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Heat treating : Daniel,
I am currently building a tempering oven for swords based on one made by a friend of mine that is fairly simple and cheap. Just take either on old water heater tank or other large steel drum (I am welding up 1.5 55-gallon drums to get the required length)and split it lengthwise. Make a system of bars to hold the blade in the middle of the horizontal drum and put a couple of burners from a gas grill in the bottom of the drum, just like you would for a large gas grill. Done. Now you have a large oven that will easily get to and hold the temperature you need. Add either a grill thermometer or a type K thermocouple and you know exactly how hot you are. For EN45 swords that means around 550-575 degrees F, 288-302 degrees C. You want a full spring temper on big long blades.
   Alan-L - Friday, 06/02/17 14:53:54 UTC

Oh, and you want it to be closed, with a few vent holes in the ends.
   Alan-L - Friday, 06/02/17 14:54:44 UTC

Heat Treating :
You cannot harden (heat and quench) in sections. This would result in very uneven hardness and material condition. Tempering (reheating to reduce brittleness) can be done in sections and over and over (double or triple tempering) as well as locally (such as softening a tang).

For every step in heat treating long slender items doing so vertically is best so that gravity has no effect. This includes heating to anneal and to harden, quenching and heating to temper. All the heating processes can be done in a salt bath to prevent oxidation OR you can use an inert gas atmosphere.

Building long tall furnaces for this purpose should only cost a few hundred dollars. No more than $500 US if you purchased everything new and had cutting done by a contractor.

Either gas or electric can be made in sections that can be stacked and bolted together.

Electric heating units must be made of castable refractory. Cores to make the hollow and spiral heating element groove can be made of a mixture of cardboard and papier Mache'. Cheap paper cores that can be burned out are faster and more efficient than other methods. Burnout also speeds the drying process. Electric heating sections should be made about 1 foot or 3dm tall. They can be spaced apart using light weight blanket refractory sections.

Gas units can be made using light weight blanket insulation. A frame with expanded metal to support the blanket is cheap, efficient and lightweight. The same units can be used between hard refractory electric heating units. Burners should be located at the bottom, 1/4 and 2/3rds height.

The most expensive part of furnace construction is temperature measurement and control. Tall vertical furnaces need the temperature measured at multiple heights. Gas systems are hard to control as they require solenoid valves, relays, ignition and timers. Electric is easier to control. Simple controls will compare in price to gas but special programmable controllers are often used for heat treating.

However, if you are doing it yourself you can baby sit the furnace and adjust it as necessary.

Both gas and electric furnaces of this type can be used for salt baths with the addition of a stainless salt pot (or tubes) made from welded pipe.

In each case there are concerns about even heating due to where the heat comes from (hot spots) and stagnation (hot air rising). IF temperature measurements show this to be a problem I would make the furnace taller than necessary and use a motorized system with a crank to gently raise and lower the part a significant distance so that a more even heat is obtained in the part.

Another option is a long horizontal forge/furnace with multiple burners or heating elements for a uniform heat. To avoid the gravity warping the part issue the device could be built on a pivot or trunnion so that hot parts could be removed vertically.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/03/17 05:06:29 UTC

Cost of a Gas Forge :
Back in 1985 I built my first gas forge. Everything was purchased new including two 30 pound propane bottles and a high quality gas regulator. It was a trench forge based on one I had seen in California but a little bigger. It used a blower burner, a lot of refractory brick and a $100 bucket of refractory cement that I only used about $1 worth. . . Total cost was about $400. A surprising amount.

I scraped it because I did not like the fact that parts dropped down into the trench were hard to extract and the firebricks in steel shell radiated a huge amount of heat so it could not be worked near. . .

My second gas forge was heavier and grander. It had a blower, automatic ignition, electronic controls (in a nice NEMA steel box) with on/off delay. It was built heavy with 3" angle iron legs and frame (because I had it) and 1" bar grating. It was a flat top design to use stacked bricks in a "flexible design". The on/off switch was a heavy steel bar with a ring on the end that could be pulled or pushed with hammer or tongs. The bar operated a heavy duty lever roller (limit) switch. The forge weighs about 800 lbs (360kg).

This second forge was relatively high tech with a dual timer circuit and a delay on the gas so the fan had time to spin up. The stacked brick design was big and heavy and was not as flexible as it would seem. It used a LOT of gas and my two medium sized cylinders would not keep up with it. The controls worked well and the heavy duty switch would last for a hundred years or more heavy use. . .

BUT, it used TOO much gas and was incredibly noisy. The on/off delay controls would let it idle but with every restart being a loud whomp/boom typical of a big gas furnace. This could be nerve racking.

This was an example of a lot of good expensive ideas resulting in a worthless whole - one big waste of money and effort. If I'd kept up with all the costs it might have run $1000. It might make a good foundry furnace. . . but not a forge.

Since then I've built a couple little Freon can crucible furnaces based on the standard vertical design. They work well but the design is based on old fashioned hard and heavy refractory types. It is the wrong approach when using lightweight refractory (blanket primarily).

Forge by Jock Dempsey
9x9 (2 brick floor) Forge doors not shown (front and back).

Today we are building small naturally aspirated forges using light 1" x 1/8" angle iron, expanded metal, lightweight blanket refractory and split firebrick floors. These weigh so little they can be picked up with one hand and are so efficient they can run all day on 20lb propane bottle. They are "super insulated" having almost twice the insulation of a typical forge. Cost to build is less than $300.

The minimum cost of building a DIY gas forge is about $75 but more often is about $150.

Refractory cost is about half of a small forge and burners the other half. However, some commercial burners can cost several times the rest of the forge. Even if you make your own burners there is lots of small expensive fitting, hose and so on. As a forge size grows the refractory cost go up very little but the burner cost 2x, 3x. . . On the other hand very small forges have very little refractory cost and proportionately higher burner cost.
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/07/17 06:35:15 UTC

Making a propane forge : I want to make a triple burner propane forge from a 55 gallon steel drum and was wondering what would be the best way to insulate it
   Joseph - Wednesday, 06/07/17 14:47:48 UTC

Making a propane forge 55g :
What are you going to heat in that big of a forge? This is big enough for anvils or work requiring a crane or fork truck mounted manipulator. And then a huge power hammer or press to forge the work. . .

What will its orientation be horizontal or vertical (the cylinder)?
   - guru - Wednesday, 06/07/17 23:48:34 UTC

55-gallon drum forge : Sounds like the standard "I want to make a sword" question. The answer is you NEVER heat the full length of the blade, you only heat the amount you can forge in one heat, which is around six inches. You can forge a sword in a paint can forge.

The drum forge is for heat treatment only. It only needs a single burner since you don't want it to get hotter than around 1650 degrees f maximum. A single layer of 1" blanket refractory is all you need for that. Horizontal of vertical is the bigger question, because that will determine burner placement and vent size/placement.
   Alan-L - Thursday, 06/08/17 15:34:06 UTC

Help : How do i become a member or sign up for news letters.
   David Duran - Thursday, 06/08/17 20:06:17 UTC

Members : David, We used to have a member system but not longer. I also do not send out news letters. What you see here is what you get, its all free to the public with standard copyright restrictions (read but do not republish).

If you need to see something on our tailgate page AND want to link to a web site OR images then drop me an e-mail and I will setup an account.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/08/17 20:31:37 UTC

55-gallon drum forge : Sounds about right size for re-gauging welldriller bits.
My neighbors forge while not an oildrum is about the same size burning oil. Hammering is a purpose built machine by Bucyrus Erie, Its more of a forging press btw...
   - Sven - Thursday, 06/08/17 21:57:16 UTC

Large Forges :
The "Famous 10 Minute Forge" was designed to heat a dozen or more breaker bits at one time and easily kept up with a production rate of 70/hour and could probably keep up with 100/hour.

This is a high capacity forge that is much more efficient than running a huge 55 gallon drum size forge. It could be built with light weight refractory panels but for a quick and dirty job staking the brick worked great. The difference with a thick wall of blanket is that the exterior of the forge would not be radiating huge amounts of heat and general efficiency would be much higher. The difference in construction labor costs would probably be paid back in the first couple days or a week's use.
   - guru - Friday, 06/09/17 02:09:35 UTC

lakeside anvil : I have purchased a lakeside anvil, marked Lakeside 123 on side, 16 on other. 154911 is stamped on front left foot, hourglass indention on underside. I have been searching for history or identification and am coming up short. Have heard it was a montgomery ward brand and was fabricated by Hay-Budden....? Does anybody have any info or a link on this anvil??
   aaron batt - Sunday, 06/11/17 15:26:30 UTC

You just stated it.
   - guru - Sunday, 06/11/17 17:56:18 UTC

If you want more details on Hay-Budden, serial numbers and so on we sell the book "Anvils in America". The ONLY anvil book.
   - guru - Sunday, 06/11/17 18:02:26 UTC

Saturday Auction :
Its been a difficult week. . . only a couple miles from here there is an auction going on this very moment for a very nice 200 pound Hay-Budden. Sadly there is nothing else worth going to this auction AND I am currently in a cash pinch or I would be there. .

I told a couple friends about it (the auction) and one was cash poor as I am and the other had time constraints. So the second put in a proxy bid. . .

After all these years I still get anvil fever and this one is REALLY close by. . So, good luck Ted!
   - guru - Saturday, 06/17/17 09:16:11 EDT

Saturday Auction :
Well, That Hay-Budden sold for 1175 ($6/lb) at a little country auction. . . It was a left handed farrier's pattern (half the step missing and two pritchell holes) like the right handed one I used to have . . .

I'm going to have to reevaluate what my tools are worth.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/17/17 12:00:04 EDT

409 forge question : Hello, I am restoring for use a number 409 forge with a 400 hand crank blower. All parts have been rotten and I've had to cut most parts apart and replace all steal(family heirloom or I probably would have scrapped the entire thing!) Anyhow, I'm reassembling and there is a vlave or air baffle below the fire box. It should be capable of turning only 45 deg I believe. Which direction should it turn? Blocking air from the blower(9:00) and down(6:00) this would be my guess? If you have any info, I'd greatly appreciate it!
Tom Mikovsky
   Tom - Monday, 06/19/17 14:22:05 EDT

Forge Question :
The purpose of this valve is to direct the air into a loop in the back of the forge and then into the blower and forge. This preheats the air and makes the forge burn hotter, especially in the winter. When the valve is in the other direction cold air should go directly to the blower, then the forge as in a "normal" setup.

I had one of the forges briefly but cannot remember the direction the valve turned. However, with the above information you should be able to figure it out.
   - guru - Monday, 06/19/17 15:36:37 EDT

Venturi burner : I'm looking to be putting a propane forge together using a venturi burner. I'm making a reil style burner. From my understanding the nozzle orifice that the propane comes out of needs to be tiny to increase velocity. Would a .002" orifice nozzle be optimal or would it be too small? If so which orifice size nozzle would be best for the burner?
   Giles - Wednesday, 06/21/17 18:28:36 EDT


The original Reil plans suggest drilling the orifice with a #60 drill (.040) and then drilling it out as high as #57 (.043) if it proves necessary. I have a Reil burner (more or less) and think I'm running about a .035 orifice. But I bleed extra gas into the burner; it would run too lean on just what comes through the orifice.

A smaller orifice gives more velocity only if you also increase the pressure (as you would need to do to get the same flow). .002 is way too small.
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 06/21/17 19:57:07 EDT

Venturi Burner :
Giles, Most people have quit drilling their own orifices. They use MIG welding tips which come in a variety of sizes. I use .032 and .035 (this is the nominal for the wire size and actually is a few thousandths larger.

People mount these a variety of ways including soldering them into pieces of pipe, threading matching holes or using compression fittings. I currently make a 1/4-18 NPT to 1/4-28 NF (according to the brand type tip). I use Tweeko #14 MIG tips.

I've built several types of burners using MIG tips. One uses a 1/4" compression fitting on the end of a piece of 1/8" pipe. It is shown on FAQs/gas_forges.htm.

Other more complicated types are shown in Michael Porter's Gas Burners - For Forges, Furnaces & Kilns. It is claimed that he invented the use of MIG tips in burners.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/22/17 00:53:25 EDT

Gas Burners For Forges, Furnaces Kilns : NOTE, I would love for someone to finish writing the review of Michael's book. I had someone lined up to do so but it did not happen. I did not want to write the review because as a designer/builder I am rather biased and would like a more unbiased opinion on the book.

Sadly, within months of the book being published a Russian pirate put the entire book out on CD-ROM. Michael called me distraught wanting to know if there was something he could do. Sadly there is nothing that can be done in certain cases of piracy from certain countries. In the end I do not think it hurt sales too much as I could not find the on-line listing and when I finally did it was on the type of pirate site that is in the business of infecting computers OR stealing credit card info. . . I think Artisan Ideas sells the legitimate book now.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/22/17 01:12:23 EDT

Forge problems :
I had a fellow call the other day with a series of forge problems. While he had done many things right he also had some severe problems. One was melting firebrick. He had bought 2000F insulating firebrick from a local store. It melted. . . . He had also put cast iron fittings on the flame end of his burners. The cast iron with a melting point several hundred degrees less than steel was melting and dripping into the forge. Besides being the wrong material they protruded past the blanket lining. At least his forge was getting good and hot! But having it melt down is no fun. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 06/22/17 17:55:35 EDT

My lineage : Looking for an apprentice ship in Forging. Recently awakened soul from Thor's lineage looking for any blacksmith to help further awaken my soul to what it is........
   Thur - Friday, 06/23/17 16:16:01 EDT

Thur, please read our Apprenticeship FAQ (all the way to the end).

Where are You? If you have a question dealing with where you are geographically such as looking for a job, education or resources, you need to tell us where you are! This is an International forum. We cannot tell where you are by your e-mail address.

THEN see our Getting Started article. There are links to it on most of our pages. . .

There are thousands of smiths in the US but probably only a dozen will take on an apprentice. Like any job application you need to look into the requirements or prerequisite education.
   - guru - Saturday, 06/24/17 02:42:02 EDT

Michael has mentioned that he is no longer upset with the pirating as sales of his book *doubled* once it was available in pirated form. It basically worked as advertising and a lot of people want the book not a pile of print out evidently...
   ThomasP - Saturday, 06/24/17 21:46:04 EDT

Despite the digital revolution I think most people still like to have books on hand. I prefer some things be digital but I still really like books for reading and long term reference. I like plans to be digital so I can make as many prints OR size them as I like. Sometimes I will pull out a detail and just print that.
   - guru - Monday, 06/26/17 14:52:21 EDT

I just made a,rose for my sister in laws daughters wedding anyone know where to find the history thank you
in advance
   - Terry tallman - Monday, 06/26/17 20:04:46 EDT

The blacksmiths masterpiece rose : Where can I read the history of the blacksmiths masterpiece rose
I know I have read it before thanks in advance terry
   Terry tallman - Monday, 06/26/17 21:27:12 EDT

Oops sorry didn't realize it posTed the first time
   - Terry tallman - Monday, 06/26/17 21:28:45 EDT

Masterpiece Rose :
You may have heard a fictional SCA history in the video Fire and Roses.

Don't forget a few drops of rose oil so it actually smells like a rose!
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/27/17 05:20:20 EDT

Masterpiece Rose :
A better way is to cut a stack of thick (1/8", 3mm) joined petals with a relatively large (1/2" 13mm) hole and to forge weld the stack onto a heavy stem that has a shoulder on it to support the petals. While welding the stem will upset into the petal disks. If a conical rivet header is used to do the upset then it will be tall enough to split into pistils.

Rather than forge weld I would do the same using an oxyacetylene torch welding one layer at a time THEN do a gentle upset.

Note that correct total number of petals is a Fibonacci number.(1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144. . .)*. Roses have a high number of petals that would have to be reduced in a heavy forging but you CAN make it a mathematically correct flower.

* Genius, Albert Einstien video bio, episode 10.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/27/17 05:48:56 EDT

Part thickness :
It has been common in highly decorative smithing to use fairly thin (1/16" , 1.5mm or so) repousse' work in the form of leaves and flowers of various sorts. The problem is that this was often used on exterior work where even though it was wrought iron the thin part evaporated into rust.

Josh Greenwood spent years developing techniques to forge icanthus leaves and such from heavy bar and (1/2" 13mm) plate. 1/2 plate up to 3 or 4" wide would have a 1/2" to 5/8" stem forged on it and the leaves hot forged using special fullers. The goal was to have a minimum thickness of 1/8" inch or more. The heavy leaf would then be forge welded to a bar via the stem. The result being delicate looking yet very durable work.

In a similar vein at the Power Hammer School we forged leaves up to 4" wide out of 1" square stock. Done correctly these were no less than 1/8 to 3/16" thick with edges much thicker and a heavy central rib.

In the split from solid rose the petals are roughly 1/8" thick and that is why I recommend the heavier 1/8" plate rather than the common 1/16" petal kits. However, there is nothing wrong with the thin work as long as it is only going to be used indoors. But I like the more proportional for forging thicker work.

Another heavy leaf technique is to use blanks with a very wide "stem" that is rolled or accordioned into a round or square stem thicker than the leaf. This is then welded onto bar stock.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/27/17 06:27:51 EDT

thick stemmed leaf : Alfred Habermann came to the U.S. to demonstrate in the early 1980's. He showed a leaf form which could give one a thick or thin stem depending on how it was hammered. He pointed a round bar end to about the same angle you would get with a pencil sharpener on your wooden pencil. He dropped a tad behind the last hammer mark into native material and hung that over the far, radiused edge of the anvil. He shouldered with half-face blows giving it quarter turns back and forth resulting in two shoulders only. The half-face over the anvil face is starting the square-sectioned stem while the overhanging portion is forced below the anvil face creating a "lump." With slight angle blows, the stem can be left thick for later welding. With the two shoulders finished, the piece when turned over on the diamond will show the lump, which when flattened, gives the leaf some width. The leaf can be veined cold or hot and given an attitude by various shaping. I usually left mine as they came from the hammer with slight shaping and no veining.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 06/27/17 10:40:19 EDT

thick stemmed leaf :
I use the same technique as described by Frank. However, I try to keep my point fairly short to make a proportionately wide leaf. It is easy to fall into making too long of points as short points are a bit harder to forge. I would start with square, work the bud (lump) to one side then when ready to flatten flip the corner of the lump upward to get the most spread.

On the power hammer we were using Big BLU combo and then crown dies. The leaf made from 1" square started with a point and stem reduction about 3" back from the end of the point. The bud was turned on the diagonal and flattened to about 1/2". Then using the crown dies the leaf was spread width wise. I worked from just beside the center line on both right and left. This left a ridge down the center of the leaf that could match the square stem. Spreading with the crown dies pushed the metal to the sides aggressively so you could get the maximum width while keeping the metal fairly thick.

Forging parts like leaves from large stock like 1" is definitely a power hammer job. If you look at the 1" square as if it was sliced into 1/4" thick layers then put side by side that makes a 4" width. To have enough material for that 1/2" thick center ridge the leaf must be a little thinner but 3/16" is all it takes and is plenty thick.
   - guru - Tuesday, 06/27/17 21:17:36 EDT

4140 harding : Sir; I need to harden some 2" round dies, that are 2" thick, I have am elec. oven which will house the die, the max temp after 8 hr. was 1300F to 1350F. The hot die was quenched in A.T.F and allowed to cool to room temp. Could you give me a guess as to it's hardness? I need to cut several hundred brass rings out of brass wire screen 0.020" thick. Any guidance you would offer would of the greatest kindness.
R.J. Stepan. Las Vegas, NV.
   R.J. Stepan - Wednesday, 06/28/17 22:34:21 EDT

SAE 4140 Heat Treatment :
You may have done a nice job of annealing your parts.

SAE 4140 must be heated to 1550° to 1600°F to harden.

Stock 2" and over MAY need to be water quenched.

Temper at a minimum of 400°F for a hardness of 514 HB or 55 HRc. Note this is harder than the recommended use for 4140.

I prefer to make punches and dies out of A2 an air hardening steel. As quenched (air cooled) hardness is 65 HRc but maximum recommended use hardness is 62-64 HRc when tempered at 350°F.

Normally commercial punches and dies are made of W1 or O1 but it depends on size and use.
   - guru - Thursday, 06/29/17 03:53:40 EDT

hammer head hardening : I had a shop fire and need to retemper all of my hammer heads. I heated the first one up to non-magnetic state and quenced in water. It did not harden. I tried letting it soak a little longer after the non-magnetic state, still no luck. There was 20 gallons of water so I think there was sufficient volume to stay cold. Any thoughts, I would have thought that oil was not necessary for hammer heads.

Thank you
   Steven Bronstein - Saturday, 07/01/17 14:09:29 EDT

hammeer heads : I would think that most hammer heads are W1. You can take the temperature 100F above non magnetic without hurting the steel. I give a hardness test with a new file. The file will skate on the hardened surface if hardened properly. It will not cut and remove any material. Following hardening, the hammer head gets tempered. After tempering, a new file will cut, but "with reluctance." I got the 'reluctance' quote from the video,"The Gunsmith of Williamsbutg."
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 07/01/17 14:28:01 EDT

Most commercial hammer heads are in the 1040 to 1045 range. Just plain carbon steel
   ptree - Saturday, 07/01/17 17:34:38 EDT

Rehardening Tools :
Steve, sorry about the fire. . . The problem is going to be that unless you bought a lot of hammers from the same source there is a good chance they are all different steels. Many are made of 1050 and not heat treated. However, there are also NOT annealed which is what you likely have after a fire.

Medium carbon steels harden at higher than the non-magnetic point. As the carbon increases the critical temperature decreases as Frank pointed out. At about 60 points carbon the non-mag point is just right. Find yourself a Tempil - Basic Guide to Ferrous Metallurgy Chart. If you cannot find a hard copy there are PDF's you can print.

I've known smiths to make hammers out of H13 and S7 (a waste of good steel). PeteB has/had a source of lots of 1085 that he makes many things out of including hammers as it is the right size. At least one commercial maker I know uses 1050 and sells them "normalized" or air cooled from forging. 4140 is popular as a lot of shops have it but is is generally not used commercially for hammers. Stone mason's hammers are often alloy steel as their edges are used for cutting and need to be hard, tough and abrasion resistant.

My first (and still favorite) 2.2 pound smithing hammer is soft enough that it has mushroomed a lot over the years. You can tell I favor one edge. . . My heavier channel lock hammers are fairly hard but the highly crowned face has become relatively flat and squared off from use - so not very hard.

Hammers are a tool I would lean towards softer than harder. Before hardening and rehandling take a look at the faces and peens and dress as you see fit. Easier now than when handled.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/01/17 20:21:34 EDT

When we made several million hammer forgings for the biggest hammer maker in the US at VOGT in the mid to late 90's they were C1045
   ptree - Sunday, 07/02/17 09:22:32 EDT

Heat treatng 1045 :
Normalizing: Heat to 1650F and let air cool. May be tempered but does not have as high of strength as fully heat treated.

Annealing: Heat to 1550F. Cool in furnace at rate not exceeding 50F/hr down to 1200F.

Hardening: Austenitize at 1550F. Quench in water or brine. Oil quench sections less than 1/4".

Tempering: Hardness of at least 55 HRc if properly treated. Adjust hardness as needed by tempering. Temper at 400F minimum.

* ASM Heat Treaters Guide, Standard Practices and Procedures for steel.

Note that the Guide has 5-1/2 pages on 1045/1045H and some references back to 1040. Data includes statistical variations, multiple tempering graphs, crystaline micro-photos and so on. The basics above are just that, the minimum basics. This is typical for every steel in the manual. This is based on research and manufacturers publications and varies in content from steel to steel. The Guide has a general section then starts with SAE 1008 through SAE 1095 and A2 to W12 and M43, then stainlesses.

While this is THE definitive reference for heat treating it is not everything you need to know. But it is a good start.
   - guru - Monday, 07/03/17 11:52:28 EDT

four digit and two digit steel numbering : Is there a difference between say, 1095 and W1 which has 0.95 carbon. Is it a quality control where W1 must be electric furnace melted or vacuum degassed made, and 1095 is made in another way?
   Frank Turley - Monday, 07/03/17 13:35:08 EDT

It is a matter of standards applied and steel types. The four (and 5) digit system was originally developed by SAE and has been adopted/absorbed by others. The system is designed so that you can "read" the carbon and alloy type based on number. The 1000 series are plain carbon steels but the system also covers alloy steels (4140, 5160, 8240. . . alloy steels).

The Letter Number steels are all considered alloy tool steels and while they come close to the chemistries of the SAE steels they are generally different and intended for tool use where the SAE alloy steels are intended for machine parts, shafts, gears, springs and so on. The Letter number system is intended to be "read" by treatment and use rather than chemistry like the SAE system.

AISI W1 has a carbon range of .60 to 1.40%, W2 has some Vanadium and W5 has Chrome. UNS W1 has up to 1.50% carbon, .15% Cr, .20& Cu, .10 to .40 Mn, .19 Mo, .20% Ni, .010 to .40 Si, 0.10 V and .15 W max.

Yes, I am surprised at the wide carbon range compared to 1095

SAE 1095 has .90% to 1.03% carbon, .30 to .50 Mn and 0.040 P max. The manganese increases the hardenability for the given carbon level.
   - guru - Monday, 07/03/17 15:52:33 EDT

1045H is used in axle making in the forged axle industry. Forges nicely in upsetters to make the flange and to allow one hit "bumping up" for the spline area. Heat treatment in the axle industry is almost exclusively via scanning induction. The H gives the chemistry to support the scanning heat treatment. The H grades grow grain quickly if allowed to soak at forging temp without working the steel. needs tempering within 45 minutes per industry standards to reduce quench cracking.
   ptree - Tuesday, 07/04/17 07:20:29 EDT

heat treating, some more: : Pay attention to that part of the Guru's post that says to austenitize at 1550F before quenching. Non-magnetic is 1425F. This is why using a magnet only gets you near the ballpark, but not on the field. Bringing 1045 to just non-magnetic and quenching gives you what is called a sub-critical anneal.

If you can see the steel in the forge (keep the lights off when doing this), watch for decalescence. This is the state where the steel changes its crystalline structure when it's ready to harden. I usually describe it as seeing shadows swirling inside the steel, because that is what it looks like. This is due to the fact that energy is absorbed during the phase change, resulting in a dimming of the glow of hot steel. The instant all shadows are gone from the part you want to harden, quench. This rule holds true for all carbon steels, but not stainless. Once you have mastered this, you no longer need that unreliable magnet. It's a handy tool to have in your kit!

Dim light is important, though, you won't be able to see the effect in a brightly lit room or a too-hot forge.

Frank: an acquaintance of mine (ABS mastersmith Burt Foster) once had his stash of W-1 from various sources tested because he was having trouble getting full hardness from some of it. The carbon content varied from .75 to 1.2 %, with manganese varying from .35% to .7%. Needless to say, he scrapped the lower carbon and higher manganese batches. Not that they wouldn't work, but not for the level of consistency he was shooting for in his blades.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 07/05/17 10:40:50 EDT

Mystery Metals :
Hopefully the price of the hand held LASER spectrometers will come down to being affordable in the small shop in our lifetime. . .

Shop Lighting I like a bright shop especially for fine work and with enough light there is much less trouble adjusting to a welding helmet. But for heat treating low light is generally recommended. Back when magnet makers heat treated by eye they worked in a nearly dark shop and did not start until their eyes were fully adjusted. The harder the magnet, the stronger it will be and longer lasting.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/05/17 13:19:33 EDT

rehardening hammers : It is interesting that I have some chisels I was retempering and had the same problem. These are chisels that I made and originally hardened them in water. When I went to reharden, after a soaking heat in a barn fire, they did not harden very well. Could the steel have lost too much carbon in the fire? I may just rehandle the hammer heads and use as is until they mushroom too much. Might not happen in my lifetime. As always, thank you all for the great advice. This is an invaluable resource.
   Steven Bronstein - Wednesday, 07/05/17 14:50:29 EDT

Building a propane forge with non insulated firebrick : I have built a propane forge in the past, first naturally aspirated and then I got a champion no. 50 blower that still runs perfectly, using a light dimmer as a rheostat, so built a new burner. Didn't work real great because the firebrick wasn't insulated. It got stolen but didn't lose the blower. From there I built 2 brake drum forges, I'm just experimenting to learn. Now, using an air compressor tank, I'm building another propane forge, but still only have regular non IFB. Would filling the area outside the brick but within the tank with perlite work well enough to insulate it? I don't have access to IFB or kaowool unless I order it and I'm just trying to make do with what I have on hand for now
   Bill - Wednesday, 07/05/17 15:56:08 EDT

Decarburization in Fire :
Steven, This is unlikely. Decarburization usually occurs at elevated temperatures and mostly on the surface.
   - guru - Wednesday, 07/05/17 22:57:28 EDT

Building a propane forge with non insulated firebrick :
Bill, You will rapidly pay for that lightweight insulation in fuel costs. Hard firebrick can take up to 45 minutes or more to get up to heat OR you need a much larger burner for the forge size. The problem isn't insulation, its the heavy bricks that suck up a lot of heat.

The champion blower is too large for your smallish forge. Blower burners require very little air thus small blowers. Yes, you can adjust the blower but at a very low speed they tend to creep and flutter.

There are many ways to build gas forges. I've built forges that worked and those that did not. Your best bet is to stick to tried and true designs (including materials) that work.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/06/17 01:57:32 EDT

Forges that did and "didn't work"

Actually all but one of the forges I've built worked. It was actually prototyped and not completed - luckily. My forge failures have been failure to be convenient or worked but not the way I wanted. The one failure was going to be a table top (flat hearth) gas forge with a large central burner. The single burner worked but the flame wanted to set the ceiling on fire. . . So I didn't complete the forge.

My first gas forge was a trough type. It worked well enough to complete a couple jobs but it was a pain to use. If you dropped work into the trough it was difficult to fish out. The forge was all hard brick in a steel box. The radiant heat coming off the sides was sufficient to run one off at about 5 feet. . .

My second coal forge had a fancy fabricated spiral tuyere that did not work well as it clogged often. The firepot was also too shallow. I built a hood over it from half an oil drum that only collected about 1/2 the smoke. . . the 8" stack was also a limitation. I used this forge until the motor got smoked. . Then I went back to my "two wheel" forge until I got my third forge in my Portable Shop built. This bellows powered forge was a joy to use and was my only forge for nearly 20 years. This forge was based on more standard construction and my failure of the second forge. We should learn from out mistakes.

My "Big" gas forge is a heavy, heavy duty, technical stacked brick forge. It has electronic controls that either run wide open or cycles on and off to maintain temperature. The main ON/OFF switch is a heavy duty lever limit switch activated by a heavy sliding bar that can be operated by hand, tongs, poker or hammer. . . The plan for being stacked was that different size and shape enclosures could be made. However, even with its adjustment capabilities the forge on liked one size and shape.

This Big forge works well enough but is a gas hog (compared to typical small gas forges) and is NOISY. The noise is from the autocycling the forge making a great WHOMP every time it restarts at 5 to 10 second intervals. When adjusted to the optimum it makes a roar that shakes things off the shelves. . . so it is generally operated slightly off optimum. It is also VERY non-portable weighing in at around 800 pounds. I'm not sure what I am going to do with it. I might make a lightweight insulated enclosure to replace the stacked brick and try it for a while. . . But I should probably sell it to someone that wants a really heavy duty gas forge. . . Its a work of engineering art but not what I really wanted.

The last failed forge I built was to be a "convertible" forge. It had legs that let it sit horizontally OR vertically. Again, it worked but not as well as hoped. I still think it was a good design idea - there were just some minor issues. Besides the convertible design it was to use one of many reject propane bottles. There were two failings. One was that I made wooden core molds to cast refractory around. These worked OK but were not something I could recommend to the typical DIYer. The operational failure was that I put the vent in the center of the door. This worked great as a vertical crucible forge but when horizontal the opening was several inches above the "floor".

This design could be corrected by putting the door vent flush to one wall with a flat so it would work like a standard forge as well as a crucible furnace. The forms for the refractory lining can be one-use paper mache' that is burned out. Burning out the forms has the advantage that they do not need perfect draft for removal like solid forms do. In fact the forms can have overhangs. Burn out would also have the advantage of helping cure the refractory.

TODAY We are building forges using lightweight panel construction and a modular design. The panels provide exceptional insulation in a rectangular design. The modular design is based on the standard refractory brick. This way many of the components are the same and some vary only in length. A two brick (side by side) makes a very nice general purpose forge and three bricks (extending the depth) makes a nice medium/large forge. Single and double brick (end to end) make nice long knifemaker forges.

After building the next series of these with doors we will publish the plans.

I equate building gas forges to something like the Jedi Knight making his own light sabre. It takes study and practice and it doesn't hurt to have a little of the Force with you.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/06/17 19:52:48 EDT

Identifying anvil : I would like to identify the anvil my wife found for me as a birthday present several years ago. The manufacturer imprint is only partially visible. It looks like the top line may be Chicago, the second line is clearly MFG CO, and the third line is BROOK____. I know Hay Buddens were from Brooklyn, but the top line is definitely not Hay Budden. Any thoughts on who made this anvil? I would say it is around 175 lbs. Thanks!
   Hotrod - Friday, 07/07/17 00:45:46 EDT

Hotrod, send me a photo or two. Is it cast or forged? Forged has letters stamped INTO the anvil, most cast have raised letters. There is a cast English anvil made by BROOKS.
   - guru - Friday, 07/07/17 18:46:01 EDT

Todays tip on Files : Reminded me that I had recently purchased some checkering tools (for gun stocks) which are sort of small specialty files. However, there are also checkering files, a pillar (parallel sided) file with straight rows of teeth. These are not used so much for checkering wood as for putting thumb or finger friction ridges in metal. Occasionally used by gunsmiths but more often bladesmiths. Like other specialty files they are rather pricey.

I have learned to buy one or two specialty files ANYTIME I see them. I have several pin tumbler key cutting files with a 120° V and rounded edge. These make the proper shaped key cut. They were made long ago for the Locksmithing Institute which is long gone. It is doubtful these will EVER be made again.

When I started looking for checkering tools it appeared that the most popular maker, Dem-Bart was going out of business. The gun supply folks all list dozens of their products but all showed "Out of stock, no backorders". I was buying bits and pieces when I saw a fellow on ebay selling many of the little cutters - but sadly not the full line. I suspect he bought out Dem-Bart. I bought what I could but things have been tight lately. In any case, I have more checkering tools than I need at this point.

It is always sad when these small businesses go under. Dem-Bart had been making checkering tools for 40 years.
   - guru - Friday, 07/07/17 19:18:39 EDT

Hotrod; also remember that many manufacturers would make anvils for retailers and stamp *their* brand name. A picture of the bottom of the anvil and of the front foot can be very indicative of what the original source was. (Note that HB used to make Acme anvils for Sears IIRC)
   ThomasP - Friday, 07/07/17 22:40:19 EDT

Files : In a pinch, I checkered alot of stuff using thread chasing files...
   - Sven - Saturday, 07/08/17 00:10:07 EDT

Files : Sven, Good tip. Much cheaper than the super specialty files. Shame they do not come in 18TPI (one of the most popular checkering pitches).
   - guru - Saturday, 07/08/17 12:56:59 EDT

Files : I was wrong, they make pipe thread repair files in 18TPI - They are just in the higher price range.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/08/17 13:11:56 EDT

Wrong Again : 18TPI is one of the standard threads available.
   - guru - Sunday, 07/09/17 22:22:26 EDT

A weird heat treat question : This has been in the back of my mind for years, and I thought I'd finally bring it up front. A friend of mine had a heat treat "method" that I'm pretty sure won't work, but I'm curious on what it would actually do.

He would first anneal/normalize the steel by heating it up past non-magnetic and then letting sit in the coal to cool down. I doubt this would do a real anneal, but I'm not sure it's a proper normalization, either. The next step would be to bring it up hot again and then let it cool to the temp you would normally temper at, and quench from there. There was no hardening step in-between.

That was it. So what would that heat treatment actually do to the steel? It was quite a few years ago, but I believe the steel would have been from a coil spring. I have a feeling this method was something he mis-remembered from years past, but he's since passed away and is unavailable for comment.

By the way, Ken was a real good friend, a great guy, and got me started in blacksmithing. I learned a whole lot from him, but probably not how to heat treat steel :-).
   Marc - Monday, 07/10/17 16:19:42 EDT

weird heat treat : The Anneal: Depending on the steel his method, letting the steel cool with the fire can be very effective.

The second step might have hardened a thin section (like a knife) in the air. But as a method to harden I do not believe it would harden the steel leaving it normalized or close to annealed.

Some steels even when not hardened are so tough that you might THINK they were properly heat treated
   - guru - Monday, 07/10/17 20:40:07 EDT

weird heat treat : If it's coil spring and we assume it's 5160 or 9260 (the two most common automotive coil spring steels years ago) the "anneal" would have annealed it somewhat, but also allowed considerable grain growth, depending on how far above nonmagnetic you got (5160 requires around 150 degrees F above nonmagnetic to achieve transformation and be hardenable).
The second step wouldn't do a darned thing, but 5160 is tough enough that you might not notice, as the Guru pointed out.
You run into all kinds of odd "heat treat" methods out there that are confused or just plain wrong. Just this past Sunday a guy told me he'd heard the only way to harden steel was to leave it out in the sun for 20 years...
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 07/11/17 10:56:26 EDT

weird heat treat : Thanks for the info. I posed the question because I'm in the middle of making a "real" knife (as opposed to the fun, but not too functional, knives out of RR spikes, rebar, ...). There certainly are lots of different methods to get to the same thing. Like triple normalizing, triple hardening, ... And then there are the fantasy methods, like using the bellies of slave boys. Fun to read, but a little confusing.
   Marc - Wednesday, 07/12/17 09:48:39 EDT

Solar Hardening : It might be fun telling folks 20 years in the sun was good for an extra point on the Rockwell scale. You'd just need to be sure you've moved on by the time they proved you wrong . . .
   Mike BR - Thursday, 07/13/17 21:17:53 EDT

Here in the desert we get 4 points in the summer!
   ThomasP - Friday, 07/14/17 00:08:15 EDT

Solar Hardening : Hmmmmmm, I thought that was solar tempering! Perhaps the solar steel connection should be measured on the Richter Scale. . . :)

I think summer time solar makes a good warm up prior to forging. When its too hot to pick up its a pretty good start.

Yep, there are some weird fantasy heat treats. The forging scene in Connan the Barbarian has multiple fictions. Forging on a flaming oil covered anvil, comparing the heat to an actual sunrise, quenching in snow. . . love it. My day of days was when a wanna-be said he knew all about it then described the Connan forging scene. . .

Anyone else notice that the flaming anvil is a big piece of flame cut plate with the raggedy edge facing the viewer? I wonder what a barbarian cutting torch looks like? Or are they ALL barbarian torches?

Any of you try the snow quench? I have when my quench tub was frozen and snow was the next thing. . . Its fun but doesn't do much cooling as it melts away losing contact.

Wonder woman has her "Lasso of Truth", the guru has his "chain of BS". Currently its on loan to President Trump to use on Fake News purveyors such as CNN.

One of those days . . been up all night getting ready to launch a new product, then got locked out of the house by Sheri, finally got in with some help from DaveB and then Sheri beat me to the bed. . . good thing its Friday.
   - guru - Friday, 07/14/17 15:22:07 EDT

Biogas :
Good morning,

I am no longer looking to build a forge since a good friend got me a new 70 pound anvil and dual burner propane forge as thanks for helping him work on his house. Now my big question is on running this forge as much as possible. The forge is a whisper deluxe dual burner with a back door. How many gallons of propane can one of these go through in a 8 hour day roughly? Also I've have looked into building a biogas digester in the past for other projects as a fuel source. After being filter through a water column the biogas is supposedly about as pure as LPG fuel. Have you ever heard of biogas in either raw or water column filtered form being used to run a propane forge? Are there any issues in making this work?
   Giles - Sunday, 07/16/17 19:41:37 EDT

Small Forges : You can run a Whisper Momma all day or longer on a 20lb. bottle of propane. However, it depends on how you are running the forge. If you are running it at a low pressure setting for doing average forging this is a very frugal forge. But you can push the forge to do welding and it will use double or more gas.

Biogas = Methane = Natural Gas = CH4. This is a very light molecule and it takes more gas in cubic units to equal propane. For the forge to run the gas will need to be pressurized to as much as 15 PSI. In some cases the forge burners may need larger orifices. However, I have known these to be run on NG with the original burners.

   - guru - Sunday, 07/16/17 23:21:32 EDT

Biogas: most cooking equipment uses gas pressure measured in inches of water column. Forging equipment generally uses psi as 15 psi is about 32 FEET of water column or 384 inches. Given that the energy density of methane is much lower than that of propane you are going to need a heck of a lot of biogas and a safe way to compress it!
   ThomasP - Monday, 07/17/17 01:14:25 EDT

Conan forging and Biogas : I can't help but see some connection between those fantasy tales of heat treatment and Biogas. Both sound like a lot of hot air :-).

It's too bad they ruined a nice historical piece like Conan with all that fake forging info.
   - Marc - Monday, 07/17/17 14:07:23 EDT

historical piece : Marc, That's got to be "tong in cheek."
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 07/20/17 13:23:40 EDT

Ditty :
I need the ditty about "barefoot boys and biscuits".
   - guru - Thursday, 07/20/17 18:18:36 EDT

wheel traveler plus buggy wagon parts : I purchased a nice 24" wheel traveler in 1998, and I just now found the catalog from whence I got it while house cleaning. I think the company is still in business. Farmerstown Axle Co. 2816 S.R. 557, Baltic, Ohio 43804. A little more web research showed the company which may have been the manufacturer of the traveler, Pine Creek Industries, 1582 W. Pine Creek Rd., Pinehurst, Idaho 83850. They have an online catalog. The traveler is apparently cast from an alloy of zinc/aluminum/copper. It is lathe turned for accuracy and has a wooden handle.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 07/21/17 10:32:36 EDT

biscuits and barefeet : I don't know the ditty, but if it has to do with hot burrs and slugs on the floor, it must be a good one.
   Frank Turley - Friday, 07/21/17 11:01:15 EDT

For a forced air forge burner what size blower is needed, i have seen a 1/5 hp moter but dont know if it would have the power? The blower im looking at is for a yard inflatable
   - Alan Grillot - Friday, 07/21/17 16:13:21 EDT

Blower for Gas Forge :
The blowers I have used for small gas forges are 1/40 HP (fireplace insert recirculation blower) and I have one that is 1/200 HP that I am building on a burner and I am sure it is big enough and may still need a speed control.
   - guru - Saturday, 07/22/17 10:39:01 EDT

power hammer spring arrangment : I'm going to build a power hammer for the blacksmithing club I've started. I'm thinking of using the pogo stick style to limit floor space but I can't find any information on it. Is it a workable design? Can someone please steer me to more?
   Jerry Freund - Saturday, 07/22/17 18:30:30 EDT

Pogo Stick : NO, no, no, and NO. See:

DIY Power Hammers Power Hammer Linkages

Junk Yard Hammers A catalog of various types

Junk Yard Construction A Philosophy, a Way of Life, a Religion

Building the X1 Power Hammers Designing and building a Mechanical Power Hammer
   - guru - Saturday, 07/22/17 18:58:09 EDT

Alan; WHAT SIZE FORGE? (Can you tell me what size engine I need for my truck if I don't tell you what size truck it is?)

My 10" outer diameter x 14" long forge lined with two inches of kaowool and 1 burner uses a 350 cfm blower and will melt steel if I am not careful.
   ThomasP - Wednesday, 07/26/17 21:15:03 EDT

Blowers and Forge size. :
've seen a little 200-300 CFM blower on a big 15 cubic foot (30 x 30 x30") natural gas forge. The little burner I plan on hanging of a 1" pipe diameter burner is 1/200 HP and 30 CFM. I think it is plenty.

My big forge has a 150 CFM blower that is turned down to the point that it will not self start unless the rheostat is bypassed when started. It is about a 1.5 to 2 cubic foot forge. I would guess it uses 50 CFM or less.
   - guru - Thursday, 07/27/17 01:26:16 EDT

Blower for Gas Forge : Alan Grillot.... You ask "For a forced air forge burner what size blower is needed"?

The answers you received are no doubt appropriate for the types of burners (and forges) those blowers are used with... and would be inappropriate for many other burners and forges.

Another approach for an answer might be.... It depends upon what type and size burner you want to use.... as well as the size of forge you have or are going to make. Please provide more information.

I suggest you do an online search (Google, for example, as well as searching YouTube) to see examples of how folks have built forges with blown burners and which blowers they use with them.

Incidentally... HP and CFM are not the only important criteria for blown burners. Sometimes, the most important criteria is how much pressure the blower maintains (inches of water column). You could use a 10 HP blower that put out thousands of CFM and it would not work with a ribbon burner if it didn't maintain the pressure a ribbon burner needs. You said you were looking at a yard inflatable blower... It, in fact, is a perfect blower for ribbon burners.

   - Dave Hammer - Thursday, 07/27/17 05:30:45 EDT

Blower for Gas Forge : When I said a yard inflatable blower is a "perfect" blower for ribbon burners", I was referring to the fact that blowers used for yard inflatables maintain the pressure required for ribbon burners.

If the blower you are looking at is plastic, you would need to locate it far enough from the forge so it wouldn't melt. I would also recommend using a reostat of some type (appropriate amperage capability) to control the speed the blower runs.
   - Dave Hammer - Thursday, 07/27/17 05:42:35 EDT

Dead PW Anvil : I have a dead Peter Wright anvil. It has a crack between the body and hardface. What would be the best way to repair it? Mig, tig, and stick are all options.
   Nick - Saturday, 07/29/17 14:13:15 EDT

Dead PW anvil : I have a dead Peter Wright anvil with a crack between my the hardface and body on one side. What would be the best way to repair it?
   Nick - Saturday, 07/29/17 14:20:50 EDT

Dead Peter Wright :
Do you mean dead because it does not ring? Does not have rebound? Or just because it has a visible face separation?

If the face is actually loose you might want to consider it a door stop. You cannot just weld the edge of the plate. Face plates are forge welded on meaning a continuous weld. An edge weld by any process is no better than a loose plate as far as efficiency (rebound) is concerned.

To fix a failed plate weld the entire plate should be removed then the anvil hard faced using hardfacing rod. This is expensive and labor intensive. Not only do you have the cost of the expensive specialty rod but the cost of electricity. While you do not notice it on small projects this one could run your bill up $200 to $500 depending on your electric costs and anvil size.

When doing build up with welding rod it is put down one layer at a time then cleaning up the slag and pits. Pits have to be ground out and then rewelded, cleaned and inspected before the next layer. If pits (slag inclusions) are not repaired they get worse with every pass. When finished the face must be hand ground flat and any more pits found ground out and repaired.

The first passes on a wrought iron base are the most difficult as the wrought iron is full of silica slag which mixes with the electric rods flux. This makes a very fluid mess as welding that must be cleaned up after every couple rods. At time it will appear that you are taking away more material than putting on. I would recommend using cheap common rod for the initial layers then apply the hard facing over that.

If the crack is mostly cosmetic you can grind it out and weld with common mild steel rod. BUT if is no more than a surface crevice (less than 1/16" deep) and not effecting performance then welding may be detrimental to the anvil.

   - guru - Saturday, 07/29/17 15:35:20 EDT

fireplace screen : trying to make an oval shaped on top and straight bottom fireplace screen, whats best way to bend a continuous arc with material that the screen can be attached too? what material should I use for frame?
   Art - Monday, 07/31/17 22:10:05 EDT

fireplace screen : trying to make an oval shaped on top and straight bottom fireplace screen, whats best way to bend a continuous arc with material that the screen can be attached too? what material should I use for frame?
   Art - Monday, 07/31/17 22:11:58 EDT

fireplace screen :
Art, it depends on the type of screen you use and how you attach it.

I've used fine flattened expanded metal for fireplace screens. You can also use stainless screen mesh and then there is specialty fire screen but I have not sourced it.

The expanded metal does not need tensioning, all others do. The down side of expanded metal is that to some it may look too "industrial". However, it depends on the overall design.

I would make my frame out of 1" x 3/16" (24 mm x 5 mm) mild steel.

Bending accurately on edge requires making a bending jig (also made accurately). However, the jig need not be perfect as the material bent on it will span flats and average out minor kinks. See our FAQ's page under bending. Bending on edge is a little more difficult than flat but on this scale should still work cold with a little care.

Probably most important is the question of fit to the fireplace. If you are fitting an arched fireplace you need to make a template from it and double check the fit. I've found many fireplaces that looked perfect that were greatly out of square and arches that were not symmetrical. Take a square and check! Then make the template and check it. Note that if anything is out of true the template will have a front and back. DO NOT mix them up.

Generally smiths rivet the screen on. Some weld it. You will need the appropriate tools to pull and tension the screen.

In some cases you may need/want a finished edge on the screen. This can be made by taking thin wall tubing and splitting it on one side. This is then bent and fitted to the screen then flattened to fit the screen. Where the arch is diagonal you may want to put small rivets (brads) in the edging through the screen to hold it all in place. This and stretching the screen will make you wish you hadn't taken the job. They take practice and often require scrapping material and starting again.

Metal Benders
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/01/17 08:58:16 EDT

More on screen edging :
Back in the 90's we were making gas dehydrator filter assemblies with round stainless screens. The loose wires on the edges of the circular screens could be more of a problem than the debris being filtered out. The screens needed edging. Thin wall stainless tubing was used. It was split then the split edges rolled in using a shaped tool pulled through the gap while compressing the tubing. Then the tubing was bent around a mandrel to fit the 4" diameter screens. The edging was fitted to the screen and flattened with a soft face mallet while holding the edging in place.

This was just two parts of a complicated assembly. The screen were made hundreds of times using primitive had tools. It got the job done and for several years we were the only supplier of these unusual filters.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/01/17 09:13:30 EDT

fire screen : In the Southwest, we have lots of beehive shaped fireplace openings. The curved portion is not necessarily symmetrical. If the opening is small enough and your arms are long enough, you can cut a central hole in a large cardboard. The cardboard covers the opening while you draw around the curve from the inside. This gives you your pattern, but we usually make the screen a couple inches larger than that. The frames are often made of 1/4 x 1/2" bent the hard way. Bending can be done by arc welding 2 short, round posts to the layout table and feeding/bending cold, while hammer-leveling as needed. Another 3/16 x 1/2" is made the same way to match, as it will be the backup for the "sandwich" you are assembling. It needs practice to make them alike. The straight bottoms are arc welded and sanded. The two frames are clamped and stack-drilled for 3/16" rivets and the holes are about 5" apart or whatever suits your design. Before assembly, two horizontal, protruding feet are welded or riveted to the 1/4" screen front, and one foot fixed and projecting to the back of the screen toward the fireplace. This latter foot is centered and the two forward facing ones are off to the side so you get a triangular standing support for the screen. We often use 1/8" mesh hardware cloth. If zinc coated, we spray paint it, usually flat black. The hardware cloth can be cut slightly oversized and after assembly, it is trimmed flush with a small oxy-acetylene tip. The tip does a nice job of cutting and the wires tend to ball up.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 08/01/17 10:55:26 EDT

Arch shapes :
While all classical arches can be laid out mathematically fireplaces are generally laid out by the mason using a bent board. This creates a centenary curve. This is similar to a hanging cable or chain. It is not an arc, nor an ellipse OR a parabola. Besides being an odd curve the results are often not symmetrical. This is caused by variations in strength of the wood, how it is supported OR by laying stones/bricks against the bent board unequally. I have even seen catenaries used for the large curves on swage blocks. See SwageBlocks.com No. 11

   - guru - Tuesday, 08/01/17 11:58:28 EDT

Most unique curve : I left one out - The eyeball curve.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/01/17 12:08:42 EDT

Non-mathematical curves :
Complex curves can be laid out with precision using nothing but arcs and occasionally straight lines carefully stitched together.

curve layout method

For centuries Luthiers have used this method to define and reproduce musical instruments. Above are the dimensions taken from an Hawaiian Ukulele made in Hawaii. The reason there are two sets of dimensions is that the instrument was not symmetrical. This means that it was probably hand drawn or an old template traced. IF it had been laid out using the arcs method then it would have been symmetrical. The true shape would be the most simplified version of the two.

To use this method every arc's center falls on the line of another arc (or the inverse, passes through the center of the joining arc). This makes the ends of the arcs align perfectly with the direction of the next. On a guitar layout such as above there is a straight line where the neck joins and the opposite end is an arc the length of the body.

Until the digital age tool and die makers used the same system to make ovals that were close to ellipses but not ellipses. Machines could mill arcs but not true ovals. In the case of hammer eyes the standard oval eye is defined this way.

NOTE: There ARE lathes that can machine true ellipses such as those that are used to make oval picture frames. However, this is a specialty machine, not a common engine lathe.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/01/17 13:49:38 EDT

Rare information note:

In the 3 years of drafting I took in high school and the 4 years in art, followed by the many years in engineering the rules for the above method were NOT taught or described. Nor have I seen it in any drafting, layout or drawing book. We hand sketched then used French curves and ellipse templates (of which I have a large collection). The only place I've seen this method explained was in one reference to a famous Luthier's methods. And even there the author did not fully understand how it worked (author, not an artist, draftsman or engineer. . .). Later I recognized it in hammer eye standards.

Some folks use a version of this to fake spirals. Spirals are a true mathematical curve that can also be laid of geometrically. IF you are going to use the arc method, learn to use it right. Get out a compass and straight edge and practice.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/01/17 14:30:32 EDT

Compound Arc Layout Method :
1) Each arc starts and ends on a radius line from its center.

2) Each second arc must have its center on the radius line of the first and starts at that line.

3) Straight lines must be tangent to the arcs at its starting and ending. This means that the two arcs radius lines are at the same angle or parallel if extended.

The above rules produce a smooth curve with no kinks. To produce a spiral each segment must sweep the same angle and each radii be the same proportion of the first OR a mathematical progression such as the Prime numbers or a Fourier series.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/01/17 23:18:18 EDT

power hammer question : I have watched a lot of videos, looked at a lot of written plans/pictures at the drive motor for a tire hammer/clutch. the small diameter cylinder on the motor drive shaft seems to be a secret as to what it is, material, how it is made, and how it is attached, etc. can someone enlighten me? thanks
   dave - Wednesday, 08/02/17 11:41:42 EDT

Tire Hammer Pulley :
Dave, Then you haven't explored anvilfire very much.

Power Hammer Page, Catalog of user built hammers, Guru's anvilfire X1 hammer, Page 7 - Hammer Drawings Scroll down to Pulley Drawing, click on it for a full size true scale printable PDF.

This is for a 120 pound hammer with a 2HP motor having a 7/8" shaft. Cheaper motors will have a 5/8" shaft.

Material can be mild steel, cast iron or alloy aluminum.

Our new drawing has the relief bore turned to 3" to remove excess weight that puts a high startup torque on the motor. NOTE, YOU MUST counterbore the pulley in order to broach the keyway.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/02/17 13:36:19 EDT

Tire Hammer Pulley :
Optionally I have seen people take some sort of hub that fits their motor and weld a piece of pipe to it. This has to be done as accurate as possible OR machined afterward. "Machining" can be done on the motor with an angle grinder to turn the pulley true. Avoid getting grinding swarf in the motor!!!

   - guru - Wednesday, 08/02/17 15:09:40 EDT

Identify anvil : I found this anvil but need help to id and date it. Would like to know what it is worth. I can make out the words "MOUSE" "HOLE" and a smaller word under that ends in what looks like "rman". I have pics but can't seem to figure out how to attach them. Thank you!!
   Holly - Wednesday, 08/02/17 18:19:49 EDT

Mousehole Forge . com

Mousehole Forge was one of or THE longest running anvil manufacturer in England. The mousehole logo was used from the 1820's to 1911. They went out of business during the depression like many anvil manufacturers.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/03/17 02:22:03 EDT

Archives : I may have missed information somewhere on this site, but I noticed that the archives don't seem to include the last (approx) five years of posts. Do you provide those archives somewhere other than on your archives page?
   - Dave Hammer - Thursday, 08/03/17 03:24:49 EDT

Anvil failure : I have heard rumors of breakage with modern anvils that caused injuries. Is there any truth to this?
   Neal Bulllington - Thursday, 08/03/17 03:43:49 EDT

Archives :
Dave, I've got them, just have not processed. . . its a pain and I've had many other things to do. Will break down and spend a day doing them. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 08/03/17 04:30:44 EDT

Anvil Failure :
Neal, There is probably less issue with modern anvils than those wonderful old glass hard anvils of the 19th and early 20th century. Modern anvils are heat treated to be softer than the old anvils to prevent chipping and spalling. The old anvils mentioned were hardened as hard as possible and not tempered.

If you study enough old anvils you will see some pretty serious sized chips taken out of their edges. When these came off they were razor sharp and traveling at bullet speeds. Generally this occurred due to a misstrike with a sledge.

This is true of any hardened tool steel tool and why there are warnings NOT to strike hardened tools with hardened tools. Of course this is often difficult from a practical standpoint. However, the struck end of struck tools should be softer than the hammer striking them. AND when tools become mushroomed they should be dressed. I've got a number of old flatters and struck tools that are mushroomed and cracked way beyond an acceptable safe to use condition. I do not use these tools but keep them as teaching examples.

I believe part of the reason you find so many old tools in this condition is that old shops did not have the type of grinders we commonly have in shops today.

Other possibilities. . . there are a great number of ASO's around that could easily have horns and heals broken of in use and possibly cause a problem. However, I consider these a NON-TOOL. If you are foolish enough to use cheap pretend tools then you should not be surprised when they fail. . . on the other hand. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 08/03/17 04:56:58 EDT

Induction Heater :

However, its only good for heating a fraction of a gram of material. . . Its an induction sealer used to heat seal containers.

AND its one of those CHEAP tools. . . The problem is, the "cheap" ones sell for around $200. I found an importer selling them for half (less than $100). I would LOVE to have an American made unit BUT they are $4000 for the same size and capacity machine. When the price difference is 40 to 1 there is a significant problem. . . The US made units are nicer, the wand and power cords plug in rather than being permanently wired. And their cases are metal rather than plastic. I suspect the electronics are more robust but this is not always true. . .

Like $15 HaberFlate grinders I can treat this unit as a throw away. I can buy several more and put them on the shelf.

Now. . . IF I get a years life out of my cheap unit should I expect a 40 year life from an American unit? AND at 4K I would have to quadruple the price of the product I am sealing in order to pay for the US made unit. . . and in that case the product is unlikely to sell.

Such is life. . .
   - guru - Thursday, 08/03/17 05:31:54 EDT

KA-75 : Does anyone know what date Grant Sarver built the first KA-75?
   - Dave Hammer - Thursday, 08/03/17 05:40:01 EDT

I have read every letter and dot on anvilfire about power hammers. I found no details about the drive pulley. the only obvious thing is that it is made from metal. good stuff about the hammers but there are a lot of
   - dave - Thursday, 08/03/17 11:35:59 EDT

Tire Hammer Pulley :
Dave, apparently you missed our 11 page X1 power hammer build article. Its only been out there with top billing for 5 years. . .

The pulley is best made of the metals I listed but it could also be made of laminated fiber (Micarta) and even good hardwood would work. Due to the heat of friction most plastics would not work but glass filled epoxy is heat and wear resistant.

In our earliest tire hammer article (NC-JYH 2014) it points out that the only machined part is the "aluminum drive pulley". We used steel because its a lot cheaper.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/03/17 15:28:25 EDT

fireplace screen : Thanks for info on screens, I do have the templates that the customer had made, but my main concern is I live in Wisconsin, and these screens(3) are for his new home in Phoenix Az...I would like to try one but my timeframe is shrinking to get these done, I just completed 12 window embrasures for this same customer...I assume to get screen tight on frame is about like stretching window screen, start in middle and work outward and around frame?...could you recommend a couple smiths in Arizona that I can send this customer to? thanks again for the help.
   Art - Thursday, 08/03/17 18:19:59 EDT

KA-75 :
I know Grant was making them earlier than 1998 when we launched anvilfire and earlier than 1997 when were posting on "the Junkyard".
   - guru - Friday, 08/04/17 05:01:59 EDT

Punch and Forge Lubricant :
We are now selling Fuchs Forge Ease industrial forge lube in small containers. This stuff is clean and safe (about as hazardous as sea water and contains no grease, graphite or molybdenum disulphide).

It prevents punches from sticking and reduces wear on dies. Punches penetrate deeper and touchmarks make cleaner impressions.

Ptree's Testimonial

Ptree's comparison test

anvilfire Store Forge Ease sales page.

Even if you are not ready to buy, let us know what size container you would prefer.
   - guru - Friday, 08/04/17 13:36:55 EDT

Jock... Thanks for your responses....
   - Dave Hammer - Friday, 08/04/17 18:54:58 EDT

Forge Ease : Glad to see someone is making this high quality industrial forging lube available to our trade.
   ptree - Friday, 08/04/17 20:29:05 EDT

Hi, I have an anvil i acquired from relo's and I'm trying to find out more about it
On one side there is a W near the top and what looks like cold chisel marks middle to bottom, other side has number 234,the top is 425mm long by 160mm wide, the horn is 240mm long. It's overall length is 670mm and 310mm high
I have photos but not to sure how to send them to you,
Casino NSW
   - Richard - Saturday, 08/05/17 20:49:27 EDT

Richard, click on my name and send your photos.

Note to ALL: Anvil dimensions do absolutely nothing to help identify a maker.
   - guru - Saturday, 08/05/17 21:08:34 EDT

My grandfather passed away I went and collected all of his blacksmithing equipment so it would not be stolen. I have a question about a forge table thought. It is cast iron has a quench tank build in and has a large champion blower with it. I am guessing it is champion made but I want to keep it so I will have to buy it from my family, I need to tell them what it is worth so I can buy and keep it.
   - Tyler Dixon - Monday, 08/07/17 21:39:51 EDT

Well so far that's much like I have a Ford car; how much is it worth?
Champion made a lot of different forges! Terms like large are meaningless. I have a friend that works with a large forge---train cars fit into it. I have another friend who has a large forge 2" sq stock fits in it. There is also a location Factor is this forge in the UK or Greece? Mexico or South Africa---world wide web you know!

Can you provide more details on size, condition, blower details, etc?
   ThomasP - Monday, 08/07/17 22:02:45 EDT

Forge Condition :
You will need to clean out all the ashes (if in used condition) and look for rusted or burnt through holes. The blowers leak oil and some oils become stiff with age. You will need to oil the blower then turn it. There should be little noise. If there is a roar or growling noise then the gears or bearings are worn out.

The blower having the original wooden handle is worth more if the rest is in good condition.

As Thomas noted size is relative. Photos help. You can click on my name to send photos direct.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/08/17 01:30:38 EDT

Forge Ease : Jock, I'll probably get some of that Forge Ease later, but when I do it'll be the small pint size. Diluted eight to one, that would probably be a lifetime supply for my hobby needs.
   - Marc - Tuesday, 08/08/17 11:03:46 EDT

Marc, for blacksmiths dipping tools the ratio is 1:1 so it is only double. The 8:1 is for spraying on closed dies.

A small amount will last a long time but the biggest losses are dripping and spills (nail that container down). There are also evaporation losses but that is just the water in an open container. You can top off with water but try not to replace used product.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/08/17 15:08:50 EDT

forge lubricant : Having forging lubricant right at my anvil now for many years I can advise that as Jock notes far more is likely to be spilled or dripped off on the floor. I was lucky to receive a nice formed deep stainless water tank from a scrapped Bunn coffee maker. I mounted the tank which is about 6" in diameter and about 16" deep next to the anvil, mounted to a tool table. Has a hinged lid that is easy to swing out of the way and this both stops spills and slows evaporation of the water.

That 8% is for spray application in a closed die making a hit every 6 seconds or so. The 92% water is there both as a vehicle for the lube but much more important in a high speed operation is pulling the heat out of the dies. At 8% the lube won't overbuild and fill stencils etc. For blacksmith use dipping is far better and the 50% is the right rate. Enough water to pull the heat, enough lube to sorta but ball bearings on the tools. and every tool lasts longer.
   ptree - Tuesday, 08/08/17 20:55:56 EDT

Peter Wright anvil : I just got a Peter Wright anvil #80Lb. or according mt the bathroom scale.
The marking unlike other markings this has England below Patent then in a semi circle LTD and maybe an O before the L then a JGH and couple other letters I can not make out. To far right of the JGH may be the number 5, so hard to make out. Below is the weight that I'm not sure how to calculate but I have 0 3 3
Can I get some help in identifying what I have.
I can tell you that it is horse back and broken edges also has a square hole under the horn that lines up to the back but noes not go all the way through unless it is plugged.
   Renny - Tuesday, 08/08/17 22:08:21 EDT

Peter Wright anvil :
Renny, What you have is a Peter Wright with markings for a company that owned or sold it.

The handling holes (those square holes) are all about 3" deep and there are four. One is hiding under the face plate having been plugged before welding on the face and one is on the bottom.

033 is NO hundredweight, 3 quarter hundred weights (3 x 28) and 3 pounds. So 84 + 3 = 87 pounds. Your bathroom scale is wrong (not unusual) or your PW has been on a diet. Unless a significant part is broken off they are almost always within +/- 1 pound of marked weight.

Peter Wrights end up swayed more than other anvils because they TRIED to make the BEST anvil and used clean virgin wrought iron for their anvil bodies where other makers used scrap. Scrap had some steel parts in it and the grain is in random directions making a much more solid body. The new wrought had nice parallel grain that is softer and easier to cold form than the scrap. As the face is only about 1/2" and the top 1/4" is the hardest you cannot machine or grind a PW flat.

   - guru - Wednesday, 08/09/17 16:28:53 EDT

Fluid math : 8:1 is 1/9th lube or 11.1%

AND. . In my editing 4 different volume labels I did not change the Liters when I went up from half gallons to gallons. . . So all my photos and my gallon labels said "gallon, 128oz. (1.9L)" when it should have said, "gallon, 128oz. (3.8L)"

Luckily no product has gone out miss marked but I had to fix a lot of images and I have wasted a bit of expensive label paper.

To make this worse I was measuring the lube in a 2000 mL graduated cylinder about two feet tall. A half gallon almost fills it up and it looks like there is no-way it is going to fit into the compact little rectangular jug. It does fit AND there is quite a bit of air-space as the jugs are made to round off at 500 ml, 1000 ml (1 liter), then 2 litters and 4 liters PLUS some air space over the metric fill. . . but then. . . have you noticed that almost no consumer products are sold in any even units in either English OR metric units?

Some of this comes under the "shrinking candy bar syndrome". It can really play heck with cooking recipes that say "use one box cake mix" where the old box was 12 oz and the new one is 10 but the fact is not recorded. Using "box" sizes worked for 100 years in recipes. . .

I recently tried to buy some 1/2 pint (8oz.) plastic jars. What I got held 10 ounces, not 8. So I had to buy 6oz. containers to get a 8oz. filled to the top. . . Read the specifications fine print.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/09/17 17:11:58 EDT

Its worse. . . : Fuchs sells Forge Ease by the pound. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/09/17 17:24:15 EDT

I was in Sweden last month, and went into a grocery store that had a freezer full of Haagen Dazs next to a freezer of Ben and Jerry's. The price on the Ben and Jerry's was a little higher, and my first thought was that it must be because a pint of Ben and Jerry's is still a pint. But of course, they were both in 500 ml cartons -- shrinking candy bar syndrome doesn't seem to have hit there yet.

(If anyone's wondering, Haagen Dazs is purely an American brand.)
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 08/09/17 19:16:22 EDT

Jock, most lubricants are sold by the pound, including many oils.
   ptree - Wednesday, 08/09/17 19:17:38 EDT

Probably a hold over from the whale oil days. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/09/17 19:47:12 EDT

Forge Ease Eorking Container :
I've been looking for a good container to for dipping punches and such near the forge. I've found a nice stainless container that tapers upward so that as you mentioned freezing would not hurt it. But it is pretty pricey. . . . $85 for a half gallon (1900ml) container.

On the other hand. . . I had two beautiful galvanized water buckets with spouts (for filling radiators) from my service station days. . . ice got them both buckling the bottom out and splitting the side seam. $60 on ebay. They were great, the top having a partial cover so that water did not spill on you while carrying it. They make something close today but with the same spout and flange.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/10/17 09:18:35 EDT

Any info would help
   - Alan Grillot - Thursday, 08/10/17 13:47:22 EDT

I making a gas forge and need to line the forge, i have access to a Kwool knockoff, but need to know what king of sealant to use to keep the fibers in the forge, im also looking at using a yard inflatable blower to make a ribbon burner but font know if it would work.
Any info would help.
   - Alan Grillot - Thursday, 08/10/17 13:58:12 EDT

Thanks for the help
   - Alan J Grillot - Thursday, 08/10/17 13:59:15 EDT

Forge Build : Alan, We sell ITC-100HT for coating hard and soft refractories.

A ribbon burner has its own requirements for air pressure and volume. I would check with the place you got the plans.
   - guru - Thursday, 08/10/17 14:27:42 EDT

forge lining : i am going to build a new gas forge, i have excess to a knock off K wool insulation but don't know what to use to seal the wool or how important it is. cost is important as i am just getting started and don't have much to spend. do you have any advise as to what to buy and where to get it?
   Alan J Grillot - Thursday, 08/10/17 14:38:34 EDT

sorry for the repeat post [phone trouble] the ribbon burner that i'm making is from a youtube video, i just wanted to try it, but they aid nothing about the blower requirements
   Alan J Grillot - Thursday, 08/10/17 14:44:56 EDT

If you google "ribbon burner design" there is a lot of information out there. They seem like complicated non-sense to me.
   - guru - Friday, 08/11/17 10:58:54 EDT

Ribbon Burners : Actually, ribbon burners have their place. Although, in general, they are not for small forges....

They ROCK for large forges. They do, as noted, require a blower that maintains static pressure, which are generally fairly expensive. An example of a lower cost blower that would work (with a speed controller) would be one that is used with a bouncy house (kids playpen).
   - Dave Hammer - Saturday, 08/12/17 10:20:55 EDT

ribbon burner : I've been using a burner of John Emmerling's design (www.waynecoeartistblacksmith.com/uploads/Ribbon_Forge_Burner.pdf) for about 10 years with great success. I need to get a bigger blower to get to welding heat more easily, but the ribbon burner works better than the Hans Peot design burner I had on an older forge.
   Jan - Saturday, 08/12/17 10:54:47 EDT

Well I was once forging some 2.5" sq stock in a large forge using a ribbon burner at around 7000' in altitude and it kept the forge so hot that another user accidentally forge welded their 3/4" stock to mine by just shoving it in along side of my piece and hitting it.

We had to use a sledge hammer to separate the two pieces!
   ThomasP - Sunday, 08/13/17 22:02:01 EDT

Inadvertent "Forge" welding I've seen the same thing in an NC-Tool three burner forge with open end door. A whole pile of 3/4" bar turned into one lump. . . This too was at high altitude. Maybe its the altitude?

I am very leery of claims of fuel efficiency. Too often the comparison is between unequal forges OR poorly constructed forges and burners. If you are going to claim cost savings you better have the science behind you.

For many years ITC claimed "up to 40%" fuel savings. I never repeated this extreme statement. After decades of looking for the source of this statement it was from an article about a company that had ITC rebuild a worn out furnace that had gaps in the insulation, leaking door seals and generally VERY poor condition. Simple application of ITC-100 did not make the claimed difference.

On the other hand many companies will not run their furnaces without their coating of ITC. They know it more than pays for itself in fuel savings. There have been numerous studies proving this. However, the studies I was supplied for reproduction were flawed. They listed lots of statistics but failed to have "before" data. Thus were bad science and I would not repeat them. The problem is that the studies I was not given permission to reproduce where considered "proprietary" - The cost savings giving the users a business advantage. So we are stuck with a lot of anecdotal evidence.
   - guru - Monday, 08/14/17 03:48:57 EDT

Burner Details :
I've studied the insides of several propane torches and they all had some sort of diffuser toward the bottom of the mixing tube. One had a simple piece of screen and another a little piece of gear stock that created 8 side holes and a center hole. Both of these helped break up the viscous propane and mix it with air.

I have yet to see this applied to forge burners. The closest I've seen and used is on blower burners the gas entering through a tube with numerous small holes. I've got some stainless screen I might try. . .
   - guru - Monday, 08/14/17 04:27:41 EDT

Ribbon burners act as a diffuser by design. They tend to produce a more even heat, or at least a larger hot spot.
   Alan-L - Monday, 08/14/17 14:58:04 EDT

Using multiple single burners also helps break up the fuel. The modular burners used by NC-Tool are smaller than they appear (closer to a 1/2" pipe burner) and thus they have small forges with 4 burners or more.

I've been trying to avoid hot spots by directing the burners up at the forge roof so the heat reflects downward. However, our last forge was a single burner so it had a hot spot on the far side of the forge. The next one will have two burners blowing up toward the roof and toward each other so that the heat is more diffuse.
   - guru - Monday, 08/14/17 19:44:23 EDT

Identify an anvil : I am wondering what company manufactured my anvil. Is it possible to post pictures of it somehow? Thanks for your input.
   Hotrod - Monday, 08/14/17 22:52:30 EDT

Hotrod, you can mail them to me.

Note however, that unless the anvil is marked as to who made it (most are) then it may be impossible to identify. SOME anvils can be identified by minor features of the shape or how it was made. Forged anvils often have a distinctive bottom so it helps to photograph that.

If the anvil is painted, dirty or corroded and not cleaned then the makers marks may be too faint to see. So it helps to clean the anvil before photographing it.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/15/17 10:26:20 EDT

Forge : I have a propane forge, the blower is marked Johnson Iron Works Lincoln, Ne. I'm looking for a replacement blower and the wiring diagram for the forge.
   Gary Townsend - Tuesday, 08/15/17 16:54:46 EDT

Gary, Johnson is still in business (as far as I know). Call them. OR Centaur Forge is a dealer for them as well.
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/15/17 22:13:38 EDT

johnsongas.com but be prepared for sticker shock! I bought my stuff at a school auction cheap and it has served as excellent trading stock. Unfortunately by now, 15 years later, I have traded off my extra mixer/blower box and the pedestal forge with it's blower box, the speedy muller went long ago and far away.
   ThomasP - Tuesday, 08/15/17 23:20:22 EDT

Johnson Forges : The bigger price shock of Johnson Forges is the cost of fuel. Even the small Johnson is a large forge that uses a LOT of gas.

They are also a trough forge where relatively small pieces can fall into it and are almost impossible to fish out until after the forge has cooled off.

There ARE cases where a trough forge is useful such as the "Famous 10 Minute Forge".

Famous 10 Minute Forge - Click for article.

This forge was designed for heating ONE thing, pavement breaker bits. They rested on the hearth and a stock rack the forge heating only the first 3 to 4 inches. The large bits are almost impossible to drop into the forge. You would have to try purposely. But most of us do not want a single purpose forge.
   - guru - Wednesday, 08/16/17 13:18:30 EDT

Anvil identification, please help : My parents got an ancient church window anvil at an auction. It weighs somewhere around 150 pounds, and is marked with "V 2" on the flat side.
   Mark Andrews - Saturday, 08/19/17 20:40:43 EDT

Anvil ID answered by mail.
   - guru - Sunday, 08/20/17 09:49:03 EDT

THE Eclipse :
Some facts. . . NO this is NOT the last eclipse in the next 100 years. . the NEWS people always say this and they are lying or ignorant. . (well, they ARE the FAKE news). Eclipses happen on a regular basis just not all over the country. THIS eclipse is going to be seen by more people (weather permitting) than any other but it is NOT the last. If you are willing to travel you can probably see one about every 5 years or so in the US. I will not see this one but I could drive a couple hours and see it. I've seen 3 in my lifetime while in Virginia (one every 20 years in State). SO, I'm not super excited about this one but I MAY see a partial eclipse just by walking out on the back porch.

If this is your FIRST then enjoy it. They are a really unique event.

IF you are a welder then a number 10 or greater arc welding filter is a good way to view the eclipse. Let the neighborhood kids use your spare helmets. It is a good safe way to view the eclipse (NO PEEKING!).

The first eclipse I saw was at Virginia Beach in the 70's. I built a pin hole camera/viewer using a long cardboard tube. The top end had a fine round pinhole in a piece of card stock. At the bottom I put a soft white screen set at a 45 degree angle so you could look at it from the side. The inside of the viewing area and ends of the tube were painted black to absorb extraneous light. The longer the tube the better. Mine was about 4 feet long. We got some decent but small photos of the projected image. It was about 3/16" in diameter.

So have fun tomorrow. Be safe!
   - guru - Sunday, 08/20/17 14:22:31 EDT

anvil I d : I have a Peter wright anvil. I can t make much out of the writing, on the lowest part of the anvil there is a capitol w on both sides of the anvil. i ve weighed the anvil with four 6 by 6 's on end approx. 20 inch high with two straps and 2 angle irons on the bottom. I figure it to be approx 250 #. question is what do the two w's stand for? any help would be appreciated.
   charles - Sunday, 08/20/17 23:43:44 EDT

W's : Sound like sellers or owner's marks after leaving the factory.

Ah. . Weighty, Weighs a lot, Wrought, Wright . . . :)
   - guru - Monday, 08/21/17 08:26:58 EDT

Anvil : I just bought an old Anvil and I want to identify it. Its been painted and has rust in it How can I find out the age of it.
   Charles Walker - Tuesday, 08/29/17 15:58:19 EDT

Anvil : I just bought an old Anvil and I want to identify it. Its been painted and has rust in it How can I find out the age of it.
   - Charles Walker - Tuesday, 08/29/17 15:58:55 EDT

To paraphrase ThomasP, "I have an old truck that is rusted, how do I tell how old it is?"

Anvils have looked a lot alike for over 150 years. But there are SOME differences that help identify or determine the approximate age.

The best thing to do is to strip the paint and power wire brush off the loose rust and dirt. Old wrought anvils will have the name stamped into them but not very deep. So the marks are hard to read. IF the markings are raised, then the anvil is cast.

So, step one is to wash the truck and see if its a Ford, Chevy or Dodge. . . (Datsun, Peogot, Mercedes...). Then photograph it and send someone like me the photos and I'll try to help. A photo of the bottom is often more helpful than others. Who'd a thunk?
   - guru - Tuesday, 08/29/17 19:45:30 EDT

Type of anvil : Found an anvil with these numbers UL12 OA not sure if the It's an O or D. Cannot make out a name on it. Any help greatly appreciated . Thank you
   Mike Pitchford - Sunday, 09/03/17 09:05:55 EDT

blades : I am trying to make a knife forge and I don't know if I need any compounds to help the butane torches heat up the railroad spikes I want to turn into knives. Please help!
   Jeff - Monday, 09/04/17 17:01:00 EDT

1) Unless you want to make a kitchy railroad spike knife the steel in a railroad spike is not very good for a knife.

2) A home-use type propane torch that fits on a liter bottle of propane will not get a spike sized piece of steel to forging temperature. Not if you use up a dozen bottles of propane. You CAN build a mini-forge using a bottle mount burner. However, the largest steel you can heat in one of these is about 3/8" (1cm) round but 1/4" (7mm) square is better. You can forge small nails and tacks using one of these forges.

   - guru - Monday, 09/04/17 21:29:00 EDT

Several questions : I've read your guidelines. I'm 65 years old and in North Central Ohio. I've searched around your website and have a few questions:
1. Where do I register for a login.
2. How can I contribute images of anvils for your gallery?
3. I have a 100# New Model Little Giant for sale and need to post in your tailgate sales section but without the login ........

Help please?
   Bob - Wednesday, 09/13/17 10:43:53 EDT


Except for adding a link to a photo or web ad on the tailgate you do not need a login for anvilfire. Photos for ads must be hosted elsewhere and a link put in your ad. Send me your name and address and I will fix you up.

Photos for the gallery are sent directly to me. You should be able to mail me by clicking on my name on this post. Photos are best not cropped or processed in any way. Makes it easier for me to adjust them.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/13/17 15:15:44 EDT

Does anyone have contact info for VICopper's widow? I would like to be sure she is alright after the hurricane and offer any help I can.
   ThomasP - Wednesday, 09/13/17 22:41:50 EDT

Thomas, I was thinking the same thing. I thought I had his brother's email but no go.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/14/17 10:32:13 EDT

Quenchant choice : Hi,
I'm a fairly experienced bladesmith but my supplier ran out of business. Thus I'm working with a new steel. It is the equivalent to 9260 I believe, a relatively high carbon silicon steel. I'm making a tanto, about 12 inch blade length and 6mm thick. Due to the high manganese content I'm not expecting a Hamon. I do want a curve though. I have heard that this steel can be water quenched despite officially being an oil hardening steel. Would a horizontal water quench be possible and produce the curve? Or should I simply forge it in? I'd leave the edge about 2mm thick if water quenching...
Thanks in advance
   - Paul Hunden - Friday, 09/15/17 06:20:41 EDT


Generally steels that are quenched in quenchants other than recommended are done so depending on cross section. The heavier the section the more severe the quenchant.

This sounds like a question that could be answered in the shop faster and more accurately than doing paper research.
   - guru - Friday, 09/15/17 08:10:11 EDT

Quenching 9260 : I tried quenching new leaf spring (probably 9260 or similar these days) in water with disastrous results. A network of cracks developed, leaving pieces between cracks about quarter size. Stick to oil.
   Jan - Friday, 09/15/17 09:05:37 EDT

quenching 9260 : Jan, leaf springs are usually 5160, which is for sure an oil-only steel. 9260 can technically survive a water quench, but I'd stick to warm oil and precurve the blade a little more than I want the final curve to be, because it will nosedive a little in oil. If it's true 9260 you may get a hamon, or at least a differential hardening line.

Paul, is this "equivalent" EN 43? There's a lot of info about it on BritishBlades if so.
   Alan-L - Sunday, 09/17/17 10:34:55 EDT

removing scale : whats best way to remove scale from hot rolled metal, or after you forge something and theres pockets of scale on piece?
   Art - Sunday, 09/17/17 16:26:13 EDT

Removing Scale - or rust and paint :
The best way depends on your needs, production levels and budget.

Scale can be removed by power wire brushing. This is efficient on the odd piece or so but the labor adds up and there is a certain amount of danger using power wire brushes.

Scale can be removed using acid such as citric acid. It is slow and you have to dispose of the waste water, acid and scale. On large work the tanks can be a problem. Some folks use cheap plastic children's pools for this. It is low labor and being slow you do not need to babysit the work. When done in the acid the work needs to be rinsed and the acid neutralized using baking soda solution.

Scale can be removed by vibratory finishing. The advantage to vibratory finishing is that it also deburrs (a huge labor savings). However, there is a cost to the machinery and the waste cutting fluid contains scale and metal fines that must be properly disposed of. In medium to high production vibratory finishing is THE BEST method of finishing.

Scale can be removed by sandblasting. This has a number of downsides (expensive machinery, waste sand, health issues). The advantage of sandblasting is that it gives the metal surface a distinct "tooth" that holds paint or galvanizing very well. You can also sandblast large or unusually shaped work that won't fit in machines or tanks.

Scale can be removed by tumbling. Tumblers are not as controllable as vibratory finishing and take some experimenting to get the process right. However, they are relatively easy to build and cheaper to buy than vibratory finishers. So a lot of people use tumblers. Tumblers can also be used as ball mills for grinding.

Vibratory Finishers and Tumblers Both work best with the proper abrasive media (cones, cylinders, balls) made of abrasive material (like parts of a grinding wheel). Shape size and grit all make a difference the same as in grinding wheels. Coarse cutting and deburing can be done as well as polishing.

Both of these machines come in bench top to large industrial size. A down side is that football sized bench top vibratory finishers are as noisy as large industrial finishers. But both machines are pretty much load and leave (for a set time).
   - guru - Sunday, 09/17/17 18:27:49 EDT

Disposing of finishing liquids :
Metal and debris carrying water based finishing mixtures can be disposed of safely and effectively with a little effort. Dumping these wastes onto the ground or into sewers is illegal and can result in serious fines. Note that many urban sewer systems have metal compound detectors that can alert the government and set them on your trail. Dumping them into your own septic system can harm the biological balance of the system and cause you serious (expensive) issues.

DISPOSAL: The first step is to neutralize any acid. This can be done with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). When the addition of soda does not result in any fizzing or bubbling then the acid is killed. If you are not sure a cheap Ph testing kit can be used to measure acidity. The second step is to boil off or let the water naturally evaporate away. The remaining sludge can then be put into a small metal can and then heated until 100% dry. The remaining product and container can now be compressed into a small lump and disposed as as dry metallic waste which is generally not regulated as hazardous waste.

The waste from vibratory finisher filters can be treated the same way. Generally the thick metallic sludge goes directly into a can and is cooked then the dry metallic biscuit disposed of.
   - guru - Monday, 09/18/17 15:56:36 EDT

I have Fisher norris eagle anvil 180 1920 cast on end.
Would like to sell what would the value of this item.
Thanks john
   - John martin - Monday, 09/18/17 21:43:48 EDT

I have a Fisher Norris eagle anvil 180 pound 1920 cast on end.I would like to sell it what would the value be for this.
   - John martin - Monday, 09/18/17 21:51:12 EDT

John, Anvil value is determined by brand, weight, condition and location. You have given us two out of four. Condition is one that you probably cannot judge and must be done by an expert. A photo would help but unless very good photos sometime little can be said. For a true valuation a Fisher needs a tap test and close examination of the weld seams.

Location also makes a difference as anvils are very plentiful in some parts of the world and very very rare in others. Even the location within a country such as the US makes a significant difference.

Otherwise the value range is from $200 to $2000 USD in the US and Canada.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/19/17 07:28:46 EDT

Tempering steel : When doing blacksmith work, what is the color of the heated metal when it is time to quench it to get the steel to harden? In other words, how does a blacksmith know the steel is ready to be quenched to harden it?
   Al Gilchrist - Wednesday, 09/20/17 05:44:49 EDT

Tempering steel : Adding to the entry above, Usually, when I go to temper a piece of steel, I either let it heat up good and hot and quench in some ATF. I have used the magnet to see when no longer magnetic but, I am not sure if that is a good way to know when to quench.
   Al Gilchrist - Wednesday, 09/20/17 08:50:34 EDT

Tapered wood screws : One can always put in threads on must any kind of incline with thread files
   Al Gilchrist - Wednesday, 09/20/17 08:55:57 EDT

Tempering steel : Al, It depends somewhat on the steel and mostly on the ambient lighting in your shop. The critical temperature, (known as the A3 point) is the temperature at which steel has the smallest crystalline structure. This ranges from 50 degrees F below non-magnetic for high carbon steels to 340 F above non-magnetic for low carbon steels. The A3 point spikes upward at above 80 point carbon and is only correct at about 60 point carbon. It is not perfect but many smiths use the non-magnetic point for hardening. The also judge by heat color but it requires practice and experience.

The heat color in this range varies from a red to a low orange in low light. In bright daylight it can be a visibly undetectable heat. Smiths that do heat treating keep their shops dimly lit OR use a "dark box" to check their heat.

On top of all this you want to quench on what is called a "rising heat". That means that you quench when the steel reaches the correct temperature but NOT by overheating and waiting for it to cool. By overheating you may create larger than optimum crystals that do not go away simply by cooling. Thus the steel, even though quenched at the correct temperature may be brittle.

Proper heat treating may also require holding the steel at the A3 point for as long as 2 hours. This requires a temperature controlled furnace.

Much of this information can be found on the the Tempil - Basic Guide to Ferrous Metallurgy Chart, Tempil Division, Big Three Industries, Inc. This chart was one of the most important quick references in the metalworking industry. It was available free in 8-1/2 x 11" and also as a wall chart for a small fee. It is no longer produced by Tempil but PDF versions are available. We found it reproduced in The $50 Knife Shop by Wayne Goddard. Shows the heat color temperatures, percentage of carbon, phase diagram, crystal size and describes each feature.

Note that "tempering" is the act of reheating the steel AFTER hardening to reduce brittleness. It is recommended to temper ASAP after hardening and often before the steel reaches room temperature. On plain carbon steel the tempering temperature may be determined by the rainbow colors that clean steel turns as it is heated.

anvilfire Steel Temper Color Chart.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/20/17 08:58:44 EDT

Quenchants :
Different steels require different quenchants, Water, brine, oil and air are all recommended quenchants. Air quench steels are merely waved in the air or set in front of a window fan while cooling. It helps to set parts made of air hardening steel on a grate or support made of expanded metal so that air can get to all sides.

Many smiths use ATF for quenching small items but most smiths quenching large items use fry oil (peanut oil). Industry used various oils as well as water based polymer quenchants.

Quenching water should be heated to a bit above room temperature (say body temperature) prior to use.

Different SIZE pieces also require different quenchants. Heavy sections of air quench steel may need a warm oil quench and so on. . .
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/20/17 09:21:28 EDT

Tempering steel : Thanks for the answers. I have known about the color chart for many years and I have been getting steel up to an orange heat and then quenching in ATF or motor oil for a long time as I have been smithing for years or at least working with metal and arch or torch welding also for years. I have read many articles on hardening steel from different sources and have made a study of it to some respect. The reason for the question is the fact is that I usually work with scrap metal and I have never bought a piece of metal to do my smithing on. I was just wondering if there was a rule of thumb or some default way one could use when needing to temper metal that you really do not know what it is other than high carbon steel by using the spark method. HOwever, I do believe I got my answer from what you guys have said in that it really varies based on the steel which is what I figured was true. I do sometimes look up what my scrap is like coil springs from a car or leaf springs from a car and see what the temperatures are for it and what colors to use when tempering the steel. I guess the best answer is that it varies based on the steel composition...etc. I was hoping to pull some secrete out of you guys that would give me a rule of thumb. The safe answer is that the temperature on the rise is based on the metal compostion and when you want to temper the steel, you have to basically draw it back as the first quench actually may harden the steel to a point of being brittle and you draw it back in a temperature controlled oven for possibly hours to make the rockwell or what ever you prefer what the application of the item being tempered for. I have used the torch on the back of a knife blade before to make the colors run toward the edge that I want to be hard or usable. I guess I will continue to use the red/orange heat and quench in oil going forward and then putting the blades in an oven to draw them back.

When I was in machine shop school, we had high temperature ovens to replace heating the parts up in a forge. Then using a lower temperature oven to temper the steel for the application based on temperature. Thanks for all your help.
   Al Gilchrist - Wednesday, 09/20/17 11:08:03 EDT

What kind of acid : When you want to etch a blade like when you do Damascus steel, it brings out the lines in the steel when you etch the steel. What acid or mixture of acid would you guys recommend? I have heard all kinds of stuff. I have used different mixtures and have gotten different results. Just wanted to check to see what is recommended or if various ones are needed.
   Al Gilchrist - Wednesday, 09/20/17 11:17:58 EDT

Forging Presses : Guys, I am in the process of building a press that is air over hydrolic as a press to use to smash the heated metal together to weld them as I have gotten to where I make more and more Damascus. I am getting tired of beating it all together with a hammer and I feel like a press does a better job. Many of the presses I see has a pump motor on them that supplies the pressure to a hydrolic cylinder which ultimately does the smashing. Do you have any idea if the fluid pumped presses are any better or not as good as one that is air over hydrolic? I do not see that it makes much difference as long as the press has the ability to press the steel in a timely manner and recovers fairly quickly...etc.
   Al Gilchrist - Wednesday, 09/20/17 11:25:19 EDT

Fly Press : Would you recommend that a fellow hunts up a fly press to use doing his smithing when that fellow has a big hydrolic press as well as a smaller arbor press? I have dies and tools I have made for my arbor press and have been using that mostly for my smith pressing needs. Is there any advantages for one or the other?
   Al Gilchrist - Wednesday, 09/20/17 11:30:09 EDT

Fly Press contd : I have an even smaller arbor press I made in machine shop classes. I have used even the little press for my smithing and have made tols and dies for it as well.
   Al Gilchrist - Wednesday, 09/20/17 11:32:47 EDT

Really smooth forgings : I have seen over the years things like when folks make hooks and sso forth, the metal on a taper where they have drawn the metal out or even where they have made a little tail on the hook, the metal looks as if it was pulled in a die rather than drawing out with a hammer. No hammer marks. Over the years, I have refined my hammering but mine still look like they have hammer marks. I wonder what kind of exercise I need to do to eliminate hammer marks altogether or do I actually pull through a die or do some grinding when the tapering is done prior to actually doing the bending into the shape I want?
   Al Gilchrist - Wednesday, 09/20/17 11:38:38 EDT

Junkyard Steels

Etchants: Circuit Board etch. Ferric Chloride gives good color.

See our iForge series on presses. Anytime air is involved you have stored energy that can be dangerous. ALL types of presses have specific advantages and disadvantages. One generally does not replace another.

You can weld billets in a Rolling Mill that is small and quiet.

Smooth Forgings This is a combination of skill and how your hammer is dressed. Hammers with sharp corners and flat faces leave marks that you cannot prevent. A nice gently crowned face and rounded corners prevent visible marks. With a little skill such a hammer will not even leave a wavy surface.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/20/17 14:16:54 EDT

Smooth Forgings :
Same for anvil edges. They should be a nice soft radius that doesn't make obvious lines or steps in your work.
   - guru - Wednesday, 09/20/17 19:42:46 EDT

Smooth Forgings : On mild steel projects, a lemon heat is optimal for moving the metal under the hammer, but the metal is free scaling at that heat. When possible, the final finishing heats should be done at a low cherry red into a blood with relatively light surface blows. Doing so, you will have less heavy scale and a smoother surface. Water can be put on the anvil for the finishing heats. The thermal shock helps pop scale off the work piece. In addition, the flatter will rid flat surfaces of hammer marks, and it can be used with water, both on the anvil and on the flatter, the latter being dipped in water. The Japanese have a small whisk broom which they keep handy near the anvil. It is dipped in water and applied to the anvil in order to "wash their work."
   Frank Turley - Thursday, 09/21/17 10:09:46 EDT

I really do appreciate all the information concerning smooth forgings. I wonder if someone could send me a url to a picture of
   - Al Gilchrist - Saturday, 09/23/17 02:28:42 EDT

Really smooth forgings : Reading the entry from Frank Turley, where you are talking about using a flatter. I can see where a object that is to be flat would benefit from a flatter. I am not certain about using a flatter for a round tapered object which was my original thinking. I guess if you look at any work that has been done with a hammer and anvil close enough, you will see how it was made even if the work has been hammered on when its not as soft and with lite hammer blows. Some of the stuff I have seen on the net looks as if they have been extruded rather than made by hammering.
   Al Gilchrist - Saturday, 09/23/17 02:34:33 EDT

Al, To get an absolutely facetless round you forge it in top and bottom dies. In small shops this is done in clapper dies which can be used on the anvil OR the power hammer. When used for round work it is rotated so that even if the dies are not perfect the work is averaged out to near perfect.

See Spring and Clapper Dies

On large sculptural work artists often grind and file their work after forging then heat it again to give it a light scale finish.

However, their ARE smiths that can do forge work that shows no marks or visible facets.
   - guru - Saturday, 09/23/17 09:18:41 EDT

Really smooth forgings : Hmmm. Not real sure if a clapper die would work on a taper. I will look into a hammer spoken of in a previous note: "This is a combination of skill and how your hammer is dressed. Hammers with sharp corners and flat faces leave marks that you cannot prevent. A nice gently crowned face and rounded corners prevent visible marks. With a little skill such a hammer will not even leave a wavy surface."

The hammer that is spoke of sounds like one that is basically a slight dish shape at the contact area. I will see if I can find such and animal and try it. I will also try the method Frank spoke of and practice more in the area. Do you know of a place or URL that I can see such a hammer as is discussed in the above quotes. Thanks!
   Al Gilchrist - Saturday, 09/23/17 13:22:34 EDT

Hammer Dress :
Sadly, Other than custom made hammers most new hammers today are poorly dressed or not dressed at all (such as the German hammers sold by Blacksmiths Depot).

See Dressing Hammer Faces Note that contact surfaces can be rectangular or round depending on the hammer.

A clapper die will work perfectly on a taper. In fact an oval section can finish a very long round taper. However, there are limits.

You ever wonder how they taper hollow steel light poles and power poles? They do it with a rotary hammer and short dies. Dies a foot or less in length forge 40 to 60 foot long tapers. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 09/23/17 14:38:02 EDT

Bought a beat up anvil. I mean... you know what I mean.
The face is pretty much worn down to the cutting table and that joint is rounded over. About 1/2 or more swage in the middle and about that much of mushrooming over the edges.
It has a marking of
   - Ticoxpat - Monday, 09/25/17 17:52:07 EDT

Ticoxpats Anvil : (Photos were sent)

At one time this was a nice little English Anvil. However, the hard face has been broken off or worn completely through so that what you have is a big lump of wrought iron. A good 1/2" of the top surface is missing.

To make this a usable anvil again it will need to be hard faced and quite thick. It needs so much build up that the first 1/4" to 3/8" (to take out the sway in the middle) could be common welding rod such as 7018. Once that is clean and pit free (you have to grind out all the pits and reweld them on every pass) THEN it will need about 1/4" of hardfacing rod applied.

This is a big job and just the electricity to do the welding will cost more than you have paid for the anvil. It is also many hours (a full day or more) of welding and grinding.

I almost never recommend this kind of anvil repair but this one is useless without extensive refacing.

It would be easier to find another anvil unless you REALLY want a big project. . .

Good Luck!
   - guru - Monday, 09/25/17 19:33:46 EDT

Hammer Dress : I do appreciate your help on these matters. The link you sent me answers a lot of my questions concerning the rounded hammer faces...etc. I will have to work on the clapper die. Again, thanks for your help.
Al Gilchrist
   Al Gilchrist - Monday, 09/25/17 20:53:58 EDT

Would like information on disco superior made in Sweden 126#
   - a. wedeking - Monday, 09/25/17 22:55:04 EDT

disco superior :
I don't have a clue what this is. The Spanish Portuguese translation is "superior disk or cutting wheel" particularly segmented wheels such as for cutting concrete and stone. That is current usage.

It helps to know what a name is applied to.
   - guru - Tuesday, 09/26/17 10:22:49 EDT

Hello, I need held to identified my anvil, what age, what kind etc...
   - Gilles - Thursday, 09/28/17 18:23:31 EDT

Gilles, click on my name and send photos to me and I will try to help.

It helps if the anvil is clean and photos are clean and include the entire anvil. It helps to photograph all sides including the bottom. Note that most well known anvils have their name stamped into them OR cast on them. This often does not show well in photos. If the anvil has no name on it then there cannot be a definitive identification. However, we are good at figuring out faint or partial markings.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/28/17 18:51:51 EDT

I'm betting that Disco Superior is really Sisco Superior and referring to an anvil; but then the ASD typos are common in my typing...
   ThomasP - Thursday, 09/28/17 19:17:32 EDT

Sisco Superior : would make it a cast steel Swedish anvil much like a Kohlswa. A bit too hard with a tendency for edge chipping.
   - guru - Thursday, 09/28/17 22:15:34 EDT

Is there anybody I can send some pictures to have an old Anvil I picked up? Nothing seems to be stamped in it the rebound is Awesome with a ball bearing test in the horn does not have much ring. I would like to know about when this Anvil was made and the manufacturer. Any of you gurus up for a challenge?
   - Page Hilldale - Friday, 09/29/17 18:49:29 EDT

Hi everybody I need help identifying an anvil I just picked up. There's no visible markings on it other than a 130 on the side. The ball bearing rebound was amazing about 90%. The horn did not have a good ring however. I would like to know the approximate age and manufacturer of who may have made it. Any of you gurus up for a challenge?
   - Page Hilldale - Friday, 09/29/17 18:51:30 EDT

Subtle math : I found a comparison of the Fibonacci (golden) spiral to the actual shell of a nautilus. It's only an approximate match.

Now, has anyone here tried to compare the golden spiral to the spiral blacksmiths use for scrolls? I'm pretty sure it isn't a perfect match, as the blacksmiths' scroll pattern is generated w circular arcs, and there ain't nothin' circular about the Golden.

Are they an OK match? Or, could I improve my "aesthetics" a bit by making a jig that is true golden?

   - Rudy - Friday, 09/29/17 19:00:08 EDT

Rudy whatever gave you the idea that there was a single "spiral blacksmiths use for scrolls"?

I myself have seen hundreds of different spirals used by blacksmiths over centuries and tend to make mine by eye or take one I've made that I like and make a jig from it if I need a lot of similar ones.
   ThomasP - Friday, 09/29/17 23:16:51 EDT

Scrolls :
Scrolls made by using rotated rectangles or arcs are a crutch for those with no eye or skill drawing a curve. I forge all my scrolls by eye unless I need duplicates and THEY are made from a jig drawn or forged by eye.

This type of blacksmithing is "Artistic Blacksmithing", emphasis on ART. You start by learning to draw so that you can emulate nature. If you cannot draw 20 scrolls in 20 to 30 seconds. . . you need practice. One popular blacksmith I know said the best thing he ever did was take a life drawing class (nudes). It makes one appreciate how sensuous a single line can be.

IF you want mathematically perfect scrolls then see: Spiral_1, Spiral and Scroll Layout
   - guru - Sunday, 10/01/17 00:44:45 EDT

Art :
"Anyone can Draw", Graham Shaw

"Learn to Draw" by Jon Gnagy

Google them.

"Every mechanic should practice drawing", James Nasmyth, 1883 -- the inventor of the steam power hammer.

If you think you cannot draw you are WRONG. This is wrong think. If you can write then you can draw. However, like writing, drawing takes practice.

Go to a kindergarten class at art time (or almost ANY time) and you will see ALL the children drawing, coloring, painting. Some better than others but ALL making art. If you follow them through school where they have less and less art, less and less students will be drawing until many convince themselves they cannot. I've gone into 3rd grade classes and taught the students to draw portraits using crayons and looking at each other. ALL did good recognizable likenesses.

Learning to Draw: This is a subject I've intended to cover in depth for a long time but this is not it. The most important thing to remember is practice, Practice, PRACTICE.

Do not be self defeatist, draw it again BIGGER.

A good plan is to start with an old high school or trade school drafting book. Do all the exercises such as determining the last view. Practice making isometric drawings until you can make them with your eyes closed. . . Later this technique can be used to make to perspective drawings.

Get Jon Gnagy's Learn to Draw kit and DO IT! If you search his family still has his video's on line and his kits are still published. AND Jon was an ANVIL guy.

Jon's stuff is rather formula driven but it is a start. Now practice drawings THINGS, still lifes, live lifes ;) your dog, tools, machines. . . EVERYTHING. Draw big, fill the paper. Use bold strokes. Hold your pencil like chalk (between your thumb and lined up fingers).

Practice LOOKING at things as geometric objects with edge lines. If you can see the lines you can draw it. . .

Learn to sketch progressively. This is fast and lightly drawn lines followed by more accurate and darker lines until the final lines are the subject.

Try drawing without looking at the paper OR lifting your pen/pencil. Do this once a day for a week or more.

Draw things you can look at and then draw things from your imagination. Both methods are important.

At this point you should think about taking an art class. Classes can be found at various schools but also from art clubs and privately. You can usually trade for private lessons.

PRACTICE drawing scrolls! If you cannot draw a smooth spiral you will not be able to forge the same. Draw the things you want to make. Draw something everyday.

In all this can be a long process. Up to a year. But remember that folks that can draw well have never stopped. I've been drawing since I was 4 years old and knew I wanted to draw better. That was over 60 years ago.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/01/17 02:32:56 EDT

Heated Slab/Power Hammer : I am in the process of rebuilding my shop and upgrading from a dirt floor to a heated slab. Dirt is no longer an option. I am debating if I have to isolate my Fairbanks 100# from the slab by creating an isolated foundation for the hammer and not have heat tubing going through that area. It would be easier just to set in on some wood on the 5" slab. Any thoughts? In the past I have just bolted it to the existing concrete floors but this is the first time there will be a heated slab with tubing. Thanks
   Steven Bronstein - Friday, 10/06/17 22:10:08 EDT

Heated Slab/Power Hammer :
It MIGHT and it MIGHT NOT work with the hammer on the slab. Consider the cost of repairing the heating system.

Since you will be pouring the concrete the cost of the seperate foundation will be little. Unlike the pad it does not float on gravel AND it is dug deeper (until you hit very compact subsoil). I would dig at least 2 feet deep.

If you make an open bottom steel form and put your isolation material (layers of roofing felt, in the box) then you can pour the hammer foundation at the same time as the floor. Your hammer anchor nuts (welded to tubes) can be attached to the form box as well to insure accurate alignment.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/07/17 09:54:53 EDT

Heated Slab /Shop :
I would want a VERY accurate map of the heating circuits and any conduits in a shop floor. All kinds of equipment gets bolted to concrete floors. Vise stands, benders, drill presses, mills, lathes. . . Great care would be necessary to anchor machinery. OR great pre-planning with equipment locations predetermined and avoided by the heat and conduits.

When I built my last shop the in-floor conduits were carefully placed in walkways so there would be a very low probability of them getting drilled into. Where they passed under walls the locations were carefully indicated on the plans.

In my current shop we have had a couple occasions to temporarily anchored power hammers in the middle of the floor. When done we cut off the anchors and ground them flush. In the future I need to bolt floor flanges for a monorail crane to the floor. More drilling the concrete.

Just some things to think about.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/07/17 10:25:51 EDT

I just happened to notice a Youtube video of this title. The fellow building his shop calls drilling holes in the slab RADIANT ROULETTE. Something to think about.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/11/17 17:48:50 EDT

Trenton year of manufacture : I have a Trenton 150 lb anvil with # A 170423. Can you tell me when it was made? Thanks
   Jeff LaCrone - Thursday, 10/12/17 12:33:52 EDT

1919 :
   - guru - Thursday, 10/12/17 13:16:57 EDT

newbie gift : Son wants a forge for birthday - which one?
He is a welder / fabricator.
   ranamaska - Thursday, 10/12/17 16:24:41 EDT

newbie gift :
Look at any two burner NC-TOOL or Forgmaster forge. These are forges with built in igniter and doors. They are the right size for general purpose hobby work or small commercial work. They come complete with the proper regulator and are easy to use. All you need to do is some very minor assembly, attach the hose to a cylinder, turn the valve and click the igniter and you are running.

See, Whisper Momma Review

There are cheaper forges but you get what you pay for in this area. Many of the cheaper forges are the same as DIY builds.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/12/17 18:22:32 EDT

Antique Anvil : My father wants to sell a large anvil to his friend. Over all it's about 28" long, 10" high, the horn 11" long. He was going to sell it for $4 a pound, guessing 230 Lbs. It s in very good shape, very old. It has, "ACTUR," and what looks like, "NY, or NJ". I have pictures, how do I post them?
   Dawn - Saturday, 10/14/17 12:10:25 EDT

anvil / Dawn : Some old anvils have stamped on the waist, "HAY BUDDEN MANUFACTURING CO BROOKLYN NY." Yours might be one.
   Frank Turley - Saturday, 10/14/17 20:43:23 EDT

Dawn, you can email photos to me. Click on my name.

Frank is probably right. Hay-Budden stamp marks are often faint or easily filled with dirt. Depending on condition that is low price if its a Hay-Budden. If in very good condition they often sell for more. In rough condition that is an OK price.
   - guru - Sunday, 10/15/17 02:33:17 EDT

Anvils in : I acquired an anvil yesterday and it's markings are not readable. I could use some help identifying it. I don't know how to upload a picture on here, help please
   John Willard - Monday, 10/16/17 12:53:44 EDT

John, Often a good cleaning helps if the anvil is an old one with stamped markings. I can try to help ID the anvil but if there are no legible markings then there usually cannot be a positive identification.

Click on my name to send email with attachments.
   - guru - Monday, 10/16/17 14:51:36 EDT

twisting hammer : Hi Mr Guru. I've got an old club hammer which is a perfect weight for me and the handle fits my hand perfectly. The problem with it is that when it bounces off the work it twists in my hand. The eye looks straight enough and the head is symmetrical. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do to fix this as the hammer is pretty much unusable as it is.
Dave Scott
   Dave Scott - Monday, 10/16/17 20:53:24 EDT

Dave are you hitting flat? (I taught a beginner's class Saturday and after the talk on how to choose which anvil to use by height, (I bring a selection to class) and how to choose a hammer to use---can
use it with control for an extended time. I was still astonished that people could not tell they were hitting the workpiece at an angle.

Also doing a 1/4" sq stock S hook and I tell them to hit the end the most as it has to become the smallest---and they hit an inch back from the end...Oh well several of them are going for a Mechanical Engineering Degree; perhaps I'll become a hermit!
   ThomasP - Monday, 10/16/17 22:55:09 EDT

twisting hammer : I'm sure I am. I have several other hammers I use with no problems so I don't think it's my technique
   Dave Scott - Tuesday, 10/17/17 07:47:45 EDT

Twisting Hammer : It's likely that your hammer has a very flat face. If it does, and you don't hit exactly flat, the hammer will "tumble" when it bounces back. I suggest you "crown" the face in both directions. If you don't have a belt grinder to do this, find someone who does. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.
   - Dave Hammer - Tuesday, 10/17/17 08:37:48 EDT

twisting hammer : Looking at the hammer, that makes sense. Being a club hammer, although it has a 1/4" radius on all four edges the face is essentially flat. I was planning reforging and dressing it as a rounding hammer I wanted to check before I invested all that work and coal into something that couldn't be saved.
BTW Belt grinders are like unicorn poo in the UK for some reason, Building one is another future project on the list.
Thanks for your suggestion I'll press on with reshaping it first thing.
When you move into your hermits cave can I use your workshop ?
Dave S
   Dave Scott - Tuesday, 10/17/17 08:57:24 EDT

Twisting Hammer :
I would swear I hit absolutely true most of the time but my first and favorite old hammer looks a lot like an old well worn shoe, the face has become slumped to one side significantly. This MAY account for why it is still my favorite hammer after all these years even though it is a bit too small (2.25 lbs or 1000 grams).

As Dave Hammer noted, with an absolutely flat faced hammer, especially a wide one, there is no possible way to strike square enough to prevent twisting. For it to rebound uncontrollably only requires being out of square a small fraction of a degree.
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/17/17 10:16:29 EDT

I thought one's shop WAS their hermit cave. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 10/17/17 10:23:01 EDT

Heat Treating 4140 steel : Hello, I'm making a micrometer adjustable boring head mount out of 4140.
Approx. 4 1/8" long with various cross section widths but 1 3/8" on average. I'd like to heat treat to Rc52 to Rc55 without having to send it out. Only have a torch for hardening but have an oven for tempering.
Would you be able to provide temp specs and times for each process?
   Mike Deboer - Wednesday, 10/18/17 11:51:01 EDT

What kind of torch?
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/18/17 13:15:29 EDT

   Mike Deboer - Wednesday, 10/18/17 13:34:32 EDT

First, on a complex machined part such as this with dovetail and fixed gib spring (the standard construction for boring heads such as Criteion) there is a high probability of quench cracking and distortion when heat treating. You will also need to be VERY careful with that torch as it will melt and burn threads instantly.

Second, To heat a part like this you need to build a small refractory enclosure to enclose the part (use refractory bricks or blanket). Then when heating you heat the walls of the enclosure NOT the part. This reduces scaling and spot overheating. I usually recommend heating the enclosure before putting the part into it. It should also sit on something to keep it off the floor otherwise you cannot heat it evenly.

Third, even thru heating is critical. This takes patience and care not to direct the torch at the part except from great distance. Quench when you THINK you have an even red heat 1550-1600°F.

Last, Quench in oil. Be sure you have plenty, several gallons at a minimum. Keep the part moving in the quench. THEN before the part reaches room temperature put the part into your tempering oven.

See Heat Treating 4140 Dies tempering chart and Tempering Color Chart w/ Hardness

   - guru - Wednesday, 10/18/17 14:14:47 EDT

Tricky machined parts :
If I was making a tool like a boring head I would use an alloy steel and not harden it. Better yet, use a prehardened steel. Most of these come in a medium hardness yet VERY strong that is machinable. Machining it is more difficult but some can be done with HSS but carbide is recommended. The result is a fine piece of work that is not going to be destroyed by heat treating.

Most precision parts that are hardened are designed to be finished by grinding and have an allowance for cleaning up the surface and correcting the dimensions (parts typically grow during hardening and must have their dimensions corrected after heat treatment).

IF you need more hardness then there are versions of prehardened H13 such as the trade name Viscount 44. This absolutely requires carbide tooling but produces very nice parts. Its primary application is big dies that are made using EDM such as autobody dies. I've reduced pounds of this material to dust on a surface grinder making hard spacer shims.

For machined tools that need to be harder I use A2. This is an air hardening steel that does not need to go through the stress of liquid quenching. Heat, cool with air, then temper before reaching room temperature. IF wrapped in stainless foil the scaling while cooling is minimal and can be cleaned up with fine grit wet-or-dry sand paper.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/18/17 17:04:06 EDT

Boring Heads :
For those who do not know what a Boring Head is, they are a rigid adjustable tool (attachment) used on milling machines and HD drill presses. They have a dovetail slide that moves perpendicular to the turning axis of the tool. The slide supports boring bars used to make holes in any size. The feed screw has a micrometer dial for adjustments. This is the tool necessary to make precision holes in sizes not available in drill sizes.

Automatic Boring Facing Heads are more complicated. The body of the head does not rotate. There is a planetary drive in the stationary part that lets the user turn a hand crank to feed the boring bar in and out diametrically while the spindle rotates. These are used on milling and boring machines to make grooves inside a bore such as o-ring grooves and precision counterbores for seals. They do jobs you would normally do on a lathe but on parts that may not fit a lathe OR have many parallel holes that need to be precise and have internal grooves or counterbores.

The first type is an almost indispensable tool on a milling machine. The second is pricey enough that you might consider purchasing a large swing lathe to do the work.
   - guru - Wednesday, 10/18/17 19:05:30 EDT

Repaired anvil question : I have my grandfather’s anvil. I believe it is a Trenton. I can make out USA and I believe the bottom of the diamond that would frame the Trenton name. T. Apparently at some time a crack appeared across the waist and a repair was made that involved inserting two rods above the crack, then bending them to form u-bolts that attach to plates under the base. I can’t find pictures of any others repaired in this manner. Does this repair ruin the value of the anvil. It seems to have a good sound and rebound. Thanks for your assistance.he anvil weighs 130#.
   Norm Reynolds - Wednesday, 10/18/17 22:33:04 EDT

Norm, Every bolt or strap type repair is unique. In today's collector crazy market it is hard to tell what it will do to the price. It may make it more collectable.

I once met a collector of tools made from old files. These were all laminated forge welded pieces and almost all had a failed weld with a piece broken out. However, without the failure you may not have noticed how the tool was made. There were a few that the file teeth still showed on the outer surface but they were rare.

The reason so many of the welds failed is that the file teeth were not removed prior to welding. While you would think the teeth would help the weld they actually retain old metal and rust. This makes weak places in the welds that fail under load. Today, bladesmiths using old files grind off the teeth before welding. Of course the difference is between a simple shop with with primitive stone grinders (if at all) and modern shops with highly efficient belt grinders.
   - guru - Thursday, 10/19/17 09:10:05 EDT

files : Would pickling the old files to remove rust before welding help?
   Jan - Saturday, 10/28/17 09:54:26 EDT

Remelting old metal : If an old sword were melted down and made into a new sword, is the carbon dating for the old or new piece?
   LBucher - Saturday, 10/28/17 18:51:40 EDT

I don't think carbon dating steel in common, though from a quick google search it looks like it may be possible. And steel swords are rarely cast; it would be much more efficient to reforge a sword than melt it down.

If you actually did it, it would depend on how the sword was melted.
If you melted in in a vacuum furnace, I think the carbon isotopes, and therefore the radiocarbon date would be unchanged. Any other process I can think of would expose the steel to combustion gasses and/or flux, which would result in it absorbing some amount of carbon, changing the ratio of isotopes. It's also possible that an arc furnace could convert some of the carbon 12 and 13 in the steel into carbon 14, and thus make it date newer, but I'm not sure about that.

And how the original sword would have dated would depend on how it was produced. If coke were used in the original production, the steel would likely date to when the plants that made the coal that made the coke lived -- millions of years ago. Or rather something like "greater the 50,000 years," since that's as far back as radiocarbon dating can go (anything older has too little carbon 14 left to detect). Charcoal steel might date at the time it was made (or at least the time the trees used to make the charcoal grew), but if it absorbed any old carbon from limestone flux, it could also date older.

And even reforging a sword, particularly if you had to forge weld back into a billet, would likely result in it absorbing some carbon and thus changing the date (older, unless you forged with charcoal).
   Mike BR - Saturday, 10/28/17 19:29:10 EDT

Remelting... : If it were reforged, it would retain the carbon dating of the older metal?
   LBucher - Saturday, 10/28/17 20:30:20 EDT

Remelting.. : Just so you understand why I am asking, I am most curious about ancient metal being reused in new tools.
   LBucher - Saturday, 10/28/17 20:31:52 EDT

Sounds like a forgery question to me. . .

Perhaps you believe the myths that ancient metal workers made better products than modern metalsmiths. And yes, they are myths.

Modern bladesmiths using modern and even hand made steels can make infinitely better products than in any previous time. The primary reason is better affordable steels in large quantities. The second and equally important reason is the advancements in metallurgical science. The ancient smith had no clue what was going on in the metal he was working. It is only in the past hundred years or so that metallurgy has revealed the TRUTH if steel.

In the past 30 years or so bladesmiths and archeometallurgists have rediscovered, reproduced and published most ancient methods. This work is combined with modern science so that modern smiths understand the processes treated by ancient smiths as a mysterious religion.

Modern bladesmiths have advanced both the art and technology pf bladesmithing far beyond that of all previous bladesmiths AND almost every bit has been published so thee are no secrets. All you need to do is find the books and videos and study them. We have a basic list at Generation X Sword Making
Resources : The end of innocence.
There are reviews of almost all the resources on our book review page.
   - guru - Saturday, 10/28/17 23:58:32 EDT

Beaudry treadle mount : hey guys. anyone around?
For a Beaudry Champion... anyone ever remove the treadle mounting brackets off that lower shaft? Is it a press fit, or what? I don't see any pins or set screws.
   Salem Straub - Monday, 10/30/17 12:13:24 EDT

hey guys. anyone around?
For a Beaudry Champion... anyone ever remove the treadle mounting brackets off that lower shaft? Is it a press fit, or what? I don't see any pins or set screws.
   - Salem Straub - Monday, 10/30/17 12:14:07 EDT

hey guys. anyone around?
For a Beaudry Champion... anyone ever remove the treadle mounting brackets off that lower shaft? Is it a press fit, or what? I don't see any pins or set screws.
   - Salem Straub - Monday, 10/30/17 12:14:24 EDT

hey guys. anyone around?
For a Beaudry Champion... anyone ever remove the treadle mounting brackets off that lower shaft? Is it a press fit, or what? I don't see any pins or set screws.
   - Salem Straub - Monday, 10/30/17 12:14:43 EDT

Salem, This is not a chat. Folks generally check in every once in a while (I usually check several times an hour unless I am busy). You have a relatively rare machine that was changed often by the manufacturer. . . I f folks don't know they generally don't post.

An attachment method that was popular during the era was tapered machinist's pins. With these you drill a hole through the parts, taper ream it, then drive in the pin. In permanent installations the pins would be cut off flush and possible peened. The result is difficult to see without cleaning and etching the surface.

Wire brush off all the paint and rust and then look closely.
   - guru - Monday, 10/30/17 17:59:57 EDT

On Steel's History: Guess when they finally figured out that it was *CARBON* that made iron into steel? 1786 Less than 100 years later the Bessemer/Kelly process was making it.
   ThomasP - Monday, 10/30/17 19:33:50 EDT

anvil id : I am a 61 year old auto body shop owner with a anvil that was my fathers that has been in my family for over 60 years . it must weigh at least 300 lbs.32 in. long.the only id marks on the front foot are 170 A155053
   steven Eulau - Tuesday, 10/31/17 08:53:45 EDT

What does the bottom of the anvil look like? (and the 170 would be the weight in pounds)
   ThomasP - Tuesday, 10/31/17 20:46:02 EDT

anvil id : oval concave
   steven Eulau - Wednesday, 11/01/17 14:11:28 EDT

forklift forks/metal : what metal are forks for a forklift generally made of?
   ken - Wednesday, 11/01/17 16:28:54 EDT

forklift forks/metal :
Ken, I believe they are something along the line of 4140. But each manufacturer will determine the alloy they use. If you are trying to make something out of one you have plenty to cut off for test samples.

Junk Yard Steel Rules apply.
   - guru - Wednesday, 11/01/17 18:10:47 EDT

y guess is that it's a 1917 Trenton with the caplet oval in the base and weighs 170 pounds---light enough to put on a bathroom scale and check! (though anvils often weigh a few pounds less when weighed nowadays than their stamping would indicate.) If so it was made in Columbus OH, USA
   ThomasP - Wednesday, 11/01/17 23:11:25 EDT

Forklift tines: anything the manufacturer wants to use! I have seen 1050, 4140 and 5160 tines so far...
   ThomasP - Wednesday, 11/01/17 23:12:27 EDT

anvil id : Thanks for the info.
   steven Eulau - Thursday, 11/02/17 08:47:13 EDT

Not sure what to do with my 800 lbs Fisher Anvil. I know it's a gem and it's in great condition. I'm thinking about finding it a new home. I have hammered so much I have had surgery done in my joints in my right hand. I want to trade in my massive Anvil for a power hammer to lessen the strain and lighten the pain. I know nothing about this monstrosity of an anvil. I wish to know what I could get for it and where to look for the right
   - Thor Lars Laizans - Sunday, 11/05/17 23:27:55 EST

800 lbs Fisher Anvil what is it worth and who will buy it
   - Thor Lars Laizans - Sunday, 11/05/17 23:35:19 EST

Fisher anvil : Josh Cavett in New Jersey has a Fisher-Norris Museum of that brand of anvil. Your search engines will tell you more about them.
   Frank Turley - Monday, 11/06/17 11:22:26 EST

800 lbs Fisher Anvil : In anvil pricing condition usually means everything. However, rarity also adds value and an 800 pound anvil of any make is fairly rare.

Depending on condition and how you market it, $2000 to $8000 in the US.
   -guru - Monday, 11/06/17 17:13:02 EST

Thor, I assume you are willing to pay for international shipping since you don't list a location?
   ThomasP - Tuesday, 11/07/17 19:49:11 EST

floor pockets : As per Ralph Sprouls advice, I am pouring a concrete floor and want to install floor pockets that can receive stakes that will allow me to use then as pulling points to facillitate moving machinery. Has anyone done this, any suggestions? Thanks.
   Steven Bronstein - Wednesday, 11/08/17 10:34:55 EST

Floor pockets or anchors :
Steven, This was one of my shop building suggestions many years ago. There are a number of ways to do this. Some people use hitch receivers with rebar welded to them.

I would use threaded nut anchors similar to those used for power hammers. These are a heavy hex nut (3/4 or 1" - 18 go 24mm)) welded to a piece of pipe so the bolt can extend through the nut. The pipe has rebar welded to it. A vertical spike piece can be used to drive it into the ground and hold it in alignment. I plug the nut with a greased socket set screw. These should be flush to the surface of the floor.

These are positioned about 6" from the finished wall. At lease two should be placed at the far side of the shop opposite the main (garage) door. Then two should be located on either side of that door and a couple more at the sides of the shop. Those opposite the door can be used to pull things off the driveway into the shop. Those next to the doors to get things out the door.

Eye bolts or plain bolts could be used in these. The anchor points can be used as direct pull points or a dead man when sliding machinery around in the shop. Either a come-a-long or a ratchet tugger can be used.

Hitch receiver pockets can be used in the working areas of the shop. These should be set below the surface so that a filler plug can be installed to keep the hole from filling with dirt or being a trip hazard. These can be used for temporary or permanent vise mounts, benders or weld platforms. Tools that are low use and get in the way can be used centrally in the shop then moved out of the way.

When planning this far ahead it is good to put in more than one power hammer foundation and in floor electrical outlets. In floor outlets are handy for machines like table saws that are located centrally. They are also handy next to vise anchor points.

Other shop floor preplanning includes air lines, water, drains. . . It can be quite complicated.

Ceiling preplanning is also helpful for the efficient shop. Hoisting means are the most important to me. Others run air and electrics to hose and cord reels on the ceiling. Drop downs for spot welding ventilation are also handy as is good general ventilation which may be part of a duct and ceiling vent system. All this as well as lights.

Today your lighting should be LED strips but it also helps to have a few adjustable spotlight sockets. These are handy for close work and welding areas.

LOTS of preplanning you can do.
   - guru - Wednesday, 11/08/17 12:16:08 EST

We DO NOT give ANYONE permission to use our content. "Pinning" items onto Pinterst is STEALING. Due to people pining so much of our content to pinterest any search for an anvilfire image returns a Pinterest collection. This is THEFT of content, theft of MY work, and takes real money from MY pockets. Starting today we are reporting images DAILY and asking for strikes against the offenders.
   - guru - Wednesday, 11/08/17 14:33:03 EST

Shop Pre-planning : Many years ago I was asked to bid a job at on of the many Motorola plants in Phoenix. A W8 x 10 beam 15' long supported at one end by a steel column and attached to the wall at the other end. Simple! Just by chance I went to look at the job before bidding it. Above the suspended ceiling was Process Piping, which I had never heard of before. Air, water, argon, etc. lines everywhere. In order to install the beam, it had to have a bolt splice in the middle and had to be snaked into location. I never again bid a job in an existing plant without seeing it ahead of time.
   Loren Tollefson - Thursday, 11/09/17 09:07:01 EST

Process Piping - Shop Planning :
In a common blacksmith shop we use compressed air, water, propane and of course electric. While it is not common I have put black iron piping in welding shops for the propane distribution. In one auto garage we had air and electric at every stall (about every 10 feet) with filters and quick disconnects. There were electric outlets next to the air as well as under the work ramps.

After I did this work my partner was moving into a new machine shop. In the process they were pouring a new concrete floor over the old one. At every machine station he ran air, water, electric (110 and 240). Today you might want a computer network connection at each machine (wireless is often interfered with in a shop).

On my welding bench I have a brass ground block attached to it and a short cable with a ground clamp attached to the ground block. The ground from the welder attaches to the ground block. The short cable is to assure a good clean ground but the table itself is also grounded.

I mentioned hoses and cables in overhead reels. Another item that can be put overhead is a light MIG welder or buzz box. Hang it from a light jib crane and then there are NO cables on the floor and you can reach a greater area with short cables and without moving the welder (and cords) around on the floor. Don't put it up too high as adjustments will still need to be made.

All this is forms of preplanning and improved efficiency. Remember that your shop is three dimensional and a lot can be done with overhead space AND under the floor.
   - guru - Thursday, 11/09/17 10:43:45 EST

For my mew shop, I laid a 4" PVC pipe in a trench before pouring the slab. It goes from one side of the slab to the other with a tee in the middle to the other side where I have a large vacuum. In the middle I have my table saw. A word of caution, don't hook up metal sanders/cutters to the same line to vacuum, it can destroy your shop if a spark inters it.
   - Jim Jacobs - Thursday, 11/09/17 21:28:59 EST

anvil : hello. i have inherited and anvil and i dont know anything about them. do you have an email address i can send the pictures to?
   travis spencer - Friday, 11/10/17 11:19:34 EST

Awaiting your images.
   - guru - Friday, 11/10/17 11:58:18 EST

Underfloor Conduits to Centrally Located Machines and Islands :
Jim's underfloor dust collector and power outlets keep the air space in the shop clear so that handling long work is not a problem. In many types of shops we have trouble turning around with long pieces of stock (wood, metal, plastic).

In school science labs we had benches with gas, electric, water and a sink drain. In kitchen islands there is often the same and in some cases a powered down draft stove vent.

When the floor is a concrete slab this takes a lot of preplanning and is relatively permanent. It IS possible to cut the pad and install infloor piping but it is expensive, messy and the repair will always be visible.

All these methods help make your work space more efficient and easier to use. While preplanning takes time and thought, enacting them takes even more planning and work.
   - guru - Friday, 11/10/17 12:49:53 EST

Chinese folded forged steel : I apologize in advance if I'm on the wrong forum. I'm very new to all this. I'm just seeking any nd all information about the chinese method of folding forged steel. Like is famous in Longquanjian, Zhejiang. Steel is like the chinese Damascus. Primarily used to make weapons (swords, daggers, etc.). Thanks much.
   Tyler - Monday, 11/13/17 04:13:21 EST

China folded steel : I apologize in advance if I'm on the wrong forum. I'm very new to all this. I'm just seeking any nd all information about the chinese method of folding forged steel. Like is famous in Longquanjian, Zhejiang. Steel is like the chinese Damascus. Primarily used to make weapons (swords, daggers, etc.). Thanks much.
   Tyler - Monday, 11/13/17 04:14:29 EST

Longquan swords : You are probably in the right place, but more is known and written about Japanese swords than Chinese swords. I have a cheap Chinese straight sword that can be used for tai chi, but it only cost $35 with scabbard at the flea. I just now did some googling and found some good information on youtube.com. You can see some of the forging operations, but not everything is sequential nor is it well explained. I doubt if you are going to find a complete step by step vid showing just how and why the steels are stacked and forge welded or why the partial cut is made and where, prior to folding.
   Frank Turley - Tuesday, 11/14/17 23:07:30 EST

Rivet sets : What type of steel are rivets sets made from, looking to make some custom sets for a hand held gun - the sets will have the 1.217 shank, Thanks for any help - Jeremy
   Jeremy K - Thursday, 11/16/17 12:24:43 EST

Rivet Sets :
Probably 1070 to 1095 tempered medium hard. Hardest around the features.
   - guru - Thursday, 11/16/17 17:03:57 EST

Tyler, seek out the archeological metallurgy mailing list and ask there!
   ThomasP - Friday, 11/17/17 21:06:33 EST

Longquanjian : Tyler, ask this guy: http://www.arscives.com/. Don't be fooled by the look of the site, the guy is an expert on Chinese historic swords and metallurgy.
   Alan_L - Monday, 11/20/17 10:47:47 EST

Champion Combination Repair Outfit No. 30 : Hello,
On your website you provide information on the 1920 Champion Combination Repair Outfit No. 30 - thank you for that. I have one with all attachments. It says patent pending on it so it may be even earlier than the patent date of 1920. My question: I would like to sell it but have absolutely no clue as to value. I guess it would depend on how much an interested buyer would be willing to pay. Can you please offer some assistance as to value? I can supply photos via email. I live in Canada but can get it to Rochester NY with a friend if someone in your network is interested in it at an agreeable price. Thank you for your time.
   Penny Nault - Monday, 11/20/17 17:58:42 EST

Old power hammer ID : Hi
Could you please direct me to where/who would be the best place for identifying an old power hammer
   Barry SAHD - Thursday, 11/23/17 07:00:56 EST

Barry, I might be able to help you. Click my name and send photos.
   - guru - Thursday, 11/23/17 10:29:11 EST

Champion Combination Repair Outfit :
Penny, I do not have a clue what these are selling for. They are more collector's item than useful tool. There are lots of small pieces and the value will be higher with all the parts and pieces. I would guess that between $200 to $400.
   - guru - Thursday, 11/23/17 11:36:03 EST

Hi ! I just bought a 1901 Fisher that is marked 10 7, that the seller said was 60 lbs. I can't make sense of how to translate that to pounds. I tried your on-line calculator but the markings don't make sense. What does it actually weigh?
   - Stephen - Monday, 11/27/17 08:36:08 EST

Hi ! I just bought a 1901 Fisher that is marked 10 7. I can't make sense of how to translate that to pounds. I tried your on-line calculator but the markings don't make sense. What does it weigh?
   - Stephen - Monday, 11/27/17 08:37:24 EST

Stephen, Fisher is an American anvil, NOT British.

Fishers are marked in rounded pounds, one tenth the full weight (due to being a casting of slightly varying weight). The raised 10 on the top of the foot is 100 pounds. If there are numbers on the front of the foot they are a serial number. Some had the patent date, others had the manufacturing date.
   - guru - Monday, 11/27/17 11:36:56 EST

How to translate the markings to pounds: Place anvil on bathroom scale, read weight. Done!
   ThomasP - Wednesday, 11/29/17 22:17:06 EST

Identifyanvil maker : Please help.me Id this anvil. I cannot locate any markings. It weighs 192.9 lbs. It is 28 1/2 inches long - 11 inches tall - 4 1/2 wide.
   - John - Thursday, 11/30/17 16:14:03 EST

So is it a London Pattern, Birminham Pattern, double bick, French, German, Italian, Chinese...

I have a used car it is 5' high and 15.25' long---Identify it for me!
   ThomasP - Thursday, 11/30/17 19:25:20 EST

If there are no markings on your anvil then it is unlikely that it can be positively identified. Send me a photo but I would guess from the size and weight that it is an old English anvil that could have come from any one of several hundred manufacturers.
   - guru - Friday, 12/01/17 11:54:32 EST

best forges for beginners : my names riley and i want to make a forge so i can make cool swords and knives and such but i don't have alot of money or any experience nor do i have a forge any suggestions
   Riley ley - Thursday, 12/07/17 15:57:13 EST

Anvil ID : Hello. I'm brand new to your site and new to metal work, as a retired firefighter. I picked up a couple of anvils and cannot ID one of them. The markings are incomplete and vague. I was wondering if you or another reader could help. On the to you can make out ARLESS and in two locations what appears to be SHEFFIELD. Any ideas?
   Nazryt - Thursday, 12/07/17 16:02:12 EST

Best Forge :
This depends on your means, location, place to work. . . will your shop have electric power?

The BEST modern forges are of two basic types. Coal/charcoal and propane gas.

Coal forges are the most flexible and are efficient for large and small work. However, good coal is getting hard to get and charcoal, while it can be made anywhere is also sometimes hard to get. The best coal forge is one with a heavy cast iron firepot and an electric blower with both speed and air controls. Use of coal may also be limited by the smoke they produce and complaints by neighbors. Note that charcoal is almost odorless and you may get away with it in places that you cannot use coal.

Gas forges are cleaner and generally easier to use. They are an absolute necessity for production work. The down side to gas forges is their work size is fairly specific. To be efficient you need a small forge for small work and a large forge for large work. You can use a gas forge almost anywhere including indoors with a little ventilation.

NEW top quality forges of both types can cost $600 to $1000. DIY Forges can cost from $0 to $500.

Primitive charcoal forges are nothing more than a hole in the ground with an air supply (wine skins, bellows. . . or blower). Primitive gas forges can be a stack of refractory bricks and a weed burner (not recommended due to being very inefficient). From there on the differences are portability, convenience, efficiency.

All that said I generally recommend a Brake Drum Forge for beginners. These are not a great forge BUT they will let you make a few things as well as testing fuel.

I also recommend an Oriental Trough Forge and Box Bellows. The box bellows has the advantage of not needing a lot of leather and being a convenient rectangular shape.
   - guru - Friday, 12/08/17 07:31:07 EST

You can email photos of anvils to me for ID. Click on my name in this post.
   - guru - Friday, 12/08/17 07:33:38 EST

homemade forge : I picked up a small round homemade forge ,10.5" diameter,and the burners are positioned horizontally, blowing across the top. Every other forge is see the burners are facing down towards where the metal will be. Is the a good set up? Venturi effect?
   - nick - Saturday, 12/09/17 15:41:56 EST

Burner position : I p/u a home made forge with the burners welded on horizontally, pointing across the top inside. Why do you think this is this way? Pros/cons? Venturi?
   nick - Saturday, 12/09/17 17:52:38 EST

Burner position : I p/u a home made forge with the burners welded on horizontally, pointing across the top inside. Why do you think this is this way? Pros/cons? Venturi?
   nick - Saturday, 12/09/17 17:54:43 EST

Burner position : I p/u a home made forge with the burners welded on horizontally, pointing across the top inside. Why do you think this is this way? Pros/cons? Venturi?
   nick - Saturday, 12/09/17 17:55:43 EST

About an inch taller than my 265# Peter Wright, London style with one inch stamp markings on body 2 2 1 and three odd
   - Edward James - Saturday, 12/09/17 18:44:44 EST

About an inch taller than my 265# Peter Wright, London style with one inch stamp markings on body 2 2 1 and three odd
   - Edward James - Saturday, 12/09/17 18:45:46 EST

Spear shaft support issue : I made a boar spear for my Bro but I dint have the skill to make a socket for it so I did a tanged spear. I intended on making a detached collar to help with the issue of splitting but that failed. When constructing the shaft cracked where the top pin connects and if not supported will travel down to the other pins. I don't have time to do a different shaft so I tried wrapping in wire to compensate but the wire keeps loosening off the shaft. How can I reinforce it?
   Went Overhill - Saturday, 12/09/17 21:55:10 EST

Riley; that sounded a lot like "I want to win Formula 1 races but I don't know how to drive; how should I build a car to win them?" Do you see the problem? Remember most folks you see making cool swords have a decade or two or three of experience. Far patter to worry about learning to forge the basics than what you will need several years down the road.

Went; are you trying to get your Bro killed or will this be only a wallhanger? You are working on a mission critical item. If you don't have the skills; you had best develop them BEFORE you make an item someone's life may depend on! (also look up Langets)
   ThomasP - Saturday, 12/09/17 23:13:48 EST

Spear Reply : +Thomas I get that I should develop basic skills before I try to make Excalibur but I don't think this is the same as your analogy, I don't want to make Excalibur or win a race just a semi functional wall hanger. I've made many knives before and this isn't all that different my issue is that I don't know how to bind cracked wood properly (The spear is secured tightly with decent fit and no wiggle). I only intend this to be a wall hanger but I did give it a 1/2 in lugs for hand protection if he did ever decide to use it. The crack is at the end near the spear head so, if bound, I gander it still could be used, but I don't think it ever will be (he's not a spear hunter), and I'd have it re-hafted it if he wanted it to be used seriously. At the very least I want to cover the crack so it's not so noticeable on a wall, and at most I'd like to strengthen it if he ever decides to stab snowmen or targets with it. (In the future I'll do a socket construction or Lagnets I just didn't think for the latter and didn't have the tool or experience to make the former.)
   Went Overhill - Sunday, 12/10/17 12:26:26 EST

Your post did not say wall hanger. It said Boar Spear so I addressed that. Hunting Boar with spear is still practiced by folks who are crazier than me! (Shoot I know of a fellow who had a custom Grizzly spear made!)

For applied sockets---like ferrules---I tend to find old 1960's tapered table legs, The earlier the heavier. I keep an eye out for them and usually have a couple on hand for random projects. I also use them for bellows nozzles---just cut them where you like the size! I avoid the chrome plated and go with the painted ones.

A Q&D way to get good langets is to find old windmill sucker rod ends for the types that used wooden rod with metal end fittings. I pick them up at the scrapyards when I find them too. Reshape the ends and then a good weld and then heat treat and you have a fine usable pole arm...
   ThomasP - Sunday, 12/10/17 17:04:33 EST

For a wall hanger how about a tooled and laced leather covering to cover the crack?
   ThomasP - Sunday, 12/10/17 17:10:27 EST

+Thomas Thank you for the ideas. Unfortunately I'm fresh out of table legs :P. I've considered a leather wrap, and I probably will do that to cover up anything I do, but I'd also like to reinforce the shaft if I can. If a ferrule is really the best option for strength I'll abandon the wire wrapping. I have some 16 gauge and 22 gauge steel and some aluminum bar. That being said how would I fit the metal? (I tried a ferrule earlier and it wouldn't fit to the shaft) I've considered a hot fit, drilling out a few pins and then pinning the steel band, or simply using 2 ton epoxy but I wasn't sure what should be done.
   Went Overhill - Sunday, 12/10/17 18:59:09 EST

haybudden anvil : I have a 131lb. hay budden serial# A12600 or A13600 visible and would like to find out when it was made.
   sandlapper - Sunday, 12/10/17 20:56:03 EST

Burner Position :
I prefer something along the this line as the flames swirl and do not directly impinge on the work. Others like direct impingement as it heats faster but this also results in hot spots and heavier scaling. . . .

   - guru - Sunday, 12/10/17 21:49:00 EST

Boar Spear :
Some of the last spears used (still in use) in Africa are one piece with slender iron shanks. These were used to hunt large game but there usually were multiple hunters with multiple spears. . . Longer spears with wood shafts started with the long iron shank then the wood shaft was wrapped with sinew at the attachment point.

The problem with both spears and arrows is they are easily damaged in practice and often need repair or replacement. For hunting they are almost always a one shot item (hit or not).

Reading your posts about pins (never in a spear), wire wrap failing, and ferrules not fitting it seems your design and your execution is the problem. It also sounds like you are trying to fix something that should be scrapped an another made.

A ferrule, straight or tapered is made to fit the wood tightly. Make the ferrule to fit then adjust the wood as needed - easy. When the tang is driven into the undersized hole it further tightens the ferrule.

There are tricks to making wire wraps tight. Broom makers use both hands to pull the wrapped shaft and hold the roll of wire with their feet to control feed and tension. The tricky part is the termination.
   - guru - Sunday, 12/10/17 22:57:27 EST

More burner positions :
Currently we are making forges with the burners tucked up against the sides and distribution manifold underneath. No more deely bopper (bug antennae) burners with festooned hoses. . .
   - guru - Sunday, 12/10/17 23:01:20 EST

Hay Budden age : A friend of mine who is a pretty good blacksmith but less good with computers asked me to put forth this question for him on the forum:

"I would like to know the age of a 130# Hay Budden anvil, serial # either A12600 or A13600. Thanks."

Not worried about value, he just wants to know the time frame on the manufacture of the latest addition to his shop tooling.
   James Helm - Sunday, 12/10/17 23:34:35 EST

I have a 131lb. hay budden anvil serial #A12600 or A 13600 visible numbers, I would like to find out when it was made.
   - sandlapper - Monday, 12/11/17 09:44:08 EST

   - sandlapperW - Monday, 12/11/17 09:47:24 EST

Yelling and using multiple names and posting on multiple forums will not help.

1918 or 1919.

If you want the history of the company as well as many others we sell THE book on anvils, Anvils in America, from whence the above information came. Its a bargain for the amount of information in it.
   - guru - Monday, 12/11/17 22:58:42 EST

Boar Spear : Thank you for all the advice. I managed to make a ferrule that fit well enough working. I drilled through the brass pin that had the crack and pinned the ferrule over it. I also covered it in two ton epoxy. It's not optimum and I've learned a lot but I think I've done as much as I can for this project. It should still be good enough to be a conversation piece for my bro, and if he ever did use it I'm confident it wouldn't just break on him. In the future I think I'll have to make a horn on my anvil of some sort so I can make sockets. I'll wrap the top of the spear in something for decoration so it will look good enough to set on a wall (where it will probably spend the rest of it's days). Thanks for the advice. o7
   Went Overhill - Monday, 12/11/17 23:01:43 EST

multiple post : I am sorry for the multiple post, I did not realize that I had posted 2 times as I was having a problem understand how to post. My friend was trying to help and I did not mean to over post. I assure you that this will not happen again.
   sandlapper - Tuesday, 12/12/17 09:02:45 EST

Sockets and Knocks :
While epoxy is strong it is also brittle.

Back when I was into archery (about 50 years ago) the problem with arrows is that when they hit something relatively hard (a tree, wood target frame) the shock wave in the arrow would make the knocks (notched part for the string) to pop off. This applied to wood, fibreglass and aluminium arrows. We tried many types of glue including epoxy. One day I ran out of arrows in the field due to failed knocks so I tried some chewing gum. It works best at the point when it is the softest (still has a little flavor). A little wad of soft warm gum and push on the knock and it will stay on for years even after hitting multiple hard targets.

Organic materials have amazing properties often far beyond synthetics or man made materials. The biggest advantage to man made is supply and uniformity. Consider wood. It is used for everything from jewelry and fine art to house and boat framing to making paper. . . Wood is used for construction framing DESPITE being flammable, subject to rot and insect damage. The reasons are it is light weight for its strength, accepts and holds various fasteners, has heat and electric insulation properties AND is a renewable resource.

Many animal derived substances are virtually irreplaceable. Bone and horn, hide glue (made from hooves) and various furs and fibers. The best artists brushes used in every field (including makeup) are made from animal hair.

Some items would not exist without these plant and animal materials. Take the violin. They are held together with hide glue. Use ivory or bone to support the gut (called cat gut but make from sheep intestines) strings and sound is made using a horse tail hair bow. There are several woods used in its construction - maple, spruce and ebony the bow from tropical pernambuco.

When making highly stressed items, in particular traditional or primitive items, consider the natural materials traditionally used. They often have combinations of properties that out perform modern materials.

WHY is hide glue used to make musical instruments? Because with a little heat the instrument can be disassembled for repairs and put back together without destroying the instrument or its value.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/12/17 09:37:15 EST

Archery : I too was into archery in a big way in the late 50's and early 60's. We made our own arrows, had fletchers, crester, bought turkey feathers by the box, had a feather trimmer, and learned all the tricks to making them. Everyone had recurve bows, since this was pre-compound days. Aluminum arrows were new and so soft that if you missed a target, you would bend the arrow and it was done for. Eventually I had other things in my life,(Including Blacksmithing), and got out of archery. Fast forward about 25 years, I had bought 5 acres north Of Phoenix, prime desert land and moved onto it. I thought this would be a good time to get back into it, as I still had all the equipment stashed. I went into an archery shop to buy some shafts, and the guy looked at me if I were an alien. Arrows were all aluminum, premade, and very expensive. I never did get back into it.
   Loren Tollefson - Tuesday, 12/12/17 12:46:03 EST

Archery :
Yep, back when you couldn't get along without a Herter's catalog.

I still have my archery stuff but haven't used it since I chipped an elbow and couldn't straighten my holding arm for a year. . . By then we had moved to a place where I didn't have room to shoot and I lost interest. But prior to breaking my elbow if I could see it I could usually hit it or come darn close.

It probably isn't safe to use 50 year old recurve bows. . . But maybe not. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/12/17 18:36:55 EST

Files nowadays : I have what would seem to be a simple problem: I want to buy new files. I especially want to buy a few big, relatively coarse ones for rapid metal removal during historical blacksmithing demos. Recently, I searched the googleverse for file reviews. Man, are people depressed about today's file quality! Nicholson, Grobet, etc: It seems just about every file making company has offshored, and smiths and machinists are reporting that new files sold everywhere are total garbage.

Is this really true? Can anyone in this forum recommend a file maker as still making good product? (Example: I saw a couple of positive comments on the net for Pferd, a German company.) I don't mind paying a bit for quality. So, who is still making good files?
   - Eric T - Friday, 12/15/17 21:00:30 EST

Files : Hi Eric, I have purchased around 400 vintage files of all types, cuts and sizes. Many are new old stock or gently used. This was done years back by going to auctions,flea markets, junk shops and careful ebay picking. Best way to get a good quality file. Don't buy rusted files!! The teeth edges will be eaten away. Really they are only good to forge knives or tools from at that point. Some folks soak them in acid to try and bring some of the edge back. Never thought that was worth the trouble. Be selective and buy vintage files. This is actually cheaper in the long run. For the cost of 20 moderate quality new files you can purchase hundreds of old quality files with lots of life left in them.
   - Burnttheguru - Saturday, 12/16/17 00:41:43 EST

Files : I hate to say this but these days I just buy whatever the "unstated" brand it is that McMaster-Carr is selling and take my lumps. . . Some (in the past) have been Nicholson others just marked "Made in India". . .

I see where you can buy direct from Nicholson. However, it looks like they only sell 6 packs. . .
   - guru - Saturday, 12/16/17 03:23:59 EST

For coarse filing I often use Farrier's rasps; especially when filing on hot steel.
   ThomasP - Sunday, 12/17/17 15:54:54 EST

NOS Nicholson Files :
They are not cheap but there are many NOS (New Old Stock) Nicholson files listed on ebay. I was surprised at the number.

The finest Nicholson files I own are their cabinet makers rasps. Unlike standard rasps their teeth are arranged in curved (seashell) groups that do not align with each other. This results in a fine but fast cutting rasps that do not leave the deep marks of standard rasps. From their price I suspect they are hand cut.

They also make special aluminum cutting files. These are exceptionally fast cutting and do not load up like common files do with aluminum.
   - guru - Monday, 12/18/17 09:41:34 EST

files : What Thomas said. If you're hot-filing something a farrier's rasp is the way to go. For extremely (and I mean extremely!) rapid stock removal on cold steel get a 14" Vixen file. These look like aluminum float files, but they are suitable for steel. They do not leave a nice smooth finish unless you use both hands and have excellent control. You should of course always use both hands with any type of file, but wear a glove on the off hand with Vixens. They are sharp enough to remove your fingerprints when the file hangs up and you keep going.

I prefer MSCdirect.com to McMaster-Carr just because they let you choose the brand.

I think Simonds are still pretty good, but the selection is limited.

The Mexican Nicholsons are worse than useless, being poorly cut on the machine (teeth not going all the way to the edge, etc.) and badly heat-treated (can easily be filed with a USA Nicholson, soft as mild stell almost). The Brazil-made Nicholsons seem to have better heat treatment, but the poor cutting issues are still there. In other words, Nicholson is out of the filemaking business. They just sell file-shaped objects. Thanks, CooperTools!

India-made Grobets are just a sad waste of money and the ruin of what was once the best name in files.

I too have heard good things about Pferd, and the Portuguese Sandviks as well. I just haven't found them in the sizes and cuts I want.

So, I do the NOS Nicholsons off eBay and Simonds from MSC. I like to support businesses that make good product, but that is a thing of the past. Quality doesn't mean anything to the MBAs who are charge of the conglomerates who have bought up the file companies, they just buy in, take all the profit they can, and leave a smouldering corpse in their wake. Sort of like politicians, but more honest about it.
   Alan-L - Monday, 12/18/17 13:49:37 EST

Forging Furnace : I have a forging furnace that I am looking for information on. I've attached some pictures of it. The brand is The Kidder Co, Canton Oh, Patent Jan 13, 1927.
   CaGuy - Monday, 12/18/17 18:04:18 EST

First thing I would suggest is to tell us what kind of information you are hunting for!

Second would be to look up the patent online.
   ThomasP - Monday, 12/18/17 19:44:01 EST

files : Thanks for the responses, folks. I may try ordering a couple of Pferd files from MSC (they seem to have a fairly good selection) and trying them out. I'll look at Vixen, too. A used-tool shop in my area has a couple of Portuguese Sandviks, that I avoided. Maybe I'll try them, are really cheap.
   - Eric T - Monday, 12/18/17 20:48:10 EST

Files. . . Sad Times :
I am still using files I purchased 40 years ago from our local equivalent of McMaster-Carr, a place called Barker Jennings. They actually had as much or more inventory than McMaster-Carr! It was a day in heaven to be invited into the back to look for something. The last time I bought a selection of files was at Barker Jennings. Sadly they closed their doors about 15 years ago.

I think the last files I purchased from McMaster-Carr were American made Nicholsons.

I guess I need to start making monthly file purchases. . .

It looks like for the time being belt sander/grinders are replacing files for a great deal of work. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/19/17 02:03:18 EST

Lost Craft :
People talk about blacksmithing being a "lost craft" but as we know it is far from it. But file making by hand is definitely a "lost craft".

With today's prices for files making them by hand could be competitive as well as profitable. I've seen a film of the last hand cut filemeaker in Britain and it did not take long to hand cut a file. Of course there is also the cost of steel, forging the blanks and heat treating. . .

Hand made files would not have to be competitive with machine made files, just better. Therefore they could command a premium price. I could even see such a maker also producing superior quality machine cut files.

Its not a huge market but its big enough that I think someone could do quite well with it. A business opportunity waiting.
   - guru - Tuesday, 12/26/17 19:00:53 EST

Kaowool coating : Guru
I took your good advice and made a Forge top out of expanded metal with folds of kaowool hanging from the top. The Forge works great. The only issue is the coating that I put on the surface of the wool pulls off because of gravity. Any suggestions for a lighter layer to protect against mechanical abrasion. I first put on itc stabilizer and then an1/4"
Layer of Satanite
   Steven Bronstein - Wednesday, 12/27/17 13:18:45 EST

hand cut files : There is a French company called Ariou that still makes hand-cut rasps for woodworking. They start at around $130 apiece and sell very well indeed. http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=65242&cat=53823

Thing is, there are more rich woodworking hobby folks than there are rich metalworking folks, so while one could probably make a bit of a profit I don't know that it would be enough to base an entire business off of. Especially if you consider the learning curve required to hand cut a file fast enough to be profitable.
   Alan-L - Wednesday, 12/27/17 13:20:08 EST

Forge Ceiling : Steven, You should have stuck to just the ITC. It is only about a 1/32" (1mm) thick layer that weighs very little and it VERY hard after firing. Put on the end grain of folded blanket it should not come off. I just checked on our prototype forge that is now 3 years old has been hauled to numerous shows and there has been no problem with the ITC coating on its flat ceiling.

While the end grain of the blanket is much stronger than the front, both will pull apart given sufficient force.

ITC-100HT is used to coat the walls, ceilings and furniture of walk in kilns and huge car bottom furnaces.

The only places that heavy refractory coatings work on blanket is where there is a fairly tight arch to the roof such as in tubular forges. But I would not expect it to work with a radius over 8 to 10 inches (200 to 250 mm).

The other factor that affects coating adhesion is the surface condition. Forges that have been fired can have dusty broken down blanket surfaces. It also helps to follow the ITC instructions to spritz the surface with a little water. You want it slightly damp but not wet. This helps the coating to spread as well as penetrate a little.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/27/17 19:43:01 EST

anvils : Hello there, I'm Interested in getting into Blacksmithing. And I'm in search of an Anvil. I live in Ct. and theres not a lot to offer around here. I've looked on ebay and craigslist, from what I've seen there's to much wear and tear on them, you have to go out of state just to look at them, and the asking price is expensive. So i have decided to just purchase a new one. I don't care to make knives or swords, I want to make decorative and artistic stuff. I don't want for my first Anvil to be to small, so I'm shooting for a 250 pounder or a 300 pounder. I've been looking at Centaur Forge Catalogs. My question is which would be a better choice Scott brand anvil or the TFS anvil brand. Or if you might have another Brand anvil in mind.
   BRYAN BOWSER - Wednesday, 12/27/17 21:45:30 EST


If you back off the size, look for 100 to 150 pound old English anvils. They are the most common and you can do a LOT of work on a well worn old anvil.

I do not know Scott brand so I cannot say. Have you tried BlackSmithsDepot.com?

You could also try anvils4sale.com. Josh has a selection of old German anvils, most of which are forged. Prices will equal new but you will be getting a classic made to the highest quality. Call him soon as it is winter and he will be leaving for Costa Rica in a few weeks and may not be back for 6 months or so.

Tell them I sent you.
   - guru - Wednesday, 12/27/17 22:35:35 EST

heating metal and carbon content : Guru,
I have heard that each time one heats metal, the metal looses just a little carbon and if you heat metal enough, metal will loose enough carbon and will be less likely to give the desired result when heat treating. Is what I have just said true causing one to reheat metal as few times as possible to prevent burning metal and loosing all the carbon in the metal.

Al Gilchrist
   Al Gilchrist - Thursday, 12/28/17 04:20:24 EST

Number of times heated :
Al, This is correct. But the effect is mostly on the surface, the depth determined by the length of time in the fire. This is why the saying "If with a blade, you would win, Forge it thick, Grind it thin." is important to keep in mind. It is also why it pays to learn to forge quickly and efficiently. Single heat power hammer forgings generally have little of no decarburixed surface most coming off as scale the rest being thinned by the drawing out process.

In a typical small hand forging the decarburized surface is about 1/32" (1mm) that should be ground off both sides. However, in a heavy part that may take half an hour or more to get up to heat the decarburized surface could be 1/16" to 1/8".

Note that the type of fire and the atmosphere in the fire can make a big difference. Solid fuel fires can be carburizing as well as oxidizing and gas forges are generally oxidizing.

Also note that heat treating soak times are generally per inch of thickness and that small work generally does not need to soak. It only needs a good through heat.
   - guru - Thursday, 12/28/17 08:47:31 EST

Anvil for Bryan : Check out Nimba brand anvils. I bought a Gladiator in 1998, used it for a couple years and sold it for more than I paid for it. Russell Jaqua came up with the design and manufactured them. He unfortunately died from ALS and the company was bought out by others who have kept it going. If you want to make an investment, you can't beat them.
   Loren Tollefson - Thursday, 12/28/17 09:30:56 EST

Propane forge : I'm new at blacksmithing and I want to make knifes. I'm in Washington state. I built a 4 burner forge with a 10 inch inside diameter with a 60 psi adjustable regulator. I'm using 3 5 gallon tanks. For now I'm using railroad sipkes for knife and I can't seem to get it hot enough to hammer the metal flat. My question is with that size of a forge do I need to get more tanks for more btu's?
   Mike-S - Friday, 12/29/17 17:12:48 EST

Clincher Conversion : In a pile of blacksmith tools a friend bought on my behalf was a farrier's clincher (also, sometimes, called an alligator). Since "I don't do horses" I am looking for suggestions as to what style of tong they would be good to be converted to.

Pretty much frigid here on the banks of the lower Potomac. I hope all the crew are staying well and warm.
   Bruce Blackistone Atli - Saturday, 12/30/17 15:55:50 EST

Propane Forge : Mike-S.... Since the Guru hasn't answered yet, I'll take a shot for you.

How long is your forge and how is it lined? If your forge is longer than 15 inches, the burn chamber exceeds the capacity of the burners you have.... and to get to forge welding heat, your lining (and floor) has to be very efficient. Since you are new, I personally, recommend you build a much smaller forge to start with. Very few hobby blacksmiths would need a forge as large as you built. I have been forging for 15 years and still use a single-burner 8" outside diameter, 9" long forge with 2 inches of insulation for almost all my projects. I've even made a 6# hammer in it. Make a forge that suits the size of your beginner projects.
   - Dave Hammer - Sunday, 12/31/17 06:26:00 EST

Origin of term : A friend and I have been trying to find the origin of the term "Slack Tub" . Sitting around one day after our time in the shop I mentioned "Slack Tub" and he asked If I knew why the quench tank was offered to as a slack tub . Neither of us have been able to find the answer. Just curious .
Thanks in Advance

   Mark - Sunday, 12/31/17 06:36:11 EST

slack tub : Wikipedia offers one possibility: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forge#Slack_tub
   Jan - Sunday, 12/31/17 12:00:18 EST

Power Hammer : Hello, I'm an old fart in Bakersfield, CA that is getting back in to blacksmithing after a long absence. I've got a nice anvil, post vice and I am building a gas forge. I recently came into possession of a Schuyler Common Sense #2 Gunning Model power hammer. It has been sitting out side for a very long time. I would like to restore it to working condition. I have not found much information on the internet. I am looking for as much information as I can find on this hammer. Thanks in advance.
   Tor W. - Tuesday, 01/02/18 18:48:41 EST

Tor, "Pounding out the Profits" has about a page on the hammer. Have you checked the patent registry?

Atli; I was given an alligator last Saturday. Commercial version, I decided to remove the ridges and make it into a knife blade holding set to go with my snub shoeing tongs that holds tangs.

Mike S: you do know that the HC RR spikes are generally around the upper limit of Mild Steel right? Practicing on them is rather like paracting pie making using mud pies...
   ThomasP - Tuesday, 01/02/18 20:23:06 EST

RR Spike Knives : Thomas P.... It is easy to put a high carbon bit into a RR spike and make a decent knife. I don't understand why there are so many blacksmiths (or so called) that have to bash repurposing an American Icon for whatever they want to make.
   - Dave Hammer - Tuesday, 01/02/18 23:35:36 EST

Dave; unfortunately almost all the ones that get made do NOT have the needed high C piece in place and so they are making a mild steel knife. Many of them don't even know that they could make a good knife with a bit more work and mislead folks on the quality of RR spike knives.

I dislike misrepresentation; especially to one's self and even more so to one's customers!

I much prefer Ptree's RR spike trowels or coat hooks or BBQ tools, or...
   ThomasP - Wednesday, 01/03/18 14:24:04 EST

Slack-Tub : It comes from the word Slake such as to slake one's thirst.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/04/18 12:47:55 EST

Cool Forge :
Mike-S, It is quite difficult to trouble shoot forges without a full description AND knowing the quality of construction.

As noted by Dave Hammer, It could be too large. However, four 3/4NPT burners can run a fairly large forge, one is usually sufficient for a small forge. But IF you have too much burner you can end up with most of the combustion outside the forge. . . Balance is important.

Did you make of buy your burners? Many DIF burners do not work efficiently.

Dose your forge have doors? Two 10" diameter openings are HUGE for a blacksmiths forge. This size forge can have one end entirely closed and the other about a 4 x 4" (100mm x 100mm) vented door in the front.

Propane bottles are rates in pounds. A "picnic" size is 20 pounds. These are sufficient to operate 1 burner forges and VERY efficient 2 burner forges. The regulator capacity (if its adjustable) means nothing. What pressure are you operating at? Note that pressure is also a local (personal) reference point as gauges are notoriously inaccurate. But on this size forge with 4 burners I would say you need about 10 to 15 PSI for heat up and 8 for operation. A 20 pound propane bottle will only supply this pressure at volume for a few minutes (less time than it will take to heat up the forge).

Also as noted your insulation efficiency is a consideration. A forge this size should have a minimum of 2" of refractory blanket type insulation. If you have used hard cast insulation then you will need to increase your burners and need a LEAST a 100 pound propane bottle. We are currently building rectangular forges with 3" thick refractory blanket walls. . .

Lots can go wrong building a large gas forge. A single burner is sufficient for general bladesmithing (short of swords).
   - guru - Thursday, 01/04/18 13:22:45 EST

Guru arcvhive : Guys, does the Guru page have an archive any more? I can't seem to find a button or search function. Thought it used to have one.
   - Eric T - Friday, 01/05/18 15:27:02 EST

Eric, I've kept the files to setup archives but have been too harassed by life to set them up for a number of years. . .
   - guru - Friday, 01/05/18 20:59:26 EST

Job Skills :
There has recently been a push toward the trades since a college degree no longer assures one can get a job OR that everyone is suited to those types of jobs.

So what are the most important skills in the trades? 1) The ability to read manuals (research). 2) The ability to measure things. 3) The ability to draw and/or read blueprints.

Measuring accurately, recording and transferring measurements to whatever degree of accuracy is necessary and whatever units necessary are skills used in almost all trades. In most pf the mechanical trades you need to be able to use all variety of Foot/Inch and metric measuring devices including tapes, scales, verniers and micrometers. While the world is officially metric including the US. However here in the US we have billions of dollars worth of English measuring tools that are in use and will probably continue in use for all of our lifetimes or longer. If you have accepted the metric lie in school and ignored fractions as "hard to use" you will be in for a rude shock on the job site or almost any shop in the US. In many "all metric" countries they use English materials and hardware that require some knowledge of the inch fractional system.

Fractions are easy if you accept them as necessary and the base for all algebra. In mesuration it helps a great bit to know the decimal conversions of fractions. It also helps to understand the framing square (they are used in many trades, not just by carpenters). The standard framing square includes more than standard fractions. They include 1/8's, 1/10's, 1/12ths, and 1/16ths. Twelfths are handy in that they can be used to accurately measure 1/3rds and 1/6ths. They are also used in architectural work where drawings are (or were) commonly drawn 1/12th scale (1" = 1ft") and 1/12" = 1" when scaling the drawing.

Reading manuals is a constant process in practically all fields. IF you are bad at it you will not go far.

Drawing is a form of communication that is more applicable to some trades than others. However, it is often coupled with recording dimensions and thus communicates more than just shape. Back in 1860 James Naysmyth (the inventor of the Shaper and Steam Hammer) writes in his autobiography about his education in drawing and the importance of graphic language - Chapter 6 Paragraph 2. As they say, one picture is worth a thousand words.

If you work for yourself then drawing may be necessary to sell your work to your clients. In this case, the greater your artistic skills the greater the possibility of making sales (and a good income). Sketching or making diagrams can also be helpful in making quotations.

As I've said over and over, drawing CAN be learned. It just takes time and practice.

One can take classes to learn these things but one can also teach themselves. These three things can greatly increase your value it the job market. Think about it.
   - guru - Monday, 01/08/18 10:20:16 EST

Job Skills : Reading the Guru's latest post, I am reminded of a young man who came into our shop in Phoenix to apply for a job. He had brand new jeans and shirt with no burn holes, a brand new helmet,gloves, and a certificate from ABC school of welding. He was going to start at $10 /hr, which at the time was a journeyman wage. I interviewed him, and said I couldn't use him at this time. When He asked why, I took the tape off my belt, and said "Because you don't have one of these!"
"Why would I need one?"
"Thant's why I won't hire you!"
As far as drawing is concerned, Many times through the years, people would come into the shop with a third of a napkin with some chicken scratches on it supposedly of a truck bed or trailer they wanted built. I would discard it and starting with a new pad of paper ask what they wanted it to do?. Then I would make an isometric view of it. Invariably they would exclaim,"That's exactly what I wanted!".It took a long time to perfect this ability, and I never could understand the reluctance of people to use new or full size paper.
One guy did come in with sketches of a branding iron he wanted with his initials inside the outline of Arizona. I looked at them, and finally realized he had made them on a white barf bag! He had been flying and this was the only paper available.
One real problem in the Structural steel field today is Detailing. CAD programs have made drawings beautiful but the detailers have often never held a job, or worked with the product they are detailing. Years ago detailers served an apprenticeship which included actual handling of the beams, angles, etc., and understood the importance of accurate drawings. Often times now they just see numbers, kind of like an accountant, but do not realize how important it is that they accurately relate to the real world. Nothing worse the a half dozen beams hanging from a $300 per hour crane and none of them fit.
   Loren Tollefson - Monday, 01/08/18 13:19:07 EST

Carpenters Squares : I recently woke up and realized two of my older squares are tapered in thickness. One appears to have hand stamped numerals. Doing a little research the predecessor of Stanley , the Eagle Square Company forge welded two pieces of wrought until 1906 when 24" wide sheet became available. The tongue and blade thickness were tapered throughout their length for ease of use, first with hammers, power hammers, then eccentric rolls. After going to sheet with no welding squares were still tapered. Do we know when all flat squares became the norm?
   Andy Martin - Tuesday, 01/09/18 00:11:30 EST

Tapered squares :
I have seen old forge welded square but never had time to study them enough to notice that they tapered. My oldest square purchased new is a 50 year old Craftsman and its not tapered.

They square I use almost every day (for marking kaowool) is aluminum. The bright surface is much easier to read. The problem with aluminum squares is that they bend easier than steel. If you drop one you need to check it for squareness and adjust it prior to doing any critical work.

   - guru - Tuesday, 01/09/18 00:54:08 EST

Paper Napkin Drawings :
Back when I was designing and building machinery I frequented a small Italian restaurant that used disposable place mats. Many days I would spend the quiet time after lunch drawing on a place mat. I was often figuring out a detail or piece or computer logic. Once in a while I would take the drawings back to the office but most of the time I left them for the trash. Once back at the office I would commit the ideas I was working on to permanent drawings or code if not to memory.

Among some of my compatriots lunches and dinners evolve into design or idea sharing sessions so often that we never go out together without a sketchbook.

These days any of my sketches of merit get scanned and stored in project folders. I also often have CAD sketches in the same folders along with text notes and catalog PDF's. "Sketchbooks" are different than they used to be. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/09/18 00:56:31 EST

Centerline Slim :
My Dad used to talk about a fellow he had worked with that everyone called Centerline Slim. His "detail" drawings were not much more than a centerline with some dimensions.

There is an argument in engineering circles that says you only need two views to define a part. But my Dad had a simple proof that showed that every drawing SHOULD have three views. The drawing had two views, one round the other square. This should indicate a cylinder. But by adding a third round view the part is something completely different. It is cylindrical on two axiis. This is a curious little part but they can be machined - I've made them. The same can be demonstrated with two round views which would indicate a sphere. But the third square view makes it the little bi-cylindrical part.

This is a rare example but is shows how one should carefully study a drawing before jumping to conclusions. In our shop we used as many views of a part as necessary. In the case of some complex parts this could be four of five views plus cross sections. Our rule was to use as many views as necessary to clearly define the part.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/09/18 01:39:25 EST

Centerline Slim: : Have you seen the three views of a part which are a square, triangle, and circle? If you haven't, you'll figure it out, many people can't envision a part with those three views.

I worked with a Civil Engineer in the last ten years who would produce hand sketches, which only needed a number. He would give them to CAD operators to be butchered.
   Andy Martin - Tuesday, 01/09/18 09:31:43 EST

Centerline Slim : The triangle is the base view by the way, with top and side square and circle.
   Andy Martin - Tuesday, 01/09/18 09:33:33 EST

what cork do you need : My brother went to Pittsburg state teachers college in 1964, majoring in architecture. One of the first projects was to design a cork that would fit a round, square, or triangle hole. He succeeded and built a model.
   tjstrobe - Tuesday, 01/09/18 15:03:21 EST

Selection of views : A view must be drawn in each direction needed to conclusively designate every feature the object, but unnecessary views must not be drawn. Engineering Drawing Thomas E. French & Charles J. Vierck
   tjstrobe - Tuesday, 01/09/18 15:37:34 EST

Drawings to go : Andy, I was the "go-to" guy in the shop for several decades. When someone needed a special part I would draw and dimension it in a minute of so.

The last time I was in this position I designed a 10K HP motor armature stand for a Nuclear power plant who needed the fixture "today". First step was to inventory the available plate and structurals in the weld shop, the second was to measure the trailer the fixture was to be attached to. Then I made several dimensioned sketches which went to the welding shop. They had their fixture for the 100,000 pound part in the AM. Why did they use ME, a contractor without a degree? All their guys were busy (it was an outage) AND they really needed it today which would have been impossible in their system. This was a critical schedule part in an environment where they spout of various figures in the millions for every day they are down. The guys that shuffled the job to me did not want to be called out on the carpet for why their motor was not ready. . .

If I had been paid a small fraction of what I saved these guys on field expedient fixes I would be a rich man. . .
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/09/18 16:29:23 EST

Selection of Views : Sometimes three views does not get it, however. While I understand why unnecessary views are undesirable, for complex shapes we often provided isometric and non-dimensioned shaded views for benefit of the fabricators and many time received warm thanks for the additional explanations.

Drawings to Go: Very interesting! I love shutdown work, most of mine has been in refineries. One of my tougher jobs was laying out where risers from a new internal distributor would go through the bottom cone of a 15 ft diameter vessel. Refractory inside and insulation and lagging outside. Another was laying out a 48" penetration through a 1-1/2" 16 ft diameter which was to enter the cylinder at 45 degrees down and 37 degrees from a true radius. Adding to that, you cannot assume the cylinder is truly round. I admit I miss jobs like that.

I fully understand that working for a small percentage of savings would be a boon to some guys...
   Andy Martin - Tuesday, 01/09/18 17:10:17 EST

Field Jobs :
The job I was the proudest of is the bridge I designed for the Harvel Power plant in Petersburg VA. Sadly the plant is gone and the dam removed. A VERY sad story. But my bridge is still there being used by fishermen or trespassers every day.

The bridge had to fit between 100's of years old stone work and a questionably placed siphon turbine structure. At midspan there was a ten foot tall double column structure where the two halves of the bridge met. The two ends of the bridge were not square to the turbine OR the bank end.

I rated the bridge for 10 tons so that a fork lift loaded with a turbine rotor or other heavy part could cross. It also served as conduit and piping support. Besides the standard loads it had to resist annual flooding as well as 100 year floods topping the deck.

The hard part was measuring the odd shaped three dimensional space that was often flooded. This was done with a tape measure and an assistant. We measured many triangles that all went back to a single reference point. From this the elevations and angled ends were determined. My drawing says the locations were +/- 1/2" but it was more like 1/8".

The bridge was built in our nearby shop by a single weldor. When we set the bridge the column was set on adjustable studs and the height set. Then the two halves of the bridge were set with a crane. It only took a couple hours including rigging time. A bunch of people showed up to watch what they expected to be a circus as most of the equipment setting days turned out to be under previous management. They were sorely disappointed as well as amazed.

Prior to installing this bridge workers had to climb a ladder down into the riverbed, tiptoe over slippery rocks and through the water, then climb a ladder on the turbine - EVERY DAY. This had probably cost the job some thousands of man hours over the previous couple years. Not only were these wasted manhours the job schedule was set back many months maybe even a year. . .

Harvel Power Plant Bridge by Jock Dempsey
Fitting hand railing to bridge.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/09/18 18:39:20 EST

My Father told me that the first LEM drawing was done on a napkin and that the Patent archives of Bell Labs included more than one cloth tablecloth neatly filed...

I was at Bell Labs as were were crossing into the Brave New World; getting a drawing updated through the Drafting department had a turn around time of about 6 weeks. The fellow retiring whose place I was taking used to do hand drawings and rubber cement them to the master and then photocopy them as a work around. I showed him the trick of scraping off laser printed ink and then taping with good tape the change and then photocopying. But my real job was reproducing our drawings in CAD and making changes in *minutes*. Luckily they were mostly logical drawings and didn't need 9 decimal accuracy...
   Thomas Powers - Tuesday, 01/09/18 19:51:50 EST

CAD has three key advantages, every print is an original and updates are generally seamless. Last, files do not fill rooms full of cabinets. You can put all the plans for a passenger airplane or an aircraft carrier on a CD. . .

Otherwise CAD can be incredibly slow and expensive compared to pencil drawings. All our shop drawings were on mylar and then blue printed. Drawing changes showed most of the time as the pencil compressed plastic printed light after erasure.

Drawing made on mylar with a soft pencil can look like inkings if made by a conscientious skilled draftsman. We would often have our large scale mylars copied on the big 26" wide roll paper Xerox of the time. A big roll drawing could be reduced down to 11" tall to put into a manual and still be entirely legible. One of my `4/" scale assembly drawings was 13.5 feet long and another 8 feet.

Drawing on mylar can be FAST. When we hit the detailing stage of a project my Dad could make a dozen A size drawings a day. I was not nearly as fast but my details tended to be more complex.

Early inked drawings were made on heavily starched linen. My Dad would bring home retired drawings and my Mom would wash out the heavy starch and make shirts for Dad and clothes for me.

Back in the 80's I bought an OLD (about 1920) Southbend Lathe. It had some moving damage and needed parts. I called Southbend about parts OR drawings and the fellow said. "We just got rod of all those old flat belt machine drawings." Now a big part of their business (or at least 20 years ago) was servicing their antique machines. . . I'll bet they wished they saved all those old drawings. . .

James Nasmyth kept a notebook with all his idea drawings in it. Thus the original Steam Hammer sketch was still available when he wrote his autobiography 30 years later. The dated sketch was also his basis for his patent application.
   - guru - Tuesday, 01/09/18 21:00:59 EST

Field Jobs : Thanks for the bridge story!

Drawings: The best thing about CAD is every print is an original, the worst thing is every print is an original. The engineering office can overload the field with revision after revision with only the latest revision showing clouds. If there's been four revisions since you last looked at the drawing you can miss a lot.

When CAD started a lot of good draftsmen could not make the transition efficiently. We wound up with a lot of computer jockeys who knew nothing about the craft. No explanation needed.

Surely they microfiched the drawings for South Bend. It's sad when companies decide to throw away their heritage. The accountants can brag about saving several thousand dollars though.

One company I worked for got on a kick to save inventory tax by getting rid of excess materials in refineries, pump stations, and terminals. Millions and millions of dollars of pipe, fittings, and spare parts to save thousands of dollars. No longer could the site manager help you out with ratholed material, everything had to be bought new, and in many cases that meant a new pump or engine because obsolete parts had been discarded wholesale. And management would say "we probably needed a new one anyway". It's amazing companies make a profit.
   Andy Martin - Tuesday, 01/09/18 21:23:19 EST

Archives :
The fellow I spoke to in the Southbend parts department did not mention the possibility of retrieving drawings. He was pretty clear that they were "gotten rid of".

A friend of mine acquired most of the drawings and other records of a major manufacturer when its holding company was bought out by a foreign company and unwanted units "disposed of". One branch was told to clean out the offices and dump their records (and drawings). My friend got a call, "You want all our stuff? Check the dumpster outside our office as soon as you can". It took a pickup (the dumpster was full) to move the records. It was/is a treasure trove and is supporting industry today.

Another aspect of this type thing is the foundry patterns. They are generally stored at the foundry. . . When a company goes belly up someone MAY buy all the documentation but not the patterns. They generally rot until the foundry scraps them.

Another place this happens is in the publishing business. If you want to reprint a book it is reasonably inexpensive if you have the original plates. But the printer only stores the plates for 20 years then scraps them. Usually the publisher or author is offered the plates. Then caput. This happened to Dona Meilach when we convinced her to reprint Decorative and Sculptural Ironwork for the Internet generation of smiths. The plates had been scraped just the prior year. . . Plates can be made from a good copy of the book but not for color pages. So she had the expense of making new plates and finding new color photos to replace the originals (plus destruction of her original copy of the first printing).
   - guru - Wednesday, 01/10/18 01:40:35 EST

Forge build : Hey I was just looking around on the web and came across this page, the info is good but it’s not exactly what I’m looking for. My question is, will a fire pot made of mild steel withstand the hot coals from a forge… I have been working on a forge in my welding shop class at school but one of my buddies brought this up, so i just wanted to find out for myself if this is a problem and/or if i need to reinforce it with fire proof cement or something.
   Tyler S - Wednesday, 01/10/18 22:50:48 EST

Tyler, Mild Steel works fine. I've built several from 1/4" plate that lasted many years but heavier is better.

The biggest problem with steel fire pots is rust. Coal ash is full of sulfur compounds that leach into water resulting in acids that rust steel very aggressively. If store outdoors be sure to empty the ashes and clean the firepot and forge pan between uses.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/11/18 09:13:52 EST

Forge build : A refractory lining would keep the steel temperature down however it is very difficult to keep it stuck to the steel. If it is outdoors that means water will get under the lining and accelerate corrosion. Have you thought about a cast iron brake drum from a truck? Cast iron is much more resistant to corrosion than mile steel.
   Andy Martin - Thursday, 01/11/18 14:20:43 EST

Forge build :
Oriental Trough Forge Drawing by Jock Dempsey

My next solid fuel forge will be an oriental trough forge. They are all masonry and need no metal grate. Their down side is they are heavy and not portable. However, they can be built loose and taken apart to move.

Air is blown in from the side like a side blown forge but the length of the forge is perpendicular to the blast. If a deep fire is needed then loose bricks can be stacked across the trough.

Oriental Box Bellows

The mate to the long trough forge is the oriental box bellows which fit along side of each other. The advantage to this bellows is that it does not need an expensive full cow hide to make (a vegan bellows). This also makes it more durable. The rectangular shape is also very convenient. Sometimes the Chinese use theirs as an auxiliary work bench. Some have drawers, the top a filing fixture.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/11/18 16:54:41 EST

Oriental Bellows :
The traditional Oriental Bellows is round (a log) or rectangular. Unlike the modern versions that have a birdhouse on the side with two output valves the traditional design has only three valves in a bottom "valve body". Each end of the "cylinder" has an intake valve. In the bottom there is a directional flapper valve at the output.

The intakes can be on the ends, sides or bottom. They should have a mouse proof grill to prevent mice getting in, eating the valve and piston seals or building nests. The one in the photo above has two outlets so it can be used left and right handed. Each has a slide valve to open the desired side and close to keep out critters.

My design has the intakes in the bottom so that gravity closes the valves on their felt seats. This means the bellows must be on short legs to allow free flow of air.

The Oriental Bellows can be simple carpentry OR high grade cabinet work.
   - guru - Thursday, 01/11/18 23:05:20 EST

Membership : Hi, I'm interested in becoming a member and was curious just how to go about getting this done. Any help here would be much appreciated. Thank you
   Adam Webb - Saturday, 01/13/18 01:23:26 EST

Membership :
Adam, We no longer have a members system. All of anvilfire is free to access to the public. However, we still maintain our old login system so previous members can show their colors and so that I can login as sysop or superuser.
   - guru - Saturday, 01/13/18 07:19:06 EST

Bellows : Oriental bellows is interesting. I guess I find it surprising that it seems a bit inferior since so much of old oriental designs are very good. What I'm thinking is that unlike a traditional leather bellows you can't pump it up and let it feed while you mind other activities, same with a rotary bellows that you can just give a spin to. My grandfather had his father's leather bellows when I was very young but they disappeared when the old house they were in was torn down to make pasture.
   Andy Martin - Sunday, 01/14/18 16:57:39 EST

Types of bellows :
The pressurized air reserve in double chambered and accordion bellows is an over hyped feature that adds very little advantage. While using these bellows you often find yourself pumping against a full reservoir to get a little more pressure and thus a pulsation of the air OR pumping lightly against an empty reservoir with similar pulsations. Its only about half the time that you get that nice smooth as-advertised flow. Otherwise unless the Great Bellows is HUGE the reservoir air time isn't even long enough for working a small forging such as a nail. These are my experiences using a moderately large 5 foot by 3 foot double chambered bellows.

The rotary blower is a completely different device that generally needs precision steel bearings to hold up. They CAN be made of wood and other less durable materials but most are metal. I always found cranking one of these hard on my elbow. These are best motorized.

The Oriental bellows does have the same minor pulsation in air flow as the Great Bellows under the conditions I mentioned above but this has little bearing on the quality of the fire or its efficiency.

The biggest advantage of the Oriental Box Bellows is the lack of needing leather. A good blacksmiths' bellows takes at LEAST a whole cow or more worth of leather. In vegetarian societies where beef is uncommon and expensive the Oriental Bellows is perfect. AND even where leather is common it isn't cheap.

The Oriental Bellows is also more efficient in that there is no duplication of reservoir space and the rectangular shape takes less wood than an equivalent wood and leather bellows.

Yes, bellows can be covered with canvas but those that have used both types will tell you leather makes a much better bellows.

Another advantage is the durability. I managed to use my bellows regularly for about 4 years and then off and on for another decade without damage. But Pawpaw had it less than a year before he poked a hole in it with a bar of steel - a well known hazard. Later he tore another hole in the leather sufficient that they had to be retired. Canvas is also susceptible to poking damage. Leather also ages.

I love the classic looks of a Great Bellows but they are large, delicate and inefficient compared to the Oriental Bellows.
   - guru - Sunday, 01/14/18 23:23:12 EST

Bellows : The only bellows I knew growing up were from Mr. Thompson: "HEY YOU! GET OUT OF THERE OR I'M GONNA CALL THE SHERIFF!!!"
   Loren Tollefson - Monday, 01/15/18 10:23:33 EST

The Nasmyth Steam Hammer

The new paddle wheel ships of the 1830's needed larger and larger shafts. The current tilt hammers which were limited by gravity and geometry and could not do the job. The British Admiralty asked James Nasmyth to design a machine that could forge shafts larger than the current limit. He came up with a solution in short order but the navy dropped the project (possibly due to propellers replacing paddle wheels and not needed such large shafts).

It was Nasmyth's policy to leave his notebook in a prominent place in his shop for visitors to peruse as a sales tool. One day a couple French Engineers visited while Nasmyth was away. They copied his drawing. . .

Several years later Nasmyth was touring the French Navy yards and was seeing forgings of size and quality he had never seen before. When he asked his French guides how they were made they said, "Weeth YOUR hammer Monsieur Nasmyth! Come, we will show it to you."

And there is was, a huge version of his hammer. Nearby there were several broken parts where they has deviated from his drawing. . . But it was operational and making huge forgings.

Shocked, Nasmyth cut his trip short and filed for a patent as soon as he got home. He made a lot of money on that patent. Its high license cost (over 1000 British Pounds per hammer) also put pressure on inventors, particularly in the US to come up with other hammer designs and thus we have a plethora of mechanical hammers. When his patent ran out manufacturers all over the world started building Nasmyth type hammers.

Nasmyth's first hammer was a gravity drop (as was the French model). After studying it he converted the controls so that the ram was pushed down as well as up. This meant it could strike much faster (thus harder) than the gravity fall. This is the design that is still in use today.


Go into any forge shop and some old timer will tell you about watching a guy put a pocket watch on the lower die of a big steam hammer and strike it just hard enough to bounce the watch a couple times. Then with the last blow make metal foil out of it. . .

The problem with this story is that like many popular stories the person telling it probably didn't really witness the event. The person that routinely put on this demo was the inventor of the steam hammer himself, James Nasmyth (1808-1890). He put this on as an "educational ir sales demo" any time a new steam hammer was setup or someone visited his shop. The demo was popular enough that people often asked for it. Nasmyth collected cheap old pocket watches from second hand stores and carried one with him all the time.
   - guru - Monday, 01/15/18 11:51:59 EST

pwatch test of steam hammer controls : I actually got to see something similar at VOGT. The hammerman would bet $20 he could put a bad of grease on the upper die and strike a blow that would put grease on the watch crystal without hitting it enough to break the watch. I saw him do this several times till he had to quit doing this when he misjudged and crushed an expensive wrist watch.He was using a 15,000# Erie steam hammer :)
   ptree - Monday, 01/15/18 16:20:31 EST

pwatch test : I'm sure others have done it but I suspect that Nasmyth was the only one that finished with making foil out of the watch. . . A pocket watch is a pretty good test object as you can actually hit it without breaking it. The crystal and the case are both ovoid shapes that can deflect quite a bit. A "touch" will bounce it without breaking it.
   - guru - Monday, 01/15/18 16:44:28 EST

Bellows : Thanks for the update on bellows. I've always wanted a double chamber leather bellows but you have saved me some work:)

Thanks for the hammer discussion.
   Andy Martin - Monday, 01/15/18 17:59:09 EST

If I were building an historical demo shop I would probably still use a Double Chambered Bellows for the art. But then, a shop doing historical Japanese or Chinese forging would be correct with a box bellows. In many parts of Europe the standard would be the accordion reservoir bellows.

If I was building a shop/forge to make money I would use an electric motor driven blower. If a manual blower then I would require a helper.

Most blacksmith shops today use a gas forge for everything that will fit. The occasional use solid fuel forge would have that electric blower. OR a large rosebud can be used and keep the shop 100% gas fueled.

In the Prepper Forge any type of manual forge will do to burn charcoal. But it should be a forge that can be stored for a long time making leather parts (including belts) a bad idea. The same shop should have charcoal production equipment.
   - guru - Monday, 01/15/18 22:54:21 EST

Hi, I'm looking to get started in blacksmithing, specifically looking to eventually go into swordsmithing/blades nothing. I hopefully (fingers crossed) have a uni course lined up to begin next year, however, in the interim, do you have any recommendations for research books, or small projects that could be done in a flat that would give me at least some idea of the sort of skills I'll need, and the techniques that are used?
   - Amelia - Monday, 01/22/18 14:06:32 EST

Amelia, See our Sword Making Resources. It starts at the beginning with a reference that shows you how to use basic metalworking tools, how to stand, how to do layout. . It moves on to bladesmithing and blacksmithing books then gets more technical. If you obtain and STUDY all these references it is equivalent to a couple years in school. If after studying all these you setup a small shop and practice the techniques (everything from using a file, drilling holes to forging and heat treating tools this adds another year of two to your education.

There is a LOT you can do in a small apartment short of forging. Even with forged blades there is a huge amount of grinding. So you can make blades by stock removal (sawing and grinding). If you keep your work small you can also do the heat treating.

The general techniques for making blades as small as scalpels up through swords is the size. Its just a matter of scale.

The only problem with doing metalwork in your living space is the dirt and grit. To keep it from spreading you will want dust collection systems on your sander/grinders and vacuum the work area daily. Not that you do not want to use the same grinders for wood and metal (even though they will work). The problem is fire starting in the dust collection systems. Sawing, Hand filing grit and drilling chips get caught in shoes and tracked and can then end up getting embedded in your feet - a bad thing.

Besides dust collection and good housekeeping you may want a good exhaust fan in a window.
   - guru - Monday, 01/22/18 16:38:05 EST

Apartment Sword-Making Practice : Dirt is not your friend, even nice, clean metal and abrasive dirt. DOes your flat have a balcony? Does it have a room you can dedicate to your craft? A good floor covering is important, as are changing footwear so as not to track the leavings all over your premises. Even with a balcony, sweeping up the swarf is important. My wif was not impressed by rust stains on the back porch concrete.

Do you have a nearby friend (very nearby) with some spare garage space or open space or does your building have some unused storage space? You may want to investigate convenient locations, in case you expand your ambitions. Also, depending on the city, there may be some "maker space" nearby. Check out your options.

   Bruce Blackistone Atli - Monday, 01/29/18 12:15:44 EST

More small shop hints : Grinding sparks from hand held grinders will weld to glass. This can be a very expensive mistake.

The same grinding sparks will also embed in wood and in humid environments cause rust stains (black).

Grinding sparks that appear to be harmlessly bouncing off surfaces can also start fires (curtains can be very dangerous). Use fireproof OR fire resistant (not retardant) material if curtains are needed. These may be desired to reduce direct light AND protect the window glass from grinding sparks.

Other fire safety items would include a fire extinguisher dedicated to your shop area. Note that sand is great for putting out small fires and much easier to clean up after. Consider having both.
   - guru - Monday, 01/29/18 13:38:37 EST

Just to second the Guru's recommendation on the exhaust fan. I have one that draws negative pressure in my basement shop, which works very well to prevent dust/fumes/smoke from spreading to other rooms of the house. I think this works because I don't have "enough" make up air (I can only open the small window that the fan isn't in), so the fan is constantly trying to draw air from the rest of the house.
   Mike BR - Monday, 01/29/18 18:32:04 EST

Sneaky Dust :
One type of dust that spreads and is as toxic as any other is the cotton fibers from buffing wheels. It is small and light. It is the type of dust that causes "brown lung" in mill workers. However, in metal work the dust also contains buffing compound, wax and the base metal.

To collect this type of dust you need both a local system and good general ventilation. Because it is light if you blow it out one window it might come back in through another. So study your air flow.
   - guru - Monday, 01/29/18 20:57:41 EST

And, I forgot, you should wear a respirator when buffing.
   - guru - Monday, 01/29/18 20:59:22 EST

Note: you can get into blade making without using powered tools; learn to drawfile and then use abrasive paper wrapped around wood blocks for finishing. It is time consuming; but I have seen thousand dollar blades made that way! One nice thing about it is it encourages you to start small and so you can often do your own heat treating with a very small forge run from a propane plumber's torch.
   ThomasP - Friday, 02/02/18 12:22:53 EST

Blades without machinery :
Scrapers (and their variations) are also commonly used to shape blades.

SEE Chinese Workholding Bench and "Sen"

It is interesting to note that Chinese and Japanese work holding devices avoid the screw and heavy metal parts relying instead on light metal parts (usually a staple) and various wedging mechanisms. Like their box bellows it is a different mind set.
   - guru - Friday, 02/02/18 12:33:47 EST

Using abrasive cloth and paper Wet-or-Dry :
There are many ways to use abrasive cloths and papers. They can be supported on a plate glass, granite or precision metal surface. They can be wrapped around a wooden board or metal bar. They can also be glued to a board.

For a variety of heavy or gross uses I glue heavy sanding belts to a piece of board or plywood. This is good for hand squaring and flattening wood.

For work nearly as fine as lapping I use 3M Wet-or-Dry on a precision surface such as a granite surface plate.

You can file scrape or sand to a nearly polished surface then use rubbing compound and a rag by hand to produce a fine polished surface. All without power tools. Using these techniques teaches one not to skip steps in producing a fine finish.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/03/18 00:21:34 EST

Not that long ago screw based systems were not extremely common in western use too. Look at the shave horse, or the use of a wooden bib to brace something against while working on it, The Hausbuchs show metal polishers holding the pieces without a screw based vises.
   ThomasP - Tuesday, 02/06/18 23:00:12 EST

Anvil ID : I would like help to ID an anvil please. It is well used but has a nice bounce (7-8 inches from 10). It is a standard shape (horn, step, face with Harde hole, about 90 pounds. Only markings I see are "1.01.0". I can send pics, Thank you for your help,
   CBSquidSS - Saturday, 02/10/18 10:37:29 EST

Limited use of left arm : Hello, due to a motorist I will eventually have a left replacement, elbow which will have limitations with vibration etc iam right handed ,I have been involved in blacksmithing for 15yrs and have kept the forge going in my late fathers name . Basically iam looking for any Ideas to keep blacksmithing with limited left arm use ,I have some hold downs I have made before this happened iam a bit desperate really not wanting to finish blacksmithing. I sincerely hope you can give me some advise and any ideas . Regards Barry .Jersey Channel Island s u.k
   Barry. Neill - Saturday, 02/10/18 11:31:38 EST

One Handed Blacksmithing or Limited Left Hand :
NOTE: I missed the fact that it was an elbow JOINT replacement the first time I read the question and wrote the following reply. Generally vibration should not be an issue unless tools are held incorrectly (too tight) OR if pneumatic tools are being used. However all the suggestions below apply to any weakness in the holding hand.

Barry, the first thing is to let any prosthesis makers you work with what you want to do.

The next is to learn to use tongs with clamping rings and fit them to all your tongs. These avoid the need to squeeze hard with your left hand. Then the tongs can be held loosely and prevent the transition of vibration and stress to the arm.

Then I would look into hold downs and vices that can be foot operated. Tools that are often held in tongs should be fitted with dedicated tongs clamp rings OR handles so they are ready to use without changing tooling.

Many two handed tasks can be simplified with fixturing to hold and position tools. Machines such as fly presses hold the tooling and are designed to be operated with one hand.

Stands or bench spaces convenient to putting down your hammer so that you can efficiently do operations to support your left hand as needed should be located in multiple places.

A power hammer can be a great help. The right hand alone can be used to hold and guide the work OR help support the left..

I've met a fellow locally that has a stub of one lower arm who seems to get along OK in his smithing. Not wanting to seem insensitive I'm afraid I never asked him about how he got along.

Many of these suggestions apply to two handed smiths as we all could use three or four hands!

As this subject comes up once in a while it would not hurt to do a study of what you CAN do and HOW you do it and perhaps publish it for others.

[For one arm/handed smiths] Something to think about is that many prosthesis makers used to forge many of the parts needed in aluminium and titanium. They made light slender organic shapes that replaced bone but in mechanical arrangements. I do not know if prosthesis are still made this way but you might want to look into this as a field of interest.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/10/18 15:52:42 EST

Anvil ID : Photos were sent. . Its one of many nameless Old English anvils, this one without a pritichell hole and a lot of sway.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/10/18 15:54:59 EST

Vibration and Tongs :
One thing that can transfer excessive vibration to the tongs hand is is overly heavy tongs. Good tongs are light and springy. The spring in the reins helps produce a secure grip on the work OR can be applied to using a tongs clip to mechanically hold them closed. If tongs are too stiff they transmit excessive vibration and will shake off a tongs clip OR be too stiff to apply one.
   - guru - Sunday, 02/11/18 09:21:02 EST

Elbow Replacement joint : Guru, thank you for your advice and suggestions,I will keep you posted and share any ideas that hopefully may arise, Regards Barry.
   Barry. Neill - Monday, 02/12/18 04:18:21 EST

types of metals : Is there a list of what things are made of. Such as axels springs tools and hammers, and other tools and such ?
   Kevin - Monday, 02/12/18 21:56:40 EST

Kevin, see:

Junkyard Steel Chart

This list is based largely on the list in older copies of MACHINERY'S HANDBOOK.

Another book on the subject is Metals for Engineering Craftsmen by CoSIRA.

See our article on Junkyard Steels if you are repurposing old steel.
   - guru - Tuesday, 02/13/18 08:29:44 EST

Going better with coke : Guys, this post will be long, so I beg your patience.

I want to burn coke, not coal, in my neighborhood. I live in the Southwest, and many of the homes near mine use evaporative coolers during the summer, instead of air conditioners. These devices suck tons of dry, hot air into one's house, through humidifier pads, cooling the air tremendously. As a result, from the months of May to September (and often longer), any gaseous substance broadcast in the atmosphere in my neighborhood can be immediately drawn into my neighbors' homes. I can attest to the effects of this: when I used a cooler (I now have AC), if someone started a barbecue three houses away, and if the wind blew right, I could practically taste what he was cooking while sitting in my living room.

This means that in the summer, if I stoke a coal fire a bit heavily, and emit a big gout of that green smoke, a dozen families could smell sulfur and tar coming through their cooler registers. I like most of my neighbors, and don't want to antagonize them. (In the winter, it's not such a big deal: windows and doors are shut tight, and if I manage the fire carefully, I can keep smoke to a minimum.)

The problem: I have yet to find a coke-burning forge design I like.

I tried burning coke in a conventional Centaur Forge cast iron firepot (yes, I know I'm not supposed to) and its walls quickly turned cherry red. Too hot, I thought.

I tried a water-cooled side blast, the British design, and it fired well, but gulped fuel at a great rate. (I may try it again, varying the fire pit size and shape a bit, to cut down on fuel consumption. Though, I have to say, videos I've seen of Brit smiths show them largely unconcerned with fuel use. Some just seem to dump bags of coke beans in their forges, making volcanoes to weld half-inch bar stock. Coke may be very cheap in the UK!)

My current experiment is a small firepot, made from type 304 stainless. I've tried both coal and coke in this pot, and it works great. It is small and rather shallow (8 in square, 3 in deep), and it makes a neat, clean, economical coke fire. The only drawback: like the Centaur pot, it gets really hot! The walls get to a low orange over most of their surfaces; they may be getting to 1600 F or higher. (With coal, the pot shows virtually no heat color at all.)

So, my primary question: can I operate a stainless pot at such high temperatures for hundreds of hours without it deteriorating?

I've done online research, and it seems 304 can be "cycled" at 1600 F, or continuously exposed to 1700 F, for long periods without great loss through scaling, etc. Would a firepot be considered a "cycled" device, or does this mean much shorter periods than a forging session? Also, the online metallurgy folks talk about embrittlement and carbide
precipitation for stainless, at high temps. Do I need to worry about these factors? I would think they would lead to cracking, or distortion, over time.

One site even cautioned that 300 series stainless can be vigorously attacked by sulfurous gases in a reducing atmosphere. Yikes! Seems a perfect description of the environment in a firepot (although coke would have most of the sulfur cooked out of it, I hope). I wonder, though, if this may only be a severe problem in a wet environment.

I thought that a stainless pot would be a good choice for coke, but I'm afraid orange heat may be at the edge of its endurance. Commercial coke pots seem to just use super-heavy cast iron walls. (I wanted to avoid the great weight of such pots; my stainless pot has quarter-inch walls.)

So, to all the metallurgists out there: can I drive a stainless pot this hard? Or should I man up and get a 90-pound cast iron device? Or, is a refractory fire pit, like the side-blast uses, the only real solution?
Or, maybe just fab cheap heavy mild-steel pots, let them glow and scale away, and just regard them as consumables?

   Eric T - Wednesday, 02/14/18 19:31:32 EST


I'm no metallurgist, so this is pure speculation. But the higher temperature for continuous operation seems unusual -- I've often seen specs with higher temperature limits for intermittent exposure than for continuous.

The reversed numbers seem to make sense only if there's particularly rapid scaling at some point between 1600 and 1700 degrees. In that case, the "cycling" contemplated might be for shorter periods than a forging section (or might not). But if your operating temperature is say, 1650 rather than 1600 degrees, things might really go south in a hurry.

Going off topic, if you ever look for soy sauce at a place that has more than a couple of brands, you're sure to see "Wan Ja Shan." My wife tells me that means "ten-thousand houses (smell) fragrant." And she says the whole jingle is "one house barbecues, ten-thousand houses fragrant." Maybe the company was founded in Phoenix . . .
   Mike BR - Wednesday, 02/14/18 20:06:41 EST


During my cooler years, I could often detect the output from the Chinese restaurant a block or so away. On the negative side: I finally resolved to go to central AC when a Kinder-Morgan gasoline pipeline busted in the neighborhood next to mine. Gasoline odor flooded my house on a warm summer night, and I was probably 300 yards away from the event.
   Eric T - Wednesday, 02/14/18 20:43:55 EST

Coke and coolers : Sounds like a drink recipe! Having spent 40 years working on coolers, I can attest to the problems they have. If a dust storm hits, you better shut it down or spend an hour or so hosing the mud out of the pads.Verify what voltage the motor runs on before buying a replacement re-circulation pump. a 110 volt pump burns out immediately when plugging into a 220 volt system. I remember well when an ammonia tank in a cotton field near our house sprung a leak, and we had to leave for a time until the odors dissipated. As for coke fire, the main problem is keeping it going. It doesn't smolder for a time (or idle). No air supply, it goes out. I got a bag of coke from AABA and it burned out the C.I. ring around my clinker breaker almost immediately. I made a new ring out of 2 layers of 5/16 stainless I cut out with my plasma cutter, then layered together. They lasted for several years. I think a better solution is a propane fired forge. You can fire it up when you get home from work and let it pre-heat while having a cool beverage, then it's ready to go. A piece of steel forgotten in it will not look like a 4th of July sparkler, and if tuned right, you can get a welding heat easily.
   Loren Tollefson - Thursday, 02/15/18 08:23:53 EST

Coke Forges : Forget most of the metallurgical stuff as it applies to stressed stainless parts (cable, chain, hooks, eyes, load bearing devices). Josh Greenwood uses a stainless bar that sits across the opening of his forge tweer. It is a loose part and lasts many years in a forge where a LOT of forge welding goes on (coal fired). Once I had a forge design I really liked I would spend the money on stainless.

In the 1890's Buffalo Forge made coke forges. They were a lot different than their coal forges. They had both a blast and a shaker grate like a coal furnace. Above that they were refractory lined. The refractory bricks were held in a cast iron box. They also had a roof made of brick. These were held in place by iron straps and bolts. AND they had a chute for feeding the coke into the forge.

I suspect the air blast cooled the clinker grates and kept them from burning. Between the grates and the filling chute these were definitely designed for production work.

I'm mailing you catalog images. The text description does no good only talking about the sizes and variety of forge not their construction.

SOMEWHERE I could swear I've seen a cross section of one of these forges that had an arched roof. I'll keep looking.

I've used coke that while it did not smoke it had that pungent coal odor.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/15/18 09:08:57 EST

Jock: Thanks for the pictures. I have been thinking about another go at firepits made from refractory material. I would like to try the water-cooled sideblast again.

So, do you think that a stainless firepot can stand hundreds of hours of operation at orange heat? That is, without some sort of degradations, such as cracking, distortion, getting very brittle, etc?

If it can, then I may just continue to burn coke in it, and let it just glow. Might as well drive it for a year or so, see if it dies.
   Eric T - Thursday, 02/15/18 15:12:59 EST

Anvil Identification : I have had it for 2 years now and still cannot seem to identify it. There are no clear makings and I have no clue where to even start looking to identify it. I have plenty of pictures to send. I doubt this will help but I picked it up in California.
   Chris W. - Thursday, 02/15/18 17:09:09 EST

coke forge : Using Coke, I have used it for years, mainly for a cleaner burning fire and hot, you do have some smoke and odor, not as much as coal. I have used a heavy cast fire pot but it does glow hot some times when I'm burning a big fire. Not sure why coal will not glow the pot but coke will, I guess that the coke just burns hotter, almost pure fuel all the tar,gases are cooked off. So it will go out in about 15 min or so if no air blast is on.
I'm really thinking about building a water cooled side blast, so if anyone has insight on that.
Looking at a few forges in old industrial shops the forge was a refractory lined fire pot no clinker breaker, just an air hole. I think if one FABs up a fire pot make it thick if you can, SS or steel and go with it. The comment about using a gas forge may be the way to go at sometimes, I don't like
gas as well but does have its place.
   highland forge - Friday, 02/16/18 07:21:19 EST

Anvil identification : I apologise, my email was incorrectly input on my previous post so I figured I would post again in an effort to correct that.
   Chris W - Friday, 02/16/18 13:17:01 EST

Coke Forges :
Eric, Since you have it, run it and see. I know that at forging temperatures stainless scales and the scale flakes off just like carbon steel. Each layer of scale is part of the mass of the original part so. . . it will burn out eventually.
   - guru - Friday, 02/16/18 15:00:22 EST

Selling one of my anvils : Hi everybody! Haven't been here since my son was born! How y'all been?!
So, times is tough, I need some cash. Gonna sell off the American Wrought anvil that I hardly use. I have some questions, as I've never sold one of my babies before. Like, how does shipping work (I'd rather not). Crates and all, I'm sure it's expensive. Also, I'm a bit rusty on the history of this piece. American Wrought (I believe, I lost my copy of AIA) was an offshoot of PW, I may be wrong. It has a serial number 578 that is visible. It's marked as 108 lbs, but reads 106 on the scale.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. For any who don't know, I am in the Philadelphia area. Hit me up however you please:
Kik: Nippulini
FB @ Sage_Blacksmith
text 2159626446

   Nippulini - Sunday, 02/18/18 12:37:55 EST

Water Cooled Tuyeer :
I have seen these fabricated from stainless pipe but can also be made of carbon steel. An inner pipe for the blast and outer for the water. These are welded to an end cap making the nozzle end. The inner air pipe passes through the reservoir. There are flanges welded to the ends of the two pipes. The first flange on the outer shell bolts to the forge side of the reservoir closing a hole large enough for the smaller air tube flange to pass through. The air tube flange bolts to the back of the reservoir.

The reservoir has two parallel walls made of plate steel about 6" apart. The flanges on the tuyeer must fit this distance. Most of these slope down hill about 10 degrees so that the water circulates naturally.

These systems will heat up a LOT of water in a day. One article in Richardson's showed a system with a closed reservoir on the forge with pipes going to a tank upstairs to provide the shop with running hot water. Quite a luxury for the time. However, this beats an open top reservoir with steam coming off of it all day.
   - guru - Wednesday, 02/21/18 03:28:10 EST

Shipping Anvils : Hi Nip.

A few years ago I bought a 200lb anvil half way across the country. Did a fair amount of research into shipping. Shipping prices for a lot of big name shipping companies ran from $550-1400. Then I found out Fastenal does less than truckload shipments between any of their stores. I got it shipped from Maine to Minnesota for $100. You do have to have it strapped down to a pallet but that was the only packaging they required. I would use them again.
   Martin - Wednesday, 02/21/18 15:31:38 EST

Shipping Anvils :
The last anvil I had shipped (in and out) came in without its pallet that I had paid extra for. Apparently it took too much room and the anvil alone was easier to move on a hand truck. When we shipped it out I crated it on a crate that could be moved with both a hand truck and fork lift.

The one thing about an anvil, if it arrives on a high bed truck it can always be unloaded by just dropping it off onto the ground.

At just over 100 pounds your anvil can go standard UPS.
   - guru - Thursday, 02/22/18 03:53:22 EST

Rivet hammer piston sticks : What remedy or series of things to try do yo recommend? It’s a Chicago Pneumatic 6A Aero riveter.
   Jim Smith - Friday, 02/23/18 22:51:57 EST

Rivet hammer piston sticks :
Have you been lubricating it (oil in the air line)?

Excess water in the air can freeze and lock up air tools.

As the piston wears it may reach a point were it can cock in the bore and lock up.

Flush with kerosene or WD-40, lube and try again.
   - guru - Saturday, 02/24/18 04:17:02 EST

I recently bought a Wright 146lb anvil (unknown if Henry or Peter first name was demolished by punches and chisel marks). The face was mushroomed severely and I had the face resurfaced. It is now flat and true but the center of the face now has a 1-2"X1/4" "sliver" of what appears to be the wrought iron base coming through the center? Does not look to be chipped just looks like a different material0 still appears to be one (think of Damascus) The heat treater is about to heat treat it, and I was wondering if I should heat treat and use the anvil the way it is or have another plate welded to the top. The anvil face as it was- a 1" steel ball bearing would leave divets in the steel face and horn dropped from about 10" for rebound test(it is that soft). I am looking for the heat treater to obtain a 55-60 Rockwell C. let me know if there is anything else I can do to revive this old anvil. Thanks for any and all assistance in advance.
   - Jerry Pertoso - Saturday, 03/03/18 16:23:15 EST

I recently bought a Wright 146lb anvil (unknown if Henry or Peter first name was demolished by punches and chisel marks). The face was mushroomed severely and I had the face resurfaced. It is now flat and true but the center of the face now has a 1-2"X1/4" "sliver" of what appears to be the wrought iron base coming through the center? Does not look to be chipped just looks like a different material0 still appears to be one (think of Damascus) The heat treater is about to heat treat it, and I was wondering if I should heat treat and use the anvil the way it is or have another plate welded to the top. The anvil face as it was- a 1" steel ball bearing would leave divets in the steel face and horn dropped from about 10" for rebound test(it is that soft). I am looking for the heat treater to obtain a 55-60 Rockwell C. let me know if there is anything else I can do to revive this old anvil. Thanks for any and all assistance in advance.
   - Jerry Pertoso - Saturday, 03/03/18 16:23:40 EST

sorry : Sorry for the double posting, my computer gave me a "403" message, I have no idea what that is.
   Jerry Pertoso - Saturday, 03/03/18 16:26:15 EST

Jerry : You might want to slow down and don't spend any more money until you get some educated feedback here.
   - TomH - Saturday, 03/03/18 17:34:11 EST

Ouch. If you have thinned down the face so much that it's not a proper thickness to work on you pretty much have destroyed the anvil. I knew a fellow who had had his milled till the face was *perfect* but to thin to use. He carried it from place to place for about 20 years till our local Smithing club held an anvil repair day and after proper preheat it took around 6 hours of welding by a professional weldor using industrial equipment to build back the face to usability. (If you had it done commercially it would have cost several times the cost of buying an anvil in using condition)

If you are in the USA try to bring it to a local meeting of the ABANA affiliate and get someone to look at it directly and tell you what your next step should be. (You may look into the Robb Gunther and Karl Schuler's anvil repair instructions fo expert instruction)

Note you can be an expert machinist or a great weldor but still not know the details of how various anvils are made and so destry instead of helping. "Practical Blacksmithing", Richardson, from 1889,1890 and 1891 where it says

"For my own part I am satisfied not only that sharp edges are useless, but they are also destructive of good work. I cannot account for their existence except as a relic of a time when the principles of forging were but little understood." Vol 1 page 111

If you need a sharp edge for a particular process make a hardy tool with 4 of them! (I hope you didn't pay for someone to damage your anvil!)
   ThomasP - Saturday, 03/03/18 23:06:37 EST

Resurfaced Anvil . . . . :
Yep, Cheaper to buy another anvil and relegate this one to being a door stop or someone else's project.

Besides not needing sharp corners an anvil IS NOT a precision flat. They are better with a slight sway so you can straighten things.

Peter Wright made a very good anvil. However they were very proud of the fact that their anvil bodies were made from the best NEW wrought iron, not scrap like most others used. The problem is that nice fine grain wrought is VERY soft and Peter Wrights become swayed more from use than their competitors scrap iron body anvils. The scrap bodies have grain going in all directions (not just parallel to the face) as well as pieces of steel mixed in and are generally a better anvil body than pure wrought iron as long as the scrap is thoroughly welded. Occasionally a poorly welded body will break and you can see the chain, bolts and various scrap in them. Peter Wright was banking on this in their advertisements. However, only a very few anvils made from scrap broke but ALL Peter Wrights end up severely swayed (if used).

That "other" material you see where it was machined is the soft wrought iron body. This is the softest iron available and IS NOT hardenable due to lack of carbon.

Anywhere the face has been reduced to less than 1/2" thick it will break in use after hardening OR the face to body weld will fail (or both).

Any Heat Treater that agreed to heat treat an old English anvil (especially one that has been ruined by machining) does not know what he is doing (same as the machinist that "resurfaced" it).
   - guru - Sunday, 03/04/18 01:09:17 EST

Old anvil : I gave the anvil to the heat treater before the surface grind. I straightened the surface by hand and cleaned up the sides, then made the corners rounded (as to not shatter/ break during forging). The surface still stood about 3/8" ( at a minimum) from the table to top of plate.
When I authorized the machinist to surface grind/ mill the top to be straighter, it was mainly due to the area around the hardy hole being raised, rounded and chipped. I believe the anvil saw its worst days way before I came around.
I am attempting to get this anvil working again and better than before. The Machinist only took two passes at a couple thousandths a pass, then I stopped him because of the "sliver" showing through. I am confused due to the plate looking to be higher than 3/8" from the side profile, and believed the plate should be the same consistency all the way through. The idea of machining the surface was not to obtain complete straightness but clean the area of the hardy hole and to clean several gouges from the sides, where it looked like someone was cutting something and went into the face of the anvil. When I purchased the anvil and hand cleaned the surface, I thought about adding material to the surface and then having the surface ground. Now I am thinking about welding either 4140 or actual tool steel to the top of the plate I have seen the adding material method done many times to anvils, and do not see the plate added to the top of it very often. Any ideas of what to do/ (plate vs welding material)

Luckily the heat treater and the machinist are not charging me, but we trade off work for work. Is there a way to add a picture of the anvil here, or an email address I an send a picture of the anvil for a better "diagnosis?"
Due to the perceived thickness of the plate and the shape of the sliver, I am caught between thinking the sliver may be a void in the plate, or a sliver of the iron showing through.
   Jerry Pertoso - Sunday, 03/04/18 15:41:53 EST

Nippulinian Anvil : I'll run it by some of my padawans over the next month. If they're interested (and you haven't sold it) it sounds like a road trip to me!
   Bruce Blackistone Atli - Sunday, 03/04/18 15:55:00 EST

Frank Turley : Frank, for anyone who does not know has parkinson's and can't do any smithing. I found out yesterday that he's in some type of rehab and there is a GoFundMe to raise money to make his place handicap accessible when he goes home. I don't know all of the details about the situation but if anyone wishes to make a donation do a google search (gofundme for Frank Turley) and it will pop up. The Lady that is doing this lists a goal of $200,000., that's a tall order, don't know if that's possible but you never know. I will be suggesting that our guild New Mexico Artist Blacksmiths Association make a sizeable donation. Frank has given so much to the smithing community over the years, it's sad to see him in this condition. LXIV,
   Alex Ivey - Sunday, 03/04/18 16:23:43 EST

Old Anvil : I do not plan on selling it, never met a challenge I couldn't beat into submission. I live in the bay area in California. Hope the road trip isn't too far. Thanks for the assistance.
   Jerry Pertoso - Sunday, 03/04/18 16:36:45 EST

Sliver in anvil face :
Old English anvils often had pieced faces, especially around the hardy hole. This used up small scraps of valuable steel and avoided punching the hardy hole through the face plate. The weld joints were often decarburized and have a significantly different color than the shear steel face material. This steel often has a Damascine look due to being folded and rewelded numerous times to refine and equalize the carbon content. However, this may also be a gap in a weld.

DO NOT have this anvil heat treated. If the face is mostly there then be happy with what you have.

NO, you cannot add an alloy steel plate to an anvil by edge welding. Anvil faces have a continuous full face FORGE weld that efficiently transfers energy into the anvil body like it is one piece. An edge welded plate is not much different that laying a plate loose on the face of the anvil. Edge welding results in a dull dead anvil.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/04/18 19:16:27 EST

Frank Turley :
I've known about Frank's illness for several years but he seemed to want to keep it quiet so I did not spread the word.

While Frank is not actively working in his shop he has still been managing his school and sends me updates to his web page which I maintain. He also still chimes in here now and then.

All of us from the "old crew" are aging and have our problems. I've been running anvilfire for 20 years now. As a sedentary job it has been hard on my health. I hope to be here for another 20 years or more but you never know.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/04/18 19:31:08 EST

Old Anvil : I guess, I can use it the way it is until it starts coming apart? Or I can weld material to make a new top. I definitely will not place a new plate on top of the anvil and edge weld.

By using the stoody 2110 rod, do I just fill in the "sliver" and then use the stoody 1105 to build up three layers? Should the welds be ground between layers?
The horn on the anvil is also very soft. I believe that at some point, this anvil was heated to a point that it was tempered and lowered the Rockwell rating.
   Jerry Pertoso - Monday, 03/05/18 00:27:59 EST

old anvil : Also, If I go the "add material" route, is there a way to use a MIG welder instead of stick. I have both, but figure that the mig can work faster and cleaner than the stick.
   Jerry Pertoso - Monday, 03/05/18 00:40:49 EST

Old Anvil :
If the "sliver" is an actual gap then it should be welded. Such minor repairs are best done with a common high strenght rod such as a 100 series (E100-11. . .). Preheat the anvil (area) to about 350 F. Weld then peen while the weld cools.

Horns on old wrought anvils are just plain wrought iron and are not hard. A few where the horn is level with the face have the hard face extend in a triangle out the horn a short distance. Even on modern anvils the horn is generally left soft or softer than the face to prevent breakage.

You cannot apply modern hardness ratings to antiques. The steel was shop made, the heat treating not fully understood, yet they made excellent products.
   - guru - Monday, 03/05/18 12:06:09 EST

Old Anvil : Ok. So as of now I will fill in the sliver, and peen. Then grind to match the height of the existing surface. Once this is done, is there any problem heat treating?
The reason I would like to heat treat is due to the steel being very soft, I did the rebound test at 10" above the surface and the 1" ball bearing left a divet, I then cleaned the surface, and reshaped and did the ball bearing drop at less than 5" and still left another divet, I performed the test several times throughout the surface with very similar results. The rebound at 10" was about 3-4"maximum.

Or should the entire work face be built upon and then reshaped? Most of the work, I am doing myself and have the capability of welding, and shaping, the heat treat is the only thing I really need to send out, but as of now that is a trade system (no money exchanged).

   Jerry Pertoso - Monday, 03/05/18 15:43:54 EST

Anvil Hardness by Rebound :
If you look at our (the Original) rebound test article Old English anvils vary from 35% to 65% (max) rebound when properly tested.

If the ball is leaving a divot then the surface is pretty soft.

My number rule to anvil repair is don't do it unless the anvil is unusable as-is and then do as little as possible.

If you study enough old anvils the majority of damage is chipped edges from being too hard (and having sharp 90° edges). Really old soft anvils just get wavier and wavier or more and more swayed. Many living museum anvils in Europe have literal waves up to an inch tall. But no one there disrespects these classic old tools and would not dare take a grinder to one.

That's my advise. Its your anvil (now), it will be someone Else's in the future (these are multi-generational tools). But its yours, and its a tool, do as you wish.
   - guru - Monday, 03/05/18 17:37:48 EST

Old anvil. : Thank you for all your assistance, I am really pleased with finding your site. I will only fill the void, peen, and then make it one with the rest of the surface. As you said "multi generational tools". I got this and its obviously over 100yrs old (based on the markings and my little experience) I will do as little as I can and see how it holds up after time. I am hoping to use the hell out of it and then pass it down in the future. Thank you for all the knowledge and assistance. I will let you know how it ends up.
   Jerry Pertoso - Monday, 03/05/18 20:52:13 EST

Nippulini : Sage, you may be surprised at how quick it goes with not much effort. I sold a 75 lb. HB last week. I posted it on two FB pages and it was sold before I could complete my post on Craigslist. I stated that I would not ship or deliver and the young man drove two hours to pick up. Good luck.
   Brian C. - Tuesday, 03/06/18 08:42:19 EST

Jerrys anvil : I suspect someone got to it long before you did. You said the step is only about 3/8" from the table to the face? That should be more like 3/4", and the plate itself was only about 3/8" thick to begin with. Thus the sliver and pieced appearance, there's only a paper-thin slice of steel left on the poor thing. As the Guru said, heat treating is not an option any more, there's just not enough steel left to use.

That article Thomas mentioned is your only option, particularly the paragraph that says "What You'll Need
If your anvil has a wrought iron base and the damaged area goes through the tool plate so that You have to begin the repair by welding to the wrought base material, use Stoody 2110 (or equal) 3/16" rod (DC reverse works best; however, it will run AC); Unlimited passes. Expect 45 Rockwell C as welded. When you can finish building up the repair area in no more than three passes (or layers thick), use Stoody 1105 (or equal) 1/8" rod (DC reverse, or AC); expect 50 to 52 Rockwell C as welded, which should be consistent with the original hardness of the tool plate. The Stoody 1105 is a particularly good match for the W-1 tool steel tops of most anvils and is designed to be impact resistant."

I don't like to link to the article because way too many people think anvils need repair when they only need a quick hit with a file (if anything), but it's here if you want it: http://www.anvilmag.com/smith/anvilres.htm
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 03/06/18 12:42:50 EST

And another thing: : You really cannot substitute other rods for the ones Gunther and Schuler recommend. They came up with the specs working with engineers and metallurgists at Sandia National Laboratory, and those particular rods were chosen with good reason. MIG ain't gonna cut it no matter what.

Even after all the work it's going to take, you'll have a face hardness of around 45-48 on the Rockwell C scale. My old Peter Wright was more like Rc 55, and my Columbian is at least Rc58 (and as a result has no edges left, but boy, will it throw a hammer back at you!) My Refflinghaus is advertised as Rc 52, and I consider it to be way too soft. This is because it will dent with a missed blow. The other two anvils don't dent, they just throw the hammer right back at your teeth, the Columbian with surprising velocity.
   Alan-L - Tuesday, 03/06/18 12:51:24 EST

Old Anvil : Thank you guys for the information, Now I have to get the expensive welding rods and begin a long process of welding, peening, and welding again, peening, welding, etc. and then grind.
   Jerry Pertoso - Tuesday, 03/06/18 15:05:51 EST

Refacing Anvil :
Its not just the rods and welding. Its the grinding out the pits and rewelding them in every pass. If you try to weld over a pit you get a bigger pit OR a semi hollow inclusion. Unless you are a professional welder you WILL get pits. Fix every one. When done you may use up several grinding disks to get the face smooth.

Welding is not just the rods and the labor, it is also the fuel (usually electricity). Those rods do not melt themselves, it takes a lot of electricity. We had one corespondent ask us to try to help defend his position in his argument with his wife that his Junkyard hammer project did not increase their electric bill by $200. He claimed there was no way that much energy went through those little rods. . .

For more about facing an anvil see Patrick Nowak's 1050 pound anvil
   - guru - Tuesday, 03/06/18 18:11:50 EST

Old Anvil- sliver : I have welding experience, I was a fabricator in an automotive shop, but this is probably the thickest thing I have welded (surface size) I have done some structural welding, most of my welding experience is with mig and tig, started out with stick and have a machine now but rarely use it.
I will check out the link you have provided. Thanks

Just brought the anvil home and the more and more I look at the "sliver" the more it actually looks like a previous weld. there is a crack in whatever material it actually is and the anvil surface. I am going to dig it out and fill it, and then grind to the surface and see what that gives me as a workable surface. I am optimistic about the sliver being a weld that was just cut through when the machinist flattened the surface.
   Jerry Pertoso - Tuesday, 03/06/18 18:58:31 EST

Remember anvils are very prone to HAZ cracking as the faces are high carbon and there is quiet enough steel to pull away heat resulting in "auto quenching" The proper preheat is MANDATORY and a post slow cool is also suggested. (Where many expert structural welders go astray)
   ThomasP - Tuesday, 03/06/18 21:23:50 EST

Old Anvil : Thanks, The thought I had was to use two propane "weed burners" to heat to 350/400 and then slowly bring back by leaving the anvil in moving blankets until cool.
   Jerry Pertoso - Wednesday, 03/07/18 00:17:21 EST

Moving Blankets are not fire proof. . . And you may want to insulate the anvil while welding (or yourself from the anvil). The anvil may not be hot enough to start a fire but the sputter balls will be.

Weld metal is often a very different color than the base metal. Folks have been known to use Ni-Rod (nickle) to weld anvils because they believed they were cast iron. There ARE junk cast iron anvils AND there are hard faced (plated) cast iron bodied anvils. . . (such as Fisher and Vulcan).
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/07/18 08:50:00 EST

Anvil logo identification : Found this anvil locally but cant make out the manufacturer. Looks like its in great. Thanks for your time. https://images.craigslist.org/01717_2aYDhG4JetB_600x450.jpgv
   Bill - Friday, 03/09/18 15:16:43 EST

Not sure how to post a picture : Not sure how to post a picture.
   Bill - Friday, 03/09/18 15:27:51 EST

Once I removed the last v I had no problem bringing the picture up in another window; wish I had a picture of the complete anvil rather than just a blurry picture of a few characters.
   - ThomasP - Friday, 03/09/18 23:21:03 EST

Anvil logo identification :
Bill, It also helps to know what country you are in or that the anvil was found in. Looks like a set of foreign characters on an ground or machined surface. What size is this anvil? We don't need every dimension as that does not help but general weight helps. AND as Thoma noted, a clear photo of the whole.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/10/18 07:47:19 EST

I have more pictures and measurements. . Was just tring to figure out how to put pics up.
   Bill - Saturday, 03/10/18 10:17:37 EST

Bill, due to having a commercial secure server we cannot allow uploads by the public. You may email them to me or host them somewhere else and post the links here.

As I said, measurements mean nothing, just wasted data.
   - guru - Saturday, 03/10/18 14:38:46 EST

Greetings, Steve here from Chattanooga, Tn.. I just picked up a William Foster anvil from a scrap steel yard and am trying to figure my options with it. I have been looking for a decent anvil for some time and have been told that they are usually bringing $5/lb. or more. I am not a blacksmith, nor do I plan to become one, but am a retired Ironworker and welder with several pieces of heavy equipment and a habit of building/repairing things. This anvil has the heel broken off (which I gather is not too uncommon), from what I read in the different forums. As stated, it is a William Foster, dated 1835 and is about a 150# unit. The question I have is, is it possible to replace the heel or should I just use as-is? I only gave $75 for it, so figure surely it will be worth that for what I will be doing with it. Thanks for any input/ advice. Regards, Steve
   - steve chancey - Saturday, 03/10/18 23:15:52 EST

Missing Heel on Wm. Foster :

These old anvils are made of wrought iron with a carbon steel face forge welded on. The face will vary in hardness but are often very hard. The wrought iron can be arc welded but is full of layered slag that melts out as you weld it often producing more slag then the filler you used. . . Just a warning.

Having a broken heal reduces the usability to a smith used to using nothing but complete English pattern anvils. A professional will just blow it off and keep going. . . Lack of usability depends on where the break is. If the anvil still has its hardy hole (the square hole) then there is little loss. If the hardy hole is missing (and this is where they often break) then this hamstrings someone used to using hardies and working with the hardy hole.

As a non-smith this may not be a problem for you. Just having a good hard face, a horn and the mass is all you need and you can do plenty of forging with what you have. Hardies can be supported in a vise or a seperate block, punching can be done using a swage block or bolster.

Heels are generally replaced with something like SAE 4140 and need full penetration welds. Preheating is required and a slow cool recommended. This will soften some of the anvil face but with all the different steels and iron at this point its best to leave it as is.

LAST, Do not hide the fact that you have made such a major repair. However, generally the color and texture of the repair are obvious. For what you have in it a repair will not hurt its value and may increase it (rare for anvil repairs).

Its up to you.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/11/18 12:35:26 EDT

For your usage I don't see that adding a heel will help that much. Great price, USE IT! (I have a heeless Powell that I've been using the heck out of for 15 years now even though I have complete london pattern anvils to hand.)
   - ThomasP - Sunday, 03/11/18 13:51:39 EDT

Early anvils had no heel OR horn. You could do virtually everything you could on a modern anvil. Most of the features of an English (London) pattern anvil are for farriers and horseshoe makers. This design became the Western standard in the 1800's when horse drawn transportation was King and the Farrier kept all those horses moving.

You can make scrolls over edges and flat surfaces. You can also make upsets, offsets and bends over those same (rounded) edges. So the other features are just a convenience.
   - guru - Sunday, 03/11/18 16:41:29 EDT

Anvils : Modern anvils, especially farrier's anvils with their extra pritchel holes and turning lugs and clip tables, &c., are the equivalent of Swiss Army knives. Ancient smiths might have specialized tools and bicks and hardies and such mounted in the anvil stump or on separate stumps.
   Bruce Blackistone Atli - Monday, 03/12/18 18:04:25 EDT

Brand : I'm new to andles and I'm wondering what the brand of an anvil I was given All I can make out on the anvil it's self is that it has an X on it
   Christian Page - Tuesday, 03/13/18 23:53:24 EDT

Christian, It might be a Trenton. Some of their logos were marked TREXTON in a long diamond shape the X (actually two overlapping N's one backwards) in the middle.

Click my name and send a photo and I'll see if I can help.
   - guru - Wednesday, 03/14/18 05:23:09 EDT

concrete anvil : I just started to look at blacksmithing as a newly retired person that added a mill to my lathe. I am also a mechanical engineer that designed new products including aerospace devices. The use of concrete in an anvil design that you present is laughable. Concrete needs to be put under compression to have any strength, that is basics of any concrete structural product. Thus a thick piece of steel, my guess no less then 1/2 inch needs to have studs welded to the bottom and fitted through holes in the concrete. On the bottom side a thinner plate will support stacks of belleville springs that put the concrete in compression and the studs in tension. Obviously the base of the concrete will widen at a guess 10 degree taper or more and additional reinforcement will be needed.
   Tom S. - Thursday, 03/15/18 23:25:04 EDT

Tom, Nowhere do I suggest using concrete for making an anvil. In fact I have written several tirades to people that proposed it. We had ONE 16 year old that made a concrete filled anvil that that was an excellent piece of craftsmanship, aside from the concrete. I gave him a pass for hard work and creativity.

What is laughable is your 1/2 (13 mm) plate over concrete. Hand forging produces tremendous repetitive stresses that causes permanent sway in anvils up to 12" (308 cm) or more. We are talking up to 3/8" (11 mm) in hard steel faced wrought iron anvils. Modern all steel anvils are much less prone to this but it is common in old anvils. With a 1/2" hardened steel plate over concrete the concrete will crumble and the plate rapidly become distorted with very little use. By the time you get a plate that will protect the concrete you will have an actual anvil.

Another aspect of anvils is the rebound that lifts the hammer upward a significant distance on ringing blows. A plate or a stack of plates does not do this.

I'll play my decades of Nuclear Equipment Engineering (as sole designer AND builder on many projects, As well as field consultant.) on your Aerospace card.

AND I have a fairly decent collection of machine tools as well as fully equipped blacksmith shop. . .
   - guru - Friday, 03/16/18 19:13:38 EDT

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