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 September 9 - 15, 2011 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Kip I just used the local clay dug out of the ground to build up the bottom of a too deep semi brake drum forge.
   Thomas P - Friday, 09/09/11 18:05:10 EDT

Hey how about flooded anvils? I got three that have all had a nice swim in the murky Neshaminy overflow... twice in about a weeks time. Any way to see how badly damaged the nice flow of stinky creek water anvils have become?
   - Nippulini - Friday, 09/09/11 23:04:44 EDT

Flood Soaked Anils :
Wring out gently, block to shape, then air dry ;)
   - guru - Friday, 09/09/11 23:33:06 EDT

Brake Drum Forge : Kip and Thomas P.,
I just had an idea, maybe. Place another brake drum over the top of the one you have now. Cut an opening in the side, line the top and bottom with clay. Place them back together, tack weld them. Put clay around the seam in the middle where they meet ( inside ). Place a blower at the bottom to get the coal up to welding heat.
   Mike T. - Saturday, 09/10/11 00:33:16 EDT

I am one of the fortunate few who is both a blacksmith and a metallurgist. Where I work we use both normalize and annealing depending on the goals we have in mind. To start with, both process should develop a completly austenitic microstructure during the heating stage. The difference in practice between the two processes is the cooling rate. Annealing relys on the slowest possible cooling rate to produce a combination of ferrite and cementite, typically in an arrangement known as pearlite which is nothing more than very fine alternating layers of ferrite and cementite, much like damascus billet. (There should be little or no retained austentie once cooling is complete with the simple low carbon and alloy steels). On an atomic level, the ferrite contains almost no carbon and the cementite contains almost all the carbon. The amount of pearlite formed is a function of the amount of carbon in the steel.

Normalizing relys on a faster cooling rate (typcally still air or fan cooling) than annealing. It will result in a product somewhat harder than that achieved with annealing, but it is a faster process. The microstructures formed could be the same or similar to that formed during annealing but they could also be different. For example, both processes may result in the formation of pearlite, but the pearlite formed during normlizing will have a finer spacing between the layers, higher overall hardness and typically better ductility than an annealed part. Most products are not used in the annealed condition but it is quite common for products to be put in service after normalizing. Normalizing can also be used as a precursor to a quenching process. One of the benefits of normalizing is that grains are refined (that is made smaller) and carbon is somewhat more uniformly distributed after normalizing. This means that when a part is re-heated in preperation for the quench, the hold time at elevated temperature can be shortened when compared to parts that have not been normlized. The reason for this has to do with the diffusion of carbon from one place to another within a grain of steel at elevated temperature. The carbon will dissolve in the austenite, but to get there it has to move from its position in the cementite. The further it has to move the longer the time required. Since normlizing produces fine pearlite or other structures with fine spacing, the carbon doesn't have to move as far in the heating step just prior to quenching. The fancy way to say this is that diffusion of carbon is the rate limiting step in the process.

As has already been noted, not all grades are normalized becauese they would air harden and be difficut to machine or be down right brittle. This can be true of grades which are normally considered safe to normlaize if the seciton size gets to small. Some of the simple high carbon tool steels are known to get pretty hard on air cooling in sections typical for knife blades even though the recommend quench is water or oil. If such a situation is encountered, annealing can be used to soften things up.

   - Patrick Nowak - Saturday, 09/10/11 01:08:54 EDT

Normalizing : Patrick,

Thanks for that explanation. The bit about the normalizing allowing for shorter soak times prior to quenching was something I hadn't previously noted in all my reading and is really helpful in furthering my understanding of steels and their properties. Excellent!
   Rich - Saturday, 09/10/11 01:31:28 EDT

Annealing and tungten : To add a bit to Patrick's excellent explanation, when annealing the desired microstructure varies with grade of steel - grades like 4140, 4340 and other medium carbon steels usually have a desired microstructure of pearlite and ferrite. For grades like 52100 and Ketos, an O1 tool steel, the desired microstructure is spheroidized carbides in a matrix of ferrite. In each case, you're looking for the microstructure for that grade that will give the best combination of properties for machining - not too hard and not too soft/gummy so that you can get surface finish at decent feed rates and tool speeds, and also one that enables you to get a decent tool life.

Tungsten - definitely an element with a melting point above iron, used for production of tungsten and multielement carbide tools, and incandescent light bulb filaments. Also used as an intentional alloying element in tool steel grades such as S1, O1, O7, A8,H12,H14,H19,H21 THRU H26,H41,H42, T1 thru T6, T15, most of the molybdenum hi speed tool steels, such as M2, and F1 and F2. It shows up as a tramp element in the scrap stream, with higher residual levels in stainless and tool steel scrap, but it's present in very low levels even in plain carbon steels. We buy a lot of 1008/1010 scrap and I routinely measure levels of 0.004% - the numbers are real, not a spectrometer curve artifact, as they bounce around - sometimes 0.001, 0.002, 0.003 - rarely 0.005% or higher. A curve artifact would provide a constant value for all specimens measured.

   - Gavainh - Sunday, 09/11/11 01:05:39 EDT

Brake Drum Forge : Mike T.
When I came across the brake drum I had an opportunity to acquire Two and that was my original plan. However space limitations for making billets has now become an issue. In posting My intent I received A quick education and I learned to not put my cart before my horse. I am going to spend so time with my forge the way it is and learn how to work small as the guru suggested. Its driving me crazy I wish I could spend some time with some of the skilled blacksmiths on this sit. Its very hard knowing what you wish to achieve and having to go thru the learning curve. I am sure I will transform my Brake Drum Forge as you suggested I can see how that would still be a good forge to have around after I evolve to a big boy forge!
Needless to say I will be pestering all of you for help as I progress in the world of blacksmithing. In addition to wanting to know how to forge weld I wish to achieve differential tempering with visible hammond so as you can see I have lots to learn, its a whole new world but it sure is fun. Thanks to everyone for the good advise and keeping me from not wasting time spinning my wheels
   Kip Kaiser - Sunday, 09/11/11 14:37:29 EDT

Kip: A Hammond is a type of electric organ. What you are after is Hamon, which is just a visible artifact of heat treating with a shallow-harding steel using a thin layer of clay or careful temperature control to produce an edge structure of hardened steel with a softer back. It is made clearly visible by careful polishing and sometimes a mild etch.

It's also sometimes called (incorrectly) a "temper line." You will need a simple carbon steel with as few alloying elements (besides carbon) as possible. W-1 tool steel is great for this, as is 1095 and some grades of 1050, 1060, and 1070/75. Manganese levels above around 0.4% and any amount of chromium make the steel too deep-hardening to produce a good hamon, although you can differentially harden them.

LOTS to learn about metallurgy in the process! The above posts about normalizing to refine grain size are important to this, as smaller grain usually equals a shallower hardening depth. You still need to slow cooling on the back to produce an edge of fully hardened and tempered martensite and get the back to just miss the tranformation curve so as not to get said martensitic structure.

See, there is a lot to know!(grin!)
   Alan-L - Sunday, 09/11/11 17:37:35 EDT

air hammer cost revisited : I'm thinking about building an air hammer. I've always made small ironwork, knives & more recently jewelry - now I want to work larger stock. A number of years ago there was a "ballpark" figure of $1,000 to build the Abana/Kinyon air hammer. I know what you can scrounge makes all the difference in pricing, but given specialized components that you need to order could you toss me a ROUGH guesstimate. Thanks much
   Robert Oram - Sunday, 09/11/11 18:23:48 EDT

when I built mine,...at least 11 years ago, the air cyl. was $250...the 5 way valve $65 and the two way was $15...every thing else was scrounged.
   - larry - Sunday, 09/11/11 19:59:50 EDT

Kiinyon-style hammer : If you're in the right area and patient enough you can probably scrounge well enough to put one together for under a grand. If you're not so lucky though, it will considerably more. Just no way to predict other than to give a cost for buying everything new.

I would suggest that you mentally commit to spending two grand for the hammer. That way you are free to scrounge to your heart's content but prepared to pay what you need to in order to get high quality components and not have to make too many compromises on things like anvil to tup ratio, good air flow, smooth control, etc.

If you go for the low buck options you wind up with bad compromises on air components and that really hurts the hammer's effectiveness. You want valves with high enough c.v.'s and those cost a good bit more than the bargain ones. You want to do as much as possible with hard piping rather than hoses, too, as this really affects how the hammer cycles. Lots of guys use a ball valve for the throttle control, but ball valves have terrible flow profiles - a butterfly valve is far better and not much more expensive. I'd think good air components would end up amounting to about a grand at retail, perhaps a couple hundred less. The steel for the frame, anvil and tup will be a thousand pounds, so you can figure that based on price/availability in your are.

Can you do the machine work yourself? If you have to have ti done that can add a couple or three hundred bucks to the cost. Likewise for the welding.
   Rich - Sunday, 09/11/11 20:01:43 EDT

Annealing VS Normalizing : Patrick, would not full annealing more likely produce spheroidized carbides rather than the lamellar perlitic structure? A process anneal might produce pearlite but I think it depends upon carbon content and cooling rate. However, you eloquently explained why annealing prior to hardening is exactly the wrong thing to do.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 09/11/11 20:31:39 EDT

DIY Hammer Construction Costs : The hardest stock to come up with is the anvil and ram material. Shorting the anvil mass is the biggest failing of many DIY hammers. Our current project hammers have built up anvils. One of each type in the linked article. Neither was a real bargain but we did not have to find 12" diameter shafting or pieces of 6"+ plate and get it cut to length.

We bought new stock for the 10" x 10" x 32" (900 lb.) anvil. Multiply that by hot roll price per pound. It also has a 2" thick cap that cost $100 cut to size plus flat bar for flanges and tie bars.

The round anvils are a combination of old stock I bought a decade ago and 20 feet of 2" square bar (272 lb.) to add to the outside. The round stock was old shafting 7-5/8" in diameter that I bought two eight foot pieces of. I paid $800 in 1999. It needed to be cut square and flat plus we needed a couple 1.25" thick flanges cut from it. Since it would not fit our little saw and squareness was critical we paid $150 to have it cut plus had to haul it 30 miles there and back. In a 7MPG truck that is an added cost. We had other stock cut for about a total of $300 in cutting fees for two hammers.

The rams in our project hammers are 3.5" x 5" x 18". We got two out of a 3 foot piece of cold finish steel purchased new. That was also not cheap. About $400 plus freight. Guides (heavy box type) were made from 3/4" x 6" CF bar. We did all the sawing, drilling and machining. The guide inserts were machined but the rest relied on the precision of the CF bar.

When I was buying stock I was spending like crazy and was afraid to total up the costs. . . The goal was to build one hammer with all new material and another similar hammer with what we had on hand. There was only a proportionally small savings on the second hammer.

I've got enough structurals and odd plate to probably build 10 Junk Yard Hammers. Its the anvil and ram stock that is tough to come by.

And don't forget that you are going to need a lot more air compressor than you have now to run that hammer.
   - guru - Sunday, 09/11/11 20:39:13 EDT

Hofi hammer : Is the Hofi hammer really worth the price and where is a good place to buy one? Thanks
   L. Gross - Sunday, 09/11/11 21:50:13 EDT

Hamon : Alan: Thanks for the spell check. I am truly much better with my hands than my literary skills. what kind of clay is used to differentially temper (is that the right term or is that slang I have picked up talking with guys that think they know what there talking about, hens the miss pronunciation of hamon) I have to say this is the first place I have found to correspond with people that know the right answer to my questions. And the correct terms. One more quick question what is the difference in quenching with water and oil.
   Kip Kaiser - Sunday, 09/11/11 22:55:52 EDT

Oil is a slower softer quench used for steels that would crack if water quenched. Then you have air quench steels that merely need to cool in air or with a fan blowing to harden. In thin sections some oil quench steels will air quench and in heavy sections some oil quench steels need water quench.
   - guru - Monday, 09/12/11 00:10:17 EDT

Clay : Kip, I asked the local brick company to get me a bag of clay. They have shipments of various stuff brought in on truck, and they just threw a bag of clay in with the shipment. On the bag it says " pearlite ".
   Mike T. - Monday, 09/12/11 00:21:21 EDT

Article : Patrick Nowak,
Thanks for your eloquent article on normalizing-annealing. I copied and pasted this in my documents.
   Mike T. - Monday, 09/12/11 00:26:46 EDT

Normalizing-Quenching : Let me ask this. After forging the steel, it is then normalized to remove the streses. Then reheated to non-magnetic and quenched to re-harden without the stresses. Then tempered.
   Mike T. - Monday, 09/12/11 00:36:08 EDT

Mike that is correct for some steels, but not for others. It always pays to look up the specific steel. If you are making your own or a laminated variety then you have to compare the different treatments for each steel and try to find the best treatment for the whole. This often means using the overlap in working temperature ranges and narrowing the spec for what you have produced.
   - guru - Monday, 09/12/11 01:20:51 EDT

Perlite :
Perlite is a unique volcanic mineral which expands from four to twenty times its original volume when it is quickly heated to a temperature of approximately 1600-1700 degrees F. It is generally sold in this expanded condition as a soil conditioner.

Perlite is added to foundry core and molding sand mixtures as a cushioning agent to compensate for the expansion of crystalline silica as it goes through phase changes at temperatures in excess of 1000°F (540°C). Casting defects such as buckles, veining, fissuring and penetration are minimized and cleaning room costs are reduced. In addition, perlite improves permeability of core sands thus reducing defects attributable to poor venting.
   - guru - Monday, 09/12/11 01:33:04 EDT

Clay for Japanese Heat Treating : Not just any clay will work. The clay used is a porcelain or refractory type with a high degree of alumina. It also must have a low shrinkage factor and stick to metal.

The clay is applied to the entire blade in a thin layer to provide insulation preventing parts of the blade from getting hot enough to harden. The clay is removed (shaved) from the edge of the blade using a scraper. The wavy edge of the hammon line is determined by the way the clay is removed.

The blade is then heated and quenched, only the edge becoming fully hard. The difference in the crystal structure between the hard and soft steel is what creates the hammon (more or less)

It is said that one Japanese bladesmith could produce a hammon that looked like a series of cresting waves.

Differential Heat Treating is a different process or a variety of processes. A part can be heated in its entirety and partially quenched. A part can be partially heated and then quenched as in flame hardening or induction hardening
   - guru - Monday, 09/12/11 02:28:54 EDT

A decent substitute for proper clay is Rutland's furnace cement. It's hard to remove, though. A lot of people use Satanite, a refractory mortar.

As the Guru said, the clay is only a thin layer, never more than about 3/32" / 2mm. The smith controls the heat, the shallow-hardening steel creates the differential structure, and all the clay does is gently guide the line.

When quenching oh, say, a katana blade (I know that's what you really want to make!), the steel used will dictate the quench medium. Water is traditional, but even the best smiths lose one out of every four blades in water. So why use it?

The curve in a katana blade is not forged in by the smith. The blade is straight when it goes into the quench. The expansion of the fully hardened edge due to the crystalline structure (face-centered cubic), followed by the contraction of the back with its softer crystalline structure (body-centered cubic) creates the curve. It's basically a controlled warp. This controlled warpage is highly dependent on the rate of quench speed. Water being a very fast quench creates the proper warp. If you do everything exactly the same, but use oil for the quench, the blade will curve downwards towards the edge instead of upward away from the edge. This reverse curve will be greater the slower the oil. There are specialty quenching oils that are almost as fast as water at the start, but which cushion the blow in the middle of the curve, so to speak. These don't cause as much of a downward curve, but it's still there.

Therefore, if you must use an oil quench on that type of blade (single edged with a strongly wedge-shaped cross-section) you will have to compensate for the nosedive in the quench by pre-curving the blade upwards more than you want it to end up.
   Alan-L - Monday, 09/12/11 09:09:37 EDT

I should add that ALL single-edged wedge-shaped blades do nosedive when quenched in whatever medium, but it's the speed of the water quench that allows the back to contract and pull up the edge. Oil is too slow to do that, so the edge never comes back up.

I had a fully flat-ground damascus steel highland dirk blade nosedive a full 1/4" from point to tang once. I had to regrind it, losing about an inch in overall length. I hate when that happens!
   Alan-L - Monday, 09/12/11 09:15:00 EDT

"Do you know the mystery of steel, boy?" James Earl Jones as Thulsa Doom in the original Conan the Barbarian (1982 - A much more entertaining movie than the new release. . .).

Doom's reply is the opposite of what Conan has been taught his entire life. Doom tells Conan that flesh is stronger than steel, meaning the power of the mind to control others.

But philosophically there IS a lot of mystery to steel. Without it we could have no technology greater than that of the stone and bronze age. Nothing with significant motive power. No high rise buildings. No great ships. No mass production. Even aircraft that are mostly aluminum must have steel engine parts to fly. THose in our U.S. government has no appreciation for the fact that making steel is one of the most important things a technological society needs to do. It will be our downfall. It is the basis for ALL wealth in modern society.

I tell newbie metalworkers, "Steel is like rubber except when apposed to flesh." You can put a sensitive dial indicator on a heavy steel shaft and push against it with one finger and see it flex.

Then you have the fact that the modulus of elasticity of all steel is identical whether high carbon or low, hard of soft. The springiness is the same, the yield point (where it deforms) is different. The shaft in the above flexes the same if mild steel or tool steel. One of those mysteries. . .

Steel is generally becomes stronger the more carbon it has but then at one point is goes all to pieces and becomes brittle relatively weak cast iron. . .

Steel is magnetic until heated to the transformation point. The higher the carbon and the harder the steel the stronger and more permanent a magnet it makes. Pure iron while magnetic does not magnetize.

Steel CAN be melted in jet fuel fire despite that idiot Rosie O'Donnell's claims on national television that there was a conspiracy and something else caused the collapse of the Word Trade Center Towers. And the idiots around her let her get away with it.

The fact that steel can be extracted with, melted with and formed with carbon based fuels (wood, charcoal, coal, oil. . .) and that our atmosphere has JUST the right amount of oxygen that a forge needs is so extraordinary that it could make a non-believer believe that the hand of God was involved in man's accent into technology.

Frank Turley says that tool steel laughs at you when you try to work with it. In several cultures a lot of prayers were said to the gods to let there be success in the different stages of making something from steel.

Adding to the mystery is myth and legend. Most are false. Probably the greatest myth is that the ancient sword smiths could make better blades than today. Nothing is farther from the truth. Today's bladesmiths have better steel, understand the metallurgy and even produce artistically superior work. Just remember the results of taking a knife to a gun fight. . .

Part of those same myths is that they produced better materials long long ago. . . But all that hand work, the laminating and forging and reforging and even the special heat treating was because they had terrible material and had to do all that to produce a usuable product. Today's steels are far superior, more uniform and well understood. AND much more economical.

One steel alloy, 300 series stainless, has replaced silver in many of its more common applications including table ware and some jewelery. While it is only slightly more economical in some cases and more expensive than silver in others it is more durable and low maintenance. Stainless tableware stays bright and shiny for decades under the worst of conditions. No polishing required. Just throw it into the dishwasher.

Steel, from "black iron" to a noble metal replacement.
   - guru - Monday, 09/12/11 13:19:07 EDT

Hofi Hammer : L. Gross, Big Blue sells a Hofi hammer. I love mine. Learn how he recommends holding and swinging it, too.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 09/12/11 14:01:52 EDT

L.Gross, YES! to some people and NO! to others. Can you tell me if I'd like a certain thing without knowing my likes and dislikes?

Mike T. The problem with the Semi brake drum forge is that it's too deep, the hot spot is way down from the top so if you want to heat a 3' bar in the middle and the width of the drum is 2'---how do you get the middle of the bar over a foot down in the drum? Adding a lid doesn't change the width and depth---it does make it harder to stick stuff vertically down into the hot spot though.
   Thomas P - Monday, 09/12/11 14:17:53 EDT

Quenching/Hofi Hammers : Alan - the edge of an edge quenched knife/katana is going to be martensite - crystal structure is body centered tetragonal. It will only be austenitic - crystal structure of face centered cubic when above critical in the austenitic state. Face centered cubic is actually more space effective than body centered cubic, or body centered tetragonal. Of the 3, BCT is least space efficient. Body centered cubic would correspond to ferritic and pearlite microstructures - probably lower bainite as well. I'm not certain about upper bainite, I'll have to check some manuals.
So right explanation, wrong crystalline structure.

Doug Merkel also produces a Hofi style hammer and usually has them for sale at Quad State. L. Gross, if you're near Troy, Ohio you should check out Quad Sate, the weekend of Sept. 24 an 25 (actually starting Friday Sept. 23. Google SOFA & Quad State for info.
   - Gavainh - Monday, 09/12/11 17:43:46 EDT

Styles of Hammers and Preferences : I've been using hammers since my age was in single digits. . . now over 50 years in multiple fields (carpentry, wood and stone sculpture, auto body, blacksmithing). I've used the wrong hammers for a lot of jobs and the right hammers and mallets for a lot of jobs. Which are right and wrong are sometimes a very personal preference.

Among those preferences is, I like a common oval handle, not rectangular, not flat, not round but the standard shape, which by the way developed over hundreds of years before it was adopted by handle factories.

I like a 16oz. carpentry hammer with fibreglass shank and rubber grip. I used a Plumb to build several buildings but then I misplaced it and the replacements never felt right. I have since found it again. . . A good fibreglass handle has the same spring as a wooden one. Many are made much too stiff and cludgy. Fine (not gross) details in the shape of the head and crowning of the face make a big difference. The same hammer was used for framing, trim, roofing, forming. . . The only time another hammer was used was when I needed to drive some 8" (200mm) spikes, then I picked up a big blacksmiths hammer.

When I was young I did a lot of wood sculpture with the absolute worst tools, A 3" wide steel straight chisel and a 12oz carpenters hammer. . . plus some rasps, plane and spokeshave. Years later I made my own gouges and used a large wheelwright style wooden mallet (which I also made) with them. Big U shaped gouges are THE "cat's pajamas" when it comes to wood carving. . . Later I added round carver's mallets to the carving kit. While I use these some I prefer my flat faced rectangular mallet. But that is often a matter of what you are used to using and sometimes those tools you've made for yourself will always be your favorites.

I use standard American pattern blacksmith hammers with the standard long handles which I use from within 4" of the head to all the way to the end. When I worked every day at the forge I used a 3 pound (1360g) hammer for everything from forging leaves and scrolls from 1/4" (7mm) round up to tapering 1" square. Even when you have a rack full of hammers it seems to be more efficient and easier to work with the same hammer for everything, at least at one work station such as at the anvil.

For light riveting, sheet metal work, center punching. . I use ball peen hammers. A few smiths use these for forging. I have ball peens from 2oz. (57 g) up to several pounds in about 16 sizes. Many of these sizes are no longer made even though they are very handy.

I also have a pecking hammer, a light body work sheet metal hammer that I've used since I was 16. It has an octagon handle that I am not entirely happy with but it follows industry standards in taper and curve so it does not feel that odd. The pecking hammer has a large plannishing end and a small slender round ended round peen on the other. If I have sheet metal work to do of any kind I pick it up.

Centuries ago the Europeans preferred a hammer with all the mass forward of the handle. This included hand hammers and sledges. While these have generally lost favor they are still the form used by Japanese smiths and their followers, sawyers, file cutters world wide, and are indispensable for doing deep dishing or repousse' work. The English boilermaker's hammer is also still a similar form.

I have a friend, a professional blacksmith for over 40 years, who absolutely insists that the Swedish pattern hammer is THE hammer. He asks "What is 'ergonomic' about a hammer that does not feel right when you pick it up and have to learn to like?".

There are three important factors in hand hammers. One is that they are an extension of your arm and hand and must feel right to YOU. The other is that one tends to get used to whatever tool they use and develop a preference for it. The last is that traditional hammer and handle design has a 7,000 year or more history. During most of that history the hand hammer was THE mover of all technology. Many hammers, such as the Swedish hammer are known to have been unchanged for a thousand years. Stone carving hammers are depicted in works over 2,000 years old and show little change in form. Those shown in Ancient Greek bas-relief are graceful beautiful tools indicating a lot of thought about their form.

After all these thousands of years many fad tools have come onto the market. Every field has them. They come and most go. It's something to think about.

Besides BigBLU (who makes them) Blacksmiths Depot also sell an "ergonomic" hammer. You will find a variety of prices and difference adherence to style. Blacksmiths Depot also sell French, German, Swedish and Spanish style hammers.
   - guru - Monday, 09/12/11 18:31:10 EDT

Quenching : GavainH: D'oh!

I always get those mixed up, sorry! I am what Quenchcrack calls a "But Metallurgist:" "I'm not a metallurgist, BUT" (insert self-deprecating laughter here...)
   Alan-L - Monday, 09/12/11 18:41:10 EDT

Hand hammers : I have also used hammers since my single digit years. I too prefer the standard pattern handle, but since I suffered some hand injuries, I have had to modify my handles. I placed a small flat down each side and use beeswax on the handles to make them a little sticky. This allows my fully functional third and forth finger to do about 85% of the grip since the first and second are not fully functional. The flat gives a good spot for the balls of my finger tips to get a grip on that beeswaxed surface.
For heavy drawing I prefer a power hammer, but at demo's I like a diagonal peen as it keeps my elbows in line and comfortable.
I have tried the Hofi style, and for me at least I do not find them an improvement.
I find that Nathan Robertson, of Jackpine makes an exceptional value in a dedicated blacksmiths hammer and is also at Quad State.
   ptree - Monday, 09/12/11 19:17:23 EDT

status in life : Doc says I'm gonna live. Got something growing in my head that shouldn't be. No surgery after all, just meds. Doc says to keep forge going to exercise brain, hand-eye, muscles and such. Guess there's hope.
Geezers Forge is still going!
   - Keith - Monday, 09/12/11 19:47:26 EDT

Handle Adjustments : I know a lot of smiths that either make their own handles or make adjustments to them. There are pro's and cons to this. A common blacksmiths method is to lightly char the handle in the forge and scrape the char off and repeat until you have the desired fit. The heat also hardens the wood.

I used a handle I had made for a couple years that was flat on the sides. Other handles felt weird and I avoided them even when I needed a larger of smaller hammer. But then I had to replace the handle and had a factory spare. In short order I was back to feeling comfortable with the oval handle. The thing about using a standard is that I have dozens of hammers in the shop that all feel right AND if I go into someone else's shop any common hammer fits me.
   - guru - Monday, 09/12/11 19:57:37 EDT

Wow a Dr's prescription to spend time at the forge! (did you have to slip him an extra 50 for that?)

Remember it's not the length of life but the enjoyment of it that counts---so go have fun!

Hand hammer: I went to the State Fair to demo over the weekend and I selected one of my old favorites to use---it's a bit lighter than my "move some metal" hammer but as I didn't know how long I'd be swinging I wanted one I could use all day and then again the next without pain.

I will say that I like my handles to have terminal bulges as I can lighten up my grip without worrying if the hammer's going to get slung across the shop.

Hammers are like spouses what's suits one person might not another *and* your tastes may change over time---I picked up my swedish crosspeen cheap from a fellow who had bought it when it was the current fad and then decided he didn't like it.

See all y'all at Quad-State! But I'll be breaking in a new hat.

   Thomas P - Monday, 09/12/11 20:08:11 EDT

handle it well : This topic is so personal, what works for me might not for another smith. I like to use ALL my stick and develop a callus on my palm from the end. The length of my hammer handle I determine by holding the head in my upturned palm and cutting the stick to just fit inside my elbow. I prefer a flattened oval shape at the grip just big enough that my fingertips just touch my palm. I have used a flap disc on a grinder to get the handle close to finished,then planed it with a piece of broken glass. The sears crosspeen hammer comes with a stick that is too long and too fat for my tastes, but is a good weight for forging and soft enough that misses do not ding my anvil. I soften the edges of the hammer head and peen as well with the sanding wheel.
   - danny arnold - Monday, 09/12/11 20:36:27 EDT

Status in Life : Keith, Sounds like you had a scare. Happens. . . Makes one look at their priorities. A cheerful outlook is one of the healthiest things you do. If you are worried about the big C my guys say a vegetarian diet is the way to go. See the Health and Safety page.
   - guru - Monday, 09/12/11 20:50:31 EDT

Keith : I have been living with stage 4 cancer for 7 1/2 years, and I am on chemotherapy most of the time.

Do what Your Dr. tells You, and keep Your general health up as best You can.

There is NO FUTURE in giving up easily.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 09/12/11 23:55:45 EDT

Hammers : I have seen different people use hammers of all shapes & sizes to do good work. People have there preferences, but there is little rhyme or reason to it, as each will claim the same benifits from different shapes.

The only really valid complaint I have heard of the Hofi shape is that it won't stand up on end due to the bulge on top. Those who use them just don't try to stand the hammer up on end when not in use.

Dan Boone uses a Plumb crosspeen [2 or 2 1/2#?], says it is a good hammer and doesn't cost a whole lot. Works well for Him.

Most inexpensive hammers will need some dressing to the working surfaces, a few minutes on a belt sander, and it is done.

If a handle isn't to Your liking, reshape it or change it.

My Dad was a really good carpenter, He wore out a lot of Plumb 16 oz claw hammers between '46 when He started and '04 when He passed. He used them for most everything, framing included. He was reluctant to go to the fiberglass handles, but eventually did. This required wearing a hammer hoop rather than just sliding it under His nail bag strap.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 09/13/11 00:14:35 EDT

health : Thanks, It's not cancer. growth from head trauma. Been creeping up on me.
Thomas P.----Only had to promise some custom plant hangers for the deck......also some forging lessons.
   - Keith - Tuesday, 09/13/11 00:31:52 EDT

Hammer Styles : I am one who prefers the Czech-style, Habermann-style, Hofi-style hammer, whatever you want to call it. It is not by any means a new design; in fact it is very old. It works nicely for me, particularly the shorter handle versions as I have some connective tissue issues that prevent me from comfortably using a long-handled hammer for most forging.

I have one Czech-style hammer I got form BigBlu when they were still dealing with Hofi. I have another I got from John Elliot and a third I got from Kayne's. The BigBlu one is is the best made, and was also far and awy gthe most expensive of the lot. I got it before I met Nathan Robertson of Jackpine Forge, a great hammer-maker from Minnesota and a terrific guy to boot. Any hammers I purchase these days come from Nathan, as his hammers are half the cost of the Hofi hammers and just as well made. All his hammers are hand-forged from carbon steel and have properly-fitted handles. Nathan dresses the hammer faces so you don't really need to do anything to them prior to using them. He'll be at the NEB meet in Willimantic, CT this weekend and QuadStates in Troy, Ohio the following weekend. If you're pretty patient, he also takes custom orders. (grin)

I'm planning to be at both those meets, weather permitting. Hot damn, a *real* vacation! No ICU, no IV's, no scalpels, just fun and forging. Way better than last year!
   - Rich - Tuesday, 09/13/11 02:08:18 EDT

Just be sure to wear hip boots and hydrate *well* before visiting Nathan's hammer booth, the drool crests pretty high there and dehydration from drooling *is* a possibility!

See all y'all at Quad-State. I leave Friday after work for it!

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 09/13/11 12:27:38 EDT

GURU : You said you were a wood carver. If you get a chance to use a chainsaw carvers saw with an 8" long (short) bar with a dime size diameter tip check it out. It's almost like using a small paint brush for painting portraits.
   Carver Jake - Tuesday, 09/13/11 14:14:13 EDT

The other about Nathan's hammers is buy early, as his truckload is greatly diminished quickly. Good value is shown by how fast they fly off his tables.
His high quality as a friend to all is shown by the folks that hang out in the shade by his tables:)
   ptree - Tuesday, 09/13/11 15:30:33 EDT

Wood Carving : Jake, That has been a long time ago. Now days I am more like to dabble in foundry patterns or musical instruments with some small carving.

Kithara Parts by Jock Dempsey
Kithara Tortoise Bridge and Arm carving, 1997

Sculpture by Jock Dempsey
The sculpture 15" tall at left is made from laminated pine. I started it in 1964 when I was about 13 and finished it 2 years later working on it in spurts. It was done with two straight chisels (a 2" and a 3/4"), several rasps and a lot of sand paper. The finish is bowling alley wax and shoe polish.

The sculpture was carved from a rectangular solid 12" x 12" x 15" and reduced to half its starting mass using fairly inefficient tools. I MAY have trimmed some off with a hand saw but it was a LONG time ago.

The tool I have seen that looked handy for this scale work was the chain saw "wheel" to fit 4-1/2" angle grinders. Die grinders also speed things up a LOT

The tortoise bridge symbolizing the tortoise shell origins of the Greek Lyre is carved from 5 pieces of ebony. The legs are two inlet pieces that the bridge stands on. The head and tail are glued into round sockets. The piecing was to reduce the size of the piece of ebony needed and to have the grain in the strong direction in both feet and bridge. All the pieces were blocked out on a bandsaw and then carved with a Dremel tool. The head was roughed out with a jeweler's saw. The bridge insert is bone in a routed groove. Took about a day to make. This was one of the last creative carvings I've made in wood. I have a project on paper to make an Irish harp with the forearm carved into an angle, its wings making the upper arm. . . ANOTHER project.

But my next carving is most likely to be foundry patterns. I blank out or profile most carvings using a bandsaw and drill press. When things are profiled on two axiis the rest goes very fast compared to reducing the whole into chips. On patterns I usually glue two full scale drawings to a rectangular blank. Cut one axis, tape the drops on to support the block, then saw the other axis.

That's how this pattern was made. After sawing out the round part was turned on the lathe and a turned sprue added. A little filing and sanding and it was finished. Fast and efficient.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/13/11 16:44:18 EDT

A few years ago, National Geographic had a big article on the (American) Civil War. Near the end of the magazine was a photo of a shell factory that was obviously more recent. And something I couldn't quite put my finger on said it wasn't taken in the U.S.

After studying the picture for a few minutes I gave up and read the caption. It was taken in France during WW I. Only then did I realize that the clue (or at least one of them) was a prominently featured French-pattern hammer.
   Mike BR - Tuesday, 09/13/11 20:35:28 EDT

air hammer cost revisited : Thanks Larry,Rich & the Guru for sharing all your experiences building air hammers: pneumatic & steel components, alternatives on construction, machining, cutting, shipping and the costs of all. It gave me a lot more to think about, Wow, well I did say that I was "thinking" about an air hammer. With that information in mind, I got a much better picture of what was involved here and amazingly an Appalachian power hammer started looking much more feasible:-) Simpler fabrication, lower tech, no larger compressor requirement, less dinero &time etc. So if I'm working with 1" square stock, something like 3/8 x 1 1/4"? flat Maximum for things like tables, window/door grills, fireplace sets, damascus, my own tool making a 35-50 lb that plugs into a wall socket might just be the way to go. Lowest common denominator-something that doesn't need a break and is faster than me! Thoughts on this? I'll search the archives, too. Thanks again.

   Robert Oram - Tuesday, 09/13/11 22:55:34 EDT

Appalachian hammer : Sounds like it would do fine for you, Robert. Jeff Reinhardt (ptree) has one and gets excellent service from it. He'd be the guy I'd talk to about one.
   Rich - Tuesday, 09/13/11 23:53:26 EDT

Appalachian hammer : Rich: I thought so. Glad to hear it & thanks for the referral.
   Robert Oram - Wednesday, 09/14/11 00:14:52 EDT

Guided helve spring hammer : The Appalachian-Rusty-Powell Patent hammer is indeed the one I built. I have been designing machinery since about 1978, and when I saw a small 12# version at Tipton Indiana many years ago, I thought piece of cake. I built mine and have developed it since. Mine is currently a 70# ram, removable bolt on dies and uses a compact spare tire clutch.
I used the basic idea of ram/slide from the tire hammer. After building this hammer I can reccomend it to anyone who does not have extensive machine shop access. I used an excellent cheat on all the pivots available to the good scrounger, in that I used the rear pivots from hydraulic clyinders and rod end clevis's from the same. I machined not a single sprin pivot and got precision, forged steel pivots.
My cost was very low as I am a scrounger and have graat access to post industrial surplus. I am my local blacksmith group find the tire clutch and leaf spring design to yeild a very very controlable, hard hitting hammer.
Note these hammers REQUIRE a safety guard over the spring for the evential spring breakage. Makes the event a non-happening.
   ptree - Wednesday, 09/14/11 07:44:24 EDT

Note on Spare Tire Clutches :
A number of folks with the heavier "Tire Hammers" have worn out tires. The wear occurs at one spot where the clutch is slipped the most starting the machine. The problem is that the compact spare tire is very expensive as a replacement tire AND most tire shops will tell you they cannot be changed without special equipment. Finding an identical used replacement can also be problematic. It took us several weeks to find two matching wheels to make two identical hammers. . .

There is an easy way around this. Just use a small 13" regular tire and wheel combination. They are more readily available than the used compact spares which are in high demand, work fine, are easily changeable and replacements are inexpensive even if you buy new (compared to new compact spares). Another advantage is that a standard 13" 80 series tire is a couple inches in diameter smaller than most of the commonly available compact spares which replace 14 or 15" tires. The smaller diameter makes it easier to get your machine to run at the right speed without a large diameter pulley.

   - guru - Wednesday, 09/14/11 08:38:49 EDT

I happen to like the larger diameter compact spare as it provides more weight at a large OD. In a flywheel the weight at the od is where the energy is stored. The flywheel effect is very important in making a smooth running mechanical hammer. Since the mini-van axles I used are wildly populaar, the bearing hub assy are easy to find or buy as new replacements. If you feel that you don't want the compact spare, go with the full 14" or 15" wheel tire and gain an easy to find tire and that critical flywheel effect.
By the way, mine is in it's 9th year of use, and I have not seen any wear to indicate trouble in the tire. I also run my hammer at a nice controlable 180 to 200 stroke/minute.
I would also tell folks that the best way to set up a tire clutch is to use the center of a second wheel to weld the pivot to and then use that portion of wheel center having 3 lug bolt holes to mount to the full wheel using the standard lug bolts.
By using a rear axle hub assy i got a Timken double tapered bearing with grease seals assy, with a ready made bolt up as the back flange is tapped 4 places. And I recently bought 2 of these at the local junk yard for $40. The last new replacement hub assy I bought was $85 at Autozone about 3 years ago.
   ptree - Wednesday, 09/14/11 10:34:44 EDT

Information for a calendar : Hi there. I would like some advice, please. I have an uncle who is a keen amateur blacksmith. As something special for him for Christmas I want to produce a calendar/almanac which as well as the dates etc. contains useful information, anniversaries etc. related to blacksmithing or metal working generally.

Now I know *nothing* about blacksmithing or metalworking. So I'd like suggestions as to what could be included. So I imagine that (for example) 23 November would have a note that it was St. Clement's Day (patron saint of blacksmiths), or perhaps one month might include a phase diagram for iron or a table of screw threads or something. If you had a calendar hanging in your forge or workshop what information would you find useful on it?
   Farenheit 2800 - Wednesday, 09/14/11 14:48:47 EDT

Calendars - Gifts : Tim, Maybe all the above. . . Please take my comments for what they are worth. I am not a calendar person. If I can't see several months at a time (or the whole year) AND its big enough to write on its not worth much to me. .

Back when I was doing weekend Crafts events I made my own "craftsman's" calendar. This had the spring-summer season on one page and big blocks for three day weekends (Fri, Sat, Sun) that could be written on. The rest of the week saw narrow blocks just big enough to note the date. I made these by hand for about 5 years. Yea. . I'm a DO IT MY WAY guy.

Useful dates depend on where you are and are hard to ferret out far enough in advance for a calendar. Things like the dates of the major blacksmithing conventions ABANA (US) BABA (UK) others in Europe (Castle ???), major regional North American events such as SOFA Quadstate, the Southeast Conference, Grapevine TX. . But many of these do not post the date till well into the year. Most are the same weekend of the month but not always. . . Otherwise your typical national holidays (Boxer Day, The Queens birthday. . .)

One popular blacksmiths calender has blacksmith photos from the 1800's and early 1900's. But these required a lifetime collection of photos and post cards. Others have had rare and collectable tool photos. These are also hard to come by without stealing them. Again, a large lifetime collection is required.

The three useful wall posters I use all the time are the Tempil Guide (metal temperature phase diagram), Drill and Tap chart, and a fraction to decimal chart with number and letter drill sizes (A-Z, 1-80). These are large permanent posters that I refer to often, not calendar pages that would get turned over. The later two were give aways 30 years ago and are now sold for $12 each plus shipping. . .

The only wall calender I ever had in my shop was a Ridgid Tools Calender (sort of like the Pirelli Calendar) but a little more overt (American - Girls holding the tool in suggestive poses). Seems I had the same month of the same year showing for a decade or so. . . I'll hang it again when I have a weather tight shop area.

If your Uncle needs references a Machinery's Handbook is useful in all kinds of metalworking environments. Their First Edition replica is a fine gift and 99.99% of the information is still valid, especially in the blacksmith shop. AND it sells for half the price of a current edition.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/14/11 17:18:16 EDT

I miss those Rigid Cheesecake calenders:) And the several other brands as well.
   - ptree - Wednesday, 09/14/11 19:33:17 EDT

Hammers and Flywheels : I've found my 100 pound hammer is about right at 290 BPM (a little faster than a 100 pound LG). I aimed at LG speed because I did not know how the hammer was going to perform. A Fairbanks 100 runs over 300. You can always slip the clutch to get a slower speed but you cannot go faster without changing pulleys.

Power hammer speed is one of those things that depend on experience and type of work. A slow hammer is easier to keep up with and better for picky work. It also has less trouble with dynamics. But a faster hammer will do heavy drawing and long work with less heats. The lighter the hammer the faster they should go for two reasons. 1) Dynamically the CAN run faster. 2) Being light they need more speed to get the work done, particularly on lighter stock which cools faster.

That said, DIY hammers should probably not be built to go as fast as commercial machines.

Power hammers need some flywheel but not too much. Many folks have asked about putting flywheels from old machinery such as hit or miss engines on power hammers. This is not the right thing to do. While a flywheel smooths the operation it also makes it hard to accelerate up to speed AND to stop. Stopping is generally the more critical. Most power hammers stop pretty quick without a brake but a heavy flywheel will leave them running too long. If you add a brake then the machine will stop faster but you definitely don't want too much flywheel mass. Ideally a flywheel would be on the motor side of the drive with the clutch in between. However, this adds parts and complexity to any design. Most power hammers have just enough counterbalance to act as a a flywheel and balance some of the reciprocating mass.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/14/11 20:49:01 EDT

Unless I'm missing something, with Ptree's method, if you start getting a worn spot on the tire, you could just unbolt the lug nuts and rotate it to a new position. And when you had 5 worn spots, you could have a tire place break the bead and rotate the tire on the wheel for 5 more.
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 09/14/11 21:35:36 EDT

Mike that is correct. Except that many tire places will not even try to break the bead on a compact spare. But five places is a pretty good rotation life. The worn "spots" may span 90 degrees. That is why I suggested a standard wheel and tire. The BIG problem on the regular Tire Hammer is they weld a plate to the front of the wheel. Then even if the tire COULD be changed, it cannot due to the modification. Nor can it be rotated on the bolt pattern.

On the standard tire hammer the solution is to put the wheel and tire at the back of the machine and run a shaft with pillow blocks. But this introduces the problem of having two flanges on one shaft -- added parts and expense. You can weld one on but the other needs to be keyed and pinned otherwise you could not get the shaft out of the bearings. . .

On my hammer design I used a short shaft with a flange on one end, the wheel mounted on the back of the flange, the crank to the front. All was fine and dandy on paper but we ran into a problem with the offset and center shape of the wheels we could find. Flat plate spoked wheels like those popular on trucks in the 1970's and still made for trailers would work but we had trouble finding those used and I could not get dimensional specs or even a response from those selling them. So we bit the bullet, cut the center out of the wheels we had and welded in a flat plate then bored and drilled the plate. Works fine but it was a lot of work. I now wish I had just gone ahead and designed a flat belt drive for the hammer and gotten completely away from the tire clutch design. With some redesign to the motor bracket the machine could still be changed to a flat belt clutch. But for the mean time we are going to run the tires until they wear out.

The design with crank wheel and pulley both at the front end of the shaft saves a lot of expense. The flange can be welded to the shaft then faced true. No keyways, no press fits and just one hub/flange.

While using stock off the shelf parts can produce significant cost savings (and junkyard parts even more) sometimes the overall result is better and easier with all custom designed and fabricated parts.

There is a big difference between a true junk yard build and DIY fabrication. On a junk yard build you don't really care about future maintenance and just weld things together so they work - do it as cheep as possible. On a fabricated machine you would like to think you can take it apart and repair it without redesigning the system. You may have spent a lot on steel like we did and have a lot invested in labor. After all that you would want a good long life (maintainable) machine.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/14/11 22:38:30 EDT

Tire hammer or Air hammer ? : John Fee has built a few of each, and commented that it is easier to build an air hammer because there are fewer parts to build.

I have not seen any of them, but I believe He built a fairly simple air hammer. The tire hammers were Dupont type linkages. A "Rusty" spring helve might be closer to equal work compaired to a simple air hammer.

Last weekend I saw Ralph Sproul demonstrating using a 75# long stroke Iron Kiss air hammer. The benifit of the long stroke and easy, fast trip valve ajustment makes for a really productive machine, but then again, few [if any] home built air hammers are refined to this degree.

Air hammers do use more electrical power and require a large compressor, but if You plan to sand blast Your work, You will need a large compressor anyway. A 5 HP 2 stage 80 gallon industrial compressor is marginal for a 100# air hammer, and marginal for sand blasting as well.
   - Dave Boyer - Thursday, 09/15/11 01:36:11 EDT

Calendars : Thanks, Guru, that's very useful information.

I'd never have thought of conventions or tradeshows! I don't think a girly calendar would be appropriate: I'll probably go down the interesting photos route. I'll certainly look up the Tempil Guide etc. for him as well.
   Farenheit 2800 - Thursday, 09/15/11 03:28:43 EDT

Air or Mechanical :
I think to do either right is a significant job. Both need good guides and a way to change dies makes a much more useful hammer. As originally noted, anvil material is tough. I could not reasonably meet the 15:1 ratio I wanted falling short at about 10:1. Other materials depend on if you are building junkyard style or from a plan. Working to detail plans always require specific materials.

Mechanical hammers DO have more parts which you must make or find substitutes for. Depending on your luck and availability of parts you may or may not have to do some machining on both types of hammers. We've made most of the parts for our mechanical hammers using a 1920's drill press and a little 6" Crafstman (hobby) lathe. But a few parts were made on a milling machine and the shaft flange turned on a larger lathe.

While air hammers seem simple most air cylinders are not made for this kind of high inertia service OR the velocities involved. Rings and seals frequently fail, connectors fail, valves wear out. The better commercial machines use parts that are NOT off-the shelf and are special made for them. While you might be able to purchase a similar cylinder with the same form factor the internals will not be the same.

The energy efficiency of a mechanical hammer compared to an air hammer is significant (between 3 and 5:1). I've had a 50 pound little giant that ran on 120v 3/4hp motor that could be plugged in almost anywhere. 1.5 HP will run a 100 pound hammer and while 240V is better they CAN be run on 120V. There is no waiting for it to pump up, no noise, no air leaks, no water drains.

On the other hand most air hammers are easier to control and have a shorter learning curve. If I could have any currently manufactured hammer I would have BigBLU's. I'd love to have a pair of BigBLU's in my shop and an Ingersol-Rand screw air compressor to supply them. But that is not in the cards for me.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/15/11 11:09:04 EDT

Hammer parts : On the Rusty style hammers the flywheel weigh makes for a VERY controllable slow hammer that is also smooth when run wide open. This is from experience. I started with a cast iron 3 groove sheave of about 23" diameter and a vee belt on the pittman crank, and the Vee running on the flat at the motor. That version with a 32# ram was not nearly as smooth or controllable as the next revision that has the tire clutch and 45# ram. I have been using this hammer hard, and have not seen ANY tire wear. I do NOT sit with the motor wheel rubbing the tire, I have springs to lift the motor well clear. I have a turned finish on the motor wheel, not knurled as I have seen on some.
Maybe here in Southern Indiana we have more access, but trailer wheels with almost no center offset are available at every Wal-Mart and TSC store. I did pick a known very popular vehicle to gain parts from. The junkyard I went too have a pile as big as a garage of compact spares they had pulled before crushing cars and they were $5 each.

Compressed air is always the most expensive energy source. Also easy to control. If you want a real cylinder for an air hammer just spec a NFPA rated cylinder, and since it will be built to spec, you can get any spec seals and cushions you want.
Having designed pneumatic equipment for many years and worked in a pnuematics R&D lab I would offer that of all the cylinders I have seen on hammers, none have stroke speed issues. Many have bad mounting that lead to rod side loading and that will kill a cylinder ASAP! Looks like seal failure, but it is piston scrubbing usually as well as rod failure.
Bad quality air is also hard on seals. Folks tend to blame the pneumatic components on a machine for failing, when it is usually bad design or bad air preparation quality.

Pounding out the Profits has hundreds of hammer designs and variations, all had something good and often several things bad.
Any forge hammer is a maintenance intensive machine, even the best Erie steam drop hammers, using the best design and materials and machineing and care will have to be rebuilt. OFTEN.
   ptree - Thursday, 09/15/11 18:19:36 EDT

I personally have never blamed "malaria" for pneumatic failures!

Hope to see some of y'all at Quad-State!

   Thomas P - Thursday, 09/15/11 18:39:43 EDT

While "bad air" or "Night air" was often blamed for all manner of illness, Malaria was eventually found to be mosquito borne:) ThomasP only you my friend:)
   ptree - Thursday, 09/15/11 18:59:38 EDT

Compact Spare clutch : If you eventually need to re-index your tyreclutch because the 4 or 5 lugbolt locations are worn off...
You dont need a tyreshop to break a bead on your compact spare tyre. (assuming compact spares can be taken loose from their rim. Realy I dont know, maybe they are somehow bonded to the rim? They are intended to be disposable afterall.)
Otherwise, I expect it would be pressed off the bead just like any other car tyre, And I think a large blacksmithvise or flypress could work fine for that job.
BTW, car tyres usually dont come off the bead like truck and tractor tyres using a hammer etc. It can be done, But along with the inner "safety ridge" and much softer sidewall, car tyres dont transmit much force from the sidewall to bead whilst hammering on the sidewall...
   - Sven - Thursday, 09/15/11 23:28:16 EDT

Changing Tires : Sven, I was in the tire business for quite a while. Normal auto tires can be changed with manual tools and are in fact much easier than truck tires due to the lighter side walls. I've changed everything from hand truck and wheelbarrow tires, to racing tires and classic car wire wheels (which I've also rebuilt) as well as heavy truck tires. Many of these did not fit any of the tire machines in the shop and had to be done entirely by hand. Many folks came to me with their pricey Porsche magnesium alloy wheels to hand change them because the tire machines often bent the soft light wheels.

I had an 1950 truck that had nearly original tires that were rusted on. . . Nothing would get them broken loose. I asked a truck tire shop about it and they said that when that happens you cut the tire off and saw the steel wire reinforced bead in two. That is what I had to do to 2 out of four tires on that truck.

A compact spare is an unusual beast. It is designed for triple the air pressure of a normal auto tire and has much heavier side walls (thus the speed/distance limitation). I suspect this has something to do with needing special equipment to change them.

When I buy an automobile the first thing I do is get a full size replacement wheel and tire. . .
   - guru - Friday, 09/16/11 09:24:41 EDT

[ Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]
Counter    Copyright © 2011 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC

Get anvilfire.com GEAR.

International Ceramics Products