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April 2010 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

Copyright Issues on Practical Machinist: (Sticky Post)

Sometimes you try to be polite and people don't respond. So here goes. I was informed that someone using the Alias


on the Practical Machinist website was using our anvilfire flaming anvil logo for their avatar on those forums. They do not have permission to do this. It is theft under copyright law. I do not give permission to ANYONE to use our logo to represent themselves.
I politely asked the webmaster "Don T" at Practical Machinist to remove the avatar or ask the member to remove the avatar. His response was that he was too busy to be bothered. Since I cannot directly contact members of that forum and the webmaster refused to do the right thing, I am forced to do so publicly. I am sorry if this causes any embarrassment but I tried to play nice. Complain to "Don T".

I'm sure machine-n-forge uses our forums and may be one of our regulars, otherwise he would not have our flaming anvil logo. So this is a public "Cease and Desist" notice from the legal copyright holder to stop using our artwork and trademark logo.
- guru - Tuesday, 03/23/10 20:32:53 EDT

Even More Copyright Issues:
I was checking our server logs and noticed some unusual traffic. It seems that there was a bunch of sites linking to our images, using them in their pages. This is double theft, it is copyright infringement AND theft of services (server bandwidth). For more details see:

Copyright Issues - Infringers Hall of Shame
- guru - Sunday, 04/04/10 19:13:49 EDT

aprons: I'm about a week late for the apron convo, but hey... I wear aprons at work (machine shop). I'm livin off some aprons I "borrowed" from the italian restaurant where I used to work. It has a string on each side, i wrap each one around the back and tie it in the front. i get away with this at work, but i think some machine shops may not like it because it is a possible hazard being that it could get snagged by a machine, chip, etc.
- Tyler Murch - Wednesday, 03/31/10 23:37:58 EDT

Loose Strings, Watches, Rings, Ties and long hair:
All these things can be very dangerous in the shop. Back in the brief period when machinists wore ties (and lab coats) to work, some of the old shop manuals had staged images of a guy with his tie wrapped around the spindle of the lathe and his face being pulled into the chuck. The "proper" way to wear a tie in the shop is tucked into the gap in your shirt between the top and second button.

Long hair is a similar problem and it does not need to be very long. My Dad who kept his hair the same as I do in front, left the belt guard off the top of our Shop Smith and then accidentally leaned into it while using it in the drill press position. Gave him a whack against the machine that should have killed him or in the least give a severe concussion. He was lucky and got away with a bruised forehead. But he repeated that lesson to me (DO NOT LEAVE THE BELT GUARD OFF) over and over. He would demonstrate by flipping a shop rag at the moving belts. The suddenness and the force grabbing the rag was something you did not want happening to you. . .

Watches and rings can get caught in machinery OR shorted out. As an auto mechanic I was warned repeatedly (by ring wearers) not to wear a ring while working on cars. One of my friends who occasionally worked in my shop shorted his class ring between a ground while holding a wrench on the positive terminal of a battery. Luckily the arc just vaporized a chunk of the lead terminal and a part of his ring. In that short instant it heated the ring sufficiently to give him a 3rd degree burn about half way around his finger. If the short had not cleared itself he could have lost the finger, in an instant. . .

While I have not had trouble with loose strings I HAVE had fuzzy places on normally flame resistant cotton jeans and coveralls catch fire. Fuzzy jeans were somewhat stylish at one time but not in the shop. Trim those raw edges OR patch or sew them up. retire those welding rags when they get too fuzzy to repair.

While that apron string does not seem to be problematic due to being below spindle level think about those exposed slow turning feed shafts on a lathe. . . High torque, low speed. . . suck you in gently before you know it. Learn to tie them in the back. It only takes a few minutes practice.

Modern issues. . . iPod or radio ear phones and cords, any dangling jewelery (bling) and possible odd piercings.

Its against the law to drive in most states wearing full earphones for a good reason. I feel the same about loud music in the shop. When you need hearing protection WEAR IT. But for normal shop sounds it pays to be able to hear that squeek, that crunch or other unusual noises that warn of something wrong.
- guru - Thursday, 04/01/10 01:07:33 EDT

strings and things...: My wife works in a canning factory on the line. They recently had an incident were someone got their front tied apron strings caught in the powerd roller conveyor they were working at and got hurt. They also got writen up because the rules clearly speek against front tieing.
Now the company has changed the clothing regulations and eliminated the use of aprons all together.
No one is happy about that.

I used to run a large plainer mill at one shop I worked in.
The first thing the guy training me told me about was what could happen if you leaned too far over the rapidly moving table.
He explained that during his first day on this particular machine he was plaining a casting and reached too far over to make an adjustment to the tool head (he should have used the out board set of hand levers anyway) and the part went by him at about 600 feet/minuet and caught his shirt.
Ripped a 1" wide strip from the front to the side seam befor he new what happend. He quickly stepped back to make sure that was his shirt hanging there and not his guts, stuck some duct tape over the opening and went back to work...
He was even luckier the table was coming back on the return stroke or he may have been dragged in under the bridge and I would have been hearing this story from some one else...
I used to wear a dennem apron with a strip of velcro to close up the neck loop and waist.
No loose clothing or dangly things around moving machinery.
- merl - Thursday, 04/01/10 02:47:59 EDT

More Loose Ends:: I was working with a chainsaw years back, wearing an old military jacket (BDU) from the 1960's or maybe even earlier (we seldom threw out anything useable at Oakley, so it may have been from the Cousin's Air Force Duty in the 1950s). Suddenly I felt a hot burning line hit me sharply across the small of my BACK and the chainsaw stopped dead. The jacket had a thin (~1/8") line running around the waist as a cold weather cincture, and a loose end had somehow fed itself into the motor housing of the chain saw and snagged on a cooling blade.

No harm done, except the momentary surprise and temporary discomfort; and once I took the housing off and unwound the yard of line from the engine ,the chainsaw worked just fine; but it was certainly a lesson in just how any loose ends, even very minor or obscure items, can make trouble around rotating machinery.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 04/01/10 08:55:51 EDT

Loose ends:: Do a serch on U-Tube for "tim taylor laith safety"

Funny take on serious subject.

(Not responsible for copywright violations)
- Dave Leppo. - Thursday, 04/01/10 09:22:27 EDT

word test: This is a test to see if I can transfer a reply to a post from MS Word directly to the reply box of the Hammer- In forum or the Guru’s den.
If this works it will allow me to use spell check before I post.
Some of you may have noticed that my spelling is poor to say the least…

I guess it does work!
- merl - Thursday, 04/01/10 11:41:53 EDT

Still more loose ends: During the winter I usually have to where some kind of hooded sweatshirt when working in the shop at home. Not to long ago I was at the open wire wheel on the pedestal grinder and one end of my hood tie string fell out into the open and dangled very close to the spinning wire wheel.
If that string would have gotten in the wheel it would have been a short race to see how fast my face would have been drawn in to it or the grinder and pedestal getting caught up in my clothing and again causing serious injury.
I'm always careful about loose sleaves and shirt tails but, I had never thought about the hood tie befor that moment...
- merl - Thursday, 04/01/10 12:21:13 EDT

Cut and paste: Sometimes copying from Word or other windows editors picks up special codes and odd characters. The results can vary from no post to variable results.

Firefox comes with spell check for browser input boxes and has been a great improvement for me. However, like all spell check systems it varies in depth and smarts. I can have some words SO close and it will not provide the right spelling. . .

I've also noticed that I can no longer tell when someone posts a LONG URL and breaks these pages. Firefox wraps those excessively long strings.

The only thing Firefox will not do is support a Quicktime plugin. But the video world is moving to Flash which works great in all the major browsers.
- guru - Thursday, 04/01/10 13:59:08 EDT

We had a planer with a 30' table, the machine was about 70' long. we used to stand on the table all the time when it was cutting. It was actually quite good fun once you got used to the table rapidly changing direction at the end of stroke :)
- John N - Thursday, 04/01/10 15:26:36 EDT

Dangerous Machines: Well John, I shouldn't have called it a "large" planer. At only 14' it was not big as far as planers go. I don't know what you were cutting that you had enough time to get up on the table and run around but, the part I'm refering to was coverd by a 90" stroke that went down and back in two seconds. You would probably look like a big meatball rolling around up on that table...
- merl - Thursday, 04/01/10 15:55:09 EDT

Machine Differences:
Merl, John was probably riding on a planer mill. These are a planner with a milling head. The feed is much slower than the normal planner which runs at chip cutting speed (100 feet per minute).
- guru - Thursday, 04/01/10 19:05:28 EDT

I was waiting in a doctor's office one time and picked up an orthopedic surgery magazine with an article on "degloving" injuries -- when the ring snags on something and the hand keeps moving. I didn't start wearing a ring until I got married 10 years later, but I could still remember the pictures like I'd seen them the day before. Needless to say, I'm pretty careful about taking my ring off when I'm working on anything.

I read somewhere that cops wear clip-on ties in case a baddie grabs hold. True or not, it probably would have been a good idea for machinists.
Mike BR - Thursday, 04/01/10 20:08:38 EDT

planer mill: Yes I was refering to a planer mill as well.
When it is set up for milling it runs off the leadscrew at a max of 100 IPM.
When set up for planing it is run by a 100hp hydralic system that will move the table at 600 SFM
on the return stroke and probably a max of 400 SFM
on the cutting stroke with the "throttle" wide open. (a lever on the side of the machine that alowed the operator to very the speed of the table as needed)
- merl - Thursday, 04/01/10 21:05:00 EDT

Rings and clip on ties: I saw somewhere, maybe here, that the latest material for wedding rings iis tungsten carbide. Imagine having an injury and the casualty department trying to cut off a TC ring! Unless I am missing something it seems a very bad idea!

Yes lots of police officers wear clip on ties for just that reason as do people dealing with mentally handicapped individuals and probably plenty of others. A tie, made out of either silk or a strong man made fibre such as polyester, is tremendously strong. If you don't believe me try snapping one! So it is a potential noose around your neck. I never put anything around my neck. With a hat with a string to go under the chin I always put the string behind my head or fray a weak spot into it. There is a reason why steel helmets have a weak link in the chin strap but I think this forum would be an inappropriate place to discuss that.
philip in china - Friday, 04/02/10 03:42:03 EDT

Phillip in China does indeed have it right about items about the neck. In fact I saw in about 1982 an ad in one of the machining trades for a necktie that had velcro closure. They called it a safety tie. Now when I started at VOGT, all the "Front Office" folks wore ties and stuffed them into the shirt when out in the shops. I refused to wear a tie, calling them a "self garrot" The owner, "Mr Henry" heard me and went and looked up Garrot. He stopped me a few days later, and told me that since he had observed how much time I spent in the shops, near the machinery,or on the meachinery, I was to NEVER wear a tie unless I had customers on tour, and I was to not approach closer than 4' to a machine. He told me this at lunch, in front of a table of exec's, and I was never ever asked about where my tie was again. That also broke the stupid requirement for ties in the shops.

I have seen many hand injuries where rings played a part. Several involved shorting batteries. In one case the fellow got a third degree burn all the way around the ring finger, and on the fingers on the other hand trying to remove the hot ring.

Don't foget watchbands! A friend shorted a SS watchband battery terminal to ground, and nearly lost his left hand from the burns.

As a safety guy, with many years working with just near every type machine, I would say that seldom is an accident the result of one little slip. There usually is a stairstep progression where several little mistakes multiply the severity of a situation until body damage occurs.
Take care of the little things and you will usually prevent the big things.

Remember "Life is too short to spend any of it dead, injuried, or in jail"
ptree - Friday, 04/02/10 08:06:32 EDT

My first warehouse job when I was a kid I remember well. In the bathroom they had nice reading material, one was a safety magazine issued by some governemt office. The mag was full of USAF shots. My favorite was the article about wedding bands. The accompanying photo was of a finger with a wedding band on it, and a 5 inch trail of tendons hanging from the crushed band. At that point I told myself I'd never get married.
- Nippulini - Friday, 04/02/10 08:22:59 EDT

Gloves?: I don't advocate the use of gloves unless a guy is possibly working with industrial sized power hammers and suchlike. I often wonder what a glove sucked into a spinning grindstone (with a sloppy, open tool rest) might do to one's hand.
Frank Turley - Friday, 04/02/10 11:54:34 EDT

Frank Turley, that is one reason the tool rest should never be more than 1/8" from the stone. Also, gloves and grinding wheels, unless you have the specially made "Tear-a-way" gloves are a bad idea.
ptree - Friday, 04/02/10 13:37:28 EDT

... then you'd end up with "Tear-a-way" fingers.
- Nippulini - Friday, 04/02/10 14:07:55 EDT

The one we used to table surf on was a good old fashioned planer (richards) (gear drive under the table), obviously you made sure you never went under the column! We also used to 'treadmill' on the 12' vertical borers while they were cutting!

when staning on a planer the only iffy bit is when it changes direction, the deceleration / acceleration of 10 tons of table with 20 tons of job on it is quite amazing. We used to machine stainless water boxes for the paper industry, the cut could take 10 hours to go accross! great days, lucky not to be turned into meat in retrospect.
- John N - Friday, 04/02/10 16:53:10 EDT

Gloves : Gloves are a bad idea while running a drill press or lathe [or any other rotating machinery for that matter] as while chips may carve You up if they hit you, they don't grab skin as readily as they grab a glove.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 04/02/10 20:26:14 EDT

old planers: The same guy that told me about his "shirt incedent" also told stories about the 60' Ingersoll point planer he used to run at another shop. The neat thing about that machine was that if you didn't need sixty feet of table you could uncouple it and run only thirty feet instead. It was also a bull gear drive like the one you refer to and, was the "over shot" type were the table would travle over the ends of the frame at max stroke. My favorite story was about how sometimes the table return dog wouldn't trip and the operator had to be quick on the lever to get it stopped. One time he wasn't paying attention when it missed and the table kept right on going, right out through the back wall of the shop for about 10 feet befor he got it stopped!
He was sure he was going to be fired but the boss just laughed and said, "that's why that wall is only one layer of tin instead of brick like the rest, it's happend befor" It was fixed in a day or two and, of course he was called "tin knocker" after that.
- merl - Saturday, 04/03/10 01:13:09 EDT

Fanuc: surfing the web trying to figure out how to pronounce Fanuc
this is crazy
- Tyler Murch - Sunday, 04/04/10 16:01:13 EDT

Hey VERN "Watch This":
These famous last words (and situations like the above) are a good reason for folks to get fired. . .

TWICE the guy riding the robot was almost injured. If he hadn't ducked when upside down, and once he pulled his legs in to prevent an un-human motion of his legs against the floor. . .

Funny and scary to watch, if OSHA or their insurance company sees this there won't be enough lawyers and money to make the fines and lack of insurance coverage go away. . . Even without an injury those are the modern facts of life.

This also shows that it is time to enact the Three Laws of Robotics in all robotic systems (before it is too late). This one needed to detect a human or animal within its range of motion and stop. With the human attached, it should not have made ANY move. It doesn't take artificial intelligence to sort that one out. Only a couple sensors and a STOP logic circuit.

Machines I like, The SawStop table saw. Dumb machine but VERY smart idea. I want one.
Saw Stop Table Saw
- guru - Sunday, 04/04/10 16:49:49 EDT

FA - nuc (short U).
- guru - Sunday, 04/04/10 16:51:18 EDT

My god Ty, I nearly got motion sick just watching that! That guy must REALLY trust his programming and machine. Wow. No thanks, I'll give that ride a pass.
Judson Yaggy - Sunday, 04/04/10 17:34:32 EDT

Fanuc: "Fan", as in sports "fan"
"uc" , sounds like "cook"

Some will say it Fa-nuc
with the Fa sound as in father and the "nuc" still making the "ook" sound.
As for that video, it has been around for a few years and I still can't believe it when I see it come up now and then.
I wonder how "cool" his family would have thought he was while that manipulator used him to mop the floor?!
He was very close to doing just that.
- merl - Monday, 04/05/10 19:26:51 EDT

patagonia : I saw this commercial last night. I remember somebody was talking about patagonia, and it's roots in blacksmithing a while back.
cool commercial
- Tyler Murch - Monday, 04/05/10 21:20:29 EDT

Its true, Yvon Chinouird started out as a blacksmith, forging pitons in the winter, selling them from the truck of his car in the summer while climbing.
But he moved on to selling machined nuts, chocks, and similar aluminum devices, which dont destroy the rock when used.
I used to live nearby Ventura, where patagonia headquarters are, and at least ten or so years ago, he still kept a small forge setup at the corporate headquarters for when he felt like banging on some hot iron.
- Ries - Tuesday, 04/06/10 22:00:49 EDT

Internet: I use the net a lot as I am stuck out here in rural China. One of the problems is that there is just so much junk on there and plenty of people assume it is all correct. My most recent treasure is an explanation of how to make a welding bench out of 1.6mm steel sheet (i.e. 1/16") and to stiffen it up by using plywood. I have seen many other gems but that one is a beauty.
PHILIP IN CHINA - Tuesday, 04/06/10 22:51:21 EDT

Welding Benches:
We've discussed these many times. So when Phillip wrote, I touched up and posted my reply. I'll add more photos and drawings later.
Welding Benches
- guru - Wednesday, 04/07/10 01:05:31 EDT

Jock, I noticed the disclaimer is gone... did we shame him into submission?
- Nippulini - Wednesday, 04/07/10 06:55:22 EDT

He's still on the run, Nip.
- Tyler Murch - Wednesday, 04/07/10 11:20:38 EDT

Nope, its NOW at the top of this page (as well as archived) AND in a new article on copyright infringement and band width theft.
Copyright Issues - Infringers Hall of Shame
- guru - Wednesday, 04/07/10 12:25:32 EDT

I have a workbench from Sears with a fiberboard top covered by maybe 20ga (say 1 mm) galvanized sheet. I can't even weld anywhere *near* it because the zinc is a spatter magnet.
Mike BR - Wednesday, 04/07/10 18:49:42 EDT

Welding Bench: This may be the ultimate welding bench, ultimate price too.
- Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 04/07/10 19:05:49 EDT

Ultimate Benches:
I've seen quite a bit of specialized one-off fixturing built similar to this. Machined all over, drilled grids of holes. Very expensive. This stuff is probably very economical to building your own.

The weld platens I have are not machined and are therefore out of flat as much as 3/8". But machined platens are often as flat as possible via Blanchard grinding.

Probably the most expensive "bench" in our shop is a 5 foot by 8 foot by 8" thick black granite flat. While not a welding bench a lot of assembly has been done on this surface besides precision measurement and testing.

We were talking about old planers. . Many old planers have been scraped and their tables used for assembly and welding benches. 30 foot long machined tables with T-slots all the way from end to end. Pretty slick and close to "ultimate" benches.

I have the table off an old shaper that makes a pretty slick precision block. Machined all over, T-slots, bolting holes.
- guru - Wednesday, 04/07/10 20:35:30 EDT

the time Don T has spent answering emails he could have deleted the avatar 9 times by now.
- Tyler Murch - Thursday, 04/08/10 16:36:10 EDT

Jock those acorns that PAW PAW got from me were floor plates and ordered unground. Didn't notice tham as being that far out.
ptree - Thursday, 04/08/10 19:33:38 EDT

Ptree, I have not checked the one I bought from Sheri but I think it is flatter than my old one. My old plate was also being used as a floor plate and was one of dozens. It is high a full 3/8" at the center. Many from that source were machined (at nearly the cost of new plates).

One thing that happens to weld platens is that they are often used for heavy heating and straightening. The heating causes them to warp. I've been told a story about a rail road shop that used solid (un-ribbed) weld platens. These are commonly 6 to 8" thick and can be used on both sides. The RR-shop would use the plate until the hump was too much then flip the plate over and keep using it. Apparently this was a daily process. . .
- guru - Thursday, 04/08/10 20:18:15 EDT

Myth or Not: In recent years folks have been teaching that "aiming" a hammer by resting your thumb on the back of the hammer handle is bad practice and could result in nerve damage.

Now we have a current author that trains people to put their thumb on the back of the hammer.

Should this be exposed as a dangerous practice?

I've tried to do some research online but cannot find any medical opinion on this. Is this just another modern myth spread like others? I'm looking for REAL concrete evidence, a scientific study, proof other than hearsay.

- guru - Friday, 04/09/10 13:43:30 EDT

"Aiming" the hammer: I don't know if it is harmfull or not, but to Me is is about as natural as pointing at something with Your thumb.

My Dad was an old school carpenter, He did not put His thumb on the back of the handle, He wrapped it around. I took My clue from Him.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 04/09/10 20:14:50 EDT

Improper thumb placement: I have forund that if I put my thumb on the back of the hammer in the "aiming position" my thumb and wrist will get sore pretty quick.
People say they need to use the thumb to "aim" the hammer stroke but, I have trained mayself to hit in the same place on the anvil and move the work to the hammer instead. This doesn't reqiure as much aiming and I know were the hammer will hit every time.
- merl - Friday, 04/09/10 23:33:44 EDT

this is a big pet pev with me when I teach.
I think it is a real danger, a friend that is a orthapedics (and a bladesmith) agrees. the only time I allow my students (or my self for that matter) to put a thumb over the top is when doing very light and controlled hammering with very small hammers (peening the serfice or a sword fitting, plandising, engraving chasing, etc) and then I use (and teach) to grip with thumb and first finger using the other three fingers to move the hammer and control the blow.
- mpmetal - Saturday, 04/10/10 08:53:29 EDT

Thumb on hammer handle,: Jock,
See if you can get a hold of Richard Milne, MD. Charlie Sutton mentions that he has written a Safety Manual for blacksmiths, and has a small excerpt of it in "Under a Spreading Chestnut Tree. Someone in OABA should know where to find him.
JimG - Saturday, 04/10/10 14:34:19 EDT

"The Hand" by Frank Wilson: A little food for thought. I haven't read this book in a while, but I recall Wilson talking about the way apes and monkeys flex their fingers towards the palm. This is done in a straight line fashion, the fingers pointing in the direction of the forearm. Man can do this, but man has the further capability of folding the fingers obliquely, so to speak, on the diagonal. Therefore, a human can hold a stick or rod as a straight extension of the forearm.
- Frank Turley - Saturday, 04/10/10 16:31:09 EDT

Thumb on handle:
I had never done this in the past BUT in the last decade I've spent thousands of hours using a track ball which is manipulated with one's thumb and NOW when I pick up a hammer I notice my thumb creeping up there. . . I don't believe I was forging that way but my thumb just wants to be there when I am not thinking about it. . .

Otherwise there IS some argument about this because many teach aiming the hammer with the thumb. It would be nice to settle.
- guru - Saturday, 04/10/10 17:13:27 EDT

Just for the record I'm getting back to about where Poor Boy Blacksmith Tools is fully back in business.

I've subcontracted with ptree to do so lathe work, which make assemply of one part way easier. I've hired a local welded as an availability basis. He may say he will show up at 7AM and do so at 5:50. May say he will be here at 4:00 and show up at 5:15. His redeeming value is he is a quite good welder for the type of work I need done. Way beter than I am so a nicer looking end product.

Still not offering Freon bottle propane forges. What I hope for this guy to do is the make the basic frame and I'll complete the airtubes and insulation. If he can keep me say a dozen bodies ahead I can work with his availability.

I still hobble around, but am getting better at stairs and such.

Interesting experinece. Friend came by. He likes to fish for giant catfish under a bridge with about an 90' deep channel. Said they would staighten any hook he bought. I made him one about 1/4" mild steel about 5" long capabable for maybe 200 lb test time. Hasn't brought by a biggie yet, so still am waiting to see resuts.
Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 04/11/10 09:58:53 EDT

Ken, glad to hear the knee is improving. Don't push beyond what the doc says, but do all the re-hab he does say. Makes the comeback quicker.
ptree - Sunday, 04/11/10 11:09:17 EDT

Ken, no joke about the PT (phys therapy). My shattered pelvis scared the S outta me, but my PT helped me chuck the cane and go for the gold (iron). In my first month I convinced my therapist to let me forge while sitting. Get a nice machinsits chair and put a thick cushion on it. I got a cushion at Ikea with thick denim type material that resists burning. Sitting while forging takes some getting used to, but kept me busy while I had nothing to do all day.
- Nippulini - Monday, 04/12/10 12:14:42 EDT

Actually I spent time in two different hospitals. At Zerizon, where surgery was done, apparently had some 'conplications' which put me in intenwsive montioring (not care). They were a real laid back group and by the second day I was roaming the halls on my own with a walker (within sight of nursing station). One Dr. wanted to keep me due to droping soldium levels in blood. Heck, hospital food is bland to srart with and they would give you this packake with about a dozen grains of salt for a full meal. Did something to knee gettiing into pickup and ended up at local hospital for four more days. There is was 'mother may I for everything'. I hate hospitals. After four days I demanded I be releaed and they reluctantly agreed. They were afraid I would fall at home. OK, so I fall and nap on the floor for a couple of hours until someone finds me.

It will be a cold day in hell before I'll have the other one done though.
Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 04/13/10 08:20:09 EDT

ebay: how 'bout that 300% rate hike, eh
- Tyler Murch - Tuesday, 04/13/10 16:28:42 EDT

More Trouble in Paradise - Top50 List:
The Internet has been compared to "the Wild West" when it comes to rules, laws and enforcement. But there is a NEW sheriff in town and he's out to stomp out the riff-raff including their acquaintances, and family members guilty or not.

The new sheriff is Google and their anti-attack site department. If your site distributes malware (trojan viruses, browser hijacks) or other nasty tricks google will alert users with a message in your google listing "Warning this site may harm your computer". And if you try to go there with many newer browsers a big ugly red block pops up with a STOP sign and a warning "Reported Attack Site" with the choice of "Get me out of here!" (good choice) or "Why was this site blocked?" in Firefox, OR in Google Chrome you have to check a box that indicates that you disregarded the notice.

This is a GOOD thing. However. . .

Last week it was reported that the Blacksmiths Journal Top50 list was one of these blocked sites. IF you read the details there were links from a site in China and two with foreign or nonsensical names that were the actual bad guys. HOWEVER, They WERE on the Top-50 list. . .

Now is where things get sticky. IF you are on the Top50 list you are linked to the Blacksmiths Journal web site and Google may ALSO list YOUR SITE as a possible Attack site. . . Not all browsers report this third cousin relationship and it MAY depend on your security settings. But Your site, OUR site, anyone linked to a site linked to a site reported as an Attack site can have this ugly warning pop up in their browser. This happened to one of our clients so we removed them from the Top-50 list immediately.

For a business this can be a disaster. Any on-line impropriety can destroy an on-line business. We removed our links to the Journal site and four others that were on the Top50 list.

While the Journal is not "the bad guy" they have a system that allows anyone to post an entry on the Top50 list and it becomes live. They have a CHOICE. They can review every site to be sure it is what it says it is and reject those that are not. In the review process Google will also help by warning them of the site being an Attack site and why. But apparently they are no longer reviewing sites.

About a year ago our Blacksmiths Ring was being attacked by these type of sites using an automatic form filing robot. None of these sites ever got listed because we review EVERY site and manually add them to the Ring. But the volume of phony records they produced was HUGE and we had to shut down the new applications form until we had a solution.

The link to a site with a link to an attack site can happen to almost ANY web site. Even when you review all your links it is possible for the URL to become someone else's, OR for them to add bad links OR allow anyone to post a link. . . While YOU are innocent, Google is still going to post you as a possible criminal.

Like the large number of copyright thieves in my recent article there are MANY of these malware attack sites. It is part of life on the Internet. Their purpose is to hide key loggers and obtain your personal information, bank accounts and passwords OR to use your PC as a robot to send spam OR both and many more. . . They spend a great deal of time at their thievery. They have FaceBook and MySpace accounts so they can become "Your Friend", they have ebay and paypal accounts so they can access your bank accounts. They MAY be your suburban neighbor but their server operations are in countries where they enjoy anyone attacking U.S. citizens financially and where the law makes it difficult to track them home.

SO, watch your links. If your site on the Top-50 is a personal site or non-commercial you can probably survive the storm doing nothing. But if your livelihood depends on your website then you may want to remove any links to the Journal web site at least until the problem is sorted out.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/13/10 16:46:12 EDT

Ken S: You will get through this, just keep at it.

A friend of Mine has had 7 knee replacment operations, 3 on 1 side, 4 on the other. He doesn't like the surgery either, but He does what needs to be done. At 72 He still hunts fox on horseback 3 days a week in the season & singlehands His 40' sailboat to the Bahamas & back for the winter [He did cut out going to Maine in the summer] toughest guy I know.
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 04/13/10 20:16:20 EDT

Ken S.: Hi Ken
Hang in there and feel better. Glad you are at the start of a recovery.
- Burnt Forge - Tuesday, 04/13/10 22:40:21 EDT

Serving images? Configure your htaccess file on your server.
- grant - Tuesday, 04/13/10 23:36:53 EDT

Grant, on a small site there are htaccess solutions for all images but on a large site like anvilfire, where on top of everything else we host banners shown on other sites, the solution is not so simple.

Globally blocking images linked anywhere other than from our pages blocks viewing and zooming in on the images separately (normal browser functions). It also blocks innocent use from text links in other forums. AND it also blocks my testing pages off-line. Its a pretty drastic action.

IF when designing a large site you carefully put proprietary logos, trademarks and images that you do not want shared anywhere else in a specific folder and protect THAT folder via htaccess then you can selectively limit access to images.

This works great if you have a grand plan and do everything right from the beginning. That assumes you are born knowing everything. . . I'm afraid I'm still learning after doing this 13 years.

- guru - Wednesday, 04/14/10 02:03:18 EDT

waterfall powered aircompressor: here is a link to an aircompressor Thomas P. mentioned over at the den
taylor aircompressor
JimG - Wednesday, 04/14/10 13:07:50 EDT

I was wrong about the HP only close to 2000; but the pressure was higher than I remembered it.

Probably be able to run an old steam hammer off that cfm!

I always thought it was an elegant solution to a problem of needing air and having the equipment and skills of a mining co at hand.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 04/14/10 14:17:14 EDT

What always bothers me about these articles is they so often claim the person as above, "invented it". He did not. I remembered seeing this system in Diderots but Alan's post on the guru's den using the word trompe reminded me that I had also seen this in old books on industry and physics. Maybe in encyclopedias. In any case, the system was known well enough that it had been published many times.

Given enough drop the pressure is significant. In low head situations you don't get much pressure but can get a lot of volume. Running machinery such as an air hammer would be interesting. I am sure as parts of mining operations they were using the air for hammer drills and other mining machinery.

In a low head situation like our oold grist mill site it could make good air conditioning. . . maybe. The air is going to carry a LOT of moisture with it. Still interesting.
- guru - Wednesday, 04/14/10 17:28:54 EDT

Wet air - exactly what you DON'T want for a steam hammer.
- murf - Wednesday, 04/14/10 17:57:46 EDT

Ore crushers use a lot of air!

On claiming primacy: I have seen a number of modern blacksmiths claim that they "invented" something when I could document the same item/method previous to their birth---sometimes by *centuries*. Never understood why they felt being *first* was so important. I'd rather go for being *BEST*!

But it is quite common for folks to claim primacy without suitable research---like claiming that the circular saw was invented by a shaker---a bit hard as it was known a couple centuries before the Shakers existed. (They patented an improvement)

It's also subject to abuse---why did the early steam engines use the "sun and planet" gearing instead of the simple crank?---Because someone had patented the crank---even though we could date it to about 800 years earlier!

Thomas P - Thursday, 04/15/10 11:09:53 EDT

Say that you had an extra 500 hp to play around with---do you think you could figure a way to dry out the air?

Thomas P - Thursday, 04/15/10 11:11:33 EDT

Wet air in a steam hammer? All the steam hammers run on is "wet air" steam is water vapor:)
Actually, most steam hammers, due to the cycle draw rate, and low quality requirements use "Wet steam".
When you have steady rate draw like to a turbine, a steam dryer can provide high quality dry steam, especially in superheated conditions. But with the intermittant draw and low pressure and usually low superheat if any in steam hammer systems, wet steam is the usual standard. The small droplets do cause errosion and so forth, but a steam hammer is a "Designed for the conditions" type thing, and one expects high maintenance in any production forge equipment, and very very high maintenance in steam hammers.
ptree - Thursday, 04/15/10 13:11:08 EDT

Patents on Prior Art:
The computer industry and other high tech industries currently have serious issues with patents on obvious ideas and prior art due to the ignorance or inexperience of patent examiners.

In the early years of the nuclear industry Westinghouse had a patent for the grid that supports fuel elements. The patent was broadly written that it could have been applied to ANY egg crate design using crossing members. But because it was "nuclear" the patent department did not objectively look at the patent. For a number of years it was my father's job to seek out new methods of doing things in the field and particularly to break the Westinghouse strangle hold on the fuel grid. He did it by coming up with a one piece grid. It was stamped from plate by cutting a lot of X shaped cuts and twisting the diamond shaped pieces to form vertical members. Each diamond also had dimples and curved ends that acted as springs to hold the tubes snugly. It was ugly and covered with sharp edges but it broke the Westinghouse strangle hold and gave patent lawyers arguments against "any multi-piece" design. Dad's prior art list included bottle grates and many other examples.

Dad went on to patent a hydraulic control rod design that used the cooling water to raise the control rods. Pump failure or low coolant automatically shut down the reactor. He also invented the differential control rod design which would shut down on power loss and also work upside down or sideways.

I've invented a few things. But as Thomas noted it is difficult to determine who was really the first to invent anything. Its a big world out there. . .
- guru - Thursday, 04/15/10 14:50:38 EDT

copyright: Let me say first I do not advocate stealing copyrighted material. Just want to talk about the interesting paradigm involved. Yes, it IS stealing, but it's different than when someone steals, say, your camera. When someone steals your camera, you no longer have your camera. With images and such you still have your property, and often lose nothing. If someone uses it as an avatar, you lose nothing because if they couldn't just take it, they probably never would have bought it. The way people view it is different too because copies can be made so easily. When someone buys a new car, they don't call their friends and say "Hey, ya want me to rip you a copy"? There's just a qualitative difference. Just some thoughts to throw in to the mix.
- grant - Thursday, 04/15/10 20:32:35 EDT

Copyright, Trademarks and "real" property: So, What happens to your line of tools if I go to China and have cheap low quality tongs that are made of mystery metal, not finished well and sell for a third of yours BUT I stamp them "Off Center Tools"? Then I sell them via distribution to dozens of ebay dealers, the flea marketers and pretty much saturate the market. . . Its "only" a name. Your real property has not been stolen.

SO, you change names, spend thousands on an ad campaign proclaiming you are NOT Off Center Tools you are now "Sarver Tools". But faster than you can get in production and at a tenth of your die cost I have my guys in China make a new name stamp and flood the market using your new name. You haven't lost anything "real". . . Just your name, your trademark, the money put into advertising OR creating that NEW trademark. Some companies spend MILLIONS on names and trade marks. So they have no value?

Lets look at "real" property. Treat your new pickup truck like the "good ole boys" treat trespassing and hunting on posted land. Every time you park your truck I hop in the bed with muddy feet, leave trash in it, bend the chrome side rails siting on them. . I didn't steal your truck or take it away from you. Say I DO "borrow and return" you still have it. . .

OR suppose I show up at your home on a Sunday morning with a bunch of friends and have a party out front, leave ruts in the lawn, beer cans, trash, wake you up with the noise. . . . I haven't taken anything from you. . . The rednecks that think ANY rural land is theirs to hunt and fish on do not understand this logic ESPECIALLY the situation with THEIR truck. . . But trespass is trespass. Littering is litering. Being a public nuisance. . . well that is more complicated. It is no different.

When someone steals my camera (replacement cost about $1500) I can (relatively) easily replace it. But when someone tarnishes the value of my trademark, or represents themselves as me or my brand the cost can be much greater and I cannot buy a new one for a few dollars. Can YOU?
- guru - Thursday, 04/15/10 21:27:54 EDT

copyright: In that case Grant, may I copy your tool designs verbatum and sell them as my own and not acknowlage you or pay you in any way for them?
I think I would call that theft and, if I could take enough money out of your pocket by doing it, I think you would call it theft too...
The Guru and others have put the time and effort into the creation of the anvilfire logo and they, and no one else, should be the ones to benifit or profit from the effort, at thier sole discretion.
I see no differance between a theft of phyisical property and intelectual property.
I don't think the owner or creator of that property should have to take measures beond "That's mine, please don't take it" to prevent its theft.
If you find an aluminum can on the street do you assume that it belongs to no one and it is now yours for the taking? Maybe it fell out of a cart belonging to someone that scratches out a living picking them up for recycling and now you are digging in to thier pockets.
If you find a wallet on the street or see the keys in the ignition of an unattended car is it then up for grabs?
Anyone smart enough to use a computor to accsess the internet and navigate to a web site and copy a logo from that site, is also smart enough to know that what they have done is WRONG! No matter how the image is used it has still been "stolen" by being used without the copyright owners permission.
BFD!! Right?
What if the logo was being used in conection with a porn site or with some hate group ect...
Now the image has not only been stolen but, may be causing even further damage to its actual owner because of the misuse.
Jock is a big boy and can fight his own battles but, I can't beleave that you, as a business man, would hold this veiw.
- merl - Thursday, 04/15/10 22:05:18 EDT

And yet there is nothing in my post that is untrue. By the same token , nothing in your post is untrue. I was not arguing or advocating for anything.

Now you're talking about "trademarks", when the subject you started was images. I said nothing about trademarks which are another subject entirely. Nor did I say vandalizing you property wouldn't reduce it's value. Only said you can make unlimited copies of an image, unlike real property.

Most of the things you mention come under criminal laws. For which you can get help from law enforcement. Try telling a cop that someone stole an image from you. I was simply pointing out the different ways people (and the law) view copyright infringement.

When someone sells tools with my name on them, I can document a financial loss. When some kid uses an image from my website as his avatar, how have I lost money? Not saying it's right, it just is not worth my time worrying about it.

As I said in my first post, it's just interesting.
- grant - Thursday, 04/15/10 22:39:48 EDT

In what "case" may you copy my tools? Where are you reading that I said any of that is OK?

Nobody is "fighting". And nobody is advocating anything. Can't you read?
- grant - Thursday, 04/15/10 22:43:56 EDT

All that because I thought the paradigm was "interesting". And then simply stated a few facts regarding it. The reaction is even more interesting.
- grant - Thursday, 04/15/10 22:49:49 EDT

I'm not saying that you are arguing or advocating for anything.
I'm just taken a back that you seem to be so unconcernd about an activity that could just as easily have the negitive effect on you as it does to anyone else.
I'm just like you and the Guru and everyone else that I have to work dam hard to keep cometitive at what I do so I can continue to make a living at it.
I wouldn't just sit by and let someone use the tools from my tool box just because they are too lazy to get thier own.
Can I come to your shop and make my products on your equipment with your material and electricity and then not pay you for it? I bet not.
That is the point I am making.
It's not the relitive size or value of the product being stolen, it's the fact that IT IS being stolen and being used for someone elses personal gain that is the problem.
We should not have to be continualy deciding if this or that "theft" is minor enough to ignor and at what point do I have to take action.
"Thou shalt not steal" Words to live by not just because it's supposed to be the word of God but, because without a few simple, binding rules or "laws" for us all, we would have total chaos.
- merl - Friday, 04/16/10 01:13:31 EDT

Grant, I understand your point. But the same people that steal images, articles and other information on the web to put on their own websites use the same logic to steal a trademark or make pirate goods. Our anvilfire flaming anvil image IS part of our trademark no different than your business name or logo.

My comparison to real property is that trespassers use the EXACT same logic that "it doesn't hurt anything". I may have gone overboard. But generally trespassers don't just hover over your property. They DO damage, they leave tracks, they often leave trash and break fences and tear down signs. . . But when caught they ALWAYS claim they did nothing to hurt the property owner. . . I fought this battle for decades at our old grist mill. It is the same mindset that doesn't believe in copyright.

AND you can tell a cop about a trespasser and they are as likely to do as much as they would about a stolen image. You are told to go to the courthouse and file a complaint. Against who? Mr. Anonymous Q. Hunter? I've been there too . . .

Copyright infringement is the theft of intellectual property and the people that do it don't think they are hurting anyone. Just like the trespasser.

SO, who does it hurt to counterfeit paper money? Its just an image on paper. The government can print more. . . Who does it hurt? Sure, it hurts everyone by devaluing the real currency. But how much? Enough that anyone can tell? A penny per dollar, a penny per hundred?

It depends on the number of counterfeiters. It could be a little or a LOT. But if you don't actively try to stop every counterfeiter then your currency could be severely impacted.

Its the same with any creative work. If pirates copy your work enough then it becomes worthless to you. It doesn't matter if it is art, literature or software.

If the image on your web site is earning money (as those on anvilfire do) then stealing them and putting them elsewhere on the web devalues them. Put enough copies out there and they stop earning money for the creator.

So when do you demand that your copyright be enforced? One infringement? A thousand? How many counterfeiters do you allow before you enforce the laws against it?

WHAT REALLY Gripes me is the folks that STEAL images and articles then have a copyright notice on their web page with the stolen content. . .
- guru - Friday, 04/16/10 02:13:35 EDT

The Northern Tool Co. 4" x 6" 3/4" blade bandsaw I purchased a couple of years ago is increasing cutting at a hortizontal angle. Blade misalignment is obvious to the eye. I've replaced the guides and tried all of the in-out adjustments to the guide units. No real difference. (Gap between the guides does seem wide though.) Only thing I can think of is the top and bottom blade guide wheels have worn so instead of being flat they are now bowed in (for want of another term) so the blade doesn't rotate properly. Think half-V rather than flat. Visually they look flat. Before I chuck this saw and upgrade has anyone had a similar problem?
Ken Scharabok - Friday, 04/16/10 15:58:46 EDT

Ken i had the same problem with one of these. I found that the guide rollers needed shimming to get back into alignment, Also Iif you overtighten the blade tension it will cup the blade and make it cut sideways. I also have had to shim the roller that the bakside of the blade runs against to get it to center. The rollers on most of these are in-expensive sealed bearings that can be had fairly cheaply. They wear and will send the blade off course. A good square, and trial and error will usually get these straight again.
ptree - Friday, 04/16/10 17:08:53 EDT

Saw tracking:
Ken, this can be caused by several things. Wheel wear usually has no effect as long as the blade stays on the wheels. The adjustment for this is the tilt of the top wheel. The guide wheels are supposed to keep the blade cutting straight.

IF the saw is in good condition but has been used to saw work that pinched the blade, the set on the teeth could be damaged on one side of the blade.

The tracking rollers on some of these saws are much smaller than they need to be and wear out fairly rapidly. Others are not adjustable. Properly adjustable rollers can be adjusted to where there is only a few thousandths of an inch clearance between blade and rollers.

The adjustment that is critical to the blade sawing straight is the rotation of the guide assemblies. Due to the possible problems in the guide rollers this is pretty much done by trial and error. A piece of stock about 1" is sawed, then checked, then sawed. Besides being trial and error this adjustment is a bit frustrating to make. To rotate the guide assemblies the bolts are loosened and the casting rotated a microscopic amount, a "frog's hair" as they say. Both should be rotated so that there is no discernible twist in the blade between the two. This is one of those places that the bolts are loosened a little then a small hammer used to move the part. When testing cuts use a new blade.

When these saws have a full complement of adjustments it is frustrating at best. Many of these saws do not have all the adjustments. In my opinion these are worse than no saw.
- guru - Friday, 04/16/10 17:57:13 EDT

BGOP Spring Fling: I'm off for the Spring Fling in Berryville, VA, as of 0-dark:30 tomorrow (the wif has Bingo tonight).

Tom Latane' and the Williamsburg crew.

I'll report in when I'm back.
BGOP Spring Fling
Bruce Blackistone - Friday, 04/16/10 18:59:07 EDT

Don't forget that copyright infringement *can* be criminal. It's a criminal offense to willfully infringe a copyright for financial gain or to copy works worth $1000 in a six month period.
- Mike BR - Friday, 04/16/10 19:24:12 EDT

CT guild meeting: if any one is in the area or oakville CT this Sat (4/17/10) we will be hosting a meeting of the CT blacksmiths guild (CBG) sat 1-4pm the meeting is open to all. we will be demonstrating pattern welding and sword/knife forging.
directions can be found on our web site. or on the CBG site
falling hammer productions LLC
mpmetal - Friday, 04/16/10 20:08:42 EDT

Once again Anvilfire comes through. After reading the above comments the spacing between the guide wheels on each side of the blade seemed way too wide (about 1/8"). Looked at a set of replacements guides I have on hand and found the shaft isn't centered. As the shaft rotates the guide can 'wobble' about 1/16". Narrowed the gap as much as possible, readjusted for hortizontal (off a bit) and a new blade puts me back to cutting square.

I don't remember how many blades I have damaged trying to use the saw in the upright position as it isn't properly equipped with a table. Also very awkward to stand and use the blade. Blades are over $30 pop. Upright work I do simply isn't worth blade damage potential or a separate bandsaw. Thus, will end a couple of listings.
Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 04/17/10 10:17:30 EDT

Ken, I pay just under $20 per blade for the Lennox Die Master II at Hagemeyer. I buy 10 of a type at a crack to save on the UPS.
ptree - Saturday, 04/17/10 15:23:13 EDT

Atomium structure; Brussels: I was looking through the picture/caption book, "Earth from Above," and came across a HUGE body centered cubic structure. It is a large representation of nine atoms, what they call the "elementary iron crystal." One of the spherical atoms houses a restaurant, another a permanent exhibition, each 60 feet in diameter. 95 foot long tubes connect all the spheres. The structure was built of steel and clad with aluminum for the 1958 World's Fair. Check it out at

ref: "Earth from Above" by Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Pub: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2002.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 04/18/10 17:46:33 EDT

I have been to the Atomium.
Unfortunately, even though it was technically open til 5, they stopped admitting visitors at 4:30, so I didnt get to go up inside it.
But it is a very cool structure.
It is in a beautiful park, and most of the rest of the World's Fair buildings are gone now, so it is set off rather nicely by its surroundings.
Brussels in general is a wonderful town, with great food, nice people, and interesting museums.
Maybe if I get to go there again, I will go up to the top of the Atomium
- ries - Sunday, 04/18/10 21:04:17 EDT

I've seen the Atomium web site and it is an amazing place. It is not completely utilized and can be rented for office or retail space and events as well.
- guru - Monday, 04/19/10 09:15:19 EDT

For 'anvilheads': take a look at eBay listing #380226180210. I don't think this was an anvil base, but rather some type of special purpose anvil or part of another tool. View from the bottom does imply something was bolted to the top, although the bolt stem and nut may not be original.
Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 04/20/10 00:29:01 EDT

Ken, This comes under "its old and rusty so it MUST be a blacksmith tool".

I agree. Its a base for SOMETHING but much too light for an anvil stand.

In our family shop we have a gorgeous vise stand that has an oval base, sweeping column and sturdy top. The old multi position vise on it looks like it was designed to go on that stand. . . . The stand was for an 1800's industrial ironing board. I scraped it out of a laundry and took the board off, so *I* know. But you could call it anything today and someone would believe you.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/20/10 03:38:14 EDT

"Anvil Stand": Interesting piece. As of now (09:24 04202010) there are no bids. Lacking time, money (HVAC repair bill is not in), and a direct use, I'll pass; but if I saw it on a tailgate I might be tempted.

The one thing that worries me is the graceful arch of the feet, certainly a reduced bearing area, so it would have to be a fairly light-use stake or other tool; maybe something akin to a shear or tire bender, rather than an anvil.

I like Jock's ironing board/vise stand story! If we get a photo sections set up, we should have a "Wazit?" section just for the mysterious oddities we come across.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 04/20/10 07:20:29 EDT

Like overpriced tongs at flea markets..... $30 per pair!
- Nippulini - Tuesday, 04/20/10 18:41:04 EDT

That eBay "Anvil Stand" looks like a milk separator stand to me....
- Dave Hammer - Tuesday, 04/20/10 21:22:45 EDT

That was my first thought too Dave.
JimG - Wednesday, 04/21/10 09:06:37 EDT

That is it! hahahaha. . . Blacksmiths Tool!
- guru - Wednesday, 04/21/10 09:22:52 EDT

Milk Seperator Stand: But HE SAID it came from a blacksmith's shop! 8-0

(Of course, if it's like most shops I've had, anything that even looks remotely useful gravitates towards it. Not to mention what friends drop by, because something looks useful.)

I presently have the aluminum spinner from a three-bladed aircraft prop looking useful, but I just haven't put my finger on it; too soft for a helm, but... :-)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 04/21/10 11:34:03 EDT

TGN, a friend of mine was once offered a set of tongs for $45 by an antique dealer and told what a great buy they were! Turns out thay had one of those pricing books that showed a set of tongs with solid provenance to Henry Ford, (IIRC) that sold for $90 so they thought that a random set selling for half price must be a great deal.

He offered to sell them several hundred pairs for $20 and so make their fortune!

- Thomas P - Wednesday, 04/21/10 11:37:45 EDT

ebay as a POOR sorce of good information...: I have to agree with Mr. Hammer on the "anvil stand"
I looked at some of the other offerings listed in the anvil catagory. I guess if you put the word "vintage" in the item description that makes it worth so much more and must also qualify it as a "blacksmith tool".
The only thing I saw of real intrest was the 800+lb. anvil with stand that was missing its horn.
An interesting stand. The bottom of the anvil has been made or, modified to fit in the channel of the base but the two screws on either side of it look like they were intended for side to side adjustment rather than to hold it down tight.
Is this a base off of something else that has been reused and the anvil milled to fit?
Even with out the horn I can't believe there were no bids as of 1AM when I saw it.
- merl - Wednesday, 04/21/10 11:46:41 EDT

Merl, That is the OEM Blacker power hammer anvil. See our Fisher-Norris page for a similar machine that used a special Fisher anvil.
- guru - Wednesday, 04/21/10 13:33:32 EDT

Ahh... well thanks Guru, that makes perfect sence!
See, it's just as I said above, "ebay a poor sorce of information, Anvilfire a good one..."
- merl - Wednesday, 04/21/10 16:00:41 EDT

IIRC Chambersburg made a "Mechanical Sledge" for a while that was much like the Blacker, it too had an anvil with a notch in it.
Judson Yaggy - Wednesday, 04/21/10 16:21:26 EDT

There is a picture of one on our Fisher-Norris page.
Fisher-Norris Eagle Anvils
- guru - Wednesday, 04/21/10 22:33:55 EDT

I have one of the Fishers with the inset for the side; I don't know if it came from a Cburg or a Blacker hammer though; just that it was from an old RR repair shop in Columbus OH.

Thomas P - Thursday, 04/22/10 10:42:57 EDT

Thomas, It would be a C'burg since the Blacker is of British manufacture and used a wrought English anvil.
- guru - Thursday, 04/22/10 11:05:04 EDT

I suspect that base if worth more to the guy as part of a cream separator than as an anvil/tool base. I varguely, and I mean valguely, remember an older sister cranking on something like that when were were n Slinger (WI). At next dairy in Husesford milk sold directly to a creamery. The skim milk we got back want to feeder hogs.
Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 04/22/10 11:24:06 EDT

custom bowie knife: Hey guys, this is basically a bragging thread of sorts. My best made knife, so far, is currently for sale on Ebay:

ebay page
Draconis - Thursday, 04/22/10 16:20:52 EDT

Mr Postman referred me to Larry Wood's Blacker when I asked him why my Fisher anvil had the inset on it. (I later bought that Blacker to keep it from being scrapped and then passed it onto the Fisher Museum)

Is it possible that Blackers shipped to the US might have had a US anvil to save on shipping?

Thomas P - Thursday, 04/22/10 16:42:13 EDT

First, all you need to post is the item number. Long urls break our pages and hot links to ebay go dead. .

I won't comment on the blade other than you need to use a flatter hammer, say one with a rocker face, and take your time. Spend more time filing, grinding, finishing.

Note that "full tang" indicates a tang the full width of the blade, not a tapered tang.

And last, when photographing PRODUCT, never cut off parts of the product. In one case you have cut of the tip of the knife and the other the grip. Avoid using flash if possible and always adjust the image gamma and contrast to give the best results.

Keep working at it. Practice, practice, practice.
- guru - Thursday, 04/22/10 16:55:21 EDT

Blacker Anvils:
Thomas, this is quite possible. Fisher was also in business to a much later date than the British makers.

In this weight class their cast anvils would have been much cheaper than wrought as well.
- guru - Thursday, 04/22/10 16:58:06 EDT

tools needed: I am an artist working with the Louisiana Artworks organization, a non profit facility for training artists in the skills they need to produce their art and providing a workspace for them to work in. We have some tools but need some others to get the metal shop up and running. The blacksmithing area needs anvils, ball peen hammers and cross peen hammers. We are supported by donations and are looking for anyone who might have some extra tools to donate to our project.
Our organization can be found at . We appreciate any help anyone can provide.
Thank you,
Mary Ann Breen
- Mary Ann Breen - Thursday, 04/22/10 20:21:35 EDT

i have been looking to get a decent oxy propane torch for cutting since i already have the propane tanks and it is easier to buy for me. does anyone have any advice for purchasing one? and any recomendations for brands to go for?
- bigfoot - Friday, 04/23/10 10:28:55 EDT

Bigfoot, There are those that would argue the point but I have had good luck with my local welding supplier even though I started on the WRONG foot by buying Sears welding equipment.

Whatever brand you buy you are going to need replacement OR a wider range of tips, replacement hoses, gauges. . . AND consumables Oxygen, rods. . .

IF you buy your equipment from a local dealer and then the supplies, you will be on the way to building up a business relationship. In a business relationship folks are more likely to be more helpful, answer questions, order parts without prepayment, break bulk packages for you. . . and many other little perks.

Remember that you are going to need to lease an oxygen tank and get it refilled at the same place for many years.

That said, Buy American. AO Smith is good. I like Victor but I'm told some or all their stuff comes from China now. . . I've got Victor stuff that is probably 50 years old. . .

The last time I bought Victor it was a Journeyman II Set including carrying box. The slip cover on the box said in small letters, Printed in China or Made in China, I cannot remember. None of the brass said where it was made so I can assume NOT HERE. The heavier than normal multi-task wrench said Made in China, but the striker said Made in USA. The hoses and tip cleaner also said Made in USA. The manual appeared to be printed in the US as these are supposed to be marked where printed. . .

The reason I bought the whole set at this time is both the cutting torch attachments I have had failed, probably due to insects building nests in them. I tried cleaning them with no result. When I priced the replacement I was told that for just twice the cost I could purchase a whole Journeyman outfit (complete with regulators and multi-fuel hoses), SO, that is what I did since I have a large investment in Victor torches and tips. I'll probably continue to buy Victor for the same reason. . . But I would rather buy 100% American.

So, Pick a convieniently located welding supplier. Go shopping there. Ask them for their recommendations. You don't have to buy there, but realize that you may be making trips there as often as once a week if you are doing any significant business. My guys are in their third ownership since I started doing business there and even though I am in only about once a year they still know me, OR act like it. . . which is just as important.
- guru - Friday, 04/23/10 14:04:11 EDT

guru, that is pretty much my plan. but, there are welding shops, but no welding supply houses nearby me (but i can always get used stuff from them, which is my new plan since i am a scrooge-like). i can talk to the old school welders (who think i am cool, beacause i am sill a teen and am not messing about with sill hobbies). i basically was told that propane is a BAD idea since it isn't hot enough and i will need a BIG old torch for 3in plate and whatnot. so i may have to go for acetyline. thanks for the ideas. hopefully this may work out better then my stick welder plan. LOL
- bigoot - Friday, 04/23/10 14:51:26 EDT

whoever told you propane isnt hot enough, and that you need a "BIG" torch for 3" plate is off their rocker
- TMurch - Friday, 04/23/10 16:36:02 EDT

Torch Size and Fuel. Propane is generally used for most industrial cutting. It does not take a lot larger torch than acetylene. IT DOES take the proper tips and for heavy work it takes slightly larger preheat but a LOT more oxygen. The amount of oxygen is limited by the size of the valve orifices in the torch and hose size/length as well in the tip.

Propane cuts a little differently but not so much different than acetylene. It just takes some getting used to.

Generally material cut thickness is limited by the overall torch design. However, the little blue card for propane that came with the Victor II set says you can cut up to 5" with torches that use 1/4" (standard) hoses. Oxygen press for 5" plate is 45/55 going through a #39 (.0995) orifice. That is a big hole at that pressure. Fuel pressure is only 8/12.

If you want to cut 6" and greater material you need a heavy duty industrial torch. If you want to cut anything smoothly you need lots of practice and if you want to cut thick plate by hand smoothly you just flat out need SKILL. I'm mediocre but when when there is heavy plate to cut the guys in the shop usually come to me. Our general rule is "If you cut it, you clean it up". But most of the folks I've worked with would rather clean up after me than themselves. . . Of course a BIG difference in my cuts is I will look up the tip size and recommended pressures before cutting heavy plate . . .

The standard cutting tip that comes with various welding outfits ranges from 3/8" to 3/4" capacity depending on the model. For thicker cuts you need a larger tip (and big oxygen cylinders). But for smooth work in thinner plate you should also have a smaller tips. Most outfits come with ONE tip. In a general shop you could stand to have 3 or 4 sizes minimum.

In my youth I bought a Sears Craftsman "Professional" oxyacetylene set. A couple years later when I went into blacksmithing full time I tried to buy a range of tips for it. Sears never made any other size than the ONE OEM size for 3/8" material. . . When I purchased the Sears I was SURE they had just privately branded some standard manufacturer. . . Nope, it was a Sears, and only a Sears. Some later models were OA Smith but not mine. My welding supplier had tips (or THE tip) and compared to hundreds of others. . . no dice.

While nothing is a sure thing these days. It pays to buy from a major manufacturer.
- guru - Friday, 04/23/10 16:40:51 EDT

TMurch, the fellas i was talking to were really old school. they don't do much (if any) cutting, but they know more then me. LOL plus i won't argue, since they give me free stuff. :D i will go local if i buy anything. the local industrial supply is about an hour away, so it is a bit of a hike. thanks a ton for the tips, it wil l defiantly be kept in mind for my projects.
- bigoot - Friday, 04/23/10 16:45:44 EDT

Bigfoot, the guru speaks from experience. Listen carefully. As for propane, the scrappers I know are industrial scrappers and cut very heavy plate every day. They bring propane tourchs, fed from 100# bottles and a liquid Oxygen bottle that probably equals 20 oxygen welding bottles. They have that O2 bottle and a couple of 100# propane tanks on a truck, with maybe 200' of hose each for 2 tourches. They can cut heavy stuff all day and not have to go for more fuel or O2.
I have seen them burn 10 inch shafts into 2' long lenghts all day.
Now these are scrappers tourchs that are about 5' long. They stand up and cut stuff laying on the ground.
A good bit of gear is a proper shade for cutting face shield. Great field of view, less splatters to the face and they don't tend to fog up like the cheap little cutting goggles.
- ptree - Friday, 04/23/10 17:17:28 EDT

Bigfoot, see my posts about standards and learning to use oxyacetylene equipment on the guru's den. If is THE most dangerous equipment in the shop if not understood. There are clear IMPORTANT rules about keeping cylinders on carts or chaining them to walls. The worst folks I've known about not following the rules are the old farts that learned on the job and think they know everything. . . . They might be a certified weldor but that doesn't mean they know the rules!

If you are going to be using oxygen (the other half of the system) you will need to be traveling to a welding supplier. . . OR have an open account with them so they will deliver to your (industrial only) site.
- guru - Friday, 04/23/10 18:50:19 EDT

i know almost everyone on here knows far more about cutting and welding then i do espicially you professionals. i do know i am a cheap ba****d and will cut every corner (except in saftey, i would rather not get hurt) to save a buck, unless it cuts quality. LOL the face sheild is a very good tip as burns to the face aren't fun. i have the bouton shade 2 glasses (bought here of course), but i don't think that they will do the trick for cutting big stuff.
Will a regular torch set up (just an acetyline torch) with a propane hose and tip work as a propane cutting torch?
3in will be the max i plan to cut (for now i plan to stick to under 1in, but the extra flexibilty is going to be needed since i seem to keep making bigger and bigger stuff). from the internet searches i have done i will need about 3 times the O2 for propane and it will take longer to preheat, but it will be cheaper. also, only 10% of the heat is in the cone of the flame as opposed to 40% of acetyline, also the lighting procedure is different then that of acetyline. is this right? or am i barking up the wrong tree (so to speak)?
90% of what i will cut is in the 1/4-1/2in range just to save time instead of hot cutting. and the torch should be good for heating small areas for bending since i can't do that in my gas forge. am i corect that this can be done?
- bigoot - Friday, 04/23/10 19:00:35 EDT

just a note, i plan on attending the local comunity college as they teach welding and cutting as a night class. that way i get certified AND know all of the saftey rules.
- bigoot - Friday, 04/23/10 19:02:01 EDT


By the time I bought a torch set, an oxygen bottle, *one* propane cutting tip and *one* propane heating/brazing tip, I spent the same amount as I would have for the package with torch set, oxygen and acetylene bottles and cart. Grade T hose isn't cheap either, though it was standard on the torch I bought. Propane probably costs less than acetylene in the long run -- a 20# bottle lasts nigh on forever on the torch. But you may not save anything up front. (I did later find Victor knock-off tips at for much less than the welding supplier charged for the real deal).

You probably know this already, but gas welding with propane isn't feasible.

Mike BR - Friday, 04/23/10 19:05:32 EDT


Missed your latest posts. Yes, a regular torch set will work for propane with the right tips. But it needs to have grade T hoses and propane-rated regulators. Some "ordinary" torch sets come with both.

Preheat is slower with propane, but the 3X figure on oxygen use can't be right. The preheat flame uses much less oxygen that actual cutting does. And, of course, the ratio of preheat time to cutting time varies with the length of the cut. I'd be surprised if you used 50% extra oxygen even with a lot of short cuts, but I'm just pulling a figure out of the air (so to speak).
Mike BR - Friday, 04/23/10 19:18:42 EDT

yeah, i have heard that gas welding with propane is doable (but that isn't something i really will need to do that often. i plan to get a big ol' stick welder for welding when i need to). so short term it is the same price or more expensive, but long term is cheaper? i have 4 20lb bottles and a 50lb bottle, so that should handle my cutting needs for a little while.
theortically is it possible to heat (like a rosebud) with my forge burner? that way i guess i could only get the cutting tips and not have to buy MORE stuff then i have to.
- bigoot - Friday, 04/23/10 19:20:31 EDT

EDIT: i meant to say in my first sentace that propane welding isn't doable. sorry!
- bigoot - Friday, 04/23/10 19:30:01 EDT

Bigfoot: While gas welding with propane might be doable [I KNOW it won't give good results] unless You want to weld with a torch, acetylene should be Your last choice in fuel gas for safety reasons. Propane or propalene are more cost effective and safer cutting fuels, in spite of longer pre-heat times.

With regard to American brand names [regardless of where they might be made] the ones I recall are Concoa [formerly Airco] Esab [they own the Union Carbide brand names, Purox, Prestolite & Oxweld] Harris, Victor, Smith [NOT AO Smith, different company] and Uniweld. There are many import products "compatible" with one or another of these brands, but quality is inconsistant, and service is unavailable.

With regard to Harris cutting equipment, they make atachments for acetylene, and atachments for other fuel gasses, the difference being the mixer in the torch head. Victor & Esab put the mixer in the preheat feed tube, and Airco/Concoa gear uses tip mixing. Smith uses torch head mixing, and the newer ones have a flashback arrester built in the torch head. Uniweld makes equipment compatible with several brands.

I also will comment on propane being fine for heavy plate cutting, at the plant We had a mechanised plate cutting machine capable of 12" using propane.

At Quad State I havs seen demonstrations of Propalene as a cutting fuel, if You aren't already committed to a fuel gas with an inventory of equipment, it is worth looking into.

I own all My fuel gas, shielding gas and oxy tanks outright. It doesn't take too many years for this to pay off in a small shop.

Some gas supliers will give You a hard time about customer owenership of all but the smallest tanks. If This is Your situation, go to a TSC Farm Store and buy the biggest ones they have.

If You end up with acetylene, tank size becomes an issue, You might recall a post of Mine some months ago regarding withdrawl rates, 7:1 being the old rule, now they say 10:1. This will be an issue with small tanks and larger cutting tips, heating tips & rosebuds.

Do Your homework [reasearch] and choose wisely.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 04/23/10 20:10:27 EDT

A big ol' stick welder is a much better choice than a torch for welding big ol' stuff. On 20 ga sheet, not so much. Already owning a TIG is one reason I went with propane.

But it isn't really an either/or decision. There's nothing to stop you from buying an acetylene bottle later. Or even now. Just one more factor to consider.
Mike BR - Friday, 04/23/10 20:19:13 EDT

ok so basically, propane=good for cutting, but bad for welding. it is cheaper in the long run, but uses more O2, needs different tips, mixers and hoses. BUT is cheaper then acetyline. stick welding is a good choice for most welding, but i may need a tig later. AND you NEED to go to a welding class to be safe and learn the rules. is this all correct?
PS. before i blow this much money on tools, i am going to do LOTS of reasearch.
- bigoot - Friday, 04/23/10 21:02:30 EDT

Bigfoot, no more oxygen needed. When cutting the preheat flame merely heats the edge of the kerf to a bright red/orange or burning heat. The pure oxygen jet (from the center of the tip) burns the steel and blows the excess out of the way. The steel is the fuel when cutting, the preheat helps keep the process going smoothly.

In super heavy cutting an "oxygen lance" is used. This is a black iron pipe with an oxygen valve. The end of the pipe is heated with a torch and the oxygen turned on. The hot burning iron is then used to start a cut in a heavy casting or even stone. . . lances for stone are a little more sophisticated, they have a coating of flux and iron or other metal powders. But the oxygen does work with the help of a little burning metal.
- guru - Friday, 04/23/10 22:20:23 EDT

use for HF ASO's: keep guam from capsizing.
- TMurch - Saturday, 04/24/10 00:00:36 EDT

Propane preheats slower, so I think you do use more oxygen *on the preheat flame*. But that may well be insignificant compared to the amount used on the cut itself.
Mike BR - Saturday, 04/24/10 06:59:14 EDT

Oxy-Propane: The stoichiometric ratio for oxygen with propane is higher than for oxygen with acetylene, that's why it takes more oxygen.
- mallethead - Saturday, 04/24/10 10:11:45 EDT

Jock - Craftsman Tips: Jock, if Your Craftsman torch still works, this page may interest You:

You can take heart that there are still tips for that torch long after Sears stopped selling them.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/24/10 12:10:12 EDT

Dave, Thanks, but other parts of the Craftsman are long gone now. It would have been great if someone had cutting tips for it 30 years ago when it all worked. . . Valves in the cutting attachment failed and could not be repaired so it was scrapped LONG LONG ago. This was followed by the torch body. I used one regulator (the fuel I think) for many years after the rest was scrap.

The year I bought it (1973 I think) Sears sold it on sale then abandoned it. I find it hard to believe there is a market for tips for an orphaned product that has not been available for 37 years. ..

The welding adapter for the Craftsman was a nice brass gooseneck with a swell that made it perfect for hanging from a U shape bracket I made. Copper tips screwed into the brass goose neck. Sometime in the 80's I bought a dusty beat up tool box filled with mostly old Victor stuff (20-30 years old). It turned out that one of the tip adapters fit the Craftsman gooseneck. So now I have a "Vic-man" torch for fine brazing and soldering that convieniently hangs vertically on that bracket.

While other folks seem to chew up and burn up tips I use the same ones for decades but have problems with torch valves and mixers failing. . . bugs, bugs, bugs. . . . tried to get the Victor cutting torch cleaned and repaired but was told it cost more than new. . . Maybe I need to ship them to a low wage country and have them repaired. . .
- guru - Saturday, 04/24/10 13:58:58 EDT

Jock: Here in the rust belt there are still places that service torches & regulators at a reasonable price.

I am still using a 1977 torch set from Sears, but in those years [and to the present] they are Harris products.

I think You could have gotten Craftsman tips from companies like ATTC right along, but before the internet and living in a rural area, how could You have known?
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/24/10 14:20:38 EDT

Bigfoot: A point I didn't mention before is that while the smaller front valve "Aircraft" style torches have the gas capacity to do some fairly heavy work, the short handle and tip length puts Your hands uncomfortably close to the action when You have a big flame or a large HOT workpiece. While handy for small & general work, don't have one as Your only torch.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/24/10 14:25:37 EDT

dave, thanks for the tip on aircraft type torches. gloves woild be a wanted accessory with a short torch methinks. the only dedicated oxy-propane torches i can find are at least 36in long! that is a hair on the big side for me (for 3in stuff or is this incorrect?) thanks for the help. i may need to track down more local stuff as well. happy hamering to all!
- bigoot - Saturday, 04/24/10 17:07:02 EDT

I have opened up my eBay Freon tank propane forge sales again, but on a somewhat limited basic. Essentially I decided to use up the parts I have on hand, then end sales of them completely.

Couple of reasons: I've rather lost the 'fire in the belly' I've done rather well at it, but it is always just been a hobby. Age and related relate health problems are catching up to me. I can see initial signs which have ne a bit concerned.

When I started I was really the first non-commercial one to market to the masses to so speak. Now on eBay you have your choice of about a dozen different models. Yes, more pricey, but far better built.

eBay/PayPay have come relatively expensive to use.
Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 04/24/10 17:57:01 EDT

Bigfoot: Most of the combination cutting/welding torches [except the Harris I mentioned previously] will work for all fuel gasses, with the proper tips. In the case of Harris, You buy the proper cutting attachment for either acetylene or other fuel gasses.

A medium to high capacity torch gets You a comfortable distance for most heating and cutting to about 2", yes gloves help.

On a limited budget, stick with a combination torch rather than a cutting only torch & a seperate handle for heating tips.

Cutting only torches start at about 18"-20" long and go up from there. These usually have a capacity of 12" or more, but practical limits on oxy supply limit what You can cut without manifolded cylinders, so extreme capacity is beyond the usual home shop.

As a matter of economy, rather than buying a rosebud heating tip, You may just use a reasonably large cutting tip for heating, just DONT PRESS THE OXY LEVER, or Your work will burn up.

Depending on the manufacturer, rose buds may be made for a specific fuel gas. Check before You buy.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 04/24/10 23:10:39 EDT

am i getting this right?
buy a combination torch with the right tips and mixers. preferably about 20in long for 2in plate.
go for a combination torch beacause it is more flexible.
my only relaistic limit for cutting is the amount of O2 i have.
you don't need a rose bud tip, just use a large cutting tip but don't touch the oxy lever if you like what you are working.
and always check what fuel the tips are for.
check what size tip to use on the size you are cutting
and go to a GOOD school to learn welding.
- bigoot - Sunday, 04/25/10 08:57:15 EDT

Bigfoot: If You got too small of an acetylene cylinder, You COULD run short of fuel with larger tips. This is less of a problem with the other fuel gasses. A 20# propane tank can support a pretty large flame for a good while before pressure drop shuts You down.

Trying to size tanks to run out together isn't worth the effort, as depending on weather You do more cutting or more heating the ratio changes.

You are on the right track, now find a night school course and save Your pennies. If You can't find a course, learn the operator's manual for the torch front to back and keep the tip chart where it is handy.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 04/25/10 12:17:28 EDT

Bigfoot: The medium to high capacity combination torch with a cutting attachment will probably come up to about 16" or a bit more overall length, and that is fine. The medium capacity units cut up to 5"-6" and high capacity 6"-8". They both will flow enough gas for a small rosebud or a big welding tip.

Besides economy, using a combination torch allows tool free changeover from cutting to brazing/welding/heating. This is handy, and saves time over unhooking at the hoses to change operations.

There are quick disconnects, but they add a few inches of rigid area at the connection, cost a lot and don't last forever.

In My opinion, all the brands I mentioned previously have proven themselves in industry years ago, and any will serve You well. There are a good handfull of equally good brands that didn't withstand the decline of American industry. I would stay away from those because of the lack of tips, spare parts & service that will become an issue in Your lifetime, if they aren't already.

Victor is owned by the same company that ownes Thermal Arc, Harris is owned by the same company that ownes Lincoln, Prestolite, Purox & Oxweld are owned by Esab. These companies are major players in metal fabrication, and I expect them to stay around. Smith has a smaller but strong following. The others I mentioned I tink will be around a while as well.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 04/25/10 13:27:28 EDT

Welding Outfits: I've been looking around at gas welding outfits and finding either complete sets OR the details of what is in the sets is difficult on many web sites. . . What a complete set should have is. . .

Regulators, Two stage for heavy of continuous work.

Hose, Type T for all fuel gases.

Torch Body

(3) sizes of welding tips.

Cutting Attachment

(3) sizes of cutting tips.

Rosebud (small as that is all one cylinder will support).

Striker (spark lighter + spare flints).

Tip cleaner

Goggles with #3 shade. #5 shade if mostly heavy cutting is to be done.

Cylinders "full" size if for commercial or semi-professional duty (large hobby shop).


The first major accessory needed is a wheeled cylinder rack to hold the lot. These can be bought OR made. If you make your own, I like them to have a lifting eye so the whole can be loaded on a truck with a hoist. The easy way to do this is to build the rack around a central plate with a lifting eye.

Firebricks to make work surfaces and small heating enclosures.

Economizer Valve. These are a lever operated valve pair with a pilot light. You rest of hang the adjusted operating torch on the lever and the flame goes out. Lift the torch, the gas comes on, you wave it past the pilot light and the torch relights. These will pay for themselves in fuel after a couple cylinders use. They will also pay for themselves in time saved if you are doing a lot of repetitive small welds or braze joints. Not having to relight and adjust the torch is a great benefit. When using a big rose bud which is noisy and dangerous it is really NICE to be able to safely put one down when it is not needed immediately.

Flux Feed Cylinder for brazing: These are a rarity and most welding suppliers will not even know what they are. To the best of my knowledge, they are an acetone filled cylinder with boric acid in it. The fuel bubbles through the cylinder. The boron flux is carried by the acetylene to the work and fluxes the brass. I learned about these from an artist/jeweler that made brass rod jewelery. The operation was very clean and took little cleaning to remove the thin flux deposit.

Good stuff to know. . . I should photograph my equipment to add to an article.
- guru - Sunday, 04/25/10 17:11:26 EDT

If you are using a cutting tip for heating only, you can just set your oxygen pressure lower as if you were welding (<5 psi) and not have to worry about burning holes in your work.
- Josh S. - Sunday, 04/25/10 19:00:13 EDT

Gas fluxers:

I used to read the the bicycle framebuilders forum at, and gas fluxers were a recurring topic of discussion. Looks like one source is
Mike BR - Sunday, 04/25/10 19:22:20 EDT

Yep, It was a pretty cool tool. . . At the time I was doing a lot of light brazing and silver soldering making brass candle sticks and such. Cleanup was a serious issue and the gas fluxer would have been the cat's meow. Combined with an economizer valve I think fuel usage would have been less than a third of what I was using and cleanup labor reduced to half or less.

The combined investment back in the 70's would have been $400 - $500. At the time, too much just to increase my efficiency. But if I'd had the capital it might have paid. Today, labor costs are too high not to look seriously at this kind of equipment.
- guru - Sunday, 04/25/10 23:18:55 EDT

identify old forge: I have an old coal forge that I need help identifying and pricing for sale. Pictures are available. The forge stands on four pipe legs, there is a wood handle that drives a leather pulley system to turn a blower. The pot is about 20 inches across. Works well and in good condition. I've been told it is a transition model and maybe made by/for Sears in the early 1900s. Thank you.
- steve - Monday, 04/26/10 06:09:35 EDT

Forge ID:
Steve, Some of these were made by major manufacturers, some custom made for Sears. There were dozens of similar models and without a logo it is only a guess. If you mail me photos I can compare them to some of the catalogs I have on hand.
Lever Forge
- guru - Monday, 04/26/10 14:28:20 EDT

Flux Feeder: I saw one in a pawn shop some years back, but I didn't know how it worked or just what it was for. It was built in a sheet metal enclosure. There were no instructions with it, of course.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 04/26/10 18:42:41 EDT

i was googling some cutting torches and this popped up. for what i will end up paying, it looks like a decent deal, but i have never heard of the company and was wondering if thy were a good brand.
- bigoot - Monday, 04/26/10 20:07:53 EDT

Bigfoot, Smith is a well known brand. There was a Victor set on the same site that Amazon linked to that was about 1/3 off of list.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/27/10 16:15:02 EDT

guru, thanks for the tip. i was talking to my mom, and i can't have the O2 tanks, so the cutting torch is out the window now. :( sad, since other then the O2 she is totally fine with the whole thing.
- bigoot - Tuesday, 04/27/10 18:04:58 EDT

Bigfoot: Did She see the Myth Busters episode where the O2 tank went through the cinder block wall when they broke the valve off?
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 04/27/10 20:19:06 EDT

Well. . . such is life. Take the local courses id you can get in.

You can cut plate with a Sabre saw but its noisy on thin plate and very slow on thick.

You can also pay others to do the cutting.
- guru - Tuesday, 04/27/10 21:11:35 EDT

yes, she did see that episode (as did I, but the same thing can be done with a propane tank and make a fire ball/small bomb so i don't know why she is so scared). i was looking to get a torch beacause i have a big gate commision that will pay for a torch AND make it cost effective just then. I guess research is in order.
- Bigfoot - Wednesday, 04/28/10 07:35:54 EDT

i have a question, do O2 tanks need permits? or is my mom wrong on this one? i understand if i have a larger then average bottle, i may need one. but will the average welding bottle need a permit to be stored in a residential area?
- Bigfoot - Wednesday, 04/28/10 07:48:46 EDT

Tank permits are a local thing, I would talk to your fire dept. for more info about residential tank storage. Do your folks own their house? If so, they may want to check with their homeowners insurance. Some policies for fire don't allow for tank storage, meaning God forbid your house catches fire (for ANY reason) and they find the tanks, your folks will have NO claim to file. May even possibly face fines.

Bigfoot, I recommend that you find and purchase ANY and ALL alternatives for cutting. I have a bandsaw, three angle grinders, chisels and chopsaw. I only use my oxy/acetyl for cutting materials too odd to cut otherwise. And I keep two different types of extinguishers around at all times.
- Nippulini - Wednesday, 04/28/10 08:07:26 EDT

Nip, i do understand the risks. i have chisels, hacksaws, and angle grinders. i am getting this as a way to heat odd sections (like big scrolls), heat rivets to be set in gates, and cut stock that i don't want to cut hot in my forge. i do understand some of the risks, but not as well as others. i am outside on a dirt floor, so fire is not a huge deal for me, but the fire extingusher is a good tip.
The tanks will be stored almost a hundred yards (like 90ish meters) from the house, so i don't think they pose a risk to the house (nor will they ever come near it). I know a fireman pretty well so i can ask him. good points on the insurance.
- Bigfoot - Wednesday, 04/28/10 08:20:45 EDT

Propane Tank Storage: I keep my current tank outside the forge (access through a hatch) and in a milk crate with a small oil drum inverted on top as a weather cover. Backup tanks are in the one outbuilding on the farm that my wif would dearly love burned down or otherwise demolished; an old, tumble-down converted corn crib, temporarily housing part of my "iron hoard" (scrap pile). In the unlikely event of a conflagration, nobody will miss it; and I can rake through the coals for valuable scrap. ;-)
Bruce Blackistone - Wednesday, 04/28/10 10:05:08 EDT

What is it:
One of our regulars sent this to me and wanted to know what kind of anvil it was. Well. . . its not really an anvil but it would do as one. Its modern industrial and changed hands several times so the origin is not known.

Take a look.
The Blue Anvil - What is it?
- guru - Wednesday, 04/28/10 11:28:30 EDT

Oxygen: I worked for an industrial gas company for 8 years - one thing to remember about oxygen is that levels higher than atmosphere will permit things to burn or explode that you don't think of as being burnable/explosive. It also greatly increases the rate of burn. It can also do a lot of good, such as replacing chlorine in paper bleaching. Things that can explode - asphalt that has had LOX dropped on it and evaporated/soaked in. Set off by a drivers steel toed/heeled cowboy boot on impact - blew his leg off and he died. Oxygen can also permeate clothing and hang around for a time greatly increasing its ability to ignite.
- Gavainh - Wednesday, 04/28/10 19:52:06 EDT

Blue Anvil: A stake anvil for myopic blacksmiths?

Actually it looks like a good setup for rivet setting.

Just wild guesses, of course.
Bruce Blackistone - Wednesday, 04/28/10 20:41:49 EDT

Gavainh, an oxygen rich environment will cause oil to spontaneously combust too! I usually clear the acetyl line first, then suck some of the 02 as it's being cleared at shut down. Clears the head a little and helps with the fatigue caused by postivie ion atmosphere from welding.
- Nippulini - Thursday, 04/29/10 08:41:09 EDT

Our welding supplier fills both welding oxygen and medical oxygen cylinders. I once asked what was the difference and got a bit of a confusing run-around from the salesman/technician. On a roll now I asked a buddy who used to work at the same place. He said there was no difference EXCEPT there were extra equipment cleaning and record keeping. The BIG difference effecting the price. . . medical product insurance.
- guru - Thursday, 04/29/10 11:56:25 EDT

Oxygen: Read the facts at this link:
Oxygen Facts
- Homer - Thursday, 04/29/10 12:42:57 EDT

Homer, I don't see anything there that disagrees with what I said except that the cylinder is labeled medical oxygen and the facility is FDA approved. The "cleaning" the fellow referred to may be the total evacuation of the cylinder between fills.

I suspect that the extra cost is record keeping is very small at some filling stations. The one I spoke of records serial numbers of welding cylinders and inspects every cylinder carefully. Fully evacuating (pulling a vacuum) on a cylinder is not an uncommon practice to remove moisture that may condense and freeze in valves, regulators or lines due to the decompression of the gas.

The big difference between the two is one is "possibly" contaminated with other gases the other possibly contaminated by other gases OR biological material. The source of the gas (can be) the same.

It was an interesting read.
- guru - Thursday, 04/29/10 14:51:38 EDT

hey just a torch update. i got a go ahead from mommy to get a torch but i have to make honor roll and go to a welding school before i buy it. but, that was the plan (minus honor roll) before, so yay! a new big boy toy!
ps. i do not play with tools. i use them. they are just reffered to as my 'toys'
- bigoot - Thursday, 04/29/10 16:10:43 EDT

Bigfoot, Take advantage of the time in welding classes! If you have something you've wanted to build that is a great time to do it. . . You can't build much with oxy-acetylene but you need the skills. Arc welding is fast and efficient for putting stuff together. Plan on taking BOTH courses.

And remember, the IMPORTANT things to learn are all the safety rules and technical issues. You won't really learn to weld well until you have been doing it a while on your own. Good luck on honor roll!
- guru - Thursday, 04/29/10 16:30:02 EDT

the honor roll is the easy part. LOL. the welding class, not so much. i plan on getting a stick welder ASAP since it will be handy to have around, but for now, i just need to take things apart. Cutting in theory seems easy, but doing it safely is going to be the hard part. oxygen makes things go bang faster, and propan goes bang. hot things are not good to touch and all sorts of things can go wrong. being safe is the most important thing IMO. thanks for the luck. hopefully i won't need it. happy hamering!
- bigoot - Thursday, 04/29/10 17:10:24 EDT

Torch Update: Sounds like a triple win to me!

Thomas P - Thursday, 04/29/10 17:13:41 EDT

Bigfoot, Congragulate your Mother for me on her excellent plan. She has found a path that is WIN-WIN-WIN.
As a father of four, having a kid that both hits the honor roll and learns a technical trade that is a good fallback is the best of both worlds.

On O2, A co-worker of mine many years ago had been a WWII P-51 pilot. The second time he parachuted from his warplane in combat was after his recon version, at very high altitude simply exploded. He never saw any gunfire or other aircraft. He found himself in freefall and on fire after the plane exploded. He fell for a while trying to beat out the flames, finally gave up rolled over and pulled the chute. He swung twice after it opened, and he landed. He had third degree burns and spent the next 42 months in hosipitals, most of it in the German Army Field Hospital he landed in the middle of! He said they kept expecting him to die and so did not transfer him to a POW canmp.
From his description, and some research, I surmise that the O2 tanks exploded. They had a habit of doing that in that model P-51, and they were right behind the pilots seat! They flight suits of the pilots were usually soaked in petroleum from the aircraft and so...
ptree - Thursday, 04/29/10 17:50:12 EDT

it is a 'triple win' so to speak. i get a new toy, honor roll, and a happy mom. now to think, i get to make her a gate now! has anyone had experiance using the torch to heat rivets? i saw it once on youtube and it looks like a very efficient way to go. but i don't want to melt them off! also, is it harder to cut bars or plate? i would be plate, but i am not sure. bars have the habit of bending quicker.

Ptree that O2 story is pretty scary. the whole lighting on fire is VERY scary and is on my 'to dont' list. thank you for the horror story. it will help keep me in line when i am working.
- bigoot - Thursday, 04/29/10 18:22:06 EDT

Bigfoot, Today almost all smiths use a torch for riveting, especially on gates and large assemblies. The tricky part is having somewhere to put the torch down. You are going to need both hands to hold the "buck" and the hammer OR the steady the work and use the hammer. . . In any case, you need to have a place to lay down the still flaming torch.

You COULD melt the end off the rivet if you are not paying attention. . . So pay attention. Being able to do so is why you want to have a place to safely lay down that torch. Lots of smiths like to have helpers for this job but it is also done alone. Just be prepared.

Cutting bar with a torch leaves a nasty end that should be ground off clean prior to forging. It is FASTER to use a hand hack saw than to have to clean up torch work.

Plate is a different matter. However, IF you can cut it with a sabre saw or jab saw, no matter how slowly, it is still more efficient than torching and grinding smooth. Even if you are good with the torch you will need to grind quite a bit. Where the torch shines is cutting stuff too big (area or thickness) to saw by machine or by hand. They are also good for curves. But, if you have ANY other choice it is almost always better. Torching goes fast but grinding goes very slow and nosily. Taking longer with a saw almost always pays off in the end.

Each tool has its best use.
- guru - Thursday, 04/29/10 21:04:54 EDT

"Hospital" O2..... when I was at the hospital a couple years ago for the pelvic fracture, I noticed a HUGE tank in the PT gym. I rolled my wheelchair over to check the valve, it was a welding cylinder. It said "so-and-so WELDING" clearly embossed into the tank.
- Nippulini - Friday, 04/30/10 06:45:11 EDT

In our region the welding folks also supply the medical gasses. Most hosipitals now use liquid O2 and so forth and have gassifiers to make the gasses into gas. Same as industry. I think it is probably a case of easier to make all the O2 medical grade, all the equipment Medical grade and sell the welding gas cheaper.
ptree - Friday, 04/30/10 09:00:27 EDT

Normally the cylinders are identical except for prettier green paint on medical O2 and the certified for medical use tag somewhere on the cylinder.

As I noted above, our local welding supplier also supplied medical O2 and the cylinders would have had their labels on them.

While most modern hospitals have large piped distribution systems they keep some cylinders around for emergency use.
- guru - Friday, 04/30/10 13:12:38 EDT

O2 cylinder valves: Welding O2 cylinders have a CGA #540 threaded valve.

The smaller medical O2 cylinders I see around the hospital have #870 yoke valve that looks more like a SCUBA tank valve, the regulator clamps on with a yoke, and seals with an "O" ring. These are the ones people with breathing problems carry with them.

#950 yoke, CGA 246, CGA 346 as well as the CGA 540 may be used on medical O2 cylinders as well.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 04/30/10 20:21:18 EDT

I don't know the numbers right off the top of my head but my old Craftsman welding set came with an external threaded nut on the fuel gas such that fits propane. I had to purchase an addaptor to fit the large acetylene tanks. Most acetylene welding sets come with the right fitting. . .

In the 70's most of the fuel tanks we rented had a square stem and required a T wrench. The flat multi-purpose wrenches fit but were a pain to use. Now days almost all gas cylinders have hand operated knobs for convenience. But ONCE in a while one of the old type come along. So don't through away all your T-wrenches.
- guru - Friday, 04/30/10 21:41:41 EDT

Medical Oxygen: When I was in the industrial gas industry, the oxygen source for medical was the same liquification plant as for industrial uses. Whether the tanker filled a LOX station at a hospital or a LOX station at an industrial plant was a matter of scheduling. The big difference in installations was the cleaning and chemical agents permitted for cleaning. In industrial plants a lot of service pipe was black iron, hopefully brought in as pickled and dried. Fittings were ordered for oxygen service. If we needed to clean in the field we had the customer order in trichlorethane to degrease the pipe or fittings. I wasn't involved with hospital installations, but picked up some peripheral information - they were usually copper tube at lower pressures, materials were precleaned, I believe without the use of nasty solvents so as to leave no residues.

If I got to a point where I needed oxygen as a breathing assist in a non-hospital situation I'd have no qualms about refiling a hospital yank from a larger welding cylinder. Of course, I'd check pressure ratings between the cylinders, and would determine the piping needed to do so safely. No signs of any breathing issues so the situation is theoretical.
- Gavainh - Friday, 04/30/10 22:11:27 EDT

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