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 December 22 - 31, 2008 on the Guru's Den
[ THE - GURUS | ABOUT THIS PAGE | Getting Started in Blacksmithing ]

Scrolling and Baskets: Jeremiah, A lot depends on the scale of the work you want to do and the production levels. The equipment described by Ries is the world's best high production equipment. It is a significant investment. The next level down is like the difference between a modern luxury car and a 60's Volkswagon bug and is still in the 10's of thousands of dollars range. They work but are a long ways from the top of the line. There are also Chinese and Indian versions of these machines.

For small and light duty bending you have Shop Outfitters. A step up is Carell Corp's ornamental iron working machines.

For basket twists you have few choices. The expensive programmable machines or doing by hand either in a vise OR in a fixture. In a manual fixture you can produce small basket twists cold faster than the fancy machinery and heavier twists hot at the same rate as the machine. In all cases you must weld the pieces together and put the part in the machine or fixture.

If you need machine made basket twists you can buy several thousand for what the machine would cost. Jig made cost a little more because most you find in catalogs are made on machines in low wage countries. One guy doing nothing else except feeding the machine.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/21/08 23:53:02 EST

Jeremiah Hull,
I found two scroll benders with my search engines, and they are designed for light, cold work with strap mild steel.
http://www.metalcraftmachinery.com/Scroll-Benders/index.htm
http://www.metalcraft.com/scrollbender.html

If you can weld, you can make a basket, let's say a handle, by taking four rods of 5/16" x 8" or 9" round, bundling them evenly, and welding either end. Heat the bundle, clamp one welded portion in the vise and use a twisting wrench on the other end. Twist until it kind of bucks back; then untwist to open it. They hardly ever come out evenly, so you reheat and fine tune with a pair of tongs paying attention to the negative spaces between strands.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 12/22/08 08:43:56 EST

Thanks All For the basket info.
   packrat - Monday, 12/22/08 08:52:25 EST

I checked my older Glaser catalog, which is a few years old, and their GDW2 twister, with basket dies, was right around two thousand dollars in 2000$ in 2004.
This included a matching set of dies to pre bend the basket parts into a curve, using the machine like a little mini-manual press brake,after which you weld the 4 parts together, and then put them in the twister and curve them. Then you upset them, cold, while still in the twister.
It does give baskets that are consistent, the same every time, with no real skill involved- nothing like the real blacksmithing in the method Frank describes.
So it is suited for if you need a lot, the same, and you dont want to tweak every one.
But as the guru said- there are a bunch of companies that have the powered basket makers, and a guy running em all day long for 8 bucks an hour, which is hard to compete with.
I never bought the basket attachement for my Hebo- just not a form I use much in my work.
The basic Hebo, which I have owned for about 5 years now, is a 1 axis CNC twisting machine. It is programable to one degree increments, and is usable either in preprogrammed modes, where you can knock out 100 twists an hour in 1 1/2" square, or in a manual mode, where you can nudge the 3hp electrically braked motor to twist something the tiniest bit, just as you want. This is how I usually use it- as muscle, while I use my own brain.
In addition, though, you can buy modules to make scrolls- I have one of those, and it is powerful, easy to use, and will do repeatable scrolls up to about 24" in diameter in material up to 1/2" round stainless or maybe 5/8" square mild. Its pretty easy to make your own custom dies for it, and do scrolls nobody else has, if you have basic machine shop capacity like I do.
In addition, I have made mandrels to roll twenty foot pieces of up to about 1/2" round or square into coils of rings, in sizes from 1 1/2" od to about 10" od. Just feed in the 20 footer, and it rolls it right up. Slice em off into individual rings, and you can make a hundred rings an hour or so.
The basket twist attachment, the one I didnt buy, is probably another 5 to 8 grand these days- its a hydraulic ram that attaches to the bed, and is controlled by my existing CNC, so after pressing a few hundred little bars in the provided dies, and welding em together, you just load em, press a button, and it twists, then upsets the basket, then opens up and drops it on the table. You load the next one, hit the foot pedal, and the cycle repeats.
They also make several other attachements for these machines, all slick as frozen snot on a doorknob.

The big problem I see is that King, and a variety of other supply houses, have bought these systems, and then just crank out the parts, all day long, using the standard factory dies.
So when I use mine, I tend to customise dies, to push the machine in ways a true tooluser can think of, but an hourly wage button pusher does not. Used in those ways, these machines have incredible potential to do amazing stuff fast- and let me concentrate on the parts that really need to be done by hand.
   - Ries - Monday, 12/22/08 10:43:41 EST

i want to make a bank for my daughter and was hoping someone might have a clever design.

Thanks
   Steven - Monday, 12/22/08 11:04:20 EST

A blacksmith made bank would be an anvil or hammer or both. A little hinged hammer you lift that covers the coin slot. Put some spring clips in the hole and you would need to drop the hammer to push the coins in. But Christmas is getting awful close for such projects. . .
   - guru - Monday, 12/22/08 11:25:51 EST

Anyone know a supplier of black iron or mild steel rivets? I need 1/8 5/32 and 1/4 round heads. thanks. Bruce in Charlottesville VA
   Bruce Dembling - Monday, 12/22/08 11:30:18 EST

Rivets: Bruce, Kayne and Son (BlacksmithsDepot.com) carry 3/16" and 1/4" in a variety of lengths.

McMaster-Carr (mcmaster.com) carries the sizes you listed and are easy to deal with. Otherwise you will need to go to JC sales.

You will not find any local suppliers unless it is another blacksmith. The last local rivet wholesaler (Barker-Jennings in Lynchburg) sold off their inventory in 1980. I missed it by a couple days. . . I DID get all their oilers and grease cups.

When I bought 3/16" rivets from JC Sales back in the 70's I had to buy 15 pounds to get a decent price break. That is a LOT of 3/16 x 1/4" rivets! Since then I have bought collections of rivets every chance I get.

Since JC Sales spent a year or more spamming me and didn't think advertising here was better than spamming I do not recommend them except as a last resort.
   - guru - Monday, 12/22/08 11:52:55 EST

Mr. Dembling

Centaur Forge and advertiser here also carries rivets. This is in addition to the source Guru already gave you.
   - Rustystuff - Monday, 12/22/08 12:22:15 EST

Rats! I forgot to check the Centaur Catalog. Yes they sell rivets and Hossfeld benders which have scrolling attachments.
They have a spot for twisting scrolling machines but nothing there. You might call them about it.
   - guru - Monday, 12/22/08 12:40:38 EST

I went to Centaur's on-line site and don't see anything for bending scrolls. Don't even show a picture of what they are offering in a package for the Hossfeld.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 12/22/08 13:22:57 EST

I am one of Hossfeld's biggest fans, but their scroll bending attachment is not much to sing about.
It basically does one very small scroll, in flat bar the easy way.
I suppose if you are building screen doors for Lowe's, that would be OK, but pretty much every time I need a scroll, I want square bar, or round bar, or flat bar the hard way, or something else a bit more complicated.
Most of the cheap commercial ones are similar- they will only do very thin flat bar the easy way, including the ones from Shop Outfitters, Harbor Freight, or Grizzly.

Much better are the euro style hand scroll benders sold by Carrell Corp. or, even better, the manual ones sold by Glaser.

In this, like all tools, you get what you pay for.
   - Ries - Monday, 12/22/08 14:18:58 EST

By way of introduction I'm just now getting into forging with a two brick, propane mini forge. A knife making friend noted that I was tooled up to make knives so I thought I better.

I have made a blade or two by stock removal, looking forward to forging now.

Any way, I have a question about carbon monoxide.
Yesterday I was running the forge in my drafty, 20' x 20" shop with the doors closed (1" cracks around a swinging barn door) when the carbon monoxide alarm went off. Now I had also started and ran my garden tractor about 15 min prior to the alarm sounding, only ran the tractor for 30 seconds or so.
If it maters I was forging mild steel rod.
Q' can a mini forge put out carbon monoxide?

And yes I got the heck out of there and swung the "big" door open, thanks for asking...
   Willy Cunningham - Monday, 12/22/08 14:58:09 EST

Yes, a mini forge can put out CO. Any forge does when it recirculates exhaust or runs under certain conditions. However, I suspect the CO was from your tractor and had just gotten to the detector.
   - guru - Monday, 12/22/08 15:50:58 EST

Mr. Ken S.

Hossfeld Benders

I just checked my Centaur Forge Catalogue for you. On page 66 the #1 & #2 benders are listed. As for various dies they ask for a customer to call. They state: Hossfeld makes hundreds of dies for these benders. "Give us a call at 1-800-666-9175 and we'll help you find the right one for your job!".

Rivets

Page 50 & top portion of 51.

Steel sizes: 5/32, 3/16", 1/4", 5/16" & 3/8" in various lengths. 5-6.00 for approx 5 lbs of rivets. They are very affordable.

I get the Centaur catalogue each year. I find it more helpful than the website.
   - Rustystuff - Monday, 12/22/08 16:03:53 EST

Gas Forge

I have used my 3Burner NC Daddy forge in a 16x21 building with approx 10" ceiling. Not very smart of me. I had all the doors closed a few times. After a short period of use I became sick and to the point of passing out from the CO. It would take me a fews days to feel right agian. If I would have passed out I would probably have died.

My forge would also quickly make the building 130 degrees. I am no longer that stupid. I was fortunate and learned my lesson, though I knew better in the first place.
   - Rustystuff - Monday, 12/22/08 16:08:30 EST

Steel Rivets Again

Please refer to my above rivet info first.

Centaur also offers 10 sizes of a steel rivet assorted kit for 49.75. This is 14lbs of rivets of all sizes and lengths. It comes in a divided container. More costly than buying individual sizes. You will have them all.
   - Rustystuff - Monday, 12/22/08 16:14:44 EST

Rusty; with a ceiling height of 10 inches, I'm not too surprised that the air quality deteriorated so rapidly
   - Wiseacre - Monday, 12/22/08 16:43:53 EST

ROTFL...I meant 10 feet. I guess I must only be 8" tall...LOL.
   - Rustystuff - Monday, 12/22/08 16:49:54 EST

Im only 13 and im trying to find a good post vise for my smithy but i don't trust the looks of the ones on ebay. Do you have any suggestions on what brand I should buy? Im willing to spend up to $150.
   Young Smith - Monday, 12/22/08 17:21:01 EST

Gas Forge

My ceiling is at least 12 feet. I run a ceiling fan for circulation. The shop has a loft on one end, 7 feet off the deck, thats where I have my CO detector. Is it common practice to have CO detectors in the shop, or am I in the minority?
   Willy Cunningham - Monday, 12/22/08 18:06:50 EST

Rivets- Blacksmithbolt.com has rivets (as well as square head lags and bolts). I've had good dealings with them, mostly in the form of fast shipping.

Basket twists- I live not too far from Hubbardton Forge, a big "forged" lighting manufacturer hereabouts (google if you want to see jig and fixture production taken to the extreme). For their basket twists they use a home
made gismo that is basically 2 3-jaw lathe chucks one of which rotates and feeds toward the other while gripping the work. If I recall it is a hand operated device but I think it has built in stops.

For my money I'd do as Frank Turley explained.
   Judson Yaggy - Monday, 12/22/08 18:39:08 EST

Young Smith, I've got one for sale. check out the virtual hammer-in forum. posted on thursday.
   - Ty Murch - Monday, 12/22/08 18:41:27 EST

I am very new to blacksmithing and I want to try to make some knives. I picked up an old buffalo blower,when I crank it it chatters . is this easy to repair my self or do I need an expert.
   dan - Monday, 12/22/08 18:41:32 EST

Couple points guys, refering to basket twists, I was taught to make them by splitting not welding. Is welding the more common and acceptable method? I always thought welding baskets was kind of cheating. Second, about scroll benders, I make a few types of scroll molds, but if I need a bunch of scrolls, I make a specific bender for the top of my hossfeld. I still hand form the end hot, then finish them all cold in the hossfeld.
   John Christiansen - Monday, 12/22/08 19:42:43 EST

Ty Murch,

Photobucket tells me they've removed your images.

Young Smith,

If Ty's vise doesn't work out for you, you might pay careful attention to eBay's offerings. I've purchased 3 leg vises from eBay. The tricky part is bidding and not being too disappointed if you lose. You also want to get a vise that you might be able to pick up without having it shipped. If it is shipped, make sure that it is not in just a flimsy cardboard box. If it is in cardboard, it should have excelsior or some kind of packing material surrounding it. One of mine came well packed in cardboard, but the outside of the box was wrapped tightly with filament tape, and that worked.

Something that I do is type in many kinds of vises. You never know what will turn up, and you must be patient. I will normally type in: "leg post vise; blacksmith vise; old vise; antique vise; odd vise; vintage vise." You may run across one that the owner can't identify or name, and that's when you sometimes get a deal.

Don't bid on dark, blackened images that don't show detail. Don't bid on vises with crooked legs or ones that don't have the spring or mounting bracket.

If in doubt, contact me or anvilfire with the eBay item number and we'll try to advise. No guarantees, however.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 12/22/08 19:44:13 EST

John Christiansen, Hot splitting baskets is more time consuming and there is more clean-up where the splits meet than if the strands were welded. There is nothing wrong with hot splitting, though. In Schwarzkopf's book, he talks about splitting a basket and when he finishes the lesson, he states that you can forge weld them, which is easier.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 12/22/08 19:51:25 EST

Willy Cunningham, Regarding Carbon Monoxide detectors; I have 2 in my shop. One of them is also capable of detecting propane gas as well. I keep them as close as possible to my forge, the one that detects propane is near floor level.
   - Charlie Spademan - Monday, 12/22/08 20:05:41 EST

hmm, i don't know, it worked for me

??
   - Ty Murch - Monday, 12/22/08 20:08:16 EST

Guru, FYI; My PC security program (Trend Micro) has started blocking the advertising frame at the right side of the page, marking it as dangerous
   - Charlie Spademan - Monday, 12/22/08 20:09:03 EST

young smith, I wan't to say to you that I think it is great you are starting at the age of thirteen. I wish I started at that age.
Just think of all the knowlage you will have under your belt by the time your say 20 if you keep up with the trade. good for you and good luck on your vise
   mat - Monday, 12/22/08 20:54:24 EST

Google Ads: Charlie, there have been a couple times that ads with questionable content have gotten by the google system. Generally it happens when some idiot has bought advertising and botched their own URL or let it expire while advertising. Using a search engine is MUCH more hazardous. I hit things on them all the time that are hijack sites.

There has been some problem with Flash graphics and ads that can self launch a program (we do not include graphic or flash ads on our anvilfire pages other than the GIF banner ads WE create). Typically these Flash ads open a large window that looks like an oversize virus warning and claims you are virus infected and to sign up for their anti-virus package. Two things happen. The "anti-virus package" is a Trojan that collects information from your computer and reports it to the pirates, AND the pirates now have your personal information including a credit card number. It is a high-tech scam with pretty high-tech looking graphics that are a montage of the various anti-virus company logos making it all LOOK very familiar.

NEVER slick on anything in the body of the window on these sites. Carefully close the window with the browser close function NOT any button on the site. If you have good anti-virus software it might or might not block the content. Your clicking on the window can be considered saying YES to install a product, which the anti-virus software WILL let you do. . .

The problem is in Flash and it needs to be fixed. Until then you may want to block flash content. That of course blocks a huge part of the web.

We will be removing the google ads from our new forum pages until they are archived AND will continue not to use image ads from outside sources due to this problem. I would have done it here except I was expecting to have the new forums running a month ago. .

Note that there has also been some political pressure on google due to the running of pro proposition 8 (the California law to block gay marriages) ads on the google system. This was seen as supporting hate advertising which is against google's policies. The result has been a push to block google ads in any way possible. It is still going on even though prop 8 passed. So you have to ask is the ad being blocked for anti-virus, anti-phishing reasons OR because anti gay-marriage ads were run on google's system?
   - guru - Monday, 12/22/08 21:27:36 EST

OBTW - Google ads have kept anvilfire afloat for the past two years and we have their ads on a very small number of pages. If you want to see them go away tell every dealer you buy products from that they should be advertising on anvilfire.com. To replace the google ads we need to more than double the number of sponsor/advertisers on anvilfire.
   - guru - Monday, 12/22/08 21:44:31 EST

Thanks,Guru; my comment was not intended to be critical in any way, just passing along info from the "user end". I hope also that others on this forum did not take my comment to mean that visiting this forum was hazardous in any way. (...well, it's not hazardous, other than getting burned, smashing your fingers, damaging your hearing, dropping iron on your foot, getting arc burns, getting schmut in your eyes, etc., etc..) Best Holiday Wishes, Everyone!
   - Charlie Spademan - Tuesday, 12/23/08 07:39:23 EST

Charlie, No, I appreciate the input. It made me do some research. There are a whole variety of ad blockers that block various things for different reasons. Some block animated gifs, others any script with the word or string "ad" which makes it pretty hard to give ADvice. . . Many child proofing filters block a whole series of words and probably alarm on our current series of "Samuri Swords" and other knife topics.

The problem is that most of these filters are "dumb". They all work on key strings or bits of recognizable code and have no way to recognize a destructive or illegal action. "Anti-virus" software just looks for specific strings in code that can be identified as a KNOWN virus. New and previously unidentified viruses fly right past ALL the filters. Until they become distributed far enough to be noticed they are free to do their work.

The biggest problem with blocking ads is that they are what support this forum. Take away the ads and someone is going to need to come up $30,000/year to provide this "free" information.

Well. . I have Christmas projects and honey-do's to work on . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/23/08 08:13:50 EST

On Hossfield, why not deal directly with the manufacturer: Hossfeld Manufacturing Company, P.O. Box 557, Winona, MN 55987 - 507-452-2182. I have a Model #2 and obtained a parts catalog for it. (Bought it used, with a 5-gallon bucket of dies and such, for $300.)

I put a lot of round eyes on the end of rods. Up to 3/8" I can do cold. Over that I heat the end to be bend in the forge to at least a black heat. Can then even do up to 5/8".

I've tried the last two years to get them to send a representative (with bender and assorted dies) to Quad-State. Service Manager I've dealt with says he can't convince management it would be in their best interest.

On the Google ads, unless I'm mistaken Anvilfire gets paid by the clicks on them. Thus, every so often open up the links at the top and bottom of Q&A page. If it is something interesting you can copy and paste link into a word document for future reference.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 12/23/08 09:08:27 EST

For many years, (I have had my Hossfeld since 1978) Hossfeld only sold thru distributors.
So while you can could em up and ask questions, or get a catalog, to buy a bender or parts, you had to go thru a distributor.
Which is a pretty antiquated system- nowadays, many of the old style tool distributors have gone out of business. I cant imagine who you would go to in Seattle, for example- the tool dealer who sold my Hossfeld new went out of business at least 20 years ago.
I have actually toured the Hossfeld factory, and they do things the old fashioned way- which is fine for manufacturing, but kind of sad when it comes to marketing.
It looks like they have a new, updated website, and maybe, now, finally, after 30 years of ownership, they might actually sell direct.

American Bender, which is just down the road from Hossfeld, in Minnesota City, makes a real Hossfeld clone- the patents have expired- and it is completely interchangeable with Hossfeld, unlike the chinese benders. The guys who own American are much more outgoing- they have been vendors at several Abana conferences, and at Nomma conferences as well, I am pretty sure.
They only make a few dies, of the hundreds Hossfeld makes- Hossfeld has room after room full of wooden patterns for casting dies, going back 50 years or more- but the basic bender from American is every bit as good as a Hossfeld, made on CNC machines , heat treated, and very well made, as the name says, in America, just like Hossfeld.
Call them up, they should come to Quad States. 507-689-0221
   - Ries - Tuesday, 12/23/08 11:45:24 EST

Dealerships and Selling Direct: The world has changed a lot in this respect but a lot of those dealers made the manufacturers. Without Centaur Forge and Kayne and Son NOBODY would have heard of NC-TOOL forges without NC spending a lot on advertising. But both Centaur and the Kaynes listed NC forges and accessories, took them to shows all over the country and sold a LOT of forges. Then NC launched their web site and went to direct sales. They lost the Kaynes over this and a competitor took their place in the Kaynes' catalog.

Dealerships often give credit and have better terms than the OEM. They often have demo models you can see operate and many dealer kept significant inventories of product.

On the other hand manufacturers LOVE to sell direct at LIST price. You do not get a discount by buying direct from a manufacturer. Perhaps that is the solution for U.S. car manufacturers. DO away with car dealers and sell direct on-line.

Then imagine if when you needed tips for your TIG, MIG or gas torch and you had to order them direct from the manufacturer. OR had to deal direct with a foreign manufacturer every time you needed machine or auto parts.

   - guru - Tuesday, 12/23/08 12:37:21 EST

John Christiansen; since forge welding is cheating perhaps you can explain how you would do a 12 rod basket that fits in the middle of a 1/2" stock piece and you need to make a bunch of them a day? Then a 24 rod basket?

I have nearly a 100 year old book on blacksmithing that suggests forge welding them and has a number of fancy multi rod baskets in it-- like made from twisted square stock; so perhaps cheating goes a long way back.

Thomas
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/23/08 15:33:25 EST

Guru, I was wondering what are you making for christmas gifts? I can understand if you don't want to tell me "family on the site"
I would appreciate it however if you can.
I made a few gifts so far but I ran out of ideas, what I have so far is a back scracher "basic", a few bracelets and a coat rack. I tryed to do a knife but I had no time to harden and temper it plus I found out it isn't the rite steel so even if I could temper it the steel wont allow me to. I thought it was high carbon but after a few test I found it was medium carbon "crap for a knife"
once again I would appreciate the gift ideas I got one day left lol.
   mat - Tuesday, 12/23/08 15:33:39 EST

Young Smith; I would advise buying a post vise at a good conference. I saw over 10 of them for sale at Quad-State for under US$50.

As for "brands" many if not most post vises will be unmarked; I have never bought a post vise because of the brand.

What I do look for and most on line auctions do not show you is the state of the screw. You can fix any other problem fairly easily on a post vise but if the screw is worn out, broken or mangled it's a real pain to fix and often cheaper to just buy another postvise than to fix the screw.

Thomas
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/23/08 15:37:00 EST

Mat et al: think about posts this way: in general you are asking other people to help. You will recieve a lot more help if you make it as easy as possible for people to help you.

Making it difficult---where someone may have to read and reread a post to figure out what it is trying to say---makes it less likely to get the help you want.

Also it is quite easy to score very highly on tests and still not be very good "online"; seeing my spelling and typing nobody would believe I had a 770 on the SAT for English way back when.

Thomas
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/23/08 15:44:12 EST

Hints from Heloise; Candy Cane.. 1/4" or 3/8" square bar, twist, chamfer ends with hammer, lay flat on anvil and soften raised ridges of twist (all can be done cold), heat and bend into "candy cane" shape, wire brush to remove scale, brass brush to finish, wax; red ribbon optional...Remove your dentures and enjoy!
   - Charlie Spademan - Tuesday, 12/23/08 16:03:57 EST

Something that applies to everyone here; all of the intelligence and skill in the world do you no good if you choose not to use it... Remember, "proof, then post" :)
   Marc - Tuesday, 12/23/08 16:08:52 EST

charlie I like the idea thank you, also I see the grammar problem is poping up again, we got that one settled. I said I was going to type better and so far I have.
   mat - Tuesday, 12/23/08 16:13:50 EST

Thomas, I didn't say forge welding, though I can clearly see that it was implied. I wasn't trying to ruffle any feathers, and in retrospect, should have said nothing. Frankly, I didn't think of forge welding at all. And yes cheating is always apropriate as long as no one knows right?
   John Christiansen - Tuesday, 12/23/08 16:43:30 EST

I will not be on for a few days so I would like to take a chance to say merry Christmas/ happy Haunica or "insert holiday here". to everyone.
   mat - Tuesday, 12/23/08 18:28:41 EST

Blacksmith Baskets: Welding them I do both ways (forge and arc). I've done over 4 bars by both methods. Generally forge welded looks better but I often start with arc welded "blanks" and forge weld and dress them to where you cannot tell they were arc welded.

For simple handles a 5 bar twist is much nicer than a 4 bar. Back when I was making them in quantity I would turn a 3/4" long tenon that just fit the open "core" of a 5 bar group. Then the bundle was arc welded to the shank around the tenon. When it was forge welded to blend the whole it made a very graceful transition from round bar to a 5 bar basket.

There are two ways to use arc welding in blacksmith work. Either so well hidden that experts cannot tell OR so perfectly clean that it could garner an "N" Nuclear stamp. Sputterballed rough ground ugly welds don't cut it.

Frank will shake his head and say I am crazy but that was the way I did them. When I was making them dozens at a time the prep work went pretty fast and I rarely had a failure. Most often this was burning them when I had too many in the fire.

Gifts: I make lots of fancy hooks with well formed leaves and incised and twisted "rope" shanks. Standard J hooks heavy enough to hank a coat with nicely rounded scroll or animal head ends are a nice small thing. Sets of four are more work than you would think. If hook are being made as hat and coat hooks they need large smooth ends that will not catch on or puncture fabric.

Initial branding irons are appreciated by the back woods or grilling types. If for grilling they need to be small and the letters made from flat bar on edge like the real think to hold heat. Its easy to make them big and ugly. Inch tall letters are the max for steak or marking wood work.

Almost anything on our iForge page makes good gifts. There are a range of flowers and leaves including one with a humming bird. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/23/08 18:40:19 EST

Arc welding.

Way back in the 1970's when the "Anvil's Ring" magazine was mimeographed, Tom Bredlow wrote an article titled, "On the Anxieties of Using the Arc Welder." I don't have it, but the gist was, if you need to arc weld occasionally, do so judiciously. Just one example, I have plug welded many a "Norfolk" type of handle onto its respective escutcheon. The welds are hidden portions when installed, and they go faster than tenon making when working alone. I used to tack-arc weld the ends of baskets before forge welding, and then I found I could make a bolt tong jaw fit the fagot with a rein clip, and I didn't arc weld anymore. I simply used the appropriate bolt tongs. At all events, I am not shaking my head. Sometimes we're into production, and we need to get breakfast cereal on the table.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/23/08 19:17:40 EST

thanks alot!!!
   dan - Tuesday, 12/23/08 20:45:44 EST

I have no doubt if eletric welders were available a hundred plus years ago they would have been in every Blacksmith shop. They would have mastered the skill of welding. They would have been so proud of it they would have shown it off.

I was traveling to my Amsih friends shop one day. I drove by the Blacksmith shop. It is a huge shop. The stock door was open and I saw alot of organized structual tubing and angle iron. I was certain they were not bolting it together. Well upon another trip I saw an Amish Boy using a mig welder. The Blacksmith would have asked the Bishops for permission the have and us such a tool. If it is vital to efficiency to the work and beneficial to the community sometimes they will make such allowances. I know it would have been powered by a diesel engine. When I saw the horse drawn snow plow contraptions they were using this winter I knew they certainly were not using rivets and bolts to hold them together.

I like traditional and modern styles of Blacksmithing. I will never stand in judgement of any method one chooses to employ. I think knowing both ways just makes you better.

I think back when Richard Simmions has to repair tanks and rerivet them as an apprentice. As the years went buy the elctric welder came out and it mad a utility job easier and a stronger repair. In his worl he employed all methods. He can out forge weld any of us hands down in his 90's and then turn around and use the electric welder.

A tradionalist like Francis Whitaker who used traditional methods also used an electric welder.
   - Rustystuff - Tuesday, 12/23/08 21:33:34 EST

Need some advice on setting up a 4x6 horizontal band saw. Picked up a Chicago Power Tool 4x6 really cheap, but of course without instructions. Replaced a couple of missing things, adjusted carriage alignment, got everything going except keeping the blade on the wheels. I understand that gravity and the torque on the blade are working to tend to pop the thing off, but there must be some opposite force keeping it on. All I could find is a set screw adjustment on the non-driving wheel, but when I set that the way it would seem to work (angling the far edge of the wheel slightly upwards, it made matters worse:the blade still wants to walk off the wheel. By sheer guess and by golly, I got it where it stayed put for a couple of cuts, but I have no idea how or why. What keeps the blade up on the wheels, and how do I adjust to keep it there?
   Peter Hirst - Tuesday, 12/23/08 21:39:10 EST

Guru, Thats a good idea as well. Thank you.
   mat - Tuesday, 12/23/08 21:39:52 EST

I guess to sum up what I just wrote. You need to adapt an eye and a sense to know where to apply a traditional method or an eletric weld. What are you trying to say in what you are making. Is it about strength, function, asethic, modern or tradition. Is it art or is it craft: Who really can be a judge of that anyway and have the final say?
   - Rustystuff - Tuesday, 12/23/08 21:40:13 EST

Peter Hirst: The set screw You mentioned is for tracking ajustment, and it is all You have to work with on those saws. I have found with Mine that blade tension plays a big part, if the drive wheel slips in the blade it will pop off immediatly.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 12/23/08 23:19:51 EST

Electric arc welding: As an industrial process it is a bit over 100 years old and slightly pre dates Oxy Acetylene welding. I think the lack of electrical service in rural areas had a lot to do with the delay in it's acceptance to the general public. Simple transformer welders were developed and marketed to farmers as the REA program extended electric service to rural areas in the '40s&'50s.
   - Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 12/23/08 23:34:31 EST

It has probably already been mentioned but, isnt there a whole article about basket making in the iforge how to as well as an article about welding?
   mat - Wednesday, 12/24/08 00:04:52 EST

Check out "The History of Thermal Joining"
at
http://www.weldinghistory.org/

Learn more about welding and brazing then you ever wanted to know
   - Hudson - Wednesday, 12/24/08 01:45:01 EST

Peter Hirst
I have a pair of the little 4 x 6 saws and wore out 2 more at the valve shop Check the non driven wheel for bearing wear. If the wheel shaft gets play, it can tilt from beeing in plane with the drive wheel and this plays heck with keeping the blade on.
Also check the blade guides for alignment as if these are really badly out, the band can cup and this too makes keeping the blade on.

Last but not least, all of my saws will throw the blade if forced into the cut too hard. Check the little handle on the side that is connected to the spring in the back that counterbalances the saw. If not adjusted to provide a nice light cut these saws throw the band as well.

Don't lay a hand on top of the saw crowd them, these need basically gravity with the spring set to just give a nice steady feed. Look at the swarf being produced, if a steady stream of chips is being produce, then the feed is adaquate.
   ptree - Wednesday, 12/24/08 08:43:02 EST

Saw Adjustments: Peter, On the outer end of the saw frame there is a handle that is the blade tension. It needs to be fairly snug. These saws do not have a full complement of adjustments so you have to go with what they have. Most of the manuals are worthless on adjustment.

As Dave pointed out the screw you were messing with is tracking. This needs to be adjusted JUST enough to keep the blade on. Ideally the wheels are co-planar. That is, on the same plane. But blade tension arcs the frame and the tracking adjustment compensates.

Unlike a traditional bandsaw the blade runs against a shoulder on the bare iron wheels. Too much tracking force will wear out the small shoulder OR the blade will actually hop up on the rim. Tenssion from that handle on the end should be fairly tight so the blade make a low "thongggg" sound when tweeked. About like the low (bass) E on a guitar or a tad lower.

My old 4x6 Ridgid has full adjustments on the guides. These saws twist the blade and the roller guides do the work. The real pressure wheels must be adjusted to keep the teeth JUST off the side wheels. The set of the teeth just clearing the radius on the guide bearings. The style of bearings has changed a lot of the years with some saws having REALLY cheap plastic roller guides that a pretty worthless. Mine has big steel ball bearings about 1.25 OD by .56 wide that are all on heavy eccentrics so they can be adjusted.

Some have no adjustment what so ever just relying on the play in the holes. After putting on a new blade I broke the guide bearings on Paw-Paws new saw trying to tighten them. They were too loose and their was no adjustment. Pushing them in toward the blade and tightening the fixing screw canted them in and put too much pressure on the cheap little bearings thus rolling the seals out. . . I loosened them, stuck the seals back in and sold the saw the next week. It would not cut square and had wasted a bunch of $3/inch large diameter S7 tool steel. . . We practically gave the saw away but I will NOT have machinery that is so cheap that it is nothing but frustration and a time waster.

IF the saw has twist adjustments and right to left the blade should make a path as if there were no guides and you twisted that section of the tensioned blade. The guides should not push the blade one way or the other more than JUST enough to square it to the stationary vise jaw (which may or may not be adjustable. If the vise jaw is adjustable, use IT not the table adjustments for square on that axis, just for the vertical fall. Adjusted correctly a new blade should track in the middle of the kerf, the back edge not rubbing the work.

Some of these saws can be adjusted in minutes. Others can take all day. Some have fair adjustments, some no or lousy adjustments and NONE of the new import 4x6's have the full heavy duty adjustments of the original Ridgid brand saw. Study it until you understand it, think about it, and adjust carefully.

Note that a used blade that has had the teeth worn on either side or the set damaged by pinching or running on the wheels or guide bearings will NEVER cut straight again. Trying to tune a saw with a worn wandering blade will get you nowhere but in an insane asylum. Good luck!

Y'all have a pleasant happy day. I have house chores to do!
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/24/08 08:43:07 EST

Guru: Thanks for the info, just what i neede. Only part I did not get is not using the table adjustments to square the cut with the work. THe mounts with two hex bolts so that it can be adjusted the line up the saw with the table, including the grovve between the guides. This was so far out when I picked up the say, I had to adjust, and now have the blade running perfectly parallel in the groove. I then matched the adjustable vise jaw to this and everything is square and true within the tolerances of my squares and rules. After replacing the motor start capacitor and the vise adjustment hand wheel the only thing left was to wrestle with the blade issue. I think I may have one of the better models, as everything seems heavy duty and solif. Ball bearings everywhere, no sheet except in coverplates and legs. Only other thing is lubrication. Under so much tension, i would think the wheel bearing lube would be critical, and I dot really see any access to them. Just soak em in machine oil around the hubs?

ANyway, thanks for the valuable info and have a great holidyay
   Peter Hirst - Wednesday, 12/24/08 09:17:35 EST

PawPaw and I had the same saw - from Northern Tools as I recall. We both had the same problem. The blade would come off of the first upper roller, causing the blade to break frequenty. I took mine apart and used two thin washers to keep the roller aligned in the middle. Solved problem. I have since upgraded to a 7" x 12" bandsaw. However, I sort of wish I had kept the smaller one for angle iron and such.

Don't overlook subcontracting when it makes economic sense. I had a length of 303 stainless 4" round I wanted cut into 5/8" slugs. Each cut took over an hour. Local machine shop did it for me for a couple of bucks per cut.

On my freon tank forges I was making the front and back plates out of four pieces of 1/4" x 1". Had a shop cut them out of plate for me. Putting pencil to it, by the time I bought the stock, cut it to length, chamfered some of the edges, arc welded, ground, did touch-up as needed and drilled in eight 1/4" bolt holes in each plate, it cost me less to have them cut out of plate.

Personally I subcontract out my forge welds to the Miller Welding Corp. If you chamfer the edges (to create a groove for the weld) and then grind off the excess it is difficult to tell it isn't one solid piece.
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 12/24/08 09:18:21 EST

Im reading the complete bladesmith and it raised a question.... i have a belt sander, but it keeps talking about a belt grinder.. is there a difference?????
   - jacob lockhart - Wednesday, 12/24/08 12:31:57 EST

Ken Scharabok, I too had to shim a guide wheel with washers on one of the nearly worn out saws. We also went through and replaced all the roler bearings on them after some use as they failed. They were a standard little bearing, and as I recall it was about $35 for a set for a saw.
The main drive gear boxes on these saws need gear oil. The first one we bought had grease and it quickly migrated to the walls of the worm gear drive and the worm and gear started to fail. We cleaned out the box, added gear oil and a tablespon of moly powder and ran the saw for about 3 months while awaiting the replacement parts. Once the replacements were installed we used gearoil/moly. The saws I have at home have factory gear oil, with my moly additive.
I have also had the band saw blades to take a "cup" and then they jump off both the pressure wheels and guide wheels.
I have been using these saws since about 1988. If cared for and not crowded, they give pretty good service. I do buy only those with bearing alighnment wheels and full adjustment.
   ptree - Wednesday, 12/24/08 12:46:19 EST

Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all you. May all of your stockings be filled with coal.

-----------------------------------
Texas cowboy hunkered down in Helsinki... brrrr!
Rob Dobbs
   Rob Dobbs - Wednesday, 12/24/08 13:52:29 EST

i reead further and i have another question..mr. hrisoulas talkes about three levels of the fire the oxidizing layer the neutral layer and the carburizing layer where steel will absorb carbon, the book is written he says aplying to a coal forge but does this apply to charcoal as well? will steel carburize in the charcoal?
   - jacob lockhart - Wednesday, 12/24/08 14:06:24 EST

Jacob,

I think technically a belt sander used on metal is called a belt grinder, but the terms are pretty much used interchangeably.

A charcoal fire will have the same three layers as a coal fire, but you're not going to get a noticable amount of carburization in a forge whatever the fuel. At least not during normal forging -- you probably could case harden or make blister steel if you soak a piece in the carburizing zone for long enough. There are more efficient methods, though, the best of which is to start with a steel with sufficient carbon.
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 12/24/08 16:11:48 EST

Hand type belt sanders are not great for knife work as they are intended for floating on a wood surface and most have a foam pad under a thin steel contact platen. I've used mine a lot the WRONG way (upside down) but I do not recommend it except for emergencies. A stationary belt sander is the same as a belt grinder in general. Industrial models for metal have better seals and run slower than those for wood. But many used in bladesmithing are the same as for wood working. These machines can be build with wooden frames and simple parts OR be big industrial things with cast iron frames, tables with guide slots and multi horsepower motors.

Note that if you use a sander/grinder for wood and THEN use it for metal you can easily end up with a fire (sparks igniting the fine wood powder). That is what most likely happened in Pete's shop in our current NEWS.

The problem in blade shops is you often work BOTH materials at the same time on the same machine. If you do so be SURE to clean out any wood dust after use. Also note that metal dust can also ignite and burns REALLY hot.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/24/08 21:23:05 EST

One small but important point on the upper wheel adjustment on the 4x6 saw. Yes, the set screw that tilts the axis slightly is the key adjustment for blade tracking, but the DIRECTION of adjustment is counterintuitive. Like a tire rolling across a hillside, a blade belt or wheel tends to roll uphill when crossing a plane at an angle, so tilting the outer edge of the upper wheel makes the blade walk away from the direction of tilt. If the blade is walking off even under good tension as mine was, the set screw needs to be backed OUT, not set in as I did at first, to tilt the outer edge down, making the blade tend to walk up slightly against the upper rim. This it has been explained to me, is why flat belt wheels and pulleys are crowned rather than dished: the belt will tend to walk toward the higher part of the wheel.
   Peter Hirst - Wednesday, 12/24/08 22:23:08 EST

Jacob Lockhart,

On belt grinders vs belt sanders:

I use the term belt sander primarily for wood working equipment, and belt grinder for metal working. Most high-end belt grinders such as WIlto Square Wheel, Bader, KMG, etc, are very robust machines that have motors around 1-1/2 hp and up to 5hp. Many are variable frequency drives motors for continuously variable speed, though the basic models may have only one speed or speed changed by changning belt sheaves. Belt grinders run at speeds anywhere from 1000 sfpm to over 5000sfpm and, with a 24 grit belt, can remove metal faster than a saw or any hard wheel grinder. They also are usually able to be configured in various ways, i.e. with a flat platen, slack belt, contact wheel for hollow grinding, etc.

Stationary wood working belt sanders typically have a flat platen and a work stop, and are often equipped with an outboard mounted sanding disc as well.

There are a number of different manufacturers offering small sander/grinders of the 1" x 42" belt variety with a disc attached. These are useful for both metal and wood, but the are generally under powered for real metal removal such as encountered in stock-removal knife making. They cannot be fitted with contact wheels for hollow grinding, either. They sell for well under $200, so they do find a place in many shops as utility grinders. I have had one for thirty years, though I really only use it for grinding TIG welding tungstens and punches these days, now that I have built a heavy duty 2x72 belt grinder with a 3hp motor. That will really move metal!

The Grizzly tool company sells a relatively inexpensive 2x72 belt grinder aimed at the hobbyist knife maker. It is around $350, I think, and the reports I get on it have been positive. It certainly isn't a Bader or KMG, but then it costs only a fifth of what the cheapest Bader sold for ten years ago. It does have a 8" contact wheel and platen, as well as slack belt capability, and will work either horizontal or vertical, and comes with a buffing spindle on the other motor shaft.
   vicopper - Wednesday, 12/24/08 23:53:15 EST

In knife making all types of grinders come in handy. Many use disk grinders for flat work and squaring. A hand held angle grinder is good for initial clean up of forgings and between welds when making billets. I've used my precision B&S surface grinder (a big expensive machine) to make absolutely flat folder parts. Belts come in narrow widths such as half inch (13mm) and are great on a 42 inch machine for doing detail work and notching.

One thing to be VERY careful about with belt grinder sanders is that the edge of the belt will cut through YOU like a butchers saw. They seem like such a tame safe machine to use until either you slip OR the belt runs off and its inertia does the job on you. Like all power machines you need to respect them. It is also not hard to put guide pins on the frame to prevent the belt from traveling far when it does come off, and it WILL.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/25/08 00:46:33 EST

For folks that may be using a belt grinder/sander for the first time, be sure to wear safety goggles and a full face sheild. Those belts can (and do) split and will start wacking you right in the forehead and eyes! It happens too fast to avoid so wear your safety gear.

A respirator is a good idea too. Don't want to get that stuff in your lungs.
   Rob Dobbs - Thursday, 12/25/08 03:28:39 EST

One more belt grinder/sander safety bit. If it will remove metal, think what it will do to human tissue! Also always be aware of the probability of the part being ground being thrown with great force. The part will get very hot if not cooled often, and once hot may be dropped, and you don't want you soft belly in that line of fire.

Buffers are even worse for flinging things.
   ptree - Thursday, 12/25/08 09:16:56 EST

Fibers can come loose on the belts and whip your fingers repeatedly. Annoying, but not as lethal as an improperly held piece in a buffer.
   - Nippulini - Thursday, 12/25/08 10:19:08 EST

hello guru i wus wondering
where can i get a used, cheap, decent anvil?
ive been looking for quite a while
any suggestions?
   Mark - Thursday, 12/25/08 18:51:40 EST

Mark

"CHEAP USED ANVILS"

Check with: scrap yards, yard sales, auctions, flea markets, tractor shows, gas engine shows, craig's list, ebay, tool dealers, antiques shops, anvilfire advertisers, advertise in newspapers, network with neighbors, churches, shops, junk collectors or become very close friends with Tom Powers and he will show you how to get a very nice anvil next to nothing. :)
   - Rustystuff - Thursday, 12/25/08 20:19:04 EST

Mark

"CHEAP USED ANVILS"

I forgot another option. I have a rust and an anvil detector. I drive down back roads and look for old barns and out buildings that look very old. Then i use my special device and if I locate one I door knock and ask if they have an Anvil or Blacksmith Tools and want to sell them.

It is called "DOOR KNOCKING". Be prepared to earn peoples trust. Tell them you are using and not selling the items. Some people will cuse and yell ate you. You may get a gun barrel in the nose and sometimes a warning shot or two. Learn to talk fast and slick. Always be friendly and kind.

   - Rustystuff - Thursday, 12/25/08 20:25:53 EST

spelling
cuse = cuss ate = at
   - Rustystuff - Thursday, 12/25/08 20:27:33 EST

Mark
Lastly. If you are door knocking looking for an anvil do not show up in a brand new 50,000 truck or Ferrari and tell the people you want an Anvil CHEAP!! Drive a very old beat up vehicle. Wear old work close as well. No suits or name brands unless it is Carhartt or Woolworth. Be prepared to spend some time and help do chores like milk the cows.
   - Rustystuff - Thursday, 12/25/08 20:33:32 EST

Guru
When you have time would you compile and write an article how to locate an anvil, forge and tools. Please feel free to use all of my suggestions, others from past posts and any ideas you have as well. This seems to be a very frequent question.

Another Way To Locate An Anvil:

Another suggestion I didn't mention above is make up flyers and hang them on the bulletin boards at your local, dinners, hardware stores, supply houses, lumber yards, steel yards and grocery stores.

Now a RANT concerning the term CHEAP.

Never use the term cheap when wanting to locate, purchase or sell anything. It turns everyone off. People will not waste their time.

Also if someone contact from any form of advertising you used to locate an anvil be fair to the seller. ie..If a widow offers you an anvil that belonged to her late husband for 20.00 and unpon inspection it is in excellent conditon and 400 lbs you should be honest and give her a couple hundred dollars. This is a blessing she bestowed on you and you should bless her back. That which leaves your hand will return to you 10 fold.
   - Rustystuff - Thursday, 12/25/08 21:46:13 EST

Mark, When anybody asks that question tradition has it that I offer you a free120 pound anvil. It is here and is yours if you will only come and collect it. I can even let you have some anvil tools to go with it again free for collection.
   philip in china - Thursday, 12/25/08 22:15:35 EST

Anvils:

www.craigslist.org (or .com). You can search by major cities. Or you can do a Google on craigslist anvil. By city at least keeps you in the general area. You can also place wanted ads there.

www.ebay.com. Search for anvil within the Collectibles category (although they occasionally show up under Antiques). eBay prices aren't that bad IF you can pick the anvil up within a reasonable driving distance.

www.abana.org, under AFFILIATES, find the blacksmithing group which covers your area. I suspect most of them have at least one member who wheels and deals in old blacksmithing tools. Some groups hold large annual conferences with draw used tool sellers from severel surrounding states.

Harbor Freight retail outlets at one time offered a 110-lb Russian export. Wasn't much, but it was cheap. Wasn't bad for a starter anvil, then could be used as either a buoy anchor, door stop or gluing weight. (I keep hearing rumors they no longer carry them.)

I buy my new steel stock from a combination new/scrap dealer. They watch out for anvils for me. Several months ago they had a 50-lb beat-up FISHER. Paid $10 for it. Was still useable as a bench anvil. They often have large chucks of metal. Even if mild steel use it until it becomes damaged beyond use, sell it back to them at scrap prices and buy another chunk.

Don't get locked into a 'traditional' anvil. Within reason any heavy piece of metal can serve the purpose. Lots of folks start out on a short length of RR track. I believe it was someone on the forum who once used a front end tractor weight.

Now, on what an anvil is worth depends on what someone is willing to pay for it. I wouldn't drive down the road for a free 150 lb Grizzly cast iron anvil. Now a 150 lb English export or a steel plated anvil from one of the U.S. anvil manufacturers is another story. But even here I would be buying for resale, thus not willing to pay current market price.
   Ken Scharabok - Friday, 12/26/08 01:17:02 EST

More on Anvils:

Be sure to tell folks you're just getting started; it makes a difference. We like to see ourselves as mentors (wasn't Mentor a centaur?) and give folks a start. I've passed through a few anvils, at cost, to beginning smiths over the years (and free to family members).

Also, check with any farriers in your area; people always assume that they need a new one. ;-)

Looks like we've just contributed to the anvil F.A.Q. file!

Wishing everybody here a good Yule season, a peaceful Christmastide, and an uneventful New Year.

Watching the sun rise through a low scatter of clouds on the banks of the lower Potomac. Temperatures will be in the 40s & 50s f this weekend, perfect for finishing sorting and hanging the tongs in the new shop and doing some belated Christmas work.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/26/08 07:52:07 EST

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to cleanly attach fire mesh to frames for fire screens? I too, am surprised that I haven't had to investigate this sooner in my career, but it just never came up. The mesh I have is a .028" woven type. Also, is there a way to stretch the material taut, or will it always have some slack?
   Jay in SC - Friday, 12/26/08 08:53:25 EST

Jay- I just posted in response to your same question over on the V. Hammer-In
   Judson Yaggy - Friday, 12/26/08 11:02:54 EST

Merry Christmas(or your preferred winter holiday) everybody!
I haven't posted in a while cause i've been relaxing with my family and everybody for the holidays. Hope your holidays are going great.

On to a more serious note. I got 3 blacksmithing books this Christmas. "The Backyard Blacksmith", "The Complete Modern Blacksmith", and "The Skills of Blacksmiths Volume 1". I have found these books very insightful with easy to understand instructions and pictures. I came across something in my reading however. In The Complete Modern Blacksmith, Alexander says that only high-carbon steel is temperable and that low and mild steel are not temperable. One of my blacksmithing friends told me this was not true and I was wondering what your expert opinion on this was.
   - hillm - Friday, 12/26/08 17:00:51 EST

hillm: Low or Mild steel cannot be hardened like high carbon sttel. It can be case hardened, though. That may be what your blacksmithing friend was speaking to. Case hardening is a process whereby only the skin of the steel is hardened, only a molecule or so thick. This would allow you to make a hard sharp edge on a piece of mild steel, but it would remain so only temporarily.

Experts, please correct me if I am wrong.
   Rob Dobbs - Friday, 12/26/08 17:09:34 EST

Rob, that sounds about right. That is almost exactly what the book says. My friend was insisting that mild steel can be tempered though. Thank you for your help.

Another question, what exactly is the difference between tool steel and high carbon steel. Are they 2 different names for the same thing, or is there a difference in their makeup? If they are different do you reach tool steel by tempering high carbon steel?
   - hillm - Friday, 12/26/08 17:24:10 EST

Hillm,
High carbon steel is a steel that has a carbon content sufficient to allow hardening to a high level. It is not alloyed with elements that provide high hot hardness or abrasion resistance.

Tool steels are steels that are alloyed to allow use in many areas such as saws for metal, cutting tools for metals such as would be used in mills, lathes shapers etc. Tool steels come in a vast array alloyed for particular use. These steels may have less carbon than a high carbon steel, yet cut steel better. When cutting metal such as steel, say in a lathe, the chips formed are abrasive and rub on the tool. A simple high carbon steel has less abrasion resistance than say High Speed Steel (HSS). The abrasive action will dull the carbon steel tool quickly. Further, the rubbing of the chips causes heat. The heat generated will not allow as high a speed hence the HSS used for cutting. Most quality twist drills are HSS. In high speed production cutters one sees tool steels with cobalt added, Moly added and tungston added.

Low carbon steel can not be hardened to any usefull amount other than by affecting the surface in a case hardening method. Medium carbon steels can be hardened and are usefull in the hardness ranges achievable say as hammers etc. These medium carbon steels would not usually be used for tools that need the high hardness of saya lathe cutter.

Some folks call A-36 structual steel "Mild Steel" Since A-36 is not a chemisty designation but rather a properties designation, one can see a pretty high carbon level, or virtually no carbon in that material. Some A-36 will harden and some won't. Most A-36 won't get truely hard enough for a knife though.
   ptree - Friday, 12/26/08 18:07:58 EST

What do you know about Chicago Plierench Pat#5216. What was the tools main job and any other things you could tell us about it.

Thanks Dave
   - David Roberts - Friday, 12/26/08 18:11:46 EST

ptree, thanks for answering my questions. So mild steel is ok for things like hammers and fullers, but not ok for things like lathe cutters, knifes, and bits? If I understand that is where it becomes necessary for the tool steel.
   - hillm - Friday, 12/26/08 18:39:48 EST

I was planing on making a pattern welded dagger. I have collected varies files and bandsaw blades and assembled them in billets (partially). Now I am looking for a high nickel steel to enhance the finish apperience, but I have many questions. First, do you have any suggestions on where I can either find or buy such an alloy(in the past I have had very faint patterns barly visible)? Second, I need things cleared up as far as nikel alloys goes: What varieties are there?, Grade designations and suitability for blades? Third, It seems I have sightly overlooked the acid etching stage. I used coca cola in the past, but that didn't work to great. Where can a 17 year old get the right acid? And how do you properly do it?
Sorry for all the questions and thanks for all the help in the past!
   - John L. - Friday, 12/26/08 18:51:05 EST

hillm: Mild steel is not a great choice for most hammers. It will be soft enough to loose shape and be marked up, only use it for "soft" hammers.

As Ptree said, medium carbon steel is good for hammers, but there are other alloy elements that affect hardinability besides carbon. For example, 4340 will get much harder than 1040, but they have the same carbon content.
   - Dave Boyer - Friday, 12/26/08 20:35:48 EST

I have an old can of Kasenit and was wondering if it ever had anything toxic in it? I know the new product is safe, but was the old stuff harmfull?
   Rudy Choborda - Friday, 12/26/08 22:08:20 EST

John L.

The knifemakers here will hopefully chime in with some better recommendations, but L6 is one high-nickel alloy, and is often the metal used for things like circular saw blades.

As for an etchant, try to get some printed circuit board etchant from Radio Shack. It is ferric chloride (FeCl) and is the etchant of choice. If you can't find that, muriatic acid, used for cleaning swimming pools and concrete will work, but is more hazardous.
   vicopper - Friday, 12/26/08 22:30:18 EST

Rusty Choborda,

Old Kasenit used a cyanide compound and is right up there with arsenic for dangerous. Cyanide is also found in the substances they use in the gas chamber, if that gives you a feel for how dangerous cyanide can be.
   vicopper - Friday, 12/26/08 22:33:48 EST

im making some flat stock tongs and was wondering what the tongs needed to get a good grip? i thought about using a cold chisel to make a x pattern like a file. what works best?
   - Jacob Lockhart - Friday, 12/26/08 22:58:05 EST

I saw Robb Gunther harden mild steel by quenching it in his Super Quench and then demonstrate that it was hard.
   Carver Jake - Friday, 12/26/08 23:03:33 EST

Vicopper, thanks for the information.
Come'on guys lets here some more.
   - John L. - Friday, 12/26/08 23:13:44 EST

would 4140 make a decent machete or sword?
   - Jacob Lockhart - Friday, 12/26/08 23:15:08 EST

Jake Carver

Super Quench still isn't going to make mild steel into tool steel. It would be good to make a temporary tool for onesey moderate usage. It isn't a magic bullet. It is just a detergent that gives mild steel somewhat of a case type hardness. It can't harden to the core as it has purported to do. You can only get a surface hardness of 40 rockwell.

Jacob Lockhart

4140 would be a good tool steel to make a machete or sword. Probably overkill, but if you have it or an affordable source use it. I would just use 1095 high carbon steel myself. The cutlery industry has used 1095 for machetes over 100 years.
   - Rustystuff - Friday, 12/26/08 23:45:10 EST

excuse me philip in china could u run that by me again haha
well where are u located
i live in the upper peninsula of Michigan
i wus awestruck when i saw wut u posted
my email is markus2102@hotmail.com
wut is yours?
   Mark - Saturday, 12/27/08 02:03:28 EST

Mark, Now we know where we are somebody might be able to help you. I am about 50 miles NW of Chengdu in central Sichuan. Don't assume evrybody on this site is from USA.

Jake, you could always use a truck spring straightened by..... better stop or Jock will delete me.
   philip in china - Saturday, 12/27/08 04:30:15 EST

Jacob Lockhart,

For tong grip, the best thing is to fit them hot to the correct sized workpiece. I often use the vise to squeeze the jaws around the appropriate material. When this is done, the reins will get out of whack, so I use a heat which will cover the jaws, rivet area and a portion of the reins. I have one pair of French tongs which have some chisel marks inside the jaw, but I don't think it does much for grip. Most blacksmith tongs have a lengthwise fuller mark in the inside middle of the jaw. This may help a little to grip hot steel, but I doubt whether it helps to grip cold steel. The fuller mark is also used to hold small rounds and squares. Farriers' tongs have a circular indentation inside the jaw which aids a bit in holding hot horseshoe stock, but again, does not do much for holding cold stock. Farriers' tongs have a short, usually rounding jaw, because they are handling only shoe stock with them.

The inside of the jaw left flat will work all right. However, with continued use over an extended period of time, a wear pattern develops which leaves a high center. That's when the tongs become unsafe, because they are not making full coverage on the work. The lengthwise groove and the circular depression on the tongs removes the inside center, so to speak, thus preventing the problem before it starts.

Getting back to my original statement, the best thing for ill fitting tongs is to heat them and make them fit.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 12/27/08 07:44:26 EST

Mark who wants an anvil. The name at the bottom of the post may help. Phillip in China is locted in central Sichuan, CHINA.
:)
   ptree - Saturday, 12/27/08 08:11:20 EST

Jake Carver,
I too have seen Robb Gunther harden A-36 in superQuench. He plainly states it doe not make mild steel into tool steel. Also remember that A-36 can have siginificant carbon content. I HAVE not heard of anyone using SuperQuench on a controlled carbon content steel like C1008. I have quenched A-36 in plain water and had the odd bar get class hard, but most was unaffected.

And as Rustystuff noted mild steel is not hammer stock, medium carbon steel is.

Metalurgy is a complex science/art. The addition of tiny amounts of an alloy can totaly change the properties of a steel.
   ptree - Saturday, 12/27/08 08:16:40 EST

JohnL, while we always try to answer questions, there are other sites that may have exactly the answers you need. Try www.bladeforums.com or www.dfoggknives.com. Bladeshmithing, especially pattern welding, is an art and science all its own and the people who make blades exclusively will have the right experience to help you. However, you will always be welcome here, too.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 12/27/08 11:34:28 EST

lol i kinda feel dumb now haha
ok so does anybody have any suggestions on wut i could use for an anvil substitute?
   Mark - Saturday, 12/27/08 13:35:18 EST

and you guys gave me a hard time? lolol
   matt - Saturday, 12/27/08 14:10:52 EST

I'm going to be taking a trip to the metal yard some time soon in order to find a break drum for a forge and possably if I have good luck that day find a fixable anvil.
I was wondering if anyone knows of somthing better than a break drum for a forge. I go by the standard of using cast iron and nothing thin. I would appreciate the input.
   matt - Saturday, 12/27/08 14:21:28 EST

matt: Why go to a junk/scrap yard? Go to a local place which repairs brakes on trucks. Chances are they would give you a suitable one-ton brake drum for the asking. Locally I'd go to my local Farmers' Co-op and look in their scrap metal dumpster.

Reader's Digest "Back to Basic" has a nice plan for a brake drum forge. E-mail me (click on my name) and I'll send you a copy.

I also note disc brake rotors(? - outside part) can do nicely as the base for tool rests, such as for a bandsaw.
   Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 12/27/08 14:42:18 EST

Matt,

While at the scrap yard, look/ASK for the following: 4" plate, 6"-12" round drops, or bent FORKs from a fork lift.

At your level, just starting out, don't get tied to the classic "anvil" shape... any block of STEEL with enough mass will make a decent starting anvil. Half a fork can make two good anvils. Shape doesn't matter as much as compact mass under the hammer. Others here have written weekly answering this same question... go back and read their advice.

You aren't likely going to find a traditional anvil in a scrap yard... but you'll find a dozen things taht will work almost as well *IF* you look/ask for them.

Consider that a scrap of 4" plate measuring 12"x12" weights about 160lbs. Standing on edge that's TWICE the face and 50% more weight than a crappy cast steel HF anvil.

A piece of 6" round cut 12" long is almost 100lbs!
A piece of 10" round cut 12" long is almost 260lbs!
Both can be a good starter anvil for less $/work than buying/repairing a traditional shape anvil.

With my big fork anvil and smaller traveling fork anvil, I no loger feel the need to buy a traditional anvil. For $50 in welding and an afternoon of work carrying the scrap [thanks Thomas!], I have better anvil's than I could buy for 10 times that.

www.marco-borromei.com/fork.html
   - Marco/Mike - Saturday, 12/27/08 14:57:07 EST

nice. That gives me hope. I can get it welded for free so that eliminates 50$ off the bat. what did you do weld the two halfs on top of eachother
   matt - Saturday, 12/27/08 15:35:29 EST

never mind I saw the link. It looks good for blades!!!!
   matt - Saturday, 12/27/08 15:42:21 EST

DIY Anvils: Have you LOOKED at our anvil articles (see FAQ's).

Applying steel: You can use mild steel to make almost any kind of tool but it will not last long, hold its shape, never an edge, or wear well. It is good for certain temporary tools. ALL tools that see significant load applied including hammers, anvils and fullers (dull tools) still need to be made of something better than mild steel. Many cheap imported hammers are currently made from stuff that varies from low carbon steel to white cast iron (a VERY VERY brittle material). They either end up dented and torn up or cracking and spalling (sharp broken pieces flying off at bullet speed). So hammers cannot be soft, they cannot be so hard they are brittle. Like ALL tools they need to be JUST RIGHT (as Goldie Locks says).

There are thousands of different steels some better for some things some good for a wide range. Answers to questions about steels require that you first read a LITTLE about steels and their heat treatment before asking questions. It is a complicated subject that should start with BOOKS.

Tongs: The most basic aspect of tongs is that they are hand held leverage multipliers. The closer the part is held to the pivot (rivet) the more force your hand can apply. The reins (the part you grip) should be slightly springy in your hand. The springiness softens the forces applied to your flesh and keeps the tongs closed on the work when there are shock loads. Springiness is determined you the length and shape of the reins and is a proportional thing but also need to vary with your size and strength. Determining this point is largely by trial and error and experience. See everything Frnak had to say about gripping surfaces ahead.

Finding Anvils: Rusty Etal, Yes, we need to compile a FAQ. The fact is that "anvils are where you find them" -guru.

Ask everyone, your grandmother, your second cousins you never met. . . (good reason to learn you genealogy). You never know who will have an anvil hiding in the garage, in the basement behind the furnace, in a storage building OR being used as a plant stand. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 12/27/08 16:42:15 EST

I'm back. . . Been on the road visiting family and friends.

I saw a fantastic new mechanical hammer design in operation. The amazing thing is that after nearly 200 years of linkage design that something basic, new, patentable and that works BETTER than other linkages could still be discovered. I'm sworn to secrecy but there IS a better way to do it. More coming when it is time. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 12/27/08 17:25:44 EST

Matt, maybe you can explain the rules to Mark.
   quenchcrack - Saturday, 12/27/08 19:09:12 EST

I could but that is not mentioned in the guidelines that I should do that
   matt - Saturday, 12/27/08 19:49:41 EST

I was just laughing that he asked where he was located when it said philip in china, I was not saying anything about the rules. We all do stuff like that it's called a brain fart
   matt - Saturday, 12/27/08 19:54:28 EST

Merry Late Christmas all! I just finished a round of maybe half a dozen scrap yards in my area and none of them had seen an anvil in 10 years. As for the brake drum I found it easiest just to go to the junk yard and pay 10 bucks as all of teh auto shops in my area are sending their scrap out nowadays. And of course the spam gets by the filters, that's what they do for a living while us honest folks don't think that low...
   Will Sanders - Saturday, 12/27/08 23:19:09 EST


Hello!!! This is Klein. I was wondering if you have experience in hand forging of Titanium stock and drawing it out into a flatter thinner rectangular shape???

Did you have any problems with oxidation of the Titanium while forging it, and if so did you use or add anything to the titanium to prevent the Titanium from oxidizing while forging it when hot???

Can a piece of Titanium like 3"X 3" and 1" in thickness for example be drawn by hand forging into a thin 5/16" thick plate through blacksmithing???


Thanks for you're response.
   Klein - Sunday, 12/28/08 00:31:26 EST

lol yes yes i had a "brain fart" lol
yuk it up =P
   Mark - Sunday, 12/28/08 00:58:22 EST

Mild Steel, Medium Steel, High Carbon Steel, Alloy Steel:

I have some actual 1018 and 1040, and I've done some comparison testing, but I don't have the equipment for actual accurate tests (Rockwell, etc.).

So, to sumerize my own experience and some of the observations on Anvilfire, above, and in the past:

"Mild" steel will gain some hardness in a "super quench" but the amount may vary according to actual carbon and trace alloy content in A-36 as opposed to actual known carbon steels (10XX). As the Great Guru has pointed out similar results can be had using ice and water.*

"Medium" carbon steels are interesting, since somewhere between 30 and 40 points of carbon greatly enhances hardenability. Most of the welded-on cutting edges on the tools in the early medieval Mastermyr find (axes, adzes, chisels) were 40 points. This gives hardness with good toughness. Many sword edges were 60 points. The lower medium range may or may not need to be quenched after hardening depending upon the carbon content and the use it is being put to. Also, for cutting tools, you may have to sharpen them more often.

"High" carbon steels are suitable for fine cutting edges and smaller blades where stresses can be controlled; and where metal is cutting metal. These inevitably need tempering of some degree.

Alloy steels- all bets are off, alloys are engineered/concocted for specific uses. Some are simple (manganese); and some are complex for the extreme environment (compressor blades in jet engines) or the sheer magic of it. (Look up any "ultimate" steel for the latest pocket knife blade- iron/steel and six alloying metals; when it's not titanium or some super ceramic!)

The "Junkyard Steel" charts here at Anvilfire and on other sites work both ways. They not only tell you what the carbon or alloying content might be, but also what carbon or alloying elements are suitable for various items and uses.

* Quenches have always had the most magical connotations. When I was a kid, one of the few remaining sword makers had to use whale oil, nothing else would do. Not knowing of the manganese in Spanish ores, Pliny the Elder (or the Younger?) attributed the superiority of Spanish swords to the secret quench. Into the early 20th century blacksmithing publications had all sorts of elaborate quenching formulas involving arcane ingredients. It all boils down to the speed of the quench; no magic ingredients need apply.

A warm, gray dawn on the banks of the lower Potomac. Finished racking my tongs, hammers and sets at the new forge yesterday.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 12/28/08 07:44:49 EST

Ah yes, "sumerize," the ancient metalworking technoque from ancient Sumer. Poof then prost! 8-0
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 12/28/08 07:52:15 EST

Atli,

Well put! Please keep the weather in that area warm for a couple more weeks, will you? I'll be in Maryland the 8th -12th of January, demonstrating for the MASA Gichner Memorial Hammer-In, and I would prefer to entertain the folks with my metalsmithing, not my shivvering and sniffling. (grin)

Chilly (73F) and rainy in America's Paradise, the Virgin Islands.
   vicopper - Sunday, 12/28/08 08:23:25 EST

Rich, Those dates are about the bottom of the temperature trough for the Eastern U.S. and Mid-Atlantic. We have had some amazingly mild snowless weather in recent winters (25 years) with it getting milder almost every year. So you have a chance. But I would not count on it. We have already had nights in the teens.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/28/08 09:55:02 EST

MILD WINTERS??
I don't know what you consider mild but, we just came off of fore straight weeks of 0 degF average temps with winds ranging from 5-30 mph. I don't know what the recorded local snow fall has been but, we have had nearly 50" of snow not counting the three inches we got last night.
Did I mention that it was RAINING all day yesterday and Friday we were fog bound. Wednesday and Thursday we had about 8" of snow wich made the Chistmass holiday driveing marathon very invigerating as usual.
As I pointed out it rained all day yesterday and washed away about two feet of snow but, that's OK because we have sustained winds of around 15 mph and the snow is returning with it's usual 4-6' drifts.
This is a NORMAL winter in Wisconsin. If we don't get wether like this and the Packers don't loose every game they play, we start to look for the "second coming" and expect the planet to tilt 90deg on its axsis.
(rant mode "off")
Happy Holidays to every one, I hope you may have gotten a day or two off to enjoy your selves.
The real reason for this post is the continuing question of alternitive anvil warming methodes.
Remember that I wraped my anvil up with heat tape and enclosed it in an insulated "dog house" to keep it closer to a working temp in my un-heated shop. This works well but, those heat tapes only go to 40degF. I have a block of steel I can warm up and set on the face but, I wonder if I can just use my big "weed burner" LP torch to warm the whole anvil insted.
I'm trying to make my flat ware samples and the cold anvil draws the heat out faster than I can get any work done.
Any unnecessary risks being taken by using the torch?
Obviously I'm only looking to raise the temp to 60-70F.
   - merl - Sunday, 12/28/08 11:21:32 EST

I doubt a weed burner would hurt your anvil. Of course, a wooden stand, or anything else flamable in the general vicinity, might be a different story.

It seems to me that 40 degrees is warm enough, since it should get the anvil out of any brittle range. People swear up and down that a cold anvil sucks the heat out of their work faster. But heat loss is proportional to temperature difference. If you're a 2000 degree piece of steel, an 80 degree anvil isn't going to look that much warmer than a 40 degree one.
   Mike BR - Sunday, 12/28/08 11:36:28 EST

Merl- I've used a weed burner to warm my anvil, just focus on the lower half and let the heat rise, stay away from the horn and heel. Just watch out running one of those things in a tight shop, they can put out a lot of CO.

It's been a warm one here in Vermont so far, only 2 nights have gotten down to -20 and the 18" of snow that was on the ground has been rained off, we are down to bare grass in the yard.
   Judson Yaggy - Sunday, 12/28/08 13:10:19 EST

Klein, titanium has enourmous affinity for nitrogen. Nitrogen makes up about 70% of the atmosphere we breath. Heating it to forging temperature in open air creates the perfect environment for the formation of Titanium Nitride (Yes, the same stuff they put on cutting tools). Once titanium nitride has formed, you will not get it to dissolve again and things go from bad to brittle.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 12/28/08 13:14:17 EST

Matt, I just thought you would like to harrass the nube. Failing that, I will go ahead and say we were just picking on you.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 12/28/08 13:17:00 EST

Hardness versus Hardenability. This concept seems to be misunderstood by a lot of us. Hardness is the degree to which a material can resist indentation or abrasion. Hardenability is the ability of an alloy to to form martensite DEEP into the part. Alloys are added to reduce the speed at which a part must be cooled to form martensite. The slower the speed, the deeper into the steel martensite will form. A shallow hardening steel, like a simple Carbon-Manganese steel with .40C can be quenched to about Rc 58 1/16" below the surface. At the center of a 1" round, the same part would only be Rc26. If we use a 4140 Chromium-Molybdenum alloy, the hardness would be Rc 60 at 1/16" but Rc 57 at the center of a 1" round. The 4140 has about the same hardness at the surface but because of the greater hardenability, it has higher hardness DEEPER into the steel. Using superquench on mild steel can make the surface hard, but it will not form martensite deep into the part.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 12/28/08 13:29:27 EST

My weather comments were for the Mid-Atlantic and South East. I have volumes of photos and home movies taken over several decades from when I and my brothers were a kids with us sled riding, building snow men, skiing. . . Normally the ground was covered with snow for all of January and half of February. We often had significant snows in December and as late as March. This I was told was less then in previous decades. In the past 20 years there has not been enough snow to make a decent covering much less go sled riding. We might have 1 to 2" once a winter. Just enough to be an aggravation. Sleds are no longer a gift you give to kids in this region and most people no-longer have chains for their cars. It may be temporary but there has been significant climate change in our region and the trend is increasing. We are also in a 15 year drought that has only been statistically reduced by sporadic flooding from hurricanes. This does not alleviate a drought except on paper.

What is REALLY sad is that in the few years we HAVE had those "huge" 2" snows the local highway departments immediately announce their salt and road cleanup funds are exhausted. I really wonder what would happen if the climate suddenly reverted to the norm of a short 30 or 40 years ago. We would have Southern Governors proclaiming this a disaster area calling for Federal help. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 12/28/08 14:07:59 EST

Can any one give me the measurments on the side draft coal forge hood that is listed in one of the articeles by anvilfire.com21centbs/forges/sidedraft.htm The one I'm refering to has a total hight of 48in. bace is 32in. draft hole is 10in. I need the front measurment up to the start of the angle? I think in this drawing that will be the placement of the smoke shelf. Any help would be of great appreciation on my part. Thank's and keep the the smoke a rolling. Losttime
   floyd street - Sunday, 12/28/08 14:11:31 EST

Can any one give me the measurments on the side draft coal forge hood that is listed in one of the articeles by anvilfire.com21centbs/forges/sidedraft.htm The one I'm refering to has a total hight of 48in. bace is 32in. draft hole is 10in. I need the front measurment up to the start of the angle? I think in this drawing that will be the placement of the smoke shelf. Any help would be of great appreciation on my part. Thank's and keep the the smoke a rolling. Losttime
   floyd street - Sunday, 12/28/08 14:14:06 EST

quench: you can pick on me all you want but I'm not going to stoop to your level and harrass the noobs on the site who have brain farts {Sarcasem} also I was being sarcasitc when I said that reading the rules for people is not mentioned in the guidelines.
   matt - Sunday, 12/28/08 15:16:44 EST

Is that a threat, Matt?
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 12/28/08 15:25:18 EST

Matt, my comment was meant to be mild humor, suggesting that we really were picking on you. Your sarcastic comment regarding stooping to my level is inappropriate for this forum.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 12/28/08 15:29:36 EST

I see no threats what r u talking about? Also I am sorry if that was inappropriate.I know it was mild humor as well as my comment was. I wasn't seariouse about the stooping to your level thing either,I thought you would have been able to tell by the "the noobs on the site who have brain farts" part. oh well.I am sick of having all these arguements and straying away from the answers I need in order to defend myself. please lest not continue its a waist of time
   matt - Sunday, 12/28/08 15:47:04 EST

Heating Up The Anvil:
Thanks guys, I'll take that as a concencus and forge ahead (no pun intended, realy...)
Judson, my smithy could be considerd many things but, "tight" is not one of them so no worries there.
Mike, say what you will about temp difference but, I know the anvil face will easily get to scalding hot in the summer and barely takes notice of the same amount of work in these colder temps...
QC, thanks for the info to all on the Titanium. Somebody out there makes Titanium hammers don't they? What is the effect on the working surfaces of such a tool?
   - merl - Sunday, 12/28/08 15:48:26 EST

Merl, at room temperatures, titanium is much less reactive and atmospheric nitrogen poses no problems. Several years ago the company I worked for was approached with a request for information on how to HF weld titanium strips into I-beams. Because the HF welding process is so fast, the weld area was not hot long enough to cause problems in the welds. I guess it worked OK. The I-beams are on the Hubbel Space telescope. I have several straps and screws made from titanium in my lower back. Hope it is not affected by body fluids, too.
   quenchcrack - Sunday, 12/28/08 15:59:06 EST

Heating anvils, one thing I have to say about this is be verry carefull when heating it up from a verry cold temperature because if it gets heated too fast the anvil could crack. this happened to my friend one time, he was pissed
   matt - Sunday, 12/28/08 16:36:25 EST

Heat Loss: Some smiths raise the work of the anvil just a bit then tap it on the anvil just as they hit it. It takes practice but it retains a LOT of heat in the work. Although heating the anvil to a reasonable temperature should not make a big difference I think it actually does. At the end of the day when the anvil is at or above boiling point it seems to make a difference. But we are talking about 200 degrees F more than a cold anvil. AND, yes, I've my anvil that hot at the end of the day. Perhaps another reason larger anvils are needed for heavier work is not to overheat during the day.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/28/08 16:42:38 EST

Hood Dimensions: Floyd, The dimensions are not that critical. More important is that the shelf is not really needed. This is an old design that while it works has been proven not to need the shelf. However, I do like the sloping floor so that ash can be swept out.

The bottom of a side draft "hood" and the opening should be as close to the fire as possible horizontally and slightly higher than the edge of the forge or as high as the largest stack of coal that may go into the forge.

A short extension at the top of the opening will catch a little more smoke that might escape. I like to make this so it will flip up out of the way.

The diameter of the stack makes a big difference. Forced air fires like forges make a LOT of smoke and exhaust gases and need a good sized stack.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/28/08 16:52:16 EST

Quenchcack: Excellent point on hardness vs. hardenability.

Also, I made a further "miss-snake": "The lower medium range may or may not need to be quenched after hardening..." Please substitute "tempered" for "quench".

VI Copper:

We'll try to hold the temperatures for you, but no guarantees. It got up to nearly 70 degrees f today down here in the tidewater. No ice skating as of yet, although early last week temps were down in the lower teens. As we say in the Mid-Atlantic: "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes."

Actually spent time forging belated Christmas gifts today. Earlier I stopped by a neighbor's place and saw his great-uncle's anvil from the old Railroad shop he worked in, up in Pennsylvania. Sucker must be one of the fabled 500 # based on the dimensions that I cross-checked in Anvils in America. No markings on either side or on the feet or anywhere that I could discern. American pattern with a long heel and two sets of porter bar holes fore and aft. Our neighbor said that when he was a boy he remembers the great-uncle saying "I wish I had a ton of coke." He wondered, as a boy, how the old fellow could drink that much soda pop. :-) (No, it's not for sale; it's a family heirloom, and serving its uses on their farm.)

Proof before posting, and think before sending. Here's to an uneventful New Year.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 12/28/08 19:46:52 EST

What determines strength or hardness of metals on the molecular level.
   - jacob Lockhart - Sunday, 12/28/08 21:05:39 EST

Where can I get welding borax locally? Ive heard of 20 mule team borax, But never seen it in stores. And if it is sold In most places, under what name?
   - jacob Lockhart - Sunday, 12/28/08 21:25:52 EST

My brick built stack was brought down by the quake. I haven't yet rebuilt it but can't say that I have noticed any great difference. The shelf just runs to a space where the stack used to be. Should I rebuild it? What is an optimum height?
   philip in china - Sunday, 12/28/08 22:15:39 EST

Mid Atlantic Weather: I feel for that "It doesn't get cold like it USED TOO" line. A guy in Annapolis, Md.told Me " It Doesn't get cold like it used too anymore, sometimes the bay would freze, then it got REALLY cold". This was in December, 1993. I was expecting to head south on My sailboat early in January. I forget if it was new years eve or new years day, but My Dad went to the boat with Me to help Me install a wind generator. The Chesapeak Bay was frozen all the way across, and stayed frozen for about 2 months. I didn't get south that winter. Commercial ships did keep traveling on the bay, but it was no place to be with a fiberglass boat.

Since then We have had winters with plenty of snow here in Pa. and winters with nearly none.

In the late '60s they thought We were headed for another ice age, as global cooling was being detected. Long term trends in pan evaporation rates suggest that shade from particulate pollution was the cause.

Starting in the early '70s there were great improvements made with regard to particulate pollution, while little was done to reduce the emmision of green house gasses, which contribute to global warming.

The warming they now detect is the result of having reduced the air pollution responsible for cooling while doing little to reduce the pollutants that cause warming.

Do Your part to restore the ballance by releasing more particulates. BURN MORE SOFT COAL IN YOUR FORGES !!!!!
   - Dave Boyer - Sunday, 12/28/08 22:19:32 EST

Jacob Lockhart, "20 Mule Team Borax" is the brand name of the stuff you're looking for. Look for it with the laundry soap in the store.

Heating the anvil. Well tonight I tried the big torch on the waist from bothe sides untill the face was luke warm to the palm of my hand. This made ALL the difference in the world to me and it made the work go more like it does in the summer. Guru, I even tried that lifting technique you described but, as you say it takes ALOT of practice and I want to work on one thing at a time.
I have come a long way from the last couple of years as far as being able to work effectivly in my smithy with out heat. I have the ventilation and make up air problem solved. The slack tub is full of water instead of snow (that never worked very well) I have plenty of good coal at an exelant price to go untill spring when the resuply pile thaws out.
Now I can continue to work on the leaves and small branches I was working on this summer and flatware samples (a potential paying customer waiting for these) and all the other things I could'nt do befor.
I am very greatfull for all the help and advise I have received from this web site and the good people here. I hope the best for all for the new year!
   - merl - Sunday, 12/28/08 22:40:00 EST

Uh, I don't think particulates in the atmospherecause sooling because they shade the ground. They just absorb the energy a little higher up, but the heat still ends up in the atmosphere.
   - Peter Hirst - Sunday, 12/28/08 23:13:35 EST

*cooling
   Peter Hirst - Sunday, 12/28/08 23:14:37 EST

20 Mule Team Borax: At one time it was advertised weekly (was the sponsor) on one of the most popular TV Westerns (Death Valley Days (1952-1970)) hosted by, of all people, Ronald Reagan.

Borax is sold primarily in major grocery stores (but not all) as a "laundry booster" and hides among the bleaches, not the detergents. You may have to try several stores but it is still out there (in the U.S.). One box goes a long ways but you MIGHT want to stock up if you plan do do a lot of billet welding. Note that "Boraxo hand cleaner" is NOT the same thing.

In other countries it was not popular for this purpose but for some reason it is sold in little 1 oz. packets in the Hispanic cooking sections of some stores.

On several of my trips to Costa Rica I carried several of the 5 pound boxes to supply blacksmithing friends there.

In Europe it is available in bulk under an industrial trade name for some purpose. . . Almost everywhere you can purchase the dehydrated version (anhydrous borax) from ceramics suppliers for formulating glazes.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/28/08 23:30:55 EST

Life magazine photo, Heartbreaking is it ?

Scrap Drive Anvil Photo - Life Magazine
   - Sven - Monday, 12/29/08 05:21:03 EST

Life magazine photo, Heartbreaking is it ?

Scrap Drive Anvil Photo - Life Magazine
   - Sven - Monday, 12/29/08 05:21:03 EST

Sven: Shucks, I was hoping this was the one Richard Postman has been looking for. Photograph was in one of the large format magazines, such as Life, Look or SEP. Was a large pile of anvils in a scrapyard. I remember seeing the photograph back in likely the late 50s, but was likely an old back issue. Probably related to a WW-II scrap drive.
   Ken Scharabok - Monday, 12/29/08 08:53:43 EST

I've been to a half dozen Home Depots in the Philly area. They ALL carry 20 Mule Team Borax. If the local stores here carry it, there's a good chance that they ALL do. If not, I'm sure you could order it from their website.

I've actually been to the borax mines in Death Valley. If you didn't know better, you'd think you landed on some strange otherworldly planet.
   - Nippulini - Monday, 12/29/08 09:19:57 EST

Atli, I hope you know I wasn't picking on you. Your summary is quite correct. The concept of hardness vs hardenability is misunderstood on almost every metalworking forum I visit. It is, of course, more complicated than I stated but who wants all the details?
   quenchcrack - Monday, 12/29/08 09:28:55 EST

Jacob, the strength of materials is a function of atomic bond strength and microstructure. Annealed steel, for example may have a ferritic structure that has low strength. If you quench it, the same steel will have a martensitic structure with much higher strength. Iron is one of the few metallic elements that exists with differing crystal structures at various temperatures and it is this property that allows us to heat treat it. Aluminum does not change crystal structure and retains its normal crystal shape right up to the point where it melts. It must be strenghtened by adding alloy elements that impede the movement of the rows of atoms as the metal is distorted by loading. Iron can be strengthened this way, too.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 12/29/08 09:33:52 EST

Life Photo: Look carefully at what the worker is doing. He is cutting a heavy steel base off the anvil. That doesn't mean the anvil is going to scrap. . .

The missing scrap pile of anvils photo is a mystery. However, this is another case of "were they really scraped"? Yes they were in a huge pipe in a scrapyard, but at the time they would have still been more valuable as tools than scrap iron. Were they simply just separated and resold later? We will probably never know.
   - guru - Monday, 12/29/08 10:31:41 EST

Material Strength: This is one of those subjects that one must be philosophical about then ask the right scientific question.

Water, an infinitely flexible material of relatively low density compared to solids can bend, erode and destroy steel structures and show no evidence of effort. In oriental cultures water is the absolute symbol of strength.

Pure iron is very soft and ductile. It can be repeatedly bent and straightened. It will stretch a great deal before failing. Hardened tool steels may have the capability to cut through many other steels but is brittle and will chip. It will flex but not bend breaking instead.

   - guru - Monday, 12/29/08 10:53:28 EST

Jacob- I got my 20 Mule Team Borax from a "Super Target", and I believe "King Soopers" also carries it.

On another note, I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and I wish you all the best in the coming New Year! Take care this Holiday season, and keep those fires burning!
   MacFly - Monday, 12/29/08 11:05:08 EST

I have hand forged Ti before using my regular forge and I would have to say that that much reduction would require enough heats that embrittlement would occur.

Patrick could you place a piece of Ti in a stainless foil bag like is used in heat treating and then smoosh it flat quickly with a large powerhammer or press?

On the history of high carbon ferrous alloys: note that Higher C stuff will be harder and tougher than very mild stuff even without quench hardening. Early ferrous swords could have higher carbon (or higher phosphorous) edge material welded onto the basic blade even though they were not heat treated. (cf "The Celtic Sword", Radomir Pleiner)

And for a fun list of strange renaissance quenchants "Sources for the History of the Science of Steel", C.S.S.Smith, has a good list taken from period sources.

Thomas
   Thomas P - Monday, 12/29/08 12:10:34 EST

Quench: No, that was good information and added to the posting.

Scrap Tragedies:

One of the worse, to my knowledge, was about a dozen bronze "trophy" cannons that had been captured from our enemies over the years and displayed outside the old State, War and Navy building ( http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/wash/dc32.htm ). During WW-II some enterprising and patriotic bureaucrat decided to "donate" almost all of them to the scrap drive and they were melted down! No appreciation of history or of the men who fought to capture these guns. There's still a couple left, but nowhere near what they had.

Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time...
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 12/29/08 12:18:02 EST

I have seen John Rais demo at an Abana conference, I think it was Flagstaff, forging titanium.
He was using borax, heating the piece to 500 degrees or so, rolling it in borax, then forging.
He successfully and quite easily forged some 2" round or so down to an 18" long ladle, working the material quite a bit more than the question implied, with no problems. Periodically, as he worked it, he would reapply borax.
The borax melted into a shell like crust, but it seemed to forge just fine, and he showed samples and photos of many pieces he had done this way, with no imbrittlement problems.

He usually sand blasted or glass beaded the pieces at the end, as the borax was not totally consistent or universal.
   - Ries - Monday, 12/29/08 12:37:05 EST

Protecting Hot Metal: ITC sells quite a bit of ITC-213 to industries that forge exotic metals. The billets are coated prior to heating. The coating flakes off during forging but at that point exposure to air is minimal and the metal considerably cooled. It also prevents billets from sticking to each other in the furnace.
   - guru - Monday, 12/29/08 14:02:37 EST

Many years ago I went into an aerospace manufacturing company while they were machining "banjos". This is the oval section with two extensions that support the wings of some aircraft. It was CNC machined from a large, flat-rolled ingot. About 70-80% of the material was machined away. There was an armed guard present to make sure ALL of the scrap was accounted for. I wondered why they did not make a forging for this item but I suppose it was just too big to do and avoid the embrittlement problems. The oval section was about 15x20 feet. Obviously not for a small plane.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 12/29/08 14:50:29 EST

Thomas, I taught Material Science for a couple of years at the University of Texas-Permian Basin and for a piss-ant school extension, they had a wonderful library. One of the volumes was a photocopy of an original text from the middle ages with translations following. One of the books was on metal working and it did indeed list a variety of exotic quenches including the urine of a red-headed virgin. Sadly, the effacacy of this quenchant cannot be determined today due to the near extinction of the source.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 12/29/08 14:57:29 EST

Ive never heard of cobalt being used for anything.... Does it really have a purpose?
   - jacob Lockhart - Monday, 12/29/08 15:48:52 EST

Jacob, cobalt is used in tool steels and to fill the space between iron and nickel in the periodic chart of the elements. That is not a flippant answer; each element in the chart progresses to the next element by the addition of an electron in the valence shell and a neutron and proton in the nucleus of each atom.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 12/29/08 16:36:21 EST

Wow, five posts in one day. Yeah, I'm home on vacation.
   quenchcrack - Monday, 12/29/08 16:37:58 EST

Check this site out for neat info about the elements.
http://www.theodoregray.com/PeriodicTable/index.html

-cobalt
http://www.theodoregray.com/PeriodicTable/Elements/027/index.s7.html

From wikipedia; used in special high performance alloys, as a catalyst in compound form, as paint pigment ie. cobalt blue, as components of batteries and as a medical radiation source.
   Nabiul Haque - Monday, 12/29/08 16:43:59 EST

Cobalt, Well, it is the basis for a pigment called Cobalt blue. Highly radioactive Cobalt 60 gives of gamma rays and is what is used to power most radiation therapy machines. Cobalt is used as the glue to hold together ceramic cutting materials such as sintered carbide inserts.
   - guru - Monday, 12/29/08 16:56:52 EST

Peter,

It's at least long been accepted that particulates in the atmosphere cause cooling. Google Krakatoa if you don't believe me. Not sure why that's true (assuming it is). I guess there must be some reflection of IR as well as absorbtion. Also, higher levels of the atmosphere are always much colder than the surface; maybe heating there doesn't translate to heating at ground level.

When Nippulini posted about Borax at Home Depot before, I looked for it at one in the DC area. They indeed had it -- in the cleanser section (as Nip mentioned before) -- not in the laundry section where I would have expected it.
   Mike BR - Monday, 12/29/08 17:33:56 EST

Cobalt's also used in Cobalt Thorium G. (evil grin)
   Mike BR - Monday, 12/29/08 18:02:06 EST

There was a nice anvil of over 300 pounds in weight listed with a buy it now price of £99.00 in Leeds in the UK just before Christmas. Talk about a bargain. Too bad the wife had me pointed twohundred miles in the other direction for the holidays and I couldn't get it. Somebody got lucky though, it sold less than an hour after I spotted it. ARRRGH!
   Robert Cutting - Monday, 12/29/08 18:02:37 EST

A flack for U.S. Steel, forget his name just now, did a history of the steel industry not long ago, said swordsmiths once upon a time quenched their blades by running them through Nubian slaves. Ewwww! No source cited for this. Please don't hassle me re: this. I am but a medium of info.
   Miles Undercut - Monday, 12/29/08 18:18:47 EST

Quenchcrack; sounds like "Divers Arts" written by Theophilus, a german monk, around 1120 A.D. As I recall the actual quote in C.S.Smith's translation was the urine of a small redheaded boy---but you could substitute that of a goat fed nothing but ferns for three days. Unfortunately I'm more likely to qualify for the latter than the former these days...

Small remote schools are more likely to profit by a professor's special interests (and perhaps their library as well upon their demise) and less likely to clean shelves on a regular basis. (The public library in Columbus OH had a positive knack for de-accessing books I was interested in and sometimes I was lucky enough to buy them from their library store for a pittance. As upsetting as it was that they would not be available for others I was quite happy to buy books for a dollar that were selling on-line at used book sites for $60-$150! Though I do remember that an untouched copy of Machinerys Handbook did cost me $5...)

Thomas
   Thomas P - Monday, 12/29/08 18:24:41 EST

Miles, pure folklore. If you quench a red hot blade into a nubian slave, it would cauterize the wound and stauch the flow of blood immediately. I would expect the uneven quenching due to the variation in the texture of the many organs that would be pierced would also give rise to some serious distortion, too. I worked for a man who was a metallurgist for USS and he had a series of drawings, one of which was illustrating this vary thing. Kinda goulish but what can I say? He was a metallurgist!
   quenchcrack - Monday, 12/29/08 18:54:00 EST

Re. scrap anvils I remember seeing a whole pile- maybe 6' high of anvils waiting to be weighed in as scrap at central ordnance depot in UK. Army anvils were very good quality as well! In WW2 all the wrought Iron railings were cut off as part of a scrap drive. Thousands of tons of them from all over UK. What happened to them? Well they were useless for steel making so they were taken out to sea and dumped. I have probably just broken the official sectrets act twice in this posting.
   philip in china - Monday, 12/29/08 19:26:45 EST

I've only forged a very litle bit of CP3 Titanium- one large ladle's worth from 1/4" plate. I hot cut a strip from the plate using the anvil hardy and found it amazingly easy to cut and forge at high temperature. It made a lot of gritty scale some of which shed as it was forged but most of which remained as a tenacious yellowish coating on the finished piece. I had asked Thomas P for advice on forging it since I knew he had some experience and followed his recommendation to move it quickly to shape with as few heats as possible. It's quite stiff and springy still so I'm not sure how much embrittlement took place. I was able to remove some of the TiN coating with a course wire cup brush on Randy McDaniel's recommendation but a plain wire wheel wouldn't touch it at all. I also tried glass beading it in my cabinet which was really interesting. The beads bouncing off made a terrific light show as they sparked in the cabinet, something I never saw before. The only thing that seems to really want to clean it off is a non woven 3M grinding and surfacing disc. I may have to try John Rais borax method on the next piece and compare results.
   - SGensh - Monday, 12/29/08 19:32:18 EST

Philip In China

Sunken Anvils

I need to enlist your help to locate underwater anvils. Let's get our scuba gear and head down. They are likely being protected by the giant squid. I will bring the poker and you bring a zapper. We need to look out for rust pirates as well. We will not tell our friend Thomas where we are. He will want all the big anvils. He will likely sail with Alti on a viking ship.
   - Rustystuff - Monday, 12/29/08 20:30:04 EST

Also be careful of posidon he, may want those anvils as well, how do you think he forged his trident? One anvil could not have lasted him 1000's of years.
   matt - Monday, 12/29/08 20:47:48 EST

An architect asked me today what the exact difference between Cor 10 and Cor 15 is. Anyone here know? I have to admit I was stumped but as the project may involve skinning most (a very "artistic" most) of a 8' by 60' concrete wall in 3/8 plate I really would like to be able to give him an exact answer. I'll be googling like mad in a few moments but thought I'd let you folk chime in as well. Thanks!
   Judson Yaggy - Monday, 12/29/08 20:50:44 EST

Quench & Atli: I in My posts are among the guilty with regard to the confusion of hardness and hardinability too.

There are several formulas that determine the potential for hardening and the resulting likelyhood of cracking when welding alloy steels, these give a number called "carbon equivilence". The idea is that these high strength low alloy steels need to be pre and post heat treated as tho they were a plain carbon steel with carbon content equal to the "carbon equivelence" number.

The point being that there is more to be considered in heat treating than carbon content alone.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 12/29/08 22:07:15 EST

All big ships had a blacksmiths shop on board so just think of all the ones that went down in the two wars. Good quality stuff as well. I read somewhere about a guy who was in US Navy on acarrier. In a clear out he was told to throw a 300 pound anvil over the side but saved it and took it home. What a find!
   philip in china - Monday, 12/29/08 22:07:46 EST

Sorry I known it was not that "elusive photo" of dozens of anvils in a scrappile.
Anyway when I found the LIFE Magazine archive I searched "anvils" thats all I came up with.
Searched "scrap" too and saw more heartbreaking photos but no anvils.
   - Sven - Monday, 12/29/08 22:36:24 EST

Sorry forgot to mention BTW,
Go to the LIFE archives and search the various blacksmith words and there are dozens of beautiful vintage pictures of Blacksmithing all over the world.
http://www.life.com/Life/

And here is another picture of probably that same anvil being cut off its base, along with its twin sister.
http://tinyurl.com/8tdahj
Note the date of these photo is 1951, Obviously no during WWII scrap collections, Facinating pictures anyway.
Sven
   - Sven - Monday, 12/29/08 22:49:06 EST

what a shame
   matt - Monday, 12/29/08 22:55:09 EST

Anvil Pile or Crock or Myth?

During WW II, us grade schoolers made more than one iron scrap pile behind our grade school for the "war effort." Each pile was a big misch masch, everything from steam radiators to mufflers to old chain, etc.

That makes me wonder why a whole slew of anvils would or could be collected from all over a city and purposely put in single pile, certainly not for show. It doesn't make sense, unless they might've come from an anvil manufacturer, distributor, or a bodacious collector, and were all together to begin with.

I've also heard of flat cars loaded just with anvils, and they were supposedly on their way to the steel mill. Do you mean to tell me that they were all gathered up in one place and if so, what place would have all those anvils? It's beyond my peanut brain to reason the where and why.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 12/29/08 23:22:30 EST

My hypothesis is that After the war there was a shortage of steel for manufacturing products and building large buildings such as sky scrapers as well as re building our military. This is due to all the steel used during the war that was left on the battle field and scraped in Europe. Possably only anvils where loaded up and scrapped for steel because they only had to be melted down in steel mills and not picked over for impurities like mufflers and radiators. Another reason in my opinion would have been because many factories where obtaining power hammers and power tools around the fifties and had no need for their anvils "or all of them" so they sold the anvils to the military or the state for extra money or just to get rid of them. They even may have been sold at auction.
   matt - Monday, 12/29/08 23:41:06 EST

I was in about the 5th grade and we had a large pile of metal for the war. there was a pair of brass knuckles laying there that I really coveted, donated by a kid who's dad was a cop.
At the same time the teachers put out the word to go home and ask our fathers to donate their guns to England to ward off a Nazi invasion. THANK GOD my dad said no, though at the time I felt really bad.

Just saw on the news tonight England is having a real problem with knife attacks, wanting to start "stop and searches". That's right, no pistols in England, unless you're rich I guess.
   Carver Jake - Tuesday, 12/30/08 00:43:30 EST

Self Finishing (rusting) steels, Core-ten) Judson, While many people think this is great stuff it has been a huge failure in many cases. While it does not rust a lot over time the rusting it DOES do has a tendency to stain the concrete, stone or anything it is supported on. Many highway departments were smitten by the Coreten bug decades ago and have in many cases ended up painting the bridges after all the expense of a steel they didn't need to paint.

Recommend painted or colored stainless.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/30/08 01:37:22 EST

I know, and told the architect that. He didn't seem to care about staining, he was I think more interested in the alloy or brand name difference between Cor10 and 15. Perhaps a very oblique way of fishing for a lower material cost.
   Judson Yaggy - Tuesday, 12/30/08 07:01:30 EST

Military scrap.
While much scrap was simply buried or dumped in the sea in the remote areas, in Europe it was reclaimed. My Dad was an 8th AF combat bomber crewman, and right after the war he "De-mil'ed" B-17s. They first pulled a list of items fom the aircraft that was to be retained. They then cut the airframe in two at the wing, by wrapping a wire rope diagonally anround the wing fueslage, and pulling in opposite directions with a pair of dozers. The remains were sold to french scrap dealers. I would guess of all the war effort steel, perhaps 30% was lost, with the remainder recycled. The military is often very innovative at reuse. When I hit basic training in 1974, there was a fire bell at every barracks. They were the drive sprockets from the most manufactured tank in WWII, the Sherman. Most were worn, but as they were HARD, they rang like a bell:)
   ptree - Tuesday, 12/30/08 07:45:37 EST

Judson, you probably have discovered in your research that Cor-Ten was originally a product of USS, and is now manufactured and sold by Arcelor-Mittal. I can find no reference anywhere to the terminology "Cor10 or Cor15". Take a look at the link below, it may be what your Client is looking for, as it provides info on a variety of weathering steels, by ASTM number. BTW, the Arcelor-Mittal website looks to have a bunch of other documents that might interest others here.

Weathering Steel PDF
   Charlie Spademan - Tuesday, 12/30/08 08:11:33 EST

Robert Cutting:

So, the UK anvil was worth was three pounds of iron for every Pound Sterling; right?

Some times we come upon wonderful bargains and just can't pull things together; but at least we're left with a good story about the "one that got away."

Anvils and Ships and Scrap:

A recent cover for the newsletter of the Blacksmiths' Guild of the Potomac had a picture of the anvil and some assembled crew on the HMS Good Hope. I could not help thinking that I knew where that anvil was. HMS Good Hope was sunk, with all hands, at the Battle of Coronel off the coast of Peru in 1914. For some reason that really hit me in a most melancholy way. As you study history, you develop a distance; but sometimes an artifact or picture or tool brings the fact that it all has to do with people; their hopes, fears, bravery, failings, their loves and hates. Their sacrifice.

When people are motivated, they will sacrifice many fine things (and do some really boneheaded acts) for what they hold dear, or to fore fend what they fear, or to look good to the neighbors. It's the image, the impact, the example that counts. Somebody photographing a scrap drive could have had them sort out a pile of old anvils (maybe surplus or shop seconds) just for the visual impact.

A rock will squish the Roadrunner flat; but Coyote uses an anvil; that's what get's our attention. Everybody understands (still!) "anvil" in terms of compact, powerful mass.

So, did they pile up anvils for scrap? Probably yes, but also, probably, not too often. It only has to happen once for folks to pay attention. (I have contended that the early Colonial Virginia law against "burning down a house for the nails when moving" could have have been based on a single incident, and not on a general practice. New laws are often passed when someone does something so outrageous or stupid or terrible that the community agrees that "...there should be a law against that.")

Okay, back to the work of the Republic, trying to help save what we still have of our heritage. Cold and clear on the banks of the Potomac.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 12/30/08 08:42:33 EST

Additional Cor-ten info; USS offers this publication with reasons NOT to use Cor-ten in architectural applications, suggesting a coated product USS offers with a "similar appearance" to replace it.

http://www.uss.com/corp/construction/cor-ten-azp.asp
   Charlie Spademan - Tuesday, 12/30/08 09:17:29 EST

..should have added that this applies to lighter gauges of sheet goods; lighter than the 3/8" you are contemplating.
   Charlie Spademan - Tuesday, 12/30/08 09:28:29 EST

Weathering Steel AKA CorTen: I just read all the details on the Weathering Steel PDF. Most of it confirmed my observations of public works using the steel. They REALLY need to be closely looked at. The staining problems I mentioned are discussed as well as various joining techniques. Anywhere debris collects on the steel they say corrosion continues. In other words it will rust through.

I've seen a lot of major highway bridges exactly like the ones shown in the brochure that ended up cleaned and painted. I have also seen a major power distribution line (high towers, high voltage) made of Corten completely scrapped and replaced with galvanized steel due to failures of the "weathering steel".

I have also heard complaints of staining from rusting of steel sculptures (Corten or not).

I think many of the uses Corten has been put to were wishful thinking. The other problem with weathering steel is people do not understand it. But they DO understand RUST and consider it generally ugly, unkempt and a sign of lack of maintenance.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/30/08 10:09:10 EST

After the war there was a massive ammount of scrap on hand to be recycled. I talked to a person who had had a bunch of anvils cast in the 50's from the high nickel armour plate from warships that was available at Columbus OH; not a sea port!

And of course aircraft Al was suddenly available; one of the big Al companies built a travelling smelter that would crawl done the line of "scrapped" planes out in the SW desert. Note the sudden rise in using Al for *everything* after the war.

HMMM the Titanic should have an anvil in it's shop and we *know* where it's at!

Thomas
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/30/08 11:29:21 EST

Miles; I had that very procedure mentioned as an extra credit question on a MatSci test at Cornell in the late '70's. I felt it was cheating a bit as I had discussed that with the professor previously; but I did get extra credit on the extra credit for mentioning the faint possibility of nitriding...

Anyway Historically it seems to have been a common myth, (urban legend), that your enemy's culture used that method of quenching; but if you track it down they said they didn't but some other culture did, and so on and so forth...

As mention it's a very expensive way to ruin a good sword and a valuable chattel. Now however *blood* makes a decent weak brine quench but needs to be used fresh before it starts clotting. Luckily cow's blood works just as well as human blood would. Actually urine works better as a weak brine quench, no clotting issues, *cheap* and only the amusing smell to deal with as a hot blade meets the stale quenchant...If you ever ask me to make a medieval eating knife to high authenticity standards you might want to specify the quenchant used too...

Thomas
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/30/08 11:37:15 EST

I'm from Missouri. "Show me" a photo of an anvil pile and a reference to quenching a sword by skewering a person.

Some of this quench idea may have come from the novel, Moby Dick, where Captain Ahab is so obsessed that he has a magical harpoon forged with devilish symbolism. Part of the magic is quenching the harpoon in the blood of Ahab's three pagan harpooners. The three were not stabbed, but were volunteers who let their blood, presumably into a container.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/30/08 13:04:58 EST

In the early 1990's United Airlines was decommissioning their fleet of Boeing early model 727 aircraft. One ended in display in Chicagoís fabulous Museum of Science and Industry. The others were flown into Shelton, Washington and scrapped. They employed out-of-work loggers to use their chainsaws to cut up the aluminum. The operation was monitored to make sure none of the components ended up on the aircraft parts black market. I was given a medallion cast from the Number 1 fuselage that I gave to my neighbor who had worked for many years for United. Although the ingots of aluminum and miles of copper wire and all the other metals were valuable scrap, it was the fear of bogus parts getting into aircraft (re: third-world carriers) that drove the process. No one would want to fly, or more precisely land with a stress fractured landing gear beam that looked nice because it had a new coat of glossy gray paint.
Bob on Whidbey Island
   Bob Johnson - Tuesday, 12/30/08 13:25:06 EST

Saw part of a program on Modern Marvels on iron/steel. It mentioned before, I believe, WW-I, the ore being mined had an iron content of about 65%. When that ran out a different type of ore was then mined with less than half of the iron content.

Frank: All I can say is I simply remember seeing that photograph. Was it a 'one-time' event, perhaps. When I was born my parents had a small manufacturing company in Allenton, WI named Forage Master. It build silage chopper boxes. (Dad's claim to fame was to patent the self-unloader aspect of it still widely used today.) Building was one of those two story living quarters on the second floor, shop on the bottom. Likely started out as a blacksmith/farrier shop, then vehicle repair, then manufacturing. Still had an old stone forge which Dad, or an employee, would crank up every so often for some job. One of my earliest memories is watching the process. That business was sold to Kasten when I was about 5/6.

Sometime later I talked to Dad about that. He noted when he bought the business it had several old, beat-up, anvils in it and he donated them to the WW-II scrap drive. We once stayed at a fishing cabin which had a pile of old large-format magazines. I came across the photograph and commented to Dad, 'Gee, maybe one of your anvils was in this stack.'

I certainly cannot document that photograph exists, but have spoken to others who remembered it as well. Chance we are all wrong.
   Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 12/30/08 14:13:05 EST

Ken
Really cool family manufacturing history. I enjoyed your story.
   - Rustystuff - Tuesday, 12/30/08 14:42:31 EST

Coming in a little late here.

When forging Ti I've found that you cannot do the normal forge square/octogon/round. If you forge it square, it will produce very sharp corners that cannot be forged back down without folding or rolling over. This will cause a seam or flaw that will have to be ground out. When I'm reducing Ti down I stop before the corners get sharp and start working it on the corners working square again (at 45 to the original reduction). I find the same necessary on aluminum and to a lesser extent on other non-ferrous.
   - Grant - the ferrous one of all - Tuesday, 12/30/08 15:08:42 EST

Ken; I've seen that photo too somewhere; I'll take a look in the National Geographic index to see if that has any leads.

Thomas
   Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/30/08 16:01:15 EST

I tried making a knife out of a saw and the corners would roll over quite abit when i treid to draw out the hilt. How do i prevent this?
   - jacob Lockhart - Tuesday, 12/30/08 17:41:22 EST

Jacob, When trying to forge thin rectangular to square you need to work hot, rotate the work often and not try to move too much metal at once. It can also help to chamfer the edges and thus when you strike the work square the force goes to the center and deeper into the work.

That said, when the material is very thin you should cut away a significant part OR all of it rather than trying to forge.

The best starting shape for many flat items or other shapes is round bar. Thus you can draw out a tang and forge the blade without working at extremes to start. It is also the best shape to upset when mass is needed or any extreme change in cross section.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/30/08 18:19:38 EST

Ah! The one that got away. A friend once said he hadn't thought about me when he was offered 2 new Rolls Royce diesel generators. Just for the removal and collection! The basement was flooded with concrete with the generators still in there! At the time my unit was colocated with a heavy plant squadron of sappers who were always looking for projects.... Or the time the same friend won an auction for some parts at a decommissioned airbase. When he got there he not only got what he had bid for but anything else (as in the forklift etc.) but he had only one truck with him. I was down the road with a Land Rover and a 2 axle trailer. Or... well I'd probably better stop.
   philip in china - Tuesday, 12/30/08 19:04:30 EST

Forging non-ferrous,

I've noticed much the same phenomenon that Grant mentions. When forging copper, aluminum and the softer brasses, there is a definite tendency for square corners to roll back, rather than forge down into the body. Cold shuts are immediate and propagate very quickly and deeply. Like Grant, I try to generally leave the corners a bit rounded or chamfered and as soon as they get very close to becoming sharp I knock them back a bit on the diagonal.

Interestingly, I don't experience that phenomenon when forging silicon bronze or some of the other harder copper alloys. I find that the silicon bronze forges very much like pure iron, other than the work hardening if you let it cool too much. You only get to do that one time with Si bronze and it promptly cracks.

QC or one of the other metallurgists may be able to answer my question about piping. I've noticed that I can thoroughly abuse copper in a manner that would have a bar of steel piping down the core in a second, and the copper never does, as long as I don't overly work-harden it. Howcum is that? No crystal structure or something, so it doesn't shear internally? I'm curious.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 12/30/08 19:54:58 EST

Been doing some spike knives recently and ran across a pretty neat looking cross made from a railroad spike on the internet 'railroad spike cross'. I was curious if anyone could explain how you go about making one of them. It appears they have some sort of a split in the center, but I am not certain of the mechanics to create it.
   Paul Jenkins - Tuesday, 12/30/08 20:07:36 EST

Guys- Thanks for the thoughts and links on cor ten. The "clad" wall will be along a cut blue stone walkway so no matter what the architect says there will be stain issues. It will be held off the concrete about 2 inches with standoffs and the face of the plates will have texture for climbing plants so wet debris will be an issue. I'll talk to him again tomorrow. Now it's really bugging me that I'm striking out on Cor 15 info. I know I've heard it mentioned in a metalworking context somewhere but d**n if I can remember where. And I'm really puzzled where he heard of it. Net searches just want to tell me about bible passages and there are a LOT of archived pages of all the various metalworking forums.

I'm sorry that this isn't a pure smithing problem but this architect very much supports my addiction to forged metal so that makes it all ok, right?
   Judson Yaggy - Tuesday, 12/30/08 20:17:54 EST

Paul,

If I found the same one you did, it looks like a Christoff cross. Look at iforge 56.
   Mike BR - Tuesday, 12/30/08 20:36:17 EST

Thanks, that is exactly it. I looked on iForge earlier and then searched around and was getting annoyed. Guess I should have paid better attention at iForge, that is such an excellent resource.
   Paul Jenkins - Tuesday, 12/30/08 20:38:54 EST

Judson Yaggy,

The closest thing I've ever heard of to Cor-15 in a metalworking context is a product called POR-15, a paint product for metal in corrosive environments. Touted to stop rust, pervent further rust, and probably walk the dog, as well. The manufacturer is very proud of it, too.

For the application you've described, stainless steel or HDG A-36 sound like good choices to me, unless you can tak them into bronze. (grin)
   vicopper - Tuesday, 12/30/08 20:44:20 EST

I use POR-15 on the frame and work plate of my wet belt grinder. This thing was growing rust like crazy until I did the 3 step treatment from POR-15. My brothers use it on cars they restore, particularly thin parts in corrosive danger like battery trays. I haven't the faintest idea how the stuff works, but its hard enough to withstand scraping from things I slide across the grinder table as wella s the shower of sparks and water stream full of abrasive residue and steel shavings. Going on 9 months and its still clean.

I've also got a coated piece sitting in a bucket of salt water as a test befoer I paint some of my reef tank frame and equipment. On the down side, I believe it requires a top coat of paint to be UV resistant. Its also expensive, and a pain to apply. Stir, do not shake.

To date, it has not walked the dog. The OEM sure is proud, and has a gerat sense of humor. When I asked if its food safe, they replied asking how much I'd eaten so far?
   Mike/Marco - Tuesday, 12/30/08 21:41:03 EST

Ancient Tool Find. I have seen references to a hoard of ancient blacksmith tools found in England, I think. I've also seen a book about the find but now that I have a little extra Christmas money, I can't remember the title of the book or the name of the find. Can any of you wonderful metal wizards help me out? Thanks, Mark
   Mark Conrad - Tuesday, 12/30/08 22:04:10 EST

POR-15 appears to be a moisture curing urethane/polyurethane, a cousin of Gorilla Glue
   Charlie Spademan - Tuesday, 12/30/08 22:09:24 EST

Mike/Marco,

If for no other reason than that humorous reply from them, I would buy their product. You just gotta love a manufacturer with a sense of humor in these troubled times. Thanks for passing that along!


Mark Conrad,

The find is known as the Mastermyr Find. You can Google it to get the book references.
   vicopper - Tuesday, 12/30/08 22:10:19 EST

vicopper-That's it! I checked the Anvilfire advertizers and none of them have the book. It is available on Amazon for around $100.00+ or I can get it from Pieh Tool Co for around $18.00, I think I'll go with the latter. Thanks for helping me track it down. Mark
   Mark Conrad - Tuesday, 12/30/08 23:00:44 EST

I'd post the full text of the shocking metallurgical anecdote from the book I was citing, except I don't feel like typing it all out and, besides, as they say on the TV news, some viewers may find the scenes disturbing.
This is from The Epic of Steel, by Douglas Alan Fisher, 1963, Harper & Row.
This anecdote may well be total baloney as some of the brethren seem to believe, but Fisher presents it as authentic. He was at the time was in the public relations department of U.S. Steel, a reputable firm, where he had worked since world war II. Harper & Row was at the time a major, eminently reputable, publisher. The book when I saw it was in the stacks of the New Mexico state library, is probably available from ABE Books, Campusi, etc.
   Miles Undercut - Tuesday, 12/30/08 23:52:03 EST

Ancient Metal Finds:

Mike there are two major ones that I know of but there are many more. One in Sweden about 1000 AD called The Mästermyer Find. The objects were all iron or steel and in good condition. There is a published report on it that you can get copies of from Norm Larson. Note that Norm rarely responds to email so call him.

The other is AD 700 - Sutton Hoo in East Anglia, England. This was a burial site unearthed starting in 1939. Very little iron survived but a lot of gold and bronze was found.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/31/08 00:39:38 EST

Perhaps even more elusive than this 'anvil pile' photograph is a SAMSON brand anvil (see Anvils in America, pages 195-196). Note eBay listing 190277111530. It is from a 1906 catalog - some five years later than the last catalog listing noted in AIA. Apparently they were produced for about ten years in a number of different weights, yet only one has been documented.

1901 ad says they were 'tough cast iron body, heavily faced with crucilble cast steel. Horn has a solid point, and faced with tough untempered steel, superior finish. Every anvil guaranteed." Rather sounds like a Fisher of the same era.

What happened to all of them?
   Ken Scharabok - Wednesday, 12/31/08 05:00:29 EST

Sutton Hoo is one of the biggest and best known buried treasure hoards, but it's by no means the only one. Mastermyer is unique because it seems to be a set of working tools that was accidentally lost and preserved.
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 12/31/08 07:18:43 EST

Vicopper, peculiar indeed. I have no non-ferrous experience to draw upon so I am not the right one to answer your question about piping.

Paul Jenkins, are you perhaps referring to a Fredericks Cross? There is a tutorial for the FC on one of the websites listed in the WebRings at the bottom of the home page here. I'm sorry I cannot tell you which one. It is a drawing submitted by Lazy Ass Forge so it might be the Louisiana group.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 12/31/08 08:52:58 EST

Miles, we could not dispute the possibility of anecdotal occurances of a "full body quench". I don't think it would have been commonly applied simply because I don't think it would work very well. It is one of those things for which it is REALLY hard to get a grant to study!
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 12/31/08 08:56:31 EST

Paul, there is an iForge Tutorial by Bill Epps on the Christopher Fredericks Cross. This technique uses a slitting chisel rather than a saw so it could be adapted to a RR spike.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 12/31/08 09:13:14 EST

PILE of ANVILS
Ken, and all, I too remember seeing that photo in maybe Post or Life or Look or some other similar magazine. I sure wish I could remember better when and where.
(I still have about the same number of brain cells but they have pretty much lost touch with each other.)
   - Tom H - Wednesday, 12/31/08 09:43:04 EST

SAMSON anvils: Ken, Perhaps they all ended up in that scrap anvil pile?

Body Quench: Miles provided the page from the book that goes into gory detail. I've ordered a copy of the book to check the reference note. But my feeling is that this was the era of alchemy where every BS artist had his "book of secrets" that often needed some impossible ingredient. "Bring me the head of a freshly killed red dragon and I shall make you gold from iron". . . I suspect that the disposable slave described as an "Ethiop furnished by a high dignitary" was the unobtainable ingredient for the "perfect" sword.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/31/08 09:46:52 EST

Miles; that's still no guarentee that the thing actually happened. Lots of detritus in books of that era. I have a number of ASM "mini books" from around then with titles like "The Magic of Metals" written for young adults that are full of misinformation and the ASM is a quite a reputable source.
Look how that urban legend about the first bathtub in the White House was was created and then propagated in reputable sources.

Or "The Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages" edited by Norm Cantor--a leading medieval scholar!---that has the "armour was so heavy that knights couldn't get up by themselves" canard in it. (Medieval battle armour was actually lighter than what a friend of mine was expected to carry and *fight* with in Vietnam; but a victorian urban legend of knights needing cranes to get on horseback has been taken as truth by so many over the years!)

Quenchcrack; would that be an "expendable grad student research project" sort of like the highly toxic "expendable apprentice techniques like fire gilding? (fire gilding is done by amalgmizing gold in mercury, apply it and then heating the metal to drive off the mercury as a vapour; really kids it's simpler to just kill yourself!)
Thomas
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/31/08 10:40:28 EST

Jeez, guys, lighten up, how about it? Someone mentioned using virgin excreta or some such as a quenching agent, a method that has been obsolete now in your better competitive shops for centuries, so I threw out this bit of folderol, is all. Is there a movie on this flight? Zzzzz....
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 12/31/08 12:04:39 EST

Good stories have a way of proliferating: I KNOW the fellow (Bobby Dobson of Virginia Beach) that started the story about Northern sappers and Southern anvils. It was an idea looking for facts in the 1980's. He asked me (as an expert) if it was plausible and we had a long discussion about it. But there has NEVER been any supporting evidence yet I hear reenactors and and various smiths tell it as if it were fact and CLAIM there is proof in a long lost soldier's diary. There is not. Paw-Paw was one of the worst and *I* was the one that told him about it INCLUDING the fact that it was an idea looking for proof. But it was such a good story that he just HAD to tell it as true.

Its a fairy tale and I think the slave as quench is as well. THEN there is the recent love story about the concentration camp victim and the angel of mercy. It was just such GOOD fiction that the author HAD to say it was true then got caught in the lies. . .

Cranes and Knights: Maybe they were needed after getting unhorsed a few times. . . ;)
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/31/08 12:07:09 EST

Tool Find in England: I think it was the Tatterstall (sp?) hoard; mostly small jewelers tools. I have the book at home, I'll reference it to you if I get on the computer tonight or tomorrow.

Sunny and cold on the banks of the Potomac. One party invite ("bring guitar") tonight, and hanging out with friends on the weekend after hitting the Walters gallery jewelry exhibit in Baltimore on my way up on Saturday ("bring guitar and muzzle loaders"). Hope everybody here has a safe New Year, and my profound thanks to Jock and the crew for good information and intellectual stimulation.

Visit your National Parks: www.nps.gov

Go viking: www.longshipco.org
   Bruce Blackistone9Atli) - Wednesday, 12/31/08 12:26:43 EST

Books and archaeological finds:

Reports on these things are often published in limited numbers and rapidly disappear among the interested who keep up with field. Bruce is one of these. Few if any end up in libraries except in those at the institution where the author worked. The result is that knowing about it and finding it are two different things. Even ILL (Inter Library Loan) may not find you a copy OR the one copy available from the LOC (Library of Congress) may be promised to a dozen others when your request gets there. . .

There are books in many arcane subjects that are nearly impossible to find and not found in libraries ANYWHERE. Over the years I have collected books on musical instrument construction and old locks. Many are not available anywhere OR are very expensive. The LOC has copies of everything copyrighted in the U.S. IF they haven't been lost or worn out. But many of the books I have were not copyrighted separately in the U.S. Public and institutional libraries constantly cull their collections in order to make room for new books. Often the deciding factor is simply how many times the book has been checked out in the past year.

SO, if you are serious about a subject, then the research is serious business and often has a cost. Search Bookfinder.com the LOC catalogs and various university library catalogs. Repeatedly searching bookfinder.com at least once a week is recommended if you are looking for rare books. AND don't forget you local book shop. There are still many that are not on the Internet and in the book search databases.

In my various searches I have bought books from dealers large and small as well as overseas book shops. I've traved long distances to use specialty university libraries. I've even had individuals offer books that I have asked about. If you are looking for specialized information this is typical and to be expected.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/31/08 13:24:17 EST

Speaking of book finding-- a friend sent me as a Christmas gift Welding, by Richard N. Hart, McGraw-Hill, 1914, because he thinks the photos of funky old equipment and funky old geezers using-- and wearing-- it are funny. They are indeed, but the book turns out to be jam-packed with solid info re: the early days of oxy-acetylene, arc, detailed history and how-to, lots of fascinating photos and schematics. FYI, the Lindsay Books volume by Hart re: thermite seems to be just a copy of the chapter on the subject in this book. Welding is available in full online at ABE, (and probably Campusi, too (now known as Dealoz.com, for some reason).
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 12/31/08 14:58:11 EST

More re: antique quenching technology: ... anyone who'd been in the boys' rest rooms at Dundalk (Md.) High in the early 1950s after some wag had pissed on the hot radiators, which happened often through the winter, or who'd ever been near a hotel or house fire involving burn fatalities would know that OSHA or state and local health authorities would never allow working amid such toxic fumes.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 12/31/08 15:05:54 EST

I thought you were only supposed to quench a thin rapier through the slave's rear cheeks. That way the slave was reusable. The book I read said this made the steel springy so it didn't snap.
   Robert Cutting - Wednesday, 12/31/08 15:15:46 EST

I think the end of slavery changed blacksmiths thinking on suitable quenchants. Someone probably suggested the blacksmith be used to quench the sword and he responded "Piss on that"! Just a theory.
   - Grant - the ferrous one of all - Wednesday, 12/31/08 15:44:52 EST

ILL can be a marvelous source; especially for people in small towns or rural areas. I had a running book search for over 2 years on two major book sites on a particular book; never turned up a copy; yet I could go to the local small town publil library and ILL it with no problem.

Unfortunately(?) the internet is beginning to crowd in on one of my favorite vacation past times---going to small town used bookstores and hunting for buried treasure. (Like Mechanics Exercises, Moxon found in a small used book store in Van Buren AR.) Now more and more of them checking things out online and pricing them accordingly.

Thomas
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/31/08 16:24:00 EST

Is there a similar story regarding quenching into slaves among the Japanese swordmakers? The Japanese are highly regarded swordsmiths and if this process had merit, I would certainly expect them to have availed themselves of the method. I have heard this only in the context of European sword making.
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 12/31/08 16:40:56 EST

I think the book you are looking for is:

"A Smith in Lindsey" 'The Anglo-Saxon Grave at Tattershall Thorpe, Lincolnshire' by David A. Hinton; The Society for Medieval Archeology Monograph Series: No. 16;(c) 2000; London; ISBN 1 902653 28 9; ISSN 0583-9106

Produced in Great Britain by Maney Publishing, Hudson Road, Leeds LS9 7DL

Good luck.
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 12/31/08 17:37:50 EST

Cutting-- that's the process described in The Epic of Steel.
   Miles Undercut - Wednesday, 12/31/08 18:24:17 EST

I read it in an old sci-fi fantasy book that I can't remember the title of. I figured the author lifted the scenario from somewhere. I believe it was set in Spain possibly Toledo if memory serves. Always thought it was interesting if a bit far fetched. Of course you know someone somewhere actually tried it even if it didn't work or become common practice or there wouldn't be so many rumors.
   Robert Cutting - Wednesday, 12/31/08 18:42:23 EST

Ken S.
Thanks for your keen eye and ebay item # you gave for the anvil catalogue description. I quickly realized this seller was violating copyright law and turned him into ebay. He has four illegal listings where he is raping people for 20.00 plus shipping to photo copy 36 pages and mail to them. Hopefully all his listing will be ended and they will terminate him from ebay. Stealing is just wrong. He should obtain the copyright in order to reproduce and sell others intellectual property.
   - Rustystuff - Wednesday, 12/31/08 18:49:16 EST

I've only seen the "body quench" method ascribed to middle eastern cultures during the crusades and never to European ones.

Thomas Powers
   Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/31/08 19:07:07 EST

Thomas, I stand corrected. But has anyone seen it in a Japanese context?
   quenchcrack - Wednesday, 12/31/08 21:25:54 EST

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