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This is an archive of posts from July 23 - 31, 2012 on the Guru's Den
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Miles Undercut : Jock; Please continue to share with us from time to time, the wit and wisdom of our dear departed friend John Neary. I had the personal honor and pleasure of several lengthy and enriching jawbone sessions with him at his kitchen table in NM , which made for some really great memories. His passing leaves a big hole in the minds and hearts of those who got to know him, I'm sure.
   3dogs - Monday, 07/23/12 20:08:42 EDT

Miles : I only knew him from his postings here and I eagerly watched for them.
I would also appreciate an occasional "blast from the past".
Miles was a "one of a kind".
   - Tom H. - Monday, 07/23/12 21:57:45 EDT

3Dogs; ever visit the Neary Wing out back of his shop?
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 07/24/12 11:48:50 EDT

When I was working on Daily tips I searched out all of John's postings and put those that worked in the tips. The problem I had searching for John's quips and comments was that he used hundreds of aliases. He used milesundercut@longarc.com for a long time and I threatened to register longarc.com (it was available then) and forward all the mail to him. . .

Frank Turley sent me a photo of John's truck tool chest. I added the logo that I had made for him. . .

entropy research


From our on-line obit.

RIP John Neary

AKA Cracked Anvil and Miles Undercut:

John Neary passed away Friday, Oct 21, due to complications from cancer. He was 74 years of age. He was a Harvard graduate, and worked for Time/Life as a journalist for 30 years. After writing about Turley Forge, as a human interest article in "Americana" magazine, he then took my class and became a blacksmith and fine metalsmith. Among the things he specialized in was armillary spheres and sundials often made from iron wagon tires and other found objects.

John was truly a 'wordsmith' as well as a blacksmith, and we remember him from his witty postings where he was also known as 'Cracked Anvil' and 'Miles Undercut' and other aliases on anvilfire.com.
-- Frank Turley

Under the Alias Cracked Anvil, John got carried away at times.
There was SOMETHING about the Cracked Anvil nom de plume that he got so carried away that we had to retire the name.
Cracked was a little too racy for our family friendly forums. . .

Some quotes (relative to a question about writing an "authentic" and "detailed" but fictional book. . .
(we get a lot of those).

"On the question of this hysterical novel that we are so assiduously researching: when do we get to the parts where the ore-carriers, who happen to be scantily clad nubile maidens come on stage at the smelter, their moist lips parted, their breath coming in short, heavy gasps, and all like that, hmmm? . . .

"Chapter II: Princess Desiree, who has disguised herself as a simple country bellydancer clad only in skimpy leathern jerkin and a tambourine, so as to escape the evil Org, lustful Lord High Priest of the province, gets the idea to make herself a sword, and with it lead the bellows girls to their freedom. In the next scene, after swinging down from the balcony on the chandelier and whupping the bejesus out of two or three dozen of Org's henchmen, our hero, Prince Cgnoroth the Dazed, shows Desiree how to solder, braze and do simple repousse. To show her gratitude, Princess Desiree invites Cgnoroth over to her tent for a little annealing and hardening and then.... TO BE CONTINUED"

Then after a post about the use of cementite as an adjective.

"ah, what, indeed, differentiates a spring from a bar of steel from a spring? Hmmm? A certain tensile resilience, nay, a veritable carboniferous tensility in amongst the old molecules, an innate unwillingness to remain a lumpen hunk of dead cold ahrn, but instead an implacable yearning leaping eager urgency to snap back! As the Guruissimo his very own self notes, if it ain't got that swang, it don't mean a thang. How about dropping by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and hieing thee down to the armoury gallery, wherein thous mayest dig the crossbows-- now there are some springs what are springs!-- and the horsies bedecked with plate and the helmets and the mail.

Now, back to our story: when Desiree had no sooner poured old Cgnowhatshisface a flagon of brewski and had slipped into something more comfortable-- and even more revealing-- than that sweaty leathern jerkin, she leaned toward him and murmured, "Tell me, Cgnoski, however do you get that twangy zip into your crossbow, you big handsome old blacksmith, you?" "Aw, shucks, Dee, it ain't nothin' to it, really," he stammered. You just heat it up past the transformation point and then you quickern' you can think about it, you dunk it just right so the Martensite and the Austenite...." Just then, a trumpet blared in the camp and the thunder of hoofbeats and the clatter of armour rent the quiet of dusk. The evil Org's men had found them! TO BE CONTINUED"

"Mark, I'm busy here trying to help Desiree get old Cgnothur to hurry up and figure out how to make springs and recognize body-centered structure when he sees it, poor sap, so's he can manage to handle Org's evil designs. So, just as a temporary measure, just until you find a new anvil-- you leave this one alone, now, you hear!-- what if you take the hardie tools over to the leg vise and stick 'em in there when you need to smite upon them?"

After a query about the fantasy he was writing. . .

"fantasy? what is this, how you say in your language, "fantasy?" I merely channel the muse is all, and she, beguiling creature that she is, conjures up scenes from my past life, long, long ago, when as Cgnothur, or whatever my name was then, so many centuries I no longer recall for sure, I helped the fair Princess Desiree unravel the mystery of upsetting, riveting, and patinating after which she invited me to help her to.... TO BE CONTINUED"

And then a suggestion that he had had a bit too much. . .

"Bong hits? Bong hits! Sirrah! These epic tales are distilled from the mists of nothing but the purest of oxy-acetylene fumes, beheld solely in that rare heady perfume of 6011 flux as it crackles off into the ether. Bong hits, indeed! Anyway, hardly had Desiree and Cgnothur begun to get all sociable and friendly-like, as I was saying, than out in the courtyard there arose the ominous clatter of armour. "Shucks, hon, I guess we better pass for tonight on that hot-splitting demo I was going to do," Cgnothur said, drawing his great double-edged sword. "Gollyreeny, Cgnothur," Desiree said with a delicious shiver, "that's some shank! But put it away. I have a better idea." Quickly, she slid back her pile of matched Louis Vuitton luggage, to reveal a tunnel leading down out of the yurt, and tugging at Gnothur's heavily muscled smithly arm, she led the way to escape. Reaching up to pull the luggage back over the entrance with one hand, Gnothur reached in the now stygian darkness for Desiree with the other. "My goodness, Cgnothur," Desiree exclaimed, "maybe we can do some hot-splitting tonight after all!" TO BE CONTINUED"

-- Cracked Anvil (AKA John Neary)

Hopefully John is with his friends as he put it "Chastity Dangerfield, Yummi DeLisch and henchperson Swarf, timewarped cozily back in the Dizzy Club on Holabird Avenue in the 50s, drinking Gunther, smoking unfiltered Camels, playing shuffleboard-- and not about to leave. Certainly not for any place as nutty as the America of the 21st Century."

   - guru - Tuesday, 07/24/12 13:57:33 EDT

axle material : does anyone know what grade of steel a typical 18 wheeler tractor axle is made? also, pickup truck axles? was thinking about making some hardy tools out of them.
   kirt j - Wednesday, 07/25/12 14:19:34 EDT

axle material : Kirt, probably 1050, and 1541H but Junk Yard Steel rules apply.

Lots of smiths use axle steel for large and coarse tools. For fine tools such as smaller punches you need a higher carbon steel such as a spring steel. It is best to use good tool steel in any tools you are going to put significant effort into.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/25/12 14:51:47 EDT

TIP of the DAY : Jock
May I suggest some variant of this as another "tip".

"" It is best to use good tool steel in any tools you are going to put significant effort into.""

So often the material costs are actually the smaller part of the equation.
If you're going to put significant effort into something, you want the final product to be as good as it can possibly be.
   - Tom H. - Wednesday, 07/25/12 15:19:56 EDT

18 wheeler. : I've made set hammers, side sets, and half round fullers out of the old, big axles, and I treat it like 1045. I get them from the truck junk yard, and they average about two inches in diameter. I've made a number of hammer heads from the same steel. Ive hardened the faces in water and tempered to a dark straw color. For cross peen, forging hammers, I power- hammer them down to 1 5/8" square before punching the eye.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 07/25/12 15:21:25 EDT

axle material : thanks everyone for the info. that junk yard steel link is awesome.
   kirt j - Wednesday, 07/25/12 17:04:46 EDT

Nearyisms : Jock; A huge roaring fully capitalized THANK YOU!!!!! John Neary raised the double entendre to an art form! ('scuse me whilst I dry my eyes and shake the drool out of my keyboard. I haven't laughed that hard for quite a while.)
   3dogs - Wednesday, 07/25/12 18:37:04 EDT

Truck axles : The industry standard for truck axles across the entire industry, pretty much since WWII is
Axles made with unforged bar stock of 1.38" diameter and less 1045H
Bigger than 1.38" diameter is 1541H
These steels are used in induction scanning heat treat machines.
The industry standard yields a "Case and Core" or hard outer case decreasing into the center of the axle.
In industry the standard to to always temper is 45 minutes or less to help with quench cracking.
The industry standard for quenchant for axles is a polymer modified water, as straight water yeilds almost 100% quench cracks in a scanning induction heat treater.
I have provided many samples to local smiths when I worked at the axle shop, and suggested oil quench, and several who tried reported great success.
When we were going great guns when scrapped about 5 million pounds a year, about half crop ends from the shears that yeilded 3-5" long by 2.25" diameter soft bars.

Bigger axles, say from rough terrain equipment such as the 4" and 5.5" axles used in loaders were always 4140 at the shop I worked at and I think that too was industry standard.
All above current to Sept 2005
   ptree - Wednesday, 07/25/12 19:26:01 EDT

Tom H, I have been amazed at people wanting to make swords and be willing to risk total failure after *weeks* of hand work on a blade because they were not willing to spend $10 to get decent steel to start with.
   Thomas P - Thursday, 07/26/12 14:14:32 EDT

Thomas P
"that's what I'M talking about"

I was at a show years ago and a knife maker had a booth and display. Real nice looking fixed blades with fancy handles. He had a lot of excellent work in them and it showed.

I asked what steel he made the blades from.
He said they were not for using so he used CRS.

I've seen guys in the shop put hours into an angle plate or some other 'G'-job and then not be able to heat treat it well because they didn't know what material was used.

Sheesh!
   - Tom H. - Thursday, 07/26/12 21:56:54 EDT

...and check your scrap : I've been known to be surprised at the way steel behaved under the hammer and/or heat treat, because I got it from my very own scrap pile and didn't at least, spark it. Shame.
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 07/26/12 22:31:57 EDT

Even without heat treating a good high carbon alloy steel is tougher, stronger and harder than mild steel. . .

If I was going to make a plain steel art knife I'd at least use stainless so it wouldn't rust.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/26/12 22:37:24 EDT

300# FISHER ANVIL : I have recently purchased a 300# Fisher anvil in great condition.
There is a 064 cast into the front of the anvil, under the hardy hole.
Do you know, if there is a made on date or what dose the 064 stand for?

Thanks for your help
   Jude Carrier - Friday, 07/27/12 11:12:26 EDT

Jude, Generally there is a patent date but not a made on date. Random numbers show up as foundry pattern identification marks and have nothing to do with anything known.
   - guru - Friday, 07/27/12 12:44:56 EDT

The Fishers that are date stamped are clearly date stamped--like 1899

I do not know the range of other markings save for the weight stamps but would guess that that's probably a manufacturing number ---like mold board 64
   Thomas P - Friday, 07/27/12 17:47:12 EDT

anvil shipping : I would like to buy an anvil and would like some advice on shipping the anvil. Is there some independant shippers out there willing to pick up and deliver an anvil?
   Scott Simpson - Sunday, 07/29/12 21:06:29 EDT

Scott, It depends on the anvil size as well as the type of place its going to and from. My friend who sells big anvils (500 to 750 lbs) uses a shipping broker, but he crates or palletizes the anvil and loads with a forklift. SO it also depends on whom you are buying from.

Palletized loads often go cheaper than loose loads. But the last time I paid extra for a pallet the anvil showed up loose because the trucket wanted the room. When I shipped the same anvil I built a crate to fit that could be moved with a fork lift or pallet jack.

You might try USHIP.COM (See Shipping Wars).

   - guru - Sunday, 07/29/12 21:28:54 EDT

Shipping Stories : Many years ago I bought a heavy commercial roto-tiller. It was delivered to a local truck depot where I had to pick it up. We had to skid it off the 50" tall loading dock into my 30" pickup truck bed. It went fairly easy. Then I had to get it off my truck. . . drove it down a ramp - easy.

Recently I ordered a big piece of steel that was sent commercial freight. I met the truck at a local truck stop and slid the steel off the big truck onto my F-600 which had the same height bed.

Years ago I was given a small mountain of steel beams. Among them was several 20" x 75# I beams 40 feet long. We cut them up into eight and ten foot long sections and three of us hand loaded them into pickup trucks. But I had to get them off alone. I chained then to a tree and took off fast. . . It worked but would be rough on most bumpers. However, dropping things that are near indestructible off the truck onto the ground is a good option.

The last time I went to BGoP's Spring Fling there was a guy there selling a 600 pound anvil. It did not sell so he had to put it back in his truck. He did so alone in just a few minutes. I did not see how. But it helps when you know how and have experience.

When we were in the machinery business we dealt with a lot of truckers. Despite giving clear instructions that there was a low bridge (13'5") on one road about half the truckers would try that road. . . Despite giving instructions that loads had to be in open trucks about 10% came in in closed trucks.

Most recently we had some loads that were specified to be in lift gate trucks. Twice they were not. One trucker went away, then came back the next day with the same truck. . .

Despite these problems most drivers pay attention to special requirements. If you have them be sure to provide them in writing.

The cheapest shipping is loading dock to loading dock by tractor trailer. There are many truckers that specialize in LTL (Less Than truck Load) shipments. They will deliver anywhere that its legal and that they can get into.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/29/12 22:26:44 EDT

I have picked up anvils in a most un-conventional manner (wait... they were ASO's)..... anyway.... from my understanding an anvils design makes for an easy pick-up on 200 pound and under anvils. Basically, I "hug" the anvil around the waist, and support the weight on my forearms at the bick and the heel. Squat down, use legs, and lift. Now, if my hands are full, I might opt for slings, chains, harness and nipple rings.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 07/30/12 08:32:11 EDT

mp anvil : i am considering buying a mp farriers anvil for my collection. It has a large round hole directly behind the hardy hole. It also has two small holes farther back on the heel. the large round hole behind the hardy seems to make a weak spot on the anvil-do you know what it is for? Its about 3/4 to1 inch in diameter. thanks
   vern - Monday, 07/30/12 10:48:17 EDT

mp anvil : Is it the slender heeled, large horned Multi-Product anvil? If so, they were not made with a large round hole, to my knowledge. Someone may have drilled it so that they could use it as a leverage bender. The ambient temperature shoe would have been inserted heel up, so that the branch or heel portion is protruding above the anvil face. The projecting portion can then be bent with the hammer without distorting the portion below the anvil face. Hot horseshoers do that on the horn.

Some currently manufactured farriers' anvils have circular "turning cams" which cold horsehsoers use.

Dick Cropper of Chatsworth, California, founded the Multi-Product Company and had his line of tools and horseshoes made in Japan, beginning about 1955.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 07/30/12 11:45:00 EDT

Round "Hardy" Holes :
Some farriers anvils have a very large round hole with round edges used to bend horseshoes. These do not have a square hardy hole. The maker had hardies with a large turned flange and shank that fit the hole. Due to the large (3" or more) flange and precision fit they were very stable and did not rotate in use. But they take a lot of steel.

Modified Farrier Anvil


I think your MP anvil is a user modified anvil.
   - guru - Monday, 07/30/12 12:07:27 EDT

bench grinder cutoff wheel : I have a ryobi Bench grinder at the shop where i work and it has a cutoff wheel on it with many spacers to shim it up. i called a few cutoff wheel manufactures and asked which cutoff wheel they reccomend for the application and they all said you cant do it also the grinder manufacture says not to do it but you have a post on here that shows how to do it. what is the real story and what does osah say about it? i mean modifying equipment useing the right accesories proper guarding the whole gammit.
   Kevin - Monday, 07/30/12 13:41:53 EDT

OSHA rules and cut off wheels : As an industrial safety guy, I would offer that US OSHA rules are more performance based than specification based. There are very few rules that state Can't, Do not, must etc. The rules are more like the infamous rule for eye washes. They must be in "Close proximity to the hazard" Now what does this mean? You go to the State level and ask and you get the States interpatation. For instance in KY it is 35', and in Indiana it is 10 seconds travel time to the eye wash fountain.
I would say that a lashup on a grinder especially if the guarding is in any way affected would catch the eye of a compliance officer.

Don't forget the Cardinal rule of the OSHA act, known as the General Duty clause. In effect the General duty clause says that the workplace must be safe. If there is no other specific rule the General Duty clause can always be cited.

Also be aware that Industry General Consensus Standards are citable even not a federal or State law.
general consensus standards are like the ANSI Z87 standard for safety glasses or the propane industry standards that cover propane in the workplace.
   Ptree - Monday, 07/30/12 15:38:27 EDT

Will having extra holes make a heel weaker? Yes, so don't do heavy work on the heel---just like American design variation on the london pattern anvil have weaker heels due to them being long and thin.

However *most* general smithing is done on the face of the anvil over the sweet spot and so a weaker heal is not too impacting.

If you plan to be doing a lot of work on the heel then perhaps one should pass on buying such an anvil or upgrade to a stouter one ASAP using money made from using the other anvil.

TGN do not the anvil(s) hanging from your rings impede lifting of other anvils in the forearm lift? (Or the human forklift to turn a phrase...)
   Thomas P - Monday, 07/30/12 15:55:13 EDT

Bench grinder cutoff wheel : Kevin, No manufacturer will support modification of their tools by users. In fact, many punch press manufacturers put guards on their machines that entirely enclose the work area so the user is FORCED to modify the tool so that they can claim the user modified the tool thus alleviating them of responsibility for the guards on the machine. . .

Bench grinders are generally designed for one wheel diameter and width. Even to use one with a buffing wheel requires removing guards and putting spacers on them. However, while this is a common factory modification I could not find any grinder manuals that mentioned using buffing wheels . . .

To me, all thin cutoff wheels used on hand held grinders are blatantly dangerous. We had a worker nearly cut off his lower jaw when one of these snagged in a slot and kicked back, AND a friend of mine lost an eye and had the other damaged when one shredded in his face. Yet they make these wheels for everything from little Dremmel tools and die grinders (with no guards of any type) up to big chop saws and even wood working circular saws. . . Probably the only safe factory application is on a chop saw.

The McDonald grinder modification with a 250° guard, shatter plate and slotted table is MUCH safer than on a hand held grinder with only a 180° guard and no shatter plate or guard. ALSO, all the cutoff wheels that I found were rated for much higher speed than the bench grinder operates at.

OSHA (Federal) requires proper guarding of grinding wheels of all types and forbids removal of guards. Guards on a bench grinder (90° more than a hand held grinder, side guards on both sides plus anti-shatter stop) are much better than on hand held tools so I doubt they could complain. Note that some states have their own OSHA that must have more stringent rules than the Federal OSHA.

NOTE: In the 1980's when I purchased my 7" Black & Decker Wildcat grinders (now made by DeWalt) the guard was an option that you had to buy separately. . . to meet OSHA regulations. . .

When I mount buffing wheels on arbors I machine proper fitting flanged hubs rather than use a stack of washers. I would do the same thing to put a cutoff wheel on a bench grinder. Plain washers fit too loose and stacks of them can spin, plus they are punched out and not necessarily flat - thus causing a variety of problems.

In the end the decision is up to you.
   - guru - Monday, 07/30/12 16:03:11 EDT

I looked at catalog listings for cutoff wheels to use on circular saws and they did not specify hand held, overarm OR table saw. . . While they do not sell them specifically for bench grinders they DO sell them for similar machines.

That said, if I were the manufacture of either the wheels OR the machine and someone called that sonded like they did not know what they are doing, asking me how to mount the wheel using off the shelf hardware or to modify their machine I would tell them "You can't do that".

On the other hand, if I was the grinder manufacturer and made a kit to use cutoff wheels on one I'm sure the wheel manufacturer would be happy to sell the wheels. They MIGHT want to recommend a special wheel for the lower RPM.
   - guru - Monday, 07/30/12 16:33:58 EDT

Guards from the factory etc : I would disagree that full guards are put on presses to remove liability. Won't work as a liability defense. And since I work with modern punch presses daily and have had to add the guarding myself, Most come with NO point of operation guarding. Guarding for the flywheel and drive system yes. I am talking Bliss, Komatsu, and several others.
And I believe that MOST States have taken primacy from the Feds on OSHA. The rule is the States can be more severe or equal, but not less stringent.

Let an accident occur that an OSHA compliance officer investigates and the wheel guarding has been modified, say the rest gap is past 1/8" or the tongue guard is removed or the flanges have been replaced with plain washers and i would count on a finding.
   ptree - Monday, 07/30/12 21:15:39 EDT

Screw driver metal : We keep a collection of "not really blacksmithing" tools in the shop. We try to make them fit in.


We have a fairly big phillips head screw driver w a wooden handle (1950's ?). We tried to use it and it bunged up pretty bad. Like the metal had lost its hardeness.

So, I normalized, filed to shape and rehardened (just short of blue).

It still bunged up.

Were screwdrivers ever made of crappy metal or case hardened, etc. so I can't make this thing functional again?

(YES, we could buy one from Home Depot for $8, but it wouldn't look right hanging on the wall).
   - Rudy - Tuesday, 07/31/12 01:21:32 EDT

Screw driver metal : Rudy, Generally most of these are pretty good steel with the exception of the cheap little give away sets. I would guess you did not get hot enough (non-magnetic) or quenched fast enough. Blue is a tempering temperature, not hardening. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/31/12 02:47:12 EDT

Grinder cut-of wheels : The important thing to keep in mind, I thin, is that cut-of wheels are very thin and fracture easily. Nor are they heavily bonded with glass fibers, so they explode when they break, flinging pieces off all over the place. Obviously, face, hand and eye protection is a must when using cut-off wheels, whatever the method of powering them.

That said, most bench grinders turn at either 1725 rpm or 3450rpm, where the hand-held angle grinders turn at anywhere from 7000rpm to 20,000rpm, depending on size. Thus, it is a bit less easy to break a cut-off wheel in a bench grinder than it is in an angle grinder. Still, it can happen. A stable work platform is important as is having the grinder itself secured to the bench. Proper flange washers to support the center of the wheel must be in place as well. With all the appropriate safety precautions in place, a cut-of wheel can be used in a bench grinder, just not too efficiently since they're generally intended to run at higher speeds for effective cutting without loading.
   Rich Waugh - Tuesday, 07/31/12 02:57:33 EDT

I was tempted to turn my circular saw upside down, mount it on a bench vise, and use it as a table saw. I closed my eyes and couldn't imagine any part of the whole idea that wouldn't maim or kill me.

Thomas, I only do an anvil nipple lift if: I am getting paid, have an audience, or am using my hands for holding a can of beer and a cigar.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 07/31/12 10:10:00 EDT

I know of a few smiths who have modified old table saws to use chopsaw wheels. The plate around the blade has to be replaced with steel, and the zero-clearance slot is made by raising the blade *through* the solid plate. Good sealed bearings and a TEFC motor are a must for this application, as is making absolutely certain you get rid of every last bit of old sawdust. A serious featherboard on the fence and lots of PPE as well, since kickback can easily kill you...

You notice I said I know of people who have done it. I have not, nor am I likely to.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 07/31/12 11:45:02 EDT

Saw Conversions : Nip, I have seen kits to do what you were thinking. Except for the fact that the motor is the portable type with brushes (and very noisy) the end result has a similar guard and works the same (without all the features of a table saw). They also make similar conversion tables for Sabre Saws. The serious issue is where the on-off switch is located.

I inherited a table saw from Paw-Paw that looked pretty good . . . But the switch was located where you had to put your face in the saw to reach it and was difficult to operate (almost took two hands). The blade height and angle adjustments had issues as well and if slivers of wood fell between the blade and housing there was no access to clean it out. I used it once and felt like I was endangering my life (or at least my fingers). So I got rid of it. . .

I used a cut off wheel ONE time on a circular saw I had used for decades. After using the cutoff wheel for a few minutes the grit got into places that saw dust didn't hurt but wrecked the saw. I used air to blow out the grit, cleaned and oiled with WD-40, worked it and cleaned again. I got it working but it was never right after that.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/31/12 13:05:08 EDT

Guys, a workable 14" chop saw can be had for less than $100 new in the box.
   Ptree - Tuesday, 07/31/12 14:05:30 EDT

Abrasive wheels will ruin most table saws, as the grit will destroy the unsealed bearings and often the motor.

I wouldnt put one on a bench grinder, myself- that would scare me. Especially since 4x6 horizontal/vertical bandsaws are so cheap.

But I have used abrasive discs on 4 1/2" grinders for probably 25 years, without a single close call. I am careful, I keep the guards on, and I use eye and hearing protection. I have probably had 15 or so full time employees over that time who used them daily, too, without a single accident.
Caution and personal protective devices are a baseline necessity.
We only use the cutoff discs when nothing else will do, but for stainless in particular, and on jobsites, they are handy.
They are part of a greater arsenal- plasma cutter, bandsaws, portaband, cold saw, ironworker, oxy-acetylene torch, and just plain grinders.
Also, I stock both the really thin, .040 cut discs, and the thicker 1/16" and 1/8" discs for my grinders- the 1/8", for example, is unlikely to shatter like an .040, but still can nibble away at stuff that you dont want where it is.

The bottom line is- use the right tool for the job, and be careful.
   - Ries - Tuesday, 07/31/12 14:05:42 EDT

PS- not 15 employees all at once- I am not a conglomerate- one or two guys in the shop at a time, but over 15 in total.
   - Ries - Tuesday, 07/31/12 14:06:37 EDT

Anvil : I have looked around for anvils and have found a wide range and a wide range of prices. I have come down to i want a London pattern like the 200lb one you can get off of centaurforge.com but looking http://www.metalwebnews.com/howto/anvil1/anvil2.html it seams that having one made like this may be cheaper according to what they guy states at the bottom. My question is what is the cheapest way to get a good anvil, know that and anvil is not necessarily a cheep thing but any money i can save would be best. Right now i am using a old 50lb anvil i got and i am always having to adjust my work because the rebound on the thing is crazy. Any recommendations and comments are welcome. I have also looked through this sites recommendations for making anvils which is where i got most of my information, and then some independent searching.
   Shane - Tuesday, 07/31/12 14:43:58 EDT

Well one recommendation: unless you are willing to pay international shipping TELL US WHERE YOU ARE!

My second recommendation is to move to Ohio, USA. By talking to *everyone* I met there I was able to average a top brand anvil for under US$1 a pound every year.

To get a cheap anvil you don't want to buy from someone trying to make money selling one. You want to find the thousands of anvils abandoned in garages, sheds, barns and basements. find someone who has many a time stubbed their toe or driven their shin into the point of an anvil they have no use for and they will be happy to have you buy it cheap!

Rarely there is a good buy on Craigslist---and they go lightening fast in my experience---as in minutes!

Digging them out on your own makes for better deals. I've had an anvil given to me when I mentioned after church that I was looking for one---swedish cast steel and the face was *mint*! My main shop anvil was found talking to a fellow at a fleamarket selling greasy car parts I wouldn't fish out of a dumpster for free---but he howdy'd me and so I went into my spiel about looking for an anvil---his Uncle had one he was looking to sell and later that day I paid $350 for a 515# anvil in exquisite condition.

If you want a really great deal---avoid other smiths---it's like trying to buy their children from them and while many will give you a fair deal few will sell so cheap that the police start following you around!

Few last things---have the money *ready*! Someone offers you an anvil way below the going price; be ready to pay for it *before* they change their mind!

Learn to read the weight marks and know when they are in pounds and when they are in cwt---and anvil marked 333 might weigh 411 pounds or 333 pounds makes a difference for a price per pound!

Learn how to judge an anvils condition---the ball bearing test as mentioned on this site will help a lot!

Never be afraid of walking away from a bad deal---sometimes being willing to walk away without a care will change their mind otherwise be happy you didn't overpay!

As to the cost of making your own: Count in your time! If you could buy a superior anvil *faster* mowing lawns do you really save any making it yourself? Have you counted the costs of your consumables and shop overhead?
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 07/31/12 17:33:33 EDT

DIY vs. New vs Used :
Shane, The best deals are good used anvils. There are a lot of them out there still for $1/lb. or less (1950's prices). See Finding an Anvil Anywhere in the World

A DIY anvil can easily cost you more than a NEW professional quality anvil. These come under what you would need to call a "Government" project when successful. You need the steel very cheap or free. There is a lot of waste in fabricating an anvil so you need a LOT of steel. You may also want something that can be heat treated and that almost always costs a significant amount.

Then you need to be able to cut it. Generally this requires a full size or "heavy duty" cutting torch with 6" or more capacity. Cutting heavy steel is not difficult but it takes a LOT of oxygen (and practice).

Then you need to put it together. This can be done with a good buzz box but is best done with a heavy duty welding machine. When buying rods don't forget that electricity is not free. It is easy to eat up a couple hundred dollars in kilowatts. . .

Then there are abrasives. Depending on the quality of cutting and your expectations of quality you can spend $20 to $50 or more on abrasives and a lot of time using them. That assumes you already have a heavy duty angle grinder.

Do you have a way to make the hardy holes?

Then, when finished, or at some mid point, do you have the equipment and skills to heat treat it so it will be properly hardened?

In the end you MIGHT have a really nice anvil worth as much as a commercial one, but it is doubtful. The odds are it will be considerably less of an anvil and that you did not save any money.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/31/12 18:22:23 EDT

loose hammer handle : The handle of my favorite hammer is glued with epoxy. It has worked loose. How do I fix it?
Super glue doesn't work, soaking in antifreeze doesn't work.
   Steve P - Tuesday, 07/31/12 18:50:47 EDT

Loose Handle :
If it is a wood handle then it needs to be re-wedged. Normally wood handles are put on with a wooden wedge and a metal wedge. If there is no metal wedge you can add it. If there is one, then remove it and replace it with a larger one.

I've found that even premium handles come with cheap soft wood wedges and small steel wedges. I replace the soft wood wedges with new ones made from hardwood (often old handle material) and replace the steel wedges with hand made ones.

IF your handle is loose enough to remove then take the old wedges out, clean off the glue, oil and debris then refit.

IF the handle is one of those non-wedged glued on affairs then plan on rehandling OR shortening the handle and refitting.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/31/12 19:39:32 EDT

loos handle : Hoffi style, oak handle, nothing but epoxy. I will hate to pound it out.
   Steve P - Tuesday, 07/31/12 20:06:31 EDT

Hofi Style : Steve, These handles are supposed to be bedded in using a resilient industrial rubber compound, not epoxy (a very hard brittle substance). The compound is a filler used in concrete expansion joints.

If this joint has failed then all you can do is remove the handle, clean out the hole and re-mount the handle. Some folks that make these hammers offer re-handling services that will cost you less than a tube of the compound. You need to be careful about purchasing the compound because it has a short shelf life.

I prefer a standard eye and handle.
   - guru - Tuesday, 07/31/12 21:50:32 EDT

Abrasive cut off wheels : You are supposed to use flanges much larger in relation to the wheel diameter on un reinforced wheels.

If using them on a bench grinder, there should be a slotted work rest with minimal clearance between the sides of the wheel and the slot.

You need to be carefull not to bind on the wheel, they break easily.

If using cut off wheels in a portable device, use the fiber reinforced wheels.

I have an old all cast iron primative tablesaw that My grandpop scavenged off a junk pile and set up to use Radiac wheels that had become too small for the Radisc saw at work [6+-"]. I replaced the bronze bushings and set it up with a better motor, but not a totally enclosed motor. The base of the saw catches most of the grit. This saw has no provision to tilt the arbor or table and no mechanisim for rasing or lowering the blade or table, so there is little for the grit to ruin.

We always had a junky skillsaw set up with a silicon carbide masonry wheel. It got used a fair ammount, but as it was a junker to begin with, it didn't get a whole lot worse. Later on We got a diamond masonry wheel an put it in another crappy skillsaw, which works better.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 07/31/12 23:01:53 EDT

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