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March 2011 Archive

WHY THREE FORUMS? Well, this is YOUR blacksmithing forum to use for whatever you wish within the rules stated above. It is different than the Slack-Tub Pub because the messages are permanently posted and archived.
This page is NOT a chat - it is a "message board"

Our chat, the (Slack-Tub Pub), is immediate but the record of it is temporary. DO NOT post permanent messages there. We refresh the "log" every 24 hours now and your message will be lost.

The Guru's Den is where I and several others try to answer ALL your blacksmithing and metalworking questions to us.

Please note that this forum uses an e-mail encryption system that prevents spam harvesters from collecting your e-mail address.

J. Dempsey  <webmaster> Rev. 7/98, 3/99, 5/2k, 6/2k, Friday, 04/06/01 16:43:25 GMT

new york state: I recently attended a meeting of the new york state designer blacksmiths in the southern tier area. Very nice!
- stewartthesmith - Saturday, 03/05/11 18:02:35 EST

I see the 2012 will be in SD, not seeing a venue for ABANA 2011, link to this years conference would be appreciated.
- Willy Cunningham - Sunday, 03/06/11 01:02:49 EST

Conference Schedules: Willy, The ABANA conferences are every other year when they are held (a few were skipped). The CanIron and SouthEast conferences are held in the odd years in between.
- guru - Sunday, 03/06/11 04:01:50 EST

Summer Blacksmith Instructor : Looking for a summer blacksmith instructor/or assistant to work at a Summer Boys Camp during June and July 2011. Room/board provided plus pay. Able to teach ages 6-16. Go to our website to learn more about the camp and video clips on our blacksmithing.
- Sam Pollina - Thursday, 03/10/11 16:13:59 EST

Willy - Forge: Willy, how is that forge doing that I sold you a couple years ago?
Matt Hunter - Saturday, 03/12/11 04:20:29 EST

Since the beginning of the year we've added about 100 anvils to the anvil galleries. I've been mining my image archives and found numerous interesting additions for the anvil gallery. This weekend I've added a split anvil pattern and three chainmaker's anvils. The patterns now have cross links to other related information.

We also added a classic French anvil sent to us by Thierry Renout of Germany and have been promised photos of another French collection.
Classic French Anvil - enclume
- guru - Monday, 03/14/11 10:55:11 EDT

Powerhammer tune-up videos: Any reviews of the two setup-type videos for LG's. Sid has one and Dave in Canada. Are they more or less the same? Is it worth getting both?
Thank you,

- Fred - Monday, 03/14/11 17:13:30 EDT

Fred, you don't have to post your questions on both our forums. Your answer is on the Guru's Den.
- guru - Monday, 03/14/11 18:13:28 EDT

Japan's Desaster and the Nuclear situation: Most of this is from a posting I made on another forum.

The problems in Japan have brought to the forefront some very serious issues. They are very timely since the U.S. is on the verge of building more nuclear power plants.

While there is a lot of hype about how safe the new smaller plants are going to be, I think it is just sales hype. We have not yet solved the problems of moving fuel to long term storage facilities OR reprocessing fuel OR taking responsibility for the long term costs that may be incalculable.

The point about nuclear waste is very important. In the U.S. we are playing Ostrich with our heads in the sand. EVERY U.S. plant is storing its entire life time of waste fuel in "temporary" holding. This is outside the containment building in the fuel handling area (where they load it from trucks). The area is often called "the swimming pool" because it looks like one. You can walk along the rail and LOOK at the glowing waste fuel covered only by a few feet of water. This is the same area in Japan where they have had fires and explosions AND where the older Japanese plants also store waste fuel. In the U.S. they have repeatedly rearranged the fuel storage racks to hold more and more fuel because the political problems of moving the materials have not been solved. Many plants are now going to "Dry cask" storage, but the waste fuel is still stored on site. IF this were solved AND the much debated Yucca Mountain facility opened we only have storage available for about 50% of the existing waste fuel.

In Japan the situation is probably not nearly as bad as in the U.S. because they DO move fuel out to be reprocessed and may not be storing the entire plant's lifetime of waste fuel as we do here. But I do not know this for a fact.

The ONLY logical way to handle waste fuel is to reprocess it and properly store the waste (for 40,000 to 1,000,000 years they say. . .). Reprocessing results in making plutonium and the issues of diversion to weapon making. . . There are also serious technological issues with reprocessing as well as the storage which most countries ARE NOT taking responsibility for.

In the end the problems with Nuclear are and have been largely political. In the U.S. the issues of moving waste fuel are political. But the politics run several ways. In Japan they take maintenance VERY seriously. When engineers recommended (Globally) that many components (such as primary coolant pumps) be completely dismantled, inspected and repaired the Japanese did it. In the U.S. they took a "sampling" and did a statistical study. In other words, they paper whipped the maintenance requirements. . . In the U.S. the O.E.M.'s did a lot of the inspecting. Protecting their reputations was more important than finding actual or potential problems. The system in Japan is not perfect either. There are always financial concerns to be considered when doing maintenance. The worst concern EVERYWHERE is how long the plant will be down. These things are looked at as huge money making machines and every hour they are not in operation is counted in millions of dollars lost. . . and thus there is a HUGE amount of pressure during refueling and maintenance outages to get them back on-line ASAP. Anyone at any kind of large plant knows this pressure and the results.

The problems with Nuclear are far too complex with terrible VERY long term implications for us mere humans to be responsible for. If the absolute BEST people were in charge (forever) it would still be too dangerous. But the best people are NOT in charge and the tendency is for the less qualified to replace the more qualified over time. The politicians, lawyers and bean counters have more power than the engineers and maintenance personell. THINK about that. . .

All comparisons of the Japanese situation to Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are ridiculous. At both these previous disasters the surrounding infrastructure was intact. In Japan they lost off-site and on-site power. The SAME thing would happen in the U.S. in such an earth quake related disaster. In Japan they lost personell, transportation, communications and monitoring ability prior to the Nuclear containment issues. The same things COULD happen here or in other countries given a similar earthquake.


Note: I am second generation nuclear maintenance. And glad to be out of the business.
- guru - Wednesday, 03/16/11 18:08:37 EDT

I was wondering what your take was on this.
Mike BR - Wednesday, 03/16/11 21:05:55 EDT

One half lap weld dropped on floor: Today,

I was attempting to weld a 1/2" round length to a 5/8" square handle, intending to make a fire rake. I handed the bolt tongs w/5/8" to my student. She accidentally dropped the hot piece from the tong jaws on the dirt floor, immediately scrambled for it, and picked it up. I told her to put it on the anvil, I lapped on top, and we got a good start on a forge weld! It seemed to me that everything wss moving in slooooow motion, but apparently we were fast enough.

I kept saying to my students, "Did you see that? Did you see that?"
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 03/16/11 23:40:35 EDT

Long Heat Magic Steel:
While at a local meet with grandaughter Sandy Wilson (see Greenwood videos on our AnvilCAM page), who had been doing some forging in our shop, I asked her if she noticed how much longer the steel stayed hot for the demonstrator. It seem like he could work it forever. . . She said, "Yeah, it stays a hot a LOT longer than it does for me!" I told her, "Its the special magic steel used by demonstrators." She says, "Yeah?" and then thinks about it a moment and knew she had fallen for my joke. . . . She still hasn't forgiven me.
- guru - Thursday, 03/17/11 10:59:51 EDT

Steel & heat: I got the lesson early on at John Larson's shop. I had never seen anyone forge with a power hammer before. John started drawing out a RR spike on a 150# utility He built [an early Iron Kiss], but then He stopped and We shot the shit for a while and the spike cooled to black heat. John started forging on it again without reheating, and shortly it was back up to orange. Not that this is something one SHOULD do, but with enough power You CAN.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 03/17/11 21:15:01 EDT

Magic Heat:
Reheating steel from a black heat is not hard with a power hammer but many smiths can do it by hand. It requires those fast blows that are good for upsetting. You have to be in good practice which I have not been in for years. . .
- guru - Thursday, 03/17/11 22:19:40 EDT

Friction heat to light forge fire: I was told [hearsay] that aa few Japanese bladesmiths have a little ritual to get the morning fire going. The smith holds a small piece of iron while it is double struck until it turns red. The rice straw is lighted with the iron and placed in the forge to get things going.
Frank Turley - Friday, 03/18/11 08:50:02 EDT

De'javu Japan's Nuclear Recovery:
If you have seen the images of the disaster at the Japanese power plants you will realize that getting in to make repairs is, like Chernobyl was, a nearly impossible task. The combination of collapsed steel structures, concrete and debris with radiation hazards is something no one anywhere in the world is prepared to undertake.

Obviously this is a task for remotely operated machinery or robots. But the available little inspection and bomb sniffing robots are far from sufficient for the task.

The ironic thing is that back in the late 1950's my Dad was involved in the only design and development project along this line. He was designing and built several robots for B&W under an AEC contract into doing nuclear repair and maintenance robotically. The most ambitious project that never got off the drawing board was an aircraft nuclear rreactor retrieval robot. This machine was a large tracked tank like device with arms designed to clear heavy debris in order to reach its target and retrieve the nuclear core. The arms included a chain saw, heavy grippers as well as more delicate robot hands for removing fasteners and doing mechanical work.

In the 1950's there were enormous challenges to build such a machine. This was long before miniaturized computers and the television vision systems had to be specially shielded and use optics to avoid radiation which would blind the cameras. Without fast digital communications radio control is not precise, easily interrupted and confused.

Even today digital electronics are damaged by radiation and must be shielded or specially hardened. It is one reason communications, weather and military satellites are so expensive.

Dad's robot project was dropped when it was decided that nuclear aircraft were a pipe dream. However, there have been several occasions where seriously powerful hazardous area robots were needed. Chernobyl, 9-11 World Trade Center, the oil field fires in Kuwait and now Japan. I'm sure there have been others.

In Japan they need such robots to remove debris and perform water spray down.

In years past our family business built special shielded machinery and tools for the nuclear industry. At least once we built equipment to make emergency repairs after a primary coolant pump failure. Being an emergency project that was time constrained the equipment was not as good as we were used to building, but it did the job.

So why did the Nuclear industry come to a small family company with two designers? Because a small company can act much faster than a big company. Decisions did not need to go through review boards, committees and a bureaucracy. We checked our own drawings, made our own details and templates if necessary. As soon as a need was defined we could act. Purchasing was streamlined to name it, make a list, buy it. We then built it in our shop, tested and trained the users while writing the operating instructions.

We also had the advantage of imagination and off-the-wall thinking. We would often do nothing for several days but have bull sessions looking at every possible way to do a job, then make sketches and discuss them some more. Many of my rough cartoon sketches were cleaned up and sent in with proposals to proceed.

To design, build and test a complex machine like a remote control debris clearing machine can take several years at a minimum (and a lot of money). I suspect much of the clean up in Japan will wait until then. The only question is who is going to make it and who is going to pay.

- guru - Friday, 03/18/11 12:42:48 EDT

Idiocy in Language Use:
Currently we keep hearing the news reporters and others speaking about the "spread of radiation". This is incorrect to the point of being an oxymoron. Radiation, by definition is moving energy or nuclear particles and "spreads" until it runs out of energy.

What spreads is radioactive contamination. This is any variety of nuclear material often in dust sized particles that is naturally or artificially radioactive. The problem with many of these materials is that not only are they radioactive, they are chemically toxic.

Understanding this difference is important. We receive radiation from all kinds of sources, primarily the Sun and secondarily from the Earth. With very few exceptions the radiation comes from things far away and have nothing to do with contamination.

Radioactive contamination is different. It is a substance that can be on you or ingested and stay with you or in your environment giving off high levels of radiation at close proximity. A single particle too small to see can set off alarms and present a significant health risk. Radioactive contamination can spread like dirt or germs by any method that physically spreads substances including wind or human contact.

So its NOT the radiation spreading. . its the nuclear material and things contaminated with it.

For nuclear workers you get both kinds. You get radiation from hot sources that penetrates shielding and closed systems, and you get contamination when the system is opened. You don't want either but you can try to avoid becoming contaminated while only time and distance have any effect on penetrating radiation exposure.
- guru - Friday, 03/18/11 14:46:45 EDT

Matt Hunter:That forge you sold me is in the
- Willy Cunningham - Friday, 03/18/11 17:25:26 EDT

post chopped off: Matt:
The forge is in the "Forge Bar" here in Lander, free inside storage. I have 2 other coal and one gas so space is at a premium.
- Willy Cunningham - Friday, 03/18/11 17:29:57 EDT

I have a very nice rare DUNN & MURCOTT 100 Pound Anvil.
The Marking on the anvil are.

DUNN & Murcott
Brooklyn NY
American in a oval Circle
and the 100 Mark ill be taking offer for this anvil.
Photo's can be emailed to your email address.
From what I under stand only 2 have been found by Richard Postman.
- Stephen Quintal - Friday, 03/18/11 20:42:12 EDT

"Anvils in America" is now quite out of date. Mr. Postman keeps promising "More on Anvils" will be published, but not so far.

This is what our research has turned up. Originally at the Richardson St. address, in Brooklyn, it started out as W. William and Sons. Then somehow became Dunn & Murcott. Then the American Anvil Co. with America in the oval (best I recall). Mr. Postman is sure W. Williams is the first maker of composite-bodies in the U.S. Apparently worked for several anvil makers, such as Hay-Budden.

In "AIA" he also thought Harriett Clark was Mark Clark's daughter. Turns out she was his much younger wife. When he died as the result of a train accident, she continued the Fisher & Norris Anvil Works Co. She was rather a pioneer in women running a larger business and even made a trip around the world in, as I recall, a Hupmobile. She was nicknamed "The Anvil Queen" or the "Iron Lady". Apparently very well known at the time.

I'm not sure I would put it in the 'rare' class. Just not many of them apparently around now.
Ken Scharabok - Friday, 03/18/11 22:20:26 EDT

old anvils: Ken,

When you're selling one, it is "rare." When you're buying one, it is "obscure." If it's on Ebay, then everything is "vintage." (grin)
- Rich - Friday, 03/18/11 23:26:48 EDT

IF its on ebay its an anvil even if its not. Its a blacksmith tool if its iron, old, heavy, rusty or painted black. . .
- guru - Friday, 03/18/11 23:58:42 EDT

Ken, Clark Fisher was Mark Fisher's son. Hariet was Clark's wife and was later married to Silvano Andrews (sp) after Clark's death. Silvano later remarried after Harriet passed away. If you take a look at the copy of the Trenton newspaper article I sent you a few years ago you'll see that a woman ran the Fisher & Norris anvil works twice in its existance. Steve G
- SGensh - Saturday, 03/19/11 00:03:13 EDT

Yes, during late years the city of Tenton bought out the Anvil Works property to create a bypass or such. Anvil rights were sold to a Cummings, who, I believe, continued the Fisher name until somewhere in the 1970s
Outlived lived Vulacn/Badger, but not by a whole lot.
From what I can tell Harbor Freight no longer sells that 110 lb ASA. Unfortunate in that with a couple of mold changes might have been a decent starter anvil.
Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 03/20/11 19:56:04 EDT

Johnson Forge: I have a 133 Johnson Gas Forge that I want to sell. It needs 2 bricks replaced in the floating top and the spark plug ignitor needs replacing.

Any ideas what it might be worth. i wanted to get $500.

- Steven Bronstein - Monday, 03/21/11 21:19:27 EDT

Johnson Gas Forge:
Steven, As you probably know these are still manufactured and quite expensive. They are also gas hogs compared to the smaller enclosed gas forges most of us are used to. These forges used to be common in school shops and quite a few have come into the market due to closing of most public school shop programs.

IF someone needs a forge that large the price is right if ready to run. However, almost everyone I know that has one, paid very little for them, don't use them, but want five times more than they have invested in them to sell. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 03/22/11 00:47:58 EDT

"Ken, Clark Fisher was Mark Fisher's"

I stand corrected as Harriett was the young wife of Clark. Thank you for reminding me.`

Associated with that a fair number of anvils have turned up with a six-pointed star on them. Initially Richard thought they were the American Star just continuing in catalogs even after closed. However several have been found with patent dates on the bottom which match Fisher patents. Speculation is Fisher produced them for low-end of the market, but didn't want the Fisher name on them.

Richard kids me that after More on Anvils is published, I'm going to write the next one. From what I have seen MoA pretty well completes the cataloguing of Anvils in America.

However, there is an open question as to where his accumulation should go. I would think the American Metal Museum in Memphis, but.

I would just hate for it to go the way of Hunter Pilkinton's World of Tools Museau. His son is selling off everything he can as quickly as he can.
Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 03/22/11 17:31:58 EDT

for sale anvil: I am casually trying to sell my anvil again. 440 pound "Habermann" anvil. pick up in Macon,Ga - load with chain hoist. $2100. it is like new. sells for 25 new. thanks.. btw, if this anvil sells that will make 3 fortune cookies in a row right on.
Ty Murch - Tuesday, 03/22/11 21:15:58 EDT

Selling of Collections:
Richard has already sold the bulk of his anvil collection and many of the references he collected. I purchased a significant set of The American Blacksmith from him plus some other publications. Many of these will end up on-line but The American Blacksmith's are hard bound in thick volumes that will be difficult to scan. I suspect only a select few will make it on-line.

I've had several friends sell off large collections of anvils, many that were museum pieces. A few actually ended up in museums. One collection was mostly quantity, not collectibles, but it paid for his new hobby, race cars. . .

The problem with the World of Tools "museum" was it was in a bad location and had no income. For a museum to exist in perpetuity it must be held by a non-profit entity AND produce an income that pays for its maintenance UNLESS the collection is supported by an endowment (large cash gift significant enough to produce the income). IF a museum is in a good location and a broad enough interest, entrance fees and gift shop sales may support it. But if you look around, most museums are government supported or endowed.

Even if there is a non-profit organization there must be cash flow AND continuity. Generally to have continuity you need enough cash flow for a minimum of one full time employee and office expenses plus. . . If the non-profit has a collection then you need money to house and maintain it (a building and another employee). That also means various insurances (health, unemployment, property). Now you're up to about a quarter million or more per year (depending on the locality).

SO, privately held collections get sold. The only question is when? Sell them prior to your end then you get to enjoy the profits. Wait and your heirs who don't share your interests get to sell it off. I'm at the point in life where I need to set a sell date. . . Probably 10 years years from now.
- guru - Wednesday, 03/23/11 17:34:29 EDT

Johnson Forge: I agree that only a particular need would justify the use of a Johnson Forge. At this point, I just want to see it go to somebody who might be able to use it. I hate to scrap it.
- Steven Bronstein - Wednesday, 03/23/11 20:30:17 EDT

In this economy I hate to see any tool or machine scraped.
- guru - Wednesday, 03/23/11 21:22:51 EDT

Fore sale, whole or parts: Landis cylindrical grinder, 10"x24". This machine has been in indoor dry storage a long time [over 25 years]. It is an early '40s machine. I hate to scrap this machine, but I need the space
Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 03/23/11 21:56:12 EDT

Publically held collections get sold too!

When the Ohio Historical Society decided to downplay their "Street of Yesteryear" exhibit I asked about acquiring some of the smithing equipment in the blacksmith shop but was told they were not selling any to the public.

About a month later I started buying pieces form it at a local fleamarket---cheaper than what I had offered them up-front! (The still had the museum collection numbers on them too!).

De-accessioning is an old museum method of shifting a collection to focus on different things.

Thomas P - Thursday, 03/24/11 11:44:13 EDT

LIbraries Too! AND way:
Most of us have purchased "ex-library" books at one time or the other. Sometimes they are out of date, sometimes deemed in too poor of condition to shelve for public access but sometimes they are in very good condition.

Public and private libraries dispose of books for a number of reasons.

1) Need more space for NEW books. So something has to go. Determining what goes can be rather arbitrary and mysterious to the public.

2) The books are not circulating. If a book is not checked out or looked at in over a certain length of time they dispose of it. This is the primary reason libraries tell YOU not to reshelve books you've looked at. They need to record that it was of value to someone. I understand this reasoning but hate that it happens because I think that libraries should be the source of every sort of arcane information. I used to often scan and reshelve books in the stacks as well as reshelve books. . Don't do it.

3) Age, wear and tear. Often combined with low useage as above. Libraries often have popular books rebound when in poor shape or put them on the replacement list, but if the book is out of date OR not circulating then a loose or frayed cover or torn pages and its GONE to the book sales.

4) Politically unpopular or "banned". Librarians WORK for someone and when the boss (or the public) says remove all the books on gay lifestyles (or what ever) then they get removed. . . As a general rule librarians will fight for the right of people to read what they please, but most draw the line at getting fired.

5) The value of the book or item has become so great that the museum or library cannot afford to insure it AND the cash the item brings may be more useful elsewhere (increasing the collection, covering overhead. . ).

Museum curators and Librarians both have similar responsibilities in this respect. They both have finite space and both have to update their collections. To do so always means something must go.

This also makes it a problem for collectors who may have a valuable collection they would like to donate to a museum. The collector would like his collection to stay together and be available to public. But this costs the museum money. The only assurance that a collection will be maintained is to donate it AND endow it with enough money to house and maintain it in perpetuity. . . Sadly, most collectors with collections that are often historically significant do not have the funds to endow their collection. So it gets broken up, sold piecemeal.

We have seen this numerous times in our field in recent times. The Yellins sold off their museum contents, Kenneth Lynch died before completely selling off his tool collection - it was sold in large blocks to dealers who resold much of it. . . and the Sorber Collection was also sold off piecemeal. Many other less known but significant collections have shared the same fate.
- guru - Thursday, 03/24/11 12:44:21 EDT

Collection Preservation by Publication:
The best thing that can happen to odd collections is that they are photographed and a book or collection catalogue is published. While these are often limited in distribution (one printing) they DO record the collection as a whole. This is not an inexpensive (or profitable) task but it much cheaper than an endowment and the sales usually cover costs.

While a museum may not want your collection, they MAY want to display it for some finite time period (perhaps a year) and produce a catalogue of the collection in the process. This is sort of a win-win situation for the collector.

Along this line one of the best books on ironwork I have is both an ex-library and museum catalogue of a touring collection put together from a group of major museums, collectors and corporations in 1966. Title, Made of Iron.

Books like Anvils in America are rare. This was a self published book on a very narrow special interest topic. The vast majority of such books get printed once and the entire printing not sold in the author's lifetime. Richard Postman was very lucky. Blacksmithing had just hit the internet, ebay provided a broad market for collectibles and the book was very good. As a result it is in its 5th printing and still selling. If he had published the book 20 years earlier its possible that only a few people contacted through ABANA would have copies and that probably would have been it.

Folks experianced in special interest fields keep up with new books that are going to be published related to their field and make sure to purchase them as soon as they become available OR even purchase prior to publication. From experience they know that the first printing is often the last. A printing of a special interest book is often 1,000. That sounds like a lot and many authors are happy to sell that many, but when looked at on a global scale 1,000 copies is infinitesimal. Considering most of these are in private collections and very few in libraries the distribution is very small.
- guru - Thursday, 03/24/11 14:28:49 EDT

book: I am currently writing a book on basic blacksmithing for beginners. I am a professional tool forger. My book, fully illustrated, is about half complete. As soon as it is finished, I am going to get an ISBN number and bar code. It will be spiral bound, on glossy paper, which enables folks to lay it flat on a table in their shop while reading it and trying out the methods I will be discussing in the book. I am self-publishing, and would be interested in marketing these tomes on your website. Thank you, Stuart
stewartthesmith - Thursday, 03/24/11 17:37:06 EDT

Another sad thing I have seen was a family that donated a parent's book collection on a specific subject to the library---which immediately threw it into their annual booksale as they did not accept "retail" books into their collections.

So out of print books currently selling for $60 to $100 a piece were sold for 50 cents to a dollar in a general sale---it was on my wife's area of interest and she was able to pick up a lot of valuable books for a pittance!

That same library de-accessioned a book that I was the only one who had checked it out in the last 5 years; but 3 times as it was a hard to find technical reference on enameling---my wife found it in the library's store and now I have it in my reference collection!

I find it odd that the library will buy 10 copies of a commonly available best seller and then pitch hard to find books that will not be dated in a decade!

Thomas P - Thursday, 03/24/11 17:41:53 EDT

Your point about the donation is the problem with collections of any type. Finding a home that WANTS it is important if you are going to donate. Lots of places get unwanted donations. . .

I have a couple books that have little monetary value but have some historical value. I'd like to donate them to the appropriate museum. But I'd like to know they are going to the right place (as all donors do). Its a question of making a contact and taking the time and effort. Then if your offer is unwanted, doing it again.

- guru - Friday, 03/25/11 00:53:25 EDT

Richard's Files: What I was referring to here was Mr. Postman's files on variout anvils/manufacturers. He has some 15 years of research, I'm speculating maybe 15 years worth of files on individual anvil manufacturers is in a couple of file cabinets. It is that information which needs a permanent home.
Ken Scharabok - Friday, 03/25/11 11:14:17 EDT

Research Files: Ken, This is the kind of stuff that is almost impossible to find a home for. My (ex) mother-inlaw had 4 file cabinets of genealogy information collected over several decades. . My ex had to reduce it to one file cabinet in short order and still does not know what to do with it. Family genealogists are rare and rarely have someone to pass information to. I WAS our family genealogist but had to get on with life. . . I have at least one full file cabinet of my genealogy stuff.

I also have file cabinets full of other research project information that cost years of time to amass but is worthless to almost anyone else on the planet. . . I've bound some in book form but have too many more to do. . Even then, it is raw data and manuscript outlines with very little value.

We also have all of Paw-Paw's research references for his book and what would have been next book. . . Its a very nice little collection of things on the civil war era. What do you do with it?

Generally these type files are only valuable to the author and whatever is extracted and published is the important thing.

A big part of many files like this is odd correspondence. All the letters written and responses - rarely filed together. . . Occasionally there is some value to it but 99% ends up being dross over time. The correspondents die, the information becomes dated (or used), the permission to use certain information may or may not exist. . . was verbal or is also misfiled.

Luckily for me most of my genealogy correspondence was in old computer files. Lucky or not. . they are in formats that can no longer be accessed so there is little lost in disposing of them but also little space taken up by keeping them. What was important, the factual data was compiled, saved in more standard forms, printed and distributed. . .

I've been in situations several times where I have had to make sense of others engineering files, drawings and correspondence. Its a nearly impossible task and the stuff worth saving is rarely 10% of the whole. In my recent moves I've also had to sort through my own stuff and the problem is the same, just harder to make the decisions of what to trash.

If its not compiled into a tangible worth while form then its just so much trash for the land fill. . .
- guru - Friday, 03/25/11 13:25:03 EDT

Hi Ken,
I am young enough that I would be willing to store Richard's files and slowly review them all and see what I could make sense of and compile what wasn't in his book to be made available to anyone one upon request at a future date. This is if he is looking for someone to pass the info to for future generations.

You can contact me via email using the address for the neato tool I just purchased from you on the bay.
- Anvilstuff - Saturday, 03/26/11 00:10:54 EDT

Reply to Richand Directly:: Addreess 320 Fisher Court, Berrien Spings, MI, 49301
Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 03/26/11 14:14:57 EDT

I spoke with Richard today about some additional info I had for him. I didn't mention interest in storing info as I changed my mind.
- Anvilstuff - Sunday, 03/27/11 01:11:16 EDT

interesting: wish abana had a stronger directive on this sorta stuff...wonder what they would do if they got their hands on this sorta info..hmmmm
- pete - Sunday, 03/27/11 08:02:47 EDT

Pete, I think once the third book is published the research material will add very little as it will be in the book. It will only consist of notes of info folks sent him, photos people took, photo copies and personal writings. His third book is coming along. The books have more accessible organized information of value that digging through a paper mess. I helped a friend with the book he wrote and I have shredded all materials but the final draft as it added no value to anything at that point.
- Anvilstuff - Sunday, 03/27/11 16:05:59 EDT

Pete, Saving book research may be of value if you were proving a scientifc theory and method for replication where looking back at the research could be of value.
- Anvilstuff - Sunday, 03/27/11 16:08:29 EDT

Research Data and Sources:
This is a very peculiar area. We were taught in school how to research something and document all our sources with footnotes and a file of index cards. . . And you expect this sort of rigorous attention to detail, proving your facts in academia and the scientific community. The theoretical standards are very high.

However, reality is far from the theory. A prime example is the compilation of data and facts in encyclopedic references (Encyclopedias, technical handbooks such as CRC and Machinery's. The economy of the situation is that you cannot provide full references for every article, especially in single volume handbooks. The second problem is that when you DO list those references they need to be checked to see who THEY referenced. Occasionally those reference are to original laboratory or field research but for the most part they refer to other compilations of facts that ALSO refer to other non-source research. . . so the "facts" can be several generations from the actual source.

Consider relatively simple subjects such as the periodic table of elements. Thousands of scientists have worked on the data for each element. Hundreds of years ago you could point to ONE man who defined the properties of a particular element but today the references alone would be an encyclopedic work in themselves.

So, at some point editors, authors and the public accept what authors have written.

But things get very peculiar at times. I've done quite a bit of research on various topics and found a disturbing fact. Very many references have become circular. One example is the CRC Handbook of Chemistry I referred to above. It has been in print a very long time and is constantly updated and changes are usually given references the first time they appear. But when you go to some of those references they often refer to the CRC Handbook as being one of their key sources. . . Now, some of this is building on and adding to previous work, but occasionally it is a pure circular reference.

One example I found was an OSHA reference on safety glass shades referring to an ASTM publication which in turn referred you back to OSHA (same paragraph) for the EXACT same information... Each document only had ONE reference, the one creating the circular reference with NO information. . . Everything looks great as long as you do not investigate.

- guru - Monday, 03/28/11 10:45:52 EDT

Periodic Table: Actually, it is not that simple. . . But the amount of data compared to many other things is small.
- guru - Monday, 03/28/11 11:58:08 EDT

A lot of organizations don't have and can't afford "storage" on an on-going basis. It's hard enough just to have the mandatory legal stuff around for enough years without it getting messed up or lost.

Recently I was at the local fleamarket and found a fellow selling items from the regalia of a club I belong to. He had bought the contents of a storge locker that went unpaid and was trying to make his money back selling stuff that was quite important to the club but basically junk to anyone else. I hooked him up with some of the members and so helped "rescue" this part of the history of the group.

I was later told that the person who had stored it had moved out of state 6 years ago and so the "corporate memory" had been lost about where this stuff was.

Few organizations have a large brick and morter presence anymore where such things can be squirreled away in attic or basement.

Thomas P - Monday, 03/28/11 14:48:34 EDT

I've seen the same thing with blacksmithing organizations with their web sites over and over in the past decade. An individual will volunteer to register the domain and setup the web site. They lose interest and move, the bill comes due, and the organization loses their web address. So they start all over again. . . It has happened dozen of times to blacksmith organizations alone.

So even when physical "stuff" is not an issue, organizations can have a tough time keeping up with things.
- guru - Monday, 03/28/11 15:17:30 EDT

A couple of years before he died Hunter Pilkinton wanted to find a place for permanent storage of his vast collection of catagues and such (research library type). Now everything related to his World of Tools Museum belongs to his son Donald, who is trying to sell everything as quickly as possible, but not below market price. Donald and I don't get along very well. We deal with each other when we have to, but otherwise (NO!). (A long story) As I understand it, Donald has five years (from the date of Hunter's death) to vacate the museum and anything related to the museum which was stored in the house or outbuildings. After five it all goes to Doris.

Hunter also has a shop building almost full of shop equipment and accessories. Now that one I don't know the fate of. I do know Doris wants the building for her book collection.

Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 03/31/11 14:16:18 EDT

Rings on an anvil: iya guys , i wondered if anyone here can tell me what the use is of the rings on this anvil and the rings on the ( attached ) wooden pillar . All the info ''bout is anvil will do . Thx in advance & greetings from Holland,

PieterJr - Thursday, 03/31/11 17:08:33 EDT

pieter: i dont know what the rings are for... but thats a lovely anvil... you wanna sell it ????
peter - Thursday, 03/31/11 18:28:51 EDT

Rings on anvil:
Pieter, I've never seen an anvil like this but I suspect the rings were added. I have almost identical rings welded onto the side of my power hammer anvil for lifting it with slings. If this anvil was setup to be moved a lot, say in a factory or ship by crane, the rings on the stand are for rope tethers that are held to keep it from swinging back and forth too much.

May I have permission to use your photo on our anvil gallery?
- guru - Thursday, 03/31/11 19:38:40 EDT


My guess is that may be a ship's anvil and the rings are for securing it to prevent it from becoming a "battering ram" in heavy seas.
- Rich - Thursday, 03/31/11 22:21:25 EDT

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