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September 2010 Archive

WHY THREE FORUMS? Well, this is YOUR blacksmithing forum to use for whatever you wish within the rules stated above. It is different than the Slack-Tub Pub because the messages are permanently posted and archived.
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J. Dempsey  <webmaster> Rev. 7/98, 3/99, 5/2k, 6/2k, Friday, 04/06/01 16:43:25 GMT

Tools Needed!: My name is My name is Matt Gallagher, I am a 15 year old guy living in Charlotte and I need to find or purchase an anvil. I have alot of experience smithing with my Metalworking instructor in Boy Scouts. I am attempting to make a Gladius (small sword) for a school Latin Club competition as well as a Roman Legionnaire outfit for the same competition. The sword will not be sharpened, i just want to be authentic and make it properly and have it functional for a Gladiatorial demonstration I will be participating in. I just need a sizeable anvil, not too expensive, and a 1000 gram German style cross-peen hammer. Also, i have a pair of tongs, but they are extremely old and rusted, so if you could suggest an alternative I would be most appreciative. I don't have a lot of money, but if necessary I can scrape some together. (if anyone would like to loan and/or give me these, i would be EXTREMELY grateful) I AM NOT ASKING SPECIFICALLY FOR CHARITY. IF YOU CHOOSE TO HELP ME OUT, I WILL ACCEPT, BUT I AM WILLING TO PAY IF I CAN, AND I AM WILLING TO WORK OUT DEALS, SUCH AS PAYMENT PLANS.

~Sincerely and hopefully, Matt Gallagher
Matt Gallagher - Tuesday, 08/31/10 18:32:39 EDT

Matt, There are a lot of smiths in the area. You might find one that would let you in their shop to work on your project.

Tongs being rusted is often the norm. The big problem is they usually fit poorly. But as long as they were usable to start with (many tongs are not), then they can be reworked by the smith (you).

Before you make your sword be sure to clear every aspect of it with your teacher, advisor AND principal. Schools all over the country have no tolerance policies regarding weapons. Some have expelled children for having representations of weapons. In Virginia a kindergartner was expelled for bringing a 1" plastic gun key-fob to school. . . It may not matter that your sword is not sharpened.

In blade making a grinder or three is more important than an anvil.

I'm 1.5 hours from Charlotte near Mt. Airy. If you get desperate contact me. But you have a lot of choices nearer home.
- guru - Tuesday, 08/31/10 21:57:40 EDT

Cheap Tools:
Part of getting started in blacksmithing as a hobby is scrounging tools, making tools, making do. A good anvil is wonderful but for the low budget smith can be hard to come by unless someone gifts one to you.

The place to get gifted tools is family. Contact everyone you know or not. Ask about aunts, uncles, cousins. Do a little genealogy and then write letters. See our article on How to Finding an Anvil.

Then there are substitutes, anything heavy made of steel. . .
Finding an Anvil
- guru - Wednesday, 09/01/10 11:12:23 EDT

Matt---WHICH Charlotte? Charlotte Bay Antarctica probably has zero smiths near it. There is probably a Charlotte on most continents and this is the "World Wide Web"

Does it have to be a german crosspein? I'd think that any decent crosspein would work.

Soak the tongs overnight in cheap vinegar---full immersion and then the rust should wash off with a hose and scrub brush. Then reset the rivet if it needs it and wax the handles to prevent rust and make them smoother to the hands---may need going over with some silicon carbide sand paper strips to smooth the reins down till they are nice on the hands *before* waxing.

Authentic: will you be doing a piled billet or just plain real wrought iron and have you sourced the authentic materials yet? Modern steel date from the 1850's a bit late for the Roman Legions.

And of course the easy part is that the forge will be burning chunk charcoal and not briquettes and can be a hole in the ground blown by single action bellows.

Be sure to get lots of "in process" pics so you can get the extra points for making it "authentically".

I consulted on just such a project fairly recently. The son of a MatSci professor at the local university wanted to do a roman gladius for a class. I provided the raw material---wagon tyre and got called in when they had problems forging it. His father had a PhD in MatSci but didn't know the "old ways!"

As I recall "The Metallography of Early Ferrous Edge Tools and Edged Weapons", Tylecote & Gilmour, has a write up on a Roman era sword that was plain old wrought iron. For later Roman "The Celtic Sword", Radomir Pleiner, has a lot of information on how such weapons were constructed at that time period and Roman writes commented on how good such weapons were!

Ask at the local public Library how you can ILL these books.


Thomas P - Wednesday, 09/01/10 15:56:13 EDT

Yeah, I always get a chuckle about "authentic" and the "old ways". . . A wall hanger or theater prop made from aluminum (as are most of the movie weapons and armour) would be a more suitable project and if attention was paid to making it "look" right would get the same honors in this case as one made to museum standards.

As to "in-process" proofs. . . We did that several times with our kids' science projects and the teachers and judges still didn't believe the kids did the work. . . I had the same problem in the Soap Box Derby. We had hours of film of me sawing, chiseling, sanding, operating machine tools. . . and the fathers who built their kids racers still did not believe *I* built mine. They still didn't believe when at age 11 I had to make a test piece (an eight ovoid about 18" long) laminated from four pieces of pine, sawed, carved, sanded and finished. I finished mine in 1/4 the alloted time and then helped several of the others make theirs. . . Some of which took 1-1/2 the allotted time.
- guru - Wednesday, 09/01/10 16:48:56 EDT

Guru, My 4 kids made science fair projects that usually got them the medal. I did NOT do the work. I did suggest ideas for the experiment, but the kiddo's had to do the research, build the test article. With-in the rules, they could use books of science fair projects and the net for ideas and plans. It was amazing how many kids had done the first idea in the book!
I suggested things like the weight of air, diffusion, making a galvanic cell, and friction.
All built from stuff on the shop floor save the led for the galvanic cell. Oh and we did have to have 2 store bought ballons for the weight of air. All those brought home the gold. The somewhat crudness of the test articles did illustrate that even a first grader can build a workable experiment. And understand the experiment.
I overheard many parents saying they thought the Dad of the winner sure did a poor job of building the thing!
I did drill holes and run the saw if something needed a hole of cut, BUT, they laid it out, not me.

So you guys with little ones who need a good winning science fair experiment E-mail me and I can tell you what worked for mine. No plans, No research, just a simple few words telling the concept, since your kids really do need the confidence from doing it themselves:)
ptree - Wednesday, 09/01/10 20:25:02 EDT

My shop: The shop is almost ready. The single phase 220 and the 3 phase are both connected as is the water and the drain. So as soon as the local manual workers have a bit of free time I think the tools can start to be transferred in. Perhaps all 4 anvils would be too much but I need at least 2 of them and possibly 3. I don't have a fixed forge in there so will be working on the small portable forge for a few weeks until I get chance to design and build a bigger one- so shall probably be limited to forging hooks and a few blades at first!
- Philip in China - Wednesday, 09/01/10 20:49:25 EDT

Help identifying old forge: Have recently purchased an old hand crank blacksmith forge that is marked 'American S_____ Co. Inc. , Bainbridge, New York, USA'. Would like any info that can be passed along concerning this piece. Your help is appreciated. Thanx,

Jeff R.
- Jeff R. - Wednesday, 09/01/10 21:10:51 EDT

Help identifying old forge: Have recently purchased an old hand crank blacksmith forge that is marked 'American S_____ Co. Inc. , Bainbridge, New York, USA'. Would like any info that can be passed along concerning this piece. Your help is appreciated. Thanx,

Jeff R.
- Jeff R. - Wednesday, 09/01/10 21:11:55 EDT

Help identifying old forge: Have recently purchased an old hand crank blacksmith forge that is marked 'American S_____ Co. Inc. , Bainbridge, New York, USA'. Would like any info that can be passed along concerning this piece. Your help is appreciated. Thanx,

Jeff R.
- Jeff R. - Wednesday, 09/01/10 21:12:38 EDT

School Projects: Yeah. . . but sometimes the kids are more stuborn than the parents.

My Son's last science project was a robot hand. We tried to talk him out of it but he insisted that was it or nothing. . .

I made him design and build it. The parts had to be modular so they were all the same. This took a bunch of iterations. One actuator had to open and close all the fingers because we weren't going to spend a lot of money on the project and it would be way too complicated. The actuation was done using scrap dot matrix printer parts and a left over industrial controller.

Patrick made the drawings, machined the parts, filed the fits. . . The hard part was the electronics. He had to have some help designing the electronics to operate the stepper motor. Programming was simple as it just opened and closed the hand repeatedly.

There was also a written report on robotics, pro's and con's, history. . . AND A bunch of those "In-process" photos. . .

The winning project that year was right out of the science book AND did not meet any of the rules for size/space or components. A balloon rocket. . .

Another year, desperate for a project, we came home to find a dead beaver at the end of our driveway. It was a fresh kill with little damage. So we popped into the shop fridge until time to dissect. The resulting project included the cleaned beaver scull, dried hide and tail. I think that one actually won the fair.

I had three really great science projects in middle school. The first was a device that showed expansion and contraction of metal. Worked sort of like a thermostat but wasn't bi-metallic. The next was a Van DeGraff generator. It used two aluminum mixing bowls for the collector, Erector set pulleys and a motor out of an old mechanical adding machine. I had to machine the pulleys to get the right materials. Made a pretty good spark and was a favorite for years at parties. . . The last was a Mercury barometer. I welded pieces of chemistry set tubing together half a dozen times. . . but it wasn't strong enough for the weight of the mercury and the tubes broke long before being filled. My dad finally went to a neon sign guy. and had him make a tube. I still had to fill it and get the tube and cork into the jar of mercury. . . you REALLY don't want to know. The barometer still works 45 years later. . . The big question is what to do with it.
- guru - Wednesday, 09/01/10 21:20:57 EDT

Mercury: At least you don't have 4000 tons of the stuff:
(yes, there's a security certificate error you need to click through)
Mike BR - Wednesday, 09/01/10 21:38:14 EDT

Tally-Ho Phillip!! it sounds like you're realy "forging" ahead over there (every pun intended BTW...)
- merl - Wednesday, 09/01/10 23:01:26 EDT

An "invention" contest was the first time my youngest daughter used my wood lathe. Her "treadmeal" a small pet treadmill that dispensed food pellets as it was used was a great idea and the prototype would sorta work proving proof of concept. She learned about pulleys, bearings, and even gears---used garden weasel wheels to transfer rotation from horizontal to vertical.

Didn't win though.

Thomas P - Thursday, 09/02/10 11:56:46 EDT

I never won in my four years in the Soap Box Derby. I was always 2nd. . . I was disappointed but I knew *I* had built my own cars and had learned to do things that the others never learned. I learned many of the design and hand skills that I still use today.
My Soap Box Derby Days
- guru - Thursday, 09/02/10 18:34:03 EDT

Equipment disposal: I'm needing to downsize my stuff and would like to find good homes for some of my blacksmithing tools, including my allegedly 300# (I've never weighed it) anvil and a whole bunch of tongs that I bought from Herb Miner in Eudora, Ks. back in the '80s.

The anvil is pretty decent, rings quite loudly, but could use a good dressing, 'cause the edges are chipped. As near as I can tell, the face has never been ground on, and the step is heavily battered from many years of chiseling. It's probably wrought iron with a steel top, on a heavy wooden stump. The "label" side of the anvil is heavily marked with chisel cuts, so I can't see any maker's marks.

I have a fair number of tongs (I've never counted 'em) including some which were probably one-time special purpose varmints.

Oh, yes, I also have a never used Buffalo rectangular firepot sitting here, I got from the old blacksmith's retirement sale in Manhattan, KS in the early '90s.

I don't know how I'd ship this stuff. I guess I could probably ship the anvil (without the stump) by putting a label on it and dropping it off at the Yellow freight terminal, but I'd rather deal in person & cash.

I'm in Lawrence, Ks.

Does $1500 for the lot sound reasonable?
John Lowther - Thursday, 09/02/10 20:03:56 EDT

John, It depends on the number of tongs but the price sounds right on target.

Shipping is always a problem with heavy stuff but I suspect you will find someone close enough to pickup what you have.

Years ago I traded a guy for his H&H Armitage Mousehole anvil with my H&H Armitage of the same weight. Both were 128 pounds. His had a a slight sway and the face sloped to one side. Mine was perfectly flat. The interesting thing was that his had the name and logo marked out with hundreds of parallel hammer marks. A figured it was a "second" sold without a brand. If you studied it you could still read the M&H logo.
- guru - Thursday, 09/02/10 23:52:48 EDT

By "second" do you mean one that didn't make the grade during manufacturing?
Jamez - Friday, 09/03/10 00:45:51 EDT

Yes. In my case the face of the anvil came from the factory swayed and tilted. They rejected it and then probably sold it for less with no warranty.
- guru - Friday, 09/03/10 00:50:06 EDT

Glad I'm not the only one up this late ;)

That is interesting. I suppose it made more sense than to scrap it due to the labor/materials already invested.

I've heard a lot of folks say they prefer a slight sway since it helps them straighten out slight bends.
Jamez - Friday, 09/03/10 00:53:27 EDT

Not only did I trade anvils with the guy but he gave me $75 on top of the anvil. The sway was very slight, less than 1/32". You had to put a straight edge on the anvil to see it.

Later I sold the anvil to someone who didn't care. If I had not needed the money it was probably a collector's item. It was before anvilfire and I did not think to photograph it.
- guru - Friday, 09/03/10 08:48:09 EDT

If you think about it, "second" *is* kind of an odd word. I took my wife (for whom English is a second language) furniture shopping once. After a little while, she says, "these antiques are too expensive. Where can we find some second hand antiques?"

After I managed to stop laughing, I realized she thought "second hand" meant about the same thing as "second class," "second rate," or just "second."
Mike BR - Friday, 09/03/10 18:06:52 EDT

Been there and done that, guru. The value of an object has little to do with it's price when you're tapped. :p

Mike BR: I think that's why English is supposedly one of the harder languages to learn. Try explaining words like bear, lead and wind ;)

Jamez - Friday, 09/03/10 21:02:52 EDT

Languages: Well . . The first thing my Spanish instructor told us was that there were no confusing words in Spanish like in English. . . Then we proceeded to find a confusing word in every class session. THEN, you find that words in one country do not mean the same as in others. . . Then there is the matter of masculine and feminine. Try to find technical terms in other languages.

My weak point is languages but I don't think there are any that don't have confusing words or sounds.

I do not sell tools often. The few times I have done so I always regretted it. I guess I get too attached to them. Hard to upgrade when you like your old tools.
- guru - Friday, 09/03/10 23:35:24 EDT

We should all speak Klingon to level the playing field ;)

You guys all have a safe weekend!

Jamez - Saturday, 09/04/10 13:19:23 EDT

Love the Beast:
For all you gear and motor heads, see the film Love the Beast on Hulu. Only those that fall in love with machines will understand. Others may have some sense of our insanity.
- guru - Saturday, 09/04/10 19:24:45 EDT

Old Tools: I'm usually very selective about buying tools and antiques; especially when I'm on travel. They have to be useable, affordable, desirable, and transportable. (Especially when I'm flying; the wood chisel, miniature cast iron anvils, and steel rule that I picked up in Denver last week flew home in my assistant's checked luggage since I had to go with carry-on to get home in time for my wif's BINGO night.)

Old tools, especially those with names and initials, either remind me of the family members 9some long passed and much missed) who owned them, or make me wonder about the original owners. I have a nice little punch hand-marked "NORB." Sometimes I ask folks in the forge to: "Hand me the Norb."

When I use the tools well, or create something nice (or sometimes, even, wonderful) with them; I feel as though I'm honoring those who used them before me.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Saturday, 09/04/10 21:26:32 EDT

Hey Guru,
I could have a few photos taken of this Paragon/Soderfors anvil & little Mousehole anvil to let you pick through to add to the Anvil-Gallery, if you'd want to.
(I don't think) that there's any photos of either brand in there, and I've never seen another Mouse-Hole anvil quite like this one.
The base & body is a dead-ringer to a PeterWright and it's got the outlined drawing of a mouse then the actual word "hole" just to the right of it.

The wife took Photography in an art class in collage, I could let her do her thing with a digital-camera she's getting for a near B-day soon.

Sound doable to you?
danial - Saturday, 09/04/10 23:49:41 EDT

Gear Heads Movies: I watched Two-Lane Blacktop the other night. That's the movie that finally made me understand "Finer in Primer". That 55 is one of my all time favorites.

Another good one is Vanishing Point. Newman as Kowalski and Cleavon Little as Super Soul the DJ.

Jamez - Sunday, 09/05/10 10:19:35 EDT

Anvil Photos are Nice: 3/4 views (like an isometric drawing) are best, details of logos need to be close ups.

Otherwise less is more.

I can't afford to collect more tools but I CAN afford to collect images, clean them up and share them.

We have a new collection of world class antiques and imported German anvils in progress. Some real beauties. Look for it in a week or so.

Meanwhile. . .
Anvil Humor
- guru - Sunday, 09/05/10 11:16:00 EDT

Anvil at Auction: There is a 450 lb. anvil coming up for auction in Huron County, Ontario, Canada next Saturday (11 Sept. 2010). The style appears to be Southern German/art-smith type.

There are also asst. hit and miss engines, sheet metal tools, and a metal lathe.

More info at the link below
- Don Shears - Sunday, 09/05/10 12:53:51 EDT

Miles: Guru
What ever happened to 'Miles Undercut'?
His postings were invariably priceless.
- Tom H - Monday, 09/06/10 10:27:52 EDT

Miles is still around, lurking I believe, but has decided to remain silent. Probably mad at me for something. . .
- guru - Tuesday, 09/07/10 09:28:43 EDT

Miles Undercut: I don't recall any recent postings by Him across the street, don't take it too personally, Jock.
- Dave Boyer - Tuesday, 09/07/10 20:11:35 EDT

New Shop: Most of the gear is in the new shop. I now need to organise things. The only absentee is the hammer !! When the school was building the shop I told them how I needed the front (i.e. not finished until I had forklifted the hammer in) but they flatly refused to do what I said. So now we need to hire a couterbalanced forklift to get the hammer in. If I could spell schadenfreude that is how I would describe my feelings!

Also the extractor fans are wired with the lights- so it's like love & marriage- I can't have 1 without the other. Almost too much extraction of air but that is better than not enough. I am expecting the fans to suck the 142 pound Rhino off of its base once they really start turning.

Anyway once everything is where I want it it should all be good. Maybe this weekend is going to be a busy one.
philip in china - Tuesday, 09/07/10 20:44:22 EDT

Plistix: Hi, I have just tried to mix up a batch of Plitix, white powdered stuff, and it wont blend. It is a granular paste in the bottom of the coffee can and a milky water on top. I have been told it should be mixed to the concistency of a milkshake and dabbed on with a paint brush. Is there something wrong with my Plistex? Can it expire? Thanks.
- Jeff H - Wednesday, 09/08/10 07:24:34 EDT

Shop Logistics - Cart beroe the horse:
The logic and logistics of construction is difficult to jeep up with. Get it right and everything moves smoothly, get it wrong and you end up redoing things and spending a lot of money.

I'm usually the guy in charge of the logic of big projects. Studying what has to come first, next and last. Writing up a step-by-step plan THEN keeping up with it all so someone doesn't jump the gun. Workers and subcontractors will do the job they were hired for regardless of what should be done before their job. I've seen AC installers cut pipes and conduits that were installed before the ducting that was supposed to go AROUND. Or in case just like Phillip's, finish an enclosure before a major item was installed.

Many folks undervalue what a building contractor does. He has to keep up with all these things, be sure the materials and equipment are there at the right time, do the gophering for all the bits and pieces that always seem to slip unnoticed until needed. . .

Details, details, details. . . other too many. . .
- guru - Wednesday, 09/08/10 10:12:36 EDT

Plistix 900F: Jeff,

You may be using too much water. I've found that mine looks that way if I give it just a hair too much water. The trick seems to be to mix it to where it is a lumpy mess the consistency of biscuit dough and then start dribbling water into it slowly while mixing. When Larry says "milkshake", I think he means something more like soft-serve ice cream, as opposed to something that could really be sucked through a straw.

In my experience you can add more dry powder to the too-thin mix and it will work fine. The stuff doesn't so much "set" as dry out, so if I have some left over after applying a coat, I just cap it and adjust the consistency the next day for the second coat. It seems to fire off just fine that way.
- Rich - Wednesday, 09/08/10 11:12:41 EDT

Plistix: Thanks Rich, I had mixed it about half and half having never done it before. Will try tonight. Great site Guru. Jeff
Jeff H - Wednesday, 09/08/10 12:12:20 EDT

When did Buffalo quit making blacksmithing equipment? I remember the Centaur catalogs of the early eighties still had new Buffalo forges for sale.
- Bernard Tappel - Thursday, 09/09/10 19:02:50 EDT

Actually the previous post was regarding some posts in the Guru's den. Meant to post it there. :-(
- Bernard Tappel - Thursday, 09/09/10 19:05:30 EDT

test: test
- tes - Friday, 09/10/10 01:47:05 EDT

Anvilfire not accepting posts: Huh? "You don't have permission...?????
- Rich - Friday, 09/10/10 08:17:42 EDT


Our server hosting company has changed security settings on the server which is preventing the system from opperating. We are working to solve the issue.
- guru - Friday, 09/10/10 8:45 EST

Test: Testing without embedded HTML
- guru - Friday, 09/10/10 08:59:47 EDT

Testing with URL
- guru - Friday, 09/10/10 09:08:15 EDT

Buffalo quitting: I don't remember the exact dates, but Buffalo would advertise firepots, etc., I think in the 1980's, but did not have them in stock. They could also cast a big Railroad forge, but did not stock them. A couple of my students contacted Buffalo about ordering, and they were quoted outlandish prices. The reason? Buffalo at that time, would do a one-on-one setup for a single pour, so you were paying through the nose for that. At least, this was reported to me by those students. Poco a poco, they phased out the smithing stuff, and for a while continued manufacturing blowers and exhaust systems for industrial use.

That's my story. Is true?
Frank Turley - Friday, 09/10/10 19:58:38 EDT

NEW Anvil Gallery: We have just posted the first 10 images for the new Greenwood Collection of anvils. More coming. Still lots of infoermation to collect and writing to do. .

There is over a week's work processing the images and setting them up and probably another week to go. Josh spent 10 days schleping anvils around, cleaning and photographing them. There is probably 150 man hours of work presenting this collection to the public.
- guru - Friday, 09/10/10 20:13:31 EDT

Buffalo Forge was split into two companies.
The HVAC division, which makes big blowers and fans, is now called Howden Buffalo. They stopped making forge blowers a long time ago.
The machinery division is now called Buffalo Machines Inc. They still make Buffalo Ironworkers, Drill Presses, and Angle Rolls, but no blacksmithing tools.
- ries - Saturday, 09/11/10 18:06:56 EDT

When Buffalo broke up the blower division was still called "Buffalo Forge". They built a plant in Amherst Virgina in 1980's. I went in and asked about forges and blowers and nobody in the plant had a clue about the company's past. About 10 years later we bid on building a machine to roll and weld a large blower scroll housing (about 8 feet in diameter), at the same plant. Their primary product at the time was huge cooling units for large buildings. They were so large that they had to be shipped on special rail cars. . . We didn't get the job but I do not know if they built the machine or not. The local plant has changed ownership and names several times. Connections with the parent company came and went. The last I heard it was Buffalo Air Handling but I know there have been changes since then.

The machinery division had drawings, patterns and old parts inventory (nothing that could be completed) from the blacksmith side of the business and it could all be had for a price. This was years ago.
- guru - Saturday, 09/11/10 21:28:07 EDT

It is in!: I had to move the hammer 1.5 metres up on a 30 degree slope. The guys who moved the rest of the stuff wouldn't even consider doing it! So I drilled a couple of holes through the wall opposite the door and put a couple of pieces of 1" bar through those with a nut on the outside and a ring forged on the inside. To spread the load I had passed each one through a 20Kg weightlifting disc on the outside of the wall. I then passed a piece of about 1" hex bar through the 2 rings and connected a chain lift to that. The hammer was on a pallet truck and a friend and I simply winched her up the slope. It was really incredibly simple- just a lot of hard work! The only moment when we had to rethink very slightly was when we had to disconnect the strap because we had got to the end of the chain. At that stage wejust chocked the wheels and roped the lifting eye at the top to the bar on the wall so she could neither slide nor fall. All that information from Jock and others on safety and moving techniques was very useful.
- philip in china - Sunday, 09/12/10 00:49:17 EDT

Phillip in China: Do you have it bolted down or strapped in for seismic safety? I seem to recall that you are in or near a geologically "interesting" area. We're always strapping together library shelves and file cabinets in our units in and near San Francisco and out in California; so now that you have this equipment where you want it, you might think about where a good shake might put it.

(Worry-wart: It's in my job description. ;-)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 09/12/10 21:40:10 EDT

It isn't, yet, bolted down. I need to get a sheet of plywood to put under it and then I shall anchor it very firmly to the ground. Also it has the standard Anyang plate base (which I strongly recommend to anybody buying one). In due course I shall be filling the base with something heavy- probably sand.
philip in china - Sunday, 09/12/10 22:11:39 EDT

Really not bragging but,...: The company I work for is putting on an addition to the shop.
The whole thing is now finely enclosed and secure but, still being finished.
Our building now covers about 7+ acres. The addition is mostly for assembly and will also house the weld shop, water jet machines and the paint booth.
This new side of the shop is significantly heavier than the old side with two 10 ton cranes in every bay that adds up to 8 total (at $1000.+ per foot and 50' each, you do the math...)
I have to go around and check all the doors when I lock up at night. It is very odd to walk into that much enclosed but empty space, from a small door in the wall dividing the two buildings.
- merl - Monday, 09/13/10 00:27:08 EDT

Philip can use the seismic activity AS a power hammer, just sit around with hot metal and wait......
- Nippulini - Monday, 09/13/10 07:58:31 EDT

Seismic Hammer: I can imagine a cartoon in that. . wold moving, hammer holding still . .
- guru - Monday, 09/13/10 08:36:55 EDT

I've used a "sledge Hammer seismograph" set up back in Geology at the University---we would strike a plate set on the ground and then capture the signals coming back from fairly shallow layers under it. (they also made a version that used a 12 gauge shell and of course the "thumper" trucks used by oil exploration...)

Thomas P - Monday, 09/13/10 15:57:41 EDT

The Anvil that was mentioned earlier was a 1912 Geman pattern, It was 450 and went for 1200.00. It was in very good condition. I had the auctioneer send me some addirional pics before the sale. It was to far to drive, least for me.
- Jeff H - Tuesday, 09/14/10 07:22:59 EDT

550 lb. Trenton anvil: I have a 550lb. Trenton anvil for sale. I live in Racine WI. I'm asking $2100.00 obo and this pick up only. It has some surface rust but is in good shape. I can send pics if interested. This was bought used 35 yrs ago because my dad was interested in wrought iron work. He never actually used it as his business kept him busy. The only thing he did was to mount it on a large stump. 1-262-752-4344
Del Swanson - Wednesday, 09/15/10 17:07:48 EDT

East Indian Holiday: I currently have an East Indian student who apprised our class yesterday that September 17 is a national religious holiday in India where Lord Vishwakarma is celebrated. In the Indian mythology, Vishwakarma is creator of the world and is depicted as having four hands and five faces. Workers of all kinds lay down their tools on this day of worship, and this inclueds smiths. Factories and businesses will be closed today, especially in the larger cities.
Frank Turley - Friday, 09/17/10 09:23:59 EDT

Today is also half a year to St. Patty's day. Lots of local "Irish" bars are having specials, likening it to Christmas in July.
- Nippulini - Friday, 09/17/10 15:25:29 EDT

Here is a link to a short article about Vishwakarma, who is the Hindu god of metalworkers, craftsmen, and factory workers.
Sounds like I need to picku up a poster or a small figurine next time I am up in Vancouver in the Punjabi Marketplace neighborhood, to put up in my shop.
- ries - Friday, 09/17/10 16:47:49 EDT

holiday: i just finished reading a book on hinduism / spirituality. i wonder if it's a coincidence that today i made a greater initiative to set everything in my head aside, and be "at one" with everything while i was working in the shop today.
- Ty Murch - Friday, 09/17/10 23:55:05 EDT

Ty, I hope you were "at one" with my lead screw. . :)
- guru - Saturday, 09/18/10 00:24:36 EDT

It's also Yom Kippur.
- philip in china - Saturday, 09/18/10 00:46:00 EDT

Yesterday I did some impromptu forging, hurried it a bit and used bad form. Wrist and forearm hurt most of the day. Looks like Vishwakarma got me back!

Philip, hungry yet? Have a big lox & bagel after sundown.
- Nippulini - Saturday, 09/18/10 09:15:32 EDT

Funny story: I haven't forged anything since I packed up my shop at the other school around May time. So having set up a small amount of equipmentin the new place here I was, understandably, ready to have a go. I lost my brick forge so had to use a small portable one. I have no coke or coal yet so was using wood from broken up pallets. I had the extractor fans both on and they really are excellent. About an hour into the session I heard a siren wailing. I put 2 & 2 together and assumed somebody had triggered the fire alarm having seen smoke pouring out of a small building. I very hurriedly extinguished the forge, quenched the work and high tailed it out of there- it seemed easier than explaining.

It wasn't until discussing the afternoon with my wife that she explained that the 18th of September is the anniversary of the AJpanese attack on China and that many sirens are sounded in the afternoon at the time that the attack took place!

Always happy to tell a story against myself.
Philip in China - Sunday, 09/19/10 00:52:58 EDT

That's a good one Philip :) I had a similar incident during a fire drill.

I opened the door to the stairwell and as soon as I did the fire alarm went off and everybody waiting on the elevator thought I had triggered it ;)

Good stuff
- Jamez - Sunday, 09/19/10 21:08:07 EDT

Mithril?: One of our folks sent me the following link. As Jock says, you never know what you are going to get with each new alloy and process.
Metal Smasher Makes Aluminum as Strong as Steel
Bruce Blackistone - Tuesday, 09/21/10 14:03:32 EDT

Fasenating Bruce but, I thought Aluminum was pound for pound much stronger then steel already.
Of course you can't compare a 1 inch thick plate of aluminum to a 1 thick plate of steel for strength but, the cross section of ten pounds of alum could be much thicker than the same quantity of steel.
Still a good read.
- merl - Wednesday, 09/22/10 01:28:49 EDT

Strength of Materials:
Nothing beats steel for all around strength and utility. It can be relatively soft and ductile or hard enough to cut other steels and virtually all other metals. It can be processed by practically every metal working process including field welding.

The high zinc 7000 series aluminuim alloys are as "strong" as mild steel but rather than bending very far will break. Up to that point it is not a "for the weight" but by the section as strong which means that its one third the weight for the same strength. It would make great mail (like the mythical Mitheril) but would have to be worked using special methods.

The problem with the high pressure (mechanically worked) aluminum in Bruce's link is that I suspect heating the metal (such as in welding) would destroy the special properties. While they DO build large structures from aluminum without welding (the majority of air craft are bolted and riveted) this greatly limits its usefulness. The mechanically worked for strength materials are also prone to rapid work hardening and embritlement.

Steel is hard to beat and impossible substitute in many important applications. You cannot have a technological society without steel. Letting others dominate our steel supply or things manufactured from it is a very dangerous position to be in.
- guru - Wednesday, 09/22/10 11:20:01 EDT

SOFA Quadstate:
I am sorry that I cannot attend this year. Those of you going have a great time and leave a few tools for next year!
- guru - Wednesday, 09/22/10 11:21:39 EDT

Guru, in Aircraft assembly of aluminum you left out the very common "Bonded" which translates to glued.
Most airframes have a design life in hours flown or take off/landing cycles.
many great aircraft have been retired from the field due to out of time airframes that were not practically rebuildable. The early F-15s are now in that condition, and the A-10 is so important that there is now a total re-build factory line.
Other aircraft, great though they were, and also very usefull that were retired are the B-26 invader and the Navy's A-1. both just ran out of hours.
Aircraft are usually stressed to 50% past load sometimes to 200 percent of load. With a very fatiquable material like aluminum you have a definete fatique life.

One of the reasons wood was and is desirable as a building material for highly stressed aircraft is that as a natural composite it has infinete fatique life. Now composites like carbon fiber are replacing wood for this use.
ptree - Wednesday, 09/22/10 14:02:37 EDT

A Unique Power Hammer Find:
Four NEW power hammers stored in a warehouse since the 1980's. Two Kuhn's and two German Federhammers (spring hammers). There may never be another find like this. If you are looking to buy a new power hammer this may be a lifetime opportunity.

Power Hammers For Sale
- guru - Wednesday, 09/22/10 17:04:31 EDT

Guru's Weight Loss Progress. -60:
As of today I have officially lost 60 pounds (27kg) since May. I've been on a bit of a plateau and not sure why. So I am adjusting my diet a bit. I like orange juice and other fruit juice (Acai bland) too much. So, more water, and V-8 juice instead of fruit. More fresh salad and less of Sheri's Mmmm Mmmmm good beans and salsa. . .

I've gotten to the point where I do not crave meat and have little desire for it.

I've also increased my exercise so the plateau may be exchanging fat for muscle. No change on the scale. When we go for our walk I am carrying two three pound hammers. The BLACKSMITH WAY! You would be surprised how much added effort swinging those hammers adds. The first day they caused me to get out of breath going DOWN hill! After two weeks I no longer feel it in my arms and my breathing is getting easier.

When I carry the hammers I shift them forward and back, flip them from face to pien. Besides adding to my overall exercise it is helping me back in forging form. Sheri is carrying a couple little 900 gram hammers. She extends her arms to the sides and flaps them like wings and pulls them in and out with the hammers in hand. While this is not much weight it significantly adds to the overall effort. Our goal is to get in shape without hurting ourselves.
- guru - Tuesday, 09/28/10 16:12:03 EDT

Way to go Mr. Guru. Congratulations and keep up the good work.
- Bruce Wallace - Tuesday, 09/28/10 21:13:31 EDT

exercise: That is great news Guru, I've been wondering how you have been doing with the diet and exercise.
I was debating saying anything about this because people might think I had fallen off the deep end but, what the heck.
A couple of weeks ago I picked up one of my best dump picking finds yet, a very nice Eclips reel mower (I think I may have told you about this)
I took it home tightend up the handle and gave it a few shots of oil were it needed it and started mowing lawn with it. What an enjoyable experience!(see, here comes the "you're crazy" part)
That old mower must have belonged to someone that real knew how to take care of them and it realy cuts grass with less effort than it takes to push an engine powerd mower around with.
So now when I cut grass I have a certain large section of the lawn that is designated for reel mowers only and I get my weekly work out.
I hate to admit it but,I even look forward to cutting the grass (!?!)
Last winter I felt like I wasn't going to make it through the summer I was so out of shape.
I know you have a much bigger task ahead of you but, you have lost 3 times as much as I have in almost the same amount of time.
- merl - Wednesday, 09/29/10 00:00:40 EDT

Health: Even if the economy isn't, life is getting better. Between the weight loss and exercise I am feeling much better. I can bend over and pick things up off the floor and tie my shoes with ease. A few months ago I needed help with my socks and it was painful to try to get things off the floor. It is amazing how easy it is to get into such terrible shape.

When folks look at me they see a fat man and think I was always this way. Not true. I was so skinny as a teenager back in the 1960's when skinny was normal that the doctor's told my parents to feed me milk shakes and peanut butter to fatten me up. . . Luckily they did not. It was not until I was in my 30's that I started to gain weight and not until I was in my 40's that I started to look and feel overweight.

Today, "skinny" kids are twice as heavy as I was at the same age and are on a much worse diet. While I did not eat as well as I should have at home we did not have constant access to high fat, high salt, low nutrient fast food. Things like potato chips were a once a month treat IF that often. . . While many in my generation are fighting obesity and the resulting disease, the following generations are going to have it MUCH worse.

I met a young girl recently that if you had asked me how old she was I would have said 17 or 18 by her size and development. She was only 12 years old! And while she was not generally overweight, she had a little poochieness that would have screamed pregnancy 30 years ago. A century ago if you had asked someone to guess her age they would have said 21 or so. It gives real meaning to the term "jail bait".

Such early maturation is a result of a high protein low nutrient diet loaded with meat, oil and sugar. Recent research has found that this is a more significant factor in breast and prostate cancer than genetics or environment. If you think we have a cancer epidemic now, the one that is coming will be unbelievable. Its not the lead, the asbestos, the pesticides. . . its the kind of foods we eat. While carcinogens in our environment ARE a problem, FOOD is the #1 problem.

IF (gigantic IF) we started teaching this in schools, and retraining "dieticians" and doctors and parents. . It would be 50 years before we see significant results. But while this is a gloomy pessimistic (maybe more pragmatic) view of the future, we CAN as individuals make big changes in our lives now. Its up to you.
- guru - Wednesday, 09/29/10 08:50:31 EDT

Weight loss: Jock, congratulations on sticking with the program. It will take a lot of time and hard work but you'll get there.

I'm lucky - genetics has favored me with a metabolism that burns up whatever I eat. I did have to change some things when I developed a very mild diabetes, but a slight change in diet, i.e. no sugar, took care of that completely. I get a lot of exercise as a full-time blacksmith and part-time lumberjack and that helps tremendously, I'm sure. I still wear a size 30 waist, only two inches more than what I wore almost fifty years ago in jr. high. Being married to a nurse trained in nutrition markedly affects what I eat, too.

Stick with it, you're already seeing the benefits and it only keeps getting better. Even when you hit a plateau, your body is building itself up for the next round of burning off reserves of fat.

- Rich - Wednesday, 09/29/10 14:00:27 EDT

One of the biggest problems with "healthy" food today is that they contain so much soy protien. Research has linked soy oil, soy flour, and soy milk with pancreatic cancer. The ONLY way soy is safe is if it has been prepared by the traditional way of fermentation into things like tofu, miso, and soy sauce.

Congrats on the weight loss, Jock!
Alan-L - Wednesday, 09/29/10 16:13:15 EDT

went by the roundhouse museum in savannah, ga last weekend. i only had about half an hour to check it out before they closed. the highlight of the shop was a 1500 pound chambersburg high frame hammer. they said they run it first sunday in february. nice 400 pound fisher anvil. couple of nice swage blocks. machine shop wasn't much, a few real early lightweight lathes, horizontal mill, drill presses. if you're ever in savannah, its worth a stop by.
- Ty Murch - Wednesday, 09/29/10 20:29:34 EDT


You had me worried until I read the last sentence (grin). Actually, though, I don't think tofu is fermented. Or rather, there *is* such a thing as fermented tofu, but you can tell the difference a block away (the very accurate Chinese name translates as "stinky tofu"). Tastes pretty good dipped in hot sauce, though. . .
Mike BR - Wednesday, 09/29/10 21:34:16 EDT

Soy and Tofu:
None in our food plan. No fake meat, no tofurky, no tofu-dogs. . . We don't use much Soy Sauce because it has enough salt for a week even in the "low sodium" versions. The only near meat thing we have made is bean patties using ground flax seed mixed in and for "breading". Browns nicely, but a lot of trouble as it doesn't hold together well without eggs.

We are not being moral vegetarians, we are logical nutritarians. Eating fake or synthetic meat is the most hypocritical thing a vegetarian can do (and not logical). They are saying, "Don't eat meat, but I LOVE the taste". . Yeah, I admit, I could still eat a steak. But I don't crave meat and can really do with out it. The longer I go without, the easier it gets.

The tofu that got high ratings a generation ago was not typical of the type commercially made today which as noted has been proven to have problems. I'd have to look up specifics.

We are using Silk Almond Milk for the few things that need milk. Sheri uses it to make her pudding and Saturday morning muffins. I use it once in a rare while to make a Fresca. For a while I was putting it on my Cheerios but I've stopped eating them for a while. But may start again now that good fresh fruit is harder to get.

My food downfalls are bread and cheese. I LOVE pizza and can down a pound of cheese at a time. . Now its all forbidden fruit (or non-fruit).

Frescas del Frutas
- guru - Wednesday, 09/29/10 23:18:32 EDT

Frescas: HA! you had me goin' there!
I thought you were talking about the soft drink Fresca.
I was going to ask "what duh hey?"
- merl - Thursday, 09/30/10 00:06:03 EDT

Roundhouse Museum in Savannah:
I've been to Savannah a number of times but missed that. Sounds like I should spend a weekend in Georgia in the spring.
- guru - Thursday, 09/30/10 00:10:21 EDT

The Nuclear Debate.:
The Japanese take their reactor maintenance very seriously. Back in the 60's and 70 when my Dad was involved in the design of the big B&W plants (TMI, McGuire, Oconee, ANO1, SMUD. . ) many of the engineering reports read like an old original Star Trek script. . "beyond all known conditions, materials stressed beyond all previous experience. . ". The engineers at the time recommended that every plant in the country be dismantled, inspected and rebuilt on their 10 year anniversary. This was written into their licenses.

But when the time came the bean counters, lawyers and insurance executives running the plants managed to get the inspections down to "a sampling". If they inspected one pump and it was OK then the assumption was that they would all be OK. Then they got this stretched to if one similar plant inspected a part and it was OK then that applied to all the other plants that had the same part. . . THEN there were the paper fixes. . IF you identify a leak and quantify how much and where its going, then its not a leak. . . Don't fix the gasket. . just get a bigger bucket! We made a LOT of money making leak meters but we preferred making machines to fix the gaskets. Those we fixed in the early 1980's that had leaked for a decade have not leaked since. Doing the job right made the plants safer and saved them millions in annual costs for pumping goop in the joints and replacing corroded studs.

The "sampling" method backfired on numerous occasions. And the same system that used paper fixes could also bury the REAL engineering reports so deep no one saw them. I inspected bolts from a pump (had them in my hand) that looked like they had been used for forging practice by a newbie. The heads had popped off several, all were bent and threads worn. I told the higher ups we needed new bolts AND there was probably a problem with the threads in the pump case. . . It was a BIG battle to get new 4" long 1/2" bolts but we DID get them. Small bolts but they held in the bearings in a 10,000 HP primary coolant pump. The problems did not go into an industry report. . . The next year another plant had the bearing bolts fail and the bearing spin in its housing. The photos of the pump looked like a giant charcoal briquette. Crispy. . . The emergency outage got folks attention and the fact that I knew what had failed before they took the pump apart got more attention. . . We also got the job to design and build tools to fix the pump from behind shielding. 90 days from concept to the field with a unique, one-off custom machine.

The Japanese took their 10 year inspections seriously. They took everything apart, inspected it, x-rayed, ultrasonic tested, strain tested samples and replaced them with new, wrote reports. . . Which the similar US plants took and pointed and said "see nothing is going wrong". . . The data from plants run VERY carefully by a very annal people who are 120% by the book does not compare to plants run by bean counters that want to run at 120% power and not make replacements until something breaks. . . Its like comparing the car of an enthusiast who changes his oil every 2,000 miles, rotates his tires, addresses ANY squeak or rattle . . to the car of a teenager who has no mechanical sense, can't hear the drive shaft about to snap due to the megawatt stereo running full blast and drag races between stop lights and doesn't put oil in the car until somebody else notices the red light on the dash. . . THEN puts in recycled motor oil.

I am a firm believer that we should be the high tech leader in every field but there is too much BS an politics in the Nuclear industry. The technology is bad enough but then put idiots in charge. . . I think we can better with less dangerous technologies. Lets improve solar cell efficiency to the point that they significantly cool homes in the South, both reducing the need for electricity while making it at the same time. We can do it. If we don't the Japanese, Chinese or Indians will.
- guru - Thursday, 09/30/10 18:49:12 EDT

My wife hasn't complained the the tofu we buy here is different from what she grew up with in Taipei. But gradual change *does* sneak up on you I guess. (I'm not talking about the stinky stuff, of course; I've never seen [or, more to the point, smelled] that here.

A couple years ago they sent a her a tofu maker as a gift when she renewed her newspaper subscription. Maybe I should actually take it out of the box and see what it does.
Mike BR - Thursday, 09/30/10 21:05:21 EDT

Meant to add that I agree with you about avoiding the fake stuff. Of course, I don't do quite so well at avoiding the real thing. . .
Mike BR - Thursday, 09/30/10 21:06:33 EDT


I've heard you mention using ground flax-seed in different things, and a few other seeds that was ground up. And now you've got me wondering.....

Do you-guys(Sheri&you) buy it already ground or are you doing the grinding/milling yourselves?

danial - Thursday, 09/30/10 23:16:36 EDT

Ground Flax Seed:
Sheri bought the stuff preground. We keep it stored in a vacuum seal container and in the freezer. Many folks recommend grinding your own in a blender due to oxidation issues. Same with nuts when you want to use them as a flour such as in dressings or drinks.
- guru - Friday, 10/01/10 08:38:47 EDT

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