Some tools to drool over.  Image (c) 1998 Jock Dempsey.  Click for enlargement. WELCOME to the anvilfire!
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June 2011 Archive

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

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

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

Need info corrections: Hi folks, I have a too question. I am interested in learning smithing, but have limited means. Was digging in the barn a few days ago and found a pair of Dasco model 314 nippers. I have looked around a little bit, and cannot find any ino on these things. Any one know anything about them?
Deek281 - Tuesday, 05/31/11 23:44:06 EDT

Info corrections2: [ sorry about the multiple postings. At 11:30 at night my brain turns to mush] Hi folks, I have a tool question. I am interested in learning smithing, but have limited means. Was digging in the barn a few days ago and found a pair of Dasco model 314 nippers. I have looked around a little bit, and cannot find any info on these things. Any one know anything about them? I have no idea how old they may be, or what special tasks they were designed for. Right now, they are rusty in places, but I have cleaned them up some with a wire brush. I did see that the tips were damaged slightly. Looks like someone tried to cut a nail or something similar with them. I have filed the jaws back to normal shape. Other than that, they seem fine. They operate freely, and even the rivet moves slightly when the jaws open, never seeming to quite settle in the same place twice.
Deek281 - Tuesday, 05/31/11 23:59:36 EDT

Dasco: Dasco still makes a variety of hand tools, but I don't know whether they make the nippers anymore. I formerly saw their tools including nippers in farm catalogs, and I think the tools were often sold at feed stores. I don't think that what you have are antiques, and I suspect they are nail nippers, not hoof nippers. Horseshoers used them to nip nails before clinching.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 06/01/11 00:13:13 EDT

Deek, Farriers use nippers for shoeing, clipping the excess off nails and for removing nails (I think). They are not a tools used by decorative or tool smiths. For other than farriers they are raw materials or a tool to be converted into something else.
-guru - Wednesday, 06/01/11 00:47:36 EDT

Champion blower: anyone having a champion blower they might want to sell please contact me. A blacksmith newbie friend has aquired a champion forge without a blower and needs one. I think it would be the # 85, but i am not sure on that.Danny Arnold, aka "old n rusty"
DANNY PAUL ARNOLD - Wednesday, 06/01/11 08:12:51 EDT

Minions and Nippers: Thomas: I thought this was cyber-smiths, not cyborg smiths? But you're right, I should get more minions to help (not that the crew hasn't been great at working on the ship without me; this is the first year I'm not under the bottom scraping and caulking).

Nippers as tool stock: I took a pair of nippers, annealed and files them down a bit, drilled and shaped, and now I have a "double" eye punch- clasp snake or dragon head on each side, hit former nippers with hammer, and I have an "eye" on each side of the head! Two different pairs of eyes depending on which side of the nippers I grab the head with.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 06/01/11 09:19:13 EDT

Champion Blower for Danny Arnold: I just bought a beautiful champion blower at the Parlett Auction advertised at the top of this page. It is massive, and turns smoothly in either direction. It seems to have the original paint on it, and was used by a blacksmith who obviously cared for his equipment. One turn of the handle, and it keeps turning and turning, indicating that whoever owned it kept it oiled. If interested, call me at 215-768-5735, or email me at for details, I will return the email with pictures of the blower!
Stewartthesmith - Wednesday, 06/01/11 09:37:03 EDT

We are the Borg, Resistance is Futile!

Someone else is scraping the ship? I commend the progression of your evil plans! Now to prominently display a set of water skies...

I once found an old pair of huge nippers---steeled wrought iron---that I reforged into a set of "hot firebrick tongs"----*very* *useful* indeed!. Regular sized ones becosme knifemaking tongs.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/01/11 13:06:14 EDT

The sad thing repurposing using old nippers is that ironmongers call them "tongs" and ask as much for old worn nippers as for blacksmiths tongs. If you can get them cheap they are a good shortcut but otherwise. . .

Be careful quenching tongs made of nippers. They are made of hardneable tool steel for cold cutting soft iron. Quenching can make them brittle and then fail.
guru - Wednesday, 06/01/11 13:47:01 EDT

Used to be that tongs were $6 - $25 but old nippers were $1. Out here they also seem to be considered tongs and priced too high.

Thomas P - Wednesday, 06/01/11 15:57:36 EDT

Prices Availability and DEALS:
When I first started buying blacksmiths tools in the early 70's relatively good tongs were all selling for about $5 in our area. Even though that was a lot of money then (you could almost fill up your car's gas tank for $5 then) and I worked for $1/hr, I bought all I could find. But then a few years later the "standard" price among all the dealers jumped to $13. . . Well, gas HAD more than doubled from $0.32 to $0.75. . . I stopped buying them at that price. Most were also the overly heavy trade school tongs.

Then around 1980 (when old tongs were going for about $15/pair)I visited the infamous Wild Bill Gichner in Maryland. I was looking for hard to find things and managed to purchase a couple. But Bill had the uncanny knack of knowing to the penny how much money you had in your wallet. After making a couple deals which emptied my wallet he made me an offer of a huge multi-tiered rack loaded with several hundred pairs of tongs. None of these were trade school tongs or nippers. . . He offered me the rack and tongs for $250 (which he had surmised I did not have). A fantastic deal. At the time I was used to doing everything for cash and I turned down the offer. Bill said we could work something out and mentioned something about helping clean out one of the chicken sheds he had equipment stored in. . . I was on a tight schedule and turned down the second offer. Bill was very generous and offered me dinner and a place to stay the night which I accepted. We concluded our business the next day.

Years later I learned that it was probably a good thing that I turned down the offer on the tongs. . . Dan Boone had been made a similar deal with Gichner on some tools with a "we can work it out" . . . followed by "help me clean out one of my chicken sheds". Dan worked a full day toting and hauling blacksmith tools in the summer heat in those filthy dark chicken houses. He moved a dozen or so pickup loads! When he was done he was handed a bill for the tools he had bargained for without a penny taken off!

Like me Dan had no money for the tools. He thought he was working them off. On the other hand Bill let Dan take the tools with the promise to pay them off when he could. I guess the day's labor was Bill's idea of interest paid in advance. . . Or maybe a lesson learned. . It was hard to tel what going on in Bill's mind.

Many years later when Dan told me this story I did not remember that Bill had offered me a similar deal. I am not sure how I would have reacted back then. I might have gotten mad and left the tools . . .
- guru - Thursday, 06/02/11 10:34:36 EDT

Dollar Bill Gichner: While I was serving a five year full time apprenticeship in a tool forging shop in the mid to late seventies, I had been accumulating blacksmith tools in order to eventually set up my own shop. Always hunting for blacksmith tools of all types, I had come into contact with Dollar Bill Gichner. I drove down to his warehouse in Bethany Beach, and never saw a larger accumulation of blacksmith tools in my entire life. What shocked me were his prices, which I considered extreme. For instance, he showed me a folding aluminum ruler, used, a six footer, with very loose hinges holding the segments together. When I asked him "how much", he responded $100.00, which was exhorbitant money in 1980. This wouldn't have been so perturbing if he was willing to pay reasonable money for the items he used to buy for resale.
Blacksmithing has not only been a love of mine for 35 years, it is also a business. I fully realize that a businessman has the right and necessity to make a profit. However,it is reasonable to sell things for twenty times what you paid for it? In my opinion not.
Your euphemistic use of the word "infamous" regarding Dollar Bill is reasonable in lieu of the fact that he is not here to protect his reputation. I must say, though, that "en privat", a lot of people share my view of this "bastion of toolery entrepreneurship".
And one more thing. A man's labor is a thing of value. Had I hauled ten pickup loads of tools, while cleaning a shed, and not gotten paid for my labor, someone would have been in need of immediate emergency orthodonture.
Stewartthesmith - Thursday, 06/02/11 12:17:28 EDT

Funny that a lot of my favorite smithing tools were the cheapest. My favorite tongs were US$1.50 back in the 1990's, my big shop anvil in mint condition was 68 cents a pound in the late 90's/early 2000's. Picked up 11 lynch collection hammer heads for $5 a piece about 5 years ago; etc.

I know I'm not a business man as I tend to pass on tools with a mark up based on what I paid for them and not what the market can bear. I figure that the hunt is part of my entertainment budget---Fleamarket tomorrow!

Thomas P - Thursday, 06/02/11 13:52:28 EDT

WIld Bill Gichner:
Bill was publicly known to be "infamous" when he was alive and its no different today.

Some of his more outrageous prices were designed to avoid selling something he liked. He was known for his high anvil prices but most were good slightly used anvils selling for a LITTLE less than new. He was right in that respect. An anvil, unlike an automobile does not (or should not) immediately depreciate as soon as it changes hands. In fact in the last 75 years anvils have appreciated a great deal. You could buy a good used anvil, use it for 10 or 20 years and sell it for two or three times what you paid for it. Try that with any other kind of tool.

Current anvil prices are now based on every one being a "collectors item" (which they are not) and many selling for prices that would have even made Wild Bill blush.

Now some of Bill's practices were down right notorious. He never sold a power hammer with the original dies or the dies that came with it. "Dies" were a seperate part of the deal.

On the other hand, he spent decades driving up and down the East Coast in his van buying selling a trading tools. Mostly he bought at a time when there was nobody to sell to. He saw it as a long term investment, and it was. Later he was THE go-to guy if you wanted to setup a blacksmith shop and smiths got their start because of the access to tools Bill provided.
- guru - Thursday, 06/02/11 17:14:01 EDT

Blacksmith tools are a rare commodity around here (WY)
But I do find them now and again, often for much more than they are worth, cost me less to by new and eat the shipping. When I do find a good deal I snap it up because I know I will pass it on, probably for free. When I get someone started and feel like they will pursue the craft, they will probably walk out of the shop with a free hammer, or more, that's how I get a health bunch of strikers and
- Willy Cunningham - Thursday, 06/02/11 17:21:55 EDT

Tool Sales and Markup:
The amount of profit in old tools is often a matter of luck. I bought the contents of an industrial maintenance blacksmith shop years ago. I made a sealed bid of $2500 on "the entire contents" which the auction company listed as, a forge, 50# LG, cone, swage block, electric furnace, bar fold and cabinets.

The "entire contents" amounted to a bit more. One cabinet was a heavy duty (16ga) shop made "foreman's" desk. The wooden cabinets were too big and ungainly to move BUT way back in the bottom of one was about 50 top and bottom swages. There was also a 55 gallon stainless quench tank.

About 15 years later I sold the Little Giant for $3500. $1000 more than the whole lot. About the same time I sold the bar-fold for $300 and recently sold the forge for about $100. That's a $1400 profit (not including time holding the equipment).

Based on that I now have less than zero in the cone, swage block and anvil tools. So if I sell any part the "markup" is infinite. . . even if the dollar amount is finite.

Does that make me a price gouger? Infinite is a lot more than 20:1 On the other hand, the prices I listed each known item at was about half what I sold them for. But then there is the unlisted items. . .
- guru - Thursday, 06/02/11 17:45:55 EDT

Bickern and More Hospital: Pat Fulcher came by today. He was at the Parlett Auction and I had asked him (from the top of all the things in my extensive shopping list) to keep an eye out for a bickern for use in my blacksmithing displays (and for general use, too). The first day of the auction things were going for outrageous prices. Some of the bidders were flying in by helicopter. Stakes and bickerns were running $200 and more. However, on the 4th (last) day, in a box of junk, Pat came across an antique bickern, about 15" long and 16" high with the stake, for which he bid $25 on my behalf. So, I did end up with something from the Parlett collection for $27.50, with buyer's premium.

I was looking forward to trying it out tomorrow, until I met with the cardiologist today. He's sending me back to the hospital for more testing after the stress test revealed that I was coming close to "a massive heart attack." You would think that the first two trips would have done the trick, but they still don't know why things are not working right.

So, it looks like I'll be off-line for a while, and depending on how I'm sliced and diced, more time away from the forge.

Y'all be nice to each other.

Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 06/02/11 18:19:20 EDT

When it rains it pours. . . .

Bruce, Tell your doctors to quit fooling around and fix you! Scaring you is NOT the cure!
- guru - Thursday, 06/02/11 23:05:07 EDT

Third times charm!---but you had better send that "Bad Luck Bickern" to me to make sure things go well. If it gives me trouble I can send it to Sandpile...

You don't need to flesh out an Epic; we can just lie about your exploits! And comments about the fat around ones heart is TMI anyway!

Thomas P - Friday, 06/03/11 12:11:31 EDT

A Lost Night's Sleep: This story is aesopian in nature. Back in 1977, while I was working full time as an apprentice blacksmith in a tool-forging shop, a good friend of mine, a blacksmith named Jim Keiffer told me about a 700 pound anvil he knew was for sale. It belonged to a guy who also had a 500 lb. hay budden also for sale.
Fully intending to eventually open my own shop, I was extremely interested in that huge anvil. Without waiting even a day, I convinced my parents to drive me to they guy's place, in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Lo and behold, in his garage sat these two humongous anvils, the 700 pound hay budden, in PERFECT condition, and the "baby" hay budden, the five hundred pounder, sitting besides the bigger anvil. With my parents rolling their eyes, I asked him "how much", to which he replied "600 dollars for the bigger anvil, and I will throw in this sword I have lying on the bench for another fifty dollars". I shook his hand on the deal, and promised the next day to bring my van and some help to enable me to load this monster. The sword, not my "cup of tea", was signed by someone named "Starr". All night, anxious about the anvil, I didn't sleep a wink. My younger brother, who interested me in blacksmithing in the first place, who also convinced me to take that job in the tool forging shop, accompanied me on this odyssey to acquire the big anvil.
When we arrived, the guy with the anvil told me "I decided not to sell you the sword, so if you still want the anvil, the price is six hundred dollars, without the sword". Crestfallen, I said that we had handshook on the deal the day before. He said "so what, either you want the anvil, or you don't"!
I wanted that anvil so bad, I could taste the darn thing. My brother and I walked that anvil up a stout plank into the back of my van. "Mom and dad are gonna be pissed about the sword, my brother said".
That was the understatement of the year. My dad called this old codger, saying that we had had a deal, and why would you reneg on a young guy like that? I was so hynotized by that anvil, I didn't realize that I should have bought BOTH huge hay buddens, and sold the second one in order to get the first one for free!
Anyway, I recently ascertained that the vendor who broke his word has gotten his "just deserts". He is living in a nursing home now, toothless, incontinent, non-ambulatory, subject to the vicissitudes of total-care "life".
Mr. Guru, I emailed a picture to you yesterday of my big hay budden. Could you please post that picture onto this site? Thank you kindly
Stewartthesmith - Friday, 06/03/11 12:33:34 EDT

Garage sale tools: Don't scoff at your local garage sales, as Thomas P notes. In my area of CA, Sacramento Valley (out of necessity, you have to live where you work), out of the local garage sales I have picked up, for $1 or $2 each, 2 tongs, a new old stock smithing hammer, a post vice for $10, a miners brass carbide lamp for $5, and a miners candlepick for $1 (which is usually a $75 or more item in the antique shops). Picked up a cone for hauling it away. Passed on a $100 forge with blower. At a local swap meet picked up a Champion 300 blower with stand for $75, and a firebox for $50. Things are out there, and getting there is half the journey
- David Hughes - Friday, 06/03/11 13:15:38 EDT

Posting Anvil Images: It will get posted in time. I have a couple collections to post first. One from a corespondent in France includes minis', French/European stakes, French nailer's setups and misc anvils. See link at bottom for one of many to come.

I spend anywhere from an hour to four on every image I post in the galleries. This doesn't include setup on the site. Return on posted images is very little and may take a decade or more for me to recoup for my time. . .

The image with the two leg vises I recently posted was one of those that I've got maybe 5 or six hours in. Each image was enlarged then separately cut from its background at pixel level, then both rotated to a natural view and the second vise scaled to match the other in perspective prior to merging with the first, THEN drop shadows were added including in the cutout or "holes" under the jaws and around the springs. . . THEN the edges were carefully traced in sections and anti-aliased to get rid of jaggies. . .

There are no magic filters or Photoshop tricks to this work. It is all time and painstaking art. Almost every image is a challenge because they are all taken under different circumstances by different people using different quality cameras. Often images are "repaired" filling in missing areas or merging the best parts from two images into one. You would be amazed at how many people cut off the tip of a horn or a foot on an anvil. Its no different than cutting off someones head in a photo.

Every image in the anvil gallery (over 400) has been treated this way. And in many newer articles and on

The quality of the image and the subject matter makes a lot of difference in how quickly I get images posted. Good photos are much easier than bad and those of common subjects we already have posted will often get held longer than other. Bad photos of very interesting or rare subjects may get more work than than others simply because of the subject.

SO, you may ask "why"? Because we have years of bad images from the low resolution era and hundreds of amateur images that need to replaced. So I made a decision not to post any more images that were not the best I could provide.

The big job will be the many poorly drawn and undersized iForge demo images. I've recently edited and reformatted a handful of the iForge demos. It takes a full day to do one properly without doing the images. Add new images and its about 3 days each or more. To do the whole collection is about 2 years solid work if I did nothing else. . .

De Saint Uby Miniature Anvils
- guru - Friday, 06/03/11 17:17:05 EDT

A Slideshow:
I thought I had posted this link but apparently it is too buried OR I set it up and then was not completely happy with it and set it aside. . .
Before and After Images Slideshow.
- guru - Friday, 06/03/11 17:45:40 EDT

Don't forget to try the slide show full screen (little roll over at top right of image).
- guru - Friday, 06/03/11 17:54:20 EDT

Stewartthesmith: Where are You located? Your mention of Jim Keiffer and the Pa. Dutch country gives Me the idea that You may not be all that far away from Me. I am in the northern corner of Chester County. Do You go to PABA meetings or Rough & Tumble?
- Dave Boyer - Friday, 06/03/11 21:17:39 EDT

I'm Back: Three stents installed in original plumbing (added to the triple bypass and the implanted defibrillator).

Limited to 10# or less for another week. Every time the restrictions expire, and I get ready to get back to forging, something else seems to come up.

Maybe I cn do some more light copper/bronze/brass work this week for Hugh's seax scabbard, if my wif will let me out of her sight.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 06/04/11 22:15:16 EDT

Champion 400 Blower: I bought one, but the worm-drive gear, (Not the worm drive, the brass gear set tha drives it.) Is worn thin. Anybody have one with a decent set of gears, or one for parts? And how exactly do I get the dag blasted thing apart? I cannot get the crank handle off, or the other gear pins out.
Hayden - Sunday, 06/05/11 13:26:28 EDT

to dave boyer: I have a small shop in philadelphia, and a humongous shop 25 miles north of scranton on interstate 81. I manufacture tools in my northern pennsy shop, and sometimes demo at philadelphia events. I have known jim keiffer for almost 4 decades. I sometimes attend PABA events, when limited time permits. If you need to contact me, my number is 215-768-5735
stuart geisler - Sunday, 06/05/11 16:57:21 EDT

to mr. guru: thank you so much for editing the pictures I sent you. I am obviously not a professional photographer..... as a matter of fact, I bought this digital camera last week in order to post pics on your forum. Thank you for your consideration!
stuart geisler - Sunday, 06/05/11 16:58:56 EDT

North Texas/ Southern Oklahoma Smiths: Any smiths from North Texas or South Oklahoma willing to teach me?
Hayden - Sunday, 06/05/11 18:52:42 EDT

Stewart: I put You in My directory. I don't know Jim real well, but have met Him on a few ocasions over the years at Rough & Tumble, may see Him there next Friday or Saturday at Blacksmith Days.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 06/05/11 21:31:55 EDT

Champion 400 blower rebuild: I had to take a torch to the crank handle to get it off. Lots of soaking with your favorite penetrating fluid (WD 40 evaporates, you need something "thicker" to penetrate and lube, out here the farmers like "Break-Away" from NAPA, good stuff, ATF would also probably work), of course you have already removed the bolts, brace the MAIN gear (not the brass one or the worm drive), heat to HOT (should be smoking), brace in a vice or equivalent, I used a piece of brass between my hammer and the handle, back and forth until it moved, more penetrating oil (lots more smoke), back and forth till loose OR cool it down with penetrating oil (heating opens up the cracks/joints, cooling with penetrating oil draws the oil in). Obviously this might be a multi-day process. I was not able to remove the gears on mine (no reason to), I removed the worm drive shaft in order to clean up the bearing races and replace the ball bearings, cleaned out the housing with kerosene. The gears appear to be set bolted on their shaft and/or keyed. Inspection should show. The brass gear on mine appeared thin, I think that was how they were made. If it works, you could use it till it dies, if it ever actually dies, and keep looking for another. It is designed to leak oil, oil or ATF it every time you use it, the leak removes dirt (I would think). Trying to put seals in it makes too much friction to spin freely. Good luck
- David Hughes - Monday, 06/06/11 13:53:10 EDT

Good People: Hello all, I am pretty new to the world of Blacksmithing and new to this site.

Recently I was looking for a Champion 400 blower with the right angle gearbox. I wanted this type of blower because it will complete the champion forge I recently purchased.

My friend Danny Arnold posted a request on this site. His post led me to Stewartthesmith and thus to a Champion 400 blower. I know that for Danny it was simple post and for Stewart it was a buisness deal, but for me it was more. It was fellow smiths helping a beginner, a NOVICE, get the proper equipment so that my future in this craft will be a prosperous one.

That is what good people do. Thanks guys, I really appreiciate it.
- bmazingo - Monday, 06/06/11 14:35:37 EDT

Champion 400 Rebuild: That helps me alot, put close to 2 quarts of oil into the darn thing, just to have it all end up in the floor. How many and what size of bearings are they? That way I can get some if I need them. From a close look with a micro-lite the bearing didn't appear to be in bad shape. I can't get the blower fan to come off its spindle. I got all the oil ports off, have them soaking in degreaser, I noticed (after I spliced my fingers on the sharp gear.) that there are ity bitty metal filing in the gear housing. They're copper powder as best as I can tell. How do I flush all the little filings and particulate out, without completely diss-assembling the entire blower?
Hayden - Tuesday, 06/07/11 00:10:52 EDT

Hayden: Have you tried engine cleaner/degreaser in the aerosol can? You cn pick it up at most any parts store. Also brake parts cleaner works really well and evaporates quickly leaving a clean dry surface. I use the non-chlorinated brake parts cleaner...though I really don't know if the chlorinated is better or worse. The brake cleaner is pretty high pressure and comes with the little red straw for more precise aiming. This combination is what I use to clean internal and external engine parts. I start with engine cleaner/degreaser then finish with brake cleaner. Hope this helps.
- bmazingo - Tuesday, 06/07/11 09:54:27 EDT

Old Blowers, Machinery and Lubrication:
You have to remember that these are Steam Era devices. This was the time of leather belting, overhead line shafting, big oil cans and workers wore hats to keep the oil and grease out of their hair and face. Engineers of steam locomotives got out with their oil can at every stop and lubricated critical bearings. Machinery often had open gearing that required special grease and machine oilers consisted of both caped type and plain oil oils on the same machine. Oil seals were unheard of. Closed gear boxes a rarity.

Even early electric motors had big oil wells and durable oil caps and machinery from the 1940's and 50's still had manual oilers. I have an old mid 40's Brown & Sharp surface grinder that has at LEAST two dozen covered oilers and every one needs to be given a shot of oil every day. They are hidden under the splash pan, under the slides, behind the carriage, on the sides, in back between belts. . .

Old (and not so old) back geared (double reduction) machines have a screw that must be removed and the back gear oiled. These often seize or wear out due to lack of lubrication.

These old machines came with very few instructions. They expected MECHANICS to be operating them. The only chart most came with was a lubrication chart!

The life of all these machines depended on the oil can and the careful attention of the operator.

Modern machines come with sealed gear boxes, shielded and sealed bearings - some "life time" lubricated, and automatic or "one shot" manual oilers. They make it very easy to forget the oil can. Those that learn on these machines may never think about having oil cans in the shop or keeping them filled.

Good large lever pump cans with replaceable nozzles cost about $25 each but every shop should have one or more. The flexible nozzles are handy but get broken easily. Thus the replaceable ones are handy. Its good to have a spare. Our local automotive supply carries the cans but not the replacement nozzles. McMaster-Carr has both.
- guru - Tuesday, 06/07/11 13:50:17 EDT

Oiling: I love old tools and machinery. I own 1 socket set made before 1950. Almost all of the machines that require constant oil, were made in America. They were designed to last forever, not wear out. If I find an old motor at the scrap yard. I'll buy it. They'll work better than most new motors with the right care, plus they weigh enough that, would be theives are deterred by the weight.
Hayden - Tuesday, 06/07/11 14:44:29 EDT

Correction: I own one socket set made after 1950
Hayden - Tuesday, 06/07/11 16:32:32 EDT

"They were designed to last forever, not wear out"

Now I'll disagree with this---a lot of the old stuff was designed to be *repairable* for ever; things wore out on a regular basis and you were expected to repair them and get on with using them!

May I commend to your attention the Self Repair Manifesto a copy of which can be found at

Thomas P - Tuesday, 06/07/11 18:41:00 EDT

Old machines: I have to agree with both the Guru and ThomasP. Oiling is indeed critical to the life of these old jewels. Using the right oil is part of that needed care, as much as using the right amount. And yes these jewels were designed for long life with care and attention and rebuilding. I have seen machines made in the 1920's that had been in 3 shift production, running at a typical 110% of rate that still were producing acceptable parts into the late 1990's. Now the "Rest of the Story" would be the number of minor and major overhauls that had been accomplished in that time.

In the forging buisness, big mechanical presses and upsetters were fairly simple, but very large machines. The Nationals and Ajaxs were usually running on plain bearings called "Brasses" and using gear oil in a total loss system. On say a 9" upsetter, the main crank ran in 36" id by about 18" wide brasses and there were 4 if I recall. These needed enough EP-460 gear oil to maintain a film to support the huge loads. EP-460 is a ISO 460 viscosity oil, with a very high viscosity index, and a very good extreme wear additive package. Use a base oil with the viscosity index of plain oils and boom goes the crank once the oil heats. Use the wrong additive package and the brasses fail and Boom goes the crank. These machines usually consume about 400 gallons a week in 2 shift production, and all that tacky thick, gooey oil slimes down the machine and into the pit under the machine.
For reference a "Boom goes the crank" is a experience! The entire city block shop feels that heat treated 4140 crank break thru a 24" diameter section. The owners feel the suction in their wallet of oh say $150,000- $250,000 flying away.
Blowers are similar in that the right oil in the right amount keeps the gears and shafts from failing.
I use mostly Canady Otto blowers as I think them the best. They hold their oil and do not drip it out. Because they hold the oil they are often well sludged up when I get them. I simply soak for a week or more in a bucket of kerosene, with the try cock and filler out. Then I drain and flow clean kerosene until clean comes out the try cock hole. Then I fill with half kero and ATF and gently turn the blower for a while and then drain again. Surprising what comes out of these jewels. I fill to the proper level, that is when the try cock is opened a bit of oil drips out, and change the ATF yearly. Why ATF? These gear boxes are slow speed, and ATF is probably the lowest pour point oil available easily, has an excellent Extreme pressure and anti-wear package. In my non-heated shop that low pourpoint and the right viscosity of ATF gives me a easy to turn blower winter and summer.
My Buffalo rivet forge blower, made from sheet metal was designed to get an oil can to the push ball from time to time. Since mine is mounted in my forge trailer, I simply removed the pushball and ran a line from a simple drip oiler to that oil point. With the needle valve in this Gitts brand oiler I can adjust for a drop every 5 minutes or so. I have a can under to collect the oil as these are total loss systems. That little Buffalo LOVES oil and has greatly improved in smoothness and reduced gear noise since I started oiling this way. I can demo for 6 hours and use maybe 2 tablespoons of oil total.
ptree - Tuesday, 06/07/11 20:38:14 EDT

Mud Dubbers: To try to limit population in ship I leave a bug zapper light running all night. Usual a nice small pile of them under it the nest morning, and that arcing is such a pleasant sound.
- Ken Scharabok - Tuesday, 06/07/11 21:00:17 EDT

Last Forever: ptree
""And yes these jewels were designed for long life with care and attention and rebuilding""

Reminds me of the retired street sweeper.

"I've used the very same broom for 27 years. I replaced the head 17 times and the handle 12 times, but it is the very same broom."
- Tom H - Tuesday, 06/07/11 23:05:39 EDT

Machine tools: Machine tools took a great step forward in the'30s&'40s when they went to filtered,recirculating lube oil. I would rather have the Cincinattis and Kearny&Treckers [and other machines] of this era than the older ones I have, but My old ones will work if I keep all those oil points oiled.
- Dave Boyer - Wednesday, 06/08/11 00:35:40 EDT

I like both ancient and later machinery. But a lot depends on your needs. While the ancient machines are cheap, and repairable, many do not have the rigidity or power of later machines. While you can do production work with them they will never be as fast or precise as newer machines.

The thing about the old ancient machines is they are relatively cheap AND they are not difficult to repair. Their lower HP requirements also mean most can be run on single phase motors. Someone on a limited budget can setup a decent enough shop to make a modest living (or a little extra money) with a handful of machines OR make anything you want.

The later 1940's and 50's machines were designed to be the most durable possible. While they are great machines they are more difficult to repair if worn or broken. Their higher HP and motor frame requirements also make many exclusively 3PH. Everything about them makes them more expensive from their weight to their power requirements. But they will also make more chips in less time. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 06/08/11 03:12:02 EDT

in production type equipment, I would offer that the first quality makers were making very heavy frames back into the late teens, and as roller bearings and HSS tooling became more prevelant, the frames and speeds increased. In my observation, the very peak of US machine tools in quality of the base machines was in the mid 60's, with extremely well made machines and good controls. As the off shore makers begain to under cut prices, the US makers could no longer comete across the market with "the best at any cost" machines and quality dropped. Then when CNC controls became normal, the machines begain to be made to last the life of the controls.
At Vogt, we often took very old, very high quality machines such as large VTLs and retrofitted with CNC, instead of buying new. We got 1940's frames and ways and 1990s controls. Best of both worlds. A CNC machine that could HOG big blue chips all day, every day 3 shifts and controls that were modern.
Most of the newer CNCs we were then buying were one crash and loose accuracy till factory rebuilt with new linear bearing ways as that was the then standard.
ptree - Wednesday, 06/08/11 10:25:25 EDT

CNC's and ball ways.:
The big problem was early CNC machinery. Some of the old machines had control boxes as big as the machine and were very time consuming to program. Later PC based controls became very reliable and software because user friendly. I knew a number of folks that bought early CNC machines and never profited from them. They were too expensive to program for anything less than a high production run.

Linear bearing ways are a joke unless properly designed. Plain sliding V and dovetail ways support 10x the load of the same size ball bearing ways. The standard ways also do not bounce like a springy cylindrical bar way. When you have to go 10x in size to do the same job with the same reliability then there is no advantage. So most ball roller way machines are undersize for the intended job and as ptree noted one crash and the machine is trash. On a plain ways machine you just back up after a crash, replace the tooling and align the work if necessary and go back to it. . .

Machine designers like ball ways because it SEEMS to take no skill and they are much cheaper for all that precision. . . Until you apply a 10x factor which most designers never looked up and made the comparisons.

Linear ball bearing systems are great for non-contact applications like torches and printers but not so great for machine tools.

- guru - Thursday, 06/09/11 12:12:35 EDT

More ball slides. . . Nuclear maintenance:
I once designed a boring machine spindle that was supported by AND driven on ball bearings. The drive worked like a combination roller clutch and linear ball spline. The smooth cylindrical spindle rolled on the same balls that drove it. As the load increased on the spindle the tighter it got and the truer it ran. . . However, the cross slide on this machine was still a standard dovetail slide because that was better for the purpose. Feeds operated like most boring heads through a planetary drive. Worked like a charm. . .

We built two of these machines. They were designed to overbore and face the bearing area in nuclear reactor primary coolant pumps. Later, one was adapted to machine the impeller nut off the same pumps. The special conical shaped nuts had about a 3.5" hex but fit a 5" diameter thread and had a 12" diameter flange. The large flange was the problem. In operation the heating and cooling cycles along with thrust let the impeller move toward the nut making it MUCH tighter than when it was installed. The large flange created a huge amount of friction. The nuts became impossible to remove even with heat and giant impact wrenches. The removal forces were so great it was endangering other aspects of the pump.

The excess torque was a mystery to the plant maintenance personell and engineers. There was no galling or corrosion. The nuts were actually not installed very tight in the first place and had a locking pin to prevent rotation. I had seen the same problem in much smaller automotive parts that were similar mechanically - shrunk on tapered and keyed fits with a retaining nut. You assembled with care and reasonable force but when it came time to disassemble it was nearly impossible. Creep at high temperatures is the problem.

So it was decided to machine the nuts off.

When the nuts were machined the sloping sides were cut away until there was about a 1/4" thick flange left. This relieved the load on the nut and they practically unscrewed by hand. . .

Since they had already purchased my boring mill the added tooling was inexpensive and the operation was faster and cheaper than doing it the hard way.

Sadly, one of these machines never got used due to a plant closing and was scrapped after being left out in the weather. . . The other has not seen the light of day in over a decade. Once we fixed those pumps they stayed fixed. . . I expect I will eventually get a call about putting the equipment back into operation. But I may be too old and forgotten too much.

The bearing replacement problem above. . . too few and too small of retaining bolts. They failed due to vibration and the bearing spun in the housing. When they asked us to quote on the machine design I recommended larger bolts and suggested a bolt pattern for the new holes. The factory agreed and used my suggested fix. Kind of heady stuff for an artist blacksmith. . .
- guru - Thursday, 06/09/11 13:28:08 EDT

Camp Fenby, 2011: One month to go!

Weather and health allowing, our summer session of Camp Fenby will take place on July 8-10 (Friday through Sunday), 2011, in Oakley, Maryland.

Camp Fenby is a very laid-back arts and crafts teaching and learning event with blacksmithing, metalworking, woodworking, fiber arts, soapstone work, cooking, and whatever else our somewhat diverse group can find to teach or learn about. The primary emphasis is on the early medieval period, but we diverge as desired.

Usually, folks can camp out on site, and there are a number of rental cottages, B & Bs, and motels in the area. Saturday night traditionally features a crab feast (or other seafood or more land-bound fare of choice) , and this year we have the longship available for a possible nighttime cruise.

For more information contact me, or please check or join our YahooGroups site at:

“Camp Fenby: Muddling along since 1993!”
Bruce Blackistone - Thursday, 06/09/11 15:10:23 EDT

It had better be laid back for you!---Or I will hire a crew of preemptive marine salvage experts to stuff you in a large wicker basket!

Wish I could attend.

Thomas P - Thursday, 06/09/11 16:13:42 EDT

Media Folks: A number of years ago, Genesee Beer called on the phone and wanted to use me and my shop for a TV advertisement. The 'hook' was that since I was a master smith, the beer maker could liken me to their master brewer. I was relatively young and naive, and I told them I would get back to them. I consulted with a knowledgable business man of my acquaintance. He said, "Tell them you're willing to negotiate." This I did, and I was informed that the ad was under the aegis of the Actors Equity Union, that if there was a full-face shot of me, I would receive royalties for three years. In addition, I would get a one day rental fee for filming in my shop. They guaranteed that a full-face shot would be part of the deal. They had paperwork for me to sign, and everything went well during the shoot. I got my royalties, and I didn't have to tout Genesee...just do a little scrollwork at the anvil.
Frank Turley - Friday, 06/10/11 19:27:05 EDT

TV and Media.:
The problem with doing any of these things for a little publicity is that the film often runs once then gets filed away and never sees the light of day again. Especially if local news. Even if it runs on a schedule it may be shuffled off to the old stories home in a short while. . .

I have a wonderful video of a Philippine smith making a knife using traditional forge and charcoal. I'd love to put it on anvilfire. The show has not aired in over a decade, maybe two. But getting permission to use the video is very difficult. Just figuring out who to contact takes an investigation. I spent some time on it and got nowhere. Then once you find WHO to contact it is doubtful they will let it go for free. . . IF you get a response at all.

I'd love to have the TV footage of me from the 70's. However, I have an "IN" there. My brother works for the station. Sadly all the "archives" on film were scraped a while back. . . There was even film of me from 1965. If I'd asked about 10 years earlier my brother could have gotten it for me.
- guru - Friday, 06/10/11 20:29:24 EDT

Stronger Steel in 10 Seconds: Another interesting development reported in Science Daily. The "mature technology" comments remind me of Jock's contention that such cool stuff "just happens" in metallurgy.
Science Daily
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 06/10/11 21:22:00 EDT

Well. . . it doesn't so much "just happen" but is the result of a LOT of trial and error because so much is not understood and there is no predictive science of alloying. Its the surprising and sometimes useful results that sometimes "just happen".

Interesting article.
- guru - Saturday, 06/11/11 08:10:51 EDT

Power hammer: I'm looking for a small power hammer. LG 25 or 50. Please E-mail me if you have any ideas.
Steven - Saturday, 06/11/11 09:34:16 EDT

"Mixed" Media: Our groups have had a lot of reporting over the last 42 years, and a lot of requests from production companies. Even when things go right, you can get very mixed results. Our latest successful venture with the new ship had a good article and a video from the Washington Post. I thought it was pretty nicely done, but several officers thought we came off more like boat bums; and we actually didn't realize much in the way of interest from the public from what I thought of as extensive coverage. I think we might have had four, and no more than six, additional volunteers that year from the article, none of them long-term.

When it comes to movies and television productions, probably one proposal in six comes to fruition. Plus, "he who pays the piper calls the tune;" so you are at the mercy of a gaggle of folks who know next to nothing, and may have you do stupid stuff to meet their preconceived ideas. (Sound familiar?)

Still, the money is green, and we're working on a "schedule of services" to cover cost of vessel and crew for any future projects. Stating what we're worth, up front, simplifies negotiations and will keep us from being exploited (too badly). Sure, we may lose some exposure and a credit line (which runs by too fast to see these days) but it may save us a week’s worth of underpaid work for a seven or 24 second scene with us in the background.

Like I told the crew when the last deal fell through at the last minute: "That's Hollywood."

On the other claw, in addition to our 18 minute educational movie on the Battle of Maldon that we did back in 1991 (filming on the 1,000th anniversary) we're planning a series of "School for Vikings" historical vignettes showing various aspects of Viking life (especially those involving ships and blacksmithing). ;-)

Washington Post Video
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 06/11/11 15:38:02 EDT

som ser ut som en bra tid
I think we met at skanfest years back, If I ever get your way I wouldn't mind ar en roddare for dig
- smithy - Sunday, 06/12/11 07:37:05 EDT

Steven; where are you located? This is an internationally visited forum and unless you are willing to pay for inter-continental shipping you should at least give a general idea of where in the world you are at.

Thomas in central NM, USA
Thomas P - Monday, 06/13/11 16:16:25 EDT

Smithy the Swede: If you're in the neighborhood, you're welcome to come hammer or row; we just got the ship launched today for the season! I did make at least one Scanfest, although my crew has made a number of them; so maybe we did cross wakes.

If you check through some back issues of the Anvilfire news, Jock has posted a couple of nice articles regarding our blacksmithing and nautical activities.


Longship Company
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 06/13/11 17:15:47 EDT

Stress Test Successful, Prognosis Favorable: I went through the cardiology stress test today, and the cardiologist said that (this time) I did very well, with the heart showing that the additional operation, installing the three stents, was successful in fixing the problems that caused the second heart attack, and the very troublesome ("...setting up for a massive heart attack...") EKG on my last stress test.

He has recommended that I may now return to the cardio-rehab program and take up where I thought I was over one month, and two additional operations, ago.

I also stopped by cardio-rehab facility today and they were happy to see me alive; since I tried to drop dead on them. We shall hash out a schedule soon.

The next step, after the cardio-rehab, is to clear up my driving status with the DMV and get the driving restriction lifted. When we have the cardio-rehab running smoothly, and I can drive again, I can stop driving my good wif nuts!

All of this will take a few months, and even with the medications I have good days and bad, but I’m finally on my way back, and look forward to sailing on the longship, returning to my blacksmithing projects, and hanging out with the crew, not to mention getting on with the work of the republic.

Thanks to all for their prayers and good thoughts.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 06/16/11 17:04:45 EDT

Bruce: Such experiences tend to bring the eternal things more into focus. Don't neglect them.
Hang in there.
- Tom H - Thursday, 06/16/11 18:25:12 EDT

Tom:: Trust me, much time has been spent in thought and prayer, (...prayerful thought? ...thoughtful prayer?) even when I missed a lot of worship at church. :-)

The scary thing is that our small Episcopal Church (founded 1642) I'm considered "the kid." One of my pew-mates is in her 96th year.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 06/17/11 09:35:28 EDT

Bruce: Glad to hear it. Bless you.
(Are you the guy with the thin book of wisdom?)
- Tom H - Friday, 06/17/11 18:49:11 EDT

UAVTBoW: If I ever get back to work, where the updated version of Uncle Atli's Very Thin Book of Wisdom is on the hard drive, I will add a couple of entries and then e-mail it out to friends and associates. I'll have an anouncement on the Hammer-In page here at Anvilfire; but it may be a few more months. (I was trying to get it out last New Years, which was then slipping towards the equinox, which was then rudely interupted. ;-)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 06/18/11 09:13:48 EDT

Just a note Hunter Pilkington's son Donald died about two weeks ago. He passed stewership of Hunter's World of Tools Museum to his only son, who not only lives out of the area, but knows about zippo about tools.

Donald was separated from this third wife, but the dovorce has not beeen finalized. Even though he left everything to his son, I suspect there is going to be a prolongued legal battle over his estate.
Ken Scharabok - Saturday, 06/18/11 13:01:16 EDT

Posting here cuz it has nothing to do with forging...

I am in the process of getting a new Guinness record. This time it has nothing to do with my nipples. No, I am attempting to set a world record for Largest 8 Track Tape Collection!!!

Right now I have about 1,200 to 1,300. I am asking anyone if they have a big box of 'em to send them to me to make this record as big as possible. I started out with a few hundred, but the Guinness folk said it wasn't "substantial enough" to be a record. So, mull it over and let me know if you can help.

PS keep it on the hush hush, don't need any competition!
- Nippulini - Saturday, 06/18/11 22:19:04 EDT

I used to know folks with crates full of 8 tracks. . . I only had a handful that fit the tape player in my 72 pickup. . . And they went to the scrap yard with the truck.
- guru - Sunday, 06/19/11 01:03:54 EDT

8 Tracks: I may be young, but the best place to get 8 track tapes in the nearest auction house
Hayden - Sunday, 06/19/11 02:15:14 EDT

about blacksmithing: I was beginning to wonder how the forum wandered, so i humbly interrupt to ask if this old Stilson pipe wrench is wrought iron? and there are other brands of large pipe wrenches that are obviously not cast could they be W.I.?
- danny arnold - Sunday, 06/19/11 08:23:02 EDT

Danny, Unless hand forged, and there are a lot of old hand forged tools of relatively modern design, they will not be wrought iron. Virtually all tools of this sort are drop forged steel but a few are cast, often in ductile iron but sometimes cast steel.

Some tools are also mixed materials. I have a big old adjustable jaw "pipe" wrench with cast jaws and handle on a plain steel rectangular bar with a turned screw and nut. The handle and fixed jaw are riveted on. Its a heavy ugly thing about three feet long and very worn.
- guru - Sunday, 06/19/11 09:10:02 EDT

I've been buying up on eBay lots of tapes. I got a real good deal with one guy who had many separate listings and had him put them together... a lot of over 400 tapes for $200 shipping included!
- Nippulini - Sunday, 06/19/11 11:48:18 EDT

On and Off Topic: Danny: The Hammer-In is for blacksmith related topics, but also for personal and off-topic notes of interest to the general crew. The more specific blacksmithing Q & A is usually in the Guru's Den.

Nip: So, you have all these 8-tracks, but do you have anything to play them on? (Plus a few backups?) I had a heck of a time finding a cassette recorder to record some music that my wif and I did to be mailed to a distant friend's wedding; had to hit three different Radio Shacks to find one.

I still have fond memories of sitting in a girl friend's car, prepping for a model rocketry launch in the '60s, whith Herb Alpert playing "El Presidente"! (I was president of the rocketry club, NARHAMS, back then.) Ah, the good old days! ;-)
National Association of Rocketry
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 06/19/11 14:09:25 EDT

Tape Formats:
The big reel to reel machines have probably lasted longer than any other format.

I bought my first high end PC (a 486-66 with 30Gb HD) with a cartridge tape back up. At about 3 years I found I could not get replacement tapes. The new tapes were all preformatted to a higher density than the machine would take. So I ended up using the shop demagnetizer to "bulk erase" the tapes, then formatted them on the PC. When I stopped using that PC you could not get a cartridge tape drive so all those "backups" were worthless for moving data. It all went on 3.5 floppies. . . I just recently tossed all those old tapes. . .
- guru - Sunday, 06/19/11 18:44:23 EDT

Bruce, I have 4 or 5 players. One is in my 72 Pinto Wagon. I do play my tapes on a regular basis, and have gotten pretty good at repairing them. Most of my 8 tracks sound pretty amazing.

I remember the Commodore Vic-20 that used cassette tapes for data storage. Horrible format. My first computer was a Commodore 64, then a 64C. These used the 5-1/4" floppies (I still have a shoe box full of programs and games in C64 format).
- Nippulini - Monday, 06/20/11 08:14:55 EDT

We had a Radio Shack Co-Co or "Color Computer" that connected to a TV and used a cassette tape backup. The computer used the microphone key on/off to start and stop the tape as well as back it up for search. VERY VERY slow. Took several minutes to save a short page of BASIC code!
- guru - Monday, 06/20/11 09:47:13 EDT

8 Track: I had a brand new 1978 GMC pickup with an 8 track player. I drove 100 miles every other Friday afternoon to pick up my 3 kids at my exes for the weekend. Took them home Sunday afternoon. I would put Ted Nugent's "Bat out of Hell" or "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" on full blast with the windows down just before I got to her house just to irritate her. (She ran off with my best friend). Then after we got away, Moody Blues, Beach Boys, or Country music. That's over 30 years ago, and I never told her. She still thinks I listen to nothing but.
- Loren T - Wednesday, 06/22/11 12:39:06 EDT

Bat Out of Hell was by Meatloaf, not the Nuge.
- ries - Wednesday, 06/22/11 17:27:04 EDT

Ries: You're right about that. All I really remember is that they were terribly loud and i could hear them with my hearing aid turned off.
- Loren T - Thursday, 06/23/11 00:31:15 EDT

Presidents Park South Proposals: The NPS is looking to redesign the space south of the White House to make it both more secure and more user friendly. All of the proposals have various iron bollards and fencing, and one has a couple of pairs of massive ornamental iron gates. You may comment on the merits of the designs and/or specific features on each proposal.

Once you go to the explanatory link below, you can click on "five submitted concepts designs" link to get to the site; then you may wish to open each in a separate window.

Think aesthetically, think tactically, think “ironically.” The nation needs the opinions of competent blacksmiths! (I’ve already submitted mine. ;-)

Presidents Park Proposals
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 06/23/11 19:14:59 EDT

Jack Andrews: does anybody know how Jack Andrews the author of "The Edge of the Anvil" is doing? Stewartthesmith is concerned and i am too.
- danny arnold - Friday, 06/24/11 19:55:33 EDT

Google has a new voice recognition feature (I think I read it's only available with the Chrome browser). You click on a little microphone icon, and whatever you say appears directly in the search bar.

At least it does in theory. I tried "upset a piece of half-inch square stock." On the first attempt, Google's guess bore no relation to what I was saying. And each time I tried repeating more slowly and clearly, it got *worse*. I gave up when it decided I was referring to a female dog and two organs that might be found on such an animal.

I'm guessing it's content-based, and "upset" threw it for a major loop.

Of course, my wife will blame it on my enunciation. Her first words to me were "sorry, I don't speak Spanish." Neither do I.
Mike BR - Saturday, 06/25/11 12:44:54 EDT

anvil identification: hey,

I just bought an anvil and I am currious who made it, it has roughly cast base with a welded on top plate ~150# it is mared with a cast in G on one side and a upside down triangle on the other, Is painted red but i really doubt hat is original.

- tony - Saturday, 06/25/11 20:46:12 EDT

In all likelihood you have Columbus Hardware Company, Columbus, OH anvil. No one knows what the letter on the other side meant. At one time inside the upside down triangle was a C. It would have been a one piece cast anvils.
- Ken Scharabok - Sunday, 06/26/11 11:00:20 EDT

Voice Recognition:
Many of these technologies rely upon a minimum quality of microphone or certain tonal quality. In the case of a PC the quality of the sound card is more critical than the microphone. Note that quality of input is much different than output. Also background noise which can be as simple as a distant fan rumble that you do not notice may have a detrimental effect.
- guru - Sunday, 06/26/11 19:01:13 EDT

looking for a blacksmith: in Chicago, SW suburbs ideal. Need to have some lampost crosstees made- thanks
Dan - Sunday, 06/26/11 22:26:41 EDT

I have a a few Nugent tapes, no Meatloaf though. I do have a whole bunch of "compilation" tapes (ie. "K-TEL's Smash Hits of the 70's") where a Meatloaf tune can be heard.

Still no offers? C'mon guys, I am sure that most of you have a cardboard box full of 8 tracks sitting in a dusty attic or cellar. It's the only magic trick I know.... how to turn trash into treasure.
- Nippulini - Monday, 06/27/11 08:52:26 EDT

8-Tracks: Of all the stuff I hoarded away in the old attic; 8-tracks were not among them. (It was, after all, my girl friend's car. She had all the tapes.) I'll keep my eyes out at the local flea markets and yard sales, but they are getting pretty thin on the ground even there.

It's hard enough for us to find duel VCR/DVD players for my youngest daughter's vast collection of tapes.

"I warned people about the 21st century; but nobody would listen to me!" (UAVTBoW)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Tuesday, 06/28/11 09:44:38 EDT

Moving topic from the den..... funny how we're talking antique AND 8 tracks, I find some tapes in antique stores. Jock mentioned historic buildings in America being 100 or so years old, whereas in Europe such buildings would be considered "newer". I traced the deed to my house to the original owner. It was signed in 1712! Clerks for William Penn signed it as well. The original property line (which was measured in paces to and from trees) contained over 300 acres and was purchased for 200 pounds in royal (British) silver. I now own roughly an acre of said property. My neighbor lives in what used to be the barn for my house.

8 tracks..... antique, no... obsolete technology? Yes.
- Nippulini - Wednesday, 06/29/11 12:23:41 EDT

Hey guys, another 'what have I won' questions :)

ebay no. 370521141152

Thought it looked quite sweet, not sure if its got any age to it - it will look nice on my desk though!

Jock, a while ago we had a discussion about accurately calculating energy on hammers, and you seemed a bit unsure if it was do-able! Since then Ive built a system using a 'string pot' and pressure transducers that streams staight to laptop @500bits second on the pot.(can go quite a lot faster than this if needed). The data then goes into a spreadsheet for analysis, charts and automatic calculations of energy, etc. We can also hook up spare channels to record motor amps, temperatures etc.

I can see it being the item we take out of the van first before the toolkit on a lot of jobs now! its good fun working out how to do these things, keeps the grey matter active!
- John N - Thursday, 06/30/11 16:41:21 EDT

John, very cute little jeweler's combo vise. It doesn't look like much until you notice how small it is.

Your hammer performance measuring device sounds interesting. What would be great is too use it on a broad selection of hammers for comparison purposes.
- guru - Thursday, 06/30/11 20:21:57 EDT

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