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 June 22 - 30, 2010 on the Guru's Den
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Your "old iron" through the fire.
Most any old machine tool would be worth trying to fix/re-build after a fire.
As the Guru has pointed out there will be issues with parts that have lost their temper or have gotten hard or warped from the heating and quenching but, if the castings are good and have been properly seasoned when they were made they should be OK.
As was said, this will be a labor of love for your friend and may not be worth the time and effort unless the machines are common enough to make replacement parts available or if the machines are rare enough that they are indeed worth the effort.
Either way they need OIL RIGHT NOW!!
I would get something like Marvel Mystery OIL in there but probably not take anything apart just yet unless restoration is going to begin right away. A big box of parts that no one remembers what they blong to will kill the restoration project quick.
There are a lot of surplus machines out there that could be used for donor parts and maybe the burnt machines could be used as a donor to fix one of them up as an alternitive...
Good Luck to your freind!
   - merl - Monday, 06/21/10 23:11:05 EDT

Burn't machines. If I were to plan to restore, and these had any water from fire fighting applied, I would search out a few gallons of a water displacing oil. Made for use after phosphate coating. Birchwood Casey and others make these oils. They float the film of water and make a nice soft waxy long lasting film of preserveitive oil. If these machines got heavy water applied when hot look hard for cracks and decide early if fixable. If possible, drain all gear boxes and tanks and refill with good clean oil since the water and oil mix will make acid over time.
   ptree - Tuesday, 06/22/10 07:05:51 EDT

Places that are really critical - if plain bearings made of bronze or babbitt have not been destroyed they rapidly corrode due to bimetallic corrosion. Get oil on these ASAP and rotate the shafts IF possible. Lathes and Mills often have bronze nuts on handwheel screws. Check these early.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/22/10 07:17:46 EDT

for Davvie Mims

Another possible outlet, a friend of mine gets a lot of one shot pieces made through a websight called http://www.100kgarages.com/
Its a websight with literally thousands of people who do small to large runs of very specific items. Because many of these guys are small shops sometimes you can negotiate a pretty good rate. Ive found a couple people ive used for a couple single pieces that would have cost me more time than to have them make the part and ship it to me.
   - Kevin - Tuesday, 06/22/10 14:29:38 EDT

Old Machines and Spares:

I have two c.1950 6" Craftsman lathes. One is my small working lathe and the other is a spare. I got a good deal on it and it came with attachments and extra chucks. But I do not need two 6" lathes setup.

Years ago our family shop had a 6" Atlas very similar to the Craftsman. I bought one that was in so-so condition for $100 and parts from it were used on my Craftsman and the family Atlas. Years later my Dad resurrected the remains of the Atlas when he needs a small "sit-down" lathe.

I've had a number of 20 to 24" so called "camel back" drill presses. Many of the parts are interchangeable. When I recently setup the 24" Champion it needed a spindle thrust bearing. I used the spindle bearing out of my otherwise worn out 20" Joseph T Ryerson. Other parts of the Ryerson went to a lathe drive and the remains of the machine will be used as a vise stand. I'll keep the gears and shafts in storage.

Parts of the Ryerson went to the old 14" Porter lathe I am setting up. If I could find a scrap Porter I would love to have it for parts. Mine has an abused tailstock and broken gears in the carriage. I can fix both but spares from a scraped machine would be a lot easier. . . and probably cheaper.

Old metal turning lathes that are near to scrap can make fine wood turning lathes and are considerably heavier than most wood lathes. Machine tables off old milling machines, shapers, planers and drill presses make great fixturing surfaces or tables for DIY devices such as a weld positioner. I'm going to cut off the top half of my old Ryerson drill press and use the base for a vise stand. It has the rotating table that locks much better than a rotating vise base and the table raises and lowers via a hand crank. I think it will be pretty handy.

Think about it before scraping old machine tools.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/22/10 15:07:10 EDT

Kevin, Interesting resource.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/22/10 16:44:53 EDT

Hello Folks,
I want to cold forge some Aluminum hooks, 1/4 diameter, about 6" long and then threaded 1/4-20.
What aluminum alloy would work best?

Bart Trickel
   Bart Trickel - Tuesday, 06/22/10 17:37:47 EDT


1000 series alloys should be the easiest to cold forge (though not the strongest). If you're just bending 1/4" rod into a hook, almost any alloy would probably work.
   Mike BR - Tuesday, 06/22/10 18:04:44 EDT

Bart, For cold working you want pure aluminium or A-1000. It is what the soft tubing lawn chairs are made of (but not the fancy fold up camping types that are an aircraft alloy).

Some of the high strength alloys can be bent and shaped cold but do not forge well as they rapidly work harden. To forge or swage these alloys cold you need to make the shape in one blow. A-2024 is one of these alloys. It is used for aircraft skins and spars that need bent flanges.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/22/10 18:10:12 EDT

Is there anything I need to know about the billets I received? They are "rolled steel," and I would like to know the important properties before I stick it in the forge!
   Anne - Wednesday, 06/23/10 02:19:16 EDT

Anne, That is a pretty vague description. Everything from plate and structural beams to tool steel is usually rolled. A few things are not but most are. See Steel Product Types

If it is low to medium carbon steel you can just toss it in the forge.

If it is high carbon or alloy tool steel it should be warmed near the forge before putting into the forge to reduce thermal shock. "Warm" is uncomfortable to the touch up to about 300°F (149°C). In a coal forge you set the steel close to but not in the fire and using a gas or other furnace type you set the steel on top or on the hearth (if the forge has one).

There are thousands of types of steel. To know the specific properties you need to know the type. Steels generally have some sort of standardized number but the systems vary around the world. In the US there are a number of standards, SAE, AISC, ASTM and the Unified system among others. Common "mild" or low carbon steels are SAE 1018 or SAE 1020, ASTM A36 (structural). A common alloy steel is SAE/AISC 4140. Tool steels typically have letter number names. A2 is an air quench steel, H13 is a hot work steel, O1 is an oil quench steel and W2 is a water quench steel. M series are types of HSS (High Sped Steel). S7 is a shock resistant steel.

Any time you give a steel number you should know or remember the standard that goes with it. Preferably it should be stated to avoid confusion. EXAMPLE:

In tool steels an M steel is high carbon high alloy and very tricky to heat treat. In ASTM M steels are a low carbon boiler plate (I think). In other countries it may mean something else.

Books like Machinerys Handbook have good general descriptions of the steel numbering systems and a good sample of the steel types as well as beeing valuable for other things in the shop.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/23/10 07:18:44 EDT

i am building a coke forge that is open. im going to use a hand pump. it will be made of firebrick and morter. i have studied swordsmithing for several years but never worked with any metals. i want to make a sword. i know it willnot turn out pretty, but thats not what im looking for. i want a sword that feels balanced in my hand, and can take a blow. i want to know what the easiest metal to work with is, what method of preheating;hammering,hammering,coolingis. what would work best? im looking for a blade compatible with both single handed and two handed use. it will probably take months for someone like me to forge a crude blade but im determined to see this through.
   bengerman - Wednesday, 06/23/10 17:28:03 EDT


The guru has a fine section of this site in the FAQ for making swords. From the standpoint of someone who has made swords for years its brilliant. And if you take the over all message to heart you will in time be able to make some wonderful things.

If you have never forged anything before i reccomend starting with projects that will build your skills and be usefull. Make tools. Youll need them.
   Kevin - Wednesday, 06/23/10 17:45:51 EDT

Bengerman; if you have "studied swordsmithing for several years" you already *KNOW* the answers to these questions!

If you do not perhaps you should re-think the status of your studies. A good book like "The Complete Bladesmith", J.P. Hrisoulas, would have all this in it and should have been one of the first ones you have studied.

If you live in America you can easily ILL books like this at your local public library.

I would suggest 5160 as an easily obtained and worked steel to "learn on". How it is worked is in *ANY* book on bladesmithing. If your studies have been primarily on-line then you can probably begin to see some basic issues in that method.

Note that spending time with a decent smith can really jumpstart your hands on learning. In the USA ABANA has many affiliate chapters around the country that will be happy to have you show up for meetings and hopefully find a local smith to mentor you a bit. Also the American Bladesmith Society runs a school in Texarkana AR that can get you up to speed *fast*.

As to making *good* swords pay attention to things like Distal Tapers and Harmonic Nodes as they are a major part of getting a blade that is light and fast and sticks to your hand like glue! Try to see/handle as many *original* using swords as you can---(the repro's are often quite bad even when they claim to be accurate!)

Note too that "balance" depends a lot on the type of sword; many are balanced forward to increase energy transfer when you *hit* things.

And finally welcome to the madness! If you are ever around central NM, USA give a shout and you can visit my smithy!

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/23/10 17:56:50 EDT

Easy to work and ultra strong is an oxymoron. The better the steel, generally the more difficult it is to forge, heat treat and finish.

The easiest metals to work with are gold, silver and brass in that order. That is why so much ancient work was in gold ans silver. Brass and bronze do not quite as well but are much cheaper. The easiest modern metal to work is alloy aluminum. The so called "aircraft alloys" 2024 and 6061 cut easily, finish beautifully and are nearly as strong as mild steel. 7074-T6 aluminum is very springy and harder than mild steel. In aluminum the harder it is the easier it works (unless you are bending it). Aluminum can be forged but you have to be very careful not to melt it. A temperature controlled furnace is recommended.

In ferrous metals the easiest steels to work are the high grade low carbon steels such as SAE 1018-20. But this is not a hardenable steel. As the carbon increases and the steel becomes usefully hardenable it becomes more and more difficult to work. The 5160 recommended by Thomas is used for many things including springs and can make a good sword. But at forging temperature it is about twice as hard to move as mild steel. As steels get more sophisticated their heat treating is often more difficult. Forging must also be done carefully, not over heating the metal and not working to cold - lots of short heats.

See our Sword Making FAQ Resource list. Start at the beginning if you haven't worked metal before.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/23/10 19:07:33 EDT

More Steel Generalities: Modern steels are infinitely easier to work than ancient steels. The early blacksmith spent a lot of effort carefully coaxing the needed performance from his steel which was often almost as much of an unknown quantity as modern junkyard steels.

Even the more sophisticated modern steels are designed for the best possible ease of working. They are also a known quantity that one can look up their properties and handling requirements. The ancient steels that were often better than others were usually an accident of location, their ores containing traces of things that gave them better or worse working properties.

The modern smith also has the advantage that steel is plentiful and relatively inexpensive. One can afford to learn on and scrap work made from a high quality steel. Whereas the ancient smith HAD to make every piece work and recycled the smallest scraps.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/24/10 08:01:47 EDT

My very first blade I ever forged was made of HR mild steel. Why? Well, at the time I didn't have any real selection of alloy steel. Also, mild is REAL easy to forge. You don't have to worry much about HT. I find it's good for practice. Did it make an incredible blade? No... I don't even use it but it would make a nifty letter opener. Then I moved on to high carbon steel. Once again, not an exotic alloy with delicate HT. Good practice, better end result. No one ever taught me how to do forging, I came up with this system by accident. If I ever had the opportunity to teach, I would start him off with easy-to-beat mild steel and work up to the better stuff. I find that it's more effective to learn a few facets of the craft at a time rather than to absorb gallons of information on the first try and expect brilliant results.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 06/24/10 08:32:03 EDT

My very first blade I ever forged was made of HR mild steel. Why? Well, at the time I didn't have any real selection of alloy steel. Also, mild is REAL easy to forge. You don't have to worry much about HT. I find it's good for practice. Did it make an incredible blade? No... I don't even use it but it would make a nifty letter opener. Then I moved on to high carbon steel. Once again, not an exotic alloy with delicate HT. Good practice, better end result. No one ever taught me how to do forging, I came up with this system by accident. If I ever had the opportunity to teach, I would start him off with easy-to-beat mild steel and work up to the better stuff. I find that it's more effective to learn a few facets of the craft at a time rather than to absorb gallons of information on the first try and expect brilliant results.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 06/24/10 08:32:10 EDT

Sorry about the double post.... I forgot to tell everyone that my wife's pregnant belly is holding a baby with a penis. Yup.... I have a SON! Well, not until November.... still happy as a clam though!!
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 06/24/10 08:33:35 EDT

Video of the U-sound

   - Nippulini - Thursday, 06/24/10 08:39:49 EDT

congrats Nip
   - daveb - Thursday, 06/24/10 10:52:37 EDT

That's great Nip! at least now you know what kind of toys to get him (hammers, tongs, anvils...and safety glasses!)
It's a ways off for you but, I desided when my kids were two and could walk with out grabing on to stuff or falling down unecxpectedly they could come in the shop with me.
They were also big enough that the smallest childrens size safety glasses would fit them and actualy cover their eyes effectively. Even so I didn't do anything that might cause hot sparks or chips to go flying off. Mostly just some tinkering and answering alot of "What's this for Dad?..."
I still keep the picture my wife caught of my oldest boy, when he was probably three, standing on a wire milk crate and running the table back and forth on my surface grinder "just like Dad does".

I wanted to comment also that when ever I am trying out some thing new to forge I usualy first make it from mild steel as well. I can get mild steel at the farm supply store in a pinch and it also lets me focus on the how to form the piece without the added distraction of " this has got to be perfect the first time because this is the only piece of ----- steel I have!"
As a matter of fact I'm going to start working today on a demo for making a draw knife at my annuale antique power club show.
At the show I'll unwind some 5/8 coil spring stock for the actual piece but, at home I use the 5/8 mild to practice the moves and working sequence.
   - merl - Thursday, 06/24/10 11:01:16 EDT


With out going into details i have agreed to help keep a troubled youth now in his mid 20s occupied with "wholesome" activities. even if he learns some new swear words in the process.

Anyhow he has never really done anything physical but he likes the idea of doing something in metal. I have no idea what kind of basic projects to even start him on.

Knowing he wont read up or do homework... what would you start him on?
   Kevin - Thursday, 06/24/10 11:26:35 EDT

Children and Advise for their future:

Gee, what happened to just passing out cigars? (gotta be a cartoon in that).

Our twins are now in their thirties and I am a grandfather twice by my daughter. While I love my grandchildren, my children were the most life changing event in my life. Having children changes you in very profound ways.

But don't expect them to LISTEN to you when you want them to, OR be interested in the things YOU like. . . Some kids do, some you might THINK are listening and a few may follow in their parents footsteps but most have different ideas about their life. Children are BORN with fully formed personalities that you will not change.

To see what I wish my children would listen to me about, especially for my grandchildren, see my post on nutrition and health on the Hammer-In.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/24/10 11:41:57 EDT

Nothing. If he won't do his homework he won't get anything done. Don't waste your time (unless he pays you).
   - bigfoot - Thursday, 06/24/10 11:42:30 EDT

I came into smithing through blademaking and one thing I have noticed is that people who learn on mild steel tend to have mild steel habits and will often work high carbon steel as if it was mild---hitting it too hot, hitting it too cold, leaving it in contact with a cold anvil or postvise, etc---So I generally advise folks to learn on the material they will be using!

Lots of folks say they can't find better steel and that RR spikes are "free" yet at the same place you can get RR spikes you can find track clips that are often double the carbon content of an HC spike (which tops out at the *bottom* boundary of medium carbon steels).

Now if you are trying to figure out a preform or an order of work; sure the cheap and easily worked stuff comes in handy; but if you are training someone to make a blade I feel that using a proper steel is important---not the least that if they have "beginner's luck", (which I interpret as you were standing over them coaching them the whole time), then they end up with a *knife* and not a letter opener.

Merl; I gave both my daughters hammers and cut down saws to use. Cleaning them back up nowadays for the grandkids of both sexes to use. (I've always felt that *real* tools with handles reshaped for small hands and saws cut down with a beverly shear to fit child use were safer than some of the "fake" kids' tools) I have a 4 oz stanley ballpein that I've been trying to give my grandson lately---at going on 18 months he can swing it already but his mother objects---must be my maniacal laughter;


   Thomas P - Thursday, 06/24/10 12:22:45 EDT

We NEVER gave our children fake or plastic tools. It was one of my big appointment's when I was a kid to have a cast iron hammer that broke driving its first nail and a saw that would not cut cold butter.

I found small forged steel claw hammers (about 2-4oz.) at a store and bought small high quality pliers and other tools for our kids tool chests. Many of the inexpensive screw drivers with the reddened wood handles and black oxide steel coating are actually good hardened and tempered tools and I bought these as well for them. I gave each a coping (or scroll) saw with good (coarse) blades and built them both small work benches with vises. This was when they were about 6 or 7 years old.

They both learned about REAL tools and both have better than average tool collections now. Of course I'VE supplied a lot of their collection. Both received Milwaukee 1/4" Hole shooter drills with the real Jacobs chucks for high school graduation gifts and my daughter asked for a machinists tool chest with lots of drawers (the big Kennedy chest) for college graduation. She got it. . and its full. Her husband is still jealous of HER tools. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 06/24/10 13:01:53 EDT

Bigfoot i would normally agree however im stuck with this kid.

Its my girlfriends nephew and he has had a sketchy past he is trying to work through and grow out of. While im not getting paid for it i will surely pay if i don't pitch in and help.

Im trying to find things that are active (non video game) out of the house as father and step mother use him as full time day care while he is trying to rehab, and away from the regular temptations he has faced and hopefully show him that even if this isn't what he ultimately finds to distract him he is capable of doing things.

So im still looking for some small starter projects that will produce tangible items he can hold, touch, see and show off to others that he can do something.
   Kevin - Thursday, 06/24/10 13:07:19 EDT

hooks, letter openers, hammers, tongs, chisels and maybe a punch or three. I would use him as a stiker/ helper monkey for a while to see if he actually likes sithing.
   - bigfoot - Thursday, 06/24/10 13:39:03 EDT

Car spring is very cheap at scrapyards or mechanic shops (the kind with a bunch of old cars sitting around, not Pep Boys) and produces excellent knives if heat treated right. If "I'm poor and I don't want to mess up precious tool steel" is the mentality, then that is the solution, I think. Once pounded into shape and stock removed, then you go through the heat treatmnt theory and process. That way, you aren't getting it all at once. This is how I'm currently teaching it.

Kevin - I'd normally say a small work knife, but depending on the nature of his troubled past, that may not be a good idea. Useful tools of some kind would be good; there is a great deal of satisfaction in using a tool you have made yourself to make other items.
   - Stormcrow - Thursday, 06/24/10 14:24:04 EDT


If he or his famuily or friends do any camping or use tents, tent stakes can go from very simple to twisted, beast-headed monstrosities. ;-)

One of my specialties is making various candlesticks out of tire irons. Tough to work, but the socket is already there and it shows how common objects can be transformed.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 06/24/10 15:34:25 EDT

Depending on the kid. . He might like making his own equipment, a forge, RR anvil, hammer, tongs. . .

Or if he is interested in the super primitive a pit forge burning home made charcoal.

A lot depends on attention span. But making your own fuel, then using a hole in the ground to get enough heat FORGE STEEL. . . now THAT would have impressed me when I was a kid. Check out the wood tweezer type tongs in the Zulu Blacksmiths vidoe on our AnvilCAM-II page. Start with those kinds of toolls and you are REALLY bootstrapping. Or in this case sandal thonging.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/24/10 16:05:47 EDT


It's funny you should mention toy hammers. Earlier this year I was working on a project that required turning eyes on .032 coppper. Out came my very first hammer from the back of the drawer. I'm sure I didn't look very cool using it (among other things, one claw is broken off the cast iron head), but it did the job. The smallest ball peen I had was *way* too heavy.

Stormcrow, I've always figured the shops that put those Crayola-colored springs on Hondas should be a good source of used springs. But I haven't looked for one to prove it.

   Mike BR - Thursday, 06/24/10 18:29:06 EDT

Hi, Im looking for some information norse sword blades. specificaly how they were handled and how the guard was attatched. I have seen reproductions where the guard is mig welded and then ground back but im looking for more traditionel methods. I have read that the guards were sometimes soldeded, or posibly brazed, and if this is the case then what solder was used and how is this done without affecting the heat treatment at the base of the blade?

secondly the handle. im assuming there was a wooden component (?) if so was the handle rivited in 2 sections either side of the tang or was it simply fitted over a narower tang and held in place by compression from the end of the tang being rivited over the pommel?
how was the handle wrapped? leather? wire? if someone has any answers or can recomend a good book that i can buy then it would be apreciated! :)
   wayne - Thursday, 06/24/10 18:59:54 EDT

Wayne; if you are in the USA you can ILL "The Sword in Anglo-Saxon England, H.R.Ellis Davidson at any public library. Makes it a whole lot easier and cheaper to see if a book meets you needs before shelling out $$$ for hard to find books!

Guards were not soldered or brazed on the originals.

Why do you assume there was only 1 way of doing a handle?
Shoot we've been using cars centuries less than they used swords and we have gas, diesel, electric, LP, etc cars and we tend toward standardization! (In general I would suggest a solid handle with the tang hole perhaps burned to size before the pommel was riveted down)

Also remember that the tang generally wasn't hardened and sometimes wasn't even a hardenable alloy!

   Thomas P - Thursday, 06/24/10 19:51:03 EDT

On many blades modern bladesmiths silver solder the guard to the blade, rarely on swords, but this was never a traditional method. I think riveted slabs is relatively new (1800's?).
   - guru - Thursday, 06/24/10 20:10:47 EDT

Thanks thomas ill track down the book that you recomend. im in the Uk so i dont think that it will be a problem.

Fair point about standardization!

Im awair that the tang wasnt/isnt hardened. Im an artist/ historical blacksmith by trade, and asside from a coupple of blades and my own tools im new to this area of the craft, so please forgive my nievety!
so if i were to silver solder the blade, my point is that in my mind (and im theorising here) final fitting is done after hardening and tempering, obvosly the tang is not hardened. silver soldering requires a heat abouve the tempering range, so how do modern bladesmiths solder the guard without badly affecting the heat tretment of the blade?
   wayne - Thursday, 06/24/10 21:10:08 EDT

Ball Peen Hammers: In the not to distant past you get ball peen hammers from 2 oz. (56g) in relatively small increments up to 4 or 5 pounds. Today the range is not nearly what it was. However, I just noticed that McMaster Carr is now carrying a nice range of ball peens. McMaster has 10 from 2oz. 4lbs. Not a bad selection. The set would cost $138. They did not have this range just a few years ago. - Maybe someone noticed my comment that they were no longer available. . .

In any case, a full range is nice to have. I spent a year collecting ball peens to replace a set I thought I had lost. The old ones are nicer crisper patterns than the new ones.

   - guru - Thursday, 06/24/10 21:25:45 EDT

Silver Soldering Guards: Wayne, low temperature alloy is used and the blade is clamped in a vise as a heat sink. A small torch is used. A wet rag is also used to keep the heat from traveling up the blade. If a little temper is lost near the guard it is not much of a problem.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/24/10 21:54:17 EDT

cheers, thats all I needed to know :)
   wayne - Thursday, 06/24/10 22:44:59 EDT

Kevin, How about a belt buckle. A quick project, if he screws it up, make another one. Then he can show off his handiwork.
   Carver Jake - Friday, 06/25/10 00:31:33 EDT

Carver Jake; beginners projects: The belt buckle is an excellent suggestion. D-buckles are sometimes a little tricky when you first try to make them, but not too challenging. Plate buckles are good too, and can be very plain or impressive according to the time and skill applied.

Viking Sword Books; Wayne: I'll try to post from my home library tonight.

Off to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival ( http://www.festival.si.edu/ ) on lunch-hour+ today; I'll note any blacksmiths and metalworking. Between Pacific Asian Americans and Mexico there is (are?) bound to be blacksmiths there.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 06/25/10 08:22:44 EDT

Wayne, "Swords of the Viking Age" by Ian Pierce, Boydell Press 2004.

Note that the fuller always runs about halfway up the tang, and the gap between fullers and guard is not filled with anything. The blade face of the lower guard is recessed to fit the blade, and the guard is a press fit. On Viking swords we speak of upper and lower guards, with the upper guard being the lower part of the (usually) two-piece pommel. The blade is peened onto the upper guard, and the pommel proper is the riveted to the upper guard. Not easy to do!

As far as I've been able to find, soldered guards are a 20th century innovation. And be careful asking for "silver" solder. Most bladesmiths mean silver-bearing lead-free plumbing solder when they say silver solder. That contains 4% silver max, and flows around 450 degrees F. True silver solder is a braze as you mention, and flows between 900-1600 degrees F depending on the alloy.

Riveted slab handles are found on some older blades, but not usually sword-length ones. The medieval German groƟmessers are an exception, but as the name suggests they were considered more of a big knife than a sword despite the length.
   Alan-L - Friday, 06/25/10 12:50:28 EDT

One other thing about Viking swords, and most pre-1450s swords: no ricasso (the flat section between the edge and guard on modern knives). The edges are sharp all the way into the guard. One of the many ways to tell if someone knows what they're doing. :-)

   Alan-L - Friday, 06/25/10 12:53:38 EDT

"Knives and Scabbards, Museum of London" has several examples of riveted handles on knife blades; not early medieval due to the find dates unfortunately.

   Thomas P - Friday, 06/25/10 14:12:51 EDT

Great suggestions!

This kids problems related to what he could put in his body not necessarly what he could stab or shoot into someone else but i think ill wait on a small knife till he has at least some hammer control. I think small tongs and a belt buckle will be the first days projects. I can never have too many tongs so i can show him one fairly quickly and then kinda monitor his progress and a belt buckle shouldnt be too bad either.

I have to make a new vein hardy so maybe we can do some leaf key chains too, if i get that done that is.
   Kevin - Friday, 06/25/10 15:37:46 EDT

Even tools like screw drivers can be hand made. Simple ones with hand made wooden handles and ferrules made from copper tubing are good combined media products. Use scraps of spring steel to make the shanks and they will be better than many.

Small hammers are not hard to make and a good way to teach punching and drifting. I make them on a long bar then cut off at the face. If you make a hammer, tongs and a couple punches and chisels you have a start on a small set of hand made tools that one could be proud of.

   - guru - Friday, 06/25/10 17:09:00 EDT

It occurs to me that I promised one of my brothers a couple draw knives years ago that I still have yet to make. Maybe a banner tool making session is in order. Catch up on some of those things I have been meaning to make for a while and maybe get the boy interested in something productive.
   Kevin - Friday, 06/25/10 17:58:29 EDT

Does he like camping? Nothing like forging something and then *using* it---like hot dog/marshmallow roasters or a tripod to cook over an open fire.

I love to make camp cooking gear and take out my price in FOOD!

   Thomas P - Friday, 06/25/10 19:44:26 EDT

Ah, COOKING tools. . . ;) Tools, tools, tools.

AND there is money in making GOOD high quality hand made tools!
   - guru - Friday, 06/25/10 19:47:44 EDT

I enjoy making and modifying existing tools! I make a lot of spoons for tire and brake service work.

One tool I'm interested in making is a ring/hoop roller? Anybody have experience building something like that?

   Slim James - Saturday, 06/26/10 01:17:39 EDT

Slim, Ring rollers vary a lot depending on size and if they are motorized or not.

The principals are pretty simple, 3 rollers, one adjustable to bend and change the radius of the work piece. Some cheap ones power only one roller but these are only good for small work. At least two rollers should be powered. This means you need gears between them.

Scroll up to the post I made on June 10th (or see the archive if I have archived this month - soon). I will get a better photo of my Champion ring roller but this is a very robust and simple roller design. The gears are as-cast and could be replaced with precision laser of water cut gears. The small pinon gear provides speed reduction and torque (leverage). The roller adjustment is not the most convenient as it uses two screws which must be turned separately and equally. These push on simple steel plain bearing blocks. All the bearings are plain soft iron on steel or soft steel on steel.

This is probably the best rolls design I have seen. The only sophisticated thing about it is that there is a bearing bushing slightly larger than the roller behind the large top gear. All you have to do is pull out a cotter pin on the far side and the whole top roller comes out so that work that has been rolled to the point of overlapping or becoming a multiturn coil can be removed easily. This happens fairly often.

This Champion ring roller (technically a blacksmiths tire bender) has a heavy two sided frame which makes it very strong and simplifies bearings. But there are other open sided designs that work well for narrow stock. There are also simpler and more complicated designs. This one has the advantage of working very well and not being more complicated than it needs to be. Nearly an optimum machine design.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/26/10 08:09:15 EDT

Have a big old anvil looks like the one under your Anvil Gallery picture in the middle and a smaller one sitting on it.Dont know what I have or its value. Looking only at the pictures on your website; it look's like a Hay-Budden.36"Lx14"T. Can you help! Thanks; W.A.
   Wayne Adams - Saturday, 06/26/10 08:31:42 EDT

Found another piece of old wrought iron in the Neshaminy creek yesterday. Looks suspiciousy similar to the piece I found in there a few years ago. It looks as if it was originally 1/4x1" flat bar, but has deteriorated into a really neat appearance. Must take a pic and send it to guru for his wrought page. You can clearly see the woodgrain like iron fibers. I forged one end of it to 1/2" square, had to bring to welding temp to keep it from splitting apart during the forging.
   - Nippulini - Saturday, 06/26/10 08:34:12 EDT

Wayne if you send me photos I will try to identify it. Note that Hay-Buddens have a distinct depression in the bottom of the anvil and even the unbranded ones had serial numbers on the front of the foot under the horn.

It helps to clean the anvil thoroughly and take a rubbing of the sides to detect any lettering as stamped markings can get filled with rust, dirt or paint.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/26/10 08:38:18 EDT

Thanks for the info guru. I'll have to dome some more homework.

   Slim James - Saturday, 06/26/10 10:13:09 EDT

I have a complete 60-65-lbs vise very old w/part of a crown, can you tell an appoximate value of it? thank you
   Jim Mercer - Saturday, 06/26/10 13:40:43 EDT

I do not understand "Part of a crown"? Is this a marking?

In general, in the U.S., this size blacksmiths leg vise sells for between $75 and $150. The most important thing is the condition of the screw and box (nut), followed by having all the parts (springs and bench brackets are often missing).

Occasionally some exemplary examples with markings of known makers sell for more to collectors but in general these are WORKING tools that are going to be used. The farther away from the "rust belt" in Pennsylvania and Ohio you are the higher the price. In Southern California prices are about 50% higher than in Ohio.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/26/10 20:25:05 EDT

Could part of a crown be a partial impression of a six pointed star? If so it's an Iron City vise from Pittsburg.

Need more details for a value including what continent you are on. Shoot post vises tend to cost double to triple her in New Mexico to what they go for in Ohio and both places are in the USA.

Wayne: "Big old anvil"---to me that means "over 300 pounds and 200 years" To a lot of auctioneers that seems to mean "75 pounds and 50 years" To you---I haven't a clue!

A major part of anvil value is the construction and condition---can mean a factor of 5 in pricing. With the information you have provided I can say that that anvil is worth somewhere between about a penny a pound to about $6 a pound. More details could significianetly narrow that range!

   ThomasP - Saturday, 06/26/10 23:32:58 EDT

Thomas, Don't you know all anvils look alike to all non-anvils?
   - guru - Sunday, 06/27/10 01:42:45 EDT

I just aquired a small rivet forge ,it has the belt missing , are they available anywhere or is it something you make up.......also I am hearing of lining the bottom with sand or clay is this necessary ?
   dale d bostic - Sunday, 06/27/10 07:42:58 EDT

Forge Belts: Dale,

The belts are custom made from leather or a nylon leather combo. I have been recommending leather belting which you can get from many industrial suppliers including specialists called "power transmission" suppliers. However, in recent years the quality of leather belting has become atrociously poor. If you get good 3/16 thick top grade leather from a leather shop that would be fine. But I am now buying the leather faced nylon belting. It is much more uniform and does not stretch. The down side is since it does not stretch the length must be perfect.

Blets are "made up" either by a number of methods. They can be skived (tapering the ends) and glued, laced by hand (a method of tying together with thin lacing), or by using patent mechanical lacing methods.

The best mechanical method is the Clipper system which uses rows of wire loops that make an interlocking joint held together by a removable pin. Many power transmission suppliers have the machine for making Clipper lacing. One advantage of the Clipper lacing is the removable pin makes it possible to get the belt on and off places you cannot use and endless belt. You can also adjust the length by removing 1/2" of one end of the blet and putting in new Clipper laces.

Then there are systems known as Aligator laces which are a light steel hinge that crimps into the ends of the belt. They are OK for large belts but too heavy for small machine belts.

So your choices are gluing and Clipper laces. Leather or a modern composite belt material.

Some light cast iron forges were marked "Clay before using" but if your rivet forge has a pressed steel pan it does not need claying. As a portable forge is was designed to have the ashes dumped out, moved, the setup again by putting fuel in it and working right away. Those that need claying require a thing layer (about 1/2" in the bottom). Moistened wood ashes can be used and is easier to obtain than a good clay that will not shrink and fall to pieces.
   - guru - Sunday, 06/27/10 09:17:55 EDT

I'm trying to locate information on the piping requirements for pneumatic counterblow forging hammers. A local forge shop has aquired several hammers and I was asked to research the requirements but, so far no luck. I came upon the Anvilfire website (neat site I plan to visit often) and thought I would ask. Do you know where I can find this information? Thank you, Larry
   Larry - Sunday, 06/27/10 10:35:21 EDT

Counterblow Hammer Piping: Larry, The engineering information is difficult to find. Much of this was unpublished and died with the manufacturers going out of business.

There is a little about counterblow hammers and their power requirements in the ASM Metals Handbook covering Forging. My edition is Volume 5 Forging and Casting but they reorganize the sections often. They also have some information on common drop hammer power requirements. These could be extrapolated to the counterblow hammer. Note however that these are not machine design or mechanical engineering references.

As far as piping goes look at the machine. The inlet pipes (or ports) on them should not be reduced. It is often recommended to have a large air receiver nearby and the pipe run from the receiver to the hammer as straight as possible. Piping to the receiver is then designed based on standard pressure loss calculations. The receivers are needed for the high volume gulps of air the hammer needs. The piping supplying the receivers must simply the consumed air at a steady rate rather than in large gulps.

I have an old Chambersburg catalog that gives piping sizes for steam hammers. Runs from, 1000# with 2.5" pipe, 3" exhaust to 24,000# with 7" pipe and 10" exhaust. Serious piping on those big hammers. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 06/27/10 11:42:45 EDT

Can anyone help me out?

I'm making my own sword and i need to know around where would the handle go? ==|=========> its a 44 inch blade... ex. 8 inches?

   Jonathan - Sunday, 06/27/10 19:35:43 EDT

Hey you guys...
can you help me out? about where on a 44' sword would a handle go?

I almost have it finished but don't want to grind the bottom half as i don't know where the handle should go exactly?

   - Jonathan - Sunday, 06/27/10 19:40:35 EDT

Crown? Some of the Peter Wright vises that were exported to cognate countries such as Australia and Canada had the British coat of arms stamped on them...a small crown at the top, a large shield in the center, lion on one side and unicorn on the other. Some of these also had very slight chamfering on the legs as opposed to the deeper chamfering that we find on U.S. Peter Wrights.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 06/27/10 21:27:58 EDT

Sword Grip: Jonathan, Sounds like you are the designer. In the middle? Ends? Both ends (a Peace Sword :) ? Length depends on the type of sword and weight. Single handed, double handed?

As a custom made work it should fit the user. If its for you it should fit you, if its for a client it should fit them. Is it to be used with gloves or gauntlets then there should be allowance for those.
   - guru - Sunday, 06/27/10 21:53:40 EDT

My question is concerning hooking my whisper mama forge to the 500gal. tank that goes to my house. Here goes. What should I do? T in the line that goes to the house. My question is will there be enough psi? I think the line is 5 or 7 psi. Or should I take the regulator of the tank and replace it with my 150 regulator and run it to my forge. NOTE: I do not heat with propane any more. What would you do?
   Ben Overton - Sunday, 06/27/10 22:12:58 EDT

My question is concerning hooking my whisper mama forge to the 500gal. tank that goes to my house. Here goes. What should I do? T in the line that goes to the house. My question is will there be enough psi? I think the line is 5 or 7 psi. Or should I take the regulator of the tank and replace it with my 150 regulator and run it to my forge. NOTE: I do not heat with propane any more. What would you do?
   Ben Overton - Sunday, 06/27/10 22:13:39 EDT

Ben, There are a lot of questions and problems here.

First, I would not count on the pressure being that high.

Given enough pressure the forge MAY operate if on a large enough line and its not too long. Pressure can drop significantly with distance.

Does the propane tank belong to you or the propane company? They may frown on your changing the regulator. Some are very sticky about customers messing with the tank and local building codes. If they own the tank you may want to ask them to put on a high pressure regulator (probably 30 PSI max).

T'ing into the line and putting on a new regulator will also raise the pressure at the end of the line in your house (used or not). Building and fire codes generally do not allow high pressure gas lines in a residence. High pressure in this case is defined in relatively low PSI (10 PSI is high pressure in this case). Codes also call for licensed plumbers to make these connections. Consult you local codes.

Breaking the building codes in this case can cause issues with homeowners or fire insurance. Even if the gas is not a contributory factor the insurance co would have grounds not to pay or tie up funds for a significant time. This may or may not be a consideration.

If the forge is located in a seperate building and you do not need the gas in the house you would be best off to disconnect the line to the house and run it to the forge.

Seems like a simple thing but the devil is in the details.
   - guru - Monday, 06/28/10 00:00:30 EDT

I own the tank. You pose a good point about:Pressure can drop significantly with distance. The thing is I'll need to go 60 feet to get to my shop. I thought about just that pressure drop.
As for building codes, where I live there aren't none I live in the middle of nowhere. Also the house is no longer in uses. So what do you think?
   Ben Overton - Monday, 06/28/10 05:18:09 EDT

Ben, If it was my tank I would put a regulator of sufficient pressure on the tank (up to 40-60 PSI), run a 1/2" copper line to my shop, then a black iron pipe manifold in the shop with several taps and valves plus a pressure gauge. I would use the regulator that came with the forge at the shop end to adjust flow. With a little higher than the necessary pressure in the line reduced at the working end pressure drop will be unnoticeable. This setup would also let you operate a torch or other equipment on the same system. The manifold only needs to be a few feet long to have a number of T's and outlets.

The type regulators used on these tanks outdoors are weather proof as well as insect proof. I would try to locate one of these with a preset pressure for the tank end.
   - guru - Monday, 06/28/10 06:34:37 EDT

Ben Overton, if you're going to make up a multi-T gas manifold for your shop, DON'T FORGET to include at least one shut off valve either inside or out, for emergencies.
If it was me I would put one outside, probably right befor the regulator and, one for each T and maybe one more at the begining of the manifold so it can be shut off when not in use or when you decide to change something around. That way you don't have to bleed down the entire run from the tank to the manifold.
   - merl - Monday, 06/28/10 10:19:10 EDT

Thank you for your reply pertaining to pneumatic counterblow forging hammers, I will check out the ASM handbook. The steam hammer piping sizes are does the Chambersburg catalog give the pressures also? Thanks again.
   Larry - Monday, 06/28/10 11:20:03 EDT

Ill second what jock has said on counterblow hammers, the inlet and exhaust are usually the same diameter as the necessary pipework. The air receiver near the hammer is important.

Also, a high quality 'flexy' (braided stainless type) is vital between hammer and inlet pipe. Big hammers really rock when they are running, and a rigid pipe will fail, eventually.

Just out of interest what size are the stamps?, are they beche?
   - John N - Monday, 06/28/10 11:47:27 EDT

Larry, Chambersburg was primarily a steam era company and 100 PSI was the norm. They recommended no higher on their air operated machines as they were identical except for rings and seals.
   - guru - Monday, 06/28/10 13:52:24 EDT

Thank you both for the information.

John one is a Krupp (I think DG80) and the other is an 50,000-Lb. Erie hammer.
   Larry - Monday, 06/28/10 14:21:50 EDT

VERY serious machinery for folks like us that dream of 300 pound hammers. . ;)
   - guru - Monday, 06/28/10 14:45:16 EDT

How I would get the answer to such a question: I would go into our local Gas supplier and Ask "I want to do *this*; whats a good way to go about it?"

if the house is no longer in use could you have the tank disconnected and moved over near the Smithy?

   Thomas P - Monday, 06/28/10 16:00:45 EDT

it says on this site that you can work aluminum at low heat. What about 7075-T6 aluminum. can that be worked at low heat? if so, can it be repeatedly forge welded useing regular coals?
   Ben J - Monday, 06/28/10 16:49:06 EDT

Even if the truck is filling the tank they usually have 50 to 75 feet of hose. . .
   - guru - Monday, 06/28/10 16:49:36 EDT

it says on this site that you can work aluminum at low heat. What about 7075-T6 aluminum. can that be worked at low heat? if so, can it be repeatedly forge welded useing regular coals?
   Ben J - Monday, 06/28/10 16:55:25 EDT

Ben J,

I'm (relatively) sure 7075 can be hot worked. The "-T6" describes a temper condition (solution heat treated and artificially aged). It will not longer be that once you've heated it in the forge.

It may be possible to "forge weld" aluminum in a vacuum or inert atmosphere, but it can't be done even once in an ordinary forge.
   Mike BR - Monday, 06/28/10 17:52:50 EDT

Larry, decent lumps of kit :) If you need any labour for installing / rebuilding / commisioning them etc drop me an email, let me know where abouts you are. Its my personal email address if you click on my name below, but I will give you my company details from there.

Needless to say big lumps like that can get very spendy very fast!!!!!
   John N - Monday, 06/28/10 18:42:14 EDT

7075-T6 AL Forging temperature is 720-820°F and is one of the least forgeable of the aluminum alloys. In other words is is relatively tough to forge like an alloy steel. Al the standard forging processes apply (upsetting, ring rolling. . .).

Besides the fact that it cannot be done there is absolutely no reason to repeatedly forge weld aluminum alloys.
   - guru - Monday, 06/28/10 21:33:19 EDT

what about a softer AL? What kind if so?
   Ben J - Monday, 06/28/10 23:32:27 EDT

Lets start with what you are making. How strong or hard does it need to be? 7075 is very hard and quite strong. Due to its hardness it machines beautifully. 1000 series is pure aluminium, the softest and easiest to forge. But it is gummy and hard to machine of get a bright finish on. It is the weakest Al but its malleability can be an advantage. But 6061 is high strength and malleability, the easiest alloy steel to forge. It is good for things that need to be bent or formed and is not quite a nice to machine as the harder alloys.

To answer all your questions on this subject I would have to feed you the entire non-ferrous chapter from the ASM Metals Handbook on Forging as it rapidly gets to needing graphs. . It borders on copyright infringement to do so. Its a pricey book but can be found in Engineering school libraries and may even be possible to ILL it. Its one volume of about 20. A set that sells for several thousand dollars but can be purchased as individual books.

It would be cheaper to buy samples of various Al alloys and try forging them. However, keeping that temperature range without melting the metal is a trick and you should really have a temperature controlled furnace.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/29/10 01:43:38 EDT

My grandfather is a horseshoer of many years and is trying to sell some old anvils that he has and i am going to do it for him because he's not great with computers but i have no idea what to sell them for or how to price them. can someone help me?
   Kyle - Tuesday, 06/29/10 02:14:57 EDT

I want to make good quality charcoal. I want to hear from the ones who have done this, and your methods....Thanks
   Mike T. - Tuesday, 06/29/10 02:28:28 EDT

Kyle, Most old anvils are just tools. Some are collectors items. Value is based on brand, size, condition (judged by an expert), location and how much time you have. Need to sell them in a hurry you will get a lot less.

Watch prices of SOLD anvils on ebay. Look at how they are sold and the quality of the photos and cleaned up condition of many of the anvils. Note that many do not sell and are listed over and over until the seller gets their price or better.

See our Anvil Gallery for a glimpse of how varied anvils can be.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/29/10 02:30:29 EDT

What is the best way to weld chrome moly tubing?
   philip in China - Tuesday, 06/29/10 03:15:38 EDT

Phillip in China, For most of the life of chromemoly welded tube structures in aircraft, the preffered method was oxy/fuel welding. When ultra-light aircraft became popular in the US about 30 years ago, there were many experiments with mig that did not end well, and tig made nice welds that if the entire sturcture was not post weld heat treated experienced failures in the heat affected zone of the welds. TIG has so high a heat input in these thin structures that the heat affected zone has a very sharp transition to non-heat affected and cracking was a big issue. I believe this was overcome with special torches and macines to allow a heat input better adapted to these very thin tubes. In aircraft 0.032" wall is normal, and usually 4340 alloy is used.
In boiler work, there are chromemolly tubes that have heavy walls, and these are welded with arc and tig, and in some cases submerged arc and flux cored mig with gas shielding. These are P-11 and P-22 and are about 1-5%ch and 1.5 to 2% moly. Filler is similar.
   ptree - Tuesday, 06/29/10 07:57:09 EDT

Phillip In China

This forum may give you some good answers to your welding questions.

American Welding Society Forum
   - Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 06/29/10 11:01:01 EDT

I just acquired a small Hay Budden, I believe to be 60lbs but may be 80, I weighed it on the local truck scale and the weight fluctuated between 60 and 80.
I remembered that it has been said here that smaller anvils have more bounce and ring than larger ones. This anvil has much more ring and bounce than my 100lb Henry Wright. As a matter of fact it rings to a point that it hurts my ears. Is this common to all sizes of Hay Budden or just small ones.
I havent mounted this anvil on a stump yet. It was mounted on an old tractor cyl block and much to low for me.
The one thing strange I see is the name stamp is that the city stamp is YNNY, is this the way HBs were stamped?
Are Hay Buddens also made from Wrought or are they all steel. There is chipping on the edges that makes it look as if it was heat treated (hardened) did HB heat treat. Other wise this anvil is in fair shape except some welding on both sides appears to have had something welded to it. Yep must have been a farmer that had it they always seem to want to weld and burn on the anvil! ;))

   tmac - Tuesday, 06/29/10 11:14:04 EDT


Yeah, all H-B's will pierce your eardrums if not bolted down tight. As for the YNNY, you're just missing the BROOKL that goes in front of that. Brooklyn, NY, in other words.(grin!)

Early ones were wrought with a steel face, the last ones were all steel with a forged top half and a cast base, arc-welded at the waist. I forget when they made the transition, maybe someone who has their copy of AIA handy can help.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 06/29/10 11:21:46 EDT

I tried to move a propane tank over by my old shop once upon a time.
The city had grown up around the old house and shop and zoning laws changed so that i could keep an existing tank but i couldn't alter its location or change the building it was piped into.
Most gas suppliers are eager to come up with a good solution for you as if you need a tank that big they are hopeful you will be a regular customer.
   Kevin - Tuesday, 06/29/10 11:34:12 EDT

Small and Large Anvils, Sound: Large anvils are difficult to quench and thus are generally softer than smaller anvils AND the amount of steel hardened is less. The harder the steel the higher the pitch. The denser the steel the more sustained the sound. Thus old wrought anvils with all the layers of silica slag in a soft body do not ring nearly as loud as an all steel anvil.

So smaller all steel anvils can produce a really piercing noise that definitely hurts the ears. . . Want to get attention? Tap on the side of the heel. Makes a LOT more noise. . .

Propane Tanks: There are advantages and disadvantages to large fixed location tanks. Having the gas company come serve YOU is wonderful. But you are often tied to ONE company and there are times in the winter when you could end up waiting a week to get a refill. Smaller portable bottles (100-120 pound) can be carried to a job site and you can take them to any supplier to be refilled. We recently had ours filled by a small independent who's prices were 1/3/ less than the competition AND he was open on a Saturday. The fork lift was on empty and we needed it to work that day. We got three different type bottles filled that day, the liquid delivery lift truck bottle, a 120 pound bottle and a 20 pound bottle. It was a fair drive down in the country but the price covered the travel AND we got Saturday service.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/29/10 11:56:33 EDT

Ringing Anvils. Try wrapping a heavy chain around it, or attaching a large magnet at various locations on the anvil to dampen the sound, or wear ear plugs. Your hearing cannot be replaced.
   Carver Jake - Tuesday, 06/29/10 13:55:02 EDT

I've been working with my new hydraulic forging press lately, making prototype hand tool heads. I've been pleased with how my small collection of tooling is doing in shaping the heads. However, the problem I've run into is punching eyes.

I just built an eye punch and have been testing it. In doing so, I've found that as I am punching the eye, it's squishing the steel around the eye down thinner.

So, any suggestions on a setup to punch eyes in a low-level production way that won't get this distortion? I have an idea, but wanted to see what y'all thought up.
   - Stormcrow - Tuesday, 06/29/10 14:56:38 EDT

The thing I think you are having trouble with is "suck in" , where the steel all slopes to the hole. The same thing happens with hand punching but you do not notice it quite so much. The metal cross section has not actually been reduced, the metal has just moved outward into the "frog eye". Forging over a drift usually pushes the metal back out of the sides to the top and bottom. Punching in a holder that prevents expansion sideways may help.

Other things that may help: If you crown or even point your die it reduces the problem by letting the metal flow around the punch more eaaily. Punching from both sides to the middle at the same time may also help. Punch lube?

I'm not sure if this isn't a hydraulic press thing where the slower moving punch gives the metal time to move in that direction. . . Anyone?

I've got your press photos and working to set them up.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/29/10 16:20:31 EDT

Kyle; a good way to sell smithing tools is to take them to a local Blacksmithing group's meeting. Lots of the ones in the USA (as well as some out side it IIRC) are listed in the upper right drop down menu "navigate anvilfire" near the bottom "ABANA-chapter.com".

I don't like e-bay; but have been buying tools off of craigslist more and more lately. Using the local one I avoid the shipping charges and the folks selling don't have to deal with e-bay's surcharges and payment system.

Off to camp with my Y1K forge Wednesday through Monday!

   Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 06/29/10 17:09:18 EDT


There are also millions of bicycles made with brazed chrome moly tubing. I have read some folks claim that the copper can get between the grains of the steel and cause cracking, but the bicycles seem to hold up fine. May be another option depending on the circumstances and your capabilities.

   Mike BR - Tuesday, 06/29/10 18:13:34 EDT

Can anyone tell me if a Trenton anvil is a good one?? It is a 175 lb for $400.00. Is that a good price for one?

   Harold G - Tuesday, 06/29/10 22:38:44 EDT

Harold, Trenton is one of the best American made anvils (however, some of the earliest were German made, and very good as well). If it is in good condition and has not been repaired then the price is fair.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/29/10 23:14:37 EDT

tmac, I have a 134# H-B that is FIRMLY fastened to a 187# block of steel and all that is firmly feastened to a hardwood base block that makes it to the right higth for me.
The anvil still has a very loud, sharp ring.
A very wise smith told me to stick a strong magnet under the tail were the hardy hole comes through.
Haveing done this my H-B now only "ticks" and "thuds" and I'm very happy.
I have a 110# Russian pattern the I take to demos that has a terrible ring that I tame the same way. People always ask what the big speaker magnet is for under the tail, when I take it off and rap the anvil top a couple of times they instantly understand.
My H-B was made in 1893 and is solid wrought with a tool steel top. I am not sure when they went to the all steel upper half.
I also have a 100# PW that would be nearly pristine except some clod has broken the last three inches off from the horn and has made two pock marks the size of a quarter and about 3/8 deep in the face but,I can work around them.
Otherwise the edges are as when it left the factory and the rest is in great shape.
$70.US at an antique mall and I couldn't pass it up!
Hope you enjoy your new anvil!
   - merl - Wednesday, 06/30/10 00:10:47 EDT

I am curious why a magnet dampens the ring of an anvil.Is it just from hanging a mass from the vibrating part? Would epoxying a mass to the anvil work as well?I have seen some pretty small magnets stuck on purportedly for silencing the ring.Its hard to believe such small masses do anything.Is there more to it?
   wayne @nb - Wednesday, 06/30/10 07:51:06 EDT

What your thoughts on using non-flammable hydraulic fluid in a home-built forging press? It seems like a nice option for safety.
   Landon - Wednesday, 06/30/10 08:54:42 EDT

Wayne, Speaker magnets have two rings separated by a cushion and they act like a damper. The magnetic connection is also a weak joint dampens the vibration. A heavy duty horseshoe magnet will not do the same.

The noise being dampened is high frequency with little motion. It is not like trying to absorb or reduce violent shaking which would require a larger mass.

All that being said there were several anvils in Paw-Paw's shop all with heavy magnets on them. Removing the magnets made no difference. I suspect it was because they were are old wrought anvils. I have not tried the magnets on my all steel anvils.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/30/10 08:55:55 EDT

Landon, short of pure water,which by the way makes a pretty poor hydraulic fluid for modern machines, all of the hydraulic fluids for flame resistant are rated "Flame resistant" and "More Flame resistant"
If you use the lower cost Poly Gylcol, mixed to specification with water it is very safe. The fluid is also pretty environmentally friendly. It is not as friendly to cobbled up hydraulic systems. None of the flame resistant or more flame resistant fluids are "plug and play". The glycols have vapor pressure issues that cause inlet cavitation in most convential pumps and suction systems that will destroy a pump in hours in many cases. All of the flame resistant and more flame resistants have seal compatability issues to more or less degree.
The high water content fluids such as the gylcols attack urathane seals, the phospate esters pretty much don't like standard nitrile seals.

The gylcols, if the water is allowed to evaporate out will become flammable. Takes a optical refractometer to measure the water to gylcol mix just like water based cutting coolant.
Safer than straight oil? Yes. A plug and play? Not usually. Takes some research and care on your part.
Ptree who worked in several commercial forge shops that used these fluids, as well as straight oil. Seen the fires, cleaned up the aftermath.
   ptree - Wednesday, 06/30/10 10:19:13 EDT

wayne@nb, the magnet does not "add mass" per say.
What it does is add a reactive mass with a relatively week connection as the Guru points out.
I don't know about the difference between magnet construction having anything to do with it.
I have a 50# retrieval magnet on the H-B and the 3"diameter speaker magnet on the Russian and they both seem to work equally well.
As I understand it the magnet work as a reactive mass. That is as the shock wave from sticking the anvil tries to knock the magnet off the magnetic attraction sticks back on just as fast and counter acts the shock wave ( that causes the ringing) to reduce its duration very quickly.
I have been told that loose chains are sometimes effective and strapping something like trampoline springs around the waist will help.
I have actually seen the magnet "jump off" the bottom of the tail and snap back on just as described although, too heavy of a blow will knock it off altogether.
Rigidly attaching mass to your anvil will not reduce the ring. Unless the mass is homogeneous to the anvil, it will likely fly off and probably land on your foot, if rigidly attached.
   - merl - Wednesday, 06/30/10 10:27:47 EDT

"shock wave from STRIKING the anvil"

Never post befor morning tea!

"Seen the fires,cleaned up the aftermath" !!!
Ever the ray of sunshine, you...ptree(insert imodicon of choice here)
   - merl - Wednesday, 06/30/10 10:38:28 EDT

Magnets on anvils:

You do NOT need a huge speaker magnet. A tiny little neodymium magnet 3/4" diameter will quiet the noisiest anvil if you simply stick it under the heel. I use them on my wrought anvils and my cast steel anvils with excellent results.

Old computer hard drives use neodymium magnets that work extremely well for this, too. They come bonded to a steel plate a couple inches long which makes a nifty handle for moving it - those little suckers are STRONG!

The mass is not what does the job, it is the strong magnetic force that damps the vibrations. That's what the magnets in speakers do - the voice coil supplies the motion, the magnet stops it, the result is movement of the paper cone which results in sound waves.

I'm sure you'll have to try it yourselves to believe it. You'll be astonished at how well it works.
   - Buford Heliotrope - Wednesday, 06/30/10 10:41:14 EDT

Magnets on anvils, continued: Or if, like me, you don't like scale stuck to your anvil, simply bed the anvil in a solid layer of silicone caulk and then bolt that sucker down to a wooden base. If the anvil can't vibrate it won't ring. My 100Kg Refflinghaus can deafen you if not bolted down tight, but at the moment it sounds like a Fisher. No magnets involved.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 06/30/10 11:19:02 EDT

*Cough* I'd double check the theory of operation of a speaker if I were you. ;)
   Nabiul Haque - Wednesday, 06/30/10 11:20:47 EDT

Having spent some years building speakers, on the woofer production line, I would have to say that I agree with Nabiul- you guys all seem to have some "creative" ideas about how magnets work in speakers...

   - ries - Wednesday, 06/30/10 13:33:21 EDT

Magnets on anvils-
I agree with Alan L ,I dont't like the scale clumped on my anvil, plus I never could de-ring any of my 500 pound anvils with magnets.I mounted my large Rat Hole anvil on piece of mine conveyor belt on a wooden stump, silicone to follow later.We line the floor in the horse stalls with
mine conveyor belting,even when worn that stuff is very tough,there is a fellow not far from here that buys the worn belting from the mines and resells it,mostly for horse stalls.
   Greg S - Wednesday, 06/30/10 15:15:42 EDT

Merl, I am not anti hydraulic presses in the forge shop. I have been accused of being so. I am very anti cobbled up from junk, by folks who do not have the knowledge to build same in a safe manner. I have seen a number of cobbled presses that scared the heck outa me when I considered that when they failed there was going to be a piece of very hot steel handy to provide an ignition source.
In the commercial shops, with excellent design and construction of the equipment, usually good maintenance etc, we usually experienced enough small fires to use 11 to 13 extinguishers a month. Some were gear oil floating on the water in the pit that caught fire from a almost 500# hot forging falling in. Some were a hot forging or billet falling on a conduit of wire and causing an electrical fire. Some were shoe fires from hot scale or a drop that caught either the leather or sole on fire. And 3 to 5 times a year, we had a somewhat more serious fire from a hydraulic system. A pin hole leak on a fairly big system will take a long time to empty the tank. That atomized pin hole, spraying say a gallon a minute makes for an awesome oil burner if it finds an ignition source. Factory Mutual, the standard setter for industrial fire safety for the insurance industry, calls for float switches, heat rise detectors and so forth for hydraulic systems over 100 gallons in hot work situations.
I worked for a valve company for 21 yaers, and worked several cases where we were sued in fire cases. several where a hydraulic system leaked across a forging and made a flame thrower. One burned down an entire factory. Worse, killed several.
I advocate to all in our craft who will listen to design with the constant thought that hydraulics will leak, the only question is when , where and how much? The constant thought of the designer should be safety first, performance second, and cost third. I think many in our trade get those out of order.
Am I "ever the ray of sunshine" Yep you bet:)

Remember, "Life is too short to spend any of it dead, injuried, or in jail, and any combo of those three really sucks"
   ptree - Wednesday, 06/30/10 19:33:12 EDT

I think, after your post, that I will just get the stuff from Tractor Supply and be extra cautious to keep accidental leaks from hitting the hot steel. Being that I am new to hydraulic presses, do you think this is the best choice. Thanks for all the advice.
   Landon - Wednesday, 06/30/10 20:20:20 EDT

Landon, First, make sure every single item in the plumbing is rated for at least what the system safety relief is going to be set to. Don't know what a system safety relief is? Then you need to study some more. Then plumb everything possible in Tube or hard pipe. Avoid hose as hoses are the most likely to burn thru and leak if a hot part falls on them, as well as fatique and break. Run the cylinder connection on the side away from you, and use sheet metal sheilding to protect the oil carrying stuff from the hot stuff. Put a remote kill switch somewhere handy, like at the exit to allow slapping the kill switch on the way out.

If you do not have design experience, get someone local, who has design/build experience to help you through the build. New to hydraulic presses in a forge shop is not a good starting point.

Most people use too small a cylinder, and try to run the pressure way up to get tonnage and this greatly increases the probility of system leaks. Buy 3000 psi rated components and run at 1000-1500 psi for more safety factor.
Of course as cylinder size increases so does the pump flow capacity needed for good speed and that means more Horsepower. For forging I would not reccomend less than an 8" bore cylinder. Since an 8" bore has about 52 square inches of area, that equals about 25 tons per 1000 psi. If you do not know how I got to that answer you need to study more. How fast do you want that cylinder to move when in contact with the steel? An approx is a little more than 2" per MINUTE per gallon per minute in an 8" bore. Don't know how I got to that number? You need to study more.

I am not trying to pick on you, or belittle you. I don't know your experience level, and machines that make up to a hundred tons, and move fast need good, careful and well thought out design. The frame itself is not a cut and paste and see what happens either at these tonnages.

Please consider your training and experience and proceed with care, this craft needs every single practicioner healthy and intact.
Good luck.
   ptree - Wednesday, 06/30/10 21:07:11 EDT

Of course you are correct on all points my freind.
It is sometimes unfortunate that SOMEONE has to do that kind of job but, guys like you do help make the world go 'round, man...
Don't forget to have a pleasent and reflective 4th of July
Hoist an adult malted bevy for me while you're at it.
   - merl - Wednesday, 06/30/10 22:43:15 EDT

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