Do you have any idea as to it current fair market value as it is even though i do not plan on selling it i have been looking for one a long time. Is it fairly rare since they stopped making them in 1911 and i assume it is a fairly high quality anvil what is your opinion?
   Gregg - Sunday, 05/20/12 13:18:09 EDT

Anvil Value :
On relatively rare anvils it is difficult to place a value as currently there is a lot of speculation in the collectible market. In this case the marking, while identifiable is still a bit questionable. I suspect that reduces the collectible value.

As a tool the little bit of sway does not hurt, in fact it helps when straightening work to have space under the work for spring back. As anvils go it is worth $300 to $400 as-is, less if you are in a hurry to sell.

All I would do with this anvil is dress the edges if there are any sharp chips and refinish the horn, then use it as is.

   - guru - Sunday, 05/20/12 14:19:37 EDT

We are lucky up here in the Northwest to still have good community colleges, and my nearest trade school, Bellingham Technical College, has on average about 150 students in the welding classes, some in 2 year AA degree programs, some in night classes. Their Machining and Manufacturing technology departments are similar. Students will apply, and attend, if the programs are good- but the community college system is based on TAXES- and if your local politicians (these decisions are all made at the state level, so its local state legislators who make these calls) are infected with the Austerity bug, these schools are doomed.
Our local schools are pretty well funded, and the equipment and teaching staff is good, and they teach to the industry- and the "declining industrial base" is entirely a regional thing- we have been adding manufacturing jobs here in Washington, in fits and starts, for 50 years now. So we have companies that hire welders, machinists, and kids with manufacturing degrees who can troubleshoot PLC's, fix hydraulics, and run CAD programs.
Its kind of a Catch 22, though, where companies wont build plants in areas where there are no skilled workers, and colleges wont train workers if there are no jobs. Many of the new manufacturing these days is in the West and the South, but it hires far fewer people, and demands higher skill levels from them. Around here, its common to see a 5 person CNC shop making more parts, and exporting them, for more profit, than an old Massachusetts plant with 300 guys cranking South Bends and Bridgeports ever could.
So- Vote, attend local schools, volunteer at local schools, and encourage kids to get technical educations. All of that seems to work around here.
   - Ries - Sunday, 05/20/12 19:26:47 EDT

The other week I had a customer, a kid (18 or so) going into the Army so he could learn to weld and get a job by doing so. I told him I am a hobby welder with skills on most welding processes. When I asked him what he thought of TIG he asked me "what is that?". I asked him about stick, MIG and oxy/acetylene welding, he had no clue. I was both shocked AND happy to see that not only is someone with ZERO knowledge of the field had such an interest, but that there IS education specifically for the unexperienced. Sounds like a stupid epiphany, "education is for the uneducated"... now I feel dumb. :)
   - Nippulini - Monday, 05/21/12 09:09:38 EDT

i used to have an employee who joined the army to learn how to weld. The recruiter assured him he would get training. Instead, Uncle Sam, in his typical inscrutable way, made him a "combat engineer", which meant he spent six years driving a five ton truck around rural germany. After he got out, he took the two year AA welding program at LA Trade Tech, and then worked full time for me for five years. Last I heard, he was welding giant electrical signs in Vegas. Point being, go to school if you want to learn to weld.
   - Ries - Monday, 05/21/12 12:45:07 EDT

Found a *mint* condition PEXTO stake plate at the scrapyard Saturday. The big boss was out of town the the guy left in charge couldn't decide what to charge me for it and my other finds---so he decided to charge me what they would have gotten for the metal when they hauled it to the city and the big scrap yard. I gladly paid him $10 for the stake plate and extras.

One of which a CO2 cylinder. I've already cut the bottom off of it for use as a dishing form for armourmaking---Thinking of selling it for $15 this weekend making the stake plate *free*!

   Thomas P - Monday, 05/21/12 13:42:31 EDT

The Military for Education :
This is an area that is very tricky. If you have zero skills OR enough knowledge about a subject to test well then they will put you where THEY think you are of best service . . .

While recruiters promise many things there is nothing they tell the recruit that consists of a contract. You might want to be an electronics tech and come out a cook. Some of what you do or are taught is up to the individual but all they can do is ask and try to work the system. But it is a system that may have other plans and has last say.
   - guru - Monday, 05/21/12 14:52:39 EDT

Military : When a recruit questioned his assignment to combat instead of his field of expertise, the response was:

"We don't get many recruits who shot people for a living".
   - Rudy - Monday, 05/21/12 15:55:05 EDT

Military : CXontrary to the Guru's statement, you do indeed get a WRITTEN CONTRACT. Most people that have not served have little knowledge of the actual enlistment process. Yes you have to meet YOUR end of the bargain, such as complete basic, and complete the Advanced training. I was offered a choice of where I would serve or the career field for a 2 year enlistment, and choice of both for a 3 year enlistment. I took 3 and got the exact misslie system Maintenance school, graduated and went to Europe as the contract stated. Once there they had more of us trained then they needed due to the failure of the vehicle the missile was mounted in, and so while assigned to the depot, I did things like guard a gate and paint trucks. Still assigned to the career field and in the theater I was contracted for.
BUT, fail to keep your end of the bargain and then you are open to do as needed. Then there is the issue of WAR. All bets are off when a shooting war is on, just as it should be.
Get the contract, get the training, pass the school, and you will indeed get a good training, and once out there are various programs to pay for additional school.
My Father got his flying education from the GI bill, and my oldest brother got his law degree, my next oldest got a degree in Geology and I got engineering technology and a Ba later, all on the GI bill.
And I would offer that we all earned the benefit, as all 4 of served during time of war.
The GI bill was one of the smartest things the US ever did.
   ptree - Monday, 05/21/12 19:26:12 EDT

Has anyone ever heard of or seen a Hydrogen Forge?
   - Kelly - Monday, 05/21/12 23:42:52 EDT

Hydrogen Forge? : I have recently gotten Back into Blacksmithing...being out of it for about 10 years or so. I have a quite a bit of profesional experiance in Metal Work. I have been looking around for any info on using Hydrogen as an addition to propane to fuel the fire in my forge..unfortunately I havent fun across much on the subject...seems like everyone is using it to power torches and cars, but not a forge. Have you seen or heard of anyone using a hydrogen Generator to fuel a forge either partially or fully? By the way...I think it is wonderful what you do to further this Lost Art. Thank You for your reply in advance.
   Kelly - Monday, 05/21/12 23:56:52 EDT

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