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 July 8 - 15, 2012 on the Guru's Den
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Another Opinion : I have found stainless fastners to be at least as problema5ic as carbon steel when used with aluminum.

Your best bet is to use blue [removable] threadlocker or Teff Gell to seal the assembly. Anti sieze will not do the job, at least in salt or brackish water.

If You drill it out but don't want to use a larger fastner, You could HeliCoil the hole.
   - Dave Boyer - Saturday, 07/07/12 23:59:48 EDT

Steel to Aluminium : I disagree partly with Guru. I would repeatedly apply heat then cool.
Not hot enough to melt the 'ally just enough to get it good and hot.
The ally will expand considerably more and faster than the steel screw.
After a few heating cycles it might be able to come loose.
   - Sven - Sunday, 07/08/12 00:18:00 EDT

And yet another opinion : If that screw is only holding the cork in place, I would think that an aluminum screw would be more sufficiently strong and would present much less of an electrolytic potential than either steel or stainless steel. Heck, even a nylon screw would probably suffice for strength.
   Rich Waugh - Sunday, 07/08/12 02:41:59 EDT

Household ammonia attacks aluminum oxide, and might help remove the screw. It will also discolor the surrounding surface, but that might not be a problem if it will we wrapped with cork.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 07/08/12 07:10:33 EDT

Fishing Rod : Thank you all, gentlemen. My father has decided to take the shortest and least invasive route to repairing the grip. He plans to cut pieces of cork slightly longer than the grip and glue them on in layers without removing the screw and washer. Considering his skill in metal working is far less than his skills in repairing items of this kind I think it is his best choice. Nevertheless, I will keep all of your advice in mind should I come upon a similar problem.

Thanks again.
   - Bill - Sunday, 07/08/12 09:02:38 EDT

I used to "store" my hook in the butt end of the cork while not fishing. Lots of guys used to do that all the time, that makes the cork rot a bit faster too. Nowadays I store the line on the loop of the first guide.
   - Nippulini - Sunday, 07/08/12 12:44:58 EDT

Esco Anvil : I never knew Esco made anvils !!
No doubts its cast steel, That's what Esco is famous for. http://portland.craigslist.org/mlt/for/3126599052.html
   - David Gudmunsen - Sunday, 07/08/12 18:58:20 EDT

Esco-Anvil :
This anvil was not finished (parting line fine down the top of the horn). It is a modern anvil without a pritchel hole (which is usually drilled in modern anvils). The design is ugly, the pattern maker knew nothing about anvils. With the other lack of attention there is a good chance it was not heat treated either.

A foundry, is not necessarily a manufacturer. They make castings. Then usually others machine, finish and heat treat them. Anvils are not easy to make and with only a few exceptions are anvils made that carry the foundry's name.

Good steel castings are expensive. Manufacturers put the work into expensive castings to get their money out of them and make a profit. So when you find unfinished castings the material and condition is always suspect.

Looks like a wanna-be to me. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 07/08/12 20:46:36 EDT

anyone use these before to make anvils/stakes? what steel are they 4130?
   - sam - Sunday, 07/08/12 21:03:03 EDT

Notice that that ESCO anvil has a person's name on it? I'd guess it was a going away or retirement gift for that person!
   ThomasP - Sunday, 07/08/12 21:26:42 EDT

Esco-Anvil : : Google that name comes up with a famous Horse Jockey and another guy a farrier in Kentucky. But its not a farrier style anvil,, Who knows.
Guru is right, Its not finished well and its horn reminds me of the H.F. Russian anvil, Kind of klunky and un-elegant.
   - Sven - Sunday, 07/08/12 21:49:17 EDT

Names on Anvils :
For many years many of the farrier and other short run anvil manufacturers would cast the anvil with your name on it. It makes them personalized but not necessarily a commemorative.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/08/12 22:05:07 EDT

Sam : What is Sam talking about?
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 07/08/12 23:32:07 EDT

I've put the initials TGN on two of my anvils, my post vise, a few hammers, etc. I don't have a touchmark yet, but with the right chisels (and know-how) I've put some nice letters in, about 1 inch high, serifs and all. My first anvil was gifted to me by my uncle Bob. I flipped the anvil and engraved the date he gave it to me and both of our names on the bottom.

I never know what Sam is talking about.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 07/09/12 08:00:50 EDT

Missing info : Sam, anything you put in HTML brackets or other code deliniators is stripped from posts for security reasons.

You need to describe what "this" is or post the URL as plain text.
   - guru - Monday, 07/09/12 10:40:59 EDT

Steel vs Iron : I've been working with steel for about 20 years now and have built up a good bit of practical experience in shaping, cutting, welding and forming. One aspect that continues to elude me is the carbon content. I understand that the carbon and the number of impurities in iron can be changed so that you have steel but I have come across a number of different statements in various sources that confuse me greatly. One source says steel is supposed to be up to 2% carbon with iron being 2% or greater. And yet when a blade smith wants to make a stronger, more flexible blade he adds carbon to the steel. Please clarify this for me. Or better yet, put me onto a solid source that explains this aspect of metallurgy without so much technical jargon. Please keep in mind I am primarily an artist with mechanical skills and a rough understanding of physics and chemistry.
   - Bill - Monday, 07/09/12 11:00:20 EDT

Carbon and Steels : Bill, The following is very loosely accurate. There are exceptions and alloying makes a big difference.

Adding carbon is usually not done unless you are making steel from scratch. In most cases carbon is lost in the forging process and the decarburized surface must be ground off. Bladesmiths do not ADD carbon, they start with the right steel to start.

Mild steel is 0.10 to 0.30% Carbon. Everything from auto bodies and frames to decorative and structural work is made from mild steel.

Medium Carbon (for toughness and some hardenability) is 0.35 to 0.50% carbon. At this point alloying ingredients like manganese increase the hardenability higher than the carbon would indicate. Shafts, forming tools, anvils and various tough resilient things are made from this range. Most medium carbon steels are alloyed in some manner.

High Carbon steel starts around 0.60% and goes up to 1.5%. A few alloy steels have more carbon but not many. Springs, knives and various cutting and tool steels are in this range. SAE 1095 (0.95% carbon) is a common plain high carbon steel used fro many things. Most of the other high carbon steels are high alloy as well.

Over 2% you are talking about cast iron. Very brittle but has high fluidity for good casting. Cast iron is also alloyed for strength.

Carbon can be added to the surface of steel by case hardening. This takes several hours in a special atmosphere OR seal container filled with charcoal powder. The surface hardening compounds such as Casenit only produce a hard surface of a few thousandths of an inch. This is good for a slightly wear resistant surface but not the through hardening needed for tools.

None of the general types ""mild, medium, or high carbon" are rigidly defined. There is overlap especially when alloying is added. Some high hardenability tool steels are "medium" carbon and can even be so hardenable as to air harden.

To learn about steels pick up a reference like Machinery's Handbook and read the section on steels, then some of the hardening specs for some of the steels, both plain carbon and alloy. If you need more detail then there are books by ASM (American Society of Metals International) on heat treating and various steels.
   - guru - Monday, 07/09/12 12:18:21 EDT

Case Hardening : Case Hardening:
I left out this is done in a furnace at 1450 to 1800°F
   - guru - Monday, 07/09/12 12:35:17 EDT

One problem is that people use the term "iron" without prefixing it with wrought or cast: wrought iron is quite different that cast iron and wrought iron was the primary material of the blacksmith for about 2000 years before mild steel came along.

"Steel" is like "wood" so many varieties---are we talking balsa or ebony?

Blacksmiths have fought tooth and nail for most of those 2000 years to get good homogenous steels so nowadays a lot of us tend to ignore all that progress and want to go back to the bad old days!

Sam is talking about fork lift tines, (he posed the same on another site)
   Thomas P - Monday, 07/09/12 13:46:32 EDT

Steel vs Iron : That makes so much more sense than any explanation I have come across to date. Thank you, Guru, for clearing it up for me.

I have one further question about cast steel. Currently I am employed by a company installing robots at a car plant. The robot arms are clearly cast but I have gotten into a friendly debate as to the proper term to use for this sort of forming. I say it is cast steel. My friend says it is injection molded and therefore it is forged steel. Forging involves repeated blows to increase the strength, does it not? If something is made by injection molding, isn't that just a different method of casting? What is the proper term to use? I don't care if I am right or wrong. I simply would like to know one way or another.
   - Bill - Monday, 07/09/12 22:40:55 EDT

Casting Processes : Bill, Steel is not injection molded that I know of. Injection molding is used for plastics and white metals (aluminum, zinc, zinc alloys). Steel is cast in common sand molds using a pattern or investment cast (some version of lost wax) in a ceramic mold. The closest to forged is investment casting in a centrifugal caster. This is rarely done with large parts. Many small parts that used to be forged have been replaced by fine investment castings.

Forged is FORGED, either in closed dies or open dies (blacksmith style). No casting is the same as forged nor does it have the same structure.

Forgings do not necessarily need repeated blows. A forging is often made in one blow. What is important is the material flow that gives the part a directional grain or crystal structure. Often the starting billet has been worked by forging or rolling and has this structure initially and final forging produces the finished shape with proper structure. Forgings are also stronger due to not having as high a possibility of inclusions as is common in castings.

As to obviously being castings that is often hard to determine. A forging in closed dies has a significant flash line where the excess metal squeezes out. This can be mistaken for a parting line in a casting. Forgings that have been left in the furnace too long may have significant scaling that MIGHT look like sand texture. However, forgings, especially any that have passed any kind of inspection should NEVER have the holes and pits that are common and accepted in many castings.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/10/12 00:58:14 EDT

Fork lift tines :
These are made of high strength steel (something like 4140) and would make excellent stakes and forming tools. However, junk yard steel rules apply.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/10/12 01:03:13 EDT

With "old school" blacksmithing, I've learned to call all mild steel "iron" and all high carbon as "steel". I am guessing it is due to how similar mild steel reacts to forging as wrought when mild was first made readily available. I've heard old folks say that if you use a file on a knife, you lose the "steel" at the edge of the blade. Stainless used to be called "rust proof" steel. Depending on what I am making, most forging operations are pretty much the same regardless of what I am pulling from my stock rack (no more scrap piles!).
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 07/10/12 09:28:05 EDT

Steel : At the valve shop, the older fella's called all mild steel iron. All structual rolled steel was iron. Carbon steel was steel with carbon, spec'ed to be say 1023 of higher.

The original Stainless steel maker named it "In-Ox". May have been Krupps, but I am not sure I remember that part correctly
   ptree - Tuesday, 07/10/12 10:22:09 EDT

5th Century blacksmith : Hello Everyone: My name is Renee Yancy and in 2005 I was on this site for the better part of a year researching blacksmithing. Guys like Thomas P., Frank Turley, Sandpile and Bruce B. answered so many questions for me. PawPaw, especially, actually read my scenes involving smithing and gave me many pointers. I was saddened a few years ago to read about his death. My book is finally published on Amazon as a e-book. I'd like to give a copy to PawPaw's wife, if she would be interested, and also I would like to give a copy to anyone on the site who might be interested, or think their wives or daughters might be interested. It takes place in 5th Century Ireland at the time St. Patrick brought the Gospel there. I became very interested in blacksmithing through this site and I think I did credit to the calling of a blacksmith in my historical novel. Without a blacksmith and a bronzesmith, nothing else could have been done, as far as building, planting, etc. I never realized this until I met you guys and began to study the craft for my novel. I also describe the process of making charcoal in the book, another fascinating (and potentially deadly) craft and also show the making of one of the huge bronze S-shaped ceremonial trumpets the Celts used. Hope to hear from some of you and thanks again for your willingness to help a neophyte.
   Renee Yancy - Tuesday, 07/10/12 11:26:06 EDT

How to get sufficient heat with charcoal : I use home made charcoal since I have an abundance of wood. It lights up quickly and burns clean and way too fast (but I guess that's to be expected). My problem is that I can't seem to get my metals to any heat above a solid orange color. I typically am working with pieces from 1/8 to 1+ inches in thickness and this issue is making it very difficult. I'll use about 3 inches of charcoal, have a squirrel cage blower with cover flap over the input to adjust CFM. I'm wondering if I need a deeper forge, more charcoal, or a faster blower. I also have trouble keeping the pieces toward the middle or top of the fire, they often sink to the bottom. Thanks for any tips.
   Dave - Tuesday, 07/10/12 12:22:58 EDT

Bill. Reading decimals. : One little thing may need clarification. When a zero is placed before the period, as in 0.35, it reads as thirty-five hundredths of one percent, not thirty-five percent.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 07/10/12 13:22:22 EDT

Charcoal : Dave, it sounds like your fire is not deep enough. For small stock you will need at least 6" of charcoal under it and more for heavier stock.

The charcoal size also makes a big difference. Typical DIY charcoal lumps are 2 to 4". They need to be broken down to about 1" to 1-1/2" so the fire is fairly dense (without large air spaces).
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/10/12 14:12:21 EDT

More Charcoal :
The smaller your work the smaller the fuel needs to be to support it.

You also need a cover of burning fuel over the work to reduce oxidation. Too close to the center of the fire is too hot, too close to the surface is too oxidizing.

IF you are throttling the air then you probably have more than enough. Usually a blower or a bellows will blow small chunks of charcoal out of a shallow fire at full blast. If you can do that then you probably have more than sufficient air.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/10/12 14:27:47 EDT

Is your forge tweaked for charcoal? charcoal profits from having fairly narrow and deep firepot with sloping walls to funnel it down to the center of the fire.

When I use charcoal in a coal forge I build up side walls from firebricks to control the width and depth of the fire---and I've forge welded in my set up using charcoal.

TGN, if you read "Practical Blacksmithing" written in the 1880's 1890's there is quite a lot about how different mild steel was working in the forge compared to wrought iron---worked at different temperatures, different temperature ranges, use of different fluxes and some techniques that were developed for wrought were not needed for mild steel.
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 07/10/12 17:14:23 EDT

The thing to remember about "iron" and "steel" is that you're dealing with historic names developed before anyone understood the chemistry. So there's no real rhyme or reason; you just have to learn which name goes with what.

Copper alloys are somewhat similar, but not so with more modern metals. Add .2% or 2% or 10% of just about anything to aluminum and you get "alloy aluminum."


"Inox" in from the French "inoxydable." It looks like some of the early development of stainless steel was in France; maybe that's why you see the French-based name a lot.
   Mike BR - Tuesday, 07/10/12 20:42:40 EDT

Injection Molding steel : There is a fairly new process called "Metal Injection Moulding"

Powdered steel is mixrd in a plastic binder and injected into a mold, much like other filled plastic part5s are made.

Then the parts a heated to a high temperature and shrink predictably as the steel fuses together. This process is supposed to make parts in the upper 90's % steel by weight when finished.

Here is a google link:
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 07/10/12 22:09:00 EDT

Metal Molding Methods : Besides the common sand casting methods there are numerous other metal molding methods. Modern investment casting uses silicon rubber molds or steel dies to make waxes and special ceramics are used to coat the waxes and then pieces are centrifugally cast to produce clean high density castings. Sand casting has changed a lot as well using oil and resin bonded sands and unbonded sands with Styrofoam investments.

One of the earliest modern non-casting methods was PM (powdered metal). Various metals were used but zinc powder was commonly formed into everything from toys to machine parts by pressing the powder in molds. The hydraulic press applied enough pressure that the zinc welded together. Sintering was developed to make what are now generally called ceramics (cemented carbides). This glues together super hard materials that cannot be formed otherwise. Cobalt is the glue that bonds the hard ceramic powders in an inert gas furnace. Various other additives result in high tech cutting materials.

In the 70's Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP of HIPing) was developed. This uses inert gas at high pressure, heat and pressure to form parts and materials. The advantage of HIPing is that various metals and ceramics can be formed including exotic alloys that can not be made any other way and very pure dense parts. In Sweden they make pattern welded steel for knife makers using HIPing.

Today's methods include plastic bonded metal powders and computer deposition. But the earliest methods of forging and casting are still used even though there are lots of high tech methods. Many parts that used to be produced by casting or forging are fabricated or machined from solid.

Virtually every metalworking method ever invented is still used even though new methods are constantly being invented.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/11/12 17:10:12 EDT

French Hammers : Why are French forging "locksmith" hammers designed with the center of gravity at the heel of the hammer face? Can that be advantageous for certain classes of work? Seems to me you want the center of gravity in the center of the hammer face and you can control the hammer strike accordingly.

Also I figured out why I don't like the Peddinghaus handles. They are too narrow port and starboard but deep fore and aft. The result is they want to turn sideways in my hand. I much prefer the standard S.G. Hickory hardware store handle. It fits my hand better.
   greg - Thursday, 07/12/12 17:11:08 EDT

French hammer : I'm guessing that a lot of hammer styles occured by happenstance. Perhaps a French blacksmith in the old days made this style of hammer and did wonderful work. Well, the other smiths wanted on that band wagon, so they made their hammers that way.

I have an old French pattern hammer. It has a rectangular face, slightly crowned, but with no radiused edges on the face. I assume, as with most hammers on the market, that the manufacturer thinks the purchaser will fine-tune the face and peen to his or her satisfaction.

I had a French student who brought his French hammer with him to class. I told him to take the head off and turn it around and his hammer would look nicer and work better. I was teasing (sort of). He became incensed as though I was stepping on the French national flag. I was able to calm him down.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 07/12/12 22:26:56 EDT

Handles - Differences :
I had not noticed the difference in the one Peddinghaus hammer I have and the standard oval handles. On the other hand I had not used the Swedish pattern Peddinghaus since I bought it years ago. In fact, I have not even dressed it. So I checked it today and the feel is significantly different.

Hammer and handle shape is a very personal thing to the professional. Many like the flatter handle and some like them nearly round. I have small hands and grew up with American made oval handles. Been using them since I was about 9 years old (when I built my first tree house). I've hand made handles a number of times and when they felt right they were very close to standard oval shape. Since then I have just purchased my replacement handles.

I see that I will need to dress both the handle and the face of that swedish hammer before I use it.
   - guru - Friday, 07/13/12 08:19:41 EDT

french pattern hammer : the off sized rectangular flat face with rounded corners is the best to remove hammer marks and flatten and straighten every thing out after forging to shape with my 4Lb cross (Bertha). then again about the only hammer pattern I don't like are those stubbie little cech style cross peens. I can't stand them , they make me feel like the anvil is to low and my hand is going to catch fire....
   MP - Friday, 07/13/12 08:43:35 EDT

I meant to say that that style is great for two things one is setting collars for some reason this style works better than a normal cross peen of equal weight. the second thing is finishing the bevels when forging a blade, for all the reason stated above...and Bertha is the name of my favorite hammer...
   MP - Friday, 07/13/12 08:47:49 EDT

5th Century Blacksmith : Renee; thanks for the update. I always contend that the best historical novels are not those where people just use an era to hang a story on, but where the reader actually learns something about the era.

I don't have an e-book reader, as yet, but will check with some of my children.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 07/13/12 08:48:05 EDT

Training youngsters : I have heard that there are learning materials available that young children can work cold with a hammer on an anvil and gain some experience of forging. Have you any experience of these materials, and knowledge of what they are and where they can be obtained, please?
   John Thring - Friday, 07/13/12 11:38:08 EDT

John, Actual forging of any significance requires hot metal and I've given lessons to committed children as young as 8 (unusual). However, very small work can be done on work the size of a nail. Wire nails such as framing nails up to 2-1/2 and 3 inches can be forged flat with a modest hammer (about 1-1/2 to 2 pounds or 500 to 100 grams) on an anvil. Note that the anvil, from 50 pounds up, gives the necessary efficiency of the blow for a child with a light hammer to cold work the steel. So relatively good tools are necessary.

Form nails (double headed nails) can be forged into little pirate swords by flattening. All round shank nails are made from soft low carbon steel that an be worked cold (that is how they are headed and pointed).

Other metalwork done with children includes piercing sheet metal (making luminaries from cans) and wire work.

Hot work can be done with kids 10 and up if closely supervised. The Boy Scout Metal Working Merit Badge book has example projects for both hot and cold projects.

The first place to start is with an instructor that understands metalworking.
   - guru - Friday, 07/13/12 13:29:31 EDT

For the younger kids no-lead solder in thick wire form can be forged cold into play swords for dolls. And after getting mangled you can collect the pieces and cast an ingot for further work!

I think one of the best way to let them train themselves for hammering is to give them scrap wood, hammers and lots and lots of nails and PPE of course. Then let them build as they want. Wasn't but a few forts or tree houses and I could drive a 16 penny nail with ease...
   Thomas P - Friday, 07/13/12 13:48:19 EDT

How about babbitt? From my understanding it melts very easily, so I would assume it would cold forge like clay.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 07/13/12 15:44:23 EDT

Babbitt is made mostly from tin which would make it soft. However, it has antimony and other alloying ingredients that make it hard. Pure tin might work fairly well, the Ancient Greeks used it for grieves. However, you would need to produce your own bar stock as it comes in ingots that are not a very workable shape.
   - guru - Friday, 07/13/12 16:23:14 EDT

National Geographic ran a story on the (American) Civil War a few years ago. At the end of the volume there was a picture of a shell factory that was obviously later than the 1860's. And I couldn't but my finger on it, but somehow it didn't look American. It was only after I read the caption (French WW I) that I realized my subconscience had latched onto the French pattern hammer in the foreground.

Offsetting the pein toward the handle puts it closer to the CG of the hammer as a whole. That presumably results in less tendency to rotate when you strike with the pein. Whether that's a benefit (or even measurable) is another question.
   Mike BR - Friday, 07/13/12 20:11:18 EDT

On another subject, gold is very hard to melt, but very easy to cold forge.
   Mike BR - Friday, 07/13/12 20:12:21 EDT

Training Youngsters : Seems to me the logical thing is to use clay. After all, we use it to see how hot steel will behave.... don't we. Kids could use small wood hammers (like crab hammers) and be taught how to forge...
   - Dave Hammer - Friday, 07/13/12 21:40:30 EDT

Abstract Theory : The problem with clay as an exercise material with kids is they want to do something REAL. Its too abstract a comparison. Its hard enough to talk frustrated smiths into clay exercises much less kids.

Heat, Fire
Yes, there are hazards in hot work. But heat and fire used to be part of everyday life. My mother started cooking with a gas stove when she was three years old. Gas stoves of the era had to be lit with a match every time. 80+ years later she still cooks with gas. I learned to use a gas stove a little later in life - I was not into cooking but could use a gas stove at about age 7. I was using an alcohol lamp to weld and bend glass at age 11-12. Had to start and stoke a coal furnace during that time as well.

We were recently at a party with a dwindling bonfire. Several of the very young children (3 to 5) were feeding the fire small sticks and pieces of bark. . . Kids learn to use electric stoves, toasters and microwave ovens at very young ages. While there is no open flame there is sufficient heat to burn or cause explosion. FIRE, is part of human life.

Way too many kids are smoking in their early teens. Many are playing with matches at age 10 or so. I would think learning the responsible way to use heat and fire to do something constructive under adult supervision would be better.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/14/12 00:21:25 EDT

Babbit : The discussion about babbit above brought back some memories. Of course railroad cars now use Timken roller bearings, but years ago, they used bearings like rod bearings in a car ( two piece shims, upper and lower )I remember the carmen referring to them as babbit. If you remember, years ago, the carmen would walk a train carying a pail of grease with a spout and used a hook to raise the lids on the journal boxes and grease was added as needed.
   Mike T. - Saturday, 07/14/12 06:46:56 EDT

Bronze bearings : Thought some of you guys n gals might appreciate this! Its a photo montage of a 2500 ton press ram and pitman we overhauled a month or so back - The devil is in the detail on these jobs, everything has to be in contact all over, no mean feat on 40" bronzes on 50 year old presses! you can see the blue and chalk in some of the photos as we get the bed. Towards the end of the clip there is some video of one of our guys scraping the bearing up. We give the bearing an extra 0.002" clearance at the sides (cheeks) with the scrapers - this aids the oil flow where the forging load hits the hardest! Scraping a full bearing like this used to be an 8 hour job to make bonus on production. Maybee a shift and a half maximum. you can see the bronze flying! Ive not quite got the knack like dave in the clip but will get there eventually!


Some of the old skills live on :)
   - John N - Saturday, 07/14/12 17:18:38 EDT

John N, wonderful work. Haven't seen big bronzes scraped since I left the upsetter shop. You know you are working big iron when it takes a 10 ton bridge crane to pull a bearing cap:)
   ptree - Saturday, 07/14/12 19:07:38 EDT

Thanks ptree! Youve seen enough of these to know how critical they are!

The big end on this assembly had 0.014" - 0.016" clearance on the crank shaft. Sounds easy on paper but getting alignment on that when the slides are in close makes it a tricky job! the old bearings in the early photos are testomony to what happens when you dont get it quite right. They had 'sucked in' and burnt away (not our work!)

We shrink the cap bolts in - its all carefully worked out as the tension affects the final clearance! Even the bronze is 'preloaded' into the pitman by the 'nip' on the keeps when the bolts are shrunk. Lots of knowledge that I am still learning every day from the more experienced guys.
   - John N - Saturday, 07/14/12 19:23:33 EDT

Mo' Babbit : Correct me if I'm misremembering my last recollection of a babbit job in a very old papermill in Monroe, MI. We wrapped the dryer roll journals with brown kraft (grocery bag)paper to establish the clearance. Something about the ignition temperature of the paper being higher than the melting point of the babbit.
   - 3dogs - Saturday, 07/14/12 20:17:20 EDT

John, Nice work.

We had to re-babbit and hand scrape a 12"ID 24" long hydroturbine bearing. It was a terrible job since the worn shaft had to stay in place with the turbine hanging on it. Removal and trial fits were an all day job. The problem was the shaft was worn with a curved taper that was 1/2" bigger at the bottom than the top and only 3/8" bigger about 4" up.

Half the old babbit was bored out and then mixed with new babbit which was then cast into rods. About 50 pounds of it. Welders built up the surfaces. . VERY ugly work resulting in an octagon bore. We hand dressed the edges with files and hand scrapers so the two halves could be bolted together. Then it was rough bored to just under the small end diameter and a few estimated step cuts made to match the shaft.

Then we started hand scraping. I showed Pat McGhee how to work the the scraper in diagonal paths. We trial fitted the bearing three times. I was not entirely happy with it but it ran for many years.

One improvement we made was replacing rubber lube hose which had expanded to bursting rather than the grease going into the bearing. Pipe and reinforced hydraulic line was used.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/14/12 20:38:02 EDT

Mo' Babbit : One method to tell if babbit is hot enough to pour is to dip a small pine stick in the melt. If it chars but does not ignite it is hot enough. This charing temperature is a bit hotter than the char point of paper (325-250°F). Wrapping the shaft in a layer of paper will result in about .005" to .007" clearance. Depending on the shaft size this may be too much or too little. The paper will char but the babbit cools quickly and will still have clearance. When a tighter fit is needed the shaft is sooted using a candle or an oxyacetylene torch. The fit can also be hand scraped.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/14/12 21:00:22 EDT

Hot Work vs. Cold and the X1 hammers :
We did some of our first serious work with the anvilfire X1-a and X1-b power hammers last weekend. After getting the X1-a back together the first thing I forged on it was a 2" long taper in 3/8" square COLD. It forged as well cold as many hammers do hot using no more blows than necessary to make the smooth taper.

I don't recommend cold forging unless you have VERY good dies.

Dave was working on some of his bird sculptures so he was using light short stroke blows. So we put in the crown dies and tried them on texturing some bird wings. I had worried about the necessary control to use these relatively aggressive dies but they worked fine on the thin 3/16" stock Dave was forging.

We also forged a wrench from a LASER cut blank with a 1/2" x 2-1/8" x 4" block to a long tapered handle. This was one of several 1-1/2" open end (spanner) wrenches we needed for the X1 height adjustment.

The forging was done on the combo dies producing a very smooth taper from the neck at 1-1/4" x 1/2" to 7/8" x 1/4". We had a learning curve on this part. I adjusted the work height too high for the over two inch material and then could not forge at the low height of 1/2" of less. But a quick adjustment, another heat and the job was done. The other learning point was that the 3-1/8" wrench head would not fit in the end ports of my NC Forge. Time for a bigger forge to feed the power hammers. . .

Present and Future Hammers:

Running one hammer with combo dies and the other with crown dies reminded me of just how handy it is to have TWO power hammers side by side. However, this won't last long since one hammer is Dave's and will go home soon. SO, I guess its time to plan the next hammer. We have been thinking about a Q&D 30 pound Junk Yard build. But I would really like to build a 200 pound mechanical. . . However, most of the machining and cutting is out of my range so this is a more expensive build even though I have most of the steel needed.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/14/12 23:50:42 EDT

Suzi McQuinney : Suzi, that story is indeed an incredible one (and must have been painful). I have carried a Zippo lighter in my overalls top watch pocket for longer than I can remember. It will get hot enough that non smiths will drop it if I hand it to them. I have had women ask me to train them. Along with the 100% cotton speech I will no doubt talk of your post here. Thank you.

Steve O'Grady
Bloomfield Iowa U.S.A.
   Ten Hammers - Sunday, 07/15/12 13:15:02 EDT

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