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 August 22 - 31, 2011 on the Guru's Den
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anvil : require some imformation on a anvil i have just purchased.I TTWOOD GTOLRBRIDGE BEST IMPROVED 82 HK . numbers on other side are 1 3 19 where was this made and maybe age thanks.
   kelvin - Monday, 08/22/11 10:01:16 EDT

Hood Ornaments : I didn't get to see all of the program, but what I did see was interesting. A guy had a business making hood ornaments for cars. He was using the lost wax method of casting them and having them chrome plated. I noticed a sign that said Arlington Plating Company. One of the ornaments was Cupid with his bow drawn back. Another had a propeller that caused mechanical movement of the ornament. This seems like a good business for someone talented in the casting department.
   Mike T. - Monday, 08/22/11 11:37:21 EDT

Little Giant dies : My Little Giant 100 dies ALWAYS come loose and the sow block has traveled about 3/4" since I have been using this hammer ( about 16 years) shimming and making wedges that are tapered long and gradual help, for a while but it still does this. can anyone offer a solution short of welding them?
   - danny arnold - Monday, 08/22/11 16:09:33 EDT

Anvil History / Value : Dear Gurus:
I have an old anvil in my garage that has to be 85 to 100 lbs. From I can see on it, I see the numbers L 1 12 or it could be 1 1 12. I haven't flipped it over to see what might be under it. The surface is dirty and appears to have rust, but it's still solid. Does it have a value at ?
   black / rust color - Monday, 08/22/11 16:24:23 EDT

Danny, Most of the time you can't get these to loosen. If the wedges are not a good fit or if the mating surfaces are not true then they need to be scraped or dressed true. Commonly this is done using Prussian blue and hand scraping off the high points. If the machined surfaces are true then all you need to do is blue in the wedges until they are a perfect fit. At that point they should stay put.

   - guru - Monday, 08/22/11 16:31:07 EDT

Anvil History / Value :
That is not much to go on. The numbers are the weight in English Hundredweight. That should be 152 pounds. That's small enough to put on a bathroom scale. Try it.

The fact that it has English weight marking means its an old English anvil most likely made sometime between 1800 to the 1920's. Value depends a lot on condition as well as where you are located. But no less than $100 and as much as $400 if in excellent condition. Rust doesn't mean much unless it has resulted in deep pitting.
   - guru - Monday, 08/22/11 16:41:04 EDT

Anvil History / Value : Thank you for the post - so I attempted to move it on my bathroom scale on bench and it hit 145lbs (if my scale is accurate). I'm out of New England. It was it my grandfather garage and I have no idea where he got it. It has wear on it, but overall it does appear to be solid. Is it worth trying to restore / clean, or if I'm interested in getting rid of it, just selling as is for $100 to $400 range? Thanks again!
   black / rust color - Monday, 08/22/11 17:05:38 EDT

Prepping for sale: Good: wire brush the rust off it so that people can see what condition it is in. Bad: painting it as that's often done to conceal flaws so I always drop the price I'm willing to pay if an anvil is painted.

Cleaning the sides and checking for a makers stamp would help a lot. A good make of anvil is worth more than a poor one. If no markings we may still be able to tell you what it most likely is with good descriptions including number and location of handling holes, shape of any indentation on the bottom of the anvil. Are their flats along the feet? Is the underside of the heel of the anvil rough showing the marks of the steam hammer, etc.
   Thomas P - Monday, 08/22/11 17:38:58 EDT

Attwood Anvil :
Kevin, Anvils in America records Attwood anvils but nothing else. Somewhere I've heard the name Attwood Stourbridge. The numbers probably indicate a 215 pound anvil and probably English.
   - guru - Monday, 08/22/11 18:17:56 EDT

scraping? : how does one scrape the dovetail on the sowblock of a Little Giant 100? I can work on the wedge, that is simple.
   - danny arnold - Monday, 08/22/11 18:49:28 EDT

Attwood Stourbridge Anvil

I knew I'd heard this name. Its the first of our new donated gallery anvils.
   - guru - Monday, 08/22/11 18:58:30 EDT

Danny, I didn't say it would be easy. You disassemble and clean, blue one part, slide them together, take apart, check the contact marks, scrape, repeat. . .
   - guru - Monday, 08/22/11 19:01:33 EDT

World's Fairs -- I guess you can't get an Eiffel Tower or Crystal Palace every time. And maybe not at all these days.
   Mike BR - Monday, 08/22/11 20:21:07 EDT

Lasting Results of World's Fairs : There's also the Atomium in Brussels 1958, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago 1893, Space Needle Seattle 1962, Tower of the Americas, San Antonio, TX 1968, Sunsphere, Knoxville 1982, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France - 1937 and many more. . . The Olympics has resulted in many permanent sports facilities and stadiums as well.

But these represent a very small part of what spent on art, construction and venues.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/23/11 00:58:25 EDT

Boonville, North Carolina, US : 1:54 pm EDT we had an earth quake that was distinctly felt for about 20 seconds.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/23/11 14:16:52 EDT

Well, we felt it 3 minutes after the epicenter. Not a little local shake.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/23/11 16:10:40 EDT

5.8 a substantial quake, I blame it on Atli wanting a tsunami to help get the ship upriver without having to push an oar.
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 08/23/11 17:03:55 EDT

Storms, quakes, etc. : Hmmmmm. The Mayan calendar cycle ends in 2012. Did they know something we don't? The sky is falling, Chicken Little!
   - Rich - Tuesday, 08/23/11 18:02:22 EDT

Had me running for the exit in downtown DC. No damage to speak of, though.
   Mike BR - Tuesday, 08/23/11 19:15:20 EDT

Jet Pack - The Future Is Now !! : Guru, coincidentally, since you brought up the jet pack a couple of post's back, there's an article in this month's, "Popular Science". Glen Martin, from New Zealand, flew his prototype this May, for 9 minutes and 43 seconds at a height of 3,500 feet!!! He's working on one that will fly for 1/2 an hour and go 60+ mph. You too can have one for a mere $100,000.00. My favorite invention was "The Lean Machine" from GM. A concept "car/motorcycle" with 3 wheel's and a hindged body you could lean into turn's with.
   Thumper - Tuesday, 08/23/11 19:43:16 EDT

Reusable steel : Dear Guru

Let me start by saying thank you for this website it has been a new part of my routine in my quest for blacksmith knowledge.

I will try to been brief because I know you are busy. I am a father of six with a wife in school so my budget is slim. I am a self thought stock removal knife maker with a fair amount of success. My wish is to learn the art of forging my owen blades. What reusable steel is best for a knife blade. I have been collecting every piece of steel I can get my hands on for as long as I can think. You name it I have it I have it. I was hoping you could save me some time and let me know the steel to direct my attention to. All I have left to do is rearrange my shop and set up my new coal powered forge and i will be ready to roll. Thank you in advance for your help and for the awesome tool this web site has been.
   Kip Kaiser - Tuesday, 08/23/11 23:17:42 EDT

Scrap for Blades :
Kip, The most commonly available steel for blades is spring steel. While you would think leaf springs are best auto coil springs actually work very well for blades. The cross sections are more appropriate for the average blade when flattened. Note however that spring steels are a little low in carbon for top quality blades.

Old files are harder to come by but are excellent steel. Unless the texture is desired it is best to grind the teeth off prior to forging.

Once you have some experience it pays to purchase new steel so you know what you have and the best heat treat. Otherwise Junkyard Steel Rules apply.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/23/11 23:40:51 EDT

More Steel. . . : Saw Mill blades, both circular and band are a good source of quite good steel and so are large metal cutting saw blades. While rather thin so are most circular saw blades. However, many of these are thin enough they do not need much forging and are also difficult to cut up with out a cutting torch.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/24/11 00:04:57 EDT

Cast Iron Anvil with Steel Face : I am interested in getting into blacksmithing and am evaluating my options for an anvil. From what I have read on your site and others, cast iron anvils are out of the question; however it seems that some regard cast iron anvils with a steel face as a viable alternative to a forged or cast steel anvil. Would it work to buy something like the anvil listed here http://www.grizzly.com/products/300-lb-Anvil/G8150 and then fire-weld a steel plate to the top? I suspect this may not be a good idea, but it doesn't hurt to ask! Also, what are the best places to look for used anvils?
   Joel - Wednesday, 08/24/11 00:25:10 EDT

Anvil Upgrade : Joel, There is only one process that puts a stel face on a cast iron anvil. That is the patent process where it is done in the mold when the iron is cast. You cannot "upgrade" a cast iron anvil. Even putting a new steel face on a wrought iron anvil is so fuel and labor intensive, AND takes so much skill, that you buy a very nice anvil for what it would cost.

If you take your time and shop around you can usually pick up and old forged anvil, albeit a little beat up, for the same price as a cast iron ASO (Anvil Shaped Object). A beat up old anvil, even with some broken parts, is an infinitely better tool than a new ASO such as the Grizzly.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/24/11 07:23:45 EDT

Joel; cast iron is molten around the temperature you forge weld at.

Trying to get a good bond casting molten cast iron on a steel face could be done with enough experimentation---probably only take you a couple of years and 100,000 dollars to work it out.

There is no reason you need a london pattern anvil to do blacksmithing---most of the world does not use them and seems to do just fine. The famed japanese katanas were/are forged on what looks like a rectangular block of steel and many people consider them to be "ok"

Best place to look---Are you in Australia? South America? Europe?

Anyway the best place is *Everywhere*. Talk to everyone you come in contact with telling them that you are looking for an anvil to *use*.

Remember that there were a lot more anvils in Cities than out on farms and as industry moved away from smithing a lot of those ended up in someone's garage or basement and are still lurking there to be found!
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 08/24/11 13:05:01 EDT

So the Capt'n has a couple of heart attacks, doesn't slow him down, then there is an earthquake, doesn't slow him down, next a hurricane is due---think somebody is trying to tell him something?

Not trying to say anything; but if'n a thunder storm was coming his way I wouldn't stand next to him!

Personally I think this is clear indication that he should be going to Quad-State *away* from all these happenings...

(I might not be going; my stepdaughter is having some problems and I offered my Q-S trip fund to help if needed. We'll see.)
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 08/24/11 13:10:25 EDT

You think that's bad... : My friend (and LSCo Captain) from Minot, ND, came by last night to store her recently obtained used trailer until she can drive it back in a couple of weeks. She'll be working and living through a North Dakota winter in the trailer, while she rehabs the house.

The flood waters had submerged her basement and the first floor up to counter height. She was enumerating the floods, the earthquake, and the upcoming hurricane- and I suggested that maybe she was just "bad luck." ;-) She said that her entire collection of Science Fiction that she had stored in the basement is now "pulp fiction."

On the positive side, I was able to give her a number of packaged batts of fiberglass insulation I had stowed in the barn on the farm for her reconstruction project on the house.

Ironwork content: The forge survived the earthquage just fine. :-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 08/24/11 16:35:53 EDT

ATTWOOD ANVIL : anvil is stamped ATTWOOD STOURBRIDGE BEST IMPROVED 82 HK . curious to know what the 82 and H.K. might stand for? Other side has the weight numbers 1 3 19
   - kelvin - Thursday, 08/25/11 01:12:49 EDT

Cutting my vacation a day short now. Mandatory evacuation for the Cape May NJ county effective 8am tomorrow. Not too happy. Ocean City NJ will have perfect beautiful weather for tomorrow, but we won't be here to enjoy it. Saw lots of really old anchors, one specifically wrought iron that you could see the grain right on the surface. When the quake hit I was on the beach, I felt like I was tipsy from a few beers and thought it was only me! Well, at least we had 6 days off.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 08/25/11 18:33:35 EDT

You know how when you find a piece of scrap you want to re-use and it's dirty; you tap it a couple of times and then hose it off and blow it off with compressed air? Well all y'all on the east coast might just think about this...

Stay SAFE and don't forget to greasy your postvise screws and put any motors up high!
   Thomas P - Friday, 08/26/11 13:37:14 EDT

postvise : I enjoy my stand alone in the middle of the shop post-vise,room to have two people working.
   Willy Cunningham - Friday, 08/26/11 15:54:10 EDT


As long as we don't get thrown in the forge next!
   Mike BR - Friday, 08/26/11 21:39:36 EDT

Kelvin- Attwood Anvil : COMIC CONTENT! In 1882 they opened a subsidiary plant in Hong Kong. Their first 100 anvils made there were marked like that. So it is an extremely rare one. A couple were believed to have been picked up by allied forces in the East during WW2. These were used as extra weight to make parachuted supplies fall in straighter lines. These can be distinguished by mud and other debris impacted into the horn which was the first part of the anvil to land.

I hope this helps.
   - Philip In China - Saturday, 08/27/11 05:05:35 EDT

Bohemian Anvil : Some interesting features on this anvil.

   - Tom H - Saturday, 08/27/11 06:03:30 EDT

Big Vise : Here's a big one.

Jock, a good illustration of the proportions yet still maintain OAH, like your picture in the FAQ.
   - Tom H - Saturday, 08/27/11 07:07:59 EDT

Big Vise : Well, just like work, I forgot to attach the attachment.
Goin thru life as an idiot ain't easy, ya know.

   - Tom H - Saturday, 08/27/11 07:09:39 EDT

Readiness : Just invested a couple of minutes turning eyes on a strip of scrap copper. These will let me adapt the female tab connectors on my (cheap Ryobi) 12v lithium drill batteries to the banana plugs on my multimeter test leads. Alligator clips at the other end are just the thing to hook into the battery compartment on my wife's portable radio. Bring on the blow gun and the garden hose.

(I'm far enough inland, and on high enough ground, that I don't think much beyond a power outage is likely. Knock on wood.)
   Mike BR - Saturday, 08/27/11 08:23:47 EDT

Craigs List "Bohemian" anvil :
This is a nice old anvil but it does not follow the original type. We have a number of these in our Anvil Gallery. The nicest cast pattern (best engineered) is the Hungarian Cast Steel Austrian Style Anvil in the Lyda-Ferdinand Collection. An old beat up forged version is the Bohemian or "Old Berlin" Style Anvil in our donated images. We also have these in our German and Austrian Anvils

A key feature of this pattern that is often lost in poorly made castings is the hardy hole flush or nearly flush to the body so that it is in the best possibly supported place. This primo feature is seen in the original forged anvils where it is VERY difficult to do and in well designed castings. However, many pattern makers do not understand the significance of this superior location and move the hardy hole out farther away from the body. This does two detrimental things, it makes the heel weaker and it provides less support under the hardy tool. Generally it indicates a copy made by a foundry that has no clue about anvil design.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/27/11 13:45:48 EDT

170lb ebay Vise. :
This has an interesting feature I had not seen before, it has pivots or fulcrums for the screw and nit to tilt on. Makes more sense that spherical washers.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/27/11 13:48:34 EDT

Big Vice : Good idea putting the pad around it, wont get scratched that way.
   Carver Jake - Saturday, 08/27/11 15:51:03 EDT


Overlooked your post before. I have to say that bundling anvils with supply drops doesn't ring true to me. If you wanted them to fall faster, wouldn't you just add more supplies? Using up precious (I assume) airlift capacity with ballast seems odd.

And could an anvil really hit hard enough to impact mud into the horn without burying itself so deep no one would ever find it again?

Just rainy and with a strong breeze so far here. (Hope I'm not stirring up a storm with this post.)
   Mike BR - Saturday, 08/27/11 17:40:07 EDT

asphalt coating : Texas Refinery Corp. sells "Quick Dry Anti -Oxidene coating" this is not a paint, it is an asphalt coating for steel that their website says is better for rust prevention than ordinary paint. For those who do exterior ironworks it might be a better coating than paint, certainly better than a water based paint. Like the E.P.A. wants us to use.
   - danny arnold - Saturday, 08/27/11 17:50:43 EDT

Cargo parachute drops : I am was a military parachute rigger. I never saw, heard or was trained to ballast drops. If an anvil were to be used and hit hard enough to impact damage the anvil, the supplies would also be damaged. If the supplies to be dropped could withstand a high speed i,pact, you would use a smaller chute or more load, and since the WWII loads were typically dropped from very low level,the probibility of hitting your own guys with the load is a risk so anvil ballast strikes me as a myth.
No factaul data, but 10 years real world experience at dropping things including people from airplanes does not jive with this story.
   ptree - Sunday, 08/28/11 07:41:30 EDT

Seem to have survived the storm. Just some small branches down in my immediate neighborhood. And some water in the basement, but that happens several times a year.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 08/28/11 09:42:08 EDT

After Storm Flooding : Good Luck to our friends in NY and New Jersey. Those that are near steams that flood such a Nippullini, Old Millstone Forge and others, be careful and hang in there. We know its going to be a few days before the worst is past.
   - guru - Sunday, 08/28/11 09:48:30 EDT

Ptree : Noticed your a rigger. I was packing my own chute but not correctly for the first 5 jumps, then went on to make 55 more.
   Carver Jake - Sunday, 08/28/11 13:18:57 EDT

forge welding : I want to start forge welding with mild steel. Which of these products is the best to use for a beginner, 1-EZ weld, Sure weld, or Swi, or is there something else?
   Jim T. - Sunday, 08/28/11 16:57:40 EDT

Carver Jake, I also packed my first, and screwed up a new one at 105 and got to ride a reserve I also packed. Had one more at 125 and then that particular rig made another 500+ without failure.
   ptree - Sunday, 08/28/11 17:19:18 EDT

forge welding flux : Jim T,all the fluxes you mention are good, but expensive compared to plain old 20 mule team borax.
   - danny arnold - Sunday, 08/28/11 17:33:10 EDT

TGN Smithy is underwater.

Irene brought about 5 feet of water into my basement. As most of you are aware, this is where my workshop is located. Keep in mind, I had just been evac'd from Ocean City NJ on Thursday night. I was able to pull the TIG, MIG, Stick and argon tank from the cellar. I figured on Saturday I would have enough time to get more stuff, the bandsaw being one I did get out. By this morning the water was 3 feet from the cellar door (which drops about 3 feet into the cellar). Sandbags and plastic sheeting were no match. By 12:00 there was 4 feet of water. The Neshaminy creek rose higher with Floyd, but still my shop is totalled. I just finished a newly designed gasser forge! Among the tools underwater are; 5 grinders, 2 belt sanders, dozens of hammers, 4 anvils, 3 vises, O/A torch... I could go on but I'm starting to get upset. Forgot to mention the obvious home appliances; washer, dryer, basement fridge (with a new case of beer in it I might add!!!), furnace, AC compressor.....

I'll keep everyone updated.
   - Nippulini - Sunday, 08/28/11 18:25:56 EDT

Humour : Humour is a subtle thing isn't it. I have no idea what a HK marking means but it was a good story wasn't it?
   philip in china - Sunday, 08/28/11 20:25:06 EDT

Nip, Hope for a Federal disaster area. . . Let me know when you need some supplies. Been there with the flooding. . . I've got old appliances that still work if you get desperate.

The electric tools (and many motors) can be cleaned (flushed with lots of fresh water to get dirt-grit out) and then dried very well. They should still work but the dry must be VERY dry. It also helps to turn them over (without power) to relube any bare places in the bearings and work out water.
   - guru - Sunday, 08/28/11 20:35:21 EDT

Salt Water or Fresh Water? : Nip: Not knowing your local geography, if it's salt water flooding the sooner you flush it out with fresh the better.

Some tools I've been able to resurrect, others just ended up as junk.

Good luck.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 08/28/11 21:20:48 EDT

NIP : Aww Nip, we hate it for you.
Good luck.
   - Tom H - Sunday, 08/28/11 21:24:24 EDT

Flux : Jonathan Nedbor sells a good flux called Black Magic. Contact jonned@hvc.rr.com

When two separate pieces are to come together, the degree of difficulty is greater than when the pieces are all one bundle (as a faggot weld). I have had fair luck putting E-Z Weld on top of the borax on each scarf. In applying the borax first, it glazes at a bright red heat and above, and it becomes tacky. The E-Z Weld is less likely to fall off the pieces when put on top of the glazed, tacky borax. Using both fluxes, I can often get cohesion without having to take a sparking heat. Cohesion can occur at a sweating heat (no sparks).

Your first few licks should be relatively light. If you hit too hard right out of the fire, you can get "shear." The pieces slip apart from too heavy a blow. The flux won't work when using an extremely oxidizing fire. The scale will be too thick. If you have too thick scale and you also hit too hard, and you're working by yourself, the piece opposite you goes shooting across the room. All you can do then is give a Daffy Duck chagrined grin and start over.

Of course, this has ha ha never happened to any of our readership.
   Frank Turley - Sunday, 08/28/11 22:41:51 EDT

Freshwater Flood : in 1972 Agness put the river 30' above flood stage at Pottstown, Pa. My cousin's house had 8' of water in the first floor [9' celongs, fortunately]. We worked like hell for a week after the water went down and salvaged EVERTHING except the carpet on the livingroom floor. This included appliances, several cars, a schoolbus camper and lawnmowers. The only electronic thing in the house back then was a TV, which was taken up the stairs as far as it would fit. Only the corner of the cabnet got wet.

Other relatives worked on My uncles house and got it cleaned up.

I believe My cousin killed the power before they evacuated. This probably is the reason there was no electrical damage.

Both of these were on the north side of the river. Everything on the south side was covered in a gooey layer of oil sludge from a lube oil reclaimer that kept the sludge in ponds in the back, a Superfund site once the proper authorities found out about it.

Freshwater doesn't do as much damage as brackish or salt water, but the raw sewage and other nasties in the flood water do need to be dealt with properly.

My cousin was working at Sears back then, and they did give Him replacements for the appliances, so I don't know if they would have failed shortly or not. Modern stuff being electronic, would be a different matter.
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 08/28/11 22:53:36 EDT

Storm CleanUp Caution : Please, you guys cleaning up after the storm(s) - be careful! Not just for the danger of falling limbs, wires, etc, but for the even worse danger of infection. After a flood here last November, I was helping out with cleanup and came down with virulent pneumonia and developed a collapsed lung before I knew what was happening. I came very close to dying on that little escapade; 12 days in ICU on four heavy-duty IV antibiotics to clear up a raging psuedomonas infection that the docs say I most likely got from contaminated runoff water. That is what triggered the rest of the issues.

Runoff waters after major flooding contain sewage, toxins, dead animals, and all manner of other equally unpleasant things. Be very careful to maintain the very best possible hygiene when doing post-storm cleanup so you don't wind up like I did, please! Use hand sanitizer copiously, bathe often and thoroughly, change clothing as frequently as possible, and wear a respirator if you can. You don't know where that water has been!
   Rich - Monday, 08/29/11 00:28:36 EDT

Flooded Stuff :
I've had to replace shallow well pumps 3 times that were flooded while they were powered. On the other hand we had a chest freezer that floated around in three feet of water, landed at about a 30 degree angle. . was powered and running the whole time! Worked for years later and may still work if I plug it in. . . I suspect the motor is sealed as part of the compressor.

I had my entire shop full of motors flooded. Some survived, some did not. A couple just needed the sand blown out after they dried thoroughly and they ran. One brand new TEFC motor locked up and would not rotate but when I moved it a year or two later it turned over smoothly. I plan to take it apart and put new ball bearings in it before use. Some of the other motors were old ones that I had picked up cheap years before and repaired when I had way too much time on my hands. . . Too sad about them to rebuild. . .

Other things that got flooded included dial indicators. . new and pricey. They were tight enough that water didn't get inside so external cleaning and oiling and they were all right.

Our creek moves a lot of sand. The first three feet of everything got filled with a mix of coarse and fine sand and silt. Every drawer of my mechanics and machinists tool chests up to 3 feet from the floor. It took hours to empty every drawer, clean, derust and oil. Then clean the drawer, blow out the roller slides and lube them with slide lube. When all the drawers and contents were removed and cleaned then the cabinets were cleaned. Every drawer track had to be carefully wiped out. Then it was ALL put back together.

Among the items were several old auto electric meters. I cleaned and dried them. The volt meter still worked but I never tested the dwell meter. Luckily most of my good electrical stuff was up high.

The more complex things that are difficult and time consuming to disassemble such as machinery can be very costly to clean up.

We lost several automobiles in that flood. They were repairable but not operating at the time and could not be moved. . . After the flood they were not redeemable. . . And over a decade later I am still finding boxes of hardware full of sand. .
   - guru - Monday, 08/29/11 01:26:16 EDT

Flooded Stuff : In my location above the water was relatively clean other than a heavy load of sand and silt. Very little or no sewage, no fuel or oil. Some agricultural field run off but less than most places and none from fields treated with liquid waste. I've watched our flood waters for hours and never spotted an oil slick.

In places with salt water including blown and mist it would be a different situation and cleanup of tools and machinery would need to be more immediate and aggressive.

Rich's comment about unhealthy water is also true. In urban environments all the sewage including that being created during the flood (water systems and toilets usually continue to work even when power is out and streets are flooded) is being dumped directly into the flood waters. Business and industrial wastes also end up in that water. This could include everything from fry grease to chemical toxins as well as fuel oil and gasoline.
   - guru - Monday, 08/29/11 09:34:19 EDT

Thanks for the info. Yep, all freshwater (well, the word "fresh" is subjective)... let's just say non-saltwater. Good to know about the power tools being usable after a good dry out. Haven't gone back to the house yet (at a hotel for the moment), when the waters recede I should end up with about 2 feet of it. A gennie hooked up to the sump pump will help (and the shop vac) get rid of the leftover. Silt, mud and the nasty stuff will need to get shoveled out. Thankfully the water did not reach the breaker panel. Been meaning to upgrade to 200 amp service anyway. I voluntarily shut off the gas and pulled the electric meter. 3 hours later PECO came out to do the same thing to the entire neighborhood, but most of us already took care of it.

Update in a few hours when I get to survey the damage better.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 08/29/11 10:27:32 EDT

Hi I have a old anvil. I have had quite a few in my trading days It is Marked American Wrought with a Horseshoe with Trade Mark inside the horseshoe and the number 155 below this It looks to be in excellent condition with very good markings.Clean edges and horn. I was wondering when this was made and the value also do you purchase anvils? Thanks for any help Cito Hardy in central Vermont. Could you PLEASE answer to my email address citovt@aol.com THANKS Cito
   - cito hardy - Monday, 08/29/11 11:09:05 EDT

anvil question : Hi I have a old anvil. I have had quite a few in my trading days It is Marked American Wrought with a Horseshoe with Trade Mark inside the horseshoe and the number 155 below this It looks to be in excellent condition with very good markings.Clean edges and horn. I was wondering when this was made and the value also do you purchase anvils? Thanks for any help Cito Hardy in central Vermont. Could you PLEASE answer to my email address citovt@aol.com THANKS Cito
   cito hardy - Monday, 08/29/11 11:09:33 EDT

American Wrought Anvil :
From a query last week:
If the anvil is a truly wrought anvil, "American" above the horseshoe, and "Wrought" below is an "American horseshoe wrought anvil" Sold by Montgomery Wards. Originally made by Hay-Budden, later by Columbus Forge & iron Co., though I do not know if there were other makers.

ALSO: American wrought anvils were made by a former employee and competitor of Hay-Budden both in Brooklyn NY. All the logos recorded by Richard Postman were the word American in all caps forming a diamond shape (letters taller in the middle) with the weight under the name. No horseshoes in the logo but that is not and absolute.

In good condition this anvil would sell for anywhere from $200 to $500 and in excellent condition (old but lightly or used little - no discernible wear) it could go for more. A lot depends on how you advertise the sale and how patient you are.

I occasionally buy under-priced anvils when I have the opportunity but do not make a business of it.

   - guru - Monday, 08/29/11 11:21:24 EDT

American Wrought Anvil : Probably made in the early 1900's and no later than 1925.
   - guru - Monday, 08/29/11 11:24:17 EDT

Generally I feel that if someone is not willing to spend their time reading the answer to a question where it was posted; it must not be worth my time answering it.

Hope all goes well. Even with fresh water a dunk in distilled or de-ionized *clean* water can help.
   Thomas P - Monday, 08/29/11 14:36:09 EDT

is it possible to "forge weld" two pieces of metal together by folding them so they link together? without flux
   - wes - Monday, 08/29/11 22:17:44 EDT

Wes -forge weld : Some guys weld without flux, but the flux makes it easier and more reliable for a beginner. I believe i have heard that wrought iron is easier to weld without flux than steel. Folding the metal or bending a piece into a ring or loop makes it easier too, as You don't have to keep seperate pieces aligned properly and hammer on it too. I am not a forge welding expert, but when I have done it, I used 20 mule team borax.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 08/29/11 23:35:03 EDT

Forge Weld : Wes, you need to be a bit more specific. "Metal" can mean dozens of types most of which do not forge weld. Iron and iron alloys (various steels including stainless) can be forge welded by hand. See our iForge page and the welding articles.

Under the right conditions wrought, mild steel and plain carbon steels can be welded without flux. All types can be welded with flux AND in a billet wrapped in stainless foil without flux.
   - guru - Monday, 08/29/11 23:48:52 EDT

No flux : Ferrous metals can be welded without flux. If using coking coal or coke, the fire should be relatively new and have enough coke to surround the piece(s). There should be coke on top of the workpieces to act as a refractory. The pieces may be obsured by that coke, but you can either 1)make a peephole in the coke or 2)pull the pieces back and take a quick look without trying to disturb the fire. The work goes immediately back into the sweet spot. You can't weld through scale and dirt, so it's always good the rap the pieces against the anvil or shake them in midair before placing on the anvil to hammer-weld. Surface 'soup' will fall on the floor helping to clean the pieces.

Many of the British smiths do not use flux. They use a clean coke called 'breeze." I'm told that they also wire brush a good bit.

At the 1976 ABANA conference, I demoed a six strand forge-welded basket handle that was lap welded onto 1/2" round before twisting. An elderly man was standing nearby. He told me that he was from Ireland and that he had never used flux for any of his welding. He asked me whether that white stuff was borax. I responded, "If you've never used flux, you must be pretty good." He replied, "I'm pretty good!"
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 08/30/11 00:29:42 EDT

May I commend to your attention "Solid Phase Welding of Metals", Tylecote as a rigorous text on solid phase welding of metals.

Folding doesn't "link" them in. Manipulation of stock so they get "linked in" is a mechanical joint not a weld joint---though you can then weld a mechanical joint---I often rivet a troublesome joint to hold everything in place and then forge weld it. (most folks would just tack weld it with an arc welder these days...)

When you hear people talking about "folded steel" they are really talking about forge welding layers together that is sometimes done by nicking the billet almost all the way through and then bending it back on itself at the nick and forge welding the contact area. (It is also possible to nick it twice one on each major side and do a Z fold to triple the layers)

My wife was terrible embarrased when we saw the first Pirates-otC film as I burst out laughing when the guy was gushing about "folded steel". I explained to her afterwards that the cooks knives were probably made from shear steel at that time/place and so were "folded steel" as well.
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 08/30/11 16:37:20 EDT

English anvil c 1840- 1850 : Guru, I sent you some pics of anvil( This was a while back) I bought in Sylva, NC. You asked if you could pics, I said yes and I was sorry that they did'nt make it.
   Henderson Gilleland - Wednesday, 08/31/11 11:11:51 EDT

Henderson, I have about a dozen anvils to setup on the gallery pages (I also have vises, swage blocks, forges. . .). All these take time processing the images (removing backgrounds, resizing), writing something about them and setting up the pages and indexes. Its a job I can work on full time and do nothing else. Those that are most unique often get the most immediate attention. Those that are not that much different than others often wait. You sent a couple fine photos which will eventually get posted.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/31/11 11:37:22 EDT

Technical Issues in the Movies :
When it comes to blacksmithing Hollywood took a wrong turn in the very early days and has done nothing right since. Somewhere some director told an actor to do it THIS way, "tink, tink (timidly) on the anvil, pause, then tap the work, pause, repeat". You see this in many old Westerns and it continues to this day making us cringe at the scenes every time.

As recently as in A Knights Tale, they had some great Czech locals as extras and bit players in the blacksmithing scene that appeared to know what they were doing but the actress playing a supporting role as a smith did the Hollywood tink, tink, tap. Plenty of folks that knew the difference on the set. . . In Highlander III: The Final Dimension they have a pretty good Japanese bladesmith's scene where they must have had a decent technical advisor. However, they missed the detail of an arc welded handle on a billet which was shown in closeup. Later in the same film they have an awful forging sequence starting with unearthing an anvil and tools 300 years newer than when they were supposedly buried and forging with a 6 pound hand sledge. Christopher Lambert does one of his best forging scenes but its pretty easy to look tired and frustrated when trying to wield a 6 pound sledge (about twice the weight an experianced smith would use).

Yes, all these films are fantasy but they go to a great deal of trouble and expense to use historical places and dress. It would be nice to never again see the "tink, tink, tap".
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/31/11 11:41:15 EDT

Movie Forging : Just saw the new Conan movie on Sunday (yes, I'm a sucker). They repeated the same casting error in the new one that they put in the old one. After that, they did show a small bit of forging, but it was too cold. And then there was some weird thing about a crucible full of molten steel that seemed to stay red hot for quite a long time.

Well, let's face it: If I hadn't read Robert E Howard as a kid, I wouldn't be watching the movie. It wasn't for the blacksmithing, that's for sure.
   Bajajoaquin - Wednesday, 08/31/11 11:55:54 EDT

Conan :
The original movie was genuine high theater when it came to the forging sequence. A bellows large enough to operate a smelting furnace, an anvil with an obvious flame cut edge, forging in flaming oil. . . AND matching the "sunrise red" of an actual sunrise and quenching in snow (it doesn't work). But it was a lot of fun. . .

The Lord of the Rings opening sequence starts with ". . . rings forged in. . " narrated over a lost wax casting scene. . . One of the most blatant technical inaccuracies in any film. Which was REALLY sad considering all the very talented craftsfolk that worked on the series.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/31/11 14:19:39 EDT

English anvil c 1840-1850 : Thanks for the reply.
   Henderson Gilleland - Wednesday, 08/31/11 15:27:15 EDT

How can you forget the "riddle of steel"? James Earl Jones always did the best villain roles.
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 08/31/11 17:52:16 EDT

Rifling Hook : I watched a lot of Civil war documentaries this morning and they showed the old rifling machine used during those times. I don't think they used anything like a broach, but something I believe called a hook. Would the hook be like a broach with only one tooth that cut the metal ? How would a fella go about making his own hook ?
   Mike T. - Wednesday, 08/31/11 20:43:03 EDT

Mike, Yes, it is similar to a single tooth broach. This is a simple cutter attached to a long (often wooden) rod. The cutter is shaped in the profile of one groove in the rifling. Normally shims are added under the cutter for each pass as only a few thousandths of an inch are taken each time. The cutter is setup and pulled through each spiral groove, then a shim added and its pulled through each groove again.

The tools is used on a rifling bench which has a cylindrical guide with spirals either cut into it OR attached to its surface. Some have the same grooves as the rifle and the drum is indexed in a fixed guide, others have a single groove or grooves with different rates of twist and the drum is indexed in a ring with multiple guide positions.

Old fashioned rifling benches were made almost entirely of wood with just a few metal bearing and guide parts. Low tech but sophisticated at the same time. I used to have an old Dixie Gun Works catalog that had details of all the parts. . . Sadly I gave it to my brother who tossed it during one of his many moves. I suspect they are collectors items today even though printed on cheap news print.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/31/11 21:16:57 EDT

Rifling Cutter : The one I saw in use was not a single point tool. The cutter was like a little chunk of a file [could have been made from a file, I would do it that way] with quite a few teeth. It was about 1/2" long, and shimmed with cigarett paper to advance to the next cut depth. The indexing pattern keeps the grooves at an even depth. Many passes are made, untill cutting stops, before adding the next shim. It is a slow process. This was at the Gunmaker's Fair at Dixon's in Kempton, Pa.
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 08/31/11 22:00:05 EDT

Riffling cutters : I have seen the rifling cutters at Old Salem, Old williamsburg and several other historic places and all used a small mutli tooth cutter that was in effect a small hunk of file. I would suspect that a single tooth tool would have some issues in chip clearance in that long a cut, since the cutting is on the pull. If pushed to cut the chip could roll up in front of the cutter.
   ptree - Thursday, 09/01/11 07:20:03 EDT

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