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June 2009 Archive

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

Bleeders: For those medium wounds, maxipads are great. The old-fashioned kind with the little tails are handiest for tying in place. The ones with the sticky tape have the sticky stuff on the wrong side for dressing wounds, unfortunately.

For the really big, life-threatening, bleeders, there is a proprietary product on the market called "Quik Clot", a hemostatic material in a pack you slam right on the wound. They will stop bleeding of a severed artery, even. Not cheap, but neither is a funeral. Some arteries, like the brachial and the femoral, will bleed so copiously that within two minutes the victim will ex-sanguinate. That's a polite way of saying "bleed to death." :-(
vicopper - Sunday, 05/31/09 20:23:11 EDT

emergency first aid: Because I work alone or at most with my two young kids, I consider the first line of safety to be simple fore thought. Befor I do anything I take at least a micro-second to think "what could happen while I do this?" Like ptree and many others here I have been making my living in the metal working industry for more than two decades and praise the Lord I don't have anything worse than one sevearly broken finger to show for it (and that happend at home while moving a mill into the basment). I ALWAYS stop and think first so, to me it doesn't take any more time to be safe.
I also feel that most first aid kits are not much good if only one person is in the shop. Most serious injuries need help to apply the first aid measures.
I keep a bi-fold paper towel dispencer full of the brown paper dairy towels, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a carton of wet-wipes in a clean place in the shop and, the towel dispencer down were the kids can reach it. I can always stick a finger in to the towel slot and pull out a wad of clean towels if needed.
I also always take my cell phone out with me.
Safety glasses are NOT OPTIONAL even my kids have youth size wrap a round glasses that they know must be worn at all times.
I have no desire to find out if I can make a living as a blind machinist or blacksmith....
- merl - Monday, 06/01/09 00:32:46 EDT

Merl, Hard to find safety glasses that actually fit the little ones isn't it:) I found with my little ones that the elastic glasses keepers helped alot to keep the glasses in place. I found a childs size pair at my safety supplier, with adjustable temples, and that keeper. He was impressed that I was getting them for my kids and gave them to me. They are a little scratched but I believe they are still in the box in the shop.
ptree - Monday, 06/01/09 06:56:09 EDT

Safety Glasses:

Scratches: I understand that sometimes toothpaste will reomove or reduce light scratches in plexiglass and other transparent plastics. My experiments with this method have shown mixed results, so it may depend upon the type of plastic and the type of toothpaste.

Safety: There was an incident in the BGOP a couple of years back (details a little fuzzy, now) in which someone working in one part of the shop with hammer and chisel on cold work spalled off a red-hot shard that flew across the shop and hit another member just below his unprotected eye. The point here is that anytime somebody in the shop is doing any operation that can propel pieces of whatever, it is wise that everyone take precautions; no matter how benign your own project may be.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 06/01/09 08:01:20 EDT

"Ascent of Man" book: I was going through my library and was re-reading Jacob Bronowski's chapter 4, titled, "The Hidden Structure." Under the chapter heading, there are two quotations:

It is with fire that blacksmiths iron subdue
Unto fair form, the image of their thought;
Nor without fire hath any artist wrought
Gold to its utmost purity of hue.
Nay, nor the unmatched phoenix lives anew,
Unless she burn. Michelangelo, Sonnet 59

What is accomplished by fire is alchemy; whether in the furnace or kitchen stove. Paracelsus

The book (1973) was also a TV series and portions may be seen on The book and series give an interesting look at the history of science. Chapter 4 discusses metals.
Frank Turley - Monday, 06/01/09 08:23:27 EDT

ptree, it was by luck that I noticed them in the air gun isle at the local farm store. I think they are even made by/for Crossman and I got a pair of retainer cords w/ the sliding keeper for a better fit.
I beleive they key is consistancy. I make them bothe were the glasses at all times in the shop and they always see me with them on so they have learned and are now in the habbit of doing it.
I think that's pretty good from a 4 and 6 year old.
- merl - Monday, 06/01/09 08:32:26 EDT

Ascent of Man: I got that book the year it came out and it is here with me in China. It is wonderful. What I like about Bronowski's approach is that he is a social scientist in many ways in the book but he was a hard headed "real" scientist originally so hadhad the academic rigour that is so lacking in many of the social sciences.
A terrific read, an excellent TV series and a brilliant intellect. I have probably read it half a dozen times.
philip in china - Monday, 06/01/09 08:50:21 EDT

Merl, its easy when they are that young. Its tough when late teenage or twenty somethings. . .
- guru - Monday, 06/01/09 08:52:59 EDT

I forgot to ask, does anyone have a sorce for an Oxford style steel toe shoe in a size 12 5E?
I can only find them in up to a 4E.
- merl - Monday, 06/01/09 09:19:35 EDT

Groups ask EPA to ban lead tire weights: An interesting article from the San Francisco Chronicle on a move to get rid of lead tire weights.

Given the pounds of these that I've toshed from the streets of D.C. (along with huge numbers of nuts, bolts, washers, &c.) I would have to admit that they may be a cumulative problem.
SF Gate
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 06/01/09 10:10:40 EDT

Old Book: I have a copy of: Between anvil and forge: Pictorial remembrances of the blacksmith shop (Paperback)
by Angela Farris Fannin (Author)

And looked it up on Amazon, there is one (only one) with a price tag of $849.00 WOW
Anyone here know why it would be so desirable ?
I think I need to sell mine as it must mean a lot more to some niche audience.
- Willy Cunningham - Monday, 06/01/09 16:45:35 EDT

Between anvil and forge: Well, 1987 is NOT an "old" book. And to top things off it has never been more than a paper back and only 87 pages. The shops are all in Texas and a number of the smiths interviewed are still working. It was also self published. While some of the photos are good many are not that great for a Black & White pictorial.

I have a copy and the direct mail card that was sent offering the book to ABANA members. Sold for $9.95 including postage.

In 1980 she and her brother published "Johnnies Biffies Outhouses" and another "The complete Armadillo Handbook" (second printing 1982 selling for $20).

So I guess is its pure opportunism. I did a search on and only came up with the ONE overpriced copy. Her other books came up more often and were more reasonably priced. The publisher does not list it. So rarity comes into the picture a little.

I also did a search on the author Angela Farris Fannin, and found nothing of great interest other than she has oil and gas wells in Texas sufficient to have numerous on-line records with her name on them.

If WE both put our copies on-line to sell the price would drop to $50. . .
- guru - Monday, 06/01/09 18:16:54 EDT

More about overpriced book listing:
All the listing has is title, sub-title and author.

IF this was a serious OLD book seller selling rare books there would be information like copyright, size, pages, condition (in detail). For a 90 page paper back at that price I would expect it to be in the original shrink wrap (I don't think they came that way).

While my copy is in near perfect condition (looked at twice) it DOES have my library stamp on the title page.

It is also not old enough to be in the public domain so there is no pressure to get a copy to reprint. . .

ON THE OTHER HAND: Frank Turley recommended a book for our reprints and I have obtained a copy. A good but not perfect copy of "The 20th Century Toolsmith and Steelworker Illustrated", by H. Holford, 1907 for $50. Its a great old blacksmithing book that focuses on tool making. It is definitely out of date but has some great drawings and tool designs. The out of date metallurgy gives it a place as an historical reference.

This book just arrived today (all the way from Canada) and we still have another book scanning job in progress. I suspect we will have this one on-line in a couple months.
- guru - Monday, 06/01/09 19:12:32 EDT

overpriced. . .:
I have also noticed listing on the used book services where there will be an outrageous price that put the item at the BOTTOM of a sorted list. If a list is short, the bottom is almost as good as the TOP. In many cases the multiple listing is a high price but when you go to the sales page it is a competitive price.

This is a simple ploy to get on a more visible end of a list rather than in the middle. However, there are also folks in the industry that list items at ten times their actual value and just wait for a sucker. I've seen this in many markets including the book sites and ebay. I'm sure other dealers do it as well. I can imagine listing my entire library or tools at 10 to 20 times the current values and just waiting. Set it up and wait. . a long term investment.
- guru - Monday, 06/01/09 21:18:25 EDT

overpriced: With $3.00 invested I would be happy to get the original price...
On the other hand I may put it up for $700 and make a list of tools I have lusted over.

Guru, hold your copy back while I establish the market value;)
Willy Cunningham - Tuesday, 06/02/09 10:57:19 EDT

hahahah. . . I'm hanging on to mine. Like my tools, they are my only retirement investment.
- guru - Tuesday, 06/02/09 18:53:09 EDT

Then, Guru, let me sell you a pension policy from our range of products. Lump sum contribution now could bring you lasting benefits throughout your twilight years. Details and sign up form on their way to you. Just sign the form and send me all your money. It is as safe and sceure as GM stock.
philip in china - Tuesday, 06/02/09 19:12:02 EDT

GM stock : You know Philip, I'm no money making expert but, I would think that now would be the time to buy GM stock when it is at its lowest and beeing garrenteed by the US government. They will recover and their stock will rise and I'll be wishing that I had bought a few thousand shares at a couple dollers each... Then I could sell it off in fifteen years just befor they flop again and actually retire.
- merl - Tuesday, 06/02/09 22:19:37 EDT

Well, tonight's news is that GM is trying to sell its "Hummer" line to China. . . I guess Pontiac and Buick are next.

Does ANYONE realize how close to a third world economy we are becoming when major American brands are being sold off and Fiat was supposed to be the savior of Chevrolet.

Now Fiat is aligned with Chrysler . . . A Mercedes Chrysler deal didn't work so now they go from the top to the bottom with Fiat. . .

Then there is the "you will still be able to get parts and service for your no longer existent auto brand". Does anyone remember Opal? Or the Nash Metropolitan? The moment these lines stopped being imported the parts and service dried up. So who is going to be making the "factory only" parts for your Pontiac next year?

I think the American auto companies have done themselves in but the government involvement in something they clearly do not understand is just quickening the demise.

Deals, deals but nothing about making MORE cars to sell to the world. Toyota is #1 because they sell EVERYWHERE, not just the U.S. At one time the world would have eagerly accepted a small efficient truck with high load capacity that fit the narrow streets and bad roads of much of the world from an American manufacturer. But that boat has sailed. While GM and Ford were buying Japanese trucks and putting their label on them those same Japanese manufacturers were selling small trucks to the world.

The American auto manufacturers shot themselves in the foot a long time ago. A government bailout is not going to make them face the facts that the route to short profits does not make a long term business.

Buying GM stock now? It can still drop from todays $0.61 a share to pennies. When its a dime, it could still drop to 1/10 of THAT. . .

At the current prices there are many individuals and a bunch of companies that could buy ALL the available GM stock. The fact that no-one has done so shows just how bleak the situation is.
- guru - Wednesday, 06/03/09 00:09:07 EDT

stocks: I'm suprized we don't hear more from Warren Buffet on the state of the economy.
I'd be interested to know what he is investing in these days.
Frankly, I think the best long term investment one can make now is in the ability to produce food for self and family. After that it would have to be the means to protect/defend the above.
- merl - Wednesday, 06/03/09 01:25:08 EDT

A problem that many american companies have is that they were pretty clueless over how exports work, they just went for the large anerican market. If you have a company in europe you pretty much have the inport/export thing from day one and it's just a slight step up to go from intra-european to world wide. (Not to mention that many foreign govenments help out their industrial base...)
Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/03/09 10:42:19 EDT

GM, who cares...: I saw the future of the auto industry last night and it did not include any of the present auto makers in it.
Check out, for the future of the automobile.
I admit they are a little pricey for the average car buyer but, they do provide the luxury and power the American car buyer demand and, I predict they will sweep the nation.
Check out any You Tube video for Tesla Motors. People are excited!
- merl - Wednesday, 06/03/09 12:47:07 EDT

Exports and the Economy:
(Weak evidence) If you look at old movies filmed all over the world there are a mix of cars and trucks. Often there are many Fords next to Mercedes and Dodge Power wagons. . . In central and South America some of the big trucks (Mack, Whiteliner) are still as common as Mercedes and Volvo. The U.S. makers had huge exports all over the world at one time.

When the U.S. makers had no competition other than each other they did fine. But they ignored and actually HELPED the Japanese take over the U.S. market. They fought clean air requirements while the Japanese accepted the challenge. When there was a demand for small trucks the Japanese built them and the U.S. automakers put their labels on them and became the largest importers of Japanese vehicles. There were feeble attempts to make fuel efficient U.S. cars that were abandoned. Ford was the most successful with the Pinto but used imported engines and transmissions.

This was a major crisis of faith and planning for the future. The Japanese built cars and trucks for the world and U.S. automakers retreated. The Japanese produced better and better hardware while the U.S. makers continued with their 1950's technology. The U.S. automakers had a gigantic advantage over the world and gave it up to dig their own graves.

I hate to see the demise of the U.S. auto industry but they did it to themselves. I hate the fact that they have screwed their employees and retirees. I hate the fact that their demise will probably cost 10 to 20 times the number of jobs that the automakers employ directly. But it is going to happen.

The only bright side is that there will be a temporary slowing of imported parts to build them. But after the temporary slowing there will be a flood of cars from China. RED China. . .

We are retiring the Space Shuttle without a replacement and will be relying on the Russians to put people on the Space Station. . . . or to service satellites. Meanwhile the Chinese are developing spacecraft to go to the moon.

We gloated over winning the cold war with our economy but now we are going to depend economically on people we were at war with just a bit over a decade ago.

This situation is spiraling out of control and the world is worried about the White House Dog and the First Lady's dress color while trillions is being thrown away on hopeless causes.
- guru - Wednesday, 06/03/09 16:25:30 EDT

So how well does it do offroad. "People" out here need to be able to go to quite rugged places while pulling a horse trailer!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/03/09 16:31:57 EDT

"We gloated over winning the cold war" It strikes me that US is good at winning wars but almost always then loses the peace.
- philip in china - Wednesday, 06/03/09 20:08:49 EDT

Looking for starrett model 123 calipers 6" - 12" or thereabout. thanks
- Tyler Murch - Wednesday, 06/03/09 20:53:15 EDT

Off Road EV: Yes, this is a problem for me too but, If you look at the technical specs of the Tesla EVs you see that they produce a tremendous amount of torque, even when compared to higher HP recipricating engines.
Befor I can plunk down any $$ on an electric vehical of any kind I need to know how it will keep me warm during a typical Wisconsin winter.
Consider however, that at todays prices for electrical power it would only cost $4.00 to drive an average of 300 miles and I believe it would only take 8 hours to charge from a 110v outlet or 1/2 of that from 220v and 1/2 of that from 480v
I'm going to be watching these guys closely...
- merl - Wednesday, 06/03/09 22:26:01 EDT

Marc: A China company will be shipping a car, the Coda, here late next year that's all electric. It's a basic 4-door, 5-passenger, sedan based on a $12,000 gas-engine car they sell in China. It'll go 80 mph and 90 - 120 miles on a charge. But the initial price is $45K, so I won't be camping in line when they show up.

- Marc - Thursday, 06/04/09 10:50:27 EDT

Yeah Marc, the introductory prices on these EVs are well out of my range but, it's the innovations they are using in the Tesla that intrigues me.
- merl - Thursday, 06/04/09 12:34:41 EDT

Off road: Given the proper ground clearance an electric vehicle should be better off road than an internal combustion vehicle. The reason is that at low RPM the type of motors used (stepper or similar) have the highest torque at the lowest speed. In situations where you would burn up a clutch or auto transmission bands, the electric motor just moves along with extremely high torque without slipping or overheating.
- guru - Thursday, 06/04/09 13:57:13 EDT

Electricals: I just saw that Tesla will be offering a sedan, called the Model S, for $49,900. It won't be around until 2012, though. But it definitely looks more like a $40K car than the Coda. Actually, it looks like a $30K - $35K car, so not too overpriced. But at 5.6s for 0-60, it's a slug compared to the $100K Roadster :-)

They use induction motors and have a flat torque "curve" from 0 to 6000 rpm. So no need for clunky transmissions. But will sports car buffs miss the shifting and sexy sound?

I believe I read that Jeep would be selling a hybrid, with electric motors on each wheel. Might have been a concept car. Anyway, with a motor on each wheel plus ABS, you get 4-wheel drive, traction control, and stability control using software. Maybe they could use Windows Mobile. The Blue Screen of Death would now be the Blue Scream of Death.

- Marc - Thursday, 06/04/09 16:26:44 EDT

Tesla Roadster/ Model S: I think it's more like $112K when all is said and done. Throw another 16K on that and I have the price of my house so I'll have to give up on that one.
The Model S is the car that has me interested. I still have to know how they intend to heat the car in the winter.
They expect production to begin in 2011 and they already have orders for three hundred or more. I would trade all the fancy glitter for the extended range battery pack and a price of around $32,000.
A car is just a means of conveyance to me, granted it is a beautiful car but, looks are secondary to utility. If this was another recipricating engine car I wouldn't be interested.
- merl - Thursday, 06/04/09 18:18:09 EDT

Electric Cars: The problem is where is the electricity going to come from? Its going to take longer to upgrade the electric grid and provide all those HD outlets in parking lots and charging stations as well as house re-wiring for the same. . .

Currently most of the new electrical generation capacity being built is coal plants. So, just imagine your nice high tech all electric car with a big black smoke stack on the top. . . steam and smoke trailing. .

To make a difference, it will take building many new clean power plants and developing new clean power sources.
- guru - Thursday, 06/04/09 19:45:14 EDT

Eldest Daughter on Television: If you watch the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS television this Friday (6/5/09) keep an eye out for a feature on Signature Theater. My daughter, Lisa, is the Master Carpenter at the theater and should be in the background welding away. Keep an eye out for the torch to malfunction just as she gets on camera. ;-)

Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 06/04/09 20:27:30 EDT

Cars: There is waste heat in an electric car, but it will varry with motor load. Resistance or heat pump would not be out of the question, but it would detract from range.

A fossil fuel heater in an all electric car does seem a bit odd.

The Prius uses an electric motor to run the AC compressor.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 06/04/09 20:51:30 EDT

I could be wrong, but seem to remember that it's significantly more efficient to burn fossil fuel in a big power plant and then use it to charge an electric car that it is to power a small combustion engine in the car itself. Of course, if you cut the Guru's black smoke in half, there's still quite a bit left.

I wouldn't think the heating load in a car would be that great. After all, it's small, tightly sealed, and already has at least one heat source inside (the driver). Maybe a simple heat exchanger could be used to allow ventilation without losing as much heat. Cooling the battery packs with recirculating interior air could help a lot too. Air conditioning on a sunny day, on the other hand, would probably take quite a bit of power.
Mike BR - Thursday, 06/04/09 21:08:16 EDT

EVs: Come on Guru, you know that grid power is always more efficient than the typical IC engines.
It would be a relitivly slow ramp up any way and probably a good excuse to develope nuclear power (I'm thinking of Bead Bed type reactors) LP powerd fuel cells, wind and solar. I beleive most all new homes have been built with at least 100amp 220v service in the last 10-15 years so that will help and, that is the whole point of the extended range of 300 miles. You should be able to go out during the day and return home in the evening within 300 miles without needing to "plug in" someware along the way. I drive 76 miles a day for work and only have a three day work week. I could drive this car all week on one charge! I think someone said that it would average out to $4.00 for a 300 mile charge. I can live with that. Hell, tack on a $16.00 sur-charge to help pay for transmission and power production up grades. It would still be half of what I CURRENTLY pay and far less than what we can expect to pay in the immeadiate future.
Cabin heat is a major issue with me. If you get stuck or break down in Wisconsin or any other place that gets sevear winter weather you could find yourself in real trouble. Even with seat heat, the car still needs to be warm enough to keep the windows from fogging/frosting up. Maybe they have put in micro defrosting elements in the windows, maybe what ever they have come up with has been well tested and will work, maybe they don't think us hicks in Wisconsin will be interested in an electric car and they aren't worried about it. Somehow, I think they have addressed the issue but, I can't seem to find out just how. I just read something about a factory lease option and, I'm going to look into it.

Bruce, I normaly do watch that show but, if it's on Friday I'm afraid I will be at work at that time and will miss it. I might try to go onto their web site and check it out.
- merl - Thursday, 06/04/09 22:37:12 EDT

One More Thing...: For anyone out there that snubs an electric powerd car because they think it just won't have the sound and rumble of a big IC engine, imagine this. Super surround sound built into the seats with sub-wofers that would melt your kiddneys, playing an engine audio track that is tied to the cars accelerator... I can DIG THAT!!
- merl - Thursday, 06/04/09 22:55:20 EDT

Auto Efficiency:
It you want to see how efficient cars were made you can look back to the 1960's. I had a 1962 Pontiac Tempest. It was the forerunner of the infamous muscle car, the GTO. However, in its original form it had a nice big 4 cyl engine and was considered a "compact" at the time even though the 4 door would seat 6 comfortably and had a large trunk. It averaged 28 MPG when properly tuned. It was a great car but it was relatively light weight. No carpet, no fancy molded door panels. No AC or power steering.

It was a big comfortable car compared to a Volkswagon of the era and the slant four was a much more dependable engine with the capacity to last 100k miles. It had 15" tire like the VW but were a more standard width (7.75").

It got that 28 MPG in 1962 using the same grossly inefficient technology of all the engines of the era. But it was a smaller engine and the car a little lighter and did not have all the modern add-ons.

When you take electric car technology and add heat, AC, power tilt seats, cruise control, power steering AND that big stereo DVD.GPS. . . the equivalent fuel cost will be the same as using gasoline.

The Tesla is the equivalent to a 1970's Lotus sports car. This was a low slung two seater fiberglass "egg shell" with no amenities. It had a 5 speed transaxel and a little fiat engine. It was a POS but very quick and sexy. On the highway it got over 40 miles to the gallon and in the city 30. It was uncomfortable and had no safety features whatsoever despite the price. It was a typical lightweight low production specialty car.

I've seen efficient cars but they are either killed by the chrome additions and accessories (much less air bags and 5MPG bumpers) or not very practical to our modern standards. I've also seen many prototypes that bragged of great performance fail in the real world.
- guru - Friday, 06/05/09 08:19:07 EDT

Marc: Another big problem is charging the batteries on the road. I can't be without a car that can't make it to Philly from NH. The 300 mile range is not enough. And I don't want to wait 3 hours to charge the thing on the road.

The Tesla Roadster has a 53kWh battery system. Doing simple math, assuming the battery is the same 375V as the motors, you end up with 141 Amp-hours. If you want to take a full charge from nearly dead in 15 minutes, you need to supply 565 Amps at 375V. That's what, at least 4/0 cable, with enough safety interlocks to keep from frying the "pumper". I would expect a pretty hefty cable at charging stations.

I've seen mileage ratings differ between summer and winter. From what I've seen, heating takes much more energy than A/C. I expect that's due to the temperature differences and comfort levels. To heat comfortably in winter, there can be a 60-degree difference, while cooling at most is 30 degrees. I wouldn't expect the other amenities to really add up too much. Even a big blaster stereo for normal humans is maybe 250W. Play that for 5 hours and you use up 1.25-kWh. And I'd be happy with 1/10th of that. 1/100th with my wife in the car :-)

But even at $0.20 per kWh, considering the on-the-road markups, that's a $10 fill-up.
- Marc - Friday, 06/05/09 09:47:31 EDT

Oops: Put my name in the subject line again.
- Marc - Friday, 06/05/09 09:58:50 EDT

Cutler: I have seen hammers called "cutler hammer" and assume a cutler is involved in a trade. I have searched the term and just come up with electrical parts/company's and some football player. What is/was a cutler?
- Willy Cunningham - Friday, 06/05/09 12:58:26 EDT

Charging and rates: There are a bunch of infrastructure problems with electric cars.

#1 ALL those mini-marts, where service stations used to be or wold be, will need to become charging stations. However, since charging is not a quick turn around this will need to be done in parking lots at destinations, EXCEPT for a few mid-points (which will need to be huge parking lots).

#2 You can't charge a battery a lot faster than the maximum discharge rate. AND the faster the charge, the more waste heat is given off. The time factor for an affordable charging facility will be hours. IF you try to run electrics through a "gas station" type arrangement the backups would be MILES. Thus they must be huge parking lots.

#3 when parking lots become charging stations then long term parking such as a airports then later at places of business will need to become AUTOMATED. The copper wire alone is a problem so the total charging points would need to be limited. So, park your car in an automated slot, it is charged while you fly but as soon as the charge is complete it is automatically moved to a non-charging spot.

#4 Every home as well as every parking lot will need a charging station. The difference is the commercial ones will need to be metered accepting plastic money AND guess what? So will your home units so that the Federal Government can collect highway fuel taxes. You don't think that is going to go away do you? At LEAST 2 cents per mile for the state and national government.

To make electric cars really affordable solar cells need to be more efficient and manufactured to fit compound curves on every top surface of an electric automobile. High efficiency cells provide several benefits. Besides providing a charge on sunny day a high enough efficiency would reduce AC loads by a great deal. This factor alone may be needed to make electric cars acceptable in the South (sun belt).

This would also be a boon to the South where electric utilities are now Summer peaking. A roof covered with high efficiency solar cells could deduce solar heat gain by enough to reduce AC bills by 50% or more. This is a double gain. Make electricity and reduce power requirements.

The whole electric transportation area will need significant planning for infrastructure if it is to succeed. If even a small percent of personal transportation is to convert to electricity it will take very specific infrastructure.

- guru - Friday, 06/05/09 13:58:56 EDT

This was my Father's invention and I would not mention it except he has passed away.

His idea to the alternative car was a big wind up. A spring powered car. A "charging station" would be a "winding station". Pull up, insert HD flex shaft, crank a few seconds, disconnect and then off and away. . . no hazardous wastes and the wind up system is low tech mechanics. It would still require infrastructure including HD windup motors and gearing systems. The only high-tech would be the spring design (possibly fiberglass or graphite composite) and the transmission system.

Entirely clean, relatively low tech. The weight of the spring no different than the weight of a battery and with a much greater life expectancy.

Think about it.
- guru - Friday, 06/05/09 14:42:32 EDT

Cutler: Willy, cutler is an old word for knifemaker. A cutler's hammer has the eye at one end of the head rather than the usual central location, and sometimes the handle is at an angle to the head or the face is at an angle to the head.
Alan-L - Friday, 06/05/09 14:49:37 EDT

Willy: I've often wondered just what this cutler hammer business is all about. I have a so-called cutler's hammer, and I submitted a description and photo to the British Blades online forum. After much discussion, including thoughts that it might be a Japanese hammer, I found out from a Canadian "saw doctor" that it was a Western made doghead hammer used in tensioning circular saw blades. My doghead hammer has a lengthwise octagonal taper with the oval eye very much toward the poll end. It had a numeral 2 stamped on it, the 2 having serifs.
Frank Turley - Friday, 06/05/09 15:08:19 EDT

Inertia: Early 60's maybe 1963 or 1964, Popular Science mag had an article about a concept car that used a flywheel to store energy. I don't think that material science of the time had materials that would hold up as they (might) now. Even then, when I was 8 or 9 years old, I could imagine something spectacular happening when there was a mishap with a fully-charged flywheel
- Charlie Spademan - Friday, 06/05/09 15:25:14 EDT

- Charlie Spademan - Friday, 06/05/09 15:27:07 EDT

Ditto a Fully Wound Spring!
- Charlie Spademan - Friday, 06/05/09 15:27:43 EDT

Cutler Hammers:
I think the steeply angled handled hammers are file cutters hammers. The face is also steeply sloped.

The link below is of a cutler hammer. It is of a style used in Europe centuries ago, sees continued use in traditional Japanese bladesmithing and by many modern bladesmiths (IE cutlers).
Cutler Hammer Image
- guru - Friday, 06/05/09 16:08:39 EDT

Power source dangers:
There are hazards in all types of energy storage. Try shorting out a big battery. Either the shorting conductor vaporizes OR the battery overheats and blows up. Spill a tank of gasoline. . .

Flywheels have significant problems, bearing friction, air/gas friction if not in a vacuum, and material strength problems (they want to fly apart).

Springs can just sit for decades and release their energy just as efficiently as when they were wound (depending on the materials). Friction is a problem in a high force system BUT it does not wind down the spring like a flywheel which would eventually run down and stop moving.
- guru - Friday, 06/05/09 16:25:08 EDT

Willy may I suggest you look in a dictionary---even an on-line one? I had no problem finding it at the top of my search page using: cutler definition

Big problem with flywheels is turning corners!
Thomas P - Friday, 06/05/09 18:30:06 EDT

Depends on the orientation of the flywheel; maybe it would level out the a fault
- Charlie Spademan - Friday, 06/05/09 19:58:40 EDT

Dog head: You can see the doghead hammer plus other saw doctors' specialty hammers, cross face and twist face by tuning in:
Y'all may call them cutlers' hammers till the cows come home, but you gotta' show me. I'm from Missouri.
Frank Turley - Friday, 06/05/09 20:11:44 EDT

Spring powered car: Not a unique idea, but as You mentioned, the spring has yet to be invented that can store enough energy in a small enough space for continued operation.

The idea has more merrit as a hybrid to store braking energy and use for initial acceleration. I heard a rumor a few years ago that Ford was working on such a setup using compressed air for the "spring".

If by chance You happen to invent a suitable spring for primary propulsion, I think it would be simpler to wind by driving the wheels with rollers. Pull on the power unit, block the bumper & wind 'er up, just like a kid pushing a toy.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 06/05/09 20:57:47 EDT

Resistance electric heat: If I remember right, You get about 5,000 BTU [round figure] from 1,500 watts. That is not too many KWH to dry Your hair, but it adds up fast over time.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 06/05/09 21:08:22 EDT

Energy conservation: One of the least efficient things you can do when driving is hit the brake. We need hybrid cars which brake by recharging the battery. I understand that some electric trains do this- when running on a long down gradient the momentum of the train is actually pumping poewr back into the grid.

BTW on the sale of Hummer to Sichuan, although I live in Sichuan there has been no visible reporting of the subject here.
philip in china - Friday, 06/05/09 21:10:52 EDT

Spring Power: A proper spring to do the job may weigh less than a rechargeable battery. It also does not have the down side of the flywheels gyroscopic effect.

However, it does have the requirement of some very ingenious mechanical gear train parts. The advantage of an electronic system is absolute programmable control and need for only the most minimal gearing.
- guru - Friday, 06/05/09 21:43:04 EDT

Hammers and Batteries: Frank, I know what the cutler hammer looks like but, why is it like that? What advantage does the eye/handle position give to the user?

As far as the infrastructure for the Tesla cars, the battery pack is designed to be changed out in 5 minets. So I guess you would pull into an affiliated "filling station", do a battery swap and leave with a fresh battery.
I would think one could get a company like Kwik Trip interested in that seeing as they already have at least one station in every town in the US (seems like it anyway)
I really think an LP fueld PEM type fuel cell on bord would be enough to extend the range of the battery charge and recharge the battery pack within a resonable time. The only byproduct of this particular fuel cell is water and heat. The water could be either reused for something else or discharged on the road in the summer and stored for safe dissposal in the winter and you probably have enough waist heat to heat the car in the winter.

It's called Gyroscopic Precession and if you have enough of it get out of controle you will have a spectacular acccident.
Funny thing about storing enery in a fly wheel. They don't have to spin that fast if they have enough mass and you can over come a lot of the Gyro-precession if you make the length of Z axis greater than the diameter. For example if you have what is normaly called a flywheel shaped disk ( large diameter and short axis) and spin it up to what ever rpm to acheive the desired power level, no matter how you orientate the Z axis you're going to have problems with GP. If you make your flywheel like a roller (think of the high speed rollers in a paper mill) you can spin them pretty fast befor you really start to get the same Gyro problems. Of course any spining object needs to be precision balanced for the expected rpm.
I used to work for a shop that made RC model size jet turbines. The owner told me the secret to the succsess of his engines was that they were "square"
The length of the Z axis between bearings was equal to the diameter of the fan from tip to tip.
At 110,000 RPM this becomes VERY important...
- merl - Saturday, 06/06/09 01:04:10 EDT

Alternative energy cars: If you've ever used a laptop computer, you know how much heat you get from just one smally lithium ion powerpak operating. No problem keeping warm in a car with a thousand pounds of those things operating!

Ford was experimenting with a truck that would have been powered by a hydraulic accumulator. Ferocious amount of compressed power there, I think they were talking hundreds of Kpsi of hydraulic pressure in the accumulator. Sounds like a hell of a bomb to me...

GM blew the opportunity of a lifetime when they scrapped their early electric car program. They could have set up a field test program here on St. Croix and had an ideal environment. Flat areas, mountains, short distances, captive population, etc. Just one more bad decision made by their MBA wunderkinden in management. That bad check, along with many many others has come due for payment.

It is high time that the US started makin gserious inroads to the fossil fuel problem. Electric cars may be one way, alternative energy sources another, etc. We need to get busy on this, like yesterday!

Cars could be much more fuel efficient if people were more "expectation efficient." When you mandate crash-proof cars, total comfort in all seasons, enough chrome plating to give a Hell's Angel an orgasm and enough electronics to outfit the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, it is damnably difficult to get from point A to point B without a hefty penalty. A good long look at the vehicles in use on the small Caribbean islands or in much of South America not inflicted with the DOT, EPA, or Consumer Reports will reveal small efficient vehicles with no frills that run amazingly long lives at high efficiency and low cost. Think about it.
vicopper - Saturday, 06/06/09 01:25:49 EDT

EV, alternatives: Lith-Ion is also the go-to for the cordless tool manufacturers, an incredible amount of stored energy in a tiny package. I've been daydreaming about an electric motorcycle for some years now. Better battery to gross vehicle wt. ratio. My usage pattern would tend towards shorter trips than in the car and you only use the things in the summer anyway so no heater issues.

Mercedes actually made an internal combustion car with a flywheel that spun up via regenerative braking. My understanding is that it only got the car up to 10mph or so before switchover to the engine, so no gyroscope issues at speed.

My car, truck and tractor all run on biodiesel blends.
- Judson Yaggy - Saturday, 06/06/09 07:28:17 EDT

Interchangeable batteries is an old idea, and I read recently about a group that's exploring the idea now. The idea is that auto mfgrs would settle on a standard, easily changed battery pack (trucks might use two or more). Service stations would charge batteries and have automated equipment for changing them out.

That would require significant infrastructure costs, but I think modern technology could help minimze them. For example, cars could easily include navigation systems that predict when the battery will need replacement, automatically schedule an appointment with a service station that will have a charged one ready in the right place at the right time, and replot your trip to take you there. The same system or a proximity reader system could identify your car to the service station and program the robotic equipment to replace your battery. I guess that means Big Brother would know all about your trip too, but maybe he does already.
Mike BR - Saturday, 06/06/09 08:06:43 EDT

hammers: Merl, I think the theory is they tend to stay aligned better, since it's harder to twist them for an off-axis blow. Dunno if I buy that, though. My guess is it's just fashion, like a Swedish-pattern cross pein.

The ones with the angled handle are nice for light blows while sitting down. You don't have to move your wrist as much, just lift and drop your arm.

Alan-L - Saturday, 06/06/09 09:01:34 EDT

EV's: I have a 1918 Dykes Automotive manual. In it is a section on the electric vehicles of the day. Comparing them to the internal combustion engine of the time they were superior. Most of the problems stated about the electric cars with the lack of recharging stations etc. applied to the internal combustion engine then too. There were no filling stations everywhere you went. There weren't even good roads connecting every community. If we don't have the ambition to do as well as our Grandparents we deserve this mess.
JimG - Saturday, 06/06/09 09:58:11 EDT

Batteries : There is some interesting research beeing done with aluminum air batteries and zinc air batteries. Aluminum takes a large amount of energy to produce, that energy can be recovered in an aluminum air battery leaving aluminum oxide. You stop at the gas station and instead of adding gas you drop off the aluminum oxide and pick up aluminum. The zinc air batteries work on the same pricipal of changing the cathode.

There are even ideas of putting huge aluminum smelters in Iceland where they have cheap electricity generated using geothermal energy. A ship/battery could then travel to port cities and then tie into the grid generating power.
- JNewman - Saturday, 06/06/09 12:33:50 EDT

Hammers: I suppose a guy could write reams about the whys and wherefores of hammer shapes and uses. I think that to a large degree, the hammer heads and hafts developed in the early days because of regionalism and happenstance. In German speaking countries, for example, there were regional, distinctive anvil patterns, axe and hatchet patterns. What Alan-L says about the angled handle may have some truth in it. The peens on the doghead and the Japanese hammers are not used except as a small counterpoise. Someone told me after picking up a Japanese forging hammer, "There's no mistaking which head is used for forging," meaning that the hammer is "head heavy." The Japanese use a rectangular eye in their hammers, but the haft is oval in section and relatively short, often 11 or 12 inches. The old French hammer face is rectangular and rockered a little, but if you wanted a radiused edge on the face, you'd do it yourself. Some horseshoers and blacksmiths use long slender hafts, some over 16 inches in length. Lots of smiths choke up on the hafts, but when they do decide to take hold near the butt, they get lots of leverage for heavy blows.

Frank Turley - Saturday, 06/06/09 13:20:48 EDT

A couple of more hammer thoughts.: It's true that the file makers hammer was head heavy, and the face was angled, ducked back somewhat toward the haft. Some of the old ones had a curved haft, convex side up. I'm told that the old file makers fastened their annealed file blanks to a table, and chiseled the angled cuts with a small triangular shaped file. They got good, about one cut per second.

I may be off base here, but when the doghead hammer was being used in working over a large diameter mill saw, the extended head may have kept the worker from barking his knuckles.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 06/06/09 13:34:08 EDT


I think of fuel cells as being the same as the aluminum air battery you describe, except that they use hydrogen instead of aluminum. (And you scatter dihydorgen monoxide as you go, instead of dropping it off at the gas station.)
Mike BR - Saturday, 06/06/09 16:13:08 EDT

Flywheels: The Williams Formula One Racing team in England is experimenting with a flywheel based Kers (kinetic energy recovery system)this year though it is not yet in use. All the other teams are using battery based Kers if using one at all.
- SGensh - Saturday, 06/06/09 18:03:12 EDT

Flywheels: Eugene Sandow, the old time strongman, had a tremendous sense of humour.He had a suitcase which contained a flywheel on an axle. He would spin it using a rope and then get a porter to wheel it on a luggage truck. All went well until the porter tried to turn a corner and the case wanted to continue in a straight line!
philip in china - Saturday, 06/06/09 19:57:42 EDT

Hammers: Thanks Frank and Alan. I have wonderd about this for some time. I know Richard Furer of Door County Forgeworks makes a type of cutler hammer and I have lusted after one for some time but, I was never sure just how it was to be used that I wasn't already doing with what I already have. I begin to see things in a different context now.

Several years ago a friend and I worked up a design for a "KERS" using a salvaged roller from some piece of web converting equipment. When you applied the break the initial rotory momentum was absorbed by the roller until it reached the limiting RPM and continue to a mechanical break for a complete stop. Pressing the accelerator would take momentum back out of the roller first and then a DC motor would take over to add momentum as needed to keep the EV moving. It all worked well but, we ended up scraping the system in favor of regeneritive breaking that helped charge the batteries and was 200lbs lighter.
That is also interesting about the heat given off by the batteries in a lap top computer. Concidering there is over 6000 of those lap top batteries in one of the Tesla battery packs I would think that maybe they do have the problem of winter heat addressed.
- merl - Saturday, 06/06/09 22:19:02 EDT

Interchangable EV Batteries: HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH HA HA HA. . .

At one time there was a VERY good system mandated by the Department of Transportation where headlights were interchangeable and made of GLASS. These were the ONLY parts that were interchangeable on cars (other than tires, sort of. . ). It was a GOOD system. Headlights were cheap and you could get replacement lights for 50 year old cars. Today the crummy plastic headlight lens fade, are expensive to replace and are no longer available when a car is far from worn out. All for a little "style" because manufacturers didn't want anything to look the same on each others vehicle. The change was a bad decision, standard lights were better.

If you have a 3 or 4 year old laptop and the batteries start failing you may not be able to find them because they are all different and are manufacturer specific. Cell phone batteries are all specific to manufacturers and often a part of the case.

Emerging industries are constantly trying to set standards but technology changes to fast. AND most companies do not consult each other on advances they have made in technology are design. If a maker figures out how to make a battery 10% smaller they will immediately use the space inside the vehicle. Then another "universal" battery won't fit. If ONE manufacturer leads in power cell design and becomes the "standard" they will want licensing fees from other manufacturers to use their technology. . . and so goes standards and interchangeability.

Unless there is a gigantic investment in electric transportation infrastructure electric cars will just be curiosities until there is no more oil.

Do you know what killed the most advanced automobile of the late 1920's? Gasoline. That most advanced auto was the Stanley Steamer. It ran on alcohol. The alcohol was more available than gasoline until a combination of prohibition and oil discoveries made gasoline more available. No alcohol, no steamer. . .

No charging stations in every parking lot? No EV's (other than little short distance overgrown inner city golf carts).
- guru - Sunday, 06/07/09 01:11:45 EDT


Well, maybe if the government bought a car company (grin).
Mike BR - Sunday, 06/07/09 08:40:56 EDT

Well. . If they bought ALL the car companies. . .

Did I mention highway taxes on electricity? Multiply price per KW by about 10 THEN do the cost evaluation. . .
- guru - Sunday, 06/07/09 11:19:34 EDT

what luck will I have ?: what luck will I have punching a 9/16 hole at end 1/2 sq bar & can it be done with 25 # LG?
- ron ratz - Sunday, 06/07/09 19:28:03 EDT

Punching: No luck whatsoever. You'll have a bar with a semicircular concave end is all, sinch your hole is bigger than your bar.

Now, if you slit and drift that bar, you can put a 2" hole at the end of it if you choose. It will take a long slit, but it can be done, and on a 25# LG, though I'd probably just do it by hand as it isn't really very difficult at all.
vicopper - Sunday, 06/07/09 21:10:08 EDT

Alternative energy cars: Regenerative braking is already being done on hybrids, like the Prius.

If you look up pneumatic hybrids, that's an idea that's been in serious thought for a while. Mostly it's thought for around-town cars. But I think all alternative energy cars have a ways to go before they get out of the city.

Interchangeable batteries is not a bad idea. Sure, the manufacturers would want to roll their own, but if no re-battery stations wanted to carry their design, then there'd be some economic pressure to not rock the boat. It's different from laptops because manufacturers sell their own, or maybe some aftermarket, but you only replace it after several years, not once per week. If you make the standard size small enough without being laborious, a car maker can improve their batteries and just install fewer of them.

But sitting in a lot for hours waiting for your car to charge is a non-starter. Expecting hotels to have charging available for each customer won't go far. Without a real quick charge, EVs are for around city only.

I've always thought, though, that if this country really wanted to jumpstart an alternative energy, we should concentrate on three (or so) specific technologies and pour money into those, rather than spit a few bucks at a hundred ideas. Batteries would be one of those. Get those suckers up to the energy density of gasoline and you can leave those oil tankers in their respective harbors.

This table, is pretty interesting. The golden boy of batteries today, LiIon, is way down in the mud compared to gasoline.

So hire a bunch of super-physicists, and not necessarily battery people. Give them a lab and a $5B budget. Sounds easy. Why do I have to think of everything :-)?
- Marc - Monday, 06/08/09 10:38:41 EDT

I had a friend who bragged that in his new car he didn't have to change out the headlights just the little bulb and how he was saving so much money over the old fashioned system.

Unfortunately the cover got broken by gravel and the cost of replacing it was greater than the cost of replacing headlights on my car for the life of my car! (and he still had to replace the bulbs...)

Frank; I've seen a number of pictures of cutlers in Sheffield England using "cutler's hammers" about 80-150 years ago refered to as a cutler's "steady"? hammer.

Never understood the folks who demand to call them Japanese style hammers
Thomas P - Monday, 06/08/09 12:06:08 EDT

Research - Advances and the Super-Colider:
High tech research IS the name of the game, especially in materials. The problem is that starting in the Reagan years we started giving the advantage to other countries while KNOWING and publicly stating that our technological superiority was going to keep the U.S. ahead.

It started with the super-collider in Texas. The idiots trying to justify its value told Reagan, a creationist, that it would help answer questions about the beginning of the Universe. Well, He KNEW, from the bible how the universe was created and didn't need a multi billion dollar research project in Texas to answer that question. . . He said so.

Folks I knew that were working on the magnets for the super collider said they were VERY VERY close to major break throughs in magnets. These are something that could have been applied to real-world products as well as other research areas (fusion).

And it went on down hill from there. CERN's collider in Europe became the heart of high energy particle physics. Along with it went the materials research, and the "super-physicists" mentioned by Marc.

Reagan was also against AID's research. He and his buddy Jerry Falwell had labled AID's the "gay plague" and stated that "they" deserved what they got. . . While both later denied this position, Falwell's sermon on this subject ran regularly on religious channels. Anywhere else this would be labeled hate speech and its repetition a hate crime. The point is, scientific research was held back and moved to other countries.

Then we had Texas Instruments moving research from the US and Japan to China and India along with manufacturing. . . And our space program relying on the Russians. . .

Every time something like this happens it is another nail in the coffin of what WAS the greatest country in the world. Its an accelerating downward spiral that nobody is paying attention to.

Much of the most important research done in materials is just plain trial and error. It takes time and that takes money. Look at the thousands of things Thomas Edison tried before finding the element for the light bulb. . . Each test cost money and took time.

- guru - Monday, 06/08/09 12:40:15 EDT

Camp Fenby; Friday through Sunday, June 26 to 28, 2009: If you're in the Mid-Atlantic area at the end of June:

Camp Fenby is our somewhat laid-back medieval arts and crafts camp held at Oakley Farm in St. Mary's County, Maryland. Civilian clothes are perfectly acceptable (so you don't have to dress in funny medieval clothes unless you're really into it ;-), and there's usually a lot of stuff to learn, teach or do.

We should have a variety of beginning, formal and informal blacksmithing sessions. This year, due to the construction of the new forge building and fitting out the ship and ancillary vessels, we will also be working on some woodworking and follow-up construction projects for the forge and the vessels; and, of course, having a pleasant weekend.

Camp Fenby has a Yahoo Groups webpage at: We usually post the latest and best information there, as well as directions to Oakley. There is a nominal site fee to cover the cost of the porta-potty, with all surplus funds going to support the Longship Company. Camping on the farm is available, and there are a number of motels in the area.

Saturday night usually includes a crab and shrimp feast.

If you need further information or can't pull up the Yahoo groups site, please contact me at asylumATearthlinkDOTnet,
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 06/08/09 13:58:24 EDT

CERN's collider scares the heck out of me. It should all of you too.
The "super-physicists" already did a similar project 50 years back that didn't turn out so well. I guess the Engineer's and physicists will not be happy till they destroy the world because they lack the truth and wisdom.

Nothing wrong with creationism. Everyone has a path.

Ronald Reagan like anyone had his faults and errors in judgments. He still was the best President we have had from the 1970's till present. Our Nation could benefit from God in the Whitehouse.

I don't want to get into Politics and Religion, so I will stop before agreeing in areas with Jock and disagreeing in others. Hey, we are all allowed to our opinions at least for the time being. Give the Obama administration half a chance and that will all change.
- Jack Knife - Monday, 06/08/09 20:41:27 EDT


It seems to me that a 9/16" punch would flatten the end of a 1/2" and probabaly spread it beyond 9/16" wide. Still a lousy way to make a 9/16" hole in the bar, even if you did manage to shear the slug out. If you wanted a mangled mess on the end of the bar, though, a 9/16" punch might be a good way to get it (grin).

I've recently been punching big holes in 1/2" bar using a slot punch (I like it because it doesn't leave rags in the hole the way a slitter does).
Mike BR - Monday, 06/08/09 20:53:46 EDT

punching: I'm in agreement with you on that, Mike. I use slot punches ten to one over slitting punches for that reason, and I can also count on getting a smoother hole starting with a slot rather than a slit. I find it difficult to get the crotches of that slit to go completely away when drifting out to round unless I really stretch things. I also find that I'm much better able to keep a slot punch driving perpendicular than I am with a slitting punch. Just a degree of difference in angle from one side of a slitter to the other and it wants to wander, evenon 1/2" stock - gets really bad on 1-1/2".

YOu're right aout mashing the end of the 1/2" bar, of course. I was thinking more of punching over a bolster, the way I do on the power hammer, which would just cut the end off the bar in one quick hit.
vicopper - Tuesday, 06/09/09 00:02:38 EDT

HIV/AIDS/STI's: Mr. Guru

It is only fair to bring forth all facts. You mention Ronald Reagan's early attitude toward HIV/AIDS. In 1987 under some pressure his administration was the first to acknowledge HIV/AIDS as a Disease and National Crisis. This led to funding of research, education and health care. Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" program really worked. Please understand drugs and alchohol reduce inhibitions that leads to other behaviors that increase risk for HIV etc... Since her program has disappeared we have an explosion of youth and adults using drugs. Now that AIDS education is not on the political agenda many cuts have been made to the education end. The same will also happen and is.

Let's talk about Bill Clinton: He was caught engaging in inappropriate behavior that would put him at risk for infection. Then he announces to the world that he did not engage in sexual relations...i.e...oral sex was not sex. Do you realize the backward steps this created for educators. The increase in risky behaviors this caused.

I was an HIV/AIDS/STI educator for 8 years. I have dozens of training certifications specific to this pandemic. Including many friends living with HIV and AIDS. Also a huge pandemic is Hep C. Little effort has been put into educating people about the huge number of people that are infected with Hep C and the health risks. Hep C is known as a Stealth virus because of this. The numbers of infections far exceed HIV infections.

Here are a couple of old statistics. I can only image they have increased in numbers. About five years back when I was still an educator 1 in 75 people in the USA were HIV positive. For every detected case of HIV there were approximately 9 undetected cases. The largest growing group of HIV infections is heterosexual women from approx 18-34. The second largest growing group of infections is both genders 50 years and older.

I can't believe the explosion of unprotected sexual permissive behaviors the youth engage in now over the last few years since HIV is no longer a popular educational topic.

It is important to know your status to get medical care, medication and to prevent the spread. Most people do not know you can keep reinfecting you or your partner with the same strain. If you have many partners you can get infected with different strains. Then it becomes very difficult to have drug combinations that will help keep you healthy longer.

Another falicy since people who get treated are living longer that it is no longer a death sentence. You will still die from an AIDS related oppertunistic disease. The meds don't work for all people. Then many drug resistant strains are getting passed around and they have to continually find new drug cocktails to help.

I think you all get the idea. Get tested if you don't know your status. Now they have rapid testing and can just rub the inside of your gums and give you the results in less than 20 minutes.
- Jack Knife - Tuesday, 06/09/09 00:18:43 EDT

I forgot to mention that getting reinfected will also cause an increase in ones viral load. You can see how this is not a good thing.
- Jack Knife - Tuesday, 06/09/09 10:21:37 EDT

Sex Education, AIDs: Jack, I agree with you on education. The sex education programs in most public schools are a joke. My ex-wife was and elementary teacher for 25 years and often the programs that were in place NEVER got a minute's time in the classroom. To be certified every public school HAS a program and buys material for those programs. It is then up to the classroom teacher to enact that program. Most do not have the training NOR are emotionally prepared to discuss sexual related subjects in public. AND since sex education is such a hot potato most administrations (from the principal up) do not ask or check to see if the program is being taught. It is all ignored with the wink of an eye and a sigh of relief.

This is not true in all school systems but it is in many. Millions wasted on books and materials (I've seen them thrown out) and the public lied to. Then they wonder why 13 year old Sally says she doesn't know how she got pregnant.

To solve this problem requires sex education specialists that do nothing except teach the one subject. Experts that know what is appropriate for a given age level and who are not embarrass to discuss the subject, as well as not inciting a riot in the classroom. It is a very special educational subject that the average teacher is NOT equipped to do.

There are still a lot of people that think this is a matter for the parents at home. But the problem is the parents do not give their children the information they need. So we have public programs that are not taught and that parents can opt their children out of in the first place.

OBTW - Jerry Falwell's "Gay Plague" sermon STILL runs on religious channels in many parts of the country particularly in the rural South.

Yep, we have had some REAL losers from an educational perspective in the Presidency and congress on BOTH sides of the isles. It is time we call for testing of politicians on basics such as elementary science, mathematics geography and such before they can run for office.

Ignorance and TAUGHT ignorance are the key problems.

Both morality and ignorance tend to filter down from the top. When you have ignorant cheats as leaders you can expect no more from the people. Our current financial crisis is primarily the result of unchecked greed and misbehavior at the highest levels of the banking world. The damage that has been done to make a very few rich is unbelievable.
- guru - Tuesday, 06/09/09 11:33:50 EDT

Education: Guru

You are absolutely right on. This requires an outside specialized educator. This is what I was. I would go into schools and other venues and educate. We were trained and educated to do such.

Most teaches did not have time to cover the subject with the other requirements. As Guru mentions they really don't know how to approach the subject or have proper information. Many administrators avoid the sexual and infectious disease education for many reasons. The state educational mandates are ignored with a wink as you mentioned. It was our job to gain access through educating the administration and prove ourselves as good and proper educators. We taught all ages groups with different approaches and levels of information. We would teach at health fairs, forums, colleges, grade, middle and high schools, jails, homeless shelters and out on the streets. We were employeed by State, County and independent non-profit grant funded educational organizations. As you can image most funding has been cut, so not as much education happening.

The feedback from everyone after receiving education was wonderful. Most people once they got beyond the fear and stigma were very greatful and learned allot.

This is truely my passion. The educators like me are a very limited breed. It is almost impossible to earn a meager living doing such. You almost have to work for several agencies at a time if they have the limited funding required. We are not utilizing good folks with all the specialized training to go do this job. I had to barter with agency for education materials or buy myself they materials and supplies needed. Many times I had to pay my own travel expenses. You will do it as long as you can if you believe in the work being done. An individual just can't maintain the cost long term.
- Jack Knife - Tuesday, 06/09/09 12:25:39 EDT

Last note: Very few agencies have the funding to pay an educator full time to teach.
- Jack Knife - Tuesday, 06/09/09 12:27:39 EDT

An educators yearly salery in this field is between 15,000 to 25,000 a year if agencies can pay them. It usually falls in the middle.
- Jack Knife - Tuesday, 06/09/09 12:29:14 EDT

Behavior Modification and Risk Reduction: I respect Guru for allowing this disgussion on anvilfire.

Those of us that are educators teach the facts, behavior modification and risk reduction. I am a Christain and have been yelled at by preachers and told I am going to Hell. I have had correction officers tell me I am scum for wasting time educating prisoners. These people are foolish.

We know statistically teaching abstenace does not work. The numbers show risk reduction and behavior modification work. We would understand our audience and be age appropriate. We taught how to use condoms, dental dams, birth control, how to clean your needle works, needle exchange programs and testing...etc. We would encourage monogomy and testing with every partner. The truth is very few people are actually monogomous.

I would tell the preachers I will save their lives then you can save their souls...grin.
- Jack Knife - Tuesday, 06/09/09 13:03:25 EDT

Disclaimer: I better clear up a point. We also taught reproductive health and birth control methods. As you all know birth control doesn't protect you from contracting HIV/AIDS/STI's. I didn't properly construct an above sentence.
- Jack Knife - Tuesday, 06/09/09 13:06:02 EDT

axle steel: hi i am a thinking of making a hammer out of an old truck axle. it is about 2.5inches in diamater. as a begginer i don't know what the steel is. i have read that it is often 1040 or 1050, but i just want to make sure it is hardenable before i forge it. thanks if you know. also what rockewell would this get to? it thinkt that would be about 52 on the rockwell scale right? would that end up being the right hardness for a hammer? thanks again.
bigfoot - Tuesday, 06/09/09 13:32:45 EDT

Bigfoot, You do not need to post in multiple places. Your question was answered on the guru's den. We had a discussion about hammer hardness just a few days ago on the den so just look UP on that page.
- guru - Tuesday, 06/09/09 17:19:22 EDT

bigfoot: There is more than just one Rockwell hardness scale, so you have to specify which scale you are using or the numbers are meaningless. Rockwell 52C would be acceptable for a hammer head.

I can't say what alloy that axle is, and only he manufacturer could - if they were willing. Just take a piece of it and normalize, then heat to above the A3 point and quench in warm oil to see what happens. That will also give you an opportunity to determine how far you need to draw the temper to achieve the right combination of hardness and toughness you need for your hammer.
vicopper - Tuesday, 06/09/09 19:51:41 EDT

sorry: i won't do that in the future. and to viccoppre: i need to get my metal saw up and running before i can cut a piece off. it is raining where i live and i never knew there were more than one rockwell scale. i think i may have been thinking of the rockwell c scale.
bigfoot - Wednesday, 06/10/09 06:54:03 EDT

stop blaming the schools: blame the parents..... why should kids be getting their sex ed from a school??? isnt that something the parents should do? and jack i FULLY disagree with you reagan was the greatest puppet we've had sense the 70s... if you ask me why i say that.....all i can do is qoute reagan"i dont recall"....
- blf - Wednesday, 06/10/09 08:47:40 EDT


Most parents are not equipt with the facts and information to educate their children in reproductive health and risk reduction. Hour culture has made sex education a taboo topic therefore parents really lack an approach as well. Education and open discussions should always start and continue at home. Many youth are able to go home and have good conversation with their parent about what they learned. Then the parents get information and education as well. It really works in reverse. Saying the parents should do this or that isn't going to change the fact most parents are not educated themselves concerning this topic. We really have to be open and think outside the box concerning sex ed.

I respect anyones political beliefs as there are not right or wrongs.
- Jack Knife - Wednesday, 06/10/09 09:26:05 EDT

Parents vs. Schools and Public Education:
Public schools are there to do a job that parents are not themselves educated well enough to, do not have time to do OR do not do well. Health and Physical Education was deemed to be a part of a general or liberal education from the beginning of organized educational systems (public or private). Sex education (human reproduction) and its social ramifications are part of that as well as the science of biology. It is a public health issue that must be taught for the better good of all.

You either have public education or you do not. Try teaching Algebraic Functions twenty years after you last had it in school OR keeping up with the sciences so that you are not teaching your children something that was proven wrong or inaccurate shortly after YOU learned it in high school.

Public education is there for the public good. It is there for those without the free time or high enough educations to educate their own children. Can YOU take off most of the day to sit with your children making sure they understand their text books, test them, tutor them? Can you teach art and music as well as mathematica and history? Did you make all A's in all your classes and take every possible subject offered to you in school so that you are capable of teaching the same?

There are STILL many people, despite public schools that for whatever psychological, social or other reason manage to be illiterate despite going to public school. Do we condemn their children and their grandchildren to illiteracy as well because ONE generation was screwed up? THAT is what public education is for.

I've known a number of people that home-schooled their children. Most did OK through the elementary years and have enough sense to stop and put the kids in public schools at a certain point. Those that have tried to teach their children all the way through high school have done very poor jobs. At least one has probably done irreparable damage to the child's socializing skills as well as doing a poor overall job. The only time this works really well is when the child knows enough by age 12 or 13 to self educate themselves and have the drive and discipline to learn the things they do not have a burning desire to learn. Even then, someone must monitor their progress and test them.

Due to my work in technical fields where I used the math and was on the cutting edge of computer technology as well as my background in the arts I am probably more capable than most parents who chose to home school but I KNOW I am far from adequate to do the entire job.

Education is a continuing process and we all must learn. Technology changes a continually more rapid rate and keeping up in more than one field is difficult if not impossible.

Sex education, like other areas has changed. Today a 13 year old with a cell phone that sends nude photos of herself to a friend (THOUSANDS DO THIS), can be charged with distributing pornography and end up labeled a sex offender for life. A 16 or 18 year old that posts explicit OR just plain STUPID photos of themselves, or an essay on their favorite debauchery on a website may not know that those photos and those writings may keep them out of college, prevent them from getting a job AND may be out there with their name attached to them forever somewhere in some internet archive. And NONE of this has anything to do with public health issues.

YES, it is the parent's job to address these issues. But HOW DO YOU incorporate the problems of human sexual drive with the prevalence of cell phone cameras and the illusion of privacy from one's bedroom as well as the legal aspects of the act.

Telling kids at this age NO does not work. Telling them YOU SAY SO just spurs them to DO IT. A parent telling a teenager almost ANYTHING, especially if they WANT to do it, can be a dead end. IF you are lucky they MAY remember the advice as an adult. . .

Just saying NO only works when it is the socially COOL thing to do.

- guru - Wednesday, 06/10/09 11:12:35 EDT

We've never met, but when you type select words and phrases in all caps in your posts, I get the image of you pounding on your desk as you read them back to yourself befor hitting the "POST" button. DON'T CHANGE - this is just an observation!

I send e-mails in all caps all day, but I try not to send them outside the company. I keep caps lock on because I'm creating mechanical drawings, and we use all caps in ALL NOTES on same.

(these kids don't listen, even when you yell, anyway!)
- Dave Leppo - Wednesday, 06/10/09 15:21:45 EDT

Well Done: Guru

Well thought out and articulated!!
- Jack Knife - Wednesday, 06/10/09 18:20:16 EDT

I took 3 years of drafting in High School and printed in all caps all the time. Drove my teachers crazy. But it was more legible than most others so the complaints were few. I DID use all caps with larger capitals for a while. . .

Without embedded codes for emphasis such as underline, bold or italics, that is all there is to use.
- guru - Wednesday, 06/10/09 23:40:17 EDT

I used to use a leroy set for doing mud logs by hand in the oil patch (and a rotolight diazo printer for making copies!)

Now I am in software and have to use a lot of camelBack capitalization---what I used to get dinged for back in school; sigh.

Thomas P - Thursday, 06/11/09 10:08:19 EDT

Code Caps and Capitalization:
Thomas, what drives me nuts is the veryLongLongWithCamelnames for every Microsnot function. They have destroyed the elegance of programming languages worked so hard for by so many.

But forget all that. The important thing they do not insist that programmers do well is annotate their code. Properly done in real words and sentences anyone can maintain code. Without it . . . junk.

The interesting thing about capitalization and simple punctuation as we use it, is that it is used differently in other languages. German uses caps as different characters and some languages have none at all.

I was translating some Hebrew words to HTML characters the other day and where I placed the embed codes from left to right the system displays them right to left. . . The first time I did it I placed the characters in the order they are supposed to display on the screen. So I had to revese them! Apparently computers read Hebrew from left to right and then display it right to left. . . After you think about it makes sense in an odd sort of way. I don't even want to know about Chinese.

While computers help communicate with words more than ever, their use is also changing language and the way it is used. I work in an HTML editor more than any other and type embedded codes for headings, bold, italics and odd characters as part of the flow of typing text. It is the complete reverse of using a word processor which gives you tools to do these things but hides the codes that do it. The important difference is that codes in a word processor are all proprietary and HTML with ASCII text is the only truly platform independent text formatting tools.
- guru - Thursday, 06/11/09 10:50:18 EDT

On Internationalization "The Great Match":
Hulu is running an art film titled "The Great Match". It follows three groups in vastly different primitive places of the world that are seeking to watch the Soccer World Cup.

The languages, without subtitles are Mongolian, Arabic, Portuguese and Native Brasilian as well as some others used in the places depicted. But no translation is necessary. It is life on the far side from civilization while connected to it by fringe high tech.

I enjoyed it. But if you MUST know what every spoken work is then you will hate it.
- guru - Thursday, 06/11/09 11:05:36 EDT

Home Schooling: In my mind (a vast and empty place...)Home Schooling is like Home Medicine.
JimG - Thursday, 06/11/09 11:22:59 EDT


When Chinese is written across the page in rows, it's written from left to right. Traditionally, it's written in columns, in which case you read the right-hand column (from top to bottom) first. Or my wife does -- I can't.

In Taiwan, the newspapers are still printed in columns. I'm told that in the Mainland, they're in rows. Apparently there's an old joke about how the Taiwanese nod their heads when they read the news.
Mike BR - Thursday, 06/11/09 20:29:05 EDT

Home Schooling: When done properly with a professionaly developed ciriculum it can work well. I know several families Wo have done a good job of it. Those who try to "wing it" seldom have success. Many parents don't have the fortitude or a good enough relationship with their childern to make it work.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 06/11/09 21:57:29 EDT

Chinese: Here in Mainland PRC the characters are written going across the page from left to right.
philip in china - Friday, 06/12/09 00:18:40 EDT

Punctuation: You refer earlier to punctuation. I just noticed a line on Gurus Den which can be punctuated as:

and to reduce the rambling, quenchcrack, I left....


And to reduce the rambilng quenchcrack, I left ...

Which was it meant to be? Shall we ever know...

With apologies both to QC and Bigfoot I just couldn't resist that one. Am I close to getting banned yet Jock?
philip in china - Friday, 06/12/09 00:22:32 EDT

Text Directions, Home Schooling: I think most or the vertical writing has converted to the Western system. But you must wonder about the OS and what it takes to produce vertical text.

I've known folks that home schooled their kids and did OK and I've known a couple that really screwed up their kids lives by being over protective and not capable of teaching the higher levels. They also screwed up the kids socialization skills.

Folks doing home schooling need to understand their limitations. I think many can do a better job at elementary levels than an overworked overpressured public school teacher. However, as soon as you hit higher math, the technical aspects of language and specific sciences then experts are needed.

The only times I have seen home schooling work through the high school years was with brilliant self motivated kids that could self teach AND would tackle subjects they were not interested in or did not like. They knew it had to be done and did it.

We have run into the issue of having kids that were further advanced in areas such as reading or math that the public school system was not prepared for and resulted in bored kids that did poorly due to the boredom. While parents SHOULD take interest in their children's education and are in the best position to teach them many things the result can be the be almost as bad as not taking interest.

I think home schooling can be a positive thing to a point. But after that the children need the more organized professionally taught environment.

The ideal situation for home schooling is when there is a group of families doing it with kids about the same age and where they get together in a "mini-school" environment. Kids then learn socialization and personal communication skills while getting to enjoy field trips with others their own age.

Otherwise home schooling is often parental over protection and isolationism. People learn more from making mistakes and getting knocked down in a fight than from living in a "perfect" world. But I understand the concerns of putting kids out into modern society. It was vastly different between my experience and my children's experience and will be much vastly different for my grandchildren.
- guru - Friday, 06/12/09 10:33:37 EDT

Hmm would BOF or Bloomery be better for reducing Quenchcrack and how should he be fluxed?

Back getting my CIS degree they told us that over the life of a piece of code you could expect to spend about 3 times as much money maintaining it as writing it and so money spent upfront to make it easily maintained had a severl hundred percent payback.

Unfortunately money spent up front affects the most recent quarter profits/expenses and so it's an uphill fight with the bean counters to spend it!

Thomas P - Friday, 06/12/09 11:47:00 EDT

Punctuation: Well, Philip, only the Guru knows for sure what he intended. As for me, I am more concerned with the punctuation in the responses to my posts: more ! and fewer ?
quenchcrack - Friday, 06/12/09 18:11:33 EDT

Home Schooled Kids: The ones I knew were living on cruising boats. Most of these families did school in the mornings,every morning, so there werent many other boat kids out and about untill afternoon anyway. In the afternoon, these kids hung around with each other when possible, or with the adults if there werent any kids in the ancorage. Calvert school has a flag that their students fly, so others know which boats have kids on them. Thes kids generally had good social & communication skills, they werent stuck in a house some place where the parents wouldn't let them out.
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 06/12/09 23:47:46 EDT

Boat kids: I've known more than just a few, since I live on an island that attracts cruisers at times. To a one, they've all been intelligent and well-schooled, well-socialized and seem somewhat more mature than permanent residents of the same age. No doubt that the broader experience of different places/peoples/customs as well as the necessity of discipline and order aboard a ship have shaped them. Good kids that I've enjoyed meeting and getting to know.
vicopper - Saturday, 06/13/09 01:18:52 EDT

Patrick Nowak: As a parent actively homeschooling I'd like to offer a contribution to this discussion. I have a bachelor's degree in Metallurgical Engineering, my wife is a licensed, though non-practicing, veterinarian with an undergraduate degree in linguistics. Because of our backgrounds, I am not too concerned about our ability to properly educate our children, even in advanced mathematics and science courses. Due to the amount of work necessary to be sure you are adequately covering all the appropriate subjects, we do utilize a variety of professionally produced curricula and supplement that with additional materials as needed. Our oldest child is seven and has been home schooled for the last two years. She is reading at a very advanced level and is about where she would be in a class room in most other subjects.
Homeschooling is becoming more and more common for a variety of reasons. In many cases, the public schools no longer make sure that students are actually equipped to function in society. For example, we have a friend with a high school diploma who only reads at an elementary level. As has been noted on this board innumerable times in the past, high school graduates increasingly are less able to function in society. The ability to do basic math in your head, work with fractions and decimal numbers, and write and speak using correct grammar are just a few examples of how ill prepared many students are after receiving their high school diploma.
In our case, there are several reasons for choosing home schooling. First and foremost, we are devout Christians. I can no longer rely on the public schools to support and teach Christian ideas. Values such as servanthood, selflessness, honesty, diligence, perseverance, RESPECT FOR ATHORITY, etc are no longer emphasized in the public schools. I think that years ago the public schools did place value on a person's character and the difference between right and wrong. They don't do this anymore. For example, there was a recent discussion of sex education on this board. One of the contributors to the discussion concluded his post with "I respect anyones political beliefs as there are not right or wrongs". I strongly disagree with the idea that there is no right or wrong. (The poster may have been limiting his comment only to the idea of sexual issues/education, but I have heard other people genuinely express belief that there are NO standards for right or wrong for anything). I believe that sex outside of a marriage relationship is wrong. I know that a public school will NOT re-enforce that belief with my children. In fact, they will teach the opposite. I do not want my children to get one set of standards taught in the home and completely different set at school.
There obviously are private school alternatives to the public school. I attended one of these schools and my mother teaches at the same school so I am quite familiar with them. These schools would certainly accomplish my goal of having consistency between what is taught at home and at school. The two draw backs to a private school are cost and the inability of students to work at their own pace. In any formal school you are pretty much in grade X for all subjects. With homeschooling, with can be in grade X in reading and grade Y in math if that is appropriate. Homeschooling offers more flexibility than a classroom setting.
With respect to the issues of socialization-This is the most common objection that I hear people give for being opposed to homeschooling. If your children never interact with anyone outside the home, then yes, there could be issues. However, most homeschooling parents are aware of this and actively look for opportunities for their kids to interact with others and develop those social skills. Homeschooling is now quite common and people who home school tend to organize field trips and other group activities regularly. In our area, the group actually has “classes” once a week such as gym, art, and foreign language.
To be successful at homeschooling takes a great deal of effort on the part of the parents. You can't just expect a child to teach themselves. My wife does lesson plans every night and documents the work accomplished each day. She pre-reads text books and even general reading material so that she can be prepared to teach and discuss each subject. She designs projects to re-enforce the topics discussed each week. If parents don't put in the effort then they'll end up with students who aren't prepared for life just like the public schools, but if they are willing to put in the time and effort, they can provide an outstanding level of education for their children.

Patrick Nowak - Saturday, 06/13/09 11:30:40 EDT

Hi Patrick Nowak

Thank you for having the ability to discern and understand what I meant in my statement.

I know many home schooled children that are very intelligent and well socialized.

I respect parents that have the patience and knowledge base to do so. There are some parents out there that should have super Mom and Dad capes for being able to effectively wear so many hats and almost never have down time away from their children.

I would not have the patience for home schooling children.
- Jack Knife - Saturday, 06/13/09 20:58:03 EDT

jock: is there anyway you can make another forum to handle these off topic threads? i visit this site to learn more about smithing...
- blacklionforge - Sunday, 06/14/09 08:46:52 EDT

The Guru's den is the place if you want to learn more about smithing. The Virtual Hammer-in is the place to learn about the Smiths.
JimG - Sunday, 06/14/09 10:20:12 EDT

sorry: i may have been outta place on earlier post....
- blacklionforge - Sunday, 06/14/09 21:05:47 EDT

No problem; this forum is like folks standing around the back of a pickup outside the feed store talking. You want to talk about smithing---start talking! Other people will chime in.

If you have a specific question then the guru's den is the correct place. You want to make fun of my disreputable red hat---this is the place.

Thomas P - Monday, 06/15/09 10:30:34 EDT

scrap steel : does anyone in the norwalk area want to get rid of steel scrap? sorry for the shameless self advertising.. and if you want wood split or stuff moved i would willingly do that for leaf springs or heavy axles.
bigfoot - Monday, 06/15/09 10:43:52 EDT

Would that be Norwalk California, Norwalk Iowa, Norwalk Ohio or Norwalk Connecticut? Several thousand mile difference depending...

Thomas P - Monday, 06/15/09 16:00:22 EDT

wow : norwalk, ct. i really feel like i need to think through my posts more. and i did not know there were so many norwalks.
bigfoot - Monday, 06/15/09 16:55:02 EDT

When I lived in Columbus OH our local paper did a story on the other towns named Columbus. Now I'm out in new Mexico and drive through Columbus NM to get to my dentist in Palomas Mexico.

A lot of US place names came from England and so there may be others where ever the english colonized.

Thinking over a posting is a great thing; ask your self "Have I given someone who I've never met enough information to answer my questions?"

Be wary about putting too much personal info out on the net though. Central NM is usually how I describe where I live rather than Socorro NM.

Thomas P - Monday, 06/15/09 17:46:55 EDT

who said i live in norwalk? i said norwalk AREA. i don't live in norwalk. i just use it as a land mark. i am not dumb enough to tell people my real town.
bigfoot - Monday, 06/15/09 18:12:22 EDT

Why do you assume I am ONLY posting for your benefit?

There are lots of people out there who might profit from a reminder.

If this was only for you then e-mail would have been simplier method.

Thomas P - Monday, 06/15/09 18:45:16 EDT

oh yeah i am a bit wound up oops. maybe i should think before i post?
bigfoot - Monday, 06/15/09 18:53:54 EDT


Time for an insulin shot friend.
- Rusty Metal - Monday, 06/15/09 19:56:00 EDT

Forgot the Grin ;)
- Rusty Metal - Monday, 06/15/09 19:56:28 EDT

chromed steel: I was given a chromed object to repair. The repair is essentially just a bending job. What's the deal with chrome? Is it safe to heat on the forge? Or does it release toxic fumes, as with zinc? Secondly, can I assume that anything chrome is mild steel beneath?
coondogger - Tuesday, 06/16/09 07:11:04 EDT

Personal info: I'm of another mind regarding public forums, such as this one. I don't feel anyone should be posting anything that they would not be willing to say to someone else, to their face. I choose to use my real name, in all forums I post to, and own every word I have said.
- Charlie Spademan - Tuesday, 06/16/09 07:11:15 EDT

personal info and chrome sai: Me too, Charlie. Hear, hear!

Coondogger, I answered over in the guru's den, but I'll throw it here too: Sai are usually cheap crap steel. Don't heat it up, just bend it cold with some padding so the chrome doesn't scratch off, it'll be fine. Unless it breaks, that is! (grin!)

You don't want to heat it for another reason as well: Safety in use afterwards. People hit these things with sticks, using the "guard" to catch the stick, nunchuck, or whatever. You don't want to cause any change to the heat treatment, if it was heat treated, lest it should snap in use and hurt someone.
Alan-L - Tuesday, 06/16/09 08:23:29 EDT

Rusty Meta; Was that to me? If so my name is Thomas, Tom is my Father. I'm quite willing to use my real name here---if I post it I'd better be willing to own up to it!

Sorry but you have it backwards diabetics get peevish when they have too much insulin---time for a sugarly snack!

Actually time to go get a fasting blood draw done so I can have breakfast already!

Peevish Thomas
Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/16/09 10:25:21 EDT

ThomasP, I would offer that I have never noted that you are peevish. Cheap beyond belief? Yes. and as to the hat, I will not even go there:) Especially as I have been know to wear the occasional odd hat.
- Ptree - Tuesday, 06/16/09 13:15:08 EDT

How about a nice cone mandrel hat? Those missle nose cones would make a great one...

And yes I do know that I get hard to live with when my blood sugar is low---my wife has done told me so and as she has the greatest ammount of experience living with me she should know! Strange to think that I've been married longer than I lived at home for some time now.

Thomas who should have the new version of the disreputable red hat done in time for quad-state (some year)...
Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/16/09 15:21:19 EDT

I agree about not posting here something you wouldn't say to someone's face. But telling someone isn't the same as telling everyone. I tell my friends and neighbors when I'm going on vacation. I don't broadcast to the world that my house will be empty for two weeks. I doubt any would-be burglars are trolling this site looking for targets. But there's still no point in making it easy.
Mike BR - Tuesday, 06/16/09 17:14:01 EDT

Thomas Powers: I bought one of those short (ordinance noses?) cones last year at Quad States. If you are still looking for one, I can bring it this year (to Quad States) and will sell it to you for what I paid for it.... I have since bought a larger one for my shop.
Dave Hammer - Tuesday, 06/16/09 18:08:49 EDT

ThomasP, You wear the missle cone hat and I will do the "Vanadium Steel" anvil as a hat:) No wait, I have already done that one:)
ptree - Tuesday, 06/16/09 18:09:32 EDT

Dave that would be very nice; I'd be happy to call "dibs" on it!

Mike; they might be surprised if they tried---in the old fashioned meaning of the word!

Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/16/09 19:07:34 EDT

Archives: I've been WAY behind on archives (14 months). They are all posted now. It took about 70 hours of work to get them all found, edited into weeks and setup.
- guru - Tuesday, 06/16/09 22:18:55 EDT

Vulcan Anvil Age: Hi i have a Vulcan anvil and I am wondering how old it is. It says Vul9can along the waist under the horn. These are the only markings on it.

Thanks for any help
- Ben - Wednesday, 06/17/09 16:09:19 EDT

looking for a copy of the book "95000 Four-Gear Ratios" do not know publisher or isbn because the copy available is missing some pages. it was distributed by the barber-colman company. whether you have the isbn number or have a copy to sell that would be great.
- Tyler Murch - Thursday, 06/18/09 20:45:17 EDT

Four-Gear Ratios: Tyler, Sounds like an interesting old reference. I've never heard of it by I would bet that in an hour or less I could write a BASIC program that generate every possible combination based on available change gear sets (usually starting at a minimum of 25 teeth and going to around 80). It would be easy to set the ranges and give ratios in both directions.

A better program would take a data set (List) of available gears and either generate all the ratios OR those closest to a desired ratio.

A lot of this type reference was killed by mini-computers.

NOTE: If you do a bookfinder search WITHOUT the number in the title I think you will find what you are looking for. It appears to have been published by Industrial Press in 1958.

ALSO NOTE: ISBN numbers hurt your search more than refine it. Books often had different numbers for each printing, the type of covering and the printer (may have been printed in multiple countries or different cities in the same country). I've found books that had multiple ISBN's listed for the same apparent book. IF the publisher changes names the ISBN may also change (even if in the same location for 100 years. . ). We give them as part of our book reviews but I think they are a complete waste of time.
- guru - Thursday, 06/18/09 23:46:37 EDT

Peevish Thomas

Here is some virtual candy to sweeten you up...grin
- Rusty Metal - Friday, 06/19/09 00:28:46 EDT

I hope I choose the right flavor.
- Rusty Metal - Friday, 06/19/09 00:30:01 EDT

Table calculations:
One thing I found when writing programs to calculate properties of steel shapes and musical scales, was that the published tables often had errors in them. Not large errors or a lot but almost always had one error. This could have been the from the guy that did the calculations manually, or the typesetter that put the ink to paper by hand. In a book of 10,000 ratios I would bet there was many errors.

Back when I was doing this work I would write the programs to round and format as well as put the data into tables complete with borders to fit pages. This was often many times more work than writing the mathematical part. The goal was to be able to publish the data with any further manipulation that could introduce errors or omissions.

A small program that recreated the data each time it was needed was often smaller than a large data table.

In the process you learn a lot about the data and thus more than using a book of tables.
- guru - Friday, 06/19/09 07:45:46 EDT

hammond rite-speed polishing lathe: has anyone every seen or run one of these grinders ??
- pete - Friday, 06/19/09 13:56:48 EDT

leather aprons: I am looking into buying leather for an apron. i do not know what weight to make in so i thought i would ask. should i go for 8oz or 4oz? or maybe 6oz? i want something really heavy duty but soft enough to move around in. thanks for the help.
bigfoot - Saturday, 06/20/09 11:42:30 EDT

leather aprons: Unless you're shoeing horses you really don't need one. That said, if I were making another one I'd use a nice 1.5 oz split pigskin suede. Wears hard, and is butter soft even after soaked in sweat and dried.

Back when I was young and impressionable I made myself a half-apron out of some 8-9oz veg tan tooling leather. I bet it'd stop a slug from a .45 auto without a dent! It stands by itself in the corner of the shop gathering dust, even after soaking up darned near a quart of neatsfoot oil in an attempt to soften it up. Unlike pigsuede, it most emphatically does not stay soft afer getting sweat-soaked!

If you're determined to make a bulletproof apron, use garment leather, like something they sell for biker chaps. It's actually flexible.

If you're cheap, just buy some weldor's leathers from harbor frieght or northern hardware or something. A 4oz suede apron costs about half what you'd pay for enough tooling leather of the same weight alone, and then you don't have to buy the buckles or cut out the darned thing.

I do understand the desire (and for some of us the need)to have one you made yourself, though.
Alan-L - Saturday, 06/20/09 13:02:56 EDT

leather aprons: Alan: i am 6 foor 2.5. i need a really big apron to fit me. and i want to have it fit me right, and be comfortable. and having a 46in chest does not help me either. belive me i would not make an apron if i could not buy one. i am a blacksmith (or try to be)if people in the past made aprons why can't i? i have done sewing and pattern making for pouches, so it cannot be much harder to use on an apron. plus i do the ocasional demo at a rr museam (i may be young but i am allowed to being a voulenteer and all). so maybe 4oz tooling sides? i can make it soft and the leather that i have gotten from tandy leather co. is really supple. when i use it it knife sheaths i found it a bit soft so i soaked it in water several times to stifen it up.
bigfoot - Saturday, 06/20/09 13:59:26 EDT

I'd go with chrome tanned rather than tooling leather. Chrome tanned doesn't get stiff when wetted something I guarentee will happen with a smith's apron. Oil tanned would be another good choice---what I used for my bellows leathers for the Y1K set up.

Alan-l, I think that a leather apron is a good thing to have if you are doing much forge welding as it doesn't take but a juicy weld or two to give you a pretty good spray track across your shirt (if you're lucky!)

ThomasPowers - Saturday, 06/20/09 16:56:20 EDT

leather aprons : so oil or chrome tanned eh? will this stuff work? it is in my price range and may be heavy enough if not will this work: or is the suede a good choice? thanks for the help.
bigfoot - Saturday, 06/20/09 17:53:06 EDT

APRONS: Neither link above worked. However, as recommended above welders aprons a MUCH cheaper than you will find anywhere else and 1/5 the wholesale price of raw leather. I've been wearing the same apron for 40 years and only had to replace the straps once. It is a welder's apron that I cut off 8" from the hem so it does not interfere with my knees.

If you want make your own then that is another thing.

Note that heavy forge shop workers wear cotton duck aprons. Leather is too heavy and does not breath. It can also get very hot and burn the wearer. As the cotton DOES burn or smolder slowly they are considered a consumable.

Farriers wear leather aprons to protect themselves from the stubs of nails in a horse's hoof.

A friend of mine has an apron made from scraps of upholstery leather. A patchwork. Works fine IF you have the heavy duty machine to sew it.

I wear a leather apron more when buffing, polishing and grinding as armour from flying parts. Wire brushes shed wires at high velocity that with penetrate clothing as well as flesh.

Many craftsfolk wear aprons to protect their clothes. I should have do so yesterday while derusting some bar stock. . . rust powder stains. . .

Our general blacksmiths' suppliers carry welders and farriers aprons.
- guru - Saturday, 06/20/09 20:37:49 EDT

leather aprons : guru: i cannot find an apron that fits me right AND looks like an 19th century apron. i do some demos at a rail road museum and i have been advised to 'look the part' of a blacksmith. plus i want an apron to protect me from saw dust etc woodworking and even when i am cooking out side at my scout troop meetings, believe me hot bacon grease can hurt (long story :)) and i just tried the links. if you right click and then click 'open link or follow link it will open (at least on macs). and i will be branching out into shoeing horses eventually, and will be doing alot of forge welding, once i get pattern welding down pat. and really being 6' 2.5" with a 46in chest plus shirts and in the winter jackets, will be hard to fit me. and i do not want hot welding flux all over me. and i do not have a sewing machine, but i do have patience and people who owe me favors :D. thanks for the advice.
bigfoot - Saturday, 06/20/09 21:30:16 EDT

Leather Aprons: Well, it's been a while since I bought it, but I use a piece of oak tanned leather from Tandy's. It's the neck, shoulders and part of the back of a steer, and the neck forms the upper bib, the shoulders make a good attachment point for the waist straps, and the back goes down to the knees. I'm 6'1" ("6'2" on days of battle"). You can see a picture of me in my medieval rig (excepting the safety gear) at:

Chrome tan is (as I remember) relatively recent and definitely not medieval. It might be 19th century, but I think it's more modern.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 06/20/09 21:58:37 EDT

Leather aprons looking period.: I have an apron, seldom worn except for period demos, and it is brown cowhide, 6 ounce (3/32"). I'm 5' 8" with my shoes on. It was made from a piece roughly 36" x 30". I folded down 6" of the 36" for a waist and ran a heavy leather string beneath the fold. There is no bib nor shoulder and neck straps. It simply ties around my upper belly. It's worn high which helps fend off forge welding soup and helps when you're grinding. I got my clue on the apron's appearance from a nice photo of several Missouri blacksmiths who worked at Maramec Iron Furnace near Jamestown in the mid 1800's. See the book, "Frontier Iron."

My poor ol' retired farrier's apron is gray, 8 ounce (1/8") mulehide. It still looks usable, but I won't be getting under any horses any more. Farriers' aprons are worn low, hanging just above the hip joints. Mine was made by a saddlemaker who cut out two legs, each leg being about 17" wide at the widest, and they are cut to a curve on the bottom. They are sewn together at the top with a stiff strip of skirting leather to provide a kind of built in, protective crotch. They are centrally separated below that point for about 18", the separation allowing the farrier to get the front foot supported just above the knees, inserting the foot from behind. The hind leg is never inserted thusly, because the conformation of the hind leg could ruin a guy's life if the horse took the leg away and/or kicked.

The width at the top of the assembled apron is 24". A 3/4" wide belt strip is attached to one side, and it goes around the back where it attaches to heavy duty velcro. I like the velcro idea for safety. If you get in a "jackpot," you can quickly shed the apron.

- Frank Turley - Saturday, 06/20/09 23:10:29 EDT

Apron: I made mine out of heavy cotton duck. It's probably the only fabric thing I've made, not counting cutoff jeans. Mine is a full length with a split for the legs, and I have some Velcro ties for around the ankles. I tie them very loosely so that the legs can ride up when I bend my knees.

While cotton duck is not the most breathable fabric out there, it's a whole lot better than leather.
- Marc - Sunday, 06/21/09 08:39:31 EDT

leather aprons : I have finally found some cheap leather that looks like it will work. based on the costs and time i may just spend a month researching this until i find a suitable apron. and really the leather is for the demos and forge welding, and if i get desperate and be a farrier (i don't like horses or getting kicked), i probably can make one then. thanks for the help. and it is the same price (about) to get this leather as an apron that will fit me.
bigfoot - Sunday, 06/21/09 09:10:25 EDT

Aprons: There was a similar thread on another site. If you make an apron, and if you put a pocket on the front I advise you to put a flap over the pocket to stop dirt, scale etc. etc. getting in.
- philip in china - Sunday, 06/21/09 11:13:28 EDT

Historical and "Looking the Part":
About 90% of the time this is somebody's preconceived idea that has nothing to do with historical fact. Even museum curators that are SUPPOSED to be historians may know little about this subject.

If you study the photographs of the period (19th century) there is no "typical" dress for smiths other than the general clothing of the era. Hats were more universal than aprons and the aprons worn varied from half to full leather to full cotton. Hats were often rimless head coverings to keep oil and debris out of the hair.

Shirts varied like crazy and may have been plain or prints. They were almost universally long sleeved. During the 19th century there was a shift from almost all hand made clothing to factory made clothing. So to be accurate you need to be more date and region specific.

Lots of details. . . But the big difference was no cloth or rubber on shoes. No "brand" labels showing. No knit t-shirts.

"Looking" like a blacksmith is more of an attitude and posture. Smiths are confident in what they do, stand straight while they work. When they step up to the anvil they own it and the forge. Its attitude, not what you wear.
- guru - Sunday, 06/21/09 12:57:39 EDT

leather aprons : i am trying to decide between the easy way and the 'historically accurate way'. so it is either 4oz garment leather or a premade apron. and i do not remember who said this but, 'history starts where saftey ends'. i am wearing safety glasses modern boots and carharts. the apron will cover the carhartts and my shirt (which is just a t shirt). where i voulenteer is really pro saftey and would rather me be safe then historically correct. thanks again.
bigfoot - Sunday, 06/21/09 16:44:49 EDT

Looking the Part: Serious reenactors will often get the period clothing "right." It seems that they get to know more about "folk life" than the usual historians, who study politicians and wars.

To get it right requires study. For example, our smith would probably wear a drop sleeve shirt, but did he wear knee britches, short pants or long pants? What about stockings? There were probably no right or left shoes until sometime in the early 1800's, just straight last shoes. Ouch!
- Frank Turley - Sunday, 06/21/09 20:49:24 EDT

Period clothing: My Mom has made a lot of period clothing & hats for the reenactors at Hopewell Furnace, but I don't think She has made any for any of the tradesmen. The reenactors there do try to get the clothing right, but 1771 to late 1800s gives a range.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 06/21/09 22:19:05 EDT

table calculations: what kind of software do you need to calculate gear ratios?
- Tyler Murch - Sunday, 06/21/09 22:21:36 EDT

Software and gears:
Tyler, Anything on-hand that will multiply, divide, and perform FOR/NEXT or DO/WHILE loops.

Gear ratios are simple multiplication unless you are building differential gearing then the calcs are a little tricky but can still be done in BASIC. See MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK.

To produce tables you could use the earliest versions of GWBASIC that came on PC's and with MS-DOS back in the 80's. It still runs in a DOS Shell (Command Shell) on late PC's but maybe not Vista. So does QuickBASIC and QBasic (the free version without a compiler that came with the late versions of DOS and Windows 3.1 on DOS).

Since Microsnot has completely abandoned providing BASIC as a tool on their OS's a number of aftermarket providers have versions of BASIC very similar to QuickBASIC that are free or cheap. I have not tried them so I cannot recommend one specifically but any would do this job.

QuickBASIC was a VERY slick tool. You could build very large complicated commercial duty programs with it that had user written SUBS, FUNCTIONS and MODULES and compile them with a simple click of a button. It was also extendable with machine language libraries provided by others.

Gear ratios are simple ratios based on the number of teeth, which are directly proportional to pitch line diameter by pitch.

50 teeth vs. 100 teeth = 2:1 or 1:2 at 10 pitch = 5" dia. vs. 10" dia.
60 vs. 120 = 2:1 or 1:2 at 16 pitch = 3.75" vs. 7.5"

If the gears use two pinions and two larger gears with a large/small on one shaft the final ratio is the first times the second. This is a common 4 gear train such as found in feed gear trains.

25t vs 75t = 1:3 a second set of the same would result in 1:9. You can get almost any number you want with gears that come in one tooth increments (25, 26, 27, 28. . ). But on lathes they have done all the math in order to reduce the set of gears to a minimum.

25T vs 75t = 1:3
26T vs 75t = 1:2.884. . .
27T vs 75t = 1:2.777....

But you can use gears with even number teeth or increments of 5 or 10 and still get a vast variety of numbers when compounding.

A ratio of 1:1.5 twice = 1:2.25 or double 2.25 and get 1:5.0625. . .

In a simple 3 shaft 4 gear system you can have some very odd ratios result in nice round ratios. This is good because if you have an odd number of teeth on one gear and even on the other the resulting ratio is known a "hunting". In this case the same teeth do not repeatedly mesh for hundreds of turns. This prevents wear on a small group of teeth when the machine has surging or reciprocal loads. OR say you have a 3:1 ratio and the pinion has a chipped tooth. That chipped tooth will only mesh with the exact same 3 teeth on the larger gear. But, if the ratio is off by ONE gear tooth the that chipped tooth with contact EVERY tooth on the mating gear and thus the wear is spread out over maybe 100 teeth instead of 3. This results in a much quieter longer wearing gear train.

To calculate a four gear chart the programming would go like this (Pseudocode).

FOR PinionA = 25 to 60
.... FOR BullA = 60 to 120
. . . . RatioA = BullA/PinionA
......... FOR PinionB = 25 to 60
. . . . .... FOR BullB = 60 to 120
. . . . . . . .RatioB = BullB/PinionA
. . . . . .. . RatioC = RatioA * RatioB
. . . . . . . .PRINT PinionA, BullA, PinionB, BullB, "1:" RatioC, 1/RatioC (other deatails).

. . . . .NEXT 'BullB
. . . NEXT 'PinionB
. . NEXT 'BullA
NEXT 'PinionA

That will produce 4,410,000 ratios or printed lines. At 66 per page that is 66,819 pages. . . SO you may want to reduce the number of ratios before hitting enter like this.

FOR PinionA = 24 to 60 STEP = 4
.... FOR BullA = 60 to 120 STEP = 4

STEP = 4 for all gears returns 18,225 ratios. A MUCH more controllable number but still almost 300 pages if you print it out.

NOTE: ALWAYS send the output to the screen as a test and with a line counter. That 4 million lines will flash by on the screen in seconds but you DO NOT want to print them out.

Both these methods produce a bunch of duplicate ratios. You could sort these out OR include them as optional ways to get the Desired results.

There are many other ways to limit output. You could reject all non-rational ratios. OR only keep those that can be expressed in fractions with a floor.

A formalized version of the above would produce the output using a format string for each line and a table header on each page. Output could be to screen, file or directly to printer (not recommended). It could also accept input variables for the ranges and steps. If you do this then you would calculate the total ratios to be calculated and warn the user before proceeding.

IF there are design knowns such as HP and speed then critical values such as pitchline velocity and gear tooth stress (based on an input pitch) could be calculated. This in turn would tell you if the gears would survive and produce a warning message or code.

I do this kind of thing all the time for trial and error calcs. Rather than write a sophisticated program than does ALL the work I run trials. Try 12 pitch and if that is undersized then try 10 and then 8. . . It only takes seconds to run a test, scan the results and see where the problems are. Usually the pinions are the limiting factor.

If you find a copy of QuickBASIC such as QB4.0 or a compatible program I'd be glad to bounce code back and forth if you need help. Just save as text and email it.

I also have Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 (for the VB) but it is way overkill for this and would take longer to figure out some simple input and output lines than the whole mess above which can ALMOST be pasted into QB and run as typed (just take out the dots and fix the print statement).

A spreadsheet guru could show you how to do the same in Lotus 123 or Excel but I have never done loops (can it be done?) in a spreadsheet.
- - guru - Sunday, 06/21/09 23:57:22 EDT

Other ingenious options:
A gear calc program could also find sets of gears that fit certain fixed center distances. Assume 3" between centers and find every ratio that fits those shaft centers. Then you have calculated a change gear set that would fit a specific gear box. Your input would be Distance A, Distance B, Pitch, Step and use minimum pinons to start.

In this case for every tooth the pinion goes UP the matching bull goes down. Same step rules may be needed as in previous post.

SO. . that book of tens of thousands of ratios is just the TIP of the iceberg.

Note that there are limitations to pinions that should be observed. They CAN be made down to 10 teeth but at 15 and below the geometry gets strange and manufacturers do not like to make them. 20 and above is the best way to go and even then a 20 tooth pinion is a special gear. Read the articles in MACHINERY's and gear train design references. Some gear catalogs are helpful as well.

IF you are using readily available change gears then you may want to use a data set instead of literal numbers in the loops. Then you would use gear(1), gear(2), gear(3). EXAMPLE

'Start Code

DIM gear(11) 'data set

gear(1) = 25
gear(2) = 30
gear(3) = 32
gear(4) = 36
gear(5) = 40
gear(6) = 44

gear(7) = 60
gear(8) = 70
gear(9) = 80
gear(10) = 90
gear(11) = 100

Count= 1

FOR ia = 1 to 6
FOR ib = 7 to 11

PinionA = gear(ia)
BullA = gear(ib)

FOR ic = 1 to 6
FOR id = 7 to 11

PinionB = gear(ic)
BullB = gear(id)

Ratio = (BullA/PinionA) * (BullB/PinionB)
PRINT Count, BullA, PinionA, BullB, PinionB, Ratio
Count = Count + 1
NEXT 'PinionB
NEXT 'PinionA

'End Code

The above produces 900 ratios from 11 sizes of gears assuming 2 sets. I tested the above and it works. I added a page/pause routine and output format string.

For organizational purposes your literal data can be in a SUB or a text file but for small quickie programs it is just as easy to have it right there.
- guru - Monday, 06/22/09 01:12:33 EDT

Programming Notes: The above sample is QuickBasic, QBasic and compatible to VB 3 to 5 code. It should work in the aftermarket BASIC programs. In the earlier GWBASIC and MSBASIC the single quote for comments must be replaced with REM or REMARK. Line numbers may also be required.

I did not test the math above. Normally I would print the interim step results to be sure I was doing what I THOUGHT I was doing. .

On a old PC I would define all the step integers (ia, ib, ic. . ) as such because the loops run much faster. On a modern PC a loop of thousands only takes a blink. But it IS good practice.

Always annotate your code (the ' or REM statement). The above should have a brief description of what it is for and where the work starts. The rest is obvious to me but may not be to you. If I was to add more complex logic or gear strength calcs I would annotate AND include footnote references.

The above code will very nearly work in JavaScript (not sure about loops) and will also just about work in Php. Formatting the output for HTML is much more difficult than for BASIC but it depends on your goals. You could also output to a file from BASIC with HTML tags and read the results in your browser.

On a recent programming job the output from a data capture system was written to several file formats. One was HTML and included a graph saved as a GIF. The results could be viewed with the default browser and printed to a PDF. All from VisualBASIC. The advantage of the HTML is that it is compatible on MAC and PCs and backwards compatible to Win 3.2 or any version web browser (Mosaic?). The raw text data and graph could be pulled into any word processor or spread sheet for analysis.
- guru - Monday, 06/22/09 01:40:24 EDT

aprons/period clothing : the period clothing is what people want to see in the smithy, and if it gets people talking about what me and the other people who run it do, it may get us a job :D. i think that an apron and a shirt would do, me not having to be super period correct and all(thank god linen/canvas can get hot in the summer). thanks for all of the help.
bigfoot - Monday, 06/22/09 06:29:49 EDT

6'2" and dislike horses and plans to be a farrier!!!!!!!!!!!! Bigfoot drop that plan NOW before you end up getting damaged for life! At 6'2" I'd bet your back will be messed up before you could make enough to cover the Dr's bill!

Frank; I was told that the no right/left shoes were the product of the early factory system and so dates after the early 1800's; before then everything being hand made they were most likely made to fit.

For a good picture of a historical smith's apron look up Goya's "The Forgers" Showing several smiths forging wearing aprons.

Thomas P - Monday, 06/22/09 12:14:03 EDT

Goya and the invisible aprons: Thomas, I did look it up, and if there's aprons on those guys they're just big enough to shield the naughty bits...I do see the string from one on the guy in front, and maybe a little bit of flap, but it seems skimpy!

See link below.
"The Forgers" by Goya
Alan-L - Monday, 06/22/09 12:30:11 EDT

Art and Life - Merlin:
Anyone see the new "Merlin" TV series? Its getting panned by all the usual loudmouths who think the Arthurian Legends are history. . . They are also giving the TV network grief about things like period costume . . .

I thought it was a fun romp. The angst of teenage youth, bullies, approachable women. . AND swords and Armour! For once I thought the armour looked pretty good. I didn't see any aluminum to make is lighter on the actors and easier for the armourers. None of it was perfect and gleaming. It appeared well made (forget the period, ITS FANTASY) and looked pretty good. Compared to earlier series such as Highlander it is MUCH closer to the real thing.

There were no great closeups or paused shots of the swords but they looked better than most. I'll have to rewatch for details.

On investigation the series was filmed in Wales and France. While not perfectly period it looks good. Lots of genuine old and new ironwork as well as other crafts.

- guru - Tuesday, 06/23/09 01:08:14 EDT

Alan; I was thinking of another picture. I'll have to check it may be he made more than one with the same name...

I keep a stack of Museum books in the bathroom for research purposes...

Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/23/09 11:51:07 EDT

Centaur Portable: Is anyone using the Centaur portable coal forge? I recently sold some equipment and before I nickel & dime away the proceeds, I thought I might buy one of their portables. I keep most of my equipment in a shed and roll it out on a slab to do any real work. The portable seems like it would fit into that practice pretty well, but I don't want it if it's just useful for shoes and straightening hay forks. . . like my gas forge. I haven't seen it used at any local meets.
Ross - Tuesday, 06/23/09 13:41:49 EDT

Ross,: I googled it, and as long as it has the Vulcan fierpot, you should be able to do most any work with it.
- Frank Turley - Tuesday, 06/23/09 15:01:21 EDT

centaur portable : it looks ok, i have a similar forge and i do a lot of smaller work in it, noted nothing requiring more that a 3lb hammer. i have not heard anything about them though. good luck with it.
bigfoot - Tuesday, 06/23/09 16:31:14 EDT

Nippulini: Was that one of your fishhooks and blockhead drill bits on America's got talent tonight?
- Bernard Tappel - Tuesday, 06/23/09 21:42:18 EDT

I had the same thought about the Vulcan firepot and the 3lbs. hammer as a limit-gauge is reasonable. Just the increased open accessibility to the fire is a plus over the gas forge. I like the portability and quick fire-up of the gas (NC Deluxe), but it does have its physical limitations.
Thanks for your input.
Ross - Wednesday, 06/24/09 07:43:20 EDT

Centaur portable: I have the same firepot Centaur uses in these, as long as you're talking about the rectangular firepot and not the round one. I put it in a non-portable forge, and it works fine on anything that will physically fit in it. So far the largest stock I have heated to forging temp in it is 2" round. Of course, I also have a power hammer. (grin!) Suffice it to say if it's got the rectangular firepot it'll do anything a "standard" coal forge can do.

Portability is in the frame, not the working ability.
Alan-L - Wednesday, 06/24/09 10:20:44 EDT

It does have the 12 x 14 rectangular fire pot, fitted with a Dayton Elec blower and gate. I've sent off an inquery with regard to the cfm rating of the blower, but have not received a reply as of yet. I'm hoping it's in the 250 - 300 range.

I understand about the frame. It's the combination that tempts me.
- Ross - Wednesday, 06/24/09 11:57:50 EDT

shop orientation: No not Feng Shui...
when I introduce a new person to my shop the first thing I tell them is to assume everything is either hot or sharp or both, we then move onto fire extinguisher location...

you ?
Willy Cunningham - Wednesday, 06/24/09 16:58:09 EDT

Shop Intro:
Besides everything is hot. . "Every machine has the capability to destroy itself OR maim you AND they have no compunction or morals not to do so." and "The second most dangerous thing in the shop is anything heavy. Dumb immobile objects can hurt you as bad as running machinery."
- guru - Wednesday, 06/24/09 19:23:04 EDT

Choices, Choices:
Gas forges are great, clean and convenient, especially when they have auto-ignition or built in ignition of some sort. But as you noted they have physical limitations.

Coal forges are hot, better for forge welding odd shapes but are dirty and produce quantities of ash and clinker to dispose of. In some regards they are more efficient because you can keep a small fire for small work and can build up a large fire for big work. Being open sided (the top) makes it better for large or odd shaped work.

Most shops that have a choice have both. Gas forges are much better for high production of small parts, tools and components especially when feeding a power hammer. Coal or charcoal is better for picky work and miking difficult forge welds.

- guru - Wednesday, 06/24/09 19:24:47 EDT

Feng Shui: That is what I need for my shop. Thanks for the tip, Willy. One interesting thing is to get a FS expert to FS your place, pay him and send him on his way. Then get a second expert to come and take a look. Now he should say " nothing needed, so no fee." I am confident that that would be the response as FS is a precise science and such people are men of integrity.
philip in china - Wednesday, 06/24/09 20:47:35 EDT

Been in the gin again? :)
ptree - Wednesday, 06/24/09 20:52:24 EDT

The feel of a shop:
I think Ptree missed the irony in Phillip's post on Feng Shui. I too find this a bit of a flim flam.

However, there are friendly comfortable shops and there are places you hate to work. Sometimes this is not a matter of space or organization but a comfortable feel like old shoes or a good easy friendship. I've achieved it in small work areas but not large.

Over the years I have designed work and living spaces. I've never been satisfied on paper and had few chances to realize dream designs other than in small areas. However, in life you get to experience many places and I have yet to be in what I consider a truly comfortable space.

As I've aged my idea of an ideal space has changed as I have become less of a believer of traditional design. I don't believe in being different for the sake of just being different either. Far too much bad art and design is based on that. But somewhere out there is a space design that may be thought of as radical compared to the norm, that is also perfect for its purpose.
- guru - Thursday, 06/25/09 01:05:28 EDT

I don't tnink I missed the irony, I was teasingly agreeing:)
Ohh the lack of facial expression in this one demensional....
Ptree - Thursday, 06/25/09 06:29:05 EDT

"Inured.": A good word used to describe what happens in some shop and home environments. It refers to getting used to something undesirable. For a long time, I had a carboard box of electrical fittings and wires sitting in front of my nuts and bolts shelves. I became inured to it, so that it became nigh invisible, even though I bumped into it every now and again. I finally noticed it, sorted through it, and got it out of the way. One can also become inured to crappy equipment arrangement, tool storage, or even furniture arrangement in the home. Correction and relocation requires taking a frequent fresh look at the placement of things.
- Frank Turley - Thursday, 06/25/09 09:30:53 EDT

Designing shops: Start with paper then set it up and use it for a while and then re-do it so it's just *right* for you.

Then add a second person working in it! (or switch from something like making knives to doing railings or vice versa)

I'm working on doubling the size of my current shop and having my coal forge "indoors" I also want to leave a section of the roof off and have a bloomery corner. Also have the grinders and arc welder out there and have the old shop be the "clean" shop with maybe a propane forge setup along with the screw press.

For the floor in the new section I was thinking of just letting the scale and grinding swarf build up and then water it and let it rust solid...

Thomas P - Thursday, 06/25/09 10:28:24 EDT

what suits me: I resurrected a 100 year old barn, it's now a shop/forge. I'm at peace while in there.
take a visit.
Willy Cunningham - Thursday, 06/25/09 12:44:50 EDT

Shop Layout:
I have no problem laying out useful shops. However, the problem is that the equipment often changes before the shop is complete. When I started building my big shop I had a 50 pound and 100 pound Little Giant. The shop was designed around two heavy hammer foundations and space and outlets for other existing equipment.

Before the shop was complete a 250 Little Giant was added and then replaced with a 350 Niles Bement. The shop was never completed and now I'm moving into a space that I know I can never be happy in but will have to do.

But I was not talking about a mechanical shop layout that simply allows space for machine and worker with room for work flow. I was talking about a space that feels good, is inviting to work in and inspires one to do (good) work. Light, airy, roomy but also well laid out so that tools and materials are convenient.

My machine shop at home had windows all around for good light but was shaded from direct sunlight. Views were peaceful and there was a nice breeze when the door was open.

One thing I've always liked is high ceilings. Even when things are crowded, as they tend to get, the overhead space gives you some airiness. If you have some sort of sky hook hanging from the ceiling then you can almost never have enough height.

THE PROBLEM is when folks ask what is the ideal shop layout. There is no such thing. Unless everyone was restricted to the same tools and machinery as well as budget there is no way to compare one shop space to another. As I noted above, times change and so does equipment and needs. While you can fit everything necessary for doing small hand forged work in a small room all bets are off as soon as you add some power tools and machines. Any cutoff device needs to be located near the stock racks and have space for uncut material on one side and cut material on the other. Under normal conditions this would be over 30 feet. Add a drill press and that takes up a space, a layout/assembly table another. . . .

The big shock comes when a hobbiest tries to move the first serious machine into their shop. The door is not big enough and those steps are in the way. . . The ceiling height may even be to low. I've know smiths to unload a power hammer in the yard and then build a shed over it!

The point is it would be nice if the theory of Feng Shui applied to metal working shops and we had the wherewithal to apply it.

- guru - Thursday, 06/25/09 17:47:02 EDT

A little story about hobby shops, IE mine. I started out by dragging my anvil etc out under the shade of a persimmon tree. Hernce the name Persimmon Tree Forge. I built a small lean to on the wood working shop of 9' x 9'. It was what I could scrounge and I used it for several years. I was lucky to scrounge a huge amount of good metal siding and thin wall boiler tube and so I built a 22.5' by 34' lean too, walled in about half and bingo, had a much bigger shop, and the old shop got a concrete floor, a coat of white paint and the wife got a storage shed with built in shelves as a peace offering. Life is good.
Then I built a power hammer and the shop is not going to work, and the wife says"If you add to that shop again, I will leave you"
Being dyslexic, When she took the girls to a week long summer camp I added on. Must have the phrase backwards, she left I added:)
I dug up all the plantings, a sidewalk and stairs, and moved them a precise 12' further from the shop. I took down the entire 22.5' wall, moved it precisely 12' and then filled in the hole. Moved the hammer in, and life is good. That move was in 2002. The addition in on the house side, and the shop is perhaps 75' from the house. Secret to sucess? Water in all the plantings and sod so that when the week is up, and she comes home the grass is normal:) All the planting and sidewalk etc are in perfect proportion. Now since she keeps the books, this is only possible if you can also scroung up enough stuff to build a 22.5' by 12' fill in the hole:)
Fueng shie? "We don't need no stinking Fueng shei" :)
ptree - Thursday, 06/25/09 20:11:35 EDT

FS: I worked for a Timber Frame building company for many years. Once a prospective client came into the shop with a book about Feng Shui that said "every wooden beam in a room must be balanced with a small bamboo flute." The client asked my boss what we were going to to about this, and my boss replied that she could either buy a s**t load of little flutes, or a new book. We actually got that job.
Judson Yaggy - Thursday, 06/25/09 21:19:50 EDT

Blacksmiths are like hermit crabs- we grow to fit our shells, then start looking for a bigger shell.
Judson Yaggy - Thursday, 06/25/09 21:24:51 EDT

Feng Shui: I wouldn't say that feng shui is any more of a flim-flam than say, Western interior design and decoration. What may seem inexplicable and goofy to the Western mind is probably quite rational to a traditional Eastern mind, and vice versa. I've listened to a few traditional Oriental friends snicker over what they observe about Occidental living arrangements and home/office design, and some of what they observed was pretty cogent. I must say that I've been in a number of homes and gardens that were designed in fairly traditional (as I was told) Japanese modes, and found them to be very satisfying on an emotional level. I'd like to have the opportunity to experience the same sort of thing in shop space, but it hasn't happened yet. Maybe someday.

I've been in lots of shops that felt cold, impersonal and like places that I didn't want to spend any more time than necessary in, and I've also been in shops that were quite the opposite. Some of them, while not necessarily the most efficient layouts, were the most wonderfully comfortable, relaxed and welcoming environments I've ever experienced. Those were pretty much the old small-town, lineshaft driven by a hit-n-miss, mullioned windowed, plank-floored variety that bring back memories of hours spent as a young kid in a neighborhood blacksmith/machinist's shop not far from the house I grew up in. A wonderful place for a kid to hang out and learn something besides cussin' and spittin'. Semi-rural American Feng Shui at its zenith!
vicopper - Friday, 06/26/09 00:41:36 EDT

Vicopper has it right. The Native Americans could never figure out why the stupid Europeans wanted to live in square houses when it was well know among the Native Americans that a round house was the very best.
Culture does indeed have a lot to do with it.
And I like Judsons thought that we are like Hermit crabs.
Ptree - Friday, 06/26/09 07:31:30 EDT

Those Old SHops:
Generally they had room for shoeing or wagon repair even if that was not their main focus. This left a center isle that was open. Places with line shafting were generally not too cramped because once the machinery was laid out it stayed put in orderly rows. This openness is generally what I like.

When a barn is converted to a shop it often retains the same large center isle it had for getting wagons through.

I suspect that the problem with many modern shops is that they are either not purpose built OR the high cost of construction forces us to work in too cramped a space. Every time I have laid out ideal shops they were rapidly larger than my budget. Cutting corners is where good design can fall apart. So maybe my shop design lament is lack of money. . .

IF I have a chance at another shop I am either going to need to shed a lot of equipment and focus on a narrow goal OR just forget it all. I'm overfilling 40,000 square feet now and its hard to back up.
- guru - Friday, 06/26/09 07:32:57 EDT

Funny to think that those old brick factory buildings with their wooden plank floors and tall windows for light were the "souless factories that ate men's lives" to folks a 150 years ago...

Thomas P - Friday, 06/26/09 12:34:52 EDT

ThomasP, I spent 17 years working in "souless factories that ate men's lives". Imagine a 7 story machine shop a city block square. Brick ad iron with metal frame windows, heated with steam unit heaters. Hotter than the blue blazes of hell in the summer, and colder than ... I learned a huge amount there and used that when we built new. Went to a 6.5 acre one story, insulated, air conditioned wonderful factory, with no windows. I soon missed the windows. I soon also mised that factory as it was sold out from underneath us. If I could move back to that old souless place, with the same bunch or grumpy old tool heads, that would be an instant sucking sound as I left for there!
It stank, the floors were rough, the restrooms were horrible, the roofs leaked, the sewers backed up, and it was in a horrible part of town known for shootings. Give me the chance, and listen for that loud woosh:)
Ptree - Friday, 06/26/09 13:14:23 EDT

Ptree I once worked at the whirlpool factory in Fort Smith AR, no airconditioning in the summers and my area was on an open mezzanine right *above* the foam curing ovens. It was a souless modern factory...

I woudn't go back if you doubled my salary

Though I remember my stepdaughter complaining about how unbearable hot her bed room was---while I was wishing for a sweater in it as I was shivering...

Some of those old factory buildings have made beautiful Condos though...

Thomas P - Friday, 06/26/09 15:34:40 EDT

Of course, there was the factory I read about (somewhere in NJ, I think) that was converted to condos. Everything was fine until the walls started sweating mercury. . .
Mike BR - Friday, 06/26/09 17:05:03 EDT

Thomasp, You may have missed the thought that what I miss is the people and the culture, not that building. If I was asked to go back to the new building with the same folks, the noise would be a sonic boom:)
ptree - Friday, 06/26/09 20:03:47 EDT

Philip Simmons : Passed on Tuesday June 23rd:
Born June 9th 1912-2009 97 years old

Philip will be sadly missed by many. He was my hero.

Edward Smith - writes:

Anvil ring for Phillip Simmons

There is an anvil ring planned for 1:30 eastern time 9:30 Alaskan time tomorrow to celebrate the life of Phillip Simmons, 8 rings, as his home state SC was the 8th state to enter statehood. please participate if you are able

- Jack Knife - Friday, 06/26/09 23:15:48 EDT

old shops and Feng Shui: I have worked in some old shops with some old guys that were just too cheap to do anything but "make do" so we all sufferd while they made a good living off our backs. Just part of the trade I guess. You learn what you can at those places and move on. I have worked in purpose built shops that were well laid out and efficent to work in because they were planned out by guys that worked in the trade and knew what they wanted in a building and, they new it wouldn't come cheap either so, they spent what had to be spent.
As far as a building beeing "souless", I feel it is more what you bring to it.
The shop I work at now is pretty big. Not the biggest around town but, big enough to drive cement trucks in and turn around in the isle when putting on additions, of wich we are soon adding on the forth one of full depth of the shop by another 300' that I think will bring us up to 5 acres.
Despite the great effort put into climate controle it is still hot and stuffy/ humid/ sticky...
I have been there eleven years and the one thing that keeps me happy while I'm working is the fact that if I look up and across the shop, at a certain inner office window from were my tool box is, I can see the sky outside.
Big deal right? But, I can see that little bit of sun shine in the vast expance of the North wall of the building and it's enough to remind me there is life outside and, that helps me through the day.
At home I am fortunate to have three different work spaces. The garage is an absolute mess right now to the point that it's almost unusable. When it's clean it has two big cabinate/ benches on the back wall were everything is easily in reach and, room to work on most vehicals inside. It's a good space but not realy a favorite because that is were I useualy have to do things I would rather pay someone else to do like work on my cars. Unless you're a mechanic on a daily basis newer cars are hell to work on but, because I can't afford a mechanic I am forced to do most of the work myself. I count my blessings for the knowlage and skills to get the work done but, I usualy have to shue the kids away for the cursing.
My machine shop is laid out in the basement were it never gets above 70 deg. and is quiet yet efficent and unclutterd. I can walk around there with my eyes closed and not run into anything because it is all in just the right spot. It is well lit but, I do wish I was above ground to see outside and feel the breeze as I work.
My smithy is at the end of a modern barn of little character or distinguishing features but, it has thick reiforced cement floors, 16'ceilings with big windows and sliding doorsand skylites in the roof. Most importantly, this is were I blacksmith. That is what I like to do the most and that is what makes it such a good place for me.
I have a good freind of mine that has a machine shop in his garage. He has so much stuff in that 12x20 space that two people literaly can not work in it at the same time but, HE is so happy in there that you can't help but feel comfortable and relaxed. I usualy end up sitting in an old swivle chair in the corner and shoot the breeze and listen to music while he works.
I think Judson is quite right. A blacksmith carries his house with him, if he/she is happy in it, then the work is good, and flowes like water...
Feng Shui says not to hang things from the wall as they represent spears and knives jutting from the walls. I find this to be true for me. We have very few pictures hanging in the house(on tables and shelves insted) and only freestanding bookcases and cabinates(nothing fastend to the walls)
Works for us, works in the shops too.
Long winded , I know but, I came in late to the conversation...
- merl - Saturday, 06/27/09 01:23:23 EDT

Guru, did you really mean: 40,000 square feet? Or have you outgrown 4,000 square feet. Outgrowing 40,000 square feet (as an individual smith) might mean it's time for a yard sale.
- Charlie Spademan - Saturday, 06/27/09 08:00:07 EDT

Shop extension: I had another look out back and am going to extend that way. I can gain a further 4 metres on the back of the shop. It will also be an opportunity to do a few things.

I shall definitely be running 3 phase into the shop.

Whilst putting in the cement floor I shall also go very deep in 1 spot for the power hammer base and also build a plinth for it as an integral part of the slab.

I want to put in a second forge sharing the chimney with the existing one. Next to that I shall also be mounting my 300# anvil. I have a stump which can be buried about 18" into the ground to provide a base for that anvil.

Just found a 70+ Kg. piece of plate which might well form a #2 welding bench as the 3 phase power will cry out for a 3 phase welder of course.

I just need to find somebody who makes leg vices here in China! Best way to find that is probably to buy a couple more and ship them here. Then suddenly I shall find them growing on trees no doubt.
- philip in china - Saturday, 06/27/09 17:45:57 EDT

Philip and the leg vise: Actually, I'd suggest that you take a really prime example of a classic old leg vise to one of the manufacturers there and see if you can get some high quality copies drop forged from 4140 or similar steel. If you could produce say, a 6" vise weighing around 100# and made from decent steel with proper square or Acme threads, with righteous spherical washers front and back and shamelessly steal the elegant design of one of the old ones, you'd have a winner. The only new leg vises I see for sale are as ugly as a mud fence and have the cheesiest-looking mounting bracket you can imagine. Those funky things are selling for over $600! Make a really good, nice-looking one and sell it for about that and you'll be famous, at least among blacksmiths.

If you could line up the manufacturer, I'd even be willing to invest some money in this idea.
vicopper - Saturday, 06/27/09 21:47:21 EDT

Space: Yeah, I slipped a digit. . . 4,000
- guru - Saturday, 06/27/09 23:23:29 EDT

Shop size: I would have guessed from looking at it that your current shop is nearer to 1400 square feet than 4000, Jock. As I recall, it is sort of two roofs side-by-side, each one about 16 by 40 or so. Or have you added on to what PawPaw originally built since I was there? I remember it was considerably more space than I have and I was envious of that, but it didn't look substantial enough to withstand the storms we get down here. I'm still trying to figure out how to get some more space that is roofed over but not walled in, but every idea I come up with doesn't look like it will stand a storm much better than what you have. Having to consider hurricanes makes every project much more expensive than I can handle comfortably. I guess I need to learn how to make a proper palm-thatched roof like the Seminoles in Florida make. Those things handle storms really well from what I hear.
vicopper - Sunday, 06/28/09 00:31:16 EDT

not a flypress: on the metal artist forum a fella has come up a great mod. for old obi style punch presses...basic idea is ta do away with motor and clutch system ..and you power fly wheel by hand...the fella selling is making these buggers CHEAP the cold work he's doing with them is amazing...if you dont have a fp i would check this out...
peter - Sunday, 06/28/09 07:03:03 EDT

Im looking for a hand crank blower, wont pickup, but will pay for shipping. Email or post if willing, Thanks!
- Jacob Lockhart - Sunday, 06/28/09 17:06:39 EDT

Hand crank blowers: Jacob, I hope you get one. If not don't despair. A friend of mine might be importing some soon (if they are decent quality). I shall mention the fact somewhere but I know he does a discount on some goods for ABANA members and that is referred to in their newsletter.
philip in china - Sunday, 06/28/09 18:54:23 EDT

Usually a couple for sale at a local smithing conference can't sugtgest one as I don't know where you are at.

Very brave of you to offer to pay shipping from *ANYWHERE* in the world; it can get a but pricy when it's a couple continents over...

Thomas P - Monday, 06/29/09 10:25:24 EDT

Shop Sizes Construction:
My Blacksmith Shop in Virginia is 32 x 44 (1408 sq.ft) and was overflowing before completion. It had a 12 x 24 mezzanine and a 12 x 44 upstairs off/storage area (816 sq ft) for 2224 sq ft work space. I guess you would call it a story and a half. Then there was the 15x15 (225 sqft) shop in the Mill/house and a larger amount of storage. Total nearly 3000 sq.ft. Space is space. . . The design called for a 24 x 24 addition to gather it all into one space.

Paw-Paws shop which I have inherited is 48 x 60 (2880 sq-ft) plus outdoor storage that needs covering.

He ruined the space by putting two 12 x 16 storage buildings INSIDE the larger space. We are going to move one out side (192 sq ft) and scrap the other. The problem with these buildings is they were set 3 feet from the sides of the larger enclosure making some 200 square feet of waste "junk" space. When we close in the back of the building we are going to 10 feet across the back making the total 3180 not including outbuildings of another 400 square feet. So we are just short of 4000. The big problem with what is there now is being broken up by the utility buildings and the central forge location. The forge has been moved opening things up. When the buildings are gone one side in the back (24x20) will be enclosed for the better machine tools to get them away from the grit of the blacksmith shop.

Everyone that sees it likes Paw-Paw's building (two oversize garage sheds with translucent plastic siding) but it is a miserable building. Even though the ceiling is fairly tall it is too short of having no insulation. At head height you can feel the heat radiating off the tin like a big blow torch. The heat is so bad that even with lack of a back wall and front garage door you cannot get enough ventilation. When the heat is not bad there is condesation on the tin and it often rains more inside than out. The plastic siding is great but the UV it lets in bleaches anything colorful and rots rubber items at about 10x the normal indoor rate. The insubstantial construction that hopefully survives the local weather (we have some hell raiser thunderstorms and tornado alley has extended into North Carolina. . .) cannot be used to lift ANYTHING. So a forklift was an absolute necessity.

Our family machine shop in Virginia is 60 x 84 (5040 sq.ft) and is comfortable with two mills, three lathes, drill press, saw, grinders, office and parts storage. It is divided with 24 x 60 that is half welding shop, half stock room. This shop worked very well with up to six people working in it.

While it seems extravagant our family shop of +5000 square feet would be comfortable for a one man shop with a lot of equipment and a good central assembly zone in the middle. The 60 x 60 main bay of this shop had truck doors at both ends and we kept the isle clear for building machinery. While is was supposed to be clear, we built a LOT of machinery and it was clogged most of the time. But between jobs it was a 12 x 60 open space. This meant you could pull in a flat bed tractor trailer or any small truck and unload it indoors. This is an important consideration if you are building large gates or sculpture.

guru - Monday, 06/29/09 15:16:57 EDT

I have a great uncle whose "farm shop" is 100' on a side; of course he has complete wood, metal and auto/farm mechanic shops in it and a place to park the RV. What I could do with such a shop...

I'm doubling the size of my current shop but the new area will be for Dirty Crafts; coal forge, welder, grinder, bloomery I'm going to mount a couple of sizable postvises and hopefully be able to work heavier stock...

Thomas P - Monday, 06/29/09 15:25:07 EDT

Farm Shops:
When you consider that today they may want to pull in a huge combine or a wheeled irrigation rig to make repairs that size is not unusual. I've seen modern farm shops with lathes and milling machines. When the machinery is down it must be fixed NOW and many big farms are hours away from the first parts depot.

The quaint little blacksmith shop as farm maintenance shop only works for the smallest family farm today. These require full oxy-acetylene equipment and often several arc welders on top of a serious collection of tools. When my Father-in-law died we divided up the farm tools into sets for his son, my son, the widow (more than she needed but she insisted on a "complete" set) and a fair set to auction with the farm equipment. Lots of tools to run a business.
- guru - Monday, 06/29/09 21:55:07 EDT

Perceptions: Boy Jock, you are so right about those storage building inside screwing up the space. I'd forgotten about those - they're why I was thinking that the shop was so much smaller than it really is. Mostly I remembered that narrow aisle down the middle between them. Moving those out will surely make a big difference in making that space useable.
vicopper - Monday, 06/29/09 23:09:15 EDT

Farm shops: My shop is, in effect, the shop for the farm on which it is located, and I have used essentially all my tools at one time or another fixing things for the farm. This is really just a mango orchard more than a real working farm, and yet I have had to have full tooling for electrical, plumbing, welding, mechanics and light machine work, in addition to carpentry, masonry and excavating/mowing equipment. When you have equipment you need to operate, wells and outbuildings, vehicles etc, you either need a shop with tools to do all that stuff or you need to be making enough income to pay someone else to do it for you. Small farmers simply don't make that kind of money in this world, unfortunately. Big farms might make that kind of money, but they have the same problems anyone else does with finding competent people to come on a moment's notice, equipped to fix anything. No wonder they have huge shops with all the goodies - they need them!
vicopper - Monday, 06/29/09 23:16:25 EDT

farm shops: Very true, vicopper. Part of the fun of farming, for me anyway, is being as self-sufficient as possible when it come to repairs and especially modifiying and inventing new equipment.
Dave F - Tuesday, 06/30/09 08:17:12 EDT

Mult-Discipline Tool Collections:
When I built my shop in Virginia I had been living in the country for 20 years on a place that was a first class money-pit fixer-upper. I was surprised when I started building that I needed very few tools more than what I already had. I have things like a contractor's duty wheel barrow, mortar box and appropriate mortar hoe, pick axe, shovel(s), six foot level, several come-a-longs, HD pry bars, common long wrecking bars, circular saw(s), large and standard HD electric drills, wire pulling tape, conduit bending hickies, concrete float, sheet rock and painting tools. . .

The only extra tools needed was a hammer holster and hammer for the teenage helper I hired. Most of the tools survived the entire job.

These were the kind of things that you end up needing on an old country place if you do the maintenance yourself, or farm on top of mechanics tools to maintain the machinery and metalworking tools to fix-make almost anything else.

I was an auto-mechanic for a short while before going into blacksmithing. The collection of tools served me well in repairing, maintaining and operating metalworking machinery and my truck while a blacksmith. The carpenters tools were collected over a long period starting after I graduated from high-school for doing odd home repair jobs.

When we ere designing and building machinery I did all the electrical work and thus bought a variety of meters and odd tools. I also made up all the hoses on some air/hydraulic machinery and ended up with hose ferrel crimping tools. I also collected some machinists tools such as dividers, micrometers and dial indicators.

I may be an extreme example but a large segment of North American society does this way. Folks from other countries do not collect tools of every trade they have worked and often do not own the tools they use. But in North America this has been a way of life for about a century. Maybe it is what makes us so different than the rest of the world OR is it that we are different than the rest of the world that we do this? On one hand it requires an economically rich society but is it strictly a result of that society? Does it help create that rich society OR is it just part of our rampant consumerism? I do not know. But I DO know that the United States and probably Canada, are the most well equipped countries on the planet.

However, while one's value as a person should not be judged by the THINGS they have you certainly bring more to a task that needs to be accomplished.

Perhaps it is part of the American democracy. We not only have the right to vote in peaceful elections where the losers politely step down, we also have the right to BE anything we want.
- guru - Tuesday, 06/30/09 09:27:23 EDT

Working with a number of people from differnt areas I am always amused at their surprise at the "can do" philosophy of Americans. In some of their countries they would never dream of doing their own "manual" work as they have college degrees. Here you can see folks with PhDs tinkering with lawn mowers and building their own houses.

I'd ascribe it to the American Frontier; but many of thier home countries were "frontier" as well. Perhaps it was the fairly early lack of a guild system in America?

Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/30/09 11:32:29 EDT

I have to agree with ThomasP, Most europeans I met while there would not consider doing the things we think common. The old "that is a specialists work, needing a specialists knowledge and tools" is much of the differece. Here carpentry is common labor, there a trained journeymen. Same for the other trades. Higher social status for any journeyman as well.
ptree - Tuesday, 06/30/09 13:05:58 EDT

Shop Size: Well, since I had to move out of the old shop with the interior dimensions of 11' X 17' or 187 square feet (3.3 M X 5.2 M or 17.4 sq. M); I spent a lot of time planning the new shop; which ended up with the interior dimensions of 12' X 24' or 288 sq. ft. (3.6 M X 7.3 M or 27.75 sq. M).

That 101 sq. ft. (10.35 sq. M) made a tremendous difference. Saturday night at Camp Fenby we had 9 or 10 people in the shop, with about 5 of them engaged in actual work, with room to spare. If we'd tried that in the old building it would have been like cramming a telephone booth.

Several other factors were involved in the relative spaciousness: A lot of furniture (like the huge clutter-catching drawing board) and miscellaneous woodworking tools and scrap were eliminated or put in storage in the barn. (Most of the woodworking tools are awaiting the construction/purchase of the 12' X 12' woodworking shop.) Scrap and stock are stashed in other buildings and discrete locations until it can be sorted and consolidated. I've been slowly putting in shelves as needed, in the interstices of the studs, to store paints and other tools and equipment. Rafter hooks on the midships cross beam and on the cold-work end provide storage for electric cords and other hangable stuff, out of the way of the floor space and work areas. The main exception is a deacon's bench, presently sued for storage and bound for the woodworking shop, which is holding the place for the renaissance power hammer (some assembly still required). The door is oversized, over 40” (1 M) wide.

The gas forge is on the left, the coal forge is on the right; the 100# (45 K) post vise is in the middle. I have a 130# (59 K) Colonial pattern anvil in front of the gas forge, the 75# (34 K) Ferrier's anvil in front of the coal forge on the left, and the 100 K (220#) USSR anvil between, a short step from both forges. There's enough room for two or four folks, and a couple of observers/participants, to use both forges with some degree of comfort and safety (as long as they communicate and don't put the bum's rush on the middle anvil).

Outside, we have a number of carefully spaced trees to provide shade and a pleasant atmosphere for our spinner, weavers, chatters and crab pickers.

I may be able to post some further pictures soon, when some of the Camp Fenby folks pass them along.

It's small by NPS and production shop standards, but it fits my purposes and capabilities. It's also the product of years of looking at historic forges and plans (thank you NPS!), overseeing light industrial space acquisitions, visiting other folks shops (some of whom produce wonders in less space than you can swing a cat), and a lot of comments and good information here at Anvilfire.

The "old" Oakley Forge:
(Wide Angle Lens, shop is less spacious than it appears)
The new Oakley Forge:

Other views including the hot work and cold work ends:
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 06/30/09 15:14:46 EDT

US Tool Collections: The right to keep and bear tools perhaps?
philip in china - Tuesday, 06/30/09 18:09:21 EDT

US Tool Collections and cultural differences:
I had never thought much on this subject until my Spanish teacher from Chile told me an interesting story.

Louis was from a middle class merchant family that operated a hardware store in Chile. He left Chile as a young man during the political unrest of the 1980's. After a couple years in the U,S. he was invited to a barbecue at a co-workers home. He did not know many people there and his English was still marginal, so he wandered into the garage. There he saw a collection of tools like he had never seen before. There were wrenches, pliers and hammers on pegboard hooks, power tools on shelves, shovels and garden tools. A typical suburban DIY collection.

When he got a chance he asked his host what business he was in? His weak English kept him from properly expressing his question about the tools and it was not understood. Nor would his host understand the cultural difference his question was based on.

In Chile, anyone with that many tools would have employees and a significant business. Even a well off family such as his only had a small kit of tools such as a small hammer, a pair of pliers and two types of screw drivers. And if they lived in a house with a lawn they may have also had the most minimal lawn maintenance tools, an unpowered rotary lawn mower, a spade and a hoe. Anything more would be considered a luxury. The tools he described were less than a U.S. apartment owner might have and more typical of the homeowner of the 19th and early 20th Century.

While it may be a cultural difference my local Mexican mechanic has adopted quite well with both a public and a home shop outfitted to overflowing with tools and machines.

- guru - Wednesday, 07/01/09 00:39:56 EDT

The Right to Keep and Bear Tools:
I am sure you have seen the reports after the discovery of some bomb builder's workshop. The scene of the workbench is always titled "Bomb Builders Tools". The bench always has the same common tools, a small vise, needle nose pliers, a multi-meter and coils of wire.

If this is what popular belief calls bomb builders tools imagine what weapons of mass destruction could come from the average blacksmith's shops.

While limiting tools may seem far fetched we have already seen limitations on many raw materials that can be used to easily make incendiary materials. Will tools be next. ANY shop with a small lathe and a milling machine has the capacity to make a hand gun or a rifle after using the same tools to make a rifling bench. Small rocket motors and launch tubes are not that much more difficult.

During the Vietnam war the Vietcong had shops hidden underground in tunnels all over the North and South. They made and repaired AK47's and a variety of other weapons using hand powered machine tools under the worst possible conditions.

During the American Revolution the rifle was said to have made a considerable difference in the war. Confronted against superior forces American snipers using long range weapons made life miserable for the British who were armed with smoothbore guns that required the enemy to line up in front of their liner and relied on numbers to hit anything. The superior American weapons were made in small gunsmiths shops across several states.

So maybe the "right to keep and bear tools" is not too far from the right to bear arms. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 07/01/09 02:02:06 EDT

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