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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 16 - 22-23, 2010 on the Guru's Den
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I saw an ad about a Fisher Anvil 1877 160 lb. Is this a good anvil like a Peter Wright?
   Harold G. - Thursday, 12/16/10 23:06:13 EST

Harold, Fisher's are a popular anvil due to being a "quiet" anvil. However, they were a cheaper anvil made primarily by casting and are not nearly in the same class as a forged wrought anvil.

The American made Fishers were made by welding a steel face to a cast iron body in the mold. The steel had mechanical anchors and was preheated very hot prior to pouring the iron. The cast iron body gives them a dull thump when struck.

The British Peter Wright was made by forging a wrought iron body, forge welding on a tool steel face then quenching to make the face hard. The forging was done largely by hand by skilled workers. It was a much more expensive process than casting.

Note that the dates on Fishers are usually the patent date, not when they were made. For some more information see Fisher Norris Anvils
   - guru - Thursday, 12/16/10 23:18:09 EST

Wiki says that tungsten carbide is 3 times stiffer than steel, and can only be ground with a stiffer material such as silicon carbide or diamond. It will also hold a shine for years because it resists scratches and abrasions. The gray powder can be pressed into shapes such as tools. Hmmm
wonder if a knife could be pressed from the powder ? Once it was sharpened, it should hold an edge for a long time plus remain shiney.
   Mike T. - Friday, 12/17/10 00:36:40 EST

On the above post, it said cobalt or nickle is used as a binder.
   Mike T. - Friday, 12/17/10 00:38:30 EST

Mike, Sintered carbide is very brittle and chips easily. Fine edges are not recommended. Tools made from solid carbide are some of the most expensive there are due to the difficult of making them.
   - guru - Friday, 12/17/10 00:56:35 EST

Carbide cutting tools:
Remember Mike that a molded carbide incert such as those used in an indexable lathe tool or some milling cutters, are made with a relitively dull edge. Tools intended to cut softer materials such as aluminum, zinc, bronze and plastics are nearly razor sharp but tougher cutting materials take the tougher edge tooling.
A solid carbide end mill with a cutting flute that has been ground on by a tool and cutter grinder, will work great untill the fine cutting edge gets worn or chipped. Then it goes into the resharp bin.
Carbide does not actualy hold up very well when compared to HSS cutters except in just the right conditions.
Carbide is very resistant to heat break down but not to an interupted cut. If you ever try a carbide tool in a shaper you will see right away what I mean. It is not a good impact tool.
Sure a carbide knife might take a great edge but how long will it hold it and how will you resharpen it in the field?
   - merl - Friday, 12/17/10 01:29:04 EST

We had a job where HSS would not hold up. But carbide also failed. It was a remachining job and we talked to the manufacturer's shop about the job several times and could not figure out what the problem was. . . Finally, it dawned on me. The manufacturer did not have to machine the finished part the way we were. They turned the 34" diameter part, THEN drilled the 24 large 2" counterbores that we had to machine across. They never had to face the interrupted cut on this huge stainless part. We went through thousands of dollars worth of various types and shapes of carbide and tens of thousands of dollars worth of time trying to find a solution. The thing that finally worked was a special alloy material that was not sintered but also did not have a significant amount of iron. It was all the best alloying elements in HSS without the steel. Chrome, nickel, cobalt, tungsten and several other elements. It held up at carbide heats but was not effected by the interrupted cut that wrecked carbide. Mean stuff. DoAll sold it as Doalloy I think.

To top it all off the insert type cutters did not have a positioning hole, nor did DoAll supply holders. I made the first holder in a small milling machine in about an hour. It worked perfectly as-made. It took the better part of the day to figure out how to define the various angles to make a drawing so others could reproduce the holder. We supplied a couple dozen holders over the years. . .

I suspect this would make pretty good super blade material other than needing liquid cooled and lubricated diamond wheels to shape and resharpen it. It was also very expensive. . .
   - guru - Friday, 12/17/10 03:44:25 EST

Fishers are a great anvil to use in my opinion. In my shop I have Fisher, Trenton, Peter Wrights, Hay Budden, Arm and Hammer anvils. The Fisher is the one that's set up for primary use!

It has a thick hard steel face and as mentioned os *quiet*.
Vulcans were made using a similar process but their faces tend to be much thinner, often heat treated softer and the quality of the casting can be atrocious.

While Fishers generally sell for less than the same size PW; I see this as a one of their virtues too!

On the down side: if the anvil is heavily damaged a Fisher would not be a great candidate for re-building.

   Thomas P - Friday, 12/17/10 12:57:43 EST

Recently have been inundated with orders. Goodie for me and the sideshow community! Also now have some more money for the diaper and formula fund. Making a set of torches for a fireater, punch and drifted... check the bottom of this page:

Having no punch lube at all and coal dust not on hand I grabbed a can of graphite spray lube. While waiting for the iron to heat, I coated the drift with the spray and let it dry. What a difference it makes! Only 2 or 3 blows and I was almost all the way through! I don't know about you guys, but certain forging operations gives me SUCH an immense feel of satisfaction; getting an upset to form properly, feeling the bite of a hardy cutting into hot iron, and on the top of the list watching yellow steel stretch around the tapered drift so easily. Then to the horn of the anvil to spread the hole even further. Best part of a well lube drift is being able to take it out without any resistance... no more hammering out the tip!

That's all... just very happy.
   - Nippulini - Friday, 12/17/10 13:13:08 EST

TGN, Blacksmith to the Stars! ;)
   - guru - Friday, 12/17/10 16:04:18 EST

TGN, having any punch lube is good. Having industrial alkaline salt dry film forging lube is simply outstanding:)
A really great forge lube really does make drifting a neat experience.
The industrial lubes are like ball bearings on the tools.
   ptree - Friday, 12/17/10 20:02:27 EST

We are planning on carrying a good commercial punch lube but I had to hold off this year. The water based product cannot be frozen and we do not have freeze proof storage for the quantity we would have on the shelf. . . Same for the ITC products but we have them in the house for the winter. Next spring/summer I will build a big insulated and heated storage closet for product that cannot be frozen. It will need to support over 1,000 pounds and 100 gallons of various product.

It will give me a place to store my carpenter's glue as well. . . You would not believe how many $15 bottles of the stuff I have had to through away. It turns to a rubber like consistency if frozen. ..
   - guru - Saturday, 12/18/10 11:26:29 EST

Did I miss a response to my question about flame hardening my 4140 dies? Or did it get missed? :) I'm going to be putting together flat dies for my hammer using 3" square 4140, and thought flame hardening might be the way to go after welding them to their base plates. I've never done it before, so was making sure I understood the process, and also making sure that it was an appropriate process for what I was wanting.

Also, the quick change die holding system is completed and a test run done with a set of combination dies made from railroad track caps. Seemed to work quite well, with everything staying firmly in place and at one point allowing me to take the top die out and turn it around before the next heat. Pictures are here: http://www.iforgeiron.com/topic/19697-just-completed-quick-change-die-system/

AND,the copper baptismal font basin I was asking questions about some months back is finally completed and delivered, and pictures can be seen here: http://helmforge.blogspot.com/2010/12/finished-up-forged-copper-baptismal.html

Thanks much for y'all's help throughout the years!
   - Stormcrow - Saturday, 12/18/10 11:33:01 EST

Guru, I have frozen more glue than I care to think about as well.
The forge lube I have does not seem to have been hurt in any way be freezing. Been in my cold store shop over 5 winters. I have noticed that at a 50:50 mix it does not freeze at 25F as I was using it last week at that temp.
Mine is however not the Henkel, but the J&M enhanced but no longer available product.
I do know that at the axle shop we stored the Henkel lube concentrate in stainless steel 350 gallon totes in an unheated shop. The storage area was well away from the forges and would have hit near to freaazing. Probably not freezing as the sprinklers at the roof did not freeze up and crack too often, just once in a while.:)
   ptree - Saturday, 12/18/10 11:51:06 EST

Ptree, their info said not to freeze. Also. . repackaged in smaller containers is more likely to freeze AND burst the container AND I don't want to ship a frozen block of product to the customer. We aren't selling Thanksgiving Turkeys.

ITC says nothing about freezing but I have had containers burst. They are located on the Florida coast so may not have sufficient experience with their product freezing.

Yeah, the glue is TOO expensive to waste and VERY disappointing when it won't pour. .
   - guru - Saturday, 12/18/10 12:45:27 EST

Flame Hardening: As I have seen it done is much more complicated than taking a torch and heating the surface.

1) A wide multi-tip torch is used that covers a full width band of the part to be hardened.

2) A guard separates the the heated area from the water quench

3) The whole torch and quench operation is motorized to move at a specific speed so that the surface is heated just enough to harden so an acceptable depth and produce a fairly even result.

4) Induction scan hardening works the same except with a U shaped induction "coil" that travels across the surface with the quench system following. It is also motorized the same to produce an even travel speed and relatively even results.

Self quench works in some cases but on progressive heating the mass build up heat in front of the process and easily becomes too hot to self quench.

Die holder systems need to hold the dies DOWN tight. Otherwise they bounce OR creep upward and are very inefficient, noisy and a lot of wear results. The slightest motion in dies makes it hard to work. Same with poorly guided rams that let the upper die move back and forth. This can result in the work spitting out at you when trying to forge a taper.
   - guru - Saturday, 12/18/10 12:58:17 EST

Hi Guru,
I have some old fire irons with a lightning bolt touchmark and kind of a curlicue design at the ends that hang. They are kind of delicate for this sort of thing, but very pretty. I'm trying to find out who made them, so that I can complete the set, but can't figure it out. Can you help me or point me in the right direction? Thanks so much for your help! Owiso
   Owiso - Saturday, 12/18/10 13:30:01 EST

Owiso, I don't know who uses a lightening touchmark. They are not on our registry and a web search came up with nothing usable.
   - guru - Saturday, 12/18/10 13:56:42 EST

Try to watch Roy Underhill "The Woodwright Shop" episode 3013 "Field Gate pt 2". Just saw it today (Saturday 18th Dec.)

Roy takes a trip to the shop of Peter Ross to make hinge parts. Good stuff including welding.

But especially see the blacksmith cutting male and female threads using older generation adjustable die stock and tapered tap. Very informative.

(Been working in the shop since '64 and somehow never ran across these techniques. I loved it. Probably nothing new to Frank.)

   - Tom H - Saturday, 12/18/10 15:37:44 EST

Sorry for the late responses. Trying to catch up.

Wednesday, 12/15/10 16:00:23 EST
“Hubs (positive punches) are made and then forced into the annealed tool steel die blank under high pressure.”

Mold makers usually call them HOBS.
In today’s world of EDM and hard-milling, hobs are disappearing.

Friday, 12/17/10 03:44:25 EST
“The thing that finally worked was a special alloy material that was not sintered but also did not have a significant amount of iron. It was all the best alloying elements in HSS without the steel. Chrome, nickel, cobalt, tungsten and several other elements.”

Was that a stellite or tantung?
Used to make screw machine form tools using these materials.
Non-magnetic, great red heat properties, harder than usual HSS.
   - Tom H - Saturday, 12/18/10 16:09:13 EST

You can always learn something watching Peter Ross. I saw him make a nice pair of tongs all from non-optimal stock sizes in about 15 minutes all by hand. While its not the kind of production rates Grant Sarver has there was no machinery involved and a four pair an hour you could make a living in a very small shop. We also have an iForge demo of how he attached a thin leaf to a much heavier scroll. Tricky welding.

Roy Underhill is a hoot. Had (might still) several of his books and have seen many of his TV shows.
   - guru - Saturday, 12/18/10 16:09:42 EST

Stormcrow: The flame hardening setup We had at the auto frame plant was much like Jock described. There were flame orfices about 1/2" or less apart to cover the width of the part to be hardened with water orfices right behind them. I believe the considerable force of the rather large flames kept the water from mixing with the fire. This shop-built machine was built on an old [100 years?] lathe bed and the long feed run with a small motor to move the flame/quench head along the work.
   - Dave Boyer - Saturday, 12/18/10 17:54:35 EST

Roy Underhill,
I have always, and still do feel that the opening credit clip for Underhill's Woodwright's Shop is the most brilliant opening segment ever.
   JimG - Saturday, 12/18/10 18:52:41 EST

All right, I'll nix the flame-hardening idea and just do a standard quench and temper after I get the base plates welded on.

Guru - These are pretty tight fits on the keeper slides. I'll keep an eye out for what you're talking about after the dies are completely finished and I'm using them more. If it is a problem, it would be a fairly simple proposition to take the same idea as the horizontal swingarm and turn it vertical as well to eliminate any up-and-down shaking, or add on some kind of set screw setup on the sides. Did not see any in the test run, though.

I used to watch The Woodwright's Shop with great enjoyment when I was in college. Roy is a nutjob deluxe, but he's very entertaining and very good at what he does. When I moved to San Antonio, I checked the schedule of the local PBS station, saw they didn't carry the show, and never bothered hooking up the antenna to my TV.
   - Stormcrow - Saturday, 12/18/10 19:46:47 EST

Lathe as Flame Hardening Bed: Wow, I should have thought of that! We use our lathe to flame cut. The speeds at a medium threading rate and direct drive spindle speeds are right in the range for cutting thick plate (1" or more). I haven't done it in a while so I'd have to look up the specific inches per minute but a common 12" to 16" lathe is just right for this purpose.

Flame Cutting: To use the lathe for flame cutting we made a long arm from 1.5" square structural tubing. It extended behind the lathe and had a bracket on the end. I have a machine cutting torch that fits the bracket/arm. A special set of hoses with valves was made that clamped to the lathe carriage near the feed controls. Supports for the plate to be cut were setup behind the lathe.

In operation a line was chalked on the plate to be cut. Then the torch lined up and the plate adjusted until the torch lined up with both ends of the cut. The torch was lit, moved up to the edge of the steel using the lathe carriage, the edge preheated, cutting oxygen turned on, then the feed engaged.

Usually cutting went as smooth as any machine cutting and the stiffness of the lathe bed made a very smooth cut. Setup was actually easier than a track torch and the lathe feed adjustments more consistent than many electric controls. With just a little math the exact feed rates can be determined where on the old track torches I've used the speed settings were trial and error. The key limitation is the length of the lathe bed. Luckily the lathe I'm setting up now has a long bed for its size, about five feet of travel without removing the tail stock. You can do a lot of cutting with that.

The same can be done with a standard cutting torch but the cutting is done quite close to the bed and hot swarf getting into the chip pan must be avoided. Support for the stock must also be quite high. But the results are still a very clean machine cut. The most difficult part of setting up is making the bracket to support the torch on the lathe. Not a big deal.

I suspect that flame hardening speeds are slower or similar to cutting speeds so the lathe would be a perfect bed for such a setup. I suspect that I did not think about using the lathe is because I thought the flame hardening needed to work on a slope so the water would run off in the right direction. But a shield close to the surface and the hot flames would certainly hold the water at bay.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/19/10 12:52:00 EST

Scanning heat treatment in an induction machine. These usually have the long axis of the axle vertical, and the flange at the bottom. The axle is clamped between canters and the eyebrows are driven. The coil is lowered to as close to the flange as possible without shorting out and the axle begins to rotate. The coil is energized and once the temp is reached the coil begins to move up the axle. At the same time a spray of modified water is turned on.The spray is from several hundred small holes on a circlular spray attachment on the bottom of the coil. Perhaps 2" of the axle is at temp, and a heavy truck axle is scanned in perhaps 90 seconds. Once done you have a room temp hard axle. With the alloys used, you then have 45 minutes or less to get the axle in the temper oven. This very rapid process usually warps the axle and from the temp oven the warm axle goes into a computer controllled straightening machine. Watching a hard 2.5" diameter axle get bent as much as a couple of inches past straight to get it true impressive. The straightening process takes another 30 seconds or so.

At the valve shop we used a number of WWI vintage(still hard the war production board tags)lathes as welding rotators. These had the tailstocks modified to move by air cylinder to clamp the valve, and rotating grounds. The head stocks on these lathes were flat belt cone spindles and were driven by variable speed DC drives and also had rotating grounds. The welder had an arm rest, a toe switch to cause the rotation and his off hand was rested on the speed control. Using 7018 rods for a full penetration weld millions of valves had the flanges welded on prior to our beginning inertial welding. We also welded many many millions of weld bonnet valves. After 30+ years the welders could do a stick weld that was better in appearance than machine tig, and usually a better X-ray as well. They were just slow. Putting 2 flanges on per valve, a good welder got about 4 to 8 per hour. The inertial welder had a 60 second part to part cyle on the longest cycle with some at 30 seconds.
The poor old lathes had so much splatter on them they were hard to identify as a logan lathe. Probably were twice as heavy as when made. But they were used up as lathes and then worked on for an additional 70+ years.
   ptree - Sunday, 12/19/10 16:41:31 EST

Repurposing: That is why I hate seeing machinery scraped. An old lathe that won't do precision work can be used for grinding and polishing and all kinds of tasks that you are loathe to do on a new lathe (including the flame cutting described above). I've made numerous calibrated thimbles on lathes. This is a task that does not require the lathe to operate under power. An engine lathe with a worn bed and broken feeds can still be a superb wood lathe as long as the spindle turns and the bearings OK.

If you do lots of long work an extra lathe bed with a steady rest can be lined up on either end of another lathe to support work. Often you need something better than a stock rack to support work to the left of the head. I've seen old lathes that had the bed extended just to move the tailstock out.

Years ago we did as much paint and clay mixing on our Shop Smith while setup in the drill press mode as any other work. I've also used a small drill press as a drum sander to finish narrow boards and veneer strips.

My oldest worn out drill press is going to become an adjustable vise stand. Many of the parts off it have been used to maintain other machines and the gears and shafts will be saved as repair parts. I've heard of old shapers converted to automated bending machines.

Often the worse case is to use parts off an old machine tool for entirely unrelated purposes. Shaper, planer and milling machine tables all make wonderful work benches, bench plates and angle plates. All the pulleys and many of the shafts are handy for building other things. Good finished handwheels are impossible to buy but easy to remove from old machinery. Feed screws and nuts are often much heavier than in common vises and much better material.

Use your imagination before letting old machines get turned into scrap iron.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/19/10 18:53:27 EST

I was given a mostly defunct Atlas 12" lathe some time back - the lead screw, cross feed screw, compound screw and several other parts were rusted beyond reclamation but the ways were flat and true and the headstock and tailstock were fine. I cleaned up what I could and set it aside for a "later" project. Then a year or so later I come into a good deal on a much better Atlas 12" with many accessories. The only thing wrong with that one was the ways were shot and would have had to be sprayed and ground to ever be good again. I simply swapped the ways form one late to the other, which involved drilling a couple of holes to relocate some things that had changed from one year to the next. Easy swap. The other late, now with bad ways and no functioning carriage, was re-purposed to be a wood and spinning lathe. I just made a low-profile carriage and tool rest and modified the drive speeds to suit. It works a treat and was free for the effort to carry it away. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

I have an offer of a large (to me) engine lathe that I'll simply have to pass on. I just have no room in the shop for a lineshaft-operated lathe with a 16' bed. If it weren't so huge I'd make it into a big spinning or wood lathe if I had anyplace to put it. Those old babbit bearings are just dandy for that stuff and easy to re-pour if necessary, and the mass of those old machines makes them rock steady under large loads. Somebody will put that lathe to use, I'm sure. There's no scrap yard here to sell it to in any case. (grin)
   - Rich - Sunday, 12/19/10 19:42:49 EST

Rich, 16 feet long is big no matter what the swing of the lathe. Your Atlas is the big brother to my little 6" Craftsman which was made by Atlas. The manual that came with my lathe in 1955 doesn't distinguish between models. The biggest difference between the two other than size is that yours came with a quick change gear box and could have a taper attachment. Otherwise they are nearly identical in design.

When I Dad passed the Craftsman lathe on to me in 1980 he had bought a new Atlas which used many of the same parts but had a junk square die cast zinc head stock. At the time they still had parts for the old model and I bought back gears, the compound slide and the attachments that we should have had, a full set of tool holders, a 4 jaw chuck and a steady rest. A couple years later Atlas folded. I was lucky to get my pieces and parts then.

I was at a friend's and found another square head stock Atlas. But the head stock was cast iron and the lathe had an early streamline style compound slide. I paid $100 for it. A couple years later the new Atlas was in rough shape. So one weekend I took the parts from the two Atlas lathes and made one good one with the cast iron head stock. I swapped the replacement square compound rest I had bought for the old Craftsman with the stream line one off the Atlas.

The little Atlas was used in the family shop for a decade along side the other bigger lathes. Being small it was just SO dang convenient and happened to have a spindle and three jaw chuck that you could not measure any run out down to 0.0001". It was sold for more than it originally cost ($800). Another decade passes and Dad is grumbling about missing the little lathe. So I gave him the junk Atlas and he fixed it up making all kinds of parts and reinforcements for it. It is now a very strange contraption that is difficult to recognize as an engine lathe.

My little 6" Craftsman has done a large portion of the machining on our power hammer project. Many of the parts were at the far limits of the machine.

Besides the stock attachments I've made a number of my own. A cross slide stop for threading, a micrometer carriage stop, a live bull center, a friction drive face plate and a 3/8 x 1/2" rectangular boring bar.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/19/10 23:12:31 EST


I had three of the Craftsman and one of the Atlas little metal lathes Guru talks about. The Atlas had every attachment. The atlas had a reversing barrel switch and a baldor motor. They are what they are and I used them many times. I sold all of them and bought the small Grizzly lathe made by Sieg in China. I purchased all attachments including milling, follow rest, steady rest, four jaws, three jaws, flat plate and a quick change tool post. I stocked spare transmission gears, relays, fuses, cog belts and gear sets. I have been so impressed with the little lathe. It has no problem peeling off an 1/8 cut turning 1018 steel. Anyone who has the Atlas and Craftsman knows they can't handle a cut that heavy. The machine is variable speed and has a built in motor. Forward and reverse has a toggle and it is quick to put in back gear. No quick change box it has a gear set like the older ones mentioned. It is a very rigid and slick little machine. I added the camlock to the tailstock and it is much more handy. I can't say enough good things about it. Parting things off and grooving is a snap as well with how rigid it is.
   - Slackner - Monday, 12/20/10 02:05:02 EST

Old and New Lathes: While I will admit the old Atlas lathes with the plain bearings are primitive technology (the bearing in the Craftsman looks like a piece of copper tubing), I've routinely gotten 1/8" or wider chips in steel with a good sharp tool setup correctly and over 1/4" in alloy aluminium. I don't have one of the larger Atlas lathes but I've seen 3/8" wide chips pealed off with one and there is a photo in one of the SouthBend bench lathe books showing a siliar size machine taking a 1/2" chip. There is an art to setting up the old tool post tool holders. This is pretty good for what were late 19th century technology sold as bottom of the line hobbiest machines. Slightly later models with the Timken bearing head stocks were more robust.

One thing that helped my little Craftsman a lot is the stand I put it on that weighs 4 to 5 times what the lathe does.

The little Chinese bench lathes have a great following and are much better machines than the old Atlas machines. They came into being after Atlas nailed their own coffin shut by turning a hobby machine into a worthless toy with overly light parts and cheap poorly designed plastic pieces.

The difference between a 12" bench lathe and the bigger floor model lathes is huge. My 13" Southbend, while an antique, will flat out generate chips fast enough that hauling them away is an issue. The 14" Porter from a slightly earlier time is considerably heavier given it only has 1" more swing. But it is also about two feet longer than the Southbend.

While I would like to have a later heavier duty lathe I have no real need for it. Even if I was working full time in the shop I would have no need unless I changed focus to the machine job shop business. My old antiques are fine for what I need them to do.

Speaking of Lathes. .

We have for sale a 1980's "Kingston", A very good quality Taiwanese machine sold by Enco. I think it is an 18" lathe with a 22" gap bed (will find out). There is a full complement of attachments including 3 and 4 jaw chucks, steady rest, live center set, Aloris (or a clone) dovetail tool holders. Its a 3PH 240VAC machine and was only used as a maintenance and prototyping machine until 1993 (about 10 years) when the shop closed so it has very low usage for its age. Its a modern machine with spindle brake, built in chip pan and both English and Metric threading gears.

Contact me me if you have serious interest. I'll get details and photos.
   - guru - Monday, 12/20/10 11:08:03 EST

Ah. . I did the thing that we admonish everyone else about.

The Kinston lathe is in Rustburg Virginia (near Lynchburg).

Original cost with some of the attachments was $12,000. Loading and moving by tilt body truck is recommended. There is a beam that can be used to lift the machine but only onto a low height trailer.
   - guru - Monday, 12/20/10 11:56:38 EST

Lathes 2
Even though I love my little china lathe I still have a soft spot in my heart for the the little Atlas and Craftmans. When I see one I stop and look and pay my respects to those little cuties.
   - Slackner - Monday, 12/20/10 14:02:13 EST

Maybe I am wrong, but it seems like a lathe would not be difficult to build. In my mind, a lathe would be simple to build as compared to a power hammer or a press. I have run the idea through my mind quite a bit. I have a small Wood Fox lathe and have wondered how difficult it would be to cut it in half and extend it.
   Mike T. - Monday, 12/20/10 18:30:14 EST

Mike T.

Indeed you could make a lathe really easily. Anything that spins, able to mount or attach stock too and add a tool rest is a lathe for metal and wood. You can use gravers and rest to turn the metal with extreme precision and fine finishes like watchmakers do. a polished finish is obtained by using burnishers. Any size item can be machined in these early methods. A graver is so versatil a ball can be turned instead by hand without using a ball turning adapter on a manual lathe or cnc lathe.
   - Slackner - Monday, 12/20/10 18:49:27 EST

(instead) should not be in my last sentence in above post.
   - Slackner - Monday, 12/20/10 18:51:05 EST

Mike T: While You might be able to home build something and call it a lathe, a REAL lathe, even the little Atlas requires a complete machine shop to machine the castings. A power hammer or press has relatively few precision parts, and many of those can be purchased off the shelf.

A wood lathe is simple to build, and You can make a good one from lumber and a few off the shelf parts.

I don't know how Your wood lathe is built, but it was a rather simple job to use the headstock & tailstock from a smaller Craftsman wood lathe We had and build risers that allowed them to be used on a long channel iron section. My Dad turned a bunch of porch posts with this and a simple template follower attachment. A jackshaft was used to greatly reduce the speed.
   - Dave Boyer - Monday, 12/20/10 19:02:31 EST

Mike T
Outside Box Lathe

Post Drill can be easily converted to a metal and wood lathe. This can be used horizontal or vertical. For metal use gravers and rest.

A REAL lathe is anything that will do the job in my thoughts.

It was hard for me to get out of the mind set of machining methods are done like this. When you ponder and look around sometimes many possibilities are right in front of us. No right or wrong.
   - Slackner - Monday, 12/20/10 20:00:21 EST

For building your own machine tools from scrap-check out the Lindsay books- lathes, milling machines, foundry sand casting tons of items shown- just google Lindsay books
   - Ray Clontz - Monday, 12/20/10 20:40:48 EST

I've seen lots of home built wood lathes in Mexico.

Even an arc welder made out of just a plastic 5gal.pail with a lid on. Heavy copper cable of different lengths extending down through the lid into salt water,in use every day in a blacksmith shop. You don't have to get fancy, just get'er done.
   Carver Jake - Monday, 12/20/10 20:54:05 EST

Hi Guru,

I have 2 kinds of different metals, the dimension are as followed:

A: 5mm x 35mm x 1000mm (flat)
B: 15mm x 15mm x 1000mm (bar)

if I would like to conduct tensile test on these materials, is there any 'standard size' to recommend?

   - fatbamboo - Tuesday, 12/21/10 00:10:22 EST

Having gotten my die holding system worked out (and seems to be working great so far!) and finally getting down to some real hammer time, I found that I have a few more issues to tweak, which I will try to get done before the New Year.

1. Add a greasing system to the ram guide. A couple of zerks, some channels milled in the plastic, and I'm good on that.

2. Re-stiffen the springs somewhat. I've discovered that the spring is now *too* whippy. It forms an S shape under power, and when going full tilt, the eccentric is rotating faster than the S can unwind itself and whip the ram down. This means that when trying to hit hardest and fastest, the ram often isn't hitting at all and you have to ride the clutch, which wears the tire. I'll put the original helper springs back on after I shorten them.

3. The wheel keeps falling off! It's held to the shaft with a key and a set screw. I need to put some Loktite on the setscrew and that should solve the problem.

4. I'll ascertain this for sure once I start playing with hand-held tooling a bit, but I'm thinking I may want to shorten my linkage up a bit.

The adventure continues! Thank goodness I've been able to understand what is going wrong at every point and been able to fix it. One of the big reasons I went with this design: simplicity! This is only the third level of complexity in a power hammer.

'Course, if I had a big air compressor, an air hammer probably would have been better. Some day, when I'm making more money!
   - Stormcrow - Tuesday, 12/21/10 00:24:24 EST

Mike, it probably wouldn't be any problem at all to extend your lathe bed, as long as you do a good and thorough job of it. Nothing worse than having a machine fall apart while you're using it.
Now I see some talk about how "anything can be a lathe" as long as it gets the job done.
Well, that's true. I have a very good friend that makes black powder muskets from scratch and, he does all the turning work on a lathe built from oak 4X4's with a spindle and tailstock made from two old post drills.
He does all the chip removal with gravures and lathe files.
He has sold several pieces so I guess he must be doing something right.
The real difference between a home made lathe and a precision lathe made by a machine tool manufacturer, is that the precision lathe can do its work with great repeatability and ease compared to the home made primitive lathe.
Yes, I actually have done a bit of free hand turning in my precision engine lathe. With the right kind of material, it can work out very well and be quite easy. However, if you need to make several parts from 317 Stainless Steel and, do it in a timely manor well, than you will need a machine that has been built for it.
Decent used machine tools are so cheap right now that I would not wast my time making one when I could buy a much better one.
Now, if you're more interested in the "journy" then go ahead and build your own machine but, the easiest way to "git 'er done" would be to find a good used machine close to you and plunk the money down.
   - merl - Tuesday, 12/21/10 01:38:48 EST

Tensile Testing: FBB, Tensile testing is done using standard shapes called "coupons". These have a standard cross section and fillets where they blend into the larger ends where they are clamped. Theoretically you could test any carefully measured shape but it is not practical. The testing machines expect a standard sample. Often more than one sample is needed. When comparing two metals it is also best if the samples are the same.

I have a little weld testing machine that works on the principal of a tensile tester. Its coupons are 1" wide by 1/8" thick by 3" between fillets with ends 1.25" square on each end. This tester is used to measure the breaking point so it only has a manual reset pressure gauge. To do a tensile test the load is applied slowly and the stretch measured and recorded at numerous points. This could be done with a variety of precision measuring tools.

Unless you are doing the testing you need to ask the folks running the machine what size and shape the samples need to be.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/21/10 05:08:55 EST

The Lathe Building Journey: We have talked about the bootstraping process in machine tools a fair amount. You start small and primitive and increase the size and improve the quality of your machine at each step.

Early lathes were a mix of wood and metal. But for nearly a thousand years or more something very similar to the little 6mm Watch Makers lathe below was the standard metal turning lathe. They were used by Watch and Clock Makers, Jewelers, Locksmiths and Instrument makers.

Watch Makers Lathe
Modified 6mm Lathe from Burnt Forge

You could fit two of this little lathe easily on the bed of my 6" Craftsaman lathe. This one is mostly an "American Watch Co., of Mass lathe. It has been rebuilt and the sewing machine motor added which replaces the original kick wheel.

While this machine is used to make very small turned parts many of this style lathe are used to make considerably larger parts. Locksmiths used a similar lathe to make heavy barrel or "drill" keys that were heavier than the spindles of the lathe. The turned work on the shank of the key was done on such lathes as well as the curved sections of the ward cuts that had to fit past cylindrical shaped wards.

Medium sized bench lathes can typically make all the turned parts for a significantly larger lathe. Two to one is a common step up in size.

In 1920 Southbend lathe published a booklet titled, "How to make an 8-inch Bench Lathe in the School Shop". It includes all the detail drawings and 60 pages of instructions. It assumed a typical school metal working shop to do the machine work. While it was suggested that schools do the complete job from pattern making to completion, a kit was also available that included all the castings and raw materials. This greatly simplified the job. However, some of the tasks includes making sa special spindle bearing turning arbor, making your own 1-1/8" - 16 reamer-tap and a cross point center for wood turning.

The lathe was designed as a wood turning lathe but drawings were provided for a carriage with cross slide to make it a metal turning lathe.

In Metal Working by Paul Hasluck published in 1907 there are many details of lathes and a set of plans for making a small foot treadle powered lathe. This had a wood frame and metal parts.

I have parts for a project wood lathe I started years ago that uses 1-1/2 and 2" pillow blocks to support a steel spindle with threaded inboard and outboard ends as well as Morse tapers. It is designed for a heavy wood bed about 8 feet long. Other than the ball bearings the design is a classic wood bed wood lathe.

One task that can be done on both the wood lathe and bench lathes is turn pattern parts. Cylindrical patterns, core prints and boxes, Risers and alignment plugs. A wood lathe to turn such parts need not be more than two spikes driven through trees or boards to create centers for the wood to rotate upon.

Early gun smiths used small lathes such as the one pictured above and then large wood machines to support the barrel while it was bored with simple tools. Rifeling was also done on a mostly wood machine. I've seen a number of these machines, old and new.

Modern commerce provides access to materials such as cold drawn bar stock that could be drilled, tapped and bolted together to make a fine sturdy lathe bed.

In his Charcoal foundry books Gingery shows how to make a lathe from aluminium castings made in the backyard.

While the lathe can be one of the most simple machine man has invented, the Engine Lathe is one of the most importantly productive machines man has invented. Hundreds of inventors and engineers have left their mark on this King of Tools over the past 200 years. Maudslay's lead screw and change gears, Nasmyths feed reversing mechanism, The Morse taper, Jacobs chuck, and many more. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/21/10 06:29:47 EST

Stormcrow, in my hammer some of the "extra S in the spring can be cured by simple set-up. In my hammer, the at rest clearance between the dies is set to the thickness of my first finger. If I am running thick stock, say 3/4", I adjust the pittman to give that same finger thickness above the stock when the hammer is at rest.
Now if you are getting way ahead of the spring and getting a double tap at full speed you need a little stiffer spring.
   ptree - Tuesday, 12/21/10 07:27:15 EST

"Early lathes were a mix of wood and metal."

Guru, one of my history of machine tools books that are packed away right now mentions some of the very earliest (ca 1800 or so if I remember) boring machines made from almost all wood. These would have been similar to those for boring cannon barrels but with the additional precision required for steam engine cylinders. (They compared fits using worn coins!) This was in the days when a skilled machinist was an extremely valuable 'expert' who kept his trade secrets to himself.
Anyway, the machine was partitioned off from the general shop so others could not see the 'dance' that he performed as he selectively applied his body weight to different timbers as the cut progressed in order to try to get a straight bore. Fascinating stuff. It may have been at Bolton and Watt in England.
"Tis a poor mechanic that blames his tools."
Like a race car to Dale Earnhardt. It's just something to get you where you want to go.
   - Tom H - Tuesday, 12/21/10 17:39:35 EST

I saw on another site that this was a good source to see what kinds of junk steel would make good knife steel .But i cannot find that info here can you direct me to this sort of info.Thanks Jeff
   Jeff Lary - Tuesday, 12/21/10 17:49:34 EST

Jeff, Go to the FAQ's page, J, Junkyard Steels (read the information) then at the bottom of the page there are links to charts and other steel selection articles.

The short answer is, most springs make fairly decent blades if you are looking at scrap steel.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/21/10 18:28:11 EST

I found a empire chest us 1918 what was its purpose and what is its value?
   Steve - Tuesday, 12/21/10 18:28:39 EST

Steve, I think you have wrong forum. We do not appraise antiques.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/21/10 20:01:18 EST

I've been forging on my 75# perfect shape Vulcan for some years now, a gift from a friend, but always felt inferior. Forum members saying that they were a bottom of the line anvil, even though it's worked fine for me.

Not any more though. I went to a yard sale in pouring rain, the first thing I spotted was a 75# anvil with only a few chisel marks in the top and a perfect horn. Knowing what to look for because of my Forun experience here I gave it a couple tests, then said "SOLD". Turns out it's a Hay-Budden, early model with welded top plate and was only $75. I couldn't help it, I rushed home, dried it off, polished and oiled it.
   Carver Jake - Tuesday, 12/21/10 20:31:23 EST

We don't appraise antiques; we USE them. Folks here think nothing of whanging away on a 230+ year old anvil; using scrap from the 19th century, and clamping it in vises from WW-I. Next to historic arms collectors, we are a most practical bunch of folks; many of us creating "tomorrow's antiques today." ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 12/21/10 20:48:11 EST

Machinery's Handbook, 17th edition

My father, a mechanical engineer, has been in poor health lately, a combination of cancer, stroke, and brain surgery. Just yesterday he finally felt the urge to clean his office where paperwork of every kind has been sellting like dust for many years. He asked me to help, so I drove up to do so.

In the course of sifting through phone bills from 25 years ago, copies of software and manuals from 1992-2005, and an almost endless pile graph paper pads full of sketches, we found some gems worth keeping. Books have been returned to shelves, papers bagged for the shredder [ten or more 40gal trash bags], mechanical pencils laid in drawers, and floppy disks arranged by size, content, and year... just in case he feels the need to reinstall MSWord2. Sadly, I couldn't find a copy of Autosketch, which was a superior tool.

In the midst of all of this, he grudgingly loaned me one of this copies of Machinery's Handbook, 17th edition, adding that he'll need it back someday. I hope he does, although he's not been able to work for 2 years since the brain surgery.

How, oh how have I lived without this book? Poorly, I tell you, with such a short memory for maths. Last month I spent hours looking up the shear and tensile strengths of various alloys, typing them into a spreadsheet... its all here on one page. I must have recreated the calculations for volume of different cylinders a dozen times... page 158. Tap and drill size charts, bookmarked by a little plastic pocket guide from August Industrial Supply of Erie PA. Hardness scale details bookmarked by another little pocket guide from HWT of Cleveland Ohio.

Page 1749 begins a weeks long course on heat treatment of steels! Diagrams more details than you'd ever need for blacksmiths tongs on p1815, hammer force calculations and foundations on p1819.

If you don't have one of these yet, go get one. I need to buy one myself, as I hope my father wants this back soon and for many more years.
   MikeM-OH - Tuesday, 12/21/10 20:56:34 EST

Sorry to her about your Father's health. I hope he continues to feel better and will need his book back for many years of continued enjoyment.
   - Slackner - Tuesday, 12/21/10 23:32:14 EST

Mike, I've been pushing Machinery's for years. I used to recommend it almost daily. Glad you finally found the holy grail of the mechanical trades. It was the first book we reviewed for our book review page and most updated review on anvilfire and what I think is the only comparative review of the book anywhere.

You will find something very interesting about the 17th edition in our review.

My Dad's edition was the 13th (1946-1949). When we wrote engineering reports it was often referenced in the foot notes. Other engineers would rib him about the ancient edition. . . "Oh come ON John! The thirteenth edition?"

MINE was and still is the 18th edition even though I have all 20 of the editions listed in our comparison chart including the CD-ROM version. For some reason we users of Machinery's stick to the edition we started with. I suspect it is the familiarity we develop for where things are located.

Another Story. . . Back in the 80's I bought a used Cincinnati Milling dividing head. Its a nice heavy duty one with brass wing step bars for easily making repeat steps. I read up on the things, the fact that they have a 40:1 gear reduction producing 9° of motion for each rotation. I proceeded to do the math to create a chart with the turns and fractions of turns needed to make from 2 to over 400 divisions. There are only a very few odd divisions that it cannot make. This task was not as easy as it seems because the divisions must be reduced to whole turns and fractions of turns in those 9° increments that match any one of the number of divisions on the dividing wheel. It took several days to compile all the data. . . Then just as I was finishing up the chart and preparing to redraw it on mylar so that I could reproduce it, I found the complete chart for the exact model in Machinery's Handbook. It also included the change gears for the same to produce specific rotations on a Cincinatti Mill.

While many engineers prefer Marks' to Machinery's I find it woefully lacking when it comes to raw complete data.

While machinery's does not include the entire AISC database it includes a sufficient representative sample for most purposes. It does not cover every alloy but it covers the common ones every mechanic should know about and more. It has the solutions to triangles and strength of materials formulae for most needed cases. I just used one for multiple point loading on a beam the other day. It covers the elements and many chemicals and their use in the shop and on and on. . . .

My feeling is that any mechanic (engineer, designer, machinist) that doesn't have and use Machinery's is a poser. Any engineer's copy that doesn't have a few book marks or worn pages is a desk prop. Any machinist's copy that doesn't have at least one or more grease stained sections is drawer filler. . .

If you have only ONE shop or office reference then it should be Machinery's. Any other book after that is purely dependent on your focus. I'd recommend the following:

2) A good unabridged library edition of Websters Dictionary (even if your language is not English).

3) ASM Materials Reference Book

4) Any books applicable to your focus area. . .

   - guru - Wednesday, 12/22/10 00:19:29 EST

Lathe Construction. . . I had a nice long post about 4AM the other night then my computer crashed. . . the post above about lathes is a wee hours poor version of the original. . .

There is, somewhere in New England and old water mill museum and they had a lathe made with a black granite bed. The other parts were primarily cast iron but the massive bed was stone. Beautiful machine.

For those that think this is odd, precision surface plates are made of finely finished granite. Many years ago my Dad was given the task of measuring deflection and stresses in nuclear fuel assemblies. The measurement tolerances that were required needed a precision surface to measure from that could withstand heavy loads without deflection. So a large black granite surface plate was requisitioned. For years Dad's boss gave him grief about that "expensive work bench". But then a couple decades later we were touring the plant where those same fuel assemblies were now manufactured. Everywhere you looked there were huge granite surface plates. Many were not just plates but very specially made V-bed measuring devices. . . similar to a very heavy lathe bed. . .

James Watt and the Steam Engine is the title of a book published by Oxford University Press in 1927. Its the last word on Watt and very interesting. The reason so many parts such as the huge rocking beams were made of wood at the time is that wood was understood as an engineering material but iron was not so well understood. One of the tests described by Watt was to place a newly designed cast iron and wrought beam between two trees and a team of mules set to pulling on it to test its strength. . . While the beam held up it pointed out that the testing methods of the time were very inadequate. This was the beginning of materials engineering.

Watt had been an instrument maker and made many devices to advance the study of machines. This included the first pressure gauge and then the strip recorder. . . All this in the 1700's. One of his early jobs he took on was surveying across a river where others had failed to successfully take measurements. He did the job by making a split image range finder (like the focusing mechanism still used in many cameras). He proved it against chain measurements then measured points across the river.

While Watt is famous for his involvement with the steam engine he should be known as one of the fathers of modern engineering. He became the role model for Maudslay, Nasmyth and many others who went on to invent most mechanical devices that we know today. Nasmyth popularized what he called the "self acting principal" which we know as power or automatic feeds and invented the reversal mechanism used on every engine lathe since his time.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/22/10 08:59:55 EST

Granite machine beds:

One manufacturer of woodworking tools is currently offering table saws, band saws, jointers and other machines with granite tables. I don't recall having seen a lathe bed of granite but it wouldn't surprise me - other than the issue of tracking a carriage on it, which could be solved, I'm sure.

When I was younger I built a number of tools from wood, such as table saw, lathe and band saw. They were all made as temporary expedients and worked fine for the intended use but I still prefer my "store-bought" ones of machined cast iron. :-) Just a couple of years ago I needed a one-use lathe to turn a heavy wooden drum for a cassava grater and I put one together from wood and pillow blocks that did the job admirably. What amused me about the whole episode was that I initially was stumped as to how I would turn the heavy drum and actually considered farming out the work. Only at the last minute did I recall the crude wooden tools I'd made as a kid and how surprisingly well they worked. After that the only issue was resisting the temptation to over-engineer this one-use tool, a failing I seem to have too often. (grin)

   - Rich - Wednesday, 12/22/10 09:57:02 EST

Regarding James Watt and the Steam Engine, do you have a source for that book? I could only find the title published more recently.
   Bajajoaquin - Wednesday, 12/22/10 12:43:42 EST

James Watt and the Steam Engine, Dickinson & Jenkins, Oxford My copy is ex-library. I bought it for $5 at a local library clearance sale. . . Big hard bound a little thicker than Anvils in America. Reproduced many of Watt's papers and correspondences.

It is probably fairly rare as this was one of those expensive references published once and sold primarily to libraries around the globe. I'd be willing to bet no more than 1,000 were produced and that less than half exist today. 1927 is on the cusp of being public domain here but English copyright law is different than in the U.S.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/22/10 12:54:28 EST

Machinery's Handbook, 17th Ed. SECOND PRINTING
Yes, I read the review many times here, but always put off getting one. Now that I've seen my father's copy in detail, I will seek to acquire one directly.

Interestingly, this 17th ed. is a SECOND PRINTING and lacks that interesting feature of the THIRD PRINTING you noted in your review.

It is quite worn, has a few bits underlined in pencil [extremely sharp mechanical pencil, the kind used by draftsmen where you sharpened the lead manually], and a few diagrams on scraps of paper inserted.

Invaluable, and I'm only about 10 years late in realizing it. :|
   MikeM-OH - Wednesday, 12/22/10 13:17:18 EST

James Watt and the Steam Engine: The Memorial Volume Prepared for the Committee of the Watt Centenary Commemoration at Birmingham 1919

Available for $13 - $50 mostly 1981 and 1989 editions.
   - grant - nakedanvil - Wednesday, 12/22/10 13:50:55 EST

Abebooks.com is one of the best references for old books in my experience.
   - grant - nakedanvil - Wednesday, 12/22/10 14:05:16 EST

Granite machine beds:
I once quoted a job for someone that wanted small but very accurate multi axis lathe.
I figured the bed could be made from a used Starret Master Pink granite surface table I knew was for sale and I would only have to have some Thompson rails mounted for the ways that had a small amount of adjustment for alignment purposes.
I sent the initial drawings and the guy loved it but when he got the quote for $1000 plus materials he disappeared.
I don't know what he thought a custom designed, multi axis, bench top lathe should have cost but, I know I low balled the price by half just to try and get some work in the door at the time.
I think he took my design and ran with it but, at least I have not seen it out on the market anywhere.
I also sparked off a two year long discussion on a hobby machinist forum once, when I mentiond to a group that were talking about building their own lathes, that some very reputable machine tool manufacturers use a special heavy epoxy resin to cast their machine beds from.
Lots of interesting construction ideas and experiments came out of that one.
   - merl - Wednesday, 12/22/10 15:11:48 EST

I always use bookfinder.com but the two use the same data bases.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/22/10 15:16:58 EST

Your computer wasn't the only thing to crash last night. At 2PM I was awoken by a loud noise. Look out my window to see my car pushed up on the sidewalk all smashed up from behind and the offending vehicle spun around totalled out. DUI, it happens a lot on Main street (a bar at each end, 1/2 mile apart). I didn't like that car anyway, little Chevy Cobalt. I get to drive a 2011 Camaro while waiting for the insurance companies to duke it out. Good thing I waited to transport oxygen tank til next week!
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 12/22/10 15:39:16 EST

Sorry... 2AM, not PM
   - Nippulini - Wednesday, 12/22/10 15:39:35 EST

My copy of Machinery's Handbook is the 23rd edition; bought for me by my wife at the Columbus OH library store for $5 as far as we can tell it had *never* been checked out. Not nearly so pristine now. It's shelved next to my ASM manuals...(several of which were given to me by the father of one of our friends, a royal gift indeed! I was not surprised to learn that he had been diagnosed with incurable cancer and so was "cleaning up" and wanted his books to go to a good home. Nothing like sitting down to breakfast on a Saturday with a cup of tea and an ASM manual for company!)

   Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/22/10 15:45:27 EST

I have a 12th edition Machinery's from 1943 and, an Audel's Machinists and Tool Makers handbook also from 1943.
An interesting difference between the two I have noticed is, while the Machinery's is almost 3/4" thicker than the Audel's it isn't better by sheir volume of information.
The Machinery's is really packed with every table you can think of dealing with the industrial standards on everything made by machining, fabricating, casting and so on but the Audel's seems to focus on the "how to do it" with whole chapters on variouse types of machines, along with their setup and operation.
I know some of my best "get'er done" ideas have come directly from this book or from an idea that started with a half tone picture from it.
I admit that for formula and tabulated data my 24th edition of Machinery's can't be beat. Everything is logicly placed and easy to find but, I never just sit and read it like I do with the Audel's.
When I was given the Audel's by a former employer I was offerd a 1937 edition of Machinery's as well. I looked through the Machinery's and decided it was just too old for it to be of any use in a "modern machine shop" and so let it pass. At the time I was just starting my training as a machinist and was moving on from the little engraving shop I was at.
The shop owner was getting rid of some of the older tools that were left over from a couple of old machinsts that had died years befor and no one had ever came for their stuff(!?!)
I ended up with a nice leather bound Gerstner tool chest
and a few books (all the rest he wanted to sell and I didn't have a spare dime to my name) Now I realy wish I had taken the older copy of Machinery's too, as it had huge chapters on hand forging tools and line shaft setup.
Ah well, what does a 19 year old know about value and the future?
   - merl - Wednesday, 12/22/10 18:20:49 EST

My very well worn 13th edition, second printing 1946 date of the Machineries is inscribed in the front to me from my father and the date is 6/1/1982. He found it at a yard sale for $1.00.
It is beyond value to me.
   ptree - Wednesday, 12/22/10 18:25:09 EST

Nip; don't forget to salvage the springs! ;-)
   Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 12/22/10 21:50:55 EST

I have the 21st edition of Machinery's that I got upon completion of My apprenticeship, and a 14th edition that was amongst machinist tools I purchased from a widow. That colection also included a 3rd edition of American Machinist's Handbook. I have the 2nd edition of American Machinist's Handbook that My Grandpop started with in 1919 as well. This is not nearly as large or comprehensive as the later editions of Machinery's, but has a lot of good information in it, even if some is rather outdated.

My Vo Tec school machine shop teacher never told us there was a table for looking up the turns & holes for a dividing head, We had to remember the formula: T=40/N, and that the hole plates ranged from 15 to 49 holes. The big tests always had a dividing head problem to be solved.

Where I served My apprenticeship, We had wire EDM which was new at the time. The machines were built on black granite bases with stainless steel inserts bonded into them for attachment purposes. These machines were built in '76 & '78.
   - Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 12/22/10 22:19:20 EST

American Machinists Handbook Colvin and Stanley, McGraw-Hill. Mine is an 8th Edition printed in 1945 the "Wartime Data Supplement". Interesting history of the SAE 4000 series steels. . .

I just happened to pick it up tonight to peruse. I've been looking for a book that had some very nice multiplier (lever) indicator gauges. Very early machinst stuff. But this was not it. However, they had some very interesting stuff on hammer dies and upsetting that is not covered well in much later references such as ASM. So much for progress.

I also have a copy of "The New American Machinist's Handbook", Edited by Rupert Le Grand, McGraw-Hill, 1955. While it is more up to date I do not like it as much as the older book which seems to have better information. . . The "modern" slip cover fooled me into not realizing it was a descendant of the earlier work.

I also have a collection of early and late CRC handbooks. . . . I REALLY need to build some shelves so I can all my books out of boxes. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/22/10 23:44:22 EST

My "technical library" while not vast, has certainly got beyond what I can manage. I really need to get everything in one room designated as the library and build shelves of some kind.
My concern is mold developing between the books and the wall they are up against.
I have had this happen in the past and I wonder what some of you might be doing to keep your libraries safe from mold and mice?
   - merl - Thursday, 12/23/10 10:09:46 EST

Merl, The only time I had mold on books was a set of Encyclopedias that were stored in an unheated space without a good door. Basement rooms against exterior walls are also not recommended for book storage.

When I build bookshelves I use 12" (11.25") pine shelving and light Laun paneling on the back for diagonal strength. This also closes the back reducing moisture influx and reducing ways for mice to get in. Much cheep paneling is now chipboard that I would avoid for two reasons.

1) Chipboard ages and fails (all cheap furniture, paneling).
2) Chipboard is made with glue that gives off a LOT of formaldehyde gas which besides being a carcinogen breaks down into formic acid can damage your books and documents.

I glue and nail the paneling to the back of the shelves. Sheet rock nails work great for this due to their thin heads. I also nail, glue and screw the shelves together. While I use steel finishing nails I use brass flat head screws (just my preference). The wood should be varnished or lacquered.

On most shelves I build I have a 4 to 6 inch filled kick panel at the bottom to keep books off the floor and above cleaning equipment. This height also lets you notch the back corners if necessary to clear baseboard molding. For this reason the back panel does not extend to the floor. Units are designed to take advantage of the 4 foot paneling widths.

I put tall shelves for heavy books at the bottom of my shelves and put a vertical divider at mid span to prevent sagging. Only short spaces for books under 8" in height are full width. I often build in tall spaces for oversize books on one side of the unit thus shortening the span for the rest of the shelves. If you want spans longer than 3 feet for heavy books I recommend doubling the board thickness or using stair tread boards which are a full inch or more in thickness.

I also vary depths. Smaller books need less depth and insetting some of the shelves keeps the book neater and looks nicer. My next shelf building projects will include spaces for videos and DVD boxes.

On the last shelves I built I used a fur stair tread for the first shelf and let it stick out the extra inch depth. This overhang and heavier board made a very nice start at the bottom of the shelves and is heavy enough to pile anvils on. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 12/23/10 11:00:44 EST

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