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May 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

Acetylene tank valves: #510 is the same as a propane tank fitting, #300 is more common on acetylene tanks. Acetylene tanks with a neck collar and no threaded cap use the #510 fitting in verticle orentation. I had a 145 CuFt acetylene tank like this once, but when I exchanged, I got the more usual one.

The adapter from a 300 tank to a 510 regulator is a more simple part than going the other way, and as most of the regulators are propane compatible, there is some logic to using the 510 fitting on the regulator. Some of the acetylene regulators I have came with thhe 300, others the 510.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 05/01/10 23:09:34 EDT

Scrap: I went to our scrap yard on Friday with 770 pounds of student throwaways. Felt good.

By the bye, sweet iron is an old fashioned Spanish name for the material, wrought iron; "hierro dulce."
- Frank Turley - Sunday, 05/02/10 09:12:14 EDT

Student Throwaways: So; if the scrap yard will take throwaway students, some of my teacher friends will be very interested! ;-)

Just out of my own curiosity, what sort of stuff do you end up throwing away? Burned welds? Backwards pothooks? Reversed tongs that open when you squeeze the reins? It must be pretty bad that they can't salvage it.

Then again, maybe I'm just cheap.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 05/02/10 18:05:04 EDT

Throwaways: It's usually small stuff that we throw: attempted scroll centers; tong jaws that don't look like tong jaws; attempted lap and fagot welds; cracked & crumbled tool steel; and twists that are suckey. If the pieces are say, 5" or longer of native material, they go in a separate pile for recycling.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 05/02/10 19:57:06 EDT

Throwaways: Frank- you renew my faith in the frugality of blacksmiths. :-)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 05/03/10 10:34:11 EDT

Sorry to but in guys, but anything without structial flaws can be recycled. Crummy twists can becom paper weights, fococked tong jaws can be more paperwieghts and scroll centers can just be the handle of a blacksmiths knife. But, that is beacause I have practice recycling bad work, so I have my ways. Anything can be recycled, you just have to find out. Backwards tongs just need the reigns bent in a way to reverse them. Don't ask me how i know :D
- bigfoot - Monday, 05/03/10 16:33:53 EDT

Yes you *can* recycle just about everything; however when your shop and yard are cluttered to capacity with junk such that you can't get work done for having to move it all the time then perhaps it's time to share the wealth---even if it's a scrap yard.

I have a special pile of stuff that even I don't want (and I've figured out a use for rusty barbwire and am saving the forge scale to re-smelt into wrought iron...)

Thomas P - Monday, 05/03/10 16:40:54 EDT

Cluter: Bigfoot: My Grandpop, My father and Myself all scrounged stuff over the years. I have lived at Mom & Dads most of my life, and when Grandmom went into a nursing home the stuff rom over there came here. It came to a point that I found out My Dad was turning down someetty good "junk" due to lack of space. There comes a point that You have to cull some to make room for better finds.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 05/03/10 19:31:47 EDT

Thomas P and Mr. Boyer, you are definayley right. My personal rule is only 2 tons of steel at a time in my scrap pile. any more and i have to throw something out before i get new steel.
My best crafty(ish) blacksmith story i have, is how i used to have a chisel which becam a punch which became a center punch, which becam a touch mark, and when it wore outl it becam a flint and steel striker and was promptly lost. Now this is beacuse i am a cheap blighter and i have to recycle everything. I pick through my ashes for good bits of coke and use the ash as a covering on knives when i HT them. it doesn't work to make a hammon, but reduces the scaling quite a bit.

Worn out welding gloves make great strops and the liner is great make good grease rags. they absorb a suprising amount of gunk.
- bigfoot - Monday, 05/03/10 20:06:57 EDT

Scraps Do get to the point where they are uneconomical to recycle in-house. That is what foundries are for. . . The uneconomical point is too variable to really make clear comparisons.
- guru - Monday, 05/03/10 21:12:51 EDT

Stuff: George Carlin said, "Stuff is the junk you keep, and junk is the stuff you throw away. Every once in a while you need to get rid of some junk to make room for more stuff".
- Marc - Tuesday, 05/04/10 07:17:34 EDT

health: Jock, Re your note on your "health issues," I wish you all the best in terms of recovery and return.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 05/04/10 07:37:07 EDT

770 pounds of scrap pieces under 5 inches...
I find that impressive.
JimG - Tuesday, 05/04/10 08:40:10 EDT

Neighbors & Coworkers: I have not posted in a while, but I read every day.
Just a testament to being good to your neighbors and coworkers.
Recently one of my neighbors brought me a gift, a quarry hammer bit. It measures 6 ¼” rd and 35” long. He is the pit foreman. He said it started out 4 ft long six months ago. We have watched each others children grow up. We watch out for each others home and as a bonus we live on a dead road. Any new vehicle is automaticly watched, in 14 years I have lost zero to thievery.

Coworkers: One to the fellows I work with programs our laser table. So when I need some “Government project” done. I draw up the part in auto-cad and he runs it for me. Today he is cutting various sizes of jingle bell patterns for me. In exchange I will give him some of the finished bells for his family.

Reminder: Mother’s Day is coming up, go make her something. If your mother is not around, make something for and elderly person in your neighborhood. They will love you for it. As we all know everybody’s Granddad or Great uncle was a blacksmith so they may have or know where tools are. Maybe even an anvil or two.
Treat your neighbors right
daveb - Tuesday, 05/04/10 12:38:14 EDT

What's happening in Spain?: Spain has a wonderful history of ironwork, ornamental and otherwise. In the 20th century however, it seems to me that the work has declined in artistry and numbers. One Spaniard told me he thought that Franco's regime had put a damper on the arts, and the country was still recovering, even psychologically. I had a student from Spain who said that when he contacted old smiths about work, they seemed to want to take all their methods to the grave.

On the plus side, a wonderful book came out of León, Spain in 1997, Guía Práctica de la Forja Artística" (Practical Guide of Artistic Forging). It is reviewed on our NAVIGATE Bookshelf. Behind its publication was the organization, Centro de los Oficios (Center for the Trades):

I am on their mailing list, and they offer summer courses of five days length in the building trades and jewelry. As examples this year, they are offering:
Metal Roofing including copper;
Rammed Earth and Adobe;
Furniture restoration;
Casting terra cotta, gypsum, etc.;
Blacksmithing, artistic;
Fresco painting.

The courses are short, but they are a step in the right direction. Interest is being created. In Europe, there is contemporary-designed work, but there is also a big emphasis on restoration and preservation.
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 05/04/10 13:48:16 EDT

"A use for rusty barbed wire": Thomas, being in posetion of a large quantity of rusty barbed wire myself, I would be interested in just what you do with yours.
I have seen one fellow wrap some into two large balls of wire that sit on top of his gate posts but, personaly I think it's ugly and a little bit sinister looking.
Bigfoot, you do know that you're wrong if you DON'T pick your ashes for bits of unused coal and coke.
I only pay 12 cents a pound for my raw coal but, I need every bit of coke for the next fire and, it's just wrong to waste fuel.
- merl - Tuesday, 05/04/10 16:00:39 EDT

Merl, the wonderful coal I get from Cumberland Elkhorn on Swan Street in Louisville KY actually lights easier as green than as coke!
Can't explain, but there it is.
ptree - Tuesday, 05/04/10 17:28:19 EDT

Hey ptree, No fair using diesl fuel! (ckuckle, chuckle...)
I have made a short video demo for the Guru on lighting a coal fire. I was going to wait to send it to him untill I have a couple more but, I find myself suddenly busy with pressing matters around here and no time for blacksmithing.
I don't know when I'll have the time to do the next videos so I sould probably just send what I have.
It sounds like Jock is under the weather any way so, any videos I send may have to wait for post production and posting.
Guru, I hope this is due to some good honest ageing issues and not stress caused by "tax season".
- merl - Tuesday, 05/04/10 19:00:51 EDT

Merl, I am so cheap i don't even buy my coal. I know a guy who has 20ish tons of good blacksmiths coal, so i clean up his shop, take his scraps and get his coal. Its a good deal IMO.
- bigfoot - Tuesday, 05/04/10 19:49:18 EDT

Merl, I start my coal forge with about 4 sheets of the local newspaper. No liquid accelerants used, ever.
I am a safety guy...

Besides after the ARMY, I HATE the smell of deisel in the morning:)
ptree - Tuesday, 05/04/10 20:16:35 EDT

Mongolian hot plate: I hurt myself yesterday (see GD for details). So today I had a session making a few bits and pieces and generally pottering around.

I return good for evil so put some oil into the Anyang. It did occur to me to add sand just to show her who is boss.

A chef whom I know here had asked for a Mongolian hot plate cooker. So I got a 40cm disk of 1" plate, fitted side handles and a tiny shallow lip, fitted it to a tripod and that is ready to go. He has a gas burner which will fit under it. It is 100% authentic- that is to say some of the welds look as if they have been done by a mongol. (Edit out, Jock, if you want).

Then I ground about a millionth of an inch off the bending fork billet I was forging when I got socked on the head. That was enough to make it fit beautifully in the hardie hole. So maybe tomorrow I will weld the fork prongs in and that will be finished.
philip in china - Wednesday, 05/05/10 07:46:15 EDT

cheap: Bigfoot, that is not being "cheap" that is being a good busines man. Spend your dollers on what you CAN'T barter for (torche rigs, MIG welders...)
and work for what you can.
Make sure you always do the best job you can for the guy so he is always happy to give you the coal and scrap (two of the most valuable comodities right there) and always take just a little less than what you think you have earned and he'll be happy to have you coming back.
Remember, while you do this work for him he may be happy to have someone to clean up the shop in return for something other than cash but, he may also begin to look at you as eventual competition to him.
He might decide to take you on as an employee, send you packing with no more bartering privliges or, deside there is plenty of work for everybody and you're no threat to him.
Always make him happy to see you walk in the door.

Well I don't know ptree, the smell of deisel brings back some fond memories for me I long as the injectors are set right.
- merl - Wednesday, 05/05/10 10:11:19 EDT

Merl, that is essentially the plan for me. i always take just enough to keep me going until the next time and always do me best. he owns a pretty busy business and seems to not view me as a threat. he doesn't know how good i am though. LOL. I find a case of budweiser goes a long way to friendly relations when i need some stuff welded up. :D
- bigfoot - Wednesday, 05/05/10 11:03:43 EDT

Merl, I spent tooo many mornings marching the concrete tank roads at Fort Knox, with far too many M-60 tanks and M-88's going by to ever like the stench of desiel, especially the voluminious black smoke so thick you could not see the rank marching on the other side of the road.
ptree - Wednesday, 05/05/10 12:34:30 EDT

Yep, those are two of the biggest culprets (no pun intended)
Seeing as how they both have pretty much the same pack in them it's a toss up to say wich was worse although, the 88 was useualy worse for soot.
If the injectors are set too high, too much turbo lag or, plugged filters you're going to get alot of unburned fuel going out the pipe.
My, is'nt it handy to have nice paved roades for movement of your armored vehicals. I can't believe they made you guys march on the same road.
At Ft. MaCoy the trails turn into gravle and sand pretty fast so that they don't realy even like anything smaller than a duce and half moving on them, forget about dismounted infantry.
If we were going for a "walk" somewere we had to stick to the hard pack gravel roads that the armor was not allowed to go on.

Hey Bruce, I got some weather news for you. My son and I had to come in from working in the garden because the sustained 45-50 mph wind here has created such a pawl of dust getting in the eyes and lungs.
If I had to relive some historical period it sure wouldn't be the DUST BOWEL YEARS!
I see the begining of the end. I wonder if we can catch it in time...
- merl - Wednesday, 05/05/10 14:36:12 EDT

Rusty Barb Wire: make basket hooks from it. A bit tricky to not burn up the barbs and it helps to clean the ends for forge welding.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 05/05/10 15:01:09 EDT

Better a Mongolian Grill than a Mongolian doctor. . .
Mike BR - Wednesday, 05/05/10 16:58:38 EDT

Merl, you are thinking way too recent on the M-88:) These were the GAS engined M-88s before they converted. The M-88s would blow smoke, but when they backed off the throttle hard they had a habbit of backfiring and throwing a bucket sized ball of flame out eash side on the rear!
These tank trails at Knox lead to the mud trails. They were reputed to be 7' thick. WWII stuff, and the expansion joints were worn down enough for the roads to look like 25' square cobble stone.

They were also running the m-113's most desiel, and M-115s and M-114s. The first M-113s had 327 chevy's for power. Drove those in the Guard. Nice rumble:)
ptree - Wednesday, 05/05/10 20:44:06 EDT

Carefull there ptree, you're giving your age away!
When I enterd the service back in the early 80's the Guards didn't even have any gas powerd M113's and I didn't even know they made a gas powerd 88!
- merl - Thursday, 05/06/10 09:53:38 EDT

Merl, Did you know that the original M-88 was powered by a desiel that was converted to Gas, and then in the late 70'2 the A1 went back to desiel, added a smoke generating system that injected oil into the exhaust among other mods?
The KYARNG had a large fleet of M-113's. Not M-113a anything, just M-113:)
I also drove M-151a1s and the lousey Kaiser 5/4 tons. In the guard we had Gas engined 5 ton 6x6 ammo haulers for toteing the propellant and projo's for our 8" SP's:)
I have driven a 5ton Gas 6x6 that was delivered to the US 4 months before I was delivered, and had the bed full of projo's, a trailer each with propellant, fuses, flash pads and ignitors. Made for a long snakey train on the back mud/dirt trails of Camp Shelby Ms.
And for reference, I entered active in 1974:)
ptree - Thursday, 05/06/10 12:47:04 EDT

Ptree: You entered active in 74'? Your just a babe in the woods. I went in the military in 66'.
- Dave Hammer - Thursday, 05/06/10 13:32:32 EDT

Ahhh Dave, but we had the very much more modern percusion caps, unlike those old sparkie flintlocks you guys had:)
ptree - Thursday, 05/06/10 15:26:25 EDT

I thought the most gutless wheeled vehicle we had was the gas 5T wrecker, of wich we still had a few.
Then, one time, I had to haul a disabled 113 on a 10T 6X6 gas tractor and trailer. OYE!! You would think with a top speed of 42mph it would have some left over for torque but, no you just couldn't get that crankshaft to swing any faster I guess.
I remember it did have enough in low range 1st and 2nd gear to drag its self over the low burms on the trails at about 10mph. I can still remember the sound of that engine ballering!
We had the 120th F.A. from Milwaukee that had some 8"SP's but they were lucky (or unlucky) enough to have the ammo haulers built on the 113 chassie, I forget the number on that.
All I recall was that they were increadably loud and ratteling and could be identified from a long ways off.
'74?, '66? Well petree, you're old enough to be one of my drill sargents and Dave, you're nearly old enough to be my father.
Thanks guys, I don't feel so dated now...
- merl - Thursday, 05/06/10 16:03:36 EDT

Merl, We had the tracked ammo haulers as well. We also had the tracked cranes built on the same chassis. We used the wheeled 6x6 to go to the ASP's as the tracks were a bit hard on the blacktop.

We didn't have the 10T tractors in any of my units, but they were the heavy hauler available in Germany. The Germans hated them as they were soooo0oo slow on the autoban:)
ptree - Thursday, 05/06/10 17:27:47 EDT

I AM probably getting into the age range of being well seasoned, although age ranges seemed to have moved to the right the past few years. Hard to imagine in our own eyes, but not something to be dreaded in any way. I do expect to be poking around another 30-40 years. I expect I would be proud to be a tag_along, cohort, leader or parent to most all of the members of this community. Good company, most any day.
- Dave Hammer - Friday, 05/07/10 03:42:03 EDT

Peacetime Germany vet 1954-56: I think that I replaced Elvis Presley as he rotated back to the U.S. [BOL] I wasn't as hip to Army materiel as you guys. I was in a field artillery batallion near Darmstadt, and we had those old 8" howitzers hauled by what we called a track. I was told that a projo weighed 165 pounds; seemed like more. They said that the maximum range was 11 miles, but I don't know whether that was the effective range or not. The jeeps looked like WW II vintage.

By the way, I think that the gummint recently released a postage stamp featuring Bill Mauldin, the WW II cartoon creator of "Willie & Joe."
- Frank Turley - Friday, 05/07/10 07:36:52 EDT

Frank, I only know about this stuff because I was a 63H20, that is a Heavy Wheel and Tracked Vehical Repairer.
In my first unit we were direct support and some depot level maint. meaning that we delt with nearly everything in the heavy mechinised infantry arsenal.
As a battlion level drivers training instructor as well, I had a license card half a mile long too. I didn't have to be an expert driver on all of them, I just had to be able to test drive them for final inspection and show the other mechanics how to move them around safely.
Were you on a "Long Tom"? I know of a guy near me that had one parked in his back yard for three months while he did some repairs to get it ready for emplacement at a his local VFW hall.
- merl - Friday, 05/07/10 08:59:04 EDT

Long Tom: Never saw a Long Tom. At our barracks, they brought in some 11 inch M65 Atomic cannons. The barrel was so long that it had to be hauled by two tractors which were coordinated somehow to navigate turns. The engines, I recall, could not be started in extremely cold weather, so during the German winters, they had a couple of guys in the motor pool starting and stopping those engines all night long, and sometimes during the day. As I understood it, the manufacture of them was kind of a boondoggle, because by the time they reached the motor pool, they were essentially obsolete. If you could drop an atomic warhead from a plane, why shoot one?
Frank Turley - Friday, 05/07/10 09:54:14 EDT

Frank Turley, did you enjoy the Fashing and Rose Montag parade in Darmstadt?
I was stationed in Hanau.
Our Guard unit was 8", and they had replaced the towed 8" with the tracked self propelled 8" a little before I joined that unit.
I mostly enjoyed Germany.
ptree - Friday, 05/07/10 13:58:06 EDT

ptree - German duty: Yes, I perhaps drank a little too much beer, cognac, and snapps in that order. I am now totally off the sauce. I became enamored of traveling around Germany, and also got to visit France, Holland, and Denmark. On weekend pass, we often visited castles and places like Heidelberg and Frankfurt. A buddy had bought an old French Citroen, the kind that had the chevrons on the hood. It had a gear shift on the dash. So we could go where we wished within reason. Fasching was always a good time. I had two years of college German when I returned stateside. My use of it is altogether rusty at present, although I was in Germany for a visit last year. A little of it came back.
Frank Turley - Friday, 05/07/10 14:58:38 EDT

spheres: From a geometric point of view, say you have two spheres. One is the size of the moon, one is the size of a marble. Each is set upon a plane. Is the area of contact with the plane same for each sphere?
- TMurch - Friday, 05/07/10 16:52:55 EDT

Frank Turley, I too was enamored of the German Beer. I also traveled around a fair bit as I had a little car, a NSU. I also was on the USAEUR/7th Army Parachute team, and jumped into near every wine and beer fest in Germany.
ptree - Friday, 05/07/10 17:07:48 EDT


Seems to me that the contact point between a sphere and a tangent plane would be just that -- a point. So the area would be infinitesimally small in each case.
Mike BR - Friday, 05/07/10 17:26:48 EDT

TMurch: How hard & heavy are the spheres? how hard is the surface of the plane? It is going to make a difference. If You are talking about imaginary, theoretical materials too hard to deform under load, both may touch in a "point" as Mike suggests.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 05/07/10 19:14:19 EDT

Three makes a concensous: The POINT of TANGENCY between the boundry of the sphere and the plane would be the same for bothe.
Still, It's a cleaver postulation. When you visulize the two vastly different arcing surfaces you asume that one or the other will act differently on the plane.
Because the larger radious seems like it would cover a much greater area and the smaller radious seems "pointier" and more likely to have greater penitration our visual imagination can be made to produce two opposing outcomes.
In this case the mathimatical test gives a "is" or "is not" resault, the arc "is" tangent or "is not"
and, the answer is not dependant on the number of decimal places for accuracy.
One of my favorite science teachers used to remind us when we thought we had something all figured out,"Remember, The longest, straightest line will fit into the curve of an even bigger arc"
Maybe yes, maybe no but, it sure kept me thinking...
- merl - Friday, 05/07/10 23:39:59 EDT

The spheres question comes down to a matter of infinity. . . Which sphere has more points on its surface the huge or the tiny. Both have an infinite number of infinitely small points. So? Since Infinity = Infinity then both spheres have the same number of points. . .

Size does not matter in the purely theoretical world. But in the real world things are different and as noted the material, gravitqtional forces and so on have an effect.

When you bounce a steel ball off an anvil the ball flattens into an ovoid surface and the flat anvil surface also depresses into a similar ovoid but with curved shoulders. How much each changes is dependent on hardness to some degree but both being steel makes the initial resiliance equal. . .
- guru - Saturday, 05/08/10 15:54:59 EDT

I guess one other way you could look at it is to remember that the walls of a theoretical geometric sphere have no thickness. Advance the sphere toward the plane until first contact, and you'll have an infinitesimal contact area. Advance it any further, and part of the sphere will extend below the plane. The contact "area" will be a circle. Of course, the line forming the circle will have no thickness, so the contact area will *still* be infinitesimally small.

A friend of mine always used to talk about the physics exercise of the massless elephant on the frictionless sandpaper. Not that we ever had that exact exercise, but the problems were always simplified by ignoring things that common sense says can't be ignored. For example, calculating how far an outfielder could throw a baseball in a vacuum. In some ways theoretical geometry is similar.
Mike BR - Saturday, 05/08/10 17:14:04 EDT

This is from a theoretical geometry point of view. Dealing with shapes only not other physical characteristics such as hardness, density, etc. I tend to take examples to extremes for comparison purposes.

I guess another factor that makes this question interesting is resolution. In the case of a sphere and a plane, a large radius appears to contact more simply because it arcs so close to the line or plane over a longer distance than a small radius.
- TMurch - Saturday, 05/08/10 17:41:33 EDT

Guys it sounds like your letting your iron get cold...grin
- sweetiron - Saturday, 05/08/10 20:32:27 EDT

"a large radius appears to contact more...": Ah but, there you have your answer again TY.
The POINT OF TANGENCY is the same for both spheres no matter what the differance in size.
The realy neat part of the question is, as the Guru points out, the infinite aspect of it all...

Huh,? What,? Hot iron...? Ooh yeah...

I would like to sit up and discuss this all night but, 4am comes too early as it is.
Maybe tomorrow.
- merl - Saturday, 05/08/10 22:49:31 EDT

Theoretical Geometry: Go read "Flatland" by Edwin Abbott. It's a real wig-flipper, gets you to thinking in multiple dimensions.
Alan-L - Sunday, 05/09/10 07:26:36 EDT

Frame of Reference:
Is the term you must consider in the spheres comparison.

To a human next to a 6 foot sphere the "apparent" contact area would be the same as a flea looking at a sphere 1/4000 the size.

In physics it gets trickier. Suppose you are on a train traveling 100 MPH and you fire a gun at a target on the ground in front of the train at the exact time and distance someone on the ground fires an identical gun at the same target. Which bullet gets there first? Yours does. How fast were the bullets moving? Both had the exact same "muzzel" velocity.

But your bullet was fired in a frame of reference traveling 100 MPH and thus that much faster compared to the one fired from a "stationary" place on the ground.

But what is stationary? The Earth is rotating at a considerable speed. 1000 MPH at the equator. But at the poles. . zero. At the average in the temperate zones 800 MPH.

The tricky part about physics is that it is where reality meets the theoretical.

- guru - Sunday, 05/09/10 11:37:25 EDT

change the shape of the horn: I have a trenton anvil with a narrow horn I would like to make it more round and a larger diameter. What's the easiest way to do that?
- Tim Dodd - Sunday, 05/09/10 14:29:30 EDT

Just heat the horn up in the forge and upset it with a 40lb sledge. Make it short and squat then you will get your required shape.
- Dagger - Sunday, 05/09/10 15:11:40 EDT

Runs hundreds of beads of weld up the horn and peen between layers. Then grind it to shape. This is the poor old boy method.
- Kendall - Sunday, 05/09/10 15:14:16 EDT

anvil modification: There is NO easy way to do it. In fact, there is no good way to do it, either. Sell that anvil and buy one you like better, instead of ruining that one trying to make it into something it isn't.
- buford heliotrope - Sunday, 05/09/10 15:23:40 EDT

Horn modification: I'm with Buford on this one. The only first-hand story of breaking the horn of an anvil I've heard was from a guy who tried to reshape the horn on his medium-sized Peter Wright. For reasons known only to himself he wanted more of an upswept "farrier-style" shape. Stuck it it the forge, got it hot, held a large rosebud on the root to keep it hot, beat with sledge, horn fell off at his feet.
Alan-L - Sunday, 05/09/10 15:39:03 EDT

Anvil Horn: Chant a magical theorectical geometry formula over the horn and watch it grow.
- Shamaul - Sunday, 05/09/10 18:23:15 EDT

Horn Growth: Take the anvil to an augmentation and enlargement surgeon or just give it the pill.
- Bernard - Sunday, 05/09/10 18:57:09 EDT

Narrow Horn:
Normally Trentons have a standard width horn starting about the same width as the body. This is the norm for most standard pattern anvils. The only ones narrower were very old anvils with add on horns. The only ones that have a wider horn than the body are modern farrier farrier anvils.

The difference in mass between common horns and farrier anvils is probably close to two to one. That is a huge amount of weld build up at a VERY expensive price per pound (cost of rods, elecricity, abrasives. . . time). You could easily purchase a new anvil for the cost.

The alternative, to cut off the existing horn and replace it is still expensive but would be an alternative.

Sell or trade the anvil if you do not like it. Trentons are a well known and desired anvil. Modifying it would only reduce its value.
- guru - Sunday, 05/09/10 20:21:43 EDT

talking of nice anvils...: Thomas P happen to mantion a website the other day, They have an artical on a home made American pattern anvil that realy looks nice!
Check it out.
What ever you do DON'T weld on or otherwise modify your Trenton.
Personaly, any anvil that has had some kind of major repair or modification done to it, would be of little or no value to me.
I would always be shying away from that particuler spot so as not to re-damage it.
- merl - Sunday, 05/09/10 21:10:25 EDT

Make a bigger diameter horn.: My old teachings are that you can make three slight modifications to an English/American type of anvil. Radius the edges, near and far, from the step to about the middle of the waist. On a new anvil, chamfer the other face edges VERY SLIGHTLY with perhaps a new file or a hand held belt sander. Perhaps put a small radius around the top periphery of the hardie hole getting rid of any burrs and insuring that all bottom tools sit flat. My old mentor from the 1960's told me that "anything else was sacrilege." That advice was pretty much for a new anvil. I have done a little arc welding on OLD anvil faces, cutting tables, and horns if they were in really bad condition. For instance, I have a 250 pound Trenton that had been used as a cold chiseling work bench and cutting table. About cutting tables, Francis Whitaker suggested that they NOT be used for cold chiseling if the anvil was used in ornamental and decorative work, the reason being that we often use the table as ½ of a vee block. You don't want it to mar your work with reverse images of chisel cuts.

The question arises, why would Tim want a horn of larger diaameter? If it is a short run thing, a large pipe or mandrel could suffice. If it's for farriery (opening toes of shoes), I would be patient enough to wait for a farriers' pattern anvil having a swelled horn. If it's for long use in a smithy, I question whether it would be all that advantageous. For example, when bending or straightening on the horn, we are hitting the hot steel "in mid-air" near or far of the horn. The horn acts merely as a support. If you're drawing out metal on the horn, the base of it should suffice. Other uses of the horn may be welding up a ring or band. Again, if the horn is too small, you might use a thick walled pipe or a solid round. In making a chain hook, the punched eye is most often chamfered inside and out on the slender portion of the horn a little ways back from the point. It is held at 45º and hit vertically, swinging it around. Now, that is an advantage of a slender horn. See Ernst Schwarzkopf, "Plain and Ornamental Forging."

My repaired Trenton, mentioned above, has a face width of 4 9/16" and a cutting table width of 3 15/16. The horn base extends from the cutting table. Therefore, there is a 5/8" difference, the side shoulders each being 5/16" in from the face/body. Hay-Buddens have slight shoulders, maybe 1/8", in the same area, not nearly as deep as the Trentons.
Frank Turley - Sunday, 05/09/10 22:44:38 EDT

the thought of a complete idiot:
fabricate a hollow cone on a laith that fits precisely over the horn. If it's not a perfact fit, I think you could risk damage to the original.
- Dave Leppo - Monday, 05/10/10 06:20:40 EDT

cast iron cookware...: here is something I been wondering about, in good cast iron cookware, is the cooking surface machined at all? or is that from the foundry workers knowing what they are doing? Same thing when it comes to the cooking plates and lids on a wood/coal burning cookstove. I have a very thin, very cheap cast iron skillet that I can see machining marks in, but my good one is like a sheet of ice.
JimG - Monday, 05/10/10 11:50:36 EDT

cast iron cookware: JimG
The old vintage cast iron cookware was cast with a very fine finish and not machined. It was also thin and had no flashing compared to the low grade cast cookware made today. Any designs were very crisp and visual. Today lodge has a state of the art foundry and produces excellent cookware, though they make it thicker. The import stuff is garbage and made thick to try to make it usable with the crude methods it is made. You may find evidence of some machining to remove gravel rough finishes or make lids fit. They are using poor quality patterns and casting sand. The early cookware was done in a fine finish sand. Same with the cast iron stoves they were thinner and fine castings with no machining. They did polish the inside bottoms of some cast iorn vintage pans. Casting of these items a hundred years back was done slower, more hands on with tight fits and quality finishes. Not possible to do this today and be in business. The stoves had no machining done to the tops and lids. I spent time in a 120 year foundry that made wood and coal stoves.
- sweetiron - Monday, 05/10/10 12:04:08 EDT

The Arts Map: I have signed on to be "stickpinned" on the worldwide Arts Map. It's a guide to the location of artists and when the pin is clicked, it gives written info on the artist. A listing is free.
Frank Turley - Monday, 05/10/10 14:17:14 EDT

Frank you are going to become an electronic pinata? grin ;)
- sweetiron - Monday, 05/10/10 14:36:50 EDT

Frank, I meant an electronic "pin the tail" on the donkey...LOL ;)
- sweetiron - Monday, 05/10/10 14:43:31 EDT

If someone forced me to try to bulk up an anvil horn, I think I'd try spiral wrapping it with a long piece of 1/4 X 1 or so. Then weld up the seams, at least on top of the horn. It would take time and care to get a tight fit without welding directly to the anvil or overheating the horn, but I bet it could be done.
Mike BR - Monday, 05/10/10 16:10:04 EDT

Bigger horn = cone mandrel

OTOH I was working on a hardy tool for making arcs. It consis ts of a big chunk of steel with two different angles on opposing sides. To use you heat up your piece and place it so it touches the top of the anvil face and the top of the tool and hammer down in between causing it to arc. The two different angles give you two different "rates" to curve it.

Thomas P - Monday, 05/10/10 18:22:21 EDT

Cone Mandrel substitute: A few years ago at Quad State someone had large projectiles for sale. When I saw Thomas P with one I figured they must have ben a good deal, so I got one of the others.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 05/10/10 20:15:34 EDT

Cast iron stoves, radiators, fences and bathtubs, were usually cast in high phosphorous iron. High phosphorous iron is very fluid and can cast very fine details, however it tends to be brittle. The high phosphorous iron contaminates the sand which cannot then be used for higher grades of iron. So the foundry either cannot do higher grades of iron or they have to have separate sand which cannot be combined if they want to do higher grades of iron. Because of these problems very few foundries cast the high Phos. iron anymore.
I have been told that cast iron cookware is extensively tumbled with abrasives.
- JNewman - Monday, 05/10/10 21:37:06 EDT

Hey Thomas, thanks for that link to armourarchive.
What a great site!
It has also gotten me interested in the SCA so, lets hear more about it...

One of the guys at the antique power club I belong to made a hardy tool that consists of two pieces of 1" round stock welded to a plate at 3.5" or 4" apart.
When he wants to hammer an arc into a piece of stock he just feeds it through under the hammer and judges it by eye or compares to a sample ect...
When making a closed ring or circle he has another couple of bars, that can swings over, made from a piece of 1" and 2" round. These act as an offset hammer to allow him to close the ring but, he admits the bottom bars are too far apart for anything much under 8".
Still it's a good idea and seems to work well.

- merl - Monday, 05/10/10 21:45:00 EDT

Cast Stoves/Pans: One cast stove foundry I was familair with did tumble the stove parts in the later years with a steel type shot. This was less than a decade of the 120 years in business. They did not use a high phosphorous iron or any foundry I had experience with, however I don't doubt that a few may have. Only one foundry would sweep the sand to seperate it, but it would still be of low quality after this was done. I never found vintage cast iron pans or stove parts brittle. Rather the opposite. Those old thin castings were much stronger than the new modern thick ones. I guess I respect Mr. Newman as a skilled Canadian pattern maker, but pretty much disagree with him concerning US foundry practices.
- sweetiron - Tuesday, 05/11/10 00:08:15 EDT

with respect and kindness.
- sweetiron - Tuesday, 05/11/10 00:15:41 EDT

comment came out wrong. did not mean how I wrote it. slip of the brain.
- sweetiron - Tuesday, 05/11/10 00:59:24 EDT

After WW-II my father sponsored a blacksmith from Germany. He said the American soon leaded to shop at the lcoal produce stalls, but kept asking for something called 'sweet corn'. The farmers then just picked their field corn for them and laughted about how the Americans were eating 'animal food'. Different cultures.
- Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 05/11/10 08:39:45 EDT

Merl a variation on that which can be quite accurate is basically the same type of bottom die but for a screw press and you then lay out regular spaced lines along the work piece and bump it at every line to get a very even curve.

I will probably save a ring of the ex-propane tank I was just given to have a fairly stout large diameter form to adjust forged pieces to. Sometimes I think my pile of "useful shapes" will exceed the size of my scrap pile! (and sometimes students confuse the two...)

Dave, I have greatly enjoyed using my ICBM Nose cone and hope to get another at Quad-State this year so I can have on in the armour shop and one in the hot shop.

Thomas P - Tuesday, 05/11/10 10:04:46 EDT

cast stoves: I was thinking in terms of 100 plus years back and I believe Mr. Newman may be thinking in terms of the present and 50 years plus back. Most of the foundries I was around still used a coke charged cupola furnace like the stove foundry. You can't cast a self sealing high phosphorous iron like ductile with a cupola. You can cast a phosphorous iron with the more modern electric induction furnace. I have been around foundries with induction furnaces and they cast gray class 30, 40, 60 ductile and heat resistant iron. Those ones did not make stoves or pans. Back in the 1800's they did not have ductile iron and most stoves were class 30 gray and they could add things to the mix to help give them other qualities. It really came down to the pattern finish and dimensioning, good sand, finish sand and care and skill of the founders.
- sweetiron - Tuesday, 05/11/10 10:32:06 EDT

Cast iron cookware: There are two basic shapes of old cast iron cookware. The oldest is thinner, usually finer finish, with a lip around the bottom edge. This lip was to seal the cookware against the wood cookstove when you take a stove lid off to get direct heat against the bottom of the pan. A wood stove accessory was a stove lid in three (ringed) sections--to adjust the heat against your pan. The later cookware design, what most of us are used to, is thicker and has a rounded bottom edge, to use with gas flame stoves. Some of these have a machined or ground inner surface. I have an old pot, from my mom's Italian aunt, with a rounded bottom, which fit down inside the stove lid opening.

Modern cookware varies in quality. We used to use dutch ovens on river trips to cook up eggs (scromlets: with diced up ham or bacon, onion, bell pepper, a few garlics--yummy), cakes, bacon, sausage, corn bread, garlic bread, and so on. My dutch oven has been down the Grand Canyon of the Colorado twice: oh, for a third trip! We polished the inside of the lid and used it as a skillet for eggs/bacon if you didn't want to use the entire DO. And yes, once in a while we would break a DO. Some of the import cookware has a machined or ground inner surface, some have just a coarse cast surface. I have a small DO that needs the inside finished--probably with a sanding drum mounted in the drill press. As if I need something else to do.

David Hughes
- David Hughes - Tuesday, 05/11/10 11:24:25 EDT

sweetiron,: what do you mean by thin, when refering to cast iron?
I would call my old cast iron skillet thick.

JimG - Tuesday, 05/11/10 11:24:40 EDT

Hi JimG

David Hughes first paragraph really explain the thickness purpose of the cast iron cookware to a tee. He clearly has experience with all eras of cast iron cookware.

Now I can't remember exact thicknesses. This is just a comparison example and not true dimensions. Lets say 100 year old stuff would have a nice finish and 1/16" thick and todays good cookware is 3/16" thick (good finish) and the cheap china stuff is 1/4" thick (sandpaper grit bumpy finish). I hope this kinda helps. I am sure the original was a little thicker than I guessed.
- sweetiron - Tuesday, 05/11/10 12:23:07 EDT

Thanks David,
I have wondered why that ring was on the bottom of my old skillet was for. I knew the reason for the 3 ringed lid.
JimG - Tuesday, 05/11/10 13:32:50 EDT

Funny most of my old cast iron has 3 legs on the bottom, cauldrons, "sauce pots", skillets, etc. Shall we change that to 3 types of old cast iron?

Note that you can season badly pitted but intact cast iron back to "black gold" over time. Folks who drill holes in them___well I think something similar happens to them in the afterlife, someplace warm too!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 05/11/10 15:24:26 EDT

Well, my (relatively) new dutch oven also has three legs. Some of the oldest iron, used to cook over open wood fires, charcoal, boiling lava, etc, is three leg, and pretty heavy as I remember it. I was thinking in terms of stoves. Old three leg stuff is not common around here. Yes, let there be three types

David Hughes
- David Hughes - Tuesday, 05/11/10 17:52:07 EDT

Spider?: I think those ole three legged skillets were called "spiders."
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 05/12/10 08:17:57 EDT

I had a great aunt who's kitchen was dominated by an enormous Monarch wood range.
It had a built in skillet (removeable for cleaning) that you could fry a dozen eggs and a pound of bacon on at the same time.
Thomas's comment about "black gold" reminded me how she never aloud soap near that cook surface for fear of ruining the season.
It was always just cleaned with plain hot water and a scrubber made from broom corn.
I have been experimenting with a seasond finish on some of the smaller steel forgings I make.
Jurry is still out on that one.
- merl - Wednesday, 05/12/10 10:12:41 EDT

Cast Iron: The modern chinese replicas to me seem to be the clunkiest. French enameled cast iron such as Le Creuset in my experience is thinner than most other iron ware. Being in western PA, used cast iron in decent shape at decent prices can be found at flea markets, auctions, etc. The early Griswold pans with the "smoke ring" appear to me to be thinner in thickness for both pan sides and bottoms than later pieces such as a 1971 vintage Wagner skillet. The Wagner has rough cast outsides, but finished machined inside. The early Griswolds are smooth on both the outside and inside of the skillet. Three legged style pots go back quite aways - into the middle ages, and before cast iron they were made of copper alloys, most likely bronze type alloys.

Ductile iron is a relatively recent invention - definitely 20th century. Prior to that, white cast iron would be heat treated to produce nodular cast iron sometimes called malleable cast iron. The heat treatment spheroidized the graphite in the cast iron.
- gavainh - Wednesday, 05/12/10 11:55:05 EDT

Spider: Frank -- I'm pretty sure that term for legged cookware is used in "Little House on the Prairie."
Mike BR - Wednesday, 05/12/10 17:43:12 EDT

iron spiders: That is indeed a common term for them.

I have a nice old one that's about 1/8" thick with legs about 3" long. No lid, but I have a modern sheet steel lid that fits. It's great for frying chicken on the hearth when the power's out!

The finish on it looks like someone dusted the mold sand with a thick layer of talcum. You can tell it's cast, but there's no sand texture at all. Of course, 150 years of wear might be to blame for that as well.
Alan-L - Thursday, 05/13/10 07:02:50 EDT

I make iron spiders for Halloween.... wait you guys are talking about something else.....
- Nippulini - Thursday, 05/13/10 09:06:43 EDT

150 Years of Wear: Wonder if that's why the old pots are thinner? (grin)
Mike BR - Thursday, 05/13/10 17:04:48 EDT

Comics - My health and problems.:
Sorry about lack of daily comics for a few days and the numerous repeats. I am still "resting" and cannot work from bed (too hard on the neck). We have dozens of new comics to scan and dozens more to do draw and setup. . .

I will try to get the forums archived, or at least reduced in size today. . .

I'm still forced to do less than 50% of what I was doing but have made great improvements in the past two weeks. However, besides being much farther behind on EVERYTHING (including billing), we have had the slowest sales month in the history of our store. . . If you every thought of making a donation to keep anvilfire running now is the time.
- guru - Tuesday, 05/18/10 07:42:06 EDT

Old Anvil For Sale : For you central Texas members I want to sell a Swedish made anvil "Kohlswa" for those buyers looking for a quality anvil at a reasonable price. This anvil has been worked; but still very usable. I’ve hardly used it for the past 21 years. No cracks or repairs.
99 pounds,: overall length 22 1/8", face 3 1/2" X 13 1/2", horn 6 3/4", height 10", hardie hole 7/8”, pritchel hole 1/2", base 8 1/2" X 9", Contact me for pictures more info, etc.
Harry Norford San Antonio, TX - Tuesday, 05/18/10 16:38:44 EDT

Thanks TGN: Actually some iron spiders would be fun for halloween TGN. Thanks for the idea.
PHILIP IN CHINA - Tuesday, 05/18/10 19:56:34 EDT

interview : hey I don't know if any of you will be interested , but I got interviewed last week by the living history podcast. The interview is up if any one wants to give it a listen.
living history podcast
matthew Parkinson - Saturday, 05/22/10 05:55:00 EDT

Matthew: Great interview.
- Dave Boyer - Saturday, 05/22/10 22:53:48 EDT

There is a nice looking 130 lb forged (wrought iron) anvil for sale in Illinois, the picture shows some of the english 100 weight numerals, there may be a maker name on it but it is not clear. Cost $200. It is in Harrys Old Engine pages (Google search,
- David Hughes - Monday, 05/24/10 11:11:49 EDT

Anvil for sale: This is a repeat of the cut-off message above.

There is a nice looking 130 lb forged (wrought iron) anvil for sale in Illinois, the picture shows some of the english 100-weight numerals, there may be a maker name on it but it is not clear. Cost $200. It is in Harrys Old Engine pages (Google search, "Harrys old engine", I'm Feeling Lucky, will get there), in the Engineads (classified ads) section. I have no connection with the seller or item, just thought it would be a nice anvil for someone. Appears to be a good price, or at least it would be good out here (California)

David Hughes
- David Hughes - Monday, 05/24/10 11:18:14 EDT

Cast Iron Cookware: A couple of years ago I bought a large(ish) cast iron pot. The previous owner didn't drill any holes (avoiding Thomas's wrath) but did paint it black bot inside and out. Any recommendations on how to remove the paint and return the pot to being a usable state (without poisoning anyone) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

- Don Shears - Monday, 05/24/10 19:35:54 EDT

Mis-spelling: In my last post, please replacve 'bot' with 'both.'

I failed to proof before posting.

- Don Shears - Monday, 05/24/10 19:38:00 EDT

Fixing painted iron pot: 1. Build a fire
2. Throw pot in
3. Remove when cool. The paint should be ash by now. Clean pot and re-season

To re-season the cast iron: "paint" with a vegetable cooking oil, wipe out excess, heat pot in oven hot enough to make the oil smoke (this is a smokey process, temp up in the 400s is what I remember), repeat until satisified

David Hughes
- David Hughes - Monday, 05/24/10 19:54:42 EDT

removing paint from iron: if you can find a pot big enough to put the pot in boil it in a fairly strong baking soda/water mixture for an hour or so (check it once in awhile)easiest way I've found to remove paint from metal.
JimG - Monday, 05/24/10 20:12:35 EDT

Iron pot: Google electrolysis rust removal. This will remove the old paint and any underlying rust, leaving you with clean cast iron ready to use. I use this all the time to recondition old cast iron cookware.
- Bernard Tappel - Tuesday, 05/25/10 19:54:42 EDT

Should I ask?: Well I have been reading and dreaming about getting started in blacksmithing for quite some time now. I'm in the U.S. Army and move alot so I thought since we will be moving back to the states for good, I can get started. First off I think I need to say that no I don't want to make swords! Right now I just have one question, everything I read never tells you what type of coal ie: bitum, anthricite or whatever to use...How do I decide or how do I tell when it burns that I have the right coal?
- Camoman64 - Wednesday, 05/26/10 07:45:23 EDT

Camoman64, First, Thank you for you service, and Welcome home Brother.

Bitumounous coal is the preffere coal, but there is ahuge variation within bitum coal. Some use antrachite, some use charcoal, and most use propane.
Where in the US will you end up? If you give us an area, we can probably set you up with a local blacksmiths group, who will know what is available in that area, and you cn learn far faster in a group than by yourself.
the former SGT ptree
ptree - Wednesday, 05/26/10 08:57:14 EDT

SGT PTREE: SGT PTREE Thank you also for your service....well my next and last duty station before I retire will be West Point, New York. sounds wierd but I will be working in the hosp. there. I would love to link up with a group that can smack me when I make tell the truth as soon as we get to the states we will be taking some vacation with my Brother and Mom in Ohio, while there I want to build a Brake Drum Forge. It is killin me to get started!
Camoman64 - Wednesday, 05/26/10 10:01:49 EDT

Camoman64, I think there are some good NY groups, I figure they will chime in.
In Ohio, in Troy, just up the road from Dayton is a very active group, and in September they host the Quad State Round-up, a great conference. great tailgating, and demos to learn from. There is also a large group that meets for dinner on Saturday night that includes folks from the military including Canada. When do you ETS?
ptree - Wednesday, 05/26/10 12:28:46 EDT

ETS? no RETIRE: ptree, well again thanks for the info, I will retire in about 3.5 yrs...I've been at this Army thing for about....too long.! I will be sure to look up some groups in NY thats for sure. I just need to find some basic tools and an anvil and I think I will be ready to smash some fingers....any suggestions on first projects?
Camoman64 - Wednesday, 05/26/10 13:16:17 EDT

Gulf oil spill: OK QC, if I remember correctly, you have knowlage and experiance in the oil production field yes?
There may be other anvilfire regulars that also answer "yes" but, I apologise if I forget who you are.
My question is simply "Are they going to get this oil well shut off?"
Quite frankly I can't figure how the preventer has failed completely?
I always thought they were there to provide absolute and ultimate controle over the well should any of the normal equipment fail.
I guess the fact that the preventer is 5000 ft below the surface doesn't make me feel like they should "get a break" when they are working in such a fragile environment.
I look to you to tell us the REAL truth of the matter here, as an anvilfire commrad.
- merl - Wednesday, 05/26/10 18:28:11 EDT

Camoman64: Hey my Brother! along with ptree and the rest of the contry, Thankyou for your service!!
May I ask what drives you so adamently to blacksmithing?
May I also suggest, while you are gathering up equipment, you find some good books too.
Just look to your left on this page and click on the "Book Review" and the "eBooks on Line" buttons and you'll find a few.
I don't have my list of books here at the keyboard but, I'm sure many others here can give you several good suggestions.
One good title that I do have at hand is"101 Metal Projects for the Novice Blacksmith"
The books are probably still available at Ken Scharabok's web site. I think it is "" but, don't quote me on that.
This is an excelant book for the beginer of what ever age and has a wide veriety of projects.
Usualy though, the first thing you'll want to make is your own fire tending tools if you intend to go with a solid fuel of some kind.
The typical needs are some kind of poker/rakeing tool, a scoop for fueling the fire, and a sprinkleing can on a long (two to three feet)handle.
The design of these tools usualy presents itself as you go about getting things together or you will see something on a web site somewere that you like and want to make one for yourself. There is no set design is what I'm trying to say.
Welcome Home! Good Luck! any time you have a question the "guys" are always here somewere to help answer.

merl (the civilian formerly known as SGT. Merl)
- merl - Wednesday, 05/26/10 19:21:28 EDT

Merl, I know a little about oil field equipment, and a lot about oil field valves. First, here is a write it down absolute fact. "Valves will leak. Check valves will leak, gate valves will leak, globe valves will leak, ALL valves will leak" Now the only questions about a valve that leaks are " When?, how much? Can it be repaired?"
Blow out preventers are valves. They have all sorts of fail safe back ups, to get that valving to close, when you need it to, and in emergency conditions.
In the news it has been reported that the preventer in question had faults that were known, and bad maintenence.
I tested new and reconditioned valves for all sorts of service, to all kinds of severe standards. Every valve I shipped met that standard when I tested it. Would they meet that standard after years of corrosive media, salt water exposure, poor repairs with off spec parts? See the write it down facts above.

Some day we will sit down at night over an adult beverage, and I will be able to regale you with stories of the stupid things chemical plants, power houses, and refineries did to valving that caused it to fail.

Every valve we shipped was a bet. The stakes? the company was the bet, on every single one of the 80,000 to 125,000 valves a month we shipped.
ptree - Wednesday, 05/26/10 19:30:09 EDT

- peanutbutterjellytime - Wednesday, 05/26/10 21:01:59 EDT

Merl, I must say I have been thanked for my service more in the last 2 days than I have in the last 3 yrs. Maybe I've been out of the net "The States" too long!
I have been fasinated with the art of Blacksmithing since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Now I think its time I try my hand at it and besides that I'm kind of a fire bug.
Here in Germany it is quite the sight to see. It is still the main source for deco fence, horseshoes, and many many other beautiful/ugly works. I don't know but I think once I get the basics down I can smith the next
I will try to get some of those e-books and see how much more info i can soak up.
Once again Guys Thank You!
Camoman64 - Wednesday, 05/26/10 21:35:44 EDT

Valves: I think you said it all there ptree, "Valves WILL leak" and the "when ,how much, and can it be repaired?" is the reaction plan the rig operators should have in place befor a single piece of equipment gets wet!
I would have never gone out in the field without an "alternate" plan incase the dummies in charge in the rear lost controle of the situation.
Now it's comeing out that the rig operators were standing around, while the world was ending around them, waiting for permision from someone on shore to close the preventer. When they finely did try to close it the dam thing didn't work!!
Call me crazy but, if the only way to shut off a MAJOR catastrophe is 5000 ft under water I'm gonna' somehow make sure that thing works when needed or can at least warn me that it won't!
Geez! my car can tell me when the oil needs changing!
In the service we had a regular PMCS scheduale for every piece of equipment we had.
If that piece of equipment failed and it was shown that proper PMCS (Preventitve Maintainence Checks and Services for those not of military experience)
was not done, YOUR A## WAS GRASS!!
It just chokes me to think they didn't have a plan for "What if the preventer fails at a depth of 5000 feet?"
It sounds like they are playing Russian roulet with five full chambers and the people and the environment of the Gulf coast will be the ones getting shot .
- merl - Thursday, 05/27/10 00:50:09 EDT

The move: About 3 weeks to go. The Anyang and base (Total virtually a ton- 970 Kg I think) is now decommissioned and standing on 3 6x6 timbers so I can get the pallet truck or forklift in easily enough. I am leaving a 240 pound anvil for Sean and that is the one on the cement base. So I can use that still. All the others including my ASO (which is used as a "pro" in galleries) are on pallets as are the swage block and otehr heavies. I put blocks under a lot of my crates months back so those can be scooped up easily enough. Most of the loose tools are in those. The other big power tools- the 3 phase drill press etc. are either paletted or have access for the forklift.
I currently have a group of disbled adults in on a welding course I am running. Frankly I could well do without them but they are enjoying the experience. Once they have left I shall really be able to get things moving. Despite all this I managed to get a huge BBQ made for a local hotel, a 20mm thick fajita cooking plate with stand and a horse shoe throwing game all finished. Just have to fabricate a body for a floorsafe and then work ceases! I had forgotten just how many fullers and swages and other stuff I had made over the past few years!

One wild card is that I also have to move a 10' slate bed snooker table! Fortunately the manufacturer is going to take that to pieces for me and refit it at the new place. That will be $60 well spent as the thing weighs about 1,500 pounds.

Why didn't I stick to accountancy?
PHILIP IN CHINA - Thursday, 05/27/10 03:21:23 EDT

Oil spill: Cant we send down a crew to weld that thing shut? Oh wait.... crude oil is flammable. Forget I said that.
- Nippulini - Thursday, 05/27/10 06:35:08 EDT

I dont understand why they cant cap it off, use it and lower the gas prices....opps that would mean the oil concerns would lose money.
- Camoman64 - Thursday, 05/27/10 08:25:51 EDT

oil spill: Hey Nip! that's not a bad idea!
Lets send down a team of strikers instead and just crimp the pipe shut.
By the way, how long can you hold your breath?...
- merl - Thursday, 05/27/10 09:14:16 EDT

moving: Philip in China, did I miss something? Why are you moving?
- merl - Thursday, 05/27/10 09:16:34 EDT

gas prices: Intrestingly enough I have noticed that gas and diesel prices have dropped around here since this all began. From $2.89 to $2.66 the last time I checked.
$3.03 for diesel
- merl - Thursday, 05/27/10 09:21:20 EDT

Here in germany it is all controled by Army Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES). Our gas prices are right now at $3.30 For super unleaded. OBTW we can only buy Super because the tree huggers have done away with just normal unleaded. All the rest is rationed and you only get so many gallons per month, not much! They (AFFES) have such a monopoly on the market because they are the only ones that are authorized to sell goods and services to the armed forces overseas. Therefore there is no competition and they make the prices as they please and see fit.
Camoman64 - Thursday, 05/27/10 09:54:10 EDT

Blacksmithing Tools in Germany:

is the big german supplier. They have everything. Of course, nothing in Germany is cheap, and Germans are famous for being willing to pay more than anybody on earth for quality, as long as it is made in Germany.
Many, many small german blacksmith shops have $50,000 in CNC bending equipment, have both swivel head bandsaws and cold saws, and have german made Kuhn air hammers that are currently $15,000 Euros ($18,500 dollars).

There are a variety of reasons for this, but the end result is that there arent a lot of hundred dollar anvils over there.
- ries - Thursday, 05/27/10 11:55:10 EDT

The bad thing is we are moving back to the states here in about 2 weeks and all of our stuff is already packed and gone. To top it all off every lbs counts $$$$ thats why I will have to wait until we are back in the states to get an anvil and some basic tooling....good thing is that my inlaws are here and they can send things to me as I need them. Nothing like made in Germany thats for sure. They are all about quality and precision.
Camoman64 - Thursday, 05/27/10 13:57:49 EDT

Camoman, when I was in USAEUR, specifically in Hanau, in the 70's I beleive I remember than ration gas was about $2.50/gallon when it was $0.55/G in "The World".

Reis, I bought, slowely, a piece at a time most of my jewelry tools in Hanau, from Gebruder Ott. Cost a lot, but the quality was beyond high. The files were each a handcut work of art.
The small brass caliper is still exquisite. And that was 35 years ago.
At least then, and into my experience with German equipment into the late 90's the machines themselves were pretty nice, the controls total garbage. All were ISO DIN sized, and did not last. Our spec was all NEMA rated and lasted for more than the lifetime of the machine.
The equipment from both Germany and Italy were very prone to early seal failure in the gearboxes and hydraulics. I know that as I had to try and maintain the seals on about $25 million in equipment from there.
ptree - Thursday, 05/27/10 14:01:58 EDT

On the other hand, I paid the equivalent of $8.00/gallon in Sweden last summer, and I don't imagine Germany can be much cheaper on the local economy. AAFES rationing may well be to keep the stuff off the black market.


Where I went to school, 970 KG = 2,138# = 1.069 tons (grin). So your hammer's over a ton to us Yanks.
Mike BR - Thursday, 05/27/10 16:48:16 EDT

Tons: Mike, there are tons of different tons. The correct and real ton is, of course, the British one. You remember the hundredweight system- units of 112 ponds- well 20 of those make a ton so a ton is 2,240 pound. A metric ton is usually spelt tonne in UK. That is 1,000 Kg or just over 2,200 pounds.

No matter what ton you use, a short ton or a long ton it is a lot of weight!

BTW the reason for the move is that I have got a promotion to a better job at a different school. So Linna and I are moving.
- philip in china - Thursday, 05/27/10 17:55:33 EDT

Phillip in China, a ton, tonne, long ton, short ton, is indeed enough to hurt your toe. But ever since those uppity colonials across the pound rose up, a ton is 2000#:)
ptree - Thursday, 05/27/10 18:12:18 EDT

Of course, during the short time I dealt with minerals, we had units like SDT (Short [U.S] Dry Tons) and LCT (Long [Imperial] Calcined Tons). And other combinations. So I guess there really are tons of tons.
Mike BR - Thursday, 05/27/10 18:16:29 EDT

First, we can probably thank BP for the blowout. They appear to have taken a short cut to save 8-12 hours of rig time and this may have caused the blow. The BOP is considered the last line of defence but this BOP was still configured for testing, not operation. Not sure how that happened but we may eventually get it off the bottom. I heard they have killed the well today. Heard they did it by stuffing 11,000 spotted owls down the well. Sorry.
- quenchcrack - Thursday, 05/27/10 18:16:57 EDT

Phillip I.C. & Quenchcrack: Isn't lovely when we have to move? I joke that all of my hobbies are hot, heavy dirty and/or dangerous. I swear that I'll take up stamp collecting; but here I am, launching the longship this morning and entering my ironwork in an art show (at Balticon) this weekend. Then just to relax at work, I get involved in moving museum storage facilities, which contain everything from building parts to human remains to Lincoln's life mask (drop that on the floor and see what they say to you)! Oh well, there are advantages to a migratory lifestyle, I should learn to move more often. ;-)

Quenchcrack: As long as the spotted owls are not from National Parks, BP will only have to deal with Fish and Wildlife. I do have some parks in the way of the slick, but so far they don't need my services.
BaltiCon Link
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 05/27/10 19:54:41 EDT

Mike BR: Thats what they (AFFES) keep it off the black market....but at these prices the black market doesnt even want it.
I have to agree with ptree, a ton is over a pound, drop it on your toe and it dont matter your guna cuss like a trooper!
Camoman64 - Thursday, 05/27/10 22:12:20 EDT

11,000 Spotted Owls...: Dam! My SUV runns on endangerd spotted owls! Now where will I get enough to get myself back and forth to bingo five nights a week!?
Next I suppose you'll want me to turn the A/C off too?
- merl - Thursday, 05/27/10 22:17:06 EDT

Why don't they just plug the blow hole with a bunch of anvilfire bulldung. That should plug it so tight it backflows and blows out the other end toward Phillip...grin...just joshing with ya'll.
- peanutbutterjellytime - Thursday, 05/27/10 23:05:49 EDT

Its funny, I dont do blogs or chat to much but since my first post here I think I've found a new home.
Maybe I'm a lil to coldhearted but all I can think about is all that good OIL going to waste. But ofcourse over here we don't get the whole story anyway. I can't wait to get back home.
Camoman64 - Thursday, 05/27/10 23:17:23 EDT

Oily Humor (of sorts): One of my crew was complaining that not only were they killing sea life and wildlife, destroying marshes, polluting beaches and doing great damage, but that he had stock in BP and they were wasting his oil, his money, and messing with his stock price and dividends! ;-)

Sometimes going cheap can be very expensive, especially when it comes to safety. Time may be money, but shortcuts and "getting away with it" can be costly too. (…as folks have often noted here on both a professional and personal level.)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 05/28/10 07:08:40 EDT

Bruce, I have seen the results of going cheap instead of going right too many times.

At the valve shop, perhaps the wosrt case was the very large chemical company that was starting up a new unit for Ethylene Oxide. For those who don't know ethylene oxide is a liquid only under the right conditions, but as a liquid will evaporate while you watch. It is also an extremely explosive vapor, and in fact is the fuel of choice in fuel air bombs.
The valve we made for this service, were very expensive forged stainless steel with Teflon packing and gaskets. The gaskets were a spiral wound teflon filled type that started .125" thick. The gasket joint was 0.095 deep, so that the gasket was compressed fully to work. This company hired a shop to convert our standard SS valve for this service. That shop replaced the .125" gaskets with 0.0625" thick sheet teflon. No test after.
Several hundred were installed when a hydro test showed water spraying from every single valve bonnet. Had they not hydro'ed but rather filled with ethylene oxide, the western half of west Virgina would have heard the boom. Then the rotten, low down, so and so's tried to call us on the carpet for bad valves! Those sheet gaskets were flapping in the flow. Thank God they had used such undersize stock as teflon will cold flow, and may have held for a while, long enough to pass the hydro and then extruded from th joint later, when in service.
ptree - Friday, 05/28/10 09:03:01 EDT

I dont have any German or Italian tools with hydraulics- so I havent had much in the way of that problem.
But all my german and italian machinery is very stout, accurately machined, and I have not had any of it break.
My electrics have been just fine too- I have a Haberle german made cold saw, that I bought used in about 92- its probably a late 80's machine. The motor and switchgear still works perfectly well. The whole thing is built like a tank- it weighs about as much as ten abrasive cutoff saws do.
My newer euro stuff is PLC controlled, but, again, (knock on wood) no problems so far. My german twister is working on ten years old now, all the electricals still function perfectly, same with my Italian angle rolls.
- ries - Friday, 05/28/10 13:57:37 EDT

Ries, one small difference may be we tended to run our equipment 3 shifts 6 days a week. If a problem will crop up, it will in that type of shop. Our shop was very hot in the summer, and we ran at 100% of rated capacity in many cases. A real trial of anyones equipment.
WE had huge transfer machines. Kingtool, Ingersol Milling Machine, Barnes etc. They were tough, and yeilded 20+ years of faithful service without the incessant leaks and electrical failures of the Deidesheim machines. The Other German machines were much smaller, CNC lathes, say 14" by 120" and they were far too delicate for production service although rated for same.
We ran hundreds of gisholts, Warner and Swaesey's, and New Britians. Maint needed? Sure. Always neeing seals, and the electricals frying contacts and failing? NO.
You milage does vary.
ptree - Friday, 05/28/10 17:29:58 EDT

Trade mark: Does anybody know i a touchmark could be registered as a trade mark? If so how is it done?
philip in china - Friday, 05/28/10 17:51:07 EDT

Phillip in China. My Wife the attorney says "I don't see why not." She registered my jewelry trademark for national and international trade in 1981. My touch mark is that same mark.
But this is in the US.
ptree - Friday, 05/28/10 18:24:18 EDT

humor and "bulldung": Hey PBJ,
The hammer-in page is the place on the anvilfire website where we can get together to BS and discuss stuff that is not always related to blacksmithing or even to metal working in general.
A ways up the page you expressed your boredom with the conversation but didn't try to contribute something to it to make it more intersting.
Now you seem to be complaining about the level of BS going on here and I, for one, don't find you're suggestion very funny or easy going.
One thing the Guru insists on for this web site is respect from everyone, to everyone.
As a regular here, I'm telling you that your banter feels a little less than friendly.
I'm no one around here, just another participant me but, I'm not going to let one person spoil everyones good time with rudness and not say anything about it.

There, I've said my piece and made my point.
I'm done with it.
- merl - Friday, 05/28/10 23:27:20 EDT

Don't feed the trolls
ptree - Saturday, 05/29/10 06:26:55 EDT

Brake drum: Man I'm happy, my brother who lives in ohio where we will be on vacation after we leave here has found me a semi truck brake drum all I need now is a blower and some plumbing and I'm ready to put it all together. Just 2 more weeks and that freedom bird will bring us all home.
OBTW I asked for access for the slack tub pub and have not heard from anyone....did I jack something up?.....Help please!
- Camoman - Monday, 05/31/10 11:27:23 EDT

Cammoman, The semi drum may be a little deep, but that can be worked around,most use a car or pickup drum.
- ptree - Monday, 05/31/10 15:29:39 EDT

Camoman, I don't know what's up with the Slack-Tub Pub either.
Be patient, The Guru has been a little under the weather lately. He'll get to it eventualy.
Another possibility for a forge if you find the semi break drum too big but, can't find a smaller one, try finding a blade from a disk harrow. They also have a large hole in the center and can be welded on or drilled through for mounting a blower or legs.
They can usualy be found in a farm supply store for around $20.00 ea.
Two more weeks... you must be counting the hours by now!
- merl - Monday, 05/31/10 16:30:43 EDT

merl, ptree....thanks again for the brother is quite the metal worker...he makes he own scale steam engine trains and rides on them. So after brain storming with him and after he loaded that thing his truck we came to the conculsion that it was so we will have to downsize just a bit I think. I really respect all your thoughts and help. Keep the sugestions coming please.
counting hours?.....OH YEAH every minute of them.
Camoman - Tuesday, 06/01/10 05:34:56 EDT

Semi brakedrum much too large! but makes a good base to mount something elese on.

See if SOFA has a meeting while you are in OH--we used to carpool from Columbus to Troy for them and of course *everything* you could want to smith with will be available at Quad-State in September!

Might check out the IBA conference not too far from Indianapolis IN in June just in case you will be colse...

Hope to see you at Quad-State, just look for the fellow wearing lederhosen and an aloha shirt on Friday and of course the disreputable red hat any day!

I bought several nice books on German iron work at fleamarkets in Germany, my top was Geschmidetes (¿SP?) Eisen by Kuhn (with umlaut of course).

Thomas from the Santiago Chile Airport
Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/01/10 11:31:00 EDT

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