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, 2011 on the Guru's Den
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. . . . . whacked away WITH A HAMMER . . . . . .
   - Nippulini - Saturday, 10/08/11 09:05:02 EDT

Fireplace vs. Forge :
Fireplaces get a pretty good draft going and can get hot enough to burn and scale steel. I've seen grates made with RR-rails that softened and sagged. In the shallow coal grate types you had to be careful to watch the intake damper or you could melt the entire grate down.

James Nasmyth wrote that as a boy he ran a small foundry in his bedroom the fireplace producing the draft. With a big stack and a small opening (equivalent to a nozzle) you can get a VERY intense small fire without a blower.

On the other hand, I've made fires hot enough to bring a nail to a yellow heat using an 8oz. tin can with hole poked in it and blowing through the holes (lung power) while burning small bit of wood that converted to charcoal.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/08/11 12:31:55 EDT

I once introduced oxygen into the inlet of my atmospheric burner from an (unlit) cutting torch. The flame immediately started burning inside the burner tube, and burning quite loudly. I released the lever on the torch real quick -- I don't think it would have taken long to do some serious damage.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 10/09/11 13:18:19 EDT

Mike, The added oxygen probably increased the flame front velocity thus would need a different burner configuration. Gases in the burner must move faster than the flame through the gases. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 10/09/11 13:27:44 EDT

Alcohol : I did some thinking about what Rich said about propane having 21,500 Btu's per pound while alcohol has 11,500 per pound. Now my grandpa had some tractors that ran on gasoline, but later were converted to run on propane. If I converted my car to run on propane, then later decided I wanted to convert it to ethanol, I would have to have a tank twice as large to get the same milage, being ethanol is half as efficient. My question is this, with the push to run more vehicles on ethanol, that means we would have to have gas tanks twice as large as they are now or have two tanks. I know in Brazil almost all vehicles are running on ethanol, does that mean they get half the milage with the standard issued tank or do they replace them with tanks twice as large ? What am I missing ?
   Mike T. - Monday, 10/10/11 02:00:49 EDT

The E-85 gas/ethanol runs about 23% less in cost in these parts and provides about 25% less milage.
Ethanol straight up takes not only a larger tank for he same range, the entire fuel system needs to be made from materials that can tolerate the ethanol.
   - ptree - Monday, 10/10/11 06:59:06 EDT

Back in the early 80's when they first started putting a significant amount of ethanol in some gasoline one of the GM carburetor's had a sealed foam plastic float. They worked fine until hit by alcohol. . which they absorbed, then sunk instead of floating. Made a real mess.

Most alternative fuels have never had the range of petroleum fuels. Hydrogen being the lightest gas is the worst. Methane is not so great either but during the depression folks built chicken manure powered vehicles that made methane as they ran. . . for a very short distance. But it was better than walking.

Hugh McDonald sent me parts of his biography where during his youth they had wood gas generators on their farm tractors in Australia. They were about half the size of the tractor. . . But during a period when you could not get fuel at all they could operate the farm tractor.

The alternative fuel with the most promise is bio diesel made from some oil plants and algae (whence came oil in the first place). It has excellent mileage and is what Diesel invented his engine to run on in the first place. Note however that ANY diversion of farm land and food plants for fuel is pure evil. The recent tying of corn prices to oil pierces has been a global food price disaster. However, there are oil producing plants (weeds) that grow on land unsuitable for normal agricultural production. THIS is where our focus on alternative fuel should be. NOT on products that are food for human or animal.
   - guru - Monday, 10/10/11 08:22:59 EDT

Water Fuel : I remember years ago, on the program "60 Minutes", they showed a car that a guy built that ran on water. It seperated the hydrogen from the oxygen and burned the hydrogen, giving the water off as a by product. He said he had no special training and if he was able to do it, why couldn't the scientists come up with the same thing ? Maybe it's because we have a world wide, oil based economy.
   Mike T. - Monday, 10/10/11 09:00:31 EDT

Jock hit the nail on the head (iron on the yellow spot). Most of the world's ethanol is processed from corn. Yet another reason the "invisible hand" wants us to pay more for food and fuel (fuel costs go up, food goes with it and vice-versa). The oily plant he refers to is called switchgrass, and yes it is a weed not suitable for consumption and grows in areas that food crops won't. Keep asking these questions... the best solar companies get bought up and put to sleep by companies who see nothing but profit loss.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 10/10/11 09:24:43 EDT

Alt fuels : Diesel actually designed his first engine to run on powdered caol. It blew up and he switched to oil.
For a real simple diesel look at the Junkers opposed piston designs. Used no valves, and had no heads. It did have very intricate injection pumps however.

The ethanol in gasahol ate all the seals in a number of small engines I have including my Stihl chainsaw. They made a new "rubber kit" that was ethanol tolerant and it works fine now.

My wifes new Chevy HHR is able to use E-85, but the owners manual suggests picking a fuel and sticking to that. If you run gasoline all the time when you switch to E-85 you wash lots of deposits out and can clog fuel filters.
   ptree - Monday, 10/10/11 10:14:38 EDT

Mike; that does work; however it takes more power to produce than you get out of it. I commend to your attention an area of study called Thermodynamics whose basic laws control EVERYTHING we do. They have been "popularized" as "You can't win" "You can't tie" and "You can't quit the game".

Most "secret special hidden fuels the big meanies won't let us use" work by ignoring something critical---like having power plants to produce electricity to crack water into H2 and O. Of for a lot of the waste oil systems they assume that once 200 million people start running waste oil vehicles then the waste oil will still be free. Just like gasoline! (which was pretty much free when it was first produced as a byproduct of refining kerosene needed for *lights*) Once there was a market for it the free/cheap aspect changed.

Finally as an example of something that works but is not a viable method: You can turn lead into gold using nuclear processes; however the gold so produced is *many* times more costly than to just mine the stuff.
   Thomas P - Monday, 10/10/11 11:16:08 EDT

Water Fuel and FREE energy :
Mike, These are no different than perpetual motion. The classic one is a motor turning a flywheel turning a generator turning the motor. . . This is reinvented over and over and the inventors ALWAYS say "All we have to do is work out the friction problems. . ." They have demonstration machines that use external power that run a few seconds after being disconnected then run down and stop. It MIGHT continue to run in a frictionless system, with superconductors. . . but you could not take energy OUT of the system AND they overlook the energy originally put INTO the system.

The "hyrdazine" or hydroxy fuel systems use electricity to break down water into hydrogen and oxygen then feed those back into the engine. . . Most start with a running gasoline engine and a charged battery. They never consider the inertia of the running engine OR where the power came from in the battery. . . They always need a "more efficient battery or generator. . ". No, they need to understand the laws of physics. Its pretty simple, you can't get more OUT than you put IN. OR in other words "There is no free lunch".

When I was a in elementary school there was always somebody telling the story that a guy invented a pill that you could put in your gas tank and then fill it with water and run on the water. . But the oil companies had bought the patent. I didn't believe it then, neither should you now. . .

For one thing a patent is a public disclosure of how the invention works. AND they have a very limited lifetime (less than 20 years). So that magic pill has been public domain since about 1980. . . But I'm sure that story was being told when my dad was a kid so its been public domain since since the 1940's. . .

SO any time you hear one of those stories about suppressed inventions. . . Just run to the patent office and look it up.

Currently the big fad is selling plans to make "free electric" generators from the secret or repressed plans of Thomas Edison or Nikola Tesla (free energy from the air). The Tesla BS is using the popularity of fictional characters from the television shows Warehouse 13 and Sanctuary. . . In Sanctuary Tesla is a vampire on top of everything else! Hey, if YOU have vampire blood maybe YOU can make free electricity. . .

Back in the 1940's the big hope for nearly "free" energy was miniature atomic reactors the size of a chicken egg. These would outlast your automobile then be moved to the next and the next. . .

But practicality set in. First there was no safe efficient way to convert that heat energy into motive power. Then they realized that the shielding for such a small device would weigh tons. . . And they never got to the point of what to do with the nuclear waste. In fact, there is a big rush to nuclear AGAIN with no thought about disposing the waste products. We still have most of the waste from every plant in the country sitting IN the plants. . . thousands of tons of it. .
   - guru - Monday, 10/10/11 11:31:08 EDT

More on "free energy" : If its comes to you in SPAM OR if you see it on YouTube its a lie, scam or probably bad science.
   - guru - Monday, 10/10/11 12:04:44 EDT

Energy : A simple thing to help with understanding energy. You can't make it or destroy it. You can easily change its form. Energy will move to the next lower form at the drop of a hat. The lowest form is heat. So somehow you get your device moving and the friction robs at leasta tiny portion of the energy from the starting amount. Friction moves the energy to its heat form.

One of the issues with hydrogen as a auto fuel (among many many problems) is that if all cars ran on hydrogen cities like New York would have constant rain.
   ptree - Monday, 10/10/11 13:45:01 EDT

Energy Policy :
There ARE serious problems with energy policy in our country. Too much Oil Politics and ignorance. You could probably sell a perpetual motion machine to out last 10 presidents and 755 of Congress. For decades the US government took the Saudi's oil ministry statements that there was an INFINITE supply of oil as truth. . Nothing is infinite except the empty space of the Universe. . Idiots on both sides of the supply question.

Small hydro has mostly been put out of business by government regulations. Most small hydro projects are or COULD be on the literally millions of small dams that are currently unused. The water is there, falling anywhere from 8 to 30 feet and the energy is WASTED on thousands of dams. Why? Lack of common sense. To get a Federal license to sell electricity (no matter how little) you have to have do the following:

1) Have public meetings
2) Let the local government and state comment OR regulate what you do. This includes folks like Fish and Wildlife. ..
3) Invite comments AND consider every public or private recreation and wildlife group.
4) Be inspected and take action on recommendations by the Army Corp of Engineers.
5) Be regulated and controlled by FEMA to be sure all of the above is met. . .
6) Negotiate a contract with the utility to purchase your power (they can claim it is only worth 1.5 cent a KW. . . while they sell at 15 to 20)

When a friend of mine built a plant on an old Mill dam which had also once been a local utility plant they had to put in a million dollar fish ladder. . . While the project was completed the fish ladder took funds away from doing the rest of the job right and it failed. The fish ladder requires operation (gates controlled and adjusted, maintenance) several times a year). Then the project failed the Fish and Wildlife people who insisted on the fish ladder could not find funds to operate it. . . It sat unmaintained for a decade and is now operated privately. But there was no thought about how this would impact something that was for the public good in the FIRST place. . .

Small hydro is not the answer but its just one part of a bigger problem.

Banking on the Grid: In SOME states, with SOME utilities you can "bank on the grid". That means you can make power from any source and feed it back into the power grid. You receive a credit (usually a 1:1 credit) against energy you use. This is great except that at the end of the year the account is cleared and any credit you have at the time goes away.

It is a good system because you of the 1:1 pricing. Losing a possible credit at the end of the year is less than being paid wholesale prices then buying at retail. The reason for this system is simplicity and not letting the utilities set unrealistic wholesale prices OR needing to install dual metering systems.

We have banking on the Grid in Virgina and North Carolina. In Virginia all utilities must take part but there is a cap on how much KW they must bank. In North Carolina only certain utilities must take part. WE are not on one of those. . . If we lived on the other side of the road we could bank on the grid. I had investigated solar electric about 5 years ago and the payback for us would be between 4 to 7 years (depending on the weather and cloud cover). After that our costs would only be about 10% of normal plus maintenance. A BIG difference.

What is important about banking on the grid is that you have power when the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine AND without large expensive polluting battery banks. Just avoiding the public cost of battery disposal is reason enough to support banking on the grid.

Since solar electric is financially viable in much of the US we SHOULD be seeing solar housing developments sponsored by tax credits (Oh gee, . . . solar credits are gone). Every home should be oriented with proper solar exposure and designed with a properly angled roof line. In the typical cookie cutter housing development with hundreds of homes of approximately the same design (or 3 or 4 designs) the engineering costs would be negligible. With an average 5 year payback for the solar panels and controls it should be illegal to build any other way!

Expanding this to millions of new homes would produce improvements in panel design as well as reduce costs. We would become less dependent on fossil fuels OR be able to use them where nothing else is as suitable (such as in automobiles and trucks).

The advantage to such distributed systems is that there is less likelihood of a massive regional power outage such as occasionally happens today and is more likely in the future.

   - guru - Monday, 10/10/11 14:36:17 EDT


Are you sure about the rain? I could have this wrong, but it looks like hydrogen by weight has about 3 times the energy content of gasoline (a little over 60K btu/lb vs a little over 20K btu/lb). Octane, the main constituent of gasoline, is is C8H18. That works out to about 16% hydrogen by weight. (8*12 + 18*1 = 114, 18/114 = 0.16). So you'd burn 1 lb of hydrogen to replace 3 lbs of gasoline, and get about twice the water (the water from 3 lbs of gas would be 3*16% = 48% of what you'd get from 1 lb of hydrogen).

It could be that doubling the water vapor from internal combustion engines in New York would cause constant rain, but that doesn't seem that likely to me. For one thing, it doesn't seem noticeably more rainy in the city now, even though there's already lots of water vapor from burning gasoline.
   Mike BR - Monday, 10/10/11 16:13:00 EDT

Alt fuels : Where I live in NE Arkansas, they grow rice and wheat. After the grain is harvested, the fields are burned off in order to get rid of the stubble (straw). I have often wondered why these fields of stubble are not cut and used as an alternative fuel ie.-make ethanol, or burned directly in power plants. Think of ALL the stubble that could be used from Nebraska, Kansas etc. perhaps compressed into blocks. Something else I have thought about is this...When you flush your toilet, think of all of the methane potential that is being flushed away. The country could construct a nation wide sewer collection system, sort of like tributaries running into a river. Have huge plants constructed that would convert all of this waste into methane. That in turn would save all of the cities the expense of building and maintaining sewer treatment plants. If nothing else, the United States is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas, turn to natural gas instead of ethanol.
   Mike T. - Monday, 10/10/11 17:27:26 EDT

Anvil Restore : Hi i was wondering what steps i should take to restore an old anvil. This avil has lots of caked on dirt, warps, a mishaped horn hole and square hole. Sorry for the discription but im new to this and that why i want to save a restore an old anvil instead of spending alot on a new one
   David - Monday, 10/10/11 18:51:13 EDT

The first rule of "restoring" an old anvil is "First do no harm!"

Many people have ended up trashing anvils that were perfectly usable though not knowing things like---anvils have a limited thickness of hardened face. Grind/mill through that and you are down to the soft mild steel or wrought iron or unhardened steel.

Anvil faces may not be parallel to their base. I have personally seen an anvil they "milled flat" where they milled through the hardened face at one in and into the soft metal because they didn't flip it over and mill the soft base parallel to the hardened face and then just lightly kissed the face if it was truly bad.

A sway in the anvil face helps knifemakers straighten blades. A dead flat face is harder to use.

Old blacksmithing manuals tell a smith that the first thing they should do with a new anvil is to round the edges. Many modern people will damage their anvil with welding (the face is high carbon steel and so preheat the appropriate rod and post heat is needed to weld on an anvil) trying to make sharp edges that actually cause problems in use!

So first thing *clean* the anvil---a side angle grinder spinning a wire brush should take the dust/rust off and let you see what you really have. What kind of warps? Where? How are the pritchel and hardy holes mis-shapen?

What are your skills? What tools do you have access to? What do you plan to do with the anvil? (I've met several people who didn't want to pay money for a good condition anvil so instead they paid twice as much in materials to restore an old one, I've always found that odd and that's not counting the time involved!)

So far you have basically told us "I have found an old car, it's dirty and has some dents how do I restore it? Is it worth restoring?"

   Thomas P - Monday, 10/10/11 19:21:01 EDT

Note when using a wirewheel in a powered tool Personal Protective Gear is MANDATORY---face shild and leather apron and a dust mask is the minimum; better to wear a set of goggles under the face shield as well.

The wheel will throw crud and wires, the wires will penetrate skin!
   Thomas P - Monday, 10/10/11 19:24:51 EDT

Mike BR, I have read studies that indicate the constant rain, don't remember the exact details. The moisture emmited from combustion does effect weather. The WWI effects of all the water vapor emmitted in the higher altitudes made for huge cloud banks upon the return of the 1000 plane raids. The winters of 44,45 and 46 were some of the coldest on record. Much thought as to the effects of 5000 engines, burning gasoline at the rate of about 50 gallons an hour each has been given.
Now imagine twice the water emitted from every car in a huge metropolis and what will be the effect? Don't forget, the hydrogen will be split from water by what? Electricity generated by? probably coal or natural gas. Those will also liberate water vapor.
   - ptree - Monday, 10/10/11 19:47:17 EDT

Anvil Repairs : Many people think that I am insulting them on this subject when I say, "If you have to ask then you don't have the skills". But it is true and we are not tring to insult you.

Some anvil trivia.

1) Anvils are a much more sophisticated tool than one would think.
2) Anvils have been made using at least 4 or more basic methods.
3) Anvils have been made using at 4 basic and different materials.
4) Anvils are a work surface, NOT a reference surface. If you need a surface plate then an anvil is the wrong tool.
5) The worst, beat up, abused and missused OLD anvil is a better tool than a shiny new modern junk anvil (AKA ASO - Anvil Shaped Object).
6) In the world of anvils the term "antique" does not apply until one is about 200 years old. And surprisingly there are many 250 to 400 year old anvils in circulation. Some quite valuable as antiques.

Number's one and two determine IF an anvil is repairable and the method to be used. Number six suggests that any repair may lessen possible antique value.

I tell folks to dust it off and USE it. When you know something about blacksmithing then you might know what your anvil needs done to it. Unless you want it as a piece of sculpture or object de art, anvils are a tool that attract rust and dirt like the Peanuts character "Pig Pen". So a "clean" anvil is also subjective. If you paint it most of the paint gets burned off when used and if you oil it the oil collects dirt and scale. But we still paint the non-working surfaces of anvils and oil the working surfaces occasionally. But they still rust. . . The best care being to USE the anvil.

If you think the anvil is actually useless as-is then have a smith look at it. You are welcome to send me a photo. But even if it needs repairs it is best to use one for a while. Old beat up anvils are great learning tools.
   - guru - Monday, 10/10/11 20:12:05 EDT

Urban environments :
Large urban environments have many bizarre effects upon their "micro" climate. But people forget the mitigating effects such as New York City being on the coast (as are many major cities) and the air wafted off to sea just like the sewage. . . Then there are cities like Los Angles where the prevailing winds often hold the polluted air over the city for weeks at a time.

My home town of Lynchburg, VA is in a low place on the James River surrounded by hills and mountains. In the mornings when you crest the hill going into town from the South you can see and smell the stagnant city air. On more days than not there is a cloud of condensation hovering over downtown. The smell at the top of that hill is a mixture of death from the rendering plant, gas "stink" from the leaking gas mains, smoldering leaves and chimney creasote and exhusts of thousands of autos and tens of thousands of sewer vents. . . Lynchburg is a relatively small town with little polluting industry but it still has a stink of its own.

Consider the results of a large city where nearly 50% of the air volume up to about 200 feet is air conditioned and all that waste heat is dumped into the free air between buildings. . . Consider the difference made by taking a lush green self cooling area of heavy vegetation and paving it with heat absorbing, volatile discharging asphalt. Without any "machinery" or exhaust you have taken a place with cool clean air and converted it to hot polluted air with oil that seeps into the runoff water. . .

Then. . . there is not hardly a sky seen anywhere from the surface of our planet that does not have the long fine lines of jet contrails. Even in remote places where aircraft never travel those marks of man upon the sky drift thousands of miles. . .
   - guru - Monday, 10/10/11 20:44:05 EDT

Solar Energy : A friend put in a grid tied solar electric system on the house in California, where the weather, laws and electric rates make it viable. After the rebates & tax credits it cost 40K out of pocket for a 9KW system. After 1 year of operation [You settle up the electric bill anually] they had to pay about $150 for the additional power used over what they had generated. This system should pay off in under 10 years, and hopefully last over 20. He mentioned that the dust needs to be rinsed from the pannels regularly, as it cuts output.

Here in Pensylvania, we don't get as much sunshine [more on that latter] and the laws only provide for You to get generation rate on what You sell back. Carbon credits are worth 1/3 as much as they are worth in New Jersey as well. The local school district is presently considering a system that should provide 1/3 of the power they consume. Perhaps Tony and his light pipes would be a better investment, havn't seen Him on the forums lately.

At Our house [Southeastern Pa.] We have been using solar water heating for about the last 30 years. This system works well about 1/2 the time and hardly at all for about 3 months in the fall when We get a lot of cloud cover. There are some solar electric systems in this region, but My guess is that they will take a really long time to pay off, if ever, due to cloud cover and the above mentioned laws.

Buyback rates & laws:
Simply running the meeter backwards gives the solar [or other alternative] producer a price benifit, as about 1/2 the price You pay for power covers the distribution costs. The areas that buy back at 100% do so to encourage alternative production, and the power company eats the difference. I would expect this to change if alternative production becomes commonplace.

The environmental aspects of PV pannel production will have to wait for another discussion...
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 10/10/11 22:10:28 EDT

Solar : Just a quick jab here.
I find most people I point this out to dont realise in the big picture, ALL energy on earth is of solar.
Anyway, I am having lots of fun this week in my workshop. Just bought a couple bags of fossilised sunshine and have blades to forge.
   - Sven - Monday, 10/10/11 23:48:15 EDT

Sven : I had a big tank of photons, but the dark got in and spoiled them.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 10/11/11 00:22:42 EDT

Solar. Like Dave I use solar, directly, without the many million year wait for oil or gas. My house is passive solar, super insulated. That means the entire house is the collector. The floor is the solar mass. Superinsulated in 1985 terms means R-30 walls and R-60 roof for insulation and triple glazed selective emmisivity windows. In my part of the country, this system yeilds about 30% of our winter heat since we have many cloudy days. We also are lax in that we don't cover the windows with thermal shutters when the sun is not out as we don't want to live in a cave.
In my part of the country, the super insulated pays back in 8 to 10 years, the passive solar in 25 years or so.
I supplement with a renewal fuel, wood that is scrap from a mill. Also solar powered but takes about 40 to 60 years for the solar to be harvested:)
   ptree - Tuesday, 10/11/11 07:07:07 EDT

1/2 my house is passive solar, clerestory windows and a stabilized adobe wall dividing the kitchen and the "collecting room". Back up is a woodstove with a ceramic "window" in it and since we like fires we end up burning about a cord of softwood a year. This half was built in the late '70's and has 2x6 walls insulated and lots of insulation in the attic.

The other half was built in the '90's still with 2x6 walls but I don't think the attic is as well insulated. We run it off the first half of the house with only a small plug in electric heater (oil filled) for our master bathroom. If they had only oriented the addition the same way as the old part then it would probably be too warm for sleeping without keeping the windows in the bedroom open!

   Thomas P - Tuesday, 10/11/11 12:52:20 EDT

Feather : Do you have a feather project you have done that you like? Blacksmith/forgestyle
   Carl - Tuesday, 10/11/11 16:40:12 EDT

Carl : Yes.
   Rich - Tuesday, 10/11/11 18:17:11 EDT

Feathers : Carl, The only one I've got is part of the Power Hammer Techniques video by Dave Manzer. He uses angle iron and hot shears the ends.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/11/11 18:55:48 EDT

Sven: Not ALL! Think Nuclear.
   - GRANT - Tuesday, 10/11/11 19:18:20 EDT

Back on hydrogen, if the vehicles run on fuel cells, they may be as much as twice as efficient as gasoline vehicles. So there might be little or no additional water vapor emissions. But the hydrogen does indeed need to come from somewhere.

I can imagine the 1000 bomber raids having effects on the local clouds. But I'd be hesitant to attribute any broader climatic effects to the bomber raids specifically. Too many other changes going on to civilian fuel use, agriculture, etc. Assuming that human activity in fact caused the changes
   Mike BR - Tuesday, 10/11/11 20:52:02 EDT

fairbanks brake repair : I have a fairbanks/dupont power hammer. It has a metal brake that sits inside the drive pulley. A cam goes inside the brake and opens it to engage the metal of the brake against the inside of the pulley. Just like a car brake drum .The metal on the brake has finally worn down ,built in 1890, and I would like to build it up again. Does anyone know what kind of steel it might be. I would like to figure this out before I try to weld it. It has spring to it, that is how it returns to the open position. It does not look cast but I am not sure. any advice, weld?, braze?, not enough space to shim. thanks for your help.
   Steven Bronstein - Tuesday, 10/11/11 21:42:24 EDT

Fairbanks : Steven, I'm going to email you a contact who has repaired a couple of these and may be able to answer your questions.

They are probably a ductile iron casting but might be steel. However, some thin springy parts like brakes and centrifugal clutches that do not need to be very flexible are often made of cast iron.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/11/11 22:15:48 EDT

Fairbanks : guru,

that would be great. Thanks
   Steven Bronstein - Tuesday, 10/11/11 22:53:55 EDT

Forces : Grant.... nuclear may be nice, solar (fossilized or fresh) works well, but lest we all not forget the only force strong enough to defy gravity...... MAGNETISM! Now, how can we harness magnetic forces to create forging applications? Induction anyone?
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 10/12/11 08:03:10 EDT

Also read an article about impact welding using massive magnetic forces.
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 10/12/11 11:42:34 EDT

Nip, We spent some time a few years ago discussing a magnetic power hammer. The problem with a direct drive hammer is the dies would become magnetic and you could not keep scale off them. They would be positively hairy with it.

So I came up with a gas/air coupled design. The problem with these is the air rapidly gets hot and the system must breathe. There are also air losses that must be made up and there must pressure differentials to operate. The valving must operate like a self contained hammer PLUS have the electronics necessary. . .

In the end an electric motor is a more efficient method of converting electromagnetic forces into usable mechanical power even if you have to convert rotation into linear motion.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/12/11 12:47:08 EDT

Fairbanks : Not likely to be ductile iron, as the process was not invented until WW II and wasn't widely used until the 60's.
   - grant - Wednesday, 10/12/11 13:09:58 EDT

Oh, there was the old malleable iron process, where the the cast iron parts were kept at a high temp for many days.
   - grant - Wednesday, 10/12/11 13:13:27 EDT

Malleable iron : Grant, we used mallable iron handwheels on our valves at VOGT, until the cost went too high, then switched to ductile. Neither was very springy in my estimation. Not brittle, but not springy.
   ptree - Wednesday, 10/12/11 13:54:58 EDT

Forging Tiger Head : Has anybody done a demo of forging a tiger head aka large cat head. Have a client request and my attempts are not working. I tried to sell them on horse, dragon, troll, bird, etc.. heads instead but no go. Even a pic or two would help.
   brian robertson - Wednesday, 10/12/11 14:13:30 EDT

ahh I defy gravity every time I climb the stairs and I don't believe I am magnetically powered...
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 10/12/11 15:23:11 EDT

The Lynx head by Darryl Nelson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YAxnF9hArU0

   - grant - Wednesday, 10/12/11 18:55:05 EDT

Animal Heads :
I start with photos or images of the subject then make outline drawings from several views. If all else fails go to a zoo and make life sketches. Draw the subject from memory until you like it. If you can't draw it then its going to be very hard to forge it.

If the mouth is going to be open then you need drawings with the mass of the mouth before and after.

On some animals such as a snarling tiger I would plan on drilling holes and setting separately forged teeth in place. This may require opening the mouth farther than you planned then adjusting back after installing teeth.

This is a good project to practice in plasticine as well as making drawings. Shape your clay look the bar stock you are going to work with before each start.

Animal heads often require special tools such as eye punches, nose punches, special fullers and chisels. If you do not have a plan before hand and have not made the tools then you should not have put the stock in the forge. Even then, the tools may not be exactly the right size and you may need to remake some such as eye punches.

You might also want to consider a mixed technique approach combining cutting and welding along with forging. In iron carving such as done by Ward Grossman no technique is not allowed. Parts are not only carved in iron they are flame cut, forged, shaped by grinding and built up by welding. Machine tools could also be applied if available. The good thing about this process is that you CAN put material back on. Do not limit yourself to one technique. What is important is the appearance of the finished product.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/13/11 08:48:21 EDT

More Animal Heads - Other Thoughts :
Did you tell your customer that this would be a $1000 or much more element (each)? It MAY need to priced as such.

Besides mixed techniques have you considered mixed media? A brass zinc or brass casting? You would want to contact someone that uses rubber molds to make waxes so that fine detail and undercuts would not be a problem.

AND there is always the possibility of contracting it out to someone. But then that price per element would need to consider their price plus some markup.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/13/11 09:02:09 EDT

Think Nuclear. : Yes I realise about nuclear power,
But as I understand it(sort of) the atomic materials are remmanants of the "big bang" that created our solar system .
Further as they exist on our planet they need massive (vast energy consumed in the process) refining/concentrating to make them useful as a stand alone power source.
By the way I was just having fun about this....
   - Sven - Thursday, 10/13/11 13:19:06 EDT

Think Nuclear. : I am aware of nuclear,,, As I understand it(sort of) the atomic materials on our planet are remmanants of the "big bang" that created the solar system. Further, as the materials exist they require extensive refining/concentrating (vast energy consumption)to make then useful as a stand alone power source.
   - Sven - Thursday, 10/13/11 13:22:24 EDT

Nuclear Power :
The current belief is that the core of the Earth (as well as other planets)is heated by nuclear reactions and part of what maintains the environmental temperature on the surface. This is in response to many studies that say solar gains and radiative losses do not add up to making our planet warm and cozy.

Commercial Nuclear Power has its own serious problems. While it DOES require vast resources to build the plants and process the fuel it is immensely profitable.

But Nuclear power has some issues that have not been put into the profit/loss formula and currently the US government (and many others) are pretending like it does not exist. Nuclear waste.

Currently in the US there are over 100 nuclear power plants and EVERY ONE of them is storing decades of waste nuclear fuel in what was supposed to be the temporary fuel transfer canal OR in new above ground dry storage facilities. . . There are three unanswered political and scientific reasons for this.

1) The politics of moving nuclear waste across non-nuclear states is a more decisive issue than slavery was prior to the civil war. The states rights issues here are not settled.

2) The Yucca mountain storage facility has been held up by politics AND if it was completed as-designed it could not hold the volume of waste sitting in nuclear power plants. Part of the hold up is #1 above.

3) In the US we do not now or do not plan to reprocess fuel in the future. The reason for this is the most efficient reprocessing is to use the waste fuel in breeder reactors producing plutonium. This also means the amount of nuclear waste is a much higher volume than it would be otherwise.

Besides the above problems the reprocessing of waste fuel is vastly more complicated and dangerous than making the fuel the fuel in the first place. The ceramic fuel pellets that go into the fuel rods are so low level a source of radiation that one could carry one in their pocket for a lifetime with no harm. However, once that fuel is used the radioactive byproducts in that pellet produce lethal amounts of radiation and will continue to do so for millenia.

The debate on storing such materials for longer than human history is still not complete. It is a debate that will effect every decedent of every human on our planet. It is NOT a debate for ignorant politicians, especially those that currently have their heads in the sand over the issues and are looking for short term solutions.

I've worked in the Nuclear industry and seen the stupidity, ignorance and actual corporate malfeasance (a case of sabotage) that goes on. I do not think there is ANY organization on this planet that I would trust with this responsibility. Nuclear power is not a solution. Its like taking drugs to make your problems go away. Feels good for the moment but it will kill you in the end.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/13/11 15:33:27 EDT

Nuclear Waste : How about shooting the nuclear waste into outer space ? Remember the Viking probe that was sent up years ago. Had gold records etc. in it with pictures of man and woman, samples of music from all over the world, it went by Jupiter etc. then they said it would travel in space for ever. Maybe this nuclear waste would travel through space for ever...........another topic that may be interesting is this. Scientists have thought about running a cable from Earth all the way into outer space. When they need to put a satellite into orbit, they could just run it up the cable. The problem with that is any metal cable that went that high up would be so heavy that it would break. Now with carbon fiber, being strong and light, scientists think it may now be possible to do it. Run the nuclear waste up the cable and send it into deep space. :-)
   Mike T. - Thursday, 10/13/11 23:21:38 EDT

Alternative Energy : I watched a program the other night about the thermal energy being used in Iceland. They drill 6000 feet or so down and run pipes. Much of Icelands electric generators and heated water comes from this method. Also, their energy is cheap with most people having lower energy bills.
   Mike T. - Thursday, 10/13/11 23:33:30 EDT

Space waste. . most suggestions are to send it into the sun. . However, there is always the chance that something will go wrong getting it off the ground. . . The other thing is that there TENS of THOUSANDS of space shuttle sized loads waiting. . You are not just shooting the waste into space but the TONS and TONS of heavy shielding. . . Out of just over 100 Space Shuttle launches 2 exploded.

The long term problem with buried nuclear wastes is that you can't just bury it and then walk away. You have to provide security to protect the burial place. . . for twenty thousand years. Nobody has added this cost to the long term equasion. . . leave it to our descendants to figure out. . .

The best thing to do is just not make any more. . .

Geothermal is an interesting system but does not work well everywhere. Most geothermal wells have very nasty chemicals or in the least a lot of minerals that clog pipes (heat exchangers), wreck turbines and are often a waste issue themselves. They are not nearly as nasty as nuclear wastes but they do add cost to a relatively expensive way to make power. Geothermal is ONE of many systems that all need to be employed.
   - guru - Friday, 10/14/11 01:07:54 EDT

Just call up Superman and he'll put it all in a giant net and shotput it into the sun!
   - Nippulini - Friday, 10/14/11 09:13:47 EDT

I'm more of a subduction zone type of guy than a shoot it into the sun type
   Thomas P - Friday, 10/14/11 13:11:17 EDT

Land Use & Nuclear Waste : The problem with nuclear waste is we are talking geological time scales not human scales. 2,000 years is a tenth the time that these wastes will be radioactive hazards and even then they will be still highly toxic.

According to UN studies the current world population is about 6.5 Billion. By 2050 it is predicted to be 9 to 11 billion. The low number based on a dramatic drop in fertility (babies per couple) and an increased life expectancy. The high number is without a drop in fertility.

The same UN report that expects fertility to drop also expects high mortality rates (due to epidemics, starvation) to cause the population to level off at 9 billion some time after 2050. Otherwise at the current growth rate there would be 36 Billion humans on our planet.

I think the UN report of a leveling off is optimistic. In any case, look around wherever you are and imagine 6x the people. We go from comfortable to very crowded and needing to use all of our little patch of acreage for garden to feed the 12 people living where 2 do today.

So where will the human race be in the year 3000? 100 Billion? OR will we have enforced 0 growth by 2100 to hold the population at 12 Billion?. Meanwhile those nuclear wastes will be sitting there just as hot as the day they were buried. . . still requiring a significant security force to prevent theft by terrorists.
   - guru - Friday, 10/14/11 15:24:38 EDT

Subduction, the terrorists that can work that deep wouldn't need nuclear wastes!
   Thomas P - Friday, 10/14/11 19:34:24 EDT

re tip of the day : If at all possible I would recomend both a diamond dresser, and a star wheel.

I often will deburr both ends of a hundred peices or more at a time, and even though I try to be careful to use the entire surface of the wheel it often wears unevenly, and the diamond dresser does not work well to "rough true" it.
   JimG - Saturday, 10/15/11 16:28:33 EDT

stair rail fixings : Just finishing up a short stair rail (5ft). Wondering about hold down bolts. There's fresh concrete at the pavement end that should take expandable bolt but at the building I have brick. What do folks think about an expandable bolts in brick. Will brick hold up? Any alternatives?
I have wood on the building at the top of the rail to lag to. Will probably use 3/8" expandables.
   Bob the Blacksmith - Saturday, 10/15/11 17:33:52 EDT

There are lots of different types of anchor bolts, and many of them will work quite well in brick. I have had luck with sleeve anchors in brick- these are bolts that are inserted into the drilled hole, then tightened down, and as you tighten them down, a sleeve slides up and expands inside the hole. Since you are tightening it with either a screwdriver or a wrench, you can feel when it gets tight, and not over tighten and crack the brick. Epoxy, like Hilti, also works well in brick.
But every anchoring situation is different- I tend to stock about 4 or 5 different styles, and many sizes, depending on the situation. For railings, I like to use 1/2" or bigger, unless I am using several bolts at each location- for instance, I did a 5 rail that has three anchor points, and each point has 4 bolts, 3/8" each bolt- and it has stayed sturdy and anchored for over 15 years now.
Another option is core drilling- if you drill oversize and set the posts in non shrink grout, that holds up well.
   - Ries - Saturday, 10/15/11 17:58:32 EDT

Bob, The trick is first drilling a hole that does not damage, weaken or loosen the brick. In brick expanding mortar or poured lead is often used around pickets and posts that extend into the masonry. You can also use construction epoxy but it can be very expensive on a small job. Expanding bolts (Red-Heads and the like) do better in OLD well aged concrete. New concrete less than a year old is too soft for a good tight grip. They tend to break bricks so most contractors try to place them in mortar joints. Plastic expanding anchors do less damage and grip better in the right sized hole.

   - guru - Saturday, 10/15/11 18:04:44 EDT

TIP - Wheel Dressing : Jim, you are probably right. I never ground anything heavier than small lathe bits and drill bits under an inch on my small 6" bench grinder. It saw little wear and a diamond was all I needed. On our new 8" bench grinder we sharpen drills up to 2" and do some occasional deburring and tool reshaping. I've used the star wheel on it several times. However, once we have our belt grinder setup deburring on the the bench grinder will be verboten.

I also have a carburundom dressing stick but find it fairly useless on the bench grinders. I use the diamond a LOT on the surface grinder. Every time it is used the wheel is dressed and if a big job the wheel may dressed several times.

The last large batch of stock I duburred was all round stock and I did that in the lathe using a chamfering tool and a file. It goes very fast once you get a smooth rhythm going. The uniform 45° chamfer is also a classy look worth the little extra time.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/15/11 18:07:22 EDT

My favorite debur set up is a 12" dis sander/grinder. I use 12" PSA discs in 40 or 50 grit and they really debur quick. And No Dressing:)
   ptree - Saturday, 10/15/11 18:26:35 EDT

More Anchors :
Like Ries I usually approach any masonry anchoring job with a variety of anchors. It is common to drill an oversize hole that a sleeve type anchor will not work in OR have the anchor crush soft concrete. Besides a variety of anchors I often have shim stock for fixing holes. Lead foil tape works well for this purpose especially on lead anchors.

I can't think of one masonry anchoring job where I didn't end up with more than one type of anchor and more than one repaired hole. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 10/15/11 20:34:04 EDT

Anchors : One thing they make very well here. The expanding sleeve bolts are the best I have ever used- and I have used a lot.

If the material is at all questionable an epoxy is probably as good as you will get. That way there is no outward force on the concrete or brick. Again there are bricks and there are bricks! Some are very soft and will crumble and split. Others are as hard as a mother in law's heart.
   philip in china - Saturday, 10/15/11 22:33:02 EDT

Brick anchors : Over the years I've had to anchor a lot of things int brick and one thing I found is that much brick work is nothing more than veneer over a different substrate. In those cases it is far too easy to break the brick using expanding anchors of almost any type and have the brick lose its adhesion to the substrate, causing all sorts of new problems. That has led me to generally using epoxy or expanding grout in any brick anchor job. Yes, the epoxy has a high front-end cost, but the assurance that there will be no damage done is worth the extra cost to me.

I'll second what Philip says about Chinese expansion sleeve bolts - I prefer them to the American-made ones. The sleeve material seems to be somewhat softer and bites into the masonry much better.

For green concrete, I almost always use expanding grout. Expansion anchors don't get a good bite and epoxy may not work well unless you have a way to pressure wash the holes to remove the slurry smeared to inside of the holes.
   Rich - Saturday, 10/15/11 23:51:01 EDT

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