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 8 - 15, 2010 on the Guru's Den
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I recently had a job involving bronze. After I had made new bases for some bronze statuary and TIG welded them on. I was requested to make six fixings. Basically these were very large dome headed rivets. 6" long, 5/8" diameter shank, and a domed head 1 1/4" outside diameter and 3/8" high. Rather than turn them out of solid 1 1/4 inch bar I intended to forge down some 3/4" bar with swages under the power hammer and upset and forge the head. Attempts to forge anything were a failure as the material was very hot short. The grade of material was PB 101. Which I believe is about 93% copper about 7% tin. I'm not sure if there is a trace of lead for machinability. Has anyone got any advice both on forging and TIG welding bronze?
   - Chris - Friday, 10/08/10 03:08:38 EDT

If any of you knife pros want to help a novice I have a few knives profiled with the bevels ground. Any criticisms or tips would be appreciated. If I can email any pictures let me know. I have joined Britishblades.com, hopefully that is a good site to learn from.
   Michael - Friday, 10/08/10 03:16:50 EDT

Does anybody have any hints on using bone as a knife handle please?
   philip in china - Friday, 10/08/10 03:33:56 EDT

I'm wondering which modern anvil is considered to be the best out there; I have been looking at Peddinghaus, NC Tools, Delta Future, and Nimba anvils.

As far as hammers go: Are those 'ergonomic' hammers from Big BLU what they claim to be - ergonomic? I'm trying to see what the difference between a $20 hammer and a $120ish hammer is besides cost.

I'm also trying to figure out how to make a blacksmithing shed approx 10x10' in dimensions, and is easily knocked down for moving (should I need to move in the future), and also trying to figure out the best layout for that size shop. If I have an oxyacetylene setup, then the shop layout may have to be something like 10x14.

I'm just hoping that I get the house I'm trying to buy. :)

   PondRacer - Friday, 10/08/10 06:59:09 EDT

I would like to set up a smithy in my back yard. But the only good place i have is under a tree next to my shed. The tree has a fairly high crown. But i worry about how the heat coming off will affect the tree. I will probably be working small since i am just starting out. Any advice on whether this is a problem and what i can do about it? (other than cutting down the tree).
   Russ - Friday, 10/08/10 07:46:38 EDT

Hey Guys, YOu have probably heard me going on about the controlability of the Massey Hammers, We have eventually got round to putting a video on youtube! The hammer is a reuilt unit on test (hence the lack of a proper anvil, just a block to bump on!)

   - John N - Friday, 10/08/10 08:21:56 EDT

I can only say about bone that many old farriers' knife handles were of bone, turn of the 20th century and before. I got a couple of tham at the flea, and the handles were still intact.

The native Americans used shaped scapulas to hold down their roach headdresses. Having looked at these, I can say that they are fairly thin and would make good slabs for a small knife handle.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 10/08/10 09:09:59 EDT

Chris - Bronze

Get your hands on some high silicon bronze, alloy C65500. It forges beautifully and tig welds with perfect color match.

Philip in China:

Best be when working with bone for handles is to first stabilize it. You can get the good stuff from a knifemaker's supply or just use thin-bodied cyanoacrylate and immerse the bone in it and then pull a vacuum on the whole works. This will pull all the air out of the bone and replace ti with cyanoacrylate, making the bone many times more durable and easier to work with.
   - Rich - Friday, 10/08/10 09:46:12 EDT

Hello , do you know where i can get any information on making and repairing plough shares. thankyou
   Barry - Friday, 10/08/10 10:04:42 EDT

Barry, I replied to your question when you first asked it. It is a general metal working problem. Books like Practical Blacksmithing touch on it but the actual "how-to" is just plain old blacksmithing.
   - guru - Friday, 10/08/10 10:37:31 EDT

There is not much written on dressing plow shares. The old book by Selvidge and Alton, "Blacksmithing" has some info. The metal-to-ground wear will remove the two "corners" on the point and make it rounding. Sometimes you can draw it out assuming there is enough stock. If very worn, a high carbon piece can be folded around the point and forge welded on. This normally requires a striker or trip hammer. The point and lower portion of the share is hardened and tempered. There are slightly different configurations on the curve of the point and landside depending on whether the soil is sandy, loamy, clayey, etc. It is best to have a finished share to copy.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 10/08/10 10:44:50 EDT

From a post Frank made and is in our FAQ on Brass and Bronze

"Forging Brass" UNS C37700
Copper 59.5%
Lead 2%
Zinc 38%

"Architectural Bronze" UNS C38500.
Copper 57%
Lead 3%
Zinc 40%

Forging brass is the material all other forgability ratings are based on. Its the easiest to forge and is rated a 100. Everything else is lower.

Note the UNS numbers with the specs above. These are the only alloy numbers you can rely upon.

There are forgeable alloys and those very difficult to forge. The working temperature is just below the melting point and difficult to judge. The brass I've worked was like working clay under the hammer. You can work it until quite cool as the heating anneals it to where it can be cold worked to a point.
   - guru - Friday, 10/08/10 10:51:11 EDT

philip in china, I was a cutler and feel free to stop over. I will be happy to show you anything you want to know about attaching bone handles and properly hafting them. you can contact me if you like.
   happyknifenut - Friday, 10/08/10 11:03:01 EDT

"Best" Anvils

For serious forging the heavy pattern with a long solid waist or no waist at all (like the Nimba or Catalan anvils are best for their size (more effective). Another super anvil with long support under most of the face are the German S&H anvils (no longer made). These forged anvils were probably the finest ever made anywhere on the planet and nothing like them will ever be made again. The one in link is for sale. Asking price is $3000. This is the only anvil I've had "anvil envy" over in decades. If you want to buy me a Christmas gift, THIS is the one. If someone wanted to resurrect an old pattern for casting, this is it. These have a narrow face relative to their size which a lot of people like.

After that I still believe in forged anvils so Peddinghaus is it. But they could be dressed better and the largest is 265-275 pounds. The TFS anvils are ugly but a good solid shape. All the cast anvils should be purchased from a reputable dealer. Once in a while there is a loser with serious defect and the only guarantee is WHO you purchase from.

Most of the anvils you listed are farriers anvils or standard American Pattern anvils from farrier anvil manufacturers. While these are what I have in my shop they are not what I would be out looking for today. These long horn, long heel anvils are springier than the others mentioned above and more noisy and inefficient as a result.

But in the end, ANY anvil is better than no anvil.
   - guru - Friday, 10/08/10 12:49:35 EDT

I have forged at least 5 different bronze alloys, and I would humbly disagree that any alloy with that much lead and zinc as C377 is "the easiest".

Silicon Bronze, C655, has NO lead and NO zinc. It is MUCH easier to get usable results with, although, technically, it is "harder" to forge in the sense that it takes more force, ie, harder hammer blows.

But any alloy with Lead and Zinc in it is hot short, has a smaller working temperature range, and is harder for any mere mortal like me to forge.
Not to say it cant be done- I have done plenty of it- but Silicon Bronze is by far the first choice for bronze forging.

Silicon Bronze is a darker brown color, which is sometimes not acceptable.
In the "golden" color range, I much prefer Naval Bronze, C464, as it has .07% Lead, and Lead is the killer in forging. Lead is what causes the dreaded crumbly cookie dough syndrome.

I have forged Forging Brass, and Architectural- and I wouldnt wish either on my worst enemy.

Naval and Silicon Bronzes would be, by far, my choices.
   - Ries - Friday, 10/08/10 12:51:26 EDT

With respect to forgability ratings, keep in mind that these have been developed for industrial processing like closed die forging rather than ornamental foring. In an application like closed die forging, foring brass probably is the easist since it will flow to fill a cavity more readily than other types. This is great if you can get your job made in single heat or single blow. When producing open die/hand forgings, the ability to be worked over a wide range of tempereatures is often more valuable than being super soft in a very narrow temperature range.
   Patrick Nowak - Friday, 10/08/10 13:54:29 EDT

The yellow brass/bronze I've forged the most of is "low fuming bronze" or brazing alloy.

Cu 56-60%
Sn .8-1.1
Pb .05
Al .01
Fe .25-1.2
Si .04-.15
Zn (remainder) 43 to 48%

Very low lead, the zinc (a brass) doesn't seem to hurt the forgability. I agree that architectural bronze is terrible stuff to work. I've helped on a couple jobs that used a ton of it. . . all forged using a coal forge! I had the job of brazing and finishing many of the joints ans fixing the crumbled places. Lots of die grinder work.

If I had to make a bunch of big brass/bronze fasteners I think I would make waxes and cast them.
   - guru - Friday, 10/08/10 13:56:03 EDT

Forging Knives: Knife alloys can be quite "hot hard" and so on poor quality anvil they can telegraph the hammering into a dent on the surface. Knives are one item where having a very smooth anvil face is important as every mar or blemish on the face will show up in the work and can at worst cause problems with cracking or just increase the amount of time necessary to finish off a blade.

Note that a hard smooth surface does not necessarily mean a name brand anvil a good die block will have both these properties ---or even a large hammer head set in a stump.

This is what I was trying to convey: cast iron anvils are double plus ungood for forging knives.

Russ, you will often be working with your wedding tackle within 2 feet of the hot spot of your forge and you are worrying about stuff 8+ feet above it? If you are really worried put in a short stack with a diffuser on the top.
   Thomas P - Friday, 10/08/10 16:01:33 EDT

Thomas, fully agree on a decent hard smooth surface for bladesmithing ! ,

Jock, Watched a video on youtube from BigBlu where they show holding the dies in with screws, does this method really work? they squirt a bit of grease over the gap to keep the scale out. Everything in me screams this is a poor second to taper keys. I can only imagine a world of loose dies and misalignment, and it seems to take longer to fit the dies than with keys, Whats the Pros ?

   - John N - Friday, 10/08/10 16:10:30 EDT

Die Holding Systems Pros, Cheaper and easier to manufacture, no wedges to manufacture, dies do not need as tight of tolerances. SHOULD be easier to change - ask anyone that has tried to remove long installed wedges. . Also no wedges sticking out to snag on things, run into guide systems. . . A generally smaller form factor. The small form factor is a plus and produces good visibility and access.

Cons, Didn't cure the sticking die problem, that is what the grease is about. Not as "heavy duty" appearing as wedge systems. . . But they do not seem to have any loosening problem.

I liked it enough that I bought Big BLU holders and dies for my hammer building project.

Another popular option is bolt on dies (such as used by Phoenix). However, This requires a large piece of tool steel to get the accuracy needed for interchangeability. However, the advantage of the Phoenix system is that with a few extra holes you can rotate the dies to numerous angles.

The "sticking problem" . . Big BLU thought they were solving the sticking wedge problem. It turns out that what makes things stick is fine scale working its way into the crevices between die and dovetail. With every blow of the hammer these fits expand and dust works in, the expand again. . . It doesn't take much to make the fit impossibly tight.

It is a common problem with many types of tapered fits. You install at X force and it requires 8 to 10X the force to uninstall. Wedges installed with a firm wrap of a 4 pound hammer require a heavy blows with a 15 pound sledge to remove. . Tapered hubs (on autos, trucks and nuclear cooling pumps) creep UP the taper not off and require heat and a many ton press to remove as apposed to the small amount of torque on a nut used to install the hub.

We are working on a system where bolts can be removed (torched off if necessary)and replaced without damaging any of the other parts.

Meanwhile, I suggest the method Big BLU is using to reduce die sticking to be used on wedge systems as well. Pack the line around the joint with heavy grease, wipe off the excess.
   - guru - Friday, 10/08/10 17:46:01 EDT

Ive found that 95% of die wedge sticking problems are caused by temperature differetials, and badly fitting keys being driven in tight whilst the whole lot is hot.

Im a believer in wiping the keys with molly to help removal, I cant see the point in 'masking' the key with grease on a hammer that is going to get a decent session of use. The whole lot would end up as oil and scale sludge, making the potential problem you mention of scale ingress between key and die worse!

What do you mean by 'form factor'? is it just you dont have a bit of key sticking out?
   - John N - Friday, 10/08/10 18:19:05 EDT

Die keys. Safety men in forge shops hate them! At the drop forge shop for the valve and fitting company, we ran 1500# to 25,000# steam drop forges for closed die work. Often changed dies several times a day. We had more injuries from driving out wedges thjan any other single cause in that shop.
When Jock describes wedges that tighten he is right. Scale is a big issue, and John N's thoughts of the grease grabbing the scale is also true. In closed die work the dies get lubed alot, often for every forging if a difficult shape. That forge lube with scale is fantastic die glue.
Ever see the "torpedo" used to drive the 4' long keys out of a 25,000# hammer? Hung from an overhead crane, 4 men to swing it, say about 12" diameter at the head, and the crane trolly is moved to help with the swing, so that the Torpedo is moving through say 12' when it hits.

I built my home hammer with an odd try for a dovetail with bolts. It is a failure.
My next try will probably be a bolt on system, and I will use MolyKote Anti-seize 1000 on the bolts and MolyKote GN paste on the contact surfaces to allow easy seperation.
   ptree - Friday, 10/08/10 18:36:32 EDT

So I'm relatively new to this, and I'm starting by making a wooden sword. I'm reading through your "Sword Making: For Beginners" page and I'm wondering if there was a diagram of knife parts, because all I'm seeing is [ Diagram of Knife Parts ]. As well, I'm shaky on some terminology, is there somewhere I can check to refresh my memory?
   Taylor - Friday, 10/08/10 19:40:34 EDT

Russ; Overhanging Trees:

I had some tree limbs encroach over the chimney at my old forge. I would trim them back but they would sometimes get within two or thrre feet of the chiney stack. About all I ever got was whithered leaves from the heat. As Master Thomas noted, the heat tends to dissipate quickly just a little distance from the forge. Try it out, keep your eyes open, and see if there is any real damage. At least you have a starting point in that you know that most of us haven't had overhanging trees (spreading chestnot, or otherwise) die off or burst into flame.

Cool and clear on the banks of the lower Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 10/08/10 20:22:27 EDT

Poof, then prost! 8-0
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 10/08/10 20:27:30 EDT

Is there any kind of reference material available on Champion Power hammers? i saw a reprint of the blower and forge catalog and ther was nothing. thanks
   coolhand - Friday, 10/08/10 21:15:57 EDT

Where would I be able to find good ides for a 10x10' or 10x14' shop layout? All the layouts I have seen so far were like 15x15 or 15x20', thereabouts.

Just trying to figure out where things would go, as far as storage and actual work space.

   PondRacer - Friday, 10/08/10 23:46:04 EDT

10 by 10 feet ends up being all work benches (24" deep) and an isle between them. You can put your anvil in that 6 foot wide space, forge at the end with vise mounted on the forge or bench need the forge. Storage shelves over and under the benches.

I build shop wooden benches with framing lumber tops and at least one shelf under. Shelves should only be about half the depth of the benches.

To suggest any more would require your list of tools and goals. The construction of your building is also a question. There are many really flimsy cheap utility buildings these days that you can't hang a shelf on the wall or a stock rack. Shelving is expensive and the "standard" sizes will probably not make the best use of your space. I spent about $1000 on steel frame shelves a couple years ago and have needed to replace the chip board almost from the get-go. The so called "1500" pound rated shelves cannot support a hundred pounds without sagging and collapsing.

As noted on the sketch above, ventilation is critical in such a confined space. Will you have electricity? Water?. . . How high a building? TOO MANY QUESTIONS.

Start with a pencil and some paper. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 10/09/10 01:07:00 EDT

Champion Power Hammers: They made two sizes 30 and 65 pounds. They operate similarly to other Dupont linkage hammers. They are very compact. .

We have some catalog information and the hammer patent but both simply say "its a hammer" and are the best. . . Machines back in the day did not come with detailed instructions. You were either mechanically inclined enough to own and operate such machinery or you were not. . . If you need help setting one up you went to a millwright. But to most blacksmiths this would have been an embarrassment.

No. 0 = 30 lbs. 400 RPM 1 HP. Weight 1100 pounds
No. 1 = 65 lbs. 300 RPM 2 HP. Weight 1400 pounds

Other than die sizes and foot print that is all the data given. They came with and without motors. Clutching was by slack belt, they were designed to be operated from the sides.

As old machines they are often worn out and in need of adjustment and repairs.

The ram height adjustment should be set to just above the work height or a minimum of about 1" opening between dies. The stroke adjustment determines how hard the hammer hits and the practical speed limit. A long stroke should be run slow and a short stroke can be run fast.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/09/10 01:24:12 EDT

Pond Racer,

In "Edge of the Anvil" Jack Andrews explains the layout he uses when forging in a tipi. That's got to be the ne plus ultra of relocatable smithies.

I have to say I'm with John N. on using grease to prevent dies from sticking. If the space between the die and wedge works enough for scale to penetrate, I'd think it would pump grease (and the crud it collects) just as efficiently.
   Mike BR - Saturday, 10/09/10 10:16:28 EDT

That's already been a GREAT help for me to visualize. Being deaf, I'm a very visual person, and seeing an example of a smithy in a 10x10' space shows a lot, to the point where I can say, ok, let's see what a 10x14' space looks like.

A tipi is an interesting idea...but may look out of place in the neighborhood. I'm considering making the workshop out of a shed with wood or vinyl siding, where the structure is beefy enough to support shelves. I know I will be restricted to not-too-large items being worked on, in this space. If I had aluminum siding, or if the building is all-metal, it will amplify the sound rather than deaden it... and I want to deaden the sound so the the neighbors do not complain about the noise.

Right now I have in mind: anvil, coal forge, workbench with leg vise, tool rack or table. Then a little area for the coke and a little area for the metal stock. Slack tub is going to be on the other side, away from the fuel, I think.

I'll probably draw all this out in Solidworks...

   PondRacer - Saturday, 10/09/10 11:26:04 EDT

Have you got any information on resurficing an anvil or refurbishing the corners
   Barry - Saturday, 10/09/10 11:46:19 EDT

Any information on refacing a ball pein hammer, thankyou
   Barry - Saturday, 10/09/10 12:16:53 EDT

Anvil repair, dressing the corners (rounding them):

Anvil repair: http://www.anvilfire.com/FAQs/anvil-3.htm

Dressing anvil corners: http://www.anvilfire.com/FAQs/anvil-4.htm

   PondRacer - Saturday, 10/09/10 12:46:00 EDT

my question is if i wanted something created how would i go about getting created and how long does it usually takes
   Melvin - Saturday, 10/09/10 14:50:27 EDT


If you want a nail created it will take more time to start the forge than to make it. Then about 1 to 0.3 per minute of forging time depending on size and specifics. If you want a new World Trade Center, Space Shuttle or Nuclear Power plant it may take a couple decades. Now, something simple (HA!) like a muzzle loading rifle may only take a few months if a pro makes it working part time. Longer if all the parts are made from scratch.

HOW you go about it, is by communicating what you want, not pussy footing around. WHAT DO YOU WANT? A nail or a Space Shuttle?
   - guru - Saturday, 10/09/10 15:18:30 EDT

Dressing Anvils: My standard advise is NOT to do anything until you know something about the tool. Generally if you have to ask, you don't know enough. See our FAQs page or anvil gallery and read all the information.

Dressing Hammers Hammers, like anvils are tool steel, generally harder. You should not try to add material. Weld metal is difficult to match to the base metal and will not have the same properties. Repairs are made by grinding, filing, sanding, polishing. Any cracking should be cut off or ground out. If this removes too much material then the tool is scrap or needs to be considered raw materials for creating another tool.

Hammers generally should have smooth well rounded corners. See Dressing Hammers

Many good old hammers are worth putting some effort into but many new imported hammers are junk and not worth the effort. Its going to be a sad day when the bulk of the old tools are the junk tools of today. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 10/09/10 15:46:04 EDT

Shop furniture is often overlooked as an important tool. This includes benches, shelves, tool chests and stock racks. There never seems to be enough storage OR work space in a shop no matter how big. It always seems easier to accumulate more tools and not more tool chests. . . But the more tool storage you have the greater the likelihood you will have free bench space.

Wooden Work Benches: While wood is not ideal for the metalworking shop it is light, strong, durable (even in a metal working environment) and relatively inexpensive. It is the ideal material for general purpose work benches.

I build two types. One with vertical legs designed to bolt to a wall and those with angled legs for use free standing. My wood working bench is the freestanding type.

I edge glued the top on the wood working bench but I inherited a bench that used a combination of 2x4's and 2x6's for the top and had 3/8" gaps between the boards. Occasionally the gaps were handy and sometimes a pain. This two foot by six foot, three foot tall bench had been built by my brother-in-law and used to overhaul numerous motorcycle engines and I used it to build a couple small 4 cylinder automobile engines. Spilled oil soaked in over time to the point that you could not detect it.

Over time I used this bench bolted to a wall, free standing and then bolted to wall and floor. Bolting (even with a small 1/4" bolt or wood screw) the top corners of a bench to building framing makes the bench as sturdy as the building. One or two on the floor help make the building and bench one unit. I use small angle iron brackets (angle iron, not hardware angle brackets). This bench has a large vise on it that I made a anchor bracket that passes under the bench to the wall.

When I framed up the bench area of my shop I notched the studs and attached a strip of solid wood shelving at bench top height for attaching brackets. Its sort of like an internal chair rail. The wall above the bench also had pegboard from bench top to ceiling. This supported small shelves and individual items.

Tool chests have gotten like a lot of modern tools, cheap and flimsey. Those carried by many of the big box stores are miserable things that will NOT support the weight of tools that can easily fill them. It is easy to put 100 pounds or more of wrenches, drill bits, chisels. . .in a single drawer. It does not pay to buy these chests if you intend to fill them. Save your money and purchase Snap-On or Kennedy. You can also build your own but I find fitting and installing all those drawers to be a pain. . .

Think about it when planning a shop or buying tools. Its a necessary expense.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/09/10 17:04:18 EDT

Die Keys: Keys for our Bradley’s are made of mild steel bar stock by eye and hand ground on a 20" Disc Sander with a 1/8" per foot taper. Bradley dovetails are straight 5 degrees on both sides of the ram and sow block. The ram and sow block take (2) two keys each that are driven in opposing each other. We only use a 2-1/2 pound hammer to tighten and loosen our keys. If a larger hammer is needed and if the dies come loose it would suggest the taper is incorrect.

We wipe off our keys before installing them to remove any scale and then oil them liberally with straight 30 weight oil to help drive them home. We never change die while they’re hot. We’ll finish the day’s work with the dies in the hammer and then change them the next morning for new jobs. The ideal circumstance would be to have multiple hammers set up to do specific jobs and not change dies but change hammers for each job.
   B R Wallace - Saturday, 10/09/10 17:12:36 EDT

Hercules "Patented" Power Hammer made by the Champion Blower & Forge Company also made a NO. 2 hammer that had a 125 pound ram.

No. 2 = 125 lbs. 150 RPM 5 HP. Weight 4500 pounds

I've never seen one and only heard about a few. They are listed in The Champion Blower & Froge Company catalogue No. 56 January 1935 Edition.
   B R Wallace - Saturday, 10/09/10 17:23:04 EDT

For smaller tool storage it is hard to beat a Vidmar or similar chest. If You can find used ones, You probably won't pay any more than You would for an equal ammount of storage in new good quality mechanic's type chests. New ones are out of My price range.
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 10/10/10 00:00:15 EDT

I saw a commercial on TV the other day, mechanics were working on a car, the jack slipped and the car fell on the tool box, but was not a concern as the toolbox was holding the front end of the car. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the tool chest company.
   Mike T. - Sunday, 10/10/10 01:58:17 EDT

Mike, that was for the "Stupid Mechanics Tool Box Company". Working under a car held up by a jack is not a safe practice even in an emergency.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 10/10/10 08:50:01 EDT

In a country as litigious as USA I am surprised to hear of a commercial showing somebody working under a car held only by a jack.
   philip in china - Sunday, 10/10/10 20:29:01 EDT

Philip it is surprising, thought not surprising to see a Geely held up by two small children while being repaired in your country.
   - Barn Burner - Sunday, 10/10/10 21:00:41 EDT

I just came across a 400# Columbian anvil today< it is in pretty good shape. Any idea of what these are worth or any history on them? Thank you
   Clint - Sunday, 10/10/10 21:35:26 EDT

Clint, Columbian anvils were made in the early 1900's by Columbian Hardware Company, Cleveland, Ohio, who also made vises. They stopped making anvils about 1925. There are two types, forged in the US, and later cast in Sweden. Both are good anvils but the forged may be more valuable.

Pricing on anvils depends on the condition as judged by someone that knows anvils, the location and who's buying and selling. The going price is two or three dollars a pound or more. In very good condition (flat with some use evident but no damage from abuse) it may go for twice average condition (as much as $5 pound, more if pristine). In well used condition with some chipping, wear and some obvious damage the low end of the scale ($2/lb). In really terrible condition it may go for $1/pound. Repaired anvils may sell for more but I generally would not have one in my shop (so they are worth very little to me). I recommend that people never purchase repaired or resurfaced anvils due to the large number of hacks doing the "repairs".

On the West Coast these things are worth more but in the rust belt they still occasionally sell for near scrap (resale) prices. In places outside of North America including Alaska and Hawaii, prices will be higher but adjusted for the local economy and transportation costs. The fact that there are still good deals out there ($50 and $100 anvils) the higher prices are often take time to obtain. There is also the misconception that an "old" anvil has less value than new. In fact, old anvils, especially forged anvils are worth more than new anvils when in good condition. They are just as good a tool now and forever unless abused.
   - guru - Monday, 10/11/10 08:53:09 EDT

What is the website url to the young knife maker in Washington whos user namer here was vorpal and now known by something that begins with the letter P? He has an unusual name also. I lost his site and can't find it in the archives here.
   - Big John - Monday, 10/11/10 10:16:33 EDT

   - guru - Monday, 10/11/10 11:37:55 EDT

I would like to purchase your kaowool 1/2" blanket,

can you send a quote including dimension and minimun sale and freigth charges to El Paso TX
   Carlos S - Monday, 10/11/10 13:25:27 EDT

   - Big John - Monday, 10/11/10 13:43:41 EDT

Buying a tool box. Check with your local garage on
his tool supplier schedule. The Mac, Snap-on, etc. trucks sometimes get trade-ins and like to move them cheap. If they need some repairs they can get you the parts.
   S K Smith - Monday, 10/11/10 14:23:51 EDT

designing your work space: the important thing to remember is your "work triangle": Forge Anvil Postvise. For small items you would like them all to be within a turn or a turn and 1 step. For large items you need to factor in material sizes.

For my knifemaking set up I have about 10'x10' space with my gas forge on top of a soapstone slab on a workbench across one end with a postvise mounted to the corner of the workbench and then a line of anvils down the side, (the travel ones get stored at the end of the big shop ones so I can make use of their smaller horns and thinner heels when necessary. (The pass through is at the end of the anvils)

The other side is the hammer, tong and tooling rack and across the other end is another workbench with a 6" jaw postvise---anything needing it has enough heat in it to withstand the several step walk to it and that end of the hammer rack has the *big* hammers

Having places where you can safely put down hot work is a must and having at least one where you can stick hot high carbon steel without worrying about it quenching from contact with cold stuff is great!

Now if you want to make gates you would probably be best off setting it up so that you could turn your forge around in the doorway or bring it outside and work outside. Even in the inner city I had an outdoor postvise---mounting bolts were all welded over to prevent unauthorized strolls and I got a damaged anvil that could stay outside without walking off too so I could work large items on a coal forge under the spreading locust tree.

   Thomas P - Monday, 10/11/10 15:31:55 EDT

Work Triangles: Thomas, very nice layout. But they DO get better over time. .

My shop trailer had a very convenient work triangle. Anvil in front of forge about 4 to 5 foot distance, Vise to the left and forward from the forge. Tong rack on the triangular vise platform. Quench tank immediately to the left of the forge. Bellows handle operating station just to the left and beyond the vise JUST enough that someone could operate the bellows while some one worked at the vise.

This was carefully designed on paper with colored paths drawn using circles based on the average person's standing space and large circles based on a comfortable reach. The forge distance was based on reach PLUS 12" for average tong extension.

In use I often had my oxyacetylene torch or arc welding stinger (or both) hanging off the pull out forge stock rack. My angle grinder was piled on top of tools on the vise platform. All of this within an easy pirouette' or a single step.
   - guru - Monday, 10/11/10 16:00:49 EDT

how do you turn coal dust found at the bottom of your bag of coal into uesable metral
   - clayton - Monday, 10/11/10 17:52:14 EDT


You don't. It's not iron ore, it's coal. You can make it into a paste with water and use it on your fire, but that's about it.
   Alan-L - Monday, 10/11/10 17:56:00 EDT

Hi Guru
I see the Greenwood collected anvils are being offered on ebay from someone in Petersburg, VA. I am wondering if he previous sold off his collected anvils or if he is having someone here sell them?
   - FW - Tuesday, 10/12/10 00:40:56 EDT

Tool chest holding up front end of car....no need to get so serious, commercials are staged and manipulated, however,the tool chest was probably holding the front end.
Talking duck and talking gecko, yeah, I'd like to own one.
   Mike T. - Tuesday, 10/12/10 01:01:31 EDT

Could purchase used tool chests and repaint them with Rustoleum. I think it is a very good product. I have an old tool chest and think I will paint it John Deere green with a John Deere logo on it ( just to make it cool ).
   Mike T. - Tuesday, 10/12/10 01:07:33 EDT

Work triangle:
The propane forge tends to elongate the work triangle. That dragon's breath is no fun to stand in front of. What's working for me is I have my anvil maybe three feet in front of, and maybe at a 45-degree angle to, the forge. I stand on the other side of the anvil, so I basically reach over the anvil to get to pieces in the forge. Treadle hammer is to my right and swage block more to the right. The vise is to my left, probably further than the ideal distance, but the shop setup (stock rack, band saw, ...) is dictating that.

   - Marc - Tuesday, 10/12/10 10:17:06 EDT

Greenwood Collection Yes, that is Josh selling some of his anvils on ebay. Sadly, these private collections even when a large number are museum pieces do not stay in a collection. In fact, even museums buy sell and trade parts of their collections. Some of these anvils have gone to museum collections, but that does not mean they will stay there.

We are just lucky that Josh took the time to clean and photograph these for us to enjoy as a virtual museum collection.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/12/10 11:08:36 EDT

Can you help me with finding the temper colors of copper? Thank you in advance.
   Larry - Tuesday, 10/12/10 11:48:27 EDT

I get my coal as "fines" and dump it into a 5 gallon bucket and add water to get a sludge that is then added to the sides opf a running fire to coke up. Same as my father did when he had a smithing lab in college on his way to becoming an EE back in the 50's.

Don't forget that a demo set up may have the anvil placed where people can see what's going on and so may have you with your back to the forge

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/12/10 11:51:40 EDT

The French Locksmith hammers. I like the more centered mass they have and the cross peen and wanted to know the reason for its unique design. Doing locksmithing with a 3 lb+ hammer?? Always wondered why.
   - Robert - Tuesday, 10/12/10 12:45:43 EDT

The French Locksmith hammers. I like the more centered mass they have and the cross peen and wanted to know the reason for its unique design. Doing locksmithing with a 3 lb+ hammer?? Always wondered why.
   - Robert - Tuesday, 10/12/10 12:56:54 EDT

Copper Colors: Larry, Copper technically does not "temper". And while it can be made many different colors most of these are created by various chemical reactions with the copper besides plain oxidation.

While bright copper does turn some colors on the way to brown these are not a rainbow of colors like you get with bright iron or steel. The temper rainbow is unique to various metals, iron is one and titanium is another. Titanium temper colors are brilliant compared to those of steel.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/12/10 13:19:24 EDT

French Locksmith Hammers: Robert, I do not know where this is coming from. I know not of a French "locksmiths" hammer. The traditional French blacksmiths hammer has a peen that is stepped on the top reducing the wedge angle. Spanish smiths used similar hammers. Back when both made lacks by hand their hammers were those of the technique they applied (smithing, repousse', engraving).

I frequently forge delicate scrolls, leaves and hooks from 1/4" and even 3/16" (5 mm) stock with a 3 pound (1.4 kg) hammer. Its all what you are used to. Unless the work is very delicate, has hard to reach places or needs a light touch most smiths do everything with the same hammer in whatever weight they are used to or consider their "normal" hammer.

While old locks had some small hand fitted and machined parts the majority of the working pieces, including keys were heavy enough to be eminently forgeable. Many were also cast in brass. After forging the part were often filed and scraped (white smithed) to their final shape and finish. Lots of the parts were cut from sheet stock using a chisel, a task that takes a fairly heavy hammer. But many parts were also engraved, requiring a very light hammer.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/12/10 13:46:06 EDT

French Locksmiths' Hammer: OK, I see where the Kaynes have added this to their French hammer description. But you will also note that come in sizes down to 100 grams (4 oz.), a very small hammer.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/12/10 14:19:59 EDT

Spreading Locust tree? That's Chestnut (horse)and I have it's decendant. Believe it or not; I bought my property from a retired english teacher. She visited Longfellows home/museum, in the yard was a Chestnut tree, she picked up a nut brought it home and planted it. Now it's about 18" across the butt and spreading. I believe her because she was also a Free Methodist minister. I don't live in a village, but on a dead end in the woods, but I've got the tree, my last name is Smith and now I am waiting for the karma to kick in and make me a better blacksmith. Ah ... the circle of life!
   S K Smith - Tuesday, 10/12/10 16:16:44 EDT

Complicating the Work Triangle A nifty solution to the dragon's breath issue is an air curtain. Larry Harley has these on both his gas forges and you can put your face right up to opening! They are simply a flat nozzle like a vacuum cleaner nozzle hooked to a blower. The air blows UP immediately in front of the forge opening. Add an exhaust hood and there won't be a wiff of forge fumes in the shop.

Other things that complicate the "work triangle".

A power hammer really messes things up and you often cannot put them exactly where you want due to power requirements, foundations, space. . . Multiple power hammers even complicate things more.

Weld platens need to be in the middle of the shop and are often where a vise gets attached due to being the most immovable object in the shop.

Other areas have their own requirements. Machine tools need space for tool chests or caddies to hold attachements and a nearby bench or workspace for measuring tools. Even in job shops and semi production environments carts are needed for stacks of blanks and finished parts. While being close together is not quite as critical as when dealing with hot iron it is helpful. So each machine becomes a focal point for the things needed to support its use.

In a hot iron environment the smaller the work the smaller the work triangle needs to be. The smaller the stock, the faster it cools and the less time the smaith has to work it. Large stock (such as 1" (25 mm) or more) is actually easier to work due to holding its heat longer. 1/4" (6 mm) stock needs to be worked quickly. Its easier to forge but you cannot afford to walk across the shop with it.

Lots of things to consider when planning a shop space.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/12/10 16:50:35 EDT

I am tring to straighten boat struts and rudders made of navel bronze. How hot should they be heated and how long should they cool before bending.

Thank you Free Fetters
   Free Fetters - Tuesday, 10/12/10 17:53:26 EDT

These items are usually pretty soft and thus the reason they got bent. They often straighten without annealing.

The correct annealing is to heat to a low red in low light or darkness. In bright light the bronze will melt before you can see color. The parts can be bent while hot. You can also quench the parts with water and work them cold.

If these parts crack or melt due to being overheated they can be repaired by braze-welding with oxyacetylene and some boraz flux. It is an art to get the heat just right and manipulate the puddle (it is best horizontal) and I do not recommend learning on an expensive or difficult to replace part.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/12/10 19:18:04 EDT

Wasn't there a French king who was an amateur locksmith?? BTW for some aspects of locksmithing a 3 pound hammer would be entirely too light.
   philip in china - Tuesday, 10/12/10 20:27:45 EDT

I think it was the last Phillip, Phillip 16. He had hobbies that included picking chastity belts.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/12/10 20:35:57 EDT

Actually, I believe that was Louis XVI. I don't know about the chastity belt, though.

Don't feel bad, I messed up on a couple of my ancestors during an interview, and now the wrong information is published in a book on historic houses of Southern Maryland. (Arrrgh!)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 10/12/10 21:47:38 EDT

Yep, Louey. . . The belt thing may have been from some sort of fiction.

I've got a 19th century reprint of a 17th century French book on locks that Louis would have definitely had in his collection. We have it scanned and need to get it setup. The reprint is interesting as it is on old hand made rag paper with the rough as manufactured edges. The reprint duplicated the original down to the paper! Acid free rag paper is really good stuff.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/13/10 01:47:20 EDT

I’m working on my LG #25 power hammer (new style). It is tuned well and the bearings are good, new clutch brakes and strikes well as in the Manzer video. All moving parts are free, not too loose and well oiled/greased. I also have referenced Sid’s DVD and the Kern book. I needed a new set of dies (combo) and I thought it would be prudent to get a new spring.
The new spring is ¼” shorter than my old spring and a proper set up requires that the crossarm ride all the way up and the tension on the spring off the toggle arm by about ½”. With this set up it strikes at 5:00 and the ram rises properly but the compression force of the blows are weak. I test the blows on mild steel and fresh sections of annealed 1084.

With the older spring I can lower the crossarm, lower the spring tension so the spring is just kissing the toggle arm and it strikes well.

My third option was using a ½” shorter lower die provided by Sid with another new spring. This required a little lower height on the crossarm but it still lacked the power.
I don’t want to risk using a spring of unknown age and use time (even with a guard) so I’m lost as to what to do next.
Any advice?
   - deloid - Wednesday, 10/13/10 13:01:29 EDT

True Confessions and Shame on Me. I junst now swept and shoveled up 38 years' accumulation of swarf from under the old drill press. The bundle weighed 20 pounds.
   Frank Turley - Wednesday, 10/13/10 14:45:02 EDT

Deloid, It sounds like Sid's replacement springs are an average fit for a number of models. Many things were changed on Little Giants over the years and not all was well recorded.

Even though the spring is shorter it may have a higher compression rate due to larger diameter wire. This will force the hammer to need to run faster to hit as hard as with a softer spring. While old springs can create problems it sounds like you've gone from good to bad.

Shorter than standard dies can be dangerous to the machine. On the down stroke there are parts such as the toggle arms that can crash into the ram guides. This can also let the machine extend into unworn areas of the ram and guides causing problems. Any change of this nature needs to be carefully investigated on the particular hammer. But it sounds like you've tested this.

The two critical adjustments on a Little Giant are spring tension and working height. The ram should hang just about the height of the material to be worked. 1/2" for 1/2", 1" for 1". On tall work the hammer cannot start at say 3" and work efficiently down to 1/2". You would need to stop and adjust the hammer. This is one area where air hammers work better.

The general rule is to adjust the spring tight enough that the toggle ends make a straight line. But this can be too tight for hard blows at low speed. A "sloppy" spring adjustment will hit harder at slow speed than a tight spring. But you have to be careful that the ram doesn't travel upward too far when run at high speed.

Any time the spring tension is adjusted the work height must be changed. While the general rule in trial and error adjustments is to make ONE change at a time. However, in this case one adjustment changes both. So when you readjust the spring you need to reset the work height each time. Once the spring gives you the performance you want then you can change the work height as needed.

Proper hammer performance has a different definition to many people. Many want good positive slow speed control, others want to run the hammer as fast as possible for heavy drawing. In the bladesmithing community they have been "hopping up" 25 pound Little Giants by putting heavier springs on them, higher HP motors and running them fast and furiously.

Try loosening up on the spring and see if it hits harder.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/13/10 15:18:52 EDT

"Try loosening up on the spring and see if it hits harder."
I did but then there was sag as in your statement:
"The general rule is to adjust the spring tight enough that the toggle ends make a straight line"
This also led to extra movement of the ram upward into the spring (a little out of control as well).

The replacement spring is 1/4" shorter but the wire is the same diameter. I don't have the ability to measure the spring strength but in behavior it seems weaker as well.Manzer seemed to have advocated that but it doesn't seem to work on my machine. Someone else wondered if my toggle arms were from a transitional machine and that's why the spring that usually works for Sid isn't working for me.
I wish I could use the old spring but I've worked long enough with machinery to know better.
   - deloid - Wednesday, 10/13/10 16:24:34 EDT

Naughty Frank!! Guess it was time for you to do some spring cleaning...LOL
   - happyknifenut - Wednesday, 10/13/10 17:43:48 EDT

If the ram hits the spring the compression is too little OR the spring too short (and has insufficient compression).

Generally if the line of the toggle arms is as straight as it can get with the least compression the adjustment is right. When the adjustment is loose or sloppy there is some sag in the toggles. Generally when a little loose the ram should not hit the spring.

Is the spring the same diameter? Number of coils? Ends ground the same?

Years ago I detailed a 50# LG spring and the ends were not just ground flat but forged square. . An expensive spring.

#1 rule in steel springs, all steel has the same springyness (modulus of elasticity). So the variables of the spring are wire diameter, coil diameter, length and number of coils (or length of the bar used to make the spring). Coils on short heavy springs are counted in turns and fraction of turns. If the the ends of the wire are on the same line then the coils are whole turns. If they do not line up then there are fractional turns. You can calculate the wire length from the number of turns.

Any change in the spring is going to make a noticeable change in the character of the hammer.

If you have not run out of adjustment I don't think the toggles are the problem. The hammer worked to your satisfaction with them. So the problem is in the replacement spring or adjustments.

The so called "traditional" hammers were not a transition. They were a heavy duty design that was abandoned. They only made the 25's and 250's that way for a short time. I had a 250 with the heavy guide design. It was similar in design to the Fairbanks and Bradley guide systems. I suspect they dropped it due to cost of production. I wish I had hung onto it. . .

   - guru - Wednesday, 10/13/10 18:36:10 EDT

were can someone buy a tom clark pattern anvil?
   - AL CONARD - Thursday, 10/14/10 10:44:03 EDT

Tom Clark Anvils: http://ozarkschool.com/heavytools.htm
   - happyknifenut - Thursday, 10/14/10 10:54:37 EDT

"Is the spring the same diameter? Number of coils? Ends ground the same?"
Same diameter same number of coils but the new one is groundmore on the partial coil ends. This and a slight difference in -between the coil distance- accounts for the 1/4" difference.

I tried the new spring again in varying degrees of tension and it can't "reserve power" as the older spring can.
   - deloid - Thursday, 10/14/10 11:43:07 EDT

Al, Tom has passed away and so too his tool business. While the we site shows many tools the inventory Tom had when he died is being sold off from what I understand. The on-line store is gone and I think all that is left is the tons of small tongs.

The designer of that anvil was actually Uri Hofi but the pattern maker someone else. I've been told Uri is having anvils made in China but I cannot verify this, nor would I want a Chinese made anvil (my personal business prejudice).

For about the same money you can, today, purchase the absolute BEST anvil ever manufactured anywhere in the world on ebay. See ebay item number 200530001180. This is the anvil currently featured on our home page and in the anvil gallery. It is a No. 5 Soeding & Halbach made in 1895.

So why buy a modern cast anvil when you can purchase the absolute best forged anvil ever made or that will ever be made for about the same money?

(Note: This anvil was available directly a few days ago but is now on ebay and the price may, as auction prices do, go much higher than the reserve.)
   - guru - Thursday, 10/14/10 12:13:04 EDT

So I'm relatively new to this, and I'm starting by making a wooden sword. I'm reading through your "Sword Making: For Beginners" page and I'm wondering if there was a diagram of knife parts, because all I'm seeing is [ Diagram of Knife Parts ]. As well, I'm shaky on some terminology, is there somewhere I can check to refresh my memory?
   Taylor - Thursday, 10/14/10 12:22:29 EDT


Hit the library. Look for Ewart Oakshott's books on medieval swords, or Jim Hrisoulis’ books on making swords, or some other books on swords and edged weapons. Talk to the librarian and discuss interlibrary loans if they don't have the resources available locally.

Learn to comprehend not just the nomenclature, but the entire subject.

Good luck.

A drenching rain on the banks of the Potomac today!

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 10/14/10 13:27:31 EDT

Are all the coils the same distance apart on both springs? A variable pitch spring has different characteristics than a constant pitch spring.
   - grant - Thursday, 10/14/10 15:53:40 EDT

"Are all the coils the same distance apart on both springs?"

No, the old spring varies from as narrow as 7.6mm to as wide as 9.2mm.
There is some variability in the new spring but not anywhere close to this amount.
   - deloid - Thursday, 10/14/10 16:21:47 EDT

Usually a variable pitch spring "firms up" faster as it is compressed than a similar constant pitch spring. As some coils compress and touch they are no longer active and the effective length of wire being twisted becomes shorter thus stiffer. Might be what you are experiencing if all the other variables are the same.
   - grant - Thursday, 10/14/10 17:07:21 EDT

Well, You've reduced the problem to being the replacement spring. You've got a spare, run the old spring.

As I mentioned earlier, I made a detailed drawing of spring from a old 50 pound Little Giant many years ago. I just happened to have found it the other day and was studying it. The ends of the spring were forged to a flat taper that became a rectangular section, not just cut and ground as are many springs today. I wasn't looking for variable pitch but the spring had been broken in several places and brazed back together. If it has it, I would not have seen it.

In any event, the spring was a bit different than the usual. When I spoke to a fellow in the spring business about making it he said that he could prepare the wire before rolling it. At the time it doubled the price from $50 to $100. That was around 1990. I did not have the spring made and sold the machine when I sold all my Little Giants. I should have kept one. . But I thought I was leaving blacksmithing behind at that point.

In any case, never underestimate old technology and unrecorded proprietary information that did not come with a company when it was sold.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/14/10 17:18:36 EDT

Thanks Guru and Grant.
   - deloid - Thursday, 10/14/10 18:01:15 EDT

Like PondRacer, I plan a hobby shop in a 10x12 backyard shed. So, I looked at your sketch with interest. I don't understand. You install an outside cheminey with the mouth just above the forge so, I assume it will work like a side draft. Then you install a hood connected to a turbine above the forge????? Why both ???? Isn't it easyer lower the hood close to the forge and use it alone??? What is the other turbine for???? An air intake maybe??? I am really confused! The tools layout looks like what I had planned.
Bonsoir Donald
   donald - Thursday, 10/14/10 20:48:40 EDT

The turbine ventilator is to exhaust hot air, dust and fumes. No forge hood system is 100% effective and there WILL be smoke in the air as well as increased levels of CO and CO2.

The smaller the work space the better the ventilation you need. Most of these little buildings have low ceilings and smoke collects right at head height. Use of an angle grinder fills the air with small fiberglass particles, buffing fills the air with cotton and metal dust. Sanding and wire brushing as well as woodworking fill the air with dust that is bad to breathe.

Along with the turbine ventilator you will need the door wide open or several windows.

If you are constructing your own building then you could use a raised ridge vent the full length of the building. And/or build it a little taller than norm. . .

   - guru - Thursday, 10/14/10 22:31:21 EDT

I am with the Guru on ventalation. All of the activities we do in a shop put stuff in the air that should not be in our lungs. I can strongly reccomend the turbine ventalator. I have one, a 24" size and the amount of air moved by that single turbine is pretty surprising. A ridge vent I can not reccomend. These are attic vents and are designed for slow, difuse venting. The turbine is going to move more air.

Always think about the make up air. A forge stack and a turbine are going to definetly need that make up air.
   ptree - Friday, 10/15/10 06:18:41 EDT

I can (cough!) also testify to (hrunch!) the importance of (Hrrrrungh!) ventilation. (Excuse me, I have to get another tissue...)

One of the few comforts in losing the old shop in the tobacco stripping house was the chance to provide a layout with good ventilation. The ridge vent may not be the best, but with the open eaves and the squirrel cage exhaust fan, the overall improvement is astonishing. No more smoky dark hovel!

I was planning a turbine ventilator, too, but it seems to be unnecessary in the new layout. However, the turbine vent, a taller chimney and an jury-rig exhaust fan in the window were what made the old stripping house at least tolerable, so starting with one or two turbine vents in place is a GOOD thing.

Sunny, cool and clear on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 10/15/10 08:59:29 EDT

I have two ridge ventilators that are the roughly circular, galvanizied type with the bowed louvred sides. They twirl around when the wind blows. When the shop is smoky, I have watched and studied the activity of the ventilators. In no way, does the ball-bearinged, rotating motion draw air upward. I can see no induced draft. The smoke simply finds its way to the ventilators by accident, by gosh and by golly. Therefore, I am wondering why the louvres, why the rotation, why the ball bearings? Perhaps the ventilator keeps Mother Nature's wind from blowing smoke back into the shop; I can understand that.

I also have one stovepipe top, a sort of wind preventer, which had sheet metal curved on four sides in such a way that smoke can exit between the "folds." It is stationary with no rotation and seems to halt the wind's entrance. By the bye, my stove pipes are a minimum of two feet above the roof ridge.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 10/15/10 09:06:16 EDT

My workspace is in my cellar in a 250 year old colonial house. The fireplace is big enough to walk in. In the flue I put an exhaust fan designed to pull smoke, I got it from an old hookah bar that went out of business. You can literally watch any smoke in the room suck into the chimney. I also keep the back door open for more ventilation and light.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 10/15/10 09:30:13 EDT

Frank Turley. My turbine draws well, I have smoke tested with smoke from a smouldering cardboard. I looked at the spec's for mine a while back, and as I recall it induces about 5000CFM in a 5 mph breeze. The louvers on mine are airfoil shaped and clean. The produce "Lift" from movement of the airfoil. Perhaps yous are not airfoil shaped or have dirt and dust filling in the underside of the airfoils?
Mine draws so well that I installed an operable door to close off the intake in the winter when I am not running thngs that make smoke. I also have huge amounts of make-up air. The "free area" of my make-up is 100 square' minimum. Thats a 10'x10' door. In the summer, with operable louvers etc I am in the area of 200 square foot of free area to allow little or no resistance to make-up air.
   ptree - Friday, 10/15/10 10:25:04 EDT

Well there are "industrial" ridge vent systems that are much larger than the household attic varieties. Much more expensive too.

Right now I've just left the ridge open on my shop extension while waiting to find a good one cheap! Of course rain isn't much of an issue out here, wind is. I need to look into closing off the end trusses as we get into cold weather times. I hope to get some heavy plastic or fiberglass and fab some "windows" for the trusses to get the light and possibly allow the center ones to open for ventilation.

Currently I have a 10'x30' opening + the ridge and truss ends and front door area---working on scrounging a channel to mount the roll up doors to.

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/15/10 12:57:15 EDT

Buildings with natural ventilation have to be properly designed to take advantage of naturally rising air or modest breezes.

In Costa Rica they have a lot of rain so vents are covered with overhangs. But they also have ferocious tropical sun. In well engineered buildings, to reduce heat build up they use grill covered vents along the top of walls just under the ceiling. This lets in fresh air from a protected place under the eves. This air flows along the ceiling and out a large ridge vent. The ridge vent is usually created by a large step or 18" to two feet where the two roof lines meet. Even in relatively warm weather these places are cool and comfortable without AC. I suspect it is important to orient this one sided vent so that the prevailing winds do the most good.

If you look at old industrial buildings built before AC or general ventilation large copula type ridge vents that included skylights were so prominent a part of the design that trusses with this feature are some of the "standard" types in structural engineering books. They also included high ceilings or roof lines.

Modern flat roofed, sealed window building are the worst sort of construction. But overly small work spaces are also a bad situation if not well ventilated.
   - guru - Friday, 10/15/10 13:15:33 EDT

Tom Clark Anvils ar still alive. Someone from BAM is having them cast. May want to check out the BAM website
   Charles - Friday, 10/15/10 13:38:22 EDT

Hello Sorry if this is off topic but i recently bought a gas furnace and an old anvil from a gentlemen in Denver, Colorado. It is rusted and worn and the only mark on it is the word "dempsey" the only thig I could seem to find a link to was here at anvilfire. I was just trying to find some history on it. I would appreciate it anyone could point me in the right direction.
   shawn - Friday, 10/15/10 14:58:31 EDT

As I just told one of our folks at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore up in Wisconsin ( www.nps.gov/apis ): "I hate flat roofs!" Snow loads, heavy rains, extreme weather events (...what? Extreme weather in a National Park? In the wilderness? Unheard of!), all sorts of things cause them problems; and once a leak starts, tracking them down is maddening. When stuck with a flat roof, my next question is: "How old is it; and do you have a shedule for replacement for the membrane?"

I know Frank, in Santa Fe, sees plenty of them; but hey, it never really rains or snows much out there anyway, and it's hard to fight tradition; but I did get some proper arches and pitches out in Tucson where they have the monsoons.

Okay, off the soapbox. :-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 10/15/10 15:04:59 EDT

I blame the flat roof craze on Frank Lloyd Wrong!

Houses without attics?---where do you stash your crazy relations?

An anvil named Dempsey; reminds me of the one I bought because all I could make out on it was Powe turned out to ba a Powell and not a Powers---until I get the chisel out, bwahahahaha (already missing the heel so no "historical" loss)

   Thomas P - Friday, 10/15/10 15:16:14 EDT

Dempsey Anvil: Well, Since I am THE Dempsey here and a bit of an anvil expert you think I would have heard of any anvil made under the brand name "Dempsey". I have not.

First thing to recognize is that if its hard to read then your eyes may be fooling you. You would not believe the things people have read out of a faint "HAY BUDDEN - BROOKLYN, NEW YORK". . . Lots of letters their to confuse. A friend of mine recently got VIII for King Henry the eighth out of R. HILL. So, read carefully.

THEN. . There were hundreds (HUNDREDS) of anvil makers in England where there are lots of Dempseys. Not as many as in Ireland whence we came, but a lot. So it is possible it may be from the British Isles as are 90% of all the old imported anvils.

THEN, for quite a long time there have been makers who would cast your name on the anvil for a small fee as long as you could wait for the anvil to be manufactured.

Note that their is a significant difference here. Old anvil markings are almost universally stamped INTO the anvil with chisel like stamps which leave a fine line. Cast marking are almost (but not always) raised block letters. But if not raised they are still broad letters compared to stamped. Cast anvils are generally 20th century and thus not considered very old.

"Old" in an anvil starts at 150 years and many folks are USING 200 year old anvils in their shops. But anvils tend to attract condensation and left on their own under certain circumstances with rust rapidly and a ten year old anvil MAY appear to have 100 years of rust on it.

If you can get a photograph or rubbing of the marking I would love to see it.
   - guru - Friday, 10/15/10 15:55:00 EDT

OK I'll admit I do like the 3+ lb French Hammer on small 1/4 stock letter openers with the back forged on the diamond and at an angle to get a nice long 'flat' triangle on it's sides. But what is the "wedge angle"? Thanks much
   Robert - Friday, 10/15/10 18:51:08 EDT

Jock, don't you want the "Dempsey" anvil? Huh? huh?? (nudge nudge)
   - Nippulini - Friday, 10/15/10 20:04:39 EDT

At this time the only anvils I can afford are digital . . .
   - guru - Friday, 10/15/10 22:03:13 EDT

Just commenting a little about New Mexico flat roofs. Taos Pueblo Indian village is 70 miles north of Santa Fe with an elevation of 6,950 feet. The average rainfall is 12"; the average snowfall is 35"; and the nearby ski valley has 321" per year. The pueblo consists of two 4 story adobe complexes dating from about 1,000 years ago. The Indians have maintained the structures by annual refurbishing and plastering. The structures were built before European contact, so that stone tools were used for felling the 'vigas' (roof beams) and door frames. The old roofs had a slight cant for drainage and the water exited via wooden, pitch lined 'canales.' The steeper, pitched roof idea may have been thought of, but it would have been difficult to execute without saws and other such tools. With the Spanish incursions and subsequent settling, the adobe style was much copied, but a few ridged roofs eventually appeared. Much later, after the Anglo-Americans came in, corrugated galvanized roofing became available and was often used on pitched roofs.

As a post script, Santa Fe is celebrating its Euro/Spanish quartocentennial, 1610 to 2010. Compare with Plymouth colony, 1620.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 10/15/10 22:18:54 EDT

I was confused, now I am devastated! My house is on a 7500 sqare feet lot with other houses all around. I made some test concerning the anvil noise and came to the conclusion that the shed's door and house's door must be closed in order to be quiet in the house. Same for others I guest. So my forging season needs cool wheather(mid october to end of may).Forging with the shed'door open does not meet my requirements for sound. I live in Québec, Canada,so the winter is cold. Forging door open is not great.
I saw on internet a picture of a farrier scool. They had 4 small forges equipped with tipi-like hood connected to a 6 inchs cheminey. The hood opening is small. I wanted to use my rivet forge with such a hood(already 50% completed).I will use charcoal for respect for my "neibergs". Make-up air is an open window. CO and CO2 detectors. That was the plan.....but all of you,experience people,are giving clear warnings. I would be fool not to listen. I want a fun hobby,not a deadly one. I will study the case for a while.
Thank you all. Donald
   donald - Friday, 10/15/10 22:28:56 EDT

Small spaces, hoods and noise.

Funnel type overhead hoods are very problematic. The hood must move practically all the air or a high percentage of it at the opening up the flue. This means a large amount of cold air mixed with the cold air reducing the force of the draft. VERY inefficient. They will work but only with VERY small fires.

This is why virtually all modern shops have side draft hoods with small openings. A little hot air creates a strong draft and the high velocity flow (like a vacuum cleaner) will such smoke and gases horizontally off the fire a foot and a half away.

If you put the outdoor side draft hood on the sunny (South) side of your building the sun will warn the sheet metal stack and start a draft without a fire. It was also put outside to increase the usable space inside the shop.

Note however, that I have been in small well ventilated shops in Costa Rica where they burn charcoal and have no hood OR stack.

NOISE: If anvil noise is your primary concern then look for a Fisher Norris Eagle anvil. These cast iron steel faced anvils make very little sound and what they DO make is low frequency, not so harsh and travels less. IF your shed has a wooden floor the sound of the pounding transmitted through the stand will be louder.

While sound waves go around corners their propagation is much weaker than in a straight line or when reflected off a hard surface. A baffle wall (section of privacy fence) a few feet outside an open door will stop a high percentage of sound. Break up the surface with trained vines or other plants ( a bush) and you will reduce noise transmission even more.

Covering the bare places on the walls of your shop (before you put up shelves) with old carpet will help sound proof the building. The side of your privacy fence sound barrier that faces the door could also be covered with old indoor outdoor carpet or remnants and further increase its sound damping.

Common fiberglass insulation helps sound proof a building as well.

The sounds that annoy me in suburbia are skill or table saws (the sound travels miles), leaf blowers (a ridiculous invention) and motor cycles or three wheelers.

7500 sqft lot. . . my shop is half that size!
   - guru - Saturday, 10/16/10 00:06:46 EDT

If there are concerns about air quality, why can't a person wear an oxygen mask or a mask that would filter out harmful contaminants ? During World War One, soldiers wore masks to filter out mustard gas, chlorine gas etc. Surely masks have been improved since then. Just a thought.
   Mike T. - Saturday, 10/16/10 00:19:09 EDT

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