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December 2010 Archive

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

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

The Guru's Den is where I and several others try to answer ALL your blacksmithing and metalworking questions to us.

Please note that this forum uses an e-mail encryption system that prevents spam harvesters from collecting your e-mail address.

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

Thoughts and Prayers:
Our good friend Dave Baker, Former CSI Treasurer and my power hammer project partner, is going in for cancer surgery today. Dave had gone to the doctor for another reason and they discovered the cancer. Being that there were no symptoms and the cancer is clearly defined the doctor's are giving a good prognosis.

So lets all hope for the best for Dave. We will let you know how it goes in a few days.
- guru - Tuesday, 11/30/10 11:25:44 EST

DaveB: My very best wishes to Dave for a speedy and complete recovery. Keep us posted on his status, Jock. While it does sound as though it is confined and should respond well to the surgery/treatment, just the knowledge that you have cancer is very distressing and frightening.

- Rich - Tuesday, 11/30/10 15:02:32 EST

Dave's surgery went exactly as expected with no complications. The doctors are saying the cancer has all been removed and that everything is fine. They will do regular scans for the next couple years.

Dave is expected to be home Friday or Saturday and have a couple weeks recovery. . . I suspect that will be torture when he has so many things he wants to do.
- guru - Thursday, 12/02/10 10:58:35 EST

Glad to hear that Dave didn't get any unpleasant surprises. I wish him the best for a speedy and complete recovery.
- Rich - Friday, 12/03/10 00:26:33 EST

Dave B.: Well, "Good on ya' mate"
Laying around the house for a couple of weeks won't be too bad, the reason why kinda' sucks...
- merl - Friday, 12/03/10 00:54:11 EST

25 lb LG Powerhammer for sale: I wish to let the community know that I am putting my 1910 Little Giant 25lb. Powerhammer up for sale. It's in good working condition, new slow motor, main spring, ready for work. Located west of Austin in Dripping Springs, Texas. Pic, Info on Craigslist.
David Hesser - Friday, 12/03/10 21:30:45 EST

Dave B.: Hang in there; a lot of my frinds are survivors, so you're in good company.

(On the other claw, given some of MY friends... maybe the company isn't so good.) ;-)
Bruce Blackistone - Saturday, 12/04/10 20:32:27 EST

Thanks to all. Today is the first day I have been able to sit upright very long. I rarely post but I always manage to keep up with the happenings here. I kinda of consider the folks here as extended family members. While I was being "in processed" to the hosptial after they put the wristbands on, someone mentioned I was now a marked man. While that is true, I choose to the mark of survivor.
- Dave B - Sunday, 12/05/10 10:44:30 EST

Dave B: Hang in there, even if You get less than great news from time to time. I have been surviving with stage 4 colon cancer for close to 7 years, on chemo most of the time. It is better than pushing up dasies.
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 12/05/10 18:58:34 EST

Valley Forge, Pa.: This is less than 20 miles from where I live. Washington did winter there, froze His ass off.

There were more forges & blast furnaces in this part of Pa. by the mid 1700's than You could shake a sitck at, remains of some are still visable, a few are being or have been restored.

The sites mentioned here are less than 10 miles from My house, and only the ones that come to mind right now, and not the ones down toward Valley Forge:

Colebrookdale Pa.
Pool Forge
Pottsgrove [now the town of Pottstown, Pa.]
Pine Forge
Coventry Forge
Hopewell Furnace
Reading Furnace
Warwick Furnace
Brook Iron Company
Johanna Furnace

If interested do a Google search on "Forges and furnaces in the province of Pennsylvania" It should take You to a Google book whose url is to long to post on the forum.

- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 12/05/10 19:28:13 EST

Another Forge/Furnace link:
- Dave Boyer - Sunday, 12/05/10 19:33:10 EST

Pennsylvania Forges & Furnaces: Dave: cool stuff! I've been to Hopewell and Johanna; I'd like to get by more if I get up that way in the future.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Monday, 12/06/10 09:09:21 EST

My ancestors (Dempsey, Attwell, Work) were involved in the early iron industry in Dunbar Pennsylvania where they learned the trade, then moved to Southern, Ohio in the early days of Ironton and were Ironmasters at several of the furnaces including Vesuvius, Etna and others and investors in many more. The list of furnaces go on and on.
Ohio Iron Furnaces
- guru - Monday, 12/06/10 21:32:43 EST

Bruce -Pa. Furnaces: I think You have seen the best of them by far, the rest are ruins & worse. If You are headed up this way, post in advance, and if possible I can show You where a few others [ruins] are, and point out some of the Iornmaster's Homes. Their are more of the homes, some open for tour.

Some of the ones I mentioned were not in existance long, nobody even knows exactly where Pool Forge was, other than it was allong the creek near Pine Forge.
- Dave Boyer - Monday, 12/06/10 22:37:55 EST

I've seen the Vesuvias and Etna sites during a tour they have at the IronMasters Conference in Athens OH.
Thomas P - Tuesday, 12/07/10 13:30:26 EST

Forges and Mills:
One of my ancestor's brothers, an Ironmaster died at Vesuvius during a refit. He fell off the scaffolding. . .

Old grist mills were EVERYWHERE. Almost anywhere in the country where a road winds down hill and crosses a bridge is almost always the location of a mill. Some are known, most are not. Many of the mills had wood crib dams, ran seasonally and had low capacity. When they were abandoned or flooded out there was virtually no trace of them. But they often left their name on the stream, road, nearby village OR local industry census maps.
- guru - Tuesday, 12/07/10 15:31:53 EST

furnaces: I plead guilty to bringing up the subject of bloomeries and furnaces. They weren't all in the East. A friend sent me a Kentucky newswpaper article that had a fairly comprehensive article on iron furnace names and history in that state. I'm an old Missourian from way back, and I've visited the Maramec Furnace near St. James, twice, on the way to see relatives. The furnace structure is still up and an all cast iron helve hammer is on display. A book has been written about its history, though the book is hard to find. "Frontier Iron: the Maramec Furnace 1836-1876" by James D. Norris. This book has lots of how-to in it including how the colliers created charcoal in huge mounds which charred the wood while being covered with humus. The water source, and spring pond is still part of the present-day "park."
Frank Turley - Tuesday, 12/07/10 23:00:45 EST

Mill Sites: I was just laying out an area of interest for a Park Service program and ran a boundary down a railroad track from Klines Mill Road to Meadow Mill Road, all within 3.25 miles (5.23 klicks). They were all over the place in the Piedmont and the upper river valleys of the Mid Atlantic. In contrast, there seem to be far fewer in the tidewater, given our flatter topography. Where you do find possible water power, you have places like "Great Mills."

One relatively unique feature that we had was tide mills. You'd dam off part of an estuary, and worked when the tide turned, day or night. You had to set things up with a reversing gear for the alternate tidal flow, and you had to use an undershot wheel.

Meanwhile, my friend near York, PA, has a mill site on his farm. The land runs more vertical than horizontal in places, so there's a good drop. The metal detector goes wild on the site, and I'm tempted to "mine" for wrought iron; or at least dig some exploratory trenches. I don't think we'd be destroying any unique archeological assets, as common as these mills were. (His log dwelling dates from the 1700s; but everything has been extensively modified over the last 200 or so years to keep up with indoor plumbing and such.)
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 12/08/10 16:09:49 EST

Mew Mexico tub wheels: Prior to the Santa Fe Trail, 1821, there were many small grist mills, mostly in log buildings. They employed the horizontal tub wheel below the building with the vertical shaft connected to the runner stone above. A narrow, wooden flume directed a stream to water to the wheel. There is one operating occasionally at the living history farm, "El Rancho Golondrinas," about 12 miles south of Santa Fe. Corn was the most used grain for these mills.
Frank Turley - Wednesday, 12/08/10 20:42:17 EST

One of the foxfire books has instructions for making a tub mill with pictures as they recreate the "tub".

A mill and a smith was pretty much the minimum required to have a "village"!

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/09/10 11:33:44 EST

Wedding Announcement:
Jock Dempsey and Sheri Berdahl, December 8, 2010

The wedding was held at their home in Boonville, NC. with Don Cox presiding. Cathy Giradono was the bridesmaid, Jim McGinnis the best man. Also attending, John Berdahl the bride's brother, her daughter Avis Fitzgerald and husband Patrick, Gene McGinnis the best man's wife, Lea Dempsey the groom's mother, and many other friends and relatives.
- guru - Thursday, 12/09/10 13:46:56 EST

Congratulations, to the Guru, family. I'm sure you will enjoy many years of happiness.
- donnie - Thursday, 12/09/10 14:16:59 EST

ptree - Thursday, 12/09/10 15:36:16 EST

Congratulations to you and Sheri, Jock! Give the bride a kiss for me - she's a good one. I wish you both many years of continued happiness.

- Rich - Thursday, 12/09/10 15:48:40 EST

Woo-Hoo! And the Best to Both of you!

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/09/10 16:11:14 EST

A mill and a smith was pretty much the minimum required to have a "village"!: I guess I should start converting that beaver dam across our branch of the creek into the basis for the tide mill, and update our village. Then Jock and his blushing bride can come by for an extended honeymoon at Oakley!

There's evan a vacation cottage down the road!
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Thursday, 12/09/10 16:25:00 EST

Wedding Announcement!: Wishing Jock and Sheri all the best for now and in the forthcoming years.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/09/10 19:42:58 EST

Best wishes Jock & Sheri: Congrats.
- Dave Boyer - Thursday, 12/09/10 21:50:28 EST

Congrats to the Guru & Sheri!

I live in York County, PA, and there were grist mills on EVERY creek, (rarely just one per creek). Also there were saw mills, paper works, “fulling” (textile) mills, and any combination thereof. Water power also provided the compressed air for the furnaces mentioned above. ‘Course, you probably know all this.
Hard to find a family tree around here w/o millers in it. My granddad and his brother ran the Biesecker Mill till 1995, producing flour and dog food. Records show that there was a saw mill, grist mill, and the all-important DISTILLERY at that site.
This mill actually ran under the power of a 5 x 21 foot water wheel until the Agnes flood of 1972 washed out some of the race works, then under diesel power.
- Dave Leppo - Friday, 12/10/10 09:40:42 EST

After further back-reading:
Congrats to Rich Waugh and Dave B. on their recoveries. And Dave Boyer, hope you are doing well, and are comfortable. Haven’t been checking in as frequently, been focusing on blades, so I been checking blade-specific sites more.
- Dave Leppo - Friday, 12/10/10 09:51:28 EST

Requirements for a village: Out here, the requirements for a village were a mine, a smith and a saloon. The better places had two mines and three saloons.

David Hughes, in North California. The first time I saw the ocean, on the Sonoma coast, I ran into it, expecting to swim: the first childhood illusion crushed under the trip-hammer of reality, that ocean is COLD, and the surfers wear wetsuits
- David Hughes - Friday, 12/10/10 12:34:36 EST

I had the same experience when I first went to California from Colorado, Dave. Ran into the water and was an instant soprano - I almost couldn't get back out fast enough! I tried it again in the summer and it wasn't much better. Then I discovered the Caribbean and I've never looked back.

In Colorado the requirements for a village were a few mines, several saloons, equal numbers of brothels and churches and just maybe a smith - if one could be found who hadn't already succumbed to gold fever. (grin)
- Rich - Friday, 12/10/10 14:47:21 EST

Family Trees and Occupations: I had been in blacksmithing for more than a decade and studying it for much longer when I discovered we had Ironmasters in our tree in the Dempsey line. One of those "WOW, NEAT!" deja'vu moments. . .

It is often hard to determine occupations of ancestors. Of course at one time, almost everyone was a farmer or had farming in the family. The occupations that are most often noted are the unusual or prestige occupations such as Doctors, Priests and so on. Many folks can't even tell you what their grandparents did that going back further is very difficult.

I have two Ohio River Boat Captains in the same generation on different sides of the family. My Grandpa Dempsey whom I am named after was a bit of a Jack-Of-All-Trades. He ran an auto garage and built "Tanks and Tankers" (armored cars and bootlegging cars) for some bent nosed Italian guys out of Chicago. They gave Grandpa the name "Jock" (his real name was Oscar), so I got my name from Italian mobsters. . . His father went to medical school but never practiced medicine. My Mother's father was also college educated. He was a teacher (Language I think) but worked most of his life as a mason. Her mother cooked for restaurants and commercial kitchens for many years. Her parents (my great grandparents on my mother's side) were farmers. Her sister was an interesting person. She was a primitive artist and high fashion seamstress. She made beautiful clothes. Another grandfather operated a large scrapyard.

While this sounds like a lot it is the result of a huge amount of genealogy research. My children's genealogy meets the "rule of 16" (if they were royalty) where we can trace all their 3G grandparents (the generation where you have 16 ancestors) and have data on all but ONE couple out of the next generation with 32 ancestors. My daughter can point to three 8G Grandfathers who fought in the American Revolution, if she ever wanted to join the DAR. That is roughly the generation where my children have 512 ancestors.

This kind of research finally leads to where everyone is related to everyone else. We can trace one line of our family back 25 generations. This is where you would have over 32 MILLION ancestors. That is fully half the population of Europe and given one more generation is ALL the population of Europe IF there were no close marriages or cousins marrying cousins, which of course there were. The "pruning" of branches at any point reduces the total ancestors tremendously but the mathematical fact is IF you are a human then you are related to everyone on the planet. Scary thought. . .
- guru - Friday, 12/10/10 16:28:13 EST

Mark Krause: Friend and fellow artist-smith,and power hammer mechanic, Mark Krause was arrested in connection with a bomb planted at a church/polling place.
I know him well enough to unhesitatingly state he is innocent...Completely out of character.
There's more info at the formandreform dot com site.
He will certainly turn up innocent but the process of proving it is going to beat him up something awful.
This isn't how i planned to re-enter the pub at all!
ironyworks - Saturday, 12/11/10 02:10:32 EST

Memorable 75th Dec 10, B'day: My wife, Juanita, and another smith cooked up a surprise party for my 75th. We three went downtown to the Zia Restaurant for a little birthday dinner, and eight other local smiths showed up one by one, some old Turley grads, some not, some with their wives. I'm slow, but I finally snapped when I began to see the familiar faces. It was a pleasant gathering with brownies (my favorite) for dessert.
Frank Turley - Saturday, 12/11/10 12:02:16 EST

Frank Turley: Congratulations, Frank! Sounds like a great celebration, too. I wish you many more of them, too. I like having someone here who is older than I am. (grin)
- Rich - Saturday, 12/11/10 12:16:57 EST

Bomb Builders:
The little I knew Mark he did not seem the type. But you never know. I was hoping it was someone else with the same name. Guilty or not, his life will be a mess.

The classic police or FBI photo of the "bomb builders tools" always rankled me. The bench of tools was always sparse compared to ALL OF OURS. Apparently having a hack saw, needle nose pliers some wire and maybe a multi-meter makes a bomb builder. We on the other hand have every sort of metal fabrication tool. We usually have lengths of pipe and tubing of all sorts as well as pipe fittings. Many have machine tools easily capable of making gun and fuse parts. We also often stock various chemicals used in heat treating and metal finishing that can be used for other things. I also do some electronic and electrical work so I have a significant collection of meters, wire and electronic components including breadboards and capacitors to relays. A "MacGyver" weapons maker or any terrorist would be in heaven in any of our shops. Imagine what the FBI would have to say. . .

There is a cartoon from WWII about a similar topic. A nerdy looking fellow is sitting surrounded by his stacks of National Geographics and National Geographic maps, nervous and shivering while listening to the radio announcer telling the public, "Look out for suspicious individuals. Please report to authorities anyone with maps and literature about foreign countries, they could be a spy."

Can you imagine the announcement to look out for "dangerous" individuals with collections of tools and materials?
- guru - Saturday, 12/11/10 13:00:08 EST

Happy 75th Frank! :
Our wedding was on Sheri's 70th and I will be 60 next year. When you are young you think that is ancient and the end. . . But we are looking 10 and 20 years down the road from now. Have a lot of things to do still.

Keep plugging along Frank!
- guru - Saturday, 12/11/10 13:11:07 EST

A major road in Washington runs along the water main from a reservoir northwest of the city. In 1942 it was renamed from "Conduit Road" to "MacArthur Boulevard" so it wouldn't be such an obvious target. I've always wondered if they sent copies of the new maps to the Germans and Japanese. . . . (And what they would have named after MacArthur if he'd actually *held* Corregidor.)
Mike BR - Saturday, 12/11/10 14:19:13 EST

Happy Birthday Frank! And many more!

Rich, I like having someone here older than me as well:) And for that task you fit the bill:)
ptree - Saturday, 12/11/10 14:36:27 EST

Guru, imagine haveing the collection I have and a military background in The fields I have like Chemical, Biological and Nuclear weapons:(

Maybe my Honorable Discharge will count for something.
ptree - Saturday, 12/11/10 14:38:27 EST

While we got rid of all of the "ordinance" that Paw-Paw left behind there is still enough black powder (now safely stored in an ammo can) to make a very proud noise. We tried to give it away with some of the guns that we sold but its the real thing (not synthetic) and most shooters today prefer the less corrosive replacements.

"MacArthur Boulevard" . . Today's terrorists would target such a street for its symbolism. Best to stick to Aspen, Birch, Cherry. . . and other non-political names if you want to be safe.
- guru - Saturday, 12/11/10 19:35:13 EST

Today terrorists don't need to decipher street names or even do any serious research, thanks to the Australian anarchist Assange - his delusional organization has published a comprehensive list of all the sensitive and strategically important targets in much of the Western world. Something for which I personally think he should be hanged.
- Rich - Saturday, 12/11/10 22:39:22 EST

I personally think the U.S. is one gigantic soft target and that if there was serious threats we would be having things blowing up every week. Don't tell me the security folks are that good. If they can't keep a few million Mexican's from entering the country illegally, there is no hope of stopping a few terrorists.
- guru - Sunday, 12/12/10 00:27:57 EST

Paw Paw Surplus: Do you want me to check with my reenactor friends? The more modern blends do not work well with flintlocks, so the old-fashion stuff is somewhat valued. Certainly Jamestown or some of the NPS units may be able to use it; assuming that you haven't passed it on already.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Sunday, 12/12/10 14:37:36 EST

Covert backgrounds: Don't worry about it ptree, if you have ever held a SECRET or TOP SECRET clearence for any length of time you are on the "watch list" forever.
- merl - Sunday, 12/12/10 23:18:22 EST

old soldiers, current soldiers: looking for info from archives, found some interesting conversations. don't think soapboxes do any good,BUT i have a different thought. all this posting is a new expierence. i took the foreign and domestic oath, thought i was doing my part to protect USA and realized i was a pawn on the chessboard. all i wanted was to find my best friend and make the responsible for his MIA pay. no one knew that till i left the army. a current soldier HAS to follow lawful orders, old soldiers can talk or write books. the ONLY way to change things is to vote and possibly run for office yourself. educate the ignorant, you enlighten a friend. now to answer the question some of you are asking. i specialized in shadow diplomacy. sub-specialty termination of negotiation. that's where my nickname comes from, NOT from a hammer being my favorite tool. you see, at a thousand meters, it was a matter of pride to get 2, 10 ring shots on seperate targets. now, i just try to educate. but i keep in practice also. it is part of my sanity. forging hot iron is the other. i made e-7 my last year in. spent 14 months teaching my replacement, who was my cousin. southeast asia was a nasty place.
- bam-bam - Monday, 12/13/10 01:50:41 EST

b-day: many happy returns Frank. I hope to pick your brain again sometime. propane welding update, after a major preheat, i made a 3 inch weld that looked like a stack of nickles. was not able to keep hot long enough to do more. i am going back to brazing, i think.
- bam-bam - Monday, 12/13/10 02:18:20 EST

Merl, I think I signed an agreement to forget lots of stuff but I can't remember :)

Bam-Bam. In '75 when I was learning to jump at Coleman Barracks in Germany, the club manager and many of the other guys were Nam vets and quite a few were of the soft green hat persuasion. The club manager and one of our jump pilots had been up North in much the manner you describe. I was lucky to avoid that mess.
Thank you for your service, and welcome home Brother.
ptree - Monday, 12/13/10 19:42:53 EST

ptree, what stuff are you referring to , what are you talking about? what was the question? was there a question? who said that? is somebody else here? what time is it?......
It's hell getting older but, it can have some advantages.

We got socked by the weather over the weekend.
An average of 12" over the open fields with 3' to 6' drifting up the driveway and in the door yard.
Awoke Sunday morning for work to find that because my car was in the wrong place in relationship to the drifting that it was literally buried over the top of the roof.
Four hours of continuous work with the loader tractor made a path that allowed me to get to work by 10.
Normally I have enough room to push snow around and clear the drive way and door yard for the whole winter but, this ONE STORM took care of that.
The worst part of trying to clear the snow was doing it in 35-40mph winds while it was still trying to snow. I couldn't shield my eyes with my hand well enough to even see what I was doing. Imagine trying to look into a sand blaster.
Out of desperation I finely tried wearing my grinding face shield and that worked pretty good.
Took delivery of a snowblower for my 74hp tractor today, hope to be doing better tomorrow.

"Dam cold" and windy on the Southern shores of the Rush Lake fens...
- merl - Monday, 12/13/10 21:31:32 EST

coal: Do you sell soft coal?
- Collin - Monday, 12/13/10 21:54:55 EST

bam-bam, if you have ever used a single shot .50 made by the State Arms Gun Co., odds are I made it.
My tenure at STAGCO was from just before the "Norriaga Incident" to just before the first Iraq war.
We supplied a number of "negotiation kits" to various organizations through out the action arm of the US diplomatic mission.
Now they all use those dam Barrets (falling back on quantity of lead sent down range not the quality of the single, well placed shot...)
Because of my affiliation with that company and past military security clearances, I have been raked over the coals so thoroughly I sometimes used to feal like I had my own personal satilite watching me.
Ah well, that's our tax dollars put to good work, huh?
- merl - Monday, 12/13/10 22:01:40 EST

Wind has been blowing here in NC all day long too. Cold but no snow. . .
- guru - Monday, 12/13/10 23:49:44 EST

GRAND THEFT - A Peculiar Case of Missing Samples:
On Monday December 13, 2001 the discovery was made at Josh Greenwood's shop in Petersburg, Virginia. His lifetime collection of samples had been stolen. These included the samples shown on his home page, and from his bio page on anvilfire.

These samples were used to sell jobs. Many were test pieces produced after sometimes extensive development as well as demo pieces. They were an historical portfolio of major jobs over a period of almost 40 years.

The pieces included samples for such prestigious jobs such as the National Cathedral railing, The Tobacco Co., elevator enclosure, Massey Estate gates, other works made for other large estates and the sample leaves in the "hands" photo of Josh's archetectural gallery slide show. We have yet to locate photographs of many of the pieces but will post them as we find them.

The thieves were not looking for something to sell for quick cash as they literally climbed over thousands of dollars worth of easy to sell tools to get to the samples. They also carefully selected nothing but the best of the samples. They knew where to look. . .

WHY, Why, why would someone steal an artist's portfolio? We cannot believe there is a lucrative market in such things. Did they want to use it as their own portfolio? Did they want to hurt Josh? If there is such a market where do you sell such things?

We are asking every smith in the country to keep an eye open for these samples. They could show up on ebay, at a fleamarket, in a gallery or as someone else's portfolio pieces. Please let us know if you see them. The one thing the thieves may NOT know is just how small and tight the world of blacksmithing is and how close we stick together. You may contact me here or Josh via his website.

Greenwood Ironworks
- guru - Tuesday, 12/14/10 14:42:08 EST

stolen stuff: Guru, i'll keep eyes and ears open. i am way out west, but people talk, ask and offer up. sounds to
me like revenge or jealousy. ptree,merl, i'll get back to you.
- bam-bam - Tuesday, 12/14/10 16:24:56 EST

started there then went to your
- bam-bam - Tuesday, 12/14/10 17:08:57 EST

soft green: sorry ptree, messed up the post. started there then to basic black. something about being clean and an orphan if i got dirty......merl, mostly an '03-A4 fully dressed. did spend time with a 50, don't remember whose. had it 18 monthes. was completely sold on it. don't like the current models also. nothing can replace the total control that is lacking these days.
- bam-bam - Tuesday, 12/14/10 17:22:16 EST

Bam-bam, funny, those friends of mine spoke one night, late, about being way up north, having company and asking for pick-up, and not liking the sound of the request for grid. They gave a grid several klicks east and the grid got arc lit shortly thereafter. They hiked out.
Me I mostly made rockets go where they were desired. See it, hit it. one round hit out to several klicks from a M551
ptree - Tuesday, 12/14/10 20:29:34 EST

M551 !!!!: ptree you dirty rat! you been holding out on me!
you never told me you rode a Sheridan...
I've seen ONE of those the whole time I was in and it was beeing gutted to be sent on its way to a static dispaly someware.
Next I suppose you will tell me you were on a M60A2 as well.
- merl - Tuesday, 12/14/10 22:24:28 EST

bam-bam, I spent some time behind a M40XHB but, I'm left handed and the powers that be decided the reaching over from the offhand side to work the bolt might get me in trouble. They didn't mind me serving as an instructor for the MTU for Wisconsin State Area Comand though.
What ever...
Our rifle team took All Army two years in a row and again a year after missing one season.
- merl - Tuesday, 12/14/10 22:35:02 EST

Merl, I was not a 551 crew, but rather, a Shilleagh Missle system repairman, who tried to keep that system working after the crew would fire the convential round. Since a M551 weighed about 15 tons all up, that 152mm convential would lift all but the last 2 road wheels off the ground, and drop the electronics. The A-duece M-60, known as the Starship was pretty rare, but also had the Shilleagh. Rode on and in both, but not crew, just a fixer:)
I may also have been in a 8" howitzer Bn, as the CBR NCO and other spots, a Air guard Survival Equipment repairman (Parachute Rigger and ejection seat guy on RF-4 Phantoms) and maybe other things but I kinda forget some of the stuff:)
ptree - Wednesday, 12/15/10 07:03:22 EST

" I had been in blacksmithing for more than a decade and studying it for much longer when I discovered we had Ironmasters in our tree in the Dempsey line. One of those "WOW, NEAT!" deja'vu moments. . ."

I had the same thing happen. I was showing my latest shop space to my visiting grandparents about 12 or so years into my metalworking journey. I gave them a demo of a new to me little giant that was three years older than my gramps. My Grandmother says "I just don't know where you get it, all this..." Then my grandfather goes "I do, my father was a hammer man for Ladish" (the axle forger to the auto industry). "Scuse me Grampa???"
- jamie - Wednesday, 12/15/10 11:20:16 EST

Jamie, Ladish forges all kinds of neat things. They made forged steel pipe fittings in competetion to a company I worked for.
I also worked for an axle forge shop, that had a number of predescessors, such as Detriot Timken, Dana, Tube Turrns. Didn't know Ladish did axles.
ptree - Wednesday, 12/15/10 14:08:38 EST

apology: PTRY,...a formal apology for not saying thank you for the welcome home. not used to hearing that. tried to stay invisible when i got out. i had issues and having a hard time dealing with them. the grief i got was pushing major survival buttons. 5 yrs. target practice bent some things. welcome home to you BRO.....MERL, remember what the Sharps Big 50 looked like ?? mine was very similar. did some light research but no luck.
- bam-bam - Wednesday, 12/15/10 17:02:52 EST

Hmm I had been smithing only a couple of years when I found out my great grandfather was the smith in Cedarville AR; unfortunately he died when I was a toddler and all his stuff was gone; save for the 13 acres that my mother inherited over the years and has told me I'm getting!

Missing Samples: to me it sounds more like a semi pro job and I would expect the samples to turn up in a country that has no laws against copying other peoples work!

Thomas P - Wednesday, 12/15/10 17:43:20 EST

Bam-Bam, no apology needed, or expected. The thanks are real, and I know that few were given when they should have been.
Ptree who traveled in uniform in the 70's and recieved just a little dose of what my ever so slightly older Brothers in arms received when they came home from serving their country, often forced by the draft.
ptree - Wednesday, 12/15/10 21:35:51 EST

Josh's Stuff: I've cross-posted to the Camp Fenby crew; if I think of anyone else not in the usual orbit I'll repost to them, too. The more eyes out there, the better.

Having had vandalism and theft on the farm over the years, and even an unsolved murder (of a sweet old aunt who would make anyone's list of "least likely to be murdered") what drives you crazy is your continued suspicion of neighbors, friends, and even certain family members. You never look at certain people the same way agin if the crime isn't solved, and the person who committed the crime has robbed you of your trust. Maybe that's a good thing, but it's d@mn sad not to be so trusting; and to look at certain folks, who may be perfectly innocent, with a skeptical eye. It's not the stuff lost; and nothing can bring my aunt back; but the mistrust sown is a constant, nagging pain. I hope they find whoever did this to Josh.
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 12/15/10 22:42:09 EST

Smiths in the family:
Thomas, metal detector time!

You would not believe how many people have told me that their grandfather was a "blacksmith". Then on questioning them it turns out their grandfather was a farmer and did just the minimum farm repair and shoeing. It would be like calling a modern farmer a welder or machinist.

My Grandfather Jock was probably closer to a blacksmith than most. In his automotive business he did all sorts of metal work and was a wizard with a torch. But I barely remember anything about his shop much less learned anything directly from him. However, he taught my father a great deal and my father taught me. So there is a good connection.
- guru - Wednesday, 12/15/10 23:13:11 EST

Probably the closest I get to having any ancestors who did any smithing was a distant cousin whose surname I inherited. He was allegedly a wild horse breaker but the general consensus was that he was more of an artist with a running iron and a fair hand at making branding irons on the spot as needed. I believe he ended his days doing the frontier rope dance.
- Rich - Wednesday, 12/15/10 23:20:03 EST

Sharps Big 50: Well bam-bam, STAGCO did make a falling block model.
Looked like a Ruger No.1 on steriods.
A very good rifle but I don't recal them being used by Uncle Sugar for "diplomatic purposes"
Doesn't mean it never happend. I know the old man and I were working on a new falling block design when we got in an argument that resaulted in us parting company a few months later.
I tried to go out on my own from there and ended up getting an idea stolen from me when I approched another firearms manufacturer with it.
Always have your idea's origination date well documented...
Anyway, I kind of faded into the wood work for several years and all but got out of the firearms development game.
I just did a quick serch on "Horstkamp falling block 50" and clicked on the first resault that came up.
It is some kind of (likely wanna-be) "snipers forum" but, if you follow the banter down a couple of entries you will see the literiture from STAGCO on the origional falling block 50 I worked on and a brief mention of the "Golden Eagle" model that caused the rift between us.
I sure do miss the old SOB.
- merl - Wednesday, 12/15/10 23:58:24 EST

Metal working relatives: My Grandfather on my Father's side was the Master molder for B.F. Avery and Sons in Louisville at the end of his 50 year career there. In fact he met my Grandmother at the front gate as she was waiting for her father who was a cupola stoker there for his full career. Both of their Fathers also worked there. It was a rare thing for a 1st generation German-American to meet, much less marry a 1st generation Irish-American, but that chance meeting did the thing. That and Grandmothers highly corseted 19" waiste on a 4' tall lady. For 1903 she was the very height of fashion and darn pretty. We have a photo from then and WOW.

The Irish side were always labors in the metal shops, the Germans always metal workers. The German side were metal workers as far back as we can find, perhaps 6 generations. My Dad went in the aluminum extrusion and fabrication trade right after WWII, and worked till he died there, 40+ years.
My Mothers side were Eastern Ky folk who all did everything required to live on a mountain side and subsistance farm by slash and burn methods. Some dug a little coal, many were highly educated and teachers. The biggest off the land avocation was Sherieffing. They were in that trade back to when they were called the Shire Rief" The main metal working was in assembling stills.
ptree - Thursday, 12/16/10 09:59:33 EST

No 'metallic' relatives: However, grandpa on father's side was a coal dealer for a while in St. Louis. He later became a 'consignment jewelry salesman.' My maternal grandpa was a tailor, mostly men's suits. My dad was in the insurance business.

When I started horseshoeing in the 60's and began to collect blacksmithing tools and equipment, I had quite a few intentional and unintentional detractors. Some typical comments, for example: "Are you crazy? That's a dead art! What're you gonna' do with all that rusty junk in the backyard? You're just trying to be an old timer. You're retro! You're gonna' go broke." There was hardly an encouraging word.
Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/16/10 11:12:52 EST

Blacksmithing relatives: My grandfather's brother who came from Norway as a kid in 1868 took off from Wisconsin with a bit of wanderlust. I have copies of letters he wrote home evey year or 2. One original letter I have is from 1904, and he had a blacksmith shop in Eureka, California. He was asking for a copy of my greatgrandmother's naturalization papers. In 2002 I went there to see if it still existed. It was long gone, but directly behind it on the other street was a shop where the guy did mostly spring work. He had about a 700 pound anvil, and 3 bit Beaudries. I believe that Doug Freund had pictures of them in his book "Pounding Out The Profits".

- Loren T - Thursday, 12/16/10 15:41:43 EST

Hinge Makers: Guru: I was looking through the how to archives for hinge benders. The first one is how a Hossfeld Bender works. The second one, to be used in an arbor press was great. A trick I learned at an AABA meet years ago was the when trying to drill a hole between two pieces of metal, like for a swage, it is very difficult to keep the hole straight. It tends to wander. The solution is to clamp the two together with a business card in between, and the drill will always stay straight, giving you a perfect 1/2 in each piece.
Loren T - Thursday, 12/16/10 15:49:41 EST

Rich; so breathing difficulties run in the family and have been known to be career ending?

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/16/10 15:53:36 EST

Thomas: I don't know if the rope trick was done impromptu from horseback or with an official gibbet, which would alter the process somewhat. Horseback would definitely cause the breathing difficulties, but a proper gibbet should cause a significant stretching action somewhere around C1-C2. Either way the end result is still a career ender.

I'm not planning on my career ending just yet; in fact I did some actual forging yesterday for a couple hours, knocking out a batch of hooks and staples. No ill effects today, as far as I can tell, and shuld be salubrious for the finances.
- Rich - Thursday, 12/16/10 17:40:56 EST

Blacksmithing Relatives: One folklife festival in our area had the requirement that you had to have learned your craft from your parents or grandparents to get in. I thought it was a rather rigid requirement, especially in an era of resurgence in the crafts. The event faded over the years as they had a hard time finding replacement crafts folk.

I thought this whole affair was rather odd since many of us self taught folks actually studied the arts in much more depth than those that learned what they were taught that was often just the minimum of what was needed, often from someone else that had learned the same way.
- guru - Thursday, 12/16/10 17:46:49 EST

Practical Projects for the Blacksmith: Just a heads-up. I was contacted by Ted Tucker, author of this book. He had contacted Norm Larson about it being out of print, Norm said he was essentially getting out of bookselling, and recommended me to Ted. Book will be on its way to an instant publishing place ( - fast, friendly and good quantity prices) tomorrow and should be ready for eBay sales around the first of next year.
Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 12/16/10 19:53:53 EST

On my birth certificate my father's occupation was listed twice as "Blaksmith". He was really a mechanic when merchanics were still called blacksmiths.

At public demonstrations I tell folks my great, great grandfather on my mother's side had the last name of Grip. His father had the saying "A blacksmith can never have too many vices" so named one of his sons Vise. He invented to lockable pliers which still bear his name. Other tale is a great uncle had the last name of Craftsman and sold the first tools to Richard W. Sears, who adopted it as a brand name.

My father said around the turn of the last century many immigrants from Europe spoke their native language and German. If a foreman spoke German he could supervise men from various countries.
Ken Scharabok - Thursday, 12/16/10 20:09:48 EST

Rich; I'll bet either way he stopped breathing!

Out this way there was a lot of impromptu justice and a good long drop wasn't generally involved. I've seen pic's of the hanging tree that was used around here taken close to 100 years ago, it's gone now and the town Square is all gussied up and irrigated.

Thomas P - Thursday, 12/16/10 20:17:48 EST

About Mechanics: In horseshoeing school, our instructor, Charles "Dick" Dickenson, would hook his thumbs into his bib overall straps and yell at us, "I'm gonna' make mechanics outta' ya'."
Frank Turley - Thursday, 12/16/10 20:23:27 EST

More Mechanics: Dad always referred to brace makers as mechanics in his 50 years in the orthopedic business.
- Brian C. - Thursday, 12/16/10 21:12:45 EST

My Dad Was fond of quoting " Son, don't ever forget the first rule of mechanicing, Don't never force it, get a bigger hammer!"

He also liked " Cheap tools is poor economy"
ptree - Thursday, 12/16/10 21:23:26 EST

Mechanics: I was really surprised at my first blacksmith conference that one of the "star" demonstrators was both a primadona and had no mechanical ability. The power hammer, a 50 pound Little Giant, at his demonstration station had loose guide bolts and guides. He tried the hammer, got mad and stormed off. . . After he left Josh Greenwood and I adjusted the guides using the assorted tongs that were available as wrenches. Josh demoed the hammer and then let others have at it. When the guy that had gone to get tools to adjust the hammer got back it was running fine. . . and he went away scratching his head over the tantrum from the demonstrator.

At another hammer-in we found a newly rebuilt and installed Champion hammer with a shiny new paint job. We fired it up to try it out. The criss-cross treadle pins were so dry that they were stiff and squeeked. So were the guides. It hurt to hear it run. . . So we found an oil can and gave it a few squirts at all the places that moved. They hammer ran great after that and was very smooth.

Later I found out that the owner had a fit over the people that oiled his hammer without asking. He then proceeded to degrease all the parts again. . .

This ignorance of mechanics by blacksmiths was a shock to me until many years later when I realized that many people get into the business as "artists" and have ZERO mechanical ability. . . Some learn as they go along, others never do. 99% of what we do here is answer questions about mechanics. . . Of course there is the other side of the coin, those who get into the field of the "artist blacksmith" and have never explored art in any other form including simple mechanical drawing.

While I sometimes go to a bigger hammer I much prefer the little one that works on the theory of death by a thousand cuts, loosening by a thousand little blows (the impact hammer). Works better with less damage.
- guru - Thursday, 12/16/10 23:05:52 EST

Not only wrenching and lubrication: I think the old fashioned use of "mechanic" had to do with the skilled of the use of the hands, especially in the trades. This is not to the exclusion of knowing geometry, drawing, and layout. My copy of Moxon's "Mechanick Exercises or the Doctrine of Handy-Works," 1703, has this on the title page. "Applied to the Arts of {Smithing Joinery Carpentry Turning Bricklayery."

I think that when our farriery instructor was encouraging us to be "mechanics," he was wanting us to learn how to use the tools, and wanting us to gain eye-hand coordination.

And yes, even in horseshoeing, there was some lubrication. The old man said about our hand blowers, "Three drops of oil every third day of use." Regarding wrenching, we all eventually had traveling "rigs," usually pickup trucks with canopies, loaded with the needed gear. If the truck wasn't running, there was no income.
Frank Turley - Friday, 12/17/10 11:07:19 EST

working or not : i have gotten alot of answers and info from past postings, thank you all. as soon as i get the roof fixed i can really get going again. since 2 of my crew just got permanant lay-off by the boss, and the rest of us cut to working 2 wks. out of each 4, i'll have plenty of time to get it done, weather permitting. you folks east of me are in for it if this system stays intact.
- bam-bam - Friday, 12/17/10 15:58:24 EST

The old time blacksmith was often as much Millwright as anything else. While I do not agree that all blacksmiths need to be the equivalent of the "frontier blacksmith" who were Jacks-of-all-trades doing everything from shoeing and wagon work to locksmithing, I agree with Frank that blacksmiths should be the consummate tool users.

What all blacksmiths SHOULD BE is all-round metalworkers with skills in a wide variety metalworking. This includes using and maintaining all the associated machinery. IF the blacksmith does decorative work then they also need to be an artist to some degree. Those that do architectural work need to have some mathematical skills as well as artistic. In the end the "general blacksmith" needs to have a lot of skills. This is probably the biggest difference between the skills of a hobbiest and professional.
- guru - Friday, 12/17/10 16:01:16 EST

Mechanics: I tend to use the term "mechanics" to mean the way a thing functions - what makes it work, what are the physical principles involved, etc. One who is a good mechanic has this ability to understand such things and can pretty much figure out what needs to be done or can be done. For that reason if no other, I'd say that a good understanding of basic physical principles and high-school math are essential to being a good mechanic or good all-around blacksmith.
- Rich - Friday, 12/17/10 17:32:20 EST

At Vogt, we had Mechanics, Millwrights and tool and die makers.
The Mechanics fixed the shop tractors and forklifts. The tool and Die makers could and did run any of the 450 machine tols we had, as well as make any part or tool for same.
The Millwrights could assembly and diassemble and troubleshoot/repair anything on the property, from the steam hammers to the 5 axis CNC mills.

We had blacksmiths up to about 1980, and they mostly retired out.
ptree - Friday, 12/17/10 19:02:09 EST

If I'm not mistaking the U.S. Navy had a blacksmith rating until after WW-II.

I was at the AF's Warner-Robins Air Logistic Depot in Warner-Robbins, GA (yes, name of town and depot were different). 72-74. At that time they had a single person with the job description as blacksmith.
Ken Scharabok - Friday, 12/17/10 19:26:19 EST

Ken, I seem to remember a 100# Little Giant on the surplus list at Warner-Robbins a year or so ago.
ptree - Friday, 12/17/10 20:03:35 EST

Guru's comments: Your comments that a blacksmith should be an all around individual struck a cord with me. In my last job as a structural and miscellaneous steel estimator/project manager, I supplied the steel for a strip mall to a general contractor, who was a regular customer of ours. The price FOB jobsite was something like $15,000 and an additional $3,500 for erection. He opted to put the steel up using his own crew of laborers and save the $3500. 2 holes which had been torched out to receive a 1 1/2" pin were slightly undersized and We had to hire an erector to go to the jobsite (45 miles away) to ream the holes out. It cost us $800. I told that general that if a contractor chooses to take on the duties of another trade, they should at least have the rudimentary tools to do it.(I.E. Torch, grinder, mag drill, etc.) He agreed with me, but didn't offer to give us any extra money. When we got the next job with him, it included an additional $800.
Loren T - Saturday, 12/18/10 02:01:20 EST

Equiped to do the job: Back when we were building machinery for the nuclear industry 90% of the parts were made by sub-contractors to our detailed drawings. We maintained a complete but small machine and welding shop to cover things we missed and to keep our crew busy between building machinery.

We covered a LOT of our suppliers mistakes. We let them know anytime is was a significant error. But we also sent many things back at their expense to be corrected, especially if it was something out of our range or at our limits, but occasionally it was simply because it was the supplier's responsibility and a significant cost to fix.

We kept this as cordial as possible because the machinists we worked with often caught OUR errors on detail drawings and saved us a lot of grief.

However, we probably covered more than we should have because it was easier to fix than report and return the parts (which often weighed tons). BUT, we would have been within our rights to require our suppliers to make corrections of everything from deburring and paint flaws to dimensional errors or missed features.

Since we were building one-offs we did not expect everything to be perfect. If we had been ordering parts in any quantity we would have expected every part to pass muster and returned any that did not because at this point we would expect our workers to be building the machines, not fixing others errors.
- guru - Saturday, 12/18/10 07:13:35 EST

Part Inspection: In modern industry less and less errors or flaws are accepted than used to be. This has largely been forced on American industry by Japanese manufacturers building plants in the U.S. who's supplier requirements were for ZERO defects. It used to be common for foundries and forge shops to ship a small number of flawed parts which would be rejected in the machining process. The Japanese would have none of this. Castings and forgings now have to go through automated inspection lines where they are, weighed, measured and UT'd (Ultrasonic Tested). These process usually require some machined surfaces for holding and testing.

We worked on such an automated line for a local foundry. Front suspension hub castings were placed on special conveyor where the entire process was automated in a large closed booth. The parts moved to a machining station where several flats were machined. One of these was for hardness testing, another for UT and others for holding during measuring. The first station did the machining. In the next station a hardness penetrator made a controlled dimple on one flat, this would be measured by an computer vision system in the following station. Several dimensions were also checked in each station. In the robot vision station the hardness was gauged and several other features such as the outlines and cored hole measured. Anyone who says robots can work in the dark are wrong, these required proper lighting to "see" the part features. The last testing station weighed the part and did the UT testing. At this point good parts went one direction to be stamped with an "inspectors" mark, bad parts went another to a recycle bin. Statistical tolerancing information was recorded and shipped along with chemistry reports with each batch of parts.

At the machine shop the process would be similar but no parts were expected to fail inspection due to casting defects. The parts would be loaded on the fixtures for the machining centers, machined, then sent through an automated measuring and inspection station where dimensions and finish were measured, parts accepted or rejected by the machine. Sample parts would be pulled and manually inspected by a human but EVERY part went through the robot inspection. From here finished parts go to the assembly plant and onto YOUR new automobile.

In the "old" days parts were inspected by human workers in various ways, including visually and with measuring tools. In some cases this was while parts were moving along on a conveyor where bad parts could often get by due to worker inattention, boredom, fatigue or distraction. Parts selected for individual inspection were measured by trained inspectors but even the best are still human and tools like micrometers still have a degree of "touch" required for proper use. So it is sad to say that machines often do it better. Today machines grade and sort produce, inspect finishes. . . Conveyor sorting systems reject undersize, oversize, too light, too heavy and even the wrong color of everything from beans to wood screws. While many of these operations have been done for a long time most have become much more selective either by improved design or by sophisticated robotic technology including vision systems.

All this results in better consumer products at every level. But it also creates greater expectations of quality by everyone. That is why I harp on smiths doing a better job of finishing their work. The modern consumer expects clean, well finished and durable products ESPECIALLY when they pay high prices for hand made work. They expect it to be BETTER than factory made and that includes finish.
- guru - Saturday, 12/18/10 08:24:43 EST

This is an area I have had some interesting off-board discussions about. We are looking at making some small products and as part of that also looking into vibratory finishers. We are going to build a heavy duty one but I see much merit in some of the small bench top units, especially for small parts one may want polished.

One thing that came up in our discussions is that some parts are run through vibratory finishing prior to machining. This produces a smooth even matte finish and leaves the machined surfaces and delicate features such as tapped holes bright OR allows them to be finished using a second different or finer process.

Large and small vibratory finishing machines are becoming more and more common in all sizes of shops. While a medium size heavy duty machine can cost $7,000 to $10,000 it is still cheaper than an employee to do this boring work AND usually does a much better job. While such machinery is often an absolute requirement in a production process it can be even more cost effective in a small shop where labor is most valuable.

One can easily spend as much time cleaning and deburring a metal part as it took to produce it. Final finishing in the form of painting can also add a lot of time. But both the deburring and preparing for painting is greatly more economical when the prep work is done by a vibratory finisher. The results can also be more uniform and through than hand work.

Polishing can also be done to some degree by vibratory finishing. This is especially handy one parts with complicated shapes that are hard to polish. Coins are commonly cleaned and lightly polished in small vibratory finishers. Stones that used to be ground and polished in tumblers are now processed.
- guru - Saturday, 12/18/10 10:30:59 EST

Rumblers: Guru.Have some experience in this area as we used several of different sizes. There is some art in getting the right size and shape of ceramic stones for the given parts. Most of these units use a detergent spray to keep the dust in control and to both lubricate and wash the parts. Most of the sprays also have a mild rust preventive in the package as well. The effluent is a sludgey wet liquid that will have to be dealt with if the spray is used, and in many cases is NOT OK to run to sewer or a septic system. The metal content tends to settle out and clog piping and will often kill the useful bacteria in a septic tank as well.
These systems will however do just as you note and do a bangup job deburring. We ran some very hard to debur shapes through these systems and they did the job. They were pretty durable as well, being built well and off the pattern of a battleship. These units if of the floor mounted size need a fairly solid concrete floor to both keep them from walking and to help control noise. The hoppers occasionally need a reline, usually a ship the item out to a speciality shop to reline.
Once the urethane lining starts to wear thru, the noise level goes up rather dramatically, which gives good notice that under all that cermic media, you have trouble approaching quick.
ptree - Saturday, 12/18/10 12:09:35 EST

I know the industry standard is heavy polyurethane plates but for buildability and maintainability we are going with heavy (1/2") neoprene rubber.

I have the design pretty much worked out. If it works well we will provide the plans. The recirculating water system seems to be the best way to go if there is any quantity of production.

The suggested small shop sludge disposal method is to decant off the water after settling, put the sludge in a can then let it dry. Bake out the remaining water, crush the can and dispose of the dry "cookie".

The tricky part of a DIY setup of any size is that the high production setups use filter systems to remove the sludge. The used filter cartridges are disposed of to get rid of the metalic sludge.
- guru - Saturday, 12/18/10 15:50:51 EST

Rumblers: At the valve shop, all of our rumblers sent the once through water/sludge to our pre-treatment plant to make the water nice to sewer. I managed that plant, and we did a Ph adjust to cause the metal to almost fully precipe out. The water went to sewer and the sludge went to a steam heated dryer, and from there to a special waste landfill. You described method would get the water seperated and metal in a nice safe condition, probably toss the biskit in the scrap box.
I have not seen any rumblers that recirculate the water. It is more of a rinse.
The circular drum types often have a bar type gate that is lowered into the circulating media and the media falls thru and the parts are pushed up and out of the rumbler into a catch bin.
ptree - Saturday, 12/18/10 16:22:25 EST

SHARPS: MERL, did some looking, found some screwy "wanna be's" also. the No.1 is close but different. only found Lyles' current photos, same thing. the only person i keep contact with from those days seems to think it was a USMC big 50. have not found it listed or mentioned where i looked. seems to me i may have communicated with you a long time ago. you said a couple things in your post that rings some bells.
- bam-bam - Saturday, 12/18/10 18:29:10 EST

Stake Taper Question:
We are going to manufacture a few stakes and want to use the most common shank taper. As thee are no industry standards we are asking our readers to measure their stakes and we will collect and post the data. See link.
Stake Taper Poll
- guru - Wednesday, 12/22/10 13:41:33 EST

Jock a few years ago I was asked to make patterns and have cast some stakes and forge some special holders for a silversmithing class being taught by a teacher from Ireland. I checked a number of stakes I had and as you say found no standard. I even found different tapers in stakes made by the same manufacturer. So at the time I settled on 5% included 2.5% /side. I know it is a little less taper than many (although not all) of the older stakes but I felt it would do a better job of holding the stakes securely. As the stake holders I was making were forged steel I felt there would be no issue with breaking the holder.

Since then I have started making an inexpensive stake plate that Blacksmith Depot carries and I kept the same taper. As it is made of Ductile Iron I believe there is little danger of breaking it short of use in a power hammer. It includes a slot so a simple key can be made to drive the stakes out. One of these days I hope manufacture some stakes and plan on using the same taper. If you want I can provide you with hole dimensions of my plate so your stakes will fit an easily available plate. The large pexto plates are still available however they are around $800. Someone in Ohio also makes a smaller plate however I don't know what taper he uses.
- JNewman - Wednesday, 12/22/10 14:24:07 EST

Stake Taper: If I get a chance this weekend, I'll try to knock the ~4' tinners stake out of the block from the boatyard and get the dimensions.

You might also want to ask for overall size, weight and use; they could be interelated to the taper (different tapers for smaller or bigger stakes or different uses and stresses).
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Wednesday, 12/22/10 14:38:45 EST

Stake Tapers: So far we have measured or had measured 21 stakes and holders from 4 different collections. All but 2 are old and those 2 are castings that seem to have been made from old stakes (Pexto best guess). I talked to another fellow that had the same set but did not add them to the list (this would have made 8 at 12 degrees). I suspect there is almost a dozen manufacturers represented in the lot. The rounded sizes are:

Qty 5 = 12 degrees
Qty 4 = 11 degrees
Qty 2 = 14 degrees
Qty 2 = 13 degrees
Qty 2 = 10 degrees
Qty 1 = 23 degrees.
Qty 1 = 9 degrees
Qty 1 = 8 degrees
Qty 1 = 2 degrees

Average of all = 11.8 degrees.

When I take out the highest and the lowest the average is 11.6. When I take out all that there is only one of the average is 11.9. The unrounded size of those I measured with dial calipers to within +/- .001" were actually 11.8 which is darn close to the average.

There is only one manufacturer that publishes their taper and that is 5 degrees. But this is a new low production manufacturer that I do not trust as a "standard setter". So I am discounting the 5 degree taper for now even though that is what John Newman (a fellow I respect) is making.

I've asked several folks that I know that had significant collections (30 or more) stakes to help with this project with no results. So I am a bit disappointed in the amount of data we have collected over the past 3 months. I expected to have information on 50 to 100 stakes by now and put the subject to rest.

A month ago I posted my question on a Tinsmith forum. So far that post had not even been read. So I applied for accounts at two more Tinsmithing forums that seem to be fairly active and have gotten a couple responses but only one more data point. However, it has only been a few days and it IS Christmas season. . .


Stake taper and size. Most stakes are proportional. That is a BIG stake has a BIG shank. SO the top of the taper usually defines the size of the stake. But if general dimensions are given I am recording them.
- guru - Wednesday, 12/22/10 20:25:03 EST

Standard Tapers: Most machinery tapers in English units for several hundred years were always expressed as inches per foot. Spindle tapers, tapered gibs and pattern draft were (and often still are) all expressed in inches per foot. Precision measuring angles was and still is most commonly done using a 12 inch sine plate which gives taper per foot directly.

Our 12 degree tapers above are close to or exactly actually 1-1/4 per foot per side, a very common fractional taper. In decimal degrees this is 11.894 or our average of our included angle of 11.9 above.

Other common tapers such as 1-1/8 and 1-1/16 per foot also come closer to the 10 and 11 degrees of our measured samples.

- guru - Thursday, 12/23/10 09:19:06 EST

stake taper: Jock
I measured the few stakes I have as follows:

1. A = 1 3/4 B = 3/4 C = 4
2. A = 1 3/4 B = 1 1/16 C = 3 7/8
3. A = 1 1/2 B = 11/16 C = 4 5/8
4. A = 1 1/2 B = 11/16 C = 3 1/2
5. A = 1 3/4 B = 1 C = 5 1/2

All measurements in inches.
- Bernard Tappel - Thursday, 12/23/10 11:37:24 EST

Rumblers/ Vibratory finishing: I think the biggest problem with any DIY vibratory finisher is keeping it from destroying itself.
$10,000 for a commercial model is cheap- they can easily run $25,000 to $50,000 and more for big ones, with water recycling, and the capacity to run parts a foot or larger in the long dimension.
The main reason is they must be built really well.

I have a small (1' x 1' x 2') vibratory machine, got it used for under a grand, new price over $3000. It has a half horse motor that runs an eccentric with a regular rubber belt, and it works pretty well.
But it takes a LOONG time to debur anything but aluminum, and that is when I run expensive ceramic media, and a detergent mix to keep dust down and make the parts easy to clean up.

In industry, many parts are still too odd shaped, big, or made from difficult materials, and are still hand deburred.
I used to make a cast iron candlestick, in quantities of 200 at a time, and found that it was far cheaper to hire a hand deburring company than to have them machine deburred. The candlesticks were about a foot tall, and the machines that could run parts like this were very expensive, and, frankly, took too long to make it cost effective- but I could hire a shop in LA, which had two dozen guys with air powered die grinders and mini belt sanders, to do the parts for a few bucks each.

Vibratory deburring often sounds like the ideal solution- you just put the parts in, and walk away. And, if you have the right parts, with the right material and shape, it is.
But very often, it doesnt work out like you hope it will. It takes very agressive media to get off mill scale, for example. Usually steel, not ceramic. Some parts may take two days to get clean. Plasma cut edges in steel get nitride hardened, due to the extreme heat of a plasma flame (50,000 degrees) which pulls nitrogen out of the air used in the plasma cutter, and makes them near impossible to vibratory debur.
Stainless steel takes days and days, and even then, usually requires hand deburring of sharp spots first.

My biggest successes with vibratory deburring have been with aluminum.

So, certainly try it. But dont expect miracles- TANFL.
- ries - Thursday, 12/23/10 14:31:41 EST

Deburring: When I first went to work in the ornamental iron business, the shop I worked at also manufactured some steel and also some aluminum items. We deburred them by putting them in a cement mixer along with a couple of shovels of pea gravel. A few years ago I did about 150 feet of grapevine fence which required hundreds of leaves. I photocopied an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet with as many leaves on it as possible, then glued them to 16 ga. sheet metal with spray glue. I cut each one out with a plasma cutter, and then threw them in my cement mixer with some gravel. They came out clean with no slag on them, except for an occasional piece.
- Loren T - Thursday, 12/23/10 14:46:37 EST

Updated Data: Qty 5 = 12 degrees
Qty 4 = 11 degrees
Qty 4 = 10 degrees
Qty 3 = 14 degrees
Qty 2 = 13 degrees
Qty 1 = 23 degrees.
Qty 1 = 9 degrees
Qty 2 = 8 degrees
Qty 1 = 2 degrees

Bernard's (THANK YOU!) are 14,10,10,13 and 8, averaging 11.15 only bringing the average down 1/3 degree. . . The 14 is 1.5" per foot per side. The two 10's average 1.063" per foot per side.

- guru - Thursday, 12/23/10 16:27:23 EST

Vibratory Finishers:
We are looking at building one along the lines of a Burr-King that will take pieces about 3 feet long. A 1.5 HP machine.

I do not expect miracles. Often what you are looking for is a machine to deburr the hand ground or machined chamfers that still have a little edge to them.

I've seen very nice results on hand forged work in a machine the size we are building. Took several hours. That is why they often have a timer.

A shop that just does deburring! Wow. . Never heard of one of those but what a great idea.
- guru - Thursday, 12/23/10 17:50:26 EST

I was living in Los Angeles when I used the deburring shop- there are still at least 8 of them there.
Most people dont realize that LA is the largest manufacturing city in the US these days, especially machining, but there are plenty of high tech foundries there that will do investment cast stainless, or shops that can sandblast 40' long parts, or heat treaters who can do railroad car sized objects, or the largest capacity anodizer in the world- It is truly amazing how many shops you can fit in an area 100 miles on a side.

Aerospace, medical, military, high tech- all the stuff we can still make money on making here in the USA- they do a lot of it in LA.

Fun place to make things out of metal- because almost anything you can imagine is in stock somewhere across town, things that must be special ordered in most of the country.

Anyway- my deburrer is a Burr King. And it is about 2' long. It works, but it takes a lot longer than several hours- I often run parts overnight.
Buy real media, is my advice.
- ries - Friday, 12/24/10 15:20:07 EST

Media. . .: Yep, gravel is a gamble. Most places it is limestone and not very hard. Other places it is a limestone quartz mix, locally some places have granite gravel other limestone. Granite gravels may be "OK" media, but straight limestone and soft limestone is a waste of time. For some things sharp sand works well in a tumbler but does not do nearly as well in a vibratory finisher.

When my Dad was finishing a bunch of aluminium parts in a home built tumbler he bought a bunch of media and did not get the results he was looking for. He ended up using 3M Wet-or-dry 320 grit confetti with soap and water. It didn't get caught in holes and was not too aggressive.

We had a little 6" diameter rock tumbler that my brothers tried all kinds of things in. . . Some batches ran for MONTHS with no obvious effect.
- guru - Monday, 12/27/10 16:38:30 EST

Stake Poll Update: We had 5 more stake tapers submitted on another forum. 4 Pexto and 1 unknown. Angles = 11,11,12,7,11

The Pextos had 4 different shank sizes and were measured to the nearest 1/8". This can make enough difference to easily produce results of a half degree or more which is all the difference in the rounded results above. 1-1/4" per foot per side taper still seems like the most common in stakes (32 samples - 7 sources).

One fellow suggested that stakes for different purposes would have different tapers. But Almost all the older stakes I've looked at were open dies forged by blacksmiths. I would be willing to bet that all the tapers from one manufacture were supposed to be the same and the differences we are seeing is errors in measurement or variations from smith to smith and taper die to taper die over a century of manufacturing.
guru - Tuesday, 12/28/10 09:38:10 EST

Ries Burr-King:
I've seen the next size up Burr King (or similar machine) thoroughly descale a complicated part that was forged in numerous heats (a Dan Boone dragon head) in just a couple hours.

The Burr-Kings supposedly come setup for general work with ceramic media but the weights are adjustable to do a much gentler job OR to really be aggressive as well as work correctly with different media. Could it be that the counter weights need adjusting? I know that Burr-King says that when setup
guru - Tuesday, 12/28/10 12:34:15 EST

. . . when setup they should not walk badly bud that at the heavier settings they WILL walk across the shop if not bolted down. They suggest that if you don't want to permanently bolt the machine to the floor to reduce the counter weight offset so that the machine stays put.

Since the adjustment is by trial and error I could see someone adjusting the thing down too much and then forgetting about it. . .
guru - Tuesday, 12/28/10 15:14:06 EST

Sword Stuff: A couple of my facebook friends posted this and I thought it was interesting...
Sword BS
JimG - Wednesday, 12/29/10 13:25:00 EST

Sword Weight:
I got a chuckle out of their paragraphs on a 40 pound (18 kg) sword. Many years ago I had a fellow send me a dimensioned drawing of a sword he wanted made. It was based on something from popular anime. Some quick calculations showed that it was going to weigh 800 pounds (363 kg)! The fellow came back and wanted to know if it could be made of aluminium. . . 280 pounds (127 kg). . . Could it be hollow? More calculations using 16ga (2mm) wall. . . 33 pounds in steel, 11 pounds in aluminium without furniture or a grip. . . With a Cg about 5 feet from the user . .
- guru - Wednesday, 12/29/10 17:22:18 EST

Sword Stuff: Darn... I still remember when I believed most of that stuff... Maybe I need to sniff more forge fumes until those days fade away. :)

Oh, and Errol Flynn with a "renaissance rapier"?? Maybe a modern foil....

MikeM-OH - Wednesday, 12/29/10 20:04:01 EST

sword hardening movie: One movie I saw showed the entire heat treatment done by chopping into a snow bank with a red hot sword. I laugh.
Frank Turley - Friday, 12/31/10 13:14:16 EST

Frank, That was in "Conan the Barbarian". They had a LOT of fantasy stuff in that brief forging sequence.

1) A bellows so large it required several people to pull it.

2) Forging on an oil covered flaming anvil.

3) Comparing the quench color "sunrise red" to an actual sunrise.

4) That snow quench. . .

5) Grinding and sharpening with a hand held rock. .

The carving engraving sequence was actually pretty good. I still like to watch it but we have had a surprising number of questions from people that thought that forging sequence was real.

Another nearly as bad is the opening scene in "Lord of the Rings" where the narration directly quotes the book about the ". . . rings of power . . forged in the fires of Mordor. ." and then shows them being cast by the lost wax process.
- guru - Friday, 12/31/10 16:16:09 EST

HAPPY NEW YEAR!: (Before I scurry off to the Victory Bar, and then {tomorrow morning} up to Pennsylvania to Pocket Pony Farm)

Good luck to all for a happy 2011. Well, there's another decade shot to blazes!

Remember to wear your safety glasses, ear protection, dust filters and other defensive armor as necessary. Please be able to count the same number of digits and organs when you finish as when you started your projects.


Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/31/10 20:08:06 EST

Conan the Barbarian: Fun movie; bad technology. :-D
Bruce Blackistone (Atli) - Friday, 12/31/10 20:14:35 EST

As the year ends out West, I would like to thank all for the info and help offered and given. GURU, my apologies for getting a posting off of the topic, which started another off topic, and so on. PTREE, MERL, THANK you for your offerings, advice, etc.....FRANK TURLEY, thanks for your advice, info, and taking the time out of your busy life to educate me and get me to once again
- bam-bam - Friday, 12/31/10 20:49:55 EST

I did it again..... expand my view. as we all take hammer in hand, let's put aside the trials and tribulations and make something, just to say
- bam-bam - Friday, 12/31/10 21:09:32 EST

I made that. HAPPY NEW YEAR to ALL
- bam-bam - Friday, 12/31/10 21:19:27 EST

Happy new years to all!
ptree - Friday, 12/31/10 21:43:47 EST

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