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 October 1 - 7, 2010 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Would S7 bebbetter for punches?
   philip in china - Friday, 10/01/10 01:09:55 EDT

Be careful Steve, Ric might make you a straight razor but, he might also want to make it from actual Wootz steel that is made by the historically correct method from historically correct components from a certain time period of his choosing.
And he'll do it right there in his shop from scratch.
I spent two hours talking to him and an armour making friend of his at the Janesville knife show two years ago.

The man is very deep...
   - merl - Friday, 10/01/10 01:40:06 EDT


Yes - S-7 is just about the top of the line for punches. If you want them for hot punching, H-13 would have a slight edge and holding shape when hot, but S-7 will handle anything other than very thin hot chisel work if properly heat treated.
   - Rich - Friday, 10/01/10 01:58:24 EDT

S7 is a favorite among smiths because it is fairly easy to heat treat and is both heat and shock resistant. You have to be careful when forging it not to overheat but not to work too cold either. Frank Turley says tool steel laughs at you and will crack if cold steel is heated too fast or worked too cold. Warm the steel to uncomfortable to handle by hand before putting in the forge then stop forging at a red heat.
   - guru - Friday, 10/01/10 10:58:06 EDT

Any one got any information on restoring a worn plough share . cheers Barry
   barry - Friday, 10/01/10 12:26:25 EDT

Milne; did you read my post? I said I thought it might be cast iron. If it was cast iron the price would be way out of line. Do you not agree that that is too high a price for a cast iron anvil?

I also qualified it that I wasn't sure it was cast iron and I spent some "quality time" last night with "Anvils in America".

As a cast STEEL anvil that is quite a good price!

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/01/10 12:30:55 EDT

Barry; I'd check "Practical Blacksmithing" as it has a lot of infor from the period when reforging plowpoints was a standard job in farm country blacksmithing shop.

As I recall though the angle you want to end up at is actually dependent on local soils and made a difference with underpowered hand controlled plows. Modern are more likely to be set to a general setting and bull it's way through.

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/01/10 12:35:15 EDT

Thanks guys - is there a simple, quick, and easy way to determine if it is cast iron or cast steel?


   David Knapp - Friday, 10/01/10 13:03:37 EDT

David, A steel anvil will ring brightly when taped with a hammer or hard object. Cast iron may give a little ring but it will be more of a "clunk". These are definitely a steel anvil but there are Mexican foundries making cast iron anvils using old anvils as patterns.

The reason Thomas thought CI is the rust and general roughness. But I think the texture was due to the poor quality of the photographs.
   - guru - Friday, 10/01/10 14:02:13 EDT

Barry, Plow repair generally requires welding on a new steel edge to replace the worn off missing material (which can be a considerable amount) then reshaping to as much the original as possible. The "art" is recreating the shape. It helps a LOT to have an unworn example.
   - guru - Friday, 10/01/10 14:04:39 EDT

May I commend to your attention the ball bearing test that is described under the Anvils 5 as the Rebound Test.

This test will do more than differentiate between materials it will indicate if the face is hard enough and not one that has been annealed in a fire or refaced with a welder using mild rod...

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/01/10 15:28:15 EDT


Check "Testing Anvil Rebound" in the AnvilFire FAQ section. Just doing a little hammer bounce has saved me from some unfortunate errors.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 10/01/10 15:36:07 EDT

Thomas: Great minds... and almost equal speed... ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 10/01/10 15:37:31 EDT

I have a enco wood cutting bandsaw. It's slowest speed is 700 inches/min. I tried a lenox die master metal cutting saw blade to cut 1/4 inch annealed flat stock but the blade stopped cutting after profiling 4 knives. Was the stock not fully annealed or what? I am wondering if I should buy one of the portable bandsaw and set it on a bench to profile a knife. How would I set it up on a bench securely?

   Michael - Friday, 10/01/10 16:18:24 EDT

Thanks, one last question - I'm in the middle of nowhere - where would one typically go to buy a 1/2" ball bearing? Home depot or lowes?

Some kind of specialty store?


   David Knapp - Friday, 10/01/10 16:21:51 EDT

David, Neither, you need a 1" ball or close. Send me $10 and I'll mail you one (including postage).
   - guru - Friday, 10/01/10 17:25:44 EDT

The specialty store is called a scrap yard, or a place they work on cars and you can ask them for a ball bearing from a junked part or where they work on farm equipment, or cranes, oilfield equipment, or...

You can buy ball bearings new but WHY? (and for this usage the "out of spec" ones are a lot cheaper!)

Where is your nowhere? If it's Antarctica I can check with a friend and get a lead on possibilities....

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/01/10 17:35:02 EDT

Band Saw Blades: Michael, Is that inches per minutes OR Feet per minute. All American band saws and machinery are rated in FPM. 700 IPM = 58 FPM. . That is creepy slow and the only problem would be the hours it would take to cut the blanks. But if its 700 FPM you are running 3 to 6 times too fast for the best HSS metal cutting blade.

Wood cutting machines are for wood, metal cutting for metal. VERY few are made to do both OR do both well. Many years ago Rockwell (I think) made a dual purpose band saw. In wood cutting mode it was direct belt driven, but in metal cutting mode it ran through a worm gear drive. That is the only way to get the 20:1 difference between efficient wood cutting and slow enough for metal.

Other problems if it is not speed are how tight a curve you are cutting and lubrication. The normal Die Master blades are for cutting straight lines and will cut a very gentle curve. To cut tight curves requires a blade that proportionally fat, short in depth with a wide set. This provides clearance for making the cuts. Too deep a blade and you trash the teeth while making curves. You can use light lubrication on your blade but wood saws are no designed for the run off. I would spray WD-40 on the blade as it runs then clean up the tires and wheel areas after each use. The oil is good for most everything else.
   - guru - Friday, 10/01/10 17:45:11 EDT

Middle of No-Where While it is a long way to the neighbors and can be quite a distance in some places there is no-where in the U.S. that is THAT far out. If you have Internet service (and you must to be reading this), with a couple key strokes you can have almost anything you can imagine delivered anywhere in the U.S. I'm pretty much out in the sticks but I can get that ball bearing to you on the other side of the U.S. (to another place in the sticks) in 3 days for a couple dollars. It would actually be harder to get it to you in a big city. . .

Now. . In California, where the little anvil in question is located, there is NO place far enough from civilization unless you think that entails 24 hour taxi and pizza delivery service.
   - guru - Friday, 10/01/10 17:55:12 EDT

Wood-cutting bandsaws for metal:

I have been using, quite successfully, a knock-off of a Rockwell Model 14 for thirty years now. Th elowest speed on it is 700 sfpm and the Lenox Diemaster 2 blades hold up quite well. I do use a lubricant, specifically a tallow stick or wax/graphite stick. Cutting 1/4 annealed medium carbon steel is no problem. Cutting annealed high-carbon alloy steel does shorten blade life noticeably.

When using the Diemaster blades you must follow Lenox's break-in procedure to get maximum blade life. Proper tension is important as is choosing the appropriate tooth pitch for the stock you're cutting. For 1/4" stock a 10/14 pitch Varipitch blade would be my choice, followed by a 14/18 pitch. If cutting curves, I'd choose a 3/16" wide blade or 1/4" - any wider and you'll strip the corners off the teeth very quickly when cutting anything tighter than about a 10" radius curve. It is important to have your blade guides set properly and I find that the ceramic guides are superior to other solid guides and also superior to ball bearing guides for metal cutting.

   - Rich - Friday, 10/01/10 19:02:32 EDT

One key thing about sawing annealed tool steels is to MAKE CHIPS. If you let the cutter rub the work it will work harden a spot that will wreck even carbide cutters. So either cut or don't, no inbetween.
   - guru - Friday, 10/01/10 20:27:09 EDT

Thomas P,
Roger that brother...
   - Milne - Friday, 10/01/10 21:53:14 EDT

Cast Iron VS Cast Steel. I have to admit to learning something about this topic by experience. Not all cast iron is bad and not all cast steel is good. Cast DUCTILE (nodular) iron that has been properly heat treated makes a pretty good anvil. TFS anvils are cast ductile iron. They ring like a bell, too. Cast steel anvils that are low carbon and not heat treated are marginal anvils at best. The old Russian cast steel anvils were soft and also rang like a bell. An irritating, high pitched bell. Which is best is a funtion of what alloy is used and how well the manufacturer heat treats it. Like anything else, generalizations fall apart when you get to specifics.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 10/02/10 08:49:16 EDT

Where the serious issues come into play in the current market is those that call cast iron, steel, and junk anvils (no matter WHAT they are made of) "professional" quality anvils. In past years this was rampant on ebay along with outright forgery (one dealer has been caught several times stamping "Peter Wright" on vises and tools).

In the ;ate 19th and early 20th century they had cheap cast iron anvils with heat treated faces ("chilled cast iron"). But they were honestly sold as what they were along side other better grades of anvils. The difference was price and honest representation. But the thing to always remember is, just how many of those cheap anvils survived? Out of the thousands of anvils I've seen I have only seen one or two.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/02/10 16:49:43 EDT

Guru, yep, I remember Johnny8Acres and his many incarnations with those Russian Anvils he found in car trunks, garages, and maybe Egyptian Tombs, too. What a loser!
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 10/02/10 19:20:44 EDT

How do I break in the lenox diemaster blade on a enco woodcutting band saw. The instructions on the site talk about reducing the ratelforce 20-50 percent and then gradually increasing it to normal. I don't know what that means.
   Michael - Saturday, 10/02/10 19:26:02 EDT

Ferrofiles, especially Quenchcrack, The Guru Hisself, and Chris.

Thanks for your comments on Tumblers and removing scale. I sorta nodded off after reading the first few comments on my question, I finally woke up and will respond
First off, you gotta know someone called Quenchcrack would call out a liquid bath solution.

The comments about angles axis is well taken, I think I will stick with a roung horiz tumbler. I have seen angle iron used as flippers to keep the stuff moving. What was that about noise? I can't hear ya? The comment about an enclosure
is also well taken. Dang though, I have been collection small scraps (including punch plugs) for several years now.

I have seen garden tools, I call em hokers, but the short handled 3 prong soil stirers work good for finding your stuff in the chaff. I will invistigate centrifical extractor fans (the spell checker hates that one)

Once again Thanks for the info, Advante
Tim in Orygun
   - Tim in Orygun - Saturday, 10/02/10 19:57:53 EDT

Thanks for your answer Guru. Now I know I can straighten my vise, and even more important I know how it should be adjusted properly. I am glad I red the daily comic so I knew what a shop gorilla means.
Merci, Donald
   donald - Saturday, 10/02/10 21:01:34 EDT


The break-in procedure for the Lenox Diemaster blades indicates that you should use reduced *feed* pressure on the stock for the first several minutes of cutting. The purpose of this is to allow the teeth of the blade to lose the "wire" edge from sharpening and to work harden the teeth a bit. You don't want to reduce the pressure so much that you're not making chips, of course - therein lies the road to ruin on saw blades if you're cutting anything that work hardens. I recommend that the initial cutting for break-in be done on mild steel only. No stainless, chrome/moly steels or high carbon stuff.
   - Rich - Sunday, 10/03/10 00:35:50 EDT

Guru, and others. I appreciate this forum for it's down to earth experience. I am a hobby blacksmith for a couple of years. I have made my own charcoal, and used one home made forge during that time. My forge is a small coal style forge with a bottom draft. I may use a piece of angle iron in the bottom to diffuse the air for a larger fire, and add fire brick around the pot for deeper fire. Recently I went to a marine museum with a blacksmith shop. The blacksmith" talked a much bigger story then he could hammer. I would like to run one comment past you. He said the only way you can use charcoal is with a side draft forge and a ducks bill tweer (sp?). I would like your input on that. Needless to say, I do know it is not 100% true.
Thank you, Milton
   Milton - Sunday, 10/03/10 13:19:32 EDT

Never heard of a "duck's bill tuyere". I've heard of "duck's nest tuyere" but these are bottom blast.

The British use a water cooled side blow tuyere. This is a tube within a tube that passes through a water tank. Circulation is by convection.

A charcoal fire needs to be a little deeper than a coal fire but generally it works in any solid fuel forge.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/03/10 14:42:58 EDT

Guru, thanks for your previous response. So, what is a "Duck's nest tuyere?
   Milton - Sunday, 10/03/10 16:53:20 EDT

It is either a heavy round cast iron ring OR a heavy cast iron water cooled ring with ash dump (for a bottom blown forge). It is not a side blown forge part (so no matter what, your guy was blowing smoke). They are no longer manufactured as correctly shaped commercial fire pots are much more efficient and generally work better.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/03/10 16:59:09 EDT

I broke in the bandsaw blade. I had some tube stock lying around. The walls were about .1 inch thick. The bandsaw cut it like butter. Then I had leaf springs from a 95 plymouth voyager van. I annealed the leaf springs and afterwards I could bend them fairly easily. The springs were flat, strieght and .220 inch thick. The saw cut them no faster than an inch a minute. The springs also ate up a 36 grit belt pretty quick and rounded the wheel on an 8
   - Michael - Sunday, 10/03/10 19:56:28 EDT

I broke in the bandsaw blade. I had some tube stock lying around. The walls were about .1 inch thick. The bandsaw cut it like butter. Then I had leaf springs from a 95 plymouth voyager van. I annealed the leaf springs and afterwards I could bend them fairly easily. The springs were flat, strieght and .220 inch thick. The saw cut them no faster than an inch a minute. The springs also ate up a 36 grit belt pretty quick and rounded the wheel on an 8" table grinder. Did I anneal the springs wrong?
   Michael - Sunday, 10/03/10 19:56:57 EDT

Michael, If the spring steel bent (not just spung) easily then it was annealed well enough to saw. Sawing thin wall tubing is not a good way to break in a blade. Its the hardest thing there is on blades.

An inch a minute sounds like too little feed pressure or two fine a blade. You should be running a minimum of an 8-10 pitch blade.

Cutting fairly thick metal, especially alloy steel, requires a LOT of feed pressure and careful guidance. Besides metalworking saws running MUCH slower than what you are running they also come with either power feeds or weight assist (both for hand sawing) because it is difficult to keep the proper feed pressure.

The difference in being able to cut on too fast a saw and the right speed saw is a lot of skill and the right touch. It is not a recommended way to do the job. For what several blades are going to cost you there is a good chance you can slow that saw down with a couple different pulleys on the drive.

I tried to look up your saw on the Enco site and they have several. Nothing rated at 700 IPM. Their saw that comes with a floor stand has the speed ratings on line and the slowest speed is in FPM (not IPM). The small bench saw does not have a speed rating on-line (not in the manual either). If you have that saw I would bet you are running 700 FPM. Don't trust the translated from Chinese name plate, do the math.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/03/10 21:11:27 EDT

700 Feet Per Minute blade speed is way too fast for any kind of metal I can think of.
What ever kind of blade you have in there you need to slow it down to around 200 or less for that spring steel, annealed or not.
Any heat created by not keeping up your feed rate to match the higher blade speed, will result in a hard spot that gets progressively bigger and harder until you can no longer saw through it.
All cutting actions create heat. The trick is to have the heat go out with the chips. In order for this to happen the mass of the chips must be great enough to actually carry that heat away as it is produced. If they are not then the heat builds up in the cut were it quickly breaks down the sharp edge of the cutting tool that in turn generates more heat even faster. It all turns into a rapid death spiral for the cutting tool whether it is a saw blade, drill bit, end mill or, what ever.
If you look up the recommended surface footage for HSS cutting tools on spring steel, you'll find it is probably less than 120 SFM (Surface Feet per Minuet)
Saw blades are a little different because of the way they can dissipate heat, even without coolant but, 700 SFM is way too fast.
As the Guru says, you need to mechanically slow the SFM of the blade down to match the material you are working with.
Don't even bother with one of those "dimmer switch" type motor controllers either. It's just going to greatly reduce the HP of your motor while destroying it at the same time.
There is no quick way around an actual industrial metal cutting band saw.

I also strongly recommend some kind of stick wax cutting lubricant even though it's messy.
   - merl - Sunday, 10/03/10 23:18:10 EDT

I used 1/8 inch mild steel to break in the saw and yes it is 700fpm. The steel was being cut at slower than an inch a minute and I was using alot of force; at least 20 pounds of preasure. I tried working with some of the annealed spring steel and it wore out a 36 grit belt on my grizzly knife belt sander in a couple hours and it rounded of an 8" grinding wheel. The tube stock got cut like it was butter. So I am not sure what is going on. I would be thankful for any ideas.
   Michael - Monday, 10/04/10 03:56:44 EDT

I use a cutting oil for all my slow cutting tools. This includes bandsaw, drill press, tap and die, etc. On the bandsaw, just put a few drops directly where the blade meets the stock AS its cutting. On thicker cuts, I put a few more drops of the lubricant every so often... this is also messy, but gives me clean cuts and saves blade life.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 10/04/10 08:31:43 EDT

I have a old anvil that has been passed down for generations in my family and was trying to find the name of it , The letters are very hard to read but this is what i managed to get if anyone can help solving this puzzle .
   JAMES - Monday, 10/04/10 09:17:47 EDT


I can't give you any real good advice on cutting stock like spring steel on a bandsaw, because I don't do that on mine. That's possibly something like 5160 steel and has alloying ingredients that make it abrasion resistant and tough to cut like that. I do cut it sometimes on my horizontal bandsaw, because that has constant pressure and lubricant feed - it still wears out blades faster than I like. If you want to profile blades in that steel you're going to have to slow the saw down and possibly work out a way to more completely anneal the stock. Blacksmith shop annealing isn't the same thing as controlled furnace annealing by any stretch of the imagination. To check this out, call a spring shop in your area and see if you can get some drops of factory-annealed stock to try out - might well surprise you.
   - Rich - Monday, 10/04/10 10:30:50 EDT

Band Saw Issues: MICHAEL! (Yes I AM YELLING) You CANNOT cut steel at 700 FPM with a saw. Feed rate and pressure have nothing to do with it. It is the speed the blade is traveling creating too much heat and wrecking the blade. No amount of coolant or skill will change that fact.

My FIRST reply was that your saw was running TOO fast and that the machine was not designed for metal. Rich's reply was referring to a different machine with a wider operating range. But in general wood working machines CANNOT be used for metalworking except occasionally on aluminium.

To modify a wood working band saw to metal working usually requires a worm gear reducer with 10 to 30 to one reduction or more (it would take 44:1 one on my band saw). You can do this with belts and pulleys but it requires several steps (back shafts) as the greatest practical reduction with belts is 5:1 and generally 3:1 is best.
   - guru - Monday, 10/04/10 10:31:23 EDT

BUEDEN? ANVIL James, Send me photographs of it if you can. "Generations" (avg. 25 years) now means from about 1900 which is not that old as anvils go. However, it may be an unusual anvil that had been brought over from Europe and thus the apparently strange markings.

On reading the markings: 1) Clean the anvil side. Use a hand wire brush or, a soft wire brush in an electric drill, OR one of those plastic bristled paint strippers in the same. Then try reading the markings in good light. DO NOT let your eyes try to fill in the blanks. Read only what is absolutely there.

2) Take a rubbing. Use tracing paper or heavy tissue paper and the side of a soft pencil (large carpenter's pencils work best).

In the end, I'll bet it says HAY-BUDDEN, Manufacturing Co. Brooklyn, NY. USA. This is the most misread anvil logo in the world.
   - guru - Monday, 10/04/10 10:44:07 EDT

Thanks guru , looking at the anvil page it sure looks like the HAY- BUDDEN anvils , I will do as you say and see if I can get a better reading .I know it is around 1900 or so as far as age from what i have gathered from family members .
   JAMES - Monday, 10/04/10 10:49:31 EDT

James, Hay-Budden made anvils from the late 1880's until about 1928 (the depression put a LOT of companies out of business). They were considered one of the best of the American made anvils. Many anvils were warehoused and sold new into the late 1930's.

Generations: My Grandfather Dempsey was born about 1908. At least one of his tools is now in my son's possession. So there are four generations of ownership in that tool. Often folks have tools that were old and used when their grandparents purchased them. Add an additional one or two generations. Anvils are one of those tools that outlast many generations of owners if not abused. I have at least one (very worn out) anvil from the 1700's. It may have gone through 8 to 12 or more owners. A lot of history.
   - guru - Monday, 10/04/10 11:49:08 EDT

Guru , There is something special about using old tools that your parents , grandparents and great grandparents have used ,I make knives and this anvil will sure outlast me and hopefully my son will use it during his lifetime . It is in very good shape for its age and has normal wear marks on the face and edges .I will try to get a picture and clean those markings up tonight, I would assume the 78 on the lower part would indicate the weight ? It is a smaller anvil .
Thanks for all the help and the history .
   JAMES - Monday, 10/04/10 14:13:57 EDT

Numbers on the side are weight, in this case 78 is probably pounds. Othe numbers such as on the feet (under the horn) are serial numbers.
   - guru - Monday, 10/04/10 14:17:49 EDT

Thanks guys. Rich had said he used a woodcutting bandsaw on metal and I had heard it could be done with a lenox diemaster blade.
I have an electric furnace wich I annealed the spring steel with. I heated the steel to about 1430f and it lost magnitism at that point. I reduced the heat and and it dropped to 1200f after twenty minutes. It got to 500 about an hour latter and after two hours it was pretty cold. Am I doing it right?
   Michael - Monday, 10/04/10 14:45:34 EDT

Michael, I've got a Ford truck, I can easily carry 10,000 pounds on it. Just because you have a truck it doesn't mean you can carry more than 500 pounds on it . . . I've got a wood working bandsaw, I can resaw up to 12" lumber on it and rip 20" strips of plywood using a little 1/4" skip tooth blade. . The blade travels 5,500 feet per minute (nearly 60 MPH). It makes sparks cutting WOOD!

Not all machines are alike.

While the annealing point on most steels is close to the same, medium and lower carbon steels need to be heated a couple hundred degrees hotter (according to the general chart). The non-magnetic point is a straight line, the heat treating temperatures are curves. In this case Junkyard steel rules apply.

Cooling from the A3 point to just below critical (the A1 point or about 1350 F) is what is important. Cooling rates below that do not effect the hardness of the steel. Again, the rate depends on the type of steel. This can be as slow as 50 degrees F per hour. Also note that temperature measurement equipment (like all measuring equipment) can be off a significant amount.
   - guru - Monday, 10/04/10 16:03:40 EDT

I don't think I will use the enco band saw for steel anymore, Guru. What would be a safe bet or guess to anneal these leaf springs? They lose magnetic properties between 1405-1430 f.
   Michael - Monday, 10/04/10 17:29:13 EDT

Probably between 1550 and 1600°F if it a medium carbon steel.

My point about the saw is you need to know and understand your tools. All machine tools, even power hand tools have optimum speeds for various types of work. Often we are faced with setting them up with drives or motors and need to determine the correct HP and speeds. When you have machines with variable speeds you need to know the size work or the materials that the speeds are used for. A good place to learn this is the various machine shop references or standard references such as Machinery's Handbook.

If you are doing metal working of any kind you should have a copy (old or new).
   - guru - Monday, 10/04/10 18:19:57 EDT

I've read about folks cutting steel on a band saw using a very *high* speed and a dull blade. As I understand it, the heat of friction and the air pulled into the cut burns through the steel something like an O/A torch would. Probably isn't something you'd want to try on a decent saw, though.
   Mike BR - Monday, 10/04/10 19:13:21 EDT

Mike BR - What You read about is friction sawing. There are or were blades made for it, and it takes a heavy, powerfull machine. There are or at least were aplications where this worked well, but My guess is that water jet & laser cutting have pretty well made it an obsolete operation.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 10/04/10 19:41:39 EDT

Dave, back in the 60's my Dad's factory would drill a hole in a die, and weld a friction blade in the hole to friction saw the shape in the die to extrude aluminum. H-13 I would guess. Than hours and hours of power and hand filing. All of the dies were about 8" circles so the shape had to fit in a 6" inscribed circle. Only friction sawing operation I know of.
   ptree - Monday, 10/04/10 20:25:10 EDT

Mike BR, Michael, et al, I wanted to point out and remind those who already know, some important bit of band saw safety.
Some are talking about free hand cutting tubing, or any round stock for that matter, on a band saw.
Any time you cut round stock that is not held secure in a vise or some kind of fixture, you are almost certain to have the work piece get snaged in the blade and have your fingers smashed under the stock, possibly ruining the blade as well.
Whenever I have to cut a piece of round stock on the band saw I ALLWAYS hold one end in some kind of clamp or at least in a visegrip pliers.
Without it you'll be lucky to just get your fingers nubbed.

Mike BR, at one shop I worked at we had a big old band saw set up for friction sawing but, we only used it to cut 16ga. sheet metal tubing and, bothe sides of the part to be cut were held firmly in fixtures for making miter cuts.
Once the HAZ had formed the cut took about 3 seconds for a 4" piece of tubing.
It took longer for the band wheels to run up to speed than it took to make the cut.
   - merl - Monday, 10/04/10 22:29:05 EDT

I noticed that Harbor Freight has a 55 lb. anvil. I guess it would be good enough for hammering out knife blades ?
   Mike T. - Tuesday, 10/05/10 03:44:04 EDT

NO!!!!!!! That "anvil" is good for only lifting with my nipples in front of cameras for the Guinness people. They also make nice doorstops.
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 10/05/10 08:59:10 EDT

Knife blades generally call for the best anvils, not Anvil Shaped Objects, AKA ASO's!

Now a large chunk of steel will work as a bladesmith's anvil and should be much cheaper too!

Those cast iron ASO's will *dent* under hot knife grade steels; then every dent will telegraph into your piece making possible cold shuts and taking a LOT more time to clean up a blade. (Forging is the fast part; expect to spend many more times the time finishing when doing knives!)

Many people have been claiming that such ASO's are "Professional grade" which is about as accurate as extolling a Yugo as a great Formula 1 racing car!

You don't need to spend a lot of money to get a decent knife smithing anvil; but research first to avoid throwing away money on something you will not want to use.

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/05/10 13:37:34 EDT

ASO's and Deception: Back when one of these sites had photos of their 55 pound anvil on-line (Harbor Freight does not list them on-line), I noticed that the image was very dark and flat. So I copied the image (below) and lightened it. In big letters on the side was cast "INDIA 55 LBS". The image was very good when lightened which means it was close to that way starting out and someone darkened it to hide the lettering. A short time later I found the same anvil without the INDIA on the side.
India ASO anvils

If there is nothing wrong with the quality of the product why are they hiding the country of manufacture and then having the country removed? One place honestly advertised these as top grade cast iron, another said "professional quality steel". Its a pretty casting, a well made but ugly pattern with flat topped squarish horn and faux top plate. But a cast iron ASO is a cast iron ASO is a cast iron ASO. . . More. .
Chinese ASOs

I photographed these in a farm supply. The two larger anvils are patterns that show up all over. Again, these have faux top plates and are ugly patterns. The small one is often sold as a jewelers' anvil. I was given this one as a gag gift. . the thick layer of plaster smoothing out the poor quality casting is not flaking off even though it has only sat in storage. We did a steel ball rebound test on these and they were softer than the concrete floor they were sitting on. Came close to getting thrown out of the store. . .

Study ALL of the above patterns. They show up from different suppliers with all kinds of descriptions but materially they are all the same. Junk.

As I mentioned recently, Cast iron anvils have been made for over a century. But you almost NEVER see an old one. . . There are good reasons why. They don't hold up and go to scrap or become lawn ornaments.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/05/10 16:03:02 EDT

Got my ASO's from Northern Tool. Paid $29.95 for the 55 pounder, has CHINA cast into the side and looks suspisciously similar to the India one above. I only used them for my act. Someone here saw a picture of me lifting it on my site and made mention of it. Something along the lines of "hey check out this guy lifting an ASO from his nipples". I googled myself and found anvilfire.com. Have been here ever since!
   - Nippulini - Tuesday, 10/05/10 18:26:28 EDT

I have one of the small (in this case gray) anvils and it worked fairly well for jewelry and very light work, but like my old 100 kilo USSR anvil I bought it about 20 years ago. The 50 k. Russian, and then the 50 k. diamond hardy immitation Russian anvils, each stepped down in quality to the point of near uselessness. Probably the same thing happened to the lttle gray anvils. However, who knows what may turn up used in flea markets and such. The best defense there is to test for bounce. If someone objects, just take your money elsewhere! If they won't let you tap the face with a hammer or drop a ball bearing on it, what do they expect to happen when you actually use it?

TGN: ...and we're happy to have you here! I have to admit, your path here qualifies as "unique!" :-)

Chilly and scattered clouds on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 10/05/10 21:08:28 EDT

How do I post pictures? I have some knives that are profiled and the bevels ground that I would like to show off.
   Michael - Wednesday, 10/06/10 21:35:30 EDT

Michael, We do not currently have public hosting for images.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/06/10 21:38:49 EDT

Didn't know that about the pictures. I gave on cutting the leaf springs with the band saw. I cut out the general shapes with a cut off wheel on an angel grinder then I ground it the rest of the way with a grinding wheel on the angle grinder. Thanks for the tip on annealing guru it made the grinding easier.
   Michael - Thursday, 10/07/10 03:19:04 EDT

I found reference to a "MILL FROG" in a list of blacksmith tools in Maryland, USA ca 1800.
Any idea what this is/was?
   Peter Himmelheber - Thursday, 10/07/10 07:51:13 EDT

i have a 25 lbs murray brothers power hammer i am wanting to sell. i was just wondering were i could sell or where to post for sale?
thanks jake
   - jake g - Thursday, 10/07/10 13:30:48 EDT

jake g, the hammer-in is usually the place to place notice of a powerhammer for sale. Please do advise where in the world you are located as this is an international forum.
   ptree - Thursday, 10/07/10 15:17:51 EDT

"Knife blades generally call for the best anvils" LMAO

Maybe you meant to say: knife blades generally call for the best cutlers.
   - happyknifenut - Thursday, 10/07/10 23:13:28 EDT


I know, you threw some Mexican dirt weeds on the old forge, gotta watch out for those. ;)
   Mike T. - Thursday, 10/07/10 23:44:16 EDT

[ CSI - anvilfire MEMBERS Group | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]
Counter    Copyright © 2010 Jock Dempsey, www.anvilfire.com Cummulative_Arc GSC

Get anvilfire.com GEAR.

International Ceramics Products