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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

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